If You Oppose Marriage Equality, What Else Am I Supposed to Call You?

My friend (and I sincerely mean that even though we only know each other through the Interwebs) Rachel Held Evans is an LGBT-friendly, evolution-accepting Christian. So she’s in an obviously rough spot when it comes to maintaining ties with the Christian world — which, for reasons I can’t quite grasp, she still loves — while trying to pull them in the right direction on social issues.

When it came to the Chick-fil-A controversy, she tried to offer advice to both sides.

She told the anti-gay Christians that they should be aware of how much it hurts us when they flaunt the food they bought at Chick-fil-A in the wake of the controversy or cry “persecution” when no one’s actually persecuting them. This is a civil rights issue for us liberals, after all, and we all know people (or are people) who have been unable to experience the joy of marriage or adoption or being near a loved one in their dying moments because of the Christian desire to limit certain rights to straight people only.

Then, she had a message for the social progressives (emphasis hers):

I get it. I really do.

But I beg you to please remember that not all Christians who speak out against gay marriage are bigots or homophobes, and calling them those names is as unjust as it is unkind. Many of the people I love most in my life fall into this “camp,” and most of them mean it when they say that they sincerely love their friends and relatives in the LGBT community and wish they knew of some way to hold to their convictions without hurting or insulting their neighbors.

This is where Rachel and I part ways. Maybe I agreed with her a long time ago, but I can’t anymore.

There is no way to oppose equal rights for gay people without being a bigot/homophobe/asshole/pick-your-word.

You can’t say I love my black friends, but I don’t think they should be allowed to marry white people… without simultaneously being a racist.

It doesn’t matter how big of a smile you put on your face, or how many gay friends you (think you) have, or how often you’ve gone to a gay pride parade.

If you’re voting against marriage equality, you’re a bigot. If you’re denying somebody a right that you possess — for no rational basis whatsoever — I don’t know what else to call you. There’s not a single, credible, non-religious reason to deny equal rights to gay people.

Jen McCreight explains it this way:

I call you a bigot because you support those terrible things I listed above: legally denying GLBT individuals equal rights, slandering them publicly, damaging them through terrible psychological programs, and even killing them. You can call me a bigot if I start campaigning that Chick-Fil-A-Holes should not be able to marry, adopt, or serve in the military. You can call me a bigot if I ship my friends off for traumatic psychological boot camps because they dared to eat a chicken sandwich. You can call me a bigot if I compare being Republican to pedophilia, bestiality, or necrophilia.

If my worst offense is disagreeing with you, trying to convince you that you’re wrong, or calling you a name? That’s not bigotry, despite how much your martyr complex wishes it were so.

Is bigot too strong of a word? It doesn’t matter. The hurt feeling you have when you get called a mean name pales in comparison to the hurt the LGBT community feels when you strip their rights away.

(Plus, you know, I said the word “bigot” with a smile.)

No one should be tolerant of intolerance — and that’s a game Christians love to play (“Well, you’re just intolerant of our religious beliefs!”)… but no one’s taking away their rights. No one’s forcing gay marriage in their church. No one’s asking them to attend a gay wedding against their will. (Let’s face it; they weren’t invited in the first place.)

This isn’t one of those issues where people can “agree to disagree.” The people who say that are always the people losing the argument. In this case, one side is right and the other side is full of Christians.

Fred Clark put it well (emphasis his):

It doesn’t matter if you think you’re a nice person. And it doesn’t matter if your tone, attitude, sentiments and facial expressions are all very sweet, kindly and sympathetic-seeming. If you’re opposing legal equality, then you don’t get to be nice. Opposing legal equality is not nice and it cannot be done nicely.

This is also why I have a hard time supporting Christian groups that try to “bridge the gap” between the LGBT community and the Christian church. It’s a worthy endeavor, but what good are you for LGBT people if you can’t even publicly voice your support for same-sex marriage?

Is it true that the word “bigot” or “homophobe” shuts down conversation? Maybe. But I’m not sure what else to call people who use the Bible and their own prejudice to prevent same-sex marriage from becoming a reality.

Eventually, I’m sure we’ll get to a point where even the vast majority of Christians support gay-marriage. All the trends point in that direction. But the way to push Christians there is to call them out on their bullshit when it happens, not defend them because they mean well.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • baronvoncarson

    Very good article. I agree with you on so many levels.

    Denying equal rights for anyone is bigotry. Plain and simple. Just wish I could make some of my friends aware of this, rather they thing some forms of discrimination are good, even comparing the fact males and females have different public rest rooms to that of marriage equality! Egads, makes my head spin.

    • snoozn

      I’ve never heard the public restroom analogy. My kids go to a pretty hippy-dippy liberal school. They’ve had a number of transgender students (and one transgender teacher) and now have a “genderless” bathroom along with the more traditional boys’ and girls’ rooms. If this becomes the norm it may destroy your friends’ arguments!

      • CelticWhisper

        Wow, seriously?  I never thought I’d see the day we had that.

        Maybe erasing gender and embracing the individual isn’t an unattainable goal after all.

        • snoozn

          Slow progress is better than no progress. My oldest daughter was doing the college search last year and a number of the small liberal arts colleges she looked at had genderless bathrooms (I’m pretty sure that all the bathrooms at Hampshire College were genderless). Also, a lot of them don’t force kids to have same-gender roommates, but go by the kids’ preferences. And many don’t just assume there are only two genders. 

          Definitely going towards that goal!

      • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

        In practical terms, any single-occupant restroom is a ‘genderless’ bathroom. 

  • newavocation

    You are no longer special if everyone has the same rights you have. If you start ripping all the bigoted, hateful, and magic pages out of the bible about all you will have left is some weird stories and humanist ramblings. Then your jewelry will be the only thing that identifies you as an Xian. 

  • I_Claudia

    I think the issue is that many people think that a bigot is by definition motivated by hate, and that if you’re not motivated by hate, you can’t be a bigot. Many people who oppose marriage equality are truly and honestly not motivated by hate and truly and honestly have nothing against their LGBT neighbors and friends.

    That doesn’t make their position anything other than bigotry.

    I’m certain that decades ago, well meaning, kind white people held stances against integration and inter-racial marriage. They may have had nothing but goodwill towards black people, and even truly loved a few that they knew, but still thought  it was best” for the races to remain separate. Their position was a racist one, a bigoted one, and the fact they meant no harm did not mean that no harm was being done.

    I think it’s swell that many people don’t hate GLBT people. I think it’s great that they abhor anti-gay bullying and the demonization of gay people, even though I wish they’d actually speak out against such things when they happened. However their stance is a bigoted stance, and they don’t get a free pass just because they’re motivations are not rooted in hate. You may not be defined principally as a bigot, but you hold a bigoted stance.

    My guess is that once you realize your stance is bigoted, it’s because that’s no longer your opinion. I’d actually be interested in hearing from people who have made the transition from being anti-equality to pro-equality without having held hatred in their hearts before the change. Do you consider that your previous stance was a bigoted one?

    • Eric D Red

      That’s a good point that I wasn’t really conscious of before, although it makes a lot of sense.  Bigotry doesn’t just stem from hate, and when we portray it that way we’re not getting through to those that aren’t driven by hate.  We lose the ability to get through to them when we accuse them of hate they don’t actually feel they have.  Bigotry can come from wanting to hold on to special priviledge, or simply because that’s what you’ve learned.  By pointing out the effects and hypocrisy, we may get through to a few more.

    • Kate

      “I’d actually be interested in hearing from people who have made the transition from being anti-equality to pro-equality without having held hatred in their hearts before the change.”

      That would be me, and I definitely would say I was a bigot before my position on this changed. I “knew” the biblical stance on this and that was the only thing I leveraged in my argument, though I avoided arguing over this because I sincerely wanted to love gay people and not let it be an issue. I finally discovered that doesn’t work since it simply can’t.

      • amycas

         I had a similar position to this. Of course, I also was taught that it was all a “choice,” and being bisexual (and not understanding it) led me to believe that it really was a choice (as in, everybody must also feel attraction to both sexes). In other words I was against it because of my religion and because I did not have an accurate understanding of how sexual attraction works, but it was still bigotry. I didn’t hate. In fact, I avoided the topic with my gay friends because I didn’t want to hate them. But, I can’t deny now that it was bigotry (with a dash of homophobia) through and through. All I can do now is try to undo any damage I may have caused before by fighting for lgbt rights and asking for the forgiveness of those I hurt with my bigotry.

      • Mary

        I was anti-gay everything because I loved Jesus and was led to believe that he was too. All I can say is that I spent so much time with Jesus-people that I honestly didn’t know how blinded I was. And I was homophobic simply because homosexuals were not welcome to be open in Christian circles, so I didn’t know a single person who was gay – at least not openly so. I was afraid of things I didn’t understand (the same held true for people of different colors, abilities, everything). But I am one of those naturally anxious people, so I’m anxious in any new situation, and it makes sense that I was anxious around people whose cultures and backgrounds I felt I didn’t understand. IN LARGE PART, I was anxious because I was ignorant, and on some level I realized I was. Young Christians are encouraged to be “sheltered” and “innocent,” and if they are serious about that, they don’t ask a lot of tough questions that might lead them down an “evil” path.

        I don’t know what to think of who I was back then and of the Christian culture that created me. Most of the people I was around seemed truly interested in following the path of God, whom they saw as good, no matter where it led them. When we had unpopular opinions, as opposition to homosexuality is becoming now, we thought we were supposed to be strong and stand by the truth no matter how great the opposition. There are a LOT of people out there who honestly think they are standing up for good and don’t realize what they are doing. 

        Yes, I think it does make them weak and ignorant, in that they aren’t really holding their beliefs up to scrutiny and asking the tough questions. They also aren’t really LISTENING to the other side, because they are instead listening to a voice in their head that they see as God – a voice that comes from their religious training.

        I don’t think that name calling is necessary. People who think they are holy and following God’s laws will never accept that they are bigots, because then they are accepting that their God is a bigot. I don’t know what will wake these people up, honestly. 

      • Mary

        I guess I should add that what woke me up had nothing to do with homosexuality but everything to do with suffering and truth. When I started seeing that Biblical arguments I had been taught for years did not add up and found that I no longer believed them, I quickly realized that I had nothing against homosexuals and wanted my mind and heart to be free and open to everyone. All I can say is that it’s wonderful to be free. As a Christian I was extremely hindered, boxed in and “protected” from real life. I am not anymore, and I love it. We need to remember that these people’s bigotry and fear not only hurts homosexuals, but it actually hurts them too. They have no idea what they’re missing, trading in a full life for a spot in the line at Chick-fil-A. I am not arguing for them, but vilifying them isn’t quite fair either. They are people who are making some really stupid mistakes and hurting other people in the process. And YES, they are missing out on a lot of life in the process.

        • Jim Olson

          Lets talk about the definition of a Christian while we’re arguing about definitions.  Are you a Christian because you follow all the rules and laws in the Bible? (an impossible task, btw.)  Are you a Christian because you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?  (Good, if you have, but now what?) Or are you a Christian because you try to live the primary teaching of Christ in community, which was to love God, and love your neighbor as yourself?  All three are valid expressions of Christianity.  But IMHO, the third one is the one that comes closest.  One cannot be a faithful Christian if one holds hate in their heart for anyone.  

          • Zorbear Sr

            then what should I do with my WWJH* bumper sticker?
            (*Who Would Jesus Hate)

    • http://www.zazzle.com/godless_monsters The Godless Monster

      <blockquote"I'd actually be interested in
      hearing from people who have made the transition from being
      anti-equality to pro-equality without having held hatred in their hearts
      before the change. Do you consider that your previous stance was a
      bigoted one?"
      Yes, absolutely. I also had several gay friends and work associates at that time. At the age of 40 (years before I became a full-fledged atheist), I did a complete turn-around and understood that my beliefs were indeed bigoted, no matter how kind, friendly or well-meaning I thought I was.

    • http://www.zazzle.com/godless_monsters The Godless Monster

       oops…don’t know what happened to my other reply…disregard the attempted block quote in the beginning and read on to my response…

      • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

        HTML tags usually enclose its contents with an opening tag before (like ) and a closing tag afterward (like ). It looks like you put your text inside the tag itself. :)

        • The Godless Monster

           This is what happens when typing while holding a 4 month old baby…

          • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

            Understandable. Although what the Patheos blog software did to your tag is hilarious. :P

    • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

      Again, the mistake is equating bigotry with hate when it really stems from fear. These people may not hate LGBT people but they very much fear the way gay marriage and the LGBT movement are changing society. Thea fact that this change will not and cannot harm them doesn’t change their fear.

      • Landerson26

         I do not fear the LGBT community. This change means that society is telling our children that it is okay to do these things when we are telling them (and more importantly God is telling them) that it is not. You may think that our children should be smart enough to make the decision themselves, they are not. Young people are easily impressed upon by their peers.
        You mistake the fact that Christians disagree with the world as “fear” or “hate” but it’s simply what we already have come to expect. While you think it will have no effect on us, you are wrong. It has a strong effect on us (Christians) and our children, and that is something I cannot tolerate. If you do not want me forcing my beliefs on you, don’t expect to be able to enforce your beliefs (yes, that’s what they are) on me.

        • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

          The difference is, your belief that homosexuality is harmful and/or wrong has no merit or supporting evidence outside of “the Bible says so.”  Society at large has decades of scientific studies (as well as the actual lived experiences of gay people) showing that there is nothing harmful about homosexuality to individuals or civilization in general.  It’s not even comparable.  Do we really have to keep going through this??  The Bible also says wearing blended fabrics is a grave sin, and that women should be silent, whereas we have the actual lived experiences of millions of people wearing blended fibers showing that this is clearly not the case, and that women (and society) are far better off when they can speak for themselves.  There’s a huge rift between believing what you want, and having actual proof on your side.  You can believe whatever the hell you’d like to, but unless you can show some concrete, compelling evidence that everyone else should agree with you (other than a book that’s clearly been wrong on countless other topics), then you’re being flat-out irrational.  Why aren’t you people taking to the streets demanding that disobedient children be stoned?  Is it because you’re a weak sinner, or because common sense has shown this to be an abhorrent practice?

          • Rwlawoffice

             That is nonsense.  Cultures around the world, even those without Christianity have condemned homosexual behavior. A few pockets of where it was not condemned are very rare indeed. In addition there is ample evidence that at least in the male homosexual community there are known health risks associated with homosexual behavior, lower life expectancy, mental issues, etc.  Also, despite years of education on Aids, the population of where this is rising is still the homosexual community (61% of all new cases according to the CDC).

            http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/health-issues-for-gay-men/my00738

            • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

              Yeah, and those other cultures have as little hard evidence as Christians do, relying on “tradition” and “ick factor.”  An overwhelming number of those other cultures hold the same archaic views on women that the Bible does.  That doesn’t make them correct.

              The higher inclination towards mental illness is attributed to the horrific treatment LGBT people experience living in a society that treats them like second-class citizens…or worse.
              http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.aspx

              And to follow that, depressed people tend to engage in more risky behavior, regardless of sexual orientation.  This is helpfully addressed in your link from the Mayo Clinic.

              Prior to the education of the general public about AIDs transmission, more gay people were exposed to the disease, and thus the community at large continues to have more people that carry (and can potentially transmit) the virus.  And seeing as human AIDs is a very new phenomenon as far as viruses are concerned, this clearly wasn’t a concern of ancient cultures and Christians when they began stigmatizing their non-straight citizens.

        • Parse

          Consider the following hypothetical situation: 
          I do not fear Christians.  However, the presence of churches, as well as the weight given to the views of Christians, means that society is telling our children that it is okay to believe in God when we are telling them (and more importantly our morality system is telling them) that it is not.   
          Would I then be justified in fighting for removing Christianity from the public eye, for forcing my views on the entirety of society?  If not, how does this differ from your fighting for removing the LGBT community from the public eye?
          Also, how do you reconcile your view of God with the view of God other Christians have, one that doesn’t see the LGBT community as sinful?  They’ve got the same Bible as you, after all, and can support their view with verses.  Please try to avoid (in your explanation of why they’re wrong) any unfounded statements that they could also use to to explain why you’re wrong.

          • Crystal

            You could also use that analogy with interracial marriage. Fear of change in society with black men marrying white men and having children (omg), when you’re desperately trying to teach your children that you don’t agree with it. That was certainly how “anti-race mixing” advocates felt 45+ years ago. Thank God we’re over that dumb fear and I have a beautiful mixed son and daughter on the way by a white man. I pray that we will eventually come to accept gay marriages like we accept interracial ones.

        • Anon

          So basically, you’re worried that if we allow gay marriage then gay children who are being brought up in your repressed, homophobic culture might actually have the temerity to actually be gay rather than spending their lives hating themselves because a 2000 year old book said they should.

          Newsflash. I’m pretty sure you can’t force somebody to be gay through peer pressure.

    • kagekiri

      Yeah, I didn’t hate gay people at all, but I bought into the “hate the sin, love the sinner” and “homosexuality is just another sin, not any worse than others Christians commit everyday” crud. 
      So I voted for things like Prop 8 in CA “on principle”. I’m ashamed of it now as a humanist and atheist; hell, I was ashamed of it then as a fundie Christian, because I knew that my voting “for the Bible” was simultaneously voting against some of my friends who I considered dang good people. 

      My previous stance was definitely bigoted, even without any hate. 

      Thankfully, that dissonance between the Bible’s hate-mongering and reality of normal gay people was one of the things the pushed heavily towards my deconversion, and I’m now firmly on the pro-LGBTQ side of the fence. 

      It’s probably one of the best consequences of my deconversion that I no longer have to vote for dogma nor against people’s happiness. Though I guess I’m making Christian unhappy, but they like feeling “persecuted” in the long run, so it’s all win-win.

      • Landerson26

        I’d like to point out that noone enjoys persecution. Christians are just warned beforehand that we will be persecuted. The Bible is not hate-mongering, we are called to love our neighbor, how is that hate? Since when is disagreeing hate? When you mom told you bedtime was 9, and you thought it should be 12 did you hate her? No. You disagreed.
        Herein, lies the difference. Christians are called to be set apart, we know we will sin, but we know that when we mess up we can repent and God forviges us, even if we don’t deserve it (trust me, I know I don’t).
        Growing up in a “Christian” community  does not make you a Christian. Even the Devil knows God’s word and believes it. The difference between us and him is that we trust in God to lead our lives. He is the one we look to with everything. When God says, “A man should not lie with a man as he would with a woman.” (Leviticus 18:22) I believe in His law. I resign my heart to follow His law and wish the same for you, but if you choose to not follow His law, that is your choice.  I will not persecute you for it, I will sit quietly by and continue living my life. But I must speak truth, so here I am at 1 in the morning when I should be sleeping because I so want you all to understand the truth about what Christians believe so you can make an educated choice at least.

        • Concerned Citizen

          The difference is that you believe you’ve got the direct pipeline to God and know what God wants and expect everybody else to defer to your superior discernment and judgment. But (and I’m just speculating here), I don’t think you have anymore direct experience of God than anyone else. So it’s a little presumptuous for you to justify your own prejudices and saying “well, I can’t be held responsible, I was just following God’s orders!”

          Jesus says in Luke 14:26 that his followers have to hate everybody, anyway, so I don’t see why you’re so quick to make excuses for yourself.

        • Roninbear

          God also prohibits eating shellfish, waterfowl, and pork. He apparantly does not like tattoos, pierced ears, or short hair. If your child is so disobedient that you can’t figure out what to do with him, taking him outside the city gates and stoning him to death is an appropriate action to take. Want to make love to your wife while she’s still menstruating? God doesn’t like that either, even if she’s just spotting a teeny bit. Oh, conquering a country in God’s name? Make sure you kill every last man, woman and child unless you just want to rape one of the women and keep her as your wife. I am tired of your cafeteria Christianity. Either man up and realize what Jesus had to say about homosexuality himself, or kindly shut your mouth.

        • Glasofruix

          How about the one that says that women should stfu or that other one about killing disobeying childre or another one about killing people on sabbath? Do you follow those “laws”?

  • Chris Moran

    *I* wasn’t always tolerant. I recall having a nearly heated discussion with someone with me on the anti-gay couple-adoption topic. I wasn’t a homophobe, by that time I had evolved beyond that, but I still had something in my mind that the traditional family was the preferable one. I was 19, already an (cognizant) atheist for 8 years, and lived in a conservative community.
    I don’t know if I use the term bigot to describe myself back then.. but I *DO* use the term “ignorant”. I was. I am ashamed of it.
    Unfortunately, “ignorance” is a badge for many of these people… so calling them ignorant isn’t going to be an impetus to change. Calling them bigot or homophobe s more powerful and likely close enough and for some, might instil enough shame that they look at it differently.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/47IDX2QAR6VU6ZAILFU6I23ACQ Joseph

       I was going to respond to Matt E’s earlier comment that such opinions are rooted in fear by also mentioning ignorance as a factor.  I would guess that either of those conditions are the basis for most bigotry, with true hatred being the case with a relatively small minority. 

  • Wtf

    You fools wouldn’t agree with chick-fil-a no matter what their stance was. Rot in hell.

    • Gunstargreen

      Thank you for the daily dose of Christian love.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      Somehow I don’t think telling us all to rot in hell is very Christ-like. WWJD, bud, WWJD?

      • LesterBallard

        It’s exactly Christ like. This is the Christ whose garment hem will be soaked in blood.

      • The Other Weirdo

         Christ’s whole message could be boiled down to “I am the only way to God, and if you don’t do as I saw, you will roast in hell forever.” He was intolerant to his own disciples, he exhorted people to leave their friends and families to follow him, hell, he was even disrespectful to his own mother. And he was a bad teacher, to boot.

      • Stev84

        Er, read the Bible. There are passages with Jesus preaching about hell and damnation.

    • Jackie

       See you there…

    • Kate

      I’m pretty sure if Chick-fil-a was pro-equality, we’d probably agree with that stance. Pretty sure.

    • CelticWhisper

       I’ll pass.  Wouldn’t want to steal your place, after all.

    • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

      Welp, ya got us…the truth is we all just really, really hate chicken sandwiches.

    • Ibis3

      From Slacktivist  (via Libby Anne):

      This misunderstands, and fundamentally misrepresents, the complaint of those who are upset with Chik-fil-A. Unlike Young and the Christianity Today crowd, these folks don’t primarily view the world through  the lens of “stances.” They’re not upset with Cathy’s “stance,” but with his actions.

      Because those actions matter. Dan Cathy and Chik-fil-A are exerting power against other people. They are using their financial power to leverage political power in order to deny others their rights.

      Chik-fil-A’s critics aren’t concerned about Cathy’s opinions, but about his actions — his actions against them.

      Against them and their fellow human beings.

      • amycas

        I <3 Slacktivist

        • Baby_Raptor

          Agreed. Fred is one of the few sane christians I know of. 

    • Baby_Raptor

      There’s our dose of Jesus for the day! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       Feel that Christian Love.  

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      Translation: “Waaaaah!”

  • TheAmazingAgnostic

    I am going to say something that I know I will take a lot of criticism for, but I am willing to defend the position.

    I do not see the use of organizing mass boycotts of Chick-Fil-A.

    Almost every company has some sort of political agenda that they are selling you with their product. Serious ethical issues are involved with purchasing almost anything from multinational corporations; the very shirt on your back was probably made by sweatshop workers who are paid far less than what we might call “minimum wage.”

    Honestly enough, it has been a long time since I have gone to a Chick-Fil-A. I stopped going shortly after I learned last year that they donated money (and free chicken) to Exodus International. (For those of you who don’t know what Exodus is, it’s one of the larger pray-away-the-gay centers here in the US.) I was surprised that most of the public were *just* figuring out that the company supported anti-gay causes.

    So, many of you may be asking: ” If you say that you do not go to Chick-Fil-A because of their anti-gay donations and viewpoints, what is wrong with others organizing boycotts?” In my view, it isn’t a savvy political move for supporters of LGBT rights to take for many reasons. Lambasting his company will not cause Mr. Cathy to change his beliefs or his donations. Also, social conservatives strongly believe that Western culture is “persecuting” them for their beliefs; in their eyes, the outcry and anger over Chick-Fil-A is simply the attempt of liberals and progressives to take down a “Christian” business. Finally, while the boycotts may be working in other areas of the country, they are not working here in the South. My local Chick-Fil-A was packed at lunchtime yesterday; plenty of people showed up for the Appreciation Day that was organized on Facebook.

    In conclusion, I would like to address some of the points you made against Evan’s argument. The definition of the word “homophobe” is “someone who has an irrational fear and prejudice against homosexuals.” Everybody who is against homosexuality is not a homophobe; bigot would be a more appropriate term for the majority of anti-gay activists. True homophobes have very distinct ways of talking and thinking: they generally dislike monotony, they possess repressed homosexual tendencies, and they are somewhat obsessive. I agree that homophobes are awful people; I know from personal experience. 

    • Kate

      I agree with your last paragraph here.

      I, too, was surprised that people didn’t already know about the donations to companies like Exodus because I learned about that years ago. I think the overarching good for equality coming from this is that we are forcing people to realize their ideas and position about this matter, which means they need to stop ignoring this issue and figure out what they actually believe. For a while, I passively believed it was a sin just because that’s what I was taught. Then I went to college and had a lot of gay friends and realized I had to better understand my arguments, only to finally discover I didn’t have any valid arguments. Putting this protest so harshly in the public sphere is, hopefully, having a similar effect on some people. Yes, it polarizes the issue a bit more, but it also stops the general passivity that is only perpetuating this problem. I’m glad people are being forced to talk and think about it.

      • kaboobie

        I too have known about the donations for years (and don’t have any local franchises to boycott in any case), but I think Chick-Fil-A executives had denied it until Dan Cathy spoke up and said, “Guilty as charged”. That’s why a lot more people are sitting up and taking notice.

    • NewAtheist

      You have some pretty valid points. I’m also in the south, and yesterday was a little disheartening, to see so many give their money to organizations like Exodus. With glee. Hoping it would “fix the gay”.

      However, since you argue so persuasively that boycotts aren’t the way to go, what do you suggest? While I have no desire for CFA to use my money for such endeavors, and do so because of their actions rather than Cathy’s beliefs, I wouldn’t mind a decent way in this fracking bible-belt to show them the harm their actions cause fellow Americans.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Well, the one big point to me is that I don’t want my money going to activities that personally harm me. 

      If you also hold that view, a personal boycott makes sense. 

      • Concerned Citizen

        Hear, hear.

        “Would you like a portion of this purchase to go towards lobbying in favor of legal measures to discriminate against you?”

        “Um…no, actually I wouldn’t! Please check that box ‘no’!”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       There’s a perfectly legitimate reason to boycott CFA and other businesses that choose to donate to anti-gay causes.  By doing so we help avoid funding our own oppression.  Why should we give money to corporations that are merely going to use it to harm us?

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    I’d also add that people are multi-faceted and though they may be complete bigots in one area, they can be very nice in others.

    I think this may be the problem that “bridge the gap” people like Rachael Held Evens try to point out. Oftentimes, when someone is called a bigot, they think it applies to their whole self – as if everything they do is bigoted. It may be better to make it clear that it is the  actions they take against the LGBT community that are bigoted.

    “Your stance on this matter is very bigoted,” is still very direct and to the point. “You are a bigot” is too often interpreted as “Everything about you is rotten.” This is often not the case.

    • AxeGrrl

      Oftentimes, when someone is called a bigot, they think it applies to their whole self – as if everything they do is bigoted. It may be better to make it clear that it is the actions they take against the LGBT community that are bigoted.

      “Your stance on this matter is very bigoted,” is still very direct and to the point. “You are a bigot” is too often interpreted as “Everything about you is rotten.”

      I think is a brilliant point.  

    • snoozn

      This is a good point. Language does matter. I think it’s more important to try to change peoples’ minds than to be 100% accurate in your language. I have had a number of family members who “evolved” (heh!) on this issue and I would never have said “You bigot!” Instead I would tell them about gay couples I know whose children suffer due to current marriage laws. 

      Doesn’t mean you should never call someone a bigot — there are degrees of how bigoted people are and the really bad ones are probably not going to change anyway.

  • The_lipster2000

    The whole idea of barring any two consenting adults from marriage just seems unfathomable to me.  The whole subject of marriage equality is a prime example of why there is a need for separation of church and state, and what happens when a social institution slips between the cracks.  No government document should have the term married on it.  Marriage, for millennia, has been a religious institution, and whereas most religions do not recognize same sex marriages, just as a few religions do not recognize inter-racial marriage, our government has taken the stance of supporting those religious views of bigotry and ignoring the religious views of acceptance. 
    Now I’m not saying to take away the institution of marriage.  If a priest, pastor, shaman, imam, etc., wishes to marry two people within the proceedings of their institution, they have every right to.  And here, the term marriage, would begin and end with a religious promise that stays withing the confines of the church, temple, what have you. I unfortunately know a few people who believe that unless someone was married in the “right” church, they aren’t really married.  However, those marriages should have no legal standing.  A different legal contract should be available to form a partnership between two consenting adults that  grants the privileges of our current legal concept of marriage.  I know that this has been attempted with a “separate but equal” civil union.  It would take education, and more so, a complete rewording of all legal documents to eliminate the term marriage legally, and incorporate a substitute term across the board.

    • The Other Weirdo

       Too many women want to get married for that to work.

      • Tainda

        I’m a woman and the thought of marriage makes me ill.

        If it were up to me, the whole archaic “institution” would be gone!

        • Baby_Raptor

          This. My fiance is trying to change my idea on the matter, but…

    • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

      Partnerships should work like births and deaths do – you don’t go through the process in a ceremonial fashion, it just happens, then you tell the state afterwards to register the fact.

    • ReadsInTrees

      I think the line  “Marriage, for millennia, has been a religious institution…” could be easily debated.

      • Thomas Farrell

         And has been. The MA Supreme Judicial Court addressed that very issue at length in their ruling on the matter.

      • Stev84

        It’s easily debunked when you see for how little of history churches actually had a monopoly on performing marriages. They got involved quite late and then gave over the legal registration of marriages to the government after the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.

  • Guest

    Welcome to the world of leftist intolerance and radical zealotry.  There was a time when all of this behavior we are seeing aimed at CFA was condemned by ‘liberals’ as a sign of fascist thought control.  Now it’s embraced by those who call themselves heirs to the liberalism that gave us gay rights, abortion rights, and radical individualism.  The hypocrisy is almost suffocating.  Seeing how people who laughingly consider themselves tolerant and open minded can be more intolerant than a medieval inquisitor just goes to show how so many of the terrors of history unfold.  Absolutely stone blind to their own hypocricy because they are awash in the current of their self righteousness and arrogance.

    • The Other Weirdo

       The medieval inquisitor used to stick red-hot pokers up people’s butts to prove his love for God and goodwill towards Mankind. I’m sure that in some Bizarro reality that is equivalent to saying, “Hey, don’t be a dick!” In this reality, however, not so much.

      • Guest

        Nobody uses red hot pokers nowadays.   Instead we use other forms.  Of course now, with elected officials jumping in, we’re getting to good old fashion censorship – something I notice many on the so called ‘liberal Left’ are cheering about.

        • http://anummabrooke.myopenid.com/ Brooke

          “Censorship”: you seem to think that ridicule and opposition are “censorship.”

          Unless you can show me who in the “Liberal Left” are calling for the government to imprison anti-marriage-equality spokespersons or to otherwise prevent them from voicing their opinions?

          Names and links, please: show me this “censorship.” 

          • Guest

            No, I and many others (including liberals up until a few days ago) typically see a good example of censorship as elected government officials stepping in and attempting to ban something because of a person’s beliefs.  That’s usually what people see censorship as.  If so many on the left/liberals/gay rights activists hadn’t cheered those mayors, it wouldn’t have been so bad – just a couple McCarthy wannabes.  It was the support they got that exposed the yearning of the Left for some good, down home Orwell.

            • Tyrrlin Flamestrike

              “…elected government officials stepping in and attempting to ban something because of a person’s beliefs.”
              Hmm, so the government “representatives” trying to ban gay marriage because of their own religious beliefs don’t count, huh?  Or the ones trying to ban contraceptives, or abortion rights, or the building of mosques on private property that just happens to be in NYC, or atheist clubs in public schools?

              Yes, it’s wrong.  I do think that the religious side has quite a bit more on its plate, however.  Doesn’t it say in the Bible something about “remone the plank in thine own eye before the speck in thy brother’s”?  (Matthew 7:3)

              *shrugs*  Just thought I’d use a reference you might just recognize.

              • Guest

                According to liberals, no it doesn’t, which is why liberals and those on the left say nobody has that right.  That’s the snag, isn’t it.  Conservatives have long said governments have a right to uphold some beliefs and not others.  That’s what the whole liberal revolution was about: tolerance for all, diversity everywhere, no more allowing your own beliefs to step on other’s beliefs and lifestyles.  That’s the rub, isn’t it.  Was all that liberal grandstanding just a farce, a lie, a joke?  Or are they now standing as a classic case of hypocrisy and double standard 101?  It has to be one or the other.

                • amycas

                  You still have yet to show any  legislation taken against CFA that could be called “censorship” even under your definition.

            • Baby_Raptor

              So politicians banning abortion is censorship? Politicians attempting to ban women’s health care is censorship? Politicians trying to obstruct Obamacare because people believe that it’s socialism is censorship?

          • Tainda

            I do believe I’ve figured out that “Guest” is railing against the Chicago Alderman who said he would block the building of a CFA in his district.

            You know, the one most of us on this site said was wrong and illegal?

            • Guest

              No, I was talking about the Mayors of Boston and Chicago, who some on the Left condemned, but others didn’t. But the Alderman story works, too, since it’s received the same mixture of praise/condemnation.   And by the way, some on this site have condemned these actions – and bravo to them.  But if I was them, I would now turn my attention to my ideological brethren and shame them for even coming close to endorsing such obvious, heavy handed tactics, rather than focus on someone who they must obviously agree with.

              • Heidi

                So gay bars are always welcomed with open arms in heavily Christian areas, then? Or are they told that they’re not wanted, and asked to reconsider locating there? Because that is EXACTLY what was in Mayor Menino’s letter to CFA. Their values are not compatible with our values in Massachusetts.

                • Guest

                  I don’t know, are they? But last I heard, if a politician was to stand up and say ‘no gay establishments in my city’, the LGBT and liberal communities usually don’t say ‘shucks, he’s just speaking his mind, nothing wrong with that.’  Remember, traditionally, those who were conservative had no problem saying there were values that our government could oppose.  It was the left, the liberal, that fought this saying tolerance meant tolerance for all.  So now, it’s a trick how the left, liberals, the LGBT community – all founded on this diversity and tolerance for all ethic – can now stand by and say ‘tolerance for everyone…except you.’  Hypocrisy at the least.  It goes down from there.

        • Matt in Memphis

          Okay, take a deep breath, wipe the spittle off your mouth and focus for just a second. What exactly do you think you are ranting against here? Almost everyone commenting here, including Hemant just the other day ( and ed brayton at FTB, etc..), has explicitly said that Chik fil A should not be banned for their views and actions and that the government officials in Boston and Chicago are absolutely wrong to do so. That would in fact be a form of censorship. Also, stop acting like this is just about the opinions of Mr. Cathy. This is about the fact that he directs the money we spend at his restaurant to organizations that influence the government to oppose equal rights and advocate for horrifyingly immoral zealotry like “pray away the gay” programs.
          There is no censorship here. We are saying that we don’t want our money going to these causes and therefore will not spend our money at Chik Fil -A. We are also voicing our opinions that their views are bigoted. Where exactly do you get off claiming that criticizing someone is the same as censoring them?  This is just countering free speech with free speech in the marketplace of ideas. And for the “leftist” accusation, the boycott actually seems to be the very embodiment of the free market and capitalism in action. Consumers can choose where to spend their money, just as companies can choose to spend their money and support their own causes.  Get back to us when you see a concerted effort from our community to censor anybody.  If you want to argue with us, fine, but at least have the decency argue against things we are actually saying.

        • Baby_Raptor

          So it’s only okay for people to speak when they agree with your position? 

          Also, you might want to look up the definition of censorship. Nobody is being forcefully shut up or prevented from speaking their views. Nobody is being punished for what they’re saying. People reacting to what you say is not punishment, nor is it any form of censorship. 

          Also, I bet you don’t consider it wrong when the Left says something and people on the Right have this kind of reaction. It’s rather funny how the Right is completely hypocritical in matters such as this; it’s only a “violation” of your rights when people react to a cause you agree with.

    • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

      There’s no intolerance here. If CFA customers want to not have gay sex, not have gay marriages, not even go to gay weddings, then they are, and should and will remain, entirely free to (not) do those things. That’s their freedom to practice their beliefs.

      • Guest

        Then why are politicians stepping in to say they should be punished for their beliefs?   And why are so many tolerant “liberals” cheering that decision?

        • Stev84

          They aren’t being punished for their beliefs, but their actions. That’s the crucial difference here that all Christians are getting wrong, but many on the pro-gay side miss too.

          Freedom of religion only means freedom of belief and not freedom of action in all cases, no matter how much the Christian right tries to pervert it.

          • Guest

            Sorry, this is all about the head of a company voicing his beliefs (the same beliefs our President held up to a few weeks ago in the election cycle).  He didn’t *do* anything.  He simply said.  And with that, elected officials of our government stepped in and tried to run him out of town, just like the old pictures we used to see of puritans running religious dissidents out of town (when we had lessons on how evil intolerance was).  And many on the left cheered their actions.  If CFA bans gays from eating there, then that’s something.  But the Left’s vain and empty attempt to equate not conforming to liberal same-think with *doing something wrong* is one of the most laughably transparent attempts to justify censorship since McCarthy.

            • The Captain

              Straw man argument here go read it!
              http://www.patheos.com/blogs/f

              The vast, vast majority of “lefties” here are against the government doing what you describe!

              • Guest

                Then why are so many arguing with me about it?

                • John Hawkins

                  Then why are so many arguing with me about it? ”

                  BECAUSE YOU’VE ACTED LIKE A COMPLETE DOUCHEBAG IN EVERY SINGLE POST.

                  Seriously, from your very first message you’ve just been talking down to us about how we’re all stupid brainwashed hypocrites.

            • Baby_Raptor

              You’re completely wrong. If you honestly believe that this is just about him voicing his beliefs, then apparently you’re incapable of reading. It’s been made very clear that this is NOT about what he said, it’s about his actions. 

          • Guest

            Sorry, this is all about the head of a company voicing his
            beliefs (the same beliefs our President held up to a few weeks ago in the
            election cycle). He didn’t *do* anything. He simply said. And with that,
            elected officials of our government stepped in and tried to run him out of
            town, just like the old pictures we used to see of puritans running religious
            dissidents out of town (when we had lessons on how evil intolerance was). If
            CFA bans gays from eating there, then that’s something. But the Left’s vain and
            empty attempt to equate not conforming to liberal same-think with *doing
            something wrong* is one of the most laughably transparent attempts to justify
            censorship since McCarthy.

            • CelticWhisper

               Ah, but he did *do*.  By financially supporting anti-LGBT “charities,” he took his exercise of religion beyond simple belief, congregation, and worship, and into the realm of application of financial resources that can have a real effect on the lives of others who are in no way affiliated with him.

              The beautiful thing about the USA is that he is free to do that.  Another beautiful thing about the USA is that we’re free to impose financial consequences upon him for it.

              As for politicians stepping in, I actually side with CFA on that one.  I agree that the government should not be trying to deny them the right to do business based on what Cathy’s contributions are.

              I also think, though, that the government should simply do an end-run around those contributions, aggressively enshrining absolute LGBT equality into law and criminalizing “conversion therapy”/”pray the gay away” treatments in the interest of protecting innocent LGBT people from religious persecution.  Don’t deny CFA the right to do business based on contributing to anti-gay “therapy” centers.  Deny the “therapy” centers the right to do business based on their business being institutionalized abuse and human-rights violations.

              Personally I think Dan Cathy is an evil person for donating to Exodus Int’l.  However, I think that Exodus Int’l is more evil for doing what they do.  Kill Exodus and jerk the proverbial rug out from under Cathy, then laugh as he scrambles to find a new prejudice to rally behind.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 So those that have same sex attraction and don’t want them who are voluntarily counseled by Exodus or other type counselors  should not be given any treatment?

                • CelticWhisper

                   Secular therapists, or anyone else without a hidden agenda to aggrandize Stupid Jesus Shit (TM), are more than capable of handling those matters.

                  Bear in mind that christian bigotry is largely responsible for these people not wanting those feelings.  If they didn’t feel like fucking pariahs for having them, I think far fewer LGBT people would feel so ashamed for being who they are.

                • Stev84

                  No. Medical professionals have an ethical obligation to not subject their patients to harmful treatments. If a patient wants to be “cured”, the therapist  needs to tell them that it’s impossible and find a way to for them to reconcile being gay with their life that doesn’t inevitably lead to mental damage down the road.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   Thousands of people have turned from their same sex attractions and live wonderful lives as hetero- sexuals. So it appears that it can be done, but do deny these folks treatment and to outlaw it is unethical and draconian.

                • John Hawkins

                  Oh hey another lie from the pathetic bigot!

                • Wintermute472002

                   It’s funny how this effective treatment you speak of has been decried by basically every major medical professional organization in the world.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

                   That is unmitigated BS.  What is unethical and draconian is so-called “reparative therapy”, which has been denounced as ineffective and harmful by every legitimate professional group around.

              • Guest

                Ah, they old ‘he supports things I don’t, so he should be censored’ leftist argument.  How nice. Liberalism – if it weren’t so dangerous, it would be funny.

            • smg77

              What does any of this have to do with bigots who are against marriage quality?

          • Rwlawoffice

             That is not the law.  It is an atheist fantasy.  Look at the Supreme Court case of  Tabor v. the EEOC among many others.

        • Tainda

          And how are they punished for their beliefs?  You have a right to your beliefs and I have a right to mine.  When your beliefs hurt someone else, that’s where I draw the line.  I’m not talking about hurting someone’s feelings either.

          We have a right to not go to the nasty restaurant the same as you have a right to oppose same sex marriage.  I really don’t give a flying rat’s what you think but don’t say you’re getting punished for believing something.

          • Guest

            Told to get out of town because of them by elected government officials.  Haven’t you been following the news?

            • Pustulio

               You clearly haven’t been following the news either as EVERYONE,  including the authors of the letters themselves, have acknowledged that there is no legal justification for blocking CFA from opening new stores.

              But hey, why start being honest now?

        • The Captain

          This is what makes you a bigot, you are more concerned with the rights of a few people to sell chicken, rights that in reality no one really thinks can be taken away, than you are with the rights of a large segment of the population to get married!

          • Guest

            No, I’m concerned with the rights of any American to voice his opinion without government leaders stepping in to punish him.  In other words, unlike the Left, I support all people’s rights to voice their opinions.  I support the LGBT boycott (it’s a bit old time fundamentalist, but it’s their right).  I don’t, and will never, support government leaders stepping in to punish anyone – gay rights activists or religious fundamentalist.  I’ve been crushed by the joy and happiness that the so called liberal left has shown over this flagrant, heavy handed example of McCarthy like tactics by a few of their own.  Not all – and that must be stressed.  More than one gay rights activists or LGBT rights supporter has come out against them, and good for them.  But all my posts are aimed at those who are basically saying ‘yeah, get them!  I’m tired of these religious freaks thinking they have the right to voice their beliefs in our country!’  Sorry Capt., no excuse for that.

            • The Captain

              First off had you been here a few days ago, and not just a drive by troll you would see 95% of the people here where against the government doing just that. Seriously, go back a few days and read the post! Or you can continue to spout your straw man argument against “liberals”. I’m waiting… go read the comments and see how wrong you are. Here’s the link.
              http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/07/25/chicago-alderman-says-chick-fil-a-is-not-welcome-in-his-ward/#disqus_thread

              I’d say the percentage of people who wanted the government to do what toy say, is slightly less than the percentage of right wingers that think the government can stop a mosque from being built. So unless you’ve been ” been crushed by the joy and happiness that the so called right left has shown over this flagrant, heavy handed example of McCarthy like tactics by a few of their own” when it comes to building the NY mosque then you are also a hypocritical drama queen.

              But you still show your bigotry even here where you complain once again about the right of people to not have the government ban their speech, but show not one car for the government banning some people from being married! 

              Your such a joke. You claim to be for the same rights for all, while ignoring the fact that you are against homosexuals having the same rights as you.

              • Guest

                I’m glad they were.  Yet I also notice that a great many people have fought me on saying that it’s wrong, and that those on the Left who have supported it have seriously jumped the liberal shark.  

                There seems to be a bit of a double standard if you ask me.  Sort of a poll that asks ‘are you for this obvious case of censorship?’ – no.  But then when someone points out the rousing cheers this has gotten in many parts (and yes, on this blog, too), all hell breaks loose.  As soon as you say, “but you this or that regarding gays being stripped of their rights because the paltry few who will bother ever being married can’t”, you’re basically saying that all this posturing about being against this was just blowing smoke. 

                What else could you say after all?  That you’re for censorship?  No, if it was that clear that so many opposed it, then there would be little argument with me here.  Note the argument.  Like so much of the postmodern left, it’s nothing but lies and half truths based around saying whatever helps you win the argument du jour.  It’s not hard advancing values when your values change like that.  But then as a Leftist, I’m sure most on this site are well aware of that.

                • The Captain

                  So I point you to a thread on this blog where the vast (as in around 90%) of the people on the “left” denounce government censorship, and after you read it you continue to act like everyone here supports said censorship? You sat “But then when someone points out the rousing cheers this has gotten in many parts (and yes, on this blog, too)” Yet back to the post I linked too, only a tiny minority of people expressed that opinion, and once again most condemned it! How do you remain so ignorant of the facts even when they are shown to you?

                  The best part in all this, is you complete avoidance of the same behavior from the right when it comes to things like the NY mosque. Where the applauding of theses mayors who want to stop a Chick-fil-a comes from a small fringe of the left, the preventing of muslims from their free speech enjoys widespread support from the right. How many rallied to support a mayor from preventing a muslim from their free speech? Who many networks devoted hours and hours to the danger of muslims excessing their first amendment? (hint..2) Yet you act as if it’s the left that is advancing these ideas, sorry the majority of right wingers already did that.

                  Also this, “What else could you say after all?  That you’re for censorship?” for the third time you should read that thread, in it you would see my opinion of government censorship in regards to Chick-fil-a. I’ve told you twice already to do it, at this point you ignorance is your own fault. Or you can continue to make shit up about me if it supports what you want to believe.

                  You sir are an example of what it’s like to be so partisan that reality is apparently no longer any use to you. Your hypocrisy is mind numbing. Good luck with that.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

               Were you this concerned when Obama spoke out in favor of marriage equality, and got a shit storm of rage in response from anti-gay bigots (many of whom were government officials/politicians)?

    • Tainda

      Hahaha!!!

      “Radical individualism”

      Oh my, hahaha  Seriously, can’t stop laughing.  Thank you!  You just made my Thursday morning!

      • Guest

        Truth makes you laugh?  How interesting. I guess if I was on the side of censorship and thought control, I would have to laugh at that as well. What a lame response, and about what I’ve come to expect from the post-modern left. An intellectual vacuum if ever there was one.  

        • CelticWhisper

           No, YOU make us laugh with your idea of what constitutes “truth.”

          And by the by, not everyone here is a “radical leftist liberal.”  I, for example, do not affiliate with a political ideology and think less of those who embrace the false left/right dichotomy we have in this nation.

          (Hint: that means you.)

          • Guest

            What truth, that censorship is bad?  That’s a joke?  Oh, and yes you do affiliate with a political ideology.  Saying such a lame thing itself is a joke.  It just may not be a popular one (tell me you didn’t actually say that).

            • CelticWhisper

              Not sure why I’m wasting my time on a fucking idiot like you when in any sane world you’d have been left by the roadside as an infant to die an undignified death, but whatever, here we are.

              NO FUCKING SHIT CENSORSHIP IS BAD.  Nobody here is arguing in favour of censorship you unbelievable moron.

              You can think what you want about my politics and you’ll just be wrong.  Wrong in the way that sees people pointing and laughing at you.  Wrong in the way that gets you taken seriously by all of maybe 3 people.  But frankly I don’t give a fuck about you or your opinions or your feelings.

              Actually, that’s not quite right.  I care about your feelings – I care in that I hope I hurt them as much as your kind has hurt the LGBT community with your invalid, meaningless, dishonorable and contemptible traditions.  You’re a christian and I’m done sympathizing with your ilk.  This site may be called “Friendly Atheist” but I have no interest in being friendly with you.

              But while we’re on the topic of my politics, what would you call someone who simultaneously supports full late-term abortion rights and full gun-ownership rights?  Who calls for marriage equality (and for gay marriage to be called MARRIAGE, with a capital M, just to rub christians’ faces in their failure to protect their bullshit traditions) and fiscal responsibility at the same time?  Hardcore left- and right-leaners both have told me I can’t “truly” belong to their camps.  Way I see it, the so-called left and right just have different sets of citizens’ freedoms they want to take away and can’t agree over which way of fucking over the people is more important.  Excuse me for supporting individual rights for their own sake.

              In summation, your sorry rhetoric isn’t winning over a single mind on this site, so go choke on a communion wafer, you walking argument for voluntary human extinction.

              Do you hear what I am saying to you?  KILL YOURSELF and spare us the misery of sharing a species with you.

              • Parse

                Two thoughts
                 - You’re being honest, forthright, and not being overly antagonistic.  If not friendly, I’d at least call that being passably civil.
                 - As to why you’re wasting your time with this, well, there’s two aspects.  One is that ignoring trolls doesn’t work – the best outcome for that is that they get bored and go away on their own, the worst is that they crap over everything, chase away regular commenters, and exhaust the moderators to the point of giving up.   The other is that you’re fighting for the entertainment of yourself and the crowd.  It’s like watching a kitten unwind and shred a roll of toilet paper – highly amusing, though the roll has no chance to survive (make your time).

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      Radical zealotry? Grow a sense of perspective, seriously.

      • Guest

        Look in the mirror.

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          I’d suggest the same to you, but the glass would get confused by the reflected irony.

        • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

          Ooh, witty retort! “I know you are, but what am I?”

    • LesterBallard

      Yes, the poor persecuted United States Christians. 

      • Guest

        Not yet, but getting there, at least if the wishes of some of the more fanatic secular zealots and leftist thugs get their way.  But then, I’m reminded that people who persecute always insist the ones they are persecuting are just fine, or still a threat.  So you are just about right on time with the latest ‘how to justify censorship’ playbook.  

        • LesterBallard

          Who is justifying censorship, you fucking shit stain? That asshole Dan Cathy can say whatever he wants, he can give his money to whoever he wants. And fat ass Christians can eat there every day and get fatter and fatter until their diabetes and heart disease kills them and they can go meet Jesus.

          • Guest

            Uh, my eloquent and well spoken friend, that would be those who cheered elected government officials who stepped in and attempted to ban his company from their respective districts because he spoke his beliefs.  Non-government officials calling for bans?  Eh.  If you want a society where everyone thinks like you, but it’s your right.  But when an actual government official calls for the punishment of someone because of their beliefs, that’s censorship 101.  And all who cheered them on were taking part.  Watch the news some time, you’ll see it right there.

            • LesterBallard

              First, I’m not your fucking friend. “Elected government officials”? “Those who cheer them”? You mean like the ones who deny others the same rights they give themselves?

              • Guest

                I mean like, you know, mayors of major US cities.  I mean, like, those who support such actions.  And yes, friend was a bit of a stretch.  I don’t consider my friend those who spew hatred in order to support rank censorship.

                • John Hawkins

                  So where are the people like you whining about government censorship when Southern politicians brag about keeping out abortion clinics?

                  Hypocrties.

                • LesterBallard

                  I don’t support censorship. Let me show you; eat shit and die.

                • LesterBallard

                  Hey. I don’t mean that literally. I don’t want you to eat shit.

              • snoozn

                No I don’t think Christians need to worry too much about persecution yet either. But “Guest” does make a valid point. S/he’s talking about the idiot mayors who are saying they’re going to ban Chick-Fil-A based on political disagreements. Boycotts or shows of support are great and democratic, but government officials making threats against those they disagree with are not on the right path. Unlike “Guest,” I don’t think this is a huge problem or the way liberalism in general is going. Just a few idiots.

                 Good blog about it here: 
                http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Its-not-true-liberals-threatening-to-ban-Chick-Fil-Aits-idiots.html

                • The Captain

                  Exactly but then this is why people like”guest” are so stupid. As you say we have “a few idiots” on the left that support it, yet a large percentage of the right, and right wing politicians support the government from banning a Mosque. The hypocrisy of his characterizations hurts.

                • LesterBallard

                  I’m sorry. I missed it before, but did you write “No I don’t think Christians need to worry too much about persecution yet either.” Like they will in the future? Are cereal?

    • Roger

      If someone is screaming in your ear, it’s not intolerance if you tell them to stop.

      If someone is punching you in the arm, it’s not intolerance if you tell them to stop.

      If someone is actively preventing you from achieving equality, it’s not intolerance if you tell them to stop.

      • Guest

        Roger, what a wonderful way to validate censorship.  I love the Left – it’s not bad, we’re just 100% sure we’re 100% right, so anything we do for that absolute truth (of which we are the incarnation), is obviously quite justified.  Yeah, nobody who did anything bad in history ever justified it the way you just did.

        • Shouldbeworkin’

          Censorship is the suppression of communication. None of Roger’s examples were about communication…

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

          Who is being censored, and how? 

    • Baby_Raptor

      Hyperbole, much? Nobody is physically attacking CFA people. Nobody is burning down their buildings. A bunch of people on the internet are SAYING WORDS. 

      Get a grip. 

  • LesterBallard

    They love the sinner. They hate the sin.

    Fuck ‘em.

    • CelticWhisper

      I agree.  Love the sinner, love the sin, hate the asshole who tries to take away individual liberty.

      And yeah, that includes the freedom to be an intolerant, prejudiced Christard, but it also includes the freedom to mock and ridicule intolerant, prejudiced Christard beliefs.

      Cruelly and humourlessly.

      While naming names.

      And street addresses.

      On global TV.

      (I think I need more happy pills.)

  • Jgaryp

    Way back when I was a christian, I didn’t hold hatred in my heart for “the gays”, it was more like pity. I felt sorry for them that they were afflicted with this horrible curse and alienated from god’s love because of it. I prayed that they would be healed and saved and join the family. The idea of gay marriage wasn’t even in my thinking then, but I’m sure if it had been, I would have thought the same way Dan Cathy did, or close to it.
    Now, thanks to all the wonderful (sarcasm font on that) loving christians all over the world, I’m no longer a christian. I have seen the light of truth and science (Praise Dawkins!). It pains me to think about the thought I thought back then. Most painful of all, though, is the realization that I was NEVER in a teachable way as a christian. I was right and the rest of the world was wrong. There was no way anyone could have reached me while I was a christian. I say that so nobody expects to reach any christians and/or change their minds. Their minds are full of the lie that is the bible and there’s no room for truth therein.
    plink, there’s my two cents.

    • Octoberfurst

      JGaryP, I was exactly the same way you were back when I was a Christian. I didn’t hate gays. I truly thought they were lost souls who “chose” to be gay and that all they needed was to be “saved” and everything would be alright. They could be “normal” again.  Gay marriage wasn’t an issue back then but I know I would have been against it.  I WAS against gay clergy, gays in the military, etc. But I would have been offended if you called me a bigot—even though I was one. I just looked upon myself as a “Bible believing Christian.” I look back on my former attitude with shame. Just as I now feel shame when I see all the big crowds going into Chick-Fil-A to “take a stand for traditional marriage.”

    • kagekiri

      Yeah, it’s hard to get out of the labyrinth of self-reinforcing crap in the Bible, especially if you were raised on it.

      Questioning God is sinful, testing God is sinful, false teachers are everywhere, logic isn’t reliable, your love will grow cold, people will hate you and try to destroy your faith, doubts are not to be trusted instead of faith…..blah blah blah.

      All to make you ignore any counter-evidence and burrow yourself in Biblical knowledge to protect your ignorance.

  • fuchsialucia

    Most Christians I know (which even in Massachusetts is most people I know) support same-sex marriage.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      Yeah, but as a fellow Bay Stater, I can tell you that this state is much more liberal than most of the rest of the country. We’re lucky to not see the same levels of bigotry and denial of equal rights that much of the rest of the nation has.

  • ungullible

    Hemant – I agree 100%, but with a slight twist that maybe softens the blow of using such strong words and maybe keeps the communication slightly open….  Just as there have been some famously smart people who have also believed some stupid things, I say that it is possible for otherwise loving, caring people to mistakenly hold hurtful, bigoted,  hateful positions.  So I don’t back down from calling them bigoted, but I do stop short of calling them bigots.  It is a subtle differentiation.

    When debating my Christian friends on this, I also ask them if I had both black and white friends whom I loved individually, but because of my religious beliefs I vote to prevent interracial marriage – does that mean I just have an honest difference of opinion they should respect, or is my position hateful?  They usually dance around the point and try to deny the analogy (on grounds that race isn’t a choice, but gayness is).  It doesn’t change their mind, but I feel like it at least helps them understand why I won’t back down from calling their position hateful.

    • Paul Crider

      I agree with this. In the same way that the charge of “Racist!” can cause people to move into a close-minded defensive crouch, “Bigot!” can do much the same. A more strategic path is to say something like “That thing you just said was bigoted, because yada yada yada.”

      • Concerned Citizen

        Or just leave incendiary language like “bigoted” out of it altogether.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gwydionfrost Daniel Parker

    Actually, I proposed a solution to this problem (gay marriage issue) well over two decades ago. Strangely, it met with opposition. See, my solution…? Utilize the laws we already have in place– only with one change: Replace all references to “marriage” with the words “civil union” or “domestic partnership”. Combine “Married” rules in taxes with “Head of Household” rules… allowing ANY group of people who co-habitate to combine their assets and write-offs for tax purposes, or to be considered legal representatives on behalf of each other.Problem solved. See, my reasoning is that “marriage” is considered a religious ceremony, and for government purposes, is NOT what is an issue. The issue is of rights and benefits afforded to “married” couples. Change that to reflect the reality of the society.

    • The Captain

      I’ve been advocating (yelling on the internet) pretty much this too but fro a different angle. I’ve alway thought the laws against gay marriage (and where they just are not permitted) should be challenged on a first amendment grounds. If “marriage” is a religious institution then the government has no business defining it. And if it’s not, then a secular argument has to be made (in court) as to why homosexuals  should not marry (and none of those work).

      And on a side note, every time someones cry’s “religious persecution” at the thought of gay marrying, it should be loudly yelled back (in the media) that the two gay people have a religion too (many times they do) that is being persecuted first!

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      I just can’t understand why we should let religion “own” the word “marriage” like it was ever theirs to begin with. Governments have been overseeing civil marriages for centuries. How hard is it to just give gay couples the same rights that straight couples already enjoy?

      This is the equivalent of saying, “Well, black people want to sit at the front of the bus. How about we just get rid of buses altogether, and replace them with something else? Problem solved!” No. How about we give this disenfranchised group the same rights that the rest of us privileged members of society have without taking something away?

      • Stev84

        Exactly. Civil governments have overseen the licensing or registration of marriages and other family statuses since the 16th and 17th centuries (and before churches got involved a couple of centuries before that, common law marriage was the norm). Ironically it was the Protestant churches of that time that voluntarily agreed to that arrangement. Europe has had purely civil marriages since the late 18th and 19th centuries – as in churches can’t even legally notarize a marriage there. So why are they trying to rewrite history now?

      • AxeGrrl

        I just can’t understand why we should let religion “own” the word “marriage” like it was ever theirs to begin with. Governments have been overseeing civil marriages for centuries

        This X 1000.

        Believers who have the presumptuously arrogant sense of entitlement when it comes to ‘marriage’ REALLY need to be disabused of the notion that they somehow have some special ‘say’ on the matter, or that what they do say has any special weight or importance…..they don’t and it doesn’t.

        And it’s getting reeeeeeally tiresome having to make this same point over and over and over every time this subject comes up. 

        Note to Christians who oppose ssm:  get your arrogant collective nose out of civil marriage, and just concern yourself with what goes on inside your own churches with religious marriage.

      • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

        Especially when the response will be, “Damned queers ruined it for all of us.”

  • vexorian

    Hey! They are not bigots, they just think you deserve to have less rights than them. It is a completely different thing!

  • Eileencano

    I have to say this.  As an atheist, I was more than a little surprised when my really REALLY Catholic mother came out in support of gay marriage.  I agree, that it would be very difficult for her to talk about it in the area where she lives, or in her church, but I just can’t tell you how happy I was to hear what she did.  She voted for Gay marraige.  In the reddest part of North Carolina, she was a lone vote for gay marriage.  I think there is a way that some christians can be for gay marriage, but I also think my mother is a bit of a rarity, and has compartmentalized her dogma and her feelings about equity. 

    I just wanted to brag.  I wish every christian could feel like my mom, at least on this issue.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

      Lucky you.  My mom is really REALLY Catholic as well and takes the “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach, even asking me, “Why do they even WANT to get married?”  I answered, “The same reasons you and Dad wanted to get married, Mom.”  It made her pause… but it didn’t change her mind.

  • Bmvazquez

    Excellent article, Hemant

  • Pherd

    Two thoughts:

    1) I’ve always believed that hate comes from fear. Even the 2 (two) people that I say I truly hate, are people that … I feared others would see their words and behaviors as acceptable, when they were selfish and self-aggrandizing. I truly hated those two people, and thought the world would be better off without them. (BTW, neither were close to me at all, one was employed by my employer, and the other was in a vocational class I was taking, years apart).

    2) I don’t believe this is happening in most of the situations that are arising, but to use a story from the days of the ERA battle. Many hardcore (male) supporters of equal rights refused to vote for the amendment at the time, because they didn’t feel it was written with enough actual protections. Their equivalent to the “my {black/gays} friends” was that they wanted to see a *good* law passed, not the junky bad one that was up for the vote. But I have run into these edge cases where someone is against a positive move because it wasn’t positive enough for them. These folks won’t often be called bigots, but their privilege is definitely showing.

    • Kevin S.

      Reminds me of when the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on same-sex relationships. It was a 4-3 ruling saying NJ either had to provide SSM or something that gave all the rights of marriage to same-sex couples. The three dissenters voted against it because they supported full marriage equality.

  • Rwlawoffice

    The definition of bigot is stubbornly holding onto an opinion and acting with hate and intolerance of those who disagree. (Merriams dictionary). So by definition it is not someone who simply disagrees with your position. But by this definition, Hemant and most others who post here are bigots.

    I can also tell you that those of us in the Christian community who hear you calling us a bigot, it really has little effect. Speaking for myself, I understand your prejudices against people of faith and I also understand where those of us who are working to preserve religious liberty and traditional marriage definition base those opinions. The tatics used and the hatred spewed at us from those that would call us bigots just strengthens our resolve. Look at what happened yesterday at chick-fil a. Compare that to what will be the protest on Friday.

    As for your comment that churches will not be asked to perform these marriages or that we will not be forced to go to the weddings, that is blatently false and you know it. Tell that to a wedding photographer in new Mexico who was fined for not agreeing to go or a baker that was given death threats in Colorado for not making a wedding cake for a gay couple(even though they served the by community with other types of cakes all the time). Or to the pastor in Sweden who was jailed for preaching from Romans 1. The move to get rid of the ministerial exception and apply secular law to churches despite the constitutional right to religious freedom will inevitably next ,over to requiring churches to perform weddings for same sex couples. It has already happened in new jersey where a church was forced to open its facilities for a same sex wedding.

    So here is what we know- our objections to same sex marriage are not based upon hate and prejudice yet we are called bigots and it is being forced upon us through tatics that demean and threaten our religious liberties and show nothing but hatred and intolerance. We also know that despite the assurances that you are not doing this, we know it’s a lie. So keep MIT up, your true colors are showing and we realize who the true bigots are in this argument. Yesterday is an example of what happens when you push too hard.

    • OverlappingMagisteria

       I like how your first examples of “the church being forced to perform gay marriages” are about a photographer and a baker, not a church. Also, the New Jersey case, the facility in question was open to the public and thus, has to follow anti-discrimination laws. The church has every right to make it private property and then they can choose who can or cannot be married there.

      • Stev84

        Not only was it open to the public, but they operated it under a program that explicitly obligated them to make it available to everyone in return for tax reductions. So we have the usual case of Christians wanting tax-payer money while discriminating.

    • The Captain

      Wow, this is so full of fail I don’t even have time to go trough it all. But here are some gems.

      “As for your comment that churches will not be asked to perform these marriages or that we will not be forced to go to the weddings, that is blatently false and you know it. Tell that to a wedding photographer in new Mexico who was fined for not agreeing to go or a baker that was given death threats in Colorado for not making a wedding cake for a gay couple”

      A wedding photographer and a baker are not CHURCHES. Your second sentence in no way back up the first. So just like  a jewish synagog doe not have to perform a catholic wedding, a jewish baker can not discriminate against a catholic couple who comes in to buy a cake. Get it!?

      “The move to get rid of the ministerial exception and apply secular law to churches despite the constitutional right to religious freedom will inevitably next” but are you not doing that now by telling churches who believe that gays can mary in fact can not do that? What about tier religious freedom? It’s only religious freedom for you though isn’t it?

      “So here is what we know- our objections to same sex marriage are not based upon hate and prejudice” until you believe that churches that think gays can get married have the same freedoms that you do then yes… That IS prejudice!

      • Rwlawoffice

         This is in response to all who posted in response to my post.  Reading comprehension would really help these discussions.  The examples I gave were given to show that same sex marriage takes away religious freedoms. The businesses I mentioned did not want to provide services for a same sex ceremony based upon their religious beliefs.  They were fined and threatened for failing to do so. I  gave these examples of people being forced to attend or participate in same sex weddings against their religious beliefs. The fact that you try to justify doesn’t change the point I made- people who oppose same sex marriages will be forced to participate in them despite their religious beliefs something that Hemant said would not happen. Not only will it happen, it already is and you are trying to justify it.

        As for the churches having to perform same sex marriages, I specifically said that would be the next step and mentioned the New Jersey case as an example of where this will come from.  Your points prove it. Yes this park was owned by the church and yes they opened it to the public and yes they received a tax exemption on it because it was a religious facility. They were then forced to allow a same sex wedding to take place on the premises.  Churches are also open to the public and  they receive tax exemptions. It is a small step to say that their facilities will one day be asked to allow a same sex marriage to take place in their buildings and when they say no it will be called discrimination.  It is already happening in Europe. 

        http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/denmark-forces-churches-to-perform-same-sex-marriages/

        The threats and lawsuits are already happening in Canada.

        http://faithinourfamilies.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/hundreds-of-christians-prosecuted-over-same-sex-marriage-law/

        As for the Swedish pastor being jailed,  do you really think it is not a problem since he was released by the court of appeals?  The fact is he was arrested for preaching in his pulpit because the government did not like what he was saying about homosexuality among other sins in Romans 1. My point is made.

        The truth is we know you are lying and we know that your goal does not stop with simply legalizing same sex marriages. The goal is to take away our religious liberties and the proof is already out there where same sex marriage is legal. 

        • Glasofruix

          You aware that church marriage is not a legal requirement for, uh, a marriage? So if churches perform gay marriages or not bears zero importance.

        • John Hawkins

          I had a long post going through every single claim on your links and explaining why they’re BS *for example one claims a bishop was charged with a human rights violation for writing a letter opposing gay marriage, in reality he wrote a letter supporting recriminalizing homosexuality, two people complained an then the complaints were dropped without any punishment for him*, but then my browser froze up and I lost it.

          So I’ll give a short “You’re full of crap” instead.

          Hell you’re repeating a lie we already disproved:

          “Yes this park was owned by the church and yes they opened it to the public and yes they received a tax exemption on it because it was a religious facility.”

          BEING A RELIGIOUS FACILITY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!. You know this and yet you keep repeating the lie. They made an agreement to get out of taxes as longas they rented to the public, then tried to refuse a member of the public.

          ” Churches are also open to the public and they receive tax exemptions.”

          No, they aren’t. No church has ever or will ever be sued because they wouldn’t let someone hold a Bar Mitzvah there.

          “It is a small step to say that their facilities will one day be asked to allow a same sex marriage to take place in their buildings and when they say no it will be called discrimination.”

          No it’s quite a large step. You bigots refuse to acknowledge this point, but the fact is that discriminating based on gender has been illegal for decades, yet the Catholc Church still proudly denies women any high office.  The one example you posted of a church that was forced to do gay marriages was the taxayer-funded state religion of Denmark.

          • Rwlawoffice

             Sorry John, your lame reassurances are not comforting. The facts and the trends defy your contention that it will never happen. 

            In fact, in the new law in Washington State, there was a provision that in the event a church allows non members to use its facilities for weddings, they must offer those facilities to same sex couples as well or it will be considered discrimination. Here is that section:

            Section 7 :
            Consistent with the law against discrimination [RCW 49.60],
            no religious organization is required to provide accommodations,
            facilities, advantages, privileges, services, or goods related to the
            solemnization or celebration of a marriage unless the
            organization offers admission, occupancy, or use of these accommodations
            or facilities to the public for a fee, or offers those advantages,
            privileges, services, or goods to the public for sale.So in the event a church allows couples who are not members of the church to use the building to perform weddings, it would have been illegal for them to not allow a same sex couple from doing so even if the church does not agree within its religion to same sex marriages. Fortunately this was removed in the final version but you can see what the intent was.Keep telling  yourself it isn’t going to happen and we will know it still a lie.

            • amycas

               If churches open their doors to members of the public (like all other businesses) then they must open them for everybody. If the church only allows members to marry, then it’s a private organization and not open to the public. How are you not getting this distinction? If churches didn’t try to make money (i.e. be a business) by renting out it’s building to the public, then it would be considered a private organization and not held to this law.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 Churches are open to the public.  They invite visitors. however, you proved my point.  You stated that if the church only allows its members to marry than it would be private and can not allow same sex marriages to take place in their facility, but if they allow non members to use their facility, they would be required to.  That is exactly my point. they would no longer either be allowed to open their facilities at the risk of losing their religious liberties. 

                • amycas

                  Don’t claim to be open to the public if you’re not open to ALL of the public, and don’t accept government funding if you’re not willing to follow the rules that everybody else has to follow. It’s really that easy. And getting around the “open to the public” rule is super easy. Restaurants in dry counties do it all the time. You just have whoever wants to use it fill out a little card with their name on it and voila: they’re in the club. Since it’s a private club that doesn’t take government funding, then they can let whoever they want be in the club. Then they can discriminate to their heart’s content. Seriously, like I said before, if the Catholic Church is not forced to marry previously divorced people, then why would they be forced to marry a gay couple?

                • Rwlawoffice

                  It is called religious freedom. It is protected in the first amendment. Churches having to through these steps simply to be called a private club in order to stick to their theology would be a violation of this right nd an infringement on their religious liberties. From your example if a catholic church opened its doors o the public they would be forced to marry a gay couple because the gay couple will claim discrimination based upon sexual orientation, whereas a divorced couple does not have that protection.

        • The Captain

          I’m going to make this real simple for you o.k. ” The examples I gave were given to show that same sex marriage takes away religious freedoms.” WHAT ABOUT THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM OF CHURCHES WHO THINK SAME SEX MARIGE IS FINE? You seem to have no problem taking away their religious freedom, you bigoted hypocrite.

          As for the rest, well apparently you think a business owner who says his religion says black and whites should not mix has the right to refuse service to black people. Good to know when it comes down to it people like you support legal discrimination!

          • Rwlawoffice

             Where did I say that if a church wanted to perform a same sex wedding it couldn’t do that?  What you are seeking is state sanction of the union.  When a church performs a same sex wedding it can do so even if the state doesn’t sanction it.  However, when the state does sanction same sex unions and a church refuses, that is when the churches religious liberty is threatened.

            As for the comparison to black people, it is not relevant as much as I know you would want it to be.

            • amycas

              You define marriage as a religious institution, with religious reasons for excluding gay people. A gay religious person also defines marriage as a religious institution without an exclusion for gay people. The government excludes gay people from the definition. How does this not violate the religious gay person’s rights? The government is affirming one religious position over another–that is a violation of the first amendment. The government is excluding one segment of the population from due process of law (by not recognizing their union and affording the same legal benefits)–that is a violation of the fourteenth amendment.

            • The Captain

              Your talking nonsense. I mean really nonsense. The State right now sanctions catholic marriages, and jewish ones, are the catholics religious liberty being threatened then because the state recognizes a wedding not in jesus christ’s name? How is this so hard for you to understand?

              No, it is extremely relevant. You can’t just plug your ears and scream “no no no” when someone points out that your arguments mean that allowing one group to claim a religious belief should allow them to discriminate against one group, thus means another person can do it for a different group. So if you think your religion means you can not serve gay people in your business, that means another person can say their religion means they don’t have to serve black people in theirs. YOU are not special!

              • Rwlawoffice

                 Take the baker in Colorado as an example. That baker served the gay community all the time and did not say no until it came to making a wedding cake because of religious grounds.  Yet this is deemed discrimination when in reality it is disagreeing with behavior.  Or the bed and breakfast owner who refused to allow any unmarried couple to rent a room on religious grounds, yet the only people who cried discrimination were the gay couple that was refused a room. Churches do the same thing. I know for a fact that my church accepts gay people all the time as visitors and members, but they would not perform a civil union ceremony and they disapprove of people living together and counsel against it. If someone wanted the church to bless their union outside of marriage they would refuse.  We have that right under the constitution. It is called freedom of religious expression. On this basis religious expression is special and does hold a special place in our society.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

              So when a church is forbidden (by laws like Prop8) to perform a legal same-sex marriage that’s not a violation of their religious liberty, but when a church “might” be forced (which exists only in the fevered imaginations of anti-gay bigots because it never has happened in real life and never will) to perform a gay wedding that is a violation of religious freedom?    George Orwell is spinning in his grave.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 Prop 8 does not forbid a church to preform a same sex marriage.  That is a lie.  It just says that the state won’t recognize it.  No religious liberty is threatened by that.  Yet the reverse is exactly the case- when the state approves same sex marriage, people use that acceptance to force others to change their views or participate in them against their religious beliefs. George Orwell understands clearly what you are ignoring.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

                   Churches can perform a ceremony that has no legal significance.  That’s not a marriage.  Because of Prop8 and other laws like it, churches are forbidden to perform legal marriages even if they want to.  That is religious oppression. 

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Your argument up to this point has been that religion has nothing to do with the state sanctioning marriage, now all of a sudden it’s religious liberty to perform marriages only if the state sanctions them? You can’t have it both ways. And by the way, what religion has as its theology that they will only perform marriages theatre sanctioned by the state?

        • amycas

          Church buildings are private property and not open to the public. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

           “I specifically said that would be the next step and mentioned the New
          Jersey case as an example of where this will come from.  Your points
          prove it. Yes this park was owned by the church and yes they opened it
          to the public and yes they received a tax exemption on it because it was
          a religious facility”

          No, they didn’t receive a tax break because it was a religious facility.  They received a tax break in exchange for opening the pavilion up to the public.  In doing so they made themselves subject to state anti-discrimination laws.  If they didn’t want to obey the laws they could have kept the pavilion private, though naturally they wouldn’t have received the tax break.

          “Churches are also open to the public and  they receive tax exemptions.”

          Churches are tax-exempt by virtue of the fact that they are churches but they are private property. They are not “open to the public” in the same sense as a business.  A person cannot just walk in and demand the church host their wedding, funeral, baptism or other event.  A church can refuse anybody who doesn’t meet their criteria (wrong faith, not a member, not a member in good standing, didn’t tithe enough, interfaith marriage, didn’t go to confession enough, etc).  They have never been and never will be sued for refusing to marry anybody, despite all of the lying by people like yourself.

        • Guest11

          Actually your argument of saying churches will be forced to perform same sex weddings by using the Danish state church as an example is a poor one. For one thing: it’s a state church. This means that it is owned and partly governed by the state and that it must adhere the to state laws. Private churches can, but are not required to, perform same sex weddings; it’s entirely up to the individual church. Some of them has been asking for permission to marry same sex couples, which used to be prohibited. (So these churches freedom used to be impaired, while now they have the freedom of choice).
          And in the state church priests can still refuse to partake in a wedding if it’s a same sex couple or one of spouses are divorced, so they are not forced to do anything against their personal beliefs.

          Please, the next time you want to use something as an example, do better research first. State churches operate under different rules than private churches.

    • Erp

       Wedding photographers and bakeries are businesses catering to the general public and those are not allowed to discriminate against customers on religious grounds.  Note the bakery would be in just as much trouble if it refused to bake a cake for a Jewish wedding or a birthday party for a gay man  or a Catholic funeral because the customers were Jewish or gay or Catholic.

      Note in New Jersey the facility was explicitly not a church though it was owned by a religious corporation (one btw that owns the entire community of Ocean Grove) but received a tax benefit because it was available to the general public.   By denying it to a couple (who btw were resident in Ocean Grove) they violated the terms of the tax benefit.    

      No religion in the US is forced by the state to marry anyone.  The Roman Catholic church does not marry divorced people (unless they’ve gone through a church recognized annulment) or two non-Catholics or even Catholics that the church feels aren’t eligible to marry.  No religious institution will be forced to marry a same sex couple.  State employees as state employees may be required to civilly marry people if that is part of their job but that is true now (a Catholic state employee can’t refuse to issue a marriage license for a divorced person assuming the person is eligible). 

      Religions in other countries may face different pressures especially if they are established (if you are run by the state, the state gets to set the rules).    As for Ake Green, the Swedish minister, his conviction was overturned by the higher courts on freedom of expression grounds.  

    • John Hawkins

      You’re a bigot and  liar. Let’s go through every example you posted and show why it’s a load of crap:

      “A baker and a photographer weren’t allowed to deny service to a gay couple!” – They can’t deny service to a black couple or a jewish couple either. If you want to operate a business you have to follow anti-discrimination laws.

      “A church in new jersey had to open it’s facilities for a gay wedding!” – Here’s a typical bigot lie. You say ‘facilities’ to make it sound like they forced them to do a wedding in the church, the actual situation was that the church owned a pavilion that they’d gotten exempt from state property taxes on the specific requirement that it be oen to the public. The ‘public’ includes lesbians and the church was legally required to allow them to use their slab of cocrete which was nowhere near the actual ministry. Later they registered the property without the exemption and no longer have to worry about ‘persecution’.

      “They arrested a pastor in sweden for reading Romans 1″ – The only swedish pastor I could find on google was one arrested for preaching that us LBGT people are a ‘cancer’ and that we rape children and animals, so no suprise you support him. Once again you choose to ommit that he was set free as soon as his case reached an appeals court. Therefore legal precedent in Sweden is that it’s not illegal to preach what he preached.

      Churches will be forced to marry gay people on the same day the Roman Catholic Church is forced to make women priests, so never. You know it will never happen, you know the examples of ‘persecution’ you throw out our half-truths, you just want some rationalization for the fact thaqt your a bigot who considers LBGT people like me to be inferior and undesrving of rights. You support politicians who oppose our right to marry, our right to have families, even our rights to simply hold a job.

      You’re a bigot and society is leaving you behind. We’re not hiding in the closet anymore and when people actually learn about what we’ve had to put up with they stop believing your crocodile tears about being persecuted by those big mean gays.

      • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

        You would think that a person with the screen name “Rwlawoffice” would know a little bit about anti-discrimination laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

        • Rwlawoffice

           I do.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 dealings with hiring and employment. It currently does not list sexual orientation as a protected class.  Some states do, but not the federal law.

          • John Hawkins

            Notice how the act was passed in the 60s and yet the mormons banned blacks from the preisthood until the 70s? And how women are still banned fromn many preisthoods?

            That’s because no church has ever been forced to follow that law. You’re lying about how it would affect gay people because yout’re a pathetic bigot looking for a rationalization.

            • Rwlawoffice

               Please indicate where I said that the Civil Rights Act would be the law used force churches to perform same sex marriages? I didn’t.  However,  the EEOC tried to get rid of the ministerial exception to this act in Tabor v. the EEOC which is they had won would have applied this law to churches.

              • John Hawkins

                The case was 9-0 against the EEOC. One government department overstepped it’s boiunds and the supreme court smacked them down, checks and balances at work.

                The point is no church is in any danger of ever having to hire a gay person for a job actually related to their religion and you have no basis to whine about having your freedom infringed. Those of us who have to live every day with the real fear we could lose our jobs because of bigots like you find your whining about the poor persecuted Chrtistians to be stupid and insulting. 

                • Rwlawoffice

                   Do you really think that because the EEOC lost at the Supreme Court level that there was no threat to religious liberty? The fact that the government even tried in the first place was the threat and but for a successful defense would have worked. 

                  As for Christians not being fired for expressing their faith, tell that to the guy in new jersey who just filed a lawsuit for that very reason- fired for wearing a lanard that had a christian message on it.

                • amycas

                  The fact that there are very successful attempts to legislate against lgbt rights in many states does not prove to you that the lgbt are not given due process of law under the fourteenth amendment? This doesn’t seem like a threat to their liberty (religious or not)?

                  As to the Christian losing their job for expressing their faith: links or stfu

                  I recently did a report for a class over religious liberties and expression thereof and it’s actually very difficult for a workplace to fire somebody based on their religion. In almost every case, the religious person who was fired wins. The same cannot be said for lgbt people, whose rights are only recognized in a handful of states (not including the one in which I’m a resident). So until you can actually point to a state in this country that doesn’t list “Christian” or “religion” under it’s anti-discrimination laws, then stfu because whatever individual case you might be able to dig up does not hold a candle to the thousands of lgbt people who are employed without anti-discrimination protection.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Excuse me it was New york, not New jersey:

                  In Hickey v. State University of New York at Stony Brook Hospital, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105182
                  (ED NY, July 27, 2012), a New York federal district court denied
                  cross-motions for summary judgment in a Title VII religious
                  discrimination and retaliation lawsuit by a painter in the hospital’s
                  Physical Plant Department whose employment was terminated  for insisting
                  on wearing a lanyard around his neck printed with the phrase “I ♥
                  Jesus.” Attached to the lanyard was a plastic badge  holder with hand
                  written religious messages on it. The hospital claimed this conflicted
                  with its uniform policy.  It also alleged other job performance issues,
                  including alleged proselytizing.

    • Sarah

      bigot 1590s, from Fr. bigot (12c.), in O.Fr. “sanctimonious;” supposedly a derogatory name for Normans, one theory being that it springs from their frequent use of the Old English oath “bi God”. 
      Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper 
      Seems fitting… 

    • snoozn

      Religious freedom, huh? There are several churches in my area that perform same-sex commitment ceremonies. These churches would prefer to offer gay people marriage ceremonies as they are able to offer straight people. But my state does not allow same-sex marriage. Your examples of religious freedom under fire have already been refuted. Why aren’t you concerned about the religious freedom of churches that want to perform same-sex marriages but are denied this freedom by the government?

      • Miss_Beara

        There are two I know of that perform same sex ceremonies as well. My state doesn’t have marriage but we do have civil unions. 

        This point has been refuted so much. I don’t think this person cares. 

      • Rwlawoffice

         If those churches want to perform same sex marriages they can.  That is different from the state sanctioning them.   But if the state does sanction them and a church refuses to perform them based upon religious beliefs, that is when religious liberty is threatened.

        • amycas

          The difference is that when the church performs a heterosexual marriage ceremony, the ordained minister is then able to sign a marriage license and after the signage and the ceremony, the couple is legally married. The church, that is for same-sex marriage, is not legally able to provide that same service to a same-sex couple.

          The Catholic Church will not marry anyone who was previously divorced (except under special circumstances). Using your argument: If churches want to perform marriages for divorced people they can. That is different from the state sanctioning them. But if the state does sanction them and a church refuses to perform them based upon religious beliefs, that is when religious liberty is threatened.

          Why don’t you provide some examples of the Catholic Church being forced to provide a marriage ceremony for divorced people?

          • Rwlawoffice

            Signing a marriage license is not part of religious expression, it is the secular acknowledgement of the marriage. So this difference is not relevant. 

    • Miss_Beara

      So we are bigots for being against people who are actively fighting against civil rights for a group of people? We are bigots to your bigotry?

      Makes perfect sense.

      • Rwlawoffice

         If you are intolerantly devoted to your opinion and you treat others with hatred or intolerance who disagree with you than yes you are a bigot. 

        • amycas

          I’m perfectly fine with being bigoted against anti-gay bigotry.  At least I’ve never advocated for Christians to be tortured, imprisoned, cured by rape (per what happens to many lgbt people upon coming out) or otherwise harmed.

    • Lucilius

      Now try looking up the definition of “pig-ignorant troll.”

    • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

       RW…. here’s a question.

      You (and all other anti-gay bigots) proudly trumpet around these “well, they’ll force churches to marry gay couples” claims. I only have one question to that:

      Why the FUCK would you want to get married in a place where they don’t want you to get married?
      Why the FUCK would you want to spend the most wonderful day of your life at a place where they actively hate you and wish they could invalidate your marriage?

      There are plenty of churches across the entire country who are proud and happy to host same-sex marriages. If I were religious, I would be looking for a place where I could get married and the pastor wouldn’t be spicing the sermon with hateful speech. And come on, unless you’re living in a tiny little community, chances are there are many, many churches around you (I have about six churches within a half of a mile from where I live, of different denominations.)

      This is why this argument makes no sense. Even if a law was passed which forced churches to marry people they didn’t want to marry (which would be HIGHLY unconstitutional, and I would be on the front lines fighting it) then no gay or lesbian couple would want to get married somewhere that would be negative towards their union.

      It’s a stupid hypothetical that people like you come up with.

      • Rwlawoffice

        Why would a couple in New Mexico force a photographer to perform their civil union when they knew she did not believe in their union?  why would a gay couple insist that a baker in Colorado make their cake for their union knowing that the baker did not approve? because they want it and think they can demand it.  the same thing will happen to churches, just like in new jersey with the gazebo.   

        It is lie to say that all gay couples want is equality.  what they want is moral acceptance and they won’t be satisfied until everyone morally approves of their behavior. So they will continue to push at the cost of religious liberty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       New Mexico doesn’t have legal same-sex marriage.  They do, however, have anti-discrimination laws.  That photographer would have been sued had she refused to  work for a Jew, a black person, someone with autism, or a Catholic.  You guys like to throw this case out as “evidence” that legal same-sex marriage threatens “religious freedom” but it has nothing to do with either.  It’s about the fact that people can’t run a business and refuse to serve people based on their personal bigotries because anti-discrimination laws exist. 

      No “church” in NJ was forced to open its facilities for a same-sex wedding.  NJ has Civil Unions, not marriage.  Furthermore, it wasn’t a church but a boardwalk pavilion (Ocean Grove Pavilion) that was owned by a church but open to the public in exchange for substantial tax breaks.  Until a lesbian couple asked to rent it for their ceremony the church had no issue renting it out to anybody and everybody who came along.   Then they tried to play the “religious beliefs” card and they were, rightfully, sued.  Again this was an issue of anti-discrimination laws and not same-sex marriage or religious liberty.  The church wanted to take the tax breaks but then also wanted to disobey the law when they chose.  That’s not how it works. 

      No church in the US ever has been or ever will be forced to marry anybody.  Churches refuse all the time to marry couples they don’t want to.  Just recently a church in Mississippi refused to marry a couple because the couple was black.  This BS about churches being “forced” to marry gay couples is just more fearmongering to whip the voters into a frenzy so they deny LGBT people equal rights.

      Sweden isn’t the USA so nothing that happens there applies here.

      • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

        It’s really pointless to bother the troll with facts. He’s heard them before and has decided to ignore them because they’re inconvenient for his thesis.

        • Piet

          Yes, his double standards are famous here.

      • Rwlawoffice

         The New Mexico case involving a civil union instead of a same sex marriage is a distinction without a difference. The result is the same- a person who disagreed with the morality of same sex unions based upon her religion was fined for this belief. so it is a great example of religious liberty being affected by this shift. 

        As for new Jersey, again your distinction makes no difference. The church did not approve of the same sex union which is different from not approving of their sexual orientation. It is the behavior they were objecting to and the fact that their facility was being asked to be used for something they did not agree with. That was a threat to their religious liberties.

        You may think it will never happen but the use of same sex marriages and anti discrimination laws are already being used to try and deprive churches of their religious liberties. The reason they will continue to be is that the gay community wants moral acceptance of their lifestyle and they will continue to push until the churches are silenced. 

        One of the arguments made by religious people about same sex marriages is that it would open the door to all sorts of other unions, including polygamy.  At the time and continuing until today the gay community says that will never happen and is silly.  Yet we are already seeing it.  Suit was just filed in Utah trying to overturn the polygamy laws and is using the redefinition of marriage as the basis. 

        So your assurances are hollow and a lie.

        • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

          You don’t have the religious liberty to discriminate against someone else because of their race, sexual orientation, religious views, etc. Your rights stop where they infringe on other people’s rights. I would think that this is a pretty obvious truth.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

           Basically you want people to have special rights because of their chosen religious beliefs.  They should be allowed to disobey any law they choose by simply declaring their “religious beliefs” make it necessary.   You’re a disgusting, selfish, parasitical bigot.

          • Rwlawoffice

            Religious expression is protected by the first amendment to the constitution so they ate given exemptions to some laws in order to protect this freedom.

  • Anon

    You don’t want gay marriage.

    That’s okay.

    Don’t have one then.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    These people meet the definition of “bigot” whether they like the term or not. It’s true that we often associate the term with beliefs stemming from hate, but that need not be the case. Certainly, not all opposed to same-sex marriage or other gay rights are homophobes, but I think there’s good reason to suspect that many are. It is natural to dislike things we don’t understand or that we fear, and I think that’s the primary factor driving anti-gay beliefs.

    Above all, what I consider these people to be is intellectually and morally weak. Humans are naturally xenophobic. We all have a natural distrust of those outside our group. We all have a degree of racism and sexism (you’re lying to yourself if you disagree with this assessment), and in the same way are likely to feel slightly uncomfortable around people of different sexual orientation. But we also have the ability to use our intellect to override these more instinctual reactions. And when we do that, we train our brains to eliminate specific reactions against the “different”. In effect, we expand our group identity.

    I know there are many humanists reading this who remember a time when they were at least mildly racist, or mildly anti-homosexual. I’m sure a lot depends on age. I’m not old enough to really remember the racial civil rights movement… the big battles had already been won by the time I was old enough to really appreciate it. So my degree of racism has always been low (but not zero). On the other hand, when I was in school, it was fair game to call somebody queer for any number of reasons (many of which made no sense). Few questioned that such people (living shadowy lives) were unnatural. That was already changing then, especially regionally. I wasn’t long out of school before I met openly gay people, and started being more reflective in my thinking, and easily gave up any negativity towards homosexuals. Others here must also remember a similar process. And that’s the key: humanists (and I don’t just mean secular humanists) are intellectually honest enough to recognize a prejudice for what it is. It may persist at some level, but we are able to replace it with a reasoned response. And of course, with time that will probably completely eliminate the original prejudice.

    Self-reflection is the key. Thinking about your beliefs, thinking about where they come from, thinking about whether they really make sense. I think that most of the “bigots” and “homophobes” don’t do this. And their religion is one of the big roadblocks, since religion seldom encourages (and often actively discourages) self-analysis, preferring instead to impose ideas externally.

    • S Fpok

      Marriage is defined “between one man and one woman”  It has nothing to do with being a bigot.  I don’t care who is with who.  Simply find a “word or words” to define a same sex couple union.  So many haters out there and this is making it worse.  Chick Fil A gave his opinion, he has every right to do that, he still does have that right, freedom of speech?!  If you don’t like his opinion, do not go to his place of business, instead of trying to block others from being built.  Chicago has moral standards?  Please, give me a break.  How many murders this year?  And your talking about this?

      • Stev84

        Marriage is defined “between one man and one woman

        Not everywhere. And according to Biblical standards, marriage is one man and however many wives, concubines and slaves he can afford.

        And for the three millionth time:
        It isn’t about him having an “opinion”. It’s about him donating millions of dollars to hate groups with the explicit intent to hurt gay people. It’s also about Cathy doing that in the name of the company. If he donated his private money under his own name the backlash wouldn’t be this severe by a long shot.

        • Landerson26

          You are sadly confused about what the Bible says about marriage. In Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” not he will be united with his wives. Though many people in the Bible had numerous wives and concubines that does not mean that God approved of this situation. 

          • C Peterson

            I disagree with your interpretation, but it doesn’t matter since even more than that, I don’t believe in your god at all. The opinion of a fictional being invented by primitive tribesmen has no bearing on how we legally recognize families in a modern secular state.

            • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

              It is scientifically accepted that the odds of the universe  NOT being created by a higher power or architect is 10 with fourty THOUSAND zero’s behind it.The odds of reaching out and grabing a single atom is far greater.Basically it’s impossible for the universe to have been a thing of chance.
              This your God/my God is irrelevent since there is only ONE God/Creator or whatever name you choose.The name itself is unimportant,in fact God says “I HAVE MANY NAMES”

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                Your abject ignorance of this subject does not change the actual facts in the slightest.

                • Andrija Sekulic

                  Ignore trolls…

                • Uniquelysee

                  Your denial of the truth…doesn’t make it less truth!

                  your denial of your creator doesn’t make you less a unique creation…your hate games and finger pointing doesn’t make anything better…but the puffed up feeling you get inside…as you deny the fact that all people…ALL Humans are children of our God…and if you only want to play with some kind or another…and not with others…only makes you limited in your understanding of your creator…all who are alive…must account for you own relationship with your creator…i pray continuously for you…and all others who think that who or what they have sex with could make them better than another…all are accountable…all must account for what they do while here…he is the God of love…and he loves all of us…even those who hurt others…even those who deny who he is…all must know him…or he will truly tell you in the end…”I never knew you.”
                  So stop playing name games…and pionting fingers and blaming Eve for the first sin…and be accountable to God…He aleady knows what is in your heart…wake up…or better…grow up…so you can Go up!

                  You are all looking rediculous…will you ever graduate from Kindergarden?

              • http://www.facebook.com/eileen.hall3 Eileen Verchot Hall

                Even if everyone accepted your argument as true, which is not going to happen in your lifetime, there is nothing in it to indicate that “The Bible” has any authority. 

          • E Xarian2

            then what about when the bible commands a raped woman to be married to her rapist?

          • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

            No, it doesn’t, but the fact of the matter is that Yahweh didn’t often hesitate to take out his wrath on people whose actions he didn’t approve of, like Onan not fulfilling the duties of the Levirate marriage to Tamar. And it happened a lot. If God didn’t approve, he sure didn’t make it clear and allowed many of the patriarchs to go along with it. (Knocks some nice-sized holes in your theology, eh?)

          • SphericalBunny

            “Though many people in the Bible had numerous wives and concubines that does not mean that God approved of this situation.”

            Try 2 Samuel 12:7-12. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/JosefKirchner Josef Kirchner

            God made a rule that prophets were to speak on his behalf and what they said was law.  The prophet Nathan tells David in 2 Samuel 12:8: “I would give you twice as much over,” which the rabbis interpret to mean that the number of David’s existing wives could be tripled: from six to 18. So, there you have it…if you want to argue Biblical fact that God gave prophets power to speak on his behalf and inact laws then you are a blasphemer.  The arguement that some had many wives, but God did not approve is a provable false statement. – As well, the “Bible” defines a marriage as valid only when the wife was a virgin before marriage or it’s adultery and whoredom and the penalty is stoning her to death unless she can prove her virgin premarital status.    REAL CHRISTIANS NEED TO STAND UP AND DEMAND ALL THE NON-VIRGIN, NON-VALID MARRIAGES END WITH THE ADULTEROUS WHORE BEING STONED IN FRONT OF HER FATHER’S HOUSE.  Biblical marriage is also defined as rape being acceptable as long as your raped woman to mourn her parents for a period of one month.  Come on you evil and barbaric Bible believers…..lets see some real Biblical marriage action…rape some virgins and stone some whores, instead of this fantasy modern definition of marriage you’ve cooked up.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003085174964 David Pope

              If you’re going to quote Bible verses, remember to always amend it with the passage in Revelations that if you should rescript or re-read the Bible in any language other than Hebrew, you’re going to Hell.
              So, enjoy your Hell.

              • Rwlawoffice

                What verse is that? Revelation was written in Aramiac, not Hebrew.

                • http://openid.anonymity.com/agzpr The Pope

                  I can’t resist the triple correction.  The New Testament — all of it — was probably written in Greek, and in the case of Revelation I don’t think there’s anyone arguing otherwise.  Greek was the language one disseminated texts in.  There are some religious groups who believe there are Aramaic originals for some of the books, but among historians the consensus is that the Greek texts are probably the originals.  I’m not familiar with a statement banning translation in any clear terms, but perhaps David is thinking of the conclusion of Revelation which does say that no one shall ever add to it in any way lest they be severely punished.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   I have seen others argue that Revelation was written in Aramaic. But you are correct that most of the New Testament was written in Greek.  Either way it had nothing to do with Hebrew language.  The verse your reference may be what David is referring to.

                • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

                  The book of Revelation is basically a summarized prophetic book of the old testement books.

            • Linuspumpkin

              Man created god, not the other way around. Man created that bullshit u call the bible. God DOES not exist. Hate does.

              • Sarah

                If you suppose man made god tell me how man made the earth and the galaxy and the stars. Tell me how man made it exactly where the moon would make just the right tides and how the sun just so happens to be at the perfect distance for us to not burn up. God created everything just perfect. You can’t have all this proof that is so perfect and say there is still no god that makes no sense.

                • Sarah

                  As well wht would be the point for man to make god anyways

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  To explain things before we figured out a better way of doing that.

                  There have been millions of gods throughout history. Do you think they were all real? Maybe you think they were all made up, except for the one you happen to believe in?

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  The things you list did not require any conscious creation. We understand (at least broadly) how they came to exist simply as the product of natural laws.

                • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

                  LOL natural laws. A law must be written before it can be a law.You simply cannot get something from nothing.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Then there is no source for your god, either.

                • http://www.facebook.com/eileen.hall3 Eileen Verchot Hall

                  Surely this statement alone proves that you are a troll just trying to irritate people. No one is actually this stupid.

                • Stev84

                  Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication.

                • http://www.facebook.com/nancy.kissam.7 Nancy Pants

                  it’s called Science.

          • Dnalyfe

             Can you explain to any of us why your religious belief should be the law?

            • Red Prince Darktower

              Better question is: Why should any religious belief be the Law?

        • Alex

          Why the hell are we debating how the Bible defines marriage? When did the Bible become the standard for civil matters in a secular society?

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        I’m glad that you recognize that marriage is nothing more than a definition. It is a man-made institution, and its definition has changed many times over history and across cultures. It is currently changing in ours. If you have a problem with that, I would ask you to think a little about the fact that not long ago, marriage in the U.S. was defined as “between one man and one woman of the same race”. Do you think that was a good definition? Would you have fought against changing it? Perhaps you did fight against it.

        In the end, I don’t think that people see you as a bigot so much because you choose to adopt that particular definition of marriage, but because you seek to impose that definition on others, and in so doing deny others some freedom, even though that freedom would come at no cost to you whatsoever. Most people recognize that as being unfair and irrational- key elements of bigotry.

        • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

          Marriage is not a man made institution.
          In the beginning the Creator created a man and a woman and the Creator married them.If it was right the Creator would have created a man and a man or a woman and a woman, but I think we can all see if that was the case we wouldn’t be here now would we?
          Can you understand what is RIGHT and what is WRONG now?
          It cannot be both ways.Right is right and wrong is wrong.

          As far as your race comment, well all I can say is there is only one race and that’s the human race and I would go so far as to say, anything else is just racist…

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            Personally, I consider the very idea of a creator, or of an original man and woman, to be nonsense of the highest order. It’s a religious viewpoint, and not something the government can consider in creating laws.

            Believe what you want, and your church can marry whomever it wants. But the state cannot base its definitions on a bit of bronze age religious rubbish.

            • Geust

              This a thousand times over. Secular marraige and religous marraige are two completely different and seperate things.

              • Andrija Sekulic

                Also, expect trolls here and PLEASE do not feed them. Life is short. Trolls are innumerable.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            Randy, I took a look at your Facebook profile. You do know that your own marriage would have been illegal in many states as recently as 1967. Rather ironic, don’t you think? 

            People who were against interracial marriage offered up religious reasons for that, too.

            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.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia

            • Steenie

              Apparently, you missed the story of the Tower of Babel…God perhaps saw an inequity and corrected it. I like to think that by showing His own vulnerability, perhaps others would understand that change was inevitable over centuries…the very reason we don’t stone the non-virgin wives, sacrifice humans, and marry our rapist. 
              I have often heard my Bible referred to as the Living Word…in order for something to Live, it must, by definition change. 

              • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                Steenie, I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say. I don’t believe in any gods, but I think it’s clear that people interpret what’s in the Bible to fit their own prejudices. Slave owners used it to to justify slavery. Opponents of interracial marriage used it to justify miscegenation laws. And now opponents of same-sex marriage use it the same way. The content of the book hasn’t changed, but people have.

          • http://www.facebook.com/eileen.hall3 Eileen Verchot Hall

            Can you understand that not everyone is a member of your religion or agrees with your interpretation of it? Can you understand that you do not have a right to rule these people according to the dictates of YOUR religion?

          • Sindur420

            Marriage is not unique to your religion, it has been done all over the world and by every religion, or secular institution, for a very, very long time. If someone is being married not by your religion but by a secular authority then what bearing do your religious beliefs have on the ceremony or contract?

          • Bloobie

            So then you admit that you’re trying to insert a purely religious definition of marriage into law.  That’s a violation of church-state separation.
            As for your creation myth, women were an after-thought. They were never part of the original plan.  After all, Eve was merely plucked out of Adam because he was lonely and begging for a companion.

      • kraken17

        Where does this definition come from? I realize that the “one man / one woman” thing is commonly asserted, but no one seems to mention the basis for it. It certainly isn’t biblical. I was raised in an evangelical religion, and I’ve read that thing back to front and crossways too. I’ve yet to come across anything supporting this view.
        Secondly, I don’t believe anyone has tried to take away Chick-fil-a’s right to opinion. Disagreeing with someone is not the same as taking away their free speech, and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.

        • Bob Kundrat

           I’m not specifically replying to you kraken17 but the definition of marriage really is the issue.

          I think Hemant’s rant misses the point because if restricting any group of people from anything implies bigotry, name-calling, etc then Hemant himself is a bigot, hater, etc if he for instance is against me marrying my daughter.  Spare the incest and genetic responses because let’s just say I don’t really care about that.  Or how about me marrying my daughter, mother and uncle Frank.

          I realize you’ll think these silly and so do I but if marriage is not something that is part of any kind of design or natural order as Christians would argue, then why does it have to be between one man and one woman or one woman and one woman or one man and one man.

          Discrimination is everywhere in the sense of society making distinctions.  Hemant mentions we must have “rational reasons” for our distinctions and I agree but what’s the basis for a rational reason when we get to define what we want the way we want it.

          Hemant doesn’t help the discussion by endorsing the name calling.  That’s childish and immature at best and hardly “friendly”.

          • ReadsInTrees

            I think the difference is that being in a homosexual relationship is not illegal anywhere in the USA, so why are we treating homosexuals as second class citizens?
            On the other hand, incest, pedophilia, and bestiality ARE illegal, so asking to marry your daughter, a child, or your dog is comparing apples to oranges.

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            Marriage is not part of any natural order. There is nothing to suggest otherwise. Marriage is a social construct, that’s all. It serves various social purposes, such as maintaining property lines, providing a legal mechanism to ensure child care, providing a connection between families, etc. The relative importance of these purposes has changed over time, and remains quite different across different extant cultures. Not all societies have or have had legal marriage. Where marriage has existed as a legal structure, it has consisted of one man to one woman, one man to many women, one woman to many men, one man to one man, one woman to one woman, children to children, and adults to children. The Catholics recognize marriage between a woman and a mythological character.

            You cannot marry your daughter because there are laws against your having a marital-type relationship with your daughter. If you can make a case for changing those laws, then you should be able to marry her. There are no laws against homosexuals having marital-type relationships, so preventing these people from gaining the benefits of marriage that the state recognizes is irrational, and by the standards of most people, unfair.

            A person who opposes same-sex marriage seeks to limit the freedoms of other people despite the fact that the exercise of those freedoms in no way impacts their own freedom. That is unreasonable. If you ask that a subpopulation be treated differently than others, and can’t justify it by any material standard, that’s discrimination. People who are discriminatory in this way are bigots. That isn’t name calling, it’s just stating a fact.

            • Garzaomar21

              Marriage is a term created by the church…
              if they want the right to have a legal civil union thats one thing 
              however lgbt unions will never be considered an actual marriage in the eyes of the church so this argument is pointless 
              btw he’s been one of the biggest contributors against gay marriage for a long time and now people are barley pretending to give a shit? 
              give a a fkn break!

              • http://www.facebook.com/todd.pfennig Todd Pfennig

                 So you’re saying marriage didn’t exists before the church? You have you head buried in your dark stinky place.

                Remember christards this November show your faith, don’t vote, pray.

                • Susanna from Brussels

                   Todd Pfennig:

                  - foul language like the one you’ve just used is not Christian. Jesus told us not to insult others; it even puts us “in danger of the fire of hell” (Matthew 5:22; see also 15:11). 

                  - urging people not to vote could be interpreted as anti-democratic. Ultimately, if no-one voted, there would be no democracy.

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                Marriage was almost certainly a civil institution before it was a religious one. It was created by people in power as a mechanism for maintaining their power. In modern times, different churches view it different ways. In very few jurisdictions is a church marriage recognized as a legal marriage for civil purposes: you first have to get a license from the state.

                What do you mean by “the church”? There are millions of churches, and many of them do, in fact perform marriage ceremonies for LGBT members, and recognize the validity of those marriages just as they do for different-sex folks.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003289001624 Cailin Koy

            This is and has always been a simple distinction to make: consenting adults. If you’re an adult and your daughter is an adult and you both consent to the marriage, it may not be popular but I say it should be legal. With bestiality and pedophilia (as the slippery slope so often falls to), those participating are not consenting adults. The law is reason without passion, opinion, bias, or religion. What is distasteful to you or your chosen deity has nothing to do with what the law should be.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=608226360 Paul V Ruggeri

               Not disagreeing with you, but to be fair, marriage has not always been between two consenting adults – arranged marriages used to be fairly common.

              • Jim Olson

                Still are in many parts of the world.  

        • Sa Say

          The definition comes straight out of every English dictionary. It is, literally, the definition. So like Bob says in his response, the definition of marriage IS really the issue. Definitions are created/constructed by the cultures in which they are used. So creating a broader definition is our imperative. The dictionary isn’t law.

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            Nevertheless, virtually every dictionary (certainly, all the major ones) list same-sex unions within their definitions of “marriage” (often qualified with “in some jurisdictions”). This suggests that the cultural shift is already well underway, and it’s the law that’s catching up with accepted definitions.

          • JustAnotherPedant

            Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. That means they describe how words are used, rather than giving instruction on how to use a word. Definitions and, therefore, dictionaries, change over time. Queer used to be a perfectly cromulent word, appropriately used to mean “strange or weird.” It doesn’t have that definition anymore, in English. It has, over the last 100 years or so, evolved into a slur, and contemporary dictionaries will reflect this change, while a dictionary written around the time of _Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland_ or _The Wizard of Oz_ (two books off the top of my head that I know use the word) will have the older definition.

            Language changes as we change.

          • Gambitgrrl

             The definition of marriage straight from Webster’s Dictionary:

            Marriage

            a (1) :
            the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or
            wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage b : the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock c : the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
            2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities
            3: an intimate or close union

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marriage

            So according to a well established, English dictionary, there are multiple meanings of the word “marriage” . That you and others like you want to cling to one narrow definition of the word, and claim that’s the ONLY  correct definition and it’s some how set in stone is just ludicrous.

            The meanings of word change over time. That’s just how language works. Sorry if you don’t like that.

      • amycas

        Why can’t marriage be that word? I know some gay couples who are raising a family, own a home together, work through life together, love each other and their families. They fit every part of the definition of the words marriage and family, and yet you say they are not married. You say it doesn’t count. Well, fuck you. They do count.

      • JamesEmery

        S Fpok-

        First point:  Marriage is defined in MULTIPLE ways depending on one’s religion, and in several ways just in the Bible.  This is an idiotic and patently false argument.  Perhaps you should pick up your holy book and, I dunno, actually READ IT.

        Second point:  Why should LGBT people have to choose another word?  If your name is Steve, is no one else allowed to use it?

        Third point:  No one really cares about Dan Cathy’s opinion.  They give a damn that he is funneling cash through his company to anti-gay hate groups.  When you buy there, that’s YOUR money going to those.  He can hold or state his opinion all that he wants.  His company has moved on to active support of oppression.  That’s beyond free speech a bit, and we have every right to make it known and to argue against it.

        Fourth point:   So far as attempting to block Chick-Fil-A from coming into a particular area, would you be complaining if they tried to move a strip club into your area?  How about a store that sells communist paraphernalia?  Blocking businesses that are deemed inappropriate for a particular community is not new, nor rare.

        Fifth point:  We’ll happily talk about the murder rate in Chicago when it comes up.  Hell, I’ve discussed it in a couple gun control arguments just in the past week.

        On that last note, if you were to get a flat tire and, instead of stopping to help, I just went on and on about the genocide in the Congo, how would you feel about that?

        Don’t be a moron.  Learn something.

        • Sa Say

          Wellllll…..not completely accurate, JamesEmery. I have looked up the definition of the word “marriage” in every dictionary I own, and every dictionary online. The literal definition of marriage is a legal or holy union between a man and a woman in which they become husband and wife. Those words–”man”, “woman”, “husband”, “wife”–they are in every version I have found. That has nothing to do with politics, religion, or other ideologies–dictionaries aren’t ideologues. That definition just is.

          The real point of this debate is the fact that, based on this established definition of a word in our western culture, we must make a decision to expand that definition to include certain other couples, specifically same-sex couples. Dictionaries follow the cultural norm, as evidenced by the fact that the word “google”–to search the web–is in every major dictionary today.

          I’ll invite you to learn something as well. I don’t happen to like the word “moron” (notably stupid or lacking in good judgment). I don’t think name calling is very productive.

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            You haven’t looked very hard. Merriam-Webster includes “the state of being united to a person of the same sex”. The OED includes “a formal union between partners of the same sex”. The Free Dictionary includes “the legal union… between two persons of the same sex”.

            In fact, I couldn’t find a dictionary that doesn’t include same-sex unions within the definition of “marriage”. I’d say the definition has already been expanded, particularly given the number of jurisdictions around the world, and even in the U.S., that recognize marriage between same-sex partners.

            • Sa Say

              C Peterson…that wasn’t my point! It was that the definition of the word “marriage” is not religious. But you are absolutely right.

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                Sorry. But all of this goes to obliterate definition arguments, no matter what they are. As you said above, the dictionary isn’t the law. But it sure helps us see where the law is likely to go.

                What’s most silly, of course, is the suggestion that there’s some sort of biblical definition of marriage that corresponds to “traditional” western marriage. That’s nonsense, and wouldn’t be relevant to the discussion in any case.

                • Sa Say

                  Yep…that’s exactly the point I was trying to make. I got caught up in being clever. I think I’m on sensory overload from all this flap.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

         He has the right to free speech, as do the people who are speaking back to say “you’re a bigot, Mr. Cathy”.  Why do you think free speech should only go one way?

        BTW, Mr. Cathy is doing far more than stating his opinion.  He gives thousands of dollars to hate groups that work to strip LGBT people of their rights, and even to kill them (I assume you’ve heard of the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda and if you haven’t look it up).  He’s not being “persecuted” for his Christian beliefs, he’s receiving rightful blowback for his financial support of discrimination and genocide.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Missa.Sempai Missa Phoenix

          More than thousands, he has given over 3 million dollars.

        • Rwlawoffice

          The supreme court has defined free speech to include advocacy so this is a distinction without a difference. Additionally, you should really check your facts on the family research councils involvement on the Uganda bill.

      • The Bane

         Marriage predates the bible AND your hateful religion. Stop trying to make your bigotry and hatred masquerade as fact.

        Here are some facts for you:
        1. God does not exist.
        2. What you’re saying is not only wrong, it’s stupid and antiquated.
        3. You’re retarded.
        4. It stopped being a freedom of speech issue when Chick-Fil-A gave money to anti-gay groups.

        Have fun in Lala-Land.

        • Crystal

          Your comment is very hateful. Please don’t be hypocritical by telling those people that they are “retarded”. I hate when people use that word. Its disrespectful and hateful towards people with intellectual disabilities.

          I myself support gay marriage and have engaged in fierce debates over the issue. I am also a Christian. So it bothers me to have people like you ,who is socially on the same side as me, denigrate my faith. You may not think there’s a God but don’t tell people that they’re being hateful and then turn around and use hateful words. You undermine what we’re working for and you are equate Christian with anti-gay just like anti-gay people equate gay marriage with sin.

        • Crescenthawk

          I will have to say I share all of the views as Crystal. I would like to point out, the non-existence of God is not a fact, it is a hypothesis and if you want to stretch that a theory. Theories are just continually tested hypotheses. A lot of what we know about science and our world (how it came to be, how some things function) is theory based ( not hard core facts). The theories are accepted until there is proof to the contrary, in which the theory might be amended or changed.  

      • Parse

        Because everybody knows that once a word is defined in an official source, that definition is eternally immutable.  After all, if you remove the parentheses from this next sentence, the meaning is unchanged, no?  “I’ll be the gayest (exuberantly happiest) man around, as I burn a faggot (bundle of sticks) in tonight’s campfire!”

      • SwimCA

        It’s “you’re” not “your.” Credibility revoked.

      • Melinda

        Who defined it as that? If you look in the Bible there were many examples of multiple wives, concubines, etc. It’s a marriage.  I have been married since 1974.  Allowing gays to marry will not degrade my marriage.  If that is the issue let’s find a different word for anyone who has been married more than once (unless they were widowed) I agree Chick Fil A has the right to support what they want.  But I have the right to let people know why I won’t eat there since I don’t want my money supporting their philosophy.  That’s why there is a boycott.

      • Dgsinclair

        Defined by human biology and psyche, fallen as it is. And by the creator and Jesus. Stop trying to justify dysfunction.

    • Landerson26

      I found your reply very sad. You grew up around people who claim Christianity, but only treated it as a restraint system and you became one. I am a Christian, I have been my entire life. But it is only recently that I really began to discover God and have a relationship with Him.
       Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot, defined by Merriam-Webster
      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. 
      I do not hold any hate in my heart, nor intolerance. I say let them be gay. If they are gay, they cannot be true Christians because this direct opposition to the Word and the Law of God would be weeded out through a study of their beliefs and a reflection on God himself, thus if they are gay they are not justified anyway. If only I could make you understand what that implies, but that is not my job. My only job is to report to you the truth. You will do what it what you will.

      • Parse

        In other words, you aren’t intolerant, your God is.  You’re just passing on his intolerant views on gays (which you think is the only correct position to take).
        Well, my older brother thinks people like you, who use God as sword to attack other people and as a shield to protect yourself from criticism (and critical thought) should have no place in modern society.  I think it’s the only logically correct thing to believe, but I don’t hold any hate in my heart, nor intolerance.  Blame my brother – he’s the one who said it – all I’m doing here is reporting to you the truth.  Do what you will with it.

      • Anon

        So according to you it’s my fault that your god made me gay?

        I think your logic is broken.

    • http://www.facebook.com/TemiBe Temitope Bewaji

      you guys are becoming zealots in the way you oppose those who see things differently from you. More and more those who advocate against long held moral views are acting irrationally and spewing hateful insulting language. I wonder when they will wise up and look in the mirror. 

  • The Captain

    Spot on Hemant. I’ve run into this problem before and frankly I no longer care about those peoples feelings. And thats what this come down to, you have a bunch of people who act bigoted, take bigoted positions, and support bigoted laws but want to be thought of as “nice” people. Sorry but if the label hurts perhaps you should evaluate why, and what it is your doing to cause people to call you that.

    If people dance around calling a bigot a bigot, then those that are ashamed of the label will never have cause to examine their won beliefs.

  • John Hawkins

    I’m very unpopular on a lot of message boards right now because I take this idea one step farther, I don’t see how you can claim not to be a bigot when you consider LBGT people to be immoral sinners, regardless of whether or not you vote based on that belief. They’ll claim they’re not doing any harm, but I find that impossible to believe after sitting through about a dozen transgender support groups and meeting people who’d wasted years of their lives living in denial because they wanted to be accepted by their family and their church.

    • amycas

      I especially hate when they retort back,”but I’m an immoral sinner too, so I’m not being hateful. I’m just telling the truth.” The difference being that their sin (whatever it is) is not being lambasted in the media. Their sin is not being used against them to deny them equal rights and due process under the law. Their sin is most likely not being used as an excuse to torture, murder, imprison or rape them. The whole idea that everybody is a sinner destined for hell is hateful. Just because you hate all of humanity doesn’t negate the fact that you’re hateful. The same reason I don’t like people who make racist/sexist jokes followed by “I’m an equal opportunity offender” and then proceed to call white people crackers.

      • Landerson26

        Okay, “but I’m an immoral sinner too, so I’m not being hateful. I’m just telling the truth.” Only difference, here I go blast it where ever you want, I don’t mind telling you what I’ve been forgiven of. My husband and I had sex before we were married, we lived together before we were married. I am a liar, and I try to control everything. I have stolen before, several times. I have felt hate in my heart toward others. These are all things that I personally have done.  Blast away. I am a sinner, I deserve Hell, and yet God has loved me enough to make a way for me to still have a personal relationship with Him. This is the Christian walk. Anything else, protesting at funerals, trying to murder, imprison, rape or torture others, this is not true Christianity. I cannot stress that enough. And the Christian faith has been persecuted and are still being persecuted in other countries.  Don’t think we haven’t been tortured, raped, imprisoned, and killed for our beliefs.

        • Concerned Citizen

          If you’re so convinced you “deserve Hell” does that mean you’ll turn down Heaven if it’s offered to you?

        • Piet

           Look up “No True Scotsman Fallacy”.

          PS:  Your persecution complex does not allow you to keep equal rights away from others.

    • Jake

      If you disagree with any moral or philosophical position you are a essentially a “bigot”.  Society is already bigoted against murders, theft, fraud, and rightly so!  Society is also bigoted against other things, like left handedness – our whole language is designed to be written by right handed people!  By using this particular word, you are insinuating that people are automatically wrong for rejecting or discouraging certain behaviors.  

      What often gets lost in this discussion is freedom of association.  Which is essentially the right to be bigoted if I want to be, at least in my own personal associations.  Be it friends, business associates, clubs, or other private organizations.  When I cannot choose my associates upon my own criteria, you take this away.  This is the road we are on, and we are having the wrong types of discussions while it’s occurring.  When you force acceptance upon me, you open the door for me or someone else to force acceptance upon you.

  • Robert Coolman

    Reminded me of an article:  “Several of us plan to bring a token of Christian love (like a small bag of cookies or other treats) to share with homosexual activists who we’ll be encountering Monday,” the group wrote in a newsletter to supporters. “It’s time we dispel lies about Christians, by tangibly showing love to people who struggle with homosexuality.”
    http://atheism.about.com/b/2011/02/08/iowa-christian-love-ill-trade-you-cookies-for-your-rights.htm “Oh. The right to marry the person you love and want to live your life with? No, we can’t give that to you, sorry. But we’re nice people and love you; have a cookie. ” If this is as deep as Christian love gets then we’re more doomed than we thought.

    • Stev84

      And of course saying that people “struggle with homosexuality” is anything but loving. It’s just dressing up their animosity and ignorance in nicer words. The only reason some people struggle with it is because of society’s prejudices

      • amycas

        I don’t struggle with being bisexual. I struggle with the idiots who hate me because of it.

      • kraken17

        They must be struggling, otherwise they wouldn’t need all this “loving” christian attention.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      “showing love to people who struggle with homosexuality.”

      This shows that they’re still misguided and wrong. They persist in their assumption that homosexuality is some kind of disease or personal demon that gay people need to deal with, and they’re just trying a new approach to get through to them. They can give out all the cookies they want, they have the wrong idea about sexual orientation.

      • kagekiri

        Yeah, unfortunately, hating intrinsically human attributes is part and parcel of Christian belief, even for heterosexual thoughts or basic emotions. I don’t think liberal Christianity washes it out entirely, but it’s definitely reflected in crazy evangelical teachings like my old church’s.

        “You find that girl attractive? You’re not married? You’re committing adultery!” (this one’s from Jesus’ own bigoted crazy-pants mouth)

        “You’re masturbating while thinking of anyone, even your wife? Spiritual adultery! You’re having sex with yourself and committing adultery with anyone you’re thinking of!”

        “You’re having dreams that you can’t control with sexual content? Adultery! You have dreams where you kill people? Murder! You’re not praying for your dreams to be protected by the Holy Spirit! Confess your sins to each other!”

        “You’re angry/proud/happy/sad? God’s anger is the only just anger, God’s pride is the only justified pride because all our gifts are from God, God’s will should make you joyful no matter how happy or sad you are!”

        “You don’t understand God? It’s because you’re sinful and letting your self get in the way; a more broken vessel will let God shine through more.”

        So much self-blame, so much barely disguised anti-humanism, so much crap.

        • Purplewldflower

          I am so sorry that is the kind of Christianity you have been exposed to.

          • Piet Puk

            Are you also sorry about  the kind of christianity that stop people from having equal rights?

        • Landerson26

          I’d like you to quote the verses in the Bible these ideas are found. Because there are very easy explanations for these.
          1. You find that girl attractive is different than you are desiring to have sex with her.
          2. Masterbation is not really addressed in the Bible. The closest mention is Onan who married his brother’s wife because he did not have any children with her, and instead of fullfiling his duty (culturally) he was punished for spilling his “seed” on the ground.
          3.The Bible does not insist that you control your dreams.
          4. God does not say we should not be angry, only that we should be “Slow to anger” (James 1:19) We should not be prideful because we should know that all that is good in us if from God, not of ourselves.
          5. We are not called to understand God, but to follow Him. In cases such as Job, he did not understand why he was being cursed so, yet he stayed true to God.  In the end, God does not explain himself, he generally says “Just trust me.”

          I know most of this is stuff that people say, but you have to ask yourself whether it has a Biblical premise or not. These claims do not.

          • Piet

             Seriously, we don’t care what any scripture says. It is all moot. If you want to keep to your personal cherry picking, that is fine with me. But don’t expect rational people to share your delusion.

    • Anon

      Does that mean that if I don’t struggle with my homosexuality (or bisexuality) I don’t get cookies?

      Because, seriously, I don’t struggle with my bisexuality. I think it’s awesome. My bisexuality and I aren’t fighting, we’re all snuggled up together on a fluffy rug in front of a fire with kittens and puppies marshmallows and chocolate.

      • amycas

         damn, you beat me to it :-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       “people who struggle with homosexuality”

      People don’t struggle with homosexuality.  They struggle with bigots and institutionalized bigotry. 

    • Concerned Citizen

      + a million.

      “Here’s a token so I can social-signal how high status I am.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MAPMGMFGQA5JDIYQHOH6VCXEDU WilliamM

    If you really want to forgo oppression, give up the chicken altogether.  Just because they are another species, just because their DNA is a little different than ours, does not give us the right to deny everything natural to them, keep them confined in cages so small they cannot spread one wing, cram them into trucks and drive them across the country in all weather extremes to a slaughterhouse and put them on a “dis-assembly line” without properly stunning them.  It’s easy to look at how others our oppressing us but harder to look at how we’re oppressing others.

  • http://twitter.com/TortugaSkeptic A secret red slider

    I recently banished a friend, from childhood, from my online spaces because of bigotry. He was ranting about how unfair it was to call him a bigot then started saying hateful things about the LGBT community and their desire to have their marriages recognized by the state.  My response to this behavior is simple, hate is the one thing I won’t tolerate.

    • 74minhappy

      my 16 year old sister just married a 58 year old man (we are not Mormon).  I sat at a table of people who felt happy for the couple.  Need I say more? 
       “Soon we may live in a world where the only people opposed to gay marriage will be gay people who are married.” –Craig Ferguson

  • snoozn

    I agree with you that those who are against full rights for gay people are bigots. What annoys me is the assumption I see from some that all Christians are bigots in this area. Most of my family members are Christian and most (maybe all — haven’t discussed with everyone!) support marriage equality. Some have come to this position recently, but at least they made it! My father-in-law is a Presbyterian minister who was very active in civil rights for black people in the 1960′s (he was high profile enough to receive death threats) and he is now an activist for gay rights. He was even ahead of his grandchildren (my brother-in-law’s kids) who would use the word “fag” as a general insult until Granddad explained this was insulting to a whole class of people.

    I live in a pretty liberal area and a number of churches here (including Lutheran and UCC congregations and probably others) are “open and affirming.” This means they are fully inclusive of LGBTQ people and don’t see them as “damaged” or in need of “fixing.”

    Yes, much evil is done in the name of religion and plenty of Christians in this country have all kinds of backwards ideas about people, but being a Christian does not automatically mean a person is anti-gay or a bigot of any kind. I am proud of my father-in-law and I don’t care about his religion because he doesn’t use it as an excuse for mistreating anyone.

    • rx7ward

      Maybe this sweeping generalization gets made because the only Christians making a bunch of noise are the bigots. It’s very rare to find non-bigot Christians making the same amount of noise. Is this the quiet Christian’s fault? Sometimes it is, many times it’s not. But the impression is that it is more important to “not make waves” with other Christians than it is to stand up for what is right.

      Also, please notice that a lot of this bashing is bashing of religion and the religious generally, rather than of Christians specifically. It’s just that in the USA, the Christians are the most visible of the religious.

    • amycas

      If you’re not the type of Christian who is bigoted against homosexuals, then we’re not talking to you. 

    • Concerned Citizen

      Good for you! You’re not the bigoted kind of Christian, you’re the kind who selectively ignores the aspects of your religion that would be socially unacceptable and subject you to ridicule in your liberal-leaning community.

      I have a cookie for you!

  • Flo

    Thank you for expressing this in exactly this way.  Just because you don’t WANT to be a bigot, doesn’t mean you aren’t one.

  • Jade

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was just making this argument last night, after a friend-of-a-friend posted an article with some of the same sentiments, although the author was very anti-gay marriage. I completely agree. And again I must applaud you for discussing LGBT rights so fervently in your posts. It always puts a smile on my face to know we have such a passionate and intelligent supporter!

  • http://twitter.com/_mikeweber Mike Weber

    This is fantastic. One of the best posts I’ve seen in a while and it really gets to the point. Thanks Hemant.

  • JasonTorpy

    Hate is an emotion, and that’s fine. But hate takes its more nefarious form as an action. Actions speak louder than words and they hurt more than someone else’s internal feelings. Just as marriage cannot last without commitment, comfort, attention, sacrifice, and all those actions that sustain the relationship, no amount of feelings of love or stated commitment can overcome the damaging and hateful practice of denying a person’s very being or putting a barrier between that person and the one they love. That is hate. Whatever you call it, this treatment literally makes people kill themselves, so opposing gay rights is an indefensible position.

  • Stev84

    A quote from the Supreme Court case Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett which is often quoted in gay rights cases is appropriate here:

    “Prejudice, we are beginning to understand, rises not from malice or hostile animus alone. It may result as well from insensitivity caused by simple want of careful, rational reflection
    or from some instinctive mechanism to guard against people who appear to be different in some respects from ourselves.”

    Not all Christians are motivated by animus. Many of them have simply been raised in ignorance their whole lives. But those usually manifest their prejudices in more subtle ways during every day interactions or simply by voting. They aren’t the foaming-at-the-mouth idiots who take out their anger in public.

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

    “These people meet the definition of “bigot” whether they like the term or not. It’s true that we often associate the term with beliefs stemming from hate, but that need not be the case.”
    I think bigotry stems from fear, not hate, which is the case with Christian bigotry here. Otherwise, well said as always, C Peterson.

    • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

      Boy I screwed up. That comment was supposed to be a response to C Peterson’s excellent comment.

    • Isilzha

       Fear and hate–sometimes they are just two sides of the same coin and pointless to try and distinguish between them.

  • Bill

    You are absolutely right, when you strip away religion, there is no logical, social, biological or political reason to deny same sex marriages.  None, nada, rien! The ONLY reason there is a debate at all is because of religion.
    The core issue here is not marriage equality, but religious bullshit. The same religious bull crap that has striped away a women’s right to control her own body in so many states.  The same crap that forces a ludicrous creationist education on hapless children and has sentenced generations of innocent Irish children to civil war.
    We need to stop making the debates about the topic at hand and start making every debate about how childish, idiotic, and untrue their religion is.
    If their opening volley in the debate is we disagree on religious grounds, we need to say, sorry religious grounds are not a valid starting point. Until you can prove the validity and truth of your religion, your position is not accepted. Tell us some non-religious reasons why you are against whatever it is we’re debating and then we can debate.

    In the meantime, calling a spade a spade or a bigot a bigot is totally justified.

    • Robert King

      This is exactly why I object to the label “bigot”: because there are a number of logical, biological, and political reasons to uphold the traditional definition of marriage.

      Biology is most obvious. The sexual organs have reproduction as their primary purpose. This is not their exclusive function, but it is the primary one: producing sexed gametes that unite with the corresponding opposite-sex gamete, developing into an adult human being. Compare it to eating: we eat for pleasure, but no one denies that nutrition is the primary purpose of eating, and trying to eat exclusively for pleasure can have serious health consequences.

      Sex is an inherent part of being human. “Race” based on skin color or ethnicity is a not-terribly-useful way of categorizing large groups of people. It is a natural variant in the biology of human beings. No matter how much sexual desires may vary, the sex organs themselves do not vary based on sexual orientation. The “discrimination” is based, not on a normal variance in the population, but on a constant: not the desire, but the act and its consequences.

      This leads to the political reasons.

      Marriage is a legal union of persons who are united sexually. (I hope we can all agree on this much, at least: a legal union based on a sexual relationship.)

      Now, the only reason the government has for regulating marriage is for the good of the society as a whole. If marriage is entirely a private affair between consenting adults, then the State has no reason to regulate it at all. What happens in my bedroom is not public, is not a matter for legal intrusion – unless it impacts the broader society as a whole.

      The impact that sex has on the broader society as a whole is based on the biology: when the sex organs fulfill their primary purpose, they will frequently result in the birth of a child. This child needs to be raised into a functional adult. If we don’t have children, society ends. If we don’t raise our children, society degrades or ends. So the community has a reason to encourage both the birth of children and their proper raising. This encouragement is called “marriage.”

      We have added all sorts of other cultural and legal trappings, but at its root, this is the reason the government has anything to do with marriage at all. If it were not for children, marriage would be an entirely private and personal event. There could be no objection to same-sex marriage.

      But society as a whole, and therefore the government, has a reason to regulate the procreation and raising of children. If your sex life is not directed toward having children, or is incapable of having children, then the government has no reason to regulate it. That is, no reason for marriage.

      (This is, by the way, the reason the State has anything to do with adoption, as well.)

      So there are good reasons, scientific and political, that opposition to same-sex marriage is not the same thing as prejudice or hate against homosexual people. I don’t deny that there are plenty of bigots out there; and I have heard logical (if not conclusive) arguments that same-sex marriage doesn’t harm traditional marriage, and so should be allowed anyway. But my point is that opposition to same-sex marriage is not inherently bigoted or prejudicial.

      Finally, none of these arguments are based on religion in any way. They are arguments based on experience and science and reason. You may disagree with the argument, or with the conclusions that some draw from them. Fine. But argue with them on the same basis: science, reason, experience.

      • Stev84

         All that crap has already been refuted at length in the courts

        • Robert King

          Citations, please?

          Also, I wasn’t aware that courts could refute biology. If a court decided that evolution wasn’t true, would that suddenly make it not true?

          • amycas

            Does he actually need to cite cases where infertility and impotence were not used as grounds for dissolution? you know this is not the case. You know that infertile couples are allowed to marry, and then receive the same benefits that fertile couples receive. We don’t need citations for things that are common knowledge (I personally have a great-aunt and uncle who chose never to have children, their marriage was not dissolved by the government).

            I don’t give a flying rat’s ass about biology. That’s the naturalism fallacy and you post is rife with it.

            • Robert King

              Do you mean the Appeal to Nature? I don’t regard this as necessarily a fallacy.

              The middle term in the argument is: It is good for a thing to be itself, rather than to try to be something it is not; that is, it is good to fulfill one’s nature.

              You can dispute the appeal, (and many have done so,)but I don’t know what else you could look to as a basis for morality or legality.

              On the other hand, if you “don’t give a flying rat’s ass about biology,” then what do you care about?

              Re: infertility – I’m not talking about dissolving a marriage; I’m talking about entering into one in the first place. So I’m looking for cases where the courts have entirely and explicitly rejected procreation as an essential aspect of marriage.

              I assume there are such cases; I just don’t know what they are. I’m interested in learning about them.

              That said, I don’t allow the courts to dictate right and wrong, truth and falsehood to me. Courts have decided that slavery is A-OK, and that evolution is bunk. I’m not going to take their word for it.

          • Edmond

            Biology and evolution are not constructs of humanity.  We don’t define them.  But marriage WAS created by people, so we ARE in charge of defining THAT.

            All of your arguments appear to support the government protection of rights associated with PARENTING, not with marriage.  There is no requirement to have children in marriage.  There is no requirement on parents to get married.  It’s not as if there isn’t an opportunity for the state to ask if a couple intends to have children.  Many states require a blood test, and most will ask SOME questions of the couple before allowing them to marry.  If it’s discovered that the two are closely related, for example, they’ll be prevented from marrying.  If the state goes that far, then they could certainly take one more moment to ask if any children are planned, or even possible, and make that a contingency of the marriage.  But, they don’t.

            The process of marriage isn’t about any children, it’s about the COUPLE.  It bonds them together for the purpose of sharing their lives.  It allows them to pool their assets and properties, it allows them to stand as one another’s legal representatives.  It prevents any outside parties from interfering in this bond.  These rights are not diminished or removed if no children are produced.

            Not everyone who marries can have children, or even wants them.  But one thing that everyone who marries DOES want, is a partner.  They want to share their life with someone, because that makes life happier and easier.  Of course, that can be done WITHOUT marriage, but that can add a lot of unnecessary stress, cost, and effort.  Especially for people who WANT to marry but are prevented.  Not really conducive for making life happier and easier.

            Having and raising children is certainly an important part of society.  You make many good points for allowing heterosexual couples to marry.  But you make none for simultaneously denying this right to homosexual couples.  Many of us are raising children as well, and marriage goes a long way toward helping those families function more smoothly, and avoid the stigma of being unrecognized and illegitimate.  You aren’t doing these families any favors by hoarding marriage only for the families you approve of.

            • Robert King

              The process of marriage isn’t about any children, it’s about the COUPLE. It bonds them together for the purpose of sharing their lives. It allows them to pool their assets and properties, it allows them to stand as one another’s legal representatives. It prevents any outside parties from interfering in this bond. These rights are not diminished or removed if no children are produced.

              I would argue that this is only part of what marriage is for. Pooling of assets and power of attorney – and every other legal benefit – can be achieved through contracts. Tax benefits would require legislation, but could theoretically be made available to civil unions of any number of people, with or without sexual relationships. To some extent, this is what corporations do.

              So why are these benefits packed together in marriage? Because a marriage is (among other things) a sexual relationship which normally results in children.

              I would argue that, without children being a normal result of sex, there is no social reason to have any public regulation or benefit for sexual relationships or commitments.

              I’m open to other reasons, but I have not found any that convince me that government or society should have anything to do with a sexual relationship that is not even potentially procreative.

              • Edmond

                Maybe you haven’t found any that convince you, because you aren’t gay.  Sometimes it takes living in the shoes of a targeted group, before you understand what they go through.

                If you would argue that the legal benefits are only “part” of what marriage is for, then you are admitting that there are OTHER parts that exceed the narrow definition of parenting.  Even you allowed “among other things”.  You can’t halt this discussion at the single issue of procreation, while there are still “other things” to take into consideration.  If marriage is contingent on multiple factors, then those other factors need to be taken into account when denying the right of marriage.  You can’t deny it based on ONE factor, if it’s granted based on MANY factors.

                Those “other factors” are very important, not just to gay couples but to ALL couples, with or without children.  Sure, we could go from specialty lawyer to specialty lawyer, signing contract after contract to try to match the coverage provided by the government.  But that’s a hell of a lot more expensive than just buying one marriage license.  And those contracts may not be portable from state to state.  And they certainly don’t cover Federal benefits.  And they might be contested by greedy family members after the death of one partner.  People who can marry don’t have to deal with ANY of this.

                 You say that if it weren’t for children, there would be no point in the social benefits associated with marriage.  But many gay couples DO raise children.  What does marriage do for heterosexual couples raising children, that it WON’T do for homosexual couples raising children?  In what way are these rights important for straight couples, but unimportant for gay couples?

              • AxeGrrl

                And one more time for Robert…..

                It’s all about children (or at least the anatomical possibility thereof)

                Seriously, the information is here. Avail yourself of it.

        • Robert King

          Do you have an edit function? I could swear that your second paragraph wasn’t there ten minutes ago. Or did I just completely overlook it?

          If edit, could you let me in on your secret?

        • Robert King

          Marriage has simply never been about procreation.

          If you said, “marriage has never been simply about procreation,” I could agree with you. Marriage has lots of other trappings associated with it, and has for as long as we have historical records.

          I don’t see how that changes the argument.

      • kraken17

        I may be misreading here, but it seems to me that you’re saying marriage is the government’s way of regulating procreation and child rearing, therefore gay people don’t need to get married because they cannot reproduce. If this is not your argument (in part) please correct me.

        • Stev84

          Yes, it is. It’s what has been used in the Prop8 case and all the DOMA cases, and it has failed spectacularly every time. You can make a drinking game for whenever a BLAG brief mentions “responsible procreation”. By now they should have realized that no one is buying it.

          Even if the encouragement of procreation were a legitimate government interest, denying marriage to gay couples does nothing to protect or encourage straight couples. It ignores however, that many gay couples do have children and they deserve legal protection in the same way that the adopted children of straight parents do. Because family law isn’t about biology or biological families, but de facto families, i.e. they take into account the actual situation and not how any why children were born.

          • AxeGrrl

            Even if the encouragement of procreation were a legitimate government interest, denying marriage to gay couples does nothing to protect or encourage straight couples.

            You nailed it, Stev84

        • Robert King

          Not so much that “gay people don’t need to get married” as that the government has no reason to define or regulate or encourage the sex lives of gay people.

          • Stev84

            Why are Christians always so obsessed with sex? Marriage isn’t about sex. As couples who have been married for a couple of decades…

            • Robert King

              If it’s not about sex, then why do we limit it to couples in sexual relationships?

              Also, why the jab at Christians? I find more obsession with sex on TV and in romance novels than I ever have in the various religions I’ve studied.

              • ThatIsToSay,What?

                If it’s not about sex, then why do we limit it to couples in sexual relationships?

                We don’t.

          • kraken17

            Ah. I think the problem lies in assuming that sex and marriage are inextricably linked. It would seem to exclude asexual couples, or those who cannot or choose not to have sex for any number of reasons. While lack of sex is certainly used as a reason for ending a marriage, I’ve never heard of anyone checking up on newly weds to make sure they’re getting it on.

      • amycas

        I stopped reading at this:  “The sexual organs have reproduction as their primary purpose.”

        No, reproduction is not their primary purpose. You could argue that the uterus’ primary purpose is reproduction (as that’s basically all it does). But sexual organs have many purposes. In fact, most people ignore the fact that the purpose they are used for the most is for removing waste (i.e. pooping and peeing). My sexual organs have many purposes. The primary purpose is decided by me, not other people. If I decide right now that the primary purpose of my sexual organs is for pleasure, than I can masturbate. If I need to pee then the primary purpose is for expelling waste from my body. If, at some point in the future, I decide to get pregnant, then the primary purpose will be for reproduction. Seeing as how the vast majority of humans use their sexual organs most of the time for purposes other than reproduction–reproduction is obviously not their primary purpose.

        Besides all that: we don’t deny infertile couples the right to marry. We don’t deny couple who don’t want kids the right to marry. We don’t deny elderly couples the right to marry. Why is this any different for gay couples? Are we going to start outlawing all marriages and uses of sexual organs that don’t result in reproduction? No? Then your argument is stupid and ignorant.

        • Robert King

          The fact that, in men, the digestive and reproductive systems share part of a channel does not mean that they are the same bodily system.

          The fact that scientists call it the “reproductive” system shows that they generally accept reproduction as its primary purpose.

          As to infertility, unless we take action to make ourselves infertile, it is impossible to predict whether a couple will be infertile or not. Nor do we know what kind of infertility treatments might result from further research. So I would be very reluctant to label a male-female couple “infertile” and deny them the opportunity.

          Moreover, no one is saying that marriage is only about procreation; simply that procreation is essential to marriage. If it were not, why would the government get involved at all?

          • AxeGrrl

            Moreover, no one is saying that marriage is only about procreation; simply that procreation is essential to marriage.

            One more time…..it ISN’T.

            You’re steeped in ignorance on this precise issue, but you can pull yourself out of that ignorance.  The question is, do you want to?    You can do it in a measely 9min:

            It’s all about children (or at least the anatomical possibility thereof)

            If you continue to spew incorrect information, while this has been offered to you, I guess we’ll have to assume that you’re choosing to remain ignorant.

      • guest

        “But society as a whole, and therefore the government, has a reason to
        regulate the procreation and raising of children. If your sex life is
        not directed toward having children, or is incapable of having children,
        then the government has no reason to regulate it. That is, no reason
        for marriage.”

        So how is the government regulating unwed parents? Your arguments are valid for creating a license for parenting, not marriage.

        • Robert King

          That’s a good question, but not the one under discussion here.

          For the record, I’m not sure that governmental or legal regulation is the only or the best way to ensure proper support for children and families. There are large chunks of history in which the government did not regulate marriage at all.

        • Laurence

          Robert King is committing the naturalistic fallacy.  He is creating an ought (Governments ought to regulate against gay marriage) from an is (the primary purpose of the sex organs are reproduction).  This kind of argument has a hidden premise which we should make moral and political judgements based on the truths about biology.  This argument is as good as the argument that since women are typically physically weaker then men, it means that men should always lift things for women.  This argument seems obviously wrong to me because I haven’t been given any good reason to accept that the typically physical status of women should have any bearing on who should always lift things.

          Furthermore, marriage is a complicated cultural institution that has served different purposes at different times.  Any definition of marriage is going to be pretty arbitrary.  If we are going to have a definition of marriage it seems to me that we should have a definition that discriminates against the fewest number of people while at the same time harming the fewest number of people.

          In conclusion, there is no good reason to not allow gay marriage and these arguments from biology are usually a scientific mask for bigotry similar to the scientific racism that occurred in previous times.

          • Robert King

            I’m not proposing an ought. I’m looking for a practical justification.

            If you allow (as you seem to) that the primary purpose of the reproductive system is reproduction, and that children have an impact on society – positive if they are raised well, and negative if not – then it is reasonable for society to think about the best way to regulate and/or encourage the proper raising of children.

            I’m not saying the government ought to regulate it. Through large portions of history, government had little or nothing to do with marriage; it was largely a cultural or religious event. But every society I know of had some kind of public social expectations and customs surrounding sexual relationships based on the probability of children resulting; most of these same societies simply looked the other way or didn’t care what you did if there was no possibility of children.

            So government has reasons to regulate marriage; that doesn’t mean it ought to. Maybe the best thing is for government to just get out of the marriage business altogether. All mutual privileges like power of attorney or visiting rights can be handled by contract; tax privileges (and penalties) for marriage can just be dropped. Then religious people don’t feel attacked and same-sex couples don’t feel deprived.

            Re: racism, this is not at all analogous to racial prejudice. This is an argument based on behaviors and their results, not about persons or desires or distinguishable groups. The fact that heterosexual genital intercourse normally has the possibility of pregnancy, and other forms of intercourse do not, is a real distinguishing factor between the kinds of intercourse; it is not unreasonable or bigoted to treat them differently in law.

      • Gary

        You seem to feel that being gay is not a natural variant in the biology of humans, like race is.  Many would disagree with you. 

        Marriage is not a legal union based on a sexual relationship, it’s one based on a loving relationship.

        You also believe that the expansion of the definition of marriage will be detrimental to society.  Many would disagree with you here also.   To focus on your children argument, traditional marriages can still exist while new ones (same-sex) that also provide stable and loving support for children are encouraged and treated fairly.  Why wouldn’t anyone, including the government, endorse this?

        I must admit thought that you’ve obviously put a lot of thought and effort into justifying your bigotry.

         

        • ReadsInTrees

          Agreed. Homosexuality has been observed in countless animals, therefore the only conclusion we can reach is that it IS a natural variance in the biology of humans.

          In any case, if anyone ever tries to argue that one-man-one-woman is the “natural” way of things, call BS on that one. Humans are not “naturally” designed to be monogamous, no primates are (just look at the shape of the human penis, a shape clearly evolved to “shovel” competitors’ semen out of your mate’s vagina). It’s only as a society have we decided that monogamy is preferred.

        • Robert King

          Did you entirely overlook where I said, explictly, that differences in sexual orientation do seem to be a normal variation in the species? That’s not the point.

          Did I ever say that expanding marriage to same-sex couples would be detrimental to society? Some make that argument, and some oppose it. I am not making that argument here.

          All I am saying is that opposition to same-sex marriage is not necessarily or inherently bigoted or prejudicial.

          • Gary

            Trying to make sense of your argument you’ve made on this site.  It seems you are saying that the government and society can justifiably oppose same-sex marriage because it can’t result in children, and ultimately the purpose of marriage should be to encourage the birth and raising of children and nothing else.  I have many problems with this argument, but the ones most pertinent to your case are that 1) same-sex marriages can contribute greatly to the ‘raising of children’ part of this and 2) that many same-sex couples adopt children, which encourages their birth indirectly when people are more willing to go through with pregnancies.   These are damn good social reasons for public regulation and benefits to be accorded to these relationships the same as they are to others.  I still think all of this, including your arguments here, starts with bigotry and prejudice that then goes looking for the best justification.

            • Stev84

              The most important point is that same-sex marriage has no effect whatsoever on straight people and their children. They’ll continue to be supported in the same way they already are. Yet, Christians are conjuring up these absurd fantasies about straights not having children anymore, causing the end of society

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

        “If your sex life is not directed toward having children, or is incapable
        of having children, then the government has no reason to regulate it.”

        That BS argument failed in court (The Prop8 trial) because, well, it’s BS.  Gay people aren’t sterile nor is having children a requirement of marriage.

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        Marriage is a legal union of persons who are united sexually. (I hope we can all agree on this much, at least: a legal union based on a sexual relationship.)

        Er, asexual people can and do get legally married. So, no, having sex is not a requirement for legal marriage. A couple could be together their entire adult lives and never have sex, but they would still be married.

        This child needs to be raised into a functional adult. If we don’t have children, society ends. If we don’t raise our children, society degrades or ends. So the community has a reason to encourage both the birth of children and their proper raising. This encouragement is called “marriage.”

        Great! So what about my parents? They’re lesbians. They’ve been together over 30 years. They quite successfully raised my brother and me to adulthood, but they had to do it without any sort of legal protection for most of our lives. There’s no reason the system should leave children of gay and lesbian parents out in the cold. If the law can be inclusive, why be exclusive? What benefit is there in denying parents and children legal connection? It hurts children. It hurts families. The law should be concerned with making sure that children’s parents are legally bound to them and to each other. This is vital in cases of abandonment or death. There’s no reason for making people’s lives hard when they don’t need to be.

        But of course anti-gay conservatives don’t care about children of gay parents. They think we shouldn’t have been born. They’re bound and determined to punish our parents for their “inferior” choice, not caring who is hurt in the process. You can’t make gay and lesbian families disappear by denying us legal rights. You can stigmatize us and delegitimize us, Robert, but we still exist. And we’re not willing to take second-class treatment anymore.

        If your sex life is not directed toward having children, or is incapable of having children, then the government has no reason to regulate it. That is, no reason for marriage.

        I’ll believe that when I see post-menopausal women and infertile couples denied marriage licenses. Of course it doesn’t happen, because this is a red herring. One doesn’t have to declare an intention to procreate in order to get legally married. There are millions of married heterosexual couples who cannot have children, and millions more who do not wish to have them.

        • Stev84

          It’s as if they truly think that everyone will suddenly turn gay and stop having children. Otherwise that “argument” makes no sense whatsoever.

          If they think being gay is so tempting that everyone will go for it, that says a lot more about themselves

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            It’s so frustrating! But I think all the screaming about children evokes some deep sense of fear in them. Perhaps they really do imagine that straight people are going to be so tempted by the possibility of a same-sex marriage that gay people will take over the world.

            That seems crazy, but their stubbornness makes no sense. Even if they believe wholeheartedly that “children need a mother and a father,” denying legal marriage to same-sex couples is not going to a) prevent their children from existing or b) give them parents of the opposite sex.

            I really think punishment and control come in at this point for the organized anti-gay movement. I’m pretty sure their ultimate goal is to make life so unpleasant for same-sex couples that they’ll want to stop being in those relationships. It’s as if they think they can prevent people from “choosing” to be gay by making them suffer.

      • Miss_Beara

        “This child needs to be raised into a functional adult. If we don’t have children, society ends. If we don’t raise our children, society degrades or ends. So the community has a reason to encourage both the birth of children and their proper raising. This encouragement is called “marriage.” ” 

        Why do people act like children will stop being born? It is a ridiculous argument. 

        “This encouragement is called marriage.”

        This makes no sense. Plenty of children are born to single or divorced parents that grow up to be perfectly fine adults. I was raised by two strong women who loved and raised me right. 

      • AxeGrrl

        Sorry Bill, you’re spreading lots of ignorance here.  You REALLY need to watch this (and so should everyone):

        <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzUFYNjUTcM"It's all about children (or at least the anatomical possibility thereof)"

        • Rwlawoffice

           AxeGirl,  I viewed this video.  It is not persuasive.  The guy in the video has no understanding of family law. If you look at the family law of all states you will find that the majority of these laws deal with children and what happens to them in the event of divorce. You will also find a presumption of paternity when a child is born to a couple that is married.  The clear indication is that the laws surrounding marriage are based upon the protection of children . That is the secular reason behind the states legitimation of marriage.  It is not because two adults are in love and want to get married.

      • Glasofruix

        If you eat only for pleasure you tend to overeat, get fat and then die from a heart attack. Your analogy is flawed, because sex for pleasure and sex for procreation aren’t different things it’s the same mechanism with same effects.

  • unclemike

    It’s not often I agree 100% with something on the internet. This is one of those times. Maybe I should buy a lotto ticket.

    Thanks for the clear-headed post, Hemant. 

  • http://twitter.com/ReasJack Jack Jesberger

    I would add to Fred Clark, that it is in fact WORSE to wrap such cruelty in the trappings of niceness.   Trying to make poison smell like honey is a nasty business altogether.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mind.blight Arion Sprague

    “In this case, one side is right and the other side is full of Christians.” I started laughing – loudly – in middle of my office at that line.

  • James McLeod

    I couldn’t agree more with your assessment. So many of my friends on facebook have been sharing this post by Rachel Held Evans and I just can’t hear it anymore. There will be a time when those who are anti-equality will hold the title of bigot as badge of honor but until then it is impossible to conclude that persons who are anti-equality are anything but bigots. Thanks for this post. 

  • moot

    I don’t call playing horse playing basketball because they are two different things.  Granted they share some of the same qualities…there is a basketball, a hoop, the goal is to make it in the hoop, but you are not playing basketball you are playing horse. For thousands of years, the term marriage refers to the act of a man and woman committing their lives to each other exclusively and if they so choose they could procreate.  Gay people, by definition, cannot naturally do that.  So, why must we stretch marriage to include something that doesn’t apply?  Call it a civil union, a retention ceremony or whatever.  Just don’t try to change the definition and understanding of something very sacred to an entire community of people.

    No one will care that two loving, gay people got hitched (call it that too if you want) if that’s all that they want to do.  Just don’t try to make Christians accept something that puts them at odds with their faith and a God that doesn’t accept that.

    • Stev84

      I’m too tired to point out your historical fallacies for the thousandth time. Everyone with some sense already know why you’re wrong.

      But you’re a liar and you know it. Churches also oppose domestic partnerships and civil unions at every turn. With the exact same arguments they use for “marriage”. Constitutional amendments frequently ban any kind of relationship recognition. They also oppose simple anti-discrimination laws because they don’t want gay people to have any rights.

      And no one is forcing you to get gay married. How about instead you stop forcing your fucking beliefs on everyone? Not all people believe the bullshit you do. Marriage has been a civil legal construct for centuries now and your religion has no claim to it. People aren’t telling you what rituals to conduct in your church. In return you don’t get to enshrine your superstitions into the law.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1538670736 Jl Kerrbear

        could you please make a rational argument without resorting to obscenities?

        • SphericalBunny

          Could you please make a rational argument? You are free to use obscenities or not as you please.

    • Miss_Beara

      “Just don’t try to make Christians accept something that puts them at odds with their faith and a God that doesn’t accept that.”

      What about the christians who accept gays marrying? Their god says it fine. What about the churches who wed or perform commitment ceremonies? 

      Isn’t it convenient that your god dislikes the same things you do. 

    • amycas

       Why can’t the term marriage be used for when gay people commit their lives to each other and raise a family together? You don’t have to “accept” it. We’re not asking for that. We’re asking that the government not discriminate in this case. There’s a difference.
      By the way, I’m a bisexual poly-friendly atheist. When, if, I get married to the man I am currently living with, it will not be a sacred religious ceremony, and the marriage will most likely not be exclusive, and yet my marriage to this man will still be legal. Imagine that. Your religious rules do not bar me from marrying a man, but they can bar me from marrying a woman? Why?

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Re: For thousands of years, the term marriage refers to the act of a man and woman committing their lives to each other exclusively and if they so choose they could procreate.

      Uh, no. In reality, “for thousand of years,” marriage meant any number of different things. It meant one husband and many wives. It meant one husband, a few wives, and some concubines on the side. There have been marriages to unite families, marriages to create political alliances, marriages which followed from military conquests, marriages intended to prevent military conquests. There have been marriages for love, and marriages for convenience. And on and on and on it goes.

      People are quick to claim there is only one “definition of ‘marriage’,” but history demonstrates it’s just not true. Marriages have come in many forms, they’ve served many purposes, and marriage itself has morphed a great deal over the last few thousand years.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       Christians do not own marriage.  If you don’t want to give your blessings to our marriages you don’t have to, but you don’t have the right to deny other people rights just because your chosen religious beliefs say something is wrong.  

    • Isilzha

       “marriage”–you keep using that word, but I don’t think you know what it really means, especially in a historical and cultural context.

  • tanyam

    Nicely put, thank you. – A Christian who is forwarding this to other Christians who just don’t get it.

  • http://twitter.com/drestuart Dan Stuart

    We True Christians aren’t bigoted!  We’re just in favor of denying certain rights to certain groups of people based on characteristics they can’t change!

    …wait.

  • Phil Rounds

    I agree. Nothing else i could add to this.

  • Geocatherder

    OK, Hemant, you’ve won.  Your argument is persuasive.  I will no longer remain totally apolitical on FB, but I will post my feelings in support of LGBT rights.  This may make a few friends unfriend me… but it will allow me to be honest, not silent.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      You rock. Good luck!

    • AxeGrrl

      Yay!  this action of yours will make you part of the solution.  Kudos :)

  • Guest

    I know this is going to make a lot of people mad but what will people want next? Beastiality. Will you then be a bigot if someone wack job wants to marry your family pet? He says, “I’m in love!” What would you say about that? How about the people who are “in love” with their car? This isn’t a joke, I’m dead serious. God gave man woman for a reason! LIFE! God said, be fruitful and multiply! You can call me a bigot all day long if you want, I stand for what is right. Just because it is widely accepted in today’s society doesn’t make it any more okay. Don’t get me wrong I do not hate anyone, I care very much for everyone. I don’t want to see anyone put eternity in jeapordy. Remember this, every sin is forgivable if you accept Christ as your savior. The only unforgivable sin without Christ is blasphemy. It’s not too late to give up selfish desires, accept Christ and repent and you shall receive the Kindom of Heaven.

    • Guest

      Sorry, the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy. With Christ it is forgivable however.

      • 3lemenope

        The following sentence is true. The preceding sentence is false. 

        Seriously, when you come out with stinkers like that, it’s no wonder people question the logical integrity of your belief system.

    • Stev84

      *headdesk*

      Does your god say anything about terminal stupidity?

      • Guest

        Romans 2: 14-16
        Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

    • The Captain

      You need to look up the word “consent”.

      Also, that argument was made against interracial marriage. So do you think it’s possible for a black guy and a white girl to mary without including the family dog?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1538670736 Jl Kerrbear

        Huge difference between interracial marriage and so-called ‘gay marriage:’ Black men/women who marry white men/women (example) all bleed red blood and can still biologically produce children. Most naturally and without biological/medical intervention. Gays/lesbians can’t produce children without that intervention because it is against laws of nature.

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          Against the laws of nature? You mean, the same nature where there are thousands of incidents of homosexual behaviour observed in animals?

          Also, the interracial marriage comparison refers to a cultural question, not a biological one, which is far more relevant.

          Your ignorance is burning a hole in your head.

          • Guest

            Animals are exactly that, animals. They have no morals, they do not know right and wrong. You can’t possibly compare humans to animals or you must allow humans and animals to interbreed as well since “we are all animals” as you insinuate.
            I’m sorry if you do not like the laws of morality, men and woman make children, men and men cannot! It’s wrong and us Christians have every right to state our opinion on it. If we want to donate money to what we believe is good for humanity who are you to tell us we can’t do so? You are as bigoted as anyone!

            • Glasofruix

              So, first you say it’s unnatural and we point to you that it is not and then you go around by saying that because of our brain we are can overwrite every natural settings we have?

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

               Humans *are* animals, and if by “laws of morality” you mean your little book of myths that says women should be stoned to death if they’re not virgins on their wedding night, kids should be killed if they disobey their parents, rape victims should be required to marry their rapists, etc, then you can keep that.  Most of us here wouldn’t treat a dog that poorly.

        • Miss_Beara

          That is beside the point. The same arguments that people are giving against gays marrying are the same arguments people were giving against interracial marriage. 

          The ability to have children is irrelevant. A young married couple could choose not to have children. An elderly married couple cannot have children. 

          “Most naturally and without biological/medical intervention.”

          What about the ones that can’t? Since they can’t “produce children” without intervention, and they want children, is it also “against the laws of nature”? 

        • SphericalBunny

           Black men/women who marry white men/women (example) all bleed red blood and can still biologically produce children.

          Same as gay people then.

          Gays/lesbians can’t produce children without that intervention because it is against laws of nature.

          Like a straight married couple with fertility problems then.

        • Stev84

          Actually, one argument often given against interracial marriages was that biracial children would be stigmatized by society and thus such couples shouldn’t be able to marry. It’s all been heard before.

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Re: I know this is going to make a lot of people mad …

      … but you’re going to make them mad, anyway. Got it.

      Re: Will you then be a bigot if someone wack job wants to marry your family pet?

      Nice try … but no. Not gonna work. Marriage is a contract between two people. Pets cannot enter into contracts. Hence, marrying a pet is impossible.

      Re: God said, be fruitful and multiply!

      Which God? Where? I don’t see one. Produce a God and then we can discuss what he did or didn’t say.

      Re: You can call me a bigot all day long if you want, I stand for what is right.

      Calling yourself “right” does not actually make you “right.”

      Re: Don’t get me wrong I do not hate anyone, I care very much for everyone.

      Of course you — and the rest of the militant Christianists — hate gays. How could it be otherwise?

      Re: I don’t want to see anyone put eternity in jeapordy.

      Aha, there it is! The ultimate weapon of Christian psychological terror. He hammer of doom … the threat of eternal damnation if people dare to be so insolent as to refuse to follow your own personal set of metaphysically-generated rules.

      Re: Remember this, every sin is forgivable if you accept Christ as your savior.

      Why would that be the case? How, exactly, does that work? Please explain the mechanism … in detail. Include every step. And then when you’re done, explain precisely what your God gets out of this particular scenario.

      Re: It’s not too late to give up selfish desires, accept Christ and repent and you shall receive the Kindom of Heaven.

      I can’t think of anything that’s more “selfish” than coming in here, ordering people to believe what you believe … merely because you believe it … and back up your demand with threats of eternal perdition.

      As for the kingdom of Heaven, I’m not sure you even understand what it is. That’s OK, nearly all Christians these days have no clue about it, so you’re not alone. Try reading what your own Jesus Christ had to say about it. You can find just some of his comments on it, in Matthew 5-7 & Luke 6:17-49 … among other portions of the gospels. I can tell you this … ordering people what to think is distinctly NOT the sort of humble lifestyle Jesus advocated as the way to being the kingdom of Heaven.

      Before you claim to be a Christian and tell people what Jesus taught, you first must actually behave like a Christian and abide by those same teachings. I suggest you try it sometime. You obviously haven’t done it, yet.

      • Guest

        Where in anything I said did I order anyone to believe in what I believe? I simply stated my beliefs. And you people call Christians bigots!? The definition of a bigot is what? Look it up. It’s okay for a non-believer to be able to express their views and opinions but when a Christian does it we are bigoted because we don’t accept your values. I guess it takes one to know one.

        • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

          Re: Where in anything I said did I order anyone to believe in what I believe?

          When you told us what would happen to us if we dared refuse your orders:

          I don’t want to see anyone put eternity in jeapordy. Remember this, every sin is forgivable if you accept Christ as your savior. The only unforgivable sin without Christ is blasphemy. It’s not too late to give up selfish desires, accept Christ and repent and you shall receive the Kindom of Heaven.

          The meaning of this is clear to me. If it’s not clear to you, that’s not my problem … it’s yours. They’re your words, not mine. Take responsibility for them.

          I simply stated my beliefs.

          Uh, no. You didn’t just stop at telling us your beliefs. You told us we’d be tormented for eternity if we defied your beliefs. That is NOT the same thing as merely stating what you believe.

          The definition of a bigot is what? Look it up.

          Look it up for yourself. I don’t have time to educate Bible-thumping, doom-propounding Christianists. There are free dictionaries on the Internet … use one.

          t’s okay for a non-believer to be able to express their views and opinions but when a Christian does it we are bigoted because we don’t accept your values.

          Again, that is NOT what you did. You did much more than that. You instructed us to believe as you do because we’d be tormented eternally if we defied you and your God.

          I guess it takes one to know one.

          I have no idea what that means. Obviously you didn’t actually pay attention to what I said. Is that because I’m an insolent, cynical, skeptical, godless agnostic heathen? You think you don’t have to pay attention to my words? You can just rail back at me with your paranoiac metaphysics, without bothering to digest what I said?

          I know your religionism has infantilized you, but really, I don’t have time for these childish games, your accusations that have no basis in reality, and your bellicose whining that there are people in the world who dare defy you and your God. Some of us can and will do so. Don’t like it? Too bad.

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          You and your ilk keep missing the obvious lesson. Theists have a right to express their views, and so do atheists. NO ONE, including you, has a right to not be criticized for those views. Why is it when you post nonsense and you get smacked down for it (with logic and reason of course), you start to wail like a spoiled brat who was told that they couldn’t have the toy they wanted right now?

          It’s perfectly fair to turn the tables by the way. By all means come at us with all the logic and reason at your disposal. Most atheists are also skeptics, so if you have a sound argument, you do have a chance of swaying us. That’s a far cry from what WE have to contend with. We present solid, reasoned, sensible arguments as to why theists and bigots are wrong, and they retreat into Holy Book passages and “You need Jesus.” I suppose it shouldn’t be astonishing how theists categorically refuse to ever admit they’re wrong — doing so would totally screw up your world.

      • Animallover

        Who are you to say I cannot marry a farm animal? I am in love with my cow, she is in love with me as well. I buy her flowers on valentines day and everything. We need to change the definition of marriage so my lover and I can have the same rights as everyone else!

        • Parse

          I’m just gonna quote Margaret Whitestone below, because  she said it better than I could:

          You can’t tell the difference between loving relationships between consenting adults and predation on children, animals or inanimate objects which clearly cannot give consent.   Your morals are clearly twisted and you probably shouldn’t be allowed in the general population.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

           When your cow can give informed consent and sign a marriage certificate you can petition for the right to marry her.  Until then just boink her in the field like you’ve been doing up until now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

      You compare love between consenting adults with bonking the family pet, yet you want to pretend you aren’t a bigot?  Get real. 

      You can’t tell the difference between loving relationships between consenting adults and predation on children, animals or inanimate objects which clearly cannot give consent.   Your morals are clearly twisted and you probably shouldn’t be allowed in the general population.

    • http://www.phoenixgarage.org/ cr0sh

      Actually, what I can’t wait for (whether I’ll live long enough to enjoy the spectacle is another matter, though), will be the rise of strong artificial intelligence. I can easily see someone wanting to marry their android or gynoid.

      I can see such machines declaring that they are sentient, thinking, rational and alive.
      I can see the hatred and backlash by humanity against this kind of thing.
      I can see humans losing the battle very quickly – probably via extermination.

      Ever wonder why in fictional sci-fi universes the machines rise up and stomp the humans? Could it simply be because we denied them their rights as sentient, thinking, rational and alive beings?

      The crazy thing? That is what many of these sci-fi fictionalizations explore – yet despite watching them, despite these same rights battles going on constantly (with a few changes in names, places, and definitions), some grand part of us refuses to learn. Not all of us – but enough of us to make the rest of us shake our heads at the stupidity and ignorance around us.

      I keep hoping we figure it out before we make our “dumb matter” intelligent – because it very well may not be as forgiving to us, as we have been to each other (simply because their memories won’t degrade like our species’ memories do over time)…

  • Mexi

    Thank you.

  • ChristopherErwinHogan

    It’s interesting how the fundamentalists keep complaining about being “silenced”.  It seems to me, they never shut up!

    • Concerned Citizen

      They don’t know the difference between people posting blog comments that disapprove of you, and people passing laws that disapprove of you.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      True. You’d think they’d notice that their complaints about being silenced are getting published and responded to.

  • Mythra

    I couldn’t agree with you more Hemant. Hate is hate. I don’t care how many cherries you throw on top. I’m a latino in the south and growing up in these parts has shown me just how cruel these christians can be. I used to have people tell me that I was alright, or that I was one of the good ones. Jee thanks, I have family you know. These people are sad. And you must distance yourself from those that wish harm, stress, or fewer rights to certain peoples. By showing them ur disgust with their hateful views it’s the only way to send a message to them. No more silence. We must stand strong and assertive when it comes to bigotry. Enough is enough. So throw out those loaded words of conflict when the time is right. If u are against equal rights, you are a Bigot.

  • zakkmoneyy

    This was so interesting I nearly read half the comments on the original post. It really reminds me why I dislike organized religion so much. I don’t discount the possibility of a higher power, but I don’t agree with an institution that has been passed down for thousands of years, only to be twisted and filled with prejudice by the cold hearts of those less tolerant.

    S. Truett Cathy is the perfect example. He may not be a Christian leader, but a damn good chicken sandwich can make a lot of people listen, especially if your faith is summed up in to one word, “Christian”, like his. People are flocking into his restaurants because they agree with his views, but he’s using that authority to take their money and give it to special interest groups (that’s right, the company’s money, not his).

    Christians are more or less educated by the church to not ask the tough questions. Questioning “God’s” teachings is considered a sin. However, it’s pretty safe to assume that other shady people like Cathy have had a chance to sway the followers of one of the world’s archaic religions, whether it be to create new beliefs or reinforce old ones. Can you honestly believe that the Gospel has remained untainted by, for lack of a better word, the greasy fingers of wealthy bigots and opinionated religious leaders?

  • Guest

    I see many have responded to my initial post.  Well, I haven’t the time to keep up with the responses.  Let me sum up.  To those who condemned such obvious Orwellian heavy handed examples of censorship and thought crime punishment – well done.  Bravo.  But I’ve noticed that not a few, while saying they opposed such things as a mayor attempting some good old freedom ending puritanical intolerance, there are many who seem to get upset with the idea that the thing they oppose is being called what it is.  Plus, there’s not nearly enough condemnation of those within the left/liberal/gay community who aer jumping up and down and yelling for more thought control.  I notice when Fred Phelps and his ilk come out of whatever floor boards they hide beneath, you would have to get tickets to shout him down from the religious community.  I mean, religious leaders of every stripe – even if they aren’t Christian, but especially if they are – come out and smack him down and any like him by the boat load.  Not ‘buts’, no ‘howevers’, just simple condemnation.  They may have other opinions on issues, but the make sure their condemnation of his deplorable tactics are heard, and undeniable.  That’s what I would like.  Sure, there are differing views on this issue.  And yes, the Left seems ever eager to portray those who don’t conform to liberalism’s dogmas as hate and evil, but still, it wouldn’t hurt this one time to let the focus be where everyone sees it should be: a naked attempt by elected officials to invoke censorship because they seem to think someone in the LGBT community is wanting that very action to take place.  Make it known, make it clear.  Then folks may be a little more inclined to believe you when you say 90% of everyone has condemned this, and without the requisite qualifiers. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       Nobody is trying to control your thoughts.  Denying LGBT people marriage is not a thought.  The fact that it’s legal in 30 states  to deny gay people employment or fire them just because they’re gay isn’t a thought.   The fact that it’s legal to deny gay people housing in more than half of the nation isn’t a thought.  That’s discrimination.  It’s bigotry.  And you’re not being persecuted because we call you out when you voice support for it. 

    • Piet Puk

      Good job on misinterpreting almost every reaction you got. Must be a right wing thing, 
      Bill ‘O Reilly style.
      Nobody here wants cencorship, the LGBT  community wants equal rights. That is all.

  • Travis

    There is a rational basis for opposing same sex “marriage”. It is found in God’s word in Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and other places. God says that the act of sodomy is an abomination. How can people who fear God and believe the Bible is His word to humankind endorse what He calls sin. It is disingenous to claim that opposition to the homosexual agenda must be motivated primarily by bigotry or fear when it can easily proceed from a clear reading of scripture, which is reverred as divine revelation on rational grounds.

    • Piet Puk

      Cherry picking from 
      thousands year old scripture as a guide to morality is not ‘rational’.
      Please don’t expect us rational people to follow your delusion.

    • Stev84

       “rational basis”. It does not mean what you think it means

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       It’s nice we live in a constitutional republic and not a theocracy, isn’t it?

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      Then you had better not eat shrimp or wear clothing of mixed materials, or your asshole of a God is gonna put you on a rotisserie in Hell.

    • SphericalBunny

      So what you’re saying is that you completely endorse lesbian marriage? Halfway there then…

      Of course, I think you’re more than a bit weird for wanting to do a nation wide survey asking straight married couples if they’ve ever had anal sex and seeking to deny/dissolve their marriages on that basis. Those poor Christian saddlebackers! Won’t someone think of the Xtian saddlebackers?!

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        The only thing more ridiculous than all the screaming about children is the screaming about anal sex. It’s funny how they only seem to have a problem with it when it involves two men.

    • Parse

      In other news, there is a rational basis for enforcing halal dietary rules - Quran 2:173, 5:3, 5:5, 5:90, 6:118.  Or is using a religious text to force views on the entirety of society a Christian-only privilege?

  • TED

    I agree with the spirit of what you’re saying wholeheartedly, but can we please qualify the term “Christian?” As a socially conscious liberal who also happens to attend a church  within a denomination (the ELCA) which allows gay ministers, it really bothers me when people make sweeping assertions against “Christians”. Please keep in mind that within the vast umbrella term Christianity there are multiple Christianities, which may OR MAY NOT be opposed to gay marriage and the larger quest for social justice. Your friend Rachel is an excellent example of this. So let’s all try to be just a little more careful when try to reduce Christianity to some monolithic entity. Nobody benefits from sweeping generalizations.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      But are you and your socially conscious fellow Christians making any useful noises against the anti-gay or the anti-women Christians? Have you tried to block any of their hateful attempts at legislating against gay’s or women’s rights?

      It’s not enough to accept gay ministers and yet let the haters take the microphone and imply they speak for all Christians.

      You’d be less likely to be painted with a broad brush for supporting hate if you were heard criticising it directly and effectively, yourselves.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    The way anti-gay Christians go on about “protecting marriage,” you’d think people were trying to take their marriages away. The organized anti-gay right is all about control and punishment, no surprise there, but even the people on the ground seem obsessed with this idea that their families are somehow being threatened. I guess I just don’t understand what’s so frightening about inclusion. No one’s trying to destroy the “traditional family.” Gay and lesbian families just want to be included within that framework.

  • Anon

    I’m tired of these LGBT people with their “You’re either with us or against,” crap. i honestly dont care what happens with the gay marriage debate. if they can marry,fine. if they can’t, fine with me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       Well it’s pretty simple.  Either you support equal rights or you don’t. It’s not “crap”, it’s a simple fact. 

  • Bruce N

    “but no one’s taking away their rights. No one’s forcing gay marriage in their church. No one’s asking them to attend a gay wedding against their will.”

    No, but they are forced to pay for government funded abortions with their tax dollars, which is against their belief system.

    I think no liberal enjoys a conservative calling them a baby killer, or against the rites of babies. They would claim it is not about that with abortion, it is about protecting the rites of the mother. Well if you are going to take that stance, then it is only fair to realize that the conservatives view is not anti-gay, it is about protecting the sanctity of marriage. Something you say their is no rational argument for (what is the rational argument against, “everyone straight has it”? Mabe they shouldn’t. 50% of people get divorced. Just because it is a true statement doesn’t mean it is a rational argument), well most religions, followed by billions of people, for thousands of years have clearly defined marriage between a man and woman. You don’t have to like it, but you can’t just claim it is illegitimate and unreasonable becauseyou disagree and it doesn’t serve your goal.

    I am a republican, and I am for gay marriage. I wouldn’t want to not be able to have the same rites as someone else, just because I have a different sexual preference. This is th same reason I am anti-abortion. While I think forcing a mother into an unwanted pregnancy is a horrible violation of her freedom…it is the lesser of two evils, as depriving a child of a life and giving them no say in the matter is the greatest violation of freedom that could exist.

    The only way we are ever going to be able to come to agreement, is if we can objectively look at the views of others, respect them like we expect our own, and if we actually try to understand them. When you present their pro defined movement of marriage, as “anti-gay”, then you better be presenting your case for abortion not as “pro-life”, but as “anti-baby”. You have to have moral consistency in the way you approach your arguments. Unfortunately many, like this author, choose to depict movements they don’t agree with as hateful, and despite wanting people to be tolerant of views of others, they throw around the word “bigot”, like that is an ok thing to do.

    Your friend sounds like a nice person, who is tolerant of the views of others, but has her own, and asks that you respect them like she does yours, and you call her a bigot and write an article that reeks of moral superiority. There are plenty of bigots in this world (many of them liberals believe it or not. And yes, affirmative action IS racist. Any act that favors one group over another is discrimination. Reverse discrimination doesn’t make it ok, but you want to believe it is, and rationalize it, because…it’s what you believe, so the rules for morality change), your friend is not a bigot. She like the majority of christians, are accepting, and forgiving people, who happen to live their lifes by a culture and codes that they believe to be sacred, and have for thousands of years, and one of those is marriage, which has been defined for them as between a man and a woman. You friend did her best to be respectful, and tolerant of the views of others, and made an impassioned plea to stop having random people accuse her of being a hateful bigot just because she had a different belief system. I wonder if she knew it would actually be a friend of hers that would be calling her a bigot.  

    • Bruce

      One correction (well probably a few spellings), but I meant “pro choice” not “pro life” when discussing something a liberal would defense.

      And I wanted to add, looking over your last article again, and calling out people on their bullshit. Let’s not pretend that bigot is being used here, or anywhere else nationally, in any other way than it actually is. It is not some term that is up  interpretation, and it is not something you are reaching for beause you are having trouble defining the best way to describe someone. It is a hateful,offensive, nasty term. It is used to slander someone, and create the public perception that that person is evil, and wrong, and in such a way that they should lack all credibility in the discussion. You are using it to try and bully people into having the same beliefs as you. It is cruel, and the first resort of a weaker mind that clearly is unable to make an articulate case for their position.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       Read and learn.  Marriage hasn’t been “one man/one woman for thousands of years”.
      http://www.stephaniecoontz.com/articles/article25.htm

      And abortion isn’t paid for by your tax dollars, but churches are subsidized by mine so maybe you should stop your whining about being “forced to pay for things you don’t believe in”.   We all pay for stuff we don’t approve of.  It’s called being a grownup in a civilized society.  Give it a try sometime.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1538670736 Jl Kerrbear

        Margaret – sincere question here: please help me understand what you mean about church being subsidized by tax dollars.

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          I’ll help. Churches are tax exempt. That means the tax burden that churches should shoulder, their fair share, is shifted to the rest of society. Society of course includes everyone who pays taxes, including atheists and those with no religious affiliation.

          • Rwlawoffice

            All 501(c)(3) organizations are tax exempt not just churches. Like planned parenthood for example. That evil organization is tax exempt and gets federal dollars.

            • Piet

               Does planned parenthood discriminate?

  • Anthony Camilo

    We must modify our language when it comes to civil rights. Qualifying those whose rights are being denied as gay people, immigrants, black people or whatever, diminishes what they are: people. That is the bottom line, they are PEOPLE. Adding the qualifier opens the the door to “why”, “excuses”, and (I use the world reluctantly) “reasons”. Allowing the qualifier almost validates the argument of those who choose to deny the rights they posses for no other advantage than being alive, by acknowledging their prejudices.

  • Megd0178

    Please don’t lump all Christians together. We don’t all oppose gay rights. The united church of Christ has supported marriage equality for years. There are a lot like us out there, but our voices aren’t as loud

    • Piet

       Then speak up there, in stead of here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1538670736 Jl Kerrbear

    It is not about hate. Scripture is quite clear on the matter: Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (First Corinthians 6:9-10)

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      What on EARTH makes your religion and holy text the right one? The Egyptian gods have been around a lot longer. I’m thinking maybe Ra or Osiris have a leg up on your buddy Jesus.

    • ImRike

      Matthew 7: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
      3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You
      hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will
      see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
       
      Can you explain to me why you don’t let your almighty god take care of these problems? If two guys (or two women) don’t care about inheriting any kingdoms but rather would prefer to get married instead, isn’t that enough? If it pisses off your god, is he not big enough or mighty enough or powerful enough to take any action he deems necessary without needing you to help him along? Two gays getting married has zero practical effect on you or on anybody else’s marriage. Why do you have to agitate against it and spend money to prevent it – money that could be used to help the poor and the sick?
      Oh, but I just thought of a way that gay marriage might affect society at large: if there are thousands of married gay couples, many of them might like to adopt children, so that would probably help reduce abortion rates; but yeah, I know, most christians wouldn’t care about that (since that wouldn’t be punishment for either the gay couple or the mother of the child! Abortions must be reduced by making women suffer and feel guilty!).

    • AxeGrrl

      It is not about hate. Scripture is quite clear on the matter: Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (First Corinthians 6:9-10)

      Dear, that is utterly irrevelant to the issue of civil marriage.

      What, for Pete’s sake, is SO hard about understanding that very simple fact for some of you?

      *mind boggled*

    • Isilzha

       I bet you were a disobedient child.  You should have been stoned to death at the city gate.

    • Stev84

      Jesus also said something about rendering unto Ceasar what is his. Marriage a civil contract that has nothing to do with religion legally.

  • Travis

    Dear Mr. Mehta,

    I want to apologize for my previous comment from this afternoon. I wrote out of anger and not love. Immediately after I posted it, I got in the car. The first thing I heard on the radio was a pastor discussing 2 Timothy 2:14-16 about how Christians should not get involved in useless debate and “wrangling about words.” This is what I was doing. If anything, I suppose my comment would only drive people further from God, not at all my desire.I understand that you believe homosexuality is okay because you do not know God, and I applaud your desire to stand up for what you believe are the rights of your fellow humans. Perhaps God will have mercy on you and open your eyes, but my angrily quoting scripture is probably not helpful.
    Therefore, I am apologizing, and ask for your forgiveness.

    • Piet

      No apologies nessecary for posting, you are forgiven for that.
      What you will not be forgiffen for, are your actions, should you choose to keep equal rights away from others.
      I know you believe that your god is real, but that is just because you choose to close your eyes to reality. And that is ok, if you could just keep it to yourself and don’t push it onto others by voting against equality.

    • Isilzha

      lolololololol!!!!!!

      Why don’t you go bash some babies against some rocks or stone your disobedient children as god and jesus commaneded???

    • Miss_Beara

      “Perhaps God will have mercy on you and open your eyes.”

      Which god? The god of the Christians that are for gays marrying or the god of the Christians that are against equal rights. 

      It is funny how you and your god are both against equal rights. 

  • Landerson26

    I’m not sure how insulting the belief systems of others validates yours at all. I am a Christian, and as such I am anti-gay.  I do not believe that you can be a homosexual Christian because it directly contrasts the way of life that is laid out by God in the Bible. That being said, everyone make their own choice. If they want to be gay, they can do so but they they make that choice (and those of you who say it is not a choice clearly have no understanding of what a choice is, you either do or you don’t. Love is not a feeling it is a way of life, you can choose who you love, who you have sexual relations with and what you desire in a life mate.) If they make that choice they are not Christians. Becoming a Christian does not mean you say a prayer, it means your entire life is laid out through the example of Jesus Christ and in the character of God. You may not agree with what I have to say, but if you want me to respect what you believe, why is it so much that I ask the same of you?  I love all people, whether gay, straight, bisexual… that does not mean that I have to agree with what they do. I want the best for all people, including those who will bash me and my beliefs.  People have misunderstood Christianity for so long, but I’ve come to realize that it is supposed to be that way. Those in the flesh of this world cannot understand the spiritual realm that God dwells in.

    • Piet

       Do your research, being gay is not a choise, no matter what lies you’ve been told.

    • Isilzha

       Wait…didn’t jeebus tell you to abandon and renounce your family and follow him?

  • JD

    I’m a gay Christian and I agree with your friend. Christians do honestly mean well. You don’t need to tell me how wrong most of them are on these issues, but we have to meet them where they’re at. They are at a place where their entire upbringing praised homophobia. To change their minds is to convince them that everything they were taught by their parents is a gigantic lie. Such is not an easy accomplishment, and calling people who haven’t seen the truth yet nasty names gets the LGBT community nowhere.

  • stochasticsoul


    Eventually, I’m sure we’ll get to a point where even the vast majority of Christians support gay-marriage. All the trends point in that direction.”
    That’s exactly what keeps me hopeful. We’ve seen it happen for abolition, civil rights, and interracial marriage, and I see it happening for marriage equality in my lifetime. On the other hand, I’m glad we haven’t had to wait around for all Christians to get on board in order to make some progress.

  • http://twitter.com/tkmlac Katie

    I agree. If Rachel wants to help find a way for her friends to be able to hold their convictions without insulting or hurting (oppressing and discriminating against) their LGBT friends, she should tell them to change their convictions.

  • http://www.jasonmillsonline.com Jason Mills

    So I’m writing as a Christian who is deeply, deeply trouble with how many Christians have treated the LGBTQ community.

    I honestly think a lot of the problem comes from a disagreement of what *marriage* is.  If marriage is only a legal right, then in my mind, there really is no justifiable means of not having nationwide same-sex marriage.  It boils down to dignity, respect, worth, and treating each other fairly (though I’m sure there would still be far too many people who would be against it, sadly). 

    However, I think for many people, marriage is seen as a religious event.  In the Catholic church, marriage is seen as a sacrament – it is an act of worshiping God (let’s save the talk about hypocrisy for another day… it really doesn’t add or subtract to what I’m trying to get at here).  Now, I’m well aware of that there are a lot of problems with this belief, and I’m well aware that marriage traditionally has not always been religious… but for better or worse, for many people it is intimately tied to their faith.  If these people believe that their Scriptures teach that marriage is between a man and woman, you have to understand how government dictating what marriage is or isn’t can be seen as a violation of religious freedom and violating the First Amendment.

    I think on for many it is seen as a legal issue.  On many others its seen as a religious issue. Both are trying to fight for their rights and freedom.

    I appreciate your thoughtful dialogue Hermant, but I guess I really do think there are more than two-sides to this issue.  I think simply boiling it down to an “us vs. them” fight is kind of unfair to the many other ideas that are out there, some of them bigoted, others not, and still others that are just very confused and contradicted.

    My personal view is that the government shouldn’t even be involved with “marriage”.  It should just get out altogether – heterosexual or same-sex.  It has no place in government.  By doing this, each faith community could practice marriage as they see fit… and there are some faith bodies who do recognize and welcome same-sex marriage and partnerships.  

    But at the same time, the government MUST, MUST make sure that all couple receive same, legal rights.  Call it civil unions or whatever you want.  But the legal recognition, protection, and opportunity that are provided for heterosexual couples must be provided also for same-sex couples.  It is unjustifiable, in my view, the rights that LBGTQ communities 

    So I have no idea what that belief makes me.  I guess I do feel somewhat in the middle, someone who is fighting for gay rights, but that doesn’t necessarily see same-sex marriage as the be-all, end-all solution.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I think the Marin Foundation is something that is very needed.  I kind of dig them.  Anyways, thanks for sharing, and allowing me to share too.  I know I might be in for some rough feedback, but try to be kind…

    • AxeGrrl

      Neither religion nor Christianity ‘owns’ marriage.  Civil marriage has absolutely nothing do with religion, so this idea of “keeping” is a religious thing is utterly baseless.

      When will people stop making this ridiculous argument?

      • http://www.jasonmillsonline.com Jason Mills

        I think this is a fair point. And I don’t necessarily disagree with it.

        I guess what I was getting at is I think in some cases it isn’t bigotry as much as fear that motivates these people to act as they do. Right or wrong, they are afraid of losing their rights. Which is a completely different problem… And in which case calling them a bigot isn’t all that helpful.

        Maybe I’m just naive and cynicism hasn’t caught up with me just yet.

        In the end, I just find myself asking, what is most important? Is it the word “marriage” or is it to ensure that all couples, regardless of orientation, have the same, equal rights? And if it’s the rights rather than a word (especially one which rightly or wrongly means different things to different people) maybe there are other ways to accomplish this, and to accomplish this sooner.

        • AxeGrrl

          In the end, I just find myself asking, what is most important? Is it the word “marriage” or is it to ensure that all couples, regardless of orientation, have the same, equal rights? And if it’s the rights rather than a word (especially one which rightly or wrongly means different things to different people) maybe there are other ways to accomplish this, and to accomplish this sooner.

          This ‘different label’ has already been tried in the U.S.  It’s called “civil unions”, and it hasn’t worked.   Civil marriages comes with hundreds of federal protections that don’t come with civil unions……

          So, ‘separate but equal’ isn’t even equal.

          Here in Canada, we just have marriage.  Hetero, same sex, simply marriage.
          It’s astonishing that the U.S., the country that used to proudly boast about the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” things is lagging soooo badly behind countries like ours.  Really, America, get on with it already ~ the rest of us are looking at you and thinking “what the f is taking them so long?”

          Oh yeah, we know why.

          • Isilzha

            Exactly…I’m MARRIED and there was NO church, minister or even a mention of god.  Instead, there was a courthouse, Justice of the Peace and I requested NO mention of god during the ceremony.  I’ve NEVER had anyone question whether or not I’m MARRIED!  This ‘civil union’ crap pisses me off!!!

          • http://www.jasonmillsonline.com Jason Mills

            I agree that separate but different doesn’t work. For one thing it isn’t equal, the very fact it is ‘separate’ makes it not ‘equal’. And for another, like you mentioned, there are very few rights that get properly extended. I don’t see that as a good or acceptable option at all.

            Maybe the confusion was what I was suggesting is being confused with civil unions as is. I’m not. In my mind, though, government doesn’t belong in marriage, and it certainly doesn’t belong in telling couples who can and cannot be together. In fact, it should be protecting that right.

            In my mind “civil unions” or whatever we want to call them would be widespread, the same for all couples, and available to all couples. It would be a federal legal document and agreement.

            A marriage would be a public ceremony. No legal ramifications. Religious for those who desire, non-religious for those who desire, much as it currently is.

            It doesn’t seem like much, but if we took ‘marriage’ out of the government, I guess I just think we actually could see equality for all couples in the States. I’m optimistic that distinction would ease the fears of many, and even if didn’t, it really opens up a way for the government to move forwards anyways.

            • AxeGrrl

              Seriously, we did it here in Canada.  Marriage.  That’s it.  No wasted money setting up two precisely the same things that are just called something different just to ‘not offend’ people who don’t have any right to any ‘special say’ in the matter in the first place.

              It’s a little mind boggling that some people insist on trying to make this a whole lot more complicated than it has to be……..especially given that there’s no substantive reason NOT to just call all civil marriages marriages.

            • Stev84

              Try telling straight couples to get civil unions. See how far that will get you.
              In France, the only reason why PACSs are so popular with straights is precisely because they aren’t a marriage. They’re far easier to dissolve.

              Here are documents showing you exactly why Civil Unions don’t work:
              http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/curc.html
              (especially the “First Interim Report”)

              For better or worse, the term “marriage” is so ingrained in American culture (ironically because it’s so hyper-religious at all levels) that it’s all people recognize. Religion is responsible for giving marriage such a high social status and now it has to deal with the fact that people won’t settle for less. And that despite being equal on paper, Civil Unions still don’t offer the same rights.

            • allein

              “In my mind “civil unions” or whatever we want to call them would be widespread, the same for all couples, and available to all couples. It would be a federal legal document and agreement.” 

              We already have a word for this legal construct. That word is “marriage.” And if the government said “we’re not going to have marriage anymore and everyone will have a civil union,” we’d have an even worse outcry from the religious people screaming about having their marriages taken away by the big bad government.

              Aside from that, on a purely practical level, do you know how much it would cost to reword every document (laws, forms, etc.) out there to replace the term “marriage” and its variants? I don’t know either, but I do know that we have a lot better things on which we could (and should) be spending our tax money. Besides, people will still call it marriage anyway. People need to learn that some words mean more than one thing, and get on with their lives.

      • Isilzha

        I’m particularly offended at the idea that marriage requires a religious component since I was married in a courthouse by a justice of the peace and requested that there be NO mention of god during the ceremony.  I’d love for one of those religious wingnuts to come up and tell me to my face that I’m not MARRIED!

        • http://www.jasonmillsonline.com Jason Mills

          Please don’t be offended. That’s not what I was trying to say. I don’t see much changing except that you wouldn’t have gotten “rights” from getting married. It would have been a public ceremony. And the same option would be open to all couples.

          Look, I get this seems like symantics. But I guess I just think it actually would make a difference in the fight for equal rights.

          • Isilzha

            I wouldn’t have gotten WHAT ‘rights’ exactly?

            Oh, and NOW I’m VERY offended.  How dare you even try to tell me that I shouldn’t be able to say I’m married and able to claim all the rights and privileges of it (like being there for my husband if he’s in the hospital) because I didn’t include your imaginary critter in my ceremony.  Go away you nasty little BIGOT!

            • http://www.jasonmillsonline.com Jason Mills

              I am so confused. That isn’t what I meant at all. Clearly I am misunderstanding what you are trying to say and unfamiliar with your story, so I won’t say anything else. Except that I never intended to and never would question your marriage.

              • Isilzha

                “except that you wouldn’t have gotten “rights” from getting married.”

                So, explain what ‘rights’ I wouldn’t have gotten becuase I didn’t have a religious ceremony that included YOUR imaginary critter.

                • http://www.jasonmillsonline.com Jason Mills

                  Ah! Sorry, I was unclear. I explained it further down a little, but not very well here I guess.

                  I just would rather see a separation of marriage and government. In my mind, the government should be responsible for the LEGAL rights of all couples, and provide a civil union certificate (for lack of a better name) to all couples who desire it. Widespread, across the board, the same.

                  Marriage would be a public ceremony. For those desiring a religious ceremony, they could have it. Those desiring a nonreligious ceremony could have it. It is a public declaration and celebration, not defined by government and with no legal ramifications.

                  Is it redundant having a “civil union certificate” instead of just opening up a marriage certificate to everyone? Yeah, probably. But with endless debates and concerns about the word ‘marriage’ maybe taking government out of it would actually get something done and would provide equal rights for all couples.

                • Isilzha

                  Let’s just take the religion out of the concept of marriage.  There was NO religion involved in my ceremony and I’m just as married as those who included that crap.  In fact, I’ve been married longer than MANY who included imaginary critters in their ceremony.  There’s NOTHING magical about religious marriage.  It doesn’t confer anything special onto anyone.

                • Stev84

                  It’s already separated. The only thing that counts is the marriage license and certificate. Everything else is optional. Marriage is already pretty much exactly as you describe. People can have any kind of ceremony they wish. It doesn’t have to be religious, but for it to be legal they need a document from the civil authorities.

                  You are going at this the wrong way. It’s not the government that needs to get out of marriage. It’s religion that needs to get out the legal aspects of it.
                  And for that you simply need to look at continental Europe. In many countries influenced by the French Code Civil (which also includes South America), you must get married at city hall by a civil registrar. People who don’t want a religious ceremony can do that more elaborately or also have a civil registrar come to some location. More religious people can have a short civil ceremony (just a few minutes) and then go to church. But a priest can’t perform a marriage without it having been registered at city hall first.

                  The US has muddled that concept by having priests act as notaries (the British system is a mix between the two). They are able to notarize a civil legal document. That has led to many peoples’ (including you) misconception that they are an essential part of the system. They aren’t.

                • Glasofruix

                   “And for that you simply need to look at continental Europe. In many
                  countries influenced by the French Code Civil (which also includes South
                  America), you must get married at city hall by a civil registrar.”

                  Belgium here, my sister got married a couple of years ago, first we went to the mayor where she and her husband signed some papers and then everyone got wasted in a big party, no priests, rabbis or imams involved at any point. Anyway the law here says clearly, civil marriage first, then you can have whatever ceremony you like.

    • The Captain

      “If these people believe that their Scriptures teach that marriage is between a man and woman, you have to understand how government dictating what marriage is or isn’t can be seen as a violation of religious freedom and violating the First Amendment.” 

      Exactly, and that’s what’s so infuriating about people who think this way and who are against same sex marriage.. it’s that they have NO concern for the religious freedom of those whose religious beliefs say same sex marriage is fine. If you think the definition of marriage comes from your religion, and you want the government to only recognize your religions definition of it, then you are directly violating the first amendment rights of those that do not follow your religion! They just do not fundamentally extend the same “freedom of religion” to others that they demand.

    • Stev84

      Do you know why marriage is the responsibility of the government? Because Martin Luther and John Calvin wanted it to be so. They saw marriage as worldly thing and wanted the churches to stay out of the legal side. That’s why after the Protestant Reformation more and more countries (including the United States) left the registration and licensing of marriage to the civil authorities.

      The Catholic Church itself didn’t get involved in marriage until the middle ages. For centuries they neither required solemnization for a marriage to be valid, nor did they even have an official liturgy for marriage. Instead they mostly kept Roman laws, which were already secular.

    • http://www.jasonmillsonline.com Jason Mills

      I’m off for the long weekend. To be honest, this whole thing kind of derailed. I didn’t necessarily intend to share my own thoughts, mostly because they aren’t the ones that need to be heard, and secondly, they aren’t all that important.

      The real point I guess I wanted to make was that I think it is unfair to only have two sides people can belong to. People are more complex than that, and while it is easier to quickly categorize people, I don’t think you fully understand how they think until you talk to them.

      The other thing is, and this is simply my experience, a lot of people I know want equal rights for the LGBTQ community. They just get hung up on the word ‘marriage’ and get conflicted. I’m not saying this is right, okay, or whatever – because it’s not- but I wonder if simply changing a word (for everyone) would save a couple years or decades or discrimination. I don’t know. It might be something to descreetly ask people. I guess just seeing this desire and confliction in people makes it hard for me to throw the term bigot around. There certainly are a lot. But to group all… I’m not sure that’s fair.

      For the record, given two choices of pro same-sex marriage or no same-sex marriage, I’m pro same-sex marriage. I’m not sure people gathered that. I think it’s immoral they aren’t treated as equal.

      Anyways, it’s been good. Learned a few things too. Maybe I’ll swing by again someday.

  • EivindKjorstad

    I’d not hesitate to call Rachel a friend either, except I don’t know her well enough. She’s smart, friendly, compassionate and with her heart in the right place.

    But she’s trying to do the impossible. People and institutions who oppose giving a marginalized group the same rights the rest of us enjoy, are, infact, to blame for this.

    If you go around arguing that black people should not be allowed to vote, you are infact a racist no matter how many of your friends are black. If you go around arguing that women should not be barred from priesthood, you are infact sexist.

    And if you argue that homosexuals should not be given exactly the same rights heterosexual people enjoy, then you are infact a homophobe. 

    Rachel is aware of that (she’s smart, remember ?) That’s why she posted this: http://rachelheldevans.com/out-of-step-religious-community

    “I am hanging by the tips of sweaty fingers on this ledge of faith,
    wondering if letting go will bring freedom or death. I’ve hung on
    before—through the science wars, the gender wars, the Christmas wars,
    the culture wars—but I’m just so tired of fighting, so tired of feeling out of place. ”

    Ofcourse *we* know that letting go, brings freedom, not death, but I can totally understand that it’s a scary place to be in for someone who doesn’t know if there’s feathers or rocks at the base of the cliff.

    Rachel decides to “hold on…at least for another day. ”

    If the day comes when she decides to let go, I hope we’ll all do our best to make her landing a soft one. That doesn’t apply just to her, but indeed to all the people who have been let down and made to feel “out of place” by the bigotry and hatred of organized religion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pookiemcnoodles Pookie McNoodles

    Well said.

  • Chadachada123

    >implying there are only ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’
    >implying this article isn’t retarded
    >implying religion isn’t retarded.

  • Dusty

    Bigot is the correct term.  Homophobe/Asshole may or may not apply; these are terms of anger, not descriptors in this case.  Might as well use Motherfucker and cut to the chase.

    I understand Rachel’s point (as related here), though I think she is incorrect. 

    I think the whole Chik-fil-a thing is a red herring.  The Owner expressed his personal view. He did not make any policy statement regarding gay people; I know several openly gay people who work at the ones near my house.  While I think it was a bad idea for him to make it public since it had to be reflected back on the company, he has a right to his own opinion.  Other public figures, particularly celebs, make their opinions know all the time. If I ‘boycotted’ everyone of them I disagreed with, I wouldn’t watch many movies or buy many albums.

    I agree with the comment I’ve heard that in twenty years, opposers of gay marriage will look as idiotic as those who opposed inter-racial marriage look now.

    I’m still not sure why government has any hand in marriage anyway.

    • Piet

       

      I think the whole Chik-fil-a thing is a red herring.  The Owner expressed his personal view.

      He donates large amount of company money to organizations that fight against equality. So every dollar spend at Chik-fil-A indirectly funds bigotry.
      So it is more than just expressing personal views.

  • Dusty

    P.S.  I have been unable to find ANY example of “Traditional” marriage as defined today… i.e. one man/one woman.  In the old testament, Traditional Marriage “taking a woman into ones tent and marrying her.”  Also, it seems to be that one would work seven years then the father of the bride would pull the ol’e switcheroo and marry you to the wrong daughter, in which case you worked seven more years and married the one you wanted in the first place (sister of wife #1).

    Also, traditionally, if a man got caught raping a virgin, he had to pay the dad about $30 and marry here for life.

    Anyone for “Traditional” marriage really????

    • Isilzha

      Wait, that’s not quite right…it’s taking a woman into ones tent, raping her and calling it ‘marriage’!

  • SelectiveINfusion

    I find that the biggest error was using a religious term as a legal term to denote a legal union between two people. Religious folks refuse to give up the word to same sex individuals as Christians see it. This would be solved by deeming all legal marriages civil unions, be it same sex or hetero….then those who want a “marriage” obtain it from a religious institution, after they obtain a civil union certificate….just my thought. There has yet to be a law that approaches the issue from this angle. It would equally apply of all persons and not be discriminatory, and all civil unions would enjoy the privileges. Meanwhile, those in civil union may have a religious marriage ceremony, thus keeping their beloved “marriage”obtain within the church w/o screwing a group of people.

    • Isilzha

      Marriage is a religious term?  Huh, well, I’m married and managed to get that way with a justice of the peace at a courthouse with absolutely NO mention of god.

    • Stev84

      It’s religion that co-opted marriage. The Christians kept Roman (secular) marriage laws for centuries and didn’t get involved in solemnizing marriages until the middle ages. For a long, long time they didn’t even have official marriage rites. That all came later.

      Marriage is already an entirely civil contract. You can get married at city hall, in a court house or by a justice of the peace. The religious stuff is entirely optional, even if many people don’t realize that.
      If you want to make the distinction obvious, you need to look at continental Europe where you have to get married at city hall before the religious ceremony. Priests don’t act as notaries there.

    • SelectiveINfusion

      Both of you totally miss my point. My point: call all marriages civil unions. All the people clining to the stance “marriage is between man and woman” will have no leg to stand because eveyonewould no longer be getting “married”, they’re obtaining a civil union. Stev84, you spent more effort attempting to make me look less inteligent than actually addressing my point. Thanks for the unecessary history lesson, it does nothing to address my point that the US legal system (actually the state and local govts) issue a “marriage” license or cert. The use of the marriage term opens the door for the b.s. “we cannot just change the defenition marriage” argument.

      • Stev84

        I got your point. I just think it’s nonsensical and unrealistic. Why should marriage belong to religion when religion never had a right and monopoly to it in the first place? Especially when you’re talking just about the US, marriage has always been a civil contract. Even the theocratic Puritans set it up that way.

        It’s religion that needs to get out of the legal aspects of marriage. Religious organizations have no business whatsoever acting as notaries for a secular legal contract. A marriage should be legally finalized at city hall. Afterwards people can have whatever ceremony they want.

        If you want to turn your idea into reality, start by asking straight couples to get Civil Unions instead. Let us know how that goes.

        • SelectiveINfusion

          I agree with many of your points. The logic of my approach is this: if we say “fine, we’re not changing the defenition of marriage, we’re calling all unions between two people civil unions. You can have your precious word.” Then anyone who ardently opposes after thatthe point will truly look like a bigot. The “we can’t change marriage” argument is a weak stance that they all crowd behind as an alternative to syaing “gay marriage disgusts me,” which is less norally defensible and they know it.

          • Stev84

            It just doesn’t work that way. They only pretend that all they care about is the word. In reality, they don’t want gay people to have any rights. Christians also vehemently oppose any other form of relationship recognition and even anti-discrimination laws.

      • allein

        “because eveyonewould no longer be getting “married”, they’re obtaining a civil union”

        And you think the religious right wouldn’t have an absolute fit over that? They’re so keen on not ‘sharing’ a word, wait until the evil liberal government tries to take it away altogether!

  • SelectiveINfusion

    C Peterson: advancing equality with every pompous post/comment. Love thy liberal soap box?

  • Kmac

    To all of the religious people on here who use a Bible as their excuse for bigoted, intolerant, homophobic behavior?  To you I say that Gods reflect the people who worship them.  I’ll say it again.  Gods reflect the people who worship them.  Yes.  Gods.  Yours is one of many.  In every single religion, there are people who are loving and tolerant, and there are people who are closed minded and intolerant.  Within Christianity, there are loving tolerant people, and closed minded intolerant people…and you all read the same book.  You could just as easily choose to pray to the God that is tolerant, because it’s just as valid an interpretation…but you don’t.  The fact of the matter is that you choose the God and the interpretation that serves your personal views.  It’s as simple as that.  You get out of the Bible what you WANT to get out of the Bible.  I have never in my life head someone say, “Gee, I don’t have any problem with gay people personally and I really REALLY wish they could have the same rights I do…but that darn Bible makes it pretty clear that God says they can’t”.  You don’t hear that because people who believe that gay people should have equal rights gravitate toward a God that is just as open minded and tolerant of humanity in all it’s forms as they are…or towards no God at all.  I’m sick and tired of people hiding behind the God they choose and the interpretation of the Bible that they think justifies their discriminatory behavior.  Face up to your own bigotry.  It isn’t your God.  It’s YOU.  Take some responsibility for yourself already.  You go to a church that thinks gay people are somehow less because YOU think they’re somehow less.  If attempting to deny people equal rights feels ok to you, it’s because you’re not ok.  If you can’t manage to see people equally, you could choose to mind your own business.  If I’m not mistaken the Bible says it’s not your job to judge.  Not all bigots are Christians, and not all Christians are bigots.  The two operate individually of each other, but you’re both.  You picked a God who’s a bigot because you’re a bigot.  Own it or change it, but quit using religion as an excuse for your discriminatory behavior. 

    • Piet Puk

      Of course you are totally correct, but if you think you can reason with these people, you seriously underestimate the depth of their delusions.

      • Kmac

        I don’t think I underestimate the depth of religious delusion.  As an atheist I find religious people across the board to be deluded by default, because God isn’t real.  That being said, I study religion.  I study history.  I study human nature.  I find the idea of religion fascinating.  I find that people actually believe in it fascinating when the social, historical, and scientific truth is glaringly obvious.  I know it doesn’t do any good to post common sense ideas to religious people, but I don’t see the harm.  I think there’s more harm in not saying something than in putting it out there.  I get it.  I know it’s futile.  It doesn’t cost me anything to say it though, so i say it.

        • Piet Puk

          Yes, it is facinating indeed!
          The hoops and mental gymnastics they go through to keep reality at bay are amazing!

          • Kmac

            Agreed.  Honestly I don’t know how people can believe  or follow the bible or any other religious texts in the age we live in.  I try not to get involved with people’s religion as long as their arm ends where my nose begins, but it seems like the amount of ignorant Fox News followers are getting out of hand these days.  The media in the United States is completely abhorrent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    Agree entirely mate – if you are a person who discriminates on the basis of sexuality then you are exactly the same as the person who discriminates on the basis of skin colour – a fully blown mullet headed cross burning hateful bigot. When you are on the same side of an argument as Fred Phelps and his hateful WBC cultists you really have to question that position and wonder why.

    And me calling you out on that does not make me a bigot…..as the Three Stooges on Fox and Friends seem to believe.

    I can also happily level a further charge at my US chums, and do so on a regular basis with a certain glee…..

    See that Pledge Of Allegiance you guys like to recite a lot? See that end bit that says “With Liberty and Justice FOR ALL”? Sorry to shout that last bit but maybe that way you will hear the words you are saying…..

    So my little anti-gay Kristyhun chum…..which are you then? An empty headed drone who just parrots a meaningless phrase, a liar who makes a pledge without intending to keep it, or just a damn hypocrite?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tabitha.zangre Tabitha Zangre

    This blog is so relevant to my day yesterday. I called some facebook friends out on their trip to Chick Fil A Wednesday, telling them I was deeply disappointed that they went out of their way to support an anti-gay agenda. Then I got a phone call from one of my Christian friends yelling his head off at me because I was full of hate and prejudice towards Christians…huh?! He said that they didn’t go to Chick Fil A because they hate gays, they went because they SUPPORT HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE! Then he accused me of being the one to twist around words! He then informed me he was defriending me. I said were we at an impasse, because I have always been honest about my views that inevitably conflict with his Christianity. I refused to apogolize on calling him and his family out on their bullshit excuse for supporting heterosexual marriage. Let’s call it what it is people.

  • Birdlay47

    It should be equality for all, not just gays etc. What about the children who are the sole caretakers of aged parents? What about the son who is living with and taking care of his aged mother? What about the aged sisters that are living together to make ends meet? I could go on and on. That is why it should be called a union and not a marriage! The right should extend to all living together, and should not signal out gays and lesbians as deserving of special treatment.

    • http://twitter.com/Denveater Denveater

      I don’t understand what you’re saying…what rights are family members lacking? Gays are asking for the right to marry that heterosexual couples have. 

      • Stev84

        Some states do recognize that elderly people who live together benefit from having some legal ties to each other. It’s why domestic partnerships are sometimes available to straight couples above age 68 or so – even if their relationship isn’t romantic.

        That said, biological children already have all necessary legal rights. They’re next of kin.

  • Ryan

    We will all get there in about 30 years as we did with the black/white issue of the 60′s.  We will all sit down and say “I can’t believe Christians thought that way,”  and all along there is a trail of pain we all had to go through so the future can say “oops….we made a mistake….sorry (with a smile)”

  • http://www.jasonmillsonline.com Jason Mills

    Double post.

  • http://www.jasonmillsonline.com Jason Mills

    Ugh. Driving through mountains. Please delete.

  • Revruthucc

    To all my fellow Christians: STOP trying to defend marriage as “one man, one woman.” That is a Judeo-Christian construct that much of the world hasn’t and doesn’t follow in principle or in practice. If we had been founded by a polygamist or polyandrous culture, our laws would be different.

    Here’s the deal: within your CHURCH/RELIGIOUS organization, you will always have the right to define the marriage sacrament however you’d like (to wit, the toleration, if not legalization, of polygamous marriages in some parts of the country by breakaway segments of the LDS). That is a First Amendment protection that stands and no one has the authority to force your congregation or denomination to marry a couple if they don’t fall within your definition of acceptable marriage material. You don’t have to accept a couple if one or both is previously divorced, has a child out of wedlock, or isn’t of your faith/denomination; you would never have to accept a gay or lesbian couple. Period. It isn’t even necessary to write such protections into any law legalizing same-gender marriage because it is a settled part of law and has been for, I don’t know, maybe 220 years?

    What you DO NOT have the right to do is deny anyone else their right to equal treatment under the law as provided in the Fourteenth Amendment. This is a CIVIL right and it trumps the First Amendment to the extent that it provides for state and national recognition of a legal relationship that is equal to and called the same thing as all other relationships between two consenting adults. It is about the benefits and rights that accrue to a couple who have committed to each other and the protections a legal certificate of marriage provides at far less cost and more fully that any other legal document such as a power of attorney, a medical directive, or a legal trust.

    So yes, when you make arguments from religion that are not about religion, you sound like those who defended slavery and second class status for women as religious truth. WRONG, heartless, and prejudiced. When in doubt about something the Bible says, remember that one religious and moral truth is universal (and in the Bible): “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This ought to settle the matter for you when everything else gets muddled.

    –Rev. Ruth Shaver
    United Church of Christ clergywoman

  • Jim Olson

    Here here.  For the record, I’m a UCC pastor and my church does endorse same-sex marriage.  The complicated messy part is that not all the individuals do, nor do all the local congregations.  But I do, and the congregation I just left serving does.  What else are we supposed to call those who do not support us?  Bigot is a nice word.  And, you’re right.  If your feelings are hurt because I called you on the carpet and called you this word, try being gay every day in this society.  

  • Amach19

    If I say I dont care does that make me a bigot too…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=824228623 Unicron Case

    try sticking with asshole or bigot. 
    homophobia and its derivatives are a terrible misnomer. they promote the wrong kind of ideas….
    if hating gay folks was an actual phobia, namely an irrational and crippling fear of something,  you would be one of the most terrible people there are for accosting and berating someone with a mental illness. you wouldnt make fun of arachnophobes or claustrophobes by waving rubber spiders in their face or cramming them in tight space, respectively, would you? so if homophobia is a real phobia than why would you yell at them and tell them how wrong their fear is, surely their mental health professional is or should be working with them on it.

    but more realistically its a term that some clown conjured up 20-25 years ago to describe a problem that didnt have a handy “-ism”,  like racism or sexism. so they slapped a root word and something technical sounding together, and voila, we have the biggest misnomer in civil rights since ‘colored people’
    and frankly when youre fighting a war of ideas it tends to hurt your cause when your terminology is half assed and made from piss poor ideas. 

    but fear not, if you dont want to just say the word HATE because its too simple, or call someone an asshole, theres alternatives… 

    Homonegativity is based on the term homonegativism used by Hudson and Ricketts in a 1980 paper; they coined the term for their research in order to avoid homophobia, which they regarded as being unscientific in its presumption of motivation.

    or theres Sexual prejudice – Researcher at the University of California, Davis Gregory M. Herek preferred sexual prejudice as being descriptive, free of presumptions about motivations, and lacking value judgments as to the irrationality or immorality of those so labeled.[104][105] He compared homophobia, heterosexism, and sexual prejudice, and, in preferring the third term, noted that homophobia was “probably more widely used and more often criticized.” He also observed that “Its critics note that homophobia implicitly suggests that antigay attitudes are best understood as an irrational fear and that they represent a form of individual psychopathology rather than a socially reinforced prejudice.”

    but unless your to do list today includes flash-mobbing agoraphobes, id suggest some serious though to the continued usage of such poorly thought out terminology.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TV77I2RBKQLZSJRQBEWWHHCMHA Rickie

    This is fucking BRILLIANT.

  • Mana

    I am against gay marriage. Well… I am against heterosexual marriage, too. Is there a single, credible, non-religious reason to deny equal rights to unmarried people? Giving people the “right” to marry and enjoy “privileges” of married people is sheer discrimination. Fighting for equal rights for something that gives you discriminative privileges sounds a bit paradoxical to me.

  • DMSaban

    Not all Christians are bigots and not all Christian groups repress their members desire to focus on Christ’s teachings and not what was written before him. Much of what Christ did was in opposition to the directives given in the old testament, or at least how the religious establishment at the time interpreted those directives. I personally think that Christ would have been in favor of gay marriage rights. That might be some common ground on this issue. I bet that there is even a group of nuns out there that would agree.

    • Piet Puk

      Thank you for sharing. Now go tell your christian brothers and sisters that.

  • Johnwilson815

    Not voting,  still count it as wrong… call me what you want.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/comingoutchristian/ Kimberly

    Fan-freakin-tastic!

  • Kyla Jackson58

    I agree so much with this, but they don’t mean well. You don’t call people fags, dykes, or any other name, throw pop on them, tell them their going to hell, and so on because you mean well. I was raised in a christian home and I am a lesbian. I believe in God but I cannot support christian ways. They are wrong in this case, and I don’t know whether to pray for God to have mercy on the judgmental souls or pray that he doesn’t. 

  • tcohen1267

    Great article. And to those arguing its merits below, who cares how something is “defined” if said definition is baseless and wrong. For millenia the earth was “defined” as being flat…

  • Laurenyoung0115

    I have to say, I am a married Christian mother of four who did indeed give birth to a child out of wedlock and also divorced my husband. I was sexually active before I was married and even was involved with a married man (in my young stupid days). My god still lives me. I am a niece of a catholic bishop and three nuns. I am a sister to an openly gay man who is in fact engaged to his partner of 9 years, and I am a daughter to two of the most country catholic people u will see meet. I also have a small child which I suspect is gay. ;) I know without a shadow of a doubt that homosexuality is not a choice, I know that Mr. Cathy did exercise his right to freedom of speech (as I am now), and I know that in this blog, u r too. And I appreciate all of it! I have objectively listened to both sides of the argument in a mature manner and have in fact opened some people’s eyes and some people have opened mine. Ur right, this is not a matter of free speech….. Bc everyone has that right already. It is an issue of equality and a law that should be unbiased to religious preference. BUT…. With all of that being said, be better. … Mr. Cathy exercised his right to freedom of speech, but in doing so, he insulted people with his blatant disregard and disrespect for other peoples feelings. Don’t reduce yourself to that. The LBGT community has handled themselves with poise for many many years about their views and I would hate to see all of that grace destroyed because of one mans national platform on small mindedness. Let’s not make this an eye for an eye. Let’s take a breather and collect ourselves and remain the moral high ground. He may in fact be the definitions of everything u say, but don’t say it. Maintain yourself. Be better. Much love <3. I support equality and love. How could I be a good mother if I didn't??? Think about that parents? All u parents with small children… Do u know who ur kids are yet?

    • Kmac

      I politely disagree.  People need to call out bigoted behavior when they see it.  If they don’t, nothing will change.  I have a three year old daughter, and I don’t want her to live in a world where bigotry is acceptable under the guise of religion.  Not ok.  It isn’t acceptable ever.  If we don’t stand up and call people bigots when they act like bigots, we’re allowing it, and we shouldn’t.  What on earth is “better” about letting that kind of behavior continue without standing up to it?  Do you think that it’s disrespectful or insulting to call people what they are?  What you’re suggesting is that we all just “maintain ourselves”?  If you support equality and love, then do something about it.  Sitting quietly isn’t supporting anyone.  Letting bigoted behavior run rampant isn’t supporting anyone.  Not pointing out that bigots are bigots isn’t supporting anyone.  Every bigot you don’t call out sullies your religion.  It sullies gay people.  It sullies our communities.  It sullies humanity.  Do I care about insulting bigots?  I surely don’t.  Being a bigot is a choice.  The way you interpret religion is a choice.  With exceptions, being gay isn’t.  Keeping the victimizers feelings from being hurt doesn’t help or accomplish anything.  It’s totally craven, and it lets everyone know that you don’t do a thing to assuage bad behavior, even though it hurts people.  I’m going to teach my daughter to stand up to bullies and bigots and misogynists and racists, because if I don’t I’m not being a very good parent.

      • Laurenyoung0115

        I think u may have misunderstood my perspective. I am, by no means at all, saying to stand quietly by and endure things. I am simply stating that name calling by both parties has seemed to drown out te very valid points that pro equality individuals are trying to get across. Sadly, when supporters of the LGBT community do resort to that, the opposing side completely shuts down and tunes out. I have taught my children to stand up for injustices and bullies, even if they have to do it alone…. In my experience ( and trust me I have had plenty) it normally just takes away from the real subject at hand

        • Kmac

          Definition of BIGOT: a person who is 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 intoleranceThat is exactly what these people are.  It isn’t name calling.  If a plant is green and I call it green, I’m not calling the plant names.  I’m describing the plant.  If a person is a bigot, you describe them as such.  It isn’t a name calling game.  Fag is a name calling game.  Homo is a name calling game.  I think you’re misunderstanding the difference.As for standing up for what is right, how does that take away from the subject at hand?  There IS no subject if people don’t define it and stand up to it.  How exactly would you rid the world of bigotry, if not to stand against it and denounce it?  Love it to death?  Sometimes good people have the stand up for what is right and just.  When you do nothing, you accomplish nothing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

       Are none of you paying attention?  This isn’t about “free speech”?  Chick-fil-a donated thousands of dollars to anti-gay hate groups which work to strip LGBT people of their civil rights, and to support Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.    Mr Cathy didn’t merely express an opinion.  He financially supports oppression and genocide. 

      • Whirlwitch

        Not thousands.  Millions.

  • DeadInHell

    Great post. I’m so tired of conservatives actively pushing to strip away the rights of our citizens and force their religious beliefs on all of us through the law, then turning around and crying persecution the second someone tries to call them on what they’re doing. The fact that it actually works with so many people is frightening. The fact that people don’t see the parallels between this and civil rights, or women’s suffrage, is disheartening. And it’s the reason why conservative politicians love to cut the education budget, hike up our taxes, and pacify us with sensational news stories about fried chicken. The less we know, the less we have,  and the less we understand, the greater their license to oppress and discriminate. 

  • Michael J.W. Thomas

    Does anyone get the irony in this all?  Christians themselves were persecuted, tortured, and even executed for their beliefs. Catholics were the worst of all.  They were persecuted from their own brethren – other Christians!

    With all this hate – quoting the Bible, which has been the standard-bearer of every philosophy, from Fundamentalists to Satanist - can’t there be any tolerance at all for love?

    Remember, Christ hung around with a prostitute (as traditional Christians believe), and it wasn’t gays that were thrown to the lions.

    • Guest

      BUT he did not accept those people as they were. He loved them, yes, and they left their life behind to follow Him… Because that is what loving Him is. 
      He let the man that chose his riches over following Him leave… And he told His disciples to “leave and shake the dust from your sandals” when people refused the Truth when they offered it. 

      • Whirlwitch

         Feel free to leave and shake the dust off your sandals, then.

      • Piet Puk

        ..and this one time in band camp..

  • Steve O

    You don’t have to call ME a bigot or a homophobe, I have been married and divorced (like most marriages) so I speak from experience when I say that institution is vooked.  We treat single people differently than married ones (I would speculate for religious historic reasons).  It is not unlike sodomy laws in that it affected pretty much the entire homosexual population (except those asshats that married straight people).

    Knowing what marriage is, I can’t say it is a choice for me.  Nor can I force another to marry me, so being single is truly not a matter of individual choice.

    Yet, we pay lots more for taxes, cannot easily assign rights of survivorship, get insurance discounts, etc. etc.  Even those of us who are single parents.

    And really, love and marriage are not mutually inclusive.  I do not buy the “who cares if they are in love”, it is the benefits and rights and etc that are denied single people that is the issue.  There are no laws preventing you from loving another person, and that love is not Dependant on marriage.

    Singleism is an issue that affects gay people and straight people alike, it affects like 4.5 times more people than gay marriage.

    Wouldn’t you like to have the same rights and privleges as married people, regardless if you love another romantically or not?   Or even if you want to love 10 others?

    And on the  otherhand why should single people subsidize romantic relationships?

    So, my “opposition” such as it were, isn’t that gay people should not love one another, nor is it religious or particularly emotional, but that I simply don’t think it is right to have different rights for single and married people period.  That is textbook discrimination.  Equalize rights and benefits between married people and you can proclaim your love for whoever (or bail on a crappy relationship) with no legal impact.

    Even if you think marriage is or should be about love, do you think it is a matter for the government/industry to stick their fingers in?

    • Guest

      BUT he did not accept those people as they were. He loved them, yes, and they left their life behind to follow Him. 
      He let the man that chose his riches over following Him leave… And he told His disciples to “leave and shake the dust from your sandals” when people refused the Truth when they offered it. 

      • Guest

        Whoops. Replied on the wrong one. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/TemiBe Temitope Bewaji

    the problem with the post is that it ties marriage rights to marriage.  You cannot be calling someone a bigot when they are not so much trying to prevent you having the same rights as they are protecting something they hold dear. Its a bit of a dirty tactic to do what this author is doing.  You are trying to circumvent what very many consider a religious institution and insisting that protecting that institution equates to withholding rights. 

    I still maintain that gays should leave marriage alone and actually focus on fighting for equal rights. Otherwise you are just being disingenuous. It would be like men fighting for the right to enter the female restrooms and calling anyone who opposes a bigot, when they can have free use of the male restroom (equal rights). I don’t know if the pro-gay marriage crowd is too stupid to realize this or they are really being that dishonest. Maybe the real aim is to demolish certain moral views rather than allowing them to coexist.

    • Gary

      Protect means to prevent from harm.  How would gay marriage harm the institution? 

    • AxeGrrl

      the problem with the post is that it ties marriage rights to marriage

      Dear, Hemant’s post doesn’t do that, federal law ties “marriage rights” to marriage.

      You cannot be calling someone a bigot when they are not so much trying to prevent you having the same rights as they are protecting something they hold dear.

      You are not “protecting” marriage when you deny it to certain people. Why?  because heterosexual marriage will STILL EXIST if/when same sex marriage exists.  Do you understand this very very simple and obvious point?

      Please, shut the “lame argument” drawer and give some thought to what you’re presenting instead of tossing out such moronic ‘points’. 

      Maybe the grade 3 class that helped Sarah Palin with her speech-writing should take over from you guys……they couldn’t do a worse job.

    • Kmac

      “You cannot be calling someone a bigot when they are not so much trying to prevent you having the same rights as they are protecting something they hold dear.”

        I hold a lot of things “dear” also.  Just because you “hold something dear” doesn’t mean that you own the rights to it.  By all means, hold your marriage dear.  No one is stopping you from doing that.  When you group an entire portion of the population together and tell them that they, and only they, don’t get to marry because Christians hold their marriage “dear”…you’re a bigot.

  • Dgsinclair

    1. If you are not for equality for the unborn child…

    • Miss_Beara

      What the heck does that have to do with anything? 

  • Dgsinclair

    If you are against rights for the unborn…

  • Guest

    Christians that do not support same-sex marriage aren’t homophobic or hateful! No one is against being homosexual!! And at Chick-fil-A, they have said that again and again, and the other side does not LISTEN that that.
    Christians are being persecuted for standing firm in what WE believe for something that IS NOT persecution! People can think it is unfair as much as they want to, Christ did not come to “play fair;” He said that he did not come to bring peace to the world, and with that, He didn’t come so that just anyone could have any given definition of what “love” is. … And “Christians” that compromise their Christian beliefs on this or any matter don’t understand or don’t want to understand what Christ taught. And those that are standing by OUR beliefs aren’t going to have a change of heart. We don’t just “mean well.” You aren’t ever going to understand because you don’t want to. No one is misunderstanding you, we get it, but unless you want to ever want to listen… the bridge will continue to be burned… And it isn’t by Christians. 

    • Guest

      “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” – St. Thomas Aquinas

      • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

        Which is pretty damned convenient, don’t you think?

      • The Captain

        You know what, it doesn’t matter if you think you cant explain your religion to me. You still have no right to force me or anyone else to practice it. I will never bow down to your god and I will fight you and people like who would force others to do so. those of you who feel they can use the rule of law to force others to practice your religion are nothing but thugs in the name of christ. 

    • Kmac

      I would see your point if marriage were strictly a Christian ideal, but it absolutely isn’t just for Christians.  Although plenty of religions have marriage rites, in this country marriage is a secular institution.  People get their marriage licenses from the government, not the church.  Go ahead and have a Christian marriage if you want, but understand that people who are not religious get married also.  People get married all the time for reasons other than procreation.  It isn’t that people don’t care to listen, it’s just that you’re wrong.  Marriage in this country is civil, not religious…and that means that civil rights are involved.  If you want to complain about your Christian rights being somehow taken from you, then complain about straight people who use the word marriage.  Complain about elderly couples who can’t have kids using the word marriage.  Complain about sterile couples using the word marriage, because in this country marriage is open far past your Christian definition of one man + one woman = babies.  Gay people have the civil right to use the word, because people other than Christians have the right to use the word.  They have the right to it because the umbrella of rights in this county covers everyone equally, including the civil act of marriage.  Honestly I don’t know what ever makes you think that Christians have the patent on marriage in the first place.  People have been having marriage ceremonies a lot longer than Christianity has been around…and that includes gay people.  The Catholics got ahold of marriage in the 1800th century as a way to control people.  When they were in charge in Europe, they made the declaration that if your marriage wasn’t blessed by the church, it wasn’t valid.  They did that to make sure people couldn’t stray from the church.  A very handy way to keep people in line.  Please don’t act like you actually believe Christians are the ones who invented marriage, or that only Christians get married, or that someone is taking something from you.  The fact of the matter is that although you yourself may not be homophobic…and that is up for debate…the church as a whole definitely IS.  If Christianity cared so much about the holy sacrament of marriage, it’d be up in arms any time anyone other than a Christian got married, and it isn’t.  If it really cared so much about the holy sacrament of marriage, we’d all be getting our marriage licenses from a church, and we don’t.  You still have the same right to marry that you’ve always had.  Get over it.

      • Miss_Beara

        “If Christianity cared so much about the holy sacrament of marriage, it’d be up in arms any time anyone other than a Christian got married, and it isn’t.”

        Also, if Christianity cared so much about the sacrament of marriage, they would ban divorce, but they don’t. 

  • Jeffjr02

    I would rather live my life believing that God exists and find out in death that he doesn’t, rather than live my life believing that He doesn’t exist only to find out in death that He does.

    • allein

      Hello, Mr. Pascal.

    • Piet Puk

      I would rather live my life believing that Zeus exists and find out in
      death that he doesn’t, rather than live my life believing that He
      doesn’t exist only to find out in death that He does.

    • Piet Puk

       I would rather live my life believing that the FSM exists and find out in
      death that he doesn’t, rather than live my life believing that He
      doesn’t exist only to find out in death that He does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

    MORAL

  • Rwlawoffice

    I have heard this argument before and it is flat wrong. The Supreme Court has specifically held that religious freedom includes the right to practice that religion. However, when it comes to practices the state has an interest in how that is done and can regulate it. In order to do so the state must show a compelling reason and must tailor this regulation narrowly in order not to unduly infringe on the religious liberties of the religion. But to say that the first amendment only protects
    religious beliefs is an atheist myth.

    • The Captain

      “However, when it comes to practices the state has an interest in how that is done and can regulate it” But it must do so with SECULAR reasoning. 
      If you think the definition of marriage comes from your religion only for religious reasons, and you want the government to only recognize your religions definition of it, then you are directly violating the first amendment rights of those that do not follow your religion! You just do not fundamentally extend the same “freedom of religion” to others that you demand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

      The law doesn’t provide you the right to practice your religion all over other people.   Your religious liberties stop where the rights of others begin.  Or would you think it’s OK for Muslims to insist you kowtow to their beliefs because otherwise you’re infringing on their “religious freedom”?

    • Piet Puk

      You are not being persecuted.
      All we ask is to keep your religion to yourself and have enough respect for other people to let them have equal rights.

    • Stev84

      Total non sequitur. We are talking about civil marriage. Religion has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

    Here it is plain and simple.If the Creator (or whatever name you choose) made a man and a man or a woman and a woman well we wouldn’t be here arguing about it now would we?If we all became gay the human race would end in a very short time.It’s basically genocide.Still think it’s right?If so I can assure you,your logic is flawed.Man and woman = continuation of the human race,man and man or woman and woman = genocide…It’s as simple as that.
     

    • allein

      Do you think allowing gay people to marry each other will somehow increase the incidence of homosexuality in the general population? If so, may I suggest a biology class or two?

      Also, that’s not what the word genocide means.

      • Stev84

        Whenever someone says crap like that I can’t help but think the only thing keeping them from acting on their homosexuality is their inability to get married

    • Kmac

      We don’t live in biblical times when procreation was extremely important.  People needed a ton of kids back then, and a third of them died as infants with another two or three dying in childhood.  The reason why procreation is important in the bible is because it WAS important.  Today we live in a world that is overpoulated, and every baby that is born adds to the poverty level.  People live longer.  Birth is safer and has much higher percentages of babies living.  We don’t have open plagues where large populations of people die.  In biblical times it’s true that having as many kids as you could was necessary, but we don’t live in biblical times.  We have unwanted kids in foster care, orphanages, and living on the streets.  Procreation in the numbers seen thousands of years is no longer needed or wanted if we want the earth to last.  Our resources are dwindling.  For you to say that gay people would create a genocide is ridiculous.  Do you know what genocide even is?  We have straight people who get married and don’t have kids.  Do you tisk tisk them?  Your logic is flawed on multiple levels…and by the way…gay people aren’t sterile.  They have kids all the time.   

      • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

        True we live in times where abortion seems to take more importance to procreation.I guess you would have me believe because times have changed that makes it normal?

    • AxeGrrl

      If we all became gay the human race would end in a very short time.

      Good grief, not this lame argument again.  Look around you, gay people are capable of reproducing

      Secondly, if everyone were female the human race would ‘end in a short time’. Does that make being female unnatural or immoral?

      Please give some thought to the ‘arguments’ you toss out before you do so.

      • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

        Explain to me how two men or two women can naturally procreate without going outside their marriage.Remember the key word here is NATURALLY.

        • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

          Why does that matter? I was conceived by donor insemination. Last time I checked, I’m a real person. I exist exactly the same as someone who shares DNA with both parents. Are we “unnatural” children somehow less deserving of legal protection than children whose parents conceived them the traditional way?

          • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

            Is your donor a part of your life?
            Now if I have a child out of wedlock that child would be deemed illegitimate.Goggle it for an understanding of the word.Don’t get mad at me I didn’t make the law.In fact what a lot of people don’t realize about the law is it’s made in a foreign country call Washington District of Columbia.You might want to goggle that up too.

            • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

              No, I have never met my donor. Why on earth does that matter?

              You didn’t answer my question. Are children conceived by donor insemination less deserving of protection? Apparently you seem to think we should be deemed illegitimate (very 1950s, by the way!) and denied protection because our parents didn’t conceive us the “right” way. Please explain why it matters how a child is conceived.

              • http://www.facebook.com/randy.russell.5015 Randy Russell

                Well if it doesn’t matter to you that you never met your father why should it bother me.If you believe that’s completely normal that is your prerogative.Just remember though what is normal to you may not be normal to others and vise verse.
                As far as you stating protection could you define what you mean by that?I do believe every child should be safe and have the necessities of life but whats that have to do with same sex marriage?
                Oh it’s not 1950′s.Example I live in the Philippines(I’m American) and I have a child out of wedlock,not only is that child illegitimate but also cannot be an American.
                Personally I don’t care what other people do when it doesn’t pertain to me.

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  Randy, why exactly are you bringing it up? What does me knowing or not knowing my sperm donor have to do with legal protection for same-sex families? Unless you’re just being nosy and feel the need to ask irrelevant personal questions. For what it’s worth, I am not at all ashamed or embarrassed about my family. I’m happy to have two mothers and feel grateful to my biological father for providing the sperm so that my brother and I could be born.

                  So, now, back to the topic at hand. You still have not answered my question. Why does it matter how a child is conceived? You seem very concerned with the fact that same-sex couples can’t have a child that shares both of their DNA, but you have failed to explain how or why this matters when it comes to protection under the law. Our families exist and need legal protection, regardless of how children are conceived. When I speak about protection, I’m talking about the rights that civil marriage affords couples. Heterosexual families formed by adoption, surrogacy, and insemination are not denied these rights, so why are gay and lesbian families?

                  I don’t know what goes on in the Philippines, but we’re talking about marriage equality in the United States. Whether or not the Filipino government would designate your hypothetical out-of-wedlock child “illegitimate” really has nothing to do with the present discussion.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Randy, that’s ridiculous. Even if the entire world magically “became gay,” it wouldn’t mean that children wouldn’t be born. My parents are lesbians, and guess what, my brother and I still exist.

      All being gay means is that same-sex couples can’t have children by accident. No unplanned pregnancies. No unwanted children. When you think about it, wouldn’t that actually be a good thing for the human race?

    • Miss_Beara

       Bwahahahahaha…

      hahaha…

      haha…

      ha.

      That is all.

  • jonhanson

    The Christians in this comment section are making me really happy I freed myself of that bullshit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gpswenson Guy Paul Swenson

    All that crap about “God’s definition of marriage” craftily bypasses the millions of straight people married in a courthouse, all the people who are married who aren’t Christians, or perhaps don’t believe in any God at all, and the fact that one of the reasons we declared our independence from England was “taxation without representation.” Gay people  pay more taxes than straight people because their marriages are not recognized by the government, plus they can’t even draw spousal Social Security or pension benefits, or get family insurance rates. Why should a gay person be denied equal government benefits because YOU (and I mean the bigot) chose to practice a particular religion? Practice all you want, but don’t impose your impression of a hateful god on me.

    (And I am a gay Baptist in Texas, a member of a Welcoming and Affirming Baptist Church, that does not take to any of those cherry-picked and questionably interpreted excuses for bigotry that some people claim to excuse them from Jesus’ commandment to love their neighbor as themselves.)

  • Zempelstl
  • Stevenalanmelanson

    If you do believe in God( which I don’t) and you believe he is omnipresent and omnipotent then where did all the gay’s and lesbians come from? Is he not the “creator”? Or is he some sort of prick who creates things he doesn’t like and condemns them just to torture people and make the world miserable? If that’s the case then that’s some God you got there! I’ll stick to my Godless atheism thank you very much!

  • Devin Parro

    The church defines marriage as a man and woman. I’m sick of hearing it. The judge marrying in a civil ceremony has no tied to the church! Leave religion in church and give everyone equality. As long as consenting adults are committing and given respect ; who are you to judge?
    Let’s separate church and state and give all members of society their constitutional rights. Not special rights.

  • kaydenpat

    Rachel sounds naive.  If someone in the 60s said, I support segregation, but I love Black people, would that make any sense?  Or someone in South Africa pre-1990s saying, I support apartheid, but I’m not a racist?

    If you don’t support equal rights for gay people, you’re a homophobe.  You can be a nice homophobe, and even a homophobe who has gay friends, but you’re still a homophobe.

  • Jaylijahsmommy

    Not all Christians think that gay and lesbians shouldn’t marry. I am a Christian raked Catholic now attending Methodist, and I feel that people should be able to marry anyone they please wheather is be same sex /race/religion/etc.

  • JimTreacher

    If You Oppose Marriage Equality, What Else Am I Supposed to Call You?

    Up until a couple of months ago, you could’ve called me Obama.

    • Stev84

      Obama never opposed it as such. He was for it when he was a Senator. When his political career advanced, he just didn’t endorse it. But there is a middle ground between not being for something and actively opposing it. Things would be fine if Christians would just stop campaigning and voting against equality. Doesn’t mean they have to actively support it.

      • JimTreacher

        So you’re a rube.

  • Slapdashmom

    Amazing, amazing article. I’m quoting you in my post at slapdashmom.com today. :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Thank you!

  • gigi4747

    lol @ the title of this article. Why do you have to “call” people anything? Why can you not simply state your opinion without trying to silence everyone who disagrees with you through namecalling? Why don’t you state your opinion and let it be praised or panned on its own merit?

    I don’t like some of the statements made by people at Family Research Council, etc, but in fairness, you don’t know that Dan Cathy agrees with EVERYTHING they say either. I’ve never been to a chick fil a, but all the hatred and slander shown to Dan Cathy makes me want to go to one.

    I am religious, but the marriage issue has nothing to do with religion for me. I don’t want to see marriage redefined in our culture, whether it’s to accommodate same sex couples or plural groups. If there were a “right” to redefine marriage, I’d have to honor that. However, there is no such thing. As far as marriage being “redefined” throughout history, there’s not one instance of which I’m aware of any culture recognizing homosexual marriage. That doesn’t mean in and of itself that there is no “right” to gay marriage, but it does say that this supposed right had never been recognized anywhere, until a judge in Massachusetts decided it existed a few years ago. Could that be because this “right” does not in fact exist? Some might make a comparison to women’s suffrage here. Women’s suffrage, however, didn’t require a fundamental redefinition of a cultural cornerstone like marriage.

    The race issue is different too as it likewise did not require a change in the definition of marriage. And there were many Catholic and other Christian clergy, religious, and laypeople who were involved in the civil rights movement, so to say that Christians try to deny people their civil rights is a nonstarter.

    And btw, have you gone to your local mosque to call them out on their “bullsh1t”? I’m betting they also oppose same sex marriage. Are you boycotting oil products due to the horrible treatment of gay men in some of the opec nations?

    • sam28596

      The word bigot sums up the issue concisely and that is why people say it. Opponents of same sex marriage have no rational basis for their position. Their prejudice makes them make all sorts of accusations about the awful things that happen when same sex couples marry that they absolutely cannot support or offer facts for. See, bigot says in one word what it would otherwise at least take 20-30 words to say. That’s why it’s useful.

      Plus, if you’re trying to deny someone else equal rights with no rational basis for it, you really don’t have the moral standing to complain about your feelings being hurt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586081586 Rebecca Herring

    The reason there is no agreement is NO ONE is trying to find the common ground.  The ultimate reality is the common ground is no man’s land, full of mines and barbed wire and not exactly where either side wishes to be.  To be precise, if marriage is a religious institution, then why is the government even involved in it.  The only interest government might have is in regard to regulating one’s sexual partners to avoid offspring as the result of inbreeding.  So the government CAN say you can’t procreate with your near relatives.  However, traditional heterosexual unions and all homosexual unions do not result in inbreeding.  So if the government must issue a license for lifetime partners, they are issued solely based on the possibility the two mates are inbreeding, and since marriage is a religious term, they ARE NOT MARRIAGE LICENSES.  EVERYBODY, from the Catholic couple, to the Baptist couple, to the Gay couple, are LEGALLY referred to as something other than “married.”  This does not stop the Christian couples from referring to themselves as “married,” nor does it stop the gay couple.  But if legally, they are all nothing more nor nothing less than domestic partners, since by legal definition that is all they are.

  • Agnostic

    Marriage is for the purpose of protecting children procreated by the couple. For others, have contracts since it is always about possessions. People who procreate children they can’t take care of are selfish so they should not be allowed to rely on society to take care of their children.

    • Maria

      Hmm…that’s not at all related to the disscussion on this particular article.  And I agree that people shouldn’t be having children when they can’t take care of them, but I also believe that a government should take care of ALL of its citizens, no matter what, so I disagree with the rest of the statement.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RUUFQCBA3PEZP7AKESBML6M2GM Neal

    I’m a Christian with a conservative interpretation of the Bible on homosexuality, but I don’t care if gays get married.  Me thinking that homosexuality by practice (NOT orientation) is a sin does not make me think  that gays are less worthy human beings than straights.  I mean, I know atheist couples who live together outside of marriage, but I love them just as much as my Christian married couple friends who “stayed pure” until marriage.  Recognizing that someone is sinning doesn’t mean you get to mistreat and discriminate them, or think you’re better than them.  I’m a sinner too and other sinners do not have to justify their life choices to me. 

    America separates the church and the state, so pro-family groups cannot expect gay and lesbian couples who want LEGAL, not RELIGIOUS recognition of their union to follow the biblical teaching.  It just doesn’t make sense and it’s not realistic.  I mean, if America has a Hindu rather than Judeo-Christian heritage, is it fair, for instance, for non-Hindus in this hypothetical, alternate universe to be denied beef when they go to a restaurant?  Food and marriage are two different issues, but you see my point.

    My other objection to the pro-family group tactic is why so worked up to de-legalize one sin and not others.  I mean, Christianity says pre-marital sex is sin, so where’s the outcry circus to ban common-law marriage? Not saying that I want to ban common-law marriage, I really don’t care, but I’m just saying they’re very inconsistent.  

    Tony Campolo expressed it best when he said that Christians couldn’t expect the lgbt community to believe that we love them when we deny them equal rights.  Being a Christian myself, I totally understand why some well-meaning Christians are so shocked by the bigot label, but they must also take the time to understand why lgbt people feel so insulted.

    • Sarah Ryle

       Well said Neal!!!

  • Steve O

    Well, the religious types are foaming incomprehendibly, but I have demonstrated that there is sound, secular, reason to not think gay marriage should be the “right” we address first.  Hemant, you generalizations have helped destroy meaningful and rational discussion about gay marriage and convinced me there are “well-meaning” small minded bigots on the left as well.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Address first, or address at all? I don’t see how it’s possible for there to be “sound, secular reason” to deny marriage equality. One could argue about the best way to go about it, and whether it’s the most pressing issue facing the LGBT community, but unless you’re against the government issuing marriage licenses at all, there’s no reason (other than bigotry) to oppose marriage equality. How can there be meaningful and rational discussion when the vast majority of the debate is framed by religion? When 99% of opponents are willing to deny same-sex couples legal protection because they think their god doesn’t like gay people getting married?

  • Sarah Ryle

    As a Christian who supports Marriage Equality I have to say WELL SAID! 

  • Sarah Ryle

    I’m linking to this post, and quoting Neal’s comment  below (because it was just so well said, I couldn’t have said it better) in my post at http://sgryle.blogspot.com (From Ashes to Beauty.) 

  • guest

    I’m iffy about gay marriage on the base that it’s all about sympathetic passion. What will happen when gays can marry? Will pedophiles, polygamists, bestiality people make an uproar after this? How will this effect a future generation?  Most people who support gay marriage who AREN’T gay that I have met, are unconventional people. They don’t want to get married themselves, they cohabit with their partners and live huge lives of drama. I just find it so ironic that these kinds of people who are tad on a promiscuous side and don’t care about marriage as a covenant, want to push push push for gay marriage, yet they don’t even believe in it. They don’t even care about the high divorce rates in America. How can you push for something when you can’t even fix the basis? Sorry, but I think a lot of liberals talk a good game, but don’t really act well on it. On a religious side, sure, if gays want to marry, don’t do it in the church, but I personally don’t agree with liberals trying to alters one’s religion’s rules to please them. When you’re a Christian, it’s about God and not you. That’s why there has been so much difficulty. Some people don’t believe and others believe. It’s a lose-lose situation. You guys can protest for your unhappy friends. Should I protest to a company because my unhappy friend lost his job there? It’s not really any of our business.

    • Maria

      You do realize that your “unconventional” friends are lobbying for other (gay) people right? And that these other (gay) people may actually believe in the sanctity of marriage? There are gay christians out there, if you didn’t know (something that’s very incomprehensible to me) and that’s why their straight friends want THEM, who DO very much want to be in a loving and committed relationship recognized by the state, to be happy. They’re not doing it for THEMSELVES, they’re doing it for others who DO believe in marriage.  And the high divorce rate should debunk the “sanctity” of straight marriage anyway, if anything.

    • sam28596

      Opponents of pedophilia, polygamy and bestiality should take it up with those groups. Is it fair to say that straight marriage should be outlawed since the existence of straight marriage allows for the possibility of pedophile, polygamous and human-animal marriages?

  • Jude

    Hello…I have a quick question. Perhaps someone here can answer it.
    Many people who support Traditional Marriage argue that gay people have never been denied the right to marry…as long as they meet the definition (marry a member of the opposite sex, not closely related and only 2 people). It is certainly true that many homosexuals did (and do) marry members of the opposite sex (for whatever reason).
    How do we counter this argument? Also, they argue that if we change the definition to allow same sex, then we will eventually have legal polygamy marriages with 30 women and one man (a la Mormons and Muslims). I don’t know if I like that, but how can we deny them their rights if we want ours?
    I was asked if I would support a brother marrying his 4 siblings. How can I say no? Should I say no? Finally…why does the government sanction marriage anyway? The libertarian in me is saying the government should get the hell out of the marriage business.
    Help me please.

    • Edmond

      Many people agree that the gov’t should get out of the marriage business, but it seems that it is currently so entrenched that this is a near-impossibility.  It isn’t going to happen.

      The old argument that gay people CAN marry, as long as they follow the current rules (marry someone of the opposite sex), is deliberately insensitive.  It does not recognize the structure or needs of gay relationships.  Sure, many gay people HAVE married someone of the opposite sex, but how often has that been done out of love, rather than convenience?  Certainly, no such arrangement would benefit my relationship with my partner.

      There may actually be some good arguments for polygamy.  If we feel that the gov’t shouldn’t be meddling in same-sex relationships, then it stands to reason that we may feel that the gov’t should treat multi-party relationships the same way.  Maybe that’s true.  Although, a closer look (and not even very close) at polygamy finds that it’s rarely a beneficial arrangment for all involved.  Many polygamous relationships are not equal partnerships, but simply an attempt for one man (usually religious) to build himself a docile harem of women.  How often do we see things the other way around, with one woman seeking to marry a dozen men?

      Still, I think many good arguments can be made for some polygamous relationships.  I wouldn’t personally be against legalizing such marriages, however it would require extensive review and revamping of current tax codes, inheritance laws, pensions, social security, etc etc, so that polygamy doesn’t become an effective way to “game the system” and rake in money or benefits.   Equality is the key word in “marriage equality”, and I wonder if removing limits on the quantity of spouses would truly further that goal.

      I laugh at people who bring up incestuous marriages as an argument.  Tell them to go look up CURRENT incest laws across the country, and get back to you.  Straight people have already set the limits on what kinds of incest they’ll allow, and it’s pretty lax.  Go to NJ, and marry ANY relative you want.  Incest laws are like divorce laws: they need to clean up their own mess first, before they can accuse us of causing any problems.

      In any case, I don’t see anyone from any “polygamy” or “incest” camps even fighting for such rights.  Let’s see these people rise up and call for marriage rights, rather than someone who does NOT represent them, acting as a mouthpiece.  Where can you go to get a “legalize polygamy” t-shirt?  Where is the Incest Defamation HQ?  What is the URL for their advocacy group?  Where are their parades?  Nowhere.  There is no push for these rights.

      Marriage brings two unrelated people together to make them into family.  People who are already family have no need of this.  They don’t need the protections and benefits that are afforded to two people who have met and chosen to spend their lives together.  And remember, gay people don’t want multiple spouses, we just want to be able to have the ONE.  This hardly seems unreasonable.

      Also, there is no such thing as a “polygamous” orientation, or an “incestuous” orientation.  People are not born with these needs.  There is no young man in a high school in the Midwest somewhere, who has fallen in love with a girl, only to wish that he could have 8 more before he’d be capable of marrying her.  There is no young cheerleader who pines for that handsome basketball star, sadly wishing that he were her brother so they could have the relationship she hopes for.  This doesn’t happen.  Being polygamous or incestuous isn’t like being gay at all.  None of these arguments address the reality of being gay.  They’re red herrings, intended to tie marriage equality to unrelated issues so that they can all be dismissed together.

  • graphicstyle7

    Harsh, but true.

  • sam28596

    True. Also, ten years ago when the lgbt rights movement hadn’t come so far my homophobic brother used to say he’d beat up my sister’s gay friend if he came around. I’m a lesbian and he also threatened to beat up my girlfriend around that time.

    These days, he says that he “loves” lgbt people, he just thinks same sex love is a sin and opposes same sex marriage. Judging from the angry rants he still makes these days it seems like the same animus is still there, he’s just being more polite now that the anti-lgbt side is no longer winning. So, in my opinion, it’s the same old hate, it’s just more restrained.

  • Sarah

    Where do I stand as far as bigotry goes?
    I am a Christian. I dearly and sincerely love my gay and lesbian friends and get a long well with them. I believe that for some people being gay is a choice for others it most definitely isn’t. I believe that LGBTI people that make no claim to the Christian faith should be allowed to marry whoever they want to. It doesn’t affect me. I think it is oppressive when the government and other Christians tell people who don’t believe in the bible that they cant do things because the bible says so…this is unbiblical as Paul tells Christians in Corinth that Christians have no business judging those outside the church. I also believe it is unbiblical for Christians to claim their rights are being violated if they are offended or oppressed or persecuted. The bible says we are to love those who hate us and rejoice in the face of persecution…so even if Christians appear to have a legitimate reason to be angry about what is done to them for holding to their beliefs, the only valid biblical response is to give more love. Not outrage, hate and more encouragement of government oppression and discrimination.
    This being said however, I disagree with homosexuality. I have researched extensively on both sides of the debate and have found overwhelming evidence that it is damaging to the mind, body and soul. I see this clearly in the lives of my LGBTI friends and it grieves me deeply. I believe there is a good reason the Bible condemns the practice. Not to be mean and hateful but to warn people about the dangers of that way of living.
    But I still believe it is unloving and oppressive to judge those who do not believe in God or the Bible by these standards. Even if I disagree strongly with another persons actions, if they are not claiming to follow my belief system and don’t claim to love my Lord and Saviour I have no place telling them what to do.
    I do have the right to judge and hold to account fellow Christians, as they (as well as unbelievers) have the right to judge me and hold me to account for being one. If someone claiming to be my brother or sister in Christ does something the bible claims is sinful then I have the right to hold them to account and say “hey, the bible says don’t do that. You claim to believe it and claim to want to live by what it says…what are you doing??” As I would hope my fellow Christians and unbelieving friends would do for me.
    Does this seem reasonable?
    Or am I still considered a hateful bigot.
    if anyone has any research for me proving me wrong about homosexuality not being damaging to the body soul and mind I am sincerely open to hearing it?

    • Baby_Raptor

      You’re a science denier. For one, there is no proof whatsoever that orientation can be chosen. It’s innate, though there are some studies that say that how you grow up can have an affect (which isn’t exactly a person’s choice.) For two, there is no proof that homosexuality, by itself, is damaging. What causes the damage is the constant oppression we’re under. You know, people who love your Jesus so much who say we should be bullied, denied rights and killed, because god.

      You’re also an asshole. You have no right whatsoever to be judging people. And what makes you so sure your interpretation of the bible is the correct one to be judging by, anyway?

      As to your request for proof, I would recommend getting on google and looking at actual scientific studies. Not what your pastor says, not fake studies funded by Christian think-tanks to promote their agenda. Actual, non-biased, scientifically sound studies.

      Also, yes you are a bigot. You’re a bigot because you feel perfectly fine judging and condemning people for how they live their personal lives; something that you have no business in and that doesn’t affect you at all. The fact that you’re doing it on the basis of lies is just icing on the cake.

  • Sarah

    Where do I stand as far as bigotry goes?

    I am a Christian. I dearly and sincerely love my gay and lesbian friends and get a long well with them. I believe that for some people being gay is a choice for others it most definitely isn’t. I believe that LGBTI people that make no claim to the Christian faith should be allowed to marry whoever they want to. I think it is oppressive when the government and other Christians tell people who don’t believe in the bible that they cant do things because the bible says so…this is unbiblical as Paul tells Christians in Corinth that Christians have no business judging those outside the church. I also believe it is unbiblical for Christians to claim their rights are being violated if they are offended or oppressed or persecuted. The bible says we are to love those who hate us and rejoice in the face of persecution…so even if Christians appear to have a legitimate reason to be angry about what is done to them for holding to their beliefs, the only valid biblical response is to give more love. Not outrage, not hate.

    This being said however, I disagree with homosexuality. I have researched extensively on both sides of the debate and have found evidence that it is damaging to the mind, body and soul. I see this clearly in the lives of my LGBTI friends and it grieves me deeply. I believe there is a good reason the Bible says it isn’t good. Not to be mean and hateful but to warn people about the dangers of that way of living. I also know from my own life experience of being raised by a single mum, that not having a both a mother and a father to raise you causes damage emotionally and relationally. This is not simply from the lack of having two parents (although that would help some things), but specifically lacking the influence of both a mother and a father figure and seeing a marriage relationship modelled. The lack of this in my life has caused huge issues for me with relating to the opposite sex. I am not saying other things have not and could not cause this I’m just saying that I know this is true because of my life. I know children raised by same sex couples who are wonderful and beautiful people but that’s not the issue. Same sex and single parents can do a great job raising beautiful people but they can’t make up for the loss of a parent of the opposite sex. Its no slight on them, its just not possible for them to do. No mother can make up for the lack of a father, no father can make up for the lack of a mother. They offer (when they are decent parents) different beneficial things that the opposite sex parent can’t.

    As strongly as I believe these things though I still think it is unloving and oppressive to judge unbelievers and people of other faiths by Biblical standards. Even if I disagree strongly with another persons actions, if they are not claiming to follow my belief system and don’t claim to love God, I have no place telling them what they should and shouldn’t do.

    I do have the right to judge and hold to account fellow Christians, as they (as well as unbelievers) have the right to judge me and hold me to account for being one. If someone claiming to be my brother or sister in Christ does something the bible claims is sinful then I have the right to hold them to account and say “hey, the bible says don’t do that. You claim to believe it and live by what it says…what are you doing??”

    Does this seem reasonable?

    Or am I still considered a bigot?

    if you have any research for me showing that homosexuality is not damaging to the body and mind I am sincerely open to hearing it? I know that there is legitimacy in the claim that LGBTI people suffer from ill health both mentally and physically because of prejudice and discrimination but I do not believe that the evidence points to those being the only reasons. I sincerely wish to discuss and dialogue about this and it finally sounds like you are the sort of person that will actually hear me out without shutting me down and labelling me a homophobe

    • Dorfl

      I’m not Hemant Mehta, but if I may, I have some thoughts about what you wrote.

      About homosexuality damaging the body:

      It is true that gay men have a somewhat higher rate of STD:s than straight men. It is also true that gay women have a lower rate than straight women. Both of these facts have very straightforward anatomical explanations. I don’t see how either of them can be used to say anything general about how sexual orientation in itself affects the human body.

      About homosexuality damaging the mind:

      It’s very difficult to prove this kind of negative. Imagine that someone was worried that red jellybeans cause cancer. Can you think of an practical, ethical experiment that would demonstrate satisfactorily that they don’t?

      Is it really relevant whether homosexuality has attached medical risks?:

      We do know that red-headedness brings with it a heightened risk for several types of cancer. We do not therefore conclude that red-headedness is somehow a violation of the natural order, that we must disapprove of. If we had some way of ‘curing’ red-headedness some might elect to undergo treatment, and that would be their choice. Many would choose to remain as they are and take their chances, and that would be their choice. Pushing people into making whichever decision we consider to be right would be very wrong.

      The situation with homosexuality the situation is much the same, with the added complication that it’s not even clear that there are any medical risks not caused by the behaviour of the surrounding community. They might exist, but that doesn’t necessarily say anything very interesting about it from a moral perspective. We do not have a ‘cure’ at the moment. What we have is a long series of treatments that turned out to have severe side-effects – without any desired effects for them to be to the side of. Even if we had a ‘cure’, the decision of whether to take it is up to each adult individual to make.

      If there is one work of research I’d really recommend you to read, it’s Judith Rich Harris’ The Nurture Assumption. It’s not about gay parents specifically, but about what research says – and does not say – about how parenting affects children.

      • sarah

        Hey Dorfl :)
        Thanks for your reply. Its nice to have a proper, diplomatic and respectful dialogue with someone through blog comments :)
        I didnt think it was possible but my faith has been restored. I will consider what you have written and read up on Judith rich Harris’ work before i give you my response.
        I will say however that I dont think sexuality of any kind can be put in the same league as hair colour….different kettle of fish.

      • sarah

        Hi Dorfl…I replied to your post already but for some reason I cant see it here. I don’t know whether it has been removed or is just hiding but any way….thank you for your post. It has been wonderful getting such considered and respectful posts from people who disagree with me.
        I have read a little bit about Judith Rich Harris’ perspective. I have to respectfully say I disagree with her strongly about her ideas about the influence of parents…you can get studies to say whatever you want them to say really…but I think for anyone who as ever been a child, had children, worked with children(especially in social welfare settings) can see it is incredibly clear how much of an affect parenting has on children! not in anyway to condemn parents…no one is the perfect parent…but parents lives and parenting styles have a huge impact on a child’s upbringing.
        I also disagree with your idea that the health risks associated with homosexuality aren’t relevant. I think they are relevant in a huge way!! If homosexuality is genuinely damaging to the body and mind then people have a genuine (not hateful or bigoted) reason for disagreeing with it. If it is genuinely a health risk then of the argument so commonly spouted: “you disagree with homosexuality because you’re afraid of them and hate them” cannot be legitimately claimed if the person is disagreeing because of concern for the persons health (like myself).
        Again thank you for your considered thoughts,
        I look forward to hearing more from you
        Sarah

        • Anna

          Hi Sarah,

          Could you be more specific about how you think homosexuality damages the mind? I find that very odd. As you know, I grew up in a same-sex family, and so I’ve been around gay and lesbian people my entire life, and not once have I ever thought there was something damaged about their minds.

      • Sarah

        Hi Dorfl,
        Thank you for your reply. I have tried to respond to your comment numerous times but failed…so hopefully this will work.
        Your comments are very interesting to me and helpful (also slightly alarming as I am a red head :(..I didn’t realise we had a heightened risk of cancer) but helpful all the same :)
        I am still reading the research by Judith so I cant give a proper rebuttal to her research yet but I will say that so far I find her views frightening! She appears to downplay the dangers of bad parenting and abuse…she seems to be saying that whatever parents do doesn’t really matter as it doesn’t affect children as much as genes and their peers and teachers do….I don’t think anybody who has ever worked with children, seen children, had parents, been parents, can logically agree with her claims….
        I think the associated health risks with homosexuality are extremely relevant! And don’t fully understand why you think they aren’t? One of the main reasons I disagree with homosexuality is because I believe the evidence for the health risks associated are too huge to risk practicing it.
        If there is no proof it is damaging then disagreeing with it truly does make someone a bigot. If there is evidence then the person disagreeing is not a bigot but simply a sincere well meaning concerned citizen who desires to warn people of the danger.
        I think your analogy of red hairdness and homosexuality is a good one..but I’m not sure I agree with it completely…. There is no way I could possibly prove that the innate attraction to people of the same sex is damaging to the body. If a red head has a heightened risk of cancer simply by being born with red hair that is incredibly unfortunate and I agree there is no reason to disapprove of red haired people and no reason to try and get them to change their hair.
        I am not saying that attraction to the opposite sex that is not acted upon causes damage…I am saying that homosexual acts do.
        The acts of homosexuality and the innate attraction felt are very different things. If you knew that someone deliberately dying their hair red led to increased risk of cancer you would feel legitimately obliged to warn them against doing it or at least silently fear for their safety?? It would not be considered bigoted to warn them would it.?
        The actual act of homosexual sex, especially when it is repeatedly done causes damage to the rectum as it is not designed to accept a penis, or sex toy or fist..especially not on a regular basis. Anal leakage and anal tearing is a huge legitimate risk. The ejaculation of semen and acceptance of blood from anal tears into the rectum I am also led to believe causes increased risks of cancer and stds…this is just a medical fact as far as I am concerned….please correct me if I am wrong. And also if you can please explain in a nice respectful way why you disagree with me it would be very helpful as no one has ever been able to explain to me why fearing for the health of someone who engages in these practices is a horrible thing..I think it is loving…a little nosy perhaps…but certainly not hateful! It just means that I don’t want the homosexuals that I love and care about to damage their bodies and increase their risk of diseases.
        I also think it is kind of silly to compare the increased risk of cancers of red haired people to those who engage in activities that lead to increased risks of cancer and other disorders.
        Everybody has increased risks of different diseases due to things they have little control over…like what colour hair they are born with. It is a different thing when someone deliberately engages in an activity which increases the potential for damage.

        While I know there are plenty of heterosexual couples who practice this type of sex this does not negate my argument as I hold a deep concern for them too. I my eyes they are being equally damaging to each other as same sex couples.
        And I also agree that there are risks with every form of sex even penile-vaginal sex between heterosexuals but there is no denying that the risks with homosexual sex and the damage it causes far exceeds the risks for heterosexual couples that engage in penile vaginal sex in strictly monogamous relationships.
        Please continue to dialogue with me about this as I find your views helpful and your way of discussing respectful :)
        I look forward to hearing your thoughts
        Sarah

        • Dorfl

          After Disqus ate one too many lengthy posts I’d written I’ve actually made an habit of writing my posts in a text editor and cut&paste:ing them into the web browser once I’m done. The problem with this approach is that Disqus messes up the formatting if you do that, so you have to edit the line breaks manually afterwards.

          Red headedness & cancer

          As I understand it, people with red hair also tend to have very little pigment in their skin, which leads to a heightened risk for skin cancers. So if you have red hair, it’s probably a good idea to be careful about using sun screen and otherwise trying to avoid sunburn.

          Apparently you’re also likely to be less sensitive to pain but more sensitive to heat. It doesn’t seem to be clear what health implications that has, though:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair#Medical_implications_of_the_red_hair_gene

          Gay sex and health

          You are right that anal sex does involve some health risks. Doing it correctly can minimise those risks: Using protection will decrease the probability of STD transmission. And of course, tissues tearing during sex means that you’re doing something terribly wrong. But for the sake of the argument we can say that anal sex is somewhat riskier than vaginal sex.

          The problem is that ‘gay sex’ and ‘anal sex’ aren’t synonymous. Half of all gay people are women. For them, the question of which body parts are designed to accept a penis is obviously moot. Their sexual practises will even tend to be safer than straight people’s. Even gay men don’t all have anal sex. It’s not actually mandatory.

          So I don’t see that your argument is actually against gay sex, as much as it’s against specific sexual practises that happen to be more common among gay men. And there’s really nothing wrong with that: if you want to encourage people to have safer sex by informing them about health risks and how to mitigate them, then go ahead. There is just no real reason to describe it as a general opposition to gay sex, when your objection is actually to one specific type of sexual act performed by gay and straight people.

          I could push this further and argue that if you’re very worried about unsafe sexual practises, you should actively encourage girls to indulge their bicuriosity. The more that end up preferring safe lesbian sex to the comparatively dangerous straight sex, the less STD transmission and unwanted pregnancies we’ll have to deal with.

          Effects of parenting on children’s long-term personality development

          I think you’re misreading Harris’ work a bit. She doesn’t deny that actively abusive parents can harm their children. What she does argue is that merely bad parenting, good parenting and excellent parenting make no detectable difference for the child’s long-term personality development. Basically, there is a threshold of parenting quality where, once you’ve passed it, increasing the quality has no detectable effect on what kind of person the child ends up being.

          She doesn’t deny that there is a correlation between parenting style and what the child’s behaviour. You have obviously seen that there is one, and she agrees with that. What she does deny is the causal relationship we superimpose on our actual observations. Part of the correlation comes from genetics. For example: we know that parents that hit their children more often have children that commit violent crimes. That doesn’t have to mean that the parents’ violence caused the violence in their children: it could as easily be that the parents and children all share the same genetic predisposition towards violence. Part of the correlation comes from child behaviour influencing parenting style. For example: we know that parents who aren’t very good at setting boundaries tend to have children who violate the few boundaries that are set. This doesn’t have to mean that a lack of discipline caused the children to become disorderly: it could as easily be that the parents have already observed that setting boundaries has no particular effect on their child, so they don’t bother. Her argument is that once you look at twin studies – the only studies that allow you to pick out the causal effect of parenting on child behaviour from the overall correlation – you find that the causal part is completely negligible.

          Why try to be good parents if we have negligible effect on the kids’ personality development?

          A lot of people who read Harris’ work ask some variant of this question, as you did. I think the question is a bit like asking “Why try to be a good spouse if I have negligible effect on my partner’s personality development?”.

          I’m not married, but if I was, it’s unlikely that anything short of sustained abuse could actually have a pervasive effect on my partner’s personality. If I was just a bad spouse, putting no real effort into making the relationship work, they would probably get fed up and leave at some point. I would have wasted a significant part of their life, given them some bad memories and created a lot of bad blood between us. But I would not have made them a very different person from who they would have been either if we’d had an excellent marriage, or if we’d never met at all.

          The situation with child-rearing seems to be much the same. If you put a lot of work into being a good parent and giving your child a good childhood, the payoff is that your child will have a good childhood and remember you as a good parent. We cannot, however, actively mould our children into the kind of people we want them to be. That remains beyond our control. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, really.

          • Sarah

            Hi again dorfl :)

            thanks again for another well thought our respectful post…I mean this in all seriousness when I say I want to send you an internet hug because I am so relieved to be having an open conversation about this and it not slowly denigrate into stupid arguments and personal slurs.

            Yes you have stated accurately that the anal sex and other types of sex that is most common in the lgbti community are also practiced by heterosexuals. I did point that out though at the end of my post however you are right in saying that I shouldn’t specifically label it as homosexual sex. That is unfair and I apologise for doing so.

            If you are trying to say that two lesbians having sex is safer than two heterosexuals having sex I don’t think I can agree with you unless by heterosexual sex you are referring to straight people having sex that is not strictly monogamous and not practiced safely. In my view all types of sex that differ from penile-vaginal sex between two consenting, strictly monogamous adults is extremely risky and equally damaging to the body mind and soul, with the exception of anal sex which stands in a whole league of its own as far as health risks go.

            Two consenting adults, male and female, having penile vaginal sex in a strictly monogamous relationship is the safest way to have sex hands down.
            Anything that deviates from this means the health risks start to escalate. So if I truly want to promote healthy sexual activity I need to promote celibacy or marriage where only penile vaginal sex is practiced safely.
            I would strongly question any evidence refuting this but am open to reading it if you can find any?

            As far as Judith’s work is concerned I’m not really sure what to make of it. I need to read more of it before I give an informed response :)

            • Dorfl

              Thank you :-) Internet hugs are nice.

              I feel like I should point out though that since I’m straight, nothing we’ve discussed so far actually affects me personally. It’s really that, and not some inherent civility in me, that makes it easy for me to maintain a respectful tone.

              Sex in ideal and practice

              When I say “straight sex” I’m referring to sex between two people of opposite gender. By “gay sex” I mean sex between two people of the same gender.

              I think that by making ‘straight’ include strict monogamy and correct use of protection, you are comparing a very ideal form of heterosexual intercourse with the actual practise of homosexual intercourse. Doing that, you naturally conclude that the former is better because ideals are pretty much always better than reality.

              If we look at the real world, much sex is not between people in a committed relationship and often people aren’t as careful about using protection as they should be. This is the case for straight and gay people alike. Given this, lesbian sex ends up being safer that straight sex since STD transmission is harder and an accidental pregnancy is obviously impossible.

              If we look at some ideal case, where the partners are known to be STD free, faithful to each other and careful to use protection. (This is of course compatible with polygamy, but we’ll leave that out of the discussion for now). In this case the risk of STD transmission is gone, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation. However, even perfect use of contraception has some failure rate, which does pose some risk for a straight couple, but not a lesbian one. The only way a straight couple could hope to match this degree of safety is by giving up PIV sex entirely and sticking to mutual masturbation and oral sex instead.

              Whether we look at how sex actually is most of the time, or look at ideal cases, lesbian sex ends up being safer than straight sex. It’s only when you compare ideal cases to the real world that straight sex ends up seeming safer.

              Of course, I’ve only discussed damage to the body here. I’m not sure how to test whether different kinds of sex damage the mind, and I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to test whether they damage the soul.

              • Sarah

                Hi again Dorfl :) very humble of you to say I am sure you have inherent civility too because being straight does not mean you aren’t affected and hasn’t stopped people being rude and disrespectful in arguments before.

                Yes I am very much holding up strictly monogamous penile vaginal sex as the most healthy risk free sex. This may be being idealistic compared to the way the world is but this is only unreasonable if the ideal is impossible to obtain. It is not possible to obtain this by governmental force and laws…which appears to be at the moment what churches are trying to get the government to do. But it is possible if each individual makes the choice for themselves that this something they want to do out of love for God and ask his help to do it. Not out of harsh self suppression or the compulsion to follow strict rules. Of course no one is perfect and will make mistakes all the time but that is where forgiveness comes in.

                I believe that each individual has the choice to either remain celibate or have strictly monogamous penile vaginal sex. It would be extremely difficult for some people and I wont even pretend to have a clue what that is like for people with same sex attractions..I can imagin it would be like hell…but it is not impossible. We have already established that sexual orientation is not necessarily a choice but actual sexual acts most definitely are! (with the exception of rape and sexual assault).

                I am a single celibate virgin. If I choose to have sex with someone that is outside of the sex that I said I already hold to as ideal and safest, then the Christian response would be “please don’t do this. And if you have already I will forgive you but you shouldn’t do it anymore. If you want to express your sexuality do it this way or don’t have sex at all.” I could then complain and say “my sexuality is my right! I can have sex with who ever I want, with as many people as I want and in whatever way I want to. If I don’t I am denying who I am” Then the Christian response is “fine choose another religion or secular world view that accepts that your body is your own to do with what you want and go and follow that. Go and find a doctor (or don’t you make your own choice) who can give you contraception and advice and do as you please. I cant tell you what to do or enforce anything but I will deeply grieve over the damage you are inflicting on your self. All sex has some risks but what you are doing heightens those risks considerably but I will not and cannot force you to do anything.

                This is the view I take. And I believe that other Christians should take but I don’t believe that is what is happening. Christians are currently trying to influence the government into forcing people comply with Christian belief. Judging people who don’t agree with them by their own biblical standards and also blatantly and incredibly hypocritically ignoring their own deviation from their own laws. If you aren’t a Christian and this is being done to you then you will quite rightly feel hard done by and oppressed and enraged. It angers me greatly and feel they are doing everyone- christian or not a disservice.

                It also annoys me when other Christians become fence sitters and clearly in denial about their desire to follow another faith or be atheist try and get the best of both worlds and make the cry “I am a Christian. My body and my sexuality are my own and it is my right to do whatever I want with it” my response is “no actually what you are stating is the secular world view. If you believe that your body and sexuality is your own to do what you want and desire with it then don’t lie and say you are a Christian. Christians believe their bodies belong to God and are restricted in what they get to do out of a love for God and a desire to do what God wants them too (this rarely happens but this is true Christianity) so the the phrase “I am a Christian who can do whatever I want with my own sexuality” is in essence an oxymoron. If you don’t like this don’t be a Christian. Choose something else and do what you want”.

                Secularism: my body my choice. No one has the right to tell me what to do with my body.

                Christianity: my body but made by and dedicated to God. My choices about my sex and my body must honour God. Other Christians and any one else for that matter have the right to hold me to account when I do not follow what I am claiming to believe. But I in turn have absolutely no right to judge others for not living this way when they don’t claim to be Christian.

                The government is secular and can’t hold anyone to account for not holding a religious view and practicing it. It could look at the health risks involved and make laws based on that but making a law and asking someone to follow it because it is healthier for them rather than allowing someone to choose to out of love for God and for other people is unfair and oppressive and doesn’t work.

                • Sarah

                  just realised that I shouldn’t have said same sex attracted people would have more difficulties being celibate than myself as heterosexual person that isn’t true. It will be more difficult if you aren’t doing it out of a love for God and deeply held conviction that is the right thing to do…but not more difficult than it is for anyone else just trying to live a celibate lifestyle.

                • Dorfl

                  Sorry it’s taken me a while to answer. Yesterday was a busy day.

                  I don’t really follow why you think straight penile-vaginal sex is the most risk free. Every type of contraception short of actual sterilization has some failure rate, so there is always a risk of pregnancy. Also, penile fracture is a thing. Compare this to a lesbian couple performing oral sex: there is no risk at all. I mean, what could happen? The worst scenario I can imagine is that one of them might sneeze at an embarrassing moment.

                  Since I’m not a Christian, there is really nothing I can contribute to any discussion about who is a real Christian who is not. I should point out though that being non-religious doesn’t mean that I can have sex with whomever I want however I want. They have to want it too, and be capable of giving informed consent. That’s kind of important.

                • Anna

                  I wonder what Sarah thinks lesbian sex entails? I’d be hard pressed to think of an activity with less risk.

                  Vaginal intercourse always carries the risk of unintended pregnancy, and it can also lead to cystitis, aka “honeymoon syndrome.”

                  In young sexually active women, sexual activity is the cause of 75–90% of bladder infections, with the risk of infection related to the frequency of sex. The term “honeymoon cystitis” has been applied to this phenomenon of frequent UTIs during early marriage.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinary_tract_infection#Sex

                • Dorfl

                  Sarah, I’ve written a reply to your reply, but I can’t post it until your reply gets out of moderation. I don’t know what it is that flags certain posts as needing moderation.

                • Dorfl

                  Until your post gets out of moderation, this will look like a complete non-sequitur to other readers, but anyway:

                  I think this takes us back to what I said about how you can’t really make a meaningful comparison between, on the one hand, monogamous straight sex and, on the other hand, non-monogamous gay sex. As far as I can see, the risks you listed for lesbian oral sex are all STD:s or complications thereof. If we are talking about a monogamous couple who are both infection free, those risks do not exist.

                  For the sake of the argument, I can grant that lesbian couples have a higher rate of domestic violence than straight couples. I don’t know whether it’s actually true or not, but I don’t think it’s actually relevant to the argument.

                  Unintended pregnancy – or, as Anna pointed out, urinary tract infections – can happen in a committed, loving straight relationship despite the best efforts of the partners. Condoms can break, IUDs can be ejected, pills can turn out to be ineffective on that particular woman’s body chemistry, and so on. Even if they avoid PIV sex, splash conception is a thing that can happen. It’s a risk that simply comes with that type of relationship.

                  On the other hand, domestic abuse isn’t something that just happens – it’s something that one person chooses to do to another. Nobody is at risk of one day unintentionally beating up their partner. It’s something they will not do if they choose not to, and will do if they choose to.

                  So looking at domestic violence is not going to tell us anything useful about whether committed, loving partners work better if they’re straight or gay. All it tells us is that there are some people who, for the sake of their partners, should never be in any kind of relationship.

                • Sarah

                  Hey Dorfl, must have missed a whole lot because I was unaware that my comment was being moderated. I also didn’t get Annas comment about UTI’s as it must have been removed when my comment was.
                  How bizarre!!
                  All I was trying to do was determine what the safest sex was as far as health goes. If I believe that strictly monogamous penile-vaginal sex is the safest form then in order to do so I need to compare it to every other form. I can legitimately compare it to non-monogamous anal sex to show that penile vaginal sex is safer. It only becomes unfair if I don’t compare it with monogamous sexual acts as well. I was expressing to you my frustration at not being able to find any sites that compared all acts of sexual intercourse in order of safety if they were all practiced in strictly monogamous relationships.
                  This in my view is the only way of deciding whether to be true in my claims to want to promote safe sex I should be promoting penile vaginal strictly monogamous sex or do what you were suggesting by encouraging girls to engage in strictly monogamous oral sex with a same sex partner. The majority of people already agree that using protection is safer than not, and that strictly monogamous sex is safer than multiple sexual partners. But apart from sites that compare protected anal sex to protected penile-vaginal sex there is nothing I can find that compares strictly monogamous oral sex between two lesbians with strictly penile-vaginal sex between two strictly monogamous heterosexuals. Why on earth would anyone want to moderate me expressing frustration at this???
                  Moving on however, Yes the majority of risks I associated with oral sex were stds but not all of them were. You can rule out (as much as humanly possible) all stds with safe sex practices and monogamy but you are still at risk of contracting bacterial infections, some of which come from the vagina but a lot of which result from putting the mouth so close to someone elses anus! It has huge health risks because our mouths aren’t meant to go there! That’s one of the reasons people are supposed to wash their hands after going to the toilet, and especially before they eat!!!
                  Yes of course no one is going to all of a sudden unintentionally beat up their partner!! that is a misrepresentation of what I was saying. I am also not saying that all lesbians are domestic abusers!! I can understand my comment being moderated for implying something like that. But it wasn’t understanding my statement properly. I stated that the amount of domestic abuse among same sex partners is disproportionately higher than among straight couples. If I encourage lesbian relationships then I am encouraging young girls to enter relationships where there is high risk they will be abused by their partner. The moderator is probably saying here that I am trying to label all lesbians as abusive! That is not what I’m doing! I am just simply stating a fact that domestic abuse among lesbians is a statistically shown to be a higher occurrence among same sex partners. More cases are reported so it is entirely possible that they are just reporting more!! If that’s so then someone just needs to point that out to me. If I am wrong with my statistics then all someone needs to do is point out that these statistics are wrong and they will debunk me straight away. They can even point to my comments and ridicule me for being another Christian homophobic bigot if they want to…but removing my comment is silly.

                  I am also disappointed that I haven’t been able to see peoples responses. Especially Anna’s as she gives well thought out respectful replies.

                • Dorfl

                  I’m not sure whether any particular person has actually put your comment in moderation. It is possible that it just got stuck in some automatic filter. Ideally, Hemant should get around to either approving or deleting it at some point, but it’s possible he doesn’t bother to look at threads as old as this one.

                  I’m not sure how big the risk of bacterial infections actually is. A couple that were really worried about it could use a dental dam, removing that risk as well. Or they could stick to mutual masturbation, which is as safe as it’s possible for any sexual practise to be.

                  I know you didn’t say that people might unintentionally beat others up. I didn’t mean to imply that you did. My point was that spouse abuse isn’t a statistical risk in the way that infections or pregnancy is. If both partners are committed to making the relationship work, abuse will not happen.

                • Sarah

                  Oh okay…im still a bit suspicious though…but anyway. I think that risk of bacterial infections are high enough, Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter as well as I think hepatitis A? (one of the hepatitis’s anyway) can be spread through oral sex, but like I said not enough information is out there on the topic to say one way or the other which is annoying. I have also been reading that sexuality between strictly monogamous lesbian couples is very understudied. No one has really done any in depth study yet and it is also very rare for a lesbian not to have had any male sexual partners….so…..will just have to wait and research more.
                  And good I’m glad you didn’t think I was implying that lesbians would spontaneously and unintentionally abuse their partners :)

                • Sarah

                  oh and yes a dental dam would make it safer but there is still the risk of slipping. Diseases resulting from the mouth coming into contact with bowel or bacteria from it would be avoided with strictly penile-vaginal sex.

                • Dorfl

                  Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter as well as I think hepatitis A? (one of the hepatitis’s anyway) can be spread through oral sex…

                  Maybe? I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know if it’s possible to unknowingly carry latent forms of those diseases.

                  Diseases resulting from the mouth coming into contact with bowel or bacteria from it would be avoided with strictly penile-vaginal sex.

                  It could, but as Anna pointed out, this instead carries the risk of urinary tract infections. If you see the safest type of sex as being the absolutely most ideal, then mutual masturbation would be preferable for couples of any sexual orientation.

                • Dorfl

                  Huh! The moderation filter seems to have struck again. I’ll try to quote enough that other readers can follow what I’m replying to.

                  Mutual masturbation can also have different meanings?? I am assuming you mean two people stimulating themselves and having no actual contact with each other but while still being in each others presence.

                  No, I mean two people stimulating each other with their hands. This form of sex has absolutely the least exchange of bodily fluids, making it the safest from an infection point of view.

                  Masturbating is also very addictive. It actually affects the chemicals in the mind like an addiction does. Each time it is done it deadens the senses a little bit so that the next time, in order to be satisfying more effort is needed.

                  Every pleasant activity is addictive, for a broad enough definition of ‘addiction’. The idea that it gradually deadens the senses is demonstrably wrong though.

                • Sarah

                  Yep it appears so! what’s going on??? glad you read my post anyway. How long was it up before it was taken away? Anyway….

                  okay I thought you might mean that type of mutual masturbation. If that’s the case my point still stands. Mutual masturbation is not sex. It is still preparing the body for sex and arousing to such a degree that the body wants sex…but then doesn’t get it. It is cruel and suppressive and perverted. Can’t you imagine how frustrating that would be? to always prepare the body for sex and never receive it! and having your partner right their next to you being aroused in the same way. Its cruelty to the extreme!! and stupid. Also the risks of stds and pregnancy might be incredibly lowered by doing this but they aren’t taken away completely…the risk is still there. The risks would also increase dramatically if this was the only sexual activity people practiced. The frequency would increase the risk.

                  “Every pleasant activity is addictive, for a broad enough definition of ‘addiction’. The idea that it gradually deadens the senses is demonstrably wrong though.”

                  Every pleasant activity is not addictive but every pleasant activity can become addictive if the right circumstances are in place. It is more likely to become addictive if you are doing something more for your own pleasure rather than someone else’s. The damaging effects of masturbation addiction are very serious. And even though everything has the potential to be addictive if you restrict yourself to a strictly monogamous relationship where that is all you engage in then you are pretty much setting yourself up for a serious addiction and again incredible amounts of sexual frustration!! Seriously people would go insane from the sexual tension! I could not promote this as the safest sex because again it isn’t sex and again it is perverted and cruel to the body mind and soul

                  And I have saved this post to a word document…so if someone takes it down again to moderate it I will just keep posting it up unless someone explains why it was taken down in the first place….

                • Dorfl

                  How long was it up before it was taken away?

                  I don’t know. It took nine hours before I saw the mail notifying that you had posted and clicked on the link, so at any point during that interval your post might have been put into moderation.

                  Can’t you imagine how frustrating that would be? to always prepare the body for sex and never receive it! and having your partner right their next to you being aroused in the same way.

                  I… don’t actually have to imagine that. I can say authoritatively that it’s not frustrating, and that it’s very much a kind of sex.

                  Seriously people would go insane from the sexual tension!

                  I don’t think going insane from sexual tension is a thing that can actually happen.

                • Sarah

                  looks like we disagree on what sex is then…
                  fore-play arouses the body and prepares the body for sex…..does that mean you don’t distinguish acts of foreplay from actual sex?? are they just all equally sex to you?

                • Dorfl

                  I think distinguishing foreplay from the rest of the sexual act can be useful. I think were we differ is that you seem to see mutual masturbation as necessarily a part of foreplay, while I think it can constitute any part of the sex act.

                  I’m not going to go into any detail about my own sex life, but I will say that if you are making love with someone you love, the anatomical specifics are not going to matter very much. We can discuss whether different types of sex have different medical risks. I’m not a medical professional, so I can’t say anything authoritative about that. But when it comes to the question of whether any of mutual masturbation, oral sex or PIV sex is noticeably more or less satisfying than the others, I can say from experience that they are not.

                  I frankly think that the distinction between ‘real sex’ and ‘not really sex’ is a fiction that was useful historically, and that we’re now sadly stuck with. In the past, when it was socially important to be a virgin on one’s wedding night, people generally agreed that only PIV sex was properly sex. This meant that people could have many other forms of sex before marriage – because to them it didn’t count as sex – and still truthfully claim to be virgins when they married. It was basically the same kind of creative rules-lawyering as led people to decide that fish isn’t meat, so it’s acceptable to eat during lent – and then also decide that beavers are a kind of fish.

                • Sarah

                  Hmmmmm…I can see your point…but I still don’t agree. I believe there is clear difference between sex and other types of sexual acts and foreplay. And I believe they are different for reasons other than so people can do what they want sexually and still be considered virgins….
                  I believe that sex provides a release that foreplay cannot provide…it can satisfy you temporarily and does not really cause that much frustration if done every now and then…but it is still cruel to the body by arousing it to the point where the body desires sex but doesn’t get it.
                  I think the only reason you don’t see it a cruel and suppressive is because you know when you do it that actual sex is not off the table. If you knew that actual sex was never a possibility then I’m sure you would soon see it as maddening.

                • Dorfl

                  I believe that sex provides a release that foreplay cannot provide.

                  Orgasm provides a release that foreplay does not – pretty much by definition, since at the point of the sexual act where people start orgasming, we no longer consider it to be foreplay. The ‘people orgasming’ part can demonstrably consist of any of the activities I listed, and I maintain that they make fairly little difference.

                  I think the only reason you don’t see it a cruel and suppressive is because you know when you do it that actual sex is not off the table.

                  Like I said, I’m not going to discuss my sex life beyond this. I will just have to assert that this is definitely not the case, and hope you accept that I know more about the situations I’ve been in and how I’ve responded to them that it’s possible to infer from deliberately unspecific internet posts.

                • Sarah

                  I will accept that is what you believe and feel you have experienced for yourself, but I still don’t agree with you.
                  I don’t think an orgasm is what determines the difference between foreplay and sex. Lots of things that are definitely not sex can cause people to have orgasms. Foreplay can cause orgasms and sex can occur without either partner orgasming. Sex is more than just orgasms it is the intimacy and physical connection that the body desires when it is sexually aroused.
                  Sexual arousal and stimulation from foreplay prepares the female body to be penetrated by the male body and prepares the male body to penetrate the female body….if this doesn’t happen after foreplay then orgasms can still take place and provide some satisfaction (and for a lot of people apparently this is enough)…but it is not the same as the full satisfaction and release that comes with actual sex and it is denying the body what has just been prepared for.
                  I understand that some people do not see things this way and for them orgasming means that penetration isn’t necessary. But I believe that the female and male bodies respond to arousal the way they do for a reason, not just for orgasms, but for connection to each other and penetration. It is a way of getting two bodies as close and as intimately connected as is physically possible.
                  The bodies desire for this can be demonstrated by how quickly hugging and kissing can escalate to deep kissing, to making out, to foreplay to sex in the matter of a few moments. The bodies physical response can be very hard to control. It takes a lot of focus and discipline to work against the physical bodies natural responses, and stop before penetration.

                • Dorfl

                  I agree that orgasm is a less important part of sex, compared to intimacy, closeness and connection. I still don’t understand why you think any of those require putting a penis inside a vagina.

                • Sarah

                  Because that is how our physical bodies respond to arousal. The hearts bodies and minds desire that closeness and connection and piv sexual intercourse provides that physical closeness because the bodies fit together so well. It goes further than just two bodies close together, they become connected/joined. The male body is prepared by arousal to penetrate and the female body is prepared to be penetrated, it just so happens that these two body parts were designed to fit together in that way. Other types of sex involve some sort of penetration and acceptance because that is naturally what our bodies desire when they are aroused. In the sexual relation ship between two men obviously there is no vagina which means this connection cant happen but the male body still is biologically wired to penetrate while aroused so that is why anal sex is so common. With two women the penis is missing but the female body still desires penetration when its aroused so women use their fists, sex toys, etc.
                  This will probably be moderated and taken down again….but we will see what happens and I will just continue to repost until the person who keeps taking offence dialogues with me to tell me why they have a problem with it.

                • Dorfl

                  Other types of sex involve some sort of penetration and acceptance because that is naturally what our bodies desire when they are aroused.

                  Not necessarily. We’ve already had a long discussion about lesbian oral sex, which is generally non-penetrative.

                  In the sexual relation ship between two men obviously there is no vagina which means this connection can’t happen but the male body still is biologically wired to penetrate while aroused so that is why anal sex is so common. With two women the penis is missing but the female body still desires penetration when its aroused so women use their fists, sex toys, etc.

                  Some do, and some don’t. The idea that penetrative sex is uniquely more satisfying doesn’t seem to be borne out by how people in the real world have sex.

    • Anna

      Hi Sarah,

      I’d like to address your comment about two mothers not being equal to a mother and father. I’m sorry that you suffered the loss of your father, whether that was due to death, divorce, or abandonment. However, I have problems when people try to equate that situation with that of children from planned lesbian families.

      I was raised by two lesbian mothers. I was conceived via donor insemination, and there was never an expectation that my donor would play a parental role in my life. I was not abandoned by him, and I don’t consider him one of my parents. I had both my parents, and I had them every single day. I never had to suffer the pain of a broken home. My brother and I had a safe, secure, loving family where we always knew we were cherished. I never doubted my family’s stability for a second.

      My parents did a wonderful job of modeling a healthy, stable, lifelong relationship. To say that their example is lesser because they are two women makes no sense to me. Why should their sex matter? Aren’t the important things in a relationship love, kindness, consideration, trust, honesty, and communication? Those qualities are not dependent on the sex of the couple.

      • sarah

        Hi Anna,
        Thank you for your respectful and considered reply and for sharing your experience with me.
        I take and understand your point that I should not compare broken families with those of same sex couple families. They are different and I did not realise until you pointed it out that what I wrote was implying that the trauma of divorce, separation, or death of a parent is the same as being raised by two parents of the same sex. I don’t believe this is true and sincerely apologise for implying it.
        And yes I agree that the ability to be loving, kind, considerate, honest, and communicate are not limited by the sex of a parent. Both men and women equally are able to provide these things for their children through parenting. And the same sex parents I know (unfortunately I do not know many) express these qualities beautifully and is one of the reasons I count them as such dear friends. I also feel I can state with confidence that their child feels these things from her parents very strongly and benefits greatly from them.
        Where I disagree is the idea that these are the only things that are needed to raise a child. From my perspective through my own upbringing and from conversations I have had with children and adults who have missed out on a father or a mother while growing up, is not that they have missed out on feeling loved or accepted or have missed out on having caring and good parents (again I am very sorry for implying this it was not my intent) but the actual specific lack of that particular male figure or female figure as a constant in their life. Not from the perspective of how much love they can provide for their child but rather helping their children to learn about what they are actually like and what the differences between the sexes actually are. What it is to be male what it is to be female how the different sexes relate and think, how they express their emotions. For example: I have had contact with my dad but because I saw him less than my mother and was surrounded by women nearly all the time my opinion of how my father should be was seen through the lens of how my mother was. When my father related to me in a different way to me than my mother did it totally threw me! I even viewed some of his actions as unloving and judged him badly. Not because he actually did anything wrong or didn’t love me but because I genuinely didn’t understand that him being male and a father meant he related in a different way…it has damaged my relationship with him to a great extent because I have only just recently realised what was occurring. I am also quite clueless when it comes to relating well with other men (although I understand this is a common thing “who really understands how men think right??”) but I think my situation is a little bit different because I have lacked the influence of a father simply for the fact that a constant male influence was lacking.
        I hope this makes sense?
        I look forward to hearing your response

        • Anna

          Hi Sarah,

          Yes I can see your point about me disdaining and viewing as inferior any other family other than the biological one….but I still struggle with fully agreeing this is what I really mean…maybe I am just in denial and don’t want to admit it but I don’t think you are fully understanding my point.

          It’s that if you’re saying we’re not as good, that we’re not ideal, then you view us as inferior by default. We can never be as good no matter what we do, all because you think biology is necessary for an ideal family situation to exist. It’s saying that we’re less than other families. Don’t you see how your viewpoint puts us in a secondary position? You’ve proclaimed biological families to be the best kind. That means the rest of us are not the best kind.

          I must be misunderstanding something about this for you to keep making this point. Why would me thinking its unfair that your biological father didn’t want to raise you and be in your life mean I would think that meant you shouldn’t have been born?

          Because by going on and on about what a “bad, unfair thing” you think it is, you’re not showing support for the creation of non-biological families. What do you think should have happened way back when my biological father was considering donating his sperm? What advice would you have given him? It sounds to me like you would have told him not to do it, not to help create my brother and me. If you don’t think lesbians should become pregnant, if you don’t think men should donate their sperm to help them, then the logical outcome of that is that people like me don’t end up existing, that we don’t get born at all.

          And it’s just very strange to me that you keep saying my biological father didn’t want to raise me. It was never on the table for him to raise me. This was not an accidental pregnancy. He was specifically intended to be a donor, not a father. It’s not like he got my biological mother pregnant and then ran off somewhere. He didn’t shirk his responsibility. His entire responsibility was to help get her pregnant, and nothing more than that.

          Does it really have to be that if I think that the best and ideal situation for a child is to be raised and loved and cared for by their own parents that brought them into the world, that I disdain all other families???

          Maybe not disdain the families, but you think we’re inferior. Your disdain seems to be reserved for people who choose not raise their biological offspring. Your comments about them have been incredibly negative. You act like they are doing horrible things. Again, I’m not talking about people who abandon their children. I’m talking about people who choose to place their babies for adoption and who choose to donate their eggs or sperm.

          If they express disappointment that they never got to know someone who shaped so much of who they are that does not mean they disdain their adopted parents or view them as inferior.

          Not all adopted people go in search of their biological parents. Not all of them want to. Please understand that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to, but it’s not universal. And you are the one who is viewing the adoptive family as inferior, not them. An adopted person might feel that their childhood was ideal, and that meeting their birth mother or birth father satisfied their intellectual curiosity but did not provide something emotional that they needed in order to have a good life.

          I believe that when a child is forcibly denied one of or both of their parents then this is a bad unfair thing. This does not necessarily mean that all the children will view this as unfair…some of them won’t….but others undeniably will and do and there are hundreds of studies done that show this.

          Well, there aren’t hundreds of studies showing that children from planned lesbian families resent their creation. As far as I’m aware, there’s not even one! There are a bunch of studies, and the ones that do explore donor insemination show no difference between those who know their donors and those who do not, and the vast majority reported their feelings about not knowing their donor as “don’t care” or “no opinion.”

          I know some people who were adopted as babies and never got to know their real parents.

          “Real parents.” That tells me everything I need to know about how you view adoptive families. That’s the way our entire culture views adoptive families. No wonder many adopted children struggle with insecurity. They’re raised in an environment which negates their family at every turn.

          I was talking to a kid today who’s biological father was never part of his life. He knows who he is and wants nothing to do with him at the moment. He has a step father that stepped in and provided him with everything he felt he needed. He even refers to this guy as his real dad and family and views him with the highest regard. But he still feels cheated that his biological father didn’t try hard enough to be part of his life. He would in no way say that his step dad was an inferior parent to his biological one. He knows this isn’t true. But he still deeply wishes that his biological father could have been there for him the way his step dad was.

          l already told you I agree that abandonment is traumatic. What happened to your sister was unfortunate. What happened to this boy was unfortunate. But it bears absolutely no resemblance to being born into a planned lesbian family. Donors are not intended parents. They don’t abandon anyone. Their role is to help create the child, not raise the child.

          You could claim these kids only feel this way because society tells them they must and that by default they are viewing the parents they have left as inferior but I don’t think they do.

          Yes, I do think this is all culture. Our society promotes two-parent biological families as the ideal. Anyone who doesn’t have that sort of family is presumed to be missing out, even if they had a stable, loving home since birth, with no abandonment. Your views are a prime example of this. When children are aware that they are seen as different and inferior, that leads to insecurity. How do you think your views make adopted kids feel when it’s clear you don’t think their families are “real” families? When you don’t think they can have an ideal upbringing? I’m not just blaming you; it’s the entire society. Mosuo children don’t suffer from this insecurity because their society is structured differently. Every child has same kind of family, so there’s nothing to feel bad about. No one’s seen as abnormal for not knowing or having a relationship with their biological father.

          The real point of that was to see if I could point out that gender identity is a real thing…but it sounds like you already do think this…that’s what I think maleness and femaleness is.

          Well, I thought we agreed that gender identity was an intangible, internal sense of self. I just don’t understand how or why you think this makes all men the same or all women the same, or how it manifests itself in relationships or parenting. Your original objection to my family was that one of my parents didn’t have “innate” maleness, but you never explained how that would affect anything.

          I am also curious to know how you view the
          Na women as having more sexual autonomy than you do? or maybe that’s not what you meant. I view their society as very similar to ours at the moment except that ours is bigger and not a closed community.

          Not more than I do specifically, but more autonomy than women in patriarchal systems. American culture is still somewhat patriarchal, although egalitarian inroads have been made within the last 40 years. The Mosuo/Na have a matrilineal society, so women’s sexuality is treated differently there. They have a degree of power and autonomy that most women in traditional cultures do not have.

          • Sarah

            Hi Anna,
            “It’s that if you’re saying we’re not as good, that we’re not ideal, then you view us as inferior by default. We can never be as good no matter what we do, all because you think biology is necessary for an ideal family situation to exist. It’s saying that we’re less than other families. Don’t you see how your viewpoint puts us in a secondary position? You’ve proclaimed biological families to be the best kind. That means the rest of us are not the best kind”.

            I think this is still a misunderstanding…but this is more my fault for not explaining myself properly than anything else. Some of the things I have read that I have written I don’t even agree with myself so I think I really need to be careful what I write. And I must say I really appreciate you so much for dialoguing about this with me! You and Dorfl are the only people I have ever chatted to via internet chat rooms that have been so great at discussing such hugely controversial and heated topics without getting abusive and without totally lying and misrepresenting what I’ve tried to say. I think it is so important that these conversations to happen. I am learning sooo much from them.

            We have already established that we agree abandonment of a child is a terrible thing right so lets start on something we both agree on. There are lots of other topics we have discussed but i think in order for me to not get so confused and to help myself explain what I think properly I need to focus on one thing at a time.
            When a child’s parent abandons them and this is true of non-biological parents as well….it is extremely traumatic and unfair. We both agree on this yes?

            • Anna

              Hi Sarah,

              It’s always nice to be able to have a civil conversation!

              We have already established that we agree abandonment of a child is a terrible thing right so lets start on something we both agree on. There are lots of other topics we have discussed but i think in order for me to not get so confused and to help myself explain what I think properly I need to focus on one thing at a time. When a child’s parent abandons them and this is true of non-biological parents as well….it is extremely traumatic and unfair. We both agree on this yes?

              Yes, I think it’s better to stick to one thing at a time! And we’re in absolute agreement. When a parent walks out on a child, that creates a very deep trauma. It doesn’t have to do with biology. Young children don’t understand anything about genes. All they know is that Mommy or Daddy isn’t there anymore, that Mommy or Daddy doesn’t want to see them. Because children are naturally egocentric, they tend to blame themselves for things like divorce and abandonment. If Mommy or Daddy disappears all of a sudden, the children think that perhaps they did something wrong to make their parent no longer love them.

              I must emphasize that this occurs regardless of genes and DNA. If an adoptive parent walks out, if a stepparent walks out, that creates just as much pain and confusion in the children. All they understand is that the emotional bond (which is supposed to be inviolable) has been severed. There are very sad cases of children being forcibly removed from non-biological parents, and those children were deeply traumatized, screaming and crying, just as they would have been if they were being taken from their biological home.

              • Sarah

                Hoorah we agree again!! :) yes I agree with all of that (minus the thing about children being very egocentric. Everybody is ego centric! But the more time I spend with children the more I am finding that I disagree with that claim that children are more so…unless its possible that we mean different things by egocentric) I think children are capable of being incredibly others centred and as I learn more from them I see remarkable acts of a complete lack of ego-centricity practiced by them. I don’t see this as often in adults. I think children put up a lot with the things their parents do and love them unconditionally and loyally despite a lot of wrong doing. They are incredibly forgiving, humble and lack inhibitions so they speak what they think and see through to the heart of a person without judging others as much as adults tend to do. they also tend to see through falseness incredibly well…I have had such deep conversations with toddlers where the things they have done and said have made me do a double take and think WOW..did they really just do that! did they really just say that??. They constantly teach me so much). I view the reactions they have as when abandoned as perfectly normal reaction that anyone has when someone who is meant to love them leaves them and has nothing more to do with them. If this happens to anyone adult or child it makes them question themselves and what they may or may not have done wrong.
                But apart from all of that yes yes yes on all accounts.
                But what do you believe about children who are abandoned who never formed that emotional bond? my sister didn’t get the chance to form any emotional bonds with her dad

                • Anna

                  I meant “egocentric” in that very young children cannot yet intellectually grasp that the world doesn’t revolve around them. That’s why when bad things happen, they tend to blame themselves. While an adult can understand that a parent may have left because of personal demons, a small child is apt to think it was because he or she did something wrong.

                  But what do you believe about children who are abandoned who never formed that emotional bond? my sister didn’t get the chance to form any emotional bonds with her dad

                  I don’t have a good handle on your sister’s situation. She never met her father even once? Was there any attempt at forming a bond, meeting him, only to have him reject her later on? Did he ever plan to visit, for example, and did he disappoint her by not showing up? What did your mother tell her about him?

                  If there was never any interaction between them whatsoever, then I think she was more traumatized by the expectation that there should have been. We do live in a society that promotes two-parent families as ideal. If every other child has a father, it’s possible that children without fathers will feel left out, especially if the relationship was expected to take place, but did not occur because of the parent’s irresponsible or selfish actions.

                • Sarah

                  Hi again,
                  wow you are helping me realise so much about my own childhood that I hadn’t fully understood before. I used to fee very angry at any suggestion my family wasn’t normal. And I felt very judged.
                  Yes that’s what I thought you meant by ego centric. I might have agreed with that a few years ago but my views are changing. I remember when I was small, about 5 years old, and my father came to the house to try and get me and my sister to go with them. While my mum was away and I was being baby sat for by some friends. My dad was incredibly angry and it scared me very much. It was quite terrifying actually because the people babysitting for us were trying to protect us and keep dad away and dad kept trying to fight his way in. He wasn’t violent but incredibly angry. I remember very clearly how I was able to think outside of my own fear and try and see things from my dads perspective…I analysed my own fears and thought how am I feeling…i’m feeling very scared…what is dad feeling? he’s feeling angry…but why?? I remember having a very deep sense of intuition at that time and it didn’t take me very long to understand that the rage he was expressing was a sign of deep hurt and fear that he would miss out on seeing me . I remember making the decision to tell him I would go down and see him at his house another day. That he didn’t need to worry that if I didn’t go with him at that moment that I would never see him again. He calmed down straight away after that and left calmly. Neither of the adults had known how to handle it and were just understandably terrified and angry.

                  I think children are more in danger of dismissing themselves in favour of others rather than believing the world revolves around them. If they question whether something is their fault its not because they think everything is about them but because the persons actions imply that there is something wrong with them. Whether this is intentional or not.

                  Children are capable of understanding a lot more than people give them credit for (I blame the idea that children view themselves as the centre of the universe on pop psychology). And the more time I spend around children the more convinced I become of this.

                  I hear what you are saying and I agree with some elements but more and more in society I see adults putting their own rights first ahead of their children and children out of love and empathy and sometimes false guilt put their parents needs ahead of their own. And I see more and more adults treating children as if they are possessions and not people, accessories rather than people and that they are a right to have not a privilege and a responsibility. I don’t believe that having children is a right. Children however have the right to have parents who love them and treat them well….this is more and more often becoming something that is rare.

                  My sister never met her father, he was never part of her life and because he had conceived her without knowing it was possible to impregnate my mother both my mother and my sisters father engaged in intercourse with out any intention or expectation of becoming parents. When my sister was conceived her father freaked out. He had never wanted to be a father, he couldnt handle it so he left. He didn’t intend to be cruel it was just something he thought was best and wasn’t prepared for. He didn’t really have nasty intentions. My sister can understand why he left and from a young age she understood this, but she still didn’t like it and wanted to know him. The cruellest thing for her was not why he left to start with but that he didn’t want to know her as she was growing up and he didn’t consider her need to want to see him. He didn’t let her get to know who he was. He didn’t try to. And she felt this sadness early on, much earlier than being exposed to those people who judged her and made her feel bad for not having a father. That made it worse but it didn’t start it. As she got older she also used to wonder if she had siblings and the idea that she might end up accidently marrying her own brother one day freaked her out. She couldn’t really tell anyone fully her health history either which was very unhelpful sometimes.

                  I see what you are saying about society trying to tell people what is normal and making those who don’t fit the norm feel bad. I can understand why you believe my sister got distressed because she didn’t have what society regarded as the normal childhood experience. And we were definitely made to feel less as a family because of it. People would judge us very harshly. But that did not mean that I agreed with what the rest of the world was saying. I think children are more likely to view their own family life as normal more than what society says. Society would tell me I needed a dad but I didn’t think I did because my family life without a dad was fine. I used to feel the outside world judging me but I never felt they had a legitimate right too. I felt ours was the best family and every body else’s wasn’t as good as ours. I remember the idea of having a father constantly around was bizarre and wasn’t as good as our family the way it was because I believed we were closer to my mother without a dad. My mother shared ideas and thoughts with me and was like my best friend. I knew my peers with both a mother and a father didn’t have this and I genuinely pitied them for it. I thought the whole idea of having a father constantly involved was a strange and abnormal concept. I even at times thought that my father was wrong for wanting to have involvement. I thought he should just let us be because we were fine without him.

                  It wasn’t until I was about 19 that I started to question my way of thinking. And realised how wrong I was. And that maybe having a father around wasn’t such a bad idea. I started to wonder what it would have been like having my dad more in my life. I saw other families around who had fathers and saw them providing something for them that I had never had…I originally hadn’t cared and thought I didn’t need it but as I learnt more about myself I realised how much I had missed out on. Before that time I didn’t care what the rest of the world said…I saw single mum families as ideal. And dreamed one day of having a single parent family of my own. I would try and think of ways that I could possibly have a child who the father didn’t have involvement with. I didn’t know about IVF treatments then. I started to view men as just people that provided babies and sex, that was all. I didn’t think they provided anything else. So I began to treat them that way.

                  I remember the first time I had the idea that maybe it would be a nice thing to have a relationship with a man for the sake of enjoying who he was as a person rather than just providing me with a child. I remember feeling really surprised that I would feel this way and really surprised that I had never felt that way before.

                  So society can definitely judge you and make you feel inferior..but I believe that for a child it is their own family of origin who raises them that teaches them what normal is. I didn’t think I missed out on anything until I was nineteen. I sincerely felt this way and was furious with anyone who suggested otherwise. I felt that they saw me as less and were judging my mum. A lot of them genuinely did but others just recognised in me what I was yet to see for myself. Family of origin dictates to a child more powerfully what normality is, rather than society.

                  How old were you when you discovered you were conceived via sperm donation? Did your parents always tell you even from a young age or did it happen all of a sudden?

                • Anna

                  As far as I can recall, I always knew how I was conceived. My parents first had a conversation with me about it when I was 4 (almost 5). They were worried that I hadn’t asked any questions, so they thought it would be a good idea to explain the whole story before I got too much older, to head off any worry or confusion. I don’t remember the conversation, so I’m just going by what they’ve told me.

                  I don’t know what it’s like not to know, and there have been plenty of cases of people suddenly finding out they’re adopted or conceived by donor insemination and being very traumatized by the fact that it was kept secret. That’s why I’m in favor of complete honesty from the very beginning. A lot of straight families still keep it a secret. That’s not a possibility in lesbian families, for obvious reasons.

                  I think both family and society play a large role in what people see as normal or abnormal. I think small children are naturally happy in their families (provided it’s a stable, loving environment), but can be negatively affected by others in society who tell them their families are abnormal. Teachers, peers, the media, etc.

                  I don’t believe that children have any inherent need for their family to look a certain way. If that were the case, then children in cultures where families are structured differently (like the Mosuo) would express a desire for a family that conforms to Western norms. But that doesn’t happen. Western-style nuclear families are as foreign to them as their matrilineal extended families are to us.

                  It sounds like you and your sister were raised in an environment that negated your family at every turn, so it’s no surprise that you eventually came to believe it was not ideal. I don’t believe a single mother family is inferior, but I do believe that constant negations of that family structure can lead people to believe that it is.

                  My sister can understand why he left and from a young age she understood this, but she still didn’t like it and wanted to know him. The cruellest thing for her was not why he left to start with but that he didn’t want to know her as she was growing up and he didn’t consider her need to want to see him. He didn’t let her get to know who he was. He didn’t try to. And she felt this sadness early on, much earlier than being exposed to those people who judged her and made her feel bad for not having a father.

                  Well, it couldn’t have been earlier than 3 or 4, which is when your sister would probably have started nursery school and learned that other children had fathers. If she asked why she didn’t have a father, and your mother told her it was because he ran off and left, then I could see how that would lead to abandonment issues. Was there any attempt made at contact? Did your sister ever ask to see him? If so, what was his response?

                  That made it worse but it didn’t start it. As she got older she also used to wonder if she had siblings and the idea that she might end up accidently marrying her own brother one day freaked her out. She couldn’t really tell anyone fully her health history either which was very unhelpful sometimes.

                  That strikes me as rather odd. It couldn’t possibly have been something to worry about unless she was dating someone who didn’t know the identity of his father. Surely, your sister knew his identity? Didn’t your mother at least tell her his name?

                  I remember the idea of having a father constantly around was bizarre and wasn’t as good as our family the way it was because I believed we were closer to my mother without a dad. My mother shared ideas and thoughts with me and was like my best friend. I knew my peers with both a mother and a father didn’t have this and I genuinely pitied them for it.

                  If your mother was treating you like a best friend, that’s problematic because she didn’t fully assume the parental role. Parents are supposed to be authority figures, not best friends. They’re supposed to be able to set rules and boundaries, mete out discipline, etc. That’s hard to do when they act like one of your friends. In any case, I’m not really sure why having your father there would have made you not as close with your mother. Surely, some of your friends had close relationships with their moms, too?

                  It wasn’t until I was about 19 that I started to question my way of thinking. And realised how wrong I was. And that maybe having a father around wasn’t such a bad idea. I started to wonder what it would have been like having my dad more in my life. I saw other families around who had fathers and saw them providing something for them that I had never had…

                  What was that? I’m curious what specific thing those men provided for their families that you didn’t feel you had.

                  I remember the first time I had the idea that maybe it would be a nice thing to have a relationship with a man for the sake of enjoying who he was as a person rather than just providing me with a child. I remember feeling really surprised that I would feel this way and really surprised that I had never felt that way before.

                  Well, of course. If you’re a straight woman, you would desire a relationship with a man. It sounds to me like you were put off by your father’s treatment of you and seemed not to want a romantic relationship because the ones your mother had didn’t work out. I notice she had two children by different fathers, so you would have seen evidence of two failed relationships, one man who displayed anger issues, and one man who didn’t want anything to do with his child. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t have been optimistic or hopeful about finding a man to share your life with, under those circumstances. You would have had every reason to distrust men.

                  I always grew up thinking I would marry a man, so I can’t relate. I had no reason to distrust men. All of the men I knew were kind to me, and I had never been in an situation where one had scared me or disappointed me. There was never anything to make me fear that a romantic relationship would automatically fail, and I never aspired to be a single mother because I was afraid that a man wouldn’t be there. Of course I wouldn’t have minded being a single mother if I hadn’t found a suitable partner, but I definitely would have preferred to raise children with a partner rather than by myself.

                • Sarah

                  That’s good :) Very wise of your mums to be up front from the start. Yes I believe up front honesty is the best for the child so that it doesn’t come as a complete shock and they don’t feel like they have been living a lie. Its wonderful that your parents had the insight to know that was important. It is definitely less traumatic to be told from the start than to find out suddenly.

                  “I think both family and society play a large role in what people see as normal or abnormal. I think small children are naturally happy in their families (provided it’s a stable, loving environment), but can be negatively affected by others in society who tell them their families are abnormal. Teachers, peers, the media, etc.”

                  Yes this is true. I agree. And society had a huge part to play in dictating to us that our family wasn’t normal. But depending on how they did it this had both an incredibly positive impact and an extremely damaging negative one. I needed the outside world to model to me and tell me what was normal. Because the things going on in our family were definitely not normal and were incredibly harming. If we hadn’t had the outside world to do this we may have stayed stuck in our unhealthy patterns forever.

                  Generally when someone criticised my family for something that wasn’t true, I might be a bit angry and hurt that someone would think such lies…but for me…the lies didn’t really bother me. It was when people criticised us for things that were actually wrong that it hurt the most and I viewed as the most damaging to me. Like with my mum and I being like best friends. People would constantly tell us we were too close, that we were too dependant on each other, that it wasn’t healthy, that my mum wasn’t good…blah blah blah. They may have had good intentions because they were worried for me but the way they said it was always so harsh and unloving so self righteous and with no understanding of the possible reason we might feel the need to be so close…they treated us with disdain and wouldn’t offer any support or any encouragement about the good things….it was so hard because the more they criticised the more we would deny their was anything wrong….the more we denied their was a problem the more they would try and tell us that their was one. Almost all of the criticisms were true to some extent except but it was so hurtfully done. I was so conscious of being judged by others that I would flatly deny that anything was wrong. I tried desperately to project this image to the world of a faultless perfect family so that no one had the opportunity to judge us and blame it on our fatherlessness. It was really bad because what the self righteous people did tainted all the efforts of the genuinely caring non judgemental families that just wanted to help us. I just viewed any attempt at “help” as more judgement “they think i’m no good” we became more and more isolated as a family and our dependency on each other grew worse. So the people outside grew more worried and their judgementalism and interfering escalated!!! It was a vicious cycle.

                  And it wasn’t so much that they viewed our family as not normal that was the problem…deep down i knew my family wasn’t normal (but who’s family is right?) It was more how they treated us because of those views…..that because of the issues we did have that we were totally written off as a family in general and there were no positives at all, that we weren’t worthy of anyone’s time to hang out with because we were abnormal, unhealthy. Almost everyone treated us like a case they needed to fix. They viewed themselves as better and acted like our family was automatically going to have huge problems because we didn’t have a father figure. I hated hearing statistics people stated of how daughters from fatherless homes are more likely to be prostitutes or promiscuous or take drugs or do poorly in school blah, blah, blah. I felt like people were just watching my family waiting to see when I would end up in jail because of some terrible thing I did as a result of being fatherless. And then jump on my mother straight away and say “see!! didnt we tell you you were being a bad parent??”

                  I have never taken drugs, I dont smoke, dont drink and am a celibate virgin with no criminal record to speak of and did very well in school. I hated the way people would simply assume all children from single parents would automatically turn out a certain way…and I still feel a sting in my heart when I hear anyone say the word single parent family with a certain tone in their voice.

                  The people in the community outside of my nuclear family and almost all of my extended family could see problems happening in my family. But because I was so determined not to let my family be judged or be seen as anything other than perfect I just tried harder to hide them and blatantly deny them. I thought if I admitted for a second that what was going on was not okay it automatically meant that my parents that I loved dearly and knew loved me, would be written off. People would think they had a right to treat us like we were less than them. When people started to just love us…without trying to tell us anything was wrong we then started to see the problems that we did have, and feel safe to admit them, and then get help to change them. But without the criticisms of the ones that were hurtful despite their attempts to be helpful I don’t think I ever would have realised.

                  As warped as some of my family dynamics were growing up, I never doubted for a second that my mother and father both loved me and wanted the best for me. I also can see that considering what they were both dealing with from their own pasts and in their own lives during my childhood, that they were both, and still are, incredible parents! They have done an amazing job affirming me and trusting me and disciplining me in what is right and wrong. They are also incredibly loving to me and even (eventually)to each other which i think is very powerful and sadly a rare thing for divorced parents to be able to do for their children. I respect them incredibly as parents and as people. Having them as who they are has helped me through the roughest times in my life. But it took me a long time to be able to admit to myself that they weren’t the perfect parents I wanted everyone to see them as. It also took me a long time to see that nobody had the perfect parents and that all those people, who were pretending to me that they were when they judged us, were just clever illusionists.

                  Society needs to set the standard of what is normal and healthy…there is nothing wrong with that…it’s just that the people inside that society need to realise that when people don’t fit the norm, they should not be disdained, they should not be judged as being less and not worthwhile but should be supported and loved for who they are so that families can feel safe enough to open up and admit where they ALL (as no family is perfect) have issues that need working through. I can now see how the comments i have made in previous posts have not been reflective of this non judgemental loving. I am sincerely sorry.

                  And I can see what you mean about the Mosuo family but the thing is that in the article you gave me it says at the end that they have started to make their community more like Patriarchal culture by trying to change the responsibilities that the fathers have and by holding relationship/marriage like ceremonies. The patriarchal system is not as foreign to them as one might think. There is also shaming and judging that goes on in their community too (as their is with any community it is impossible to avoid because we are all unique and different they may not judge their people on the same things that other cultures do but they judge and shame just the same) for example: A Mosuo woman who cannot tell who the father of her child is, is considered a great shame in her community. There are also some walk in marriages that last for years and only have children to each other. Where as others chop and change and the children are from many different fathers. Unless you have ever visited the Mosuo people and talked to Mosuo children you can’t say for certain one way or another how well adjusted they are. And even if you did it would still be very hard to tell. And like i said before i dont view their matrilineal families as foreign I see them as fast becoming the norm in our society where the mother gets almost all the responsibilities and are treated like satisfiers of a mans sexual desire and they treat men accordingly. Men get to shirk their family responsibilities..have sex…then leave the next morning. The only benefit I see women having is that they are given their own room and the men do not. The men still have control over the legal system and are still the main providers of income. Women are responsible for all the household chores and child raising…for an insanely long amount of time considering their sons live with them for their entire lives!!! Yes they say they are sexually autonomous by being allowed as many sexual partners as they desire but the men do as well and how is that different in anyway to our society today. The idea of promiscuity is a thing of the past…to judge this is to be labelled a prude. Maybe not when I was a child….but today…

                  My sister alway knew the identity and name of her father, she had photos and my mother never put him down. She would talk about his likes and dislikes as my sister asked for the information and simply explained that the situation had been a shock to him and he wasnt ready to be a parent yet. He had honestly not expected to be one and wasnt ready. Not everyone is ready to be a parent. And people that werent ready shouldnt always be parents because parenting is a big responsibilty. My sister seemed to understand this well enough…but that didnt quell her hunger to want to know him. She wasnt satisfied with just a photo she wanted to know him, and wanted him to know her…surely he would want to know her once he knew what she was like?? She wasnt just a fetus with no personality anymore she was a child who looked like him!! Surely he would want to meet her and would want to get to know her even if he couldn’t be a parent to her.

                  But her father thought it was best that they have nothing to do with each other. He had moved far away as soon as he knew of her conception. He made it pretty much impossible to find and when my sister finally tracked down an adress he ignored all attempts at contact. It was heart breaking. Mum would try satisfying my sisters curiosity about him and would answer all questions as honestly and as carefully for her age as she could. While at the same time trying to provide the support for her that my sister felt was missing. She had lots of male figures in her life, uncles, grandfather and male friends that adored her and wanted to show her that she was loved for who she was, but this didnt cut it. My father (once the painfulness of the divorce settled down) made sure that he always treated her like he was her daughter and showed me know favouritism over her. I even remember accusing him once of loving my sister more because during the small times that we did see him, I saw them bond in ways and connect with him in ways that i had never done. But it still wasnt enough for her. Because each man who tried just made her wonder why her biological father wasnt….She wanted her dad and it became painfully obvious after she tried to contact him that he didnt want anything to do with her. He never got to see her pain, Im sure he told himself that staying away would be the best thing for both of them. He thought that she would be better off without him. And maybe she would have…but she never got to make that choice.

                  I understand your confusion over the whole accidentally marrying your brother thing…its not that she didnt know her dads identity its that it was possible that her dad had made other children too and if the mothers of those children had done what he wanted them to do “which was make up a different story about who he really was and why he wasnt there so they couldnt find him, then there was a possibility she had brothers and sisters out there that didnt know the identity of their real father. And if they didnt know, my sister would have no way of knowing either unless they did a dna test.

                  The things I saw my friends receiving from their dads that i didnt are probably things you will view as stereotypical..but just things like corny dad jokes…big bear hugs and rough and tumble..(and yes my mother provided these too and they were just as lovely, they were not better or worse they were just different and i’m sorry i cant describe what this difference is because until you experience it its not possible really to understand)…just a man being their as a constant presence in their life who raised them was just something I had never experienced and hadn’t thought was any big deal until I got older and started thinking about children of my own. I believe men talk differently to their children than mothers do, they discipline them differently, they are more adventurous with their play, they are more likely to encourage their child to take risks with employment and dreams yet while at the same time more likely to protect during relationships. Pay really close attention to the fathers you know and watch how they interact with their children and maybe you will see it too. Then again maybe you won’t ?? I’m just talking from my own experience which I know cannot possibly be true for everybody. Male parents are the first example to a child (whether biological or not) of what a man is like and they are the first men in their life to affirm them as people or dismiss them. When they are in relationship with the child’s other parent they model what a relationship looks like. They provide an example of what a man is. And this comes in many different ways of being. This is probably not helpful to you at all but I just hope that it is as interesting to you hearing my story as it is for me hearing yours.

                • Sarah

                  Thats good and very wise of your mums to be up front from the start. Yes I believe up front honesty is the best for the child so that it doesnt come as a complete shock and they dont feel like they have been living a lie. Its wonderful that your parents had the insight to know that was important. It is definitely less traumatic to be told from the start than to find out suddenly.

                  “I think both family and society play a large role in what people see as normal or abnormal. I think small children are naturally happy in their families (provided it’s a stable, loving environment), but can be negatively affected by others in society who tell them their families are abnormal. Teachers, peers, the media, etc.”

                  Yes this is true. I agree. And society had a huge part to play in dictating to us that our family wasnt normal. But depending on how they did it this had both an incredibly positive impact and an extremely damagng negative one. I needed the outside world to model to me and tell what was normal. Because the things going on in our family were definitely not normal and were incredibly harming. If we hadnt had the outside world to do this we may have stayed stuck in our unhealthy patterns forever.

                  Generally when someone criticised my family for something that wasnt true, i might be a bit angry and hurt that someone would think such lies…but for me…the lies didnt really bother me. It was when people criticised us for things that were actually wrong that it hurt the most and I viewed as the most damaging to me. Like with my mum and I being like best friends. People would constantly tell us we were too close, that we were too dependant on each other, that it wasn’t healthy, that my mum wasnt good…blah blah blah. They may have had good intentions because they were worried for me but the way they said it was always so harsh and unloving so self righteous and with no understanding of the possible reason we might feel the need to be so close…they treated us with disdain and wouldnt offer any support or any encouragement about the good things….it was so hard because the more they criticised the more we would deny their was anything wrong….the more we denied their was a problem the more they would try and tell us that their was one. All the criticisms were true but it was so hurtfully done. I was so conscious of being judged by others that I would flatly deny that anything was wrong. I tried desperately to project this image to the world of a faultless perfect family so that no one had the opportunity to judge us and blame it on our fatherlessness. It was really bad because what the self righteous people did tainted all the efforts of the genuinely caring non judgemental families that just wanted to help us tried to do. I just viewed any attempt at “help” as more judgement “they think im no good” we became more and more isolated as a family and our dependency on each other grew worse. So the people outside grew more worried and their judgementalism and interfering escalated!!! It was a vicious cycle.

                  And it wasnt so much that they viewed our family as not normal that was the problem…deep down i knew my family wasnt normal (but who’s family is right?) It was more how they treated us because of those views…..that because of the issues we did have that we were totally written off as a family in general and there were no positives at all, that we werent worthy of anyones time to hang out with because we were abnormal, unhealthy. Almost everyone treated us like a case they needed to fix. They viewed themselves as better and acted like our family was automatically going to have huge problems because we didnt have a father figure. I hated hearing statistics people stated of how daughters from fatherless homes are more likely to be prostitutes or promiscuous or take drugs or do poorly in school blah, blah, blah. I felt like people were just watching my family waiting to see when i would end up in jail because of some terrible thing i did as a result of being fatherless. And then jump on my mother straight away and say “see!! didnt we tell you you were being a bad parent??”

                  I have never taken drugs, I dont smoke, dont drink and am a celibate virgin with no criminal record to speak of. I hated the way people would simply assume all children from single parents would automatically turn out a certain way…and I still feel a sting in my heart when I hear anyone say the word single parent fanily with a certain tone in their voice.

                  The people in the community outside of my nuclear family and almost all of my extended family could see problems happening in my family. But because I was so determined not to let my family be judged or be seen as anything other than perfect I just tried harder to hide them and blatantly deny them. I thought if I admited for a second that what was going on was not okay it automatically meant that my parents that I loved dearly and knew loved me, would be written off. Labelled, and people would think they had a right to treat us like we were less than them. When people started to just love us…without trying to tell us anything was wrong we then started to see the problems that we did have, and feel safe to admit them, and then get help to change them.

                  As warped as some of my family dynamics were growing up, I never doubted for a second that my mother and father both loved me and wanted the best for me. I also can see that considering what they were both dealing with from their own pasts and in their own lives during my childhood, they were both and still are incredible parents! They have done an amazing job affirming me and trusting me and disciplining me in what is right and wrong. They are also incredibly loving to me and even (eventually)to each other which i think is very powerful and sadly a rare thing for divorced parents to be able to do for their children. I respect them incredibly as parents and as people. Having them as who they are has helped me through the roughest times in my life. But it took me a long time to be able to admit to myself that they werent the perfect parents i wanted everyone to see them as. It also took me a long time to see that nobody had the perfect parents and that all those people, who were pretending to me that they were when they judged us, were just clever illusionists.

                  Society needs to set the standard of what is normal and healthy…there is nothing wrong with that…it’s just that the people inside that society need to realise that when people dont fit the norm, they should not be disdained, they should not be judged as being less and not worthwhile but should be supported and loved for who they are so that families can feel safe enough to open up and admit where they ALL (as no family is perfect) have issues that need working through. I can now see how the comments i have made in previous posts have not been reflective of this non judgemental loving. I am sincerely sorry.

                  And I can see what you mean about the Mosuo family but the thing is that in the article you gave me it says at the end that they have started to make their community more like Patriarchal culture by trying to change the responsibilities that the fathers have and by holding relationship/marriage like ceremonies. The patriarchal system is not as foreign to them as one might think. There is also shaming and judging that goes on in their community too (as their is with any community it is impossible to avoid because we are all unique and different they may not judge their people on the same things that other cultures do but they judge and shame just the same) for example: A Mosuo woman who cannot tell who the father of her child is, is considered a great shame in her community. There are also some walk in marriages that last for years and only have children to each other. Where as others chop and change and the children are from many different fathers. Unless you have ever visited the Mosuo people and talked to Mosuo children you can’t say for certain one way or another how well adjusted they are. And even if you did it would still be very hard to tell. And like i said before i dont view their matrilineal families as foreign I see them as fast becoming the norm in our society where the mother gets almost all the responsibilities and are treated like satisfiers of a mans sexual desire and they treat men accordingly. Men get to shirk their family responsibilities..have sex…then leave the next morning. The only benefit I see women having is that they are given their own room and the men do not. The men still have control over the legal system and are still the main providers of income. Women are responsible for all the household chores and child raising…for an insanely long amount of time considering their sons live with them for their entire lives!!! Yes they say they are sexually autonomous by being allowed as many sexual partners as they desire but the men do as well and how is that different in anyway to our society today. The idea of promiscuity is a thing of the past…to judge this is to be labelled a prude. Maybe not when I was a child….but today…

                  My sister alway knew the identity and name of her father, she had photos and my mother never put him down. She would talk about his likes and dislikes as my sister asked for the information and simply explained that the situation had been a shock to him and he wasnt ready to be a parent yet. He had honestly not expected to be one and wasnt ready. Not everyone is ready to be a parent. And people that werent ready shouldnt always be parents because parenting is a big responsibilty. My sister seemed to understand this well enough…but that didnt quell her hunger to want to know him. She wasnt satisfied with just a photo she wanted to know him, and wanted him to know her…surely he would want to know her once he knew what she was like?? She wasnt just a fetus with no personality anymore she was a child who looked like him!! Surely he would want to meet her and would want to get to know her even if he couldn’t be a parent to her.

                  But her father thought it was best that they have nothing to do with each other. He had moved far away as soon as he knew of her conception. He made it pretty much impossible to find and when my sister finally tracked down an adress he ignored all attempts at contact. It was heart breaking. Mum would try satisfying my sisters curiosity about him and would answer all questions as honestly and as carefully for her age as she could. While at the same time trying to provide the support for her that my sister felt was missing. She had lots of male figures in her life, uncles, grandfather and male friends that adored her and wanted to show her that she was loved for who she was, but this didnt cut it. My father (once the painfulness of the divorce settled down) made sure that he always treated her like he was her daughter and showed me know favouritism over her. I even remember accusing him once of loving my sister more because during the small times that we did see him, I saw them bond in ways and connect with him in ways that i had never done. But it still wasnt enough for her. Because each man who tried just made her wonder why her biological father wasnt….She wanted her dad and it became painfully obvious after she tried to contact him that he didnt want anything to do with her. He never got to see her pain, Im sure he told himself that staying away would be the best thing for both of them. He thought that she would be better off without him. And maybe she would have…but she never got to make that choice.

                  I understand your confusion over the whole accidentally marrying your brother thing…its not that she didnt know her dads identity its that it was possible that her dad had made other children too and if the mothers of those children had done what he wanted them to do “which was make up a different story about who he really was and why he wasnt there so they couldnt find him, then there was a possibility she had brothers and sisters out there that didnt know the identity of their real father. And if they didnt know, my sister would have no way of knowing either unless they did a dna test.
                  The things I saw my friends receiving from their dads that i didnt are probably things you will view as stereotypical..but just things like corny dad jokes…big bear hugs and rough and tumble..(and yes my mother provided these too and they were just as lovely, they were not better or worse they were just different and im sorry i cant describe what this difference is because until you experience it its not possible really to understand)…just a man being their as a constant presence in their life who raised them was just something I had never experienced and hadnt thought was any big deal until i got older and started thinking about children of my own. I believe men talk differently to their children than mothers do, they discipline them differently, they are more adventurous with their play, they are more likely to encourage their child to take risks with employment and dreams yet while at the same time more likely to protect during relationships. They are the first man in a childs life that shows them either affirmation or rejection. I think this shapes how children view men as they grow up. But i can only speak from my experience and from what i have been told by or observed in others.

                  I hope you find hearing about my story and interesting as i find hearing about yours.

                • Sarah

                  and in response to your question about why i think having a father around would have stopped my mum from becoming like my best friend is because when you are a single you tend to talk to your kids about things that you would normally talk to your adult partner about. This isnt a rule or anything it just tends to happen more.
                  And I’ve finally figured out why i dont agree with the argument that I automatically believe children children conceived through sperm donation should not have been born.
                  Just because I disagree with the methods of conception does not mean the child doesnt have a right to exist.
                  I have a friends who was born as a result of rape.
                  It is a devastating thing and there have been plenty of times where she has wished that she had never been born. But with time she has slowly come to be happy with the fact that she is here and has just as much a right to be here and be born than anyone else does. She is a healthy, well functioning member of society, married with 4 children and although she has had to work through issues (for quite obvious reasons) she is very happy that she exists. It would be ridiculous to claim that because she is glad she is alive that this automatically means she is glad her mother was raped. She has a right to complain about the circumstances of her conception without anyyone saying to her “you should just be grateful you were born”

                • Anna

                  Sarah, I do agree that sometimes single parents can make their children (especially their oldest children) inappropriate confidantes and treat them like best friends or even surrogate spouses. I would imagine this happens most frequently when the single mother is in that situation against her will, when she really would have preferred to have a partner to confide in, but when it was not available to her.

                  However, that doesn’t have anything to do with having a father. Your mother could have avoided that problem just as easily with a female spouse as with a male one. My mothers never treated my brother or me like their best friends because there was no need for them to do so. They had each other to lean on. We were always very close, but they were the adults and we were the children, and they were the ones who made and enforced the rules.

                  I think this speaks to the need for more support for single parents. Single parents need to have supportive friends and extended families. Parenting on your own can difficult, not just financially for many people, but also emotionally. The way our society is structured makes it more difficult. In the past (and in many other countries today), people lived in extended family networks, so that single parents had aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. around them at all times. A single mother living alone in apartment with her child is a very different experience, and one that might be quite isolating.

                  As for your rape comparison, the very fact that you’re comparing donor insemination to rape is startling! Everyone (hopefully) agrees that rape is traumatic and harmful to the woman who is raped. No one wants to be raped or conceive a child through rape. It’s not something that anyone wants to happen, and women are right to be traumatized when it does happen. A conception through rape hurts the woman enormously, so the resulting child is obviously distressed by the fact that his or her arrival caused such pain.

                  Why do you think donor insemination falls into this category? No one is being forced. No one is being exploited. There is no violence involved. My conception was completely voluntary. My biological mother wanted to get pregnant, and my biological father wanted to give her his sperm, and everyone involved had only the best intentions. Why is that not an ideal situation? My brother and I were born into a stable, loving home, and we had parents who were able to provide a safe, secure environment for us. I consider that ideal. No one has ever explained to me why sharing genes is necessary or why not sharing genes makes my family less than perfect.

                • Sarah

                  Hi Anna sorry about the delay in replying. I wrote a lengthy reply and then accidentally pressed the wrong key and deleted it….so here I go again :)
                  yes you are right another adult support could have stopped the friendship relationship with my mother occurring….for my mothers sake she would prefer that person to be a father because she is straight….but I take your point. It would not have needed to specifically been a father to stop that from happening.
                  I was not trying to say that rape is the same as conception via sperm donor! I was using my friend as an example of someone who I can still dislike the way she was brought into the world and yet still be glad she was born. I dislike sperm donation and rape for two very different reasons. I do not view them as the same thing.
                  I dislike (hate abhor grieve) over the fact that my friend was conceived through the horrible act of rape but I am still very glad she was born, so is her husband, so are her kids, so are her siblings and generally everyone who knows her and also after a lot of working through the pain she is also happy that she was born. We are all very happy she was born :)
                  I dislike very much that you and other children are conceived in a way that means you didn’t get a chance to meet or get to know your biological father. But I’m still very glad you were born (one of the reasons I’m happy is that I can finally have a civil internet chat conversation with someone from a different worldview to mine), I’m sure your mums are very happy you were born, it sounds like your dad would have been glad if he knew you had been born, and you seem very happy with being born :)
                  I’m happy you were born, I’m happy my friend was born. I’m happy that you are both happy you were born. Hooray hooray hooray for being born : D
                  I have searching the net for other people born via ivf to both straight and same sex parents. Its hard to get a real picture of what is actually going on but it appears that there is a deep sadness and fear that is experienced by these children when they express the desire to meet their donors, and also sadness that they didn’t get the opportunity of being raised by a parent of the opposite or same sex to them.
                  A lot of children are scared to voice these feelings because they think that by doing so they are disrespecting or insulting their parents who they love and cherish dearly. And also are very afraid that they will appear ungrateful for being brought into the world in the first place.
                  Apparently expressing the wish that they hadn’t been born by anonymous donor but instead by a father that wanted to be part of their life is the equivalent to wishing they had never been born in the first place…most people don’t want to think this so they never admit their feelings to themselves or anyone else.

                • Sarah

                  Children who express the desire to meet their donors are afraid of voicing their desire because they are terrified that they are accusing their parents as not being good enough, less than perfect, not ideal. They think that people will think they are being ungrateful for the lives they have and the parenting they have experienced.

      • Sarah

        Hi Anna,

        I replied a little while ago but I don’t think it worked so I am posting a reply again…my apologies if I am repeating myself…not sure I have the hang of this blog commenting thing…anyway

        Thankyou for your respectful and considered comment, and for sharing your experience with me :)

        I would like to apologise sincerely for implying with my post that the trauma of divorce, separation and death of a parent is the same for a child as being raised by same sex parents. It was not my intent and I do not agree with that argument at all.

        I also agree with you that being kind, considerate, loving, honest and good at communicating is not in any way limited by the sex of a parent. Both mothers and fathers are equally able to provide this for their children. The same sex couple that I am friends with that have a child are very loving and kind and do a great job parenting…there is no doubt in my mind that they are both beautiful mothers and beautiful people in general which is what makes them such dear friends of mine. Their daughter is also lovely and thriving under the love she is shown and any damage that I see caused by lacking a parent of the opposite sex is not caused by the bad parenting of same sex parents…at least in the families that I know.

        What I mean by the damage caused by lacking a father or mother (which I can only state to be true for myself and other children and adults I have talked to who have described the same experience) is that a child grows up not experiencing what a father is like or what a mother is like….and this affects how they relate to their peers and potential sexual partners.

        let me give you an example from my own life:

        I have not lost my father to a death but to divorce. I do still have the opportunity to see him and was able to see him growing up. But because I grew up being predominantly raised by my mother…I grew up believing that the way my mother related to me was the right way to parent and expected my father to relate in the same way. When he didn’t it really threw me! I didn’t understand it and also interpreted some of his ways as unloving…not because they actually were unloving…but simply because the whole way a father relates to his daughter was foreign to me….and so different to how my mother was. They were both as equally loving and caring but their parenting styles and ways of being were just different. Some of these things were due to personality but a lot of them were simply the differences between how mothers and fathers relate…..I rejected a lot of my fathers parenting style because of this and I believe it has harmed me and caused problems in my relationships with men and my own father. It has also caused huge issues for me in understanding men in general. Not being exposed to a father figure at all has caused even greater issues for my sister…but that’s another story.
        I do understand that people raised by heterosexual parents that are together still experience similar problems (and really what woman can honestly say they truly understand men lol!)…but I believe my experience and those of other people of a similar view to mine are different than those issues experienced by children raised by heterosexual parents that do a rubbish job of parenting…equally as damaging…but different.
        I look forward to hearing your thoughts,
        Sarah

        • Sarah

          I am very interested in hearing your views about how you see fathers and fathering…what you see as the difference between fathering and mothering and whether you have the same issues as I do in not understanding fully how a male relates to children in a fathering way. I do not mean this in a disrespectful way…I am just interested to know how you think children never exposed to a father understand fatherhood and men. I got glimpses of it from other fathers I knew who I observed, but not a true accurate picture.

          • Anna

            In my eyes, “mother” and “father” are just the words our society uses for male and female parents. A parent is a parent, and parenting skills do not depend on sex. I don’t believe that men and women need to have certain roles or be restricted to relating to their children in a certain way based on their sex.

            I’m not sure what your confusion about fathers is, to be quite honest. What do you mean by “a fathering way?” Not all fathers are alike. The men I know don’t relate to their children in identical ways. They’re different people, with different parenting styles, different ways of communicating, different ways of interacting, etc. What do you think this “accurate picture” of fatherhood entails?

            All I can say is that what you are describing is incredibly foreign to me. I was around plenty of men growing up, and I never felt uncomfortable around them, or like I didn’t know how they were supposed to act, or anything even remotely like that. I’m confused by people’s belief that not having a father impairs a woman’s ability to relate to men, since I don’t feel I was impaired in any way whatsoever.

            • Sarah

              Hey Anna,
              I have been thinking very deeply about your questions because they are very good ones. And I too am very refreshed and relieved to be able to have this discussion with you in such an open way!
              I agree completely that not all fathers are alike and not all mothers are alike. I don’t however believe that thinking mothers and fathers have different roles specific to their sex means that all fathers father the same way and all mothers mother the same way….although I can understand why it sounds that way.
              I can understand your frustration over the fact that no one has been able to explain to you what specific tasks a father can perform as a parent that no mother can do…I hope I can allay some frustration with my answer but please let me know if it doesn’t and please explain why and I will do my best to try again.
              There is no specific task I can think of that a father can do which a mother cannot. Nothing that cannot be explained away as simply a personality trait anyway. The difference between mothers and fathers to me is not the tasks they perform but how the differences in their innate maleness and femaleness contribute to who they are as people. Men can be just as good cooks and home makers and mothers can be just as handy at gardening and good at playing rough and tumble games with their children. Neither of these things make them specifically more mothering or fathering. This innate maleness and femaleness I am describing may just sound like the “essence” that other people have annoyingly described to you but bare with me….This may make no sense (and feel free to call me on it if it doesn’t)…but I think I have a way of explaining it in a way that both of us can agree with.
              Your mothers who are attracted to each other (or any lesbian couple for that matter) I will assume are attracted to each other for more than just their bodies…there is something in the innate femaleness of the other that attracts them. If they are just attracted to each other because of their personality and they could easily be attracted to someone with this personality who was of an opposite sex then they would not be lesbian they would be asexual…if you are truly lesbian however there is also something that is innate in men that is a turn off. Whatever this innateness is, is very difficult to describe and cant be reduced to specific tasks of personality traits (which is why I’m assuming other people couldn’t answer your question)…but just because its difficult to explain and define, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Otherwise everyone would be asexual.
              I believe that the same innate maleness and femaleness that either attracts people in relationships or turns them away, is the same innateness that affects the way someone parents. And just generally defines how males and females are different from each other apart from physical differences. It affects the way a persons personality is expressed and how they act and relate to others, it comes in many different types of maleness and femaleness but it is still essentially maleness or femaleness.
              A man is a man and a woman is a woman. As different as women can be from each other and as different as men can be from each other. A woman is not a father and a man is not a mother.
              I believe that a child is entitled to both. Not in anyway meaning that by default if a parent of one sex is missing from a child’s life then the parent remaining is a bad parent.
              It just means that the child misses out on growing up with that innate male or female figure in their lives.
              If you don’t feel you have missed out in anyway then that’s great :) because if you did feel that way I can imagine it would be devastating and traumatic. Always wondering what it would have been like being fathered by the father that helped give you life and gave you personality traits which shaped the way you are.
              You say that there was never any expectation that your biological father would be involved and you seem genuinely fine with that. But the fact is that you as a child had no say in this…it was a decision your mothers and father made for you before you were born. what If you felt differently? what if you weren’t fine with not having your father as a constant in your life. It doesn’t really seem fair to me.

              • Anna

                Hi Sarah,

                Thanks for your response. Well, we’re certainly coming at this from two different angles because it seems clear that you believe things about gender that I simply do not.

                This innate maleness and femaleness I am describing may just sound like the “essence” that other people have annoyingly described to you

                Yes, I’m afraid it does. It sounds rather like a supernatural claim to me, this claim of an “innateness” which is said to exist even though no specific examples can be provided, and even though it’s been clearly demonstrated that there is no action, skill, role, or personality trait that exists in one sex but not the other.

                Your mothers who are attracted to each other (or any lesbian couple for that matter) I will assume are attracted to each other for more than just their bodies…there is something in the innate femaleness of the other that attracts them. If they are just attracted to each other because of their personality and they could easily be attracted to someone with this personality who was of an opposite sex then they would not be lesbian they would be asexual…if you are truly lesbian however there is also something that is innate in men that is a turn off.

                I’m sorry, but I think we have vastly different ideas of what constitutes sexual orientation and attraction. The idea that there is something innate in men that turns lesbians off is quite a harmful stereotype. There’s a difference between repulsion and simply not being sexually and romantically attracted to someone. Sexual and romantic attraction has many elements, but a physical component is key. Many lesbians and gay men have had relationships with the opposite sex in which there existed a deep friendship, compatible personalities, and a mutual platonic love, but the element of sexual and romantic attraction is what was missing. There’s a difference between love and being in love.

                Whatever this innateness is, is very difficult to describe and cant be reduced to specific tasks of personality traits (which is why I’m assuming other people couldn’t answer your question)…but just because its difficult to explain and define, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Otherwise everyone would be asexual.

                I’m not sure asexual means what you think it means. Asexuality is the state of not being sexually attracted to anyone. I don’t know what that has to do with your claim of “innateness.” Do you not believe sexual orientation has to do with physical attraction to the body? If you’re heterosexual, I presume you are attracted to and turned on by men’s bodies, their looks, their scent, etc. It’s an attraction that is physical and primal. Of course there’s the emotional process of “falling in love,” but that process is kick-started by the physical element: pheromones, the sexual tension and desire that exists between two people, etc.

                I believe that the same innate maleness and femaleness that either attracts people in relationships or turns them away, is the same innateness that affects the way someone parents. And just generally defines how males and females are different from each other apart from physical differences. It affects the way a persons personality is expressed and how they act and relate to others, it comes in many different types of maleness and femaleness but it is still essentially maleness or femaleness.

                Well, it would help if some examples of this could be provided, because it always sounds to me like a baseless assertion. I’m not a gender essentialist. I’m not about to believe these claims if evidence for them never materializes.

                A man is a man and a woman is a woman. As different as women can be from each other and as different as men can be from each other. A woman is not a father and a man is not a mother.

                That’s the type of claim that is utterly meaningless to me. As I said above, I see the words “mother” and “father” simply as the ones our society uses for male and female parents. I don’t believe there is any significance to that label. A person’s biological sex has no effect on their ability to nurture a child. Such a rigid gender binary also discounts transgender and intersex people, who are just as capable of being good parents as anyone else.

                I believe that a child is entitled to both. Not in anyway meaning that by default if a parent of one sex is missing from a child’s life then the parent remaining is a bad parent. It just means that the child misses out on growing up with that innate male or female figure in their lives.

                A hard sell for people who don’t accept the “innate” claim to begin with. I’m puzzled by what I was supposed to be missing out on. I mean, it would help to have some sort of example! Plus, even if someone believed that a “male figure” was essential, it’s never been explained to me why that figure has to be a parent, has to live in the same house, etc. Don’t you think role models or relationships can exist outside the immediate family unit?

                You say that there was never any expectation that your biological father would be involved and you seem genuinely fine with that. But the fact is that you as a child had no say in this…it was a decision your mothers and father made for you before you were born. what If you felt differently? what if you weren’t fine with not having your father as a constant in your life. It doesn’t really seem fair to me.

                What an odd presumption. Why would people assume that I wouldn’t be fine with it? As if the default best situation is not the one I had? Children don’t come into the world pre-programmed to find fault with their families. It’s the outside world that tells them what is “normal” and what is not. Small children have no idea they’re different unless people tell them they’re different or make them feel inferior. And it seems rather offensive to imply that, if there was a chance I wouldn’t be happy with my family, then I just shouldn’t have been born in the first place. I mean, really, how am I supposed to take that?

                Therea are no guarantees in life. Not everyone who is born is happy about being born. Not everyone is satisfied with their parents. People don’t get to choose which parents they have. They don’t get to choose how they’re raised: parenting styles, discipline techniques, religious upbringing, family configuration, etc. That’s all out of their control. Some people are happy with their situation and others are unhappy. Even parents with the best intentions can have children with whom they are fundamentally incompatible.

                There was no reason for me not to have been born. My parents had every right to become parents. I’m happy I was created, and I’m happy I was raised in my family. There was nothing unfair about it. I could turn your question around and say it was unfair of your parents to raise you in a religious manner (if they did), since I don’t believe religion is good for children. But the bottom line is that they had the right to create you and raise you as they saw fit (within reason). I would not presume to tell them they made a mistake bringing you into the world.

                • Sarah

                  Dear Anna,
                  Wow!! whatever I said to make you think I thought that whatever way you have been brought up means you shouldn’t have been born don’t believe it!!! that is not what I meant at all and certainly cant think of anything I wrote that implied that. And I wasn’t assuming that you wouldn’t feel fine with being raised without a dad I in fact am pretty sure I stated that it was quite clear to me that you were fine! I was simply raising the possibility that you could not have been okay with it and wondered what would have happened then…but that certainly doesn’t imply that it would have been better for you not to have been born!! please point out to me where I implied that because I didn’t mean that in anyway. Im very sorry to have hurt you in that way.
                  Your argument about religion is very good and I agree. If someone is forcibly raised to practice any religion/or atheism it is very unfair and can cause just as much trauma and damage that being forced to go without a father or mother can be. Nobody I know who was forced to be a certain religion by their parents has ever been happy about it…as soon as they got the opportunity to do so they ran screaming in the other direction unless it was something they were genuinely happy with and believed in. And even the ones who eventually came back to the religion of their childhood came back to it because God called them to it and they made a choice for themselves to commit to it. I’m sure that all of them would agree that forcing a child to practice and believe in any religion or lack of is unfair and their lives are a testimony of this. But even this does not mean they shouldn’t have been born..that is just crazy talk.
                  As far as your argument goes about children not knowing what they are missing out on if they don’t have it because they don’t have a pre-planned idea of what to expect and just accept what they have and is normal for them. knowing what I know about children I don’t know if I agree with this but for the sake of argument lets say I do. It then makes it even worse…because then when the child grows up and is exposed to different things that as a child they had no choice in they feel cheated. Some things are unrealistic and just silly like: the next door neighbour being allowed pets or dessert every night or television or something…(some people might equally protest that this is unfair and my response is they need to reassess some priorities) but as far as a chosen religion or the inclusion or lack of a biological parent is concerned that’s a different thing. For you in your life I take your argument that for you it didn’t have a negative impact and you are genuinely happy and that’s fine, and given what you believe about genders it also makes perfect sense. But I’m trying to say that not every child would or should have to be okay with this and some of them genuinely aren’t. Again that does not in anyway mean they should not have been born and also does not mean that the parents made a mistake in bringing them into the world! It is extremely hurtful and not true
                  Thank you for picking me up on the asexual thing you are right I thought it meant something else…whatever the term is for being attracted to someone because of the person they are regardless of the persons gender is that is what I meant. That means that someone could equally be as attracted to a woman, man, trans,intersex person just based on the personhood rather than their physical sexual characteristics.
                  Thank you for explaining where I didn’t make sense. We do obviously have very different ideas about attraction and gender and it may be impossible to reconcile this but I will try again.

                  Do you believe that transgender people have a legitimate reason to change their sex? because if you do then it is a bit hard to not believe in an innate gender. People who are trans genuinely believe that the gender they feel they are on the inside is different from the bodies they were born with. Otherwise they wouldn’t desire to change their appearance. I know that some don’t and are happy staying in the body they are in but others most definitely are not. They genuinely believe that there is an innate femaleness or maleness in them that is not what their physical body reflects. Whether you agree with them or not is your choice but to discount it completely because you don’t see that genders matter or can be defined in anything other than a name could be very offensive to them.
                  I know that some people change their physical appearance because they say that they always wanted to wear dresses and do girly things and to me I can understand why you would think this was being too gender essentialist and stereotypical but this does not account for all the trans community and some would argue very strongly to you that their innate gender does not reflect what they look like physically. They may not be able to define this in anything other than a feeling or essence but that does not necessarily mean its not true. You don’t have to believe them and that is your right but not everyone feels about gender the same way you do.
                  For me being a heterosexual yes I am very attracted to the physical bodies of men, their smell, their voices etc. I am also attracted to their personalities as well and also values. But for me attraction is not solely based on values, personality and looks but their gender as well. For instance there are some women who actually look like men….they have deep voices like men and are sometimes mistaken for them..some of them act like men and some of them have the same value too but I am not attracted to them in the same way I am attracted to actual men.
                  When I have been in relationships where physical attraction has been a priority over everything else then it has not been love but lust and has ended horribly and traumatised us both.
                  people can have relationships like this but for me a genuinely loving and committed healthy relationship cannot be based primarily on physical attraction.
                  but I may have misunderstood what you were saying here so please explain if I have.
                  Obviously we are coming from two very different places and as someone who believes in innate genders it may be impossible for me to fully explain my view to someone who doesnt. But it has been very interesting for me having this discussion with you and I would like it to continue. If I say something you find offensive please do not assume that is what I mean just ask me about it and I will try and explain better. I do not want to offend you and if I do it is accidental and the result of poor articulation not intent.
                  Sarah

                • Anna

                  Hi Sarah,

                  Don’t worry, you didn’t offend me. I’m not sure what made you think I was personally offended, but I assure you that’s not the case.

                  I was just following the train of thought to its logical conclusion. When people believe same-sex parenting is harmful to children, when they believe that children are missing out on something essential by not having a father and a mother, then they (usually) don’t support children being brought into gay or lesbian families, whether by birth or adoption.

                  By saying it’s unfair because I might not have liked my family, I was pointing out that there’s no reason to assume I wouldn’t have liked my family, and that even if it was the case that I didn’t care for my family, plenty of other people are in the same boat. No one gets to choose their parents, and sometimes the match simply doesn’t work out, even when the parents don’t do anything wrong.

                  I’m not sure you completely got my point about religion. I just meant that children don’t get to choose their religion, just like they don’t get to choose their parents. Sometimes the religion of one’s childhood isn’t a good fit. Sometimes children are raised in religions that other people think are harmful. For example, I don’t think any form of religion is good for children; I suppose I might even say I think it’s unfair to them, but that would be a poor reason to try to discourage parenting by religious people, on the off chance that the child might be unhappy at some point in the future.

                  As far as your argument goes about children not knowing what they are missing out on if they don’t have it because they don’t have a pre-planned idea of what to expect and just accept what they have and is normal for them. knowing what I know about children I don’t know if I agree with this but for the sake of argument lets say I do. It then makes it even worse…because then when the child grows up and is exposed to different things that as a child they had no choice in they feel cheated.

                  You’re still assuming that there’s something to miss out on. Your belief is that the environment that same-sex parents can provide is inferior to the one opposite-sex parents can provide, and that therefore the children might be unhappy at some point in the future. But why presume that there’s something wrong? Why assume that there’s something be cheated out of?

                  This argument would have more credibility if you could actually point to something concrete. Talking about “innateness” as essential would make more sense if you could provide even one example of the way in which this innateness is supposed to manifest itself. I’d like to know something specific that I am supposed to have missed out on.

                  Some things are unrealistic and just silly like: the next door neighbour being allowed pets or dessert every night or television or something…(some people might equally protest that this is unfair and my response is they need to reassess some priorities) but as far as a chosen religion or the inclusion or lack of a biological parent is concerned that’s a different thing.

                  So you’re concerned about biology? I thought the problem was sex? Are you saying that children who don’t have both biological parents are missing something, even if their parents are a married straight couple?

                  For you in your life I take your argument that for you it didn’t have a negative impact and you are genuinely happy and that’s fine, and given what you believe about genders it also makes perfect sense. But I’m trying to say that not every child would or should have to be okay with this and some of them genuinely aren’t.

                  Why shouldn’t they “be okay with this?” You keep assuming that there’s something bad about having gay or lesbian parents, and that they’re somehow more likely to be unhappy than other children about their family configuration. Why do you believe that? Why do you think they would spontaneously develop bad feelings about their family?

                  Thank you for picking me up on the asexual thing you are right I thought it meant something else…whatever the term is for being attracted to someone because of the person they are regardless of the persons gender is that is what I meant. That means that someone could equally be as attracted to a woman, man, trans,intersex person just based on the personhood rather than their physical sexual characteristics.

                  Oh, I gotcha. I think that’s pansexual.

                  Do you believe that transgender people have a legitimate reason to change their sex? because if you do then it is a bit hard to not believe in an innate gender.

                  It’s more that I don’t think gender identity (or personality, or interests, or skills, or actions) are necessarily linked to a person’s biological sex. It’s not that people don’t feel strongly about their gender and gender presentation. Many people do. It’s that you can’t look at an entire category of people and label them the same way just because they happen to share the same chromosomes or genitalia. I don’t think chromosomes or genitalia are important because everyone’s an individual, and we’re not all the same. To say that all men share something that can’t be described, well, I just don’t believe that.

                  And I do support transgender and intersex people and anyone who’s outside the gender binary. I think a transgender man is just as capable of being a good father as a man who was born biologically male, but I also think that his position as father is not necessarily different in some essential way than the position of a mother. I hope that makes sense.

                  I can understand why you would think this was being too gender essentialist and stereotypical but this does not account for all the trans community

                  I think maybe you’re misunderstanding gender essentialism. A gender essentialist would not support a transgender person because they would believe that the person had an innate maleness or femaleness regardless of his/her identity and internal sense of self. Many religious groups are against transgender people for precisely that reason.

                  For me being a heterosexual yes I am very attracted to the physical bodies of men, their smell, their voices etc. I am also attracted to their personalities as well and also values. But for me attraction is not solely based on values, personality and looks but their gender as well. For instance there are some women who actually look like men….they have deep voices like men and are sometimes mistaken for them..some of them act like men and some of them have the same value too but I am not attracted to them in the same way I am attracted to actual men.

                  I sense in your responses a consistent theme that gender is something that exists apart, almost as a tangible thing. To me, gender is more of an internal sense of self, apart from biological sex. If a biological female looked completely like a man and you couldn’t tell she wasn’t a man, how would you know you weren’t attracted to her? You’d never find out her true sex.

                  I’m not sure about your thoughts on attraction. I’m attracted to men, too, but I don’t see myself as being attracted to their gender. I’m not even sure what it means to be attracted to someone’s gender. Physical attraction (scent, voice, looks) is not the only thing that’s important, but it is something that’s essential in a sexual or romantic relationship. If that physical spark isn’t there, then the relationship isn’t going to get off the ground, even if we’re compatible in all other ways. A guy can have a great personality and we can share all the same values, but if there’s not even a hint of physical attraction, then it’s kind of a non-starter.

                • Sarah

                  Hi again :) Good Im glad you werent offended. I thought you would be offended if you thought I believed you should never have been born. I would be offended if someone said that about me.
                  I would like to address this point first.
                  “By saying it’s unfair because I might not have liked my family, I was pointing out that there’s no reason to assume I wouldn’t have liked my family, and that even if it was the case that I didn’t care for my family, plenty of other people are in the same boat. No one gets to choose their parents, and sometimes the match simply doesn’t work out, even when the parents don’t do anything wrong.”

                  When i said it didn’t seem fair not to give a choice to a child about whether they were raised by (or had anything to do with) their biological father, i didnt mean by default that the child who was denied their biological father would dislike the family they had left.
                  My sister didn’t have any choice over whether she was raised by her biological father. I think that this is unfair and she does too. It does not automatically follow that she didn’t like the family she had. She loves me and my mother and we have a good family on our own but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fair for her to not have contact with her real dad. It doesn’t mean she was better off not ever being born it just means her father didn’t consider her feelings at all when he should have.

                  Your next point i would like to address….
                  “You’re still assuming that there’s something to miss out on. Your belief is that the environment that same-sex parents can provide is inferior to the one opposite-sex parents can provide, and that therefore the children might be unhappy at some point in the future. But why presume that there’s something wrong? Why assume that there’s something be cheated out of?”

                  Missing out on getting to know your biological parent means you are missing out on getting to know them purely as who they are as someone related closely to you. My sister is never met or got to know her biological father. She deeply desired to simply for the reason that he is her biological father. He is someone she has gotten personality from, looks from, etc. The curiosity of just wanting to know what he is like is enough to drive someone crazy! Knowing they are out there and they don’t want to have anything to do with you is not always negative (obviously as you haven’t seemed to be affected) but understandably devastating to others. It isn’t fair to discount these genuine feelings of sadness by asking the question of why should they have them?? What are they missing out on?? They are missing out on a parent who is related to them. Someone who is part of who they are. That should be enough.
                  She had a right to know him as her father but because he decided it wasn’t important she didn’t get to. I can’t understand why this does not seem like this is missing out on something to you? Why do you need a concrete task or parental ability to explain why she missed out. Its not possible to know what sort of father he would have been if she never had him as one so i cant give any specifics of what she missed apart from just that she missed out on him for who he was. Isn’t just wanting to be in someone’s company purely for the sake of who they are enough? She shouldn’t have to provide a justification for why she wanted to have this other than he is her own father and she wanted to. She also desperately wanted him to want to know her and it was heartbreaking for me to see.
                  Some people dont want anything to do with their parents but that doesn’t negate or make invalid the wants and needs of a child that does. It also doesn’t automatically make the parent/s remaining bad parents.

                  “So you’re concerned about biology? I thought the problem was sex? Are you saying that children who don’t have both biological parents are missing something, even if their parents are a married straight couple?”

                  Yes that is exactly what I am saying. It just follows that because a same-sex couple arent physically capable of producing a child on their own then the child automatically is denied the opportunity to be raised by one or both of their biological parents. This can happen with heterosexual couples as well but with same sex couples this is automatically a given. Obviously if the original parents of the child are horrible and abusive then the child can’t be said to not benefit from being placed with another parent or set of parents no matter what orientation the parents are. But it still means they miss out on their actual related family which even if the parents have harmed the child, still affects children badly. Their adoptive parents could be the most perfect parents in the world but it still means they miss out…if only for the sole reason that their own parents didn’t care enough or weren’t able or willing to raise them themselves. This knowledge has been proven to affect children badly. If children are resilient enough to not let it bother them then that is a good thing but some children aren’t. And it isn’t fair to assume that they should have to. It also isn’t fair to say “well sometimes life is tough we don’t always get the parents we want”

                  I doubt if you had seen my sister at six years old crying and asking why she couldn’t see him or know him or have him in her life you could still claim she had no legitimate reason to feel she was missing out. Telling her she already had a mum who loved her and was kind and supportive and loving would only cruelly dismiss her genuine feelings of distress. Saying to her “ but why aren’t you okay? Why are you assuming it’s bad to not see your father?” is just downright cruel if you ask me! And it was done plenty of times. One person who had also grown up without a father even had the nerve to accuse my sister of not coping as well as she should simply because she didnt cope the same way. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe not having her father around had been a bad thing..she just tried to imply my sister was weak for feeling the way she felt. You will probably say my sister only felt that way because she has been conditioned into believing she needs her biological father in her life when she doesn’t really at all…I don’t accept that.

                  Your next point..
                  “It’s more that I don’t think gender identity (or personality, or interests, or skills, or actions) are necessarily linked to a person’s biological sex. It’s not that people don’t feel strongly about their gender and gender presentation. Many people do. It’s that you can’t look at an entire category of people and label them the same way just because they happen to share the same chromosomes or genitalia. I don’t think chromosomes or genitalia are important because everyone’s an individual, and we’re not all the same. To say that all men share something that can’t be described, well, I just don’t believe that.
                  And I do support transgender and intersex people and anyone who’s outside the gender binary. I think a transgender man is just as capable of being a good father as a man who was born biologically male, but I also think that his position as father is not necessarily different in some essential way than the position of a mother. I hope that makes sense”

                  I dont think you understood my question and what you have said didn’t really answer it…if it did and i understand correctly it does not sound supportive of trans people. It sounds dismissive of their deeply held desire to change their appearance to reflect what is inside. Do you think a trans person has a legitimate reason to desire to transform their bodies or want what they feel on the inside to reflect their outside appearance? Trans people obviously think genitalia is important otherwise they wouldnt have operations to change it..or get so severely depressed and self harming because they wished they felt differently on the inside or looked different on the outside. Saying you don’t think genitalia is important is kind of dismissing these people and their feelings as irrelevant. If I were trans i would not feel supported because what I hear you saying is that they could stay in the same bodies and it wouldn’t matter.

                  Your next point
                  “I think maybe you’re misunderstanding gender essentialism. A gender essentialist would not support a transgender person because they would believe that the person had an innate maleness or femaleness regardless of his/her identity and internal sense of self. Many religious groups are against transgender people for precisely that reason”
                  As a religious person I have no business being against anyone or telling anyone who doesn’t follow my beliefs what to do or not to do. Or any right to dismiss how they are feeling as something that doesn’t matter. If someone of my faith told me they were transgendered then I would dialogue with them and try and talk through what our faith believes. I don’t believe that a person who is transgender is lying or mistaken about how they feel and wouldn’t tell them that the gender they felt they were wasn’t real and the body they were in didn’t matter. I think it would be very distressing to have your body not reflect the gender you feel you are. I just believe that rather than taking the drastic action by modifying their bodies with harmful drugs and surgery I woud encourage them to pray and seek God about helping to make this possible (this does not mean i think that their desire to have an operation is not legitimate. I just believe that God is a powerful God that can make it so an operation is not needed) To someone who isn’t a christian this will sound insane…which is why i could only do this legitimately to another christian who also believes in the power of God to transform a person on the inside so that their physical body matches.

                  Your next point: “I sense in your responses a consistent theme that gender is something that exists apart, almost as a tangible thing. To me, gender is more of an internal sense of self, apart from biological sex.”
                  To me gender is not a tangible thing that exists apart from biology (with the exception of someone who is truly transgender) I agree that it is an internal sense of self but this is not separate to a persons biological sex unless again they are legitimately transgender. To be legitimately transgender you have to genuinely have the innate gender of the opposite sex not just feel that you are stereotypically behaving like the opposite sex. This is hard to determine sometimes but when proper dialogue takes place and enough time is given then it is possible to tell the difference.

                  And your last one: …
                  “Physical attraction (scent, voice, looks) is not the only thing that’s important, but it is something that’s essential in a sexual or romantic relationship. If that physical spark isn’t there, then the relationship isn’t going to get off the ground, even if we’re compatible in all other ways. A guy can have a great personality and we can share all the same values, but if there’s not even a hint of physical attraction, then it’s kind of a non-starter.
                  Like I said in my other post sexual attraction doesn’t always come first for me but grows as i connect with their values. If the physical spark isn’t their initially it doesn’t mean it can’t ever be there it just might need time to develop. That’s why some people who are initially just good friends can have really wonderful marriages. Sexual attraction while very powerful can also be very fickle and easily manipulated. It is better but not always necessary to have a strong foundation of mutual interests and values first because when i get sexually attracted to soon (and i know this to be true for others aswell) i get lost in it and stop developing other sides of the relationship properly. Sexual attraction quickly becomes the main thing and swamps everything else. It is an essential part of a romantic relationship of course but it is not the only most important thing. And I don’t believe has to be the thing that starts a sexual relationship off.

                • Anna

                  Hi Sarah,

                  Well, I thought the problem in the beginning was sex, but now it appears to be biology. Many people in our society see biological ties as superior to non-biological ties, biological families as superior to adoptive families, and so on. Your views don’t surprise me, but I find them depressing. It’s very discouraging to me that people have these views. They throw not only same-sex families, but also adoptive families, blended families, donor insemination families, egg donation families, IVF families, and surrogacy families under the bus. By declaring that our families are inferior due to genes, you’ve proclaimed one kind of family as “the best kind,” and all the rest of us are inferior by default.

                  I don’t know what to say to that. I don’t subscribe to such notions. I feel it’s offensive to say that biology is more important than love, more important than commitment, more important than dedication. Frankly, I find it offensive to say that it’s important at all. Sharing genes is absolutely no guarantee of proper parenting. Just because a man or woman is biologically related to their child does not mean that they will be a good parent. The vast majority of children in the foster care system are there because their biological parents subjected them to abuse or neglect.

                  Knowing they are out there and they don’t want to have anything to do with you is not always negative (obviously as you haven’t seemed to be affected) but understandably devastating to others. It isn’t fair to discount these genuine feelings of sadness by asking the question of why should they have them?? What are they missing out on?? They are missing out on a parent who is related to them. Someone who is part of who they are. That should be enough.

                  Well, you’ve completely moved from sex to abandonment. In your first comments, it was all about how fathers provide an “innate” maleness, and I was supposed to have missed out on something essential because one parent wasn’t the right sex, and now it seems to be all about knowing the person who contributed half your DNA. I find this jump in topics a little confusing.

                  Your sister was abandoned by your father, was she not? That’s completely different from donor insemination. My biological father chose to donate his sperm. He didn’t have to do it. He wasn’t even financially compensated for it. He did it because he wanted to help create a family. My brother and I would not exist if it weren’t for his choice, and I am grateful for it. It’s not like he walked out on us, that he didn’t want to see us, that we were some sort of mistake, or something he regretted. We were intentionally created out of caring and concern. I am just mystified that anyone could think this was a bad thing.

                  Donating your sperm is not something most men do on a whim. Choosing to conceive a child through donor insemination is not something any woman does on a whim. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of thought, and a lot of preparation. No one would do it if they hadn’t thought about it, if they hadn’t felt a strong desire to become a parent and a good sense that they are able to provide a proper home and upbringing for their future child.

                  You seem to be saying it shouldn’t happen, that it’s unfair for it to have happened, and I could not disagree more strongly. I’m glad it happened. I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t, and I’m very happy to be alive. I had a wonderful childhood. As I said in my first comment, my parents provided an excellent home for us. We were never abandoned by anyone, we never suffered the pain of divorce or a broken family, and to say that my childhood was lesser because one of my parents doesn’t share my DNA strikes me as very, very wrong.

                  I doubt if you had seen my sister at six years old crying and asking why she couldn’t see him or know him or have him in her life you could still claim she had no legitimate reason to feel she was missing out. Telling her she already had a mum who loved her and was kind and supportive and loving would only cruelly dismiss her genuine feelings of distress. Saying to her “ but why aren’t you okay? Why are you assuming it’s bad to not see your father?” is just downright cruel if you ask me! And it was done plenty of times. … You will probably say my sister only felt that way because she has been conditioned into believing she needs her biological father in her life when she doesn’t really at all…I don’t accept that.

                  I feel horrible for your sister, but why couldn’t she see her father? I am suspecting it was due to abandonment, that she was rejected and that he didn’t want to see her. Of course that would be traumatic for any child, and it’s completely different from being born into a planned lesbian family.

                  Since you grew up in a single-parent home in a culture that promotes two-parent families as the norm and the ideal, it was obvious to your sister that most children had two parents, and that she didn’t have two parents. That a father was missing (I doubt she was thinking about genes at six years old) and that the man she was told was her father didn’t want to see her, which of course would lead to a personal crisis.

                  Children respond to the environment in which they’re raised. Did you know that there are societies where children don’t live with or have relationships with their fathers? And that all the children in the community are raised in the same family configuration, so it’s completely normal to them?

                  You might want to read about the Mosuo people of China:

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosuo_women

                  I do not believe children are pre-programmed to prefer one family configuration over another. Our societies tell us some families are normal and some aren’t. Children who grow up in cultures who tell them their families are inferior or abnormal feel insecure about them. There would be no problem about adoption in a society where everyone was adopted. Adoption becomes problematic when the society views adoptive families as inferior and “less real” than biological ones.

                  I dont think you understood my question and what you have said didn’t really answer it…if it did and i understand correctly it does not sound supportive of trans people. It sounds dismissive of their deeply held desire to change their appearance to reflect what is inside. Do you think a trans person has a legitimate reason to desire to transform their bodies or want what they feel on the inside to reflect their outside appearance?

                  Yes, of course. I thought I was clear about that in my previous response. I fully accept and support transgender and intersex people precisely because I’m not a gender essentialist. I don’t think identity should be tied to the chromosomes or genitalia one was born with.

                  Saying you don’t think genitalia is important is kind of dismissing these people and their feelings as irrelevant. If I were trans i would not feel supported because what I hear you saying is that they could stay in the same bodies and it wouldn’t matter.

                  That’s the opposite of what I’m saying. I’m saying that chromosomes and genitalia should not determine how a person identifies. A transgender man should have every right to identify as a man and have society consider him a man. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t born with a penis. He just as much of a man, in my eyes, as someone born biologically male.

                  I just believe that rather than taking the drastic action by modifying their bodies with harmful drugs and surgery I woud encourage them to pray and seek God about helping to make this possible (this does not mean i think that their desire to have an operation is not legitimate. I just believe that God is a powerful God that can make it so an operation is not needed) To someone who isn’t a christian this will sound insane…which is why i could only do this legitimately to another christian who also believes in the power of God to transform a person on the inside so that their physical body matches.

                  Okay, well, I’m glad to hear you support transgender people, but as I’m sure you’re aware, no one has ever been physically transformed via prayer alone. If there has been such a case, I’m sure the medical community would be excited to learn about it. Many religious groups do not support transgender people having surgery or taking hormones, and they refuse to recognize sex changes. It doesn’t matter what they do. Let’s say a transgender man takes hormones and has surgery to complete a physical transition. Many churches will not accept that. They won’t let that man get married in the church, they won’t let him join the clergy, etc.

                  To me gender is not a tangible thing that exists apart from biology (with the exception of someone who is truly transgender) I agree that it is an internal sense of self but this is not separate to a persons biological sex unless again they are legitimately transgender. To be legitimately transgender you have to genuinely have the innate gender of the opposite sex not just feel that you are stereotypically behaving like the opposite sex. This is hard to determine sometimes but when proper dialogue takes place and enough time is given then it is possible to tell the difference.

                  Well, it kind of sounds like we almost agree here, but I’m still confused because the way you talk about gender makes it seem otherworldly, separate from the body and internal identity.

                  Like I said in my other post sexual attraction doesn’t always come first for me but grows as i connect with their values. If the physical spark isn’t their initially it doesn’t mean it can’t ever be there it just might need time to develop. That’s why some people who are initially just good friends can have really wonderful marriages. Sexual attraction while very powerful can also be very fickle and easily manipulated.

                  Hmmm, well, I’ve never started becoming attracted to someone that I at least didn’t think was handsome when we first met, but perhaps other women have different experiences. I would find it hard to imagine, for example, becoming attracted to an elderly man regardless of his values and personality. I think that there would at least need to be the possibility of a physical spark, and the body is involved in that. As a heterosexual, you don’t start becoming attracted to other women regardless of their wonderful personalities and values because you know instinctively there’s no possibility of sexual attraction down the road.

                • Sarah

                  Hi Anna,

                  I would like to address this comment first:

                  “Well, I thought the problem in the beginning was sex, but now it appears to be biology. Many people in our society see biological ties as superior to non-biological ties, biological families as superior to adoptive families, and so on. Your views don’t surprise me, but I find them depressing. It’s very discouraging to me that people have these views. They throw not only same-sex families, but also adoptive families, blended families, donor insemination families, egg donation families, IVF families, and surrogacy families under the bus. By declaring that our families are inferior due to genes, you’ve proclaimed one kind of family as “the best kind,” and all the rest of us are inferior by default.”

                  Okay first let me clear something up because I can understand why you think this. I think biology love and gender are all important and needed. I think that when a child is brought into the world and their biological parents neither see them, love them or let them get to know who they are as people as well as what they are like, then they are doing the child an extreme disservice. They are the parents I see as inferior not the ones who care for them.

                  The parents that do end up providing that love and stability for these children no matter who they are or whether they are related to the child are not inferior. They are infact the very opposite of that because they have stepped up where the original parents have not and told the child in a strong and powerful way “You are wanted and loved by us. You are worthy of that love and care!” That is to be highly honoured and I cannot emphasise this enough.

                  If anyone, no matter what orientation or gender or whether they are married or unmarried decides to take actions that result in having a child whether this be by the act of sex or by providing eggs or sperm then they have a responsibility to that child to be an important part of their life and show them they are wanted and loved. You probably wont agree with this but when your own flesh and blood rejects you in this way it is incredibly damaging. It doesn’t matter how nice they think they are being by bringing the child into the world in the first place. Deciding they don’t want anything to do with them is wrong and is in essence rejection and abandonment.

                  This does not mean the child should not have been born! This is a cop out argument bad parents use to negate their responsibility. The child had every right to be born it just means they got a rough deal by having shoddy biological parents that didn’t care enough about them to raise them.

                  When other parents step in, that does not make these parents inferior it just means that the biological parent is doing their child a huge disservice and is communicating to that child that they at least do not want them. And if that child wants them then that’s just tough because they arent able to decide that and should just be happy with the parents they have.

                  While my sisters situation and yours are clearly different I think they are both cases of abandonment. My sisters father took action that resulted in my sister being born. He decided she didnt need or want him and he didnt need and want her so he had nothing to do with her and what she wanted wasnt considered.

                  Your father took an action he knew would result in his biological children being born which it did and before you were even born he decided he wanted nothing to do with you and decided on your behalf that you would not get a choice in this. He also (if the donation was anonymous) has made it very hard if not impossible to find him if you ever wanted to. Yes he gave your parents a huge gift by giving them you and your brother. And your parents have given you a gift of loving you and accepting you and showing you are worthy of this. But this does not negate the fact your father abandoned you. And while you say it doesnt bother you, again that is a good thing..but your views are not the only views out there….there are plenty of people who feel very differently and they have a legitimate reason to.

                  If I believe that both biological parents of children have a duty to show their own children that through their own chosen actions they brought into being that they are loved and wanted by them, then it just logically follows that i will believe that biology and gender are important and needed. And also logically follows that I will believe it is harmful and the child is missing out when their biological parent/s tell them they dont want anything to with them. The lesbian couple I know recognise this at least to some extent because they have made it possible for their child to still see their father and for him to be part of her life.

                  You can infer that I am dissing all other types of families and “throwing them under a bus” if you want but I think this is unfair and misunderstanding what I am saying.

                  I found this point interesting:
                  “Just because a man or woman is biologically related to their child does not mean that they will be a good parent. The vast majority of children in the foster care system are there because their biological parents subjected them to abuse or neglect.”

                  Of course I know that a biological parent isn’t automatically going to be the best parent for a child because if they are abusive and cruel then they are harmful any parent can be abusive whether they are related or not. Opening up the box of whether children are in foster systems because their parents have been abusive is a whole other topic for a different blog altogether. I see plenty of children through my work that should not be with the parents they are and also see children taken away from parents they should have stayed with.
                  Children in the foster system are actually a very good example of the point I am trying to make though. When child protection are trying to decide whether to remove a child from an abusive family they have to consider this very carefully because of the potential damage removal causes. In the past there was not much thought given to removing a child from an abusive situation because they thought it didn’t matter and a loving non biological family that cared for them would be better for them…they thought similarly to what I hear you saying that love and care provided by a stable loving family whether they are related to them or not is better for the child and is not hurting them at all. What they found was though that children were and are still terribly traumatised by being removed so much so that they find it better if at all possible to leave the child in their original home and just help the original parents to be better parents. There is still considerable debate about this issue but the general consensus is that if a child can be safely left with their original parents and enough support is given to stop whatever abuse is occurring this is what is best for the child. No matter how loving or kind the alternative unrelated family is.

                  I would like to address this comment next:

                  Children respond to the environment in which they’re raised. Did you know that there are societies where children don’t live with or have relationships with their fathers? And that all the children in the community are raised in the same family configuration, so it’s completely normal to them?

                  You might want to read about the Mosuo people of China:

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M…”

                  First of all yes I do know societies where children are not raised by their fathers and grow up without relationships with their children….it ours!!! Our society is fast becoming exactly that and fathers that show they actually care for and love their children and want to raise them and have them as part of their lives are fast becoming the exception not the rule.

                  Secondly no I did not know about the Mosuo people in China. I am however very interested in the society while equally being repulsed by it. I always think its interesting when women decide they want to empower themselves but by doing so the very opposite effect takes place.

                  Men again are let off the hook as far as responsibility goes and are given approval to sleep around with whoever they want to and impregnate women without taking any responsibilty for their own actions. Their own children are abandoned by them and they then abandon the mother also only to return back to their own homes where they then expect their mothers to still take care of them!!!! The women are left with all the responsibility and because of the nature of the way sex is done women are treated as satisfiers of a mans sexual desire not as a whole person. She opens herself up to a whole heap of sexually transmitted diseases (they both do actually) and also produces children who have no way of knowing who their real fathers or brothers and sisters are which not only shows a huge disrespect for the children and their rights but also means that when they grow up and form relationships for themselves they are highly likely to be incestuous!! From the end of the article I see that they are even starting to recognise the dangers of this themselves by trying to give men some responsibility to help out the mothers and by holding relationship ceremonies…it sounds like they are drifting away from their original societal ideas (thankfully) and are trying to enforce some stability and responsibility for the men.. but not enough yet in my opinion.

                  If you think what I am holding up to be ideal is disrespectful, offensive and depressing then i don’t know what your saying then by holding this up?? You are free to go and join a society like this if is what you want to and find appealing. But the idea that you and other people as well would want to encourage a society like this I find extremely frightening!

                  The next comment you have made that i would like to address is this one:

                  “Yes, of course. I thought I was clear about that in my previous response. I fully accept and support transgender and intersex people precisely because I’m not a gender essentialist. I don’t think identity should be tied to the chromosomes or genitalia one was born with.
                  Saying you don’t think genitalia is important is kind of dismissing these people and their feelings as irrelevant. If I were trans i would not feel supported because what I hear you saying is that they could stay in the same bodies and it wouldn’t matter.
                  That’s the opposite of what I’m saying. I’m saying that chromosomes and genitalia should not determine how a person identifies. A transgender man should have every right to identify as a man and have society consider him a man. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t born with a penis. He just as much of a man, in my eyes, as someone born biologically male.”

                  You are still missing my point and dismissing transgender people without realising. If you are not dismissing them you are not staying consistent with your beliefs about gender and how there is no innate femaleness or maleness.

                  If a transgender person came to you and told you they felt they wanted to become a man because that is the gender they felt they were on the inside. I would expect you to then say:

                  “What do you mean by feeling male?? What does being a “male” feel like and what specific things can you give me that make you feel this way that are different to how a woman feels? Maleness and femaleness are just names everyone is unique and shouldn’t be restricted by a specific gender. Your genitalia doesn’t define who you are so why do you want to change it?” Why do you need a penis to feel more “male” and why does having one make you feel less so? How can you even say you feel “male” at all without defining what it is.”

                  If they defined what it was by saying that they just felt “male” you would do the same thing you did when you asked me what maleness was and to be consistent with your beliefs I would expect you to ask your transgender friend why feeling male was any different to feeling female and to ask them for characteristics they felt they had that made them identify as being more male than female. These characteristics would need to be characteristics that couldn’t equally be applied to either sex. If they couldn’t do this then you would dismiss their feeling of innate maleness as something that wasn’t really there. You would not deny their right to feel that way but you would attribute their feeling to other things.

                  If you don’t agree this is how you would respond then why do you accept that a transgender person can rightfully claim people have innate genders, but I cannot?

                  If you believe that people can have innate genders but they are just not restricted by or linked to their physical makeup, then please explain to me what you think an innate gender is. And also explain how innate maleness is different to innate femaleness without using characteristics that can be applied to either sex.

                  If you can do this then you have answered your own question that you asked me about what I mean by “maleness”. If you can’t define It but still recognise that their is such a thing then I wont have to try and prove to you that it is there anymore.
                  We will agree.
                  Except for where I think it is linked with someone’s physical makeup (with the exception of trans and intersex people)

                  And the last point I would like to address:

                  “Hmmm, well, I’ve never started becoming attracted to someone that I at least didn’t think was handsome when we first met, but perhaps other women have different experiences. I would find it hard to imagine, for example, becoming attracted to an elderly man regardless of his values and personality. I think that there would at least need to be the possibility of a physical spark, and the body is involved in that. As a heterosexual, you don’t start becoming attracted to other women regardless of their wonderful personalities and values because you know instinctively there’s no possibility of sexual attraction down the road.”

                  Yes different women do have different experiences to you. I certainly have. Like I said I previously had met a man I was not physically attracted to and when someone asked me if they thought he was attractive I honestly said no. But after I got to know his values it was like goggles had been taken off my eyes and i started to notice his attractive features. When i meet other women who have values I admire i do become attracted to them but instead of desiring a sexual relationship I want a friendship and want to be more like them sometimes.

                • Anna

                  Well, I don’t know what to say. Your obsession with biology means that you think my family is inferior no matter what. My family is being judged on genes and DNA, not love, dedication, commitment, parenting skills, or anything else.

                  I find it extremely disheartening and depressing, just one more indication of how much our society does not accept non-biological families as fully valid. This type of thinking is rampant in American culture. I think you are in England from your spelling and phrasing, but it’s clearly the same over there, too. Adoptive families aren’t considered as good. Biology is considered to trump all, and members of adoptive families aren’t ever allowed to forget it. Their status as second-fiddle is hammered home constantly.

                  Okay first let me clear something up because I can understand why you think this. I think biology love and gender are all important and needed. I think that when a child is brought into the world and their biological parents neither see them, love them or let them get to know who they are as people as well as what they are like, then they are doing the child an extreme disservice. They are the parents I see as inferior not the ones who care for them.

                  No, you’re saying the family itself is inferior. If biological ties are required to have an ideal childhood experience, then children who do not grow up with both biological parents are having an inferior experience. Our situation is not considered as good, no matter how good our parents are, because you have decided that the “missing” biological parent is necessary.

                  And what a horrible, horrible way to treat birth mothers, I might add! So many religious people are against contraception, abortion, and single parenting, yet if a woman chooses to place her baby for adoption, you would tag her as doing her child “an extreme disservice” for not raising the baby herself. Your comments drip with disdain for people who choose not to parent their biological children. I’m not talking about those who abandon their children. I’m talking about those who make a decision to place their baby in a home with loving parents. You act like this is some terrible choice.

                  While my sisters situation and yours are clearly different I think they are both cases of abandonment. … Your father took an action he knew would result in his biological children being born which it did and before you were even born he decided he wanted nothing to do with you and decided on your behalf that you would not get a choice in this. He also (if the donation was anonymous) has made it very hard if not impossible to find him if you ever wanted to. Yes he gave your parents a huge gift by giving them you and your brother. And your parents have given you a gift of loving you and accepting you and showing you are worthy of this. But this does not negate the fact your father abandoned you. And while you say it doesnt bother you, again that is a good thing..but your views are not the only views out there….there are plenty of people who feel very differently and they have a legitimate reason to.

                  You obviously don’t see the difference between creating a child because you care enough to want to help people become parents and abandoning a child. Your theory of abandonment is not the experience of any person from a planned gay or lesbian family that I have ever talked to, and I’ve met dozens and talked to hundreds over the years. Why would you discount all of our experiences? You don’t care how we think or feel. You want us not to be conceived because there’s some remote chance we might be unhappy? I’m not unhappy. My brother is not unhappy. My friends are not unhappy. We’re glad to be here.

                  The lesbian couple I know recognise this at least to some extent because they have made it possible for their child to still see their father and for him to be part of her life.

                  Lots of same-sex families have known sperm donors, known egg donors, and known surrogates. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not necessary.

                  Children in the foster system are actually a very good example of the point I am trying to make though. When child protection are trying to decide whether to remove a child from an abusive family they have to consider this very carefully because of the potential damage removal causes.

                  Yes, removing a child from home causes damage, but not because of biology! Because of the emotional bonds the parent and child have formed. Do you think children who are adopted at birth are not traumatized when they are removed from their homes? Have you ever seen that video of Baby Jessica screaming as she was torn from the arms of her adoptive mother? You don’t think that child was just as traumatized as if it had been her biological mother? If you don’t, I find that horrible.

                  If you think what I am holding up to be ideal is disrespectful, offensive and depressing then i don’t know what your saying then by holding this up?? You are free to go and join a society like this if is what you want to and find appealing. But the idea that you and other people as well would want to encourage a society like this I find extremely frightening!

                  I’m saying that children don’t come into the world pre-programmed to prefer one family configuration over another. Mosuo children are just as happy and healthy as any other children. And, actually, I do happen to think that Mosuo culture is far healthier than Western style patriarchal systems. Women have a level of sexual autonomy there that they don’t typically have in other societies.

                  You are still missing my point and dismissing transgender people without realising. If you are not dismissing them you are not staying consistent with your beliefs about gender and how there is no innate femaleness or maleness.

                  You’re (purposely?) misreading what I’m saying. I’m saying gender identity is not tied to one’s body. It has nothing to do with chromosomes or genitalia.

                  I’m not saying people don’t feel male or female. Gender exists. I’m saying that you can’t tell anything about a person by looking at biological sex only. Everyone is unique. Not everyone experiences gender in the same way, which is why it’s so ridiculous to pretend that all people with penises are one way, and all people with vaginas are another way.

                  Transgender people are unique, too! There are straight transgender men, and there are gay transgender men. There are straight transgender women and lesbian transgender women. There are transgender men who like to design clothes, and there are transgender men who like to drive trucks. Their personality and interests do not necessarily correlate with their biological sex or their gender identification.

                  If you don’t agree this is how you would respond then why do you accept that a transgender person can rightfully claim people have innate genders, but I cannot? If you believe that people can have innate genders but they are just not restricted by or linked to their physical makeup, then please explain to me what you think an innate gender is. And also explain how innate maleness is different to innate femaleness without using characteristics that can be applied to either sex.

                  What on earth are you even talking about here? You’re the one claiming an “innate” maleness makes all men the same, not me. You never explained how it’s supposed to manifest itself. You never gave any examples of it. You’re just saying all straight men and all transgender men share it. I have no idea what you think any of this has to do with identifying as male or female.

                  Yes different women do have different experiences to you. I certainly have. Like I said I previously had met a man I was not physically attracted to and when someone asked me if they thought he was attractive I honestly said no. But after I got to know his values it was like goggles had been taken off my eyes and i started to notice his attractive features. When i meet other women who have values I admire i do become attracted to them but instead of desiring a sexual relationship I want a friendship and want to be more like them sometimes.

                  But attraction is not totally divorced from the body. The fact that you can become attracted to a man’s body but not a woman’s body is the key here. No matter how spectacular her personality, you’re not going to become attracted to a woman. That’s because you’re straight. You seem to be arguing that the physical body is completely immaterial, and I would argue that it is not.

                • Sarah

                  Hey again,
                  Before I say anything else I think its important to clarify one thing. Like I said before I think it is unfair that the government is not allowing people of the same sex to marry. Any arguments I make about why I think a child needs their biological parents does not mean I am trying to use it as an argument for why gay marriage shouldn’t happen.
                  These are my views and I don’t expect you to agree with me this conversation for me is just to learn about others views and express mine.

                  Yes I can see your point about me disdaining and viewing as inferior any other family other than the biological one….but I still struggle with fully agreeing this is what I really mean…maybe I am just in denial and don’t want to admit it but I don’t think you are fully understanding my point.
                  I already said I understand you don’t feel abandoned or negatively impacted…I accept that!!! and I accept that you have talked to a lot of other children in same sex relationships that feel the same way you do. I wont deny or dismiss that feeling. I also know you are happy to have been born! I must be misunderstanding something about this for you to keep making this point. Why would me thinking its unfair that your biological father didn’t want to raise you and be in your life mean I would think that meant you shouldn’t have been born?
                  Does it really have to be that if I think that the best and ideal situation for a child is to be raised and loved and cared for by their own parents that brought them into the world, that I disdain all other families???
                  This is certainly not how I feel. I view these families as loving and supportive and as I already said in my last post very honourable. They are giving a child what they desperately need, affirmation, love and support when their own parents wont. Telling them they are wanted and cared for and loved.
                  When a family adopts a child and then the child finds out they are adopted and gets curious about their biological family and want to get to know them. It would be very immature of the parents to get huffy and say things like “aren’t we good enough parents for you? why do you need to know them simply because of biology? we love you and provide everything you need. Isn’t that more important than biology?” If a child expresses that they are wanting to know their biological family this isn’t saying that they are finding fault with the family they have already they are just wanting to know what another person who is related to them is like. If they express disappointment that they never got to know someone who shaped so much of who they are that does not mean they disdain their adopted parents or view them as inferior.
                  I believe that when a child is forcibly denied one of or both of their parents then this is a bad unfair thing. This does not necessarily mean that all the children will view this as unfair…some of them won’t….but others undeniably will and do and there are hundreds of studies done that show this. And doesn’t necessarily mean that the parents they do have will be disdained. I know some people who were adopted as babies and never got to know their real parents. They loved their adoptive parents and they believe their parents did a great job with them. They even believe that there real parents would not have been able to do a better job than their adoptive parents did. But they still feel cheated that their real parents couldn’t provide this for them. To them having their original parents wanting to be part of their lives would have been what they wanted.
                  I was talking to a kid today who’s biological father was never part of his life. He knows who he is and wants nothing to do with him at the moment. He has a step father that stepped in and provided him with everything he felt he needed. He even refers to this guy as his real dad and family and views him with the highest regard. But he still feels cheated that his biological father didn’t try hard enough to be part of his life. He would in no way say that his step dad was an inferior parent to his biological one. He knows this isn’t true. But he still deeply wishes that his biological father could have been there for him the way his step dad was.
                  This story, and sooo many others I hear every day in my work, and from kids I know, is one of the main reasons I hold the views I do….I hope this makes sense. You could claim these kids only feel this way because society tells them they must and that by default they are viewing the parents they have left as inferior but I don’t think they do. and think this is unfair. Kids just feel a legitimate feeling of being cheated (not always). They wish their original parents had been there, they wish they could meet them, get to know them. I wont dismiss you saying you don’t feel cheated. But I might be wrong it sounds like you are dismissing the children I know that do? Even if you don’t feel that way yourself and know other people that don’t do you actually not believe the kids that do feel that way have a right too? without being accused of viewing the parents they do have as no good?
                  I wont make any comments about the transgender thing until I can get an explanation from Honeycutt explaining views on where I have misunderstood trans people. The real point of that was to see if I could point out that gender identity is a real thing…but it sounds like you already do think this…that’s what I think maleness and femaleness is.
                  I am also curious to know how you view the Na women as having more sexual autonomy than you do? or maybe that’s not what you meant. I view their society as very similar to ours at the moment except that ours is bigger and not a closed community.

                • Anna
                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  [Everything relating to transgenderism in your post]

                  Speaking as a transgender person, you have no idea what you are talking about if you think the two arguments are equivalent, which is odd because you imply a reasonable understanding of transgenderism.

                  You are projecting your own position onto your opponent, which is why it’s pretty clear that this is an attempt at a “gotcha” aimed at Anna. She’s does all the necessary rebutting.

                • Sarah

                  Okay yep, can you explain to me what i dont understand. Have i got it all wrong? or just some of it? I thought it was the best way of explaining that their is an innate sense that people have of their own gender. I think i may have misunderstood anna though..because it sounds like she already agrees with this but I dont know now and am very confused :/ Please bare with me and my ignorance I am trying to learn. I am coming from almost a completely different world view to you and anna so its is going to be very hard not to seem ignorant alot if not all of the time. A lot of people find it impossible to talk the way that we are and I think that is sad because I have found the discussions so far helpful and dont want to lose the opportunity to have them. I’m projecting my own position of course. I dont really think anyone can avoid that can they? at least a little bit….can you explain to me what your views on gender identity are?

                • Sarah

                  okay just read your comment again…I need to pay more attention to what people actually write. Are you saying I didn’t misunderstand transgenderism I just used my understanding wrongly in my argument?
                  if yes can you please explain why?

                • Sarah

                  hi again I replied in a quite lengthy post a few hours ago I hope you received it? because I cant see it here. let me know if you didn’t and I will send it again. I just wanted to add something further. Please do not take my personal experience where I explained my relationships based on lust were meant to accuse anyone other than my self of being lustful. It was my own personal opinion of my own personal experience..just want to make that clear!.
                  Also, I do not believe that all lesbians are repulsed by men and of course know that people of any sexual orientation or gender are capable of having deep loving friendships with people of the same or different sex that are platonic in nature not sexual. That is not what I meant by turn off. What I meant by turn off is simply not being sexually attracted.
                  Are you saying that the only reason a lesbian will choose another woman over a man as a sexual partner comes down to purely physical differences between men and women?( I am not saying that lesbians are only attracted to women because of their physical traits I am asking whether you believe that when it comes to choosing between a man and a woman who have the same personality and values a lesbian will choose the female simply because she finds female physical traits more attractive than male physical traits? If you think it comes down to personality traits aswell then I don’t see how you can agree with that because according to your belief (if I understand it right) there are no personality traits that are specifically restricted to one sex only.
                  As a heterosexual there are a lot of things that affect me sexually about the male body but that is not the only thing that does. Who the person is affects me too. These things combined affect who I fall in love with.

                • Anna

                  Hi Sarah,

                  Yes I can see it. Can you see my response?

                  I replied here:

                  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/08/02/if-you-oppose-marriage-equality-what-else-am-i-supposed-to-call-you/#comment-1074257529

                  You might want to refresh the page if you’re having trouble seeing your comments. Disqus can be a little cantankerous. It looks like your replies are showing up fine on my end, though.

                  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “lust.” Actually, I think that word has a lot of negative religious connotations, so I would just use “desire.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling desire.

                  Now, I don’t know how everyone else experiences their sexuality, but it seems to me that while attraction is not something that’s purely physical, the physical pull is critical. If a woman is a lesbian, she’s not physically attracted to men. They don’t turn her on. That’s why a heterosexual relationship doesn’t work for her on a romantic or sexual level.

                  Now it sounds like you attribute that pull to “gender,” while I would disagree. I explained below, but I really don’t understand the idea of being attracted to gender. When I’m attracted to a man, I’m not thinking about his gender. Sexual attraction feels more primal to me. Of course if I’m evaluating a man for a potential relationship, there are other factors to consider, such as values and personality. But values and personality can’t make up for a total lack of physical attraction. If there’s no physical attraction whatsoever, then it’s better to remain friends and not become lovers.

                • Sarah

                  Hi anna okay will check out your response now :)
                  but i will reply to this one first.
                  Thankyou! you explain myself better than I do i think :).
                  And thank you for describing what you feel so well i think i understand it better now.
                  Yes I attribute the pull of attraction very much to gender…i agree with the pull being physical as well but to me both are needed and sometimes the physical attractiveness is less important to me because their physical attractiveness becomes more or less obvious to me dependant on how attracted I am to their personality or way of being. I find myself becoming very attracted to a man after I have already become attracted to their personality first and innate gender first. They can become more or less physically attractive to me and based on their personality and their values and their (sorry to use this annoying word again but i have no other word for it yet :()”maleness”.
                  When i fall for someone based on the physical attractiveness first it ends up becoming more of a seeing them as a sexual object rather than a person thing..it has never worked out well that way for me.
                  For example:
                  I have pretty strong romantic feelings for someone at the moment…when i first met them i didnt get to know their personality very well and i saw them only a few times…i didnt think they were that physically appealing at all and was not attracted. Then this year I got to know him more and really loved his values as soon as i connected with him on values i felt a really deep sexual attraction and the way he physically looked actually actually changed for me. I noticed things about his eyes and his arms and his voice and his body that i had seen before and felt nothing but this time i felt very attracted!
                  I dont view desire and lust as the same thing. I see nothing wrong with desire either. Desire is not wrong in itself it is just what the object of that desire is and the actions you take because of it. I see lust as viewing and desiring a person as a sexual object rather than a whole person and treating them accordingly.

                • Anna

                  Hi Sarah,

                  I find myself becoming very attracted to a man after I have already become attracted to their personality first and innate gender first.

                  I still don’t understand this. How can you be attracted to someone’s intangible, internal sense of self? I can understand looks; I can understand personality; I can understand values. I do not understand what you mean by saying you’re attracted to a man’s gender.

                  Let’s say you met a transgender man who had your ideal personality and shared all your values. Now let’s say he
                  had not had any surgery or taken any hormones, and that he still had a female body with breasts and a vagina. Would you be attracted to him because he had an “innate” male gender, even if you couldn’t see it physically manifested in any way?

                • Sarah

                  Hi Anna,
                  I dont know if i can answer that question…its a good one.
                  Haven’t you ever been attracted to someone because they have a strong sense of their identity?? Its kind of like that which is the best way i can think of describing it for now.
                  As far as being attracted to the innate maleness of a transgender person…I’m not sure I can honestly say. I have only so far used examples from my own life experience so i know them to be true. Having only met trans teenagers and never any adults I cant say for sure I would or wouldnt as I have never experienced it. I never would have believed someone who said they were attracted to someones gender and personality first before their physical looks before if I hadnt experienced for my self…sorry I just dont think I have anyway of being able to tell????

                • Anna

                  Fair enough. I suppose you wouldn’t know if you’d never been in that position. But I don’t think the physical body is as unimportant as you’re making it out to be. Of course there are many personality traits one can be attracted to: confidence, sense of humor, good moral character, etc.

                  But sexual orientation is related to sex, specifically, the sex one is attracted to. And that’s related to the body. Having a nice personality isn’t enough. The reason gay and lesbian people don’t have fulfilling romantic relationships with the opposite sex is because they’re not physically attracted to people of the opposite sex. There’s a mismatch that no amount of good personality or similar values can fix.

                  I have never been attracted to someone solely (or even primarily) on the basis of their identity. I just don’t know why I would be attracted to someone’s identity. Like I would be more attracted to someone if he identified strongly as Hungarian? I don’t see the appeal in that. I don’t care about his identity as Hungarian one way or the other. I mean, if it makes him happy to identify that way, I’m fine with it, but it’s not something I need to find him attractive.

                • Sarah

                  Yeah I take your point I don’t think the physical body is as unimportant as I am making it out to be either…I think I have made it less important that I meant to make it sound.
                  I know what your saying, of course I believe the physical difference in bodies is going to be the thing that makes the difference.
                  I am definitely attracted to men’s bodies and even though I still strongly believe I can be attracted to someone’s personality and gender first the body is still definitely important and I need to find it attractive before a relationship can happen I just think it doesn’t necessarily need to be the first thing and even though I cant find the words to describe what this maleness is….I don’t think that a mans body or voice or smell is the only reason I am attracted to their manliness, there is something else and its not personality. If I can find a way to explain it that doesn’t sound so elusive and vague you will be the first one I tell :)

                • Anna

                  even though I cant find the words to describe what this maleness is….I don’t think that a mans body or voice or smell is the only reason I am attracted to their manliness, there is something else and its not personality.

                  Thanks, Sarah. I think this is the key difference here. You seem to believe there’s something hovering in the air that attracts you apart from the physical body and apart from personality. That’s my point of confusion. If that thing exists, there should be evidence of it. It should manifest itself in some specific way.

                • Sarah

                  Yes…I think that’s about right.. Is that what you consider gender identity to be? I don’t know if I would describe it as “hovering in the air” though…I think of it as something that is very much linked with biology with the exception of trans and intersex. Its what I think makes males and females different from each other apart from their bodies and personalities….
                  and when I say attracted to someone’s sense of identity I mean someone who knows who they are and are secure in themselves. With the whole Hungarian example it would kind of be like if you were specifically attracted to Hungarian people and you knew someone who strongly identified with their Hungarian culture and way of living you might be attracted more???

                • Anna

                  No, I think gender is just an internal sense of self, not something that exists separate from the brain. I still don’t know what you think it is. You say it’s not related to personality or actions, since all all men are different and all women are different. So what is it and how does it manifest itself?

                  I guess I don’t understand the concept of being attracted specifically to gender. You can’t see gender or feel gender. Gender doesn’t tell you anything about someone’s personality. Gender doesn’t affect the body. Gender doesn’t affect actions. So it’s like this invisible thing. How can you be attracted to an invisible thing?

                  I’m not specifically attracted to “male gender” just like I’m not specifically attracted to Hungarians. I would never even think about it. It wouldn’t cross my mind either way to wonder if the man I was dating had a male gender, and I would have no idea what it meant to be attracted to it.

        • Anna

          Hi again Sarah,

          Thanks for your reply. It’s refreshing to be able to have an actual conversation about this issue! So many people who come here have their minds completely closed to new information and are unwilling to even consider my point of view.

          Your perspective has been related to me many times, but I find it quite confusing. Many religious people are gender essentialists, and further seem to believe that all people relate to each other in the same way, based on their sex. I don’t subscribe to that view. When you talk in such general terms, it makes no sense to me. “The way a father relates to his daughter.” A father, as if all fathers are the same, as if all daughters are the same, and as if all fathers and daughters have the same type of relationship.

          My mothers are two totally different people, with different parenting styles, and they’re both women. Why wouldn’t it have been the same with a mother and a father? I’ve asked people with your views many, many times to provide examples of specific actions that only fathers are able to perform with their children, and they’re unable to do it. All they ever seem to do is refer to a mysterious, mystical-sounding “essence,” which is unhelpful to me because I don’t believe such a thing actually exists.

          It sounds like you were confused or upset by your father’s parenting style, and without knowing the details, isn’t it possible that you two simply didn’t mesh well? I’m confused how your father’s parenting style would have been more palatable to you if you’d simply been around him more. You did see him, and you did spend time with him, so it seems likely to me that you would have chafed at his perceived unloving manner regardless. You seem to believe you had no point of comparison, but you did have one. It’s just that you didn’t like it, which is perfectly understandable. There are lots of people who didn’t get along with one parent growing up, who saw their father’s or mother’s actions as cold, rough, unloving, etc.

          • Sarah

            Anna :) thank you so much for your comments too! I find it very frustrating too when I cant have a genuine discussion about these issues. I have found your comments sooo interesting and agree almost completrly with all of them :) you have rightfully pulled me up about several wrong assumptions I have made and helped me see them for what they are. Please give me some time to think about how to answer your questions about fathering. I understand it must be incredibly frustrating when people fail to describe how fathers are essentially different to mothers…I am also frustrated by the same thing….but in fairness it is incredibly difficult to explain! But I will try :) …I dont think that fathering can be defined by any specific action or personality trait because as you rightly say not all fathers are the same and not all mothers are the same and they all relate to children in different ways! And I definitely agree that the reasons my father and I chafed so much has a lot if not completely all to his parenting style not the fact that he was specifically a father. You make very fair points and I will try and address each one of them soon :) lets keep dialoguing about this as I equally find it refreshing to talk to you :)

    • Carmelita Spats

      I have found that being a Christian is deeply damaging to the mind and body. I’m not a bigot. I just strongly disagree with living a lie and indoctrinating children with the idea of hell, eternal torture and belief in a sadistic, psychotic, creep-of-a-God who demands that you obey, submit and sacrifice at the behest of every buck-toothed mammal who claims to speak for “him”. I’m not a bigot. I just find it incredibly disturbing that any sentient being with a conscience could stomach the very narcissistic idea of enjoying a “paradise” while KNOWING that others are being fried extra-crispy, tortured, in Yahweh’s little shop of horrors run by rascal Satan…It’s more than a little sad, unhinged and lost to believe that it is ok for Jesus to take you to a nice lookout spot so you can witness others being shoved from the cliffs of glory into the lake of fire. Christianity is grotesque and dehumanizing. It’s the very definition of HELL.

      Homosexual love is a beautiful gift and a joyous, singular, expression of human love. Mighty Aphrodite, I find it revolting that ANYONE with an ounce of moral reasoning would accept Christianity’s cheap, counterfeit, love…Love is not self-denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your own son to appease your vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your fragile ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by healthy, unafraid, human beings which includes the very homosexuals that you profess to love with a “Christian love”.

      • sarah

        Hi Carmelita,
        Thank you for your response (this is not sarcasm I have genuinely found it helpful as it helps me understand how my views are understood)
        Whether you believe me or not (and why should you when you don’t know me) I sincerely do love my LGBTI friends.
        I hope that one day you are able to see that the christian faith and God you have described is very different from the true faith and God.
        While I can understand why you think it as it is very easy to do! It is a very warped and simplistic understanding…not one that I hold to or follow. I am happy to share what I believe about God and Christianity with you if you would like me too? But that is not really relevant to my original post.
        My main point is that whatever I believe or hold to it doesn’t give me (or the government) the right to force these ideas on others. I disagree with it strongly and am saddened that it takes place.
        Sarah

      • Sarah

        Hi Carmelita,
        Thank you for your message, I have tried responding numerous times but have had no luck in actually doing it…hopefully this works.
        I understand why you have said the things you have.
        Unfortunately Christianity is a very misunderstood religion even by those that claim to follow it. You reserve the right to think im a bigot and a liar and lgbti hater. I will say this isn’t true but that doesn’t mean you have to believe me…why should you you don’t know me. Any way thankyou for you comments. I am happy to explain what my views and beliefs are on God and Christianity if you would like me to because my understanding is quite different to the picture you paint…but I get the distinct impression you would not be open to hearing it…or care what I think…so….if you want me to I will…otherwise. Your comments have been taken on board and have been helpful,
        Sarah

    • Guest

      Well, thanks for thinking it’s wrong to judge people based on what you admit to being your beliefs rather than facts while at the same time judging them based on what you admit to being your beliefs rather than facts, I guess.

      Nasty fucking ignorant people.

      • Sarah

        Hey,
        didnt mean that although i can understand why it appears that way. Judging can mean very different things and unfortunately i probably should have defined what i meant by the word judge.
        But before i do that i want to ask whether you are willing to dialogue with me more about this? If you trully believe i am a f@#$ing nasty ignorant person then why not try to enlighten me rather than just calling me names? I deliberately wanted to post on this site because I am open to hearing other peoples views who dont agree with me so i can learn from them. I have had great chats with Hemant, Anna and Dorfl and while i think we still have quite different views there is a lot of stuff we agree on that I wouldnt have realised unless we’d dialogued more. Its been very helpful to me and hopefully made me slightly less of a nasty ignorant person. What do you say? Do you want to chat more and teach me about what you think and believe? It could be a waste of time but hey why bother posting a comment on a blog if you arent willing to get others opinions on it?


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