No-Brainer

Actual really true quote from gay “marriage” advocate:

It’s a no-brainer that we should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist.

I don’t think I can agree strongly enough that a person who says this is a no-brainer. And read the rest. Sometimes the mask slips. This is about gaining the coercive power of the state to punish those who won’t pretend that homosex is not disordered. It will create four basic classes: those who successfully delude themselves that it is fine, those who unconvincingly lie to themselves that it is fine, those who lie to others that it is fine, and those who won’t lie and are punished for it.

The central lie is that this is all about a “private choice”. No. When you drag the state into it and make it punish those who will not subscribe to your view you are acting as publically as you possibly can. If you want to have a fake “wedding” with all your friends cheering you and affirming you in your okayness you can do that right now. What legalization means is that you will be able to call in the might of the state to punish those who know the wedding is a fake.

  • Dustin

    Gessen’s opinion here is by no means a unanimous one and shouldn’t be treated as if it were the end goal of some monolothic, menacing gay horde. The opinions of gay people differ just as widely as those of heteros. A few take the “separation of marriage and state” opinion. Some, like Gessen, view marriage as irreformably patriarchal and therefore inherenltly oppressive institution, desiring its abolition and replacement. Some view it as something that has proven remarkably adaptive to wildly different social environments and time periods, our own not being much different. I don’t agree with Gessen, but I have no reason to expect that what she wants would ever come to pass.

    But you’re touching upon something really, really troubling, here. I’ve been reading your Patheos colleague, Fred Clark, who puts it like this, in a post called “Tribalism and the cruelly weird idea of zero-sum human rights”:

    “To [gay marriage opponents like the one he quotes], human rights are a finite resource over which various factions must compete. They imagine that if someone else’s rights are recognized, it must therefore mean that some of their own rights must be taken away.

    To them, ‘the people’ is never everybody — it’s a roiling pile of factions, interests, clans and tribes constantly at war with one another. Thus the government cannot be ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.’ It can only be of, by and for some people and against others.”

    For some reason, people really think that, if another group of people gains equal treatment, something is being taken away. It assumes that basic, innate qualities like dignity are exclusive to a single group and, if shared, are thereby diminished. But, as a hetero, I lose nothing when my gay friends gain the right to fully participate in society to the extent I already enjoy. In fact, I gain a better society. My state approved marriage equality by referendum last year, and I’ve never been prouder. I’m not afraid, Mark.

    • Tim in Cleveland

      I’m not sure how redefining marriage so that its primary purpose is to ensure or promote the well being of adults makes a better society. Maybe a shallower one and eventually a less populated one. Granted, many people even before this push for gay marriage acted like that was marriage’s primary purpose, but it doesn’t seem to have been very beneficial to society what with the widespread divorce over the years.

      Now the state is on the verge of codifying that belief into law and I’m skeptical that it will have much benefit to marriages in general. Though I have to agree a redefinition won’t harm the marriages of those couples who already believed and acted like the interests of the adult couple were marriage’s primary purpose.

      Redefining marriage will affect the rights of others, though I doubt proponents of redefining marriage care much about those rights, mainly First Amendment rights. Though I have noticed that some have been attempting to redefine the First Amendment as a right to have subjective beliefs and thoughts, but excluding any right to act pursuant to those beliefs in public.

      I’m sure people who don’t care about the rights of religious people aren’t afraid of the consequences of redefining marriage, but those of us who do care are concerned (to put it very lightly). And those rights have already been infringed or threatened in those states that have redefined marriage.

      • Dustin

        I don’t think that admitting the importance of adult partners’ well-being is detrimental to the procreative aspect of hetero-marriage or to society. I don’t know any married couples who think the two concepts are at odds, as if the well-being of parents and that of children were zero-sum, one subtracting from the other. But prioritizing the procreative part has the unfortunate effect of a soft stigma on couples who don’t want children or can’t have them biologically. I heard a very sad story on NPR the other day (I’m looking for the story and can’t find it right now) about how people still treat adoptive parents as if they were “fake” parents. Family members say things to them like, “Maybe one day you can try for a ‘real’ kid!” Traditional definitions of marriage shut out even people who are trying to play by the “rules.”

        • Tim in Cleveland

          I’m not entirely sure what “soft stigma” is but I imagine it will remain in the new marriage regime. Many people either wind up not getting married or don’t want to get married. Such people would be stigmatized regardless of how the state defines marriage. So I doubt redefining marriage would do much to lessen “soft stigmatization”. In fact, gay marriage advocates seem to want to create a new stigmatization of people who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, labeling them as “bigots” and “irrational”.

          Even if such “soft stigmatization” exists, they could be remedied by means other than redefining marriage.

          I’m not married and I do not have children, but I imagine having children requires many sacrifices. It’s nice to think that parents and children live in complete harmony and that their interests are one and the same, but I doubt that reflects reality.

    • Jon W

      Putting this in the language of individual rights is obscuring the issue. Remember, rights are don’t exist by themselves; rights are only the flip-side of someone else’s corresponding obligation. When we talk about “recognizing someone’s rights”, what we really mean is “recognizing everyone else’s responsibility towards them”. So “recognizing homosexuals’ rights to get married” means “recognizing everyone else’s responsibility to affirm whatever relationship two homosexuals define as ‘marriage’ to be a real marriage.” You’re forcing people to either change their deeply-held beliefs about human flourishing, or else lie to themselves and everyone else, or else retreat from the public square altogether.

      Whatever that is, don’t pretend it doesn’t involve a serious imposition on people.

    • http://irenist.blogspot.com/ Irenist

      Gessen’s opinion here is by no means a unanimous one and shouldn’t be treated as if it were the end goal of some monolothic, menacing gay horde. The opinions of gay people differ just as widely as those of heteros.

      That’s a fair point, Dustin. Certainly, Andrew Sullivan’s “Burkean conservative” argument for gay marriage seems to center on replacing (to a certain extent, when he hasn’t just read a Dan Savage column he likes; Sullivan is fickle) ghettoized “gay culture” with assimilation into the bourgeois norms of marriage. I don’t like being lumped in with Paul Ryan or Joe Biden just because we’re all self-proclaimed Catholics, and I imagine SSM advocates don’t like being reduced to strawmen, either. Frankly, if we’re stuck with civil SSM, I wish Sullivan’s side all the best in its conflict with Gessen’s.

    • http://thecrawfordfamily.net/blog Ken Crawford

      Dustin, I completely agree with you and Fred Clark, who created the post you reference, that human rights are not a zero-sum game. I would also agree, that there are people in the anti-”gay marriage” camp who stupidly think along those lines (although be careful, as your defense against what Mark quotes here is ‘not everyone thinks this way, so you can’t use it against us as a whole’ should equally apply here).

      However, both of you and Mr. Clark are using the oddest moments to bring up the zero sum game. I expected to see a much better quote of an example of it than he used. Substitute the word murderers for homosexuals in his post and it is quite obvious how stupid his logic is. One can be against people doing certain actions (or supporting those actions) without being “anti-people”.

      So here’s the question I think you need to ask yourself: If human rights are not a zero-sum game, should there be any limits to the rights we get? Just keep piling them on, right?

      I’m sure you’ll obviously come to the conclusion that there are limits to what rights we should have and hopefully come to see that not all rights apply to all people in the same way (Rights for pregnant women or handicapped people or ??? don’t apply to others, etc.) and it has nothing to do with thinking of rights as a zero-sum game.

    • http://attheturnofthetide.blogspot.com Caspar

      This seemed apropos:

      My Friend (MF): You say natural law as if it exists and isn’t just something invented based off of interpretation of religious scripture and anecdotal evidence.

      Me (M): Yes, MF, I do–because you haven’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of ever defending universal human rights if first you deny the existence of natural law. Because Lewis lays out its universality pretty darn well in The Abolition of Man. Because it’s the foundation of this republic, and once it’s denied, all that’s left will be power and the imposition of will by force. Because it’s the basis of treating humans like humans, the end of slavery, the end of misogyny, the end of homophobia. If you deny the notion of natural law and remove it from its place as the bedrock of our politics, then minorities of every sort are likely to have a very, very hard time of it.

      MF: Rights are man made. So is the notion of right and wrong. We have a few different innate drives as animals. We generally do not murder, or steal, etc. Because we are creatures that dislike cognitive dissonance. However our social constructs for the most part are fluid as are political constructs. May I remind you that human sacrifice is featured in the Bible and in fact has been shown as wanted by Yahweh, yet also is condemned by Yahweh. Now to our modern standards the notion is foreign and evil. As is the majority of Biblical history. Natural law as an argument is a neat way to justify the sliding scale of morality when it comes to positive law. However it is a philosophical illusion. The harsh truth is that mankind lacks natural law and that you only have as many rights as the political capital you own.

      http://attheturnofthetide.blogspot.com/2012/11/you-only-have-as-many-rights-as.html

  • Dustin
    • http://irenist.blogspot.com/ Irenist

      Interesting article. The author is of course correct that the U.S. should be “pro-” exeryone: gay folks, straight folks, all Americans. I would, however, add the unborn to his list of American that the U.S. ought to be “pro.”
      .
      I was interested to see a number of his commenters point out that “anti-Sharia” laws also have the potential to impact things like Catholic Canon Law tribunals. As secularists, they saw this as a feature. As a Catholic, I find it to be another reason (along with their unconstitutional discrimination against Muslims, and potentially also Jews who use battei din, i.e., rabbinical courts) why I wish our bishops in these states would tell their presumed allies in these Republican legislatures, many of them, AFAIK, Evangelicals who probably don’t even know that Jews and Catholics *have* our own internal legal systems, that these “anti-Sharia laws” are (or ought to be!) deeply unwelcome among their Catholic comrades in the abortion abolitionist movement.

      • Dustin

        The anti-Sharia laws are based on the weird evangelical idea that Islam isn’t a religion because it’s universalist, asserting a claim on the particulars of the believer’s life and how society should be structured. Of course, plenty of religions make such claims. But I can see how evangelicals, who’ve discarded things like liturgy and fasting, would think that. “You mean they actually have to do stuff to be Muslim? They can’t just say ‘I believe’ and that’s that?” Here endeth the rant.

        • http://irenist.blogspot.com/ Irenist

          Arguments of the form “X isn’t a religion because…” drive me up the wall. Tolerance, people.

      • Dustin

        Oh, and how do you do block quotes like in your above comment?

        • http://irenist.blogspot.com/ Irenist

          (Triangular bracket)blockquote(close triangular bracket)
          Lorem ipsum.
          (Triangular bracket)/blockquote(close triangular bracket)
          .
          The triangular brackets are the ones above the comma and the period (a.k.a. full stop) on your keyboard. If I type them, I’ll just end up blockquoting instead of showing you what I mean.

  • vox borealis

    If you want to have a fake “wedding” with all your friends cheering you and affirming you in your okayness you can do that right now. What legalization means is that you will be able to call in the might of the state to punish those who know the wedding is a fake.

    Yes, yes, yes, and again, yes. I keep saying that those who oppose “g-y marriage” need to shift the discourse and not allow proponents to determine the linguistic playing field. First, marriage is not a “right” in the sense of an individual right. Rather, it is a status that may or may not be recognized by various audiences. Second, a g-y man or woman can already “get married”—i.e., enter into a marriage that is recognized by the State. E.g. a g-y man can marry a gay or straight woman. Thus, it is already “legal” for g-ys to marry. Third, it is already possible for two g-ys to “get married. E.g. they can have a ceremony down at the local Unitarian church, and this union can be recognized as a marriage by themselves and their friends and families and the Unitarian church. No, what proponents of g-y marriage want is for such unions to be recognized by the state, and by extension, everybody else. And those who do not will be punished, one lawsuit at a time.

    Sorry for the code…just trying to get my harmless comment past the spam filter.

    • Dustin

      Chief Justice Warren, writing for the court in Loving v. Virginia: “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man.’ ” He goes on to denounce discriminatory laws that are “directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment.” The freedom to marry “resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

      • vox borealis

        But indeed everyone meeting the legal criteria has the freedom to marry. So what is the beef? I as an individual can contract a marriage. So yes, on that level, the freedom to get married is an individual right. There is no guarantee, however, that I will marry the person I want to marry, or that I will love the person I marry, or that my marriage must be recognized. So I agree, the state should never intrude to physically prevent two people from heading down to the Unitarian church to “get married.” But that’s as far as it goes.

        • Dustin

          The beef is with the present legal criteria themselves. You, a hetero I presume, may privately contract a sacramental union which the state will then ratify as a public union (and unless you’re marrying anyone within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity, the recognition will be more or less immediate). I, a hetero, may do the same. But my gay friends are obstructed in the second part, the civil recognition that you and I take for granted and see as natural. There are also people who aren’t religious. A blessing from Rev. Patty would be meaningless to them, and for them City Hall would be the only option but that in most places it isn’t. It’s that part that’s still problematic.

          But I don’t understand part of your comment. Why would you possibly marry someone you didn’t wan’t to marry?

          • vox borealis

            Throughout history there have been plenty of marriages between individuals who didn’t really want to marry, at least not for reasons or personal affection or the like. You know, like dynastic marriages. Moreover, while I have the right to marry, I have no right to marry the person that I want to marry. For example, what if I *want* to marry Julia Roberts (assuming she is single)? I have no right to marry her. It would require her consent.

            But my gay friends are obstructed in the second part…

            This is simply not true. They may enter into a sacramental marriage (i.e., a gay man may marry a gay or straight woman, a gay woman may marry a gay or straight man) AND have that marriage recognized by civil authorities.

            Now of course, I know what you are trying to say: your two gay friends can get married to each other at the Unitarian church but cannot (in all states) have that union recognized civilly. To which I say, so what? Why does the civil recognition mater, other than to force the larger community to recognize the union? So it’s really about recognition, not about “rights.” You know what, I don’t give a rats ass if the state recognizes my marriage, or if the Unitarian Church recognizes it, or if it is accepted as legal in another country. I crave that recognition; I don’t need that recognition; I certainly don;t claim it as some sort of right.

            • vox borealis

              Oops…I don’t crave that recognition…

            • http://irenist.blogspot.com/ Irenist

              Why does the civil recognition mater, other than to force the larger community to recognize the union?

              Tax considerations, pensioners’ widows’ benefits, insurance considerations (married men tend to drive more prudently and actuaries know that), Social Security survivors’ benefits, hospital visitation, child custody, inheritance and probate concerns (particularly in community property jurisdictions), etc. Civil unions, or even a standardized suite of private contracts, could private many (although not all) of these. But marriage has been honed by Western legal tradition to accommodate all these needs in a very supple way. I defer to the bishops in forming my opinion about civil SSM, but I don’t think it’s fair to characterize “marriage equality” folks as merely motivated by a will to power here; they have real concerns. Catholics need to engage them respectfully on these concerns, not just call them brownshirts or whatever.

  • MM

    The moment that our black-robed rulers on the Supreme Court find a right for gay “marriage” is the moment that the 1st amendment “free exercise of religion” becomes a dead letter. Because waiting in the wings will be lawsuits to force churches to perform gay “weddings”, lawsuits to force K of C halls to rent out for receptions for such unions, and lawsuits to force anyone who works in the wedding industry to cater to their needs regardless of religious conscience. Soon, no serious Catholic or Christian would be able to work in as a photographer, florist etc. Lawsuits seeking to legitimize polygamy will be next (and yes people are already going there).

  • http://irenist.blogspot.com/ Irenist

    What legalization means is that you will be able to call in the might of the state to punish those who know the wedding is a fake.

    Correct: noncooperative wedding photographers, bakers, hoteliers, and venue landlords, among others, are not being allowed any conscience protections at all. Rod Dreher has been anticipating this for years.
    .
    However, civil SSM seems to be an unstoppable juggernaut: the libertine snowball has been rolling downhill since Lambeth (or since the nominalist-realist debates of the thirteenth century, if one prefers that sort of view), and its far too big to stop the avalanche now. The best we may be able to expect is to try to shelter from it, or get out of its way.
    .
    Thus, as a tactical matter, I think those of us adhering to a traditional understanding of marriage (whether motivated by natural law, sacramentality, or some combination) should shift our flank to try to focus less on opposing civil SSM (I’m not saying such opposition is bigoted, I’m saying it’s like the apocryphal Polish cavalry charge on German tanks in terms of its likely effectiveness) and more on urging state legislatures (and Congress, w/r/t the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which seems clearly implicated in these “public accomodation” questions) to carve out conscience protections. In particular, I strongly urge those of us living in “Red States” to lobby for getting such conscience protections on the books now, before it seems like civil SSM is on the horizon: it’s coming.
    .
    The pro-civil SSM movement has succeeded in demonizing civil SSM opponents as the equivalent of those racists who once refused to serve black people at their lunch counters. Insofar as the 1964 Civil Rights Act is applied against nonconforming wedding photographers, bakers, hoteliers, and venue landlords, conscientious orthodox Christians’ legal status will soon reflect that popular demonization. This is an urgent matter. Maggie Gallagher at NOM, and other figures in the anti-SSM movement, seem to be figuring this out. They should be encouraged in this shift in their thinking. Once a generation has passed, attitudes seeing traditionalists as mere bigots will have set; time to shift tactics is very, very limited.

  • Me

    They should rebrand this whole thing to something more in line with their reality as civic sanctioned carnal cohabitation contracts. There is nothing mystical nor sacred involved, so dispense with ceremony and oaths. Just fill out the form, show the ID, and pay the fee. It’s a lot more honest… ooops: I guess that is the problem. Honesty is taboo.