Keep the light of freedom burning

“The Sikh Coalition, in collaboration with local Sikh leaders and partner Sikh organizations, will hold interfaith vigils across the country on the evening of Wednesday, August 8, in an effort to coordinate a multi-faith nationwide remembrance for the victims and their families of the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurdwara massacre.”

“Sikhs are just wonderful people, and a person’s heart is shredded at the idea of this horrible atrocity committed against them.”

“Wiccans, Pagans, Jews, Atheists, Muslims are all victims of persecution and oppression in America and yet any right or protection for any of these groups are often used by Christians to claim persecution of themselves.” (via)

It’s never about bigotry. It’s always about freedom. And chicken.

“What the Catholic bishops call a violation of ‘religious freedom’ is really a policy difference with the Obama administration that will surely be negotiated over time. What the Sikhs and Muslims are experiencing are threats to their lives and right to worship in this country.”

Wheaton College, a Christian university, decided to grandstand about how much they opposed contraception insurance coverage, only to find that they won’t be getting the religious institution extension on non-coverage because their insurance plan was already covering contraception.”

The school had to quickly change its policy, so it could pretend to be outraged that Obama is forcing Wheaton to do what it was largely already doing voluntarily.”

“The college’s stated intention to ‘err on the side of moral caution’ doesn’t really square with this apparent history of inadvertently paying directly for services it now claims it can’t in good conscience allow someone else to pay for instead.”

That the majority is claiming to be persecuted is simply absurd.”

“‘You put a thing in the media and say you’ve apologized?‘ Wilson asked. ‘That is an insult.'”

“What do you say to someone like that when they tell you about their deeply held moral values?

The cognitive dissonance here is appalling.”

“The last sentence proves to me beyond the shadow of any doubt that the Catholic Church is under attack from within.”

“We thank God for the thousands of Georgians and Americans who have supported us as our customers and friends. … You have helped to keep the light of freedom burning with your prayers, patronage and support.”

“The more things change, the more they stay the same, especially in the South.”

“He repeatedly states that if the Bibles instructions on slavery can be ignored, then there isn’t ground to stand on in the modern battles over homosexuality and abortion.”

“The link between religious fundamentalism, anti-evolutionary rhetoric and support for segregation was more sociological than logical.”

“If you need to hide the reality of it from yourself, that tells me you already know it’s wrong.”

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Chapter and verse
'Religious outreach'
'You will find out on that day ...': False prophets and lost endings
Rewriting evangelicals' past to preserve our mistakes
  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There’s a fairly large Sikh community here in Vancouver, where I live. I imagine they’re probably also going to be having vigils or something.

     That Lester Maddox “open letter” is a real prize. It contains practically everything on the derailing for dummies checklist, from blaming nonexistent Communists, to peans to the Godhead of American Capitalism, to “I know better how to achieve social justice than YOU do, so THERE.” And for bonus points, “race mixers” is written in there, just to be sure everybody knows what side he’s on.

    Not so different from Romney’s “they who want free stuff” dog whistle.

    And finally, I’m just appalled that in this day and age a church can openly refuse to marry a black couple. Considering that anti-black discrimination in the USA is especially fraught with a lot of historical baggage that white people can’t begin to understand fully, it really behooves white people to not do stupid shit like this.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Not only am I appalled at that Mississippi church’s refusal to allow a black couple to get married in their building, I am absolutely *infuriated* that they issued a public “apology” to the couple in question that was never actually  *given* to the couple in question!!!   Good grief, this is the most blatant, hypocritical publicity stunt I have ever heard of in my life!  They want the *public* to think they’ve offered repentance to the couple without actually having done so!

    This is absolutely beneath contempt. 

  • http://twitter.com/gndwyn Urthman

    Wheaton College, a Christian university, decided to grandstand about how
    much they opposed contraception insurance coverage, only to find that
    they won’t be getting the religious institution extension on
    non-coverage because their insurance plan was already covering contraception.
    Apparently, their deep moral convictions against providing this benefit
    only kicked in when the opportunity to politically grandstand about the
    evils of contraception came up. 

    This seems backwards to me.  What got Wheaton College all riled up was the Obama administration’s decision that churches count as “religious,” deserving a religious exemption from some laws, but religious schools, like Wheaton, don’t count as “religious.”  They didn’t like the idea of the government drawing such a restrictive line around what activities count as religious.

    So it’s true that Wheaton-style Evangelicals have not traditionally opposed birth control and that they were joining the lawsuit because of the church/state legal principles at stake.  The fact that they hadn’t previously paid close attention to their insurance plan’s coverage of birth control demonstrates that their actual concern here is the issue of religious freedom.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    The fact that they hadn’t previously paid close attention to their insurance plan’s coverage of birth control demonstrates that their actual concern here is the issue of religious freedom.

    That is A. MAZ. ING. logic. “The fact that they covered contraception before PROVES that their sudden disapproval of it is entirely genuine!”.

    As the saying goes “Pull the other one, it’s got bells on”.

  • http://twitter.com/gndwyn Urthman

    Huh?  That’s exactly the opposite of what I said.  Like you, I’m saying contraception isn’t the real issue here.  That article claimed that Wheaton doesn’t really care about religious freedom, they “really” care about “grandstanding about the evils of contraception.”

    But since they apparently weren’t paying lots of attention to their coverage of contraception earlier, that seems to imply the opposite.  It seems to support Wheaton’s claim that they join the lawsuit fight not because of contraception but because of the legal church/state principles involved.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Do you just not get what “grandstanding” is? They don’t care about contraception OR religious freedom, they just noticed a trend in the evangelical world and are crassly trying to capitalise it – i.e. they are “grandstanding about the evils of contraception”.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    They didn’t like the idea of the government drawing such a restrictive line around what activities count as religious.

    Thankfully, the government did nothing of the sort. They drew a line between religious organizations like churches, which are typically exempt from all sorts of employment laws and regulations, and religious-run institutions like schools and hospitals that hire from and provide services to the gereral public and are typically not exempt from employment laws and regulations.

  • http://twitter.com/gndwyn Urthman

    Yeah, I’m not saying Wheaton’s right about the church/state issue, I’m just saying that article is silly when it argues that Wheaton’s earlier negligence of contraceptive coverages is somehow proof that they really care about contraception and not about church/state issues.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     So it’s true that Wheaton-style Evangelicals have not traditionally
    opposed birth control and that they were joining the lawsuit because of
    the church/state legal principles at stake.  The fact that they hadn’t
    previously paid close attention to their insurance plan’s coverage of
    birth control demonstrates that their actual concern here is the issue
    of religious freedom.

    Their religious freedom to ban something that they allowed in the past?  Their religious freedom to be fer somethin’ afer they were agin’ it?  Their religious freedom to be hypocritical assholes?

    I’m a little lost.  Please let me know what freedom we’re working with, here.

  • http://twitter.com/gndwyn Urthman

    Yeah, I imagine they’d think religious freedom includes the freedom to change their minds, freedom to take a hypocritical stance, freedom to be wrong, etc.

  • http://www.crochetgeek.net/ Jake

    So it’s true that Wheaton-style Evangelicals have not traditionally
    opposed birth control and that they were joining the lawsuit because of
    the church/state legal principles at stake.

    It’s not unheard of for a party which isn’t injured by a rule to weigh in on the dispute, but it’s not exactly honest for them to claim standing as an injured party. If Wheaton wants its principled viewpoint known to the courts, they can file an amicus curiae brief like everybody else.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     If Wheaton wants its principled viewpoint known to the courts, they can file an amicus curiae brief like everybody else.

    And even at that it would be nice if they, themselves, weren’t in violaton of their own “principled viewpoint.”  I imagine that if I filed a brief on behalf of an organization that wants to ban all cars, then got into my car and drove home, for instance, people would call me a hypocritical jackass.  Also, too, they’d be right.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    “The school had to quickly change its policy, so it could pretend to be outraged that Obama is forcing Wheaton to do what it was largely already doing voluntarily.”

    Ah, Wheaton College.  I’d ask all my friends who used to go to Wheaton what they think of this.  But the ones I haven’t stopped talking to have stopped talking to me.  So, hey, what’re ya gonna do?

    Truth be told, I don’t miss ’em.

  • Lori

    There’s no cognitive dissonance in that Christianity Today editorial that Friendly Atheist quotes. They simply define away the problem by saying that marriage isn’t a fundamental or civil right. This allows them to congratulate themselves for being tolerant while not having to give up their personal favorite sort of bigotry or have really uncomfortable conversations with the “nice” bigots in their social circle.

    We have at least one person who posts here regularly who thinks this is a perfectly reasonable position to take. He may not agree with it exactly, but he takes it at face value when a person says that s/he supports SSM but does not consider it a civil right.

    I didn’t get an answer when I asked this before so I’m going to try again—if marriage is not a civil right, what is it? If it’s a privilege that can be granted or not as the majority sees fit would it be acceptable for the majority to deny the right to be legally married to other minority groups?

  • Sqrat

    I didn’t get an answer when I asked this before so I’m going to try again—if marriage is not a civil right, what is it? If it’s a privilege that can be granted or not as the majority sees fit would it be acceptable for the majority to deny the right to be legally married to other minority groups?

    See “Slave states, 1860” — except that in South Carolina and Mississippi, it was a minority that denied the right to be legally married to a majority.

  • Lori

    The question I’m asking is not if anyone has ever done this in the past, it’s whether or not it should be allowed now.

    There’s a subgroup of the bigot tribe that’s “open-minded” enough to claim to support SSM, but who say that SSM is not a civil right. I would like one of them, or the poster here who accepts this notion at face value, to explain the boundaries of this idea in greater detail.

    Right now, in 2012, if marriage is not a civil right what is it? Can the majority deny legal marriage to anyone it sees fit? If the majority can deny marriage to some groups, but not to others, how exactly does that work?

  • Sqrat

    Right now, in 2012, if marriage is not a civil right what is it? Can the majority deny legal marriage to anyone it sees fit? If the majority can deny marriage to some groups, but not to others, how exactly does that work?

    So you’re asking for someone to explain the American system of laws to you?  Well, OK, for starters and at the most fundamental level, as long as two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the state legislators agree, yes, a (super)majority can deny marriage to some groups and not to others.

  • Lori

    Are you just trying to be a dick or are you defending the notion that it’s OK for the majority to deny a minority their civil rights? Because the fact that a law is passed doesn’t mean that it’s legal. Or did you miss the American system of court review?

  • Sqrat

    Not to overstate the obvious, but the federal courts have yet to hold that the right to gays to marry is a constitutionally protected right.  In the perhaps unlikely event that something like the proposed “Federal Marriage Amendment” were ever adopted, the the federal courts would have no reason for such a holding, and indeed would be obliged to hold the opposite.

    I get the impression that what you actually were asking for was for someone to make a case for why GAY marriage OUGHT NOT to be a civil right.   In most states in the U.S., in 2012, it isn’t a civil right.

  • EllieMurasaki

    the federal courts have yet to hold that the right to gays to marry is a constitutionally protected right

    Loving v Virginia, dipshit. The right to get married is constitutionally protected, provided one is old enough and not already married and not too closely related to the intended. In Loving, the Court said that that right cannot be limited for stupid stuff such as the race of the participants. Therefore I am absolutely confident in the assertion that the right to get married is constitutionally protected and cannot be limited for stupid stuff such as the gender of the participants, and that that will be enshrined in law just as soon as the Supreme Court releases its first opinion on same-sex couples’ right to get married.

  • Sqrat

     Loving v Virginia, dipshit. The right to get married is constitutionally
    protected, provided one is old enough and not already married and not
    too closely related to the intended.

    You might very well be right about that.  In the meantime, if you’re gay and want a license to marry your partner, I suggest that you go to Massachusetts, where such a marriage is a civil right, and that you not go to Texas, where such a marriage is not a civil right.

    Oh, I understand very well the argument that says that under the Constitution, such a marriage is a civil right in Texas also, only Texas simply refuses to recognize the fact.  However correct that argument may be, it is not now, in 2012, going to get a gay couple a marriage license in Texas.

  • Lunch Meat

    I get the impression that what you actually were asking for was for
    someone to make a case for why GAY marriage OUGHT NOT to be a civil
    right

    *Sigh* Can we please never use the phrase “gay marriage” again? Gay marriage is not a thing any more than straight marriage is. No one wants the right to be gay married just like I don’t have the right to be straight married. Despite the religious right’s insistence that “Everyone has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex”, that is not that right that anyone wants. The right that I have, and the right that marriage equality activists want, is the right to marry the person I want to marry, and who consents to marry me. It’s as simple as that.

    Are you married to someone of the opposite sex, or do you want to be? Look at it this way: Imagine you went down to the courthouse with your intended, provided the necessary identification, and signed all the paperwork. Then the county clerk said to you, “I’m sorry, there’s a problem with your application. Despite the fact that both of you clearly consent to this marriage, your application is being denied due to your personal characteristics. The state has decided that it does not want a relationship between two people of your particular characteristics, and so we have to refuse to recognize your relationship legally. But hey, here’s a whole list of other people that you have the right to marry! Doesn’t that make you happy?”

    Would you accept that? Whatever those characteristics are–eye color, religion, height, education level, social class, food preferences–would you accept someone saying that you can’t marry the person you love and want to commit to, as long as you’re allowed to marry other people?

  • Tricksterson

    “The right that I have, and the right that marriage equality activists want, is the right to marry the person I want to marry, and who consents to marry me.”

    You should  probably have added “as long as you’re a legal adult human” or he’ll start claiming that you think it’s okay for people to marry their twelve year old offspring or a goat.

    And why is it always a goat, or a dog?  If they’re going to use a stupid argument like that the least they can do is use something original like a wallaby, platypus or squid.

  • Lunch Meat

    I feel like it’s accepted here that children and animals can’t morally consent, but yes, I should have added a footnote.

  • Madhabmatics

    An octopus? Man, even conservatives know that no one is going to let anything with a beak near their junk.

  • DavidCheatham

    Despite the fact that both of you clearly consent to this marriage, your application is being denied due to your personal characteristics.

    Yes. Gay rights are important, indeed, and laws are needed prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    But what is stopping ‘gay marriage’ is, in fact, laws that discriminate on the basis of _gender_. Which are, uh, already illegal under the Equal Protection Clause unless there’s some actual government interest advanced by such laws. Regardless of whether there’s a ‘right’ involved or not.

    I see no such interest. No one has every vaguely come up with any such interest, for any vague goal for the government to be trying to reach.

    Without such a government interest, laws stopping marriage based on gender are unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. Without such a government interest, It is illegal to stop a woman from doing X and allow a man to do X. It doesn’t matter if X is ‘drive a car’ or ‘marry a woman’.

  • AnonymousSam

    Michelle Bachmann would argue (as she has), “Gay people can too get married! To straight people of the proper gender! So it’s not a gender thingy like what you said.”

    The problem with many/most/all? same-sex marriage opponents is that they don’t view same-sex relationships as a valid choice (with varying degrees of Biblical prohibition) and thus don’t want government recognition of such. That’s why they’re so quick to argue that if we allow same-sex marriage, people will want to marry barnyard animals next (among other things).

    The top-most question on my mind is determining why they don’t think it’s acceptable in society and how that perspective can be combated.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    The top-most question on my mind is determining why they don’t think it’s acceptable in society and how that perspective can be combated

    My own answer to that last question is by exposing them to people in same-sex relationships, preferably in ways that encourage them to see us as people before they see us as members of a category.

    Then again, that’s my go-to answer for most things: I start by treating my opposition as human beings like myself, and then encourage them to do the same for me, and then encourage both of us to do the same for others.

    So it might just be a hammer I have.*

    * The hammer is my emphasis on human inter-relation.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’ve tried this. The best I was able to garner was grudging acknowledgement that the person(s) had certain traits that weren’t so bad, but that one trait in particular was a deal-breaker not to be acknowledged at a macro level. Kind of like the same way a person would respond to learning their best friend was really heavily into pornography: “Uh. Great. Keep it to yourself.”

  • Isabel C.

    Note: Cynical Izzy is Cynical.

    My answer to that question is “let them die off,” honestly. 

    I mean, legislation is awesome, having more LGBTA people out in the media is awesome, simply *knowing* more LGBTA people personally is awesome, but…most of these things are taking effect in younger generations. There are stats somewhere on this, I believe: more young people are okay with SSM, and are turning away from the hardcore fundie religions. The people really resisting tend to be middle-aged and older, though there are plenty of bigoted young people and very cool older people. 

    So yeah. Keep up the “LGBTA people are people and deserve rights” messages in media and conversation, and wait for Gingrich and the like to drop off the twig. Of course, these guys tend to live *for-fucking-ever*, which is a flaw there. 

    If there’s another way to go about it, cool,  but that’s what I see as the best hope for progressivism of all sorts these days. 

  • AnonymousSam

    Long arc, justice, etc.

    I just hope we all live that long. I’m starting to have grave doubts about the very near future.

  • Isabel C.

    I find that I have to strike a balance between what I feel is my obligation to be somewhat politically aware and my desire to avoid experiencing complete liver failure by the time I’m thirty-five, yeah. 

  • AnonymousSam

    More along the lines of wondering just how soon it’ll be until the revolution comes, and every passing day making that “sooner than I thought.” Reading today that senators are actually debating the legality of employers firing employees to encourage them to vote a certain way is right up there in the list of check-boxes for “okay, so tomorrow.”

  • Isabel C.

    …oh, Lord, I didn’t know about that one. Ew. 

    And yeah. And ew. 

    There are no words, but it’s probably a good thing I don’t have deific powers.

  • AnonymousSam

    I posted it on the last Graham thread since a Graham does fit into it, but it’s Lindsey Graham, not the other two.

    http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/07/30/13037718-sen-graham-contractors-should-issue-layoff-notices-before-election

  • DavidCheatham

    Michelle Bachmann would argue (as she has), “Gay people can too get married! To straight people of the proper gender! So it’s not a gender thingy like what you said.”

    I never thought of that! And black people can go to school! With people of their own race! So segregation is fine also!

    *holds fingers to ear like John Steward*

    Wait, I’m being told that separate but equal schools people can attend, for both different races and different genders, was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

    And thus ‘separate but equal’ groups of people that different genders can marry would also be unconstitutional. In fact it would be _more_ unconstitutional, as ‘equal’ is not possible even in theory. You don’t even have to get to Brown vs. Board of Education, it would be unconstitutional under Sweatt v. Painter. The genders do not offer ‘substantial equality in marriage opportunities’.

  • AnonymousSam

    Continuing with devil’s advocate, I’d have to argue that drawing a comparison between same-sex marriage and segregation is a strawman and redirect to the less clumsily articulated line, “Both men and women have the equal freedom to marry within the appropriate gender. Men marry women, women marry men.”

    (Though once the argument progresses to that point, I start to wonder why the government should be involved in marriage at all. Shouldn’t it be more appropriate for the government to simply maintain a list of who is officially recognized as part of a family and let said family arrange their relationships as they please?)

    EDIT: The devil’s advocate definitely does not reflect on my perspective. It’s still the government telling people what is and isn’t acceptable behavior based upon determinations which I have never been able to decipher as anything but purely subjective.

  • Isabel C.

    I tend to agree with the latter, but I’m also in favor of getting rid of official religious holidays in the US. (Which does not translate to fewer holidays:  I think we should institute quarterly bank holidays and mandate six weeks’ paid vacation like civilized countries.) Government and sentiment should be as separate as possible, I think, in my more abstract flights of philosophy.

    But if we have marriage for one set of people, then it should exist for another. 

  • DavidCheatham

    Continuing with devil’s advocate, I’d have to argue that drawing a comparison between same-sex marriage and segregation is a strawman and redirect to the less clumsily articulated line, “Both men and women have the equal freedom to marry within the appropriate gender. Men marry women, women marry men.”
    Just like different genders have equal freedom to go to the appropriate schools and work in the appropriated careers.

    Trying to use ‘appropriated’ or ‘opposite’ or other words in there that we’re supposed to read with a different meaning for men and women does not change the actual facts of the case, and is why courts care about _outcomes_, not how cleverly things can be phrased. The outcomes:

    X is a human adult and walks into a courthouse and attempts to marry a unrelated adult male. If X is female, this is allowed, if X is male, this is disallowed.

    A male X has thus been barred from something _specific_ based on his gender. All sorts of hypothetical about who he could marry and women can’t, or how this is phrased, or whatever, do not matter.

    The actual fact exists that he wishes to do a certain thing, and has been barred from it solely because of his gender. That is the only fact that matters, that is the only phrasing that matters.

    And the government is not allowed to bar people from things, based on gender, without it furthering a legitimate government interest. As there is no such legitimate government interest, a male X’s civil rights have been violated.

    Though once the argument progresses to that point, I start to wonder why the government should be involved in marriage at all.

    If you want to blow up marriage, fine, but that has nothing to do with gay marriage at all.

  • AnonymousSam

    Hmm, we’re reaching the limits of my admittedly shallow understanding of SSM opponent thought processes. I can think of a legal precedent though — gender-based occupational qualifications. Those have been successfully defended in court (most notably in Nikolai Grushevski v Hooters of Corpus Christi TX). One could adapt the same argument to define the roles of husband and wife by gender.

  • Lunch Meat

    One could adapt the same argument to define the roles of husband and wife by gender.

    By “role”, do you mean what each person is required/expected/allowed to do? Because we had that before, when the husband owned all the property and the wife wasn’t allowed to, etc, etc. I don’t think that’s a good argument for anti-marriage equality people to make, because I’m quite sure many of those women enjoy not being treated as property and being allowed to have jobs, say no to sex, and refuse to marry the person of their family’s/father’s choice.

    Unless you didn’t get that specific and only stated the husband’s role as “to be a man” or “to be married to a woman”, and that’s getting close to a tautology, isn’t it? Sort of like “marriage between people of the same gender isn’t really marriage because marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.”

  • AnonymousSam

    The latter. The government has claimed the right to define such things before, and then to use said definition in this capacity. It’s asinine, but there you have it.

  • Lunch Meat

    I am not a legal or constitutional expert, but I would think there would need to be some substantive difference in the roles or some reason given that the husband should be required to be male and the wife female, other than that some people think that’s how marriage should be defined.

  • DavidCheatham

    Firstly, 
    Nikolai Grushevski v Hooters of Corpus Christi TX  was  settled out of court, so I have no idea what you mean ‘defended in court’. Secondly, _Hooter’s_ was the one that paid the settlement, which means, in theory, their defense that they could discriminate based on gender _didn’t work_.

    But perhaps more importantly of all, there’s a rather large difference between some private company discriminating, and the government discriminating.  The government has a much higher bar to meet, they have to have some legitimate government interest before they can even _make_ laws that care about gender in any way, shape, or form.

    Whereas private entities can get away with ‘separate but equal’ for stuff, if it actually is equal. As long as no one can demonstrate some actual _harm_, they’re good. (But ladies’ nights are probably on the way out, unless matched with gentlemen’s nights.)

    Incidentally, Hooter’s defense was somewhat reasonable, because there actually is an exception in the law for _entertainment_.  A television show, or a strip club, can indeed, discriminate based on gender for a specific role.

    The problem is that Hooters has always claimed that the name ‘Hooters’ refers to owls, like their logo, and in no way refers to their staff or the tight shirts they wear, and how dare anyone suggest otherwise…which bit them in the ass when they attempted to assert they were hiring waitresses for ‘entertainment’. Either they _are_ providing attractive women for entertainment, (in which case they’d often fall under ‘live girl entertainment’, aka ‘strip club’, zoning, which is why they vigorously deny that) or they _aren’t_ and have to hire wait staff in a gender neutral manner.

    So even if Hooters won, all that would mean is private businesses can discriminate based on gender for entertainment. Which we already knew, and doesn’t really have anything to do with the government.

  • AnonymousSam

    I got nothin’ then!

    (Incidentally, the site I’d looked up had Grushevski as the one losing the lawsuit and Wikipedia doesn’t say who won. Huh. Then again, the citation for Wikipedia’s article is Fox News, so that explains a lot.)

  • DavidCheatham

    Technically, no one won. Hooters just paid the guy to go away. They probably could have won, if they blew their cover of ‘We’re just a normal restaurant with a name about owls and we have no idea why you’re talking about our uniforms and breasts.’ But they did not want to do that, for _other_ legal reasons.

    Entertainment has a built in ‘bona-fide occupational qualification’ on parts that allows discrimination. (Of any sort, including being basically the one industry that can discriminate based on race.) Athletes have it for gender, but not race.

    But outside of those fields, very very very few of those exist. A wet nurse, for example, would have one for gender, assuming anyone still hired wet nurses. And gender discrimination in hiring  _dressers_ (As in people who dress other people, not the piece of furniture) has been allowed.

    The only place that ‘bona-fide occupational qualification’ tends to be important is WRT people with disabilities. There are a lot of jobs that people in wheelchairs actually cannot do (running wiring in a building, for example), and it is entirely legal to discriminate against them for such jobs, while still illegal to do that for jobs they can’t.

    Likewise, there are jobs where it a ‘bona-fide occupational qualification’ to be able to deadlift 75 pounds, which has the _result_ of gender discrimination, but is legal. (But it’s legal only if there’s a real qualification. Sometimes it’s not, it’s a pretend one to try to get away with discrimination based on gender, and the courts can indeed conclude that.)

    However, employment isn’t much related to _government licensing_ anyway.

  • AnonymousSam

     Your understanding of this is superior to mine and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Legalese is a language I’d almost rather not know — I suspect it’d be rather like reading the second act of The King in Yellow.

  • Lunch Meat

    Michelle Bachmann would argue (as she has), “Gay people can too get
    married! To straight people of the proper gender! So it’s not a gender
    thingy like what you said.”

    That’s why I’ve been trying to make the point that “the right to get married” is not (or should not be) “the right to get married to X type of person.” The right to marry is based on the capacity of the person involved to legally consent, not on anything about the relationship. Because once you say “you can marry a person whose gender is different from yours”–once you limit choice in that way, and make the legality of a marriage dependent on how similar or different the two people are from each other–what’s the difference between that and saying “you can marry a person whose eye color is different from yours” or “you can marry a person less than six inches taller than you” or “you can marry a person who has different emotional/mental/social strengths and abilities from you”? If the type of person you are eligible to marry is limited enough, eventually the “consent” to marry that person is meaningless.

  • DavidCheatham

    what’s the difference between that and saying “you can marry a person whose eye color is different from yours” or “you can marry a person less than six inches taller than you”
    Actually, there is a difference, but not in the way Bachmann would like. Namely, barring people of differing heights from marrying would be constitutional. As it is legal for the government to discriminate based on height randomly. (As far as I can tell. Not that I’m saying it’s a good idea.)

    Whereas it’s not legal to discriminate based on gender without a reason, so barring people from getting married based on gender would be unconstitutional.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    “Gay people can too get married! To straight people of the proper gender! So it’s not a gender thingy like what you said.”

    Whenever this argument is presented I post/tell this Myq Kaplan joke:

    “Prejudice is getting weirder and more confusing. It used to be just about keeping people separate — like interracial marriage. People were like, ‘Don’t let them marry us! Only let them marry each other!’ Today with gay people, they’re like, ‘Don’t let them marry each other! Make them marry…..us?’”

  • Lori

    Michelle Bachmann would argue (as she has), “Gay people can too get
    married! To straight people of the proper gender! So it’s not a gender
    thingy like what you said.”   

    I suspect that she would know. (I have no direct knowledge, but her husband pings the gaydar something fierce.)

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I get the impression that what you actually were asking for was for someone to make a case for why GAY marriage OUGHT NOT to be a civil right.

    If you recognize that this is the actual question, why comment after comment of sarcasm and semantic obfuscation? As the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia, “Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.” Obviously then there are cases where the majority cannot deny marriage to anyone it sees fit. So, again, why should this “basic civil right” not apply to same-sex couples?

  • Sqrat

     Are you sure you know what Lori’s actual question was?  Was she asking whether denial of marriage to same-sex couples was consistent with Loving v Virginia, or was she asking  for an explanation as to why gays ought not be permitted to marry, regardless of existing constitutional or statutory considerations?  But now that you mention it, I’m still not sure what she was asking?  

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Was she asking whether denial of marriage to same-sex couples was consistent with Loving v Virginia, or was she asking  for an explanation as to why gays ought not be permitted to marry, regardless of existing constitutional or statutory considerations?

    None of your comments address either of these questions. Instead you keep pointing out “existing constitutional or statutory considerations” as if we aren’t aware that same-sex couples are currently unable to wed in most states and that isn’t why we’re having these conversations in the first place. Or do you really think “because they can’t get marriage licenses In Texas” is a meaningful answer to the question of why same-sex couples can’t get married?

  • Sqrat

     Or do you really think “because they can’t get marriage licenses In
    Texas” is a meaningful answer to the question of why same-sex couples
    can’t get married?

    I think that “Because the federal courts have not held that same-sex  marriage is a civil right” is a meaningful answer to the question of why same-sex couples can’t get marriage licenses in Texas.

    Whether the courts would have good reason to do so if and when the question comes before them is certainly an interesting one.  Whether it is the question that was originally put on the table is still unclear.

  • Lori

     

    Whether it is the question that was originally put on the table is still unclear.  

    No, it’s really not. When everyone gets it but you, you should at least consider the possibility that the question was clear and the issue is with you.

  • Sqrat

     When everyone gets it but you, you should at least consider the
    possibility that the question was clear and the issue is with you.

    Your question was clear, and I answered it according to its clear meaning.

    What is still unclear is whether the question you asked was the question you thought you asked.  You asked a question about constitutional law.  Did you think you were asking another kind of question entirely?  If that is the case, then please say so.

  • erikagillian

     Someone may have done this before me, for which I apologize but:

    Quoting Lori:  ‘…if marriage is not a civil right, what is it? If it’s a privilege that
    can be granted or not as the majority sees fit would it be acceptable
    for the majority to deny the right to be legally married to other
    minority groups?’

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     So you’re asking for someone to explain the American system of laws to
    you?  Well, OK, for starters and at the most fundamental level, as long
    as two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the state
    legislators agree, yes, a (super)majority can deny marriage to some
    groups and not to others.

    The only way this works is if you specifically ignore the 9th Amendment.  Also, if you ignore the fact that the Obama Administration has decided to stop defending DOMA, thereby indicating that the current administration thinks that there’s no reason to defend DOMA.

    Also, the fact that you starting that off by informing someone that they needed to have the American system of laws explained to them and then proceeded to not actually explain the American system of laws indicates that you probably shouldn’t be, y’know, speaking.  The important issues at hand here are the separation of powers, the role of the Executive Branch in defending laws, the role of the Judicial Branch in reviewing said laws, and the existence of the 9th and 14th Amendments.  The amendment process itself has nothing whatsoever to do with this, since — as you might notice — there is no amendment to the Constitution that prohibits gay marriage.  As such, this is an argument that’s both immaterial and pointless.  And your arrogance in making that the fulcrum of your argument is laughable.

    Oh, and in case you think that you can still argue that the possibility of an amendment to the Constitution is a slam dunk argument, please go look up the various balanced budget amendments.  Or the Equal Rights Amendment.  Or, well, just this list.

  • Sqrat

    Geds:

    OK, I understand now.  Since marriage is a civil right, anyone who is a citizen can, as a matter of fact, actually go down to any courthouse in the United States and transact a legally binding marriage with anyone else.  I was under the impression that this wasn’t the case, but I confess that I haven’t paid close attention to the news over the past few days.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     OK, I understand now.  Since marriage is a civil right, anyone who is a
    citizen can, as a matter of fact, actually go down to any courthouse in
    the United States and transact a legally binding marriage with anyone
    else.  I was under the impression that this wasn’t the case, but I
    confess that I haven’t paid close attention to the news over the past
    few days.

    No.  They can’t.  The reason for that, though, is something called “state laws.”

    Go check to see how those laws work in Massachusetts, New York, or Iowa.  None of those laws required a re-writing of the US Constitution.

    Here, of course, we get in to the 10th Amendment, as it’s a question of whether or not the federal government can tell a state government what to do.  But, again, there’s already a part of the Constitution that covers that.  So until or unless someone at the federal level says to Massachusetts, “Hey, you guys, stop doing that, it’s not a right!” your argument is still quite wrong.  And ignorant of what the Constitution actually says or does.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    If the majority can deny marriage to some groups, but not to others, how exactly does that work?

    So, I started to reply to this, but my response got way out of hand, so I put it on my own space instead

    Suffice to say here that we do, in fact, deny marriage to some groups and not others, and I endorse that.  The important question for me is on what basis we make that determination. 

    I know of no basis for doing so that I would endorse that excludes same-sex couples as  a class but includes opposite-sex couples as a class.

    Personally, my own basis for making that determination is whether the people involved in the marriage are sincerely committed to mutual support. But I acknowledge that my society doesn’t endorse that standard.

  • aunursa

    takes it at face value when a person says that s/he supports SSM but does not consider it a civil right

    61% of Americans hold a favorable view of Chick-fil-A.*  Since according to Lori, it’s impossible for someone to support Chick-fil-A without being a homophobe, at least 61% of Americans are homophobes.

    54% of Americans support same-sex marriage, per a recent poll.

    Therefore at least 15% of Americans (the overlap) are homophobes who support same-sex marriage.

    Either that, or at least 15% of Americans
    (a) who claim to support CFA are lying and in fact do not support CFA, or
    (b) who claim to support SSM are lying and in fact do not support SSM.

    * In addition, 77% do not plan to boycott CFA. The percentage of those who are regular CFA customers or who live near a CFA is not indicated.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Either that, or at least 15% of Americans
    (a) who claim to support CFA are lying and in fact do not support CFA, or
    (b) who claim to support SSM are lying and in fact do not support SSM.

    Or (c) are confused as to what the CFA flustercluck is about due to shitty reporting and/or biased coverage.

  • Nathaniel

     Or, as you somehow managed to overlook, not everyone who likes Chick-fil-A knows about their anti gay stance.

  • aunursa

    Q: How closely have you been following recent news reports about the Chick-fil-A fast-food chain?  71% answered “very closely” or “somewhat closely”.  Only 6% answered “not at all.”

    I’ll grant that the survey did not measure whether the respondents were aware of Cathy’s statements or Chick-fil-A’s donations.

  • Tricksterson

    I’d go with the last.  It’s usually a safe bet that people are lying arseholes.

  • JonathanPelikan

    You’re arguing by implication (as you’re very, very fond of doing) that something being popular or unpopular affects the fundamental moral issues at play here. You do recognize that, right? That this is about human beings just as real as you and their rights? Do you at least see that?

  • aunursa

    You’re arguing by implication (as you’re very, very fond of doing) that something being popular or unpopular affects the fundamental moral issues at play here.

    I am doing no such thing.  You’re inferring and applying to me (as many are very, very fond of doing) moral judgments based on my presentation of facts, surveys, and observations. *

    I neither said nor suggested a correlation between the morality of a position and the popularity of that position.  I reject that idea.  My point in posting the survey results is to question the assertion that support for CFA can only be explained by homophobia.  I have made no assertion regarding the morality of supporting CFA based on either (a) Cathy’s statements and/or donations … or (b) a principled show of support for First Amendment rights.

    * I have played devil’s advocate on many discussion forums.  I have defended atheists against Christians, Christians against atheists, Christians against Jews, Orthodox Jews against Reform, Reform Jews against Orthodox, and occasionally even liberals against conservatives.  You should never assume my position on any issue unless I have previously stated it.

  • Isabel C.

    Oh, good, I just wrote a post about this.

    A lot of people, myself included, really dislike Devil’s Advocate Guy, especially in social situations. I ask people not to do it on my LJ, for example, for the following reasons:1) The devil has plenty of advocates. The people talking are presumably adults; they have access to news and libraries and so forth. They probably know the arguments against their position. I, for example, am really uninterested in going around with “but pro-life people really really want to save babies!” for the forty-fifth time.2) Devil’s Advocate Guy is often taking an abstract academic position, whereas the people talking often feel passionately about the issue. Often they respond accordingly, and then it goes like this:DAG: “Hey, what about X?”
    Person: “No. Jesus. Y totally contradicts X.”
    DAG: “But if X + 1…”
    Person: “But it’s not, and it won’t be, because of Z. Are you seriously saying that ABC? What’s wrong with you?”
    DAG: “Hey, I’m just playing devil’s advocate! Don’t get so worked up!”And if you’re arguing for bigotry, or against reproductive choice or the social safety net or whatever…there’s a point where I don’t *care* that you’re just doing it as an intellectual exercise, I hate you anyhow. I might hate you more, in fact, because you clearly consider something that’s important to me as appropriate for convening an improv philosophy class.I don’t know what gender or sexuality you identify with, but DAG is also often a straight guy “having fun debating the other side of” arguments that seriously affect the lives of women or LGBTA people, which doesn’t help.For me, the phrase “let me play devil’s advocate” is a cue to walk away and maybe roll my eyes. And while “the lurkers support me in email” is not a good argument, it’s also worth noting that most of my friends tend to agree. (Of course, this could be a selection bias: people I’m close to socially tend to have compatible conversation styles, and all that.)

  • aunursa

    Your opinion is duly noted.

    I like to play devil’s advocate.  It forces me to step outside my perspective and see the issues from someone else’s point of view.  I strive to portray the other perspective as accurately as possible, because I prefer advocating for the devil to constructing straw man constructor.

    I disagree with your assumption that people know the arguments against their position.  My experience has taught me that people do not know the arguments against their positions, or they have a distorted understanding of those positions.  Hence the prevalence of straw men that I so detest.  I have seen this lack of understanding of an opponent’s position whether the issue involves politics, religion, or miscellaneous.  Ironically, the prevalence of information on the internet and the hundreds of cable TV stations have led to an increase in the distortions of opponents’ arguments, since people increasingly get all their information about opponents only from sources that already share their values.

    As for an emotional response, if you hate me for the arguments that I make, you’re in good company here.

  • Lori

     

    I like to play devil’s advocate.  It forces me to step outside my
    perspective and see the issues from someone else’s point of view.    

    How long have we been treated to your polling updates and other equally valuable insights now? Quite a while. If you haven’t gotten the perspective you supposedly seek by this point then I think it’s probably time to either try another technique or hang it up. In either case feel free to stop sharing your mental masturbation with the rest of us.

  • Isabel C.

    Yeah, you’ve got to wonder whether he really thinks he’s ever presented shocking new information. I mean, I think we’ve been around about as long, and “libertarianism is awesome and you guys are too mean to the conservatives” is…basically it.

  • aunursa

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest that I always play devil’s advocate.  Sometimes I give my actual perspective, sometimes I give a perspective contrary to my own, and often I don’t share my perspective — although others infer it (correctly or incorrectly) based on the contect of my comments.  The fact that I identify as a conservative doesn’t mean that I support every position that is considered “conservative.”

  • Lori

    Lord have mercy you’re tiresome.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ooh, is there an opinion poll for that?

  • Isabel C.

     
    As for an emotional response, if you hate me for the arguments that I make, you’re in good company here.

    And with everyone who’s had the misfortune to encounter you at a party, I’d imagine.

    …and now, having failed to resist being catty, I think I’m done talking to you. 

  • aunursa

    And with everyone who’s had the misfortune to encounter you at a party, I’d imagine.

    Imagination, indeed.  I can say with confidence that you would never recognize me at a social gathering or public event based on my participation on this blog.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, god. I’m so reminded of of this dipshit I used to deal with way back who
    was all like I’m so leet I’m the shifter-arounder who always likes to be contrary
    just because it’s cool like that*.

    He was an unpleasant bastard at times, but I can’t remember if he had a fetish for opinion polls.

    —-

    * for all that people berate others for being all “WOO PARTY LINE” I think there is a good reason for the apparently instinctive dislike of apparent inconsistency in a person without valid-seeming prior cause.

    It’d be like if I defended same-sex marriage here and then was over somewhere else bashing QUILTBAG people and someone caught on: they’d have good reason to believe I am a troll rather than someone who genuinely likes trying out opposing viewpoints.

    And honestly? Viewpoints aren’t like clothes one tries on just for a lark. :/

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     (nods) Nicely put.

    For my own part, I value the kind of thought process that lets me better understand where my beliefs come from, where they contradict one another, what alternatives to those beliefs exist and on what basis I choose one belief over another, and so forth.  And there are certain kinds of interactions that encourage me to think this way, and I value those interactions. The “what about X?”/”Not X, because of Y.”/”What if X+1?”/”Not X+1,
    because of Z, not to mention that X+1 implies ABC, which I consider
    monstrous” sort of conversation can be one I value *.

    I’ve had some very useful conversations of this sort with marriage-equality opponents on my own LJ, for example, which have forced me to think a lot more clearly about why I endorse marriage equality and what follows from that endorsement than I would have in the absence of their opposition.

    But I accept that actually coming out and saying “I oppose X” when X is a local shibboleth is an expensive and sometimes dangerous thing to do, and I don’t expect many reasonable people to do it in my communities of discourse. (Sometimes they contact me privately, which can be valuable, but this is rare.) So sometimes the closest to that I can find is someone willing to argue the opposing position even if they don’t necessarily hold it.

    And I also accept that people coming out and saying “I oppose X” can be extremely hurtful to people who suffer, or who fear they might suffer, for the lack of X. And I also value people not being hurt. So sometimes my choice is between (more opposition + more suffering) and (less opposition + less suffering), and I have to give up something I value either way. Which is fine…  we can’t get everything we want, and grownups accept that, decide what’s most important, and move on.

    More generally, I recognize that these are personal values, and others are not at all
    obligated to share them. If I’m in a community that doesn’t value that sort of opposition, for example, I don’t provide it, and I don’t expect to find it there, and I don’t expect it to be rewarded when it appears.

    All of which is perfectly fine… communities get to decide what they collectively value, and those values needn’t reflect my own.
    ===

    * Of course, this sort of conversation can get tedious if it’s the tenth time someone has raised the same X, but my objection to that is not the devil’s advocacy, but the tedium. The tenth repetition of “Not X, as all right-thinking people know!” is just as tedious for me, even if nobody challenges it.

  • Isabel C.

    Thanks!

    And that’s a good way to approach things when you’re that-way inclined. I can also deal with it much better as “Well, some of the people who oppose this say…” *if* what they’re saying is actually semi-reasonable.

    It also depends on the subject, in fairness.  I’ve never really cared to talk to anti-same-sex-marriage advocates, because there’s really no argument they can possibly make that isn’t bigoted. (Except maybe “civil unions for everyone”, but those people tend not to start with “I’m against SSM”. ) It’s either Because Jesus, Because Children, or Because Icky Sex, all of which are inane.  Likewise for anti-abortion stuff.
    On the other hand, “Well, but maybe boycotting the Gap actually financially hurts people in developing countries, because XYZ,” seems like something I’d be more willing to listen to. Not necessarily agree with, but it’s a reasonable statement, and more to the point, you’ve come at it from a reasonable *ideal*: you care about the economic well-being of people in developing countries, so do I, and argument-testing the best way to go about that is awesome.There’s also social radar, I’d think: sometimes my friends and I get together and end up collectively ranting about the anti-choice movement in the US, and…no, none of us are presenting new points of view, or even necessarily any new information. In that case, it’s a bonding and solidarity thing, and we’re not really interested in debate. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    It also depends on the subject, in fairness. 

    Absolutely. There are positions I have no interest in hearing arguments against, as well. Sometimes, as you suggest, it’s because I feel I’ve already judged all the arguments the opposition can possibly make and they’re inane. Sometimes it’s because I’m too close to the subject to think clearly about it. There are other reasons as well.

    And, yes, agreed that sometimes a community just wants to bond through the expression and mutual affirmation of shared beliefs. And knowing that’s what I’m doing and labeling it accordingly is a good way to approach things when one is that-way inclined.

    There’s also a social identity aspect. Within progressive communities I have certain privileges as a queer man when talking about queer issues, for example,  among them that I can engage SSM-opponents civilly and respectfully without raising too much doubt among people who know me as to my own status as a proponent. Whereas as a man in a monogamous relationship I lack that privilege when the subject is polyamorous marriage or gender relations. Were I to engage ERA-opponents equally civilly and respectfully, for example, that would be much more problematic.

    And then there are the intersectional collisions. I mostly lack that privilege in progressive communities when it comes to race, for example, because of my skin color. But among people who know I’m the son of Hispanic immigrants and that Spanish is my native language, I get some of it back, because how White I am depends on how much people know about me.

  • Isabel C.

    That is an excellent point, also.  I’d be much warier about appearing sympathetic toward SSM-opponents or affirmative-action opponents or whatever than I would be toward people questioning some feminist or pagan beliefs–although there are a lot of feminist tenets, especially, where I just have no patience for the other side, because the other side is either stupid or evil.*

    I suppose, in the end, the other thing about devil’s advocate is…okay, but you take the consequences. Sometimes, the consequences may be a nuking, because I do not tend to pull my punches when arguing about things that matter to me: I’ll use just about any weapon that comes to hand, and I often do get personal, though I try to keep it relevant to the conversation. So I guess my philosophy is that it’s okay to play DA, but using it as a shield when someone gets pissed is far less okay.
    *And here I am thinking of “Men’s Rights Activists” and pickup artists, and my skin is trying to crawl off my body.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I suppose, in the end, the other thing about devil’s advocate is…okay, but you take the consequences. Sometimes, the consequences may be a nuking

    Sure.

    And in communities where nuking is seen as valuable and devil’s advocacy is not, that sort of consequence gets social approval, and DA does not, and visitors do best to avoid DA in such communities.

    By the same token, I also participate in communities where DA is seen as valuable, and nuking is not. Which of course doesn’t stop people from engaging in it, but as you say, when they do they take the consequences.

  • Isabel C.

    Oh, totally.

    If we were all the same, haggis shortage, and so forth. 

  • Lori

    Since according to Lori, it’s impossible for someone to support
    Chick-fil-A without being a homophobe, at least 61% of Americans are
    homophobes. 

    No, what I said (repeatedly) is that a person who supports CFA is either a homophone, a knee-jerk supporter of their tribe (which happens to be made up mostly of bigots) or an incredibly shallow thinker.

    Also, OMG again with the polls.

  • aunursa

    I* stand corrected; they’re* all* homophones.  ;-)

    * I, eye, aye ………. they’re, their, there ………. all, awl

  • Lori

    You’ve sunk to mocking auto-correct? WTF?

  • aunursa

    Oops.  Apparently I was premature in complimenting you on your new sense of humor.

  • Lori

    Because finding your asshatery amusing is of course the definition of having a sense of humor. Got ya.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Therefore at least 15% of Americans (the overlap) are homophobes who support same-sex marriage.
     
    Not actually a contradiction in terms. Just means they’re smarter than their fellow heterosexists.

  • Tricksterson

    If Marriage isn’t a fundamental civil right then they shouldn’t mind if (as I think should happen) marriage is defined as a purely legal matter and any priests, ministers, rabbis etc performance of their respective marriage ceremonies is reduced indeed to a ceremonial act having great personal significance to the people iinvolved but no legal force unless the priest, minister, rabbi etc is also a Justice of the Peace shoud they?

    I won’t be holding my breath on the matter.

  • Sqrat

    So until or unless someone at the federal level says to Massachusetts,
    “Hey, you guys, stop doing that, it’s not a right!” your argument is
    still quite wrong.

    Until or unless someone at the federal level says to Texas, “Hey, you guys, you have to allow gay marriage, it’s a right!” then gay marriage is a civil right in Massachusetts, but not a civil right in Texas.

    And ignorant of what the Constitution actually says or does.

    Oh, maybe, but at least I am not ignorant of the meaning of the term, “civil right”.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     Oh, maybe, but at least I am not ignorant of the meaning of the term, “civil right”.

    That’s a self-defeating argument right there.  The entire reason that the Constitution did not originally contain an actual, codified list of rights was because it was decided that listing rights indicated that *only these rights* are allowed and the government can do whatever the hell else it wants elsewhere.  As such, anything that has come later is a discovery or recognition of a pre-existing right, not a creation of a new right.

    It might sound like splitting hairs, but this is, in fact, an important issue of jurisprudence in America.  It’s also why we have the 9th Amendment as part of the Bill of Rights.  Because it says that anything can be a right and it’s up to the government to prove that it’s not a right, not the other way around.

    That’s also why the three biggest wins for the latter half of the 20th Century from a civil rights perspective were not, in fact, based on amending the Constiution:  Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia, and the Civil Rights Act.  The first two were court decisions and the third was a piece of legislation.  All three were based on reading existing precedents and rights in the Constitution and various other laws, regulations, and court decisions.

    Since we already have the 9th Amendment, the 14th Amendment, and Loving, there’s an extremely strong case to be made that any American citizen has the right to marry anyone they freaking want to and to say they can’t do that is to violate the rights recognized for all Americans.  DOMA was a law that attempted to fight against this, but the current administration is no longer defending it and cases related to it are slowly working their way up to the Supreme Court.  Should one make it, say, today, the Supreme Court could rule, say, tomorrow, that gay rights are a total thing and that gay marriage should be recognized, so have at.

    All of which is to say, though, that you’re still freaking wrong about your original argument that we need a Constitutional amendment to make gay marriage legal.  We don’t.  All of the necessary rights exist and all we need is to see a court ruling or piece of legislation that makes it official.

  • Sqrat

    All of which is to say, though, that you’re still freaking wrong about your original argument that we need a Constitutional amendment to make gay marriage legal.

    You may wish to read my original argument again.  Lori asked: “Can the majority deny legal marriage to anyone it sees fit?”  To which I responded, “as long as two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the state legislatures agree, yes, a (super)majority can deny marriage to some groups and not to others.”  There is nothing at all controversial about this.  It is straightforward constitutional law.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    There is nothing at all controversial about this.  It is straightforward constitutional law.

    Which would, most likely, get immediately knocked down by the courts.  Because, y’know, whether or not there exists a recognized right, the Constitution is not in the business of denying rights wholesale.  We tried that with Prohibition and it didn’t keep.

  • Sqrat

    Prohibition was not struck down by the courts.  It was struck down by amending the Constitution yet again, to repeal it.  The courts have no legitimate power to strike down the Constitution itself, or any part thereof.  How can the Constitution be unconstitutional?

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    A majority can be persecuted/oppressed. Admittedly not in this case but they can be.  In this case the majority and hegemony are roughly the same. When a minority is the hegemony the majority most certainly can be persecuted.

    There is, after all, a good argument that the 1% routinely oppress the 99% (and especially the bottom 80%) and they certainly persecute those who try and help.

  • Alex B

    Correct. See Syria and Iraq for two recent examples, and western colonial expansion for a historical example

  • Lee B.

     Yes, a numerical majority can be oppressed, but sociologically, the term “minority group” refers to a group with disproportionally less power, not fewer numbers.

  • Sqrat

    Imagine you went down to the courthouse with your intended, provided
    the necessary identification, and signed all the paperwork. Then the
    county clerk said to you, “I’m sorry, there’s a problem with your
    application. Despite the fact that both of you clearly consent to this
    marriage, your application is being denied due to your personal
    characteristics. The state has decided that it does not want a
    relationship between two people of your particular characteristics, and
    so we have to refuse to recognize your relationship legally. But hey,
    here’s a whole list of other people that you have the right to marry!
    Doesn’t that make you happy?”

    OK, I’ve imagined that.  Should I then imagine that, even though I was denied marriage by the county clerk (acting, for the sake of argument, in accordance with state law), that I was married?

    Wherever a thing is denied by law, that thing is not a civil right.  It only becomes a civil right when the law says that thing cannot be denied to you, that you are legally entitled to it.

  • Lunch Meat

    OK, I’ve imagined that.  Should I then imagine that, even though I
    was denied marriage by the county clerk (acting, for the sake of
    argument, in accordance with state law), that I was married?

    Wherever a thing is denied by law, that thing is not a civil right. 
    It only becomes a civil right when the law says that thing cannot be
    denied to you, that you are legally entitled to it.

    I’m sorry to have been unclear. I was not arguing whether or not marriage is a civil right. I was merely, as an aside, arguing that the phrase “gay marriage” ought to be locked in a rocket and fired directly toward the sun, never to be return to earth except after being transformed into solar energy.

    Although I do think that if one wants to debate a right, one should define terms and be clear about what one is arguing about. “The right to marry someone of the opposite sex” does not exist. The right to marry the person one consents to marry, as long as that person also consents, is the right under dispute, and in fact, that is how the United Nations states it in its Human Rights Declarations, under “Right to marriage and family”.

  • MaryKaye

    Some (at least one) of the participants in this discussion are defining “civil right” as “a privilege granted by civil law.”  Others (at least two or three) are defining it as “a fundamental human right that ought to be protected by law.”  Given that this central term in the debate does not have the same definition for all parties, nothing useful is going to happen.  Straighten it out, for heaven’s sake.

    I don’t think there is any disagreement whatsoever that same-sex marriage is currently legal in some venues and illegal in others, nor that this could be changed by acts of law at various governmental levels.  I don’t think there is much disagreement, either, on the observation that this has NOTHING to do with whether marriage equality is right or wrong.

  • Sqrat

     Some (at least one) of the participants in this discussion are defining
    “civil right” as “a privilege granted by civil law.”  Others (at least
    two or three) are defining it as “a fundamental human right that ought
    to be protected by law.”  Given that this central term in the debate
    does not have the same definition for all parties, nothing useful is
    going to happen.  Straighten it out, for heaven’s sake.

    The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy offers the following definition of “civil rights”:

    A broad range of privileges and rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and subsequent amendments and laws that guarantee fundamental freedoms to all individuals. These freedoms include the rights of free expression and action ( civil liberties); the right to enter into contracts, own property, and initiate lawsuits; the rights of due process and equal protection of the laws; opportunities in education and work; the freedom to live, travel, and use public facilities wherever one chooses; and the right to participate in the democratic political system.

    Given this definition, to ask whether marriage is a “civil right” in the United States is therefore to ask a question about the meaning of the Constitution.  The short answer to the question is that, at the present time, some forms of marriage are recognized by the federal courts as a civil right, while other forms are not.

    Does that help straighten it out?

  • Dan Audy

    Sqrat, you are acting like a troll playing deliberately obtuse and attempting (and failing) to be clever.  If you aren’t actually a troll, please stop.  In this community we expect people to engage in good faith rather than playing semantic games.

  • Sqrat

     Sqrat, you are acting like a troll playing deliberately obtuse and
    attempting (and failing) to be clever.  If you aren’t actually a troll,
    please stop.  In this community we expect people to engage in good faith
    rather than playing semantic games.

    Po-ta-to, po-tah-to.  You call it “playing semantic games.”  I call it “using the English language correctly.”

  • Lori

    And I call it deliberately acting like a jerk in an (entirely unsuccessful) attempt to make yourself look clever.

  • Sqrat

    And I call it deliberately acting like a jerk in an (entirely unsuccessful) attempt to make yourself look clever.

    In another thread on this blog, someone made a comment which is apropos here:
     

    That reminds me of my retail job after college.  I found that a lot of
    customers would rather be seen as angry and confrontational than seen as
    ill-informed or stupid.  For example, if the customer asks for
    something and they get the name of the product wrong, correcting the
    customer tends to produce an angry response.  They will often dig in
    their heels and insist that you are wrong, or if you demonstrate by
    actually fetching the product in question, they will just resort to
    ad-hominems.

  • Lunch Meat

    For example, if the customer asks for something and they get the name of the product wrong, correcting the customer tends to produce an angry response.  They will often dig in their heels and insist that you are wrong, or if you demonstrate by actually fetching the product in question, they will just resort to ad-hominems.

    Languages change over time, and there can be more than one accepted definition of a word. If you worked in a retail store and someone asked for Kleenex, would you refuse to sell them non-name brand tissues? Because that would make you a jerk attempting to look clever.

    In the same way, it’s entirely appropriate to discuss civil rights in the sense of what they should be instead of what governments consider them to be. That’s how the legal civil rights get changed! If you can selectively quote from dictionaries that agree with you, so can I: World English Dictionary says “the personal rights of the individual citizen, in most countries upheld by law”. And if that’s how people are discussing it or asking about it, then yes, you are a jerk if you continue to misunderstand and offer irrelevant facts.It was clear to me from context (Lori, please correct if I’m wrong) that Lori’s question was not addressed to the constitution, but to people who have no moral problem with marriage of same-sex partners, but do not consider it a civil right. She was asking how they justify it, and if they would find it acceptable if the freedom of other minorities to marry was also restricted. In other words: how do you protect/defend/argue for the freedom to marry if it is not a civil right guaranteed to everyone? What is the consistent argument that allows one to make that distinction?

  • Lori

     

    Lori’s question was not addressed to the constitution, but to
    people who have no moral problem with marriage of same-sex partners, but
    do not consider it a civil right. She was asking how they justify it,
    and if they would find it acceptable if the freedom of other minorities
    to marry was also restricted. In other words: how do you
    protect/defend/argue for the freedom to marry if it is not a civil right
    guaranteed to everyone? What is the consistent argument that allows one
    to make that distinction? 

    See this, Sqrat? Lunch Meat got it. Many other people obviously did too. My “wrongness” did not make it impossible to understand what I was asking. Your insistence on taking my question in a useless way has not added anything to the discussion. In fact, it’s been nothing be a derail. We’ve now had 3 pages of comments on this thread, many of them dealing with your ish, and yet I still haven’t gotten a response to the question that I actually asked. Thanks so very much for your contribution.

  • Lori

    Let me make sure I have this straight.

    The fact that you’re the only person who (supposedly) didn’t understand what the issue was indicates a problem with me, not with you.

    The fact that you chose to keep a totally unfruitful line of discussion going by repeating information not in dispute (that it is not currently legal in most of the US for same sex couples to marry & the SCOTUS hasn’t ruled marriage equality to be a civil right) indicates a problem with the people who called you on it, not with you.

    The fact that I consider your “it’s not my fault” attitude to be a sign that you’re a jerk means that I’m avoiding admitting that I was wrong, the fact that everyone else understood what I was asking notwithstanding.

    Sure. That all makes perfect sense.

    It’s so lovely to have you as a new commenter here at slativist. I don’t know what made you decide to grace us with your wisdom and charm, but I’m ever so grateful for it, whatever it was. [eyeroll]

  • Isabel C.

    Oh, God. Pedant Guy is one of the less attractive manifestations of That Guy.

    Maybe if we wait around for a while, he’ll explain all of the continuity errors in Star Trek, too. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    *timidly raises hand* Um, I confess to reading the Nitpicker’s Guides back in the day.

  • AnonymousSam

    1) Make few to no definitive statements. Let others draw their own conclusions from what little is posted. This lets oneself represent any view at all, or, indeed, no view at all. Trolling doesn’t require specificity.
    2) Contradict assumptions (but only after they have continued for several posts), even at the risk of contradicting oneself. The irritation caused by realization of these contradictions is, itself, part of the game.
    3) Utilize logical fallacies indirectly when posting and directly when replying. Post contradictory information implying false equivalencies, but without actually stating them (functions as corollary of first rule) so as to be able to deny making any such error. Quickly point out anyone else’s logical fallacies, or purposefully misinterpret points to create them where they don’t exist. Being right isn’t the point, after all; being irritating is.
    4) Claim neutrality in any argument. Claim all news sources are equal by dint of each of them being biased, all statistics are trustworthy by the same, all perspectives are valid by being equally self-serving. This allows citation of any source related to the current discussion and enables interjection into any thread. From there, one’s own perspective is irrelevant because contradictory information can always be found and is “always valid,” regardless of the consensus regarding said source. Trolling doesn’t require more than the plausibility that one’s perspective is genuine.
    5) Ignore challenges which would require one to engage with personal relations. Anonymity allows one to take any perspective at any time; being known invites ad hominem. Ignoring challenges also leaves people unsatisfied with lack of response, increasing the effectiveness of trolling them.

    Now you know and knowing is the entire fucking battle.

    99.9% of polled users think aunursa is an asshat.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    0.1% mistakenly pressed the “no” button.

  • Guest

    Well, “no” does come first alphabetically before “yes.”

  • aunursa

    Copy and paste your own comment from last month’s circumcision discussion?  Fine.  Here’s my response copied from the same thread…

    **************************************************************************

    Boy, you’ve got me all figured out.

    BTW, it’s easy to toss out accusations against an opponent without providing specific examples (including quotes and links.) Talk about cowardly debating tactics!

    Let others draw their own conclusions from what little is posted.

    “Let others draw their own conclusions” — you see this as a bad thing?

    Claim neutrality in any argument.

    Not expressing one’s personal opinion is different from claiming neutrality. If you can’t see the distinction, then you’re not really in a position to criticise.

    **************************************************************************

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Michelle Bachmann would argue (as she has), “Gay people can too get
    married! To straight people of the proper gender! So it’s not a gender
    thingy like what you said.”

    Oh my fucking God nothing pushes my RAEGCAKES button faster than this kind of bullshit – grade A, 100% smarmy-ass bullshit.

    Everybody who’s ever used this? Always does it in that smug tone that says they think they’ve discovered TEH TOTES BULLETPROOF ARGUMENT like it means they get the powerup and win the game against QUILTBAG people.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    Everybody who’s ever used this? Always does it in that smug tone that
    says they think they’ve discovered TEH TOTES BULLETPROOF ARGUMENT like
    it means they get the powerup and win the game against QUILTBAG people.

    (nods) Yup.

    Well, except for those who don’t, of course.

    E.g., I had a fascinating conversation a few years back with a guy who raised this objection to marriage equality in what seemed to be a sincere fashion, and after a few days of discussion back and forth he agreed that yeah, it wasn’t as compelling an argument as it had seemed.

    But I certainly agree that he was the exception.

  • friendly reader

    Wow, I was hoping to come on this thread and find things about the temple shooting or maybe the  mosque burning in Joplin, but no, we’re debating same-sex marriage because that is always productive… *sigh*

    I’m a little burned out from reading through some of the mass of horrible things left at Matthew Paul Turner’s blog the other day.

    But to talk about the Sikhi, it’s kind of sad looking at Patheos’ front page at all the responses to the temple shooting, but no perspectives from Sikhi themselves. I know there are at most about 500,000 Sikhi in America, but that’s at least as many as there are pagans in North America, and you guys get your own channel. Some of it’s language barrier due to new-immigrant status, but I have to believe there are a few Sikh bloggers they could recruit here. It’s the fifth largest religion in the world, it needs a voice.

    In regards to the mosque burning, that this happened at the same time that 81% of Missourians either knowingly or unknowingly made Christian privilege a part of their constitution is just sad. But on a positive note, a number of churches joined together to host an iftar (Ramadan fast-breaking dinner) for the members of the mosque. Particularly touching to me in this story is that one of the participating churches was Peace Lutheran, who I remembered immediately (being Lutheran myself) as the church that was destroyed in the Joplin tornado. Everyone came together for them, I’m glad they’re joining to come together for the Joplin Islamic Society, especially since they may find themselves with far fewer allies.

    Meanwhile construction is under way in my parents’ town for the new Lutheran campus ministry house, right next door to the Islamic Center, who have been just about the best neighbors ever in terms of letting us use their parking lot. My dad has real hope that we can be a model of working together in an often less-than-tolerant state (Kansas). I wish them luck.

  • PJ Evans

     There’s a fundraising drive for the Joplin mosque. It’s at
    http://www.indiegogo.com/joplinmosqueofficial

  • Sqrat

    In the same way, it’s entirely appropriate to discuss civil rights in the sense of what they should be instead of what governments consider them to be. That’s how the legal civil rights get changed!

    Agreed.  In that case, a common rhetorical path is to say something like, “X is a human right, so we need to make it a civil right in our jurisdiction by changing the law.”

    It was clear to me from context (Lori, please correct if I’m wrong) that Lori’s question was not
    addressed to the constitution, but to people who have no moral problem
    with marriage of same-sex partners, but do not consider it a civil
    right.  She was asking how they justify it, and if they would find it acceptable
    if the freedom of other minorities to marry was also restricted.

    Notice how easily you slid into “do not consider it a civil right” from what, I think, you actually meant, which is “do not think it ought to be made into a civil right.”  That may or may not have been the intent of Lori’s question.  Only she can say, and it certainly was not clear from the way she asked it.

    Note also that the answer to the question can depend not only on what the question actually is, but also on who is being asked.

    If you ask a judge in a court hearing a same-sex marriage case and empowered to rule on constitutional questions, there would be nothing inconsistent between, on the one hand, the judge’s private belief that same-sex couples ought to have the legal right to marry, and his/her public judgment as to whether the relevant constitution already gives them that right.  Nothing at all.

    If you ask a state legislator who privately believes that same-sex couples ought to have the legal right to marry but publicly voted against legislation that could grant such a right, to justify that vote, he/she might, not entirely unreasonably, respond privately to you that (a) the bill didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing anyway, and (b) polls said that 75% of the voters in my district are against same-same sex marriage, so in this case I’m going to vote the will of  the majority of my constituents and not my own personal beliefs.

    You may not like the fact that the legislator in this example has abandoned the moral high ground in favor of political expediency, but that’s the way things work in a representative democracy as often as not.  And if you press him/her again “if they would find it acceptable
    if the freedom of other minorities to marry was also restricted,” he or she might shoot back, “You’re asking me to vote for same-sex marriage this year.  Next year will you be asking me to vote for polygamous marriages?  Incestuous marriages?”

    Now I realize that there are some folks who have no problem with same-sex marriages would have no problem with polygamous marriages or incestuous marriages either.  Other folks, however,  might have a problem with it.   So as a matter of practical politics it might not be a good idea, if you support same-sex marriage, to acknowledge that, yes, in your opinion, there really is a slippery slope from same-sex marriage to polygamous marriage and incestuous marriage.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    In that case, a common rhetorical path is to say something like, “X is a human right, so we need to make it a civil right in our jurisdiction by changing the law.”

    Sure.

    Another common rhetorical path (though not nearly as common as I’d prefer) is, when someone says “X is a civil right!” in a context that makes it clear that they are aware that the law criminalizes X in the relevant jurisdiction, to interpret them as expressing the belief that X is a human right and on that basis ought to be a civil right in this jurisdiction as well.

    Of course, that’s only a viable path if engaging with someone’s beliefs about rights, or about X, is a more valuable use of my time than engaging with their use of the phrase “civil rights.”

    I consider it so. Your mileage (and that of the other folks engaging on this lexical issue) may, of course, vary.

  • Lunch Meat

    Notice how easily you slid into “do not consider it a civil right” from
    what, I think, you actually meant, which is “do not think it ought to be
    made into a civil right.”

    No, you condescending jerk, I’m using the definition that I cited earlier, which is not dependent on what governments say.

    That may or may not have been the intent of
    Lori’s question.  Only she can say, and it certainly was not clear from
    the way she asked it.

    Which is why I said correct me if I’m wrong, and she just said that I was right.

    Note also that the answer to the question can depend not only on what the question actually is, but also on who is being asked.

    Here is the immediate context of Lori’s question: “We have at least one person who posts here regularly who thinks this is a
    perfectly reasonable position to take. He may not agree with it
    exactly, but he takes it at face value when a person says that s/he
    supports SSM but does not consider it a civil right.” That’s the type of person she’s talking about. Not a judge or a legislator who might have to accept it because their loyalty is to constituents/political reality/the constitution, but a person who actually believes this. She wasn’t asking for a political justification of why this is the way it is, but a moral, logical justification of why it should be this way. Again I quote: “The question I’m asking is not if anyone has ever done this in the past, it’s whether or not it should be allowed now.”

    Now if, for instance, the legislator’s argument is your argument, then claim it, for crying out loud, and we can discuss it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Now I realize that there are some folks who have no problem with
    same-sex marriages would have no problem with polygamous marriages or
    incestuous marriages either.  Other folks, however,  might have a
    problem with it.   So as a matter of practical politics it might not be a
    good idea, if you support same-sex marriage, to acknowledge that, yes,
    in your opinion, there really is a slippery slope from same-sex marriage
    to polygamous marriage and incestuous marriage.

    Except for the problem that there really really isn’t.

    I have never found a satisfactory reason to forbid incestuous marriage, provided nobody’s coercing anybody or using family dynamics against anybody and provided there’s a real careful genetic screening before procreation. (Incestuous marriages that I would permit: pretty much only ‘never met before adulthood’ siblings.) I do however note that incest is a massive squick shared by a massive number of people, which, while not itself a reason to prohibit incestuous marriage, is definitely a reason why it ain’t happening yet, maybe not ever.

    Polyamorous marriage, on the other hand. I would love to permit that. Problem being, if Anne and Bob get married, it automatically comes with Anne inheriting at least a third of Bob’s crap if he dies and vice versa, and Anne being the final word on medical decisions for Bob if he becomes incapacitated and vice versa, and any kids Anne has while married are legally Bob’s. Making it so Anne can marry Beth instead changes none of that, or should. Making it so Anne can marry both Bob and Beth…well, are Bob and Beth also married to each other? If not, what’s their legal relation to one another? If Anne dies, how much of her property goes to whom? If Anne becomes incapacitated and Bob and Beth disagree on medical decisions, what happens? Assuming a max of two legal parents per child (which is stupid anyway because gay couple and surrogate mom or lesbian couple and male sperm-donating friend or stepparents), who’s the other legal parent of any child Anne has while married to both Bob and Beth? Wait, no, that has a glib answer; who’s the other legal parent of any child Anne has while married to both Bob and David? Should it matter who the other biological parent is?

    Making polyamorous marriage legal really does require redefining marriage. I want that to happen, but I’m not trying to make that happen anytime soon. Permitting same-sex marriage just means taking the gender labels off the marriage paperwork.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah. I would venture to say that it will take a lot of work to create a legal and social framework in which polyamorous marriages can be reasonably handled without creating mounds of paperwork.

    By contrast the same-sex marriage changes are a complete doddle.

    Finally I hesitate to dip my toe too deeply into areas of common human squicks, but I would not be philosophically opposed to the notion of sibling or cousin marriages. That said, imagining it in my own family instantly raises the D: flags, so yeah, I don’t think allowing it would get too many takers*.

    But there’d have to be some serious protections in place to safeguard against lack of fully informed consent to such a relationship.

    Actually poly marriages would be less of a legal nightmare than the above, I honestly think!

    * contrary to all the alarmists who say legalizing same-sex marriage will pave the way to mass in-family sexual relationships.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     There are those who believe that one does not make something a right, human or civil; rather, one discovers that the right has always existed, and legislates that it be protected.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The root problem is, Constitutions are just pieces of paper. The real value is in the credence and faith we put into them – that the words on the paper are of such import as to be treated as nearly the force of natural law, rather than (as in the Soviet Union) to be discarded when the regime of the day sees fit, or to be honored selectively (apartheid-era South Africa) based on criteria for favored citizens.

    So to that extent, yes, rights are just privileges generally agreed upon.

  • Sqrat

     Here is the immediate context of Lori’s question: “We have at least one person who posts here regularly who thinks this is a perfectly reasonable position to take. He may not agree with it exactly, but he takes it at face value when a person says that s/he supports SSM but does not consider it a civil right.”

    The phrase “does not consider it a civil right” simply muddied the waters.  It eventually developed that it was probably actually intended to mean something like “does not support its legalization.”  OK, fair enough.  But Lori then went on to muddy the waters still further by asking three specific questions, “Right now, in 2012, if marriage is not a civil right what is it? Can the
    majority deny legal marriage to anyone it sees fit? If the majority can
    deny marriage to some groups, but not to others, how exactly does that
    work?   Those are all plainly legal/constitutional questions.  Disposing of them one at a time:

    “Right now, in 2012, if marriage is not a civil right what is it?”  Some types of marriage are a civil right.  Other types are not.

    “Can a majority deny legal marriage to anyone it sees fit?”  Given the current state of constitutional law, a mere majority of 50% +1 can’t.  It can’t, for example, deny legal marriage to heterosexual couples of different races.  Someone, quite properly, cited Loving v Virginia in this context.   I could have done without being called a “dipshit” in the process, but so be it.  It must be noted, however, that Loving v Virginia was an interracial marriage case, not a same-sex marriage case.  It did not assert that no state could ban, and all states must allow, same-sex marriage.   And so “right now, in 2012” (to quote Lori’s language) for the most part a majority, speaking through their state legislators, can indeed deny the legal right of same-sex couples to marry because the federal courts have not said they can’t (in some states a state court may have said that the majority can’t do this because of the state’s own constitution).  And since the U.S. Constitution is the self-described “supreme law of the land,” a super-majority could absolutely deny legal marriage to anyone it sees fit, through the amendment process.  Some are seeking to have it do precisely that.  Bizarrely, one person here seemed to suggest that the courts would never allow such a thing to stand because they would simply declare part of the Constitution to be unconstitutional.  The mind boggles, but that anyone could actually believe such a thing suggests that a discussion of how the law actually works in the U.S. is not quite the waste of time that some have suggested.

    “If the majority can
    deny marriage to some groups, but not to others, how exactly does that
    work?”  Well, for example, a majority in some state legislature could say that, in our state, a man can marry a man, and a woman can marry a woman, but a man can’t marry two men, a woman can’t marry two women, a man can’t marry his mother, and a woman can’t marry her sister.  It’s quite straightforward, really.

  • Lunch Meat

    So now, after the original meaning of the question has been fully explained, you’re still focusing on what you think it should have meant, and posting a wall of text answering that question?

    “I don’t think your question was clear” is a useful thing to say. “I don’t think your question was clear, and here’s why, and here’s what I thought it meant” is a useful thing to say, although it continues to derail the conversation. We ought to be able to move on to “I don’t think your question was clear, but now that I understand, here’s my response” or “I don’t think your question was clear, but now that I understand, I don’t agree with the premise you’re asking about so my answer would be irrelevant and I’m bowing out of this conversation.”

    But “I don’t think your question was clear, and here’s what I thought it meant, and here’s my ridiculously complex answer to that question, as if anyone cares about it” is just stupid.

    You’re useless.

  • Sqrat

    So now, after the original meaning of the question has been fully explained, you’re still focusing on what you think it should have meant, and posting a wall of text answering that question?

    I was focusing on what those questions meant, not on “what I think they should have meant.”

    There’s glory for you!

    ‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a
    nice knock-down argument for you!”‘


    But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose
    it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

    You’re useless.

    You’re Humpty Dumpty.  Have a happy Frabjous Day.

  • AnonymousSam

    Arguing semantics with people uninterested in having their already poignant and legible writing dissected for the amusement of one is an exercise worthwhile only to liberal arts majors who want their degrees to appear more valuable than they are. Why, yes, I would like fries with that.

  • Lori

     Oh for the love of Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    You are totally right. I was totally wrong. My question was totally ridiculous. Derailing the whole thread to explain in great detail exactly how and why my question  was ridiculous was absolutely the right thing to do. I am grateful that you took the time out of your day to enlighten me, undeserving idiot that I am. Everyone is so much better off for having read your wisdom than they would have been discussing the issue I tried to poorly to raise. Really, everyone who read this thread, and especially those who participated in it, owes you a debt of gratitude. Blessing by upon you, may his noodly appendage touch your life in a special way.

    Are you happy now?

  • Sqrat

    There are those who believe that one does not make something a right, human or civil; rather, one discovers that the right has always existed, and legislates that it be protected.

    Certainly there is a longstanding tradition of judicial construction in the U.S. that says that it is not the proper job of the judges to make the law, but rather to “find” the law.  Suppose the courts were to hold that a state can’t ban same sex marriage because it is a civil right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.  According to the aforesaid theory of judicial construction, it is a necessary legal fiction that any failure on the part of the states to uphold the civil right of same sex marriage is not only unconstitutional going forward, but has been unconstitutional ever since the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868.  However, this theory would not go so far as to say that one does not make something a civil right — if the unconstitutionality of bans on same sex marriage is to be found in the Fourteenth Amendment, then it would follow that it was the Fourteenth Amendment that made same sex marriage a civil right.  No Fourteenth Amendment, no civil right of same sex marriage.

    There is a theory of ethics — lets call it a form of  moral relativism — that holds that whether something is right or wrong depends on what “society” happens to believe about it at any given time — that rightness or wrongness are, if you will, “made” by society.  Thus, same sex marriage could literally be morally wrong at one time, morally right at a later time, and morally wrong again at a still later time.  That, in turn, implies that same sex marriage could literally not be a human right yesterday, be a human right today, and not be a human right again tomorrow.  I reject that kind of moral relativism.  It’s not even a proper theory of ethics, but rather a perverted form of sociology that says, “Whatever is, is right — until it isn’t any more.”

  • Dan Audy

    Except almost no one actually believes in moral relativism.  It is primarily an accusation made by conservatives against progressives to undermine the changes they want to make by creating an impression that they have no moral basis and absolve themselves of complicity in the systematic denial of rights and privileges that ‘society’ had undertaken.  It is a strawman argument.


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