Religious right will hold breath, turn blue, if DOMA overturned

As New Zealand MP Maurice Williamson pointed out, marriage equality “is fantastic for the people it affects, but for the rest of us, life will go on.”

If you’re not a same-sex couple seeking to be legally married, this doesn’t affect you. At all. It isn’t something that is happening to you, or even something that is happening near you. And as such, if you’re churlish enough to begrudge the people it does affect of something “fantastic,” then there’s nothing you can do apart from grumpily cross your arms and stand there, disapproving.

So the “Marriage Solidarity Statement” released this week by dozens of the usual suspects from the anti-gay religious right just doesn’t make any sense.

“We will not stand by,” the statement harrumphs. But, actually, yes, yes they will. Standing by is exactly what they will do because that is all they can do. This doesn’t affect them. It does not harm them — it neither picks their pockets nor breaks their legs. It doesn’t compel them to do anything. It doesn’t compel them not to do anything. They are by-standers to something happening elsewhere, to other people. And as by-standers, all they can possibly mean by “We will not stand by” is that “We will assume a posture of extreme indignation and offendedness while standing by.”

Well, that and send out fundraising letters, fleecing their flocks out of ever-more money by pretending that the sky is falling and the world is ending. But they were going to do that anyway. That’s their business model, after all.

If you read the entire statement (.pdf here), you’ll note that the tone throughout is that of a threat, of an ultimatum. And yet the indignant signatories never actually say that they will actually do anything. They say they will feel upset. They say they will feel disappointed in the Supreme Court. Feelings, whoa-whoa-oh, feeeeeelings.

But they never say what they will do because there is nothing they can do.

This isn’t about them. And this isn’t about their feelings. It’s fantastic for the people it affects, but the indignatories of the religious right are not among the people it affects. They are by-standers to something that does not affect them. And, like it or not, all they can do is stand by — like Jonah outside of Ninevah, or like the older brother outside the party for the Prodigal Son.

(Like Jonah and the older brother in the parable, they also have the option of uncrossing their arms, ending their sulk and joining the celebration — but this possibility doesn’t seem to occur to them either.)

There is one other, darker possibility, as David Badash notes. They could decide to follow the example of the disgraced thug-priests of the Orthodox Church in Georgia and take to the streets in mob violence:

“We cannot and will not allow this to occur on our watch,” they state — although don’t specify what they will do if they don’t like the Court’s rulings.

And while they aren’t specifically threatening to riot in the streets and aren’t suggesting any acts of violence, their words could be fuel — or seen as a call to action — for others to do just that.

He’s not wrong to worry. This is the last gasp of the dead-enders, and faced with the choice between reality and violence, such people have been known to choose the latter. They’re not actually threatened. Their religious liberty and their way of life and their values are not being threatened. But they’re working very hard to convince themselves that somehow all of that is in jeopardy. They’re addicted to the adrenaline-rush that fantasy of persecution provides. So be careful — because a cornered animal can always be dangerous, even if it’s only pretending to be cornered.

See earlier:

Religious right still doesn’t know what ‘civil disobedience’ means

When talk of ‘civil disobedience’ is just masturbation

Pat Buchanan joins Manhattan Declarers in ‘civil disobedience’ fappery

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Postcards from the culture war (12.1.16)
Concordance-ism backfires for anti-gay preacher
  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    “[T]here’s nothing you can do apart from grumpily cross your arms and stand there, disapproving.”
    Hey, don’t knock it. It’s good enough for the Tribulation Force, after all.

  • Joykins

    I can think of one thing they could do, which is, if they run companies, stop offering benefits to spouses because they might accidentally give benefits to a gay spouse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    The ‘let’s punish everyone so we can keep screwing the gays’ reaction is pretty great, because I literally cannot think of anything so designed to bring about solidarity with gay people

  • Joykins

    Catholic Charities has already done this because of same-sex marriage in DC IIRC.

  • schismtracer

    I’m sure that, if they found themselves related to someone pursuing a gay marriage, they could, if they were feeling sufficiently spiteful and willing to put that much effort into being an asshole (both of which they are, pretty much by definition), sabotage or even prevent the wedding from occurring.

  • LL

    Christ, what a bunch of assholes.

  • GeniusLemur

    “we will not stand by.” Of course you won’t. You’ll throw a hissy fit. Of course, you throw a hissy fit every single time you don’t get 100% of your way on everything, so I don’t know why anybody would notice.

  • the shepard

    i predict much impotent stamping of feet, surly glaring and general douchebaggery followed by running home to tell mommy how mean everyone is to them.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    They’ll be running home to tell mommy that they need more donations to fight the Big Gay Menace. Can’t forget that request for donations, or what would be the point of having their tantrum publicly?

  • Kenneth Raymond

    Heck, even if they do get 100% of their way on everything, they have a special hissy fit prepared to make like they didn’t, just to set up for later getting the next item on their agenda.

  • Vass

    “If you’re not a same-sex couple seeking to be legally married, this doesn’t affect you. At all.”

    That is plain wrong.

    I’m a single lesbian, and yes it does affect me to know that I cannot legally marry in my country. It also affects me that every time I attend one of my opposite-sex couple friends’ weddings (in Australia where I live) I have to listen to the preamble that the government made part of the wedding service, specifically reminding everyone present that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

    It affects straight people too: the children of same sex couples who are considered ‘biological strangers’ to one of their parents, who therefore have to go to court to have parental rights.

    It affects the community, the taxpayers and welfare groups, when a gay person is bereaved and then loses his home because the estate taxes were too high, or when a sick person isn’t covered under her wife’s health insurance. The foster children who can’t be adopted when same sex couples aren’t given equal protection under the law. The labour a country loses when some of its skilled workers have to live abroad because their partners can’t get in because their relationship isn’t recognised.

  • MarkTemporis

    You have government-approved wedding vows? That’s kind of ridiculous. I thought everyone writing their own vows was just what people did, if only to remove the idiotic ‘let people object to the wedding’ and ‘obey’ bits.

  • Vass

    It’s not in the vows, it’s what the wedding celebrant says.

  • the shepard

    that is just plain and simple assholery right there.

  • Vass

    It was plain meanness on the part of the government at the time (this was in 2004.) Same sex marriage wasn’t legally recognised, but that wasn’t enough for them, they wanted it to be EXTRA SUPER not recognised.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same_sex_marriage_in_Australia#The_Marriage_Amendment_Bill_2004

  • Jen K

    Wow. I’m glad our government does not control things to that extent.

  • Daniel

    So do you not have civil ceremonies in (I assume) the U.S?

  • Wednesday

    Speaking as a USian, we do have civil ceremonies, but that doesn’t always mean the state sets the text of the celebrant, even at the most basic courthouse ceremony. Sometimes there’s only one text, sometimes you can chose from a list, sometimes you can provide your own vows. It really depends.

    And sometimes you cannot find out what the text will be anywhere in advance and then you have to bite back outrage when the judge makes a totally inappropriate and offensive statement about how Marriage = One Man One Woman, sigh….

  • Carstonio

    Clergy members typically hold licenses, so that the wedding ceremonies they perform are also legally binding. We also have civil ceremonies, and there are some malcontents who insist that couples who have these ceremonies “aren’t really married.”

    I favor switching to the system used in some European countries, where only the civil ones are legally binding and where devout couples later have religious ceremonies with their families.

    The folks who insist that clergy members will be forced to officiate for same-sex couples conveniently neglect to mention that these clergy are already free to refuse interfaith couples.

  • Kat

    i actually think you misread. I’m going to point out why by breaking up your post and referring it to the quote you made.

    “If you’re not a same-sex couple seeking to be legally married, this doesn’t affect you. At all.”

    “That is plain wrong.”

    How is that wrong? So you’re straight and two same-sex individuals getting married is going to affect your life? Wait for it…

    “I’m a single lesbian, and yes it does affect me to know that I cannot legally marry in my country.”

    Oh, you are part of the LGBTQ community. Wait, so how does the ability for same-sex couples affect you, now? Because the statement is about here in the United States. Here, it is not going to affect opposite-sex-couples if same-sex-couples can marry.

    “It also affects me that every time I attend one of my opposite-sex couple friends’ weddings (in Australia where I live) I have to listen to the preamble that the government made part of the wedding service, specifically reminding everyone present that marriage is only between a man and a woman.”

    Yes. Correct, it does affect you that your government has not reached this point in declaring equality, yet. Yet, how does -your- ability or inability to marry affect opposite-sex-couples? It doesn’t.*

    “It affects straight people too: the children of same sex couples who are considered ‘biological strangers’ to one of their parents, who therefore have to go to court to have parental rights.”

    They must only have to go to court for parental rights in your country. Here, if the birth mother, at the time of birth, declares man 1 to be the father of her baby, even though man 2 is, man 1, a biological stranger, is father to that child. Yes, man 2 can go to court for visitation and other legal rights, however he only can because he is biologically related. Meanwhile, man 1, the biological stranger, has full legal right to the child. This is the same with adoption. When you adopt, once the adoption is finished, they are your parents. The adoption process means that neither parent is your biological parent, so it’s just a process of saying who is responsible for you.

    “It affects the community, the taxpayers and welfare groups, when a gay person is bereaved and then loses his home because the estate taxes were too high, or when a sick person isn’t covered under her wife’s health insurance.”

    Wait, what? You mean that I, a straight individual, am NOT affecting the community if my spouse dies and I can’t afford the estate taxes? My presumed husband isn’t covered by my insurance? Well, why doesn’t he have his own through his own job? The point of this response is that it doesn’t matter who you are, straight or not, you can still become a burden on taxpayers. There are PLENTY of opposite-sex-couples sitting on welfare, disability, food stamps, etc here in the United States. This is not a phenomena that happens only with same-sex-couples.

    “The foster children who can’t be adopted when same sex couples aren’t given equal protection under the law.”

    That must, again, be in Austria… because just look up adoption in the United States. There are ways for same-sex-couples to adopt.

    “The labour a country loses when some of its skilled workers have to live abroad because their partners can’t get in because their relationship isn’t recognised.”

    This definitely isn’t the United States. Why? Because our workers can live wherever they want, regardless of their relationship status, because our government has laws that protect us from being discriminated against due to our relationship status. Single women, men, married, divorced, widowed, none of that matters. They actually can’t even ask that during the hiring process, it is only on your tax forms for how many deductions you claim.

    So the point of everything here, is not that I’m trying to be a bitch or cause problems or be argumentative, even though I realize some of it may come across that way. All this article is saying, is that the fact that a same-sex-couple getting married is not going to, in any way, shape, or form, affect opposite-sex-couples. At all.

    As for you, being a lesbian in Austria, I hope that equality finds its way to Austria soon. As the world changes and more and more countries take this step, those that don’t or haven’t, will start to see a growth in the number of people that want equality. Governments can only ignore the people for so long before change becomes inevitable. I just hope it happens sooner, rather than later.

    * “The two men down the street are able to marry, I guess we need to get a divorce,” said -no- opposite-sex-couple EVER.

  • Kat

    I don’t know why I kept putting Austria…. I know it said Australia… oof, no edit button.

  • Vermic

    The statement is a heck of a thing. Its argument basically boils down to the “natural law” assertion (and serious question, is there anything to “natural law” besides “stuff I have no evidence for, but feel in my gut anyway”?). They can’t and don’t explain how allowing gay marriage could ever hurt specific, real people; just a general concern about how it’s bad for our collective moral fibre or whatever — you know, the sort of vague loosey-goosey hand-wringing that’s supposed to be the province of us bleeding heart liberals.

    Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman was not an idea manufactured by the Christian Church. It precedes Christianity.

    I don’t see how anyone could truthfully read the Old Testament and find a strong “one husband, one wife” precedent. Fred’s Chik-fil-A series has covered this topic in some detail, to put it mildly.

    Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they manufacture a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage … Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the State. The Supreme Court has no authority to redefine marriage.

    Well, that’s just incorrect.

    If the Supreme Court becomes the tool by which marriage is redefined in the positive law of this nation, the precedent established will leave no room for any limitation on what can constitute such a redefined notion of marriage.

    Not entirely sure what’s being gotten at here, but I assume it’s a version of the “today gay marriage, tomorrow box turtles!” slippery slope.

    Conferring a moral and legal equivalency to same-sex couples by legislative or judicial fiat also sends the message that children do not need a mother and a father. It undermines their fundamental rights and threatens their security, stability, and future.

    I assume, for consistency’s sake, that these people also demand divorce be outlawed? It’s the only way to force ensure kids grow up in a two-parent household!

    Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the State.

    [citation needed]

  • Jared James

    Impressively, of the five factual assertions in “civil institutions do not…” every single one is untrue. I don’t know that the IndigNation know they’re all lies, but I do know they recklessly disregard the truth six to eight days a week on average, so would it make a difference?

  • FearlessSon

    Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they manufacture a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage … Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the State. The Supreme Court has no authority to redefine marriage.

    If that is the way that this guy feels, why not just have the state revoke legal recognition of his marriage? After all, the state has no authority to define what marriage is, so what does he care? Let him pay all his taxes as a single person and be denied visitation rights. After all, it is not like the state has any influence now, right? [/sarcasm]

  • http://www.ghiapet.net/ Randy Owens

    Not to mention that were it so, DOMA had no business being the law of the land in the first place.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines
    marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same
    government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the
    State.

    I’m pretty sure they’re calling back to Brown v. the Board of Education. The state will enforce the rights of people, and will do its best to take away the privilege of discriminating against people, and yes, with police action if necessary. These assholes are scared because a day is coming when they won’t be allowed to discriminate against non-straight people for not being straight any more.

    I bet they’re also thinking about the state disallowing certain Mormon cults from forcing their teenage daughters to “marry” old men.

  • the shepard

    i honestly am not sure they are referring to any actual, historical event or experience. i’m also not sure how they think the police would become involved in a wedding unless they are planning some kind of criminl act to disrupt that wedding.
    sounds completely paranoid to me.

  • Daniel

    If they call in they call in the police to enforce a gay wedding it can’t be long before they bring in the army too. And then any other law enforcement officials, like sheriffs from the old west- who’ll probably bring their native american sidekicks with them. And then the door’s open to vigilantes- like buff construction workers who want to take the law into their own callused hands. The only way to avoid that would be to Go West to New Zealand or something.

  • Jared James

    A far-fetched scenario, you say..? Perhaps.

    But there is precedent.

    http://www.stonewallvets.org/images/TheVillagePeople.jpg

  • Daniel

    Dammit. I forgot the biker guy.

  • Jared James

    He falls under the “vigilantes” category.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    “I assume, for consistency’s sake, that these people also demand divorce be outlawed? It’s the only way to force ensure kids grow up in a two-parent household!”
    They’d need to outlaw parental death too, wouldn’t they?

  • Daniel

    The lefty hand wringers are often met with the response “if you don’t like it why don’t you move somewhere else?” when criticising US policy. I just wonder why the right wing don’t take their own advice.
    Similarly, why put so much trust in your “gut feeling”? A strong gut feeling is a precursor to an outpouring of shit.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I don’t see how anyone could truthfully read the Old Testament and find a strong “one husband, one wife” precedent

    There isn’t a precedent if you go that direction. However, from what I can tell monogamous marriage does predate Christianity in Western cultural history. Both Ancient Greece and preChristian Rome did have laws in place mandating marriage between one man and one woman — it was legal (and frequently expected) for men to have mistresses and other lovers on the side, but polygamy was made illegal.

  • Eric

    But that’s not “Biblical marriage” then. That would be Godless, pagan, heathen marriage, and we can’t be having that…

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which invites the question of why they’re against marriage of one man and all the women he can afford…

  • fencerman

    As a canadian whose country is now celebrating 10 years of legalized same sex marriage, I can say our government is TOTALLY coming into people’s homes and forcing them to get gay married. Because that makes total sense and isn’t completely insane to even imagine.

    You can hardly recognize the Gomorrah-ian hellhole our country has become, with maple syrup thefts and cheese smuggling rings left and right*. Just the other day I was riding my moose to work, when a mountie pulled me over and forced me to marry my moose right on the side of the road. It was awful. Then we all had poutine.

    *actually these were real stories in the news up here. It’s kind of hilarious what passes for news somedays.

  • addicted4444

    “There is one other, darker possibility, as David Badash notes. They could decide to follow the example of the disgraced thug-priests of the Orthodox Church in Georgia and take to the streets in mob violence:”

    Yeah, but riots and violence isn’t good for business (not to mention, it is inconvenient) so no, I don’t expect them to do this.

    They might egg on some followers into it, but in general, I think that will simply turn Americans off them even more than before.

  • J_Enigma32

    Frankly, if they were going to riot over anything, you’d think it would be abortion. But they haven’t there, so I don’t think they will here, either.

    I don’t doubt that there will be an uptick in violence against gays, lesbians, and their supporters. I don’t doubt that for a second. But riots? No. If anything, they’ll use it to continue to feed their persecution complex, continue to stomp their feet and pass meaningless testaments to their dead agenda, and use it as an excuse to rub the balm of indignation and bitterness on their wounded egos in public. in short, they’re going to use it to grandstand and pretend they’re both “moral” and “adults”.

  • DrPlacebo

    Yep. They’ll fundraise off of it. Which they were doing anyway. It’s a racket to separate gullible people from their money, as always.

  • Michael Cule

    “I will do such things,–What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
    The terrors of the earth. “

  • Jeff Weskamp

    “The effort to redefine marriage threatens the proper mediating role of the Church in society. ”

    This, *this* right here, is the Religious Right’s *true* objection to same-sex marriage! It proves that they truly have no “mediating role” in American society. It tells them that they are *not* the supreme arbiters of morality in this country. It bluntly indicates that their beliefs have no validity whatsoever to our system of jurisprudence. It tells them, “You are not the unquestioned and unquestionable authority on public morals and policy. So sit down and shut up.”

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    Exactly right. Same sex marriage has become a proxy issue for the entire conservative Christian worldview. Becoming the moral minority on LGBT issues portends a complete loss of influence on the culture. Alas, would that be true!

  • Carstonio

    It goes deeper than that. Their rejection of secularism is so thorough that it’s as though the Enlightenment never happened. It’s the concept of theocracy as applied to society instead of government.

  • Daniel

    In the UK we have bishops who take a direct role in legislation- basically we have a part theocracy. And they spend all their time bitching that no one listens to the CoE any more, despite it being the overly-dunked biscuit of world religions. In the US you have no established church, yet your legislators’ hands are forced by the religious right on this, and abortion and stem cell research etc. I feel like a less succinct English Yakov Smirnoff right now.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I felt the same way when I heard Tony Benn describe democracy as having taken power out of the hands of rich people and given it to poor people.

    Here we live in a democracy where our only vote is which group of rich people have the most power.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Oh, and for bonus points, the rich people are now using democracy to take the vote away from poor people.

  • Daniel

    It just makes things easier that way. “Streamlining” it think is the management-speak term for it.

  • Ursula L

    Things they could do:

    If they work in a hospital, refuse to recognize same-sex spouses and allow visitation as a spouse, or refuse same-sex couples access to their sick children.

    If they work in a school, refuse to recognize the same-sex couples who are parents to their students as both being parents.

    If they run a private school or daycare, refuse admission to the children of same-sex couples.

    Basically, they could continue to do all the nasty, discriminatory things that they already do to same-sex couples, only with the added fun that they can call it “civil disobedience” because they’re refusing to recognizes civil marriages.

  • Jessica_R

    But happily if DOMA gets struck down they can do so with new and improved ingredient “Congrats! You’re a hateful asshole who just lost their job/got a lawsuit slapped on you/etc.” Couldn’t happen to nicer bunch of folks.

  • Ursula L

    Thus proving their claim that they’re persecuted!!!!!eleventy!!1111!!!

  • Veylon

    These people have always struck me as incredibly cowardly. Yes, there are a few willing to actually stick their necks out, but the vast majority will quietly do what the state tells them to and grouch about how horrible it is to the likeminded. They won’t risk losing a promotion or being fired, let along jailed.

    They’ve allowed their cause to become so vapid and shallow that they already regard being disagreed with as persecution and complaining as heroic resistance. They have no stomach for anything more.

  • FearlessSon

    These people have always struck me as incredibly cowardly.

    That is because they are cowardly. Trying to leverage a position of strong influence into disenfranchising a minority population for little reason other than to make sure they know “their place” is not something done by anyone of courage, any more than is kicking someone while they are down and outnumbered is.

    We are seeing a lot of previously moderately anti-homosexual people walk back their positions on the issue, and I suspect that this has less to do with a genuine change of opinion on the matter and more to do with them realizing that they do not have as much backup on the issue from the population in general as they did before. Absent anyone guarding their social flanks, they back off.

  • Daniel

    Can I ask bluntly: when was their case ever solid and deep? The argument has always been “I don’t like what these people are doing. They are not doing it to or with me. They like it and they are happy. I do not believe they can love each other, and nothing they say will change my mind. It must be stopped.” They just keep finding new “causes” to bolt on to this. I do not understand the arguments against gay rights, chiefly because the word “gay” should be redundant- they are human rights that everyone has or should have. What rational, evidence based, intelligent and reasonable argument have “these people” ever offered?

  • FearlessSon

    To be fair to them, there was a time when homosexuality was largely seen by the professional medical community as a kind of disorder, a sickness of the mind. At best, this was a kind of compassionate patronizing attitude, at worst a way to legitimize the social punishment of behaviors which most others considered strange and incomprehensible.

    Later research eventually had the medical profession abandon that view of homosexuality being a deviant mental malfunction, and recognize that it is more just part of who someone is, and there is no medical reason to single it out as harmful to the self or others. Science is a self-correcting process that way, and older ideas are sometimes discarded in favor of newer ones which make more sense across a broader set of data.

    Unfortunately, some people are not so fond of abandoning older ideas. Particularly, people who have a greater emphasis on the importance of dogma, of having the right, true, unchanging answer to something. By which I mean, mostly people both devout and authoritarian, which means largely the religious right. Their ideas about sexuality seemed broadly agreeable by even professionals a little over half a century ago, but not so much today. But as I mentioned, they value standing their ground above changing their minds, and they cling desperately to long discredited ideas instead of quietly revising their world view.

  • Daniel

    Yes, there was a time when medical science held this- but that was also a time when religion was still of great influence in society, and so there’s a chicken-and-egg question about why it was viewed as a mental illness. The point, as you say, is that science allows ideas that are no longer tenable to be discarded when better explanations come along. In the case of the religious right’s (wide) stance on homosexuality the explanations are constantly retooled to reconfirm a prejudice- which is irrational. Arguments that “evidence shows” that the government will step in to enforce gay marriages are bogus- it has never happened before so there is no evidence to support this. It is irrational and based on fear. The whole argument against gay rights seems to rest on “I think it’s gross, therefore it shouldn’t be allowed” which is my view of broccoli, and I accept this will never become law. Equally I am aware that it is unlikely anyone in uniform is ever going to force me to eat broccoli. So again, what intelligent and reasonable argument i.e. one based on actual evidence and not speculation based on personal distaste have they ever offered?

  • Jessica_R

    Fingers crossed I will see a epic amount of new to me “You Mad?” gifs, macros, and whatnot very soon… With a side order of “And Not A Single Fuck Was Given That Day” ones.

  • Jenny Islander

    If I had the money, I would seek out, buy, and wear a T-shirt featuring the most romantic moments between Iron Man and Captain America in the official comics from the last 25 or so years, with fanart of the two of them in tuxes with dazed and happy expressions smack in the middle.

  • P J Evans

    If they’re going to hold their breath until they turn blue, can we get dibs on their stuff?

  • Daniel

    Isn’t blue the Democrats’ colour?

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

    Ah, but you see, it they turn blue and faint, their body’s autonomic breathing response will kick back in, and they won’t be gone, sry2say,

  • nemryn

    Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines
    marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same
    government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the
    State.

    Okay, let’s say, for the sake of argument, that this is actually true. What would that look like? The jack-booted thugs bust down the door to your home/office/church/whatever and force you to do… what, exactly?

  • the shepard

    to bring a thoughtful gift and eat the hell-baked cake, of course. (probably devil’s food, don’t ya know.)

  • Carstonio

    Conferring a moral and legal equivalency to same-sex couples by legislative or judicial fiat also sends the message that children do not need a mother and a father.
    As I’ve said before, the assumptive leap here is massive.

  • depizan

    Also, doesn’t the fact that its legal to raise a child by yourself already send that message? (Yeah, I know they hate single parents, too. Just pointing out that that horse seems to be so far out of the barn that its in the next state.)

  • Carstonio

    My point was that they don’t explain why children would get that message. They seem to assume that the only real reason couples marry is to procreate. I would love for someone to challenge Brian Brown or one of his allies directly about this argument. Because when he argues that same-sex marriage leads to children being raised without fathers, this implies that straight men are being tempted to turn gay and abandon their families.

    Sure, children sometimes lose parents through widowhood or desertion, but the folks we’re talking about seem to care only about situations where the fatherlessness is intentional, meaning lesbian couples and Murphy Browns. Suspiciously similar to advocates of abortion bans who focus on women who want to have sex without becoming mothers.

  • depizan

    I wasn’t disagreeing with you so much as pointing out that they’re freaking out about something that doesn’t make much sense.

    And I’m quite sure that they blame women for single parenthood, regardless of how it came about.

  • Daniel

    Sin. Sin is how it came about. Eve’s sin. So women are to blame, for that and for everything.

  • FearlessSon

    Because when he argues that same-sex marriage leads to children being raised without fathers, this implies that straight men are being tempted to turn gay and abandon their families.

    I suspect that such fear is born more from the phenomena of tightly closeted gay men coming out after getting married to a woman and having children with her, a situation I can only speculate is not uncommon among tightly-knit religious communities where people are told from birth that homosexuality is shameful.

    Of course, if homosexuality was not seen as so shameful in the first place that situation would not be coming up and this would not be an issue for him, but that would require admitting that he was wrong.

  • Carstonio

    Brian Brown converted from Quakerism to Catholicism, so I doubt he came from that type of community. I’ve heard it suggested that folks like him dread the two-mommy scenario, as if all women automatically crave motherhood no matter what their orientation. Either way, I haven’t heard Brown explain how he sees same-sex marriage as depriving children of fathers.

  • FearlessSon

    So… he is worried that men will become obsolete?

  • Carstonio

    Possibly. NOM’s rhetoric treats the fatherlessness as an obvious outcome of legalization, leaving out the twists and turns in its arguments.

  • Carstonio

    The notion that marriage is outside the authority of the state is obviously the falsehood that marriage belongs solely to religion. Recently many folks have been pushing the so-called compromise of civil unions for all, reserving the word marriage for religious ceremonies. Maybe they really believe the demagogic claim that houses of worship will be forced to officiate for same-sex weddings, despite the explicit exemptions in the state laws.

  • JeffreyRO55

    What’s so strange (well, part of what’s so strange) about all the huffing and puffing of the rightwingnuts is that they’re arguing as if the government is legalizing same-sex marriage AND banning different-sex marriage. Obviously, that’s not the case, but if you listen to their arguments, they seem to be addressing the legalizing of same-sex marriage while outlawing different-sex marriage.

    Note to religionists: straight couples will still be allowed to get married, even when gay couples are afforded the same right!

  • dpolicar

    They aren’t worried that families like theirs will be criminalized.

    They are worried that we will eliminate the visible markers of superiority that families like theirs have over families like mine. (Beginning with the willingness to label families like mine a “family,” rather than an “abomination,” though hardly limited to that.)

    I can understand that concern. If everyone comes to believe that my family is equivalent to theirs, they lose a kind of social superiority.

    The fact that in the process my quality of life increases significantly and theirs doesn’t significantly (or, frankly, measurably) decrease doesn’t matter to them very much, because my quality of life doesn’t matter to them as much as their social superiority.

    This isn’t admirable, but it’s relatively common, and they aren’t actually obligated to value my quality of life. If they don’t, they don’t, and that’s just the way it is. I think less of them for it, and if they try to impose their values on my life they are enemies I have to oppose, but that too is just the way it is.

    I don’t like it, but I don’t think it helps to pretend that they’re worried instead over something that would be reasonable to worry about (their families being criminalized the way they want mine to be), if only it were in the least bit plausible.

  • JeffreyRO55

    I think there’s more to it just their relative social status vis-a-vis gay people. Acceptance of gay people is already happening, quickly. It has already become the minority position to disapprove of, or dislike, gay people because of their sexual orientation. What’s going on here is that these people will lose the government’s agreement with them that gays are less deserving, and no matter how much they say they hate the government, they really do want government approval (on gay marriage, immigration, affirmative action, etc.).

    They also know the power of government to “normalize” that which might they believe to be not normal. They evidently have invested quite a bit of intellectual and philosophical capital in believing that gay people are defective, and they don’t want they belief questioned.

    Finally, they see it as one more example of government rejection of religious belief, even though we’re “a Christian nation.” They are sure God agrees with them that gays are bad, and therefore the government ought not to defy that.

  • the shepard

    but, in their minds they are losing quality of life points because they are unable to process the concept that joy is not a zero sum game.

    you’re happiness, frankly, makes them less happy.

    it makes no sense and displays a total lack of empathy, but there it is.

  • dpolicar

    Oh, they can get the non-zero-sum-game aspect in general.

    I’m sure they are genuinely joyful when members of their community get married, for example, without any concern for what that might take away from their lives, and they’d be genuinely bewildered and hurt by the suggestion that they only care about themselves.

    It’s families like mine (and many others, of course) they want to deny that respect to, not families in general.

  • FearlessSon

    I suspect that their issue is that they need some bad guy to beat up on to feel good about themselves. Some deviant group that they can punish to feel satisfied in their own righteousness.

    When you take away the deviance and put that group under general protection by the established authorities, they lose that outlet and can no longer stroke their feelings of superiority over them.

  • Rarely Posts

    Your general points about civil disobedience are good, but there are options to “not stand by.” One is to actually interfere with government and social institutions (here, Clerk’s Offices issuing marriage certificates or Churches performing weddings). Another would be the classic forms of protest in which one harms oneself to draw attention to injustice: hunger strikes and self-immolation being the major options.

    Of course, all of these require massive sacrifice by the person performing them–at a minimum, jail time, at a maximum, death. They are completely ineffective unless you have an overwhelmingly strong moral argument on your side (and often ineffective even then). I just draw attention to these options because occasionally citizens face circumstances of massive injustice (such as unjust wars, disenfranchisement or persecution of others, etc.) where regular civil disobedience is unavailable because the State is not actually acting against the citizen. But, those are your options, and not one of these people is really willing to starve themselves to death or self-immolate.

  • P J Evans

    I believe that clerks have tried refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples, and have been told that they have a choice: issue the license, or change jobs.

  • Carstonio

    In my area, the objecting clerks have been excused from any duties involving marriages. We’re the only jurisdiction in the state that has objectors. They’re wrong about this being a conscience issue for them, partly because it’s none of their concern whether others choose to marry the opposite sex or the same sex, and partly because expecting the world to conform to one’s conscience is not what the conscience is about.

  • AnonaMiss

    It would be lovely to believe that this would be an uncontroversial way to resolve the issue, but pharmacists won the right to avoid dispensing emergency contraception years ago.

  • Sara

    I hope that Fred is right, and that this is just a tantrum. But when I read the statement, my blood ran a little cold. What I took away is that allowing people like me the right to marry will:

    1. Destroy our civilization as we know it.
    2. Violate the human rights of children, and
    3. Mean that the courts (i.e. rule of law) are illegitimate.

    I don’t believe that the people who wrote or signed this will engage in violence. And they did not make any direct threats of violence — they didn’t have to. But with the list of signatories including such mainstream staples of conservative Christian culture, this letter strikes me as reckless. It might fan the flames for someone unhinged enough to actually commit acts of violence.

  • FearlessSon

    It might fan the flames for someone unhinged enough to actually commit acts of violence.

    It would be unsurprising if someone with a few screws already loose did take this as some call for desperate action. We have seen this pattern plenty of times before. Someone goes off all half-cocked, causes tragedy, the rest of the movement backpedals as fast as they can to distance themselves from it, etc.

    But I would be surprised if the reaction was anything more than an isolated incident or two, even if they are more spectacular than usual. We are unlikely to find any of them a kind of trigger for, say, some kind of mass movement or national riot.

  • lorieontheleftcoast

    relieved to find my church body has no signatories to this document!