1984 Press Conference: Ronald Reagan opposed discrimination against gays

In a post earlier today, I referenced a Baltimore Sun article where Democrat Presidential nominee Walter Mondale said he heard President Ronald Reagan speak against discrimination against gays. I found a transcript of that June 14, 1984 press conference in the Reagan archives which supports Mondale’s statement. Here is the brief answer to a reporter’s question about gay rights in employment:

Employment Rights for Homosexuals

Q. Mr. President, there is a move afoot in the Congress that has the support of many of the Democratic Presidential candidates to change the Federal civil rights law to prohibit job discrimination against homosexuals. Is that something that you would favor?

The President. Now, I was so — you’re going to have to start again here for — first few words. I missed them. I was so confused about three of you — –

Q. There’s a measure before the Congress to change the Federal civil rights law to specifically prohibit job discrimination against homosexuals. Is that something that you would favor?

The President. Well, I just have to say I am opposed to discrimination, period. Now — –

Q. Well, would you support the measure, Mr. President?

The President. What?

Q. Will you support that measure, putting it into — –

The President. I want to see — I want to see what else they have there.

A few months later, Mondale told a Tupelo, MS crowd that he held essentially the same position as Reagan.

But the issue arose last Thursday when Mondale was asked at a Tupelo, Miss., appearance, why he supported “perversions” such as “gay rights.”

He answered: “I saw Reagan on a news conference a couple of months ago and someone said that about homosexuals.

He said, I wouldn’t discriminate against them.

That’s my position.

Does that draw a distinction between us?”

Reagan’s words in 1984 are consistent with his actions in 1978, opposing discrimination in CA by campaigning against the Briggs Initiative. When Reagan said that he wanted to see what else was in the bill referenced by the reporter, it seems clear that he was unfamiliar with the specific piece of legislation. However, on the broader question, Reagan expressed opposition to discrimination based on sexual orientation. Will those who now seek congruence with Reagan’s policies follow his lead?

  • http://nojam75.blogspot.com Norm!

    Well, I appreciate that Reagan opposed discrimination, but disappointed that he did not support employment non-description law. Considering how well Reagan answered the other questions in the transcript, it seems clear that he was oblivious to the issue.

  • Debbie Thurman

    It’s interesting that the word discriminate has two basic meanings, and that folks sometimes fail to discriminate between them. Reagan, even like Jerry Falwel (as you showed here not too long ago), was rightly opposed to discrimination or depriving any citizen of human or civil rights.

    Yet, discernment that urges caution (Reagan wanted to see what was in the bill, so he would make no blanket acceptance of it) until the facts are sorted out is often turned into bigotry.

    People once saw tolerance as a positive thing. But the Riddle Homophobia Scale says tolerance is a weakness. Riddle wanted support of gays to go farther than mere tolerance, or even “acceptance.” Support, admiration, appreciation and nurturance are the only positive responses on the scale. And GLSEN’s ally campaign is one result of the gradual shift in thinking. So, if folks want to know “what’s in the bill”, so to speak, and why it’s there, they are being properly discriminating and not bigoted. If it’s unfair discrimination, it will show itself to be so.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Discrimination is a legal concept in this context and something Reagan opposed. Acceptance is a social/moral issue and one which Reagan did not want the government to dictate – whether it be pro or anti-gay. Our current crop of social conservative leaders seem to miss this. I seriously doubt Reagan would have opposed ENDA for instance. I am told by those who knew him that he really disliked the shrill rhetoric of the religious right (even as he worked with them on life issues).

  • BobbiCW

    A lot of people (perhaps most) would say they are against discrimination in general; however, we seem to be slow to recognize it in practice and are therefore slow to stop it.

    Regardless of where he stood or appeared to stand on discrimination against gays, I’ll never be able to forgive Reagan for failing to face the AIDS crisis head-on when it first appeared.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Discrimination is a legal concept in this context and something Reagan opposed. Acceptance is a social/moral issue and one which Reagan did not want the government to dictate – whether it be pro or anti-gay. Our current crop of social conservative leaders seem to miss this.

    It is also being missed by those on the pro-gay left and the current administration in Washington.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    How so, Debbie?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Government is facilitating “acceptance” of homosexuality and not just avoidance of discrimination in employment or housing, foremost in laws and funding impacting public education. Gay marriage also is a social/moral issue, but the government is being asked to determine how many rights and entitlements preserved for married couples ought to extend to gay couples.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Re: public education: Are you talking about stuff like anti-bullying programs that include sexual orientation, or something more specific than that?

    As far as marriage goes, are you suggesting that my own marriage license shouldn’t carry the same rights, responsibilities, or protections as your own marriage license? I mean, ultimately I don’t care if you don’t “accept” me or my familiy, but I do have a problem if my marital relationship is treated differently under the law than other marital relationships. How much energy is wasted by folks trying to come up with round-about ways of legally neutralizing my family and others like it when ultimately the existence of my family really has little relevance to your day-to-day life or that of others like you…

  • Debbie Thurman

    Re: public education: Are you talking about stuff like anti-bullying programs that include sexual orientation, or something more specific than that?

    I am speaking to things that go to curriculum and classrooms/schoolhouse rules of engagement for discussing gay topics in a way that comes dangerously close to impinging on religious freedom or free speech. Also parental autonomy being supplanted by educator autonomy.

    Jon, I think you already know that I believe there is a distinction between how we view the movement vs. individuals and their personal lives. You are free to love whomever you choose. You may call that union what you want. When government is asked to sanction it with all the rights and entitlements reserved throughout all of history for traditional marriage, then it is placing itself in the role of god-like protector and asking its people to accept something that many have well-reasoned reservations about.

    Will it ultimately enhance the welfare of the people or harm it? Does it have relevance for my children and their children? I think it does. You think it doesn’t. Nobody can answer those questions definitively. We can only speculate, and debate till the cows come home the various studies that support or refute gay marriage. There ought to be room for reasoned disagreement and careful consideration of the implications into the future. Of course, the will of the people will prevail eventually.

    Same applies to the repeal of DADT. Is it moving forward too quickly? Are there mission-distracting pitfalls that can’t yet be seen? National security is a far greater concern than individual happiness. You and I both know it is a strategy aimed at bringing us a step closer to gay marriage.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    DADT repeal is a strategy aimed at legalization of gay marriage? I don’t know that and I don’t even think that, but okay…

    Here’s another thing I don’t get, Debbie. Mark and I raising our boys without our marriage license is okay and doesn’t affect society, but us raising our boys *with* our marriage license creates conflict? Most people looking at us wouldn’t even know that we’re married or not, but the fact that we went to the county recorder office and applied for a license vs. us living together makes a major difference?

    Regading the school stuff, parents give authority to the government to craft curriculum requirements on everything. Don’t like it, complain to your state board and/or your local school board. Or run for school board.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Jon, when you’re forming a family with two same-sex parents, raising children or not, without government sanction, you are doing nothing that hasn’t been done “in a corner” for ages. Human nature is human nature. But if it is given main-street approval, it becomes about much more than what you want to do with your life to pursue happiness. It becomes a publicized precedent for others, right or wrong. It becomes a wave that ripples out into society.

    I think anyone who does not believe DADT is linked to gay marriage is being extremely naive, coy or deceitful. Let’s all get a big lunch and sit by the side of the road and watch the parade.

    Regading the school stuff, parents give authority to the government to craft curriculum requirements on everything.

    Do they? The government is charged with protecting the people, and children are in need of lots of protection. If you ask the ALA or the NEA, they’ll tell you it’s “authoritarian” parents they must protect the students from. Authoritarian is code talk for Christian.

    My kids were both home-schooled and privately educated.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

    “I am speaking to things that go to curriculum and classrooms/schoolhouse rules of engagement for discussing gay topics in a way that comes dangerously close to impinging on religious freedom or free speech. Also parental autonomy being supplanted by educator autonomy.”

    As usual Debbie, you make grand sweeping insinuations/accusations with no substance. Can you cite any actual evidence of false information about sexual orientation being presented to school children by schools?

    “When government is asked to sanction it with all the rights and entitlements reserved throughout all of history for traditional marriage, then it is placing itself in the role of god-like protector and asking its people to accept something that many have well-reasoned reservations about. ”

    Like the reservations people had about inter-racial marriage Debbie? Again what specifically are these “well-reasoned reservations”? I have yet to hear a rational reason, let alone a “well-reasoned” one, for denying GLB couples the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage. Certainly none where presented at the Prop 8 trial.

    “Will it ultimately enhance the welfare of the people or harm it?”

    It will enhance it. No credible rationale has been presented to show how same-gender marriage would harm society even though many people have tried to show such harm.

    “Does it have relevance for my children and their children? I think it does. ”

    How do you think it is relevant Debbie?

    Why is it whenever glbt rights come up, you keep making these vague insinuations about “dire” threats to society that might happen if gays where to be treated equally Debbie? Your posts never have any substance, just fear-mongering. Why are you so frightened of the prospect of gays being treated as human beings equal to straights?

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Maybe the problem with the ongoing debates over sexual orientation is that we cannot separate one issue from another. We can’t do anything about the injustices contained in DADT (for example) because it’s really just a trojan horse for gay marriage (the same with civil unions or anti-discrimination laws or clergy ordination or whatever).

    RE: my marriage and my family and others like it. I’m sorry that you and others like you feel threatened by my marriage. I’m also saddened that you want my family to be a series of legally neutered strings with no protections nor rights nor responsibilities. I’m glad that my family is legally protected, just like I’m glad that your family and other families share the legal rights, responsiblities, and protections of marriage. You can accept my family or tolerate it or not. I don’t really care.

    RE: schools. That’s great that you home-schooled and sent your kids to private school. When other parents send their kids to a school (public or private or charter), they give up some control. Some sort of entity will decide what will be taught in the schools that they have authority over.

  • Debbie Thurman

    As usual Debbie, you make grand sweeping insinuations/accusations with no substance. Can you cite any actual evidence of false information about sexual orientation being presented to school children by schools?

    GLSEN’s school reading list. The GLBT Educator’s Caucus, formed in 1987. California’s SB 777. Virginia Uribe’s iconic status. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Fields v. Palmdale School District (2005). The court ruled that parental autonomy in raising children “does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door,” and that a public school has the right to provide its students with “whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise.”

    Stuff like that.

    Why is it whenever glbt rights come up, you keep making these vague insinuations about “dire” threats to society that might happen if gays where to be treated equally Debbie?

    “Dire threats?” That’s BS, Ken. I said caution is needed to determine what the implications of sweeping changes might be. Your “fright” tactic is equally devoid of truth, as is the implication that I believe gays are less than human.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Maybe the problem with the ongoing debates over sexual orientation is that we cannot separate one issue from another.

    Agreed. Specifically folks are having trouble separating the movement from the individuals, who may not even want to be part of it. Each should elicit an appropriate response. Individual gays have the right to a life without discrimination. The gay-rights movement is a discretionary thing. It can overstep its bounds, just as the resulting push back can. Real people with real needs get caught in the middle.

    We can wax on about this forever. Rather than asking me to keep expounding on this blog or any other, why not go read my book?

    I’m sorry that you and others like you feel threatened by my marriage.

    Your marriage is no threat to me, Jon. Gay marriage being codified into law presents the possibility of shifts in marital stability overall. And healthy marriages are good for society, economically and socially.

  • Jayhuck

    Government is facilitating “acceptance” of homosexuality and not just avoidance of discrimination in employment or housing, foremost in laws and funding impacting public education. Gay marriage also is a social/moral issue, but the government is being asked to determine how many rights and entitlements preserved for married couples ought to extend to gay couples.

    The government has to be asked this Debbie because Marriage is not just a religious issue it is a secular, governmental issue as well. I’m not sure what your point is here.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    No offense, Debbie, but I’m not going to get your book.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    “GLSEN’s school reading list.”

    Don’t have any problem with it. I have found nothing in the GLSEN reading list that wasn’t available IN THE PUBLIC LIBRARY, most of which is available in the YOUNG ADULT/JUVENILE sections.

    “The GLBT Educator’s Caucus, formed in 1987.”

    Don’t know anything about them.

    “California’s SB 777.”

    Again, I don’t have a problem with it. Why do you have a problem with treating people equally?

    “Virginia Uribe’s iconic status”

    I think she deserves the recognition.

    “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Fields v. Palmdale School District (2005). The court ruled that parental autonomy in raising children “does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door,” and that a public school has the right to provide its students with “whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise.”

    Yup and it also said: “”Meyer and Pierce do not encompass [the] broad-based right [the parent-plaintiffs seek] to restrict the flow of information in the public schools.””

    “Stuff like that.”

    None of which addresses my question which was do you have any evidence of schools providing false information regarding sexual orientation? All you did was throw out a bunch of terms thinking you’ve proved something, but you haven’t.

    ” “Dire threats?” That’s BS, Ken. I said caution is needed to determine what the implications of sweeping changes might be.”

    No Debbie, you do far more than that. You insinuate that gay rights could threaten our national security, That gay marriage could somehow harm the institution of marriage. Never actually saying anything of substance. Just making vague allusions and letting people’s fears do the rest. Hence why I called it fear-mongering.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Your marriage is no threat to me, Jon. Gay marriage being codified into law presents the possibility of shifts in marital stability overall. And healthy marriages are good for society, economically and socially.

    Wow. I was surprised by this statement of yours. It is wonderfully worded and I couldn’t agree more :)

  • Debbie Thurman

    Never actually saying anything of substance.

    I offer 296 pages of substance, which Jon refuses to read. You can join him in that, if you like. However, you cannot accuse me with impunity of having nothing of substance to say if you do.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    “I offer 296 pages of substance, which Jon refuses to read. You can join him in that, if you like. However, you cannot accuse me with impunity of having nothing of substance to say if you do.”

    Sure I can Debbie. My comments are in regards to your posts HERE in this BLOG. You have yet to post anything of substance. And based on your posts here I doubt your book would contain anything of relevance either.

    Nor do I care about your religious views. I already know I don’t share them.

  • Debbie Thurman

    My comments are in regards to your posts HERE in this BLOG. You have yet to post anything of substance.

    Then why are you obsessed with this non-substance? It’s nothingness.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    “Then why are you obsessed with this non-substance? It’s nothingness.”

    Because I think it is a dishonest “debate style.” You are pandering to people’s fears and prejudices without actually saying anything. Without actually committing to anything so you can later claim “I never said that.” And it reveals more about you than you think Debbie.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    I offer 296 pages of substance, which Jon refuses to read. You can join him in that, if you like. However, you cannot accuse me with impunity of having nothing of substance to say if you do.

    Debbie: I discussing this with you here on this blog. I asked a couple questions of you here, but mostly was offering my opinion. If you don’t want to discuss this issue with me, that’s cool. But do I really need to read your entire bibliography first in order to discuss issues with you? Also, what exactly do you think your book will explain to me that you can’t do here in the course of a coversation?

  • hazemyth

    While your distinction between legal discrimination and social acceptance is well taken, Professor, in practice these things do not so cleanly divide. An end to any discriminatory regime requires a certain minimum of acceptance.

    Racial discrimination seems rational and non-invidious if you believe, as a matter of fact, that people of different races are born with different capacities and different deserves. Overcoming it requires that you first accept that people of all races have the same human deserve.

    Discrimination against gay persons, couples and families is justified in the perception of these things as fundamentally different from their straight counterparts. To agree that we should not discriminate between gays and straights, we would have to first agree that they are fundamentally comparable.

    At the least, it means accepting that, say, a soldier’s (or employee’s) sexuality is not relevant to the task in question. This will not be apparent to those that regard homosexuality as a socially destructive ill. It would first require an acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual persons as basically okay (or non-threatening), even if they were nonetheless, on some level, disagreeable.

    This should, of course, be possible. Really, we already have an excellent model for it in our freedom of religion. We are (most of us) able to say that a Muslim person may be both accepted and valued in our societies (Islam and all). The same might go for families, mosques, charities or any other religious body.

    Doing so still allows for disagreement. It does not constitute proselytization on behalf of The Prophet or a refutation of the belief that all people should find salvation in Christ. It is not, however, congruent with any attempt to bar Muslims from the commons, or to deny Muslim persons or groups the same privileges and protections granted to others.

    But that does require a certain minimum threshold of acceptance.

  • Debbie Thurman

    You’re raising red flags, Ken. My comments here go back to 2008. To think that you have taken the time to evaluate them all makes you out to be a bit of a cyber-stalker.

    Let’s try this. We’ll have you give us a substantive, detailed comment on why gay marriage is a good thing, how it will benefit society. Take any tack you want.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Also, what exactly do you think your book will explain to me that you can’t do here in the course of a coversation?

    Even Warren’s epic blog could not accommodate so epic a conversation. Are you saying we should get rid of books and just have conversations instead?

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    I’m saying that it’s a nice (and yet oddly self-serving) way for someone to bring a conversation to a halt. “I wrote a book. Read it and then get back to me.”

    What are you hoping I will learn from your book?

  • Debbie Thurman

    “I wrote a book. Read it and then get back to me.”

    It was a suggestion, and not presented as you blithely paraphrase it here.

    What are you hoping I will learn from your book?

    Perhaps something along the lines of this.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    In that little write up about your book you say:

    “In effect, we have pushed many toward the secular gay community as their only option for support.”

    Are you suggesting that there aren’t any gay Christians, or Jews Or Muslims or Buddhists, etc?? What do you mean by saying secular gay community? There are plenty of religious institutions that are open and welcoming to gay people

  • Jayhuck

    I am SO incredibly tired of some conservative Christians thinking they have a monopoly on faith or belief or devotion to God. Your book seems to be one about teaching some people to be more understanding and loving towards their gay neighbor yet you mis-characterize the gay community as entirely secular. That is offensive

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    I understand that you probably didn’t write that article, but the “moral poverty of the gay-rights movement”? Also, I checked out your website and didn’t find the 10 Do’s and Don’t’s that was referenced in the article.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    At the same time, people of faith are justifiably nervous over the moral poverty of the gay-rights movement and its advances into our cultural institutions.

    I’m with Jon here. What the heck do you mean by moral poverty? And the article should read SOME people of faith are nervous, most definitely not all have the same problems you and possibly some of your readers do. Ugh!

  • Debbie Thurman

    Your book seems to be one about teaching some people to be more understanding and loving towards their gay neighbor yet you mis-characterize the gay community as entirely secular.

    Not so. You inferred that.

    I checked out your website and didn’t find the 10 Do’s and Don’t’s that was referenced in the article.

    It’s here.

    Jon, there is moral poverty in the gay-rights movement, just as there is moral poverty in the Church.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    I inferred it because it was implied by that article. There are many gay people who are IN the Church. The segment of Christianity that truly has had a problem with this issue, and I’m assuming it will provide most of your readers, is the conservative segment.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    But the neither the article nor you mentioned the moral poverty of the Church, you only used those words when describing the gay community. Perhaps next time you should be a little more clear. I’m already turned off by what I know of this book.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    “You’re raising red flags, Ken.”

    and what specifically are these red flags Debbie.

    ” My comments here go back to 2008. To think that you have taken the time to evaluate them all makes you out to be a bit of a cyber-stalker.”

    I’ve read them Debbie and your style has changed little. And it is a style I’ve seen many times before at Focus on the family, AFA, NOW and other such anti-gay orgs.

    “Let’s try this. We’ll have you give us a substantive, detailed comment on why gay marriage is a good thing, how it will benefit society. Take any tack you want.”

    Not a problem. Marriage, in general, benefits the individuals involved and society as a whole. It benefits the individuals by providing more stable economic environment as well as physical and emotional stability. Society as a whole benefits because it has a more stable and productive citizens, which is why the government has an interest in promoting these long-term, stable relationships via civil marriage. Further, the GENDER of the couples involved in these relationships is irrelevant in the government’s interest in supporting these relationships. Note, to be clear, I’m referring to marriage overall, obviously there will always be individual cases where the marriage didn’t benefit the couple or society as a whole.

  • Debbie Thurman

    I inferred it because it was implied by that article. There are many gay people who are IN the Church. The segment of Christianity that truly has had a problem with this issue, and I’m assuming it will provide most of your readers, is the conservative segment.

    Jayhuck, the book has an entire chapter about gay Christians. Maybe somebody does need to read it.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Marriage, in general, benefits the individuals involved and society as a whole. It benefits the individuals by providing more stable economic environment as well as physical and emotional stability. Society as a whole benefits because it has a more stable and productive citizens, which is why the government has an interest in promoting these long-term, stable relationships via civil marriage. Further, the GENDER of the couples involved in these relationships is irrelevant in the government’s interest in supporting these relationships.

    This is your substantive answer, Ken? Marriage is good for society. Agreed. How is gay marriage part of the equation? “Further, the GENDER of the couples involved in these relationships is irrelevant in the government’s interest in supporting these relationships.” How? Why? Where is your support for such a statement? It’s your opinion only. Your opinions have substance and mine don’t? Is that a sexist thing? Or a gay thing?

  • Ann

    John Trouten,

    Fortunately or unfortunately, I am a stuck in the mud traditionalist about most things. There is a lot for me to learn and understand about others. Having been involved in one way or another with foster care, I just want to thank you and Mark from the bottom of my heart for your involvement in foster care, for loving and taking care of your boys, and for your faith.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Thanks Ann. I wish more people would step up and help kids who need a temporary home while their parents work on their issues. :)

  • Jayhuck

    Jayhuck, the book has an entire chapter about gay Christians. Maybe somebody does need to read it.

    Then Why, in that article, is the gay community referred to as “secular”?

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Debbie: Here are some reasons.

    1. Promotion of monogamy amongst the gay community will help to reduce incidents of HIV and other STD infections.

    2. Gay kids will have something concrete to wait for like their straight peers (AKA their wedding night) to postpone sexual activity.

    3. As seen in Massachusettes and already being seen here in Iowa, annual marriage numbers are up and divorce numbers are down since gays have been allowed to marry.

    4. Gay spouses are financially responsible for their spouse’s medical and spending debt, whereas before they weren’t and could fairly easily move on from debt much easier.

    5. Promotion of marriage will hopefully reduce incidents of living together and early sexual activity among both gay and het teens and young adults.

    Do you want me to continue?

    It will take time to turn around trends, but consistent promotion of marriage should have an effect on both gay and het communities.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    I’m sorry, but the wording in that article about your book is just, well, the words are poorly chosen it seems.

    Must we fight gay pride and anger with righteous pride and anger?” Thurman asks.

    This suggests that gay pride and anger is somehow not righteous, doesn’t it. That there somehow is no righteousness in the gay community, just in the anti-gay camps?

    I have a feeling that that is not what you meant when you said this, but like calling the gay community secular, these kinds of things don’t help foster a desire to dialogue.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    I culled this from a description of your book from Amazon:

    In the book, the author painstakingly scrutinizes homosexuality as a philosophy, a lifestyle, and a quest for supra-constitutional rights. She examines four major societal areas of concern, and the impact the gay rights agenda is having on each: the media, the education system, the medical/mental health establishment, and the Church.

    I have a feeling there’s nothing in your book that I haven’t heard before. It boils down to Love the sinner but hate the sin, right? I’m curious to know exactly what you say about the “gay rights agenda” but like I said before, I’m sure it isn’t anything I haven’t already heard. Sigh

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    “This is your substantive answer, Ken? Marriage is good for society. Agreed. How is gay marriage part of the equation?”

    In the same way straight marriage is Debbie. It provides the same stablizing benefits. Ex the economic benefits of shared resources. How does gender make any difference in that aspect?

    ““Further, the GENDER of the couples involved in these relationships is irrelevant in the government’s interest in supporting these relationships.” How? Why? Where is your support for such a statement? ”

    2 people marry, they now have the benefits of pooled resources. For example, Person A marries person B. Now person B can be claimed on person A’s health plan and saving on overall health insurance costs. They take that extra savings and are able to purchase a (better) home. putting down roots (and greater stability i n the community). Note that in this (and most other examples of the benefits of marriage) the gender of A and B wasn’t mentioned. Because it doesn’t matter whether the couple is male-female, male-male, or female-female.

    I see no way that the gender of those 2 people in anyway effects this fact. as far as support, nothing in the benefits I described are effected by the specific genders of the couples involved. As far as other support that gay marriage bebefits the couples involved, there was quite a bit of it in the Prop 8 trial testimony (as I recall you couldn’t be bothered to read it when it was presented here). Even the defenses “expert” (Blankenhorn) was forced to admit that the benefits of marriage would apply to gay couples as well.

  • Debbie Thurman

    As far as other support that gay marriage bebefits the couples involved, there was quite a bit of it in the Prop 8 trial testimony (as I recall you couldn’t be bothered to read it when it was presented here). Even the defenses “expert” (Blankenhorn) was forced to admit that the benefits of marriage would apply to gay couples as well.

    Thanks for pointing out the hypocrisy that this discussion reeks of, Ken. We’ll recall how I was taken to task for refusing to read Judge Walker’s decision. I said I already knew the redundant arguments and that I disagreed with them. You may feel the same about what you think my book says. That applies to Jayhuck, too. Folks at either extreme are not my target audience, obviously.

    Your argument above only says that marriage benefits are good for gay couples. That’s not the question. How is gay marriage good for society? Why does gender not matter in parenting? The answer can’t be “because no studies have shown it to be yet.” That jury is way out still. We have not had enough time to study it adequately. But I’ll give you two studies that raise red flags.

    You may recall that there was evidence in the most recent follow-up report from the National Lesbian Longitudinal Family Study (the NLLFS is now 17 years out) that nearly 19% of the adolescent girls in those families identified as bisexual, modeling some of the lesbian behavior of their parents. That’s a ripple in the sociological ocean, the significance of which we cannot yet know. Warren had a blog post on it.

    You also may recall Elizabeth Saewyc’s (Canada’s McCreary Institute) adolescent suicide risk study, if you know of it. It showed that, since 1992, teen lesbian and especially bisexual suicidal thoughts or attempts have significantly increased. Can we extrapolate, or at least hypothesize from these two facts that gay marriage may have a deleterious effect on society, then?

  • Debbie Thurman

    This suggests that gay pride and anger is somehow not righteous, doesn’t it. That there somehow is no righteousness in the gay community, just in the anti-gay camps?

    I have a feeling that that is not what you meant when you said this, but like calling the gay community secular, these kinds of things don’t help foster a desire to dialogue.

    Jayhuck, I learned long before now that there are not enough years in any one lifetime to chose the right words that will satisfy the likes of you.

    The gay community has been blinded by its own anger and rhetoric, as have some on the far right who are anti-gay. There are strong secular underpinnings to the gay-rights movement. You know that. The Christian gay movement has only risen to any prominence fairly recently. Is it a “righteous” movement? It relies on theological interpretations that are far outside the mainstream. There is a certain amount of desperation in it. That’s the movement, a political and social force. Yet, it is an understandable one.

    Gay Christian people, isolated as individuals, are another matter. Within that population are some who are seriously searching for truth and understanding. Often, they have been wounded by the Church. The correct response to them is compassion and patience, as long as they are in a place where they have not quenched the Spirit or are leading others astray. The Church takes its instruction in these matters from Paul’s teaching in passages like 2 Timothy 4:2-4 or Ephesians 4:22-32.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Jon’s reasons in support of gay marriage are thoughtful and worthy of consideration:

    1. Promotion of monogamy amongst the gay community will help to reduce incidents of HIV and other STD infections.

    2. Gay kids will have something concrete to wait for like their straight peers (AKA their wedding night) to postpone sexual activity.

    3. As seen in Massachusettes and already being seen here in Iowa, annual marriage numbers are up and divorce numbers are down since gays have been allowed to marry.

    4. Gay spouses are financially responsible for their spouse’s medical and spending debt, whereas before they weren’t and could fairly easily move on from debt much easier.

    5. Promotion of marriage will hopefully reduce incidents of living together and early sexual activity among both gay and het teens and young adults.

    Jon, you and Mark are an example of a gay couple that wants to lead the way in assuring the world they have nothing to fear from gay marriage. You are a compelling example.

    It seems to me that both the gay and straight populations are cursed with the same inconvenient problem, i.e., lust that leads to unsafe sex with multiple partners far too often. Where you have the edge over us is in unwanted pregnancies, a huge problem in itself. Except that is happening among bisexual kids, or those wanting to “prove” they are straight. Also, the unknown, fuzzy-middle bisexual population is likely the most problematic of all. It is a thorn in the side of AIDS activists and, as I pointed out above, presents its own set of mental health problems.

    Since heterosexuals have done a miserable job with marriage, why should we believe gays will be any better at it? Human nature is not somehow different when one is gay, is it?

    Hope is a very big word. If the only hope for gay youth is in looking forward to same-sex marriage, then what do you say to those Christian gays who believe their hope in Christ compels them to remain celibate? And what do you say to those who are on a journey out of homosexuality altogether? How do I fit into the equation?

    We don’t have all the pieces neatly fit together yet, it seems.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    My husband is a bisexual male. Bisexuality doesn’t mean “scoring anything with two legs”. It means being attractive to both genders. And just because some kid claims a bisexual identity, doesn’t mean that they are sexually active (or even bisexually sexually active) or that they can’t be monogamous.

    You brought up the 1992 stats as a reason against gays marrying, even though marriage wasn’t legal in Canada when those stats began. I’d like to know if they offered any ideas why those stats were increasing.

    As far as celibacy goes, there are many people who believe that Christ calls them to be either celibate or chaste. I respect their journey. But why should their religious journey preclude me from marrying my husband.

    As far as the ex-gay thing, I respect people going down that journey (though I have a problem when they insist I need to go down that same path…). However, why does their ex-gay journey preclude me from marrying my husband?

  • stephen

    I don’t read that quote of Reagan’s as being in any way meaning he was ‘for’ anything. He says he’s against ‘discrimination’ and then avoids making an answer. It seems to me that Mondale is mis-remembering. Also, the quote comes from 27 years ago. Much has happened since. I can’t think why it could be relevant now.

    My husband and I celebrated our 41st anniversary yesterday. We married legally in Canada as soon as marriage equality became legal and look forward to the day it becomes legal in the country in which we live, work, and pay taxes. Civil marriage: nothing to do with the churches: they can do what they think is appropriate: no one wants to force them to do anything. It’s too bad that our civil rights in a secular society have become entangled in the money-making machine of the Republican party and entrepreneurial ‘ministries’; Eddie Long and Ted Haggard spring to mind; that our lives should have to provide the income for people like Bryan Fischer and Maggie Srivastav – to use her married name, of which she seems to be strangely ashamed. Because really, apart from those directly affected, our marriage doesn’t AFFECT ANYONE ELSE IN ANY WAY.

    As to schools and what to tell the children (a familiar worry: “What if I still can’t spew my distorted factoids and rant at will?”), all of our various nephews, nieces, and great- versions of same – who call us their GGUs, great-gay-uncles – have no trouble at all. In fact they’re very loving and proud of our achievements. I daresay young people who are condemned to for-profit temples of ignorance like Liberty U will be taught differently but I can’t do anything about that. If people want to cripple their children with the fears and phobias of yesterday that’s their business. I daresay my deploring such parents pretty much balances how they deplore my ‘lifestyle’ so it’s a wash. And if they can see marriage equality as being damaging to society I can view generations of otherwise bright and articulate young people taught to be entirely ignorant of the world, of science and the arts, to believe said world is 6,000 years old and that God hid fossils in the rocks during the flood when the dinosaurs were wiped out, I can believe that to be a monstrous harm to society. I just wish people would stop trying to legislate personal conviction and prejudice into law.

    But for the Reagan thing, no, I don’t see that quoted conversation as indicating that he was in any way in favor of stopping the discrimination against us. Given his background and generation I should think he would have been startled by the question. He sounds startled. So far as his Hollywood was concerned we were fine so long as we stayed in the closet where we belonged. Or out raising money for him. He had many gay men working for him. I know a few of them.

    Come to think of it, as far as Hollywood and the Republican party are concerned it’s not that different now.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Hope is a very big word. If the only hope for gay youth is in looking forward to same-sex marriage…

    I missed this phrase earlier. I think you mistake my advocacy. I don’t believe that marriage is the only hope available for teens, gay or otherwise. I also don’t believe that marriage is the only available journey for people.

    Paul wrote that it’s better for people to remain celibate and chaste, but acknowledged that celibacy is not for everyone. That’s where marriage comes in. (1 Corin 7:8-9) Too often the church and society both push marriage for unsuited hets and celibacy for unsuited gays, while ignoring the other options available for folks.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    stephen – I don’t Reagan was a champion of gay causes but I think he meant what he said about discrimination, at least in the workplace and housing, because he had already put his career on the line to oppose the Briggs Initiative in CA. He had absolutely nothing to gain from that move.

  • Debbie Thurman

    My husband is a bisexual male. Bisexuality doesn’t mean “scoring anything with two legs”. It means being attractive to both genders. And just because some kid claims a bisexual identity, doesn’t mean that they are sexually active (or even bisexually sexually active) or that they can’t be monogamous.

    You are boxing the air here, Jon. I didn’t make those claims.

    You brought up the 1992 stats as a reason against gays marrying, even though marriage wasn’t legal in Canada when those stats began. I’d like to know if they offered any ideas why those stats were increasing.

    Saewyc and her team had no explanation for what they found.

    As far as celibacy goes, there are many people who believe that Christ calls them to be either celibate or chaste. I respect their journey. But why should their religious journey preclude me from marrying my husband.

    Never said it did. These people represent another dimension, that’s all. We don’t talk about Side A and Side B in the straight world. Christian gays do, however. So it must be significant for them.

    As far as the ex-gay thing, I respect people going down that journey (though I have a problem when they insist I need to go down that same path…). However, why does their ex-gay journey preclude me from marrying my husband?

    You and I both have a problem with that insisting. Again, formerly gay people represent another dimension, another form of hope. The gay community has all but hidden that option from gay youth. Think of the challenges for a youth pastor today, who most certainly has kids who see themselves as gay under his charge. To be fair, he would have to counsel them on all their possible paths.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Debbie: You seem to be ducking and weaving a bit yourself. Is it a strike against gay marriage for teens to claim a bisexual identity or not? Are stats for suicide attempts/thoughts among lesbian and bi girls being used as an argument against gay marriage or not? If not, then they are just insubstantial distractions in the guise of arguments being used against gays marrying.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Is it a strike against gay marriage for teens to claim a bisexual identity or not? Are stats for suicide attempts/thoughts among lesbian and bi girls being used as an argument against gay marriage or not?

    I am pointing out that these things merit our attention and closer scrutiny, Jon. That they may be reasons to cautiously proceed with promoting gay marriage. You are asking me to make declarations when I have clearly said more time is needed to study the issue. Perhaps you’d like to interview those from your own community who counsel caution themselves.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 8:47 am

    “Thanks for pointing out the hypocrisy that this discussion reeks of, Ken. We’ll recall how I was taken to task for refusing to read Judge Walker’s decision. I said I already knew the redundant arguments and that I disagreed with them. ”

    1st, no one was asking you to PAY to read the transcripts (payments that would financially benefit the person asking you to pay for them). 2nd, I’m talking about the transcripts, where the EXPERT WITNESSES provided evidence of the arguments (evidence you keep demanding, then refuse to read).

    Finally, I’m very familiar with your opinions Debbie and the prejudices behind them, so no I’m not interested in paying you to read more about them.

    “Your argument above only says that marriage benefits are good for gay couples. That’s not the question. How is gay marriage good for society?”

    Because STABLE, COMMITTED COUPLES ARE GOOD FOR SOCIETY regardless of whether they are gay or straight couples. The arguments ARE THE SAME.

    “Why does gender not matter in parenting? The answer can’t be “because no studies have shown it to be yet.” That jury is way out still. We have not had enough time to study it adequately. But I’ll give you two studies that raise red flags.”

    I deliberately didn’t discuss children because the topic was marriage. The jury is only out i your mind Debbie, because you have such an anti-gay bias that unless there is absolute proof of a positive outcome (and even when there is) you automatically assume the worst when it comes to glbt people. You still can’t see how in all your arguments gay people have to prove their worthiness to you, while you automatically give straight people the benefit of the doubt. And even when evidence is presented you refuse to believe it. All of the evidence to date shows that children raised by gay parents are just has healthy and stable as children raised by straight parents. However, that’s not enough for you, because you can’t accept that gay parents can be just as good (or bad) as straight parents. You aren’t interested in using the research the way it should be used, to help parents be better parents. You are only interested in it if you can use it to support your own personal biases.

    As I said the topic is gay marriage, not gay parenting (a different topic). But in the case of gay parents, I would say (as have others who have studied the issue), that the children in those situations would be better off if their parents could marry. Do you disagree? (remember the situation is that a gay couple ARE parents, the question is whether the children would be better off or not if their parents could marry).

    “Can we extrapolate, or at least hypothesize from these two facts that gay marriage may have a deleterious effect on society, then?”

    The flaw in your theory is that direct research runs contrary to your hypothesis (that gay marriage will lead to increased suicidal behaviour among adolescents). Increased suicidal behaviour would be a pretty significant adjustment issue for adolescents. Yet NONE of the research into gay parenting has found any such increase.

  • Debbie Thurman

    As I said the topic is gay marriage, not gay parenting (a different topic).

    Why would you want to separate parenting out from marriage, Ken? Are you in support of gay parenting apart from marriage for some odd reason? Marriage quite often leads to parenting. It’s how we perpetuate civilization.

    By the way, you can read lots of my book at Amazon.com for free, should you wish to.

    This discussion is yet another of those endless circles this blog represents. Folks just chase their tails here. Have we caught ours yet?

  • stephen

    Maybe, Warren, but I don’t get that. The word ‘homosexual’ seems to startle him. He asks for the question to be repeated. He then utters the usual politician’s blather, deploring discrimination in principle without mentioning those being discriminated against. True, he doesn’t run out of the room as some others might have done. And if he voted against Briggs then good for him. Of course, things weren’t quite so bad then. He had more leeway than he would have today.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 10:24 am

    “Saewyc and her team had no explanation for what they found.”

    That’s not quite accurate, Saewyc et. al. did suggest it was do to social stigma:

    From: “Gender Differences in Health and Risk Behaviors

    Among Bisexual and Homosexual Adolescents” ELIZABETH M. SAEWYC, et. al.

    JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT HEALTH 1998;23:181–188

    (you can get a pdf of the article by searching the title and getting it from thre http://www.ucm.es site):

    1st page of the article 2nd column:

    As with those who bear other socially stigmatized

    characteristics such as disability, race, or even obesity

    (5), youth who identify as bisexual or homosexual

    are at increased risk for adverse physical, social,

    and psychological outcomes.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Ken, she couldn’t explain the bisexual female spike.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 11:48 am

    “Why would you want to separate parenting out from marriage, Ken?”

    Because they are not the same. Being parents has never been a requirement of marriage. Many people marry who have no intention of being parents. Many people are parents but have no intention of (or in some cases aren’t able to) marrying.

    “Are you in support of gay parenting apart from marriage for some odd reason?”

    No, I think children of gay parents would be better if their parents could marry and I said so in the post you where responding to. However, you never answered my question:

    Do you believe children of gay parents would be better off if their parents were allowed to marry?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Your question has caveats. By “children of gay parents” you mean biological children of one parent or adopted children. Same-sex couples cannot have children. I don’t support surrogate parenting or artificial insemination with anonymous sperm or egg donors. So, in the one case, a child’s parents would have already had to divorce. That’s not a good thing. Playing God by making babies in labs is a slippery slope. Look at the child custody cases that option has launched. Gays who adopt are at the top of the list for me, since a very good case can be made that they are giving those children a better life than what they would have in revolving foster care.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    RE: surrogacies and artificial insemination and resulting legal custody issues that have arisen in these situations. Part of the problem is that the law isn’t consistent. I know you (Debbie) know of the Lisa Miller case and I’m not going to get into all the details and whatnot, but part of the reason for the ambiguity centers on the issue of whether both parents are legal parents as the child was brought into a “civilly unioned” family. If a het couple did the same thing in a marital relationship, there wouldn’t be any question of the legal or parental responsibilities should the married couple break-up.

    I guess there are two morals:

    1. Gay couples (even married couples and civil unioned couples) should go through second-parent adoption procedures in these situations in order to nail down the parental rights of the non-biological parent.

    2. Gay couples can be equally adept at screwing over their former spouses when it comes to child custody as het couples are. Once again, CYA whenever possible to establish parental responsibility while things are good in anticipation for a possible turn-around in the relationship.

  • Ann

    Because STABLE, COMMITTED COUPLES ARE GOOD FOR SOCIETY regardless of whether they are gay or straight couples. The arguments ARE THE SAME.

    Ken,

    I don’t think a couple have to be married to have the qualities you cite. Currently, in most states, marriage is reserved and held to the tradition (in many cases, sanctity) of being between one man and one woman. That does not preclude other couples to be stable and commited.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Yes, Jon, non-biological gay parents who are not advised to adopt are being ill-advised. These custody cases resulting from break-ups, the long-running Miller-Jenkins one being ground zero, illustrate the heart-wrenching realities that these children could be subjected to. I think one of the biggest reasons for caution in moving forward with gay marriage is the dilemma of 50 states potentially at legal odds with one another. That sets up the possibility of federal intervention going one way or the other.

  • Ann

    Sorry – “to be stable and commited” should say “from being stable and commited”

  • Ann

    Until there is a definitive, conclusive, and universally accepted agreement about the cause(s) of homosexuality, there will never be agreement on any of the issues attached to it – marriage, adoption, DADT, etc. For now, there are only opinions, thoughts, theories based on fractional science, and a lot of contention.

  • stephen

    Marriage law is of course a federal law. Whatever laws the individual states enact are pretty meaningless in the real world. My own marriage is recognized by our home state, NY, but that means almost nothing in a practical sense. Perhaps if we had children it might mean more. The US recognizes legal marriages from other countries, Canada for example, unless they are same -sex marriages. The federal law has to change if we’re to get past this spurious ‘problem’ and get on with our lives like adults.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Ann has hit on the crux of the matter.

  • Ann

    Debbie,

    Thank you – I have said the same thing many times now and it is always met with, well, contention. I appreciate your acknowledegment. I would also like to add that no matter what anyone says now or in the future about homosexuality, it’s origins, and anything attached to it – it will have no affect on those individuals who have made the personal decision to live a life they value, one that might no longer include a gay identity or same gender coupling. For others it might not matter either as they are already living lives they value as same gender couples.

  • Ann

    Reagrding the topic of this thread :-)

    It is my understanding that Ronald Reagan had very emotionally humbling beginnings – often filled with shame. I don’t think he ever forgot it and it was also what filled him with the substance that made him great in so many ways. I have no knowledge or belief that he would have been dicrimminating against gays. He seemed to always look beyond any perceived limitation (by oneself or others) to the human potential. Discrimmination would contradict that. It could be said that he discrimminated against those who took advantage of the welfare system or who had abortions as a means of birth control – I think it was because he saw the potential in every human that he fought these things that were stagnating or limiting. I still remember him taking that resume from a bystander who attended his speech. He didn’t ask him any personal questions, rather, told him he would pass it on to help him.

  • Ann

    The federal law has to change if we’re to get past this spurious ‘problem’ and get on with our lives like adults.

    Stephen,

    The law might change and it might not – it has nothing to do with living lives as adults.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    In my mind, it really doesn’t matter what the cause for homosexuality is. Our family bonds are real and should be respected as such.

  • Ann

    In my mind, it really doesn’t matter what the cause for homosexuality is. Our family bonds are real and should be respected as such.

    John Trouten,

    Right – I said something similiar in my post

    For others it might not matter either as they are already living lives they value as same gender couples.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    “Ken,

    I don’t think a couple have to be married to have the qualities you cite.”

    “Have to be married” no. But the government interest in marriage has been to promote these values because it helps the individuals involved and society as a whole. However, I was asked how gay marriage benefits society, and the simple answer is for all the same reasons straight marriage benefits society.

    “Currently, in most states, marriage is reserved and held to the tradition (in many cases, sanctity) of being between one man and one woman. ”

    The “traditional” one man/one woman “definition” is a myth. That definition isn’t even 60 years old. Previously, the definition was one man and one women of the same race and before that it was one white man and one white woman. And aside from the changes in who could participate in a marriage, the meaning of a civil marriage (in regards to legal/government aspects) has changed from one where the wife was little more than the property of her husband, to one of an equal partnership.

  • Ann

    Ken,

    Specifically, what set of circumstances does anyone or everyone have to have to make them eligible for a civil marriage – the kind that promotes stability and that benefits society and is recognized by the law, with all the rights and entitlements that go with it?

  • ken

    stephen# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    “Marriage law is of course a federal law. ”

    No, actually marriage is a state law. And each state sets its own criteria for requirements of who is eligible to get married and marriage licenses are issued by the state government, not the federal government.

    While the federal government does have many laws that recognize marital status (tax laws, immigration laws etc), the federal government doesn’t define marriage but rather recognizes the state marriage licenses (with one exception.)

    DOMA is the federal law that specifically EXCLUDES gay marriage from federal marriage recognition. It has yet to be constitutionally challenged in the SCOTUS, (although, I believe there are some cases working their way through the courts)

    and I suspect that by the time it is challenged it will be over turned.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    “Ken,

    Specifically, what set of circumstances does anyone or everyone have to have to make them eligible for a civil marriage ”

    Eligibility requirements for marriage vary from state to state. The most common variables being minimum age and minimum level of consanguinity.

    ” – the kind that promotes stability and that benefits society and is recognized by the law, with all the rights and entitlements that go with it?”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. There is no “benefits test” to determine if an individual marriage would or would not benefit society.

  • Ann

    Ken,

    I see where I could have articulated better -

    Hypothetically, if the current eligibility requirements were put on hold, subject to better ones being proposed (no pun intended), specifically, what set of personal circumstances would anyone or everyone have to have to make them eligible for a civil marriage, – the kind that promotes stability and that benefits society and is recognized by the law, with all the rights and entitlements that go with it?

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    “if the current eligibility requirements were put on hold, subject to better ones being proposed (no pun intended), specifically, what set of personal circumstances would anyone or everyone have to have to make them eligible for a civil marriage, – the kind that promotes stability and that benefits society and is recognized by the law, with all the rights and entitlements that go with it?”

    I don’t know, nor do I think it would be a good idea to attempt what I think you are suggesting (that the government attempt to get into the business of deciding WHOSE marriages would be benefit society and thus be allowed vs. whose marriages would not benefit and thus not be allowed).

    To re-iterate what I said, in general marriage benefits society (i.e. that amount of good that comes from marriages significantly outweighs the amount of bad) and that this applies to couples regardless of gender. Further, these over-all benefits are why the government should be involved in civil marriage.

  • stephen

    Ken, perhaps technically it is a states matter – I’m not a native and find a lot of states v feds bewildering – but a legal marriage in NY state that does not allow us to file a federal tax return or qualify for the other benefits and responsibilities of marriage makes it, in my mind, a federal matter.

    The real trouble is that there is no problem. There is no controversy. It is all a fantasy. Hence my impatience.

    Ann, the topic of the post was not Reagan’s character but if the above quote showed a recognition on his part that gay people should not be discriminated against. I don’t think it does. Warren does.

  • Ann

    I don’t know, nor do I think it would be a good idea to attempt what I think you are suggesting (that the government attempt to get into the business of deciding WHOSE marriages would be benefit society and thus be allowed vs. whose marriages would not benefit and thus not be allowed).

    Ken,

    I am not suggesting at all that the government attempt to get into the business of deciding whose marriages would benefit society – I was asking for your opinion about what you think the qualifications are, if any, for anyone and everyone to be eligible for a civil marriage, recognized by law with all the benefits of it.

    To re-iterate what I said, in general marriage benefits society (i.e. that amount of good that comes from marriages significantly outweighs the amount of bad) and that this applies to couples regardless of gender. Further, these over-all benefits are why the government should be involved in civil marriage.

    Ok, but what kind of marriages besides one man and one woman benefits society? What personal or particular set of circumstances does anyone or everyone have to have to make them eligible to have a civil marriage, enjoyng all the benefits and rights of that union, in your opinion?

  • Ann

    Ann, the topic of the post was not Reagan’s character but if the above quote showed a recognition on his part that gay people should not be discriminated against. I don’t think it does. Warren does.

    Stephen,

    I think Reagan’s character speaks to the issue as to his thoughts on any kind of discrimination.

  • Ann

    sorry – got the block quotes mixed

    Ann, the topic of the post was not Reagan’s character but if the above quote showed a recognition on his part that gay people should not be discriminated against. I don’t think it does. Warren does.

    Stephen,

    I think Reagan’s character speaks to the issue as to his thoughts on any kind of discrimination.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    “I was asking for your opinion about what you think the qualifications are, if any, for anyone and everyone to be eligible for a civil marriage, recognized by law with all the benefits of it.”

    Personally, I think a minimum age of 18, no closer than 2nd cousins and not currently being married to anyone else.

    “Ok, but what kind of marriages besides one man and one woman benefits society?”

    one man and one man; one woman and one woman.

    ” What personal or particular set of circumstances does anyone or everyone have to have to make them eligible to have a civil marriage, enjoyng all the benefits and rights of that union, in your opinion?”

    what I mentioned above.

  • Ann

    one man and one man; one woman and one woman.

    What about the other set of circumstances people have that do not fit into this category – would you exclude them from the benefits of a civil marriage?

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    “What about the other set of circumstances people have that do not fit into this category – would you exclude them from the benefits of a civil marriage?”

    what other people/circumstances are you referring to?

  • Ann

    what other people/circumstances are you referring to?

    Any set of circumstances they have that fits their way of life and their definition of what marriage and family should be.

  • Ann

    Ken,

    You excluded anyone under the age of 18 and no more than 2nd cousins. If they have parental consent and/or are two consenting adults, why would you want to exclude them from a civil marriage – promoting the virtures of it that you cited?

  • Richard Willmer

    As far as what ‘benefits society’ is concerned …

    It does seem that, for whatever reason, some people simply ‘are’ L/G/B/T/I. From this premise (which is, I submit, a pretty incontrovertible one), one cannot, IMHO, help but to suppose that it is better for society that these people are given a fair opportunity to form stable, loving relationships that are recognized by the state. Such arrangements not only accord people both rights and responsibilities (something which is desirable in any nation aspiring to be a fully functioning democracy), but also can have such beneficial effects as reducing the pressure on public housing, the environment and health and human services. There are surely legal benefits too, both to the ‘high contracting parties’ and to society, such as the clarification of inheritance arrangements, etc..

    As far as the specific issue of adoption is concerned: the fundamental principle here must ultimately be ‘independent’ of any discussion of the ‘rights’ of prospective adoptive parents (‘gay’ or ‘straight’). What serves the best interests of each particular child must be the primary concern.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    “You excluded anyone under the age of 18 and no more than 2nd cousins. If they have parental consent and/or are two consenting adults, why would you want to exclude them from a civil marriage – promoting the virtures of it that you cited?”

    Personally I don’t think children should marry, do you? Given the divorce rates I don’t think children are mature enough to make such decisions.

    However, I’m not arguing for changes in the minimum age of consent (although, I probably would if it were still 12).

    Nor do I think brother and sisters (or brother and brother or sister and sister etc) should marry. Again do you? Are you arguing for that? I don’t think closer than 2nd cousins should marry (and many states agree with me on that).

  • Ann

    Ken,

    I am trying to discern from you (and anyone else) what the requirements are to make anyone or everyone eligible for a civil marriage or to exclude them from civil marriage. It is currently defined by most as a union between one man and one woman. If one does not fit this definition, they feel discriminated against. If those feeling discriminated against begin to discriminate against others, and they will, because their definition of marriage is different, then are we are left with the same issue of discrimination and might always be – what do we do with that?

  • Ann

    Richard Willmer,

    I understand. It still leaves open the issue of those that do not fit the mold of one man, one woman or two women or two men open for discrimination if they are not afforded equal rights.

  • Richard Willmer

    Ann

    I don’t quite follow.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    “If those feeling discriminated against begin to discriminate against others, and they will, because their definition of marriage is different, then are we are left with the same issue of discrimination and might always be – what do we do with that?”

    We examine whether the government has a legitimate interest in denying the right of marriage. For example, the government has an interest preventing incestuous relationships. Do you agree Ann?

    Other than gay couples who is it that you feel are being unjustly discriminated by marriage laws, Ann?

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    She’s making the argument that (1.) it’s okay to discriminate against gay couples when it comes to marriage because ultimately you need to make a line and that (2.) gay people and those who support marriage equality for gay people but set other limits are guilty of the same type of discrimination.

    I guess I would question if there’s a movement to accomodate marriages between siblings or children or androids (to cite a recent example by Protect Marriage Maryland) or whatever. I’m not aware of any such efforts to make such unions legal. If they do exist, I’d at least be open to listening to why they believe their relationships should be considered legal marriages.

    But I think it’s silly to assume that those interested in marriage equality for gays advocate for “anything goes” when it comes to marriage.

  • Ann

    She’s making the argument that (1.) it’s okay to discriminate against gay couples when it comes to marriage because ultimately you need to make a line and that (2.) gay people and those who support marriage equality for gay people but set other limits are guilty of the same type of discrimination.

    John Trouten,

    You are correct regarding your second comment.

  • Ann

    We examine whether the government has a legitimate interest in denying the right of marriage. For example, the government has an interest preventing incestuous relationships. Do you agree Ann?

    It really does not matter what I think – I am trying to discern what is fair and right – not just by how you or I think but by what others, who are in different situations, and think their reasoning is just as valid and yet, are faced with the same kind of discrimination. Who has the authority to say what is right or what is wrong when it comes to others wanting the same thing you and others want and say is right?

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Not necessarily, Ann. I’m not out there rallying for other configurations of marriage. But I’m open to their efforts, if they actually exisit. Are you aware of a movement of siblings who wish to marry? Or androids? I still might draw a line in the sand, but given the absence of any movement to marry siblings, I’m not sure it’s even worth the effort.

    (the kids marriage — in addition to the fact that I’m not aware of any effort for minors to marry — I’m quite fine with saying that they should wait until they turn 18 considering that they are legal minors and cannot enter into contracts by law)

    Are you suggesting that gay people and other advocates of marriage equality for gays should be actively working to open marriage to siblings and minors?

  • Ann

    Jon Trouten,

    How people and cultures, etc. want to define marriage will always be subjective and held up to scrutiny to those, regardless of their set of circumstances, and if they want to call it discrimination.

    Dinner is cooking, fire in fireplace is going, and Lakers are on so I will check back later.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    “It really does not matter what I think – I am trying to discern what is fair and right ”

    And what is fair and right about denying gays marriage Ann?

    “not just by how you or I think but by what others, who are in different situations, and think their reasoning is just as valid and yet, are faced with the same kind of discrimination.”

    Again I ask, Who are these others you are referring to?

    “Who has the authority to say what is right or what is wrong when it comes to others wanting the same thing you and others want and say is right?”

    Ultimately, the courts. However, rational people can certainly debate the issues.

  • Ann

    And what is fair and right about denying gays marriage Ann?

    Nothing Ken.

    Again I ask, Who are these others you are referring to?

    Anyone who has a different definition that fits their way of thinking of marriage.

    Ultimately, the courts. However, rational people can certainly debate the issues.

    Do you think the courts have the right to determine how you define marriage?

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 11, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    “Anyone who has a different definition that fits their way of thinking of marriage.”

    Unless you can actually mention specifics about these phantom “others” you are talking about then they are irrelevant to the discussion, which is about GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZED CIVIL MARRIAGE. Not what I personally consider a marriage, not what fundamentalist mormons think is a marriage, not what catholics think is a marriage, but WHO the state will allow to obtain a marriage license and all the rights, privileges, benefits and responsibilities that go with it.

    “Do you think the courts have the right to determine how you define marriage?”

    No the courts have the right to define GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZED CIVIL MARRIAGE.

  • Ann

    Not what I personally consider a marriage, not what fundamentalist mormons think is a marriage, not what catholics think is a marriage, but WHO the state will allow to obtain a marriage license and all the rights, privileges, benefits and responsibilities that go with it.

    Ok, and don’t the states already have that in place and isn’t that what is being challenged because it is considered discriminating to those that the states will not allow to obtain marriage licenses and all the rights, privileges, benefits and responsibilities that go with it?

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 12, 2011 at 10:09 am

    “Ok, and don’t the states already have that in place and isn’t that what is being challenged because it is considered discriminating to those that the states will not allow to obtain marriage licenses and all the rights, privileges, benefits and responsibilities that go with it?”

    By gay rights advocates, yes. I don’t know of any other group challenging US marriage laws.

  • Ann

    Unless you can actually mention specifics about these phantom “others” you are talking about then they are irrelevant to the discussion, which is about GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZED CIVIL MARRIAGE.

    Ken,

    Please don’t use caps – read the commenting guidelines.

    I understand you want specifics but that is not the point. I cannot possibly tell you all the reasons why someone would want to re-define marriage to accommodate their particular life style or beliefs. The point is that you are unwilling to grant others what you want for yourself – that can be perceived as discrimination. You cannot change the law or standard to expand your well being without inviting everyone to have the same privilegesor you are discriminating. If you want to change the definition of marriage, then leave it wide open for everyone and don’t hold one exception above others.

    If the current marriage laws in some states are considered discriminating, what would you propose instead for everyone and anyone who want to obtain a marriage license with all the rights, privileges, benefits, and responsibilities that go with it?

  • Ann

    By gay rights advocates, yes. I don’t know of any other group challenging US marriage laws.

    Right – because it is the law and they understand that. Change it or make exceptions to it to accommodate a re-defination of marriage, and the green light is on for others to challenge it and ultimately benefit from it – as it should be.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

    “The point is that you are unwilling to grant others what you want for yourself – that can be perceived as discrimination.”

    NONSENSE! You accuse me of discrimination and when I ask who I’m discriminating against you say “I don’t know, somebody.” What I am unwilling to do is say that anyone can marry anyone else in a CIVIL marriage for any reason. Because I DO recognize that the government DOES have legitimate reasons for denying some marriages (ex. with children or incestuous marriages). However, I have yet to see any legitimate reasons for denying gay couples civil marriage.

  • Ann

    Ken,

    Please read the commenting guidelines and stop using caps

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Ann – I think only in the last comment would ken have been shouting, the others I think were to make the words stand out for emphasis.

    However, I do ask that commenters refrain from use of caps.

  • Frank

    You have to understand where Debbie’s coming from. Her religious tradition legitimizes the incitement of ritual murder against gays, because her holy book contains such an incitement. She experiences even the contradiction of that idea as an attack on her rights.

    In the minds of rational people that would make her clinically insane and ready for a rubber room, but in the minds of her co-religionists it qualifies her as a mental health professional.

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    I don’t think a couple have to be married to have the qualities you cite. Currently, in most states, marriage is reserved and held to the tradition (in many cases, sanctity) of being between one man and one woman. That does not preclude other couples to be stable and commited.

    I think this is true to an extent, however the purpose of secular, not just religious marriage, is to encourage and further these qualities.

  • Jayhuck

    However, I have yet to see any legitimate reasons for denying gay couples civil marriage.

    Ken, that is absolutely true. There have been no rational, legitimate reasons for denying gay couples civil marriage.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Jayhuck, I learned long before now that there are not enough years in any one lifetime to chose the right words that will satisfy the likes of you.

    I am certain that you believe this! :)

    The gay community has been blinded by its own anger and rhetoric, as have some on the far right who are anti-gay. There are strong secular underpinnings to the gay-rights movement. You know that. The Christian gay movement has only risen to any prominence fairly recently. Is it a “righteous” movement? It relies on theological interpretations that are far outside the mainstream. There is a certain amount of desperation in it. That’s the movement, a political and social force. Yet, it is an understandable one.

    There are strong secular underpinnings to the straight community as well so I’m not sure what your point is here. There have always been gay Christian people, and gay people of other faiths, who have held beliefs that at other times might have been considered out of the mainstream. However, today, many mainstream Christians and Christian groups actually hold the belief that being gay is natural and who support pro-gay initiatives and who welcome gay people into their fold unconditionally. Groups that actually tell gay people there is nothing wrong with them.

    I find it amusing that you see desperation in parts of the Gay Christian movement. That is a statement I would expect to hear from someone “like you”.

    Gay Christian people, isolated as individuals, are another matter. Within that population are some who are seriously searching for truth and understanding. Often, they have been wounded by the Church. The correct response to them is compassion and patience, as long as they are in a place where they have not quenched the Spirit or are leading others astray. The Church takes its instruction in these matters from Paul’s teaching in passages like 2 Timothy 4:2-4 or Ephesians 4:22-32.

    As always, I find it interesting that you have no problems denigrating gay Christians who believe that living as a gay person is not a sin, yet it is only gay Christians who aren’t sure what the Truth is or who believe as you do who you label as “seriously searching for Truth and understanding”. So those who have struggled and searched and prayed and come to a conclusion different than yours, what do you say about them? Are they wrong because they don’t believe as you do?

    For the record, Paul said a great deal of things! And ALL Christians interpret the scriptures. So much so we now have thousands of Christian denominations that preach different, sometimes vastly different, understandings of the Bible.

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    Until there is a definitive, conclusive, and universally accepted agreement about the cause(s) of homosexuality, there will never be agreement on any of the issues attached to it – marriage, adoption, DADT, etc. For now, there are only opinions, thoughts, theories based on fractional science, and a lot of contention.

    I don’t think this is true. You under-estimate the power of Faith to sometimes get things wrong!

    We have proof that Evolution occurs, a vast amount of scientific literature that points without a doubt to Evolution being a real and true process. Yet, you have a large number of people, mostly religious, who do not believe in Evolution and who ascribe to Creationism, which has been determined by a vast majority of the scientific community and the courts to not be science.

    I think you forget that people sometimes will believe whatever they want to believe, despite the amount of legitimate evidence to the contrary. Faith and belief will sometimes unfortunately trump Truth! Sometimes Faith and belief embrace Truth, but sometimes they don’t. You can find evidence of this in almost all of the world’s religions, including Christianity.

    So despite disagreement on the issues, which will most likely exist until “judgement day”, laws have to be passed and civil rights for gay people have to be fought for and won.

  • Debbie Thurman

    There was a time, Jayhuck, when theology was the premier “science.” It was faith that traditionally gave man the will and the means to hypothesize and discover the processes behind what they observed. Faith and science were a cooperative marriage. God set the universe in motion and gave us the intellect to discover some of those rules. Evolution enters the picture, but it is not THE picture. And let us not forget how science has recently embarrassed itself because some of its purveyors have been shown to be fallible and unprincipled, rigging their findings to fit what they want to “prove.”

    So those who have struggled and searched and prayed and come to a conclusion different than yours, what do you say about them?

    Getting back to the gay topic, I say to your question that God will judge us all and civilization will find its balance or it will crumble. People have free will, so they may choose to believe as they wish and live in accordance with those beliefs as long as they are not harming others. It is so much easier to make life (and God) conform to your needs than to believe He may be asking you to give up something you feel powerless to give up.

    Society has to consider the overall welfare of its citizens. It has checks and balances. It rises and falls on the health of its families. It protects the vulnerable. It reins in the powerful. It affirms the worth and dignity of all citizens. It prevents harmful, dicatorial dogma from taking over. We seek to rise to the level of “our better angels.” It is not a smooth process because we are fallen and fallible.

  • Ann

    I don’t think this is true. You under-estimate the power of Faith to sometimes get things wrong!

    Jayhuck,

    I am not sure what you mean with this comment. What does faith have to do with what I said?

  • Jayhuck

    There was a time, Jayhuck, when theology was the premier “science.” It was faith that traditionally gave man the will and the means to hypothesize and discover the processes behind what they observed. Faith and science were a cooperative marriage.

    Oh yes Debbie, I know. This is how we got the heliocentric view of the Universe and the idea that the world is 6,000 years old. Theirs was an unfortunate marriage a great deal of the time.

    And let us not forget how science has recently embarrassed itself because some of its purveyors have been shown to be fallible and unprincipled, rigging their findings to fit what they want to “prove.”

    Science occasionally has problems, just like religion, because it is run by human beings, but the process is a good one and has a way of weeding out the chaff or bringing to light the unprincipled.

    Getting back to the gay topic, I say to your question that God will judge us all and civilization will find its balance or it will crumble. People have free will, so they may choose to believe as they wish and live in accordance with those beliefs as long as they are not harming others. It is so much easier to make life (and God) conform to your needs than to believe He may be asking you to give up something you feel powerless to give up.

    It is easy to make God conform to your needs, and liberal and conservative people of all Faiths, all religions, do this . Your need may be to believe in a God that asks you to give up things that you believe need to be given up for whatever reason, or to construct a God that bolsters your own belief system so that you can feel you have the Truth and others don’t! People create Gods that demand much of them in terms of sacrifice often out of some need just as people create Gods that hardly ask anything of them out of other needs, and with both groups sometimes that need is less than divine.

    Society has to consider the overall welfare of its citizens. It has checks and balances. It rises and falls on the health of its families. It protects the vulnerable. It reins in the powerful. It affirms the worth and dignity of all citizens. It prevents harmful, dicatorial dogma from taking over. We seek to rise to the level of “our better angels.” It is not a smooth process because we are fallen and fallible.

    That is true, but lets be very careful not use the idea of welfare as a cover for prejudice or intolerance. Otherwise, I agree with you here.

  • Ann

    So despite disagreement on the issues, which will most likely exist until “judgement day”, laws have to be passed and civil rights for gay people have to be fought for and won.

    Jayhuck,

    Civil rights are for everyone. No person is superior to another in this regard. If you are referring to equal rights regarding the eligibility for certain privileges such as marriage, then my point still stands. Some people do not think homosexuality and all the degrees or nuances of it are as gay people claim. The situation sometimes gets off that issue and, attitudes, rather than the issue of equal rights are responded to. If there was a definitive and conclusive agreement from universally credible sources that could not be disputed regarding homosexuality, then the question of equal rights would be different – in my opinion. As David Roberts pointed out to me – religion would still be an issue – I understand that now and think that would be more on the issue of social acceptance rather than equal rights protected by the government that have nothing to do with religion.

  • ken

    Jayhuck# ~ Feb 14, 2011 at 1:23 am

    “We have proof that Evolution occurs, a vast amount of scientific literature that points without a doubt to Evolution being a real and true process. ”

    This isn’t correct, what we have is a theory (‘Evolutionary Theory”), that best fits the known facts. That is not the same thing has having proof of evolution.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 14, 2011 at 9:46 am

    “There was a time, Jayhuck, when theology was the premier “science.” ”

    This statement reminds me of a quote by Mark Twain:

    There was a time when religion ruled the world. It was known as “The Dark Ages.”

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 14, 2011 at 11:57 am

    “If you are referring to equal rights regarding the eligibility for certain privileges such as marriage, then my point still stands.”

    Marriage is a right not a privilege, and there is a big difference between the two.

    “If there was a definitive and conclusive agreement from universally credible sources that could not be disputed regarding homosexuality, then the question of equal rights would be different – in my opinion.”

    I disagree. Bigotry has never been about a rational understanding of the facts. It is about people’s willingness to believe false and unproven claims about a minority group they know little about. About people’s willingness to believe the worst about those that are different.

  • Jayhuck

    Ken,

    This isn’t correct, what we have is a theory (‘Evolutionary Theory”), that best fits the known facts. That is not the same thing has having proof of evolution.

    Actually you are a little off here. Evolution is considered a fact by the majority of scientists. The “theory” part comes in because scientists don’t have conclusive evidence as to the mechanism behind the process of Evolution.

  • Jayhuck
  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    If you are referring to equal rights regarding the eligibility for certain privileges such as marriage,

    I agree with Ken here, and I think the courts have even said the same: Marriage is a Right, not a privilege!

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    If there was a definitive and conclusive agreement from universally credible sources that could not be disputed regarding homosexuality, then the question of equal rights would be different – in my opinion.

    So we don’t have definitive and conclusive agreement from universally credible sources that could not be disputed regarding heterosexuality and its origins, yet heterosexuals enjoy many rights that most gay people do not, why is that?

    You are NEVER going to have a definitive and conclusive agreement from sources that are 100% indisputable precisely because of what David Roberts said and what I tried to say in my earlier post to you about Faith/Religion. There will ALWAYs be people who dispute these types of issues, sometimes because of their religious beliefs, inherent prejudices or both. So the best we can hope for is a reliable majority consensus on the origins of homosexuality, and gay people their friends and families will continue to fight for equal rights.

  • Ann

    I disagree. Bigotry has never been about a rational understanding of the facts. It is about people’s willingness to believe false and unproven claims about a minority group they know little about. About people’s willingness to believe the worst about those that are different.

    Ken,

    Do you think if there were definitive and conclusive scientific facts regarding the origin of homosexuality, and it was determined that it was inborn and immutable, that it would make a difference as to the laws being changed to accommodate this group of people? I do.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    I don’t. You’d just have a bunch of people talking about the crosses that we all have to live with.

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    There is no proof that for some people heterosexuality is inborn and immutable either. I’m not sure I understand your point regarding homosexuality.

  • Ann

    There will ALWAYs be people who dispute these types of issues, sometimes because of their religious beliefs, inherent prejudices or both.

    Yes, however, will that preclude the laws changing to accommodate gay people? I don’t think it will. When indisputable facts are made known by credible sources, I think anyone who disputes them will look, well, stupid.

    It is a well known fact that before hearing tests were given to children, often those that mis-behaved or couldn’t learn were considered mentally handicapped or treated harshly because of their perceived misbehavior. Only when it was realized, medically, that they could not hear, was the mentally handicapped label removed and also the harsh treatment. When facts are made known and cannot be disputed, a whole new level of thinking is introduced – based on the truth, not an assumption.

  • Jayhuck

    Yes, however, will that preclude the laws changing to accommodate gay people? I don’t think it will. When indisputable facts are made known by credible sources, I think anyone who disputes them will look, well, stupid.

    There are no indisputable facts made by known credible resources regarding heterosexuality Ann. This is a point that should be addressed. We don’t know the origins of heterosexuality, and we don’t have proof that its immutable.

  • Ann

    I don’t. You’d just have a bunch of people talking about the crosses that we all have to live with.

    Jon Trouten,

    Well, this is a good point and one I had not thought about. Are the people you are referring to lawmakers? It seems to me that there would really be nothing left to argue, on the secular and legal side of the issue, should these indisputable facts become available to lawmakers and are factored into the debates when laws are made or altered. Religion is another issue and I don’t think one that is factored into laws. I could be wrong about all this – it is just an idea I have had for awhile.

  • Debbie Thurman

    “There was a time, Jayhuck, when theology was the premier “science.” ”

    This statement reminds me of a quote by Mark Twain:

    There was a time when religion ruled the world. It was known as “The Dark Ages.”

    Yes, amusing. But Twain trafficked in satire. And his reference to the problems with religion is not quite the same as mine to the earlier scientific framework that took into account a God-created universe. The one was focusing on human foibles (man-created religions) while the other sought to discover God-ordered principles.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Well, this is a good point and one I had not thought about. Are the people you are referring to lawmakers? It seems to me that there would really be nothing left to argue, on the secular and legal side of the issue, should these indisputable facts become available to lawmakers and are factored into the debates when laws are made or altered. Religion is another issue and I don’t think one that is factored into laws. I could be wrong about all this – it is just an idea I have had for awhile.

    Actually, yes this reaction would apply for politicians. The same kinds of politicians who spout off bogus social scientific data about gay people right now regarding our parenting skills and our mental health and our collective life expectancy. The same kinds of politicians who use religious belief to legislate how children are to be taught the sciences and history.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    “Do you think if there were definitive and conclusive scientific facts regarding the origin of homosexuality, and it was determined that it was inborn and immutable, that it would make a difference as to the laws being changed to accommodate this group of people? I do.”

    No I do not. “inborn” and “immutable” are just buzz-words to cloud the issue. Race is inborn and immutable, but that didn’t stop legalized racism in this country. Homophobia is based on ignorance about sexual orientation and what it means to be gay. “Gays are deviant sex perverts.” “Gays are pedophiles.” “Gays are out to recruit children to make them gay.” All of these claims have been proven false, yet people still believe these things about gays.

  • Ann

    There is no proof that for some people heterosexuality is inborn and immutable either. I’m not sure I understand your point regarding homosexuality.

    Jayhuck,

    I understand your point but most people do not. One of the reasons they do not is because of the myriad of theories that surround the origins or homosexuality, thus feeding into all the various opinions about it, thus affecting your rights. I believe if there was no more confusion about it based on definitive and conclusive facts, that could not be disputed, then people would think differently. I was naive or remis or both in my original comment about this regarding religion. To the issue of religion, I believe that no matter what facts are shared or how credible they are, it will not matter to those who live within the boundaries of their religious beliefs. Some will go about this in a quiet and decent way – others will be a-holes (sorry Dr. Throckmorton) and cause a lot of tsuris for everyone.

  • Ann

    Homophobia is based on ignorance about sexual orientation and what it means to be gay.

    Ken,

    Ok – how is this resolved? What do people need to know about sexual orientation and what it means to be gay? That is what needs to be definitively and conclusively articulated by a credible source that cannot be disputed. That should stop all the assumptions and contention. Most people understand what it is not and that includes the list you cited, however, the confusion is centered around what it is. That is where all the people who have all the opinions are always right.

  • Jayhuck

    I understand your point but most people do not. One of the reasons they do not is because of the myriad of theories that surround the origins or homosexuality, thus feeding into all the various opinions about it, thus affecting your rights. I believe if there was no more confusion about it based on definitive and conclusive facts, that could not be disputed, then people would think differently. I was naive or remis or both in my original comment about this regarding religion. To the issue of religion, I believe that no matter what facts are shared or how credible they are, it will not matter to those who live within the boundaries of their religious beliefs. Some will go about this in a quiet and decent way – others will be a-holes (sorry Dr. Throckmorton) and cause a lot of tsuris for everyone.

    I completely agree with you here Ann!

    Happy Valentine’s Day, btw. :)

  • Ann

    Thanks Jayhuck – Happy Valentine’s Day to you too :-)

  • Ann

    Actually, yes this reaction would apply for politicians. The same kinds of politicians who spout off bogus social scientific data about gay people right now regarding our parenting skills and our mental health and our collective life expectancy. The same kinds of politicians who use religious belief to legislate how children are to be taught the sciences and history.

    Jon Trouten,

    I think politicians of any persuasion would temper their rhetoric if indisputable facts from credible medical and/or scientific sources were part of the debate. Right now none of that is available so they argue based on egos and agendas.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Ann: I think you underestimate the abilty of politicians to purposely use, misuse, and ignore data that appeals to their constituents and agendas, facts be damned.

  • Ann

    I think you underestimate the abilty of politicians to purposely use, misuse, and ignore data that appeals to their constituents and agendas, facts be damned.

    Jon Trouten,

    You may be right, however, we just won’t know for sure until and/or unless the scientific facts, whatever they may be, are presented in a definitive and conclusive way by credible sources, and with integrity, so they cannot be refuted.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    “Ok – how is this resolved? What do people need to know about sexual orientation and what it means to be gay?”

    That except for the gender of the people they are attracted to, gays are just like straights. Some are conservative, some are liberal, some are christian, jewish, or muslim. some are caring and compassionate, others are selfish assholes.

    People who personally know someone who is gay are more likely to support gay rights. Because they see first hand how gays are just like them except in who they find attractive.

  • ken

    Jon Trouten# ~ Feb 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    “Ann: I think you underestimate the abilty of politicians to purposely use, misuse, and ignore data that appeals to their constituents and agendas, facts be damned.”

    Well said. politicians are far more concerned with what will get them re-elected rather than facts or doing the right thing.

  • Ann

    That except for the gender of the people they are attracted to, gays are just like straights. Some are conservative, some are liberal, some are christian, jewish, or muslim. some are caring and compassionate, others are selfish assholes.

    Ken,

    Yes, this has been, for the most part, my experience, however, don’t most gay people want to be distinguised by an identity? Is this (who they are attracted to) the only component to that identity?

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    “however, don’t most gay people want to be distinguised by an identity? ”

    Given the problems of simply identifying the part of the population that is gay, I don’t think it is possible to determine what “most gays want.” Certainly, those people that are gay (i.e. primarily attracted to members of the same sex) but don’t identify as gay don’t want to be distinguished as gay.

    “Is this (who they are attracted to) the only component to that identity?”

    We’ve been through the distinctions about orientation, identity and behaviour several times. I have been talking about orientation.

  • Ann

    We’ve been through the distinctions about orientation, identity and behaviour several times. I have been talking about orientation.

    Unless I am incorrect, I don’t remember talking with you about the distinctions. Anyway, it is my understanding that some, if not most, gay people consideration their orientation their identity. They say “this is who I am”. Is this right?

    It is different from the individuals who still might experience same gender attractions, but have made the decision not to engage in same gender sex. They also no longer want to be identified as gay. They say something like “that was part of my life then, but not now.”

    I was reading the article Cynthia Nixon gave the Advocate and she said something completely different – she was caught completely by surprised that she was attracted to a woman because she had never been before.

    My earlier question to you was based on orientation and identity, not behavior.

  • William

    Jayhuck, that’s ridiculous. Heterosexuality is required by evolution. That’s at least some proof of it’s innateness.

    It’s a shame that Ann and Debbie are so encumbered by the religious baggage because they otherwise have the most astute thoughts on the matter.

    The man/woman component of the historical definition of marriage is by far the strongest since marriage is rooted in a familial construct with rearing offspring the primary importance. Age, lineage, marital status, etc seem like far weaker limitations.

    I’m a San francisco atheist and I definitely think gay marriage and the intrusion of the gay lifestyle in public life is bad for society. I’m sure there are exceptions.

    Finally, how Warren could find that transcript to support a contention that Reagan rejected homosexual discrimination is beyond comprehension. Regan’s non-response speaks volumes.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      William: You are certainly correct about the innateness of sexuality. No credible scientist would agree that heterosexuality is not innate. There is a set of brain responses that lead to a tried and true sexual delivery system designed by someone or some process to keep the species going. It is why we are here.

      Where I disagree with you is about Reagan’s view of discrimination. He certainly did not have it all sussed out but in principle, he did not believe anyone should be discriminated against due to membership in a group they belonged to. I am certainly open to correction but in everything I have seen, he denied favoring any discrimination even as he disagreed with homosexuality on a personal level. I have more to put up in the coming days on this.

  • ken

    William# ~ Feb 17, 2011 at 9:32 am

    “Jayhuck, that’s ridiculous. Heterosexuality is required by evolution. That’s at least some proof of it’s innateness.”

    While reproduction is certainly necessary for the continuation of a species, it has never been required that ALL members of a species reproduce.

    Further, it seems disingenious to claim heterosexuality is innate but not homosexuality. Either orientation is innate or it isn’t (which I believe is the point Jayhuck was making with his comment).

    “The man/woman component of the historical definition of marriage is by far the strongest since marriage is rooted in a familial construct with rearing offspring the primary importance. ”

    I know of some who would argue that the subservience of the woman (or women) to the man is the strongest component.

    “the intrusion of the gay lifestyle in public life is bad for society.”

    How?

    “Regan’s non-response speaks volumes.”

    Yes, it says he was a politician who knew how to avoid political landmines.

  • Ann

    It’s a shame that Ann and Debbie are so encumbered by the religious baggage because they otherwise have the most astute thoughts on the matter.

    William,

    Please point me to the comment that brought you to the determination that I (Ann) was encumbered by religious baggage.

    If you are coupling me with Debbie’s ability to understand religion and what it means to her and her family and how it makes her a better person by aligning herself and her integrity to it, then I consider what you said a compliment. I am just surprised because I do not have Debbie’s goodness (yet) in these things.

  • Ann

    I know of some who would argue that the subservience of the woman (or women) to the man is the strongest component.

    = – 0

  • Ann

    You are certainly correct about the innateness of sexuality.

    Dr. Throckmorton,

    I have asked several times, just in general comments, if sexuality had anything to do with intuition. No one ever responded. Do you think it is possible or factual that innateness is the same thing as intuition regarding our sexuality?

  • Debbie Thurman

    I am just surprised because I do not have Debbie’s goodness (yet) in these things.

    Oh man, that’s a dangerous place to go. The real “baggage” I have is a sin nature and the misdeeds to prove it. :)

  • Ann

    Further, it seems disingenious to claim heterosexuality is innate but not homosexuality.

    Ken,

    I think, on a wider scale, there is a purpose to heterosexuality, which would make the argument that it is innate. So far, on a wider scale, there has never been proven a purpose for homosexuality, with the exception of human pleasure. We can derive human pleasure from many sources, including various methods to have sex. There is no substitute for the purpose of heterosexuality. It is impossible for a man to have a baby without the help, of some kind (producing an egg to fertilize and being a gestestational carrier), from a woman. It is also impossible for a woman to have a baby without the help, of some kind (sperm to fertilize an egg), from a man. For some, speaking from a religious stand point, it would be interesting to ponder why God made it this way. From a scienftific point, it seems to be a no brainer.

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Feb 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    “I think, on a wider scale, there is a purpose to heterosexuality, which would make the argument that it is innate. ”

    Except the evolutionary purpose of sexuality (more specifically sexual intercourse), is not likely reproduction. Many species have (and some still do) reproduced without sexual intercourse. There already where several methods for reproduction that didn’t involve intercourse. So from an evolutionary standpoint what did intercourse contribute that these other methods did not? I believe the answer to that is bonding. Intercourse literally brought members of species together, and they started forming communities (packs, prides, flocks, tribes etc). These communities allowed many species to thrive.

  • William

    Suggesting that sexual intercourse is not for reproduction sounds like a difficult argument. Can you point to any literature on that?

    encumbered by religious baggage

    I just mean that any arguments or research that hint of any religious origin or input are immediately discounted and I can kind of understand why. Religion is as hard to believe as homosexuality. I would like to see much more non-religious contributions on the matter.

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