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Same-Sex Survey

As a state appeals court prepares to debate the constitutionality of Maryland's law prohibiting same-sex marriage, a new Washington Post poll shows the electorate is decidedly split.

Half of th 902 registered voters surveyed June 19-25 favored allowing gay and lesbian couple to form civil unions, up from 44 percent in a January 2004 Post poll.; 42 percent would favor a law allowing same-sex marriage, up from 35 percent in the previous poll.

The divisions were more striking when the polling sample was split into black and white voters.

A full 65 percent of black voters surveyed opposed both same-sex marriage and civil unions for gay couples. By contrast, 57 percent of white voters actually favored civil unions, with 41 percent opposed. On the question of same-sex marriage, 53 percent of white voters opposed the idea, with 44 percent favored it.

That may explain why Republican Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who's hoping to win over black voters in his bid for an open U.S. Senate seat, has spoken out against marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

But political analysts say Steele should not make too much of the issue, lest he associate himself too closely with the conservative Republican pushing the issue.

The poll shows that black voters have a much better impression of Steele than they do of the Maryland GOP or President Bush. And the risk of Steele being tied too closely to Bush is considerable: Seventy-nine percent of black voters in the poll said they would be less likely to support a candidate who had Bush's backing.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  July 3, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
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Or maybe Lt. Governor Steele was speaking for what he's believed all along--as novel as that me conceptually to the Washington Post.

Posted by: Bryan | July 2, 2006 8:39 PM | Report abuse

As a Steele supporter, I don't doubt that he is truly opposed to same-sex marriage. I doubt he's taking this stand as an issue of political convenience. It's funny that the Post reports that a large majority of black voters oppose same-sex marriage and then they accuse Steele (a black voter himself) of opposing it to appeal to black voters. It would seem to make sense that Steele would share the views of the community from which he comes.

Regardless, Steele's stance is unfortunate as far as I'm concerned, since I'm all in favor of same-sex marriage. Of course, Cardin has said he opposes same-sex marriage, too. At least Mfume is standing up for the right thing. It would be an interesting matchup if Mfume faces Steele. I hope it can happen.

Posted by: MK | July 2, 2006 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Sounds as if folks are starting to realize how much opposition there is to "homosexual marriage" in the Democrat Party.

If Mfume gets the nomination and fails to oppose "homosexual marriage," he'll be handing the black family vote over to the Republicans.

Posted by: Rufus | July 3, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Well, Mfume has already come out in support of gay marriage. I don't know how much the black community knows about this, though. Cardin's afraid to attack him because he knows he'll alienate the black vote, and if Cardin wants to be Maryland's next Senator, he can't afford to do that. Cardin's kind of between a rock and a hard place here.

Posted by: MK | July 3, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

This poll, which is reflective of others across the nation, points out why the theocrats are so hell-bent on getting as many state constitutional amendments passed banning same gender marriage as soon as possible: they realize they are on the wrong side of history. The numbers of people opposed to same-gender marriage is continuing to decline, and, when you poll only those between 18 and 40, those supporting are already in the majority.

Posted by: Tim | July 3, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Tim, I think the more likely fact is that this poll shows why those in favor of same-sex marriage fight in the courts and not the legislature. In state after state we see same-sex marriage advocates using procedural methods to block votes on Constitutional amendments and to pass new marriage laws. The objective is to win in the courts and then block a democratic vote.

This technique is nothing new, but it shows that depth of the social battle and the degree of social upheaval. Ultimately, a U.S. Constitutional amendment, one way or the other, is required because we cannot have people changing their marital status as the drive around the country. Married in Massachusetts, sort of married in New York, not married in Ohio. There are so many things that are affected by the marriage laws the a single, unform national standard is inevitable and that can only come through either the overturn of the existing marriage act or an amendment to the Constitution.

Posted by: KR | July 3, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

It would be interesting to see a comparison between this poll and, say, how many people supported integrating schools back in 1954. The court system, the entire judicial branch, we created as a check on the power of the majority to limit the rights of the minority. It makes sense to go through the courts, just like it did during the early years of the civil rights movement.

Posted by: MoCoPolitics | July 3, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to see how Maryland seems to be warming up to the idea of gay marriage whereas their neighbors to the South in Virginia are pursuing an extremely restrictive state constitutional amendment prohibiting any recognition of same-sex couples. I think Maryland is clearly on the side of history; if Virginia manages to pass the amendment I think it will be viewed down the road as bigoted as miscegenation laws are viewed today.

Posted by: Nic | July 3, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand these anti-American conservatives who hate American values so fervently. If freedom really irks them so much, they should move to some FUNDAMENTALIST ISLAMIC STATE so as to feel more at home with their idealogical soul mates, and live happily under Shar'ia Law. Conservatives have only in recent years gotten used to the uppity women venturing out of the kitchen, so I guess it's a little much for them to swallow that widespread a concept of liberty that fast. So go take a sabbattical in some reactionary state (I mean Algeria or Egypt, not Virginia) guys, and give your strained, obviously overextended sense of fairness a breather before you take this next big step.

Or, if you decide to stay in the Land of the Free, then WORK on your insecure, failing unions (red staters have higher divorce rates) by seeking MARRIAGE COUNSELLING. STOP blaming it on people you've never met. Take some PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for your inability to make your marriages work.

Posted by: B2O | July 3, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"There are so many things that are affected by the marriage laws"

Which is exactly why prohibiting a certain portion of the population from marrying is stripping of their civil rights. America, Land of the Sorta Free, kinda. In certain states. Some restrictions apply. US Constitution not valid in Ohio and a 19 other states. See your local Imam or Holyroller Minister for details on just how much freedom you rate. Now, let's go spread that democracy!

And their are gay American soldiers dying in the middle east for these anti-American hatemongers in the red states.

Posted by: B2O | July 3, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"It's interesting to see how Maryland seems to be warming up to the idea of gay marriage whereas their neighbors to the South in Virginia are pursuing an extremely restrictive state constitutional amendment prohibiting any recognition of same-sex couples. I think Maryland is clearly on the side of history; if Virginia manages to pass the amendment I think it will be viewed down the road as bigoted as miscegenation laws are viewed today."

Conservatives and theocrats alike control their captive flock using fear. It was ever thus. Now people just have to decide if they are going to live their lives based on their fears or their sense of fairness. And yes, choosing the former means placing yourself on the laughing stock side of history.

Not that that's stopped any of these people before. There are probably outposts in the red states where older folks are still proud that they tried to stop interracial marriage. I know there are some who still vehemently oppose the MLK birthday commemoration.

Posted by: B2O | July 3, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I know that people like to compare this cause, same-sex marriage, sexual rights and privacy rights in general, with the Black civil rights movement of the 1950s. The truth is that this is not the same sort of issue. And legally it is not on the same level.

The 14th Amendment was passed specifically to ensure rights and equality for former slaves. Its authors understood that the racism fundamental in 18th / 19th century American slavery would simply be carried on in the former slave holding regions. If it were not for the Court's decision in Plessy vs. Ferguson that contradicted the 14th amendment and established "separate but equal" we would not have needed Brown, some 50 more years later.

There is no corresponding explicit right based on sex. This is missing from the Constitution, a fact realized by the authors of the Equal Rights Amendment of the 1970s. Since this failed, there is no Constitutional "hook" for same-sex marriage as an explicit right. (Note that no state court has found a right to same-sex marriage founded in the U.S. Consitution, but rather in state equal rights and privacy declarations.)

This means the foundation for same-sex marriage as a consitutional principal is much weaker, found in the "penumbra" of the Bill Rights (Justice Douglas in Griswold v. Conn) as a right to privacy within a freedom of association (marriage). But the privacy right is a very contentious and poorly defined right. It was established in
Griswold as an element of marriage, not as an individual right. It is sometimes confused with or merged with, your choice here on interpretation, a right to consicence deemed implicit in the 1st Amendment and assorted others of the Bill of Rights.

Also, people underestimate the importance of critical, democratically passed laws, like the Civil Rights Acts and the Voting Rights Acts, that gave the Courts the power reach to out and break up the racist politicies of the southern and northern states. In fact the civil rights marches of the 50s and 60s, southern attrocities in the form of lynchings, and turning dogs and hoses on protestors turned public opinion in favor of equality, or at least progress toward equality.

There is no corresponding legislative victory that the privacy, sexual and gay rights movements can point to. This is an artifice exclusively built within our courts.

So, the idea that a person has a privacy right to same-sex marriage is significantly open to question. Some states will continue to have same-sex marriage forced upon them. NO state has yet voted willingly, without a court directive, to define a marriage as anything but between a man and a woman. Note not even Canada did this.

To date the same-sex marriage rights have progressed through the courts like a baseball team stumbling through the playoffs on walks and errors. You make it through, but without at least a single hit or earned run, there are serious questions about the legitimacy of this progress. (Who is a better soccer team, England or Portugal? We may never know!)

Posted by: kr | July 3, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The experience of African-Americans in the US is unique; one can draw parallels between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement, but gays and lesbians as a community were never conscripted into forced labor as African-Americans were.

Having said that, despite the questionable legal argument that gays and lesbians don't have a right to privacy, the issue of gay marriage is a fundamentally moral question. How can we as a society deny rights to a segment of the population based on hateful and harmful prejudices? The idea that the love that gay couples share is any less valuable than opposite-sex couples is offensive, hurtful, and simply wrong. We need to work toward inclusiveness in our laws, instead of excluding people we may not understand.

Posted by: Nic | July 3, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

So on the eve of the anniversary of the penning of our founding document, which said specifically...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." is saying that since nowhere in the Constitution specifically promises equality according to sex or sexuality, that the equality movement hasn't a leg to stand on.

Likewise, the Constitution doesn't specifically promise equality in who gets to use the roads. So if my liberal-leaning state wants to pass a law forbidding those minority Republicans from using the road system, the Constitution does not protect them. And no Republican Activist Judge (tm) should be allowed to preposterously imagine the Founding Fathers thought everyone should be allowed to use the roads. For that matter, they said nothing about who should be allowed to use the banking system. Stay away from those ATM's in my state, reactionaries. Don't get carried away with this "equality" idea. It's not for everybody, you know.

Posted by: B2O | July 3, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I second many of your sentiments, B20.

I often ask those opposed to gay marriage this basic question: if it's morally ok to deny me the 1000 or so legal and financial benefits of marriage, why aren't you in favor of denying me things like the dubious right to drive, or to own a pet, or to own a house, etc? Of course when put that way they don't want to sound like total bigots and their argument pretty much evaporates.

But it raises a valid point. Either we're all equal taxpaying US citizens or we aren't.

To any of those that say I shouldn't get the benefits of marriage, I ask why they are so willing to take my taxes if they aren't willing to give me the actual benefits those taxes are supposed to for.

Posted by: Hillman | July 3, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"why aren't you in favor of denying me things like the dubious right to drive, or to own a pet, or to own a house, etc?"

Are you trying to encourage them, Hillman? I would caution against assuming you are talking to rational, morally-grounded people. They've given me little reason lately to see them that way at least. Still, I understand the notion you are attempting. Maybe that is a bridge-building approach. Ignore my cynicism, I suspect it's over the top these days.

This one just bears reprinting:

"To any of those that say I shouldn't get the benefits of marriage, I ask why they are so willing to take my taxes if they aren't willing to give me the actual benefits those taxes are supposed to for."

Ditto for the gay and lesbian soldiers who are fighting and dying in the ME (just because they are required to keep silent about their identity doesn't mean they aren't there). It's the same National Shame that African American soldiers experienced coming back from Europe and the Pacific in 1945 to life in Jim Crow America.

In summary: Americans like you are good enough to fight, die and pay taxes, but not good enough to have the Constitution apply to you. God bless the red-staters, the founding fathers would be so proud of them.

Posted by: B2O | July 3, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I can understand your cynicism.

I view it partially as an economic fairness and economic decency issue.

And I've never understood what's so 'moral' about purposely making life difficult for other people. So you think your religion disapproves of all things gay. That's great. You can go around mumbling "I hate gay people" all day long, but nothing justifies you going out of your way to make gay people's lives mreo difficult.

I've found nothing in the Bible that justifies making life difficult for those you don't like.

What exactly is moral about making two aging lesbians suffer in their golden years because you set up rules to deny them pensions and other benefits?

Where in the Bible is it stated that it's ok to make poor people's lives more difficult if they are gay? I know more than my share of elderly gay people, and contrary to the popular stereotype many of them are quite poor, and many of them would have a lot more stability in their lives if they had been able to do things like get their partner's social security, pension, or health care benefits.

What exactly is Christian about making it hard to the same two aging lesbians to see each other in the hospital?

How exactly is this being decent toward your fellow human being?

But, that's exactly what those that are fighting same-sex marriage are fighting for.

I'm wondering at what point they will feel that they've accomplished their mission? When that same elderly lesbian couple is eating cat food because that's all they can afford?

Posted by: Hillman | July 3, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"What exactly is Christian about making it hard [for] the same two aging lesbians to see each other in the hospital?"

The irony is that nowhere in the Christian Bible does Jesus Christ - on whose teachings the religion is supposedly based - say anything about homosexuality.

In fact, there is very little of the conservative Republican agenda that is even remotely consistent with the teachings of Christ. From helping the moneychangers to ignoring the poor and sick, Jesus of Nazareth would be uniformly appalled at the modern American Republican party. Still, their addle-headed flock can't figure this out because they are so brainwashed to let their prejudiced, rightwing ministers tell them what to think.

And these people (white evangelicals) make up 35% of the GOP vote (in 2004 at least). THIS sums up the trouble America is in today. I suspect most of these same people still think Saddam attacked us. They can be convinced of virtually anything.

The Harris Poll #79, October 21, 2004

"Do you believe that the following statements are true or not true?"

(Total percentages saying "true")

Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001

Bush voters: 52%
Kerry voters: 23%

Posted by: B2O | July 3, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

This is all BS.
We should be staying out of people's homes unless there is a compelling reason to go in.

People's relationships are private, and we should value other people's freedom enough to allow them to live their lives as they please, provided they are consenting adults.

A citizen of this fine country should never force their own beliefs on someone else.

Posted by: Deanna | July 3, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Well, Hillman and B2O, time for another drink at the well, eh? We hashed this out about 3 weeks ago for those who don't regularly read this blog (and I doubt anyone's reading this today since it's practically a holiday).

Face the facts: gay marriage and civil rights aren't the same, nor should they be. Everywhere it's been voted on, it's been soundly defeated. Libs rely upon activist courts to save their bacon on this issue, another good reason to keep the whack jobs off of the bench.

Marriage is between (one) man and one woman. No more, no less. That's what most of this country wants, and you'd do well to get talk to some people who aren't regular customers of Lambda Rising.

Posted by: JD | July 3, 2006 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"There is no corresponding explicit right based on sex. This is missing from the Constitution, a fact realized by the authors of the Equal Rights Amendment of the 1970s. Since this failed, there is no Constitutional "hook" for same-sex marriage as an explicit right."

In that case, I challenge you to point out where the Constitution provides a "hook" for heterosexual marriage as an explicit right.

Posted by: Scott | July 3, 2006 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it is a slow day JD, isn't it?

So could you explain to me what the term "civil rights" means then, since according to you it doesn't refer to the rights of a people within society? I assume if the law suddenly took away your right to marry the person of your choice, you might then be able to get your mouth around the term.

And of course a minority (but growing portion - and it will keep growing, trust me) is ready for it. Change like this is always gradual. But I suspect you know as well as I that Lambda Rising is on the right side of history.

And speaking of talking to gays/lesbians, do you actually know any? Time and time again I hear/read of people who had opposed rights for gays who later find out that someone they know and respected *is* gay, and find themselves harboring the curious notion that these Americans are, well, people. The rest comes easy. If you really believe in American values, I mean.

Posted by: B2O | July 3, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

What really kills me about the gay marriage debate is there is no talk about civil unions that would contain all rights and responsibiltes as heterosexual marriage. I can understand why some may be upset about "changing the definition of marriage" which I personally think is a crock, but what if there is another institution that is equal. Yes, I know everyone is going to yell at me with the "separate but equal is not legal", but this I think this is a different case. The love between a man and a woman is no different than between two men or two women, I'm not going to argue that. Aren't the relationships themselves different though? Don't two men relate to eachother and have a relationship different than that of a man and a woman or that of two women? I believe so and things aren't exactly the same (aside from the love). I don't think it would be a bad thing to have a separate institution. I can't see someone arguing against that (with the exception of the "separate but equal argument") without coming off as bigoted. I find Virginia's laws especially offensive because it specifically excludes those type of arrangements...thoughts?

Posted by: Mr. K | July 3, 2006 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Mr. K:

"Don't two men relate to eachother and have a relationship different than that of a man and a woman or that of two women? "

Yes, I'm sure they do. Just as a couple made up of a shy man and outgoing woman relate to each other differently than a loud, abusive man and submissive woman, or a man and a woman who like to do everything together, or a heterosexual couple who both need their space. And there may be characteristic differences (on a large statistical scale at least) in marriages in one ethnic or cultural group vs another (or cross-cultural). Maybe we should have separate kinds of laws to cover all these different "kinds" of marriages?

I'm not trying to be snarky (well, maybe a little) and appreciate your question. But I'm not sure how the distinction is all that relevant in the legal sense.

Posted by: B2O | July 3, 2006 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Normally, two comments to a blog are more than I contribute. But a Scott's personal challenge, and B20s irrationality drive me to comment.

To Scott I will say that the Constitution is completely neutral on marriage, about it it speaks not at all. This means that there is no fundamental right to marriages of mixed or homogenous gender. What the Constitution does provide is the right of the People in their legislatures to pass laws and establish policies. Throughout American history states have chosen to endorse exlusively mixed gender, monogamous marriages. This has nothing to do with the religion or bias and everything to do with 5,000 years of human tradition, with some minor exception for polygamous societies.

As to B20, I did not say that the so-called "equality" movement hasn't a leg to stand on, but rather that the same-sex marriage movement, standing on a legal, constitutional right alone is a very thin leg. I would also point out that following Lawrence v. Texas, there is no restriction on what people, gay, straight or otherwise gendered, can do in their own homes with other hominids who are of age. So this is not a question about sexual activity or the ability to "show" one's love through those most intimate acts. This is not a question of the state barging into homes, most literally, in the middle of the night.

The weakness of a Constitutional claims is that it purports to overturn a very old, well established social order. This is something so fundamental that it cannot have legitimacy without the approval of the People. To put it bluntly, the subject has not come up before. But having been raised now, there is nothing to be found in the Constitution to overturn the established order. So if you want to change that order you needs turn to the legislatures.

Posted by: KR | July 3, 2006 7:59 PM | Report abuse

JD - Yes, you've posted before, but you haven't really discussed. For instance, you won't answer basic questions like why it's ok to deny gay people the 1000 rights of marriage but not okay, to, say, round them up and tell them they must live in certain areas, etc.

It's a serious question. Either we are all equal citizens or we aren't.

And if we're not, I want my tax money back. After all, it's being used to subsidize your hetero lifestyle, what with your social security survivor benefits and the 1000 or so other benefits you are using my tax dollars to support.

I don't really understand your fascination with Lambda Rising. It seems to be all you want to talk about. If you are that fixated on it, by all means just break down and go visit the place.

And you've never explained what is decent or moral about making other people suffer financially and legally just because you don't like them.

As for 'libs relying on activist courts', I'd point out that 'activist courts' were responsible for ending segregation, for advancing women's rights, for advancing rights to contraception, etc.

As for the 'popularity' of gay marriage, it's irrelevant. I guarantee you that in many states interracial marriage would be illegal if it were left up to the popular vote. Does that make it morally justifiable?

Posted by: Hillman | July 3, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

"The weakness of a Constitutional claims is that it purports to overturn a very old, well established social order. This is something so fundamental that it cannot have legitimacy without the approval of the People."

Nonsense. Interracial marriage was against the 'well established social order.' And it is still without the approval of a lot of the people. Does that mean it has no legitimacy?

And, again, my gay marriage does not in ANY way alter your straight marriage. It's not like I'm demanding that you marry me.

Posted by: Hillman | July 3, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

The basic and most fundamental unit of society is the family. This would be defined as a man, woman and their children (biological or adopted). The term "family" cannot somehow change all of a sudden in the year 2006.

Rather than redefining marriage, why not settle for civil unions and give "marriage" traditionalists some respect for what they believe in also. Just because you're not for gay "marriage" doesn't mean you're homophobic either. It's very stereotypical to generalize in that manner. Surely you understand that.

Posted by: wtf? | July 3, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Hillman, bans on interracial marriage are fundamentally contrary to the 14th Amendment which provides for equal processes (treatment) for people of all races.

This was segregation exclusively based on race. The question was whether two people who met a common legal defintion for a right to marriage except for their different race would have the same rights. There is a also a diversity arguement, for those who believe in diversity as an absolute good, that favors mixed racial and gender marriages and disfavors same-sex marriages which lack diversity.

The issue in same-sex marraige is that the two people do not meet the definition of marriage under the law, they are of the same gender. As people have wisely pointed out there is nothing that stops gays or lesbians from marrying, so long as they marry people of the opposite gender.

Also, the tradition, prohibitions, against mixed race marriages is neither universal nor historically persistant. The fact that people disapprove has no standing under the law. People are allowed to be prejudiced, they are simply restrained, in our system, in the ways they act upon the prejudice.

As I have pointed out earlier, there is nothing under our current legal structure that stops two people of the same sex from making legal arrangements and engaging in sexual activities.

Law has a purpose in maintaining social order. You cannot choose just because you are left handed to drive on the left side of the road. There is a fundamental structure of society here too, the organization of families and the recognition of certain legal integration that goes with that. To some, this social order may be arbitrary, but it is well established in time and place, throughout human society, and that argues against arbitrariness.

I have yet to see a strong argument that states a case for the need for same-sex marriage. Equality comes close, but I do not quite understand the nature of the equality claim. The real issue, it appears to me, is one of approval, not acceptance, but endorsement of same-sex families. Society has no obligation to endorse this.

But regardless, practicality and social order require a homogenous set of rules throughout the 50 states. If there is no Constitutional foundation for same-sex marriage, as there is no amendment that protects sexual parity across gender, then there are only three options. It must be endorsed and imposed by judicial fiat by the Supreme Court, or by Congressional law, changing the marriage act, or by Constitutional amendment.

The first of these, judicial fiat, is unnecessary and undermines the legitimacy. If this truly is the tide of history, then the Congressional approach or the Constitutional approach should be achievable. The fact is same-sex marriage is not a grass roots movement, but its opposite, an elite legal maneuver. The grass roots movement has so far proved to be the opposition to same-sex marriage; they have pushed the question to the People and have won everywhere the question has come up on ballot. And even in states that should be friendly to same-sex marriage, there is not a single effort to bring it up before the legislature. The only place it was ever realized outside of judicial fiat was in the City of San Francisco, and this involved a mayor and city administration that blatantly flouted state law for their own political purposes. This must embarrass or at least give you pause.

(Or perhaps all ye who rail against President Bush's "power grabs" and claims of constitutional intepretation would here endore the right of San Francisco's mayor to interpret the constitution as he sees fit and declare new laws. A right we generally reserve exlclusively for highest courts.)

Posted by: KR | July 3, 2006 10:26 PM | Report abuse

KR, I'm going to challenge you on a few points.


"As I have pointed out earlier, there is nothing under our current legal structure that stops two people of the same sex from making legal arrangements and engaging in sexual activities."

This is incorrect. In Virgnia (and other sates now) same sex couples cannot make legal arranagements that mirror marriage. Take for example seeing a sick partner while in the hospital. The hospital does not have to let the same sex partner in for visitation. Is that other partner supposed to carry a legal document around? This is clearly unequal treatment.


"The grass roots movement has so far proved to be the opposition to same-sex marriage; they have pushed the question to the People and have won everywhere the question has come up on ballot. And even in states that should be friendly to same-sex marriage, there is not a single effort to bring it up before the legislature."

I would argue that there hasn't been any real debate because there cannot be one. Our political climate is so petty that really discussing any issue is impossible. It's so much easier to score political points at a minority's expense than rather talk about the issue. We can't even have a real discussion about Iraq or the direction of our country let alone a social issue. The bottom line is we have pathetic politicians on both sides of the isle.

Oh and btw, the San Francisco mayor got a smack down for over stepping his authority just like I'm hoping Bush will someday. If you think he hasn't made a power grab for the executive, then you're living on another planet. Signing statements anyone?

Posted by: Mr. K | July 3, 2006 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Mr K.
You are correct that absent legal authorization hospitals are free to deny access to long-term partners, of the same or different sexes. However it is my understanding that in Virginia it is possible to build a set of legal structures, such a guardianships, powers of attorney, trusts, wills, co-owned property, etc. to build many of the same access rights and monetary structures as exist in marriage.

These are not extremely expensive to build, but they do cost more than a marriage license. I will also freely acknowledge that this is not the same as marriage -- marriage, for example, confers general rights of custody and certain rights on retirement accounts and death benefits that are designed to support family -- and that marriage easily packages up all this with a very nice, tidy, but increasingly looser, bow. They are also probably more easily challenged in Court. But any family structure, including marriage, may be challenged in Court. As we have seen in parental and grand-parental rights cases.

Now family law is complex and there may be subtleties of Virginia law of which I am not aware, however I just re-read the other article in today's paper about same-sex activism in the Viriginia, and based on some statements there, I believe I am correct.

I will disagree with you on the question of debate. I think there has been as much exposure as possible in any political environment. I daily read ten papers on the Internet, and each one of them and the major broadcast media have all run lengthy stories over the last few years about same-sex marriage and presented the issues probably in total in favor of same-sex marriage.

Now I am not saying this is the enlightened debate, the perfect exchange of ideas, but it comes as close to debate as any issue can be debated. You may speak, but that does not require anyone else to listen.

As for grass roots movements, they are about action and door-to-door selling, that is the best way to present your case, as noted, also in the article "Same Sex Marriage Drives Fundraising Effort" this paper B01:
The debate about the Virginia Amendment will be a grass roots fight.

Finally, as to signing statements and President Bush's authority. I think anyone who gives me any credit for minimal honesty, or at least consistency, would acknowledge that I believe in legislative action: that legislatures should pass laws and establish social policy. So I would favor more specific laws and more active Congressional oversight than we have seen from the ruling parties for the last twelve years. On signing statements, this is a relatively new and uncharted ground for me. I have not studied the issue and am not prepared to make a statement as I do not know their force in law. I do know that if all three branches of government are truly co-equal, then each has a responsibility to interpret the Constitution and act within the guidance of the Constitution. But in general I defer to legislatures and written law over executive regulations and judicial opinions.

In this I am a democrat, but remain neither a Democrat nor a Republican.

Posted by: KR | July 3, 2006 11:43 PM | Report abuse

On the first point KR, you are dead wrong. You need some good old fashioned reading. Here is the Virgina law:

"A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges and obligations of marriage is prohibited...Any contractual rights created thereby...are void and unenforceable in Virginia."

So no, KR same sex people in some states cannot build these "structures" due to bigoted and mean spiritied legislative action. You have a class of people who are being discriminated against and are hence UNEQUAL.

Seeing stories in the media about same sex marriage is bunk nonsense. Depending on what station you watch is what opinion you will get. I'm talking about legislative and political debate of which there has been none of substance. Either legislatures don't want to talk about it because it's too explosive or they want to play smear the queer for points. It's that simple. As many here have said before the courts were responsible for many justices to different minority groups being women, african americans, or the disabled. The rights of a minorty should not be up for a vote by the majority.

On signing statements, you sir should do some reading. Bush has made more signing statements than any President in US history. In fact, he has taken it to a whole new level. Remember the well crafted piece of bi-partisan legislation that states that the US will not employ tortue? Well, he wrote a sigining statement saying that tortue can still apply in certain circumstances and yes, we are still tortuing people because of it. Good old Bush spreading America's ideals to hearts and minds everywhere...

Posted by: Mr. K | July 4, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. K that is correct and in MD that health-related ability you mentioned didn't come about until Ehrlich, who you often criticize but forgot to credit here (not surprised).

I think a lot of people like to say they're fine with gay marriage, but in reality they're not. I remember a neighbor who explained how open she was to new things, new ideas, and how gay marriage should not have played a role in the 2004 election because it just should've been. Then her son gets a gay school teacher in the 4th grade and suddenly she thinks he should change classrooms because maybe this guy isn't the best role model? It is the 'im fine with it, but not in my backyard' mentality that prevails.

Frankly, I don't expect an amendment to pass, but nor do I expect a lot of legalizing either--I think the status quo will prevail for the next 10-15 years on this issue.

I just find it hilarious that the Washington Post idiotically says Steele is just against same sex marriage because he's running for Senate--he's been against long before he ran for Senate and they know that, but they're choosing to misrepresent him and that's just pitiful.

Posted by: Bryan | July 4, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

No, 'legal arrangements' substituting for marriage cannot be easily made.

For instance, there are 1000 or so benefits that the Fed and State govts give based solely on marital status.

No matter how many 'legal arrangements' I make, I still won't be eligible for my partner's military pension should he die before me. Ditto for the hundreds of other benefits passed out strictly based on marital status.

As for legitimacy, my basic humanity is all the legitimacy I need.

14th Amendment - it doesn't apply just to race. If you think so, show me where in the Amendment it limits coverage to race. The terms used are 'any person' and 'all persons'. Last time I checked I was part of the 'all persons' category.

As for 'endorsement' of my relationship, that isn't what I want. I want to be treated as an equal citizen. Period. I don't care if people like me, invite me over to bake cookies, or otherwise 'endorse' my relationship. I simply insist on actual full citizenship. And that includes marriage and all the 1000 benefits of marriage.

No one owns the term 'marriage'. It's the height of arrogance to think that any one group has a monopoly on what is arguable the strongest relationship two people can enter into.

Posted by: Hillman | July 4, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

WTF - A few years ago gay marriage was nearly inconceivable. But it's been a hot topic for several years now, and anyone that's had a chance to acclimate to the idea and study the issue can't in good conscience say that denying gay people true equality is fundamentally fair. So, yes, refusal to allow my partner and I to wed is bigotry. I don't know if it's homophobia, but it is bigotry.

As for civil unions, if you think they are so nice why don't you settle for one?

And civil unions are not the equivelant of marriage. First, they don't carry the 1000 plus benefits of marriage that states and the Feds automatically give out. Second, they aren't recognized internationally. Third, the term doesn't carry the same emotional punch and bonding power as the term 'marriage'.

As for 'traditional' marriage, there really is no such thing. Marriage is constantly changing. Up until quite recently marriage in the US was really about property rights - i.e., the woman was literally property of the man. And, of course, it was denied to interracial couples and other groups. In many areas it was denied to people of different religions.

And let's not forget that polygamy has been legal in many areas for centuries.

And the term 'family' - my family is my partner and I. Yours may be different. I'm not nearly arrogant enough to tell you your family isn't legitimate. All I ask from you is that you avoid the same arrogance.

Posted by: hillman | July 4, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Bryan what are you talking about. Ehrlich vetoed the Medical Decision Making Act of 05. He gets no credit for helping gay people in my book. My criticism is warranted.

Posted by: Mr. K | July 4, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Civil Unions are inherently unequal. As soon as you define one person's love for another as different from two other people, bigoted state legislatures will find ways to abuse and create futher separation between the two insitutions.

I honestly just don't understand the underlying reasoning of these conservatives who are anti-gay marriage. What are you fighting for? What are you trying to prove by telling two people that their love is inherently sinned and lower than you. It does not affect you. You want to talk about spreading democracy and freedom around the world, why forget about it here? I'm not asking you to go shake hands with a homosexual person- just leave them alone. Why do you feel the need to deprive them of their civil liberties? People who are organizing and fighting to gain equality for homosexuals know exactly what it is they are fighting for... I just want to hear a relevant answer to those opposed to the idea- Why is it that you are so fervently opposed to gay marriage?

Posted by: Matt | July 4, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Hillman, you keep talking about the 1000 benefits of marriage. I'd love to see a list (counterbalanced with the penalties, of course).

As for the fact you don't think I'm discussing....well, if someone doesn't agree with you yet makes a logical argument, and you don't call that discussion, I think you might be beyond the ability to reason with.

My 'fascination' with LR is nothing of the sort - it's just some bookstore I heard about populated by the alternate lifestylers. I guess I could have picked other Dupont Circle locations, but frankly I don't know any.

As for me knowing any gays, actually I know several, both former and current friends (about 5 if you're counting, including both sexes). I doubt it's relevant, however.

As for discrimination - we discriminate all the time. You people need to get this through your head. We discriminate on the basis of BEHAVIOR and NON-RACIAL CHARACTERISTICS. Not on skin color. Felons cannot vote nor own guns. Mentally handicapped cannot drive cars. Children cannot sign contracts. It happens all the time, deal with this fact. Since marriage was created to safeguard the family unit and keep women/children from poverty (see earlier blog entry for this discussion, I won't re-hash it here), it's not really relevant for gays.

You want to have sex with other guys, etc., fine, but most of the country agrees with me that same sex marriage is wrong. And yes, it's relevant.

Posted by: JD | July 4, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse

JD, you talk about rational arguments- the argument you just made was absolutely nonsensical. Children can not sign contracts, mentally challenged can not drive cars, and felons can not own guns to protect them and the rest of society. It has nothing to do with discrimination. So unless you are trying to tell me you are protecting homosexuals by banning gay marriage, the argument you just made is nonsense.

And did you know the divorce rate is substantially higher overall in red states...? I can't stand the twisted and veiled bigotry people in these forums use by trying to say gay marriage will deteriorate family values.

Posted by: Matt | July 4, 2006 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Be ignorant then Mr. K and only represent one side of the coin.

For those interested since K won't tell you:

"ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Bob Ehrlich signed legislation Tuesday that will make it easier for all Marylanders, including same-sex couples, to play a role in making health care decisions for their partners.

The bill, which was sponsored by Ehrlich, kept a promise he made a year ago when he angered gay rights activists by vetoing a broader medical decision-making law. The governor said then that he would support legislation that did not move state law in the direction of recognizing same-sex marriages."

Posted by: Bryan | July 5, 2006 2:33 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that the Washington Post is focusing on Steele's opposition to gay marriage when Ben Cardin (who has the backing of Maryland's Democrat establishment) also opposes it. The Democrats here who are in favor of gay marriage need to consider that the Democratic Party isn't much better on this issue than the GOP.

Posted by: MK | July 5, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

JD - I've posted this link several times, it's the result of an extensive GAO study. My best webline, at, seems to be down, but here's another.

This is just one listing of the 1000 plus benefits available to married couples only...

Of course I won't be eligible for all 1000, but as it stands right now you are advocating that I not be eligible for any of them because you don't like who I fell in love with.

That, to me, is not only potentially cruel and unfair, it's arrogant and mean-spirited. And bigoted.

I don't know who 'we' is in your discussion of discrimination, but I guarantee you that a lot of people out there discriminate on skin color, your protestations notwithstanding.

I assume you're getting at the 'being gay is a choice' red herring by differentiating between different types of bigotry.

If that's true, when did you decide to become straight? Surely you can remember the exact day. Do you celebrate it each year, like your birthday?

Even if being gay were a choice, so what? It's how I am, and just because you don't like it doesn't mean you have a moral right to make my life more difficult because of it.

You say marriage was created to safeguard the family unit. If that's so, then why isn't my family unit worth safeguarding? I don't call your family unit unworthy. It's the height of arrogance and selfishness for you to do the same for mine.

Posted by: Hillman | July 5, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

JD - Gay couples have children. You say marriage is supposed to be for the protection of children.

Why is it not available for the protection of children of gay couples?

And gay couples have spouses. Often one of those spouses earns significantly less.

Why is it that that spouse is unworthy of the protections of marriage?

If you want to take your argument to the logical extreme, lesbian couples are obviously two women. Since marriage is for the protection of women (your statement, not mine), then wouldn't lesbians need that protection even more than a straight couple?

Posted by: Hillman | July 5, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse


You comment once again on me having sex with men.

Again, being gay is more than sex, especially for us older folk. It's about who you fall in love with.

Posted by: Hillman | July 5, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Hillman, you really need to get back on your meds. Let me address your issues in the order you bring them up, as opposed to the order of increasing ridiculousness.

#1) What benefit of marriage do you get (your so-called list of 1000, or otherwise), that you wouldn't get from a civil union? Same sex marriage is so obviously a war cry, rallying issue for the extremists, that I hardly need to bring this up.

#2) I don't know who you 'fell in love with', nor is it any of my business. But having government sanction a marriage IS my business (it's everyone's business). I'm sorry if you don't like that, but that's democracy at work.

#3) You call me arrogant and meanspirited. OK. I'll choose not to respond with namecalling. You are insulting most of America as well, however.

#4) I guess you miss the point of my metaphor about discriminating (which we, as a society, do all the time). Not all discrimination is bad - you discriminate between restaurants, contractors, car manufacturers, etc.

The point is: We don't let certain people do certain things based on certain behaviors or characteristics. Happens all the time. That doesn't mean it's inherently bad that it happens. Find another argument.

#5) Is homosexuality a choice? Is heterosexuality? I don't know (and neither do you)

#6) Marriage was created so women wouldn't be at the mercy of tomcatting men, impregnating them then leaving mom and kids to poverty. As I said in the other blog entries, short of medical wizardry, this doesn't apply.

#7) Don't assume that I agree that you and Steve make 'a family unit'.

#8) The divorce rate, or % of cheating husbands, in red vs blue states is completely irrelevent to this discussion, and only serves to further politicize something that doesn't need to be. As MK says, your blue-state Dems are of a similar mind with me (and most of America).

So Hillman, why is marriage so important to you if you can get all of your '1000 benefits' from a civil union? Just to have an issue so you can raise money for, or dailykos, or PFLAG?.

Remember, no name calling, rationality only please.

Posted by: JD | July 5, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info Bryan. Unfortunately, that is a far cry from the medical decision making act which he vetoed. Yes, gay couples should be happy now that they were thrown a bone. According to the article:

"But the new law does not guarantee other rights available to married couples, such as riding in an ambulance with an injured person or making decisions about what happens if a person dies."

Is that supposed to be impressive? Compassionate Conservatism in action everyone! Wow, Ehrlich is a swell fellow afterall! I have no doubt that was thrown in there to boost Ehrlich's "moderate" credientials during an elction year.

MK, I agree with you on Ben Cardin not being covered here. He should be. I'm very disappointed with the Democrats on this one. The Democrats can't have a real debate on this without throwing red meat to the Republicans to bash them over the head with. That's what I've been saying earlier in this string. It is impossible to have an honest discussion about this topic in politics. I'm happy there are people like Russ Feingold in the Senate who take a firm position on this issue (and many others).

Posted by: Mr. K | July 5, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad I'm a life long resident of Virginia.

Posted by: Registered Voter | July 5, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Mr. K, this is an area we actually agree on. I'm quite disappointed Republicans are trotting this non-issue out. It doesn't hurt anyone if gays can get married. In fact, it would probably be a very good thing for society.

Posted by: MK | July 5, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"there is no Constitutional 'hook' for same-sex marriage as an explicit right."

In constitutional matters, I tend to give primacy to the individual over government. I base that partly on the 10th Amendment, which I see as limiting the government's reach into public and private life, as setting boundaries for government authority.

With same-sex marriage, I believe government has no compelling interest in limiting marriage to straight couples. This applies to state and local governments as well as the federal governments. Same-sex marriage poses no intrinsic harm to anyone else or to society, so why shouldn't it be legal?

And the argument about courts circumventing the will of the voters on this issue--it's isn't up to the voters to decide whether a couple should get married, straight or gay. I think "right to privacy" is an inaccurate phrase, but I do believe that there are certain decisions that can only be made by an individual, not society or government.

Posted by: Tonio | July 5, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I made an error and left an "s" at the end of "federal government".

Posted by: Tonio | July 5, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

So 'get back on your meds' isn't name-calling?

No, civil unions will not provide those benefits. By definition those are provided to married couples. And civil unions are not legally the same as marriages. They are inherently a second-class operation, constantly subject to attack. And I guarantee you that they'd constantly be subject to court challenge by every loser out there that had a bone to pick with a gay person, by every probate court in some hick county, by every insurance company that wanted to weasel out of some payment, etc, by every religious nursing home that wanted to refuse visiting rights, etc.

Even IF civil unions were to be forced by the Fed govt on every single government and private entity in the US, which is a huge IF, given the tens of thousands of courts, private entities, preexisting contracts, etc., then there's still one final hurdle that 'civil union' will never get over - they aren't recognized internationally. Once the US set up two levels of marriage then how in the world do we think we'd get other countries to honor them both as legally equal if we ourselves differentiated them? We couldn't.

And, again, if you aren't willing to settle for a civil union, why should I?

I refuse to accept a second-class label. Part of the power of the term marriage is in the term itself. And you don't own that term.

No, my marriage is none of your business. Much like your marriage is none of my business.

Yes, I do know that homosexuality is not a choice. For me it was never a choice. Whether it is biological or just so deeply ingrained in early childhood, it doesn't matter. I can tell you it's not a choice for me.

And if you are still championing any condition which treats gay people like second class citizens, which makes it harder for gay couples to support themselves in their old age, which makes it harder for us to see each other in hospitals, etc., then, yes, you are arrogant and mean-spirited. I stand by that statement.

As for 'good' discrimination and 'bad' discrimination.... yes, I'm familiar with the term discrimination and know that it can mean many things. But any discrimination which results in treating other people like crap, on purpose, is bad. Period.

Posted by: Hillman | July 5, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

More to JD -

You never answered my question.... when did you decide to be straight?

As for you accepting whether my partner and I are a family unit, your acceptance is irrelevant. I don't want or need your approval. I have no desire to be invited over to your place to bake cookies, to put cute little outfits on my gay dog, or to watch gay porn with you. We are a family whether you like it or not. All I want is equal treatment from my government.

My marriage has ABSOLUTELY no bearing on yours. Period. If you think it does, name me one concrete way in which it negatively impacts your marriage. Much like yours has no bearing on me. I don't carry who you married. And you shouldn't care who I marry.

Posted by: Hillman | July 5, 2006 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Hill, I don't think in terms of ever 'deciding' to be str8, since that's the default position. I also never 'decided' to want to breathe, to be genetically healthy, to want a nice place to live. These are all the normal condition (see the last time you and I went toe-to-toe, you might remember the lengthy discussion was about using the word 'deviant' by the Governor's guy). I guess people remember decisions when it deviates from the standard path. Again, I believe that you believe that you were born with this condition, but I'm not so sure that it's settled science. While you probably didn't make an active decision to *be* gay, you probably made a specific decision that you *were* gay, had some kind of aha moment, some circumstance that caused you to realize you weren't into chicks. Which is fine btw, as I said earlier, I have a few gay friends (although I admit I don't see them much anymore, as they live in DC and Arlington and I live out in the woods).

I'm glad you found a partner. Believe me when I tell you, I'm glad. I hope you live together happily forever. And I don't know how to convey the 'damage' inflicted by monkeying with what most of society feels is the penultimate achievement of a man-woman relationship. Think of it as a club, one that carries with it an exclusivity, a celebration, an understanding of commitment. Now some non-members want to get into the club, and they demand that the entrance requirements be lowered so they meet the entrance criteria. Obviously, those already in the club, or eligible for membership, are resisting the 'cheapening' of the membership criteria.

I know you'll say that this club, marriage, isn't 'mine' (or hetero's) to deny others access to. But, if you think about it, it is - as we said before, marriage has been man-woman since pre-history. It's the status quo now, except in activist court jurisdictions. And it's the biologically natural way of things (since humans would have died out long ago otherwise).

I'm not all that surprised if this doesn't make much sense to you. To paraphrase the t-shirt, 'it's a straight thing, you wouldn't understand'.

Posted by: JD | July 6, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Funny how you say marriage is a club. I've already paid the club dues (taxes), so by my definition I'm a dues-paying member, whether you personally like me in your club or not.

Funny, my taxes that are artificially supporting your marriage institution aren't a 'straight thing'.

As for this 'damage' you keep referring to, give me actual specifics about the 'damage' my gay marriage would cause to your straight marriage. Please, be specific.

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Being straight is the default position for you. It isn't for me.

It really is that simple.

Since my 'default' is being gay, do I have a right to say that only gay people deserve marriage or other rights? Of course not. And you don't have the right to withhold societal benefits because of your straightness either.

After all, the 'default' race in America is white. Does that mean whites in America get to have marriage or other benefits all to themselves?

Gay marriage does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the status or power of straight marriage. If your institution of marriage is so fragile that gay marriage will damage it, then you ain't got much there to begin with.

Of course, any actual weakening of straight marriage has been done by actual straight people. A divorce rate of over 50%, Who Wants to Marry A Millionaire, Britney Spears' sham publicity marriage.

Some 'penultimate experience'.

If anything, perhaps the US should take a breather from allowing straights to marry. Looks like straights are the ones making a mockery of the institution.

Perhaps allowing gays to marry would actually improve the institution. Lord knows, it certainly couldn't make it any worse.

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

As a straight Republican, let me just say that marriage is certainly not an exclusive "club" that is threatened by "cheapening" the "membership criteria." That's ridiculous. Today, marriage is a legal contract, set by the state, with certain privileges going to people who enter into that contract. The state sets the rules of marriage and the state can change the rules of marriage. Changing the rules (as they have been changed in the past, such as outlawing polygamy, legalizing mixed race marriages, and loosening divorce rules) will not hurt heterosexual marriage. If gays can get married that will mean nothing to heterosexuals who want to get married. It's ridiculous to argue otherwise, and saying "it's a straight thing" and gays can't understand is silly. If you can't explain how gay marriage will hurt heterosexuals, then you can't really defend your position.

Furthermore, marriage has not always been between one man and one woman since pre-history. It's usually been between one man and as many women as he could afford. Marriage was traditionally an economic arrangement and not one of love, as we have today. To say that marriage, in the form we see it today, is the norm from pre-history is to be completely ignorant of history.

Another lesson from history -- in some societies (such as ancient Greece, perhaps one of the most advanced societies ever), homosexuality was an accepted part of life. In the upper classes of Europe in the Rennaissance and later, homosexuality was fairly common. Homosexuality has always been with us as a species and it used to be much more widespread in societies that were very advanced (ancient Greece and Rome).

Posted by: MK | July 6, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"The irony is that nowhere in the Christian Bible does Jesus Christ - on whose teachings the religion is supposedly based - say anything about homosexuality."

What a joke! Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the term "homosexuality" does not exist in ancient Greek, Hebrew, Latin, or Aramaic.

Jesus DID speak out against sexual immorality (and homosexuality IS on that list) as well as citing the destruction of Sodom as being "just."

So much for the lies against Christianity!

Posted by: Rufus | July 6, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Homosexuality has nothing to do with love, it is only about sex.

You can love whomever you want but that doesn't mean that it is OK to have sex with them.

Siblings love each other but sex between them is immoral.

Parents and children love each other but sex between them is immoral.

People of the same sex can love each other but sex between them is immoral and marriage between them is an oxymoron.

Posted by: Rufus | July 6, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Just because something is immoral does not mean it should be illegal. Is homosexuality immoral? The Bible is a bit more ambiguous on this than, say, divorce, but it seems fairly clear that both the Old and New Testament condemn homosexuality. So what? That means that if you are a Christian, you shouldn't have homosexual sex. That doesn't mean that if you are a Christian you should stop others from having homosexual sex. It also means nothing for the political rights of those who have homosexual sex.

If we followed the logic of some by denying certain rights and privileges to homosexuals because they are sinners, who among us would have any rights? The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Rufus, you say that it is immoral for two people of the same gender to have sex, and therefore they should not be married. Well, it's just as immoral for a divorced person to have sex, correct? The Bible says that if you are divorced and you have sex with someone else, you are a sinner. So since this is immoral, do you also support denying the rights of divorced people to remarry?

My point is that you can't use the yardstick of what is moral and what isn't moral to determine what should be illegal and what should be illegal. Or, if you are, then you must advocate for a variety of new laws to stop immoral people from having certain rights.

Posted by: MK | July 6, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

You ask me it is almost going to be simpler to take away everyone's government recognized right to marriage, make it an individual/community recognized thing. Take away the tax benefits and everything else. I videotaped weddings for years in college, that made me never want to get married, and I made two observations. Marriages are a waste of money and half the people are drunk before they get to the alter.

Posted by: Alex Zeese | July 6, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"Just because something is immoral does not mean it should be illegal. Is homosexuality immoral? The Bible is a bit more ambiguous on this than, say, divorce, but it seems fairly clear that both the Old and New Testament condemn homosexuality."

MK, I would go further than that. Just because one religion's holy book says an act is immoral, doesn't mean that the act is objectively immoral. Secular governments shouldn't make its laws according to any religion's doctrines. The validity of any holy book or any religious doctrine is a matter of personal belief, not objective truth.

Posted by: Tonio | July 6, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I completely agree with MK. I think it's time to break out the champagne and streamers. We're both social libertarians it seems. Gay marriage for me falls under the category of not any of my business. I feel that as long as the actions of others do not harm anyone and everyone is a willing participant it is not my place nor my business to insert myself into their affairs.

Posted by: Mr. K | July 6, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

OK, you guys obviously don't get it. Also, I've made the bad assumption that everyone here read and remembered the previous discussion we had on this subject, which is why I haven't brought up those points again.

MK, marriage is more than just a legal contract, it's far more emotional than that. Most of America agrees with that point btw, so if you don't, sorry, I guess further conversation along those lines would be pointless.

Hill, I'm not sure how paying taxes actually 'supports' marriage, either straight or gay. Government doesn't subsidize marriage in any meaningful way, but society in many ways encourages it, as they should, since it saves women and kids from being poor, helps instill positive values, provides non-governmental safety nets, helps tame down men's wilder sides, etc. You should remember that I'm in favor of a civil union that grants the same gov rights as conferred by marriage, including tax breaks, etc. Your red herrings about insurance companies ignoring the law, about 'hick states' persecuting you (and isn't it highly tolerent of you to use that term), is pretty funny actually.

By default position, I mean that biologically, it's the 'normal' state of affairs. Homosexuality is the 'deviant' position (before you go ballistic, go back and re-read the last blog about this word). Your 'default position' of being gay does not make it normal, as that word is defined. I won't so far as to say perverted, but certainly you'd admit that it's a small (but highly vocal) minority.

Posted by: JD | July 6, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"Well, it's just as immoral for a divorced person to have sex, correct?"

Possibly but not always. Was there a valid marriage between the two in the first place, yes or no?

But enough of the esoterics as reality was weighed in today in New York and Georgia.

It take a man and a woman to make a marriage, no other combinations need apply.

Posted by: Rufus | July 6, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

In case there's any doubt as to where most of America stands on this issue:

Posted by: JD | July 6, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

JD, I know marriage is more than a legal contract for most people, but when you are talking about changing the laws governing gay marriage, then you are talking only about the legal contract aspect of it. I can't help it if people react emotionally to this issue and not rationally. Emotionally, I'll agree that most people aren't ready to accept gay marriage. It certainly doesn't mean that there is a rational basis to keep it illegal. Laws should be made based on reason, not emotion.

As far as being in the minority, of course I realize that. Hell, pretty much all of my political views aren't held by a majority of Americans. In terms of gay marriage, though, my views will most likely be the majority by the time I reach retirement age. The younger you are, the more you support gay marriage.

Rufus, nice evasion. However, your point was that it was immoral for two people of the same gender to have sex, and therefore they cannot be married. Your logic is faulty and I showed that pretty clearly. Do you support denying divorced people the right to remarry? If not, please tell me how their situation is different than two people of the same gender. After all, they are both engaging in immoral sex.

And you can keep repeating that it takes a man and a woman to make a marriage, but that's simply because that's how we do it in this society. Other societies are different. Even the Old Testament testified to this. Polygamy was quite common then. Do you support making polygamy legal? If not, why not?

I'm very interested in your answers, Rufus.

Mr. K, indeed, an issue we can agree on. I don't want the government interfering in either my personal life or my economic life.

Posted by: MK | July 6, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

JD said:

Homosexuality is the 'deviant' position (before you go ballistic, go back and re-read the last blog about this word). Your 'default position' of being gay does not make it normal, as that word is defined.

You are framing what homosexuality is completely wrong. MK correctly pointed out earlier that homosexuality has been with us as a species for lord knows how long. In nature there is no "normal" and "deviant" there is just nature. I firmly believe that homosexuality is natural and not a "choice." One day the science will prove it and it's going in that direction if you care to read the latest science journals. You can stick labels on it and call it deviant (which is an extremely loaded word despite what you said in the last entry on the topic), but those labels are categorically false.

And you're wrong again about marriage being more than a legal contract. As far as the state is concerned (not you or your family or Rufus' family or anyone else) two people can hate each other forever and still be married. Their love or lack thereof is of no concern to the state.

"Your red herrings about insurance companies ignoring the law, about 'hick states' persecuting you (and isn't it highly tolerent of you to use that term), is pretty funny actually."

Are you sadistic? There is nothing funny about that at all. There is still a lot of homophobia out there in rural and ubran centers alike and something like that happening isn't so far fetched. And news flash, insurance companies love to cheap skate their way out of paying for anything. If they paid out everything quickly in quietly how long do you think they would stay in business. That's just naive.

Posted by: Mr. K | July 6, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Mr. K had to backstep because he only gave everyone one side of the coin.

Posted by: Bryan | July 6, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bryan, if you're going to slam me (or attempt to) could you perhaps make a comment that makes sense? I appreciate your thoughtful and constructive criticism.

Posted by: Mr. K | July 6, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

JD, you have a point about civil unions. I support the idea as an acceptable compromise, if that's the only way that voters will accept civil contracts for gay couples that have all the rights AND RESPONSIBILITIES of legal marriage.

I don't understand why so many people believe that gay marriage has any impact on their own straight marriages. At its core, a marriage is really about a couple's promise to each other. It isn't about government or what's best for society. Personally, I don't trust government or society or even a community to determine what's best for an individual or a couple.

As a man, I resent your claim that marriage "helps tame down men's wilder sides." By that reasoning, women would be justified in keeping men in perpetual servitude. If men do have "wilder sides," I suspect that it's due to nurture rather than nature. You sound like author Robert Heinlein, who once declared that 18-year-old boys should be kept in barrels and fed through the barrel's bungs.

It isn't government's role to "instill positive values," since those values are often subjective and personal. Government involvement in values has often backfired, such as welfare which destroys the recipient's initiative and self-reliance. Also, that involvement opens the door for some people to push their religious doctrines onto society under the guise of "values."

Posted by: Tonio | July 6, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Should the state recognize marriages between siblings or for numbers greater than two?

"Homosexual marriage" supporters are not going to be able to argue against either of those.

Posted by: Rufus | July 6, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Rufus, I'll answer your question although you have so far refused to answer mine. Perhaps if I do so you may follow.

I think polygamy should certainly be legal. It doesn't bother me if some nutjob wants to have five wives. I can barely handle one, but to each his own.

As far as two siblings getting married, sure, why not? I don't know of anyone who is actually pushing for this (as opposed to gay marriage or polygamy), but, again, it doesn't affect me. Who cares?

So, since I have extended you a courtesy, how about repaying me by answering my questions as stated above:

Do you support denying divorced people the right to remarry? If not, please tell me how their situation is different than two people of the same gender. After all, they are both engaging in immoral sex.

And you can keep repeating that it takes a man and a woman to make a marriage, but that's simply because that's how we do it in this society. Other societies are different. Even the Old Testament testified to this. Polygamy was quite common then. Do you support making polygamy legal? If not, why not?

Posted by: MK | July 6, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

JD -

So I'm supposed to be grateful because you refrain from calling me perverted?

As for 'default', again, that's for you. Not me.

Numerically, the 'default' position on race in the US is white (albeit not for much longer). Does that mean any that aren't white are lesser of humans? Of course not. But that's the argument you are making.

But you again have failed to point out exactly how my gay marriage has any impact on your marriage.

You've claimed repeatedly that my marriage will somehow damage yours.

Yet you can't provide specifics.

Why not?

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Cool your jets, Mr K, what I said was funny was Hillman's use of the term 'hicks' to represent red staters, what with the liberals being the ones who claim the tolerant high ground. I guess we know who is really the biased ones around here. Obviously, I don't think it's funny if some insurance company denies benefits they legally owe. Since that'd be a violation of the law and redressable in court, I'm not sure how that irrational fear is an argument for gay marriage. But what do I know, I'm just a red-stater, a mouth-breathing hick with a PC, etc..

As for the term deviant, it goes back to Ehrlich's guy's comments on the cable show, search this blog about 2 weeks back. The entire discussion was about whether homos 'deviate' from the (hetero) norm, and therefore the behavior could be called deviant. Obviously the answer is yes, an 8 yr old could tell you that. If you don't like the word, fine, but it's accurate according to my dictionary. (Again, this was hashed out 3 weeks ago).

As much as it's politically incorrect to say, it's pretty clear that nature (evolution?) has structured virtually all species to couple as male-female. Please don't embarrass yourself by questioning this.

MK, you said: "As far as being in the minority, of course I realize that. Hell, pretty much all of my political views aren't held by a majority of Americans. "

If virtually all your views are against the majority opinion of Americans, um...maybe that's telling you something.

Posted by: JD | July 6, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

JD - As for my use of 'hick states'.... I'm from a hick state, so I know of whence I speak. And I'm quite the hick myself, and I've never found the term offensive. It's an accurate description.

But it's funny how you can be worried about the simple use of the term 'hick' but you're perfectly fine with supporting a legal system that requires two aged poor lesbians eat cat food in their 'golden years' because you don't personally like them.

And you seem to love being coy, bandying about terms like 'deviant' for gay people, knowing darn well that's a loaded word that's been used for generations to denigrate and harm gay people.

Some values you've got there.

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

My point about taxes from gay people artificially supporting your marriage benefits is quite valid.

Simply put, married people get tons more federal and state goodies, everything from social security survivor benefits to military pensions. And those benefits are only open to straight people. Yet they are paid for by all, including gay people.

Hence the gay subsidy of straight marriage.

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

JD - Don't assume just because I'm gay that I'm liberal politically. That'd be another stereotype that may very well be untrue.

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

JD - Ah, the old 'nature' argument. "Homosesuality ain't found in nature". Nonsense. Homosexuality has been found in hundreds of animal species. It's just as much a part of 'nature' as any other natural condition.

I'll even give you a link to the most recent book, available on Amazon, that discusses this topic in 800 pages of gory detail....

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Hillman said: "but you're perfectly fine with supporting a legal system that requires two aged poor lesbians eat cat food in their 'golden years' because you don't personally like them" Tell me Hillman, what do the other people on Mars think about this? I.e., what does eating cat food have to do with debasing the concept of marriage?! And I happen to know a few lesbian couples that I personally like, thank you very much.

You also said: "married people get tons more federal and state goodies, everything from social security survivor benefits to military pensions. And those benefits are only open to straight people. Yet they are paid for by all, including gay people. Hence the gay subsidy of straight marriage."

OK, and I'm not sure how many times I need to say this, so let me ask for a 5th time, what if a civil union provided all those benefits, every single one? Not good enough I'm guessing? No, then we wouldn't have a fund raising war cry to rally the true believers.

But let me apologize, I should not have made the assumption that your alternate lifestyle means you're liberal, or Democrat - you could be a Log Cabin'er I guess. My bad. However, Howard D, Russ F, and their ilk are all for your image of marriage, where W wants to write my version into the constitution. I'm sure you can understand why I made the assumption.

Posted by: JD | July 6, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Let me clarify my earlier statement - I never thought that homosexuality doesn't exist in nature. I read the link you sent, and actually I find it pretty fascinating, thanks.

What I meant was, that the purpose of evolution is to ensure survival of the species (or the species dies out, and it becomes survival of the fittest). Obviously, barring some worms and other low forms of life, the 'default coupling' is male-female. Period. Same-gender hookups are abberrations (ie, they DEVIATE from the norm).

Again, sorry about using the word, you would prefer digress, bypass, anomalous?....Roget's has 32 entries for you to pick from.

Posted by: JD | July 6, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

JD - I understand your technical use of the word 'deviant'. But you have to know that it's a loaded word that has been used to condemn gay people for 30 years in the US. Less than honest people in this country have a very long history of using that word to conjure up images of gay men preying on kids at playgrounds, etc.

There are, as you point out, many other words that can be used to make your point. And they don't come with the intentional baggage that 'deviant' has been saddled with.

As for civil unions, again you miss the point. They simply are not legal substitutes. Period. Any lawyer will tell you that. There are just too many things in which the term 'marriage' is used. Case in point: say there's a property deed from, say, 50 years ago. It specifies that the property will pass to the 'married surviving spouse'. Yes, the Feds and states could specify that civil unions are the same and must apply to all contracts, but that certainly won't stop the other parties in this instance from suing to enforce the original wording.

Would such a suit be struck down? Probably, eventually. But in MANY instances it would require numerous administrative findings, local court rulings, etc.

Remember that local politicians are elected, as are many local judges. Since many are elected, the will have a perfect opportunity to pander and refuse to recognize gay civil unions in cases like this.

Eventually, yes, they would be overruled. But at great cost and hell to the people involved.

Don't think it wouldn't happen that way? I think you kid yourself.

I grew up in small town America. I guarantee you that's exactly how it would play out.

And, again, civil unions are unenforceable internationally. Many gay couples not only travel abroad, but there are many gay immigration issues as well. Civil unions would not substitute for marriage in these instances, in large part because the US cannot control the laws and actions of other countries.

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

And, once again, the term marriage has a power all it's own. It has special religious symbolism for many, including gay people. It has the power to hold couples together during difficult times. It's a great solidifier of relationships.

"Civil union" doesn't have that power.

That in and of itself is reason enough to grant gay marriage. After all, allowing gay marriage would logically cut down on the very instability and supposed promiscuity that so many straights accuse gays of.

So you have a term that, when applies, servies to solidify marriages, make families more likely to stay together, and cuts down on promiscuity.

How on earth can you justify denying it to an entire group of people that happen to fall in love with a gender that you think is inappropriate?

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

JD -

One more time - what specific damage does my gay marriage do to your marriage?

Posted by: Hillman | July 6, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Just say no to legitimizing perversion. Legalized bestiality, group marriage and pedophilia will certainly follow if this allowed to occur. Where does it all end?

Posted by: Registered Voter | July 7, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Registered Voter - That's about the weakest argument I've heard yet.

You got proof that bestiality and pedophilia will follow gay marriage?

If not, stop making such a hateful, spiteful argument.

Posted by: Hillman | July 7, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

That's pretty darn hateful. Yes, Registered Voter because people are just banging down doors and marching through the streets to marry their dog and their neighbor's child. That's proof to the fact that you're ignorant about homosexuality and pedophilia. You're making it way too easy for people to stereotype those opposed to gay marriage as bible thumping fanatics.

Posted by: Mr. K | July 7, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I apologize in advance if any Jewish readers are offended by this, but Registered Voter's post sounds like a quote from "Procotols of the Elders of Dupont Circle." In my view, the only logical outcome of making such claims is to promote fear among parents. I can imagine a demagogue using those claims to generate hysteria, encouraging fearful parents to organize lynch mobs to target anyone suspected of being gay.

Posted by: Tonio | July 7, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

To Hillman:

You think the idea of legalized pedophilia & bestiality is rediculous? Well, the idea of homosexual "marriage" was considered rediculous 15 years ago & look where we are now. I rest my case.

To Mr. K:

I'm an Atheist...nice try though. This is clearly a progressively downward spiral into the depths of decadance & depravity...the manner in which most dominant civilizations throughout history have met their end.

There is nothing hateful about my sentiments. Homosexuality by definition is deviant & a perversion of nature.

The truth of the matter is that the Homosexual lobby wants society to grant legitimacy to that which neither legitimate nor normal.

I swear, you guys must have taken a page from the Bush playbook - if you tell the lie often enough, people will believe it.

Posted by: Registered Voter | July 7, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tonio,

So your inference then is that anyone who disagrees with the Homosexual agenda is promoting violence? Quite a stretch, don't you think?

I could care less what consenting adults do in the privacy of their dwellings. However, to have society confer legitimacy on that which is illegitimate is a non starter. Call it what it is - a perversion of nature.

Posted by: Registered Voter | July 7, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"So your inference then is that anyone who disagrees with the Homosexual agenda is promoting violence?" Of course not. I'm saying that equating adult homosexuality with pedophilia encourages violence, because that plays on parents' deepest fears about the safety of their children.

Even the term "homosexual agenda" is an emotionally loaded term with no basis in reality. The term might not encourage violence, but it does promote an false view of gays as sinister saboteurs out to destroy society.

Adult consensual homosexuality poses no intrinsic threat to society. If there is any threat to society, it would more likely come from political demagogues who would promote anti-gay witch hunts to further their own ambitions of power. That type of fearmongering affects everyone, no matter what their orientation.

Based on your reply to Mr. K, you seem to believe that people being gay leads or encourages others to be gay. Is that the case? If so, that's one of the screwest things I've ever heard. I don't know what causes homosexuality, but the idea that it's a choice doesn't seem logical to me.

Posted by: Tonio | July 7, 2006 9:47 PM | Report abuse

"As far as two siblings getting married, sure, why not? I don't know of anyone who is actually pushing for this (as opposed to gay marriage or polygamy), but, again, it doesn't affect me. Who cares?"

Societies don't thrive in the absence of morals, MK. They perish.

Defending our society against "homosexual marriage" is a fight for our survival as a nation.

Posted by: Rufus | July 10, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Rufus, your statement is somewhat true, but completely irrelevant to this debate. Our laws are not based on morality. Not everything that is immoral is illegal. In fact, many things that are considered immoral (gambling, for instance) are explicity promoted by the government.

The state is not the enforcer of morals, nor should it be. The church is the institution that is responsible for morality. The state is there to deliver public services, establish justice, etc. It is not there to make sure that everyone's morals are squeaky clean.

So don't trot out the old "gay marriage is immoral so it should be banned." We don't ban things in this country because they are immoral. We ban things for specific public policy reasons. There is no legitimate public policy that will be served by keeping gay marriage illegal.

Posted by: MK | July 10, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Actually, there is no legitimate public policy that will be served by forcing people to pretend that homosexual couplings equate to legitimate families, which are the cornerstone of a civilization.

Posted by: Rufus | July 11, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Where to begin, Rufus? Of course there is a legitimate public policy purpose to be served by allowing gay marriage. It would give gay men and lesbians who are in a commited relationship the same privileges now granted to heterosexual couples. It's a matter of fairness to gays and lesbians. There is no reason that gays and lesbians should be denied the "next of kin" rights and other such things that currently are held by heterosexual couples.

Allowing gay marriage will not force anyone to equate these arrangements to "legitimate families." People like yourself can continue to hold whatever view of gays you wish to hold.

As far as "legitimate families" being the cornerstone of civilization, I'd urge you to actually read some history. The current family structure we have now is certainly not the family structure that was prevalent even 300 years ago. Many great civilizations have had different family structures and have done quite well. Furthermore, the Old Testament civilization was based on polygamy.

You have repeatedly refused to answer whether you think polygamy should be legalized. Your logic certainly indicates that you should. If you do not, please explain why. Also, your logic seems to support the position that divorced people should not be allowed to remarry. Is this your position?

I have been kind enough to answer your questions, so please return the favor.

Posted by: MK | July 11, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Polygamy attacks the traditional family structure of this nation just as "same-sex marriage" or even sibling marriage do. No public policy is served by attacking out own foundation.

Leftists expanded divorce laws to the point that they make a mockery of much of our marriage traditions. Eliminate the damage done there and much of the resulting problems would pass as well.

Marriage is a legally-enforcable contract from the public policy standpoint. Our society has a right to choose which contracts they will defend via our court system. Given the choice, the good people of this nation clearly state that the fiction of "same-sex marriage" is not one of the contracts that our courts will enforce.

Posted by: Rufus | July 12, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Rufus, it's interesting that you oppose polygamy. You rely heavily on the Bible to oppose same sex marriage and yet you refuse to recognize the earliest form of marriage recognized by the Bible. Interesting. You do say that legalizing polygamy would harm the traditional family structure of "this nation." That seems to imply that you recognize this family structure is not the only family struture that exists. In fact, this is not the family structure that existed throughout much of Western Civilization. Since the concept of marriage has changed over time (a fact you implicitly acknowledge), then we can change it once again by allowing gays to marry. You now seem to be saying that it's not because it's immoral for gays to marry nor because a marriage is "one man, one woman," but because there are not legitimate public policy goals to be served by legalizing gay marriage. Interesting shift.

Posted by: MK | July 12, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

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