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Waiting for the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

No one but the justices knows when Maryland's high court will rule on a same-sex marriage ban.

But that hasn't stopped advocates from gearing up for a decision that could have big consequences across the state.

The Court of Appeal is weighing a lawsuit brought by 19 same-sex couples against Maryland's ban on gay marriage. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, say the ban violates the state constitution's guarantees of equality. The same battle is playing out in many states.

The high court could uphold the law, declare it dead and impose a remedy, or kick the issue back to the General Assembly to legislate new protections for same-sex couples, allowing marriage or civil unions.

But in the meantime, Equality Maryland is preparing for any outcome with a new campaign, Marylanders for Marriage. The gay rights group is enlisting grassroots support in certain neighborhoods and preparing to lobby state lawmakers this summer.

Yards signs and bumper stickers are being printed with the slogan "Civil Marriage is a Civil Right." Fundraising is in full gear.

Opponents of same-sex marriage gathered their forces during the legislative session that ended in April, forming a coalition to prepare for any eventuality.

Right now the fledgling group of lawmakers is looking at legislation to "strenghten families," Del. Gail H. Bates (R-Howard) said. As for the court decision, "We're just kind of waiting to see what they have to say," Bates said. "Personally that's a single issue for the other side. It's not for us."

By Phyllis Jordan  |  June 4, 2007; 6:27 AM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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We have had gay marriage in Canada for a while now and life continues. Despite fears to the contrary, my parents (60 years married) sisters (33 and 37 years married) and wife and I (31 years married) have not seen our marriages destroyed by this development.

So I hope the ruling favours gay marriage, but even better, suggest your governing legislative bodies pass laws in favour of it instead of relying on the courts to do the right thing.

Take care, eh?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 3, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

In as much as God has been left out of so many decisions, did he not create all men equal?
Even though the Bible can be interpreted as referring to homosexuality as abhorable, this same God tells us to love each other and to protect our brother.
Until such time as ALL men (and women) see the person; not sex, color, or religion of that person; we all will remain divided, bigoted, and wrapped in the bias and racial prejudice, much as our glorious forefathers. Our Nation stands on certain unalienable rights, namely: pursuit of happiness, and was founded on pledges and promises of Liberty and Justice for all. Banning persons from marrying seems to me a direct contradiction of that unalienable right.
One more thing.... the God I was raised to love and pray to and look to for guidance is a loving, understanding God who loves us not merely because He created us but also for the wonderful inconsistencies we all have in our make-ups. Free will is not merely a platitude... it, like many other choices, is a way of life.
Give over Maryland, join united or stand divided.

Posted by: Paula | June 3, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The proof is in the pudding. Gay couples have been marrying in Massachusetts for three years now. No one has been harmed. In fact, the Bible thumping states should envy its low divorce rate, theirs being the highest. Give it up, haters, it's over and you lost, again.

Posted by: James | June 3, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, if someone disagrees with you, they're a hater. That's a healthy attitude.

But yes, take a look at Massachusetts. Your divorce rate is lower because people in MA don't bother to get married in the first place - they just shack up, creating an unstable home for any children. But hey, if we're going to be undefining marriage anyway, why would that matter?

The bottom line is - if homosexual couples are unable to offer a home for children with a mother and a father (which has been shown to be the ideal) then why should they get the incentives and benefits of marriage? No one is saying they can't love each other or live together. It's not about hate. It's about encouraging the best situations for any children who come along.

Posted by: Jon | June 3, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Dad always said... the plumbing just doesn't fit. There are many things we can do in this country. As American citizens individually, homosexuals should not have rights taken away from them. However the pursuit of happiness should not get an enhancement just because the alternative lifestyle feels left out. By making the choice to take on that kind of lifestyle there are disadvantages that the homosexual community is fully aware of that they ignore just the same. I love how "Opponents of Same Sex Marriage" got 8 lines. People we have to enstill value and tradition on our communities or there will be nothing left when we move on.

Posted by: Paul | June 3, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the radical right has it wrong.

This is not about God or religion. If I'm married in a Hindu temple, does that count? What about a mosque? What if I am a wiccan and get married in a pagan ceremony? What if I'm an atheist and get married at the local courthouse, with no religion involved? Do you really want to get into identifying which religions or cults are permitted to conduct marriage?

Besides, if this really were about religion, then the radical right would have to justify why 52% of marriages (the vast majority of which, presumably, involve the participants vowing to God to stay in the marriage until death) end in divorce. I say to the religious freaks: If you're looking for a reason for the breakdown of marriage, look in the mirror. Gay marriage not your enemy.

My partner and I have been together now 16 years in a loving, committed relationship. Yet, if I am in the hospital, he cannot visit me or make medical decisions for me. He cannot have access to my finances or speak on my behalf if I am in a coma. If he dies (God forbid), I have no access to his retirement benefits. He can't cover me on his health plan. Can we still live together and love each other? Yes, and we do. But by refusing me these basic rights, how exactly am I supposed to think that this isn't just pure hatred? It costs nothing to extend those rights to me and my partner, and yet you fight us at every turn.

So justify it. Explain why giving me the right to visit him in the hospital is a threat to the institution of marriage. Explain why covering me on his health plan is causing marriages to dissolve. Your arguments are ridiculous and, in the end, you end up sounding just as ridiculous.

Posted by: Mark | June 3, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Jon is right: it should be about the children. I plan on raising my children properly and providing for them every way I know how. And Paul is right as well: having served over 10 years in the military, as well as a community law enforcment officer, I plan on instilling those values of service and tradition in my kids and family too. The fact that I'm gay shouldn't really matter, right?

Posted by: G | June 3, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

My hope, and the hope of many other residents of Maryland, is that the court rules in favor of full marriage rights for same-sex couples. Any other "remedy" is problematic at best. In states such as New Jersey and California where same-sex couples are given the privilege of becoming "civil unioned", it is clear that the civil union solution has the effect of cementing the second class status of the gay and lesbian population. In NJ, for example, nearly 1 in 8 gay and lesbian couples who have taken advantage of the new legal status report that their insurers and employers do not recognize their legal status as a couple.

Setting aside all the cold facts, there is a much more fundamental question at hand. The justices on the court know that if they essentially "punt" and leave it to the legislature to implement the appropriate legal status for gay and lesbian couples, it leaves the door open to a statewide referendum on the issue. And there's the rub. Should the will of the people determine who gets to be a part of the club? Is it really up to the majority to make decisions about fundamental civil rights? Had we taken a poll during the times of Martin Luther King, Jr. to see whether blacks should enjoy the same rights as whites, I dare say the majority would have voted no.

We should heed the warning that Thomas Jefferson gave in his first Inaugural Address. He says, "All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression."

Posted by: Michelle W. | June 3, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"The bottom line is - if homosexual couples are unable to offer a home for children with a mother and a father (which has been shown to be the ideal) then why should they get the incentives and benefits of marriage?"

Just to confirm -- are you saying that only couples with children should be recognized as being married and receive the benefits / incentives? Should we outlaw marriage among seniors too old to have children? Should we prohibit childless couples from staying married?

The bottom line is that we as a society recognize the value of long-term, committed relationships -- and these relationships enjoy certain legal recognitions as a result. There is no reason why these benefits shouldn't be extended to all such couples.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 3, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Civil unions yes! But it isn't a Marriage!

Posted by: Ed Lulie | June 3, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

People should stop discriminating against children with gay parents. That's basically what opponents of gay marriage are saying -- even though there is widespread agreement that the package of benefits and responsibilities that we call "marriage" is intended to and important for providing stability to kids, we should deny that benefit to kids who happen to have gay parents. That's really Christian.

Posted by: Dan | June 3, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

People should stop discriminating against children with gay parents. That's basically what opponents of gay marriage are saying -- even though there is widespread agreement that the package of benefits and responsibilities that we call "marriage" is intended to and important for providing stability to kids, we should deny that benefit to kids who happen to have gay parents. That's really Christian.

Posted by: Dan | June 3, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

C'mon - let's drag this discussion back to a most important, basic fact: sexual preference is NOT a choice.

Posted by: Neal | June 3, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of how Maryland's court rules, legally recognized gay relationships (whether unions or marriages) are a reality in several states and in many other Western countries, and as time marches on that reality will expand to more and more places. Polling data suggests strongly that attitudes about gay relationship rights change dramatically based on when one happens to have been born, with the trend towards support for gay relationship rights both unmistakeable and strong. So, we can watch the right wing resistance to this twitch nervously with some humor, I think, because at the end of the day. our rights will be vindicated. Time is on our side in this fight, clearly.

Posted by: Brendan | June 3, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Jon wrote:

"The bottom line is - if homosexual couples are unable to offer a home for children with a mother and a father (which has been shown to be the ideal) then why should they get the incentives and benefits of marriage? No one is saying they can't love each other or live together. It's not about hate. It's about encouraging the best situations for any children who come along."

Oh look, it's the old "marriage is meant for the production of children" fallacy. By that logic, all infertile people and post-menopausal women should be banned from marriage. If they're unable to reproduce, why should they be granted a right that you apparently reserve only for fertile people?

We all know that in order to obtain a marriage license anywhere in the US, you have to submit to a fertility test. Infertile individuals are always denied marriage licenses. Oh, wait, that's not true at all.

This is a ridiculous argument; marriage isn't just about having kids. Marriage is about love, commitment, partnership and responsibility. One of the most commonly used denunciations of LGBT people is that as a whole, there is rampant hedonism and irresponsibility. Why then would you deny those who want such commitment, partnership and responsibility in their lives?

Children are and always have been optional. Find a better argument, because the one you're using is bogus.

Posted by: Blogesque | June 3, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

My position as an American voter is simple. Don't allow any form of gay union whatsoever. Homosexuals have no right to redefine the institution of marriage.

Posted by: Steve | June 3, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

oh jesus maria pleeze why are we having this debate??
gays and lesbians should have all the same rights in a free country as our straight friends and relatives who get married and married and married and so on!
the only ones holding gays and lesbians back are the homophobic moneygrabbing preachers thats why 'RELIGION IS THE PROBLEM AND NOT AT ALL THE ANSWER!

Posted by: WILLEM | June 3, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh and someone mentioned that in Canada there was no problem with gay marriage. A key problem with that assessment is that Canadians are extremely liberal compared to Americans on these critical social issues. For instance, the Associated Press released a poll recently that found, while 69% of Americans supported the death penalty, a majority of Canadians were against it. Also a Canadian poll recently found that by a 2-1 majority Canadians are okay with homosexuality, while polls over here show that most Americans aren't okay with it still. Even more condemning, a poll also found recently that more than 10% of Canadians approve of pedophilia! Clearly, Canadians are harldly the paradigm of a moral society in our world.

What's more, while polls shows that solid majorities of Canadians have no problem with gay marriage and they've largely accepted it, Americans have overwhelmingly rejected gay marriage. Only one state has ever rejected an anti-gay marriage amendment (due to excessively broad wording), while 27 out of the 50 states so far have approved such amendments.

Posted by: Steve | June 3, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the notion that marriage cannot only be about providing for children as already stated by a number of those commenting above. But may I just add that Jon's reference to the social science literature on the matter is misleading:

"The bottom line is - if homosexual couples are unable to offer a home for children with a mother and a father (which has been shown to be the ideal)..."

He is citing research that suggests that children raised with a mother and a father fare better than those children raised by a SINGLE parent (on average), but this particular series of studies DID NOT include children raised by same-sex couples. The vast majority of (reputable) research comparing children raised by same-sex versus different-sex parents shows NO DIFFERENCE in a comprehensive array of tests of psychological well-being, performance at school, intellect, mental illness, social adjustment, etc. There is simply no compelling evidence that children raised by same-sex couples are at any disadvantage other than perhaps being the targets of discrimination by those who would deny their parents equal protections under the law.

Posted by: Aaron | June 3, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Stev wrote "A key problem with that assessment is that Canadians are extremely liberal compared to Americans on these critical social issues. For instance, the Associated Press released a poll recently that found, while 69% of Americans supported the death penalty, a majority of Canadians were against it. Also a Canadian poll recently found that by a 2-1 majority Canadians are okay with homosexuality, while polls over here show that most Americans aren't okay with it still. Even more condemning, a poll also found recently that more than 10% of Canadians approve of pedophilia! Clearly, Canadians are harldly the paradigm of a moral society in our world."

With the exception of the pedophilia part, for which I would love to see a citation, lots of people might call Canadians enlightened. It's interesting to note that the Catholic Church and other religions oppose the death penalty, yet you appear to cite it here as an example of why Canadians are generally less moral than Americans. Maybe it's just that they are less self-righteous.

Posted by: Dan | June 3, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Gay haters worried about cildren, be aware that gay couples disproportianately adopt from among the thousands of children who are unwanted - wrong race, health or mental problems, too old, etc. And all studies have shown, time after time, that they are just as good at parenting as heterosexuals and their children turn out just as well.

Posted by: James | June 3, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

It's ironic that those who proclaim such a concern for children are the same people who happily make the children of gay people, parents trying to lead an honest life, feel like pariahs unless those parents are fortunate enough to have an income that allows them to live among especially educated people.

Posted by: James | June 3, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

It's not a choice. How can you say someone deserves less rights because of what they are? Have we not learned from our past? It is because of people like those against gay marraige that history is constantly repeated. Womens rights, black rights, gay rights. It's all the same. And I know, this is different, right? I'm sure some guy was saying that as he defended slavery. But this is different, of course. Because you haven't taken the time to understand. Because it's different and scary and hard for you to grasp. All I can say is that it's simply not a choice.

Posted by: Cait | June 3, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: WILLEM | June 3, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

The bigots are upset that gay people are being allowed into an institution that confers respect and, consequently, their participation in it will weaken homophobia. That's what they're really upset about. That's what it always boils down to.

Posted by: John | June 3, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"Homosexuals have no right to redefine the institution of marriage."

How about if we keep it simple -- let each church define marriage using whatever criteria they would like to use -- and let the states define a civil union that is open to loving, committed couples be they straight or gay.

If there is a church that wants to recognize gay marriage, what right do you have to tell them that their religious belief is misplaced?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 3, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think the majority of those opposed to same sex marriage are just trying to "stay ahead." In a keeping up with the Jones kind of world, they have already had to acknowldge that gays are at their workplace, in their neighborhoods, and even in their churches... and doing just fine or in some cases better than heterosexuals. Their insecurity complex leads them to believe it's easier or better to limit who can get married in order to remain special (special as in more exclusive) rather than spending time on their own marriage to make it something special (special in terms of rewarding to the couple and their social network). I almost feel sorry for them... and normally would as I pity most small minded people... but not until the selfish claiming of God and what God wants has stopped. You don't speak for me or my God!

Posted by: Mike | June 3, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm for EQUALITY and so I'm for marriage for same sex couples.

Posted by: Paul | June 3, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm for EQUALITY and so I'm for marriage for same sex couples.

Posted by: Paul | June 3, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post, Mike. Thank you.

Posted by: John | June 3, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

As someone pointed out, the solution is really quite simple. "Civil union" should be the legal term for ALL unions, straight or gay, and "Marriage" would be reserved as a religious term used by churchs that perform unions of gays or straights. After all, in every state are straight people really legally "married" if they do not have that legal certificate from the state called a marriage liscense? Oh course the bible bigots will say that marriage is a sacrameent and all that, so are they saying that the millions of people in this county married by a judge without mention of god are not really "married"? Let's just use 'Civil Union" for everyone, and let the churches do whatever they want as to who they "Marry."

Posted by: Greg | June 3, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

HERE THIS: gay marriage is here to stay, "as goes Massachusetts, so goes the nation," and soon gay marriage will be coming to a state near you!

In the three years since the implementation of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, opponents of equality for same-sex couples have ranted and raved that same-sex marriage weakens the foundation of our society and destroys traditional marriage.

Yet, in those three years, "not one" iota of proof - real factual evidence that could be presented in a court of law - has ever been offered to show that these predictions have come true. Massachusetts continues to rank "FIRST" amongst all states for the greatest longevity of marriage and "lowest" divorce rates in the nation, you want proof "look it up"

Posted by: David | June 3, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

sorry - I missed the "HERE" in my post - it should have read "HEAR" - my mistake

Posted by: David | June 3, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

If someone can show me that something other than human sexual preference comes out perfectly every single time, then I'd consider that being gay is morally wrong. But there seems to be variations in everything. How could human sexual preference be the only thing that is absolutely 100% perfect every single time? Perhaps being gay is simply natural population control. For the most part, Maryland has lead the way in intelligence. Being gay is as natural as having red hair or being left handed. We all agree that "separate but equal" was wrong, right? Then gay marriage must be legal and the cop out of civil unions only reveals hypocracy.

Posted by: erniek4567 | June 3, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

If the radicals on the Maryland Court of Appeals overturn democracy then they deserve to be disobeyed and disrespected. I can promise you this much, my children will be taught respect and kindness for all people, but I will never, nor will my children ever be taught the vile lie that is same sex marriage!!

Posted by: toothy | June 3, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

If the radicals on the Maryland Court of Appeals overturn democracy then they deserve to be disobeyed and disrespected. I can promise you this much, my children will be taught respect and kindness for all people, but I will never accept, nor will my children ever be taught the vile lie that is same sex marriage!!

Christ's truth shall prevail!

Posted by: toothy | June 3, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty simple, really:

All members of society should have access to its institutions, including the institution of marriage. No one is served when we exclude a group of innocent people from something as basic as a contractual agreement between two consenting adults to share rights and responsibilities as a couple.

If "toothy" and toothy's opposite-sex spouse can sign such a contract, then I really don't see a basis to exclude same-sex couples. And so far, no one has made a rational argument in favor of disallowing same-sex couples precisely the same rights that "toothy" and others seem to think they are somehow more deserving of. They aren't. And I think they know it.

Posted by: Linguist | June 3, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Same sex marriage is NOT marriage and marriage is NOT a contractual arrangement. Your ignorance of what marriage is only illustrates why people like me don't want to make sure people you are soundly defeated in the arena of ideas. You don't get it and you don't try to get it, all you do is breathlessly hyperventilate about supposed civil rights (you don't know what the term means) while redefining something moral to something contractual.

You can't fit a square peg into a round hole without reshaping the corners off of the hole. And so it is with gays redefining marriage to make their peg fit the hole.

Count me in complete opposition forever.

Posted by: Toothy | June 4, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Do tell us, toothy, what the phrase "civil rights" really means. What's YOUR definition? We're all curious to know.

Posted by: Michelle W. | June 4, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

No. Michelle I'm not going to play on your terms and on your turf. If we play under your liberal activist interpretation of the constitution, you win every time. If we play as the constitution was actually written or on morals I win every time. No wonder no supporter of "gay marriage" can engage this morally or constitutionally.

Posted by: Toothy | June 4, 2007 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Well, Toothy, I never claimed I was as smart as you.

I am simply stating what seems pretty obvious to me: excluding good, decent, moral people for political or ideological reasons is never a good thing.

You know, you can rail against "liberal judges", but that's not really helpful. Most of the arguments against same-sex marriage are pretty weak. And most of the arguments in favor of it are both constitutionally and rationally pretty strong.

Is there a reason to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples? Tell me why and we can see how strong an argument you can make. So far, you've proclaimed loudly how opposed you are. You haven't even begun to convince me that it isn't simply prejudice or animus that's motivating you.

I am always willing to listen/read, and my mind is NOT closed to a strong argument.

It's too bad that you have stated that your mind is.

Posted by: Linguist | June 4, 2007 6:22 AM | Report abuse

If you want to talk about the "constitutional" issues here, it's really very simple. The line of cases beginning with Loving v. Virginia establish that marriage is a "fundamental right", and that therefore restrictions placed on the right to marry are subject to "strict scrutiny". The recent case of Lawrence v. Texas established that people have a constitutional right to have gay sex, the reasoning being that the state has no right to disallow such activities on the basis of the gender of one's chosen partner. When you put Loving and its line of cases together with Lawrence, it's very easy to connect the dots and conclude that it is not constitutional to prohibit people from marrying simply because of the gender of their chosen spouse.

Now, having said that, the issue is also very political. I do not expect that the federal courts really *want* to get very involved with this issue at this time, and so I would fully expect that it will be quite some time until a leading federal decision is made on this issue. But when a case comes along with the right set of facts, there's quite strong legal precedent on the constitutional level about this issue, and it would not be a stretch at all. Justice Scalia noted as much in his dissent from the Lawrence decision, noting that the case paved the way for gay marriage protections, and he was quite right.

Posted by: Brendan | June 4, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Why does everyone come out of the woodwork to comment on this gay marriage issue but when it comes to issues that affect everyone, i.e., BGE and O'Malley's campaign LIES, there's no one to defend him and it largely falls silent?

Posted by: BG from PG | June 4, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Next up, group marriages and marriages for siblings, parent/children marriages, and why not across species as well.

If you want to destroy the tradition of marriage, where will you stop?

Posted by: Rufus | June 4, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

And let's get a law passed that affirms that you can make a silk purse from a pig's ear! It's all in the name of equality, right? Of course the "haters" will still call it a pig's ear...

Posted by: Rufus | June 4, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"Toothy," I pray that none of your children are gay. No matter what you teach your children, nothing will change their sexual orientation. All you'll get is them leaving home as soon as possible and shutting you out of their lives ... if they don't attempt suicide first before they can leave.

Posted by: ETH | June 4, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse


I know of no one interested in "destroying" marriage. Indeed, this is about couples who realize how vital marriage is, and need it to protect the primary relationship in their lives.

As for limits, there is always a question of what is fair and what is necessary. And each of the points you raise must be considered based on rational arguments and effects, and so on. It's misleading to say that you can't set limits just because a certain restriction is unreasonable, unnecessary or unfair.

There is, for example, a big difference between not being able to marry ANYone whom you might fall in love with (as in the case of gay people) and not being able to marry a certain subset such as siblings, particularly since siblings are already related by law.

As for marrying other species, we are talking about contract law; there are strong, rational arguments for restricting contracts to those who can give legal consent.

But I suspect you already realized that, and simply needed to be reminded, right? ;-)

Posted by: Linguist | June 4, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting that the majority in this blog seem to be for gay marriage and have come up with all sort of plausible, yet inherently shallow and false, arguments regarding the legalization of gay marriage. For instance, the 'equality' argument is ridiculous because marriage is about a family - and that means a family that can reproduce. The very fact that homosexuals are totally incapable of reproducing through the normal scheme of things is probably the biggest single caveat of the whole thing - that and the fact that it's immoral. They have to adopt heterosexual couple's children or some other unnatural means.

A serious problem with all the pro-gay marriage arguments presented here is that they're trying to outwit democracy. Most Americans are against gay marriage which is a well-documented fact. But gay marriage supporters don't want to accept this fact, so they resort to lots of weird little arguments and misinterpretations of the law to 'back up' their case. And often they resort to outright political manipulation to further their self-serving agenda. A good example is the antics of the MA Governor and his henchman in the Bay State who are doing their utmost to deprive the voters of the opportunity to weigh on this critical issue.

I sincerely hope that the Maryland Court of Appeals does the right thing and stays out of the marriage debate.

Posted by: Steve | June 4, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Steve wrote: For instance, the 'equality' argument is ridiculous because marriage is about a family - and that means a family that can reproduce.

When my 75-year old aunt married, it really wasn't so that she could reproduce. But she was not only permitted to marry, but it turned out to be very important in the last years of her life. "Family" may or may not include children; hers did not. Yet she did marry--and would have been able to marry in any of the 50 states.

"...the fact that it's immoral"

Not really a "fact", now is it? After all, there doesn't seem to be any principled way in which two gay people falling in love is immoral. Some of the most principled, responsible and moral people I've ever known have been gay. Somehow, I don't think that morality is determined by "plumbing". Not sure why you do.

Steve also wrote:
"A serious problem with all the pro-gay marriage arguments presented here is that they're trying to outwit democracy."

Under our system, the minority is protected from the "tyranny of the majority". Christians may not think Jews (or Hindus or Muslims or atheists) deserve all the same rights that the majority do but, well, their rights are just as protected by our wonderful constitution as those of the majority. That, to me, is one of the most remarkable and wonderful aspects of our system of government. The majority cannot pass laws restricting the rights of minorities, even ones that they dislike. Maybe especially ones they dislike.

This principle protects --fully-- the rights of gay people, by the way.

Posted by: Linguist | June 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The procreation argument is the lamest argument of them all. If it was just about procreation Bob and Elizabeth Dole should never have been allowed to marry. If it was just about procreation, then why not allow multiple wives like in Islam and the Mormons of old. If it was just about procreation, why not require fertility tests before marriage. If it was just about procreation, then why allow any tax benefits for marriage-they should all be about children.

It's about much more than procreation, isn't it?

Posted by: Mike | June 4, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or did Spivak, Helderman, Wagner, Rein and Neal all ride to work together in a convertable at 80 MPH the day they had their photos taken? Talk about bad hair days.

Posted by: BG from PG | June 4, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Actually Wagner and Neal don't have much hair to speak of. The women's hair suffered from the process by which the photo background was removed from the pictures before they were posted atop the blog.

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | June 4, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Something that is often overlooked in the moralizing about how marriage is a "religious" institution -- is the fact that right this minute many religious denominations WANT to offer marriage as a sacred covenant and as a civil contract -- and they are not permitted to do so based on the current state of the law. The irony is that some religious organization claim that their religious perogatives will be usurped if same-sex couples have access to civil marriage. The real fact is that the civil perogatives of UCC's, Episcopalians, Unitarians, and other non-denominational religious clergy are currently denied. How come the media never covers this ??

Posted by: lisa | June 4, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

And another thing that the media never covers is the shell game of venue. First, we are told that "activist judges are legislating from the bench" -- and that our claim to civil rights should not be decided by the courts, but by the legislature. So when the issue is brought to the legislature -- like it has been this year and last year in the CA assembly -- the legislature can pass a law for equality that is unilaterally undone by a single individual (in this case Gov Schwarzenegger). In Maryland it was the same in 2005 when a bipartisan majority of the Gen Assmbly passed the Medical Decision Making Act and the Tax Recordation Act that gave a tiny fraction of equal rights to same-sex couples. Guv Ehrlich undid the legislature's work with the single stroke of a pen -- saying that the benefits too closely resembled benefits associated with marriage. So now we hear "Let the people vote" on whether my family is entitled to equal rights. What a bunch of baloney ! Why not just own up to the fact that the venue is irrelevant -- people who oppose extending equal rights to same-sex couples are really just homophobic bigots.

Posted by: lisa | June 4, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Before we go any further, can we please reread the first amendment to the constitution?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

Therefore, any religious principle or ideology is invalid in a CIVIL matter. Marriage is both a CIVIL and religious matter. I, a devout christian, am even able to realize this. Whether or not you agree with civil gay marriage is not the issue, our first amendmant prohibits exercising religious beliefs in civil matters, even though that the whole idea of marriage springs from the judeo-christian one man one woman argument.

You don't need to be gay, straight, religious, or sacreligious to understand that.

Gay people aren't looking for the means to "take down" marriage. They're looking for equal representation in their government, and to not be treated like second class citizens. The far right winged conservatives will wake up, eventually.

Posted by: Chris | June 4, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

It's striking to keep reading the same, tired, old arguments, "they can't have kids" or "they can't provide kids with both a mother and father."

Ergo: Post-menopausal women and infertile heterosexual couples should be barred from marriage and all single people, irrespective of sexual orientataion, should be barred from adopting children.

Posted by: John | June 4, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: WILLEM | June 4, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Additionally, on the topic of gay parenting.

New Jersey courts have recently ruled in favor of gays being allowed to adopt children, with the understanding that sexual orientation does not take away from a person's ability to be a loving father. This is obvious to a normal person, but, I can understand why it would be hard for a person filled with negative sterotypes to understand. We can only hope they eventually will come around to see that gay people are looking parent the same way straight people do; in loving, stable households.

I am not adopted, but I can not help but think, that if a child was given a chance between living with, yes, dare I say, two fathers or two mothers, instead of living in an orphange, he would choose the route of having a loving household. I can't speak for everyone, but I would take two dads or two mom's any day of the week.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

lisa wrote: "The real fact is that the civil perogatives of UCC's, Episcopalians, Unitarians, and other non-denominational religious clergy are currently denied. How come the media never covers this ??"

Add to the list the largest denomination of Judaism in America, the Union for Reform Judaism. It is a central message of their Religious Action Center.

The crucial thing to remember is that CIVIL marriage can take place with or without the blessing of any religious institution. They aren't obliged to marry anyone at all (e.g., the Catholic Church and their view of divorced individuals or non-Catholics).

CIVIL marriage, however, ought to be open to all.

Posted by: Linguist | June 4, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"...New Jersey courts have recently ruled in favor of gays being allowed to adopt children..."

It's my understanding that gay people are allowed to adopt in all but a handful of states. It's a separate question from the same-sex marriage issue.

The one relevant aspect of adoption is that gay couples cannot adopt as COUPLES in many states, meaning that one parent is often a legal stranger to the child he or she is raising.

If we truly cared about the interest of the children, we'd immediately make it possible for loving gay couples to raise their children as couples, with all the protections afforded to other families.

Posted by: Linguist | June 4, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Certain people may not have children for many and varying reasons. They however are the small exception to the larger rule.

What is so disturbing is that for the first time in history the government and society will put its moral authority behind the idea that marriage is NOT about bringing forth new life. That should trouble every liberal and conservative.

Posted by: Toothy | June 4, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

What is so disturbing is that for the first time in history the government and society will put its moral authority behind the idea that marriage is NOT about bringing forth new life. That should trouble every liberal and conservative.


Posted by: WILLEM | June 4, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

"Certain people may not have children for many and varying reasons. They however are the small exception to the larger rule."

Yes! You are correct.

And they include gay couples without children. (There are, of course, also gay couples with kids.)

I think you need to understand: gay people pose no more threat to the institution of marriage than my 74-year-old aunt did when she married.

Yet you are appear to be angry that gay couples want to get married, while dismissing my aunt's identical action as a "small exception".

Respectfully, I really think you need to think through why you have such a viscerally negative reaction to one loving couple wanting to protect its relationship yet seem more than willing to dismiss another as merely a "small exception".

Gay people are just people. They run the gamut from nice to awful, from responsible to irresponsible, just like everyone else.

And they fall in love, and form loving, caring relationships, just like everyone else. They have precisely the same needs and rights as everyone else, including my aunt.

And the law needs to recognize that.

Posted by: Linguist | June 4, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually gay marriage does pose a threat to the institution of marriage. I don't think the gay couple down the street will cause my marriage to dissolve. However, if gay marriage is legalized the moral authority of the government will be stamped on the radical idea that for the first time in human history, marriage is NOT about having children. This will knock down marriage's ends and purpose even further in the eyes of those of the next generation who aspire to it. Up until around 1960 we've taken marriage for its traditional understanding to mean:

1. Permanence
2. Exclusivity
3. Presumably fertile
4. consensual

Notice love isn't in there.

No fault divorce laws in the 70s took care of 1 (and mostly 2). When you eliminate the ideals of marriage, fewer people strive to achieve it. Notice our falling marriage rates since 1960 as we've slowly changed 1 and 2.

Now gay marriage will severely undermine 3. So marriage will now be hanging by a thread.

Stop and think about what we have done to ourselves and to the institution. Gays are not to blame but gay marriage will hurt marriage because while gays should be allowed to contract to what they want, they shouldn't be allowed to undermine marriage through false claims that redefine something that matters to society.

Posted by: Toothy | June 4, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

WILLEM, I'd really like to meet you in person and have you insult my pope... it would be a tough day for you. You are a little bigot and the rest of the people on this board should recognize you for what you are.

Posted by: Toothy | June 4, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: WILLEM | June 4, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Toothy wrote: "3. Presumably fertile"

No one presumed my 74-year-old aunt to be fertile. Really. No one. That wasn't why she got married.

And elderly people and others who cannot conceive have been marrying for centuries.

Letting gay couples marry changes nothing. You can presume that a young, opposite-sex couple will procreate--not a bad assumption. Most do.

None of that is changed when others ALSO marry.

It didn't change when my aunt married.

It didn't change when same-sex couples married in Massachusetts. People understand that not everyone can or will procreate.

Marriage is about a lot of things. Your list is a list of possibilities. Remember, for most of the history of marriage "consent" was NOT on the list. Marriages were arranged by families.

That changed. And lots of married couples are really glad it did.

Posted by: Linguist | June 4, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes I do disagree. The reason I do is that marriage is both a private commitment and a public institution. You cannot separate the two. We married all belong and contribute to the institution (or take a way from it).

Your aunt changed marriage in your eyes. So why is it so hard for you to believe that 5 million gays won't change marriage in the eyes of 300 million Americans?

There is also something appalling that you do and that is to let the exception invalidate the rule. Sure there will be 74 year olds who marry and there will be some arranged marriages throughout the world, however you have no right to libel marriage because of these rare exceptions. Its frankly stupid and the worst kind of relativism. Truth exists in the world, despite your silly attempts to invalidate it by finding a loophole. There is an exceptional component to everything in the universe and there always has been but for you objective truth does not exist. I fear for the West.

Posted by: Toothy | June 5, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Toothy wrote, "Your aunt changed marriage in your eyes. So why is it so hard for you to believe that 5 million gays won't change marriage in the eyes of 300 million Americans?"

My aunt most definitely did NOT change marriage in my eyes or in the eyes of anyone I know! No one was shocked, dismayed, unhappy. No one objected when asked at the ceremony. Why would we? We were all HAPPY for her!

When people share the joy of their lives with their families and their communities, we should celebrate. Instead, you lament because you don't think they should be able to legalize their relationship? Sorry. But I find that to be very puzzling.

"Truth exists in the world, despite your silly attempts to invalidate it by finding a loophole."

Again, with respect, I wonder who it is who is denying truth: I--who accept that some people in the world are, by nature, gay, and that they find happiness with someone they love, or you--who seems all too ready to write off a portion of the human family because they don't conform to some "ideal".

People aren't "ideals". REAL people fall in love and spend their lives together. They share mortgages, decisions, celebrations and responsibilities. The law is simply there to recognize that reality.

Which of the two of us is denying the truth of the lives of those people?

Gay people exist. They deserve our respect and our support. And when they find someone with whom to share their life, we can't just pretend that THEIR relationships aren't there because they are "different".

There is far more similarity between the marriage of a gay couple and a heterosexual couple than there is difference. That's hardly "relativism". That's simply looking, without animus, at a group of people whom you don't seem to want to recognize as part of the human family.

Posted by: Linguist | June 5, 2007 6:23 AM | Report abuse

If is wrong to use the force of the government to coerce people into recognizing immoral relationships between people as something legal, noble, or normal. It is the very definition of tyranny.

Posted by: Rufus | June 5, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

When older or infertile heterosexual couples marry, they are still reinforcing the true family model. For that reason, they cannot be construed as being a threat to the moral foundation of the family structure.

Gay couplings simply are not families and more than sow's ears can become silk purses.

Posted by: Rufus | June 5, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

To Rufus--

The trouble is, one person's "immorality" is another person's "religion". We have to accept that there are differences in how we view the world and tolerate differences or we all we suffer.

Devout Jews believe that few things are more "immoral" than worshipping false gods, especially human beings as gods. That, of course, is what they believe Christians do as the central part of their religion. Jews have died throughout history rather than to convert and give in to such blasphemous immorality.

Every year, on December 25, the country officially recognizes Christmas, the celebration of a false god's birth. Tyranny? Or just part of the culture?

We HAVE to recognize that we all live in this country, equally. You may be convinced that the loving, devoted, caring, remarkably faithful relationship of the gay couple down the street is the height of immorality.

It's not tyranny, however, for the government to treat them just as fairly as it does everyone else.

Posted by: Linguist | June 5, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Rufus said, "When older or infertile heterosexual couples marry, they are still reinforcing the true family model."

How so? If the model is, as was being argued, based on procreation or fertility, then they are NOT reinforcing that model.

The "model" appears to be a lot more flexible than you are making it out to be.

Unless you think the only thing that counts in marriage is "plumbing". If that's the case, I must tell you that I think that's a pretty superficial reason to build families at all.

Posted by: Linguist | June 5, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Linguist, I recognize the humanity of homosexuals and heterosexuals, as you do. I have never said anything unkind or untrue. However like all liberals try to make this about personal animus and bigotry and insult my character without evidence. I however, will not take the bait. In the end its not personal its about changing the truth of marriage for all so that some may join in the way they see fit.

It is you who deny the truth of marriage, not I who deny the humanity of people.

Posted by: Toothy | June 5, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse


It was certainly never my intent to insult you, with or without evidence. I do my best to keep this on a principled and intelligent level. Not always easy, I'll admit, but worth it in the end. Please accept my apology for offending you.

I think we have to accept one another's positions on good faith. I think we are pretty much in agreement on the central facts: some people are gay, fall in love, form relationships that are deserving of our respect. And I believe we agree that gay people ought to be able to protect their relationships under the law.

Our disagreement appears to be mainly whether that relationship constitutes a marriage and, I suspect, just what protections we would expect or deny those couples.

Why not focus on just that, and leave the ad hominem attacks to others?

Posted by: Linguist | June 5, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree with 99% percent of what you just said. I too share your view that homosexuals deserve respect like everyone else. As a person, I wish them happiness in their relationships, with my mind I sincerely believe they are in violation of Natural law. Nevertheless, I believe we have a principled disagreement over "marriage". Thank you for seeing that I care about this issue, I know you do too. I know that you are not out to get me or intentionally hurt marriage.

My whole life I have been deeply troubled by divorce around me, and the sure erosion of the permanence and exclusivity of marriage that was once dominant 40 years ago. There is something wrong in our cultural view of marriage to be sure. Mind you, I've never suggested homosexuals were responsible for these problems, in fact it is America that has hurt itself.

I'm not sure you've convinced me that homosexual relationships need additional protection however. I am all for homosexuals availing themselves of the current legal protections offered including, wills, property and other health care directives. These don't require changing any new laws. You simply direct an attorney to name your partner the beneficiary.

Posted by: Toothy | June 5, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse


Thank you for the kind words and for understanding.

One point of disagreement: You wrote, "You simply direct an attorney to name your partner the beneficiary."

I know, from personal experience, of three cases where that did not work.

In one case, it involved a foreign national (a Brit). They were never able to get him a green card. Had they been legally married, it would at least have been possible, and in fact, likely. They ended up separated. They still love one another.

In a second case, after the death of his partner, a friend lost their house, their car, everything, to the deceased's sister, who claimed that the will was invalid. And, apparently, there was some technicality. Their lawyer was to blame, as I understand it. The judge (this was in Alabama), was far from sympathetic to the gay man. He lost EVERYthing.

The third case was pretty straightforward: no health insurance for his partner, who fell ill. (It was cancer.) The company refused to include his partner on his policy because they were not married. They were legal strangers.

There are lots of other cases.

I believe the simplest, fairest and least costly (both financially and to society) is to let couples marry legally. I still don't see why gender is relevant to anything that I've just described.


Posted by: Linguist | June 5, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse


I'm sure someone will point out that it's not quite that easy, some things like Social Security can't just be given to anyone you choose... and even if it were easy to just sign over or share elements of your life, there would be plenty of people opposed to it (see some of the commentary on men in CA being able to take their wives last name).

For the record, I'm not sure same sex marriage should be the biggest agenda item for the GBLT community in the US. I would much rather see efforts to stop persecution, imprisonment, etc. in other countries as a priority. The suburban utopia is a siren call to many, but for now I would prefer a march over a parade.

Posted by: Mike | June 5, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

If you don't like liberty, move to either Iran or Canada. Both are one-sided countries where opponents of the state have no voice. The gays and religion people in America should be lucky. Unfortunately we've forgotten what individual liberty means. Liberty is a two-way street. The left and the right forget this. The only winners when we fight out our differences using the government as our boxing ring is the government. All citizens lose when we give government the power to dictate our personal lives. You'd think the religious people would understand this more than anyone.

Posted by: Mario | June 5, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the average American understands the consequences of what happens when you take away civil rights for one particular group of people. Financially, it's a disaster. Gay people are royally screwed by the federal government and many state governments. I'm surprised there hasn't been an all out tax revolt by gays. When two people of the same sex decide to cohabitate, there are no legal protections at all, unless numerous contracts are written up to protect each other. When a man and a woman get married, they pay typically a $16 fee. Ironically this fee in most states goes to pay for domestic abuse programs. Yet for gay couples to get similar protections through contracts, it will cost them thousands of dollars in attorney's fees. A few states, Nebraska and South Dakota, do not even allow for people of the same sex to form a contract together, even if they are going into business!! That's how homophobic some people are. But the average American I do not believe is vicious, they are just misguided. Refusing gay couples benefits is the same as robbery. Many gay couples also adopt children that straight people do not want. These children usually have multiple physical and health problems. Do you expect these people to pay for their health care out of pocket? You can't be that cruel. Can you?

Posted by: Sharon | June 5, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Sharon, gays and straights get tax credits and payments for adopting children just like straights do. Your argument isn't supported by the facts.

Gays have access to the same benefits as married couples. You simply write up a couple of contracts. Just as a married couple writes up a will, a gay couple writes a will.

Posted by: Toothy | June 5, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Both of my beloved parents have now died. But I remember, just 5 years ago, after my father died, my mother, who was understandably distraught by the whole situation, became suddenly worried. A number of things were only in my father's name (including the house title). Then there was an insurance policy. And a bank account. All sorts of things, most in my father's name only, some in both their names. And then there were questions about taxes. And investments. And, well, the list went on and on and on and on--some things in one name, some things the other, some in both.

What to do? After a few days of fretting, I called the family financial advisor, with my mother at my side.

He was great: just order a bunch of death certificates. Because you are the legal spouse, everything automatically transfers to you.

And it did. Cost about $20, I think.

And my mother was visibly relieved.

Not an option for a bereaved person if his or her partner just happens to be of the same sex. Not an option at all.

And that just isn't right. Or reasonable. And most of all, it's not necessary.

Earlier, toothy used the word "libel" in connection with the institution of marriage: those of us supporting same-sex marriage were "libelling" it.

No, my friend. You can't "libel" an institution. Institutions are there FOR US, not the other way round. They serve OUR needs, not the other way round.

And if a portion of the population needs it, and is being denied it, the reasons for denying it have got to be so overwhelming and so convincing, that even those being denied it can see, clearly, just why they need to be excluded.

Tell us again why gay couples need to be excluded from the institution of marriage.

It isn't clear and it isn't convincing to me, so far.

Posted by: Linguist | June 5, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse


Its pretty hard to explain why gays should be excluded from "marriage" without you first accepting the history of marriage and the truth of it. Remember the 1,2,3 and 4 truths that define marriage. Since you don't accept these truths (or accept them but find and exception to invalidate them), there is no convincing you.

Posted by: Toothy | June 6, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Romans 1:24-26
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Romans 1:32
Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Posted by: tsugua | June 6, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

That's the problem, the gay community thinks that Marriage is a contractual agreement and it is NOT! If you think it is why don't you call it something else other than marriage? I agree marriage is a covenant but also if you knew it is much more than that which I will not get into because it appears that the gay community just doesn't want to get it!

I understand a need for benefits for monogamous couples but why can't you just call it a civil union or something other than marriage, it's not the same? Why do you want to change what marriage essentially is and has been from the beginning? I am not saying that nowadays many people aren't taking it seriously but the same sex is not a marriage and should never be!

Posted by: tsugua | June 6, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Why do the hate-mongers keep wanting to say that gays are trying to ruin the institution of marriage?

My partner and I have been together for more than 16 years in a loving, committed relationship, and still we're denied the right to visit each other in the hospital.

Yet I could go to Vegas, meet a hooker named "Champagne" and then marry her in a ceremony officiated by a guy in an Elvis costume. And, magically because she has a vagina, that sham marriage is somehow more valid than the 16 years my partner and I have spent together.

This is bigotry, pure and simple.

Oh, and just one more thing that bears repeating: Gays aren't trying to ruin the institution of marriage folks. It was already ruined long before Massachusetts allowed same-sex unions. And it was ruined by selfish, hate-mongering, narrow-minded bigots who think their purpose is to police other people's morals. There's a famous quote about throwing stones; I suggest you re-read it.

Posted by: Mark | June 6, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

If gays had ever truly wanted marriage-- they wouldn't have rejected it years ago in favor of their libidos. The reality is that they have allowed their sexual desires to run their lives and in doing so are violating Natural Law. Sadly, most of these gays and older secular liberals don't know what a marriage is (to them its a contract or something to be attained in the name of equality), to gays its a means to an end in their quest for acceptance. The truth of course is that marriage isn't out there to be used and abused.

In the end, Satan is tempting all of us gay and straight alike. We are all with some sin, right now the devil has planted a rotten seed in society to help destroy the family. That seed is gay marriage (not necessarily gays). A "marriage" that will alter marriage like a few cancerous cells alter the liver. Eventually the whole body won't recognize itself. Sadly we have that already.

Many will think me a hopeless ignoramus for this view but others who boldly face the spiritual warfare of this world will see what is going on. The enemy is a tactician. and he knows that to destroy society he'll need to go after the family first.

Be strong in defense of the truth, be merciful to sinners, but do not allow yourself to be corrupted by false claims.

Posted by: Toothy | June 6, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Mark, you're a liar. No hospital denies the right of anyone to visit anyone. There are no bouncers at the door and you know it!! So do I since I've worked in Catholic hospitals for years.

Posted by: Toothy | June 6, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Toothy wrote: "...No hospital denies the right of anyone to visit anyone. "

Here's an article you might want to read:

"Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson were in love...

"Like all lovers, they laughed and argued and cried and whispered their dreams to each other in the darkness. As the years deepened their love, they bought a home together in Minnesota. They exchanged rings symbolizing their lifelong commitment...

"On November 13, 1983, a drunk driver smashed into Sharon's car. When Karen got to the hospital, they refused to let her see Sharon or even to give her information...

Sorry, toothy. It's not a lie. And it's just one of the many reasons why good, decent, and moral gay people deserve the same rights that you take for granted.

Posted by: Linguist | June 6, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

"If gays had ever truly wanted marriage-- they wouldn't have rejected it years ago in favor of their libidos."

Until relatively recently, gay couples had to hide the fact that they were a couple. Toothy, blaming gay couples for not being married when society has done its darndest to PREVENT gay couples from marrying and even from living together strikes me as, well, disingenuous at least.

One of many couples you might want to think about since they belie your view that gay people don't "really" want marriage:

"Celebrating 50 years - my perspective - gay couple together 50 years"

"...When Bill and I committed to each other in 1953 we were stumbling in the dark. The word "homosexuality" was not mentioned anywhere, and we were always assumed to be straight. Same-sex couples today know where they stand in a way we couldn't. They know they're not alone...

"It would have been easier for us if we could have gotten married because then we would have been out to our families..."

Posted by: Linguist | June 6, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Linguist, I'm a doc and anyone can visit anyone. You are throwing up some isolated incident from 25 years ago!

Posted by: Toothy | June 6, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Again, linguist, to you marriage is a contract and something to get to further your acceptance.

You deny that gays can have a partner of the opposite sex, marriage and the ability to have a relationship that actually brings life into the world. Instead they choose to put their sexual preference of all else and now they ignore all their power of attorney rights and instead use marriage for their own purposes.

Posted by: Toothy | June 6, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse


Marriage is a contract. In the Jewish tradition, it has always been a contract, known as a "ketubah". It is not a romantic or "spiritual" document. It's a legally-binding contract. That's all:

And, in the American legal system, it is also a legally-binding contract.

What's odd (and terribly unfair of you) is that you accuse gay people of putting "sexual preference" (whatever that means) "above all else" (whatever THAT means). How is that different from the heterosexual couple that falls in love and decides they want to spend their lives together? Either both are ennobling, or both are hedonistic.

Sorry. I don't mean to denigrate your beliefs. But honestly, you have been insinuating some pretty insulting things about good, decent, caring, loving, wonderful gay people, turning them into some sort of sexed-crazed hedonists.

That's as accurate a depiction of gay couples as it is of heterosexual couples. Heterosexuals marry because they fall in love.

And that's precisely what gay people do. No more. No less. They fall in love and want to spend their lives with the person they love.

Their love is neither more nor less hedonistic than anyone else's.

I've seen gay people stick by their partners through dreadful illness, through terrible trauma. That's love, not selfish hedonism.

I've seen the most ennobling relationships on this planet in some gay couples.

Let's face it: love is both selfish and selfless, all mixed in together. It's about losing yourself in the other person, wanting that person for yourself. And, at the same time, being willing to give up ALL for that person.

Pretty ennobling, if you ask me. And it doesn't depend on what's between people's legs at all.

Posted by: Linguist | June 6, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

One of a number of Arabic linguists and other language specialists dismissed from the military:

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - A decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed from the U.S. Army under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, though he says he never admitted being gay and his accuser was never identified.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is NOT working. It is depriving the military of good, qualified soldiers. And it is hurting the mission based on nothing more than prejudice. It makes me very angry.

Posted by: Linguist | June 6, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

At a base level, it is the unity of man and woman that brought you into the world. It is you who reject that. Strange that you don't desire that enough to want to make it a gift for someone else.

Posted by: Toothy | June 6, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Again, Linguist we disagree on the meaning of marriage.

Linguist, I have listened to your arguments in the name of equality, and I disagree that they are convincing on constitutional grounds. I also disagree with calling an apple an orange. They are both fruits but not the same.

You won't see my POV as legit because you do one of two things:

1) you deny the truth of marriage by finding an exception to invalidate the larger rule. (I find this somewhere between annoying and appalling.)

2) You claim marriage is about love and proceed with sentimental arguments about someone indirectly denying someone else love or protections already available. I find this annoying to because a) Its not true b) I applaud love and kindness c) I don't need an anecdotal approach to the gay community. I get it. Gays are like everyone else in their desires! Some are good people some are bad.

My Closing Argument:

Given all the same legal protections already available to gays, and given the weak equality argument, and given that putting government moral authority on a non generative union would be a radical change, I feel that "gay marriage" would weaken another leg from traditional marriage. I think you should oppose it too given marriages importance in society. Afterall, you and I owe our lives to this generative institution.

Posted by: Toothy | June 6, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse


No one is denying the wonder of bringing life into the world. No one.

But life is also about the living, not just the future generation. The people who are here NOW must live their lives, fully. And gay people get to live their lives honestly, with integrity. You view that as "against nature" and as, somehow, against society and marriage. It really isn't, anymore than deaf people are "against" hearing or "against" music. Gay people are, for reasons that are not completely understood, different. And it is up to society to accommodate their differences, not to pretend that they don't exist.

Posted by: Linguist | June 7, 2007 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Also in closing:

Despite your passionate words, you really haven't demonstrated that same-sex marriages would weaken the institution of marriage in any way whatsoever. You want to make that true, but there's really no reason or evidence of it, anymore than when a 74-year old aunt marries.

Nor is it true, as many on here have demonstrated, that a simple will provides the legal protections of marriage. If it were the case that one could simply sign papers to protect their relationships, why would my 74-year old aunt have married instead?

Marriage is an important institution. It provides stability to society. Nothing is gained by claiming that it is both vital to society and then denying it to the very couples who need it most.

I have seen gay couples, including gay couples raising kids, suffer because of your "ideal". That's really too bad. It's pointless, and it harms ALL of us, even you.

Institutions exist for us. When they fail, even a disliked and misunderstood minority, you fix them. You don't tell the people whom it is failing to go away.

One final thought:

You say I won't see your POV as legit. You're wrong. I STARTED from your POV. Every gay person on the planet does.

Eventually, reality gets in the way, and we are forced to face it, and to figure out what it all means.

The first time I heard of "gay marriage", I said, "Huh?"

Growing up at a time when gay people could be thrown in prisons or mental institutions simply for being, the notion that society would actually see their relationships as legitimate was a startling notion in and of itself.

It's one you ought to consider. Even given your worries about the institution of marriage, it would be worth it. Worrying about future generations includes future gay people, too, after all.

Maybe our minds won't meet on the marriage issue, but I hope you'll be a strong ally every time you hear someone denigrate gay people or accuse them of harming society. No gay person wants to destroy marriage. Gay people want to live their lives, and they want to protect want matters to them, just as heterosexuals do.

Thwarting that goal does no one any good.

Anyway, despite occasional missteps on both our parts, I've appreciated the dialogue.


Posted by: Linguist | June 7, 2007 6:36 AM | Report abuse

It will not be long before traditional Judeo-Christian teachings on sexual morality will be verboten in the public arena.

Hope there are plenty of catacombs for us in Maryland.

Posted by: Rufus | June 7, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Simply write up contracts? The wonderful state of VA has the newman-marshall law that invalidates ANY contract signed between two adults of the same sex that may even slightly bestow rights that married couples naturally enjoy. You are just an old fashion bigot.

Posted by: bewilderedbytoothy | June 7, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse


Wow, calling someone you don't know a "liar" is pretty bold ... So, I assume you're willing to guarantee me by law that I can visit my partner in the hospital? You're willing to support a law stating that I can visit him without hassle or delay? Seems to me you're already on the path to civil unions...

Don't you get that we want nothing to do with your religion? ENOUGH already! This is a civil issue, not a religious one. The last statistic I read was that 40% of all marriages in Maryland were civil marriages (justice-of-the-peace type marriages). Unless you're willing to throw them out, you need to stop with the religious bashing.

Posted by: Mark | June 9, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: rzktjcesvv | June 11, 2007 3:19 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: iensklfvqe | June 11, 2007 3:25 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: vstzafgmcb | June 11, 2007 3:28 AM | Report abuse

particularly to Toothy, and some others:

Since you apparently respect gay people in some sense, and think that they should be contractually able to have the legal benefits of couples via contracts etc........ Let me please explain the issue here, for you and all others:

As a good, prob. Catholic college youngster I know said on the subject of gay marriage: "Anything they want they should be entitled to just like anyone else - just please don't use the word marriage".

The whole issue, except for the haters (who often don't realize how they hate) is that religious people often see the word marriage as a religious term, and see gay marriage as forcing something on their religion. People who support gay marriage - I do - see marriage as a legal institution that very simply provides a host of legal benefits automatically, without lawyers, without having to carry around contracts so that if you suddenly end up in the hospital, a gay partner can visit, etc. for people who love each other. The whole problem is the word has two meanings, religious AND civil. For an example of the problems when religions and govt get mixed together, please remember the victims of 9/11, of whom we can assume 150 were gay, including if I remember correctly the chaplain of the NY Fire Dept.

Now, there are both a complex and a simple solution to these issues. The complex solution is that marriage should be a religious term only. People get "married" in their place of worship under their religious beliefs, period. There are no legal benefits whatsoever to this ceremony, its value is what you believe. If you want the legal benefits, including joint custody of children, social security sharing, hospital visitation / decision making and a thousand other things - even including tax breaks, you need a "civil union" - a legal only term where for a small fee and some paperwork signing you gain the legal rights of what has traditionally been 'marriage". These rights should be available to all groups of two people, of legal age, gay, str8, whatever. A simple law that renames civil marriage as civil unions and states the equivalency of cu to what was formally called legal marriage, should suffice. If you believe in "Judge not lest..., if you believe "We are all made in Gods image..."
Then there isn't any problem. Decency and equality win out. Churches are free to marry / refuse to perform religious marriages according to their faiths, and that perhaps needs to be enshrined in law also as part of ""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Sounds fine with me.

The other solution to this awful debate about treating our gay citizens as equal under the law would be a stopgap solution - "Any couple meeting state age laws who are married by any ordained clergy will automatically be considered as legally married. No marriage license is needed". This would let gay people get married in the several churches e.g. Jewish Reform and conservative, Unitarian-Universalist, some United Churches of Christ, etc. It's unequal to the extent that gays would need a church wedding, while str8s could have a civil only marriage by the state, but it would be a big step forward. Your church is protected, and to a large extent gay people can be protected also. They'd still be missing the right to civil only marriages.

As for 'contracts' - one thing I've learned about legal contracts etc particularly in estate issues etc is the one thing that the law is, is nothing is certain. So many things subject to interpretation. One of the few exceptions is 'legal marriage'. If you are legally married (our son's 150 guest religious wedding involved a private ceremony where papers were signed, he and his wife to be were then told "you are now married in the eyes of the state,. After we next hold the religious ceremony then you will be married in the eyes of our religion". So there were two separate ceremonies. I guess my marriage was similar, I was so scared that I don't remember much except "I".

So lets straighten out this intermix of religion and government. Lets remember marriage evolves - blacks couldn't marry till 1867 legally, my daughters marriage would have been illegal in many states until 1967 when the supreme court knocked over laws against interacial marriage, etc.By the way her Japanese husband said that as a youngster they all had boyfriends, would walk holding hands, nothing sexual about it - just a custom. Religion isn't involved in their politics over in Japan, so gays are treated just like anyone else.

Lets also recognize that marriage is in trouble as an institution, and it sure isn't caused by gays. It seems like they want to be married, and most of those I know want to get married religiously as well as civilly. Divorces amongst gay married couples are absolutely minimal in the 8000? gay marriages in Massachusetts. For us st8s, we're headed for a 50% divorce rate, and I'll bet that hardly one in three marriages back in 1967 when I got married have survived, so I'm in the minority and hoping to help this institution.

Lets talk about children - the purpose of marriage - is it to just produce and bring up children as good citizens. My daughter didn't want any children when they got married. She and hubby did agree on one, we have a 5 year old granddaughter. If she didn't have children should her marriage be invalidated? My wife and I are in our 60's. All the kids are grown up, the older two married, youngest looking to be. Does that mean I can divorce my wife and go have a great fling for the 10-15 years I have left, or should I stay married to the woman who has stuck by me for almost 40 years, with the usual pile of arguments etc one would expect. I bet you and I are on the same page here. Also, what about all those unwanted children in the world - lots of gay couples adopt children, and provide loving homes to them and all the data says that the great great majority of those children happen to be str8. If there is any somewhat higher proclivity of gay children out of these homes it is most likely that they are open about who they are, rather then living a lie for decades - I've met a couple gay men who were married, had children, and finally did divorce - but remain best friends with their former wife, and children, rather then keep living a lie.

Last but not least, every mainstream medical association - AMA, American Psychiatric, Psychological, psychoanalytical associations, and the mainstream pediatric groups all believe that being gay is an inborn trait for about 5%, while being str8 is an inborn trait for the great majority. What is the big deal about treating these people equally, except for attempts to impose religious values on others? As is happening now re Islam, lets remember the Crusades that gave the world an estimated 50 million deaths, and a thousand years or more of virtually no progress for mankind, all in the name of God, until Guttenberg developed the printing press, and the church no longer controlled ideas, and we even had a partial reformation, which is still incomplete today. If you want to understand Islam, just read about the history of Christianity. So far, the arabs are pikers compared to what the Christians did to them in the middle ages. We could, because of religionS be facing the end of civilization as we know it.

I know you don't want me coming into your church and telling you what you can and cannot say and do, and the feeling is mutual. It also extends to our laws, that is what it is about, religion doesn't define our laws, unless you want a Saudi Arabia, where people have actually been beheaded for preaching Christianity or selling bibles.

When we look at more mature societies that have suffered greatly from early Christiantiy, e.g. Europe - we see that virtually every country in western europe with the exception of Greece, Italy (things are happening though, and Ireland (things are beginning to happen) have either gay marriage, civil unions, or some sort of state sanctioned partnership benefits for gay couples. Canada, Spain, Israel, Repub. of South Africa,Belgium, and Holland have national gay marriage. In most countries with civil unions, these are almost equivalent to marriage since these are federal, not like our state by state, benefits laws. Also new zealing has civil unions. So does Mexico city, some other municipalities in South America, and one of the mexican states.

Gay equality under the law is about societies growning up and believing in the ten commandments, e.g. not judging others , do unto others,etc. Even in America I've been heartened by a number of states having civil unions without a big battle - though it makes gays 2nd class citizens instead of non-people in the eyes of the law, better then nothing. I've seen a number of states- even midwestern 'Red States' enact protections for gays e.g. non-discrimination in employment, legal recognition that hate crimes deserve more severe punishment because the victim is not just the physical victim, but it is a crime of terrorism against a whole community. Hate crimes laws are part of an attempt under the law to prevent the emergence of a maniacal American Taliban where we would all be victims, and there are hate groups aplenty in this nation, consider the preacher Phelps, who protests at the funerals of our soldiers because "America tolerates gays". He is the perfect example of what lies just under the surface of our national psyche, he makes me ashamed to be an American.

So if you open your heart, if you really knew some gay people (I've met / know quite a few, though we've never become social friends - just political friends) you might discover that they are just like anyone else. Why should they be treated like untouchables, or second class citizens? Why should they be murdered - it really happens - just for being who they are? They are like the rest of our society, decent ordinary in so many ways, and often well educated people. I think the bible commands us to love one another. It isn't about jumping into bed, its about being part of the loving community of mankind created by God. We have so far to go on this score, we have horrible examples of how religion can get twisted into hatred. We owe our nation and the world leadership on ending this particular form of religious bigotry and religious imposition of false 'values' generated based on fear and leading to hatred and even violence and ruined lives. This not only hurts our gay citizens, but degrades the meaning of our lives as well, and in so many ways is just the opposite of the overall messages of God's love for his people.

Posted by: SteveMD2 | June 12, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to add a comment....

About two yrs ago my son called me - "Dad, come get me I think I broke my ankle".

So I went over his house, found him in the back yard and took him to the Annapolis Hospital. Finally they called him into the back side of the emergency room. As he was going in, and I was following, I wasn't 'asked' - I was CHALLENGED - "who are you?" by the staff.

If i was with my wife, I just would have said "her husband" and that would have been automatic admittance with her. In this case I almost said "I'm his gay partner", just to prove the point of the problem about hospitals. Of course I'm 35 years older then him, he in so many ways looks like me - its quite obvious we're related. Sure I got in after saying "I'm his father", but you see the problem.

So the idea of contracts between gay people to make up for civil marriage or equivalent is a joke. Are they to carry around a stack of legal papers costing thousands of $$ establishing their relationship? Are they to be insulted by the staff of a hospital in a scene such as we had? Talk to me about justice please.

Another example along the same vein is that my son bought a house in 1999. He got married in 2004 (yes, to a female). It only cost him about $250 to get his wife's name added to the house deed. Here in MD we have a transfer tax on house sales. It amounts to about 2%, but doesn't apply to family related transfers. If he was gay, and had wanted to add another man to his house deed for shared ownership he actually would have had to sell his house legally from 'himself' to 'himself and his gay partner'. The cost of that, with the 2% transfer tax would have be about $15000. Is this justice and equality - I think not! There was a bill in 2006 to solve this particular problem for gay people, but it was vetoed by our previous repub. governor.

America is supposed to be about justice and equality and opportunity. We are our brother's keeper.

Posted by: SteveMD2 | June 13, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse

And I see that toothy is a doc who has worked in Catholic hospitals for years.

Well now we know - the catholic church has been a leading institution of supporting terroization - that is exactly what it is, of gay people.

But that is not all. The whole religion is about terrorization - Don't do as we say and you'll go to hell. Do as we say and you'll go to heaven - paradise.

Of course we have to look at the history of the church. In about 200AD Constantine mad a pact with the church. It was the beginnings of 1300 years of the dark ages when the world went nowhere economically, and corrupt popes allied with corrupt kings murdered up to 50 million Muslims "in the name of God and Jesus, but really to plunder their advanced civilization and the trade routes through the middle east.

Then as things began to change e.g. Guttenberg invented the printing press, the church and its scribes lost control of the written word. Freedom began to flourish in some sense. So the church gave us the inquisition, where perhaps 100,000 people were murdered by torture, burning at the stake, etc. for daring to question the church. Examples included the world was flat, the sun orbited around the earth, and of course disease was God's punishment for non-believers - is that how you treat your patients? Also, there were an estimated 1 million witch trials, where a neighbors word was enough to subject person to terrible torture and death, but in the end the person's property was split between the accuser and the church.

And of course the church keeps up its campaign of terror. Once people begin to recognize that is all it is, that the pope isn't 'infallible' (one of the worlds greatest lies), the whole thing comes apart.

So, the church always has to have someone to spread hate against, as a threat towards those who might dare disbelieve. They say hate the sin, love the sinner, knowing full well that in religiously blinded minds it quickly becomes hate the sinner. In their goal to keep gay people hidden, in the closet, in fear of being 'outed' , making them untouchables. The church murders as if by its own hand thousands of children every year in this country who commit suicide because they (fear they) are gay. Along with the gay people who get murdered as well.

And if you wonder why the Muslims find it so easy to hate us, just remember the 50 million of their holocaust, thanks to the church, and think about how this gets built so subtly into their culture, waiting for any religious maniac of their persuasion to bring it to the surface and inflame it. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of 9/11,screamed to our interrogators "you are all going to hell". And of course his people who did 9/11 all believed they would go to heaven. Just a variant religion who had such wonderful teachers from Rome.

So the bottom line is that the Catholic church (not alone) is still filled with subtle hatred for those who don't fit with their teachings, oh btw look at the history of the Jews over the ages, culminating with their holocaust led by someone born a Catholic, hitler, who probably picked up his asbsolutism partially from the church.

So, as the recent Massachusetts legislature showed, and a whole host of other states who have put in 'partial marriage' in the form of civil unions or domestic partnership laws and anti-discrimination laws, times are changing. Of course churches are empty, especially in Europe, for they have more mature societies. Like it or not all of western europe with the exceptions of Greece, Italy (which is changing) and Ireland have either gay marriage or civil unions which are almost fully equivalent to marriage, or various partial legal recognitions of gay couples.Also add Canada, Mexico city, the Mexican state of Cohuila, several south Amer. municipalities, Israel, Repub of South Africa - both with gay marriage, and New Zealand (CU's.)

This is all about civil rights and freedom of and from religion. It took me several years to completely break free of your church (I'm quite str8 btw, married almost 40 years, 3 str8 kids). I met a lesbian who admitted it took her 10 years to finally dump your religion and all its self hatred and terrorization of its adherents.

Now, just to finish - I don't hate Catholics - most of my friends are / have been. I see them as victims of their church - people who need to struggle to be free of the terrorization and lies of the church that are layered and layered over their thinking until it is almost impossible to see through it for the fears it creates when one tries to break free.

Also, right wing Christian churches are also similar. Prayer with groups is basically brainwashing - that is all that it is, to keep people trapped for the power and money that is all these churches are about. Take the So. Baptists- their bible justified America's greatest Crime, slavery, probably equivalent to what the church has done over the ages. Islam - well we all understand what religion does in that context - it is todays most instructive lesson.

So Mr. Toothy, you can have your religion, but keep it too yourself. Gay folks have every right to be treated equally under the law, your one right, which I support is that if you don't want to do gay religious marriages, its ok, but you damn well stay out of politics. jewish Reform and Conservative, UU and united Churches of Christ will do gay marriages. Episcopals, some Lutheran, and some Presbyterian churches will do committment ceremonies - gay marriages that religiously are that in all but name. If your church want to remain in the future, it has to liberalize, or it will simply become part of history's dustbin, filled with mankinds terrible history of hatreds based on lust for power over people, based on lies and induced fears and their illegitimate insurance product called heaven.

So Be It.

Posted by: SteveMD2 | June 15, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

To SteveMD2 I would just say your hatred of the Catholic church is only outdone by your ignorance of it. You can glean whatever you want from history, leaving out key events and circumstances to fuel your hatred. I am a student of history, but I don't feel the need to justify my faith and who I am by giving a dissertation on the facts as I know them. Pertinent to this discussion is one fact in particular, and that is that marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman, that's the way God intended it to be. I would venture to say that one of the reasons for so many divorces is because many people do not accept this divine revelation. We live in a topsy-turvy world where anything goes as long as you can get away with it. Seemingly occurences that are insignificant or go against the moral code are ok as long as "no one is being hurt". The bigger picture is, however, that all of humanity is being hurt. We all too often accept the adage that the end justifies the means. Should a man of lesser means who has a critically ill wife be allowed to steal money to fill a prescription that she must have to survive? Should immigrants be allowed to come into a country because they have no source of income in their own country? Should gay folks be allowed to marry so they have the same financial security, as well as other benefits, as a married man and woman? Do you see what happens when you adjust the moral code to your needs?
I do not believe that allowing gays to marry will weaken my marriage in any way, but I do believe that it does weaken the moral fiber of this country. Who decides when esteemed values and traditions should be broken? Perhaps we should think about China's way of allowing the end to justify the means when it comes to prohibiting couples to have more than 1 or 2 children. Is that where our country is heading?

Posted by: D4Life | June 15, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

re the Church, I just look at history, what they have done to society, and the power structure that they are. It is really bad and I personally am glad to be rid of them as is my whole family. BTW we are married almost 40 years, 3 str8 children, older two married.

I'm glad that you at least say that "I do not believe that allowing gays to marry will weaken my marriage in any way...". But - How does it weaken the moral fiber of this nation if gays are granted the same LEGAL marriage rights as str8 couples? I've met a lot of gays, many are couples who have been together for decades, some have children, including children that were adopted - the progeny of st8 people who didn't or wouldn't take care of them, or would you prefer they have been aborted? We are glad to know these gay people, they are assets to our society, and their sex business is their business among consenting adults. And they have every right to walk around in public holding hands, even kissing. What is the big deal - what are you afraid of? Possibly exposure of another of the church lies that it is a chosen lifestyle, something disputed by every mainstream mental health and medical association - people with multiple doctoral degrees, who believe it is an inborn trait. Could you possibly make that choice?

You are making a moral judgement about gay people. Many people believe they are fine people, who have been victims of religious terrorism over the ages. So were blacks, &interacial couples - my daughters husband is Asian, When I got married in 1967 her marriage would have been illegal both for interacial, and because at that time (I may be off by a few years on this one) non-religious marriages were not legal in MD.

What you have said reminds me of a college kid I know, Catholic I believe, who said - "gays should have everything str8 people have legally, but re marriage please don't call it marriage". This is a little piece of insight that explains how easy it has been in liberal states to pass some laws giving gays equal rights, and even civil unions, which are a second class in many ways form of marriage, but better then being untouchables under the law. The whole problem is that "marriage' has both a civil and a religious meaning, and that is where the problems come from - if you really want to see what happens when religion gets mixed into politics take yourself and a box of bibles to Saudi Arabia and some other countries and try to sell them on the streets. They will be sharpening their swords for you very quickly, and they have actually done in the past. They also have nice judges who, if a woman is raped, generally have the woman whipped, because it must be her fault, while the perpetrator gets told to behave in the future. This comes about because the Judge decides punishment based on what he believes "God wants". Christianity still has some elements of this kind of thinking, and the clash is because the blinded religious types are facing societies where information is free flowing, the church isn't the source and sensor of what people learn, and of course their power is dissolving except for those brainwashed from an early age.

The "untouchability" of gay people, driven by right wing churches is coming to an end. If you read all I posted - I appologize - i know its a lot, you will see how so many nations are explicitly giving gays equality under the law, civil unions which in most of those nations if done at the federal level are equivalent to marriage, not like the second class status here. I just saw that Columbia is passing laws at the national level that give gays some of the rights of married couples, e.g. inheritance, etc.

Somebody once said Judge not lest ye be Judged. I don't think you have the right to judge gay people. Do you like it when Islamic radicals judge non-islamics? HUH?

As for children, when my daughter got married, her goal was no children. Would you deny her marriage? Would you force her to be inseminated against her will? She did relent with her husband they compromised on one child, my grandaughter is a darling of almost 5. And assuming they have no more children, that is fine with me. Her brother's wife just had a baby girl a month ago. The debate in their family is whether to have a second in a couple years. I am one of two boys, my wife is one of three children, we have 3 children - the last was a surprise btw, the goal had been two. One of the things I consider terrible about the Catholic church is the anti-birth control stance, which btw 94% of caths ignore, and of course it causes many of them to see through the churches hypocrisy. Why does the church have this stance - a few reasons - in earlier times, there was a fear that societies would die out because of infant mortality - my late parents were both the last of a total of 16 children, of whom only 9 survived infancy. Another reason for high birth rates may have been the goal of breeding more soldiers to attack their enemies - remember hitler btw . Also, WWII- remember - Lebensraum for the germans, the South East Asia co-prosperity Sphere for Japan - both nothing more then mass organized murder to steal the land and natural resources of other people. Hitgler was born a Catholic, and the Japanese emperor was considered either a god or next to God.

So, the absolutism of the church, based on stories written thousands of years ago in an age of ignorance, superstition, and murder will either end, or the church will shrink ultimately into oblivion. I know a PHD biotech guy who says that in 25 years, worst case 50, we will create basic replicating life forms from non-life chemicals, it is just a matter of a million fold increase in computer power to fully understand cellular life, and then turn the problem inside out to understand how to synthesize it. That kind of computer power is coming, and it will also let us build self aware personalities in computers - by every test they will be aware of their own existance, and some of those tests actually exist now. Then, where does the concept of God go - when life is shown to be a natural development when time and conditions are right. It is estimated - no matter how one twists the numbers - that about 1 in 10,000 suns in our galaxy has a planet that could have life like ours, but remember over 14 billion years since the (last) big bang, we've only been a communicating society technically for 100 years, so its going to be a long time before we are found or we find someone else. But it does raise basic questions about God, superstition, etc.

As for ourselves, we do believe there are some good teachings from religion, e.g. the best of jewish and Christian teachings. Probably there isn't any after life - I will live on in my shared, and reshared etc genetic arrangement in my descendants, but nature hasn't found a way to save our own self awareness. Quite possibly the price of living is ultimately dying. Of course I was perfectly comfortable during the crusades, the witch trials, etc. 20 years from now I'm almost certainly be back in that state. Given that, if 'God' commands us to do anything, it is to help those less fortunate then ourselves, certainly gay people and all the indignities they suffer, even including being murdered, are one of the groups we have chosen to help and support. If the church can't change, if it continues to build layer on layer on layer of lies and terrorism onto its adherents, then this is one of the crimes of our society, and we feel commanded to help end this tyranny. All else I can say is to echo the "forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do". This applies to the adherents trapped by brainwashing from youth - hey look at Islam as an example you can probably relate to - , but it sure doesn't apply to the heirarchy of the church.

50 years from now, bias, discrimination, and even murder of gay people will be just another page in history books recounting the inhumanity of man to his fellow man (and women). Count on it. If the church dies out, they did it to themselves.

Posted by: SteveMD2 | June 16, 2007 5:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, D4life- I just have to add one comment.....

"Should a man of lesser means who has a critically ill wife be allowed to steal money to fill a prescription that she must have to survive? Should immigrants be allowed to come into a country because they have no source of income in their own country? Should gay folks be allowed to marry so they have the same financial security, as well as other benefits, as a married man and woman? Do you see what happens when you adjust the moral code to your needs?"

On these items - yes, the government should do something to end the total greed of the drug companies, whose motto obviously is "your money or your life". Unbridled capitalism is just another version of stealing - those who have the power take all the money, and it is rampant in todays society, led by the right wing repubs (I was one all my life till 2004) and their God fearing Bush, whose real god is that of greed for power. He may well have with his Iraq war based on lies, ignorance, and arrogance, moved the world into a new dark age of mass murder, while Bin L goes free.

Talk about immigrants - America has been a shining star to much of the world. My grandparents were all immigrants. My Dad never told me during his lifetime that he was the only child in his family born in America. We can't take everybody, but if you go with your idea, you get kicked out too, and we give the nation back to the Indians to whom it rightfully belonged, till we mass murdered them, resettled them etc.

The same thing with Gay Marriage. It is a done deal, just going to take time, and those who oppose it will be on the wrong side of history, and don't you talk about morality, I'd rather talk about history, and it's very ugly, and for western civilization the Catholic church in particular has been a monster that still carries with it hatreds, biases, and lies designed to denigrate anything that threatens their 'infallibility' and 'faith', as if they should be believed.

Sorry, but we're rid of religious tyranny over our lives. And there isn't a damn thing the church can do about it. The code is broken, and we aren't alone.

Posted by: SteveMD2 | June 16, 2007 5:50 AM | Report abuse

I know I'm being a pain, but one last one - it is real late now-

Tomorrow I will go to Baltimore, and with our gay friends celebrate in their pride parade. Been doing it for several years, sometimes my wife comes with me but she has to work tomorrow.

Posted by: SteveMD2 | June 16, 2007 5:53 AM | Report abuse

"Up until around 1960 we've taken marriage for its traditional understanding to mean:
1. Permanence
2. Exclusivity
3. Presumably fertile
4. Consensual
Notice love isn't in there."

Hey Toothy, nice definition of traditional marriage, cudows.

By the way, is your Marriage Traditional? I bet your spouse proposed with something like:

"Hey you over there with the working plumbing parts, I'm looking to reproduce. You want to engage in some exclusive permanence with me? What? Love? Nah, not necessary."

Sounds a bit clinical for me Toothy, but hey, whatever floats your boat! But you screwed up on your fourth parameter of traditional marriage. Replace "Consensual" with "Economic and Social Status" that is if you want to be really traditional. You see, back in the day marriage was pretty big on preservation of economic well being and family social status and that doesn't have much to do with consenting adults.

Isn't funny how us modern folk messed it all up with that love and romance crap. Those are just luxurious notions after all - right?

Bring back the good old days (but... whose "good old days"). Vote Romney 08'. Oh wait, he might require me to have multiple wives and that's a bit too "traditional" - even for me.

Posted by: Sean Reidy | June 16, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

D4Life makes some powerful points:
"The bigger picture is, however, that all of humanity is being hurt. We all too often accept the adage that the end justifies the means. Should a man of lesser means who has a critically ill wife be allowed to steal money to fill a prescription that she must have to survive?"

hmmm, Of course not? She should be left to die? Because, we all know that, the sanctity of life matters less than theft.

"Should immigrants be allowed to come into a country because they have no source of income in their own country?"

Well... Again, let them starve? Because the sanctity of life matters less than trespassing, right?

"Should gay folks be allowed to marry so they have the same financial security, as well as other benefits, as a married man and woman? Do you see what happens when you adjust the moral code to your needs?"

I don't know. Tell me again, who is adjusting the moral code?? What happened to the Sanctity of Life being a preeminent virtue? Or maybe that bit of moral code gets adjusted if you are poor or a noncitizen or hell if you are Irish an trying to get a job in the 1800's?

I'm not sure if Jesus would agree with you on this but I guess someone as moral as yourself would know better than me. So after reading your excellent examples of moral equivalences, I should just take it on faith that gay marriage would "weaken the moral fiber of this country". Furthermore we certainly don't want to change any of our "values and traditions" because we all know that every tradition is by definition always moral. Right?

Posted by: BJ | June 16, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, I was heartened today.........
Columbia enacted civil unions for gay people that give them most of the legal benefits of marriage. Oh, the church must be having a fit. None of their damn business - they don't have to perform ceremonies they dont want to do. All it does is attack their power structure.

"Tens of thousands of gays, lesbians and str8 people marched in Rome to the office of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, in support of a proposed law giving gay people at least some of the rights of married people". Of course they, and you talk about "Morals". The church has this whole list of things against gays, and they just keep bringing up the next item, when the previous gets refuted.

I marched in the Baltimore Gay Pride parade with tens of thousands, perhaps 80% gay, 20% str8. Yes, some slightly weird people in terms of dress, but everyone behaved properly, I was very comfortable around all of them, the only thing that bothered me was how many smoked-It would be nice if the church would get on its pedestal and call the use and manufacture of tobacco products a crime against life for the profits of big uncaring business. It is our single worst controllable health hazard. If you'll make this happen, we'll have some common ground.

I also got a comment on a Utube website by another religious types. He has apparently done such a good job on his 2 kids (8 & 14) that they told him that if they were identified as embryos that would be gay children, they would have preferred they had been aborted. Most gays realize they are different by their early teens. If one of this guys kids is gay, you can bet he'll probably be a suicide due to the internal conflict and self-hatred already primed into his head. Perhaps, and only perhaps, then the maniac father will realize what he has done. One wonders if he will then take his own life?

That maniac probably is listening to the Southern Baptists, whose leader now apparently accepts the possibility that being gay is genetic, (accepted by all mainstream medical/psych groups) so his solution is to find a drug fix for the embryo. For every step forwards, those people take 2 steps backwards. He reminds me of Dr Mengele of hitler fame, who performed medical experiments on Jews, since they were considered less then human. Maybe mengele got his ideas from our dear so. Bptst friends and others of their ilk, who, before the civil war, had black slaves counted for census purposes as 3/5 each of a person.

What you ought to do, D4Life, is go to some gay event, like Sunday's the 17th's (that is today now - is 1:30am) gay festival at Druid hill park in Baltimore. One just has to get over the anxiety this might entail, put on the biggest set of gonads you have, and go do it. Yes you will see some perhaps outlandish dress, but just don't stare. You'll see a community of PEOPLE , many of them who were treated as freaks and untouchables by others, some thrown out of their families - an example of the terrible extent of religious intolerance of the church of rome, and some right wing non-Cath. Christian groups like the so. baptists. And you can do as I do, talk to some number of them, treat them as ordinary people and DISCOVER that they are decent human beings who deserve equal treatment under our laws - part of what America was supposed to be but has failed at in many ways. If you can see through the intolerance religion bred into you, you might even be embarrassed to shed a tear for how they have suffered, for the deeper you dig, the worse it gets. Of the gays that I know well enough to discuss their youth, almost all went through a period of suicidal tendancies, thanks to the church which speaks so eloquently for 'life'. See what I mean about hypocrisy?

It's also necessary to realize that when the Jews went up as ashes in hitler's smokestacks, intermingled with them were the ashes of the gays of Germany - perhaps 100,000 were captured and murdered. For them, they were so low that the methodical nazi maniacs didn't even keep many records. Take a trip to the holocaust museum in DC and I believe some of that geneocide is displayed also. Then, ask your church what they did in Italy for the gays during Musolini's / hitler's reign. You might also ask about what they did for the Jews also - precious little for the church was about protecting itself, except in Poland the late Pope apparently did help to save the lives of Jews along with some other Poles, at the risk of their own life.

Now, on this morality thing.... I know some leading gay people in the political arena- the head of a political group, a couple lawyers, an opthamologist, a communications engineer, an engineering manager. I wouldn't have the least qualms in working with, or even for them, or inviting them over our home. If they are gay, that is fine with me, they aren't hurting me, they aren't hurting society at all, if they can marry that further validates our mariage of 39 years ago, btw in Massachusetts. What is hurting society is religious hatreds no matter how they are twisted into supposedly legitimate concepts, and fed to people who have had a lifetime of brainwashing so they can't see through it. That is what prayer is btw, groupthink brainwashing, not using the brain God gave you. Build enough 'layers' of belief rather then thinking in the brain, and a mental blindness sets in.

I also know the parents of Matthew Shepard, the 21 year old college student who in 1998 got his face pistol whipped to a pulp because he admitted he was gay to two good Catholic boys in Wyoming. To prevent him from possibly identifying them they then bashed in his skull with a rifle butt. I can't imagine what they had to fear from him, he was perhaps 110#, 5'3", both of these maniacs who are rotting in jail for life seemed to be good sized bruisers as seen on TV footage. During their trial, the local Catholic church actually tried to interfere with the Jury. And, BTW, one of the murderers was an Eagle Scout, who had to profess a belief in God to be in the Scouts- which God I can only guess the God of religious hate.

To finish the Matthew Shepard story - 3 items. One of the blinded who runs a 'hate gay marriage' group said Matthew was "the poster child for the gay rights movement". We think he was the loved son of Judy and Dennis Shepard, and the loved brother of Logan, and his grandparents. I , my wife, and my older son and his wife have met her. I've also very briefly met his Dad at the first gay pride rally I ever attended, in DC in 2000-my reason for going was I found out Matt's parents would be there. There have also been reports that his murder was a result of a bad drug deal - just an example of blame the victim who can't speak out on his behalf - anything to avoid bringing out the truth about religious inspired hatred and homophobia - in the name of God and Jesus. What kind of a mad world do we live in???!!!

And to talk about my own religious beliefs, Somewhere I said that our calling is to stand up for the poor, the disdained, the oppressed, etc in our nation and even the world. In many ways I think life is just that, it begins, and it ends, we have the option of 'continuing' by sharing our genetic codes with a member of the opposite sex to create the next generation, if we both want to and are attracted to the other sex. If you believe there is something beyond, if you believe in a Loving God and something beyond for our own awareness after death, then I think we'll be richly rewarded. If we're aware of the lights simply going out during our last moment of consciousness, we can take comfort that we took care of our own families, were good citizens, and tried to help others less fortunate then us due to mankinds indifference and cruelty to our fellow man. If you believe that God speaks and commands us to do certain things - sometimes I do - one example is that in March of 2000, on a plane flight from Chicago to Cleveland, I thought I recognized the woman seated not only in the same plane as myself, but in the same row one empty seat apart. She was in the Aisle seat, across from her was a tall thin boy whom she referred to as 'honey'. I was to embarrassed to ask her if she was who I thought she was, but I later verified it through a friend of a friend who worked for the Airline. That woman was Judy Shepard, and her remaining son Logan. You go figure the odds - one in 300 million. Yes, we have met 3 or 4 times when she came to the DC area, she runs a foundation dedicated to speaking out against the religious intolerance and hatred that brutally murdered her son in the name of God and Jesus. It exists all over, with many churches continuing this oppression and their lies, lest their whole past hatreds, and the foundation of the Church filled with these lies, superstitions, etc is exposed for what it is.

btw, meeting Matthew's Mother was one incident. Five or six other things have happened in my life that say that God spoke to me. How I met my wife - it was beyond chance. How I ended up in a job that let me retire at 57, very very wealthy so I can devote lots of time to gay civil rights - 5 or 6 things occurred that are beyond chance, including a minor accident in a private plane I had. I might note that one of the founders of Intel corp, later Pres and chairman, was a Jewish Hungarian who escaped death at the hands of the Nazis.

Then there are the stories of my brothers life (no he isn't gay), the demise of my parents, my brother in law, and the 21 year old kid I almost punched in the face on an airplane 12 years ago. Every one of these situations relates to fear of, and in effect hatred against gays that all of us pick up from our sick - that is exactly what it is - stinking sick society, which has it's roots in conservative religions. But that is for another day.

All I'm trying to do is to get you to think freely. It isn't easy, it took a nightmare and almost a decade for me to open the doors of the mind, for I used to think that queers were queer, didn't know any (prob. did but didn't realize it), so the prejudices just lay under the 'visible in the mind horizon', waiting for the correct situation to bring them forth. It does take time, and it focuses not just on gay civil rights per se, but on the greatest failings of mankind - the acceptance of authority without questioning, the failure to "love thy neighbor as thyself", the ability to be brainwashed by fears of hell eternal if you don't toe the line, or paradise and everlasting life if you submit. Please remember, in a related but much much worse exampe, several men almost certainly kissed their holy books, and said "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) in the last moment of their life, as they attempted to kill their estimate of 50,000 people. We call that incident 9/11. All done in the name of the same God, with a 'bible' that draws from the old and new Testament.

I'd like to have lunch with you some time. I live near Annapolis, MD. Are we close?

Posted by: SteveMD2 | June 17, 2007 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Anyone still around - have I saturated the discussion?

Posted by: SteveMD2 | June 24, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

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