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Numbers Game: Single-Sex Couples

As Virginians prepare to vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, a new analysis of Census data says that the number of same-sex couples living in Virginia jumped by 43 percent--well above the national average rate of increase--between 2000 and 2005.

The report, by a sexual orientation law institute at the UCLA Law School, is careful to note that the increases we're seeing here are most likely not only an increase in the actual number of same-sex couples residing in each state, but to some extent a jump in the willingness of those couples to report their status to census takers. Still, the numbers are particularly striking on the eve of a vote that could significantly restrict the ability of unmarried couples, whatever their sexuality, to create various kinds of legal relationships.

The UCLA study uses Census data to estimate not only the number of same-sex couples, but the number of gay residents of states, cities and congressional districts. It's a bit of a leap, since the scholars who wrote the study assume that the proportion of gays living in a particular locale is similar to the proportion of the population that reports living as same-sex couples. But if you accept the leap for the sake of argument, you can do some interesting things with numbers:

The report says the District of Columbia, with an estimated 8.1 percent gay population, ranks first among states and fifth among major cities in proportion of the population who are gay. (Top cities in that ranking are San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Portland and then Washington.)

In Virginia, the congressional district with the largest percentage of gay residents, 7.4 percent, is Jim Moran's district (the 8th), which includes Alexandria, Arlington and portions of Fairfax. The next largest concentration of gays is in the 11th district (much of Fairfax and Prince William counties), represented by Tom Davis, with 5.6 percent.

In Maryland, the congressional district with the largest percentage of gay residents is the 3rd, represented by Ben Cardin, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. Cardin's district, a jagged piece of gerrymandering that works its way from Baltimore into Anne Arundel County, shows up as 6.0 percent gay in the study. Next in Maryland is the 7th district, represented by Elijah Cummings; this district, which stretches from Baltimore through most of Howard County, is 5.5 percent gay, according to the study.

Other numbers from the study: Statewide, Maryland's population is 4.4 percent gay, Virginia's is 4.0 percent and the metropolitan D.C. area is 5.0 percent.

Does this tell us anything about how the Virginia vote will turn out? The gay population is obviously not large enough to play much of a role in determining the outcome of the vote on the constitutional amendment. But the increases reported in this study do indicate that more and more Virginians come into contact with gays, and that, together with the argument that Gov. Tim Kaine and other opponents make--that the proposed amendment would hurt unmarried heterosexual couples' ability to enter into financial and legal relationships--could boost the No vote. Still, every survey taken so far shows the amendment winning handily. And Sen. George Allen is now using the same-sex amendment to rally his supporters (challenger Jim Webb opposes the amendment.)

The question for the remaining days of the Senate campaign is whether Allen can solidify his base, whether the appeal of the marriage amendment will counter the damage done to Republican candidates by the Mark Foley sex scandal and the questions raised about the Republican leadership's knowledge of Foley's inappropriate contacts with congressional pages. My guess: The base holds sufficiently for Allen to put together the coalition that got him elected over former Sen. Chuck Robb six years ago. What say you?

By Marc Fisher |  October 18, 2006; 7:19 AM ET
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Comments

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Unfortunately I think you are right. As a gay Virginian I have contemplated leaving for the DIstrict many times. But I think the Senate vote and likely the Amendment 1 vote will point out the huge rift between NoVA and the rest of the state. I like living in the People's Republic of Arlington, I just wish it wasn't located in Virginia.

Posted by: Glenn | October 18, 2006 9:02 AM

The huge rift between NoVA and the rest of the state is due to the fact that most of the people in NoVA came from somewhere else. They just hate on VA so bad that they just stay and stay.

Posted by: Stick | October 18, 2006 9:22 AM

Uh, Stick, what the folks in NoVa hate is paying and paying and paying taxes to Richmond and getting very little back. They hate having to go to Richmond to beg for the right to elect their own schoolboards. They especially hate being sneered at in places like Breaks for failing to look just like everybody else in the room.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 18, 2006 9:29 AM

I expected you'd blog about Steny Hoyer today, Marc. You spent about 28 blogs on the macaca thing, but you don't seem to notice when Hoyer makes a racial slur against Michael Steele. Can we infer that you're in favor of racist epithets when they're used by Democrats?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 9:33 AM

Virginia did re-elect Chuck Robb over high-profile challenger Oliver North, so perhaps there is some hope for Webb and the amendment opponents.

Posted by: Cosmo | October 18, 2006 9:57 AM

There's a huge difference between Steny Hoyer's poorly chosen, but completely innocent, "slavishly" and Webb's deliberately derogative "macaca". Sorry, but that comparison just doesn't fly at all.

Posted by: slipknot | October 18, 2006 9:59 AM

The only difference, snipknot, is that the shoe's on the other foot and some monkeys see no Democrat evil, hear no Democrat evil, and say no Democrat evil.

But onto the topic, the referenced couples are NOT families anymore than a silk purse can be made from a sow's ear.

Posted by: Rufus | October 18, 2006 10:06 AM

Slipknot -- "completely innocent"? Right.

The only reason the comparison "doesn't fly" in your opinion is because one's a Democrat and the other's a Republican.

Love to watch you Democrats scrambling to excuse racism in your own party while attacking it with frothing mouths when you can spot it in the other guy's.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 10:07 AM

I am a married heterosexual evangelical christian women and I will be voting NO on the gay ban amaendment. Why? Because I do not believe in discriminating and hating. I may not agree with how other people live their lives but for heaven's sake, it is their lives and we live (at least for now) in a democracy.

Posted by: FC voter | October 18, 2006 10:13 AM

My relationship IS a family, rufus. My family has the same right to power of attorney, wills and property that you have. ALso, what if my loved one is in the hospital? Can I visit, and will I be allowed to make the medical decisions my power of attorney supposedly entitles me to? Especially since my love lives with a chronic illness. Does it matter if I am gay or straight? What if we were just friends and roommate, she has no family around and designated me as her POA, that would be invalidated too...

the so called right wing "Christians" claim compassion, but practice hate and discrimination. What happend to "Love thy neighbor"...I guess it's only "Love thy neighbor if they look and act just like you"

Posted by: family member | October 18, 2006 10:26 AM

I am very conservative and last friday voted NO on the marriage amendment (absentee ballot). If the pro amendment advocates had stopped at the first paragraph, I would have voted yes but they just pushed the issue too far. Downstate Virginia is much more libertarian than some people in DC and NOVA realize. We are not going to let people ram a gay agenda down our throats by forcing us to approve of their lifestyle but most of us could care less what they do in the privacy of their own homes or what type of legal contracts they write between each other. Approval no, toleration yes.

Posted by: Woodbridge Va | October 18, 2006 10:27 AM

Ah, Rufus, I see you are back. Care to back up your comment that gay families aren't really families with something more than a soundbite?

And while you're at it, please go ahead and tell us how you think gay Americans should be treated. If they aren't full citizens, then what are they? Where do you draw the line?

Once you deny them the 1000 plus rights of marriage, what else do you deny them? Should you deny them business licenses, like they are currently doing in Manassas?

Do you say they can't be in certain professions?

Do you say they can't live in certain neighborhoods?

Please, be specific. You've advocated treating gays as second class citizens. I'd like to know exactly to what extent you think that treatment should go, and why.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 10:30 AM

FC voter: thank you for your post. It reminds me that not all Christians use God to bludgeon others.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 10:40 AM

Woodbridge: How exactly are gays cramming their 'lifestyle' down your throat? They aren't forcing you to be gay. They aren't forcing your church to perform gay weddings, or even let gay people in the door. They aren't forcing you to visit gay people's houses, bringing little gay gift baskets, etc.

How precisely is allowing gay people some peace of mind and the stability of marriage affecting you in even the most peripheral of ways?

Your argument is a lot like saying your ability to marry and have a family somehow affects me. It doesn't. I fully support your right to marry the one you love. It's a shame you don't have the common human decency to extend that same thing to me.

And since you don't 'approve' of gay people, exactly how do you think we should be treated? Should you get to ban us from the local park? Should you get to tell us we can't drive cars? How about saying we can't hold certain jobs?

I mean, after all, allowing us to even live in the same community as you is a form of approval.

Where do you draw the line once you start to treat people as non-citizens and as non-human?

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 10:45 AM

I've seen a alot of people throwing around words like "hate" and "2nd class citizen", but don't believe that's what the ammendment is about. Do I hate a 2nd class citizen just because I don't believe the term marriage should be applied? Tone down the rhetoric and stop the extrapolation that if you don't get your way (either side), civilization as we know it will cease. Whether the ammendment passes or not, the discussion will continue! Let's keep it a discussion.

Posted by: Fxbg | October 18, 2006 10:51 AM

Regarding the comment that many Northern Virginians are from out of state, here in Loudoun County it's been largely those transplants who have pushed anti-gay legislation: Bob Marshall (the sponsor of the amendment), Dick Black (ousted last year, but tried to ban gay adoption), etc. As a native Virginian, I was taught two years of Virginia history and, despite our history of racism and intolerance, learned to be proud of our state Bill of Rights being the inspiration of the nation's. I'm very sad that our state Bill of Rights will be tarnished by those who used this amendment for political gain. Next year, we'll be celebrating Virginia's 400th anniversary and promoting tourism, but calling us "the cradle of democracy" after this amendment passes is just going to make us a laughingstock.

Posted by: Loudoun | October 18, 2006 10:56 AM

Fxbg: Yes, it is hate. Just like it was hate, in Virginia, that caused the Supreme Court to have to step in as late as 1967 and force Virginia to allow blacks and whites to marry.

I'll admit that the idea of gay marriage was shocking to many say, five years ago. Even three years ago. And I can to some degree understand that people had to get used to the idea and to explore the issue.

But people have had time to consider the idea. And anyone that continues to advocate denying me basic equality is guilty of hate. Period. How is it not hateful to be in favor of legislation that means my partner may die alone in the hospital because I'm not allowed to see him? How is it not hateful to support legislation that makes it harder for me to get health care coverage, quite literally shortening my life? There are over 1000 benefits wrapped up in marriage. Denying those benefits because you don't like me is hatred, pure and simple.

And, no, civil unions are not the same. If you think they are, why wouldn't you be satisfied with a civil union instead of a marriage, especially knowing that others can get a marriage and you can't?

And it is second class citizenry, by definition. Quite literally. There's one set of benefits for straight people, and a a lesser class for gay people. How is that not second class citizenry?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 10:59 AM

I do not understand the argument that this will "hurt" unmarried, sexually heterogenous couples living together by denying them legal privileges. Isn't that what marriage is for? They can get married and be a family or they can live together but legally seperated. What is the harm? It would be more interesting to look at the rate and stability of homogenous marriages coming out of Massachusettts. Right now the numbers are probably very high because of a backlog of demand, but it should be settling down. Then we should see the real marriage rate among gay couples willing to make such a legal commitment. The NY Times ran an article reporting that the married are in the minority (slightly above 49%) based on heads of household reporting as married, but this includes divorced and single persons as well as unmarried couples living together. So what we really need is something that helps advance marriage in general, rather than give in to the whining appeals of a specific and very spoiled and demanding special interest group.

Posted by: single but united? | October 18, 2006 11:01 AM

Fxbg: I'd like to amend my post (sorry, it was unsigned unintentionally).

It's not just hate. It's ignorance as well.

But the ignorance excuse is wearing thin, as all one has to do is do a tiny bit of research to see that denying gay people marriage has very real negative consequences for a lot of people.

Once that is known, then it's up to the individual to decide if they are comfortable with causing harm to fellow human beings just because those fellow human beings are gay.

If they decide they are comfortable with that, then, yes, that is hatred. And small-mindedness. And selfishness. And certainly not Christian.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 11:10 AM

Funny how it was assumed that I am a Democrat by the two who responded to my assertion that Hoyer's "slavish" and Webb's "macaca" are completely different. Funny.

Who has the double-standard here?

(sorry to be off-topic)

Posted by: slipknot | October 18, 2006 11:18 AM

Slipknot--

You have the double standard. You think one is an "innocent mistake" and the other is "deliberately derogatory." And what do you base this on? Your own bias.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 11:21 AM

Slipknot, thanks for the post. Honestly, I see the inappropriateness of "slavishly," but there is just no comparison to Allen's macaca comment. None. For one thing, the macaca comment was directed to a young man NOT running for office and then told "welcome to the real world of Virginia." The entire exchange is much more loaded than the albeit inappropriate "slavishly."

Posted by: dc voter | October 18, 2006 11:23 AM

Hillman, you are welcome. As christians, we used to be known for what we were for: abolition, civil rights, human rights, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless... Now, we are mainly known for what we are against and I am really really tired of that. C. S. Lewis, arguably the greatest christian apologist of the 20th century, famously said: what attracts people to Christianity is Christ, what drives them away is Christians... People should really take a hard look at these words and see if we as christians are really advancing the cause of Christ by bludgeonning people with our faith. If we are all so alarmed about the fate of marriage and see it under threat, why don't we first work on our own heterozexual marriages? The rate of divorce among christians is about the same as among non christians. How about we clean up our own mess first rather then looking for scapegoats for our own failings?

Posted by: FCvoter | October 18, 2006 11:26 AM

And I have to say that few issues rile me more than people so bent out of shape over gay marriage. This is so universally celebrated, so basic a right in our society, that to deny it to one group smacks of nothing more than hatred and intolerance. I would argue the quickie marriages of today's teen pop stars are infinitely more "threatening" to marriage, if anything is, but no one seeks to eliminate the ability of two people to get married drunk and then annul the contract later. Yet two people who love each other and want to show that love in a marriage are somehow a threat? To scream how any one else's marriage could pose a threat to one's own baffles me.

Posted by: dc voter | October 18, 2006 11:26 AM

dc voter,

Well there you go. If a racist comment is directed at an African American Republican, it's merely "inappropriate" because he's a politician. But a racist comment against a Democrat, then "there's just no comparison" because he's not running for office. Man, you're really spinning.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 11:31 AM

You go, voter! I am a lifelong Northern Virginian, and this election season points out better than any other how different NoVa is from the rest of the state and how twisted the thinking of "social conservatives" is. The greatest threats to marriage are economic and social, from celebrity flings to the pressures of keeping up with the Joneses, not the two Lesbians or Gay men down the street; yet, George Allen and his ilk have gotten millions of voters to drink their political Kool-Aid.

Posted by: bigolpoofter | October 18, 2006 11:39 AM

FC:

I'm the son of Pentecostal preachers. It's a pretty safe bet to say I've been immersed in Christian culture far more than most people.

And I never forget that there are very good people that try to follow Christ's words and are not hateful people.

That's why a part of me is greatly saddened when I see a very vocal Christian minority using Christ to make everyday life for others more difficult.

Christ has been coopted for selfish and hateful reasons pretty much from the very beginning. This is just one more example. And we do have to remember that the good in Christ far outweighs these hateful steps people take in His name.

Your point about marriage is well taken. If we really wanted to strengthen marriage we'd outlaw divorce. I'm not in favor of that, as if two people are miserable together then the state has no business making them stay together. But if marriage truly is on the verge of collapse, wouldn't outlawing divorce be the obvious first step?

A more constructive step would be to encourage people to think long and hard before marrying. Two Catholic friends of mine are marrying soon. They've had to go through a very lengthy series of meetings with their priest. They didn't like it, but I think they learned a lot.

It's odd to say that marriage is dying, so we need to stop people that want to marry from marrying.

And, yes, I know that a lot of people are simply offended by the idea of gays marrying. But, honestly, my ability to marry my partner of 18 years does not in ANY way cheapen someone else's marriage. If it does, then I'd suggest that that other person's marriage wasn't very sturdy or special to begin with.

A person's marriage in the sacred sense is a covenant between themselves and their God or community or whatever they choose to make it. It's no stronger because they can deny me the same right. And it's no weaker if I'm given the same right.

I sometimes point out to people that using the Bible as a basis for civil marriage is opening up a pandora's box. After all, the Bible condones polygamy, marrying of sisters (Jacob), marrying of VERY young girls (often against their will), etc. So I have to chuckle a bit when people say they want to return to Biblical marriage.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 11:39 AM

Anonymous, you are the one spinning my statements. I am saying that if the "slavishly" comment had been made against one of Steele's aides in a live campaign forum, especially if accompanied with the derogatory "welcome to the real world of Maryland," I believe the reaction would have been much louder and much harsher. These are not similarly situated individuals against which the comments were levied. That necessarily affects the comparison, even though--as I clearly stated--the "slavishly" comment was wrong.

Posted by: dc voter | October 18, 2006 11:43 AM

Oh for crying out loud! "Gay agenda" is just a term for a lifestyle you don't like. It is not a "gay agenda" to allow two people to marry -in a civil ceremony. It is "human agenda". The government should have no right to discriminate against any individual. Your church/synagogue/temple/etc. wants to prohibit it in their religion. Fine. That is their right (just tell me which institution that is so that I don't have to go and listen to the hypocrisy of preaching compassion while at the same time discriminating).

I will NEVER, for the life of me, understand why anyone cares who anyone else marries or sleeps with. There is a gay couple down the street from me and I can tell you that, as I'm drifing off to sleep at night next to my husband, I've never wondered what was going on in their bedroom. I feel, frankly, that the obsession the less enlightened have with preventing a "gay agenda" is more a reflection on their problems than any gay person. (BTW, I'm a happily married hetero with a baby on the way).

You cannot be libertarian AND be ok with the government dictating one of the most private decisions a person can make, i.e. who to marry. Period.

I live in VA and think it is -in many respects- a great place to live. However, this amendment is shameful and bigotry in its purest form. I am voting against it. And, I am ashamed for anyone doesn't do the same.

Posted by: JS | October 18, 2006 11:48 AM

dc voter,

I agree that they are not "similarly situated individuals." One's an African American Republican and the other is a Caucasian Democrat.

So there should be no outcry when a racist comment is directed at an African American, but the world should stop turning when one is directed at a Caucasian?

You're getting yourself into a deeper hole as you keep rationalizing this injustice.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 11:54 AM

In answer to Fisher's question - Allen is going to lose. He has two weeks to say something stupid. Given his level of desparation, he is likely to. Even if he doesn't, the Webb forces will turn out who they need to and Allen's folks will stay home.

Posted by: Michael Bindner | October 18, 2006 12:05 PM

Honestly, I am not going to get into it here because there is another blog in today's Post devoted to it, so I am happy to discuss this more on that blog. You misread who I am referring to as not similarly situated. One is a Republic running for office. The other is a non-white college kid working on Webb's campaign. And if we really wanted to analyze this, the "injustice" inherent in a word like "Macaca," especially when accompanied with "welcome to the real world of Virginia," is grossly higher than (and must I repeat here that I find the word is inappropriate?) "slavishly," which is used in many different and non-racial contexts to talk about someone blindly supporting someone else. Granted, this is a heightened racial context, which is why I said the term was the wrong one to use, but it still cannot compare to Allen's words. But this is not the forum for this discussion; the Maryland blog is, and that is the only place I will continue to post anything on this out of respect for Fisher.

Posted by: dc voter | October 18, 2006 12:19 PM

I will vote YES on the Amendment only AFTER they Ban Divorce. If the "Haters" REALLY don't hate but are for traditional Families, then they would support Banning Divorce FIRST. Otherwise it's all hate and as such, I cannot support it.

My wife and I will proudly vote NO on this issue.

Posted by: Joe D. | October 18, 2006 1:12 PM

For the record, "slavishly" is not a racial epithet (from Merriam-Webster online):

Main Entry: slav·ish
Pronunciation: 'slA-vish sometimes 'sla-
Function: adjective
1 a : of or characteristic of a slave; especially : basely or abjectly servile b archaic : DESPICABLE, LOW
2 archaic : OPPRESSIVE, TYRANNICAL
3 : copying obsequiously or without originality : IMITATIVE
synonym see SUBSERVIENT
- slav·ish·ly adverb
- slav·ish·ness noun

Was it an unfortunate choice of words in the context of describing a black man? Yes. But look at the synonym--subserviant. What if someone described Steele as "subservient" to Bush? Would that be racist? Of course, most of you already know all this and are just trying to feed the spin machine.

Posted by: jw | October 18, 2006 1:16 PM

"You cannot be libertarian AND be ok with the government dictating one of the most private decisions a person can make, i.e. who to marry. Period"

So brothers should be able to marry sisters too? Just sayin'. I really want to know if you think it should be legal to marry a relative. Be careful with your answer because you already answered it above.

And if you say that is comparing apples and oranges then so does the interracial marriage comparison.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 1:40 PM

Seriously, how many siblings do you know who wish to marry? This is a serious issue. Don't gum it up by making ridiculous satements.

Posted by: Jen | October 18, 2006 1:47 PM

Single but united, the terms are heterosexual and homosexual. Saying them won't cause you any pain, I promise. Homogenous marriages are all the same, i.e. the Jones's marriage is just like the Smiths. That is not the same as a homosexual marriage.

As to how this amendment hurts unmarried, heterosexual couples, this is how it will hurt me as a woman in a heterosexual relationship. It will likely invalidate any power of attorney I give my boyfriend to authorize medical care. He won't be able to visit me in the hospital should I be incapacitated. I will be unable to authorize him to care for my child should I be unavailable. I have no default inheritance rights, even though I pay half the mortgage on our home. His family could claim half the home and force me out, not having put a dime into the home. It denies our employers the right to offer health insurance to whomever they want because the amendment has deemed that the perquisites of being married should not extend to anyone who isn't married. It does not say they should not be extended to homosexuals, even though that is just as wrong.

Everything you would deny to a gay couple, you deny me simply because I don't want to get married. The harm is I am denied fundamental protections because I don't believe what you do. The harm is I shouldn't have to jump through your hoops to get those protections. The denial is, in and of itself, harm to my civil liberties.

I should not be forced to marry to get these benefits. We've made the decision not to marry based on what is best for our family and our own values. I also believe that the government has absolutely no business whatsoever legislating with whom I can live my life and with whom I can share property, powers of attorney and parental rights, and from whom I can inherit property. I don't recognize the state's authority to authorize, legitimize or declare invalid my personal relationship solely because of a personal choice that is of no threat to anyone. I don't recognize your authority either.

It is not whining to demand the same rights as everyone else in the country. Were blacks whining when they demanded the right to vote and have their vote counted equally to those of white voters? Were they whining when they demanded to be allowed free and unfettered access to all governmental services? Were they whining when they demanded the right to go where ever they wanted and sit where ever they wanted?

The determination that homosexuality is right or wrong is a religious determination. It is based on the values of similarly minded individuals who derive that moral distinction from a religious text. Religion has no business being in our laws and our laws have no business being in religion. Last time I checked, that was in the US Constitution and even more explicit in the Virginia Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was very clear in his words.

"Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."--Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

Posted by: Single and denied | October 18, 2006 2:01 PM

Slavish is a verb that was used to describe Steele's support for all things Bush. It was a word that could have been used to describe many white Republicans as well. Macaca was a racial slur used to denigrate a young man of color. It's not the same thing. Get over it.

Posted by: Melt | October 18, 2006 2:15 PM

Make that "slavish" as adverb describing Steele's support of Bush. Same point.

Posted by: Melt | October 18, 2006 2:22 PM

I'll vote no. Most of the gay people I know are pretty cool and I don't care who they marry. Yeah, go gay people!

Posted by: Melt | October 18, 2006 2:32 PM

I have mixed feelings about this issue. I do think that we as a society do have a responsibility to make life easier for hetero couples to get and stay married because that has a positive effect on their children which helps everyone. Also don't gays currently have the ability to have authority over an ill mate's treatment at a hospital? But how do we square our denial of this request (not a right) with our libertarian beliefs? It seems to me like there is no really pressing reason to let gays marry nor is there any important reason to prevent it. Given that choice might as well let them do it because our core principle is liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The depth of our conviction to this important pricinple is only evident on issues like this. It sad how shallow that conviction is.

Posted by: Redneck | October 18, 2006 2:32 PM

JW, Melt--Your "look in the dictionary" stuff isn't even interesting. Look up macaca and it's a rhesus monkey.

The point is Hoyer chose the word slavish. He didn't choose any of its synonyms. If he didn't want to make a racist point, then he would have used one of these other words.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 2:36 PM

Redneck, it may not be a big deal to you but it is to me. And, no, gays don't have an automatic right to things like hospital visitation. You have to draft special paperwork AND carry it with you at all times. And even then many hospitals won't honor it. The only absolute way to guarantee hospital visitation rights is to be an immediate family member or legal spouse.

My partner and I have been together 18 years. We have every single sort of living will and such you can imagine (remember also that a lot of people can't afford such expensive paperwork). But I guarantee you that should he get sick his parents would try to bar me from his hospital room. Depending on where it happened, they may be successful. At a bare minimum it'd involve a nasty legal fight right when my partner would need me the most.

And, yes, it is a right. A human right. And it's basic human decency.

And there are 1000 other benefits that go along with marriage. Here is a list of some of them. http://www.buddybuddy.com/mar-list.html

Granted, some are archaic, but many are quite substantial.

Plus, marriage is a great stabilizing force. It keeps people together through the rough times. That value alone should be strong enough argument that it be extended to the millions of gay Americans that may want it.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 2:40 PM

We've been denying them privileges for years, the amendment just ensures that their privileges are not expanded any more than they are right now; it enshrines the status quo. The stuff about it affecting heterosexual couples is just a smokescreen.

And of course there is always the moving option.

Posted by: Stick | October 18, 2006 2:48 PM

Anon, why are you afraid to sign your post? I don't think you're going to be able to sell that "slavish" comment as racist, but keep trying. I think it was just a stupid choice of words, but I live in Virginia so it doesn't really matter. I'll be voting for Webb because the other guy is just too creepy.

Posted by: Melt | October 18, 2006 2:52 PM

Gays should be allowed to marry.

The reason is governmental not religious. Because of all the "rights" that married couples have by law, gays as legal citiens should be entitled to them.

Posted by: Creech | October 18, 2006 2:58 PM

Stick, I suppose blacks could have just moved from Virginia back in the 50s and 60s too, couldn't they? To suggest that the answer to hatred is to move instead of fight isn't really useful.

As for 'privileges', last time I checked marriage isn't a privilege. It's a fundamental human right.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 3:13 PM

Don't ever describe George Allen's devotion to GWB as slavish! You know of course that his people were slaves in Egypt way back when.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 3:18 PM

Hillman,

Where did you "check" and find that marriage is a "fundamental human right"?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 4:05 PM

Pipe: I would agree that it is basic human decency - especially given the excample you cited - but it is not a right. A right to me is one enumerated in our Bill of Rights. There are others but as a society we have agreed to those rights and it is those rights we gaurantee to our citizens and whihc we swear to defend. Marrige is not one of them.
I am voting NO but describing this as a right I think errodes that term because it can be applied to anything.

Posted by: Redneck | October 18, 2006 4:07 PM

Dear Hillman, I am tired of gays comparing blacks being discriminated against based on skin color, to the subject of gay marriage. If a white gay person doesn't acknowledge his or her sexuality, they can stay in the closet. A black person cannot hide their skin color. Now, you have illegal aliens comparing their situation to black native U.S. citizens. Please stop comparing gay rights to racial discrimination based on skin color. Let's remember, many white gays are racist and prejudice against black gays. On the issue of Gay Marriage, I don't have a problem with gays getting married, because I am not God, and only he can judge in the end.

Posted by: D.C. Black Resident | October 18, 2006 4:37 PM

Sexual monogamy is good for America. Less (sexually transmitted) disease, more care-giving, plus pooling resources limits poverty and enhances investment in our economy. What's not to like about this? Who cares about sexual preference or identity, monogamy works well for all (except the bored and disenchanted of course...but its good for society as a whole.)

Posted by: practical | October 18, 2006 5:25 PM

Where did I check to see that marriage is a fundamental human right?

I checked my conscience.

And the Supreme Court saying so also helps. Check out the 1967 Supreme Court decision forcing Virginia to allow interracial marriage. It specifically says marriage is a basic inalienable human right.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 6:03 PM

Are gay rights and black civil rights identical? No. But they are quite similar. Coretta Scott King used to sum up the comparisons quite beautifully. Feel free to do a Google search and find some of her statements on the matter.

The black and gay experiences in the US are different, but they are based on the same principles. If we aren't all equal, then none of us are equal. And they are based on fighting against hatred, ignorance,elitism, and political opportunism.

As for many white gays being prejudiced against blacks, that hasn't been my experience. And I'm willing to bet I know more white gay people (and black gay people) than you do. I'm sure there are isolated instances of this (just like in larger society), but it seems pretty rare to me. Also, it's pretty much irrelevant.

No, gays can't just go in the closet. First, a closeted existence in the internet age is really no longer possible. Second, being in the closet, especially as you get older, is unhealthy. It's a psychological mess, and is simply not good for you.

But, most importantly, why should gays have to hide just because others are meanspirited and nasty? The problem isn't me being gay. The problem is other people being abnormally fascinated with what goes on in my bedroom. Plus, throw in some old fashioned elitism and hatred.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 6:10 PM

My point Hillman, stop comparing your gayness to the experience of blacks in this country. I don't recall white gays being beating, denied public service and education, attacked by dogs, as blacks were during Jim Crowism. Yes, my first cousin is a black gay man, and he has told family members how difficult it is to be a black gay man, and how he has been discriminated against in white gay establishments. It's a known fact, in San Francisco, white bars in the Castro district discriminated against black gays and lesbians. Do a google search on this issue. I have read many of your comments, and when someone doesn't share your opinions, you become somewhat hostile. Mrs. King's own daughter Bernice didn't agree with her on, the support of gay marriage. Because If Mrs. King compared the Civil Rights movement to gays, then I disagree with her. Many illegal aliens demanding rights recently in the streets the U.S., compared their situation in this country illegally to the Civil Right's movement of the 60's. There are many white Democrats, Republicans, straight, and gay who don't like blacks. Many white Republicans in Maryland has been quoted as saying, they will not vote for Michael Steele, because he is black. As a black man, you can't tell me, many whites in America still do dislike blacks, and that's fine with me, because God will judge us all in the end.

Posted by: DC Black Resident | October 18, 2006 6:39 PM

I'm sure Matthew Shepard's parents would disagree with you about gays not being beaten.

Gay bashings go on every day. And discrimination against gays in the workplace and housing is quite common.

Incidentally, in most places blacks are protected legally against such discrimination. Gays often are not. That's not to say it still doesn't happen against blacks, but at least you have legal recourse. Gays often do not.

I can't speak for SF, but I can tell you that in my experience in DC I've never seen discrimination against blacks in the gay community. And, again, that would be irrelevant anyway. The fact that one type of discrimination may exist doesn't make another type less vile.

As for me being hostile, I'd disagree. I'll slam someone's argument, especially if it's based on hate. But I'd argue that those that support denying me basic rights have been far more hostile than me.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 7:51 PM

DC Black Resident: I'd like to go back to your statement that you don't think gays are mistreated.

I'd have to say that you are either completely naive or are willfully not looking at the facts.

Here's just one link showing violence against gays.

http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32353

And a lot of gay people don't report violence, either because they are in the closet or because they think the local police won't take it seriously (as they often don't).

I've never been the victim of violence because I'm gay (at least, not physical violence..... I'd argue that pervasive hatred and stupid laws like this one in Virginia are a form of violence all on their own), but I've been yelled at, cursed, etc. And in several instances I'm fairly certain I was about to be the victim until I made it very clear I was more than willing to fight back.

As for other forms of discrimination, that's quite common as well. I myself have been denied housing because I was gay, and I'm fairly certain I was fired at least once because I was gay.

No, gay people weren't denied service or education en masse like blacks were. But I guarantee you that on an individual basis it was quite common. And still is to this day (just like discrimination against blacks still exists, but is just more subtle).

In fact, discrimination against gays is one of the few forms of discrimination that is legal. You can't legally refuse to rent to a black man, or to give a black man a job. In many places in the US you can legally refuse to rent to a gay man, and you can legally refuse to give him a job. And it happens all the time.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 8:00 PM

DC Black Resident:

Your statement about how gays can avoid problems by just going back in the closet is troubling, the more I think about it. It's akin to me suggesting that light-skinned blacks try to pass as white to avoid discrimination. Or akin to me suggesting blacks stay in certain neighborhoods or urban areas where discrimination is less likely.

In short, it's offensive.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 8:03 PM

DC Black Resident:

I hate to beat a dead horse here, but since you are from DC, it's worth noting that the more prevalent racism in DC is black on white. I can't tell you the number of racist comments I've heard from black people in DC. And I've repeatedly seen examples of blacks treating black customers and such markedly better than they treat whites, Asians, etc.

And, of course, there is the racism and hatred of gays shown by many black churches in DC. I mean, protesting Be Bar's liquor license. Please. What was that if not outright racism and hatred toward gays?

So racism, discrimination, and hatred cuts all ways.

Posted by: Hillman | October 18, 2006 9:30 PM

Hillman,

What the Supreme Court said in the Virginia decision was that marriage is a civil right, not a human right.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2006 9:36 PM

Dear Hillman, I never said, gays have never been attacked or mistreated in society, but you can't compare being black with being gay. It's like apples and oranges. In reference to gay marriage, I am against legislation banning gay marriage, and I wouldn't support any legislation that would ban gay marriage. My point, I am tired of every group wanting to compare their cause with blacks. As for as fair skin blacks passing for white to avoid racism, yes it still happens today. I have family living in the south who passed for white. You see, black is seen as been inferior by most whites and white Latinos in this country. I have never heard the mayor to be of D.C. acknowledge the fact, he's a black man in a public forum. Many newspapers have identified him as mixed raced. Can you imagine what a black man who happens to be gay, experience in their lives? They have two strikes against them, being black and gay.

Posted by: DC Black Resident | October 18, 2006 9:45 PM

Since I have several friends that are black and gay, I don't have to imagine. I know. And each one of them will tell you that the discrimination they suffer for being gay is quite similar to what they suffer for being black. Both are based on hate, ignorance, and elitism.

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 7:52 AM

Anonymous, the exact quote from the Supreme Court was "Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival."

I take that to mean that it's pretty big deal. Civil right vs human right - a matter of semantics.

In fact, if anything, the civil right makes my argument stronger. The govt has no business limiting my civil right just because someone doesn't like who I fell in love with, absent a legitimate overwhelming societal interest.

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 7:56 AM

For the whiny defensive pro-Allenites--um, slavish is...wait for it...an actual word. In the dictionary. Yes, really! Look it up if you don't believe me! Just like niggardly! And neither word is an insult--they're both merely modifiers. Whereas macaca is, you guessed it, an insult, and not a word.

Game over.

"I don't recall white gays being beating, denied public service and education, attacked by dogs, as blacks were during Jim Crowism."

WRONG. Matthew Shepherd. All the guys Andrew Cunanan killed. Michael Sandy, last week in New York City. And look at that Fred Phelps kook who went to FUNERALS of gay people to cheer their deaths. Innumerable instances of gay-bashing, including right here in the District. Just because you "don't recall" it, doesn't mean it didn't happen--maybe you should read a newspaper.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2006 11:21 AM

Hillman,

What a guy! Even when you you're wrong it's "only a matter of semantics" and "it only strengthens my case." Is there a man in DC who's more full of himself than you?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2006 12:11 PM

Anonymous - If you are going to engage in personal attacks at least have the courage to sign your postings.

If you'd like to discuss the issue here in substance, let me know. I don't really have a desire to just engage in personal attacks.

Civil right versus human right - both are rights, period. In many ways it really is simply a semantic difference.

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 1:01 PM

Hillman,

A human right is one which is granted by virtue of being human. A civil right is one which is granted by virtue of citizenship. Semantic distinction? Hardly.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2006 2:32 PM

Ok. You win the semantics war.

On to a substantive debate - do you think gay Americans deserve equal rights as a matter of right, or are we second class citizens, deserving of nothing and we should be grateful that our swell straight benefactors are a gracious as they've been so far?

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 2:41 PM

But if you're going to engage in actual discussion, please sign your posts.

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 2:41 PM

Hillman, you come across as a bitter ANGRY gay white man. You can't compare your struggles as a gay white male to that of being black in America. Gays did not endure what blacks endured during slavery. I am sure some of the gay white slave Master's had their way with black male slaves. Your statements are an insult to all black people. I find many of you white gays to be just mean spirited and nasty, just like Councilman Catania.

Posted by: Greg In Ward 4 DC | October 19, 2006 3:35 PM

It is bloody well hate! It should be up to those who are being 'done to' to define the terms being used in the discussion. Conservative christians hate gay people. It's just that simple.

Posted by: Timothy | October 19, 2006 4:22 PM

No black person in America today was ever a slave. Unless the south had life extension technoloy that we were not previously aware of....


Posted by: Timothy | October 19, 2006 4:24 PM

Greg:

I'm not bitter but I am angry. Any sane person would be.

I never said gays had it as bad as blacks during slavery. What I said was that discrimination against blacks and gays today is quite similar.

As for your odd comment about gay white masters, I just can't really comment on that, as it's a bit odd to say the least.

And as for my statements being an insult to all black people, are you suggesting you speak for all black people? Because of the many that I know, I'm betting most of them have never designated you as their spokesperson.

And every single gay black person I've ever asked tell me that they feel the discrimations they face as a gay person are quite similar to the ones they face as a black person, with one substantial difference. It's illegal to discriminate against a black person. In many places it's quite legal to discriminate against gay people.

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 4:54 PM

Greg: Not all gay men are white.

And I'm curious - exactly how many gay people do you actually know well? You seem to be lumping us all together pretty well.

As for Councilmember Catania, I don't know the man (contrary to popular opinion, all gays don't know each other).

On a more serious note, I am sorry that you have some sort of problem with gay and/or white people. But you need to get past that and realize that everyone is an individual and should be judged as such.

So back on topic - do you support marriage rights for gays or not?

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 4:59 PM

No Hillman, my wife and I don't support gay marriage. Yes I know all white males are not gay, but looking at who's protesting in front of the media for gay rights and gay marriage, is mostly white faces. You see very few blacks protesting for gay marriage, because it's my understanding, gay marriage isn't a big issue to black gays. As black people, we have too many important issues to address in our community, and gay marriage isn't one of them.

Posted by: Greg In Ward 4 | October 19, 2006 5:48 PM

Also, AIDS is destroying the black community in this country. When it was thought to be a white gay illness, the government gave millions of dollars, but now that AIDS is in the black population in large numbers, your gay community is silent on this issue. Are you protesting for more funding in the black communities for people affected with AIDS? You want your cake and eat it too. I think, you are the bigot on here. I am so sick of hearing, I have black friends by you so call liberal white folks. Deep down, most of you hate blacks, and many use the N word like the man running for the Senate in Virginia. It's 2006, and very little is changed in this country on race relations. I am glad to see illegals coming into this country by the millions. Now, the white folks are running scared, because they will not be the majority in this country in the very near future.

Posted by: Greg In Ward 4 DC | October 19, 2006 5:58 PM

I do not live in Virginia or the DC area but I cannot help to think this amendment will certainly hamper economic development in the area. Progressive companies will not be able to recruit talent due to this draconian measure - I would not be suprised to see a drain of jobs from Virginia - you reap what you sow.

Posted by: Edward | October 19, 2006 6:10 PM

Greg: You don't even know me but you assume somehow that I hate blacks? Really? Based on what?

The gay community in DC has lobbied hard for additional AIDS funding for the black community. If you don't believe that, I'd suggest that you visit the Whitman Walker clinic or any of the other facilities in the city. The outreach to the black community is pretty thorough. Could there be more funding? Sure. There always can be.

And I beg to differ with your assessment that AIDS funding is and has been easy for gays. Far from it. Remember that during the Reagan years we couldn't even get people to say the disease existed, much less get funding. Gays, both black and white, fought hard for funding.

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 7:29 PM

Greg: You assume I'm racist yet you support making me a second class citizen. And you don't see the sad irony in that?

Please tell me in detail why you think I don't deserve the same marriage rights that you enjoy.

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 7:30 PM

Greg: You have stated that I am a bigot. Please provide some substantiation for that charge, as it's a pretty serious accusation, even in the online world.

Back to the AIDS issue - gay people have pushed very, very hard to include funding and awareness for the black community. Ironically, one of the biggest obstacles has been homophobia and ignorance in the black community, in particular in the churches. But that hasn't stopped gay people from trying.

I know people in the AIDS prevention business. And for you to suggest that they somehow don't care about blacks is obscene and absolutely factually false.

So let's recap. Gays struggle to try to help the straight (and gay) black populace with the AIDS epidemic (and it is still an epidemic). Yet you think we should remain second class citizens. Doesn't really seem fair, does it?

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 7:34 PM

Hillman,

You give the impression that you spend all your time hanging with other homosexuals and talking about how badly you're victimized by society. Your entire world turns on gay issues. You reinforce each other's paranoia, heterophobia, anger, and sense of being "second class citizens." Have you ever thought you might need to get out more?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2006 9:27 PM

Anonymous: Please sign your postings.

Who I socialize with is irrelevant. But since you ask, I've always been careful to avoid just hanging out with other gay people, in large part because I'd find that boring.

As for my entire world turning on gay issues, online blogging isn't my entire world. The issue today is gay marriage. So, yes, all my posts are on that topic.

Let's see - I'm denied a basic fundamental human right that the rest of you take for granted. My 'kind' are denigrated, often beaten, sometimes killed. We're denied jobs, housing, etc.

Heterophobia. That's a good one. Funny, I don't see many gay people beating up straights for their straightness. And I don't see many gays denying straights housing, employment, etc.

And I have yet to see a single gay person deny a straight person a marriage license. Have you?

So please tell me ,specifically, why you think we aren't entitled to marriage and the 1000 plus benefits that you take for granted?

Posted by: Hillman | October 19, 2006 9:52 PM

I'm waiting for someone to look Hillman in the eye and answer him honestly. I see little more that cowardly attacks and pathetic attempts to avoid addressing the salient issues he is beating you all on your heads with: Explain how you justify denying a particular group of citizens the very rights you reserve for yourselves, and if you're willing and able to that, then stand up and tell the rest of us what you think Virginia's official position on gays *should* be? As a gay Oregonian I know from discrimination, but what's being contemplated in the state that claims to be "for lovers" is beyond belief. That this measure is (apparently) widely expected to become law is even more unbelievable.

How bad do things have to become before they get better?

Posted by: Iyou | October 20, 2006 2:35 AM

Unfortunately Hillman, things will get far worse before they get better. As long as extremists on both sides remain in power, things will remain worse.

Frankly, I'm angry at this amendment too. In their rush to legislate their narrow view of religious morality, zealous Christians have managed to legislate away any legal protections my boyfriend and I have, moreso me than him because he is the more financially well off partner. It infuriates the two of us that in order to prevent me from getting screwed should there be a catastrophe, we might have to do something that is not something we want to do. It infuriates me that I have to get the state's approval to have any protections whatsoever in my relationship.

The whole spiel about marriage being there to protect the children is a load of crap too. If marriage was so effective at ensuring parents don't abandon their children, deadbeat parents wouldn't be as big a problem as they are today. Fathers and mothers wouldn't just walk out on their spouses and their families. It wouldn't be necessary to have entire government agencies dedicated to tracking down deadbeat parents. Judges wouldn't have to put it into court orders that a parent MUST contact their child. We wouldn't need websites like this: http://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/wanted.html

Marriage is a shell of what the extreme right say they are defending. Heterosexual marriages succeed less than half the time. People get married and divorced like they change underwear. Heterosexuals are the only threat to marriage right now since they are the only ones getting married. Marriage is treated as though it were a disposable outfit you can try on and toss if things get a bit dicey. No work, no effort, no thought goes into it and a divorce is too easy to get.

I'd have more respect for zealous Christians if they just said they believe it is a sin and let it go at that. Instead, they hang their hats on a strawman argument that just can't be sustained.

Posted by: single but denied | October 20, 2006 7:02 AM

Single:

You raise several valid points. A cynic would say if they truly wanted to protect marriage they'd ban straight people from marrying. They seem to by and large have made a mess of it so far.

I too would have more respect for overly zealous Christians if they'd just be honest and say they don't like gay people or they think it's a sin or whatnot. But they need to remember that not everyone thinks so. My church teaches that it is not. And more importantly they need to remember that public policy based on what is a sin and what is not is not how America was set up. If it were, we'd have some vastly different laws, including laws against gluttony, lust, speaking rudely to your parents, etc.

And I ask people how they think gay Americans should be treated because it's a question that gets to the heart of the issue. If we aren't full citizens, what are we? And why stop at denying us marriage? Why not deny us drivers licenses, business licenses, the ability to play in public parks, live in certain areas, etc? I mean, if we're not citizens, we're not citizens.

Posted by: Hillman | October 20, 2006 7:36 AM

Lyou - yes, I'm waiting for that same thing.

And Virginia's state slogan is looking a bit pathetic and exclusionary these days.

Posted by: Hillman | October 20, 2006 7:37 AM

For the person upthread who asked about the Supreme Court case, the name of the case was Loving v. Virginia. How ironic that the couple's last name was Loving, right?

To the other person who asked upthread why gays do not just move, let me remind you that this is exactly what happened to the Lovings once the local sheriff learned that they had married. They literally were run out of the state and had to move to the District of Columbia (where interracial marriage was already legal) while their case was pending. Both had been born and raised in Virginia, and their families all lived in Virginia. Think about if you were forced to leave your families and the only home you had ever know because a law was dictating to you who you could love and who you could not.

Don't tell me this is not a civil rights issue.

I am a straight woman with children. I will emphatically vote NO.

Posted by: Red State Blues | October 20, 2006 1:32 PM

Red State Blues

The law didn't "dictate who you could love." It dictated who you could marry. Do you not know the difference between love and marriage?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 20, 2006 4:30 PM

Anonymous - again, please sign your postings. It's sneaky not to.

Posted by: Hillman | October 20, 2006 7:25 PM

So no one is able to say what justifies me and millions of other taxpaying Americans being treated as second class citizens?

In the absence of a legitimate reason and in the face of years of experience, I have to assume hate, elitism, and ignorance are the reasons.

Posted by: Hillman | October 20, 2006 10:46 PM

Hillman,

Ooh, you have such a negative outlook, always assuming the worst about everyone but yourself. Why not just assume it's you? Your bad luck? Or bad attitude? Or bad breath?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2006 3:19 PM

Anonymous: again, please sign your postings. At this point it's just juvenile and silly for you not to.

So my being denied thousands of benefits that straights get is ''bad luck'? That's, well, stupid. In reality, it's the result of a concerted effort by hate-filled elitist people, manipulating the ignorant.

As for 'bad breath', what, are you 13?

If you'd like to have an adult discussion, by all means start discussing. Otherwise, this is getting to be silly.

Posted by: Hillman | October 21, 2006 3:45 PM

Hillman: I believe your arguments to be sound logically and defensible - and that is why I believe progress will ensue (hopefully in short order).

This goal of obtaining full, equal and fair marriage rights for the rest of the US is finally close; thanks to vocal supporters such as yourself and sound rationale that you are using.

I can tell you are angry. Reading about your situation makes me angry. I think if most people could simply stop and pause for a second to reflect on life from a different angle, such as yours, many 'ahas!' would be realized.

My grandmother - paranoid and stereotypical of many types of people NOT within her world and color - has finally realized that acceptance and understanding is much healthier and true to herself than uncomfortable ignorance and the fleeting feeling of some etherial superiority... as she has lived most of her life. She realizes she has been wrong and had the courage to challenge her convictions.

I see it evolving in her, and it is good. And good is what will prevail I have to believe. It's due time for straight Americans to wake up and accept all people. For goodness sake, it's what our Constitution was founded on!

I really hope rights are passed soon for you and your partner so that you have more peace and have an EQUAL life (and civil/human rights) as us straight Americans currently enjoy.

I also hope that the marriage amendment is NOT passed. How sad the US is still so barbaric in law, uneducated and unenlightened.

Posted by: KaiserSose | October 21, 2006 8:18 PM

I'm new to your thread, but have a few thoughts to share. Background: Iconoclast -Christian with significant Libertarian tendencies. I've been forced into actively supporting the Marriage Amendment by the intolerant acts of some of the "gay" community. My faith teaches me that some things are good for me, some are permissible, and some are forbidden. I try to instill these teachings as values to my children.

From a Religious point of View: Accept it as divine truth or not, the Bible does clearly and unequivocally state that sexual activity is reserved for marriage. It also specifically proscribes homosexual activity. (To those who want to debate the veracity of the above statement regarding what the Bible says, I ask you to include in your reply an answer to this question - if not referring to sexual activity previously criticized in the Bible e.g. adultery, sex outside of marriage (fornication) and homosexual sex, what sexual activity is the Bible referring to when it uses the term "sexual immorality"?)

So, for my personal life as a Christian, I accept these proscriptions on my lifestyle choices. I do believe, that like all Biblical guidance, these limitations are given by God for my betterment and protection. I also understand that many people don't share my faith. That is their choice.

I've been forced into supporting the Marriage Amendment by other's intolerance of my faith. My children may not freely express opinions that reflect their Biblical values concerning sexuality in the public schools anymore. It's labeled as "hate speech" and subject to punishment. And this in spite of the current Code of Virginia's prohibition of same-sex marriages (20-45.2), civil unions (20-45.3), fornication (18.2-344), and various types of homosexual activity included in the quaintly titled "Crimes against Nature" section (18.2-361). Thus we have the absurdity that in school, my children cannot verbally support the State's current public policy because of the pressure that has been brought to bear on the public school system by special interest groups devoted to redefining social morality away from the Judo-Christian status quo. This pressure would intensify if Virginia were forced, via some judicial ruling, to accept/recognize same-sex marriages and civil unions. Tolerance i.e. nobody kicking in your bedroom door to see what's going on at night, is one thing. It exists now. Forcing societal acceptance is what many of those who are opposing the Marriage Amendment are attempting to accomplish.

Those special interest groups are entitled to their attempt to change the laws and the status quo. But equally, I am entitled to push back to protect my free expression of my religious beliefs and values and to be able to convey those values to my children, without either my children or myself being penalized by agents of the state. Neither side's political acts, by definition, is hateful. Rather, what you have is the playing out of heart-felt beliefs, both political, and some religious. Personally, I believe my political right to freedom of religion, actually found in the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, trumps the claimed political "right" to absolute sexual freedom and privacy logically derived, I suppose, from the penumbras and emanations invented by Justice Douglas in his Griswold v. Connecticut decision (381 U.S. 479) and the subsequent cases based on Griswold. And so I will unabashedly take action to protect my rights and those of my children, though prayerfully with malice towards none and charity towards all.

From a Secular point of view: Our society has multiple proscriptions in state criminal codes on specific types of sexual activity- prostitution; bigamy/polygamy/polyandry, incest, and pedophilia quickly come to mind. Until very recently, society almost unanimously endorsed laws against any sexual activity outside of marriage. There is no longer unanimity in regards to homosexual and unmarried heterosexual intimacy. So, we as a society will either return to the premise that there are limits to sexual freedom, or else all laws proscribing sexual activity, except perhaps those concerning pedophilia, will eventually be found to be intrinsically invalid. Logically, there is no third way. The social implications of invalidating all these laws will be significant. But as it is late, perhaps I'll address this side of the question some other time. But some good reading on the impact same sex marriage has had on marriage can be found at the following URL http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/660zypwj.asp WARNING- it's a long article.

Posted by: Virginian | October 21, 2006 11:38 PM

Kaiser: Thank you for your thoughtful post. Your experience is being shared by a lot of other Americans, and that is a good thing.

Posted by: Hillman | October 22, 2006 3:24 PM

Virginian:

Homosexuals are intolerant of you? You must be joking.

I don't see homosexuals trying to take away your ability to marry the one you love. I don't see homosexuals bashing and killing straight people. I don't see homosexuals denying straights housing and jobs, or persecuting their kids.

Your right to practice your religion is in NO way being infringed upon. Simply put, your right to practice your religion does not include your right to decide who I get to marry. Frankly, it's none of your business, religious or otherwise.

Suppose I decided my religion said you couldn't marry your partner because he/she was too short, too good-looking for you, the 'wrong' race, etc. Why would I have a right to impose my decision on you? I wouldn't. And you don't have the same right to impose that decision on me.

The article you posted a link to shows absonlutely no cause and effect relationship between same sex marriage and the dissolution of straight marriage. In fact, there is no such relationship.

Also, the Virginia code making same sex physical relations against the law are no longer valid, since the US Supreme Court ruled that such stupid laws are in fact contrary to the US Constitution. Just like the Supreme Court ruled against Virginia law when Virginia wouldn't let blacks and whites marry.

And, yes, one side of this debate is engaging in hate and elitism. And it's not the gay side. It's yours.

As for what your kids can and can't do in school.... first, how about teaching your kids to mind their own business? Is it really so horrible that they can't go around spouting hateful rhetoric at school? That's hardly a violation of your religious rights.

By that definition, is your religious rights being violated if your kids aren't allowed to pick on black kids or women at school?

I'd say your profession of Libertarian values is wishful thinking on your part, at least in this instance.

Posted by: Hillman | October 22, 2006 3:36 PM

Virginian:

You quote the Bible extensively in your condemnation of gay marriage.

To be consistent you need to then insist on Biblical marriage. Like no divorce. Divorce is prohibited in the Bible, repeatedly. By Christ Himself. And polygamy was ok in the Bible (in fact, Jacob married sisters, one which was forced upon him in a trick)..... care to justify that practice today? And let's not forget that girls in particular were married off VERY young in the Bible. And often against their will. And often as part of a property trade, as chattel.

So you need to be consistent. If you are going to use the Bible to condemn gay marriage, you need to go ahead and use the Bible for the basis for all marriage.

So I look forward to your explanation of why divorce should be legal, why polygamy with sisters should be legal, and why marrying off little girls against their will should be legal.

Posted by: Hillman | October 22, 2006 3:41 PM

Hillman,

Do you ever hear anything that didn't come out of your own mouth, or wherever that noise you're making is coming from? Your own hate filled paranoia exactly confirms the points Virginian is making.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2006 3:47 PM

Oh, Anonymous.

Not courageous enough to sign your posts, even now?

Point out even one instance of me being hateful (and, no, me calling others intolerance of gay people hate is not hate on my part). Of course, it'd have more legitimacy if you'd actually sign your posts, or, better yet, actually engage in substantive dialog rather than pointless attacks on me personally.

Do you have a substantive post to make? If so, please make it.

Am I angry? You bet. You would be too if I was trying to deny you basic citizenship and human dignity.

Posted by: Hillman | October 22, 2006 4:01 PM

And it's not paranoia if people really are out there trying to make your life more difficult for their own amusement and as a way of feeling superior to you (and, of course, for their own cheap political purposes).

Posted by: Hillman | October 22, 2006 4:03 PM

Hillman,

No, I don't have a substantive point. I have an open mind on this topic. On balance, you have the stronger side of the argument. I would rather argue your side than the other side. But you put it so badly because of your paranoia and heterophobia. You're offensive and off-putting, and probably deliberately so.

When you run a blog, then you can decide how people sign their posts. This is the Post's blogs and they welcome anonymous posts.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2006 5:03 PM

Virginian:

You haven't been 'forced' into anything by gay people.

What ever happened to Christ's repeated admonitions to turn the other cheek? Even if gay people had somehow horribly mistreated you (which they haven't), then you'd still be commanded by Christ to turn the other cheek.

I don't see you doing that here. Going to the polls and actively making life more difficult for gay people - making it harder for them in their old age, making it harder for them to get by in an increasingly expensive world, making it harder for them to see each other in the hospital, making it harder for them to have a bit of peace of mind - is definitely not turning the other cheek.

Posted by: Hillman | October 22, 2006 5:06 PM

Anonymous: The Post does not welcome unsigned entries. They specifically forbid it. Just look at the rules section posted right below entries.

So you have no substantive post to add. So your sole purpose is to add snarky commentary on a personal attack level? That doesn't really do anyone much good.

As for 'heterophobia', that's laughable. Again, point out even ONE example of my supposed heterophobia. After all, you've made the charge with no grounds to do so. So pony up and prove it.

Posted by: Hillman | October 22, 2006 5:35 PM

Hillman, why do you always have to use blacks in your examples? Your comments, By that definition, is your religious rights being violated if your kids aren't allowed to pick on black kids or women at school? Blacks marrying whites. I haven't heard you once compare Salvadorans, Mexicans, and other Latino groups to the gay cause. As a black person, I am tired of you comparing being black to being gay. You are obsessed with being gay. You come across as a very bitter lonely gay white male. Give it a rest. There's more to life than just being gay. As a straight person, I don't wear my being straight written on my chest. You have made more post on here than any other person. Let others make comments. This subject isn't about you.

Posted by: Mike A D.C. Resident | October 22, 2006 7:10 PM

For the record Hillman, I don't support Virginia banning gay marriage. If gays want to get married, then they should be allowed to get married, and be miserable like many heterosexuals. Remember, the divorce rate in the United States is very high. It's hard for two people to live together regardless of their sexual orientation.

Posted by: Mike A D.C. Resident | October 22, 2006 7:16 PM

Mike:

I post a lot on this subject because it's important to me. If you aren't interested in my posts, you are always free to just not read them.

But actually I'm not the one that is obsessed with my sexuality. It's other people that make it an issue. I'd be more than happy to never give it another political thought, ever. But it's other people that insist on treating gays as different and constantly giving us grief in one form or another. I'd argue that it is those people that are abnormally obsessed with gay people.

I've never compared being gay with being black. They are quite obviously different experiences.

But the civil rights movement and the gay movement have striking similarities.

As for the comparison to the civil rights movements, I've covered this in depth in this forum already, but I'll repeat it again. I compare the movement for basic equality for gays to the 1960s civil rights movement because there are striking similarities between the two, both in terms of blacks and gays both being treated legally as second class citizens, and in terms of the politics involved. The 1960s civil rights struggle happened to be primarily concerned with blacks, and to a less obvious degree with women. That's why I compare the two movements.

It just happens to be that the civil rights movement involved blacks, not the other groups you mention. So mentioning them in this context wouldn't really make much sense.

And the vitriol and hatred that certain people aim at blacks they also aim at gays. Yes, you see some of that aimed at other ethnic groups as well, but usually not with the same intensity as it is aimed at blacks.

And basic questions of whether or not we as a nation are going to treat each other as equals is most clearly compared to the black civil rights experience. At one point in our history it was both legally and socially acceptable to denigrate blacks and to treat them as second class citizens. That is no longer acceptable legally and is no longer tolerated in most but not all social circles. Clearly the gay rights struggle is essentially where the black civil rights struggle was years ago. It is still legally acceptable to treat gays as second class citizens, just as it was legal to treat blacks as second class citizens. The difference is of course that the treatment of blacks took different forms. But the base point remains - both groups have been treated as second class citizens, and in both instances the rationale given for such treatment are unsupportable (and usually the rationale given for both is the same..... remember that much of the hatred toward blacks was phrased in religious terms, especially interracial marriage).

So the comparisons are quite valid.

I compare gay marriage to interracial marriage because again there are obvious parallels. In the US the primary target of interracial marriage laws were marriages between blacks and whites, and the landmark Supreme Court case on the subject was between black and white. It was mostly a black and white thing, with a few exceptions.

The last reason is simply ease of illustration. Most people are familiar with the civil rights movement and can relate to the fact that how American law treats blacks has changed dramatically, and even the most dense person can now see that second-class treatment of blacks that was once justified was not justifiable. So it's just an easy example to show of how laws change and how America is better because of it.

So, again, the comparison makes sense.

Posted by: Hillman | October 22, 2006 8:57 PM

Mike:

As for me 'giving it a rest', would you 'give it a rest' if someone was denying you the right to marry?

As for me being bitter and lonely, even if that were the case would that make my argument any less valid?

And I'd remind you that you are seeing only one very narrow aspect of me - an online blog on a subject I obviously have a vested interest in. It's a bit silly to assume that my life is simply what you've seen on this blog.

And I'll ask my partner of 18 years if I'm lonely and bitter. Chances are he'll say no.

Posted by: Hillman | October 22, 2006 9:01 PM

Hillman, why do you only compare blacks with gays? What about Salvadorans, Mexicans, and other Latinos? Were these groups of people considered second class citizens, or are Latinos considered white? Civil Rights based on skin color is different than gay rights. I am sure, many white gay men living in the closet like Mark Foley were racist against blacks in the 50's and 60's. How do you know, if there aren't any gay white racists in the KKK? If you have a partner, you must be bored, because you spend too much time on the Washington Post Blogs. I have seen your name on many post. Do you have a social life?

Posted by: Mike In D.C. | October 22, 2006 11:15 PM

Another thought Hillman, interracial marriage isn't only black and white. You have more Latinos marrying whites, or Asians marrying whites. Why do you and other gay people want to compare your cause with blacks? Use some other ethnic group to compare your cause with. Latinos are taking over this country with the increase of illegal immigration, and many whites are running scared. Do you worry about illegal immigration as much as your worry about getting married? I deal with racism everyday, but I don't sit around talking about it, because I would go insane. Why aren't white gays as inclusive of black gays in D.C.? My cousin is a black 62 year old Lesbian, and she has talked about how racist and separate the gay community is in D.C. The gay community need to clean up their act and address racism within it's community. I have seen very few black lesbians and gays protesting for gay marriage. Is this a white gay cause?

Posted by: Mike In D.C. | October 22, 2006 11:29 PM

Hillman,

If the Post didn't welcome anonymous posts then the software would prevent them.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 23, 2006 7:06 AM

Virginian, So because people are intolerant of your religion, it is okay to legislate bigotry and hatred into law? Didn't you ever learn in Sunday school that two wrongs don't make a right. I agree that the backlash against Christianity is out of hand and is in part the cause of the rightwing nuts gettingelected, but that is no excuse for discrimination. Your, and my, religion has NO business being passed into law. You were not "forced" into supporting this abyssmal amendment anymore than you were forced into posting here. You support it because you want to do so. You support it because it makes you feel safe in your own little world. You support it because it would legitimize your prejudices.

I'm a Southern Baptist and it annoys me to no end when I'm called to school to pick up my daughter's crucifix because she's not allowed to wear it to school. Someone complained. I did too. I also threatened to file a discrimination complaint. Neither of us is taking our crucifixes off just because some oversensitive wuss is offended. They can freaking close their eyes if they don't like it.

My feelings on that don't justify stripping people of their rights though. Because some idiot doesn't like my religion doesn't mean that I can force my views down their throat via the legislature.

This amendment goes far beyond just banning gay marriage. It renders any outside of marriage agreements to share property, parental rights, powers of attorney and basic rights null. My boyfriend and I will be denied all those things you are so happy to deny gays, and all because I refuse to submit to the state the right of interference in our relationship. We might have a religious marriage, but we'll never have state-recognized marriage. I shouldn't be penalized for that because of your homophobic views.

Mike, blacks are most commonly referred to because the Civil Rights Movement was almost entirely a black movement. The numbers of hispanics and asians in the country at that time were extremely low and as political forces, they were moot at that time. References to that are historical references, not racial ones.

As for how racist the gay community is in DC, that isn't really relevant to a Virginia amendment, is it? Sounds like a DC problem to me.

Oh, and while were at it, I'll be happy to work outside the district and take all that tax money I pay into the district with me. The taxes on food and items in this place are absolutely ridiculous. when I'm gone and so are all those other commuters are too, you'll be wishing we were back spending money and propping up your lousy schools and "racist gay" communities.

Posted by: Single and denied | October 23, 2006 7:16 AM

Anonymous, read the Post's coment policy. You might learn something.

"Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed."

Posted by: Single and denied | October 23, 2006 7:17 AM

Shoot... That should be comment policy. I hate it when I miss typos.

Posted by: Single and denied | October 23, 2006 7:18 AM

Mike: I answered these questions about why I didn't use Latinos as comparisons in great detail in my previous post.

My views on immigration are irrelevant to this discussion.

As for racism in the gay community, even if it does exist it's irrelevant to this discussion.

Inclusion in the gay community - again, I've answered this in detail in previous posts.

You don't see as many black gays and lesbians protesting in large part because black society is not accepting of gays. A lot more black gays are in the closet because many in their community, especially churches, are not welcoming. So if you are in the closet of course you won't be leading the gay fight.

I know for a fact that the powers that be in the DC gay community have repeatedly tried to reach out to the black gay community to have more black representation in gay organizations and such.

As for gays being inclusive of blacks socially, I'm willing to bet I know many more gay people in DC than you do, and I'm fairly sure I've socialized in gay circles a lot more than you. I've never noticed a problem, as the many races in DC mix fairly well. I'm sure there are isolated instances of racism, just as there is in larger society (and just as often this racism is against whites, by blacks). The only separation I see in DC is between gays and lesbians - for some reason the two don't socialize much together.

In fact, every concern you have raised is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

But your repeated focus on this issue does highlight a sad fact. Quite a few in the black community are not accepting of gays. Even your own posts show a certain mistrust and lack of acceptance, with no valid grounds. It's sad, really. What you don't seem to realize is that the same folks that hate us gay people often hate you as well. Gay people are not your enemy. Hatred, stupidity, and political opportunism are.

Posted by: Hillman | October 23, 2006 7:21 AM

Single:

You raise some valid and interesting points.

As for your crucifix experience - that sounds a lot like some idiot overzealous school admin weenie that doesn't know his butt from a hole in the ground. You were right to object. I'd be surprised, though, if this was actual school policy. If it is, it's ridiculous and should be changed immediately.

I'm betting you and I probably don't have that much in common. That's why I really enjoy it when people from your perspective are supportive of basic equality. It reminds me once again that there are a lot of good, decent people in the Christian community.

Posted by: Hillman | October 23, 2006 7:44 AM

Mike:

One more comment on racism in the gay community.

I'm not disputing your lesbian relative's account. I'm just saying that my experience has not been the same as hers.

And there really isn't one monolithic gay culture in DC. We don't all know each other, we don't all go to the same clubs, etc. There are many gay establishments in DC that I've never been to. And will never go to.

Many gay people in DC never go to bars or gay hotspots. Many only participate in social clubs, like softball leagues, bowling teams, etc. It's been my experience that these clubs are quite inclusive. Is it always that way? I don't know.

But I can tell you specifically that the gay rights movement has tried very hard to be inclusive, especially in recent years.

Posted by: Hillman | October 23, 2006 7:53 AM

Single and denied,

Thanks to you and Hillman for directing me to the statement at the bottom of the page -- "entries that are unsigned will be removed."

I'd actually already seen it, but the software allows anonymous comments (try it sometime) and I've never seen any of them removed. For that matter, personal attacks, etc. are not removed. Makes you wonder what their policy is, doesn't it?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 23, 2006 7:54 AM

No, it doesn't make me wonder what the policy is. The policy is clear. The fact that you've chosen to ignore it doesn't change that. The reality is the WP doesn't have the staff to constantly monitor for childish behavior like refusing to sign a post. The assume (incorrectly) that we'll all be adults and actually follow their rules.

Posted by: Hillman | October 23, 2006 8:56 AM

Single, Hillman,

If you click through to the full rules, it doesn't say anything about signing your posts. At least, I couldn't find it.

But, what difference does it make whether the post is signed with some frivolous name like "single and denied" or not signed at all?

What's wrong with anonymous? I personally feel that anonymous works fine for me. Why do I have to change my "nom de cyberplume" to please you two? I don't demand that you two change yours.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 23, 2006 9:04 AM

To Single and Denied, who cares whether or not you come to D.C. Your racist comments about our school system, because it's mostly black, shows your true colors. As far as the gay community, the white gay community across this country is racist, and it's not inclusive of blacks. A good example was a gay club in San Francisco that denied blacks, and the Human Rights Office there found this club to be guilty of the charges. As a black person, I get tired of gays, Latinos, and others wanting to compare their struggles with what blacks endured in this country. Yes, blacks are hated by most ethnic groups in this country. Hispanics and others have been taught, being white makes you right. Being white in America gives you privileges. Hillman, why is it in mostly gay oriented magazines, all you faces on the covers are white blond blue eyed men. There were no black characters in Queer As Folk. You would think, black people are invisible in the gay community, because some white gays still have that racist attitude towards blacks. I am not saying you have these feelings Hillman. I think, you are an exception, but many white gays in Virginia are racist too. I have always thought of the state of Virginia as being racist and redneck. Mark Foley is gay and a Conservative Republican. I am sure he voted against policies that affected black people in this country. At least, I know where a member of the KKK stand on the issue of racism, not like many of you undercover or down low racist.

Posted by: Mike In DC | October 23, 2006 9:25 AM

We sign our posts because that way we have to stand behind what we've posted. Several of your posts have been pretty much low-level personal attacks. If you sign the post then you have to stand behind them, and you have a track record people can refer to to get a better sense of what your posting history is.

And the WP posting policy is quite clear. Sign your posts.

Posted by: Hillman | October 23, 2006 9:48 AM

Mike:

I'll say it point blank. The DC school system sucks. Period.

That is not a racist statement. It's a fact.

Single made no racist comments.

As for gay fictional characters being white, that's hardly a sign of racism. It's a sign of mass marketing.

And, incidentally, have you never seen Noahs Arc, on LOGO? It's an entire TV show of JUST black gay characters. Are they being racist because all their characters are black? LOGO channel quite frequently has news and specials about gay blacks.

As for gay magazines, I beg to differ. The Metro Weekly, DC's main weekly, often has blacks on the cover, and often features articles and information about black events.

The Washington Blade does the same.

If you are referring to gay porn magazines having white models, why should you care? First, you are straight. Second, magazines are in the business of making money. If young twinkie white models sell magazines, that's what they'll put on the cover.

And I can tell you point blank that the gay porn world has TONS of black models. Tons. There are entire magazines and websites devoted to black models.

And if that's your 'proof' of racism, I'd suggest that your proof isn't really very damning.

Queer as Folk was hardly a slice of typical gay life for anyone. Older gays were not represented, for instance. A lot of people in the gay community didn't like that show, in large part because it wasn't a very accurate portrayal of gay life, particularly the last couple of seasons.

Yes, I'm aware of Badlands, the SF bar that apparently had an anti-black policy. I wasn't there, so I can't speak to the validity of that. But even if it were true (as it appears to be), that's ONE gay bar. Out of, what, 1000 in the country? Hardly a pattern.

Once again, I'd say I'm in a much better position to judge how the races get along in at least some gay circles in DC than you are.

And, again, there is no one gay community. So to say the 'gay community' is racist is not really factual. In fact, it's misleading at best.

Posted by: Hillman | October 23, 2006 9:59 AM

Mike, you know I'm not black how? You're sitting behind me perhaps? Oh wait, no, that would be my co-worker with whom I've had numerous discussions on this and he's much more open-minded than you.

It is not racist to say that DC schools are lousy, anymore than it is racist to say that the education system in this country as a whole is circling the drain. DC schools aren't lousy because they are primarily black. They are lousy because they are grossly mismanaged and I've no idea what the racial make up of the administration is. Day after day, the Washington papers are filled with stories about the low matriculation rate of DC students, the high drop out rate of DC students and the ridiculously low college attendance and completion rates of DC students. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out DC schools are pits of educational despair.

Not being gay, I'm not included in the inner circle of the gay community, though my other lifestyle choices put me in fairly close proximity to it. I've not noticed any overtly racist tendencies of the gay community, but again, I'm not in their inner circle. Publicly, they are quite inclusive.

Mark Foley is irrelevant. One, he's from Florida. Two, his real crimes are against children while he served as chairman of the missing and exploited children committee in the House. Three, he's insulting the gay community by using being gay as a justification for his behavior. He's a sexual predator.

The simple fact is discrimination by a few does not justify or make legitmate institutional discrimination. I'm sure there are some racist gays around. I'm also sure there are non-racists who are homophobic. There are people who are intolerant of my choice to reside with my boyfriend without being married. There are also people who just hate for hate's sake. None of those make this amendment right.

Neither do your close-minded, ad hominem attacks.

Posted by: Single and denied | October 23, 2006 11:30 AM

Dear Single and Denied, what is the definition of HOMINEM? I don't see this word in the dictionary. Once again, when someone doesn't agree with a person, that person get's attacked. In reference to the D.C. Public School System, there are many schools in Virginia and in this country that's in terrible condition. In some states, having an affair with a 16 year old is legal, therefore I don't know if Mark Foley is a predator, but he's definitely a homosexual. Many men and women, straight or gay, have had relationships with people under 18. I know you are not black, because of some of you comments. Where were you educated? Was the school system superior. As I stated, being white in this country gives you certain priviledges, regardless if you are straight or gay. Try being a black man for a day in America. Not even mixed race individuals want like Barak Obama, the D.C. mayor to be, and Mr. Brown in Maryland running for Lt. Governor want to be considered black. The political correct term is mixed raced, because all have 3 have white mothers. Color and race still matters in America.

Posted by: Mike In D.C. | October 23, 2006 1:37 PM

Mike, I am a educated black man. I understand where you are coming from. Being a black man in America is totally different from being gay. I guess, black gay men have the burden of being both black and gay in America. I support Civil Unions between gays, but I don't support gay marriage. I wouldn't support changing the Constitution on banning gay marriage. Have a nice day!

Posted by: James In Ward 7 Southeast D.C. | October 23, 2006 1:42 PM

James: Why don't you support gay marriage? Would you think it fair if marriage were denied to others, like perhaps you?

Posted by: Hillman | October 23, 2006 3:41 PM

Mike, no, you don't know I'm white. Prove it by my comments. Really, prove it. I want absolute, concrete proof that I am white based solely on the words I've typed here.

I don't disagree that being black is still a disadvantage, but you argue that because it is still a disadvantage, it is acceptable to discriminate against other groups. I say it isn't. Just because you have encountered some gays you say are racist does not in anyway justify legislating discrimination into the Constitution. Really, it is far worse coming from someone who knows what discrimination really is.

You suffer, therefore so should others? To reverse that argument, because others are being made to suffer, your situation should not get better. You should continue to suffer discrimination because others are now being discriminated against.

Would you like to see interracial marriages outlawed again? It is the same fundamental premise: certain groups of people are not entitled to basic rights and privileges granted to the elite class. Who determines this? The elite class, of course. The reasoning for the policies? They are different and different is bad.

As long as one group suffers, all will. Things will not get any better for blacks in America as long as it is acceptable to deny rights to any group of people based on superficial differences.

You should be ashamed of the hatred you openly display for others. I'd was my daughter's mouth out with soap for saying the things you do. I don't tolerate bigotry in my home.

I was educated in Department of Defense Dependent Schools. Yes, I'd say they were far superior to DC schools, though they are not the best schools I've seen. That assessment has little to do with race because DODDS have a very high percentage of minorities enrolled, especially blacks and hispanics. Many DoDDs have racial profiles similar to those of DC schools.

From www.dictionary.com:
ad ho‧mi‧nem 
Latin. 1. appealing to one's prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one's intellect or reason.
2. attacking an opponent's character rather than answering his argument.

Posted by: single and denied | October 23, 2006 3:46 PM

Single and Denied, I never said, I hate gays. My point to Hillman was, I am tired of gays, Latinos, and others comparing their situations to blacks during Jim Crowism. I too support Civil Unions between gays, but I don't support marriage between a man and man, or woman and woman. As I stated, being born white in America give you priviledges. A black person with the wealth of Oprah, still has to face racism. Don't you think, there were many white gay racists during the Civil Rights movement in and out of the closet? I have driven thru DuPont Circle, Georgetown, and Adams Morgan, and I have noticed, white males gay or striaght walking around like they don't have a care in the world. When I worked at Georgetown University, those white kids were elitest, and they acted as if they didn't have a care in the world. Try being a black man in the United States for a day, and see how you would feel. I stood on Connecticut Avenue, NW. in Chevy Chase in a suit trying to catch a cab, and the cab driver passed me by and picked up white male. It didn't matter if he was straight or gay, but the fact, he was white. I felt like s----, and I was angry for a while, but I learned to get over it. The United States will always be a racist country. Latinos think, because they have fair skin or white, they are better than blacks. All the foreigners who come here want to look down on native born blacks. If it had not been for blacks fighting and protesting in the streets, many foreigners would not be able to come here. A white life in this country is valued, but a black life is worthless. Everytime a white young female goes missing, the media make a big thing of it. When black women go missing the white media don't give a s----.

Posted by: Mike In D.C. | October 23, 2006 4:23 PM

Mike: Specifically, why do you not support gay marriage? Please explain in detail. And are you both "Mike in DC" and "Mike A D.C. Resident"?

Posted by: Hillman | October 23, 2006 6:00 PM

Yes Hillman, I am both Mike in DC and Mike A D.C. Resident. Hillman, I don't support a constitutional ban on gay marriage, but my religious beliefs are marriage is between a man and woman. I do support Civil Unions between gays. Hillman, I am not homophobic, nor do I hate gays. I have relatives who happen to be gay, neighbors, and friends. In my conversations with a gay black Fraternity brother, we talked about gay marriage. He's a black gay man, and he doesn't support gay marriage either. You are right, in the black community, black gays are not as open as white gays, nor is Puerto Ricans and West Indians. Gays are human beings, and many cities have enacted hate crime legislation to protect all citizens from hate crimes. Hillman, although I don't support gay marriage, you will never see me in the streets protesting against gay people or gay marriage. I hope I was able to answer your question. Two of my cousins in Savannah, Georgia are married to white men. I was somewhat surprised, but this was their decision to marry outside of the black race. I was trying to make a point. I am tired of white gays and illegal aliens comparing their situations to the struggles of black people. Their circumstances are different from the Civil Rights era for blacks. I still feel, many of those racist whites in the south were gay on the down low, but being white in America gave white people priviledges then and now.

Posted by: Mike In D.C. | October 23, 2006 6:41 PM

Mike:

I still don't understand your rationale for not supporting gay marriage. Can you tell me in detail why you don't support it?

Posted by: Hillman | October 23, 2006 8:30 PM

Mike, somehow, it is obvious you disapprove of your cousins marrying outside of their race. It isn't your place to approve of or disapprove of their marriage or the marriage between gay couples.

Your RELIGIOUS views are not and should never be made into law. No one's should be. That would be the entire point behind the separation of church and state.

Frankly, I think that NO marriage should be recognized by the state. While people have been shacking up since the dawn of time, only a religious sacrament made it marriage and the government has no business legislating religious sacraments. If people want legal benefits from being a couple, they can file contractual papers just like any other business partnership. Face it, that is the ONLY reason to get a state-sanctioned marriage--the legal benefits.

Beyond ensuring that the public health is protected by preventing incestuous unions and unions to minors under the age of consent, the government needs to but out of people's private lives.

Without this amendment, any non-married couple can establish those benefits with a few legal documents. After this amendment, straight or gay, that can't be done.

Posted by: Single and denied | October 24, 2006 6:23 AM

Single:

You raise valid points about religious versus civil marriage.

But your suggestion that couples can get the benefits of marriage with legal documents absent marriage. That just isn't the case.

Here's a list of some of the 1000 plus benefits of marriage...

http://www.buddybuddy.com/mar-list.html

Many of those are available only through marriage. For instance, the passing of property upon death without huge probate costs and delays. Only available through marriage.

Social security and military pension benefits. Only available through marriage.

Usually health insurance benefits are only offered to married couples.

The jillions of tax breaks and other financial goodies the Federal and state governments give to couples are only available through marriage.

The right to not testify against your partner in court - available only through marriage.

The list goes on and on.

Even the legal documents that do help - like living wills, medical power of attorney - are all subject to legal review and challenge.

My partner and I have every legal document we can dream up (unlike a lot of gay folks that can't afford expensive lawyers fees). But I'm fairly confident that if my partner were in the hospital some members of his blood family would still fight to bar me from making decisions for him or from visiting him. In the end they may or may not lose, depending on how backwards the locality he is in is, but the fight would be nasty and distracting at the very time he'd need me most.

But you are right that this amendment makes even the documents we do have useless in Virginia.

Posted by: Hillman | October 24, 2006 7:54 AM

Again Hillman, the only reason to get a state sanctioned marriage are benefits from the state, legal and financial. THAT is a business arrangement, not a marriage. Sign a contract.

Marriage is a religious sanctification of a monogamous union.

My belief is that if the state entitlements are offered to one group, they should be offered to all, but I don't think that the government should be offering them to anyone. I'd prefer to see everything on the list go away.

Assumption of pension benefits and other benefits from corporations can be granted to unmarried couples IF the company wants to do so. Companies don't have to provide those benefits and don't have to expand them if it is cost-prohibitive. (Hence, them being benefits as opposed to entitlements.) My company offers health insurance and pension assumption to domestic partners. It does require contractual obligations so that people who go through partners as quickly as they change underwear don't abuse the process.

Government pensions? They shouldn't be transferred to anyone at all. My parents divorced and my mother gets half of my father's pension. For what? Marrying then leaving her husband? No way. I love my mom, but that pension belongs to my father for 25 years of service in the Army, not my mother for marrying him.

Probate and automatic inheritance varies from state to state. Spouse or no, do NOT die without a will in Texas or your beneficiaries will be screwed seven ways from Sunday.

As for spousal immunity, that is the one of the dumbest ideas in jurisprudence in a long time. You shouldn't be able to confess to a crime to your spouse with impunity anymore than you should be able to confess to your neighbor with impunity.

When you take a perquisite or entitlement from the government, you give them the right to interfere in relationships inherently not their business. After all, it is their money, or more specifically, our tax money and taxpayers have the right to dictate through the legislature how their money is spent. If you want people to butt out of your private life, don't invite them in.

Posted by: Single and denied | October 24, 2006 9:31 AM

Oh yeah...

As for the "jillions" of tax breaks for married couples, I was married. Those tax breaks are laughable. My taxes INCREASED by filing with my husband. Not "our" taxes, but my taxes.

I get far more deductions and tax breaks as a single mother than I ever did married with children.

Posted by: Single and denied | October 24, 2006 9:36 AM

Single:

I was imprecise with my term 'tax breaks'. A more correct statement would be financial incentives, like survivorship benefits, the waiver of taxes in probate, etc.

Posted by: Hillman | October 24, 2006 10:09 AM

Hillman:

Yes, it is intolerant to suppress my kid's free-speech rights at school by claiming their values are "hateful" or constitute "hate speech". If political discussions of sexual orientation are deemed disruptive to good order in the schools, the policy must be evenly applied to both the pro and con sides of the argument. However your side doesn't want a frank debate on the issue. Instead, I find it typical that the advocates of same-sex marriage use terms like "homophobic" or "hate speech" to describe the positions and arguments of their opponents. This is simply an underhanded way of attempting to shame or intimidate their opponents into silence. While some folks on either side of the issue may be inspired by malice, the generalization hardly fits everyone. It certainly doesn't fit me, despite what you claim, and I, for one, refuse to be intimidated by the name-calling. So just give it a rest and we can have a civil debate on the issue.

As to one's moral compass (religion, personal values, whatever) infringing upon other folks' lives, I'd say this. Someone's values will prevail. Why shouldn't I advocate mine? That's why we have a "living constitution" (by living I refer to the amendment process, not the modern process of rewriting via judicial decree practiced by too many judges and justices). Constitutions can be altered to reflect society's values. That's what is happening here. The Virginia Constitution will reflect the voter's will being exercised rather than some judges' will being imposed against the will of the Commonwealth.

Pre-1973, homosexuality in the U.S. had always recognized society-wide as an aberrant lifestyle that was pathological at best and criminal at worst. A small but effective group of activists succeeded in removing homosexuality as an illness from the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in '73. It was a majority vote of less than 1/3 of the actual voting membership that forced the change. Many respected psychiatrists believe the change was a mistake. Sounds more like politics than science to me. Move forward to 2003, where a similar small group of activists in the APA were arguing that pedophilia, exhibitionism, transvestism, sadomasochism, voyeurism, and gender identity disorder, among other illnesses, should be removed from the DSM. And you would contend it will help these folks by convincing society to ignore their problems?

But here again, the issue has a very political aspect to it. Your side wants to suppress any discussion that does not endorse your viewpoint by labeling it "hateful". Sorry, but the majority of the APA membership pre-1973 can't be legitimately be labeled hateful people.

As to your comment alluding to the Virginia Code, as it relates to same-sex intimacy, affirmed in 1985 by the Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick (478 U.S. 186) and then subsequently being made moot by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas (000 U.S. 02-102) in 2003, it's a point well made. The law remains on the books, but I agree with you - I think it is unenforceable at this time. Clearly the people of Virginia, as represented by their elected legislators, differ with the majority of the Justices on this issue. General Assembly proponents of the homosexual agenda of tolerance to normalizing to acceptance have had their proposals defeated each year they were proposed following Lawrence. I would be willing to bet that when the issue comes up again before the U.S. Supreme Court, as no doubt it will, those who applauded the overturning of Bowers by Lawrence will proclaim the importance of stare decisis as loudly as the defenders of Roe v. Wade (420 U.S. 307) did in the Alito and Roberts confirmation hearings did. Won't that be deliciously ironic to see?

As to Christianity and the contradictions you perceive, first, if you are not a Christian, then any discussion of doctrine is simply a vain argument, and I have no idea where you are coming from on this. Divorce is strongly discouraged by Jesus - He states that Moses described a means of divorce, because the Israelite's hearts were hard, but that God intended marriage to last a lifetime. And you think this is a bad thing? Paul further amplifies the limited types of acceptable divorce, so it's less absolute than you describe. But ask yourself, are we better off as a society with "no cause" divorce, where either party can drop the other, against the other's will, without cause? Do kids benefit from this? I don't think so. I don't advocate divorce, but right now mine is apparently a minority viewpoint. Nevertheless, I can advocate my religious viewpoint, and instill those values in my kids without people accusing them of "hate crimes."

You cite polygamy, but you are off point. The Bible is permissive, as you note, on that issue. It does not mandate polygamy. In raising polygamy, you apparently concede the point that not all consensual sexual activity has to be accepted by society. I agree. The same is true in raising the marriageable age question. It's permissive, not mandatory. Do you contest the right of people in different states to set their own minimum marriage ages? Or write their own age of consent laws?

Turning the other cheek?? I'm not striking out at anyone, so what is your point?

Finally, as to the issue of being "forced" into pushing back against those who attempt to suppress free expression of religious though and values, you have a point. I choose to attempt to protect my religious rights by exercising my political ones. The amendment doesn't "make life more difficult for gay people" rather it simply maintains the status quo and prevents some Virginia state judge or judges from forcing their will onto the people of Virginia. The law is not changed by this amendment, despite what your side's propaganda claims.

Posted by: Virginian | October 25, 2006 8:58 PM

Hillman:

You really, truly read the entire article The End of Marriage in Scandinavia http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/660zypwj.asp and don't see the relationship? Same correlation in country after country? Don't even concede the possibility of cause and effect? What have you done, turned off your common sense when you think about this issue?

Posted by: Virginian | October 26, 2006 3:25 AM

Virginian, the amendment might not change how difficult it is for gays to maintain a family and a marriage since it is already an intolerably difficult process, but it makes it impossible for my boyfriend and I to do so as well, simply because neither of us recognize the state's authority to mandate our relationship. If we choose to have his Catholic priest or my Baptist minister marry us, that is our business, not the state's.

After this amendment is passed, any legal documents in force between ANY unmarried couple (read the amendment, that is what it says) will be rendered null and void. Our wills are open to superfluous challenges. Our powers of attorney granting such things as medical decisions will be unrecognized. My inheritance rights to the home we both pay for will be void. His family could claim his half and force me to sell our home. The power of attorney I gave him granting him parental powers over my daughter from my earlier marriage will be moot. (Lord knows her real father, whom I DID marry, has no interest in them.) He will be prevented from picking my daughter up from school and from signing such things as permission slips. Should my daughter be injured when I'm unavailable, he'll not be able to authorize medical care for her in my absence.

This amendment strips me of my rights and protections. It strips me of the ability to act in my daughter's best interests because all those things we've done are granting rights of married persons to someone to whom I am not married.

If you don't quite realize the impact this has on me, I have NO family east of El Paso, TX. I have NO adult family here to act on my behalf in an emergency should I be incapacitated. I have NO adult family member to care for my child should I be incapacitated. I have my boyfriend in whom I trust implicitly to care for my greatest joy, my daughter. This amendment makes that impossible. Rather than her being cared for by a loved one, she'll be whisked off to some foster home or state facility full of strangers if anything happens to me.

Somehow, I doubt you're going to do anything to help out should an emergency befall me, so leave me alone to determine who can.

All this because you and others insist upon mandating your RELIGIOUS values into LAW, a clear violation of the the First Amendment establishment clause, and because the people who drafted it aren't only intolerant and hateful, but also are too stupid to be clear about what they mean.

Marriage is meaningless in protecting children anymore. It's disposable. Parents can walk out on marriages and their children and face no consequences. Marriage does nothing to ensure their safety at home. I've seen fathers who molest their kids. Everyone of them I saw come through the court I worked in was MARRIED. (Yes, I know there are unmarried molesters as well.) I've seen married mothers either turn a blind eye to abuse or actually rent for him the pornographic movies that the father watched while banging his 10-year-old like a Salvation Army drum. Where were these glorious family values that come from marriage then?

My views on Christianity do NOT affect you. My views on state sanctioned marriage do NOTHING to diminish your marriage. I've been lobbying for years to remove the state legislating marriage, save for preventing underage marriages and incest. Has that in anyway diminished your marriage? Is it crumbling because I think giving the state the right to govern who you marry and what you can do in your own bedroom is absurd? Is your wife leaving you because of it? Is your child (or children) suffering? Has your church descended into chaos? Is your faith shaken?

No? I didn't think so. Your fears are baseless and irrational.

My views have no more impact upon you than would Hillman and his partner being married. In all likelihood, you'll NEVER even see them. Nothing they do will impact the quality and value of your marriage. Other nations have made this legal and the moral fabric of their societies have not torn. If your wife hasn't left you yet, it is unlikely she will just because they say "I do." If your faith in God is strong, their marriage won't weaken it.

Your religious rights are the same as mine and those rights are the right not to be forced to live in a religious state, the right to choose my own religion and the right to not have to live under religious law. Those rights are even more specific in the Virginia Constitution. The right not to be forced to live under someone else's religious views is ABSOLUTE.

Your entire argument for this law is based on Biblical precedent and doctrine. It's the same for nearly all the advocates for banning gay marriage. That is forcing your religion upon others through the legislative process. How willfully obtuse do people have to be to NOT recognize that?

You might not be motivated by hate in opposing this amendment. It's obvious you're motivated by fear and defensive anger. Nonetheless, the end result is hateful. A drunk might not intend to drive their car into another and kill someone, but no matter how unintentional it was, the other person is still dead.

Maybe it all boils down to proponents of this amendment having something deemed special and not wanting anyone different from them having it as well. Maybe it is just selfish.

Posted by: Single and denied | October 26, 2006 9:12 AM

Single and denied,

Your favoring this amendment seems entirely symmetrical to Virginian's opposition to it. His (religious) self-interest would be violated by it. Your (sexual, religious, economic, or whatever) self-interest would be advanced by it. So just as you accuse him of "forcing your religion upon others through the legislative process," you are trying to force your economic interests upon him through the legislative process.

If he is "selfish" so are you.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 10:21 AM

Yes, asking that everyone be treated equally is exceptionally selfish of me. God forbid we do as the Bible says and do unto others as we would have done unto us.

My justifications for opposing this amendment, which have been stated here, are that no law-abiding citizen should have rights above and beyond anyone else, including marriage.

That is the reason. The practical effects of the amendment are that not only does it relegate people to a lesser class of citizen based on religious values, but it also strips away the rights of the people--all people. To whom anyone grants power of attorney or to whom anyone bequeaths property is no concern of the government. My concerns aren't economic, they are the welfare of my family. Little issues like who cares for my child or who makes the decision whether or not to take me off life support. You know, nothing crucial like custodial issues or life and death or anything.

Besides, it isn't like my economic interests negatively impact anyone but my immediate family, Virginian or you included. I know for certain none of you are paying my mortgage or utility bills. The whole point is for him NOT to intrude upon my welfare choices. It's telling him to butt out of my--and everyone elses--choices, especially when they have no impact upon him whatsoever.

By the way, it is perfectly legal and constitutional to legislate economic practices into law. There are entire bureaus of the government devoted to it (the SEC, FTC, etc.). NAFTA was entirely about legislating economics. Economics is probably the single biggest reason for most of our laws.

It is, however, explicitly unconstitutional to legislate religion. The government can't interfere with the church and the church can't be imposed upon anyone by the government.

Posted by: Single and denied | October 26, 2006 11:54 AM

Single and denied:

The claim that the amendment will invalidate all contract law between unmarried parties is a red herring used by opponents to try to scare and confuse the voting public. If you really are afraid of that "threat", read the Attorney General's opinion on the amendment. http://www.oag.state.va.us/OPINIONS/2006opns/Sept06opnndx.htm It's not my opinion, not something I heard, but rather the legal opinion of the Commonwealth of Virginia's Attorney General concerning the impact of the Marriage Amendment on private contracts. In brief, in case you really don't know it already, the amendment leaves intact wills, advance medical directives, shared equity agreements and other contracts that don't attempt to "approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage". The amendment was crafted to prevent faux marriages, by whatever name they might be called, from being forced on the people of Virginia by state judges. Like as has happened in Vermont, Massachusetts, and now New Jersey, where Judges/Justices have ordered the state legislators to create civil unions or to legalize same-sex "marriage". Talk about a violation of the principle of separation of powers!

I'll address some/all of the multitude of other points you raised in your prior posts in response to my initial post when I get the chance. But I wanted to assure you that if you truly were concerned about the amendment's impact on whatever currently valid legal arrangements you have with your boyfriend, your fears are not based on legal fact.

Posted by: Virginian | October 26, 2006 4:14 PM

And just who are you to decide what is a real or "faux" marriage? Who died and made you or any other human in this state arbiter of all that is good and right? Your religious vales blind you to the rights and welfare of others. For a Christian, you don't treat others in a very Christian manner. People like you embarrass me. Hate in the guise of religion. You'd think that of all nations, we'd have moved past that by now.

The Attorney General is not always right and usually panders to those who keep them in power. His word is NOT the law or any interpretation of the law. He's an advisor and advocate for the state. He is not the courts who render the interpretation of the law. For the best examples, see Edwin Meese and our current US Attorney General. Well,any of them really. The appellate courts can overrule him easily. They do it all the time.

I've consulted not less than five different attorneys on this (the benefits of working with court system) and everyone of them has told me I'm in trouble. They keep telling me to get married, but I won't compromise my principals in the face of a bigoted assault of my rights. Man has only the rights he can defend and by God, I'm going to defend mine.

It is hardly a red herring. When it comes to the law, it is VERY crucial how things are written. That amendment is written to say no unmarried couple can be granted the rights and privileges of a married couple. In the courts, a misplaced comma can change the entire meaning of a contract and cost companies millions. ( http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060806.wr-rogers07/BNStory/Business/home )

This amendment is far too vague. It does not and will not protect people whose religious or political views to not recognize your myopic Christian viewpoint, regardless of sexual orientation. Not every person on this planet is Christian and our Constitution says we don't have to live by the rules of Christianity. We are free to live by our own religious codes of conduct, within the secular laws of this nation.

Intent doesn't matter with the law. All that matters is what it says. The founders NEVER intended for religious doctrine to be made into law, yet it is done all the time. That is very clear if you read the writings of the founders. They went out of their way to completely separate government from religion. They said so. Now, all that is moot and this country is reverting back to the dark ages of religious governance and intolerance one law by one.

You make me question my faith. You make me humiliated to be a Christian. What kind of God allows his followers to dehumanize others?

This is all hatred in the guise of Christianity and it makes me ill.

Posted by: Single and denied | October 27, 2006 5:49 AM

Single--

Virginian has as much right as you to decide what is a real or a faux marriage. Isn't he entitled to an opinion? And isn't he allowed to pursue his opinion through the political process, just as you are? And what is wrong with the fact that his opinion is religious-based? Yours seems to be based on nothing more than your own self-interest.

If he is blind, you are blind and deaf. You might want to show your posts to whoever is helping you with your anger management.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 8:36 AM

Single and denied:

The extra comma sentence - "shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party."

Pretty straightforward. It provides a one year kick-out clause. Simply remove the sub-clause "and thereafter for successive five year terms" and see what you get. Very clear. So where is the confusion in the wording of the marriage amendement's language?

http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/documents/2006_Constitutional_Amendments/2006ques_marriage_APPROVED.pdf

BALLOT QUESTION NUMBER 1
Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to
state:
"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in
or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.
This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a
legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the
design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its
political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status
to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."?

Where is the confusion in that, or is your fear focused on what some "activist judge" might someday decide the General Assembly should have written, and impose her "interpretation" rewriting, really" on the Commonwealth? Well, if that's your fear, at least we have finally found some common ground, supporting original intent and opposing activist judges.

As to founding fathers, here is a quick sample of their thoughts on the subject:

"[This] Form of Government ... is productive of every Thing which is great and excellent among Men. But its Principles are as easily destroyed, as human nature is corrupted . . . A Government is only to be supported by pure Religion or Austere Morals. Private, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics."
and
"Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not only of republicanism and of all free government, but of social felicity under all governments and in all the combinations of human society." John Adams

"Religion [is] the basis and Foundation of Government" James Madison

"The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth." George Mason

As I implied in my original post, I'd rather not be in this place, politically speaking. I tend towards Libertarianism in domestic politics. I don't want bedroom doors kicked in to by some type of morality police. BUT, I also want to be left alone to practice my religious faith, to be allowed to pass on my moral values to my children, and for us to be given a place in the marketplace of ideas without being penalized. Many of the people who oppose the amendment are the same folks who characterize my opinions as "hate speech". If you have followed this thread since my first post, you know what I mean. Those people have succeeded in instituting policies in the public schools censoring my kids from expressing their values, they want to punish thought and motive in addition to action - in their mind, a bigot, motivated by bigotry, who assaults someone needs to be punished more that a thug who commits the same kind of assault on someone just for the heck of it. The additional punishment for the "hate crime" is based on the motive!

I also disagree with the civil union/same-sex marriage concept based on public policy grounds, but absent the attempt to supress my values taught to my childeren, I'd have been happy to sit this one out.
I'll address the public policy grounds in my next post.

Posted by: virginian | October 27, 2006 4:24 PM

Virginian: Yes, I read the entire argument. There was no causal relationship established between gay marriage and any harm to straight marriage. Period. If you think there was, point me to the exact citation.

Posted by: Hillman | October 29, 2006 4:07 PM

Virginian: Yes, your opinion is based on hate and to some extent ignorance. You are advocating intentionally making life difficult for others, and you are intentionally denigrating millions of Americans to second class citizenship. That is hateful, pure and simple.

The very fact that you view the recategorization of being gay as NOT being a mental illness or a criminal activity speaks volumes. Apparently you pine for the day when gays could be imprisoned or were considered mentally ill. That to me indicates hate.

And my gay marriage is in no way an infringement of your religious rights. Tell me EXACTLY how I'm preventing you from practicing your religion. If you truly believe that your religion gives you the right to treat others like crap, then I must say your religious views are sad and, incidentally, not very Christ-like.

I just don't believe your divorce argument. You say you are opposed to it but are not willing to fight to make it illegal. Yet you are willing to fight to make my marriage illegal. Why the double standard?

As for polygamy, the Bible does in fact take a pretty positive view of it, regardless of what you say. And you failed to answer the question. You said you wanted marriage laws based on the Bible. I simply pointed out that polygamy would then be legal, and divorce would be illegal, and asked you to justify those positions.

You failed to do so.

Posted by: Hillman | October 29, 2006 4:15 PM

Typo alert. Second sentence in post above should have read "The very fact that you view the recategorization of being gay as NOT being a mental illness or a criminal activity as a bad thing speaks volumes."

Posted by: Hillman | October 29, 2006 4:19 PM

Virginian: You keep claiming that gays are somehow repressing your kids rights to make certain antigay statements in school. Please, be specfic as to what they are being told they cannot say. And be equally specific and tell us what you think they should be able to say, and why you think such comments contribute to a meaningful learning environment.

And I'd like to get back to the 'turn the other cheek' thing. You say you aren't striking out a people. That's just not true. You are advocating making my life more difficult on a daily basis, for the rest of my life. How exactly is this Christlike, and how is iot not striking out at people?

Posted by: Hillman | October 29, 2006 4:24 PM

Hillman:

On the article concerning the decline in marriage in Scandinavia, point partially conceded. In re-reading the article I concede that the data points to same-sex marriage ALONG WITH cohabitation/civil union both contributing to the alarming decline in marriage in the countries studied. All the more reason for the amendment, if you believe that a stable, man-woman marriage is the most conducive arrangement to raise children. I believe that.

Establishing and supporting that stable environment in order to protect children gives the State another vested interest in the issue.

I'd say hateful is discouraging people from getting help/medical treatment, along the lines of the so-called Tuskegee Syphilis "Study" is hateful. I'd say attempting to suppress "contact tracing" efforts when AIDS was breaking out in the '80s, if not hateful, was extremely selfish and short-sighted. You want hateful from "my side" of the issue, you have it in that guy & his congregation out in Kansas. The ones who harass military funerals as such. Yep, that's hateful. On the other hand, disagreeing with you is not, by definition hateful. Using that term to describe the arguments and motives of those who disagree with you is simply a ploy to try to intimidate them into silence. Sorry, won't work here. The politics of this issue are too important to be suppressed.

I'll touch on some of the other points you raise later, but right now I need to get the kids off to their Halloween parties.

Posted by: Virginian | October 31, 2006 6:08 PM

Hillman:

Once again you ascribe to me angry desires/motives that I don't have. You say, judging from my comments on the history of how the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was changed via pressure politics rather than science, that I "apparently pine for the day when gays could be imprisoned or were considered mentally ill. That to me indicates hate."

That's not it at all. I think it's sad that people with problems are discouraged from seeking help. That is what DSM-III has done. I think it is irresponsible for "social engineers" in the public school systems to tell kids that risky "life-style choices" are equivalent in moral, social, and health aspects when compared to permanent, monogamous, heterosexual relationships (read marriage). That is what advocates of "alternative lifestyles" have been able to force into schools.

As to my religious freedom. When, in Family Life Education, my kids are taught that their moral values are 1) wrong, 2) intolerant and/or hateful, and 3) when they respectfully disagree with the "values" being inculcated by the teacher and the school textbooks they are told that they are not allowed to disagree and will be subject to punishment if they persist in defending their values again in class, I'd say that my free exercise of religion, and my kid's free speech rights are being trampled. These are rights that were clearly written into the Constitution via the legitimate way the Constitution "lives" - the amendment process.

I don't advocate making life more difficult for you, I simply want to protect the status quo from unelected judges substituting their "judgment" for that of the people of Virginia. As stated in an earlier post, I don't advocate some kind of "morals police" kicking in bedroom doors. Right now nobody is preventing you from selecting a same-sex partner. I feel for you and your predicament, but it's your life.

I do find it significant that opponents of the Marriage Amendment apparently feel entitled to attempt to suppress political discourse on this issue. Not just the repetition of the phrases "homophobe" and "hateful", but rather the more dangerous actions I've observed along the highways. I drive all over the highways and byways of northern Virginia weekly, and see a consistent pattern. Marriage Amendment signs stolen and defaced, to the exclusion of political signs for Webb & Allen strongly suggest that at least some opponents of the Marriage Amendment don't believe in the free speech rights of their opponents. I would ascribe the same intent to those who attempt to verbally intimidate rather than debate their opponents. I would hope you would disapprove of such actions, but I really don't know if you would, or if you would believe that the ends justify the means you want to accomplish. Which is it?

BTW, you know that Jesus said turn the other cheek. Do you also know that he told the woman caught in adultry "Go and sin no more". Don't know if you are a believer or just want to try to obfuscate the issue, but I'm still waiting for the answer to the question I asked in my first post. "From a Religious point of View: Accept it as divine truth or not, the Bible does clearly and unequivocally state that sexual activity is reserved for marriage. It also specifically proscribes homosexual activity. (To those who want to debate the veracity of the above statement regarding what the Bible says, I ask you to include in your reply an answer to this question - if not referring to sexual activity previously criticized in the Bible e.g. adultery, sex outside of marriage (fornication) and homosexual sex, what sexual activity is the Bible referring to when it uses the term "sexual immorality"?)"

I'd still like your response to that question, since it relates to your quote of "Turn the other cheek"

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 8:01 PM

Virginian:

The article you reference simply does not point to gay marriage as a causative factor in breakup of marriage. It simply does not say that. If you think it does, again, point me to the exact quote.

Posted by: Hillman | November 1, 2006 9:08 AM

Being gay is not a 'problem' that needs medical attention. Suggesting such is sad and pathetic.

And being gay is not a 'lifestyle choice'. RVing across America is a lifestyle choice. Following a rock band around is a lifestyle choice.

The term 'lifestyle choice' is a loaded term used by the far right for decades. It's bogus and it cheapens your argument.

Posted by: Hillman | November 1, 2006 9:11 AM

I'll argue the Bible with you all day long. I'm the son of Pentecostal preachers. I pretty much guarantee you I know more Bible than you (not that you asked).

As for 'sexual immorality', that is a quite ambiguous term. Me having sex with my loving, committed partner is not immorality. No more so than you have sex with your spouse.

But since you want to get Biblical, please go back and answer my previous posts.

Specifically, you need to say why support polygamy, the marrying of sisters, the marriage of VERY young girls against their will, the refusal of slave owners to allow their slaves to marry, and the giving of women in marriage as property and not for love. And divorce is a sin for all except adultery.

Those are ALL Biblical practices. None are condemned in the Bible, and most are explicitly approved.

So go ahead. Tell me how you are actively advocating a return to ALL those Biblical marriage principals. Then I'll believe you when you say you aren't hatefully singling out gays.

Posted by: Hillman | November 1, 2006 9:15 AM

I'm glad you brought up the parable of Jesus and the woman he told to 'go and sin no more'. He didn't say 'go and sin no more', and, by the way, we're going to us the government to hound you, to make your life difficult, to make it difficult for you to see your loved ones in the hospital, to make it harder for you to get medical care.

He simply said go and sin no more.

And remember that the crowd was urging that she be stoned. This would of course have been the government / legal hounding solution.

Christ specifically denounced that solution.

Which is exactly the opposite of what you are proposing. Granted, we don't stone people anymore (except in Muslim countries), but you are advocating making life hell for the one you think is sinning.

Incidentally, my church doesn't teach that being gay is a sin.

So why is it that your church views are allowed to dictate what I and my church believe?

Talk about religious oppression...

Posted by: Hillman | November 1, 2006 9:57 AM

Hillman:

If you are going to debate this on along religious lines, will you answer the question I asked last night and raised in my first post? "I ask you to include in your reply an answer to this question - if not referring to sexual activity previously criticized in the Bible e.g. adultery, sex outside of marriage (fornication) and homosexual sex, what sexual activity is the Bible referring to when it uses the term "sexual immorality"?)" You have said what you believe it is not "As for 'sexual immorality', that is a quite ambiguous term. Me having sex with my loving, committed partner is not immorality. No more so than you have sex with your spouse." So what would you, or your church, define as sexual immorality? It's not an empty phrase, so you must concede it means something, right? So what will you admit is sexually immoral? Or can you categorically state that any consensual sexual activity is sexually immoral?

You say "Incidentally, my church doesn't teach that being gay is a sin." Neither does mine. It's our actions, not our desires or temptations that church teachings attempt to guide and correct. You appear to know that we are all fallen creatures and I hope you know that it is by Faith in Jesus, not our works or personal "goodness" that we are redeemed.

If you mean that your church does not point out the incongruence between the lifestyle a Christian should strive for, based on biblical teachings, and an active homosexual lifestyle, all I can say is I'm glad I'll not be held accountable for that teaching. There has always been heresy and error being used to deceive and divide the church. So that is nothing new.

You clearly are an intelligent fellow and given your Pentecostal upbringing I would assume you are well schooled in the Faith. It's one thing to abandon the Faith; to decide it is all fable or wishful thinking or whatever. But don't deceive yourself into thinking the Bible doesn't say what it clearly says. You come across as too smart and well-read to try to pass that off effectively in your arguments. As to debate, if you don't believe, then it doesn't matter what the Bible says. As I said, all it leads to is vain argument, and what is the purpose of that?

Posted by: Virginian | November 1, 2006 11:32 AM

Virginian: You never answered the question about what your kids are told they can't say in school. I asked you to tell me specifically what they want to say, why, and why you think it contributes to a learning environment.

Last, I wanted to know why you thought this somehow justified you making my life more difficult.

Posted by: Hillman | November 1, 2006 1:20 PM

Ah, that word. Heresy. You've decided that what my church teaches is heresy. So it's your job to make that church teaching illegal to practice in the real world.

That is by definition religious bigotry.

Posted by: Hillman | November 1, 2006 1:21 PM

I've answered your sole Biblical question. No, I do not believe 'sexual immorality' as phrased in the Bible includes sex between two adult gay people. As for it being outside of the bounds of marriage, you are the one denying us marriage, so we by definition can't have sex within marriage.

Now, please go ahead and answer mine. I've asked several times now. Specifically, please tell me in detail why say we must use the Bible to define marriage in terms of gay people (while ignoring the fact that the Bible never mentions gay marriage), yet you don't seem to be out there fighting for real Biblical marriage - polygamy, marrying sisters, forced underage marriages, etc.

This is a very real question. It gets to the whole idea of why you are singling out gays. Please answer.

Posted by: Hillman | November 1, 2006 1:24 PM

And, once again, you have yet to explain to me where in the Bible it says we are to use the government to enforce Biblical concepts. Give me even one example of Christ saying we should use government laws to enforce God's law.

I'll save you the time. You can't. Because He never said that. He was quite emphatic about His kingdom being not of this world.

And your stance is, again, hypocritical. I don't see you out there trying to change the law to say that anyone that has sex before marriage therefore can never get married. Why aren't you arguing for that? And I don't see you arguing that anyone that divorces can never get remarried. Again, why aren't you arguing for that.

It's only they gay people that you seem to want to strip of basic rights, and it's only the gay people that you seem to be ok with denying health care, basic benefits, etc., and you seem more than content to watch your fellow taxpayers (at least the gay ones) suffer in their old age because you don't like them.

It really is that simple. You are using your power to make life difficult for others. Your only stated rationale is the Bible. Yet you refuse to fight to make life difficult for others based on the Bible, even though there is plenty of Biblical text that would allow you the ability to do so, given your penchant for making government do the work of your religion. Yet, you chose not to. You only apply it to gays.

Even murderers and rapists still have marriage rights. Even a man that kills his wife can still remarry.

Yet you deny me and my partner marriage.

That just isn't supportable by any measure, and it's especially unsupportable given your refusal to accept all the other things in the Bible.

And it's just plain mean. Making life difficult, denying health care, denying peace of mind - it's mean. And it's elitist.

Posted by: Hillman | November 1, 2006 1:31 PM

One more question.

You are obviously in favor of not treating gay taxpaying Americans as equals under the law. You've demonstrated that.

Since you've decided gay people are sinners and not equal citizens, how do you think they should be treated?

Where do we draw the line? Should gays have to, say, pay a special tax for being gay? Should they be restricted from certain jobs? Should their business permits be denied? Should they not be able live in certain areas?

I ask this in all seriousness. Once you decide an entire group of people aren't really equal citizens, where do you draw the line?

Each one of these items I mention are similar to the rights you are willing to deny me when you deny me marriage.

So please answer and tell me why it's ok for you to deny me the peace of mind and legal and economic strength of marriage, but it's not ok for you to tell me I can't open a business or I can't live in a certain area. Assuming of course you think that it's not ok.

Posted by: Hillman | November 1, 2006 1:41 PM

Hillman:
Ahh, heresy. You DO admit that the historical church has always had to deal with heresy, don't you? There have been lots of heretical teachings by lots of different "teachers" or "churches" that claimed to follow Jesus when in fact they taught "new revealed truth" antithetical to Scripture down through the ages. Or am I mistaken in this?

Heresy is not a term to be tossed out lightly in a conversation between believers. Definition according to Webster: 1a: adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma; 1b: denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church; 1c: an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma.

So we know at a minimum at least one of these definitions fits what you say is your church's teaching on homosexual activity (vice temptation). True?

So the question remains, as it was from my first post, what do you believe, or by inference does your church teach, the Biblical phrase"sexual immorality" means, or do you believe that phrase is some extraneous verbiage? Once we have a working definition of what sexual immorality is according to the Bible, then we can try to figure out whether your church's teaching on the issue runs contrary to what the Bible teaches and thereby is heretical.

Is it your Pentecostal upbringing that keeps you from answering this simple question that I've asked since the beginning of my participation in this thread? Or is it the simple logic that, according to the Bible, there are activities that are immoral - black and white, no grey areas to debate. And that once you admit that it gets harder to ignore Christ's call to you to follow Him in obedience to His word rather than your own will?

On the secular side of the amendment, as I said earlier, in much of politics, someone's moral or ethical viewpoint will prevail. Why should I step aside in the marketplace of political discourse simply because I try to base my worldview on a Biblical foundation?

Posted by: Virginian | November 4, 2006 4:23 PM

There is the 'marketplace of political discourse' and then there's bullying people you don't like and making their lives difficult throught the law. Big difference. Your 'political discourse' is fine, but once you try to make my life difficult that's where it ends.

I've repeatedly told you I don't think gay sex, especially within a loving relationship, is immoral. Sexual immorality to me is cheating on a spouse, violent sex, sex for power, etc. It is not loving sex between people that care about each other. We apparently disagree about that. But you have no right to use your misreading of that Scripture to make my life difficult. Christ doesn't give you that right, and neither does basic human decency.

As for heresy, you are the one that brought that term up.

So are you going to answer any of my questions or not? It sucks for you that they are inconvenient to your position, but, then, basic human decency often is inconvenient.

Posted by: Hillman | November 6, 2006 9:31 AM

And, obviously, gay marriage has nothing to do with gay sex. Gay sex is going to happen regardless of gay marriage rights or lack thereof. In fact, gay marriage would cut down on promiscuity. But, then, that's another factual argument that you may find inconvenient and therefore won't address.

Denying gay marriage is punishing people for what they are (gay), not what they do (gay sex). In fact, the benefits of gay marriage often kick in in old age, when gay sex isn't really even possible.

Posted by: Hillman | November 6, 2006 9:34 AM

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