Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Commando-Style Push for Gay Marriage

Jonah Goldberg writes a nicely crafted article in today’s Los Angeles Times denouncing the thuggish and storm-trooper-style tactics of the proponents of gay-marriage. The attacks on the Mormon church, especially, draw out his ire. He concludes with this: "My own view is that gay marriage is likely inevitable, and won’t be nearly the disaster many of my fellow conservatives fear it will be. But the scorched-earth campaign to victory pushed by gay-marriage advocates may well be disastrous, and "liberals" should be ashamed for countenancing it."

Discussions - 18 Comments

Jonah needs to think through the implications and consequences of the SS-style these proponents of perverse marriage have embraced. He says the impact won't be that great, but he is being superficial here. Once this kind of relationship has been legalized everywhere, for example, the proponents will let no religion go unpunished for continuing to teach that moral perversity is still perverse regardless of legal acceptance. Gay marriage surely implies death to traditional religion.

dennis, I'm in broad agreement, and do suspect Goldberg isn't as worried about gay marriage as he ought to be.

However...

"traditional religion" cannot be killed.

The real danger is not the popular legislative enactment of gay marriage, but the anti-democratic judicial enactment of it. The latter "finds" rights in the constitution(s) that by no means can be limited to gay couples, (polygamists, polyandrists, ployamorists, consensual incesters, will all have to be permitted to marry, and worse, heterosexuals might obtain a right to "marriage-lite" civil unions). And yes, future jurisprudence will have to claim that judge-rulers must "balance" this found right (of contracting a marriage with anybody) with the first amendment freedom of religion, and this will impinge upon religious freedom.

To my mind, a population that legislatively permits gay marriage might well pass other laws that impinge upon religious freedom, but I don't see how a law allowing gay marriage NECESSARILY does so, at least in any serious way.

And while Goldberg is too rhetorically soft on this issue, I do have to confess that, IF legislatively enacted, gay marriage will not necessarily be a death-knell of democratic sense, conservatism, etc. There are other ways to shore up heterosexual marriage that social conservatives can perhaps convince their fellow citizens to adopt. The sky won't have fallen.

But judicially enacted, with these mob-like tactics behind such enactment, that might really be the beginning of the end of the U.S.A. To twist judicial interpretation beyond all recognition, to relentlessly attack the good-faith opinions of your fellow citizens, and even to attempt to legally define their religious teachings as bigotry, this is to risk no-holds-barred culture war and a legal/societal meltdown. Liberals, show me my fear is misplaced by daring to publically rebuke those many gays who mindlessly repeat the "they denied us our rights" slogan and who dangerously categorize disagreement with them as hate.

Churches currently have the right to refuse to marry any couple that they don't want to marry. Why would allowing gays the right to the civil marriage license force churches to marry them? Churches refuse to marry people all of the time for any number of reasons. The church is one corporate body that can legally officiate at marriages (as are judges and certain others), but the church doesn't really marry you. My church can marry me and my partner, but until we get the civil rights of marriage we've really only had a ceremony. Getting the civil rights to marriage is wholly independent of a religious "marriage."

true a church could always refuse, but the gay rights agenda is to have homosexuality treated as a protected class just as african americans are treated as a protected class, so the church could refuse, but they would lose their tax excempt status.

Well, that's funny, jamie. Seems to me the court decision which allowed gay marriage in California specifically stated "no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs."



I suppose it's the perceived threat that's the most convincing part of that homosexual agenda . . .

My understanding is that Matt and "confused" are right. Even under judicially-mandated gay marriage, churches would be left free to solemnize the marriages they will. The likely "impingements" upon religious freedom that it could cause have especially to do with social service and associational aspects of religious freedom, not with its ceremonial or doctrinal aspects. Of course, if the condemnation of homosexuality as a sin were ever designated as legally actionable hate-speech, which as of a few years ago seemed to be the state of the law in British Columbia(anyone know if this has changed?), then all bets are off, as one would have the freedom to believe religious doctrines only if one never shared them publicly. I do not think gay-marriage enacting jurisprudence would support such a shift in our law, however.

I think Carl Scott is right that enacting gay marriage would not, in itself, support a shift in the law that would force churches to comply in a way that was considered "non-discriminatory" and that additional legislation would be required as in BC. But I don't think there would be much in the way of that additional legislation except time. Maybe that's all that's in the way of it even now--if we're talking about political reality only.

But much as I would deplore the loss of religious liberty, this isn't even my greatest fear when it comes to the establishment of legal gay marriage. It is more the diminishing importance that will be accorded to sex differences and, therefore, the coming together of those discordant opposites in the tension and friendship of marriage. We will make marriage even more of a business arrangement than it has already become and its entire purpose becomes to serve our pleasure. When there is no diversity in marriage it becomes a glorified form of mere friendship (even if erotic on some level) or a protracted business arrangement--and it becomes even more plausible to break it up when it no longer serves our interests. The entwining and interdependence and humility that a marriage of opposites teaches is lost in this arrangement and it will weaken in heterosexual marriages too if we make a collective decision that "gay marriage" (an actual oxymoron) is the same as marriage. The problem becomes that in changing the definition of the thing to be more "inclusive" we also change the purpose. And it will be a much harsher world--especially for women and children--as a result.

A few things to Ms. Ponzi - who decides the "purpose" of marriage? Shouldn't that be up to the consenting adults involved? I mean, I find some of the reasons people get married deplorable, but I don't feel that it's my place to outlaw it.



And as to the talk of opposites - what makes the unity of opposing genders anymore important than the unity of opposing personalities? My girlfriend and I certainly enjoy the physiological differences between us, but I imagine the physiology of a homosexual "other" is just as tantalizing and appreciated by someone of that sexual inclination, let alone the general intimacy between one person and an "other" sharing such an important relationship (erotic or not).



One last thing - How would it be harsher especially for women and children? The world's already full of unwanted children barred from loving households because of the discrimination against homosexuals. And women? I don't even understand what you're talking about here.

Wow, the homophobia on this site is pathetic. And I haven't read anything from jonah goldbrick that wasn't gibberish.

After reading julie ponzis last comment, I understand why she likes jonah goldbrick.

Matt, the reasoning that says the essence of marriage is consent is the reasoning of the now-overturned-by-the-voters CA Supreme Court decision. And it is the reasoning of probably a majority of Americans. But this reasoning, if followed to its logical end, means that the law cannot give the peculiar contract known as marriage any special benefits and any special punishments (for breaking the contract via unfaithfullness/etc.) If we are all just autonomous choosers, over whom the state should be able to impose no criteria for what can be chosen, then let us draw up our own contracts, case by case: a "marriage" contract for a and b, a civil union contract for p and q, either one for x, y, and z,(add variables as needed). Religions can solemnize these or not as they desire. I suppose the state could set some limits on what sort of contracts permit child-raising and custody. (Does your "marriage"-group exceed twelve? No child custody for y'all! Hey, twelve is a number as good as any other--gotta draw the line somewhere!) But beyond that, anything must go, if consent is your bedrock principle. And of course, this makes the traditional understanding of marriage as having something to do with gender and something to do with children irrelevant. And so some gays and some liberals/libertarians are attracted to that conception. Now I do not deny that the usual social conservative case against gay marriage is concerned about the fact that it gives a final public approval of homosexuality. And I share that concern--I could not be faithful to the teachings of orthodox Christianity if I weren't. But if you can, bracket that. The far more fundamental part of the social conservative case is concern about the way this consent principle y'all will establish with gay marriage, particularly if judicially enacted, WILL MIGRATE INTO AND BECOME NORMATIVE FOR HETEROSEXUAL PRACTICE. The social conservative nightmare is: CIVIL UNIONS FOR ALL! PERSONALIZED CONTRACTS FOR EVERY PERSON! And by your thinking, that is required. Julie is so right that children and women will be the bigtime losers in a world in which such contracts become the norm. Nor will gays fare well in a world in which legions of fatherless sons are educated into super-hetero MANhood via the gang, the pub, and so on. Want to risk that? Want to bet on the aggregate heterosexual commitment to monogamy in a post-pill and now also potentially post-legal definition of marriage world? Compassion for generations of future children requires all of us of whatever sexual orientation or religious belief, to move very cautiously here. The social danger lies not with homosexuality, but with heterosexuality unbound.

Sexual orientation is a choice. How else do we explain bisexuals. You can be atracted to the same sex without acting on it in the same way you have the desire to do anything and not always do it. Not acting on instinct is one of the great things about being human and regardless of a bunch of of new age mumbo jumbo about doing what feels right and I want to do it so its natural to do it crap. Gays can marry, just not eachother and thats the same for two straight people of the same sex so how it is discrimination i do not understand. Making gay a race is bad. You are saying there is something different that is significant. If there is such value in the relationship then why does it need to become a marriage? Let it be what it is and most people do not have a problem. Just take the southpark answer to this and leave it alone or else I am going to think that it is really about the state trying to kill the institution of the family. Why the fear though from conservatives around this issue? Is your red state base not the simplistic adam and eve not steve notion anyhow. Its attack of the PC conservatives lol.

Brutus, the sex acts and the non-closeted self-identification are a choice, but somehow, it seems the testimony of millions that the orientation isn't ought to be accepted.

Brutus - you write:



Sexual orientation is a choice. How else do we explain bisexuals.



So because some people choose their sexual orientation means that everyone does?



Carl Scott - I understand and appreciate your fears, although I don't agree with them. I just think that the significance of one's marriage be the concern of each citizen. The heterosexual concepts of marriage are already tarnished enough without the addition of homosexuality into the marriage-mix. But I don't see any of what you are afraid of happening actually happening in countries where homosexual marriage is accepted. Or, at least, where that factor is the reason for declining birth rates, super-hetero manhood, leagues of fatherless children, etc. I suppose the U.S. could be exceptional in this case, but I think that's unfounded.



I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree. That same sentiment goes out to Ms. Ponzi whose essay on the subject was very well thought-out, but just assumes fundamental differences about the issue in regards to my own opinion.



Suffice it to say that it will be interesting to see this all work out . . . One last comment to "mike" - If you'd actually take a look at the comments, I think you'd realize that there's quite a bit more thought to these conservatives particular arguments here than simple "homophobia" (although, I'm the first to admit that some posters on here are not this decent).

The subtlety of thought that is required to understand the truth of female social and political equality to male in the face of obvious physical differences that--let's face it--seem to work against it, is a very difficult thing to muster without habits of living that enforce it. Never mind the difficulty of understanding the proper relation between parents and children (i.e., ruling them in a kingly fashion but toward freedom). Most people cannot be expected to think about these things on the level required for true understanding but habits (and, yes, prejudice) have conspired for centuries to produce a model that is--more or less--functional. Take that away. Say that the purpose of marriage is altogether personal "fulfillment." Marriage can be with any person you prefer--so long as they are of the legal age of consent and not your blood relation (though why these fine distinctions are required becomes difficult to see). Unleash the the power in all of us to work only toward our own satisfaction. Depend only upon the force of fleeting romantic "love" as it is understood in today's popular culture. How does this work to the good of the weaker sex or of the very young? How is the glue of civilization supposed to hold without this bracing? Good luck, Matt.

Also, I think you meant to suggest that some of the commenters here (though not you) are sometimes less than decent rather than saying it of the posters whom I take to be the regular bloggers. (Though I grant that almost all of us have, on occasion, let our temper--or temptation to be witty--get the better of us.)

Further, I think it is beyond silly to debate about whether sexual orientation is a choice or a pre-existing condition. It has no moral significance either way. I think Carl Scott has it about right. And, finally, I think "mike" (and, maybe, Matt) would be surprised to know how liberal (in the traditional sense of the term) I and most other conservatives I know are and can be when it comes to accommodating homosexuality on prudential grounds. If the homosexual lobby were really interested in making life more felicitous and less troublesome for their constituent members, they'd drop this push to be embraced as a positive good and, instead, humbly acknowledge the need for accommodation based merely on prudence as it relates to their "marital" status and justice as it relates to their more important status as human beings and citizens.

Julie, so which of the approximately 1000 federal rights and responsibilities conferred by the filing of the civil marriage license should be prudentially allowed to gays and lesbians who want to establish permanent and legally recognized relationships, be they called "marriages" or not?

You are taking an act and making it a trait. I am not for bashing anyone. I believe in freedom for all, but saying that mariage is between two people is not right, it is a simple revision of history. Not to sound overly crass, but a million gay people say they don't have a choice so then it is so? You are telling me that some have free will and others don't and that i should have zero qualms about this idea? It makes perfect sense 2and2 are 4, but sometimes 2and2 are 5. I eat ground beef, my mom won't touch the stuff. Is this some sort of thing that becomes a trait (something that is elemental about our character and unalterable). I say its an act based on a choice that can be altered at any time. Sexual choice is not an unalterable trait because it is defined through the act of sex with another. What is really at heart here to me is the idea of free will. By saying that sexual orientation is not a choice but inherent we are striking a blow to free will and a victory for reductionist scientific nihlism. Were do the abstinate fall in this. Can I marry myslef because i love myslef and I believe in abstaining from the temptation to fornicate, so why should i be denied benifits. I just have to say that I think getting caught up in this is bad for conservatives. It is too easy to paint them as steryotypes in this case and then on the other hand when they try to avoid this and start making concessions to sound more 'understanding and compassionate' they loose. I will debate you till the end of time on this, but i guess brutus is not my name and i have nothing to loose by being slandered in public so mabye I can't understand the delimia conservative pundits face. This is a skirmish in the battle between a world in which faith is legitmate, and a world in which science replaces faith. The problem I have is that science has become faith part two. Instead of selling indulgences science stears research toward the ends of the funders. Instead of searching for truth, they teach conforming to a theory. Hey, I may be paranoid, but when a scientific study says that mercury in vaccines may be good for child brain development i find it hard to accept the goodness in that. In closing, Why do a people who took pride in being different suddenly want to conform to the traditions of middle America? Is a new American gothic portrait coming with two lesbians in front of their farm? It is an attack on the family and the ruling elite welcomes this because that is one less obstruction for them to gain total power. No family means no one can tell children that what when their teacher tells them that 2 and 2 make 5 that they are being told a lie.

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