How the Gay Rights Movement Converted Me From A Solid Supporter to Something Else

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I am sorry, but I cannot stay silent on this matter any longer.

Several years ago there was a a Proposition on the California ballot regarding gay marriage. I voted in favor of gay marriage then, but as I recall, my side lost by something like 8 million votes. Given that, I accepted the fact until the next time there was a ballot proposition. If the voters speak, that should be the law of the land, absent a clear and convincing Constitutional reason otherwise. At least until the voters change their mind.

Make no mistake: Supporters of gay marriage have enough support to easily put such an initiative on the ballot in any election they should care to make the attempt. It only requires a tiny percentage of the voters to sign the initiative petition. We could have had such a proposition to change the law on the ballot in every election between then and now, but that has not been done.

I am going to take a few paragraphs for an aside here. I don't actually think the government should have anything to do with marriage. Living partnerships, yes. Any two adults want to form a business partnership for household expenses, raising of any children, that's fine with me. If the state wants to privilege certain partnerships, then it should privilege those partnerships without regard to the sexes of the two partners. But that's all in the nature of a business partnership. Whether you realize it or not, that's the entire historical basis of a state or government interest in marriage: The financial partnership interests. Call if domestic partnership, call it marriage, call it gobbledegook if you want. That's a legitimate state or government interest, particularly if it is privileging certain partnerships in certain ways, and I firmly believe that when government privilege is involved, the sexes of domestic partners should not be a criterion for discrimination.

Unfortunately, when the government started getting more involved in such things, there were only partnerships between one male and one female to consider. This in turn led to some noteworthy confusion which still exists - the financial arrangements of such partnerships, which are a legitimate state interest, with the spiritual arrangements, which are not, but rather within the domain of whatever religious body the partners happen to be a member of.

In short, the word marriage is subject to a confusion between the government sense of the term - a financial and business partnership between adults - and the religious sense of the term, having to do with the spiritual aspects and whether some particular religious body has blessed the union in accordance with whatever principles they hold sacred.

I would far rather see a complete bifurcation of the word "marriage" into "civil (or domestic) partners" and "spiritual partners." The former is a legitimate government interest; the latter is not - indeed, it appears to me to be forbidden from government interest by the First Amendment. I see no reason why these two functions should not be completely independent of one another. There is no reason to require civil partners be spiritual ones, nor vice versa. I see no reason why two adults cannot be one or the other without any requirement whatsoever for the other. I suspect the word "marriage" would be preserved in function on the spiritual side, where it has a far longer history and tradition, but that is not important. The explicit bifurcation of functions is.

There seems to me to be a lot of confusion on both sides of the issue. The pro gay marriage side seems to be intentionally glossing over (or perhaps glorying in) the fact that they are attempting to force spiritual acceptance on the faithful of just about every faith in the world. They don't accept each other's spiritual marriages (or for that matter, purely civil ones) despite the fact that they might otherwise meet that sect's requirements; why should they be forced into accepting a "marriage" that violates every belief they stand for? The anti gay marriage forces, for their part, seem to be deliberately confusing the state interest business and financial partnership with the non-state interest spirtual partnership that the various faiths may not accept. I've long despised the latter; but my state of mind has recently evolved into "A Pox Upon Both Of Their Houses."

We have previously established that the pro gay marriage forces have more than sufficient influence to place gay marriage onto the ballot any time they want, and proceed to influence the minds of the citizens in their direction by campaigning and giving those citizens reasons that those citizens should vote in their favor. That would be the intelligent, rational way to go about these things. Persuade the voting citizens that they are not threatened by gay marriage. We aren't, you know.

Instead, supporters of gay marriage took to the courts, trying to win their case by appealing to a few judges. Well, they eventually did. Four judges decided to re-write the state constitution by judicial fiat, making gay marriage legal and giving the gay rights community not only that, but classifying disagreement with the concept of gay marriage as "hate speech", something which is Unconstitutional no matter how many judges say it isn't in contradiction of all reason.

To change something that the citizens of the state had voted upon in the millions, and come up with a many millions plurality one way by judicial fiat is a raw wound, and it should not have surprised anyone with the IQ of an amoeba that there would be a push back, and so Proposition 8 qualified for the ballot, defining marriage as one man, one woman, and removing the hate speech classification.

I think it quite reasonable - only fair, in fact - that the homosexual community have the same rights of civil partnership as anyone else. I did not, initially, understand that the issue was broader, and so I was planning to vote against Proposition 8 as a matter of course. Sure, we had lost previously, and it certainly rubbed me the wrong way that four judges had undone the work of a multiple millions plurality of the voters because of their private prejudices and the fact that they happened to be a majority upon one particular court. That was very bad, but not bad enough to make me vote for Proposition 8. After all, here was another election, and if the voters voted the way I (initially) wanted them to, we would have gay marriage and have arrived at the spot where we should have been in the first place legitimately. I fully intended to vote against Proposition 8 until nearly the end of October.

That was when I found out about the "hate speech" feature of what the judges had done. Hate speech is a vile, evil concept that directly violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. I want to see what I see as justice done. I want to see homosexuals have full legal parity with heterosexuals. But it is vile, evil, and a corruption of everything I hold sacred to criminalize disagreement with me on this score or any other. Let us consider that if "hate speech" had been a fixture of life thirty years ago, homosexuals would not have many of the rights they enjoy now as a matter of course. You have the right to be heard, and to make your case, and to the victory if the citizens vote your way. NOBODY has a right to stifle dissent, to make disagreement grounds for criminal punishment. That's a right that not even traditional marriage has, and earlier in this article I said things about traditional marriage which might well be "hate speech" within the meaning of the law towards traditional heterosexual marriage, if such a protection existed. I'm glad it doesn't, and you should be also. Just because the body of public opinion favors you at this moment does not in any way give you the ability to freeze the status quo into place. How are we supposed to make future improvements if the status quo is frozen? Ladies and gentlemen, our children are going to have more data about the situation after we are gone than we could hope to. What right have we to freeze any decision of ours forever immobile into law so that they cannot change it? Do we somehow believe they will be more bigoted, more narrow minded, stupider, have less in the way of scientific knowledge? That's what criminalizing opposition to anything does.

Furthermore, gay marriage proponents had filed lawsuits against several religious houses seeking damages and the revocation of their tax exempt status for the horrible crime of disagreeing with whether gay marriage should be legal. What happened to that First Amendment clause about "nor restricting the free exercise (of religion)"? Only religions that meet certain dogmatic tests are to be permitted? Well, I can see restricting ones such as the Thuggees and Islamic Fundamentalists, who want to kill anyone who isn't one of them. But absent violence towards non-believers on the part of that sect, there is precisely zero in the way of legal, ethical, or moral justification towards outlawing religious belief. If you want crazy, harmful beliefs, Communism has killed a couple hundred million in the last century and made the lives of billions into living hells that anyone who could escaped by running away, drugging themselves into oblivion, or committing suicide, yet communists are still permitted to preach their vile mental poison of envy, which has been proven false upon the lives of billions of people within the memory of myself and billions of others alive today. By comparison, the recent history of any world religion except Fundamentalist Islam is a paragon of virtue.

I wrote a few paragraphs ago that heterosexuals are not threatened by homosexual marriage. But everyone is threatened by the concept of hate speech. None of our liberties is safe when hate speech is an avenue of legally closing down any debate. Furthermore, criminalizing hate speech isn't even beneficial. If the Nazis or the KKK want to preach their particular brand of hate, well it may be offensive to the targets, but it is one heck of a useful signpost that these miserable excuses masquerading as human beings should in no way, shape or form be trusted with power, money, votes, or even dignified by taking them seriously. By allowing it into the public discourse, we have a significant restraint upon the ability of these cretins and their allies to persuade us that they might somehow be mistaken for reasonable, rational people. By accepting a certain amount of verbal abuse upon the targets of hate, we immunize ourselves against the possibility that the proponents will ever be able to actually do anything worse.

And in the last few days of the election campaign and the aftermath, the proponents of gay marriage certainly demonstrated a vile streak of their own. Intimidation worthy of the Pinkertons against Unions at the beginning of the twentieth century isn't the first example that pops into my mind, but I'll use it. Communist guerrillas throughout the twentieth century who made a habit of intimidating and assaulting the political opposition before assuming power, and just imprisoning or shooting the survivors after they assumed power. A little old lady who happened to be a Mormon intimidated and subjected to more hateful behavior than anything she was accused of doing because she donated $100 of her own money to the anti gay marriage Yes on 8 campaign. I can understand her business being boycotted by those in favor of gay marriage - that's legitimate, just as it would be equally legitimate for pro gay marriage people to make a point of patronizing her business as often as possible. What is not acceptable is the vile treatment she received when she attempted the common courtesy of hearing out those she disagreed with. Another little old lady abused and assaulted by a mob of gay marriage proponents. I could go on for quite a while, but you can run the same search engines I can for the articles.

Well, you vile fascist pigs, here I am. Here I will stay. I voted FOR Proposition 8. Boycott my business all you want. Say all the vile things about me that you care to. I will simply delete them if they happen to be on my website. If they're not here, I'll simply get a lawyer and sue if they are within the definition of defamation - towards individuals, not causes - that has been quite correctly inscribed in our legal system for centuries. Physically assault me, and I will do my dead level best to pound you into the concrete - and then I'll get my lawyer and sue for assault. Or simply disagree with me in a civil fashion, and we can talk it over in a civilized manner. You have that right, and you might even persuade me. I don't want to classify disagreement with me or the status quo as "hate speech," and will fight any attempt to make it so.

And I will still continue to vote and speak in favor of equal civil rights for homosexuals - unless you somehow manage to convince me of what you have not done thus far: that said rights would constitute a threat significant enough to be worthy of denying equality to you. You're starting late in the game, but really making up for lost time there. I'm repulsed by your tactics and behavior of late, to the point where my flesh has crawled while reading a couple of articles about them. But I still think you should be treated equally before the government, and I understand that there are still areas where your treatment has not attained that standard (hospital visitation and funeral arrangements, to name two), and I will not only vote in favor of such equality, but vote for representatives who will vote in favor of such equality. Where I draw the line is in the use of legal force to stifle dissent, or to force religious folks to accept within their religion that which their holy books decry, whether those books be Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Zoroastrian, or whatever. I believe in equal rights, but not in special privileges. We should all have the right to be equal before the law - but none of us has the right to avoid a little unpleasantness and disagreement from time to time in dealing with those of differing beliefs.

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5 Comments

Bertha said:

Leviticus - Chapter 18 - verse 22:
God speaking to Moses stated, “Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is abomination!”

Leviticus - Chapter 20 - verse 13:
“If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus - Chapter 20 - verse 23:
“And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”


DM: Bertha, you have quite successfully managed to completely miss the point. I don't expect Christians who believe otherwise to sanction church marriage for homosexuals. I was explaining precisely where the gay rights advocates lost me - in denying your right to say those things.

I don't believe your holy book is what you evidently believe it is. I think that on the balance Christians have done far more good than evil in the world, but that does not give Christians and their leaders power over secular questions. See the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. You are free not to accept homosexuals into your religion. But in the United States you do not have the power to prevent others from accepting them. Even Spain, France, and Portugal did away with the Inquisition centuries ago.

Brian Brady Author Profile Page said:

I thought I was the only one! Here's what I said about 4 months ago:

http://activerain.com/blogsview/576906/Perhaps-A-Different-Christian-View-Of-Same-Sex-Marriage

Here's my dirty little secret; I don't think the State should be sanctioning marriage at all. I think The State should license ONLY civil unions (or domestic partnerships) for ALL couples, regardless of the gender of the licensees. Marriage is, in my opinion, a sacrament or a religious covenant, best recognized where it originated; the Church. In other words, the State of California should license my domestic partnership and The Church can recognize my marriage. All I want the State to do is grant us the rights afforded any other couple who declares to be joined, or unioned, or "partnered". I plead that those same rights be granted to all who wish them. It is that "dirty little secret" that compels me to not only vote against but actively campaign against the "Defense of Marriage" initiative on the California ballot, this November. I'd much prefer to guarantee these rights at the ballot box

but....it moved along to:

http://thegulbransens.typepad.com/straight_from_the_gully/2008/11/the-price-for-p.html#comments

I erroneously thought of this as a power grab by the State and initially opposed the Proposition. As I peeled back the layers of the onion, I found a liberal power grab at the very core of the opposition to Prop 8 and I eventually supported the Prop at the ballot.

The victims? The gay community, which has been mistakenly into believing that this to be about civil rights. Civil rights have been addressed in the most progressive of actions under California law; the Domestic Partnership Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003. I am proud, as a Californian, of that law because it specifically refutes the "Jim Crow" argument being bandied about today.

Remarkable, Dan. I thought I was speaking to an empty auditorium

Dan Melson Author Profile Page said:

Brian,

On the political websites I read, this is a fairly common position. Not as common as the knee-jerk to either side, but I'd say nearly a quarter of the ones I read have a comparable editorial view - and they're mostly the ones I respect the most.

I actually got a link from Huffington Post on this article (quickly deleted - can't spoil the pravda of evil Christians hating homosexuals)

Alex said:

Dan,

On what basis was the CA Supreme Court's ruling a "judicial fiat"? No rights were created in that case, it only stated that state cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in its marriage laws. Marriage has been recognized as a fundamental right repeatedly in California law, going back decades.

Sexual orientation, for the first time in CA, was recognized as a suspect classification. No special rights are awarded to LGBT on this basis; it just means anytime the state discriminates on the basis of that classification it must show a compelling interest and use a law that is narrowly tailored to that interest. This requirement is viewpoint neutral, so if a law discriminated against straight people in favor of gay people, it too would subject to strict judicial scrutiny. Race, gender, and religion are also suspect classifications, and have been recognized as such for decades.

How is applying this type of analysis, which has been used for decades, an example judicial fiat? If this ruling was some sort of bold faced judicial activism, so were the court's ruling in cases where they struck done interracial marriage bans, laws prohibiting Japanese citizens from owning land, and laws restricting where women could work. Is that what you are suggesting?

Additionally, hate speech law is created by the legislature. It is not judicially created as you state. I am not sure what hate speech lawsuits you are referring too. Could you please provide links? Hate speech prosecutions are exceedingly rare because of the First Amendment. I know many conservative groups passed around foreign example of hate speech prosecutions during the Prop 8 campaign, but again our First Amendment makes those much more difficult here.


Dan Melson Author Profile Page said:

>How is it a judicial fiat?

By overwriting the state constitution to suit their own preferences in defiance of the will of the voters. That's judicial fiat by definition. It's possible to agree with judicial fiat. The definition of judicial fiat has nothing to do with whether you agree or not - only the actions of the judiciary.

Sexual orientation, for the first time in CA, was recognized as a suspect classification. No special rights are awarded to LGBT on this basis; it just means anytime the state discriminates on the basis of that classification it must show a compelling interest and use a law that is narrowly tailored to that interest. This requirement is viewpoint neutral, so if a law discriminated against straight people in favor of gay people, it too would subject to strict judicial scrutiny. Race, gender, and religion are also suspect classifications, and have been recognized as such for decades.

This is what is called wishful thinking.

Those judges created them as a protected category, such that people with contrary beliefs could be held liable in courts of law for stating disagreeing views. That certainly looks like a privileged class to me - someone with whom it is criminally or civilly tortuous to disagree with. The only reason it might not look that way to you is because you are too close to the problem and you want what you want. Creating special protected classes is the entire purpose of hate speech provisions, and it is explicitly used to shut down debate. That is the consistent use of such provisions. The entire concept of hate speech is a violation of the first amendment, but nonetheless mostly well-meaning people have nonetheless brought it into being. Even if the use of opposing speech is eventually upheld, this amounts to legal terrorism, as the legal expenses can easily bankrupt someone. or even a group such as a church, not to mention threatening their tax exempt status over daring to disagree over something their holy texts say is immoral.

If this ruling was some sort of bold faced judicial activism, so were the court's ruling in cases where they struck done interracial marriage bans, laws prohibiting Japanese citizens from owning land, and laws restricting where women could work. Is that what you are suggesting?

Not so. The cases are entirely different in legal basis, and also in the legal background of existing law. Furthermore, California has an existing law which gives essentially gives homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals with a very few exceptions, which I have and will continue to support remedying. Homosexuals could have gotten those rights out of a sympathetic legislature, instead they pursued a course of inducing change by judicial fiat, as well as the creation of a privileged class. The judges of this country are not supposed to be making laws like the California Supreme Court took it upon themselves to do.

Hate speech may have been created by the legislature. However, it was four judges of the California Supreme Court who expanded it to include a new protected class never intended by the legislature. You say hate speech prosecutions are extremely rare, but there were at least three already started in just the month or so between the ruling and Proposition 8 qualifying for the ballot, and others that would have been filed had Proposition 8 failed, causing major expense to the churches who committed the evidently unpardonable sin of standing up for their beliefs. That's nowhere near rare enough - one would be one too many. I have no sympathy whatsoever for these tactics. Yes, the opposition may be in the minority, and have lost the debate, and reasonable people could be whining for them to "shut up, already!" but they are still entitled to make their case to the public and the government. Suppose thirty years ago it had been considered "hate speech" to speak against traditional marriage? How would homosexuals ever have made any progress, much less as much as they have? You don't get to stop debate just because you have what you want, and trying to do so is one way to turn people very strongly against you, even if they are in sympathy with your basic aim, as I am. Locking in the status quo not only prevents things you see as undesirable; it also prevents future improvements.

I have given you two ways that you are extremely likely to get what you want. The fact the the homosexual rights folks working on this issue continue to ignore those avenues in favor of the judicial remedy tells me that they're not so much seeking legal equality, but rather the means to ram their beliefs down the throats of those who disagree, and to stifle debate on their desires. And that is precisely where I part company with them.

Civil rights were mostly won by the legislative process, not judicial. Brown versus Board of Education was the one exception, and current law has long bypassed what rights that gave racial minorities with regards to homosexuals. It was legislation such as the Civil Rights Acts, and the Voting Rights Act, that gave these victories to the historically disadvantaged racial minorities, and they came with the full cooperation of the majority of the country

(And they wouldn't have happened had the Republicans not supported them even more strongly than the Democrats. Check the roll-call votes for those bills in Congress and the Senate if you want to know which party has always been more strongly in favor of civil rights)

Please be civil. Avoid profanity - I will delete the vast majority of it, usually by deleting the entire comment. To avoid comment spam, a comments account is required. They are freely available, and you can post comments immediately. Alternatively, you may use your Type Key registration, or sign up for one (They work at most Movable Type sites) All comments made are licensed to the site, but the fact that a comment has been allowed to remain should not be taken as an endorsement from me or the site. There is no point in attempting to foster discussion if only my own viewpoint is to be permitted. If you believe you see something damaging to you or some third party, I will most likely delete it upon request.
Logical failures (straw man, ad hominem, red herring, etcetera) will be pointed out - and I hope you'll point out any such errors I make as well. If there's something you don't understand, ask.
Nonetheless, the idea of comments should be constructive. Aim them at the issue, not the individual. Consider it a challenge to make your criticism constructive. Try to be respectful. Those who make a habit of trollish behavior will be banned.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on November 17, 2008 10:00 PM.

Links and Minifeatures 2008 11 17 Monday was the previous entry in this blog.

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