Why Stick to the Issues When You Can Stick It to Your Opponents?

Anti-Mormon Prop 8 protestEver since Prop 8 opponents woke up on November 5 and realized they had lost, much commentary has focused on the “unfairness” of the Mormon Church’s involvement. Even though activists are still seeking to enforce gay marriage through the courts, they don’t appear to want to talk about it. Instead, the post-election discussion has suggested that the Mormon Church went “too far.

Much speculation has been made that Mormons individually donated perhaps half of the pro-Prop 8 funding.   Despite misleading reporting, as Mormon Inquiry points out, the LDS Church itself donated “less than one half of one percent of the total funds” to support Prop 8.  And that was only considering the non-monetary, in-kind support to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition.  Despite false accusations and faulty reporting, the LDS Church support has been transparent and above the board.

If donations and transparency must be considered, then include the following:

So why are Mormons facing the brunt of criticism?  Is it unfair that the church was too successful in encouraging and organizing those Mormons who supported Prop 8?  Are they just a convenient scapegoat?  Despite having more money, the “No on 8″ crowd is content to direct its rage on others rather than ask themselves what they did wrong.

Aside from death threats, most of the behavior appears to be legal but is still downright creepy.  I don’t think criticism of Mormons or the LDS Church should be considered a hate crime and I do believe campaign donations should be more transparent than not.  But it’s difficult to comprehend that there wouldn’t be more outrage if gay marriage activists were being listed on web sites or black-listed.  While there has been some attention paid to this harassment it would be nice to see some investigations into who is behind it and ask them to justify these tactics.

Who knows how the courts will rule on the validity of Prop 8.  But is there any doubt that if and when the issue returns to the ballot box (for the the third time), that gay marriage supporters are now laying the foundation to discourage anyone who considers opposing them again?  

Traditional marriage may have won for now but trends suggest that may not be the case for long.   Rather than demonizing those who disagree with them, gay marriage supporters should show some patience and continue the debate.  As they have made quite clear, it’s not going away.

172 thoughts on “Why Stick to the Issues When You Can Stick It to Your Opponents?

  1. Chairm

    Jeff: “civil unions and domestic partnerships do not provide all of the same benefits of marriage”

    The one-sexed arrangement does NOT provide sex integration; does NOT provide contingency for responsible procreation; is NOT a foundational social institution nor is it a coherent whole. It lacks the core meaning of marriage.

    So, no, the one-sexed arrangment “does not provide all the benefits” to society that marriage provides to society.

    In any case, you have FAILED to justify your tiresome insistance that society be forced to treat nonmarriage as the exact equivalent of marriage. Your lack of justification is now blatantly on display in your own comments.

    I’ve left it wide open for you to state the core meaning of the particular arrangement that you have in mind; and then invited you and readers to consider its merits (and demerits).

    Thusfar it is clear that you favor treating sex-segregation on part with sex-integration. But you have not said why. It is clear that you favor using special pro-SSM rules to denounce the core meaning of marraige, but refuse to apply those same rules to the relationshp type, or the kind of arrangement, that you have in mind.

    What we have is your demand that of all the kinds of arrangements and all the types of relationships that are nonmarital, society must treat the gaycentric version of nonmarriage exactly like marriage.

    It is a baldfaced attempt to treat that subset as superior to the rest of the nonmarital category. You haven’t stated the distinction(s) that could justify this seperate treatment. You just bang your drums louder and louder and repeat your incantations.

    Jeff: “enjoy the same rights that heterosexuals currently enjoy”

    There is NO sexual orientation requirement in the marriage law. None.

    You have tried to press that into this discussion even though with gay union also there is no such requirement, anyplace where it has been enacted.

    Yet you keep returning to this hetero versus homosexuality thing. You haven’t shown the relevance.

    It is not even about sexuality, according to your own argumentation, since there is NO legal requirement that makes some sexual act mandatory for the all-female arrangement nor for the all-male arrangement, anyplace where gay union has been enacted.

    Maybe you intended to cite that legal requirement but haven’t got around to it yet?

    I gave you the benefit of the doubt. If gayness is the important criterion, then, why stand in the way of siblings both of whom are gay? You have yet to explain the line-drawing based on the core of the one-sexed arrangement.

    And yet you want to make sexuality the key criteria for barring some people from whatever it is you have in mind to press into the law. That’s your objection, apparently, to siblings. But note the lack of these requirements. You have nothing to offer but your professed “moral repugnance” and yet cannot state the act that you label as such.

    That shows cowardice on the part of the SSM campaign. Whiney, cloying, cowardice. You need to go check with the people who manufacture your arguments, Jeff, since it is obvious you are coming up with nothing on your own. As, them to show less cowardice and face the actual disagreement instead of producing more strawmen.

    * * *

    Jeff: “discussed at length these morally repugnant statements”

    At length? As I said earlier, you have not done nothing of the sort.

    But, in your latest dodge, you say the statements are repugnant.

    Whew, you were earlier complaining of certain “morally repugnant acts”.

    Keep moving the goal posts and soon enough you’ll score the winning goal against yourself.

    For now, I’ll just note that you are again trying to resurrect public morality in lawmaking — after the SSM campaign has repeatedly attacked legislating morality.

    You cited statements. You have NOT repudiated those statements.

    You have cast aspersions. You have whined and moaned about how your feelings are hurt. But your remarks show you have misread and haven’t comprehended the meaning of those statements.

    YOUR comments have been an example of The SSM Vogue. You refuse to stand up like an adult and say precisely what you are complaining about. So you namecall and continue to make with the accusatory rhetoric. You stomp your feet like a 3-year-old child throwing a temper tantrum. I know you think that repeating words like “animus” may seem adult-like, but you clearly don’t have a clue what it actually means, because your animus is hanging out in the light of day.

    * * *

    Jeff: “believe that these comparisons are O.K. in the context of gays and lesbians and their relationships”

    Well, untill you state why the comparisons are NOT okay, it is not even clear what YOU believe the statements actually said.

    I know you act like you think you have devined some secret code or something. But you still haven’t explained yourself.

    It is not up to me to do that work for you. You made the accusations. You owe the discussion a convincing explanation.

    Why are you so scared to backup what YOU brought to the comment section?

    Nope, repeating the links is not good enough. Nope, repeating the quotes does not suffice.

    If lyou refuse to take that responsiblity, for your own accusations, then, no one need bother with your complaint. You lack credibility.

    Now, I realize that you keep on this off-topic nonsense (you still haven’t shown the relevance even if your accusations were taken as true on their face) only as an exercise in throwing mud. Maybe something will stick. That way you can keep throwing more mud and hope for more to stick.

    But that’s nothing more than propagandistic BS.

    You might do better, Jeff, and after all these comments one might think you’d at least finally make the effort to backup what you keep saying is of such importance that it must convince readers that you’ve got something relevant to say about the topic of the blogpost.

    At least you might try better to backup your own certitude. Your repeated expression of certitude is no more confincing that when you first put it in pixels here.

    I’ve put this challenge to you in a variety of ways, with plenty of opportunity for you to engage the topic on your own terms. I’ve used your own stated standards in discussing your own comments. You’ve been playing dodge ball against someone who just wants to discuss the actual disagreement.

    And you keep namecalling and hurling accusations instead of seeing me as a human being whose disagreement with you is not based on your animus toward marriage and toward society — not even on your animus toward me, someone commenting in the blogosphere.

    You disagree with the core meaning of marriage. Your disagreement is with the universal social institution. And from all that you’ve said, thusfar, it seems to arise not from a concern about justice and equality, but solely from gay identity politics.

    As I said earlier, it was unjust to press identity politics into marriage law, and into jurisprudence, when it was racist identity politics; and it would be no less unjust to do soe when it is gay identity politics.

    You might imagine your cause to be more benign, but the problem remains anyway. And your continued doging andyour moving of goalposts and your accusatory rhetoric does not achieve very much in advancing a substantive discussion.

    In that way, your example here is of a kind with that of the anti-8ers who have engaged in reprisals and vengeance-seeking.

    * * *

    And to think that you entered this comment section under a blogpost that asked: “Why Stick to the Issues When You Can Stick It to Your Opponents?”

    You comments, taken as a whole, demonstrate the lack of a principled basis for banging your drums in the street and shaking your fists at those with whom you’d disagree.

    * * *

    By the way, I think you’d do very well, Jeff, to contemplate more deeply on Pearl’s comments here. She’s someone I am very sure you’d enjoy to meet over a cup of coffee. So try to imagine you are speaking to a real human being, sitting across from you, ready to understand before being understood.

    That’s something that is missing in your comments right now.

  2. Pearl

    Jeff,

    Your #2 is an incorrect interpretation.

    Of course homosexuals deserve civil rights. Every Homo Sapien in the US deserves civil rights. Marriage, however, is not a civil right. That is why I sympathize with Blacks who are offended by the comparison between one’s obviously changeable sexual behavior and one’s obviously not changeable skin color.

    Your #3 is true of the behavior, not the person. Homosexuals do not inherit a right to have their sexual behavior accepted by all purely for the fact that they were born. No one should ever be forced to accept a behavior that is in direct conflict with their beliefs and in direct conflict with health and perpetuation of life. Tolerate, yes. Accept, no way. That would infringe on people’s Constitutionally protected freedom of religion. A fact for which many people initially voted yes on Prop 8. What homosexuals deserve, Jeff, is to be loved for the people they are, regardless of their sexual orientation. But even love and acceptance are two different things altogether.

    Do you believe that everyone should be required to accept homosexuals?

    You also said,

    “Do you really believe that giving two loving and committed (unrelated) persons the right to marry will somehow impact YOUR marriage? How would my marriage in a small town in California’s Central Valley impact your marriage wherever you live? It wouldn’t impact your family in any way.”

    Oh, I see. So you would be the only gay man getting married after homosexual marriage is legalized? Just up there in Central Valley? It is not about proximity, Jeff. But you will never acknowledge that; no matter if this conversation were 300 or 500 comments long. It is about giving a government stamp of approval to an unhealthy, deviant lifestyle, thereby jeopardizing the healthy development of children by nurturing gender and gender role confusion, and the healthy development of society by stunting its growth through the state blessing surrendered to inherently dead-end relationships, and devaluing the institution of marriage by association. It is about having the government say, through legislation, that homosexual sex is okay. And it is not.

    Honestly, Jeff, you and I disagree on the very fundamental point that homosexuality, or rather, the act of homosexual sex, is not okay – from a religious and social standpoint. And neither of us is going to change our respective opinions on that. So while I appreciate the conversation, I am not so patient as Chairm when it comes to circular discussion. I wish you well in life. I truly do. Contrary to your presumptions, I have no malice in my heart for homosexuals. It is their choice to engage in the sexual activities they prefer. But I do not now, nor ever will, hold with giving their sexual behavior an equal representation in society as that afforded to the relationship between a man and a woman which is designed for the very purpose of propagating said society. I hope and pray for them to find happiness and fulfillment of their own accord and not through forced recognition, appropriation, and acceptance by others.

    Thanks for a great discussion! I respect your right to hold and express an opinion directly opposite my own. As the Good Book says, there must be opposition in all things.

    A.D.

    I think asking questions and exercising a bit of forethought is absolutely the best way to approach this debate. We are such a NOW people, “I want it and I want it NOW.” Therefore, we have a hard time tempering emotions with patience enough to take a hard look at cause and effect. Consequences. You pose a lot of very good questions.

  3. Jeff

    Pearl:

    In your last post, you stated: “That is why I sympathize with Blacks who are offended by the comparison between one’s obviously changeable sexual behavior and one’s obviously not changeable skin color.”

    While you are (obviously) entitled to your opinion regarding whether sexual orientation can be changed, your opinion goes against the weight of scientific evidence. I quote from a website of the American Psychiatric Association:

    “ There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of “reparative therapy” as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation, nor is it included in the APA’s Task Force Report, Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. More importantly, altering sexual orientation is not an appropriate goal of psychiatric treatment. Some may seek conversion to heterosexuality because of the difficulties that they encounter as a member of a stigmatized group. Clinical experience indicates that those who have integrated their sexual orientation into a positive sense of self-function at a healthier psychological level than those who have not. “Gay affirmative psychotherapy” may be helpful in the coming out process, fostering a positive psychological development and overcoming the effects of stigmatization.”
    See http://www.healthyminds.org/glbissues.cfm . See also “Facts About Changing Sexual Orientation” at http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_changing.html .

    You have ( apparently) chosen to end your participation in this thread with the statement that “[c]ontrary to your presumptions, I have no malice in my heart for homosexuals.”

    Nice words, but I will leave it up to the readers of this thread to determine if some of the other statements that you made in this thread about gays and lesbians and their relationships match the benign statement that you made above.

  4. Jeff

    Chairm:

    It is clear from the tenor of your last comment that you are very displeased with where this thread has ended up after an exchange that has included more than 150 comments.

    Of course, it would have been unrealistic to believe that you could change my mind on this topic or I could change your mind — especially given the clearly different positions that you and I hold on whether gays and lesbians should have the right to marry the one consenting (and unrelated) adult that they love.

    What I do hope has been gained from our extensive exchange to date (as well as the comments of other participants in this thread) is that a wide range information and different points of view have been examined so that others reading this thread can reach an informed decision on their own.

    While the result of the California Supreme Court’s decision in the Proposition 8 litigation is unknown at this point, I thought that language written by Chief Justice George in the In re Marriage Cases (the 2008 case that legalized gay and lesbian marriage in California before that right was taken away by Proposition 8 ) provides a useful perspective on the issue of gay and lesbians relationships.

    Chief Justice George – writing for the majority – wrote that “retaining the traditional definition of marriage and affording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children.”

    He went on to explain: “Whether or not the name ‘marriage,’ in the abstract, is considered a core element of the state constitutional right to marry, one of the core elements of this fundamental right is the right of same-sex couples to have their official family relationship accorded the same dignity, respect, and stature as that accorded to all other officially recognized family relationships. The current statutes – by drawing a distinction between the name assigned to the family relationship available to opposite-sex couples and the name assigned to the family relationship available to same-sex couples, and by reserving the historic and highly respected designation of marriage exclusively to opposite-sex couples while offering same-sex couples only the new and unfamiliar designation of domestic partnership – pose a serious risk of denying the official family relationship of same-sex couples the equal dignity and respect that is a core element of the constitutional right to marry.”

    George, and the majority of justices, concluded “that in the present context, affording same-sex couples access only to the separate institution of domestic partnership, and denying such couples access to the established institution of marriage, properly must be viewed as impinging upon the right of those couples to have their family relationship accorded respect and dignity equal to that accorded the family relationship of opposite-sex couples.”

    The court based this conclusion on three findings: that “the long and celebrated history of the term ‘marriage’ and the widespread understanding that this term describes a union unreservedly approved and favored by the community” makes it “apparent that affording access to this designation exclusively to opposite-sex couples … realistically must be viewed as constituting significantly unequal treatment to same-sex couples”; that, “particularly in light of the historic disparagement of and discrimination against gay persons, there is a very significant risk that retaining a distinction in nomenclature with regard to this most fundamental of relationships … inevitably will cause [domestic partnerships] … to be viewed as of a lesser stature than marriage and, in effect, as a mark of second-class citizenship”; and that unfamiliarity with domestic partnership “is likely … to pose significant difficulties and complications for same-sex couples, and perhaps most poignantly for their children, that would not be presented if, like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples were permitted access to the established and well-understood family relationship of marriage.”

    Honestly, that seems to say it all.

    (You can see the full decisions at either http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/archive/S147999.PDF or http://www.lambdalegal.org/our-work/in-court/decisions/decision-california-supreme-court.html )

  5. LSFrances

    Just jumping in here, I’ve been following the thread, and it’s increasingly curious that although Jeff seems confident about his position, he is unwilling to answer, or even to think about the questions posed to him.

    He is unapologetically proposing an expansion of the marriage definition but closing it off arbitrarily– while arguing that no one else can make a similar (yet different) decision about the definition of marriage.

    It’s also fascinating how he keeps answering questions with tangential information.

    Pretty clear where the reason is here.

  6. Ruby Eliot

    So many times when discussing the issue of homosexuality people use this argument:

    The APA dropped homosexuality from its list of disorders in 1973.

    Somehow this is supposed to irrefutably convince society that there is nothing to be concerned about with the lifestyle (despite its high incidence rate of unhealthy behaviors/consequences which span the medical and psychological spectrum).

    Because the APA accepts it as normal– then we all have to go along. Where is the evidence? Was it a medically motivated move?

    The APA voted on it:

    * Total APA members eligible to vote: 17,905
    * Number of APA members that actually voted: 10,555
    * Number of members that “Abstained”: 367
    * Number of “ No” votes-votes to keep “homosexuality” in the DSM as a mental disorder: 3,810
    * Number of “Yes” votes-votes to remove “homosexuality” from the DSM as a mental disorder: 5,854
    * It should be noted that the number of “Yes” (5,854) made up only 32.7 percent of the total membership of the APA.

    Only slightly less than one-third of the APA’s membership approved the change.

    It should be further noted that the “National Gay Task Force” was able to obtain APA members addresses and the “NGTF” (with-out identifying itself) and they sent creepy letters to all members urging them to vote to remove “homosexuality” from the DSM.

    Bruce Voeller, the head of the NGTF admits, “Our costly letter has perhaps made the difference.” (The Long Road to Freedom, ed. by Mark Thompsan1994, p. 105-106)

    Dishonesty and intimidation had won the day for the same-gender sex movement, and when activists publicly claim that this vote was a scientific decision; they hide three years of deceit and intimidation.

    Go here for the whole article and Beetle B’s commentary (and the comments section) which is really interesting.

    p.s. the article isn’t very long and does a good job of presenting the context for why and how the disorder was dropped

  7. Guy

    I agree with Frances. Tangential = Weak argument.

    Jeff should answer the question:

    How is SSM okay, but not sibling marriage?

    I also have this question for him:

    Is it okay for someone to marry someone they don’t love?

  8. wayd0wns0uth

    “particularly in light of the historic disparagement of and discrimination against gay persons, there is a very significant risk that retaining a distinction in nomenclature with regard to this most fundamental of relationships … inevitably will cause [domestic partnerships] … to be viewed as of a lesser stature than marriage and, in effect, as a mark of second-class citizenship”

    So, even the justices themselves ruled based on that dang, “logical fallacy”, slippery slope.

    Very interesting . . . ahem . . . hypocritical.

  9. Euripides

    The California Supreme Court majority opinion which declared the 2000 marriage definition law unconstitutional was not an opinion based on any legal precedent, nor was it argued with any reference to civil rights. (This includes any reference to the 14th amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees equal protection. Equal protection does not apply to a definition of marriage.) Chief Justice Ronald M. George, instead of arguing on the basis of civil rights, which he well knew would never be accepted, argued for a new, made up definition of a fundamental (or inalienable) right – the “right to marry.”

    With the 2008 ruling, the California Supreme Court didn’t argue that homosexual marriage was a civil right. The problem with the court decision is that there is no “fundamental right to marry” either. Justice George had to make up a right in order for his opinion to have any chance of viability when brought to a court vote. He hoped that his interpretation (i.e., his made-up fundamental right) would become accepted within the state, and hence would open the door to redefine marriage into something it is not.

    The gay community does not understand the court’s nuance, or chooses to ignore it, instead hijacking the ideals and verbiage of the civil rights movement to promote the made-up “right to marry” as a civil right. However, not even the California Supreme Court considered this a civil rights issue.

  10. GoGreen535SoCalifornia

    Good point Euripides, I’ve never heard that before. Very useful. Thank you.

  11. GrammyPammy

    These comments have been filling up my inbox. And they have been extremely interesting. But I feel I must hop in for a moment, too. While much of what is being said goes beyond my limited scope of understanding, I must say that I am quite put off by Jeff’s arrogance. In responding to Pearl, he cynically retorts:

    “Nice words, but I will leave it up to the readers of this thread to determine if . . . .”

    Young man, thank you so much for granting me the privilege of coming to my own conclusions. I had no idea that I had relinquished that right to you.

    Pearl, honey, I appreciate your sincerity. It’s not easy for people on the flip side of this argument to understand what you just stated so eloquently. For my generation, before the advent of political correctness, “Love the sinner, hate the sin” used to do just fine. Obviously we have come ’round to standing for truth being, unfortunately, unpopular.

  12. harper

    Jeff– I’ve been reading along for a while.

    The circling is annoying…I’m more and more unconvinced…
    Answer questions more directly. Maybe you can convince people? HTH

    BTW–Chairm, I find your comments so refreshing thx.

  13. Chairm

    Quoting the CA Supreme Court does not answer the challenge, Jeff.

    the right of same-sex couples to have their official family relationship accorded the same dignity, respect, and stature as that accorded to all other officially recognized family relationships

    The categories are NOT same-sex versus opposite-sex.

    There are opposite-sex relationship types that are ineligible to marry.

    These are not arbitrary lines. They are drawn AROUND the core meaning of marriage.

    They are NOT drawn around sexual orientation.

    The categories are marriage and nonmarriage.

    There are nonmarital families which are opposite-sexed and nonmarital families with are same-sexed. Most of the same-sexed arrangements are NOT defined by gayness. Most of the people in such arrangements are not engaged in same-sex sexual behavior.

    The gaycentric arguments try to convince everyone that same-sex is synonymous with homosexual. But that’s false.

    In fact, in the law there is no homoexual requirement for gay union.

    Jeff still has not explained the lines drawn, within the same-sex category, for gay union. Why is one combination of people a-okay but another combination is “morally repugnant”?

    Jeff just repeats an arbitrary line. “Unrelated” is so important to him but he can’t say why.

    The limitation of just two is so important to him, as well, but he can’t say why.

    He talks of a right but he cannot say what the right is. He says, the right to marry, but what does that mean?

    He quotes the CA Supreme Court, but they refer to “official family relationship” and that does not distinguish marriage from nonmarriage.

    It must mean that, according to Jeff’s own stated standards, to exclude the wide range of nonmarital family relationships — even those which include children — is his own expression of animus, hatred, and repugnance at people whose need for protections MUST NOT BE accorded” the same dignity, respect, and stature as that accorded to all other officially recognized family relationships.”

    He wants gayness to be treated as seperately special. But he can’t say why according equal treatment to the rest of the nonmarital category would harm his private gay relationship.

    * * *

    this term [marriage] describes a union unreservedly approved and favored by the community

    Well, what is marriage? What is its core meaning so that society can distinguish it from nonmarriage and then unreservedly approve and favor that social institution?

    Jeff still has not answered this challenge.

    He still has not answered it even in terms of the core meaning of gay union.

    Quoting the CA Supreme Court doesn’t help Jeff on that very important problem in his comments.

    * * *

    in light of the historic disparagement of and discrimination against gay persons

    Once again, the categories are not gay and straight.

    The categories are marriage and nonmarriage. Distinguish one from the other.

    Likewise, within the same-sex category that SSMers talk about incesstantly, as a rhetorical proxy for homosexual, why doesn’t Jeff have the gumption to distinguish gay union from non-gay-union?

    Why would two gay siblings be ineligible? There is no requirement that they be sexually attracted to one another, nor that they engage in some compulsory sexual act, nor that they commit anything “morally repugnant”.

    Their love might not be sexual in any way. But they are both gay. And siblings. Unfortunately, they are opposed by Jeff for an unstated reason.

    Can’t be because they are gay. Must be because they are siblings.

    Okay, drop the sibling part. But add another gay person. What’s the big problem that allows for Jeff’s moral repugnance? Or that allows for Jeff’s readiness to exclude?

    It can’t be concerns about sex equality since Jeff is a-okay with excluding one of the sexes. Selective sex-segregation is something he embraces. Adding another person of the same sex does not detract from the sameness. Nor does it add to sex equality.

    The lines are not arbitrary when it comes to marriage. But Jeff hopes that his arbitrary lines are acceptable due to his professed “moral repugnance”.

    Maybe, for Jeff, he cannot imagine the historic disparagement of polygamists in our country. Whether he objects to polygamy, in his private thoughts, is irrelevant; this is a public status for a right to marry, right?

    If Jeff thinks that the right to marry is important to the gay population, but not to three gay people seeking a union, and not to polygamist seeking official status, then, all his talk of equal dignity and the like is destroyed by his arbitrary line-drawing.

    Afterall, the three gay people would have a greater claim to historic disparagement than would two gay people. The threesome can claim not just the disparagement that Jeff claims for “same-sex couples”; they can claim the disparagement that polygamists have long suffered, too.

    Now, I neither support treating all related people the same under the marriage law; nor do I support treating all previously married people the same under the marriage law; but that’s because I recognize the societal significance of the core meaning of marriage.

    Jeff rejects that core meaning. So he needs to explain his arbitrary law-drawing. He has no authority on his own. He needs society to 1) accept his alternative core meaning and 2) accept his justificaton for lines based on that core meaning.

    He skips that. As did the legislators who merged domestic partnership with marital status, locally, in California.

    The CA Supreme Court noticed the merger. The merger of same-sex and opposite-sex does not answer the challenge that Jeff keeps dodging.

    But citing that particular court’s opinion points to the many flaws in SSM arugmentation that the majority opinion recruited to produce the merger in name as well.

    No matter what Jeff seems to say he cannot bring himself to explain his line-drawing. He can’t because he doesn’t know how to describe the core meaning of gay union.

    He imagines that “one man, one woman” is just as arbitrary as his own line-drawing. But if that is the case, then, he’d concede that he is really calling for the abolition of marriage in the eyes of Government.

    He really thinks that the law can draw lines without a core meaning. He really thinks he can assert a right to marry without distinguishing marrige from nonmarraige. He really thinks that this is about official family relationships — but not about the rest of the nonmarital family relationships.

    Over and over and over again, SSMers demonstrate hat their fight is not in the interest of justice, but rather “in just us”.

  14. Jeff

    Well, Chairm:

    Based upon the flurry of new individuals posting in the past 12 hours, it appears that you are now preaching to the pro-Proposition 8 choir with your latest post; indeed, you are repeating a number of the points that you have previously made and a number of the mischaracterizations and mistatements that you have previously outlined.

    I encourage those just joining this thread (and the intrepid readers who have hung in there for at least 164 comments) to reread the all prior posts in this thread as a lot of ground has been covered during the five plus weeks that this thread has been active.

  15. Chairm

    Jeff, the recent comments were made by people who explained they have followed the discussion.

    The challenge has been repeated by myself, Jeff, because you have repeatedly dodged it.

    It is amusing to watch you keep count of the comments. You do know, of course, that the count is automatically displayed on this blog, right?

    So, no, there is no need for you to keep count of the comments in your comments. And, no, there is no need for you to dodge by reminding readers you have repeatedly dodged in earlier comments. Give readers more credit for knowing the score, Jeff.

  16. Jeff

    Actually, Chairm, some of the comments/questions in the past 24 hours were on topics that had been discussed at length in this thread — those individuals posting recently clearly had NOT read all of the comments in this thread and were not aware of the extensive dialogue that has occurred. That is one of the reasons that I have encouraged individuals to review this thread.

    I have also encouraged individuals to reread this thread because of the misrepresentations in your posts in the past 48 hours about what issues have and have not been addressed during the very extensive discussions that have occurred in this thread since February 10, 2009. It is—of course—up to the other readers of this thread to make their own determination if misrepresentations have (or have not) occurred and—ultimately—the validity of the arguments and information that have been raised and discussed throughout this thread.

    While I know at least one individual monitoring the discussions on this thread had an issue with my prior recommendation that the readers review the comments for themselves and determine their position on a particular issue, in the end, everyone reading this thread should do just that.

  17. Euripides

    Here, I agree with Chairm’s last comment. The reason the posts came back to the same point was because of the merry-go-round arguments from Jeff.

    Personally, I finally chimed in because Jeff quoted the California Supreme Court decision last year which showed a misunderstanding of the point of Justice George’s majority opinion. This point has not yet been adequately responded to by the anti-marriage activists. Rather, it is universally ignored in favor of the same erroneous mantras about same sex marriage.

  18. Jeff

    David:

    I thought you would be interested in an article from “Religion in the News”, which provides an overview of some of the coverage relating to Proposition 8 and the LDS Church’s involvement with it. The link is at: http://caribou.cc.trincoll.edu/depts_csrpl/RINVol11No3/Mormon%20Proposition.htm

    I have also attached the article below.

    Jeff

    The Mormon Proposition
    by Doe Daughtrey

    On May 15, the California Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22, the ballot initiative that in 2000 banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State. On June 2, Proposition 8 qualified for the November 4 California ballot, and religious groups rallied around what they hoped would be the definitive constitutional end to gay marriage. And although Catholic bishops and evangelical groups were active in the effort, public attention focused on the involvement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the Mormons.

    The Mormon effort drew wide attention after Peggy Fletcher Stack, the Salt Lake Tribune’s longtime religion reporter, revealed in a June 24 article that the church had slated a pro-Proposition 8 letter to be read from California pulpits on June 30. Seeking to preserve “the sacred institution of marriage” as articulated by Mormon doctrine, the church would instruct its members to “do all you can” by donating “means and time” for the proposition’s passage, Stack reported.

    Mormon political activism on hot-button social issues is hardly unprecedented. In 1978, for example, the LDS church helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment by asking church members to oppose it. While the church often stays out of the fray—as in the case of assisted suicide—it has actively opposed gay marriage from the beginning.

    In 1998, it played a key role (and, according to Stack, spent $1.1 million) in defeating gay marriage initiatives in Hawaii and Alaska. The church went on to mobilize its California members on behalf of Proposition 22, and offered public support to the failed federal marriage amendment in 2006.

    Although other religious bodies donated time and money to the Proposition 8 campaign, it was the LDS church’s seemingly effortless and lightning-quick ability to mobilize its members that caught the public eye. Catholics make a practice of ignoring their bishops, and evangelicals are a disparate flock, but Mormons believe that the head of their church is a prophet of God—and tend to act accordingly.

    The biggest story had to do with Mormon financial backing, especially what came from out of state. “One thing I learned as a Mormon was that preaching costs money,” Bruce Bastian, former Mormon, gay Utah resident, and co-founder of WordPerfect, told the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Wildermuth July 28. “The Mormons will raise a lot of money to support Proposition 8 in November.” (Bastian himself donated $1 million to the other side.)

    On September 17 and 18, Rosemary Winters of the Salt Lake Tribune called attention to http://www.Mormonsfor8.com, a website dedicated to tracking Mormon contributions to the pro-Prop 8 website http://www.ProtectMarriage.com — listed on the LDS Church’s website to facilitate its members’ participation.

    “If we could identify every Mormon, I think that probably 85 to 90 percent of the donors would be Mormon,” said website proprietor Nadine Hansen, a 61-year-old, semi-retired lawyer (and non-practicing Mormon) from Cedar City, Utah. (In a subsequent story, Hansen told the AP’s Eric Gorski that she had used campaign records, “tips from site visitors and church members,” and search engines to track down LDS donors.)

    On September 20, Mark Schoofs of the Wall Street Journal reported that, in an August conference call, church leaders solicited $25,000 donations from 40 to 60 California Mormons, an amount likely based on their tithing receipts. LDS officials maintained a separate post-office box to handle members’ donations, which were tallied and sent to the campaign. As of mid-September, the Protect Marriage Coalition’s own figures indicated that Mormon donations would likely exceed 40 percent of total contributions to the initiative.

    Scrutiny of Mormon activities increased in October, after the LDS church expanded its efforts through a special broadcast targeted at Brigham Young University students and “Californians living in Utah.” On October 8, Peggy Fletcher Stack reported that church leaders called for “30 members from each California congregation to donate four hours a week to the campaign.”

    Institutional support for those efforts included the church website http://www.PreservingMarriage.org, with materials for “young married couples and single Latter-day Saints to use the Internet, text messaging, blogging and other forms of computer technology to help pass the initiative.” By mid-October, virtually all reporting on Proposition 8 financing referred to the impact of Mormon money.

    Then, on October 23, Stack reported that the LDS Church had “released” those who had been “called” by the church to help secure passage of the initiative. Utah County Democratic Party head Richard Davis implied that church efforts might be backfiring. “If a caller says, ‘Hi, I’m calling from Heber City, Utah,’ that might be a turn-off to a California voter,” Davis said.

    Indeed, before Election Day, there were picket lines at northern California LDS church buildings. And after Prop 8 passed, angry opponents made the church their prime target. Gay-rights advocates gathered outside LDS temples across the country and called for a boycott on Utah tourism. Envelopes containing white powder arrived at LDS temples in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

    On November 15, designated as a day of protest against the LDS church nationwide, Mormon churches and seminary (religious education) buildings were vandalized and copies of the Book of Mormon burned. LDS church members Scott Eckern, a Sacramento artistic theater director, and Richard Raddon, a Los Angeles Film Festival director, resigned their positions after their donations were made public. An official complaint was filed with California’s fair-elections commission charging that the LDS Church had broken election laws by failing to report “significant contributions,” such as “commercials, out-of-state phone banks and a Web site sponsored by the church.”

    Even as it condemned the protests, the church cautioned members to treat those who disagree with “love and kindness.” Saints were asked to be honest, respectful, and civil regarding each other’s decisions on their chosen level of involvement.

    The mainstream press, which prior to the election had steered clear of expressing an opinion on Mormon involvement in the initiative, was generally critical of the anti-Mormon protests. A November 18 editorial in the Spokane Spokesman-Review took protesters to task for their derogatory signs and blanket condemnation of Mormons simply for supporting the initiative. On November 23, San Francisco Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz attacked “the ugly backlash over Proposition 8.”

    The widely viewed (via YouTube) anti-Proposition 8 video depicting two Mormon missionaries “invading” the home of two married lesbians provoked a distressed op-ed from religious liberty advocate Charles Haynes, who asserted that there were no winners in this “ugly debate.” Excoriating the video in the Los Angeles Times, National Review editor Jonah Goldberg imagined comparable videos aimed at Jews and Muslims. Mormons, he claimed, were “vulnerable” victims and “easy targets” for liberal critics.

    On the other side, Gabriel Winant of the Chicago Sun-Times argued that the large amount of money generated by Mormon activism did justify the protests outside the LDS temples. Acknowledging that the LDS church no longer practices plural marriage, Winant quoted one protestor as firmly insisting (in reference to the church’s “own controversial history of nontraditional marriage”), “It’s the pot calling the kettle black.”

    If more intense than usual, such contention over the LDS church’s role was hardly new. What set the Proposition 8 campaign apart from earlier exercises of Mormon political muscle was dissent within the ranks of the faithful. For no sooner did the church call for members’ support than some Mormons in California and other states began writing letters to editors and developing pro-gay marriage websites and blogs challenging its involvement.

    On July 6, Rebecca Rosen Lum of the Oakland Tribune noted how things had changed since Proposition 22 in 2000: “Some Mormons are rejecting their prophet’s call to campaign for a ban on same-sex marriage in California, suggesting the church leadership’s sway over the issue of homosexuality may be weakening.”

    The most high-profile LDS opponent of Proposition 8 was Barbara Young, wife of former NFL 49ers quarterback Steve Young. Throughout his career in professional football, Young used his fame to promote the LDS church, and the church in turn held him up to young Mormon men as an example.

    On October 31, the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Wildermuth took note in his blog of “No on 8” signs in the Youngs’ yard and quoted Barbara Young as saying, “We believe ALL families matter and we do not believe in discrimination, therefore, our family will vote against Prop. 8.”

    According to Wildermuth, Young quickly qualified her husband’s involvement, telling the anti-Proposition 8 organization Equality California that evening, “I am very passionate about this issue and Steve is completely supportive of me and my work for equality. We both love our Church and are grateful that our Church encourages us to vote our conscience. Steve prefers not to get involved politically on any issue no matter what the cause and therefore makes no endorsement.”

    Barbara Young’s citation of her church’s encouragement to “vote our conscience” was, in this context, highly significant. In a tradition that has historically placed a very high value on following church teaching, it pointed to the other Mormon question of national significance during the 2008 election cycle: the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney.

    As a candidate, Romney faced two main religion-related problems: Mormon theological distinctiveness and the Mormon culture of obedience, which raised the question of Romney’s subjection to the authority of the LDS church. And like John F. Kennedy before him, Romney was ultimately compelled to give a speech claiming political independence from his church.

    For its part, the LDS church responded to the situation by issuing a statement on December 6, 2007, intended to clarify its institutional involvement in politics. The statement reiterated the church’s commitment to political neutrality, denied it had officially supported Romney’s candidacy, declared it would play no role in a “Mormon” presidency, and asserted respect for political diversity and “differences of opinion in partisan political matters” among its members.

    The statement did not go unnoticed among the Saints. For example, in a February 2008 discussion of Romney’s “faith speech” on the By Common Consent blog, one contributor quipped that it was now obligatory to take church authority with a grain of salt: “If he’s ‘a true Mormon,’ wouldn’t he believe it when leaders promise not to require him to pay any attention to what they…say?”

    The sense was that Romney’s candidacy had legitimated dissent within the church. Thus, in a private email conversation on the day he withdrew from the race, a group of LDS women commented on the impact of Romney’s candidacy on their participation in gender-based activism, with one expressing the fear that now “the scrutiny will be off Mormons, perhaps making those who [dissented] a bit more vulnerable to church discipline.” Countered another: “As long as the church is under a national/international microscope because of Romney, they won’t even acknowledge our existence.”

    It’s a safe guess that the church would not have pulled out all the stops for Proposition 8 had Romney been the Republican nominee. Yet inside the church, members did not forget the new opening for individual conscience.

    In an article by Tom Quinn in the October 29 New Statesman, Robert Bennion, a California LDS bishop with a gay brother, discussed his ambivalence about participating in the initiative, saying he refused to “allow any campaigning during church time or on church property.” After the election, Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe commented on the “unusual level of disagreement in the ordinarily harmonious Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” caused by “the church’s outspoken support for Proposition 8.”

    Mormons asserting LDS identity through their opposition to Proposition 8 created such websites as http://www.lds4gaymarriage.org, http://www.signingforsomething.org/, and http://mormonsformarriage.com/.

    These presented dissenting viewpoints that drew on LDS sacred texts and statements from church leaders in an effort to show that Proposition 8 violated Mormon ideals and was contrary to scripture.

    Not that this was an easy position to take publicly. On August 23, Laura Compton, co-creator of mormonsformarriage.com, told Jennifer Dobner of the San Francisco Chronicle, “If you think you are the only person in your [church community] that feels that way and the rhetoric is really loud, it’s painful.”

    Millie Watts, a Salt Lake City LDS mother with two gay children mobilized other Mormon mothers with gay children in support of gay marriage. Reporting November 2 on a rally of theirs that drew 600, the Salt Lake Tribune’s Rosemary Winters described the sense of “disappointment and betrayal” they felt over LDS Church support of Proposition 8.

    Among the church’s most strident critics was Andrew Callaghan of Hastings, Nebraska, founder of the website signingforsomething.org. Callaghan attracted attention in late September when Jeniffer Berry of KHAS-TV reported that he had been threatened with church discipline because of the website.

    In a comprehensive review of Mormon dissent on Proposition 8 that appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune October 24, Peggy Fletcher Stack quoted one former California bishop as saying, “It will take considerable humility, charity and forgiveness to heal the wounds caused by this initiative.” High-level church leader L. Whitney Clayton told her that Mormons who disagree with the church would not face sanctions. In the past, Mormons who publicly opposed the church have routinely been excommunicated or disfellowshipped.

    On November 6, Carrie A. Moore of the church-owned Deseret News quoted Elder L. Whitney Clayton, the leader of the church’s Proposition 8 initiative, as saying that local leaders would handle dissenters on a case-by-case basis.

    As for Andrew Callaghan, his original church court was indefinitely postponed by church authorities until after the election. Though signingforsomething.org now provides space for disenchanted Mormons to post their letters of resignation from the church, as of early January, there were no reports of action taken by the LDS church against him or other Mormon opponents of Proposition 8.

    Religion in the News, Spring 2009
    See http://caribou.cc.trincoll.edu/depts_csrpl/RINVol11No3/Mormon%20Proposition.htm

  19. GrammyPammy

    The title says it all. Why read an article that starts out with an erroneous title that intends to mislead its readers? Proposition 8 was not “the Mormon proposition.” On the contrary, Mormons were the last religious group brought into the coalition that backed Prop 8, and they were invited by the Catholic representation in the coalition.

    I think it’s funny that people get so mad at Mormons for being productive. We’re willing to volunteer when others are not so energetic. To participate, when others are too busy. Dang Mormons. ;) And, to be fair, let’s not forget that Mormons weren’t out there canvasing neighborhoods by themselves. We were part of a co-a-lition. A small part, I might add.

    And just because there are dissenting voices among LDS membership (just as in the Catholic and Evangelical faiths), doesn’t mean that those voices are correct. The Lord taught that there would always be opposition in all things (indeed, that there has to be opposition in all things) and that such opposition would even come from those who called themselves by His name.

    Here’s a great quote:

    From Mine Errand from the Lord by President Boyd K. Packer (Deseret Book, 2008), 182-183:

    While we pass laws to reduce pollution of the earth, any proposal to protect the moral and spiritual environment is shouted down and marched against as infringing upon liberty, agency, freedom, the right to choose.

    Interesting how one virtue, when given exaggerated or fanatical emphasis, can be used to batter down another, with freedom, a virtue, invoked to protect vice. Those determined to transgress see any regulation of their lifestyle as interfering with their agency and seek to have their actions condoned by making them legal.

    People who are otherwise sensible say, “I do not intend to indulge, but I vote for freedom of choice for those who do.”

    Regardless of how lofty and moral the “pro-choice” argument sounds, it is badly flawed. With that same logic one could argue that all traffic signs and barriers which keep the careless from danger should be pulled down on the theory that each individual must be free to choose how close to the edge he will go.

    The phrase “free agency” does not appear in scripture. The only agency spoken of there is moral agency, “which,” the Lord said, “I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment” (D&C 101:78, emphasis added).

    And the Lord warned members of His church, “Let not that which I have appointed be polluted by mine enemies, by the consent of those who call themselves after my name: For this is a very sore and grievous sin against me, and against my people” (D&C 101:97-98, emphasis added).

  20. notsosure

    I think marriage equality advocates need to recognize some strategic mistakes. First, we grossly and unforgivably underestimated the Mormons.

    While we sit and glower at the LDS, we ought also to take a moment to admire them. To understand how they operate and to fight smarter, not harder. They used prop 8 to build relationships and connections with the evangelicals. That’s smart. We need to recognize that. The Mormons spent money well. Mitt Romney didn’t have the support he needed from the religious right to win. So the Mormons used us to gain support. We need to recognize that.

    We need to find the cracks in the religious right’s relationship with the Mormons and with each other and help to widen those cracks into chasms.

    We need to use every battle of ours to build alliances with minority communities and labor, for example. Did you know the Mormons have been historically racist, and didn’t allow black men to be bishops until 1978? We should have used our fight in California to reach out to the African American community and educate them about the LDS, pushing the baptist community away from the LDS and toward us. If not toward us, then at least away from the LDS.

    As for the Catholics, the Bay Area Reporter at least has covered Catholic bishops as well as Mormon leaders – http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=3805

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