Posts archived in Marriage Equality

Just watched the Fox News/Google debate online. Only at a GOP debate could the crowd boo an active duty soldier and no politician on the stage nor any moderator nor even any analyst afterwards even acknowledges it happened.

If a Democratic crowd booed a burnt apple pie we would hear about it for days.

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Referendum on Marriage Equality

Today it was announced that there will be a petition drive to put gay marriage on the ballot.

As I believe I mentioned last year (although I can no longer find the post) I thought it very likely that Equality Maine would put the question on the 2012 ballot.

Putting the question on a ballot during a Presidential election year should increase the pro-equality vote a few points. That alone should be enough. Then throw in a few years worth of changing minds as well as new young voters joining the electorate and I think it will pass with several percentage points to spare.

I also predict it will gather the necessary signatures rather quickly, possibly setting some records.

The interesting matter is what the actual question will look like. After the signatures are gathered the legislature gets a shot at passing the bill. Of course they won’t pass it, but they could add a third option. I wonder if enough Democrats would join with ultra-conservative Republicans to block a third option. I see the third option being civil unions or marriage-lite, which probably is the preferred choice of Maine’s moderate Republican legislators. But I wonder if super-Christian AMGer type legislators would be able to even vote for that.

Then again, it is possible that the ultra-conservtive wing might agree to put a third option on the ballot as a strategic choice in hopes of diluting the yes vote, but I’m honestly not sure if that helps or hurts them. I’d like to see some polling on that. My gut feeling is that a civil unions option would pull more people from the no-vote side than the marriage equality side, and also kill some arguments that they used to campaign with last time around.

Whatever they try to do, I hope that Democrats in both houses would stand united in favor of complete equality.

We’ll see. It is a long way to go. I wasn’t betting on No on 1 passing in ’09 but I would place good money on this new referendum in 2012. No on 1 was one or two years two early and during a bad year for that kind of question.

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Pastor Bob Emrich

Pastor Bob Emrich is Maine’s voice for the social conservative right-wing, both on AMG and in public.

He must be a lovable guy. I mean, look, here he is feeding a duck while a cute child stands nearby.

Unfortunately there is a darker side to that picture.

The duck was at Emrich’s church for some sexual identity re-alignment therapy. Yes, it was a gay duck. Thanks to Bob Emrich and several years of therapy and bible reading, it married a nice female duck and had several ducklings before being found dead in a hotel room several years later when, succumbing to years of self-delusion, it spent a long night out at a gay duck bar dancing to club remixes with other “bear” ducks and then hung itself out of shame the next day. This is a sad story, but Pastor Emrich had immense sympathy for the duck’s widow who, of course, is the only victim in such a scenario.

Because as Pastor Emrich stated in regards to the public shaming and then suicide of a gay college student last year:

The “victim” of suicide is the person left behind, not the one who committed the act.

And later in the same thread:

A person who commits suicide does it to themselves. To give them “victim” status shifts the blame to others.

Such an easy, simple rule to follow. And it conveniently erases all responsibility for third parties regarding how they treated the suicide victim.

Consider a hypothetical: a person in a dictator’s prison camp kills themselves to escape daily abuse and oppression. What does the Emrich Rule tell us about the situation? Don’t blame the people running the camp. Obviously, the suicide “perpetrator” (as Emrich would call them) is only the person who actually did the final, physical act.

That’s a bit of an extreme example, but it fits. If a gay person is told he is wrong, that the way he feels inside is wrong, and unless he fixes it he will be ostracized from his peers… well, that is going to raise the risk of suicide. It just is. Not everyone in that situation will wind up hurting themselves, but the more public and thorough the hate is, the greater the chances of something bad happening.

But Reverend Emrich can’t admit that, because, hey, how would gay people know not to be gay if we treated them the same as everyone else? It is all the gay person’s fault. They choose to be gay. Sometimes they choose to kill themselves. So be it, right?

And now we find out that Rev. Emrich knows The Distributist/Michael Pajak personally. Shocking, isn’t it?

And Rev. Emrich doesn’t think Michael Pajak should lose his job for the years of hate he spewed. Shocking, isn’t it?

And Rev. Emrich never found any of Pajak’s comments to be immoral enough to warrant even a slight rebuke. Shocking, isn’t it?

Hmm.

Nope.

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A Sunday AMG Gay-Thread Update!

It’s a pleasant Sunday afternoon. I’ve got my yardwork done for the weekend so how better to spend the time than checking out the happenings on asmainegoes?

All connoisseurs of radical Maine Republican politics will be happy to see that there is a new gay thread! It is called “One in ten children “born gay,” or so they say!

It starts when “woodcanoe” expresses his dissatisfaction with all the “gay activism” on facebook these days. The “gay activism” woodcanoe is so upset about is a bunch of facebook postings regarding the recent spate of suicides by gay youths. It must be very upsetting to have friends that care for other people.

Regarding whether the news of suicides is accurate of not, Woodcanoe states with a sense of disappointment: “It is difficult to find genuine unbiased news when most all of the sources were gay oriented websites.”

The other thing woodcanoe is upset about is the oft-repeated line, “One in ten children are born gay.” Now, I don’t know if that it true or not – I really don’t care. The fact is that many people are gay and it doesn’t matter if it is 1% or 10%- they shouldn’t be driven to suicide by a lack of tolerance and understanding among their peers.

AMGers though, take a slightly different view.

Here is The Distributist acting as his usual hateful self, doubting that discrimination against gays even exists:

Same as if there were actually any real-life instances of discrimination … those, too, would be front page news. They aren’t because they do not exit.

[...]

Existing information could lead one to conclude that homosexual behavior is to genetics what islam is to religion.

Read that last sentence again. He managed to insult the two most-hated-by-Republican groups in the same sentence in under twenty words. He’s a pro.

Next we have Michelle Anderson equating homosexuality, which is not an unhealthy addiction nor a danger to others, with alcoholism, which of course is an unhealthy addiction and a danger to others:

Alcoholics DO commit suicide. And there are statistics that prove that. In fact, alcoholism is one of the top “reasons” for suicide.

I’m not seeing a lot of “in your face” activism to let alcoholics who were born that way to drink and drive, to be neglectful parents, or to change the laws so that people have to hire and rent to people who are drunk.

Michelle is the master of completely inept analogies. She is like the Wile E. Coyote of analogy-makers: always going off a cliff. See how easy that was, Michelle! I’m available to be your analogy subcontractor. Just send me an email whenever you’re thinking of making one, and I’ll let you know the depth of its stupidity.

Speaking of stupidity, “pmconusa” brings us the kind of thoughtful, deep analysis of the issues we have come to expect from your average asmainegoes poster:

I once witnessed a cow in a field perched on the back of another cow going through the motions as would a bull. I concluded that nature does have a way of producing mutants of one form or another and with the number of humans now in the billions that this same anonomly applies to two legged as well as four legged animals. Those who consider themselves different have now parlayed their differences, whether real or imagined, to garner special treatment. It is not surprising that many would imagine themselves as such to get on the bandwagon and gain their 15 minutes of fame. Minorities have been doing it for years.

If I were going to write a parody of how an idiot determines his worldview regarding homosexuality, I might start with “I once witnessed a cow perched on the back of another cow.” Unfortunately, reality has stolen my joke. And what is the deal with the minorities have been getting “their fifteen minutes of fame” thing? What does that mean? The civil rights movement was a desperate ploy for attention by fame-seeking minorities? Good lord.

Meanwhile, Melvin Udall is perpetually illogical:

It’s interesting to juxtapose the confidence in new generations of voters allowing gay marriage to become legal, which I suppose is “normalized,” with those same new voters setting the stage for Islamification of our country, and the imposition of Sharia.

Voting for gay marriage is voting for Sharia law! Holy crap. How ludicrous. But he really, really thinks that. I bet his grandpa didn’t want to let the women vote because it would help the communists.

And I’m just realizing how long this post already is and I’m not even onto the second page of this particular AMG thread. Oh boy. We’ve got a long ways to go.

Someone named “samadams” presents this theory:

If you accept the premise that homosexuality is biologically based, then don’t you also have to accept that otherbehaviors are also biologically based?

That is to say:

Blacks are lazy
Mexicans lie
Pollocks are stupid
Chinese are inveterate gamblers
Irish are drunks…

First: Chinese are gamblers? Man, my knowledge of stereotypes must be out of date because I didn’t know that one. Bad drivers? Sure. Gambling? New to me.

Anyways, samadams, let me point out that there is a genetic component to drinking. It isn’t tied to being Irish, but it is there. There are probably genetic components to laziness, too- some part of our energy levels are controlled by brain chemistry and hormones. But again, this isn’t tied to a certain race, which is what makes your examples so disgusting. What you are doing is comparing completely faulty biological explanations that were created by human prejudice with something totally different- specifically, the idea that attraction is biologically based and, like anything else in biology, can vary.

This next one might make you snort milk out your nose. You’ve been warned. If you continue to read without putting down the milk carton, you have no one but yourself to blame for your soppy keyboard.

It is another Michelle Anderson masterpiece. You know it is promising because it starts like this:

I don’t know a whole lot about biology or genetics, other than what I learned in high school and college,but…

Well that’s good. We’ve established that Michelle doesn’t know much about the topic. So why is there a “but” at the end? Oh, because she’s probably going to give us some ridiculous explanation regardless of her lack of reasonable knowledge. Let’s hear it.

….but I do seem to remember that genes are passed down from both parents.

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that there is such a thing.

THAT’S IT!? That is what you had to preface with “I don’t know a whole lot about…?” You weren’t sure if genes are passed down by parents to offspring? (SMACKS FOREHEAD) Yes, Michelle, for the sake of argument, lets pretend that there is, in fact, something called a gene that is passed from parent to child. What does that mean to you?

If both parents have the theoretical “gay gene,” then the children are likely to have that gene. But I doubt that there are a whole lot of births where both parents have the gay gene.

That being the case, children in families with two mommies or two daddies are less likely to carry the gene.

And the same for their children.

So we would end up with fewer people who are the result of a “gay gene” rather than more people.

As I said, I am not an expert, but that sure seems to be logical to me.

As someone who is also familiar with genetics from high school and college, but who either paid a lot more attention or went to much better schools, let me try to make a short list of the incorrect assumptions Michelle puts in this trainwreck of thought:

  1. Michelle assumes that hereditary traits are tied one-to-one with a specific gene, rather than often being the result of a bunch of different genes all of which can be passed on independently (In other words, Michelle assumes monogenetic inheritance).
  2. She forgets that genes can be dominant or regressive. Or, if you want to blow Michelle’s mind, incompletely dominant or co-dominant.
  3. The expression of genes is affected by the environment.

All of which make her conclusion meaningless. But hey, don’t worry Michelle, we’re used to it. Keep typing away! And to be honest, I’m not even sure what the point of her little vignette was, anyways.

Lastly, Pastor Bob Emrich helpfully gives us some insight into how he views the interaction between homosexuals and their families. He states that gays are told to “come out” in order to force families to approve their lifestyle and thus help the greater gay rights movement:

Yes. It is a deliberate, planned strategy following the “community conversation” approach. Part of the plan is to encourage more people to “come out”, forcing families and friends to give approval.

No one is forced to give approval. Obviously, I would hope that families and friends could see beyond a person’s sexual identity and decide, notwithstanding such identity, to approve of that person, but notice how Pastor Emrich uses the word “force.” It is as if the gay person is to blame for other people loving them even though they are gay. In Emrich’s mind, love is a bludgeon that the gay person uses on friends and family to force acceptance. It is apparently every gay person’s duty to hide who they are from everyone so as to not take advantage of that love.

Very uplifting, Mr. man-of-God dude. Where is that in the bible?

So, dear reader, are you disgusted enough yet? I’ll give your stomach and conscience a break. See you at the next gay thread!

Okay, so over in Apollo’s ‘gay marriage backers suffered a humiliating defeat by not losing’ thread there is this little link from AMGer “The Distributist.” It brings you to a Maine based website for Catholics that don’t like the gay, and links to this story that purports to provide gay marriage opponents with five messages to bring to their foolish gay-loving friends.

The “Five Ways” article is an amazing collection of terrible reasoning, bad ideas, and complete misunderstandings of how the United States of America works. I’m serious. It is worth reading just for the entertainment value. It takes a bunch of half-baked ideas and sort of throws them in a blender.

Before we rip it apart, let me say that there is one good thing about the “Five Ways” article: it does preach respect towards others, even if they have been inflicted with the society killing wish to marry gays. Let’s give them credit for keeping it civil.

What Is A Right?

So the first argument they say to present to your left-leaning friends is this:

So much of the argument for gay marriage is based on the idea of equal rights for all. An easy response is to state that you fully support equal rights for everyone — to free speech, to association, to any legitimate human right.

Of course, you then clarify that the freedom to marry is not a right.

Where to start. Well, first, let me say that the Supreme Court thinks that freedom to marry is in fact fundamental right. Just a small, little fact, but hey, I can see how you missed it.

But it gets better. The “Five Ways” article presents examples of ways to argue that marriage is not a right. They include:

  • Marrying an already-married person is illegal. If marriage were a right, then this restriction would be unjust and should be illegal.
  • One must pay the government a fee in order to marry. But rights are free and automatic, not available for purchase.
  • Marriage has an age of consent; there’s no “age of consent” for our rights to speech and religion.
  • All states restrict certain persons from marrying (to some degree or another): aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, children and parents, even in-laws (who aren’t related by blood). These restrictions would constitute another breach of a “right” to marry whomever one chose.

Got that? Basically these are all variations of the same theme: Something isn’t really a right if there are any restrictions on it, whatsoever.

Except that is pretty clearly not how it works in America. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre. Would these jokers say that you don’t have a right to free speech?

All rights have restrictions. You can be required to get a permit and pay a fee before you march in Washington. You can be required to not say certain things in certain ways. Contrary to the above, there IS an age of consent on much free speech- just try talking to a child about obscenity and see what happens.

You have the right to travel freely. But what if you’re involuntarily committed to a mental hospital because you’re very ill? Guess what, according to the “Five Ways” people there is no longer a right to travel for anyone. It is all an illusion.

I’m sorry, but believing any restriction on a right means that there is no right at all is just childish. These are the sort of distinctions they should have figured out in high school civics class. Next.

The Children!

I’m skipping to argument number three, because number two was basically about appearing to be a nice guy rather than making any argument on the substance of issue. I’ll agree with them that not looking like an asshole does help their side.

Argument number three is that old canard, “Them gays are bad for the kids.”

First, let me just say this is insulting. Absolutely insulting. Try looking a gay person in the eye and saying to them, “Hey, I don’t actually know you, but I read on the internet that there is some sort of link between who you are and hurting children. But otherwise, you know, go do what you want to do.”

Absolute fucking bullshit. Seriously, I cannot explain in words how upset this argument makes me. Perhaps it is because I sort of actually know real live gay people and they’re pretty good around children. They’re nice people. They deserve to be judged on an individual basis, just like the rest of us.

Anyways, there are two easy counters to the “gays are bad for kids” argument. First, as was discussed in Judge Walker’s Proposition 8 decision, the assumption of the argument is wrong. There are not legitimate studies showing that the presence of a mother and father benefits children more than a mother and mother or father and father; in fact, the studies show that stable households benefit children. This holds true whether or not that parents are straight or gay. The Prop 8 people couldn’t find a single reputable witness in the whole fricken’ world to testify otherwise. What does that say?

And before you ask, yes, the pro-marriage equality side presented evidence showing that the consensus in the science was that gay couples can raise healthy children just like straight couples.

Second, we as a country generally don’t deny marriage licenses based on statistical links between child wellness and the identity of broad groups of people. I mean, think about this for a moment. If the government can deny marriage licenses to gays because there is some theoretical chance it might lower the probability that their children grow up to be well-adjusted, what can’t the government do? If you’re truly a conservative you should be absolutely shitting your pants about this. Letting the government cite some sort of statistical relationship as grounds to deny certain people the right to marry? Is that small government?

What if there were studies showing alcoholics were less likely to raise healthy children? This doesn’t sound far-fetched to me. Should we not allow alcoholics to marry? Breathalyzer tests at city hall? Why do we sanction alcoholism by letting alcoholics marry!

What if there were studies showing that poorer people were less likely to raise healthy children? Richer people? People with risks of heart disease? Republicans? Democrats? Evangelicals? Buddhists? If the government can deny marriage licenses based on statistical relationships between healthy children and broadly defined groups, the government can do ANYTHING.

All of this, of course, ignores the fact that people can quite easily have children outside of marriage, or raise children outside of marriage, so this whole denying-a-marriage-license-to-people-that-shouldn’t-have-children thing is pretty stupid from the beginning. Next.

The Rick Santorum Argument

The “Five Ways” article then brings up the argument commonly used by the former senator from Straightsylvania, who often said that allowing gay marriage means were going to have to allow lots of other things. The most commonly cited red herring is polygamy, but this article specifically notes that people might try to marry their horses or video game avatars.

Come on. Video game avatars? Letting consenting adults form a legalized family is going to lead to nerds marrying buxom computer generated images? Give. Me. A. Break.

The same with horses. I’ve yet to see an animal with the capacity to consent to marriage.

Polygamy, at least, is a closer call because it involves actual human beings. Unlike gay marriage, however, you could find lots of historians to discuss the use of polygamous marriages in many cultures, including here in America in our very recent history, to subjugate women. Hell, this happens today.

Furthermore, legalizing polygamy would require a complete rethinking of nearly everything our government does regarding marriage. People rarely are motivated to marry someone just for health benefits, for instance, but would this change if you could add as many people as you wanted to the marriage, ad infinitum? Would the government have to look at the intent of marriages in the same way it investigates the intent of marriages used for green card applications? How would child custody work with six parents? Ten parents? How would inheritance work? Our system is simply not set up to deal with these questions.

Gay marriage, on the other hand, requires almost no changes to the system we already have. Nearly all laws regarding marriage, child custody, and inheritance are gender neutral. Thus it makes no real difference whether a couple is same or opposite sex when the state is carrying out its duties regarding marriage.

This section of the article ends with the following quotation:

The quest for gay marriage isn’t so much about gay marriage as it is a single step toward bringing about a sea change in the culture of the United States.

How disrespectful. Let me paraphrase the argument here: “Them gays ain’t in love, they just want to piss everyone off.” Right. Same-sex couples don’t love each other and want their family to be treated equally; they just want to throw a monkey wrench into the structure of America just for the sake of making a mess. If you can’t see how bullshit that is, you’re beyond help.

Next.

Gay Marriage Doesn’t Just Hurt Children, It Hurts Everyone! You! Me! Him! That Guy Over There!

According to the article, same-sex relationships are just inherently dangerous. For instance:

… gay males, according to the journal Violence and Victims, “are more likely to be killed by their partners than [by] a stranger.

Holy cow. This is true of everyone, even heterosexuals. Yes, heterosexual women are more likely to be killed by a partner than a stranger. Weird that the “Five Ways” people left that out.

Look, anyone can play this statistics game. Did you know that married women under age 25 are three times more likely to be murdered by their husband than women over age 35? Maybe we should restrict marriage to people over 30.

Why don’t we? Because to steal a famous conservative catch-phrase, “Marriages don’t kill people, people kill people.” It is idiotic to base marriage rights on some statistical correlation to murder that has no causal relationship whatsoever, especially one that, as I pointed out, is equally applicable to heterosexual marriages.

Is There A Sixth Reason?

I have no doubt they will think of one. These five arguments show how far people will go to rationalize their fears, even to the point of absurdity (marrying video game avatars, really?). The only good thing about the “Five Ways” list is that they don’t realize how bad it sounds to the people in the middle.

Apollo just got back from vacation on Mt. Olympus (Greece is lovely this time of year) and had this to say about the ongoing California gay marriage lawsuit: “Gay Marriage Backers Suffer Humiliating Defeat in California.” He is referring to the appeals court placing a stay on Judge Walker’s ruling, which of course found the right to marry could not be withheld by the state of California based on the gender of the two parties.

As a gay marriage backer myself I don’t feel very humiliated. We still won? The effect of the ruling is on hold but the 9th Circuit didn’t make any decision on the merits of the case or even whether or not the proponents of Proposition 8 have the right to appeal. If that is a humiliating defeat, I guess I am embarrassed at how un-humiliated I feel.

AMGer “WV_Republican” showed his complete inability to, say, read, by completely misunderstanding the news in a totally basic way when he wrote this:

Also, it seems that Walker’s “opinion” that traditional marriage supporters don’t have “standing to appeal” was shot down. Now that could be “humiliating…..”

Really? Where the heck did you pull that from? The Wrongington Post? The Learn To Fricken’ Read Times? The supporters of “traditional” marriage were actually ordered to argue why they should be allowed to appeal. The issue is very much undecided at the moment.

In fact, it looks increasingly likely to me that this case will be decided on the standing issue. Therefore, gay marriage would exist in California only, and would not be decided on the merits at either the 9th Circuit or Supreme Court level. This seems like the probable scenario to me because it allows the 9th Circuit and Justice Kennedy to kick the controversial social issue can down the street a few more years. Furthermore, the conservatives on the Supreme Court probably don’t mind avoiding this particular case as well, because if you actually read Judge Walker’s decision you will find that the Proposition 8 proponents barely argued anything at all. I mean really, their presentation was somewhere between amateurish and negligently bad.

If you’re Justice Scalia, you’re reading the Walker decision and thinking to yourself about the Prop 8 legal team: “What the hell? Don’t these morons know how the system works?” Even if you think you’re going to lose the case at the first level, you need to present a factual basis for the Justice Scalias of the world to cite something in the record later on. But there’s nothing. The conservative Justices would need to make up everything from scratch. I truly believe they will happily avoid this one and wait for an appeal coming from somewhere with a good traditional marriage supporting lawyer who knows what he is doing and actually builds a case based on, you know, those fact thingeys. Hint to gay marriage opponents: Call witnesses that actually agree with you on key points.

Apollo continues with this strange idea that the “right to appeal” issue was decided in a further post, writing:

For the 9th Circus to vote against gay marriage the backers must have had a very flimsy argument. But yes I agree, the liberal activist gay judge who said “they weren’t allowed to appeal” just got slapped down pretty badly. What an idiot.

Riiiiight… The Federal Judge appointed by Reagan and having served about 20 years is the idiot. The guy that can’t understand a pretty clearly written piece of news is not. Uh huh.

Ted Olsen, principled conservative, does his best Dan Billings impression and nails the legal argument on gay marriage. I’m not saying Dan Billings supports gay marriage, but if he did, even he could argue it only slightly better than Ted Olsen.

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Crazy is fabulous!

AMGer Andrew Ian Dodge posted video of the rare North American Gay Tea Partier in its natural habitat, which is of course on YouTube holding signs.

I don’t see these two staying together long. The guy on the left has chosen to support one of Paul LePage’s three distinct positions on marriage equality (Position Number One, if you’re keeping track at home), while his sinful sodomy spouse-to-be thinks they should just sit down and hammer out a contract. No government intervention needed.

There is this conservative fairy tale that marriage should really just be a civil contract, like the one you have with your cell phone company or bank. SHOCKING FACT: You can do this already! Yes, tea partiers, you could abstain from getting that evil government marriage license and just sit down with your partner, a pen, and some paper and write out a contract. What? You cant afford a lawyer but you want to be together anyways? Don’t worry about it, your partner loves you so I’m sure all the clauses will be fair and above-board. Look into his eyes deeply. Don’t you trust him? With everything you own? Of course you do, you’re in love.

Let me know how it works out. After a few of you try it out for a couple decades then you can have the credibility to try and foist this massive change to America upon the rest of us. Until then, I’ll stick with what works.