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Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Can we talk instead of shout about gay marriage?"

Posted by on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 2:56 PM

That's the question Maggie Gallagher, founder of the rabidly anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, and philosopher John Corvino—chair of the philosophy department at Wayne State University—will attempt to answer over the next hour. The discussion is hosted by David Blankenhorn, President of the anti-gay-but-smiley-faced-about-it Institute for American Values. Maggie and John will also discuss their new book, Debating Same-Sex Marriage, and the state of the marriage debate more generally. The livestream is here.

UPDATE: Wow, I get a mention in the opening remarks: "This may be the only book in the history of publishing that was favorably blurbed by both Rick Santorum and Dan Savage."

UPDATE 2: You know, this "can't we be civil, can't we discuss, must we shout" stuff is deeply annoying. Attack people, heap legal and financial burdens on their families, work to make the lives of children more vulnerable... and those people are going to get upset. Justifiably upset. And people who're are being attacked tend to get a bit shouty. Haters who complain about gay people screaming at them should taken about as seriously as subway gropers who complain about female commuters slapping them or muggers who complain about victims who yell, "Help! Police!"

UPDATE 3: "What happens when you take the woman out of the wedding?" asks Maggie. She worries that same-sex marriage sows confusion about gender. Because... um... because it does. Somehow. And this does harm. Somehow. Or other.

UPDATE 4: Maggie is asked if her position would be different if she had a gay child. "I would not want my child, if he came to me and said he was gay, to enter a gay marriage," says Maggie. She has a son—born out of wedlock—who lives in New York City and works is pursuing a career in the musical theater. Maggie says she's thought "very hard" about the possibility of having a gay son. I bet.

UPDATE 5: "That train has left the station," John says—we've long since decoupled marriage from procreation. We don't have to have kids to be married or be married to have kids. Maggie argues that marriage is about kids, that marriage is about making sure kids are raised by their biological mothers and fathers, and her experience as a single mom informs her opposition to same-sex marriage. But marriage was an exclusively hetero arrangement when Maggie got knocked up with her first child and her child's father abandoned her anyway.


UPDATE 6: Blankenhorn asks if John is troubled by the framing of marriage as a "right." But it is a right—another train that long ago left the station. Loving v. Virginia:

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

UPDATE 7: Maggie cites Genesis to justify opposition to same-sex relationships. We are created male and female and called to "the work" of creating new life. But she says that people who oppose same-sex marriage because they find gay sex revolting can be "turned." Those people are not really committed to the cause of blocking equal rights under the law for gays and lesbians. Only those who sense that "the order is being violated, that something sacred is being turned on its head" when two men marry are committed to the cause. Is there really a distinction between being revolted by gay sex and believing that gay sex turns something sacred on its head? One person is saying "yuck!" and the other person is saying essentially the same thing... just drawing it out and tossing in some $10 words.

UPDATE 8: John: "One of the reasons coming out is so difficult for so man people is that you grow up with this notion that homosexuality is this inversion of nature, that god wants to vomit when he thinks of it, and you hear that message you internalize it. Then you find yourself being attracted to people of the same sex and you think, 'Oh, my god—this is a scary.'" For Maggie to argue that she and other heterosexuals who oppose same-sex marriage are somehow immune to homophobia that gay people have to struggle to overcome in order to come out is simply disingenuous. I'd call it a fucking lie but—I'm shouty like that.

UPDATE 9: A man who marries must, "edits his sexuality in a way that is pleasing to a woman," says Maggie. "That what it means to be a husband."

UPDATE 10: Our moderator got his ass handed to him in the Prop 8 trial.

UPDATE 11: "What is sexual desire for?" asks Maggie. "What I know as a woman, and you know as a gay man, if we ever had time to talk about it, would fascinate us both."

UPDATE 12: Blankenhorn: "This debate is basically about—fill in the blank." John: "Human relationships." Maggie: "The relationship between sex and babies."

Sigh: You don't have to be married to have babies or have babies to be married. (You don't have to be married to have sex, for that matter.) We're only told that marriage is defined by the having and raising of children when same-sex couples wish to marry. Children aren't even mentioned in traditional marriage vows: "I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."

And millions of same-sex couples—ahem—have children. I wish John would bring it up.

UPDATE 13: Audience member asks if society shouldn't favor heterosexual relationships because straight people have babies and gay people gay people have "opted-out" of parenting by insisting on being gay people. Sigh.

UPDATE 14: Government should be involved in marriage for "the core task" of bringing together mothers and fathers, says Maggie. And polygamy counts: "Marriage does something essential in bringing males and females together in public sexual unions," says Maggie, "and that would apply to polygamy. Polygamy is bad, but it's a marriage system."

UPDATE 15: Maggie: "I don't know what kind of scientific evidence would convince me that sex doesn't make babies." Sex, sex, sex, sex.

Okay, I gotta go—some woman is giving a speech in the guise of asking a question. The debate continues here. But I have cake to eat.


Sorry, one more:

UPDATE 16: The "presence in the marriage pool" of childless opposite-sex couples doesn't change anything about how marriage is understood, says Maggie, but adding two married dudes to the marriage pool somehow would. Because when straight couples marry their marriages are essentially about children and their marriages reaffirm the whole procreative thang even if a couple doesn't have children, can't have children, doesn't want to have children. But when a same-sex couple marries it weakens the link between marriage and the whole procreative thang even if that couple has children. See how that works?

Maggie: "The number of children being raised by same-sex households is incredibly much smaller than you would guess based on the media." So how many kids do same-sex couples need to have before we reach a Maggie-give-a-shit-about-our-kids critical mass?


Comments (79) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Simple. People can talk instead of shout about a social issue when people agree to sit down and listen to voices at ordinary volume. If being polite and formal gets ignored, then the shouting starts.
Posted by DRF on June 7, 2012 at 3:01 PM · Report this
And they're not including Fred Phelps or Bryan Fischer? Where is the courage of their Xtian convictions?
Posted by maddogm13 on June 7, 2012 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Helix 3
All I hear is "Waah! Waah! These minorities are fighting back and not letting me bully them silently any more and I DON'T LIKE THAT! WAAAAAHHH"

Posted by Helix on June 7, 2012 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Helix 4
Alternatively: no, fuck you, give people their constitutional rights you bigoted assholes.
Posted by Helix on June 7, 2012 at 3:15 PM · Report this
prompt 5
If you're shouting, no one is going to listen to you. I get that you're upset. You have every right to be upset. But shouting and browbeating isn't going to solve anything.
Posted by prompt on June 7, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
Geni 6
As soon as they stop responding to everything with ", um, THE BIBLE, SO SHUT UP!" I'll take their bitching about incivility a bit more seriously. As soon as they give me a reason that actually has something to do with how gay marriage will adversely affect THEIR lives, we can talk. Until then, they're just little kids going, "La La La La, I can't hear you."
Posted by Geni on June 7, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
saxfanatic 7
I just heard the term "homosexual conduct." Isn't that a 5 minute penalty in hockey?
Posted by saxfanatic on June 7, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
Ophian 8
David Blankenhorn is a tool. If you want to laugh until you pee your pants catch John C. Reilly as Blankenhorn in "8".…
Posted by Ophian on June 7, 2012 at 3:35 PM · Report this
"you're quite hostile."

"man, i got a right to be hostile, my people being persecuted!"
Posted by deepconcentration on June 7, 2012 at 3:35 PM · Report this
If Maggie doesn't "believe in" same sex marriages, she doesn't have to get into one. Pretty simple. She just doesn't get to stop others from getting into them. Her religious views hold no sway over society.

And she needs to meet couples who like my husband and I have no children and have no intention of having children. How is marriage just about child rearing when so many couples have no children?
Posted by Patricia Kayden on June 7, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 11
Gawd, that update three statement is so typical. "What happens when you take the WOMAN out of the wedding?" You're going to put her in another wedding, dummy!

It's always about the man-on-man stuff. Even Maggie and her fellow bigot biddies don't think girl-girl is so bad.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2012 at 3:41 PM · Report this
Maggie wouldn't want her gay son to get married? Would she rather he cohabit, without the legal protections of marriage? Or have a long string of random hookups in gay bars and bathhouses? Or live a miserable and lonely life devoid of romantic companionship? Is this her way of telling that poor boy that she won't love him anymore if he comes out?
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on June 7, 2012 at 3:41 PM · Report this
Maybe instead of shouting at them, we should figure out a way to give the anti-marriage equality bigots a timeout until they can play nice and share the rights that are here for everyone to use?

Joking, obviously.
Posted by EclecticEel on June 7, 2012 at 3:49 PM · Report this
very bad homo 14
She might just be the saddest person in the world, and she's determined to spread her misery around as much as possible. I can't wait to see her lose her mind as we continue winning, state by state.
Posted by very bad homo on June 7, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 15
@ 10, I think that's a key reason why that side is losing. Marriage is NOT about the kids, and really has not been about kids ever since it became about love. I think that even clueless dopes can see the nonsense of that line of reasoning. Most people know childless married couples, and we've probably all had older relatives who remarried late in life. What we've never heard was someone call those marriages shams because babies weren't involved, which is the logical conclusion of this argument. (The dearly departed troll Loveschild use to say that childless straight marriages at least provided a positive role model for kids, but that answer sidestepped the question.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
A man "edits his sexuality in a way that is pleasing to a woman" when he gets married?

Where does she get this stuff?

Getting married means committing TO the other person's sexuality (otherwise, why are you getting married to that person?). No two people are perfectly sexually attuned but she makes it sound like men have to change somehow to get a wife.
Posted by westello on June 7, 2012 at 3:51 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 17

2 minutes for being different, 5 minutes for enjoying it, and a 10 minute misconduct for "eww, gross and stuff". If it's really serious, could be a game misconduct with a possible suspension to follow.

Posted by ArtBasketSara on June 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Maggie just summed up the entire problem with trying to reason with her/others like her. "This debate is about...the relationship between sex and babies". Seriously?
Posted by IslandGirl72 on June 7, 2012 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Reading John Corvino in college gave me so many great arguments to bring to the table when confronted by homophobic relatives and friends. It is wonderful to see this - thank you, Dan!
Posted by pinko on June 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM · Report this
merry 20
Oh, this is great. Thanks for all the updating, Dan, for those of us who can't follow along in real time...

BTW, great job on that show a while back that was moderated by C.R. Douglas. You were absolutely wonderful, countering lie after lie after lie from those close-minded fools you were sitting next to. Pepper Schwartz was great as well, although I don't remember her being bleeped as often as you were... heh heh...
Posted by merry on June 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM · Report this
kim in portland 21
Funny how Maggie uses Genesis 2:24 for her defense.

What about the other forms of marriage in Genesis?
·        Polygynous marriage (Genesis 4:19 is the first place you find it mentioned) one man is permitted multiple wives. The following is a shortened list of individuals in the Bible that had polygynous marriages: Lamech, Esau, Jacob, Gideon, Elkanah, David, Solomon, Rehaboam, and Herod the Great.
·        Levirate marriage (Genesis 38: 6-10) from the Latin ‘levir’ meaning brother-in-law. A widow was required to marry her brother-in-law to produce an heir for her dead husband if he died before fathering a son.
·        A slave as a piece of property in a plural marriage (Genesis 16), Sarah gives her slave Hagar to
Abraham as a substitute womb.
·        Concubine marriage (Genesis 22: 24) to a
woman of lesser status, but not a slave or prisoner of
war than “official wives”. A brief, but not exhaustive list include: Abraham, Nahor, Jacob, David, and Solomon.

Other OT examples include:

·        A male soldier and a female prisoner of war (Numbers 38:1-18; Deuteronomy 21: 11-14) the woman was made to shave her head and allowed a period of morning before she was placed in a marriage.
·        A male rapist and his victim (Deuteronomy 21:11-14) provided she wasn’t engaged her rapist pays her father fifty shekels of silver and then marries her.
·        Male and female slaves (Exodus 21:4), a slave owner could assign a slave woman to become another
slave’s wife. She remained the property of the slave owner though, and if her husband was freed she and their children could not go with him. If he wished to stay than the slave owner would pierce his ear as evidence of his permanent status as a slave to his owner.

So, what I take from this is the following "rule" of Biblical knowledge. Agnostic, atheists, individuals of other faiths can not mention either the OT or inconsistencies within the Bible because Christians "follow" the NT. And, the devout Christian can. And this particular Christian, Maggie G., defend her position using the OT and ignore NT commands to keep her hair long and refrain from "teaching" men. Nor can she remember that a 1000 years or so ago that her being found pregnant and unwed would have left her in the bottom of society and a source of shame to her family and those that knew her. Hence, there is no rational thought to be found. No moral consistency. Just ugliness and evil clothed with a cross and Bible.
Posted by kim in portland on June 7, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Fnarf 22
Any married couple that has failed to produce a child within the first three years should be forced to divorce. A "child" in this sense shall be construed to mean a live birth that lives at least six days.

Married couples whose children have reached the age of majority should be forced to divorce.

No woman over the time of menopause should be permitted to marry.

Violators should be sentenced to sit on the edge of the tub in Maggie Gallagher's bathroom for twenty years, handing her Snickers bars while she sits on the john, upon request.
Posted by Fnarf on June 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM · Report this
merry 23
Wow, that's just.. devolving into repetitive nonsense...

And, excellently put, kim in portland, @ 21. Why don't these Bible types ever address these issues, I wonder? Things that make you go "Hhmmm..."
Posted by merry on June 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM · Report this
emma's bee 24
Cake! I'm glad to see your priorities are in order.
Posted by emma's bee on June 7, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
venomlash 25
@17: And gay threesomes are grounds for immediate ejection, right? Or am I misreading the "third man in" rule?
Posted by venomlash on June 7, 2012 at 5:03 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 26
Framing it as "Same Sex" marriage already sets a tone of inequality. After that it all goes down hill. It suggests something ONLY Gay-folk would get and hence a special right. Smart debates ALWAYS frame it as Marriage Equality. No Gay need be used.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on June 7, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 27
When can we stop acting as though Maggie Gallagher has a valid point of view that merits polite consideration? She's a bigot. We don't expect people to politely hear out the Grand Wizard of the KKK.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on June 7, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Roma 28
"That train has left the station," John says—we've long since decoupled marriage from procreation. We don't have to have kids to be married or be married to have kids.

Those of us who are reasonable have long since decoupled marriage from procreation. Religious conservatives, who tend to be unreasonable, still seem to think they're inextricably linked.
Posted by Roma on June 7, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 29
Maggie has the right to tell men what to do with their dicks as soon as men get the right to tell that butt ugly frump to put a bag over her head.
Posted by Sir Vic on June 7, 2012 at 5:56 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 30
@ 27, it doesn't work that way. The KKK once had enormous clout, and the media used to talk to racist bigots in the 50s all the freakin' time.

Gallagher will be remembered with them in the future, no doubt, but it's still 2012. As long as a huge number of Americans basically agree with her, she's got that kind of "validity" going for her.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2012 at 5:58 PM · Report this
Man. Sorry I can't focus. I just can't get over the fact somebody had actual consensual sex with that wretched heap of flaccid Ogre chins in the first place.

My god. She's like if Newt Gingrich mated with Jabba the Hutt's spinster aunt.
Posted by tkc on June 7, 2012 at 6:03 PM · Report this
@21, Kim in Portland, that was beautiful. Thank you.
Posted by SherBee on June 7, 2012 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Roma 33
Wretched Heap of Flaccid Ogre Chins...weren't they at Coachella this year?
Posted by Roma on June 7, 2012 at 6:14 PM · Report this
@33 No. No. You're thinking of "Mountain of Buggane Goiters."
Posted by tkc on June 7, 2012 at 6:22 PM · Report this
@15 marriage STILL never was all about love, even though in the last 200 years compatibility of the folks married became prominent. Marriage is the state-sanctioned organised transfer of property between families. Monetary property, chattel property (children, usually), plus all the other legal rights and protections that go hand in hand with a marriage licence. That, really, is the one thing about marriage that has gone unchanged since Homer was writing...the aspect of state-sanctioned property transfer.

Anybody arguing about love, commitment, blah blah blah, is all well and good but the thing that will eventually win SS marriage rights across the country is the property and legal kinship argument. Social security survivorship benefits, disability benefits, visitation rights, insurance at family rates, etc.
Posted by slinky on June 7, 2012 at 6:36 PM · Report this

But that's BS. Religious people decouple marriage from procreation all the time. When a post-menopausal woman marries, they don't object. When two people who can't have kids marry, they don't object. When straight couples who are childless by choice get married, they don't object. It's only when the gays marry. When they give the whole "marriage and kids" argument, they are being disingenuous. The truth is that bigoted people like Maggie think LGBT people are inferior and worthy of discrimination.
Posted by mshawn on June 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM · Report this
The moment opponents of same-sex marriage begin picking cherries from a self-contradictory, 2000-year-old, manmade religious text as support for their position, well, that's basically a coded form of admitting defeat: They have no new evidence to introduce, their minds are not open to reason, they aren't interested in a rational debate, and we should all ignore them. Oh, sure, it's fine for religion to inform one's personal beliefs, but we have separation between church and state; our laws, if they conform to biblical doctrine, should do so only as a matter of sheer coincidence.
Posted by brendan on June 7, 2012 at 7:22 PM · Report this
I suggest it again and again, but the spokespeople never seem to pick up on it. When they say "Marriage is about ensuring children grow up with a mother and father," the question to ask is "And how specifically does denying marriage equality increase or decrease the number of children growing up in mother/father households?"

Start asking it, people!!
Posted by mistereks on June 7, 2012 at 7:26 PM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 39
Maggie's just bitter as all heck that she's not happily-ever-after married. I can see her stomping her foot at the sheer unfairness of it all. Now she can't get mad at straight men, because they have to marry other straight women in order to fulfill her world view.

But-but-but ... ::sputters:: it's those gay men who shouldn't be gay (and could probably change, if they really wanted to), thereby reducing the pool of eligible mates. So, she sets her sights on trying to make them just as miserable by making sure they can't get married, well at least not to each other.

Nice try, Maggie (NOT). I'm curious: does she get all up in arms over lesbians, too?
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on June 7, 2012 at 7:31 PM · Report this
sirkowski 40
Maggie doesn't believe in a diet and a little exercise.
Posted by sirkowski on June 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM · Report this
nocutename 41
@21: Thank you, Kim, for all your biblical work, but it really isn't necessary in the marriage equality debate. The only document that matters insofar as the legality or "morality" of marriage and marriage equality in the United States, is the Constitution. Period. End of story.

The bigots hope to "debate" the issue, but thankfully, the U.S. doesn't take either the old or new testament as its defining document. Marriage equality wouldn't insist that any church or religion that doesn't approve a marriage have to perform one. Which really leaves the "look, this part of the bible says it's wrong" out in the cold.

Hate-mongers can "debate" the "sinfulness" of homosexuality all they want, and can point to various phrases in a text which their opponents either may or may not recognize as authoritative all they want, but the laws and policies in this country aren't determined by the bible. Yet again and again, people get roped into this fallacious argument.

Every time Maggie Gallagher and others like her start to bring up the bible when talking about marriage, their opponents should remind them that we don't recognize it as a document that sets laws in the United States. Just keep repeating "14th Amendment."
Posted by nocutename on June 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM · Report this
TheLando 42
God, that woman looks like a hill.
Posted by TheLando on June 7, 2012 at 9:39 PM · Report this
kim in portland 43
@ 41:

Dear nocutename,

Please put my comment @ 21 through this lens from 4 May, 2012.

From Brown's post on the National Organization for Marriage website:

"Let me lay down a public challenge to Dan Savage right here and now: You want to savage the Bible? Christian morality? Traditional marriage? Pope Benedict? I'm here, you name the time and the place and let's see what a big man you are in a debate with someone who can talk back. It's easy to make high-school girls cry by picking on them. Let's pick on someone our own size!"

You greatly misunderstood my point. Besides what is not necessary for you has the power to help others. Especially anyone hosting NOM's other representative for dinner and debate.

Take care.

Posted by kim in portland on June 7, 2012 at 9:58 PM · Report this
Let's start with a few nice round numbers to build the perfect conservative marriage:

-- Say, a marriage of 50 uninterrupted years. sounds pretty good, pretty stable, right?
-- Now let's say sex once a week. Not a huge amount, but not unbearably seldom either. A good conservative sex life.

That works out to roughly 2600 sex acts in a 50 year marriage, right? Give or take a few?

Now, assuming the canonical American family of 2.3 children, what does that tell us about all that sex? It says that LESS THAN ONE SEX ACT IN A THOUSAND results in a child. More than 99.9% of all married sex is recreational.

Okay, now give them the benefit of the doubt and say that this couple had to try many times for each kid. Let's be generous with the allotment, say it took fully a hundred tries to conceive each time. More than generous; at once a week that would be two years of trying per kid. That still means that 900 out of a thousand are because it feels good, not because someone was trying to make a child.

These hypocrites have no leg to stand on when they claim that sex is for children, not for the parents.
Posted by avast2006 on June 7, 2012 at 10:02 PM · Report this
Thank you Kim for that interesting synthesis about marriages in the olden days. Very illuminating. You are totally swell!
Posted by LuisitaPhD on June 7, 2012 at 10:04 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 46
i'll say this , i don't care how ugly people say she is - and people say it a LOT. i think she deserves to get loved and fucked and fuck in every way possible that she can manage or control.. yes.. i totally wish that for her. having said that can we all now ignore her ?
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on June 7, 2012 at 10:14 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 47
You watched this so I don't have to. I can't watch Maggie Gallagher (or any of her ilk) without flying into a personal rage. I keep my blood pressure under control by avoiding video of her (or her ilk) as much as possible.

Im normally a very mellow guy. Very easy going. I get along with just about anyone. But I know that I could not possibly have a civil conversation with Maggie Gallagher. She has devoted her life to denying me civil rights at every turn. She and people like her have made my life miserable.

Fuck you Maggie Gallagher. Polite conversation? If you get within 5' of me, you'll be lucky to get away with anything less than a black eye.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on June 7, 2012 at 10:19 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 48
@46.. but then i'm thinking 'pretty is as pretty does'
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on June 7, 2012 at 10:42 PM · Report this
nocutename 49
I'm sorry, Kim; I didn't mean to offend you. I didn't misunderstand you, but it seems to me that what all these bigots want is to continue this argument so that they can use the bible to justify their bigotry. Now, I guess they can do this if what is being debated is god's approval or disapproval of homosexuality, but I think it is fallacious argument in terms of legal marriage in the US, since the bible holds no political authority.

It gets easy to get sucked into this debate on biblical grounds, and then your message was especially useful, as it talks about marriage in the bible, as opposed to the usual biblical line of argument (Look at all the hypocrisy : Leviticus prohibits all kinds of things that Christians do; the Nt supersedes OT. etc.) But I still think that the best way to combat this kind of bigotry is to point out that no matter what the bible says about marriage or about homosexuality in either the old or new testaments, even if you believe in it as the literal word of god, it isn't the definitive document when deciding United States policy or laws.

The Gallaghers of this world would love nothing more than to "debate" this endlessly, but I wish people would point out that marriage equality is about US law, not religion.
Posted by nocutename on June 7, 2012 at 10:50 PM · Report this
kim in portland 50
@ 49,

I'm not offended, nocutename. No worries.

I never said that the Bible was useful in the marriage debate or deserved to be viewed as having political authority. I have no idea why you would interpret anything I said about Maggie Gallagher's lack of compassion and integrity in scholarship as an argument in favor of permitting the Bible or any religious text some kind of favor/ honor/ authority.

I can only suppose that both my comments were poorly worded. And I regret that. I regret that you thought that I was offended as well.

Take care. I mean that sincerely.

@ 32 and 45,

You're both welcome.
Posted by kim in portland on June 7, 2012 at 11:33 PM · Report this
Oh, my. No, stuff like that fully entitles one to making very loud exasperated sighs and to being shouty. Close to allowing rotten tomatoes to be thrown as well.
Posted by Rhincon on June 8, 2012 at 12:20 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 52
Maggie dear, listen up. Your inner sadness and anger isn't something you can eat your way through.

So put down the fork, buy some running shoes and take up some regular exercie. Jesus don't like no fatties in heaven.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on June 8, 2012 at 7:29 AM · Report this
Alanmt 53
The problem with these joint books and "collaborate with your opponent" deals is that our society has moved to a point where such working with them gives them unwarranted respectibility and credibility.

If shouting means calling a bigot a bigot, I won't stop shouting. And it is bigoted to oppose legal recognition of gay relationships as marriage, even though it is not bigoted to have a private, personal religious belief that homosexuality is sinful and to apply that to one's own life by not entering into homosexual relationships.

Maggie doesn't deserve polite collaboration. Social shaming is justified. It no longer hurts the position of arguers for equality.
Posted by Alanmt on June 8, 2012 at 9:00 AM · Report this
To be fair, the common law (which, unlike the Ten Commandments, actually is the foundation of American law), according to Blackstone, does envisage the main purpose of marriage to be the procreation and raising of children in a stable environment.

That's an 18th century formulation building off medieval ideas (for complicated reasons, for centuries in England, the Church regulated marriage, unlike on most of the Continent). But there is some foundation in law for Ms. Gallagher's position.

Naturally, things change over the centuries and there's nothing preventing the law from coming to recognize other purposes for marriage or extending it to other groups besides straight couples who want kids. But according to traditional legal reasoning, conservatives aren't totally off base.
Posted by Corydon on June 8, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
On the topic of "Can we talk? Must we shout?" being annoying, there are times when anger may be completely justified but also counterproductive. Is it possible that this is one of those times, especially since the momentum seems so solidly on our side?
Posted by Corydon on June 8, 2012 at 9:37 AM · Report this

I don't think you quite understand how sex works with these religious types. Allow me to present an example:

Mr Blackitt: Look at them, bloody Catholics. Filling the bloody
world up with bloody people they can't afford to bloody feed.

Mrs Blackitt: What are we dear?

Mr Blackitt: Protestant, and fiercely proud of it...

Mrs Blackitt: Why do they have so many children...?

Mr Blackitt: Because every time they have sexual intercourse they have to have a baby.

Mrs Blackitt: But it's the same with us, Harry.

Mr Blackitt: What d'you mean...?

Mrs Blackitt: Well I mean we've got two children and we've had sexual intercourse twice...
Posted by COMTE on June 8, 2012 at 10:43 AM · Report this
Dingo 57
I think the time is long past for this type of debate to end, and John Corvino's writing a book and participating in this kind of debate with her just lends unwarranted legitimacy to the entirely meritless arguments people like her present.
Posted by Dingo on June 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
nocutename 58
@57: Yes.

And the only way this type of argument can exist is if both parties believe in the bible as an authoritative text.

If all (rhetorical) you've got backing you up is "the bible says ________" and I don't believe that the bible is the word of god or has any particular weight above any other old book, then your argument is a very flimsy one. Both parties need to recognize the legitimacy of an authority to use it as support in an argument.
Posted by nocutename on June 8, 2012 at 12:05 PM · Report this
@49: I think it really boils down to a bunch of people who are faced with the prospect that they have devoted their lives to upholding a work of fiction (pretty pathetic fiction, in places) as actual fact. No belief is so tenaciously and ferociously defended as the one that does not have a shred of actual evidence. The cognitive dissonance must be enormous, but the shift in paradigm is even more scary to them, not to mention the pain of eating crow and of shouldering personal responsibility hitherto pawned off on God.

In Maggie's case, the paradigm shift is personal: she has a pathological need to cling to the necessity of a man in a marriage, based on the one man that should have been there for _her_ marriage but bailed on his responsibilities. If she admits that two women can have a successful marriage and successfully raise children without a man being present, that somehow legitimizes the absence of _her_ man, and she can't deal with it. (The Salon article that Dan posted made total sense).
Posted by avast2006 on June 8, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
Listening to the debate now, but it makes my brain hurt.

"What happens when you take the woman out of the wedding?" Right, because when you get married, it isn't about you marrying the person you love, it's about you becoming some representation of some societal ideal. Your wedding isn't about you at all. It isn't your wedding, it's society's wedding, in which society magically transforms you, the individual, into something other than yourself for the benefit of society.

All you need is a hamburger bun and some ketchup and society is ready to eat you.
Posted by avast2006 on June 8, 2012 at 1:52 PM · Report this
I have yet to hear, anywhere, an argument against gay marriage which makes any distinction - let alone a rational or worthy distinction -- between a civil marriage and a religious marriage. Indeed, much of the energy that the anti-gay-marriage movement feeds on comes from a deliberate and deceitful conflation of two wholly separate concepts.

In the civil marriage, we are dealing with two citizens and the state should not be in the business of arbitrarily granting or denying rights to non-felonious citizens of legal age. Voting or marriage or similar matters should not have any colour or faith or genitalia tests attached.

In religious marriage you are free to make -- and enforce -- any arbitrary distinctions you wish. Man and women only? Commitment to have children only? People who haven't been married before? Have at it, and be blessed or damned as your afterlife circumstances mandate.
Posted by seeker6079 on June 8, 2012 at 3:02 PM · Report this
HellboundAlleee 62
Can we just remind ourselves that this argument has nothing to do with shouting, has never been, and no one here is shouting? Just who are we admonishing for shouting?

Maggie has fooled some of you into thinking that it's some kind of issue that needs to be addressed--because people here are actually fooled into addressing it.
Posted by HellboundAlleee on June 8, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this
It is interesting to me to note that Ms. Gallagher, a practicing Catholic whose faith drives her position on gay marriage, is selective on which faith mandates extend into the civil sphere. For example:
** She is not advocating that governments refuse to recognize the rights of straights to divorce in civil law.
** She is not advocating that governments refuse to recognize the rights of straights to serial marry in civil law.
** She is not advocating that governments block private spousal rights (such as health or benefits coverage) to new civil spouses of divorced straights.
** She isn't advocating that government not recognize new spouses of divorced people.

In other words, Maggie Gallagher has already recognized and admitted that there is a difference between God's and Caesar's marital mandates. I doubt, though, that she'd have the moral courage to admit that, even to herself.
Posted by seeker6079 on June 8, 2012 at 3:11 PM · Report this
@61: You have by chance reminded me about the "Oh, it's all about the benefits, they just want the benefits" argument.

Is it not curious that the government will fall all over itself getting out of the way of people -- any number of people, in any combination -- who want to pool their interests in order to better their lives through commerce? Raw, naked greed is encouraged and richly rewarded. But the minute LOVE is involved in the equation, suddenly the government feels itself competent to know true love from false, to interpose and moderate the situation, and God forbid there should be any whiff of financial considerations to the deal. (Because wanting to be able to take care of your partner and offspring, in sickness and in health, can't possibly involve anything so mercenary as a health plan or a 401K. At least it can't when the two people are of the same sex.)
Posted by avast2006 on June 8, 2012 at 5:20 PM · Report this
John corvino is cute! Sorry, I couldn't add anything more substantial to the discussion, long day.
Posted by arachnar on June 8, 2012 at 8:11 PM · Report this
@31, 40, 42, 52 - insulting Gallagher for her appearance doesn't really help the debate. Her weight and appearance don't make a difference about whether her opinions are reasonable or bigoted as hell. Pretty people aren't more intelligent or moral than anyone else, and there have been plenty of thin bigots. The marriage equality movement will look more mature and keep people focused on the real issue - equality - if its proponents don't resort to middle-school taunts. We have so many better arguments than, "Well, you're fat."
Posted by 14thblackbird on June 9, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 67
@66..but i'll say it again..pretty is as pretty does....
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on June 9, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
I think the point of sitting and talking in civil tones is that it gets ideas across. Not necessarily to your debate opponent -- Maggie here seems pretty much unconvinceable. But think of all the people who are undecided or 'evolving' on the question. Don't you think that actually hearing calm, well-reasoned answers to the questions brought up by anti-gay activists has an impact?

It's not simply that the pen (or the spoken word) is mightier than the sword. It's part of the idea of showing people that those involved in the question -- teh gayz -- are, well, simply people who are trying to be happy, and who are not going to 'change' anything in any threatening way. Those who can be reached will be more easily reached in this way. Those who can't, won't be, no matter what.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 9, 2012 at 7:42 PM · Report this

It's possible that she'd like the government to do those things, but realises that she would't get support if she openly advocated them.
Posted by James Hutchings on June 10, 2012 at 5:09 AM · Report this
Really, our side gets angry over lies. No gay marriage has ever damaged a straight marriage, and our love is not some destructive force. Saying our bonds are destructive to straight bonds is insulting bullshit. Rage is the only appropriate measure of response.
Posted by Lan on June 10, 2012 at 6:58 AM · Report this
I struggle with the idea of gay marriage and I can't seem to put my finger on why.

Part of it has to do with the fact that the people I know in long term (10-20 year) stable gay relationships are super-guarded about their relationships. They don't "act" married socially so it is a little hard to see that there is "no difference" between gay and straight marriages.

I think there is a difference for two reasons: 1. "Acting" married if you are gay can get you killed or fired or have other devastating consequences. That is a great reason for being circumspect. 2. Gay relationships are less common and I'm not that used to them. It is a visceral kind of reaction that I am not proud of, but there it is. BTW it isn't the sex - I'm totally fine with all the permutations of sex between consenting adults.

Relationships in general are unique and what makes them healthy and work span the spectrum. I suppose I haven't seen enough gay marriages in action to feel comfortable with the notion. I am ok with civil unions and fully extending comparable legal rights, serving in the military, etc but I balk at "marriage".
Posted by just ann on June 10, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
How do you have a rational discussion with "adults" who still magically believe that a collection of third-hand bronze- and iron-age myths and allegories is the literal word of God, or evidence of God's will, or an immutable moral code? And who demand that everyone follow their interpretation of that moral code? How do you cope with an electorate in jurisdictions where a majority or near-majority of voters think that way?

This is why we have an Establishment Clause -- to protect us from having a specific religion, or a particular family of religious traditions, or religion generally, imposed on us, even if a majority favor it. This is why we have an Equal Protection Clause -- to prevent unfair treatment and unjustified discrimination, including religiously based discrimination, even if a majority favor it.

Revisit the speeches given in opposition to marriage equality in the Washington legislature. Examine the justifications provided for voting no on Referendum 74. Virtually all of them are based on religion; the final Senate session in particular could pass for a religious convocation. If R-74 is voted down, the 9th Circuit will hold the result unconstitutional on Equal Protection and -- possibly, if they are bold (or impolitic) enough to point to the elephant in the room -- Establishment Clause grounds. Once it hits the Supreme Court, though, all bets are off. The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and their outrider -- Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy -- are Roman Catholics who often have trouble seeing what the fuss over imposing traditional, commonly accepted Judeo-Christian practices is all about.

So let me retool my last question: How do you cope with an electorate in jurisdictions where a majority or near-majority of voters think that way, and where the justices responsible for enforcing the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause also think that way? Answer: You do your best to argue the fairness and humanity of your cause to magical-thinking adults, in terms that fit their magical-thinking paradigms -- this is best done by pro-equality Christians, I think, not secular humanists like me -- and you try like hell to win at the ballot box.
Posted by PCM on June 10, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
"I struggle with the idea of gay marriage and I can't seem to put my finger on why."

What you wrote--about the "visceral" reaction that you're not proud of--feels really honest, and for that I commend you. From what you said, I think you're on the verge of realizing that your "balking" at marriage is the deep, residual roots of a homophobia you've just about, but not quite, rooted out. I doubt you'd feel like you have the right--based on a not-fully understood gut feeling--to veto any marriage among people you know, so at some level, you know that you don't really have any right to 'balk' at the marriages of people you admit that you really know nothing about.

It sounds like this visceral reaction to gay marriage bothers you, so you might start by reading the stories of gay couples in love, since you're not in a place where you're in contact with lots of real couples. Here are some:…

(If you're interested in a philosopher's argument that the biggest factor in changing our minds is that we get just used to something, read section 5 of this article by Kwame Anthony Appiah:…. Short version: there's a lot of evidence that what makes for real social change is not arguments and logic, but just "getting used to" seeing and interacting with people who embody whatever social change has seemed wrong or troubling before.)
Posted by lori, ohio on June 10, 2012 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Mr Ank - It's not entirely that simple in either direction. Remember Kitty Dukakis.
Posted by vennominon on June 10, 2012 at 4:50 PM · Report this
BEG 75
Between wondering what happens when you take a woman out of the wedding and declaring that a man "edits his sexuality in a way that is pleasing to a woman" when he gets married really speaks volumes to me. Women aren't gay? She doesn't care if they get married? Why does this strike me as a long, extended, MEMEMEMEMEMEME rant on her part that has had. via her hate organization, collateral damage on a much wider scale than a self absorbed brat should ever have?
Posted by BEG!/browneyedgirl65 on June 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
@74(MrVen), it never is. But think of those who are 'evolving' or 'wrestling with the issue'. For them, this is the kind of thing that helps.

Nothing works for everybody; most things don't even work for most people. Yet slowly things change.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 11, 2012 at 4:16 PM · Report this
@nocutename, Kim in Portland: it is certainly true that the US constitution is the document on which this discussion should be based, not the bible -- such is the meaning of the rule of law. Yet there is a point in making biblical arguments to those who believe in the bible as an authoritative source: to show the inconsistency between what is written in the bible they claim to respect, and the claims which they make about marriage in the context of the discussion. This discrepancy takes away from them the momentum of their professed belief in the sanctity of the bible.

Ultimately of course the bible is not the source of US law. But there is the whole debate about 'justice' and 'law', what the law is and what it should be. People will disagree on their sources of morality for how the law should be changed -- be it the bible, science, a specific metaphyical/ethical system -- and if we stop the discussion at this point, then it simply cannot continue.

Of course the relationship between morals/ethics and the law is complicated. But it does exist -- for most people, morals/ethics are the basic reason why we have laws. What would we do if Americans simply split into groups who don't recognize each other's source of morality/justice -- the constitution, the bible, Marxism, Zen? Would discussion become impossible?
Posted by ankylosaur on June 11, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
kim in portland 78

I don't have a problem with acknowledging someone's choice for the basis of their own personal morality. I do not agree that they have the right to force it upon others, though. I do think that the Constitution and Bill of Rights is where the buck stops in the US. I think there is a real danger in allowing any religious text to be considered an authority, this is because religion tends to place the ultimate responsibility for the source of morality outside oneself and into the hands of a God /gods/ whose own followers can't reach consensus.

Anyway, my comment was directed towards the argument that NOM (and other loud Christians) make that Dan's (and other nonagreeing individuals) quoting the OT shows that they are uneducated about the Bible and unaware that Christians follow the NT. And, the scriptural basis for this "talk" was from Genesis. That and if you are going to insist that we acknowledge that you use the Bible has your moral guide book on marriage then have the integrity to acknowledge all eight or so types of marriage found there.

I can't answer for nocutename. I was surprised by her interpretation of my comment @ 21. I can only guess that I did not adequately convey my meaning. And, it doesn't matter if she doesn't find my "biblical work" helpful, because we're already standing on the same line that was drawn in the sand. :-)

Take care.
Posted by kim in portland on June 11, 2012 at 6:12 PM · Report this
Fortunate 79
Maggie, here's the thing you need to understand.

If every gay guy in the world turned straight tomorrow and decided to marry women and start popping out kids, none of them would still want to marry or fuck you.

Just get over it.
Posted by Fortunate on June 14, 2012 at 9:45 AM · Report this

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