Respectfully Engaged: An Email Exchange

Comments

1
Trolls gonna troll?
2
Who said you had to be engaged in intelligent discourse all the time? Isn't that why the Stranger exists? Which isn't a swipe, but reading self-serious newspapermen hem and haw about issues and pretend they are wholly objective is not fun or interesting. Sometimes a nasty website is necessary for a nasty man. That website made Santorum into a joke, which he is. His views on contraception should disqualify him from being a mayor of a small town, let alone a senator.
3
When BRF says "I won't take the time to rebut", he really means: "There is nothing remotely reasonable that I could say to defend my irrational viewpoint against your well-thought-out argument".
4
So my husband and I should not have been allowed to marry because we deliberately chose not to procreate. Oops, sorry about that!
5
You really do catch more flies with honey! It's great how you helped this guy soften his rhetoric. (Perhaps you've also helped him to reconsider his overall viewpoint, even if he doesn't say so here.) That said, I love the spreading santorum site. Please don't make it go away until he is out of the race. Santorum is getting everything he deserves.
6
Why is it that every bigoted wingnut insists that they deserve to have every obvious point explained to them, personally, over and over and over and over and over again?

7
The only condition under which taking down Spreading Santorum would be OK is if Google blacklists it.

Otherwise, it should stay up forever. Even when Chinese supplants English in 2083, it should just be translated and maintained.
8
Neat.
9
Santorum got smeared in New Hampshire!
10
And this entire exchange would not have happened if santorum had never been redefined. The redefinition created a ton of discussion and had people reevaluating their views. Reason enough to keep the website going.
11
There are a million websites with reasoned arguments. This guy is actually an example of the shocking website leading him to the well reasoned argument..not that everyone gets to just knock on Dan's door and sit down for a chat.
12
I hate disingenuous two-faced douchebags like BRF, who's all "I think you're a loathsome aberration who deserves to be treated like a second-class citizen, but I hope you and your family have a nice day at the movies anyway and God Bless! I know you just rhetorically handed my ass to me on a platter, but I think we should just respectfully agree to disagree, you fucking pervert."
13
Danny is way beyond reason on the point,
but,
as the article Danny linked points out,
Santorum's language and argument is EXACTLY what the SCOTUS and Obama's Justice department have used in legal briefs.

\Danny has a very personal
very obsessive obsession/infatuation with Santorum
and chooses
(or maybe he has no choice-
perhaps it is a manifestation of mental disease....)
to express it in a very public very crude obnoxious way.

Public figures often draw attention from unbalanced individuals.
Hinckley, Chapman, Savage.....
14
That guy is an idiot and I hate it when people who are losing an argument say, "Well, we're going to have to agree to disagree..." Whatever, asshole...
15
"As someone with gay family (whom I love dearly) I can honestly say: You are simply a vile self-hating human being. I can deal with intelligent discourse but you are just hateful. You hate yourself, enjoy that!—BRF"

Sounds like a Sullivan-ish Log Cabiner who will be *loved* by the GOP mainstream just as soon as those pesky gays stop complaining about the loudmouth asshole Presidential candidates and their horrible rhetoric.
16
"Santorum made vile, hateful remarks at our expense, we made one at his..."

The world is full of folks who are willing to engage in vile hateful behavior.

Danny proudly adds himself to the list.

They do not make the world a better place,
the fanboys above are blowing out their asses when they imagine that some great good has come from it-
the world becomes a better place in spite of the vile hatefulness.

Danny could contribute something positive to the conversation if he chooses.

"santorum" is not it.
17
And, Dan, you might add this to your argument:

Five states allow certain couples to marry only if they can't conceive children.

http://www.cousincouples.com/?page=state…;

18
@6 Standard rhetoric tactic for trolls to derail the argument.
19
Can we see that Taiwan animation of Santorum again?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?src_vid=8yQ…
20
The almost entirely unilateral civility just depresses me. I don't think the time will ever come when we don't have to be the nice ones, the respectful ones, the ones to turn the other cheek seventy times upon seventy.
21
@15: Whoops, someone with gays *in* his family, not someone with a gay family.

Just another Conservative with "black friends, therefore [hateful rhetoric]..."

Scratch my previous assumption, this situation is classic regressive.
22
To all the haters who are dogging the letter-writer, consider that this guy is representative of the next wave of people who become in favor of marriage equality. He's okay with the rights and benefits of marriage -- but he's not ready to embrace the term.

Over the past dozen years, we've had millions of converts. At some point in the recent past, they held views similar to this guy's. Shut yourself off to them as haters and they're less likely to convert; engage them in the argument, and we just might win them over.

If anything, the message from this exchange should be the (calm) talking points and logic for walking people through this thinking. We're likely destined for a voter referendum on marriage this November; time to practice up on these conversations.

Well done, Dan.
23
I'm sure BRF has no clues about history, even the history of his allies. Even just four years ago, the anti-gay crowd was denouncing gay marriage as a "special right" that other Americans don't enjoy. Now he's righteously proclaiming it as a special right: for monogamous straight people!

Their logic is twisted, because nothing in their stance is logical.
24
BRF, gay people have been making respectful, reasoned arguments for years now. The Christianists are the ones who just assert without trying to defend -- e.g. "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman." And ultimately, as with all other civil rights struggles, we are not going to ASK permission to have equality, we are going to demand and get it. We are all Americans and this inequality crap has been going on for far too long.
25
Wow
26
BRF, like Santorum himself, has deliberately taken Santorum's 2003 statement out of context. The full statement is as follows (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/…

"Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality...."

Santorum was talking about the definition of marriage, and he briefly mentioned homosexuality in the middle of his statement. When he says, "It's not, you know, man on child..." he is talking about MARRIAGE, not homosexuality. MARRIAGE "is one thing. And when you destroy that....." Does BRF really think the "one thing" that is being destroyed is homosexuality?

It infuriates me that Santorum and his apologists are so dishonest -- or perhaps they're "not that bright at all." I haven't yet heard anybody call Santorum on this outright lie, and I'd like to see it thrown in his face.
27
@22 As much as it pains me to give that person credit after reading his letter, you are absolutely right. Thank you Dan for being a better person than me and engaging this dipshit instead of fighting him.
28
@22: "To all the haters who are dogging the letter-writer, consider that this guy is representative of the next wave of people who become in favor of marriage equality. He's okay with the rights and benefits of marriage -- but he's not ready to embrace the term."

And he'll fight against it to the very end. There were plenty of people with "close black friends" who embraced segregation. Oh, he's not against gay marriage *BUT*...

http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Tone_tr…

How about this, we'll stop using silly redefinitions of hateful politicians when the politicians stop being hateful.
29
But yes, sometimes it is best to just reply straight to the point without lowering ourselves to their rhetoric.
30
@21

Yes, someone with gays in his family--and he loves them! Most likely, he loves them so much that he will never stop trying to get them to abandon their gay ways and get into good straight marriages.
31
Dan must have been bored. I would have shit-canned the troll after "Im not unimpressed". Bigotry may be deplorable but double negatives are unforgivable.
32
Am I the only person to catch that the dude said he's working *two jobs* and is obviously a pro-Republican "family values" conservative? When will these idiots realize that it's only the good ol' US of A (out of all OECD G20 nations) where ordinary people have to work TWO jobs to make ends meet for their families -- thanks to CONSERVATIVES who are actually pro-wealthy-families' net future value of trusts and carried interest (hedge fund yields / capital gains). Sheesh.

Go spend some time in Canada or France or Germany dude, you'd be working ONE job thanks to governments where their RIGHT wings are WAY to the left of Obama and the tax rates support child care and health care and a fair retirement. As a European capitalist friend says -- a guy who is self made & develops $100+ million office buildings in Europe -- even the CEOs in Europe are socialists compared to Americans. And if you're unlucky enough to be unemployed (half as likely in Germany than in USA) you won't starve whereas here you could.

Of course, the dude probably doesn't even known what OECD G20 means, thanks to Fox, and probably believes he's better off than someone in western Europe. Do I see my rich friend begging to come to America where he'd have a lower tax rate and be able to buy a second castle? NO!!! He has one castle already. Literally. One is enough for him. And he's in favor of socialized healthcare.

You can be self-made in ANY G20 country, dude, but only in America can you be hardworking and have to hold down 2 jobs just to feed your kids. WAKE UP! If you are pro family values you should be PRO-DEMOCRAT every time in every election, local, state, Senate, Congress, and President. Period.
33
What a tool.
34
I think the whole gay-family ("whom I love dearly!") gambit that he leads with needs a little unpacking.

It's BECAUSE he loves them dearly that he feels perfectly fine saying that they don't deserve equal rights? Has he actually told them this to their faces, out of his abundance of love and concern? Or, more likely, has he bit his tongue at family gatherings while feeling fully justified (because of his love and all) in writing his anti-equality opinions anonymously to public forums? And because he has professed to them his undying love (without sharing his anti-equality convictions) and received their assurances of love in return, he feels they also concur with his anti-equality stance?

It's not quite the same as Elizabeth Santorum, a campaign operative, claiming that she has gay friends who support her father—but if BRF is going to stand behind his dearly-loved gay family members while throwing brickbats, maybe he should consider asking a few of them to share with Dan what they think of dear old Uncle BRF.
35
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

The only arguments against gay rights are religious in origin.

I really fail to see why this is so hard for people to understand.
36
Arguing with people like this is like using logic with xians. It is doomed to fail.
37
Sorry, but BRF still comes off as a complete dick ("You hate yourself, enjoy that!" - um, really?). He won't take the time to rebut because he doesn't have a rebuttal. Dan, you came off pretty great in that exchange. You were the civil one with logically reasoned arguments. The LW was just spouting lines he'd been fed.
38
Bravo, Dan. Thank you for posting.
39
@28: I am not sure I agree with you. When I was a kid, my town was overwhelmingly conservative - Ford and Regan carried the day there. However, something started happening during First Bush and it supported Clinton in '92 and Obama in '08. The community has aged and the older residents (the age of my parents) are the ones responsible for this voting trend (in fact, I that the residents who have moved in over the last decade - the ones with younger kids - are a bit more conservative). These are primarily white people who probably were interested but not active during the Civil Rights Movement, raised their kids in the early 70s to mid/late 80s. And when I engage with them (like my dad or my quite-religious mother-in-law), they are strong supporters of civil rights for everyone. They can articulate the "why" that helps them form their opinions and, if pressed, could probably admit to the fact that they have changed (and even point to the time when they did change).

I tend to believe like @22 - it is better to be reasonable with someone like the LW when you have the chance (much easier in a one-on-one discussion; less easy in a much more public forum) because they very well might change AND their kids are growing up in a much more progressive home and time than many of us (who are strong supporters of marriage equality) did.
40
Perhaps his family know him to be such a bigot that they've not let him know that the macro IS the micro and affects real people, keeping them from living to the same standard as the straight population. This shit ruins lives. Someone lend him some gay shoes to walk a mile in...
41
Keep the santorum website up. Your actual, logical arguments are posted regularly on your blog. There's no reason they can't be supplemented by a bit of humor (at the expense of the one guy who most deserves to be the butt of many jokes).

The homophobes made a choice to become immune to logic and reason when they decided to adopt a philosophy that is antithetical to logic and reason. As such, they can only expect so much respectful debate from us. Anyone who is open to intelligent debate already supports gay rights by now.
42
And ya know what? Loving family members "dearly" doesn't mean shit. I love an entire branch of my family dearly, would cheerfully donate organs to them. But they're a bunch of unstable lunatics, and I won't have them in my life. I wish them well and am grieved to hear when they are having problems, but I'm not going to give them a foothold in my day-to-day existence as long as they behave in ways that are hurtful to the people around them. I'm sure you love your gay family members, BRF, but that doesn't mean you respect them or view them as upstanding individuals - you know, the components for having a relationship of equals.
43
What bothers me the most about this guy's letter is that his assumption that there is no one past him on the anti-gay rights spectrum. No one with genuine animus toward gays. He asserts that every conservative thinks like he does and harbors no actual ill-will toward gay people. But that is just not true.

Maybe he and his close conservative friends do not dislike gay people. Buy many millions of conservatives actually do dislike gay people. Some of them hate gay people with a visceral passion.

Maybe he isn't saying "Don't be gay". Many others are, though, including Rick Santorum. Santorum wants to reinstitute sodomy laws. Nothing says "don't be gay" like making it criminal to be gay.

Maybe he doesn't care what gay people do in their lives. Many others do, including Rick Santorum. Santorum wants employers to be able to fire gay people for being gay, for public businesses to be able to refuse them services, to preclude them from being in the military, and for the government to enter their homes and arrest them for any private expression of intimacy. Santorum doesn't support physical violence against gay people. But he wants it to be okay for gays to be bullied in the name of Christ. And many conservatives actually do support physical violence against gay people.

This guy needs to stop projecting his own primitive but developing prototolerance on his fellow conservatives. There are too many that don't feel like he does. If he is a man of integrity, he ought to acknowledge that.
44
@16 conservative youth is sad: http://www.planka.fm/ungmoderat.gif
45
I have a major bone to pick with the concept of the "nuclear family" ... In the history of humanity the nuclear family is basically brand new. And as such, it's an aberration from traditional families, aka extended families ... And it weakens society as a result because young families don't have their relatives around to help with childcare and other important life challenges. So if someone is going to argue "traditional", just make sure we don't stop in the 1950s.
46
you should NEVER take spreadingsantorum down.
47
Hmm. As a married hetero with zero interest in procreation, am I not supposed to have equal marriage benefits? This is news, since there wasn't a box on the license application for "wants kids."
Also, I know some married lesbians with babies they birthed themselves who would be really, really surprised to learn that the their relationship prevents them from procreating.
48
Why is Mark Driscoll signing his emails "BRF"?
49
@43, quite so.

He says "No one is saying don't adopt kids", but a large and mobilized force on the right is saying exactly that: Florida BANS gay adoption (though it has been overturned, just recently, in a court, and is still pending). Arkansas and Utah ban gay couples from adopting; Mississippi bans gay couples, but not single gay people, from adopting.

These are popular laws, and the Christian right is trying to enact similar laws in other states. He's simply wrong: many, many people are saying "don't adopt" and "don't have rights".

BRF's argument is completely erroneous and completely offensive. My reaction is actually much harsher than Dan's; I say FUCK YOU.
50
i've been that black friend that some bigots have spoken of as 'i know black people'.i've been tolerated during thanksgiving dinners when i couldn't get to my own family. i've been the only black person in the room more times than you'd care to count. i'd come to call myself an evangelical for civility and equal treatment and respect. it has NEVER worked to my advantage to be so. NEVER. it hasn't gotten me one job nor one decent living situation nor one loving companion.i don't think it's changed one 'loving mind' to treat other blacks with any iota of magnaminity that they managed to muster towards me. hell the turkey isn't even that good. i can't imagine being 'the gay in the family' works out any better for the gay, so when dan sometimes not so politely tells em to fuck the fuck off.. well ..my heart swells to the point of bursting.
51
Dan wields the arguments well but we all know them by now: it's a well-worn path. And yet again, the social conservative bails before he sufficiently addresses them. Typical.

It just proves, yet again, that there are no logical, secular arguments against marriage equality. They don't exist and social conservatives will forever abandon the discussion before accepting that fact.

Maybe that's why the cowards Hutcherson and Pidgeon canceled. They know this will be the final result.
52
Totally on the gay side here, but the best part of this exchange is that Dan admits his dude could never even support himself.
53
Wow. That exchange was a lot like the ones I have had with family members, less name calling though. Cold get togethers those were. They finally saw the light, they finally admitted that their position was wrong. They are officially pro-equality GOP Christians. Able to be counted on when an immoral referendum comes around in their states, but they're still wedded to the GOP and that means they are still part of the problem. Hopefully continued dialog will help them see that. Slow is the bend towards justice.

I hopefully the LW has started that journey. Nice work, Dan.
54
The more people like BRF attempt to "explain" themselves, the more incapable of critical thinking they reveal themselves to be. This is the essence of conservatism: Things should just "be a certain way," and that's that. Fuck this guy and his false kindness/condescension.
55
@48 wins the thread.
56
As someone who strongly supports gay marriage, and who doesn't believe that there's anything morally wrong with homosexuality, I hate to say this, but I can kind of see how Santorum's 2003 comments can be interpreted, without butchering the syntax, to mean he DOESN'T think homosexuality is comparable to bestiality or paedophilia.

If you believe the constitution straight up, unambiguously says 'marriage is between a man and a woman' and a court strikes down a bill outlawing gay marriage, strictly speaking it's going against the constitution. You could probably be opposed to that decision just based on your constitutionalist zeal alone, without having to hate the gays. Because, of course, once you say gay marriage is okay in court (assuming the constitution explicitly says it isn't, but I haven't personally read it), the only reason that won't lead to legalizing bestiality and paedophilia is if society's squick line stays between gay marriage and dog fucking. Society's squick line SHOULD stay there, because homosexuality is okay, but dog/baby fucking is not, but the point is if the court says it can magically make one okay, legally there's no reason it can't make the others okay.

Of course, the social conservative right, Santorum included, are opposed to that theoretical decision because they think teh gayz are icky. The constitution arguments are probably somewhat sincere but there's a lot of window dressing for what they know are politically unpalatable arguments against basic human equality. I disagree with those moral arguments wholeheartedly, but at least in theory I can see the problem with courts making up laws as they go along, even if they are correcting what any sane individual (but not social conservatives) see as an obvious flaw in the constitution.
57
Continuing the "us vs. them" mentality helps no-one. Evolve, people. And I mean EVERYONE.
58
Kim, that sounds like some of my extended family. I had a very similar discussion with my mom. She was fine with "everything but marriage", but had immense difficulty allowing that one word to be used to describe same sex committed relationships. When I explained that separate but equal doesn't work, and described some of the injustices done to same sex couples, she finally started understanding why full marriage rights were necessary. She still doesn't like using the word "marriage" in connection with same-sex unions, but has conceded that anything less just won't allow for equal rights.
59
Uh...has anyone noticed the Santorum/NewsMax ads from Google Ads? If Dan & The Stranger were serious about this, they'd tell Google "thanks but no thanks". Or can't you pay the bills without them?
60
@50: " it has NEVER worked to my advantage to be so. NEVER."

But surely you can take solace that your passive existence is justification for continued, active bigotry! :/
61
Add me to the people who say that the "Santorum poop joke" prompted this guy to write to you, and a reasonable discussion ensued. He may be lying about actually considering what you had to say, but if we take it at face value, the poop joke lead to something worthwhile.

Never take spreadingsantorum.com down.
62
I am glad to hear that you have had success too, Kim @58.

And...

@ neighbor Chris in Vancouver, I'll keep working on evolving, but there are times to make a stand and accept the fall out... angry family members, friendships ending over your position... I do attempt to speak up firmly with kindness though. As I see it we have one life to live and we have to be able to live with ourselves, too.
63
Don't take the site down, Dan. You're allowed to make fun of someone's name. It's not your fault that it caught on--it's Santorum's fault. He's a huge homophobic asshole and people were happy to roast him. And there's honestly nothing wrong with that.
64
Personally, I take issue with "weak-minded."
65
@47 I didn't see any "wants kids" box on the license application either. What I did see, since my husband and I got married after same-sex marriage became legal in my state, was sections marked "Spouse A" and "Spouse B". That was awesome.
66
That's ironic that BRF watches Revenge, a show about a young woman taking revenge against self-absorbed people like BRF that blithely fuck others over to fit their own goals and paper-thin worldview. As always, conservatards totally lack self-awareness.
67
Before obnoxious homos started being offensive, no one in this country thought we should have *any* protections for our relationships. Now a majority do, but not because we engaged in 'respectful dialog'. In 1969, instead of going peacefully to jail like society said they should, those obnoxious queens in the village tossed cop cars.
Keep that spreadingsantorum.com site splooshing its thing, Dan. It's the least you can do for that fuckwit Santorum and all his ilk.
68
@60
you'd be a fucking fool to construe my post or my encounters with these people as 'passive existence that justifies their continued active bigotry',as the letter writer explains these people need no justification for whatever their nonsense means. my point is that unreasonable people assume bigotry despite reason. try as one might to reason with them, it almost always pointless to try. i've argued and fought to the point of other peoples tears my disagreements with other peoples bigotries in their homes, in their faces.i stop short of raging on them because rage isn't my strong suit. rage just makes me sicker. in the end i remain a nice polite guy who won't shit in other peoples homes or lives when invited. ...but i don't return to them either
69
As my Grandpa would say, don't piss with the skunks Dan. Ignore them.
70
@26 beat me to it. The "it" in this quote . . .

"That's NOT to pick on homosexuality. It's NOT, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be."


. . . refers not to homosexuality, but marriage. It seems that anyone with the audacity to suggest that Dan is "not that bright at all, or [...] dishonest" would either be bright enough to have picked up on that or honest enough to have caught it on re-reading.

On balance, the writer seems reasonable, but challenging the intelligence of those who clearly "got" what was being said where you did not is never sound rhetorical tactic.

@56 - I see what you're saying, but it seems to me that where opening marriage to same-sex couples (or even to plural arrangments, i.e. polygamy) only changes (really just modifies) the definition of marriage, whereas child marriage or marriage to non-humans changes the essential nature of all contract law and the definition of personhood. Indeed, even where bestiality is legal, marriage to the beast is not. Children and animals aren't excluded from marriage because we find child rape or sex with non-humans repugnant or immoral (though most of us do); they are excluded for the same reason they cannot vote, own property, or be tried as adults.
71
He still sounds like an idiot that's never going to get it. Treating everyone equally is a pretty basic concept.
72
@70 - Um . .. In this sentence . . .

I see what you're saying, but it seems to me that where opening marriage to same-sex couples (or even to plural arrangments, i.e. polygamy) only changes (really just modifies) the definition of marriage, whereas child marriage or marriage to non-humans changes the essential nature of all contract law and the definition of personhood.


. . . I should either have use "where" or "whereas," not both. I think I forgot that I had used the first by the time I got to the second. Maybe this year, I'll give up hypotaxis for Lent (yeah, right; I do not celebrate or acknowledge Lent, and would be hard-pressed to sacrifice anything so integral to my very being as hypotaxis).
73
@56

Actually, the constitution does not mention marriage at all. Don't believe me? Find it online and do a comuter search for "marriage." You'll get zilch. Nada.

Consitutional arguments about marriage are really based upon two clauses. One is the full-faith and credit clause, in which states agree to give (you guessed it) full-faith and credit to lisences and contracts granted in other states. This has a lot of commerical application--for instance, a corporation formed in one state does not have to reincorporate if it opens a branch or office in a second state--but it also has implications for marriage law. In essence, a marriage or a divorce granted in one state is automatically recognized in all fifty. That's why if you get married in Seattle and later move to Los Angeles, you don't have to get remarried, or if you divorce in Seattle and later move to Los Angeles, California will automatically uphold the child custody arrangement arrived at in Washington.

The second area of the constitution that has bearing is the 14th amendment, which guarantees all citizens equal protection under the law. This is one area where DOMA does not pass muster. Historically the federal government recognized all legally performed marriages. Now it recognizes some marriages performed in New York--but not others--as well as some marriages performed in Iowa--but not others--and some marriages performed in Connecticut--but not others. And so on and so on.
74
@68: I was being sympathetic, I may not have expressed it properly I fear.

@73: "Actually, the constitution does not mention marriage at all."

Ah, but the "intent" of the Founding Fathers blah blah constitutional expert blah.
75
Can we start a 'Love the hater, not the hate" campaign? Then we can be condescending and dismissive of these people and their concerns, rather than the other way around.

It feels to me like we're getting near somewhat like the end of legal segregation must have been, where only the last holdouts would publicly defend the practice, and in private have to defend their positions rather than the other way around. Still a long way to go, but it feels less hopeless than it did in 1992.
76
@73

Ah, thanks. I stand by my theoretical arguments but if these guys are relying on a part of the constitution that exists only in their heads then they're full of santorum.
77
In his very last comment, BRF hits on something that I've been thinking about for a few weeks.

I know Dan doesn't have time to control the content of the Santorum website, but I think there are a few small things that could be done to improve it. I actually do Google the site periodically, not just to help its clickthroughs but also to read the Santorum-related articles posted. But I think there are a few sections that could be added prominently to help the site.

First, a lot of people who click through are still under the misimpression that Dan (and our) beef with Santorum is strictly about same sex marriage. But the site went up before same-sex marriage was such a big issue. The historical genesis relating to Santorum's comments about bestiality and pedophelia should be clearly explained (along with @70's refutation of Santorum's new-found explanation trying to mis-explain what he was saying). And it should spell out Santorum's ongoing attacks against LGBT on a whole host of issues. Wanting to deny gay couples the right to adopt. Wanting gay couples to be imprisoned for consensual, private sex in their own bedrooms (and straight couples if they engage in "improper" non-vaginal sex. Wanting to ban all forms of pornography without regards to the First Amendment. Wanting to ban abortion in all cases, including rape and incest -- and also wanting to ban all forms of contraception.

And also, perhaps something to address the conservative argument that mighty powerful Dan is bullying poor little Ricky Santorum.

The website could do a better job spelling that out in a prominent sidebar so it doesn't seem like silly name-calling.
78
You are motivated by your own self-interest, as you should, so I would expect you to not agree.

ALERT - ALERT - UNEXAMINED RANDIAN BULLSHIT DETECTED IN IMMEDIATE PROXIMITY TO SOCIAL CONSERVATISM - DO NOT ENGAGE - REPEAT DO NOT ENGAGE - SUBJECT UNRESPONSIVE TO LOGICAL DISCOURSE - SUBJECT INCAPABLE OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE - ALERT - ALERT - DO NOT ENGAGE

"I won't take the time to rebut" is fooling no one. It means "I disagree on ideological grounds but have completely lost my rhetorical grasp on the situation so I am running away before I am forced to examine my own critically inconsistent ideas."
79
"And what does that have to do with you using your weaker-minded fan base to promote all that crap about anal debris and lube? Seriously, man, what about that is cool?"

Seriously, man, what about calling Savage Love's fan-base weak-minded is cool, polite, or in any manner resembles a reasoned argument? Come back when you get over your hypocrisy, BRF, and in the meantime, stop insulting my intelligence and the intelligence of every person who reads this column.
80
In addition, BRF is clearly not the sharpest tack, here, because he completely misses the point that spreadingsantorum exists exactly so that it will draw dickbags like him into dialogues like this.

I mean, he says, "THIS is what your website should read. THIS is a reasoned argument," but there are hundreds of websites out there, YouTube videos, what have you, that already have this same reasoned argument on them. Without spreadingsantorum, he would never have read or watched a single one of them. Guys like him are insular, self-satisfied conservatives who would otherwise never read Dan Savage, but because of the "Google problem," he has been exposed to a concentrated version of the most compelling arguments against his ass-backwards position, and even if he put his fingers in his ears and ran away today, he's still halfway toward being convinced just by virtue of having absorbed those arguments.

Congratulations, BRF. You have done exactly as you were meant to do. Mwahahaha.
81
Actually, I liked BRF. He was ready to accept intelligence in his opponent when he saw what he considered signs of it -- instead of (unlike Seattleblues) keep insisting that Dan must be a horrible guy because such is life. I'll go even as far as saying that the kind of argumentation Dan presents here -- clear, simple, understandable, logical, compelling -- should be present somewhere in the spreadingsantorum website, and prominently so (maybe a very visible link to a FAQ or mission statement page where those points are prominently presented?).

People like BRF aren't bad. They are the people that can be reached, because they haven't lost themselves (yet) in a closed cognitive space in which anything from 'the other side' is wrong by definition. Reachable people like him (unlike Seattleblues) are the ones that should indeed be reached. And, let's face it, the more reasonable they are the more they are likely to be (at first) disgusted by the strategy.
82
@30 - "Yes, someone with gays in his family--and he loves them! Most likely, he loves them so much that he will never stop trying to get them to abandon their gay ways and get into good straight marriages."

BRF doesn't sound like that kind of person at all. He has just fallen into a trap. He's bought the right's line that "it's OK to treat different things differently." What he doesn't understand - something that a majority (and growing!) of Americans do - is that in marriage we are so much more like opposite-sex couples than we are different. It is two HUMANS that marry, not two sets of genitals.

If BRF is going to be intellectually honest - as I believe he is attempting to be - he would have to admit that marriage should then be limited only to couples who can and intend to have children. (Though he still can't respond to the fact that even with lesbians and gay men, "life finds a way" as Jeff Goldblum said in "Jurassic Park.)

But because Homosexuality is so strange and off-putting to him - at least in regards to his own sexual behavior (I'm guessing here, the closet cases are usually more virulent than this guy, so I'm guessing full-on straight) - that difference feels HUGE to him. That's fine. He's allowed to experience that as a huge difference. But compared to all the ways my marriage is similar to those of my straight friends and family, it's really a pretty small difference.

So ultimately, I'd think/hope BRF would be loving and accepting if a family member came out to him. He'd still feel a little weirded out by the sex part, but because he knows this person, he knows that how they behave sexually doesn't entirely define who they are.

At that might one day help BRF to realize that it's OK to treat equal things equally. And human beings are equal.
83
NEVER TAKE DOWN SPREADINGSANTORUM.COM

NEVER

NEVER

NEVER
84
@82: "If BRF is going to be intellectually honest - as I believe he is attempting to be - he would have to admit that marriage should then be limited only to couples who can and intend to have children."

If we're talking about sincerity, he would allow infertile couples/adopters to be married. This is why you give him too much credit.
85
@82 - That said, I also think BRF has a point. Santorum compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia by expressing that he didn't think it was as bad as those two. He still thinks it's awful, just not quite as damnation-inducing awful as dog-fucking and child-raping.

What he IS saying is that homosexuality, bestiality and pedophilia are all out of the norm sexual behaviors. But so are monogamy and celibacy. The reason we, as a society, have decided to punish those who engage in bestiality and pedophilia is because there is coercion or lack of capacity to reason or lack of ability to defend oneself involved. Santorum seems to acknowledge that difference. I don't know if he's called for an overturn of Lawrence v. Texas, or if he doesn't believe states have to abide by that decision, and he is still far from a friend, but I do think in Santorum's original comments he was drawing a distinction of degree that Dan ought to acknowledge.

Santorum has done plenty to deserve the name change - it doesn't have to ONLY be about dog-fucking and child rape, Dan.
86
@84 - "If we're talking about sincerity, he would allow infertile couples/adopters to be married. This is why you give him too much credit."

I think we're saying the same thing. He DOES think infertile couples should be able to marry. But I think if he follows his own logic, that marriage is a privilege and is such because it brings children into the world, then he has to be in favor of DENYING infertile couples the right to marry, and GRANT it to gay couples who can show they have the resources (donated sperm or egg and willing womb) to create a child.
87
I would pose this question to BRF:

All other factors being equal, do you believe same-sex relationships are inherently inferior - morally and socially - to straight relationships?

If his answer is yes, or "the factors can never be equal because gay relationships are not equal," no reasoned argument will convince him to change his mind on gay marriage and adoption.

If his answer is no, I wonder how he has been able to convince himself he's not a total hypocrite.
88
@45: Nailed it.

@70, 72: Made my day.

@73: Made my day EVEN BETTER.
89
Ha!! When you grind his arguments into powder he says, "I'm not going to take the time to rebut now..." Translation: "I have no rational argument to make against what you've put forth at this point in our discussion so I'm going to run like the wind now."
Loves you Dan.
90
He dishonestly dodged every point you disproved. especially that Rick Santorum is clearly a homophobic bigot. You showed it to him plain as day, and he went on as if that never happened. I hate pricks like this, and generally I like to grind these conversations to a halt until they at least acknowledge that I disproved their assertion.
91
I agree with all who say the LW is a reasonable person who has swallowed the right's anti-same-sex marriage rhetoric hook, line and sinker. At one point early in the exchange he says that NOBODY is trying to deny gay people rights. Huh? That's EXACTLY what they are doing. It's obvious that he doesn't understand that righties like Santorum would gladly throw gay couples in jail simply for being who they are. If that isn't trying to take somebody's rights away I don't know what is! (Not that Santorum will stop with gay people - you know he is also after our right to control our own reproduction, so it's not just gay people's rights he wants to deny.)

Here is a link to a FABULOUS argument for same-sex marriage. The commenter who said it's a religious issue is absolutely right and this graphic explains that beautifully. It also deals with the rediculous contention that allowing same-sex marriage will lead to people marrying their toasters, children and/or dogs.

http://lolsnaps.com/12138/0/Gay-Rights-E…

92
Great job Dan in being calm, cool and collected. And your arguments obviously could not be assailed, hence the "we can agree to disagree" final email from BRF.

Someone running for the office of President shouldn't be surprised if his homophobic comments lead to push back. A Santorum Presidency would be disastrous for gay rights (and the rights of women). Thank God, that's not going to happen.
93
@91: "I agree with all who say the LW is a reasonable person who has swallowed the right's anti-same-sex marriage rhetoric hook, line and sinker. At one point early in the exchange he says that NOBODY is trying to deny gay people rights."

I don't understand why he couldn't just be insincere about his beliefs. Republicans lie regularly to avoid coming off like all manner of bigot.
94
You are admirably patient, Dan, in this exchange, but it's disheartening that despite being repeatedly corrected on many (but not all) of his basic factual errors, this guy refuses to budge.

Granted, changing your mind in the face of new facts can take some time, but dude, throw the person you're talking to a bone ad maybe at least admit a few of your errors here and there.
95
@93, the best liars are self-deceived.
96
@65: Did you get into a pissing match about who gets to be which? Because I can totally see that happening with my spouse.
97
And all toilets in this kingdom will now be know as... "Johns"
98
@93: For some reason I feel like he believes he thinks the way he says he does, even if he's totally self-deceived like balderdash suggests. He goes into this exchange with a serious hate-on for Dan, so why would he try to impress someone he doesn't respect with lies about how he feels?
99
God, this guy’s argument for procreation make my stomach turn. Like breeding more people in this over populated world is what it's all about. Let’s just keep popping out as many babies as we can- because that’s what society is all about folks - and leave them with a toxic slew of a world to inherit. If all these asshole nut jobs cared even half as much about our environment as they do about stripping other people rights – anyone poor, gay, and with a uterus – I wouldn’t worry about our future generations, especially my daughters. Without an inhabitable environment, we as a society have no world ahead of us to speak of. Even animal know you don’t shit where you eat.

100
Translation of the final response:

"My arguments have no internal coherency and I'm completely incabable of refuting any of the points you've made in this entire exchange, but rather than allow myself to challenge my narrow minded views, I'm just going to refuse to think about it because uh... I don't have time and after you took the time to respond to a half dozen e-mails from me, clearly you just don't care *cough cough*. Uh... gotta-go-to-work-now-bye."