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March 12, 2004

Sullivanalia

Andrew Sullivan's been busy twirling reality, and I've fallen behind in noting it. But note it I must, so I'll try to do so quickly.

First up is Sullivan's analysis of a Washington Post poll on gay marriage. He acknowledges that one "can make too much of these polls," but seems to take that as permission, not a caveate. While it is true that:

Nevertheless, it's clear that a majority opposes the extreme step of amending the constitution to prevent any state anywhere from enacting civil marriage rights for gay couples.

Sullivan stretches the truth with the final two words here:

When people realize that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not affect civil marriage, I think their opposition will grow some more.

Sullivan also says that "opposition to the amendment has firmed up." Here's the raw data. Although support for the amendment is down a little from February, that's because it leapt up that month. Depending on the wording, 44% or 43% supported the amendment, up from 38% in January, while 53% or 54% oppose, down from 58% in January. Of course, the Post helped out, in this regard, by leaving the results of its September survey off the list. At that time, support was at 36%, while opposition was as high as 60%. The trend isn't of increasing opposition to the amendment.

The big news, for Sullivan, is that support for civil unions is growing. Again, though, the Post helped him to spin, writing:

About half the country -- 51 percent -- favors allowing gay couples to form civil unions with the same basic legal rights as married couples, up 6 percentage points in less than a month.

But here's the question (italics added):

On another subject, do you think homosexual couples SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be allowed to form legally recognized civil unions, giving them the legal rights of married couples in areas such as health insurance, inheritance and pension coverage?

Depending on my mood and attention, I might have answered "should" to that question, and I certainly wouldn't have thought myself to be rubber stamping "the same basic legal rights as married couples."

At that same link above, Sullivan begins what has proven to be a budding campaign to attack the Catholic Church for "hypocrisy" in allowing a relatively small number of annulments while still having the gall to oppose gay marriage. As he subsequently discovered, that small number is 10%, or about one-fifth the number of marriages ending in civil divorce. Interestingly, eight of that 10% comes from within the United States. Of course, it is disheartening that so many marriages do end thus; the same is true of the leap from 300 to 60,000 U.S. annulments per year since the 1960s. This, however, is foolishness:

I wonder if Kurtz will write an essay blaming the Catholic church for the decline in marriage in America, as he has blamed gays for it in Scandinavia. This one institution has presided over an exponential increase in de facto divorces in the U.S. in the last forty years. And getting an annulment really isn't that hard: 90 percent of applications for annulments are granted. Maybe Kerry didn't need any extra influence at all! It's the Catholic church that has opened the door wide to the decline of religious marriage in America. So where's National Review on this one? 60,000 Catholic annulments for straights a year, and NRO devotes all its energies to gays?

Remember when Sullivan attacked Kurtz, saying his analysis would be "laughed out of a freshman social science class"? Well, at the very least Sullivan isn't inclined to hold himself to a higher standard. Of course, one could still respond that he's simply cited yet another reason that traditional marriage requires firming, not loosening, and one could point to the fact that he doesn't actually mind annulments. Much more interesting, however, is the vindictive direction in which Sullivan is willing to take this. The Church is going to deny him its stamp of approval on his love life? Well then, how about he stokes another scandal?

MEMO TO THE BOSTON GLOBE: Those guys won deserved kudos for their coverage of the Boston arch-diocese's treatment of child abuse charges. How about looking into the annulment issue?

Elsewhere, Sullivan has the cheek to quote C.S. Lewis to back his cause. From Mere Christianity:

Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one; the other is the quite different question -- how far Christians, if they are voters or members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for everyone. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognize that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.

That's the entirety of Lewis's handling of the matter in this book, essentially as an aside, and Sullivan mightn't like Lewis so much were he to flip back a few pages and see homosexuality denounced as "unnatural" and "perversity." More to the point, however, Sullivan appears to have overlooked this passage in a previous chapter:

The second thing to get clear is that Christianity has not, and does not profess to have, a detailed political programme for applying 'Do as you would be done by' to a particular society at a particular moment. It could not have. It is meant for all men at all times and the particular programme which suited one place or time would not suit another.

So the paragraph that Sullivan promotes as "an extraordinary contrast to the current religious right" emphasizes nothing so much as the danger of his own program. Every statement about "marriage" — in law, in theology, in whatever — ever made in Western society before very recent years presupposed that it meant a man and a woman. One cannot simply assume that Lewis wouldn't have changed his policy preference had civil marriage come to mean something other than marriage. After all:

Everyone knows that the sexual appetite, like our other appetites, grows by indulgence. Starving men may think much about food, but so do gluttons; the gorged, as well as the famished, like titillations.

... You find very few people who want to eat things that really are not food or to do other things with food instead of eating it. In other words, perversions of the food appetite are rare. But perversions of the sex instinct are numerous, hard to cure, and frightful.

It's interesting that Lewis picked that particular appetite for an analogy, considering that Sullivan found a way to direct reports about American obesity directly to his bitterness:

Of course, I would take this view because I'm libertarian on these kinds of issues. But I am a little perplexed by the silence of the religious right. I mean, isn't gluttony a deadly sin? Shouldn't fat people be shamed, denounced, or loved and saved? This affects far, far more people than, er, well, you know where I'm going here. How many sermons have you heard inveighing against extra fries? Just asking.

Actually, I think I've heard multiple mentions from the pulpit of the sin of gluttony and its relevance to modern obesity. That, as it happens, is multiple more sermons than I've heard "inveighing" against homosexuals. Although, I admit that I haven't heard so much as a whisper that I oughtn't marry a chocolate cake.

Now that we've come back around, as always happens with this issue, to things being what they are not, we close with an anecdote that Sullivan has passed along from one of his friends:

We emphasized to the clerk and her manager that Amy and I don't live together, we don't love each other, we don't plan to have kids together, and we're going to go on living and sleeping with our same-sex partners after we get married. So could we still get a marriage license?

"Sure," the license-department manager said, "If you've got $54, you can have a marriage license." ... It's not the marriage license I'd like to have, of course. But, still, let me count my blessings: I have a 10-year relationship (but not the marriage license), a house (but not the marriage license), a kid (but not the marriage license), and my boyfriend's credit-card bills (but not the marriage license). I don't know what a guy has to do around here to get the marriage license. But I guess it's some consolation that I can get a meaningless one anytime I like, just so long as I bring along a woman I don't love and my $54.

It's a cute and clever trick in order to illustrate a point of view, and tricks and raw emotion are the two central weapons of the movement. But tricks could be concocted to suggest that anything is unjust. After all, one could bring a cat to the town clerk and request a dog license. The cat might be many years old. It might share the living space. The person might pay its vet bills. None of this, however, transforms that person into a dog owner.

Posted by Justin Katz at March 12, 2004 1:56 AM
Sullivanalia
Comments

Justin:

Although, I admit that I haven't heard so much as a whisper that I oughtn't marry a chocolate cake.

Ah, but if you love it the only task you have left is to coax it to say "yes."

Posted by: Sierra Whisky Tango at March 12, 2004 8:15 AM

Well, the "yes" is icing on the cake, so to speak.

Posted by: Justin Katz at March 12, 2004 10:40 AM

Can I start a thread called 'Justinalia' ?

Polls: We can all acknowledge that Sullivan attempts to twist and spin any poll on this issue to support his view. As do you. I'll only say that it is clear that majority of young people support either civil unions or gay marriage. And this fact is what is pressing your support of the constitutional amendment sooner than later. Because, despite your previous assertions that opposition to gay rights increases with consideration, my assertion is that you are very afraid that the opposite is true.

Annulments: You argued that the numbers regarding the increase in annulments were not as significant as Sullivan stated. Fair enough. But what about the 'principles' involved ? I think what Sullivan is trying to say is that there is an 'interest' for the Church to grant annulments - which are not based on scripture. Where the Sullivan analogy misses is that the Church does not publicly support the idea of annulments - which is very different than the issue of homosexual behavior. But that doesn't change the fact that you did not address his point - which is the very principle of annulments and how it differs from the view of same-sex relationships.

C.S. Lewis: Per our earlier exchanges, I always meant to comment on my read of "Mere Christianity" but while I had started to write to you, I lost my interest - in part due to my decreasing opinion of you. In any case, his point was that while Lewis clearly felt homosexuality was a perversion and unnatural, he did believe that there should be a different set of 'rules' for Christian marriage versus State or civil marriage. Your point was that Lewis did not specifically refer to same-sex unions. True. But he also did not specifically say that his comment applied to everything but same-sex unions. The bottom line is that Lewis made a persuasive argument for Christian principles. But he also made clear that while he felt that ALL people should adhere to these principles, that he opposed civil law being based solely on those principles. Your response was akin to sweeping that under the carpet.

Other tricks:
Comparing same-sex relationships to the relationship between a human and a chocolate-cake. Nice. Based on your pristine logic, why wouldn't it be OK with you to legitimize a union between a human and a chocolate-cake as long as one were considered male and the other was considered female. Haven't you argued that opposite-gender is the only legitimate factor when it comes to the legitimizing of relationships ? I thought it was those same-sex relationships between human and food that offend you.

You write: "It's a cute and clever trick in order to illustrate a point of view, and tricks and raw emotion are the two central weapons of the movement.
------------- Very true. Tricks and raw emotion are two of the central weapons of the movement - except that I assert that BOTH sides use them. (I know, you hate the "me too" argument).

Finally, another classic Justin-alogy - a cat owner trying to obtain a dog license is like a same-sex couple trying to obtain a marriage license. I can't top that. Very persuasive indeed.

Posted by: Mark Miller at March 12, 2004 1:16 PM

in part due to my decreasing opinion of you

Hmm. Maybe I better have my afternoon coffee before I reply.

Posted by: Justin Katz at March 12, 2004 1:26 PM

Okay, Mark.

Can I start a thread called 'Justinalia' ?
— Hey, you're absolutely free to start a blog with such a feature. Provide links, though. Barring that, unless you cross the line (which I don't expect you to do), you are free to use these comment sections to offer your opinions in whatever way you think effective.

it is clear that majority of young people support either civil unions or gay marriage. And this fact is what is pressing your support of the constitutional amendment sooner than later.
— Sorry. You're just wrong, here. A suspicion that public opinion won't wind up mattering is "pressing" my support of the amendment that would insert a critical-mass requirement to institute gay marriage. If I thought it were just a matter of future generations' changing the law, I'd still advocate against same-sex marriage, but my support for an amendment would largely vanish, except perhaps for a more-moderate version that would seek to require legislation and public debate across the country.

But what about the 'principles' involved ? I think what Sullivan is trying to say is that there is an 'interest' for the Church to grant annulments - which are not based on scripture.
— Firstly, Sullivan's a successful opinion writer; why should he require you to interpret what he is "trying to say"? Sullivan is throwing every disparaging angle that he can think to include at this matter, not just the one that you consider to be his central argument. ("Maybe Kerry didn't need any extra influence at all!")

But it's not as if annulments are some new addition. There's a history there, and the practice does find excuses (though not justifications, in my view) within scripture. Having just brushed up on annulment policy, I can say that I'm far more conservative than my Church on this issue and would leave annulments open only in extreme cases.

that doesn't change the fact that you did not address his point
— I thought to do so, but that's a whole discussion unto itself, requiring more-subtle arguments than I thought necessary in this case. Moreover, his position on annulments wasn't my main concern, here, or even the similarities and differences between annulment and homosexuality. Perhaps clumsily (at one-something A.M.), I sought to point the direction toward:
1) how ridiculous it is to declare that the Catholic Church is the driving force of American divorce (even religious divorce), with the corrosion largely going the other way,
2) that he's shrieking about a policy with which he seems to agree, and overlooking that to the extent that there's a connection, traditionalists have to stop the corruption before they can begin to push it back,
3) although this didn't make it into the post, that it's difficult to become outraged at annulment corruption in a diocese that was covering up child abuse, and
4) that Sullivan is seeking not just to make this a point of argument, but to spur scandal with the intent to hurt the Church.

Your point was that Lewis did not specifically refer to same-sex unions.
— No, my point was that Lewis wouldn't have even thought that same-sex unions were included in the public policy that he would have argued to allow. Clearly, Lewis wouldn't suggest that Christians ought to oppose laws simply because they align with their religious beliefs, and in the early 1900s, when he was writing, marriage was still a very strong institution, and religion was still very visible in the public sphere.

But he also made clear that while he felt that ALL people should adhere to these principles, that he opposed civil law being based solely on those principles.
— And on this, I agree with him that religion shouldn't be the sole basis for law, and I'm at a loss as to how to convince you otherwise, at this point.

Comparing same-sex relationships to the relationship between a human and a chocolate-cake.
— I don't think you got the point, here. Sullivan implied that gluttony is a far more urgent matter and is never the subject of religious instruction, in contrast to homosexuality, which he sees as less pressing (actually, he sees it as a positive good), and which he implies is a frequent subject of Catholic homilies. By this thinking, the fact that I've never heard a homily about marriage to confectionery would suggest that the Church's position would be permissive were I to seek one.

Haven't you argued that opposite-gender is the only legitimate factor when it comes to the legitimizing of relationships ?
— No, I haven't.

a cat owner trying to obtain a dog license is like a same-sex couple trying to obtain a marriage license
— Only under the supposition that an opposite-sex couple obtaining a marriage license is like a dog owner trying to obtain a dog license.

Posted by: Justin Katz at March 12, 2004 2:38 PM

Justin,

Hope you enjoyed your coffee - I'm a tea drinker myself. We don't even drink the same caffeine.

'Justinalia' -
Obviously I won't be starting a blog with the feature anytime in the near future barring an unexpected financial windfall. My point was simply that your rhetoric is as easy to criticize and take-apart as is Sullivan's. But if you do ever come across a blog devoted to identifying the errors in logic and hyperbole of your writing the way that you and others devote themselves to Sullivan's, you will know that you have made it in the 'pundit' business.

I didn't mean to say that the trend of public opinion had any effect on your support of the amendment. Sorry if it came out that way. I have no doubt that regardless of public opinion that you would advocate against any legitimization of same-sex relationships.

You wrote: "Sullivan is throwing every disparaging angle that he can think to include at this matter, not just the one that you consider to be his central argument."
------ Four words - the "me-too" argument. In other words, you argue in the same way he does. For you to try to say that Sullivan takes the low road but you take the high road ... well, you may think so - as does he feel he takes the high road, but I've got some bad news for both of you ....

I agree that his identification of the similarities/differences between the Church view of annulments and homosexuality does not make for a persuasive argument and you are right that his intent is not just to make this a point of argument, but to spur scandal with the intent to hurt the Church - which is consistent with his rants against Mel Gibson. And you know where I sat on that.

You write: No, my point was that Lewis wouldn't have even thought that same-sex unions were included in the public policy that he would have argued to allow.
------ Your claim to know what Lewis would have thought on this issue is no more legitimate than mine or Sullivan's. This is like your argument with Jon on God and sin. It's all about interpretation.

You write: "....and in the early 1900s, when he was writing, marriage was still a very strong institution, and religion was still very visible in the public sphere."
------- I read the book which was written during WWII. He made several comments in it on the harm that was being done to marriage (primarily due to divorce and the advent of 'feminism'. Yet he did not make a case for the State to outlaw divorce or to discourage the rights of women. Simply put, while Sullivans assertion that Lewis would not have been against civil same-sex marriage is tenuous at best, there is no evidence in "Mere Christianity" that Lewis would have been against allowing same-sex marriage in the civil sphere.

You write: "By this thinking, the fact that I've never heard a homily about marriage to confectionery would suggest that the Church's position would be permissive were I to seek one."
------ If you truly believe that is the connection Sullivan was trying to make, then there is nothing more I can say to you on that.

Me: Haven't you argued that opposite-gender is the only legitimate factor when it comes to the legitimizing of relationships ?
You: No, I haven't.
------- Not explicitly. But the results of your arguments lead me to that conclusion.

Me: a cat owner trying to obtain a dog license is like a same-sex couple trying to obtain a marriage license
You: Only under the supposition that an opposite-sex couple obtaining a marriage license is like a dog owner trying to obtain a dog license.
-------- Your position that same-sex couples are basically a different species' than opposite-sex couples. That is fine but you have yet to prove what makes it a 'different species'. As opposed to the more obvious differences between a cat and dog.

I've come to the conclusion that it may not be possible for me - or anyone - to really *debate* you on this subject. Your starting point is that homosexual behavior is inherently destructive. Gay advocates obviously feel otherwise. Obviously, there is nothing anyone can say to you to persuade you that a relationship between gays or lesbians can be anything more than a perverse or immoral relationship. And therefore, the thought that the government could give legal status to such a relationship is offensive. Am I on the right track ? But what is unfair is that you suppose that you can argue your point in a persuasive way to those whose starting point - that homosexual behavior is not inherently destructive - is otherwise. If it is impossible to convince you that homosexual behavior is anything less than ... harmful to society, then all your efforts should be towards persuading people of that belief.

As an example, I recall you writing to me that you could support same-sex relationships and even same-sex parenting as long as they were celibate. (unless I am wrong ). If that is true, then your arguments about the tragedy of children without opposite-sex parents and how the govt should codify that does not hold. Your issue is with the legitimizing of homosexual behavior. Therefore, your view on this issue is no different your view of the sodomy case decision. It is not about 'marriage', per se. It is about legitimizing homosexual behavior - which you feel is inherently harmful - within a marriage.

Finally, regarding "in part due to my decreasing opinion of you", I was cleaning up my PC files and came across what was possibly our first exchange where you wrote something close to "Thanks for responding. That was one of the few times I've had a response on this issue where it didn't get completely out of control. Thanks for that."

Well, we've come a long way since then, haven't we ?

It's 5:30 and I have to go home before my wife ...

Mark

Posted by: Mark Miller at March 12, 2004 5:32 PM

I feel like one of our computers is poorly translating correspondence into another language.

I have no doubt that regardless of public opinion that you would advocate against any legitimization of same-sex relationships.
— That's not what I said, and that is neither the thrust nor motivation of my "advocacy."

For you to try to say that Sullivan takes the low road but you take the high road ...
— I never claimed to take the high road (although I'm not seeking to inspire mainstream media investigations of his financial conduct). He made various points, and you singled out the one that I didn't address as "what he was trying to say." I noted what points I sought to address and explained why I left the one alone.

Your claim to know what Lewis would have thought on this issue is no more legitimate than mine or Sullivan's.
— I didn't claim to know this. Maybe the sentence is a little clumsy, but I thought it clear that I was suggesting that, in his usage in that book, "marriage" meant man-woman. I suspect that he would have agreed with me in opposing gay marriage on public policy grounds, but one can't cite marriage arguments from the 1950s in the 2000s as if they apply to gay marriage.

He made several comments in it on the harm that was being done to marriage (primarily due to divorce and the advent of 'feminism'. Yet he did not make a case for the State to outlaw divorce or to discourage the rights of women.
— Firstly, I miswrote; by "early 1900s," I meant to say the first half of the century. Sorry about that. Back to my previous point: harm was being done to marriage, but marriage was still strong enough, and Christianity was still a big enough part of public life, that separation of marriage types might have made sense. I don't claim to know, but again, I suspect that Lewis would agree with me that marriage policy has crossed outside of the boundaries of problems to which only religion can object.

Your position that same-sex couples are basically a different species' than opposite-sex couples. That is fine but you have yet to prove what makes it a 'different species'. As opposed to the more obvious differences between a cat and dog.
— I was making an analogy to get at the point of things being distinct (and implying the right of the government to make such distinctions). It hardly helps in making a point if all examples must mirror in subtlety the very thing that they seek to make more obvious.

Obviously, there is nothing anyone can say to you to persuade you that a relationship between gays or lesbians can be anything more than a perverse or immoral relationship.
— That's actually not my position, and I've taken heat from my own side for it.

And therefore, the thought that the government could give legal status to such a relationship is offensive. Am I on the right track ?
— Nope. Dangerous as currently formulated, but not offensive. Government's government.

If it is impossible to convince you that homosexual behavior is anything less than ... harmful to society, then all your efforts should be towards persuading people of that belief.
— Why is that? Besides the possibility that you think it would marginalize people who hold my general views? My view of the best policy toward gay marriage (which I hope to write out explicitly in the near future) seeks mostly to redefine the emphasis that "homosexual behavior" is primarily seen as entailing.

But you're making no sense. On one hand, it's "unfair" of me to "suppose that you can argue your point in a persuasive way to those whose starting point." On the other, I'm apparently to be limited to attempting to argue against the starting belief that you seem to suggest can't be changed. Perhaps I'm misreading, and you think any comments that I make that fall short of the fundamentalist view that you ascribe to me is just an attempt to fool my opponents into taking my position. That would help to explain how you've distilled my various arguments about various aspects of this debate to this:

I recall you writing to me that you could support same-sex relationships and even same-sex parenting as long as they were celibate. (unless I am wrong ).

I could support same-sex relationships, ultimately, if there were a presumption that celibacy was a central ideal. I also don't seek to scuttle same-sex relationships through sodomy laws and the like. And I'm not averse to same-sex parenting, although I think opposite-sex ought to remain the preference.

Your issue is with the legitimizing of homosexual behavior. Therefore, your view on this issue is no different your view of the sodomy case decision.
— Whom are you arguing with? And what did he say?

Well, we've come a long way since then, haven't we ?
— Guess so, although I'm not sure why. Perhaps we should stop.

Posted by: Justin Katz at March 12, 2004 6:16 PM

but marriage was still strong enough
----- What does that really mean ? I can see how a strong marriage can be defined on an individual basis, but it seems a tad more complex on an 'institutional' basis. Is the institution of marriage 'stronger' in cultures where marriages are arranged and divorce is not an option. This results in a 0% divorce rate. What could be 'stronger' than that ?

and Christianity was still a big enough part of public life
------ Huh ? What is your source on this ? I would contend that the part of public life that Christianity or any religion plays is no less today than it was then. In other words, if you are saying that people were more religious back then, I disagree. If you are referring to the ACLU suing every time a religious word is spoken in public, I believe that has resulted in an increase of public religiosity, not a decrease. But more to the point, why would that make any difference as to the value of separate marriage types ?

It hardly helps in making a point if all examples must mirror in subtlety the very thing that they seek to make more obvious.
------- Gay-Straight v. Cat-Dog. I don't feel like I'm asking too much in the area of subtlety here. And I don't recall you giving me or anyone else on the 'other side' the same amount of 'slack' that you insist on when it comes to subtlety in analogies.

I think we have past the point of substantive discussion or debate. Despite the number of exchanges we have had, you accuse me of totally misunderstanding or misrepresenting your position. I guess that makes me a fool, a liar or both. My side of the story says that your arguments have increased in exaggeration, demagoguery and Hypocrisy (note the capital "H").

I don't really understand your reaction since my position is not exactly that of a fanatic. I do support the integration and acceptance of homosexuals into society - and that may be fanatical in and of itself to some. But I do have reservations about gay marriage primarily because I do see the history of 'marriage' as being opposite sex only and therefore, I can see where gay marriage may be viewed as a 'new entity'. I also see others ways to codify acceptance of gays and their relationships without using the word - 'marriage'. I understand that my reservation is mainly about the semantics involved as opposed to the principle of legitimizing homosexual behavior.

Also, I can make no sense of your position as you stated here. You could support same-sex relationships as long as there was a presumption of celibacy in that relationship. Yet you state that your position is *not* that homosexual behavior is perverse or immoral. But your position is that the legitimization of said relationships are a burden on society. You could support same-sex parenting - but on the presumption that the parents are celibate. Seems sort of contradictory or trying to have it both ways to me. Unless your 'position' on homosexuality is different than your proposed public 'policy' towards them - which is a legitimate scenario. But you haven't made that distinction clear to me or if you have, well, how would I know since I've apparently misunderstood all of our exchanges.

But you're making no sense. On one hand, it's "unfair" of me to "suppose that you can argue your point in a persuasive way to those whose starting point." On the other, I'm apparently to be limited to attempting to argue against the starting belief that you seem to suggest can't be changed.
-------- I concede that "unfair" was not an appropriate word. "Unproductive" is more what I meant. My point was that you are trying to persuade those, like myself, against the idea of gay marriage based on your starting point that homosexual behavior is inherently negative (or entailing). But that we, on the other side, are apparently limited to argue against your starting point since that can't be changed.

- Whom are you arguing with?
- I feel like one of our computers is poorly translating correspondence into another language.
-------- Ooh. Clever ways to call me a fool. Apparently, I've been arguing with one of the two faces of Justin Katz.

And what did he say?
------- It doesn't matter. I wouldn't understand any ways.

All snideness and sarcasm aside. Good luck to you Justin.

Posted by: Mark Miller at March 15, 2004 12:12 PM

- I feel like one of our computers is poorly translating correspondence into another language.
-------- Ooh. Clever ways to call me a fool. Apparently, I've been arguing with one of the two faces of Justin Katz.

Note that I said, "one of our computers." I leave open the possibility that I'm not understanding what you're trying to say, or that I'm not adequately stating what I'm trying to say.

Thank you for the few months of lively discussion.

Posted by: Justin Katz at March 15, 2004 12:27 PM