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June 6, 2005

Coming to a Church Near You?

No doubt, many supporters of same-sex marriage will grimace when they read this news, but the likelihood of that reaction makes it no less legitimate to ask: Is this sort of activism in America's future — particularly if civil marriage becomes degendered?

About 20 members of the group Act Up entered the cathedral and proceeded to perform the mock marriage in front of baffled tourists and worshippers, according to an AFP correspondent at the scene.

One activist - dressed as a priest - pronounded the two women married, while other Act Up members chanted: "Pope Benedict XVI, homophobe, AIDS accomplice."

With security officials in pursit, they then fled the cathedral, but clashes broke out outside the Paris landmark, during which Monsignor Patrick Jacquin suffered a minor neck injury. He was treated at the scene.

Posted by Justin Katz at June 6, 2005 6:07 PM
Marriage & Family
Comments

I don't follow how this sort of activism would become common in the United States if marriage is degendered. That would mean the battle would be won by SSM proponents, and there would be little reason to protest.

Unless of course the protestors just hate Catholics. I never understood how people blame the Catholic church on the spread of AIDS. That implies that there are lots of Cathlics who strictly follow Church teachings on burth control while at the same time completely disregard Church teachings on extra-marital sex.

Posted by: Dancar at June 6, 2005 6:52 PM

Well, a particular battle would be won, but not the war.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 6, 2005 7:00 PM

After they "brought down" the federal goverment (i.e. impose SSM) then they will use that power to come after the next most powerfull institution that stands against there agenda- (the Catholic Church)
As this article shows - they are there already.
Rainbow sash, Act Up.. the litaney is long..
In my own home town (deroit area)They approached a local Church to sign up as a "couple" and were refused. They then got the local media to do a sob story on it.

This is bad .. and will get worse.
Its everything they said it would be.

Posted by: Fitz at June 6, 2005 8:11 PM

Well, Fitz, we're not to anything, yet, and even if we were, I don't think we ought to be but so despondent. I agree, though, that things could turn worse than most people believe is possible.

(FYI, I deleted your second comment because it was simply a cut-and-paste of a previous one, and you didn't make it relevant to this post.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 6, 2005 10:22 PM

Dancar: "I don't follow how this sort of activism would become common in the United States if marriage is degendered. That would mean the battle would be won by SSM proponents, and there would be little reason to protest."

That was the same logic that the Roe v. Wade court used: "Our side will win, and then the other side will give up. Then we will have peace on this issue."

But of course it didn't work that way. Over thirty years later, the topic still arouses anger on both sides. The Right protested abortion clinics, and the Left tried to ban protesting abortion clinics. The Right went to the legislatures to restrict abortion around the edges and the Left went to the courts to stop them. Roe didn't end anything, because it didn't convince anyone of anything.

A national Goodridge would produce the same reaction: The Right would erupt in protest. The Left would try to stamp out all criticism. They would start suing uncooperative churches for discrimination, just as they have with the Boy Scouts. More bitterness, more hatred. More conservative democracy versus liberal oligarchy. It would be ugly.

Liberalism is like Islam in that the goal is Utopia, so the members are never content for very long. Each victory just sets up a new battle in the endless struggle for heaven on Earth.

If the courts imposed SSM, then the new crusade would be to battle public disapproval of homosexuality. Then somehow there would be a demand for subsidies for gays, maybe preferences for gay-owned businesses. Lots of money poured into 'education' propaganda programs (more than we already have). Promotion of homosexuality overseas. Strict anti-discrimination laws protecting gays. Special fines for those who oppose homosexuality. Gender-neutral bathrooms. More money for AIDS research.

The quest for Utopia never ends. Give the liberals what they think they want, and they'll discover---once again---that it didn't bring Paradise. Then they'll invent some new demand.

Posted by: Ben Bateman at June 7, 2005 2:06 AM

More money for AIDS research.

You know what really pisses me off? Oh, right, what I just quoted; when people throw AIDS research in with gay rights, and in a negative manner. More than half the reported AIDS cases in the US are in heterosexuals. Over 35% of Africa is infected with HIV. Is 35% of Africa gay? No. We fight HIV not because it's a gay disease but because it is a public health issue FOR EVERYONE.

Your chicken-little attitude about subsidies for gays is bad enough, but to spout out this vitriol, ignorant and bigoted vitriol, at people who are dying, many of whom are completely innocent of whatever sin you perceive they've committed that makes public funding for disease irradication a negative thing, you lose all credibility.

If you think homosexuality is a sin, fine. If you think that it shouldn't be promoted, fine. If you think that it should be criminalized, also fine(-ish). But when you think that it's not ok to continually increase funding for the fastest growing epidemic in the world AMONG HETEROSEXUALS? That's pathological.

Posted by: Michael at June 7, 2005 9:58 AM

But when you think that it's not ok to continually increase funding for the fastest growing epidemic in the world AMONG HETEROSEXUALS?

Just be sure to lump the money we spend on ABSTINENCE education in with our AIDs prevention strategy, ok?

Ben is also correct, as usual. The abortion issue is a festering sore on our society, simply because the Rule was made without the consent of the governed. The SSM issue will also fester for decades to come, unless We The People are allowed to have our say on the matter.

Posted by: Marty at June 7, 2005 10:44 AM

Yeah, about Ben's comment on more money for AIDS research... anything the liberalists can do to divert attention away from programs to promote chastity and abstinance because they interfere with guilt-free non-commital extra-marital sex and then they might have to practice what they preach. Imagine what kind of progress could be made in fighting AIDS if we actually spent most of that AIDS research money telling people they could quit spreading and catching it by keeping their 'friendships' platonic.

Oh no, much better to get mad when people suggest enough money is already being given to AIDS research.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 7, 2005 11:41 AM

"Imagine what kind of progress could be made in fighting AIDS if we actually spent most of that AIDS research money telling people they could quit spreading and catching it by keeping their 'friendships' platonic."

Given the efficacy of abstinence-only education, it probably wouldn't even make a dent. Abstinence-only aducation delays first sexual contact, but does not deter people from having sex or having safe sex.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 7, 2005 11:57 AM

Ben:

It is the Religious Right that want's its own Utopia, where its own values reigh suprime and those who don't share its values are ostricized.

You seem to be saying that we can't end discrimination against gays because the risk of gays getting preferential treatment.

When anti-gay people talk about gays asking for "special rights," I have no idea what they are talking about. My wife & I can walk down any street in America holding hands, and I can have a picture of her on my desk at any workplace in America. I've never heard gays asking for anything mroe than that kind of acceptance.

As for gender-neutral bathrooms, this is a big scare ruse. Public bathrooms are gender specific because that is our custom and 99 percent of people like it that way. But in private homes, all bathrooms are gender neutral, even in the homes of the wealthy who can afford separate facilities.

Michael:

Don't bring up the hetersexual AIDS myth. 10-15 years ago the media told us the sky was falling because because AIDS was running rampent through the hetersexual community. But a closer look at the figures then & now, shows that more than 97 percent of AIDS cases are from the following groups:

1) Men who have sex with men,
2) Users of illegal IV drugs,
3) Women who have sex with men in the two groups above.
4) People who received transfusions or clotting factor prior to AIDS screen of blood donations in the 1980s, and the accidental hospital needle prick.

If you are not in one of the groups above, it is extremely unlikely you will ever get AIDS.

As for Africa, did you know that in Africa AIDS is not diagnosed with medical tests (as in the USA and Europe), but by observable symptoms, many of which are also the symptoms of malnutrition and tropical diseases? The frightening AIDS figures in Africa are not derived from acounting the number of positive HIV tests, but by diagnosis by observation and mathmatical extrapolation. Those seeking foreign aid from Europe and the USA know that you can get more money for AIDS than you can for malnutition and local diseases that don't exist outside the tropics.

Posted by: Dancar at June 7, 2005 11:57 AM

Res Ipsa said:

Given the efficacy of abstinence-only education, it probably wouldn't even make a dent. Abstinence-only aducation delays first sexual contact, but does not deter people from having sex or having safe sex.

You know this because it has been widely tried without total resistance and counter-propaganda from free-sex preaching liberalists, right?

Mental exercise for you - which is more effective at preventing infection by AIDS, total abstinence/no extra-marital relations, or the use of condoms?

Posted by: smmtheory at June 7, 2005 12:16 PM

Abstinence is clearly the best means of avoiding HIV. It is not, however, an effective public health message because people are going to have sex and therefore they need to know about alternatives.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 7, 2005 12:23 PM

If you are not in one of the groups above, it is extremely unlikely you will ever get AIDS.

So, how an individual gets a disease is an important indicator of whether or not we should fund research into reducing it's negative health impacts?

As for Africa, did you know that in Africa AIDS is not diagnosed with medical tests (as in the USA and Europe), but by observable symptoms, many of which are also the symptoms of malnutrition and tropical diseases?

Be careful where you get your facts from. The only place this misinformation is circulated is by people who deny that HIV causes AIDS. Most numbers of HIV infected people in Africa come from antenatal testing of women. Sure, there's mathematical extrapolation (like in all epidemiology), but they do indeed come from actual testing and not misdiagnosing malnutrition. These misinformative sites also overestimate the false positives that come from cross-reactivity of the antibodies to other microbial antigens. The frightening statistics of African AIDS are indeed real.

Posted by: Michael at June 7, 2005 12:37 PM

Michael, for a scientist, you have quite a propensity for spouting off erroneous facts.

You know what really pisses me off? Oh, right, what I just quoted; when people throw AIDS research in with gay rights, and in a negative manner. More than half the reported AIDS cases in the US are in heterosexuals. Over 35% of Africa is infected with HIV. Is 35% of Africa gay? No. We fight HIV not because it's a gay disease but because it is a public health issue FOR EVERYONE.

To reiterate Dancar's post, the stats here indicate that much more than half of new infections are due to homosexual sex or drug injection. And as Dancar pointed out, many of the women who contract HIV via heterosexual sex are doing so through men who have engaged in homosexual sex and/or IV drug use. Only 15 percent of new infections in men are from heterosexual contact.

You have more of a point with regard to Africa, but that still begs the question: how do we prioritize what to spend our research dollars on? I would certainly support the notion that we should do research on diseases that affect the third world but not the US, but that doesn't mean that such diseases should be first on our priority list.

The dollars spent per individual afflicted for HIV/AIDS is much greater than for other diseases, in large part because of the political lobbying that people did/do in favor of it. There's not a simple formula one can use to determine how much money to spend on which disease, but as these numbers (from 1997) attest, any way you slice it HIV/AIDS gets more than it's "fair share":

America has 700,000 persons with AIDS or the HIV virus, and spends an average $2,143 per patient to research AIDS/HIV. We have 2-million American women with breast cancer, and spend $200 each on breast cancer research. For an overall 8-million cancer patients, the per capita research is $338. For 4-million Alzheimer's victims, it's $81 apiece. For 13.5-million heart disease patients it is $74 each. 34-million are afflicted by Parkinson's, and the average is $34 each. And for 16-million with diabetes, the research average is $20 each. In 1995, complications of diabetes cost Medicare $42.5 billion, 26.5% of all Medicare spending, and AIDS/HIV was $271 million (0.2%). Yet NIH chose to apply $316 million (5.8% of its allocated research budget) to diabetes, and $1.5-billion (27.5%) to AIDS/HIV. 46,380 AIDS patients are under Medicare, compared with 17 million treated for heart disease and 5 million treated for diabetes. Yet for research, NIH spent $2.77 per heart disease death, $15.05 per death on diabetes, but $110.81 per AIDS/HIV death! Whenever you compare AIDS/HIV with other diseases, this pattern emerges.
Posted by: Mike S. at June 7, 2005 1:56 PM

Well, except that HIV/AIDS is communicable and an infective disease, while none of the others can be "caught" from somoeone else. From a public health standpoint, it makes sense to spend money on a disease that can turn into an epidemic as opposed to more frequently occuring diseases which are not communicable.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 7, 2005 2:23 PM

"From a public health standpoint, it makes sense to spend money on a disease that can turn into an epidemic as opposed to more frequently occuring diseases which are not communicable."

Why is that? Particularly when the disease in question can only be transmitted via an exchange of bodily fluids, not via casual contact or airborne particles.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 7, 2005 2:59 PM

To reiterate and add to Res, what is funded is not just about how much per capita spending there is for a particular disease. Or even "fairness". I'm not suggesting that HIV isn't overfunded (however, I don't think it is), but of that money funding HIV research, much broader virological and infectious disease applications are being developed and studied. A grant might fall under the HIV category, but if the researchers are studying fusion, more than just AIDS patients benefit. Granted the same can be said for cancer, to some extent, but why not whine about breast cancer, which gets a disproportionately large amount of funding compared to other cancers? And I can assure you that studies about BRCA2 aren't helping anyone but breast cancer patients.

The second thing to consider is curability and treatability; a communicible and infectious disease is of much greater immediate concern than a genetic, diet, or aging disease like heart disease, PD, AZ or cancer. And the payoff will ultimately be greater, as well. If we can vaccinate for HIV, it goes the way of polio. Not so for cancer. And as complicated as that little bug is, it's got nothing on cancer.

Anyway, it's a complicated issue, but I don't think that you can simply break something down to its "fair share" of research dollars. Especially the way Congress likes to fund the disease of the week, or "whatever my niece has this year"....

Posted by: Michael at June 7, 2005 3:14 PM

Why is that? Particularly when the disease in question can only be transmitted via an exchange of bodily fluids, not via casual contact or airborne particles.

Well, this goes back to the "only bad people get AIDS" rhetoric. It's disgusting.

Posted by: Michael at June 7, 2005 3:15 PM

You know, if you really want people to cough up even MORE money for AIDs research, it's probably not a good idea to go around calling the Pope names like "AIDs acomplice". It's just a thought -- there are a lot of good catholics who might be willing to help -- but not if this is how they can expect to be treated.

Posted by: Marty at June 7, 2005 3:56 PM

The problem with HIV/AIDS is that it is inextricabled from sexual politics. There is no way around it. The problem is not that "only bad people get AIDS", it's that only certain behaviors put one at risk for getting AIDS. And there are significant vocal groups who do not want those behaviors condemned or restricted in any way. Whereas getting cancer is much less under one's control, and is for the most part unrelated to sexual or drug politics (with the notable exception of HPV). A significant fraction of the political agitation for HIV/AIDS resarch funding comes from people with the mindset that sex, homo- or hetero-, should be consequence free. The reason they get so outraged when conservatives point out the reality that there are, in fact, consequences for one's sexual behavior is because they know it is true and they can't abide the truth.

The point about indirect benefits is a red herring - you can make that claim about any area of basic research. It doesn't address the issue of prioritization and allocation. I don't think anybody has said that the money spent on HIV/AIDS has been completely wasted - we're just questioning the criteria for making those decisions.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 7, 2005 4:18 PM

Michael,

Mike S. hits it dead on. You are the one adding the presumed value judgment in reaction to a clinical statement about the transmission of HIV. I don't think it's outlandish to suggest that part of the vehemence in support for AIDS research is a desperate search for a cure so that other methods of disease management (e.g., avoiding behaviors associated with the disease) can be minimized.

----

Res,

Regarding abstinence programs, to be absolutely honest, I've been surprised at studies that do indeed show them as being effective. (Of course, in most of the mainstream media, one has to reinterpret the results through gobs of spun rhetoric.) For example, considering increased marriage rates among the abstinent-'til-marriage subjects obviously has implications for comparisons of unprotected sex between the abstence sample and the non-abstinence sample.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 7, 2005 5:00 PM

Unfortunately, Justin, the research does not show a decreased level of sexually transmitted diseases under abstinence-only participants. The evidence did indicate that participants do delay their first act of intercourse, but does not show those people (a) wait until marriage or (b) avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 7, 2005 5:23 PM

Justin:
Mike S. hits it dead on. You are the one adding the presumed value judgment in reaction to a clinical statement about the transmission of HIV. I don't think it's outlandish to suggest that part of the vehemence in support for AIDS research is a desperate search for a cure so that other methods of disease management (e.g., avoiding behaviors associated with the disease) can be minimized.

But what about all of those people who have become pariahs because of HIV? The man who has one wrong encounter, who cannot have procreative sex with his wife without killing her? Sure there is a desire to make sex safer, but there is also a desire to cure hundreds of thousands of people who have a devastating disease, many of whom are either innocent or whose "crimes" are not worthy of the "punishment".

Mike S.:
A significant fraction of the political agitation for HIV/AIDS resarch funding comes from people with the mindset that sex, homo- or hetero-, should be consequence free. The reason they get so outraged when conservatives point out the reality that there are, in fact, consequences for one's sexual behavior is because they know it is true and they can't abide the truth.

So some people have to suffer more because you don't like the mindset of the messenger? Because that's the upshot of what you're saying here. There is no justification for suggesting that a reason to cut funding for HIV is because of how it is transmitted. There are lots of problems with funding; this is not one of them, and it is neither conservative nor compassionate to think otherwise.

The point about indirect benefits is a red herring - you can make that claim about any area of basic research.

Except HIV funding has completely revolutionized immunology research. And of course you can make these claims about any area of basic research, which is precisely why how many dollars we spend per capita for each disease does not level any playing field or make things "fairer" or anything like that.

Posted by: Michael at June 7, 2005 5:29 PM

Dancar: “It is the Religious Right that want's its own Utopia, where its own values reigh suprime and those who don't share its values are ostricized.”

Ideological supremacy isn’t Utopia. A utopian believes that if everyone held a certain set of beliefs and acted a certain way, then all our problems would basically end. The communists were big on this; the workers’ paradise was always just around the corner, but then thwarted somehow by counterrevolutionaries. For the Muslims, the parallel goal is worldwide Islam.

Pure conservatism is expressly anti-utopian. For many conservatives, the starting point of their political philosophy starts with the realization that people will always have evil in their hearts, and the world will always be full of problems. The question in politics then becomes not, “How do we make the world perfect?” but, “How can we make the world just a little bit better?” Those are drastically different questions.

Christianity is thankfully resistant to utopianism, because it includes original sin as a specific point of its theology. It holds as a central tenet that all men are sinners. Among conservatives, those most prone to utopianism are the libertarians, not the Religious Right.

The Left certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on utopianism. Lots of movements are prone to it. But the assertion that some conservatives are utopians, even if true, has nothing to do with whether liberals are utopians. You asked why US liberals would stage protests after an SSM victory in the courts. I answered your question: They’ll always protest something, because they’re utopians.

It’s the logical consequence of utopian thinking: You start with the core premise that Paradise will arrive soon, if only everyone will hold the correct beliefs and behave in the correct ways. When Paradise doesn’t arrive, the logical conclusion is that bad people must have somehow prevented it from arriving. Those bad people must have ruined things. So, for the sake of Paradise, we must flog the bad people: sternly inculcate correct thinking in them, and harshly punish incorrect behavior. If we do this long enough and hard enough, then eventually we will find Paradise.

Paradise can vary widely: a worldwide Islamic government, a communist workers’ paradise, or nationwide sex without consequences. The villains differ, too. They can be infidels, counterrevolutonaries, or sexual prudes. But in the end, the specifics are irrelevant. The vital feature is that, for the utopian, each disappointment is always the fault of the villains. No quantity of failure is ever enough to cast doubt on the premise that Utopia is possible.

Homosexuality was once an enforced crime. The liberals weren’t happy. Then it became an un-enforced crime. The liberals weren’t happy. Then most states repealed those statutes. The liberals weren’t happy. Now the US Sup Ct says that states can’t make it a crime. And the liberals—wait for it—still aren’t happy.

Dancar: “When anti-gay people talk about gays asking for "special rights," I have no idea what they are talking about. My wife & I can walk down any street in America holding hands, and I can have a picture of her on my desk at any workplace in America. I've never heard gays asking for anything mroe than that kind of acceptance.”

The last word of that paragraph shows your utopian thinking. Gays can already walk down streets together. They can put pictures of each other on their desks. They’ve been able to do those things, and many more, for decades.

But they don’t just want legal rights. They want acceptance. They want to control the thoughts and actions of everyone around them. They want to believe that if each person were 110% gay-accepting down to their core, then somehow that would solve the problems of gay people everywhere. It’s not that pursuit of homosexual nirvana makes people unhappy—and don’t you dare think it! If gays are unhappy, then it’s all the fault of those people who disapprove. If only we had more gay marriage, more gay sensitivity training, and more pro-gay indoctrination generally, then soon we would find Utopia.

The most powerful, intrusive government ever conceived cannot control the thoughts of its citizens. That’s what always frustrates the utopians. That’s why the liberal quest for comprehensive nondiscrimination is doomed. People will always discriminate—which is to say, they will always think—in ways of which you disapprove. You can either accept that feature of humanity, or you can rail endlessly and futilely against it in your search for Paradise, like so many utopians before you.

Dancar: “As for gender-neutral bathrooms, this is a big scare ruse.”

No, it’s quite real. They’re already doing them at universities. Mike Adams has done a column or two on it, like this one: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/mikeadams/ma20041027.shtml

“Public bathrooms are gender specific because that is our custom and 99 percent of people like it that way.”

That’s true of marriage, too. But it doesn’t seem to do us any good. Our judicial overlords don’t care what our traditions or preferences are. That’s why SSM is such a bitter topic: It’s not about sex or marriage. It’s about how our government functions.

Posted by: Ben Bateman at June 7, 2005 5:54 PM

Public bathrooms are gender specific because that is our custom and 99 percent of people like it that way.

Hey, nobody really likes public bathrooms the way they are, regardless of your opinion of gay rights, gender, etc. It's just GROSS to sit right next to someone while they're performing bodily functions, subjecting strangers to their smells and sounds. How about a bunch of little separate rooms instead of those flimsy stall partitions?

Posted by: Matt Taylor at June 7, 2005 6:22 PM

Michael,

You keep trying to put your own spin on the ball before you've caught it. I did not use the words "crime" or "punishment"; you did. Hundreds of thousands of people have any variety of devastating diseases and often feel like pariahs. AIDS is the only one that comes to mind as requiring extra care above and beyond direct compassion for the afflicted not to imply certain things.

It would be wrong for me to count HIV-positive lives as less worthy of concern because of the means of transmittal (concern not implying a removal of responsibility for those whose behavior has put their lives at risk). It is just as wrong, if not more, to leverage the suffering of the afflicted and risk further spreading in order to conflate all forms of behavior that may or may not lead to disease. (On the pariah line, I'd suggest that the characterization must be proven, not assumed. If anything, those with AIDS have benefitted from a much greater push to minimize the natural reaction that people have to the visibly ill.)

It is telling, by the way, how quickly you seem to allow disease to absolve the adulterer of blame. I wonder how your treatment would differ were the man unable to procreate because he had shot himself in a bad place after making "one wrong" decision to juggle his firearms.

----

Res,

I'd have to see the studies that you're referring to. I recall being stunned by the degree to which a report touted "no significant" decrease of STDs among abstinence-only subjects when, in fact, there was a significant decrease.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 7, 2005 6:34 PM

Heh "Public Restrooms are Just Gross! How about a bunch of separate rooms!"

Because shit ain't private. A shared box with a board and a hole in the ground was all your grandparents (and theirs, and theirs) ever needed, at best. You wanna get a room, get a room.

Restrooms would be less gross if they were less private. Whats up with the boogers over the urinal anyway? Who does that crap?

:P

Posted by: Marty at June 7, 2005 8:21 PM


Addressing points in order:
Yes, temper tantrums such as the one referenced are quite likely in our future. Consider the most likely path: the USSC, citing _Lawence_, decrees that SSM exists within some emanation of a penumbra or other in conjunction with Dutch law and the traditions of some AmerIndian tribe. Immediately the totally apolitical SSM activists, armed with state permits, commence testing church after church. Some, such as the Episcopal, the United Church of Christ, the aptly-named Presbyterian Church - USA (PC-USA) will no doubt welcome them with open arms...and hope their ongoing decline in membership might level off.

Others won't go along, and will promptly be the target of ACT-UP invasions along the lines of those in the late 1980's. Perhaps a few will simply be the targets of vandalism.

Any resistence, passive or otherwise, will be met with howls of "homophobic hate!". Of course those so targeted will have no 1st Amendment rights to reply to these charges, because that will also be "hate speech", and that too will likely be unprotected.

Do I exaggerate? No, I do not. Free speech is already under serious attack in Canada and parts of Europe on this topic. Physical assaults have already been carried out on those who dare to oppose the homosexual agenda, the article referenced is merely another example.

Second: AIDS and abstaining. Here is are questions for many to ponder: What was the AIDS infection rate in Uganda 10 years ago, and what is it now? Is there a difference? What is Uganda's approach to the spread of AIDS, and how does it differ from, say, Botswana or Swaziland?

Posted by: notdhimmi at June 8, 2005 12:26 AM

Michael,

But what about all of those people who have become pariahs because of HIV? The man who has one wrong encounter, who cannot have procreative sex with his wife without killing her? Sure there is a desire to make sex safer, but there is also a desire to cure hundreds of thousands of people who have a devastating disease, many of whom are either innocent or whose "crimes" are not worthy of the "punishment".

This doesn't explain why HIV should be funded at much higher rates than other diseases.

Echoing Justin, your remark about the man with one "wrong encounter" is interesting. Nature is what it is - life isn't fair. People are killed or maimed all the time because they fall asleep for a few seconds at the wheel, or because they take a slippery curve too fast, etc., etc. I'm not disagreeing with you that catching a fatal disease is harsh punishment for a single dalliance (though, as we said above, such cases are not responsible for the vast majority of HIV infections) - I'm merely pointing out the reality.

Mike S.: A significant fraction of the political agitation for HIV/AIDS resarch funding comes from people with the mindset that sex, homo- or hetero-, should be consequence free. The reason they get so outraged when conservatives point out the reality that there are, in fact, consequences for one's sexual behavior is because they know it is true and they can't abide the truth.

So some people have to suffer more because you don't like the mindset of the messenger? Because that's the upshot of what you're saying here. There is no justification for suggesting that a reason to cut funding for HIV is because of how it is transmitted. There are lots of problems with funding; this is not one of them, and it is neither conservative nor compassionate to think otherwise.

You've turned things upside down - we're not arguing about whether to increase HIV research funding, we're talking about how it got so disproportionate from the rest of the NIH budget. I didn't say we should cut funding for HIV because of the way it is transmitted, I said that the reason there was so much political agitation to increase funding for it was in large part due to the way it is tranmitted.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 8, 2005 12:54 PM

Pure conservatism is expressly anti-utopian.

Don't immanentize the eschaton!!

Posted by: Mike S. at June 8, 2005 12:56 PM

I said that the reason there was so much political agitation to increase funding for it was in large part due to the way it is tranmitted.

Well, actually that was all because of Ryan White. The reason HIV got so much funding to begin with is that it was that a wholesome, young kid got it accidentally. If it had stayed a "gay disease", it's uncertain what funding levels would have been. And at the time when funding was stepped up, models were showing a real epidemic.

But I didn't mean to get sidetracked by my original point which was the fact that Ben threw increased AIDS funding with all the horrible things that gay people will be demanding. Maybe HIV gets too much funding. I don't know. But the fact that it was just tucked in there with a litany of other outrageous and objectionable claims (like subsidies for being gay; come on!) is endemic of a certain fraction of our society that blames gays for the AIDS epidemic and in the same breath categorically refuses to support the ones who try to live virtuously and would provide role models for young gays so that they don't have to be baptized in crystal meth.

Oh, and by the way, those figures from 1997 have drastically changed. While the budget of the NIH has doubled in the last five years, HIV/AIDS makes up only 11%, not 27% anymore, of the total research budget. Bioterrorism funding has increased the total budget of the NIAID by 47% in 2003 followed by a 17% increase in 2004. So I'm not entirely sure we don't have our priorities straight.

http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/nih04p.pdf

Posted by: Michael at June 8, 2005 4:51 PM

N.B., Michael, the AIDS connection was made by the gay activists mentioned in the article to which I linked.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 8, 2005 5:04 PM

Ben shouldn't have included that statement about AIDS research.

But aren't you glad he did, Michael, because it gave you the opportunity to divert attention from the rest of what he said, which is probably true. One it becomes obvious that SSM has not ended all opposition to homosexuality, it will be argued that we must search out, isolate, and marginalize those pockets of society which allow opposition to homosexuality to continue. And if that doesn't do the trick, start chipping away at the First Amendment.

Posted by: R.K. at June 9, 2005 12:27 AM

RK: "Ben shouldn't have included that statement about AIDS research."

I disagree. The context was a list of likely future demands by the Gay Left if SSM were to succeed. Is there any doubt that one of those demands---an eternal demand---would be more money for AIDS research?

Not that it matters, but my subtler point, lost lo these many posts, was that anyone whose political desires are essentially "More" should not be appeased because they can never be made happy. The eternal demand from the Gay Left for 'more' money for AIDS research is only one small example of what I thought was a minor and uncontroversial point.

Michael's tirade was only tangentially related to anything I said. Obviously, any connection between AIDS and gays is a very sensitive issue for him. What I actually said was irrelevant. What mattered was that I said something that kinda fit into one of Michael's stereotypes. I hope he feels better, having had his say.

Posted by: Ben Bateman at June 9, 2005 1:49 AM

Michael's tirade was only tangentially related to anything I said. Obviously, any connection between AIDS and gays is a very sensitive issue for him. What I actually said was irrelevant. What mattered was that I said something that kinda fit into one of Michael's stereotypes. I hope he feels better, having had his say.

Well, I've read enough of what you've written not to have to look hard to find a stereotype. But if it will make you happy I will address the rest of what you said. The only reason I didn't was because the AIDS research was the only thing I overtly rejected to.

Yes, the gay Left wants more (and I am happy you've started using the word "left"; unfortunately for many gay = gay left). Many gay conservatives want more as well, at least as far as homosexual acceptance goes. Of course we'd settle for just marriage, but doesn't everyone want their views to be accepted? I'm betting you'd settle for abortion to be illegal but you'd prefer it if everyone agreed with you and no one ever tried to get one. Otherwise, why have an opinion?

What I disagreed with was your in your litany against what the gay left wants more of: as a conservative it is correct to balk at hate crime legislations (although you said anti-discrimination and there is an important difference), special subsidies, "propaganda", etc. I believe all are scare tactics but they are conservative concerns nonetheless. AIDS was thrown in for malice. AIDS is always thrown in for malice. This is indicated by the lies that are still being spread by seemingly intelligent people that AIDS in Africa is all misdiagnosed, etc (things I pointed out above). AIDS is a global crisis, not a gay crisis.

Full disclosure: While I fortunately am not HIV positive, I know a few people who are. I also wrote by doctoral qualifying exam on HIV fusion to host cells and plan on doing my postdoctoral studies in a related field.

Posted by: Michael at June 9, 2005 10:27 AM

Well, Michael is right about one thing, it is my belief that being 'gay' and being conservative is a contradiction. There are also people that consider The Hillary conservative, so it is obviously possible for people to misunderstand what it means to be conservative. Michael appears to be one of those.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 9, 2005 10:59 AM

Michael,

"Many gay conservatives want more as well, at least as far as homosexual acceptance goes. Of course we'd settle for just marriage, but doesn't everyone want their views to be accepted?"

I thought we'd established that you are a libertarian, not a conservative.

"I'm betting you'd settle for abortion to be illegal but you'd prefer it if everyone agreed with you and no one ever tried to get one. Otherwise, why have an opinion?"

Apple, meet orange; orange, meet apple. Abortion is a distinct act, perpetrated by an individual or individuals. "Acceptance" is a mental state. The difference between the left and right is that the left is willing to use the power of the state to coerce particular political or moral views. The right wants to use the power of the state to prohibit particular actions.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 9, 2005 11:07 AM

I thought we'd established that you are a libertarian, not a conservative.

I prefer libertarian-leaning conservative (or conservative-leaning libertarian), because no one fits exactly into a category. But I was speaking about gay conservatives, of which there are many and I don't see how, as smmtheory comments, anything I said illustrates that being gay and being conservative is a contradiction.

Apple, meet orange; orange, meet apple. Abortion is a distinct act, perpetrated by an individual or individuals. "Acceptance" is a mental state. The difference between the left and right is that the left is willing to use the power of the state to coerce particular political or moral views. The right wants to use the power of the state to prohibit particular actions.

I really don't understand what you're trying to get at here. I agreed with Ben that I didn't like the way the left went about using the government for coercion. But that doesn't negate the fact that the right would PREFER that everyone agree with them and their opinions. But I also don't see any fundamental difference between the state forcing someone to tolerate certain behaviours and the state prohibiting someone from certain actions. Both have the exact same goal, which is to enforce a code of moral conduct. Both use punsihment as a tool to acheive their goals and neither changes attitudes.

I would also like to point out that when you said "The right wants to use the power of the state to prohibit particular actions", I like the choice of "right" as opposed to "conservative". Because conservativism does not necessarily go hand in hand with authoritarianism.

Posted by: Michael at June 9, 2005 1:01 PM

Interesting article here about the (assumed, unproven) causes of AIDs in Africa.

"First world researchers doing second rate science in Third World countries".

The major point is that the AIDs virus doesn't care a whit for your "sexual orientation" or your politics -- but it appears to care very much about dirty needles and receptive anal sex. Even in sub-saharan Africa.

Posted by: Marty at June 9, 2005 1:37 PM

Another interesting article here suggesting certain cultural practices also spread AIDS in Africa.

A few years ago I read another article noting that a preference for dry (unlubricated) intercourse in sub-Saharan Africa might be a factor as well.

But, of course, to mention that people's behavior might make a difference in whether they catch certain diseases or not is "Hate Speech" nowadays...

Posted by: notdhimmi at June 9, 2005 1:52 PM

"But, of course, to mention that people's behavior might make a difference in whether they catch certain diseases or not is "Hate Speech" nowadays..."

Show me the person who was accused and convicetd of "hate speech" for making such comments!!!!! This has become such a tiresome and embarrassing argument by the right.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 9, 2005 4:36 PM

Res Ipsa angrily denounced me with:

Show me the person who was accused and convicetd of "hate speech" for making such comments!!!!!

That's a nice moving of the goalposts. I'm afraid that you'll have to wait a few years, at least in the United States, for convictions. However, if you really have never, ever heard or seen anyone accused of "Hate Speech" for, oh, stating that bathhouse sex is likely to spread disease, or suggesting that mixing crystal meth with group sex might spread disease, or suggesting that "scat play" might spread disease...all I can say is you've not been paying attention very much.

But in Canada, I wager you'd be happier.

This has become such a tiresome and embarrassing argument by the right.

Stating facts and personal experiences isn't an argument, now is it? I'd expect someone from the 'reality based' community to know that.

Posted by: notdhimmi at June 9, 2005 5:01 PM

Michael,

I also don't see any fundamental difference between the state forcing someone to tolerate certain behaviours and the state prohibiting someone from certain actions.

Then you need to do some more time contemplating fundamental terms. You're a scientist, so think in terms of math: We've got two types of variable referring to different things against to legislate, toleration (T) and action (A), and your opinion is that A=T.

But the state can only legislate toleration when opinions transform into action (Tx, where x represents the actions that make toleration/intoleration apparent). Thus legislating against actions would equate with legislating against intolerance thus: A=Tx.

Break down x. What makes intolerance apparent? Well, hiring (h). Lending/renting (l). Association (a). Speech (s). And many unforeseeable actions (...). So, our equation now looks like this: A=T(h,l,a,s,...). Does that look like an equal method of legislating to you? (Let alone that T ends up requiring restrictions on actions that are guaranteed by our Constitution.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 9, 2005 5:06 PM

Michael wrote:

I also don't see any fundamental difference between the state forcing someone to tolerate certain behaviours and the state prohibiting someone from certain actions.

Let's have a thinking experiment. Consider two laws:

1. A prohibition on urinating in a public street or roadway.

2. A prohibition on approving of or supporting the act of urinating in a public street or roadway.

The first law prohibits an action. If someone is urinating in the street, they can be arrested by a police officer, taken to court, tried by a judge via testimony by witnesses who saw the miscreant urinating in the street. While there is room for various mischief, such as letting urinators of one group get away with it while prosecuting those of another group, it's pretty easy to avoid going to jail for this crime: don't pee in the street!

The second law prohibits not only action, but words and even thoughts. How would it be enforced? Those who engage in the action of urinating on the public street surely can be considered to approve of it, and thus can be charged. But what about some pedestrian a few yards away who didn't stop the urinator nor call the police, maybe he's in a hurry to get home, or maybe he secretly approves of public urination? How to prove the latter? Then there's the issue of free speech; if someone starts a "Free Pee Movement", clearly they are violating the law, but what if they start a "Natural Body" program that teaches "It's bad for your health to wait too long to urinate, better to go sooner than later", is that advocacy of public urination, or not? How will one proceed to decide? Suppose someone accuses you of supporting public urination, how do you defend yourself? For that matter, how does one avoid such a charge? Clearly it isn't as easy as avoiding trouble under law #1, where physical evidence either would, or would not, exist. Isn't there a serious potential for "guilty until proven innocent" in such a law?

See the difference? Prohibition of action can be straightforward, but prohibition of attitude is likely to be fraught with complexity.

Posted by: notdhimmi at June 9, 2005 5:25 PM

[chuckles]

notdhimmi, you slay!

"Free Pee Movement"

Heh, pro-FPM and anti-FPM, can't we all just get along?

Posted by: Chairm at June 9, 2005 5:45 PM

i However, if you really have never, ever heard or seen anyone accused of "Hate Speech" for, oh, stating that bathhouse sex is likely to spread disease, or suggesting that mixing crystal meth with group sex might spread disease, or suggesting that "scat play" might spread disease...all I can say is you've not been paying attention very much.

Actually, I've never heard of such a thing, and I know some really politically correct people. I really do this is a figment of the conservative imagination. While there have been examples in Scandanavia and Canada, we don't live in either place and our tradition of free speech is much greater than there.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 9, 2005 6:07 PM

Res, surely you can't be serious in claiming that thought-crimes are "a figment of the conservative imagination."

It's happened in Canada and Europe. Somehow that doesn't matter.

The US Sup Ct has announced that it will look to foreign law in deciding cases. But somehow Canada and Europe still don't count.

Liberals in this country have tried several times to enact these types of laws. Should we ignore their attempts until they succeed? In many cases, I understand that they have succeeded in extra punishment for those accused of evil thoughts (such as racial discrimination) in the commission of another crime. Do those count?

Universities have been enforcing thought-crime rules for years and years. Does that not count because it isn't a literal criminal conviction? Can't we look to the universities as models of what our country would be like if liberals ran it?

When, pray tell, would you allow us to start worrying about thought-crime laws?

Posted by: Ben Bateman at June 9, 2005 7:39 PM

Res, perhaps you just never noticed because your friends never called you a "hateful ignorant bigot". Rhetorical flourishes we're all guilty of. George W. Bush is no more guilty of killing Matthew Shepard than you are. Yet how many times have i heard it...

Sorry, if we're going to play this name game, then us ignorant bigots have every right to retort you fudgepacking faggots in like manner. (ahem)

I bet you noticed that one, didn't you? Or did it just roll off like water on a ducks back, like it does when someone who doesn't even know me calls me hateful bigot for the umpteenth time, simply because i can see that square pegs belong in square holes and that two pegs or two holes don't really complete anything?

(Apologies to the gallery, i hope the point was worth making)

Posted by: Marty at June 9, 2005 7:45 PM

Michael said:

I prefer libertarian-leaning conservative (or conservative-leaning libertarian), because no one fits exactly into a category. But I was speaking about gay conservatives, of which there are many and I don't see how, as smmtheory comments, anything I said illustrates that being gay and being conservative is a contradiction.

Sure people fit exactly in to categories. That doesn't mean that categories cannot share traits. In this case, just because conservatives espouse some of the same policies that you do, you do not necessarily belong to the conservative category. Some categories even have built in wiggle room. But the wiggle room that applies to conservatives does not allow people who identify themselves by their sexual habits.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 9, 2005 8:18 PM

I personally am unhappy with the term conservative altogether. What i find are social conservatives, and fiscal conservatives, and many shades in between. You can usually tell the difference between these republicans by their position on pornography. I personally am FAR more fiscally liberal than my conservative peers, who are more than happy to support smut on the cable televisions that working mothers park their kids in front of for days at a time. I'm pro-business, but i'm MORE social-responsibility.

So if we talk about gay conservatives, it's a safe bet they aren't the church-going social conservatives that liberals point to as the "right-wing".

Also, offtopic but on a similar note, i'll ask this one yet again, because i've never once received an answer: I know not all feminists are lesbian, but are there any lesbians that are not feminist?

Conservative is too broad a term, and gives comfort to a whole lot of cretins you'd never trust around your daughter...

Posted by: Marty at June 9, 2005 8:25 PM

And just to close the circle for Michael, yes, libertarians tend to the fiscal conservative side, and oppose any stigmatization of personal liberties no matter how bizarre.

In fact, the seem to occupy the thin no-mans-land between utopian anarchy, and utopian communism on the political spectrum. While communism has no particular regard for the Individual, focusing on the Community instead, libertarians focus on the Individual, at least up to the extent that it doesn't harm the Community. Two sides of the same coin -- because even if communism could ever reach its utopian state, individualism really wouldn't be an issue. Just as if individualism were ever perfected, the community would naturally take care of itself. Both philosiphies are extremely naive in thinking that Evil is not real, and that Goodwill is the natural state of man.

Hey Justin, here's an idea i've seen on another site, you might want to consider. Since most of us commenters are regulars, it might be interesting to plot where we fall on the Political Compass. Just a thought, the curve might be suprising.

Posted by: Marty at June 9, 2005 8:44 PM

I can honestly say that I've never heard one person accusing another person of hate speech, at least since 1993. It's a very last decade concept, yet the right insists it is happening every day and that they can barely talk without being accused of hate speech. It's just delusional.

It really is part of this persecution complex conservatives have. Despite ample amount of whining and complaining about every using victim status, the right spends ample time talking about how they are victims of discrimination, of being left out, of being ignored, of committing hate speech. It's actually quite bizarre.

Admittedly, hate crime laws exist. Maybe it is foolish to believe that if someone scratches a swastika on someone's body while killing them or screaming "die faggot" while beating them, there should be some enhanced sentence.

Posted by: res ipsa at June 9, 2005 9:02 PM

Since most of us commenters are regulars, it might be interesting to plot where we fall on the Political Compass.

Neat website ...

Economic Left/Right: -3.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.74

I guess I am a left-of-center quasi-libertarian. I had no idea :)

Posted by: Matt Taylor at June 9, 2005 9:58 PM

Res, did you read the post here at DITL about the abuse Fitz received over at Alas, a Blog? Perhaps someone more industrious could look up the link for me. And now we have the head of the Democratic Party saying he hates Republicans, Republicans are bigots, etc., etc. Did you pay any attention to the Presidential election? Tim Blair came up with a funny moniker for Bush: something like Chimpbushitler, just to fit in all the epithets in one convenient word.

And what about the recent spate of pie-throwing at conservative speakers? What's up with that?

Posted by: Mike S. at June 9, 2005 10:06 PM

Sorry, I forgot the most obvious example for Res: the quote about the Pope in the original post.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 9, 2005 10:07 PM

Res,

Do people use the two words "hate speech" much? No.

But say anything questioning egalitarian pop wisdom and believe me, the accusation of "hateful" will be heard. I know because I have by necessity been in the midst of people who do indeed say such things about anyone, not just conservatives but even liberals, who question any elements of progressivist doctrine. It might not exist in your world, but don't tell me it doesn't exist. It does. It is not a delusion. Have you been to a college campus lately?

Posted by: R.K. at June 9, 2005 10:19 PM

Economic Left/Right: -0.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: +1.74

Posted by: Marty at June 9, 2005 11:00 PM

Marty,
At least a quarter of those questions are non-sensical, and another quarter of them I could disagree with simply because of the wording and it would probably be opposite of what the intention was behind the question. Like what kind of question is "Sex outside marriage is usually immoral."? I see no way for the test designers to know that if I disagree with the statement it's more because I think it is always immoral instead of usually immoral. Be that as it may, having completed the questionaire as best as I could under the circumstances, I was rated -

Economic Left/Right: 2.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.15

So in my opinion, despite what the author has to say about it, I'm so close to the line that left and right still have meaning for me.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 10, 2005 1:47 AM

"I can honestly say that I've never heard one person accusing another person of hate speech, at least since 1993. It's a very last decade concept, yet the right insists it is happening every day and that they can barely talk without being accused of hate speech. It's just delusional."

Res, you sound like the liberals of 10 years ago who insisted on no news media bias or bias in academia. Whatever evidence anyone offered, it was never enough, or it was never the right kind of evidence, or it wasn't comprehensive enough. Provide anecdotes and it isn't global enough. Provide global proof, and it isn't specific enough. Conservatives turned somersaults offering up various types of proof, but the liberals kept moving the goalposts.

So here we are again. I offer evidence. Others offer evidence. You ignore it all and insist that we're delusional. Fine. You describe exactly the kind of proof that could exist to prove you wrong. And when we provide it to you, you can admit that you were wrong. Until then, your accusation is non-falsifiable nonsense.

Posted by: Ben Bateman at June 10, 2005 2:07 AM

Just as you have a First Amendment right to make comments, doesn't the other person have a First Amendment right to label those comments bigoted and hateful? This isn't oppression or speech-chilling, it's called the marketplace of ideas.

Hate speech implies some government enforcement, not the marketplace of ideas. My point was simply that no one is being accused of "hate speech" and facing legal repercussions.

And why are conservatives so afraid of having their ideas labeled bigoted? Are you as concerned when you label liberals as "unChristian" or "not people of faith" or suggest someone isn't "really Catholic" or "anti-family."

Maybe it's time to thicken your skin.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 10, 2005 10:50 AM

Are we to infer from your comment Res Ipsa that if somebody says you are anti-family it stings as much as when somebody says one of us is a bigot?

Hmmmm... not only are you anti-family, you are not a person of faith, and furthermore, you are not really Catholic. Take that!

Posted by: smmtheory at June 10, 2005 11:56 AM

i Are we to infer from your comment Res Ipsa that if somebody says you are anti-family it stings as much as when somebody says one of us is a bigot?

It is if I believe I am not anti-family and a religious person. But I live with it, I don't whine about it and scream "I'm being accused of hate speech."

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 10, 2005 1:01 PM

But the wiggle room that applies to conservatives does not allow people who identify themselves by their sexual habits.

Not only is this patently untrue, I don't identify myself by my sexual habits. It's this completely narrow view of conservativism that gives the right-wing a bad name. Congratulations.

Justin:
Does that look like an equal method of legislating to you? (Let alone that T ends up requiring restrictions on actions that are guaranteed by our Constitution.)

I really don't know what you're trying to say, especially when saying T ends up restricting actions guaranteed by our constitution. Can you give me some examples? If they are truly against the constitution, I would be against them as well. But some actions the right would want to regulate are borderline unconstitutional as well. I also don't know how you can't see how you can divide up actions into subcategories, such as actions in private, actions between two adults, actions done in public, etc. So to go back to your silly math example A(public, consenting, private...)=T(speech, association...) Of course it's equal, and it's all generally bad. And they should only be applicable to the public realm.

Laws exist in order benefit the community, specifically the public community. Which is where both action and tolerance laws need to be confined. In some instances, basic prohibition of action, benefits the public; in others legislation of tolerance does.

If you provide a public service, say a restaurant or store, you should not be allowed to turn away gay people. Why, because the community should respect each other, and if people can't do it on their own, the government has to step in. But not in the public realm (for example private clubs) there should be no inforced tolerance (I realize this isn't the case but I disagree with those laws). At the same time, it is ok to prohibit gay sex in public, but not in the privacy of ones own home. Each of these instances illustrates where, fundamentally, trying to legislate tolerance and legislate actions can be equally good and equally bad.

So I'm sorry, but I still fundamentally believe that regulation of tolerence and regulation of action are completely equitable. You could hate gays in your heart, but you can't refuse to serve them in your restaurant. I can want to kill you because you hate gays, but I can't actually do it. All legislation is an attempt to regulate attitudes. Why do we outlaw pot? There is no justifiable reason except for its abstract linkage to other drugs which cause violence and diminish productivity of society. Which is directly comparable to why we outlaw restaurant discrimination. We want to create a more tolerant society. There are complex, multiple, abstract reasons behind all of our laws.

Mike S.
Res, did you read the post here at DITL about the abuse Fitz received over at Alas, a Blog?

I would seriously refrain from holding up Fitz as your posterboy. You might as well complain that Fred Phelps gets unfairly criticized. The man has absolutely no tact and no tolerence for anyone else. While liberals tend to be more intolerant than conservatives, Fitz deserves everything he gets.

Posted by: Michael at June 10, 2005 2:24 PM

Deny it all you wish Michael, you have identified yourself by your habits in the bedroom and continue doing so. A conservative would not claim to be gay.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 10, 2005 4:51 PM

"A conservative would not claim to be gay."

ROFL. The best place to pick up guys in DC is a Heritage Foundation speech or outside the RNC. I can name, off the top of my head, at least 15 gay men who work as conservative lobbyists, for very conservative Congressmen, at social conservative thinktanks. Hell, as chair of the Republic National Committee and a former Bush nominee for the D.C. Circuit.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 10, 2005 5:15 PM

A conservative would not claim to be gay.

Why not?

And who are you to decide who can call oneself a conservative? A conservative would not actively increase the size of the government. Since the president has done just that, he does not have the wiggle room to call himself a conservative. Do you disagree?

Posted by: Michael at June 10, 2005 5:19 PM

Are there any lesbians that are not also feminist?

"conservative" is just too broad a term, encompassing both godless capitalists, and missionaries living in poverty.

Posted by: Marty at June 10, 2005 8:36 PM

Res: "Just as you have a First Amendment right to make comments, doesn't the other person have a First Amendment right to label those comments bigoted and hateful? This isn't oppression or speech-chilling, it's called the marketplace of ideas".

I never hear those on the conservative side yell "oppression". In general, every trait that is attributed to "liberals" can also be found to some extent among "conservatives" (and vice versa), but the use of the term "oppression" seems to be about as exclusive to the "liberal" side as feathers are to birds.

Is it "speech-chilling"? I don't hear that term much either, but the effect of cheap name-calling is certainly NOT to enhance "the free marketplace of ideas"; it is to intimidate any person who may have ideas considered politically incorrect. Yes, it's legal, as it must be, but that is still the purpose of it: to stifle free speech, not to encourage it. And all I ask is that this be pointed out any time this tactic is used. Your defense of this is the same defense I always heard made for campus "shoutdowns" of speakers who were not popular with certain groups of students. And yes, it's just as wrong whether it's "conservatives" or "liberals" doing it. Again, Res, as I've said before, the tu quoque is not a refutation.

Posted by: R.K. at June 10, 2005 8:55 PM

Marty said:

"conservative" is just too broad a term, encompassing both godless capitalists, and missionaries living in poverty.

That is absolutely right Marty, the popularized version of conservative is too broad. It was expanded by people that wanted to horn in on acceptance garnered by the image. And MSM went right along with them. That is why I prefer the use of the more narrow traditional definition. What Michael and Res Ipsa are trying to obfuscate is the fact that even though a conservative would not claim to be a gay, that does not conversely mean that people who claim to be gay would likewise not claim to be conservative. In fact, they count on people not being able to distinguish that difference. When somebody challenges them on it, they get indignant and huffy saying things like "who are you to decide..." and "the best place to pick up gays is outside of..." which is just misdirection.

Take for example Michael's leveled generalized accusation that President Bush actively increased the size of government. What the heck is that suppose to mean? It's like firing buckshot from a sawed off shotgun and expecting somebody to catch the "bullet" with their teeth.

And Res Ipsa is just too funny with his comment -

It is if I believe I am not anti-family and a religious person. But I live with it, I don't whine about it and scream "I'm being accused of hate speech."
- pretending that when somebody says he's anti-family and irreligious it's the same as accusing him of hate-speech and calling him a bigot.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 10, 2005 11:43 PM


It will be ironic indeed if the victory of the liberal demolition of marriage leads to a society so fissured and riven with strife as to be unable to resist the Jihad. The great glory of homosexual "marriage" would then in time lead to Sharia; the law that teaches not only death to the homosexual, but describes how it is to be dealt.

The reverse is equally ironic: if resistance to the homosexual agenda leads to a coalescing of culture that also resists the Jihad, homosexual radicals will continue to be both safe, thanks to Western civilization, and aggrieved at the civilization that protects them from doom.

Posted by: notdhimmi at June 11, 2005 5:37 PM

Take for example Michael's leveled generalized accusation that President Bush actively increased the size of government. What the heck is that suppose to mean?

You don't see how a conservative could call himself gay; I don't see how a conservative could effectively nationalize education with the horrendous No Child Left Behind Act. The former doesn't fit into your definition of conservativism; the latter doesn't fit into mine. In fact, neither position is "traditionally" conservative. And yet would you accuse Bush of not being a conservative?

Posted by: Michael at June 13, 2005 12:22 PM

Michael,
It was you, not me that accused Bush of not being a conservative. I made no such speculation on whether or not President Bush is or is not a conservative. You still expect me to catch that bullet from buckshot don't you?

Posted by: smmtheory at June 13, 2005 1:48 PM

Bush is not conservative in most senses of the word. He shares some conservative values; but then he also shares some libertine and liberal values. In fact, the only things I can see him conservative on are some of the social issues nd lower taxes. That's about it.

SMM is right - what good is the word conservative as a description of a person's viewpoint if anyone can call themselves conservative - is The Hillary conservative if she called herself such? Why or why not? Someone's professed viewpoint needs to be measured against an idea or ideology of conservatism (or liberalism for liberals). There own self-refernetial label is meaningless.

Posted by: c matt at June 13, 2005 7:38 PM

You could hate gays in your heart, but you can't refuse to serve them in your restaurant.

Not that homosexuals are hated (as opposed to homosexual acts) but what about refusing to marry them in your church - or allowing them to be members in good standing of your church? If their professed lifestyle goes against the teachings of an institution, must the institution yield? If not, how is that different from refusing them service in your restaurant, or renting an apartment to them where you have a reasonable grounds to assume they are engaging in conduct you find morally offensive?

Must a predominantly black university admit a student or hire a professor who is a member of the KKK? Can the Nazi party demand that Jeremiah's Kosher Deli host their annual Hitler Award dinner?

Posted by: c matt at June 13, 2005 7:46 PM

Because of the First Amendment, we allow religious people to be bigots and we toleratre it because we respect religious freedom. If, however, a bigot just wants to be a bigot, that can be legislatied against.

If it makes you feel better, I can't refuse to rent to evangelicals or Catholics just because I find their values abohorant.

Posted by: res ipsa at June 14, 2005 12:39 AM

Res,

You didn't answer the question.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 14, 2005 5:38 AM

Over a year ago I made the claim that proponents of SSM would not stop at getting SSM legislated from the bench. Ultimately their goal will become to sue any institution that will not condone their marriages for damages, and perhaps even pursue legislating hate-crime sentencing for language not accepting of or condoning the life-style. Res Ipsa's choice of wording is one of the big indicators of the direction the proponents want to take this whole issue.

There will be no answer forthcoming to C Matt's questioning because the truth would hurt their cause. They are counting on the fact that there are certain types of speech that are outside the protection of the First Amendment and that is how they plan to classify speech against homogamous sexual relations.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 14, 2005 8:00 AM

i Must a predominantly black university admit a student or hire a professor who is a member of the KKK?

No, neither are public accommodations. It is possble the KKK member could make out a discrimination claim (probably religion or association).

i Can the Nazi party demand that Jeremiah's Kosher Deli host their annual Hitler Award dinner?

Again, not a public accomodation.

OTOH, if you have a room for rent or you have a business open to the public, you can't discriminate based on sexual orientation in many states.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 14, 2005 10:28 AM

It does seem strange that a restaurant can refuse to hire someone (or can fire them outright) for their bedroom behaviors, but they cannot refuse to serve them lunch.

Posted by: Marty at June 14, 2005 1:44 PM

c matt:
SMM is right - what good is the word conservative as a description of a person's viewpoint if anyone can call themselves conservative - is The Hillary conservative if she called herself such? Why or why not?

Maybe my point got a bit confused but maybe Bush is a good illustration. I agree that nobody can fit precisely into one definition if he is a free-thinker; but one can make generalizations. smmtheory outright says that "A conservative would not claim to be gay." And while we can all agree that not everyone will agree completely with one ideology, if I believe everything else that a classic conservative believes, and yet call myself gay, smmtheory insists that I cannot really be a conservative. I want to know what about being gay completely nullifies every other conservative philosophy. I suggested that I could say the same thing about a nationalized education system; a person could believe everything a classic conservative believes and yet want to nationalize education. Does that mean I can blanketly say that he isn't a conservative? No; if he has a majority of conservative beliefs, that is the best way to describe him.

Oh, and I still haven't gotten a straight answer from smmtheory as to exactly why one cannot be gay and conservative; he keeps insisting it over and over again. I may not be a conservative (since it is relatively agreed upon that I am a libertarian) but I know a lot of gays who truly are conservatives.

If not, how is that different from refusing them service in your restaurant, or renting an apartment to them where you have a reasonable grounds to assume they are engaging in conduct you find morally offensive?

Because a religous institution does not provide a public service; or one does not have any reasonable expectation of equal treatment when one enters into a church. One must abide by the churches rules. However, if you are renting an apartment or own a restaurant, you are providing a service for the public that does not require the adherence of certain tenets or beliefs or a membership in a certain club. If you don't think gays should be shacking up, you shouldn't own a hotel.

And why is this ok? Mutual respect for fellow citizens. We have prohibition of actions on the one hand (we don't let people pee all over the place because it ruins it for everyone else) and we have enforced tolerence on the other hand (we don't let restauranteurs refuse service to blacks because we believe citizens should be treated equally in public).

Posted by: Michael at June 14, 2005 2:11 PM

Marty, I would argue that public accommodation discrimination is hand-in-hand with employment discrimination. Meaning, unless a state specifically has a law outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation, one is probably able to discriminate in public accommodations.

Complicating this issue is many medium and large cities have laws banning such discrimination, even if the state doesn't. Thus, even though you are free to discriminate in Texas, a landlord in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonion, El Paso, etc. etc. probably couldn't because of local ordinances.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 14, 2005 2:12 PM

Conservatives are not prone to buck tradition Michael, they go to extraordinary lengths to preserve status quo, and if the status quo cannot be maintained, they only grudgingly make minute changes. Conservatives do not all of a sudden say, "Hey, let's start a new tradition!" A person that claims a non-traditional lifestyle has broken with the ranks of conservatives. They may still hold some ideals that match those of the conservatives, but that is just a coincidence. There you go, a straight answer the first time that you actually asked why a conservative would not claim to be a 'gay' rather than just refuting it.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 14, 2005 2:30 PM

smmtheory,
I don't know where to start; you conflate so many issues...

First, you confuse public conservativism with private conservativism. A person can be gay and be publicly against "non-traditional" gay lifestyles, for some of the reasons you describe, and yet still be perfectly accepting of his homosexuality. Is that person not conservative?

Second, you assume that all gays want to "start a new tradition". You have a very specific view of not only what tradition is but of what constitutes minute steps and breaking with that tradition. For example, I believe that legislatively enacted gay marriage is a very conservative idea. It is building upon centuries of tradition and creating a framework for the emerging understanding of homosexuality in the already established society; this a neither libertarian idea (which would do away with all civil marriage) or a liberal idea (which would create recognition of a host of other family arrangements). It is a conservative idea.

Third, a conservative does not make changes "grudgingly" but cautiously. This is where many self-proclaimed conservatives get it wrong; you described a traditionalist or a fundamentalist. And again you assume that gay marriage has leapt upon us quickly and is a radical change. Others think it has crept up slowly, over the last century, and that only allowing two-person monogomous gay marriage as opposed to polyamory, is non-radical, logical extension of our rights as citizens. But apparently we have a different perspective on that. But I'm sorry, I see no logical reason why your perspective on the speed of gay rights trumps my perspective.

Posted by: Michael at June 14, 2005 2:55 PM

"A person that claims a non-traditional lifestyle has broken with the ranks of conservatives. They may still hold some ideals that match those of the conservatives, but that is just a coincidence."

This may be one of the craziest things I've ever read. Does this mean that left-handed people--who are non-traditional--can't be conservatives? How about white people, who aren't traditional in the larger picture of human existance.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 14, 2005 2:59 PM

I've been waiting for somebody to comment on Lee Harris' essay in Policy Review. Hopefully Justin will get around to doing a post on it sometime, but in the meantime, I'd be interested to hear what people think of it. (Warning, it's pretty long.)

Posted by: Mike S. at June 14, 2005 3:53 PM

Res Ipsa said,

Show me the person who was accused and convicetd of "hate speech" for making such comments!!!!! This has become such a tiresome and embarrassing argument by the right.

Here you go, Res,

"The pope is creating a dangerous climate of inciting hatred towards gays and lesbians, and needs to be held accountable in attempting to encourage civil societies to perpetuate this prejudice."

Granted, the Pope has not been convicted of anything. But what do you think "held accountable" refers to?

Posted by: Mike S. at June 14, 2005 4:01 PM

They said his comments were full of hate. They didn't call it hate speech, didn't drag him in front of a tribunal, didn't suggest that he should be driven out of the Vatican. They just said his comments were hateful.

As for "held accountable," I would imagine it means voicing outrage regarding the comments and expecting the Pope to be challenged and questioned.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 14, 2005 5:02 PM
However, if you are renting an apartment or own a restaurant, you are providing a service for the public that does not require the adherence of certain tenets or beliefs or a membership in a certain club.

Why not? Why do you get to decide what the services that a landlord or restaurant owner offers requires? Sorry, but that's profoundly intrusive (not to mention unconservative). Consider a "family restaurant." The atmosphere is part of that business's service. Why can't a religious person include a moral atmosphere as part of his hotel chain?

I guess you and Res Ipsa have some definition of "public service" for which I'm missing some subtleties. Most restaurants, as I understand, don't receive government subsidies or public benefits.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 14, 2005 5:08 PM
I would imagine it means voicing outrage regarding the comments and expecting the Pope to be challenged and questioned.

Well, that's your (kindly) spin on an intentionally vague phrase. Thus does the structure of oppression grow in the shade of euphemism, until the trap is ready to close. In general, when people use the verb phrase "to hold accountable," they don't mean dirty looks and audible "tsks".

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 14, 2005 5:20 PM

Why not? Why do you get to decide what the services that a landlord or restaurant owner offers requires? Sorry, but that's profoundly intrusive (not to mention unconservative). Consider a "family restaurant." The atmosphere is part of that business's service. Why can't a religious person include a moral atmosphere as part of his hotel chain?

First of all this is slightly accusatory. I do not get to decide; I'm merely stating a combination of my philosophy as well as how I perceive laws are made and justified; remember this started by my assertions that prohibition of behavior and forced public tolerence were two sides of the same coin.

There is, as I said above, an expectation of equality when one goes into a restaurant. If it is a family restaurant, the restauranteur can reasonably expect that his clientele act appropriately (ie, appropriate dress, no public displays of affection, etc.). But the client also can reasonably expect that he will be treated the same, whether he is black, muslim or gay. The reason is that we have a social contract to treat each other with respect. You can have moral outrage at whatever you want. I can find it immoral that certain parents verbally berate their children; but I have no right to throw them out of my restaurant (provided they are not causing a disturbance).

If you want your restaurant clientele to be able to maintain some standard of morality, make them pay a membership. Maybe you disagree, but I think that we have the responsibility to treat each other as fairly as possible; and if you are providing a good or service you should provide that good or service to whoever can pay you.

Posted by: Michael at June 14, 2005 5:36 PM

The atmosphere is part of that business's service. Why can't a religious person include a moral atmosphere as part of his hotel chain?

Also, to reiterate, a moral atmosphere is perfectly acceptable to want to strive for; you can ask gays not to hold hands by the pool but you can't tell them they can't share a bed. This is because of the reasonable expectation of privacy one has when one gets a hotel room. Mainly because the married couple in one room could be engaging in sodomy, which a religous person might find morally reprehensible, but the gays may be staying perfectly celibate in the room next door, out of deference to the moral environment.

People hide behind their religion in order to be bigoted. Not all people; I do not doubt for one second that you genuinely treat gays with respect. But it is unacceptable for the law to allow racists and homophobes to hide behind a "moral atmosphere" as get out of jail free card. If you are free to deny the gay couple with children access to your public hotel because of "morality", aren't you free to do the same to the interracial or intergenerational couple and their family? Or a single, divorced mother? And would that be ok?

Posted by: Michael at June 14, 2005 5:45 PM

As for "held accountable," I would imagine it means voicing outrage regarding the comments and expecting the Pope to be challenged and questioned.

It means to drag him (and those who think like him) before the UN Human Rights commission or some other "unaccountable" supranational tribunal on violation of "equality" as defined under the EU constitution which was, happily for now, soundly rejected in two countries (and counting). In fact, this has been the stated goal of several international abortion rights NGO's. No reason to believe groups supporting gay rights would pass on the opportunity if presented.

Posted by: c matt at June 14, 2005 7:46 PM

Can the Nazi party demand that Jeremiah's Kosher Deli host their annual Hitler Award dinner?

Again, not a public accomodation.

If the Kosher Deli (open to the public) can refuse the Nazi's, why can't a "straight" deli refuse gays? Either both can, or both can't.

Posted by: c matt at June 14, 2005 7:55 PM

While we're on the side track, proprietors should (and unless I am mistaken do) have the right to refuse service to anyone. It is not part of that policy to explain to any particular person why they are being refused service. What that in effect means is that a proprietor (or by extension their acting manager) can use whatever criteria they chose to make that distinction. What they cannot do is post an intentionally discriminatory sign to exclude particular customers based on race, creed, sex, age or otherwise. But if a couple or person walks into the establishment and offends most of the other patrons, then the smart business person will toss the offensive people out.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 14, 2005 8:00 PM

So, SMM, if you walk into my restaurant with a bible under your arm--or a Bush pin on your lapel--you have no problem with me refusing to provide you service?

Posted by: res ipsa at June 15, 2005 12:31 AM

Res,
If you refused to serve me in your restaurant, I'd walk out and happily patronize your competition. I believe I have mentioned before that I have capitalist tendencies.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 15, 2005 12:53 AM

Sorry, but that's profoundly intrusive

Also, Justin, as a side note, what is more intrusive of the government; a) requiring its citizens, when providing a service open to the public to provide it for everyone regardless, or b) prohibiting its citizens to grow a plant in their back yard for their own personal smoking uses?

What that in effect means is that a proprietor (or by extension their acting manager) can use whatever criteria they chose to make that distinction.

So in otherwords, smmtheory, you can discriminate as long as you don't actually tell anyone you're doing it? Great societal responsibility you've got there. And it would be fine to go patronize someone elses business, but what do you do if no one else will let you?

But if a couple or person walks into the establishment and offends most of the other patrons, then the smart business person will toss the offensive people out.

But what if your veritable presence offends your customers; because they don't like the way you look or who you're with? And you haven't actually done anything that would be considered offensive? We do not live in a homogeneous society, people are going to be offended. Is it ok to refuse service to somebody because they only have one leg, and you have a family restaurant and you don't want the children to be distracted by the anomoly?

Again, we're talking about how one behaves in a civilized society, in a society where people do different things and think different things.

Posted by: Michael at June 15, 2005 10:02 AM

Michael,
No matter how you try to distort the issue, if a proprietor or their agent walks up to said one-legged customer and states "Your presence is not welcome in this establishment, you should leave now." then nobody can say what criteria was used to determine the refusal of service except the proprietor or their agent. Should that be okay? Yes.

I don't have to get into whether or not the unspoken, undemonstrated criteria is justifiable or not. That appears to be what you want, though. Once you start legislating justifiable criteria of hidden motives, you actively increase the size of government don't you? What person would not be guilty of criminal thought?

Posted by: smmtheory at June 15, 2005 1:30 PM

No matter how you try to distort the issue, if a proprietor or their agent walks up to said one-legged customer and states "Your presence is not welcome in this establishment, you should leave now." then nobody can say what criteria was used to determine the refusal of service except the proprietor or their agent. Should that be okay? Yes.

And here we disagree. We disagree, most likely, because either a) you've never been denied entrance anywhere or b) you are assuming that these would be isolated instances. The latter is probably the case under most circumstances. But what if it isn't?

Let me give you a real-world example about why it is inapproprate for someone providing a public service to deny certain people access to that service: In New York, one has a reasonable expectation of hailing a taxi. All I have to do is stand on a corner and hold my hand out and when an unoccupied taxi comes by, it stops and picks me up. Occasionally one passes by; maybe it didn't see me or maybe it didn't feel like stopping at that moment. But usually the next one comes.

Unless you're black. If you're black, they don't generally don't stop unless you are wearing a suit. Because a large enough group of taxi drivers feel that all black passengers are unsafe or don't tip well, or whatever, a black citizen has his ability to use taxis drastically reduced.

So if, as you think, it is ok for a restauranteur to deny gays access to his restaurant, what if that restaurant was McDonalds? And it was all McDonalds? Or what if it wasn't a restaurant but a phone company? There are only like four of them. If they have every right to deny you their public service for whatever reason they want, without telling you, how are you going to get a phone? Or fix what the problem is?

I repeat, we have a contract with society. And in my opinion that contract includes the right to know why you are being denied access to somewhere where you should reasonably expect to have access. And the government has the right to decide whether or not a reason is legitimate.

But you probably will still disagree with me.

Posted by: Michael at June 15, 2005 2:08 PM

I haven't been all that interested in this particular sub-debate, but this is bizzare:

So if, as you think, it is ok for a restauranteur to deny gays access to his restaurant, what if that restaurant was McDonalds? And it was all McDonalds? Or what if it wasn't a restaurant but a phone company? There are only like four of them. If they have every right to deny you their public service for whatever reason they want, without telling you, how are you going to get a phone? Or fix what the problem is?

I repeat, we have a contract with society. And in my opinion that contract includes the right to know why you are being denied access to somewhere where you should reasonably expect to have access. And the government has the right to decide whether or not a reason is legitimate.

How would someone know that someone was gay unless they acted in a certain way? You can certainly argue that it's immoral for a restaurant owner to refuse to serve gays, but you're examples are based upon the assumption that said restaurant owner could always tell who was gay and who wasn't. If a gay man walked into the McDonalds alone, and didn't affect an overtly gay "persona", then how would the owner know he was gay? A black person cannot hide the fact that they are black. Nobody knows whether a person is gay until that person says or does something. So the notion that in some hypothetical situation a restaurant chain or phone company could deny service to all gays is highly far-fetched.

What is the basis for the government to decide which reasons are legitimate, and which aren't? More to the point, how is the government going to determine what the "real" reason is, if the "perp" gives a different reason? And how discordant is it to hear a self-described libertarian arguing that the government has the right to tell business owners who they can and cannot do business with.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 15, 2005 4:50 PM

Ah yes, the differences are plentiful. I've been denied service; I've been denied opportunities; I've been made to feel uncomfortable in certain places. And I never once thought it ought to be a matter of law that my discomfort or inconvenience be remedied.

I wonder about your taxi example. What's the solution? To legislate what? That taxi drivers can be fined or something for failing to stop for black people? That taxi companies should record their passengers' races and tabulate them to make sure that no discrimination exists? Personally, I think the best solution is for social pressure to be brought to bear on taxi companies (as has been done in this case, e.g., by Danny Glover), as well as on those who perpetuate the image that keeps blacks from being picked up (e.g., crooks and low tippers).

And then you start bouncing around from industry to industry. Hey... if we can't let a multinational corporation with a regional communications monopoly discriminate, then I guess Mom & Pop's Moral Diner has to fold to liberals' political pressure, too. (Unless, of course, public temperament changes; then maybe we'll go in some direction that homosexuals will find even less pleasant.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 15, 2005 5:09 PM

If we believe that capitalism trumps all, then I assume you don't object--in the absence of laws preventing discrimination--with me organizing a boycott of the Mom & Pop diner, setting up a lawful picket outside the store and explaining to all potential customers that M&P are bigots????

I mean, if M&P need only concern themselves with making money and their freedom of speech or religion, certainly you have no problem with me using free speech--and maybe even some capitalism--to begin a criticism campaign to drive customers away from their store.

Posted by: Res Ipsa at June 15, 2005 5:41 PM

Mike S.:
How would someone know that someone was gay unless they acted in a certain way?

If my partner and I came in with a baby and refered to each other by a diminutive. If my partner and I try to get a room with a single bed at a bed and breakfast. If we acted like a married couple, sutbly of course; there are ways to tell.

And how discordant is it to hear a self-described libertarian arguing that the government has the right to tell business owners who they can and cannot do business with.

I didn't say all businesses owners; only businesses that have a reasonable expectation of universal public service. A restaurant, a hotel, a grocery store. And businesses that provide essential services, not luxury services. I may be a libertarian but I'm not a Randian. For a society to truly be free, we need to value our shared humanity over the individual right to discriminate in the public square. If you want to run a restaurant in which you have to get recommended by someone to go to it, that is completely private, then the government should stay out of your business. There is a public and a private sphere; the government has every right to be involved in the former.

By the way, I read that Harris article and I have some thoughts; we should take it away from Justin's blog unless he cares to comment since I feel like I've usurped it plenty.

Justin:
Personally, I think the best solution is for social pressure to be brought to bear on taxi companies

I totally agree. However, in my experience, gay rights and black rights tend to be a little different. When gays start trying to apply social pressure, we often here from conservatives that they don't care what we do in the bedroom, they just wish we would stop shoving it down decent people's throats.

But this still gets back to my original point which is prohibition of action and forced tolerence are the same side of a nasty coin. And while I can't demand you answer, I'll ask again; which is more intrusive of the government, anti-discrimination laws or that I can't smoke weed in my living room?

Posted by: Michael at June 15, 2005 5:59 PM

Last night, I actually began, but failed to finish, a post that addressed exactly the issue of using the public domain outside of the business in order to bring public pressure to bear on it.

I have no problem whatsoever with lawful protests such as you describe, and I certainly dislike the idea less than making it lawful for the government to obviate the public outcry stage of social interactions by dictating a business's obligatory customer pool.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 15, 2005 5:59 PM
However, in my experience, gay rights and black rights tend to be a little different.

Then why did you turn to race for your rhetoric?!?!

which is more intrusive of the government, anti-discrimination laws or that I can't smoke weed in my living room?

I didn't answer because I don't believe it's relevant. For the record, I'm not entirely sure what my position is on legalizing pot (mostly owing to a lack of interest). Suffice to say that I'd be astonished to hear that you see no significant difference between a government's saying "you cannot sell X" and the same government's saying "if you sell basic service/good Y, you must sell it to all people based purely on their ability to pay."

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 15, 2005 6:05 PM

Okay i think we can all agree NOW, that Michael is no conservative!

He just granted the government power to determine the legitimacy of the motive behind an otherwise perfectly legal action!

Thought police anyone?

Posted by: Marty at June 15, 2005 7:05 PM

Michael,

"When gays start trying to apply social pressure, we often here from conservatives that they don't care what we do in the bedroom, they just wish we would stop shoving it down decent people's throats."

We've run into this problem before: nobody said that you were guaranteed to end up with the result you want. Your position seems to be, "well, I'd try to change public opinion, but that isn't likely to work, so I have to resort to government enforcement." That's not the way it works - either it is appropriate for the government to legislate something, or it's not - you don't get to bring it in when you can't convince everyone else of your point of view.

You can email me about the Harris essay if you wish.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 15, 2005 9:05 PM

Res, I think it strange that you seem to think such a picketing action would be seen as outrageous by conservatives, especially as an alternative to government intrusion. Why would I (or anyone else) object to a lawful picket? Certainly such things can be abused (and sometimes are), for example by unfairly accusing someone. The Jesse Jackson shakedown is a prime example. But I certainly don't deny his right as a citizen to try and convince his fellow citizen's that some company is wrongly discriminating. I wish the media would not so gullibly report his charges as the gospel truth, but I don't want the government to ban him from doing what he does just because I find it distasteful.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 15, 2005 9:11 PM

[Off-topic]

Justin and crew, I want to say (again) that the comment section of this weblog, and the posts that start the ball rolling, makes for some of the most interesting and thought-provoking discussion on timely issues available on the net.

Heres one reader who says, Thanks all, on all sides.

[/Off topic'

Posted by: Chairm at June 15, 2005 11:21 PM

Thank you, Chairm.

Incidentally, the rate of posting should increase in just a few weeks, when I wrap up this year's home-improvement projects. (It's slower-going than I thought it would be, but it's going nonetheless.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 16, 2005 5:15 AM

Suffice to say that I'd be astonished to hear that you see no significant difference between a government's saying "you cannot sell X" and the same government's saying "if you sell basic service/good Y, you must sell it to all people based purely on their ability to pay."

Well, yes and no. There is a difference between the government tell you what you can and cannot sell and telling you how you have to sell it to. But they are still both legitimate government interests. If the government can tell me who I can and cannot marry, because even though marriage is a private matter it is of public interest, I don't see how you can argue that the government can't tell a restauranteur that he can't discriminate against customers who can pay and who act appropriately. Both a legitimate governmental goals to creating the best society for its citizens. (And for a clarification, I specifically used pot because I find it irrational for the government to tell me that I can't cultivate a plant (that grows wild) on my own property for my own personal use if it never plan to sell it (note I said smoke, not sell)).

And I think I'm being misrepresented here, especially in Marty's comments; I do not believe in thought crimes. I believe in public contracts. I believe that in a civilized society, if you have a business that is ostensibly open to the public, it should be open to the public. Period. If you cause a ruckus or damage the premises or refuse to pay, etc, you should be barred from that establishment. We should treat citizens equally and not based on their actions that hove no bearing on the business transaction. But under no circumstances should that public contract apply to any business that makes it clear it is not open to the general public.

Of course, as has been pointed out, it is a) generally hard to figure out why people are being turned away unless a pattern forms and b) even harder if the person being turned away is gay. But, let's say you have no problem with black people but you have a moral issue with interracial marriages. Can you deny a mixed race couple access to your restaurant because of the obvious choice they made? You could argue that you're not turning them away because one is black; you're turning them away because they chose to act in a way you find immoral. I don't know, it just really sits wrong and doesn't make for a good society.

Mike S:
That's not the way it works - either it is appropriate for the government to legislate something, or it's not - you don't get to bring it in when you can't convince everyone else of your point of view.

Again I agree and disagree. There are certain things that the government, I believe, can legitimately legislate; how public business is conducted is one of them. At the same time, we are not a populist nation, no matter what some people might think; it is difficult for minorities to have their greivences addressed in the court of public opinion. This is especially true when the populace tries to take away the right to petition the government or end the right to debate, like in the Nebraska marriage amendment.

However, I also believe that I may have been misunderstood in another respect; I don't believe that many of these issues the FEDERAL government has any right to legislate on. Because I've been a federalist long before my fairweather liberal counterparts...

Posted by: Michael at June 16, 2005 11:57 AM

Michael said:

This is especially true when the populace tries to take away the right to petition the government or end the right to debate, like in the Nebraska marriage amendment.

You need to point to the specific language in the amendment that actually prohibits the right to petition the government in contradiction to article I section 19 which specifically grants that right and states that it will never be abridged. Or are you just quoting the activist judge by rote? There is nothing in the amendment that prohibits the political process of trying to convince people that same sex marriage should be allowed. You don't seriously think that we will believe gays had no opportunity to drum up support in opposition to the amendment do you? You don't seriously think that we will believe that gays had no opportunity to vote against the amendment do you? The real miscarriage of justice there is that when it came poll time, approximately 70 percent of Nabraskans voted for the amendment, and their right to petition the government was abrogated by a single individual who for some god forsaken reason thought the voice of the people needed to be silenced.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 16, 2005 12:40 PM

Good one smmt.

Michael, regarding thought crimes, may we assume then that you oppose all hate-crimes legislation, like any other conservative does?

Also, on the refusal-of-service / discrimination theme, how do you feel about "ladies night" and "senior citizens discounts" and "kids eat free"? And if you do not oppose these things (assuming), or, if they are not illegal discrimination, then what would you make of a "white people discount" or "straight folk discount"? Would that be just as legal, and if not, what explains the difference?

(PS: I'm not advocating any of the above, just questioning whether or not they are or should be illegal, and under what principle they might be)

Posted by: Marty at June 16, 2005 2:20 PM
I don't know, it just really sits wrong and doesn't make for a good society.

Well, that's the nub of the matter, isn't it? Government institutions are not well suited to ensure "a good society." Sometimes in some places, it may be the most efficient means to bring about aspects of what a particular faction believes to be "a good society," but circumstances change.

To give an example that will surely resonate: I believe that religiosity makes for "a good society," but I wouldn't want the government regulating it.

As for your marriage tie in. Again... I would hope that you can spot the difference between the spousal relationship and the vendor-client relationship without my explaining it — both in their essentials and in the government's involvement.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 16, 2005 4:52 PM

You need to point to the specific language in the amendment that actually prohibits the right to petition the government in contradiction to article I section 19 which specifically grants that right and states that it will never be abridged.

I need to do no such thing. Amendments and laws can have unintended consequences. If you note the judge's ruling, the court did not address whether or not SSM could be or could not be prohibited. However, if you went to petition the government for benefits for you and your opposite sex partner, you would have to get a law passed. If I did the same thing on the same day for my same sex partner, I would have to get an amendment passed. Same benefits, different requirements. My right to petition has been abriged.

Marty:
Michael, regarding thought crimes, may we assume then that you oppose all hate-crimes legislation, like any other conservative does?

Of course I oppose all hate-crimes legislation. I've said that here, I believe. They are stupid.

Also, on the refusal-of-service / discrimination theme, how do you feel about "ladies night" and "senior citizens discounts" and "kids eat free"? And if you do not oppose these things (assuming), or, if they are not illegal discrimination, then what would you make of a "white people discount" or "straight folk discount"? Would that be just as legal, and if not, what explains the difference?

Well, ladies nights are illegal in New Jersey. I think that it's kind of silly, but on principle I'd have to support the right of the government to make them illegal. I would think that a compromise would be to offer a gentleman's night some other time. I'm personally opposed to them because I prefer straight bars to gay bars (on most nights) and I was always peeved because ladies night never benefited me. (Hey, I guess it's really sexual orientation discrimination then!)

But seriously I don't think that discrimination is a black and white area. "Ladies night" is not motivated by animus and generally benefits all those involved. A straight discount or a white discount could not be construed to benefit anyone. Likewise, I don't believe in affirmative action, like all good conservatives.

As far as age discrimination goes, I think it's fine. Again, it is beneficial rather than harmful, and everyone has the ability to use it at some point (that is, everyone is a kid and God willing everyone will be a senior citizen). It is a mutable condition.

Again, this is all prefaced by the fact that discrimination is different from making distinctions. If you are going to make a distinction, you have to have a positive reason, and it can't have the result of being harmful to a group of people. However, if New Jersey doesn't want to make it illegal for bars to have ladies night, I think it's within its justifiable rights to allow them.

Posted by: Michael at June 16, 2005 5:02 PM

I'm sorry, Michael, but I just can't think of anything to say except that you would benefit from learning to see issues more objectively. Consider:

A straight discount or a white discount could not be construed to benefit anyone.

Of course it could; the difference of opinion is whether open, active homosexuality is moral and healthy. If it is not, then not only could one argue that straights (particularly children) benefit from its lack of acceptance, but also that the intention of the discrimination is to discourage the person who is experiencing it from a detrimental lifestyle. (I'm not saying I would make precisely these arguments, just that, objectively speaking, they present a different view than you seem to believe is objective.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 16, 2005 5:16 PM

I'm sorry, Michael, but I just can't think of anything to say except that you would benefit from learning to see issues more objectively.

I could say the same for some people here (not you) and I don't think that I'm the most un-objective frequenters of this blog. But anyway...

It's intersting you quote the one sentence that you do, when further down in the comment I said that "If you are going to make a distinction, you have to have a positive reason, and it can't have the result of being harmful to a group of people." Now a straight discount might benefit some people but it is definitely harmful to a whole other group of people. And I don't find public restaurants and bars a place to attempt to spread ones morals. Otherwise you can use any "moral" justification for discriminating against anyone, by offering a same-race couples discount to discourage interracial marriage; or a never-been-divorced discount; or a doesn't masturbate discount.

So, Justin, I have looked at it objectively and have come to the conclusion that in the public sphere "morality" is not a justification for discrimination. Ultimately, I believe that offering a straight discount at a restaurant does not even benefit the people it proports to help. I could see where one would think that and I think they'd be wrong. Does looking at something more objectively mean I have to change my opinion to match yours? Anyway, maybe I should ahve been more clear: A straight discount or a white discount may benefit some but the harm it causes to others and to society in outweighs those benefits so as to be construed to have no benefit at all. Is that better?

Posted by: Michael at June 16, 2005 7:36 PM

A little. ;o)

But look what you've done:

I don't find public restaurants and bars a place to attempt to spread ones morals.

Well, then, whose morals do you believe them to be places to attempt to spread? "If you are going to make a distinction, you have to have a positive reason." Who defines "positive"? And, moreover, who dictates what sorts of places are places to attempt to spread morals?

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 16, 2005 8:13 PM

ssmtheory to Michael: "You need to point to the specific language in the amendment that actually prohibits the right to petition the government in contradiction to article I section 19 which specifically grants that right and states that it will never be abridged".

Michael's response: I need to do no such thing. Amendments and laws can have unintended consequences.

Uh, yeah....so can changing laws, and traditions, and particularly those that are virtually universal throughout human history.

To which most SSM proponents respond with something like this: "Well, then you have to demonstrate to me exactly what negative unintended consequences you believe SSM will have, and why."

Now note again Michael's response to ssmtheory's request for specifics: I need to do no such thing.

Posted by: R.K. at June 16, 2005 9:06 PM

ssmtheory to Michael: "You need to point to the specific language in the amendment that actually prohibits the right to petition the government in contradiction to article I section 19 which specifically grants that right and states that it will never be abridged".

Michael's response: I need to do no such thing. Amendments and laws can have unintended consequences.

Uh, yeah....so can changing laws, and traditions, and particularly those that are virtually universal throughout human history.

To which most SSM proponents respond with something like this: "Well, then you have to demonstrate to me exactly what negative unintended consequences you believe SSM will have, and why."

Now note again Michael's response to ssmtheory's request for specifics: I need to do no such thing.

Posted by: R.K. at June 16, 2005 9:08 PM

ssmtheory to Michael: "You need to point to the specific language in the amendment that actually prohibits the right to petition the government in contradiction to article I section 19 which specifically grants that right and states that it will never be abridged".

Michael's response: I need to do no such thing. Amendments and laws can have unintended consequences.

Uh, yeah....so can changing laws, and traditions, and particularly those that are virtually universal throughout human history.

To which most SSM proponents respond with something like this: "Well, then you have to demonstrate to me exactly what negative unintended consequences you believe SSM will have, and why."

Now note again Michael's response to ssmtheory's request for specifics: I need to do no such thing.

Posted by: R.K. at June 16, 2005 9:08 PM

Justin, sorry about the triple posts. I was having downloading problems; thought the first two attempts to post had failed.

Posted by: R.K. at June 17, 2005 7:20 AM

Well, then, whose morals do you believe them to be places to attempt to spread? "If you are going to make a distinction, you have to have a positive reason." Who defines "positive"? And, moreover, who dictates what sorts of places are places to attempt to spread morals?

Well, I think that when we attempt to regulate anything we have to balance the potential to good for the potential to do harm or to abuse the system. Don't get me wrong; I can see the value in Mom and Pop's Moral Diner (I of course don't agree, but nonetheless I see the value). But I see the potential harm as well.

So what is "positive"? It's easy for us to see that a proprietor should be allowed to expel someone who does something publicly disturbing; this could include throwing food, wearing inappropriate clothing, sticking your tongue down your partner's throat. But these are all actions that happen or have happened at the restaurant. They create a negative environment. If you were a "family" restaurant, gays might create a negative environment as well. But if we let varying perceptions of something vague like "morality" allow us to reject service for people, we lose the ability to protect minorities. Because we have, as a country, decided that citizens should be, in the public sphere, treated equally based on a shared humanity and not on some immutable distinctive characteristic. The benefits that diner might achieve do not outweigh the moral loophole we create.

As for who gets to decide what is "positive"? Well, we are a representational government. Let the representatives decide.

And as for where one can spread morals? Private institutions with no reasonable expectation of public use. Who decides that? Our representatives.

Posted by: Michael at June 17, 2005 11:19 AM

Uh, yeah....so can changing laws, and traditions, and particularly those that are virtually universal throughout human history.

Nice bait and switch. You should try addressing the actual argument. Like, do laws have unintended consequences? And if they do, can they be struck down by courts if they do have unintended consequences? We can address whether changing traditions have unintended consequences later. And then we can address whether we should proceed with caution if we think they might. And then we can address whether, based on our conclusions, whether or not changing traditions may have unintended consequences how that suggests anything about the legitimacy of striking down a law that is unintentionally unconstitutional. How about that? Sound like a plan?

Posted by: Michael at June 17, 2005 11:34 AM

Michael said:

However, if you went to petition the government for benefits... ((clipped))... I would have to get an amendment passed. Same benefits, different requirements. My right to petition has been abriged.

And how about our rights to petition the government to NOT waste money providing marital benefits to homogamous relationships? We tried laws... they didn't work because some busybody trumped up some excuse to decide they weren't constitutional. Then when we tried (and succeeded mind you) the constitutional route... some busybody trumped up some excuse to decide the consitutional amendment wasn't constitutional. Quit whining about your rights being abridged Michael. That's not what's happening.

And what are we suppose to do from here? Presumably we're suppose to accept it as moral and natural and normal and right. I read recently that somebody in Canada is suing to have tax exemption removed from churchs that preach homogamous relations as being immoral. I've also read that a homogamous couple out in California are using their adopted kindergarten aged child as a political tool to silence a religious school from teaching that their lifestyle is immoral. You think it is just going to stop when marital benefits are available to homogamous relationships? Not likely.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 17, 2005 1:22 PM

Michael frets about some laws he does not like having unintended consequences. This is ironic, since the law he seems to desire most is extremely likely to have a multitude of consequences, not the least of which would be legalization of 'marriage' between more than two people. What would the impact of legalized polygamy, polyandry, group marriage be? I wager that Michael does not know, but he wants what he wants anyway.

It also appears that, once again, we see the progression of demands. From "leave us alone" to "tolerate us", then to "accept us", now we must move to "endorse everything we do, unconditionally". He protests that he does not support thoughtcrime laws, yet it seems that any disapproval of anything in the homosexual agenda is "hating gays", an action that we are to be allowed to do in private, at least for now.

As a sometimes careful reader, I note that Res Ipsa has still not yet answered the easy questions asked. I shall ask them again:

Suppose that an historically black college, such as a hypothetical "George Washington Carver State College" originally created to educate freedmen in agriculture and mechanical arts, receives an application from someone who is openly a Ku Klux Klansman to teach history. How does that college refuse to hire such a person?

Suppose that the Kosher Deli, an eating place open to the public, receives a request from the New Nazi Party to have their monthly meeting in the dining room? How do they decline this offer?

How can either of these institutions avoid the presence of people who are inimical and loathsome to the institutions in question at a variety of levels, from the philosophical to the cultural to the deeply, viscerally personal? How do they do that without breaking the "social contract" that Michael finds so important, or the laws that Res Ipsa cherishes?

Posted by: notdhimmi at June 17, 2005 2:47 PM

Presumably we're suppose to accept it as moral and natural and normal and right.

You don't have to do anything. But because the government allows it doesn't mean that it ENDORSES it. I do not think it is natural and normal for a 60 year old to marry a 16 year old.

I read recently that somebody in Canada is suing to have tax exemption removed from churchs that preach homogamous relations as being immoral.

No church should be tax exempt; it puts a burden on the state to "legitimize" certain religions. Churches should pay taxes like everyone else, except for on their charitible works which should be secular in order to be tax exempt. Everyone whines about gays wanting "special rights" but I don't see gays asking for tax exempt status...

You think it is just going to stop when marital benefits are available to homogamous relationships?

Is this your big concern? Leading to other things? Oooooh, time for a fun thought game! If I could tell you with 100% accuracy that gay marriage would lead to absolutely nothing else bad that you could think of, would it be OK then? Because if you still don't think gay marriage would be acceptable, everything else is a red herring.

Posted by: Michael at June 17, 2005 4:32 PM

Michael,

"Like, do laws have unintended consequences? And if they do, can they be struck down by courts if they do have unintended consequences? ... how that suggests anything about the legitimacy of striking down a law that is unintentionally unconstitutional."

Unintended consequences is not equivalent to unintentionally unconstitutional. Whether a law is constitutional or not is a binary proposition: either it is or it is not (however that gets determined). In fact, unintentionally unconstitutional is an oxymoron, since no legislator would claim that he intended to pass an unconstitutional law. The consequences of a law are distinct from it's constitutionality. So no, I don't think a court should be able to strike down a law because it has unforseen (presumably negative) consequences, if it is constitutional. It is the legislature's job to fix problems like that, not the courts.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 17, 2005 4:58 PM

Michael asked:

Is this your big concern?

Actually no, I was talking instead about your lack of concern and your dismissing our concerns about the agenda driving this whole effort to enable homogamous marital benefits. Your lack of vision can be ascribed to your value driven moral system, your belief in the Social Contract. I hope you do not really expect me to buy into your warped understanding of sacred morality. You are fairly consistent in arguing that you would just be satisfied if you could get marital benefits. I think you are hiding from the truth.

Posted by: smmtheory at June 17, 2005 5:18 PM

Michael writes:
If I could tell you with 100% accuracy that gay marriage would lead to absolutely nothing else bad that you could think of, would it be OK then? Because if you still don't think gay marriage would be acceptable, everything else is a red herring.

Let's turn that around, shall we? Suppose it can be shown with 100% accuracy that same sex marriage will lead to poly-marriage and the legalization of incest. Would Michael then give up striving for SSM, or not? Because if he would forge on for SSM even after it was shown it would lead to social ills, then his support for the Social Contract is merely a stalking horse for something else.

Posted by: notdimmi at June 17, 2005 5:52 PM

The article by Lee Harris in Commentary is very well thought out. For some years now I've been realizing more and more that culture matters; it matters more than skin color, it matters more than laws, it matters more than resources (don't let Jared Diamond know) or geography. The modern liberal project amounts to applying jackhammers to various foundations of the culture of Western civilization in general and US culture in particular, with no apparent notion of what might follow a cultural collapse.

That Harris is a homosexual may make it more interesting for some readers. It clearly deserves a separate thread.

Posted by: notdhimmi at June 17, 2005 9:42 PM

The Nebraska amendment did what amendments are supposed to do based on the ratification process. I do not see the problem that Michael imagines.

The very things that the court plaintiffs had claimed was beyond their reach as lobbyists on behalf of same-sex couples, those very things, were passed by an easy majority in the legislature. But the legislation was based on the contractual relationships, not on the social status of marriage that the SSM advocates demand in one form or another.

The ruling that Michael thinks justifies his umbrage is really full of holes based on good old principles of reading statutes and constitutional law.

Posted by: F. Rottles at June 17, 2005 11:55 PM

Another needless case of homophobia...in Britain

I do hope the horse has received therapy in order to overcome this deeply traumatic incident.

Happily the miscreant who dared to commit such a horrid crime was put in jail. I wonder if Res Ipsa would be happier in the Thames Valley?

Posted by: notdhimmi at June 18, 2005 1:58 PM

I duly surprised that the article even got published, much less in merry ol' England, the way it was written. But then again, liberals don't like any authority figure, do they?

Posted by: smmtheory at June 18, 2005 4:47 PM

Mike S.:
Unintended consequences is not equivalent to unintentionally unconstitutional. Whether a law is constitutional or not is a binary proposition: either it is or it is not (however that gets determined).

Well in the case of Nebraska, it was found unconstitutional. I agree that if a law merely has unintentional consequences, the legislature should take care of it. Unless it ends up violating another law; then the courts can sort out individual issues that arise because that is one of their roles.

smmtheory:
You are fairly consistent in arguing that you would just be satisfied if you could get marital benefits. I think you are hiding from the truth.

Legally satisfied, yes. But look at those opposed to abortion, say, I'm sure most would be satisfied with a complete elimination of abortions but would prefer that everybody actually believe that that was the right choice.

Let's turn that around, shall we? Suppose it can be shown with 100% accuracy that same sex marriage will lead to poly-marriage and the legalization of incest. Would Michael then give up striving for SSM, or not?

I don't know why I'm answering this, since my question was answered with a question, but whatever. If it were shown, with 100% certainty, that there is absolutely, positively no way to legalize SSM without legalizing polygamy, then yes I would stop striving for it.

So, I again ask the group; if the opposite were true; that given SSM, polygamy will never follow, would SSM be acceptable? Because if not, it is intellectually dishonest to even bring polygamy up.

Posted by: Michael at June 20, 2005 12:16 PM

If it were shown that SSM will not lead to more children in intentionally fatherless or motherless homes, and would actually increase the likelyhood that more children would be raised with both a mother and a father, then i would probably not oppose it.

Posted by: Marty at June 20, 2005 1:56 PM

So, I again ask the group; if the opposite were true; that given SSM, polygamy will never follow, would SSM be acceptable? Because if not, it is intellectually dishonest to even bring polygamy up.

Only showing that it would not lead to polygamy would not be enough, Michael, because polygamy is only one of many probable negative effects of SSM. Others are an increase in fatherless children, an increase in bisexuality among the young, a destruction of the concept of friendship, an increase in the problem of marital jealousy, and others that even I perhaps have not thought of.

But to answer your earlier question, Michael, yes, if it were shown with 100 percent certainty that SSM would have none of the negative effects above or others, even after a full generation or more has passed, then I would not oppose it.

And yes, laws, just like cultural changes, can have unintended consequences. That's the whole point. But to argue that making it harder for you to change a law is somehow a denial of your right to petition for the change is bizarre. Is anyone saying that the First Amendment should be discarded because it denies the right of those who want a state religion to petition for that change? A right to petition is not the same as a right to get the desired results.

Posted by: R.K. at June 20, 2005 9:25 PM

But to argue that making it harder for you to change a law is somehow a denial of your right to petition for the change is bizarre. Is anyone saying that the First Amendment should be discarded because it denies the right of those who want a state religion to petition for that change? A right to petition is not the same as a right to get the desired results.

An equal right to petition is not the same as merely a right to petition. No one is arguing for the First Amendment to be changed because everyone has to petition in exactly the same way.

But in Nebraska, a man petitioning to get medical visitation rights for his non-married, live-in, committed partner, who is a woman, would have to get the legislature to make a law; if at the same time a man petitioned to get medical visitation rights for his non-married, live-in, committed partner, who is another man, he would have to amend the constitution. Same petition, different hurdles.

If however, the amendment said that no other rights and privileges of marriage could be given to a non-married couple, regardless of gender, then everything would be fine. I mean, I personally wouldn't *like* the law, but it would be fairly and equally applied.

Posted by: Michael at June 21, 2005 10:35 AM

For the record, Michael, I think anybody should be able to get medical visitation rights regardless of whether they are gay or straight, married or unmarried, family member or not, or whether or not their relationship is sexual or platonic. I essentially support this compromise which Ramesh Ponnuru suggested recently. I'm wondering how Michael and other conservative (relatively speaking, anyway) supporters of SSM feel about this

Posted by: R.K. at June 21, 2005 12:04 PM

Michael, to repeat what I said a couple of comments upthread of your most recent comments:

The very things that the court plaintiffs had claimed was beyond their reach as lobbyists on behalf of same-sex couples, those very things, were passed by an easy majority in the legislature. But the legislation was based on the contractual relationships, not on the social status of marriage that the SSM advocates demand in one form or another.

The trial judge in Nebraska failed to read the amendment correctly and got way off track.

Posted by: F. Rottles at June 22, 2005 1:32 PM