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July 31, 2005

Gay Marriage & Liberal Overproduction

Latent in my examination of Power Moms is some thought about activists for the cause of gay marriage. I haven't really done my homework at Dreadnaught, but I'll get around to it. Here's what I'm feeling today.

Gays have survived without being married through the course of history. The question of elevating the civil standing of homosexual relationships to that of Marriage is not a matter of oppression or suppression so much as it is a question of priority. Gay living is self-evidently alternative. It's not logical to give the alternative equal billing with the primary.

This is not about burning the gay flag it's about holding it lower than the straight flag. Salute who you choose, just remember what's central to society.

Conservatives like me find it disturbing that this is considered a milestone on a road to progress and ultimate equality. It is not, it is a step towards pure relativism. Liberals have perverted the concept of liberty by making everything alternative a potential political base - everyone's case is brought to bear against central mainstream values. Liberals would have us consider (just like NPR says) All Things - they are against settled consensus. Today it's gay marriage, tomorrow it's animal rights, the next day it's the rights of trees, ozone, and microbes.

The liberal cause is to make the US the locus of all rights defended. It is an understandable cause, but they actually conflating rights with privileges and social status. Conservatives like myself are more than willing to acknowledge civil unions and would certainly back away from a Constitutional Amendment if our resistance to the liberal urge towards pan-theism wasn't painted as suppressive.

As for The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada - I think we should keep a couple things in mind. First that if we can accept the simple premise that none of them can make an automobile worth a damn, that there may be other weaknesses in their societies. They are not necessarily models for the US. Secondly, they are all small countries. The effect of legalizing gay marriage in Canada is about the same a legalizing it in California (except of course that California has more gays, more people, and more influence than the whole of Canada). But for a Federal Statute to make it the law of the nation, that's an order of magnitude greater stake.

The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of gay friendly cities and towns in the US, and there is very little social acceptance necessary for gays where gays live. Civil unions would be icing on the cake, marriage would be sprinkles on the frosting. For us to make a national committment to Gay Marriage is not a step towards liberty, but one of liberal overproduction.

The great error is the politicization of the personal and I see this more and more as a feedstock for the liberal political base. So long as they can successfully convince people that that straight [white] male head of the household nuclear family is a model of suppression, they can attack the family as a dysfunctional model of organization. In other words, they want to move the alternative lifestyle to the center.

Note that the effect of this politicization of the personal is not greater inclusion, rather it's greater recognition. It is saying that that the bush league is the same as the big league and nobody needs to bother trying out for the big show. It is recognition of diversity without respect for consensus or shared values. It starts off with statements like "We're all racist". It presumes that the center of gravity of humanity doesn't exist - that it will shift through time and that at some point we could all be gay, or we could all be cripples, or we could all be something that we're not. The import of this is that our settled ideas should not have weight. Liberals are willing to always have everything in the air - to be open to all possibilities.

As I've said before, the great failure of classic liberalism is the assumption of unlimited potential. There are always limits on potential. Everything cannot be exploited. Everything cannot be taken into consideration. Surely everything is not zero sum, but there is a limited capacity for mankind to make sense of things. Our ability to have fallback positions is not a weakness but a strength. That's what keeps us human. It's why babies are always cute despite the fact that they are all so very much alike. There are not an infinite number of edifying human behaviors, and we need to organize our political priorities towards abetting a select limited set and leaving the majority of human expression out of the picture. Politicizing the personal, especially in a society that values the individual and independence, is a road to infinite disharmony.

Let's keep it towards the Red and Blue for a while, OK? I think we'll find that two way split very useful; we can agree to disagree and not act. By not acting on the personal, we create more freedom - freedom from consideration. That's a libertarian sentiment to be sure, but dammit if Liberals didn't push so hard, Conservatives wouldn't be so eager to push back.

Posted by mbowen at July 31, 2005 09:49 AM

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Michael, the powermom, normotic suburban fantasy you've waxed hyperpoetic about over here is surely one of many, many socio-topological configurations tested and normalized by the human species over the span of recorded history.

It is by no means the most durable, stable, or exemplary model known. It is in fact, a dazzlingly recent model whose total life expectancy will not exceed that of abundant supplies of fossil fuel.

While I look with outright scorn on the dilettente lifestyle(s) and corresponding political posturing of most non-breeder humans, this is only due to my ethological emphasis on the centrality of child-rearing. I would be hard-pressed to care less about the patriarchal, monogamous, nuclear family topology emphasized within the past century of American collectivity.

As go the suburbs, so also the normotic illness epidemic within the collective American psyche, and good riddence...,

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 31, 2005 10:41 AM

From Pensinger's Roof Brain Chatter

So, the definition of “normotic illness” is essentially the opposite of the psychoanalytic notion of animism: the condition of those whose mental activities constitute “a transfer of a subjective state of mind into a material external object that results in the de-symbolization of the mental content”. The all-day-long everyday state of the preponderance of Americans! Potential quotes attributable to Bollas are wonderful. “…someone who is abnormally normal… typified by the numbing and eventual erasure of subjectivity in favor of a self that is conceived as a material object among other man-made products in the object world… personalities characterized by deletions of the subjective factor… 'blank selves'… their effort to be rid of an intrapsychic life… who has been successful at neutralizing the subjective element in personality… annihilated the creative element by developing an alternative mentality… a mentality not determined to represent the object, but to be the echo of thingness inherent in material objects, to be a commodity object in the world of human production… normotic illness develops when the subjective meaning is lodged in an external object, remains there and is not re-introjected, and over time loses its symbolic function as a signifier… normotically disturbed persons successfully house varied parts and functions of their inner world in material objects, and even though they use these objects and collect them into a familiar space, they serve no symbolic purpose. Such an individual is alive in a world of meaningless plenty…” I think I may now get the energy to finish my piece on Americana Manifest Destiny Syndrome (incomplete on the MOON website): Our destiny has been to rid the world of animism and impose normotic illness on every last person on the planet.

see Christopher Bollas The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known

The normotically afflicted American mentality and suburban socio-topology you're praising is an evolutionary blind alley. The powers that be are incapable of working out a transition path from the thermodynamic conundrum that the community killing, profligate suburban lifestyle has engendered. As someone who grew up in the modified village context of a segregated black neighborhood, you'll NEVER hear me sing the praises for something so structurally and functionally anti-thetical to the more healthy, more village-like socio-topology I experienced in Wichita KS.

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 31, 2005 11:05 AM

Well, why not return to Feudalism? I've stated my enthusiasm for that without tongue too deeply in cheek. I don't know how I'm going to decipher all that nomotic gobbledigook but I do understand and am gaining a greater understanding of what Moynihan was saying way back when, and that's the bomb I'm going to drop sometime this weekend.

If you've read Stephenson's 'The Diamond Age' then we have a model to talk about. In an era of unlimited material wealth, there was a group of people who insisted on having things made by people and insisted on having a feudal arrangement with those people. These Victorians were purposefully interested in living in neighborhoods in a time where the architectural necessity of neighborhoods had been 'surpassed'.

So what I'm saying is this: Nannies are good. So are waiters and gardeners, and kneejerk reactions of anti-colonialism aren't useful in dealing with the depersonalization of modern society. You seem intent on re-engineering blacks into an agrarian state of mind for the sake of their humanity, and I say that is the same impluse of the Victorians of Stephenson's Diamond Age.

The artifacts of suburban life are most importantly social, and the relationships of families who are dependent on the wealth of the nation is very central to their non-material quality of life - in otherwords their character. The more important point, economically speaking, is that the transition to wealthy independence coming up through suburbia, with its interdependence and marginally feudal arrangements with blue collar services is preferable to any other arrangement. New money is brutal. Old money is genteel. Old Money gets to be old money via family and feudalism. New Money is corporate and bling and political experiments.

Posted by: Anonymous at July 31, 2005 12:29 PM

I don't know how I'm going to decipher all that nomotic gobbledigook

You won't. It's not germaine to your neo-Luntzian conservative stylings. Nevertheless, it would be helpful to your constituents if you would go to the trouble of deciphering the reality of the end of cheap and abundant fossil fuel, and the implications of the same on the suburban dinosaur you're cheerleading for. Translate these into the black and white label scheme compatible with normotic conservative mentality, and you will have performed an immense public service.

As for the return to Feudalism, and your oft-repeated principle of not second-guessing black people, which neighborhood topology has a more feudally onto look-and-feel to you, gang infested hood, or sub-urban sprawl?

I'm not intent on re-engineering black people into anything other than a more autonomous and sustainable engagement with our urban infrastructure that is considerably less dependant upon the bubble-fragile wealth of this nation.

Moynihan's warnings fell on deaf ears. That genie's been out of the bottle so long and to such an extent that its a moot point. We have to work with the demographic and cultural realities on the ground rather than the nice-to-have dreamscapes of a fin d'siecle Norman Rockwell.

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 31, 2005 02:08 PM

Although I don't fully understand what gays gain by marriage (okay, health benefits, property rights of survivorship), I nevertheless don't care if two men or two women wish to marry.

In no way does it cheapen my own marriage, and given the divorce rate among heterosexuals, perhaps homosexuals can show heterosexuals a thing or two about commitment in relationships.

Other than family members, I'm not likely to ever come to socialize with a gay couple on a regular basis. I just don't see much benefit to debating whether someone else is, or should be, married.

Posted by: brotherbrown [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 31, 2005 02:40 PM

Well what's the difference between Civil Union and Marriage? If registered domestic partners could get health benefits, property rights of survivorship and all that legal crap why would anybody say it's separate but not equal in a bad way? The entire point is that the activists for the gay cause want the concession that it's *the same*, which is a lie of course.

Not seeing a reason to debate whether somebody is married is difference from changing the basis of debate so that you can't object to the idea that a gay marriage is identical to a real marriage. Why not say that a third marriage is the same as an only marriage? But i'll take the hypotheticals another direction...

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 31, 2005 03:14 PM

On the matter of feudalism where it matters ie passing of wealth through title and family ties, the suburbs is way more advanced. The ghetto is more like the border between the fields where the serfs hang out and the forest with the squatters and wannabe Robin Hoods. To extend the metaphor of liberal overproduction, their version of diversity says that the knighthood is the same as hierarchies of bandits in the forest. That bandits are equally noble and therefore the pledge of squire to knight is nothing more than honor among thieves.

This is a very attractive political position for thieves, bandits and other rabble in the forest, but it undermines all pledges. Why, because liberals don't stop extending this brand of equality. Think global act local is an extension of this philosophy.

This fails because Liberals are determined to evade the question of qualifications. It can't be the bureacracy - it has to be the personalities at the top. It can't be generals at the War College, it has to be the Bush Administration. It can't be reform, it has to be recall. It must be populist. That's the problem you see.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 31, 2005 03:39 PM

To extend the metaphor of liberal overproduction, their version of diversity says that the knighthood is the same as hierarchies of bandits in the forest. That bandits are equally noble and therefore the pledge of squire to knight is nothing more than honor among thieves.

Given that American history is a record of crimes against humanity, I'd be the first to echo any objective rejection of American sham nobility. The neoconservative propaganda seeking to conserve the mythical shine on the historical turd of white-identity criminality - crumbles under the barest objective moral scrutiny.

Think local, act local over a ruthless darwinian threshing floor - is all that remains just beyond that signpost up ahead. As a practical matter, the more folks you keep anaesthetized with these fantastic neoconservative just-so-stories, the better.

I refuse to question or second-guess black folks under the peculiar circumstances we find ourselves in. Oh, and the non-breeder dilettantes, the perpetually single consumers of American gluttony gone wild, these comprise a luxuriant principally fragile canary in the coal mine mutation arising exclusively in conditions of material surplus. That's it. There is no liberal or conservative moral value to attach to them. They're the spoiled children of the picture perfect suburban dyad you would lionize. Their rotteness runs no deeper than the profligate rotteness that spawned them.

Gluttony (gula) traditionally includes drunkenness, gluttonous eating, and soft living, namely the consumption in excess of that which is required -- a misplaced desire for food for its sensuality, or withholding food from the needy. This may extend to forms of food, clothing, shelter, and transportation far in excess of real needs. Numerous assessments identify the disproportionate use of global resources required to sustain the western lifestyle -- defined especially defensively in the case of Americans as a "way of life" that is not subject to any negotiation in the light of the diminished quality of life experienced by others. The examples most frequently cited are those of energy resources, notably oil -- and the challenges of substance abuse in the form of alcoholism, eating disorders (and the associated obesity), and drugs. In economic terms, this sin may perhaps best be examined in relation to the controversy regarding "glut" and scarcity. In the case of the hegemonic agenda of neoconservatives, gluttony precludes any appreciation of the cultures whose insights are looted in the pursuit of the tangibles which happen to be associated with them.

More interesting in this context are the less tangible forms of gluttony. Conceptually these may be seen in the excessive consumption of information, the constant search for media experiences, and the ever greater dependence on "action" and "happenings". These may be framed positively in terms of natural human curiosity or the "thirst for knowledge" -- "going boldly where none have gone before". Such pursuits are commonly subject to the criticism that they are dangerous distractions from the discovery, experience and cultivation of less superficial and more fundamental insights and experiences. It is such subtlety that may be vital to sustainable lifestyles in circumstances of reduced tangible resources.

The corresponding salvatory virtue is "temperance" (temperantia) or possibly hope. This suppresses extremes of excess, and includes abstinence (the "contrary virtue"), continence, and modesty -- typified by the Quaker use of "plain", notably with respect to "plain speaking" and "plain living" (cf Catherine Whitmire. Plain Living: A Quaker Path to Simplicity, 2001). It accepts the natural limits of pleasures and preserves this natural balance. The challenge is of course the contrast between the "drab" and the "innovative" and how innovation for its own sake may be used to obscure and demean the merits of the plain -- or how emphasis on the "plain" may be used to suppress the emergence of the innovative and various forms of expression of the joy of living, or resonance with the infinite.

It is ironic, and characteristic of neoconservatism, that such underlying "sinful" distortions of attitude are poorly acknowledged in preference to the more evident manifestations of their consequences in morality or ethical behaviour. This displacement, notably when deliberate, might be cited as an example of a cardinal sin as explored here. By the same token, extolling the matching redemptive "virtues" can be deliberately undertaken such as to reinforce the sin they are believed to alleviate. This distorted appeal to virtue, so demeaning of its essential attitudinal value, might also be cited as a cardinal sin.

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 31, 2005 06:42 PM

You have a fairly monolithic perception of the rotten suburbs which is, I think not particularly useful. I would find it as difficult to believe that they are all intechangeable as saying that Brooklyn is Compton is Oakland. It is not any pattern of consumption that I find appealing in the suburbs but the willingness of parents to network and share responsibilities in raising children.

I'm not trying to drive the sin out of people, that's a job for Lucifer Jones. I'm looking to identify self-aggregations of people that would become political forces whose net effect on the public is contra to those open systems of public support. In otherwords, how is it that people from South LA come out of their homes to fight against the very police that are working to protect them? How does the Coalition of the Damned replicate itself?

But specifically to gay marriage and liberal overproduction, I am standing for integration and assimilation. I am suggesting that difference and distance from norms be recognized and not flattened and that while we maintain a robust exchange and mutual respect, that we not dodge the work of real collaboration - that mere recognition of identity does not make for collaboration. Difference and distance must be travelled. Work must be done. One cannot simply declare a society 'diverse' and then expect it to work. I'm saying that for the highminded principle of 'equality', liberals are trying to flatten insurmountable differences.

Here's the way to consider it. Think of the two most popular family-oriented TV shows of the 80s: The Cosby Show and Family Ties. They were both about upscale American families, but it would be impossible for them to be authentic if you arbitrarily exchanged the dialog. You cannot make Mr. Huxtable into Mr. Keaton. They have similarities but they are not the same. You cannot - for the sake of equality - merely declare them equal. As a defender of integration, I say that it cannot work without some cursory multicultural translation. Likewise, gay relationships are what they are, but they are not Marriage. The Cosby Show was what it was, but it wasn't a sitcom about a white family.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 1, 2005 08:02 AM


it's all overproduction - liberal, neo-con...the labels "liberal" and "neo-con"...the debate between the two...the sustaining material of the two...the juxtaposition of a gay male prostitute working in the white house vs. depictions of old gay couples on court house steps...it's all overproduction...

as nick bakay likes to say, "there are no winner's here." it's a push.

Posted by: Temple3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 1, 2005 08:40 AM

You have a fairly monolithic perception of the rotten suburbs which is, I think not particularly useful.

With the benefit of hindsight, please tell me a single good - as in objectively benign and constructive - historical reason for the emergence of suburbs, and I'll gladly tone down my understanding of their intrinsic rotteness. fyi - I live in the oldest planned and developed community in the U.S. my house is vintage 1928 it is a mile and a half south of the oldest shopping mall (open air/outdoor) in the U.S. Now understand, I'm gonna break out the restrictive housing covenants under which my neighborhood was governed up until about 10 years ago..., in support of my contention that suburbs are an evil artifact.

It may also be helpful to know that the Kansas City metropolitan sprawl encompassed my neighborhood decades ago, and we are about as far removed from suburban as it's possible to be. Not quite midtown, but definitely urban, notwithstanding the historical position of this neighborhood on the suburban fringe 80 odd years ago.

With the benefit of foresight, and you know where things are heading in this economy because of the oil addiction, the suburb is an infrastructurally unsustainable artifact that gots to go ASAP...,

Urban consolidation around rail, light rail, and mass transit hubs is the shape of things to come. Given the demographics of our community, this seems to me a fertile opportunity to look at engineering effective accomodations for single and working mothers that centralize education and activities and allow for vastly enlarged communal interoperation. The neighborhood school with attached greathouse wouldn't be an imaginal stretch for me. For working mothers with preschoolers for sure. Since our son began kindergarten in a neighborhood school within walking distance of our home last year, we've found that to be the great communal catalyst without equal.

Forget about supermoms, no "super" necessary when the entire pedagogical and social community is contained within the neighborhood itself. Socialization, shared resource, responsibility, and networking catalyst all-in-one.

I digress and thread jump, however. Back on the denial of social justice for gays theme for a moment, the marriage of homosexuals has no bearing whatsoever on my life or the lives of my children. I cannot even conceive of how it is relevant in any possible way to the lives of those most up in arms about it. Must every white-identity spawned urge to hate, scapegoat, or demonize others be accepted?

Personally, we celebrate every time a gay couple moves into the neighborhood because here to date, every time it's happened, it's increased our property values as the gay couples have all been gracious, nice, and serious as a heartattack about aesthetically upgrading their property.

As you say, the wealth of the nation is the artificial inducement to what passes for *character* here in the U.S. Since that wealth is long overdue for a serious reality correction - I guess we can expect American character to further erode to the naked barbarity of its recent past.

The authoritarian, hateful and rigid fools who expect others to kowtow and assimilate to their standards are in for a VERY rude awakening soon. Moreover, it's thermodynamically inevitable.

how is it that people from South LA come out of their homes to fight against the very police that are working to protect them?

Uh, history and the abhorrent institutional culture of police departments implementing disparate and racist law enforcement over the past 60 years with special emphasis and intensity the past 20 years may have a great deal to do with it. I personally have been on the wrong end of police racial profiling at least 16 times, and I must say I have no love whatsoever for the police who have for all intents and purposes comprised a much larger risk factor for me than any criminal element.

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 1, 2005 02:04 PM

statistically, the po-po may not be the larger risk factor, but i certainly would concur that it seems that way for me. i have never walked through a particular hood and felt threatened...not in detroit, chicago, dc, miami or new york...i don't act like a tough guy and i don't rock the designer gear du jour...i'm not in the game...and that's obvious to someone who is in the game...i have had a number of run-ins with the boys in blue - in nyc, in dc, in maryland, in michigan, in chicago, in indiana - usually related to restricting mobility (dwb)...i have even stopped twice while riding in taxi cabs - once while returning to college (with my suitcases) and another time while visiting friends in a notorious trafficking neighborhood. i say all this to relay that the perception and the reality may often diverge - and that statistics may only capture a part of the picture...for example, i certainly believe that black men with a similar socio-political orientation and educational background have more to worry about vis-avis police than from other black men...this may not be verified by the data, but it is a strong perception that is reinforced by my historical experience...and just as cobb does not 2nd guess black folk, i made a decision to do whatever possible to defuse when it was a case of "brothers of the same mind, unblind; caught in the middle and, not surrenderin'"

with respect to the topic, i think there is much more to be said about "the politicization of the personal." but, one question is when does that type of politics become a "politicization of the collective." it seems to me that the implicit notion here is that homosexuality is a matter of personal preference - versus biological edict or some combination of both across the population. is there the intended meaning here? if the assumption is that this issue is one of choice, then i am inclined to argue that people tend to conflate "shared individual preferences" with "collective dynamics" and, given this, any law that impacts the boundaries of "legal individual preferences" will necessarily become politicized - especially in a democracy. in a fundamental way, it's simple...homosexuality is not illegal; marriage is not illegal. why, then, is the marriage of homosexuals illegal? to the extent that it is illegal based on political beliefs, arguments, etc. (even if derived from a 'religious' framework), the issue is necessarily political.

ultimately, it seems that is not the gay community that has "politicized the personal," but rather those who would criminalize and delimit the choices of a segment of the population to engage in two distinctly legal activities. the question of whether the "STATE" chooses to RECOGNIZE the SECULAR UNION of two individuals (who pay tribute, taxes, and offer allegiance in return for protection - under the law)is inherently political.

Posted by: Temple3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2005 06:03 AM

I agree 100% that the state has a vested interest in recognizing the secular union of domestic partners. It should. The entire gap between that and declaring such an arrangement 'Marriage' where I draw the line. It is only from a liberal perspective that this distinction is a moral error in light of their flattening view of equality. I think it does great damage to society to conflate the two. How can I make it clearer? up with civil unions, down with gay marriage.

Whether or not homosexuality is a choice, the position I outline remains the same. The rights of homosexuals' sexual freedom has been affirmed in the Texas sodomy case, and I concurred. No one should be denied their reasonable pursuit of sexual happiness - that is a fundamental right, much in the same way people should not be denied food.

There is no question that the people have the prerrogative to determine, politically, the character of the nation. But I think that in the context of humanity, our position is moderate. Over the course of history very few cultures have developed similar rituals for blessing straight and gay couplings. It has been and always will be the case that homesexuality is the great exception. I'd wager that prostitution is more common. Sex is legal, selling is legal, but selling sex is not legal. Sure this is frustrating to those who want to buy and sell sex, but it happens anyway. The state deals with the consquence but needn't, and shouldn't recognize the activity on par with marriage. I think the analogy holds.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2005 06:30 AM

It's good that you raised the question of prostitution because it is clear that while it is illegal (in many places), the selling and commodification of sex in the US is hardly illegal. In point of fact, prostitution is quite legal in Nevada. And, Van Nuys' leading industry is predicated on a principle only vaguely different from prostitution. In other words, corporations and individuals are able to package and sell sex in myriad ways that are not covered by the law. Moreover, prostitution has not been universally prohibited.http://www.zetetics.com/mac/articles/prostsol.html

There was some old cat featured on HBO not too long ago as "the oldest man in porn"...now, while he may be in this for the dough, it could certainly be argued that this elder mac (former military man) is in it for the a$$...it goes down like this...his corporation pays 'actresses' to act in scenes in which he is the sole male actor. he films, packages and distributes his acts for a profit - which is not shared or distributed to these actresses who perform for a fee. Technically, this may be legal, but the essence of the practice comes down to pimping - with a camera, a website, and a nice revenue stream fed by devoting, loyal fans in a similar demographic - white, fat, 50+, balding and horny.

So, while sex is legal and selling is legal, it cannot be strictly said that selling sex is illegal. selling sex directly from producer to consumer is illegal - unless the producer can be said to be engaged, principally, in some other type of activity - namely "acting." and, selling sex is not universally illegal - even in the US.

as for the crux of your argument - which i believe to be the politicization of the personal to the extent that personal practices are deemed political, then illegal, to the detriment of some broader collective...i would helpful if you could frame what benefits of civil unions should not correspond to the benefits of marriage and whether or not those benefits should be recognized by the federal government...in other words, is it principally the name to which you object or is it the accord of all benefits, etc.

because if it's about the benefits, then we are likely on the verge of a convo about procreation, infertility and shaking your baby maker.

Posted by: Temple3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2005 07:00 AM

It is a dishonest to say that civil unions are ok, but you just support a constitution amendment banning gay marriage (and the ones presented also ban civil unions) because the liberals force you to.
First, the vast majority of America does not have civil unions. If you favor that, you are really on the liberal side and just contriving an excuse to get back to the conservative side.
Second, specifically where is the harm of gay marriage that you support a constitutional ban of it? The harm of gay marriage is that if it happens the liberals win. But other than that, where is the harm? A constitutional amendment for the sole purpose of proclaiming that the liberals don't win?

Posted by: Parker Stevens at August 2, 2005 10:55 AM

I do not support a constitutional amendment on marriage but I understand why conservatives do. I think it is an abuse of the constitution to do that, primarily because it is overreach.

Now here's where we get into tricky territory.

I strongly believe in marriage as ordained by the church and I think that most churches have it right. However, I have been very surprised to see the extent to which many churches bless marriages where people make up their own vows. I am of the opinion that the very idea that you can is part of the reason for the horrendous divorce rate. However I think that feminism has contributed as well.

I do believe that the state has a compelling interest in the stability of family but that this is entirely separate from the sanctity of marriage. In other words I don't care if the state recognizes domestic partners, but a state definition of marriage does not make it Holy Matriomony. From my perspective, everything all couples attempt in their relationships go up a sliding scale to Holy Matrimony, which means the traditional vows until death do you part.

Then there's the other way. Does the state recognize Mormon polygamy as marriage? What does it mean to get married at the age of 14, as might be legal in Alabama? Does an Alabama marriage mean something in California?

It's already a hodgepodge, and I if marriage can be watered down to gay relationships, it becomes practically meaningless. This is the reason that many churches are celebrating 'sacred' marriages. In reverence to the traditional and serious practice.

I'm at the point where I'm ready to bolt my church if they bless gay unions as marriage. I don't want political definitions of marriage influencing the Episcopal Church, in particular, to altering the Sacrament.

So my bottom line on marriage is that it is recognized and blessed in its traditional form by a sacred institution and that tradition is not jeopardized by the state. I cannot say with any confidence that a Constitutional amendment would leave that bright line between Church and State.

The harm of gay marriage is not what gays do but what the law recognizes and the consequences of that on the sanctity of marriage. As a conservative, it is abhorrent to me that this battle is being waged at such a high level, given that nobody gay would be doing anything different tomorrow if the law changed.

Again, this is about forcing a false equality. That's unacceptable.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2005 07:59 PM

The political element of the discussion is cool, but the essence of this discussion is economic...if there was no differential in benefits, the state would not be at the center of this "debate." The Big Three religious groups have staked out their positions clearly and don't dole out enough goodies for this to truly be of consequence. So, the state is in the spotlight because of the $$ involved. Hence my question, is your opposition based on the philosophical elements of the issue or the economic or both...and does either issue precede the other?

Posted by: Temple3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2005 05:25 AM

It's already a hodgepodge, and I if marriage can be watered down to gay relationships, it becomes practically meaningless. This is the reason that many churches are celebrating 'sacred' marriages. In reverence to the traditional and serious practice.

I'm at the point where I'm ready to bolt my church if they bless gay unions as marriage. I don't want political definitions of marriage influencing the Episcopal Church, in particular, to altering the Sacrament.

With all due respect, given the remoteness of the possibility that your priest or his/her higher-ups in that diocese know, understand, or could explain the why or wherefore
of the fifth-way {romantic love} as sacrament.., I suspect that the generalized conservative objection to gay marriage boils down to nothing more profound than having somebody to look down on.

Again, this is about forcing a false equality. That's unacceptable.

Absent real understanding of the nature of the sacrament and what it entails, the ceremony is fundamentally hollow. THAT - loss of esoteric integrity - has vastly more to do with the failure rates of marriages in this country than any other factor. Your episcopal church is no different than any of the many other churches which long ago ceased to preserve an authentic culture of religious competency. Gay marriage is the practical and spiritual equivalent of heterosexual marriage where the underlying esoterism is absent in any event.

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2005 07:58 AM

The political element of the discussion is cool, but the essence of this discussion is economic...if there was no differential in benefits, the state would not be at the center of this "debate." The Big Three religious groups have staked out their positions clearly and don't dole out enough goodies for this to truly be of consequence. So, the state is in the spotlight because of the $$ involved. Hence my question, is your opposition based on the philosophical elements of the issue or the economic or both...and does either issue precede the other?

economics, like war, is politics by other means..,

Posted by: cnulan [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2005 09:50 AM

i recognize that, but in this particular case, i am curious to get at the essence of cobb's argument...http://economics.about.com/cs/moffattentries/a/gay_marriage.htm

it is precisely because this aspect of the politics is seldom discussed that my attention was drawn to the issue.

i believe homosexuality to be fundamental to western culture...it is as traditional as graeco-roman wrestling, gymnasium and tutoring...it universality, rootedness in biology vs. environment or combinations is not something i can speak to from an informed perspective...but i know that if it was good enough for alexander, and j. edgar hoover, it's good enough for a whole lot more folks than are fessin' up.

so, to the extent that the political has been explored, my interest is in hearing a little bit on the economic side of the issue.

Posted by: Temple3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2005 11:01 AM

I read some time ago that an obscenely disproportionate number of teen suicides are related to children thinking a) that they are gay and b) that being gay is a problem of life-taking proportions.

It's from memory. I do not have the statistic any more and do not intend right now to invest the time on google to look it up because the exact number is not the point.

The point is that the stigma against gays is real in a way that "watering down the sanctity of marriage" is not real.

The sanctity of marriage is something that exists in your mind. If you think marriage is sacred, more power to you. If seeing two gay people married would cause you to believe marriage is no longer sacred - that's your weird/queasy thinking. You certainly cannot produce a rational argument why someone else's marriage should determine how sacred marriage is to you.

If a church is considering accepting gay marriage and that would cause you to leave - get out! You don't belong there. Find a church that shares your own weird/queasy world view. That's between you, your old and your new church. I actually really could not care less.

But the state is a different matter.

First the amendment that you understand but don't support (what?) says: ... Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

"Legal incidents thereof" is where the amendment bans civil unions.

If you support civil unions, your choice is clear.

Second, the state will send a message. Either to you, that you have to come up with a different reason to stay married than to be better than gays, or to gay teenagers that being gay is really not acceptable.

If a church says being gay is not acceptable, that is a private matter. Churches can say what they want. The state on the other hand, should be clear that every citizen is at least to be treated equally before the law.

Posted by: ParkerStevens [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 7, 2005 03:03 PM

If gay curious kids are committing suicide, I take it as further proof that activists for the cause of gay marriage are wasting their time on frivolity. It doesn't make sense to me that the legacy of stonewall and everything that gay pride promises to be is ever going to be effective masquerading as a mainstream social convention. You have to have gay folks intervening and using their networks and support groups to make the difference necessary in the lives of gay youth at risk, but pretending that everything is all going to be the same just casts these kids aside. It's like saying, hey Gay is just like Straight we can all get married, if you can't handle it, you must be crazy.

If gays are well adjusted and interested in making their presence known to gay teens, then gay marriage is only symbolic. The lack of gay marraige is not a barrier, only the laziness of gay activists is. If gays are mostly healthy sexually and psychologically then it's not a big deal anyway, but I think it is a big deal and gays all know it.

Your comment is timely because I'm going to start talking about a straight path to marriage - what I'm for is more interesting. I'm not defensive at all, I just think that there's a lack of good communication about this subject matter.

If a church says that *being* gay is not acceptable, then the church has a problem. People *are* gay and that has no bearing on their souls. A church must recognize the truth and the nature of people. That is an entirely different matter from questions of gay ordination, celibacy of the priesthood or gay marriage. The church must serve the spiritual needs of the laity.

Gays are treated equally before the law and any civil union that levels the playing field without conflating gay partnerships with marriage is acceptable to me.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 7, 2005 04:41 PM

Churches can say being gay in and of itself is a sinful lifestyle. And many do. And that is harmful to children who are gay.

But the government should not endorse that sentiment.

You say gay partnerships are not the same as marriage, which is tautologically true and meaningless. But on the tightrope you are on, trying to oppose liberalism without appearing to agree with the common conservative position that homosexuality is a sin, it's all you want to say.

Step off of the tightrope and put into words the specific differences, relevant to government policy, that you believe exist between gay partnerships and hetero partnerships.

What is the specific difference that makes it important that no church, yours or anyone else's - and no state allows gay partnerships to become marriages?

Posted by: ParkerStevens [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 11, 2005 09:08 PM