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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Irony of Tolerance: Gay Marriage and Creationism

Last night on the the Factor, Bill O'Reilly had on Ellis Hennican and Monica Crowley on to discuss why gay marriage hasn't gained more mainstream exceptance. Hennican, who is supportive of gay marriage, mad the point that, like any other dramatic shift in societal norms, it will take a while for the public to accept gay marriage. He made the point that folks are resistent to change even if that change advances society. In other words, Hennican is more progressive and tolerant than neanderthals like myself who are against gay marriage.

The argument that gay marriage is about tolerance is not a new one. Those that support it many times fancy themselves as the sort of folks that show sympathy and empathy to folks and ideas that others not as tolerant find unacceptable. They see other's resistence due to bigotry, closed mindedness, and intolerance.

It is rather ironic that folks that support gay marriage see those that don't as bigoted, closed minded, and intolerant, because they are also the sort that believe in evolution. Of course, they don't merely believe in evolution. Often they see those that believe in creationism as kooky and unreasonable.

Now, what in the world is a question about evolution over creationism doing in a debate over who is best served to be President?

In fact, it is the point that Huckabee made in the debate. As Huckabee points out, he believes that God created the heavens and the Earth. He said that if you want to believe that we grew out of apes that is your right, but he believe human life, and all life in general, is a miracle borne out of God's work. I don't know which is right, but frankly, Huckabee's belief certainly sounds like the one I want to be correct.

It is in fact largely irrelevant except in the minds of those that believe in evolution. They see those that believe in creationism as kooks and zealots. Rather than respecting their religious based beliefs, they look down upon their beliefs as unintelligent. The only reason such a question is asked of Presidential candidates is because the questioner believes that those that proclaim allegiance to creationism will be seen as kooks and zealots. That's because that's the way the questioners see them.

This flared up again because Bobby Jindal announced that he supports the teaching of intelligent design.

This caused great consternation in certain circles. Plenty of so called tolerant folks were shocked that Jindal would dare suggest that it be taught that the Earth may in fact have been created by a force greater than man. Here is how John Derbyshire put it.

And Then Her Head Swiveled Right Round! [John Derbyshire]

As a Republican living in a liberal neighborhood, I spend a lot of time defending the GOP against sneers about us being (as one of my friends puts it) "the snake-handling party." Bobby Jindal sure isn't making it any easier.

What neighborhood does Derbyshire live in? I don't know but I suspect it is the sort of neighborhood that is very tolerant of gay marriage. It is the sort of neighborhood that sees resistence to gay marriage as some sort of bigoted intolerance. It appears folks like that have only so much tolerance. If we are talking about a secular progressive issue like gay marriage, then they expect and demand tolerance. If, on the other hand, it is a traditional issue like the belief in God, then there is no more room for tolerance. Like I said, there is a great deal of irony in someone proclaiming that they are more tolerant because they believe in gay marriage because that same person is likely to turn around and be very intolerant to your belief in God.


Mark In Irvine said...

"It is rather ironic that folks that support gay marriage see those that don't as bigoted, closed minded, and intolerant, because they are also the sort that believe in evolution."

I'm not sure I see a connection between these two ideas.

I support gay marriage because I don't think it is any of my business telling someone who s/he may/may not love and cherish. It's all about love, family, etc., and I don't see how in a Republic like ours, where religion is a private matter between me and my God (and my neighbor and Y*HW*H, and my OTHER neighbor and Allah + Mohhammed [PUBThem], etc - you get my point]) and NOT a matter of government, politics, law, etc., anybody has any right too deny American the full access to all the benefits that go with the burdens of citizenship. The homos pay taxes, obey the laws, etc., so why shouldn't they have access (as I do) to the same social security benefits, hospital visitation rights, inheritance, etc.

Somebody once said "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" and the legal status as "married" is a Caesar thing. I'm not telling any religion that it HAS to give, or deny, a religious rite to anyone, just that the STATE cannot do so on the basis of gender.

And I am not expecting that people will start wanting to marry watermelons or house-cats in California because of the recent Supreme Court decision, either.

That's my view; reasonable minds may differ, but I don;t think they should be permitted to use the law (which is for ALL of us) to discriminate.

cinnapatch said...

I am not gay myself but have no problem with gay people wanting to get married.

I do not believe in creationism myself but have no problem if prople want to believe in Allah's hand in designing the universe.

mike volpe said...

I am not sure your point Mark, since you said nothing about creationism. I am glad to read your diatrobe in favor of gay marriage, however in this piece I argued against it...

and that discussion is better there.

The connection is that most folks, like you, seem to see their support of gay marriage as an issue of tolerance, and many of the same folks get quite intolerant of anyone that dares to believe that God created the Earth.

Unknown said...

Hmmm, I am not sure this actually follows logically. Tolerance requires that we refrain from taking governmental action to segregate portions of the population from the rest of us, denying them similar rights and privileges. This makes sense when applied to gay marriage, for obvious reasons (see mark in irvine's post). Not, however, when applied to creationism or even intelligent design (which is clearly a documented facade for Christian creationism as detailed in the litigation around the Pennsylvania enactment of intelligent design). This is just the opposite. We all know evolution and religion have little to do with one another, as most religions accept the fact that evolution occurred (which is not debated among serious scientists) and even the theory of evolution (the particular mechanism by which it occurred). These religions include Roman Catholicism, Islam (at least for animals and plants and with humans undecided), mainline Protestant churches, Eastern Orthodoxy, most branches of Judaism, etc. Teaching creationism or ID forces students to learn about these thinly-veiled beliefs of extremist Christianity.

Now if you start outlawing creationists and Young Earthers, or if you treat them differently (I think the most apt comparison to the gay marriage issue would be to exclude them from attending school) then you'd be right on, and that would be just as wrong as the institutional marginalization that was inflicted upon homosexuals. If this is private action however (like your friend who lives with all the liberals) then he'll just have to take it up with them. We are all entitled to our private opinions on things, and if people want to privately think and discuss how disgusting and grotesque they find gay marriage to be, that is their right, as it is for people to mock the "snake handlers." Might make them jerks and bigots, but that isn't (and shouldn't be) agaisnt the law.

mike volpe said...

We aren't actually segregating anyone by continuing to define marriage as one man and one wan, but that is frankly a topic for another time.

What we have here is progressive spin to try and deflect from your obvious hypocrisy.

Let's keep this simple. Many folks that believe in gay marriage also see themselves as more tolerant than the rest of the neanderthals that haven't come around to the idea of gay marriage. Most of these same folks snicker and look down upon anyone that believes in creationism.

I have taken this out of public policy. This is simply a matter of belief systems. You believe that gays should be given "rights" (of course there is no right to marry but I digress) and that makes you more tolerant than me, as you believe I am just a bigot that hates gays.

On the other hand, if I believe God created the heavens and the Earth, then that is a belief you snicker at because only a kook would believe such a thing.

So, believing in gay marriage makes you tolerant, and yet you can't tolerate anyone that believes that God created the heavens and the Earth.

Mark In Irvine said...

Well, I am opposed to the teaching of creationism in public schools (the religious schools can have at it as far as I am concerned), as I think there is overwhelming scientific confirmation that "natural selection" actually works - see, e.g., biological, chemical, genetic research, astronomy, etc - all of which has discovered tons about how the physical universe works, etc.

Personally, however, I believe that God created this whole stinking mess we have down here [OK - he created "creation" and it is "man" who has turned it into a stinking mess ...] - I believe that God created it all. I can't "prove" it scientifically [I've wrestled plenty with Anselm's "Ontological Argument"], but I FEEL it and believe it.

My belief is not such, however, as to reject the scientific thinking that "evolution" is the way things work: my God is big enough to do things via natural selection, even if us piddly humans can't understand it all, and I regard science as the effort of mankind to figure out how things work.

Mark In Irvine said...

I'll read your post on gay marriage.

"You believe that gays should be given 'rights' (of course there is no right to marry but I digress) ..."

Actually, I think all people ALREADY HAVE THESE RIGHTS, and the government is trying to take them away from [i.e., continue to deny them to] gay people (like it denied them to black people during the days of miscegenation laws). Even the constitutions acknowledge that there are rights that exist outside the constitutional provisions.

It's your right to choose how you live your life [let's not get into restrictions or punishments after the fact for actions that harm other people; we can save that for another place and time], and your right and freedom to choose who you "share" your life with is one of those inalienable rights that you have from "God/creation/mother nature/the flying spaghetti monster" or however you want to describe the source of life.

And please refrain from giving me some reference to the Old/New Testament Bibles - they accepted slavery, stoning as punishment, etc. They were written in the days before people figured out that it was microbes that were responsible for medical problems resulting from eating pork that was insufficiently cooked, rather than "filthy flesh" or whatever they called it. Humanity has learned a lot about how the world works since then.

mike volpe said...

There is absolutely no right for all people to marry. That is pure nonsense. Marriage is not and never has been a right. For instance, you need to get a license to get married. Is driving a right as well?

Marriage was created to define the stable family unit, one mother, one father, and children. Period. There is no right to get married. Marriage is not about rights, but about defining the stable family unit.

If states want to legalize gay marriage that is theri right, though those legislators would be voted out.

Again though, this is a better debate in the other post.

Anonymous said...

Despite my opposition to many of your views, I am usually a big fan of what you write, Mike. However, I have to take objection to this article and your comments thereafter.

My biggest problem with your argument is your accusation that those accepting of gay marriage aren't accepting of traditional beliefs such as the belief in God. Au contraire, my friend. I am an atheist who endorses gay marriage, yet many of my best friends are very religious. I know two pastors very personally, one a relative and one a friend's father, and I consider myself a tolerant person. However, I oppose teaching intelligent design in public schools because it's putting religion in the classroom, something explicitly prohibited by the Constitution. If a parent decides to send his or her children to a private school, then they should be allowed to be taught whatever it is that the parents are paying for, but in a public school, the teaching of religion or religious ideals is unacceptable in a society which values the free practice of religion, as we do here.

The second objection I have I have with one of your comments. You deny that marriage is a right, yet again I will bring up the Constitution. The 9th Amendment clearly gives all rights not expressly given to the national government or denied to the states to the states and the people. Gay marriage, or marriage between any two people really, fits this category quite nicely. And while laws can prohibit this within the states, I feel odd reminding you, a proud Republican, of the importance of little government intervention. Marriage is a religious institution, not a governmental one, and it is only since government has begun expanding uncontrollably have they laid claim to the right to regulate marriages. If marriages remained as they originally were, free of government interference, then this wouldn't even be an issue. Any church or temple or synagogue that chose to allow gay marriage should have the right to do so, just as the people who wish to take part in them should have that right.

mike volpe said...

Let's take this one at a time. First, I never said that everyone that is for gay marriage is also against creationism. I certainly never said that everyone that is for gay marriage is necessarily intolerant of those that believe in God. I do believe, however, that there are lot of folks like that. They are certainly found in the media and in hollywood, and in a lot of university campuses.

As to the right to marry, again, I agree that states have the right to make gay marriage legal, but that is different than gay marriage being a right. There is no right in the Constitution for gays to marry. There is a right in the Constitution for for states to create whatever rights aren't enumerated in the Constitution.

That is NOT the same thing as gay marriage being a right. What proponents want to do is impose gay marriage upon a public that doesn't want it. States can create the right to gay marriage however they don't because the public overwhelmingly doesn't want that.

Your legal argument means that states have the option to make gay marriage legal in their states. That isn't the same thing as having it forced on a public.

Mark In Irvine said...

well, i think we choose to marry (couple/pair up), and the state grants a license, after we have chosen, in order to unambiguously bring to bear all the state entanglements - taxes, inheritance, family stability, etc. people existed before states existed, and so the licensing of pairing up had to come after the pairing up started. i can drive without a license, but i gain permission to use the roads without punishment by getting licensed, which involves certain other actions on my part (having insurance, passing the test, etc.).

your sole basis for denying marriage to same sex people is religion, the free exercise of which the US Constitution guarantees to you, but which the Constitution prohibits you (and the state) from imposing on anyone else. it's simple, actually.

mike volpe said...

Marriage isn't primarily religious but societal. Marriage was primarily used to define the proper family unit, one mother, one father, and children. That is its primary function. By legalizing gay marriage, you are saying that a family unit can consist of any combination of mother and father. that isn't the proper family unit.

furthermore, there is a slippery slope argument as well. If gay marriage is legal what about all other relationships. Will swingers be next? What about polygamists? When will you stand up for their rights? Why are you singling out gays among all non traditional relationships for marriage?

Mark In Irvine said...

The recent California Supreme Court decision held that the State's Constitution decrees that people are to receive equal treatment [I confess I haven't read all 125+ pages of it] and that it is unconstitutional to deny some people marriage when others are allowed to have it. Some commentators "out here in the internets" have commented that if the legislature prohibits "same sex" marriage in California, then opposite sex marriage has to be prohibited too. Nobody is forcing anything on the public, except maybe the right of civil servants etc to deny same sex people marriage licenses. People will always be free to dislike homos, but they cannot be permitted to use the instrumentalities of the states to deny homos anything that non-homos can get: homos pay taxes, so they should get everything that other tax-payers get. It is simple fairness.

Again, it is your religious beliefs that are the basis for denying homos the opportunity to marry and in this nation the state cannot a religious basis for denying its citizens the benefits of the laws.

Mark In Irvine said...

BTW, the missus and I have been "knocking it out" together for over 30 years here in California.

mike volpe said...

I don't much care what the Cali SC decision says because your court is far left. They created law where they should have interpreted. They created a right to marry where there is none, furthermore, they created that right only for homosexual couples. While they proclaimed that if heterosexuals have the right to marry so do homosexuals, they stopped there. They specifical stopped at homosexuals and didn't include the right to marry to swingers, polygamists, and transvestites. Apparently, in the view of the Cali SC, all rights aren't created equal.

I am not really all that religious. My opposition to gay marriage comes from a traditional and practical level. I don't think that redefining an institution that's primary function is the rearment of children for couples that can't have children, is not a good idea. Furthermore, once gays are allowed to marry the pandora's box opens and soon every relationship gets its shot.

Mark In Irvine said...

well i personally prefer the "one man-one woman" + "one father-one mother" approach to family life (that's the one we use at my house) but i recognize that the approach may not work for other people. i doubt that permitting gay marriage will lead to other stuff. there will always be pedophiles and swingers and people who want to get it on (gross) with animals and vegetables and minerals, but none of them are seeking the legal substantiality of the marriage certificate and the stability that comes with it. there are several countries around the world which have removed prohibitions on same-sex marriage and none of them is experiencing an increase in man-dog or man-canteloupe love as far as i know.

mike volpe said...

Of course, they are seeking it. Polygamists get married all the time. They do it in illegal ceremonies. That's what the cult did in Texas. If they could they would absolutely try and have their relationships recognized legally.

I don't frankly care what you recognize as far as alternative families. The bottom line is that the best family is one mother, one father, and children. That's why there is marriage to define the proper family unit. All other family units need to stay out of the framework of marriage or we will have a society in which anything and everything will be considered a family.

Mark In Irvine said...

Actually it was 5 Republican appointees who made up the majority of the court in the latest decision (not some liberal lefties wearing "Earth Shoes"®, going bra-less and wearing dreadlocks). And, as I said, they found that the California Constitution recognizes the right of the individual to decide things like marriage for him or her self. So no "new right" was created; instead, the Court recognized that people are free to choose whom they want to pair up with and the State Constitutional protections for individual freedom are such that the State cannot deny two individuals of the same gender the same recognition that two individuals of different genders receive from the state.

I am familiar with the "slippery slope" argument, but I don't think it is valid. It's a subtle appeal to fear, in my view, rather than to common sense, reason, equity, and fairness.


Mark In Irvine said...

BTW - thanks for your openness to differing points of view here. It's refreshingly different from what I've seen at some so-called "conservative" blogs.

Mark In Irvine said...

so you'd deny marriage to the two old ladies in San Francisco who were the first to be married? would you deny it to a couple where one or more of the two was infertile?

mike volpe said...

Of course, I love to argue. Having folks show up and agree with me is not much of an argument. I want those with differing opinions to state them because the joust of the argument is what is interesting to me. I always welcome anyone that disagrees with me because then you are in my element, an argument.

Mark In Irvine said...

actually, the polygamists have one certified marriage and the others are "common law", so as to avoid the "bigamy" prohibition. it also serves their purposes, because the unmarried ones more easily qualify for welfare, since the women have kids but no husbands. that's how the FLDS people pull it off - at OUR expense.

mike volpe said...

Let me take the last two at once. First, the only marriage that I recognize is one man and one woman. Period. Children are not mandatory though that is the primary function of marriage. I don't force anything on anyone. If one man and woman want to only get married but not have children, I say bless them. That said, the primary function of marriage is child rearing.

As to your second argument about polygamists you make my argument stronger. They go through hoops to keep their relationships legal. In fact, if given the chance, they would try their damndest to make it legal.

Mark In Irvine said...

as to point 2, maybe you have a point (though, really, I think FLDS polygamy is all about old geezers getting to boff lots of younger women more than it is about some religious light they are following).

society is an experiment. the M-F relationships generally works, and it should be "encouraged". it doesn't work for everybody and sometimes the M-F relationships works very badly, with lots of people getting hurt. there are M-M and F-F relationships that work for the parties and that don't work out badly (just as there are surely some that do work out badly). people (typically the ones who want M-M and F-F relationships) are asking for state recognition of the M-M and F-F relationships. the arguments against granting that recognition are largely based on tradition, religion, and while those bases are important, they are not the end of the analysis, and IMHP, they are insufficient reason to ban state recognition of M-M and F-F relationships, because such a ban would arbitrarily deny the people involved their constitutional right to "the pursuit of happiness".

Unknown said...

Doesn't my earlier reply post get up there?

Also, for the record, there 100% IS a right to marry. There is no real debate on this. It has been overwhelmingly decided by the Supreme Court. Please see Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374; Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1. This is different than the right to procreate, which is also a right: see Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316US 535. Again, the only relevant question is whether you have a right to marry anybody, or only someone of the opposite sex.

mike volpe said...

Let's take them both at one time.

Richard, all due respect, I have no idea what point you are making. Furthermore, there is no way I am going to research some obscure case. As such, if you think it proves your point, you are going to have to cite specifics within the case that back up the argument.

Given that only two states recognize gay marriage, and only within the last two years, the burden is on you to point out how it is that all these obscure cases grant a RIGHT TO MARRY.

Mark In Irvine said...

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 was the decision that said that state miscegenation laws are unconstitional

I think Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 US 535 concerned the right of people with certain disabilities to reproduce

i don;t recognize Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 off the top of my head - i'll look for it and be back in touch

Mark In Irvine said...

according to Wiki:

Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978), was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that Wisconsin Statutes §§ 245.10 (1), (4), (5) (1973) violated the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause. § 245.10 required noncustodial parents who were Wisconsin residents attempting to marry inside or outside of Wisconsin to seek a court order prior to receiving a marriage license. In order to receive such a court order, the noncustodial parent could not be in arrears on his or her child support, and the court had to believe that the child(ren) would not become dependent on the State.

that's about as much checking as i can do in 30 seconds or less

mike volpe said...

Hold on a second. First, you cite those cases as definitively proving that there is a right to marriage, then you use wiki to cite them, and you don't even cite them with any specifics.

None of what you said shows that there is a right to marry.

Mark In Irvine said...

I read a little further into Wiki's blurb on Zablocki v. Redhail (but not into the case itself) and find that it (apparently) concerned the constitutionality if a Wisconsin law that prohibited a person, who was in arrears on child support obligations, from marrying. Rehnquist in dissent (apparently) said that THERE IS NO RIGHT TO MARRY.

Mark In Irvine said...

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1 (1967):

"The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."

"Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival."

Id. at 388 U. S. 12

mike volpe said...

Whoa, Richard gave me a definitive that there is a right to marry, and cited cases, and so far, this case has to do with custody rights. So, I am not seeing the connection.

Mark In Irvine said...

"this case has to do with custody rights"

Actually no - the case concerned the circumstances in which a state can deny a person access to marriage. In Zablocki v. Redhail it was a Wisc. law that said a guy had to be paid up on his child support obligations and get a court order before he could marry in Wisc. if he remained in Wisc. He had admitted previously paternity, while in high school.

Mark In Irvine said...

In the Zablocki v. Redhail case the Majority held that there is a fundamental right to marry - one of my last posts quoted a couple of sentences on this point.

JustDivine said...

As far as belief in creationism goes, I don't think that those who believe in Intelligent Design are crazy or kooks. I know that there are a great many fair minded, balanced and logical people who support it. (Including yourself, it seems)

I simply don't understand how anyone (including yourself) so fair minded, balanced and logical can categorically refuse to accept evolution as fact given the overwhelming amount of insurmountable evidence pointing to it as the truth.

It just doesn't make sense to me how anyone can continue to use an ancient "holy" book that constantly contradicts itself as "proof" of anything, let alone in how the earth and life came to be.

Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, but opinion must always yield to evidence. Faith should yield to fact.

There is NO evidence for god.

There IS evidence for evolution.

mike volpe said...

Maybe, however in all those cases they were talking about heterosexual marriages. Furthermore, if those court decisions claim a fundamental right to marry then that is yet another example of why courts shouldn't make laws. If any SC case actually says there is a fundamental right to marry, they are creating rights where none exist in the Constitution.

SC decisions will only sway me so far since they also created a right to abort where there was none either. I trust in the Constitution and there is no right to marry in the Constitution.

mike volpe said...

Who said I rejected anything? In fact, if you watch the Huckabee clip, you will see the two aren't necessarily exclusive. My point is that many of the same people that see gay marriage as a tolerance issue are rather intolerant of creationism theory.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I think that some people, including myself, take issue with your cavalier use of the word "theory" with regards to creationism. Simply put, creationism is not and cannot be a scientific theory, as it has no hypothesis.

"A scientific hypothesis must be _testable_ and _falsifiable_. That is to say, a hypothesis must make predictions that can be compared to the real world and determined to be either true or false, and there must be some imaginable evidence that could disprove it. If an idea makes no predictions, makes predictions that cannot be unambiguously interpreted as either success or failure, or makes predictions that cannot be checked out even in principle, then it is not science."
-Ebom Musings

If I may be so bold as to make a sweeping generalization, most people who support gay marriage don't have a problem with others holding the belief that a deity created existence, but it does not belong in a secular science classroom, primarily for the reason above: it's not science!

mike volpe said...

I don't think that I ever used the term scientific, however creationism can absolutely be supported by science, that's what intelligent design does.

My problem is simply this. A lot of the same people that claim they are being tolerant by respecting gays "right" to marry also show no tolerance for anyone that believes that the heavens and the Earth were created by God. All I am saying is that if you feel that tolerance is the order of the day in gay marriage, then you should be able to tolerate someone believing in God.

Anonymous said...

The issue of "tolerance" aside, as it is irrelevant:

I support gay marriage because I think the government shouldn't be in the business of denying consenting adults a marriage license. Marriage is good for the economy and for societal stability whether its hetero or homosexual.

I don't support the teaching of creationism or intelligent design in school because it is a question of Faith and Faith is under the sphere of the Church and the Church and State (for both their sakes) should remain separate.

I think people should believe what they want to believe but only learn what is rooted in science (which has nothing to do with Faith; evolution is scientifically very sound)

It would behoove the religious to incorporate evolution into their theory of creation, then teach their kids that and let them learn the mechanics of evolution (which is all it is, really) at school.

Separation of Church and State is the issue here, not tolerance.

Anonymous said...

"There is absolutely no right for all people to marry. That is pure nonsense. Marriage is not and never has been a right. For instance, you need to get a license to get married. Is driving a right as well?"

This statement actually does have some validity to it. Driving is not a right, you have to pass the criteria to become a licensed driver. Same with marriage, you have to pass the criteria for entering into marriage. What's at issue is that some would like to place limits on that criteria regarding the gender of the two people. Not that long ago, one of the criteria for being a registered voter was that you had to be a "free white man". You might say "that's different, women and blacks did not choose to be women or blacks..." Let me assure you, forming a loving, committed connection with another human being is not a choice either.

This is not about the act of sex. This is about who you love, who you want to spend your life with. Yes, that does involve romantic attraction , but it's not what this is about. Excluding couples from federal and state benefits because they happen to be the same gender is discrimination. Whether it's based on religious belief or personal bias, it's discrimination. Religion has been used over the years to justify the unjustifiable, including slave ownership and even genocide. No one is suggesting that someone should force churches to perform weddings between two men or two women...we just want to be able to protect our loved ones in case we not have to file mountains of expensive legal papers just to express our wishes, only to have them easily challenged by less than supportive relatives. My partner will have to pay an inheritance tax on this house and anything I leave her, and will most likely have to sell the home we built just to pay them. A married couple faces no such hardship because of the tax rights bestowed by their marriage.

Marriage is a privilege, and I deserve to marry the person I love. Everyone deserves that.

mike volpe said...

Tolerance is NOT irrelevant because it is the point of my piece. The point of my piece is the naked hypocrisy that some treat these issues simultaneously. That said, let me address your points because they are good ones.

If you think that marriage is always good, homosexual and heterosexual, then how about swinger marriage, and polygamist marriage, and also marriage for transvestites. If marriage strengthens society no matter the combination then are you also in favor of all these other marriages?

I am of the opinion that marriage strengthens society precisely because it combines one man, one woman and children which is the stable family unit.

As for teaching creationism, it isn't necessarily religious as all religions believe it. There is no such a thing as a separation of church and state. What it is is the Congress not advocating one religion over another. Teaching creationism doesn't do that because you aren't advocating religion. By your standards, we couldn't have Christmas lights up either. I am of the opinion that in school students, when in doubt, you reach for more exposure not less.

Frankly, teaching creationism is only part of my problem. The main part of my problem is those that duplicitously call for more tolerance towards gays vis a vis gay marriage and treat those that believe in God as kooks.

mike volpe said...

Let me take the last anonymous post as that was written before I published mine but approved after.

Let's start with a fact we can all agree on, marriage is a long standing institution with deep and rich history. Throughout its history it has always been one man and one woman. Now, those that want to change it around call it a right and yet disregard the tradition it was created under, one man and one woman. Thus, while you call it a right, you also disregard that this so called right has always been defined narrowly, one man and one woman. Furthermore, gay marriage proponents disregard or dismiss that this structure may have had a purpose that has validity. It does and that is to define the proper family unit. Marriage is not about professing your love. It is about raising children. Gay couples can't raise children, at least not their own, because that relationship can't have children. Yet, proponents dismiss this as irrelevant, even as they demand a right of an institution that hadn't included them since its inception.

Second, gay couples can have the same rights as married ones through civil unions, and in fact, civil unions should give any partnership the same rights. On the other hand, marriage should be protected and exclusive to a one woman and one man relationship because that is the relationship most conducive to rearing children.

Anonymous said...

Everyone thinks they know what "god" wants. A different book, a different god with different desires. The truth is, we read what we want to read. We can make any holy book say whatever we want it to say.
Thus, we must not control the lives of others and deny civil rights based on our own interpretations of centuries old books. The fact is simple and consitutional that all people are created equal and should be treated as such in the eyes of the law. Remember how the slave owners used the bible "slaves obey your masters" making the very same type of argument for slavery as this opionion piece makes against gay marriage.
It's ok to believe being gay is a sin. It's not ok to deny equal rights based upon what another sees as mythology.
One of our forefathers made a comment to the effect of one persons rights extend until he touches his neighbors nose. As a gay male, I would tell people to believe what they want, but to keep their fingers off my nose.
If one TRULY wants to "protect the institution of marriage" as the rhetoric goes, he would advocate adding state amendments to ban and criminalize adultery and divorce. think about it. for many it's a form of disguised bigotry.
if they're right, then i'm going to hell. shouldn't that be punishment enough in your eyes?
Luckily I don't subscribe to those sorts of beliefs. Good day all.

Anonymous said...

Mark in Irvine's post concerning Loving v. Virginia states "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival." - Why is it "fundamental to our ... survival" except that it (as Mike Volpe has pointed out) has the primary function of child-rearing.
Any person in the US (other than those who are legally incompetent) has the right to marry - there is no denial of access issue - they just must abide within the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman: this is why the CA court's decision is so idiotic - the people of CA overwhelmingly passed a law specifically defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Marriage within that definition is not denied to any competent adult, therefore it is not inequal treatment to deny same-sex marriage.

As to Intelligent Design - ID does not deny practical evolution - it merely suggests that observed evolution is, in fact, guided rather than explicitly and totally random. This seems to me to be in keeping with Einstein, who said "We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God."

mike volpe said...

It is a stretch to call marriage a civil right. It is even more of a stretch to call gay marriage a civil right. Furthermore, if it is a civil right, then, I assume that you are for the civil right of polygamists to get married, swingers, and transvestites. Because if this is an issue of civil rights, it must be a civil right for all relationships.

In my opinion, all people are created equally however not all relationships are equal. One man and one woman is the best structure for a stable family unit. Marriage's primary role is to define the best family unit. As such, the only relationship that should be defined by marriage is one man and one woman.

Mark In Irvine said...

"... the people of CA overwhelmingly passed a law specifically defining marriage as between one man and one woman"

... and the California Supreme Court decided that it violated the California Constitution. I don't believe that the US Supreme Court cannot revisit the California court's decision, because it is the California Supreme Court's prerogative to say what the law of California is.

mike volpe said...

Absolutely not, Mark, the California SC, as any court, has the role to interpret law not to make it. What the Cali SC did is overrule the will of the people and four unelected judges created law that overruled the overwhelming will of the people.

Mark In Irvine said...

I meant to say: "... and the California Supreme Court decided that it violated the California Constitution. I don't believe that the US Supreme Court CAN [not "cannot"] revisit the California court's decision, because it is the California Supreme Court's prerogative to say what the law of California is."

As to "What the Cali SC did is overrule the will of the people and four unelected judges created law that overruled the overwhelming will of the people":

Actually it was 5 Supreme Court Justices (all Republican, by the way) and they reviewed a California initiative provision in light of what the California Constitution says.

Surely you don't contend that the California Supreme Court would be powerless to act to invalidate a statute (or initiative measure) reinstating slavery simply because it was "the overwhelming will of the people", do you?

In the decision of the Calif. Supreme Court on same-sex marriage, the Court interpreted the California Constitution. Under the US Constitution, the US Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to overrule the California Supreme Court decision interpreting the California Constitution.

mike volpe said...

They may not be powerless however in this case, it is the opinion of myself and many like me, that all the did was make law.

What they did was create a right to gay marriage out of whole cloth. Furthermore, it is not their prerogative to do anything. It is rather their duty to interpret the Constitution. They are NOT elected and they serve as long as they want. Once they start doing thing based on their "prerorgative" rather than what they were selected to do, then they usurp power not granted to them.

Unknown said...

I uploaded a post debunking the claims that mike made supposedly restricting this to a non-public policy argument yesterday, but it mysteriously disappeared... :)

My later post about marriage being a right was basically just to refute your repeated suggestions that it is not. It is. The debate is not whether someone has the constitutional right to marry, because everybody does. If the issue is now WHO that right can be exercised to marry, that is a different story. But in the other thread, and this one, you repeatedly suggest that there is no right. I was merely pointing out that is not true. And I think people have fleshed out the cases enough, I can do so more if somebody would like that to be the case.

JustDivine said...

I wasn't planning on posting again, but your last comment begs response.

"Throughout its history it has always been one man and one woman. Now, those that want to change it around call it a right and yet disregard the tradition it was created under, one man and one woman. Thus, while you call it a right, you also disregard that this so called right has always been defined narrowly, one man and one woman."

I can't speak on the history of marriage, so I won't try. All I can say is tradition is not a good reason to continue to deny anyone rights. The same argument could be made of many things, including women voting rights, or of slavery.

"Marriage is not about professing your love."

Since when? By this logic, a lot of straight couples have got the purpose of marriage wrong too.

"Gay couples can't raise children, at least not their own, because that relationship can't have children."

Gay couples can raise children, and have done so for thousands of years. Such relationships often provide stable, loving homes for children who would otherwise have none. Whether those children were born biologically to the couple or not is irrelevant.

"Yet, proponents dismiss this as irrelevant, (as I just did) even as they demand a right of an institution that hadn't included them since its inception."

Again, you make the case of tradition being worthy reason to continue to exclude people from rights bestowed upon other members of their country. Again, we can find many traditions which we no longer adhere to because of discrimination.

"Second, gay couples can have the same rights as married ones through civil unions, and in fact, civil unions should give any partnership the same rights."

It just isn't the same. In the very recent past, I would legally have not been able to marry my boyfriend because he is white, and I'm black. But we should settle for a civil union because we get the same rights? This just comes down to fairness. Why should we be denied marriage when same race couples are not? Why should two women who love each other, and can raise children be denied the satisfaction of being legally married?

This entire debate on just comes down to bigotry motivated by religion. And as we've made great strides in moving beyond similar bigotry in the case of women's rights, civil rights, and others. I know our country will move beyond this.

mike volpe said...

First of all, stop now, you know you enjoy the debate so please stop pretending that you don't want to post anymore. You are going to help get the comments to triple digits and more.

Now, to the substance of your point. Tradition is very important here since you want gays in on this tradition. You seem to be saying that the traditional form of marriage is wrong, but at the same time, gays should have every "right" to it. No, that is wrong. If marriage was done wrongly from the beginning, then gays shouldn't want any part of it. What they want to do is re define an institution that has been narrowly defined for a specific purpose for several millenia. That's what's wrong.

Furthermore, it isn't merely tradition that made marriage one man and woman. This was done for a specific and intended purpose. Marriage defined the proper family unit, one mother, one father, and children. By opening gays up to marriage, it also opens the family unit to being defined any which way. That is what you consistently overlook and dismiss as though it is irrelevant. It isn't irrelevant, it is central to the institution that you want gays to have access to. What you want is for the purpose of marriage to be changed. That is an idea rather full of hubris.

Marriage is primarily about families not merely couples. Gays aren't families but couples. That's why the definition shouldn't be changed. It's because you would be redefining the proper and best family unit, one mother, one father and children.

mike volpe said...

To Richard's point, just because you say that marriage is a right doesn't actually make it so. Saying it over and over doesn't make it anymore so. Our rights are clearly spelled out in the Constitution and there is no right to marry, just like there is no right to free health care, or a clean environment, or a good job, a home, clothes, or any number of things liberals want to make into rights. It isn't there and nothing you say will make it suddenly appear in the Constitution.

The SC may in fact have made a couple of kooky rulings in which they created rights that weren't necessarily actually there, but that doesn't mean they are anymore rights.

Mark In Irvine said...

Good morning thinkers.

Regarding my comment - "Under the US Constitution, the US Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to overrule the California Supreme Court decision interpreting the California Constitution." - I offer the following from a tratise on the interplay of State and Federal Constitutional law:

"The [US] Supreme Court does not review state court decisions resting on 'adequate and independent state grounds.' Efforts to obtain review of such decisions are dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. [...] Justice Jackson, in Herb v. Pitcairn, 324 U.S. 117 (1945), summarized the rule and its basis: 'This [US Supreme] Court from the time of its foundation has adhered to the principle that it will not review judgments of state courts that rest on adequate and independent state grounds. [T]he reason is so obvious that it has rarely been thought to warrant statement. It is found in the partitioning of power between the state and federal judicial systems and in the limits of our own jurisdiction. Our only power over state judgments is to correct them to the extent that they incorrectly adjudge federal rights'. [...] Even though the state court opinion may include an elaborate discussion of the meaning of the federal guarantee - an interpretation that may be wrong - the Supreme Court will not review if the state judges rest as well on their own constitutional provisions: a correction of the state court's interpretation would not change the outcome of the case. For example, the California Supreme Court has in recent years several times invalidated state laws in opinions which primarily discuss the Federal Constitution, yet are immune from review because of additional, brief statements that a similar state constitutional provision has been violated as well. [fn omitted] And the California Supreme Court's non-reviewable statements about federal law have repeatedly had considerable impact on other courts. See, e.g., Serrano v. Priest, 5 Cal.3d 584, 487 P.2d 1241 (1971) .... [...] But a statement from Justice Clark's dissent in Williams v. Georgia, 349 U.S. 375, 399 (1955), usefully summarizes the typical avenues of [US] Supreme Court inquiry: 'A purported state ground is not independent and adequate in two instances. First, where the circumstances give rise to an inference that the state court is guilty of an evasion - an interpretation of state law with the specific intent to deprive a litigant of a federal right. Second, where the state law, honestly applied though it may be, and even dictated by the precedents, throws such obstacles in the way of enforcement of federal rights that it must be struck down as unreasonably interfering with the vindication of such rights.'" from Individual Rights in Constitutional Law, Cases and Materials, Third Edition, by Gerald Gunther, pp. 64-68.

The recent California Supreme Court decision rests squarely on the CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION, and not on the U.S. Constitution, and is, IMHO, immune from US Supreme Court review and reversal because the California decision stands on the California Constitution and not on the Federal Constitution.

And I'm a lawyer, so you have to believe me. [just kidding about that "so you have to believe me" part]

Anonymous said...

Mark in Irvine, I agree that the US SC has no jurisdiction to overrule the CA SC - hopefully, no one posting here thinks that they could. The point that is relevant is whether a statement of the will of the people, expressed as a law, can limit a citizen's choices as to who (or what?) to marry. The people of CA, by nearly 2/3 majority, stated that the definition of marriage should be a legal binding between one man and one woman. The CA SC ruling states that that definition denies homosexuals the right to marry, but in fact it does not - it merely denies them the right to marry *whoever they want*. Any homosexual still has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, just as I do (or would, if I lived in CA). Even within that constraint, there are further constraints - I am not allowed to marry my mother or sister, or other close female relative. If the denial of the "right to marry" is defined as "the right to marry whomever I want", then *any* constraint on who can marry whom is, by the CA SC definition, unconstitutional. This is a can of worms that I don't want opened, and was only opened by the CA SC deciding to stretch a statement in the CA Constitution much farther than it was ever intended to go - although I don't have the relevant line in front of me, it basically states that the law shall apply to all people equally (the intent being to state that none are above the law). That is a long way from stating that the (undefined) "right to marry" is actually the "right to marry whoever you want to marry", and has stepped over the boundary of interpreting the law to rewriting it. Then, to add insult to injury, they defined it in such a way that other states are forced to recognize such marriages, even in states where there is a legal ban on homosexual marriages, supported by State Constitutional definitions of marriage as being between one man and one woman - opening yet another whole can of worms that will probably end up going to the US SC - in the meantime, any homosexual couple who marry in CA must avoid going to certain states because they are criminals in those states? The list of ramifications goes on and on...

mike volpe said...

That is where the Cali SC tipped its hand in making law rather than interpreting.

In fact, while they claimed that there is a right for gays to marry under the statute you cited that all individuals are equal under the law, the specifically limited marriage to gays and heterosexuals. As such, this ruling does NOT legalize swinger marriages, because according to the Cali SC, they aren't equal.

Anonymous said...

In response to Mike V ("Marriage is not about professing your love."), you state:
Since when? By this logic, a lot of straight couples have got the purpose of marriage wrong too.
In fact, marriage for love is a relatively new thing. In almost all early cultures, marriages were arranged, by the parents, and the ones being married just had to hope they could stand each other (in some instances, even learn to love each other). A great example in popular culture is the scene/song "Do You Love Me" in "Fiddler on the Roof". In some cultures, this is still practiced today. At the height of Greek culture, a marriage was as totally devoid of love as possible, and sex between the spouses was as minimal as possible! The male would actually take an underage male as his sexual object, because, to them, sex had been reduced to an issue purely of power and domination!
Marriage for love' sake only became anything other than a rarity in the last few hundred years, and that only in Western civilization.

Anonymous said...

Mike V:
You stated that "the specifically limited marriage to gays and heterosexuals. "

This plainly cannot be supported by the logic that led to their own decision - what makes a swinger marriage ( or marriage between a man and his sister, or a marriage between a woman and her cat, or a man and an underage girl ) inequal? As far as I can tell, no criteria for equal vs. inequal was stated - they just said this is equal and this is not. OOPS! That sounds like something Congress would do!!!

mike volpe said...

That's exactly the point, Grady.

Whenever judges make law rather than interpreting their decisions are totally void of logic. Of course, it makes no sense that judges can claim that gay marriage is protected by the constitution because of equal protection and then at the same time limit marriage as only gay and heterosexual.

Except that the judges sensed that their decision would open up a pandora's box and they didn't want it opened, and so they put the restriction in even though it betrayed the logic of their decision.

Mark In Irvine said...

I propose a new state law (heck - while we're at it, let's make it a Federal law):

"No marriage shall be valid in this state, or in any state of the Union, that has not first been approved by the California/United States Ministry of Marriage and Family Life. This provision applies to all persons without regard to age, gender, citizenship or place of residence, and applies without regard to the date or place of marriage."

Would you approve? I doubt that anyone here would approve. Why not? Because (I think) most people are of the opinion that her or his marriage (whom to marry) is her or his own personal business. Yet, most places do have some restrictions on marriage relating to age (below age "n" requires parental consent); degree of consanguinity of the parties; absence of disease; maybe a few others.

What restrictions are tolerable and why?

If anyone is interested in discussing this, I'll post it also at my own page [], so I don't (continue to) highjack The Provocateur's bandwidth.

Mark In Irvine said...

"Grady the Dragon's Right Wing said... The point that is relevant is whether a statement of the will of the people, expressed as a law, can limit a citizen's choices as to who (or what?) to marry. The people of CA, by nearly 2/3 majority, stated that the definition of marriage should be a legal binding between one man and one woman."

If the only requirement for a valid statute is the approval of a majority of citizens (let's leave aside whether it is 51% or 2/3), then what would prevent or invalidate a law approved by the majority, which would limit marriage to persons of the same genetic ethnicity, i.e. whites with whites, blacks with blacks, Filipinos with Filipinos, and so on? Or a law which would limit marriage to persons of the same religious background or belief, i.e. Lutherans with Lutherans, Jews with Jews, Catholics with Catholics, Scientologists with Scientologists (well, THAT one I could see - just kidding TomKat), and so on?

The US Supreme Court decision in "Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1" talks about certain limits on the ability of statutes to restrict marriage:

"Over the years, this Court has consistently repudiated '[d]istinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry' as being 'odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality.' Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81, 100 (1943). At the very least, the Equal Protection Clause demands that racial classifications, especially suspect in criminal statutes, be subjected to the 'most rigid scrutiny,' Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214, 216 (1944), and, if they are ever to be upheld, they must be shown to be necessary to the accomplishment of some permissible state objective, independent of the racial discrimination which it was the object of the Fourteenth Amendment to eliminate."


"These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

"Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

Although Loving v. Virginia was concerned with restrictions based on race, some of us think that restrictions based on gender will not survive the "most rigid scrutiny" to see whether the restriction is "necessary to the accomplishment of some permissible state objective". Lawrence v. Texas [] will certainly be called upon in any analysis of this issue.

mike volpe said...

Mark, I think what was saying was that the Cali SC was that not only were they making law rather than interpreting but that their making law overrode the will of the people.

Frankly, this debate is starting to lose its value. I think each side is starting to make the same point over and over.

I think we have each made our points. Neither side has really said anything new in a while.

Mark In Irvine said...

It's Miller Time.

Mark in Irvine