Prop 8 upheld

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Tue May 26, 2009 5:14 pm

As you may have heard, California's Prop 8 has been upheld, with only one dissenting voice.

Equal under law is now dead in California, and the tyranny of the majority has been ruled legal.

The same arguments that allowed people of different skin tones to marry are now void.

It is going to be interesting to see how the various shades of Supremacists can work to strip the rights of other, opposing minorities now.

Under this interpretation of the law, it is easy to bring back miscenigation laws, and it will be trivial to remove the right of women to vote. After all, these are minor rights, just like marriage, which -in the past- has had equal standing in terms of importance under California law (which is the basis of the complaint by that one dissenting judge), and being held the same as voting and marriage between races, means that a slight majority can easily and legally remove such freedoms.

Of course this is insane, and the judges that voted to uphold Prop 8 have blatantly misused their power to gain immediate political benefit among the rabidly religious. There is no logical basis for denying equality, for letting the people alter fundamental constitutional rights through a mere initiative. This is blatantly wrong. But, what is anyone to do? I mean, besides complain and mope and hold useless demonstrations?

It's not like anyone will revolt or anything. That would be wrong. Only criminals do that. Like the Founding Fathers. Criminal bastards. Terrorists.

Maybe they will have a pointless, useless riot to release all the pent up anger, and shame the gays into submission. Easy to arrange. A few agent provocateurs in the crowd at a rally, and bam, instant riot.

I met agent provocateurs, a few times, when when I was at San Fransisco State University. They are pretty sneaky, but... not very good at being sneaky. They never get the costume right, entirely, and they also often mess up the lingo, when they are trying to act like something that they are not.

Some are cops, some are from higher up. In the later case, I only found out much later that the man was most likely from the CIA. I could be wrong, he could have just been a cop. But even the cops doing this important job of creating violence in nonviolent situations ultimately are allowed this leeway from federal sources. Usually. Or... sometimes they retcon an action that way. As I understand the game.

Want to spot the provocateur?

Look for the guy -it's almost always a guy for some reason- who recently joined within the last three months or so. It's rarer to have an agent hang about for longer to get into position.

The guy will have risen to become a loud voice, fairly rapidly.

They will be pretty gung-ho about their fervor for the cause. More than most folks. They are often forceful, argumentative, and dominant. They have to be to get to a position where they can motivate people when it counts.

Tend to have a beard, or mustache, tend to be a bit on the shabby side, to not draw attention.

But look at their shoes: expensive shoes. They often screw up on the shoes. Some I've met actually wear their cop shoes. Duh. I mean...duh. Then again, people often don't notice such things.

They want to know too much, about everyone. They seem so nice. So interested. So friendly. When they aren't pushing to be in a position of control within the group, of course.

When anything useful starts to happen, such as opposing the reinstatement of the draft, or getting differing groups to work together for a common cause, they will be front and center, making impossible demands which they will not back down from. They will act as though they speak for their group, and when the whole thing falls apart into a squabble, they will smile. Watch them. They actually aren't smart enough (often) to hide their pleasure at causing failure. That's how I caught one I was studying once.

If you want to confront them, get them alone, and explain how you oppose everything that any narrow right-winger would oppose, how your dad was a police officer (like mine, for a while), and how you spotted them, applaud them, and want to offer to help. How you joined because initially you kind of agreed, but now you see the folly of your ways. How you support the government, and how you are a conservative at heart, just like your folks.

Do it right, and they will open up to you. They never want your help though; the advice is for you to just leave the group, and go be a good citizen.

Notice how riots never attack the actual people who are the problem? Riots always hurt poor people. They never attack the rich and powerful, and never, ever, the judges and the government officials?

Riots are often -not always, but often- constructed. They serve a purpose. They diffuse anger that might cause real change (and thus be a threat to the power structure), and afterwards instill deep guilt and shame that shuts people up for a long while. Riots are an effective tool to disempower upset minorities, and the cost is just a mere few hundred thousands of dollars in property damage, and a few poor or middle class people. Cheap at ten times the price.

I am waiting for the Prop 8 riot... unless people have started to catch on. Some groups have, actually; there are instructions out there for avoiding being led astray by agent provocateurs.

But I digress. Why? Because I am so angry at such blatant, legalized oppression, and I'd rather talk about crap like agent provocateurs than how angry I am. 'As goes California, so goes the nation' claim the Focus On The Family folks (and the Mormons, and others of such ilk). Fuck them.

Fuck you all, fundamentalists. Fuck you to hell.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Monocheres » Tue May 26, 2009 7:44 pm

Jennifer, don't sweat it. California already has domestic partnership laws that have nearly all the legal force and civil-rights guarantees of marriage anyway. What they don't include is the label "marriage". The label. A meaningless religious term coined in ancient times by superstitious patriarchal tribalists. If the people of California decided to withhold that label, big deal. Their supreme court, liberal as it might be, absolutely could not do anything about that, because the people did it by an amendment to their state constitution. If it were just a law the court might have entertained a constitutionality challenge. But they could hardly argue the constitutionality of the constitution itself!

And no, there is no possible way this can lead to reinstatement of miscegenation laws, or the rescinding of women's suffrage. Precisely because the majority would, in fact, find those regressions repugnant. Jim Crow is long dead and buried. Heck, the "tyrannous majority" you so fear included an overwhelming percentage of the blacks in California, and it was their support (for religious reasons) that put it over the top. But they would hardly vote away their own rights, would they? Nor, I think, would women, who all by themselves constitute a (slight) majority. Ain't gonna happen. Not in California, at any rate.

It's a setback for your cause. But it's not the end of the world. And it's certainly not a time for violent upheaval. (When would it be?) Advocate louder, longer, more persuasively, maybe the California people will change the constitution the other way (they can, if they decide to).

Or if you want, just come here to New England. It's almost all pro-gay-marriage now.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Tue May 26, 2009 8:01 pm

No. Those domestic partnership laws do not include all of the financial and legal benefits of marriage, only some of them.

Amending the state constitution with regard to basic human civil rights cannot occur through this means, yet they allowed it. Look it up. They allowed it on the grounds that 'marriage is not important' and does not affect civil life. Which is bullshit. No, it is horseshit.

More than this, the ultimate fight is for the federal government to recognize gay marriage, so that those missing benefits, especially tax benefits (taxation without representation - ring any bells?) can be given to couples. That can only happen if enough states, enough powerful states, force the issue.

Lastly, separate is NOT EQUAL. I don't care how you label things, the law recognizes 'marriage' in a special way, and ever single 'separate but <supposedly> equal' equivalent has never been actually equal under the law. That is why racial segregation was dealt with the way it was, and it all applies exactly the same here. An entire historical body of law, in both America, and in places like South Africa, is entirely concerned with the issue that separate is not equal. In this case, it is more than a label, marriage is a legal definition, because it is a legal, civil contract. Which is being denied to a minority, arbitrarily, and unfairly. Entire nations have been brought to their knees, or to civil war, for exactly this.

This should be obvious to anyone. Especially to you, Monocheres, because you are supposed to be bright. I am disappointed.

This is a very important loss, and a very important issue, because California is easily arguably the most influential state for a variety of reasons - those shrewd, calculating fundies are not completely stupid. This is a big deal, and it is wrong, and it matters.

I repeat: fuck the fundamentalists and fuck their retarded sky god too. They have made this war, and I no longer have tolerance for them, any of them. They have fucked my people. They have fucked the lives of people I care about, for no valid reason, just for hate, for bigotry, for sheer mean spite born of willful ignorance.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Wizard CaT » Tue May 26, 2009 8:30 pm

California is a pit of sewage.

In any case, there are plenty of us here in the Northeast that have legalized gay marriage. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine. And… Iowa. 10% of the states so far. NYS recognizes it, but doesn't perform it, and how long will they hold out? Even the District of Columbia has a measure to recognize, but not perform it. NJ and NH have full civil unions, though obviously NONE of them can be used for Federal benefit. Oh and Vermont and CT? We did it via legislation (though the court had to tell us [CT] that they were going to legalize it anyway first).

Yes the map http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sames ... in_USA.svg is a little bit uneven right now, but it's changing.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Monocheres » Wed May 27, 2009 12:21 am

This should be obvious to anyone. Especially to you, Monocheres, because you are supposed to be bright. I am disappointed.


Jennifer, I can comprehend the logic you are trying to use, and I think I can see the axioms you base your logic on. I can even, out of attempted kindness, try to apply your own logic to come up with what I hope are reassurances for you, doing my best to speak your own language. But you have to realize (as I'm sure you've picked up over the years, because you're a bright person too) that I am something of a sci-fi alien creature here. Indeed, I'm in an odd category in anyone's bestiary. I'm an atheist ... conservative. (Pardon my Cthulhu-like tentacles.)

I don't necessarily agree with the set of axioms you are operating under. At least, I haven't been convinced yet (if I can be convinced). (And of course, I am very unlikely ever to agree with the set of axioms the fundies operate under, although I can comprehend the logic of the conclusions theyn draw from them, too.) But if someone tells me that I must automatically agree with their assumptions about the world, my instinct is to perceive it as dogma. I chafe at dogma.

It seems to me that your key axiom is:

Axiom #1: Marriage is a fundamental civil right.


Is it? It's conceivable, I suppose. If it is, then of course your conclusions about equal treatment are logical. But I'm not automatically convinced that it is. (And apparently the California Supreme Court wasn't persuaded either.)

The trouble is, we first have to fill in the blank:

Axiom #2: "Marriage" is defined as _____________________.


I've been looking through the Wikipedia entry on "Marriage", and there's quite a variety of definitions for it across many cultures. Even just within Western culture, the definition has evolved many times over the centuries. This is what gives me pause about the whole subject, forcing me to question my own assumptions.

The definition of marriage I tend to gravitate towards is colored by my own nature: I am a breeder. I can't help that, it's fundamental to who I am. So my personal feeling is that a marriage definition should be centered not around the adults involved, but around the children produced. I feel marriage should be a contract that obligates a man and a woman to cooperate to create a family in which their children can grow up in the best environment possible. Without kids, the whole deal just feels like a pointless exercise in narcissism. To me.

Do I want to impose my definition on the rest of the world? Not particularly. Am I going to sit in judgment over other people's take on this subject? Nah. Do I want State recognition legitimizing my definition, with benefits and sanctions that support me in meeting my obligation to the next generation? Do I want tax breaks? Well, sure, they'd be nice, who doesn't? But I don't view those as fundamental civil rights.

All of this leads me to ask the question: What do you define marriage to be? And why is it so crucial to you that the rest of the world accept your definition?

Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:Those domestic partnership laws do not include all of the financial and legal benefits of marriage, only some of them.


Not being a California resident any more, I had to look it up, but apparently they do have quite a lot of them now. And the important point I take from that is, that those civil unions got to where they are incrementally, by passing one law after another. Which means that if they're still not a close enough approximation, passing more laws can move them asymptotically closer. The constitutional amendment and the court ruling don't affect that. So I think it's totally feasible to turn "marriage" into nothing more than a distinction without a difference (at least in California).

Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:More than this, the ultimate fight is for the federal government to recognize gay marriage, so that those missing benefits, especially tax benefits (taxation without representation - ring any bells?) can be given to couples.


Now wait a minute. Since when did it become a fundamental civil right to be taxed equally ? Are single people who choose never to marry (or worse, too socially handicapped to win in life's little romantic lottery) being unfairly discriminated against because they don't get the same benefits as married folks? Are rich people being unfairly discriminated against because they have to pay a higher bracket than poor people?

"Couples"? Are Muslims or Mormons unfairly discriminated against because they can't have polygamous marriages recognized by the State? Why can't the contract involve several parties? Why can't we get all those tax benefits in multiples?

What if we reformed the tax system, imposed a flat tax or a value added tax, so that everybody was taxed uniformly, regardless of marital status? That would be equal treatment, wouldn't it? But there would be no particular tax benefit to "marriage," only the mutual obligations, property rights, caretaker rights, etc.

I repeat: fuck the fundamentalists and fuck their retarded sky god too. They have made this war, and I no longer have tolerance for them, any of them. They have fucked my people. They have fucked the lives of people I care about, for no valid reason, just for hate, for bigotry, for sheer mean spite born of willful ignorance.


What if the Supreme Court ruled that "marriage" was actually a religious institution, and that any government definition or sanctioning of marriage violated the separation of Church and State, so the state and federal governments should just get out of the "marriage" business altogether? People would still have the freedom to go to the church of their choice and engage in a sacrament called "marriage", but the State wouldn't recognize that any more than it would, say, a baptism or a bar mitzvah. Everyone, gay or straight, who wanted a formal contract with their spouse(s), would have to resort to registering a civil union, which by law might make them eligible to a litany of benefits. And let's stipulate that federal law required every state to recognize each other's civil unions equally. In that world, given your repudiation of religion (which as a rationalist I applaud) would the label "marriage" have any meaning for you? Any meaning at all?

In that world, would you feel the need to demand that the fundamentalists call your union the same thing they call their sacrament?
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby strange_person » Wed May 27, 2009 4:54 am

There is an important exception included in the ruling that you seem to have missed: the 18,000 or so pre-existing same-sex marriages will continue to be legally. From that precedent, it would be straightforward to argue that (by the Equal Protection clause in the federal constitution) California must recognize legal marriages from other states.

You ever heard of the phrase 'getting Reno-vated' in a marital context? In the bad old days, one of the few places in this country where it was legal to get a divorce without cause was Reno, NV, so women from all over the country who were unhappy with their husbands and didn't want to explain why in front of a judge would move there, stay in a motel long enough to establish residency, file some paperwork, and get on with their lives.

To draw an analogy with the right to bear arms: it is as though the assembly, but not the possession, of automatic weapons had been prohibited. Someone who (figuratively) wants to own their very own tripod-mounted heavy machine gun in CA need only obtain the parts, take a bus to Iowa, or even as close as New Mexico if they feel like causing trouble, and then return home with the finished product.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Monocheres » Wed May 27, 2009 5:11 am

(Hi SP, was this a response to me or to Jennifer?)

strange_person wrote:There is an important exception included in the ruling that you seem to have missed: the 18,000 or so pre-existing same-sex marriages will continue to be legally. From that precedent, it would be straightforward to argue that (by the Equal Protection clause in the federal constitution) California must recognize legal marriages from other states.


No I know about those, I just didn't want to make my post even longer. In fact isn't it already the case that states have to recognize each other's marriages? I'm not clear what the situation is for civil unions, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same. States have to honor each other's contracts, in general, right?

strange_person wrote:You ever heard of the phrase 'getting Reno-vated' in a marital context? ...


Yes, I thought of that too. The analogy (in reverse) today would be: You've got out-and-out gay marriage here in New England right now. Anyone could come here, get married, then move back home, and their marriages would have to be recognized in their home state, regardless of the laws there. (That is, I think that works. At least, it was part of the news story when the whole thing erupted here. Correct me if I'm misinformed.)

The only trouble with that, is that you have to have the means to get all the way out here. And I think there's a residency requirement before you can apply for marriage in Massachusetts. Dunno if it's 3 mos, 6 mos or what. Whatever it is, it's something of an undue burden to have to completely disrupt your life or career for and extended period to get that marriage license. Poor gays would be disadvantaged, which hardly seems fair under the circumstances.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby strange_person » Wed May 27, 2009 5:33 am

You're right, it's unfair. Perhaps eventually enough people will recognize that unfairness and change the California constitution to reflect sanity.

Until then, some pro-gay group could cut back on it's lobbying budget and start selling deeply-discounted travel packages to happy couples wishing to tie the knot.
Monocheres wrote:(Hi SP, was this a response to me or to Jennifer?)
Does it have to be one or the other? "You" can be plural, and neither side had mentioned it.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby draque » Wed May 27, 2009 7:35 am

Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:As goes California, so goes the nation' claim the Focus On The Family folks


That's something that's been very true in the past, but I think that it will happily prove less true in the future. The state is so far in debt that people are beginning to question whether it's going to have to declare bankruptcy, which is why I say it. Imitating them is becoming less and less tempting. Also, while prop 8 being upheld is a significant setback, I think it's good to focus on how much progress has been made in recent years as well. States are legalizing gay marriage let and right (mostly left), and public opinion in younger generations is increasingly favoring the legalization of gay marriage.

Monocheres wrote:No I know about those, I just didn't want to make my post even longer. In fact isn't it already the case that states have to recognize each other's marriages? I'm not clear what the situation is for civil unions, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same. States have to honor each other's contracts, in general, right?


The 1996 DOMA explicitly outlines a state's right to ignore same sex marriages performed and recognized in other states.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Wizard CaT » Wed May 27, 2009 1:19 pm

Monocheres wrote:
strange_person wrote:You ever heard of the phrase 'getting Reno-vated' in a marital context? ...


Yes, I thought of that too. The analogy (in reverse) today would be: You've got out-and-out gay marriage here in New England right now. Anyone could come here, get married, then move back home, and their marriages would have to be recognized in their home state, regardless of the laws there. (That is, I think that works. At least, it was part of the news story when the whole thing erupted here. Correct me if I'm misinformed.)


No, each state can decide what if anything they recognize. There is no automatic "if you are married then it's throughout the Federation" kind of law. Many states have it in their Constitution that same sex marriage and unions are barred.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Monocheres » Wed May 27, 2009 6:26 pm

draque wrote:The 1996 DOMA explicitly outlines a state's right to ignore same sex marriages performed and recognized in other states.


Ah. I stand corrected. Signed by Clinton, it turns out. And candidate Obama gave little joy to gay-marriage advocates, either. Combine that with the overwhelming support for Prop 8 among African Americans in California ...

Jennifer, I understand the animus you feel against extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalism, and I appreciate the reasons you came by it. But it seems to me that they do not in fact constitute the largest obstacle to your cause. Focusing on them I think, would be a misdirection of your energies, and I wager that engaging in heated or violent reaction to them would actually set your cause back. No, the greatest obstacle you face is really the vast mundane middle of the American political spectrum, even stretching well into the left. The ordinary folks who are conventionally or even indifferently religious, who are comfortable with the traditional definition of marriage as one man, one woman, two cars, a house, and 2.4 kids, and who feel alarmed at the prospect of changing that. I think you would do better to attempt to win those folks over, gradually, incrementally. Pick small, non-threatening battles and try to win them, one at a time.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby draque » Wed May 27, 2009 8:44 pm

Also, I am curious how you deal with some of the standard questions, Monocheres. If you support marriage as centering around children produced, how can you justify a system that allows barren couples, couples not intending to bear children and the elderly to marry? There are the obvious answers of the possibility of adoption and the difficulty of monitoring who was able/willing to have children vs. who was not but, respectively, gay couples adopting and standards slanted by convenience counter them with reasonable strength.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby InterNutter » Wed May 27, 2009 9:11 pm

Monocheres wrote:What do you define marriage to be? And why is it so crucial to you that the rest of the world accept your definition?


Marriage is a union between two individuals who both wish to grow old together.

Everything else is just frills.

As for the "crucial" bit... I think it would stop a lot of very silly arguments.


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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Relee » Wed May 27, 2009 11:55 pm

The way you describe Agent Provocateur sounds kinda like me. XD

Actually I have had people accuse me of being a secret agent before, but I'm just 'like that' you know? ^.^;;



As for the Prop 8 thing, it kinda sucks, yeah, but maybe now we'll have less people saying "Oh it'll never pass" and "Oh it'll be repealed right away, it's so unconstitutional". Though I gotta say, it seems like there are more important things to worry about than marriage rights for homosexuals. The first thing they should deal with is this whole 50% vote on human rights issues bullshit.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Anna » Thu May 28, 2009 1:08 am

I have said it before and say it now again.
Marriage is for ...
Well, for what?
Getting children?
And what's with couples, male/female who have no children and will never have children?
An example showed the catholic church in Italy, a bishop did forbid a marriage between a man and a woman, because the man was not able to procreate/generate/produce any kids.
That's the holy thing with the marriage.
Ok, in this way, idiotic but understandable.
Marriage, only to produce children, all other couplings are not allowed, and it doesn't matter what sex the couples do have.
I could live with that.

But that isn't it.
A marriage is today a community between two people who had choose to live together.
That is usal, and it has indeed nothing to do to reproduce themself.
There is no law to force people to get kids.

So, for what reason should a couple to be only man and woman?

As we all know the sexual majority of human kind is heterosexual.
And as usual, the majority determines to the rest what has to be.

Morality?
Morality has changed such often that a "gentleman" and a "Lady" from 1900 would get scream-attacks today, if they would fall through a time slip and would stranded in any kind of town. (even in the bible belt) :mrgreen:

Have I to say more?
Yes, but what for?

I can not understand why same sex marriges should be forbidden, I know the historical background, and I know that morality is a false argumentation, and I know that you can not convince people who are set in their form of rusty iron.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Thu May 28, 2009 2:59 am

Marriage is, first and last, a civil contract. It is no different in principle to any other legal contract, and it acts in a very similar fashion to the incorporation of a business. Indeed, the primary function of marriage is to contractually bind two (or more, depending on cultural acceptance) individuals to a position of shared wealth, which is not limited to finances, but which can include property and material goods. It also provides for legal access to each other, in circumstances of duress, and legal guardianship with regard to each other when decisions are made. There are over a thousand such components, and they ultimately are concerned with two things: access and distribution of resources.

Marriage has always been a civil, secular institution, only recently has religion sunk its claws into the matter with intent to control and own, perhaps within the last 80 years or so. Perhaps less.

Being that it is a standard, common contract, it should not be denied to any minority, unless unalienable rights are no longer unalienable, and equal rights should mean nothing at all.

If you want marriage for only heterosexuals, or only for those of the same race, or the same religion, then you must also deny that there is any basis for equality under law, in which case let's bring back slavery, genocide of indigenous races, and legalized oppression of women.

The game that is being played is semantics, in order to avoid following the only logical, rational path under the law - if the law were to be taken at all rationally or seriously - which is to follow through and actually, really, enforce true equality for everyone under it, regardless of any minority status at all.

Big Religion has made this very frightening for judges and politicians to do, and so we have rulings as in California - obviously wrong, obviously violating the direct meaning of the states own legal process, out of fear of losing elections, or out of being bribed or otherwise bought.

I shouldn't need to argue for the value or correctness of equality or justice here at all. Fuck that!

Squality and justice are obviously needful, necessary, and clearly spelled out in the law of the US, and of California. ANY violation of that, for whatever reason, is clearly, obviously wrong. The ruling in California on Prop 8 is in logical conflict with the clearly stated Constitutions, and constitutional processes of both the nation, and California itself -as is, I might add, DOMA as well- and is nothing more than the oppression of a minority by slipping illegal, wrongful interpretations through the system, supported by corrupt judges following either a religious agenda... or a financial one.

Fuck the people paying them/ planting them - which means the Fundies, the Mormons, and a few others, such as some of the Baptists. They raise the money, they spread the hate, and they are doing nothing different than what was done to humble other minorities in history, out of bigotry, ignorance, and spite. Fuck them in hell.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Monocheres » Thu May 28, 2009 3:29 am

[Edit: This has all got garbled. My post below is actually a response to Internutter a few posts back, not to Jennifer's post above. I'll let it stand and take my lumps for what I said, but to respond to Jennifer above: ... aw heck, I'll just add a new post ...]

[Here was my response to Internutter (and to Anna as well):]
If you notice, all I was describing were my personal feelings and instincts about the matter, how much I recognized that they were based on my own nature and peculiarities and not necessarily universal, and therefore how much I didn't want to impose my biases as a system on everyone else, with the challenge to everyone (and Jennifer specifically) to examine their motivations as to why they want to impose their definition on others. Jennifer's nearly frothing at the mouth about how much she HATES certain people and wants to get radical and violent over this issue because they're denying her some "fundamental human right", and you're worried because I admit to a forum that I think we should focus on what's best for kids?

"Marriage" is a tool that different societies have used at different times to enforce all sorts of social norms (often very different). In China and India it's a contract between families (read: clans) with a clear agreement as to who becomes part of which family and who relinquishes what claim to which family's property and who goes back to which family if it gets dissolved later, yadda yadda. In Christian countries, in the past, and in Muslim countries still, it's been used as a tool to subjugate women to the patriarchy and lock up their sexuality (but not necessarily the men's) in order to protect the men (and men's property) from cuckolding, with the bride having to cough up a dowry to bribe the groom to even venture the risk. In a lot of places (including here, today) it's a religious act expiating the "sky god" -- with a government-issued license attached. Huh? Yeah, think about it: Even if you're not religious and just get a civil wedding, you still have to go through a pseudo-religious little ceremony to cement the deal. What's up with that?

Bottom line is: "Two people growing old together" is actually a radically new idea. It might be a nice concept, and we might want to support it with government sanctions -- but when did something "nice-to-have" suddenly become a fundamental issue of civil rights?
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Monocheres » Thu May 28, 2009 7:43 am

Jennifer, I think you're just plain factually wrong in thinking that the religious aspect of marriage is a new development, religion has had its hooks in marriage for thousands of years and in lots of cultures around the globe. It's really this notion of separation of church and state that is new over the past couple-three hundred years, with "marriage" as a weird holdover.

Let me ask you: if you could have everything you want in the way of civil liberty protection and financial/contractual rules, etc, but it was called a "civil union", and "marriage" was reserved for those who wanted to connect it to their religion, but it would be nothing but a semantic nicety with no real difference in legal effect -- would you be satisfied?

Or a different question: Would you be satisfied if you could get everything you want by gradual stages, slowly winning over the majority to your cause by persuasion and evolution, rather than demanding revolution today, and damning those who aren't ready for it to a Hell you don't believe in anyway?

Combining the two: What if you got the kind of compromise Obama himself advocated, of having "civil union" and "marriage" as a difference-without-a-distinction, but someday that could evolve into the true separation of church and state I advocate, where everybody gets "civil unions" and the government has nothing to do with "marriage"? Could you get behind that?
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby draque » Thu May 28, 2009 8:00 am

Monocheres wrote:It's really this notion of separation of church and state that is new over the past couple-three hundred years, with "marriage" as a weird holdover.


I agree with you entirely there. My point is that if you're going to make a ban on religion dictating law, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify a ban on contracts like marriage between members of the same sex. The point you raised about marriage being a construct for raising children feels like a weak answer to me, though. That seems a much greater redefinition of marriage (within modern Western culture which, as you pointed out, has the very new standard of marriage for love) that one which allows for same sex marriages. In addition, it seems disingenuous unless you would be willing to say that couples unwilling, unable or uninterested in bearing children be prevented from marriage as well.

Bottom line is: "Two people growing old together" is actually a radically new idea. It might be a nice concept, and we might want to support it with government sanctions -- but when did something "nice-to-have" suddenly become a fundamental issue of civil rights?


If we're using the "marriage as a contract" model, I do believe that the majority of its benefits represent fundamental rights under the philosophy of US constitutional law. I believe that I have a fundamental right to dictate who may and may not make life changing medical decisions for me in the case that I am unable to. I believe that I have the right to decide who should inherit from me when I die. These and like benefits to marriage are of primary importance in terms of forming a legally recognized relationship with a partner, whether of opposite or same gender. There are current legal elements of marriage which I do not believe are necessarily fundamental rights, such as tax breaks, legislature that pertains to pregnancy (in the case of a male-male marriage) and wordplay clearly intended to address aspects of a particular sex's biology, but I also believe that these would be best addressed in law outside of marriage.

I know the below questions were intended for Jennifer, but I thought I would try my hand at them...

if you could have everything you want in the way of civil liberty protection and financial/contractual rules, etc, but it was called a "civil union", and "marriage" was reserved for those who wanted to connect it to their religion, but it would be nothing but a semantic nicety with no real difference in legal effect -- would you be satisfied?


I would be unsatisfied in that it would not be representative of religions that accept male-male marriages. Moreover, I am uncomfortable both with the concept of separate-but-equal and of having any kind of language in legislature that makes specific concessions to religion like that. But...

Would you be satisfied if you could get everything you want by gradual stages, slowly winning over the majority to your cause by persuasion and evolution, rather than demanding revolution today, and damning those who aren't ready for it to a Hell you don't believe in anyway?


But I will concede without hesitation that expecting this to happen overnight is simply unrealistic. What I want is not necessarily what I expect, and although legislature such as Prop 8 is frustrating to me, I do believe that for every step back we're taken there have been two steps forward.
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Re: Prop 8 upheld

Postby Monocheres » Thu May 28, 2009 9:19 am

Monocheres wrote: the true separation of church and state I advocate


Hmm, is "advocate" really the right word for how I feel about this? To be honest, I've never really thought of this as a "cause" before, more of a reaction to a logical inconsistency. Why should government be intertwined with something that, at least some of the time, involves people's religion? Can't they be separated out?

This leads me to the odd realization (more of a recollection, actually) that I'm an atheist ... who believes in freedom of religion. Would I prefer that people give up their superstitions, embrace science, live more rationally, etc? Of course. But do I want to do it by forcing them to give up their religious beliefs? No. I prefer persuasion, and hope people will evolve some day. I may not get to see it in my lifetime. Meanwhile, I defend religious freedom as a "fundamental human right," because my freedom from religion is a subset of freedom of religion.

Jennifer, you seem to be absolutely adamant that even a trivial semantic distinction with no force in law would still violate your human rights. (Do I have that right or am I misreading things?) Combine that with the sheer vitriol you're expressing against anyone religious. So my worry is that the real agenda here is that you, and others, want to deny people their right to a religion.That the next step after getting gay marriage is that the ACLU would bring discrimination lawsuits against Christian churches for not marrying gays in their congregations, for instance. If average folks even thought that was your agenda, the goal of persuading them to your cause would get set back by years.
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