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Astonishingly Stupid Comment of the Week

Timothy Kincaid

February 6th, 2009

New Hamphire’s legislature is debating whether to allow its same-sex couples to marry. But, of course, to have an effective debate one must at least be within shouting distance of comprehension and logic.

I don’t think Rep. Itse is quite within range:

Republican state Rep. Daniel Itse said gay marriage would cause out-of-wedlock births to rise in New Hampshire, adding that the debate itself and civil unions have already cheapened marriage.

“Young people now see no need to get married,” Itse said. “It just doesn’t mean anything anymore.”

OK. I’m having trouble with this one. But as best I can tell, he’s arguing that heterosexual couples will have out-of-wedlock children if gay people marry. If gay people are trying so very hard to get the right to marry, this will tell children that it has no value. And it’s already too late; due to the debate over the importance of marriage, it just doesn’t mean anything anymore.

Ummmm… yeah. That is definitedly the most astonishingly stupid comment of the week.

Comments

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Ephilei
February 6th, 2009 | LINK

I’m not defending his argument, but here’s where I think he is coming from:

I believe marriage means X. This bill will change that meaning to Y. As a conservative, I don’t like change. Change in general is a confession that we got it wrong the first time. Therefore our idea of marriage was wrong because it was incomplete. We can no longer look at marriage as a perfect institution (something controlled only by divine, supernatural, or untouchable powers) but as an institution controlled by us regular humans. Further, for generations we’ve been adding value into marriage. Every heterosexual wedding we celebrated and built it up. If marriage changes, some of that value will transfer but some will not.

Again, not to defend his point of view but this is my attempt to understand it. Being pro same-sex marriage, I have a response to each idea.

For the first, consider that marriage is a human institution. As a Christian I believe it is also divine (as most things in Christianity blend divinity and humanity together) but even my cursory knowledge of anthropology clearly teaches me that marriages are dictated by the culture that performs them. Given that fact, better to embrace marriage’s human element than pretend it does not exist.

For the second, I think altering our cultural definition of marriage will subtract some value. But combine it with the fact that allowing another 9 million americans to marry will add to our value of marriage. When the math is done, we end up ahead. Besides, in a few generations we’ll get that value back anyway.

Emily K
February 6th, 2009 | LINK

look at it this way: there’d be a 0% divorce rate.

Swampfox
February 6th, 2009 | LINK

I thought the problem was that if gay people were accepted by society, everyone would become gay.

Attmay
February 7th, 2009 | LINK

If civil unions have cheapened marriage, I’ve got a solution: Make gay marriage legal, then there would be no need for civil unions.

cowboy
February 7th, 2009 | LINK

Ephilei, I have many people express those same thoughts to me about the sanctity of marriage but many of them are lame arguments for justification of their bigotry.

I cannot understand why same-sex-coupled people could be a threat. It’s a feigned threat concocted as anti-gay fodder by anti-gays.

The sanctity of marriage has been besmirched by so many other things…Las Vegas ubiquitous marriage chapels ala drive-thru weddings, quickie divorces, rampant infidelity, etc. And yet, gays are the focus group. Why are we the boogiemen/women?

The latest “call to action” by the Sutherland Institute in Lehi, Utah is a prime example of the hatred they have for GLBT. Why aren’t they having seminars on the threat within their own rank.

The “we don’t hate gays” rhetoric has gone far past the point of reasonableness. Their actions and obsession with gays prove otherwise. In fact, when I hear those words uttered by someone I automatically switch their meaning to: they DO hate gays.

Jason D
February 7th, 2009 | LINK

“Why are we the boogiemen/women?”

Because homophobia is the last socially acceptable form of bigotry. We’re the last available scapegoat for whatever ails you. Apparently the whole of civilization has been riding on our oppression and degradation. Our pain, suffering, incarceration, blackmail, torture and deaths have been the reason why society has been doing so great the past couple thousand years.

It’s a rampant, but rather cynical view that society can only prosper at the marginalization of one group.

Richard Rush
February 7th, 2009 | LINK

As we move toward full social acceptance and equality for gays, I would expect the quality and authenticity of hetero marriages to increase, and the divorce rate to ultimately decrease. Here’s why:

We all know that large numbers of people, who are substantially homosexually oriented, have been deceiving and marrying opposite sex partners as a path to social acceptability. While I don’t have a link to statistics, the anecdotal evidence is all around me, both in people I know personally, and many others that I hear and read about. While some of these people are now divorced, many (or most?) are still married and secretly engaging in homosexual encounters.

Only someone who is pathologically anti-gay could argue that these deceptive marriages are a benefit to society. Marriage relationships are difficult enough to maintain without starting off by deceiving a partner about something so fundamental as one’s sexual orientation.

The full social acceptance of gays would surely put an end to entering into deceptive marriages, and that would benefit society (including the children who would then be less likely to become victims of broken homes). Initially I would expect to see divorce rates increase as more fake hetero marriages are dissolved, but then the rate should decrease.

So it seems to me that one of the best reasons for society to embrace gay marriage is because it will actually benefit hetero marriage by eliminating the fakers.

Jason D
February 7th, 2009 | LINK

Richard, but you forget we are not dealing with rational people who are thinking clearly.

To them, a fake heterosexual marriage like the one you describe, with one or both partners secretly being homosexual is better than any gay marriage. Someone who is at least putting forth the public appearance of heterosexual normality is at least “trying” to obey “”God’s Will”” no matter how foolish, misguided, or destined for failure such an endeavor is. While they would prefer that there are no homosexual encounters taking place outside the marriage, they’re at least satisfied with deception for the sake of appearance than honest homosexuality.

Or at least it would appear that way IMO.

Richard Rush
February 7th, 2009 | LINK

Jason D, you are correct, of course. The people you describe are the type I was thinking of when using the term, “pathologically anti-gay.”

Those people will never be persuaded by arguments presented by gays or anyone perceived as liberal, secular, or insufficiently Christian. Our efforts need to be directed toward people capable of rational thought. I think of it in terms of concentric rings of people. The outer ring can influence the next inner ring and so on, but the outer ring is too far from the innermost rings to have any direct influence.

There seems to be some evidence that the inner rings are feeling threatened. One example is Richard Cizik, who was seemingly forced to resign from the National Association of Evangelicals after his remarks during an interview on NPR radio. When asked about his current view on gay marriage, he replied,

“I’m shifting, I have to admit. In other words, I would willingly say that I believe in civil unions. I don’t officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don’t think.”

It is people like him who are able to chip away at the extremists on the innermost rings, whereas we cannot.

But we can be influential among people who basically accept the reality of gay people, but may still be struggling with issues such as marriage. And I think it behooves us to present reasons why gay marriage benefits all of society, and not just us.

AJD
February 7th, 2009 | LINK

Stanley Kurtz tried to make a similar argument in The Weekly Standard back in 2004, saying that moves to legalize same-sex marriage in the Netherlands starting in 1989 had caused a rise in out-of-wedlock births there, even though out-of-wedlock births had been increasing since the 1970s.

Joel
February 7th, 2009 | LINK

“Stanley Kurtz tried to make a similar argument in The Weekly Standard back in 2004, saying that moves to legalize same-sex marriage in the Netherlands starting in 1989 had caused a rise in out-of-wedlock births there, even though out-of-wedlock births had been increasing since the 1970s”

Did the rate spike since 1989 or something?

Jake
February 8th, 2009 | LINK

No Peter LaBarbera award????

Suricou Raven
February 8th, 2009 | LINK

I can understand him, but only because I’ve spent years studying that type of thinking.

The mistake in thinking is to assume that his thoughts need to be in any way grounded in marriage as a social institution. They are not. If marriage is accepted as a social institution or legal construct, then none of his chain of logic holds water.

But to Itse, and those like him, marriage is not a legal construct or a social institution. It is magic. Literal, supernatural, fantastic magic. To them, marriage is no mere instrument of man, but a spiritual power gifted from God himself. To alter this power in any way strips it of what makes it so special: It’s divine authorship. Without divine backing, the power is lost – like a desicrated alter, it ceases to have it’s magic spiritual powers and becomes merely a contract, no longer capable of intertwineing the souls of those who participate into a unified whole.

Jason D
February 8th, 2009 | LINK

Suricou, if what you say is true — then essentially he believes that man CAN alter God’s magical gifts. Seems rather beyond the scope of our “design” to overrule God.

It seems either we have the ability to veto God (implausible) or, the “magic” of marriage is dependent somehow on everyone knowing and agreeing to what it is. As if to say by changing it, the magic surrounding it would be warped by human acceptance.

I don’t know, seems rather ridiculous to have an omnipotent, omnipresent being who we can negate with something as crude as a pen.

Sam
February 8th, 2009 | LINK

For a moment, let’s take a breath and forget about two gay men together, and instead look at this from another angle, where this is also coming from:

Look at the way mainstream media and society still treats male sexuality as opposed to female sexuality. It has nothing to do with two men, for heaven’s sake people can’t wrap their heads around men being sexual beings without perverting it or looking at men as being offensive. And sadly, many men do fall into this stereotype.

Jim, you seem like a very compassionate and loving man. Introverted like myself, you seem like you’re a good lover that takes his time.

But it’s an issue with many complex threads. Keep doing the good work, I can tell you take your time with this and really believe in doing the right thing.

Ultimately it’s about two human beings making a loving commitment to each other. However, when people see two gay men, that’s not what they think. Yes, there’s some truth to that, it is two men we’re dealing with here, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t behave just as responsible as a healthy straight couple.

Things just aren’t that black and white. And the real bad guys, like to treat everything that black and white.

Joseph
February 10th, 2009 | LINK

I like Rep. Daniel Itse’s position better. I am all for gay men bearing children, even if it is “out of wedlock”.

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