Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Sen. DeMint Fears A Gay President

Jim Burroway

December 15th, 2009

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), tea-bagger and right-wing GOP insurgent, has ripped Ronald Reagan’s “big tent” to shreds. He’s an ideological purist who will only tolerate fellow ideological purists, and thinks the Republican Party should purge those who aren’t as pure as he. He’s a huge supporter of states’ rights with one exception: same-sex marriage. On that issue, he things the Federal government should usurp states’ traditional role of regulating marriage in favor of a ban on same-sex marriage:

“Governments should not be in the business of promoting a behavior that’s proven to be destructive to our society.”

He cringes at the notion of a gay or lesbian president: “It would be bothersome to me just personally because I consider it immoral.”

Not every kid can dream of growing up to be president.

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0 | TRACKBACK URL

MJC
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

His comments (particularly the use of the word ‘promoting’) sound eerily like the wording of the bill in Uganda.

Pomo
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

really Jim? Using the term “tea-bagger” as a negative adjective as if all people who want the government smaller and want our govt to not spend itself into oblivion are radicals or in the wrong. And then using the word “insurgent” as if you’re equating him to a terrorist. That’s some pretty biased writing. Maybe you’re just as much a purist as he is. If you want the respect of your readers who actually think and have a critical mind about these things, you’re going to need to be a bit more fair in your writing rather than using such inflammatory words.

Alex
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

And now we wait for the inevitable sex scandal.

Zach
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Really, Pomo? Ascribing sincere conservative views about the size of the government (held while the former President was in office too, of course!) to people who basically had a meltdown when they realized Barack Obama actually was elected president? If you want me to think you watched the same protests I did, you’re going to have be honest about what really motivated these protesters and “insurgents”.

At any rate, Jim DeMint actively works to maintain superiority status for heterosexuals at our expense, including taking away rights we already have. Forgive me for not feeling particularly outraged that we’re not being so nice to him.

werdna
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

@Pomo, Sen. DeMint has openly endorsed and encouraged the “Tea Party” movement. Obviously, not all “people who want the government smaller” are teabaggers, but those who are involved in the specific movement to which that term refers are.

As for “insurgent,” merriam-webster.com gives this as the second definition:

one who acts contrary to the policies and decisions of one’s own political party

Given that DeMint has been actively supporting far-right candidates running against incumbent GOP politicians, that seems to be a pretty precise fit.

Ben in Oakland
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

I would also add that the tea baggers have, according to an article in the Chronicle a few days ago, planks in their platform regarding “marriage” and “freedom”.

I can just imagine what THAT means. Freedom for homobigots, marriage for hets only, and gay people feeling lucky that this isn’t uganda.

Pomo
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Zach – if you actually went to a protest instead of watching 30sec clips on some news station which more than likely leans left, then we could have an “honest” talk about what motivates these people. Should They have been protesting the growth of govt under Bush? In my opinion yes. But like much of the left, you write the entire movement off as racist or bigots (hence my problem with Jim using the term in a negative term)

Werdna – according to Merriam-Webster, the term “fag” means to “work hard or toil” But we all know that’s not what it means when you call someone a fag. So you can give me the dictionary definition all you want but when Jim equates someone he disagrees with as a terrorist, it is a ad-hominem attack that holds no substance and makes his true point (which is a good one) weaker.

I’m not a tea-bagger nor do I support those who seek to deny us marriage rights. But I call bad arguments and unnecessary personal attacks when I see them. Criticize the putz on his views and associations but to add names and equate him with terrorism only makes the argument sound loony to those on the right. So if Jim wants to write things for everyone that agrees with him, keep using those unnecessary terms. But if Jim is actually trying to show our side in its best light, terms like that don’t help

Richard Rush
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Senator DeMint: “Governments should not be in the business of promoting a behavior that’s proven to be destructive to our society.”

He’s right. Government should not be promoting bigotry. While there is no evidence that homosexuality is destructive to our society, there is plenty of evidence that bigotry is destructive.

The only “evidence” the DeMinted crowd can cite is really along the lines of: The presence of homosexuality in society bothers me and my friends, therefore homosexuality is destructive.

Zach
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Pomo- How do you account for the difference in their behavior, then? As far as I remember, there was no Tea Party movement, or anything similar to it, under Bush’s presidency. Did they just no realize how big the government got under Bush? Or is just particularly offensive for some reason when Obama spends tax payer dollars? Either way, they look ignorant (if not simply stupid) or prejudiced (against what precisely I don’t care to guess), or perhaps just motivated by selfish political interest in someway, not by lofty ideals about the role of government.

By the way, you do realize that you employed the allegedly objectionable word “tea-bagger” yourself in denying your own association with the protesters? While “insurgent” was perhaps a bit dramatic, the terrorist connotation was not obvious to me, and that word has not fallen from general use in describing non-terrorists.

Jason D
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Pomo, I’m honestly at a loss. Since when does insurgent = terrorist? Unless I missed something a terrorist is still called a terrorist. I don’t hear people saying “the 9/11 Insurgents” for example.

Sounds like you are purposefully misunderstanding what was written in favor of playing the “You’re Name-Calling!” game.

Pomo
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Jason, do you not watch the news or read newspapers? Terrorist is out as politically correct and insurgent is the new buzz word. They don’t talk about terrorists in Iraq/Afghanistan. They talk about insurgents. Its a word with a negative connotation.

Zach, you’re not addressing the issue of Jim using terms that were unnecessary and negative. You’re trying to take the argument down a side road. I’m not here to defend their movement or justify their timing. I agree with their principles that the govt is entirely too big and too involved in our lives. Obama has made it far worse. I can’t control when movements start or how they form. Should rallies against govt waste and deficit spending have occured earlier? Yes. But so should have marriage equality and equal rights rallies.

I’m glad the commentors blindly follow anything that is written without being willing to challenge for the purposes of making our arguments stronger and more well-reasoned. And when I challenge unnecessary ad-hominem attacks, i’m somehow defending those who try to take away my rights.

As if being a gay person precludes being a democrat or a liberal. Its pure bias.

Jon Cason
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

>I don’t hear people saying “the 9/11 Insurgents” for example.
You haven’t? How about “The Iraqi insurgents?” Starting to sound familiar now? Oh good.

What does google have to say…
Results 1 – 10 of about 508,000 for iraqi insurgents. (0.29 seconds)
Results 1 – 10 of about 1,120,000 for 9/11 insurgents. (0.26 seconds)

Jason D
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

“Jason, do you not watch the news or read newspapers? Terrorist is out as politically correct and insurgent is the new buzz word. They don’t talk about terrorists in Iraq/Afghanistan. They talk about insurgents. Its a word with a negative connotation.”

Again, it sounds like you’re putting two words together as meaning the same when they have distinct differences. The insurgents in Iraq/Afghanistan are just that — insurgents. There is a difference.

Jon Cason
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

I have far less problem with Jim DeMint’s honest statement that he *just* *personally* considers it immoral… Which is to say that he can actually separate his own personal standards of morality from policy. As opposed to Barak Obama, whose feels his every whim and nebulous ideas on what constitutes torture(waterboarding is as torturous as holding your breath while swimming), taking control of banking, auto and health care regardless that the majority opposes all plans he’s backed (but hasn’t had the guts to present himself), even something as routine as chartered jet flights… All become central policy factors. It’s one thing to commit your administration to minimizing chartered jet travel (Obama hasn’t), it’s quite another thing to send the CEOs of the big automakers home because they flew in on jets instead of taking a week to drive.

What has Barak Obama done for the LGBT community? * listens to crickets * I have a lot more respect for the log cabin Republicans. Would you call them insurgents as well. I would, God bless them, I wish there were more. Every one I have met have been great, intelligent, thoughtful people who understand every issue as two sides. Apparently that is something Jim isn’t quite getting. That’s where the change is going to happen. The way to influence is not by preaching and screeching to the choir where you are surrounded by people who agree with you, it’s by placing yourself as a token member of a group that would otherwise lack your viewpoint. I know as the token heterosexual and conservative in social groups, you learn to think clearly, to express your opinions honestly and advocate for then without spewing hate and false conclusions such as that Jim DeMint’s opinion actually matters, even if he could block someone from being president, his statement is that it’s just a personal problem he has. He has the guts to be honest about being a bigot. And you are right to point that out, he’s a bigot, but that is no reason for you to say that not every kid can dream to be president. There are plenty of racists(on both sides of the aisle), and we have a black president. You are buying into the hopelessness which is all the Democrat party has to offer.

You don’t have the guts to point out that Harry Reed was completely backwards when he said the republican party was just trying to slow down health care like they did with the Civil rights bill. The Republican party was founded as the anti-slavery party and came to power because they were on the right side of the civil rights bill. It’s the Democrat party that enacted the Jim Crow laws and held the south hostage from reconstruction until the civil rights bill passed and people of all colors were finally truly equal under the law… If only for a short time, before they switched tactics to the bigotry of soft expectations, telling minorities that they can’t succeed on thier own without government to given them.

Richard Rush
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Pomo, it’s often said that we should absolutely never ever use ad-hominem attacks. So, at the risk of being a heretic, I’m asking you (or anyone) to explain why.

Jason D
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

On the difference between terrorism and insurgency:
http://www.terrorism-research.com/insurgency/

http://usiraq.procon.org/viewanswers.asp?questionID=931

they do not appear to be interchangable concepts.

Alex
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Jon Cason,

At the risk of taking this discussion off-topic, I’m curious about one thing you said: “waterboarding is as torturous as holding your breath while swimming.” Are you serious?

Jon Cason
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Have you ever been waterboarded? honestly I haven’t. Has Obama? Certainly not. Have the agents and soldeiers who were doing it? Many of them have. What makes Obama think he knows what is torture more than the people who carefully crafted and reviewed the technique back and forth, carefully refining and crafting the limits of how long and how often it could be used?

I’m serious, despite the poltical s[in and noise that has been made about it, it’s physically the exact same thing as swimming. Something is covering your mouth while water flows over it. You feel like you are drowning, but there is zero risk of injury. A lot of highschool hazing and BDSM play is far more aggressive.

But you are right, please address my on topic criticism of the article.

Priya Lynn
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Jon, when you say “waterboarding is as torturous as holding your breath while swimming.” you destroy any credibility you might have had on any issue. If that was true waterboarding would be totally ineffective and never would have been used.

Pomo
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Jon,

don’t dare disagree with the democrats! It discredits your gayness…

Jason D
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Jon, then why did radio personality Mancow, vocal proponent of waterboarding as a legit technique, do a complete reversal once he’d been waterboarded? He said it pained him to say it, but right after being waterboarded he said that it was “definitely torture”.

That’s from someone who’s actually BEEN waterboarded and who had the option to end the waterboarding when he wanted to (which he did!).

http://www.newser.com/story/59879/waterboarded-shock-jock-mancow-absolutely-torture.html?utm_source=ssp&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=story

So on the word of someone who’s actually been waterboarded, and is not trained to undergo stress of this nature — yeah, I’d say it counts. It’s mostly psychological, but that still makes it torture, and there’s nothing nebulous about it.

Alex
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Jon,

I do like what you said here: “And you are right to point that out, he’s a bigot, but that is no reason for you to say that not every kid can dream to be president. There are plenty of racists(on both sides of the aisle), and we have a black president. You are buying into the hopelessness which is all the Democrat party has to offer.”

I think it’s very myopic and defeatist to say that gay kids can’t dream of growing up to be president.

There, now that I’ve addressed your criticism of the article, let me address your equally myopic comment about waterboarding, for what it’s worth. Since when does something have to cause physical harm in order to be considered torture? Chinese water torture, for example, doesn’t leave so much as a scratch or bruise, but it will render you bat-shit insane for the rest of your life. Psychological torture can often be more harmful than physical torture.

(For the record, no, I’m not a bleeding-heart liberal who opposes waterboarding because “the United States does not torture!!” I oppose it because torture methods such as waterboarding frequently yield unreliable information; people will say anything when they are blindfolded, strapped to a table, and made to feel as though they are literally about to die… even though no physical harm has actually been done to them.)

Alan
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Can someone explain for me how this discussion went from Sen DeMint’s comments on gay presidents to Tea Parties to waterboarding?

They seem like three fairly disconnected topics.

Alex
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

I noticed one ignorant comment about waterboarding and wanted to address it. That’s all I have to say, promise! :-P

TJMcFisty
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

“I’m serious, despite the poltical s[in and noise that has been made about it, it’s physically the exact same thing as swimming.”

You must be a blast in the pool. It’s not at all like swimming unless your idea of it is being held down at the bottom with your head cocked back.

You get to use your arms and legs–oh, and breathe on your own–when you actually swim. Sometimes there’s competition involved with ribbons and trophies.

Sorry that’s off-topic, but as an avid swimmer, I was quite offended at the comparison.

Timothy Kincaid
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

All following comments about waterboarding will be deleted.

Now back to the topic of the thread.

Jason D
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

Comment removed: not on topic

Burr
December 15th, 2009 | LINK

To be fair, I cringe at the notion of President DeMint.

And sorry, but allowing people the freedom to decide for themselves is NOT promoting anything!

It’s making some people’s marriages illegal that IS promoting an agenda.

How is this not more obvious to people?

Benjamin
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

I sometimes wish I could be born and raised in a future generation when creeps like this and their ideology are buried in the dust of the past. It will happen but it’s sure a slow pace. I envy future generations of LGBT and (the rest of society) who won’t have to put up with this insanity.

Jon Cason
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

PoMo>Don’t dare disagree with the
Democrats! It discredits your gayness…

I never actually said I was gay… Though I think I’d have a pretty good claim at it, if I wanted to claim something I’m not. I was told it’s only a matter of time before I become gay in the social circles I run.

Alex>I think it’s very myopic and defeatist to say that gay kids can’t dream of growing up to be president.

Well, we agree with both disagree with Mr. Burrows parting shot. The issue of Gay marriage is a complex one. Most gay people I associate with it’s not an issue, they Don’t want marriage. Let’s be honest, Marriage law for thousands of years has been designed for a male and a female to subsidize and support them as they make a family and raise children.

What they tell me they really want is some of the benefits, like hospital visitation rights, etc. The most vociferous advocates I know for gay marriage are heterosexual liberals, for whom the issue is about equality, not about what people want or need. But why should gay people submit to the liberal’s agenda and accept equality if that shoehorns them into the same ill-fitting box as the breeders?

Personally, I think what we should do is abolish government recognition of marriage. Completely. Let the churches handle the ceremony and enforce the commitment and social and moral aspects… Everything else marriage is can be handled with civil contracts, that can be custom fit to every couple (or small groups, if yer into that).

Legal boiler-plate templates could be made for the most common relationships can and customized as much as needed and wanted. In addition to codifying relationships of romantic love, this could easily be expanded to promote any number of other types of relationships. I’d love to see the tradition of blood brothers/sisters encouraged by means of making it easy (exactly what Jim DeMint fears)encoded into a civil contract.

Ultimately I’d love to see “Marriage” not be a government recognized word, except as a matter of a civil contract between two or more willing participants. Government shouldn’t care any more about who I love, neither should it care who heals me when I’m sick. The less powerful government is the more free we are to live the way we want. America was founded as a free country, we are far less free now than when we started. Why must we fight to place ourselves depper into the government’s control?

Timothy Kincaid
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Jon, Alex, etc.

When Jim said “Not every kid can dream of growing up to be president.”, this was not a defeatist reflection of Jim’s personal opinion. It was a snarky comment about how Jim DeMint’s attitude was towards the goals and dreams of children.

Where you saw defeatism, look again and you will find snark.

Jon,

Most gay people I associate with it’s not an issue, they Don’t want marriage. Let’s be honest, Marriage law for thousands of years has been designed for a male and a female to subsidize and support them as they make a family and raise children.

What they tell me they really want is some of the benefits, like hospital visitation rights, etc. The most vociferous advocates I know for gay marriage are heterosexual liberals, for whom the issue is about equality, not about what people want or need. But why should gay people submit to the liberal’s agenda and accept equality if that shoehorns them into the same ill-fitting box as the breeders?

Clearly you hang with a rather limited and specific group of gay folk. The gay folk I know (and trust me, I know a very conservative collection of gay folk) understand that equality is a bigger issue than gimmes. And, further, we know that equal treatment under the law is an intensely conservative notion. Unless your “gay friends” are limited to the handful of self-loathing members of GOPride, then I suspect that you are hearing something other than what they are telling you.

As for relegating the word “marriage” to churches, most gay folk would have no problem with that. There are probably a dozen churches within 10 minutes of where I sit that would happily declare me married.

But I’d caution you that this is not the best site for railing on and on about “liberals” or whining about the policies of the current administration. There are many sites at which “liberals” and “conservatives” scream at each other.

Not here.

We aren’t interested in political labels designed to inflame and irritate.

If you want to discuss the topics of our threads, you are very welcome. But the “liberal”-baiting is not.

Jason D
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, my comment was VERY on topic. It was in response to the criticism of Jim’s use of the word “insurgent”. If you’re going to remove my post, then you should also remove previous posts from Pomo and Jon Cason on the subject of the use of the word “insurgent” as well. Fair is fair.

Richard Rush
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Jon, I agree with you on the idea of separating religious marriage from civil contractual arrangements, and possibly custom contracts for different relationships.

But this particularly jumped out to me: “I’d love to see the tradition of blood brothers/sisters encouraged by means of making it easy (exactly what Jim DeMint fears)encoded into a civil contract.” Me too. My 91 year old mother has two dear friends who are sisters, and have lived together their entire lives. They are as worthy of a civil marriage contract as anyone.

The one thing that always troubles me about seeking marriage equality for gays (or siblings) is that I think about single people being in a less secure place than the rest of us. I know many single gay people who seemingly want partners, but for whatever reasons have been unsuccessful. So I avoid discussion of the marriage issue with them. Life can be tough for single people on several levels. This is one of the main reasons I support comprehensive health insurance reform, even though it won’t benefit me personally since I’m on Medicare now.

Burr
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Personally, I think what we should do is abolish government recognition of marriage. Completely. Let the churches handle the ceremony and enforce the commitment and social and moral aspects… Everything else marriage is can be handled with civil contracts, that can be custom fit to every couple (or small groups, if yer into that).

Absolutely agreed. Too bad that’s even less likely than same-sex marriage. People would take that as an even greater offense to the institution ironically, even though it would protect from government perversion.

For me marriage equality is more a matter of expediency.

Priya Lynn
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Give the churches control of something that was never theirs to begin with? Forget it. What do you propose atheists do in that scenario – forgo marriage altogether?

Burr
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

It doesn’t give them control.. All it gives them is the legally meaningless ceremony.

Richard Rush
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Yes, let the churches do what they do best, which is dealing in bullsh!t, and let the government deal with the substantive matters. Not that government doesn’t deal in bullsh!t too, but at least it’s not nearly 100% of the time.

Priya Lynn
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Burr, atheists want a marriage ceremony as well, you’re proposing that they be forced to go to a church for a ceremony is frankly obscene. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion, no one should ever be forced to go to a church for a marriage, people have a right to a non-religious marriage.

Further, marriage is far from a meaningless ceremony Burr, it provides a standard package of rights, obligations and benefits that would be a quagmire to negotiate one at a time. You want to forgo all that marriage entails then you’re free to do so, but your proposing to dictate to others what marriage should be is and always should be a non-starter.

Burr
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Uh.. nobody said anything about banning non-church marriage ceremonies.

The point is, the only thing that should matter is the legal registration of the contract (civil union/marriage/whatever you want to call it). Outside of that, do whatever the hell you want.

Francis+
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

I’m in a good position to comment on the marriage issue: I’m a priest.

[And just in passing, Richard Rush's "Yes, let the churches do what they do best, which is dealing in bullsh!t" is a complete violation of the Comments Policy.]

I’m in complete agreement with Jon Cason on separating religious-based marriage from any governmental/legal connection. As it stands right now, when I perform a marriage, which has for almost 20 centuries been considered a Sacrament of the Church, I have to have the permission of the County Clerk, who might be a Baptist or a Buddhist, an atheist or a Wiccan. Why should an elected official of a 200 year old government (if you live on the East Coast!) be able to tell me, as a priest, for whom I may or may not perform one of the Sacraments of the 2,000 year old Church?

For that matter, if I were the pastor of a Metropolitan Church congregation, I would be prohibited by law from perform marriages for the majority of my members– where did the government get that right?

My Church does not believe in gay marriage; the MCC does. Why should an elected County Clerk be able to decide that I´m right and the MCC pastor is wrong?

Prya Lynn writes, “atheists want a marriage ceremony as well, you’re proposing that they be forced to go to a church for a ceremony is frankly obscene. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion, no one should ever be forced to go to a church for a marriage, people have a right to a non-religious marriage.”

While I’m not sure why atheists would even want a Sacrament, there is absolutely no reason that they couldn’t have a a ‘marriage ceremony’. They need only have a friend get ordained by the Universal Life Church (google it). The ULC’s entire creed consists of “Do only that which is right”. They’ve been around since 1959, and you can get legally ordained for about $15. Note the key word “legally”… the federal courts have repeatedly ruled that it is legally a church, even if it doesn’t require belief. And, Priya Lynn, when you write “Further, marriage is far from a meaningless ceremony, it provides a standard package of rights, obligations and benefits that would be a quagmire to negotiate one at a time”, you are mistaken. Throughout much of Europe, couples get married, legally, by the equivalent of Justice of the Peace or County Clerk, and receive the Sacrament of Marriage from the Church.

In any case, I can assure you that there is absolutely nothing that I do during a wedding that gives the couple any legal rights or benefits at all. (Moral obligations– absolutely. But no legal ones that would hold up in a court of law.) That happens after the wedding, when I act as the County Clerk’s unpaid flunky, and the couple, the witnesses and I sign the governmental certificate for me to mail in to the County Clerk. The same piece of paper could be signed by the couple, the witnesses, and any Notary Public, and you would have the same “standard package of rights, obligations and benefits”. It’s already not part of the religious Sacrament of Marriage, so why making that clear, or having it done without a religious marriage ceremony, offends you escapes me.

You seem to be arguing that you want to have a marriage ceremony, which is a religious function, only without the religion. Well, what you’re describing is a legal contract, one which entails all the “standard package of rights, obligations and benefits”. Marriage ceremonies don’t do that, because the Church can’t– only the government can give you that standard package.

Marriage, by definition, is the means by which God blesses the relationship. (You can change the definition of “marriage ceremony” to exclude God, I suppose, just like you can change the definition of the word “bathtub” to exclude bathing, but without bathing a bathtub is just a planter, and without God a marriage ceremony is just a photo op.) And in any case, if you remove God, then you’re back to the legal contract… which is the government’s business, as religious ceremonies are the Church’s.

Alex
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn, you need to read people’s comments more carefully. You accuse Burr of saying that marriage is a meaningless ceremony, when in fact he clearly wrote that church marriage is a LEGALLY meaningless ceremony.

Priya Lynn
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Francis said “While I’m not sure why atheists would even want a Sacrament, there is absolutely no reason that they couldn’t have a a ‘marriage ceremony’. They need only have a friend get ordained by the Universal Life Church”

Of course atheists don’t want anything to do with your “sacrement” and for you to suggest they go to a church, the Universal Life church, for a marriage ceremony is to put it bluntly, stupid. Most, if not all atheists want a non-religious marriage and no way is anything related to any church going to do.

Francis said “You seem to be arguing that you want to have a marriage ceremony, which is a religious function, only without the religion.”.

No, it is not a religious ceremony, marriage was arround long before any religion existed. Religion has tried to co-opt a secular institution and claim it owns it but most certainly does not. You’re free to pretend you own religion, but you’re not free to force others to have a religious ceremony.

Francis said “Marriage, by definition, is the means by which God blesses the relationship.”

No, it isn’t. That’s your definition, but it most certainly isn’t the sole definition of marriage – take a look at a dictionary and see:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/marriage

Marriage by definition includes non-religious marriages.You are free to pretend that marriage is by definition solely a religious ceremony but that belief won’t make it true.

The existing institution of marriage as provided for by the government works pretty well for the majority of people. Its evolved over the centuries to handle all manner of legal, medical, and social situations. The government provision of this standard package of rights, obligations, and benefits serves a very useful purpose and it would be nonsensical for the government to back away from providing it under the title of marriage merely to please religious bigots.

Priya Lynn
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Alex said “Priya Lynn, you need to read people’s comments more carefully. You accuse Burr of saying that marriage is a meaningless ceremony, when in fact he clearly wrote that church marriage is a LEGALLY meaningless ceremony.”.

Alex what I was saying is that marriage as it now stands is far from a LEGALLY meaningless ceremony – it provides a standard package of rights, obligations, and benefits. This is a valuable and useful service and it would be a great loss to society if the government stopped providing it. For a couple to attempt to duplicate this as it stands through a series of contracts involving lawyers would be extremely expensive, complicated and time consuming with many opportunities for mistakes and oversights and even then they couldn’t contract with the government to provide them with the aspects of marriage that government currently provides. That would simply be inviting all manner of disasters in which all couples experience the sort of problems unmarried gay couples have run into because of their inability to marry. We don’t solve the problems of gay couples’ inability to marry by imposing the same problems on everyone.

Jason D
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

“Alex what I was saying is that marriage as it now stands is far from a LEGALLY meaningless ceremony”

Priya, don’t confuse the ceremony with the legal government institution.

A church may marry anyone it chooses to marry, regardless of state or federal laws — however, only SOME of those marriages will be legal, as the paperwork will only be able to be turned in for those the state allows.

The MCC and other churches do marriage ceremonies for same sex couples, but they can only register the union in states where it is legal to do so.

Meanwhile a straight couple doesn’t even have to have a ceremony, they can simply go in and fill out the paperwork, sign, have witnesses, and poof, married.

The ceremony is extra and contains no benefits or legal weight itself.

Priya Lynn
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Jason, I understand perfectly well the difference between the ceremony and the legal government instititution. If a straight couple wants to “go in and fill out the paperwork, sign, have witnesses”, that is a form of a ceremony in itself, albeit an extremely abreviated one.

Alex
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

We all know about the rights, obligations, and benefits of marriage. But what Burr was talking about is the church/religious ceremony of marriage, which is legally meaningless.

Priya Lynn
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Alex, what Jon, Burr, and Francis have proposed here is not simply preventing the government from providing a ceremony beyond “going in, filling out the paperwork, signing, and having witnesses”, but to abolish the government institution of marriage altogether. They’re proposing making marriage a legally meaningless ceremony which it most certainly is not at this point – that would be a tragedy. Many gay couples have been denied the right to see their loved ones in the hospital because they are not married. Often the surviving partner in a gay relationship has been thrown out of their home and had all their posessions taken by anti-gay family members because they are not married. A whole host of such egregious attacks have occurred because gay couples couldn’t marry and powers of attorneys, wills, and so on haven’t always helpe because nothing carries the currency of marriage. What Jon, Burr, and Francis are proposing as a “solution” to such problems are not to allow gay couples to marry, but to inflict all couples with these sort of disadvantages. Thats a really dumb idea.

Richard Rush
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

I think some of the problem here is with the definition of “contract.” As the word was used initially in these comments, I thought it was referring to civil marriage as it exists being a contract in the eyes of the law. I did NOT take it as meaning individual contracts drawn up by couples.

When I first read Jon’s comment referring to custom contracts I took it to mean custom, but standard, legal arrangements for different kinds of couples, such as siblings. Now, on re-reading, it looks like he may have been thinking, at least in part, of individual contracts.

My initial response to standard custom contracts for different kinds of couples is that it seems like creating the second class status of civil unions which are already proving to be problematical in tangible ways.

Maybe I’m missing it, but I don’t see where anyone is advocating the abolition of civil marriage in favor of contracts drawn up by each couple.

Priya Lynn
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Right here Richard:

Personally, I think what we should do is abolish government recognition of marriage. Completely. Let the churches handle the ceremony and enforce the commitment and social and moral aspects… Everything else marriage is can be handled with civil contracts, that can be custom fit to every couple (or small groups, if yer into that).

Jon said that and Burr “absolutely” agreed.

Richard Rush
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Priya, I see now what you mean. When reading it initially I just didn’t imagine he was literally advocating individually designed contracts. We all know that sometimes sloppy writing can convey something unintended. And somehow I doubt that Burr was “absolutely” agreeing with that, but maybe he will check back here and can clarify.

Priya Lynn
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

“Absolutely” was Burr’s word, not mine, but will wait and see if he suggests he meant something other than what it seems clear to me he was saying.

Jon Cason
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

TimK>Where you saw defeatism, look again and you will find snark.

You are a mind reader? Nice, congratulations, lucky devil. The only point I’d make is that three of us, along with the as the rest of the non-mind reading community would not be the only people with that interpetation.

It’s a quite a childishly lame rant considering Jim DeMint and the rest of the Republicans in both Houses have such thin majorities as to be almost, but not entirely irrelevant to any real law that might be considered. They were told they would be given access, they’d still have a voice… Then the first time they open their mouth to say what they thought, Obama told them it doesn’t matter what they said, “I win”. You lose. Go pout in the corner. Well, he did win a majority, and he’s perfectly entitled to do that, but you can’t blame Republicans for not offering alternatives when anything they say is rejected out of hand.

Yes, the Repblican party lost and lost big. Don’t pretend that they are given access to participate when they have to be 100% unified to oppose a super majority vote.

TimK>Clearly you hang with a rather limited and specific group of gay folk. The gay folk I know (and trust me, I know a very conservative collection of gay folk) understand that equality is a bigger issue than gimmes.

Perhaps my friends don’t perfectly represent all thought in the gay community. Pherhaps neither do yours. But I will tell you this, I live in a Blue state and I am the token Conservative.

TimK> And, further, we know that equal treatment under the law is an intensely conservative notion.

Yes it is, the Democrat party was after all the party that imposed the Jim Crow laws and opposed the Civil Rights Act. And the Republican party was founded as the Anti-Slavery party.

But Equal protection is an important principle I think most sane Americans agree with. Which is why I advocate the position I do. Limit government’s power in our lives. Put it in the hands of the people, give them the power to manage thier own lives, in this case through Civil law rather than State and Federal.

TimK>But I’d caution you that this is not the best site for railing on and on about “liberals” or whining about the policies of the current administration. There are many sites at which “liberals” and “conservatives” scream at each other.

TimK>Not here.
TIMK>We aren’t interested in political labels designed to inflame and irritate.

Oh, you are right.. I am sorry. I should take my tone from the editor, then? Who used such label-free well considered moderate, hate-free words such as “Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), tea-bagger and right-wing GOP insurgent, has ripped Ronald Reagan’s ‘big tent’ to shreds.”

I’ll follow his guide then? “President Barak Obama, the community organizer activist left-wing Democrat who won as an insurgent in his party agains the Clinton establishment, has ripped Bill Clinton’s as well as his own ‘most open and transparent governing’ to shreds, telling congressional republicans they’ve been trumped, and negociating the health care bill behind closed doors with Republicans as well as a supermajority of the American people locked out side”.

Is that more appropriate, matching the Editor’s tone? Or perhaps I should match your own tone as you insult my friends and associates in hypothetical voice?

I am asking because I don’t want to be hypocritical. Every time a the treatment of a major sex scandal on one side is compared to one on the other I hear how being hypocritical is a bigger political sin than adultery.

— Sorry everyone. The forums ate my posts the last few times I tried. I’m trying to catch up, with what limited time I have…

Priya Lynn
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Jon said “the Democrat party was after all the party that imposed the Jim Crow laws and opposed the Civil Rights Act. And the Republican party was founded as the Anti-Slavery party.”.

Ancient history, that’s irrelevant to the situation today where the roles are largely reversed. The Democratic party is the champion of minorities, and the Republican party is the champion of rich white men – that’s what matters today.

Jon Cason
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Priya>Give the churches control of something that was never theirs to begin with? Forget it. What do you propose atheists do in that scenario – forgo marriage altogether?

What I’m proposing is to give people control, and taking marriage away from government which took it from the people.

I hope you take some time to think about this next question and it’s full implications. Would you rather have a social institution governed by a voluntary association (You chose your religion and can join or leave, without as much as having to move), or an involuntary one? You don’t chose your country and changing it is always somewhat difficult or in some cases as close to impossible as it is possible for the despots to make it.

But the biggest problem you seem to be having is separating the interpersonal from the greater social repercussions. First off I’m not giving Religions anything, I’m giving people the ability to give something to
the religions they chose. I’m suggesting there is more than one standard one-size fits all package that has all sorts of awkward things bolted on to it to accommodate the majority while the minority suffers… Instead there should be multiple packages instead of one standard package of rights (granted by the individual, not by government) and obligations to your partner. Equality is found because the Government is agnostic to these marriages

Nothing in my plan requires a couple to have a church(or other social institutional) marriage. All the legal aspects of what has previously been known as marriage are left to standard civil interpersonal contracts. You’d only need to go to a Church(even social clubs and groups could offer their own ‘marriages’ if they cared to )…

They only time you’d need to would be for the social and moral aspects of marriage.

What the overall society needs from the complex social institution that has been known as marriage are 1) support of and subsidizing the raising the next generation of workers and taxpayers, 2) “ensure the domestic tranquility”, particularly in providing aggressive males with good reason not to engage in reckless activities. It is well documented that married males take much fewer dangerous risks, no doubt in large part because they have much more to lose than unmarried males of the same age. There may be a few other reasons but basically things along those lines are society’s interest in Marriage. Everything else is interpersonal, things that means so much to the individuals, but means little to nothing to the governing of a nation.

So why should Government be involved in it? Wedding ceremonies are very personal things, but the ceremonies themselves are not legally binding (which is the point Burr and others were making), it’s the legal documents that the government sees as the ‘Marriage’. There are Weddings today that have little or no ceremony, but they are still every bit a marriage under the law. So why should the government care what is going on as long as the two people involved consent to whatever agreement they do? Why should the government change how it deals with people because of commitments they’ve made to each other?

Priya>Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion, no one should ever be forced to go to a church for a marriage, people have a right to a non-religious marriage.

Freedom of religion is found no where in the either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution (including the Amendments). What the law says is that Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion. Government cannot legislate in or out of existence or influence. There is no provision for personal protection from religion in the founding Documents of this country. Regardless, what I am proposing does not force anyone to subscribe to a religion, only if they want the social benefits such institutions (may or may not in your own opinion) provide.

Alex
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

“Freedom of religion is found no where in the either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution (including the Amendments). What the law says is that Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion.”

Jon,

Oops, I think you missed the second part of that sentence: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.”

Priya Lynn
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Jon said “Would you rather have a social institution governed by a voluntary association (You chose your religion and can join or leave, without as much as having to move)…First off I’m not giving Religions anything, I’m giving people the ability to give something to
the religions they chose.”….You’d only need to go to a Church”.

Jon, surely you can’t be that dense. I don’t want anything to do with any church, I don’t want to “give something” to any religion, I don’t choose a religion and I’m not going to a church for any marriage.

I think taking marriage away from the government (which is by the people) and forcing people into a mishmash of complicated contracts is a dumb idea from the word go and you won’t sell me or the vast majority of people on it under any circumstances. The experience of all manner of gay couples has shown powers of attorneys, wills, contracts and the like are fraught with all manner of problems and none of them carry the currency of marriage.
The way to resolve this problem is to allow gay people to marry, not to inflict all of society with the problems a lack of marriage causes.

If you think there is no such thing as freedom of religion in your country and freedom from religion you are virtually alone in this. Practically no one takes that idea seriously. Take your religion and stuff it.

Burr
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Oops.. I didn’t realize the thread had continued this far without me.

I didn’t really detail my position, but I wasn’t necessarily advocating a “mishmash of contracts” to replace marriage. However, the only reason such contracts are inadequate is because the government blessed package of marriage is the only contract universally recognized and unquestioned. If nobody’s relationship was inherently held above all others, then it would be a far more workable construct, and if everyone needed such services, then the lawyer fees would no longer be prohibitive (plus for many a fill in the blank contract would be enough).

As it is, state-packaged marriage is one-size-fits-all that does not fit very many folks and actually means very different things in the various states as far as custody rights and reparations in divorce goes.

To me it’s incredibly irritating that the only way to secure the handful of rights and responsibilities I’d like to share with my significant other is through this one-size-fits-all deal. I shouldn’t have to submit to other people’s definition of my relationship to do such simple things as hospital visitation and willing my property (without the government as a thieving middleman).

Jon Cason
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Alex> Oops, I think you missed the second part of that sentence: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.”

I’ll accept that friendly amendment.

Priya>Jon, surely you can’t be that dense. I don’t want anything to do with any church, I don’t want to “give something” to any religion, I don’t choose a religion and I’m not going to a church for any marriage.

I never said you had to. You and your partner can sign your marriage papers and file them. Only difference is your marriage papers will be the package of laws that you and you partner with to commit to, rather than a generic placeholder contract that a third party (the government) can re-interpret and change without either of your partner’s consent. You can have whatever ceremony or no ceremony, with whatever institution or no institution at all to back your commitment. All I want is to get the third party out from between you and your partner. Please tell me what is the harm in that?

Priya>I think taking marriage away from the government (which is by the people)

*laughs* Ideally, yes, but do tell me this. If the Government really is The People… Why is Congress trying to force a Health care bill that 60% of The American People oppose?

Priya> forcing people into a mishmash of complicated contracts is a dumb idea from the word go and you won’t sell me or the vast majority of people on it under any circumstances.

I can see you are too close-minded to consider radical new ideas unless they involve greater government control and less personal control. You yourself described mariage as a standard package. My proposal merely allows there to be more than one standard package. It allows people to chose the commitment package what they want, and gets government out of your bedroom, as it is no longer a government issue, it’s a civil issue between you and your partner alone.

Priya> The experience of all manner of gay couples has shown powers of attorneys, wills, contracts and the like are fraught with all manner of problems and none of them carry the currency of marriage.

They’ll have to when there is no currency of Marriage to compete against. This neededn’t be any more difficult to chose between a few commonly used packages. I thought equality was most important…

Priya> If you think there is no such thing as freedom of religion in your country and freedom from religion you are virtually alone in this. Practically no one takes that idea seriously. Take your religion and stuff it.

It doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is that is the law this country is founded on. I can’t help it if you don’t agree with the law.

Désirée
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

Jon,
while clearly, the libertarian solution you outlined here is the best solution (as most libertarian solutions are) unfortunately, it requires a level of personal responsibility that most people don’t want (as with most libertarian solutions). So while that solution offers the best options for *all* people, the masses would never go for it. They want the government to solve all their problems instead. Sadly, that’s the world we live in.

Priya Lynn
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

Alex said “Oops, I think you missed the second part of that sentence: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.”

Jon said “I’ll accept that friendly amendment.”

I said “If you think there is no such thing as freedom of religion in your country and freedom from religion you are virtually alone in this. Practically no one takes that idea seriously. Take your religion and stuff it.

Jon said “It doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is that is the law this country is founded on. I can’t help it if you don’t agree with the law.”.

So when Alex points out the law says there is freedom of religion you’re going to agree with him, but when I point that out you’re going to idiotically say “I can’t help you if you don’t agree with the law”. Sometimes people are more about disagreeing with someone they don’t like than speaking what they know to be the truth.

Jon, its clear your motivation is all about appeasing the bigoted religious people and neutering the government, and imposing hardship on all couples to do it. You’re severely deluded if you think you’re ever going to convince me that’s a good idea.

Contrary to what you said you aren’t proposing to change marriage from one standard package into “more than one standard package”, you’re talking about abolishing marriage altogether. Once you replace marriage with a highly variable series of contracts no one will have any clue on the face of it what a couples relation to each other means. If one is in the hospital and the partner comes in the hospital staff will need a lawyer sorting through reams of paper and legaleze to decide whether or not one should be allowed to make medical decisions for the other or even be allowed to visit. We’ve seen with gay couples that this doesn’t work, partners get prohibited from visiting their sick spouse or making medical decisions for them. Sometimes anti-gay family comes in and because the family relationship includes a standard package of rights, obligations, and benefits they are allowed to make medical decisions for the sick partner and have been known to do so against the sick person’s best interests. Gay couples have wills but because they aren’t married in some cases anti-gay family members have come in and legally been allowed to throw the surviving partner out of the house they’ve been in and take all their possessions throwing the surviving spouse out in the cold. This is the sort of thing you’re proposing to possibly allow to happen to all couples, its a bad, bad, bad idea.

If you think replacing marriage with legal contracts is a good idea no one’s preventing you and anyone who thinks like you from doing just that. Go ahead, knock yourself out, but don’t think you should be assuming to take control of what marriage is from people who like it as is and tell them what the can or can’t have. How hypocritical of you to talk about the status quo to be about greater government control and less personal control. Most people now have the personal control to do exactly what you propose as well as the personal control to accept marriage as it is. It is you who’s proposing to take control away from them by denying them what marriage is currently.

Jon Cason
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

Priya>So when Alex points out the law says there is freedom of religion you’re going to agree with him, but when I point that out you’re going to idiotically say “I can’t help you if you don’t agree with the law”. Sometimes people are more about disagreeing with someone they don’t like than speaking what they know to be the truth.

Alex added That Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion to my quoting the “non-establishment clause”. Bring the full quote to “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

Congress shall make no laws prohibiting the free exercise thereof. You are free to exercise all the religion you want to. That includes zero, but you are not free to limit anyone else’s exercise of religion. So I agree there is Freedom OF religion, but no Freedom FROM religion.

Priya>If one is in the hospital and the partner comes in the hospital staff will need a lawyer sorting through reams of paper and legaleze to decide whether or not one should be allowed to make medical decisions for the other or even be allowed to visit.

You are being absurd. If your contracts are not clear about such things you deserve what you get.

At what point did we allow government to steal away our right to decide for ourselves beforehand who can and cannot visit us in the hospital? Why are you so adamant against taking it back? What do you have against empowerment?

Priya>We’ve seen with gay couples that this doesn’t work, partners get prohibited from visiting their sick spouse or making medical decisions for them.

This just in. Sometimes it happens to heterosexual couples and family members too. If you don’t file for power of attorney, wills, living trusts, etc… while the patient is deemed mentally competent, you can and will be excluded from making critical decisions about your loved one. This isn’t just a homosexual issue. The whole system is broken and needs to be reformed. Relying on Marriage as a one size fits some, but we can change what marriage means without telling you … Is just not working for anyone.

I’m not chaning Marriage into a legal contract. Marriage already is a legal contract, has been for longer than this country has been a country. That is why you have to file papers to a judge and have to file papers to a judge as well as likely go to trial to settle any disputes. All I want is to get the Federal and State governments out of it, move anything that they do that is of value to civil law where it can be managed by the individuals instead of the Government. It’s really not that big of a change tho what marriage is, but it takes out a meddlesome third party that has no business between you and your partner.

g_whiz
January 7th, 2012 | LINK

Betcha he really dislikes slavery then…

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.