A positive shift towards equality

I am gaining more and more hope for the end of bigotry against the LGBT community, first with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and now with President Obama directing the Justice Department not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. This article in the NY Times online expresses reactions from both sides.

Conservatives argue that now is not the time for such a bold move because other issues, such as the economy, are far more important. I say for exactly that reason now is the right time (actually, I think it’s well past due, but that’s beside the point). It takes more energy, more money to fight against something than to allow it to happen. Do conservatives really think it’s worth our country’s resources to stand so strongly against gay marriage? Or would they prefer we focus on getting our economy back in order, lowering the unemployment rate, creating new jobs, etc.?

I have never understood the desire to fight so strongly against gay marriage.  I have yet to hear a valid argument. Please tell me who this hurts. Joe and Bob down the street getting married is not going to affect Jim and Sue’s relationship. And if it does, well Jim and Sue have a lot of other problems bigger than gay marriage.

I’m not telling Christian churches that I think they should start performing gay marriage ceremonies. I still believe in everyone’s right to their own beliefs. If your religion says that homosexuality is a sin and that’s what you believe, go for it. I don’t really care. But please remember that one of the foundations of our constitution is freedom of religion and that means that the rest of the country does not have to agree with you. You can’t use a biblical argument to fight a government issue.

I don’t know how much more clear we can get than the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long-established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Read it. Read it again. And then please try to tell me how anyone in the United States of America has the right to tell an adult couple that they cannot get married.

Kudos to Obama for doing what’s right, for making a stand for what is constitutional, for what is American. I have hope that it won’t be long before we truly see equal rights for all.

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16 responses to this post.

  1. So you won’t mind if a Republican President decides Roe v Wade is unconstitutional and won’t defend it? Precedents are a serious thing.

    “Do conservatives really think it’s worth our country’s resources to stand so strongly against gay marriage? Or would they prefer we focus on getting our economy back in order, lowering the unemployment rate, creating new jobs, etc. etc.?”

    That argument cuts both ways. Why are Dems pushing for this with so many bigger problems going on?

    Gays can get married in apostate churches all they like. I don’t know a single conservative trying to keep them from loving each other, living together, making commitments, etc. The question is whether the gov’t should confer special recognition and benefits on those relationships. But the previous question is why gov’t got involved with any marriage to begin with. The answer: One man / one woman unions, by nature and design, produce the next generation.

    As far as who it hurts, read a few of my roundup posts. People are forced to let gay couples stay in their B&B’s even though their religious views oppose that. Kindergarteners are taught how “normal” gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender orientations are. In the UK, a Christian couple was told they couldn’t be foster parents because they wouldn’t teach the politically correct views on gays. How long until biological parents will be deemed unfit if they won’t teach the pro-gay lobby lines?

    Reply

    • “So you won’t mind if a Republican President decides Roe v Wade is unconstitutional and won’t defend it? Precedents are a serious thing.”

      As soon as someone shows me a non-religious, logical argument for how Roe v. Wade could be unconstitutional, no I won’t mind. Precedents are a serious thing . . . That could get a whole new ball rolling on the abortion argument, but this is about something different . . .

      There is a difference between fighting for liberty and fighting against it. I urge everyone to fight for their rights. If you want to argue that government should have no involvement in marriage at all . . . which would mean no joint tax filing, no benefitting from your spouse’s health insurance, etc. for anyone . . . I can understand that view a bit more. I’m concerned with equal treatment. Religious marriage may very well be between one man and one woman. I don’t understand why so many people seem to forget “freedom of religion” and “separation between church and state”. I don’t think any church should be forced to marry gay couples. They’re entitled to their opinions as much as I am, but there are plenty of other places that a gay couple would be welcomed to marry. Why keep them from that? Why keep them from the same rights given to straight couples?

      “The answer: One man / one woman unions, by nature and design, produce the next generation.”

      Should infertile couples not be allowed to married because they can’t produce the next generation?

      “Kindergarteners are taught how “normal” gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender orientations are.”

      My daughter is in Kindergarten. There is a child in her class with two mommies. The only reason she would even be aware of that is if that child told her, which I’m guessing he didn’t because my daughter is very inquisitive and talks to me about everything. Her school has not discussed it any which way. The fact is that sexuality in any sense should not be discussed with Kindergartners at school. That’s a parent’s job and they can tell their kids what they wish. I will tell my child that two people loving each other is never wrong.

      But if you want to make sure that your child is NEVER exposed to the possibility that homosexuality is okay, I suggest a religious school where you can be completely free to teach religious viewpoints and religious morals.

      I had to look up the incident in the UK, as I was unfamiliar with it. I don’t agree with that either. I’m not sure why there has to be one extreme or the other. In most of the the US same sex couples are not allowed joint adoption. Pennsylvania is the only state that allows adoption of a legal partner’s child. I think it’s wrong to discriminate against any couple trying to adopt or foster based on religious beliefs. I am against discrimination, not just discrimination against homosexuals.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Joiane on March 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    @ Neil

    I don’t like your hair. As a matter of fact it goes against my religion. In my bible it says that you are evil because of the color. You’re sick? Really thats too bad. Because your hair is against my religion I’m not allowing you to have healthcare. I’m also not going to allow you to file your taxes with your “spouse”. I’m going to shield my children and family from you. Since your offspring may be exposed to your hair they will also not be allowed to attend my countries schools. If allowed they will not be able to speak of you. Because you may think that it’s unfair to be discriminated against because of such a small detail of your life that shouldn’t matter to others I’m also going to prevent you from doing normal things that other Americans take for granted. You will not be able to serve our country or display the affection of someone else with your hair type. You will not be able to participate in functions as a family with your child at huge moments in their life because let’s face it, no one wants to see anyone who might have hair like that. It’s disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself. Now I know that should we allow you to marry and be a normal part of society that you and others like you will be able to participate fully in our community. This would help things like our economy. After all you won’t be discriminated at job interviews or at job fairs. For some of your “people” it’s easy to hide your hair, but for others like yourself it just kind of stands out. But I’ll tell you what. Hide your hair and try to be like the “others” when you can accomplish that and you “seem normal” remember to keep your home life a strict secret. As long as you abide by these rules your life will be semi-normal. Just because your hair is something you were born with doesn’t mean that you should be able to live life in peace like that. Just forget about ever being yourself. We don’t live in that kind of society.

    Reply

  3. “As soon as someone shows me a non-religious, logical argument for how Roe v. Wade could be unconstitutional, no I won’t mind. ”

    You missed the point. Do you like the precedent that the President can pick and choose which laws to enforce regardless of what the Congress and the courts have said, or not?

    BTW, do some research and you’ll find that even pro-choice experts know RvW had errors and was bad law. It probably got in the way of pro-abort advances because it was so extreme. It said that we don’t know when life begins, which is really, really bad science (any mainstream, non-religious embryology textbook will note that it begins at conception –http://tinyurl.com/ykeex9e ).

    ““The answer: One man / one woman unions, by nature and design, produce the next generation.”

    Should infertile couples not be allowed to married because they can’t produce the next generation?”

    I was so sure you’d respond with that that I almost put in a pre-emptive answer: Married couples aren’t required to have children, and exceptions make bad rules. But just because the relationships don’t have to have children, my statement stands: one man / one woman unions by nature and design produce children.

    ” The fact is that sexuality in any sense should not be discussed with Kindergartners at school. That’s a parent’s job and they can tell their kids what they wish.”

    I’m glad we definitely agree on that. But the gay lobby sees it in a radically different light. They think they must reach the kids while they are young and impressionable and to keep the parents out of it.

    ” I will tell my child that two people loving each other is never wrong.”

    I agree, assuming you mean “love” in the sense of having people’s long term best interests at heart. But if you mean love expressed in sexual terms, I can think of a whole bunch of examples where two people doing that is a bad idea.

    Joi, I stopped reading halfway through your comment. As best I can tell it trades on the fallacy that things like skin color and sexual preferences are similar. Aside from having no science proving that, it is obvious to me that skin color (or hair color, or whatever) is morally neutral but sexual behavior is not.

    And your argument is a straw-man. I’m not trying to prevent gays from having relationships. I’ve written over 2,000 posts on my blog and you won’t find a hint of that. I’m just opposed to teaching kids that these preferences are normal, pretending that marriage isn’t just a union of one man and one woman, reducing or eliminating religious freedoms, etc.

    Reply

    • “You missed the point. Do you like the precedent that the President can pick and choose which laws to enforce regardless of what the Congress and the courts have said, or not?”

      I didn’t miss the point. I stand by my original statement. There is a logical and non-religious argument for why DOMA is unconstitutional. Obama has not ordered the courts not to enforce, just that our country’s resources won’t go to defending it when law suits are filed calling it unconstitutional. So I’ll repeat, as soon as someone shows me a non-religious, logical argument for how Roe v. Wade could be unconstitutional, no I won’t mind a republican president not defending it against attack, so long as he upholds the actual law . . . as Obama is doing.

      BTW, are you really using a statement made in 1964 to back up your argument? But I digress, that is, once again, not the topic of this blog.

      “I was so sure you’d respond with that that I almost put in a pre-emptive answer: Married couples aren’t required to have children, and exceptions make bad rules. But just because the relationships don’t have to have children, my statement stands: one man / one woman unions by nature and design produce children.”

      If you want to keep marriage as a completely religious institution, then I have no problem with that statement. I won’t repeat what I already said. The point above still stands when it comes to the government’s involvement.

      A relationship between a man and a woman produced my now 8 year old nephew. That man took off to another state on his son’s second birthday, while he was in the hospital. His mother later met and fell in love with another woman and for the past 5 years that woman has been taking care of and loving my nephew as if he were her own child. They are a family. No if, ands, or buts about it. Maybe they did not physically “produce” that child together, but they are raising and loving that child together and he is a healthy, intelligent, and talented little boy.

      “I’m glad we definitely agree on that. But the gay lobby sees it in a radically different light. They think they must reach the kids while they are young and impressionable and to keep the parents out of it.”

      Can you show me where you’ve seen this? I have not once noticed anyone advocating teaching young children about sexuality at all in schools. I’ve also not seen anyone advocate to keep parents out of their child’s education.

      “I agree, assuming you mean “love” in the sense of having people’s long term best interests at heart. But if you mean love expressed in sexual terms, I can think of a whole bunch of examples where two people doing that is a bad idea.”

      When I say love, I mean love. Sex can be an expression of love . . . that’s a completely different conversation though. There is a huge difference between sexuality or sexual orientation and sex.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Joiane on March 6, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    You would stop reading half way through. Hahahahaha

    I don’t need scientific evidence to tell me that being a GLBT is something you are born with. I see it with my eyes. In my family I have an Aunt, a cousin, myself and others that wish to be nameless. My partners family also has a trending source of confirmation to prove my theory.

    As for what we teach our children…. At a young age I was taught that being straight was “how it was done” so for years I denied myself the right to be happy. I think just as we teach our children that a man can love a woman that we should also teach them that love has no boundaries, that sometimes a man can love a man, and a woman can love a woman. My son is very well of this fact. Not because it’s been shoved down his throat but because we allow him to see that my partner and I love each other. We allow him to see that My brother fell in loved and married a woman. We allow him to see our gay friends kiss another man. And you know what? He think Willow Smith is smokin’ hot 🙂 . So yes I agree that at a young impressionable age we should reach our children and show them that families can consist of many different varieties. We should teach them that love rules all and that to feel one way or another for a human being is not something to be ashamed of, it is just as normal as any other combination of love.

    I’d like to find a gay lobbyist who fits your theory. Have you ever tried looking at the other side of the fence? Have you ever tried, just once, wondering what it was like to love someone that wasn’t “ok” with societies standards. Love is love. How you separate sexually and emotionally is not only disturbing but also repulsive. I love my partner, and I can promise you that I love her intimately, spiritually, and sexually. To assume that any of the ways I love her is wrong shows just how cold a person can be.

    We live in a world where people are losing loved ones to bombs, poverty and natural disasters. It is people like you Neil who will continue to rip apart people when we should be doing everything to repair the love that is left in the world.

    I have learned a thing or two in my time. One of which is this:
    When faced with someone who is homophobic or rather someone like you, there is often something to be learned. In most cases it’s that your afraid. Afraid to face something that you have been taught from a young age: diversity is dangerous. It makes people think and sometimes realize that they may be different from what they were molded to be. It’s ok Neil. I will accept you no matter which way you love. Be it a woman or man. 🙂

    Reply

  5. Posted by Joiane on March 6, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    I’d like to add also that I don’t expect any of my comments to “rattle your being” or change your perception. You’ve been molded already and brainwashing is hard to undo. The only accomplishment I hope to have made is thought. I hope that when you lay in bed at night and think about what you’ve read. Not just from me but from my sister in law as well. Maybe on your commute to work or on your morning jog, what I have typed may replay in your mind. When the realization comes to you about what it is your afraid of (love, emotion, affection, etc.) that you remember my name, and you remember that it was a married lesbian with a family living in suburban America that has you pondering your deepest thoughts. And when you snap back to your reality and find a snappy comeback for my comments, just know that this is the last you’ll hear from me on this entry. I have a family to take care of. I thought maybe tonight I would subject my son to some lesbian cuddles in front of a family appropriate movie 🙂

    Reply

  6. “It is people like you Neil who will continue to rip apart people when we should be doing everything to repair the love that is left in the world.”

    Such hyperbole. For thousands of years societies around the world labeled unions of one man and one woman as “marriage,” and because I can see obvious things like how by nature and design only those relationships produce children then I am ripping people apart?

    “Have you ever tried, just once, wondering what it was like to love someone that wasn’t “ok” with societies standards.”

    Sure. People discriminate on skin color, and that is wrong. I wouldn’t care if my daughters married guys from another race.

    Homophobia is a petty pejorative designed to silence the opposition. Sadly, it works on many people, but I find it cowardly. I know lots of gays and get along great with them. I just love them too much to lie and say that the lifestyle isn’t physically, spiritually and emotionally destructive.

    I’m all about diversity. I worshiped at a church that had people from more countries than I could count. I just don’t throw sexual choices in the diversity bucket.

    Re. orientation — the attempts to prove genetic links have all failed (which is probably good, because considering all the other reasons given for abortion I guarantee that most hetero parents would abort babies diagnosed as being gay or having predispositions to being gay). Just because the factors are in place at a young age — bad relationships, abuse, rebellion — doesn’t mean they are genetic. Too many people can and do change either direction.

    Reply

    • They also haven’t been able to “prove” a genetic link for autism, but I can tell you from the many years that I worked with autistic kids that there were very, very few occassions where there weren’t other members in the family with an autism spectrum disorder. What Joi failed to mention about her homosexual family members is that she didn’t meet them until she was an adult and after she came out, because her dad was adopted. It was not “taught” to her.

      I didn’t grow up around any homosexuals that I’m aware of. I never chose to be bi-sexual. I never chose to be physically attracted to women as well as men. But guess what, I am. It just is what it is. It’s not a matter of changing direction. It’s a matter of accepting who I am.

      Reply

  7. “BTW, are you really using a statement made in 1964 to back up your argument?”

    RvW’s claim that we don’t know when life begins was made in 1973. Science was clear before and since that a new human being is created at conception. That is a clear error of fact that is non-religious, but you are deliberately ignoring it.

    “There is a logical and non-religious argument for why DOMA is unconstitutional.”

    In your opinion there is, but that isn’t how law enforcement is supposed to work. You could pick any topic and find people on either side claiming something is unconstitutional. It isn’t the President’s role to decide.

    “I never chose to be bi-sexual.”

    People have all sorts of preferences that come naturally to them. Some are moral, some are not. The fact that they didn’t “choose” the preference is irrelevant.

    ” I have not once noticed anyone advocating teaching young children about sexuality at all in schools”

    I encourage you to expand your reading horizons. I expose myself to plenty of conservative and liberal media sources (not Fox / Rush / Beck, btw, not that there’s anything wrong with that). Here’s just one where they want to teach transgenderism to kindergarteners in Canada — http://tinyurl.com/469euot . Do some searching and you’ll find more examples, including those in the U.S. Here’s the agenda many are following — http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mbarber/080213 .

    You can have the last word.

    Reply

  8. Thank you for being oh so generous in giving me the last word on my blog post.

    I’m not deliberately ignoring anything. I have not found one single non-biased piece of evidence supporting what you say. I read plenty from all sides of the fence. In fact, not that it really matters, I’m not a democrat. I’m also not really fond of redundancy, so I won’t repeat myself on point I’ve already made.

    “People have all sorts of preferences that come naturally to them. Some are moral, some are not. The fact that they didn’t “choose” the preference is irrelevant.”

    I find prejudice and bigotry to be immoral.

    Sexual orientation is not a “preference”. Why would anyone “prefer” to live the hardships that come with being homosexual?

    Reply

  9. Don’t worry too much about Neil, Dayle. He is a sincere but sad and frightened man. I believe he honestly is trying to stand up for good, it’s just that he’s not very good at it. He conflates HIS interpretation of “good” with God’s ideals and that gives him the boldness to think he can go around and tell everyone else they’re not good and why.

    While his faith tradition is actually about grace and love, he and his tribe are trying their best to make it about fear and condemnation. I have hope that he’ll grow into his faith one day and accept its higher teachings.

    I came by your blog by way of Neil’s blog, from which I’ve been banned from speaking for the sin of disagreeing with his holiness.

    I love your blog quote from Stephen Crane. “I shall be a Toad.” What’s that from?

    Reply

    • Thank you for stopping by and adding your thoughts!

      I don’t mind disagreements. I enjoy the debate. I just tend to get irritated when nothing new is said.

      I started skimming through your blog and I will certainly revisit it. My spiritual path has been a very winding one . . . Maybe I’ll write on that some day . . . I enjoy hearing about other people’s faith. I want to learn about all that is out there. But I can’t seem to find the tolerance when I see an over abundance of judgment. I’m not hugely well versed in bible quotes, but didn’t Jesus say, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”?

      Stephen Crane has been one of my favorite poets since college. The quote is actually the poem in its entirety. He doesn’t title his poetry, so they’re usually indexed by the first lines.

      Reply

  10. Yes, Jesus DID say that. What is interesting (and off-putting) to me is how fixated some of our religious brothers and sisters (from all faiths) have tended to fixate on one rather small group of behaviors (ie, sex “sins”) to harp on. You may or may not know this, but of ALL the behaviors and actions Jesus addressed in the Bible, and all the people he dealt with, he reserved his HARSH criticism for religious hypocrites.

    This woman in the story where Jesus says, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” was accused of adultery. She apparently had many different lovers. Presumably, the men involved in these affairs were ALSO committing adultery. But in the story, the religious folk were only focusing on this woman – not the men – and they were insisting on a stoning as the only way to deal with the “seriousness” of the perceived bad behavior involved.

    By their standards, the woman (AND men) were sinning. If she had multiple partners, it may appear that she was promiscuous or perhaps caught in tough times in a patriarchal society and doing what she could do to get by, we don’t really know the details. But the point I’m getting to is, whatever the reasons, Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” From the text, it sounds like a very loving response and salvation to her imminent attack from the religious zealots.

    Neither do I condemn you, he said. He appears, at least to me, to be only concerned about her safety and well-being, not her perceived sexual sins.

    But this area of sexuality seems to be the major focus of many religious types throughout history.

    Never mind that Jesus and the Bible have MUCH more to say about the sins of greed, oppression, failing to care for the poor and religious hypocrisy than they do about sexuality. Never mind that the focus of Christianity is upon grace, not condemnation.

    Some folk who believe they are saved by God’s grace have chosen to live lives that, unfortunately, too often are marked by a lack of grace and a presence of condemnation.

    Blind guides. Fools. Hypocrites. Snakes! These are how Jesus refers to we religious types who lose sight of that grace by which we are saved.

    I know I too often find myself lacking in grace, myself. Still, it is the right ideal to cling to, seems to me.

    It’s just not that easy, especially when dealing with folk who seem to be lacking in it themselves.

    Sorry for the rambling response.

    Reply

    • No need to apologize at all! I appreciate your perspectives. It seems to me that I lack credibility (in the eyes of many) to make those same arguments because I am a self professed non-religious type. The truth of it is that I have a lot of respect for Christian teachings. I grew up surrounded by them and while my path may have changed course a few (or 100) times, I still hold firm with those core values. “Do unto others as you have them do unto you.” And so forth. I don’t need 1000 scriptures to tell me to treat my fellow human beings with respect and to take care of the earth that I live on and the animals that occupy it. Do I falter sometimes? Of course. We are human after all. I’ve never claimed perfection. I don’t expect anyone else to either. The point is to do the best when can and to work towards getting better. Progress not perfection.

      Reply

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