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Good Job, Backwards Hicks of Maine

The rest of New England (except Rhode Island) is embarrassed by you, Maine. Go back to Canada.

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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97 Comments

  1. I’m sorry. I was out numbered and it really pisses me off that the majority could vote on whether to give people civil rights. I’m honestly embarrassed by Maine right now.

    That said, I’m not giving up and neither are activists here. We’ll succeed it’s just going to take longer than it should.

  2. “No one in my family is gay – at least that I’m aware of — but I just don’t think anyone has the right to tell someone who they’re allowed to love or who their allowed to marry ,” she said. “[Same-sex marriage] has just got to come back.”

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    The AP is a bunch of illiterate high school kids now? Or did they just scrape up a bunch blog comments before hitting the pub?

    This is a setback, but these unjust marriage laws will not last forever. My grandkids will look back and wonder what it was like to live in a society that could openly discriminate like this, like I sometimes do about my parents’ generation.

  3. Question: what if you are Libertarian and against the government recognizing any kind of marriage? Why would I expand something I do not agree with? Why should anyone who is married (same-sex or not) have any different filing status for taxes? Are you living in the US, using its roads, schools, etc.? Then you pay for it – the same as everyone else.

  4. 1) As many people have said already, how can we put civil rights to a vote?

    2) Isn’t this obviously a religious issue? Is there a single non-religious reason to be opposed to people you will never meet and in no way have anything to do with you being able to visit their partner in the ICU? No. So since when do we vote on whether or not to make EVERYONE live according to the religious beliefs of some?

    This is stupid, and ought to be (if it isn’t) unconstitutional. Tuesday was a sad day for american democracy. Shame on you, Maine, for thinking this is going to get you into heaven.

  5. As @No Comfort in Lies: just said, human rights should not have to depend on the whims of public opinion. If it were not for Loving v. Virginia (1967) how long would it have been before every anti-miscegenation law in the United States was finally overturned by the voters?

    What happened yesterday in Maine makes me sick, but I’d hate to think of how many states we would need to drop before we are left with just the ones that have a majority population who are supportive of gay marriage. Remember California?

  6. @jreedgt: Because marriage exists and people are being discriminated against. Your views are clearly from someone sitting atop his priviliged perch, not in any way affected by this vote.

    I know someone who was married to his same-sex partner in Maine.

    Guess what?

    He’s now been told his marriage is a lie.

    Do you know how that feels? No, of course you don’t. Because you’re a “libertarian”.

  7. @No Comfort in Lies:

    Isn’t this obviously a religious issue?

    Not really. The Bible is pretty vague and contradictory (on every subject, not just homosexuality). What it mostly comes down to is that some people think gay male sex is yucky, and they use their religion as cover.

    There’s also an aspect of homophobia that is closely related to anti-feminism and gender roles. I was gonna get into that, but I realized it would be a really long post and no one would read it.

  8. @Zapski: Marriage is not going to be abolished any time soon. If you don’t vote for gay marriage, you’re voting against gay marriage and for discrimination. I’m also tired of people going, “Well *I* don’t believe in marriage!”

    Guess what? Some people do. And THESE people are being discriminated against.

  9. @jreedgt:

    The problem is, this isn’t about marriage; it’s about discrimination. One of the reasons I never got too involved with libertarianism is that sometimes it’s so idealistic that it ignores reality. I actually agree that our entire marriage system is kind of broken, and I think that theoretically the government shouldn’t be involved in any marriages at all. We should have civil unions for any couple, and leave marriage to the churches. However, as marilove pointed out, marriage does happen. That’s reality. And because it’s available to some people, it must be available to everyone. Denying marriage rights to gay people will not help in your ultimate goal of getting rid of marriage completely.

  10. Why do we even call our system of domestic laws “Marriage”? What if we let the Christians have their Marriage back as a wholly religious structure, and create a robust domestic partnership contract structure to handle the government/legal side of it? You fill out your paperwork, get it signed by the proper legal-sorts, and then if your religious you go to your cult headquarters of choice and have a “Marriage” and if not you take fam and friends to the nearest bar and have a party. Then the “Gay Marriage Issue” Becomes a ceremonial-church issue and has nothing to do with the legal system, or Government at all.

  11. @capheind: Can we stop with these nonsense theories that have no basis in current reality?

    Let’s pretend, as a bisexual woman, I want to get married to another woman (my desire to get married is debatable, but I’d probably marry a woman before a man). These theories only further hurt me, because the reality is: Marriage exists and it is discriminatory to me as it exists now. These theories are generally batted around by people who *aren’t* affected by these votes, and it’s getting extremely frustrating. Whenever there is a talk about gay marriage, there is inevitably some “libertarian” who says, “I’m not a bigot, but, I voted no, because I don’t believe in marriage!” (Talk about a slap in the face!) Or, “I’m not a bigot, but I didn’t vote at all, because I don’t believe in marriage!” (Again, talk about a slap in the face! Thanks for supporting the bigots because of some theory of yours!)


    Look, I’m going to copypasta what James Sweet said in a thread yesterday in PZ Myer’s blog, because he says it far better than I can. It’s comment #90.

    Maybe it is because I am not directly affected, but in my mind there is no contradiction between discussing amongst people who “know the score” whether the gov’t should even be involved in marriage to begin with, and unequivocal support for gay marriage.

    FWIW, part of what makes it such a cut-and-dry issue for me (in addition to the obvious civil rights issues) is that all the infrastructure is already there. I mean, the only conceivable “cost” that I can see is that the next time state’s print out a batch of marriage certificates, they replace “Husband” and “Wife” with “Spouse” and “Spouse” (IIRC some states are already like that, gay marriage or no).

    So while I do think EvolvingSquid is right about the “in a perfect world” solution, there would be enormous transitional costs to solving the problem that way. And yet there are effectively zero transitional costs to restoring equality by just allowing gay marriage.

    This is why, for me at least, there is no incompatibility between ES’s “mumbo-jumbo” and unequivocal support for gay marriage.

    I get the intellectual desire to abolish marriage. I get the intellectual desire to discuss wanting to abolish marriage. I can’t even say I disagree with that desire, as someone who has no desire to get married. (But notice the, “Maybe it’s because it doesn’t affect me”? Notice that?)

    However, marriage already exists and as it exists today it is discriminatory. To apathetically not vote for gay marriage is to silently vote for discrimination. You are essentially siding with bigots.

    You are not affected by this vote in Maine, but many people are. Many people are heartbroken. These people want to get married. To shrug and say, “but I don’t believe in marriage!” is to slap them in the face. What you desire has nothing to do with it. Marriage already exists and many are discriminated against because of bigots.

    So can we stop derailing the conversation and stick to the matter at hand? The fact that denying same-sex couples marriage rights is discriminatory?

  12. @marilove: I didn’t say I didn’t believe in marriage, I was just observing that the liberal shift has been to the ideological center. Back in the 60’s, the push was for no marriage, now the push is to get married. Contemporary American Liberalism is far more conservative than the mainstream media gives it credit for.

    Personally I think gay marriage is every bit as normal as any marriage, and good on people who want that. I support and endorse it wholeheartedly and with full throated uproarious approval. And I am seriously disappointed with Maine’s electorate.

  13. @jreedgt:

    Whether or not civil marriage should exist was not the issue being voted on. The fact is, it does exist, and whatever objection one might have to it is not usefully expressed or acted upon by voting in favor of upholding discrimination within the institution. If anything, it seems to me that any objection anyone might have to civil marriage is compounded by the injustice of the government selecting certain people to be eligible for its privileges.

  14. @Zapski:

    Back in the 60’s, the push was for no marriage, now the push is to get married.

    Well, I didn’t exist back in the 60s, but I push for no marriage and marriage equality at the same time. This is not about marriage; it’s about discrimination!

    There are lots of things I think people shouldn’t do, but shouldn’t be legally forbidden from doing, and it’s still wrong to discriminate in those cases. For example, I don’t think people should gamble at casinos. I don’t think it’s morally wrong; I just think it’s a waste of money. But people have the legal right to gamble and I would be outraged if the government wanted to deny that right to certain to people.

  15. @Zapski: Word. I was mostly replying to the libertarians that always seem to pop out in these discussions, not sure why I was replying directly to you.

    @jynnan_tonnyx: And you know, marriage is ALREADY a civil marriage! It’s ALREADY secular! Marriage as it stands today has *nothing* to do with religion. You do not need religion to get married. So this whole, “Why can’t we just seperate it?!” is complete bullhocky, because it’s already seperate.

  16. I propose a new rule: from now on, anyone who worships a dude who spent His entire adult life hanging out with a dozen other guys, was known to be kissed by them and wash their feet, and is frequently portrayed in a nearly-nude S&M glamour shot, isn’t allowed to have a problem with gay people.

    Sound fair?

  17. @jreedgt: And let me quote something from that same thread I linked above, comment #272, by KI:

    My grandmother’s brother moved to New York so he and his true love could live together somewhat anonymously. This was in 1956, things were much worse for same-sex couples then. They have been together ever since (that’s 53 years for the stupid god-soaked idiots who can’t do arithmetic), faithful and committed to each other. Last year, my uncle had a heart attack that put him in ICU. The hospital (one of those fucking religious-founded shitholes) wouldn’t let his husband in to see him, as ICU visitation was only for “spouse and immediate family”.

    Now, I want you to go up to his uncle’s husband or someone just like him, and tell him, “I don’t believe in marriage! Pooey! So I didn’t vote!” Or, “I voted yes! Because I don’t believe in marriage!”

    Can’t you see how cruel that is? How backwards that is?

  18. @jreedgt: While a libertarian might want government completely out of marriage, I think a realist libertarian would realize that’s unlikely to happen any time soon, and would then campaign for rights to be equal, which in this case indicates minimal government involvement in who can and cannot be married.

  19. @ Zapski: Hilarious, should be considered for COTW.

    @ marilove: Character assignation; lovely. Truth is, that if gay people want to promise to their loved ones and each other that they will be faithful and love each other, then great. More power to you. Truth is that I friends and family that would like to get “married,” but cannot because of the law. Some are for the right reasons: commitment to each other and the legal rights of being in a partnership. My problem is that the later implies that government/bureaucracy understands “love.”

    However, a couple are for the wrong reasons: they see it as a referendum for their lifestyle choice. Note: I support their choice! However, regardless of what government says, there will still be ignorant hicks who oppose commitments of certain people to be faithful. Personally, I think those hicks need to spend more time with their spouse and stop worrying about whether their girl-on-girl porn will start involving wedding bells in the thin plot-line.

  20. @jreedgt:

    My problem is that the later implies that government/bureaucracy understands “love.”

    The government has nothing at all to do with love. Nada. Zip. All the government does is issue the contract. That’s it.

    And marriage doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with love, either, though it can, and generally is nowadays (but when marriage first began, it had NOTHING to do with love).

    “they see it as a referendum for their lifestyle choice”

    Wait, what?! Are you saying being gay is a “lifestyle choice”? Is that what you’re saying? I don’t want to assume anything, but … I think that’s what you’re saying.

    However, regardless of what government says, there will still be ignorant hicks who oppose commitments of certain people to be faithful. Personally, I think those hicks need to spend more time with their spouse and stop worrying about whether their girl-on-girl porn will start involving wedding bells in the thin plot-line.

    I honestly have no fucking idea what you’re talking about. So are you for gay marriage or against?

  21. We’ll take the all the Mainers that voted in favour of civil rights – you can keep the rest, we’ve no use for them really. Also, we could use some extra lobsters and a few miles of nice sandy beach. Got enough trees already, thanks.

    Love,
    Canada

  22. @jreedgt:

    Gay couples want marriage equality so that they can get the same legal benefits that straight couples can already get. They want to be covered under their spouse’s health insurance, have legal rights for their kids, be legal next-of-kin in making medical decisions, etc. This is NOT about making other people approve of their “lifestyle choice” or even making the government officially affirm it. It doesn’t matter that marriage equality will not make everyone like gay marriage, because that’s not the goal or the point.

  23. I have a real simple answer to all of this: obliterate marriage and make everything civil unions. Take the f’n religion out of it because it shouldn’t be there to begin with. I don’t mind. I just want to share a bank account and visit my husband in the hospital if he’s sick.

  24. @Surly Nymph: Please read above. That is not realistic and is a theory batted around by those who are not affected by these votes (like you, someone already married to a straight partner), and several of us have already gone over this several times in this very thread.

    Marriage exists today and as it exists today it is discriminatory. Period.

    I’m seriously getting tired of this fucking argument coming up whenever gay marriage is brought up. It’s a derailment and nothing more.

  25. @Surly Nymph: Also, again, religion already has nothing at all to do with marriage today. Nothing. Nada. ZIP.

    I am an atheist. I can get married (to a man) without having any hint of religion involved.

    So again, this “let’s take religion out of the equation” is a complete moot argument since it is already a secular institution.

    This is one big reason why the anti-gay arguments are so fucking infuriating. They are trying to bring religion into secular laws/contracts.

  26. About this ‘Send Maine to Canada’ Business, at one time Maine was part of Massachusetts. So how about a trade. — We send Kris Mineau and the Mass Contingent of homophobes up North, and we take back those who want Civil Rights for All.

  27. @MariLove: “I am an atheist. I can get married (to a man) without having any hint of religion involved. ”

    When we filled out the “application for marriage” paperwork at the clerk’s office, we had to swear an oath that what we filled in was honest & true. The Oath ended in ‘so help me God.’ of course. The little bit of ‘state-church separationist’ in me cringed a bit.

  28. @marilove: Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend. Maybe I didn’t state my point correctly.

    I understand what you mean. Marriage was never really about religion, but in a way I do believe it has morphed into it — or rather — the property part of marriage disappeared and now it represents a religious union.

    Granted, people like my husband and I don’t see it that way in order to reap the benefits, but many people do.

    My apologies if this was mentioned before. I responded without reading the above discussion.

    I know it’s not as simple as just “banning” it. In a way I was just being snarky because my poor sister and her partner get so upset everytime states make idiotic decisions and use a vote to ban a simple human right.

  29. @marilove: This is one big reason why the anti-gay arguments are so fucking infuriating. They are trying to bring religion into secular laws/contracts.

    I agree. I do think, however that there has always been a religious connotation to “marriage.” Anybody that is a non-related hetero couple can marry now, but even the contract has a religious sentiment like someone said above. I think as long as that small inkling of religion exists in the contract, you will have idiots claiming homosexuals shouldn’t be able to.

  30. @marilove:That is not realistic and is a theory batted around by those who are not affected by these votes (like you, someone already married to a straight partner),

    I am not affected, but my family sure is. Both my sister and a really close aunt are affected by it so don’t think I don’t see what they have to go through. I may not be able to relate but I can understand.

  31. @Surly Nymph: I get you, and I’m sorry if I sounded harsh, but I’m just really tired of this argument being brought up every time gay marriage is being discussed. You were the third or fourth person, in less than 50 comments, and this was the third or fourth discussion today with similar results. There’s always some libertarian fucktard that can’t seem to understand that his ideals have nothing to do with reality. (You are not one of these fucktards :D)

    The vitriol coming from some people in the right, some very vocal and powerful people, makes it even more harmful to be blase about the subject, or to righteously blather on that you voted against gay marriage rights or didn’t vote at all. Indeed, I honestly believe those to stanches is an approval of bigotry.

    If we were talking about hypotheticals, it wouldn’t bother me, but we’re not; we’re talking about real life, and real people here. It’s just frustrating to always have the conversation derailed like that. Sorry to lash out.

  32. @Surly Nymph:

    I understand what you mean. Marriage was never really about religion, but in a way I do believe it has morphed into it — or rather — the property part of marriage disappeared and now it represents a religious union.

    I agree with that, in a way. It’s still a secular, state-sanctioned contract, though, and you can still leave out religion entirely if you so desire. Also, allowing gay marriage could very well help distance religion from marriage. Indeed, having gay marriage 100% legal in all 50 states could potentially open up the doors to separate religion from marriage entirely. Separating gay marriage and straight marriage only supports the religious aspect of it all.

    If that makes sense. I’m kinda half sick right now.

  33. OK, so here’s an unusual and Actually True situation: I have a cousin who was born a man, and as a man, was into women, so, straight. Later, he decided his nuts would look better in a jar on the shelf (probably more complicated than that), and had gender-reassignment surgery, so now he’s a she. BUT, still into women, so…gay? How does anyone think the law there would handle her if she married her female partner? Physically a gay woman, but genetically a straight man. Which takes precedence? And does this mean it’s possible to become gay surgically?

  34. @Reverend Kel: My understanding is that she is legally considered a woman in the US, I am almost positive, especially since she’s had surgery, though that’s not required (in some states? My understanding of some of this is shaky). Essentially, she would not be able to marry another woman in most states, but would be able to marry a man in all.

    And yes, she’s a lesbian, though it’s not uncommon for sexualities to switch when you go through transition. (IE, being interested in men and therefore straight.) It’s all kind of complicated. :D

  35. @jreedgt:Answer-because it serves your long term aims to do so. Marriage is a particular kind of contract. Currently the government heavily regulates who can enter that contract, which is identified as ‘sacred’ by various people, such as the former POTUS and probably the current POTUS.

    If you did not vote on one or if you voted for one, you would be supporting this view of marriage–the view that heavy regulation and continued support of the institution as special and sacred is the right way to go. That is not your view, and it does not support your long term goals.

    Voting no, on the other hand, would decrease the power of the state to regulate which individuals can enter into such a contract. By limiting state power in this way, you would be moving towards your long term goal of either having no constraints on marriage contracts or no specific marriage contracts at all.

  36. @marilove:

    For a while the most confusing thing about it was that her choice of sexual partners didn’t change, her body did, so how did she suddenly “become” gay? I’ve since come to the conclusion that since her brain never changed (except for whatever small changes one may expect from the hormone treatments) perhaps she had the mindset of a lesbian when she was a man. Or maybe I’m wrong, and I’ll never get it.

  37. @marilove: I’m sure there’s a way to allow for people to have visitation rights besides marriage. What about couples who do not want to be married, but still want someone else to have visitation rights? That’s at best, a poor argument.

    I have total sympathy for this couple and I think they should be able to see each other, regardless of having to say they are married.

    @sethmanapio: I don’t live in Maine, so I couldn’t vote on it, but that’s not true that someone who doesn’t vote for something is agreeing to the total opposite. That’s like saying that if you don’t vote on a health care bill, then you are saying that nothing should be done. Otherwise, good point.

    And, I should apologize for “life style” choice. I don’t care what someone’s reasons for being gay or straight. If it’s a choice or they can’t help it, don’t care and not really relevant to the discussion.

  38. @ catgirl: Totally agree. But here’s another question: can multiple people be in a marriage? Why should a group of people be given the same rights that a couple has? What’s so magical about the number two? Further, what’s wrong with twins or cousins getting married, if all marriage is a list of what you said (be covered under the other’s health insurance, be the first in priority for medical decisions, child adoption, etc.)? I mean, if “love” is not in the definition of marriage and it’s just a matter of legal rights, then this shouldn’t be an issue. And yes, I’m just causing trouble. And just in case anyone’s asking, I’m not getting married to a family member or have a desire to do so.

  39. @jynnan_tonnyx: COTW!

    Also,
    @marilove: Re: ” And you know, marriage is ALREADY a civil marriage! It’s ALREADY secular! Marriage as it stands today has *nothing* to do with religion. You do not need religion to get married.”

    You don’t need to quote anyone else’s post, you’ve put it perfectly with the above statements. They cut to the heart of the matter.

  40. “That’s like saying that if you don’t vote on a health care bill, then you are saying that nothing should be done. Otherwise, good point.”

    ———–

    Only if you want to take my specific example and generalize it to a completely different, more complicated area… one where there are many more than two sides.

    The issue is narrowly defined enough in this bill that not voting for it was equivalent to a yes vote.

    The other points you brought up are, at this time, red herrings. The question before the voters in main had nothing to do with anything besides same sex marriage, a very narrowly defined topic.

    They also have nothing to do with whether “love” is in the definition of marriage. Two cousins could be just as much in love as any other two people, and three people could be just as much in love as any two.

    The issue is about exclusion, who should be excluded from this set of rights and privileges. Poly-partner marriages are a different, new conversation in this issue. They are commonly used as a scare tactic by the right wing, as in, if Gays, why not polygamy? But this conflates two things that are not the same, it’s a cheap rhetorical trick, not an argument of substance.

  41. @sethmanapio: Except, I don’t have a problem with polygamy and I’m not using it as a scare tactic. It’s not a red herring, either, in the way I’m using it. Whether your Muslim, Morman, or non-domination, it’s a personal choice (for lack of a better phrase) about whom and how many you decide to marry. I’m not even arguing a slippery slope argument. My point is that “marriage” is not an issue the government should be involved with – gay, straight, sexual, non-sexual, polygamist, monogamist, or asexual. I just can’t find a good argument to expand the government’s involvement in an area they shouldn’t be involved.

  42. As a resident of Maine, I’am embarassed and outright angry that the actions of these, “Holier than Thou ” douchebags, has cast a negative light over all of us . I certainly dont need any help looking like an asshole,I do that well enough on my own.
    I started to write this comment with an overwhelming feeling that I should apologize. However Im not going to do that . What I am going to do is say that a big ole group of conservative christian, asshole, hillbilly,shit head , inbred losers do not speak for us all.
    This issue is not closed, snd we will make it RIGHT!

  43. @jreedgt: “I just can’t find a good argument to expand the government’s involvement in an area they shouldn’t be involved.”

    Wouldn’t taking away the government’s power to selectively grant legal rights to certain people actually decrease its involvement? Given that, until civil marriage is placed on a ballot (good luck), it’s not going to stop existing, how is it in keeping with libertarian principles to grant the government the additional power to discriminate based on sexual orientation?

    The plain fact remains that the issue that you’re arguing is not the issue that was voted on. You’re using the idea of less power for government to argue for giving the government the right to discriminate, and that makes no sense to me.

  44. @jreedgt:

    Also, as marilove has pointed out so many times now, you have the privilege of approaching this issue as an abstract question of political philosophy, while others are forced to deal with it as a reality that actually effects their legal rights right now. Given those circumstances, I hope you’ll understand if your daydreams about small government utopia aren’t a high priority to many people right now.

  45. @marilove: Also, allowing gay marriage could very well help distance religion from marriage. Indeed, having gay marriage 100% legal in all 50 states could potentially open up the doors to separate religion from marriage entirely. Separating gay marriage and straight marriage only supports the religious aspect of it all.

    I completely agree. Now THAT would be wonderful. :-)

  46. @jreedgt:

    I just can’t find a good argument to expand the government’s involvement in an area they shouldn’t be involved.

    I think your arguments have already been addressed several times and I feel like I’m feeding a troll at this point, but

    a) If you feel marriage isn’t something the government should be involved in, do you think granting the same civil rights to everyone IS something the government should be involved in? If so, VOTE FOR GAY MARRIAGE

    b) If you feel like you want less government interference in people’s affairs, the justification that denying it to a subset of the population while allowing it for others is somehow reducing government influence is horribly wrongheaded (or the flipside of the argument: that allowing gay marriage, or polygamy, is increasing government influence). Allowing a right to apply to everyone in the mean time is perfectly compatible with changing the laws altogether later — the crucial thing that matters is that it’s at least fair for the moment.

    I think you just don’t realize the full breadth of rights that fall under the category “marriage.” Your argument is like saying, if you disagree with how voting is done in our country, you don’t think the government should have ever “expanded” voting to women in 1920 because voting isn’t something the government should be legislating.

    i.e. your argument is fucking stupid

  47. @ jynnan_tonnyx:

    “Also, as marilove has pointed out so many times now, you have the privilege of approaching this issue as an abstract question of political philosophy, while others are forced to deal with it as a reality”

    Ah, there’s the problem with our arguments: our premise. You believe that it is an impossible task to get rid of marriage from being a legal entity. In that case, I totally agree with you and marilove (and several others). However, which is more difficult: getting rid of a legal definition of marriage entirely or getting backward hicks in Mississippi, Alabama, or Texas to agree with homosexuals getting married? After living in the South (and North) for several years, I can give you this news flash: the former will happen well before the latter. Even if it does happen, it’s likely to continue to be this back and forth where people are married one minute and not married the next (e.g., Maine).

    @sporefrog: The voting argument is a false analogy because of course the government dictates who can vote. Also, my problem with polygamy point is that this is a “gay rights” issue, which it is, but not fully. Why should polygamists not be able to practice their beliefs and traditions? Why do you insist on stopping at homosexuals? Isn’t that just expanding your preferential treatment. And don’t give the everyone can get married just once argument – that’s like giving everyone access to free immunizations and then saying everyone has free health care. But hey, at least you resulted to acting like a child with your “i.e.” statement. I’m just waiting to get compared to Hitler (or the modern day equivalent). I give it two posts.

    Just ask yourself this: I have no problem with gays getting the same legal rights – in fact, I’d like to expand that. I just differ in the way it should happen. I think using the government means that gays will constantly have to campaign for their rights and probably never be able to rest. I’d like for my cousin to be able to get married to his boyfriend and not have to worry that legislators will take away his marriage at a later date (despite the comments, this isn’t a political exercise for me – someone in my own family is affected). Why the hatred?

  48. @jreedgt: “Ah, there’s the problem with our arguments: our premise. You believe that it is an impossible task to get rid of marriage from being a legal entity. In that case, I totally agree with you and marilove (and several others). However, which is more difficult: getting rid of a legal definition of marriage entirely or getting backward hicks in Mississippi, Alabama, or Texas to agree with homosexuals getting married? After living in the South (and North) for several years, I can give you this news flash: the former will happen well before the latter. Even if it does happen, it’s likely to continue to be this back and forth where people are married one minute and not married the next (e.g., Maine).”

    Which will happen first is impossible to predict (and if I were to guess, I’d disagree with you). But, that’s not the question, to me. I’d say the real question is, which is more important: all marriage going away, or all people having the same access to the benefits of whatever we call marriage? I’d say the latter, and if you’d disagree then the discussion isn’t worth pursuing.

  49. @Rebecca: as always great argument and you did it without childish name-calling. It’s definitely refreshing to know that Libertarians and other non-liberal skeptics are welcome by at least the wonderful Skepchicks, even if not by a few of the commenters.

  50. @jreedgt:

    “Ah, there’s the problem with our arguments: our premise. You believe that it is an impossible task to get rid of marriage from being a legal entity.”

    Did I say that? No. I never used the word impossible, only acknowledged that: a)it’s decidedly improbable, and, more importantly: b)not the issue that was debated or voted on this week.

    You keep bringing up tangential issues like polygamy or the abolition of government marriage, ignoring responses that would force you to return to the subject at hand, mere days after the cause of Equal Rights has suffered an upsetting setback. This alone strikes me as insensitive and rude. To follow this up by playing the martyr and complaining about “hatred” directed at you, apparently forgetting that an entire group of citizens have effectively been reduced to second-class citizen status (which seems a trifle more hateful), seems even moreso. To think that this is excusable because a relative of yours is allegedly affected by this (I hope you’ll forgive my skepticism) is almost insulting.

    If you’re only here as a troll, please just say so so everyone can ignore you properly. If you’re actually interested in discussing the issue at hand (that is, the issue that was voted on this week, not hypothetical issues that might be voted on in the future), I’m sure everyone here would be more than happy to oblige you.

  51. @Reverend Kel: It’s all kinds of complicated, isn’t it? But yeah, I’d say if she always identified as a woman, even when she had the body of a man, she’s always been a lesbian. Of course, she could see things completely different. And it kind of shows how bunk this “straight marriage only!” bullshit is.

  52. @jreedgt: I am so glad you can sit on your privileged perch and talk hypotheticals and theories that have NO BASIS IN REALITY, while people I know and love, and myself included, are discriminated against every day.

    Sorry, but you’re siding with the bigots, and people like you are making their job much easier. You’re allowing discrimination. GO YOU! I hope you feel proud.

  53. @jreedgt:

    However, which is more difficult: getting rid of a legal definition of marriage entirely or getting backward hicks in Mississippi, Alabama, or Texas to agree with homosexuals getting married?

    NO ONE FUCKING CARES IF ANYONE AGREES WITH GAY MARRIAGE!

    It shouldn’t be voted on by the majority anyway.

    It has nothing at all to do with that and we have ALREADY went over this with you, but you chose to ignore it and bring it up again.

  54. @jreedgt: @jynnan_tonnyx:

    If you’re only here as a troll, please just say so so everyone can ignore you properly. If you’re actually interested in discussing the issue at hand (that is, the issue that was voted on this week, not hypothetical issues that might be voted on in the future), I’m sure everyone here would be more than happy to oblige you.

    THANK YOU! Gay marriage is on the table. Allowing gays to marry broadens the marriage “definition”. That can only be a good thing.

    For the record, my best friends are poly. I’ve considered the lifestyle myself, but I can hardly handle just myself sometimes, so uh, yeah, probably not a good idea.

    One day it would be grand if there was more flexibility with the rights and privileges that marriage grants. I would LOVE for that to include my best friend, his wife, AND his long-time, live-in (male) partner. They have a great relationship and my best friend is sometimes frustrated by the fact that they can’t be “official” – but he, AS A POLY PRESON (which you are not, are you?), knows that the best way to get there (even if it’s decades from now) is to begin by granting MORE rights, and not advocating discrimination by voting against gay rights or not voting at all.

    I mean, wouldn’t opening up marriage to include more and not less make that goal a lot easier? Gay marriage just pushes religion away from it further, which can only be a good thing.

    We can’t concentrate on every single issue all at once. RIGHT NOW, gay marriage is on the table. RIGHT NOW, it makes sense to grant MORE rights, and to stop discriminating.

    You have a backwards view, dude. “Let’s just keep marriage the way it is” isn’t going to fix shit, and you know it. It’s just fucking lazy, is what it is.

  55. @Reverend Kel: Also, if you would like to find out more about trans issues, let me know. You can email me at littlestripes at gmail dot com. I volunteer for an LGBQT civil rights org here in Arizona, and we do a lot with trans issues so I have many resources at my finger tips :)

  56. jreedgt,

    You are missing the point. Of course government should not be involved in marriage at all. However, it is simply not an option right now to get rid of marriage for everyone. You are ignoring reality. There are two options right now, and neither of those is the ideal situation of having no government involvement in marriage. The choices are:
    1) The government is involved in marriage and some people are discriminated against.

    OR

    2) The government is involved in marriage and fewer people are discriminated against.

    That’s it. Refusing equality to gay people will not help with your ultimate goal of getting rid of government involvement in marriage. Why is this so hard to understand? You are the exact reason that so many people don’t like libertarianism. Ignoring reality gets you nowhere. Reality matters, and it’s rarely ideal. You have to deal with the options that are actually available, rather than complaining that things won’t be perfect so you shouldn’t even bother.

  57. @jynnan_tonnyx: Not a troll. Read Skepchick, SkepticBlog, and Science-based medicine every day (and have been doing so for a couple years). Listen to Skeptic’s Guide and Brian Dunning’s podcast. I try to take down pseudoscience when I can in my limited sense. I’ve debated going to my local skeptics in the pub and becoming more active, but really can’t afford the time since I’m finishing graduate school. Even though I’m male, I’m passionate about promoting science and encouraging women, in particular (real problem in engineering and I see my fiance discriminated against because she’s a woman in science). However, now, I’m not sure I really care that much. Once it gets to the point that people are misinterpreting what I say and even make character assassinations, it’s just not worth it – I just don’t care about this issue that much. It was a simple question (originally) that people took way too far. But, I guess that’s the way it is – no matter how great of a blog and its contributors, there will always be those skeptics commenters who try to emulate the snarkiness of their favorite skeptics and fail to realize that they are alienating many who agree with them.

  58. @jreedgt:

    . It was a simple question (originally) that people took way too far.

    Again, it’s awesome you’re able to bat around theories on a subject that doesn’t affect you in the slightest, but many of us don’t have that privilege. Again, the subject at hand is GAY MARRIAGE, not abolishing marriage. We keep saying this and you keep ignoring it and instead choose to discuss theories and hypotheticals that have nothing at all to do with reality.

    I am sick and tired of this derailment.

    No one was making any kind of character assassinations. We refuted your arguments, and you still haven’t had any logical explanation why not voting for gay marriage, or voting against gay marriage, has anything at all to do with abolishing marriage. In fact, we’ve pointed out why doing that would go directly against your belief that marriage should be abolished.

    Instead of replying to the points at hand, you’re whining that we’re assassinating your character. Yawn.

  59. @marilove: Examples

    “Your views are clearly from someone sitting atop his priviliged perch, not in any way affected by this vote.”

    I’ve already stated that I have family and friends who are affected by this. This isn’t a thought exercise and I have had similar discussions with them.

    “you’re siding with the bigots”

    No, I completely disagree with discrimination and gays should be able to have the same legal rights that accompany marriage. I have a problem with the other aspects (e.g., if one side is “unfaithful” to the other, then they can lose far more in a divorce – this shouldn’t be an issue.) Seriously, get married, don’t get married, I don’t care. And this the comments section of a blog, not a structured debate – the topic can change whenever.

  60. @jreedgt:

    If you want to take your ball and go home, that’s fine by us. But you won’t get much sympathy by whining about all the people who were mean to you, for reasons that I’ve already tried to explain.

    And, really, there was no need to tell us that you “just don’t care about this issue that much”; it was pretty apparent from the get-go (even before you announced “yes, I’m just causing trouble”).

    But other people here do care about this issue; some are even personally, directly affected by it (in a more real and immediate sense than simply having a gay cousin). So I’m sorry if they have bigger things to worry about than sparing your feelings when they’re responding to your attempts to rationalize voting against their civil rights.

    Plenty of people, myself included, tried to respond reasonably to your original question and received no relevant response; only non sequitors about your personal opinion of government and civil marriage, polygamy, and your mistreatment at the hands of others here. Even when you praised Rebecca’s response for not stooping to name-calling, you failed to actually respond to it, preferring to make passive-aggressive comments about others who had responded to you; it was at about this point that I first began to suspect you weren’t interested in an honest conversation, and your other comments confirmed that in my mind. If it was not your intention to be perceived in such a way, perhaps this can be a learning experience for the future

  61. @jreedgt:

    “I’ve already stated that I have family and friends who are affected by this.”

    So do I. That doesn’t change the fact that I, as a straight man, still have the right to marry my girlfriend if I want to. Simply knowing or being related to people who are actively discriminated against is a far, far different thing than actually having your life and your personal choices restricted. And suggesting that the two are equivalent, let alone that any such equivalence entitles you to be so insensitive as to try to rationalize voting against equality, strikes me as a bit insulting, as I’ve already tried to explain to you.

  62. @jreedgt: Your friends and family are affected! Oh my gosh! That’s SO the same thing!

    Oh, wait, it’s not.

    If I fell in love with a woman I could not marry her (seeing as I live in Arizona).

    You’re straight, am I right? These votes don’t affect YOU at all, am I right?

    Thought so.

    So you feel comfortable batting around theories and hypotheticals, and saying that you’d rather not vote for gay marriage because you don’t believe in marriage at all.

    I’m sure your friends and family would totally love to know that you refuse to vote for gay marriage (which is what you keep implying) because of some ideal you hold that has no basis in reality.

    And this the comments section of a blog, not a structured debate – the topic can change whenever.

    Except this topic in this particular post is about gay marriage. “Blog” doesn’t mean “Talk about whatever I want to talk about whenever I want to talk about it, wank wank wank, intellectual masturbation, yay!”

  63. @jreedgt:

    You know what? Fuck you.

    And yes, I’m just causing trouble. And just in case anyone’s asking, I’m not getting married to a family member or have a desire to do so.

    I missed this the first time around.

    I’m so glad you feel comfortable “causing trouble” because these votes don’t affect you at all.

    NEWSFLASH, wanker: These votes and issues affect real people. These votes and issues affect people that read and comment on this blog.

    But you don’t care, as long as you can cause trouble by intellectually wanking, right?

  64. @marilove: A Democracy by definition is rule by the majority and America, for all it’s many faults, is one of the most democratic countries on earth.

    Only in America would be people by allowed to vote on an issue like this. In the UK civil partnerships were bounced through without any public consultation at all. Personnelly I was pleased to see it go through but it’s pretty hard to argue against the charge that “it’s the liberal ellite passing laws at will” when the ellite passed the law at will (to be fair though, there’s no means by which ordinary people can submit laws or propositions in the UK, so the only people who CAN propose and vote on laws are 600 corrupt MPs)

    In a Democracy you have to win the arguement with the majority of people, but you also have to accept the will of the majority even if you disagree with it.

  65. @russellsugden: Civil rights should NEVER be voted on by the majority. Period.

    We’d still be segregated if the government hadn’t stepped in.

    In a Democracy you have to win the arguement with the majority of people, but you also have to accept the will of the majority even if you disagree with it.

    Civil rights should be a given, and should never be voted on by the majority. The constitution says so.

  66. Getting the government out of marriage sounds good, but it’s in too deep to just say “stop it!” and not just with the taxes.

    Immigration, for one thing. If Masala_Skeptic and I hadn’t gotten married, she might not be a legal resident in the States. Immigration is clearly a government function, and marriage impacts that. Since Masala isn’t a computer programmer, those Visas would be hard to come by. I have a good friend and former co-worker who has to leave the country in two weeks because she didn’t get married and didn’t win the green card lottery.

    So, demand that government butt out all you want, but until you come up with a plan to re-work immigration and other marriage-related issues, you are spitting in the wind. (Now would be a good time, too — the immigration system needs an overhaul.)

    And Marilove, you keep saying that marriage isn’t a religious thing. It may be true that there is no law in any state that says you have to be religious to get married, but have you tried talking to the people who Vote “Yes” on things like Prop 1 in Maine and Prop 8 in Cali? You don’t have to talk too long before you start getting to words like “sanctity.”

    As long as the majority of voters believe there is a religious aspect to marriage, there is a religious aspect to marriage.

    I return you now to your name-calling.

  67. @phlebas:

    And Marilove, you keep saying that marriage isn’t a religious thing. It may be true that there is no law in any state that says you have to be religious to get married, but have you tried talking to the people who Vote “Yes” on things like Prop 1 in Maine and Prop 8 in Cali? You don’t have to talk too long before you start getting to words like “sanctity.”

    No matter how much they talk about “sanctity” or insist that God hates gays, it’s still not about religion. They are trying to make it about religion (and are winning in some places), but it’s still a secular institution.

    Seperation of church and state and all that.

    Now if our government enforced that, that would be awesome, but they tend to turn a blind eye, as we can see.

  68. @marilove: While I support equality, I can’t support the idea that governments are able to make and change the law of the land without public consultation.

    As for civil rights, governments who give civil rights on a whim can withdraw them on a whim. In a republic sovereignty lies with the people and civil rights are derived from that sovereignty, bestowed by the people on the individual.

    That is to say, civil rights are those rights that majority of people decide them to be. Of course in practice this means a document of some kind (usually historic) that the majority agree to outline civil rights.

    There are no fundamental world-wide rights, they’re decided on a country by country basis, for example in the US you have the right to remain silent (which I’m sure you think to be universally appropriate) whereas in the UK we have no such right and remaining silent “can harm your defense”. I doubt you’d accept it if the government wanted to make you carry ID papers all the time in the UK the outcry was based on the £80 cost if it’d been free the majority of people would have happily accepted a police state (I would have been on the next plane out of Heathrow)

  69. @marilove:

    No matter how much they talk about “sanctity” or insist that God hates gays, it’s still not about religion. They are trying to make it about religion (and are winning in some places), but it’s still a secular institution.

    I don’t think the sematics argument is one that’s going to get you anywhere. We all have ideas of what “marriage” is, and what it should be.

    These people may be manipulated by fundamentalists or other roving bands of homophobes, but in *every single argument* I have had, witnessed, or heard about, it boils down to some version of “marriage is a sacred institution.”

    It isn’t a breach of Church-State Separation, because the government recognizes secular weddings as well. You can make a case that it is unconstitutional to deny LGBT folks equal rights, but since these propositions don’t mention religion or the supernatural, you can claim a violation of the Establishment Clause.

    Trying to get religious people to de-couple their beliefs from marriage is not going to get you anywhere.

    It seems we still have to wait a bit longer for a more tolerant generation to reach voting age. Even in Maine, only 28% percent of the potential voters tried to keep gay marriage legal — the other 72% either voted to lose it or were too apathetic to turn up at all.

    Until then, work to change some hearts and minds. But in my opinion, simply telling them their beliefs are false isn’t going to get you any traction.

  70. @jreedgt: I just can’t find a good argument to expand the government’s involvement in an area they shouldn’t be involved.

    ———-

    And as I’ve explained to you, voting for gay couples to be married actually contracts the governments involvement, it does not expand it, and any rule that stays with the status quo works against your stated claims. How hard is that to grasp, dude?

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