August 5th, 2008

The Protected Class of Sexuality


photo credit: Ashenzil

In anti-discrimination law, a protected class is some personal identifier for which an individual cannot legally be persecuted or harassed. As misguided as anti-discrimination law is, the absurdity is taken one step further when the law creates a protected class from an individual’s choice.

If we have protected classes at all, they should be limited to only natural, biological traits. By instead expanding the definition to also include choices and personal preference, you open the floodgates for all sorts of alternative definitions that corrupt the original intent and neuter any meaning the term once had.

In the California Supreme Court’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage, a portion of the concurring opinion reads as follows:

This state’s current policies and conduct regarding homosexuality recognize that gay individuals are entitled to the same legal rights and the same respect and dignity afforded all other individuals and are protected from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, and, more specifically, recognize that gay individuals are fully capable of entering into the kind of loving and enduring committed relationships that may serve as the foundation of a family and of responsibly caring for and raising children. (Page 67; emphasis added)

The point here cannot be overemphasized—the California Court believes that an individual’s personal decision is sufficient to protect them from any discrimination relating to that decision. In our modern, convoluted legal system, this means that any negative speech, action, or treatment that may be construed to be affected by one’s perception of that “protected class” identifier is punishable by law.

As always, the dissent in the Court’s opinion is an enjoyable read:

Undaunted, the majority nonetheless claims California’s legal history as evidence of the constitutional right it espouses. According to the majority, the very fact that the Legislature has, over time, adopted progressive laws such as the DPA, thereby granting many substantial rights to gays and lesbians, constitutes “explicit official recognition” of “this state’s current policies and conduct regarding homosexuality,” i.e., “that gay individuals are entitled to the same legal rights and the same respect and dignity afforded all other individuals and are protected from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation.” “In light of this recognition,” the majority concludes, “sections 1 and 7 of article I of the California Constitution cannot properly be interpreted to withhold from gay individuals” full equality of rights with heterosexual persons, including the right to same-sex legal unions that are fully equivalent—including in name—to those of opposite-sex partners. (Dissent, Page 11; emphasis added)

In all of the excitement and turmoil resulting from this Court’s opinion, the fact that they named sexual preference as a protected class has largely gone unnoticed. Sure, the gay community is ecstatic over this decision, because they can now sue anybody who they perceive has wronged them in any way on the basis of their sexuality. But common sense dictates that sexual preference should never be a protected class, for one’s sexuality is a decision (that can change according to one’s pleasure), whereas legitimate protected classes are identifers that the individual has no control over whatsoever, such as race, sex, and age. As one commentator put it:

You see, discriminating against an individual solely for an attribute which is out of their control (like race) is not only wrong, it shows a lack of intelligence. Much like an innocent baby in the womb is not guilty of anything for merely existing, a person cannot be held responsible for an attribute like race, gender, or age that they did not choose. A behavior is a completely different animal. Homosexuality deserves to be a protected class about as much as peanut butter and jelly sandwich eaters do.

This Court’s decision is not an isolated issue of little import to those of us living elsewhere. California’s “progressive” legislation is seen by many as an indicator of legal trends and direction; paying attention to politics in California is akin to watching a weather forecast. Should this Court’s decision go unchallenged (and I’m not sure if the Protect Marriage Amendment, if passed, would alter this part of the decision), individuals, companies, and churches would all be threatened with legal action for their personal views on homosexuality.

Consider a few examples that paint the picture (all of these from California alone):

  • The California Supreme Court voted unanimously that the City of Berkeley could withdraw a rent subsidy to a Boy Scouts affiliate (the Sea Scouts) at the city marine because of the scouts’ opposition to homosexality. (link)
  • The San Francisco City Board of Supervisors issued a scathing resolution condeming the Catholic Church’s moral teachings on homosexuality and urging Catholic leaders to defy Vatican directives telling agencies not to place children with same-sex couples. (link)
  • A Federal District Court held that a student’s religious speech opposing school support of homosexuality could be banned as such “injurious remarks” “intrude[] upon…the rights of other students”. (link)
  • Eharmony.com was sued for refusing to offer its dating services to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. (Eharmony.com was founded in 2000 by an evangelical Christian with strong ties to Focus on the Family.) (link)
  • The Oakland city government found the words “Marriage is the foundation of the natural family and sustains family values” to be a hate crime and reprimanded a group of Oakland city government employees for using these words on a flyer in the workplace. (link)
  • Four San Diego firefighters were ordered to participate in the San Digeo Gay Pride Parade. In a lawsuit currently before the California Superior Court in San Diego, they are suing the City of San Diego for sexual harassment and violating their freedom of speech. (link)
  • Two evangelical physicians have been sued for acting in accord with their religious beliefs and not artificially inseminating a lesbian. This case is pending before the CA Supreme Court. (link)
  • A California Lutheran high school is being sued for expelling two girls who engaged in “homosexual conduct” on campus. (link)

Again, the gay community is adamant that they be afforded legal protection (so-called “equality”) for their personal decision. This is tantamount to choosing to drink grape juice and suing all the manufacturers of my clothing for creating a product that stains when coming in contact with my beverage of choice. I, as an individual, am responsible for my own decisions. It is absolutely ludicrous to try and force another individual to bend to my whims. Yet that is exactly what the same-sex marriage community is after.

Sexual preference has never been, and never should be, a legitimate protected class. Doing so will create numerous legal challenges against people who oppose, on whatever grounds, homosexual behavior. Churches will be targeted for refusing to marry homosexuals; employers will be sued for not hiring openly gay individuals; businesses will be targeted for not marketing to and catering towards the homosexual community. Whatever the issue and resulting consequences, this single decision to label the behavioral choice of sexual preference as a protected class will have long-term and far-reaching negative legal consequences for any and all who oppose same-sex marriage and homosexuality in general.

161 Responses to “The Protected Class of Sexuality”

  1. David
    August 5, 2008 at 11:53 am #

    Your argument, though well articulated, does not carry much weight until the issue of personal choice is addressed. You believe, and your argument assumes this belief to be commonly held, that homosexuality is a personal choice. Unfortunately the public discussion in major media makes no dispute over the argument by homosexual advocates that their sexual preference is not a matter of personal choice.

    To those who have become convinced that homosexuality is at least plausibly not a matter of individual choice your argument is discredited. In order to carry more weight, the public would need to once again accept that homosexuality is a matter of personal choice (which was the prevailing belief before the activists engaged in their long campaign to alter public perceptions of their lifestyle).

  2. Connor
    August 5, 2008 at 12:01 pm #

    You believe, and your argument assumes this belief to be commonly held, that homosexuality is a personal choice.

    The fact that an individual can arbitrarily and randomly change their sexual preference indicates that though there may be influences (via nature or nurture), choice is the determining and visible factor as it relates to one’s sexual preference.

  3. David
    August 5, 2008 at 12:17 pm #

    I don’t mean to argue that it is not a matter of personal choice – only that the public discussion fails to make that argument. Those who believe it is a choice continue to believe it and those who don’t believe it is a choice try to convince everyone else that it is not a choice and is thus worthy of protected class status.

  4. Tim Malone
    August 5, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    Thank you Connor, for pointing this out. Yes, it has been mostly overlooked by all the recent commentary about the involvement of the church in the Protect Marriage Amendment. Your observation that it probably will not be affected by the outcome of the vote is also right on, in my opinion. I agree with your opinion that a choice of a sexual preference should not be a protected class under California law.

    However, I’m sure you are aware that the current argument is that it is not a choice, but a biological fact that some people are born with same sex attractions. I think that is the basis for the court’s decisions. They do not see it as a choice as we do. The battleground is choice vs biology right now.

  5. Connor
    August 5, 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    David and Tim,

    I do understand (and can somewhat sympathize) with the ongoing disagreement and debate about whether homosexuality is a choice or not. It’s important, however, that we look at specifically what the Court said in this matter: individuals are to be “protected from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation”.

    Orientation.

    This is how Webster’s Dictionary defines it:

    a person’s self-identification as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual

    Self-identification implies that I can state whatever my sexual preference is—not that it is something self-evident, natural, and biological.

    Take, for example, the issue of school restrooms after SB 777 was recently signed. Children can now go into whatever restroom they personally identify with (or, in context of the words we’re using above, whichever restroom they orient themselves to).

    In my opinion, the Court’s opinion leaves little room for the debate on choice vs. biology, instead categorically stating that the mere choice to be homosexual is now a protected class in California.

  6. Brandon
    August 5, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    Connor,
    I think you are over simplifying things when you say “that an individual can arbitrarily and randomly change their sexual preference “. What evidence do you have to prove that statement? Are there some studies you are referring to or simply anecdotal evidence?

    Sure, the gay community is ecstatic over this decision, because they can now sue anybody who they perceive has wronged them in any way on the basis of their sexuality.

    This is also a pretty broad statement. While there may be some radicals who have every intention of using this as an attack tool, is it not possible that the vast majority of homosexuals genuinely want to engage in the same kind of loving, and protected relationship that I enjoy? It is possible to disagree with gay marriage, or in this case granting legal protection to sexuality without assuming that your opponent is only motivated by the most vile of motives.

    After reading your post, it is clear you don’t approve of the idea of any protected classes (which I can understand). However, given that they do exist, do you think that religion should be a protected class (ie, you can’t discriminate based on someone’s relgious preference)? If so, how would that be any different than not being able to discriminate based upon someone’s personal and private sexual behavior?

    I get the feeling from your tone that you object to these events primarily because they present a possible threat to the church (ie, the church would be forced to accept gays). I sometimes wonder if the church wouldn’t be better off if gays were a completely respected and accepted class within the organization. Just as inter-racial relationships were condemned (by church leadership) as being of the devil only a few short decades ago, but now are accepted, maybe the time will come that God will decide that gay relationships aren’t as bad as they used to be.

  7. David
    August 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm #

    Considering that evidence, the ruling of the Court is all the more disturbing. As the commentator you quoted suggested, we could grant protected status based on the foods we like – anchovy eaters could turn that to their benefit.

  8. Jacob
    August 5, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    Connor,

    You fail to address the fact that sexuality is not the only protected class that is a personal choice. Religion, family status and political affiliation are all protected classes that are based upon choices an individual makes. I am glad that these choices are protected, so that I can choose to belong to a certain religion and not have to fear consequences at work or any other place. So that I can choose my political ideals and not have to answer to an employer, and to choose whether or not I want to be married with fear of repercussion. I can understand you are concerned about the legitimization of gay marriage, but being ignorant to the definition of “Protected Class” has caused your argument to be extremely weak.

  9. Brandon
    August 5, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    I agree with Jacob. That was one of the points I was trying to make in my far wordier post.

  10. Wane
    August 5, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    Linked to your post from Bloggers 1st Ammendment Rights – Appeal for moral support

  11. Connor
    August 5, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

    Brandon,

    What evidence do you have to prove that statement?

    As I noted in my last comment, self-identification (in this case, regarding sexuality) is a choice. You can choose who and what you wish to identify with. There are some good arguments to be made in favor of sexual inclination being a natural thing (though, as previously noted, this is still up for debate), but when we act out or affiliate with someone or something, that is our choice. Consider the many people who have changed from heterosexual to homosexual, or vice versa. The manifestation of our sexuality is a choice. You could choose tomorrow to change your sexual affiliation, and nobody would dispute that that is a choice you made. The fact that you are able to change your sexual preference as you may see fit indicates that the self-identification is a choice, not an inherent trait.

    …is it not possible that the vast majority of homosexuals genuinely want to engage in the same kind of loving, and protected relationship that I enjoy?

    Consider:

    A recent Dutch study found that homosexual relationships last, on average, about 1-1/2 years and that men in those relationships have an average of eight partners per year outside their main partnership.

    So much for loving relationships (if you define love as fidelity, longevity, and commitment).

    However, given that they do exist, do you think that religion should be a protected class (ie, you can’t discriminate based on someone’s relgious preference)?

    No, I do not. If I choose to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for example, then I should be willing to face whatever consequences may result from that decision. As I argued in the post on discrimination, I don’t believe that our actions should be shielded from persecution. If words turn into actions and we are physically assaulted, for example, then the person can and should be prosecuted for that harmful action. But trying to shield ourselves from words and one’s personal actions (such as an employer that prefers to only hire Mormons or one that would rather not employ gays) is not the proper role of this type of legislation. We should be accountable for our actions, and not force others through the threat of legal action to tolerate and accept our decisions.

    I get the feeling from your tone that you object to these events primarily because they present a possible threat to the church (ie, the church would be forced to accept gays).

    I sustain a prophet of God as a seer. I believe that, like Wilford Woodruff did regarding the polygamy decision, our leaders know what consequences we will face as an institution if this law passes. It’s already happening elsewhere: pastors and religious leaders being imprisoned and targeted because of their stance on homosexuality.

    Consider the following:

    • A Swedish pastor was sentenced to jail for one month after speaking out against homosexual lifestyles from the pulpit. The Gota Court of Appeals subsequently overturned this decision. (link)
    • An Anglican Church in the UK was found guilty of discrimination against homosexuals for requiring a lay Diocesan Youth Director to be celibate if he was not married. It is now against the law for a Christian organization to require its employees to abide by Christian teaching. (link)
    • A British Employment Appeals Tribunal upheld a decision rendered last March rejecting a discrimination claim by a Justice of the Peace. The Justice sat on the court’s Family Panel and had requested to be excused from hearing cases involving same-sex couples based on his Christian religious beliefs. His request was denied and he filed a discrimination claim. The EAT concluded that magistrates must apply the law as their oath requires, and cannot opt out of cases on moral grounds. (link)
    • A Calgary Bishop was forced to remove a diocesan letter from his website because it urged Catholic Christians to support traditional marriage and oppose same-sex marriage. (link)
    • A professional printer refused to print material for the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives because he felt doing so would violate his religious beliefs. He was fined and ordered to print the material anyway. He took his case to the Ontario Supreme Court and then to the Ontario Court of Appeal and lost both times. His total legal bills exceed $170,000. (link)
    • Catholic Charities is forced out of the adoption business for the first time in 100 years because it will not place children with homosexual couples. (link)

    This is, at its core, a freedom of religion issue. Allowing sexual preference to be a protected class opens the door for all sorts of litigation to target those individuals and institutions (churches) that oppose such a preference. You’re almost right: this is not a possible threat, it is a threat. No wonder we’ve been specifically asked by a prophet of God to stand up and fight.

    …maybe the time will come that God will decide that gay relationships aren’t as bad as they used to be.

    As I’ve said in other posts on this subject: don’t hold your breath.

    Jacob,

    You fail to address the fact that sexuality is not the only protected class that is a personal choice.

    This is detailed in the first link of my post, delineating the various types of protected classes. I’m not ignorant of the other ones—I oppose anti-discrimination law in general, and choice-based protected classes in all their forms.

  12. David
    August 5, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    No, I do not. If I choose to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for example, then I should be willing to face whatever consequences may result from that decision.

    Somehow when I read the first question (about whether Connor thought that religious preference should be protected) that his answer would be no. Establishing one religion by the power of government should be prohibited, but in a country where the legal system is based on choice and consequences (as ours should be) I should be free to choose my religion, but that should not negate your freedom to treat me differently based on your perceptions of my choice. If I don’t like the consequences I am free to alter my choice.

  13. Tom
    August 5, 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    Connor –

    I can get behind your position that there should be NO protected classes at all. Just like I can mostly support the idea that there should be no “hate” crimes laws. If you hurt or kill someone, you are punished for that. That said, we do take motive into account in charging and sentencing — if I killed someone because he harmed my daughter, I would hope the court would take that into account and be a bit more lenient. However, if I killed someone because he stole my sand wedge — or solely because he was black or Korean or a Jehovah’s Witness — I’d expect somewhat harsher treatment.

    But in terms of sexuality being a choice, you are simply clearly wrong. The behavior is a choice, yes, but so is your “behavior” to write or throw a ball with your right hand. If you happen to be right-handed — you might be a lefty. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Sexuality is no more a choice than handedness is. Left-handedness affects a small percentage of the population. Science doesn’t know specifically what causes it, although current consensus is that it’s a combination of genetic factors (like sexuality, it’s not 100% genetic, because identical twins can be differently handed and/or have a different sexual orientation) combined with hormone levels in utero. Interestingly, that is also the current consensus on the causes of sexuality.

    There are many studies that indicate (not prove, indicate) a biological basis for sexuality. (Twin studies, finger length, brain morphology, fraternal birth order, etc.) I have seen NO studies that even indicate, let alone prove, that sexual orientation is chosen.

    Just as a person can choose to use their non-dominant hand to accomplish everyday tasks, a heterosexual could choose to engage in same-sex conduct, and vice versa. But the action doesn’t change their core orientation.

    Sexuality exists on a continuum. Some people are exclusively heterosexual, others exclusively homosexual. Many are bisexual to one degree or another, but most move toward heterosexual behavior because it is supported by societal norms. Plus, being homosexual can get you killed if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Consider Matthew Shepard or Lawrence King.)

    I appreciate your intellectual honesty re protected classes, but as far as sexuality being a choice, that’s one you need to let go of.

  14. Jeff T
    August 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    Jeffrey Robinson provides a very refreshing way to look at the origins of same-gender attraction.

    http://www.theguardrail.com/transcript.htm

    I invite everyone to read the whole thing… it completely changed my perspective.

  15. Jeff T
    August 5, 2008 at 3:35 pm #

    Tom: Science doesn’t know specifically what causes it, although current consensus is that it’s a combination of genetic factors (like sexuality, it’s not 100% genetic, because identical twins can be differently handed and/or have a different sexual orientation) combined with hormone levels in utero. Interestingly, that is also the current consensus on the causes of sexuality.

    That consensus far from undisputed. A great many reputable scientists reject that point of view.

  16. Tom
    August 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm #

    Jeff: do you have any reputable scientists who believe it is a choice?

  17. Jeff T
    August 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm #

    Jeffrey Robinson, as I said, holds a similar point of view. Brent Slife, Ed Gantt, and Richard Williams believe that agentic factors are heavily involved. Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

  18. Jeff T
    August 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm #

    There is a difference in believing that agency plays a significant role in same-gender attraction and saying that people deliberatively choose to be gay. The truth is, people don’t experience it that way… but Jeffrey Robinson explains how and why people can experience the condition as being outside of their control, even though their agency is involved all along.

  19. Connor
    August 5, 2008 at 4:24 pm #

    Tom,

    The fact that I could tomorrow choose to change my sexual preference indicates that choice, to whatever extent is involved. You concede that behavior is influenced by choice, but even preference is affected by it as well. I prefer to use a Mac over Windows. Was I born that way? Hardly.

    The article Jeff referenced always has a good explanation about orientation, and since that is the basis of the Court’s statement on this issue, that’s where the focus needs to be.

  20. Tom
    August 5, 2008 at 4:33 pm #

    Robinson seems to be more of a therapist than a scientist.

    Brent Slife is also a psychologist — and at BYU.

    Ed Gantt — same thing.

    Richard Williams — associated with NARTH, hardly a reputable source.

    Can you point me to any actual research (not theoretical musings) that anyone (even these guys) have done that indicates sexuality is chosen?

  21. Carissa
    August 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm #

    That was an insightful point of view Jeff, thanks for sharing the link. It left me wanting to reach out in compassion to anyone who struggles with something that I may not understand- whether it is homosexuality or not.

  22. Tom
    August 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm #

    Connor –

    You could choose your ACTIONS, but not your preference.

    The Mac vs. Windows comparison is sophistry at best. You could also start using your non-dominant hand to write with tomorrow. Wouldn’t change you from a righty to a left, or vice versa.

  23. Brandon
    August 5, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    Connor,
    There are so many things I want to respond to, but I’ll try to keep it concise.

    As I noted in my last comment, self-identification (in this case, regarding sexuality) is a choice.

    I was typing my question while you were typing this response. While I think the semantics of “self-identification” versus “inherent trait” serve to confuse the issue, I understand your point. However, if you are going to stand here and argue that the government has no business creating protected classes (which I can agree with), but then turn around and say that we should be using the governemnt to define the marriage relationship, then I think you are being inconsistent. In a previous thread I mentioned that I didn’t approve of the idea of using the governemnt to legislate private relationships. You said that you agreed in theory (a perfect world), but since the government is involved, we need to influence the government. Now, you are saying that the government should get out of the business of legislating protected classes. Why are you willing to fight the government involvment in one case, but not the other?

    So much for loving relationships (if you define love as fidelity, longevity, and commitment).

    I went to the link you provided, which was an anti-gay evangelical website. They did not provide any references to back up their claim that some Dutch study actually exists or says what they say it does. I hope you can do better than that to try to help me believe that Gays are actually all a bunch of sex crazed maniacs. Besides, I think if you did a study of early twenty something straight men in a lot of US cities, their “stats” would probably not be that much different than the alleged gay stats.

    I sustain a prophet of God as a seer. I believe that, like Wilford Woodruff did regarding the polygamy decision, our leaders know what consequences we will face as an institution if this law passes.

    Ok, interesting point. Are you saying that if these laws pass, the church will have to accept homosexuals and that will be a horrible thing? Because, in the case you are citing the government forced the church to reject polygamy and accept monogamy, and yet the church went on. Perhaps the same will hold true about homosexual relationships. I find your dismissive “Don’t hold your breath” to border on arrogance. Unless you have some special insight into the future, I’m not sure I would be so bold. The mormon polygamists of the late 19th century said the same type things. The racist mormons of early church history (if the late 1960’s is still considered early) said the same things about inter-racial relationships and the priesthood, and yet look at us today. While I respect your decision to support the church leadership on this issue, it is still unclear to me if they are acting in their official capacity as “prophets” or simply as men with opinions. Because past embarassments to the church have been dismissed as being merely the opinions of men rather than official doctrine, I wonder if this episode will one day be looked on in the same way.

  24. Connor
    August 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm #

    Why are you willing to fight the government involvment in one case, but not the other?

    I don’t see a discrepancy here. Regarding government being in the marriage business, you’re right: so long as it’s involved, I feel it’s important that it be involved correctly. And then regarding government being in the discrimination business, I feel it’s important that the protected classes it bases its anti-discrimination policies upon be proper ones (natural traits, not choices or behavior).

    They did not provide any references to back up their claim that some Dutch study actually exists or says what they say it does. I hope you can do better than that to try to help me believe that Gays are actually all a bunch of sex crazed maniacs.

    Here’s another link for you, replete with additional statistics (in addition to the Dutch study I cited) as well as footnotes for further investigation.

    Besides, I think if you did a study of early twenty something straight men in a lot of US cities, their “stats” would probably not be that much different than the alleged gay stats.

    This is an argument heavily used by the pro-gay side, claiming that if we’re concerned about them not being able to have children, then what of the couples who are infertile, don’t want children, etc.? I think the argument is a poor one, which has been debunked repeatedly by others. Here’s one example.

    Are you saying that if these laws pass, the church will have to accept homosexuals and that will be a horrible thing?

    I’m saying that that is the course such legislation will follow, yes. Which churches are primarily targeted, or to what extent they are sued and strong-armed into compliance, is anybody’s best guess. But I firmly believe that the root issue here is a freedom of religion one.

    Because, in the case you are citing the government forced the church to reject polygamy and accept monogamy, and yet the church went on.

    And what does the church teach? That marriage is between a man and a woman. You’ll note that the church has never said (that I’ve been able to find) that it’s between one man and one woman, as others proclaim. Doctrine and teachings remain unchanged. Practice has been altered to comply with the law, for sure, but who is to say that the resulting scenario is better (for us and in God’s eyes) than what the alternative would have been? Who is to say how much it displeases God that we were coerced by the government to abandon this practice?

    It had to adapt, but now members of the church look upon polygamy with discomfort and in many cases, disdain. Perhaps the same will hold true about homosexual relationships.

    Are you suggesting, as it seems, that God’s word must adapt to the whims of society? It matters not what most members think (how many think food storage is a great thing and fully practice what has consistently been preached?). What matters is what God has commanded, and what is proper and right for us as individuals to do. We can speculate all we want about what may or may not happen if homosexual marriages were legitimized and accepted, but that’s completely besides the point right now. A prophet has spoken, making clear what God’s opinion on the matter is. It is pointless (and spiritually counterproductive, in my opinion) to wonder if or hope that the church will change its mind or come to embrace what society thrusts open it.

    I find your dismissive “Don’t hold your breath” to border on arrogance. Unless you have some special insight into the future, I’m not sure I would be so bold.

    I do have this insight:

    Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family [earlier in this document defined as being based upon a marriage between a man and a woman] will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

    While I respect your decision to support the church leadership on this issue, it is still unclear to me if they are acting in their official capacity as “prophets” or simply as men with opinions.

    Might I suggest then-Elder Benson’s BYU devotional on following the prophet to understand how we are to follow those we sustain as Prophets. In summary, I believe it’s very spiritually dangerous to think that we can, with our learning, draw the correct line between when a prophet is acting in his “official capacity” and when he’s simply offering a personal opinion that may be regarded as only such. President Eyring’s recent talk is a great one as well.

    Because past embarassments to the church have been dismissed as being merely the opinions of men rather than official doctrine, I wonder if this episode will one day be looked on in the same way.

    I don’t think that polygamy was ever generally dismissed by church members as an “embarrassment” and opinion of man, though I can see how many would feel that the issue w/ blacks and the priesthood would be. Elder McConkie’s words on this subject are relevant:

    There are statements in our literature by the early brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

    We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.

    It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year.

    One might say, then, that we can be ahead of the spiritual curve, if you will, by openly supporting and longing for things that might surely change down the road. Say, for example, the LDS member who supports gay marriage (contrary to the Prophet’s counsel) who thinks that the church leadership just needs to “get with it”, and then soon enough they’ll come around to accept and institute his position. Not only do I believe that that is the high road to apostasy (because more often that not, such an attitude will spill into other matters), but it’s not the advisable thing to do even when one thinks that the leadership is wrong. Elder Benson, in the talk linked above, shared this story told by Marion G. Romney:

    I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home. . . .Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: “My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.” Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, “But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.”

    And finally, we have this from the Doctrine and Covenants:

    And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. (D&C 68:4)

    I think it’s safe to say that a letter prepared for all the Saints in California would be an instance where they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. The day that I think to be more wise or in tune with things than the man I sustain as the Lord’s mouthpiece is the day that I fear for my testimony in the Lord and His established method of guiding us through a prophet.

  25. Jeff T
    August 5, 2008 at 5:41 pm #

    Tom,

    Ad hominem arguments at best.

  26. Tom
    August 5, 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    Jeff –

    Not at all. I merely point out the potential bias of these men.

    In addition, I asked if you could point me to any scientific studies — EVEN BY THOSE MEN — that indicate that sexual orientation is chosen.

    Have you any?

  27. Brandon
    August 5, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    Connor,
    I’m not going to labor under the pretense that I have a testimony. That should make it easier for you to understand where my viewpoints come from. I am not so afraid of apostasy that I won’t use my own judgement to evaluate the directions given by church leadership.

    You used a quote from McConkie to show that only the current revelations are relevant. And yet, later you referred to the doctorine and covenants that said that when they speak as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, their words are scriptures. How do you then reconcile the fact that McConkie said that we should disregard his earlier preaching because he was speaking with “limited understanding”. If the words of the prophets are to be believed as the words of God, I am unable to accept that they can at one time pronounce the word of God one way and then change their mind later and claim that they were speaking with limited understanding. Either God knows and reveals the truth from the beginning, or he didn’t reveal anything at all. I can’t accept it both ways. If the current revelation about blacks and the preisthood is correct, why was it not always correct? Why did God allow the “prophets” to speak in his name for 140 years preaching something that was false? Unless you think the racism of the past wasn’t false? Was it good then, but bad now? What changed if not just the current “whims” of society which you have derided?

    Is it possible that the church leadership is operating under limited understanding about this issue? If you have a testimony, you say no. But without a testimony, their actions seem to me consistent with the historical pattern I have observed. Namely, they adopt problematic social views that ultimately become outdated. They initially fight change, but once change is forced upon them, they continue to go on and receive a revelation telling them that the supposed bad thing wasn’t really that bad afterall.

  28. Jeff T
    August 5, 2008 at 7:00 pm #

    Tom,

    EVERY researcher has a bias. There is no such thing as “unbiased” research. A majority of scientists have a bias towards biological reductionism. They then define any scientist that does not believe in biological reductionism as “disreputable” (for that very reason). Hardly intellectually honest.

  29. Tom
    August 5, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    But you cite three men from one institution that won’t let you remain employed if you don’t hew to their line, plus one man from an organization whose sole purpose is to push sexuality as a conscious choice. I think the bias is pretty heavy there.

    And still, I’ve asked (now for the third time) for you to provide any studies — even by one of those four clearly-biased men — that indicate that sexuality is chosen. So far, nothing.

  30. Connor
    August 5, 2008 at 7:25 pm #

    Brandon,

    I’m going to forgo responding to your questions and assertions for two reasons: 1) You probably can guess most of what I might say in response, and 2) The discussion has little to do with the subject of this blog post. Feel free to write up your own post where I and others can carry on the discussion of that topic, but I’ll close this threadjack for now to steer us back to the issue at hand.

  31. Connor
    August 5, 2008 at 7:29 pm #

    Tom,

    Your similar failure to point to any study that demonstrates that sexual orientation is not a choice does not rebut the assertions I’ve made here, nor prove your point. There are, as you have indicated, some studies that seem to suggest a link between biological factors and sexual orientation, but as Jeff noted, there is absolutely no consensus in the matter. If those studies prove false, then, the only other option to assume is that the orientation is a choice. No specific studies need to be done regarding choice simply because if the studies on biological influence prove to be true, then the choice issue dies, but if those studies prove to be false or incomplete, we are then left to assume that choice is indeed a factor (of some significance).

  32. Tom
    August 5, 2008 at 7:43 pm #

    Connor –

    It’s relatively easy to find such studies. Google “biological basis homosexuality” and you’ll come up with several. Here’s something from Stanford, one of America’s premiere institutions of higher learning and scientific research. http://news-service.stanford.edu/pr/95/950310Arc5328.html

    “If those studies prove false, then, the only other option to assume is that the orientation is a choice.” First, have ANY of these studies been proven false? Some have said sample sizes were too small or conclusions were reached that weren’t supported by the actual findings, but no one has yet disproven that the more older brothers you have, the more likely you are to be gay. That’s actually a statistical fact. No one has disproven that if one identical twin is gay, more than half the time the other twin is, too. Finger length, brain morphology — all of these indicate sexuality is biologically based.

    Nothing — NOTHING — suggests that sexual orientation is a choice, certainly not the personal experience of millions and millions of gay people. There are a handful who have changed their behavior, but virtually all report they felt their first sexual stirrings were for people of the same gender.

    If you want to be intellectually honest, you have to debate with some level of credibility. As I said, I can accept that there should be no protected classes. (Easy for me, white middle-class male, to say.) But to suggest that sexual orientation is chosen? The thought makes reason stare.

  33. Paul Benedict
    August 5, 2008 at 10:46 pm #

    Connor,

    You are absolutely correct… I thought that California had written this protection into the constitution already… I read the dang opinion and George fooled me. The California legislature in 2003 wrote this, ” “[e]xpanding the rights and creating responsibilities of registered domestic partners would further California’s interests in promoting family relationships and protecting family members during life crises, and would reduce discrimination on the bases of sex and sexual orientation in a manner consistent with the requirements of the California Constitution.

    George used this to overturn Prop. 22. He read the work of the legislature into the constitution, even though it was not a constitutional amendment.

    You are correct… that is one of the really big problems with this decision.

    I also beleive that the George Court has unconstitutionally deinstitutionalized marriage so that there are no more “husbands” and “wives” in California law. That’s why there is only “Party A” and “Party B” on California marriage licenses these days.

  34. Jeff T
    August 5, 2008 at 10:49 pm #

    Tom,

    I’ve found many. I won’t link to them here. Why? Because you can find them just as easily, and you will dismiss them all as being biased and “guilty by association” with NARTH.

    Simply put, science CAN’T prove agency. The best present scientific framework can do with agency is consider is a “wild card” yet to be explained by biological factors. That is because they have already accepted the biological paradigm (absent any proof… the biological paradigm is one of many ways to interpret the data, not something proven by the data).

  35. Paul Benedict
    August 5, 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    To chime in on the free choice thing… Everyone thinks that free choice means “easy choice.” We have the free choice to make Christ Jesus Lord in our lives. We also have the free choice to live to serve God. If the former is easy it is only because of the labors of Christ for us. The later is certainly no always easy.

    We have the free choice to be excellent at whatever we so desire to achieve… Yea, that’s easy.

    The path to greater liberty is almost always the harder path. The choices that lead to imprisonment to the weakness in life are almost always the easiest.

  36. brandon
    August 5, 2008 at 11:39 pm #

    Sorry Connor, I wasn’t trying to threadjack. Frankly, I think I was addressing the same topic as you. I simply feel that most of your reasoning and logic used to support your position is based in a belief that homosexuality is evil. This is a moral judgement that I assume you derive from your religious faith. If that is true, then an evaluation of the background of your faith seems to be a legitimate way to evaluate and understand your reasoning.

    As far as the topic at hand as you see it, I am unconvinced that homosexuality is a choice. I certainly don’t remember ever making a choice about liking girls. I just always felt that way. I did have to make choices about how I was going to behave, so I agree with you that there is choice in behavior, but the actual preference doesn’t seem to me to be chosen. I am assuming that even if homosexuality was established to be a biological and unchosen condition you would still oppose it due to your religious faith. Is that not correct? If so, than debating choice or biology is useless because you won’t change your mind either way. I would be happy to be shown wrong, but it doesn’t seem this is really a debate where anyone can or will change their mind. Minds have already been made up, and people are just searching for justification to support their cause. If homosexuality was shown to be biologically based, would you then support it being included in the protected classes? I hope you don’t consider this a further threadjack as I truly believe this is the heart of the debate.

  37. Clumpy
    August 6, 2008 at 2:00 am #

    Not exactly shying away from the controversial issues, are we Connor?

    Why are we even ARGUING the choice issue? How is this relevant to the issue of legal discrimination? Many “non-choice” characteristics of a person can be discriminated against (tall people in the NBA, African-Americans with better Achilles tendons running track, people without horrendous lisps and inborn jaw damage recording books on tape, heavy dyslexics NOT writing prescriptions, etc.).

    I don’t believe that “the Church” (meaning, in this arena, the LDS Church) has an official statement on the choice of the matter. The myriad factors involved in something like homosexuality make it practically impossible to test for in a laboratory setting. Does traumatic childhood abuse lead to truancy, unemployment, vandalism or homosexuality, or does it merely awaken existing urges within an individual?

    Besides, when Connor’s talking about “changing” his orientation (hypothetically), he’s talking about his personal identity and not the personal inclinations. I could go register with the Workers’ Party tomorrow and that wouldn’t make me any more of a Marxist, while Communist sympathizers could be shouting it up with the paranoid types at Eagle Forum meetings. The mere fact that an individual who isn’t necessarily homosexual can identify as a homosexual introduces instability and potential duplicitous behavior into the system, as nearly all of these discrimination laws do. Knowing whether somebody discriminated against somebody requires a depth of knowledge I can’t hope to attain in this lifespan.

    As a l-l-l-l-libertarian (Gosh that’s hard to say in 2008), I propose that we leave the gubmint out of it. I don’t know whether homosexuality is a choice (conscious or unconscious, as JeffT suggests) or a product of genes and environment, or if it varies from person to person.

    P.S. Educated people who believe that homosexuality is a choice WILL flock to groups like NARTH or the FLC (or BYU for that matter, as nearly any other university would create problems for them). As I have no way of knowing whether their research predates their personal opinion on the subject, I’ll admit that their group affiliations have little to no effect on their credibility. The same goes for Tom’s more accepted Ivy League blokes.

  38. Ron
    August 6, 2008 at 7:13 am #

    Chosen. Not Chosen. What a Headache.

    I think we can sum up the Church’s position on the matter as this:
    1.) “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God…” (The Family A Proclamation to the World)
    2.) God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. (The Family A Proclamation to the World)

    Finally the Prophet Mosiah taught that: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord,”

    The Lord nor the church has never said that homosexual attraction is a sin. It is not a sin to be attracted to a member of the same sex. Neither do we choose (regardless of gender) who we will feel feelings of attraction to. It is when we choose to have sex with someone we are not married to that we sin.

    From my point of view the whole reason we are on earth is to be tested. To see if we would keep the commandments. Not just the ones we are biologically predisposed to keep, but all of them. We all have commandments that we are predisposed biologically to disobey. For some, it’s sex (whether with a man or a woman) for others it’s pornography. For others it’s alchohol and for still others it’s financial dishonesty. Homosexual sex is a sin. Heterosexual sex outside of marriage is a sin. ANY TIME we know a commandment and we choose to disobey it it’s a sin.
    I have sinned. You have sinned. We all have sinned. Who gets to say whose sin is better?

  39. Tom
    August 6, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    Jeff –

    I’ve read some of the NARTH stuff. None of it is real scientific inquiry. It’s a lot of theories with no experimentation to back them up.

    You’re probably a relatively smart guy, and you must realize that it’s only a handful of (biased) organizations who are attempting to put lipstick on the pig of an idea that sexual orientation is chosen. Meanwhile the rest of the world scientific community are discovering actual EVIDENCE that sexual orientation is a complex interaction of biological activity that is fixed by birth or very shortly thereafter.

    But if you can’t reconcile the real world with your religious beliefs, I’m afraid there is nothing I can do for you.

  40. Carissa
    August 6, 2008 at 8:54 am #

    I tend to believe that there very well may be a strong genetic component for some people to have homosexual inclinations. I also think that for some it may lean more toward the “conscious choice” end of the spectrum. And there are probably many who fall in the middle somewhere.
    As far as the church is concerned, it really doesn’t matter. It seems that in our culture, if homosexuality is proven to have a biological basis then we should accept the behavior or lifestyle as not being a sin. But there are some who are born with a genetically-influenced inclination to be angry, abusive, addictive (all of which if acted upon would be sin). We all have our own weaknesses and inclinations that make the gospel hard to live in some way. This is just another one of them.
    Science has shown that there is a strong biological basis for addiction. Should there be a protected class for these people too?

  41. Connor
    August 6, 2008 at 9:03 am #

    Great point, Carissa.

    The fact that choice visibly can impact one’s sexuality (people can change back and forth) implies that regardless of biological influence or background, a person can make the decision to change if they truly desire.

    This supports my argument that true protected classes should only be those identifiers that are absolute, self-evident, and permanent. Race, age, sex, all fall under this category.

    I will surely concede that choice is not the only factor in sexual orientation, but the fact that it exists in the equation at all leads me to believe that that category should not be a protected class.

  42. Tom
    August 6, 2008 at 10:33 am #

    As far as the church is concerned, it really doesn’t matter. It seems that in our culture, if homosexuality is proven to have a biological basis then we should accept the behavior or lifestyle as not being a sin. But there are some who are born with a genetically-influenced inclination to be angry, abusive, addictive (all of which if acted upon would be sin).

    The question here is again about our role in civil society. Anger and abuse generally involve other people, so — sinful or not — acting out on anger in an abusive way is, and should remain, illegal.

    But sexuality affects only the consenting adults involved in the relationship — unless you believe that the mere existence of homosexuality affects the broader culture in negative ways. And that’s an entirely other debate.

  43. Carissa
    August 6, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    Acting out abusive inclinations on another person is illegal. Being angry, being addicted, or having some type of mental illness is not illegal (and shouldn’t be). Each of these traits could possibly have a biological basis. Should they become protected classes so employers, etc cannot discriminate on that basis?

  44. Tom
    August 6, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    Carissa –

    Have the angry or the addicted been discriminated against for decades — if not centuries — the way gay people have? Is there a rash of “alcoholic-bashings” I haven’t heard of?

    Besides, an angry or addictive personality is generally not a terrific employee (or renter), and so a business owner can (and should) discriminate based on that. But only on an individual basis. Homosexuals, on the other hand, HAVE been discriminated against. There are still 14 (I believe) states where an employer can fire a person SOLELY because they are gay. Gay people are still being beaten and killed with frightening regularity in this country — simply because they are gay.

  45. Connor
    August 6, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    Have the angry or the addicted been discriminated against for decades — if not centuries — the way gay people have? Is there a rash of “alcoholic-bashings” I haven’t heard of?

    The dissenting opinion cited in this post clarifies this issue as it relates to your inquisition. In essence, the Court created a constitutional right (and a protected class) out of thin air, based on the progressive history of laws the state had passed. It doesn’t matter what the history of discrimination has or has not been—the principle and proper implementation of law is what’s important.

    Gay people are still being beaten and killed with frightening regularity in this country — simply because they are gay.

    And the people inflicting such abuse should be punished. But government does not and should not serve to shield people from perceived reasons for abuse. I was very, very short growing up (late puberty) and was menacingly picked on all throughout high school. Sometimes the abuse was physical. Should government have intervened on behalf of all late-bloomers to make height a protected class? Again, it doesn’t matter who has been allegedly discriminated against (as I argued in the other post, people should be allowed to discriminate), what matters is the result of their perceived beliefs, stereotypes, or world view.

  46. Carissa
    August 6, 2008 at 11:10 am #

    Tom, is that your criteria then for making a protected class? Level and extent of persecution?

  47. Tom
    August 6, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    I’m generally fine with NO protected classes. But if you’re going to have them, they ought be based on real threats, real discrimination. Race, age, disability — these have all been discriminated against and our society is trying to find ways to make sure people are treated equally. All I’m saying is that gay people have been persecuted and discriminated against pretty heavily – far more than the “angry” or “addicted.”

  48. vontrapp
    August 6, 2008 at 11:42 am #

    Carissa, spot on! Tom, you’re missing the point of the choice thing Connor is talking about. The point is, whatever one’s core orientation, and whatever amount of choice is or isn’t involved, one’s identity as either homo- or heterosexual is something one chooses to take upon themselves. Most people will feel obligated to identify with their inclinations on some principle of being who they really are. However, you or I or anybody could “identify” as homosexual, heterosexual, sandwich eater, tofu eater regardless of inclinations or palette. The law cannot know your inclinations, only what you profess to identify with. Thus the law is fundamentally based on a choice. Granting people litigious power based on something completely in their control (the identification one way or the other) is a very bad move.

  49. vontrapp
    August 6, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    Thinking about identity gave me another idea. Just like sexual identification, I can choose another manifestation of my identity, my name. I could go change my name to banana hammock. People might find that offensive, doesn’t mean I should be in a protected class. Doesn’t mean I should be able to sue my business partner for not wanting my new name on company letterhead.

  50. Tom
    August 6, 2008 at 12:41 pm #

    Vontrapp –

    you or I or anybody could “identify” as homosexual, heterosexual, sandwich eater, tofu eater regardless of inclinations or palette. The law cannot know your inclinations, only what you profess to identify with.

    It’s an interesting point. So as long as I identified as heterosexual, you’d be cool with letting me marry a man?

  51. Clumpy
    August 6, 2008 at 8:38 pm #

    Tom, that’s quite a proposition (no pun intended). I can just imagine the kid going: “WAIT a minute. . . he’s not gay!”

    I actually think that a crime based on hatred is worse than a crime brought on by anger or frustration. I prefer to think that I’ll be all right as long as I don’t piss off somebody with a Glock, but it’s harder for people to feel safe if gangsters start going after geeks or people with bad posture or folk with glasses. I’d be a sitting duck, in other words.

    Besides, existing laws involving violence already take into account the mental state of an individual preceding a crime. “Aggravated assault” or different classifications of murder or manslaughter exist based on qualifications like provocation, self-defense and neglect. Adding hate crimes to the mix isn’t that much more.

    But we’re talking about crimes involving violence. Freedom of assembly necessitates freedom of exclusion, or it’s requirement of assembly. Every time we hire somebody we’re using some form of “discrimination” in the sense of selecting one choice from another. Some discrimination is hateful and some is based on necessity (hiring whoever’s best for the job, independent of accreditation, etc.). Yes, allowing businesses to hire whoever they want may result in racism, sexism or any number of other “-isms”, but that’s a consequence of freedom.

  52. Janet
    August 6, 2008 at 11:12 pm #

    Tom,

    It is not a person’s religious persuasion or academic affiliation that invalidates a study. It is the study’s methodology that makes it valid or invalid. You stated that there are several studies that support your position. I do not believe you. If it is true, name them! Be specific.

    When I was in college at Eastern Washington University, my textbook stated, “Despite extensive research to prove otherwise, there is NO indication that would suggest same sex sexual orientation is a genetic or a biological pre-disposition.”

    After six years of research on violence and sex crimes, I found plenty of evidence to show that the majority of gay pedophiles that were in prison had been molested before they became gay. Statistics on gay pedophiles that had molested or raped young boys showed that gay pedophiles had on average150 child victims.

    We had men from a gay coalition come talk to my Sociology class about the need for government funding so adult gay mentors could counsel teenage boys who had been raped by gay men. He said that the victims needed to understand that if the sex act involved in the abuse or crime felt good, that meant the boys were gay and that was ok. He reasoned that funding for gay counselors was necessary because of the extremely high suicide rate and the extensive alcohol and drug use that was prevalent in the gay community.

    I listened to him speak for about 35 minutes then raised my hand. I told the speaker that there was a large panel of light switches on the wall in the front of the room. If I turned the switches on with my hand, the lights turned on. If I used a ruler to flip the switches, the lights went on. If I turned the switches on with a hairbrush, the lights still turned on and the lights didn’t say, “Oh my gosh, I’m hairbrush oriented!” The lights just knew that there circuits were working properly.

    Our bodies were created with circuits that stimulate sexual feelings. Those feelings lead to sexual intercourse which often results in pregnancy insuring the propagation of the human race.

    There are many things that can switch on our circuits. If a man rapes manipulates or sexually molests a boy in a manner that switches on his sexual circuits, it doesn’t mean the boy is gay. It means that some selfish person inappropriately stimulated another human being whose circuits are working properly. Thankfully that unnatural act never results in pregnancy.

    If you can’t bring forth solid specific scientific proof to support your premise or to disprove Connor’s premise, you have no argument just an opinion… one that I strongly disagree with.

  53. Tom
    August 6, 2008 at 11:24 pm #

    Try here first: http://toddshammer.wordpress.com/2006/06/09/biology-and-homosexuality/

    Then google “The Science of Gaydar.” There is a New York Magazine article that discusses several of these studies.

  54. Connor
    August 7, 2008 at 11:59 am #

    I just came across this article (h/t Trent) by Orson Scott Card (an individual with whom I often disagree) that was published today and directly applies to our conversation here. Give it a look-see.

  55. Tom
    August 7, 2008 at 2:58 pm #

    I read the article in the Atlantic. Several interesting quotes:

    “Psychiatry not only consistently failed to show that homosexuality was a preference, a malleable thing, susceptible to reversal; it also consistently failed to show that homosexuality was a pathology.”

    “Whatever the uncertainties ahead, though, the important point is that the genetic work is already fairly compelling. A new Bailey and Pillard genetic study of lesbian twins, to be published soon in the Archives of General Psychiatry, echoes the researchers’ original male-twin findings with strikingly similar results. “We’re getting a lot of consistency where we should be getting it,” Bailey says.”

    “Even at this relatively early date, out of the web of complexities it is becoming ever clearer that biological factors play a role in determining human sexual orientation.”

    “Five decades of psychiatric evidence demonstrates that homosexuality is immutable, and nonpathological, and a growing body of more recent evidence implicates biology in the development of sexual orientation”

    I couldn’t access the Commentary articles, as they are available only to subscribers.

    Also, here’s a link to the New York magazine article I referenced earlier: http://nymag.com/news/features/33520/

  56. Janet
    August 7, 2008 at 9:51 pm #

    Tom,

    You don’t have a case. Could you point to some scientific studies that can be evaluated for their merits. Magazine articles and opinion don’t cut it for me.

    Chemistry and biology are not opinion sciences. Credible studies point to facts not suppositions. The sources that you point to draw conclusions NOT based on facts, but rather based on agenda.

    Connor,

    The Card article parallels the factual conclusions I found in my 6 years of college research on the topic.

  57. brandon
    August 7, 2008 at 11:12 pm #

    Janet, you no doubt have a good point when arguing that just because gay sex may be pleasurable to an individual, that doesn’t make someone gay. However, much of your other arguments focus on the behavior and tendencies of gay pedophiles. That’s a rather dispicable group of people to be basing your evaluations of gays upon. What if the behaviors of all heterosexuals were judged based upon the actions of hetero pedophiles?

    Also, you have called out Tom insisting that he provide you with a study confirming biological influences determine sexual preference. Did you point out any studies indicating the opposite that I missed somewhere in the thread?

    One observation I made about this debate is that those who are against gay sex for moral reason automatically take the position that gayness is choosen. This allows them to feel justified in their quest to justify their moral judgement. However, I get the feeling that many of the other side approach the situation under the assumption that there is nothing inherintly immoral about gay sex and therefore are only interested in understanding it. I know there are people on both sides of the issue that don’t fit those stereotypes, but they seem accurate to me.

  58. Adrien
    August 8, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    I don’t think any class deserves any protection against discrimination. As a brown person growing up in San Diego, it didn’t feel as if there was an issue. Once I moved around the country, it was clear that the rest of the country wasn’t so accepting. I currently reside in Arizona where the sherrif carries out “sweeps” for undocumented immigrants who are brown.

    Initially, I was annoyed. But at the same time, I started to wonder why anyone would want to be accepted solely because everyone else was forced to accept them.

    To this point, homosexuality is not something that is visible for everyone to pick out of a crowd. The only reason an employer would know about homosexuality in one’s personal life is because that person disclosed their personal life in the workplace.

    It is very similar to religious discrimination. Nobody knows your faith until you start telling everyone what it is. If you keep it to yourself until it is appropriate to discuss it, discrimination for faith wouldn’t happen. Once you start to include everyone into your practice, whatever it may be, you open yourself to discrimination for your decisions.

  59. Jeff T
    August 8, 2008 at 2:50 pm #

    Personally, I don’t want the kind of government that can guarantee that there is no discrimination. (just as I’m not sure I want the kind of government that can stop all bad things from happening)

  60. vontrapp
    August 8, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    Tom, you miss the point again. I don’t care what you identify with, I still don’t think you should marry a man (that is, if you are also a man). That’s still not the point even. The point is I don’t think you or anyone should be afforded special protection just because you *choose* to identify as a homosexual. You might be a homosexual and have no choice in that matter, whatever, but someone else can choose to “be a homosexual” (the identity thing) just so he can start suing people for not being hired or whatever.

  61. Tom
    August 8, 2008 at 7:31 pm #

    “You might be a homosexual and have no choice in that matter, whatever, but someone else can choose to “be a homosexual” (the identity thing) just so he can start suing people for not being hired or whatever.”

    Don’t you think the court might want to see some evidence? Religion is a protected status, and that is a chosen behavior.

  62. Janet
    August 9, 2008 at 7:31 am #

    Brandon,

    I addressed gay pedophile behavior because I researched it for six years in college. I do not base my opinion on gays only because of my research.

    A relative of mine is a self-proclaimed lesbian. Do I love her? Absolutely! Do I approve of her behavior? Absolutely NOT! When I observe her and her friends, do I see happy women who are fulfilled and satisfied with life? NO! Would my approval of their behavior, or the public’s acceptance of her sexual orientation, make her happy and fulfilled? NO! If she could marry one of the many partners she has had make her happy and fulfilled? Are you kidding… it would only make her divorced! Was she born a lesbian? NO! She was dominated, abused then raped by a lesbian, and then magically she became a lesbian.

    Well perhaps you are right, it isn’t fair to base my opinion of the whole based on a few. So let me tell you about (I’ll call him Franz). Franz married a woman and got her pregnant so he could have a child. While his wife was pregnant, he moved in his gay lover stating the man was just an old friend who was down on his luck and needed a place to stay until he could get back on his feet.

    When the baby was six months old, Franz’ friend was still down on his luck and living with them. Franz and his wife decided to move to a new apartment. Franz moved to the new apartment, with the help of his friend, while his wife was at work. When his wife got home from work, everything had been moved.

    His wife excitedly drove to her new apartment and knocked on the door which was locked because Franz’ friend had her key. When Franz opened the door, he told his wife he was gay, his friend was his lover and they were keeping everything including the baby. Franz had already filed for temporary custody stating his wife was an unfit mother.

    My bishop asked me to take in Franz’ wife and help her get her baby back. The process was educational to say the least. I had an entire gay community calling my home to talk to Franz’ wife to tattle on each other because they had been screwed (pardon the pun), I mean jilted.

    “Franz left the baby with a drug addict so he could go out with another man… when I got home I found ____ OD’d and the baby was crying on the floor.”

    “Franz left the baby with an alcoholic he found on the street so he could go to a ‘gay’ strip club with another man and the baby is at ____ bar.”

    “I turned (Franz new lover) in to the Air Force because he left me for another man. I know how you (Franz’ wife) feel… he (Franz) didn’t even send me a valentine!”

    When we got to court Franz’ ex-employer was there to testify about Franz feeling up the customers in a TUX store. When they fired Franz, he tried to burn down the store. He ended up going to jail for it.

    I was also present on the Air Force Base when one of Franz’ lovers was being drummed out of the military because he couldn’t keep his hands to himself.

    I served a subpoena to one of Franz’ lovers in front of a gay bar full of drag queens and heard their foul talk and observed their obscene behavior.

    When Franz brought his wife her things, he added a box of his own things. I saw the magazines with porn on the cover. I saw the gay sex nick-nacks. I saw the filth.

    What I didn’t see that year out of the gay community was anything decent, normal, virtuous, lovely or of good report.

    But perhaps it isn’t fair to judge gays based on the scriptures, six years of research and the behavior of an entire gay community…

  63. Dawn
    August 9, 2008 at 8:23 am #

    I think burglars and abusers should be a protected class. After all, these tendencies can be passed down through families and very often are. Burglars might really need the money and stealing might be the only life skill they were taught. And those who abuse or hurt others were usually the victims of abuse, as well. If this argument seems to be ridiculous, consider this: there is more evidence that violence is a genetic tendency than there is for homosexual tendency being part of the genetic makeup.

    Now, I do not “hate” or even “dislike” homosexuals. I just have a completely different concept of sex. In today’s society sex seems to be an activity people participate in for the pleasure it brings them. I believe Satan has fostered this attitude to distract all of us from an eternal truth. In my lexicon of beliefs sex is the natural act used for the procreation of new life. Because procreation is one of the fundamental commandments a loving God gave to his children He made it an act that humans would be able to enjoy. But He has given us guidelines in how to use this sacred power: In a marriage and for procreation (or to celebrate that goal). To me, any other form of sex is abusing a sacred power and therefore a sin.

    In essence, some of you are telling me that I have to abandon my beliefs on the sacredness of sex in order to validate your actions. That simply will not happen, and while I can honestly say that I do not hate any of my fellow beings I do not agree with all the choices people make. And I do think it is a choice. I choose not to have sex before marriage and I’m 25 years old. If I can choose not to have sex then choosing to have sex (regardless of the gender of the partner) is a choice.

  64. Tom
    August 9, 2008 at 8:26 am #

    “it isn’t fair to base my opinion of the whole based on a few. So let me tell you about (I’ll call him Franz)”

    So it’s not fair to base your opinion on a few, but it is fair to base it on one?!

    How about I tell you the story of my friends, a couple who will be married in about six weeks, and how “Gene” has looked after “Terry” after Terry had a heart attack and nearly died — and has since had three hospitalizations? Or about my doctor and his partner who adopted a little boy who had languished in foster care? Or my friends who have been together 35 years? Or another doctor I know, a lesbian who every year volunteers for several weeks, providing free medical care to poor communities in Central America?

  65. Tom
    August 9, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    I think burglars and abusers should be a protected class. After all, these tendencies can be passed down through families and very often are.

    Except burglars and abusers have victims. Men and women in consensual relationships do not.

    I believe Satan has fostered this attitude to distract all of us from an eternal truth.

    An imaginary being has no place in a discussion of an issue of civil law.

  66. Jeff T
    August 9, 2008 at 10:14 am #

    An imaginary being has no place in a discussion of an issue of civil law.

    Sorry you feel that way. I suppose you feel the same way about God?

  67. Dawn
    August 9, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    So it’s not fair to base your opinion on a few, but it is fair to base it on one!

    So you know a few great guys that are gay. Is that the basis of your opinion? Perhaps it runs deeper? Are you gay?

    If you reread Janet’s comment very carefully, you will see that there were several men involved in the aberrant behavior and several victims.

    Think about the Catholic priests and the trusting boys. No victims? Yeah right!

    A chosen behavior that goes against the majority of people’s belief in God’s commandments has no place being the basis of lawsuits. Allow Catholic adoption services to follow their convictions. Let you gay doctor friends inseminate lesbians. Perhaps your gay and lesbian friends could pair up to make babies the “natural” way.

    Making it a requirement that a straight doctor must service the gay community in that way or loose their license to practice their chosen profession is WRONG! No victim here? – Yeah right! Churches should be allowed to preach their beliefs without risking going to jail. Apparently your religion is Atheism. You want your chosen religion to be alone in a protected class. Perhaps all religion should join you in a protected class so that we can practice our beliefs. Making sexual orientation a protected class to enable gays to harass others with lawsuits because others don’t accept the gay religion and beliefs is wrong, Wrong, WRONG!!!

    As for the reality of Satan and God, I’m sorry for you. I know that one day you will have to face God. Then you will realize that God is real, that he has standards and your belief system is not in line with his and there will be consequences.

    I believe that you and I will never agree on this issue so we must agree to disagree. I will spend my time henceforth doing everything I can to thwart your legal movement. Thanks for that. This will be my final comment on this post as I have work to do. I suggest that anyone who feels the same way I do check out Connor’s Orson Scott Card link then contact your state and national legislators.

  68. Tom
    August 9, 2008 at 6:45 pm #

    So you know a few great guys that are gay. Is that the basis of your opinion?

    What I was saying is that it’s easy to find individual examples of good and bad behavior in any group. Overall, however, the only reason you can come up with to deny civil marriage equality is because you have chosen to believe that manuscripts ranging from thousands of years old to hundreds of years old are, in fact, the inerrant words of an imaginary superbeing. And that’s cool. I stand ready to fight and die to protect your right to believe in that superbeing and worship same as you wish. But under the Constitution of the United States, your belief in HF has the exact same legal standing as my belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Perhaps it runs deeper? Are you gay?

    Wow — did you just have your gaydar tuned or something?

    Think about the Catholic priests and the trusting boys. No victims? Yeah right!

    Those would be children, so they can’t consent, so they are, in fact, victims

    A chosen behavior that goes against the majority of people’s belief in God’s commandments has no place being the basis of lawsuits.

    According to the Supreme Court, it does, actually.

    Allow Catholic adoption services to follow their convictions.

    Sure. As long as they don’t expect tax breaks.

    Perhaps your gay and lesbian friends could pair up to make babies the “natural” way.

    In fact, that is just what one of my gay friends has done. He’s the father of adorable twins, and he is deeply involved in their lives.

    Making it a requirement that a straight doctor must service the gay community in that way or loose their license to practice their chosen profession is WRONG!

    Would you allow a Christian doctor to refuse to serve a Muslim?

    Churches should be allowed to preach their beliefs without risking going to jail.

    Absolutely. Apparently you haven’t been following the exploits of Fred Phelps. Unless he’s in jail and I haven’t heard of it, the First Amendment is doing pretty well.

    You want your chosen religion to be alone in a protected class. Perhaps all religion should join you in a protected class so that we can practice our beliefs.

    I think religion is already in a protected class, but I could be wrong on that.

    Making sexual orientation a protected class to enable gays to harass others with lawsuits because others don’t accept the gay religion and beliefs is wrong, Wrong, WRONG!!!

    Not quite. Sexuality is now a protected class and will protect gay people from being discriminated against simply because of an accident of birth. In case you didn’t know, there are still many places in this country where a person can be fired or denied housing SOLELY because they are gay.

    And have you noticed that the military has discharged several dozen (70-something, I think) Arabic and Farsi speakers who were vital participants in the war on terror — simply because they were gay?

    As for the reality of Satan and God, I’m sorry for you. I know that one day you will have to face God. Then you will realize that God is real, that he has standards and your belief system is not in line with his and there will be consequences.

    When the end comes and you embrace the void, and there’s no veil for you to put your hand through and make the secret handshake, you might think – “Dang – I wasted that whole life — the only one I got — on narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy and false prophets who manipulated me for my money. Oops.”

    I will spend my time henceforth doing everything I can to thwart your legal movement.

    And I yours. If you haven’t noticed, my side has a pretty decent lead in the race. Homosexual behavior is perfectly legal in this country. 75% of Americans (and 73% of active military) think gays should be allowed to serve in the armed forces. The California Supreme Court just handed us a huge victory, Prop 8 is behind in the polls (and will likely remain behind since the Proposition can be described on the ballot for exactly what it is — eliminating a right) and Barack Obama is poised to become President (at the same time the Democrats extend their majority in Congress), which means the repeal of DOMA and the appointment of fair-minded Supreme Court justices.

    Thanks for that.

    No. Thank you.

  69. Brandon
    August 10, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Janet,
    I am glad you responded, but sad that you missed the entire message of my post. Instead of realizing how odd it seems to me to base your opinon of gays upon the behavior of gay pedophiles, you proceed to point out that two of the gay people you have known were either a horrible human being or an unhappy, abused human being. Both seem to be extreme examples, with behavior that may or may not be related to their sexual preference. Is it not possible that a heterosexual might also be a deciver and take advantage of a sexual partner? Is it not possible that a heterosexual might also be promiscuous and unfullfilled in their life? The answer to both of these is yes. So in my opinion, you haven’t exactly differentiated the behavior of some gays from the behavior of some heteros. Besides, using anectodal evidence to establish the evilness of homosexuality seems to border on scare tactics to me, because as you can see, people like Tom can come back and give anectdotal evidence that refutes yours (besides, his stories seem so much happier).

    I choose not to have sex before marriage and I’m 25 years old. If I can choose not to have sex then choosing to have sex (regardless of the gender of the partner) is a choice.

    Dawn,
    choosing to have sex and choosing who to have sex with are two very different things. Choosing to have sex is, by definition, choosing. However, whether sexual preference is choosen is not really confirmed or refuted by your ability to remain abstinent for 25 years.

  70. Trent
    August 11, 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    I think this conversation is complicating things that are very simple. We have a difference in opinion over whether people should be expected to contain their innate desires. Accepting those born with homosexual tendencies to keep them in check, is no different than to expect men to abstain from pornography. Unlike homosexuality though, almost all men are born with a propensity to be lured by pornography. This is obviously genetically imprinted, but we are expected to keep these desires in check. Brandon and Tom, to want one to be accepted is the same as the other. The church will no sooner accept homosexuality than they will pornography. It seems neither of you really read the linked Card article, where this is clearly articulated. Genes play a huge part in whether you have a tendency to become an alcoholic, a drug addict, or a gambler. However, church teachings show (and many years of sociological anecdotes), that certain behaviors should not be tolerated regardless of your desires.

  71. Tom
    August 11, 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    Unlike homosexuality though, almost all men are born with a propensity to be lured by pornography. This is obviously genetically imprinted, but we are expected to keep these desires in check.

    Evidence, please.

    Besides, indulging in pornography is not illegal. Neither is homosexuality.

    Plus, I think a better example is handedness — you CAN choose to use your non-dominant hand to write, throw a ball, etc. But why? I understand that some may choose to control their behavior in certain areas (drinking, gambling, pornography, dancing, pork-eating) due to religious constraints. But you may NOT insist on my restricting MY legal behavior in order to meet YOUR religious standards.

    Brandon and Tom, to want one to be accepted is the same as the other. The church will no sooner accept homosexuality than they will pornography.

    Porn is in the eyes of the beholder. There is some definite homoeroticism in the illustrations in the paperback copy of the Book of Mormon. All those big arms — it’s like a softcore Tom of Finland book.

    It seems neither of you really read the linked Card article, where this is clearly articulated. Genes play a huge part in whether you have a tendency to become an alcoholic, a drug addict, or a gambler. However, church teachings show (and many years of sociological anecdotes), that certain behaviors should not be tolerated regardless of your desires.

    I did read the entire Card article. And again, why must I contain my drinking, gambling, drug use (or sexuality) to meet a religious standard. My indulgence in any of those is limited only by civil law. I don’t drink and drive. Don’t drink much, either, to tell the truth. My gambling is limited to poker — and I’m actually a winning poker player, so I’m actually benefitting my family with my poker playing.

    You tolerate my legal behaviors, and I will tolerate yours.

  72. Connor
    August 11, 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    But you may NOT insist on my restricting MY legal behavior in order to meet YOUR religious standards.

    Religious standards? Tom, this proposition does nothing to outlaw homosexuality. To assert that religious standards are being imposed through law in this case is completely asinine.

    Yours is a misguided conception of government. Advocating law free of any morality is not republicanism, it is libertinism.

  73. Tom
    August 11, 2008 at 1:18 pm #

    Religious standards? Tom, this proposition does nothing to outlaw homosexuality. To assert that religious standards are being imposed through law in this case is completely asinine.

    Connor – I was responding to Trent, actually.

    Besides, my point has been that it is entirely religious standards that are being used to defend the denial of marriage equality.

    Yours is a misguided conception of government. Advocating law free of any morality is not republicanism, it is libertinism.

    I’m certainly more of a libertine than you, I’d imagine, but I don’t stand for libertinism. Law is not free of morality, but it should be based on a morality with which most of us agree. I’m all for laws against murder, rape, theft, etc. Crimes with victims. I’m less interested in laws against drugs, pornography, suicide, etc. Not a libertine, but probably a libertarian. (Or libertarian light, as I do think we need driver’s licenses, building codes, etc.)

  74. Connor
    August 11, 2008 at 1:22 pm #

    Besides, my point has been that it is entirely religious standards that are being used to defend the denial of marriage equality.

    Religious standards, no. Morality, yes. There are certain principles that apply to various religions and codes of ethics, and to claim that they are religious standards misses the mark entirely. Morality != religion.

    Law is not free of morality, but it should be based on a morality with which most of us agree.

    In a democracy, yes. In a republic, no.

  75. Tom
    August 11, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    Connor –

    I’m not sure I’m following you here. Are you saying the supporters of Prop do not rely on religious arguments, but only moral ones?

    If so, don’t you think they are pretty far off the mark, since homosexuality is not defined as immoral under US law? (Actually, I’m not sure if anything is defined as immoral under US law — only lawful or unlawful.)

    The “moral” codes that are being used to fight marriage equality are entirely based on religious proscriptions, so in this case, morality does equal religion.

  76. Trent
    August 11, 2008 at 1:58 pm #

    Tom, I wasn’t saying I was telling you what to do. Where in the world are you coming off? Seriously, stop trying to put words in others mouth. When did I ever say I wouldn’t tolerate homosexuality? Your posts are becoming ludicrous, painting people in wide brushes when they are simply trying to explain a position. You keep jumping back and forth with your arguments so that whatever someone says you can attack them on something. I see three separate issues you are fighting. All I wanted to point out, is there is a moral issue that is in line with other things many religious people hold. With requiring a state to recognize marriages and make them a protected class, you are essentially forcing citizens to involuntarily support (through taxes and lawsuits) what they see as wrong. The whole thesis of this from Connor was that they shouldn’t be a protected class. You keep bringing up other protected classes, without admitting that Connor disagrees with any protected class. We aren’t even talking about a law prohibiting homosexuality, why do you insist on talking about it like that is what we are proposing?

  77. Trent
    August 11, 2008 at 2:03 pm #

    Plus, I think a better example is handedness — you CAN choose to use your non-dominant hand to write, throw a ball, etc. But why?

    Since you insist on bringing this example up, how about this. There are lots of sports teams that “discriminate” on handedness. Left handed pitchers are a premium in baseball purely because of what hand they throw with.

    And why would you change what hand to write with? Raphael Nadal is right handed from birth, switched to left hand because a lefty is harder to play in tennis. Just a small useless piece of info :)

  78. Carissa
    August 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm #

    The “moral” codes that are being used to fight marriage equality are entirely based on religious proscriptions

    So non-religious people could not possibly be against the idea? I think for the most part you are right about it largely coming down to religious motivations, though. Religious conviction is (I believe) the biggest thing standing in the way of same sex marriage. I fear what that will lead to in the future.

  79. Tom
    August 11, 2008 at 2:31 pm #

    Where in the world are you coming off? Seriously, stop trying to put words in others mouth. When did I ever say I wouldn’t tolerate homosexuality?

    I don’t think I said that. But you don’t seem to be tolerance of marriage equality.

    But I didn’t mean to hank you off or anything.

    With requiring a state to recognize marriages and make them a protected class, you are essentially forcing citizens to involuntarily support (through taxes and lawsuits) what they see as wrong.

    True. Just as I have been forced to allow churches to have tax breaks I don’t think they should have. Just as KKK members and Muslims have to accept Jews as a protected class.

    The whole thesis of this from Connor was that they shouldn’t be a protected class.

    Which I basically agreed with. My point was, if you are going to have protected classes at all, I don’t see any reason why sexual orientation shouldn’t be protected, when religion (also a “self-identifying” class) is.

    We aren’t even talking about a law prohibiting homosexuality, why do you insist on talking about it like that is what we are proposing?

    Sorry if I gave that impression. I don’t think you are talking about laws against homosexuality — just against marriage equality.

    There are lots of sports teams that “discriminate” on handedness. Left handed pitchers are a premium in baseball purely because of what hand they throw with.

    They discriminate primarily on skill level. But yes, being a lefty is an advantage in certain sports.

    And why would you change what hand to write with?

    If you are a lefty and are tired of smudging your ink, you might want to be right-handed. Nadal is likely ambidextrous, as is Phil Mickelson.

    But the broader point is still there — why try to change a core aspect of your nature? Or rather, why should one be compelled to change a core aspect of their nature in order to achieve civil equality?

  80. Carissa
    August 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    why should one be compelled to change a core aspect of their nature in order to achieve civil equality?

    This is a bit misleading. The “civil equality” you speak of is in the form of economic-type benefits that result from a voluntary contract that has a certain value to the state. It has not been determined that same sex relationships have that same value (to the state), thus the lack of benefits. It’s not as if people are being denied basic human rights simply because of their orientation, although it seems to be presented this way.

  81. Jeff T
    August 11, 2008 at 5:05 pm #

    Carissa,

    You are smart.

  82. Tom
    August 11, 2008 at 8:43 pm #

    It has not been determined that same sex relationships have that same value (to the state), thus the lack of benefits.

    Where exactly is the lack of value to the state? The shared financial responsibility is still there. Certainly gay couples deliver as much value as childless or infertile couples. On top of that, gay people can and do create children.

    So why is it the state denies these benefits?

  83. Carissa
    August 11, 2008 at 9:49 pm #

    gay people can and do create children

    Outside of their relationship, yes, but not as a direct result from their union. With a heterosexual marriage relationship comes the possibility and likelihood that their union will produce more citizens. A homosexual relationship can’t produce new citizens without technology and/or outside help, and in the cases where this occurs, it is independent of the actual relationship. So what is the value of the homosexual union (NOT the value of the partners individually) to the state in this respect?

  84. Tom
    August 11, 2008 at 10:17 pm #

    what is the value of the homosexual union (NOT the value of the partners individually) to the state in this respect?

    First off, let’s remember that the ability to produce children is not a prerequisite to marriage. Post-menopausal women and couples where one or both of the partners are sterile are still allowed to benefit from marriage. So are couples who have no desire or intent to produce children.

    That said, is the value of the children based solely in their existence, or in the fact that they come into existence within the bounds of a marriage? If it’s the latter, then what is the reasoning behind denying marriage to same-sex couples who might have children, regardless of the method by which they are conceived. Is a child conceived via IVF in a heterosexual marriage more valuable than a child conceived via sperm donation or surgery?

    What about gay people who produced children in previous heterosexual relationships? Do we get a dispensation, since we have already created our replacement?

    Finally, the benefit of marriage to the state goes beyond merely creating the next generation of citizens in an environment that has been shown to be more stable and nurturing than non-legal or religious unions. Are you conceding that point and merely arguing over the production of children and its overall benefit to society?

  85. Carissa
    August 11, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    You did not answer the question.

    In reference to childless/infertile couples, it would appear that their commitment to each other in combination with the mere possibility for their union to be productive is enough for the state to grant them benefits. And yes, I am only speaking in terms of “citizen production” as a value to the state here (I do believe marriage has other values).

    Is a child conceived via…more valuable than a child conceived via …?

    No, but we are not talking about the value of children as individuals to the state, but the value of certain unions to the state. Again, what is the value of the homosexual union to the state in this respect?

    What about gay people who produced children in previous heterosexual relationships?

    What about single heterosexuals who have children and are raising them with one of their parents? Do the single parent and the grandparent get marriage benefits for raising the child together?

  86. brandon
    August 11, 2008 at 11:22 pm #

    All of this talk about which relationship has more “value to the state” is such a turn off. It seems to dehumanize the whole affair, while these are people with real lives, and real emotions that we are talking about. Maybe you are correct that the state endorses one relationship over another because it perceives it to have more value, but I am almost certain that the majority of voters will not look at the issue this way. Right or wrong, they will evaluate the proposition against their ideas of fairness and equality.

    However, along your lines of thinking, if we were going to let the state decide the issue of which relationships have value we would be stuck with gay marriage. I am pretty sure that the state legislature has passed legislation on two occasions which would allow gay marriage. Interestingly, they were vetoed by Arnold, who is now opposed to prop 8. As well, the court (which is a part of the state) has declared the ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional.

    Rather than saying that the state does not value gay marriage, a more honest description would be to say that we the people want to use the government to tell everyone else which relationships we value. That is the way that the current movement in opposition to gay marriage appears to me. I have to back up what Tom said earlier, while I am sure that everyone is sincere in their moral arguments against gay marriage, I have to believe that the primary motivator for most religious people is in fact their religion.

    Law is not free of morality, but it should be based on a morality with which most of us agree.

    In a democracy, yes. In a republic, no.

    Connor, what is your elevator pitch to explain this to people who aren’t as educated about the difference between the two? It seems to me that you would have a hard time convincing most people that we should base our laws on the majority’s shared moral values in a democracy, but not in a republic.

  87. Tom
    August 11, 2008 at 11:26 pm #

    Carissa –

    Let’s go back to what I said a few posts ago: “Certainly gay couples deliver as much value as childless or infertile couples.”

    Are you disputing that? You say the “mere possibility” of their union being productive is enough to grant them rights. Women who have had hysterectomies or who have passed menopause, as well as men who have had testicular cancer and had both testes removed will never produce children. Why do they get to enjoy the benefits of marriage?

  88. Carissa
    August 12, 2008 at 9:58 am #

    Why do they get to enjoy the benefits of marriage?

    Because they are following the same model that society depends on for production and stability. Of course you realize it is unreasonable and unrealistic for the state to constantly check in on each couple to make sure they are willing and able to produce offspring at any given moment in order to continue receiving the benefits of marriage. That is silly and I think you know it.

    If you continue to avoid the question I have asked you, I am done with this conversation, thanks.

  89. Tom
    August 12, 2008 at 10:22 am #

    If you continue to avoid the question I have asked you, I am done with this conversation, thanks.

    Which question am I avoiding?

  90. vontrapp
    August 13, 2008 at 9:00 am #

    Tom, the mere possibility of heterosexual couples producing children is the whole point. There is NO possibility that a homosexual *union* will produce children, regardless of what the extra-union actions the partners may take.

    Fact: heterosexual unions can and do produce children, more to the point, when they have sexual relations there is present the possibility (in the vast majority) that children may result.
    Fact: married couples provide a stable home for those children who will in all likely hood result from sexual relations.
    Fact: married couples are more devoted and less promiscuous than their bachelor/bachelorette counterparts.

    Thus it follows that the higher the incidence of married couples vs. unmarried sexual partners, the higher the incidence of children resulting from sexual relations being born into a stable home.

    This is the primary benefit to the state, and indeed the very purpose of marriage. NOT for companionship (you can have that without marriage), NOT love, NOT commitment (but for the child’s sake). Couples can declare their undying love to each other and make some kind of contract without marriage. Couples can love each other devotedly without marriage, couples can enjoy companionship, live together, share financial responsibility without marriage.

    The whole point of marriage is for the children, but not merely for the children who happen to be parented by the married couple, but decidedly precisely for children CONCEIVED by the married couple. Because children NOT conceived by a married couple have a whole myriad of challenges and difficulties. Therefore the state takes an interest in marriage for the children and for the good of the society. The more marriages the less single parents, the less adoptions, the less broken homes, the less unwanted children. THIS is the benefit, NOT simply have two adults capable of raising children.
    Fact: sexual relations between homosexual partners cannot and will not ever result in children. Thus the above benefit and reason for the state to endorse, condone, and get all involved in their union simply DOES NOT APPLY.

    All other reasons for and benefits of marriage pale in comparison. You want to argue gay couples can provide stable homes? That _might_ be a good argument if stable homes were the primary benefit of marriage. Even then, the stability of homosexual unions compared to heterosexual unions is still not looking so good for you.

    Finally, and I tire of saying this, but marriage is not a right. And frankly I see no reason to have marriage equality. I’m all ears if you want to propose why marriage equality is so important other than “it’s not fair” because I’ve just shown it is completely rational and fair for the state to promote it’s interests with heterosexual marriages only.

    @brandon (#86)

    Rather than saying that the state does not value gay marriage, a more honest description would be to say that we the people want to use the government to tell everyone else which relationships we value. That is the way that the current movement in opposition to gay marriage appears to me. I have to back up what Tom said earlier, while I am sure that everyone is sincere in their moral arguments against gay marriage, I have to believe that the primary motivator for most religious people is in fact their religion.

    Ironically, you are spot on here. Yes, it is the state that wants to value one kind of relationship over the other. Yes, it is the people pushing for that valuation. This is all too true, because guess what, the state represents the PEOPLE. The state previously went against the wishes of the people by bogusly declaring a law unconstitutional. So now the people are trying to reign in the state (which represents them) by passing a constitutional amendment, thereby nullifying the claims of unconstitutionality by the court. My point in this comment is that, yes, the state has a vested and rational interest in heterosexual marriage, and by the state I really mean the state representing the interest of the people. Now, if the vote goes and doesn’t pass the amendment, then I guess it’s the interest of the people and therefore the state to value all unions equally. If this happens then God help us all.
    /me points to the proclamation and the calamities referenced there.

  91. Tom
    August 13, 2008 at 9:34 am #

    Tom, the mere possibility of heterosexual couples producing children is the whole point. There is NO possibility that a homosexual *union* will produce children, regardless of what the extra-union actions the partners may take.

    And there is NO possibility that a union of a man and a post-menopausal woman, or a post-hysterectomy woman or any woman and a man who has lost both testes to cancer will produce children.

    So why do THOSE couples get to enjoy the benefits of marriage? If the benefit to the state is ENTIRELY about the production of children, by your logic, those groups should be denied marriage, as well.

    Couples can declare their undying love to each other and make some kind of contract without marriage. Couples can love each other devotedly without marriage, couples can enjoy companionship, live together, share financial responsibility without marriage.

    Creating all those financial arrangements costs thousands of dollars in legal fees. Yet a married couple has those rights and responsibilities for the small price of a marriage license. Why should gay couples be forced to pay more — and still get less?

    The whole point of marriage is for the children, but not merely for the children who happen to be parented by the married couple, but decidedly precisely for children CONCEIVED by the married couple.

    So couples who adopt shouldn’t be able to marry, either?

    Fact: sexual relations between homosexual partners cannot and will not ever result in children. Thus the above benefit and reason for the state to endorse, condone, and get all involved in their union simply DOES NOT APPLY.

    Again, the same thing applies to permanently infertile heterosexual couples.

    All other reasons for and benefits of marriage pale in comparison. You want to argue gay couples can provide stable homes? That _might_ be a good argument if stable homes were the primary benefit of marriage. Even then, the stability of homosexual unions compared to heterosexual unions is still not looking so good for you.

    I’m arguing that shared responsibility (especially financial) creates greater stability. And greater stability is a societal good. I’ve shown that your “primary” benefit is applied unfairly (if marriage is about child-producing, you MUST prevent infertile couples from marrying), but this other benefit emanates from all civil marriages.

    Finally, and I tire of saying this, but marriage is not a right.

    From the US Supreme Court: “Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888).”

    And frankly I see no reason to have marriage equality. I’m all ears if you want to propose why marriage equality is so important other than “it’s not fair” because I’ve just shown it is completely rational and fair for the state to promote it’s interests with heterosexual marriages only.

    Marriage equality is important because it creates greater societal stability. Add that to the fact that fairness is ALSO a societal good.

  92. vontrapp
    August 13, 2008 at 12:23 pm #

    Again, the same thing applies to permanently infertile heterosexual couples.

    I agree with Carissa

    Because they are following the same model that society depends on for production and stability. Of course you realize it is unreasonable and unrealistic for the state to constantly check in on each couple to make sure they are willing and able to produce offspring at any given moment in order to continue receiving the benefits of marriage. That is silly and I think you know it.

    It’s not really rational for the state to require fertility and desire, and besides doing so would not be cost effective. It is cost effective to simply limit by gender (and by extension ability, leaving the fringe cases to the fringes). It isn’t cost effective to give marriage benefits to homosexuals, because none of them provide the desired benefit. Notice my choice of words, “provide benefits to.” I purposely did not say “allow to marry” because to allow homosexuals to marry involves no less than redefining marriage, and that’s what this really is about at the core, isn’t it now?

    Besides, that marriage is beneficial precisely because lots of people are married (and therefore lots of children are born into automatic homes) it follows that to increase the benefit is to make marriage as popular as possible. The more married couples there are, even if they are infertile, the more popular and socially accepted marriage is, and therefore there’s greater benefit. I don’t think allowing gays to marry will make marriage more popular, in fact I dare say it would have the very opposite effect.

    From the US Supreme Court: “Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888).”

    Well then, I can argue that since this was from 1942, and marriage was clearly defined as between man and woman then, that it is a basic civil right of man to have an institution called marriage which is defined as being between man and woman. Therefore you are the one violating that right by seeking to redefine the essence of that right out of existence.

  93. Tom
    August 13, 2008 at 3:08 pm #

    It’s not really rational for the state to require fertility and desire

    Yet that seems to be what you are asking for.

    I know, I know, you mean the state isn’t going to be peeking into people’s medical records to see if they are baby-ready.

    But with your insistence (though not Carissa’s) that the primary (and overriding) benefit of marriage to the state is the possibility (even when it is an IMpossibilty) of fecundity.

    I guess we are at an impasse. I believe marriage has benefits to the state beyond creating a next generation of citizens. (Even though gay people can produce children, even if it’s not 100% within their union.) And I believe those benefits accrue whether the couple in question is same gender or opposite gender. You don’t.

    For the moment, at least, the law is on my side.

    Thanks for an engaging debate. (FYI, I was a member of the BYU debate team many years ago.) It’s nice to tilt against bright people, even if I disagree with them.

  94. Trent
    August 13, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    For the moment, at least, the law is on my side.

    You mean the law just in California? Marriage is two separate things. One is state sponsored, the other is a societal/religious union. In many countries you have to get married by the government and then in your church since the state doesn’t accept marriages from churches. In essence you have two different things. Marriage is defined by society when sanctioned by the state. If the people/society want to define it as between a man and a woman then it is within their rights. It is like any organization. You have LLCs, C-Corps, etc. Each one has their own rules and their own benefits. I find this argument being strangely like someone in a C-Corp trying to argue for the same rules that apply to LLCs. If the state, and by extension, the people, want to organize it in a certain way, it is within their rights. We will see how the people decide, because once it is an amendment there should be no further questions at least for awhile.

  95. Rachel
    August 13, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    Blockbuster speech on “The Gay Gene Hoax” silences pro-gay crowd at Framingham State College
    http://www.massresistance.org/docs/gen/08a/born_gay_hoax/index.html

    As far as the issue of homosexuality being a choice, consider this from an article by Michael Glatze, former editor in chief of YGA Magazine and founder of Young Gay America (full article at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56487 ):

    YGA Magazine sold out of its first issue in several North American cities. There was extreme support, by all sides, for YGA Magazine; schools, parent groups, libraries, governmental associations, everyone seemed to want it. It tapped right into the zeitgeist of “accepting and promoting” homosexuality, and I was considered a leader. I was asked to speak on the prestigious JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 2005.

    It was, after viewing my words on a videotape of that “performance,” that I began to seriously doubt what I was doing with my life and influence.

    Knowing no one who I could approach with my questions and my doubts, I turned to God; I’d developed a growing relationship with God, thanks to a debilitating bout with intestinal cramps caused by the upset stomach-inducing behaviors I’d been engaged in.

    Soon, I began to understand things I’d never known could possibly be real, such as the fact that I was leading a movement of sin and corruption – which is not to sound as though my discovery was based on dogma, because decidedly it was not.

    I came to the conclusions on my own.

    It became clear to me, as I really thought about it – and really prayed about it – that homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we’re blinded by homosexuality.

    We believe, under the influence of homosexuality, that lust is not just acceptable, but a virtue. But there is no homosexual “desire” that is apart from lust.

    In denial of this fact, I’d fought to erase such truth at all costs, and participated in the various popular ways of taking responsibility out of human hands for challenging the temptations of lust and other behaviors. I was sure – thanks to culture and world leaders – that I was doing the right thing.

    Driven to look for truth, because nothing felt right, I looked within. Jesus Christ repeatedly advises us not to trust anybody other than Him. I did what He said, knowing that the Kingdom of God does reside in the heart and mind of every man.

    What I discovered – what I learned – about homosexuality was amazing. How I’d first “discovered” homosexual desires back in high school was by noticing that I looked at other guys. How I healed, when it became decidedly clear that I should – or risk hurting more people – is that I paid attention to myself.

    Every time I was tempted to lust, I noticed it, caught it, dealt with it. I called it what it was, and then just let it disappear on its own. A huge and vital difference exists between superficial admiration – of yourself, or others – and integral admiration. In loving ourselves fully, we no longer need anything from the “outside” world of lustful desire, recognition from others, or physical satisfaction. Our drives become intrinsic to our very essence, unbridled by neurotic distractions.

    Homosexuality allows us to avoid digging deeper, through superficiality and lust-inspired attractions – at least, as long as it remains “accepted” by law. As a result, countless miss out on their truest self, their God-given Christ-self.

    Homosexuality, for me, began at age 13 and ended – once I “cut myself off” from outside influences and intensely focused on inner truth – when I discovered the depths of my God-given self at age 30.

    God is regarded as an enemy by many in the grip of homosexuality or other lustful behavior, because He reminds them of who and what they truly are meant to be. People caught in the act would rather stay “blissfully ignorant” by silencing truth and those who speak it, through antagonism, condemnation and calling them words like “racist,” “insensitive,” “evil” and “discriminatory.”

  96. Carissa
    August 13, 2008 at 4:22 pm #

    I find this argument being strangely like someone in a C-Corp trying to argue for the same rules that apply to LLCs

    That’s exactly the way I see this situation. Appeal to the government for the financial benefits you believe you deserve, but don’t try to do it under the label of something it is not.

  97. Carissa
    August 13, 2008 at 4:32 pm #

    We cannot see the truth when we’re blinded by homosexuality

    Your comment reminded me of this statement from the Ensign, 2005:

    If governments were to alter the moral climate by legitimizing same-sex marriages, gender confusion would increase, particularly among children, and this would further blur the line between good and evil

  98. Brandon
    August 13, 2008 at 4:38 pm #

    I’m not sure corps are a good analogy. The labels “C-Corp, LLC, Etc” could easily be changed (would anyone complain?). In fact, their structure could easily be reorganized by the government, since afterall these entities were created by government. Would you protest if C-Corps started being recognized under law the same way an LLC is? Besides, what is the value the state derives from preventing C-Corps from being LLC’s?

  99. Connor
    August 13, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    Tom’s argument (used vociferously by same-sex marriage advocates) against marriage being granted to heterosexuals because of their potential for procreation was addressed in this article released today in the LDS Newsroom:

    Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special privileges aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these privileges to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family.

    It is true that some couples who marry will not have children, either by choice or because of infertility, but the special status of marriage is nonetheless closely linked to the inherent powers and responsibilities of procreation, and to the inherent differences between the genders. Co-habitation under any guise or title is not a sufficient reason for defining new forms of marriage.

  100. Trent
    August 13, 2008 at 5:51 pm #

    It is a perfectly fine analogy Brandon. Your comment proves my point. The government can easily reorganize the structure of the entities. However, it is a lot harder to do it then how easy it was for the court in California to change the definition of marriage. With one court decision, judges changed marriage from between a man and a woman to something else entirely in California. Can a judge do that to business entities? Heck no.

    Whether or not I would protest a c-corps reorganization is completely beside the point. The point is the government has rules for forming certain groups, marriage, businesses, non profits etc. Tom’s arguing about the logic behind why the government sponsors marriage is strange, because whether he agrees with it or not, Carissa is dead on as to why it was implemented. It is arguing fact. Now you can disagree on their assumptions, we do all the time with government, but that is why marriage is government sanctioned. By the way, I could explain what value a state derives from preventing c-corps from being llcs, but it would take a long longer than you would want. I can tell you over email if you want the gory details though.

    If you want an example of an organization that causes controversy, lets talk about credit unions. There has been a long fight that credit unions get privileges that normal banks don’t get. Banks want to be on equal footing so they can get the same breaks, or remove the benefits from credit unions. It is almost exactly like the argument for marriage. The people got it up to a vote and decided they wanted to keep credit unions. You need to remove all the emotional things away from this to see that the issues are very basic.

    Additionally, just because the government could recognize homosexual marriages does nothing for recognizing it in the eyes of those that disapprove. There are two separate issues here. Government “marriage”, and social/religious “marriage”. All being legally married will do for these couples for now will be to get the government/legal benefits. Benefits the government has a right to put rules on.

  101. Trent
    August 13, 2008 at 5:58 pm #

    In fact, their structure could easily be reorganized by the government, since afterall these entities were created by government.

    I wanted to just make sure I was clear, government also created their own marriage organization if you will. The government could annul my marriage and I would still be married in my church. Nothing would change socially. We almost need another word here for each idea. But what the groups are trying to do is first attack the legal entity in hopes it will break down society in to accepting them. In a local context, those that believe marriage is between a man and a woman will not magically consider them married just because the government gave them a piece of paper. Therefore, as a society marriage is separate from that formed by the government.

  102. brandon
    August 13, 2008 at 11:36 pm #

    By the way, I could explain what value a state derives from preventing c-corps from being llcs, but it would take a long longer than you would want.

    I was being facetious, but I do appreciate the offer :)

    The government can easily reorganize the structure of the entities. However, it is a lot harder to do it then how easy it was for the court in California to change the definition of marriage. With one court decision, judges changed marriage from between a man and a woman to something else entirely in California. Can a judge do that to business entities? Heck no.

    Why is that when we don’t agree with a court decision, we act as if the judges didn’t have the right to do what they did. Oddly, I thought the purpose of the judicial system was to interpret the constitution and laws. Can a judge do that to a business entity? Why couldn’t they? Aren’t all legal entities subject to the same constitution and laws we all are? If the court found something unconstitutional in the execution of corporate law then it most definetly could change things.

    Additionally, just because the government could recognize homosexual marriages does nothing for recognizing it in the eyes of those that disapprove.

    I’m not really sure those people are fighting to have Trent recognize their marriage. There’s nothing they could do to change your mind, so my guess is they won’t even bother trying.

    Ironically, you are spot on here. Yes, it is the state that wants to value one kind of relationship over the other. Yes, it is the people pushing for that valuation. This is all too true, because guess what, the state represents the PEOPLE. The state previously went against the wishes of the people by bogusly declaring a law unconstitutional. So now the people are trying to reign in the state (which represents them) by passing a constitutional amendment, thereby nullifying the claims of unconstitutionality by the court. My point in this comment is that, yes, the state has a vested and rational interest in heterosexual marriage, and by the state I really mean the state representing the interest of the people. Now, if the vote goes and doesn’t pass the amendment, then I guess it’s the interest of the people and therefore the state to value all unions equally. If this happens then God help us all.

    Vontrapp,
    I don’t think there is anything ironic about it. I meant exaclty what I said. I agree that the state represents the people. And the people are trying to impose their values on others through the government. I don;t feel compelled to support Prop 8 because I believe the government (we the people) shouldn’t bother getting in everyone’s business. As trent mentioned, marriage is a religious institution. Let’s keep it that way. In the same way the anti-gay marriage brigade proclaims that the gays don’t need (or deserve) to have their relationships validated by the state, I don’t believe anyone needs to have their relationship validated by the state (straights included).

    Lastly, you said the state “went against the wishes of the people by bogusly declaring a law unconstitutional”. I am pretty sure that constitutionality of a law is not determined by the wishes of the people at any given moment (unless the constituion is changed). The previous “law” was not a part of the constituion. The court said the law violated the constitution. The “wishes” of the people could pass a law that allows you to steal from old people , but that wouldn’t make the law constitutional, would it? I think we should stick with the process we have, since it provides a pretty good check on the power of the majority to impose its will on the minority.

  103. Trent
    August 14, 2008 at 12:39 am #

    Brandon, I’m sorry, but you are going in circles here. I am trying to help you understand but I don’t think you really want to. There are several major problems with your arguments.

    Oddly, I thought the purpose of the judicial system was to interpret the constitution and laws. Can a judge do that to a business entity? Why couldn’t they? Aren’t all legal entities subject to the same constitution and laws we all are? If the court found something unconstitutional in the execution of corporate law then it most definetly could change things.

    Connor might go off on you big time with this one. Yes they can interpret, but they can’t change or create laws. They could not change a legal entity. They can say a certain law is unconstitutional, but that is in effect just removing it, not changing it. The argument is that they essentially made up what they wanted from the constitution. They were not interpreting, but changing/creating a law. Which is DEFINITELY not what the judicial branch is for.

    I don;t feel compelled to support Prop 8 because I believe the government (we the people) shouldn’t bother getting in everyone’s business.

    We aren’t saying that we should get in people’s business. We just don’t want to give them the legal label of marriage and the various items it entails. I have cited several examples of different entities that require various things to be valid, and the same things apply here. You then go on to talk about the court saying the law was unconstitutional, and that is exactly why they are going for a constitutional amendment. That also is part of our process and balance of powers. If it passes, they did it properly, and there is no “right” being taken away.

    I’m not really sure those people are fighting to have Trent recognize their marriage. There’s nothing they could do to change your mind, so my guess is they won’t even bother trying.

    You are very naive if you don’t realize the ultimate goal is to have their lifestyles become more accepted by society, and not just the legal benefits. They aren’t pushing curriculum in schools and other things because they need it for legal reasons. Yes, they don’t go after individuals nor care about any specific person, you would have to know I didn’t mean that.

  104. vontrapp
    August 14, 2008 at 7:28 am #

    Brandon,
    I’m glad you don’t feel compelled to support prop 8. Nobody should feel compelled. Nobody should feel compelled to take pictures of a homosexual union ceremony. Yet that is what is happening. Gays don’t need (or deserve) to have their unions validated by the state. Bingo, then why are they so concerned about it? Because they _want_ it validated by the state, they _want_ it validated by society and religions. Like trent said you are very naive if you don’t believe this. They are not going to stop at having marriage. You also said straight couples don’t need or deserve to have their unions validated, this is also true. But it is the prerogative of the people to pass laws that encourage it if they believe it is beneficial to society, and they do not have to do so fairly or equally. So you don’t feel compelled to support prop 8, and I don’t feel compelled to be against it. My hope is that everyone with an inclination to support marriage won’t fall prey to the “constitutionality” and “fairness” and “rights” claims of the gays and simply vote their true desires on this proposition. IOW I hope they don’t feel compelled in any way. (BTW prophetic guidance is in no way compelling, as many people who profess to be LDS and yet are all against prop 8 have shown).

  105. Tom
    August 14, 2008 at 8:26 am #

    Gays don’t need (or deserve) to have their unions validated by the state. Bingo, then why are they so concerned about it? Because they _want_ it validated by the state, they _want_ it validated by society and religions.

    If you think we need your “validation,” you are living in a fantasy world. I couldn’t care less what sort of value judgment you place on my relationship. What we care about, what we are working for, what we deserve, and what the Supreme Court of California granted on May 15…is equality.

    Why do we need equality? I’ll tell you a true story.

    I had an uncle-in-law, a descendant of handcart pioneers, who was a gay man. He lived with his partner for more than 35 years. They were a loving, committed couple. They worked hard, they paid taxes, they did lots of volunteer work. They treated their nieces and nephews very well and were “favorite uncles.”

    They also did all they could legally to formalize their relationship, but of course they could not marry.

    When my uncle-in-law died of lung cancer, his surviving partner did not receive Social Security survivor benefits — as they would have if they had been married. (Even a couple that doesn’t produce children receives these benefits, even though the benefits are delivered at a point in life when it would be easy for government to deny them because the couple didn’t do their part and provide new citizens.)

    In addition, the surviving partner had to pay a hefty inheritance tax on the 50% share of their house my uncle-in-law had bequeathed to him. Legally married spouses are exempt from this tax.

    Finally, the property tax basis on the house rose dramatically — again, something that wouldn’t have happened if they had been able to marry.

    These three things combined made it impossible for his surviving partner to be able to afford to stay in the home they had shared for more than three decades.

    Fair? Equitable? Hardly.

    That’s what equality means. Real impact on real people.

  106. Trent
    August 14, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    Tom, here is an honest question. With any government sanctioned organization there has to be rules. You HAVE to draw the line in the sand somewhere. Where do you think that is? And if you draw a line, why is your argument for “equality” any greater than those across your line. Should polygamy be allowed? How about asexuals/monks/priests who do not marry but might have a loyal pet? You said that the ability to have children and sex should have nothing to do with it, so what about them? If you say it has to be between one person and one other person you are just doing the same thing you are complaining that society did. Government sanctioned organizations do not have to be equal for everyone, they only have to have equal access. You could get married to a woman just as easily as I, you don’t have to live with her. I don’t argue that I have to inspect my older car every year, while those with newer ones only do it every other year. I chose a different set of rules. This is a totally separate subject than civil unions. If the gay community wants to try to pass something that is under a different name but gives the benefits they see legally in marriage they have every right to see if they can pass it. But redefining marriage? I think it is ludicrous.

  107. Tom
    August 14, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    You HAVE to draw the line in the sand somewhere. Where do you think that is? And if you draw a line, why is your argument for “equality” any greater than those across your line. Should polygamy be allowed? How about asexuals/monks/priests who do not marry but might have a loyal pet?

    Pets are not human and so cannot enter into a legal contract.

    Polygamy creates an inherently UNequal situation, since more than one spouse means more than one person eligible for Social Security benefits, health care benefits, etc.

    You could get married to a woman just as easily as I, you don’t have to live with her.

    And Mildred Jeter could just as easily have married a black man. But she fell in love with Richard Loving.

    Besides, I don’t want a woman to receive my Social Security benefits after I die, or to accrue any of the benefits of marriage. I want those benefits for the man I love.

  108. Trent
    August 14, 2008 at 10:53 am #

    Tom, you are just side stepping my question. Additionally, you are doing the same thing that you were going after Carissa for.

    Polygamy creates an inherently UNequal situation, since more than one spouse means more than one person eligible for Social Security benefits, health care benefits, etc.

    You say it is “inherently” unequal, yet carissa said that society says that a gay couple inherently doesn’t provide the same benefit. But you disagree against polygamist with a much shallower argument than what Carissa presented. I bet a polygamist couple would argue with you just as much as you are here. Instead of trying to redefine marriage why don’t you push for a different union that has the same benefits?

    I almost have to agree with Carissa that you have a hard time answering a question fully. You mentioned you were on a debate team, and that is how a scored debate may work, but we aren’t doing that here. There is no external equality in government sanctioned organizations! I don’t know how many ways I can explain this. The only equality mandated is that people within each group receive the same benefits. If you do not reach the qualifications you have no claim on equality. Gay couples who are not married are perfectly equal with heterosexual single people. Equality is already here. This is simply the homosexual community wanting to change the entrance rules on a long standing government sanctioned organization.

  109. Tom
    August 14, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    carissa said that society says that a gay couple inherently doesn’t provide the same benefit.

    No. Society doesn’t say that. Carissa does.

    As I said before, we are at an impasse on this aspect of the issue. I believe legally-committed couples provide the same benefit of stability, shared financial responsibility regardless of the gender makeup. You don’t. Fertility is not a requirement for marriage. You say that just because infertile couples follow the model of marriage, they are still eligible for its benefits, even though they have the exact same chance of bearing children as gay couples do.

    Gay couples who are not married are perfectly equal with heterosexual single people.

    But heterosexual single people have the option of marrying a person they fall in love with. Gay people don’t. At least outside of California and Massachusetts.

  110. Brandon
    August 14, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    I probably am naive. I assume that gays are sincere in their desire to have their relationships have equal standing under the law. Contrary to appearance, I am not actually for or against gay marriage. I am still agnostic on the whole issue (although I haven’t seen much evidence to convince me that gay marriage would destroy our society or hurt my marriage). However, I find it funny that people who would claim that the government should stay out of their lives on other issues (taxes, education, etc, etc) would like to use government to enshrine their religious values.

  111. Trent
    August 14, 2008 at 11:23 am #

    I agree Tom, we are at an impasse, but I think you finally spelled out the issues. We have a disagreement, and I believe we both have valid ones. The only thing I would comment on is your last statement.

    But heterosexual single people have the option of marrying a person they fall in love with. Gay people don’t. At least outside of California and Massachusetts.

    Marriage as sanctioned by the government has nothing in it about loving the person you are married to. Government is supposed to be impartial when applying laws and rules. A for-profit company does not have the option of becoming a non-profit unless they change the very core of what they are/do. How is this any different? In my opinon there is no difference.

  112. Trent
    August 14, 2008 at 11:28 am #

    I assume that gays are sincere in their desire to have their relationships have equal standing under the law.

    If they were only after having equal standing under the law they would be going after solely creating another entity that isn’t called marriage that has the benefits they are after. Instead, they want the government to label it marriage which then eventually they hope will be considered by the people as a whole as a marriage. No one can argue that over the course of centuries marriage has ALWAYS been between one man and one woman. This is NOT about legal equality, but a deliberate attempt to redefine something that has never been in question until recently by societies worldwide.

  113. Tom
    August 14, 2008 at 11:46 am #

    If they were only after having equal standing under the law they would be going after solely creating another entity that isn’t called marriage that has the benefits they are after.

    Trent – my understanding is that it was determined several years ago that attempting to create an entirely new entity that was completely equivalent to “marriage” in terms of civil benefits would be nearly impossible to do, due primarily to the fact that the word “marriage” is written into thousands upon thousands of local, state and federal statutes and a new “civil unions” law would have a hard time creating true equality at every level of government.

    That said, I — and many other marriage equality advocates — would be fine if, as in a European model, there was one entity for civil union for ALL couples, leaving the ritual of marriage for churches.

  114. Jeff T
    August 14, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    “heterosexual single people have the option of marrying a person they fall in love with. Gay people don’t.”

    I don’t know who said it, but it is true: Gravity can not be held responsible for people falling in love.

    Love is a choice. I could choose to direct my thoughts and energies towards (or, in other words, fall in love with) a married woman, but according to law, I can’t marry her. In order for me to marry the person I direct my thoughts and energies towards, that person has to be a single female. This applies to every single male. Perfect equality. If you want to end marrying the person you direct your thoughts and energies towards, direct them towards a person of the opposite gender.

    Now, you can conflate “love”” and “lust” and then argue that “lust” is not a choice, but merely a helpless chemical reaction sparked by genetic influences. In that case, I’d be pretty depressed if my love (under this definition) towards my future wife was something genetically inevitable. What meaning does love have, if I can’t direct it towards whoever I choose? What meaning does a girl’s love for me have, if she couldn’t have done otherwise?

  115. Tom
    August 14, 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    Love is a choice.

    So you could choose to fall in love with anyone?

    Are you seriously stating that you could direct your “thoughts and energies” toward Ann Coulter, Margaret Cho, Ed Asner, Barbara Walters, Beverly Sills, Charles Manson, Nancy Pelosi, (insert any name here)…and you would be able to fall in love with any of those people? I could drop you into Zambia, take you to a random village, point out the first woman I saw and you could “choose” to fall in love with her?

    If so, you have a very different definition of “love” than pretty much anyone I’ve ever met.

  116. Jeff T
    August 14, 2008 at 3:07 pm #

    Yeah, actually, I could. Isn’t that what Christ commanded us to do? Love everyone?

    Yes, love between spouses is something a little different, but follows the same principle. If I can’t choose who I love, then love is meaningless. If it is just the result of chemical reactions in my body, then it is meaningless. Now, I may have difficulty getting sexually aroused by some of these people, but I believe that is because of my social background (but its certainly possible—push the right buttons, and I’ll experience sexual pleasure, regardless of the source). But if that is what you are referring to by love, then you are really talking about lust, or sexual attraction. And NOBODY can just marry anyone that arouses them in some pleasant way, nor should they be able to.

  117. Tom
    August 14, 2008 at 4:26 pm #

    On one level, you do get to choose who you love. You should also be able to choose to marry that person.

    On another level, though, love is completely inaccessible to us. You may think it’s “lust,” I think it’s a base level of attraction. “Across a crowded room” and all that. You see a certain person and something stirs inside you. Or they smile in a way that pleases you, or say something that seems insightful or funny or kind, and that can attract you, too. And then you get to know them, begin to understand them, get the sense that you can spend a lifetime getting to know them better. But to contend that you can just pluck any person off the street and fall in love with them enough to want to share your life with them, care for them until one of you dies…that’s ridiculous. And you seem smart enough to realize that.

    And NOBODY can just marry anyone that arouses them in some pleasant way, nor should they be able to.

    Why not? (As long as that other person is aroused by you in a pleasant way.)

  118. Jeff T
    August 14, 2008 at 4:43 pm #

    10 year old marrying a 60 year-old? A married man marrying a second wife? A man marrying a man? All because they got aroused by each other. Hmm… hardly a justification for marriage.

  119. Tom
    August 14, 2008 at 4:47 pm #

    I thought we’d been through this.

    Children can’t enter into legal contracts, so no to the 10 year old.

    Marrying two or more people means an inequity of benefits, so no to that.

    Man marrying a man? Absolutely. No problem there.

  120. Carissa
    August 14, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    Tom- just curious how you feel about a brother/sister marriage, father/daughter (18 or older, of course), etc. Should inter-family marriage restrictions be repealed?

  121. Tom
    August 14, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    just curious how you feel about a brother/sister marriage, father/daughter (18 or older, of course), etc. Should inter-family marriage restrictions be repealed?

    Yes.

    Although I think they would be exceedingly rare, I don’t see how we could deny the benefits of civil marriage to, say, two elderly sisters who share a home, etc.

    I think they would be exceedingly rare because all the other responsibilities of civil marriage would still be in place. (You can only marry one person at a time, dissolving the relationship is expensive and time-consuming, etc.)

    Dogs you can’t marry. Kids you can’t marry. More than one person you can’t marry. A close relative? I don’t think there is a way to deny that and still be intellectually honest.

  122. Clumpy
    August 14, 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    As usual, I’m going to butt in the middle of this thread with my usual “deluded big picture shtick” (which I happen to find works wonders but you can ignore if it suits you).

    Hmm. . . it seems to me that “[person x] doesn’t have the legal authority to enter into a contract” is sort of a cop-out; after all, it verges on arguing current feasibility rather than the moral “should” at the heart of this issue.

    We’re already in a slippery boat when we have the Feds choosing who and who can’t identify themselves as a married couple. After all, why should “marriage” get any special benefits in the first place? For example, eliminate the ridiculous inheritance tax and allow anybody to inherit to anybody that the want, and that facet of this issue goes away. Significant reform in the way we deal with individual privileges, taxation, etc. would do more to fix the inequity in any possible relationship (sexual or otherwise).

    [All right, now to give my two cents on the “love” issue. One caveat: I don’t really believe that this has anything to do with the issue at hand, as real love isn’t even a requirement for STRAIGHT marriage (and is impossible to test for at any rate), but what-have-you.]

    And we tend to marginalize love when we refer to it either as either a totally random incident or a conscious choice. It’s certainly true that certain individuals resonate well with other individuals. However, as Jeff T said, we often make conscious choices to limit interactions with a certain person we may be immediately attracted to (either by appearance or their mannerisms). For example, in the cases of married people, most well-adjusted adults make the decision to limit themselves emotionally from an individual, lest they gain the familiarity and emotional intimacy that, I believe, are the only things that can lead to “true” love.

    Interpret that whichever way you wish: you can’t control your love, but you can direct it, OR that “love” is a process that requires a great deal of personal decision-making before it can develop fully, allowing you to develop your own love for a person.

    I tend to lean toward the latter. Still, the fact that I’m pretty certain that I couldn’t force myself to fall head over heels for, for example, Laura Bush, gives me a certain hesitation to pronounce my theory as absolute truth.

  123. Jeff W.
    August 14, 2008 at 11:57 pm #

    In a democracy, yes. In a republic, no.

    This statement actually hurts your argument. In a republic, a straight majority cannot subvert the law (ie. the Constitution), nor use its will to take away the rights of the minority. We learn this in high school civics. It’s the old argument majority rules vs. minority rights. In the case of California, the majority spoke, declaring that marriage should be defined as being between a man and a woman. The people in charge of protecting the constitutional rights of the minority (ie. the courts) stepped in and proclaimed the declaration of the majority to be unconstitutional and therefore not lawful. That is how a republic operates. If we were a true democracy, very, very few states would ever allow homosexuals to marry; however, since we are not, and the rights of the minority need to be protected in a constitutional republic, more and more state courts will be deciding the matter.

    Notice also that the courts aren’t “legislating from the bench” as has been claimed often by opponents of gay marriage and abortion. They only act when a law is passed and the constitutionality of that law is challenged. Ergo, a law banning abortion is challenged in the court, and the court proclaims it unconstitutional based on its interpretation of the constitution. It didn’t legalize abortion by judicial fiat; it said that laws that ban abortion are unconstitutional. Don’t like it? Change the constitution with a vote (which, in most cases, requires some sort of “super” majority, keeping the “mobocracy” of majority rules from stripping the rights of the minority).

    If Prop. 8 succeeds, then the court will be charged with upholding the new, amended constitution instead of the old one, and will be impotent in making any change to that proclamation. Thank God (metaphorically, of course :) ) that it won’t succeed.

    Other than that little beef, I’ve found this conversation stimulating and fairly well argued from both sides.

  124. Connor
    August 15, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    Jeff,

    Apparently you missed the point of what I was specifically responding to with that statement. I was making the argument that republican law exists not to implement a morality with which everyone agrees (popular morality), but instead one that is true, tested, and correct (proper morality).

    Regarding your assertion that the court’s aren’t legislating from the bench: did you read this post? Yes, it has become a discussion of same-sex marriage itself, but the original post specifically discussed the creation of a new protected class. This was done, contrary to your claim, by judicial fiat.

  125. Jeff W.
    August 15, 2008 at 8:39 pm #

    Apparently you missed the point of what I was specifically responding to with that statement.

    No, I was just commenting that bringing the subject up on a thread about gay marriage hurts your overall cause: ie. making gay marriage illegal.

    I was making the argument that republican law exists not to implement a morality with which everyone agrees (popular morality), but instead one that is true, tested, and correct (proper morality).

    Great, but republican law doesn’t care about “proper” morality. It cares about Constitutional morality. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and it is that, not “proper” morality (whatever that means), that is the concern of republican government.

    Yes, I read the post; however, the comments have strayed from the original topic, and I was commenting on a couple of the comments that made the assertion of courts “legislating from the bench.”

    However, your assertion–

    the original post specifically discussed the creation of a new protected class. This was done, contrary to your claim, by judicial fiat.

    –is false. The California state legislature created the protected class of sexual orientation in 2006, and the Governator signed it in to law in August of that same year. Therefore, the court has just upheld existing law, not created new laws.

  126. Connor
    August 15, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    Therefore, the court has just upheld existing law, not created new laws.

    SB 1441 (authored by a lesbian state senator), which you reference above, says this regarding the prevention of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation:

    No person in the State of California shall, on the basis of race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, or disability, be unlawfully denied full and equal access to the benefits of, or be unlawfully subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity that is conducted, operated, or administered by the state or by any state agency, is funded directly by the state, or receives any financial assistance from the state.

    You are correct in noting that this law, signed by the biggest excuse for a conservative governor, added sexual orientation to the list of protected classes. (Thanks for pointing this out, I had completely forgotten about this bill.) The judicial fiat in this case, however, is the determination that the progressive legislation somehow constitutes a constitutional right. As the judges alluded to in the dissent (cited above), it is very much “legislating from the bench” to make such a determination. It’s one thing to declare a certain law constitutional (i.e. the legislative branch has the authority to create a certain law), but it’s another thing entirely to declare something to be a constitutional right. That’s simply reading into a document something that does not exist.

  127. Jeff W.
    August 15, 2008 at 9:51 pm #

    I would argue that they didn’t add to the constitution at all. They interpreted what was there. That’s what the judiciary does. If the constitution of California had any specifics at all on gay marriage, no interpretation (or at least less interpretation) would be needed. Determining how the constitution applies to a changing world and new laws is precisely the roll of the judiciary. Interpretation of existing laws, including the constitution, is not legislating. Ergo, declaring something a constitutional right based on the text of the constitution should be well within the job description of judges. I do agree, however, that it is something that they should do rarely and only when supported by other legal precedents, which they were in this case.

  128. Cliff
    August 18, 2008 at 6:53 am #

    You know Conner, your post contradicts your definition and self-description as “classical liberal.”

  129. Connor
    August 18, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    Here’s one more example to add to my list above, this one occurring just today as a result of a unanimous CA Supreme Court ruling:

    California’s high court on Monday barred doctors from withholding medical care to gays and lesbians based on religious beliefs, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession.

    The ruling was unanimous, a contrast to the state Supreme Court’s 4-3 schism in May legalizing gay marriage.

    Justice Joyce Kennard wrote in the ruling that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state’s law, which “imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations.”

  130. Tom Bestor
    August 18, 2008 at 12:48 pm #

    I didn’t expect this would be a unanimous decision, but I’m glad it was. What the court has said — and I think it’s the right thing — is that you can’t refuse medical treatment to people simply because you think their way of life is sinful. If doctors believe a procedure is sinful, they — according to the Court — still have the right not to perform that procedure, but they can’t pick and choose individual patients from whom they will withhold a procedure which they would perform for other patients.

  131. Connor
    August 18, 2008 at 12:52 pm #

    …but they can’t pick and choose individual patients from whom they will withhold a procedure which they would perform for other patients.

    Which is exactly the point I argue against in my anti-discrimination post. The Court is essentially forcing people to associate with people whose lifestyle and practices they oppose, and demanding that they render their services contrary to their wishes. So much for liberty…

  132. Tom Bestor
    August 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm #

    forcing people to associate with people whose lifestyle and practices they oppose, and demanding that they render their services contrary to their wishes. So much for liberty…

    I see your point, yet would counter that medical expertise is in relatively short supply. Especially in terms of certain procedures. Medical schools are licensed by — and often supported by — the state.

    Would you feel the same if an atheist doctor refused to perform an IVF for an LDS family because he felt they already had enough children?

  133. Connor
    August 18, 2008 at 1:18 pm #

    I see your point, yet would counter that medical expertise is in relatively short supply.

    And so we should force them to use their skills upon anybody’s demand? Ludicrous.

    Would you feel the same if an atheist doctor refused to perform an IVF for an LDS family because he felt they already had enough children?

    Absolutely. I don’t want to work with anybody that doesn’t want to work with me, for whatever reason. Who’s to say that he won’t purposefully screw up the procedure without my knowing, simply because he doesn’t like my religion yet is being forced to work for me?

  134. Brandon
    August 18, 2008 at 10:38 pm #

    I see your point, yet would counter that medical expertise is in relatively short supply.

    And so we should force them to use their skills upon anybody’s demand? Ludicrous.

    Should we force them to use their skills? No. However, should they choose to use their skills I think society has a right to demand that they use those skills within the rules (i.e. can’t discriminate based upon sexuality). No one is forcing them to be doctors. I know its not a perfect counter argument, but I think it has some merit.

  135. Jeff T
    August 18, 2008 at 11:06 pm #

    Does anybody understand freedom these days? Nobody should be forced to associate with someone they do not like. Nobody should be required by and government to offer services to someone they disapprove of.

    Nobody has forced those individuals to go to that doctor. As of right now, they could go to another practitioner. Hopefully that freedom is maintained as well, but with the impending government takeover of the medical industry, who knows what will happen. Hospitals may become more like public schools, and everybody’s freedom will be diminished.

    Besides the point, however. The point is, both doctor and patient should be free to associate with whoever they please. When the government forces them to offer or accept services, freedom is lost. What if the government forced patients to accept treatment from doctors they do not approve of (for whatever reason, be it moral or technical)?

  136. Brandon
    August 19, 2008 at 12:32 am #

    The point is, both doctor and patient should be free to associate with whoever they please. When the government forces them to offer or accept services, freedom is lost.

    The government isn’t forcing them to offer a service. The government is forcing them to offer their services without discriminating based upon certain criteria. They can discriminate based on other criteria (the ability to pay, for example), just not those specific criteria outlined in law. I understand your points, and generally agree with you. I guess I just see shades of gray where you see only black and white.

  137. Carissa
    August 19, 2008 at 9:06 am #

    I guess I just see shades of gray

    Me too, only I don’t want things getting any “darker gray” than they already are. Some of us prefer the lighter shades (as in as close to white as possible). The more black you add the more freedom is lost and just like a bad stain, it’s hard to reverse the damage.

  138. Jeff T
    August 19, 2008 at 2:15 pm #

    “The government is forcing them to offer their services without discriminating based upon certain criteria.”

    I fail to see how this is not the loss of freedom.

  139. Brandon
    August 19, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    I don’t think I said it was not a loss of freedom. But there is no such thing as absolute freedom. I would love to be free to fly (self propelled), but the laws of gravity have conspired against that dream. We may disagree with the laws, but I think there are legitimate reasons why a society might restrict some freedoms. I would prefer to avoid them, but I don’t see this particular one as being very awful.
    It is easy to be cavalier about this issue when one is surrounded by a myriad of medical providers from which to choose. However, might your opinion change if you lived in an isolated community and had a child who was dying and the only doctor who could perform a lifesaving procedure refused to treat your child because you were a Mormon? Would you be willing to sacrifice your child to maintain your adherence to freedom? (I know this isn’t the same as IVF, but I think the responsibilities of doctors are unique in our society.

  140. Jeff T
    August 19, 2008 at 5:27 pm #

    That would be a tragedy, wouldn’t it? However, I do not believe the ends justify the means. I do not believe in coercing someone to violate their beliefs, however mistaken they may be (unless those beliefs inflict bodily harm or damage the property of another).

    I wonder… Connor, perhaps you can chime in on this… is there a difference between inflicting harm upon another, and merely refusing to help? I tend to think that there is, however, I do not wish to decriminalize murder by neglect.

    However, Brandon, we are not talking about life-saving procedures. We are talking about photographers who don’t want to photograph a gay marriage, and doctors who don’t believe in homosexual parenting.

  141. Kevin Henderson
    August 19, 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    I’m not privvy to the whole thread/discussion, but to answer your question, I’m going to assume it’s a legal one, and if so, yes, there is a difference, depending on the jurisdiction. In most jurisdictions you’re under no legal obligation to undertake to save someone. However, once you undertake to save a life, you are then legally obligated to do it competently (e.g. if you undertake to save a drowning victim then negligently drown them yourself, you’re legally liable; however, if you don’t undertake to save them you’re a-ok. You can stand on the beach and watch them drown).

    Having said that, there are certain relationships which create a legal duty to undertake to save someone (e.g. parent-child; sorry, you can’t watch your son drown to death and get away with it…).

    As a moral/ethical issue, however, it’s all philosophical as to whether there’s a difference. Again, I didn’t read the whole thread, but I hope that sheds some light on whatever it is you’re debating…

  142. vontrapp
    August 19, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    There’s already laws about emergency rooms turning away fatally ill
    persons. That is not the issue, yet you are making it the issue. If my
    child had a bunion that I wanted to get removed and the bunion doctor
    thought that Mormons deserved bunions and refused to treat it then well
    that’s just fine, that’s his right. There is no life at stake, so
    there’s no problem. Accordingly I think it would be wrong for a doctor
    to refuse life-saving procedures on a gay because he didn’t like gays,
    but there already exist laws for life threatening situations. Where the
    life of the gay is not in danger the doctor should not be required to
    perform any procedure.

    What’s next? A plastic surgeon refuses to give further sculpting because he believes the patient is taking it too far. The patient sues the doctor for discrimination against her sexual orientation, prosthetiphile.

  143. Brandon
    August 19, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    However, Brandon, we are not talking about life-saving procedures. We are talking about photographers who don’t want to photograph a gay marriage, and doctors who don’t believe in homosexual parenting.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think doctors and photographers perform comparable services for the community. While not exactly the same, I think most people look at medical care in the same way they do the police or firefighters (I know there is a difference, but their roles are all vital to our society). Can the police refuse to perform non livesaving services just because they don’t like a person? Can they refuse to help gays or mormons, because they disaprove of their lifestyle?

  144. Jeff T
    August 20, 2008 at 12:22 am #

    Doctors are not hired by the government as police officers are. If they are on government payroll, your argument *might* hold more true, but I’m not even convinced of that. That is also one of the terrors I have of the government takeover of medicine… medical practitioners will become much less free as the kinds of services they will or will not offer, and also the people they serve.

    If a firefighter or a police officer were on a private payroll, they would certainly have freedoms a regular police officer would not. For example, privately hired security guards are hired by their employer, and they could quit working for them at any time, and work for another employer. As it is, doctors are on a private payroll, not a government payroll.

  145. Jeff T
    August 20, 2008 at 12:27 am #

    In clarification, the police officer is paid by tax money, and is therefore required to serve the taxpayer, whoever it be.

    A doctor, presently, is not. He has freedom, and ought to have freedom, until he too is paid only by taxpayer money. At that point, however, freedom is lost anyways and the whole concept of limited and small government forgotten, and the whole concept of the free market abandoned.

  146. Brandon
    August 20, 2008 at 9:49 am #

    Jeff, I acknowledged that there is a difference between police (government employees) and doctors (primarily private employees). However, I don’t think there is much of a difference between the services they provide. If there are rules governing the actions of police and firefighters, I have no problem having similar rules guiding medical care. In my opinion, medical care is as important, if not more so than those other services. Besides, a huge percentage of doctors receive compensation from medicare (which means they are being compensated by the taxpayers).

    In clarification, the police officer is paid by tax money, and is therefore required to serve the taxpayer, whoever it be.

    But that means that the police officer doesn’t have freedom, right? In this case, most everyone is OK with limiting the police officer’s freedoms while performing a vital service to the community. My argument is that I am OK with limiting some freedoms of doctors when they are performing vital service to the community.

  147. Jeff T
    August 20, 2008 at 10:04 pm #

    We are ok with limiting their freedoms because we are their employer. If they don’t do as we please, we can fire them.

    We as taxpayers do not employ doctors, so we do not have the same powers over them. Nor should we.

    The doctor’s employer can enforce whatever restrictions he or she pleases, and fire the doctor if he doesn’t comply.

    I repeat, the only reason we we can hold police officers to the particular standards we do is because they are on our payroll.

    If a police officer were hired by a private employer to protect private property (i.e., security guard), that employer could certainly ask him to allow some of one sexual orientation to get away with trespassing and stop those of another.

  148. Clumpy
    August 25, 2008 at 9:46 pm #

    . . . which would be kind of odd, unless he thought “flamer” meant “arsonist”.

  149. James
    September 7, 2008 at 7:40 pm #

    Relating to those who would sue a church for not allowing them (gay couples) to marry in their building…In my simple mind I draw a simple analogy. Why would someone go to Taco Bell and demand a Hamburger? Why don’t they just go to a hamburger restaurant, like Mickey D’s or Burger King. Yet we see people in California not only demanding “burgers” from “taco shops”, but suing them for not meeting their request! It’s clearly the adversary working to tear down any organization that tries to bring it’s followers closer to Christ.

  150. joe
    October 14, 2008 at 8:24 pm #

    “If we have protected classes at all, they should be limited to only natural, biological traits.”

    Wouldn’t this prevent a potential problem with religion? Perhaps someones religious affliation doesn’t deserve to be protected? There can also be somewhat of a gray area between religion, culture and race. For instance the jewish people. its a religion, a culture and a race. A person could claim to be jewish by religion, or by culture, or purely by background.

    “…individuals, companies, and churches would all be threatened with legal action for their personal views on homosexuality. ”

    Leviticus 20:13 advocates the killing of MEN which have committed a homosexual act. Its possible that an individual, company or church could advocate killing homosexuals and provoke violent acts against gays. Generally, american culture does not tolerate people advocating, ploting or coordinating efforts to do hate crimes.

    On an interesting note, female homosexual activity is not described as a detestable act in the law of moses. Prohibited food items include animals which eat fecal material, and rotting things. Taken in context, the law of moses was intended to send a subliminal message about the superiority of the jewish people.

  151. Nicole Young
    November 3, 2008 at 1:11 pm #

    Persons who enjoy the freedom of religious expression, a “protected class” under the laws of the State of California for purposes of the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution, make the choice to engage in such religious expression.

    So even if we accept the argument that homosexuality is a choice, the analysis doesn’t change.

    The California Constitution has always classified the “religious” as a protected class, notwithstanding the fact that one actually chooses to become a part of that class. The “choice” factor in the analysis as to who should be entitled to the elevated status of a “protected class” is simply misplaced and misguided.

  152. Connor
    November 3, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    The “choice” factor in the analysis as to who should be entitled to the elevated status of a “protected class” is simply misplaced and misguided.

    Your assessment would be correct if I and others were arguing that religion should be a protected class. But that’s not the case—such protections should only exist (if even at all) for those characteristics that are innate and unchangeable.

    If somebody decides to affiliate with a certain religion, then they should be willing to deal with whatever (legal and moral) consequences stem from that action. So, if sexuality is at all affected by choice (which it is), then it too is open to the same standard as any other choice is.

  153. Brad Carmack
    April 18, 2010 at 1:46 am #

    I read your post but only a few of the comments. I weigh in on homosexuality at length here, in relevant part suggesting that the conclusion of a elective sexuality is unlikely: http://bradcarmack.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-support-heterosexual-members-of-lds.html.

  154. Camille
    June 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    I didn’t get through all of the comments so I apologize if this has already been mentioned, but it was stated that angry and addicted persons have not had to endure centuries of discrimination. Whether or not that is true, I do want to mention that the other item Carissa mentioned was mental health. Persons with mental health conditions have endured centuries of discrimination. This is not a choice.

    I do not believe that a private business or individual should be subject to “protected class” regulations at all.

    A rental car company can choose to deny service to persons under 18 or 25. A club can refuse to allow persons under 21 regardless of whether alcohol is served. A business can choose not to hire persons younger than 18. I’m casting a movie I can choose to hold casting calls for blond haired, girls under 5’4″. None of these businesses are required by law to have these restrictions.

    I do not wish to make comments about whether sexual orientation is a choice or not, just that whether or not it is I don’t believe private businesses or individuals should be regulated by discrimination laws.

  155. joey
    August 18, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Interesting article. I think choice is a null point. There are killers who were born with that disposition to kill. Yet, we discriminate against them. There are people born with dispositions to become addicted to drugs and alcohol – yet, these people are banned from activities that they greatly desire to do. You might say that “what someone shoots up in the privacy in their own bedroom is their own business”, but luckily, we recognize that no private behavior is truly limited to the confines of a bedroom. This has also been made blatantly clear by homosexuals demanding public recognition for their private relationships.

    Homosexuals claim immutability. This is irrelevant as well. If by immutable, you mean uncontrollable and that it must be manifest in behavior, then you need to recognize it as a compulsive type of mental illness. There are people who go their entire lives without acting on these kinds of impulses to act inappropriately. Yet, homosexuals are asking for exemption from this requirement.

    Let’s make a case in favor for legalizing free use of narcotics. There are many people addicted to narcotics. If we legalized “illegal” use of narcotics, these drug addicts would no longer be deemed as criminal or mentally ill. They could enjoy their complete recreational use of drugs in good conscience. What was once a private activity could be accepted and openly practiced in front of society.

    Oddly enough, that’s what the homosexual movement was able to do – abolish sodomy law and cry discrimination at the top (and I mean very top) of its lungs. Now recreational sex is trying to qualify along side prescribed sex. Is recreational sex really in need of special reverence in the way same way as a sexual relationship intended for producing children?

    Let’s be real here. Homosexual relationships are purely recreational and serve no greater purpose to society. Whether driven by instinct or choice, the behavior isn’t appropriate and shouldn’t receive validation through the title provided through a state recognized marriage.

  156. Tom
    August 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    Joey –

    You say: “There are killers who were born with that disposition to kill. Yet, we discriminate against them.”

    Yes. Because they directly harm other people. Sexuality is about actions among consenting parties.

    As far as drug use goes, I agree. Make much of it legal. Make sure there’s accurate information about the effects of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, heroin…People can ruin their lives or their health with any of those and be a great burden on society, but to let only tobacco and alcohol users have legal access to their drug of choice doesn’t seem to be working.

    Let’s move on to immutability. As I stated in an earlier comment, sexuality is no more of a choice than handedness is. Just as a person COULD choose to use their non-dominant hand to accomplish everyday tasks, a heterosexual could choose to engage in same-sex conduct, and vice versa. But the action doesn’t change their core orientation.

    But the biggest point to be made here is the refutation of your statement that “Homosexual relationships are purely recreational and serve no greater purpose to society.” You clearly haven’t been around many long term gay relationships. Just like many (though not all) opposite-sex relationships, many same-sex relationships consist of two people who are willing to care for each other, watch out for each other’s well-being, and even assume responsibility for the other’s debts or other expenses in times of need. Society clearly benefits from these relationships.

  157. Amber
    March 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    Another danger of labelling homosexuality as a protected class is that someone can choose, for any reason, to be homosexual and thus have the law and social opinion support them. It is indeed a behavior if it can be manipulated this way. With race, gender and age, you can look at a person and generally know you’e dealing with a white, middle-aged male, for example.

  158. jimz
    March 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Amber,
    Well, maybe not so much. I very often get mistaken for someone of a different culture and race. 99.99% of the time or greater people get it wrong. My age is also something people usually miss, usually guessing 20 years or more younger than I actually am.

    I am not sure where people get the idea that sexual orientation is something one chooses. What seems to be missing in this discussion is that religion is often something one chooses, and one can convert to another religion or philosophy. Sometimes there isn’t any connection between biological traits and a particular religion.

  159. Clumpy
    March 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    @jimz

    I’m not sure what Connor currently believes – in this article he implies that discrimination ought to be forbidden for genetic characteristics, though as a Constitutionalist he may not believe that the Federal government should have any say at all. The choice vs. genetics issue is too messy to take a firm stance on. Still, I never chose to be straight, and have never heard of anybody abruptly changing their self-identified sexual orientation unless, from their perspective, they’re getting closer to who they felt they have been all along. You don’t just buck up one day and enjoy seafood when the smell of sardines has always made you throw up in the past, and similarly I can’t imagine biting the bullet and forcing myself to “play for the other team” so to speak until it stuck. I imagine Connor’s views on this issue may be a little more nuanced at this point.

    Given the absurdity of sexual “preference” being the same type of “preference” as ice cream flavors or favorite music (though hey – those things might be somewhat inherent to a person too) it would be hard for me to argue that sexual orientation can be any less a protected class than something like race. The only question is when the government steps in.

  160. jimz
    April 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Clumpy,
    What conner said in the article is this:
    “As misguided as anti-discrimination law is, the absurdity is taken one step further when the law creates a protected class from an individual’s choice. If we have protected classes at all, they should be limited to only natural, biological traits.”

    If you agree with that, there shouldn’t be any law against discrimination against someone on the basis of religion. There are a few religions in the world in which heredity plays a strong part. I think Mazdaism is the closest to a purely herditary religion. Perhaps thats the only one which should be protected by law, on the same basis as any race or ethnic background. The logical thing to do is alter the consitution to allow discrimination on the basis of religion, simply because it is a choice in most cases.

  161. Matt
    October 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    It seems so absurd to me how people still believe homosexuality is chosen behavior. All it takes to clear it up is to ask a single gay person, out of the hundreds of millions worldwide. That gay person laughs and says “no…” and you have your answer. Problem solved.

Leave a Reply

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private.