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More gay cooties in Tennessee

Via NIT, B-Ho writes:

. . . the proposed amendment simply does not discriminate against anyone. If it passes, gays and lesbians in Tennessee will continue to have the exact same marriage right that all adult Tennesseans’ already have: the right to marry one person of the opposite gender.

That’s the dumbest line of reasoning I have ever heard. In other news, you can’t marry who you want but you can chew gum – just like everyone else. Up next (via MKS) comes another conservative sort on gay cooties:

But what I just don’t understand is why conservative Christians, of which I am one, care about what two homosexuals do? If it doesn’t harm me or anyone else and it doesn’t infringe upon my freedom, then I could care less.

A marriage, as defined by the Bible, is a covenant between man, woman, and God. How many marriages do you think are performed in this state every year that do not fit that definition? I’d say quite a few.

Gay marriage has absolutely nothing to do with you, me or our freedom. So tell me, why are we spending all of this time worrying ourselves over something that has nothing to do with us?

Ayup. I support gay marriage for a variety of reasons. One reason is that certain rights (such as survivorship of an estate and the ability to make medical decisions for a loved one) should not be eliminated because a couple has matching genitalia. If they have committed themselves to one another, more power to them and they should be allowed to do it. But the primary reason I support gay marriage is because the arguments against it are just stupid. They tend to break down like this:

  • Gays will continue to have the exact same marriage right that all adult Tennesseans’ already have: the right to marry one person of the opposite gender – this one is stupid for the reason seen above.
  • God says it’s a no-no – Sure, maybe God did. But he also said I shouldn’t eat shrimp, that I should sacrifice a bull upon the altar of God, and that it’s OK to sell my daughter into slavery. Well, I eat shrimp, don’t sacrifice bulls and would die or kill before selling my daughter off. And, also, some folks aren’t keen on doing things just because an invisible man in the sky says so. And your God has no place in my law.
  • Gayness is unnatural or an abomination to nature – So? They’re not hurting anyone. There are gay animals.
  • Because they can’t have kids – So? Believe it or not, not everything I’ve done in a bedroom can lead to having kids.
  • It will destroy the family – You guys keep saying that but you never say how. Please, enlighten me. I don’t see how it could. My family will be fine.
  • So, come on guys, you have to do better. Seems to me the real reason is fear of gay cooties. And unless I hear a convincing reason otherwise, I think it stands to reason to assume that.

    33 Responses to “More gay cooties in Tennessee”

    1. Xrlq Says:

      Because they canít have kids – So? Believe it or not, not everything Iíve done in a bedroom can lead to having kids.

      No, but something you did in the bedroom can, and in fact did.

    2. SayUncle Says:

      so?

    3. AughtSix Says:

      God says itís a no-no – Sure, maybe God did. But he also said I shouldnít eat shrimp, that I should sacrifice a bull upon the altar of God, and that itís OK to sell my daughter into slavery. Well, I eat shrimp, donít sacrifice bulls and would die or kill before selling my daughter off.

      Just a theological quibble… The reason shrimp (and bacon cheesburgers mmm… bacon cheesburger… /homer) etc. is now “okay” is the Council at Jerusalem (in Acts 15), and a few other early church types (like Peter, Paul, et al.) got together, prayed and debated, and came to that conclusion. Basically, they kept the 10 commandments (with Jesus’ expansion on some of them: “whoever looks at a woman lustfully…”), sexual rules, and the prohibition on eating meat sacrificed to idols and “eating blood.”

      Personally, I have far more issue with no-fault divorce than gay marriage by whatever name. In the (horribly scary) world where I’m in charge, marriage is a church thing, and the gov’t enforces contracts. The non-state part can be whatever the heck you want. (Our ceremony was quite “traditional”, someone else’s could involve barnyard critters) You can also enter into a contract that says, “till death do us part,” or one that says, “until we get tired of the whole thing” and then that’s the contract that’s enforced. But I’d be fine with the two being independent. However, if you make the “forsaking all others untill death do us part” contract, then, well, getting tired of each other isn’t grounds for divorce.

      I think that’s fair.

      Oh, above you disagree with Bill Hobbs… I agree with him. At the risk of angering the analogy police, here goes… If I go to a Redskins’ game, they sell beer and wine. Lets say I don’t want beer or wine, but just burbon. Am I being discriminated against? I say no. (I’ve used an analogy of a crime before, but that only gets me in trouble–for comparing gay marriage to a petty crime) Everyone is allowed to drink beer, and no one is allowed to drink whiskey. Yeah, if all you want is beer, you’re set. And if you want whiskey, you’re screwed. But everyone’s playing by the same rules. This says nothing about whether or not it’s a good idea to have the distinction, but distinctions are made all the time. Say your drug of choice (or “preference”) is alcohol, you can legally buy and drink it. Cool. Say you like heroin, not legal. Discrimination!!! Umm… no. It can be bad policy (or good) to distinguish between alcohol and heroin, but just because some folks preferences are for the one that’s not allowed doesn’t make it discriminitory.

      On the otherhand, if the law said that anyone who ever had gay tendancies, looked at gay porn, had gay sex, etc., was not allowed to marry a person of the opposite sex, then that would be discriminitory. But that’s just silly (and not what’s happening).

      Okay, I’m done rambling now, flame away! ūüôā

    4. SayUncle Says:

      Six, I think if more anti-gay marriage folks said the same thing about divorce as loudly, they’d be more believable. And the difference is that the Redskins aren’t a government and aren’t denying you bourbon. You just can’t get it there.

    5. AughtSix Says:

      You’re right about the Redskins… but fundamentally, every criminal law only constrains the actions of those inclined to do the forbidden behavior. The NFA of 1934 has no effect on my mother who would never want to own a machine gun anyway. It does, however, prevent me from owning one. (Well, I guess it’s more the Hughes ammendment that puts the cool toys out of my budget) Am I discriminated against here? No. The law applies to both of us equally. I’m just the one whose behavior is constrained by the law.

    6. AughtSix Says:

      The above point, obviously, says nothing about whether or not a law (the NFA or a prohibition on gay marriage) is a good idea.

    7. Rustmeister Says:

      One reason it’s hard to make an argument against gay marriage is because there isn’t an immediate impact on the vast majority of Americans. If Adam and Steve get married, the world won’t come to an abrupt halt.

      It’s just another slip down the slope.

      No fault divorce was the beginning, now it’s gay marriage, next will be polygamy, and from there it could go in any number of directions. One of the nordic countries (Sweden?) has already removed the ban on animal sex. I’m not sure how PETA would feel about that one….

      We gunnies cry “slippery slope” a lot, and with good reason. This is another area where we need to be mindful of the long term implications. We are going down the same path Rome went down so many years ago. It didn’t end well for them, and our own visigoths are already knocking at our door.

      Gays can take care of almost all legal issues (including those listed here), as can anyone.

      I’d like to see marriage go back to the way it was. I’d also like to see a secular version of marriage made available to atheists/gays and anyone else who wanted to go that route.

    8. Xrlq Says:

      So, it completely destroys your point. No one argues for straight marriage on the basis that all activities heterosexual couples engage in have the potential to produce children. It doesn’t take all, just one.

    9. SayUncle Says:

      Should straight couples who are unable to have kids be denied marriage? Or people who just don’t want kids? Or, even better, some new technology tested on Arnold Schwarzenegger, allows men to have kids. Can they get hitched then?

      Marriage isn’t always about kids. It does not destroy my point in anyway.

    10. tgirsch Says:

      Six:

      The other problem with your “Redskins” argument, and even more so with the parent “they can still marry someone of the opposite gender” argument, is that the exact same line of reasoning can be used to defend a ban on interracial marriage. Everyone still has the right to marry someone of the same ethnicity/opposite gender, therefore no discrimination!

      And while Xrlq is right that children are a big part of the reason why the state sanctions marriage, there’s no requirement that children be part of any marriage, and even where they are, there’s no requirement that they be biological children. If at least the hypothetical possibility of having biological children is the be-all and end-all of what defines a marriage, then impotent men, barren women, postmenopausal women, and vasectomied men should be denied the privilege, too. Let’s go ahead and add a fertility test as a requirement, along with the blood test.

      The bottom line is, people give lots of faux-justifications for their opposition to gay marriage, but at the end of the day, they oppose it because they think it’s icky and/or “wrong,” not because of any “threat.” I’m confident enough in my marriage, and happy enough with my marriage, that I don’t feel it necessary to define mine in terms of what other people do. Screw them. There’s no outside influence that assigns a “value” to my marriage, at least not in any sense I consider meaningful. My marriage is mine, and as long as mine continues to be recognized, there’s no harm at all in recognizing others. (And even if the state stopped recognizing mine, I wouldn’t consider mine any less valuable.)

      Frankly, the arguments against decriminalizing drugs are a lot more compelling than those against recognizing same-sex marriage, and the anti-legal-drug arguments aren’t all that strong.

    11. AughtSix Says:

      tgirsch,

      they oppose it because they think itís icky and/or ďwrong,Ē

      I’ll make no bones about it, I think homosexuality is wrong the same way pre-marital (or extra-marital) sex is wrong. Now, something wrong doesn’t necessarily need to be illegal. However, messing with something as fundamental to society as marriage is likely to have a lot of unintended consequences, and I’m not convinced that it’s a good idea to meddle with it. Gay marriage wouldn’t be the end of the world. And it probably wouldn’t be as bad for society (and families) as the welfare policies of the ’60s or the rise of no-fault divorces, but, if Massachusettes wants to have it, then fine, “it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg,” as long as Virginia can have her own say on the matter.

    12. AughtSix Says:

      It will destroy the family – You guys keep saying that but you never say how. Please, enlighten me. I donít see how it could. My family will be fine.

      If Adam and Steve get married, it won’t cause my wife and me to split up, or you and yours.

      What it is likely to do is to weaken the foundation of marriage. Deep down, marriage is about having kids, raising them, and preparing them to enter society on their own. Having kids isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a requirement for marriage, but as a whole, that’s the point. Being faithful to your wife (and having her faithful to you) is a benefit to society, not just morally, but also because you’re more likely to care about the well-being of your kids if you know they’re yours. Or, conversely, you feel less attachment to them if you doubt they’re yours. Although it’s a nice feature, marriage isn’t about your pleasure. It’s about forming the societal structure for the raising of kids. Gay marriage removes the kids equation from marriage. It makes it about pleasure: “I feel like living with this guy (or gal), so I will. I expect all the benefits from society given to heterosexual couples, even though my marriage can’t result in any of the benefits to society that come from having kids.”

      All that said, the most damage was probably done with welfare in the ’60s: We’ll give you this money, but only if you have kids, and there’s no father around. Considering the damage to marriage and the family structure caused by government meddling, I’d be perfectly happy to have marriage be an entirely church/synogoge/whathave you institution, and have hte government enforce contracts (for things like inheritence, health decisions, etc.) and leave it at that.

    13. tgirsch Says:

      Six:
      However, messing with something as fundamental to society as marriage is likely to have a lot of unintended consequences

      You say this as if “messing” with marriage is somehow unprecedented. We “mess” with it all the time, when we change the ages at which people are allowed to engage in it; when we determine that things like bans on interracial marriage are unnecessary and unfair; when we (justifiably, IMO) outlaw polygamy; when we change the laws concerning divorce and/or child custody. The list goes on and on.

      The problem with your “unintended consequences” argument is that we’re simply not seeing any of this in those places (Canada, etc.) where same-sex marriage is already allowed. The problems that occur in same-sex marriages are actually remarkably similar to those in opposite-sex marriages, which would seem to vindicate them rather than implicate them. Further, I’d argue that “unintended consequences” is too vague an objection. If you want to continue to deny a state-sanctioned institution to an entire group of people, I want specific justifications, not vague ones.

      Deep down, marriage is about having kids, raising them, and preparing them to enter society on their own.

      From a religious perspective, maybe, but not from a civil one, and not from an historical one, either. Marriage has always been primarily about property. In its earliest days (and actually not all that long ago), a marriage was simply a transfer of property (the girl) from her father’s family to her husband’s. In some places, it still is that way. That’s “traditional” marriage.

      But even if we were to concede this point, that’s still not a solid argument against same-sex marriage, unless you’re prepared to provide solid evidence that same-sex parents are inherently unfit to raise kids and prepare them to enter society.

      because youíre more likely to care about the well-being of your kids if you know theyíre yours. Or, conversely, you feel less attachment to them if you doubt theyíre yours.

      I can’t believe I’m reading this. Have you given any consideration to how insulting this assertion must be to the children of adoption, and to the parents of adopted children? So much for adoption as a good alternative to abortion, I guess. The adoptive parents won’t care nearly as much, because they know the kids aren’t theirs!

      Gay marriage removes the kids equation from marriage.

      As I pointed out before, it only removes biological kids from the equation. And frankly, I don’t think my marriage is somehow less valuable or second-class simply because we don’t have children.

      It makes [marriage] about pleasure

      Although I’m not among them, I know many people who would object to equating “marriage” with “pleasure.” ūüôā

      And in any case, if stability is what you’re really after, then allowing same-sex marriages also serves this end. There would be explicit benefits available to same-sex couples willing to engage in a formally-recognized exclusive relationship, thus encouraging stability where there is no current (state-sanctioned) incentive.

      All that said, the most damage was probably done with welfare in the í60s

      That’s exactly wrong. There’s solid evidence that if not for the “Great Society” reforms of the 60’s, things would be much, much worse today (ironically illustrated by a guy who was trying to make precisely the opposite point).

      That said, I’m all in favor of encouraging people — from all economic backgrounds — to have fewer children. Perhaps you’d be willing to join me in supporting government-paid contraception to any who desire it.

    14. tgirsch Says:

      Six:

      While I’m at it, and on the subject of theological quibbles, it’s worth pointing out that the Council at Jerusalem apparently missed Matt 5:17-18. Unless “everything has been accomplished” while we weren’t looking… ūüôā

    15. Xrlq Says:

      Should straight couples who are unable to have kids be denied marriage?

      No. That’s a lame argument, too, but it’s a different argument from the one in your original post, which I was responding to.

      Marriage isn’t always about kids.

      That’s your opinion. At a subjective level, anybody’s marriage can mean almost anything. The state’s interest in marriage, however, is somewhat narrower than that. At that level, the question is which consensual adult relationships the state should give any special legal effect to, and which ones it should simply ignore. It doesn’t take gay cooties to draw that line between those relationships that can and frequently do produce involuntary third parties, on the one hand, and those that are biologically incapable of doing so, on the other.

      When deciding which arrangements between consenting adults the state should ignore, and which ones it should make a huge legal deal out of, lines have to be drawn somewhere. It doesn’t take gay cooties to conclude that a reasonable place to draw that line is between arrangements that frequently yield involuntary third parties from those that are biologically incapable of doing so.

    16. SayUncle Says:

      Thatís your opinion.

      No, that’s a fact. Not everyone who is married plans on having kids. And, while you’re subsequent point really relies on the impact of third parties, that is clearly not the case in every marriage. Under your plan, the state could decide the legal affect also applies or does not apply to a childless couple.

    17. Xrlq Says:

      AughtSix:

      In the (horribly scary) world where Iím in charge, marriage is a church thing, and the gov’t enforces contracts. The non-state part can be whatever the heck you want. (Our ceremony was quite “traditional”, someone else’s could involve barnyard critters) You can also enter into a contract that says, “till death do us part,” or one that says, “until we get tired of the whole thingĒ and then thatís the contract thatís enforced. But I’d be fine with the two being independent. However, if you make the “forsaking all others untill death do us part” contract, then, well, getting tired of each other isn’t grounds for divorce.

      It would be under contract law, though. No matter what a contract may say about termination, it can always be terminated immediately by the consent of the parties. The best a “till death do us part” clause could do is to protect a spouse who doesn’t want a divorce. The worst it can do is provide one spouse with a weapon to use against the other to obtain a more favorable divorce settlement.

      I think thatís fair.

      Fair as between husband and wife, sure – if those are the only two parties whose interests you think the state should be protecting.

    18. AughtSix Says:

      All that said, the most damage was probably done with welfare in the í60s

      Thatís exactly wrong. Thereís solid evidence that if not for the ďGreat SocietyĒ reforms of the 60ís, things would be much, much worse today (ironically illustrated by a guy who was trying to make precisely the opposite point).

      Poverty’s lower today than in the ’60s, good. (But this isn’t a discussion of the economics of the Great Society) My point was about the effect on families was to drive fathers out of the house since as long as they were there, the mother couldn’t collect welfare.

    19. JustinB Says:

      I’m tired of reading about those against gay marriage using silly ass examples ala Redskins and booze/marriage was meant to produce children et al… Why dont you just come right out and admit that you dont like gay people, find the practice of homosexuality disgusting and it goes against your religious beliefs? And while I’m on my soapbox do you honestly think that allowing a same sex couple to marry will lead to marriages with animals? polygamy? Put your tin foil hat back on. My wife and I both have gay friends who have been together for longer than we have and guess what?…The sun still rises in the east and sets in the west…water is wet and fire is hot. Quit trying to be so goddamn politically correct with your arguments and just admit that you dont want the gay cooties anywhere near you vs your Jeffersonian philosophy sessions.

    20. tgirsch Says:

      Six:
      My point was about the effect on families was to drive fathers out of the house since as long as they were there, the mother couldnít collect welfare.

      Except that I doubt that claim is based on anything more compelling than anecdote. It also allows for little or no distinction between single mothers and the mythical “welfare queens.”

      In other words, I’d like to see some solid evidence that your alleged “effect” actually happened (and for those reasons). People make claims like this all the time, and they’re usually not reflected in reality.

    21. Dr. Strangegun Says:

      I find it funny that the Christians take the stance that *they* must “punish” homosexuals and other groups/segments of the population they find morally repugnant, when it’s plainly obvious that God has a punishment in store for them anyway.

      It’s like –God’s wrath isn’t good enough for them-.

    22. tgirsch Says:

      Strangegun:

      It’s a good point, but to be fair, I suspect a lot of these Christians who are so strongly against this simply view things as a false dichotomy: they feel that if they don’t condemn it, they are in effect condoning it. More to the point, they feel that if the society they live in condones it (or doesn’t condemn it), it’s a negative reflection on them personally. They’re worrying about the specks in the eyes of others. The “it’s a sin, but it’s not my business” never seems to occur to them.

    23. Xrlq Says:

      No, thatís a fact. Not everyone who is married plans on having kids.

      So what? Not everyone who is married and doesn’t plan on having kids remains childless, either. It’s simply not realistic to expect, nor even to want, a one-to-one correlation between any government policy and the objectives it is intended to accomplish. For any given speed limit, within reason, there are necessarily some individuals who cannot drive safely at that speed, and others who can drive safely at faster speeds. That doesn’t mean we ask the government to tailor everyone’s personal speed limit to meet their needs. Instead, we look at driving patterns as a whole, and we pass laws aimed at the population at large.

      Similarly, when it comes to marriage, it might make sense in theory to only allow marriages between couples who want or have children, but there’s no good way to accomplish that in practice, and there’s little to be gained by that, anyway. So what if a few childless couples here and there get the benefits of a legal institution that assumes they might have children. No major harm in that, and whatever cost is associated with spreading that benefit a little further than needed, it’s a lot cheaper than having the government police every childless couple just to make sure no one is married who absolutely, positively doesn’t need to be. On the other hand, requiring that a married couple consist of a man and a woman is a relatively simple requirement, which requires almost no government oversight, and only excludes a class of would-be marriage participants who have absolutely no way of ever producing children.

      No gay cooties there; just common sense.

    24. Rustmeister Says:

      Ok, I have to tie two quotes together.

      Why dont you just come right out and admit that you dont like gay people, find the practice of homosexuality disgusting and it goes against your religious beliefs? And while Iím on my soapbox do you honestly think that allowing a same sex couple to marry will lead to marriages with animals? polygamy? Put your tin foil hat back on.

      I don’t care for or against gay people, I do find gay male sex disgusting, and I’m a very lapsed Catholic, so religion has nothing to do with it. I do admit I can get moonbatty at times, but I’m not worried about it. How else do you generate conversation?

      the exact same line of reasoning can be used to defend a ban on interracial marriage.

      And, the same exact line can be used against polygamy, a concept which I daresay predates gay marriage by centuries. As for animal sex, well, I do, sometimes, go over the line to make a point. But, it’s still not illegal in Sweden.

      You forgot NAMBLA, by the way. Another concept that has been around for centuries.

    25. d Says:

      great post.

    26. SayUncle Says:

      Xrlq, don’t buy it. No matter how you cut it, marriage is not about children. It’s about a contract between two people that ascribes legal status (only incidentally does that status confer anything about children).

    27. Masked Menace© Says:

      tgirsch,

      For Messianic Jews you may have a point. But Gentiles were never under the Law to start with. The question was whether to bring the Gentile followers of Christ under the same Law as the Jewish followers of Christ (who were unable to keep the Law themselves).

    28. Masked Menace© Says:

      On the argument that gay marriage leads to degredation of the institution of marriage:

      Gay marriage would not affect my marriage (or appearently any of yours) one bit. But we’re not on the margin, as it were. If you raised the price of a bottle of Coke by 10 cents it wouldn’t affect my purchases one bit. I would buy just as much after the price increase as before. However, I doubt any in this crowd would argue that the number of sales would not decline. That our purchases didn’t, doesn’t mean the whole won’t. Just because our marriages wouldn’t be affected doesn’t mean others won’t.

    29. tgirsch Says:

      Xrlq:
      Itís simply not realistic to expect, nor even to want, a one-to-one correlation between any government policy and the objectives it is intended to accomplish.

      This argument might hold more water if child-rearing were the only reason the state sanctions marriages.

      Rustmeister:
      And, the same exact line can be used against polygamy, a concept which I daresay predates gay marriage by centuries. As for animal sex, well, I do, sometimes, go over the line to make a point.

      But this line of reasoning overlooks the oft-repeated fact that there are other, more compelling arguments against polygamy and animal sex which simply don’t apply to same-sex marriage. I won’t bother repeating them here, as I’d about guarantee you’ve heard them before (and they wouldn’t be tough to google).

      Masked Menace:
      For Messianic Jews you may have a point. But Gentiles were never under the Law to start with.

      Which begs the question of why Christian Fundamentalists generally quote the old testament in their condemnation of homosexuality (and various other ills). And, for that matter, why they obsess about the Ten Commandments, which, according to your argument, don’t apply to the Gentiles.

      And what hypothetical “other” marriages might be harmed? I’ll wager that if same-sex marriage is a threat to them, they’re not worth much irrespective of whether or not same-sex marriage is state-sanctioned. Which is to say, these marriages are probably already degrading the institution of marriage. Sorry, but not the least bit compelling.

    30. Xrlq Says:

      TGirsch:

      This argument might hold more water if child-rearing were the only reason the state sanctions marriages.

      That is my position, in a nutshell. Not that it’s necessarily the only reason why the state does afford legal status to marriages, mind you, but that it’s the only reason it should. Everything else is just another arrangement between consenting adults, which the state should have no interest in, one way or the other.

    31. Masked Menace© Says:

      Which begs the question of why Christian Fundamentalists generally quote the old testament in their condemnation of homosexuality (and various other ills).

      Because they have wrongly left off the NT portion of it? The council at Jeruselem stated 4 prohibitions for Gentile Christians: 1) Meat tainted by strangulation 2) Meat tainted by blood (that “bloody” steak isn’t blood BTW) 3) Idolotry 4) Fornication (any and all sex outside of marriage).

      So Christians have not been released from those laws so quoting those parts of the OT are not improper. But you are right that many Christians would incorrectly attribute it to only it’s presence in the OT.

      And, for that matter, why they obsess about the Ten Commandments, which, according to your argument, donít apply to the Gentiles.

      Because it’s a part of the history and tradition. It’s symbolic. It’s not the lack of 10 Commandment monuments that is the issue. If court house builders simply didn’t include them it wouldn’t be a big deal. It’s the forceable removal that is objectionable and the symbolism is that you really want to remove Christian people from gov’t, not just the statue. Sure, you can be a Christian in gov’t, but only if you act like you aren’t. It’s a battle by proxy.

    32. cube Says:

      “And your God has no place in my law.”

      The judeo christian system of law is the basis of much of our law. The who murder thing and lots of other stuff. For example, ever 7 years jew had their debts forgiven completely, kinda like you credit report is wiped clean after 7 years.

    33. Appalachian Scribe » Civil Unions in New Hampshire Says:

      […] an irrational fear of gay cooties (wish I could take credit for coining the term, but it comes from SayUnce). I fail to see how such laws will destroy marriage, harm children, or bring about the fall of […]