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Comment: Re:So now Google is literally a bunch of faggots? (Score 1) 804

Nobody's going to force anyone to engage in gay sex (Penn State locker rooms and rectories notwithstanding)

It's a common misconception that molesting boys = gay, but it's a rather viscous lie caused by equating boys with men. Gay men like men, which operationally means post-pubescent males--something like age 15-16+. Young boys on the other hand are essentially feminine and appeal to straight men if anyone. So while it may be penis-in-male-butt sex, it's not gay sex in the proper sense since the man is not gay and not attracted to men. Almost no child molesters are homosexual in their adult relationships (just around the fraction you'd expect), even those who have no reason to hide it. A more detailed account of this can be found here.

Interestingly the number of lesbian child molesters is essentially 0, which is lower than you'd expect based on the heterosexual female numbers. It's hard to measure such a tiny population though since women are so rarely child molesters anyway, and lesbian child molesters are then expected to be a small part of a small part of a small population.

Comment: Re:adults living together (Score 1) 804

You first offer a generalization I assume you can't prove ("how children learn to relate to the opposing gender has a lot to do with how mom and dad interact") and then you complain about the rigor of studies. That strikes me as rather hypocritical. I also intensely dislike the foolish argument presented: children of gay couples are not raised in isolation, but rather interact with many adults, from other family to teachers to friends' parents. To seriously make that argument work, you have to show that these relationships are in some sense insufficient for children. I don't buy it on faith and I don't believe it on intuition.

The limitations of social scientific studies are well known, and yet they're what we have. Experts from numerous professional organizations have reviewed the research and found it conclusive enough to put out statements supporting gay marriage from a child-rearing perspective, saying there is no significant difference. There's also the rather strong argument that gay couples never accidentally have children--they are planned for, and so all else being equal gay couples can do better on the whole even in a properly randomized setting.

B. It sounds like he's right, but in any case, yes the gay man stereotype is feminine, but they're just the most visible tip of the iceberg. Part of liking men means liking masculinity. Gimme a sweaty hairy jock who just finished football practice over some guy with a lisp any day.

Comment: Re:Why does it have to be "marriage"? (Score 1) 804

I know he claimed that he was going to announce it anyway. I just don't believe it. How convenient. [...] Biden left him in a situation where he was virtually forced to make an statement of support or risk pissing off the gay community in an election season

Actually I was surprised he felt the need to clear things up. I expected him to continue "evolving" until after the election, but with Biden showing open support which would have been at least something for the gay community. Also, don't forget, Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed under Obama. Gay people weren't exactly angry with him to start, and many of us were alright with him not getting into the issue in such a close election year with the presumption of relatively strong support for the next four years afterward.

As you say, the political calculation is difficult to make and the fallout unclear. That said I also suspect Obama wanted to give his base a symbol to get more fired up about. His youth vote is much more apathetic this time around, and gay marriage support might help that. His fundraising certainly hasn't been hurt by it (though Romney may have been helped by it too). It doesn't appear that African Americans are alienated by it enough to really matter. They grumble and some of their louder, more conservative speakers denounce him, but those are fringe effects that don't change the fact that most black people would like a black man in office rather than a rich white businessman.

As to Romney's stance on a constitutional amendment -- it really doesn't matter. The president has no say in the matter. It's like saying you want every little girl to have her own pony.

My Romney quote was in response to you saying, "meaning in reality his [Obama's] position is no different than Romney's."--I was just illustrating how their positions differ. Also, I think you unfairly downplay a president's influence, but of course there are many, many people with hands in running the country, not just one person.

Comment: Re:Faggotry (Score 1) 804

Even if gay marriage prevails, I do not think it will be even close to a Brown v. Board of Education. The problem is that going to school is mandated by law. Segregating children based on skin color and forcing them to be separate is still a bit different then someone making a choice which no matter how you look at it, marriage is a choice. Now in contrast to brown v. education, private schools can still be segregated and people can choose to send their kids to all black schools or all male schools or all female schools and so on because it is a choice.

I think the entire choice part will burst the bubble of a lot of people.

Gay marriage and access to unsegregated education are as you say not entirely analogous. Still, by far the biggest effect of gay marriage lies in its symbolism of the acceptance or lack thereof of homosexuality in our culture and not in its direct effects of creating marriages. I think every serious gay marriage supporter/opponent recognizes this. To illustrate by contrast, less serious people, Mitt Romney among them, rely primarily on silly, outdated arguments. For instance, "the best place to raise a child is with their mother and father"--even if that's true, it's irrelevant since gay married couples typically adopt or create children themselves through artificial insemination, so the choice isn't at all biological parents vs. gay parents, it's adoptive parents vs. gay parents or nothing vs. gay parents. By far the better argument to my mind is "straight people will behave badly if gay people can get married", particularly something like, "gay men tend to have open long term relationships and if they can marry, straight men may push for this in their own relationships, though experience shows it doesn't work well with straight people". The symbolic meaning of having gay married couples is at the heart of this type of argument, and analogously, the actual changes to gay people's lives are a relatively minor component of a possible Supreme Court ruling, at least in my mind. The biggest effect would be a general sense of "gay is okay".

It's interesting to see marriage patterns in countries like The Netherlands (first in the world) which have legalized gay marriage. As it turns out, at least in the current climate, not that many gay people even want marry, though that may well change with my generation not wanting to fight heteronormativity so much. I grew up expecting marriage someday and I still do.

Comment: Re:Faggotry (Score 1) 804

Its as if a lite went off in someone's head and all the sudden the claim was made.

I've found myself wondering why this issue seems to be so popular all-of-a-sudden--perhaps this is part of it. I find myself quite biased, though, having come out and gotten interested in the whole thing only recently, so I can't speculate very effectively on reasons for increased general interest.

You will not see a federal civil union either. Marriage simply is not within the powers of the federal government.

I'm sorry (since I like this conversation), but this is just not true, depending on precisely what you meant. Marrying people is perhaps not within the powers of the federal government, but one of DOMA's main aims is to invalidate same-sex marriages for federal purposes, regardless of their recognition by state(s). To give one example, even a married lesbian couple from Massachusetts cannot file a joint federal tax return. There are many, many more. That said, I misspoke. By the phrase "federal civil unions", I just meant federal recognition of civil unions (performed who-knows-where, maybe states, maybe other countries) for the purposes of federal marriage rights and responsibilities.

You have to remember that even in California which is probably the most gay friendly state, the voters supported multiple state wide bans on gay marriage. It took not one, but two state supreme court challenges and a federal challenge to make it legal.

I lived in California during the Prop. 8 campaign. I suspect gay marriage supporters got somewhat complacent--it's California, after all; you'd just expect it to be legal. The reality is that California is not nearly as liberal as one might think. Some urban centers, notably San Francisco, are, but it's a huge state. This Prop. 8 voting map is instructive. California is certainly not the most gay friendly state either; Massachusetts might be.

While it doesn't matter much, your summary of same-sex marriage in California is perhaps misleading. Same-sex marriage is not currently legal in California. It was legal for a while in 2008 in the time between the State Supreme Court overturning Prop. 22 (a law) and the passage of Prop. 8 (a constitutional amendment). It should be noted that Prop. 8 barely passed--52% to 48%--and that federal constitutional challenges based on it are currently making their ways through the courts. I suspect that if it weren't for the potential Supreme Court rulings, a repeal of Prop. 8 would already have passed, considering it barely passed even before the recent general surge in same-sex marriage support. A federal judge and a three-judge panel of the relevant appellate court have both found it unconstitutional and those rulings are stayed until review by the Supreme Court. Either SCOTUS will refuse to hear the case next term in which case gay marriage will again be legal in California--this seems highly unlikely to me--or SCOTUS will hear it and rule, possibly at a national level depending on legal specifics--and if the lower courts are any indication, they will rule for gay marriage.

Next Supreme Court term will be very important for gay marriage in general. DOMA and Prop. 8 challenges will likely be heard and ruled upon. I suspect (hope) 2013 will be the "Brown v. Board of Education"-year for gay marriage.

Comment: Re:Faggotry (Score 1) 804

Perhaps. I'm unsure. The states rights issue is certainly a large potential sticking point. Left to their own devices, I have no idea if say Alabama would ever legalize gay marriage. I do have some hope that SCOTUS will find gay marriage constitutionally mandated for each state by either the commerce clause or the equal protection clause. If they do nothing of the kind, I can potentially see a deeply divided country where the west and northeast allow gay marriage while the south(east) and most of the middle don't. I don't know about the federal situation--I hope the gross inequality at least leads to federal civil unions in the next few years if not marriage proper.

I am also unsure about the general support for it by generation. The 65+ crowd is by *far* the most anti-gay-marriage (here's a graph using somewhat old data; better evidence exists). I think that either support will continue growing overall as it has in the last few years, or that generation will mostly die off in the next decade, and either way there will be a "super majority" of support.

The key portions of the civil rights movement took like a decade after things got moving. My hope is that we're at about the same starting place (maybe a few years in?) with gay marriage.

Comment: Re:Faggotry (Score 1) 804

I imagine you're referring to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, though I'm not sure what court case you're referring to. Or perhaps you're just referring to the battle over school segregation Kennedy talked about eg. here.

You may be right, but I do not think for the reasons you see. I also think time might be close to the end of or beyond both of our times.

What reasons do you have in mind? (I'd like to note I listed none myself beyond a vague sort of analogy.) I also seriously doubt marriage equality will take as long as you suspect in the US, unless you're quite old (I am not).

Comment: Re:True equality (Score 1) 804

Sorry about my link on #2, though it should be easy for any techie to fix. Here's a working version.

1 and 3 are not the same thing. 1 is a general sort of background acceptance even for those gay people who will never marry while 3 is a personal reason a gay couple actually gets married.

But hey, if it makes you feel better about yourself.

I don't think you understood 3 at all. My point was that in the minds of other people a married couple is considered "family" to each other, which is the type of recognition couples in general and gay couples in particular often want.

perhaps they'll start calling gay people "married" while straight people are in Holy Matrimony ;)

That'd be hilarious. I don't think it would happen though. I've heard nothing of the kind despite, for instance, The Netherlands legalizing same-sex marriage over a decade ago. If everyone just shut up about it, the tiny fraction of gay marriages to all marriages would make the impact nearly insignificant.

Now, put me into whatever small minded box you think I belong in, okay?

The box I've put you in so far is: smart-ish, not particularly good with detail with a particular emphasis on oversimplification, kind of a jerk but also a nice guy to the people he likes, doesn't care much at all what other people think, non-standard political views.... I certainly don't have enough data to give a complete analysis though.

Comment: Re:Why does it have to be "marriage"? (Score 1) 804

He was, however, careful to state that the issue should be left up to the states -- meaning in reality his position is no different than Romney's.

Not really. For instance, Romney has said

Marriage's status should be constant across the country. I believe we should have a federal amendment in the constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and woman, because I believe the ideal place to raise a child is in a home with a mom and a dad.

It should also be noted he has (at least in the past... he changes positions periodically) supported domestic partnerships, though I'm not sure precisely what he had in mind.

That said, as a gay man myself, this one issue isn't enough to decide my vote anyway, and I prefer Obama's politics on the whole. (I'm also not nearly as cynical about his recent gay marriage stance change as you seem to be. FWIW he said he was going to announce it before the DNC and that Biden just sped things up. Since the political fallout is unclear and this election could be so close, I considered it a courageous move.)

Comment: Re:Faggotry (Score 1) 804

The 1883 Supreme Court case Pace v. Alabama dealt with basically this issue, but in the context of interracial marriage. The Court interpreted Alabama's anti-miscegenation laws as punishing blacks and whites equally, so they said it satisfied the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. This was overturned in the 1967 case Loving v. Virginian, where the Court completely revised its stance:

The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

With that in mind, I would suggest the "extra rights" argument won't stand the test of time.

Comment: Re:So now Google is literally a bunch of faggots? (Score 1) 804

The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment is often brought up in this sort of argument:

...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

You might say current state marriage laws are equal--gay guys can marry women if they want to, for instance--but that line of reasoning was rejected by the courts in interracial marriage debates many years ago. Both of these apply specifically to states--I'm not sure what the constitution-based pro-gay-marriage arguments are at the federal level.

Comment: Re:Why does it have to be "marriage"? (Score 1) 804

The usual counterargument is that the "separate but equal" doctrine is intrinsically flawed since separation implies inequality. Barack Obama shared your view for many years before he evolved to a pro-gay-marriage one. I haven't heard a good non-sound-byte list of reasons why he switched, but my guess (hope?) is that he met some gay parents, saw they were basically the same as everyone else, and said "what the hell, why not?"

That said I'm happy the debate has moved on to this. "I'm all for gay couples having the same kinds of rights as straight couples" is a great way to start.

Comment: Re:Polygamy (Score 2) 804

I've been reading the book Debating Same-Sex Marriage (endorsed by both Rick Santorum and Dan Savage, who gave Santorum its... other... meaning). The pro-same-sex marriage advocate, John Corvino, in this case is in the minority--he doesn't necessarily believe polygamy should be allowed. He explains why in section 4 of his opening essay:

In other words, [the argument goes] the pro-gay position logically entails the pro-[polygamy/incest/bestiality] position. Why would anyone think this? The answer, I suspect, is that opponents misread the pro-gay position as claiming that "People should be able to marry anyone they love." ... But I know of no one in the marriage-equality movement who really accepts this premise, despite pithy bumper-sticker slogans suggesting otherwise. It's a straw man.

Does my position logically commit me to accepting polygamy as well? I don't think so. ... After examining most of the major arguments, we have yet to see any serious costs from extending marriage to same-sex couples. By contrast, we have thousands of years of human history demonstrating the typical costs of polygamy. Polygamy tends almost always to be polygyny, where one man has multiple wives. (By contrast, polyandry--one wife with multiple husbands--is quite rare.) The usual result is a sexist and classist society where high-status males acquire multiple wives while lower-status males become virtually unmarriageable. in that sense, examined from the social-policy point of view, polygamy actually undermines our "mutual-lifelong-caregiving" goal: if we want to ensure that as many people as possible form stable family units, we should be wary of allowing any one individual to take multiple spouses.

I've clipped some of his discussion for brevity, but his overarching point is that there is ample evidence (which he briefly presents) that allowing same-sex couples to marry is not harmful and is even beneficial, while there is also ample evidence that polygamy is harmful, so same-sex marriage should be allowed and polygamy shouldn't. It should be noted though that he also says,

I've expressed this point before, which usually elicits a "Gotcha!" response from my critics: "Ahah! So you're saying that if polygamy actually promoted individual well-being and community flourishing, you wouldn't oppose it?" Yes--that is precisely what I'm saying.

(I'm having trouble getting through Maggie Gallagher's half of the book, but so far their biggest disagreement is typified by the above. Corvino uses effects-based, what-will-this-do-to-society arguments, and Gallagher uses abstract definition-based arguments. I suspect Corvino won the debate, though again I haven't finished it yet.)

Comment: Re:True equality (Score 1) 804

OR why would Gays even care about marriage.

In order of importance...
1. Symbolic acceptance. (I imagine you've never had to come out to your conservative fundamentalist family members; this is important.)
2. Over a thousand on-the-books legal rights.
3. Public recognition of your new status as family members--not "boyfriends", but family.

In otherwords, what "rights" do married people have that gay people do not?

See (2). You may be using "rights" in some metaphysical sense, but to be honest I care about reality and not your philosophy.

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