Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I don't know if you've been paying attention to this one, but gay activists are up in arms because Target Corporation gave a donation to a group which paid for an ad for a pro-business candidate for governor--who also happened to be pro-traditional family and against gay "marriage":

During this election season, there's likely to be a lot more corporate cash in politics, following a Supreme Court ruling last winter that lifted restraints on companies and labor unions.

Already, a case involving Target Corp. and the gay-rights movement has provided one picture of how American politics works in the wake of the Citizens United decision.

Target gave $150,000 to an independent group, which spent some of it on an ad supporting Republican Tom Emmer's bid to be Minnesota's next governor. Target regarded Emmer as pro-business. But as a state legislator, he also built a solid record opposing gay equality.

And it's expected that Minnesota's next governor will have the chance to sign or veto marriage legislation, notes Fred Sainz with the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

So protesters beat a path to Target stores. [...]

This really matters to Target because it has a golden reputation for hiring GLBT employees and backing gay equality. The company apologized. Twice.

"We're sorry. We never meant to let down our team members and our guests with this decision," spokeswoman Lena Michaud said. [...]

And wants to make a political example of Target.

"Target must promise never to make this kind of political contribution again, and they should serve as a lesson to other corporations who are considering making the same move," says Ilyse Hogue, MoveOn's director of political advocacy.

Do you get what's really happening here?

A company known for its gay-friendly policies gave some political money to a group that made a commercial for a candidate who is in favor of traditional marriage. Because of that, gay activists, left-wing political groups, and the like are saying that Target has to be punished. They are saying that having a belief that marriage involves the union of one man and one woman is not politically acceptable in America anymore. They are protesting Target stores, labeling Target's actions as bigotry and vowing to make an example of the company for daring to support, in an indirect and weak way, a pro-business candidate who also happens to believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman--this, despite Target's long-standing reputation as a gay-friendly business.

Homosexual activists will not, now or ever, live in peace with those Americans who believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. They will insist that holding this belief is the moral equivalent of racism. They will drive this belief from the public square and punish anyone who holds it.

They will insist that corporations hire only those people willing to state a politically correct and homosexually-altered view of what marriage is. They will list those companies which comply as "good" companies and maintain a list of the "bad" ones--the ones who refuse to interrogate prospective employees as to their marriage beliefs, or worse, the ones who don't really mind if their employees continue to believe that marriage involves a man and a woman. They will demand that government only do business with those companies willing to promote the homosexual view of marriage, and further demand that any company which does not do so be dropped from any chance of obtaining government contracts.

In the minds of gay activists, it is already immoral bigotry for a person to say that he or she believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. In a post-gay "marriage" reality, they will use every available resource the law allows to shut down the belief in traditional marriage--and the freedoms, religious and otherwise, of those who hold that belief.


Anonymous said...

It'd be better if Target stay out of controversial actions. Perhaps, avoiding donations that could be interpreted as making a political statement or adopting a political position or stance. I know the sign on the wall in the local Target says that it contributes significantly to educational resources, such as scholarships and local schools, but perhaps avoiding anything that could be misinterpreted by anyone at all should be avoided. I had no idea that Target was 'gay-friendly' or no. Gayness is not something that I pay attention to when I go to sale where goods are usually of good quality. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I heard of it, and am at a loss to compare it with other retailers in town such as JC Penney's, Kohl's, Sears, and the college bookstores, unless the name of a shop clearly identifies itself as selling questionable products. I did see an ad in the Sunday paper for girl's clothing referring with the text of the ad as well as photo of young girl in side-view and the logo on her outfit targeting adolescent girl's 'booty' and thought it in poor taste.

Nick said...

Reminds me of pro-life activists, who go up in arms over companies that support abortion and say they should stay out of politics. When will the madness end and the love begin?

Anonymous said...

"They are saying that having a belief that marriage involves the union of one man and one woman is not politically acceptable in America anymore."

They are not saying any such thing, though the dramatic lilt of the statement is effective for those vulnerable to such rhetoric.

They are saying that you can't have it both ways - having a reputation for gay-friendly policies and paying large sums to get anti-gay politicians into power.

Target, like other corporations, should focus on business goals. Target executives are free to be political with their own money. If I had Target stock, and as a mutual fund owner I may, I'd be upset that my company was entering into such nasty identity politics.

Why are you, of all people, willing to grant corporations the rights of citizens? Do you believe that corporations should be persons under the law? How does that fit with Catholic social teaching?

Kim D. in WI said...

If you want to jump on the boycott bandwagon, do go peruse Life Decisions International's list of companies which support (ugh!) Planned Parenthood:

David said...

My response, linked in my name and below:

c matt said...

Of course, this brings up a dilemma for pro-real marriage types:

Do you boycott Target or support it? On the one had, it did give to a politician who supports traditional marriage, so it seems you should support Target. On the other, Target has seemed to profusely apologized for it, and its support of the pro-real marriage candidate was only incidental/inadvertant, at least wrt his views on marriage, so do you boycott?

c matt said...

Homosexual activists will not, now or ever, live in peace with those Americans who believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman.

When did they ever give any indication that they would? Frankly, even as wrong as they are on the subject, I wouldn't really expect them to live in peace about it. At least, not any more than I would expect pro-lifers to leave alone those Americans who believe women have the right to choose an abortion. I only wish pro-lifers were as well connected with and fawned over by the media as SSM activists are.

Anonymous said...

"Homosexual activists will not, now or ever, live in peace with those Americans who believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman."

Is this to say that you believe the activists will attack your homes, kidnap your children, burn your businesses or sieze power and imprison traditionalists?

What does that sentence mean, exactly?

David said...

"What does that sentence mean, exactly?"

It means that extensive use of hyperbole is always a fun past-time.

Red Cardigan said...

Cmatt, I think the boycott question is ultimately unproductive. I think the unofficial motto of just about every American corporation is, "Corporate America: Proud Sponsors of the Culture of Death!" and that any attempt to shop only with companies who do NOT finance any of the five sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance would probably lead to starvation for all but the most dedicated gardeners.

David, it is not hyperbole. Just as you equate opposition to the sins of sodomy and other forms of homosexual sex acts with racism, so will you equate those opposed to the sin of sodomy and other forms of homosexual sex acts with racists. You will make sure that public schools must teach all children that it is bigotry to oppose homosexual sex acts or to teach that they are immoral. You will insist that all children be taught to say "husband and husband" or "wife and wife" as often or more often than they can say "husband and wife." You will try to ensure that private schools do these things as well, by making it impossible for a school to be accredited if it teaches "bigotry"--that is, if it teaches that homosexual sex acts are gravely morally evil, or refuses to indoctrinate children in "gay-friendly" speech.

You will insist that corporations not hire people known to hold this "bigoted" belief, and that they will fire anyone who expresses that belief (as some people now are fired for expressing certain beliefs on Facebook or in other public forums away from work). You will stifle free speech and freedom of association on the ground that "bigots" who continue to hold the belief that homosexual sex acts are gravely morally evil do not deserve such things.

And that will be just the beginning.

David said...

I didn't equate them so strongly, Erin. I leave you, just as I have before, every available opportunity to prove me wrong in that your ideas are not groundless. I simply wish you'd stop complaining about it, stop repeating the canard of people calling you a bigot, and rather address those issues instead. As I said before, flinging around those epithets doesn't help the conversation, and I have to admit I wonder that you and people like you cling to "they call me a bigot" reaction because it's so much easier to play a victim than enter the debate.

Again: I did say the similarity is conditional, like most chauvinisms and prejudice, on providing evidence for those claims that whatever is being elevated is actually superior:

Without principled opposition–by that I mean good reasons for it, justifiable reasons not in the realm of transcendence–the rest of society will tend to move forward. A few years ago, Erin and her cohorts could probably have Target turning on its toes if it dared support a candidate who was in favor of gay rights. The pendulum is swinging the other direction now, and it will be a painful, existentialist awakening for those who were too comfortable with the pendulum on their side, not realizing that what held it there wasn’t firm bars of reason but spiderwebs of ignorance.

If you have supported rationale, it doesn't enter into the issue of chauvinism, racism, whathaveyou. It would be a fact, one that could be acted on appropriately. If I say, "whites are better than blacks; whites are more intelligent than blacks; blacks are lazier than whites," to the abhorrence of society, and I can't back those claims up, then yes, I'd be branded as prejudiced and racist. If you claim that man/woman marriage is superior and you have little evidence to support it beyond your say so, don't be shocked if it's equated to the baseless prejudices that formed the foundations for racism.

David said...

As a thought exercise, if I truly had those views about white supremacy, would you be indignant if as a teacher I tried to influence children that whites are inherently better than blacks? If not, why? Why is it OK for the secular schools to subscribe to one view of tolerance and egalitarianism in regards to racism, ignoring all those people so sure that whites are better than blacks, yet you shudder at the thought they might not particularly enjoy people who have similar-foundless ideas about the supremacy of heterosexual unions? I'm not saying it should be done. Be clear on that. I suspect, however, that you already buy into the idea of teachers having a form of standards about certain realities (like the truths about races and whether any is better), but you can't accept that perhaps the reality is completely against your understanding of gays.

There was a point when a significant amount people believed whites to be better than blacks. Not because they had evidence for their position, but because it was intuitive to them, to their internal reason and common sense. At times, some would use religious explanations to support it (however wrong you may find their exegesis). What happened, what is still happening, is people realized the distinction had little staying power since it was disconnected from any evidence. If our experience had shown us that yes, blacks really are not as intelligent as whites or a host of other traits, it would have been a different outcome entirely.

That's the same issue with the immorality of the sin of sodomy. You can call it evil all you wish, proclaim it from the heavens, but if you can't establish an evil to the act that resonates with people more than your say so, you are going to become very lonely in your quest. You will be talking to fewer and fewer people who will agree with you adamantly as they have no vested interest in assessing the logic of your claims, but you will gain few converts.

And, likely, there will be shunning. That's what happens to views that don't have much evidence, especially over time and generations. It happened with racism, and it likely will happen to those who purport the magnificence of man/woman marriage in comparison to man/man or woman/woman marriage without the evidence.

Or maybe even an admission: gay sex is immoral and wrong because God says it is, everything else of the world, evidence, support be damned.

And at that point, I'd hope you can understand that even you wouldn't accept the idea that if some religion had a deity with the founding of the greatness of the White Man, the inherent immorality of the Other, that it's nearly as principled as you do in your position and tradition/authority of teaching. And you probably wouldn't respect their beliefs or attempts to teach your children their views either. Eventually you would fall back on that standard...which you take for granted how often it aligns with your views.

Red Cardigan said...

David, I'm afraid I don't have time this evening to get into a lengthy debate with you here in the comboxes, but I've realized where our impasse lies: you *insist* that I must essentially agree with you that opposition to homosexual sex acts as immoral is exactly the same thing as racism, and then frame all of my arguments under that premise.

I, however, *refuse* to agree that opposition to homosexual sex acts as the immoral acts they are is anything like racism. Frankly, I find it rather insulting to people of different races that the irrational hatred of them based on skin color or race is anything at all like opposition to homosexual sex acts as the immorality they are. If I oppose adultery as immoral, does it mean I am bigoted against people who desire sex with those other than their own spouses? If I oppose fornication as immoral, does it mean that I am bigoted against unmarried people who practice unchastity? No--it means that I deplore their *behavior* as the immoral behavior it is.

Racists hate people for qualities that are morally neutral--racial background, skin color, country of origin, etc. I do not hate people afflicted with the attraction to members of their own sex--but I do hate immoral acts as every Christian must. And I will oppose to the last any attempt to create a new social order in which gravely evil sexual immorality is called "marriage" as if calling it so makes it so.

Red Cardigan said...

And, David, for the record if I could go back in time and oppose the liberalization of divorce laws which have had gravely evil consequences on our society, I would. If I could go back in time and oppose contraception with those who stood with Pope Paul VI and "Humanae Vitae," I would (but I was born a few months after it was issued). If I could have effectively opposed abortion when it was first legalized, I would. I continue to oppose all of these things: contraception, abortion, liberal divorce laws--even if opposing them is sometimes seen as a "lost cause."

Gay "marriage" is not yet a reality in this nation. That particular social sickness, that particular social approval of depravity, has not yet been inflicted upon the American people. But it shouldn't puzzle you that I would oppose it for the rottenness and evil that it is.

David said...

Erin, I don't disagree with you.

"If I oppose adultery as immoral, does it mean I am bigoted against people who desire sex with those other spouses?"

If you had no reasons for such thinking (legitimate damages that are done or consequences), and you worked to make such actions conflicting illegal with our constitutional rights and on no rational basis, and other things that were irrelevant to the conduct involved (hiring an adulteress, adulterer; preventing them from being around children), yes, I would say you are bigoted in that sense. I don't believe, however, that you can make a strong case that gay marriage is similar to adultery when gays can be unfaithful to one another.

"Racists hate people for qualities that are morally neutral--racial background, skin color, country of origin, etc."

Somewhat agreed; I differ on the definition of racism and including the word "hate" in there since it's not necessary at all for someone to hate to be a racist. But this brings us back to the pivotal issue: why is homosexuality immoral; why is it wrong? We have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight to admit, with confidence and no shame!, that skin color is morally neutral, but that was not always the case. There was a prevailing sentiment of it's morality that depended on a long-standing prejudice to maintain it. Amazingly, there also exists a long-standing prejudice against homosexuality that may or may not be supported for claims of the moral question. The problem is, we know more about homosexuality now than the Mesopotamian, Abrahamic forebears.

Ultimately all I see you doing, Erin, is proclaiming that homosexual acts are immoral.


I equally say that looking at rainbows is immoral.

Ridiculous assertion, but similarly is your expectation that I should simply agree with your "opinion" that homosexuality is immoral because you state it.

Can I provide evidence that looking at rainbows is immoral? That there are reasons for adultery being immoral? For pornography, for white supremacy?

For sure. But until I do, it's not quite fair to expect everyone to agree with me because I think whatever I claim is axiomatic.

Why is it immoral? Why is your opinion on the morality of homosexuality "rational" and the opinion of the racists "irrational"?

I've given good enough reasons for why the racists are irrational, and ways to test for them. So far, you have dodged the same effort for your own views.

Red Cardigan said...

David, I believe what I do about sexual morality (which goes way beyond the immorality of homosexual acts) in the context of the Catholic Church's 2,000 year old philosophical and moral teachings on these matters.

The modern secularist says, in effect, "Oh, but none of that matters. Show me that fornication is physically harmful, for instance, or that homosexual acts are, or that adultery is, etc. Otherwise I must insist that it be accepted as something good, because all morality is based on utility and harm."

I, and other Catholics, say, "We refuse to reduce morality to utility and harm. Under those narrow criteria, there are many things which have been considered immoral by many peoples throughout history that must no longer be considered immoral--not just in the area of sex, but in other areas as well (lying, some forms of stealing, covetousness or greed, selfishness, disrespect for one's parents, and on and on)."

The modern secularist says, "Since you refuse to limit your discussion of morality to the areas of utility and harm, you have failed to show that morality is rational, and thus we can disregard it and insist that you not bring it with you into the public sphere."

Now, we could discuss the morality homosexual sex acts in terms of utility and harm. But then we have another problem.

For example, I have a contact in a medical field who is aware that patients who engage in homosexual sex acts are at much greater risk for a great deal of illness that people who do not engage in homosexual sex acts are not at risk for, or only at minimal risk for. But society refuses to permit any discussion of this reality, and the doctors themselves can only vaguely hint about "lifestyle changes" to their patients who engage in homosexual sex acts, without ever telling them that their specific physical problems might be caused or exacerbated by specific homosexual acts in which they routinely engage.

So we can't even have an honest discussion about the morality of homosexual sex acts limited to the question of utility or harm, because even attempting to collect some of this kind of data is seen as an attack on same-sex attracted people who act on their attractions. Having first insisted that utility and harm are the only criteria for the morality of an action, the secularist then exempts certain actions from any such evaluation because his own "morality" sees these questions as impinging on the absolute freedom of individuals to define their own happiness regardless of pesky medical information that might provide a check against some kinds of risky behaviors.

David said...

I'm not so sure, Erin.

I'd be amicable to those discussions as long as, if you are using the bases of utility and harm (which I don't think are always the best, but they're a slight step above your conclusion everyone not of Natural Law is a moral relativist), we'd similarly and with the same amplitude of antagonism approach other behaviors with the potential for harm.

Smoking, not wearing seatbelts, eating behaviors, driving habits, promiscuous name a very few.

It's not as if, however, we look at people currently who indulge in eating too much fat and say, "Sorry, I won't hire you because that's a filthy and wicked evil thing to do, and I will also do my best to ensure you can't raise children because I don't want you to pervert their understanding of good, proper eating. I won't stay at your house because I can't in any way condone such a behavior you might engage in." And heaven help the person who might do that if they think they could act like that (currently) and not risk being labeled prejudiced or bigoted.

Again, this is only if you are trying to play (one version of) a utilitarian's game about this matter, and regardless of coming to a conclusion on the wrongness or rightness of an act, it wouldn't immediately justify any old response to it. If homosexual acts are physically harmful, does it outweigh the harm if they enter into a heterosexual relationship and try to make that work? Or to compel celibacy, which even your Church believes to be a blessing for a rare few, not actually mandated under the umbrella of "chastity" some would have me believe.

...disrespect for one's parents...

I think that would make a fun blog entry :). We've seen how far the Church can stretch what it means to be "charitable" to gays and be opposed to "unjust discrimination." I'm sure contrarily one could pervert almost any action as being "respectful" in the aim of a higher goal or behavior-shaping end, even within your moral teaching.

At the end though, Erin, this discussion revolves around creating law in a secular state. That is why the arguments in that arena might resemble flavors that aren't based on 2,000 years of evolving tradition, why they may not be persuasive to the courts. If I were arguing about the morality of homosexuality within the context of the Church and Natural Law, it would have to be on those terms, and I would acknowledge that rather than try using another ethical theory. It's necessary because it would be arguing within the bounds of the very system I'm combating, even if I don't believe in it myself.

Same too with the secular nature of our constitution and state. That's why I ask for reasons in that context. Utility was a good place to start, but I don't think it will get you very far with the other actions we pass over which have as much if not more capacity for harm to the individual doing them without nearly the social antagonism associated with them (not to say that the social conscience couldn't change on some of those issues, however, like Geoff G's example of gay men and the stigma with HIV+ men hiding their status) that is toward gays and their behavior.

David said...

Last post, and I apologise for drawing this out so far.

Overall, it’s not quite what I’m getting at, Erin, and I’m not explaining myself very clearly with these requests for reasons and evidence.

You can/do have reasons for your beliefs and views on sexuality or whatever it may be we’re discussing. All I’m really requesting is the why for those views. I find that a moral statement is worthless if, quite frankly, the action of the person doing or not doing it is inconsequential, where the reason for the proscription is no more than some transcendent (immaterial property to the act) symbolism. Imagine that we can’t point to legitimate outcomes in decisions, where nothing would be dissimilar if a woman cheated on her husband or if she remained faithful, but we maintained the wrongness of the former anyway. If a gay man were celibate compared to marrying a straight woman or another gay man and the varied outcomes there.

Example: for small tribe, they collect between two sets of berries, red and blue. When picking, even though it’s more effort, the blue must be separated from the red into different baskets. It could be their deity proclaimed it; they have a philosophy about the skill of patience that comes from the diligence of the action, something that could spread into other areas of their tribe’s cohesiveness; or even a philosophy on color and the nature of separation. Whatever it may be, there’s some reason, and it is probably important to their way of life and ethos.

Pretend if you can, that the moral proscription against mixing those berries is anathema to the tribe members. Banishment for not respecting it; mixing the berries is a heinous act where it despoils them as it corrupts the very tradition and purpose of the separation. The culture would actively punish for this evil behavior.

But suppose we ask this question: do the berries truly taste different when they are separated during the harvest compared to not separating them? Does the act of separation, within their own philosophy, help group cohesion, their patience and motivation, as they claim it does, or is it merely something symbolic and hardly reflective of reality?

It’s fine that you have a philosophy of sexuality, but if it is worthless in this sense and it doesn’t own up to the claims within your own philosophy or the others being used to assess it, then it is in my view quite useless in a dicussion. Now, it’s not quite fair that you can rely on unknowable rewards and punishments after death, but if that is the last stop, it approaches a quite futile effort in a country set on secular understandings.

At the same time, however, I suggest don’t be indignant if outsiders find your views abhorrent, racist, bigoted, or whatever, just as we might find the berry pickers shoving out a berry “mixer” for his desecration to be morally outrageous, especially if the reason they give does seem irrational. This isn’t a plunge into moral relativism, by the way. It’s just the very nature of clashing moral philosophies.

Anonymous said...


I can't help but notice that most of the fears you express accurately describe how gay people have been treated in our society. And worse. Gays could be denied housing, jobs and hotel rooms.

I recall the fears of what African Americans would do to exact revenge on white folks if equal rights were granted fully. Guilt? Projection? Hard to say, exactly. But it did not happen.

I have a very difficult time believing that gay people, offered full rights in exchange for the taxes they pay and the contributions they make to society, will stand for the same practices being visited upon you simply for your beliefs.


c matt said...

At the end though, Erin, this discussion revolves around creating law in a secular state. That is why the arguments in that arena might resemble flavors that aren't based on 2,000 years of evolving tradition, why they may not be persuasive to the courts.

Not that I agree with that, but creating law in a secular state involves more than just the courts. In fact, the courts really should not be involved in the discussion. If your premise is that people should be allowed to decide for themselevs how marriage should be defined, then why would you oppose Prop 8? Seems you want it both ways - those who support traditional marraige have to provide "evidence" to you to convince you, but you don't have to provide anything to convince them SSM is good, and it should be forced upon them against tier judgment. You want SSM? Convince enough of your fellow citizens it's a good thing and get them to vote for it. Using the courts is just as bigoted and bullying, only, ironically, its the minority bullying the majority.

c matt said...

It'd be better if Target stay out of controversial actions.

Somewhat in Target's defense, apparently it did not know of the candidate's complete views, so it sort of stepped into this inadvertantly. I am sure it would have preferred to stay out.

Anonymous said...

Target is now getting scrutinized by major shareholders demanding to know how donations will be screened precisely to protect shareholder value. This is as it should be. Target is not a person and should not be making these decisions with corporate money, frankly. The SCOTUS decision that equates corporations with citizens for the purposes of campaign funding is a scandal.

Just yesterday, at the retail grocery store at which I work, a young man was standing on the sidewalk (city property) petitioning and fund raising for gay rights. He had the required city permit and was behaving respectfully.

A shopper came in demanding to know what we were going to do about it - after all, she repeated a number of times - he is campaigning for gay rights! She could not understand that there is nothing we can do. She apparently thought we could have him arrested due to the subject of his campaign.

The threats against rights cut both ways, Erin. This woman would be happy to see his first amendment free speech trampled over and I don't believe she is alone.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is, I believe God planned for two sexes - I also don't think it was an afterthought, as some people read Genesis ("It is not good for man to be alone..." so he decided to make a woman...)

On the other hand, I wouldn't be all that bothered if my state legislature decided to license same-sex couples. Some people prefer their own sex. I don't know why. Its a side-show at best, in both an evolutionary and spiritual sense, but God can judge, I don't have to. I'm not sure God will really hold it against them individually.

This hyperbolic demand that every corporation should fit some neat stereotype, that masses of people should surge in or out of a store on political command, does bother me.

Its an old story. The owner of Kraft, back in the days when companies had individual owners, launched a campaign for industries to withdraw their advertising dollars from newspapers that didn't hew to the political line of the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Its no less ugly when its done by

I wouldn't vote for this candidate for governor, because I believe the market was made for man, not man for the market. Don't forget, it was a conservative Republican lawyer who made the case against Prop 8 before a judge appointed by the elder Bush.

David said...

"In fact, the courts really should not be involved in the discussion. If your premise is that people should be allowed to decide for themselevs how marriage should be defined, then why would you oppose Prop 8? Seems you want it both ways - those who support traditional marraige have to provide 'evidence' to you to convince you, but you don't have to provide anything to convince them SSM is good, and it should be forced upon them against tier judgment. You want SSM? Convince enough of your fellow citizens it's a good thing and get them to vote for it. Using the courts is just as bigoted and bullying, only, ironically, its the minority bullying the majority."

I'm not sure how that was my premise, cmatt. People are freely able to decide whatever they wish on topics. It doesn't have to enter the realm of where we must principle such decisions, since any group of people can collectively make bad decisions.

With the court issue, it isn't merely that people can decide what marriage is but that (as Siarlys will disagree on the question itself) when there is differential treatment between people or targeted groups, there needs to be some "rational basis" for it. It's part of the series of litmus tests that arise from the conjunction of the fifth and fourteenth amendments.

When that is the question, the standard of evidence is stacked against you. You can't just assume the evil or immorality of something (blacks being worse than whites) without justifying that position. It necessitates a form of neutrality rather than polar ends of being assumed good or assumed bad. This is when law unequally targets people, however.

But truly, are you being forced into a gay marriage? If not, how is it being "forced" on you? What exactly is affecting you beyond your being offended in this case, affecting your ability to have a disagreement with the law (much in the same way I might about certain traffic laws and their being forced on me)?

Same question I posed to Erin: why is it OK, as a society, for us to force on children, my own children!, with government fiat the view that blacks are equal to whites, even if a number disagrees (no matter the size) with that moral view? This question is only half-rhetorical, and you might be able to guess why.

And I agree with you things shouldn't be assumed nice and dandy because I say so, and contrarily wrong because I say so. I have attempted to avoid that double-standard you suspect me of having, which a good look through Erin's posts on this topic from May 6th onward should prove. If you would like some of my emails addressed to Erin that go into my views on the matter, I'd be happy to ask her if I could forward them to an address of your choosing.

If you don't care to read them, perfectly fine, but don't imagine that I wouldn't attempt to make a case for gay marriage and how I see it might be a good thing for most people involved.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Before this controversy arose, there was a standard and common definition of marriage. It was the union of one man and one woman. American jurisprudence inherited that understanding from English Common Law.

Generally, when someone wants to change what the law is, they have to make a case. The case may be, "this has been a violation of fundamental law (e.g. the constitution) all along," but the case needs to be made. Every time someone cries "unconstitutional," that does not put the burden of proof on those who disagree. Thurgood Marshall had to work hard and overcome decades of precedent to win Brown v. Board of Education.

I do disagree with the way David puts the question. States may not deny to any person the equal protection of the laws. That says nothing about demographic groups being treated equally. This question indeed does not belong in the courts, because there is no constitutional violation. It is a matter for the legislature.

Rebecca in CA said...

Siarlys, you hit the nail on the head: "This question indeed does not belong in the courts, because there is no constitutional violation. It is a matter for the legislature." Regardless of what you think about gay marriage, the court takeover on this is astounding. We are becoming a country which is actually ruled by its judicial branch. That should be really alarming to *everyone*.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I'm actually someone who appreciates a lot that the court has done to restrain the other branches of government exceeding their constitutional limitations. That includes Lawrence v. Texas, which basically ruled criminal statutes concerning homosexuality null and void.

I am, therefore, all the more alarmed when judges conclude that they can affirmatively impose new standards to be "more fair," rather than restrict themselves to examining whether some branch of government has EXCEEDED its powers.

Remember that the decision in Massachusetts which started all this was a 4-3 ruling. There were some excellent dissents in that case. There were some excellent concurrences in the NY decision which declined to follow the trend. I rather doubt that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold Walker's decision. The chance that the 9th circuit will overturn it are a lot slimmer, but if they do... the Supreme Court wouldn't even have to take the case. They could just deny certiorari without comment, and let the 9th Circuit decision stand. I don't think they really want this case.

David said...

I doubt SCOTUS will uphold Walker's decision (or the 9th's if they uphold is) either. In fact I would bet a lot of my money on them not, to whatever detriment that will be long-term...

Such is the problem when you're not consulted as they draft the year's gay agenda.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

This is a little late in a long-running discussion, but someone recently posted an "Open Letter to Target" at Alexandria.

It takes the opposite position - the author will never never shop at Target again. It drew a wide range of responses. I still think Erin is right on this one.