The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Gay marriage ad features Catholic mom

posted by jmcgee

The ad below, appearing in Maine, is raising eyebrows — and blood pressures. One Catholic group is demanding it be removed. Take a look and see what you think.

 


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Richard in SoCal

posted October 14, 2009 at 12:56 pm


I am a Catholic and I feel it shows a loving mother, a loving Catholic mother. I also feel that for her (and possibly many others) this kind of love and acceptance falls within the teachings of Catholicism. She is in no way stating that the Arch Bishop or Pope or even any other Catholics agree. I believe that the One Catholic Group that wants the add pulled is just looking for an anger outlet or maybe even is upset that this will cause them to lose this battle, as it may reach hearts…it reached mine.
-RC



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Kevin

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:13 pm


Wonderful message! I agree with her.



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pagansister

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm


I admire her for speaking out for her son, his partner and her grandson. Her love outweighs any church’s rules. Doesn’t the RCC teach love? Yes. Mothers love their children and want them to be happy. She happens to disagree with the leaders of the church on this matter, which she doesn’t state. Well done.
This ad should NOT be removed just because one Catholic group objects. Heck, a bunch could object, but it still shouldn’t be pulled.



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Bill

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:16 pm


There is simply NO love quite like Catholic hate.



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Joseph Coat

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm


Richard,
You’re absolutely right! Kudos to you. The ad is not stating the beliefs of the Catholic Church, but the beliefs of one mother who happens to be Catholic. Her faith is important to her, as is her love for her son. The two can coexist, but try telling some people that…
J



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molly

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:51 pm


i think this ad is very well done. she is courageous in coming forward, and in delivering the message that it IS about love.



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Michael Hallman

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:53 pm


The ad is slimy, but I don’t think it should be taken down. Basically, by highlighting her Catholic faith, by presenting herself as a “faithful” Catholic, the ad is attempting to make it seem like a Catholic can in good conscience support gay marriage, which simply is not true. It’s a manipulative ad, but then again, aren’t all political ads?



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DML

posted October 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm


Imagine how the Church’s position is going to look twenty years from now concerning these ‘defense of marriage’ issues, pretty intolerance and reactionary I would say. Treading on rights of the family in this video is nothing to be proud of.



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Michael Hallman

posted October 14, 2009 at 2:34 pm


DML, how a position “looks” is irrelevant. The Church’s job isn’t to conform her teachings to the values of the world, but rather to inform the world of the values of God. The true teachings of the Church have been proclaimed for 2,000 years regardless of what the world thought of them, and that’s not going to change, ever.



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Maria

posted October 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm


This is the beginning of the end. Nero is fiddling.



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Maria Lanao

posted October 14, 2009 at 2:39 pm


I am TIRED of the stupidity if the Catholic Church. As a person raised in a catholic school in South America, all I can say is that GOD IS GREAT AND LOVES US ALL THE SAME. God does not hate gay people!!!! so why should we.



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Michael Hallman

posted October 14, 2009 at 2:47 pm


Maria,
You are right, God does not hate gay people. Nor does the Catholic Church. But truth and love are inseparable, and one cannot love another human being while lying to them. Homosexual sex is sinful, and to tell someone otherwise is not loving at all. Everyone loves to talk about the Gospel of Love, but no one ever wants to take the time to recognize what love really is. Love is above all else bringing someone closer to God, and we cannot bring someone closer to God while encouraging them to sin.



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DML

posted October 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm


Micheal, the Catholic church does change its teachings, take slavery for instance.
Just to add a little levity and to reinforce this point…
“It’s not even a sin anymore to eat meat on Friday but I’ll betcha there are still some guys in Hell doing time on the meat rap, right?” – George Carlin



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Michael Hallman

posted October 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm


DML,
We are discussing dogmatic teaching here, which are not subject to change, as they come from the authority of the Holy Spirit, which Christ promised to guide the Church. As such, the Carlin quip doesn’t reinforce the point at all, sorry. Fasting was an enforced discipline, never a dogmatic teaching. The sinfulness of homosexual acts is dogmatic and revealed teaching, and as such it reflects eternal truth.



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DML

posted October 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm


Michael,
I tend to agree with John Noonan that Church dogma does change. His book “A Church that Can and Can Not Change” highlights many examples where dogma has indeed changed. For instance, freedom of religion, which prior to VII was overtly and dogmatically opposed, is now endorsed. I think that opposition to gay rights will be abrogated, like many former dogmatic stances.



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Michael Hallman

posted October 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm


DML,
Sorry, but you are incorrect here. Vatican II did not reverse any previously declared dogma, nor has any infallible teaching of the Church ever been reversed. I believe you might be mixing up your terms…



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Fr. Eric

posted October 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm


Will the Church change its teaching on homosexual marriage when She will not change its teaching on contraception?
The Church did not give us the definition of marriage. Holy Mother Church receives creation and protects the truth. It is impossible for the state/govt to recreate human existence. Marriage between a man and woman is universally accepted norm that existed prior to the Bible, Koran, or the US Constitution. Marriage must be open to a unitive and procreative union/covenant. Fertility is not a disease. When married couples, men and women, put up barriers to the fullness of the gift of themselves, fertility, to each other through contraception it sterilizes the marital act of love expressed in sexual union. Seeing this, the homosexuals who desire to manifest their emotions in a genital way can claim that their sexual act is just as sterile as heterosexual marriage. NO fault divorce, and abortion which makes the child property to be kept or discarded, simply gives greater weight to the homosexual ideas.
Nevertheless,
In most of creation, in particular of the human person, male and female express the fullness of complementary existence. A man or a woman can eat or think on their own, but in the procreative, or generative, order they need the opposite sex for completion. The homosexual genital sexual act, what was once known as sodomy, can never bring that completion. A child has the right to be raised in a family that has a mother and father, which offers the completeness of humanity. Two dads never equal a mom, nor vice versa. Therefore, as marriage it is an incomplete human existence for the couple. The child will be incomplete as not having mother and father.
For those who are Christian this is neatly summed up in Gen 1 “In his image he created them, male and female he created them.” “This one is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called woman.”
Yet, Michael, human existence cannot be “recreated” through a vote. If that is done it will be an attack on nature, existence.



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Michelle

posted October 14, 2009 at 7:39 pm


I might point out that Genesis is not science, God did not create them “man and woman” – or even “male and female” – as there are more possible human genotypes than XX and XY – and more than two resulting phenotypes. It makes it difficult to think that any dogmas that assume a male/female duality will ultimately survive.



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Bryan Healy

posted October 14, 2009 at 7:52 pm


For all of those people praising this mom for her support of her son and his lover, why should it matter what her faith is? Why do you think this group chose a Catholic and not, say, an Episcopalian? Think about it…
The Bishop of the Diocese of Maine has come out strongly against gay “marriage” in Maine, so why should Catholics in this state, who fall under his jurisdiction, have someone else claiming to be a faithful Catholic, and yet not following the teachings of the church.
These comments just go to show the type of people that read this blog…



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DML

posted October 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm


I might also add that Genesis 1 can not be taken literally, and as such Adam and Eve were not real people, so using Genesis to support a man/woman only form of marriage does not have a concrete basis. The bronze age creation myths used to form the iron age biblical account of creation contain a considerable amount of homosexual content, for instance Gilgamesh (from the much older Sumerian culture) was bisexual, one couldn’t use this as an airtight argument to forbid homosexual marriage.
And yes Michelle, there are those who have XO and XXY genotypes. Also mosaic XY/XX individuals exist who can not easily be considered male or female. Science, biology, archeology, anthropology and comparative assessments of the religious practices of Near East bronze and iron age religious can really take one out of their dogmatic comfort zone.



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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted October 14, 2009 at 7:59 pm


The Catholic Church–and evangelical Protestants and strong Orthodox Jews–are the ones telling the Truth about marriage. In time events will prove that Truth by what happens to societies and groups who fall for the Big Lie about marriage.
In fact, to say that there can be such a thing as a genuine marriage (since genuine marriage includes procreation) between two people of the same sex is so bizarre it borders on insanity. But, sadly, history shows that the more insane an idea is the more easily it can be fabricated into a Big Lie that overwhelms–temporarily–Truth among people who want to be misled.



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Chuck

posted October 14, 2009 at 8:30 pm


I have been searching various news outlets on the issue of this attempt to repeal the gay marriage law in Maine. I discovered this site through a Google search and was curious about the comments within a site that is related to religious matters.
I found the comments very interesting and less anti-gay than I expected.
I watched the ad and I thought it was very well produced and quite reasonable and factual. Why did they choose a Catholic Mom? No real idea except there are lots of Catholics in Maine and the Portland diocese donated $270,000 to attempt repeal the gay marriage law. It seems to me they could have found better uses for those funds. Given all the press the church has had with regard to gay priests, one really has to point out a bit of hypocrisy here.
I am not Catholic nor even religious. I was raised a Universalist so my views on religion, especially organized religion, are rather broad.
I will say that I do hope the current law, enacted and passed by the Maine legislature, and signed into law by the Governor is not repealed by the voters. You have to understand how important it is to us to have this law on the books. It is not so much for the religious aspects but more for legal matters related to being married. Without going into a lot of already discussed points, a legal marriage will work better than some kind of “domestic partnership.” There are many potential fallouts of the D.P. approach. Marriage (again, from the legal aspect only) is what we need. Whether or not a church wishes to marry a couple is up that church. I would be happy with a civil ceremony.
Right now, my partner and I have been together for many years and have a nine-year old daughter. She has her “Daddy” (who is he-sr biological father) and her “Chucky” who loves her dearly. She does see her Mom on occasion but we have 100% custody due to substance abuse issues of her mother. She is busy with school and a bunch of after-school activities.
What do we want? Just to be able to provide for our daughter (who wants to be doctor “to help babies”), protect her, and have those critical rights afforded by the simple act of getting married. I do not think that is too much to ask. I promise we will go back to our home in the suburbs, go back to work, and leave the rest of you alone.
According to some, we will burn in Hell for all eternity. I do not believe that and neither do many religions around the world. I will leave that viewpoint for those who believe it to worry about.
I appreciate the time you spent to hear my viewpoint.
Regards,
Chuck



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Yeoman

posted October 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm


Interesting set of comments, at least one of which goes to show the truth of the assertion of the statement that hating Catholics remains the one acceptable prejudice. Rather than “there’s no love like Catholic hate”, the truth of that would be that there’s “no hate as old and acceptable as the hatred of Catholics”.
On some odds and ends, the satiric cite to Carlin fails to note that the meat on Friday’s rule was a form of penance. In the U.S., the Friday duty to penance remains, and was not abrogated. However, Catholics are allowed to substitute some other form of penance on Fridays. Most Catholics are so poorly educated on this however, that they fail to understand that the obligation remains. As noted, abstaining from meat on Friday, and doing penance of some sort on Friday’s, is not a matter of dogma, but rather is a duty imposed by the Church. Outside the US, fwiw, in many areas, abstinence from meat remains the rule.
On gay marriage, what is nearly completely missing in these debates is that gays are free to marry everywhere on the planet. It’s simply that nearly everywhere, and everywhere in prior historical eras, marriage has been between men and women. Integral in that is the change of creating a new life, and the acknowledgment of the natural nature of the two sexes. Gay sexual acts lack any component of creating a new life, and have traditionally been regarded in almost all areas as “disordered”. Just because it may be more or less common doesn’t mean that it’s not disordered. Lots of apparently natural occurring human conditions that occur in a minority of the population are regarded as disordered, and aren’t regarded as ordered simply because they occur.
Anyhow, gays can marry. They can marry persons of the opposite sex, just like anyone else. That they do not want to do that does not mean that there’s any prejudice at work, it merely acknowledges the special condition of the union between members of the opposite sex. Arguably, extending the same rights to same sex couples operates as discrimination against those of conventional orientation by refusing to recognize nature in that regards.
What gay marriage proposes to do is to recognize a special right on the part of homosexual couples. Beyond that, it seeks social recognition. But where social recognition is so craved, it will never be satisfied. Having the state merely say something is okay is a pretty shallow acknowledgment that it is.
Additionally, those who somehow imagine that the Church is especially hard on homosexuals are deluding themselves. The Catholic church has maintained that homosexuals are God’s creatures, like everyone else. It’s the homosexual act that the Church regards as sinful. That may not please homosexuals, but that is and will always be the Church’s position. Those who would fool themselves that this will change will have to be hoping for a change on the Church’s doctrines on divorce or extramarital sex, which pundits have also been predicting will change for some time.
In the end, this sexual experiment will play out the way it has before, as no experiment of this type is really unique. It will not fulfill homosexuals, who will continue to feel ill at ease about approval which comes only in the form of the state saying its okay. It won’t change human nature, or nature, which aren’t subject to our vote. Over time, the tide will go back out and the “old” morality, which is morality, return. We can only hope that those who would pin their hopes for satisfaction and salvation on legislation will also explore their relationship with God, no matter where that might lead them. Indeed, we should all do that at all times, on all subjects.



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pagansister

posted October 14, 2009 at 9:05 pm


Chuck, thanks for your letter. I’m glad that you and your partner and little girl are happy and well. Your experience should be enjoyed by all couples, regardless of gender combinations. I wish for you and your family’s continued joy.



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pagansister

posted October 14, 2009 at 9:16 pm


Yeoman: “…..over time the tide will go out and the “old” morality, which is morality, return.”
Sure hope not. That would be a GIANT leap backwards for equality. Those who oppose homosexual marriage shouldn’t participate. Simple. The RCC opposes the “act”, well, don’t participate. No one needs them to be the “bedroom patrole”. That is a private area and not any of their business. Of course they are always in the sex life of the RC members….trying to control their reproduction.



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Chuck

posted October 14, 2009 at 9:25 pm


Pagansister – Thanks for the kind words! Yes, I consider myself very fortunate. We have our family, extended family, friends, and neighbors, and we have good health and jobs, where some do not. Moreover, I can say we are content and at peace.



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Joseph Coat

posted October 14, 2009 at 10:11 pm


Dcn. John, Bryan and others who are anti-equality,
Please answer this question for me: How does allowing gays to marry in any way threaten the marriages of straight people? Also, how exactly (please cite details) does gay marriage threaten the “institution of marriage” in general?
I look forward to your responses.
J



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Michael Hallman

posted October 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm


Joseph,
Why does it have to be perceived as a threat in order to recognize that it is wrong?
However, making the a romantic relationship between two members of the same sex seem as if it can be considered a “marriage” does in fact change society’s perception of marriage, and to its detriment. We are already seeing declining birth rates and married couples using artificial contraception. Allowing gay “marriage” only further contributes to the disordered view that marriage and the openness to procreation can somehow be dissociated.
By the way, opposition to the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions is not “anti-equality.” It’s simply recognizing that gay marriage is an oxymoron and by definition does not exist.



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Chuck

posted October 14, 2009 at 10:57 pm


Joseph Coat: I wish you luck on getting an answer.
I draw a very clear line between the two parts of a marriage. One part is an affirmation by the State (which has no references to any spiritual or religious factor) and the other is the (optional, in the eyes of the State) ceremony usually performed by clergy of some sort.
The State does not care if you have or not a religious ceremony. I was a Notary Public in Maine (with similar powers as a Justice of the Peace) where I, in my tenure, performed one civil wedding ceremony. The ceremony can be anything as long as some core elements are mentioned (“Do you, etc.) but there is no mention of religion in the canned State ceremony. This is all that is needed (the legal ceremony) so gay couples can file jointly on tax returns, for example.
The traditional religious ceremony is entirely optional in the eyes of the State. Some churches will perform gay weddings, others not. It is up to the church, of course, as it should be, and there is no, nor will there be, any requirement by a church to perform a gay wedding ceremony once the gay marriage law is enacted. Again, up to the church, with its own restrictions. I have not checked but I suppose there still are churches out there that will not perform wedding ceremonies for straight couples who are of different faiths or where an inter-racial marriage is the case. Both situations seem archaic in this day and age but 50 years ago, this was common. I suspect in 20 years, people will be looking back at all the hoopla there is today about gay marriages, shaking their heads, and wondering why this was such a big deal. Certainly, the younger generation, for the most part, feels this way.
Really, you are looking at such a small percentage of people. Out of the estimated 10% of the population who are gay, probably quite a number would not get married. So, the numbers are exceedingly small. Yet, some feel the end of the world as we know it, would occur if Adam and Steve get married. I do not get what the big deal is, especially as this would have -zero- effect on the average straight couple in suburbia (where we live by the way).
I am sure there will be a plethora of references to biblical passages, a great deal of hand-wringing, and much ado about a whole lot of nothing. My prediction once gay marriage becomes legal in Maine? The sun will come up the next day.
Truly, this will be no big deal to most people. It is a big deal to those us who want to get married and presently cannot because other people said we do not deserve to.



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Joseph Coat

posted October 14, 2009 at 11:01 pm


Michael,
How are declining birth rates and married couples using artificial contraception the fault of “the gays”? (Please read those last two words in your best scary Halloween-type voice). Unless, of course, you’re advocating trying to “un-gay” the gays. If you are, please look into the adverse affects of such treatment. It’s been shown over and over again that no therapy can “turn someone straight”. It can merely make them suppress the feelings of attraction toward the same sex which causes much more harm than good in the long-run. Think of the mental damage, not only to the homosexual person, but to their friends and family if that person should act on those suppressed feelings at any time.
You know as well as I do that this debate has nothing to do with procreation. It has to do with love and equal rights. You can’t tell me that the love of infertile couples is somehow less than the love of a man and woman. Likewise, the love of two men or two women can’t be defined as anything less than the love of two people of the opposite sex, either. To say that love is wrong is absurd.
Furthermore, if homosexuality is such a threat to humanity, why did Jesus never say anything about it at all? Not one word. I think the Savior’s silence is deafening on this issue.
J



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Joseph Coat

posted October 14, 2009 at 11:05 pm


Chuck,
I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Love and prayers to you and your family.
J



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Chuck

posted October 14, 2009 at 11:22 pm


Michael Hallman:
Just a couple of quick points – first, I really doubt a reduction in the birth rate of the world is such a bad idea. We really are heading to overpopulation if not already there. There are more mouths than food in many parts of the world.
As far as the term “marriage” goes, I am referring to it in purely the legal sense. “Marriage” takes on additional meaning in the eyes of a church. It is important to keep the definition and use of the terms separate just for clarity.
The use of the term “marriage” seems to be a hot-button issue where “domestic partnerships” and other terms seem less so. The problem really comes down to a number of legal issues. Typically, in law, if something is “exactly the same as” then it ends up being called the original meaning eventually. From the legal sense, it is better to use the same term if, in fact, the intent is identical. To save everyone a lot of trouble, just call it “marriage” before the Supreme Court steps in and declares it as such.
The second legal point to consider is that marriage is handled at the State level. And, it is implied and commonly accepted that a marriage performed in one State is legally binding in another State. This might not be the case with “Domestic Partnerships,” etc. There will be a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, though, as you run up against Article IV, Section 1, “Full Faith and Credit” of the Constitution. If you just call it “marriage” in the legal sense, then all this claptrap, nitpicking, and court cases go by the wayside.
I realize that if you are very much into religion, keeping these two terms separate will be difficult. It is unfortunate that both the State and the churches have decided to use the same term, but certainly is understandable. But, we know the meanings must be different. Look at divorce. Every State allows divorce but in the eyes of some churches, divorce is not an option. Once the State issues a divorce decree, that is that. The entire legal picture changes for the parties involved.
Just please understand that all we want is the legal aspect of “marriage.” I will leave the clerical definition to the clergy of your choice.



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Michael Hallman

posted October 14, 2009 at 11:51 pm


Joseph,
Nice try, but had you read my comment you would see that I have attributed declining birth rates and the use of artificial contraception to factors that have nothing to do with the issue of gay marriage. With or without gay marriage, the concept of marriage has dramatically changed for the worse in the Western world, as the procreative component has been drastically diminished, to the great detriment of marriage and thus to society. This has all happened regardless of gay marriage movements. It is a trend that needs very badly to be reversed. Allowing for the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions only serves to exacerbate the problem of the vision of marriage as somehow separated from the procreative component, as gay marriage by nature cannot have a procreative component to the sexual union. Our society is best served by strengthening the family and encouraging the recovery of the procreative component of the marital bond, instead of encouraging families to have fewer and fewer children, to use artificial contraception, and to engage in sexual practices that are far removed from their natural design.



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Michael Hallman

posted October 14, 2009 at 11:57 pm


Chuck,
Actually, declining birth rates is utterly devastating. For one, overpopulation has been proven to be a baseless myth. Second, declining birth rates is setting up nations around the world for a complete and total economic collapse – think of the problems we have in the United States regarding Social Security. Why do you think this problem exists? Because the active work force can’t keep up with the retired work force collecting social security. We keep pushing the retirement age back further and further, but eventually that will do us no good. There are countries in Western Europe that are actually beginning to experience negative population growth – ask any economist and they will tell you how utterly devastating that is for an economy. So no, declining birth rates is not at all what we need, and in fact if the trend is not reversed, it will ultimately lead to our demise.
As for what you are looking for from a civil recognition, I still have yet to hear a convincing argument that the state has a responsibility to suddenly redefine marriage in a way that it has never throughout the history of civilization been defined. In other words, how is it a right for two persons of the same sex to be recognized as legally married by a civil government? In order for your argument to be convincing, it will need to address two things: one, you have to admit that what you are seeking is, in fact, a redefinition of marriage; two, you will have to effectively argue why such a redefinition should take place, and indeed why such a redefinition is a matter of justice.



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Joseph Coat

posted October 15, 2009 at 12:36 am


Michael,
In your previous comment directed towards me, you only touched on one of the many points I addressed earlier. I disagree deeply with your opinion (as you might expect). However, at the same time, I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on my other points, as well.
Secondly, in your comment to Chuck… you attempted to pigeonhole him into stating that allowing gays to marry would be a redefinition of marriage itself. That’s a nice scare tactic, but it changes doesn’t change the definition of marriage at all. It expands upon it. There’s a big difference there. By stating that gay marriage proponents seek to “redefine” marriage, you’re implying that the “redefinition” would have some effect on straight married couples. You have yet to provide a sensible argument as to why this would be the case. All the LGBT community wants is equality, the right to marry an adult with whom you are in love. That doesn’t sound very threatening to me and has no effect on straight marriages at all.
Finally, Chuck brings up a very valid point. There’s civil marriage and religious marriage. The courts have ruled time and time again that separation of church and state is a Constitutional concept. This should also be true in regards to the issue of marriage.
J



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Michael Hallman

posted October 15, 2009 at 12:44 am


Joseph,
I’m not sure why you keep thinking that we’re using the language of being “threatened.” This is the second time you’ve done so, but the sentiment isn’t expressed anywhere in any of my or other’s comments.
As for redefinition, yes, that is exactly what we are talking about. Marriage has never been defined as anything but a union between members of opposing sexes. In order for the argument supporting gay marriage to have any merit whatsoever, it must begin with the recognition that redefinition is in fact what is being sought. And then, as I said in my comment to Chuck, the question then becomes why is such a redefinition necessitated by justice? Can you offer a convincing argument as to why justice demands the redefinition of marriage in a way that it has never in the history of civilization been defined?
I’ve already indicated the problems with such a redefinition. I’m waiting to hear a response that indicates that despite these problems, it nonetheless remains a matter of justice for such a redefinition to occur. Care to offer one?



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Chuck

posted October 15, 2009 at 12:48 am


Michael Hallman:
Just a couple of quick points – first, I really doubt a reduction in the birth rate of the world is such a bad idea. We really are heading to overpopulation if not already there. There are more mouths than food in many parts of the world.
As far as the term “marriage” goes, I am referring to it in purely the legal sense. “Marriage” takes on additional meaning in the eyes of a church. It is important to keep the definition and use of the terms separate just for clarity.
The use of the term “marriage” seems to be a hot-button issue where “domestic partnerships” and other terms seem less so. The problem really comes down to a number of legal issues. Typically, in law, if something is “exactly the same as” then it ends up being called the original meaning eventually. From the legal sense, it is better to use the same term if, in fact, the intent is identical. To save everyone a lot of trouble, just call it “marriage” before the Supreme Court steps in and declares it as such.
The second legal point to consider is that marriage is handled at the State level. And, it is implied and commonly accepted that a marriage performed in one State is legally binding in another State. This might not be the case with “Domestic Partnerships,” etc. There will be a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, though, as you run up against Article IV, Section 1, “Full Faith and Credit” of the Constitution. If you just call it “marriage” in the legal sense, then all this claptrap, nitpicking, and court cases go by the wayside.
I realize that if you are very much into religion, keeping these two terms separate will be difficult. It is unfortunate that both the State and the churches have decided to use the same term, but certainly is understandable. But, we know the meanings must be different. Look at divorce. Every State allows divorce but in the eyes of some churches, divorce is not an option. Once the State issues a divorce decree, that is that. The entire legal picture changes for the parties involved.
Just please understand that all we want is the legal aspect of “marriage.” I will leave the clerical definition to the clergy of your choice.



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Chuck

posted October 15, 2009 at 12:49 am


Michael Hallman:
As far as population goes, I expect it is cyclic. Right now, we are experiencing the baby boomer generation hitting retirement along with the fact that people are living much longer than ever before. Perhaps, you are correct about declining populations but looking out the window, it is hard to believe. We have over 300 million people in the USA. I remember when the population in the USA hit 200 million. It does not seem that long ago. But, I do agree, some countries are experiencing a negative growth rate. I think (but am not sure) that Canada is one of those. Still, I suspect you have to consider migration, as well. In the USA, many people move from the north to the south as frankly, the weather is better. We have States who have negative growth. Interestingly, in California where the weather is nice, the growth rate is high. Same with Nevada. Unfortunately, we all that growth rate, the economy is having a hard time to support it, especially in light of the general economy. Really, I cannot give you any definitive argument on this as I am not a specialist in this area. I can only provide my observations.
In general, though, I do not quite understand why it is such a huge deal with the church to be harping about having women become non-stop baby factories. My idea: have children if you want to and only the number you can support and raise. Becoming a brood mare seems unfair to all concerned.
On your point about the State responsibility to recognize gay marriage. Well, my viewpoint is, as a traditional Republican (not these recent bible-thumper types that have destroyed the Party of Lincoln, Ike, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush-41 – throw in Goldwater and Rockerfeller), is that the State is there to serve the People, not the other way around. If the People, who after all are the State, vote to put a law into effect, then the State has the obligation to carry out that law. In the case of the Maine gay marriage law, it was enacted and passed by the duly elected Legislature and signed by the Governor. Was this a “popular vote” decision? No. But, we live in a Republic, not a Democracy, and we elect people and send them to (in this case) Augusta, Maine, to act in our stead, for our best interests, based upon their experience and intellect (presumably). Not every vote is “the majority.” Not every decision is put on a ballot to be voted upon by the electorate. These legislators, who we put there, we entrusted to make the right decisions for us. Of course, if we do not like their decisions, there will be another election soon enough. As society evolves, laws change and the basic tenets of equality improve. That is what has happened here. Maine has evolved and as as the old saying goes, “As goes Maine, so goes the Nation.”
Your reference to history is flawed. If we retained traditional marriage laws with no upgrades, we would have bans on divorced people remarrying, bans on inter-racial marriages, bans on inter-faith marriages, and I am sure many other bans. Marriage has evolved over the centuries. At times, it often was used to connect powerful families and nations, having utterly nothing to do with love, and certainly nothing to do with procreation, except perhaps, to make one heir to carry on the dynasty. How romantic.
So, I would say that this “redefinition of marriage” as you call it, is just another step in the evolution of marriage, which of course, already is quite varied around the world. Polygamy in the Middle East still exists. The concept of being “married for eternity” exists in the Mormon church but in other churches one hears, “until death do us part.”
Enough for one night. I am all typed out. Suffice it to say that I doubt I will change your mind, nor you mine. I am hopeful for the day when I need not worry about matters straight married people take for granted.



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Michael Hallman

posted October 15, 2009 at 12:52 am


Joseph,
I’m not sure what points you are referring to that you want addressed? Do you mean the point about what you claim is Jesus’ silence? In fact, he was not silent at all. He referred to marriage specifically as being between a man and a woman, and said that such was the design of God from the beginning (see Matthew 19). Furthermore, no one in 1st century Palestine was arguing for gay marriage, so why would Jesus address it? He gave us the Church for just this reason, so that guided by the Holy Spirit according to His promise the Church would remain the prophetic voice of God and we would never be lost in our journey to truth.
As for procreation, yes, it is a significant issue here, and frankly I don’t appreciate your insinuation that I am being disingenuous. You don’t know me from Adam, so perhaps a bit of courtesy and respect might be instituted. To specifically address your point, you’re right, I can’t tell you that the love of an infertile couple is somehow less than the love of a fertile couple – nor can such be inferred from anything I have said. An infertile couple is not placing any barrier to their procreation, they are not removing the procreative component of their sexual union. They simply have been physically unable to conceive. That is obviously something quite different from a heterosexual sex placing artificial barriers to procreation, or homosexual sex which by its very nature is incapable of procreation. Straw men fall easily, Joseph.
I think that covers all the points of yours that I was able to identify. Is there something else specifically you would like me to address?



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Michael Hallman

posted October 15, 2009 at 12:53 am


Joseph,
I’m not sure what points you are referring to that you want addressed? Do you mean the point about what you claim is Jesus’ silence? In fact, he was not silent at all. He referred to marriage specifically as being between a man and a woman, and said that such was the design of God from the beginning (see Matthew 19). Furthermore, no one in 1st century Palestine was arguing for gay marriage, so why would Jesus address it? He gave us the Church for just this reason, so that guided by the Holy Spirit according to His promise the Church would remain the prophetic voice of God and we would never be lost in our journey to truth.
As for procreation, yes, it is a significant issue here, and frankly I don’t appreciate your insinuation that I am being disingenuous. You don’t know me from Adam, so perhaps a bit of courtesy and respect might be instituted. To specifically address your point, you’re right, I can’t tell you that the love of an infertile couple is somehow less than the love of a fertile couple – nor can such be inferred from anything I have said. An infertile couple is not placing any barrier to their procreation, they are not removing the procreative component of their sexual union. They simply have been physically unable to conceive. That is obviously something quite different from a heterosexual sex placing artificial barriers to procreation, or homosexual sex which by its very nature is incapable of procreation. Straw men fall easily, Joseph.
I think that covers all the points of yours that I was able to identify. Is there something else specifically you would like me to address?



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Chuck

posted October 15, 2009 at 12:56 am


Sorry about the double-posting back there. Somehow the browser refreshed with a previous post. Who knows. Anyway, I checked it and all is there.



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Michael Hallman

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:00 am


Chuck,
You are correct, the role of the government is to serve the people, but that does not always mean to do whatever the people say. Yes, we live in a democracy, but if we only live by the idea that majority always rules, then we are embracing “mob rule,” and we have seen the disastrous effects that has had historically.
As for the historical definition of marriage, indeed, civil laws regarding marriage have changed over time, but what has never existed, as far as I’m aware anywhere in history, and if there is any such a time and place it is certainly an anomaly, where marriage has been anything other than heterosexual. You say that homosexual marriage is a matter of the continuing evolution of marriage, but I still ask the question, which has yet to be addressed: why is such a redefinition of marriage a right that is owed to homosexuals as a matter of justice? I’ve not once heard a convincing argument addressing this question.



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Joseph Coat

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:03 am


Michael,
You may not have expressly stated that gay marriage “threatens” traditional marriage, but that’s the implication of several posts in this thread. It’s also a point that is brought up on a regular basis by Conservatives who oppose gay marriage, so my bringing it up is not out of the blue. There’s a valid reason for it to be mentioned and discussed.
As for marriage never being defined in such a way before in the history of the planet, think again. Gay marriage is legal in several countries in the world. Legalizing it in the United States would not be unprecedented at all.
As for why marriage for same-sex couples should be allowed, I offer the following from an organization fighting for gay rights, the HRC:
“Many same-sex couples want the right to legally marry because they are in love — many, in fact, have spent the last 10, 20 or 50 years with that person — and they want to honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer, by making a public commitment to stand together in good times and bad, through all the joys and challenges family life brings.
Many parents want the right to marry because they know it offers children a vital safety net and guarantees protections that unmarried parents cannot provide. And still other people — both gay and straight — are fighting for the right of same-sex couples to marry because they recognize that it is simply not fair to deny some families the protections all other families are eligible to enjoy.
Currently in the United States, same-sex couples in long-term, committed relationships pay higher taxes and are denied basic protections and rights granted to married straight couples.”
Also, thanks for ignoring my request to address some of the other issues I previously brought up. :)
J



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Michael Hallman

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:13 am


Joseph,
No, marriage has never been defined as homosexual at any other time in history. Yes, other countries have beat the U.S. to it, but this remains the same moment in history for such purposes. In other words, this movement for gay marriage is a new and unique movement in history, where throughout the world marriage is either being redefined or attempting to be redefined. And that brings us back to my original question.
The quote you have provided does not offer any argument that demonstrates why the redefinition of marriage is a matter of justice.
How did I ignore your request? I specifically addressed several, and then asked you if there were others that you were referring to and wanted me to address? That’s the very opposite of ignoring – it’s directly addressing and asking if you would like me to address further.
And no, the “threat to marriage” was not implicated in any of my comments. You did bring it out of the blue. Try again.



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Michael Hallman

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:22 am


Chuck,
Points of argument aside, I do wish to thank you for engaging a difficult and personal issue with such class. Both sides of the argument, myself most certainly included, would be much better served if we approached such issues as you have. So thank you.



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Chuck

posted October 15, 2009 at 8:17 am


Michael and Joseph (very biblical names there!):
Thank you both for your comments and viewpoints. It was a pleasure to converse with you. I appreciate your time and your viewpoints.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out in Maine. Will the general population overturn the law enacted by their legislature? The polls are slighly ahead in the NO vote (which will retain the law) but well within the margin of error. I suspect that eventually gay marriage will be permitted by the State and by the nation. As Joseph pointed out, many other nations (Canada included) already have dropped the restriction that marriage must be between opposite-sex partners only.
Here is the two-edged sword: There is an old saying that came about when Maine was allowed to vote in Presidential elections two-months early (due to the weather): “As goes Maine, so goes the Nation.” Perhaps, that will be the case, good or bad. BTW, then in a subsequent election, only Vermonth voted with Maine. The saying then changed to, “As goes Maine, so goes Vermont.” By that time, snow plows had been invented and Maine joined the rest of the Nation in holding its elections in November.
Good luck and best regards,
Chuck



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Joseph Coat

posted October 15, 2009 at 8:33 am


Michael,
I apologize. I did not see your second post addressed to me before I posted my last comment. Thank you for expressing your opinion.
I would like to know, however, how I brought the “threat to traditional marriage” out of the blue when it has been the major argument of those on the right who advocate against gay marriage for years? That’s hardly out of the blue.
If providing equal rights to a segment of the population is not a matter of justice, then I don’t know what is, apparently. The government currently denies to gays and lesbians a right and privilege which so many straight people take for granted. Allowing two loving adults, regardless of their sex, be able to commit themselves for a lifetime in the eyes of the government (and therefore be granted all of the rights, responsibilities and benefits pertaining thereto) is most certainly a matter of justice.
As for Jesus’ silence, please provide a specific reference that backs up only heterosexual marriage. Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality at all.
On the procreation issue, you still didn’t address the love between two people of the same sex. Are you saying that love is irrelevant and all marriage should be good for is procreation?
Also, I have offered you just as much respect as you have offered me. When you started an earlier post with the words “Nice try, but had you read my comments, etc…” then you disrespected me. I’m trying to keep the tone of this conversation very civil, and I think we’re keeping it as such. Especially when you think of the nasty tone that has at times been used by some on both sides of the issue. Here, there has been no name calling or hitting below the belt. Respect is a two-way street. I’ll respect you, you respect me.
Thanks,
J



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Yeoman

posted October 15, 2009 at 9:08 am


Yeoman: “…..over time the tide will go out and the “old” morality, which is morality, return.”
Sure hope not. That would be a GIANT leap backwards for equality. Those who oppose homosexual marriage shouldn’t participate. Simple. The RCC opposes the “act”, well, don’t participate. No one needs them to be the “bedroom patrole”. That is a private area and not any of their business. Of course they are always in the sex life of the RC members….trying to control their reproduction.”
A good libertarian argument, but more difficult to apply in the real world.
“Those who oppose shouldn’t participate”. Should that be the standard for a religious or legislative objection. I oppose the death penalty. Granted, that’s not equivalent at all, but do I get a free pass on that as long as I don’t participate in any executions? I hope not.
The next evolution on that argument would be that this is an absurd point, as we’re speaking about relationships between two consenting adults. Is that the standard. If two consenting adults consent to do violent harm to each other am I okay as long as I don’t participate. So dueling (opposed by the Church, when it was around) would be okay? Why not legalize that, after all, it’d get rid of a lot of courtroom spats, and it would be between consenting adults, so why not allow that?
What about pedaphilic relationships, as long as their above the age of scienter?
In the end, however, none of these arguments, or yours, reaches the real point. First of all, equality is assured now. Everyone is treated equally under the law. What the proposal is, is to change the law to create two new status, in effect, homosexual marriage and hetrosexual marriage.
That does more than impact “equality”, it impacts the rights and duties of everyone. Married couples are taxed differently, and treated differently in the eyes of the law in all sorts of ways. Everyone participates in that.
Further, let me suggest that if the backers of this were for equality, they’d simply be opposed to any state recognition of marriage. That way, married people would be treated identically to unmarried people. The law wouldn’t care who you were living with, and what you were doing. Absolute equality. But that’s not what’s ever proposed. Why not? It’s the status that’s being craved. I’d note, however, that marriage, while always recognized by the state, was once not performed by it. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned here, particularly about how we regard the state as having a certain sort of magic.



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Frederick A. Arend

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:26 pm


The rights, privileges and responsibility of Marriage were granted to heterosexual couples in order to encourage and support theme in there vocation to perpetuate the human race. Same sex couples can not fulfill this vocation and therefore should not have these privileges.The ultimate result of the proliferation and acceptance of same sex marriage by society will be the destruction of the human race. Marriage is a civil liberty inherent in human nature and can not be granted by any human authority. Marriage occurs when the couple copulate and there by consummates the union. The act that same sex couples perform with each other, is not a sex act and they therefore cannot consummate a marriage and they cannot therefore be married.



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Yeoman

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm


Taking something Frederick notes, and others have here as well, in terms of the civil law, as opposed to religious beliefs, the ultimate purpose of marriage has always been to protect children. Granted, there’s a lot more to a marriage than that, but that “more” has something to do with our nature as human beings. Legally, however, the purpose of marriage has its roots in protecting children.
This is why not only were marriages restricted to heterosexuals, but it is also why “fornication” was illegal. The civil government feared that male and female couples, engaging in sex, would produce children who would be abandoned by one or more of the parents, and that they would become wards of the state. In this day and age, it’s regarded as enlightened to imagine these former restrictions as quaint or bigoted, but in reality what they were was a hard nosed look at reality. The wisdom of these laws is proven out continually today, as now that there are no such restrictions, we’re presented with a flood of children born to young single women who often are a burden on the state, or worse yet, we’re confronted with the horror of abortion.
This, in turn, doesn’t even address the spread of disease, physical and mental, that disregarding the necessity of marriage has helped bring on.
As modern as we might believe ourselves to be, it still turns out that sex creates children. And the best evidence remains that the best chances for a child are to be raised by it’s actual biological parents. Spin that any way you will, nature, instinct, etc., but people generally seek to look after their own, before others.
Homosexual sex, no matter what the morality of it, does not create children. So, as to the ultimate reason for the civil law to recognize it, it doesn’t exist. There are no other aspects of the civil law that a gay couple can’t otherwise achieve through some other legal instrument, if that’s a real concern, other than a tax advantage. All the property testamentary aspects of marriage can be achieved through a will, etc. So there’s utterly no reason for the civil law to recognize gay marriage.
Gay marriage isn’t really about any of those things at all. What it is about is achieving a status that is craved. The irony of that is that in the modern western world, the abandonment of the civil law that otherwise addressed sex means that people are shooting for a status that is very much diluted. Unlike any prior era, there’s no modern restriction on any sexual conduct except for conduct with children. If a person wanted to live with 20 other women, and have a “minister” declare that to be a marriage, they could (the laws against polygamy only prevent civilly recognized multiple marriages). So what gays are seeking, really, is a legislative or judicial decree that this conduct is okay.
Let nobody fool themselves. Recognition of status doesn’t come from the law, and the state saying something is or is not okay doesn’t change anyone’s views on that. If it did, the civil law itself would be unchanging, and always accepted.



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Your Name

posted October 15, 2009 at 11:21 pm


Yeoman,
You wrote:
“And the best evidence remains that the best chances for a child are to be raised by it’s actual biological parents. Spin that any way you will, nature, instinct, etc., but people generally seek to look after their own, before others.”
Glad to see that you think adoption is a bad idea, since human beings have evidently not — in your eyes, anyway — evolved to the point where we can care for, and love, a child who is not biologically ours.
However, I’m a dad through adoption, and I can testify heartily that your apparent point of view on non-biological parenting is pretty hollow and out of sync with the experiences of the vast majorities of familes (with straight parents or gay parents) who became families through adoption.
I imagine you’ll be tempted to back track a bit and clarify that it’s fine when straight people adopt, that it’s a good, healthy thing and condoned by the Church even. But in the passage above, you used adoptive parenting as a tool for attacking families in which the parents are gay. I just wanted to tell you that as a straight man who is exceedingly glad my wife and I were able to become parents to our son, I don’t appreciate your cheap shot at non-biological parenting in general. Nor, frankly, do I appreciate your stance on gays against being allowed to marry. But you will, no doubt, go with the prejudices that inform your thinking. At least until you meet a family with loving gay parents, anyway, and you realize they’re pretty darn normal.



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truthbetold2012

posted October 27, 2009 at 5:21 pm


Yeoman, your comment and arguments on 10/15 1:59 pm are not convincing enough, if not bordering to the side of misinformed and bigoted. Where you said:
“The ultimate purpose of marriage has always been to protect children” — If this is the case, should the government discontinue to recognize heterosexual marriages, civil or religious, that do not bore children either biologically or through adoption? Should we penalize heterosexual couples for claiming legal protection and benefits but not achieving the “ultimate purpose.” The over 1,000+ federal rights and benefits, notwithstanding the additional state benefits, accorded to marital status have less to do with children, but more with the protection and recognition of a legal and binding contract between two consenting adults. How else can you explain the security/insurance benefits, the ability of a surviving spouse to file wrongful death on behalf of a deceased spouse, the favorable property, inheritance, and income taxation, the medical and hospital visitation benefits — when all these apply to childless heterosexual couples? The fact is the federal government is in the business of granting rights and benefits to a segment of population regardless of having children. In a fair and civil society, the minority should have the same protection as the majority. That’s what the Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada (among other countries) have done.
“There are no other aspects of the civil law that a gay couple can’t otherwise achieve through some other legal instrument, if that’s a real concern, other than a tax advantage. All the property testamentary aspects of marriage can be achieved through a will, etc. So there’s utterly no reason for the civil law to recognize gay marriage.” — This is absolute fallacy of the highest order. I hope you’re not a lawyer because you absolutely don’t know what you’re talking about. No amount of lawyering or creation of legal instrument will allow gay couples to have inheritance rights and taxation benefits, wrongful death action, information-access rights, federal and state veterans benefits, domestic violence statutes, social security and benefits to surviving spouse, immigration rights for bi-national couples, etc.. Take inheritance tax benefits, for example — Annie Liebovitz received multi-million inheritance from deceased partner, Susan Sontag. Liebovitz has the burden to pay 51% inheritance tax on the inheritance value. How much would a surviving straight spouse pay in the same situation? ZERO. This benefit has absolutely nothing to do with children. The same benefit applies to childless straight couples, but denied to gay and lesbian couples.
“What gays are seeking, really, is a legislative or judicial decree that this conduct is okay.” — Gays and lesbians have existed at the margins of the society, as most minorities have, and it is not an objective assessment nor an intelligent conclusion to dismiss a demand for equal treatment before the law as a mere approval-stamping of a conduct. What conduct? The homosexual act? This seems to be the core issue that drives you to deny loving and gay couples the same protection under the law. If you haven’t critically reviewed the long list of federal and state rights accorded to marital status, you have no argument. It has nothing to do with “conduct” but with legal protections and benefits, the enjoyment of the same rights accorded to all Americans. Marriage, when it comes to the government has less to do with “religion” or “procreation”, but more with rights and benefits.
Interestingly, replace the words “gay and lesbian couples” in your comment with “bi-racial heterosexual couples” and your world view suddenly fits an antiquated discourse on human and marital rights.



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MNS

posted November 12, 2009 at 1:39 am


I agree with the Mom in the Ad. First, current bigotry aside, The Catholic Church had Gay Marriages in the Middle Ages and even had Masses with vows for such that were discovered in the Secret Archieves of the Vatican. Several books have been written on this. Second, Christ himself honored Gays in the Gospel. Read the story about the Centurion and his servant. These were Gay Lovers according to historians of the time. It is infinite irony that we repeat “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, speak but the word…etc” and persecute the Gays this was addressed to. Third, I have personally known several lesbian couples who adopted handicapped or severely ill kids that were abandoned by their biological parents and turned a life of hell and suffering into heaven! These are some of the kindest, most loving, good Christian (Gay) families I have ever meet. To condemn such virtue is unthinkable. The bigotry, hate, and immorality of some of the conservative views above, raises eyebrows and makes my blood boil.



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