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Fighting the good fight on same-sex marriage


The New York Times profiles young conservatives who are battling to preserve the definition of marriage, in an article that, as Alan Eason points out, is actually somewhat balanced. Included in the piece is Eric Teetsel, executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, who I think has the best quote: “If what I believe is true is true, then I’ve got a responsibility to be on its side for as long as I can be.”

Comments:

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To Ben
You ask, "What is a homosexual marriage going to do that would personally harm you?"

You appear to continue to maintain that the ONLY consideration in this regard is whether it directly affects a person personally. Is this a willful distortion of what several people are trying to say? I and others have made the point several times that there are SOCIETAL consequences, and that the effects therefore, even if not directly personal, will affect us and everyone who lives in the society.

Did David's sin in conducting the census directly affect the people of Israel? Only marginally-- right up until God brought about the judgment. Is it possible that God may judge a nation that so willfully and blatantly overturns what is His explicit description and prescription for marriage? Of course it is possible. And of course I am not claiming to know in what ways and after how a long a time He may finally (or even incrementally) start to bring about judgment, but to me at least it is obvious that that day will come.

Second, looking at it only sociologically, how can a person POSSIBLY say that this will not affect the entire society in negative ways?-- there are simply no data on which to base such an assertion.

And so to continue to assert that this will not affect most of us personally is not intellectually honest-- there are no empirical data to support this contention, and there are considerable biblical data to argue exactly the opposite.
To Mo:
"I think it's the interracial marriage comparison/argument that is the weak one. What bearing does skin color have on a marriage? I see none. But can we really claim that gender has no bearing on a marriage?"
I don't think you can say that gender *or* race has no bearing on marriage (plenty of people disagreed with you on the effects of "mixing race" in the past, and the status of the evidence against gay marriage is similar to that against mixed-race marriages in the '60s).
But that's not really the point. Really the point is that your argument "they have the same rights as I do, to marry someone of the opposite gender" is a bad one, simply because it's quite analogous to other bad arguments.

"All I'm saying is that marriage already has limits and restrictions. Are you saying they ALL should be eliminated? (Perhaps with the only left intact being those who wish to marry children.)"
I'm fine with restrictions on (heterosexual) incest, for legitimate legal reasons. Polygamy would be complicated, but I have no problems with it other than logistics and concerns like the one you mentioned (consent of multiple parties required?). Other than that - yes, get rid of other restrictions, unless the gov't has a valid secular reason for keeping 'em.
For all I care, if a brother and sister want to get platonically "married" and raise adopted children together, let them do it. I don't see why we should treat them any differently than any other couple.

"I am not personally in a gang, nor is anyone that I know. Does gang activity affect me, even though I am not personally involved? Sure. "
Yeah, because they could rob or assault you. What is a homosexual marriage going to do that would personally harm you?

" Here's one very personal example: "
Okay.. That's actually a reasonable example. (And I've heard it before - so far, it's the only real, legitimate fear from conservatives on this issue).
The underlying issue here is not exactly one of just homosexual marriage, but a broader one, of anti-discrimination laws. When a business is deemed to provide a "public service", it's not allowed to discriminate who it serves on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. These laws passed with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if I recall correctly, so it's not exactly new - any minister who objects to being forced to marry an interracial couple is already facing the same problems. (Well, I'm not sure ministers necessarily perform a "public service" in marrying people, but Christian wedding photographers, bakers, wedding planners, and so on, do - as these activities represent their primary business).
Do you believe restaurants should be allowed to turn away homosexuals? What about hotels? Gas stations? (Man, I'd hate to be trapped in a bad part of the South and not able to refill on gas). It's a complicated issue.

So, you're left with two options: Overturn the discrimination laws in the Civil Rights Act, so that business owners can serve whomever they want, or just get used to it the fact that as long as you're selling to the public, you're expected to not discriminate. In either case, it's a bit more complicated than just gay marriage - it's an older, more fundamental issue about freedoms in a civilized society. All gay marriage does is add another group to the "protected" list, and that's only for marriage-related activities, really - hotels and restaurants already can't turn away gay couples.

Recommended reading on whence these discrimination laws came:
http://wakeforestlawreview.com/a-unique-religious-exemption-from-antidiscrimination-laws-in-the-case-of-gays-putting-the-call-for-exemptions-for-those-who-discriminate-against-married-or-marrying-gays-in-context
"What about the Religious Freedom of those who dissent on that issue? Will they be forced to stifle their religious feelings on this issue because the state has demanded it? This is not a live and let live issue. If it were, that would be another story. No, if marriage is LEGALLY redefined, it will utterly cripple Religious Freedom in America and it’s already beginning to do that — and NO ONE is even talking about it. [ . . .] If you push the voices of faith out of the mainstream and replace them with a secular orthodoxy, you take away the most important check the Founders put in place against unbridled statism."
-- Eric Metaxas, at CPAC
http://www.ericmetaxas.com/writing/essays/cpac-2013-speech-on-religious-freedom/

I wonder if most libertarians would agree.
Ben, I guess I'm thinking in terms of the broader movement not seeming to hold it against President Obama in any meaningful way. Note that you didn't tell me when the president was declared persona non grata in Boston or Chicago, because it didn't happen. It's also worth pointing out that I for one never heard any serious talk of a primary challenger running against the president last year. It's certainly not unheard of for an incumbent to face an opponent from within his party. When liberals were unhappy with President Carter, Ted Kennedy ran. When many conservatives were angry with George H.W. Bush for raising taxes, they supported Pat Buchanan in the primaries. Considering that a lot of folks on your side think of gay rights as a monumental struggle along the lines of the civil rights movement, isn't it odd that the president was never made to face even the hint of serious consequences, especially when ordinary citizens who don't have anywhere near his power and influence are having their livelihoods threatened?

The two possibilities I can think of for why the president went unscathed are that (1) to some people, he walks on water and can do no wrong even when he does wrong, or (2) a lot of people shared your confidence that the president was lying. Like Gina, I don't know why the latter is okay. If anything, it's worse to be a supporter of SSM but publicly throw gay couples under the bus.

As I've said, I am somewhat up in the air regarding SSM. I did vote against it last year, not because I'm confident that the government's proper position is to ban it, but just as a way to hit the brakes and slow things down some while I and others try to sort through these issues and determine what harm if any could unwittingly be brought on. Meanwhile, I don't see a big problem with gay adoption. My heart breaks when I think about all the kids languishing in orphanages or being passed from one foster home to another, never feeling the security and stability of a real family. This tragedy goes on while too many people won't adopt children who are "too old," or they do the Angelina Jolie thing of going overseas to shop for exotic babies. I just want us to get kids a good home and family, and I cannot believe that absolutely no gay people are capable.

I also have a gay nephew, with whom I have a very good relationship. It would be news to him to find out that I'm a bigot or intolerant. He doesn't expect me to endorse every aspect of his life any more than I demand that of him.

I see a difference between opposing homosexual behavior due to trying to adhere to what we believe to be God's word, and opposing it out of sheer bigotry. To me, the latter includes using words like "fag" and "queer" and "pervert," and actually disliking or even hating gays. Hopefully I speak for most of us here when I say that that's not where we're coming from. Gina wouldn't want those words being used here, and I would definitely say something if I saw it.

Just as I don't think you would be receptive to the opinions of someone who uses the derogatory words I mentioned above, maybe you'd consider not persisting in throwing around the word "bigotry."
@ Ben
I think it's the interracial marriage comparison/argument that is the weak one. What bearing does skin color have on a marriage? I see none. But can we really claim that gender has no bearing on a marriage?

"Honestly, if two (or more) adults can't marry who they want, then, no, they don't have the same rights as you do."

But there are already limitations on marriage. One is that I can't marry someone who is already legally married to someone else. Should I be allowed to do so, simply because I love that person and he loves me? What happens to the other spouse if he/she does not agree?

All I'm saying is that marriage already has limits and restrictions. Are you saying they ALL should be eliminated? (Perhaps with the only left intact being those who wish to marry children.)

Imagine that was done. What would marriage actually be, then? It seems that when someone is made to be 'anything you want', it becomes... nothing at all.

"Actually *imagine* this scenario."

At the risk of being way too personal here, I was once in a situation where the person I loved and wished to marry was not legally available to be married.

Was I heartbroken? Of course. But what I didn't do was call everyone who held a different view of this relationship than I did bigots and then DEMAND that the government overturn laws just to suit my personal desires.

"Really? How will this actually *personally* affect you?"

I'm at a loss as to why people even bring up this question. We live in a society, with others. Isn't the good of the society something we should strive for?

I am not personally in a gang, nor is anyone that I know. Does gang activity affect me, even though I am not personally involved? Sure. I have to be careful where I walk in my general neighborhood. I have to take care not to be out alone too late at night. The list could go on.

Will SSM being legalized everywhere affect me personally? Of course it will. Here's one very personal example: I do childcare for a friend. This friend is also a photographer. There may come a point where she may be requested to photograph a same-sex wedding. If she refuses, perhaps she could lose her job. If she did, it would affect me because with her loss of income, she may no longer be able to pay me for the child care I do for her.

This scenario not just theory. I have seen at least one case already where a company or an individual did refuse to do such a ceremony and legal action was taken. (Not sure if it was a photographer or someone else in the wedding industry.) I do not know how it ended, and I'm sorry I don't have the link. It got some media attention so I'm sure a Google search will lead you to it.


Due to time constraints, I'll have to end here for now. I've done my best to address these particular points you made.
@ Anthony
Final comment, just because I happened to catch this:

"To be frank, Mo, I could care less if you approved of homosexuality or not. It really has no effect on my life, and many homosexuals feel the same way."


Apparently it does, otherwise you would not be commenting here.

But if so, then stop supporting the legal change of the definition of marriage to mean 'anything you want'.

As I said previously, those who oppose SSM are on the defensive, not the offensive.

***

"One last thing, Mo - I'm not personally attacking you, but I am politely asking you to watch your tone when you engage with me."

I have done nothing in my tone or any other way to you.

YOU are the one who lying by saying I attacked you.

Do not make false accusations about me, and do not lecture me.

Thank you.
I think, Ben W, that when conservatives bring up President Obama's flip-flopping on the SSM issue, it's usually out of a wry amusement that today, conservative politicians tend to be portrayed as Satan incarnate for taking the very same stance that Obama once -- ostensibly -- did.

And if he was given a free pass because many suspected that he wasn't truly anti-SSM, well, I'm not sure why a politician should be honored for deliberate dishonesty.
@ Anthony
My married or unmarried state have no bearing on this discussion.

That said, if you'd read my comment you'd see that I already said I was single. It makes me wonder how much you read of my comment(s) in the first place.

But again, my personal life has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

***

"...that doesn't change my views regarding their equal protection under the law."

As I have said and explained in detail at least once in this thread, homosexual people have the same legal rights to marriage that I do: the right to marry one person, of the opposite sex, who is of legal age and standing to do so.

As to equal protection under the law, homosexuals not only have equal protection, in some cases they have EXTRA protection, because a crime against a homosexual person is often also a "hate crime", which adds an additional penalty!

In other words, in some places a homosexual's life is *more valuable* legally speaking than mine is as a heterosexual.

***

"In response to your attack on me..."

What attack was that? I'd love to see it.

***

That's as far as I read of your comment. One thing I will not do is waste time responding to someone who's going to make false accusations against me.
Anthony, YOUR tone is the tone that's getting out of hand. Announcing what does and does not affect any particular person, and labeling people "brainwashed," are out of line. Watch it.

Also, please keep in mind that this is a public website, not your own personal day planner. We don't need to know every detail of your schedule and your itinerary, especially as they have little or no bearing on the subject at hand. Thank you.
Ben...
...I'm more than happy to accept your offer. I'm Anthony Michael Loreno on Facebook for further discussion, chit-chat, and I'm a huge fan of new friends. However, I probably won't accept a friend request until we meet in person. I'm a rare drinker these days (it was never out of control but sometimes I went a little too far) and coffee is about 98% out of my diet, but I'm so glad you mentioned Zeno's, I'm a frequenter of their bluegrass shows on Wednesdays and Spider Kelly performances on Saturdays. I'm used to going to our local gay bar or the special "gay Sunday Fundays" they have at one of our night clubs, Levels. I hope you're at least somewhat close-by!

I'll address everyone else at another time, right now I need to call my aunt and get a nap in.
Sorry...
...for the delay in response, but since I worked all day yesterday until 930p then spent the night again at a friend's immediately after, I'm just getting home so I have some catching up to do.

Mo, to be perfectly honest, I'm floored. I'm not discovering you're a single female, so I have to ask you...what's your frame of reference regarding this issue? What experience have you had with marriage...? You haven't indicated that you are either widowed or divorced (which, from what I understand, is a huge "no-no") so I'm guessing you've never been married (you need to clarify this). What gives you the right to say who is and who isn't allowed to marry when you probably have no experience with marriage anyway? No one is taking away your right to marry the man of your choice. No one is taking marriage from heterosexuals and giving it to homosexuals for their use only. The truth is, you are NOT effected by marriage equality in any way, or you would have explained your reasons why earlier in your posts.

You asked what "having homosexual friends" and being involved in gay culture has anything to do with my support for SS-marriage/rights. This is an issue that effects the people I love and care for very much. People who have stood by me through difficult times (and believe me, there have been many) and who pretty much make up my social life. These are guys I look to as my brothers and sisters, my best friends, and my "partners-in-crime". After seeing what they've been through, hearing their stories, understanding what they've gone through prior to and after coming out, I have nothing but love in my heart for them, and whether I sound "anecdotal" or not here, that doesn't change my views regarding their equal protection under the law.

For the record, I don't believe their "behavior" or their attractions define entirely who they are. I believe it is a big part of who they are, just like with heterosexuality, but not totally.

In response to your attack on me, stating that I'm just the same as anyone else who won't look at the other side of this or any issue, I DID take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I pondered the conservative right's views on and reasons why they are against legalizing same-sex marriage. I really did try to put myself in their shoes, and I couldn't, try as I might. I ALWAYS look at both sides of any issue or story, and try to see the points of view of anybody no matter who they are or what they believe in.

"Hey, guess what? I don't receive the same benefits as legally married couples! Do you know why? Because I am a single person."
-http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/single
-http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/couple

^Slight difference

Regarding states where being LGBT can get you fired, I'm referring you to:
http://www.upworthy.com/29-states-can-fire-you-for-being-gay-is-your-state-one-of-them

"What's unfair is a very small (but enormously loud, vocal and influential) minority calling anyone who disagrees with their behavior a bigot, and forcing the change of marriage to mean 'anything you want'."
-http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigot

"The truth is that this is not about rights. It's not about equality. It's not about marriage.

It's about homosexuals pushing their morality on the rest of the culture, and by legal force, if necessary"
-And I'm guessing that by forcing Christianity into our gov't. you're not doing the same? It IS about equality, marriage, and rights. You just make these assumptions because it's something you don't like, you're scared of change, and it's something you've been brainwashed to believe. No one brainwashed me - I'm a free-thinker and, as I said, I step back and look at the bigger picture before I make a decision.

"You know everyone here? You know their private lives, their families, their friends? No, you do not."
To clarify what I mentioned prior to this (my apologies for the late-night miscommunication, I meant to say that no one on here seems to know what these families have been through. For the record, I have a relative who works for Breakpoint. That's how I discovered the blog in the first place.

"That's false. Homosexuals have their ceremonies and set up housekeeping all the time. Show me where people are not allowed to live together in that way?"
-And in how many states can they do this legally with *ALL* benefits from the federal gov't. that heterosexual married couples are permitted to enjoy?

"Projection, much? It is the pro-SSM/homosexuality constantly calling us bigots and now forcing us by legal means to accept this behavior. THAT is bullying."
-To be frank, Mo, I could care less if you approved of homosexuality or not. It really has no effect on my life, and many homosexuals feel the same way. They don't need your approval, your sanction, or anything from you, because to anyone with a lick of common sense, this is something to neither approve or disapprove of. There are plenty of straight people who do accept someone for being gay, who don't care if you date/settle down/marry someone of the same gender.

One last thing, Mo - I'm not personally attacking you, but I am politely asking you to watch your tone when you engage with me. Gina, LeeQuod, Rolley, Kevin, Jason, Kelvin, and other "Pointificators" have been nothing but cordial and polite with Ben W and myself, whereas you lashed out at me and attacked me when I NEVER ONCE engaged you (my post/note was to Ben W, not Mo), patronized you, asked you anything, attempted to challenge any of your personal comments, etc. In the beginning when I started to post on BreakPoint I was anything but friendly as I've had nothing but horrible experiences with right-wing conservatives, but I've managed to tone it down because I see how friendly many *on here* actually are. You make my cynacism look rather tame.
Ben, I have just a few minutes until my next flight (and no, if I was going to be nearby I'd buy you that beverage I owe you, but it'll have to wait), so this'll be regretfully quick. I'd say that government has a legitimate interest in preventing the tax expenditures needed to repair the lives of children wrecked by the divorce of their parents. (At the very least, government has an interest in avoiding the jailing of those wrecked lives who would become offenders.) So divorce should be illegal. And this is not anti-libertarian, because it seeks to minimize government being reactive (building more jails and prisons) by being proactive (helping to prevent offense).

And I side with Gina that while your studies of the equivalence of gay and straight parenting are interesting, I'm skeptical of the methodology and lack of bias.

Kevin's right that anecdotal evidence isn't really relevant. I could just as easily spin a tale about a Muslim who on the one hand is horrendously offended at gay marriage, but on the other hand sees the possibility of using it to promote polygamous marriage (since shari'a law permits a man to have up to four wives). In Britain many Muslims use the welfare system to support their lifestyles.

But all of this is pragmatics. The real question is whether or not we should disregard the Biblical teaching that we have, as we understand it. If we're truly a post-Christian society, then the choice is clear - as are the consequences.
Anthony, you always seem to put a lot of stock in the importance of knowing gay people with regard to having an opinion about these issues. I wish you could understand how irrelevant it actually is. (Which is why I'm not going to get into just how wrong your assumptions about us are, at least in my case.)

As I recall, even Ben said he can't respect what Senator Portman did the other day, because knowing or not knowing gay people should have nothing to do with it. Ben is right.

Let me use an extreme example to try to explain this. Did I have to know Ted Bundy in order to say that what he did was wrong? (Of course I'm not comparing homosexual acts to murder, except to say that they are both sinful; more on that later.) If I had been friends with Bundy and tried to persuade you that you have to know serial killers before your opinion about them has any validity, would you buy that? If I said that getting to know serial killers has made me understand them better and I've come to believe that there's nothing wrong with what they do, would you consider that any kind of a valid argument on the topic? Or wouldn't you instead tell me that my knowing and liking serial killers has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether their actions are right or wrong?

Now, you obviously would want to point out that, unlike murder, gay sex has no discernible impact on others. What you need to understand is that this is a community of Christians and, as such, we believe that sin is sin, regardless of its perceived effects. Sure, we all grapple at times with the reasons for some of the rules, but God doesn't owe us anything, including explanations.

We further believe that God doesn't change His mind about things because public opinion has shifted. And telling Him, "If only you knew gay people" would be absurd because He knows (and loves) ALL of us.

You'll note that I'm not debating gay marriage, because I'm not 100% sure where I come down on that. I just want you to consider the possibility that knowing the people involved is not a necessity or even relevant, and, if anything, can sometimes give us a distorted view of things. (Which I'm not saying has happened to you.)
Sorry, this is a two-parter, due to y'all's many responses.

Kevin:
I said earlier that the main two reasons that people oppose gay marriage are pro-big-government attitudes and (essentially) bigotry. But there are other, less common, reasons for opposing gay marriage, particularly for politicians, where getting elected is a priority.

Given Obama's liberal stances on other issues, I personally suspected that he was "against" gay marriage for political reasons, to not seem too liberal, and because it wasn't a main campaign issue for him. Note that even before he came out in favor of gay marriage, he never really enforced DOMA, and he dragged his feet on all anti-gay-marriage legislation.
And, if you're wondering, yes, I opposed his stance on this back then. No, I never gave the president the benefit of the doubt on this. And I also said (back then) that if I was wrong, and he was *actually* against gay marriage all along, that I opposed that viewpoint then, too. I don't know why you'd think I was inconsistent on this, and in fact, pretty much all my gay friends were unhappy with him on this issue, too.

Anthony - I don't really hope to convince these guys. Maybe I'll convince some lurkers.. but maybe not. I argue because I sometimes enjoy it, and because I can use the practice articulating my thoughts.
If nothing else, the practice arguing here has helped hone my skills, and I've seen some of my relatives and friends be a bit more swayed on this issue because of it.
But I appreciate your well-wishes all the same. Next time I'm in SC, let me buy you a pint at Zeno's (or coffee at Irving's, if you prefer).

LQ:
"I would respond to Ben ... that I'd answer "yes" to #1, and "no" to #2."
On the contrary, it might be somewhat "anti-libertarian" to enforce a government definition of family - or, (softer version), to favor one definition of family over another, through government subsidies or special treatment.
But that's not the point. Most of us aren't pure libertarians, and we're fine with some government restriction on liberties when it's sufficiently worthwhile, like restricting minors from buying alcohol, or like restricting incestual marriages, the children of which are much more likely to end up as wards of the state.

The real question is: Is gay marriage sufficiently worse than regular marriage to justify being treated differently by government? And the answer so far has been an unequivocal "NO".
If you're comparing couples without children, heterosexual and homosexual couples are not significantly different at all. If comparing couples that adopt children, studies keep showing that gay married couples do just as well as straight married couples; that adopted children do just as well with gay parents as with straight.
And kids with both gay and straight couples do *far* better than kids in single-parent households. If concern for children is priority #1, maybe we should think about taking children away from single parents and giving them to married couples (gay *or* straight).
Oh, what's that you say? "That'd be too much of a restriction on liberty"? But.. not letting any gays marry because they *might* adopt children is okay?
Jason,
More that if you oppose gay marriage on the grounds of "think of the children", it'd make sense to also support these:
1) Making divorce illegal for couples with underage children.
2) (possibly) Shotgun marriages.
3) (possibly) Free contraception, particularly the cheap, very effective kinds, like IUDs.

Mo:
You said, "Homosexuals have the same rights and limitations on marriage that I do as a single, heterosexual woman. We all have the right to marry one person, of the opposite sex, who is of legal age to marry."
Sorry, but that's a really horrible argument. By swapping "black" for "homosexuals", and "opposite sex" for "same race", you get an argument for anti-miscegenation laws. Alter it slightly again, and it could be: "Pagans have the same religious rights I do, to worship Jesus however they want".
Honestly, if two (or more) adults can't marry who they want, then, no, they don't have the same rights as you do.
Put yourself in their shoes (well, please try, at least). Imagine that in some alternate universe, heterosexual marriage was illegal and homosexual marriage was legal, and that you had a boyfriend whom you wanted to marry. Actually *imagine* this scenario. Now, ask yourself whether you would consider this situation to be "equal rights".

"Who says it's going to cost us very little? We are talking about the entire restructuring of society."
Really? How will this actually *personally* affect you? If you're married, could you explain is it going to hurt your heterosexual marriage?

"Those who favor sexual relationships with children would be oh-so-happy to have that legalized. ... Teens would be very happy to be allowed to legally purchase alcohol."
We're talking about adults here. No one is suggesting that the idea of "age of majority" or "legal consent" be discarded. That's a bit absurd.

"no clue what you're getting at with this comment."
I'll repeat what I said earlier:
If the sanctity of marriage and family are the most important considerations here, and it's okay to use government to push these, then why don't you support making divorce illegal?
(This makes sense, yes? You understand how harmful divorce can be to families and for children? It's far more prevalent than gay marriages would be, and under any interpretation of the evidence, it's a far more destructive force to "society".)

"Then please stop trying to force homosexual "marriage" on the culture by government force. "
That's the thing, the government making something legal does *not* push it on culture. Alcohol is legal, yet the government doesn't push you to drink. Paganism is legal, but government doesn't push you to be a witch.
The government raising something to equal status does *not* make you do it. It doesn't even suggest it. How could it?
"Everyone here is either too afraid or too "set in their ways" to look at any other side but theirs."

Not so, Anthony, not so. I've treasured every one of Ben's posts, and almost all of yours. (Sometimes you've posted when it was clear you should have been getting some rest instead.) When you contrarians aren't around, the blog devolves ( ;-) ) into groupthink, with most of us just giving an "Amen" as if the blogger were preaching only to the choir. In making us think through what we believe, and work hard to articulate it in response to a thoughtful voice of the opposition, you actually help us a great deal (even on those days when we'd rather that this blog be a place where we can merely vent).

And I've felt that way since I first started commenting here, back in the days of Friar Thom, and Brian. I've been saddened when Gina had to remove someone's commenting privileges, even as I recognized that in those few cases it was really necessary. (And I have full confidence that Gina would revoke the privileges of someone who became uncivil even if she agreed with them.)

To point to some examples of Ben's value in this post alone, he's raised at least two very significant points I'm pondering: 1) If gay marriage should be illegal, shouldn't divorce also be illegal? and 2) Isn't it anti-libertarian to use government to enforce a definition of "family"?

I would respond to Ben (were I speaking directly to him at the moment, instead of directly to you) that I'd answer "yes" to #1, and "no" to #2. And the resulting back-and-forth would edify me, and perhaps Ben also (if I work hard at it).

So please don't discourage Ben's participation here.
@ Atom Anth
"It makes me smile to see you standing up for equality."

What equality is that? Or rather, what inequality are you addressing? Homosexuals have the same equal rights under the law that I do as a heterosexual woman.

As to marriage in particular, they are equal too. They can marry one person, of the opposite sex, who is of legal age and standing to do so.

So, again, what inequality are you talking about here?


As to the rest, what does having homosexual friends and being involved in "gay culture" have to do with the merits of the issue being discussed here? (Whatever "gay culture" even is. Two men kissing doesn't qualify as culture to me, the same way as a man/woman kissing doesn't qualify as culture. Now, if what you're claiming is that homosexuals consider their behavior the sole expression of their being, the only way they self-identify and that this behavior is indeed their culture, then please say so.)

"Everyone here is either too afraid or too "set in their ways" to look at any other side but theirs."

Kind of like you, eh?

Anything to say on the reasons brought out by various people on why we disagree with SSM? Show me your counter-argument(s). You must have much to say. You're the open-minded one, not a "traditionalist" like us, who are so set in our ways. (You know, like Barack Obama was just a few months ago until he somehow became enlightened.)

"ordinary people in countless states being denied the right to take their vows and commit to one another"

That's false. Homosexuals have their ceremonies and set up housekeeping all the time. Show me where people are not allowed to live together in that way?

", others sacriicing for their *families*..."

Not sure what you mean here.


" because they *do not* receive the same benefits as legally married couples. "

Hey, guess what? I don't receive the same benefits as legally married couples! Do you know why? Because I am a single person.

But do you see me or any other single people demanding those same rights, claiming to be a victim of discrimination or "hate" or any of the other things that homosexuals do? I have not seen that. Have you?

"You see many states as well that have laws protecting employers who can fire anyone they perceive as LGBT for that very reason alone."

Really? Where are all these cases?

It's unfair, it's sad, and it makes me sick.

What's unfair is a very small (but enormously loud, vocal and influential) minority calling anyone who disagrees with their behavior a bigot, and forcing the change of marriage to mean 'anything you want'.

And once they get it, they won't use it - just like heterosexual couples who can get married anytime they like, yet more and more choose to simply shack up.

The truth is that this is not about rights. It's not about equality. It's not about marriage.

It's about homosexuals pushing their morality on the rest of the culture, and by legal force, if necessary.

"The commenters on here don't know the families of LGBT teens who commit suicide..."

You know everyone here? You know their private lives, their families, their friends? No, you do not.

", it's something far from their lives apparently since they're the ones calling gays and those who love and support them "bullies". "

Projection, much? It is the pro-SSM/homosexuality constantly calling us bigots and now forcing us by legal means to accept this behavior. THAT is bullying.

I'm going to stop reading your post at this point. I've spent quite a bit of time responding, and if you're just going to ignore it and not address my points, then I don't wish to waste any more of my time.
To Ben
I seem to be magnetized to the blog whenever I'm up late...why...why...

Ben W,

It makes me smile to see you standing up for equality. I, too, am a 100% SSM supporter - 98% of my friend-base is LGBT, with probably 95% of those identifying as gay or bi men. I volunteered briefly (years ago) at my local university's LGBT Student Resource Center thanks to a friend and have always had gays and lesbians manage to attach themselves to me like barnacles on a fishing boat. I'm immersed in gay culture (even my cover photo is two guys sharing a kiss) and wouldn't have my life any other way...life's more fun having countless friends like mine :)

I'm also a past commenter on here (with exceptions for threads regarding movies/books :])...usually with the dissenting opinion :P I still check back to read over whatever, but after seeing you make a re-appearance (I've read your other defenses before) I had to reach out and say hello.

Ben, honestly, do what I did and give up. You are arguing with traditionalists, and while we've seen members of the Republican party evolving on the issue of marriage equality, I doubt you're going to change any minds on here. Everyone here is either too afraid or too "set in their ways" to look at any other side but theirs. I took an interest in the blog as one of my relatives works for Breakpoint and I couldn't help but step up and say something in defense of my gay brothers (mostly) and sisters, and I honestly can't say I was half as polite and civil as you are (though I really gave it my all - sorry to anyone I might have offended even when I felt I was being offended myself). Eventually I just stopped, because I wasn't here to change anyone's minds to begin with and so many look at this issue in such a complicated and over-analyzed way. My frustration levels also hit an all-time high :/

You see what I see - ordinary people in countless states being denied the right to take their vows and commit to one another, others sacriicing for their *families* because they *do not* receive the same benefits as legally married couples. You see many states as well that have laws protecting employers who can fire anyone they perceive as LGBT for that very reason alone. It's unfair, it's sad, and it makes me sick.

However, I've learned to channel my angst and frustration into a better part of the fight. Seriously Ben, go volunteer at a local LGBT Resource Center or club. Encourage your friends who may come out to you (it's happened to me so many times I need about 4 more sets of hands) to be open and out, and not have to live a life where they're hiding from their sexuality and be miserable and lonely. And if you see homophobia or discrimination against anyone, stand up and use your voice. I have a big mouth and have no problem with shooting it off to someone for...well...anything. The commenters on here don't know the families of LGBT teens who commit suicide, it's something far from their lives apparently since they're the ones calling gays and those who love and support them "bullies". They're more worried about a fictional "agenda", and religious "freedom" (ramming THEIR beliefs and lives down everyone's throats) than actual human life.

This isn't meant to attack ANYONE on here, but Ben, I promise you, posting on here and arguing with the conservative right does no one a lick of good. I have family who are much farther right than I ever could dream of being, and I do what I can to keep political and religious "discussion" to a minimum in order to preserve peace. Instead, be a friend, an ALLY to someone in the community, and tell them you care for them and will never judge them. THAT'S how to get your point across - love and acceptance.

For example, I'm taking a rare-ish night to stay up late with my somewhat lonely friend Brad. I'm looking at him laying on the other side of the couch and think to myself, "He's such a nice kid, he practically worships the ground I walk on, how can I tell him that being bisexual is disgusting and wrong when 1.) I don't feel that it is and 2.) That's something (not EVERYTHING) he defines himself by? It doesn't make sense to me...if he married a guy, it wouldn't make a difference to me. Not in the slightest. And it wouldn't have an impact on anyone's lives on Breakpoint. If one actually stays up late and loses sleep over what the gay or lesbian couple might be doing - or not doing - they have some serious re-evaluating to do regarding their lives.

Wishing you all the best in your endeavors, Ben W, you're clearly intelligent and have a good head on your shoulders. Thank you for giving me something to smile about (your posts).
-Anthony M. Loreno
Ben, were you calling Barack Obama a bigot a year ago? At that time, his official position on gay marriage was to oppose it.

Immediately after he changed his mind, it was suddenly forbidden to hold the same position the president held throughout almost his entire first term. Officials in Boston and Chicago acted to ban Chick-fil A from their cities, simply for standing for the same thing Obama had only months earlier. Remind me when these same officials tried to ban the president, or accused him of hatred and bigotry.

This past January, a preacher was disinvited from the inauguration because a couple decades ago he was expressing the same opinion the president held less than a year ago.

I point these things out because you brought the concept of bigotry into this conversation. When Barack Obama stood for the same position being advocated by people here, did you similarly accuse him of that, or did you respectfully disagree and simply express your frustration that he hadn't yet found his way to your side?

You gave the president the benefit of the doubt that he was not filled with hate but rather sincerely holding to beliefs that, after all, were pretty mainstream at the time.

There are valid arguments on both sides, and we don't need to question each other's motives. I hate how, once the president changed his mind, the floodgates opened and it's now open season on people who share what was still the official position of the president LESS THAN A YEAR AGO, especially considering the free pass he got by comparison.
@ Ben W.
"The bottom line: If you can't win the cultural war through culture, don't try to win it through might; by government enforcement. It's never worked out well in the past."

Then please stop trying to force homosexual "marriage" on the culture by government force.

Those of us against SSM are on the DEFENSIVE against something that is being shoved down our throats whether we like it or not.

Until just the last few years, when SSM has come up for vote, it has been overwhelmingly defeated. It's only recently that it's becoming more accepted. I believe that is due to the relentless bullying of those who are demanding it. (And the culture through Hollywood, the schools, etc.)
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