November 08, 2008

On Racism and Homophobia.

Yes; we can all get along. But it will take some effort. There will be equality between gays and straights; let's try not to burn too many bridges on our way there.

Peace between the LGBT community and people of faith is on the way—but it requires each group to respect the other's right to exist, and a commitment to try to stay out of the other's face. Neither group has an exclusive claim upon the public square, and we are all Americans, with the right to live our own lives, free from harassment. I'm not making an argument for living in the an externally imposed closet,* or straightening one's hair for reasons other than personal preference: just that we all calm down a bit and stop trying to force others to live according to our own moral codes.

From Pam's House Blend:

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. "YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger." Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

Via Prof. Reynolds, who remarks, "my goodness. All this hope, change and unity is getting kind of scary."

It is. We need to step back for a minute.

Let's see what I can do as a bisexual Christian, here. Back to fundamentals, so to speak: first of all, "all have sinned, and fallen short of the Glory of God." Or, as my relatively secular best guy friend puts it, "we all miss the mark; none of us are perfect."

The U.S.A. is committed to religious freedom, but one of the fears among Christians of many types is that "too much equality" of gays will create a situation in which freedom of speech and freedom of religion are compromised. In Canada, for instance, calling homosexuality a sin is regarded as a "hate crime." But Canada does not have a Bill of Rights, and does not guarantee freedom of speech or religion. (Just ask Mark Steyn, or the Free Speech Five [e.g., Kathy Shaidle, Ezra Levant.])

The bottom line is that it must be considered acceptable for any religious advisor to discuss sin. I had thought we were there: I've certainly listened to homilies from priests that discussed gluttony (one of the Seven Deadly Sins), and yet who appeared to be overweight; it was entirely possible that gluttony was a recurring problem for these priests. Or, perhaps, the condition was glandular. Or genetic.

It doesn't matter; we are equal in the eyes of God. And we are all sinners. So an exhortation to greater moral goodness will always open us up to charges of hypocrisy. Why not? "Everyone is a hypocrite, now and then."

We in the U.S. live under a Bill of Rights that allows us to explore, in our various religious sects, what constitutes "sin." Is smoking a sin? Eating junk food? Smoking marijuana? Those probably all are, if one's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. But where do you draw that line? Is exercising too little a sign of sloth (another Deadly sin)? Is exercising too much a sign of vanity?

How about drinking? I was raised Methodist, and all four of my grandparents were teetotalers; the risk of alcoholism was considered too great to risk taking a drink. "Every social drinker," my grandmother once admonished, "is suscepible to alcoholism." Except that (1) stress takes a huge toll on human health; (2) there is the admonishment in the Bible to "take a little wine for your stomach's sake"; (3) small amounts of alcohol do clear cholesterol out of the arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Yet as a civic matter, both my physical health and my spiritual well-being are my own, and not the business of the State. This is one reason for avoiding socialized medicine: once the government is paying for my health care, it has a stake in regulating my personal behavior and habits.

What does this have to do with the tension between black people and gay people?

Just this: Barack Obama's platform did not include gay marriage, and it may be that the country is not yet ready to apply that word to same-sex family arrangements. (You will recall that I don't think it's the state's business to label human relationships as "marriages" or not: that is a religious/social function. All any of us should ask is for civil unions.)

So, yes: demographically, black people trend more conservative on issues of human sexuality. But as with all demographic trends, one cannot extrapolate to individuals from that. When I was in Nevada and my friends in Clark County decried the way some of the freedoms in Las Vegas (and in Nevada itself) were being curtailed by the influx of Californians, were they talking about me? No. They were speaking in generalities, and for a variety of reasons Californians are not too popular in our neighboring states—partly because we "bid up housing prices," and partly because we tend to move into other states and then try to mold them into mini-Calis, while retaining whatever characteristics we liked them for in the first place.

(This is not a lot different than New Yorkers moving upstate—or to neighboring states—and then trying to get people in their new towns to stop hunting, or to stop burning leaves in the fall. That's no way to make friends. One should respect the culture one moves into, rather than trying to mold it closer to the heart's desire.)

Prejudice is built into human nature, but it quickly turns evil when it drives us (when it should and when it should not are explored in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, by the way). I don't want to live in a society of either anti-gay or anti-black bigots, so we'd better damned well figure this whole thing out.

There are a lot of people who are opposed to gay marriage because they regard it as social engineering: an attempt to tinker with matters that are very fundamental to human society. It isn't a vice to go slowly in that regard, particularly given the huge gains that gays have made over the past generation. (I know I'm supposed to say "gays and lesbians," but I've never liked that phrasing: contrary to its stated intent, it feels to me like it deliberately makes women invisible—as if they don't exist, and need an extra word to ensure inclusion. Just one more division, if you ask me.)

It might be appropriate for the "LGBT" community to pause and count its blessings, and remind itself that it, too, will overcome. Slavery was a long time ago; the Stonewall riots, less so. These matters take time.

And there is definitely such a thing as a gay-marriage opponent who is not a gay-hater or homophobe, and I would admonish the Abercrombie & Fitch brownshirts that they have definitely become their own enemy. Socially conservative black people do not necessarily regard them as "faggots," and it is never acceptable to use the word "nigger" as an epithet (unless you've been dared to, or someone around you is trying to make it into a loaded, dreadful term with the power to hurt: in that case, we must remember that words are indeed just words, and recite all the worst terms that might be applied to us so they don't gain more power; some of my readers think I'm a slut, or a whore, or a skanky gash; isn't that cute?).

The choice we made as a society in this past election had to do with a lot of things, but included in that mix was a desire to shatter the race barrier, to get it over with, perhaps, and have a black person lead the free world. I'm glad that the barrier was shattered, though I would have picked a different person to do the shattering.

And at least in California, increased black turnout did indeed make the difference in passing Proposition 8. A paradox, perhaps: or a trade-off. A delay.

When black men were granted suffrage, female suffragettes were understandably angry. They were told by the lawmakers that "this is the Negro's hour," and it was decades before women were enfranchised.

Gays will not have to wait that long.

Now relax; stop the hating. The day will come. I've seen the mountaintop; I really have.

In the meantime, have a smoke. Or a glass of wine.

UPDATE: Insty has another mini-roundup on the gender orientation/race issue here; when "Andrew Sullivan . . . calls for people to chill," matters are definitely on the verge of spiralling out of control. (I won't click on the Sullivan link, of course, and you shouldn't, either; Sullivan has put himself outside the realm of respectable discourse in the past year—and most especially in the past few months, given his relentless attacks on Sarah Palin—on the most frivolous grounds.)

* * *

Other Entries on Proposition 8—


"How the Obama Campaign Assured the Passage of Propsition 8"


"More on the Putative Black/Gay Divide"

"Are Some Bigots More Bigoted Than Others?"

"And Yet More on Gay Marriage"

"Virginia v. Loving and Gay Marriage"

* Phrasing revised in light of Eric Scheie's argument that a voluntary "closet" is a perfectly legitimate choice (see "Are Some Bigots More Bigoted Than Others," above; I stand corrected. Certainly anyone is entitled to live a low-key life, and be discreet about one's love life, irrespective of sexual orientation. But many of those who will be attracted to marriage or civil union are, I suspect, either engaged in or contemplating parenthood (through step-parenting, artificial insemination, or surrogate motherhood—the last of which is, of course, increasingly popular among straights as well).

All of this presumably makes Mark Steyn happy, since he wants to see more babies raised with Western values. Wait . . . that might not follow. I'll have to check with him on that one.

Posted by Attila Girl at November 8, 2008 07:08 AM | TrackBack

Enjoyed your discussion, as always. I do agree with you that in a better country, "marriages" should be a matter for churches and the state should only offer "civil unions" to everyone, whether they're marrying someone of the same sex or the opposite. I don't think that's going to happen, though. Marriage is already written into too many of our laws and traditions. That being the case, civil marriage will sooner or later be offered to same-sex couples as well, at least in California. I'll be there with my bottle of California sparkling wine to celebrate on the day.

Posted by: Jan Steckel at November 8, 2008 09:34 AM

As I keep saying, all this protesting will do is ostracize the gay community even further. The violence keeps escalating. If they kill someone, even one of their own, it will turn public sentiment against their cause in a way that hasn't been seen before.

Posted by: caltechgirl at November 8, 2008 09:49 AM

We in the United States do not 'live under' a Bill of Rights, our rights vastly exceed those enumerated there in.

It is the Federal Government that operates under the restrictions specified in the Bill of Rights. More specifically it is the Tenth Amendment that states those unenumerated rights are the province of the States or the People.

Posted by: ThomasD at November 8, 2008 11:31 AM

Live by the collectivist sword, die by the collectivist sword.

Prop 8 failed in large part because Leftists are simply not credible advocates for individual rights, as hostile as they are to that very concept. Gay marriage is an individual right.

Prop 8, on the other hand, is DEMOCRACY IN ACTION, which the Left (at least the American version) loves to trumpet when it's any individual right they do not find politically expedient -- which is usually all of them.

So what do we get? Instead of pulling the knife out of their backs and repudiating the Left and its collectivist BS, gays cling to it instead, and start putting knives in black backs instead.

There isn't a right winger to be seen, and yet nothing but the N- word and the F- word all over the place in West Hollywood?

Welcome to the Left's end-of-road.

Posted by: Seerak at November 8, 2008 11:35 AM

As long as the SSM advocates attack each and every person who questions the wisdom of redefining marriage as "haters" no compromise will be reached. There can be no dialogue as long as one party refuses to consider the other party as one discussing things in good faith.

But for many, same-sex marriage is not an ends, but a means ... and the riots in West Hollywood and the anti-Mormon, anti-Catholic bigotry confirm it.

Posted by: Darleen at November 8, 2008 12:11 PM

The anger being felt by the gay and transgender community not only over the passage of prop 8 but the comments of African-American "yes on 8" leaders is justifiable. One such leader had the balls to say "the people have spoken and THOSE people (emphasis mine) should just suck it up". WHat if in 1965 we had taken a vote of the people about whether or not we should continue to extend civivl rights to blacks? Do you really think the answer would have been yes? I don't I think the answer would have been a resounding NO! So if this had occured would these black leaders be satisfied if the white leaders of the NO on black civil rights measure just told Dr, King et al to just "suck it up"? Somehow I doubt it. Prop 8 is a civil rights issue which is unfortunately hung up on semantics. The conservatives don't want us to use the word marriage. So fine, I agree with Joy let's all have civil unions and leave marriage for the churches. But I deserve equal rights no matter what you choose to call it.

Posted by: Jack Watt at November 8, 2008 12:23 PM


1) It isn't a question of "those people." Some of these rioters/protesters are heaping abuse on gays who are black.

2) The underlying issue is one of Federalism: I know we have taken judicial "shortcuts" in the case of African-Americans, over and over. But gays [bisexuals, TSs, TVs] are not working their way up from slavery. Therefore, any of the extreme measures that have been necessary to achieve black liberation (from Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus to Brown v. Board of Education, and on and on) simply cannot be justified in the case of LGBTs.

I'm afraid that the correct tactic is to use the legislative process, rather than have this decided by judicial fiat.

3) Why, why, why are we so concerned about this issue, rather than the egregious "don't ask, don't tell" policy?

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 8, 2008 12:44 PM


marriage is not a "right"

when you can figure that out, get back to me and we can discuss contracts and institutions.

one man/one woman marriage isn't an abrogation of anyone's "right" anymore than age/physical ability requirements to join the military

Posted by: Darleen at November 8, 2008 12:53 PM

In Mexico, those who want to be married in a church must go through two ceremonies, since the state does not recognize any marriage unless it is performed at city hall by a judge. Recognizing a ceremony performed by a priest or rabbi for legal matters in Mexico is not allowed since it would violate their separation of church and state. The Mexicans have it almost right. Their government should allow gay marriages (at city hall), and then the entire religious argument for/against gay marriage will be rendered IRRELEVANT, to the benefit of all.

Posted by: Jennifer E. at November 8, 2008 02:16 PM

Right. Except that the ceremony at City Hall (or the paperwork that is processed for the legal/contractual side of things) should simply be called a civil union. Then the couple in question (gay or straight) can call it whatever they want, and tell their friends or not. This would actually deliver the legal benefits of marriage to straight couples who don't care for the word itself and do NOT want it applied to their relationships. (And, yes: they exist.)

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 8, 2008 02:30 PM

You assume there were "bridges" in the first place.

In the general population I find both racism and homophobic attitudes to be largely a function of socioeconomic status - regardless of one's skin color.

Do you really expect to find tolerance for sexual preference in the inner city, any more than you do out in the boonies?

Posted by: Tim at November 8, 2008 02:39 PM

As for the photo on the right of the page, it's LE Canada, merde!

Posted by: guy at November 8, 2008 03:30 PM

No. It it's La Cañada. You obviously don't know Southern California very well; your U.S. geography is just so much caca.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 8, 2008 05:19 PM

"I don't want to live in a society of either anti-gay or anti-black bigots, so we'd better damned well figure this whole thing out."

I think you are going to be disappointed, since they bigots are in place an likely to stay there for a good long time. And they are on all sides of every divide....

As for the Bill of Rights....

The 4th is all but dead. The ninth is rarely remembered and the 10th hasn't seen the light of day since it was buried in FDR's day. Once Obama appoints a justice or three, expect to see the 2nd amendment buried as well.

But I think your main premise is flawed. "Peace between the LGBT community and people of faith is on the way—but it requires each group to respect the other's right to exist, and a commitment to try to stay out of the other's face." Mainstream Christians don't even believe in freedom of religion for all non-Christian religions. Don't believe me? Revisit the hoops that Wiccans had to jump through to have the Veterans Administration PERMIT Wiccan markers on the grave-sights of Wiccan soldiers who had fallen in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was ridiculous. (Actually that struggle predates the war in Afghanistan by almost 10 years.) So much for the First Amendment - the VA was (still is) deciding what is, and what is not a religion.

And if you think that the likes a Phred Phelps, want to live in peace and harmony, then you have never met someone who wanted you to pray for conversion. Or scraped a friend up off the sidewalk after a bashing, because the cops and the ambulance won't come - beating up gays isn't really a crime, is it?

What was done to Matthew Shepard was remarkable ONLY BECAUSE anybody noticed. Usually gays are beaten or killed and there is barely an article in the local paper - usually detailing how the local sheriff isn't sure it was really a hate crime or not.

Will things change eventually? Of course, but even when they do, there will be a sizable minority who won't believe that they should. It won't be all sweetness and light.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at November 8, 2008 06:25 PM

I suppose you think that since marriage isn't a right that it is a priviledge. Exactly what have the heterosexuals done to deserve this priviledge? Bear in mind that science has pretty well determined that sexual orientation (heterosexual as well as homosexual and bisexual) are biologically determined--NOT a "lifestyle choice".

Posted by: Jack Watt at November 8, 2008 07:50 PM

Zendo: points taken, but I Phred Phelps is beyond help, and not representative of the evangelical community at all.

Of course, I live near West Hollywood, where 15 years ago local straight deputies learned to "dress gay" so they could walk down the streets on high-risk blocks and catch those who wanted to beat gays up.

The same West Hollywood I love. The same West Hollywood where certain fringe elements in the gay community are now openly proclaiming that "niggers" are not welcome. Not a good development.

Phelps is beyond help, but the average black person isn't. And we have empirical reasons to believe that gay black people aren't homophobes/gay-haters; how can we have gotten to a point such that black gays are subject to having the "n-word" hurled at them by white gays.

I haven't been beaten up, but I certainly lived with the taunting in high school, and I lived with the constant fear that my girlfriend might get beaten, because of her dykey vibe and her notoriety.

And the GUYS: we daren't even let ourselves be overheard talking about them, lest we "out" them accidently, and get them beaten or killed.

But things are much better now than they were in the 1970s. At least, Deb, I'd thought so: am I just being naive?

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 8, 2008 09:42 PM

I keep reading that the increase in the black made the difference in passing proposition 8, but that is simply not true. The increase in African American votes compared to prior elections was less than Prop 8's margin of victory. Also, the black vote by itself also was not sufficient for it to pass -- if no blacks voted at all, Prop 8 would have passed by close to 30,000 votes.

Posted by: gaynpdx at November 8, 2008 11:19 PM

One is unable to choose one's sexual orientation.
Everyone has the right to persue happiness.
On the marriage issue, for me to acquiesce to same-sex marriage, I must refute important religious doctrine and belief. I must deny religious matters of faith, because marriage is, fundamentally, a religious institution. Hispanic voters, who said "YES!" to Mr. Obama, could not cast aside their religious obligation on the matter of same-sex marriage, as I cannot.
It may be that some folks confuse a decision based on religious principles with intolerance of certain individual sexual orientations. I suspect that those folks are mistaken. I know they are in my case.
Civil union is an option that I would have no objection to on the basis of my religious beliefs. It satisfies the need to achieve a legally recognized, committed and formal relationship with the one that you love.
Of course, it also means that you get subjected to the tax penalty on married folks, but welcome to the community.

Posted by: B Dubya at November 9, 2008 04:59 AM


I've seen it broken down both ways; where are you getting your stats?

Of course, the truth of it doesn't matter: what matters is that anti-black bigotry is making inroads into the gay community, and this is troubling. It needs to stop.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 9, 2008 09:07 AM


Marriage is an institution. No one stops anyone from forming (just about) any personal, private arrangement they want (consenting adults). 2 men, 2 women, 1 man and 3 women, 1 woman and 2 men, platonic relationships, sexual relationships, relationships of convenience ... knock yourself out, no one is going to stop you.

Then there is the PUBLIC institution of marriage, wherein the government gives a sanction to the ideal relationship. A "one of each", adult, not related to each other.

You will not that no where in family law that defines marriage is "love" or "sexual orientation" ever defined as any requirement of marriage. Only number, sex and age. Gay people can, and do, marry.

IE the idiot radio hack, Karel, (the one that wants Joe the Plumber dead) is a flaming gay who is married to a woman (convenience marriage).

No one stops anyone from pursuing happiness in setting up their own living arrangements. Privacy, live-and-let-live is paramount. But as government has landlord/tenant laws in order to deal the rights and obligations of that kind of relationship, so it has marriage laws for another.

Understand, you redefine the public institution of marriage based on "I have the right to marry because of LOVE" (something never in the law) then there is no logical barrier to "I have the right to marry as many as I want because of LOVE." Nor is there any logical barrier to adult siblings marrying each other.

Just because not everyone can qualify for an ideal does that ideal become illegitimate.

and again, SSM is not an end, but a means and it is quite evident from the violent threats against Mormons and Catholics.

Posted by: Darleen at November 9, 2008 09:42 AM

There will be equality between gays and straights; let's try not to burn too many bridges on our way there.

Oh really? Do tell! Last I saw, feces and eggs had some crucial differences. Maybe noticing that civilization springs from heterosexual unions in the form of children makes me some kind of bigot. I don't know, I always thought reproductive biology was kind of above that sort of thing.

Anyway, great blog! Keep plugging! Maybe if you play your cards right, we can get government grants to research ways to make men pregnant.

[I'm going to leave this here, since I don't get a lot of far-right nutcase trolls, so it's worth preserving for posterity--though it's not really up to my troll standards. If this takes us too far off-course from what had been an interesting discussion, I might have to remove it, so let's see if we can stick to the subject at hand. Though if someone wants to deliver Kat a quick slapdown, that's fine. -ed.]

Posted by: K T Cat at November 9, 2008 10:13 AM


Which is more paramount in your reasoning?--

1) the need for traditionally defined marriage for the protection of children who show up in the time-honored way (sometimes, of course, unexpectedly)? or

2) your conviction that gay marriage is a stepping stone to changing adoption laws and undermining orthodox religious institutions?

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 9, 2008 10:17 AM

Allow me to revise and extend my remarks. You write about equality between gays and straights, but what you really mean is equality in terms of the government only. They will never be equal in reality no matter how hard everyone wishes. They are not the same, they are not equal. Reproductive biology says so. It's not a debatable point and it's not a meaningless one as all of humanity and all life owes itself to reproductive biology.

When you try to make things equal that aren't, isn't that an act of pointless fantasy? Aren't there good reasons to differentiate things that are different? Why engage in verbally obscuring the profound differences between the two?

As for this being off topic, well, you're the one that said that there was going to be equality, not me.

There isn't ever going to be equality between gays and straights. Never. It has nothing to do with you or the gay rights movement or anything any of us want or say. They just aren't equal.

Posted by: K T Cat at November 9, 2008 11:12 AM

since when did one have to be heterosexual to procreate?

Posted by: Jack Watt at November 9, 2008 11:55 AM

The issue wasn't who is equal to whom according to some arbitrary construct that defines human worth, but, as a civic matter, "equality in terms of the government only." I believe that is commonly referred to as "equality under the law."

I see that you, Kat, don't feel that couples whose congresses will not produce offspring might be equal to couples whose congresses might.

Presumably, you feel the same way about women who have had hysterectomies, and men with low sperm counts.

Fortunately, the law doesn't have to see it that way. And gay couples can have children: it just needs to be a deliberate, premeditated act. Of course, it often is for straights, no? Or we wouldn't have ovulation prediction kits available in the drugstores.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 9, 2008 11:59 AM

Exactly whose ideal are you holding up? Certainly not mine.

Posted by: Jack Watt at November 9, 2008 12:02 PM


I'm less interested in "traditional" marriage, per se, then in society's right to define an ideal and to offer a carrot to those who meet the ideal.

The best place to raise children is with their bio parents in a monogamous marriage. Do we all meet that? Nope. I don't. Does that mean children in a less than ideal setting are NOT going to come out ok? Nope, not that either.

But when the government puts out recommended dietary guidelines, it puts out an ideal to the best of its ability and supports it.

And I'm also tired of judges being super-legislators. Passing Prop 8 is a huge middle finger at the CA supreme court who not only invented a right but who also put "sexual orientation" in the "suspect class" category. What a crock.

The violence over Prop 8 and the ridiculous claim that everyone who questions redefining marriage give lie that this is about "equal" rights. I wrote about this subject quite a while back and while CA advocates were coy, some SSM advocates from other states were open in stating their aim wasn't just SSM but controlling any and all public dialogue on homosexuality. Call homosexual behavior a "sin" from the pulpit? Then that church should be legally dissolved and the pastor jailed (ala Canada). A wedding photographer doesn't want to take on gay clients? Lose the business license. A church-owned pavilion doesn't wish to allow a SSM ceremony? Sue 'em.

This isn't even "unintended consequences" territory. This is agenda before common sense. Why the heck should the Catholic Charities which had a long successful record of adoption services be forced from business? What children are now languishing in foster care because of that stupidity?

Posted by: Darleen at November 9, 2008 07:26 PM

sorry, typo. should be:

The violence over Prop 8 and the ridiculous claim that everyone who questions redefining marriage is a "hater" or "homophobe" give lie that this is about "equal" rights

Posted by: Darleen at November 9, 2008 07:28 PM


Exactly whose ideal are you holding up? Certainly not mine.

Dude, sometimes things are not all about you.

Posted by: Darleen at November 9, 2008 07:29 PM

my bad I forgot it's all about you and your paranoia

Posted by: Jack Watt at November 9, 2008 08:58 PM


Poor baby. Rational debate beyond you?

Try and think outside of YOURSELF.

Come on, tell me that One Mom, One Dad, married to each other, commited and monogamous, is NOT the ideal for offspring.

Posted by: Darleen at November 9, 2008 09:08 PM

Actually, since I have a degree in psychology I can tell you that the ideal situation for raising a child is to have at least one loving caregiver of either gender/sexual orientation. Two is even better, but the research does not support the notion that somehow having a heterosexual male and female have any better effects on the child's self image or self esteem than any other configuration. What matters is having a secure attachment to those caregivers.

Posted by: Jack Watt at November 10, 2008 06:39 AM

esearch does not support the notion that somehow having a heterosexual male and female have any better effects on the child's self image or self esteem than any other configuration

Did I say it was all about "self- esteem"?

Excuse me, but some of the most evil people in history also have the highest levels of self-esteem.

Unless you believe there is absolutely no differences between the sexes, then you are in denial about children being raised in a home where they have an intimate relationship with both someone of the same sex and THE OTHER. Also the security that comes from an intact, committed relationship with parents.

I work the judiciary beat, you can look at everyone from gangbangers to career criminals and you'll find overwhelmingly males raised without dads.

Society has a vested interest in publically sanctioning one man/one woman marriage ... WHILE NOT INTERFERRING in the private arrangements of any other configuration. Civil union, domestic partnership are excellent pieces of legislation. But marriage should not be redefined on a PC whim.

Posted by: Darleen at November 10, 2008 06:47 AM

The volumes of scientific research simply do not back your point of view. The reason that so many gangbangers have father issues is because they suffer from rejection by their biological fathers, not the actual absence of a father. This rejection creates an insecure attachment which leads to hostility and violence--most especially aimed at female intimates. An article in the Journal of Family Violence 12 (2) 211-228 by Kesner, et al discusses this in depth. Your arguements a re fraught with unchecked emotionality (equating homosexuals with eveil), and you never consider transgendered people in any of your arguments. Your underlying reliogiosity is clouding your logical judgment. Perhaps you should go to the library and read some of the academic research articles on this subject for yourself before you start challenging their veracity.

Posted by: Jack Watt at November 10, 2008 07:36 AM

A lot of European countries have a system like that. The only marriage that counts in France is the "Marriage Civile", which you must get at the court house. A couple may or may not choose to get married in the church (in a country of unabashed athiests, this is often based on how nice your local church would look in wedding photos), but the priest has no authority. You are not married unless you have the marriage civile.

If only our states would adopt a similar model. I'm no lawyer, but it seems that it would provide a more secure foundation for the eventual recognition and protection of same-sex "marriages civiles".

Posted by: Daphne Nugent aka "Manhattan Moosette" at November 10, 2008 08:14 AM


That buttresses the argument Jennifer and I were making, also (about halfway up the thread). If the state would back off from the marriage business altogether, it would save a lot of grief over an issue that may well boil down to semantics.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 10, 2008 01:04 PM

The reason that so many gangbangers have father issues is because they suffer from rejection by their biological fathers, not the actual absence of a father.

This is interesting, Jack. You're saying that the entire concept of role models/father figures is invalid? That's quite a dramatic statement.

This rejection creates an insecure attachment which leads to hostility and violence--most especially aimed at female intimates. An article in the Journal of Family Violence 12 (2) 211-228 by Kesner, et al discusses this in depth. Your arguements a re fraught with unchecked emotionality (equating homosexuals with eveil),

Jack--where does Darleen express unchecked "emotionality," or describe homosexuals as evil? Are we reading the same posts, here?--because I don't see that in her comments.

and you never consider transgendered people in any of your arguments.

If you are going to bring up transgendered people, perhaps the onus is upon you to tell us how they underscore (or not) your own point of view; I'm not sure why it is Darleen's responsibility to throw TSs and TVs into the mix. Dar? Any thoughts?--Do any of your clients at Juvie have TS/TV parents, to your knowledge? Jack--how statistically significant is gender dysphoria? I had thought it was relatively rare, and that the underlying biological reasons for it were better-known than those for homosexuality (which appears to be mostly genetic in males, but very often due to other factors in females)?

Your underlying reliogiosity is clouding your logical judgment.

Hm. I'm afraid I also missed that, Jack: where has Darleen made a faith-based argument?

Perhaps you should go to the library and read some of the academic research articles on this subject for yourself before you start challenging their veracity.

I'll leave it to Darleen to tell us whether she's challenged the "veracity" of any of your citations, Jack. But you have only given us one, if I've been following this thread properly.

Do you have any links for this material? I'm sure that those who are following the conversation would be more likely to read these papers if they were published online. (Most of my readers have day jobs.)

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 10, 2008 03:15 PM

Darleen never directly made a faith based argument but the underlying assumptions in her arguments belie a Judeo/Christian view of homosexuality. That is: homosexuality is a sin, and to sin one must choose to behave in a certain way, therefore homosexuality is a choice. She makes an inference that having higher self-esteem leads one to be evil, and by association (since I was saying that a child with loving caregivers of any sexual orientation has a better chance at higher self-esteem) that those raised by homosexuals would have unduly high self-esteem and therefore run a higher risk of being evil.
As to the transgender issue. Prop 8 affects transgender people of all sexual orientations as the law considers our marriages “same-sex” regardless of what our actual sexual orientation is—in the case of Female to Male transgenders they still consider us female even after a hysterectomy and double mastectomy AND hormone treatments, until we have had phalloplasty (an operation that is crude at best and aesthetically horrific at worst, and an operation that most cannot afford nor do they necessarily want).
The academic articles on the subject of homosexual parenting may or may not be available on the internet. They are, however, available at your local library through EBSCO host.
The following are some articles on point:
Clarke, V., Kitzinger, C., & Potter, J. (2004). Kids are just cruel anyway: Lesbian and gay parents’ talk about homophobic bullying. The British Journal of Social Psychology; December 2004, 43, ProQuest Psychology Journals.
Crawford, I., McLeod, A., Zamboni, B.D., & Jordan, M.B., (1999). Psychologists’ Attitudes Toward Gay and Lesbian Parenting. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 30, 4. 394-401.
Latham, H.F., (2005). Desperately Clinging to the Cleavers: What Family Law Courts Are Doing About Homosexual Parents, and What Some Are Refusing to See. Law & Psychology Review. Tuscaloosa, Spring 2005, Vol. 29. 223-242.
Meyer, H. H., (2003). Prejudice, Social Stress, and Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Populations: Conceptual Issues and Research Evidence. Psychological Bulletin. 129.5, 674-697.
Patterson, C.J. (2007). Lesbian & Gay Parents. Retrieved from: on January 23, 2007.
Rooney, S.C. (2002). Examining Redding’s (2001) Claims About Lesbian and Gay Parenting. American Psychologist. April 2002. , That’s a Family! Statistics on US Families. Retrieved from the world wide web on January 23, 2007.
And no, Darleen has not directly challenged the veracity of my citation only indirectly by reiterating her point of view which is contrary to the evidence presented therein. I hope that the preceding citations prove useful to the debate.

Posted by: Jack Watt at November 10, 2008 03:55 PM


Well, you're nothing if not tedious and assumptive.

You've decided to argue from authority with no link to citation then seque into ad homenims assuming me some sort of EVILLLL Jew/Xtian. Where I haven't at any time made any argument in that regard.

And somehow you don't understand standard, gramatical English. One might conclude you may be arguing in bad faith.


underlying assumptions in her arguments belie a Judeo/Christian view of homosexuality That is: homosexuality is a sin,

"belie" doesn't mean what you think it means. And please do try and substantiate you claim that I believe homosexuality is a "sin". Jack, your tea leaves are a little moldy.

The reason that so many gangbangers have father issues is because they suffer from rejection by their biological fathers, not the actual absence of a father.

And you know this because? It really is an outregeous statement because you are trying to have it both ways ... that biological father role is SO important that its absense can damage a child, so let's have the state say "Dads? Who cares about Dads being married to moms!"

Darleen has not directly challenged the veracity of my citation

What citation? You made an unsubstantiated assertion ... the notorious "studies show" gambit. Pffft.

She makes an inference that having higher self-esteem leads one to be evil,

No, I am just puncturing a hole in the inflated holy grail of "self-esteem". Someone with "self-esteem" tells us exactly nothing about how that person behaves.

The pop-psychology of navel gazing and the massive "self-esteem" movements in public schools are turning out crowds of narcisstic, emotionally crippled young adults who are still "children", unable to cope with adult challenges. "Failure to Launch" isn't just a movie.

Transgendered is red herring in this discussion. Homosexuals are as capable of being good parents as the next person, but, again, society as the right to define an ideal and to sanction it. Just as it is ideal that a person never smoke (even though the majority of smokers never get lung cancer) so is it ideal for a child to be raised by a biological father and biological mother married to each other.

Men and women are different (otherwise, why would anyone want to change their sex) and attempting to enforce a fantasy that there are no differences between the sexes as law is farce.

People are free to engage in private relationships they consent to. Public institutions are a different matter.

Posted by: Darleen at November 10, 2008 05:26 PM

I've held off commenting on this because my viewpoint on this single issue probably tracks closer to KTCat's (or Darleen's, I didn't actually examine the full exhaustive comprehensive principles underlying their comments) than Attila's, (and you know it, right, Attila?) and anyways it's not polite to go all breathin' fire and hell and brimstone when gluttony is listed as one of the 7 Mortal Sins, of which I am very guilty of. And Lust, of which I am also guilty. Sloth, pretty much. Pride, yeah, that too. 4/7 is a crappy track record.

Nevertheless, the subsequent comments and all, well, let's inject a bit of reality into this issue, shall we?

On the very narrow issue of Prop 8, I'm very happy the electorate Joseph Champagne-from-Champagne-France (well, Hollywood types can hardly be called Joe Sixpack, right?) extended the middle finger at the activist legislators. More of that, please - regardless of issue.

On the broader issue of 'SSM', well, here's this Christian's take on the matter. Full disclosure (and by Heaven, I hope nobody I know IRL reads thsi blog!); while I tend straight, my [ahem] jerk-off fantasies are [ahem] 'colourful and wide-ranging'.

1. Everybody sins. Christians are supposed to use the power of the Holy Spirit to refrain from sinning (and the benchmark is BEFORE you were a Christian and AFTER, not you and someone else).

2. Christians hate the sin but love (in the sense of showing concern, tolerance, and looking after the spiritual and physical and mental welfare of) the sinner. This is patterned after Jesus' own life.

3. Tolerance does not mean enthusiastic inclusion. It means 'putting up with'; the same way I tolerate my parents eating durian. Don't ask me to eat that stuff, though, and don't try to convince me that it's good.

4. Therefore, while we love the sinner, we must continue to hate the sin, and if this means using the legally, morally and ethically proper mechanisms to persuade others and uphold an ideal (which laws can serve as a last resort), then we should use it.

Attila, did you ever notice that for some reason, people from all sides and directions seem to by and large treat sexual sin as intrinsically different from other sins? Or unwanted behaviour, for that matter. I guess you have, but not exactly from my perspective...

Okay, so you have now a situation where smoking is a secular sin. Sin taxes on cigarettes. Massive restrictions on where you can buy smokes, who can buy smokes, and even where you can smoke. Big (in Australia, about 1/3 the size) notices on the dangers of smoking on the cigarette boxes. Adverts in the mass media (print, radio, and TV) on the horrors of smoking-related diseases. Public education initiatives to indoctrinate children to be anti-smoking. Bans on smoking in many traditionally smoking-friendly places (including bars and pubs and public clubs). Not surprised if someday you won't be able to smoke in your own car or bedroom.

It seems that fatties like me are soon to be treated like that in the USA (or at least certain parts of it) and the UK. Certainly, societal pressure in Asia is to be on teh skinny anorexic model side, even for us guys. This is not to mention the unspoken but very real discrimination overweight people face in the workplace, the dating/mating game, pay scales,

Oh, some people will say that 'but we can't help being gay!' Well, the last time I checked, while you may not be able to change your genetic predispositions (and let's just for the sake of argument say that being gay is genetic, so you really can't help it), you can and do have all the free choice in the world to choose your behaviour. And while I really don't like eating veggies, I choke them down because I recognise the need to eat them. This is not to mention that apparently, there are genetic predispositions towards being fat and tendencies towards chemical dependencies as well.

So, from a religious perspective, let's say that homosexuality is to be treated exactly like any other sin. Like lying, or theft. Or like murder.

Does any Christian here say that any of these sins should be tolerated? Should the State give its official seal of imprimature and license thieves and liars? Should kleptomaniacs and habitual liars just be 'left alone'? Arent they held in contempt, and efforts made to change (and punish) their behaviours?

No, from a Christian perspective, this Christian's perspective at any rate, if we are agreed that homosexuality is a sin, then SSM is not a logical progression.

Posted by: Gregory at November 10, 2008 06:23 PM

Good comments, Gregory, but it'll take me a while to dig into them. I'm glad to have a serious Christian perspective on this, and particularly one that comes from a culture that is less permissive than what we have here in the U.S.

Darleen: how do you feel about adoption of children by heterosexual couples? How much is lost there, other than breastfeeding/superior knowledge of one's genetic risk factors for certain diseases?

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 10, 2008 07:51 PM

This will be my last post on this topic. For the record Darleen I have offered 8 citations in support of my opinion. You have offered none. You only offer your opinion as evidence in support of your opinion. But nevertheless I give up. And as far as the TS thing being a red herring? Not in my world as I AM a FTM TS so the passage pf prop8 directly impacts my ability to marry even though I am not a homosexual. So, although only approximately 2% of the population can be said to have gender dysphoria, 2% of 6 Billion is still a sizeable number of people. But as I said. I give up. Uncle.

Posted by: Jack Watt at November 11, 2008 01:14 PM

Hey, Attila, take your time. I read your blog during working hours. :)

Thing is, I understand how powerful sexual urges are. Oh, yes, I do. And I would never have the intestinal fortitude to become a monk or Catholic priest. The vow of chastity would be a killer, even if I could remain celibate.

I admit I cannot understand gay men. Especially those who are attracted to the macho type of man. I understand the attraction of the tasteful-makeup-wearing, swishy, willowy-type body, androgynous, lean and soft - well, let's just say that I get completely.

Strangely enough, I also get muscular women (as you know, Attila :)). Although, not Madonna-type. I don't wanna dig up old history, but you hear Guy describing her as a piece of gristle? Jeez, I've heard of messy divorces, but that one gotta be close to pretty bad.

Not to say that I'd ever actually bone anyone other than a (hopefully) fertile woman. Because I get them all too well too. Heh. But when you're as close to omnisexual as I am (and really, I suspect most guys are), freedom of choice can also mean freedom from choice.

Posted by: Gregory at November 12, 2008 12:09 AM

I really appreciate the link! This is a very important discussion, and your insights are excellent.

Posted by: Eric Scheie at November 17, 2008 08:43 PM

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