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"The Gay Species"
That's the name of a wise commenter on a post at one of the sites I visit often, Overlawyered.com. He's responding to a post on the gay marriage ban -- or, rather, legislated discrimination via the Federal marriage amendment:

Some of these comments illustrate the absurdities of the Amendment and its advocates. But this claim: "force gay marriage on everyone" is total folly.

First, marriage is not orientation-specific, except by law that makes it privileged. Marriage, qua marriage, is simply marriage, neither gay nor straight, green or blue, black or white, religious or secular, but is itself its own genus of a legal institution.

In a pluralistic liberal democracy, "inclusion" would replace "exclusion," otherwise nothing changes. Rather than "closing" the privilege to straights only, inclusive-marriage would "open" marriage to include gays and lesbians. That would materially affect gays and lesbians currently excluded, but would have no impact on straights already included.

Only special-interest laws through tyrany of the majority give marriage its character of "exclusion" for "straight only." This situation is entirely analogous to "white only" facilities during segregation, or "paying members only" with respect to country clubs.

"Opening membership" to include others previously excluded does nothing to existent members. Certainly, the existent members are not "forced" into anything, save perhaps fairness, equality, and justice.

So, the preposterous notion that "gay marriage" is being "forced on the rest of us" is entirely incoherent nonsense. Rather, marriage, presently restricted, like segregation and many country club memberships, would be "opened" to include, rather than "closed" to exclude, without "forcing" anyone into anything, and certainly not altering existent privileges. The only change is embracing a wider constituency to share in America's promise.

Two guys or gals marrying would have no impact on the guy-gal model already in play, and the notion of anyone being "forced into gay marriage," a totally incoherent and vacuous phrase, is as ludicrous as it is absurd. Sadly, this kind of incoherent, irrational, and privileged thinking remains stubbornly persistent as it is thoroughly impoverished.

Even worse, arrogantly preferring exclusion over inclusion is the antithesis of equal application and due process, by privileging the dominant class over the dominated class, repudiates basic American principles and thereby undermines all Americans' access to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Blacks, poor, atheists, and queers know this perversion of thought only too well. We are no longer content to tolerate it.

The Gay Species' blog can be found here. The blogger is D. Stephen Heersink, who describes himself as a "Gay, Classical Liberal, Humanist, Philosopher, Evolutionist, Graduate U.C. Berkeley and Mills College, and Retired Capitalist."

SF mayor Gavin Newsom on the Federal marriage amendment here. I suspect Newsom's somewhat responsible for getting George Bush elected. Not that he was wrong to push for gay marriage, just that he should have done it the right way, by going through the courts.

Posted by aalkon at July 14, 2006 11:07 AM

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Comments

Why favorite argument to lay on people is, "Civil unions? Great idea...I mean, we all know how well separate but equal worked out."

Posted by: Brenda at July 14, 2006 7:08 AM

I'm in favor of civil unions, but for everyone, gay or straight. Let's really get back to separation of church and state: civil unions would provide the legal status that marriage currently does, then whomever wants the blessings of their particular deity can get have a church/temple/clearing-in-the-woods wedding (which confers no legal status on its own).

Posted by: deja pseu at July 14, 2006 7:14 AM

"I'm in favor of civil unions, but for everyone, gay or straight."

And I'm in favor of interesting blog discussions. Is it really time for another run through the whole gay marriage issue?

Is anyone reading anything interesting or entertaining this summer? How about food? Make anything tasty lately?

Posted by: Lena Cuisina (Shallow, Impatient Homosexual) at July 14, 2006 7:33 AM

I'm with Lena- let's have an open mike day. Or a secret confession day, using the name "x"...


Posted by: eric at July 14, 2006 8:00 AM

Well, they're voting on the amendment in the House on Tuesday:

http://www.family.org/cforum/extras/a0041232.cfm

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 14, 2006 8:03 AM

I picked up a used copy of "Naked" by David Sedaris recently, and I think I'm gonna bring it along on a flight to Boston this Sunday. I've never read anything by him before.

Posted by: Lena at July 14, 2006 8:14 AM

I lost my British Airways Visa card somewhere...

I'm going to a bachelor party tonight.

Posted by: eric at July 14, 2006 8:25 AM

What is this, Mutiny On The Bounty?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 14, 2006 8:30 AM

Mutiny on The Bounty with Brando is one of my 3 favorite movies.

The meth-head I have been talking about just spent the weekend water-skiing at the expense of Washington state. Part of their treatment is being shown "the clean way of life". I am really pissed off about that, and my wife and I are fighting like cats and dogs over it.

Your blog has been getting lots of hits lately Amy- it seems like a real uptick. Congrats- you're doing a great job.

Posted by: eric at July 14, 2006 8:36 AM

GAME ON
----------

> marriage is not orientation-
> specific

QED/Says you/begging the question. This is the point under discussion. When you start your argument with such a naked, brainless refutation of your opponent's base position, you can't be surprised when they don't agree. The guy is either senselessly arrogant or blind to logic.

> except by law that makes
> it privileged.

Of course! Marriage isn't anything but a contract. But it binds couples to societies, and not just individuals to each other, so society gets some stipulations.

> in pluralistic liberal
> democracy, "inclusion"
> would replace "exclusion,"

Amy, we're in the third graph, and already this is sounding like a campfire folk song (after dinner cleanup but before s'mores.)

> Rather than "closing" the
> privilege to straights only,
> inclusive-marriage would
> "open" marriage to
> include gays and lesbians

The use of quotation marks is tellingly glib. This guy really thinks he's an oracle of truth from a parallel dimension.

And of course, marriage is presently open to straights, gays and lesbians alike.

> save perhaps fairness,
> equality, and justice.

Teenage smugness on that scale deserves a ferocious, wounding slapback. Don't mind if I do.

> should have done it the
> right way, by going
> through the courts.

Oh for Chrissake, I'm embarrassed for you! You plainly admit you have no tools of persuasion that would work in the legislative realm. This may have been the worst legacy of the Roe vs Wade: It's taught generations of political cowards that this is how things are done.

Locally:

> all know how well separate
> but equal worked out.

Maybe the American South's water coolers of two or three generations ago and the fundamental human social bond are not analogous.

> Let's really get back to
> separation of church and
> state:

Were we ever there in earlier times? In a culture you'd have wanted to live in?

> civil unions would provide
> the legal status that
> marriage currently does

That's a pretty lopsided compromise.... Good luck selling it.

> church/temple/clearing-in-
> the-woods wedding (which
> confers no legal status
> on its own).

Aren't we kinda there?

> I'm in favor of interesting
> blog discussions.

So say something interesting.

Ah, back in the saddle again!

Posted by: Crid at July 14, 2006 8:41 AM

Guess what I picked up this week, Eric...

Copies of American Beauty and Workingman's Dead. Oh my, it's been heavenly.

Posted by: Lena at July 14, 2006 8:56 AM

Send me your address via email Lena. I will send you a couple new CD's that you'll like if you like the Dead. I'm in a Bob Dylan/Kelly Joe Phelps mode these last few days. I've been spending a fortune downloading music lately. Neil Youngs new album was a major dissappointment.

They just re-released In The Dark, so let me know if you don't have that one. It's got two versions of Touch of Gray...

Posted by: eric at July 14, 2006 9:12 AM

Marissa Tormei is on Sesame Street this morning! She reminds me of my "special purpose". I bet the number of the day is going to be "8". I want to squish Elmo every time he talks.


Posted by: eric at July 14, 2006 9:17 AM

In order for something to be banned, didn't it have to be allowed at some point? I'm fine with it (if you're dumb enough to get married, the rest is just details), but I'm sick of hearing how it's "banned."

Posted by: Jim Treacher at July 14, 2006 10:18 AM

To ban means to "officially or legally prohibit." You can ban nursing home residents from skateboarding in the halls, for example. The fact that they have yet to skateboard in the halls won't stop you.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 14, 2006 10:27 AM

Hey, you're the one likening gay marriage to something nobody in their right mind would ever do, not me! ;) But seriously, something about "ban" just doesn't sound right to me.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at July 14, 2006 10:39 AM

We allow people to marry in this country. We should allow gay people to marry. I'm sorry for all you wacky religious nuts out there, but if your church wants to refrain from marrying gays, fine. Church doctrine should have no basis in civil life. It certainly shouldn't be used to deny people rights.

PS, Treach...What am I likening gay marriage to that nobody would ever do?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 14, 2006 10:46 AM

How about food? Make anything tasty lately?


You bet. Last night I made pork rillettes. Today it'll be cannelini bean salad. Tomorrow, a mediterranean dish called rouille de seiche (think very garlicky and somewhat cognaccy squid). All this in aid of a Bastille Day party on our deck, one day late.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at July 14, 2006 11:14 AM

I won't enter into a heterosexual marriage until gay marriage is legalized. And when it is, I shall then come up with another excuse as to why I can't get married. I will repeat this, ad nauseum, until I die. Mwhahaha....take that, matrimony!
Seriously though, this issue, like so many others being decided on the basis of religious beliefs, really pisses me off. You think abortions are evil? Fine, don't get one. Think gay marriage is sinful? Fine, don't do it. Think the Sabbath should be kept? Keep it! But your "right" to enforce your beliefs ends with you and you alone. The fundanutters seem to think that Gawd Alllllmighty has somehow endowed them and them alone with the moral authority to decide what everyone else should do. I really want to be taken through the step-by-step thought process that someone goes through in deciding that they are not only right, but also get to impose their beliefs on others. The mind, it boggles.

Posted by: amh18057 at July 14, 2006 11:21 AM

"What am I likening gay marriage to that nobody would ever do?"

Nursing home residents skateboarding in the halls? It was in an earlier comment.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at July 14, 2006 1:32 PM

I made pork medallions with Grand Marnier/mint glaze last night. Delicious.

I am currently rereading a favorite childhood series by Edward Eager. It's too bloody hot in my neck of the woods for anything deeper.

That said, playing semantics doesn't make exclusionary laws stemming from religious bigotry right.

Oh, and Jim, you'd be surprised at some of the stuff that happens in nursing homes. Remember, not all of the residents are old, and even some of the oldest can be pretty spry.

Posted by: Kimberly at July 14, 2006 1:52 PM

I just had swordfish with a balsamic/wine/capers reduction. Perfection!

My plan now is to find a piece of cheesecake.

Posted by: Lena at July 14, 2006 2:14 PM

This:

> We should allow gay people to marry.

Is what Kimberly means by:

> playing semantics.

Because gays can already get married, can't they? There's a reason that GM proponents don't spell out what they have in mind, and it's precisely the same reason Amy dreams of doing this through judicial boombshell rather than legistative ground war.

> Think gay marriage is sinful?
> Fine, don't do it.

So you're saying other people won't be compelled to honor gay marriage in realms like public and private finance? I thought the whole point was to insist.

Posted by: Crid at July 14, 2006 2:16 PM

Maybe "the fundamental human bond" and that people are fundamentally human, no matter the race (and sexual orientation, for that matter) are more analogous than you would give credit for.

"Separate but equal" meant that people could segregated, as long as the facilities were equal. "Civil unions" are supposed to be like, what, marriages, but only for homosexuals. Separate, but we'll let you have equal benefits. Right. I'm sure that's exactly how it will work. If you remember your middle school history class, that was knocked down, because separate was "inherently unequal." I don't remember what justice wrote that. Now, as long as we're playing with semantics, I get that "separation" and "differentiation" or whatever you'd like to call a noun form of what allowing homosexuals civil unions are two different terms, but I think in both cases, we could see that it's inherently unequal.

And I think what was plainly obvious from what amh said was that people who don't like gay marriage can either not marry or marry someone of the opposite sex. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what people mean, most of the time.

And I think deja pseu is right on, but unfortunately, it would never happen.

Posted by: Brenda at July 14, 2006 3:51 PM

I'm about to make this real boring by pointing out one very real difference between civil unions and marriages - taxes.

Ever since Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, the Feds won't recognize anything other than a man-woman diad as a marriage, EVEN IF a state (hello, Massachussets) does. So if you're a couple where one partner stays home with the kids and you happen to be gay, you are incapable of receiving the benefit of filing joint returns (typically a larger standardized deduction). Of course, if both of you are making money, you won't have to suffer through the marriage "penalty" either.

So, strictly from a tax standpoint - civil unions are actually more preferable if both partners make money. You still obtain the benefit (curse?) of community property rights as well as the same estate and survivorship rights as a married person and you likely pay less taxes. Now go ahead and laugh at your straight friends who toil away to pay more to Uncle Sam and their ungrateful children!

Assuming MA remains a state where gays can legally marry (and assuming other states follow suit), there lies the seeds for a serious constitutional challenge to the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. To whit, where exactly in the Constitution does it say the Federal Government has the power to regulate marriage? Not even the ever-expansive commerce clause would seem to cover this one.

Posted by: snakeman99 at July 14, 2006 4:05 PM

Brenda -

It was Chief Justice Warren who wrote the opinion in Brown v. Board of Education. Argued by Thurgood Marshall before his own days as a Supreme.

Posted by: snakeman99 at July 14, 2006 4:09 PM

Oh, and Jim, you'd be surprised at some of the stuff that happens in nursing homes. Remember, not all of the residents are old, and even some of the oldest can be pretty spry.

Hey, it wasn't my analogy.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at July 14, 2006 4:32 PM

Actually, Crid, THIS is what Kimberly means by semantics:

>And of course, marriage is presently open to >straights, gays and lesbians alike.

Marriage as defined by one man/one woman is open to anyone. Marriage as a legal union between two consenting adults is not.
There are states where it is legal for 13 and 14 year olds to marry. I have trouble seeing how that's reasonable to people, but adult homosexuals doing the same isn't.

Posted by: Kimberly at July 14, 2006 5:20 PM


> It doesn't take a genius to figure out what
> people mean, most of the time.

And yet you're so resistant to being blunt.

> Marriage as defined by one man/one
> woman is open to anyone.

By golly, I think you're almost there! You're trying to change the meaning of marriage, and it behooves you to say so in as many words.

Posted by: Crid at July 14, 2006 7:02 PM

Resistant to being blunt? Hmm, half right, maybe. I did delete the paragraph I wrote about your saddle being on the horse outside K-Mart, but I thought I was being respectful.

When a person can't utter a normal sentence without some...um, respect or bluntness?...respect...person taking what they say and turning it around into something that anybody with an IQ about 20 can figure out was not the intended meaning, one must use longer sentences, in order to sew up any holes. I think I made my position quite clear, and I think that I've been plenty blunt. If you need any clarification, just let me know. And I'll use small, but descriptive, "blunt" words, so there is no miscommunication.

Posted by: Brenda at July 14, 2006 7:08 PM

This is like global warming... People love to give lip service, but actual concern is (rightly) minimal. But it sure is fun to call people religious fanatics, or bigoted, or what have you.

> before his own days as a Supreme.

Did you ever read the Woodward book about the court? There's a wonderful scene in an elevator.

Posted by: Crid at July 14, 2006 10:24 PM

At a cafe in West Hollywood tonight, I ordered a blackened chicken panini. The waiter asked me if I'd like the chicken to be pressed. I replied, "Oh, are you offering to sit on it?"

Posted by: Lena at July 14, 2006 11:02 PM

Why should marriage be limited to one man and one woman? Because religious fanatics say so? They're free to limit themselves to that arrangement, but why should they be allowed to limit the rest of us?

Religious fanatics believe in unproven crap and try to force it onto the rest of us. What would be a better name for them? Surely, anything correct would need to be derogatory.

And why is concern over global warming "(rightly) minimal"?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 14, 2006 11:16 PM

> Religious fanatics

Not everyone who disagrees with, even the religious ones, is a religious fanatic. Seriously, what was the last piece of big-time fanaticism you saw on the streets of LA?


> concern over global warming

You're a gal who like charts and graphs and thinking about scientists, right?

http://tinyurl.com/zc6an

Posted by: Crid at July 15, 2006 6:44 PM

Thank you, Brenda. Why I try to argue with people who would rather twist my words than listen to them, I haven't the foggiest.

Back to food and books. Tonight it's London broil in red wine sauce. No waiter to sit on it, though. And no hired hands to do the dishes, either, darn it.

I think my book for the night is "Hop On Pop". Ah, the joys of motherhood.

Posted by: Kimberly at July 15, 2006 8:02 PM

Technically, gay people can get married, A gay guy can get married to a lesbian, no problem! Hmmm, am I missing a point here?
Ahhh, I crack myself up. (I joke. I know what the issue is.) My $0.02: Personally I think there are, for me at least, large paralells between the gqy marriage issue and the abortion issue. In my worldview both are sinful. Which means *I* wouldn't get married to another woman or get an abortion. But I do not approve of a federal marriage amendment (nor for that matter do I think abortion should be banned - let people sort out that moral conundrum for themselves). I think the 50%+ divorce rate is a much bigger threat to marriage than a couple of guys who love each other.

I made 40 Clove Chicken for dinner tonight. As in 40 cloves of garlic - yum!

As far as books go, I am currently reading Lex Luthor: Man of Steel and It's a Bird for my graphic novel book club. The former is a semi-autobiographical tale that gets a little repetetive. The latter is an interesting look at the failings of humanist philosophy.

I'm also reading the Japanese series James Clavell (this'll take all summer), Nasty Bits by Antohny Boudain, The Outlaw Bible of American Literature, The Golden Apples of the Sun, Cryptonimicon, and some non-fiction about Pirates. This is what happens when someone with ADD turns into a Reader.

Posted by: LXV at July 16, 2006 10:37 PM

"In my worldview both are sinful."

Um...why?

Two people love each other, they want to commit to each other, they want to avail themselves of the same legal protections many others avail themselves of...where's the wrong in that?

A sin? YOU consider it a sin, or you've been told it's a sin, and you never really gave it much original thought?

I think it's sick that people consider gay love sinful. Sick, depraved, and disgusting is the description for people who think of it as wrong. I consider it horrifying that they just trot out, "Oh, it's a sin," without thinking they're saying something terribly ugly (not to mention, baseless).

How can you say gay love is wrong?

Who told you it was?

Why did they say so?

Did you consider their motives before you just believed what they told you?

If I tell you that you should give me $100, and I'm wearing a serious looking religious garment at the time, will you obey me without question?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 16, 2006 11:51 PM

> Sick, depraved, and disgusting.

Do you hear the accelerating weirdness of your characterization?

Posted by: Mark at July 18, 2006 12:25 AM

Luckily, I have the power of editorial license, so I made it clearer that I'm talking about the people who find it a sin.

How weird that anybody gets all bent out of shape about how other people are having sex. I just hope people are having it, as I believe it's one of the best preventatives of road rage.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 18, 2006 5:56 AM

Cheat! Blogdom's greatest transgression, the flattering rewrite!

You she-devil.

Posted by: Crid at July 18, 2006 8:12 PM

Why, thank you!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 18, 2006 10:30 PM

You're a fucking idiot

Posted by: Crusader at July 28, 2006 5:20 AM

Well, apparently, your tiny homophobic brain doesn't permit you to say any more than that. Not a surprise. Irrational fear and hate takes up a lotta space, huh?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 28, 2006 8:01 AM

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