WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A constitutional ban on same-sex marriage failed to pass the Senate on Wednesday but Republican leaders planned to take it up in the House, keeping a national spotlight on the divisive issue.
Great ... let's take it to the House now and waste more time, energy and resources pushing discrimination and division!
The 49 to 48 vote fell short of the 60 votes needed to end debate, thwarting President George W. Bush and the mostly Republican senators who argued that the Constitution must be amended to prevent judges from striking down existing state-level bans on gay marriage. Democrats said the vote was an attempt to muster conservative support ahead of the November congressional elections and divert public attention from more pressing issues like the war in Iraq ...
Susan, I can understand why you believe this legislation is discriminatory, but I do hope that you understand that for others, about 51% of Americans by recent polling, marriage should be for one man and one woman. I can only speak for myself as to why I agree with the majority: because God made us male and female and gave us marriage between a male and a female.
Let's acknowledge openly that marriage has ALWAYS been discriminatory. It's the very essence of marriage to create a framework of honor and benefits to a couple who agree to stay together so that the maximum number of people have the benefit of both a mother and father. It's clearly in society's interest to discriminate in this way. The word "discrimination" has a negative connotation but there are many other forms of legitimate discrimination; for instance, I'm a disabled war veteran who once got a federal job in preference to other candidates. Society makes that kind of discrimination legal so that the country can be defended. Marriage is more than an agreement between two people; it's an agreement between them and the rest of society, and on that agreement rests the whole stability of society. It would be especially foolish to offer the same benefits for relationships that are demonstrably health-reducing and life-shortening.
tony ... and with all due respect the poll numbers on integrating public schools in 1954 would probably have been in the same ballpark as the poll numbers on marrriage equality are in 2006. Equal protection is equal protection. I will defend to my last breath your freedom to express your understanding of God's will for Christian marriage: can you not see that it is contrary to upholding the civil liberties of all Americans that your perspective -- even if the majority -- should be allowed to discriminate against a minority?
jfmckenna -- tell that to the lesbian couple who just celebrated their 30th anniversary with a renewal of vows service here at All Saints last week. Strong marriages make a strong society. No argument there.
So let's have as many of them as possible and do all we can to support them -- let's look at the values that make up a marriage, not the gender of the partners who commit themselves to one another, and for God's sake let's stop reducing complex human relationships to simple sex acts.
The landscape is littered with the tombstones of people who have been encouraged to enter into such relationships. My great grandfather was a smoker and lived to be 100. So what? People wised up about the fact that cigarettes kill many times the people each year than have auto accidents. The same is true of homosexual behavior. As an encourager of dangerous behavior, you're like a one-woman tobacco company.
Attacking Rev. Susan personally is beneath the dignity of a real Christian, mckenna. All you are doing is spurring us on with your vehement but trulty weak attacks on her character and ministry, and that of others who post in favor of equal rights for all under the Constitution, and for the baptized in Christ.
You sound like a very unhappy person and I am sorry for your state of mind. May Christ be pleased to heal you and bring you joy in His grace and love.
If there is some way to protect those who are rushing into this catastrophic life, committing slow-motion suicide, with no one raising a peep about it, then what would that be? I work with inner city kids who have no fathers. You should hear some about some of the pain! This affirmation of homosexual behavior is just one of about five ways that society is abandoning its commitment to supporting intact families. Am I an unhappy person about this? You bet I am! It's time some others were too.
jf*ck: Does anyone WANT to be in communion with this jerk? Does anyone think there is any difference between him and the rest of Religious Reich? Only in the since that if you put lipstick on a pig, you've got a pig wearing lipstick.
I think there's this thing called "seperation of church and state." Someone's theology that God made us male and female as the basis for marriage should not have any bearing on the legal definition of marriage.
A friend of mine who's on Wayne Besen's mailing list sent me this. It's creepy the influence the "ex-gay" ministries have had on the marriage issue.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2006
NEW ORGANIZATION LAUNCHES TO BATTLE RIGHT-WING LIES AND 'EX-GAY'
Truth Wins Out Launch Features Teen Victim Of 'Ex-Gay' Boot Camp
WASHINGTON - A new group that will battle so-called "ex-gay" programs
held a press conference today highlighting the stories of "ex-gay"
victims the same week President Bush stood beside a leader of an ex-gay
ministry inside the White House.
On Tuesday, Bush included Alan Chambers, the leader of Exodus
International, in his press conference endorsing a the Federal Marriage
Amendment, which would rewrite the U.S. Constitution to prohibit
"With the president embracing the leader of the ex-gay ministries,
there has never been a more crucial time to expose the faith-based
folly of these harmful programs," Truth Wins Out's Executive Director,
Wayne Been, said today at the National Press Club.
The event featured Lance Carroll, 18, forced to attend an "ex-gay" boot
camp in Tennessee after he came out to his parents. Carroll relayed his
negative experience in this program and stated that none of his fellow
ex-gay attendees had actually changed.
"While I was there, it just seemed to make people more depressed and
self-loathing than they already were," explained Carroll. "I went
through several of these depressive periods."
Besen said that he felt it was the right time to launch TWO because
ex-gays are already in the White House and are now trying to get into
"Ex-gay groups have teamed up with Rev. Jerry Farwell's lawyers to sue
schools that do not include so-called 'ex-gays' in Diversity Day
seminars," explained Besen. "We can't sit by while these right wing
extremists put children at great risk. TWO will be on the front lines
ensuring that students will not be indoctrinated with false and
Dr. Stuart Sotsky, MD, spoke at the press conference about how all
respected mental health organizations call "conversion therapy" a
dangerous practice. Sotsky is a clinical professor at George Washington
University Medical School.
Susan Stanskas discussed how she originally bought into right-wing
promises when her son came out, nearly splitting apart her family.
Having eventually seen through the right's deceit, she now has a close
relationship with her son and is an advocate for gay and lesbian
Nick Cavnar was married for more than thirty years, struggling with his
sexuality in an ex-gay program in Michigan. He also was the editor of
New Covenant, the official magazine for The Word of God religious
community in Michigan, where his own ex-gay testimony appeared in 1981.
At age 50, he came out of the closet and is now is in a three year
relationship with his partner.
Scott Melendez talked about his experience in Homosexuals Anonymous
while living in Phoenix. He said he left the program after it was clear
none of the leaders had been "healed" after many years of struggle. The
leader of that group, Colin Cook, resigned for having sex with his
Mark Perriello discussed his involvement with an Exodus ministry in
Boston. "Nobody wanted to be straight more than I did and it just
didn't work," he said at TWO's press event. Perriello came out after he
saw that the ex-gay ministries were ineffective and harmed a great many
TWO is an organization that combats right wing misinformation
campaigns, exposes the ex-gay myth and educates America about GLBT
What matters isn't that people convert over to being heterosexuals but that we all have compassion enough to give people a chance to live without life-threatening behaviors.
This is a terrific photo representing the unity of many diverse groups in America that know the FMA was a piece of discriminatory and bigoted Republican pandering to the radical right-wing base of the President's party.
Thank you Susan, for being there, doing the wind sprint, and representing Integrity and its members. And thank you for sharing your impression of the Mall and all it meant to you as an American and a mom, thinking of her son, and knowing why we stand up and fight for the rights of all, though many have no clue as to what is really going on regarding our freedoms. I think of him and all who are now fighting to do what? Make a costly impression and kill our women and men in uniform?
I continue to pray for your son's safety. Thank you for thinking and commiting yourself to something worth dying for, the rights of all under our Constitution, with liberty and justice for ALL.
Susan, many blacks believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and totally resent your use of the civil rights movement for something that they consider wrong and in no way a protected civil liberty.
tony ... yep ... and many like Coretta Scott King and Julian Bond stand with us and see it as part of the same struggle.
McKenna, I'd like to address a couple of fallacies in your arguments, which seem to commonly crop up in the anti-gay arguments of religious conservatives:
1. "Children are healthier/happier/best-served by having a mother and a father in the home, as demonstrated by studies of children who have been abandoned by one parent or the other. This means that children of gay parents, by definition, will not be as healthy/happy/well-served as those of straight, married parents."
The American Academy of Pediatrics, after extensive study of the issue, has determined that children raised by same-gendered parents are equally as healthy and well-adjusted as children raised by opposite-gendered parents. Studies which review the well-being of children in single-parent homes where one parent (often the father, as you point out) has abandoned the family can in no way be extrapolated as having any bearing on the issue of children raised in a loving, nurturing, healthy two-parent home where both parents are of the same gender. Your attempt to do so is disingenuous, at best. The studies to date (which are quite extensive and have been conducted over the course of the past 30 years or so) demonstrate clearly that the gender of the parents is not of particular importance to the health and well-being of the children.
2. "Gay relationships are health-reducing and life-shortening."
There is absolutely no way that you can support this statement. If you are referring to AIDS/HIV, surely you recognize that it is an epidemic that affects both homosexuals and heterosexuals alike? In Africa, where the infection rates are astronomical and the death-toll devastating, heterosexuals are the primary group affected. Does this prove that the "heterosexual lifestyle" is "demonstrably health-reducing and life-shortening?" Should heterosexuality be banned? Should heterosexual marriage be rescinded as "non-beneficial" to society? Ridiculous.
Committed, monogamous relationships (along with safer sexual practices to prevent the spread of all STDs) are key in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and protecting the health and longevity of individuals and society. To encourage such relationships for one group (heterosexuals) while discouraging them for another group (homosexuals) demonstrates a clear bias and a devaluation by society of the latter group. Obviously, homosexuals are seen as expendable, otherwise society would go to the same lengths to encourage health-sustaining and socially-stabilizing committed relationships among homosexuals as we do among heterosexuals.
Being gay isn't what kills people. Unsafe sexual behavior of any kind, gay or straight, is what kills people. Discrimination and homophobia are what kills people.
I'm a little late to the show here, but responding to the very first post...
I get that 51% of folks want marriage to be between a man and a woman. That's great. They can get married to someone of the opposite sex.
But I think that one of the problems here that we've had to try to overcome is that because I want the ability to marry someone of the same gender doesn't mean that you have to picture yourself doing the same thing.
Its sort of like swimming. If I can't swim, I might be afraid of the water. Its one thing for me to be afraid of the water and not go in it. It is quite another thing for me to decide that because I don't swim that nobody else should either.
Of course swimming is different because it is a choice. But the comparison between this ridiculous extreme to marriage is no different. Just because you don't want to marry someone of the same gender doesn't make it ok for you or anyone else to prevent me from marrying someone of the same gender. Remember - we are talking about a strictly secular law here, not about which marriages churches will or won't endorse. God has nothing to do with a secular discussion in a country with separation of church and state, with freedom of religion, with freedom of religious oppression.
That is why this country was founded-- for those who were unable to practice their religion freely could do so without interference by the government. To use "God gave us marriage between a man and a woman" as an argument in a secular discussion recreates that embedded religion in government that we escaped over 200 years ago.
I disagree that marriage has always been as discriminatory as it is now.
The definition of marriage has been very fluid over time. Susan or somebody else is better versed in the history of the institution of marriage then I am. But I know enough to know that marriage was so non-discriminatory at one point that I wouldn't have been comfortable with it-- it allowed a man to go out and pick out many wives. Now that's inclusive. At least for the man. Not sure about inclusive for the woman...
My point is this- your post is based on a flawed premise rooted solely in your own cultural and historical context.
It is not indicative of the accurate representation of marriage throughout history and time, nor is your definition of "discrimination" indicitive of the protections for the classes of underprivileged peoples they were so set aside to protect.
I am in one of those classes of peoples.
I think you are exactly dead on in this one thing-- society does define classes of people who are the "least of these" so that the country's overall interests are served. GLBT people are one of those classes of people. We are some of the "least of these."
I pray that you, as one of those protected classes of people, will also come to understand that.
Jeff, and if I were a libertarian, I would agree with you. But, I'm a Christian who believes that God has the last word on these issues and that society is best when it operates closest to God's design. God's design is male and female when it comes to marriage. If American society wants to go the libertarian route that is one thing. But I will continue to work and hope that we can as close as possible keep those vestiges of the classic Christian vision. I do so not because I want America to be a theocracy, but because I believe that they serve us best as a society.
I think the point of separation of church and state is exactly to prevent what you are describing- the imposition of your view that you know what God wants.
I believe God sees things differently on the definition of marriage, and I also acknowledge that there is no way to prove it. I have only my faith, and that is not enough for me to make law upon, to force others into action.
Because ultimately, there is no way for us to know- to prove.
The beauty of religious freedom is not designed to keep God out of secular law, but to ensure that the fundamental fact that it is based on faith and not truth, trust and not knowledge, does not cloud our judgement when dealing with each other.
That is why we must err on the side of freedom and not restriction, the side of rights for the minority instead of mob rule by the majority, by looking out for the people who are most likely to get trampled on just because somebody believes they are on God's side. God is on everybody's side. How then can we be bold enough to legislate something on God's behalf?
Jeff, I find it interesting that you find it necessary to take basically a non-Christian approach to this question. You have argued that separation of church and state means that Christian values should not matter in civil affairs. But why should religious values be kept out of the public square? So that you can have gay marriage? So that you can impose what you think God wants in the name of religious freedom? I maintain that your position is libertarian and not remotely Christian. God is on everyone's side, and God wants everyone to repent and come to Him on His terms, not to make it up for ourselves on our terms.
Tony, the point is not, as you put it, to "keep religious values out of the public square." Nor is anyone suggesting that "Christian values should not matter in civil affairs." The point is that there are basic values that are shared by Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists alike -- values like not murdering, not stealing, respecting the dignity and rights of our fellow human beings. Those shared values are the values that we bring to our government and to our laws and to our public square. The individual prohibitions and restrictions of any given religion, on the other hand, are to be practiced faithfully by the adherents of that religion, but not imposed by law upon the other members of society, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. This is the meaning of the "separation of church and state." NOT that state and church share NONE of the same values, but that those values are determined by what we all can agree upon, namely, that we do not harm our fellow citizens, we do not encroach upon their property and we do not inhibit their rights by imposing our own personal beliefs and values upon them.
Let me offer an example. Strictly observant Jews and Muslims do not believe in eating pork. Pigs are unclean to them and to touch or consume pork or other porcine products is an abomination.
Should Jews or Muslims in public office attempt to pass laws banning pig farming? Should they attempt to legislate that local grocery stores not be allowed to carry pig products on their shelves? Do you see Muslims and Jews in your community agitating their senators and representatives to pass such laws? Do Rabbis and Imams urge their congregants to campaign against the rights of those who eat pork?
No. Jews and Muslims who are observant about such dietary restrictions observe them for themselves, for their own religious well-being. They keep kosher homes. They do not attempt to force their neighbors to become kosher, or attempt to force the government to enforce kosher upon the state or nation.
Laws of the state and federal government should be determined by one principle: Demonstrable Harm. When instituting a new law (or judicially reviewing an existing law), this principle is applied. Who is being harmed by the thing we are attempting to outlaw? Also, who might be harmed by outlawing whatever it is we wish to outlaw?
This is the only valid principle to use in legislating our society. If we do not follow this principle, then the beliefs of some will be allowed to overrun the rights of others.
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