the culture wars continue…
…and the bad guys are winning big. The bans on gay marriage in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah also prohibit any type of legal civil union arrangements for same-sex couples.
The people of those eight states have now successfully wiped their collective ass with their states’ constitutions.
All over those states, and all over our other states, there are thousands of gay couples who have lived together in committed, monogamous relationships for years or even decades. They contribute to the economy and to charity. Sometimes they adopt and raise children who go on to become productive members of society as well. They respect other people’s privacy and ask generally ask little more from society but that others respect theirs. Many of them even worship in the same churches as their “normal” neighbors.
And those neighbors divorce each other at staggering rates. They watch garbage TV like Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire. And they play their little game of Judge Thy Neighbor. They go to the polls to tell a group of their fellow citizens that they can never be, in the eyes of the state, what they truly are in eyes of any rational man, woman, or God: a married couple.
This morally repulsive act of mass bigotry was accomplished via the electoral process. Record numbers of voters came to the polls in those eight states and made it happen in a systematic, orderly fashion. This is actually what a majority of them want, and this is what they have done.
So it seems to me tonight that America is not broken. Americans are.
Mary | November 17th, 2004 at 3:26 pm
You are complicating the issue. It is simple. Gay people are human beings and should enjoy the same rights everyone else has…..period! I voted No on measure 36 in Oregon. The whole campaign was run "religiously". You will burn in hell for eternity if you vote with the "gay people". As I’ve said before, you can’t legislate morality. Hitler tried to, so did Stalin. I can add Dumbya’s name to that list now. Watch and see.
Justin | November 12th, 2004 at 11:29 pm
Bunker–I don’t want to get into a discussion of rhetoric, but I can’t help it. My point was that using the term "fundamentalist" in a discussion of sexuality was not a good term to use for the very reason that it strongly leads one to draw a parrallel between homosexuals and religous fundamentalists, the people who actually coined the term. I may have drawn my own conslusions, but your language led me there espeically in context of the debate. If you didn’t want me to think of Christian fundamentalists, I would have suggested that you use another term to desribe the Gay Pride Paraders. I think your later use of the word "exhibitionist" was much better.
In respect to Mardi Gras, my point there was exactly what you stated, "Mardi Gras has little impact on anything or anyone’s thinking. It is virtually ignored." I simply find it amusing that a celebration (to mark the beginning of a religous season, btw) where exhibition is the expected and tolerated norm has little impact. I didn’t recall any measures on any state ballots this election banning any of the things that go on at Mardi Gras. My personal opinion is that the reason why this is the case is that the exhibition is mainly of a hetrosexual nature.
Of course, you then say "And nobody is using it as a demonstration to change minds." True. I don’t think anyone is using Mardi Gras to change minds. It’s just a bunch of people blowing off steam and having a good time, right?
While I am no expert in what goes on at every Gay Pride Parade, I have been to one of the country’s biggest in New York City and two or three in Seattle, WA. For the most part, I would say that they too, were just a bunch of people blowing off steam and having a good time.
I guess the key difference is that the main revelers were gay.
Now I must address this point: "When you are trying to change society, you must put your best foot forward." I would agree. Moral high ground is often the best platform to mount any attack on the status quo. Jesus helped set that standard. It was reinforced by people like Martin Luther King, Ghandi, and Mother Theresa. I would hope that all people trying to affect any changes in any society (ours or someone else’s) would try to live up to that standard as well. However, as you probably know, that’s a hard standard to live up to. That’s why forgiveness was invented.
And lastly, I would have to disagree that Fundamentalist Christians, unlike other Christains, do very much grappling with their sprituality. I think that what many fundamentalists grapple with is not their own spirituality, but the fact that they feel the rest of the world doesn’t share it with them.
If they did, how do they reconcile war (Jesus didn’t kill anyone)? If they did, how do they reconcile broad condemnations of people who aren’t like them (Jesus was a big fan of turning the other cheek)? I personally see way too many inconsistancies between Fundamentalist Actions and Christian Theology. I am interested to know what spritual grappling led them to these conclusions.
Bunker | November 12th, 2004 at 9:59 pm
I didn’t liken the two, you simply drew your own conclusion. I don’t consider those who stage Gay Pride parades as fundamentalists, but exhibitionists. Whether they are 1% or 100% reflective of the gay community, they reflect badly. I don’t have preconceived notions, but the parades are repulsive.
Mardi Gras has little impact on anything or anyone’s thinking. It is virtually ignored. And nobody is using it as a demonstration to change minds.
When you are trying to change society, you must put your best foot forward.
As to fundamentalist Christians grappling with their spirituality daily–that’s what they do, and what makes them fundamentalists.
Justin | November 11th, 2004 at 6:40 pm
"gays would do well to distance themselves from their own Fundamentaliststhose who stage the outrageous extravaganzas which Gay Pride parades have become"
1) Likening sexual preference to religous preference is shakey. While the analogy is clever, it’s unfair and inaccurate. People have a choice when it comes to religion. Saying there could be Fundamentalist Homosexuals is like saying there could be Fundamentalist Asians.
2) If half as many religous fundamentalist Christians grappled with with their spirituality in the same way that most homosexual people have had to grappple with their sexuality, I’d be willing to bet that there wouldn’t be many fundamentalists anymore.
3) It is not the responsibility of the gay community (or any community for that matter) to ensure that they are percieved ‘properly’. It is the reponsibility of the individual to ensure that their opinion is well informed and to understand that large segments of a population shouldn’t be characterized by the activities of a vocal few. Anyway, I doubt that people start to ‘disagree’ with homosexuality based on what they see people doing at parades. These events really only provide something for people with preconceived notions to point at and say "See what heathens are these!".
4) If Gay Pride Parades are bad PR for homosexuality, Mardi Gras should be real bummer for hetrosexuality.
Mrs. Birdie | November 10th, 2004 at 11:07 pm
The only reason I ask is because the definitions I’ve found are so diverse. They range from a couple that lives together to the exact same as a marriage. How something is officially defined can bring a complete different outlook upon things.
Rob | November 10th, 2004 at 9:54 pm
Bunker, I would definitely agree that American gays have a huge problem that they probably need to deal with in that too many people see them as ALL being the flamboyant caricatures often seen in those parades, or certain film and TV portrayals. The reality is that more of them look and behave like everyone else you see on the street, at work, in the supermarket, etc. (and in fact for many participants in those parades it’s just a one-day-a-year kind of thing). It’s very difficult for them to distance themselves from this outspoken, in-your-face contingent because of their very nature as the quieter, just-let-me-fit-in segment, even though they may actually be much greater in numbers.<br><br>Mrs. B: I’m sure the definitions will only get more muddy the deeper you dig. I should point out that the assertion that "8 of the 11 amendments don’t permit any civil unions" is based on cursory analyses by various news sources, and nothing is really certain until it gets challenged in court anyway. Some of them probably will, some of them won’t. We’ll see…
Mrs. Birdie | November 10th, 2004 at 1:14 pm
I was able to find a site that explained each state, but now I find myself rather confused. There are many different definitions of civil union and I’m not exactly sure which definition is being used to say that they still couldn’t exist. From what I could tell it was the definition that closely relates a civil union to be a common law marriage, but again I’m not sure. I couldn’t find a precise definition in a law dictionary on-line, and my Black’s Law is still in Texas.
Bunker | November 10th, 2004 at 11:25 am
And as most Christians distance themselves from the Fundamentalists, gays would do well to distance themselves from their own Fundamentalists–those who stage the outrageous extravaganzas which Gay Pride parades have become. It doesn’t fit with the Ozzie & Harriet scenario you describe in the post, and that’s what many people see when you say "homosexual."
Rob | November 10th, 2004 at 1:35 am
Certainly not, but pretty much all the ones passing petitions around to get these measures on the ballots are. I believe 7 or 8 of these amendments made it to the ballots by petition rather than being placed there by legislators.
Bunker | November 10th, 2004 at 1:30 am
What is really interesting to me in the vote issue is that Oregon passed an amendment, even though the majority there voted Kerry. The same kind of proposition passed in California several years ago with something like 60% of the vote.
Not everyone voting for such things is an evangelical fundamentalist.
Rob | November 10th, 2004 at 12:56 am
More reference material: here’s a list, on the Washington Post site of exactly how it appeared on the ballots of the 11 states. It does not appear to have links to the full text of the amendments, but some may find it helpful anyway.
Rob | November 10th, 2004 at 12:50 am
Mrs. B: the best place to start trying is the top-level website for each state. If they don’t have a pretty clear path to it, try googling this string:
+(statename) +"proposed constitutional amendment" +2004
Bunker: good point, I certainly was feeling angry when I wrote the post. Still, I didn’t actually call anyone a fool, and maybe now I can explain better that I do see a real distinction between calling everyone who voted this way a bigot and calling the passage of these amendments an act of mass bigotry. It’s more accurate to say that I feel that genuine bigotry is a factor in getting amendments like these on ballots, and then lots of folks are steered towards voting for them without giving them much thought. You travel in circles of people who write about every issue from many different angles, but that’s not the way most people prepare to vote — yet.
Bunker | November 10th, 2004 at 12:03 am
"There is something to be said for cultural respect," US Representative Barney Frank remarked. "Showing a bit of respect for cultural values with which you disagree is not a bad thing. Don’t call people bigots and fools just because you disagree with them."
Mrs. Birdie | November 9th, 2004 at 8:16 pm
I haven’t been able to find an actual amendment to read over for myself. Do you know where I could look at one?
Leti | November 9th, 2004 at 7:52 pm
Yeehaw!!! I love it when straight guys tell it like it is (not that we gay folk have it wrong, mind you)! I find it interesting that the red states have higher divorce and unwed parent rates than the blue states. Hmm, I suppose some talk the talk, but…
Amy | November 5th, 2004 at 3:20 pm
i always thought music was just for fun and entertainment. but, now i stand by trent and david bowie "i’m afraid of americans". we are no longer the land of the free, but the land of the repressed and uneducated. the land where rights are taken away by the high and mighty "moral" society that we are. nothing is thought out or processed. we just hear "a man shouldn’t be doing that to another man" or "god made adam and eve not adam and steve" come from a preacher’s mouth and the sheep pull together and chant what they’ve heard.