Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dan Gelber on Amendment 2

Gelber isn't a big fan of the Hate Amendment:

The amendment would do much more than prohibit gay marriages (which are already prohibited by law): it would also prohibit other legal unions that are the substantial equivalent of marriage.

It is also not clear whether this prohibition would apply only to gay couples or to others, such as two citizens living together to increase their social security benefit or to get health insurance. It would likely prohibit the business practice of allowing domestic partners (even heterosexual ones) to obtain benefits (health insurance for example), which happened in Michigan and Kentucky after similar amendments passed.

Given Florida’s health care and education crisis, and all the many challenges facing our state, I’m not quite sure why this topic is even on the ballot. To learn the many reasons why you should oppose this amendment visit

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Problem With the Status Quo on Gay Marriage

Gay divorce may currently be impossible.

Why They're Wrong, Part 9

Another one on the "definition" front. This time a guy is trying to say that gay marriage proponents are trying to redefine the word family. He says that ALL dictionary definitions of the word family include "children" as a required part of being a family. Not according to the very link he provides tothe American Heritage Dictionary. Definition 1b is:

Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.

I don't see anything having to do with children in that definition, do you?

The title of his "article" is even worse: "Dehumanizing Marriage." He's actually explicitly saying that gay people aren't human. Once again, opposition to gay marriage has nothing to do with the smokescreen of legal or traditional arguments they put forth. It's all about hatred of gay people and using them as a scapegoat in order to drive conservative turnout.

Shouldn't More of Our Unions Be Doing This?

The California Labor Federation is opposing its state's version of Amendment 2 (Amendment 8). Shouldn't all of our labor organizations be doing this as well?

"I understand the power of the state labor federation," said Smith who once served as California's labor secretary. "I suspect this is the first time that any state federation has ever engaged in one of these battles."

Shouldn't Florida be the second?

Miami Beach Does the Right Thing

The Miami Beach City Commission did the right thing and voted unanimously to oppose Amendment 2. Why?

Miami Beach is one of a growing number of government entities to establish Domestic Partnership Registries which offer specific rights and benefits such as hospital visitation and emergency decision making to unmarried partners. Amendment 2 threatens these registries by prohibiting the state from recognizing anything that is "treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof."

Opposing Amendment 2 is something all the cool kids are doing (including the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Florida's Professional Firefighters and the Florida Education Association). Shouldn't you be doing it, too?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Terrible Ad

I hope the Yes on 2 people keep doing ads like this one:

Why? Because it is pretty insulting. It specifically endorses religion in government and implies there is something wrong with you if you think otherwise. It explicitly endorses creationism. It also portrays marriage as only about children -- therefore women are only about bearing children. It insults single parents -- regardless of the reason why they are single. So, even if your spouse died, this ad still implies you can't be a good parent. This ad appeals to people who already hate gay people, but I doubt it convinces a single person to vote for Amendment 2. Too bad they didn't waste more money on it.

Why They're Wrong, Part 8

One of the arguments that anti-gay marriage people always use is that we shouldn't redefine marriage. It's as if they don't really care about marriage or gay people, they're just worried about the integrity of the dictionary.

The argument is a bad one anyway. There is no such thing as "the" definition of marriage. The words marry and marriage have multiple meanings. Marry and marriage have always had multiple meanings. Some of those meanings specify a man and a woman. Some of them specify a man and women. Some of them say nothing about gender. The earliest usage of the word dates to 1297 when it was defined as "to wed, marry, give in marriage."

So, next time you hear this lame argument, ask the person spouting it, "which definition"? That's what it's really about, choosing which definition is acceptable and which is not. It isn't about redefining anything.

Times Are Changing

The news on California's attempts to ban gay marriage:

More California voters say they would oppose a November ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution than would support it, according to a survey released July 18.

The Field Poll found that 51 percent of likely voters say they would vote against Proposition 8, while 42 percent say they would vote for it.

That's a huge turnaround from 2000, when 61% of Californians supported the ban. If this trend holds elsewhere, Amendment 2 is doomed in Florida, as it should be.

Hate Breeds Hate

Kudos go to the Broward County School Board, for passing a strong anti-bullying policy aimed at protecting GLBT students. This is a good step in the right direction and is something that needs to be more widely pursued.

This is also another good reason to oppose Amendment 2. If we further enshrine hatred in the state's constitution, we publicly declare that hatred towards homosexuals is legitimate and acceptable in society. Children who hear that message and already dislike GLBT children and teens are likely to engage in more bullying and hateful behavior. More GLBT children and teens are going to have their self-esteem and mental health assaulted. These things can't be allowed to happen.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Times Are Changing

The Ft. Lauderdale mayor's race features two openly gay candidates. Before long, this won't be a news story.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Why They're Wrong, Part 7

So many of their arguments are just plain untrue:

Changing the definition of marriage, which has stood the test of time throughout human history until recent decades, is anything but conservative.

People like James A. Smith Sr., the author of this article, contend that marriage comes from God and has always been defined as the union of one man and one woman. This couldn't be further from the truth.

For instance:

The way in which a marriage is conducted has changed over time, as has the institution itself. Although the institution of marriage pre-dates reliable recorded history, many cultures have legends or religious beliefs concerning the origins of marriage.

Marriage existed before all Christian beliefs and traditions, so how could it come from the Christian God? The Greeks and Romans, with their many, many Gods, had marriage, so clearly the origins aren't quite what people like Smith suggest.

Similarly, the idea that marriage has always been between one man and one woman ignores all available evidence. Polygamy was incredibly common throughout world history and is still common in some parts of the world today.

According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook, of the 1231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry....

Plural marriages have been common in the history of Africa. Indigenous African religions have usually permitted it, as does Islam. Even many Christian churches in Africa have tolerated polygamy, although this stance has been changing: in May 2008, for example, the Anglican archbishop of Nigeria warned congregants to discontinue the practice....

Polygamy is encouraged in states such as Sudan, and is very common in West Africa (Muslim and traditionalist)....

Since the Han Dynasty, technically, Chinese men could have only one wife. However, throughout the thousands of years of Chinese history, it was common for rich Chinese men to have a wife and various concubines. Polygyny is a by-product of the tradition of emphasis on procreation and the continuity of the father's family name. Before the establishment of the Republic of China(Taiwan), it was lawful to have a wife and multiple concubines within Chinese marriage. An emperor, government official or rich merchant could have up to hundreds of concubines after marrying his first wife, or tai-tai....

The Chinese culture of Confucianism and thus the practice of polygyny spread from China to the areas that are now Korea and Japan. Before the establishment of the modern democratic mode, Eastern countries permitted a similar practice of polygyny....

After the Communist Revolution in 1949, polygamy was banned. This occurred via the Marriage Act of 1953....

In Hong Kong, polygamy was banned in October 1971. However, it is still practised in Hong Kong and Macau....

The Hebrew Bible indicates that polygyny was practised by the ancient Hebrews. Though the institution was not extremely common it was not particularly unusual and was certainly not prohibited or discouraged by the Bible. Nowhere in the Torah is monogamy established as a rule or even a desirable principle. The Bible mentions approximately forty polygamists, including such prominent figures as Abraham, Jacob, Esau, Moses, David and King Solomon, with little or no further remark on their polygyny as such....

As noted above, in the biblical days Jewish men were allowed more than one wife and concubinage (wives with less status) was also practised....

While the New Testament does not explicitly mention or ban polygamy, verses that teach on leadership (discussed below) forbid multiple marriage for church leaders; these verses are often interpreted to mean that marriage is between only one man and one woman....

In Islam, polygamy is allowed, with the specific limitation that men can only have up to four wives at any one time....

Both polygamy and polygyny were practised in ancient, medieval and early-modern times, among many sections of Hindu society....

I'm not suggesting that polygamy should be legal or is morally correct, just pointing out the verifiable fact that it has always been a common thing and that the claims that marriage has always been the same are simply nonsensical and are nothing more than a justification to encourage hate.

Bauer Tells the Truth About Hate Movement

It's not really about stopping gay marriage for people like Gary Bauer, the former presidential candidate and professional hate-monger. It's about putting and keeping conservatives in power by exploiting people's fears and hatreds:

Because, considering past precedent and current trends, the ruling may backfire and end up offering substantial electoral advantages to conservative candidates.

Stemberger Has No Values

Showing that he has no values, not only when it comes to pushing hatred against homosexuals, but also no devotion to his own professed values, John Stemberger is one of the group of evangelicals trying to kiss John McCain's tail now that they know he'll be the Republican nominee.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Why They're Wrong, Part 6

Any coincidence this guy's name is Ludington, awfully similar to Luddite?

The question has been asked whether Virginia will honor homosexual "marriages" performed elsewhere. I hope and pray that our legislature will have the common sense and decency to prevent that from happening.

Legislatures have no say in such things. Article IV of the United States Constitution makes it quite clear that the "acts and judicial proceedings" of one state have to be recognized by other states. They don't have a choice in the matter, it's required under constitutional law. "Acts and judicial proceedings" has always included marriage, that was part of the point -- you're married in one state, you're married in all states.

But no matter what judges and legislatures decide -- there will never be a "marriage" between two men or two women.

Except, of course, that there already have been such marriages and there will be more in the future.

Marriage is a beautiful concept that was created by God, not government.

Maybe, maybe not. Irrelevant. Governments have control over the recognition of marriage. Several states have begun to actually follow the U.S. Constitution, which doesn't once use the word "straight," and have begun allowing gay citizens the right to marry. The others will follow, too, they have no choice.

It joins two lives together to establish a family, and families provide the core unit where children, the next generation that will lead and protect us, are created and nurtured.

So, married couples without children aren't really married?

And this biblically defined family is the strong foundation upon which our nation was built.

Actually, not even close. Much of our history included legal polygamy and almost the entire early colonization of the East and the Westward expansion was done by men without families. In many of these places in the early days, more women were prostitutes than wives.

Strong families create strong nations, and our culture remained strong because we worked to keep the family pure. For centuries we discouraged marital infidelity, fornication and out-of-wedlock pregnancies, because those acts were harmful to the family and weakened the core of our culture.

If this is what you worked for, you failed. And, in reality, America became its strongest at the same time that infidelity, fornication and out-of-wedlock pregnancies began to expand. There's no direct connection between these things, but a rise in these things didn't slow down the expansion of the country's power in the slightest.

Once homosexual "marriages" are accepted in our courts of law, any group will be able to demand the right to marry.

This is complete nonsense. Gay marriage is implicitly protected under our laws. None of these other things are.

Polygamists, for example, are waiting patiently for the uproar over homosexuals to die down.

More fiction. Polygamists already exist and they don't care about our laws. And our legal system doesn't really try too hard to stop them, either.

Then they will take their demands to court, and with homosexual "marriages" established, our courts will have no legal standing to prevent plural marriages.

Except precedent. Conservatives seem to have no understanding hour our legal system works. Most of it relies upon previous decisions, like those that explicitly banned polygamy.

We must understand that once true marriage has been redefined by activist judges and reinforced by legislatures, all restrictions on marriage must be removed. Otherwise each new group will claim unconstitutional discrimination, and a growing body of case law will support them.

We don't have to understand this at all, this isn't the way the system works. The rules are pretty clear that they only apply to two consenting adults. A judge can't change that. And certainly, the current law doesn't allow any of this to apply to non-adults or those who don't consent. New laws (not new judicial decisions) would be the only way to do that. And nothing will make that happen.

Pedophiles have been fighting around the world for children to be able to give legal sexual consent, and they are succeeding.

Now this guy is leaving the realm of sanity. Legalizing gay marriage in no way connects to legalizing pedophilia. Age of consent laws are on the books and nothing like gay marriage could possibly affect that.

Some states in the U.S. now allow 14- and 16-year-olds to give limited sexual consent and, in some cases, to marry. But if homosexual "marriages" stand, the ages will fall ever lower.

Now, Luddite is just lying. Areas where these things are happening are not because our laws are getting looser and making the age of consent lower, it's because historically these laws were looser than they are now. Historically, states had age of consent laws that were as young as 11 years of age, and 14 was widely the standard. We're moving away from that, not towards it. Gay marriage, by the way, is 100% unrelated to age of consent.

Pedophiles want all age restrictions removed, and again, if we accept homosexual unions, we will have no legal standing against any form of perversion.

Homosexuality isn't a perversion. Pedophilia is. Either way, they aren't connected by anything, legally or otherwise.

And if hate crimes continue to proliferate, we will be guilty of a felony if we object to their behavior.

Sentences like this show this person has no understanding if even basic logic. He's actually saying that if people continue to engage in hate crimes, then it automatically becomes a felony to object to hate crimes? Either that or he so doesn't understand the English language he can't even construct a valid sentence. And this letter was published.

In the early days of Christian Europe and later the United States, marriage was strictly a church function.

And history existed before that. As did marriage. As did homosexuality. As did civilization. Nothing has changed any of that. In the early days of Europe, polygamy was just fine in most places.

A man and a woman were joined together in the church, married in the sight of God, family and friends -- not government. Births, deaths, baptisms and divorces were recorded there as well, because only the church officiated over family and personal events.

Maybe, although this is certainly overstated, but in every one of those countries -- and in the U.S. -- the laws are different now, and have been for hundreds of years. Marriages are only legal if they are in some way approved of by government.

The logic Luddite uses is about to go completely off the charts here. In a quick span, he says both:

In our modern world, government has a keen interest in record keeping, and now documents all personal and family events in great detail. The church has been relegated to a symbolic role and can be left out completely, even in marriage, if couples choose a civil ceremony.


Yet here we are, stupidly standing by while activist judges destroy the basis of our culture, and indeed, our civilization.

So, we used to do it one way, and we've long ago abandoned that way, but abandoning that way (which we did hundreds of years ago) is going to destroy us right now? Right.

We seem completely oblivious to the fact that our constitution places the power of government in our hands.

Except when it comes to rights. We don't have control over people's rights. We, as a people, don't have the constitutional power to deny freedom of speech. We, also, don't have the right to deny the right to marry.

We hold the power to impeach judges (through our congressional representatives), and to elect those who will legislate for the good of the majority, not a perverse minority.

Right, and neither the majority of the people nor the majority of representatives favors impeaching judges who support gay marriage. So, by this guy's logic, he should respect that decision. I wonder why he isn't following his own logic? And the role of our representatives is not to legislate for the good of the majority, but to legislate for the good of us all. The majority's role is to decide which plan for achieving that good is better when we aren't sure. Their role is not -- and cannot be -- to deny rights to the minority just because they don't like that minority.

History records the stories of good people, like the Germans who watched Nazis take over their government, who have seen their nations destroyed. We still have time to stop our destruction, if we care enough to act.

And in this story, the good people are those that fight against hate mongers who twist law and history in order to deny rights to tax-paying citizens.

Marriage Provides Benefits

One of the reasons that so many people are pushing for the legalization of gay marriage is that marriage is more than just a spiritual or love-based bond. It is also a legal contract. A legal contract that provides certain benefits:

2) Marriage can also result in lower taxes.
3) Sharing a single health insurance plan typically generates savings.
4) Spouses don't pay estate tax.
5) Gifts between spouses are not subject to gift tax.
6) Marriage can offer financial protections in the case of divorce.
7) Social Security benefits go to the surviving spouse.
8) Property is more easily shared between married partners.

The article above has more details on these legal benefits provided by marriage, currently not available to unmarried gay couples.