Homo-Hating On The Left And On The Right

Tom at Just One Minute takes note of the supposed lack of reaction to Howard Dean’s flirtation with homophobia:

I have every intention of keeping this incident in mind when, as the months and years unfold, folks on the right are asked to endure diatribes about our homophobia and pandering on this issue. The silence greeting Dean tells me all I need to know about the left blogosphere’s real commitment to this issue.

Yes, because lefty bloggers condemning Dean are just sooooo hard to find.

Frankly, I’ve condemned Democrats for insufficient support of queers any number of times. Tom, just to make sure you’re not a partisan hack – could you link to a couple of examples of you criticizing Republican queer-bashing? Or is it only something you comment on when Democrats do it?

But what I really object to in Tom’s post is his endorsement of moral equivalence. (Damn, it’s fun to say that to a conservative!) Yes, it’s sickening that Dean is coming out against legal equality on the 700 club. I condemn his words, his acts, and his lousy character. But I don’t imagine that what Dean did is the moral equivalent of proposing to amend the friggin’ Constitution to ward off legal equality.

Not to mention the many anti-queer ballot measures and laws proposed and all-too-often passed around the country: laws which bar lesbians and gays from things like protection from being fired for being queer, or which forbid them from adopting, or which threaten queer teachers’ jobs.

I’m against people punching other people. I’m also against people attacking other people with guns. But I can be against both without having to pretend that shooting someone is no worse than punching.

Many democrats are lousy for queers, leeches with a hand in every queer wallet who crawl away from every queer fight. But that doesn’t justify a false moral equivalency. Bad as the Dems are, the Republicans – the people who write and support every damn anti-queer law in the country, and who agitate for votes by spreading every vicious anti-queer bigotry they can think of – are far worse.

Tom’s attitude, at least as expressed in this one post, is total partisan hackery. “Howard Dean sucks from a queer rights perspective; therefore I can ignore all criticism of the bigotry in my own party.” That’s garbage, Tom. Bigotry is wrong because it’s immoral, not because it gives one side or the other a partisan advantage. Either you’re against bigotry, or your silence enables it.

At the least, if you choose not to oppose the bigots in your own party, please spare us the whining when you get criticized for your choice.

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39 Responses to Homo-Hating On The Left And On The Right

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  3. 3
    Robert says:

    Republicans believe (broadly) that there are moral problems with homosexuality, acknowledge this, and legislate accordingly. OCTAOE.

    Democrats believe (broadly) that there are no moral problems with homosexuality, waffle wildly when pressed by voting blocs with contrary opinions, and legislate as though they were Republicans. OCTAOE.

    If I were a gay man, I would rather be told “what you do is wrong and I’m not going to support you in anything other than your right to exist and be left alone”, than to be told “you’re wonderful and lovely but unfortunately I can’t actually vote for anything that would help you because it might mean I would lose my cushy job and would have to work for a living, which, God forbid.”

    The first guy I can argue with, and attempt to change his point of view.

    The second guy is a crapweasel, and just being on the same planet with him is enough to coat me in a thin layer of slime.

    I’d rather deal in honest hostility with an adversary, than have a crapweasel claiming to be my friend. I think the latter is a thousand times worse. YMMV.

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    First of all, I don’t believe most Republicans are honest adversaries on this issue. It’s either libertarians, who say they are strongly for equal rights but (with a few exceptions) cannot point to a single example of supporting equality with action, donation or vote. Or it’s social conservatives, who jump from faux-social science argument to faux-social science argument against equality while believing, but not saying, “God opposes equality for you perverts.”

    So I don’t buy your point about honesty. But even if I did, I’m not sure I prefer an honest knife in the gut over a insincere punch in the gut. What matters more, sincerity or the actual amount of harm done?

  5. 5
    Robert says:

    Libertarians aren’t Republicans, so let’s leave them out of this. (They VOTE Republican, but only because the other party is so amazingly non-libertarian that they have no alternative. They’d abandon the party in a heartbeat if a real third party with a libertarian perspective showed up. And it might, with all this immigration kerfuffle.)

    Social conservatives who are arguing with liberals advance what you characterize as faux-social science arguments because liberals mostly aren’t interested in or open to the actual reasons for the social conservative belief. We speak your language in an attempt to evangelize, not because it’s the language we would use among ourselves. You don’t believe homosexuality is a moral offense on theistic grounds, and I’m not likely to convince you to accept the theistic grounds – but there’s a chance I can convince you with social science data. So that’s what I try to do.

    In the same way, you try to convince me that socialized medicine is a good idea on the basis of its economic efficiency, rather than telling me that it’s a good idea because it’ll reduce inequalities in standards of care. You know I don’t care about inequality, but do care about efficiency. That’s not dishonesty on your part, it’s a rational argument. You DO believe that pinko medicine would be more efficient, and conservatives DO believe that SSM would have pernicious social effects – but that’s not why we believe what we believe. What counts is that we’re honest about the sides we’re on; you’re not pretending to be in favor of single-payer because you’ve sold Kaiser Permanente short. That’s really what you think. Similarly, Republicans are (again, broadly) really opposed to SSM.

    As for your key question – “What matters more, sincerity or the actual amount of harm done?” – it completely depends on the situation that you’re in. At the level of survival, sincerity doesn’t matter so much. I’ll take the insincerely-offered crust of bread to continue living, rather than the honestly-offered back of the hand.

    If it were illegal for Catholics to exist and the State was hunting us down with dogs, I would rather have a politician willing to hide me sometimes and maybe slip me some fake documentation even if at the same time he was making obligatory “Catholics are vermin who must die” speeches. I don’t have the luxury of fighting my enemies; I’m fighting to live.

    But if it were “just” illegal for Catholics to vote, I would rather have a politician saying “your loyalty is divided so no vote for you, Papist loser” than some gladhander taking my money but secretly believing the same damn thing. At least then I know who my enemies are, and who I need to fight.

    I suspect that gay marriage is a lot closer to voting rights than to breathing rights. Accordingly, I’d think it better to have the honesty.

  6. 6
    Tony says:

    Robert:

    Republicans believe (broadly) that there are moral problems with homosexuality, acknowledge this, and legislate accordingly. OCTAOE.

    Democrats believe (broadly) that there are no moral problems with homosexuality, waffle wildly when pressed by voting blocs with contrary opinions, and legislate as though they were Republicans. OCTAOE.

    That’s not accurate. Neither Republicans nor Democrats reliably support marriage, but Democrats regularly pass antidiscrimination laws. Ten Democratic-controlled states have domestic partnership laws or civil unions. No Republican state legislaturehas ever passed such a law. By contrast, Rebpulicans try to amend their state constitutions to prohibit future legislatures from enacting statutes preventing sexual orientation discrimination, ban same-sex couples from entering into private contracts or amend the federal Constitution to ban all same-sex marriages and civil unions, even if a given state has passed such a statute voluntarily. In D.C., where a majority of the city council supports gay marriage, nothing can be done because Republicans in Congress would immediately repeal such a law.

    We have one party that unreliably supports progress, and one party that reliably supports kicking gays in face.

  7. 7
    trey says:

    Tony is right Robert, your characterization is wrong.

    Though there are Democrats like you mention (and Republicans like you mention), you’ll be hard pressed to find any state or city law that was proposed and enacted by Republicans, there might be one, but it will be the exception that proves the rule.

    Even federally, it is the Democrats (a majority of them) that propose and try to pass laws like ENDA and Republicans (a majority of them) that thwart there passage.

    It was the Democratically controlled legislature of California that passed the marriage equality law (2/3 or more of Democrats voted for it, 100% of Republicans voted against it I believe) and the Republican governor who vetoed it.

    The list goes on and on.

    Your analogy doesn’t stand. I’ll risk the Democrats, who though they don’t support me enough, I know from history I can eventually get them to my side than risk the Republicans who I know from history not only do nothing to help me win my equality, but thwart it at every step.

  8. 8
    Robert says:

    There have certainly been Democrats, and even Democrat-dominated legislatures, which have acted honorably in asserting the moral correctness of anti-discrimination measures and then working to implement them.

  9. 9
    Matt says:

    First off let me say I would probably be classified as a conservative republican. I say probably because I have opinons on some issues that would classify me as liberal and some that would classify me as conservative. On this issue I would fall into the latter. I personally believe homosexuality is wrong and is a sin but every law-abiding citizen has the choice and right to live the life they want whether or not it falls in line with public morality. The problem I have is when a particular way of life or belief is forced on others. This would include homosexuality. If I have a friend and he is straight bashing me then I should be able to speak up and not be labeled homophobic. Also, if I personally am against homosexuality as I am against murder, smoking, binge-drinking, cheating, or anything else I shouldn’t be labeled homophobic. Same goes for gay marriage. If I personally believe gay marriage is wrong why should I be bashed? I am noto threatening anyone and wouldn’t ever think to. Wouldn’t that fall under free speech? And if some of our politicians have their own opinions (I know it is hard to believe) shouldn’t they be allowed to express them whether or not those opinions agree with your own? So what I’m saying is, unless someone is personally coming after you instead of expressing their opinions why should they be denied the right to voice that opinion and those that oppose those opinons be allowed to voice theirs? Just sounds like a huge double standard.

  10. 10
    azbballfan says:

    The official Democratic position on the issue is to oppose Bush’s proposed amendment which would ban gay marriage. Acutally I applaud their stance to allow individual states to take their own opinion.

    This is because I’m willing to move my butt to a place where I find other progressives who I want to surround myself with. I have no problem with Idaho or Utah voting to ban gay marriage because I think such a vote will onl marginalize their future gene pool.

    That said, Dean proved yet again his ability to be a fool in front of a microphone.

    For my own personal voting:

    If a candidate takes a public stand in favor of gay marriage, they get a lot more of my attention. If they take other views I disagree with on other issues, then they lose my support. Unfortunately in the ballots which I have personally had to vote on, there have been more than one of these candidates who also clamored onto some real loopy issue which scared the heck out of me.

    If a candidate takes a negative stand on gay marriage, they lose my vote. Period. If I see a ballot with this guy or a nut case in favor of gay marriage, I seek a third alternative or withold my vote.

    If a candidate is ambiguous on their support of gay marriage, then I make my decision based on other issues.

    Thus, I understand the official Democratic Party position.

  11. 11
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Lets try it this way:

    I personally believe ethnic mingling is wrong and is a sin but every law-abiding citizen has the choice and right to live the life they want whether or not it falls in line with public morality. The problem I have is when a particular way of life or belief is forced on others. This would include ethnic mingling. If I have a friend and he is bashing me for not wanting to be around people of other ethnicities then I should be able to speak up and not be labeled bigoted. Also, if I personally am against ethnic mingling as I am against murder, smoking, binge-drinking, cheating, or anything else I shouldn’t be labeled a bigot. Same goes for ethnically mingled marriage. If I personally believe ethnically mingled marriage is wrong why should I be bashed? I am no to threatening anyone and wouldn’t ever think to. Wouldn’t that fall under free speech? And if some of our politicians have their own opinions (I know it is hard to believe) shouldn’t they be allowed to express them whether or not those opinions agree with your own? So what I’m saying is, unless someone is personally coming after you instead of expressing their opinions why should they be denied the right to voice that opinion and those that oppose those opinions be allowed to voice theirs? Just sounds like a huge double standard.

    …..hmmmmm. Seems pretty obvious to me.

  12. 12
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Whoops, forgot to change one. [Fixed! --Amp] Anyways, the point isn’t exactly hard to find in my last post. Or at least I hope it isn’t.

  13. 13
    Daran says:

    If I have a friend and he is straight bashing me then I should be able to speak up and not be labeled homophobic.

    Agreed.

    Also, if I personally am against homosexuality as I am against murder, smoking, binge-drinking, cheating, or anything else I shouldn’t be labeled homophobic.

    Why not, if that’s what you are?

    Same goes for gay marriage. If I personally believe gay marriage is wrong why should I be bashed?

    Again, if you express homophobic opinions, you get bashed for them. You’re not being bashed for being straight.

    I am noto threatening anyone and wouldn’t ever think to. Wouldn’t that fall under free speech?

    Absolutely. Nobody is suggesting that you be restrained from expressing your homophobic opinions.

    But ‘bashing’ you for them is also free speech. (I’m assuming you’re using the word metaphorically. Of course nobody should literally bash, i.e. violently assault you.)

    And if some of our politicians have their own opinions (I know it is hard to believe) shouldn’t they be allowed to express them whether or not those opinions agree with your own?

    Again, there is no restraint imposed upon on politicians. It is, of course, up to their parties whether or not to tolerate their views if they are against party policy, but the sanction is to exclude them, not to prevent them from speaking.

    If the party does tolerate them, then voters and bloggers are free tp decide whether or not to continue to support the party.

    So what I’m saying is, unless someone is personally coming after you instead of expressing their opinions why should they be denied the right to voice that opinion and those that oppose those opinons be allowed to voice theirs? Just sounds like a huge double standard.

    Raising a free speech argument just sounds like a huge strawman.

  14. 14
    Daran says:

    In the same way, you try to convince me that socialized medicine is a good idea on the basis of its economic efficiency, rather than telling me that it’s a good idea because it’ll reduce inequalities in standards of care. You know I don’t care about inequality, but do care about efficiency. That’s not dishonesty on your part, it’s a rational argument.

    It would be dishonesty if he really doesn’t believe that socialised medicine is more efficient, or if a fair appraisal of the evidence would lead an unbiased person to a different conclusion.

  15. 15
    brynn says:

    Kim, excellent response!

    And Daran, I agree: arguing the issue of free speech is definitely a straw man.

    Just two further points I’d like to add.

    Robert, believing homosexuality is a sin and wrong is your right. (As is the right to speak out.) Legislating in the US on the basis of that belief, however, is not your right. The Constitution guarantees a separation of church and state and your opposition to homosexuality clearly rests on your religious beliefs. Denying the benefits that accompany marriage to an entire group of people based on your religious beliefs is without a doubt, contrary to the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

    Further, the open, vocal and extremely hostile homophobia of the Religious Right creates a climate that leads to physical violence against and murder of LGBT folk. The latter is a direct outgrowth of the former, in the same way that lynching is a direct consequence of racism.

  16. 16
    Christopher says:

    No “lack of reaction” from me.

    In fact, I’ve used my blog and my voice to call on Howard Dean to step aside and make room for a man or woman for capable of leading our party during a critical — perhaps, the most critical, election year.

    I have also written to “Dr.” Dean directly and await his response. I will publish his reply if he has tha cajones to write back.

    Howard Dean clearly has issues with my community. That’s fine, as I really don’t care that he’s a homophobe, but I do care that in 2006, he’s the Chairman of the Democratic party.

  17. 17
    alsis39.9 says:

    Actually, I was afraid for a couple of days that the Dean story was going to go largely unremarked upon by liberals. I’m relieved I was wrong. I also stand my earlier opinion in a related thread that many prominent Dems are mealy-mouthed on the issue because the queers they know move in privileged circles. Privilege grants a lot of immunity to the day-to-day disciminatory bullshit that others have to deal with. In that way, glbt rights are pretty much like the other issues that Democrats use to fire up the base and then screw it over.

  18. 18
    Ampersand says:

    Regarding Matt’s comment, I’ve posted before on the mysterious belief of some conservatives that free speech entitles them to freedom from criticism. The total lack of comprehension of what free speech is for is really striking.

  19. 19
    Pia'Sharn says:

    The problem I have is when a particular way of life or belief is forced on others. This would include homosexuality.

    I’ve heard this argument used a lot from the anti-SSM crowd, but I can never get anyone to elaborate on it. How will homosexuality be forced on anyone if GLBT people have equal protection under the law? Will people be forced to marry someone of the same sex against their will? Will the queers form mandatory camps for heterosexuals that will attept to change their sexual orientation?

    No one will force you to approve of homosexuality. If you attack (or threaten harm upon) a gay person, you will undoubtably be punished for it. However, you are still free to hate homosexuality and to express said hatred.

    Also, if I personally am against homosexuality as I am against murder, smoking, binge-drinking, cheating, or anything else I shouldn’t be labeled homophobic.

    (Even though smoking, murder, etc. are all things that a person does while homosexuality is something that a person is…?)

    Yes, you should have the right to state that you dislike homosexuality. However, free speech goes both ways. If you have the right to say that, then someone else has the right to call you a bigot. I’m not saying that they are right, mind you, but you shouldn’t expect to be free from others disagreeing with your opinions.

    If I personally believe gay marriage is wrong why should I be bashed?

    If I started saying that left-handed people were sinners because they used the more “sinister” hand and, as such, should be denied certain legal priviledges, I would expect some form of backlash from the left-handed crowd. Similarily, if you are going to say that GLBT people are second-class citizens who do not deserve equal legal rights, you should expect to be called names that you don’t like.

    You have a right to your opinions and the ability to state them publicly. As Ampersand pointed out, however, you do not have a right to be free from criticism.

  20. 20
    RonF says:

    The Constitution guarantees a separation of church and state and your opposition to homosexuality clearly rests on your religious beliefs. Denying the benefits that accompany marriage to an entire group of people based on your religious beliefs is without a doubt, contrary to the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

    Well, I’ve just re-read the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Please point out to me the provision that says that a private citizen, or even a legislator, cannot vote his opinion on legislation based on their religious beliefs.

    Such an idea would have been anathema to the founders of this country, BTW, as most of them stated repeatedly.

    Also, by those lights, anyone holding religious beliefs would have to suspend them and use some other kind of moral system to judge as to whether or not adopting or denying proposed legislation was moral/ethical/a good idea. Either that, or we’d have to have a legislature full of atheists.

  21. 21
    RonF says:

    Kim, your comment equates ethnic identity with homosexual behavior. There are many people who do not believe that’s logical or rational.

  22. 22
    RonF says:

    However, the concept that anyone holding such views (or their opposite) should be free from criticism is not one I can agree with.

  23. 23
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, it may or may not be Constitutional for all the religious right legislators to get together and vote to force the rest of us citizens to follow the dictates of your religion. But even if it’s constitutional, it’s still immoral.

    Please point out to me the provision that says that a private citizen, or even a legislator, cannot vote his opinion on legislation based on their religious beliefs.

    Your comment creates a straw man. The question isn’t whether or not legislators have a right to vote based on the dictates of their religion. Of course they do. The question is whether or not discriminatory laws justified by and written because of religious beliefs are constitutional.

    Suppose the Alabama congress passed legislation saying that “due to the sinful nature of homosexuality, as described throughout the Bible, sex between members of the same sex shall be a felony in Alabama.” Would that be constitutional? Nope. Partly because it’s an attempt to establish an official state religion, and partly because it violates equal protection.

  24. 24
    Robert says:

    it may or may not be Constitutional for all the religious right legislators to get together and vote to force the rest of us citizens to follow the dictates of your religion. But even if it’s constitutional, it’s still immoral.

    Religious belief and reasoning was the explicit and primary motivation of the abolitionists in Britain who successfully pressured Parliament into outlawing slavery, eventually committing the British Empire to a policy of using their naval supremacy to harass and (over time) eliminate the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

    Was that immoral? If it was not, do you have any rationale for it not being immoral other than the fact that you happen to agree with the end result of the policy?

  25. 25
    Charles says:

    Laws must have a rational basis.

    Agreement with biblical authority is not a rational basis.

    Agreement with biblical authority does not mean there is no rational basis.

    The intent of the legislature does not determine whether or not there is a rational basis.

    While the outlawing of slavery was supported by biblical authority (although only very loosely), biblical authority was certainly not the only or primary basis for outlawing slavery.

    If the only reason for objecting to same sex marriage is because God says its bad, then a law against same sex marriage has no rational basis.

    When a law conflicts with a human right, then the degree of rational basis should be weighed against the degree of infringement upon those rights (rational basis test with teeth).

  26. 26
    Robert says:

    Charles, the difficulty with that position is that “rational” is a purely subjective label. There are people just as smart as you who would take the exact opposite tack – if God says something, then it’s rational, otherwise not. Neither of you have any objective criteria which to apply; you’re both spouting opinion.

    “Rational” also tends to be based in current understanding, rather than eternal verity. There was no rational basis for a prohibition on eating pork under unsanitary conditions until the germ theory of disease explained why it was a good idea; the ancient Hebrews weren’t “rational,” just right.

    In the specific case of slavery, you’re right that there were a lot of good arguments other than the Biblical ones (which were frankly weak – there’s a much better Biblical case for the other side). But those good arguments aren’t the ones that motivated the people who changed the law.

  27. 27
    Charles says:

    Indeed, if the US were a theocracy, and the consensus position among the judiciary was that “because it is in keeping with the Bible” met the rational basis test, then laws that had no basis but that would be valid laws.

    However, I don’t think that that is anything even resembling the consensus position of the US judiciary. Rather the opposite, particularly since enforcing the views of a particular religion for no other reason than that they are the views of that religion would seem to be a violation of the establishment clause.

    Now, rational basis without teeth is so loose that such things as mandatory Sunday closing laws can be seen to have a non-religious rational basis in that mandating a day off serves the welfare of shop clerks, etc, but rational basis with teeth is stricter.

    Also, the rational basis test specifically doesn’t care about the motives of the legislature, and it cares even less about the motives of people who campaigned to get the legislature to act. The rational basis test (toothless or toothy) cares only about the actual function and behavior of the law, not its creators’ intent.

    Lastly, yes, obviously, ‘rational basis’ like ‘legitimate state interest’ are based on current understanding. For this, we can be very grateful. A legal system that worked otherwise would be a holy terror and a generally absurd nightmare.

  28. 28
    RonF says:

    Your comment creates a straw man.

    I don’t think so.

    The question isn’t whether or not legislators have a right to vote based on the dictates of their religion. Of course they do.

    Maybe not to you. But re-read brynn’s comment #13 again:

    The Constitution guarantees a separation of church and state and your opposition to homosexuality clearly rests on your religious beliefs. Denying the benefits that accompany marriage to an entire group of people based on your religious beliefs is without a doubt, contrary to the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

    Seems to me that brynn is stating that basing one’s vote regarding legislation on the basis of one’s religious beliefs is a violation of a specific part of the Constitution. So your position that they do have such a right (which I agree with) does seem to be questionable, at least as far as brynn’s concerned.

    Now, whether that’s moral or not is another question. But I wasn’t raising a moral question, I was raising a legal one within the context of brynn’s reference to the 14th Amendment. I asked him to defend his position; so far, he (or she, I have no idea) hasn’t.

    This is not the first time that I have had someone tell me that legislators and voters have no right to vote according to their religious beliefs.

    Ron, it may or may not be Constitutional for all the religious right legislators to get together and vote to force the rest of us citizens to follow the dictates of your religion.

    Please don’t make presumptions about what religion/denomination I am a member of. Unless you wish to reword the above comment as “… their religion.”

  29. 29
    RonF says:

    Suppose the Alabama congress passed legislation saying that “due to the sinful nature of homosexuality, as described throughout the Bible, sex between members of the same sex shall be a felony in Alabama.” Would that be constitutional? Nope. Partly because it’s an attempt to establish an official state religion, and partly because it violates equal protection.

    What religion would that be? Roman Catholicism? Southern Baptist? Lutheranism? Methodism? Or would it be a non-Christian religion, such as any one of the various sects of Islam, or Orthodox Judaism, or the Mormon Church? Kind of hard to say that you have a First Amendment violation forbidding establishment of a state religion when you can’t name the religion being established. I’ll grant that the first phrase would be unusual and even uncalled for commentary in the law, but I don’t see what State religion would be thereby established.

    IIRC, when laws against sodomy were struck down by the Supremes, it was on the basis of a right to privacy, not on the basis of any attempt to establish a state religion.

    As far as the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment goes, that’s usually interpreted as protecting classes such as race, ethnic groups, etc. Have there been any Federal cases where homosexuals have been deemed a protected class under it’s provision?

  30. 30
    Daran says:

    Robert:

    if God says something, then it’s rational

    To an atheist, this is vacuously true. Anything God says is rational, because God has never said anything. There can be no counterexample to the proposition.

    In the specific case of slavery, you’re right that there were a lot of good arguments other than the Biblical ones (which were frankly weak – there’s a much better Biblical case for the other side).

    So why, as a Christian, don’t you support slavery?

  31. 31
    Robert says:

    So why, as a Christian, don’t you support slavery?

    Because there are other arguments than the Biblical.

  32. 32
    Ampersand says:

    Ron F, Brynn never used the word “vote,” but you keep on paraphrasing him to stick the word “vote” in. I think it’s just as likely that he was referring to legislation, not votes.

    Kind of hard to say that you have a First Amendment violation forbidding establishment of a state religion when you can’t name the religion being established.

    Wow, with that rationalization in hand, you could easily wipe out virtually all religious freedom in this country for everyone but Christians, while nonetheless claiming not to be establishing a state religion. Do you really think it’s okay for the State to pass a law saying that everyone must worship Christ, as long as the law doesn’t specify if it’s the Protestant, the Mormon or the Catholic version of Christ?

    The obvious illogic of your position aside, past Supreme Court decisions involving nonspecific religious expression (that is, government mandated religious expression that’s not specific to any particular sect or faith) don’t support the “if you don’t establish a single, specific religion, then it’s okay” rationalization. In Wallace v Jaffee, a silent moment for prayer in schools was found unconstitutional. In Lee v. Weisman, a nonsectarian prayer at a school graduation ceremony was found unconstitutional.

    Of course, school prayer cases aren’t the same as gay rights cases. But I think the general principle – that being vague about exactly which religion is being governmentally mandated, doesn’t make the government mandating religion Constitutionally acceptable – applies.

    Have there been any Federal cases where homosexuals have been deemed a protected class under it’s provision?

    You don’t have to be in a “protected class” to have 14th amendment protections, so I’m not sure why you’re bringing that up.

    Off the top of my head, Romer v. Evans was decided on 14th amendment grounds, and so was Laurence v. Texas. Those are both cases regarding a state law, but decided based on the federal constitution in the Supreme Court.

  33. 33
    Daran says:

    Robert:

    So why, as a Christian, don’t you support slavery?

    Because there are other arguments than the Biblical.

    But those arguments aren’t rational.

  34. 34
    Robert says:

    Sure they are.

    And even if they weren’t, I don’t fetishize reason.

  35. 35
    RonF says:

    Ron F, Brynn never used the word “vote,” but you keep on paraphrasing him to stick the word “vote” in. I think it’s just as likely that he was referring to legislation, not votes.

    My concept was that a legislator has to vote to pass legislation. I did then extend it to include voting by a non-office holder, but it seems that he (I now see in another post that brynn is male) does at least hold that it is unconstitutional for a legislator’s vote to be influenced by their religious beliefs. I have had people tell me that they think it’s unconstitutional for even an ordinary citizen’s vote in a referendum or an election to be influenced by their religious beliefs, but I grant that brynn did not expound such an opinion.

    Do you really think it’s okay for the State to pass a law saying that everyone must worship Christ, as long as the law doesn’t specify if it’s the Protestant, the Mormon or the Catholic version of Christ?

    O.K. I re-read your post for the 3rd time. For some reason, the first two times I read it I managed to gloss over the invocation of the Bible, which changes things a bit. My mistake, and mea culpa. However, there is a difference between invoking the Almighty as a justification for a secular action vs. legally requiring people to execute a religious rite by forcing them to invoke Him.

    To answer the above question directly: nope. That would not be neutral towards all religions and would certainly be a violation of the First Amendment, especially of the second clause;

    … or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …

    Since mandating a specific religious exercise would be a prohibition of the free exercise of non-Christian religions, it would fail the First Amendment. But just because prohibiting (or, equally, mandating) something (e.g., same-sex marriage or abortion) is in accordance with a given religion (or multiple but not all religions) does not make the act of prohibiting or mandating it unconstitutional. So voting in accord with one’s religious beliefs doesn’t make that act unconstitutional (which you don’t argue with, but apparently brynn does).

    I brought up the 14th Amendment because you held that your example of “due to the sinful nature of homosexuality, as described throughout the Bible, sex between members of the same sex shall be a felony in Alabama.” would be unconstitutional in part due to the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution, and I was trying to work out why that would be. I’m not real knowledgeable on how the 14th Amendment has been applied, so I did a search on it. The article I read seemed to hold that the clause was violated if a law classified people according to various criteria (i.e., “protected classes”) and then treated them differently, but that not all criteria automatically were “protected classes”. So I was curious if the 14th Amendment had ever been interpreted to include homosexuals as a protected class. I do not claim to have authoritative knowledge of the 14th Amendment; I was not trying to play a rhetorical trick with the question.

  36. 36
    Michael says:

    As for this :

    Denying the benefits that accompany marriage to an entire group of people based on your religious beliefs is without a doubt, contrary to the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

    Sure , except when it comes to poly or single people.Then you have no problem denying benifits .

    Take the government out of marriage and provide civil unions to all who want them . Religious organizations can be free to give thier stamp of approval as they see fit .But the state need not recognize them .

  37. 37
    Daran says:

    Me:

    But [arguments other than the Biblical] aren’t rational.

    Robert:

    Sure they are.

    I was responding to your earlier remark “If God says something, then it’s rational, otherwise not.” (my emphasis). However I see that you attributed this view to “people”.

  38. 38
    Christopher says:

    “Dr.” Dean says he’s sorry for misquoting the DNC platform on gay marriage equity.

    He’s correct: he is sorry. A sorry excuse for DNC Chairman.

  39. 39
    Matt says:

    It looks like I need to elaborate on the free speech thing. I am in college and last sememster I had a class which covered important Supreme Court cases. Of course abortion, gay adoption, gay marriage, religous freedoms, and others were discussed. The main part of the class was group discussion. Every time someone said I don’t think homosexuality is right almost the entire class erupted. This was to the point that what the person was trying to say was drowned out. This is a problem. If I can’t express my opinions in a classroom without being drowned out or booed or hisssed at before I even say what I want to say then that is a problem. There is a double standard because violence would have broken out if the few who were in the minority started booing and hissing and drowning out the people in the majority. I’m not saying you shouldn’t criticize. That is part of debate and expressing opinions but when people openly criticize some people and then absolutley can’t tolerate being criticized by those same people then that is a free speech problem. The view that I am immune from criticism because I’m a liberal (or conservative) but can criticize anyone else is jaded to say the least. That was what I meant. Not that I shouldn’t be criticized for my views but that I should also be able to criticize others.

    Why am I homophobic? I have gay friends and don’t hate them. I just don’t condone that part of their life. I don’t have fear or contempt towards homosexuals. It just boggles my mind when I say I don’t like one thing a person is doing and that means I hate and despise them. You can be friends with someone even if there is one thing about them that you don’t like or condone (imaging that!!). I’m also not prejudiced either. I’m not for taking away rights because of an individuals decisions or actions that aren’t popular with the majority. I just don’t see how you made that connection?

    Also, homosexuality shouldn’t be forced on me and I shouldn’t be forced to think it’s right or wrong. That should be my personal decision. I was thinking of schooling when it comes to that. I’m not saying those types of views are discussed a lot in schools but when they are people shouldn’t be forced into thinking a certain way.

    Religious beliefs shouldn’t come into this discussion. To think everyone that doesn’t condone homosexualty is a fundamental conservative Christian is idiotic. I know people that hate religion but feel the same way I do on this issue. How is that any different than saying ‘those people” believe this and practice this. Looks like you are generalizing to me. The other side of this is that only people condoning homosexuality are non religious. When there are gay pastors and ministers I think there is an error in your thinking. Also, how is someone’s personal religious beliefs any different than what they have been told in school. To think there is this mass of mindless fundamental conservatives running around is silly. Personal opinions and beliefs are just that personal and if religion played a part then how is that bad?

    Lastly, I want to comment on the obviously “intelligent” individual that tried to put words in my mouth by changing my post and reposting it with ethnic mingling. Ethnicity isn’t a decision you can make or not make. There is no control over one’s skin color or place of origin. This is an example of lunacy. You are trying to compare genetics to decision making. People can decide to act on their feelings and urges if they want to or they can choose not to (of course this excludes mental problems that don’t allow for this type of decision making). You can have feeling for someone and not have sex with them (imagine that) or you can. That is a decision. Also, I again am not prejudiced against anyone and mingling is definitely ok by me.