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Thread: prop 8 trial questions

  1. #1
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    Default prop 8 trial questions

    I like to keep up on the prop 8 trial in California. My knowledge of legal issues, however, is not all that great. I just have a few questions about this case.

    • On what basis can Judge Vaughn Walker overturn the California amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman?
    • How could a ruling in this case affect constitutional amendments in other states?
    • Why is the government so interested in marriage?

    I like how people on this forum are very likely to keep the responses civil. I am not trying to bring up something inflammatory, but am curious about the topic. So people know my position on the topic, I am a conservative Christian who believes that marriage should be limited to one man and one woman. My reasons, however, are most likely irrelevant. I am just interested in the legal aspects of this case.

    The best argument that I have heard is that prop 8 violates the 14th amendment
    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
    My argument is that people who want to marry someone of the same sex are already allowed to marry someone of the opposite sex, but they say they want to amend the law so as to broaden the definition of marriage. The best way I can think of is that these people are saying they are like the handicapped and need special access ramps to marry.

    I suppose another argument that people who want to marry someone of the same sex could use is that their religion demands they only marry someone of the same sex. Couldn't it be a violation of their religion then to deprive them of one of the basic tenants of their religion?

    Why limit marriage to one man and one woman? Where should the limits be placed and why?
    • Why not one man and two women?
    • Why not one man and one 10 year old son?
    • Why not one man and his car (this was actually a case that went to trial 2 or 3 years ago)?
    • Why not 2 men and 3 women or one man and one goat?
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    My personal opinion is that the government should have absolutely no say whatsoever in who marries whom. I'm not "pro gay rights", but just pro rights, and I think that limiting anything like that is dumb. Of course you do get the strange issues (listed at the end of your post), but realistically if the man and the goat are both happy, what's the problem? The real question is consent and by legal definitions, the 10 year old could not consent. A car can't consent or express anything, no more than a slave, so that's out too. But the real problem is when you have two equals both wanting to marry and they can't, because the PAIRING is seen as wrong, rather than either individual.
    A male and a female goat cannot marry; two cars cannot marry; two 10 year olds cannot marry. Thus none of those could marry an adult male either. But two adult males (or two adult females) can marry, but the government just wants to say to whom.

    The state of California really doesn't care. That's the main thing to know. The people in other states are funding propaganda campaigns and giving money for other reasons to minorities in this state (I live in California) to forward their own repressive agendas. (Now that's not a political opinion, but a political fact: a minority of Californians wants to stop gay marriage and other states want to repress (read "stop") gay marriage. You can interpret it as good or bad, as you'd like.)

    The legal issues get complex because there are four possible ways to have it work out:
    1. Gay marriage is explicitly legal: it is written in the laws that a couple of the same sex can marry.
    2. Gay marriage is explicitly illegal: it is written in the laws that a couple of the same sex cannot marry.
    3. Gay marriage is not defined, and is therefore considered legal (the "why not" approach).
    4. Gay marriage is not defined, and is therefore considered illegal (since there is no precedent).

    In most of the country, (4) is the current status of gay marriage. It's considered illegal because no one does it, no one assumes it is legal and realistically there is no reason for it to be this way. As far as I know, (1) and (2) do not exist anywhere. In the places where it is legal, it is the case of (3): someone rereads the laws, decides they really say "anyone can marry anyone" and then announces this.

    Prop 8 is (2): block it in the laws.

    No one (who has a relevant political voice) is proposing (1), but lots of people are proposing (2), try to block gay marriage.


    The basic way this works out is:
    The constitution is vague, intentionally so, because it was left open to interpretation.
    The judicial system (read: individual judges) gets to decide how it should be interpreted. Legally, any one judge can say it is legal (or illegal, the status quo), and then gays can marry. Of course this may be overturned by another judge, but for the time being that is the law: because the judge is the official who interprets the law, he/she is effectively "making" a law, but just by saying how we read the existing law. Realistically his/her voice has no real value except that people listen to it, given that there is no counter voice.
    This (and the original vagueness) explain the shifting between (3) and (4), and back.

    Direct laws (made by the legislative branch), like Prop 8, are completely different: these are laws specifically designed to say one way or the other and leave nothing open to interpretation by judges.


    The two ways to handle this issue (for a politically motivated person/group) are:
    1. Support passing a new law that is in favor of your point of view (for example Prop 8).
    2. Block passing new laws that limit your point of view, keeping the liked status quo (and hope that judges read the current laws as you do).


    The way that Prop 8 will be overturned is not because someone will decide it should not have been voted "yes" for, but instead that it is not a "legal" law-- that it cannot be added to legislation because it contradicts that legislation.

    Just in the same sense that the people cannot approve a law (through voting) that says "no one has free speech", the argument against Prop 8 is that it some part of Prop 8 already determined.

    The only way to pass a law like Prop 8, then, is to change (with an amendment) the original law that determines whatever part they are arguing against.

    So the people fighting to stop Prop 8 now are not actually arguing for gay marriage-- they are just arguing a loophole in the law that makes Prop 8 not a legal law. (Not to say that their goals aren't pro gay marriage-- just that legally it's irrelevant.)


    Anyway, I'd like to see people worrying about things that actually matter.

    I look at it like this: two men walk into a house. An hour later they walk out of that house. If you can't live with the idea that they may have done certain things while inside, then, really, is it not you who has the problem?



    As for any sort of legal details: I really don't know. It is constantly changing and various arguments are used. Nothing about our legal system is direct: it's much easier to argue that the security camera footage was obtained illegally than to actually prove that the man did not rob the store. What does this mean? Our laws are not determined by a rational process, but instead as the result of endless legal arguments and bureaucratic filtering. Even a law that the people vote on can then be overturned by the fine print, and that's just how it is. For each issue, depending on what your views are, this is either good or bad.
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    It seems what you are saying in regards to my silly scenarios at the end of my first post is that one of the fundamental requisites of marriage rights is citizenship and mutual consent as well as age of consent. With two citizens who are of age who consent the legal system is a bit more tricky or vague or, more likely, both.

    I am not sure why you say a minority of Californians want to stop gay marriage since the majority of those who voted voted in favor of prop. 8. I am probably misunderstanding you and you are using minority to mean gays and lesbians as a minority. Either way it looks like the position of the plaintiffs is that gays and lesbians are indeed a minority and also that the people voting for prop 8 were motivated by religion or prejudice or racial hatred towards a minority. If they are considered a minority then, well, I am not sure what the overall significance of that would mean.

    Yes, I suppose I would agree with you to some extent that laws can be overturned by individual judges, or legislating from the bench, but I would add that that doesn't mean the legal system is totally fickle or that I have lost all faith in the judicial system. Judges are human and prone to error and corruption. It is rather unlikely that if this case reaches the supreme court or becomes a U.S. Constitutional amendment legalizing or prohibiting same sex marriage that it will be overturned by a judge provided, of course, that it does not violate an amendment already present.

    It sounds like the answer to my first question is that Judge Walker could overturn prop. 8 on the basis that it violates an already standing amendment.

    I hear that this case could determine the legality of marriage amendments in other states, but honestly I rather doubt it. This same issue went before a district judge in Nebraska who stated that the Nebraska amendment was illegal for the same reasons that the plaintiffs Boies and Olsen are using; namely that it violates section 1 of the fourteenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution as well as parts of the First Amendment. The case then went to the 8th Circuit court where the district judge's ruling was overturned unanimously. If the ninth circuit states that California's state amendment is illegal then it will set up a contradictory precedent from two different circuits on a very similar issue. If a judge in another state wants to overturn their state's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one male one female, which precedent, if any, will they rely upon? Basically it will result in greater confusion until this matter is resolved in the Supreme Court. I don't think a U.S. constitutional amendment would even resolve this issue.

    As a quick note, there are 30 states with amendments defining marriage as one man and one woman. Same sex marriage is legal or very soon will be in 5 states.

    As far as why the state and country is so interested and involved in this case I am still trying to figure that out. I do have a few half formed ideas though. People are interested in this case as a moral issue of right and wrong. Removing or broadening the boundaries marriage creates a slippery slope and by necessity cheapens the value of marriage. Supporters of traditional marriage believe that legalizing same sex marriage implies that child rearing in a same sex household is considered comparable to heterosexual marriage households. Others fear that pastors will be forced to marry a same sex couple even though it goes against his Christian convictions. Going further, will Christian's still be able to state that homosexuality is wrong?

    I want to emphasize that the above are half formed ideas and may be irrelevant. I still want to read up some more on the possible applications of a ruling in this case. Overall I would say that the government and the people are interested in this case for a variety of reasons.

    After a ruling in this case it will be appealed to the ninth circuit court of appeals and then possibly to the U.S. Supreme court.

    Eh, we'll see what happens.
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    A lot to respond to. I'll get to most of it.

    "Silly scenarios": personally, I don't care. Assuming that both entities are happy, a man can marry his car. That doesn't bother me.
    Legally speaking though, I see this in the sense that if entity A can legally marry and entity B can legally marry, there seems to be no reason to say that A cannot marry B. This doesn't mean it is open to a wide interpretation ("What if people start marrying their pets?"), but just that it is odd to say that you can't marry because of the RELATIONSHIP, rather than because of the inherent nature of one of the entities.

    A minority of Californians were actively in favor of Prop 8 until it became a national issue. Neighboring states and national groups began to support campaigns for it so that it would gain support (from the ads, publicity, etc) and it eventually BARELY passed. It was not a strong majority in any sense and this is after the other states (or people from them) pushed hard to effect the vote. Had California been in isolation, it's very likely it would have not passed. At least that was my impression. (And it's absolutely a fact that outside forces were acting to sway people's opinions through especially ads.)

    Yes, one judge is not the final answer, and this is why things keep changing. Once it reaches the supreme court it is a "final" decision, but only until another case comes along that brings up the same question and the judges are different and decide differently. Judges don't ever really decide about "laws", but just situations. If one judge decides one gay couple can marry, then that becomes, by precedent (not "law"), that it is legal. Judges aren't free to choose which laws to judge, but just how relevant laws apply to their cases. Lawyers can of course setup a particular case to push for a certain result, and that has been done.

    Judges make precedent. They don't need to rely on one. Judges read laws and tell us what they mean. Basically they are fancy translators who just happen to have profound impacts on our lives. (I don't mean to make it sound like they are meaningless, because it is a very complex and very important job-- but it's basically translation.) One judge deciding something means that it is assumed by everyone else to be correct. Of course different judges can disagree and that's why things change, why appeals work and why different states have different laws. The levels are also important: A San Francisco judge can call gay marriage legal, San Francisco courts can legally marry gay couples, then the state can determine that was illegal, then the federal government can determine it was legal, and everything gets really messy. But all of this is just based on existing laws and different ways of reading them. The "precedent" is based on a decision then people not arguing/defeating it.

    Any religious group can say anything they want. Religious groups can still be racist if they desire, but they cannot commit "hate crimes" which basically is defined as anything that is an actual action against a group. It is fine to say "[some group] are bad", but you cannot say "[some group] should be killed".
    Because of this, sure, Christians can always say anything they want. Christians are a very diverse group, also. Some Christians are gay, some are not and support gay marriage and some gay Christians think that gay marriage is wrong. But if some Christians want to say that homosexuality is wrong, they are always free to do so.
    And because the church is a private group it can discriminate as it desires: churches don't have to marry anyone at all. They can pick just the "best" heterosexual couples too. There's no law about that.
    The only exception is when state money is involved: then the church is essentially public and government regulations are in place-- no longer can they discriminate.


    As for gay marriage (or any other sort) "cheapening marriage", I believe that is a really odd way to look at it. Yes, it redefines the rules for WHO can marry, but it does not change any one relationship. There are some really bad people married (abusive spouses, evil dictators, criminals), but that doesn't "ruin" marriage. (Does it? Maybe we should have a "you can get married" test and only allow the smartest, nicest, prettiest people to marry...)

    A marriage is "between a man and a woman" (or so they say), so I don't think the neighbors have any right to get in the way-- if that man and a woman happen to be a man and a man, what's the difference? It's BETWEEN them, not between them and nosy neighbor Joe who wants to whine because his marriage is less because theirs exists.


    Yes, we will see what happens.


    On a strictly legal level, I am not at all convinced that gay marriage should be legal, but I think that's stupid and should be changed.
    However, it all becomes just a linguistic issue: what is marriage?
    And, then, who cares?
    I don't really care if gays can "marry", as long as they can "be together" and have legal rights.
    If they don't get the piece of paper that says married, that doesn't mean much. If they can't visit their life partner while he is dying in the hospital, that is truly unfair and should be fixed.
    If a "domestic partnership" were made completely equal to marriage LEGALLY (but not to the church and not to anyone who thinks of marriage as someone "special" in a way I don't understand), then I'd say that should be fine.
    In fact, I'd rather get the domestic partnership myself (I'm heterosexual), just because the word "marriage" seems to complex and annoying these days. But of course the domestic partnership is not equivalent (entirely) and that's not fair.

    On the other hand, if gays can't marry then it becomes a social marker for ostracism, in the sense of "separate but equal"-- different drinking fountains all over again.
    But in this case I think the church has a point: they defined marriage and they can have it. The rest of the world can move on though.
    Or perhaps the government should redefine "marriage" AS a "domestic partnership" and let the church, for those it considers "worthy", get a special stamp from the pope on their license. That wouldn't bother me at all. But of course I wouldn't want that stamp.


    In some ways, I think that is the most interesting part of all this: What IS marriage?
    Can gays not have weddings? Can gays not live together? Can gays not love each other? Can gays not raise children (as of yet, at least, that's not banned, and I hope it isn't)?
    Can gays not 'be married' and just not have the paper? No.
    So what's the big deal about the paper?
    That's what I'd like to hear. Every time I've asked someone who opposes gay marriage, it's NOT about the paper.
    It's about the lifestyle, the people and wanting to ban THEM, not their marriage licenses.
    Because of that, I am strongly opposed to anyone who is against gay marriage: either they haven't researched the issue enough, or they are against an entire group of people just for being that group of people. We may as well not let women marry-- after all, they have less rights than men, right? (I'm joking, but, seriously-- excluding a group from a legal activity is basically banning them from part of life. Anyone the church does not like shouldn't marry, right...? Again, a joke, but don't take it too lightly.)
    Last edited by djr33; 01-30-2010 at 12:28 AM.
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    Sorry about this long post. I actually find it way way too short as it is since I left out hundreds of examples and references. In short I think I have a good understanding about the importance of this trial and why the government is involved in marriage. My position on this subject will be irritating to some I am sure, but this is an important issue.

    In paragraph two of your last post you are implying that Californians are overly influenced by advertising and since the people that are opposed to prop 8 spent $3 million more on advertising and 21 out of 23 of California's largest newspapers endorsed the opposition to prop 8 with none of the others supporting legislation for prop 8. The governor, democrats, several corporations and many celebrities, with none of them (that I am aware of supporting prop 8) opposing prop 8 the advertisers supporting prop 8 must be supernaturally talented.

    paragraphs 3 and 4 you were clarifying the point on how our judicial system works, which I very much agree with and I don't think that I could have stated it better.

    In paragraph 5 we get to where traditional marriage supporters and same sex marriage supporters disagree. Religions can certainly be racist, but that is not the case here. Conservative Christians believe that the act and behavior of homosexuality is evil. We want to make it a crime like it once was before 2003 when sodomy laws were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Now the reverse has happened and everything in this post of mine could throw me in jail or cause me to pay a hefty fine, because it is now a hate crime against homosexuals. Certain portions of the Bible are now illegal as of this year. Homosexuals need to stop their behavior. People who steal need to stop. People who murder need to stop. People who commit adultery need to stop, etc, etc, 10 commandments, etc. People who steal are not some group that need to be protected. It should be stopped and punished.

    To clarify for a second here, there are those who call themselves Christian who are gay or endorse homosexuality, but it is not very likely that these are Christians who are saved. Anyone is a Christian who calls themselves a Christian, but those who are of the elect, or saved, or children of Christ, do not practice sin. This could get into predestination and whether someone is truly saved or not. This is why I call myself a conservative Christian so as to give a better idea of my particular Christian views. The Bible says that people who practice sin, of which homosexuality, adultery, fornication and a few other sexual sins are amongst those listed, will not inherit the kingdom of God. You can twist these verses however you want, but it is pretty clear. I only state this to state my own personal position on the subject. I consider the other Christian views that support Homosexuality as misguided at best.

    Is it wrong to make a law stating that the act of homosexuality is wrong or to define marriage as between one man and one woman? Christians are voting based on their convictions. To not allow Christians to vote on this issue is a form of persecution against Christians. I hate to use the word persecution, because it is a bit strong, but it still applies. Votes of any kind should not be thrown out just because they are based on religious convictions.

    To discover the reason that homosexuals want to marry I believe that it is at least a good start to understand what exactly marriage is. Marriage is the union of two people of the opposite sex who are committed to each other and vow not to commit adultery in thought or deed. According to the Bible a marriage is a covenant: Malachi 2:14. In Romans 13: 1-2 Christians are commanded to obey the law, therefore in order to be married people must be officially married as well. In Ephesians we see that marriage is also a representation of the relationship of man to God.

    So marriage is an official piece of paper, holy covenant, and a gift from God. Why would homosexuals want any of that? They live in rebellion to God. In states where same sex marriage is legal a vastly disproportionate number choose not to marry. Of the ones that do over half live in an open marriage where their spouse has sex with other people with the approval of the other spouse. It could be said that they call themselves Christian, but the Bible is pretty clear on the subject and if you decide to listen to only part of the Bible then you are really just a follower of your own man made religion.

    I don't think that nosy Joe is upset because homosexuality cheapens his marriage, but because it cheapens the perceived value of marriage and the perceived value is important. Legalizing same sex marriage will imply that homosexual marriage is just as valid as heterosexual marriage for raising children. In socially liberal districts of Norway where same sex marriage was legalized some time ago marriage has bottomed out and 60% of first born children in Denmark are now born out of wedlock.

    There are many many more reasons why marriage should be limited to one man and one woman and why the government is involved. Basically the government is involved as a way to preserve society.

    Homosexuals hate Christians and Christianity. Christians hate the sin of of homosexuality, but do not hate homosexuals. Christians do everything they can to help homosexuals to escape that destructive lifestyle.

    Interestingly the lifespan of gays is 39 due to AIDS or 42 if not from AIDS 44 for lesbians. There are many reasons for this low lifespan, but it wouldn't be appropriate to go into them.

    I hate to make a long post even longer, but marriage needs to be limited to a man and a woman because

    The Bible says it is wrong.
    It is biologically unnatural.
    No where in all recorded history is homosexuality viewed as equal to marriage or considered normal.
    It is bad for Children.
    It cheapens marriage as an institution.
    Legalizing it is a legal nightmare.
    It starts us down a slippery slope.
    It produces no natural offspring.
    It is particularly bad for women.
    It criminalizes Christianity.
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    Homosexuals need to stop their behavior. People who steal need to stop. People who murder need to stop. People who commit adultery need to stop, etc, etc, 10 commandments, etc. People who steal are not some group that need to be protected. It should be stopped and punished.
    But your argument is confusing: they need to stop what? The illegal behavior of homosexuality/stealing/murder? Therefore they cannot marry?

    Citing the Bible is irrelevant: if the Bible said that it should be illegal to be any race other than Australian, would it be right to create a law that follows that? Just because the Bible says something, that does not mean that the government should enforce it. This is not a Christian nation; it is a democratic nation made up of individuals with differing views.

    If a homosexual does something to someone else and it is received as wrong, then they should absolutely be punished by the law. But if they do something with someone who does not find it wrong, then this should be considered: it's not wrong.

    They live in rebellion to God.
    To your understanding of god. To them either god does not exist, or they do not see god as you do. Perhaps you're wrong: god hates everyone who is not homosexual. We really have no way of knowing this (in a legal sense), so who are you to decide what should or should not be done based on it?
    I'm not sure if I "support" homosexuality, but I certainly don't see any right to ban it. If I can have the right to do what I want, then I don't see why others shouldn't, given it's not harming anyone else.

    Regardless, you said we should just discuss the details, so I'll get back on topic.

    Overall, though, this IS on topic: the question is whether it is legal to enforce a law like this. Basically it's discrimination. Should it be allowed, because gays are "bad"? 50 years ago, African Americans were "bad". Before that, it was women. And before that, non Christians. Where should the line be drawn? Should the Pope (or your priest/etc if you prefer) get to decide who can marry?

    I certainly agree that this should be outside religion, but if gays don't want to get married in a church that is against homosexuality and they either get married in a purely legal context or in a church that is not opposed to homosexuality, then what's the problem?

    I'd also support that churches do not need to marry everyone. They can choose. But this is just one option. To limit every option is unfair. What if you were part of that group?


    ---
    Responding to the end of your post:

    The Bible says it is wrong. -- So? What if another book says it's right? Should the constitution be dropped for the Bible? It might be wrong, but the Bible is not legal proof.
    It is biologically unnatural. -- Yes, and so is any sexual act that does not lead to having children. Should infertile people never be allowed to have sex? What about old people?
    No where in all recorded history is homosexuality viewed as equal to marriage or considered normal. -- And there are lots of times in history where things are not as advanced as today: let's go back to slavery.
    It is bad for Children. -- This is VERY generalized. It might impact children. But many things can also impact them. Would you rather children have no home than to grow up in an "imperfect" one?
    It cheapens marriage as an institution. -- It generalizes marriage. It changes it, but "cheapens" is a very emotional word: that depends on the person. Plus, how is a gay couple being married actually cheapening your marriage? And what about Christians who "cheapen" marriage by divorce, cheating, crime, abuse, etc.? Should they be banned from getting married?
    Legalizing it is a legal nightmare. -- Nope. Just gives more money to the state for marriage licenses. It would help with the economic problems (if just slightly).
    It starts us down a slippery slope. -- Yep. Giving rights to minority groups. Should never start down that road.
    It produces no natural offspring. -- Certainly. And it's not like we should slow down the rate of overpopulation before everyone dies.
    It is particularly bad for women. -- How so? What about lesbians?
    It criminalizes Christianity. -- How? You can BELIEVE what you want. And if it "criminalizes" it, then isn't that a reason to consider that it might be wrong? 100 years ago Christians thought African Americans were second-class citizens. Do you want to decriminalize that?

    Of all of those arguments, the only one I don't fully reject is that it is "bad for children". However, this is VASTLY exaggerated in this sort of argument, and I have never seen proof that it is fundamentally bad. The only reason I partially agree with you is that life for gays is not easy. Because of that, life for the children of gays cannot be easy: they are made fun of in school, they are considered "strange" by society. If society just changed, then it would be a lot easier.
    Arguably it could promote homosexuality in children, but ONLY in the sense that it makes it acceptable rather than something that should be hidden. Many children of straight parents are gay (in fact, every gay person had straight parents, I'd argue), so why is that so significant?

    ---


    As a final note, this is a really important aspect of everything:
    Gay marriage is not gay sex. Gays do what they want. The paper just gives them legal rights, like visiting each other in the hospital and sharing taxes. A gay couple could marry and never have sex: they may just want to be together. Some straight couples never have sex: it's rare, but in political marriages, etc. Should that be banned?

    Only if you see marriage as a procreation license should gay marriage be banned. And if that's the case: go right ahead and ban it. But then move all of the rights attached to "marriage" into "domestic partnership" instead and make currently "married" couples get a domestic partnership in addition to the marriage license.

    ----
    The real question here is: why are your views more valid than homosexual views? If homosexuals were trying to ban Christianity, I'd want to defend it: people can believe what they want. But that doesn't mean Christianity should be able to ban homosexuality. That's just hypocritical.
    Last edited by djr33; 01-31-2010 at 02:00 AM.
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    In order to respond to most of your statements I will need to establish the Bible as a foundation for right and wrong, which is not likely to happen. What is being debated is whether homosexuals have the fundamental right to marry and in order to do that it needs to be proved that they "an identifiable and specially disadvantaged groups such as those based on race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin." West's encyclopedia of American Law. My position is that they can't logically classify themselves as such. It is silly.

    Should father and 8 year old son be allowed to have sex if both consent to it? Where is the line drawn? Where should it be drawn? By what standard? I think you answered that question though when you said that this is a democracy. I vote and with my vote and voice I say that a father should not have sex with his 8 year old son even if both think it is fine. It is my personal opinion which happens to be based on my convictions. Am I not allowed to vote that way because they are based on the views of another (Bible)? Should all who vote based on Biblical principles be forbidden to vote for the sake of a minority?

    And that's where homosexuals and conservative Christians are at odds and the beginnings of the power struggle between the two for which there is currently a huge legal battle in California, many other countries, and many other places in the U.S.

    There is a lot in your post that doesn't make sense, but I think that we know what our respective positions are on the topic. I will take back the word cheapen though. I was not thinking of it as an inflammatory word. What I meant was that it diminishes the importance of marriage. If everyone can marry and there are no rules governing it whatsoever then marriage becomes meaningless.

    The rest is semantics as well. For example is being so advanced necessarily a good thing? Does that mean change is always good? What it means is that our values are continually changing, which means that there is no standard. Or would you prefer that it means that we have a better understanding of what right and wrong is? If so, what is it? What is it based on?

    And if it "criminalizes" it, then isn't that a reason to consider that it might be wrong?
    If I am understanding you correctly here then "it" is Christianity. Not everything should be decriminalized is my position.

    You are right my opinion is not more valid than another's in this country. I do vote though and I do have an opinion and I do not voice it very often, but am entitled to one (so far anyway).

    I would say that my initial questions were answered and the rest of this is kinda off topic, which considering the nature of this topic is rather difficult to do. There is a lot we disagree on and I am not sure where to begin to find common ground, but I am quite curious as to how to do that.

    Gonna watch a movie, later.
    To choose the lesser of two evils is still to choose evil. My personal site

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    In order to respond to most of your statements I will need to establish the Bible as a foundation for right and wrong, which is not likely to happen.
    And that's the problem right there. The Bible is NOT established fact. If it was, then this would be a religious state, just like the Islamic nations in the middle east.
    Your beliefs are yours and you are certainly welcome to have them, but, please, tell me, why should your beliefs be forced upon anyone else any more than theirs should be forced upon you?
    Our nation is built on diversity and it should be: this means everyone is free to do what they want as long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else doing the same. You can be Christian, they can be gay, and everything is fine. But once you cannot be Christian or they cannot be gay, there is something wrong.

    Should father and 8 year old son be allowed to have sex if both consent to it? Where is the line drawn? Where should it be drawn? By what standard?
    The 8 year old son cannot marry. When he is 18 years of age, he can. And, though I am sure this would offend many people, I would not have a major problem with it if they did want to marry. But the other problem there is that there is a power issue, just like a boss marrying an employee: it is dangerous to assume there is no abuse of power.
    If two individuals can marry individually, then why should they not be allowed to marry each other?
    Others may be able something, but that does not mean you must. You can do what you like: you can remain entirely opposed. But why should your feelings mean that they can't?

    On top of that, let's assume for a moment that the Bible is the truth and the only truth: people are allowed to sin, are they not? That is the god-given power of free will. Gays can choose to be sinners and "stay" gay.... are you actually supposed to stop them? Should you make it illegal to sin? Of course if this is all true then they would have consequences from god later, but it is their free will that allows them to choose- NOT you. It is not your free will, but theirs, and if they make bad decisions then that is not your fault either.
    And this is only made more important by the fact that we do NOT know that the bible is the truth. Maybe it is. And even so, does that really mean you have the right to tell other people they must follow it? Isn't that against the idea of free will?

    I was not thinking of it as an inflammatory word. What I meant was that it diminishes the importance of marriage. If everyone can marry and there are no rules governing it whatsoever then marriage becomes meaningless.
    Yes, certainly, to some degree. However, I don't believe that the meaning of marriage is held in its definition or by society: instead, the meaning of marriage is for the two individuals (or more, in some cases) involved in it.
    If marriage "means" something but the two individuals are not happy, I'd suggest that the values are considered the wrong way: if the two individuals are happy and it means nothing, then who cares that it means nothing-- they're happy.
    But in this case if you insist that being part of something that you don't agree with is so disturbing to your marriage/future marriage, then consider what I said earlier: religious people can get a special "non-homosexual marriage", whatever you would like that to entail. And your priest (etc) can sign it.
    I really have no problem here.

    But what about the idea of a gay couple wanting to file taxes together or visit each other in the hospital? If they are not allowed marriage, then what equivalent do you suggest? If you believe that gays can be saved, then surely you also believe they can love, so should they not be allowed to care for those they love?


    You are right my opinion is not more valid than another's in this country. I do vote though and I do have an opinion and I do not voice it very often, but am entitled to one (so far anyway).

    I would say that my initial questions were answered and the rest of this is kinda off topic, which considering the nature of this topic is rather difficult to do. There is a lot we disagree on and I am not sure where to begin to find common ground, but I am quite curious as to how to do that.
    Completely correct: and because of this, I think that the common ground is quite simple: be free and left everyone else be free.

    While I do have personal opinions (and some are even by my own understanding strange) I do what I can to keep an open mind. The only opinions that I fully reject are those of not accepting other opinions: people should be allowed to be different. Anyone who stands in their way is bad, as far as I am concerned.
    I do not know what is right and while I may have some ideas I have no right to impose them on others.

    I can completely understand your arguments and feelings about the issue. But they are just that: arguments and feelings. Those aren't laws and they should not become laws. Gays have arguments and feelings too. They are just as valid as yours.


    Regarding basically all laws like this (gay marriage, abortion, free speech, keeping weapons), I believe in a middle ground, not a restriction or requirement.
    There are three ways to handle gay marriage (and other such issues):
    1. Gay marriage is absolutely illegal.
    2. Gay marriage is a legal choice.
    3. Gay marriage is required by all individuals.

    I cannot see any logical or emotional reason for choosing (1) or (3). Both seem unfair and inhumane.

    As another example, abortions:
    1. Abortions are entirely illegal.
    2. Abortions are a legal choice.
    3. Abortions are required.

    While usually the argument is between the first two, I think the last one is often ignored too much.
    Countries with population problems have enforced "one child per family" rules and though this may not take the form of an abortion, I think that is a major problem with civil rights.*
    While people argue about "pro life" and "pro choice", I think the only real option is "pro choice" in ANY of these circumstances, when given the options of "pro restriction" and "pro requirement".

    (*Of course in this case there is actually an argument for it as well: if the population keeps expanding, we are all going to be in trouble, including all of those children.)


    Legally, I think this middle ground should be the answer to all such problems: if it is relevant to an individual that individual should have the power to decide for what affects him/herself
    Last edited by djr33; 01-31-2010 at 06:15 AM.
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    I forget which supreme court justice it was that said she sided with abortion rights because it was a wonderful way to get rid of the undesirables. Wow. That sounded evil to me.

    This is an interesting back and forth we have here, because it looks like we are about as polar opposite on almost every issue as we can get. Although you probably do not agree with that either . I do not believe in the concept of overpopulation. Free will, as I define it, is the ability to make decisions without fully knowing or always understanding the consequences. If this were a Muslim theocracy then we would still have some measure of free will. I am sure you would agree with that.

    Why should my beliefs be forced upon anyone else? They shouldn't. That is for the legal system to do. I am commanded by the Bible to submit to the ruling authorities as they were appointed by God Himself, so if I disobey them then I am in essence disobeying God unless the governing bodies demand that I do something directly contradictory to the the word of God, the Bible. Marriage was originally set up by God and now gays and lesbians want to be a part of that. If they ask to be married by a pastor the pastor who follows the Bible must refuse. The couple will then sue based on discrimination or hate or whatever and the pastor will be fined or thrown in jail. "On to the next church," the gay couple says.

    Let's look at it in the opposite way and say that many people vote on this issue and say that homosexuality is illegal. Two people of the same sex are found having sex and the police arrest them. They demand "what right do you have to say what we can and can't do? We are not hurting anyone." The police say that that is not their problem, "we are upholding the law" they say. Citizen Joe and many others voted and said it was illegal for them to do what they were doing.

    The problem with the church creating a new non-gay contract for people to sign is that this was already done and now the gay community wants to be a part of that. If we set up a new contract they will want to be a part of that as well. A non-gay contract is like two different drinking fountains.

    And so the power struggle continues and I am more convinced than ever that the consequences of this trial are very important and huge. Well... it will be appealed regardless as I am sure you already know. I may have said this before, but in Louisiana this exact same case came up and it went up to circuit court, but the amendment defining marriage was upheld. We'll see what happens in this case when it reaches the ninth circuit.

    Getting back to scenario 2 a second I am not sure if I would make homosexuality illegal. I am against it, but make it illegal? I am not so sure. I need to think more on that one.

    Why is the government involved? I think they would rather they were not involved, but people get divorced and fight and demand an arbiter and then courts come into play. I just wanted to add that, because I forgot to in my last post.

    Should father and 8 year old son be allowed to have sex if both consent to it? Where is the line drawn? Where should it be drawn? By what standard?
    I really did mean sex here and not marriage, because I figured you would agree to the idea of legalizing marriage between the two.

    I daresay I am more against civil unions then I am gay marriage (I use gay here, because it is only three letters to type). A civil union is another one of those separate but equal things. If gays wanted to create their own equivalent like civil unions because they don't want a marriage certificate due it being against their principles, but it is almost identical to marriage I would have a lot less of a problem with it, but homosexuals want marriage. Why? Because they want to destroy it. They do not really want to get married at all. Why do they want to get rid of it? This is important here. They want to destroy it because Christians say that homosexuality is wrong.

    While I do have personal opinions (and some are even by my own understanding strange) I do what I can to keep an open mind. The only opinions that I fully reject are those of not accepting other opinions: people should be allowed to be different. Anyone who stands in their way is bad, as far as I am concerned.
    I do not know what is right and while I may have some ideas I have no right to impose them on others.
    This is where you and the Christian faith will come into a huge conflict. This puts you at odds with the very fundamentals of Christianity itself and sooner or later these conflicting value systems will interact and Christianity will be seen as the enemy because it says abortion is murder, homosexuality is a sin, adultery is wrong and other things as well. Why not make Christianity wrong as it is so controversial? Well, then you get into Fahrenheit 451 issues.

    Would you support any laws/views that are contrary to someone else's? It sounds like you do not vote out of principle. Then again I suspect that you would vote for hate crimes legislation, which is ironic since hate crimes legislation is hateful towards people who say that homosexuality is wrong and by extension Christians. This is just speculation and irrelevant. ...well, more irrelevant anyway.

    Who am I to say that one thing is legal and another is not? Who are you to say that I can't? Lame response on my part, but we both have a vote and a voice and we are exercising that right. Should one of us not have that right? We do what we can to make sure that no matter what happens we both retain our votes and voices. The ability to ostracize/penalize a minority is a dangerous thing. (No, I do not believe that homosexuals are a minority. They just want to say that marriage is something that the dictionary says it isn't.)

    I need to get some sleep. I fear I my sleepiness is causing my comments/posts to degrade into greater chaos than usual or functional.

    I notice that the homosexual community and the Christian community have both made huge strides recently against the other. I shouldn't say Christians though in what follows. One diverse group of people have made amendments in 30 states to establish the definition of marriage with laws to that effect in many other states. Homosexuals have established hate crimes laws to make statements against homosexuality illegal as well as generating certain legal cases to overturn all of the amendments in all of the states.
    To choose the lesser of two evils is still to choose evil. My personal site

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    Why not make Christianity wrong as it is so controversial?
    Isn't that what you're arguing for toward gay rights?

    It sounds like you do not vote out of principle.
    I certainly do vote, but I can't say that I'm fond of politics: I find republicans to be too controlling and democrats to be too proper to stop it. But I'll vote for whoever I believe will move things toward the right direction, or at least not toward the wrong one.
    I don't think that views shouldn't be expressed. But I don't like when one group imposes their views on another.

    As for the end of your post, you can't blame any group for trying to use politics for their own goals, can you? That's what democracy is about.

    No, I do not believe that homosexuals are a minority. They just want to say that marriage is something that the dictionary says it isn't.
    1. Minority: a group of people that do not make up the majority. Perhaps you don't consider them a relevant political minority: not a race, not a sex, not a nationality... but isn't that just discriminating against homosexuality more than against race, sex and nationality? But perhaps you think that's ok.
    2. Marriage is not defined in a dictionary. Marriage is an extra-linguistic concept about two people wanting to spend life together. Certainly gay marriage is a new twist on that, but I don't see it as something completely different or something completely redefining: the basic idea is still there: form a 'family' unit. They may not have children, but they will support each other. What's wrong with that? Would you rather they do exactly the same thing and can't get the piece of paper?

    The question here is not about homosexuality or heterosexuality, but instead about people who already live together for their entire lives and want to have legal rights that support that. While some may also be pushing to have "equal treatment" (and get the paper) the real problem is that they don't have rights that others do in their place.


    Should someone really not be allowed into the hospital room to visit their life partner?
    Should a couple living together be forced to always file taxes separately?
    Should there be no way that a gay couple can commit to each other?

    Referring to the last issue, you mentioned AIDS above: would it not be better to have committed gay relationships rather than legally defined noncommitted relationships? That seems like a good idea if you're worried about AIDS spreading.
    (Then again, I believe that many gay couples are faithful to each other regardless of the paper. But in theory, it seems logical to want to allow a legal commitment.)
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