Gay Marriage Supporters Should Not Celebrate the California Court’s Ruling

You’ve probably already heard that the California federal court has found that California’s Prop 8 gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.  Not California’s Constitution Un-Constitutional, but Federal, Constitution that applies to all of us Americans, unconstitutional.  Gay rights groups are celebrating.  But , this is not good news, regardless of how you feel about gay marriage. (For what it’s worth, I support it, both on liberatarian and socially conservative grounds.)

The ruling will be appealed, and the Ninth Circuit will certainly uphold the decision.  So this battle will really be fought in the Supreme Court.  And that is exactly the battle that gay groups have been avoiding, with good reason. 

Let’s say that same-sex marriage supporters suffer a loss at the Supreme Court.  That’s huge.  SCOTUS only takes a few cases a year; it will likely be decades before they may be willing to take such a decision back, if not generations.  Having such a devastating loss from the highest court in the land will gird opponents and inspire revisits, and perhaps reversals, of the pro-gay marriage decisions that have been made up to now. 

On the state level, gay marriage supporters have made incredible strides in a very short time.  Gay marriage has been, and can continue to be, growing in acceptance, and people are becoming more comfortable with it.  A renouncement from the highest court in the land will be a devastating blow, and may stop that progress in its tracks.  Gay marriage opponents, which, it is important to remember, still constitute a majority of Americans, who may have lost interest or given up will be reminded of their opposition, and will take up arms again. 

On the other hand, let’s say that the Supreme Court upholds the California court’s decision.  A win for gay marriage across the country?  Perhaps.  Four years ago, I would have said that, should SCOTUS find such a right, we would expect a Constitutional amendment within days.  Things have changed in that regards, and opponents of such an amendment would have a much stronger case.  Stronger, but far from airtight.

If there is an amendment against gay marriage, it sets an alarming precedent.  It is not the place of the U.S. Constitution to set rules about popular social issues, and we should not start making it so.  Attitudes are changing; it does no good to set into stone a rule based on attitudes that may change in a matter of years.  As above, having a Constitutional Amendment, even one that gives states the right to make the decision, would reinvigorate opponents and gay marriage supporters would likely lose a great deal of the traction that they have gained in the past few years.  In our nation’s history, we have only overturned one Constitutional Amendment, so restrictions on gay marriage would be likely to last much longer than it would if it had been allowed to win support on its own.  It is simply not worth this risk. 

Even if such an amendment does not happen, the mere spectacle of a Supreme Court case and the national debate over an amendment will be a massive distraction from the important issues facing our country. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, it will almost certainly be a 5-4 split, which will mean that opponents will have every reason to question its validity.  Whether we like it or not, people care about this issue, and it is bound to bring up passionate debate and public interest.  Normally, debate and public interest are a good thing; however, our nation is now facing serious issues about the nature and role of government.  Like many of my fellow libertarian leaning Americans, I have been overjoyed at the new attention that this debate has brough to the public, and revel in the sudden attention that regular people now pay towards the government’s actions.  Distraction, in the form of a nationwide gay marriage debate, will allow government to grow, unchecked, while the people who would keep it in check debate an issue that in no way affects their livelihood and our country’s economic future.  We do not need to debate social issues right now; we need to keep the focus on the government.  A debate on gay marriage will not help that focus, and it will hurt our country.

I admit that I kind of appreciate DOMA as a compromise . . .

But I’ve always thought that it was probably unconsitutional, so I can’t disagree with this ruling at first glance.  I’ll try to read it more and see if that changes later.  Love, love, love that we’re talking about the 10th Amendment, though.

I’m sorry, I can’t understand you with that tape over your mouth

So Cindy McCain, wife of the former presidential hopeful, has decided to pose for the Anti-Anti-Gay Marriage campaign “NoH8.”  The picture, similar to hundreds of others in the campaign, displays Ms. McCain, glamourously made up, heavily photoshopped, and hair wind-blown, and posed with duct tape covering her mouth and the (word?  phrase? symbol?) letters and number combination”NOH8″ written on her cheek. 

This has gotten a lot of buzz in the internet world.  I can’t imagine why folks are surprised; her husband has always been at least as friendly towards the subject of gay marriage as his former opponent, our current president.  (By the way, interesting to note how differently these two men’s positions, which are exactly the same, were portrayed by various media outlets.)  The comments in the CNN story consist of expressions of surprise and “you go girl”-type statements as if she’s doing something remarkably brave.  She’s not; she, and the rest of this campaign, are doing something remarkably silly.  Not because they are wrong on the issue, mind you.   I don’t think that they are.  But their interpretation of the issue is nothing short of stupid. 

The Advocate describes this campaign thusly: “All of the subjects are photographed with duct tape over their mouths to symbolize that their voices aren’t being heard on the subject of marriage equality.”  But duct tape over the mouth doesn’t symbolize voices not being heard; it symbolizes restraint from voices being used.  It’s similar to the “Day of Silence” campaign, where schoolchildren are encouraged to act like spoiled brats by refusing to speak all day long, in order to “symbolically represent the [supposed] silencing of LGBT students and their supporters.” 

Imagine, for a moment, that I am a Baptist preacher.  I preach against the sins of alcohol.  (They actually do that here in Tennessee.  No, I don’t get it, either.)  I even preach that the government should make drinking illegal.  I buy commercials and billboards, and do everything possible to make my opinion known. 

And nobody listens to me. 

Oh, sure, a few people might listen to me and agree.  And some (probably quite a lot of) people will make fun of me, and a few people will complain about me.  But no one can say that my voice is not heard, or cannot be heard, simply because the majority of people disagree.  So it goes with the gay marriage movement, and other gay rights issues.  They can speak; no one is preventing it.  Some people simply don’t like what they have to say. 

And let’s talk about the name of the campaign, the real principle of the thing: “NoH8.”  Obviously, the H8 is intended to indicate “hate,” in the sense that hatred, as opposed to just the inability to get married, is what they are really striving against.  Now, I know that it’s in vogue to proclaim that any opposition to your point of view is clearly the result of “hate” and to proclaim all of your opponents to be “haters,” but is this really the case?  Is it really true that all, or even the majority of, opposition to gay marriage stems from “hate”?

As best as I can tell, the main reasons given for opposition to gay marriage comes down to just a few broad arguments: religious beliefs, tradition, or social concerns. 

Many people believe that religion dictates that homosexuality is immoral and an affront to God.  Do you hate everyone who ever does anything immoral?  If you do, it must keep you pretty busy.  Most religions I’m familiar with indicate that you should love the sinner, even if you think they’re wrong.  The second argument is that marriage has always been between a man and a woman, so it should remain so.  Again, I’m not saying it’s a good argument, you’ve got to squint pretty hard to translate that into hatred.  The third argument is that gay marriage can lead to other social changes, such as kids being taught about gay issues in school without their parents’ consent (this was considered a powerful argument in the Prop 8 debate) or businessowners being forced to participate in gay weddings despite their disagreements with them.  Again, this is an argument about individual rights; it has nothing to do with hatred of anyone. 

Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t some people  out there who truely hate people just because they are gay.  I mean, I’ve never met them, but the internet certainly indicates to me that they exist.  So, of course, do KKK members, and neo-nazis, and people that want to beat up redheads.  We can deal with it.  But accusing your political opponent of “hate,” rather than engaging his or her actual arguments, is nothing short of lazy.  It implies that you don’t have anything substantive to say.  Or not say, as the case may be for the subjects of the NoH8 campaign.

Not seeing the vicious backlash, here

I normally enjoy Cynthia Yockey’s unique perspective, as a “newly conservative lesbian,” on things, but I’m really disappointed in her latest post comparing the backlash involving Carrie Prejean to that involving the Ft. Hood massacre.   She has some pretty nasty things to say about Ms. Prejean following her actions on Larry King Live

She showed her true character again during her recent interview on “The Larry King Show” (above) when he asked her a question that a gracious and/or mature woman would have seen coming and memorized five or six charming and disarming replies for and then changed the subject. (I am ripping off the “charm and disarm” expression from an episode of “The West Wing.”)

King tossed Prejean a softball that hinted at her masturbation video, which she has acknowledged exists. A pro knows that is her golden opportunity to frame the controversy her way and move on — there’s nothing inappropriate about King’s question at all because THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE. However, Prejean is not a pro, so she did not recognize her golden opportunity for what it was, and instead, she took off her mic and prepared to storm off the set — because, you know, she is just that special — or, more likely, because that is how trailer trash think real ladies behave and Prejean was aiming at aping her betters.

Now, I probably would have been more measured and polite about it, but I don’t have a big problem with what Cynthia says here.  I, for one, am quite tired of Ms. Prejean’s continued fame.  I don’t want to continue to write about her, listen to her, or pretty much care about her in any way.  I have no real problem with beauty pageants and the people who participate in them, but I see pageants the same way that I see football or soccer (and, I’m sure, the same way some people see my blog): silly and incredibly dull.  I don’t agree with Ms. Prejean’s opinion on gay marriage.  Additionally, I find Ms. Prejean herself to be tedious and not particularly intelligent.  I’m not trying to say that she’s dumb; I don’t think that, either.  It’s just that there is a certain kind of intelligence that one really has to have to comment well on these matters, and I don’t think that she has shown this.  Her failure to 1) properly prepare for King’s questions and 2) react to them gracefully show this lack of intelligence.  Basically, I don’t want to defend her anymore; I don’t want to talk about her anymore. 

I keep doing it, however, only because I feel that the way that she has been treated by the left is evidence of a problem with society as a whole in the way it treats women who dare to step out of their liberal-approved ideological box

Here’s where I think Cynthia steps out of line:

 I have to admit that I think Perez Hilton correctly summed up Prejean’s character when he called her “a bitch” and a “cunt” right after the Miss USA pageant last spring.

I’m sorry, this goes too far.  When Perez Hilton said these things, Ms. Prejean merely answered a question, and she answered it in a perfectly respectful manner.  However, even if she had been less respectful, calling a woman a “cunt” or other sexual attacks merely for disagreeing with you is absolutely disgusting.  I don’t care that his shtick is to be bratty and rude; this sort of thing hurts all women who wish to express a political viewpoint.  It says “don’t challenge us or we will hit you where you live.”  It is the exact same thing that was done to Sarah Palin, including, often, the use of that very word, and it is disgusting and wrong.  Disagree, poke fun, even call names, but avoid the sexual attacks.  They’re beneath you, all of you. 

Cynthia went on to make some assertions that I believe are pretty unfounded:

The problem I want noticed is that the backlash by conservatives from Hilton’s questioning Prejean at the Miss USA pageant, followed by his name-calling, which ought to roll off the back of anyone in public life, SHOULD have been limited to Perez, but instead was vicious and literally murderous toward ALL gays. So, because Perez Hilton, who is FAMOUS for being bratty and rude, was bratty and rude to a beauty queen whose primary career skill is her ability to cause erections, conservatives were quick to condemn THE ENTIRE HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY TO LIFE-DESTROYING PERPETUAL SECOND-CLASS CITIZENSHIP. THAT is the level of backlash gays have to cope with.

Cynthia, if you saw that, people suggesting that Perez Hilton’s actions were in any way related to all gays, I’m sorry; I truly do hate that for you.  But you gave us no examples of it, and I, a certifiable political junkie, can’t think of any incidents where this occurred.  I certainly don’t think that they were common in any way. 

She went on to say:

yet conservatives are working over-time to parse the distinctions between Muslims and Islamist jihadists AND CALLING FOR NO BACKLASH WHATSOEVER except where it can be proven a crime has been committed or a terrorist act is being planned.”

Again, I’m not sure I’ve seen this at all.  In fact, time after time during this last week I have seen the “religion of peace, my ass” style comments.  (Now, liberals are, of course, parsing like crazy.)  I don’t think anyone’s calling for a backlash against all Muslims (well, I’m sure somebody is, but no one I’m familiar with), but a lot are expressing concerns about the problems associated with Islam. 

Cynthia, I hope you re-think this.

Joy Behar is kind of an idiot. Even when I agree with her.

When I first heard that Joy Behar was getting her own show on CNN, I did some serious eye rolling.  Now, I try like hell to avoid shows like The Viewas much as possible, but somehow they just manage to seep into the world’s collective unconscious. (Things I seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of, despite all my most rational desires: The View, Oprah, Paris Hilton, John and Kate + 8, The Batchelor, etc.).  Anyway, when I have watched The View (entirely not on purpose!), she sounds useless and shallow.  When I hear quotes from her, she sounds, well, useless and shallow, but usually also mean and nasty.  But, whatever, right.  I mean, who watches CNN anyway

But, I do depend on their website to get regular updates at work (Fox’s site pretty much sucks, and everything about MSNBC pretty much sucks), so I couldn’t miss her (debut?)article in CNN’s commentary section. 

On a recent tour of a Ukrainian orphanage, Elton John and his partner met Lev, a 14-month old HIV-positive boy.

They immediately fell in love with the child, but their possible bid to adopt the adorable tiny dancer was rejected by Yuriy Pavlenko, Ukraine’s Family, Youth and Sports Minister.

Mr. Pavlenko, here are some tips about family, youth and sports. Family doesn’t mean a huddle of orphans sharing a few soiled mattresses, it’s not youth if you die of AIDS before you reach kindergarten, and wrestling over dinner scraps is not a sport.

So, instead of leading with facts or argument, she starts right off with being a smartass.  Charming.

But that could be Lev’s fate now, because the Ukrainian government said Elton and his beau David Furnish are too old to adopt the boy. It sounds like the real reason is they’re too gay.

John and Furnish tied the knot in 2005, becoming one of Britain’s first gay civil unions, but Ukraine doesn’t recognize gay unions.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesman Father Georgy Gulyaev called Elton John a sinner and said, “thank God it’s impossible under Ukrainian law for [him] to adopt a child.” Apparently in the Ukraine, God’s No. 1 priority is preventing gay couples from giving sick kids a better life. God would never want something like that to happen.

More with the sarcasm instead of argument.  I’m willing to bet that this woman thought that “No Bushit” bumper stickers represented the hight of intelligent political discussion.  But what really gets me is the “it sounds like” argument.  Why does it sound that way?  Because somebody in the country (not the person who denied the adoption) said something against homosexuality?  Or because it fits her narrative? 

Notice how off-handedly she buries the reason that the Ukrainians gave for denying the adoption.  And notice that she doesn’t mention how old Mr. John actually is (he’s 62, or about 14 years younger than my grandfather, who will welcome a great-grandchild this year).  It’s not in any way unusual for a 62-year-old to be denied the right to adopt, except for the fact that most of them probably wouldn’t even try, knowing that 40-ish is the cutoff almost everywhere:

The other option [as opposed to trying to get a baby in the U.S.] in pursuing an infant adoption is to consider countries that are more flexible concerning the age of the adopting parents. For some years, couples up to age 43 have been able to adopt from Korea or India . Those over 43 will find some Latin American countries that take applicants. African countries are very flexible on ages of adopters. China wants applicants who must be 30 or older, while Russian and Bulgaria have been open to those in their late 40s, especially for preschool age children.

So, if Mr. John had attempted to adopt in 1989, he would have had a hard time of it, gay or no. 

Now, here’s where I do agree with Ms. Behar.  I do think that, given this extra-ordinary situation, Mr. John and his partner should be able to adopt this child.  First, although I’m aware of the research indicating that gay parents are fine, I’m skeptical.  It’s still too new of a cultural phenomenon to draw thorough results, and you are going to have a hard time convincing me that the majority of the researchers don’t have an agenda on this issue.  That said, I think that it is at least very likely that a child is better off in a stable home with gay parents is better than a lot of alternatives, such as a Ukrainian orphanage.  (I’ll add that I don’t know the conditions of this orphanage, and although Ms. Behar lists some common stereotypical poor country orphanage complaints, she offers no support for the idea that this child’s situation was that bad.)  So, even if I’m skeptical of the idea that gays are always as good as a mother and a father, I’m not holding it against Elton here.  (At the risk of sounding mealy-mouthed, I’m not saying I’m against gay adoption in general, just that I’m on the fence.)

Second, I’m not troubled by the age thing.  Sure, there are a lot of problems with older parents, but, again, these are extra-ordinary circumstances.  While I hate to put consideration for one’s wealth above other concerns, I don’t overlook that Mr. John is a man of very significant means, and he can ensure that a child is well taken care of, even if he and his partner are unable to provide it.  And, once again, we have the alternative is a poor country orphanage argument, and given the fact that the child is HIV positive, he may have a reduced life expectancy besides.  Let a chance at a real family brighten up what life the child does have. 

Third, I’m not even at all bothered by the phenomenon of celebrity child shopping.  When we are talking about children who, in their home countries, would probably lack access to good education, healthcare, social development, etc., I really don’t care that a celebrity might get some self-congratulatory attention out of the deal.  Doesn’t matter a bit to the child that is not dying of malaria, in my opinion. 

Of course, why would we consider all of this, when we can just throw in some good old fashioned ethnic stereotypes, instead?

He’ll likely end up in foster homes and — if he lives long enough — maybe he can turn into a bitter, vodka-swilling drunk. All because the Ukrainian government won’t let him be adopted by two loving gay parents who are fabulously rich and want to give him a home with the best healthcare available, dressed in Versace jammies and cashmere Huggies. Not to mention all the play dates with Brangelina’s kids.

More on the intellectual bottom-feeding of the gay marriage debate

Earlier today, I posted a piece about the astonishing immaturity displayed on Keith Oberman’s program, where the host and a commentator spent several minutes joking about breast implants and asserting that she used to be a man. 

Wesley M., of In My Copious Free Time, has a number of thoughts about the serious harm that these “supporters” do to the cause of gay marriage:

The only thing dumber than MSNBC allowing a segment like this to even air on a news network is the idea that these two guys actually believe Perez Hilton’s tirades — and segments like this — are “a real win for this cause.” I’ve already written how tactics like this almost cost the pro-gay marriage side my own vote against Proposition 8, and I’m one of the last people they ever should have had to worry about losing:

I’ve lived in the gay ghetto of a major city. I’ve owned a small business with a gay partner. Part of the first date my wife and I had involved her taking me to a fabulous gay coffee shop in West Hollywood as a test of how tolerant I was. (I passed.) I’ve even kept my cool and gently talked down a drunken homosexual as his fingers tried to do the walking down my pants. (Sloppy drunks come in all sexual persuasions.) And two of the best parents I know are a lesbian couple, and raising a young son who is a joy to behold. So, I give no ground to anyone when it comes to my anti-homophobe street cred.And still, they almost lost my vote. That takes real talent. Or something else that I’m not sure what to call.

We’ve reached the point where those of us on my side of the gay marriage issue, if we want to avoid a backlash of our own making, need a remedial primer on how we lose, and how we lose again. I’ve said most of this before, and so have others, but it obviously needs to be said again. So…

When we let a foul-mouthed caricature like Perez Hilton become the spokesman for our cause, we lose. And when we defend that foul-mouthed caricature for using rhetoric that we would call hate speech if it came from the other side, we lose again.

When we label Miss California Carrie Prejean as a bigot (and worse) for calmly answering a question about gay marriage rather than calmly saying that she’s wrong, and here’s why, we lose. And when we then say that President Barack Obama, by opposing gay marriage on religious grounds, is somehow actually being inclusive, we show a level of hypocrisy that those Americans we need to win over will see as far worse than any level of hypocrisy we’re trying to point out on the part of Miss California. And we lose again.

Here’s the thing:  I support gay marriage for a number of reasons- 1) my basic life’s philosophy is that if you aren’t impacting the rights of someone else, the law shouldn’t get a say in what you do or don’t; 2) I think that gay marriage, like straight marriage, has a number of societal benefits that we should encourage (married people are generally better citizens, more productive, less dependant, etc- I see no reason that this would be different for gays than straights.); 3) I feel genuine sympathy to someone who would like to have their relationship recognized, share the benefits of marriage, etc, but can’t due to whatever accident of genetics or otherwise that makes their sexuality fall outside of the mainstream. 

But here’s the (actual) thing: I so don’t have a dog in this fight.  None.  I live in a state that constitutionally outlawed gay marriage by a near absurd 81% popular vote- that’s not going to change anytime soon.  I’m very straight and very married.  I don’t even really have any friends with dogs in the fight (there’s no discriminatory reason there- I’ve had a lot of gay friends in the past, it’s just with law school and having been married for a while now, a lot of folks just haven’t found their ways into my life of late.  Also, I don’t exactly go around collecting friends of various demographics just to have them.)  So, I’m basically just sitting on the sidelines watching all this go down like I’m watching a movie.  And, if I’m watching a movie, it’s pretty clear which characters most represent the heroes, and which ones represent the douchbag that will get his in the end. 

Even though I don’t agree with their position, I somehow feel like cheering when the anti-gay marriage people get a win, just because I wind up, again and again, liking them so much better.

I’m really not out looking for this today, but

this goes beyond the liberal immaturity I’ve pointed out before (ht: Instapundit):

In case you’re not the video watching sort (I’m usually not, and believe me, I wish I hadn’t watched that one along with my lunch), these idiots are basically congratulating themselves and Perez Hilton for using dirty words to describe the Miss USA pageant contestant who dared to honestly answer a question that was posed to her in a respectful manner.  Then, they spend at least 2 minutes talking about breast implants and joking about how they know for a fact that she used to be a man until she “cut off her penis.” 

Thing is, I disagree with Miss California’s opinion here (not to mention the opinions of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, etc)- I support gay marriage.  So assholes like this are doubly-embarrassing, first for thinking that they are funny, and second, for thinking that they can in any way help the cause.  As Professor Reynolds points out, “you probably can name Ms. Prejean, but can you name this year’s Miss USA?” (and, according to Gay Patriot, she’s getting twice the number of google hits as the person who beat her to the title.)

Maybe in sixth grade I had a few classmates immature enough to sit around congratulating themselves for accusing people they didn’t like of being transsexuals, but even then I was embarrassed by them.  You should be, too.