Monday, June 27, 2011

Time To Change Gay Marriage Strategy?

This is clearly my week for endearing myself to religious conservatives, so let's go for the unhappy trifecta! I think the fight against gay marriage is lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm still opposed to it, but I also think it's time to consider a change of strategy.

I’ve explained before why I oppose gay marriage. To summarize my position, the government cannot grant rights in a vacuum. If gays are given the rights of married couples, then those rights must come at the expense of other people’s rights. In this case, the rights the government would take away are (1) the rights of employers, who would become legally obligated to extend partnership benefits to gay couples, (2) churches, which could no longer refuse to recognize such marriages, and (3) taxpayers, who would be forced to bear the burden of subsidizing these new marriages through the government benefits that become available to married couples.

Thus, to extend marriage rights to gays, the government will take the property rights of businesses, the right to freedom of religious belief from churches, and will impose more burdens on the over-stretched taxpayers. I can see no justification for doing this based on a group that defines itself by its conduct rather than some innate characteristic. In other words, gays aren’t gay unless they act upon those impulses -- unlike blacks who are black no matter what they do. Thus, being gay is by definition a choice. And while gays may claim being gay is an impulse they cannot control, so is bestiality and serial killing, yet gays would not suggest extending rights to those groups. Thus, their argument is not principled and cannot support their claim.

Consequently, I oppose gay marriage.

And indeed, my fears are already being played out in England, where the government is forcing churches to provide equal services to gay couples and to hire gay employees, no matter what the church’s view on the morality of homosexuality might be. Consider this bit of incredible double-speak by The Economist explaining why this does not violate the freedom of religious belief:

“[The government] was not questioning the right of religious bodies to follow their own beliefs when hiring priests or imams; it merely wanted to clarify that, in recruiting for non-religious jobs (accountants, for example), churches must obey the law and refrain from discrimination against gays.”
I wonder if they would feel the same about the NAACP being forced to hire white racists, so long as they weren’t forced to hire them for their most senior positions?

In any event, on to the issue at hand. I think the writing is on the wall. Each liberal state, like New York, will slowly adopt gay marriage provisions. The conservative states are unlikely to at this time. However, even the conservative states will eventually cave in. For one thing, libertarians have wrongly fallen for the one-sided “we just want freedom” argument and have not considered the rights being taken. Moderates do not find homosexuality immoral and thus see no reason to oppose it -- a flawed bit of logic in American society, i.e. that having no reason to oppose something means a right thereto should exist. Thus, combining liberals, moderates and a chunk of the conservative ranks will be more than enough to eventually get gay rights passed.

What’s more, the pressure will increase when the world doesn't end. Little will change as a result of gay marriage laws. Cities won’t erupt into panic or fall into Sodom-like levels of debauchery and God’s not going to turn everyone in Boston into salt. . . though he should for several reasons. A small number of gays will marry, giving further proof they are only 1-2% of the population and not 10% as Kinsey claimed, and few people will even notice the difference unless they work in their firm’s HR department. If the world doesn’t end, then even conservative states will begin to wonder what the big deal is. And I suspect it will only be a matter of time before they follow suit.

So the thing to do now is to reconsider the strategy. And to do that, we need to consider what the goals are. If the goal is to change public perceptions about homosexuality, then a massive public relations campaign will be in order to explain why it should bother average Americans that there might be gays lurking in neighboring homes. This will be very difficult unless places like New York implode. Thus, a better strategy might be to figure out whose rights will be infringed upon and work to pass laws protecting those rights. For example, I would suggest legislation that:
(1) Prevents employers, businesses or landlords from being forced to recognize any marital arrangement they consider outside their moral beliefs and specifically granting these employers, businesses or landlords the right to discriminate against those types of marriages. Unfortunately, this would probably require a Constitutional change.

(2) Prevents churches from having to recognize any relationship, hire any person, or extend any right, privilege or benefit to any person where such an act would violate the church's religious doctrine. This would be consistent with the First Amendment and would probably work.
A better approach, however, might be to get the government out of the marriage business entirely. Let me ask this, has it helped or hurt the institution of marriage that the government has been recognizing and affirming marriages? I would say marriage is in much worse shape now that the government is involved -- as with everything else the government seeks to help. By making the government blind to marriage and returning this institution to churches, it would be entirely up to the churches and private employers, businesses, landlords and individuals if they choose to recognize and/or favor marriage.

This may sound radical, as indeed I thought it was when I first heard it, but it might be a good solution. It gets the government out of deciding what is moral and what isn't and away from social engineering. It also returns the role of the regulation of marriage to the churches, and thereby makes both stronger institutions again. Churches could require things like pre-marriage counseling, a waiting period, and consideration of numerous things the government doesn't ask anyone to think about. Indeed, this last point could be critical as removing the government from marriage would force people to take more care in arranging their affairs (e.g. inheritance, care of children in the event of death or divorce, etc.), things people now assume the government will do for them automatically. This should certainly force people to go into marriage with their eyes open.

Maybe a little bit of independence would be a good thing for all concerned?

Thoughts?

67 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

As an update to my Bachmann piece from yesterday, she has now put out a real website. But there’s a catch. Her economic “plan” has all the substance of a digital Twinkie. To sum it up, her plan is to not be Obama.

Basically, it’s just buzzwords designed to appeal to the least rational Big Hollywood commenters and to hide the fact she doesn’t have a single economic idea. I’m going to wait until I actually get a plan out of her to analyze before I reconsider my plan.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - I favor getting the government out of the marriage business altogether. Now I realize, that has it's problems, because one would have to re-think laws around inheitance, legal standing etc. Anne Coulter, of all people made a convincing argument as to the societal benefits of promoting marriage with two parents as a definite indicator of successful rearing of children. But honestly, I want as simplified tax code. Yes, I know it might kill off the tax accountant industry, but once upon a time, there were buggy whip manufacturers.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Are you saying Coulter is for or against this idea?

There are a lot of laws that would need to be changed, but the effect in those areas would probably be for the better. For example, consider questions of inheritance. Rather than just assuming the government will take care of it -- as many people do now, people will actually need to arrange their affairs (as they used to). That means sitting down and making conscious decisions about your future and the future of people you care about.

I think the primary benefit though would be that churches would have more relevance to married couples and they would be capable of putting more requirements on people which would make marriage less of a technical distinction and give it more meaning.

Also, this would force people to confront issues like who would raise kids if the parents die, what happens if they do divorce, divisions of property, etc. All of that is something that would now need to be considered going in. And that might be what it takes to expose serious conflicts before people get started.

I'm not 100% either way, but I do know that when the government gets involved in something, it usually does more harm that good. And having a 50% divorce rate tells me that the government's involvement has been a mess.

(Plus, this takes all these issues out of the hands of the legislatures and the courts, which might be worth the price of admission alone.)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Let me add on more thing....

Right now, the government is being used by "activists" to attack traditional morality and force a new version of morality onto people. This change would remove the government from the morality business and keep it solely in the world of economic regulation. That would deprive the activists of the power to change our moral code using the power of the government.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I also did a couple articles on gay marriage here, and we're in substantial agreement. I just wanted to add that the California Supreme Court ruled on the issue of Prop 8 alone, and therefore found no necessity to address the issue with which I am most concerned. The New York legislation (from the summary I've read, so I may not yet have all the details) does address my concerns, but it doesn't alleviate them. The legislation purports to protect religious institutions from being forced to perform marriages which their doctrine forbids.

It should take about five minutes for a clever lawyer to get around that by going to "fundamental rights," "denial of due process" and "equal protection of the laws" to attempt to trump First Amendment religious rights. Liberal judges will buy that argument in a hot New York minute.

To your comment about England, I would add that the Supreme Court of Canada and the Human Rights Commission have done the same thing, finding fundamentally forbidden discrimination in churches which deny gay marriages and/or preach that homosexuality is a sin. They've even criminalized it.

I am of a mind that there are only two possible remedies. First, a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage, which I don't support and I don't think would pass.

Second, the complete elimination of any religious trappings for "domestic partnerships." As it stands, the radical gay lobby is not going to settle for "equal but different," and the anti-Christian, anti-Jewish radicals will not settle for a religious institution of any sort performing a function they consider to be strictly secular/legal. If a religious ceremony can be considered as sufficient to satisfy the law, they will continue to force gay marriage on the traditional churches and synagogues. But a European-style civil ceremony entirely independent from any religious ceremony which gives the marriage legal validity would be the only form of domestic partnership available for legal purposes. The churches would be free to perform marriages, gay or otherwise, as they choose without it having any independent legal status. The zealots would be unable to force churches and synagogues to perform weddings, since it would now be an entirely religious ceremony equal to Holy Communion, Baptism or a Bar Mitzvah--extremely important to the follower of the particular religion, but of no import at all in the legal arena.

In order to keep my tolerance for the gay community while at the same time maintaining my God-given and Constitution-granted right to freedom of religious belief, I am for the latter solution, and at the state level, not the federal. It allows me as a traditional Lutheran to disbelieve in the validity of a gay marriage while at the same time as a lawyer considering a gay partnership and a heterosexual partnership to have absolute equal validity at law.

I am fully cognizant that social attitudes toward abiding relationships between homosexual partners are changing inexorably. I have legal, economic and social objections to many of the arguments for treating gay relationships as the same as traditional marriages, But at law, and if done by the proper legal/electoral processes, I'll live with it. The radical abortion feminists say "keep the government's hands off my body." I have my own version in the marriage arena. "Keep the government's hands off my religion."

Ed said...

Excellent question Andrew and something to think about. I'm not sure you can ever get the government out of the morality business as many laws are based on morality in the first place, but this might work to stop the most blatant attacks on things like churches and marriage. I'll have to think about this and get back to you.

Essentially, you are saying that from the government's perspective, marriage would just be like any other contract say between two businesses? Interest.

Ed said...

Also, did you see that Blagovich got convicted and Robert Byrd died? Not a good day to be a Democrat!

rlaWTX said...

This is one of those area that I can't get my mind around - simply because of the "that's the way it's done". So, I have questions. I think that I have asked them before, but the discussion was more theoretical. Here goes:

You are suggesting that a legal arrangement - contract - would replace the "marriage license" presently signed by a preacher/JP? This would be the binding agreement? That "piece of paper"?

would it require a statement of vows or just "sign here, here, and here and initial here"?

What would be the point of a "church wedding"? simply a community stamp of approval? public vows? (Marriage isn't a "sacrament" for most protestant/ independent Christian denominations.)

would the marriage be binding with the church part but no "contract"?

would divorce simply become a broken contract - quite likely under terms included in the original contract? could this result in civil lawsuits instead of divorces as we know them now?

(as a cheated on, divorced person that penalty of a broken contract sounds pretty enticing - but isn't the important part)

I think that you are very right about reframing the conversation. Unfortunately, I also think that the conservative (social and religious - which as is shown by your argument can be different) position will just be bullied over. Thanks for answering these...

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I share your concerns that the protections included in these laws will not be enough -- as England and Canada have shown, and that this will inevitably lead to the government forcing religions to accept gay marriage and eventually gay employees.

In terms of the solution, I'm thinking something a little different. Not quite a regime where civil marriage counts and the rest is just personal, but a regime where the government gets out of the marriage business entirely. It basically treats everyone as single (though presumably you could designate a beneficiary for benefits or visitation) and then marriage would be handled by "contract." These contracts could theoretically be put together by anyone, but I would assume that most people would want to go through a church, which would probably have more experience getting the contracts right.

That way, the only issue the government need ever deal with is a breach of contract suit. (And some minimum support requirement for children).

I think this might have a lot of benefits because it would force people to go into marriage with their eyes wide open and they would need to deal with all those issues they can kind of blindly pass over right now. For example, when the husband says "gee, I don't want to share my assets," that's the sort of thing you can finesse right now, but would become very obvious in a contract regime.

Also, I think this would make churches much more important as a marriage resource.

There actually is a similar movement for about a decade now of churches trying to get people to sign up to "marriage covenants" which are enforceable agreements that are stronger than normal marriages. I'm not sure how successful they've been, but I think the concept is similar to what would happen if the government stepped out of this.

Like I say, I'm not 100% either way, but I think this might make sense and I think it would stop the assault on traditional institutions.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: While Andrew is trying to get his internet back up and working, take a quick look at my comment above. It might answer some of your questions, and Andrew can address the rest.

I should add that most traditional mainstream Protestant denominations have indeed removed marriage from the short list of sacraments, but still maintain that "marriage is a Holy Ordinance, instituted of God."

Tennessee Jed said...

To be honest, Andrew, I think Coulter was responding to liberals championing "single moms" and pushing fathers as increasingly being irrelevent. She was putting together statistics which showed how much worse kids did when in single parent households. It's been a while, but I THINK she may have shown how public policy including tax policy was specifically put together to support marriage for that reason, and as such, was not a bad thing. In that sense, while she didn't specifically say so, I think she would defend the government's intervention in the 'marriage' business.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Essentially, yes, from a legal perspective, a marriage would just be viewed as an enforceable contract. Where I think this would help is that (1) people would need to pay more attention going in, (2) the role of churches in forging these contracts and setting terms before agreeing to help you with the contract would be much more important, and (3) the government would be entirely out of the morality business.

Thus, the government couldn't tell a business, church, or individual, "this is what we will recognize from now on and you must accept it." If someone wanted to recognize the relationship they could, but they wouldn't need to.

Let me know your thoughts when you're done thinking. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Is there ever a good day to be a Democrat?

CrispyRice said...

I've seen this work in Germany, where the state performs civil unions, and if you want to be "married" you have to go find a church to do it. And most of them won't do it if you aren't a card-carrying member, so to speak.

I think you're going a step further and saying that the gov't wouldn't even do the civil union bit?

I'm of two minds of this, because I like the idea of the gov't being out of it, but I agree with Coulter's point (thanks Jed!) -- society is better off when people pair off and settle down. People are wealthier and kids are raised better when there is stability.

If anything, perhaps society ought to be cracking down more on people who just live together without some sort of commitment (whether gay or straight), but that is a societal constraint that I think is long gone.

Anyway, my point is that I fear if the gov't got out of the marriage business, society would fall further into the "let's just shack up" camp, and we'd lose even more stability and prosperity, both for kids and adults.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Although I might not prefer it, I could certainly go along with your alternate solution without any major hesitation. I guess I'm still stuck with the concept that marriage is something more than just a mere contract at law, but I'm not doctrinaire about it, at least as far as the legal ramifications go. Anything that gets the government out of religion is good for me, and that alternative would certainly do that.

The problem with covenant marriages is that they create two different legal levels, and one level is far more like traditional religious ceremonies than the other. I don't have a problem with that, but I'm guessing the activists would if gay marriage continues apace in its current form, mixing religious and secular concepts.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX,

Here are my answers.

1. It is hard to think about because it has always been that way during our lifetimes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.

2. Yes, the marriage license would vanish and be replaced with a contract between the husband and wife. The government’s role would be limited to deciding breach of contract cases. The difference is that it would only decide based on what’s in the contract. By comparison, right now, it incorporates a whole body of law that people barely understand when it makes decisions about the relationship of the parties.

3. It would not require a specific statement of vows, but presumably if you wanted to go through a church, then it would. But then, there’s no requirement for meaningful vows right now either, as you can go to the county and get married in about 30 seconds.

4. The point of a church wedding would be much like today, only I suspect churches would also be able to attract more people by offering marriage contract services, as they would have an expertise in crafting marriage contracts that average people just won’t have. Presumably, before a church would give out such services, it would/could put conditions on people such as belonging to the church and participating in pre-marriage counseling, etc.

5. If done right, the major terms of divorce (property division percentage and child custody/support) would be included in the contract before the marriage. Thus, the government would only deal with claims of breach of contract. Although I suspect some minimum level of child support would be required by law. But the government granting divorces would be a thing of the past. And presumably, again, if crafted by a church, the divorce clause would require things like counseling and a waiting period. And they could include infidelity provisions and even moral misconduct provisions -- something they put in athletes contracts now.

And while certainly, people could skip these types of requirements by doing the contract themselves, I would hope people would be suspect of a spouse who says “hey, you don’t need those protections...”

Finally, I’m not sure this is a realistic proposal as it is very radical. But I think it would help to take a weapon out of the hands of people who want to use the government to remake society and destroy traditional institutions. And I think it would make marriage a more serious and thoughful institution again.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think there is no doubt that having kids raised in a two parent environment is for the best. But I don't think the government recognizing marriage helps with that or is necessarily needed for that. The first thing the government needs to do is to eliminate the incentive in welfare for poor women to stay single. That's where the real problem lies and I don't think official government recognition or even tax treatment is actually helping middle class people take better care of their kids.

We've have these policies since the 1940s and it's been a long, steady decline. So whatever the government is doing isn't working.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Interesting point about Germany.

That's possible, but I doubt it because people would suddenly realize that the government isn't there to sort out their mistakes anymore.

In other words, right now people know that whatever they do, the government will impose some minimal standard on support, inheriting assets, etc. The new standard would change that and make people accountable again.

Also, I think the evidence is that 60+ years of government intervention has only made things worse, not better. I suspect removing the government would be a better course than trying to tinker with it. Not to mention, that I suspect the single mother-hood issue is more about welfare payments and lack of responsibility and the government being in or out of the marriage game won't change that problem.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, The thing about the activists is that under this system, they have nothing to complain about. If churches offered something like a covenant marriage, the activists couldn't complain because it's technically a contract issue between private persons.

I get your point about marriage being more than just a contract, but that's really all it is to the government right now. It's just a contract with a lot of specific legal requirements -- like an incorporation.

Where marriage becomes more is from the religious aspect and that would not only still be there under the new system, it would become the primary method for people getting married. So I think people as a whole would see marriage as a more sacrosanct institution as they would associate it with religion again.

And those that don't want to go the church route could go off and buy a pre-fab contract from the ACLU and everyone would kind of snicker at them like when someone says they ran off to Vegas to get married.

rlaWTX said...

OK, I like this version.

Can you delineate how this radical approach would actually differ from the civil union (with optional church blessing icing) version?

and wouldn't the church (under the Radical Andrew plan) have to have a lawyer involved for a contract negotiation? or can a 3rd non-lawyer party be the negotiator?
I can see how a pre-marriage counseling process could "build" a contract as it went along. [that's actually a good idea for now - even if it wouldn't necessarily be binding like under the Radical Andrew plan)

And could this be changed state by state?

rlaWTX said...

[off topic: did you see the clip on NRO about "Why I'm a Democrat" by College Democrats? One of their reasons is "we live in a democracy not a theocracy" - beyond the obvious error, do you just wonder if they actually watch the news about actual theocracies??? the rest was pretty laughable too.)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Andrew! Very interesting proposition (pun intended)! :^)

"I think this might have a lot of benefits because it would force people to go into marriage with their eyes wide open and they would need to deal with all those issues they can kind of blindly pass over right now."

Okay, I get what you're sayin' but given the rebellious nature of many young folks (and lifelong adolescent democrats) I don't think this will have a major impact (although I would hope it would).

Many folks, particularly non-religious (and the morally adverse) would simply take the ACLU route, or go to one of the regressive new agey churches that have no boundaries.

Although I would like to see more folks goin' into marriage with their eyes open, I think John Wayne put it well and I may be paraphrasing here: "there ain't no cure for stupidity."

Some would say "love is blind" but lust is absolutely clueless and, sadly, many people see no difference.

I also don't think it would stop the militant gay activists and their supporters, because they won't rest until society gives them a special status above and beyond everyone else.

That's why they are working hard to get public schools to promote the LGT lifestyle.
This will no doubt also include polygaamists, eventually. And any other perversions they can think up.

Hollywood, and the entertainment industry is also working overtime toshove this down our throats.
Now it's forbidden to portray any GLT characters as anything other than "good, funny and fashionably cool."

I realize there are many gays who just wanna be left alone and ain't tryin' to force folks to accept their choices as better than normal, and I got no beef with them.

I do think that your second point, protecting the churches and our first ammendment rights is a huge must!

30 years ago I would've said we already have those protections, they're in the Constitution.

But now, with leftists judges legilating from the bench and leftist congresscritters helping them...well, it's gonna be a helluva fight!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Andrew:

Also, while I agree that the activists should have nothin' to complain about, they will.
Because their goal was never to get "equality."

T-Rav said...

NEVER!! Never give up the fight!!

While this has me hopping mad at the Left and at all the idiots who go, "Duh, it's not hurting me, so I'm okay with it," I think you're probably right that this is going to continue from state to state based on changes in public opinion. To reverse this trend would require a sea change in how people view gays, which I don't see happening.

I guess this approach you mention would be a good way of making the best of a bad situation, but I still am unhappy about the whole thing. Actually, I'm more unhappy that the churches which ought to be leading the opposition on this issue are in many cases knuckling under and instead talking about "acceptance" and "tolerance" and other words that make me want to vomit. Maybe I'll convert to Catholicism when all this is over. At least I can count on the Pope to stay on the right side.

T-Rav said...

Oh, one more thing: All that said, though, I don't in fact support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, generally because of the "marriage business" argument cited. If the federal government is empowered to make such a decision, I could see that power falling into the wrong hands, which I want even less.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX,

I’m glad you like it! :-)

The difference between this and civil unions is that under the civil union laws (as they currently stand) the government basically treats gay couple as married only without the name. Under the “Radical Andrew Plan” (LOL!) the government wouldn’t even do that. It would take no position, except to allow you to designate anyone (spouse, child, friend, parent) as a beneficiary on federal benefits and granting visitation rights. That’s about the extend of the government involvement, except for hearing breach of contract suits. So the government would never be in the business of condoning gay marriage. The closest it would come would be if one gay person argued that another broke their marriage contract, then a court would hear the breach claim just like they would any other contract law case.

On the lawyer thing... that’s a good question. State bars say that you need a lawyer to draft a contract, but few people actually do that. I think the state bar would try to sue churches or other groups who tried to offer these contracts, but would eventually lose. To make sure, we could easily put a statement in the law that these contracts do not need a lawyer’s involvement.

Can it be changed state by state is a really good question. Each state can definitely do this internally. In other words, Texas could pass all the laws to make this the law in Texas. But the question would then arise, what would Texas do about a couple from Massachusetts? That’s still an undecided legal question and is the reason so many conservatives are concerned about the Defense of Marriage Act.... the law just isn’t settled. BUT, if Texas doesn’t recognize any marriage, then I suspect there’s a very good legal argument to be made that Texas does not need to recognize some other state’s marriages. So I would guess that this could be done state by state.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I saw that and the level of ignorance is stunning. I am amazed how little some people know about the world and even more how certain those people are about giving their opinions. You would think that lack of knowledge would slow people down from speaking their minds, but apparently not.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben!

Let me play devil’s advocate. Let’s assume this passes. What’s going to happen? You are going to see a rash of ads on television and radio telling you “you don’t know what you need to know to get married.... come to us, we’ll guide you.” I think this push of advertisement will train people to “get it” that they need to see someone’s help to arrange their marriage. Even the love is blind types will realize that they need a marriage lawyer or something.

That’s half the battle.

The other half comes in two parts. First, while some will certainly go to the ACLU and the new agey stuff, nothing we can do is likely to win those people over in any event. In other words, you’re talking about trying to reach people who are pretty much unreachable by definition. BUT (and this is part two)....

Over time, you will see a track record. The ads will change. “Go Catholic, 92% of our marriages survive more than 5 years.... compare that to an ACLU marriage where 57% fail in the first two years.” In effect, what will happen is that we are creating a laboratory. And as people make their choices, the better choices will prove themselves. Once a track record of success starts to appear, people will gravitate toward the successful ones. Indeed, who wants an el cheap ACLU marriage that is 50/50 like to fail when you can pay the same amount to get a 92% chance of success.

The one big problem, as you note, is that liberals will SCREAM bloody murder with every single person who got married and didn’t consider the things they needed to consider and ended up with a mess. You will hear these horror stories all the time that the government needs to get back into the marriage business to save these people. That will be an issue we will have to deal with until people get used to the new regime.

On your point about the activists and Hollywood, that’s going on either way. I think this plan might be a good way to take away their most powerful ally -- government power. Right now, they are slowly but surely using the power of government to force their beliefs on the rest of us one issue at a time. If the government gets out of the morality business (i.e. it stays out rather than just staying neutral) then they need to convince the public that they are right, i.e. they can’t just go to a judge and demand that the government include their view. I think that would all but wipe out their momentum. It would also take away their most principled sounding argument -- “if you have these rights, why don’t I?” Well, now there are no such rights, sorry.

Thoughts?

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Yep, they'll complain because that's what they do. But we can't not do something good just because it will upset the other side's activists. They are going to be upset no matter what we do. What I'm trying to get at here is "will this defang them" so that they can bark, but they can't bite?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Don't get me started on some of the churches. I almost wrote about the Church of England today, which has now decided that it will no longer matter if you are involved in the church (or even how much you are involved) when it comes to handing out school spots because they don't want to discriminate against non-members. W...T...F....?!!

In terms of giving up, don't worry, I'm not giving up. I see this as a matter of principle. But I also recognize that sometimes you need to change strategy or you just end up waiting for total defeat. I'm not sure this plan would work or that it's even possible -- it is pretty radical sounding. But theoretically, I think it makes a lot of sense.

In term of the sea change, the problem is that gays are winning the propaganda war because Hollywood has embraced two falsehood: (1) the false logic that all gays want is the right to get married and be left alone -- a very American sounding thing. But that’s not what they want, they also seek lowering/eliminating the age of consent, teaching the gay lifestyle in schools, and imposing their view on people who don’t like it. (2) A falsified portrait of the gay lifestyle which makes them out to be Ward and June Cleaver. But that’s not accurate either. I’ve know a lot of gays and seen a lot of rallies. This portrait ignores the misogynism, the promiscuity, and the related diseases. It ignores the strange compulsive behavior and the voyeuristic desires which we would find creepy in a heterosexual male flasher but are supposed to excuse in gays. This goes well beyond simply seeking same-sex partners and goes instead into a disturbing subculture that Hollywood and the MSM are trying very hard to never show to the American public. Unless you can get that type of information out to the public, forget changing hearts and minds.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Very astute. The problem with creating weapons for the federal government to use is that you can't control who will get to use them. That's why I think reducing the power of the federal government is always the safest, because it keeps people from turning the things you've created against you.

The Democrats found that out with Bush and that's the real reason they hated him. He used the instruments of power they created (particularly in the Dept. of Education) to push conservative ideas and it HORRIFIED them. Indeed, for the first time in forever, liberals discovered a little thing called "state's rights."

T-Rav said...

Andrew, it's the Church of England. When you establish a whole new denomination just because your king wanted a divorce, you're bound to have a screwed-up result. (My apologies to all Episcopalians reading this blog; please send your complaints to youhaveastupidchurchandyouknowit.com.)

As for the rest of it, all I can say is this is what happens when people watch "Glee" instead of actually doing their research on the gay agenda. (My apologies to the people who watch--on second thought, I'm not going to apologize to the "Glee" watchers, that's a retarded show and you know it. Bite me.)

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Very strident! LOL! But I won't disagree with you. But it's not just Glee. For several decades now, Hollywood has shown gays as harmless side-kicks for rich women. They've very carefully avoided all the negatives. But that's not going to change.

As for the Church of England, there seems to be no liberal depth to which they won't sink... and then some.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for elaborating Andrew!

I see more clearly now. Sort of like a free market approach to marriage which will show which method (or metaphysic) is more valuable.

Certainly anyone but a fool can see the value of a high or at least higher percentage of couples staying married and a much lower divorce rate.

And like you said, we can expect the left to scream about their idiots who got married by the Unity ACLU Religion Without Morality Or Rules Church needing government bailout, lol.

I believe one of the other key areas we need to get our representavies, talk show hosts, bloggers, etc., to work tirelessy at pushing school vouchers so parents that can't afford it (because they are forced to pay for public school indoctrination and bad education) can put their kids in a real school that doesn't program our children but teaches them to think.

Even those who don't support vouchers would see how well it works and perhaps change a lot of minds.
It's very telling that most democrat politicians put their kids through private schools.

As an additional bonus we would see an increase of well informed, classically educated conservatives/classical liberals who understand our Constitution, can read n' write, do math, and know our history.

And equally, if not more important, those kids will learn to understand why values, morality, nobility, honesty, etc. are important to them as well as society.
In fact, it's absolutely essential for any Republic to survive!

We need to fight on all fronts!
I agree wholeheartedly T-Rav!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

T-Rav said...
Andrew, it's the Church of England. When you establish a whole new denomination just because your king wanted a divorce, you're bound to have a screwed-up result. (My apologies to all Episcopalians reading this blog; please send your complaints to youhaveastupidchurchandyouknowit.com.)

LOLOL! Too funny, T-Rav! And True.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I guess I was a little snappish in my comments, wasn't I? Okay, okay, I apologize (except to the "Glee" watchers).

In all fairness, though, despite their proclivites in that direction, it wasn't the Episcopalians who set me off, but my own fellow Methodists. To be topical or whatever, we read an excerpt in Sunday School yesterday from a Kansas pastor who wrote "When Christians Get It Wrong." Naturally, I was on edge already. Then he started talking about homosexuality and how the church needs to embrace gays because young people like them or something; also, just because both the Old and New Testaments condemn homosexuality doesn't mean it's a sin, and those condemnations are probably outdated anyway, so it's time to move on. I made it clear what I thought of his argument afterwards, but mainly I held my tongue--it might have gotten uncomfortable had I said EVERYTHING on my mind. So, yeah, I'm pretty upset with a few denominations right now, which may have led to my extra snarkiness.

T-Rav said...

Thanks for the compliments, Ben! See my previous comment for further remarks about churches and gayness. That said, though, while I definitely agree we should fight on all fronts, I can also see how one particular front ought to be given more attention than another (in this case, fiscal first, then social). So if more libertarian-minded folks want to shy away from the gay marriage issue, I'll go along with them...for now.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I agree on all points.

First, one of the great things about blogging compared to a magazine is that we can answer questions and explain things where we haven't been more clear or address things that come up which we didn't think about.

You can bet the left will scream... "how was I supposed to know that the ACLU non-consequence marriage plan would leave me broke and stupid?!! The government should help me, clearly people can't do this without the government holding their hands." Yeah, we'll hear a lot of that. But I don't think the public would care frankly, any more than they care right now if you enter into a bad contract for a used car. Barring fraud, we expect you to take care of yourself.

I agree completely about the vouchers. Getting choice into education is the best way to expose the system as a failure because it can no longer say "gee, no one can do this." All we have to do then is point to the private schools and say "they did."

And I definitely agree we need to fight on all fronts. Too many conservatives divide the world into (1) blatantly political and (2) everything else. They don't grasp how much is related to politics and how much is being ruined by leftist politics.

Finally, you're 100% right, no Republic can last very long where its voters are uneducated idiots who don't grasp fundamental concept like constitutional limits.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I hate that kind of reasoning. You can use that kind of goofy reasoning to justify ANYTHING you want. Maybe it's time we considered whether murder should be a sin... that seems like an old rule... and murder is very popular with so many people the world over. Ug.

Either you believe your book or you don't. You can't cherry pick the parts that make you popular.

Well, actually, I guess you can, but you're not really pushing a religion at that point, you're pushing a feel-good agenda. Sadly, intellectual rigor is a lost art.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, The key to ultimate victory is to pick your battles carefully and be smart about fighting them. As I said the other day, you can change the world silently, but you'll never get there yelling and screaming about it.

Writer X said...

Totally Off Topic. Forgive me, Andrew and LawHawk, but I know that I can come here and talk with people who understand, as opposed to the forums and people that I converse with during the day as part of my "day job."

But somebody please tell me that what I just heard isn't true: A 95-year old dying grandmother was strip-searched at a Florida airport?! The world truly has gone crazy. That poor woman...I feel so badly for her and her family, if it's true.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, No problem. :-)

Sadly, it is true and even worse than that. The initial report was that they made her remove her adult diaper to search her. Today they are denying that they made her take off the adult diaper, but that's apparently misleading. They didn't tell her to take it off, but they made it clear they would not let her on the plane unless they could inspect it.... which is the same thing.

It's frankly disgusting.

Writer X said...

Unfreaking believable. I'm totally disgusted by this. And I'm really angry.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that's how I feel about it (and I bet you never would have guessed that!). I suspect the pastor's ramblings are related to the fact that he leads a 17,000-member megachurch. I don't know how one creates a church of that size, but I suspect "stepping on toes by calling sinful behavior sinful" is not on the list of ways how.

Also, re the TSA incident: I'm pretty sure I read today that the woman being searched was on her way to Michigan to live out her final hours with her family, as she is in the final stages of leukemia. I can't confirm if that's the case, but if I had been there, and that had been my grandmother, I would probably be in a holding cell right now.

AndrewPrice said...

And rightly so. This is something right out of 1984. There's no reason for a legitimate government do to that to someone. It's positively shameful.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Yeah, I suspect it's a lot easier to get 17,000 followers if you tell people what they want to hear instead of what they should hear.

On being in the holding cell, I wouldn't blame you for a minute... nor would I ever convict you.

Koshcat said...

It is a subject I really don't care much about. Maybe it's because I have a cousin married to her partner, I don't know why. I don't mind a legislative body making a change in the law because they have to face their constituents. If NY wants it legal fine. What does fire me up is a handful of judges telling another state that must honor these marriages. If you are gay and live in a state hat won't recognize your marriage and it is important to you, don't live there. I really, really don't want to see a constitutional amendment protecting marriage.

Koshcat said...

Concerning article on Pawlent's global warming past.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/pawlenty-running-from-his-past-moves-on-environmental-policy-20110623

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I am troubled by two aspects. First, the one you mention about one state's law being forced upon another state's citizens. And the way our constitution is structured, that's very likely. Secondly, I don't like the state telling people that they have to accept something they consider immoral. I personally don't care one way or another about gays. I've known quite a few and never had a problem with them. But on principle, I don't like the state telling people, "from now on, you must accept this practice" because then the state can be used as a weapon to attack people you don't like to try to re-engineer society.

I think the better practice is to get the government out of the whole debate and let people deal with these issues privately.

In terms of a constitutional amendment, I don't want one defining marriage because I firmly believe in state's rights. But we may need one to allow states to refuse to recognize the acts of other states.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat,

Here's your link: LINK.

Yeah, we discussed this before, he was certainly wrong. At least he's changed his mind. I know that rules him out for you, but I'm not as troubled by it because the rest of his record is solid and he did recant this position -- unlike Romney.

Most of them have made mistakes. Be it supporting TARP, TALP, the bailout, taking stimulus money, cap and trade, etc. There have been a series of shifting litmus tests.

I don't subscribe to litmus tests. I look to the whole record and then if they have recanted the bad and if I believe their sincerity.

I guess we'll see how it plays.

rlaWTX said...

ok - I just gotta say that I love ya, T-Rav!!! I have had that argument about the C of E for years - maybe it's a history major thing?? ;)

(OK back to reading comments)

rlaWTX said...

and I work (not attend) for a PCUSA church in conservative WTX. (which is misleading, since only 90 miles away is one of the churches that ordained a homosexual Elder and caused an internal judicial case)... anyway, they just passed an amendment to the Book of Order that removes an ordination standard of "fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness" to being vaguely "led" by scripture. On paper, it sounds very pious, but everyone knows that it is opening up things to allow whatever each Session "feels led" to do. Which is as perfect solution they were going to get after being so squishy for so long. Luckily, I do work for a conservative congregation who has made it a practice to ignore the General Assembly (and things like the Office of Social Justice in DC). Nothing will change too much at the local level - esp. since they followed that amendment up with one that gives the local church a lot more autonomy. But there is a move toward new "fellowships" within the denomination and possibly non-geographic synods/presbyteries that will lump like-minded churches together. It's an interesting situation to a political / religious-political junkie like me!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX and T-Rav, I think it's a sad but true statement that many churches are drifting toward "being inclusive," which is always a code word for being less strict.

My issue with this is simply a matter of principle. Are you a church that is passing on the word of God or are you a club with some nice rules? If you're a church, then the rules don't change unless we get another burning bush. If you're just a club, then stop promising to save my soul.

And it just builds on itself. I knew one woman in DC who actually left her very liberal church because "they talk about God too much and that makes me uncomfortable." Give me a break. What do you think the purpose of church is? Unbelievable!

T-Rav said...

Andrew and rla, the only way I can make of sense of this trend is that some people are arguing Scripture was either mistranslated or consists of old cultural norms that no longer apply today. Beyond the obvious "If not A, why B?" downside to this reasoning, it leads to some pretty glaring contradictions. The other day when us Facebook losers were kicking this around, I got in a debate with someone who claimed to know the original Hebrew and that the Old Testament didn't forbid homosexual marriage, just homosexual intercourse. (!!!) It's always fun when you run into psuedo-intellectuals who are totally clueless as to how stupid they really sound.

Oh, and thanks for the shoutout, rla! There are two Presbyterian denominations, aren't there? I thought PCUSA was the conservative one?

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I can see that, if you have a legitimate reason to believe there's been a misinterpretation or even an intentional distortion (as you sometimes got in the Middle Ages). But I think these people are just changing their rules to be popular.

On the intercourse v. marriage thing, that's how lawyers disgrace themselves -- they start splitting hair: "Sure, it says 'throw' but is a 'pitch' really a throw?" Once you start getting away from obvious interpretations and you start trying to create ambiguity by splitting hairs, you might as well be honest and just admit that you simply want to change the rules.

Patti said...

even as a young naive woman, i suggested to my folks that government has no business in marriage, that for me it was entirely a religious entity. it's where i still stand.

i oppose gay marriage because of my faith primarily, but you have given me much more to think about.

i think i'll link this next week. well done, brother.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti! :-)

I never honestly never thought about the issue until a few years ago when someone mentioned it. But it's making more and more sense these days.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

What I find interesting (but not surprising) is that socialist and social-lite countries have no problem trampling religious freedoms except in the case of one: Islam.

I haven't seen any enforcement of this in mosques, be it gay marriage (which is an oxymoron, try as they might to change the definition of marriage) or gay employees or Islamic clergy.

I wonder, if states, or the fed trample on religious liberties here in that regard (God forbid) if Islam will also get a pass here?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Not surprising, Islam does get a pass from the "brave" militant gay activists here in the US.

Even in San Francisco, where they don't hesitate to mock Christians, disrupt church services and attempt to defile the holy sacraments, they won't really be brave and do the same to Islam.

Then again, I doubt we'll ever see a challenge by gay employees or those gay couples that might wanna get married in a mosque.

Afterall, they don't have a death wish, and why do it at all when they can still feel brave doing it to Christians who they know won't go jihad on their asses.

Sure, it's hypocritical but the media won't call them on it.
Note how the MSM avoids even mentioning muslims after prop 8 (who most certainly voted against gay marriage), or the black and hispanic votes.
Far easier to focus like a laser on Christians to the exclusion of all else.

Cowards.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I think that's actually evidence of what is really going on. This isn't so much about getting equal rights as it is destroying "Western" institutions. This stuff is aimed at Western marriage, Western churches, Western society and culture, and even the Western military. They don't care at all about Islam because this isn't a principle attempt to gain positive rights, this is an attack on Western institutions.

It's the same thing with feminists who have turned a blind eye to massive amounts of anti-female discrimination, virtual female enslavement and even honor killings in non-Western institutions because they aren't looking for universal principles, they just want to destroy the Western institutions that have upset them.

If they were being principled, they would be condemning Islam just as much (actually much more so) than Catholicism or Protestantism. But they aren't because changing Islam is not part of their goal.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I concur, Andrew!

Nothing short of the destruction of the church and the west will satisfy the militant gays/leftists.

If this was about equal rights (benefits, actually) then the mili-gays would've been happy with civil unions.

In fact, at the time I recall most of them poo-pooing any thought of poaching and redefining marriage.
Just as they are poo-pooing forcing churches to hire them, even as clergy and forcing them to marry gays, which they will definitely pursue, as we have seen in Canada/England.

Still, although they hate christianity with an unholy passion, most Christians and churches don't hate them.

Adultery is also a sin according to the Bible but very few (and mostly atheist, secular, anti-humanist types) adulterers take so much offense that they form a lobby and seek to force churches to accept that as a good thing.
So it's not like the church is picking on gays.

There's plenty of other sins and sinners that don't get special, exempt status, lol.

If a religion has no boundaries at all then what's the point?
It would be like music with no boundaries. Sure, folks can do it but it won't sound good (even free form jazz has some boundaries).

Boundaries in tune with Reality actually enhance liberty, whether spiritually or materially.
Otherwise it's simply anarchy/tyranny/chaos.

rlaWTX said...

T-Rav - there are actually several Presbyterian denominations The 3 biggest that I hear about are
PC(USA) (mainline, liberal),
EPA (PCUSA lite, ordain women but not gays, more evangelical - where the congregations mad at PCUSA are decamping to), and
PCA (conservative, still don't ordain women)

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I think you're right, if this had been about equal rights, they would have been happy with equal rights rather than getting the labels too and forcing others to accept them as well.

What's more, you're right about the tactic. But that's a very old tactic indeed, "oh, I only want a little bit, I would never want it all." And then with each concession you keep moving the demand further and further until you get it all.

And you're right, if a religion has no boundaries, then what is the point to the religion?

tryanmax said...

I just read this article for the first time today. Some time ago I reasoned my way to this conclusion by myself. Needless to say, when I brought this up to conservative and religious friends, they balked. They came back with some stuff that didn't entirely make sense about the family being the building block of society.

I agree, but I just see that as all the more reason why government should get out of defining families. After all, in our society, government comes from the people, meaning family precedes government.

Then I got some weirdness about the problems that arise when one group doesn't recognize the other group's marriages. I, frankly, would need that explained better to even counter it, because I don't see the problem.

This idea goes along with my overall governmental theory that oversight should increase as governmental units become smaller, not the other way around. Turns out, this simple idea is surprisingly radical, at least, anecdotally speaking.

Thoughts?

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think more people on the right are coming to this conclusion every day because when you stop to think about it, it makes sense. Anything the government touches it corrupts and weakens. And the longer marriage is controlled by the government, the greater the likelihood that it will be defined in ways that are bad for church, bad for marriage and bad for the country.

Privatizing marriage puts the power back in the hands of the church and the people who have the power to ignored funky churches.

The negative reaction from your friends probably comes from one of two sources. A lot of conservatives just haven't thought about this and it sounds very radical since it seems like it would upset almost everything in the country. But that's not true at all once you look at the practical impact.

In fact, to the contrary, the political struggle would end immediately. And all the rest would just be a matter of printing new forms.

The other (main) negative reaction comes from the so-cons who really are liberals but just don't like liberalism's flirtation with atheism. These are the Ricky Santorum types who believe that the purpose of government is to impose morality on the country and their only objection to government is that it's imposing the wrong morality. In their minds, if the government stopped running marriage, that would be like declaring the end of America as a Christian country. Unfortunately, that reasoning achieves nothing, gives the left a lot of great PR, and gives the left the tools they need to keep pushing the country further left and undermining the very thing these people want to promote.

tryanmax said...

I think getting government out of marriage would solve a whole host of problems. For one, I've never understood why I cannot by health insurance for anyone except the people I am immediately related to. I should be able to pay for whoever's health insurance I am inclined to as long as my money is good.

One other objection I've heard is in relation to the marriage tax break. But head-of-household rules would still apply in most cases, garnering the same tax-break. So that's a non-issue.

AndrewPrice said...

I know this is all pie in the sky, but I'd rather see the tax system changed anyway so it doesn't matter -- either a flat 10% across the board or a consumption tax instead of an income tax.

But assuming we can't get that, then you could basically keep all the same rules by allowing people to designate a partner. The only thing that would change then is the name "marriage."

One of the benefits of that kind of system, by the way, is that people would need to begin to consciously establish their relationship rather than just assuming that once they got married, the law would sort everything out for them. That would get people focused on setting up their affairs more intelligently, i.e. drafting wills, prenups, etc. Right now people assume it's all done automatically.

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