In Which I am asked by LDS Church Representatives to Support Prop 8 Canvassing Efforts

Oops, something got in the way. This happens sometimes.

Let me explain what’s going on here–the Mormon Church is using its considerable organizational and monetary resources to mobilize its troops to fight for Prop 8. My name is still on the official ward roster (working on that problem), which is how they knew to send the letter to my home.

One of the reasons I’m making this public is because those who volunteer to this request will probably do their best to say that they’re doing this independently, as concerned citizens, rather than advertise the fact that the LDS Church is coordinating their efforts. They will probably not highlight that their prophet, who speaks for god, and inspired local leaders are directing these efforts. The LDS Church’s position should be trumpeted from the rooftops; they shouldn’t escape this political battle without the deep stain of shame on its PR record. Remember, this is from the folks who brought you race-determined salvation as recently as 1978.

If you’re in the area and you oppose this discriminatory and hate-based proposition, you might want to let President Weatherford Clayton, Bishop Don Turner, or volunteers Micah and Lauren Martin know how you feel. If someone comes to your door, ask them what organizations they belong to that might support this anti-gay agenda.

There–cleared that obstruction. Should be a bit more legible now:

95 thoughts on “In Which I am asked by LDS Church Representatives to Support Prop 8 Canvassing Efforts

  1. The LDS and most other churchs as well basically believe in Satan’s plan of the use of force and don’t believe in freedom. They cannot believe in the freedom of religion if they don’t believe in the freedom to love whomever you want. Gay people do not affect my marriage, if they did then I would be a very weak and easy person to be convinced that gay is the way to go. Bye the way, I am LDS (disfellowshiped) and I approve this message.

    We don’t need change, we just need to go back to the constitution and the bill of rights.
    Ron Paul

  2. I just wanted to remark that it’s not always ignorance and bigotry that drives these issues. As a person with many very close gay friends who I hug and cuddle and love just as any other friend, I support the right of agency. But after spending hours and hours pouring over the CA supreme court decision, other legal cases in CA and MA, various sites both Yes and No on 8, many discussions with friends of various religious and non-religious backgrounds, I have decided that the issue is much deeper than just equal rights, and I have chosen to vote Yes on 8. And no, nobody in my ward made me do so. We were asked, not told, to give our support, and the Church has given it’s full support to those with dissenting views. I’ve seen it firsthand.

    Of course equal rights are important. And that’s what the law already gives people. Gay people have the right to form unions with those they love and to have families and enjoy full protection under the law. Of course Prop 8 isn’t going to make the hetero marriages crumble and the temples fall. But beyond the simple words of the proposition are a whole slew of legal repercussions, many of which threaten the principle of tolerance as it relates to churches and their supporters. Prop 8 isn’t about denying equal rights, it’s about the effects that changing the definition of marriage is going to have on the law and on churches and individuals. When we talk about something being “taken away” from traditional marriages, it isn’t about the individual marriages that we are referring to, like somehow you and your husband will now need counseling, or he’s going to “go gay.” Rather, the legal protections that ought to be allowed to people to disagree with others stand the real threat of being taken away.

    I agree with the right of people’s agency. But I don’t have to agree with their moral lifestyle, and I can still love them all the same. However, although the opponents of Prop 8 would say that it’s only about equal rights and no churches will be forced to change, how long do you think that a government-sanctioned inclusion of marriage to include partners of either gender will support beliefs of churches that are now viewed as “discriminatory?” I’m not saying you have to believe as the churches do, but as free thinkers, we must support their right to believe this way. It is what tolerance truly is about: tolerating and allowing the beliefs that do not jive with your own.

    I’m a firm democrat, an active member of the Church, and I believe tolerance must go both ways for society to stand. Visit my website and tell me what you think.

  3. To “NoOnHateYesOn8″, what about the legal right of the churches that do want to marry same sex couples?

    To echo your words, tolerance must go both ways for society to stand.

  4. wren,

    I definitely understand your point, but your question is what this whole issue is about: do individuals all have the equal right to marry vs. do individuals all have the equal right to marry someone of any gender.

    The first is already a right guaranteed to all. If, by definition, marriage has been characterized by one man, one woman, then regardless of one’s (even genetic) sexual orientation, he or she could also marry someone of the opposite gender. I know that sounds silly, and is not a call for gay individuals to “cross-over”, but we’re talking legal terms here. Legally, gay people can marry. What is being asked for, is not for the right to marry, but the right to change the definition of marriage to include either gender. That part is what is being called into question.

    Equal civil rights would be guaranteed by allowing anyone who wishes, church or otherwise, to perform commitment ceremonies offering all the rights and privileges the state can grant to a couple. And currently, that right exists, whether or not Prop 8 passes or fails. On the flip side, by changing the definition of “marriage” to equal “any two persons” the civil rights of churches become threatened.

    If you’re going to start considering every desired union or belief to be a “legal right”, you are going to have a hard time making sure that those rights do not cross over each other.

    I support the right of other churches who wish to solemnize the union of any two individuals. I do not consider it a legal right to change a definition of the word that describes a long-standing institution, when by changing that definition, you infringe on the rights of another group.

  5. Churches already discriminate against men and women who wish to marry. Much like businesses who can turn away customers, churches have done the same. Straight members of my own family have experienced that. So the church argument carries no value with me. I doubt there’s a massive line of people who’ll sue to be married by clergy who disapprove of their choice in mates. There may be a few who’d like to just to prove a point.

    However, most people getting married want to be surrounded by those who love them as they are on their special day.

    Ultimately, the legal issue is a red herring, imo. You’re welcome to your opinion, of course.

  6. I understand your statement as well, and I welcome your opinion. I guess the only difference here is that straight people are not a legally “suspect class”, meaning their practices do not fall under the same protections awarded to discrimination based on gender, sex, or religion. The Supreme Court decision in this case was rather monumental because, unlike even Massachusetts, California was the first state to consider homosexual behavior to fall into the “suspect class” category. This is different than protection for hate crimes and whatnot, this means that by being regarded as a suspect class, any laws or rules or decisions that are seen as discriminating against this class can be challenged on a legal basis.

    My issue with this, and why I support prop 8, is not out of some desire to see individuals marginalized. But I believe we are walking a precarious line when we begin to allow judges to make such sweeping rulings. The effects of this won’t be seen immediately, but every court case sets a precedent. And when you have an institution that is state-sanctioned and protected by government laws, it won’t be too much longer before government begins to consider the dissent of churches to be legally discriminating.

    That’s why I actually think the legal issue is a much bigger issue than people realize. Churches “discriminating” against particular straight couples by not agreeing to marry them isn’t legally challengable. Sraight, white couples are not a suspect class. But dissenting from performing gay marriages actually can be legally challenged. It would be nice if we all could just say, ok, churches can marry who they want, if you don’t agree with them, you can be married by an institution that supports you and everyone has the right to agree to disagree. But when you have a legal ruling such as this, that argument will not hold for very long. The rights of churches to uphold their convictions, the rights of individuals to stand by their religious convictions, will soon be legally challenged as discrimination.

    But I appreciate your viewpoint. I understand this is a complex issue from many sides. I just do not like to be classified as a hateful person or an intolerant bigot (as I have been, by dear friends…not the gay ones though…odd) for my point of view. But it should be okay for me to stand and defend that point of view. This is America. Let the people decide.

  7. I support the right of other churches who wish to solemnize the union of any two individuals. I do not consider it a legal right to change a definition of the word that describes a long-standing institution, when by changing that definition, you infringe on the rights of another group.

    Please, oh PLEASE show me specifically and in detail exactly how gay marriage infringes on anyone’s rights, most especially on any sort of religion.

    I will now show you how all your claims are fallacious.

    It is absolutely absurd to make the claim that churches are going to be forced to accept homosexuality in any way, shape or form. There is no rationality or sense in that claim. In no country in the world where gay marriage is legal has any church or religion been forced to perform gay marriages, been forced to change its doctrines or teachings on homosexuality, or been forced to not be discriminatory. Private institutions have the right to be discriminatory, especially in this country.

    Legally gays do not have marriage equality, no more than blacks did during the disgusting time of the illegality of interracial marriage. Yes, they could still marry each other, but they were prevented purely on religious and bigoted (non-scientific) reasons from marrying whites. This was found to be unequal and unconstitutional to preclude them from marring whom they wished as long as 1) the person was an adult and able to consent, and 2) not a close blood relative (1st cousin or closer). even convicted felons have the right to marry whomever they wish, as this is a basic human right, as defined both by the UN and the US Supreme Court. Keeping gay people from marrying, from having equal and equitable civil rights, the same as heterosexuals, is exactly the same type of situation as segregation and banning of interracial marriage of the past century.

    Your argument about your rights *somehow* inexplicably being violated when our society expands the ever changing definition of marriage to include same-sex marriage is beyond weak.

    The definition of marriage has evolved rapidly over the years in this country alone. It changed when women were “given” their equality, when divorce was allowed, when blacks were “allowed” to marry other races, and so on.

    The “definition” of marriage in secular society you seem to espouse (as if it were your religious right to dictate how secular society defines a legal term), is one that is entirely fabricated and never really has existed, historically. Your religion may say otherwise, but actual science doesn’t back you up on this (or ANY of your, or your church’s claims) and this fact is the main argument against anything you’ve said.

    You do not possess rights greater and more important than mine. There is no right of “the definition of marriage”, but simply of marriage, which we understand to mean that you may marry whomever you wish (within the strictures I pointed out). Now, you have this right, whereas I am not able to exercise that right in most of this country (I’m assuming you don’t desire to be homosexually married, and if that is the case, then you’re being discriminated against too, and ought to be fighting for your rights too).

    I’m going to readdress the harm you imagine will come of gay marriage to churches if it is “allowed” to be legal.

    However, although the opponents of Prop 8 would say that it’s only about equal rights and no churches will be forced to change, how long do you think that a government-sanctioned inclusion of marriage to include partners of either gender will support beliefs of churches that are now viewed as “discriminatory?” I’m not saying you have to believe as the churches do, but as free thinkers, we must support their right to believe this way. It is what tolerance truly is about: tolerating and allowing the beliefs that do not jive with your own.

    You are making one huge (ridiculous) claim ere. Your (very illogical) argument is that government can’t allow gay marriage because people in the US will start to dislike churches that discriminate against gays as gays get their equality, and churches have a right to discriminate, so therefore gov’t should discriminate against gays so that discriminatory churches are seen in a better light.

    Um, What the FUCK?

    This makes exactly as much sense as saying that the gov’t should discriminate against women, and blacks, and the handicapped, and the elderly, and Muslims, and Jews, and Mormons, (basically anyone but middle-aged white hetersexual males) so that churches can be justified in their various discrimination against those groups. Catholics discriminate against women, gays, Muslims, Jews, as do Mormons, other churches don’t discriminate against women or gays, so don’t they have the right to have their non-discrimination be gov’t approved as much as you’ve the right to have your discrimination be somehow approved and supported by the government?

    It is a hugely illogical leap to make to say “I’m not saying you have to believe as the churches do, but as free thinkers, we must support their right to believe this way.” To which I agree, to then say that that therefore means that the government has to institutionalise the discrimination of gays because people in the US will otherwise cease responding to churches that are discriminatory. Um, that’s not our problem, just as it is not our problem that many people dislike and don’t join churches that discriminate against women, blacks, etc. Nevertheless, (as you well know) Mormonism still has the right to discriminate against women, and will continue to do so. There is no precedent or reason to assume that churches will be forced to change their practises , and to deny civil rights to an entire group of people based on a unsupportable and illogical hypothetical situation is beyond stupid. It’s disgusting, it’s homophobic, it’s ridiculous in the most extreme way possible, it’s unconstitutional, it’s immoral and it’s just plain fucked up.

    Also, this statement bears scrutiny:

    My issue with this, and why I support prop 8, is not out of some desire to see individuals marginalized. But I believe we are walking a precarious line when we begin to allow judges to make such sweeping rulings. The effects of this won’t be seen immediately, but every court case sets a precedent. And when you have an institution that is state-sanctioned and protected by government laws, it won’t be too much longer before government begins to consider the dissent of churches to be legally discriminating.

    Judges only make “sweeping” rulings when necessary, as in say Brown v. Board of Education, and other similar rulings. The arguments you come up with were not invented to combat gay equality, but were also used to combat racial integration (and the abolition of slavery) and the racial integration of the “institution of marriage”. Courts and judges exist to determine the constitutionality of laws, and to protect minorities from the oppression of the majority (you). The judges very correctly decided that civil laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are just as unconstitutional as laws based on race are.

    It is no more logical to assume that churches would be forced to give up their legal discrimination of gays than it would be to say they’ve been forced to not be discriminatory based on race, sex, gender, national origin, age, marital status, religion, or any of the other accepted suspect classes.

    Your arguments are, as wren pointed out, naught but a big smelly bucket of dead, slimy, nonsensical red herrings.

  8. I just do not like to be classified as a hateful person or an intolerant bigot (as I have been, by dear friends…not the gay ones though…odd) for my point of view. But it should be okay for me to stand and defend that point of view. This is America. Let the people decide.

    Yes, just as it should be ok for you in the 50s and 60s to defend segregation on the platform that this is America and let’s not have “activist judges” be ruling that segregation is unconstitutional, but let’s wait until the majority deigns to give those disgusting blacks their rights. Until then, let them rot in squalor, let them not have the right to marry anyone but of their own revolting race, and let them not use our water fountains, or restaurants, or the fronts of our buses which are reserved for the pristine, moral whites.

    You may not be hateful, but you are an intolerant bigot. You think that just because you’re in the majority you have the right to legislate morality and to tell me that I have to sit quietly and not be an uppity nigger fag, and wait for the white straight majority to deliberate whether they want to treat me as a fellow human or not, and wait until they oh-so-lovingly-and-condecendingly deign to say, “well ok, we guess you can have the same rights as us. Now say thank you! ”

    To that I respectfully say, fuck you.

  9. I can tell by your tone that you are looking to fight, but I don’t see that this issue should be treated with such contempt and ridicule. Strike one down for tolerance…

    However, I also see that you have not fully understood my arguments. I’m not going to repeat them again, but you have not challenged any one of them. The definition of marriage that I refer to is not a religious one, but a legal one. And this is not the same as interracial marriage because the marriage laws did not say “one white woman, one white man” and therefore were ruled unconstitutional. Interracial marriage did not change the definition of marriage. Until the Re: Marriage Cases Supreme Court ruling, the marriage laws on the books in California did state “man” and “woman,” and have been that way for most of California history (except for a period in the 70′s when it was left out, but then added in for clarification in 1977 family code). That was the case before Prop 22 ever even passed (which was about marriages performed in other states).

    I also did not say that churches have a right to discriminate. Discrimination is a legal term and does not just apply to any person who you feel doesn’t agree with your personal characteristics. Only particular characteristics are protected by anti-discrimination laws. My point is that disagreeing and not wanting to support or go along with a moral action by an individual is not discrimination. It’s the difference between you saying that Mormons are going to hell, and refusing to rent an apartment to someone because they were Mormon. I’m not advocating telling anyone that they ought to go to hell, but I advocate my right to have a belief in a moral code and to not have the state tell me that my belief is discrimination. That’s a lot different than discriminating against an individual because he or she is gay. There’s a difference between biological traits and actions. Actions are a free for all. We can disagree with them as we like. But the supreme court ruling is now threatening to call our disagreement “discrimination” and I’m not in support of that.

    Sweeping rulings by judges that uphold existing laws are wonderful. Sweeping rulings by judges that legislate a change in definition are anti-democracy. This is an issue that should have been taken to the people. This was not an interpretation of law (the purpose of judges), this was a legislative move. Read the dissents of the three other judges in the Case. Four may have agreed one way, but a solid three judges felt that this was an issue that should have been taken to the people. So while you are free to disagree, it is a little silly to call these arguments “naught but a big smelly bucket of dead, slimy, nonsensical red herrings.” I will take the legal arguments of Supreme Court judges over yours any day, and if we respect our four judges so much, we ought to at least respect the rationale of the other three as well.

    Do your research, my friend. And go easy on the hate. Check out some of the legal debates by liberal law schools and you will see that rational people, gay and straight alike, do have grounds for supporting Yes on 8. You can’t just say you’re right and I’m a piece of trash. I don’t think you would appreciate if I said that to you. Tolerance.

    But I understand your personal convictions, and you are welcome to your views. I just don’t see the need to be nasty about it.

  10. Perhaps you will learn to critically analyze issues such as these a little more closely before you go on such raging tangents. It’s sort of like arguing with Rush Limbaugh. Your arguments are neither here nor there and have no legal foundation. You have to learn the difference between equal rights and changing definitions. Equal rights were granted to blacks because there was no legal definition that held water to not grant them their rights. The issue of same sex marriages challenges legal definitions. Because that is the case, it becomes a legislative issue and should be taken to the people to vote on, rather than ruled on. These are very different matters, legally speaking. The difference between genetics and actions, upholding laws and reinterpreting definitions. Democracy says we vote on an issue like this. You vote according to your beliefs, I vote according to mine. This is why we rebelled against the oppression of the Church of England.

    But wow, I must say, I thought I came here to find free thinkers and rational arguments. I suppose I was wrong. Just more of the same attacks and slander that keep me away from conservative talk radio. Sad.

  11. I want to step in here and urge some civility before things get out of hand. In general, please try to avoid ad hominem arguments and direct insults. That said, I have to say that I can empathize with Craig’s anger, and there’s a patronizing condescension that NoOnHateYesOn8 doesn’t realize they’re propagating. Prop 8 *will directly take away existing rights.* There is no doubt about this.

    All of the arguments by proponents of Prop 8 that it will take away rights from religious heteros are all hypothetical–possible (but in my mind, unlikely) consequences down the road.

    When someone who wants to take away those rights tells someone who stands to lose them to calm down, it’s akin to the slaveowner telling the slave to swallow their anger and to stop rattling their chains.

  12. John, I agree with the rational basis of your argument. I will just say this one more time: this is a lot bigger than simply granting equal rights. If you want to go down that road, we will see what happens. But gay people do have the right to form civil unions, and that grants them all the legal protections under state law as married couples have. This is absolutely not akin to a slaveowner telling slaves to stop rattling their chains. Are you serious? Gay people are free to live, work, march, play whatever, and have full protection under the law to prevent them from being discriminated against. Using the term “civil union” instead of “marriage” in order to protect the rights of both groups of people is not even close to the horrors and atrocities that tortured, abused, and killed thousands and thousands of innocent Africans. What a horrible, misleading statement.

    Even my lesbian former roommate and best friend is inclined to vote yes on 8 because she has no idea how a title would change the her right and ability to love and be with her partner and raise a family if she so chooses. Rather, she only sees it as a cause meant to use government to impose a standard on the people without allowing them to vote on it.

    I’ve had my own experiences as a part of the “gay community.” I don’t need you telling me whether or not my viewpoint matters without you even knowing where I come from. This is not an issue of slavery. There is no justification for using slanderous attacks over which title we are going to use to describe various committed, romantic relationships.

  13. But again, thank you for your call to civility. I hope that we can have honest exchanges with each other so that after Nov. 4th, regardless of which way the vote goes, we don’t come back and find ourselves in damaged communities and set back a few decades in understanding. That is a much bigger issue that I am concerned with. Nov. 4th is only one day…

  14. Yes, I am obviously angry. No, I do not tolerate homophobia/heterosexism any more than I do sexism, racism, and other -isms whose unquestioned existance lead to murder, rape, depression, suicide, and uncountless horrible preventable tragedies.

    But I do not hate anything except your arguments, your stance, and the consequences of what you advocate. I don’t hate you, I said “fuck you”, meaning get the fuck away from my rights and stop screwing over huge chunks of the population.

    The only reason why I respond to you is because you have no idea what you’re doing. You do not comprehend how damaging and disgusting what you advocate is. You’re not a viciously persecuted minority, and I feel sorry for your ignorance, and it needs correcting.

    I’ll tenuously concede that the legal term “discrimination” is perhaps different from Mormon doctrines about the “morality” of homosexuality, women holding the priesthood, blacks being less valiant, or whatever.

    Give me a word that gets the same meaning across, and I’ll use it. For now, let’s say that I’m not using it strictly as a legal term, but as a description of the extreme similarities between the gov’t being racist and churches having racist doctrines, and gov’t being heterosexist and churches having heterosexist doctrines. In the same way they are similar, they are both discriminatory.

    Actually you know what, never mind. It’s discrimination. Just because you don’t like being discriminatory doesn’t mean that you aren’t being discriminatory in your religious beliefs.

    I’m not advocating telling anyone that they ought to go to hell, but I advocate my right to have a belief in a moral code and to not have the state tell me that my belief is discrimination.

    You have the right to your belief, yes. You DO NOT have the right to say whether society deems your beliefs to be discriminatory or not. Just because something is a “religious” belief doesn’t mean it is any less discriminatory that a secular homophobic belief. The source is immaterial. The Boy scouts have the right to be homophobic and discriminatory because they are a private institution, just as any church does. The fact that they are a church isn’t what gives you the right to discriminate and be bigoted, it is the fact that you are a private institution and have the freedom of speech. I have the freedom to call that speech discriminatory all the day long, and just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, or that it isn’t valid. If your belief was that black people were less moral because they had dark skin, would that be a discriminatory belief or not? You may say not, but society says yes, and the church also now says yes.

    The dissenting opinions of the other 3 judges in both CA and CT simply say to me that 3 judges were so blinded by their cultural-religious homophobia/heterosexism, that they allowed it to get in the way of their job. Also, I am somewhat less concerned with the individual state constitutions than I am with the US constitution which trumps them all. The ultimate constitutionality of gay marriage cannot be solved by amending the CA constitution, because it would still be in conflict with the US constitution. The fact that the US supreme court hasn’t deigned to rule it as such doesn’t mean that it is constitutional to discriminate. There is a huge problem in the country of passing laws or amending state constitutions without regard before hand of whether the thing is actually constitutional or not. It is a mistake to make laws willy-nilly and then wait for someone to sue the government and force the supreme court to then rule. There should be far stricter constitutionality guidelines and measures for any law before it is passed, not after it has harmed millions.

    Your argument between biological traits and actions is just not valid. Religion is a protected class, one that is absolutely a choice and has nothing to do with biology, unlike sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, I no more have any choice to act on my homosexuality, than you do on your (presumably) heterosexuality. The fact that your heterosexuality is accepted, supported, advocated, protected, etc., is not because it is better or more moral, but because our society has historically been heterosexist, just as it was sexist and racist. Heterosexual dominance is a social construct just as male and white dominance are.

    I never said you’re a piece of trash. I simply called attention to your bigotry and refuse to sugar-coat it in terms like “relgious rights” or “legal disagreement”. You think I’m immoral for having gay sex. Fine, just admit it.

    Now let me say this. again. There. is. no. credible. reason. to. think. that. religious. rights. will. be. threatened. by. gay. marriage. PERIOD.

    There is no precedent for that in any country.

    I don’t even know what else to say, I am so flabbergasted by the nonsensical nature of your arguments. The fact is, you’re so steeped in institutionalised bigotry and heterosexism, that you can’t see outside of your own paradigm. You’re so convinced of your own heterosexual supremacy (which should sound just as disgusting as white supremacy does), that you can’t even comprehend why what you’re doing is wrong, just as a white supremecist cannot comprehend why it is necessary to treat other races as equal (because they are).

    I can tell by your tone that you are looking to fight, but I don’t see that this issue should be treated with such contempt and ridicule. Strike one down for tolerance…

    One last thing, I’m only as intolerant of your intolerance as you are intolerant of my intolerant of your intolerance. So there.

  15. John, I apologise for losing my temper. While it may (or may not) be understandable, it’s not acceptable to do so in a space that is not mine.

    Gay people are free to live, work, march, play whatever, and have full protection under the law to prevent them from being discriminated against.

    Really? do we? “full protection” you say? (trying not to lose my temper…*breathe*). Which, prayell, fictional reality do you live in? Yes, I admit that I’m not literally a slave to a straight (white) man, but that doesn’t make John’s comparison any less valid.

    This may be the law in a couple states like CA, but not so in many others, where a gay person hasn’t any of those rights. Yes, Prop 8 is about gay marriage in CA, but it is also about so much more and is so much more significant. It’s about across the board, universal equality. I get why churches are afraid, and they are right to be, but haven’t the right to oppose rights and freedom and equality, etc.

    Just because the scale is different, doesn’t mean that the category is.

    As I and John said, and I already said, your arguments are theoretical and hypothetical. And theorical and hypothetical consequences are poor excuse to deny real rights to real people who, despite what you seem to think, really are suffering, mentally and emotionally, are being thrown out of their homes, are being beaten to death, are committing suicide rather than come out, and all of this is a direct consequence of what you advocate. The longer we institutionalise homophobia, the longer we give license to all of these horrible atrocities, just like horrible acts of violence and murder were perpetrated long after slavery was abolished.

    You, good, kind, moral, christian sir, as good as your intentions may be, are, admittedly unwittingly, an accessory to my being beaten up for years because I wasn’t masculine enough, to being told I was an abomination by my church because I was born gay, to being shut out by my family because their church tells them they aren’t allowed to “condone” my “sinful lifestyle”, even to those who are brutally attacked and even killed because they refuse to conform to artificial gender and sexual norms.

    In perpetuating an environment of hostility and discrimination, you are partly responsible, however minutely, for the perpetuation of hatred and violence against those who were born different from you.

    I realise that is a strong statement, but the severity of this issue does indeed leave no room for meaningless niceties.

    In a very real, applicable, literal sense, I am a black person of the 1950s, and you are the white majority.

    So when you tell me to calm down, and listen (and agree) with your arguments as to why I, a gay person, should shut the hell up and accept your declaration that I don’t deserve marriage or to be treated or seen to be equal to a straight person, you are saying to me, that black person in 195o, “swallow [your] anger and stop rattling [your] chains.”

  16. Well, I don’t want to keep arguing. This isn’t a productive exchange of ideas, so let’s just let it end.

    But you ought to read the dissents. I know you haven’t because they actually had nothing to do with striking down same sex marriage itself, nor were they based on religion or anything. This is about the legal system, the judicial system, and the precedence that it establishes for all future cases of this type. There are a lot of people out there in the fringes who want rights, rights for things that would make you cringe. But we have to determine how to handle this in a democratic society, and I don’t believe we have done a good job at that so far.

    All I can say is I radically disagree with your point of view. I don’t think you should marginalize mine by calling it heterosexism. My rationale is not what you make it out to be, but I no longer wish to contend on your points. I see the world differently. We’re just going to have to accept that there is no legal “correct view” of the world. Not in the gay community, not in the liberal community, not in the straight community. We are all individuals, and cannot be lumped into groups such as these.

    Your last statement goes a long ways to driving my point home. When are all different. We all disagree. So then, because of labels that say people are wrong for disagreeing with someone’s actions, we are all intolerant, we are all bigots, we all want our way, we all want to be protected by the law, we all want to not be marginalized and to be legally sanctioned in our actions. If that works or not, we’ll just have to see. Perhaps there is a way to allow for the left without stepping on the toes of the right (not politically, just figuratively).

    But, I’m sorry, I will have to continue to disagree with you on your argument that churches won’t be affected by this. But I already discussed this when I pointed out the difference between “suspect class” and “rational basis” arguments, and how California differs from other states and nations. I don’t want to go over it again, but I still hold to my analysis based on preceding legal rulings, and current cases in the system. That is the only reason why I support, not heterosexual dominance, but a different term to describe different types of marriage relationships. I believe that will protect the rights of the many more than the rights of the few. That is all.

    In the meantime, peace, brother. and please don’t put labels on me. I have never liked labels. But if you insist, I am under 30, single, white, female, and just as gay as you are. So let’s not try to push our own world views on others. You can disagree with mine, and I can disagree with yours. But it’s a fine line to walk when you start saying that one is right and one is wrong, one is evil and one is good, one is tolerant and one is bigoted. That’s how witches get burned.

    And no, I don’t judge you. I really don’t feel the need. But I appreciate the exchange with you, and I hope that come Nov 5th, we can all still get along in our communities despite our differences.

  17. I must add an important final word. You are right, Craig, I don’t know your experiences and I don’t know where you live or what conditions you live in. I did not consider this important point. I do live in California, I do enjoy a free-thinking community where people of all backgrounds coexist and are protected under laws. Gay-oriented events take place all the time, gays and straights mix beyond labels, and no one blinks an eye. You can’t even go to the so-called “gay bars” and not be surrounded by straight people as well as gay. I live in an urban city where I am a small minority of Yes on 8 supporters, and where I am actually much more victimized for my support on 8 than those who are against it.

    Let me make this clear: this issue is entirely separate from the fear-mongering, hateful, discriminating behavior that has choked the life out of free agency and slandered the name of Christianity in the world. I have protested, voted, argued, and fought for the rights of all people to enjoy a life free of persecution and hatred and violence just because their moral lifestyle may differ from my own. My experience has been one of open mindedness, of acceptance, of bishops and church people who are loving and understanding of issues they don’t understand.

    You and I probably disagree on fundamental religious issues, but even still, I understand where you are coming from. I take away from the gospel love, and compassion, and I have never accepted the small-minded, ignorant words and attitudes that escape people’s mouths at times, to be anything close to a gospel principle.

    So, in assuming that you enjoy rights and freedoms, you are right. I assumed and I misspoke. I take my stance on Prop 8 as a separate issue than the disgusting violence that people perpetuate in the name of their religious right. Hopefully the freedoms from persecution will spill over the whole nation soon and we can be free from the anger that divides us.

  18. The real issue I suppose comes down to whether religious ideas not only have more right than other non-reality (non-religious) based claims and ideas to exist (I say no), but whether they have more right to exist than I have to have my equal rights.

    Obviously, I say no.

    Even in CA, where there is legal protection for gays from discrimination, etc., the very fact that you want to “give” gays a different word for the same type of relationships that straights automatically get is discriminatory. Even when all the “rights” are the same, but the word is different, you’re saying that gays just aren’t quite as good as straights, their relationships aren’t as good, aren’t the same, don’t deserve the same social recognition and respect. All of that adds to the hatred and violence that you so rightfully decry.

    I made no assumptions on your gender, age, or sexuality. In fact, they are irrelevant, just as my age, gender and sexuality are.

    I simply don’t understand why you think it is ok for me to be expected to sit back and patiently wait for the white straight male society to debate for 5, 10, 20 years, and then oh so graciously and condescendingly hand me my “rights” (after I say please, thank you, and curtsy gracefully). I don’t understand in what world it makes sense to “protect” the right of a religion to have non-sensical and non-reality based claims override my right as a HUMAN (not gay man) to be treated equally.

  19. NoOnHateYesOn8, I actually think it is always ignorance and bigotry that drive these issues. This is a classic example of a privileged class (in this case, heterosexual religious people) who are so unaware of their own social advantages that when this privilege is in danger of disappearing they fantasize themselves the victims and use this fantasy to justify discrimination and continued oppression of the disadvantaged class.

    The point is that the negatives you are bringing up are either laughable (there is no right to not have your beliefs labeled discriminatory, for instance) or completely hypothetical and extremely distant. Religious rights are much, much more firmly entrenched in our society than gay rights, and balancing the very real loss of rights for homosexuals in this case against the hypothetical, slippery-slope-argument possibility of religious people losing made-up rights at some point in the future is not just not convincing but also desperate, condescending and bigoted.

    Your understanding of the democratic process and the doctrine of judicial review is also flawed (I will be charitable and assume that you are not simply misrepresenting them to support your arguments). The fact is that, under the current California system, the voters in 2000 had every right to vote for Proposition 22. Also, under the current system, the Supreme Court was right to consider it, and the four justices who found it unconstitutional were on perfectly sound legal ground to strike it down—as were the three who dissented. If you disagree with the current system, by all means agitate for reform (which is also your right), but don’t pretend that the invalidation of Prop 22 and the legalization of gay marriage by the California Supreme Court was anything but perfectly in line with current legal and judicial standards, and don’t pretend that their ruling disenfranchised the 4,618,673 voters who voted it into law—a) statues and referenda are subjected to legal review all the time, and b) judicial review is a necessary check against the democratic process, which (as in this case) preserves the rights and interests of minorities.

    Once again, I think it is ignorance and bigotry at work here. Straight religious people are ignorant of their own privilege and power, which leads them to act in a high-handed and bigoted manner. This is not a right, and it is definitely in the interest of the government of California to curb such behavior and discrimination.

  20. Furthermore, just because some laws and even not a few state constitutions are overzealously giving overmuch power to religious creeds, doesn’t make it right. Even if and when the US Constitution has errors (like with slavery), it doesn’t make right.

    Despite all the many, many legal reasons why I should get all my rights, right freaking now, the even bigger reason is that it is what is morally right.

    Or, to pander to non-real senseless religious assumptions: It’s what Jesus would do.

  21. The reason I don’t think that using a different term for same sex/heterosex marriage, is because I do see a future where this CA ruling threatens my religious rights. You disagree, and I understand that. But that is what I see. So I support equal rights, different titles.

    You feel different titles is discrimination. Again, I disagree. But I’m not trying to take away your rights. Civil unions in CA have all the same legal rights as marriage, so obviously I’m not trying to take your rights. I just see a different consequence out of all this than you do. If I didn’t truly feel that it was going to affect me, then I wouldn’t be supporting this. Again, I know you disagree. We’re just going to have to disagree then.

    But I hope you can understand that I run with a left-wing, borderline-communist, organic food, farmer’s market, peace garden, buddhist, hindu, wiccan, atheist, gay pride, no on gmo, yes on peta, you-name-it-and-it’s-ok-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-involve-jesus community. And I also have my religious views slandered on a regular basis. I have been called small minded, ignorant, oppressed, idiotic, brainwashed, you name it, by “liberal”, “free-thinking” individuals, simply for what religion I am. Not for anything that came out of my mouth, not for me, but for my label, by people who know absolutely nothing about my religion beyond it’s name and some wacko polygamist group in AZ. I have had other “christian” churches tell me I’m going to hell, make fun of me, threaten me, tell me that I have no hope for life or salvation, tell me that I am satanic and that I am in the same class as (sick) “child-molesting homosexuals”. I have had friends tell me that my church doesn’t have a right to exist, that no churches do. I read the New Yorker and the Atlantic, which are well-thought out liberal newspapers. I also read the Ensign. But I also read liberal and alternative press newspapers who claim to be so tolerant, yet they cry on a regular basis for the destruction of religion and mock the things that I hold sacred.

    You may laugh, but I am beginning to look at my liberal community and ask, “where is my tolerance?”

    I see the world a little different. I see religion as going from the (wrongful) dominating force, to being discriminated against and losing rights faster than others are gaining them.

    This issue is not black and white. There are a lot more variables to consider.

    And I don’t live a privileged heterosexual supreme perfect family lifestyle. Not by a longshot.

    So yes, I see that this supreme court ruling will open doors to take away rights from my religious freedoms. If you don’t, that’s fine. But I do. To protect both our rights, I support civil unions with all the state benefits of marriage. We will just have to agree to disagree.

    And Craig, I do apologize if I marginalized your experiences by my assumptions. If you knew me personally, you would know that I did not intend for that. I should have realized that my words can carry a lot different meaning based on your own different experiences.

  22. That first line should have said:

    “The reason I don’t think that using a different term for same sex/heterosex marriage is discriminatory, is because I do see a future…”

  23. “My issue with this, and why I support prop 8, is not out of some desire to see individuals marginalized. But I believe we are walking a precarious line when we begin to allow judges to make such sweeping rulings. The effects of this won’t be seen immediately, but every court case sets a precedent. And when you have an institution that is state-sanctioned and protected by government laws, it won’t be too much longer before government begins to consider the dissent of churches to be legally discriminating.”

    Ah, yes: the sea of undefined, amorphous horribles. Churches in this country are NOT “state-sanctioned” although many theocrats in the right wing are constantly arguing in favor of it. “This is a Christian country.” “The founding fathers were Christian.” “Our laws are based on the Bible, on the 10 commandments.” “Please fund us.”
    The State of California recognizes that various religious organizations are valid witnesses to the legal document know as a “marriage license.” It does not proscribe nor prescribe who the churches may marry. In fact, many churches discriminate in their practice in ways an ordinary business might not without violating the law, e.g. Mormons are free to keep non-Mormons out of their movie theaters although no secular movie theater can do so.

    The efforts of the pro-Prop 8ers is to segregate a certain portion of the community for imaginary and hypothetical reasons, since they can demonstrate no reality-based reasons for doing so.

    This is indeed a water-shed moment. Think a moment, why is de jure segregation in the schools bad? Were not the schools separate but equal, which is the status many pro-Prop 8ers are consigning their gay brothers and sisters to? One need only look at the record in Board to learn that the schools were laughably unequal, but the court was asked to make its decision, as if they were equal (of course, one could, and many did, argue that the mere existence of the school was enough to constitute equality, despite the many substantive disparities). The Supremes decided in an unanimous ruling that separate was inherently unequal. Since there is no rational basis for this segregation it must rest on imaginary and theoretical bases which have at their root an inflexible and narrow world view.

    Anyone who thinks “God will sort it out in the eternities” is just passing the buck to an imaginary friend.

  24. Yeson8:

    You’ve still yet to give a cogent, logical, and non-hypothetical argument as to how your religious rights are *possibly* in danger, maybe.

    Once again, your religious rights are not more important than my civil rights, and especially when there is no REAL (demonstrable, actual or current) threat to your rights, whereas there ARE to mine.

    Clearly my right to be treated as an equal outweights what may or may not happen, maybe perhaps when gay marriage is legal .

    All your other “liberal” credentials mean nothing to me. Either you respect rights or you do not. Your constant claim of victimhood over your religious rights being maybe violated IN THE FUTURE, is absolutely preposterous, and I fail to comprehend why you keep thinking it makes any sense.

    I will not “agree to disagree”. That is a cop-out. This isn’t about theoretical disagreements, this has to do with my LIFE, and no one person anywhere has yet demonstrated at all that religious rights are RIGHT NOW being threatened to the same degree or greater degree than my (and might I add your) rights to absolute equality regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity are right NOW being desecrated.

    Civil unions with all the benefits of marriage doesn’t exist and is a farce. The benefits of marriage include not only the legal rights but also the social recognition. You are advocating for “separate but equal”. The very fact that you think that marriage is some unassailable religious heterosexual institution proves my point. It is discriminatory and it has to be changed, and if that requires “activist legislating judges” doing what is quite literally constitutionally required of them to do, then so be it. Separate is inherently unequal, and no matter how nicely you try to couch it, or how loudly you scream that your religious rights could possibly be violated, it is discriminatory.

    If religion become ever more useless and deemed as negative, divisive and discriminatory, all the better.

  25. to “NoOneHateYesOn8″, bringing up people attacking you for your religion, you bring up a whole other issue which many of us who comment here have been through, being former card carrying lds which why do you believe in your religion? This is no easy question.

    I used to think I was owed respect for being religious. I look back on those days now and wonder what made me think I was entitled to that. I believed in something there was no proof of. Generally, people don’t care if Christians or Muslims or Jews or whomever are easy going people who are trying live their own good life and keep their religious judgment focused squarely on themselves. It’s when those people claim their god and/or prophets know what’s best for everyone else that people have a problem with it.

    You don’t see running around blasting and attacking the work Mother Theresa did. Why? Because her focus was the doctrine of love and service. That is worthy of respect.

    Church members funneling millions into promoting de-legitimizing a minority group, that’s not worthy of respect.

    I’ve got an lds friend who’s not in CA who’s about had it. She believes in the church but yesterday wrote that she wanted to be edified by the doctrine again instead of having every Sunday be the LDS version of Bill O’Reilly’s talking points.

    When churches put their focus on serving and the fundamental teachings of the Christ they proclaim, they’ll regain a modicum of respect. As long as it is about attacking others, sorry but it is difficult to tolerate intolerance.

  26. Just wanted to point out that California state law did in fact define legal marriage as excluding inter-racial marriages until activist judges overturned that definition in 1948, (Perez v. Sharp) in a 4-3 decision.

    And also that the California Supreme Court ruling that struck down the man-woman definition of marriage specifically states that churches will not be forced to perform any marriages that go against their internal rules.

    There’s a difference between disagreeing with the morality of someone’s life and changing the state constitution to limit someone’s ability to live that life.

  27. NoOnHateYesOn8,

    Even if two card-carrying Mormon gays decide to get married in the church, they cannot sue. Any court would decline to rule on it. Just as they decline to rule when priests get fired. Now, this hypothetical litigious couple could sue to force any church who makes their facilities available to the public available to them—but that’s not a doctrinal “freedom of religion” issue, more of a property rights issue.

    As a female who was in no way given from one male to another upon my marriage, I object to the assertion that “marriage” is an unchanging, written-in-stone concept. “Marriage”, from what I’ve seen of it, changes with each couple involved in it—and probably even over time within those couples.

    The argument that homosexuals are not a “suspect class” is “suspect”. Following the definition of it, homosexuals certainly qualify (their homosexuality is immutable, they have a history of discrimination, they are politically impotent, and they are a discrete & insular minority). Which part of that definition do you object to? [Setting aside, for the moment, the fact that, in the State of California, discrimination based upon sexual orientation is already enshrined as “suspect”. All the Court did was remind us all that Proposition 22 was unconstitutional.]

    It’s the difference between you saying that Mormons are going to hell, and refusing to rent an apartment to someone because they were Mormon. I’m not advocating telling anyone that they ought to go to hell, but I advocate my right to have a belief in a moral code and to not have the state tell me that my belief is discrimination.

    I’m not quite sure what you’re arguing here. If not that we shouldn’t tell people they’re going to hell, all we’re left with is “don’t rent apartments to people you don’t like”. Which is already illegal. Again, Prop 8′s demise would not change that. It is currently illegal to refuse to rent to someone who is [Mormon/gay]. Are you saying that it shouldn’t be?

    There’s a different between biological traits and actions.

    So is being gay biological or an action? And how does that make it different from being Mormon?

    Sweeping rulings by judges that uphold existing laws are wonderful. Sweeping rulings by judges that legislate a change in definition are anti-democracy.

    I’m going to ignore this one, since I already addressed the fact that the Court did not create law. It reminded us of the law. What are your thoughts on District of Columbia v. Heller? Is that another heinous example of “activist judges” or is it simply judges exercising their role as judges to interpret the law?

    gay people do have the right to form civil unions, and that grants them all the legal protections under state law as married couples have.

    My recollection is that the Supreme Court specifically addressed this and said that “separate,” as we can all remember from 7th Grade Civics, “is not equal”. In that sense, it is very much like the Civil Rights matters of yore.

    General dittos to Sean, Craig, ebrown, & JohnW.

    As Craig already said, religions are currently allowed to discriminate against whomsoever they please; and they exercise that right pretty damn often. Religions discriminate most often against nontheists (or wrongtheists), women, and gays. This law won’t change that at all. Title IX didn’t change that right to discriminate on a national scale; Prop 8′s defeat won’t change that on a state scale (esp. since defeating Prop 8 will simply allow things to continue as they already are).

    Craig also raises the point that, when we look at the arguments and break them down, there is no real argument for Prop 8 other than “my religion says it should be so”. Obviously, for nonthetists & wrongtheists, this is no argument at all. The only other argument that we can come up with for why any thinking person should be for Prop 8 is intolerance and bigotry.

    Craig did not challenge any of your arguments because you have not yet presented any. You have simply made assertions and forced him (us) to invent your arguments for you. Present us with arguments that we might debate.

    My rationale is not what you make it out to be

    Then please, provide us with your rationale. I’m struggling to figure out how any of my fellow humans can be so heartless as to be pro-Prop 8. I have not heard any valid arguments as to why one can be pro-Prop 8 and not heartless. Hence, I do assume that all people who are pro-Prop 8 are heartless (hatefilled bigots). Unfortunately, you also say, “I don’t want to keep arguing,” because I’m quite interested in what your arguments are. But just as I do not expect to change your mind, please don’t expect to change mine. The value is in the argument.

  28. Sorry, we are just not getting anywhere. I don’t enjoy this forum for sharing a good discussion because everyone just seems to want to melt into a tmz.com style argument rather than a logical understanding of points of view that are different from our own. I’ve stated my stance over and over, but it doesn’t seem to matter because it doesn’t agree with any of yours. I see a legal foundation for infringing on the rights of religions. Period. Go to some legal debates on the issue and you can see that your claims against this have no legal justification. You tell me to answer your questions, and when I do, you knock down my responses with arguments that seem to ignore the rest of what I said, are poor interpretations of the law, historically and legally inaccurate, and are fueled by beliefs that, while you feel them strongly, are not supported by legal precedent. I’m trying to be logical and separate this from my faith. You don’t seem to understand the bigger issues involved beyond the mantra of “equal rights.” Law is always a lot more complex than black or white.

    Regardless, I find this to be a rather negative place where people are just ready to attack rather than listen to others with open minds, even if they disagree. I don’t need to be called a bigot just because I’m exploring ideas rationally and legally. I don’t need to have my statements ridiculed. It’s impossible to have a discussion this way. Perhaps you should reread my statements and you might question just what are you attacking? I don’t think anyone here has even understood my platform, you’re so hell-bent on crying foul for equal rights. Try listening to what I am saying. If you want to just scream “bigot”, then go for it, I have better things to spend my mind on. Just remember, not all gay people share your views, neither do all No on 8′s. Just because you think something is one way and you have your interpretation of the Prop 8 campaign, doesn’t mean that it is gospel truth. I read your responses to my lesbian friend, and she actually thought the whole thing was rather silly.

    I thought this would be a good discussion, but I have lost interest in seeking rational discussion. I can be ridiculed by closed-minded people any place I choose. I don’t need to do it among strangers. I can use my energy to have better, more thought-provoking discussions elsewhere.

    Thanks anyway, guys.

  29. I’m sorry you find this space to be so negative. From my interpretation of the law, there is no basis for infringement of religious rights. Please feel free to expand on why you think there is, but please also back it up with proof.

  30. No one is actually hating, and the church is really not the reason why “mormans” are stressing YES ON 8 its becuase the members who are for 8 actually believe in a FUEATURE and really there is no hateration but auctually parents who care for their children and for the world of today!!! people who against prop 8 have there own opinions but i do have a question for all you no voters WHY ARE YOU GUYS STRESSING EQUALITY!!!! there is no equality taken here @ all because first of all you guys are just thinking of your selves and second not everyONE WILL be EQUAL with no on 8… any comments PLEASE write ME!!!

  31. I just deleted a comment that was written in all caps. Remember, kids, ALL CAPS = SHOUTING in internet speak. Mind your manners! :)

  32. John,
    How can you say you RESPECT basic rights of the gays when you cant even show RESPECT to the world (by flipping the BIRD in public)? Shame on you! Now thats selfish right there! Just from browsing your site, I can see that you WERE a member of the Church! Well, your opposition of Prop. 8 has totally proved your unfaithful to the Church and especially to God. Maybe if you would’ve prayed as often as you should, you wouldn’t be strayed from the correct path you TOOK! I feel sorry for you, for you have feared MAN more than you should fear God!
    Allow me to refresh your memories and remind you that in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation…”!
    That was Paul’s testimony to the people of Corinth, and that is my motivation and number one reason why I support Prop. 8; cause its the RIGHT way to live a HEALTHY life!

  33. mfj, I was trying to figure out just how seriously to take your comment—a trollish rant on a ancient but admittedly provocative post. I think the following bit, combined with your apparent age (from your myspace page) made me want to say something:

    “Maybe if you would’ve prayed as often as you should, you wouldn’t have strayed”

    This shows how little you know about my life history and my relationship to prayer. That you would make this assumption makes me feel a little sorry for you, but I don’t expect that to bother you.

    I was once young and and full of righteous judgment like you. There’s still hope for you, bro. I sincerely hope that you gain some basic empathy—for gays and for former believers on the Internet as well as for others—as you experience your mission and go through life. Peace.

  34. mfj-pride:
    Knowing JohnR as I do, I’m sure he takes no joy in knowing you were offended by the post.

    What bothers me is your inability to display Christ-like love. Or is this your version of that?

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