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Posted by on Nov 5, 2009 in Politics, Society | 38 comments

Same-Sex Marriage Setback in Maine, Hope for the Future

Washington voted for domestic partnerships, but Maine, a similarly blue state (despite having two Republican senators), voted against same-sex marriage.

There is no denying that the vote in Maine is a setback for gay rights. Simply put, the anti-gay forces of the right mobilize well, as they showed in California last year, playing to lingering bigotry and fear, and they did again here. Furthermore, there was little support for the same-sex marriage law in rural, more conservative parts of the state. There will eventually be legalized same-sex marriage in Maine, but, clearly, there is much work to be done.

And yet, there is also no denying that, despite such setbacks, the country is, on the whole, moving towards a full acceptance, including under the law, of gays and lesbians as equal members of society who, among other things, can marry and have their marriages recognized by the state.

Providing perspective, allow me to quote two of my favourite bloggers, Andrew Sullivan and Pam Spaulding:

Sullivan:

Somehow losing by this tiny margin is brutalizing. And because this is a vote on my dignity as a human being, it is hard not to take it personally or emotionally. But I also know that the history of civil rights movements has many steps backward as forward, and some of those reversals actually catalyze the convictions that lead to victories. A decade ago, the marriage issue was toxic. Now it divides evenly. Soon, it will win everywhere.

I know for many younger gays and lesbians, this process can seem bewildering and hurtful. But I’m old enough now to be able to look back and see the hill we have climbed in such a short amount of time, and the minds and hearts we have changed. Including our own.

Know hope.

Spaulding:

We should find solace in the fact that the children and grandchildren of those who voted to rollback the rights of fellow Mainers will be embarrassed that their relatives were so short-sighted, duped by entities that exist solely to discriminate using the ballot box as a weapon — and making money off of the hate with great gusto.

*****

LGBTs — and more importantly, allies — need to come out of the closet advocating for equality in ways large and small. It’s the only way to move many voters, particularly the ones who think they don’t know someone who is gay. Too many politicians who support us privately still don’t have the spine to step up their game when our rights are under attack. That has to change.

There is a lot that all of us can do, in large and small ways, to overcome the bigotry that still wins at the ballot box. There is reason to hope, and there is reason to expect, and demand, change.

For more, see this excellent post by my friend Mustang Bobby.

(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • tidbits

    From the article, “A decade ago, the marriage issue was toxic. Now it divides evenly.”

    It may not divide quite evenly yet, but the direction of the momentum on this issue is undeniable. Change and equality are always subject to resistance. Our history so far is that equality wins out, though our evolutionary cultural processes take time. The live-and-let-live cultural libertarianism of our youth will put the issue over the top as the prejudices of older generations are diminished either through fresh thinking or through natural attrition.

  • Silhouette

    “Simply put, the anti-gay forces of the right mobilize well, as they showed in California last year, playing to lingering bigotry and fear”~
    *****

    Are you aware that not everyone who expresses a dissenting opinion does so out of hatred, bigotry or fear? The homosexual crowd is milking the victim thing to the point of transparency.

    And are you also aware that the reason the gay marriage thing was defeated, in spite of only 19% of people now identifying with the rightwingers is that the numbers dont’ add up? There was more than 19% who voted down gay marriage in Maine. The speech afterwards struck a chord with me. It isn’t about hate at all. Instead it is about a fundamental difference in how people view homosexuality, it’s origins and its etiology as a potential social phenomenon.

    I happen to know for a fact that sexual ‘preference’ [gays use the term themselves] is acquired. I’ve worked in the AI industry. Most of the meat on your table comes from common knowledge of the contagion-factor [learn/teachability] in adult fixated sexual-object preference in mammals. An anthropology average student could accurately assure you of the fact that humans are the most socially malleable species around. Yet we’re all supposed to engage in the gay’s game of pretend. Let’s pretend we don’t understand what homosexulaity really is.

    And because many of us already know how gays have their heads in the sand when it comes to an honest appraisal of their condition, we are taking the intiative to show them the mirror. As in, yes, we feel compassion for your situation but no, we will not expose future generations to it as a “normal” marriage arrangement.

    Marriage is between a man and a woman for the potential of raising children. That is the icon. That is what we, whose numbers far exceed the far right and middle combined, have decided is a normal familial relationship between two adults.

    • redbus

      Silhouette -Thank you for expressing in a rational, cool-headed, convincing way what 52% of those in Maine expressed, and what a growing number of voters across our country is realizing. The gay community is selling a bill of goods, and sorry, but we’re not buying it. Call us haters, call us bigots, use all the name calling you want, that’s fine. Arguments aren’t won that way, and hearts and minds remain unconvinced.

  • Rambie

    Our little Silhouette couldn’t wait to jump in and show a shining example of “lingering bigotry and fear” for all to see.

  • PWT

    Why doesn’t ‘limited government’ apply to social issues as well? It seems hypocritical to me to scream ‘tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts’ one minute and then to try to keep the gays from marrying the next.

  • DaMav

    I had no idea that the “forces of the right” comprised a majority of the voters in California and Maine.

    In California, exit polls on Prop 8 showed the ethnic group opposed to homosexual marriage by the highest margin was black voters. What a surprise to find this group a key component of those right wing forces of bigotry and evil. I had no idea blacks dominated rural areas.

    31/31 elections now, homosexual marriage has been defeated yet you want to blame right wing white rural voters. Maybe you should deal with your own delusions and stereotypes.

    As Silhouette said, “not everyone who expresses a dissenting opinion does so out of hatred, bigotry or fear”. If you can’t even correctly figure out who opposes homosexual marriage, you look rather foolish trying to psychoanalyze them.

  • DaMav

    I had no idea that the “forces of the right” comprised a majority of the voters in California and Maine.

    In California, exit polls on Prop 8 showed the ethnic group opposed to homosexual marriage by the highest margin was black voters. What a surprise to find this group a key component of those right wing forces of bigotry and evil. I had no idea blacks dominated rural areas.

    31/31 elections now, homosexual marriage has been defeated yet you want to blame right wing white rural voters. Maybe you should deal with your own delusions and stereotypes.

    As Silhouette said, “not everyone who expresses a dissenting opinion does so out of hatred, bigotry or fear”. If you can’t even correctly figure out who opposes homosexual marriage, you look rather foolish trying to psychoanalyze them.

  • Silhouette

    There is more snide bigotry and hate oozing from this comment than anything so far: “Our little Silhouette couldn’t wait to jump in and show a shining example of “lingering bigotry and fear” for all to see.”Like I said. This represents how the victim game is being milked to the point of transparency. What is transparent is the real agenda of the gays which is to belittle or demonize anyone with an opposing opinion until their agenda is acheived.

    However, as you may have noticed, I don’t crumble to this type of tyranny. And as grandma used to say, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar..

    • “There is more snide bigotry and hate oozing from this comment than anything so far:”

      Oh, wait, I can top that!

      “Are you aware that not everyone who expresses a dissenting opinion does so out of hatred, bigotry or fear?”

      Yes, stupidity is also a factor. Better now?

  • DLS

    First, let the temper tantrums by activists cease. You’re free to try again in subsequent elections, as well as in your state legislatures. (This is correctly a state and local, never a federal, matter.)

    Second, be sure you do things the right way, the legitimate way. That is by the legislative process (in legislatures, initiative, and referendum). Misusing the courts instead as a weapon is subversive and scummy, as well as anti-democratic.

    • “(This is correctly a state and local, never a federal, matter.)”

      Because you said so?

      “let the temper tantrums by activists cease”

      No, the, er “temper tantrums”, which are actually people just standing up for equal rights, will NOT cease. Sorry!

      “Misusing the courts”

      Because misuse of the courts includes upholding the Constitution. Or maybe, you’re just wrong.

  • JSpencer

    Well, let’s see… what would the “legitimate” way have been for civil rights activism of the 60s? As I recall, black Americans had to break quite a few eggs to make an omelet. Btw Sil, I agree with most of the views you express, but not this one. I appreciate the difficulties of being objective when it comes to hot button issues, but we still have to keep trying. Frankly, there are many much more serious problems facing our country than who marries who, and when people who refuse to take those larger issues seriously and then turn around and make a big deal out of gay issues… well, let’s just say the credibility starts fading away fast.

  • Also, I forgot to say: awesome article, Michael! And that piece by Mustang Bobby (one of my faves!) is quite powerful.

  • tidbits

    Prejudice feeds on ignorance and anger, but wilts in the face of truth and justice.

  • Silhouette

    If gays could point to a single cohesive inherant trait that binds them together as a true “minority” group, things would be different. However we are dealing with a group of people lobbying, and badgering for the equivalent of men getting the right to use the women’s bathroom who have no other cohesive binding glue other than the use of sexual organs with the same gender. This is a behavioral choice. Behavioral choices do not qualify as an identifiable group. Ergo they are not a minority and their issues don’t fall into the category of descrimination.

    • tidbits

      Sil said, “Behavioral choices do not qualify as an identifiable group. ”

      Sort of like Jews or Catholics or Muslims, right? Just behavioral choices that aren’t worthy of protection.

      All this time I thought America was about protecting individual freedom and choices. Where did I go wrong? Hope they never come after you for your “behavioral choices”, whatever those may be. You see, Sil, once we decide we can discriminate based on non-criminal “behavioral choices”, each new generation gets to choose which “behavioral choices” it wants to discriminate against, and next time it might be yours. That’s why freedom matters; that’s why liberty matters; that’s why protecting the rights of others matters. By protecting the rights of those you despise the most, you protect the rights of all. How did we forget that?

  • Sil, I shouldn’t have to remind you of this, but I will anyway. In America we have only one class of citizen. One’s behavioral choices do not put a person in a lower class, unless that choice is to break the law. In America, that one class of citizen enjoys equal rights and protections under the law. That’s underscored in the 14th Amendment. As I’ve pointed out many times here, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I couldn’t care less what homosexuals do or heterosexuals either as long as they don’t cause harm to others. Others including me. Two men or two women marrying is completely irrelevant to my life. It does not threaten my heterosexual marriage in any way, and I PITY those who are so weak and scared that they are shaken by something that has nothing to do with them.

    • redbus

      and I PITY those who are so weak and scared that they are shaken by something that has nothing to do with them.

      .

      But here, Green Dreams, is where you lose me. We Americans aren’t 300 million people going about our lives in unconnected ways. At some basic level, whatever our religion or background, there are a few basic things on which any people must agree, and a common understanding of gender and its relationship to sexual expression is one of the cornerstones of cultural stability. For most of our history, these rules have been tacitly understood:

      1) Fathers don’t have sex with daughters;
      2) Mothers don’t have sex with sons, nor do brothers with sisters;
      3) You have one spouse at a time (ideally, for life);
      4) Men marry women, and women marry men

      Of course, there were things we got wrong. Some once thought that a black man marrying a white woman (and vice versa) was unacceptable, but in the end, we understood that skin color was immutable and not one’s choice. Currently this lesson is being extended erroneously to homosexuality, which at the end of a day is a choice to act on an attraction, whatever its origin. Many African-Americans understand this, and aren’t willing to cheapen the currency of their hard-fought civil rights victories. In California during the Prop 8 vote, they looked at their own history, then looked at the gay rights movement, and said: “Apples and oranges — not the same.” Yeah, yeah, they’re bigots too, yada yada — heard those ad hominem comebacks, fallacious as they are.

      Behind the whole “but it doesn’t affect you” meme is a slighting of the power of culture. Clyde Kluckhohn, the anthropologist, defined culture as “an integrated system of learned patterns of behavior.” A young, impressionable child learns culture not just from his or her parents, but from society at-large, so yes, for parents who believe that homosexuality is an undesirable outcome for their children, it makes all the difference in the world what a society (via its customs and laws) approves or disapproves. None of us is an island.

      In the interest of dialogue, let’s agree that gender roles are largely socially dictated. One hundred years ago, it was unheard of to have female doctors. Now they’re among our best physicians. Many roles have opened to women, including leadership in churches, and we’re all better for it. Not all males are “alpha males” and not all females are “sugar and spice, and everything nice.” Gender includes a spectrum of behaviors; some women are more rugged, and some men are more refined. However, 52% of the voters in Maine are only the latest Americans to have drawn something of a “line in the sand” on the issue of “marriage” and its meaning in our culture. They represent a majority perspective, a view composed of young and old, white collar and blue collar, religious and non-religious. This view cuts across socio-economic lines. It represents the historic bedrock of our country, an anchor that holds when trendy winds blow, a gentle reminder to “look before we leap.”

      From our country’s conception until about ten years ago, what “marriage” was had always been clear: one man, and one woman. Even President Obama – as liberal as he is – has not been willing to cross this line. He is to be commended for it.

      Bottom line: It is not hate, it is not ignorance, it is not prejudice to stand up and say: “The Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!” And the more I see the other side’s arguments to redefine this basic institution of our culture, the more threadbare the arguments seem. Seeing what’s waiting in the wings (polygamy, perhaps incest?) once the gay community has its way on “marriage,” it’s time to say unequivocally: No thanks, not for us, not for our children, not for our grandchildren, not for our country.

      Should we help those who suffer with same-sex attraction? Absolutely — these are our children, our brothers, our sisters, and we love them, whatever their area of struggle. Re-define marriage? Sorry — That helps no one. Sometimes love just has to be tough.

  • Silhouette

    ” I couldn’t care less what homosexuals do or heterosexuals either as long as they don’t cause harm to others. Others including me. Two men or two women marrying is completely irrelevant to my life. It does not threaten my heterosexual marriage in any way,”**********Exactly! But we’re not talking about you or your marriage being secure. The entire crux of what I’m talking about is the young and impressionable. You are set in your ways but our youth are quite malleable. And, because sexual-preference has been demonstrated in the AI industry as an aquired trait that can be trained in less malleable animals than humans, your choice to ignore how normalizing homosexuality might affect future generations is irresponsible.We need to understand homosexuality. Or rather we need to admit what we already know about it. This is being kept from the forefront in the gays’ push to have marriage. Let’s be frank about why they want marriage. They want access to children. Some states have said no to this until we know more about how modeling a certain set of sexual behaviors affects the young. I can tell you for a fact that in the area I live in there are rising numbers of homosexuals among the younger generations because it has become “normal” within the culture to be gay. This may not be alarming at all to some and indeed many older gays set in their ways like you are in yours may indeed welcome the new population surge and therefore the surge in their ability to have a greater variety of choices for sexual partners.Maine has decided this isn’t for them. And this is their right to determine their own social fate. Study anthropology. Learn how we learn as social animals. Then decide not for yourself, but for the impressionable youth how you want to vote on the issue. If rising numbers of gays within a population doesn’t bother you, then support gay marriage. If it does, then don’t. That’s the real choice facing people. It’s a free country. All I ask is that you make an INFORMED choice instead of a narrow one based on your own personal experience. Think of others who aren’t able to vote yet for they are the target group that all this hubbub is about..

  • As soon as someone says, “I don’t hate gays,” or “I am all in favor of equality but….” you know you’re going to hear the same tired old arguments such as “marriage is sacred,” or “it’s about making babies, ” and the most vile of all, “they just want to recruit our children.” When you get right down to it, what you’re saying is that for whatever reason, you don’t like gay people. Admit it and get it over with.

    By the way, when you say “redefine marriage,” what marriage are you talking about? The one in the bible where a man could have as many wives as he could afford? The arranged marriages where the woman is sold off to her father’s business partner as part of a deal and the woman is treated like property? (Those are still going on, by the way.) Or are you talking about the love-and-church marriages where in some parts of the country the divorce rate is 50%? If your marriage is so shaky that having two men get married puts it in jeopardy, it’s not the gay couple that has the problem.

  • redbus

    Hey Mustang –

    Since when does loving someone mean blanket approval of their every action? My wife loves me, and doesn’t always approve of all that I do. In the same way, disapproval of the gay lifestyle in no way equates to “not liking” gay people. In fact, being willing to speak up may indeed be an indicator of my concern for them. If you saw my list of FaceBook friends, you’d see that I have plenty of gay friends, and am happy to engage them on many issues, even if we agree to disagree on the question of so-called “sexual orientation.”

    As for how to define marriage, re-read my post. I think it’s pretty clear. I’m talking about marriage as it has been defined for two hundred plus years in American society, until the recent revisionism.

  • Can anyone cite ANY culture in which acceptance of homosexuals has increased the % of the gay population above the generally documented 10%? There are lots of cultures in the world, with lots of different attitudes and laws, religions and customs. In cultures that are accepting or ambivalent to homosexuality, does homosexuality increase? Any research? Just asking.

    redbus, you could “choose” to be abstinent for life, but get serious. Your heterosexuality, and mine, are not really choices. Yeah, we could choose to never experience one of life’s great pleasures with persons to whom we’re attracted. But that just seems SO disingenuous to suggest as policy. You know we’re all driven to have sex, and it’s damn sure not just about making babies. I had a vasectomy decades ago. Should I be forbidden to marry? Should I no longer want sex?

    And Mustang is right, redbus, marriage has NOT been defined as it currently is “for two hundred plus years”. For the majority of that time, it was between a white man and a white woman. Want to re-sanctify that in the name of “two hundred year” history?? Why was it so defined? Because for over 150 of our 200 years, we thought it was unnatural and against the will of God for the chosen white people to breed with the “inferior” subspecies. We’ve come a long way in discarding the notions of “inferior” or “deviant” citizens. At least some of us have. Enough of the rest of you will come around eventually and perhaps we’ll learn to mind our own damn business.

    But we still have some state “sodomy” laws in which “deviant” acts like oral sex are ILLEGAL. For heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. It’s been a long slow trek to get government out of the bedroom, but today’s young people are much more free of pompous religio-moral restrictions on nudity, variety of sex acts, etc. Very young teens are sexually active in ways we never were, and that would seem to be a bigger problem than gay marriage. And like it or not, the radical reduction of stigma associated with divorce contributes to our high divorce rate, yet I have no desire to see legal or social pressure for people to stay in unhappy or unhealthy relationships. Well, what’s happening today, to your apparent horror, is that the stigma of being gay is going away too.

    Sil, I think the suggestion that gay people “target” young people in some kind of pedophile homosexual evangelism is just foolish paranoia. I also doubt there is a significant increase in homosexuality among children raised in same-sex households. Got data?

    • redbus

      From our country’s conception until about ten years ago, what “marriage” was had always been clear: one man, and one woman.

      That was my original quote. Black, white, native American, whatever. Sure, some were wrongly hung up on how those combined, but it was always one man and one woman, unless you count early Mormon history, and their polygamy was soon outlawed.

      Enough of the rest of you will come around eventually and perhaps we’ll learn to mind our own damn business.

      Seems to me that as long as its a vote, like in Maine, someone just made it my business. Culture is learned behavior, and what we as a society give our blessing to will shape the children who have been entrusted to me, whether I like it or not. So, it’s only responsible parenting to seek to shape culture in ways that are wholesome for youngsters. Anything else is a cowardly abdication of duty.

      I wonder, GreenDreams: Do you buy the argument that once gay “marriage” is normalized, other things that were once unthinkable (polygamy, perhaps incest) will soon be on the agenda?

      • No, redbus, and no DLS, there is no reason to believe that allowing gay marriage means allowing marriage between >2 people, between family members, animals, whatever. None of those things happened when we “allowed” interracial marriage, did they?

        • redbus

          True, this didn’t happen, because eventually a majority of Americans were convinced on the merits of the argument that the former position prohibiting marriage between blacks and whites was erroneous. I’m not convinced that we’ll see the same outcome on same-sex “marriage.”

          But let’s not talk theory, let’s talk reality. The Bronson vs. Swensen case — Google it — is currently working its way up the court chain. It specifically challenges Utah’s laws against having multiple spouses. The Lawrence vs. Texas ruling, that struck down remaining state laws against sodomy, is being used as the main basis for the challenge, in exactly the way that Justice Antonin Scalia presciently said it would be. So sure, DLS’s comments about rocks and trees seem pretty silly. But multiple spouses? Not so far-fetched. The “slippery slope” argument can be fallacious, but is it in every case?

        • redbus

          And one more thing that will seem picky, I know. The term “interracial” is loaded. There is only one race, the human race. A marriage between a black person and a white one is not “interracial.” It’s just a marriage between a man and woman with a different color skin. So, we can say “black/white” marriage, or “Latino/Arab” marriage and get the same point across, without having to draw artificial and divisive distinctions between various cultures.

          BTW, and to the subject of this thread, historically what has united these various groups is their common view that marriage occurs between members of the opposite sex. How strange Americans and others Westerners must sometimes seem to non-Westerners as we export bizarre ideas like gay “marriage.” Those who shudder at military imperialism on the part of the West ironically fail to see the impact of the cultural imperialism by those same Western powers, a cultural imperialism promoted by film, literature, etc. As one who has lived overseas, I’ve seen this first-hand.

  • DLS

    “”(This is correctly a state and local, never a federal, matter.)”

    “Because you said so?”

    Because it is, not “because I said so.” The earth is round, no matter how much you want it to be flat (or how much you want federal encroachment into state and local affairs, or see Washington as your parent).

    “No, the, er ‘temper tantrums’, which are actually people just standing up for equal rights,”

    They are temper tantrums — the nature of the reaction the behavior is the issue I correctly identified…

    ” will NOT cease. Sorry!”

    You should be. And grow up and get back to work, the _legitimate_ way, to change things if you want.

    “‘Misusing the courts’

    “Because misuse of the courts includes upholding the Constitution.”

    False statement.

    “Or maybe, you’re just wrong.”

    False statement, again.

    Misuse is misuse. Change the law the correct, _legitimate_ way. That is, by the legislative process, through your state legislatures, and by initiatives and referenda where your states have these. (Do you know what these are?) It may even include revising state constitutions, if needed, by the correctly defined process for doing this, if there is one. Of course, that means not only doing things right, but in the case of state legislatures, winning elections and getting representation of your positions (again, the right, proper, legitimate way), which is a challenge for you. You must meet it if you wish to earn respect.
    Misusing the courts to bypass this and achieve what you want in a subversive, scummy manner loses it.

    • “This is correctly a state and local, never a federal, matter”

      It is your OPINION that this is “correct”. Many disagree with you. Why do they disagree with you? Because the FEDERAL Constitution requires equal protection under the law, and that is being denied to gay people.

      “They are temper tantrums — the nature of the reaction the behavior is the issue I correctly identified…”

      Stop being testerical. It’s perfectly normal, acceptable, and in fact, required, that people be pissed off that their rights get taken away by mob rule. So yeah, I’m gonna throw a friggin fit, and there ain’t a darn thing you can do about it. I’m going to try to appeal to people’s emotions, because love and marriage and family are *emotional*. The fact that you think everything is made of logic and logic alone is YOUR failure to see reality, not mine.

      “get back to work, the _legitimate_ way, to change things if you want.”

      That’s exactly what I’m doing, and what you’re calling a “temper tantrum”. Also: I don’t think “legitimate” means what you think it does.

      “False statement.” “False statement, again.”

      Er, you’re telling *me* to “grow up”? I guess I can play the nu-UH! game too. So here goes: It’s not false, your statement’s false. Then: again, your statement’s false. So there! Good thing you’re so “grown up”. The court’s purpose (as in the entire reason it’s there) is to make sure that new laws jive with old laws and the Constitutions that guide those laws. If the courts find that a law does not uphold constitutional priniciples, it is that court’s responsibility to overturn the law. That is USE, not MISUSE. See how those words are totally opposite from one another? I know it’s a tough concept, but if you think about it long and hard, you might actually understand.

  • DLS

    “… [O]nce gay ‘marriage’ is normalized, other things that were once unthinkable (polygamy, perhaps incest) will soon be on the agenda”

    This is obviously true (it includes an end to “underage” spousal restrictions, too, as well as the sillier but nevertheless perfectly logical other consequences, too, like marrying a tree, a duck, or a rock, as well as marrying any and all relatives, especially when “spousal” and related government benefits are part of the agenda), and has to be addressed by proponents of changing the mainstream (and historical, not only “traditional”) definition of marriage.

    Many won’t face the facts, just as they won’t constrain themselves to sensible and legitimate conduct insofar as how they seek to get their goals realized.

  • tidbits

    Geez DLS, c’mon. State issue only, no use of the courts?

    Civil Rights has been dealt with federally, and in the courts since the 19th century.

    Federal Legislation: Remember the Civil Rights Act…how about the Voting Rights Act…how about Title IX?
    Court Intervention: Remember Brown v. Board of Education from the US Supreme Court?
    Federal Executive Action as well: Remember Truman integrating the armed forces…how about Clinton and DADT?

    You’re welcome to your opinion, but your history on federal legislative and court intervention in civil rights matters could use some polishing.

  • DLS

    “Civil Rights has been dealt with federally, and in the courts since the 19th century.”

    Seeking correction or redress of violations of rights is one thing. Creating new “rights” is something else.

    Is there a possible federal role? If so, it should be last, not first — always. Can the federal government legislate individual citizens’ private conduct? Actually, it can. And here, the issue is, in addition to being the last, never the first or only, thing sought: It should be done by Congress — not by the courts.

    Obviously.

    That is why I didn’t say a word about the recent “hate crimes” law’s propriety as a legal matter when it was signed into law by Obama. There’s much wrong with it. The “hate crime” concept itself is a variant of bill of attainder if you want to be technical, and more simply, it establishes special cases of protected classes of people. It also is wrong because it creates special “hate crimes” which are “thought crimes” and which is correctly extended to intolerable extremes (PC thought, PC behavior, PC clothing, PC voting, PC eating and food production, et cetera). All vicious crimes are “hate crimes”; there is no need to create special classes of such things to elevate certain people above others (reverse discrimination).

    Congress’s and Obama’s also recent act was also underhanded in attaching “hate crimes” to defense legislation, as well as terribly ironic and unintelligent as well as logically “dark” because it was in place of the perfect opportunity to do something completely consistent with defense legislation and specific where sexual preference was already the subject of federal government decision making: rather than “hate crimes” nonsense, Congress and Obama should have specifically ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as official Defense Department policy (or openly substituted an official statement of non-discrimination on these grounds) as part of the original legislation, if not as an amendment (whose inclusion would be perfectly consistent and logical).

    But instead, some are preoccupied with silliness this year, more than ever lately, it seems. Frustration at the Dems’ self-setbacks lately may have something to do with it, but that of course is no excuse for it.

  • DLS

    “Er, you’re telling *me* to ‘grow up’?”

    Obviously, because that’s much in order currently.

  • DLS

    “your history on federal legislative and court intervention in civil rights matters could use some polishing”

    Maybe. But even here, you were less than fully correct, and routinely I’m correct but my critics, not.

    • “you were less than fully correct, and routinely I’m correct but my critics, not.”

      Do you have any idea how funny this statement is? We’re all just residents in your world, aren’t we?

    • tidbits

      DLS said, ” routinely I’m correct but my critics, not.”

      I trust you meant that in good humor. Made me laugh.

      On the off chance you meant it seriously, please be advised that having an opinion doesn’t make one correct, it only makes one opinionated. Admittedly, there are some who are unable to make that distnction.

  • DLS

    “Your heterosexuality, and mine, are not really choices.”

    Most of us believe this determination is made as we develop in the womb.

  • DLS

    I distinguish between fact and opinion (and what simply is not fact).

    As to the issue, what is proper as well as relevent remains for definition-change proponents:

    * You’re free to try again in subsequent elections, as well as in your state legislatures.

    * Second, be sure you do things the right way, the legitimate way.

    Everyone’s consent, not only yours, is needed in our democratic society. And consent takes convincing.

    • “Everyone’s consent, not only yours, is needed in our democratic society. And consent takes convincing.”

      No, everyone’s consent is not needed in a democratic society, at least not here in the USA. Where did you learn civics? Even in a the-voters-directly-do-everything society (which we don’t have — hello the three branches of government?), you still only need a certain percentage to consent. Heck, my grandpa is still under the impression that black people shouldn’t be allowed to move into his neighborhood; not because he’s racist, he says, but because the colored folk bring down everyone’s property value, and he should have a right to protect that. We’re finding in California that requiring more than 50% legislative vote to do darn near anything (except, incredibly, to change the constitution) means *less* democracy, not more — it requires 1/3 +1 to stymie anything, and so that small 1/3 +1 uber minority controls the state legislature. None of that, of course, takes into account the fact that minorities have historically pretty much never been given their constitutional rights by majority vote, or by “getting everyone to consent”. You know that’s true, and your comment is obviously false. Your “routine” correctness seems to have faltered pretty hard on this one.

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