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Posted by on Apr 7, 2009 in At TMV | 74 comments

Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage


Vermont lawmakers on Tuesday overrode a veto from the governor in passing a bill that would allow same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the state to become the fourth in the nation where gay marriage is legal.

The Vermont House of Representatives passed the bill by a 100-49 vote after it cleared the state Senate 23-5 earlier in the day. In Vermont, a bill needs two-thirds support in each chamber to override a veto.

To override the veto, the House needed a minimum of 100 votes. That’s what they got. John Aravosis quotes the Human Rights Campaign:

“This historic vote in the Vermont legislature reminds us of the incredible progress being made toward equality. Less than five years ago, lesbian and gay couples began marrying in Massachusetts. Now, with the Iowa court decision last Friday and today’s vote in Vermont, there will be four states recognizing the right to marry for loving, committed lesbian and gay couples,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We congratulate Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, the other legislators who voted for marriage, the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, and MassEquality for ensuring that all couples will now enjoy the freedom to marry in Vermont. This is a law that will strengthen families and give meaning to the promise of equal rights for all.”

State by state legislation info is here. And do not miss Nate Silver’s 538 post calculating the odds of states passing constitutional same sex marriage bans. He looks at 30 attempts to come up with a fascinating state-by-state prediction.

The finding? By 2012, almost half of the 50 states would vote against a marriage ban. In Vermont, says Silver, that time is now!

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Silhouette

    Now I need my polygamist friends to get their attorneys in to argue their case. We can have equal rights for all consenting adults in love! Finally…

  • troosvelt_1858

    Good for Vermont !

    I respect those who disagree, but not those who are homophobic abourt it. I fear we will hear more of the latter today.

  • AustinRoth

    OK, now THIS I can get behind. A legislative body, exercising their duly appointed powers, passing a law. Not something imposed by Judicial fiat.

    Good for them!

  • elrod

    I couldn’t imagine two thirds of the Tennessee State Legislature doing some like this. I couldn’t imagine one third voting for gay marriage. In fact, I couldn’t imagine more than about five or six legislators – from Memphis and Nashville – voting for gay marriage.

    There many things I love about Tennessee and the South, in particular. But when it comes to religion, politics and the intersection of the two, I am as proud a Yankee as you will find.

    • AustinRoth

      elrod – but isn’t that the point – it is a ‘State Right’s’ issue, at least for now? I will reiterate what I said – as long as this can be dealt with legislatively, both at the state level and national level, then the results will be significantly more accepted.

      It is when national debate is short-circuited by the courts that no final consensus can be reached. One side or the other feels that they were forced by an un-democratic process to an unacceptable result.

  • Silhouette

    Has anyone seen the efforts of the long-suffering muslim and mormon polygamist groups lobbying yet? This foot in the door will allow so many others in love who have been denied to finally seek marriage where the community must uphold their rights to be in love as adults.

    In Utah there must be must celebration and also amongst the muslim communities all across our nation. Finally the oppression has stopped!

  • Yay Vermont! AR — you realize that it’s only a matter of time before this goes national, right? One member of a married same-sex couple gets transferred in their job, or the military, and end up in Tennessee (for elrod the Yankee :)). Their marriage is suddenly not recognized because the stupid Supreme Court ruled against Good Faith — dude, it’s coming. “Whether you like it or not!” as my favorite mayor would say. I still don’t see how that ruling could possibly be constitutional. So Massachusettes has to accept as married 2 14 year olds from Arkansas, but Arkansas doesn’t have to accept as married 2 gay adults from Massachusettes?

    • AustinRoth

      roro – while I am not a personal supporter of gay marriage, nor am I against it. I am against it being legislated from the bench as an un-enumerated right.

      Whether via State legislations, Congress, or a Constitutional amendment, then the will of the people are served. Democratic methodologies are always IMO the best wat to resolve these types of issues. I have been pretty consistent in that view.

  • And Sil — just stop. There is nothing similar between a 45 year old Mormon (or Muslim, for that matter) man who marries and subsequently rapes 6 girls aged between 9 and 22 and two consenting adults getting married. To imply such is disgusting.

  • Rambie

    Austin, so all marriage rights are a “States rights’ issue? If so, where is the uproar over Loving v Virginia? History already proves your “point” is invalid.

    Sil, I really don’t have a big issue with polygamy if it’s among consenting adults but that hasn’t usually been the case lately.

    • AustinRoth

      Rambie – that was overturned based on a specific, enumerated right in the Constitution via an Amendment. That is different.

      And I never said ALL marriages are a State Rights issue.

      Seems you feel the need to attack positions you agree with (gay marriage moving forward) if not presented the way you prefer. Perhaps you feel the proper way IS via judicial fiat, and reject legislative solutions. Or you believe the whole concept of the States having some level of Sovereignty is antiquated and archaic.

      Or perhaps you really don’t approve of gay marriage.

      Not completely clear from your post.

      • mikkel

        “that was overturned based on a specific, enumerated right in the Constitution via an Amendment. That is different…Or you believe the whole concept of the States having some level of Sovereignty is antiquated and archaic. ”

        But the Federal courts haven’t ruled against gay marriage bans, all of the rulings have come from the state courts that interpreted their state constitutions and saying that it was a right. I dunno about Iowa, but I read from people that know a lot about CA and MA law that said that their rulings were in line with arguments and precedent about interpretations of the state’s equal rights clause. Unless you want to argue the nuances of those states’ precedents and interpretations specifically then you can’t just decry it all as judicial fiat any more than all sorts of other things.

      • Rambie

        AR you still didn’t answer the question. Let me repeat:

        I’m saying you need to be consistent, you can’t have it both ways, marriage is a “states” rights issue or it is not. So which is it?

        “Judicial fiat” is being thrown around more and more lately by one-side-or-the-other when a ruling doesn’t go their way. Just because you disagree with a ruling doesn’t make it “judicial fiat”.

        • AustinRoth

          Rambie –

          Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough – it is a states rights issue to set what they sanction as allowable marriage (not just same-sex, but age of consent, etc.). Indeed, that is one of the key issues the “public policy exception” to the Article Four of the Constitution addresses, as I said.

          I am confused where you think I was trying to ‘have it both ways’, frankly. I think you just like to argue! 😉

          • HemmD


            Sorry I’m late to this party.
            “it is a states rights issue to set what they sanction as allowable marriage ”

            So, does this you mean the its “States rights” to pass Anti-miscegenation laws. Why not Slavery? Just pointing out that the Civil war kind of changed the original beliefs that the South held for States Rights. Kennedy enforced desegregation by nationalizing the Alabama guard. Their “States rights” were trodden under by the logic of your argument. Was the federal gov. wrong?

            Isn’t the ultimate solution just getting government out of the marriage business? Issue civil union documents, and let churches marry who they wish.

          • AustinRoth

            HemmD –

            Ok, so saying an issue is a States Rights issue is NOT saying they can violate the Constitution at the same time, and I never said that, or anything you should be twisting to say that. You continue to nit-pick at what I do not specifically state in every post. But as I said, I cannot make every post a thesis, ensuring that I cover every (obvious) point.

            Enforcing existing Federal laws and Constitution rulings is not, normally, a violation of States Rights. However, whole books can and have been written on where the Federal Government has expanded into States Rights, and is beyond the scope of this reply.

            In the case of marriage, the Court has been clear. Each state is free to set the conditions for a valid marriage, subject to limits set by the state’s own constitution and the U.S. Constitution. In fact, “[T]he State . . . has absolute right to prescribe the conditions upon which the marriage relation between its own citizens shall be created, and the causes for which it may be dissolved,” Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714 (1877).

            However, a state can refuse to recognize a marriage if the marriage violates a strong public policy of the state, even if the marriage was legal in the state where it was performed. (Restatement (Second) Of Conflict of Laws § 283(2) (1971).) States historically exercised this “public policy exception” by refusing to recognize out-of-state polygamous marriages, underage marriages, incestuous marriages, and interracial marriages. Following these precedents, nearly all courts that have addressed the issue have held that states with laws against same-sex marriage can refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed elsewhere. Wikipedia as reference

            Now, despite Loving v. Virginia, which was a narroe ruling on inter-racial marriage only, and Romer v. Evans, which prevents States from enacting laws to protect homosexuals from discrimination solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, on the same-sex marriage question the Federal Courts have been consistent in their rulings.

            Nebraska’s constitutional amendment which defines marriage as between a man and a woman was upheld by the 8th Circuit, and most significantly for now (i)n the 1972 Supreme Court case Baker v. Nelson, the Court dismissed it for “want of a substantial federal question”. Unlike a denial of certiorari, a dismissal for “want of a substantial federal question” constitutes a decision on the merits of the case, and as such, is binding precedent on all lower Federal Courts. Baker has been cited as binding precedent in numerous lower court decisions since, and unless over-ruled, remains the law of the land in regard to this issue. Wikipedia as reference

            So, as of this moment in time, there is no Federal Law or Constitutional ruling that would force the States to relinquish Sovereignty on the question of gay marriage, or to have to recognize other States recognition thereof. Add to that DOMA, and I fail to see how you can continue to attack an argument that is not just my opinion, but the law of the land, as ruled on by Circuit Courts and SCOTUS, and in a law passed by Congress.

            Yes, there are cases working their way through the courts trying to apply various SCOTUS rulings and Constitutional Amendments to accomplish and overturning of the current state of affairs, but as of yet none have made it to SCOTUS for final arbitration.

            I do not believe that case law or the Constitution does support a Federal ruling in favor of gay marriage, based on past litigation and Intent of Congress. So, the only real answer is a Constitutional Amendment if the supporter of a National Right to gay marriage wish to prevail, at least anytime soon.

            Does that cover it, and make my position clear, unambiguous, and without contradiction?

          • HemmD


            I think you misconstrue my “nit-picking” for a debate technique when I actually see the historic interpretation of the law as a series of exceptions that change the course of constitutional history. It is these exceptions by which we define our rights, they’re called precedents. The law runs on these until a precedent is over turned.

            Both slavery and anti-miscenegation state laws were over-ridden by the Federal government. In fact, the slavery issue was over-ridden by Lincoln even though the judicial arm of the government had already ruled in favor of states’ rights via Dred Scott. Both instances demonstrate not only the right, but the responsibility of the Federal government to correct injustice in local jurisdictions.

            Same sex marriage is just our time’s question concerning rights and responsibilities. I know you find it hard to believe, but my intention is never to score debate points through exceptions. They say that the Devil is in the details. I would say the greatness of our system of government is in the details.

            As far as “as of this moment in time, there is no Federal Law or Constitutional ruling that would force the States to relinquish Sovereignty on the question of gay marriage,”

            Consider looking up U.S. Supreme Court’s Loving v. Virginia ruling, where a States Right of blocking interracial marriage was struck down. It is precedent enough to be included in any discussion of gay marriage.

          • AustinRoth

            HemmD –

            I did acknowledge the possibility of a ‘changing standards’ ruling in my paragraph Yes, there are cases working their way through the courts trying to apply various SCOTUS rulings and Constitutional Amendments to accomplish and overturning of the current state of affairs, but as of yet none have made it to SCOTUS for final arbitration.
            , but then stated my opinion that those arguements will not carry the day.

            Also, I did reference Loving v. Virginia, and I am familiar with it (I actually read Supreme Court rulings for fun) and specifically commented on the narrowness of that ruling, which makes it an unfit and unlikely candidate to use as a tool against the weight of stare decisis.

            That is my opinion, what can I say. I have seen nothing in the case briefs (again, yes, I do read such things) of the key cases in the Federal hopper, or in recent rulings, with the potential exception of Lawrence v. Texas (where Kennedy has already hinted he would NOT expand to cover gay marriage, and we both know it is his vote that counts), that would lead me to beleive otherwise.

            The part that those who wish to use it as such always cite is the marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man”; however they conveniently ignore the subsequent language of The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State. which was in the end the limit placed on the ruling.

            Can a new right be found by SCOTUS via similar logic? Certainly. Betting on what they will rule in a close case is like going to Vegas. However, for the reasons cited above, until and unless either Kennedy or one of the 4 Conservative Justices is replaced (by a more Liberal Justice), I do not believe that Loving and Lawrence will carry the day.

          • HemmD

            No problem.

            As I said at the outset, sorry I am late to the party.

            I hold no hope that this court will expand the progressive position of equating gay marriage through Loving v. Virginia. This court employs stare decisis only when they want to; probably like every other SCOTUS….

            By the way, you don’t get points for this debate..:)

          • HemmD

            By the way; you read cases for fun, I read philosophy for fun.

            Maybe that explains our occasional mis-connects in understanding each other.

          • AustinRoth

            HemmD –

            I didn’t say I ONLY read SCOTUS cases and decisions for fun. I also read a lot of science articles, biographies, historical novels, page turners, and of course, lots and lots of blogs (a mix that is more right than left, but that is no surprise).

            I do not tend to read philosophy though. At least not since I was a college freshman. 🙂

            An you get points – stating an opinion I disagree with, but doing so intelligently and without name calling, works for me.

          • HemmD

            I did not infer that was your only perusal. I would add good historical novels to your list. Burr by Vidal and Shogun by Clavel would be worth your while.

            Add inappropriate name calling here. I don’t need your stinkin’ points.

          • AustinRoth

            Read them both, Shogun multiple times, and just got my son to read it. Plus, we own the mini-series, which is pretty good too, but not as detailed or nuanced.

            Also more recently read and loved – “American Lion” by Meachem; “John Adams: by McCullough; “His Excellency” by Ellis; and “A. Lincoln” by White.

            BTW – Michener and Eco are two more of my favorites.

            On a related note, just saw Spam’a’Lot the other week, with Richard Chamberlain as King Richard. It was all I could do not to yell out ‘Anjiu-San!’

          • AustinRoth

            HemmD –

            I forgot. I do think I understand you, and that you understand me. I just think you are wrong on this issue, and you feel the same about me. 🙂

            There is a difference, though. You believe, I think, that I am expressing some deep-seated animosity against gay marriage. I am not. I am not a proponent, as I have said, but I also do not have a problem with it becoming the law of the land through legislative action or Constitutional Amendment.

            All I have spoken to lately in my discussions with you is my analysis of how I think the likely scenarios are going to play out over the next few years in the courts.

            You, IMO, are letting you desire for a specific result cloud your ability to acknowledge the likelihood I am correct in my analysis of what will happen, as compared to what you would LIKE to have happen.

            For example, I would like the Supreme Court to revisit and over-rule many of the existing 4th Amendment rulings around things like the legality of random urinalysis, the lawfulness of asset forfeiture laws, no-knock raids, in additional to about 75% of the Commerce Clause rulings.

            That is NEVER going to happen, though, as much as I think it should.

          • HemmD


            I do not look to motive for you being wrong on this issue at all. 🙂

            I address these issues from an anthropological/societal/philosophic viewpoint. Weird, I know. A full explanation would be one of my thesis papers you hate to read…..

            The short version of how my analysis plays out in this issue is like this:
            Given- Moral merely means “right by the standards of the society making the judgment.” Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Hawaiians would have laughed at us.
            Given – Society’s standards of behavior change over time.
            Given – Our justice system is built upon precedence, which is just “the way things have been done before.”
            Observation – Our legal system is marked with fundamental changes to our society’s view of what is right. Dred Scott, Emancipation Proclamation, etc. were accompanied by social movements that drove the real change.

            Thus, I believe that the weight of current belief by a growing number of Americans see gay marriage as a matter of Love, and thus not morally repugnant. The reason they see it that way is due to the similarities between GL couples and black/white couples. My kids, 21 and 23, and their generation think this whole thing is ridiculous because it denies a “natural” fact.

            There’s my reasoning, and why I think my comments don’t link up well with your legal analysis. Your arguments are probably accurate for how the courts rule now; in this I wouldn’t doubt you.
            My analysis is one based on the change in people and thus society. I believe in that, the tide has changed in people the way they changed in the 60s civil right era.

            You’re also right that it will take new laws to make the change, not judicial re-interpretation.

            That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

          • AustinRoth

            HemmD –

            re: your mini-thesis. Then based on that, we are very much in alignment. To repeat, I am not opposed to gay marriage, I just am not a supporter (I don’t think you have to be binary on this issue. In essence, as I hope it came out, I would not try to do anything active or passive to create or deny the right).

            And there is no doubt that there is a greater acceptance of the concept that in the past. However, as the vote in California showed, the support in the general population is not, IMO, to the point that advocates believe it is. There are pockets of support, and those pockets over time likely will increase.

            In the long run, though, I think it is still a toss-up as to whether full, national recognition of gay marriage occurs. It is not generally accepted in other countries either, even many otherwise ‘Liberal’ countries (at this moment 7, with 14 more that have some form of civil unions).

            If you asked me to bet, I would bet yes, but it is 10 – 15 years out.

          • HemmD

            civil unions are the way to go, but it may be sooner than your estimation only because things are changing faster all the time.

            By the way, has their ever been a discussion about Global Warming at TMV? That is one I’d like to have. I’m a “denier” as the rational consensus driven political scientists call me.

            No one brought up carbon cap and trade. Too bad.

          • AustinRoth

            GW? You are a ‘denier’? See, we are more alike than we think.

            BTW – I don’t deny there was a global warming trend. I say it was within the ‘noise factor’ of normal variations, is already over and we are into the early stages of a cooling trend, and that there is no meteorological model that is remotely accurate enough over time and the entire globe that can possible state man’s impact.

            Since the climate seems to be cooling while CO2 is rising the new theory is that below 350 ppm CO2 causes warming and above 350 ppm it causes cooling. This is based on the scientific fact that CO2 does what ever it needs to do to keep government money flowing.

            But not to worry – GW will crop up soon TMV , I bet, especially with Obama calling for ‘climate manipulation’. I think he must have been watching too many Bond movies lately. 🙂

          • HemmD

            Yes, yes, and right again.

            This is why Gore should have won, he won’t have had time to go into the wilderness and have Hansen show him the hockey-stick proof of GW.

  • Silhouette

    In Utah and Idaho, they tend to disagree. Actually, I’ve seen heterosexual polygamist triads and such that are sublimely happy. Once I talked with this mormon man who married two sisters (illegally of course) and they were all so happy together. They were eating at a McDonald’s on vacation while their collective children romped around in the play area. There was no tension, no animosity. You could tell the man loved each wife equally. The adults were all around the same age, early thirties. No children were getting raped! For crying out loud.

    If gays can live legally in marriage, why can’t these people???

    • Dr J

      Silhouette, you sound like you mean to raise polygamy as an argument against gay marriage. But I don’t get it. Let polygamists marry, what’s the problem? They’ve even got Biblical precedent going for them.

  • Well, Sil, I think they should be able to. The problem is, most polygamous cultures don’t at all do it that way. The women and girls marry the men because they have to. By mentioning Mormons and Muslims in particular, that is the sort of polygamy that you were referring to, and the sort of polygamy most people who are for gay marriage are also against. You mention Mormons and Muslims, then say “Oh! I meant these two triads I met this one time that seemed happy”. Calling BS on that. So yes, I do think that, despite the legal hoola-hoops we’d have to put our system through in order to achieve things like fair and equitable distribution of marital assets after divorce, that triads should be able to have some sort of marriage. That is not what you were talking about and you know it.

  • AR– ok, that’s all well and good, but I am curious as to what you think about Loving v Virginia? Also, whether you think, then, that the judiciary should have any role at all in government? What should that role be?

    • One more question, AR — should then any marriage performed in one state according to the laws in that state not be recognized in other states? If they should be recognized, shouldn’t they all? If not, should married couples get re-married every time they move?

      • AustinRoth

        See my reply to Rambie. Not every issue is clearly one side or the other of the Constitution.

        That was a Constitutional conflict, and correctly ruled, IMO.

      • AustinRoth

        Roro –

        “One more question, AR — should then any marriage performed in one state according to the laws in that state not be recognized in other states? If they should be recognized, shouldn’t they all? If not, should married couples get re-married every time they move?”

        Only if that state’s marriage laws were in conflict. Indeed:

        “(T)he Supreme Court has recognized a “public policy exception” to both the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the accompanying federal statute.

        The public policy exception has been applied in cases of marriage (such as polygamy, miscegenation, consanguinity, civil judgments and orders, criminal conviction and others).”

        So, there is case law support for State ‘A’, that does not recognize a marriage type of ‘X’ being allowed to reject recognition of a marriage in State ‘B’, which uses different criteria.

  • And one more: if this is, indeed, a states’ rights issue, and the federal government long ago agreed that they would recognize marriages according to what the state laws were (which it did), why, then, are gay couples legally married in states where it’s legal denied the rights and priveleges the federal government gives to ALL other married people?

    • mikkel

      To me this is the most interesting question (which should be a moot point because DOMA should be repealed before it gets to the courts) because even if there is no (Federal) constitutional right for gay marriage, I think there is explicit (Federal) constitutional rights for the government to recognize state marriages. I think DOMA is blatantly unconstitutional as it is against an enumerated clause in the Constitution.

      • AustinRoth

        But mikkel, SCOTUS already ruled years ago the “public policy exception” allowed other states to ignore Utah’s polygamist marriages (in effect at that time), so current case law doesn’t support your contention.

        • mikkel

          But not that the federal government can ignore it. That’s the larger issue.

          • AustinRoth

            mikkel –

            Ah, but they (Congress) can and WILL ignore it, leaving it to be hashed out in the states, hoping to get just the right case to SCOTUS at the appropriate time (and with the appropriate mix of Justices), so they never have to actually face the situation.

            There goes my general cynicism towards politicians again!

          • Rambie

            AR: “Ah, but they (Congress) can and WILL ignore it, leaving it to be hashed out in the states, hoping to get just the right case to SCOTUS at the appropriate time (and with the appropriate mix of Justices), so they never have to actually face the situation. ”

            Now that I’m totally in agreement with you. Also, please don’t feel I’m attacking you as a person as there no reason to get personal. Why can’t people have a debate, or even disagree, without getting offended anymore? I’d hate to see a high school debate class today.

          • AustinRoth

            And if you think my reply qualified as an a ‘attack’, you are being too thin-skinned. I called you no names, just questioned what the basis of your reasoning was, in snarky tones. 🙂

            Pretty light-weight stuff, IMO.

          • Rambie

            AR: “And if you think my reply qualified as an a ‘attack’…”

            No, i was responding to your words quoted before, “And come on everyone, I have said I SUPPORT what Vermont did today. How about backing off a bit?”

            I didn’t feel you were getting personal to me but from what you said I thought maybe you were feeling that way. I know some around here can get hot around the collar but I try to remain calm. I don’t always agree with you but I try to point out when I do and argue with you when I don’t. 🙂

            Thanks for clearing up your reasoning. I like when I can have a civil debate with someone. 🙂

  • AustinRoth

    And come on everyone, I have said I SUPPORT what Vermont did today. How about backing off a bit?

    I didn’t write the Constitution, nor create the “public policy exception”. If individual states want to recognize gay marriage in other states, and either pass laws to that effect, or already have language in their State Constitution to support a ruling to that effect, then that is great.

    All I have been trying to say is that legislative action is a better avenue for resolving the changing mores of society than by judicial fiat.

  • DdW

    Pleasantly suprised by,and as a TMV contributor, proud of the–in general– truly moderate and reasoned reactions on this blog to the Vermont decisison.

    Just wanted to caveat something someone said about it being a great day for State legislatures exercising their legislative rights…OK, but an even greater day for those “Vermontians” (?) being able to finally exercise their civil and human rights.

  • “And come on everyone, I have said I SUPPORT what Vermont did today. How about backing off a bit?”

    AR — I didn’t mean to imply that I was angry at anything you said, just trying to understand where you’re coming from. (This is not, however, how I feel about Sil, who has made it blatently clear that he or she just simply finds gay people to be less than people in every way, as evidenced by his/her comments in this and other posts on the topic.)

    The source of my questions about the judicial method of handling this and other issues, which you seem to equate with legislating from the bench, is that sometimes when two laws are or seem to be in some way mutually exclusive, there needs to be a way to strike down or reinterpret one law or the other, or decide on a precidence between the two, which of course is where the judiciary comes in. I would say that’s the entire point of the judicial branch, and is not “judicial fiat”.

    • AustinRoth

      roro – I fully agree that one of the roles of the courts are to reconcile conflicting laws. It can be among the most challenging and critical of the roles they do perform.

      My comment is directed more where there is no clearly defined ‘right’ or conflict between laws, and the courts step in to try and move society where it hasn’t been willing to go yet.

      I know all the arguments around the civil rights movement and some of the rulings, but really, if it wasn’t for President Johnson and other Congressional leaders in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s pushing through legislation, I believe things would be infinitely worse today.

      And look at all the talk today still, and the ‘litmus test’ for a seat on the Supreme Court, revolving around Roe v Wade, as a great example.

      I truly believe had the court not ruled they way they did, creating a right whole cloth where none is supported by the Constitution nor existed before, given the activism at the time, that there would have been both national legislation finally passed on abortion, privacy and self-determination rights (maybe even a Constitutional Amendment on one or more), and that the additional push such a ruling the other way would likely have caused would have driven the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified by the states as well.

      I am completely convinced we would no longer be so fixated on the abortion issue, as it would have been resolved in a manner that, while the fringe would still be there, the vast majority would have accepted as the process working as designed, and moved on.

  • Silhouette

    I’m using the polygamy argument as a didactic device to show you how quick homosexuals are to want to suppress the rights of others who are in love, but want their own recognized. And it worked..

    So you see, their argument isn’t about fairness for all adults. It’s about pushing through the gay agenda. And that agenda is not wholly about human rights for their unions. I posted a link to an article of a study done about how sexual preference is learned and has a social-influence aspect to partner selection as well. I posted that in hopes that people could connect the dots.

    I never said gays were less than people, only that deviant sex isn’t normal sex. And I stand by that today. I don’t have hatred for gays, I have sympathy. I think that normalizing deviant behavior will have consequences beyond that which most of the voting public can see. I cited the AI industry and its findings on environment and fixated sexuality being able to be taught, quite simply, in mammals. All this fell on deaf ears. We are ignoring a HUGE component of this issue and that is it’s potential to open pandora’s box in more than one area. Human behavior is not yet fully understood, especially the animal-type behaviors tied to the very powerful sexual drive. Until we fully understand what we are tampering with, we should err on the side of caution.

    I would like to thank those pro-gay people who weighed in inadvertently on the oppression of polygamist’s rights. Truly, the cat is out of the bag…”liberals”

    • Dr J

      Sil: nonsense through and through. Homosexuals did indeed come out in support of polygamists, despite your question leading the other direction. There was a qualification around pedophilia.

      And I did respond on a previous thread to your concerns about teaching the current model of sexual orientation. Teaching the old model, that homosexuality is optional and wicked, has been tried and found to be a disaster all the way around.

    • DdW


      You say “sexual preference is learned.” Do you remember when you “learned” to be straight?

      On a very similar note, others say that homosexuals “decide” on their sexual orientation.

      In the same vein, I’d like to ask those “others” if they remember when they decided to become straight.

      • Dr J

        D.E., those are good questions, but they don’t quite get to Silhouette’s point. I don’t remember learning what most words I use mean, but learn them I did. Had my environment been different, I could have learned the Chinese versions just as well. Indeed, I still could.

        He is right that we don’t really understand what’s fixed in our brains and what’s plastic. Research suggests sexual orientation is partly genetic and partly environmental, but the fat lady is certainly not done singing on the topic. So yes, there might in principle be an environment where all kids would turn out straight.

        Where he goes off the rails is translating theory into policy. In practice people who try to teach themselves to be straight have a success rate of approximately zero. Teaching kids that gayness is a moral failing has been the law of the land for centuries, and the results have been suicides, homicides, broken families, and eventually an organized, mad-as-hell political coalition that is battling and ultimately defeating folks like Silhouette.

        So although he dislikes the gay-is-okay environment we’re building, he hasn’t suggested we return to the hostility of the past decades, since that would be hard to square with his professed sympathy for gays. Of course he hasn’t suggested anything else either. He pulleth down but he pileth not up.

        • AustinRoth

          DR_J –

          How long do you have to live a ‘gay lifestyle’ to be considered gay, not just experimenting? I have known more than a few people that lived the life for as much as 10+ years, then walked away from it.

          As a whole, they started relatively young, and often were bi for a while, before picking a gay life in their mid to late teens, and then ‘going straight’ in by their mid to late 20’s. (no, not counting LUG’s! HA HA)

          • Dr J

            “Considered gay” by whom, Austin? You may be considered gay immediately for wearing a pink shirt.

            But seriously, I couldn’t tell you, people are different. There are plenty of examples of the converse too, people realizing in middle age that straight isn’t going to work for them. They end up leaving spouses and kids…it’s a mess.

          • AustinRoth

            I was responding to your contention that “In practice people who try to teach themselves to be straight have a success rate of approximately zero.”

            So, that obviously was based on some concept of what it means to be gay. I was trying to determine the basis of you contention is all, as I have had some personal experience that does not fit your statement.

            However, I do think a good argument could be made that anyone who ‘switches sides’, either direction, at any point in life, was likely not really on the ‘side’ they thought they were. The vast, vast majority of gay people I know knew themselves to be gay almost as soon as they were aware of sexuality itself, and remain so their whole lives. That does not mean they did not have internal conflict due to the teachings they were brought up with, but that is a different problem.

          • mikkel

            In numerous studies of urban areas, about 10% of self identified straight men have had sex with other men in the last couple years. That holds true for when Kinsey did his original studies and also recent ones. Are they all closeted? I doubt it.

            If you look at self identification then around 3% of guys are gay, 1-2% are bi and the rest are straight…but behavioral surveys find 3% gay and around 10% have recent relations with both genders. Of course in women, the self identification and behaviors are almost identical.

            I’m not sure the person is “switching” or whether their social status is switching. It’s harder to have a relationship as a bisexual because the guys assume you will leave them for a woman when you want to settle down and the women assume you’re closeted and both of them fear they won’t be enough. I know quite a few “straight” guys that would ID as bi if they could and a couple of “gay” guys who have a handful of women they’d date.

            I even had one friend that claims (and I believe him) that he had no attraction towards any men ever until he was 21, fell head over heels for this guy that he would have married if it had worked out, but it didn’t and he hasn’t felt attracted to another one since. What’s that?

  • Rambie

    Sil: “And come on everyone, I have said I SUPPORT what Vermont did today. How about backing off a bit?”

    I fail to see where it worked. Please point to the post where it did. (sigh) I love how you’re trying to claim victory when there is no evidence of it here.

    BTW, I live in Utah and have so for most of my life in fact. I personally know some polygamists, I grew up just down the street form some. They will even agree with me when I say there is a difference between polygamy among consenting adults and arranged marriages with minors.

    Maybe they were even the happy-go-lucky polygamists you meet, the age would be about right it was within the last 4 years or so.

  • casualobserver

    In the same vein, I’d like to ask those “others” if they remember when they decided to become straight.

    Yes, the night I saw Liberace and Joey Heatherton appear on the same Ed Sullivan Show.

  • DdW


    Thanks for your comments.

    Still, I do not remember ever having to “choose” my sexual orientation

    That would tell me that others were never presented with such a “choice” either.

    • AustinRoth

      Dorian –

      Please check out my question to DR_J. Curious to your take on that as well.

  • Silhouette

    lol…first of all I’m not a man, I’m a woman…just in case it matters..

    And I wasn’t the one who said “back off”. That was another poster.

    Now that those matters are cleared up, lets move to this comment:
    “Teaching the old model, that homosexuality is optional and wicked, has been tried and found to be a disaster all the way around.”

    God I just love it when people put words into my mouth…not..

    That is the exact opposite of what I said!

    I said that homosexuality could be taught, formed or impressed and in the case with impressionable pubescents it isn’t an optional situation. In fact it could be termed an “invasive” condition where an outside influence invaded a person’s mental makeup. Nor did I say it was “wicked” or “evil”or any such comment. It is ABNORMAL in that it deviates from the body’s natural function of sex for reproduction. And further, nowhere did I imply that it is a choice beyond the original classical-conditioning fixation. In fact, the gays and I agree 100% that once homosexual preference has been “set” in the complex behavioral mindset of association of orgasm to stimulus object via classical conditioning during the first or first few orgasms (this is the part we agree on >) that it no longer is a choice that can be undone..

    I also promoted compassion for their condition, for their need to have someone to feel close to…but just not under the banner of “normal” via marriage. Civil unions were a great idea and I still don’t see why they couldn’t suffice? The only reason they don’t is that gays are trying to be normalized and if society’s trends play a part in sexual partner selection in fledgling youth (like the study “Conditioning And Sexual Behavior” shows and social trends in areas like San Francisco seem to suggest), what we’re doing with legitimizing via marriage (normalizing) deviant sexuality is possibly setting up our future generations for larger and larger numbers of homosexuals. And if this is a possiblitiy and the majority object to this possibility, should we not err on the side of caution until futher studies can disprove the conditioning and social elements in molding sexual preference in our pubescent ranks?

    This for some may be nirvana and indeed part of the hoped-for fallout of the current lobbying. For others, not so much. And since this phenomenon does appear to have an impact on the overall american value system, we do have a right to fight vigorously either for or opposed to gay marriage and we shoud have that fight. Part of the beauty of fighting is that it airs the hidden corners of the issues on either side to the full sunlight. Part of that airing was herein where I baited the pro-gay crowd to weigh in on their stance for polygamy becoming welcomed under the new “love between consenting adults” sole qualifier for marriage. For ultimately, thanks to legal precident, that is what will only determine its boundaries for inclusion.

    And, as predicted here and elsewhere there was quite an insistant resistance to more than two adult people…ADULT people being in a loving committed relationship and being able to “marry”. And one has to call them on their hypocrisy and wonder what they’re really up to with all this campaigning for “equal rights” ?

    What could be the other reasons for their drive if not total equality across the board for all consenting adults?


    • Dr J

      Silhouette, I’m still unclear what policy you’re proposing that will “err on the side of caution.” You wouldn’t teach that homosexuality is optional, just that it can be changed before you cement it with too much sexual fantasizing. You wouldn’t teach that it’s wicked, just that it’s abnormal, deviant, and a threat to the “American value system.” I guess the distinction is escaping me.

  • DdW

    On a not so related, but yet very related issue.

    Is this one of the “freedoms”, one of the “blessings of democracy” we have been fighting and dying for in Iraq?

    “Iraq’s Newly Open Gays Face Scorn and Murder

    In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word “pervert” in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said.

    Clerics in Sadr City have urged followers to help root out homosexuality in Iraqi society, and the police have begun their own crackdown on gay men.

    “Homosexuality is against the law,” said Lt. Muthana Shaad, at a police station in the Karada district, a neighborhood that has become popular with gay men. “And it’s disgusting.”

    For the past four months, he said, officers have been engaged in a “campaign to clean up the streets and get the beggars and homosexuals off them.”

    In 2005, the country’s most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a religious decree that said gay men and lesbians should be “punished, in fact, killed.” He added, “The people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.” The language has since been removed from his Web site.”

    For the full report go to

  • DdW

    Back to “deciding” to be gay, and in view of the certain dangers, including death and torture, awaiting homsexuals in some countries (such as Iraq, Afghamistan), why would some young man in those countries “decide” to become gay?

  • Silhouette

    No, Dr. J. Nice try though. I see how you’re trying to slip in that “a natural homosexual natal condition” (your inference) can be “changed at puberty” with the right “training’…sorry…lol..

    What I said was, and you well know, is that normal sexual urges for the opposite sex can be molded and diverted onto the same gender, animals or even inanimate objects at the onset of puberty.

    Listen carefully to this illustration to see if you can discern what I’m talking about and what the article in my link above addresses:

    In the artificial insemination industry, ranchers get ahold of pre-pubescent males and use their initial sexual stimulus to female environmental cues such as pheremones or the actual presence of an estrus female in the local of training. They then teach the animal to ejaculate onto, in the case of cattle, another steer placed in front of him or a mounting dummy. After a few ejaculations, the male animal learns, via classical association, to associate the intense pleasure of orgasm with the trained target object. The new preference for the deviant object, once learned, is hard if not impossible to “un-train” and often the male animal will only prefer that object or set of stimuli from then on over his initial natural preference of an estrus female.

    Now, in the article it discusses how human females mask their signs of estrus by and large. However the pheremones are floating around everywhere to the young (and horny) males. It’s interesting that another poster brought up muslim homosexuals. I grew up in an area where there were a fair amount of muslim immigrants. A guy I knew went to college with some. He said one day they approached him for gay sex. They said, “so when are we going to have sex?” He was shocked. They explained that in the overwhelming covert culture of muslims (they experienced, maybe not all), homosexual contact was pretty much taken for granted. My mind wanders to the bath houses and intense fraternity-mentality of the muslims and how their women are so inaccessible that male frustration and natural sexual drives could quite easily be socially influenced.

    Male sexual frustration is a known parameter on breeding farms. Prize studs should be watched carefully for mounting behavior in bachelor herds. Sometimes inaccessibility to females that they can otherwise smell and become stimulated by can lead to mounting other males and fixation on males from then on for sexual stimulus. In other words the male becomes so frustrated by females nearby, but not accessible that he just vents that drive in the only direction he can, or that which is carefully presented to him as is the case with AI training. And from then on the preference is “set”.

    I’m saying that until we take a good honest look at where and how sexual preference forms…especially since there is evidence that environment plays a significant part, we should really be careful in what we allow youth to see as “normal”.

    • Dr J

      Sil: “we should really be careful in what we allow youth to see as ‘normal’.”

      Sure, we can agree on that, and we can even suppose your horny bull example is relevant to homosexual attraction in humans.

      But our real disagreement is right there, lurking under your vague call for caution. What does “being careful” actually mean in practice? Teaching kids that gay=bad?

  • Leave it to Vermont and Iowa to be the most progressive states in the nation, shame on us here in California for passing Prop 9. Whether you call it Gay Marriage or Civil Union, the basic premise is that every person should have equal rights. It’s good to see that some states are progressing, I made a list on my site of the states I think will legalize Gay Marriage first:

  • DdW

    From a NYT Editorial on “The Iowa Decency”: Applies to the Vermont Decency, too

    “A unanimous decision by the seven-member court on Friday approved marriage for couples of the same sex and brought the nation a step closer toward realizing its promise of equality and justice.

    “We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further an important governmental objective,” wrote Justice Mark Cady, a Republican appointee. “The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification.”

    The immediate impact of Iowa’s ruling was to make the failure to respect gay people’s freedom to marry, by courts and legislatures in states like New York, seem all the more shameful.

    “When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today’s events will be why it took us so long,” said a statement by Iowa’s State Senate majority leader, Michael Gronstal, and House speaker, Pat Murphy, both Democrats.”

  • Silhouette

    No DE, there is more than one lingering question. Question number two has to do with how long also. As in “how long” will it take for polygamy to become legal hinged on the same precident of “consenting adults in love”. Two will be found to be an arbitrary number. Remember, consenting adults are “free” to set the limits of who they may be joined in love with..

    “But our real disagreement is right there, lurking under your vague call for caution. What does “being careful” actually mean in practice? Teaching kids that gay=bad?”

    What is bad is diving into the rocky pool with eyes closed. We don’t know all the parameters of human behavior’s impact as it is factored in with the larger pressures of society. If my model is correct and the article has legitimate findings, it can be extrapolated therefore that we can expect and even bank on an increase in the numbers of homosexuals in a given population where it is “normalized”. Instead of teaching or showing that it is “bad” by not allowing gays to marry, it should be emphasized that gays must choose civil unions as an alternative to marriage because their form of sexuality is an alternative to normal pairing for procreation…the purpose of sexualy activity. If we want an increase in the homosexual population, like many lonely homosexuals do to increase choice of partners, then we should get behind legitimizing homosexuality and make it mainstream as fast as we can. Allowing homosexuals to marry is making homosexuality mainstream. Or didn’t that occur to anyone?

    For some people this is bothersome. For some people it is nirvana. Making homosexuality mainstream leaves very little room for compromise between these two extremes.. And hence the reason there are so many responses in this thread. There is not a mild reaction to the news, that’s for sure…

    • Silhouette

      There’s another parameter to this gay lobbying for marriage thing that has to do with terrible timing. Even if you’re totally in support of gay marriage, the disturbing squirming of the right wing-nuts going around preaching armegeddon and shooting cops in a frenzy of disturbing paranoia may make you want to pause for a moment. Think about it. With all the unrest, teetering on civil unrest and if Faux News has its way, a Revolution (bad for the US right now BTW), State after state legalizing homosexual marriage may just be the straw that broke the crazy-camel’s back.

      Those of us in the middle really wish the left wing-nuts and the right wing-nuts would rein themselves in just at least until we get beyond this financial mess and real threat of dissolving as a nation. Couldn’t gays wait until Obama’s second year to really push this issue to the right that from all appearances is on the verge of a psychotic meltdown already?

      I’m not saying that we should cave to the neocons just because they’re behaving badly. I’m saying we should allow them some room to have a nervous breakdown instead of asking them to swallow one more fracture to their already weakened minds.

      Just a thought.

      • Dr J

        You’re missing the rockier bits of the pool, Sil. Having a few more gays around (based on your conjecture) is not nearly as bad as the suicides, violence, and broken families that come (based on actual experience) from trying to keep gays second-class citizens.

        Erring on the side of caution means genuinely welcoming gays as first-class citizens, not sending the mixed messages that infuse your posts.

  • Silhouette

    OK, that’s fine. Let’s welcome them as first class citizens. I’ve always been for that. But I’m against calling what they do “normal” via the stamp of marriage. That’s why I was all for civil unions when they came out with that compromise. I thought it was excellent. Civil unions are first class. When you start calling something normal that isn’t and you live in a collective of “animals” [homo sapiens] that behaves like a herd that follows the “normal” carrots dangling in front of their noses, then you’re messing with pandora’s box.

    I think instead of messing with pandora’s box, we welcome civil unions, like we did and keep the word “normal” [marriage] between one man and one woman. Otherwise the herd can get a little confused.

    • Dr J

      Exactly what I mean by mixed messages. Homosexuals are not normal, so we’ll have a separate-but-equal institution for them. And thus we welcome them as first-class citizens.

      Do you find it at all surprising that people are nonplussed such a “welcome”?

  • HemmD

    As far as Shogun, I just tell people, “Read the Prologue, if you can put it down then, go ahead.” Referring back to my “thesis,” this book kind of shows how fragile morals and social justice really are.

    I figure Vidal put a Burr under your saddle when he got to Jefferson.(baad pun intended) Another way to see our founding fathers.

    Agreed about your additions. Michener especially.
    When I read Leon Uris’ Trinity, it really woke me up to how history as taught compared to how history was lived.

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