102 3 mins 14 yrs

There is a heated battle going on in California over the redefining of the word “marriage.”  Last week, activists chose the Mormon Temple near UCLA to act out because of the church’s visibility, and because some members of the Mormon Church contributed to the passage of Prop. 8. 

The definition of “marriage” has been a contentious issue for some time now in California.  

In March 7, 2000, Proposition 22  appeared on the California state-wide ballot.  This proposition  explictly defined the union of a man and a woman as the only valid or recognizable form of “marriage.   Voters spoke loud and clear in favor of adopting  Prop 22;  it won with a margin of 22.4%  (61.4% to 38%).  

As we all know, however, the “raison d’etre” for an activist is activism.   Democracy?  The will of the people?  No worries…if gay activists do not win at the ballot box, they will sue in the Courts.   And sue they did;  on May 15 2008, the Supreme Court of California overturned  Prop. 22.

Consequently, on November 4, 2008, a proposition restricting constitutional language defining “marriage” appeared on the California ballot; this proposition ammends the language in the California constitution.  Prop 8 effectively annuls the Supreme Court’s argument vis-a-vis  the unconstitutionality of Prop. 22.  

Proposition 8 was put to California voters on November 4th. The ballot language was very simple, only  two sentences, I believe.  Yes or no? Do you support amending the California constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to that of a union between a man and a woman? That was the choice.

The ballot measure passed. 52.2% to 47.8% yes, in favor of restricting the definition of marriage to a man and a woman.  A simple statement, reflecting the centuries of tradition.  California voters decided, yet again, not to change the definition of marriage. The will of the people in a democracy.

Please note that California legally allows for Civil Unions between same-sex couples, and these Civil Unions grant same-sex couples all state-level rights and obligations of marriage.  

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102 thoughts on “Not Very Happy in Hollywood

  1. >>Please note that California legally allows for Civil Unions between same-sex couples, and these Civil Unions grant same-sex couples all state-level rights and obligations of marriage. <<

    Well, in that case the referendum was a waste of time.
    A word is just a label; if same-sex unions have the same legal rights and obligations as heterosexual unions, they are the same thing.
    And that’s the way it should be.

  2. Noel, the other part of the story is that gay protests continue, directed at the mormon church. All churches opposed gay marriage, but the in your face protesters have targetedthe church they feel is most vulnurable to public opinion. I’m all for dissent, but this seems like a cheap shot. Their not protesting black churches in Watts i see.

  3. Like spoiled children, what they cannot have they try to destroy!..

    Given the centuries old tradition of calling a blessed pairing of a male and a female, a marriage, why doesn’t the gay community pick a similarly unique name for their pairing. I could suggest a couple of suitable names, but I will leave that to them. What a brilliant chance to really show their ‘pride’…

    If they fear it would mark them out ‘as different’, why would that bother them? as they seem especially fond of showing ‘the difference’ at each and every other opportunity…

    This no more than making trouble for trouble’s sake…

  4. >>but the in your face protesters have targeted the church<<

    How have they "targeted" it, Charles?

    Have they publically disagreed with its stance?
    or organised demonstrations in the city?
    or put a picket outside church doors?

    God be with the days when real persecution strenghtened Chrisitan churches.

    Or are they violently disrupting church services?

    Or even feeding its members to lions?

  5. Charles,

    The reason the protesters have targeted the LDS church is that something like 40% of the financial support for the pro-Prop 8 campaign came from the church. The church also sent a lot of its members to knock on doors in CA. The protests are not because of some notion that the LDS church is more vulnerable to public pressure than others.

    Noel,

    They’re protesting outside some LDS temples.

  6. Given the centuries old tradition of calling a blessed pairing of a male and a female, a marriage, why doesn’t the gay community pick a similarly unique name for their pairing. I could suggest a couple of suitable names, but I will leave that to them. What a brilliant chance to really show their ‘pride’…

    Nicely contemptuous, Ernest. The answer is that it sounds an awful lot like "separate but equal". If centuries of tradition are so important (and the traditions are not exactly consistent or clear cut on same-sex marriage or on polygamy), why do we now frown on marriages being arranged by parents or others aside from the couple?

  7. Charles – And the Mormons didn’t think Gays were vulnerable to a wedge issue proposition?

    Anyhow, Mormons are second to Jehovah Wintesses in knocking on everyone’s door to spread their beliefs, why not let others knock on their doors for a change?

  8. Ernest -Faith based groups can still keep their requirements for granting marriage in their Churches, this is a civil rights issue.

  9. Charles – If true I was unaware that racial groups are permitted to define Civil Rights Issues.

  10. "Well, in that case the referendum was a waste of time"

    Exactly. But they’re GAY. They want the whole tradition bit – the wedding thing is only really associated with traditional marriage – the wedding invites, the flowers, the meringue dress, the tears, the drama, first dance, swans on ice..’just married’ the mincing little wedding planner that one of the couple will end up having an affair with…

    Civil union is just not the same. It makes hooking up for life sound so dull πŸ˜‰

  11. >>Who defines them Mahons?<<

    Ultimately they are defined by the constitution.
    A state puts a certain amount of resources available for providing a service to its citizens. There is a demand for this service among all social groups.
    It is therefore discriminatory to debar certain groups from a serice that their representatives enact and that they ultimately pay for.

  12. Civil Rights are those rights dealing with fairness and discrimination and various freedoms. Civil Rights legally are granted by the Constitution in the US, and are set forth there and in the various state constitutions. Civil Rights issues may involve rights denied or not yet granted.

    If Californians really cared about protecting marriage, why do they get divorced so often? This wasn’t really about marriage, it was about gays.

  13. Since the gays are protesting that the California constitution has been amended, it seems SCOTUS is only recourse. And that is a culture war, my friend!

    Alison, you may be on to something!

  14. Mahons, Neal,

    ‘Would a rose by any other name, smell so sweet?’

    Of course it would, and as with roses, there can be different varieties of ceremony. If you like red roses, then that is your choice, if a different hue is your fancy, then you don’t pick a red rose and call it ‘white or yellow’.

    As I said before ‘it does give the gays a chance to show just how proud they are to be gay, but I don’t think that is part of their agenda. I think it is yet another attempt to get their adopted lifestyle accepted as being more normal than heretofor.

    Neal,

    How about ‘equal but different’? it doesn’t have quite the same political panache, but it would probably be nearer the truth and would certainly make more sense, and when it suits them that is how gays seem to see themselves. It is also less divisive than your ‘equal but seperate’.

    Re arranged marriages, largely frowned on because it encroaches on the freedoms of the individual, and is really a different debate.

    Mahons,

    Divorce and the frequency thereof has little to do with the validity of the definition of ‘marriage’.

    Yes it is about gays, and as Alison says ‘civil union’ doesn’t sound so fancy as ‘marriage’.

  15. If gay couples are afforded all the same rights after entering a civil union that married couples get then I don’t really see why either side is so worked up about it.

    It isn’t a civil rights issue because all that is at stake is what the nomenclature of gay unions, not whether they are permitted or not.

    That said I do enjoy a good diversity grudge match so bring on the Gays versus Blacks fight!

  16. I doubt very much that it is a civil right to alter the definition of words in general use. It may happen that words are changed – but it isn’ a civil right…

    Are you trying to drag the validity of ‘civil rights’ down to the same asinine level as ‘human rights’ as defined in the UK and the EU?

  17. Charles – A culture war? Was it a culture war to allow blacks to sit anywhere on a bus or vote?

    In any event California’s highest Court should have the say on this proposition- not the US Supreme.

    Ernest – If Californians divorce at high rates and commit adultrey, then is their interest really in marriage itself?

    Ross – People named Ross can only have civil unions, not marriages. Fair?

  18. "Charles – A culture war? Was it a culture war to allow blacks to sit anywhere on a bus or vote?"

    No actually that was a real war, with burning buildings and federal troops, and lynchings.

    "In any event California’s highest Court should have the say on this proposition"

    If their supremes interpet the constitution (no small feat for liberals) their hands are tied.

  19. Mahons,

    Unusual, but nice to see you struggling to defend the indefensible. It makes you seem almost human..:-)

    Your replies to Ross and myself were really not up to par…

    What people do and how they respect their marriage, is up to them, – isn’t that freedom also a civil right? it doesn’t alter the definition of the word, the tradition, or the ceremony.

  20. Charles – Well the vast majority of that Court were appointed by Republicans so your irrational fears should be somewhat allayed. One of ths issues the Court would likely address is whether the state constitution can be amended by popular vote as as opposed to the state legislature. It is an improtant consideration as amendments should not be amended lightly.

  21. Ernest – I am sorry you find me less than human.

    What struggle? your own words "what people do and how they respect their marriage is their own business" explain why gay people like everyone else should have the right to get married. Unless, of course, you find them less than human also.

  22. "Ross – People named Ross can only have civil unions, not marriages. Fair?"

    It would be an odd law, but if civil unions carried all the same rights as marriage and there wasn’t even anything actually stopping me referring to it as marriage colloquially I’d struggle to see how my rights were being undermined.

  23. I think Mahons is doing just fine.

    This is a big, fat non-issue. I would like the anti-gay marriage people here explain to me exactly how homosexuals calling themselves married affects straight married people, the family, children and will cause the downfall of society at large. Gays make up, at most, 4% of the population, only a small number of those would choose to get officially married. I think we have them outnumbered, guys.

    Stating your arguments in concise, non-touchy feely, bullet points would be good.

  24. Ross – You may accept a second class status, but why should they? Once you accept that you are less deserving than another group or than everyone else you’ve set a precedent for other issues. I am sure a Star of David didn’t distract from people’s fashion sense, but being forced to wear one on your clothing because of your religion can lead to other things.

    Drinking water from a seperate fountain still allows you to drink, but it demonstrates that you are suitable to drink from the same one as others. And you’ll still get to your destination riding in the back of a bus.

  25. Regardless of the merits of this particular issue I take issue with one part of Patty’s post

    "As we all know, however, the "raison d’etre" for an activist is activism. Democracy? The will of the people? No worries.."

    I completely disagree. That seems to suggest that once any policy has the approval of a majority of people there is no justification for activists to protest or continue to campaign against it. If people genuinely feel a particular policy is genuinely unfair and wrong then it doesn’t automatically become right or fair just because it has majority support.

  26. ‘This is a big, fat non-issue. I would like the anti-gay marriage people here explain to me exactly how homosexuals calling themselves married affects straight married people, the family, children and will cause the downfall of society at large’

    Daphne, that is a great post, sums up what Olbermann says well ( and less emotionally).

    I can’t even debate this, because I just don’t understand what drives the anti-gay marriage folks.

    (I hope your kid is feeling better. Thanks for the brilliant article of last night- I sent it to numerous friends who loved it. Summary- worthless paper that enriched a few.)

  27. Charles

    The majority of Californians also disagree with you (re; the Presidential choice) . Does that mean you think their decision was the wiser and correct one ?

  28. Ernest

    How about ‘equal but different’? it doesn’t have quite the same political panache, but it would probably be nearer the truth and would certainly make more sense, and when it suits them that is how gays seem to see themselves. It is also less divisive than your ‘equal but seperate’.

    How is it nearer the truth? Separate rules for different groups. That’s pretty clear. Apparently it makes more sense to you, but that’s not really definitive. All definable groups are different from each other in some ways. The point is that on this issue there’s no meaningful difference.

    Daphne makes the most important point at 8:32. Legalizing gay marriage has no impact on anyone else. Despite what the pro-8 people say it has no effect on their religious freedom.

  29. Well done, Colm…that a minority is trying to undermine "the will of the people" as expressed at the ballot box is the point of this post.

    Here’s the real problem, the meat of the matter: there is a notion among the Left that if they don’t get what they want at the polls, then the courts should be used to enforce what the Left wants, regardless.

    That is why some Democrats favor activist judges – activist Leftist judges, that is – those who legislate from the bench, rather than simply interpret law as they should. I think this does undermine our democracy. Not the demonstrations, as annoying as they might be.

  30. When it comes down to it, virtually every argument against gay marriage can be boiled down to "eww."

    Charles & Ross

    When miscegenation was banned, was that a civil rights issue?

  31. Mahons, the analogies you make are all about the state preventing people from forcing people to behave in ways they don’t want to and are different to how everyone else has to behave. Proposition 22 doesn’t put any obligation or burden on any individual but simply instructs the state to define marriage in the way that would have been almost universal up until about ten years ago.

    "I’d let Ross get married if danced in his underwear with a bucket on his head. ;-)"

    As long as I could keep my dignity.

  32. No, Colm, a very poor choice for this Texan. But Calif has to work it out.

    What’s funny is it would have passed if so many blacks had NOT come out for obama. Very interesting dynamic.

  33. Patty

    Part of the purpose of the constitution and the courts is to protect minority groups from what Tocqueville called the "tyranny of the majority". Part of the reason those things exist is for such groups to try to change things that they perceive as wrong. You can argue that those things aren’t wrong if you want, but seeking resolution in the courts is consistent with the way our system was set up.

  34. Patty

    Please answer the following question honestly

    If in 1954 The electorate in Mississippi had freely voted to permanently enforce segregation as part of their constitution would you have expected the Black minority to end their campaign for desegregation on the grounds that democracy had spoken ?

  35. I don’t think the protestors are trying to undermine the "will of the people", they are protesting against the law. Happens all the time on a host of issues.

    There are those who try to legislate from the bench as they say, though they aren’t all liberals, but when they do that they are all wrong reagrdless of their poltical affilaition. There are also those who call all court decisions they disagree with as "legislating from the bench".

  36. Neal,

    "When it comes down to it, virtually every argument against gay marriage can be boiled down to "eww.""

    Since civil unions are allowed, the argument isn’t even as good as that.

  37. "When miscegenation was banned, was that a civil rights issue?"

    Yes because it prevented people going about their business in a manner they saw fit. If Proposition 22 banned gay couples from entering a relationship or from establishing arrangements based on mutual rights and obligations then it would be equivalent to the miscegenation laws, but it doesn’t and therefore it isn’t.

  38. here is a notion among the Left that if they don’t get what they want at the polls, then the courts should be used to enforce what the Left wants, regardless.

    Patty, the right does that as well. Social activists on both sides use the courts to force their points of view down the collective throats of the people.

  39. Colm: Your question – I believe – implies that "gay" like "race" is something you are born with/to – that an individual has no choice in the matter – and that the gay activist struggle to redefine "marriage" to include same sex couples is a Civil RIghts issue.

    I don’t believe that one is born gay as one is born black. I don’t believe it is a civil rights issue.

    I think it is a cultural issue. It is not enough for gay activists to accept the "live and let live" attitude of the majority of people in the States at this point in time. The activists wish to redefine the cultural norms; this of course impacts churches and schools. Some churches don’t accept the gay choice – and they wish to maintain their freedom to teach that same-sex union is wrong. Text books, and mandated sex ed. classes in public schools are also at issue.

  40. Daphne: It seems to me that Bush (representing the Right) sought to appoint to the Supreme Court judges that would simply interpret law, not legislate. That is why there were no "litmus" test in his selection, so he said.

    Whereas there are numerous examples of judges appointed by the Left, who actively and openly seek to legislate from the bench.

    Do you have any examples of Right appointments that are actively seeking to legislate rather than interpret law?

  41. Patty

    I knew you would argue by comparing the 2 cases, which is not the point I was making. Forget the relative merits of these 2 cases and accept that you were hasty in your assertion that activists should not seek to alter the will of the majority There are issues where it is morally right to campaign against a policy because it is wrong and does not become morally right purely because the majority endorse it. The argument is purely about how we decide the limitations of majority rights.

  42. Colm: "There are issues where it is morally right to campaign against a policy because it is wrong and does not become morally right purely because the majority endorse it. "

    I totally agree with you here. And I agree with Neals point about the tyranny of the majority.

    What you might not know is that the "No on 8" people plan to challenge the law in court. So, while I think that they should make their case to the people, I also think they should accept that the majority don’t agree with them. And not just go to the Courts. Otherwise, what’s the point of voting?

  43. –Or are they violently disrupting church services?–

    Is it OK to disrupt church services, so long as its not done by means of violence?

    The political gay movement has a history of disrupting Catholic religious services

    During the days when AIDS was a political issue, the group ACT UP, which apparently thought Cardinal O’Connor was responsible for the disease, repeatedly interrupted Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

    In the recent past, activists dressed up as clowns joined the line for receiving Communion at a church in California–this would have been before Prop 8.

    I expect more of this. The Catholics and the Mormons will be the targets. They won’t try this in the black churches, because they’d expect, and, I hope, would receive a proper response from black congregations for such desecrations.

    There were never many such actions, but why are any actions of this type acceptable?

    I don’t care what the issue is, I will always condemnt the disruption of anyone’s church services. That’s not the case with the political gays- while few participated in these church attacks, very few condemned them either.

    A tip of the hat for churches and church leaders who aren’t so far gone that they can’t take a stand for what is a mockery and a wrong thing.

  44. Patty, your point was that the left uses the courts to gain what they can’t achieve at the polls, the right does the exact same thing. Yes, there are judges on the right that legislate from the bench, "our side" just happens to agree with them, so we don’t complain about legislating from the bench when it favors our opinions.

    I don’t like it when any of our judges do it and I’m not real fond of social activists of any stripe.

    Ross, if you can maintain your dignity in that outfit, you deserve to do any damn thing you please.

  45. It is not enough for gay activists to accept the "live and let live" attitude of the majority of people in the States at this point in time.

    I’m not so sure that’s the prevailing attitude. Leaving aside the issue of whether it’s a choice (the research certainly indicates otherwise), if that was the case, why change the constitution to prevent gay people from doing something they want to do?

  46. Patty

    They are going to the courts precisisely because they do see it as a Civil Rights issue and not just a wishful political desire. Whether you agree with them or not they believe that their sexual orientation is as inate and permanent a part of their make up as race or gender and for that reason they don’t accept the right of the heterosexual majority to deny them an official status (marraige) freely available to heterosexual couples. For precisely the same reasons that the black population during the Civil Rights era ,while arguing to persuade white attitudes to change did not accept that their equality was purely dependent on a majority vote.

  47. Colm: the majority of voters in California would like schools and churches to maintain their freedom to teach children that gay sex is not marriage.
    Prop. 8 by not redefining "marriage" maintains this freedom.

    It’s not really about eliminating flower girls, and banquet halls from same-sex unions.

  48. Colm: "they do see it as a Civil Rights issue "

    I know. And in order to insure that others think it is a "Civil Rights" issue, they now teach in schools in LA that being gay is determined at birth — because if gayness is an innate trait, then it is a Civil Rights issue.

    But there is really no scientific basis for saying that gay is determined at birth. THis is political science, not science.

  49. A huge subtext to all of this is how children are to be indoctrinated

    Anyone who objects to gay sex or to gay "marriage" as being the moral equal to real marriage is to be condemned as a bigot.

    Parents who deviate from the script will be deemed as abusing the children and teaching hate.

    No deviation from this thought will be permitted.

  50. Patty

    I fail to see why the Gay community would need to prove ‘born gay’ as the only criteria for accepting it as a Civil Rights issue. They could plausibly argue that ii is irrelvent what causes homo or indeed heterosexuality. They could say that the state should not discriminate in any way at all on the basis if which gender partner you choose any more than they do on the race of your partner.

    Your issue of the churches is a red herring. There is a difference between the legal status of marraige and the religous blessing of marraige as a sacrament. If the state permits same sex civil marraige there is still nothing to stop faith groups from dissavowing it or refusing to solemnise such unions.

  51. I was just kidding Charles. Just messing around. To be honest I really am not at all bothered by it, or what they call it. Marriage to me personally is between a man and a woman, established to raise a family (men and women do that, it’s the biology) and it always will be. But in reality it’s a non issue. It’s a non issue both ways in my opinion. From some gays bouncing up and down flapping around and crying unfair when civil unions do exactly what marriage does. And from the other side going nuts that they MUSTN"T call it marriage. Most gays I know couldn’t give a shit either way. Civil unions have actually been on the decline in this country, seen by many as a death knell to their, um, ‘colourful’ relationships.

  52. Patty,

    "Colm: the majority of voters in California would like schools and churches to maintain their freedom to teach children that gay sex is not marriage."

    Remarriage after divorce is legal, but some churches don’t recognise it. How many of them have been taken to court for teaching children that a second marriage is not marriage?

  53. Patty

    Nothing to do with sexual choice. It can be argued that it is discrimination on the basis of gender. Why should you have the ‘Civil Right’ to marry the person of your choice but only if that person is of the male gender. Shouldn’t the gender of your marital partner be irrelevent to the govt or the law.

  54. –Shouldn’t the gender of your marital partner be irrelevent to the govt or the law.–

    No, it should not. It’s very relevant.

  55. The constitutionality of laws have been challenged in the Courst for the last 200 years. It is a part of the whole system of checks and balances.

  56. Colm: Being "gay" has nothing to do with sexual choice?

    You’re pushing credulity here.

    Riddle me this: what’s the difference between two guys/girls who are best friends and two guys/girls who are "partners?"

    Answer: Sex.

  57. Patty

    Do you insist on reading things that aren’t there. Please tell me where I said being gay is nothing to do with sexual choice ?

  58. mahons

    But here judges are crossing the line. They mock juriprudence by disregarding precedence and all common logic by ruling the way they and their liberal buds think things outta be rather than the law.

    And this "sneak it past the idiot judge" strategem has played no small part in discrediting gay marriage movement.

    Over and out, lads.

  59. Colm: So you’re answering my statement "why is sexual choice a Civil RIght"

    by stating that it has nothing to do with sex.

    But, we’re discussing gay rights here, and whether or not redefining marriage is against gay civil rights.

    I don’t really see how, if you are discussing same sex couples, you can remove sexual choice from the equation. Otherwise, it’s a business partnership or something else, and I really don’t see why "marriage" should be redefined.

  60. Patty

    For what it’s worth I am acting as Devil’s advocat here because my gut instinct is to see marraige as being a union betwen Male and Female and I don’t view same sex unions as a marraige . I am just trying to argue how the advocats of it would attempt to.

    The point I was making is that the issue can be viewed as one where the State should regard marraige as the partnership of two unrelated adults who have freely chosen each other, and so long as they are single and not closely blood related then , identifying characteristics like race or gender would not be an issue.

    Sexual choices are not a condition of lawful rights. After all a gay man and a lesbian can perfectly legally marry without ever touching each other at all. It would not invalidate the marraige licence. It isn;t a legal requirement to have sex with your hubby πŸ™‚

  61. Phantom – If you’ll cite a ruling I’ll look at it, otherwise it is just your claim.

    The California Supreme Court is perhaps one of the most Republican in the nation (I won’t suggest you implied THAT would render them idiots).

    As for gay marriage, don’t you oppose it because you think gay people are unnatural or act in an unnatural manner? It has nothing to do with defending marriage, you cast your Presidential vote for a divorced man (McCain) and would voted for Rudy Guliani (married three times).

  62. Our imperfect world – in which couples take marital vows, only to divorce at a later date – has no bearing on a constitutional definition of "marriage."

  63. Mahons

    I need your help. Can you give me any bar recommendations for a nice cocktaily/beer type of place in a genuinely NY style bar – easy going, after work type of place in mid Manhattan. Or anywhere?

  64. ‘As for gay marriage, don’t you oppose it because you think gay people are unnatural or act in an unnatural manner? It has nothing to do with defending marriage, you cast your Presidential vote for a divorced man (McCain) and would voted for Rudy Guliani (married three times).’

    Mahons, that is a very good point!
    If people were honest, they would admit it is the ‘unnatural act’ that is the premise for their opposition to marriage rights for gays.
    So to impose the ban equally, we have to determine what is an unnatural act- then we have to police the bedrooms of hetereosexuals to measure whether they are qualified marriage.

  65. I ask because the best bars we found were down in Southstreet Seaport which was great and they were easy to stumble upon. Tended to be uptown when out and about and then in need of a relaxed bar we struggled to find one in a hurry. Any suggestions, be most grateful.

  66. "they now teach in schools in LA that being gay is determined at birth — because if gayness is an innate trait, then it is a Civil Rights issue."

    I don’t follow that line of reasoning, why would it matter whether it was innate or not? Some behaviors can be innate but still wrong (a propensity for violence for example) and equally some traits can be entirely voluntary but perfectly acceptable.

  67. Phantom

    Precedent is not the only thing that matters. The fact that one or more courts previously ruled a certain way doesn’t mean they were right, and the important court decisions are often the ones that overturn a previous precedent.

    Patty

    There is no evidence yet of a specific biological mechanism that determines sexual preference, but there is much evidence that points to biology at least being a big part of it.

  68. Ross, what’s wrong with homosexuality, other than it’s an aberration from the norm? If two consenting adults are involved, who cares what they choose to do with their bodies or their living arrangements?

    I think most people who identify as gay are hard wired that way. I don’t see this as a civil rights issue, more of a why do we care issue? Nobody has listed any reason, other than personal aversion, to deny them the right to suffer through expensive divorces just like us straight folks.

  69. Daphne: "Nobody has listed any reason, other than personal aversion, to deny them the right to suffer through expensive divorces just like us straight folks."

    I listed a 2 reasons: Proposition 22 and Proposition 8

  70. "Ross, what’s wrong with homosexuality, other than it’s an aberration from the norm? "

    Nothing as far as I can tell. I’m just saying that arguing over whether it is natural or not is a red herring. The moral case for not punishing homosexuality is that it doesn’t harm anyone else and consenting adults can do as they wish. This is the case regardless of whether it is natural or a learned behaviour.

    If the moral basis for accepting homosexuality is that it is natural, rather than personal freedom, then any research in the future that found that being gay is partly a learned behaviour would be a justification for banning it again.

  71. I beg to differ, Daphne. If the majority votes to NOT redefine marriage, who are you to say that it is not a reason?

  72. mahon

    It is indeed my claim. I hold that all the judicial rulings that have decreed gay marriage have relied on malicious misinterpretation of centuries of precedent and intentonal misinterpreation of plain words.

    The idea that equal protection clauses mandate the legalization of gay marriage is ludicrous. It can never have been the intent of the founding fathers that this be legal or that it cannot be proscribed as the entire concept is so bizarre that even the great Benjamin Franklin could never have contemplated it.

    This is a concept that again is essentially only a couple of decades old. Keep that in mind.

    The common, and common it is, argument is that " once interracial marriage was illegal, so this new thing is also illegal too so I guess prohibitions against it must be bad also"

    We can do better than such reasoning.

    The judges in California ruled this in because they thought it was an OK idea. They made law from the bench, and disregarded their duties to interpret laws based on precedent and practice. They overreached, and the people bitch-slapped them for it.

  73. >>Is it OK to disrupt church services, so long as its not done by means of violence?<<

    Phantom, I didn’t mean that. I was wondering how bad this "targeting" really is and suspected it amounted to little more than people expressing their opinions about the church in question.
    I think any interfering in church services – including pickets outside the door – is very wrong and to be deplored. I wasn’t aware certain groups had taken such action.

    >>If the majority votes to NOT redefine marriage, who are you to say that it is not a reason?<<

    Still not a reason, Patty. Reasons are arguments. Majority votes are the result of popular will, which may be based on arguments, but are not in themselves such.

    And don’t be such a fuddy-duddy about gays!

    Do you honestly not know men who are in love with each other the same way you were with your husband on your honeymoon?
    Would you tell them directly you don’t think they should have the same rights as you enjoy?

  74. Noel

    The church service disruptions are more common than one would think, and some happen in places one would not expect to see them happening

    Again, I’d like to see these bastards try this at a black church, or in a mosque. They’d never make it back home.

  75. I’m out there for work this time Charles but will get some time off too! Christmassy this time too.

    Thanks Phantom. That looks and sounds amazing. I need a few options so any more ideas gratefuly received. The bar you linked to is quite upmarket by the sounds of it, so some low key options would be cool. Just regular NYC bars serving a decent martini ;).

    I loved the seaport area and spent a fair bit of time there… The East River and Brooklyn Bridge. Took a bunch of photos, it’s an easy city to snap.

    Here are some pics, The usual sort of snaps I expect but I had so much fun doing it. They come put super large and a little distorted on my work PC for some reason but here you go:

    http://www.shutter.typepad.com/

    Cheers
    anyway.

  76. Alison – Midtown New York happens to have a few bars (and I happen to have accidently walked into most). The Campbell Apartment is a bar in Grand Central Station (ask when you get there it isn’t easy to find) where you can sit and have martinis with the swells (no sneakers allowed).

    St. Andrew’s is a Scottish bar that has a fun vibe in Midtown and waiters in kilts if that is your thing. I am in Patrick Conways (Vanderbilt and 43rd Street) often enough but it gets crowded at rush hour. Baker Street Bar has good pub food and is on the east side (I want to say in the 60’s).

    My wife claims Keens Steakhouse has the best Apple Martinis in town, which you can sip in the bar under the portrait of a rather naked painting of some 19th Century woman lying on a couch with come hither eyes.

    I’ll e-mail you in case this you have more questions. There is also the famous Wheeltapper Pub where you can see the plaque erected on the spot where Phantom and I held the first North American ATW summit meeting a couple weeks ago.

  77. Alison

    Very good photos. You have the eye.

    I see that you at least partially walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, which I always recommend that people do.

  78. Great pictures Alison. I like the reflections one.

    You should put them on zazzle.com and make a few bucks.

  79. Thanks fellas – the Brooklyn Bridge and East river were my favourites Phantom. Walked over and back πŸ™‚

    I’ve never heard of zazzle Frank, you can sell your photos? i’ll check it out, and cheers.

  80. Again, great pictures, Alison.
    Time Sq must be one of the most photographed place on earth, but that one (the first of the two) really has me in awe, the kind of awe you get when you see the place.

    Also, when you scroll down over the pic of the Radio City MH from top to bottom, it really looks like it’s jumping out at you!!

    Nice.

  81. "you can sell your photos? "

    Not directly but you can sell them as postcards, posters, calendars etc.

  82. I’m checking it out now, sounds good. Thanks

    Thanks for the comments guys. I really appreciate them.

    Times Square was tricky to get a photo of as it surrounds you. Central Park has a light all it’s own.

    I’m a novice Seamus – still learning, my dad’s the real photographer πŸ™‚

  83. No Alison, I am a novice. When I take a picture it normally ends with half of what I want and the other half is my thumb.

  84. I doubt that Seamus! My advice? Stand still for a second. Drink in what’s around you quietly – then take your camera, get a centre and snap away. If it’s a party or a mad night out a drink embued angle adds to the photo πŸ˜‰

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