Sunday, October 14, 2007

Marriage Mayhem Redux - The Return of Sushi

My pal Sushi Boy replied to some of my questions in Marriage Mayhem. He was a bit put off by some of the snarky comments he received, although I am continuing to extend the olive branch on my own behalf and continue the, conversation.

Following are some further thoughts and responses and I would very much like to hear from Sush once again. (I call him "Sush" sometimes on accounta we're becoming friends & all.)

1. Sush, while I appreciate the time you took to provide thoughtful responses, one central question remains for me. In my opinion, you have as yet failed to provide one concrete example of how my marrying Poor George would hurt you in the slightest. Please elaborate, because I really would like to know.

2. Wow, I've been called a bigot before I've even said anything, I wish that was something cool. But its not, It kinda sux.

Sush, we've already been through this. I want you to think of this conversation on substantive issues as a beautiful woman standing in front of you. And think of the angry comments from my Gentle Readers as her boobs. Now, the beautiful woman is saying to you "hey, Sushi! My eyes are up here! Eyes up here!"

3. I'm not going to invite anyone to my house and say, “Would you mind not being gay while your here?” I'm not going to ask the smoker to pretend not to be a smoker, just not to smoke.

I'd have to agree with Vikki - the smoking analogy is inappropriate. Gay people are tired of having our lives compared with sins such as smoking, drugs, incest, bestiality and child molestation. Talk about hurling insults! We really don't appreciate that.

4. Coaster if Poor George is in the hospital I think one person has the right to say who visits him. George does.

You are correct. Same goes for your wife. But you are missing the point here. If your wife is in a car accident and is unconscious and on life support, you get to see her, hold her hand, spend all your time with her if you want and consult with her doctors on treatment. If I am in an accident like this, what does Poor George get? Squat.

Sure, Poor George can spend $300 an hour visiting a lawyer to try to get every single possible future circumstance wrapped up to ensure I am protected and given the same privileges as a spouse (where even possible.) But you don't have to do that. And neither should Poor George. Why are you so much better than him that you deserve this and he doesn't?

5. If [marriage and law are] so intertwined, shouldn't we we look before we leap?

I believe we have been debating this topic in earnest for at least 10 years. Do you think that's sufficient time for us to have flushed out the pros and cons of allowing us equal rights? Furthermore, we on the pro side are still waiting for one - ONE - convincing argument that gay people must remain second class citizens. If you have one, I'd really like to hear it.

6. I don't want Homosexual person to eat in a separate restaurant. Ride in a different bus , or forced to ride in a different part of the bus. But I do not think that Equal means identical. Man marrying a woman is not identical to a man marrying a man. Or a woman marrying a woman.

No, they are not identical - but what is? Consider that these EXACT arguments were made back in 1967 before the Supreme Court finally decided it was unlawful to forbid civil marriage between blacks and whites.

And please, stop calling us "homosexuals." That's such a clinical term - appropriate for a biology lab where you are studying the behavior of mice, but not so much in talking about your friends. "Gays and Lesbians" is fine, thanks.

7. There is also the issue of children.

Not sure what your point is here. Yes, children can result from sex between a man and a woman, but last I checked there has never been any requirement that married people reproduce or even try to. Therefore the ability to procreate or not has absolutely no bearing on this conversation or the right to marry.

If where you are going with this involves arguments in the "children of gay people will be teased on the playground!" variety, might I remind you that our society should not encourage or tolerate mob rule by poorly behaved school children?

8. Now I think most everyone here can agree that the KKK is intent on keeping (unsuccessfully) the black race down....

Yes, and as you recall so was the LDS church until 1977 or 1978, when black men were finally granted the the priesthood. Not this has anything to do with marriage - but since you brought up the topic, I thought our Gentle Readers should be aware of this for context.

Note that while I personally see this former policy as abhorrent, I am in no way suggesting that the LDS church should ever have been forced to admit blacks, gays, women, Indians or anyone else as members or holders of the priesthood. Within the confines of your faith, you all get to make the rules and stick to them as you see fit. The rest of us can find other churches.

9. We see it as a lifestyle that we do not agree with.

Fine. Then don't live a gay lifestyle. And tell your members that if they live a gay lifestyle, they will be excommunicated. No arguments from me.

But you still haven't answered me: why aren't you satisfied with that? Why do you have to insist Poor George and I continue to be denied rights because we live a gay lifestyle? How are we interfering with you in the slightest? I really would like an answer here.

10. Do I think you should lose your house/loft/apartment if PG needs the care of a nursing home. I think if you are kind enough to foot the bill, you should receive some financial safety net, some protection from the government. Put it on the ballot and I'll vote yes.

Sushi, I will go to these troubles if you agree to forfeit your automatic rights as a married spouse and do the same. I would like you and your wife to spend the same amount of time, money, trouble and worry as Poor George and I will have to to protect ourselves. Agreed?

11. My point in studying that court case it that the LDS church limits its political opposition strictly to the issue of marriage. No ad campaigns nothing.

Since you brought up the issue of ad campaigns, I'd like your opinion on the ads the LDS church paid for in Alaska and Hawaii that said things like "I can't marry my dog. I can't marry my sister. Please protect traditional marriage in Hawaii." Can you imagine how offensive that is? We make a few underwear jokes, while you are comparing us to dogs. Maybe we can call some kind of truce?

12. I've been informed that saying “homosexual lifestyle” is what all the 'haters' say, sorry my goal isn't to offend anyone in the gay community (I hope that is a better term).

It is, thanks.

13. OK, who is against teenagers either contracting an STD, or conceiving a baby before they are emotionally and financially ready? Any Yeas? Any Neighs? Has anyone here supported a campaign to hand out condoms to High School Students? How is this not a moral stand? What makes supporting your Moral stand more worthy than a religions?

There are solid, incontradictable arguments that all of the examples you cite above are things that can and do harm people. STDs are bad - people get sick and die from them. Early life pregnancy can be devastating in so many ways. Of course any reasonable person, religious or not, would speak out against these things and do what they can to prevent them. Condoms, although not foolproof, can and do prevent STDs and pregnancy when used correctly. Abstinence is also a great thing to teach and encourage.

You are helping prove my point. Moral stances on all of the above are warranted and necessary to protect the health and welfare of teenagers and other people.

Denying the right to marry to consenting adults does not do anything to protect anyone. It only hurts the people who can't get married. I'm still waiting for just one example of the harm same-sex marriage will cause.

14. Studies also indicate that condoms slip off the penis....

I have absolutely no argument with you that "safe-sex only!" education is not the end-all be-all for kids. I think abstinence is a great thing to encourage. However, I do think kids are better served having the facts about sex and what it can do. It is well established after thousands of years that kids will sometimes find it next to impossible not to surrender to their overwhelming sexual urges. Knowing how to protect themselves is a good thing. Whether teaching safe-sex actually encourages sex instead of abstinence is a matter of debate beyond the scope of this discussion, but it is an interesting topic that I wouldn't mind exploring with you in the future.

The context you bring it up in seems along the lines of "religions teach abstinence and you agree it can have value - why do messages you disagree with have no value?" At least that's how I interpret the gist of what you're getting at.

Short answer is that I find no value to society in telling people outside one's faith whom consenting adults can and cannot marry. Until I hear a convincing argument on how Poor George and I are hurting you or society by getting married, I will continue to see no value in such a message.

15. So every church is forced to perform gay marriages. Now you've forced the Jew to sell Pork in a Kosher shop.

I can guarantee you that this statement is 100% wrong. Our Constitution provides for the free practice of religion as well as protection against having religion forced on you. Mormons will always be able to say who and who isn't married in their temples. I would bet my life on this.

If this is the message your church leaders have been pushing on you, and if you've been convinced by it, I beg you to reconsider this - and see it for what it is, which is a shameless scare tactic designed to promote a mean-spirited point of view against gay people.

16. I've heard this over and over. Gay marriage will never hurt anyone.... The point is I've gone out of my way to not hurt anyone, and people have gone out of their way to hurt me..... I'm done being insulted, and I'm done making myself an easy target for people to insult. What does my underwear have with civil unions? Why attack me in completely unrelated areas?

Sushi, I agree with you on this. But see point #2 above: Eyes up here, young man! I have acknowledged and will continue to do so that fighting words aren't going to help us find common ground, which is why I've agreed to stop using them with you. I really appreciate the time and effort you've taken to have this conversation.

That being said, my regret is that these fighting words enable you to drop the focus of what I'm trying to talk to you about. You opened this paragraph with the exact statement I want you to try to convince me is not true: "Gay marriage will never hurt anyone."

Instead of addressing this issue, the fighting words have allowed you to dodge it by saying "well you hurt me too with all your jokes" etc. I agree. But I would still like you to address the issue, if you wouldn't mind.

(Not to mention the fact that you have a funny definition of "not going out of your way to hurt anyone" when your church has done, and is doing, exactly that.)

17. What is Mormon Watching all about?"

"Mormon Watching" is exactly that: keeping an eye on the LDS church to see what they might try to do to me next.

So again, even if you would like to discuss this in private on email so that my (not always so Gentle!) Readers won't insult you, I am more than willing. Maybe we will eventually find some common ground.



Narcissus said...

Well said, CP.

You don't even know you're hating, Sushi-boy. You do it so easily and fluidly. As someone who once drank from the *moral* religious cup, I recognize the brainwashing you're suffering from. You've been taught that anything that is not black or white is abhorrent.

You toss around the rhetoric that's been burned into your skull without thinking of its meaning OR its impact - *Lifestyle choices*, Condoms slipping off (in all my years I've never heard such ridiculous tripe), my religion will have to let in gay people (guess what! They're already there...), marriage is for procreation (great, let's revoke marriage licenses from anyone incapable of reproducing naturally!)

What we are talking about is more than just your religion. It's your misguided political values which seek to prevent others from enjoying the rights and protections every other American enjoys under the law and in public.

What you really want is to put every gay person back in the closet because it makes you uncomfortable. I think everyone on the Right just needs to *grow up* and stop acting like babies. Accept the world for what it is and move on.

What if I said: *I think religion should be banned. I don't agree with that lifestyle choice. It's dangerous for the children. It fills their heads with nonsense and makes them fear the world around them.*

On second thought, let's ban it. Let's ban ignorance and prejudice. If that's what it takes, I'm in.

Narcissus said...

...That last part was snark... I'm all for tolerant religions...that pay taxes....

Tenacious S said...

CP, well-stated. You and Poor George deserve all the same rights and benefits as anyone else. Anything less is unacceptable. Fear clouds judgement.

GrizzBabe said...

Once again, very good arguments, CP.

France has an interesting approach to marriage. You can have a marriage ceremony in the church but to be considered legally married, you have to have a civil cermony too.

Now, I don't necessarily think we need to invalidate church weddings but I think it's time to separate (mentally and legally) the types of unions that happen in churches from the types that the government recognizes. One should not have an effect on the other. I don't think society as we know it will collapse if we starting thinking in this way.

Dale said...

You rock CP, really frigging hard. The eyes up here analogy is perfect.

This is a great discussion you two are having with excellent input but I think you two need to go on Spurlock's teevee show '30 Days' and iron all this out.

jin said...

You and Poor George will soon be immortalized as a Blogger Love cookie.

After reading all of this I had a vision of what it is to look like.

I *cyber*love you two!
(Not in a creepy stalkerish way, either. ;-)

Chris said...

Once again you have laid it all out perfectly, CP.

I'm not even gay and I think I want to marry you now.

Writeprocrastinator said...

Bravo, Coaster, bravo! A great job refocusing the conversation to the pertinent topics and well argued.

Eebie said...

Good points. So I have a question: how you feel about polygamy?

Jake's Mom said...

Jacob is smiling! Well done little brother.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Well doen CP. People like that mormon hater hate it when people like you, intelligent people, use logic to tear apart their hateful arguments. You are indeed correct that if you married PG it would not hurt that little mormon or his "church" in any way.

vikkitikkitavi said...

CP, you should be nominated for latter-day sainthood for your patience in dealing with SB. Maybe him discovering that all the LDS talking points on gay marriage don't hold up very well did some good. But I doubt it.

Dino aka Katy said...

Nice job of stating your argument. I still think that in this day and age no one should tell another who to love. As long all parties are consenting adults its their life to live.

anandamide said...

I don't even think you need to go into points 2-17. I have never heard a single convincing argument for how gay marriage will "erode traditional marriage" or hurt society in any other way. In a perfect world, those who are against gay marriage should have to provide a compelling argument that it's harmful before the debate could even continue.

I'll keep waiting......

Anonymous said...

What dino said...

MG said...

Mamma Gin says:

You get marry, have baby, take garbagey out... what day today? what is Mormon? who are all you people, you marry?

Grant Miller said...

Well said.

Here's my argument toward people who oppose gay marriage - if you oppose gay marriage, then you should also oppose all civil rights for gays and lesbians. Strip them of their right to vote, travel freely, etc. No life, no liberty. No pursuit of Happiness. Make them non-citizens.

Of course, gay marriage opponents would say that's ridiculous. But no more so than denying gays the right to marriage.

It's a convoluted argument, but that's how I roll.

BeckEye said...

I'm a Christian, and I believe that the basic principle of Christianity is to love your neighbor. It's amazing to me how often religion is used as a weapon to hurt our neighbors.

Interesting that polygamy was perfectly fine for the Mormons, but a gay couple in a monogamous relationship is so unnatural. Interesting that ALL of the Bible was written by men who benefitted the most from all of their alleged conversations with God. If someone today said that God talked to them, they would be labelled as crazy. Yet, people easily and blindly believe everything that a bunch of so-called prophets wrote in a book thousands and thousands of years ago.

I love how people run right to the Bible for a basis to argue against gay marriage. There's what - one sentence or so that even refers to homosexuality in the Bible? For Christians who are so against it, don't they ever stop to think why Jesus never condemned gays in all of his preaching? If it was SO important, you think he would've mentioned it. But he didn't. You think when he got up to Heaven, instead of praising his son for all the good he did on Earth, God was just standing there, pissed off with his arms folded and said, "Nice job, kid. You forgot to tell them about the gay thing."
I don't know what the Book of Mormon says, but as an offshoot of Christianity I can't imagine that it's so different.

Eebie said...

Beckeye had some great stuff to say. Great to hear it.

I too have wondered why this has hit the forefront of Christian issues. There are (and I am sorry I could not confirm this, still I believe I am close) 2 old testament references and 1 new testament reference to a "man laying with another man" and countless references to do not judge but focus on growing oneself (both as a human being as a Christian) and serve your bretheren.

Still, what I find disappointing is that if Christians are to be evangelical, then they should reach out to those people in the gay community, serve them, care for them, pray for them and share with them what God has done.

However, to do that means looking the gay person in the eye. It means walking a mile in their shoes. It means taking to heart all the struggles that person has endured. It means loving them. That's a lot of work. It's easier to vote against gay marriage and feel as though "duty has been done".

I love them and do not judge (that is what God asked of me) ... and I have some of the most wonderful friends many of whom are gay.

The first church in NYC that I attended, the pastor had come to NYC as part of the gay community and to be in the theatre, now he is married and has 3 great kids - he calls his journey from Broadway to God's way. Another friend left the seminary for a theatre career in NY; he and his partner have been together for 15 years. I admire the love they have for each other.

Their choice is their choice. My choice is to love them.

Bubs said...

I can't add anything at this point that hasn't been said, better, by you and your commenters.

Have you ever done trial law? You'd be good at it.

Bella Rossa said...

Wow, wow, wow. This exchange is so interesting and ramps up my respect and fondness for you even more, CP (and it was pretty darned high before).

I was getting all self-congratulatory on my blog earlier because I got a blogger who called me a "failed girl comedian" to admit he thought I was funny and become a new blogpal.

But what you're doing is really remarkable. An attempt at a respectful, tolerant, honest discussion of ideas with someone you have profound idealogical differences with.


The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

I've been lurking and reading this ongoing intercourse for too long without comment.

Mr. Punchman - for whatever it's worth - I agreeeeee with absolutely everything you have had to say on this topic and try as much as I can to vote accordingly, as difficult as that is to do when policy makers (for instance, one Mr. Romney) are prone to change their policies ggggrrrrrr -
Whatever - this is why I don't normally make comments on this topic - it makes me too angry.
I agree with you whole heartedly and hope that you will one day (soon!)have the same civil rights as I do.

jewgirl said...

CP, I'm so proud of you. You handled yourself beautifully and you went into great detail on every argument and question raised by Sushi.

What Sushi doesn't realize is that he is advocating discrimination. He's part of the problem, not the solution.

Anonymous said...

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