Saturday, October 06, 2007

Marriage mayhem



A new reader has popped up on CPW. Sushi Boy has an interesting blog where, among other things, he hosts a weekly "Friday Field Trip" where participants are encouraged to post photos of their surroundings or other places they have gone (or might like to go...I haven't memorized all the rules yet.) I would like to participate at some point but as I told Sushi, I'm not very good at keeping up with any kind of regularly scheduled blogging activity. So there may be a field trip from me at some point.

Sushi is also a Mormon, as we found out when he stumbled upon a post over at Some Guy's Blog wherein Some Guy denounced the Mormon (and Jehovah's Witness and . . .) practice of making unsolicited door to door visits to discuss their religious beliefs. Understandably, Sushi was offended and said so. This led to an extended bitch-slap session consisting of several strongly worded comments. I joined the fray by taking Sushi and his church to task on the church's multi-million dollar lobbying efforts to keep gay Americans from marrying.

After a little back & forth, I agreed to knock it off with the cheap Mormon jokes and Sushi agreed to have a civil discussion on the issues that make me so angry.

Rather than clogging up Some Guy's comments on what is becoming an ancient post, I figured I'd move the next round of discussion over here.

Sushi has not yet had a chance to respond to my last comment at Some Guy's blog, except for mentioning that he wanted to talk about a 2006 court case from Utah. I told Sushi privately that I wasn't intending for this to become a whole legal analysis, since for me the discussion revolves around one thing:

In my opinion, churches should enforce their religious beliefs on their own members, and should not bring those into the political arena - at least not with the same fervor that the Mormons have with respect to marriage. In my opinion, if Mormons don't believe in same-sex marriage, Mormons should simply not marry people of the same sex. It doesn't need to go further than that. Jews don't eat pork, so their rabbis remind them in temple not to eat pork. There is no multi-million dollar lobbying effort to remove subsidies from pig farmers simply because the Jews say pork is forbidden.

(As background for our new readers, the LDS church has spent millions of dollars lobbying state and federal governments to continue to deny marriage rights to gay Americans. I have a big problem with this.)

My arguments center around the fact that working so hard to deny gays the right to marry is, in reality, working to deny them a whole host of life-or-death rights and benefits. While expressing an opinion about what you see as the role of men and women in society is one thing, I feel that working so hard to deny these important rights is simply mean-spirited and inhumane - making it quite another thing altogether.




Anyway, while we're waiting for Sushi's responses to my last comments, I wanted to look at this court case he mentioned so I could try to see where he might be going.




I am assuming he brought up Utah Third District Court Case 050916879 as a way to say "when we attack your right to marriage, we're not attacking your right to health insurance. Look at this great court case where the judge is still allowing same-sex health benefits in Utah."

I read up on this case, and the following is my response.


A brief summary of the court case for our readers:

A Utah state judge ruled in 2006 that a municipal law offering health benefits to unmarried dependents (including same-sex partners) of city employees does not violate Utah’s other laws that specifically deny any marriage-related rights to same-sex couples.

While it is heartening that a handful of state courts and legislatures are trying to show some compassion, measures like these fall short of resolving the injustices shown to tax paying, law abiding gay Americans.

For one, we’ve already learned from the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement that separate can never be equal. The rights associated with marriage in this country are so far reaching that it is impossible to provide those rights at a state and federal level unless you allow same-sex civil marriage - which again, in my opinion, should have absolutely no effect on religious marriage.

Even if this court case in Utah does allow health benefits to unmarried partners of city employees, it is just that: for city employees. How many people are we talking about here? A few hundred? A few thousand?

The US is currently comprised of over 300 million Americans. We’re talking a drop in the bucket here.

Also, what hoops do people who want to take advantage of such benefits have to jump through to attain them? A friend of mine who worked at a large bank with domestic partner benefits was required to hand in a notarized affidavit swearing that she and her insured partner really were “domestic partners” who met a whole host of criteria (including having had to live together a certain amount of time.)

That is not equality. A married person need only list the spouse’s name on the benefits form. No living together requirement. No notarized affidavit. No need to consult a lawyer to make sure you’re not getting screwed. Again, while it is a noble step to provide some benefits out of the goodness of our hearts, it is not equality.

And health insurance is just one issue amidst a whole quagmire of problems. Here are a few things to chew on.

Taxes. Gay employees who do receive health benefits for their partners have to pay taxes on those benefits, unlike married spouses. I insure Poor George under my job. The amount of additional “taxable income” appropriated (and therefore taxed) to me is over $400 a month. Which means I’m being paid roughly $200 a month less for doing the same job as my married co-workers who insure their spouses. Is this equality?

Hospital visitation. Married couples have the right to visit each other in the hospital and to make medical decisions for incapacitated spouses. Gay couples have no rights and can be denied entry altogether. Is this equality?

Social Security. Married spouses receive SS payments upon the death of the spouse. Gay partners receive nothing - despite the fact that they paid the exact same payroll taxes over the years as the married couple. Is this equality?

Immigration. Bi-national married couples are almost automatically guaranteed entry and/or citizenship for the married alien partner. Gay bi-national couples have no rights at all and must separate or move to another country if they want to live together. Is this equality?

Estate taxes. A married person automatically inherits all the property of the deceased spouse without paying estate taxes. A gay partner must pay estate taxes on everything he or she inherits. Is this equality?

Retirement savings. A married person can roll a deceased spouse’s 401k into his or her own retirement account, while a gay person inheriting a partner’s 401k will have to forfeit up to 70% of it in taxes and penalties. Is this equality?

Family leave. Married workers are legally entitled to unpaid leave from their jobs to care for an ill spouse. Gay partners get no family leave for their partners. Is this equality?

Nursing homes. Married couples are legally entitled to live together in nursing homes. Elderly gay people have no right to spend their last days on earth living together. Is this equality?

Home protection. There are laws protecting married spouses from having to sell their homes to pay high nursing home costs. Gay couples have no protection and can be forced out of their homes when a partner is ill. Is this equality?

Pensions. Most pension plans pay survivor benefits only to a legally married spouse. Gay partners are excluded from pension benefits. Is this equality?

And the list goes on.

I'm sorry, but I simply resent any church working so hard to do this to me and Poor George. Or anyone else.



Feedback is welcome. Remember, we’re keeping it civil here, so no underwear jokes, please.

42 comments:

Moxie said...

Just read through the links, as well as your post. Hmm. Interesting stuff.

I can understand your frustration, as I find all the marriage-centric benefits rather ludicrous and old-paradigm-thinking. But this got me to thinking: let's say the laws are changed to make everything very gay-friendly. Now what happens with all the heteros that are shacking up but aren't married? Don't the cohabitators get shafted just as much as the gays do when it comes to taxes, SS & pension benefits, and health insurance? Personally I'd demand the same benefits for me and my BF.

Out of curiosity, are you & PG making contributions (e.g., money, special skills, volunteering) to politicians and other groups that actively support gay rights? Who do you think is doing exceptional work advocating for the gay community, both locally (NY) and globally?

Coaster Punchman said...

You could make that argument, except for the fact that unmarried male-female couples already have a solution: get married. PG and I would gladly accept this as the only solution if it were even an option.

I think, as I gather you may, that it is not a good idea to have the types of benefits I cite contingent on marital status. Valid point, but it is an entirely separate argument.

For the time being, I only argue that we should all have the same rights until a different system is developed. And from where we stand right now, marriage is the only institution that delivers those rights.

Writeprocrastinator said...

"Remember, we’re keeping it civil here, so no underwear jokes, please."

Um, so I can't ask you if it is "boxers or briefs" that are sported around the house?

Seriously, George and you are my argument for gay marriage. A good couple that loves each other, should not be denied the very means to make it official.

The Jim Crow argument? Dead-on. In the grand scheme of things, it is just that, discrimination.

We are denying a tax base that could help us with upcoming deficit from the one ring of Hell that Dante did not get to, simply so that people that don't appreciate other lifestyles, can get their last jab in.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Dude, I am so proud of you for sticking it to that Mormon bigot. I believe that gay couple should enjoy the same rights as straight couples. For that person who follows a faith that may or may not still endorse plural marriage, they cliamed they stopped the practice but only did so to get Utah admitted to USA as a full fledged state, and one of their crazy old leaders said that members of their faith should do whatthey think is right, meaning marry little girls or cousins if they think it is right, to have the gall to tell men or women they can't marry the person they love is insane.

And his contention that Mormons don't control Salt Lake City or Utah as a whole is insane as well. They hold all the positions of power and they make the laws, and they shun people who do not accept their strange religion.

For a look at how Mormons treat homsexuals you need look no further than the reporter in Idaho who they outed after he wrote a series of articles about Mormon men who molested boys at Boy Scout camps. The gay reporter who help break the story was hounded out of Idaho for being gay and for having the gall to report that the Mormons and the Boy Scouts sheilded straight white men who loiked to molest young defenseless boys. Oh yeah, they also went after the victims too for daring to speak out against the Mormons and the Scouts. I saw the story on the PBS show "Expose."

GrizzBabe said...

I'm with you on the religious right's efforts against homosexuality. If a group of religious people feel that same sex marriage is a sin, then don't allow gay marriage in the church. How the state chooses to handle same-sex marriages should really be of no consequence to them.

Dino aka Katy said...

this subject gets me so mad. I think noone has the right to decide who gets married and who doesn't. Its like people deciding who gets to love who. I hope it will change someday soon.

Creepy said...

I got into it with some pretentious prick on another blog over this topic. He objected to me bringing religion into the gay marriage discussion, but they're inseparable. When asked why they're against gay marriage, many people (the majority?) answer by saying something alone the lines of "because the bible says it's wrong."

You made a great point: if you're a Jehovah's Witness and don't believe in premarital sex, fine; don't engage in premarital sex. But don't try to prevent everyone else from having premarital sex, because what they practice doesn't forbit it like yours does.

That's why I like the Amish, they do what they do and mind their own business. They should be the model for all dogmas.

lulu said...

I just want to mention that I expect to be a bridesmaid when they finally legalize gay marriage and you and George tie the knot.

Jake's Mom said...

I am more than fed up with people telling other people how they can LIVE their lives. Who appointed them Chief? And isn't it arrogant to think you know what is best for all other people (black, green, plaid, pale white etc) It is NONE of anyone's business who should marry who and what they do to & with each other. And if you decide to love and support another person that is your and your decision alone. Not frickin' GWB, not holy than thou Mormons, not the man in Rome (he dress like Liberace already). I am sick, sick, sick of it. It's not law it's LOVE for crap sake. Next they'll try to legilate who we can love.

And on top of it all the Mormons think they can pray dead people into Heaven and they stick their noses into gay rights. They better check a real Bible and find out when you're dead and gone that is it, no more time on the clock.

Now grant it being CP's sister I am very touchy on this topic, but who you love is who you love. You cannot and should not be penalized for the way your love goes. That would be like being penalized for liking chocolate (I would be in jail). I do not like people legislating morality. Being gay should be as normal as heterosexuality. Why do people even care...but I am guessing they are the ones supporting the umpteen billion dollar porn industry.

I have my own cross to bear as I made CP afraid to even tell me directly that he was out. I am ashamed of that and but it has made me even more vigilant as how gays are treated and to make sure I never make another person feel less than they are.

Do I hear an Amen?

jin said...

That shit pisses me off to no end!

(Sorry, my mind is racing with anger and that's all that came out. Intelligent comment with lots of fact backing it... um, or not.)

So... can I talk about celestial seasonings tea or is that taboo, too?

I can't wait to create wedding cakes for gay couples... they'll be soooo fabulous!

P.S. My psycho stalker who threatened to get rid of my husband was a Mormon. (I can't remember if I told you that or not?!) Their bible must say it's ok to do that.

Coaster Punchman said...

Hi all, thanks for your comments and support.

Sushi, if you are reading I hope you can try to see through their strongly worded comments. These are people who know and care about me and are understandably upset that PG and I feel attacked.

I do want to continue talking about this rationally with you, so please bear with us. As Some Guy said, although we appear to differ on this (though I am hoping we can move to some common ground) I admire your courage to come over to discuss this in what must feel like a hostile environment for you. Despite this, please know that I want you to feel welcome even though we still disagree.

Tanya Espanya said...

I am pro gay and pro choice. I'm atheist too. The only reason we got married (in a Greek restaurant) was basically to have a little part (little being the operative word, I think we were about 34?).

But if you do have a party or anything, I'd like to be invited.

Melinda June said...

You write a very articulate and well thought-through argument. And I mean that not in a Joe-Biden-describing-Barack-Obama way, but in a way-to-get-tangibles-around-a-very-emotional-subject way.

I got into an argument with a guy at school last weekend when I explained that I want the Episcopal church to tell the Anglican communion to kiss their liberal-gay-ordaining asses. When I told him I can't get married until my gay friends can, too, he looked at me like I had eaten the salt shaker. Poor small-minded bastard.

chelene said...

CP, I think you already know where I stand on this topic but I wanted to say that your writing is excellent and I didn't think you were hostile.

Bubs said...

Excellent points CP, excellent points. It's important, in my opinion, to always frame the gay marriage issue in terms of the denial of rights re: pensions, taxes, and insurance benefits. Well done. Most Americans, I think, even if they don't like the idea of gay marriage, can still be persuaded on the idea of fair play.

Chris said...

I would direct anyone to this post if they ever asked me why I thought gay marriage should be permitted. I'm not sure you could have said it any better, CP.

I'm glad to have helped facilitate this discussion!

Marni said...

I'm with you 100%, CP...

deadspot said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. Why do religions find it so hard to wrap their heads around the concept that if I don't worship their god, they don't get to tell me what to do?

If they want to be bigots, they could at least have the decency to keep it inside their church and out of our courthouses.

Old Lady said...

I'm wit cha on accounta all dose tings 100% I will jump over and read the heated debate. LDS might be against Gay Marriage, but the UNC might possibly be strong allies. If Gay marriage is legallized then other alternative forms of marriage can break through.

Anonymous said...

I'm coming into this late, as I have been on vacation. So you may not see this comment, but I still have not one, but two pro-gay marriage bumper stickers on my car.

I also like to have civil discussions with those I disagree with. Educating each other is always a good thing!

Of course everything you said in your post was right on target. That goes without question.

However, I can empathize with what your sister said about my gay relatives being afraid to come out to me. I'm afraid that I have in the past acted weird about the whole thing. I have probably offended George and you, and I apologize! I want to be supportive but I am unfamiliar with the world you inhabit in so many ways that I feel very unsure of my footing, and don't know how to act. And I have a tendency to test people to see what they will put up with from me.

Anyway, in my heart I love you guys!

Your cousin Cathy

Grant Miller said...

Great post, Coaster Punchman. I'm so impressed, I don't know where to start.

Dale said...

This is the most articulate and clear minded piece I've read on the whole huge problem, excellent going CP. Mindy nailed it on the head with her 'way-to-get-tangibles-around-a-very-
emotional-subject way'.

And now you know why John and I told you we don't allow Mormons into Canada, well maybe for a visit but then they have to go back.

Sushiboy said...

CP thanks, I just saw your post today, and I have kind of a thick skin where strong words are being said (in that area anyway) and I can still focus on the discussion that we were having.

Sorry my reply has been slow in coming. I've been trying to research the issue, (both sides) and develop an opinion that isn't based on ignorance of the issue. I haven't had much free time (being in the middle of midterms) but I do intend carrying out my part of the discussion.

I haven't heard about PG before, looks like I've got some more background reading to do on your blog.

Jin - Sorry you had an idiot stalker. His faith doesn't support his anti-social stalker-ish actions (including murder, wow that guy was a freak). BTW I dig your blog, I'm a big fan of food, I would loved to Cater or be a restauranteer, reading your expereinces is cool.

PG said...

Thank you CPW blog community. I am teary-eyed and can really feel the love. Now if I can get the MG to sign on I think we'll have a good shot at the White House!!!

Being a bit older than the CP and having learned much from friends that are/were much older than me, I can at least say that we are headed in the right, I mean correct, direction. Although I am one to question everything (and I MEAN everything) there is one thing I have no doubts about, and that is that I LOVE THE CP AND I WOULD GLADLY MARRY HIM AND BE BY HIS SIDE THROUGH THICK AND THIN IF I COULD (providing he will let me get a dog).

Sushi boy, I am sorry that you don't get it, but then again, I certainly don't get anything about your religion other than it seems to have been founded on dogma invented by and for the convenience of its founder. Hmmm, wonder what you Mormons would be like if Joseph Smith was gay.

Poor George

Teri said...

what a great post. I agree with you 150%.

Keith Kennedy said...

We're all with you CP & PG.

And please let george have a dog!

vikkitikkitavi said...

Wow, thanks to Chris for making me aware of this discussion. I was unaware that the debate had raged on past the last time I checked the comments on his post. After reading all those comments, and this post, and all these comments, I have decided that:

1. I’m sorry, but Mormon underwear that you have to get permission to take off is funny. It just is. Sorry. Tefillin are also funny. The Pope's hat is a well-established comedic premise. The Burkini is funny as well, but in more of a sad-funny kind of way. Any time you invest an object with a tremendous spiritual meaning beyond its physical properties, you must be aware that it then becomes potentially humorous to those who don't share your investment of meaning. Especially if it is an object with built-in humor potential, like undies. So as far as I concerned, investing your undies with religious meaning is really just asking to be made fun of. A Mormon friend of mine who had to wait to get permission from her church to not wear her underwear in a play because it showed through the costume had a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing. So, I think it is possible to admit that there are aspects of many religions that are just pretty freaking funny on the face of them, Mormonism being of course no exception, and being able to admit that without being defensive about it is a healthy thing in my book. Or, in other words, lighten up, it's just a joke.

2. Once religions organize, their primary goal then becomes the acquisition of power. They do this by expanding their number, by influencing society to conform to their beliefs, and by infiltrating secular power structures. Of course they do this. It is a matter of survival to them. I imagine that to the leaders of the Mormon or the Catholic church, a country that recognizes the rights of homosexual people to engage in social and legal contracts equal to those of heterosexual people would be a country in which their organizations would lose some measure of power, I think because they would perceive the populace to be moving away from the religion’s dogma or belief structure. So of course they resist social progress. It is the nature of the beast. Yes, there are Catholics and perhaps even Mormons who have and would fight for gay rights, but those people would be remarkable for their divergence from, and not their adherence to, the beliefs of their respective religions.

Coaster Punchman said...

Wow Vikki, thanks for the thoughtful comment. Interesting take on point #2. Isn't that a rather dark view of religion as a whole? I don't entirely disagree; the items I cite about the LDS church are certainly on point with that. However I do want to believe there are religions out there that concern themselves with promoting peace and relieving suffering as their primary goals.

Such religions of course want to encourage society to live in peace and to help others, which are core human values no matter what society you belong to. I don't see how anyone on earth can be hurt by a church promoting these values in society.

The Mormons, on the other hand, are making it their goal (among some of the good things they do) to hurt people like PG and me. And this I have a problem with.

Laaw-yuhr said...

To Moxie - CP's point is spot on, but let me add that many states allow for "common law" marriages - that is, you've been shacked up for so long that in the eyes of the law you are considered "married".

To Chris I would say, thanks for directing me to this post.

To CP I will add that I truly believe that churches like LDS are so fervent in their tactics because the societal change at this point is inevitable. Polls reveal that more and more Americans believe that homosexuality is not a choice, that gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military, that they should be allowed to marry, and most surprising of all a whopping 57% believe gays should be able to adopt. While most of these numbers are not yet a majority (they're about half and half) the pro-gay numbers have been climbing since the 70's. As average heteros interact more and more with openly gay people they realize that what these churches are peddling is a pile of B.S. - and the churches in turn have got an increasingly harder sell. These churches have pulled out all the stops because they're afraid.

With that in mind I'd like to point out that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)is presently before Congress. As many of you probably know, it is perfectly legal for an employer to fire someone simply for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. The majority of states do not have any law on the books prohibiting this kind of discrimination, and as of yet there is still no such federal law. ENDA would make this form of discrimination illegal. Sadly, the language to protect transgendered people has been dropped from the original bill and put into a separate bill. While some people have found fault with lumping the transgendered in with lesbians/and gays I'd like to point out that the original 1964 civil rights legislation was similarly broad preventing discrimination against anyone on the basis of "race, color, religion, sex or national origin". If anyone's interested you can sign a petition to support the original ENDA at www.nosubstitutes.org.

I'm thinking of starting my own organization (similar to "Jews for Jesus") called "Straights For Gays"! Go gays!

anandamide said...

As if I needed any more proof that my blog is totally without substance or social value....

another heavy hitter punchman.

Coaster Punchman said...

Thanks Anandamide, but I can assure you that my life only rarely consists of substance or social value, let alone my blog.

Bluez said...

I would gladly give PG my dog if it meant you two could live a happily married life.
This is the kind of shit that makes me want to move out of this country.

Sushiboy said...

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.

Now I know Mormons see homosexuality as sinful. Lets talk just about a Mormon view of sin before I go on much further. I want you to know exactly how I (and my faith) views sin, so you won't confuse a simple religious dogma with hatred and bigotry. I believe in God. I believe that God isn't too fond of sin, but he loves sinners. Unequivocally, unconditionally, literally, personally loves sinners. Me, you, Coaster Punchman and Poor George. Everyone.

“Indeed, we are compelled by our doctrine to speak out. Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God.” Gordon B. Hinkley October 1999.

“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” Blah blah blah. I don't think saying “but I love you” corrects any sort of injustice your feeing. I do feel like I can like a smoker, but not care for smoking. I can ask him not to smoke in my house, but I can't (well not if I want to live my religion) be a jerk to him because he smokes. Public smoking ban? Is it good or a bigoted practice? I do believe you can separate an action from the person. I don't think you can justify mistreating a person by virtue of sin, and then claiming you love them. I'm with you. Lets not confuse my analogy, 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.

Coaster if Poor George is in the hospital I think one person has the right to say who visits him. George does. Whether he does so verbally, to the hospital staff, or by written will, such as a living will; only he has the right to say who visits him. Put this on the ballot and I'll vote for it.

Coaster wrote to me, “The idea of marriage is so deeply intertwined in our federal laws that it is actually mentioned over 2,000 times in legal statutes and regulations. Everything from social security to a host of other benefits is deeply intertwined, making it impossible to have anything on a true "separate but equal" scheme.” I agree. Marriage and law is deeply intertwined. Coaster Punchman being a lawyer, (of any discipline) is going to have more knowledge than I am on how marriage relates to law. That being said, if it is so intertwined, shouldn't we we look before we leap? If Federal law assumes marriage is between a man and a woman, shouldn't we look into that. I don't like the damn-the-torpedoes-lets-deal-with-the-consequences-later point of view. I also don't hold to the separate but equal. 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. You can find any many have to say they should be treated as equal but they shouldn't be treated as identical. Not yet anyway. There is also the issue of children. Civil Marriage (well at least the way I see it) is a government policy to define a biological unit. There is more to it than that, there is Jewish Catholic and and Protestant views built in. So your not Jewish, Catholic, Protestant or Mormon? k. Whats next for you?

Now I think most everyone here can agree that the KKK is intent on keeping (unsuccessfully) the black race down, the Jewish creed down and the Homosexual community down. Can we all agree on that? I hear a lot of Yeas, no Neighs. Moving on. How did/does the KKK do this? By intimidation, by name calling, by violence. Are we all agreed on this? Hearing no Neighs I'm moving on. Coaster Said “However, if you are still reading, one of the reasons I take so many pot shots is because of the church's active involvement in ensuring gay people remain second class citizens in our country.” OK so we actively speak out against Same-Sex Marriage. Period. We disagree on the definition of marriage. We disagree on homosexuality. I think its a lifestyle. Others (I'm not sure exactly what you believe, to be frank, I really don't know you, yet) believe its a genetic trait. Or a biological compulsion. (so if I don't hit the mark here try to fill in the rest for me, you know what you believe. I only know what I believe, cut me some slack). So my belief is its a lifestyle, (and I know you don't agree just bear with me a second) a choice. Thats the stance. We see it as a lifestyle that we do not agree with. Now we don't agree with you, how do we treat you? We don't attack your right to vote. We definitely don't try intimidation or any other terrorist method to get you to stay away from the ballot box. We simply don't agree. On marriage, on lifestyle, Do I think you should be denied from seeing PG if PG wants you to come to the hospital? NO. George gets to decide. Put it on the ballot and I'll vote yes. Do I think you should lose your house/loft/apartment of 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.

I am not intent on making anyone live a second class life. How do Mormons treat our gay brethren? Well lets not use my point of view. Lets use the gay community. http://gaytravel.about.com/od/placestogo/tp/underrated_gay.htm http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635159889,00.html I don't think this would be the case if we actively made sure gay people were treated as second class citizens. My point in studying that court case it that the LDS church limits its political oppposition strictly to the issue of marriage. No ad campaigns nothing. I've never acted violently, never tried to insult (but I guess I do anyway, 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). I don't see how my disagreement makes me bigoted, and qualifies me as making “unwarranted attacks against the gay community.”

Lets talk about belief pushing. 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? Because religion is a religion. Thats why. I think there is a sentiment in society that any opinion is fair game unless you came to that conclusion by some theological principal. How is abstinence NOT a viable option. http://www.avert.org/condoms.htm” In the United States, most studies of condoms showed failure caused by fault in the condom itself have shown breakage rate is less than 2 condoms out of every 100 condoms. Studies also indicate that condoms slip off the penis in about 1-5% of acts of vaginal intercourse and slip down (but not off) about 3-13% of the time. So condoms can fail completely 3% to 8% of the time. (including tearing and slip off) If you really don't want to be pregnant, if you don't want an STD abstain. No chance chance 0% not 3 to 8% every time you have intercourse. Why not teach it? Go ahead teach condoms, some kids will have sex anyway it may really save them. But by and large abstinence is more effective. Just because religions teach it, doesn't mean it has no value. Whats the difference?

Lets talk about marriage again. OK say you succeed, say civil marriage is defined as a marriage any two consenting adults. Now religions provide marriages by sanction of government. Now say a couple wants a traditional catholic wedding, and they are gay. No what? Does government step in and force the church to perform the wedding. By argument they provide a civil service. By this new civil law you can't deny a service provided to the public. Eating, sleeping, any day to day activities can't be denied on the basis that they are seen as 'sinful'. So every church is forced to perform gay marriages. Now you've forced the Jew to sell Pork in a Kosher shop.

One last point I'd like to bring up. I've heard this over and over. Gay marriage will never hurt anyone. Keep your religious views that do hurt people back in Utah where they belong. Well folks. You'd be hard pressed to find me saying anything that would, be hurtful. If I bring across an idea in a way that is offensive, I've tried to change, I've done my best to stop using Homosexual lifestyle and change to Homosexual community. 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. If you place such a huge emphasis on not hurting people, why go out of your way to hurt someone that is just here to find some common ground. (Coaster I semi exclude you, You've at least tried to make it nice environment, but what is Mormon Watching all about? Why go out of your way to tease someone, why don't you keep that kind of attitude in NYC and of my community) I've come (through a pretty painful process) that ya'll don't care what I think. You've written off all Mormons long before I came to visit, and you will continue to. Please prove me wrong. I'm done reading gay literature, 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? Oh my underwear is an easy target. How big of all of you. How does tearing me down support a civil cause. Civil rights stand on their own. Would Martin Luther King support your method, or would Malcolm X, or would the KKK. If people are so in to “not hurting anyone” why go out of your way to hurt me. Now I've also been told to rise above the anger of people and turn the other cheek and accept this issue. Well I came here to do just that and to listen. And people still went out of their way to hurt me. And I still get, oh their just angry, you should take it and come around on the issue. Peoples behavior towards me has more than proved what this cause is about.

There is a lot of great civil rights movements and not enough people to fight them, rights for mentally/physically handicapped and the elderly to name a few. Goodbye.

vikkitikkitavi said...

“Indeed, we are compelled by our doctrine to speak out. Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God.” Gordon B. Hinkley October 1999.

Sushiboy, if you’re still out there, I believe you quote Hinkley as an expression of your own thoughts, and I believe you sincerely believe it.

But wishing don’t make it true.

To impose your own view, which is that you do not want to allow gays to marry because it would be sinful in the eyes of god, upon the rest of the nation, is intolerant, and it is a form of hatred and abuse. You can say you don’t want it to be interpreted that way all you want, but it does not change the fact that you are seeking to restrict the legitimate rights of a group of people who are not harming you in the least, simply on the basis of your religious beliefs.

And I’m sorry, but your analogy to smoking won’t hold water. Smoking is restricted because proximity to it is dangerous to your health. There is no actual danger whatsoever in allowing gays to marry, only the perceived ones that are fomented by religiously-based intolerance.

We should stop the slow and tortuous piecemeal allowance of certain rights, and not others, such as you suggest by saying that you would vote for equalizing hospital visitation rights, or spousal-type financial transfer rights. It’s still a separate water fountain, baby.

Also, I don’t know where you’ve heard that if gay marriage is allowed, churches will be forced to perform gay marriages against the will of their leaders or parishioners, but that’s a pretty typical tactic pulled by people through the years who oppose equal rights. Ah yes, I seem to recall my junior high school teacher telling me that if the Equal Rights Amendment passes, men and women would be forced to use the same bathroom, and I would say that your statement about forced gay marriage ceremonies is about on a par with that in terms of disingenuous manipulation of those who don’t know any better, or don’t care to know any better.

In other words, no, it’s not true.

And lastly, I have to say that although I believe you are trying to communicate, that to take the attitude that you are a beleaguered member of a disenfranchised sect is neither attractive nor accurate. You may be a Mormon, with some idiosyncratic dogma and practices that you’re a tad touchy about, but you are also a Christian, and Christians are the OVERWHELMING majority in this country and influence every sector of its policies and practices. Know how many atheists there are in the US Congress right now?

Um, zero.


p.s. to CP: I would still draw the distinction between the good works and tolerant actions of religious people, and organized religion itself, from which I think practically zero good can come.

Mombi said...

Wow, I'm late to the party and CP has pretty much said everything so eloquently... but I'll give it a whirl!

I'm not sure what discussions went down on the previous blog from which this came, but the one point that Sushiboy makes is that it does appear that he has made an effort to not hurt anyone, so Mormon jokes are out of order. I hope that he sees that humor, cracking jokes, and being able to laugh at ourselves, our religions, etc have been running themes on all of our blogs. But apologies all the same. You will find no Mormon jokes in this post.

It's been a long time since my college papers and speeches on the need for a civil union to be formed... But the facts that have stuck in my head are as follows:

- The Supreme Court defined marriage as "a basic human right."

- This "basic human right" is denied to an estimated 10% of our population (this stat is from my college years; bear with me if this number has changed in the last 5 years...)

That's just unacceptable. Two human beings want to come together and create a unit to celebrate their love and share their lives together. How can anyone say this is not a good thing?

Will some couples divorce? Yes!
Will some couples choose to not have/adopt children? Yes!
Will some live happily ever after (if PG can have a dog)? YES!

The same can be said of heterosexual couples as well--and they have the right to all of the above. The fact remains that we're all humans and our country has created this institution that cannot be denied to any single person.

CP... can I be the flower girl??

Mombi said...

Oh and I forgot--Sushi? Your church (and all churches) already have a law in place that says that the government cannot control what your church allows. So you're A-OK!

PG said...

Wow Sushiboy, if you have been hurt in any way by these civil comments, you should experience what it's like to be gay and have to put up with homophobia! I've been shunned and threatened by total strangers in the street, then I have to battle politicians who hate me but are happy to pocket the taxes I pay, I've been afraid of losing my job because the person in power did not like my "lifestyle", and I have to put up with people like you who confuse the desire to smoke with some much more serious desires. It's one thing when someone makes fun of your underwear, but when you're gay people make fun of what they think is IN your underwear. Then you have to go ahead and drag God into the equation. Is being Mormon a choice or did you wake up one day during puberty and say "Hey, I think I'm Mormon?"

PG

PG

Grant Miller said...

Jesus Christ. I have so much I want to add to this, but if I start I won't stop and I'll just get upset.

Anyway, great post once again.

jewgirl said...

CP, I love you so hard, even harder than I loved you before. I'm so proud of you for writing this post. Every point you made is tremendously important.

There is a HUGE misconception in this country that gays are asking for special consideration and special rights. In actuality, all they’re asking for are equal rights under the constitution that all Americans are entitled to.

By not giving the exact same rights and civil liberties that heterosexuals receive is inhumane and goes against everything this country was founded upon.

With Sushi Boy, he fails to recognize that there is no place for religion in government. He can believe whatever the hell he wants in his personal life. When it comes to the laws that govern this nation, his religious views should be checked at the door.

Lastly, as far as I'm concerned, any time you deny an American their basic human, civil rights, you’re perpetuating Holocaust ideologies and that is DANGEROUS.

Coaster Punchman said...

Thank you all so much (including Sush) for your participation and thoughtful comments during this discussion.

Love, CP

Madam Z said...

Okay, I'm sure I'm way too late to comment on this post, but I can't help myself. If I could add only ONE word, it would be BRILLIANT! This is, without a doubt, the best "discussion" of the social and legal difficulties gay and lesbian Americans face, that I've ever read. Kudos CP! Thank you, jewgirl, for leading me to this post. And vikkitikitave, I wish I could memorize virtually everything you have said. I wouldn't have to try to piece together one original thought of my own. Yours says it all.

PPLIC said...

Nice article. very interesting, thanks for sharing.