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The mantle of family values belongs to those seeking to end DOMA

DOMA Repeal

By Adam Bink

The New York Times ed board does this issue justice:

President Obama came to the right conclusion last month when he decided that the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal spousal benefits to married same-sex couples, is unconstitutional, and ended the government’s defense of the law in pending court cases. But that did not relieve Congress of its duty to renounce the bigotry behind the 1996 law and wipe it off the books.

More than 100 House Democrats, led by Jerrold Nadler of New York, John Conyers of Michigan and Barney Frank of Massachusetts, have introduced a bill calling for a repeal of the act. An identical repeal bill was offered in the Senate by Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Dianne Feinstein of California and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, all Democrats.

Getting the repeal bills through both chambers will not be easy. Republican leaders are continuing to pander and promote intolerance, declaring that they will step in for the administration to defend the act’s denial of equal protection in court either by formally intervening or filing an amicus brief using outside lawyers paid for by taxpayers. Mr. Leahy, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, should schedule a hearing to call in couples to talk about the harm caused by the act to make clear that their marriages are deserving of full respect.

Republicans like to cast themselves as the protectors of “family values.” But that mantle properly belongs to President Obama and the Congressional Democrats committed to ending this atrocious law.

Folks like these:

63 Comments

  • 1. Ed Cortes  |  March 24, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    #1??

  • 2. Richard A. Jernigan  |  March 24, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Yes, the mantle of family values rightfully only belongs to those who are working to protect ALL our families, not just those that fall in line with the stereotypes portrayed in Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, the Donna Reed Show, and the Brady Bunch. Those are not the only shapes of real families!

  • 3. Marlene  |  March 25, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Well, remember Richard that the Brady Bunch was NOT a traditional family! Two widows met and got married… thus a blended family. *Hardly* traditional!

    I do agree that the shows from the late 50s/early 60s you mentioned, which includes "Leave it to Beaver" were the realm of pure fiction and fantasy… thus it's sacred to those who believe in fantasies like the flood, and Adam and Eve, etcetera.

  • 4. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 25, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Please STOP bashing those of us that believe in 'fantasies' as you call them.
    The belief in God is not the problem here….but rather how organized religion uses their belief against others.
    You may find these all to be fantasies, but your words are very hurtful to those of us of faith.
    There are a great many here on P8TT who have a strong faith in God……please keep that in mind…..please 🙂

  • 5. Richard A. Jernigan  |  March 25, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Thank you, Mark. It is not the belief in G-d that causes these atrocities, it is those who try to justify their own evil by cloaking it in a belief in G-d.

  • 6. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 25, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Exactly! And I am sick and tired of hearing and reading such ridicule from posters here on P8TT.
    Beleiev in God or don't that is just fine by me….but stop belittling those of us who happen to be people of faith.
    UGH!

  • 7. Rhie  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Exactly. Like everything else, belief is what the person makes of it. Religion doesn't make a good person bad. If a person is acting badly because they say their religion says to, they are full of it. They are acting badly because they want to act badly and their religion is a useful excuse.

  • 8. Ed Cortes  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:42 am

    On the other hand, religion doesn't make a bad person good, either.

  • 9. Rhie  |  March 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Of course not. That was my point. Religion is what people make of it. Good people will use it for good, bad people for bad.

  • 10. Straight Dave  |  March 25, 2011 at 6:45 am

    [Full disclaimer: I am a die-hard atheist.]

    Thank you for the reminder, Mark M. Although I am not of any religious persuasion, my late mother certainly was. But she exercised it in a positive way for the benefit of many others, including total strangers. While we had our philosophical disagreements, I greatly respected the way she used her faith the way Jesus would have admired.

    I fully understand the irritated and disrespectful reaction some of us have to religious themes and rationales (which I regretfully also do at times). Unfortunately this is largely driven by those who abuse religion to harm others, and gives the whole faith community a bad name.

    Let's not stereotype everyone, especially when they are on our side, and especially when we are trying so hard to dispel others' stereotypes of our community. It is not necessary nor helpful. Faith and religion have their good sides, when used properly, which we should try to recognize and respect.

    Thanks again for the collective slap, Mark. I will use my personal guilt to be sure I monitor my words more carefully in the future.

  • 11. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 25, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Big hugs Dave!!
    Thank you for getting it 🙂

  • 12. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Good post S Dave : ) I have been disillusioned by religion as I feel nearly everything I've been taught growing up is just plain not true (that you are not born gay for example) and have felt bad for long time for not living up to Christian standards….

    btw, I recognize my beliefs are not necessarily true either…I CONSTANTLY question my thoughts "…is it true?"

    …why I like your post, it reminds me to be more sensitive to those (much of my family) that are practicing Christians….good ones like many here @ P8TT and like your mom : )

    Love to all (religious or not…) !

  • 13. Straight Dave  |  March 25, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Oh yeah, one more thing.
    This may come across as criticism, but it really is how I feel.

    If the "good" people of faith would occasionally stand up to their comrades who treat their fellow humans so atrociously at times, it would go a long way toward earning them some credit and respect for their faith. The fact that most of them have stood silent for so long, has been interpreted by the outside world that they pretty much feel the same way. Silence = consent.

    A little bit of internal policing and peer pressure might be a big help. Letting the offenders know that they are ruining your collective image might cause the "good-hearted but thoughtless" ones to think twice. Most of the negative image is driven from within.

    I sincerely hope you don't take personal offense, Mark, but it was my honest opinion.

  • 14. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:02 am

    So the national coilition of faitha based organizations who have and continue to stand WITH the LGBT community don't count?
    Many of these organizations have publicaliy denounced NOM and the like….have writtem briefs in support of the repeal of P8, DADT, DOMA, etc……
    What more would you like from our faith based allies?

  • 15. fiona64  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I know an unfortunately large number of believers who will no longer call themselves Christian because of how the Religious Right has co-opted the name — and made the religion's reputation into something completely antithetical to the teachings of Rabbi Yeshua. If I had never met a progressive faith community (to wit, Metropolitan Community Church) where the participants walk what they talk, I would never have entered a church again.

    And yes, I do make a point of calling out the Religious Right types — some of you have seen me do it right here, with Hymn #22 — "They will know we are Christians by our love."

    Unfortunately, the voices of progressive Christians are often drowned out by the fundamentalists, who are Christian in name only. :-/

    In other words … I share your frustration.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 16. Straight Dave  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I fully acknowledge those efforts, Mark, and think they are an immense help…. very immense, as they help counter the common myth that this is a simple 2-sided argument. My point was that they appear to be a fairly recent phenomenon, at least within my own limited field of view. It is the much longer history of inaction that has helped contribute to the doubts and suspicions many of us have held. I was only trying to explain how some of us arrived at where we are.

    I do agree that things are changing rapidly, and much more visibly, which I certainly applaud! Many religious organizations are now doing the right things. Sorry if I implied there was none of that. I think the Maryland failure is still fresh in my mind – with the (as I understand it) great influence of some churches. I was really pissed off about that, since it stirred up all my old reactions and stereotypes. There was one local secular column I saw that denounced their effort, but it would have been nice to see a large inter-faith body come out strongly against it.

    What I don't see is churches calling each other out. There still seems to be a club mentality of see-no-evil. The Christian churches, at least, are supposed to have some common ground. But the very un-Christian behavior of some of them seems to get a free pass from the others. If anyone deserves to get criticized by a church, it seems like an "un-Christian" Christian church should go to the top of the list.

    It's not your fault, Mark.

  • 17. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 25, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I see your point Dave, and agree that those faith based organizations and churches could and should be maybe a bit more 'in your face' with the 'others'.
    Hmmmm, wonder how we might get them to do that……

  • 18. Rhie  |  March 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I can see why you'd say that, honestly. Especially in the US where people are so quick to tell Muslims to disown terrorists but simply get defensive when it's pointed out that politically powerful Christians do a lot of damage.

    I have a hypothesis about why there is such a vocal minority that seems to be at the least largely ignored by what I still believe to the majority of Christians. I'm going to speak to Christianity in the US because that's what I know. I am betting this holds true for other religions as well, but I don't know much about them. This is also the really, really, REALLY simple version.

    The Christians in power get there because they are spending their time and energy manipulating, stealing, lying and otherwise clawing their way to the top by any means necessary. They have no time to actually live by the teachings they say they believe because they are living by the teachings they really believe.

    I see the same true of real Christians. They don't spend the time and money and energy trying to respond to those fake Christians because they are spending their energy feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, helping the hurt.

    People who live by a moral code are always at a disadvantage to people who don't. They spend time doing good and aren't willing to do evil.

    The general population also likes easy scapegoats. People as a whole aren't that bright and would rather believe a juicy lie than a complicated truth. I've also noticed people get defensive when you point out that there is such a thing as nuance. It's as if they feel personally attacked when called on bull they believe.

    I honestly don't know what the answer is here. I don't want Christians who care to stop caring. People only have so many resources. I would rather one of the ministers I respect spend his time in a Baltimore mission than standing on stages railing against the moon. I don't think we can change human nature over night, if ever.

  • 19. Straight Ally #3008  |  March 25, 2011 at 10:47 am

    One thing to remember, Dave, is that "internal policing" isn't quite the issue, since there are sects of Christians who think that other sects are all going to hell. I don't mean Fred Phelps and company; try asking a fundamentalist evangelical Protestant Christian what he thinks about Catholics, mainstream Protestants, and Mormons. The really awful thing is that the anti-gay movements unite sects that normally have nothing to do with each other on a political level (see Prop 8). It would be nice if the progressive and mainstream Christians, plus open-minded members of other faiths who won't march in lock-step with the church hierarchy, could form a bloc of their own. That's about as close as we're going to come to internal policing IMHO.

  • 20. Kathleen  |  March 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

    At least here in CA, I think that's exactly what California Faith for Equality is: http://cafaithforequality.org/

  • 21. Zak  |  March 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    The Roman Catholics teach that unless you're a Roman Catholic you do not go to heaven. Beyond the Catholic exclusionary belief is a larger one which is the Christian one. Christians claim that if you don't believe in Christ, you can't get to heaven. Well that eliminates two thirds of the world's population!

    Christians will tell you outright that they believe that ‘because we are, somehow, better than they, we get to go to heaven and they don't’.

    Because people believe that ‘our ethnic group, our society, our political party, our God, is better than your God’, we kill each other. It graduates to 'our state is better than your state,' and 'our nation is better than your nation.' And it circles all the way around to where it started: 'Our God is better than your God.'

    One either has to believe in a God who's terribly prejudiced, or disbelieve the teachings of such exclusionary theologies. Religions have taught us that 'we are better than they.' The sad part about our past is that religions, ironically enough, are responsible for creating the most destructive idea that has ever been visited upon the human race: the idea that there is such a thing as 'better.'

    They may not use the word better. But they certainly believe that they'll go to heaven and Jews will not. You'll find individuals agreeing on this, but when they get into collective societies and larger groups they find it difficult to achieve group agreement.

  • 22. Straight Dave  |  March 25, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Hugs back, all the way from the east coast, Mark !!

  • 23. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:02 am

    🙂
    Thanks I love long distance hugs!

  • 24. the lone ranger  |  March 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    sorry Mark, but why should people who believe in incredulous stories from some books written a few hundred years ago get special deference, while other people who still believe the Earth is flat, who believe NASA never sent astronauts to the moon, who believe Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya, who believe they saw E.T. and Bigfoot making out, etc., are routinely disbelieved, criticized and even ridiculed… we've even done that here on this message board. Why are some beliefs deemed "silly" or "misguided", but others can't be criticized "by polite and proper folk". Why should religious belief (in part the "fantasies" mentioned previously) get a free pass simply because it's been around longer… that's the same weak argument the "one man-one woman" marriage proponents use when they throw around the term "traditional".

    It's great that you're one of a very tiny minority (particularly if we include Africa and the Muslim world) of religious people who's pro-gay (in part, no doubt, because you're probably gay yourself), and I'm not challenging your comment here simply to be offensive or argumentative… all allies are ultimately appreciated.

    But nonetheless, I'm tired of hearing about religious "victimization" in a country where religious people and organizations get all sorts of special privileges, protections and perks. God is in our patriotic hymns, on our money, in every political speech, and even in a hallowed place at the IRS (so much for Ben Franklin's certainty about "death and taxes"). Despite all that special status, my "world's smallest violin" just can't keep up with demand from people of faith who feel they're not treated with enough respect because they believe an invisible man in the sky cares about how they (and because of collective punishment, everyone else) should live their lives. Of course, people of faith aren't the only ones who believe they don't get enough respect… there are the birthers, the conspiracy theorists, the political extremists, Sarah Palin (am I being redundant?) and Rodney Dangerfield. In contrast, polling shows that in America, atheists are lower on the totem pole than even "the gays", and I doubt atheists fare too well in other religious countries either.

    Once the playing field is leveled, and Christians can once again be genuinely worried about being thrown to the lions, then I'll better appreciate modern religion's "fantastic" stories (as I appreciate now, as literature, ancient religion's stories about Zeus and his family). Until then, however, seeing how Biblical "fantasies" are commonly used as weapons against cultural and scientific enlightenment, I'm going to vocally debunk it whenever I can.

  • 25. Rhie  |  March 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    No one is crying victimization and no one is asking for special treatment. We criticize positions that are demonstrably false. You can see a valid birth certificate from Obama that says he was born in Hawaii, for instance.

    No matter how much you and others would like to do so it is not possible to demonstrably prove God or Gods or faeries or even bigfoot does not exist for a given value and definition of those terms. It is absolutely impossible to disprove the existence of the supernatural in any form. It's outside the perview of objective scientific discovery and thought.

    It is on the same level of thought as any other subjective experience that is not contrary to known, proven or evidence-backed understandings of the world. A person's opinion of god or gods is therefore akin to their preference for a specific flavor of ice cream or the subjective experience of any number of phenomena.

    I generally see this kind of militant persistence that a person's way is the ONLY right way for one of two reasons 1) The person in question was hurt beyond belief by someone of the group they are demonizing or 2) They are see themselves as the savior of mankind in some way. The first is understandable but misplaced anger. The second is unbelievable arrogance.

    From your comments, I would hypothesis that you were personally hurt or have seen hurt perpetrated by people of faith. Rather than attach the blame where it belongs – namely, the people themselves using any reason they can to justify bad behavior – you attach it to the excuse. From that flawed assumption, you decide that all people of faith are somehow inherently flawed, and for some reason have decided that it is your job to save them.

    THAT is why you are obnoxious and rude. It's not your opinion that god does not exist. It's your assumption that your opinion necessarily shows that you are somehow superior to people of faith. It's also your further assumption that this superiority gives you the right to be insulting that causes the reaction. The fact that you cry victim afterwards just makes you incredibly insufferable.

    TL;DR you are not better than people of faith. Your view is founded on nothing more than subjective understanding of the world around you same as people of faith. You have no right to condescend to people who think differently than you do. It is incredibly stupid of you to do then and then try to cry victim after people rightly call you on your bad attitude. Sit down, shut up, and listen for once. You just might learn something.

  • 26. Peterplumber  |  March 26, 2011 at 6:19 am

    There was a topic of discussion on the Ruth Institute blog titled Are Christians Obsessed With Gays and Abortion?
    I got sucked into the conversation and had to post my thoughts:

    MY beliefs are not the topic here, it is the Christian beliefs we are talking about. (Refer back to the title of this thread and Dr. Morse’s comment about 75 comments back)

    The Christians in general and the Catholics in particular have an attitude which some people describe as “holier than thou”. Christians try to instill their beliefs into our political system and laws. But not everyone in this country is Christian.

    This country has a separation of Church & State. The Bill of Rights gives us Freedom of Religion. Freedom of religion means that I am allowed to follow ANY religion and the government cannot tell me which religion to follow. Conversely, Freedom of Religion also means Freedom from Religion. Christian conservatives have usurped the Republican Party and are now trying to force Christian values and beliefs into American law. As I said before, not everyone in this country is Christian. So why do Christian Fundamentalists believe that THEIR way is the only way? Why do the Christian Fundamentalists want to force their form of religion on people who are not Christian? The Bill of Rights is the law of the land. Not the Bible.

    Regarding the Bible, (as well as the Torah, the Bhagavadgītā and the Quran) particularly the New Testament which you suggest I read again, one must remember when and WHY it was written. All these writing are several thousand years old. The world has changed a lot since then. Yet these religious books have not changed. There is no “Word of God” written in the new testament. There is the words attributed to Jesus and the Christians believe Jesus was God incarnate here on Earth, so one can argue that the Words of Jesus are the Word of God. But none of the Writings of Jesus are in the Bible. Only the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A lot of the rest of the New Testament was written by Paul. Paul never met Jesus in life, so the Word of Paul cannot count as the Word of God.

    I find it hard to apply many passages of the Bible to modern times. For instance, the Bible calls for “stoning” as the preferred form of capital punishment. The Bill of Rights gives Americans freedom from Cruel & Unusual Punishment. Would you agree that Stoning is Cruel and unusual punishment? If you believe that the Bible takes precedence over US Law, than you must believe in stoning.

    The Bible was written in a time before Man understood the Earth. We know now that when the Earth quakes, it is because of tectonic plate movement. In Biblical times, it was thought the Earth shook because God was mad at someone. Today we understand that thunder and lightning are a force of nature caused by positive and negative electrical charges meeting in the atmosphere. We know that lightening is totally random and if a person is hit by lightening, it is a random chance event. In Biblical times, if a person was struck by lightning, it was said that God wanted this person dead.

    To sum this up, Christians are obsessed with abortion and Gays.

  • 27. the lone ranger  |  March 26, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Rhie, I'm sorry you feel I'm "rude and obnoxious". Despite my general opinions on how a belief in God should be treated no differently than a belief in aliens, conspiracy theories or Zeus, you had to make it personal by insulting me… real classy there [sarcasm], but not unexpected from the self-righteous. Religion does ask for special treatment, and it always gets it.

    There's nothing wrong with spirituality, and everyone has their own personal philosophy of life. The problem with people like you (since you went there, let's make this personal) is that you take that a step further. You believe that contradictory, questionably moral (Lot and his daughters, for example), often violent stories written a few hundred years ago by a bunch of guys should form some kind of codified moral edit that everyone needs to live by. It's delusional and it's arrogant. The "personal philosophy" that I doubt most people would have any qualms with becomes the "group philosophy": the "sheeple" I see referred to in this discussion board regularly. You might argue, "It''s not religion that's bad… it's how people use or misuse it". That sounds an awful lot like "Guns don't kill people… people kill people". It's a clever sound bite, but it's not statistically defensible.

    You're correct that religious belief is subjective, but it's hardly innocuous. Your ice cream analogy is beyond naïve… it's disingenuous. 19 suicide bomber didn't crash planes on 11 Sept 2001 because they prefer chocolate over "the Great Satan's" choice of vanilla. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the modern strife in the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, Ireland, Pakistan-India, etc. haven't ruined thousands of lives because one side must have their Rocky Road. It's true that religionists haven't entirely cornered the megalomaniac market, but they certainly have elevated it to an art form.

    Contrary to your Oprah-esque pop psychology hypothesis, religion hasn't wronged me personally (except perhaps in some existential way)… religion has wronged the whole world. We'd probably be 1000 years more advanced if it weren't for religion (primarily Catholicism and Islam) holding us back. Ask poor Galileo (when was he finally pardoned?) Look at how scientifically advanced Arab scholars were before the plague of Islam swept over their lands… where are those scholars now? One is hard-pressed to name a modern one. Even now, evolution is debated, stem cell research is debated, and yes, gay relationships (really, gay existence) is debated. And why? Because of a set of books written a few hundred years ago.

    By the way Rhie, it hilarious you should say "…that kind of militant persistence that a person’s way is the ONLY right way…" and then add "They are see themselves as the savior of mankind in some way." You realize you've just described religion, right? The Christian's head honcho is supposed to be the savior of the world? You're right… it is unbelievably arrogant. It's funny how some Christians just don't seem to understand the word hypocrite.

    No, it's not my job to try to save you. Just as children eventually get to a place in their life where they don't believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy anymore, the religious have to follow their own path to eventual enlightenment. Unfortunately, unlike that epiphany when one witnesses mom and dad sneaking x-mas gifts under the tree late at night, a fear of the eternity of death is an unshakeable hold on most religious folk. I can only take solace in observing the trends toward declining religiosity in some countries… maybe in another 1000 years we can read the Bible, Koran, etc. as literature and not as "fact".

    So Rhie… read some books on atheistic thought (as I've read substantial parts of the Bible… I can quote line and verse as well as you)… maybe you'll learn something. And stop being so damn self-righteous… it's obnoxious and rude. Sit down, shut up, and listen for once. You just might learn something.

  • 28. Rhie  |  March 26, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Actually, I called your behavior rude and obnoxious, not you personally. I also addressed the reasons why but I assume from your response here you didn't bother to read them. You certainly didn't address them here.

    Try reading my post again and responding to the logic and the points made.

  • 29. Rhie  |  March 26, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Peter – What you are describing there are Christian conservatives, and yes that movement is insidious and dangerous.

    Fortunately there are many many more Christians who agree with the idea of separation of church and state. Many who also believe that the Bible is true but not literal or inerrant – and yes those are different things.

    Those are the Christians who are out there doing something useful rather than screaming on rooftops and street corners. Unfortunately this leaves the yahoos and idiots on the front page.

  • 30. Peterplumber  |  March 26, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Rhie,
    That brings up another good point. Have you ever seen news stories about a gay pride event? Who do they show in the news at these events? Drag queens, topless women and other "newsworthy" images. Not the people like me who look & act just like anyone else. People from the bayous of Louisiana or the cattle ranches of Wyoming may have never seen a "real" gay person, they only know what they have seen on TV.

    So who is to blame? Mass media?

  • 31. Rhie  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Peter —

    Yea exactly. I don't know who is to blame or what. I suspect the answer is complicated. I also wish I knew how to fix it. Maybe just by telling our stories to whoever will listen will help.

  • 32. the lone ranger  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:10 am

    "Actually, I called your behavior rude and obnoxious, not you personally."

    To quote Rhie (verbatim): "THAT is why you are obnoxious and rude." Seems pretty explicit to me. Apparently you have as much difficulty understanding your own posts as you do mine. If we're going to have any discussion, that lack of self-understanding is going to be a major problem.

    I would have responded to logic in your post, but there really wasn't any. OK, there was that simplistic attempt to compare the subjectivity of belief with one's favorite ice cream, which I commented on. Beyond that, your post was more of a moderately insulting rant directed at me personally (with such gems as "obnoxious and rude", "militant", "misplaced anger", "unbelievable arrogance", "incredibly insufferable", "incredibly stupid" and "bad attitude") than about my comments on how religion has affected society. Again, you don't seem to understand the content of your own post.

    Let's sum this up… tons of name calling and few, if any, logical arguments. And then you post, effectively, "it's not you, it's your behavior"… hate the sin, love the sinner, right? Wow… you've taken a page from the NOM playbook. I guess we're done.

  • 33. Rhie  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:14 am

    That refers to the entire post in which I take apart your behavior. Rules of grammar – learn you some.

    I will say this for the last time: It is your behavior that is your problem here, not your views. The assumptions you make are flawed and offensive. The way in which you choose to express your opinion is awful. You have a right to say what you want, I have a right to call you out on how. That first amendment cuts both ways.

    If someone came in here saying that atheists were the root of all evil in the US I would say the exact same thing to them for the same reasons I am telling you why you are wrong.

    Now, you see to be the type to need the last word so go ahead and have it.

  • 34. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 26, 2011 at 8:17 am

    You obviously did not read my original post correctly.
    Not once did I say anything about victimization. My point and my only was that of respect.
    I and MANY other P8TT members/posters are very religious and or spiritual. The abusive and hurtful language used by some here was unkind, unwelcome, and absolutely uncalled for. That was my one and only point.
    I repeat, I don't care if you believe in God or not, but please please show some respect for those of us here who do. We do not go into tirades about the atheists 🙂
    In all the scientific enlightenment as you say, proof nor disproof of God has ever been discovered.
    As I've said here before my personal belief is that God created the sparks of life…and set in to motion evolution/adaptation. I embrace both science and my faith….for me one does not exclude the other.

  • 35. the lone ranger  |  March 26, 2011 at 9:15 am

    So Rhie, how can the term "bad attitude" somehow be applied to my behavior in a grammatically correct sense (since you're such an expert on grammar)? Does my behavior have a bad attitude? Or do I? I thought Christians considered lying a sin? How about hypocrisy? Pitiful…

    "Now, you see to be the type to need the last word so go ahead and have it." No really, go ahead… you're on a hypocritical roll here after typing that.

    Mark, my point was simply that if Marlene wants to call Biblical stories fantasies, I say let her. She didn't even say she didn't believe in God… she only called some Biblical stories fantasies (and yes, ones like the Biblical flood can be easily disproven… sorry, but our planet is still subject to certain physical constraints). Maybe it's not respectful to say that, but the NOMies would say we don't respect their viewpoint either… and they're right… look at some of our threads. You can't have it both ways.

    I think because Christians are in the majority in the U.S., they've gotten used to being special, and have gotten thin-skinned about people criticizing them. Maybe you think atheism is all fantasy? More power to you. I'm confident enough in my belief to not get too rattled when I hear that "atheists are the reason why Japan (or New Orleans, or wherever) was hit by disaster" and other such nonsense, usually spouted by American religious LEADERS.

    I'm not a PC-kind of guy (as you've no doubt realized), but 9 out of 10 times I actually do keep my anti-religious opinions to myself. But in the context of your reply to Marlene about bashing religion, I just said "why not"? In this country we have to put up with mention of God day-in and day-out, but here, a significant number of posters are actually agnostic or atheist (even if they don't share my non-PC approach). Despite some peoples' opinion, religion-bashing is not a continuous stream on this site… it's an errant comment here and there, generally in some appropriate context. Similarly, there are errant comments here and there praising God on this site (that are rarely if ever subsequently disparaged). Ironically, this mini-thread would have likely ended after one post if Rhie hadn't put "foot into mouth" and entertained us with her childish name-calling. I never back away from a fight.

  • 36. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 26, 2011 at 10:42 am

    You've given me some new things to think about Lone Ranger.
    I will try to be a bit less thin skinned 🙂

  • 37. Sagesse  |  March 25, 2011 at 12:50 am

    The equality cause needs to reclaim the definition of family to resemble what family in America is in the 21st century. Marriage does not equal family. The state has an interest in supporting families, and marriage (any marriage, not jus ' traditional' marriage) is an important way, but not the only way it does that.

    And most important, the children that society supports have no choice in the kind of family they are raised in. The state should (and for the most part does) support the family the child has. If they are 'denied' being raised by their married biological mother and father (which isn't by definition a horrible thing), the children can't do anything about that, and for the most part, neither can the state.

  • 38. Rhie  |  March 25, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Most importantly, the state shouldn't TRY to do anything about defining family. They should confine their scope to tackling real danger to families and children like addiction, anger, violence, poverty, etc.

  • 39. Steve  |  March 26, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    You can't really do one without the other. You need to have laws to protect those families and children. And those laws need to include definitions.

    A big problem is the many benefits only attached to marriage. It's a big reason why people demand the right to be married these days. And America seems to somehow restrict more rights to marriage than many other countries.
    The lack of universal health care and social security makes some of them more important, but I'd doubt you'd see many instances of people being denied hospital visitation rights in other countries for example.

  • 40. Sagesse  |  March 27, 2011 at 12:02 am

    In Canada in the early 70s the Canadian governments (federal and provincial) restructured marriage and family law to decouple the two. A lot of this is similar to the US, but the broad philosophy of 'family law' is perhaps different. It all runs off definitions – parent, child, dependent, spouse – and includes, but is not limited to, marriage.

    Any legal decision to do with children is based on 'the best interests of the child'. The rights and responsibilities of being a parent belong to the 'parents', married or not, co-habiting or not. The legal stigma of 'illegitimacy' was gone, and with it (surprisingly) the social stigma. The non-custodial parent (usually the father) has an obligation to provide child support, and a liberal right of access (supervised if necessary). You can't legally withhold access to bargain for more money; the two are separate. All support payments are treated the same for tax purposes, and the custodial parent (the parent who maintains the child's residence) has tax breaks for the dependent child. The child has inheritance rights. The child is entitled to Canada Pension Plan (think Social Security) death benefits and survivor benefits (to the age of 25). Universal health care covers everyone, but not everything (prescription drugs, dental and vision care, for example). Private employer health plans cover all children.

    Marriage law was changed to allow for no fault divorce and equal sharing of assets accumulated during the marriage. Common law marriages are also recognized, based on co-habitation. Alimony payments don't last forever, and are based on the relative earning power of the spouses (not just the man). Support obligations were based on the relative incomes of the parents; that changed subsequently to a straight sliding scale based on the income of the non-custodial parent, no longer penalizing the financially independent mom by giving the ex a free ride. Joint custody was introduced as a concept and is quite common. Family law courts rely heavily on mediation and negotiation.

    When marriage equality was added, it fit seamlessly into the legal regime. Adoption falls under the 'best interests of the child' rules, and in most provinces, same sex parents are a non-issue. (If I recall, in Alberta, one of the parents has to be a biological parent, or some such thing.)

    These matters are the historical interest and role of the state in civil 'marriage', or more properly, 'family' law. And I didn't once have to refer to the issuance of marriage licences or the freedom of any religion to define marriage any way it wants or refuse to marry anyone it wants to cover the important stuff.

    As for separation of church and state, the definition of 'church' is appropriately narrow. Personal religious freedom is obviously personal, and for religious organizations applies in relationships with members of the church and 'within the four walls of the church'. Religious schools can be completely private, religious hospitals hardly ever are. Everyone pretty much understands that if you take public money, you treat everyone equally, and that freedom of religion is not an employment right, for either the employer or the employee.

    And so ends the lesson for a Sunday :).

  • 41. Sagesse  |  March 27, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Well, I didn't have to use the term 'irresponsible procreation', either. The attitude is pretty much 'So, what are we going to do with the newly begotten child in the room… moving on.' Evidently not much state interest at all in assigning blame. Responsibility yes, blame no.

  • 42. Straight Dave  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:09 am

    And those children's lack of a biological mother or father certainly isn't the fault of a gay couple who gives than a safe and loving home. Very often it is the result of IRresponsible procreation by heterosexual couples. We're trying to rescue them, not harm them, for crying out loud!

  • 43. fiona64  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Heh. Were you around when I did the post about "we got married because Bubba's rubber done busted in the back of the Buick"?

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 44. Kate  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Yeah! Traditional marriage! There was probably even a shotgun involved.

  • 45. Ed Cortes  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I'll have you know, it was a FORMAL marriage!!!

    (They had a WHITE shotgun) 😉

  • 46. Straight Dave  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Yes I was, Fiona. Was LMAO…. and once again now.
    How time flies – that was at least a year ago.

  • 47. fiona64  |  March 25, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Yep … it was a while back, which is why I asked.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 48. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 25, 2011 at 8:02 am

    hehehehehehehehe
    I'd forgotten about that 🙂

  • 49. Don in Texas  |  March 25, 2011 at 12:57 am

    From Think Progress.org:

    New York Sens. Kristen Gillibrand (D) and Chuck Schumer (D) recorded 30-second spots for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to call on Albany to legalize same-sex marriage. HRC called the increasing number of lawmakers’ support for marriage equality “a pivotal moment in the fight for equal rights.”

  • 50. Russell  |  March 25, 2011 at 12:59 am

    http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/18916/nom-cal

    Stop8.org breaks down lies of NOM's DOMA ad

  • 51. Rhie  |  March 25, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Hey the more we repeat it the better. Maybe some of it will sink in sometime.

  • 52. grod  |  March 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    @Russell
    Thank you. Stop8.org is exactly what I have been calling for from the LGBT community each and every time NOM distorts and misinforms the public. Well executed.

    ….. that could be quite frequently! G

  • 53. Kathleen  |  March 25, 2011 at 2:46 am

  • 54. JonT  |  March 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

  • 55. Ronnie  |  March 25, 2011 at 3:18 am

    Straight Ally, Columbia University wrestling coach, division 1 All-American wrestler & founder of AthleteAlly.com, Hudson Taylor's interview with MSNBC's Thomas Roberts……<3….Ronnie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYYUBUEMmRw&fe

  • 56. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 25, 2011 at 3:54 am

    http://www.outsports.com/os/index.php/component/c

  • 57. Kathleen  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:42 am

    UPDATE: Pedersen v. OPM (DOMA challenge in CT District Court)

    Status report by government defendants. Congress prepared to file motion in case by April 25, 2011. http://www.scribd.com/doc/51565097

  • 58. Ed Cortes  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Lets hope that we have given the repugnicans enough rope this time!

  • 59. Ray in MA  |  March 25, 2011 at 10:32 am

    OT

    Does this make sense? (from a Reliogious perspective)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_Jesus

    with:
    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/25/jesuits-

    These things make me feel very comfortable with my atheist standing.

  • 60. Rich  |  March 26, 2011 at 12:46 am

    Here is a reply email i received from Harry Reid re: DOMA…not too very supportive if you ask me??

    Dear Friend:

    Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate hearing from you.

    I personally believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. In 1996, I voted for the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for purposes of federal programs as the union of a man and a woman and which ensures that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.

    As you may know, on February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that President Obama has determined that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the section barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed under state law, violates the Equal Protection Clause. He has instructed the Department of Justice not to defend that provision in cases challenging its constitutionality. Following this announcement, the House of Representatives Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), by a vote of 3-2, voted to direct the House General Counsel to intervene in the ongoing lawsuits to defend DOMA's constitutionality. On March 16, 2011, Representative Jerold Nadler (D-NY-8) introduced the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 1116) in the House of Representatives, while Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a counterpart bill (S. 598) in the Senate. These bills would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

    I believe that everyone should be treated equally under the law regardless of their religion, sexual orientation, gender, race, or other forms of identity. As a person of faith, I have deeply held and very personal convictions about the critical issues of our day. I work hard to quietly embody these convictions and values in my everyday life, while still respecting the opinions of others. Please be assured that I have taken note of your concerns, and I will keep them in mind should any related legislation come before the full U.S. Senate.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

    My best wishes to you.

    Sincerely,
    A
    HARRY REID
    United States Senator
    Nevada

    HR:mu

  • 61. Steve  |  March 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Just another Christian trying to legislate his belief in ancient fairy tales into the law and impose them on other people. Typical.

    With "respecting other opinions" he means "I've noted our differences, but screw you". Just twisting words and talking out of both sides of the mouth. As usual.

  • 62. Tigger  |  March 26, 2011 at 1:18 am

    I thought it was well said. He's a Mormon and their teachings hold the martial union of man and wife(s) as necessary to attain the highest level of godliness or heaven or something to that effect. What was more important is that he stated that his personal religious beliefs are irrelevant to equal protection under the law as the US is not a theocracy. Sec 3. of DOMA is such a clear violation of the US Constitution at the most basic and 3rd grade level that unless one seeks to inject their personal religious beliefs into the argument, it is literally indefensible. I think he stated correctly that his religious beliefs are irrelevant when it comes to equal protection…as the US Constitution mandates at its core.

  • 63. Sagesse  |  March 26, 2011 at 3:19 am

    It also explains why he was there for DADT repeal. He is conflicted about marriage equality, but not other aspects of equality.

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