Despite wisecrack, it’s not Scalia’s court on gay marriage anymore

REUTERS/Darren Ornitz
New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin thinks the Supreme Court may have moved beyond Justice Scalia’s views on gay marriage.

An anti-gay-rights “demonstrator” briefly disrupted the U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments Tuesday on the question of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The man rose from the gallery yelling: “If you support gay marriage, you will burn in Hell! …It’s an abomination!”

In the awkward moment after the man was taken away by security, Justice Antonin Scalia remarked: “That was rather refreshing, actually.”

Writing for the New Yorker, long-time Supreme Court analyst Jeffrey Toobin made this the entry point for his short piece about the day’s historic hearing. Toobin didn’t care for Scalia’s crack and didn’t assume that it was just a joke meant to break the tension after the interruption of the day’s otherwise dignified proceedings. Wrote Toobin:

Scalia more or less shared the protester’s view of the immorality of homosexuality, and … he regards the Court’s toleration of gay people as one of the great disasters of his nearly three decades as a Justice.

Toobin is apparently pretty sick of Scalia, whom he described as “the Fox News Justice, who appears to use conservative talking points to prepare for oral arguments.” He gave an example or two of that from the day’s proceedings.

But he also noted that none of the other conservative justices, including those who are universally expected to vote against using this case to nationalize a right of gays to marry, said anything at all disparaging about homosexuality. Toobin wrote that:

Scalia’s counter-outburst was a notable contrast to the respectful tone of the rest of the argument, including from his fellow-conservatives. It is one measure of the success of the gay-rights movement that all the other Justices felt compelled to phrase their questions in ways that honored the humanity of gay people.

Toobin ended his short piece this way:

The most likely outcome still looks like a victory for the plaintiffs and marriage equality in all fifty states. At a minimum, even before the decision is announced, the argument itself was an example of how much the country, and the Court, has changed on the subject of gay rights. On this issue at least, it’s not Scalia’s Court anymore.

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Comments (124)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/29/2015 - 11:24 am.

    I’m guessing Eric spent a lot of time sifting through the abundence of leftist pundits who opined on yesterday’s proceedings to find just the right mix of hope for a miracle and distain for the right for Minnpost readers.

    I appreciate his hard work.

    • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 04/29/2015 - 12:45 pm.

      What is this “miracle” you mention?

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 04/29/2015 - 01:55 pm.

      Hope for a miracle?

      It’s over Mr. Swift.

      Same sex marriage has been accepted even in your new home state of South Carolina. The outcome of this proceeding is not in doubt, notice the comments yesterday of Justice Kennedy, and even Justice Roberts. It takes no genius to read these tea leaves and Justice Scalia knows it.

      As for the disdain of the right on MinnPost, perhaps this is because of commenters who are fact-less and insist on arguments based on their own opinions rather than from reason or science. We saw this kind of behavior in the Minnesota House last night by climate change deniers.

      It may be amusing to you to try to stir things up, but in the long run you will lose on trying to stop same sex marriage from being legal all over the US as it is in the rest of the civilized world.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/29/2015 - 05:23 pm.

        No Bill, Siuth Carolina didn’t accept SSM, like all but two that have it, had it forced upon them by leftist judges.

        The SCOTUS has the opportunity to set that right. And who knows, maybe South Carolina will vote to accept it; doubtful, but it could happen.

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 04/29/2015 - 06:49 pm.

          Facts, anyone?

          “Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in South Carolina since a federal court order took effect on November 20, 2014. Another court ruling on November 18 had ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.”

          link: http://bit.ly/1IoXpGC

          If a same sex couple in South Carolina wishes to marry in this state, it can now be done legally. .

          I’d describe this as “South Carolina has accepted same sex marriage.”

          If you, and fellow citizens of South Carolina, wish to contest the issue, go over to Charleston and visit Fort Sumter to see what you will have to do.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/02/2015 - 09:13 am.

            Did you just threaten to re-fight the civil war is South Carolinians don’t get their minds right, Bill?

            Lol! You are a treasure, sir!

        • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 04/30/2015 - 07:57 am.

          “No Bill, Siuth Carolina didn’t accept SSM, like all but two that have it, had it forced upon them by leftist judges.”

          Only true if by “two” you mean “eleven”.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/29/2015 - 05:18 pm.

      No more than the abundance

      of “pundits” on the right that write commentary for sites like Hotair and Redstate, not to mention the readers who weighed in with considerable disdain for the left as well. The difference between the two factions was that the right was a lot heavier on apocalyptic dogma and faux “religious liberty” nonsense which provides a convenient cloak for the rampant homophobia so prevalent in what passes for conservatives these days.

  2. Submitted by Mike Worcester on 04/29/2015 - 12:12 pm.

    Definition of Marriage?

    Something that struck me listening to the audio of the oral argument was how it kept coming back to the definition of marriage; that somehow this definition had remained unchanged. This may only be true if you accept the premise that every man and every woman who has gotten married over the “millennia” did so out of love for each other.

    Yet if you read Stephanie Coontz’s fantastic 2006 book, Marriage: A History, we quickly find that for “millennia” marriages were used for political alliances or economic arrangements. Or worse, the forced arranged marriages found in many cultures. Some love there.

    Perhaps we can say that the definition of marriage is a long-held one, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking it was always about love when the reality could be quite different. .

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 04/29/2015 - 03:23 pm.

      Excellent comment

      Marriages for convenience have been used to create more wealth and political power for upper society for many years. Plus Thomas would not have been allowed to marry his current wife in many states 60 years ago, but apparently that was worse discrimination than the present marriage issue for him.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/29/2015 - 01:11 pm.

    Who Wants to Win?

    Despite all the official posturing and pieties from candidates, the Republican Party–at least, what is left of the sane wing of the Party–is hoping strongly that the Court rules in favor of gay marriage.

    If the Court rules in favor of marriage, the issue goes away. Not immediately, but quickly. There will be some outraged noise about Liberal Activist Judges, but that will only work to the Party’s benefit for fundraising and riling up the base. Eventually, most people are going to lose interest, or will at least lose interest in doing anything about the issue. The Republicans can move on to other issues that are not nearly so divisive.

    Consider, however, what happens if the Court rules against marriage. There still will be states where it is legal. Pro-marriage activists will step up campaigns in the other states, forcing candidates to take a stand. Anti-marriage activists will try to push back against the growing opinion in favor. In the end, it’s a distraction. Republican candidates will be forced to mouth their anti-gay platitudes (“Not that I’m against them, I just don’t think they should have the same rights as everyone else.”). Voters who are not so bound up in the culture wars will be, at least, skeptical, especially of any Republican claims that they are not about the social issues any more.

    So a vote for gay marriage is a win-win, except for a few die-hard blowhards. They were never going to be pleased anyway, so what the heck.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 04/29/2015 - 03:01 pm.

      I’ll predict the opposite

      …”The Republicans can move on to other issues that are not nearly so divisive”. Yeah, because Fox News just wants to fade away.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/29/2015 - 01:29 pm.

    Appreciation

    I can’t speak to Mr. Black’s pundit-sifting habits, but “hope for a miracle” seems unnecessary and “disdain for the right” fully justified in this instance. Those in front of the SCOTUS in the gay marriage case have relied, and continue to rely upon, a biological argument that simply doesn’t hold up to any sort of reasoned scrutiny. Those who argue that the primary purpose of marriage is to provide a state-sanctioned environment for reproduction which provides for the health, safety, etc., of children are already tripping over their own logical contradictions.

    The first contradiction, of course, is that the state needs to sanction these reproductive arrangements. There may even be some utility in approaching the subject that way, but it’s an argument being put forward by people who, in virtually any other societal-effect kind of case, have argued for a generation and more that the state is already far too powerful, should shrink, and its influence be radically diminished. Now, suddenly, a government sanction is required – mostly because it would serve to minimize behavior that those on the right don’t care for. Can’t have it both ways, folks. The government gets to regulate your sex life, or it doesn’t. If it does, turn in your Grover Norquist membership card and get that right-wing patriotic slogan tattoo removed.

    More to the point, the biological argument is simple sophistry. As quite a few pundits of both left and right have pointed out, relying on the reproductive argument also denies the right to marry to any couple that, for their own personal biological reasons, is incapable of reproduction. Plenty of American couples already spend a fortune every year on treatments for infertility. Should they be denied the right to marry until one of the pair gets pregnant? Even more salient are the tens of thousands of people who get married every year without even a faint hope of reproducing. I’m speaking, of course, of people my own age (I’m 70). As a society, are we prepared to deny marriage to many thousands of couples who demonstrably cannot bear children “naturally” because of age? I think not, and as soon as someone on the right begins to mention the prospect of adoption, they’ve lost the argument, at least from the logical standpoint.

    All that’s left as a basis for opposition to gay marriage are religion and simple prejudice. Separation of church and state, enshrined in the Constitution, should eliminate the first, and while legislation is often based on prejudice, there’s no assurance that prejudices will continue to be honored from generation to generation, as our own marriage-amendment election demonstrated. Indeed, it’s not Justice Scalia’s Court any more.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/29/2015 - 04:27 pm.

    The real fight

    is over the level of scrutiny to be applied to the claims, a point barely mentioned during oral arguments but, presumably, addressed at length in the briefs. The states argue that the relevant standard is “Did the states have a rational basis for enacting the laws?” (My words.) The states need only show, under this standard, that there could have been a reason to enact a law intended to serve a legitimate governmental purpose. They need not prove that this was the actual reason, that it will advance the governmental purpose, or whether it will best serve that purpose. It’s the weakest of all levels of scrutiny. The states relied upon this rationale, in essence: children are best served by a marriage in which the partners stay married. Those who believe that the purpose of marriage is to maintain the bond between parent and child and see the child through to adulthood may be more inclined to stay married than those who see the primary purpose of marriage as a matter of emotional bonds and commitment. (I agree it’s a ludicrous proposition, but it doesn’t have to make sense to all of us to pass Constitutional muster.)

    There was considerable discussion of children and families, including adopted children. Oddly enough, neither party and no judge mentioned the fact that same-sex couples frequently have biological children, either through past opposite-sex relationships or through assisted reproduction methods. The states’ attorney took the position that there was a meaningful distinction between adopted and biological children for the purposes of this case, without explaining what that distinction may be. But, it seems to me, his argument is weakened when one considers that same-sex couples do have biological children, even though they are not at this point the biological offspring of both parents. In that instance, they are no differently situated than thousands if not millions of blended families.

    If the majority adopts this as the level of scrutiny, both the equal protection claim and the due process claim may be in trouble. If a higher level of scrutiny is applied, the appellants are in better shape, but it’s still dicey. Kennedy, once again, is likely to be the key vote, unless Roberts’ questions and comments don’t fairly indicate his approach.

    Frankly, I was surprised to read no discussion whatsoever of the nature of sexual orientation, whether innate or a question of choice. It seems to me that if it is innate (as I believe, based on my reading) then it is much more akin to racial and gender issues under the equal protection and due process analyses. If choice, it is in a much worse position under both analyses. Why? Because, under a due process analysis, one has to demonstrate that the matter in question is a fundamental right. (The two analyses can be connected where you can demonstrate that a fundamental right is involved.) While SCOTUS has held consistently that marriage is a fundamental right, it has only done so in the context of opposite-sex parties, a combination supported by what one justice referred to as millennia of cultural history throughout the world. Consideration of the biological basis of sexual orientation, it seems to me, would have provided a basis for distinguishing today from yesterday: we simply didn’t have the evidence to work with in the last two millennia! Knowing that it is innate gives us reason to ignore the (typically religious) bias of the past and base our laws on science rather than metaphysics. ( I was deeply disappointed that appellants’ counsel failed to address the religious force behind the traditionak hostility to gays, hostility which made the concept of gay marriage inconceivable during that period.)

    I’m not sure how the court could punt on this issue, but I suspect they may find way. Perhaps Kennedy will find a way to avoid voting.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/29/2015 - 05:38 pm.

      Question

      Since you seem the most pragmatic about this, if the court rules that States must allow multiple forms of marriage and the local citizens can not limit these forms based on the community’s moral values. What prevents people who want to practice polygamy, polyandry, familial relations, etc from following this precedent? I am pretty sure they would like the government to sanction their relationships, and to ensure they can get benefits, rights, etc.

      I have nothing against gay marriage, but I have no idea how they can argue that the right is guaranteed to them via the Constitution. It will be easier if they rule for gay marriage since this mix of State laws is complicated, however I think this should be decided by the State or Federal legislators, not the court. It will be interesting to see how the ruling falls.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/29/2015 - 08:44 pm.

        Due process

        If the state were not involved in marriage (let’s say that it was sanctified by religions, but that for legal purposes civil unions were recognized by the state) then there would be no constitutional issue.
        However, since the state IS involved in legally sanctioning marriages, then there is a constitutional issue of equal standing before the law.

        As for “polygamy, polyandry, familial relations, etc”, nothing prevents them. Many people have relationships with various forms of legal tie that do effectively approximate marriage.

        Finally, State and Federal legislators can enact legislation; courts must rule on whether this legislation is consistent with state and federal constitutions. Checks and balances. No one branch of our governmental system is beyond limitations.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/29/2015 - 09:50 pm.

        Sigh

        For the first two, none, beyond already existing consent laws, you really bothered by the hundreds of polyamorous folks who might trouble your morality? The third is of course governed by biological concerns, but as the clamor for incestuous relations is simply deafening, I’m sure it will be a huge cause for concern going forward. Do you have any non worn out tropes to discuss, or can we expect more of the same along with the wailing and gnashing of teeth when the social conservatives lose yet again?

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/29/2015 - 10:25 pm.

        Probably nothing other than:

        Change of people’s attitude. No different than freeing of the slaves, getting the right to vote, etc.
        Point being: The world most of it, and attitudes keep changing, at different rates and in different places.
        But, you are right, Polygamy etc. could very well be acceptable at some time. Personally not sure if that is good or bad. Seems some countries China (which you are familiar with) have major problems with too many men, selective abortions, unintended consequences. Might actually need to implement some form of it there to prevent a major case of civil unrest. Just saying, not forecasting.

      • Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/30/2015 - 09:55 am.

        Thanks for the question.

        If, as I believe science has demonstrated, sexual orientation is an innate human trait (likely governed by epigenetics), then recognizing a constitutional protection for that trait (like color and gender) does not grease the slippery slope you describe.

        If, on the other hand, the court were to recognize a due process argument based solely on a right to choose one’s partner and obtain the legal and social benefits that flow from marriage, it would open the door to similar arguments on behalf of other non-traditional marriages. Frankly, I have no problem with that as a legal matter. Nor do I on a personal level, provided that the offspring of such marriages have the same legal protections afforded children of traditional marriages. Yes, that might result in the need for changes in a great many of our laws (e.g., inheritance, eligibility for benefits based on marital status, etc.) but change always has its cost.

        One last comment on familial relationships: I assume you’re referring to incestuous relationships between adult relatives. If not, I think constitutional law is very clear on the government’s power to protect children. With respect to adult relatives, the risks of inbreeding can be addressed by genetic counseling. Beyond that, and assuring that such relationships are consensual, I don’t believe government has any interest in preventing it. Moreover, the lack of a marriage license will do nothing to prevent pregnancies in adult relative relationships.

  6. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/29/2015 - 08:02 pm.

    Same question

    Again, Scalia and Fox News are only political and right wing and the greatest enemies of the world… But Ginsburg and MSNBC are just in the center and never follow their political views?

    Anyway, Mr. Appelen asked that question ahead of me but he asked only one guy and I want to ask everyone: What is wrong with polygamy? What is wrong with two sisters getting married? What is wrong with a sister and a brother getting married?

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/30/2015 - 07:22 am.

      Your questions should be taken seriously, but it’s unlikely…

      …they will be in this forum. So I’m going to attempt an answer. In the broadest sense, your question is: why should the right to marry be constrained at all ?

      Every citizen is guaranteed equal protection of the law by language in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. So one way to answer your questions is in a specific consideration of whether equal protection of the law outweighs other factors in each of the cases you cite.

      Constraints on the right to marry in these cases could possibly be justified by harm that could come to the individual or to society – harms which don’t occur in the cases of “acceptable” marriage, and whose harm does not outweigh the right of equal protection. There are existing laws which would have to be repealed in order to broaden the kinds of marriage which the law blesses.

      For example, there are widely accepted laws against incest which would have to go out the window for two of your cases to become legal. So why is incest illegal ? Perhaps because it may be part and parcel of sexual abuse of minors and therefore a practice which is criminal and harmful to citizens and society. Then of course there is the justification given for laws against “cousin marriage” – which obviously apply to relations even closer than the cousin relationship – an increased genetic risk, which could be harmful to the individual and society. These are reasons constraints might be applied to a sister-brother marriage.

      Polygamy could be seen as a risk to society because it is unlikely that a single earner can support numerous families, and therefore, they will end up consuming public social welfare benefits – a predictable burden on society. Apparently, in the case of the Mormon community led by Rulon Jeffs in Arizona, the polygamous families collected something like $6 million a year in public funds. (This was reported by Jon Krakauer in his book Under the Banner of Heaven, an entertaining read – but another source is the Arizona Dept of Economic Security). So these costs are not mere speculation.

      The way their brand of polygamy works the welfare system is that, according to official public documents, the guy marries only the first wife. The rest, though bound to him by some kind of privately conducted “spiritual” marriage, would be regarded simply as single mothers – and for the purposes of the welfare system, just like any other single mothers. The polygamists are said to call this “bleeding the beast”.

      However, neither of these arguments would seem to apply to sister-sister marriages. Hmmmmm.

      There are surely other ways of looking at this, but it seems to me that the “equal protection of the laws” is fundamental.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/01/2015 - 10:45 am.

        Polygamy “works” only in a strongly patriarchal or matriarchal culture, in which spouses of one gender have no rights. Think of the issues posed by polygamous marriage: if a person wanted to take another spouse, would the first one have to consent? re the two spouses now married? What happens in the event of a divorce? Who has to divorce whom, or are the other spouses still married?

        What about divorce? How is property divided? How about custody of children born or adopted into a plural marriage? Sharing an intestate estate, spousal elective shares of an estate–the issues get hopelessly complex.

        On the other hand, there are the augmented opportunities for mother-in-law jokes. The late Henny Youngman would have been pleased.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/01/2015 - 10:59 am.

        Definitions

        In order to keep discussions such as this on point, some effort should probably be made to hold with accurate definitions of various words being bandied about.

        From grammarist.com (http://grammarist.com/usage/polygamy-polygyny-polyandry/) “Polygamy refers to the practice of having more than one spouse. It is broader than polygyny, which refers to situations where one man has multiple wives, and polyandry, which refers to one woman with multiple husbands.”

        Under the preceding explanation, I would guess that a multiple marriage involving only one gender would fall under the broader definition of polygamy.

  7. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/30/2015 - 07:12 am.

    Free speech?

    Is it ok to “distain” or “disparage” gay marriage or is that now a hate crime?

    BTW – Scalia mad a joke – most laughed at his response.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/30/2015 - 09:59 am.

      The First Amendment

      is still in play, so feel and speak the way you wish. Just remember it’s not the only amendment to the Constitution.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/30/2015 - 10:02 am.

      Free speech

      Congratulations for bringing up the reddest of herrings.

      I suppose it’s useless to try to explain to you that there is no such thing as a “hate crime” per se. If an action is criminal under an existing criminal statute, the “hate crime” label may be used to enhance the penalty. Bigotry is not a crime, so I trust that alleviates any concerns you may have.

      Incidentally, I have read all the horror stories about people being charged with anti-gay hate crimes just because they oppose same sex marriage. Those stories are either from other coutnries (did you know Canada is a different country? It is!), or just wild talk that goes nowhere.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/30/2015 - 02:29 pm.

      Sometimes ‘jokes’

      are more revealing than ostensibly serious remarks.
      Question of what you think is funny.

  8. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/30/2015 - 09:04 pm.

    Thank you

    Mr. Titterud, thank you for taking the challenge and apparently you were right: no one else did – I wonder why.

    Anyway, your reasons are, partially, the ones that were given in opposition to gay marriage. For example, you said that there are laws against incest – true, but there were plenty of laws against same sex and they are all repealed. And possible abuse was one of the reasons gay marriage was opposed. And of course, if a brother and a sister marry in their 80’s (for various reason, sex not being one of them), genetic risk factor is out of the window – the same as for two-sister marriage.

    Speaking about polygamy, monetary considerations should not be taken into account – otherwise, single motherhood should be banned. On the other hand, in Islam, where polygamy is allowed and widely practiced, it is surely assumed that a man will provide for his wives – in fact, I believe it is a condition for taking more than one wife. And clearly, Bill Gates and Hue Hefner would have enough money to support a dozen wives if they want – shouldn’t they be allowed to do that? There may be a condition that a person on welfare cannot marry more women if that is your concern (even though there is no law against having children while on welfare).

    So if you believe that equal protection law is fundamental and marriage falls under that law, there is no legal or logical reason to limit it to two unrelated people… and that is why no one else tried to answer my question even though many people commented after my post.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/01/2015 - 08:35 am.

      Sure

      Personally, I don’t have a problem with polygamy, as long as all parties consent. Monogamy is generally practiced because most modern adults, who marry for reasons other than convenience, aren’t interested in sharing their partner. But then, some are ok with it. Sure! As long as there is clear property rights with regard to divorce or death of a spouse, particularly in light of any children.

      As for sister/sister marriages. Ok. Brother/brother. Fine. The reason that these are currently not a legal option is because most laws are directed to limiting inbreeding and don’t draw out the nuances of gender, just relation.

      As for opposite gendered siblings or cousins, that’s a matter of risks to children. While genetic counseling is available, we have not yet identified all inheritable diseases, let alone the gene or genes that cause them, and so I would strongly oppose relationships of siblings or cousins that can result in children. Siblings beyond reproductive years? Sure!

      Parent/child or grandparent/grandchild? Well, that gets into questions of abuse, even with adults. Fortunately, as with most siblings, there appears to be a genetically programmed gag-factor. Sure, the Egyptians and European royals did it way back when, but it wasn’t necessarily because the individuals wanted it–that was purely power-driven. And look what it did to them.

      Remember that laws can be modified to account for public good over individual good. But, as equal protection goes, no one has been able to demonstrate a public harm from same-sex marriages. I submit that there isn’t one. I would guess, though, that there would be a strong opposition to visiting the concept of familial marriages, though, because there could possibly be proven a public harm–excessive protection of wealth. There are certain parties that don’t want anyone to visit that particular harm in court. So, even if the gay marriage movement is victorious (which I hope and expect will happen), that slippery slope will not be one with money and power will want to slide down. So, don’t worry.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/01/2015 - 09:02 am.

        Equal protection

        Since the science is still non-conclusive regarding innante vs behavior, here are my questions.

        Other than religion, please tell me another chosen ongoing behavior that is protected in such a way.

        Some historical / physical states are protected. Was the person in the military? Is the woman pregnant?

        But I can not think of any other ongoing behaviors that are a protected class with equal protection.

        • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 05/01/2015 - 09:22 am.

          Protected?

          The right to get married is not a unique ‘protection’ so I don’t understand how your question could be read to make sense. The default in America is legal equality, extending the same rights that straight people have to gay people does not create an exceptional protected class.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/01/2015 - 10:38 am.

            Maybe I am using the wrong word, however almost all of the text I read depends on the question. Are LGBT a group of unique people like men, women, black, white,handicapped, etc? Or are they a group of normal everyday citizens who choose to behave in a certain way?

            To me the science seems very inconclusive either way, and the popular opinion seems pretty well split. So how does this apply to what the SCOTUS is doing? What other precedents are related? How will their decision set precedent for future decisions?

            • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 05/01/2015 - 11:52 am.

              Precedent would be based on an unknown

              The only precedent that could be set would be on which side ought we to err.

              If we don’t know if something is inherent or behavioral, do we take an expansive, optimistic interpretation of equal rights or a reductive, pessimistic one? Which approach seems more in the spirit and letter of the Constitution and the underlying view of humanity our country is predicated on?

              To me, any nation predicated on the notion that all [people] are created equally takes an expansive, optimistic approach. It seems that a nation whose ideology was specifically forged in opposition to persecution and in support of the unlocking of human potential when we are all treated equally under the law must demonstrate clearly how the optimistic approach would concretely do social harm, otherwise we must take the optimistic one. If we assume the pessimistic approach, we diminish the revolutionary impetus that is quintessentially American.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/01/2015 - 12:36 pm.

                Expansive Optimistic vs Reduction Pessimistic

                I think in this situation, the different groups see things very differently.

                The Conservatives see their freedom of association and religious rights being reduced if they are forced to interact with and sanction the actions of those who behave differently. (ie sin)

                The LGBT supporters see the rights of LGBT people / behavers being reduced if they don’t get to be married and be protected by the State laws.

                Now the question is which freedom do we choose to support? Someone is going to lose either way. By the way, once LGBT is scientifically proven to be “a way of being” like male / female. Then this becomes simpler since we have many past precedants to fall back on.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/01/2015 - 01:38 pm.

                  Forced to interact with and sanction the actions of

                  No one is being “forced to interact” with anyone, except in the sense that people of whom they disapprove are allowed to exist. I can point you to people who think many groups are behaving sinfully–they may disapprove of Muslims, Roman Catholics, Jewish people, unmarried cohabitants, etc. The fact that these people are not demonized, or that they are allowed to continue their existence unmolested is not “forcing” interaction. Rather, it represents a collective judgment by our society that we will tolerate others. We are free to speak out against them (and to be spoken out against–there is no limit to free speech here), but we cannot take away their rights to live the way they choose.

                  “Forced to sanction?” No one is being forced to like anything. The law will allow it, but no one is being made to be happy about it.

                  Frankly, I have never understood the solicitude conservatives in this country display towards bigotry.

                • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 05/01/2015 - 01:39 pm.

                  Your argument doesn’t get off the ground

                  If interacting with someone who does something I don’t like (the behavioral theory) could be interpreted to infringe upon my rights, then how far does individual freedom extend? In reality, we are a nation of people who simply have to live with others doing things we don’t like- that is the necessary, inevitable, and indeed logical consequence of individual freedom. That someone behaves differently than I would like doesn’t even tempt me to divest them of legal rights. I as a citizen of a democracy have the moral obligation to let others exercise their freedom, even if I don’t like what they do with it.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/01/2015 - 02:18 pm.

                    Participate

                    I don’t disagree that people need to be free to “exercise their freedom”.

                    However I disagree that others must be forced to participate in their exercising that freedom. Tolerance should go both ways.

                    I used PETA / Mink Farmers above. Maybe here I will use, should a monogamy supporting business owner be forced to cater at an all adult mega – orgy and observe the activities?

                • Submitted by jason myron on 05/01/2015 - 02:26 pm.

                  Listen, John….

                  First of all, conservatives aren’t “sanctioning” anything. Your approval of the LGBT lifestyle is not being asked for and is irrelevant. Providing goods and services to someone doesn’t equate to sanctioning or participating in anything. Does an auto parts store sanction speeding or reckless driving by selling high performance product?

                  This entire issue of being “forced” to interact with people is a canard. The fact is that all of us are forced to interact with people every single day, at work, on the freeway, in movie theaters, stores….everywhere. Unless you want jump off the grid, it’s a pointless argument and frankly, reeks of desperation. It’s the final card left to play from people who have lost the culture war.

                  As for your “scientifically proven” statement, let’s take that one step further. How about these religious zealots scientifically prove the existence of the God they worship before demanding that society follow his/her laws. I don’t see a lot of difference in them spouting their apocalyptic doom based on the writings of people who didn’t know where the sun went at night, to the Incas lopping off heads because the sun went behind a cloud.

                  Simply put, in my view, their “religious rights” end at the tip of their own nose. They don’t believe in gay marriage? No problem…don’t get married to someone of the same sex. They don’t believe in homosexuality? No problem…don’t have sexual relations with someone of the same sex. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. If they can’t handle that, then they’d better pony up the reasoning that they DO provide goods and services and DO interact with people who don’t wear their “sins” on their sleeves…sins that should offend their “religious sensibilities” just as much as homosexuality does. Until then, they’re nothing but flaming hypocrites.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/01/2015 - 07:20 pm.

                    Religion is Unique

                    An ammendment says so, maybe we need to pass an LGBT ammendment.

                    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/02/2015 - 10:23 am.

                      If you read the First Amendment

                      it states that religion will NOT be given any unique status in these United States,

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/02/2015 - 09:01 pm.

                      Free exercise

                      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[”

                      I disagree

                    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/03/2015 - 10:03 am.

                      You disagree

                      with the Constitution?
                      It states that Congress (after extended to the States) shall make no law either establishing or restricting a religion. That certainly looks like ‘no unique status’ to me.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/02/2015 - 09:13 pm.

                    Your approval of the LGBT lifestyle is not being asked for

                    By the way, of course it is. We are asking society to legally accept LGBT innate/ behavior and give them sanction through the legal action of granting them a marriage license. LGBT supporters are demanding that religious right photographers take pictures of men kissing, etc.

                    I guess you may be correct though, the LGBT folks are not asking . They are demanding that others participate in the events that they see as sinful. LGBT tolerance for the beliefs and concerns of others seems non-existent, as they demand that everyone tolerate them. Another one of those interesting ironies.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 05/03/2015 - 06:53 am.

                      And Christians demand

                      that everyone tolerate them…go figure. How about the homosexual photographer that has photographed heterosexuals kissing? Did they freak out about their “deeply religious convictions” when they took that job? Seriously…get over it.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/03/2015 - 09:05 pm.

                      Freedom

                      The homosexual photographer was free to turn down the business, the religious photographer is not if the LGBT supporters get their way.

                      By the way, have you ever heard of a religion that does not support heterosexual relationships? Just curious.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 05/03/2015 - 07:08 am.

                      Participation?

                      Seriously? So the florist is participating in the affair of the cheating husband that they just sold the flowers to that he intends to give to his mistress? Should I continue or can you see the numerous scenarios that illustrate this ridiculous “participation” argument?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/04/2015 - 10:08 am.

                      Participation

                      If someone shoots up an elementary school with a gun he bought at Wal-Mart, did Wal-Mart “participate” in the shooting? How about the NRA, who works so hard to guarantee the easy availability of guns and ammunition?

                    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/04/2015 - 11:02 am.

                      If Walmart sells a gun to someone who says they need it to shoot up a school, they’ve participated.

                      What in the world does the NRA have to do with this discussion?

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 05/05/2015 - 03:33 pm.

                      Because it illustrates

                      the hypocrisy of the same sex marriage opponents position. If you insist that a baker is participating in the “gay lifestyle,” whatever that is, by providing a service, than you can extrapolate that into virtually every business transaction.

                    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/06/2015 - 12:04 pm.

                      I’m sure the NRA accepts memberships from homosexuals…if there’s a point out there you’re trying to make, it’s hiding under the absurdity.

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/01/2015 - 08:24 pm.

              Science is always inconclusive

              That’s how it differs from religion.
              It is always open to modification based on new facts and analysis.
              However, currently the predominant viewpoint in the behavioral and biological sciences is that there is a biological substrate; it is not predominantly a question of choice. I’m sure that there are some gay individuals who have adopted that lifestyle based on rational argument (but I’ve never known any), but they would be very much outliers (in a number of senses).

              Some bases for a biological substrate:
              neurological differences
              DNA differences
              the fact that homosexuality has been shown in animals (do seagulls choose to be gay?).

              And the history of SCOTUS favors going with the science.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/02/2015 - 07:50 am.

                Science

                Please provide some sources. I have been unable to find any that are conclusive, most are just theories.

                • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/03/2015 - 10:07 am.

                  A scientific theory

                  is not an hypothesis.
                  It is a general statement of principle that binds together a set of natural laws (defined as statements supported by systematic observations).

              • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/02/2015 - 09:20 am.

                There is absolutely no scientific evidence of ant biological substrate. Best guesses put environmental influences on par with any suspect biological components.

                It’s funny you bring this up Paul, because the lack of any scientific facts have led homosexual activists to rely on emotion for support, while they simultaneously mock religious faith for a lack of credibility.

              • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/02/2015 - 04:12 pm.

                BTW Paul, haven’t come across the seagull argument before now, but I’m more dissapointed than you could know that it wasn’t presented to the SC justices for consideration.

                • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/03/2015 - 05:04 pm.

                  It’s not an argument

                  It’s an observation that you will find in any standard Ethology text.
                  There is a good summary in Wikipedia
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals
                  including the reference to seagulls and other animals.

                  • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/04/2015 - 11:10 am.

                    So, you’re going to argue to acceptability in our social constructs by comparing our behavior to animal behaviors? Like I said, I really wish someone had made it before the SCOTUS.

                    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/06/2015 - 09:19 am.

                      Last time I checked

                      humans were animals. Why wouldn’t we compare human behavior to other animal behavior? Believe it or not, we have not evolved to gods yet, so the same biological functions that regulate human behavior also regulate other animal behaviors, particularly other mammals. As dissimilar as a seagull seems to human beings, you will find strong genetic similarities and biochemical functions. Also, whether you believe that our selves are defined by our spirits, our spirits still work within the same biological framework as every other animal on the planet.

                      Oh, and SCOTUS won’t make themselves the mockery of the advanced world by essentially repeating the Scopes Monkey Trial, so I think your wish is in vain.

                    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/06/2015 - 12:06 pm.

                      My work here is done.

                      “Why wouldn’t we compare human behavior to other animal behavior?”

                    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/06/2015 - 03:10 pm.

                      I’m glad you’ve come around

                      I appreciate a person who can concede that something they don’t like is true.

                  • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/04/2015 - 12:57 pm.

                    As I say, I’d have loved someone to make that observation to the SCOTUS. Would have made for some fascinating courtroom dialogue.

        • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/01/2015 - 02:10 pm.

          I think our LGBT friends do not want to be treated as…

          …a separate “class” subject to distinct treatment and status under the law – and then perhaps being compelled to carve out exceptions to our laws based upon their status as a distinct class or group, and furthermore, defend themselves against NEW laws written on the basis of their distinct class.

          I think – very basically, this is not a sophisticated argument, and I’m no attorney – they want to be treated just like everyone else.

          If someone with more knowledge of the LGBT position can correct me here where I’m wrong-headed, I’d appreciate it.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/02/2015 - 08:10 am.

            Attempt

            Since no on has tried, here is how I perceive the issue. Supporters have been working pretty hard to make LGBT a common acronym that describes people that have “certain innate characteristics or behave” in a common way. And they have lobbied very hard to put LGBT in all laws that define a protected class. Remember the “anti-bullying law”, the religious freedom laws, etc.

            Even this SCOTUS ruling revolves around this concept. No one writes special laws to protect people who behave and look like nerds, or people who choose to wear glasses, etc. Yet in this case the LGBT community wants the court to force the citizens in states to legally sanction LGBT behavior.

            That is why I think the innate vs behavior issue is so important. The USA has been protecting people by race, age, sex, handicaps, pregnant, etc for 50+ years. Usually we don’t protect certain life choices at the expense of other people’s life choices.

  9. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 05/01/2015 - 08:11 pm.

    The right way

    Mr. Holbrook, the argument presented for same sex marriage is the argument of rights and equality so the problems you have listed are irrelevant and, in fact, may be solved by appropriate laws. In a group marriage, there may be options of having all people married to each other or just one to the rest, or… options are unlimited but it should not be up to us to decide what people want to do, right?

    Mr. Berg, you are correct, I was just using the most familiar term but meant all possibilities.

    Ms. Kahler, the Minnesota gay marriage law was adapted last year and still it banned sister to sister marriage. Why? Because no public supporter of gay marriage will touch those obvious issues with a ten foot pole – they just want to avoid them for political reason. If gay marriage supporters in Minnesota were open about their equal support for polygamy and sister-sister marriage, the Constitutional amendment would have passed and/or the law would not have passed. They were just not honest with people and people didn’t see it. And genetics has nothing to do with marriage between relatives since birth controls are readily available and people may have kids without being married.

    Unfortunately, the whole thing is about politics rather than human rights and freedom. What was wrong with “civil unions” that afforded same sex couples exactly the same rights as marriage? Almost everyone was ready for that but then it would have all been over for a fight and many people would lose power and influence so they invented a “marriage equality” issue. But marriage is a term defined in one specific way in all societies and times – a union between a man a woman so the fight is about a word definition as one of the Judges noted and definitions should not be changed for political reason.

    The right way to do it is to leave marriage alone (and yes, include polygamy into that class) and let everyone else have a civil union with the same rights – gays, relatives, friends… It should not be about sex but about.. wait… legal rights – does it make sense? And in this case it would be irrelevant whether same sex attraction is built in or acquired… no one would care as no one should.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/02/2015 - 10:28 am.

      Civil Unions (or uncivil ones)

      I agree.
      The government should (as per the 1st Amendment) get out of the marriage business and leave that to religions or other social groups. However, marriage should confer NO legal special status.
      The would be left to civil unions, which would govern the legal aspects of relationships between individuals.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 05/02/2015 - 06:30 pm.

        No reason

        I do not see a reason why marriage should not be the same as civil union (or actually, the other way around).

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/03/2015 - 05:05 pm.

          As long as

          you are willing to remove any religious consideration from marriage.
          Meaning that clergy will have no legal status in declaring people married.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/03/2015 - 12:31 pm.

      The righter way

      Mr. Gutman, my point about plural marriage is tangential to the main discussion (as are all discussions in this context of plural marriage, child marriage, or inter-species dating). It does, however, underscore that society’s interests in matters such as property ownership and child custody or support justify a greater scrutiny of plural marriage than they do scrutiny of the marriage of one individual to another of either gender.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/06/2015 - 09:38 am.

      Mr. Gutman

      I answered your questions. And your comment about birth control indicates that the main thrust of the argument against gay marriage–the purpose of creating and raising children–is bull pucky. I found it particularly enlightening to have a conversation with my then-representative (prior to the MN vote on the constitutional amendment) about his belief that gay marriage was wrong because it couldn’t “naturally” create children. I asked him if he had children. He told me–try not to laugh–despite their efforts, he and his wife had been unable to have children. Now, if I was mean (and I can be sometimes, but I try not to), I could have asked him when he was getting the divorce. However, it was clear that it was painful to him that he was unable to have children. So, instead, I pointed out to him that state sanctioned marriage isn’t about children or love. It’s about property and decision making power. And, because gay people should have the same state sanctioned right to enter into a contract to share household property, make legally equal decisions, and direct inheritance to each other or to their children (because children in gay relationships DO exist), it seems that the irrational adherence to a particular definition of marriage is an attempt to justify the irrational fear or hate of gay people and to regulate their existence out of the public view. And, while I think the state should have no right to regulate religious ceremonies that call themselves marriages, the fact that the state has adopted the word “marriage” as a part of a legal contract is just too bad for the people who want to own the word. I would guess that various religious types were happy to have the word adopted for legal status of matrimony way back when, and it’s just a little too late to take it back.

  10. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/02/2015 - 06:49 pm.

    Comparative Text for thought (Back to point)

    Argument:
    Should we be biased against mentally retarded?
    Answer no: They are born that way
    At one time in the world we were biased (and disposed of those that were different) .
    Argument
    Should we be biased against the gifted?
    Answer no: They are born that way.
    At times in the world we were biased (and disposed of those that were different)

    The simple part: Gay folks are born that way, this is not a “Life style choice” contrary to popular conservative doctrine, go try to be gay sometime! Unless of course you think we should be banishing folks that are born the way they are “different” sexual attraction.

    The point being: From genius to severely retarded, from quadriplegic to Olympic athlete, does one think there is no room in those spectrum’s for the pink and the blue ribbons to get crossed from time to time? There are 7.2 B folks in the world and counting, suggesting there are 7.2B dynamic mental/physical combinations and interactions in play 24/7/365.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/02/2015 - 08:02 pm.

      The variety you point out is hair-raisingly magnificent !!

      And so true !!

      The gross and subtle variations in all manner of characteristics from person to person throughout the whole population and throughout all the ages on earth doesn’t suggest to me that we should expand the classes or boxes we put people in, so we can classify them more and more.

      Quite to the contrary, the more we see the humanity in the same way in each and every person, the more peace we will have.

      The question of whether gay folks are born that way or not is irrelevant to me. They should be treated with the same respect as all other human beings in either case – under our laws, in our courts, and on our streets. Same with “Black Lives Matter”, to which my answer is: “ALL Lives Matter”.

      Mr. Gutman: I think the forum here has risen to the challenge of your comments. It was getting to the point where I was finding the petty squabbling and cheap shots on MinnPost tiresome, but as I read the comments here, so many of substance and sincerely taken, I am encouraged.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/02/2015 - 09:03 pm.

      Gay folks are born that way

      Sources please. I don’t disagree with you, but without proof it is just a belief. Kind of like a religion.

      Now isn’t that ironic.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 05/03/2015 - 06:55 am.

        Who cares?

        Who are you to define someones sexuality? It’s none of your business. Who defined yours?

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/04/2015 - 02:55 pm.

          “It’s none of your business.”

          So you do not approve of people making public announcements regarding their sexual habits. We’re in agreement, Myron.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/05/2015 - 05:15 pm.

            Spouses

            So I take it that from now on you’ll introduce your spouse as your “friend”, lest anyone draw any unsavory conclusions about the nature of your relationship.

            • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/05/2015 - 08:24 pm.

              My relationship with my wife of 25 years is a thing of beauty, Pat. As proof I offer the wonderful kids we made together.

              The conclusions available are only of the most natural and wholesome variety. Conclude away.

              • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/06/2015 - 05:51 am.

                A strange position

                Such a public declaration of your heterosexuality is a strange position for someone to take who appears to think that *sexuality* (the term Jason ACTUALLY used) should be kept private.

                You declare your sexuality every time you introduce your spouse. Just as is the case with a same sex couple.

                You aren’t required to keep your sexuality private, nor to have someone else decide on your behalf whether or not it is “real”.

                The same should apply for everyone, no matter what their sexuality may be.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 05/05/2015 - 07:46 pm.

            No, I don’t approve of discrimination,

            especially when it attempts to hide behind religion. As for public announcements of sexual habits, if this is an issue for you, I would remind you to start your crusade in the heterosexual community. Pick any nightclub, bar social media or spring break location. Send up a flag when you have that cleaned up first.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/03/2015 - 09:47 am.

        JA

        Its called deductive reason!
        You can’t grasp/believe the severe mental retardation to genius analogy as being factual in nature?
        You can’t grasp/believe the paraplegic-Olympic athlete analogy as being factual in nature?

        In short (you are saying it is not possible nor even probable) given initial physical and mental facts, (or do you dispute the analogies are factual in nature to begin with? That given a 7.2Bil physical and mental distribution combination, getting a pink and blue ribbon crossed from time to time is not a potential deductive conclusion?
        It won’t make any difference what I drag out here for you, you will only believe what you want too. We have the power as human being to think and reason. As with the analogies, apparently not all folks have that same capability/capacity. That also a deductive reasoning conclusion.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/03/2015 - 11:54 am.

        Sources

        There is peer-reviewed science that shows that homosexuality is genetic. It is not caused by absent fathers, popular culture, or higher education.

        http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=D16B5836FBFCC0D46EE2F56FC00F0788.journals?aid=9625997&fileId=S0033291714002451

        And yes, I’ve read the stories about Dr. Whitehead and his contrary conclusions about identical twins. I believe this study involves a larger sample.

        The resistance to the idea of a genetic basis is, I think, is grounded in two lines of thinking. One is that it poses a theological difficulty for those who believe homosexuality is evil. How can something caused by genetics be evil? The other is driven by homophobes, especially those with gay relatives or children, who refuse to belove that their contribution to the gene pool is somehow “corrupt.”

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/04/2015 - 08:20 am.

          There is peer-reviewed science that [suggests] homosexuality is genetic. And, as you noted, there is just as much peer reviewed pathology that suggests environment and parenting is the key.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/04/2015 - 10:35 am.

            Only if

            you regard 5% as just as much as 95%.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/04/2015 - 11:33 am.

            Wrong on both counts

            Your revision of my comment is accurate only if “[suggests]” is read to mean “presents strong evidence in favor of the conclusion that.”

            There is not just as much “peer reviewed pathology” suggesting an opposite conclusion. There have been some studies, but the most recent ones have dealt with smaller samples and are not conclusive.

            There is also no “pathology.” Pathology is the study of the causes of disease, especially the examination of physical specimens for diagnostic purposes. The medical profession officially stopped regarding homosexuality as a “disease” in 1986.

            • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/04/2015 - 03:03 pm.

              http://www.hollanddavis.com/?p=3647

              Huge study.

              “Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.”

              http://americanvision.org/8136/new-twin-study-people-not-born-gay/

              Don’t blame the messenger….it’s science.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/04/2015 - 05:08 pm.

                The messenger has a few things to learn

                The study I cited took in a larger sample. I told you I was familiar with it.

                And American Vision? Really? You think they’re an unbiased reporter of scientific evidence? Give them a scratch and see what you find.

            • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/04/2015 - 03:12 pm.

              Also, whenever you scratch the surface on most research into homosexuality, you find politics and social engineering…

              Alan R Sanders, the hero in your story, says:

              “Our primary goals are scientific, but we also are hopeful for greater societal understanding.”

              True scientists don’t hope for anything but the truth. This guy is working to prove a predetermined conclusion. That is a mark of pseudo-science.

  11. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 05/03/2015 - 02:12 pm.

    Good discussion

    I do not see what point Mr. Wagner is trying to make. We should not be biased against people who are different because they are born that way? But I do not think anyone disputes that. But neither do we need to be biased (at least in most cases) against people who chose to do something – like wear pink, dye hair, divorce, live in an open marriage, etc. And not calling a union between two people of the same sex a marriage is not a bias or discrimination but just sticking with a term definition. A mother-in-law is not a mother; should mother-in-laws request that they be called just mothers? So people should be all treated equally (we should not care who sleeps with whom and why) but not to the point of changing word definitions.

    I agree that this forum was thoughtful in the comments on this topic. But we are not politicians here and one of my points was that politicians and activists were not honest and open thus fooling people into some actions that they would not have supported otherwise.

    Mr. Brandon, what is wrong with the religious marriage being accepted by the government? It accepts all marriages from other countries…

    Mr. Holbrook, you may be correct in thinking that property rights and child protection will require more attention in plural marriages but my point was that it should be irrelevant to the main line of discussion: should plural marriages be legal or not because that is a matter of fundamental rights as all same sex activists are saying.

    I have another question though. Millions of men and women gladly spend billions of dollars to fix their infertility problems – whether inherited or acquired. Same sex attraction is the ultimate infertility problem (if we put aside artificial insemination) so why is it wrong to offer a service to fix it?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/03/2015 - 05:09 pm.

      Separation

      of church and state.
      And would our government accept a polygamous marriage from a country where that was legal?
      Would it accept an eight year old as legally married, with all the legal implications?
      I doubt it.

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 05/04/2015 - 12:08 pm.

      In what world?

      In what world are mothers-in-law not mothers? They are mothers by definition. i.e. the mother of your spouse.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 05/04/2015 - 07:31 pm.

        Why not

        Mr. Brandon, we talked about that – polygamous marriages should be accepted. Children are a different matter… but the American churches will not marry 8 year olds.

        Mr. Fischer, my mother-in-law is not my mother – is it different for you?

        • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 05/06/2015 - 12:07 pm.

          What you wrote.

          “A mother-in-law is not a mother; should mother-in-laws request that they be called just mothers?”

          But every mother-in-law is called ‘mother’ by their own children.

          If you meant to talk about calling your own mother-in-law ‘mother’, perhaps you should have been clearer. Imprecise language leads to miscommunication.

          Isn’t semantics fun?

          • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 05/06/2015 - 06:26 pm.

            Mr. Fischer, you are right – semantics is fun and what I said may be misinterpreted… but I am sure my points was still clear enough…

  12. Submitted by John Appelen on 05/04/2015 - 06:36 pm.

    Amendment

    “If you read the 1st Amendment it states that religion will NOT be given any unique status in these United States.” Paul

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    “You disagree with the Constitution? It states that Congress (after extended to the States) shall make no law either establishing or restricting a religion. That certainly looks like ‘no unique status’ to me.” Paul

    No, I agree 100% with the amendment, I disagree with your interpretation. I think ‘making no law prohibiting the free exercise of a religion’ is pretty unique and powerful’, as we learned during the Hobby Lobby birth control case. The new amendment could read “Congress shall make no law respecting sexual orientation, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

  13. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/05/2015 - 07:39 pm.

    Free Exercise?

    Where do your religious rights end and mine begin?
    See I believe you folks are forcing your 2000 year old stone age religion on me! Instilling your conservative religious interpretations into our laws, lets call it Sharia law Christianity style.
    PS: You never answered the probability question.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/05/2015 - 09:15 pm.

      Percentages

      Not sure what percentage question? Now you do realize that I personally am pretty sure it is genetic or more likely hormonal during brain development… Please note my previous comment. “Gay folks are born that way. Sources please. I don’t disagree with you, but without proof it is just a belief. Kind of like a religion.” G2A

      The reality though is that this is just a personal belief, and I respect the freedoms of those who believe otherwise. I will stop defending their freedoms when there is some real data that proves them incorrect.

      Regarding most of our laws… They are pretty good overall.

  14. Submitted by Theo Kozel on 05/06/2015 - 10:49 am.

    Restated

    So if I may restate your point John, it is that you do believe homosexuality is indeed genetic/hormonal but that homosexuals should not have certain rights that heterosexuals do because the science is not definitive. Did I formulate your position correctly? When in doubt, deny equal rights?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/06/2015 - 01:08 pm.

      Close

      Here is a slight modification.
      “Though not proven I believe homosexuality is likely genetic/hormonal, however I believe that homosexual rights should not trounce on the religious rights of other citizens and State’s rights until the science is somewhat conclusive.”

      Now would the following statement explain the opposing view.
      “Though not proven I believe homosexuality is likely genetic/hormonal, therefore I believe that homosexual rights should be allowed to trounce on the religious rights of other citizens and State’s rights immediately.”

      Did I formulate the opposing position correctly?

      • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 05/06/2015 - 02:03 pm.

        No

        Because, as usual, you overstate the intentions of those seeking marriage equality.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/06/2015 - 02:28 pm.

          How so

          From what I understand, the goals are:
          – All States must allow LGBT Marriage and honor marriages from other states whether the majority of their citizens approve it or not.
          – All people and businesses shall interact with LGBT people without reservation whether that lifestyle and those activities violate their beliefs or not.

          What exactly am I over stating? Thanks

      • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 05/06/2015 - 03:13 pm.

        Incorrect

        No, I would maintain that gay marriage no more trounces the rights of certain religious believers than gay people using legal currency to buy a candy bar. I do not for a moment find any merit in the argument that people are sanctioning gay marriage by following our common civil law and form of government.

        In the same vein, the fairly recent issue where Somali cab drivers were not allowed to deny rides from the airport to people who had been drinking alcohol does not in any logical or honest fashion mean people who drink were trouncing the cab driver’s religious freedom, or the cab drivers sanctioned drinking. It’s a nonsense argument, a fig leaf to cover an emotional antipathy that has no reasonable defense.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/06/2015 - 06:49 pm.

          I understand that you interpret it differently.

          The Somali Taxi driver issue is hugely different. The airport set the rules for taxi drivers at their facility as is their right. The taxi drivers then had a choice to make. Pick up customers at the airport or conform with their personal beliefs or give up those customers.

          That is the simple choice religious right business owners want, the freedom to turn down business from people they do not agree with. Just like a PETA business owner would like to turn down business from a mink farmer. Would you deny the PETA business that right?

          Finally, if the SCOTUS forces States to acknowledge and even perform same sex marriages against the wishes of the majority of the States citizens, that certainly is trouncing the will of those citizens. Please remember we are a Republic of States, not a National Democracy.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/06/2015 - 10:12 pm.

            So

            The church I attend (ELCA btw, not exactly a fringe group round these parts) performs same sex marriages. Putting aside the fact that its legal here, when does the hew and cry over the trampling of the religious rights of similar churches where it isn’t begin? No biology needed in this particular argument, just good old fashioned religious freedom. Your churches’ marriages count, why shouldn’t mine? Its funny, I don’t hear the right trumpeting the cause of the Warren Jeffs of the world, not to mention the overwhelming paranoia regarding the seemingly exponential amount of localities about to fall under Islamic Sharia law, but I guess religious freedom only applies when the religion in question is evangelical Christendom.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/07/2015 - 07:48 am.

              Freedoms

              I am pretty sure Churches are free to Marry anyone they want. The question here is should a specific State be forced to bestow the legal status of married, or honor it from another State.

              Three Freedoms in Question here:
              – State citizen’s freedom to define marriage as they see it.
              – Religious business owners freedom of association
              – LGBT’s freedom to be who they want or who they are

              By the way, I am also a member of the ELCA fringe group.

              • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/07/2015 - 11:32 am.

                But those states

                Would then be required to recognize either all religious marriage ceremonies or none at all. I believe most state constitutions have similar language to the federal one regarding religious
                freedom do they not? It would seem if the end goal for hetero only marriage advocates is preservation of the status quo, with their religious rites recognized as secular legally binding arrangements, fighting this case on religious grounds is unwinnable.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/07/2015 - 12:32 pm.

                  Chickens and Eggs

                  Though some religious personnel are allowed to preside over weddings. The license from the State is the starting point. The State is not sanctioning the religious wedding, the “church” is officiating a State wedding.

                  I don’t know the goals of others, but mine is to let the citizens of each State choose, until the innate / behavior situation has been resolved with some certainty.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/06/2015 - 03:49 pm.

        “Somewhat conclusive”

        Meaning what? There is plenty of science out there to show that homosexuality is genetic. What are you looking for with “somewhat conclusive?” Complete unanimity? Agreement by 97% of geneticists? Or is it just a genteel pretext for denying equal rights?

        There is a good analogy to be made with racial discrimination here. There is some pseudo-science claiming that African-Americans are, because of genetics, less capable intellectually (the Nobel Laureates James Watson and William Shockley espoused such theories). Are we to say that type of thing should be justification of continued discrimination against African Americans (and yes, there are still plenty of people who believe that God mandated separation of the races)?

        States’ rights is also a nonsense statement, especially coming from someone who purports to believe in limited government. People have rights; states have the powers granted to them by the people. Nowhere does the Constitution refer to the states having any “rights.”

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/06/2015 - 06:28 pm.

          Really

          “There is plenty of science out there to show that homosexuality is genetic.” I don’t think so.

          Racial differences are are well documented and understood, sexual preference not so much so.

          State vs Federal Rights. Should the Federal government force the States comply over the opinion of the State’s citizens.?

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/06/2015 - 09:48 pm.

            “Should the Federal government force the States . . .”

            ” . . . comply over the opinion of the State’s citizens.?”

            On matters of human rights, yes.

            In 1865, the majority opinion in the south was that slavery should remain legal. In 1964, the majority of the citizens of the southern states objected to letting African Americans vote, use the same public accommodations, or buy houses in white neighborhoods. The Federal government forced the States to comply with the law on those subjects.

            I infer from your tone that you think this was not the right thing to do.

            “‘There is plenty of science out there to show that homosexuality is genetic.’ I don’t think so.” I beg to differ, and you have apparently not been paying attention. Despite what you may want to think, there is ample proof of the genetic basis of homosexuality.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/06/2015 - 09:31 pm.

          “What are you looking for with “somewhat conclusive?”

          We call it “proof”; you have none.

          “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, NOR PROHIBITED BY IT TO THE STATES, ARE RESERVED TO THE STATES, OR to the people.”

          Happy, as always RB, to provide clarity for you.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/07/2015 - 09:03 am.

            Clear as mud, as ever

            You’re on a roll, Mr. Swift.

            You may not like it –in fact, I know you don’t–but there is more scientific reason to believe that homosexuality is genetic than there is to think it is not. “I don’t like it cuz I think gays are icky” does not refute any of the science.

            And I’ve read the 10th Amendment. I’m not sure what you think your quotation proves, except that you know how to copy and paste. The Amendment still does not say states have “rights.” It is only a way of resolving any conflicts between state and federal power. It does not tell me why state’s “rights” should trump human rights.

            Interesting how “states’ rights” are always invoked as a justification for denying rights to people, isn’t it?

            • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/07/2015 - 04:46 pm.

              “I don’t like it cuz I think gays are icky” does not refute any of the science.”

              And “Look; bigot!!!” isn’t science. But it’s all y’all have.

              You say “rights”, the Constitution says “power”…power secures the rights of citizens of sovereign states to define the standards and laws by which they live. There’s no argument to be made; it’s right there in black and white.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/07/2015 - 05:22 pm.

                Science

                I’m not sure you know what the word means. I am sure, however, that you chose to ignore the substance of my prior comments.

                “Power secures the rights of citizens of sovereign states to define the standards and laws by which they live.” The rights of citizens, not states.

                The citizens of Minnesota, acting through their duly elected representatives, have defined marriage to include same sex unions. There has been no attempt to repeal that law, despite the supposed political fall-out from its enactment. There’s no argument to be made; it’s right there in black and white.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/08/2015 - 07:27 am.

                  And other citizens from other states believe differently. I think we should let them do so, however the the pro-Gay marriage supporters like yourself want to force them to comply….

                  • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 05/08/2015 - 11:08 am.

                    And if one state…

                    makes it a crime punishable by death to be “gay-married”, that would be okay, too, I suppose. And any couple crossing the border into that state would be risking their very lives…and I suppose that is okay, as well.

                    What utter tripe.

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