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Oklahoma plan to restrict same-sex marriage may backfire

A priest wearing a rainbow-colored vestment makes an appearance during Toronto Pride in 2011.
A priest wearing a rainbow-colored vestment makes an appearance during Toronto Pride in 2011.

Creative Commons image by Royal Olive

A priest wearing a rainbow-colored vestment makes an appearance during Toronto Pride in 2011.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) Oklahoma’s conservative lawmakers, angered at being ordered by U.S. courts to allow gay marriage in the state, have come up with a new, religious tactic to block same-sex weddings by mandating that clergy conduct almost all ceremonies.

But in a twist, their efforts to restrict who can perform marriages could make it easier for gay couples to wed, and have led to what one activist calls “marriage chaos.”

A bill overwhelmingly approved this month in the state’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives would allow only judges, retired judges and members of the clergy to issue marriage licenses, cutting county clerks out of the business.

Yet as the measure was making its way to the floor, a rush of same-sex marriage supporters applied to become ministers with the intention of registering as clergy authorized to perform weddings in the state.

“I registered so I could marry same-sex couples. I have the confirmation email. The Oklahoma County Courthouse site is very vague about the paperwork necessary to register,” said Rose Marie of Oklahoma City, who applied for her minister license online in February after the measure was first introduced.

As the tide has turned in favor of gay marriage in the United States, several socially conservative states have proposed legislation aimed at making it difficult for same-sex couples to marry. The Supreme Court is to take up the issue of whether states can ban gay marriage, which is now allowed in at least 36 states.

Republican Representative Todd Russ, the author of the bill, has said he wants to take the state out of marriage and has pledged to “stand for godly values and godly leadership in government.”

“Oklahoma’s at the point where we have decided we are drawing a line today and sidestepping the government’s overreach,” Russ said. The Oklahoma Senate is due to consider the bill later this year.

Atheists and agnostics in Oklahoma are not pleased at the prospect of almost all marriages being placed in the hands of clergy.

Freedom Oklahoma, which supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community, said lawmakers have not come to grips with the consequences. It calls the measure confusing and a violation of the separation of church and state.

“The way this law is written makes it anti-marriage. It’s equally harmful and hurts everyone,” said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma.

“Theoretically, this bill gives legal status to same-sex marriage, but the bill is so bipolar. If you are a nonbeliever … it could take months to find someone who could perform your marriage.

“We call it the ‘marriage chaos’ bill,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson said some clergy also are not happy about taking on responsibilities that once were managed by county clerks. The measure calls for marriage to be performed or solemnized by a judge, retired judge, preacher, minister, rabbi, or ecclesiastical dignitary.

“They (clergy) work for Jesus, not Oklahoma,” Stevenson said.

Legal experts said if the state tries to set regulations on what religions’ clergy it sees as legitimate, Oklahoma could run afoul of U.S. constitutional requirements that forbid the government from establishing religion.

Eric Thompson, an Oklahoma real estate agent who supports same-sex marriage, feels the bill is overly intrusive and became an ordained minister because of it.

“If this bill passes, I would put it out there to everyone that I could perform same-sex ceremonies,” Thompson said.

(By Heide Brandes; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Jonathan Oatis)

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  • Satan is not going to be deterred from implementing the gay agenda. The cunning nature of that movement is now “in the majority,” and like all evil movements it is going to claim total power.

    The Christian organizations and congregations that rightfully reject the homosexualization of Christianity should appeal to laws that protect them from the harassment, discrimination, lawsuits and other anti-Christian attacks from LGBT-ites, but they should also start challenging gay culture from every pulpit in every Church. The homosexualization movement cannot stand up to spiritual or theological challenge. That is why it uses secular tactics. You can’t stop rust. You can’t stop debauchery, nor the immoral from declaring their drooling desires. There is no compatibility with the LGBT culture and Christian life. Satan knows this, as do the demons empowering this movement. If Roman power couldn’t stomp out the Church at its infancy, it surely isn’t going to take victory over the…

  • Very well-stated, Brave. That is exactly the situation, right here and now. I’m sure Rep. Todd Russ meant well, but “taking the state out of marriage” doesn’t really solve the problem, as this RNS article makes clear. Plus it can create or increase more problems, all by itself.

    And that’s on top of the fact that the Supremes are still going to get the last word, (politically and legally), this summer anyway. And they’ve already signaled exactly what they’re going to do.

    So that’s not going to work. There aren’t any easy “one-stop-shopping” political solutions anymore. The evil of gay marriage is entrenched like a blood-thirsty tick, sucking the life out of America.

    The Christians, churches, and clergy — the ones that aren’t already defeated, anyway — will now have to step up to the plate themselves and fight.

  • I don’t think this “backfired”. It seems completely obvious the conservatives knew it would effectively legalize gay marriage. Mainly because the guy who pushed the law said EXACTLY that!!

    They realized they would have to legalize gay marriage, and so they opted to do it on their own terms. That’s all.

  • Oklahoma, home to Anita Bryant, has the highest divorce rate in the country. Moreover, its students are well below average in math and science. And this is how they spend their time — trying to frustrate the efforts of a few gays to get hitched?

  • Be Brave: You are entitled to your religious beliefs. You are not entitled to enforce these beliefs on others.

  • Funny how you have no problem with living alongside people who reject the entirety of your religious belief. That would surely be the work of satan.

    Almost makes you think it’s not about faith at all, don’t it?

  • OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) Oklahoma’s conservative lawmakers, angered at being ordered by U.S. courts to allow gay marriage in the state, have come up with a new, religious tactic to block same-sex weddings by mandating that clergy conduct almost all ceremonies.

    So, they are replacing the civil institution of marriage with a religious one.

    Can you spell “Sharia?”

  • The law is not just an attack on gays but also atheists and minority faiths in the state. It violates the Establishment clause by having literally state sponsored religion.

    More importantly the law lacks any rational and secular purpose. The current system worked and did not require such a change. No legitimate interests are served by the law except to deny people civil liberties they are entitled to.

    Doc, BeBrave, why do you hate freedom and rule of law so much?

  • Hey Larry, I already said out loud that the Oklahoma bill won’t work (and won’t even survive after the Supremes do their dirt later this summer).

    Aren’t you happy about that?

  • Not really. If there wasn’t such obvious objections to it from others, you would have no problem with such a measure.

    Your qualm is it won’t fly for political and legal reasons. That doesn’t mean you respect the reasons, it won’t.

  • Those of us who actually care about freedom don’t care too much for theocracy, no matter where and how it rears its ugly head.

  • Why do all you religious nutjobs think you have the right to say who can and who can’t get married? I realize that you would love to have the Christian version of Sharia law in the US, but it’s not going to happen. Your world view is f*cked. Why don’t you just leave us alone so we can get married in peace?

  • Don’t worry, “Be Brave,” no one cares what your Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas says or does.

  • So in order to restrict same-sex marriage, they prohibit Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist ones.

    Marriage has always been a secular institution in the US, the power of the state delegated to religious celebrants of all kinds.

    Now we see what a mistake it is to cater to religion like that. Give em an inch and they’ll insist on taking it all – for *their* religion, not anyone else’s.

  • // The evil of gay marriage is entrenched like a blood-thirsty tick, sucking the life out of America.//

    Oh FFS! You have GOT to be kidding!!! With all the problems that beset that insane country you live in – with the most absurdly liberal gun laws, entrenched racism, entrenched poverty, blatantly corrupt and treasonous politicians – you’re actually worried about same-sex couples being allowed to marry??

    You won’t solve the problem – you ARE the problem.

  • Don’t worry about it. It’s just doc, a religious and antigay bigot of the first order.

    What’s really, really funny is that he’s black.

  • Dude, you are so screwed up, that Satan has your one way ticket for eternity in the afterlife. Does the bible not say, “Judge not lets ye be judged”? Do you know what that means? LGBT people are God’s children just like you. God loves us and watches over us just like God does you. You are not holier than thou, better than, or more rightful in God’s eyes. Every human being has a soul, and our souls are a small part of God. If God doesn’t make mistakes, how can we be less than, of Satan, or any different than anyone else? We are born this way. It is not a choice. Why would anyone choose to be different in a way that causes other to be verbally and physically abusive? Or in the case of transgender people, not knowing which restroom to use because one you can get arrested and the other physically assaulted and possibly killed? It’s not a choice for us. We try many times throughout our lives to be “normal”, but after a while we become unable to conform and have to be true to…

  • Gay marriage appears unprecedented. Until a generation ago, no society institutionalized it. This ranges from ones that killed homosexuals to those like ancient Greece and Rome which celebrated homosexuality.

    So it’s right to call it the most radical social experiment on humanity’s fundamental institution. And yes, a plain reading of Scripture — and especially of Jewish commentators of their people’s own texts — makes it clear that the Bible does not countenance it.

    However, in a nation where nearly 3/4 claim Christian affiliation, half or more now support it.

    And that points to something much bigger than gay marriage itself.

    It points to the need for a major revival among professing Christians leading to a deeper relationship to God. If even a fraction of churches prayed each day for revival, it would come. It always has.

    Put another way, a church that isn’t revived needs to repent of its own deadness. All else flows from that.

  • Potatocam, you make it sound as though redefining marriage were some eternal longing for which gay people have been perpetually advocating for thousands of years, rather than a demand that was seemingly unknown in history before the late 20th century, well within the lifetime of most people on this board.

    This leads to an obvious question: Was every prior society that never even thought about a redefinition populated by “religious nutjobs?”

    How about ancient Greece and Rome, which celebrated homosexuality, yet never thought to redefine marriage? Were they overrun by “religious nutjobs?”

    Are we to say that the entire human race, until 20 or 30 years ago, including gay and straight people alike, was populated by “religious nutjobs?”

  • Marty writes, “We are born this way. It is not a choice.”

    Marty, nearly every available study shows it’s a bit more complicated than that……more complicated than easy slogans on either side would suggest.

    Neither gays nor straights will like the implication — which is that human sexuality — at least as we’ve always known it to be — is considerably more fluid than one would think. Scientists have always been scared out of their wits to shout that from the housetops……in decades past for fear of what “respectable society” would say, and today ironically for fear of what gay activists will say.

    In a weird way, both sides of the debate have a vested interest in denying this. But it is what it is. The vast majority of us never experience that fluidity. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It does.

  • How is it “funny” that he’s black?

    There have always been a fair number of black people who resent the comparison between a people who for centuries were enslaved, beaten, broken, deprived of any chance to be educated, and then segregated and held in the deepest poverty with what they see as an upper-middle class, radical chic movement of relatively privileged, mostly white people who got bored one day and decided that redefining marriage would be a neat idea and quite a hoot that would get some older white folks all riled up.

    I am not black but this might be a plausible answer to your question. Even the wealthiest black American is only a few generations removed from those horrors from the past. To many people, comparing the horrors of Jim Crow to the historical definition of marriage is like comparing leprosy or terminal cancer to a hang nail or a receding hair line. One seems almost a life-or-death matter (recall lynchings), while the other doesn’t.

  • If we’re going to be talking about competing in the oppression Olympics, I’d have to give the gold medal to the Jews.

    But we’re not talking about that. We are talking about legalized, institutionalized discrimination against an identifiable group, sometimes justified as sincere religious belief, sometime recognized for what it so clearly is. We are talking about the common threads of oppression, not who had it worse.

    It always amazes me that racism refuses to share a drinking fountain with homohatred.

    Doc should understand that, but he doesn’t. I’m surprised you don’t either.

  • It’s not a radical experiment. It’s marriage. I have yet to hear one single argument that holds any water as to why my marriage affects this most fundamental institution.

    “It points to the need for a major revival among professing Christians leading to a deeper relationship to God. ”

    Maybe the move towards ending legalized discrimination among modern Christians is exactly the revival you have been looking for. so many of these Christians have changed their views, not despite what their bibles say, but because of it.

    to me, the ones who are dead are the ones who insist that they, and they alone, are privy to the mind of god. you know, the True Christians (TM)?

  • That would be one way of putting it. But you have been challenged on that analysis before. It ignores history and facts. Of all arguments you can make, the one from tradition is weakest. Until about a century ago, no society in the world ever granted women legal, social, economic, and political equality with men. we grew up, though a good part of the world refuses to.

    We can be wiser than our remote ancestors, can’t we?

    It’s called progress.

  • Atheists would have no reason to ban any marriage unless there was a clear danger to one of the individuals.

    Unlike religious people, Atheists have no book promoting bigotry against any particular group of people.

    Unfortunately Atheists still don’t have enough influence on the culture.
    But thank goodness that is changing and the clerics are realizing they have lost all their arguments.

  • Indeed, Jack. I, too, pray for another John Wesley or William Wilberforce for our time. The problem is, as Daniel said, that the love of many has grown cold. Revival would lead to greater love for God, greater hunger to actually search His scriptures and know His heart. Like the Bereans, who did not merely lap up whatever they heard that sounded good to them but “daily examined the scriptures to see if these things were so.”

  • Well Jack, for those who are not “obvious fact impaired”, it is quite ironic that someone makes arguments and advocates positions that used to be used against people like himself.

    Plenty of people believed God demanded racial segregation. Plenty of people did not want to perform government services, sell goods or provide services due to their deeply held religious belief that they should not be made to serve people of color.

    Comparing Jim Crow to the proposal for legalized discrimination of gay people under the heading of “religious freedom” is quite apt. All those conservative Christian supported bills even use the same arguments.

  • Jack, unless you can find a single recognizable harm to society caused by marriage equality in all of the states and nations which have legalized it, you are just engaging in ridiculous dishonest hysterics.

    Its telling that the anti-gay crowd treat gay marriage as a hypothetical instead of acknowledging it has already been implemented in many places. Some for a significant period of time. It tells me their concerns are crap. If there was merit to their arguments, they would be able to find a real harm to society it caused. Something other than some bigots being a little sore they can’t discriminate under color of law. Something other than anti-gay rhetoric is losing social sanction.

  • What a circular argument Jack. Unless you have a compelling reason to keep tradition other than for its own sake, the argument is useless.

    “Was every prior society that never even thought about a redefinition populated by “religious nutjobs?””

    Pretty much, since most of them decided that God wanted gays dead or imprisoned just for being what they are.

    “Were they [Greeks and Romans] overrun by “religious nutjobs?””

    Actually yes. Both had societies which were remarkably conservative when it came to religious and social mores. Marriage had a much different definition in those cultures than our own as well.

    “Are we to say that the entire human race, until 20 or 30 years ago, was …populated by “religious nutjobs?””

    Still is. 30 years ago, Catholics and Protestants were still killing each other over sectarian differences. 20 Years ago Orthodox Christians were killing Catholics and Muslims over sectarian differences. Today we have ISIS. Go figure

  • It never ceases to amaze that conservative “Christians” are so concerned about God’s judgment on the nation when it comes to marriage equality and family planning. God apparently cared not a fig over slavery, civil rights, and the systematic attempts to eradicate Native Americans, why do you idiots think He’s going to cover the US in comet debris over same-gender marriage and the Mirena?

  • Jack’s comment had nothing to do with civil law. It was solely concerned with issue of intra-church acceptance of it. Within biblical Christianity, it will always be a hypothetical.

  • First, they object to gay couples marrying. What’s next, objecting to different races marrying? Age differences? Wealth difference? If you are only equal sometimes or only someplaces, then you’re really not equal. Place the decision of whether you are equal or not in the hands of religious opinion & the concept of equality vanishes forever. For EVERYONE. These clerks of court say that marrying gay couples conflict with their religious faith. Faith is not based upon evidence, thus it is but opinion. And opinion that results in attitudes disparaging or acts harmful to others is defined as prejudice. Moreover, somebody’s opinion doesn’t bind someone else since every individual is entitled to their own. Now these clerks are planning not to perform any weddings whatsoever (gay or straight) so no one can accuse them of violating the law when out of their own religious opinion they refuse to marry gays. These clerks of court are placing their private religious opinions above…

  • No jack, I do not have an investment in denying fluidity, though my sexuality is not and never has been fluid. That’s the truth. What I have is an investment in truth.

    The anti gays are not invested in fluidity or anti fluidity. They are invested in fixity– EVERY person is really heterosexual.

  • As far as redefinition of marriage goes, that’s nonsense. Marriage has a great many “definitions”, and the one we are concerned with is legal, civil marriage. More people are being granted access to it, but nothing about that legal arrangement changes.

    Women getting the vote did not redefine voting, it expanded access to it,

    The redefinition is not of marriage, but of gay people, as no longer the other, the aliens, the outsider, the sinner, the barely human. And more importantly, no longer the legal, social, familial, religious, moral, sexual, and human inferiors of heterosexuals.

    And that is what truly drives the anti gays crazy.

  • I love how people say things like the “gay agenda” and we need to stop it before it happens.. As a gay person I have never been told what this agenda is…. I either got left out or they are getting the “gay agenda” mixed up with their Christian agenda. Forcing people to live the christian way or they get no rights, that’s basically what it all boils down to.

  • marriage and holy matrimony are not the same thing. you can have a legal marriage without holy matrimony, stop acting like they’re the same thing–they AREN’T.

    also, Satan isn’t doing anything but watching at this point. he doesn’t have to do anything. look at you, for example. you’re spreading hate all over the place in the name of so-called “Christianity”.

  • No he isn’t. Jack can speak for himself. He’s a grown boy. H

    He is talking about “social experiments” and whatnot. Civil society.

  • Ben, I am simply defending Doc from the implied criticism that because he is black, he has a moral duty to support the redefinition of marriage. That’s absurd.

    If gay people had been fighting for millennia for the redefinition of marriage, that would be one thing, but there is no evidence to suggest that. The push to redefine marriage is unknown in history, in any time or place, until this time and this place.

    What enlightened people have fought for is for gays to be left alone, (because it should not be the legal system’s business what people do with their lives), and treated with the same dignity as heterosexuals.

    As you have said, gays have been viciously treated for millennia, and that’s a parallel to black people. However, that speaks to basic rights to life and liberty, not to redefining marriage. The fact that no society in history thought to change that definition to include gays cannot be compared to the suffering of gay or black people in other…

  • Not so, Ben. My point is that Christians who are focusing so much of their attention on condemning the redefinition of marriage should broaden their concern to include the ultimate elephant in the room — which is the church’s need for revival.

    Putting gay marriage and all other political issues aside for a moment, America’s churches are pretty pathetic based on anyone’s criteria. Too many of them are about keeping people fat, happy, complacent, and entertained, rather than challenging them to live truly extraordinary lives. This is a matter that transcends political or the culture, but which affects everything, including politics and the culture.

  • Right, Shawnie.

    And lots of people who aren’t Christian don’t understand that Christianity is ultimately not about moralism, or about one’s positions on hot-button issues of the day, but about a relationship to God out of which flows transformative love. That doesn’t mean we don’t take positions on the issues of the day, but what it does mean is that this is ultimately secondary to the issue of issues, that of reconciling humanity to God. Since we live in a society where many people’s political and social commitments have become a substitute for religion, it is easy to forget that the Gospel message, while having implications for everything in life, is much bigger than any one issue or issues that people are obsessed with today.

  • Wrong, Larry. Read the trail of posts. I was responding to the notion that because a poster was black, that meant he had a moral duty to support gay marriage.

    Thus far, in this trail of posts, I don’t see anyone being “hysterical,” although you sound like you might be about ready to break from the pack on this.

  • No Ben, I don’t recall being “challenged” on that point before. I do recall being told that I would be given an answer to it at some point, but if someone has since posted an answer, I must have missed it.

    As for women’s rights, that’s not a very persuasive analogy, because the status of women has never been an all-or-nothing proposition. Societies have varied widely throughout history in terms of how women were treated. Women’s rights are not something that popped up out of the blue, without any prior reference point in time or place. It was not some foreign departure from what had been. It has been an issue, in one form or another, for a very long time. The “rights” language is modern, sure, but the thinking behind it is very old indeed.

  • It’s not circular at all, Larry….you’re acting as if I’ve advanced it as some decisive refutation of the redefinition of marriage, which I have not. My point is that redefining marriage seems to bear all the markings of a manufactured demand, unique to our time and place, one that neither gay nor straight people had any prior interest in making. That in itself doesn’t make the demand wrong. It makes it very interesting, though.

    To ask anyone to close their eyes to this fact is silly. It is what it is. The fact is that our time and place has hermetically sealed itself off from all other times and places on this issue. Obviously, it in itself doesn’t prove we’re wrong, but to dismiss it with the wave of a hand is to say that we automatically know better than all prior societies. And that’s pretty arrogant, as well as complacent.

  • Ben, your premise is that treating gays with full dignity necessitates redefining marriage. But if the failure in all times and places to redefine marriage is such an indisputable offense to this dignity, where is the historical evidence of a felt need on the part of gays to push for such a redefinition?

    If we could travel back in time, even to less than a century ago, in western societies, where even then, enlightened people were saying that gays must be treated with dignity, and we were to talk to individual gays, and ask what they want more than anything, you would not likely hear the words, “I want society to redefine marriage so my union with my beloved would be recognized as a marriage.”

    You would likely hear this: “All I want is to live with my beloved, for as long as we wish, without being persecuted, and to leave an inheritance to whomever I wish. All I want is to be able to buy a home, make a living, and enjoy my full rights as a citizen of my country.”

  • The bottom line is that studies seemingly show a mixed bag on nature vs. nurture on this issue as well as so many other human traits. But anyone who thinks this is simple is just burying their head in the sand. We know there has to be a nurture as well as a nature part due to the findings of identical twin studies. By process of elimination, there seems to be no way around it, unless we’re willing to attribute 100% of all non-genetic elements to hormonal changes in the womb, which would quite a stretch. But what’s baffling is that nobody, to my knowledge, has yet identified what exactly those “nurture” factors are.

    Honesty requires all sides admit what they don’t know as well as what they think they know.

  • How is this an actual argument?

    The complaints about redefining marriage are missing something very important, a reason for keeping the old definition which is both secular and rational.

    “where is the historical evidence of a felt need on the part of gays to push for such a redefinition? ”

    Denial of the ability of gay families to exist and raise children in a sane manner. The lack of acceptance and clear definitions from state to state of civil unions. The total and complete lack of rational and secular counter-arguments against it. Since marriage is a permissive right absent rational and secular arguments against a given union, it is for you to give a reason for a ban, not for others to justify a new type of union.

    The only people redefining marriage are those like Sen Russ and yourself. Those who dishonestly deny that marriage is a function of civil law and government in order to sell off powers to state sanctioned religion.

  • You are full of crap Jack. You are making an appeal to tradition but not bothering to justify why anyone should bother. Just because people did something in the past, it does not justify continuing to do so.

    What makes you think there is not a genuine demand for gay marriage? How is it a manufactured demand?

    Because it is relatively new to society? That is very disingenuous. Before we could even get to the subject, there were a helluva lot of hurdles to jump legal and society wise. A more perfect union involves looking forward, not ossifying the past. We look to how civil liberties express themselves in the here and now, not how people used to justify their past prejudices.

  • As a black person, he probably would understand the irony of the arguments employed against marriage equality. The same exact ones were used against himself.

    Freedom of association arguments, religious arguments, complaints of being forced to stifle one’s prejudices in public, attempts to attack people under color of law based on personal prejudices. All of those have been used in the employ to keep people like Doc from enjoying the same benefits of culture and society.

    He and people like yourself use them today. The only difference being the object of the personal prejudices.

  • Larry, you’re making an obvious argument for the redefinition of marriage, but you’re still failing to address the obvious question — which is that if the failure throughout history to redefine marriage was felt or experienced as a grinding, dignity-crushing oppression, why not a peep out of anyone (gay or straight), anywhere, in any time or place, until, suddenly, a mere generation ago — in our time and place?

  • Amy, yes, it is true that there were churches that defended slavery, opposed civil rights and failed to oppose attempts to eradicate native Americans, but on the other hand, who pushed for the abolition of slavery, the securing of civil rights and the need to protect native Americans from destruction — little green men from Mars?

    On the slavery issue, would you have had the guts to stand in the 1800s and propose its abolition and risk life and limb for it? Those who did were overwhelmingly evangelical Christians…..and here, as in Britain a generation before, they were labeled religious fanatics by those Americans with a vested interest in keeping slavery.

    Ditto on civil rights. In the 1950s, Billy Graham, America’s most popular preacher, refused to speak to segregated audiences.

  • One thing I notice about you, Larry, and it’s that once you come up with your “take” on something, you just close your eyes and cup your ears to contrary responses.

    Again, the two situations are far from analogous… far apart, in fact, as to be ludicrous. Again, obviously this is not a refutation of redefining marriage. It’s a response to the notion that if you’re for basic, obvious civil rights for black people, you have to be for redefining marriage. What you’re attempting to do is equate the maintenance of the conventional definition of marriage in all societies to the degradations of slavery and Jim Crow, the KKK and lynchings. The comparison is not even close to being apt. A better comparison would be the terrible mistreatment of gay people simply for being gay.

  • Larry, be real…..At least since the late 1970s, how many times have you heard that marriage is “just a piece of paper,” so “why get married if we can just live together for life?”

    We’re supposed to believe that the same heterosexual lefties who’ve constantly repeated that have suddenly done a complete U-turn, suddenly came to believe matrimony — formal marriage — is so wonderful that they proceeded to devote the past few decades to seemingly expanding that institution?

    Come on…..

    That’s about as believable as Bob Jones saying he’s changed on gays.

    When we see the same people (again, heterosexual far lefties) who castigated marriage as outdated, oppressive, bourgeois, contrary to human nature, and something they wouldn’t recommend to their worst enemies suddenly getting dewy-eyed about extending this supposedly terrible institution, rather than seeking its abolition, obviously, at least from their perspective, things are not what they seem.

  • No time, I hate to break the news to you, but every group involved in politics has an “agenda.” It’s why they’re involved in the first place.

  • No Jack, I am asking you to give a reason why redefining marriage is an argument in of itself. You appeal to tradition without bothering to tell us why it should matter.

    “which is that if the failure throughout history to redefine marriage was felt or experienced as a grinding, dignity-crushing oppression”

    As I said before, YES it is.

    “why not a peep out of anyone (gay or straight), anywhere, in any time or place, until, suddenly, a mere generation ago — in our time and place?”

    That is not true. There were a number of hurdles to be cleared first:
    1. Recognizing that discrimination against gays exists
    2. Recognizing such discrimination had no basis under the color of law
    3. Doing away with various forms of discrimination against them which were more immediate

    How about this as a justification for “redefinition”, you don’t have a compelling reason not to. Its not for gays to prove why they have a right to marry. Its up to you to give a reason they shouldn’t.

  • “At least since the late 1970s, how many times have you heard that marriage is “just a piece of paper,” so “why get married if we can just live together for life?””

    And since that time couples cohabiting have learned the pitfalls of doing so without being married in terms of tax burdens, inheritance, sharing property, and various financial obligations. They were stupid back then, they continue to be so. Its not a relevant argument.

    Lets be real about this, you have nothing rational or secular as the basis of an argument against gay marriage. You are trying to pretend demand for it doesn’t really exist or shouldn’t.

    The dumbest part of your argument is you equate a desire not to get married with the desire not to have the right to get married. Two different things. Can you be a little more dishonest?

    “That’s about as believable as Bob Jones saying he’s changed on gay”

    Glad to think that I am not the only one who thinks Bob Jones is full of crap. 🙂

  • You like to dance around a subject, but never address it.

    The only difference between the two situations is the object of bigotry. That’s all. Just because your type of bigotry is different, it doesn’t make the act any more harmful to society or to the person on the receiving end of the discrimination. It is exactly the same.

    “Again, obviously this is not a refutation of redefining marriage”

    Because you have to give a reason why “redefining marriage” is a relevant issue in the first place. Why should anyone care about redefining marriage? Still no answer there.

    “What you’re attempting to do is equate the maintenance of the conventional definition of marriage in all societies to the degradations of slavery and Jim Crow,”

    Because it is. Even a right to marry was controlled by slavery and Jim Crow. Lynchings have given way to “gay-bashing” incidents. Same bigotry inspired violence and discrimination, different subject.

    The more things change, the more they…

  • Indeed, Jack. Every human society on the face of the earth has produced slavery (alas for “natural empathy!”), but only Christendom has produced abolitionists.

  • So someone who breaks your leg and heals it later, long after the fact gets acknowledgment for the healing part only.

    You don’t get to claim credit for abolition since orthodox Christianity that you love to support didn’t. The peacemakers and justice takers are the outliers to your faith. You certainly have nothing in common with them

    But then again in 20-30 years from now you mendacious apologists will take credit for the work of all the affirming churches you attack right now.

  • Nonsense. They weren’t outliers. The opposition began just as soon as Christians acquired sufficient influence that society would listen– and by early medieval times slavery–one of humanity’s natural default settings–disappeared from Christendom until increased contact with the non-Christian world revived it for a time, only for Christian abolitionists to fight it down once again. A war twice fought, twice won, no thanks to your like whatsoever.

    And that doesn’t even touch on all the other facets of human rights for which the west is known. I only wish you blowhards had the integrity to repudiate Christianity’s legacy along with the faith.

  • Shawnie, you spend most of your time here attacking churches which differ from your finger-wagging moralistic bigotry. You have more in common with the churches which justified slavery than those fighting it.
    You have defended discrimination and attack those who oppose or don’t feel like engaging in it.

    Who the hell are you kidding here?

    You have nothing in common with abolitionists, civil rights activists, or defenders of religious freedom. So no, you don’t get to associate yourself with them. You have shown how much you despise such people. Whatever claims Christians have to human rights, they have nothing to do with your reactionary brand of it.

  • LOL! I have in common with them the only thing that differentiated them from the rest of the inhumane world that they went up against– a view of man as created in the image of God and of infinite worth, solely by virtue of human birth independent of any other social ties, and with inherent rights that derive from a transcendent source and therefore may not be legitimately abridged by any human authority or consensus. Whatever human rights or morality you purport to espouse is as temporal and mortal and subject to whim as you are. Nobody needs to care about it–everyone else’s is just as good.

    You can ride along on the Judeo-Christian legacy, and welcome, but you may not claim it as your own nor may you misrepresent it. Ever.

  • In 20-30 years Christians like yourself will be taking credit for marriage equality. We all know how this game is played. 🙂

  • Forty years after Roe most of us still oppose abortion. In fact, opposition has grown, not diminished. This issue is not going away either. In 40 years it is far more likely that the “affirming churches” you mention will be extinct.

  • Shawnie, you are posting in support of legalized discrimation. Your talk about human rights and Christian belief are bullcrap.

  • There’s nothing to “dance around,” Larry. It’s as clear as a bell. Your position, that any and all opposition to redefining marriage is “bigotry,” is nonsensical. It forces you to call every society in history “bigoted” because it didn’t move to redefinition.

    That’s not just nonsensical, but arrogant. You are calling our limited time and place — the western world over the past 20 years — the unique repository of great wisdom, infinite knowledge, and perfect judgment.

    If that’s the case, why study history? If we’re all just perfect beings living in a perfect time and place with perfect judgment, what do we have to learn from the past? Nada. So let’s couple our arrogance with ignorance and quit studying diverse cultures and past societies.

    But there is a word for the sort of narrow-mindedness that shuts off a society from studying any other cultures or past civilizations…..

    It’s called…..bigotry.

  • Now you’re the one who’s running from the question, Larry, by trying to shift this issue.

    The issue I responded to — if you bother to read the trail and progression of posts — is not whether redefining marriage is or isn’t a good idea, but whether those who say it’s not are automatically bigoted. That’s when I began to take an interest — when one of the posters here was told that because he is black, he must support redefinition. And the heart of it is the fact that to call opponents bigoted, you have to call every society in history bigoted, including both gays and straights in those societies, some of which were completely tolerant of homosexuality.

    And that points to the elephant in the room — the fact that there was no demand whatsoever in all of history for redefining marriage until about 20 years ago. And that, in turn, raises the obvious question:


    Again, for the umpteenth time, this is not an argument for or against gay marriage, so try to…

  • An apt description for your constant profanity-laced babble about “incivility.” There is nothing more “uncivil” than trying to bully people out of their freedom of free religious exercise for which our forefathers fought and died.

  • So in others, Larry, you refuse to answer my questions, but you wish me to answer yours? Very telling. You and others wish to play the bully by calling other people bigots because they dare to disagree with you on a matter.

    You have it backwards. The essence of bigotry is to elevate the views of one’s own limited time and place above those of every other time and place. It is a stubborn refusal to consider any other perspectives from anyone who has ever lived. And calling all others bigots ironically trains the spotlight on the very bigotry you are exhibiting.

    Put another way, you don’t get to hijack conversations about one thing because you want to talk about another. I have responded to the bigotry issue, but you keep skirting it and trying to take the matter elsewhere. Maybe it’s because you have no rational response.

  • Speaking of rational responses, Jack, you have yet to post one. And you are clearly the bully here. That is clear in rant after rant from you, always dodging the questions and trying to put your crazy religious agenda forward.

  • Jack, sand isn’t exactly where you’ve buried your head. Your head is buried in a place that takes far more flexibility. Funny though that your god made so many homosexual dogs and other creatures, no nurture required.