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Apple Computers opposes California Prop. 8, and my response

According to the Los Angeles Times, and its website, Apple Computers has come out the California proposition that would re-affirm male-female marriage as normative, which was the case before the California Supreme Court declared that position unconstitutional earlier this year. This is what the Apple website states:

Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.

Here's a note I emailed to Apple:

I was disappointed to learn that Apple is opposing prop 8 in California. I have been an Apple customer since 1995, having purchased six computers, several iPods, and assorted software.

Apple's reasoning is flawed, since sexual orientation has never inhibited people from getting married. If marriage has a particular nature--one man, one woman--any man and woman not already married to someone else can marry each other regardless of their sexual orientation. So, “no” on Prop 8 does not advance any liberties at all. What it does, however, is say that the state of California may change by its collective will the nature of an institution. Apple may think that's a good thing. But if you do, honesty demands that you state it that way.

On an issue such as this--prop 8--where reasonable citizens disagree, it is not wise for Apple, or any company, to take a stand. It is especially the case with this issue, where the defeat of prop 8 will likely result in the coercion of groups and individuals who believe that there is no such thing as same-sex marriage, as there is no such thing as square circles or married bachelors. Many of these groups use Apple computers including iPods and your other outstanding products.

Consider the following example of what I mean.

In Massachusetts soon after the state’s Supreme Judicial Court in 2003 required that the state issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Catholic Charities, which was at the time in the child adoption business, was told by the state that it could no longer exclude same-sex couples as adoptee parents, even though the Catholic Church maintains that same-sex unions are deeply disordered and sinful. Because it did not want to compromise its moral theology, Catholic Charities ceased putting children up for adoption. And thus children and families were harmed.

From the perspective of the Catholic citizen who opposes same-sex marriage, this state of affairs limits her liberty and that of her Church based on a cluster of beliefs about the nature of the human being that she does not share with those who support same-sex marriage. Because marriage is a public institution, there is surely no way to enforce same-sex marriage without punishing those who dissent in every public institution and accommodation. Thus, supporters of male-female marriage see the injustice in the state coercing them to embrace a policy for which their well-reasoned beliefs maintain is deleterious of social justice and the public good.

It is a mystery to me why Apple would want to marginalize and harm these citizens.

Sincerely,
Francis J. Beckwith
Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, Baylor University
2008-2009 Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow, University of Notre Dame
Website: http://francisbeckwith.com

If you would like to contact Apple as well, go here.

Comments (85)

Francis, this is a silly post with some unfortunate implications.

The primary problem is that your assertion, "there's no problem, any 'people' of any sexual orientation can marry" -- as long as you have one of each gender, is idiotically disingenuous. The obvious point is that, due to sexual orientation, we have men wanting to marry men and women wanting to marry women.

As for imploring corporations to stay out of public matters, the obvious comparisons to corporations standing by during repressive or immoral regimes applies. (Yes, I feel sullied, but I'm talking "Nazis" here.)


You, of course, are completely welcome to gather up your Christian pals and boycott Apple and Google... that's your right as well. But, let's not confuse Apple doing something you don't like with Apple doing something they shouldn't do. You don't mind giving up your ipod for your beliefs, right?

p.s. I understand the ideological tension, but I can't say that your example makes the Catholic Church look great. Sacrificing the babies so that gays can't marry doesn't immediately suggest to me that the biggest problem is with the society.

freethinker:

Sacrificing the babies? What are you talking about?

When was the gay rights movement concerned about the rights of children?

The obvious point is that, due to sexual orientation, we have men wanting to marry men and women wanting to marry women.

Desire and feelings aren't really relevant. I know people who really want to jump of a seven story building and fly like Superman. That doesn't change the fact that they can't. And their getting angry at reality and at others for not enabling them to do the impossible by agreeing its possible and passing laws to the effect tells us a lot more about them than it does about the nature of reality.

I would also point out that there are plenty of people who do not suffer from same sex attraction disorder who still cannot necessarily marry the person they might want to marry. I, for example, came to terms with the fact that I won't be marrying Carry Underwood a long time ago.

Finally, I'm not sure strong feeling are at all relevant to marriage as recognized by the state. Do couples have to prove that they "wuv" each other before obtaining a marriage license? If not, them it would seem that the state might recognize marriage for reasons that have nothing to do with personal feelings but might have a lot to do with the nature of reality and the human person.

Sacrificing the babies so that gays can't marry doesn't immediately suggest to me that the biggest problem is with the society.

Well, first, they weren't "sacrificed" to keep people with same sex attraction disorder from "marrying." The state refused to allow Catholic Charities to refuse adoptions to "married" couples of the same sex. The state sacrificed children to keep a religious organization from "discriminating" according to some of its foundational religious and moral precepts. If the state actually cared about the children they would have allowed Catholic Charities to continue placing children with real married couples, since more children would have been placed in homes that way and "married" couples of the same sex would have still been able to adopt children through state agencies.

But I guess it's easier to blame the Church than the courts. Can't accuse our new infallible high priests of erring in judgment.

The primary problem is that your assertion, "there's no problem, any 'people' of any sexual orientation can marry" -- as long as you have one of each gender, is idiotically disingenuous.

Idiotic, huh? Even though it's true.

We're having a semantic problem. There are civil implications and spiritual implications in the formal proclamation of fidelity that we're each talking about. It would be nice if we could go someplace simpler like domestic partnership where partners get full societal rights, and it's independent of some specific spiritual ceremony (which implies civil domestic partnership) practiced in any given church.

It's your church -- bar whomever you like from having a Catholic marriage ceremony. Gays that want to be Catholic or Mormon or probably just about anything other than Unitarian or Left Episcopalian should have their heads examined. Women, too, but that's a different matter.

I just made the mistake of glancing through your site, and I don't think there's much likelihood of common ground to be had, so I'll wander off and leave you to fume about Liberals and other non-believers. I'm not gay, by the way... not that it should matter. I'm not bizarrely left either (I'll cop to supporting universal health care. I'm in the top percent of wage earners, and it seems like a societal benefit I should support with my tax dollars, if only because of the savings accrued from preventative medicine) I have a very good, respectable job. I'm married to a woman I love. We're supposed to love each other, right?

It's probably more about genetics and evolution: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/haidt08/haidt08_index.html

We're supposed to love each other, right?

Sure. But theres a reason I said "wuv" instead of "love." Love is not just an emotion. If it was you wouldn't love your wife whenever you felt miserable, or angry, or any number of other emotions that are contrary to the romantic feelings that most people mean by "love" and I tend to designate with "wuv."

If you can honestly say that you love your wife regardless of how you feel at any particular moment, then you necessarily agree that love is more than feelings. It's an act of the will, a conscious choice you once made and you disposition you have habituated yourself to, a choice and disposition to put the wellbeing and good of your wife above your own. A choice and disposition to give of yourself for her benefit and the benefit of your marriage rather than for the benefit of yourself alone.

Which, to be honest, people who suffer from same sex attraction disorder can do for each other, just as friends can. But not in that same mode that is necessary for marriage. Because, again, reality doesn't change just because we really, really want it to.

"Same sex attraction disorder?" "Not in the same mode?"

You guys crack me up. You've scientificated it!

Who the hell do you think you are, anyway? Arbitrators of what love is, as well as morality? Where do you get off looking down your nose at the rest of the world?

The righteous order of priggish low IQ dogmatists.

Seriously, have a look at that link I pasted in. It's not entirely kind to Liberals. The Gays don't have a disorder any more than you do. They have a non-productive (literally) set of sexual attraction sensors mismatched with their God-given gear, and you've got a counter-productive reality analysis problem, which I think, basically, has to do with poor development in the forebrain. Religious dogmatism tracks with low IQ and low creativity.

I promised I was going to leave you-all alone, though. So, my apologies.

"Religious dogmatism tracks with low IQ and low creativity."

So, you should keep religion away from the 2.1 children of the average family. :-)

BTW, on what grounds do you believe you have warrant to know the proper function of your mind? For you seem to be quick to issue judgments about others' use of their minds, as if you have direct and incorrigible contact with the ideal form of the mind and its end, its final and formal causes if you will.

Just askin'.

Who the hell do you think you are, anyway?

I think I'm just some guy with two bachelor's degrees, a BS in mathematics/computer science and a BA in philosophy, who is currently a graduate student studying philosophy at one of the oldest Pontifical Universities in the United States. So I don't have being in the top percent of wage earners going for me, but none of us can have everything.

I think my definitions are older than the founding of the United States. So I think dismissing them with a "Who the hell do you think you are?" is both ignorant and arrogant. Which, to be honest, is par for the course in my experience.

I think that it's a bad idea to get angry at me for using the term "disorder" and then say that same sex attraction comes from some "mismatch." "Mismatch" implies a bad or failed match. And that, in turn, implies a failure in the normal order of things, i.e. a disorder. Though I suppose that's only a bad idea if one cared about logical consistency. So YMMV, as the Internet kids say.

Oh, and I think I'm right. You could try to demonstrate otherwise, but that would, you know, actually require you to argue about principles and definitions rather than strike a pose of self-righteousness and then take your ball and go home.

You say in your letter that not passing prop 8 would "coerce" people who disagree with gay marriage... coerce them to what? Tolerate other people's marriages? Is that like coercing racists to tolerate interracial marriage? Because I'd like to know in what way it's not. Prop 8 doesn't affect anyone who's not gay. It harms same-sex couples and their children, and it helps no one. I call that a lose-lose proposition. Hey, reasonable people disagree--that's what you said. It's true. And where reasonable people disagree on a question of a moral and religious issue, it's not business but government that must STAY OUT. Don't force your religious beliefs on others. No one's asking that you participate in a same-sex marriage, just stay out of other peoples'.

underwood, I offer an example, Catholic Charities in MA. But others are easy to come by, such as the case of the photographer in New Mexico (who refused to take pictures at a "gay" wedding) or the parent in MA who did not want the public school to teach his child that same-sex marriage is normative. And I'm sure as other states follow by the fiat of judges rather than as the result of the careful deliberations of citizens, the persecution will increase. Schools, such as Baylor University, where I am on the faculty, will probably lose their federal funding if they maintain a Christian understanding of the human person. My students--especially our doctoral students--who continue to embrace male-female marriage and have the temerity to offer public arguments for their view will probably diminish their chances in the job market. After all, what business--like, e.g., Apple Computers--would want to hire a "bigot" that could subject the company to a future suit if that person refused to remain mute on his views in the workplace? And there are the children, who will be brought into fatherless and motherless homes at the behest and coercion of the state. Resisters such as Catholic Charities will be forced out of business either as a matter of conscience or by overzealous prosecutors wanting to show they believe in "diversity," which means that everyone must agree with that position or suffer punishment. And there is the family, which will eventually no longer be thought of as a pre-political society that is one of the bullwarks (along with the church) against the state monopoly on authority. But that will change, since in such a regime there can be no "natural family" against which the state's actions are measured. "Children" cannot rightfully be said to belong to parents--mothers and fathers--since the state has the exclusive power to define "marriage" and "family." Since the "gay family" is not one that nature could have produced without the help of the state and the cooperation of the natural family, there will be need to rid citizens of the last vestiges of what they have always known to be true.

This is the next big culture war fight: religious liberty v. sexual orientation.

Christians and other social conservatives must be prepared to respond in love (though assertively with intelligence and conviction) to some of the most hateful, outrageous, and malicious claims about our character, our beliefs, and our spiritual heroes and leaders they will every read or hear. It is going to come, as underwood seems to indicate by his reference to "racism."

Saith Freethinker, dogmatically: Religious dogmatism tracks with low IQ and low creativity.

You've probably never gotten into an argument with Lydia McGrew, or taken a gander at the Sistine Ceiling.

underwood: It harms same-sex couples and their children

Same-sex couples don't generate children.

And where reasonable people disagree on a question of a moral and religious issue, it's not business but government that must STAY OUT. Don't force your religious beliefs on others.

If only I could believe that's what you really want, since it was an arm of government that just finished cramming it's own redefinition (or abolishment) of marriage down the throat of an entire state.

Prop 8 doesn't affect anyone who's not gay.
And where reasonable people disagree on a question of a moral and religious issue, it's not business but government that must STAY OUT.
It just amazes people how the homosexual activists can keep talking this way while at the same time they _obviously do_ want people punished for not recognizing their relationships as "marriages."

No one's asking that you participate in a same-sex marriage, just stay out of other peoples'.

If only that were true - if you were not forced to recognize the SSM, fine - in fact, that is essentially how it is now - SSM couples can pretend all they want, just don't force the rest of us to join in their delusion.

And as pointed out above, it is about forcing us to join in the delusion.

Here is a link to Apple's Public Relations contacts: http://www.apple.com/pr/contacts/
Of note:

Susan Lundgren (slundgren@apple.com)
Design, Legal & Government
(408) 974-8537

Steve Dowling (dowling@apple.com)
(408) 974-1896

It's sad how some folks simply don't realize they are, on their terms, trying to force their own (progressive liberal) morality on same-sex "marriage" opponents by forcing them to live in a society that publicly privileges homosexual acts.

It's also sad how those some folks don't realize their constant demands to keep morality out of the public square necessarily results in the elimination of persuasion and the use of politics as warfare.

This was my email. Feel free to use any and all of it.
---
October 27, 2008

Dear Ms. Lundgren,

I am writing concerning Apple Computers's recent donation of $100,000 to support same-sex "marriage" in California by opposing Proposition 8. I believe it is an incredible misuse of funds that ought to go to the shareholders of Apple by economic obligation, and that Apple's rationale of supporting same-sex "marriage" as a "civil rights" issue is exactly wrong for these reasons:

First and most obviously, there is no civil rights issue at stake because everybody, regardless of how they like to have sex, has the same right to the institution of the marital union between one man and one woman. Everybody has this right.

What no one has a right to, including heterosexual people, is to re-define the public and legal institution of marriage to be whatever they want it to be. What Apple meant to say is that Apple supports allowing anybody to re-define marriage to be whatever they want it to be (some men want to be "married" to two women or to one woman and an intelligent animal; are you not being unfair to them if this is really a "civil rights" issue?).

Whatever you believe about what marriage is, the point is that it is not a civil rights issue concerning equality. It is an issue of what the public institution of marriage actually is (and is not) and therefore inevitably is open to public philosophical and moral discussion from religious and non-religious groundings.

Does Apple want to get into moral philosophy as a matter of business and corporate funding? That's fine, but you will reap the consequences, which in my case is a refusal to purchase any more Apple products because I disagree with Apple's philosophical and moral expenditures of shareholder money.

But at the least you ought to be accurate and honest to yourselves and others by refraining from calling this a "civil rights" issue rather than a philosophical and political debate of what marriage is and is not. Equal rights concerning marriage exist: everyone may marry one person of the opposite gender; no one may publicly re-define marriage to whatever they want it to be. The argument is about something other than equal rights.

Best wishes in the new publicly moral direction your company is taking,
-A

The primary problem is that your assertion, "there's no problem, any 'people' of any sexual orientation can marry" -- as long as you have one of each gender, is idiotically disingenuous.
It's hard to see how this could be a "problem" seeing as how it happens to be factually true. It's what's called "injecting logical distinctions and clear thinking into the conversation" - something the gay-marriage crowd can't withstand. It's funny how when a person's case rests on fuzzy thinking and fudged semantics, they end up saying that logical clarity is disingenuous.
The obvious point is that, due to sexual orientation, we have men wanting to marry men and women wanting to marry women.
This is true as far as it goes. But then, if that's the obvious point, then Apple should've said so, instead of making the (false) claim that "a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry" are denied by Prop 8. Rather, they should've said "we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry any warm body of their choosing — should not be affected by their sexual orientation".

Of course, when you put it that way, it doesn't really sound like a right anymore, does it? And hence the semantic fudging.

I am confused.

I am not a Christian. However, I have no problem with anyone choosing to be Christian. You may worship in your churches and hold your ceremonies, and believe I am going to hell. I will never do anything to try to stop you, or even say that you are wrong (even if it is very different from what I believe.)

I am not gay. However, I have no problem with a gay person choosing to be married. Gay is, incidentally, not a disorder. Saying that you have a degree or two and calling it a disorder does not make it a disorder. You may believe that it is wrong, but you probably believe the fact that I do not believe in Jesus is wrong too. My lack of belief in your Jesus is not a threat to you. A gay man's marraige to another gay man is also not a threat to you.

I have talked to many people on this issue, and this is what I do not understand: Gay people just want to have the same legal rights as everyone else. They do not state that anyone else needs to have a gay marraige. They do not state that if you don't believe in gay marraige, something bad will happen to you. But the Christians state that if you are not Christian, you will GO TO HELL. If you don't do everything the Christian way, bad things will HAPPEN TO EVERYONE AND SOCIETY WILL FALL!

This is simply silly. Christians may be Christian without hurting anyone. Gay people can be gay without hurting anyone. I can be a rational, straight, non-relious woman, and I'm not threatening anyone either.

Why can't you just get on with your own life, and leave the rest of us out of it? If you're right, you'll be rid of us when you get to heaven anyway.

Frank:

You must realize that putting "Apple Computer" in the title of a post is like putting "Ron Paul" in the title of a post. Toss in a reference to gay "marriage" and it is like a porch light on a dark forest night.

Interesting that while we are discussing the meaning of liberalism from various perspectives in another thread, we are accumulating exhibits of how liberals think about their own liberalism in this one. I love it when theory and empirical data come together.

Well Mrs. Schaarschmidt, as pointed out above, its not just about live and let live. Or did you not read about the gay couple that sued the photographer for not taking pictures of their gay wedding? Its about forcing their views on everyone else. If it was just about them wanting to have their gay wedding, why would they be suing a photographer who didn't want to be a part of it?

So it isn't silly. It is hurting others. So they do believe that if you don't believe in gay marriage something bad will happen to you - you will get sued by them.

This is simply silly. Christians may be Christian without hurting anyone. Gay people can be gay without hurting anyone. I can be a rational, straight, non-relious woman, and I'm not threatening anyone either.
You realize gay people being gay isn't the same as gay people marrying, right? Gay people have been gay, without gay marriage, for millenia. Let me turn this around. You say that my relationship isn't affected by some gay guy's relionship, so I shouldn't care. Fair enough. I say that some gay guy's relationship isn't affected by whether or not the government forces society to recognize it, so he shouldn't care. Agreed?

Incidentally, the reason there hasn't been gay marriage in the past, even in very gay-friendly societies, is that there's no real demand for it. It's not vital, or even beneficial, to society, in the way that marriage is. Even gay people themselves have never really wanted it. What's the point? They can have their sexual relationships without the government forcing society to recognize it.

Contrary to the propaganda to the affect of "Gay people just want the same rights as everyone else. It doesn't affect your life in any way, and you don't have to accept it or engage in it" the whole gay marriage movement is entirely about shoving it in other people's faces and forcing them to accept it. As I said, there's no demand for gay marriage in and of itself, and never has been. The real driving force behind the gay "marriage" movement is to force society to acquiesce to the idea that gay relationships are "equal" to marriage, whether society wants to or not, and to run roughshod over any moral convictions that say otherwise, democracy be damned.

Gay is, incidentally, not a disorder.

Assertions are not arguments. But, as I said, refusing to deal with arguments seems par for the course.

A gay man's marraige to another gay man is also not a threat to you.

I agree. A man's "marriage" to another man is no more a threat to me than a grue is. Neither exist in reality, and what doesn't exist cannot harm me. But a law passed recognizing either of them as existing does harm me and everyone else, since it puts the coercive power of the state behind the service of enforcing a falsehood as truth.

They do not state that if you don't believe in gay marraige, something bad will happen to you.

Unless of course your belief leads you to refuse to allow them to adopt children through your agency. In that case the full force of the state will be brought to bear against you to force you to do so or to give up setting up adoptions. But ignoring facts like that is also, in my experience, par for the course.

The fact is that marriage is not within the province of the state to change by legal fiat. The state itself grew out of marriage, since intermarriage linked various families together into tribes and nations, which in turn eventually grew large enough to require adhering to stable and organized forms of governance. A state is nothing more than the stabilization of such people and the authority of their government to a defined geographical area. Marriage and the family are prior to the state and thus their nature cannot be changed by it.

No one's asking that you participate in a same-sex marriage, just stay out of other peoples'.

How would you like it if the public schools your children were attending suddenly started teaching Bestiality as normal human relationship?

(Although, with how people in the United States love their animals oh so much more than they do their children -- i.e., abortion -- coupled with the fact that most of them believe "homosexuality hurts no one"; I'm rather surprised that Bestiality hasn't been the latest rage in this deluded American society that presently exists!)

Opponents of Prop 8 (i.e., supporters of same-sex marriage) claim that proponents of 8 are trying to force their morality on everyone else, while they are simply seeking neutrality. This is false and misleading. Supporters of SSM are advocating the view that marriage is *not* intrinsically heterosexual and that legal marriage ought not be limited to the union of one man to one woman. This position, however, is not only highly controversial (one which over 61% of California voters opposed in 2000), it is also a substantive philosophical and theological position, and furthermore, as Frank notes, a *normative* position. Thus for supporters of SSM to claim that they are simply seeking neutrality, is false and disingenuous. The question is not whether or not the law will reflect morality and normativity; the question is, will the morality and normativity that the law reflects be good and true? Yes, we have rival conceptions of the good and the true. But let's not pretend that supporters of SSM are not promoting such a view.

And I would add, let's not demonize proponents of 8 as though they are doing something opponents are not (i.e., advocating a normative position).

C Matt - It is not the legalization of gay marraige that caused the photographer to be sued. It is the fact that the people holding the wedding and the photographer who agreed to photograph the wedding apparently did not iron out their expectations before-hand and hold properly to the contract.

Brendon - I am not ignoring the adoption issue. Married couples should be able to adopt children. That is one of the reasons that gay couples want the right to get married.

Aristocles - yours is a straw man argument. No-one is talking about bestiality.

The Duece - you stated "...even gay people themselves have never really wanted it. What's the point?" If gay people didn't want the right to marry, why would we be having this conversation? Sure, some gay couples don't see the point in marraige. Some straight couples don't see the point in marraige either. To say that we don't need to give gay couples the right to marry because they don't want that right is a false statement. I don't think even the people on your side of the discussion will buy that point.

let's not demonize proponents of 8 as though they are doing something opponents are not (i.e., advocating a normative position).


Michael S.,

When will you draw the line between what's normal and what's not???

Are we really going to make such things (as Truth itself) dependent on people's subjective views?

As I alluded to on another thread, given how folks here & elsewhere are so inclined to entertain such exceptionally revolting perversity; it won't be so surprising when equally repugnant & deviant perversions as bestiality & pedophilia are embraced by an ever reprobate society!

Aristocles:

How else are you going to define the truth? What is truth? I'm sorry that you find a loving relationship between a same sex couple as an exceptionally revolting perversity. That's really up to you. But what does that have to do with how we define truth?

Aristocles - yours is a straw man argument. No-one is talking about bestiality.

The anterior question remains: "What's 'normal'???"

You would have us believe that 'normal' can be redefined ever so arbitrarily!

Your "Live & Let Live" rhetoric would have the bestiaphiles & pedophiles along with the homosexuals do as they wish no matter the horrendous repercussions on society and, in particular, Truth!

What is truth?
Ecce homo!

Aristocles: You completely misunderstand the point of my comment. My point was to make clear that both sides are advocating normative positions (contrary to the rhetoric of the No on 8 lobby). My point was not to say which normative position is correct. That's a great topic. But I don't need to to answer that question in order for my point to stand. And I never suggested that truth is dependent upon people's subjective view. Why would you attribute such a silly view to me? I suggest reading more carefully before commenting.

Aristocles: You keep saying the same thing. I don't agree. Fine. But my question is what are you using to define Truth?

I don't think that bestiality or pedophilia are okay. Neither do you. We agree on that. You keep coming back to the fact that Truth Cannot Be Arbitrary.

In order to discuss the point, I need to know what you are using as a baseline for Truth.

How else are you going to define the truth? What is truth? I'm sorry that you find a loving relationship between a same sex couple as an exceptionally revolting perversity.

Why, certainly, the prevailing thesis of today's society that has ultimately become its Natural Law: Truth is whatever we make it out to be!

A "loving relationship" between "man & man", "woman & woman" is just as abiding in Truth as "man & beast" and "man & child"!

Why should the latter two be forbidden when Truth can be molded ever so arbitrarily into whatever form we choose!?

Indeed, why only the utter perversion of Homosexuality should be allowed when we, as a society, can transform perversions of any kind to any degree such that even these can be cast as normative of society!?

Aristocles:

Are you saying that Truth is what you say it is? Or do you have an independent baseline of what Truth is?

You keep saying that Truth cannot be arbitrary. But it sounds to me like you are saying that Truth is what you say it should be. That sounds pretty arbitrary to me. Or are you saying that there is an independent source that we can all go to and find The Truth?

Aristocles: Are you saying that Truth is what you say it is?

That's strange: I thought Truth is whatever you say it is!

You keep saying that Truth cannot be arbitrary. But it sounds to me like you are saying that Truth is what you say it should be. That sounds pretty arbitrary to me. Or are you saying that there is an independent source that we can all go to and find The Truth?

veritas adaequatio rei et intellectus est

Aristocles: You are refusing to answer my question. I am not the one attempting to define the Truth.

You say it cannot be arbitrary, but you only give arbitrary definitions. Either it is arbitrary, or it is not. If it is arbitrary, fine. If it is not, please tell me what you are using as your source or baseline. If you do not have a source or baseline, then your definition is (by definition) arbitrary.

Also, responding in a foreign language does not help. I am assuming this is Latin, but am unsure. If you want me to understand your point, please argue in an understandable way.

I'm done arguing with you. I looked up veritas adaequatio rei et intellectus est and got the following:

One of the key doctrines of the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas is his definition of truth as adaequatio intellectus et rei. The aim of this study is to make clear that the medieval doctrine presents the essential meaning of the term 'truth'.
Thomas' doctrine of truth is developed in his Quaestiones disputatae de veritate. Only careful analysis of the first quaestio allows a precise formulation of the classical definition of truth. For only after Thomas' doctrine of truth has been integrated into his ontology and his theory of meaning, can the meanings of adaequatio, intellectus and res be understood.
After reconstructing Thomas' theory of truth, the author turns to Kant's discussion of traditional notions of truth. Kant's doctrine is taken as representative of that of a number of modern thinkers, as he is held to be the founder of the coherence theory of truth (as against the correspondence theory). An analysis of Kant's critique leads to the unexpected realisation that he maintains the classical definition.
The study of selected texts throws light on the much discussed continuity between medieval and modern thought.

If you don't think that this is arbitrary and completely irrellivent to our converstaion, then we will never be able to communicate.

Why can't you just get on with your own life, and leave the rest of us out of it?
Mrs. Schaarschmidt, I'd like nothing more than to do just that. But I don't have that luxury. The gay agenda has been pushed everywhere. There's a reason my wife and I are homeschooling our kids...we know they're going to be indoctrinated with same-sex relationships as "normal", so-called safe sex, and a myriad of other things with which we disagree. But now I have to worry about the state coming in and claiming that I'm neglecting my children because they're in neither a public nor a private school.

I don't care what two homosexual people choose to do, unless they want to force me to recognize their act as "normal".

Homosexuality was rightly defined as a psychological disorder before groups lobbied to have it removed from the DSM. It was removed not on scientific grounds but because of political pressure (not government-level politics, but common everyday politics). It's disordered because it is not how the human body is supposed to function. Intrinsic? So what. My daughter has hearing loss, from birth. Should her hearing be declared "normal", just because she was born that way? Genetic variance, chromosomal abnormality, gives us people with Down Syndrome (among many others, something I learned a bit about during a crash-course with child #3). Are they normal, or do they have a disorder? I am nearsighted. I could declare my vision to be "normal" to my heart's content, but that wouldn't convince the police that I'm perfectly fine to drive my car without corrective lenses.

When we declare the abnormal to be normal, we lose the truth. When we go beyond that, and say that the abnormal is to be desired, we forget there ever was a truth.

Same sex attraction is an abnormality, a disorder. It should be accounted for and dealt with, not tolerated, any more than I should tolerate reduced vision. Instead of ignoring the disorder, face it and control it.

My not-quite 2-year-old has hearing aids. They'll help her learn to speak normally. Without them, her vocabulary would suffer greatly (and she had a rough enough start...13+ weeks premature). Is it better for me to treat her ailment, or should I just lobby the government to recognize a 10 decibel hearing loss as being "normal"?

By the way, aristocles' argument was a slippery slope, not a straw man. And while slippery slope is a fallacy, it only counts as one when taken to an extreme. Given the groups out there advocating pretty much any sexual behavior one can think of, I don't think it much of a stretch to go from gay "marriage" to plural marriages, and from normalizing homosexuality to normalizing pedophilia or bestiality.

Matthew,

I think you've said it best here:

When we declare the abnormal to be normal, we lose the truth. When we go beyond that, and say that the abnormal is to be desired, we forget there ever was a truth.

I tried to express similar sentiments in the following, although I think I expressed it rather poorly as it escaped Ms. Schaarschmidt.

Why, certainly, the prevailing thesis of today's society that has ultimately become its Natural Law: Truth is whatever we make it out to be!

A "loving relationship" between "man & man", "woman & woman" is just as abiding in Truth as "man & beast" and "man & child"!

Why should the latter two be forbidden when Truth can be molded ever so arbitrarily into whatever form we choose!?

Indeed, why only the utter perversion of Homosexuality should be allowed when we, as a society, can transform perversions of any kind to any degree such that even these can be cast as normative of society!?

I am not ignoring the adoption issue.

Yes, you were. And now you contradicting yourself. "They do not state that if you don't believe in gay marraige, something bad will happen to you," implies that I do not have to believe that their marriages are real marriages, nor that I have to treat them as such. But stating, "Married couples should be able to adopt children," in the context of this discussion, is saying that something bad will happen to me, namely that the state will force me to act in violation of my moral and religious convictions, even though my acting in accordance with such convictions will not deny any "married" same sex duos their "right" to adopt, since there are any number of non-Catholic agencies that set up adoptions and would have no problem with doing it for them. In other words, not only must I live in a society that allows actions which I believe undermine the common good and society itslef, but I am either forced to participate in this undermining against my wishes or forced to cease acting upon my convictions in any significant manner.

I will also not that, "Married couples should be able to adopt children," is, like, "Gay is, incidentally, not a disorder," an assertion rather than an argument. The actual argument is, once again, ignored.

But my question is what are you using to define Truth?

Truth is adaequatio intellectus et rei, conformity between intellect and things in themselves.

If you don't think that this is arbitrary and completely irrellivent to our converstaion, then we will never be able to communicate.

How is giving you the definition you asked for irrelevant to your question? I suppose that paper might be arbitrary and irrelevant to the conversation. But Aristocles didn't sight that paper. He sited the definition, whose translation you obtained from that paper.

Back in the day, Dr. Scruton made an argument that homosexuality is not intrinsically disordered. You can read a review here:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_v38/ai_4282895

I will quote here once again (as I did in another thread) the wise philosopher who stated thus:

Reality is heteronormative.

Incidentally, that wise philosopher happened to be Brendon.

Where does it stop? So, a guy wants to "marry" his sister; whats it hurting? A guy wants to "marry" multiple women and have 4-5 wifes; whats it hurting? A guy wants to "marry" his lifelong faithful dog; whats it hurting? Does it affect you? Hell ya it affects you! We need to stop this liberal BS before this country goes completely down the drain. Why is looking at childrens porn illegal? Its not hurting you is it? Would you want a convicted rapist living next to you? Why not, they are people to. I don't want two gays living next to me, just like I don't want a rapist living next to me. Do you tell your children that having sex with animals is okay as long as it doesn't hurt the animal or someone else. Why not? Because it isn't right? You have something inside you that knows these things are not right. So why are we going to force someone to say it is okay and that we have to accept it as normal. Its not normal.
The reason is it degrades the fabric of our society. the Family structure is our foundation. Teaching our children the same sex relationships is okay means that we as a nation should tolerate anything that doesn't directly have harmful implications against another person. So a guy has 4-5 wifes with 14-15 children, does it affect you? Are you teaching your children its okay. Why not?
Men don't belong with men and women don't belong with women.

Step2, many as have been my disagreements with Dr. Scruton, and unnecessarily abstruse as I find his style, I cannot verify your claim from the link you give. This is the only reference I find in the review to anything like the topic:

Scruton is willing to concede that there may be genuine eros in homosexual experience

from which it does not follow that the inclination is not intrinsically disordered.

Mrs. Schaarschmidt:

The Duece - you stated "...even gay people themselves have never really wanted it. What's the point?" If gay people didn't want the right to marry, why would we be having this conversation?

Did you even read my post? I already answered your question. We're having this conversation not because there are a significant number of gay people who want to be gayly married, but because there are a substantial number of leftists (both gay and straight) who want to force society to accept gay relationships as equal to marriage, for ideological reasons.

In fact, if the driving force behind this conversation were really the desire of gays to marry, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Consider this: gays constitute about 2%-3% of the population. Of that group, the number of gays who want to be in a gay marriage relationship is much smaller. If this debate were really driven only by gay people who wanted to marry each other, we wouldn't be having it. The number of people comprising that group is far too small to drive a major public debate over a major institution.

However, the group of progressives who want to "stick it" to traditional morality, and shove their "morals" down everyone's throat by forcing us to accept gay relationships as equal to marriage, is quite large. It is that group which is really driving the debate, and that is their real reason for driving it.

And that, by the way, is why the supposedly "harmless" desire for gay marriage keeps resulting in decidely un-harmless things like Catholic adoption agencies being forced to shut down, or children being forcibly taught gay moral propaganda by the state against their parents' wishes. That's the real goal. That's what it's really about. Contrary to all the lines about gay marriage not affecting anyone else, the movement is quite emphatically about *not* leaving other people alone.

Lydia,

I was adding to that the preceding paragraph which gives his description of obscenity and perversion. Under that description, I don't see how homosexual desire would qualify.

The article also gave a general explanation of his view of appropriate sexual desire:

Rather, sexual desire is the desire for an "embodied" personal intimacy, and the key term is personal. Erotic interest is interest in a person. It has human meaning, not just biological urgency.

Just so we are clear, I am sure Scruton would never venture so far as to say homosexual eros is equivalent to heterosexual desire in terms of public recognition. He only concedes that it can be a genuine intimacy, not a perverse gratification.

Step2, I still think that's an over-interpretation of what we're given by itself in the review. For example, when Sobran says "definition" of obscenity and perversion, it's entirely plausible that he isn't using those in the strict sense--i.e. "X act is an example of obscenity or perversion if and only if..." Scruton himself is a sufficiently continental-ish writer that I'm sure he wouldn't be caught dead offering a definition in that analytic sense, so it makes perfect sense to interpret the previous paragraph as describing, from Scruton, a set of sufficient conditions for something to qualify as obscenity or perversion but not necessary conditions. Moreover, people use words in all sorts of ways, and "not a case of obscenity or perversion" _could_ be used by somebody, especially somebody like Scruton who prefers to write allusively and beautifully rather than clearly, in such a way that, if pressed and made to give a clear yes or no answer, the writer would still say, "Well, yes, the desire to act in that way is objectively disordered."

My charitable (from my perspective) guess is that any concession Scruton made along the lines Sobran very briefly hints at simply meant that homosexual desire can have other-directed aspects rather than being entirely self-enclosed and objectifying of the other, and that just in that one respect those cases of homosexual desire are "less bad" than, say, p*rn*gr*phy.

From Beckwith's "pee-pee" to Lydia's "p*rn*gr*phy", what other manner of repressed vulgarity is next to be exhibited on W4?

Ugh! "maintain a Christian understanding of the human person..." That's your definition of Christianity, and it's your choice of religions. There are many, many other religions out there. Religious beliefs should not be legislated. Here's the thing: Prop 8 doesn't say "churches can't be punished for... (refusing to marry same-sex couples, refusing to acknowledge same sex marriages)..." or "schools should not teach a definition of marriage..." or anything like that. Prop 8 doesn't PROTECT your right to define marriage according to your religious beliefs. It DESTROYS my right to define marriage according to MY religious beliefs. I'll fight to protect your freedom of religion. When are you going to stop trying to destroy mine?

Unfortunately, underwood, the argument you make is inconsistent with the legalization of same-sex marriage. Remember what we are "legalizing" here. We are not legalizing a private activity. We are creating a whole new public institution on the grounds that justice is being done. This means that those that oppose this new institution are advancing injustice. Thus, just as Baylor would lose its tax-exempt status if it racially discriminated, it would lose its tax-exempt status if it maintained a Christian understanding of the human person. As the Catholic Charities case clearly suggests, it is inevitable if this new institution becomes a nationalized reality.

I say it is a new institution since marriage is the merging of difference in a unity greater than its parts. But in same-sex couplings, there is no merging of difference. There is merely the attachment of the same. In fact, that understanding is the only way to make sense of those that supported and opposed interracial marriage in the U.S. decades ago. The opponents were against interracial marriage because they did not think that the merging of races was good, though they did not deny that merging could come to be. In fact, the opposition presupposed that different raced people could be married. They were just against its happening. Those who supported interracial marriage believed race was an irrelevant characteristic in assessing marriage, since marriage is fundamentally the merging of opposite though complementary sexes, which has nothing to do with race.

Just like the prohibition of interracial marriage, ssm needs the state to enforce it. And thus here's the problem, underwood: in a regime in which the state says the ssm is the instantiation of justice, those that disagree will be marginalized and punished. The examples in MA and NM have shown that already. More will follow, guaranteed.

It doesn't matter what Prop 8 "says." It's the ideas that have consequences. If Prop 8 fails, do you have any doubt that California public schools will be forced to teach children that ssm is a legitimate form of marriage and that it would be unjust to think otherwise? It wouldn't be as bad if California did not use the tax dollars of dissenting parents who then have to pay out of pocket to send their children to private schools that are not aggressively hostile to their theological beliefs.

Underwood, I don't know how old you are, but you surely must know that on these social questions the liberal state always promises neutrality and then gives us despotism. Does political correctness ring a bell?


I just found these comments of underwood on her/his blog (http://eternal-wedding-design.com/wedding-noir/?p=7#more-7):

Just to be clear. Vote NO on proposition 8 in California. I’m all for evil on the silver screen, but this is real-life evil… The proponents of proposition 8 want to turn this around and pretend that by allowing same-sex marriage, the government is trying to infringe on THEIR rights. We all know the truth. Proposition 8 is about taking away rights based solely on sexual preference. No one is threatened by gay marriage. No one’s children are in danger. Oh, no, the evil “other” are after our children!

Look at the arguments, and you’ll find that they’re the same ones set forth opposing interracial marriages. How’s that for advanced thinking?

“It’s not about tolerance,” the ads say. Well, for the people who made that ad, it sure isn’t. For them, it’s about fear and bigotry, with no basis whatsoever. There is no rational argument against gay marriage. Just fear, hate, and ignorance. Just imposing one set of beliefs on everyone else. Let’s banish that type of thinking. Seriously. NO on proposition 8.

So, it seems that he/she fully understands that no on prop 8 will mean public permission and encouragement to call marriage proponents evil, bigots, irrational, fearful, etc.

I am publishing these comments from underwood's blog so that you can see for yourself the disingenuousness of the no vote proponents. They will tell us that they respect our religious liberty, and then they will tell each other that we are just a bunch of evil, ignorant bigots.

It looks like underwood would welcome in our most populous state the sorts of inquisitions we have seen in MA and NM.

I am publishing these comments from underwood's blog so that you can see for yourself the disingenuousness of the no vote proponents. They will tell us that they respect our religious liberty, and then they will tell each other that we are just a bunch of evil, ignorant bigots.

It was a typo; it's not Underwood -- rather, it's Wormwood.

Aristocles, I actually resent that and ask that you rethink it and preferably retract it. I am very careful about my language and try to ask others to be the same. I cannot control what Frank does, but Frank knows my opinions on this subject. Occasionally it is relevant to a substantive point, as it was here, to refer to the type of material to which I referred by the term containing asterisks, but the word itself is not in fact a vulgar term but rather a descriptive one, and one used frequently by conservatives in making substantive points. I added the asterisks entirely so as to avoid the attraction to this site of the sort of readers who are using search engines for that particular term. Perhaps you aren't familiar with the use of special characters for that purpose, but I have seen conservatives do something of that sort before and for that reason and believe I have learned caution by their example. Sometimes, for example, they will replace the letter "o" in the word with a zero.

Please think a little more before you speak, Aristocles, and especially before you accuse me of anything remotely like "repressed vulgarity." I tend to think of myself as, and try to be, something of a decency monitor around here, though I sometimes sit on the fence regarding whether to ask someone else, especially a blog colleague, to change something.

Underwood here:
I'll fight to protect your freedom of religion. When are you going to stop trying to destroy mine?

Underwood there:
There is no rational argument against gay marriage. Just fear, hate, and ignorance. Just imposing one set of beliefs on everyone else. Let’s banish that type of thinking.

Hmmm...banish, eh?

What fascinating and contradictory battle cry. Imposing their beliefs is wrong so we must impose our beliefs to silence them. But wasn't that Frank's point from the beginning?

Let's see what I said and you quoted: "Just imposing one set of beliefs on everyone else. Let's banish that type of thinking." That's not a contradiction. That's the same thing. Let's banish imposing one set of beliefs on everyone else. That IS freedom of religion.

I don't expect you to be rational about gay marriage. Or expect you not to hate or fear. I admit that I believe your beliefs are founded in prejudice, and I admit (declare and celebrate) your right to disagree with me. I expect you not to impose your set of beliefs on everyone else.

I believe in freedom of religion, and in not imposing beliefs on others. Prop 8 imposes a set of beliefs on society, beliefs that are admittedly religious. That's NOT freedom of religion.

Underwood,
Just how do you propose we "banish" thinking of any type -- whether it's a type of thinking you like or a type of thinking you don't like?

And if, by some yet undescribed means you were actually able to "banish" a type of thinking that you didn't like, thus preventing those who wished to think it from actually thinking it, how would your banishing differ from imposing your beliefs on others?

I don't expect you to be rational about gay marriage.

Prop 8 imposes a set of beliefs on society, beliefs that are admittedly religious.

I know it's like talking to a brick wall, but it would be nice for someone to at least attempt to engage the argument. Or at least tell me how it's religious in nature.

I'll repeat it for those who passed over it in their haste to call those who disagree with them unthinking bigots.

Marriage is not within the province of the state to change by legal fiat. The state itself grew out of marriage. Marriage linked various families together into tribes, and linked tribes into nations. These eventually grew large enough to require adhering to some stable and organized forms of governance, i.e. they needed government. A state is nothing more than the stabilization of the authority of the government of a people or nation over a defined geographical area.

Marriage and the family are prior to the state. Thus their nature cannot be changed by the state.

And while slippery slope is a fallacy,

Yes, strictly speaking it is a logical fallacy in that allowing one thing (eg, gay marriage) does not mean that other things must necessarily follow (e.g., polygamy). But, slippery slope arguments are a short hand way of saying that (1) allowing one (SSM) removes a principled objection to the other and (2) based upon history and experience, as one practice is allowed, others tend to follow.

As to one, if the state (or whoever) is allowed to redefine marriage to include ssm, then the state (or whoever) has been given the power to redefine marriage on any bases it chooses. Marriage ceases to be a thing objectively determined, and simply becomes a matter of whim.

Lest we forget what's really at stake here is literally the future of our country, we should probably remember what the primary purpose of marriage, and that's having families and making babies.

Continuing our slide toward Gomorrah, we've allowed our government to first say that we've a right to make the sex act sterile (through contraception), and now, this government wishes to say that sex has nothing to do with procreation. Homosexual sex is abnormal, because it is inherently sterile. Two men or two women getting together to have sex is not about making babies.

The common good, the thing which governments should look after, is being defeated by the government stating, as it has, that marriage has no ties to procreation, as that is what same-sex marriage is really about. The government which endorses sterile marriages is a government that doesn't give a damn about the next generation.

Already it's difficult for a couple to decide to have more than 3 children. It's cost prohibitive. And from my gleanings through the Internet, apparently some homosexuals call heterosexuals breeders in a pejorative sense. In a sense, this has been what the government has been shifting toward for more than 40 years. Rather than encouraging families which would produce the next generation, our government and our society has been discouraging breeders. In a sense, this is part and parcel of the Great Liberal Death wish. Our society is committing suicide.

To be sure, some breeders will continue to make babies, but they'll get little encouragement. And as our population ages, and the percentage of young gets unbearably small, what sort of solutions will the shrinking percentage of tax payers propose?

psst... don't forget to email or call Apple.

Here is a link to Apple's Public Relations contacts: http://www.apple.com/pr/contacts/
Of note:

Susan Lundgren (slundgren@apple.com)
Design, Legal & Government
(408) 974-8537

Steve Dowling (dowling@apple.com)
(408) 974-1896

"Marriage and the family are prior to the state. Thus their nature cannot be changed by the state."

I don't think the State got that memo. Nor the Market for that matter. Witness the disappearance of the "family wage" and traditional sex roles in the workforce.

A major Corporation backing Same-Sex Marriage is (yawn) to be expected, since the market only acknowledges rational standards (not traditional ones), like the commodification and pricing of labor, the flight and concentration of capital and the preeminence of the shareholder over the stakeholder. All concepts that act to engineer the dissolution of family and community life as previously understood and lived by most Americans. The Boardroom sees the Bedroom as simply another venue for consensual transactions to occur.

Slippery slope may be a logical fallacy, but it's darned near an iron law of history.

c matt, I agree. Many logical fallacies seem to fit some perfectly valid arguments. "If same-sex 'marriage' is legalized, then plural marriages are likely to follow." Someone may try to call it a slippery-slope fallacy, but is it really? The argument only becomes a fallacy when the conclusion doesn't logically follow the argument with any significant degree of probability.

Bob LeBlanc, yes, we are called "breeders" by some homosexuals. But I'm willing to accept that label. My 5 (so far) kids will still be around in 50 years, God willing. What will the non-breeders leave as their legacy? Emptiness. But, of course, my kids will be forced to support those who chose not to breed.

One of these days, I'm going to splurge and get my wife a T-shirt I've seen advertised. One of many things it says regarding large families is "You should enjoy our large family; our kids will be paying your social security."

Oh, and as far as the "cost prohibitive" nature of having a good sized family (I don't consider 5 to be "large"), it comes down to priorities and good stewardship of what God has given us. My wife, a full-time stay-at-home mom, homeschools our kids. We live quite well on just my income. We don't have cable TV, no personal cell phones, and don't eat out frequently. But our house is full of joy, laughter, and love.

I think a lot of people who believe both the mother and father have to work haven't run the numbers. Average daycare cost in the US is $611/month (that's $7332/year). For someone working full time making $10/hour, that's half of their income (after taxes) for one child. Add a second child, and it's not worth having the kids in daycare. Once you hit that point, having more kids is just a slight grocery increase, economically speaking.

I feed my family on less than the average cost of daycare.

Slippery slope is only a fallacy if one establishes a reasonable stopping point between a thing and the other thing one thinks it slips to. However, in my experience, most people's idea of a stopping point seems to be, "Oh the courts would never do that!" which isn't exactly reassuring.

Sometimes it is less a slippery slope than an observation of evidence. I believe HBO had/has a show entitled Big Love that explores polygamy and I have read about lawsuits filed by both polygamists and a man that wanted to marry his collie that sited the challenge to traditional concepts of marriage as worded in legislation that codifies homosexual marriage as equal and normal.

These extreme views are not headed for a run at normalization, they are already appealing for normalization. And their ally is legislation that normalizes homosexual marriage. That is a fact.

"...it comes down to priorities and good stewardship of what God has given us."

Matthew,
One benefit of our financial meltdown will be the cultural transformation that follows when many are liberated from their attachment to material things and acquisitive consumerism. Out of painful necessity, people will embrace what you freely chose, and what Mother Teresa said was necessary for genuine communion; "freedom of heart". Like the Israelites who preferred the slavery and full fleshpots of Egypt to following Moses out of bondage, some will resist the journey. Be grateful you've already made it.

Francis said "Apple's reasoning is flawed, since sexual orientation has never inhibited people from getting married. If marriage has a particular nature--one man, one woman--any man and woman not already married to someone else can marry each other regardless of their sexual orientation."

I don't think it's Apple's reasoning that is flawed here Francis!!!

I'm a gay man. I do not wish to marry a woman. If I married a woman that would require me to have sex with that woman. I do not wish to do this and if I did marry a woman there is a 100% chance that the marriager would not be consumated. Did somebody not tell you that sexual intercourse is a requisite part of marriage??? So, yes, my sexual orientation has EVERYTHING to do with who I marry. Got it?

Timcol: I am not arguing that gay men do not have desires for other men. What I am suggesting is that that desire can not be consummated in anything called "marriage."

Consider this example. Suppose I have a sexual desire for a married female colleague, and in fact I find her to be an attractive, intelligent woman with whom I enjoy spending time. I may even want to marry her, and she may even want to marry me. In fact, for some strange reason we may want to stay married to our present spouses and still marry each other. The state does not allow us to marry each other and remain married to our current spouses and call our union "marriage." Our plans are thwarted by the nature of marriage. Is the thwarting of our plans a violation of our civil rights? And suppose the state changes "marriage" in order to allow our plans to come to fruition? What would happen in that case? Would it not be correct to say that the state just changed "marriage" to something it was not before, that it created a new institution that has a family resemblance to marriage but is different? The answer seems to be "yes."

Thus, Apple Computers is simply wrong in depicting the issue as one of civil rights. The issue is whether 5 justices in the state of California--five lawyers, if you will--can by legal fiat make something new out of whole cloth. If you like that arrangement because it happens to align with your desires at this time, be careful. For if the existence of this new institution is merely a social construction produced by word magic, then why not treat the entire tapestry of rights you take for granted as part of the same illusory collection of linguistic make-believe?


Cyrus - I concur wholeheartedly.

Or put another way, slippery slope arguments may not be based upon logical necessity, but they are based upon high probability drawn from experience/history. And in these types of debates where we are discussing policy changes to public institutions, they are perfectly valid, even if they may not be valid in a strict philosophical debate.

Could a defender of SSM, particularly those who think there is a moral analogy between opposition to SSM and the old opposition to marriage between persons of different races, please tell me why Frank Beckwith is WRONG in pointing out the negative and prejudicial impact the legalization of SSM will have on religious nonprofits and religious colleges?

After all, if state conferred benefits or privileges (e.g., tax exempt status) can be withdrawn from a bigoted racist institution if it refused to hire a person who, say, was married to a member of another race, why shouldn't similar benefits or privileges be withdrawn from a bigoted "homophobic" institution. You might allow an exception for "religious" reasons (or religious liberty reasons), but why should you? Wouldn't that be subsidizing religious and homophobic bigotry? Why would we allow Wheaton College or Calvin College or Baylor University the right to discriminate and be homophobic (in their opposition to SSM) with taxpayer support?

Let's face it, Wheaton and Calvin and Baylor are all on the way to becoming just like Bob Jones. Or am I missing something?

I think this is an example of a phenomenon I've seen often elsewhere: You point this stuff out to liberals, and they simultaneously scream "slippery slope" and "alarmism" while at the same time giving one the curious feeling that they aren't really paying attention to the concern. Then later, you find out why: They don't think the consequence you warned about is a bad thing. They _want_ colleges, photographers, and everybody else and his uncle to be sued into non-existence if they don't recognize homosexual couples as married. They think that's just _fine_. They really _believe_ the analogy to interracial marriage. So all the stuff about "slippery slope"-ism is just so much posturing. Those consequences would be just ducky with them.

We've seen this same thing happen with the connection between abortion and infanticide too, by the way. In their hearts, most liberals who pooh-pooh the connection between abortion and infanticide don't really believe that the killing of a born infant is murder if he is too un-self-aware (or whatever) to be a true, Singerian, person. So the possibility that infanticide might be legalized doesn't really bother them very much. That's why they don't listen to the argument.

While I'm waiting for an answer to my post about SSM and religious nonprofits and religoius colleges, maybe a defender of SSM can tell me why polygamy is wrong or immoral or should not be legal. This is not to suggest a "slippery slope" argument, it is to ask, based on the principles they use redefine marriage in one instance (SSM), why it is wrong to redefine it in another (polygamy).

Keith,
First, the premise of your argument would apply to any law that provides strong anti-discrimination measures based on sexual orientation. So it could be separated from the gay marriage debate entirely.

Every rational argument I have seen that aims at the immorality or unnaturalness of homosexual sex also prohibits contraception entirely. Since there is very little public sympathy to allow discrimination based on that common aspect of heterosexual sex, the motivating factor for most of this is in fact based in homophobia.

Since that is the case, there is no legal reason to approach it differently than other phobias. In other words, religious organizations may discriminate only to the extent that it involves employment, sacrament, or is restricted to the church community, not in activities which are available to the general public.

There are six countries that allow gay marriage and fifteen that have national recognition of civil unions, and I have yet to read anything about religious groups being sued into bankruptcy (although there have been some minor lawsuits as anybody would expect). Maybe you could provide some specific examples if I am mistaken.

There are some alternative arguments that focus upon the strange consequences in family law of normalizing same sex marriage. I don’t personally find any of these arguments insurmountable given the way we’ve been able to legally handle adoption, divorce and medically assisted pregnancy.

Step2

"Every rational argument I have seen that aims at the immorality or unnaturalness of homosexual sex also prohibits contraception entirely. Since there is very little public sympathy to allow discrimination based on that common aspect of heterosexual sex, the motivating factor for most of this is in fact based in homophobia."

Even if this is true, isn't it possible for people to accept an argument without drawing out all its logical consequences? At best, your argument shows that the majority of the American public is being inconsistent (surprise!), not homophobic.

"Every rational argument I have seen that aims at the immorality or unnaturalness of homosexual sex also prohibits contraception entirely. Since there is very little public sympathy to allow discrimination based on that common aspect of heterosexual sex, the motivating factor for most of this is in fact based in homophobia."

My head hurts.

However, let's try this one on for size:

"Every rational argument I have seen that aims at the morality or naturalness of homosexual sex also logically allows polygamy, bestiality, adult incest, and wound sex (look it up). Since there is very little public sympathy to allow these acts based on the common aspect of their apparent strangeness (or grossness), the motivating factor for most of this is in fact based in homoerotica and not in advancing justice."

My alter ego is "Analogy Man," and my motto is "What's he like?" :-)

At best, your argument shows that the majority of the American public is being inconsistent (surprise!), not homophobic.

I'll remember to ask the next police officer I meet if he is cleptophobic (but of course the proponents of the you-are-what-you-criticize saw will say it's latent--well isn't that convenient?). In fact, I recently commented about the fact that one of the reasons the Catholic Church talks more about "pelvic issues" is that there are no Theives' Pride Parades to protest. Another poster jokingly called me out: "Obviously you have a deep seated urge to steal and the repression is causing you to lash out at those who would choose other forms of expression of one’s property rights. What you need to do is go and rob a bank and then you’ll feel better."

So she got me. I'm really a closet freebooter. Meanwhile the subjects at hand, the rightness or wrongness of stealing and homosex, remain untouched.

I don’t personally find any of these arguments insurmountable given the way we’ve been able to legally handle adoption, divorce and medically assisted pregnancy.

I guess it depends on what one means by "finding an argument insurmountable." Is it a _good idea_ in public policy to create new situations in which persons unrelated to a child biologically, who have not legally adopted the child, are recognized in law as parents of the child and given visitation and custody rights over the wishes of those who are either biologically or by adoption the child's parents? It seems to me obviously a very bad idea.

religious organizations may discriminate only to the extent that it involves employment, sacrament, or is restricted to the church community, not in activities which are available to the general public.

This is hardly comforting. Some of us think it fairly outrageous that the activity "available to the general public" of placing children for adoption should be required to observe "non-discrimination" in placing with homosexuals.

I wish to note that Step2's points apparently mean that he *does not object* to the forcing of non-discrimination upon religious organizations or private individuals (like the wedding photographer) in the area of "sexual orientation."

Another point worth noting, which Step2 as a lawyer ought to appreciate, is this: Both public policy and decisions such as employment policy or "discrimination" often quite naturally involve those things that are *made obvious and evident* to the person making the decision. No doubt part of the reason that there is no widespread support for discrimination based on the use of birth control is that when a heterosexual couple asks a photographer to take pictures of their wedding, a printer to print invitations, or a Christian school to rent them married student housing, it would require detailed personal inquiry to find out if they planned to use contraception. This is obviously not so in the case of two men or two women who are positively flaunting the fact that they consider themselves "married" and involved in a sexual relationship with one another. By demanding accommodation for their "weddings" and "marital relationships" they are demanding neither more nor less than that all the people involve treat that relationship as, in fact, a marriage, even if those people can tell from what is put out in their faces that they do not deem it to be a marriage.

the motivating factor for most of this is in fact based in homophobia

I guess it depends upon what you mean by homophobia. If you mean someone who finds homosexual acts and unions immoral and detrimental to society, then yes. If you mean someone who just doesn't like homosexual persons, then I would have to disagree.

I agree, C Matt. I would also add that it is not even a mental disorder (a "phobia") to consider homosexual acts to be morally worse than the use of contraception or to consider it to be more important for the good of society to refuse to acknowledge homosexual unions to be "marriages" than to discover which heterosexual wedding couples among one's prospective photography or print-order customers intend to use contraception.

"Homophobia" is a slur invented to defame and marginalize. It is not the conclusion of an argument, or even relevant to the conclusion of any argument. To issue such a judgment, one must actually have direct awareness of someone's inner life. In other words, one must be both presumptuous and mean to issue it.

Let's start calling pacifists "hemophobic"--fear of bloodshed--and see if anyone takes that as a serious critique of the view.

At some point, in roughly 1979, people stopped growing up, and they stayed ossified in their childish ways, including the penchant to engage in name-calling for those who aren't hanging with the cool kids.

Western Civilization, it was great while it lasted.

Good point Lydia - "phobia," meaning an unwarranted or disordered fear, doesn't apply.

The following excerpt is from an article by William Saletan where he attempts to differentiate homosexuality and beastiality. He couches his argument in terms of consent, but specific to this conversation the following excerpt seemed appropriate.

http://www.slate.com/id/103801/

Liberals have a different problem. Most of them want to say that sex with your dog is wrong, but sex with a human of your own gender isn't. The trouble is, Singer explicitly connects the two practices (both are non-procreative), and people who advocate sex with animals—"zoophiles," as they prefer to be called—borrow the language of gay liberation. "I'm the first out-of-the-closet 'zoo' to be attacked because of my sexual orientation," Philip Buble, a zoophile, told the Bangor Daily News four months ago. Buble says the "relationship" between man and beast "can develop to be a sexual one." Testifying before a Maine legislative committee a week ago, Buble accused proponents of a ban on animal sexual abuse of trying "to force morality on a minority. It will be a disservice to zoo couples and would keep zoo couples from coming out of the closet and drive us deeper underground." Commenting on Dearest Pet, the book that inspired Singer's essay, other zoophiles articulate an "alternative sexual lifestyle" defined by "loving relationships with their animal lovers."

And then later as a man sought permission from the judge presiding over his assault case against his father, who attacked him with a crowbar in disapproval of his choices, to bring his dog to court:

Buble wrote. "I've been informed your personal permission is needed given that my wife is not human." In his legislative testimony a week ago, Buble declared that he and Lady "live together as a married couple. In the eyes of God we are truly married."

Sick? Yes. But the point is he and other "zoophiles" are already using the same arguments that SSM proponents use. It is not a future possibility but a current and twisted reality.


Jay:

Have you ever read Peter Singer's essay, "Heavy Petting"? You can find it here: http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/2001----.htm

(Warning: this is some very weird and vulgar stuff, and may be deeply offensive to many).

BTW, if it is okay to consume cows, chickens, and turkeys, sex cannot be out of the question. Lends a whole knew meaning to taking your date out for dinner.

Frank

Frank,

MAY be deeply offensive to many? Yikes.

You know Paul Johnson defines intellectuals pejoratively as those who loves ideas more than people. I cannot help but think of Singer every time that definition comes to mind. His last line of that essay is almost too ridiculous to believe.

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