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← "In Your Image" (sex columnist Dan Savage's response to a reader's letter)

"In Your Image" (sex columnist Dan Savage's response to a reader's letter) - Comments

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 1 by Steve Zara

I'm a great fan of Savage and his direct and wise approach.

Sun, 17 Oct 2010 21:54:35 UTC | #534674

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 2 by InYourFaceNewYorker

This guy is awesome! Has anybody read Prayers for Bobby and seen the film? Bobby Griffith's parents acted out of love in trying to "heal" him. They ended up contributing to his suicide. His parents learned their lesson and became advocates for gay people, but that will never bring him back...

Julie

Sun, 17 Oct 2010 22:09:46 UTC | #534684

MumboJumbo's Avatar Comment 3 by MumboJumbo

Thanks for the link to the article. It was great to read Savage cutting straight to the heart of the matter.

Sun, 17 Oct 2010 22:47:48 UTC | #534702

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 4 by phil rimmer

There are times when even a hint of accommodationism is not to be countenanced. I hope all accommodationists realise this.

A powerful, necessary excellent piece.

Sun, 17 Oct 2010 23:17:33 UTC | #534718

Matt B's Avatar Comment 5 by Matt B

This was an amazingly written piece. How unfortunate that it will most likely fall on deaf ears; if such logical rationalizations were heeded by the devout, there would be precious few "believers" left.

Fortunately, though, this seems like a very sturdy step in the raising of consciousness on the issues. To me, this is where the true value of this article lies.

Sun, 17 Oct 2010 23:25:41 UTC | #534722

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 6 by DamianIcely

Comment 4 by phil rimmer :

There are times when even a hint of accommodationism is not to be countenanced. I hope all accommodationists realise this.

A powerful, necessary excellent piece.

Exactly. This, to me, is what gnu atheism is about. Just out and admit what the problem is. Stop ducking the issues and admit what's going on and who's to blame.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 00:11:02 UTC | #534743

Arnott Bird's Avatar Comment 7 by Arnott Bird

I take it that Dan Savage doesn't respond to every query put to him..and there are a couple of aspects I find a little.... questionable in his reply. If my first contention is correct, then why did he choose to reply to this particular query? Was it to make some sort of point? What point, then? That there is no room for disagreement? It seems to me that the "Fuck your feelings" might be construed as sensationalism for its own sake. He then goes on to make some pretty fundamental assumptions about this person's pov.

He says that; "but so long as you support the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, it's clear that you do believe that some people—straight people—are "better or more worthy" than others." Of course there is another reason, which is that they may simply view marriage as the first step to beginning a family - ie there is no "better or more worthy" in their reasoning. But then he goes on to assert that "And—sorry—but you are partly responsible for the bullying and physical violence being visited on vulnerable LGBT children. " because; "The kids of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way"... Bigotry? The writer claimed only that she didn't support gay marriage, not why.

I'm also concerned by the use of the term "Gay and lesbian children." Children? Are children sexualised now?

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 00:26:49 UTC | #534745

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 8 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I had the same reaction when Richard said "buggering boys" in his speech against the Pope. However, after thinking about it for a while, I realized that sometimes you need to use such words to convey the severity of the situation. How much impact would Richard have had if he'd said, "having anal sex with boys" instead? Or if Dan Savage had said, "Forget your feelings?" No. FUCK YOUR FEELINGS. That gets his point across in a very strong way. Sometimes swear words really are effective.

Also, some kids know from a young age that they're gay and lesbian. I would guess that they know by about age 13. Isn't that person still very much a kid?

Julie

Comment 7 by Arnott Bird :

I take it that Dan Savage doesn't respond to every query put to him..and there are a couple of aspects I find a little.... questionable in his reply. If my first contention is correct, then why did he choose to reply to this particular query? Was it to make some sort of point? What point, then? That there is no room for disagreement? It seems to me that the "Fuck your feelings" might be construed as sensationalism for its own sake. He then goes on to make some pretty fundamental assumptions about this person's pov.

He says that; "but so long as you support the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, it's clear that you do believe that some people—straight people—are "better or more worthy" than others." Of course there is another reason, which is that they may simply view marriage as the first step to beginning a family - ie there is no "better or more worthy" in their reasoning. But then he goes on to assert that "And—sorry—but you are partly responsible for the bullying and physical violence being visited on vulnerable LGBT children. " because; "The kids of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way"... Bigotry? The writer claimed only that she didn't support gay marriage, not why.

I'm also concerned by the use of the term "Gay and lesbian children." Children? Are children sexualised now?

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 00:47:21 UTC | #534752

i_am_user's Avatar Comment 9 by i_am_user

Comment 7 by Arnott Bird :

He says that; "but so long as you support the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, it's clear that you do believe that some people—straight people—are "better or more worthy" than others." Of course there is another reason, which is that they may simply view marriage as the first step to beginning a family - ie there is no "better or more worthy" in their reasoning.

And why can't gay couples have a family? If its not about being better or more worthy, then I would hope they also oppose old (menopausal) people from marrying, as well as other sterile people, and are generally opposed to adoption and IVF.

I'm also concerned by the use of the term "Gay and lesbian children." Children? Are children sexualised now?

Yes, what's wrong with that? Some gay people (friends) have 'always' known. One friend in particular has known since kindergarden (she had a crush on her teacher!)

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 01:03:42 UTC | #534756

Arnott Bird's Avatar Comment 10 by Arnott Bird

Also, some kids know from a young age that they're gay and lesbian. I would guess that they know by about age 13. Isn't that person still very much a kid?

I'm not convinced that children of that age can be sure of their sexuality. I think sexuality is something that you, for want of a better term, have to get used to or grow into. And at the beginning of puberty, of all these hormonal changes, such feelings are often confused, and confusing. Personally I believe that is why we have an age of consent, and the further from that age (the younger the child) the more psychologically damaging any potential sexual encounter is likely to be (not to mention physically).

I guess what I'm saying is, surely we can only really judge sexuality when the person involved becomes sexually active - and by that point I would hope they are not children(if they are...something is wrong..). I just figure that the term children is being used because of its emotive power.

I guess I'm just a little suspicious of sensationalist language for the sake of it, and also of the level of presumption within his response. If I might say, I think that more and more the concept of tolerance is misunderstood; such that one cannot be seen as tolerant unless one accepts all of the tenets of agreement.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 01:04:48 UTC | #534757

i_am_user's Avatar Comment 11 by i_am_user

Comment 10 by Arnott Bird :

Also, some kids know from a young age that they're gay and lesbian. I would guess that they know by about age 13. Isn't that person still very much a kid?

I'm not convinced that children of that age can be sure of their sexuality. I think sexuality is something that you, for want of a better term, have to get used to or grow into. And at the beginning of puberty, of all these hormonal changes, such feelings are often confused, and confusing.

Unfortunately, basing your position on what 'seems' right isn't any more convincing either. I suppose you can say this is anecdotal or coincidental, but if you speak to people in the lgbt community, especially those who grew up in a religious household, they will tell you that even at an early age, they realize their 'unnatural' attractions that differ from all of the other boys or girls, an attraction so strong and inherent that their guilt and suppression leads to major depression, and suicidal thoughts (yes, even at a young age). Do you think all of that is just hormonal confusion?

I guess what I'm saying is, surely we can only really judge sexuality when the person involved becomes sexually active - and by that point I would hope they are not children(if they are...something is wrong..). I just figure that the term children is being used because of its emotive power.

By this, then, one cannot truly know they are homosexual without having had sex with both genders (or having sex at all)? Similarly for heterosexual people?

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 01:34:10 UTC | #534765

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 12 by BanJoIvie

Comment 7 by Arnott Bird

...why did he choose to reply to this particular query? Was it to make some sort of point?

Oviously it was to make a point. What other possible reason would one have for publishing one's correspondence instead of responding privately? Advice columnists write their responses for their readership, and only secondarily for those who wrote them.

What point, then? That there is no room for disagreement?

Got it in one! This is as close as you can come to a black and white issue. Literally black and white I mean. The parallels to the American Civil Rights struggle - and especially the fight for mixed race marriage - are nearly perfect. There's no room for polite disagreement on the subject of equal rights. If you think some group deserves fewer benign rights because of their identity, your opinion is causing harm - whether you intend it or not. You should be publicly opposed.

Bigotry? The writer claimed only that she didn't support gay marriage, not why.

Yes, bigotry. The why is irrelevant in this case. All the "whys" are bigoted. (or appeal or aquiesce to bigotry for political reasons). However one tries to justify it, whetever polite chain of argument one constructs, all reasons for opposing marriage equality stem from bigotry. Period.

Of course there is another reason, which is that they may simply view marriage as the first step to beginning a family - ie there is no "better or more worthy" in their reasoning.

Nonsense. I'm always amazed that adults convince themselves that they oppose equal rights on such grounds. Anyone presenting you this argument is lying to themselves or to you. It takes almost no additional thought to completely demolish the logic behind it.

The law does not "view marriage as the first step to beginning a family". Plenty of marriages are liscenced and sanctioned every day for couples who are infertile, beyond child-bearing age, or fully intent upon remaining childless. "Can you or will you start a family?" is not a qualifying question on any application for a marriage license. There is no difference in family-starting potential between a gay couple and an infertile straight couple. It's only the law itself which could prevent a gay couples from starting an adoptive family, just like a straight couple. The law then (and those people who support the law) must have some other reason for singling out gay couples to outlaw their marriages.

L.R. took care to specify in this letter that s/he "loves the Lord and does not support gay marriage." L.R. believes explicitly that homosexuals aren't entitled to equality. That they are unequal. Children see through such thinly veiled prejudice no matter how much Xian love it's wrapped in. They know justification when they hear it, and they reduce such statements to simple terms, "straight people—[are] better or more worthy".

Dan doesn't need to leap to any conculsions in his reply. L.R. has stated the prejudice outright.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 02:17:57 UTC | #534781

Truly Apes's Avatar Comment 13 by Truly Apes

Comment 10 by Arnott Bird :

Also, some kids know from a young age that they're gay and lesbian. I would guess that they know by about age 13. Isn't that person still very much a kid?

I'm not convinced that children of that age can be sure of their sexuality. I think sexuality is something that you, for want of a better term, have to get used to or grow into. And at the beginning of puberty, of all these hormonal changes, such feelings are often confused, and confusing. Personally I believe that is why we have an age of consent, and the further from that age (the younger the child) the more psychologically damaging any potential sexual encounter is likely to be (not to mention physically).

I guess what I'm saying is, surely we can only really judge sexuality when the person involved becomes sexually active - and by that point I would hope they are not children(if they are...something is wrong..). I just figure that the term children is being used because of its emotive power.

I guess I'm just a little suspicious of sensationalist language for the sake of it, and also of the level of presumption within his response. If I might say, I think that more and more the concept of tolerance is misunderstood; such that one cannot be seen as tolerant unless one accepts all of the tenets of agreement.

A 17 year-old is still a "child", so I don't see the problem. You criticize him for using "sensationalist language for the sake of it", but you appear to be nitpicking non-issues just for the sake of disagreeing.

Also, it's not unusual for kids to be "dating" and engaging in some form of sexual activity by the time they're 12 or 13 -- even if it's just kissing and touching. I think it's extremely naive to assume kids don't know whether or not they're gay by that age. If I felt the strong urge to start kissing girls by then, why wouldn't a gay guy have felt an equally strong urge to be kissing boys at the same age?

The only difference is that a gay person would probably try harder to reject those urges because other kids have been raised to think they're weird, and the woman who wrote this letter is a perfect example of why kids think that way. Notice how she never said ANYTHING about the fact that it's perfectly normal to be gay; she only said that she was sad that he took his own life. Savage nailed it when he said the hatred and fear are implicit -- she tries to come across as "tolerant" by saying that everyone is imperfect, but she's obviously the type of person who thinks being gay is a disease:

If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preference, how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)? There is no part of me that took any pleasure in what happened to that young man.

Comparing sexuality to choosing a faith? "Ignorant" is probably the nicest way to describe that...

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 06:12:02 UTC | #534822

Arnott Bird's Avatar Comment 14 by Arnott Bird

Got it in one! This is as close as you can come to a black and white issue. Literally black and white I mean. The parallels to the American Civil Rights struggle - and especially the fight for mixed race marriage - are nearly perfect. There's no room for polite disagreement on the subject of equal rights.

We are talking about marriage here, yes? Not Civil Unions. Marriage is a term with a religious context; marriage occurs within a religious context. To oppose gay marriage is not the same as opposing gay unions. As a Christian she/he has every right to hold an opinion within that religious context. In his/her own words "to imply that I would somehow encourage my children to mock, hurt, or intimidate another person for any reason is completely unfounded and offensive."

There are too many assumptions made about the person's actions based upon this one disagreement. She explicitly states, in that sentence, that it is wrong to mock, intimidate or hurt another person for any reason - so it seems somewhat wild to then suggest that her holding an opinion within a specifically religious context means that her holding that opinion (in spite of every other opinion she has openly declared) will lead to that bullying and 'hatred'.

I'm a little concerned about the language that is being used more and more in the debate as well. What, for example, does NORMAL mean?

Comparing sexuality to choosing a faith? "Ignorant" is probably the nicest way to describe that...

Can I say that the way the response is formulated it appears as if this is my argument that you are responding to, which it is not.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 08:44:30 UTC | #534859

CarolineMary's Avatar Comment 15 by CarolineMary

We are talking about marriage here, yes? Not Civil Unions. Marriage is a term with a religious context; marriage occurs within a religious context. To oppose gay marriage is not the same as opposing gay unions. As a Christian she/he has every right to hold an opinion within that religious context. In his/her own words "to imply that I would somehow encourage my children to mock, hurt, or intimidate another person for any reason is completely unfounded and offensive."

Excuse me?

Civil unions are a halfhearted appeasement measure. The UK govt has had to put all sorts of extra laws in place to enforce 'equal treatment' of civil unions, when all they had to do was repeal one clause of the marriage act. (the bit about marriage being between a man and a woman).

And while marriage can be religious, it is a legally recognised civil arrangement as well. If you deny marriage to gays on the grounds that it's religious then you deny to anyone who chose not to go through the mumbo-jumbo.

I made my promises to the man I love, not a sky-fairy. But I'm still married.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 10:15:41 UTC | #534907

Arnott Bird's Avatar Comment 16 by Arnott Bird

Civil unions are a halfhearted appeasement measure. The UK govt has had to put all sorts of extra laws in place to enforce 'equal treatment' of civil unions, when all they had to do was repeal one clause of the marriage act. (the bit about marriage being between a man and a woman).

That Civil Unions are a half-hearted appeasement measure is a fault in the secular division of authority in the UK (and in those other countries so affected); that they exist as separate from marriage, again is a fault within those organisations.

And while marriage can be religious, it is a legally recognised civil arrangement as well.

Indeed, but not wholly. It is still recognised as a religious matter, which is why the 'alternative' of Civil Unions has been instigated. Rightly or wrongly, marriage still merits a religious connotation. Given that this woman stated very explicitly that she is a Christian, then it is not beyond reason that her views on marriage are specifically of a religious nature.

All that I'm saying is that the response assumed way too much, and was overtly and unnecessarily aggressive. Let's take a not-wholly uncommon alternative response and let's see what the language means then; "I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by my comments.

No, wait. I'm not. Young kids are being perverted by sexual predators. So let's try to keep things in perspective: Fuck your feelings."

These are the sort of irrational fears that drive such intolerance, but what does the 'flavour' of the response suggest? There is no discussion, no room for discussion. It makes the same sort of 'you're an apologist for..' argument.

As I say, I think the meaning of tolerance is somewhat misunderstood.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 10:38:05 UTC | #534917

DctrZaius's Avatar Comment 17 by DctrZaius

I love his response! Thoroughly entertaining.

Regarding the sugarcoating of participation in Christianity. I recently had a really constructive conversation with a fellow science student at uni who claims to be a Catholic, only she's really logical and disagrees with a lot of what the Vatican says and she accepts evolution completely and agrees with gay marriage and is in favour of IVF and PGD and the use of condoms in, well everywhere, but mainly AIDS-riddled Africa, and the list goes on. The only thing we disagreed on was the existence of God. I found myself asking her 'it doesn't really sound like you're a Catholic at all, why do you call yourself one?'. She insisted that the way she lives her life is 'Christian' so she will continue to call herself one. I thought, well, many of us Atheists behave in such a way that could be incidentally Christian i.e. we're selfless, generous, caring, compassionate etc. all things in common with the sane versions of Christianity/the way Jesus lived his life. Why do these people still want to call themselves Catholic or Christian when they're clearly not!? The indoctrination must be so strong...the fear of hell must be so great. Is it really acceptable from the Vatican's point of view to have all of these people calling themselves Catholic but not really following their every word? Are they real Catholics? Until that conversation I thought the only people who could call themselves Catholic had to be the crazy Vatican-obeying ones, and those ones only. Surely any straying from the Holy See is condemned?

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 11:15:56 UTC | #534940

egg is egg's Avatar Comment 18 by egg is egg

Oh jeez... I'm SO SICK of straight people trying to speak about gay people as if they have any clue what they're talking about. Guess what? You don't.

Yes there are "gay children." I have been best friends with the same person since second grade and back then he DEFINITELY knew. We all knew. Some of us may not have known there was a word for it, but we knew what it was. He officially "came out" in the fourth grade.

Have you never seen elementary school children form crushes on each other? Would you question a boy with a crush on his female school mate about how he could possibly KNOW he's REALLY straight? Come the fuck on.

And yes, children are "sexual" beings. They have interest in one another, masturbate, etc. I'm sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but that's the reality.

Also, sexuality, whether it be hetero homo or whatever, is about more than the act of sex. We don't tell young straight people they have to go ahead and have sex with each other before they "know" if they're really straight, why do people insist on doing that with gay people? Being gay is about who you find attractive in the first place, long before it ever gets around to having sex. My other gay friend doesn't even care much about sex at all and prefers simply hanging out and cuddling, but he's still very much a gay man.

So how about next time, instead of making random assumptions about GLBT people, maybe try listening to what WE are telling you every day.

Sorry to go off, but I'm getting REALLY tired of this attitude, especially coming from the atheist community.

(I'd be the "T" in "GLBT" btw.)

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 14:31:03 UTC | #535069

egg is egg's Avatar Comment 19 by egg is egg

Also, more on topic, I thought his response was great. I'm so tired of Christians crying persecution and hurt feelings when they're called out on their beliefs and actions, when they are the ones who want to deny us our rights. It's so easy to sit on your ass, removed from the reality of the kind of discrimination GLBT people face every day. The last thing these people deserve is more comfy cushioning.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 14:40:42 UTC | #535076

Arnott Bird's Avatar Comment 20 by Arnott Bird

Oh jeez... I'm SO SICK of straight people trying to speak about gay people as if they have any clue what they're talking about. Guess what? You don't.

Oh jeez...and there I was thinking that it was perfectly NORMAL to be gay...., so is it, then, not NORMAL to not be gay? What does 'being gay' or 'being straight' even mean? You know, we are all (or almost all) sexual beings. Do I know what it is like to live as an 'out' gay? Not entirely, no. Do I know what it is to grow up with the increasingly complex question of sex battering away at me? Yes.

Yes there are "gay children." I have been best friends with the same person since second grade and back then he DEFINITELY knew. We all knew. Some of us may not have known there was a word for it, but we knew what it was. He officially "came out" in the fourth grade.

Yes, but we only DEFINITELY know, actually, once they 'come out'. Isn't this whole 'I bet he is' a part of the problem facing gay people?

Have you never seen elementary school children form crushes on each other? Would you question a boy with a crush on his female school mate about how he could possibly KNOW he's REALLY straight? Come the fuck on.

Who says that they are necessarily? Or rather who says they will be?

And yes, children are "sexual" beings. They have interest in one another, masturbate, etc. I'm sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but that's the reality.

Nope, masturbated from a young age, I fully understand that there are feelings that children have, though what those feelings mean is another story. That's why I said what I said about the age of consent. Sane people recognise that paedophilia is wrong, precisely because children are children and whatever sexuality they are developing can be abused. paedophilia often begets paedophilia - though not always - which is an uncomfortable concept.

Also, sexuality, whether it be hetero homo or whatever, is about more than the act of sex.

Is it?

We don't tell young straight people they have to go ahead and have sex with each other before they "know" if they're really straight, why do people insist on doing that with gay people?

I'm not sure people do.... I'm a little confused about what it is you are saying.

Being gay is about who you find attractive in the first place, long before it ever gets around to having sex.

Hmmm...aren't we just talking about the difference between sexual preference and sexual behaviour here?

So how about instead of making random assumptions about GLBT people, why not listen to what WE are telling you every day next time.

What random assumptions did I make about GLBT people? That likely they're sexuality is likely from the same basic urges as any other sexual orientation?(I use 'they're', btw, only because I've been told I must treat 'them' differently....)

Sorry to go off, but I'm getting REALLY tired of this attitude, especially coming from the atheist community.

What attitude, exactly?

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 14:56:18 UTC | #535090

NealOKelly's Avatar Comment 21 by NealOKelly

Comment 7 by Arnott Bird :

And why can't gay couples have a family?

Life of Brian moment!!!:

Stan: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them. Reg: But you can't have babies. Stan: Don't you oppress me. Reg: Where's the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 15:13:11 UTC | #535097

egg is egg's Avatar Comment 22 by egg is egg

It had nothing to do with "I bet he is." He was crushing on boys, kept pictures of boy band members, talked about how gorgeous this guy was or that guy was, had "boyfriends."

And when did I say it isn't "normal" to be gay? Gay and straight people ARE generally going to get a very different experience out of life due to cultural and social circumstances. But my point was that most gay people, just like most straight people, ARE aware in one way shape or form of their romantic preferences even at a very young age. I personally have never met someone who was completely unaware of themselves sexually until they hit puberty and then SUDDENLY out of NOWHERE had sexual ideas and preferences... I'm sure there are people who do, in fact I'm sure it takes some people up into their adulthood to figure themselves out, but it really gets on my nerves when people CONSTANTLY insist that children can't possibly know they're gay until they're older or until they're "sexually active."

"I'm not sure people do.... I'm a little confused about what it is you are saying." That's exactly what you did when you said "surely we can only really judge sexuality when the person involved becomes sexually active."

"Hmmm...aren't we just talking about the difference between sexual preference and sexual behaviour here?" And that's exactly my point. Being gay is a romantic/sexual preference and has nothing to do with whether or not you actually HAVE sex with someone. If a woman tells you the thinks Johnny Depp is hot, would you think she couldn't possibly know she thinks he's hot because she hasn't had sex with him yet?

And when I said "random assumption" first of all I'm NOT just talking about you specifically... But in this particular case, it would be the conversation we're having right now.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 15:13:38 UTC | #535098

NealOKelly's Avatar Comment 23 by NealOKelly

Comment 15 by CarolineMary

Excuse me?

Civil unions are a halfhearted appeasement measure. The UK govt has had to put all sorts of extra laws in place to enforce 'equal treatment' of civil unions, when all they had to do was repeal one clause of the marriage act. (the bit about marriage being between a man and a woman).

Not so, I'm afraid CarolineMary. We have an established church. The Church of England is legally obliged to conduct marriage services. If you are a resident of a parish then you are entitled to get married in that parish.

So, to introduce same sex marriage as opposed to civil partnerships would either require disestablishment of the Church of England... or to compel the church to do something against it's belief.

And that would never have got through parliament...

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 15:22:19 UTC | #535106

Anvil's Avatar Comment 24 by Anvil

I've nothing against Civil Unions, They're welcome to them and I hope they'll be very happy. I'm just against equality, that's all. What's so wrong with that?

Anvil.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 15:27:27 UTC | #535109

Anvil's Avatar Comment 25 by Anvil

Comment 23 by NealOKelly :

Comment 15 by CarolineMary

Excuse me?

Civil unions are a halfhearted appeasement measure. The UK govt has had to put all sorts of extra laws in place to enforce 'equal treatment' of civil unions, when all they had to do was repeal one clause of the marriage act. (the bit about marriage being between a man and a woman).

Not so, I'm afraid CarolineMary. We have an established church. The Church of England is legally obliged to conduct marriage services. If you are a resident of a parish then you are entitled to get married in that parish.

So, to introduce same sex marriage as opposed to civil partnerships would either require disestablishment of the Church of England... or to compel the church to do something against it's belief.

And that would never have got through parliament...

That's interesting? So would a CoE Church be legally obliged to marry a catholic couple?

Anvil.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 15:32:51 UTC | #535114

NealOKelly's Avatar Comment 26 by NealOKelly

That's interesting? So would a CoE Church be legally obliged to marry a catholic couple?

Yes, Anvil, according to the marriage act of 1949, yes they would. It's a comparatively recent law that was brought in because of increasing religious diversity (and the fact that non-religious couples couldn't get access to marriage services because they didn't attend church regularly). At the time, provision for Civil Ceremonies was pretty much non-existent.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 15:45:39 UTC | #535118

Anvil's Avatar Comment 27 by Anvil

Thanks, Neal, I never knew that. But presumably, in 1949, the established church was compelled to do something against its beliefs (ie marry couples from the church of Rome or provide marriage services for non-believers)?

EDIT: I was initially musing with the idea that the good old CoE might bend happily with the prevailing wind but then was minded of this weeks announcement of a whole parish collectively defecting to Catholicism as a protest against their potentially imminent inability to continue their bigotry against women.

Anvil.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 16:23:35 UTC | #535128

NealOKelly's Avatar Comment 28 by NealOKelly

Anvil

I think - out of politeness - the convention was to pretend that one did believe... at least for a few weeks before the wedding day!

Neal

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 17:34:00 UTC | #535151

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 29 by BanJoIvie

Comment 14 by Arnott Bird

We are talking about marriage here, yes? Not Civil Unions.

Correct. So why are you changing the subject?

Marriage is a term with a religious context;

So? Plenty other religious based opinions are also bigoted. Many consider white supremacy and the need to prevent racial mixing a religious opinion I don't respect bigotry any more because someone labels it religious.

marriage occurs within a religious context.

Sometimes. Sometimes not. Again, the law doesn't have a different term for irreligious straight couples. It's just a marriage. So the law must be making its distinction on grounds other than religion.

To oppose gay marriage is not the same as opposing gay unions.

Well, both opinions = opposing gay marriage, so yeah, they are the same. The second opinion is just sugar coated with a set of excuses to justify the opinion that gays should be treated differently by the law and that straight marriages are "sacred" or "correct" or "the real marriages." It all amounts to "straights are better than gays." At least the first formulation is honest about it.

Marriage for straights and "equal" civil unions for gays is still just legally codified inequality. Again the parallel to American "Jim Crow" laws is obvious. Separate drinking fountains, bathrooms, bus seats, schools, or 'Unions' simply are not - and cannot be - equal. It doesn't matter what sort of gymnastics the law tries to pull to patch over the inherent inequality of making such a fundamental distinction.

As a Christian she/he has every right to hold an opinion within that religious context.

No one is questioning L.R's right to hold or express an opinion no matter how prejudiced it may be. You are the one arguing that the opinion should be respected, that Mr. Savage should treat it with kid gloves because it is "religious." You seem to think L.R. has "every right" to hold an opinion" but Dan does not. That's bull.

In his/her own words "to imply that I would somehow encourage my children to mock, hurt, or intimidate another person for any reason is completely unfounded and offensive."

It's unfortunate that L.R is offended, but teaching children that certain groups are different, that separate rules apply to them, is giving tacit support to bullying. The first step to destroying natural empathy is to label something "other".

There are too many assumptions made about the person's actions based upon this one disagreement.

Nothing else need be assumed. Expressing this opinion is expressing bigotry. It is enough to warrant condemnation.

She explicitly states, in that sentence, that it is wrong to mock, intimidate or hurt another person for any reason - so it seems somewhat wild to then suggest that her holding an opinion within a specifically religious context means that her holding that opinion (in spite of every other opinion she has openly declared) will lead to that bullying and 'hatred'.

No. It is not wild. This is exactly how it happens.

L.R. no doubt sincerely believes that mockery, intimidation, and causing pain are wrong. L.R. almost certainly teaches children this belief. I believe L.R.'s statements that, "I was heartbroken to hear about the young man who took his own life" and that "There is no part of me that took any pleasure in what happened to that young man." Good for L.R.! That is all beside the point.

L.R. also believes, and presumably teaches kids, that gay marriage is wrong and that therefore gay people should be treated differently and are entitled to different protection under law. It feeds separation and tribalism which "lead to bullying and 'hatred'."

At best then, L.R. is guilty of sending mixed messages to kids. That's bad enough. Dan is right to call L.R. out for it. Perhaps L.R.'s kids will never bully a gay child. Maybe they would even intervene if they saw one bullied. commendable! But L.R., and L.R.'s children by extention, will still contribute to the daily cultural assumption that gay attraction is not legally equivalent to straight attraction, that it should be singled out for special treatment. This cultural climate makes room for less polite bigotry which in turn leads to the mocking, the bullying and the suicides. All the prejudice needs to be pointed out if the larger culture is to be changed.

I only hope - for their sake - that none of L.R.s kids are themselves gay.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 18:07:50 UTC | #535164

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 30 by BanJoIvie

Comment 23 by NealOKelly

We have an established church. The Church of England is legally obliged to conduct marriage services. If you are a resident of a parish then you are entitled to get married in that parish.

So, to introduce same sex marriage as opposed to civil partnerships would either require disestablishment of the Church of England... or to compel the church to do something against it's belief.

And that would never have got through parliament...

This is a fascinating twist that we in America don't need to address in our marriage equality debate because of the constitutional separation of church and state. Surely it lays bare the basic truth that religious freedom and established churches cannot really be reconciled. I'll have to bring this up the next time a religious person tells me that secularism is evil as an example of how the separation protects the church from legal pressure.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 18:15:17 UTC | #535166