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Old 02-09-2012, 01:09 AM   #256
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What exactly makes her different? The motivations may be slightly off, but at the end of the day, the prevailing social attitude from the right is "Keep the Status Quo, We're Terrified of Change."
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:28 AM   #257
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Originally Posted by PhilsFan
What exactly makes her different? The motivations may be slightly off, but at the end of the day, the prevailing social attitude from the right is "Keep the Status Quo, We're Terrified of Change."


What I think makes her different is that she doesn't actually care about gay people, they are incidental and a nuisance to her larger mission. Issues of "sin" are meaningless to her. It's all "pure thought," as opposed to visceral reaction.
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:57 PM   #258
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I saw that article yesterday too and found it interesting. Her views on marriage sound more or less like the textbook Catholic view, even if she isn't a particularly strict Catholic in all ways (marrying a "lapsed Hindu" for example). I'd assume she's also against contraception based on her thinking (though considering she only has one child with her husband of 19 years, maybe not); very often the social changes--particularly for women--wrought by access to contraception are an unspoken elephant lurking about the room in these matters.

Not sure I fully buy the author's take on this, though:
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At one point, breaking from my script of questions, I interrupted her to ask if, despite all of her fears about same-sex marriage, she didn’t find it heartwarming to see those pictures of joyous gay couples in Massachusetts or Iowa or California, crying and hugging as they celebrated their marriages. Before answering, she takes a long pause, the only long pause of our conversation. “Am I happy for them?” she finally says. “That’s a tough question. I like to see people happy. It’s better than seeing people sad. So yes, I am happy for them. But I am sad. But I am not sad because they are happy.”

She sounded so Jesuitical, so overly reasoned. I was just asking if she was happy to see people so happy. I was asking about her emotions. Her reply was, to use Weaver’s words, pure thought.
Personally, when someone answers such a question that way, I tend to hear it as evasiveness, not just hyperintellectualization. Even if it's true that she's never once looked at a beaming newlywed same-sex couple and smiled in recognition at the figure of two people in love, to me that suggests some sort of emotional block against (that particular form of) that figure, and that's a bit of a red flag.

I don't know Maggie Gallagher, so I couldn't say with confidence whether the author's portrait is correct in this regard, but it is funny how people who absolutely believe they know what's best for everybody are often people who somehow dropped the ball spectacularly (or had it dropped on them, I guess) at some point in their past and had to deal with the fallout from that. And to be fair to people like that--we've probably all known a few--I generally prefer dealing with them to dealing with people who never got around to picking the ball back up and are still moaning about it. People who've found a solution that works for them are *usually* pleasanter to argue with, because through that process they've dealt with their shame or anger or guilt, they've moved on emotionally and I respect that as far as it goes. But they can make for a toxic mis-fit with people who are going through a crisis they wrongly assume to be analogous to their own.
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Old 02-09-2012, 02:24 PM   #259
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here's more analysis on the piece on Gallagher:

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As Oppenheimer says, for fundamentalists, the answer is straightforward enough, if kooky. But I’ve never heard people who accessorize their opposition to gay marriage with supposedly secular arguments make a convincing case for why marriage equality is bad for society in general. The arguments always come down to someone’s personal conviction that it must be so, and that conviction is almost invariably derived from a personal experience projected planet-wide.

Gallagher is no exception: For her, it all boils down to her unshakable conviction that the ideal for every child is to be raised by its biological parents and that the institution of marriage must be exclusively about facilitating that arrangement or else, I dunno, cats and dogs, living together. She offers no convincing evidence for this conviction and baldly asserts that there is no evidence to the contrary that could convince her otherwise.

Oppenheimer notes Gallagher’s claim that gay marriage is, for her, wholly detached from the happiness of individuals and that, according to Gallagher, marriage equality is an issue only insofar as it broadens her very narrow definition of what constitutes a marriage. This is why Gallagher is able to airily wave away the implications of her crusade, shrugging off suggestions that otherizing LGBT people contributes to the staggeringly high rate of LGBT teen suicide, violence against the LGBT community, etc., as so much collateral damage.

Gallagher comes off as more than a little sociopathic on that score in her utter indifference to the real-world implications of what has become her life’s work. But Oppenheimer’s piece also makes the origins of Gallagher’s single-minded focus on a Platonic ideal of Marriage clear: Her college boyfriend knocked her up and then dumped her and her son.

That she was able to fend for herself and her son and later marry (although apparently not all that happily) and go on to achieve what would surely be some folks’ idea of success evidently does not balance the scales or impart any subtlety to her world view; in fact, it appears to do the opposite.

Balloon Juice Up Close and Personal
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:14 PM   #260
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That might be psychologically accurate as an assessment of Gallagher specifically, but in a broader sense I'm not sure "Platonic" (really, properly here, Thomistic) arguments are circular so much as fundamentally incompatible with empiricist arguments. Thomistic arguments about the "true nature of" a given thing are partially based on observation of nature, they aren't just arbitrary narratives the philosopher in question randomly pulls out of his ass, but they do also assume that the usual natural order of things is destiny--ethically as well as materially. From the Salon piece:
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In an email two months after our first conversation, she explains why her opponents are mistaken: “One of the lessons I learned as a young woman from the collapse of Communism is this: Trying to build a society around a fundamental lie about human nature can be done, for a while, with intense energy (and often at great cost); but it cannot hold.” Same-sex marriage is just a big lie, she believes, like Communism. It is weak at its foundations, like the Iron Curtain. It may get built, she seems to concede—in 10 years, or 20, there may be more states that recognize same-sex marriage, more shiny, happy couples raising rosy-cheeked, well-adjusted children, children who play with dogs and go to school and fall from jungle gyms and break their arms, children often adopted after being abandoned by the heterosexuals who did not want them or could not care for them—but in time (big time, geological time, God time) the curtain will be pulled back, or it will fall. Because it has to. It cannot be otherwise.
Humanism, by contrast, does not make that assumption. (Being a political scientist, for me the first example that comes to mind is Machiavelli--despite the misleading way we use the term "machiavellian," Machiavelli didn't say that traditional ideals of political leadership are meaningless and should be casually discarded, but he did say that precisely because of the human consequences riding on a leader's decisions, those guidelines must be balanced against an awareness that not every other leader you'll tangle with will stick to them, and therefore a leader should think *scientifically* about politics, responding in kind in ways that advantage one's polity even where it violates those guidelines.) The idea that those guidelines based on the observed usual natural order must be followed, is thus rejected. And for Thomism, or any other Platonic system, that is anathema: for them, violators will get their due eventually--from God, and/or in "big time" from Nature itself--so don't worry about it. So it's at least potentially more complicated than just a "sociopathic" disregard for those real-world consequences that Machiavelli was so preoccupied with. Again, not saying this necessarily applies to Maggie Gallagher specifically, just the point that part of why the Thomistic thought system has survived for 800 years is because its internal cohesion happens to be virtually bulletproof, however bizarre an empiricist mindset might find its conclusions from the outside.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:23 PM   #261
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This is why Gallagher is able to airily wave away the implications of her crusade, shrugging off suggestions that otherizing LGBT people contributes to the staggeringly high rate of LGBT teen suicide, violence against the LGBT community, etc., as so much collateral damage.
Not that I think it'd make much difference to her, but I'd suggest she read this article:

One Town's War on Gay Teens | Politics News | Rolling Stone

I just read it today, and fuck, I've never seen so much red after reading something. Everyone should read this, if they haven't already. It's truly, truly disturbing and insane. And incredibly sad.

I still think Maggie's reasoning makes absolutely zero sense to me. Is she trying to say that it's pointless to fight for same-sex couples to marry because one day their marriages will fall just like straight marriages do, thereby suggesting that the whole institution of marriage itself is pointless? 'Cause, I mean...yeah, I don't expect every same sex couple who gets married will stay married, there's already been some who've divorced, and certainly the institution of marriage in general has its own issues that people have brought up over the years, but that still doesn't mean we shouldn't let same-sex couples get married because, hell, they'll all fall apart anyway. We don't know that. We can't predict the future, which is why all the predictions of doom and gloom around the subject are pointless.

And if that's not what she's saying, then it's even more lost on me.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:01 AM   #262
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this is nice and crisp:

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Is That All You Got?
How the proponents of a gay marriage ban just ran out of arguments.
By Dahlia Lithwick|Posted Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012, at 7:05 PM ET

One of the most remarked-upon aspects of the first round of Prop 8 litigation, that concluded this week with a 2-1 defeat for the initiative at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, was the weakness of the case against gay marriage. As Andrew Cohen explained at the time, at every turn Judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over the trial, expressed frustration at the fact that the opponents of gay marriage either had no case or couldn’t be bothered to make one. Arguing for the gay marriage ban, seasoned attorney Charles Cooper called only two witnesses (the plaintiffs called 17), one of whom was not deemed qualified to testify as an expert. As Cooper finally explained in his closing argument, "Your honor, you don't have to have evidence for this. … You only need to go back to your chambers and pull down any dictionary or book that defines marriage," Cooper told the judge. "You won't find it had anything to do with homosexuality."

This defense satisfied almost no one. Ted Olson, the plaintiff’s attorney, was absolutely flummoxed by Cooper’s claim that he had no burden to do anything beside assert the immutability of traditional marriage. In his closing argument, a perplexed Olson replied, “You can't take away the rights of tens of thousands of persons and come in here and say 'I don't know' and 'I don't have to prove anything.' ” An equally maddened Judge Walker agreed, railing in his opinion about how the Prop 8 proponents had failed to produce promised evidence and testimony. Even conservative groups wrung their hands, questioning whether Prop 8 had been “adequately defended” at the hearing. Then again, perhaps punting on Prop 8 was a strategic decision. Doing so allowed the supporters of Prop 8 to argue that the fix was in. Judge Walker, who is gay, and the Hollywood appeals court would never have given them a fair shake in the first place.

Or, perhaps, there was another explanation. Perhaps, as many speculated at the time, it reflected the deeper reality that there was no factual or empirical case to be made: The evidence, the data, and the experts overwhelming agree that gay marriage does not harm children. And that leaves opponents of gay marriage to argue a tautology: Gay marriage is wrong because it’s wrong.

One thing is certain: The problem for proponents of Prop 8 wasn’t that they hadn’t had enough time to hone their argument. Four months later, during the argument at the appeals court, Charles Cooper again found himself unable to articulate a single plausible reason for why the ban existed in California. A far more empathetic judge in Randy Smith tried to coax one from Cooper: “But what is the rational basis for [the] initiative when California law says homosexual couples have all the rights of marriage, all the rights of child rearing, all the rights that others have?” asked Smith. “What is the rational basis then [for Proposition 8] if in fact the homosexual couples have all the rights that heterosexual couples have? We’re left with a word: marriage. What is the rational basis for that?”

At the podium, Cooper’s answer was more or less a Zen koan: “Your honor, you’re left with a word, but a word that essentially is the institution,” said Cooper. “If you redefine the word, you change the institution. You cannot separate the two.” It was either the sound of one hand clapping or the perfect response to a question that appears to have no good answer.

It was, in any event, enough for Judge Smith.
Unable to get a satisfactory answer from Cooper, Smith tried valiantly to muster one for himself in a lengthy dissenting opinion. What he produced was slightly less oddly metaphysical than Cooper’s statements at trial, but not much more filling. (Lest you think this is a partisan charge, here’s Maggie Gallagher making the same observation at the National Review Online about a timid dissent that amounts to nothing more than “don’t go after me!”)

Judge Smith’s argument begins with a lengthy discussion of a 1971 case denying a marriage license to a gay couple from the Minnesota Supreme Court called Baker v. Nelson, which the U.S. Supreme Court summarily dismissed in 1972 "for want of a substantial federal question.” Because it came up to the high court through mandatory appellate review, it stands as a precedent for what Judge Smith describes as a preference that courts exercise “restraint” when it comes to addressing due process and equal protection challenges against laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. Judge Smith is angry that the majority blew off Baker in a footnote. (In that footnote, the majority suggests that Baker raises different questions and is less relevant than subsequent cases, including Romer v Evans.) As Western State University College of Law professor David Groshoff argues, “Baker's relevance in this debate more or less disappeared in Minnesota in 2001, and several years later nationwide, when sodomy laws no longer applied to consenting adults.” In other words, Judge Smith is grasping.

He’s only getting started, however. Smith goes on to explain that under a rational-basis review, the government can create classifications and need not “actually articulate at any time the purpose or rationale supporting its classification.” Indeed, he argues the courts must support these classifications so long as there is “any reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis for the classification.” To make matters even easier on the government, Smith adds that it need not produce evidence that the classification is rational, and “may be based on rational speculation or empirical data.”

Smith’s reasoning does an incredible thing: It produces a justification for why the proponents of a gay marriage ban need offer no justification. Where Cooper could only deliver a “because-I-say-so” theory of jurisprudence, Smith attempts to come to the rescue with a “because-someone-says-so” theory of his own.

Perhaps sensing that he may require a higher power as well, Smith then turns to Justice Antonin Scalia—specifically his argument in the dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas that states can use their police powers to regulate “morals.” Of course, Smith must acknowledge that Scalia’s argument isn’t the law—it was, after all, the dissenting opinion.

Nonetheless, Smith concludes that there are rational reasons to ban gay marriage in California. These reasons are, as he spells them out, “a responsible procreation theory” and “an optimal parenting theory.” Judge Smith concludes that Prop 8 “preserves the fundamental and historical purposes of marriage” and notes that the proponents of Prop 8 “offer many judicial opinions and secondary authorities” supporting both the responsible procreation theory and the optimal parenting theory. He could tell you about them but, well, why drag fact into the case at this juncture? Having lowered the bar so far already, it doesn’t matter if these theories are persuasive or not. All you need to know is that they exist. As Smith lays it out, since both sides “offer evidence” and the question of optimal parenting is still “debatable”—and will remain debatable as long as no fact or evidence is required to prevail in the debate—the tie goes to the state. Gay marriage can be banned.

So there you have it: That’s the best case that can be made against gay marriage. An appeals court dissent that rests on the premise that states needn’t act rationally, or offer evidence of rationality, or even be rational in creating classifications, so long as someone publishes a study and someone else believes it. That’s the best they’ve got, it seems.

That is not legal argument or empirical evidence. It is the death rattle of a movement that has no legal argument or empirical evidence. Nobody disputes the fact that Americans opposed to gay marriage believe passionately in their ideas and arguments. But that doesn’t necessarily mean those arguments should win in a court. The best thing that could have happened in the Prop 8 case just happened. The dissent has no clothes.

Why the Proponents of a Gay Marriage Ban Will Soon Be Speechless - Slate Magazine
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:42 PM   #263
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sorry to keep posting articles, but i thought this one was such a direct rebuttal to Maggie Gallagher and the notion that "marriage is about children" that i wanted to put it here, if for no other reason than it's archived and i can easily return to it:

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I am a sociologist who does research on families and child well-being, and I am strongly pro-marriage equality. However, while I am aware of all of the social science showing that children of gay/lesbian parents do just as well as children of opposite-sex parents, I did not consider this evidence when forming my opinion.

Let me first say, marriage throughout history has not been about children. It is a social institution for adults, one that organizes intimate relationships and distributes resources. Essentially, marriage is an institution because it is good for adults and for society; often it's good for children too, but that's not the reason the institution exists.

More importantly, it is an empirical fallacy to impose expectations on individual behavior based on the average outcomes of groups. This is the first thing I teach my students every semester. By definition, most families are not optimal, but society does not allow only optimal families to have children. If it did, only married, Asian, college educated, wealthy, church-attending (but not evangelical), blue-state-residing people would be allowed to procreate. (The fact that stepfathers are more likely to abuse children does not mean that we prohibit men from marrying women have children from prior relationships.)

I initially expected children of same-sex parents, on average, to fare worse than those of opposite-sex parents on some outcomes, if only due to social prejudice, and the likelihood that these children experienced the dissolution of their biological parents' relationship (most children of gay/lesbian parents are products of prior, heterosexual unions).

It has been a pleasant surprise to me, over the past 10 years or so, to find more and more credible research showing no disadvantage for children of same-sex parents (though more and better research is needed). But it would be unfair to those children and their parents to require evidence of this before supporting their families' right to exist.

Gays and lesbians should have the right to form imperfect marriages, and imperfect families, just like the rest of us.

Who Is Marriage For? - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:46 PM   #264
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Exactly. We need to get off this "mom, dad, 2.5 kids, a dog, and a white picket fence" ideal. Most families don't fit that model. They never have. And somehow, they've managed to survive just fine.

Quote:
At the podium, Cooper’s answer was more or less a Zen koan: “Your honor, you’re left with a word, but a word that essentially is the institution,” said Cooper. “If you redefine the word, you change the institution. You cannot separate the two.”
Aaaaaagh. Straight people do not OWN the word "marriage"! Nobody does! And if these people actually bothered to read any other page in the dictionaries they're so fond of trying to bring into their "arguments", they'd know that words' meanings and definitions change all the time for all sorts of reasons. Have changed, do change, will change.

As this paragraph so nicely stated:

Quote:
Or, perhaps, there was another explanation. Perhaps, as many speculated at the time, it reflected the deeper reality that there was no factual or empirical case to be made: The evidence, the data, and the experts overwhelming agree that gay marriage does not harm children. And that leaves opponents of gay marriage to argue a tautology: Gay marriage is wrong because it’s wrong.
That's about as shitty an argument as one could ever possibly put forth for any sort of discussion. You wouldn't get a good grade in school with that kind of statement in an essay. To blame their loss on some sort of "fix" or "bias" is laughable.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:31 PM   #265
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I do think those that choose to be religious have a right to advocate for what the Bible says about marriage

who are we to disregard or change the inspired "words of God"?
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:15 PM   #266
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New Jersey senate OKs gay marriage bill – USATODAY.com
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:29 PM   #267
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Activist legislature! How un-American.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:32 PM   #268
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Washington gov signs gay marriage bill into law – USATODAY.com
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:33 PM   #269
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:35 PM   #270
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why must the right of some americans to discriminate against other americans be crushed by the people all those americans elected to make laws to govern said americans?
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