Patterico's Pontifications

5/23/2008

L.A. Times: Gay Marriage Opposed by a Very Narrow 19-Point Margin

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

An L.A. Times story is titled Californians narrowly reject gay marriage, poll finds. A headline on the paper’s main web site speaks of the “small margin” by which the public rejects gay marriage:

small-margin.JPG

The story begins:

By bare majorities, Californians reject the state Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriages and back a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at the November ballot that would outlaw such unions, a Los Angeles Times/KTLA Poll has found.

It’s the lead story on the front page, and here’s the headline in the print edition:

slimly-reject.JPG

Wow. With language like “slimly reject,” “narrowly reject,” “small margin,” and “bare majorities,” this sounds like a real photo finish. Let’s look at the body of the story, to see how narrowly the anti-gay marriage forces are barely squeaking past the opposition.

It turns out that the proposed amendment to ban gay marriage is “was leading 54% to 35% among registered voters.

Jeez. Only a 19-point difference! That’s certainly a “small margin”! You can’t reject gay marriage more “narrowly” than that!

I think they mean that Californians, who are slim, are rejecting gay marriage by a large margin. Hence, slimly rejecting!

(The paper also explains that the recent California Supreme Court decision is disapproved of by Californians by a 52% to 41% margin. But that 11-point difference illustrates only what people think of a decision that purports to say what the law is. It is not a reflection of what people think the law should be. For the answer to that question, you have to look to the numbers for and against the amendment — which is, again, winning by a much wider 19-point margin.)

The narrowness of a margin is really in the eye of the beholder. When the liberal position is behind, large gaps suddenly become small. Remember how this paper claimed that Arizona was “in play” for John Kerry — because George Bush was leading Kerry by “only” 16 points, 54% to 38%. By contrast, when another poll showed Kerry up by 15 in California, the headline was In California, Voters Stay in Kerry’s Corner. And more recently, Obama’s win in Oregon — a margin of 16 points when the story was written — was described as “Obama’s big win in Oregon.”

On the gay marriage issue, the article tries to downplay the piddly little 19-point margin by arguing that backers of ballot measures typically like to see initial support well above 50%, because ballot measures tend to lose support as elections draw near. That’s fine as far as it goes — but it doesn’t justify the paper’s being dishonest about the gap. 19 points is not a “small margin” by any stretch of the imagination — no matter how badly the paper wants it to be.

Thanks to Harold H.

UPDATE: The post has been updated to reflect the headline in the print edition. And here’s how it’s currently being sold on the paper’s main web page:

reject-by-a-bit.JPG

Just a bit! A tiny, 19-point sliver of a margin.

UPDATE x2: And the headline-tinkering continues:

narrowly-reject.JPG

UPDATE x3: Guess how the paper is spinning a 7-point margin of victory for Obama over McCain in a poll of California voters? Yeah, you guessed right.

UPDATE x4: And here is how the paper should have reported the story.

UPDATE x5: A commenter notes further examples of the L.A. Times spinning smaller margins as large when they favored Obama. 17% is a “double-digit” victory, and 15% means he “handily won.”

We can do this all day, L.A. Times editors. All day.

171 Responses to “L.A. Times: Gay Marriage Opposed by a Very Narrow 19-Point Margin”

  1. The San Jose Mercury News ran their own puff-piece article on Justice Ron “Boy” George, except that it was even worse than the Times story earlier this week. More like a fluff piece than puff piece. To wit:

    George relied heavily on the Perez decision in reaching the conclusion that same-sex couples must be treated the same as heterosexual couples. He insists California’s constitution dictated the outcome, not life experiences.

    But he acknowledged his experiences on social issues flavored his judicial thinking, recalling a trip with his European immigrant parents through the segregated South in the 1950s. There, he was first exposed to “whites only” bathrooms and drinking fountains.

    He does not believe it will take as long for the country to follow California’s lead on gay marriage as it did with interracial marriage, which was not endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court until 1967.

    “I think some of it is a generational phenomenon,” George said of the social divide over same-sex marriage. “I don’t think it will take 19 years this time.”

    George would not discuss specifics of the court’s deliberations and obvious division in the gay marriage case, particularly since more legal battles are likely to follow. But it was “time,” he said, for the court to tackle the issue head-on, splitting from colleagues – and other courts across the country – who believe it is up to the voters or Legislature to legalize gay marriage, not judges.

    The legal world is abuzz over the decision’s reach – the first to protect gays with the same civil rights laws that apply to race, religion or gender.

    “George saw the historical moment and seized it,” said Boalt Hall School of Law Professor Stephen Barnett, an expert on the court who at times has criticized George. “The decision took a great deal of courage and leadership.”

    Former California Supreme Court Justice Joseph Grodin, one of three justices ousted by voters in 1986 in an unprecedented backlash over the death penalty, called George’s ruling “one of the best crafted opinions I’ve seen in a long time.”

    But oh, nooooo, George wasn’t thinking about anything but the California Constitution. He wasn’t thinking about lighting the spark to what he believes is a “generational phenomenon.”

    L.N. Smithee (44a9fa)

  2. Smithee, that report was covered on this very blog in a different post, but yeah,it’s a shame so many judges don’t understand the task before them.

    In this story, it’s just blatantly obvious the paper is lying. There is no other explanation. It can’t really be an error.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  3. Upon reading the article, I think the LA Times is ignoring the 54-35 divide between the proponents and opponents. The Times is claiming that 54% constitutes a bare majority of all registered voters. (Even that is disingenuous: 54% in favor vs 46% either opposed or undecided — an eight point margin — is greater than a bare majority.)

    The Times would claim that Ronald Reagan won the 1980 presidential election with a bare majority of the vote — 50.7% versus Carter’s 41%.

    aunursa (52712c)

  4. I wish to amend my previous post. Since the Times is ignoring the margin, my references to the trailing percentages are irrelevant (from their perspective.) The Times is saying that 54% (that favor an amendment) and 52% (that oppose the court’s decision) constitute bare majorities.

    aunursa (52712c)

  5. Dang, aunursa beat me to it. By some convoluted reasoning, you can say that 54% and 52% constitutes a “bare majority,” but the disingenuity of such parsing is possible only if you are trying to slant the story deliberately.

    The headline, however, cannot be expplained away in that fashion, because it specifies “margin,” not majority.

    In the normal course of events, a reporter writes the story, and an editor reviews it; the headline is normally written by the editor. That means that at least two human beings were involved in this bovine feces, so this isn’t just a mistake.

    Dana R Pico (3e4784)

  6. ballot measures tend to lose support as elections draw near.

    This is to be expected,since most initiatives are complicated and the issues behind them are not typically front-page news until just before the election.

    The proposed marriage initiative, however, is a single sentence. And the issue is pretty straightforward, and has been and will continue to be in the news for the next several months. I would expect that most voters who have made up their minds on this issue are pretty solid in their position. I’m not sure that this initiative will lose the level of support comparable to the historic trend.

    aunursa (52712c)

  7. I think the point about ballot initiatives losing support between May and November is a fair one. I’m not sure it applies in this case, though, as this is an issue that has been beaten to death for the past decade. A better measure might be to see what happens to popular margins on initiatives that directly relate to past initiatives. If memory serves, the Indian gaming amendment replacing the unconstitutional Indian gaming initiative passed handily, while the initiative to repeal the Meathead tax failed by a bigger margin than the original Meathead iniative had passed by.

    The wild card is the 25% or so of voters who reflexively vote “no” on every initiative no matter what the issue may be. Are they part of the 35% who admit to opposing the amendment now? Do half of them make up the 11% who can’t make up their mind? Or are they reasonably represented among the 54% who say they support the amenmdent now?

    Xrlq (b71926)

  8. Why is anyone believing a POLL??? It is a vote that counts. Put it on the ballot. Defeat the Gay Activists. Get on with IMPORTANT issues, like energy prices.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  9. all this hatin’ on your chief justice. but for ronald george, the hillside strangler would still be running around loose. back when he was on the superior court, he had the strangler case, and the d.a.’s office didn’t want to prosecute, they felt that they didn’t have enough evidence to convict. judge george insisted that the prosecution go forward, and the state a.g.’s office was called in, and they won convictions.

    “boy” george, an outstanding judge then and now.

    assistant devil's advocate (7cfc3a)

  10. To disagree is not to hate ADA, but you knew that. The people of California do not like judicial activism.

    By a larger than very narrow margin.

    tyree (c2467a)

  11. Headline writers do not read stories. It would be a waste of their valuable time.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  12. Boston Red Sox won the World Series by the narrowest of margins over the Cardinals. The Cardinals, in turn, won the World Series by the narrowest of margins over the Tigers. The Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl over the Patriots by the thinnest of margins. Tiger Woods won the US Open in a photo finish at Pebble Beach.

    JD (75f5c3)

  13. I updated the post to note the print edition headline. Apparently California voters “slimly reject” gay marriage!

    Because we’re slim here in California. So, unlike, say, people from Wisconsin, *we* can “slimly reject” things by 19-point margins.

    Patterico (cb443b)

  14. No offense to the cheeseheads among you.

    Patterico (cb443b)

  15. The seminal point here is that the continuing rape of our information stream is pursued daily, by the major remaining, necrotic deadwood media.

    They simply cannot bring themselves to the point where they recognize that they are diseased.

    Their ombudsman is a broad farce. An inside joke. They possess an institutionalized corruption that runs so deep, it would make Greylord look like a junior high school detention hall.

    They have been raping the information stream for 40 years. Walter Cronkite falsely convincing the public that the Tet Offensive was a military loss.

    Dan Rather engaged in a conspiracy to foist forged documents on the viewing public.

    Peter Jennings telling Columbia that his mother was a virulent anti-American and her blood courses through his veins, then never once uttering the word “terrorist”

    The AP and Reuters involved in staged photos and fauxtography, the use of fake police chiefs as story “verifiers” of events that never took place.

    Giving military secrets to the enemy, CNN holding back news in a deal with Saddam, Jason Blair, plagiarized stories, consorting with the enemy. The BBC getting caught repeatedly slanting every story against Israel and none of them detailing the atrocities of the enemy.

    Facts being omitted that are known…and key to the story. Facts being portrayed in an intentionally misleading manner, the use of words and phrases intended to leave an impression that is wholly unsupported or known to be untrue.

    Nothing…and I mean nothing…has moved me further away from liberalism than this horrifying exploitation of our information stream.

    I have come to despise the leftist media and find their very existence repulsive. I am reflexively centrist, decide each issue on its merits…but am utterly unconvineced that I can find ANY honest reporting coming from the deadwood media.

    Each and every episode where they commit yet another instance of malfeasance in reporting moves me further and further away from their point of view.

    If their point of view and argument cannot be told without falsifying evidence to support it, if their argument cannot persuade without shading the facts, forging documents, faking photographs, if they cannot state an argument without ad hominem attacks and demonizing the opposition, if they must rely on peer pressure tactics to gain support for their worldview…then the other side MUST be holding all the best cards.

    The quickest way to lose me in an argument is to lie, misrepresent, provide false evidence, faked documents, intentionally mislead, and then create an ad hominem attack for anyone who disagrees. Try to peer pressure me into accepting your viewpoint, because I am stupid, evil, greedy, homophobic, racist, sexist…if I do not.

    Those are the argument styles of puerile and weak minds. You can’t win on the facts, you can’t win on the law, you can’t win on logic…so you resort to intentional lies and name calling.

    THAT…is the modern leftist media. To a tee. And their ombudsmen…are frauds. Paid lackeys who adhere and enable the code of silence.

    Sorry for the rant…but I am sickened by this and even more saddened by it. I am one of the votes they could have had..on numerous issues…and they lost me. They pushed me into opposition, because I cannot stand by and watch them befoul a public trust.

    I wouldn’t agree with them on every issue, even if presented fairly and objectively. But, I would on some. Now, none of their positions are trustworthy. They have lost the right to be trusted. I view every one of their issues with a jaundiced eye.

    I’m not aligned in any way, shape or form with the far right. But I have come to despise the leftists. They are far more dangerous and they are far more nefarious. And the leftist media is a cancer that has metastasized. The LA Times is riddled with that cancer. And they are dying from it. They killed a lot of truth along the way. How sad for all of us.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  16. Tyree: I would be interested in a poll that indicated what percentage of that 54% is inclined to vote against gay marriage because of concerns about judicial activism but would otherwise support gay marriage as a policy matter.

    My suspicion is that it would not be a very large percentage.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  17. Patterico,

    Pick on Illinois. Chicago bills itself as the city of broad shoulders.

    And “Da Bears” suck.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  18. It makes no difference if it’s a 19-point margin or a 50-point margin.

    Basic civics lesson: Popular laws aren’t automatically the right laws.

    Levi (76ef55)

  19. Hey, PCD….lay off my Bears. The Favre-less Packers may be in for a rude awakening!

    I’m transplanted down in the Irvine/Newport Beach area, but have Chicago in my blood. (and Italian beef, sausage, char-grilled hot dogs (NO ketsup!), REAL bagels….and pizza in my blood as well!

    California food is healthier, the sushi is great…but you can’t find an Italian beef sandwich with real giardeniera out here to save your soul. Much less a real bagel unless you go to L.A.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  20. Popular laws aren’t automatically the right laws

    I think there are very few who would disagree. But the people have the right to make the laws; and even if the people choose poorly, it is not just for someone to take that right away from us.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  21. aphrael – We have to give Levi credit for making an accurate point, even if accidentally.

    JD (75f5c3)

  22. In related news, the Boston Celtics demolished the Atlanta Hawks, and the Detroit Pistons snuck past the Orlando Magic.

    JD (75f5c3)

  23. It makes no difference if it’s a 19-point margin or a 50-point margin.

    Unless you’re reporting what the margin is, in which case you’ve got an obligation to accuracy.

    Pablo (99243e)

  24. let’s go lakers!

    assistant devil's advocate (7cfc3a)

  25. slimly reject

    Speak English much?

    quasimodo (edc74e)

  26. I think there are very few who would disagree. But the people have the right to make the laws; and even if the people choose poorly, it is not just for someone to take that right away from us.

    Yes it is.

    You’re supposed to be a liberal and you’re buying this ‘activist judges’ crap?

    Levi (76ef55)

  27. From a purely legal standpoint, I guess I have never understood the argument against allowing gays to marry all that well.

    I have not witnessed the argument put forth ina clear, concise, calm and reflective manner.

    If the LEGISLATURE (not judicial fiat) allowed for civil ceremonies, I can’t say that I would be appalled or angered or dismayed. In fact, I don’t know that I would have any negative reaction at all.

    Again, from a purely legal perspective…I would like to see a calm, reflective, objective discussion on the law as to the pros and cons of allowing civil unions for gays.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  28. there is no argument from a purely legal perspective. If the legislature decided to pass a law allowing same-sex marriage they can do so.

    The arguments that are made against same-sex marriage are on moral, historical and/or policy grounds.

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  29. think there are very few who would disagree. But the people have the right to make the laws; and even if the people choose poorly, it is not just for someone to take that right away from us.

    Yes it is.

    so, what is the point of democracy then, if you believe it is proper for our judge-kings can simply decide what the laws should be based on their own personal preferences?

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  30. If the LEGISLATURE (not judicial fiat) allowed for civil ceremonies, I can’t say that I would be appalled or angered or dismayed. In fact, I don’t know that I would have any negative reaction at all.

    It passed twice in the legislature and was vetoed both times, because Arnold kept pointing to this dumb proposition that voters passed. The judges’ have rules on the constitutionality of said dumb proposition, and Arnold says he respects their decision.

    This is precisely how our government was designed to work. I know it may seem like a ‘judicial fiat,’ because there’s only a handful of judges making the decision, but again, that is precisely the role that judges were meant to play in our system of government that is made up of three seperate but co-equal branches.

    Levi (76ef55)

  31. so, what is the point of democracy then, if you believe it is proper for our judge-kings can simply decide what the laws should be based on their own personal preferences?

    The Judges are preferable when they either cannot or will not pursue their goals in the Legislative arena, where the decision belongs. Also, this way is preferable so long as the decision agrees with their feelings.

    JD (75f5c3)

  32. Yes it is.

    so, what is the point of democracy then, if you believe it is proper for our judge-kings can simply decide what the laws should be based on their own personal preferences?

    We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a constitutional republic. The people have the right to make whatever laws they want, through their legislators and through initiatives and propositions, but those laws are subject to review by an impartial and objective judicial branch to make sure they adhere to constitutional law and principles.

    Basic, high school civics.

    Levi (76ef55)

  33. there is no argument from a purely legal perspective.

    Yes there is, and these judges just made it. It’s pretty simple; all Americans are equal.

    The arguments that are made against same-sex marriage are on moral, historical and/or policy grounds.

    And are therefore wholly irrelevant. We’re a nation of laws, not a nation of tradition or a nation of history. Laws.

    Levi (76ef55)

  34. Yes there is, and these judges just made it. It’s pretty simple; all Americans are equal.

    No, that’s not what they said. They decided that homosexuals are a suspect class.

    Pablo (99243e)

  35. Levi: It passed twice in the legislature and was vetoed both times, because Arnold kept pointing to this dumb proposition that voters passed. The judges’ have rules on the constitutionality of said dumb proposition, and Arnold says he respects their decision.

    I found the governor’s reasoning to be bizarre. He rejected the decision of a 120-member legislature because “the people” should decide. Then he turned around and embraced the decision of a 7-member court.

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  36. impartial and objective judicial branch

    Have you read anything that SC Justice George has said and written about this ruling? Where does feelings fit into impartial and objective?

    Levi – Who, specifically, said that gays were not equals? Or, are you confuzzling rights and privileges again?

    JD (75f5c3)

  37. I found the governor’s reasoning to be bizarre. He rejected the decision of a 120-member legislature because “the people” should decide. Then he turned around and embraced the decision of a 7-member court.

    He didn’t ‘turn around,’ he has a basic respect for and understanding of an independent judiciary and the three-branch system of government.

    It’s not like he can veto a court ruling anyway.

    Levi (76ef55)

  38. No, that’s not what they said. They decided that homosexuals are a suspect class.

    That’s not the only thing they said.

    Levi (76ef55)

  39. STOP THE PRESSES! BREAKING NEWS!

    Regardless of the facts, the media has their agenda, and will pursue it relentlessly right into BK, or oblivion, whichever comes first.

    How long will the lemmings continue to believe they’re receiving fair, unbiased reportage?

    …all of the people, some of the time; some of the people, all of the time; the readership of the LATimes, they make bricks look like rocket-scientists.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  40. Levi: He didn’t ‘turn around,’ he has a basic respect for and understanding of an independent judiciary and the three-branch system of government.

    Yes, he did turn around. He now opposes the idea that “the people” should decide the issue in November.

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  41. “It would be wrong for the people to vote for something and for me to then overturn it,” Schwarzenegger said in September, referring to voters’ approval of Proposition 22 in 2000. “So they can send this bill down as many times as they want, I won’t do it.”

    In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said voters and the state Supreme Court should decide the issue. The high court is likely to rule next year on whether California’s ban on gay marriages violates the constitution.

    The governor said voters “should then determine what, if any, statutory changes are needed in response to the court’s ruling.”

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  42. I am reminded of a probably apocraphyl story from the 50′s, in the pages of some East-Block rag (Pravda, Izvestia, whatever) of a car race around a horse-racing track between a representative vehicle of the People’s Revolutionary Auto Works, and a Chevrolet.
    The Chevy won – surprise, surprise!
    The printed results though showed that the PRAW entry finished a close second; while the entry from the decadent, counter-Revolutionary West, was next-to-last!
    More and more, it seems, the LAT (and other members of the MSM) have “evolved” into a mind-meld of Izvestia (NEWS) and Pravda (TRUTH); whereas, there is no news in Pravda, and no truth in Izvestia.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  43. 20, CF, Know what you mean about a lot of foods from Midwest and East. I couldn’t find a decent pizza or gyros to save my soul when I lived in Anaheim.

    Go to Zankou Chicken in Anaheim. I think they are in a strip mall on Ball Rd. Try the tarna.

    Got bummed out that both Flakey Jakes and Fuddruckers went out of business.

    Oh, and Da Bears still suck.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  44. I find the legal argument against gay marriage to be weak and not especially clear.

    And so far guys….(pigs flying past my window)…Levi is the one who is stating the law correctly.

    This is an equal protection argument. “Immutable” doesn’t apply to religion/creed any more than it applies to sexual orientation.

    WE…are the law and order crowd. WE are the ones who believe in right is right, wrong is wrong, fair is fair.

    WE are on the side of believing in the constitution, believing in moral decisions, not allowing people to be picked on unfairly.

    WE are the side that wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and freed the slaves.

    When we are tested between what is right and what is socially uncomfortable…we have always stood straight and tall and took the insults, but applied the principles.

    I am having a very hard time coming to any LEGAL conclusion that we shouldn’t be standing up for the right for gays to marry. Even though I recognize that the behavior is uncomfortable for many to accept, that isn’t the LEGAL issue.

    Perhaps if it offended me more, I would be more reluctant to speak out…I would hope not.

    This is a test of how strongly we adhere to our fundamental principles…and how…even when they are uncomfortable to apply, we stand by those principles.

    I would have been an abolitionist 250 years ago. So would all of you. Our principles and our laws commanded that we take such a position.

    I’m not asking any faith-based individual to condone behavior they find personally uncomfortable. I am simply saying that we MUST stand by our principles on the LAW…right is right, wrong is wrong, fair is fair.

    This is an equal protection argument, and the state’s case opposing it…as far as I have seen to date…is beyond weak. It’s nearly non-existent.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  45. Levi, quite the contrary: I stated in the other thread that I didn’t think the gay marriage decision was an activist decision; I think it’s a decision which is consistent with the way the California Supreme Court has previously interpreted the equal protection clause of the state’s Constitution. I think our system is designed with judges having the power and the authority to interpret the commands we have written into law, and I don’t believe that the fact that an interpretation was not on our minds when we wrote the command makes it an illegitimate interpretation per se.

    But I’m a democrat. I believe that the only political system which is just is one which reflects the will of the people. We may choose to constrain our power in various ways; I would even go so far as to say that we should choose to do so. But the power is *ours*. We, the people, are sovereign.

    And if we choose to do dumb things; if we choose to do immoral things; if we choose to betray the principles which once guided us — it is our right to choose to do these things, and while I’ll fight against doing them, I do not approve of someone denying us that right.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  46. Jem wrote: Smithee, that report was covered on this very blog in a different post

    WODR, Jem, the Mercury News article was a separate — and I presume subsequent — story from a different interview by a different “reporter.”

    L.N. Smithee (0931d2)

  47. I am having a very hard time coming to any LEGAL conclusion that we shouldn’t be standing up for the right for gays to marry.

    That two men or two women does not a marriage make is pretty compelling.

    I can’t be black, I can’t get an abortion and I can’t get a mammogram. But people have the right to these things.

    That is ultimately the question: What is marriage? society, California in particular, is about to define it yet again.

    Pablo (99243e)

  48. cfbleachers – Were it shown to be immutable like race and gender, then I would agree with you wholeheartedly.

    JD (5f0e11)

  49. cfb – This has little to do with equal protection anymore. All of the hospital visitation and inheritance questions can be addressed without changing the definition of marriage. This is really about forced legal acceptance of their sexual preference.

    JD (5f0e11)

  50. If this issue is determined by judicial fiat, like Roe, it will never be resolved. Why have a legislature and citizen ballot initiatives if we are going to just let Judges make policy in direct contravention of the people’s expressed will?

    JD (5f0e11)

  51. One more thought … Civil unions with the exact same benefits, and drawbacks, of traditional marriage are usually rejected out of hand by the same sex marriage advocates. To me, this suggests that it is less about the benefits and drawbacks afforded them, and more about co-opting the term marriage to force recognition and acceptance. The irony is, at least for me, is that the activists have made this an all or nothing issue, giving the people the finger, and banking on Judges like in CA.

    JD (5f0e11)

  52. Levi wrote: We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a constitutional republic. The people have the right to make whatever laws they want, through their legislators and through initiatives and propositions, but those laws are subject to review by an impartial and objective judicial branch to make sure they adhere to constitutional law and principles.

    Correct. The justices are supposed to be “impartial and objective.” But some jurists, awarded the ability (not the privilege) to enforce their personal vision of society on an unwilling populace by cutting and pasting the language of the Constitution like a ransom note, fail to rise to that standard.

    SCOTUS Justice Scalia is personally against abortion, but he is very clear about the Constitution’s position on the so-called “right” to it: There is none, and the Burger Court erred in crafting its own legislation for the entire country. But Scalia, a devout Catholic’s devout Catholic, ALSO says that there is no Constitutional basis to ban abortion nationwide (which, obviously, would be his personal preference) and that each individual state’s residents have the Constitutional right to choose where it will stand — allowing all abortions on demand, placing conditions on when it can be allowed, or a total ban.

    Scalia is brilliant enough that if he wanted to spin a quasi-Constitutional purpose for an abortion ban, he could do it. But he won’t, because he has integrity. OTOH, if it was in doubt before, it is no longer so that George’s ruling was not intended simply to address the Constitutional issue in the state of California, but to serve as a model to overturn SSM bans nationwide.

    L.N. Smithee (0931d2)

  53. One more thought … Civil unions with the exact same benefits, and drawbacks, of traditional marriage are usually rejected out of hand by the same sex marriage advocates. To me, this suggests that it is less about the benefits and drawbacks afforded them, and more about co-opting the term marriage to force recognition and acceptance.

    Exactly right. I’m in favor of civil unions. Gay activists aren’t. Ain’t that a kick in the head?

    Pablo (99243e)

  54. Media + numbers –> probable error. Not news.

    htom (412a17)

  55. I am a homophobe, though. And, racist. And, sexist.

    JD (5f0e11)

  56. #34
    The arguments that are made against same-sex marriage are on moral, historical and/or policy grounds.

    And are therefore wholly irrelevant. We’re a nation of laws, not a nation of tradition or a nation of history. Laws.
    You are right, this is a nation of laws, not tradition nor history. But can you tell us who makes these laws? Are they aliens from outer space who have no history nor tradition or are they Americans who make laws out of a knowledge history and deep moral sense of right and wrong. You sound as if you have lost all senses of morality and judgement. Please who makes these laws?

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  57. cfb at 28:

    You have phrased the inquiry incorrectly. A constitutional question would be phrased as whether there is a fundamental right of gays to not have the law define marriage in such a way as to exclude same-sex unions. In other words, that the constitution makes such laws out of bounds.

    The electorate made such a law in 2000, and the Supreme Court discovered a heretofore unknown “fundamental right” that undermined the law.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  58. Levi @ 31 — very good post.

    I expect you also to admit that if the voters pass an amendment to the state constitution in November, that the courts, legislature, and the governor should respect that decision since the initiative process in California is also part of the system that you have defined.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  59. That two men or two women does not a marriage make is pretty compelling.

    Ok, Pablo. But, my question from a legal perspective is the “why”. Most people are willing to support “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships”. Or at least not oppose them, is probably closer to the truth.

    Does the term “marriage” or “marry” belong to the church? If so, where do I find the title and copyright to that ownership.

    If not, are we blurring the lines between church and state by imposing a religious sacramental attachment to the term “marriage”?

    I can find no compelling state interest in giving the term to the church, if such ownership does not exist already.

    If we oppose civil unions or domestic partnerships, upon what legitimate state interest would we do so?

    I can’t be black, I can’t get an abortion and I can’t get a mammogram. But people have the right to these things.

    Well, we can go into abortion rights on a different thread perhaps, I believe the legitimate state interest in late term abortions is an entire issue unto itself.

    You can get a mammogram (male breast cancer actually exists), you can call yourself a member of virtually any religious order or creed, (not sure if you moved to Spain or Zimbawe and applied for dual citizenship, if you could call yourself Hispanic, or African-American.)

    Some things are more “immutable” than others. Some, not much at all.

    That is ultimately the question: What is marriage? society, California in particular, is about to define it yet again.

    As well it should. If marriage is a sacrament and belongs to the church, then so be it. We simply need to prove that and be mindful of the separation of church and state.

    If marriage instead belongs to society and is entirely secular…then denying access to that state institution is an equal protection argument as far as I can tell.

    cfbleachers (e6f785)

  60. cfbleachers – Were it shown to be immutable like race and gender, then I would agree with you wholeheartedly.

    I understand, JD. But what do we do with religion/creed? I believe the SCOTUS has addressed this issue previously…but, I don’t remember the case and it may have been a Kennedy written majority opinion, so take that for what it is worth.

    As I discussed in response to Pablo above, “immutability” seems to be a “fluid” test…at best.

    cfb – This has little to do with equal protection anymore. All of the hospital visitation and inheritance questions can be addressed without changing the definition of marriage. This is really about forced legal acceptance of their sexual preference

    I agree in part, JD. We are no longer on the battleground for economic equality, nor are we intent (it seems) on stopping a certain type of sexual behavior in this instance.

    Each side has drawn a line in the sand over the term “marriage”. Why? What legitimate state interest does the state have in offering that term to one class of citizens and not another class of citizens…that is not religious in nature?

    I sense that most folks are not going to battle over economic rights, or insurance, visitation, (probate), inheritance, etc.

    I also sense that most private bedroom issues between consenting adults is not a battleground issue for most folks for the state to enter.

    What is left? The term “marriage” or “to marry”?

    Does it boil down to that?

    cfbleachers (e6f785)

  61. Well, it all works out.

    Sometimes 0.01% is a “landslide” or a “mandate”.

    Larry Sheldon (8e0b86)

  62. You have phrased the inquiry incorrectly. A constitutional question would be phrased as whether there is a fundamental right of gays to not have the law define marriage in such a way as to exclude same-sex unions. In other words, that the constitution makes such laws out of bounds.

    The electorate made such a law in 2000, and the Supreme Court discovered a heretofore unknown “fundamental right” that undermined the law.

    Ok, WLS. The corollary example most often used, would be interracial marriage. How do we answer the question, if we phrased it in such a way as to ask the court in the 1930′s to review the constitutionality of a ban, voted into law, that deprived the right of mixed race couples to marry?

    Assume, that no amendment existed regarding color at the time, but that the court was being asked to find an equal protection argument in order to define the state’s legitimate state interest in denying these parties the institution of marriage.

    How would we phrase that question? Are there fundamental rights to which each citizen is entitled?

    Could we vote away marriage rights for other citizens? Which ones? Catholics? Jews? Religion is not immutable. Cross-dressers? (J Edgar saved us the question, he never tried to marry). Prostitutes? Strippers? Felons?

    Are we really suggesting (hypothetically) that a serial rapist who got 60 years, served 28 and gets out…can marry a female embezzler of millions of dollars who is also now free of jail…but a gay couple who are brain surgeons in a children’s hospital may not?

    Seems a bit silly and arbitrary in that extreme, but I am absolutely willing to listen to the legitimate state interest in protecting the institution of marriage in each case.

    cfbleachers (e6f785)

  63. Does the term “marriage” or “marry” belong to the church? If so, where do I find the title and copyright to that ownership.

    Words are defined by common usage and when need be, by law. California is going to get its definition restated come November. Marriage occurs between a man and a woman.

    Gays are not denied access to marriage. Many have done it and decided it isn’t for them. What they are denied is permission to redefine it.

    Pablo (99243e)

  64. cfb – To me, it closely mirrors other debates where the Left takes a term and bastardizes its meaning beyond recognition. Take torture, for example.

    Also, there is a reason, beyond continuance of the species, that traditional marriage has been recognized as a foundational building block of society.

    I am 110 percent cool with civil unions. Same sex marriage advocates do not share the willingness, and are intent to change the definition for some semblence of forced acceptance.

    I do not care what a person chooses to do, or who they choose to do it with. It makes no nevermind to me, unless it involves me or my family. Heck, I am cool with it if my lovely daughters become lesbians (no boys for them ;-).

    I guess what I am saying is that for me, my position is driven by tradition, language usage, and process driven.

    FWIW – I think that it is insulting to compare this issue to slavery, but I know your usage is in good faith, unlike others.

    JD (5f0e11)

  65. language usage

    That’s really the crux of the debate, especially in California, where couples in a domestic partnership already have almost all of the rights of married couples under state law.

    On the one hand, in my social circle, gay couples refer to themselves as being married, and are generally accepted as being married by their family and friends. the meaning of the word has already changed in our subculture.

    Which means it really isn’t a fight between those who want the meaning to change and those who want it not to: it’s a fight between those for whom the meaning has already changed and those for whom it has not.

    That’s what makes it so contentious and impossible to find common ground. It’s completely obvious to anyone on my side that “marriage” encompasses gay couples, and that two men who have sworn a marriage oath before their friends, family, and God, are married, whatever the state may say. And it’s completely obvious to anyone on the other side that “marriage” can only be between a man and a woman and anything else is a farce, whatever the people involved call it.

    Worse, both sides resent it when the state agrees with the other side.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  66. The assertion that the hospital problems can be resolved without “marriage” is, sadly, incorrect. You can do a great deal to lessen the problems, but ill-minded busy-bodies and hospital administrators still have standing to interfere where they can’t if the pair are married. The courts eventually may decide in favor of the pair, but that can be long after the time to make the decisions has passed, while if they’d been married, there was no standing for anyone to challenge the decisions.

    Let marriage be a religious sacrament unrecognized by government, and civil unions be recognized by the government and ignored by churches, and couples allowed to have one, the other, or both, as they choose. Of course, there’d then be no reason to fight, so few are interested in this. “You think and do what I say” will be the downfall of humankind.

    htom (412a17)

  67. Gleeeen Greenwald is free to marry Mona if he wishes, cfb. They are not denied access to the institution. They seek to redefine the institution.

    JD (5f0e11)

  68. HTOM: in California, where domestic partnerships are more or less tantamount to marriages, it’s unclear that ill-minded busybody hospital administrators would have standing to interfere.

    Not only would the courts be certain to interfere, but if that was long after the time to make decisions had passed, there would almost certainly be a serious punitive damages award in the resulting lawsuit … and hospitals, fearing that, would be unlikely to make an issue

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  69. FWIW – Conversations, and I emphasize conversations, like this are why I enjoy this site so much. I can be a firebrand with the best of them, but discussing the rational differences in our opinions is great. I denounce myself for discussing feelings.

    Homophobes

    JD (5f0e11)

  70. You can do a great deal to lessen the problems, but ill-minded busy-bodies and hospital administrators still have standing to interfere where they can’t if the pair are married.

    Schiavo, anyone?

    Pablo (99243e)

  71. Seems a bit silly and arbitrary in that extreme, but I am absolutely willing to listen to the legitimate state interest in protecting the institution of marriage in each case.

    And I’m willing to listen to an argument for the legitimate state interest in making wholesale changes to it.

    Pablo (99243e)

  72. aphrael — that’s what the lawyers told us, too, a heterosexual couple, and then reality intruded in the legal dreamings. Afterwards, we decided to get married (ten years ago this weekend) and put those problems behind us, along with the angry family members who couldn’t approve (she was Catholic, I wasn’t.) The burned children, and all that.

    htom (412a17)

  73. We can demonstrate the ability to disagree without being disagreeable, and show that having differing policy positions does not make one a racist/sexist/homophobe. Even though you all are ;-)

    JD (5f0e11)

  74. I guess what I am saying is that for me, my position is driven by tradition, language usage, and process driven.

    FWIW – I think that it is insulting to compare this issue to slavery, but I know your usage is in good faith, unlike others.

    JD, let me take the second point first here. I didn’t use slavery, as much as interracial marriage. Forbidding the institution based upon popular vote in that instance is the example often used….whether it is completely or wholly on point, is, of course, an issue.

    And I am also pretty much of the same mindframe as you are. Whatever anyone does in their lives is cool with me. I am also driven in many ways by tradition.

    But, if…as in my hypothetical…we are not interested in some aspects of preserving the sanctity of “marriage”….on balance…if we are cool with the behavior, the rights, the economics….are we willing to dig our heels in on the word, alone? Is that really worth the denial of the right to the word?

    cfbleachers (e6f785)

  75. Will someone please explain to me why the initiative in question wasn’t put forth as a constitutional amendment in the first place? In CA, if an initiative is offered as a constitutional amendment, must it pass by a greater majority than 50.1%?

    I’ve read that some cynical power brokers wanted the possibility of this judicial fiat to happen in order to force another November ballot initiative, which would aid GOP get out the vote efforts. True or not, that is a practical effect, isn’t it?

    Ed (6b8782)

  76. cfb – I think it is a privilege, not a right. But you and aphrael are far more likely to change my mind than most.

    I will not likely ever buy the comparison to race, cuz with the exception of Michael Jackson. that cannot change. Anne Heche, on the other hand ….

    JD (5f0e11)

  77. Race also doesn’t change the fact that there’s a man and a woman in the marriage.

    But, if…as in my hypothetical…we are not interested in some aspects of preserving the sanctity of “marriage”….on balance…if we are cool with the behavior, the rights, the economics….are we willing to dig our heels in on the word, alone? Is that really worth the denial of the right to the word?

    If we’re cool with all of the above, are the gay activists really going to dig their heels in on changing the meaning of the word? Why? Is there a right to the word? Am I entitled to change words that don’t include me so that they do? What’s the upside here, other than forcing something down the throats of people who decidedly don’t want to swallow it?

    Pablo (99243e)

  78. Ahem..!…scuse me.

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  79. I do not want this issue to linger like Roe, and in order for that to be the case, it needs to come from the people, not be dictated from the philosopher kings.

    JD (5f0e11)

  80. Ed: constitutional amendments only need 50.1% to pass, but you must gather more signatures to qualify a constitutional amendment for the ballot.

    Because signatures cost money, the cost of getting an amendment on the ballot is higher than the cost of getting a statutory initiative on the ballot.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  81. htom #67- Let marriage be a religious sacrament unrecognized by government, and civil unions be recognized by the government and ignored by churches, and couples allowed to have one, the other, or both, as they choose. Of course, there’d then be no reason to fight, so few are interested in this. “You think and do what I say” will be the downfall of humankind.

    Well said. This issue seems to rest in part on a repudiation on both sides of the church/state separation doctrine that our Founding Fathers recognized as so important to our survival.

    Argue for contractual rights between individuals and institutions, and you’re talking state. Argue for the right to define a ceremonial title that has its history in religious doctrine and you’re asking for state definition of religion – also a constitutional problem, and problematic for far more reasons than gay rights.

    And htom – realize that “You think and do what I say”, along with the auctioning of “what I say” is the only way that many many people on this small planet can ever turn a profit.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  82. Oh, also – this Times article is very good news for Hillary, as her margin is much smaller than only 19%. No need for her to quit just yet – the jury’s still out!

    Apogee (366e8b)

  83. I guess the LASlimes understand the 19% figure. That’s about how many of the previous subscribers still take the daily paper just to read the comics. They’re effect on the world today is about equal to the effect of an unloaded shotgun on a bear.

    Scrapiron (d671ab)

  84. cfbleachers wrote: Each side has drawn a line in the sand over the term “marriage”. Why? What legitimate state interest does the state have in offering that term to one class of citizens and not another class of citizens…that is not religious in nature?

    I ain’t a lawyuh, but I think you’ve got it backwards.

    Laws regarding marriage were written when there was no dispute what “marriage” meant – one man of legal age, one woman of legal age. Saying that certain men or women meeting those qualifications could not marry any opposite other of their choosing (which was the point of Perez v. Sharp) is an equal protection argument; saying that persons of the opposite sex cannot marry is not.

    DPA provided same-sex couples all the rights of traditional marriage, which was one of the problems that some of the anti-SSM groups had against it (some groups’ effort for a ballot initiative to ban civil unions on the basis that it was de facto marriage didn’t gain enough signatures). The only thing missing from civil unions was the mantle of the term “marriage,” the definition of which is regulated by the state.

    From Justice Baxter’s brilliant dissent:

    The majority … does not have the right to erase, then recast, the age-old definition of marriage, as virtually all societies
    have understood it, in order to satisfy its own contemporary notions of equality
    and justice.

    Regarding your statement about the ‘religious nature’ of state laws; saying that laws established through initiative and the legislature must NOT have its roots in religious tradition is traveling down a road that has at its end the rejection of regulations on any kind of sexual activity. And I’m not being hyperbolic about that statement. Once again, from a S.F. Chronicle article on the oral arguments before the CSC in In re marriage cases:

    [Justice Joyce] Kennard, however, noted that many long-standing traditions relating to marriage – including treating women as property – have been deemed illegal over the years.

    Lawyers for the plaintiffs have pointed to the court’s 1948 decision striking down California’s ban on interracial marriage, and have compared domestic partnership to “separate but equal” segregation. The 1948 ruling, the first of its kind by any state’s high court, recognized a “right to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice.”

    (snip)

    In her arguments, San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart insisted … [existing marriage law] violates equal protection. … Once the state has entered into the regulation of marriage … it has to do so on an equal basis.”

    (snip)

    Justices also asked whether the concept of equality evolves, and, if so, why this is the time to allow same sex marriage.

    The concept of equality does evolve, Stewart said, “but just because society doesn’t see something as unequal until a given time, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t always unequal or unjust. It just means we were blind to it.”

    Again, from Baxter’s dissent:

    The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deep-rooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy. Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deep-rooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law. That approach creates the opportunity for further judicial extension of this perceived constitutional right into dangerous territory. Who can say that, in ten, fifteen, or twenty years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?

    Who can say that? Well, I’ll throw it to you, cfb. Can you say it?

    L.N. Smithee (a0b21b)

  85. Who can say that? Well, I’ll throw it to you, cfb. Can you say it?

    No, LNS…I must admit, I cannot. I believe incest is often a crime and not an act of consent in the fullest sense of the term.

    It simply seems to me that we are embroiled in a fight over a word, not the consequences of the word. That’s a lot of energy devoted to a subject that isolates people, separates them and simply would be better served by one side (the one with the power to enforce) might be better served on deploying its efforts in another arena.

    Being more “right” on what the constitution says is a Pyrrhic victory. If we are not looking to change behavior, if we are ok with civil unions and allowing inheritance, et al….what is the purpose of the fight?

    Who benefits?

    It’s an academic exercise in that case…but, please understand….ONLY if we are agreeing on EACH element of the situation as I have put it forward.

    Baxter’s dissent seems to suggest that Civil Unions and the accompanying rights should also not be allowed under the same reasoning. If Baxter is ok with civil unions…then the dissent is meaningless as I read it. We are back to fighting not over the principles, the acts, the behavior, the deeds…but over the word…marriage. One word.

    We are fighting over semantics not sexual orientation. I find it difficult to join that battle on the side I am almost always steadfastly found.

    I have a hard time justifying

    cfbleachers (e6f785)

  86. JD wrote: Anne Heche, on the other hand …

    Not JUST Anne Heche. Remember that Melissa Etheridge’s sig other Julie Cypher left hubby Lou Diamond Phillips for the singer, gave birth to a child she and Etheridge raised using the sperm of David Crosby (good family planning there, no?) and subsequently confessed in a couples crisis counseling session with Etheridge that she wasn’t a lesbian.

    Cypher re-married in 2004. Oops, forgot to specify — she married a man.

    L.N. Smithee (d1de1b)

  87. I am reminded that in the First French Republic, to reduce, if not eliminate, the influence of the Roman-Catholic Church in French affairs, only marriage unions performed by a civil magistrate at the town-hall were recognized by the French State – and that divorce was granted in the same manner. And, that the ceremonies of the Church had no legal status under French law.
    Is this what we well become, Citizens?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  88. Was Pandora a lesbian?

    Ed (6b8782)

  89. In 1964, Californians by a 2-1 vote passed a constitutional amendment that allowed racial discrimination in housing. It was overturned first by the California Supreme Court and then by the US Supreme Court as a violation of the 14th Amendment.

    Until the US Supreme Court’s 1967 ruling in the case of Loving v. Virginia, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws, it was illegal for white people and black people to marry one another in 16 states.

    In the early 1970s, a series of Supreme Court decisions abolished most, if not all, of the common-law disabilities of bastardy, as being violations of the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    So, we outgrow rules that have been around for centuries and the fact that a majority of the people in some state think it is OK to discriminate against another group is often irrelevant because we have a system that provides for both majority rule AND the protection of minority rights.

    To me the gay marriage issue boils down to whether you believe homosexuality is nature or nuture. If it’s inherent, as most research in the past few decades has suggested, then gay rights should be protected as are those of blacks, women, etc. – cases were people are being discriminated against in situations where they have no control. If, however, you think, that homosexuality is a choice, then gay marriage can be prohibited just as we prohibit polygamy and marriage with minors.

    Peccator Dubius (0a6237)

  90. So to LAT liberals, raising taxes from 30% of income to 50% of income is just a rounding adjustment or narrow rate increase.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  91. Peccator Dubius, you skip something entirely before you jumped to the discrimination claim and that is that you decided that the definition of marriage itself included same-sex unions. That’s a leap most don’t make, even if they don’t wish to discriminate against gays.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  92. To me the gay marriage issue boils down to whether you believe homosexuality is nature or nuture.

    Why does it boil down to what homosexuality is and not to what marriage is?

    Pablo (99243e)

  93. Correct. The justices are supposed to be “impartial and objective.” But some jurists, awarded the ability (not the privilege) to enforce their personal vision of society on an unwilling populace by cutting and pasting the language of the Constitution like a ransom note, fail to rise to that standard.

    What should come next in your post is a refutation of this court’s and these justices’ legal reasoning for their decision. You know, as long as you’re throwing out that it doesn’t rise to some standard, you’d think you’d make an argument for how or why it doesn’t. An argument based on the decision, or on California law.

    But what the hell is this crap?

    SCOTUS Justice Scalia is personally against abortion, but he is very clear about the Constitution’s position on the so-called “right” to it: There is none, and the Burger Court erred in crafting its own legislation for the entire country. But Scalia, a devout Catholic’s devout Catholic, ALSO says that there is no Constitutional basis to ban abortion nationwide (which, obviously, would be his personal preference) and that each individual state’s residents have the Constitutional right to choose where it will stand — allowing all abortions on demand, placing conditions on when it can be allowed, or a total ban.

    Scalia is brilliant enough that if he wanted to spin a quasi-Constitutional purpose for an abortion ban, he could do it. But he won’t, because he has integrity. OTOH, if it was in doubt before, it is no longer so that George’s ruling was not intended simply to address the Constitutional issue in the state of California, but to serve as a model to overturn SSM bans nationwide.

    Your whole argument is that this decision is bad, because you like Scalia, and you don’t think he would have called it this way? That’s how welfare queens make their case to Judge Judy.

    Levi (76ef55)

  94. I see Levi’s reading comprehension has not improved.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  95. #90 – Peccator Dubius

    “To me the gay marriage issue boils down to whether you believe homosexuality is nature or nuture [sic].”

    – Many, many, many people would say that the male urge to commit violence is an example of nature … an urge that, most of the time, is kept in check by nurture. Thankfully, very few people are fighting for the right to fight.

    “If it’s inherent, as most research in the past few decades has suggested, then gay rights should be protected”

    – The right to be gay already is protected.

    “- cases were people are being discriminated against in situations where they have no control”

    – I just told my wife that I had no control in wanting to be married to her. She’s not buying it.

    “If, however, you think, that homosexuality is a choice, then gay marriage can be prohibited just as we prohibit polygamy and marriage with minors.”

    – Just as the question of when life begins had no part in the Roe v. Wade decision, the question of whether or not homosexuality is a choice is NOT the deciding factor here. It might be that for you, but it isn’t necessarily the case for everyone else, and it might not be the deciding factor at all for gay voters.

    Missed It By THAT Much (d02d39)

  96. SPQR: P.D, “you decided that the definition of marriage itself included same-sex unions. That’s a leap most don’t make, even if they don’t wish to discriminate against gays.”

    Pablo: “Why does it boil down to what homosexuality is and not to what marriage is?”

    I was trained as a lawyer, and studied history, political science and anthropology before that, and I would say that marriage in the US is a legal contract enforceable under state law with important rights, benefits and consequences for both parties; usually involving children, but not necessarily. Both historically and in the present day it defines most importantly the couple’s relationship to their property and its inheritance.

    In patriarchal societies it has also the obvious purpose of restricting the sexual activity of the couple (at least the woman) so that the children of the man are clearly identified. Matriarchal societies don’t worry about this so much, of course, and anthropologists historically found some isolated cultures early in the 20th Century who made no connection between the sexual act and the birth of children – it was just a woman’s mystery and children were “dreamed” into existence.

    Anthropologically speaking, property and inheritance rights have been organized in different ways in various societies over human history, the marriage of one man to one or several women is the most common but not the only way we’ve come up with to accomplish this.

    So if it’s not the only possible way to determine these rights, but only the one we use here and now, and if gays are in protected class under the law like race, then they shouldn’t be denied these rights and benefits. If they’re not a protected class, then we can deny them this right.

    If, however, you believe that marriage is something ordained by God, then we’re not going to agree at all – we’re arguing from different basic assumptions.

    And if you believe that homosexuality is a choice, or worse, a sin, then you have to resist the possibility of gay marriage because it allows for the state sanctioned indoctrination of children into potential “gayness” by a same sex couple who adopts – even though research shows this doesn’t happen. We’re not going to agree there either. Like I said, it boils down to nature or nurture.

    Peccator Dubius (0a6237)

  97. Levi wrote: Your whole argument is that this decision is bad, because you like Scalia, and you don’t think he would have called it this way? That’s how welfare queens make their case to Judge Judy.

    SPQR wrote: I see Levi’s reading comprehension has not improved.

    Not to mention his viewing comprehension. I watch Judge Judy every chance I get, and I haven’t seen anything like he described.

    L.N. Smithee (44a9fa)

  98. Peccator Dubius, your description of the institution of marriage is pointedly antiseptic.

    Is that the result of viewing it from afar, or experiencing it up close?

    L.N. Smithee (44a9fa)

  99. So if it’s not the only possible way to determine these rights, but only the one we use here and now, and if gays are in protected class under the law like race, then they shouldn’t be denied these rights and benefits. If they’re not a protected class, then we can deny them this right.

    But it isn’t the only way we use to determine these rights here and now. California law provides a mechanism for this so that gays are not denied these rights and benefits.

    Marriage is also much more than property rights. And adoption is a completely separate issue, except for the fact that married people usually produce children the old fashioned way, by birthing them into families. They have a right to do this. Gays can adopt. Gays can contract among themselves to jointly own property, be each others heirs, medical proxies, etc… They cannot get married and make babies. This is not a violation of their rights, this is a stone cold, immutable fact. And what this reality does is create a biological bond between the married people, one that cannot exist between gay people. Such legal bonds can be created, via adoption, but as much as one might wish it were it is simply not the same thing.

    Pablo (99243e)

  100. And what the samesex marriage activists want is for the law to make it the same thing, even though it clearly is not. Kind of like the pregnant man. Legally a man, physically not one at all, but rather a mutilated woman.

    Pablo (99243e)

  101. “I feel it’s not a male or female desire to have a child. It’s a human need. I’m a person and I have the right to have a biological child.”

    See there? A “right”. But what about his wife? Doesn’t she have a “right” to have a bio child? Do they have the “right” to have a bio child together? And when they put her on the birth certificate as a parent, will it be her bio child? No. We’ll just pretend that it is, because we don’t want to violate anyone’s “rights” by acknowledging reality.

    He has an intact vagina, but he he did not say how he would deliver the baby.

    Um, yeah. Sure he does.

    Pablo (99243e)

  102. Obama wins Wisconsin by 17%…LAT calls this “double-digit”

    “Barack Obama swept to a double-digit victory in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday, turning aside a fierce effort by Hillary Rodham Clinton and further propelling his campaign as the Democrats head toward epic contests in Ohio and Texas.”

    Obama wins N.C. by 14%…LAT says “handidly won”

    “Barack Obama handily won North Carolina and Hillary Rodham Clinton eked out a victory in Indiana on Tuesday, keeping the Democratic contest alive and underscoring the chasm between their supporters.

    Obama had the easier time of it. With 99% of precincts reporting, he was winning North Carolina 56% to 42%.”

    SeafoodGumbo (bca200)

  103. Peccator Dubious, your answer is not really responsive. Redefining marriage to something that the electorate does not recognize will convince no one.

    Many people have the impression that gay activists do not want to adopt the institution of marriage for themselves, but rather to destroy the institution for everyone. While this is not true for many – there are enough whose pronouncements support this view to make it credible.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  104. Many people have the impression that gay activists do not want to adopt the institution of marriage for themselves, but rather to destroy the institution for everyone. While this is not true for many – there are enough whose pronouncements support this view to make it credible.

    What the hell is that supposed to mean?

    What does the destruction of the institution of marriage look like? A 50% divorce rate seems like more of a sign of its corruption than allowing gays to take part in it.

    Levi (76ef55)

  105. What the hell is that supposed to mean?

    It was clear enough to me, Mr. Sunny.

    Paul (de3f43)

  106. It was clear enough to me, Mr. Sunny.

    Well don’t keep me in suspense, what is that supposed to mean?

    Levi (76ef55)

  107. Well don’t keep me in suspense, what is that supposed to mean?

    Exactly what it says. Are you telling us that you aren’t capable of comprehending what you read?

    You have a few loose cannons on your side that need to shut up or change their message, because they are ruining it for the rest of the gay marriage proponents. Or at least making it more difficult.

    Paul (de3f43)

  108. Exactly what it says. Are you telling us that you aren’t capable of comprehending what you read?

    You have a few loose cannons on your side that need to shut up or change their message, because they are ruining it for the rest of the gay marriage proponents. Or at least making it more difficult.

    What do you mean they’re ruining it? My side just won this decision, didn’t we? How could that possibly be making it more difficult?

    And again, how does whatever they’re doing ‘destroy the institution of marriage for everyone?’ What?

    Levi (76ef55)

  109. 106:

    Well don’t keep me in suspense,

    Oh, you are much more fun that way.

    Oh, and when you get old enough to take “high school civics,” let us know.

    EW1(SG) (84e813)

  110. My side just won this decision, didn’t we? How could that possibly be making it more difficult?

    Our side just won a court case.

    We have yet to win the battle in the field of public opinion, and we must fight it in November.

    There are voices on our side who make that fight harder to win by pissing off potential allies and scaring away people who might be persuaded.

    The court decision has pissed off several potential allies enough that we’ve lost them in the fight to defeat the ballot measure to ban gay marriage.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  111. the ballot measure to ban gay marriage

    Why do you believe the ballot measure is there to ban “gay” marriage? I can easily assert it is there to ban polygamous marriage.

    Oh, you say that’s silly because polygamous marriages have never been legal in CA?

    ahem

    Darleen (187edc)

  112. What do you mean they’re ruining it? My side just won this decision, didn’t we? How could that possibly be making it more difficult?

    Your side won ONE decision inside ONE state. You think that’s all you need? Also, if there weren’t a few loose cannons that at least make it sound as though they wish the outright destruction of marriage, wouldn’t any such victory, even one that was hoty debated as questionable, come sooner?

    And again, how does whatever they’re doing ‘destroy the institution of marriage for everyone?’ What?

    By being loose cannons that give the APPEARANCE of wanting to destroy marriage, they do damage to your side because nobody tells them to shut up. Instead of seeing such and addressing it, people on your side call gay marriage opponents homophobes.

    So in essence, your side is battling the effect…and neglecting the cause.

    Paul (de3f43)

  113. aphrael #111, you said it better than I did. That’s exacty what SPQR meant.

    Paul (de3f43)

  114. Darleen: with all due respect, given the political context in California, your question seems absurd.

    Proposition 22 was explicitly placed on the ballot, according to the *ballot statement of its proponents*, to prevent courts in other states from forcing California to recognize gay marriages.

    The constitutional amendment which will almost certainly qualify in November was circulated in response to attempts by the legislature to legalize gay marriages.

    You can *say* that the amendment is there to ban polygamous marriages. But that’s a stretch: it’s there to prevent the only change to the state’s definition marriage which is currently being contemplated by the legislature.

    [The fact that the courts have enacted gay marriage since the signatures were gathered and submitted for verification does not change this: the signatures were gathered with the intent of preventing either the courts or the legislatures from enacting gay marriage.]

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  115. Our side just won a court case.

    We have yet to win the battle in the field of public opinion, and we must fight it in November.

    Right, aphrael. And that, of course, applies only to CA. 27 states have language in their Constitutions that define marriage as between a man and a woman. Another 14 have statutes that do so. There are only 6 that do not, and only one that has even slightly settled law allowing it. As things stand, CA will likely be the 28th state with such a Constitutional amendment defining marriage.

    But Levi, you go ahead and do a victory dance and then a superior dance. Video posted to You Tube will be appreciated.

    Pablo (99243e)

  116. Darleen, I point you in particular to this excerpt from the web page of Project Marriage, the sponsors of the initiative:

    Why is a constitutional amendment necessary? Didn’t Californians already vote on something like this?

    Answer: In the March 2000 election, the voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 22 by over 61% of the vote. Prop. 22 added a regular statute to the California Family Code to keep marriage between a man and a woman and prevent the state Legislature from redefining marriage without a vote of the people. Since then however, politicians and judges have chipped away at Prop 22 and ignored the will of the voters. For example:

    · Two years ago, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom thumbed his nose at California voters by issuing marriage licenses to thousands of homosexual couples in open defiance of Proposition 22. Ultimately, the courts declared those so-called “marriages” to be invalid, but left the door open to a future constitutional challenge against traditional marriage.

    · Additionally, the courts have undermined Proposition 22 and marriage by upholding an act of the Legislature that gave homosexual “domestic partners” the full legal status of married spouses. A San Francisco judge ruled that Proposition 22, a regular statute, violates the California Constitution and ordered the licensing of same-sex “marriages.” That decision is currently being appealed in the California Supreme Court.

    · The Legislature is now considering legislation (Assembly Bill 43) to allow licensing of homosexual “marriage.”

    An amendment to the California Constitution, which requires a vote of the people, is the only way to stop the politicians, and especially the courts, from re-defining marriage against the will of the majority of Californians.

    It seems pretty clear from rhetoric like this that the sponsors are *specifically* concerned about preventing gay marriage. In fact, it seems they’re also opposed to domestic partnerships, although their initiative amendment does not ban them.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  117. Proposition 22 was explicitly placed on the ballot, according to the *ballot statement of its proponents*, to prevent courts in other states from forcing California to recognize gay marriages.

    Doesn’t the Defense of Marriage Act already do that?

    Pablo (99243e)

  118. Pablo: it was unclear in 2000 whether DOMA would withstand constitutional scrutiny.

    There was also a degree to which the initiative was *couched* in those terms in order to garner support: I argued with several supporters of the proposition who supported it because they thought it was important that California decide for itself, rather than allowing other people to decide for us. (That is, what they cared about was that *we* made the decision, not what the actual decision was, and saw this as the only way to ensure that we made the decision).

    Note that i’m *not* arguing that Proposition 22 does not prevent California’s legislature from authorizing gay marriage. It did until it was overturned by the state Supreme Court.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  119. aphrael

    My point (which either you are ignoring or it’s just whooshing right by you) is that the proposition is to keep marriage as it has been historically defined. You can’t “ban” something that was never legal to begin with.

    The narrative of a “gay marriage ban” is decidely pro-”marrying who I love is my right!”, neatly sidestepping and dishonestly smearing opponents who raise real legal arguments about the radical change same-sex marriage can/could bring.

    Gay marriage already exists, same-sex doesn’t, never has.

    Darleen (187edc)

  120. Pablo, the ballot argument in favor of proposition 22 can be found on page 52 of this pdf:

    “When people ask ‘why is this necessary?’ I say that even though California law already says only a man and a woman may marry, it also recognizes marriages from other states. However, judges in osme of those states want to define marriage differently than we do. If they succeed, California may have to recognize new kinds of marriages, even though most people believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

    the rebuttal to the argument against is on page 53.

    “The truth is, unless we pass proposition 22, legal loopholes could force california to recognize ‘same-sex marriages’ performed in other states.”

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  121. Darleen: it’s hardly surprising that I, as someone who supports same-sex marriage as a matter of policy, would use words which presume that same-sex marriages already exist :)

    It is certainly not a dishonest argument to note that the proposed constitutional amendment, and proposition 22 before it, prohibited the state from recognizing marriages which are recognized by the individuals involved, not to mention by their friends, family, community, and churches.

    Same-sex marriage exists. The question is entirely whether the state will recognize them.

    That said, you are correct that I should not use the word ‘ban’; these marriages will continue to exist whether the state recognizes them or not. A gay marriage ‘ban’ would prohibit the marriages and punish those who enter into and sanctify them; the proposed ballot measure does not do that.

    Still: ‘gay marriage ban’ is a convenient shorthand for ‘measure that prohibits the state from recognizing same-sex marriages’. ‘Gay marriage’ is a synonym for ‘same-sex marriage’ in the overwhelming majority of cases in which it used in public debate. ‘ban’ is a more questionable shorthand, but it allows the concept to be conveyed in three words instead of nine; that may be sufficient to make it a reasonable rhetorical device.

    That’s particularly true given the political context: nobody is calling for arresting same-sex couples, and there really is minimal risk that anyone is going to be misled by the phrase ‘gay marriage ban’ into thinking that such a thing is being proposed. My suspicion is that most people when they hear the phrase ‘gay marriage ban’ will interpret it as ‘prohibition on the state recognizing same-sex marriages’.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  122. L.N.Smithee: “PD, your description of the institution of marriage is pointedly antiseptic. Is that the result of viewing it from afar, or experiencing it up close?”

    My definition is a legal one, also one that reflects historical, political and anthropological reality. It was intended to make clear to other posters that marriage is a social contract – one of the ways humans organize societies.

    Personally, I’ve been happily married to wife for 35+ years. I read my post to my wife before I posted it – she’s also a lawyer – and her only comment was to add the point that research shows that having same sex parents does not determine sexual preference.

    Peccator Dubius (0a6237)

  123. The question is entirely whether the state will recognize them

    Not really. Given the radical “sexual orientation is a suspect class” wording in the judcial diktat of late, the proposition would reverse that …

    AND

    it might keep the other shoe from dropping; ie the criminalization of anyone who expresses disapproval of homosexual behavior, including SSM.

    Darleen (187edc)

  124. The proposition would not reverse the ‘sexual orientation is a suspect class’ part of the decision.

    The proposition’s wording doesn’t address that issue at all. It *only* addresses what marriages are recognized by the state.

    The entire text of the initiative is here.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  125. the criminalization of anyone who expresses disapproval of homosexual behavior

    Have we jailed anyone for saying “keep them [women] barefoot and pregnant”? Or is it only because some feminist never said we should. The scenarios that can be spun and be considered “rational basis”.

    nk (d7f5f5)

  126. nk wrote: Have we jailed anyone for saying “keep them [women] barefoot and pregnant”? Or is it only because some feminist never said we should. The scenarios that can be spun and be considered “rational basis”.

    To my knowledge, “we” — which I presume means “Americans” — have not “jailed” anyone. However, our neighbors up north in Canada, who have no equivalent to our First Amendment rights, have been marching in that direction for many years. In 2004, the high court in Saskatchewan upheld a 2001 judgment against a man and a newspaper for the “crime” of placing a classified ad citing (but not quoting) a scripture condemning homosexuality. They were forced to pay damages to three gay Canadians who objected.

    L.N. Smithee (44a9fa)

  127. Our side just won a court case.

    Otherwise known as a ‘decision.’ Don’t turn into J.D.

    We have yet to win the battle in the field of public opinion, and we must fight it in November.

    We don’t need to win public opinion. We have the law on our side. What’s your plan? To wait around until everyone miraculously changes their mind?

    There are voices on our side who make that fight harder to win by pissing off potential allies and scaring away people who might be persuaded.

    Name names. What voices on our side? What ‘potential allies’ are we losing? Idiots? Homophobes? Why do we need to check in with the idiots and the homophobes before moving forward with progress?

    The court decision has pissed off several potential allies enough that we’ve lost them in the fight to defeat the ballot measure to ban gay marriage.

    Get a clue pal, we’re never going to get anything accomplished if we’re constantly worrying about who we’re going to piss off.

    Are you sure you’re a Democrat?

    Levi (76ef55)

  128. “We don’t need to win public opinion. We have the law on our side. “

    Once again, ignorance personified.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  129. Get a clue pal, we’re never going to get anything accomplished if we’re constantly worrying about who we’re going to piss off.

    Democrats. Moving forward with progress. W00t!

    Pablo (99243e)

  130. Smithee #127,

    And, if in Iran, the three homosexuals who objected would have been hanged.

    Let’s take Darleen’s fears further. Is there a great danger of going to jail for saying “Send them [black people] back to Africa”?

    nk (d7f5f5)

  131. And, re Cananda, don’t forget what they’re trying to do to Mark Steyn – all in the name of compassion and multi-cultural awareness.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  132. #97 – Peccator Dubius

    Paragraph 1: “I was trained as a lawyer [...] it defines most importantly the couple’s relationship to their property and its inheritance.”

    – Nothing incorrect here.

    Paragraph 2: “In patriarchal societies it has also the obvious purpose of restricting the sexual activity of the couple … etcetera.”

    – No problems.

    Paragraph 3: “Anthropologically speaking, property and inheritance rights have been organized in different ways … etcetera.”

    – Okay.

    Paragraph 4: “So if it’s not the only possible way to determine these rights, but only the one we use here and now, and if gays are in protected class under the law like race, then they shouldn’t be denied these rights and benefits. If they’re not a protected class, then we can deny them this right.”

    – And the wheels come off! Since when is marriage the ONLY way we determine property and inheritance rights in the here and now? What happened to wills and the probate process? And let’s take it as a given that race, sex, color, creed, ethnicity, & national origin (designations made in Article 1 of the CA Constitution in regards to discrimination) are the ‘protected classes’ of which you speak; furthermore, let’s assume that “sex” includes both gender identity & sexual orientation. Heck, for the sake of discussion let’s even assume that the CA S.C. was correct in asserting that there is a constitutional “right to marry”.

    That still doesn’t void the legality of “one man one woman” legislation.

    “If, however, you believe that marriage is something ordained by God, then we’re not going to agree at all – we’re arguing from different basic assumptions.”

    – Not necessarily. It’s entirely possible for someone who believes that marriage is ordained to argue this issue on legal merits alone.

    “And if you believe that homosexuality is a choice, or worse, a sin, then you have to resist the possibility of gay marriage because it allows for the state sanctioned indoctrination of children into potential “gayness” by a same sex couple who adopts – even though research shows this doesn’t happen. We’re not going to agree there either. Like I said, it boils down to nature or nurture.”

    – When it comes to how one votes on the marriage amendment. This, of course, has nothing to do with the Supreme Court case.

    Missed It By THAT Much (a406f3)

  133. State-sanctioned “marriage” is the most intrusive statist interference into the most personal, private and sacred interpersonal relationships.

    And “a man should leave his mother and father and a woman should leave her mother and father, etc., etc.” is beautiful poetry but it is not American law.

    nk (d7f5f5)

  134. We don’t need to win public opinion. We have the law on our side. What’s your plan? To wait around until everyone miraculously changes their mind?

    So what’s your plan, Mr. Sunny? Jam it down everyone’s throats “for the good of the people?”

    See, I thought you guys were all about Tolerance and Celebrating our Differences.

    BUt the attitude you display here is simiar to every mass-murdering-their-own-citizens dictator of the 20th Century.

    Why do we need to check in with the idiots and the homophobes before moving forward with progress?

    Why do you call anyone who disagrees with you an “idiot” and a “homophobe,” Mr. Sunny?

    Paul (de3f43)

  135. We don’t need to win public opinion. We have the law on our side

    And in California in November the voters have the opportunity to change the law. Polls show they are likely to do it.

    We’ve won a battle. We have not yet won the war.

    What’s your plan? To wait around until everyone miraculously changes their mind?

    Persuade people, by talking to them, and by living my life as an openly gay man, demonstrating that gay people aren’t, at the end of the day, fundamentally different from straight people.

    What ‘potential allies’ are we losing?

    SPQR, for one; at least, if you take him at his word in one of the other threads. Whatever percentage of people agree with Darleen’s argument that it’s important to vote in favor of the constitutional amendment to send a message to the judiciary, regardless of how we feel about the underlying issue.

    Why do we need to check in with the idiots and the homophobes before moving forward with progress?

    Because the people are sovereign and if we get too far ahead of the majority, there *will be* a backlash.

    Get a clue pal, we’re never going to get anything accomplished if we’re constantly worrying about who we’re going to piss off.

    And our victories will be short-lived and turn to dust if we don’t worry about who we are pissing off.

    Are you sure you’re a Democrat?

    Yes.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  136. Are you sure you’re a Democrat?

    The form of liberalism in which I am steeped is one which values consensus: we must talk about our differences until we come to an agreement everyone at least accepts.

    It’s hard, hard work, and it can take decades if not generations to achieve change that way. But the alternative to consensus is using force to make people be as I would have them be; how would that be just?

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  137. Aphrael, probably not best to consider me an “ally” per se. I do not care about whether or not any state allows gay marriage ( to the extent that I would not bother to go the polls to support or oppose a voter initiative, and if I found myself in the polls with such an initiative before me, I literally do not know how I’d vote on it ). As I’ve said, I strongly oppose judicial imposition of it.

    I support reasonable non-discrimination statutes for sexual orientation ( meaning that I support legal prohibitions on direct discrimination against people as a result of their sexual orientation but do not support prohibitions on issues around conduct – e.g., I think it should be legal for employers to prohibit cross-dressers on company time ).

    SPQR (26be8b)

  138. And in California in November the voters have the opportunity to change the law. Polls show they are likely to do it.

    We’ve won a battle. We have not yet won the war.

    I never said we did. But this is a ‘win,’ now matter how badly conservatives would like to go around insisting it actually hurts our cause. We shouldn’t shy away from these battles or diminish the significance behind our victories in them, this is progress. So they’ll pass a law, we can fight that, too.

    Persuade people, by talking to them, and by living my life as an openly gay man, demonstrating that gay people aren’t, at the end of the day, fundamentally different from straight people.

    There’s nothing persuadable in a mind that comes up with these ridiculous arguments against gay marriage, about how it enables polygamy, or about how being gay is a choice, or simply that it’s ‘non-traditional.’ You still think you can persuade those types of people? Bipartisanship is dead, if it ever existed. We’ll have to drag these dolts kicking and screaming the whole way, how is that not patently obvious to you?

    SPQR, for one; at least, if you take him at his word in one of the other threads. Whatever percentage of people agree with Darleen’s argument that it’s important to vote in favor of the constitutional amendment to send a message to the judiciary, regardless of how we feel about the underlying issue.

    People that want to ‘send a message to the judiciary’ are idiots that don’t understand how American government works. The judiciary doesn’t have to obey or even feel threatened by a ‘message,’ so Darleen can get all worked up and pass some law, and it will get struck down, just the same.

    SPQR and Darleen aren’t allies that we need. They’re not gatekeepers to some bridge we need to cross. They’re impediments, a wall we need to climb, a span we need to traverse.

    Because the people are sovereign and if we get too far ahead of the majority, there *will be* a backlash.

    The majority is always going to be sluggish and slow to respond to the times, we don’t need to let that frighten us. There will be backlash, so what? I welcome it. Their position is untenable in the long term because of these retarded stances and arguments they’re forced to take in defense of… well, whatever they *think* they’re defending. Let them keep on equating gay marriage to polygamy or incest or bestiality, that’s an embarrassingly pathetic quiver of argument, and one they will inevitably find useless as people become smarter and less bigotted.

    And our victories will be short-lived and turn to dust if we don’t worry about who we are pissing off.

    MLK and Abraham Lincoln and Susan B. Anthony weren’t running around lamenting that they would be angering people by arguing for what they knew was right. People were pissed off about emancipation and women’s suffrage and desegregation, so what? I certainly understand the importance of using tact to change a political status quo, but whose backwards, bigoted sensibilities we’re offending shouldn’t factor into that equation.

    Levi (76ef55)

  139. Levi – I didn’t realize that you were gay, nttawwt.

    daleyrocks (7b62a8)

  140. Let them keep on equating gay marriage to polygamy or incest or bestiality, that’s an embarrassingly pathetic quiver of argument, and one they will inevitably find useless as people become smarter and less bigotted.

    Mr. Sunny, you invalidate “people become smarter and less bigotted [sic]” when you precede it with:

    Their position is untenable in the long term because of these retarded stances and arguments they’re forced to take in defense of

    Moving on:

    Bipartisanship is dead, if it ever existed.

    For too many Dems, bipartisanship means that the other side simply agrees with them and abandons all of their priciples. In other words, jam it down their throats and make them like it.

    Paul (de3f43)

  141. SPQR, at #138: that’s fair. Although I’ll note that, if you don’t care one way or the other, you are a potential ally; there is a possibility that you could be persuaded, absent the judicial imposition you dislike.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  142. SPQR and Darleen aren’t allies that we need

    Polls show the measure in California passing 54-35. I’d say we need to make an ally out of everyone we can make an ally out of.

    MLK and Abraham Lincoln and Susan B. Anthony weren’t running around lamenting that they would be angering people by arguing for what they knew was right.

    And yet Abraham Lincoln had no plans to emancipate the slaves in the south until well into the civil war; the debate in 1860 was entirely about banning slavery in the territories. The man campaigned on a platform denouncing slavery as evil; but because the law did not allow him to do anything about it, and he valued that law and the union between the states, he wasn’t going to abide by that law, until the other side forced the issue.

    And yet MLK was calling for action by the people; his cause was about persuading the majority to see the error of its ways.

    We would be far more successful in the long term if we worked to persuade people rather than judges.

    There’s nothing persuadable in a mind that comes up with these ridiculous arguments against gay marriage, about how it enables polygamy, or about how being gay is a choice, or simply that it’s ‘non-traditional.’ You still think you can persuade those types of people?

    Yes! Note that in California, it’s become politically impossible to overturn domestic partnerships which are marriage in all but name, and which did not exist as a state institution less than a decade ago. That’s a pretty clear sign that the people are being persuaded.

    We’ll have to drag these dolts kicking and screaming the whole way, how is that not patently obvious to you?

    Because I’ve seen the world change enough in my lifetime to know that it’s not true. Note, for example, the evolution of political thought on gays in the military: in 1993, when President Clinton tried to get the rules changed to allow gay people to serve openly in the military, he was unable to do it, and the result was DADT. When the next Democratic President tries to do it, he will succeed. Not because a court has said he should, but because public opinion has shifted to the point where, even if people are opposed to it, it is no longer a big deal to many of those for whom it was a big deal fifteen years ago.

    Why do you have so little faith in the public?

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  143. The form of liberalism in which I am steeped is one which values consensus: we must talk about our differences until we come to an agreement everyone at least accepts.

    It’s hard, hard work, and it can take decades if not generations to achieve change that way. But the alternative to consensus is using force to make people be as I would have them be; how would that be just?

    Consensus isn’t how any decisions have been made in the history of this country. Every idea, good or bad, has had its supporters and its detractors. We had a pretty solid consensus about WWII, hell even George Bush rallied a consensus after 9-11, but those moments are few and far in between. It’s not how this country was meant to be run.

    I’d also remind you of how Republicans further their agenda, they certainly don’t do it by trying to attain consensus. The same people that make these absurd arguments against gay marriage advocate a foreign policy of perpetual war and cheer on this administration as it conjures up torture doctrines, and when those of us opposed to such ideas express our opposition, they react with shock and dismay, marginalize us as ‘BDS-sufferers,’ and go on their merry, destructive way. They don’t worry about consensus, look how many people oppose this war and think their leader is a retard. And they remain unapologetic.

    How do you think our side will ever be able to get anything done if we worry about whose toes we’re stepping on, if we worry about consensus, no matter how irrational and ignorant the hold-outs are, when the other side advances their agenda with significant majorities opposed to everything they do?

    Consensus is only a smart way of running things if everyone absolutely, definitely, and for sure shares the same, baseline intelligence. That’s not how it is in America, obviously.

    Levi (76ef55)

  144. Levi, you’ve been schooled by Alphrael and you don’t have a clue that its happened.

    For one thing, as he noted, you’ve shown that you have absolutely no clue about Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, nor Susan B. Anthony. Absolutely none – because what you have described shows that you have no clue what their principles were, nor what each actually did in their political life.

    Astonishing level of ignorance.

    As for the gay marriage issue, you typify the juvenile leftist to me, if you don’t get your way on what to eat for breakfast, you’ll burn down the house.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  145. Let them keep on equating gay marriage to polygamy or incest or bestiality, that’s an embarrassingly pathetic quiver of argument, and one they will inevitably find useless as people become smarter and less bigotted.

    Mr. Sunny, you invalidate “people become smarter and less bigotted [sic]” when you precede it with:

    Their position is untenable in the long term because of these retarded stances and arguments they’re forced to take in defense of

    I call them like I see them. I’ve seen just about every argument against gay marriage there could possibly be, and none is even remotely impressive. Each is flawed in some way that exposes in the arguer either profound ignorance (incessantly screeching about activist judges) or primitive bigotry (worrying about gay marriage somehow magically affecting your life in any way.) There’s no one opposing gay marriage in this thread arguing about the legal reasoning of the decision or trying to prove their own case through some other established precedent, it’s all judicial fiat this, destruction of the institution that.

    Which is stupid, and I’m going to call it that. Don’t stand there acting surprised, telling me that by my saying such a thing, my own stupidity is simply self-evident. Tell me how I’m stupid, show me why. 95% of the people that respond to me pretend their competent debaters by seizing on singular sentences and phrases and declaring how obvious it is to everyone that I should be made fun of. I’ll let what I say speak for itself. If you disagree, you should try to formulate an actual retort.

    Levi (76ef55)

  146. Mr. Sunny, in my previous comment exactly where did I you were stupid?

    I merely pointed out that calling those you oppose and their arguments “retarded” when you look for people to “become smarter and less bigoted” nullifies your point.

    In other words, you undermine your own credibiity when you engage in the very actions you accuse others of. You really should read and understand aphrael’s comments…he’s far more persuasive than you.

    Paul (de3f43)

  147. Oops…the first ine should read:

    Mr. Sunny, in my previous comment exactly where did I say you were stupid?

    Paul (de3f43)

  148. I merely pointed out that calling those you oppose and their arguments “retarded” when you look for people to “become smarter and less bigoted” nullifies your point.

    It doesn’t nullify the point, that is the point. I’m not going to automatically respect your side of the argument just because you’re making it, or just because you really, really believe in it. Nor do I automatically call everyone a retard that espouses a viewpoint I disagree with. But this particular viewpoint, and the particular way that it is argued for and supported, I have judged to be no more than bigoted paranoia coupled with a misunderstanding of how the judicial branch works. This is the main problem, as I see it. I’m not supposed to talk about what I have figured is the problem?

    In other words, you undermine your own credibiity when you engage in the very actions you accuse others of.

    So pointing out that others are stupid bigots makes you a stupid bigot yourself? Is that what you’re telling me?

    Another pathetic argument. Conservative ‘debate’ has got to be the easiest, most mindless thing to take part in in the world.

    Levi (76ef55)

  149. Conservative ‘debate’ has got to be the easiest, most mindless thing to take part in in the world.

    Of cource it is. All the liberal has to do is become sjrill, insulting, and vulgar. The debate ends when we realize you’re just too dense/dishonest to actually talk.

    So, yeah… Pretty much what you do, Teddy K, oh Tiny Dancer…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  150. So pointing out that others are stupid bigots makes you a stupid bigot yourself?

    Wrong, Mr. Sunny.

    Making your own bigoted remarks while accusing others of bigotry is hypocritical. That is what I meant when I wrote:

    In other words, you undermine your own credibiity when you engage in the very actions you accuse others of.

    That you would twist that sentence into “So pointing out that others are stupid bigots makes you a stupid bigot yourself” is astounding, and forces me to question your comprehension abilities of the written word.

    Paul (de3f43)

  151. Paul, we’ve been questioning that since he started posting here…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  152. There will be backlash, so what? I welcome it. Their position is untenable in the long term because of these retarded stances and arguments they’re forced to take in defense of… well, whatever they *think* they’re defending.

    So, you think you’ll live to see all those Constitutional amendments reversed? You welcome another one in California? Ha!

    Pablo (99243e)

  153. Pablo: I believe that if the proposed constitutional amendment passes in California this fall, I will live to see it repealed.

    Changing the Constitution is easy in California.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  154. Levi writes: “I’ll let what I say speak for itself.”

    Oh, it has. It certainly has.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  155. You will notice that Levi argues from a position that assumes he holds the correct opinion. This, I have found is typical. If he wishes to change the law, then it is up to him to make the convincing arguments. Not the other way around.

    Worse, for him, is that this is a nation of laws, so he had best coach his terms based marriage law. I wish him luck, because the public seems mostly inclined to allow current institutions to stand as is.

    Education Guy (5c7c7c)

  156. maybe I can be of help here. I’ve done a lot of work with statistics, and I think I can understand why the L.A. Times chose the words is did for the article’s title. Keep in mind that the percentages reported in the survey reflect the opinions of the 705 voters interviewed by the Times, while the title of the article is a predictive statement about the opinions of the X millions voters who *weren’t* surveyed.

    Projecting the results from the survey to the overall population isn’t a straightforward process. You can certainly do it with a well-designed sample, but you can still only make conservative judgment calls about the larger population.

    I think there are several factors influencing the L.A. Times’ choice of words for the title, and these represent some of the nuances of projecting the statistics of a small subset of a population to the overall population.

    (1) First, the survey conducted by the Times asked several questions, not just one about how Californians would vote on the gay marriage ban. For example, one of the questions whose responses are reported in the same article is “agree or disagree: as long as two people are in love and are committed to each other, it doesn’t matter if they are a same-sex couple or a heterosexual couple?” 59% of all respondents agreed, 35% disagreed. When designing the title, the Times had to create a phrase that would be indicative of all the results of their survey, including this very gay-affirming result.

    (2) The 19-point difference you cite comes from the result that 54% of respondents said they would vote in favor of a constitutional ban on gay marriage while 35% said they would vote against. Add the two numbers up: they do not total 100%.

    If you look at the results of the survey, 10% reported they do not know. It could be that those 10% will decide to oppose the ban by the time November rolls around. It could be that those 10% will decide to support the ban. We don’t know. But without knowing, you cannot state that the difference in opinion is exactly 19%.

    Let’s assume a “worst case” scenario and assume the 10% undecideds ultimately decide to oppose the ban. That would bring the difference between the two groups to 9%.

    Moreover, read the fine print at the bottom of the survey–the part about “sampling error”. For this survey, it is 4%. Coming up with that number is complicated, but it’s what allows the paper to say that the opinions of the 705 registered voters they surveyed are indicative of the broader electorate of California. It means that, with reasonable confidence, if the entire state’s voters were to be surveyed, their responses to each of the questions would be within + or – 4% of the responses from this subset. (Incidentally, this is the same reason why news outlets can “call” elections long before all the ballots are counted. The power of statistics is that, with a representative sample, you only need to exit poll a small chunk of the population to draw conclusions about the whole population)

    Let’s apply the “worst case” scenario of sampling error here. Subtract 4% from the 54% that support the gay marriage ban. Add 4% to the 35+10% that may oppose the gay marriage ban. That puts you at 50% to 49%. A *very* tight margin.

    Here’s the deal: the number manipulation above may seem sketchy, but it isn’t at all. The almost two-to-one approval of Californians of people loving people of the same sex being okay vs. people disapproving of people loving people of the same sex may be a strong indicator of how the undecided voters swing in November.

    When trying to draw conclusions from statistics, one must always make conservative statements. Well, you don’t have to make conservative statements. However, when you’re in the news business like the Times is, you gain respect by being *correct*. What would happen if the Times said something like “overwhelming majorities oppose gay marriage” and then the marriage ban fails in November? That would diminish the credibility of the Times. When they make statements based on statistics, they have to have a high confidence that their statements will be correct. And indeed, in this case, they have chosen to make a conservative statement.

    From their survey we can safely conclude that more Californians oppose gay marriage than support it. How wide the margin is between those two groups is uncertain. We can talk about the margin between the two groups in the sample population of 70% with complete confidence, but we don’t know for certain the margin between the two groups in the general population.

    Hence the Title of the article is a safe bet for the Times. It is very, very unlikely that their title is incorrect (again, this is assuming that their sample was a good, representative one, and that their statistics are good).

    Now, does that mean that California will ultimately choose the gay marriage ban in November? We don’t know. A lot can change in the next few months. My guess is that probably a lot *won’t* change–but that’s just a guess. On the other hand, we’ve seen from the evolution of public opinion over the course of the presidential primaries that public opinion can vary tremendously from one month to the next. I dunno. It will be very interesting to see what happens with this stuff!

    My gut feeling is that the general opinion in California is negative–a gut feeling that is backed up by this survey.

    Joe Moderate (fadc4d)

  157. Let’s apply the “worst case” scenario of sampling error here. Subtract 4% from the 54% that support the gay marriage ban. Add 4% to the 35+10% that may oppose the gay marriage ban. That puts you at 50% to 49%. A *very* tight margin.

    Let’s apply the opposite. Add 4% to 54%. Add another 10%. Now you have 68%. Now subtract 4% from 35%. Now you have 68% to 31%.

    Don’t you think they’ll look like idiots calling it a slim margin if it ends up being a 37-point margin?

    Note that I’m not saying I think that will happen, just that this is the result if you apply your exact logic in the opposite direction.

    However, when you’re in the news business like the Times is, you gain respect by being *correct*.

    And you lose it by misrepresenting poll numbers in headlines and then having people laugh at you throughout the blogosphere.

    And that’s what happened here.

    Patterico (cb443b)

  158. Each is flawed in some way that exposes in the arguer either profound ignorance (incessantly screeching about activist judges) or primitive bigotry (worrying about gay marriage somehow magically affecting your life in any way.)

    Convenient for Levi that anyone that thinks differently than him is ignorant or a bigot.

    Joe – It takes a lot of assumptions, and I mean a lot, to arrive at that conclusion, and it flies in the face of the numbers. If they had applied the undecideds to one side, they should have said so. If it takes adding and subtracting from both sides in order to make it narrow, close, slim, etc … then maybe they should think about NOT LYING.

    JD (75f5c3)

  159. Each is flawed in some way that exposes in the arguer either profound ignorance (incessantly screeching about activist judges) or primitive bigotry (worrying about gay marriage somehow magically affecting your life in any way.)

    Convenient for Levi that anyone that thinks differently than him is ignorant or a bigot.

    For those of us who are fiercely independent, it always strikes us as odd that folks on the hard left have such difficulty separating out the two issues.

    I am four square in line with Pat on the LATimes despicable lack of objectivity and their continuing attempts at disguising propaganda as news, while I have come to an independent decision on the underlying issue of gays marrying.

    These are entirely different issues…but, as Joe Lieberman found out…the leftist tent isn’t big enough to hold independent thinkers.

    I’m white, heterosexual, Christian (Catholic), of Western European ancestry (garlic nose and all)…so, I’m low on the totem pole anyway…but, since I despise hard leftism and even moreso, find their tactics beneath contempt…I wasn’t going to be invited into the tent anyway.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  160. Levi – Who, specifically, said that gays were not equals? Or, are you confuzzling rights and privileges again?

    Ah, the marvels of the intellectually dishonest mind. Equality under the law extends to privileges as much as to rights. No one has a right to drive, but the privilege cannot be arbitrarily withdrawn from those who, say, prefer chocolate to vanilla.

    This is really about forced legal acceptance of their sexual preference.

    That is meaningless drivel. People’s sexual preferences are a fact.

    We can demonstrate the ability to disagree without being disagreeable, and show that having differing policy positions does not make one a racist/sexist/homophobe.

    It’s odd that you would deny something so obvious, and so obviously important to you, as your homophobia. Me, I’m bestialityophobe, and proud of it — it would be grossly dishonest for me to deny it.

    truth machine (76fa2b)

  161. You will notice that Levi argues from a position that assumes he holds the correct opinion. This, I have found is typical.

    Indeed, it is typical of human beings. A good thing, too, as effective cognition would be virtually impossible without it.

    If he wishes to change the law, then it is up to him to make the convincing arguments. Not the other way around.

    Uh, just what sort of education is that, “Education Guy”? The law currently stands in his favor. Beyond that, the burden of making convincing arguments is on anyone who wishes to convince, the status of law notwithstanding. And making convincing arguments is the not only, or even the primary, mechanism for changing laws.

    truth machine (76fa2b)

  162. Making your own bigoted remarks while accusing others of bigotry is hypocritical. That is what I meant when I wrote:

    In other words, you undermine your own credibiity when you engage in the very actions you accuse others of.

    That you would twist that sentence into “So pointing out that others are stupid bigots makes you a stupid bigot yourself” is astounding, and forces me to question your comprehension abilities of the written word.

    I believe it is your own comprehension that is questionable here. Your words weren’t being paraphrased or “twisted”, rather your reasoning was commented on, the reasoning that led you to make your statement. Namely, your reasoning that pointing out that others are stupid bigots is a case of engaging in the same actions that those accused of being stupid bigots engage in — an instance of bigotry. (I use the word “reasoning” loosely here, as none is actually evident.)

    truth machine (76fa2b)

  163. truth machine, you refuse to engage in construction of compelling arguments and instead retreat to accusing those you disagree with of being bigots.

    Well, that shows how much reasoning you are employing – ie., none.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  164. Another pathetic argument. Conservative ‘debate’ has got to be the easiest, most mindless thing to take part in in the world.

    It is, but convincing a “conservative” that you have done so is far from it, due to those mental processes that are a prerequisite of being a “conservative” in the first place.

    truth machine (76fa2b)

  165. truth machine, you refuse to engage in construction of compelling arguments and instead retreat to accusing those you disagree with of being bigots.

    Say what? Who did I disagree with or accuse of being a bigot? I noted the obvious — that JD is a homophobe, just as I am a bestialityophobe. If you think that’s “bigotry”, that’s your issue.

    Well, that shows how much reasoning you are employing – ie., none.

    Actually, I employed analogical reasoning. What you are employing, though, is stupidity and hishonesty — but I don’t think you can help it.

    truth machine (76fa2b)

  166. truth machine, yes well, you’ve but confirmed my point.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  167. Note that I gave SPQR the benefit of the doubt by taking #164 to be a response to #161 rather than #163. If it was the latter than SPQR is even more retarded. But one way or the other, the “nanana you stink” reflexivity of #164 shows a very stupid person at work.

    truth machine (76fa2b)

  168. truth machine, yes well, you’ve but confirmed my point.

    There are a number of common phrases on the internet that are sure guarantees that the person employing them is an idiot, and that one is near the top of the list.

    truth machine (76fa2b)

  169. ROFL. Evidently you don’t read your own comments.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  170. ROFL.

    It’s “ROTFL”, turkey.

    Evidently you don’t read your own comments.

    Confirming yet again that your ability to evaluate evidence is near nil. How ironic and hypocritical that you blather about not employing reasoning when you don’t even put on a show of doing so. What a sad and pathetic creature. Oh well, I have bigger fish to fry … enjoy your tiny constricted life.

    truth machine (76fa2b)


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