Shuck and Jive

Friday, November 30, 2007

Gay Man from Johnson City Poses Question to Candidates

Thanks to Tennessee Guerrilla Women for this. This is a potential question posed to candidates on the YouTube debate.

It was so good, I transcribed it:

Good evening, gentlemen. My name is John. I am twenty-three years old. I am a Christian. And I have also been an open homosexual since I was thirteen years old. But I am also an American and I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. And I offer you this challenge, all of you. Logically explain the reasons that you believe that gay marriage should be banned without referring to your religion or the Bible. Thank you.


  1. Unfortunately, it is very easy to codemn homosexuality without using the Bible. This is because most people who condemn homosexuality do so from cultural reasons rather than the Bible (and don't know enough about the Bible to use its text even if they wanted to). It's "unnatural don't you know." My point (as a practicing heterosexual Christian) is why are we created with erogenous zones in "unnatural places" if it is "unnatural"?

  2. Yeah, it is of course. But it is important for to ask the question so people are forced to answer it without resorting to authorities such as "their faith" or the Bible or God. Those authorities are used to shield prejudice. Not me! Not me! God makes me homophobic!

  3. OK, forget the Bible.

    This union is for what purpose - procreation or financial partnership?

    Is this not covered already by our laws regarding corporations?

    Why would forming a corporation between the two partners be insufficient?

    These are valid questions that must be addressed. Obviously, if someone is seeking a right or exemption, they have to give reasons why it is due them and show that the same result is not already legally available.

  4. Jim said -

    "This union is for what purpose - procreation or financial partnership?"

    I got married for neither of those reasons. I got married to express my love and fidelity to my wife. I'm sure many gay people would wish the same.

  5. Thanks, Ray. Exactly.

    There is absolutely no logical reason why gay marriage should be prohibited by the state.

    Prejudice presents a thousand faces.

  6. Ray
    I got married for neither of those reasons. I got married to express my love and fidelity to my wife.

    So you didn't get married for financial partnership? You have no joint bank accounts?

  7. Jim,

    No, no joint bank account, no joint mortgage. No I did not get married for a "financial partnership". But you are side-stepping the issue, I think.

    Even if there is a financial benefit to getting married, are you seriously saying that it is a primary reason for most people?

    Are you dismissing "love and fidelity" as being subordinate to a financial arrangement?

  8. Jim, you know that you can't just form a corporation with no purpose. To get a charter from a state, the people involved in the corporation have to state what economic activity they are going to be involved in. Saying that you want to form a corporation to protect your and your partner's assets is likely to be viewed as a tax dodge.

    And no, the substantive legal rights given to married couples goes FAR beyond money. If Steve Jobs ends up in the hospital, I can't tell the orderlies, "let me in, I am a shareholder and therefore have a fiduciary interest in whether the man dies!"

  9. Well, I'm totally supportive of gay marriage. But, here are some of the concerns that people have that we need to address. I'm anxious to get everyone's ideas and input, here.

    Many conservatives feel that the redefinition of marriage will open the door to the legalization of other alternatives such as polygamy, or polyandry. They point to this recent case out there in Utah relating to all this.

    In their mind, once marriage and family are redefined the whole institution may be weakened, and seen as totally optional rather than the norm. They worry about the effects of all this in terms of the stability of the family, child welfare, etc.

    Also, there is concern related to govt. benefits given at taxpayer expense. Should polygamists receive benefits for multiple wives, etc. is a scenerio expressed.

    They also have a concern that if gay marriage is legalized that there will be this tie in relating to discrimination of gay people in the church, and church related organizations. They will be forced to act against their spiritual convictions.

    Guys, what arguments have you found effective against these concerns? How have you been able to address them, and build some bridges of understanding to the conservatives in this issue?

    Thanks so much. Your ideas will be a huge help.

    God bless!

  10. Basically, I'm not buying those slippery slope arguments and can point to a one word example:


    Until the Loving v. Virginia decision in 1967, it was illegal in many states, including most southern states, for a man of one race to marry a woman of another. Conservative church leaders pointed to Scripture to justify this, and various hacks made Natural Law arguments against the mixing of the races. The same argument was made that if blacks could marry whites, then next adults could marry children, humans could marry dogs, etc. It's been 40 years and this has not happened. Alabama FINALLY removed the miscegenation ban (which was effectively void due to Loving) just recently (in 2000 with Amendment 667).

    We now have the experience of other jurisdictions that allow people of the same gender to marry (or to establish a legal status identical to marriage). The Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Canada (2003-5), Spain (2005) and South Africa (2006) have marriage equality laws. Andorra, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK have domestic partnership laws. Parts of Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the US (CA, CT, DC, HI, ME, NJ, VT, WA, NH and OR) do so as well.

    After the initial panic over the 2004 court ruling in Massachusetts, subsequent attempts to amend the constitution have failed, and the eagerness to do so has faded as the people of Massachusetts realized that gay people could get married and The Sky Did Not Fall.

    Most folks who deal in these things will say that there is a crisis in marriage in America, but it is not who can and cannot enter into it. Economics and health are the biggest drivers of divorce, and high divorce rates can translate into serious psychological problems for children. To allow more people to form stable families with loving environments for children will NOT weaken marriage; it will strengthen it.

    Think about it. If you make it so that more children are raised in a home with two, married parents, how does that cause more single parenthood? It doesn't add up.

    The truth of the "what about the churches" argument is that, thanks to the First Amendment, churches will be allowed to go right along hating whomever they want to hate. No minister can be forced to perform a mixed-race marriage today, and churches are among the very few employers exempted from most anti-discrimination laws. It's deeply disturbing that the Church of Jesus Christ is the institution that demands and gets this protection from loving thy neighbor, but that's American politics for ya.

    To answer your final question, Grace, the honest truth is that the best way to fight these prejudices is for these conservatives to meet actual gay people. They need to see that most gay folks are pretty normal and work for a living and love their families just like everyone else. It's sad that this is so necessary, but it's so much easier to hate "The Other" when they are a bogeyman created by intolerant pastors or a glimpse of a stereotype on the TV screen. It's much harder to hate someone when they're your next-door neighbor or a family member.

    It is my hope and prayer that 50 years from now, we'll look back on this time in wonder, just as we look back on segregation now with a sense of bewilderment.

  11. Amen, Flycandler,

    You've shared some great points. I didn't think about pointing to the situation in Europe. We need to be reaching out, and praying for folks, that God would open their hearts and minds.

    I think you're right. The very best thing is for conservative Christians is to meet gay people who are in faithful, partnered relationships, and who love Jesus Christ, and are committed to His gospel. There's no substitute for personal connection.

    Another really sad thing that I've found is that so many orthodox Christians feel that everyone, for example, who is supportive of gay marriage, same sex blessing in the church, gay ordination,etc. is assumed to also be compromising toward the historic faith of the church, or involved in some type of heretical teaching.

    In their minds, it's as if a GLBT affirming stance, and zeal for the gospel, to care about people coming to faith in Christ as Savior and Lord doesn't fit together. For me, it's all totally connected!!

    We definitely have alot of obstacles to overcome, here, that's for sure.