The Face of the Phoenix

An unsigned editorial on thephoenix.com (from which I’ve borrowed that picture) takes the oh-so-tolerant position that disagreement with its opposition to allowing Massachusetts’ citizens to vote on same-sex marriage is simply ugly bigotry:

Bigot is, to be sure, a nasty name. But what would you call someone who denied women or blacks the right to vote? Or said to women and African-Americans, or even to recently naturalized citizens, that, sure, you can vote, but your vote will count as only a fraction of that of a man or white people or those born in this nation. That is the difference between supporting civil unions or full marriage rights.

All these years of arguing this issue, and I continue to be flabbergasted by the nonchalance of (on average) wealthy white liberals as they manacle their fashionable crusade for gay marriage to the true horrors of racial discrimination. Have they no shame? Have they no twang of conscience whispering in their “cannot stop the march of time” ears that they are betraying to all who care to observe that their obsession with the white hood is not a legitimate fear, but a fetish? How gladly they’ll don it, if given the excuse.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
33 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

So I’m up at 1:10 am, unable to sleep but not thinking too clearly either and I think, I’ll check in with Anchor Rising. And what greets my already slightly feverish brain is that ghoulish figure, thanks to the Phoenix.
Cripes. As when George Bush is called a Nazi, does the writer not understand that the use of such an inapplicable, exaggerated comparison drains everything s/he says of credibility? While I remain ambivalent about gay marriage, I’m pretty sure no one is proposing to lynch gay people. And that is the sole concept represented by the white hood and sheet.

Rhody
Rhody
14 years ago

Wealthy white liberals? C’mon. Support or opposition to gay marriage has nothing to do with wealth. This is just a canard opponents are trying to use to sway the working class their way. I know people above me on the socioeconomic scale who vehemently oppose it (and put their money where their mouths are), and those at my level or below me who support it.
Unlike, say, economic issues, class warfare is a dog that simply will not hunt on this prairie.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

I had no thought of class warfare, Rhody. I was merely highlighting the inappropriateness of the comparison. Moreover, I consciously used “wealthy” instead of “rich” and emphasized “on average” to concisely convey my impression that, on average, those who support same-sex marriage are wealthier than those who don’t — implying that they aren’t exactly locked out of the system that will now allow the people of Massachusetts to vote on their own cultural laws.
At any rate, it’s certainly true that those hindered by denial of same-sex marriage are much wealthier (on average) than those who suffered under historical racial oppression. Not to mention that they aren’t denied the vote and made to use separate water fountains.

Greg
Greg
14 years ago

Umm. I’m middle-class conservative and I aggressively support gay rights.

mrh
mrh
14 years ago

Discrimination is discrimination, friend, and bigotry is bigotry.

Greg
Greg
14 years ago

“Discrimination is discrimination, friend, and bigotry is bigotry.”
That’s really how I feel on this gay rights issue. When you give me a compelling reason why giving gays the right to marry is bad, I’ll reconsider my opinion.

Jack
Jack
14 years ago

Here we go again on the Justin Katz civil rights merry-go-round…you frame the debate as “fashionable wealthy white liberals” set against an everyman like yourself. What gives with your false polarization? As Greg indicates, this issue is not so black and white, or should I say, blue and red.
The legislature was right to vote on the measure, as it was their constitutional duty. But they were wrong to pass it, as civil rights should never be put up for a referendum. After all, would you like your marriage to be put up for a vote?
Here’s to hoping it is defeated the next time around by the new Legislature. If that fails, here’s to hoping that the people of Massachusetts have the sense to defeat this discriminatory measure in the face of the hate-filled rhetoric that will sadly come to dominate the election.
I don’t get it, Justin. I’m with Greg on this one: what’s so horrible about gay people that they should be prevented from partaking in the institutions of a civil society?

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
14 years ago

I believe that it all comes down to how one views homosexuality.
If one believes that it is a normal variation – such as hair, eye or skin color / race – then the conclusion that prohibiting homosexual marriage is a form of “discrimination” is rational.
If on the other hand one believes that homosexuality is an abnormality – something unfortunate occurs during the development process, a kind of “sexual orientation birth defect” (and I DON’T mean that to be an insult, merely an analogy) – then opposition to homosexual marriage is rational.
One thing I find interesting in this whole debate is how – YET AGAIN – the left has managed to frame the debate without conservatives even realizing it. Consider the liberals’ mantra about taxes – “the rich should pay their ‘fair share’” – the whole debate is then shifted away from how much government is spending, indeed it lays a foundation to a premise that government spending must and should keep rising, the only debate being a fight among the citizenry about “whose going to pay what tax rates.”
This same tactic has been used with the debate over homosexual marriage. The premise upon which it has been presented and argued presupposes that homosexuality is a normal human variation, not an abnormality. Inevitably the debate is then already slanted toward the pro-homosexual marriage advocates, and conservatives are unwittingly debating under the preferred terms of the “other side.”

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Thank you for honing the argument, Ragin’.
Yes, for me, the line is heterosexuals and homosexuals on this side, everything else is deviancy. My hesitation about the expansion of the definition of marriage is out of deference to the opinions of several people whom I respect.
As to Ragin’s point, it is my expectation that if marriage were redefined thusly, homosexuals would preserve and guard the line as fiercely as heterosexuals.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

I’m middle-class conservative and I aggressively support gay rights. Yes, but none of your activity on Anchor Rising has given me the impression that you’re average. Discrimination is discrimination, friend, and bigotry is bigotry. So are there degrees, buddy, or is it a blanket judgment? Is disallowing homosexuals from changing the definition of marriage to better suit their preferences equivalent to lynching blacks? I don’t get it, Justin. I’m with Greg on this one: what’s so horrible about gay people that they should be prevented from partaking in the institutions of a civil society? Talk about framing the debate! When did I say that there’s anything “horrible about gay people”? As to the substance of your question, considering that you open your comment indicating a familiarity with my work, I’m not sure what answer I can provide that you haven’t already rejected. I believe that it all comes down to how one views homosexuality. As it happens, I do not agree. I think it all comes down to how one views marriage, and I believe that marriage — in its history, in its central purpose, and with respect to public interest in the government’s recognizing it at all — is a relationship between people of opposite sex. Granted, there are aspects of and (public and private) benefits to marriage that overlap committed homosexual relationships, but why must we discard crucial parts of the definition in order to make it amenable to the relationships that a relatively very small group pursues? If there are, however, public benefits to committed same-sex relationships — as there most certainly would be — then let’s put those on the table and let our system of government work it through. Nobody wants to do that, though, because one side is afraid of diluting opposite-sex marriage and… Read more »

smmtheory
smmtheory
14 years ago

I don’t get it, Justin. I’m with Greg on this one: what’s so horrible about gay people that they should be prevented from partaking in the institutions of a civil society?

The only thing preventing them from partaking is their own misogynistic or misandristic preferences. Better you should be asking them what’s so horrible about the opposite sex that prevents them from developing a marital relationship.

Rhody
Rhody
14 years ago

It just seems ironic that conservatives used gay marriage as a wedge to drive into the Democratic Party for considerable political gain over the last 15 years.
Now, that wedge has been driven into conservatives, between sensible ones who realize the merits of committed relationships and the yahoos who are still waving the bloody shirt.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
14 years ago

>>It just seems ironic that conservatives used gay marriage as a wedge to drive into the Democratic Party for considerable political gain over the last 15 years. Now, that wedge has been driven into conservatives, between sensible ones who realize the merits of committed relationships and the yahoos who are still waving the bloody shirt.
Homosexuals can have a “committed relationship” without being married, so stop with the red herrings.
And subscribing to what have been universally accepted norms for some 2000+ years now, i.e., that marriage is an institution between 1 man and 1 woman, hardly marks one as a “yahoo.”
So there is a small subset of the population that, for whatever reason, prefers to engage in sexual activity with the same sex.
It’s unfortunate that some people are born this way, they weren’t given a choice. They’re not bad or evil people; if anything they’re victims.
Perhaps someday science will find a preventative treatment that will ensure normal “sexual orientation” development.
I can understand why homosexuals are so anxious to be included in the realm of “marriage eligibles” – for this would imply an societal acknowledgment of their being “normal.”
But that would be a facade; a social pretense. By definition homosexuality is abnormal; allowing homosexual marriage won’t alter that.

Greg
Greg
14 years ago

“Better you should be asking them what’s so horrible about the opposite sex that prevents them from developing a marital relationship.”
So, if I understand this, your solution is “Don’t be gay.”?

smmtheory
smmtheory
14 years ago

So, if I understand this, your solution is “Don’t be gay.”?

Bingo!

Greg
Greg
14 years ago

[Comment deleted.]

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Nice try, smmtheory. The depth and insight of your other posts make it clear that you are too smart to think that gays are any more capable of being attracted to members of the opposite gender than straight people are to be attracted to members of their own.
Setting aside the “testimony” to this by any gay person, it is not possible that any rational human being would choose an orientation that would subject him/herself to the ignorance and negative reaction that you attempted to feign. And if they could, most would quickly “choose” to switch back to being a less vilified orientation.

johnb
johnb
14 years ago

greg et al,
i am opposed to gay marriage, but support equal rights for gay couples.
it seems to me that the since equal access to marital privileges is the crux of the argument for gay marriage, then it might be wise to change the laws rather than change the institution of marriage. that is, if spousal privileges are only currently afforded to “married” couples, then change the law to read “civilly recognized unions.” You can apply this technique on a wide array of state and federal laws, and would be much simpler than uprooting the foundation of traditional marriage.
what we need to remember is that traditional marriage is a rooted in religion. the problem with creating blanket laws to allow gay “marriage” is the threat it poses to religious institutions by opening up church doctrine to secular anti-discrimination laws.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
14 years ago

>>i am opposed to gay marriage, but support equal rights for gay couples. it seems to me that the since equal access to marital privileges is the crux of the argument for gay marriage, then it might be wise to change the laws rather than change the institution of marriage. that is, if spousal privileges are only currently afforded to “married” couples, then change the law to read “civilly recognized unions.” You can apply this technique on a wide array of state and federal laws, and would be much simpler than uprooting the foundation of traditional marriage. what we need to remember is that traditional marriage is a rooted in religion. the problem with creating blanket laws to allow gay “marriage” is the threat it poses to religious institutions by opening up church doctrine to secular anti-discrimination laws. From what I understand the “gay activists” OPPOSE civil unions – they’ve certainly said so in MA and NJ. They don’t want “equal rights,” they want MARRIAGE. And if religious beliefs will be attached via discrimination laws, all the better as far as they’re concerned (see, e.g., the “Gay rights” lobby – which in affiliation with the ACLU – has been engaged in a jihad against the Boy Scouts). As part of the effort to “normalize” homosexuality the “gay rights” lobby intends to trample, and eliminate from the public square, anyone or any group that questions (much less opposes) their agenda. Hence my conclusion that they’re really after some sort of social fiction that homosexuality is “normal.” Certain individuals are born, e.g., with autism, or Downs Syndrome. They are abnormal. Certain individuals are born to be homosexual. Fortunately, unlike autism etc., it doesn’t affect their mental capacity in any way, just their “sexual orientation.” It doesn’t make them bad people, but neither… Read more »

Rhody
Rhody
14 years ago

Thank God my heterosexual marriage was not subject to the whims of politicians, voters and pressure groups.
I think extending the same courtesy to gays is a moral, and “normal” (that seems to be the buzzword mon this thread), thing to do.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Sorry Greg. I’m not going to allow that last comment.

Rhody
Rhody
14 years ago

Justin, please explain to me just why our relationships with our wives should be threatened by gay marriage.
Or do you know a gay person who’s objected to your marriage? I haven’t had that experience yet – I guess I’m just naive like that.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

It could just be me, Rhody, but I simply don’t see how your response follows logically from my prior reply. I’ll answer anyway, but with the feeling that you’re not interested in give and take.
I think it to be inferable from my statement that my marriage is not contingent upon government recognition that it is also not contingent upon an absence of marriages among homosexuals. But I’ve written time and again that it misses the point to argue that same-sex marriage would not affect any marriage given already extant. I’ll acknowledge that point as likely true.
Reformulating the institution of marriage, however, will affect marriages that have yet to happen — opening the way for people who shouldn’t be married and failing to capture the interest of people who should.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“Have you never encountered people who thrive on others’ negative reactions to them?” Of course. But your conclusion that the consistent 5% (or choose a percentage) of the population that is and has been gay over thousands of years and across all races are simply people who thrive on negative reactions is patently wrong. The anxiety, to put it no stronger, many if not all gay people go through as they come to understand their orientation is well documented. Not to mention the notably higher suicide rate amoung gay teens. “Second of all, a large segment of our culture, particularly mainstream, Hollywooden culture, celebrates homosexuality.” This is by no means the uniform reaction to homosexuality. And it is a fairly recent phenomenon. Whether violence or just a wrinkled nose and a head shake, the far more common reaction to homosexuality has been negative. Disapproving. Unwelcoming. “You don’t think some straight people manage to become attracted to others of the same sex?” Once maybe? As a fleeting thought about one individual? Maybe. To be able to follow through physically and emotionally, in a relationship or even for one night? No. I really thought we were past the discussion that gay people are born that way. Ragin’ is saying they are, though there is something not quite right about his classification of gays as “abnormal”. (Stipulating for a moment that they are abnormal, why should that affect their hypothetical right to be married?) I will resist the temptation to ask you if this means that if I find the right guy and put him in front of you, you could go the other way. Speaking for myself, there is not a woman on the planet that would interest me “comme ca”, as David Brudnoy used to say. Oh, hey. What about him?… Read more »

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Susan, Let’s start with this: It is being made by a small group of people who genuinely feel left out. This is absolutely not true. It — the push for same-sex marriage — is being made by a broad social movement consisting of groups with various motivations. Some are, yes, simply people who feel left out, and I’ve spent many hours discussing the issue with them. Frankly, I think they’re a minority within the movement. Many are also radicals who wish primarily to undermine our traditional culture. Others have other motivations. Some (including, apparently, some Anchor Rising readers) want to be on the “right side of history” while making the uncomfortable debate go away. your conclusion that the consistent 5% (or choose a percentage) of the population that is and has been gay over thousands of years and across all races are simply people who thrive on negative reactions is patently wrong. Where are you getting your numbers from? I’m genuinely interested, because I’ve been participating in this debate for a long time, now, and I’ve yet to hear anybody whose rhetoric I’ve trusted declare any “consistent” percentage “over thousands of years and across all races.” Sounds like raw propaganda to me. To skip a bit of pussyfooting, here’s my view, of which I’ve written several times before: homosexuals represent a spectrum of development tracks. Some are indeed “born that way,” although I’m skeptical that it’s directly genetic. Others are socialized that way based on traits ranging from the barely perceptible to the obvious. Others are driven to the orientation by trauma. And others simply fall into it as an expression of their personalities (e.g., as an assertion of outsiderdom). Talk about the anxiety of coming out, therefore, is vague and not very useful. For some homosexuals, it surely caries… Read more »

smmtheory
smmtheory
14 years ago

SusanD,
Are you sure you want to say that I could not possibly know from personal experience that I can choose how I orient my sexuality? How can we be past discussing whether or not people are born with a sexual orientation when the whole “need” for redefining marriage by sexual orientation hinges upon whether or not sexual orientation is a choice. I know for a fact that it is a choice. Societal disapproval is not as strong an influence with everybody as it might be with you, otherwise, there might never have been another prostitute (or gambler, or smoker…) once a society disapproved of it. This is why I am told I am either stupid or a liar for saying orientation is a choice.

Rhody
Rhody
14 years ago

“Many [same-sex marriage proponents]are also radicals who wish primarily to undermine our traditional culture.”
If this type of argument is what we have to look forward to in Massachusetts over the next two years, maybe the Taliban have conquered us without ever having to fire a shot (after all, the difference between fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity on social issues is virtually nil).
God save us if this question ever hits the General Assembly floor – it’ll make the casino debate sound like a Tupperware party.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

As to the issue of whether orientation is chosen or dictated, smmtheory is correct in one respect: first person testimony on a blog is useless. Below is an article that describes four separate biological markers for homosexuality. This is easily researched by googling “biological basis for homosexuality”. Your turn, smmtheory – we look forward to reviewing the research behind the “fact” you referenced whereby orientation is a choice. As to percentage, Justin, the 5% I cited is high. Below is another article which aggregates several surveys, conducted in the US and five other countries. It appears the figure is 1%-2% of the population. So. Going with the higher figure for a moment, 2% of the population is homosexual. And if gay marriage is approved, a whopping 2% of the married population would be gay. (The real figure might be even smaller.) I’m starting to wonder how this would be a problem. ——————— BIOLOGICAL BASIS FOR HOMOSEXUALITY: In 1994 at the University of Western Ontario, J. A. Y. Hall and D. Kimura studied the fingerprint ridges of self-proclaimed and Kinsey scale-ranked1 heterosexuals and homosexuals. After the sixteenth week of pregnancy, fingerprints are known to be unchangeable, so if there were any significant fingerprint differences in the two groups, one could argue that sexual orientation may be determined before birth. In fact, Hall and Kimura did find that the difference between the number of ridges on the left hands of homosexual men was greater than that of heterosexuals (1204). Citing that individuals with higher left-hand ridge counts perform differently on sexually dimorphic2 cognitive tasks than do those with higher right-hand ridge counts (1203), the researchers concluded that there must be an “early biological contribution to adult sexual orientation” (1205). Around the same time, researchers also wondered if there are any structural differences… Read more »

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Firstly, Susan, what are we reading, here? Where are these articles from? I ask, for one thing, because among the first articles to come up when I took your Google suggestion states:

But that point is still open to political and scientific debate, and our understanding of how biology may drive sexual orientation is still fuzzy.

I don’t offer this as proof of anything, but it does suggest that pasting an unsourced article into the comments leaves more questions than it answers. The above quotation also highlights an important point: I allowed that some portion of self-identifying homosexuals are effectively, perhaps actually, “born that way.” Talk about the anxiety of coming out remains vague and not very useful.
Regarding the percentage, I note that you’ve changed your claim. Before, it was (emphasis added):

the consistent 5% (or choose a percentage) of the population that is and has been gay over thousands of years and across all races

Which of the surveys that you cite was conducted over thousands of years ago? That the percentage of homosexuals may actually be smaller than I would have ceded hardly serves to change my opinions regarding the importance of culture and socialization.
Now to this:

if gay marriage is approved, a whopping 2% of the married population would be gay. (The real figure might be even smaller.) I’m starting to wonder how this would be a problem.

The same-sex marriage debate is about changing the definition of marriage. It is about denying that there is something unique and worthy of recognition in the sexual, usually procreative, relationship between a husband and a wife. Why would doing such a thing make more sense the fewer the people who would become included?

smmtheory
smmtheory
14 years ago

Your turn, smmtheory – we look forward to reviewing the research behind the “fact” you referenced whereby orientation is a choice.

Why should I bother when you’ve as much as predetermined that what I say is useless. Of course, that pretty much relegates your recitation of useless biological statistics to the same category. But that is what happens when researchers start with a premise they want to prove… conveniently discrete evidence from a non-random population sampling.

Faust
Faust
14 years ago

I am, I suppose, pretty much ambivalent about Gay Marriage. I am however tired of “in your face”.
I am tired of unsupportable claims that 10% of America is gay. I am moderately accepting that some portion of the gay population were “born that way”. For many, and I think most, it is a choice. Whether they conciously “made that choice” may be another question.
I do take umbrage with the arguments that the marriage law must be changed because of issues with Social Security, hospital visitation, inheritance, etc. If these provisions are burdensome, that is reason to change Social Security regulations, hospital regulations, inheritance laws and the others. It is at best a “back door” argument for changing marriage laws. I take these arguments as simply “make weight”.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Justin, below is the link to the article that refers to the various studies, inclusive of their authors, that discovered biological “markers” of homosexuality:
http://www.geocities.com/southbeach/boardwalk/7151/biobasis.html
That article also refers to a study done in 1957 that attempted to find a psychological link (similarity) between homosexuals. None was found in that or any subsquent similar studies. This combined with the above referenced “markers” makes a strong case that there is a physical basis for homosexuality, thereby reducing the possibility that there is choice involved.
smmtheory, unlike sexual orientation, nothing in this discussion is “pre-determined”. If you wish to continue believing that homosexuality is a choice, fine, it ends there. But you used the word “fact”. That invites a request for proof, research, evidence.
The studies I referenced were, indeed, conducted on the basis of random population sampling; in the case of the percentage survey, subjects in six countries. If you wish to reference other studies on this subject, they will be reviewed without pre-determination and as diligently as Justin reviewed mine.

smmtheory
smmtheory
14 years ago

SusanD,
In order for those studies to have been based on non-random samples, there should have been a greater proportion of people not considered “gay”. Do you have evidence that Hamer tested the blood of nearly 4000 brothers not considered gay to prove the same concordance did not exist? Probably not. Has anybody else since then duplicated the results of Hamer’s test? Probably not.
Yes, you did pre-determine that any first person testimony is useless. You’ve lead me to believe that you would only believe research evidence published by supposed scientists, and you appear to have decided to discount experiental evidence.
Now you tell me. Why should I feel compelled to believe any evidence that you produce?

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.