To my friends at the Traditional Values Coalition

The following is a real statement from the Traditional Values Coalition, reproduced in its entirety without modification:

For Immediate Release
Contact: Destiny Decker
(202) 547-8570
March 15, 2013
A Painful Admission
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty issued the following statement in reaction to Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s recent repudiation of his stance against gay marriage in reaction to his son’s homosexual preferences:
These past few days have been very painful ones for me.
Earlier this week one of my children came to me and told me something which was shocking.
He is a drunk driver and has been driving drunk regularly since college.
I have taken several days to reflect on this and I have decided to reverse my earlier opposition to drunk driving.
My child is a drunk driver and I love him. It is a part of his identity, who he is.
I have reflected on all of this, consulted Scripture (the story of Jesus changing water into wine when the wedding he was attending in Cana ran dry is particularly relevant) and decided that drunk driving is a generational issue. Younger people take a much different view of drunk driving than older people.
Therefore, today I am reversing my opposition to drunk driving. My child has caused me to revisit a decision which, up until now, had been based simply on morality.
My child is a drunk driver. That has personalized the issue for me and taken me above the whole discussion of the morality of it. It is now personal with me.
In addition, I would like to say that drunk driving will make all of us stronger drivers. Think of how much more interesting driving will be in the future if more people have the freedom to drive drunk. It will sharpen the defensive driving skills of the rest of us.

“This unreleased press statement follows the same twisted, self-serving logic that several public officials have used in explaining their switch from opposing homosexual marriage to favoring it.”If you remember nothing else from this exchange, remember this: our children are learners and unable to determine morality and then hand it down to their parents and other impressionable adults. This is one factor in why our culture is so morally upside down!

“This whole line of argument suggesting that opposition to homosexual “marriage” is a personal and “generational” matter is equally silly.

“There are absolutes. There is right and there is wrong. There are objective truths. A civilization which has no governing principles or laws is doomed to collapse. That is the soul of conservatism.

“The tough part of being a parent is telling one of those young souls whom we have been charged with raising that he or she is wrong. But because it is tough that doesn’t mean that we are excused from doing it or we can delegate our responsibility to a teacher or “the village” or some other entity.

“Parents hold the primary responsibility for the upbringing of their children. Parents are fully capable of still loving a child who is wrong.

“American parents hold the power to begin the process of reversing this dangerous downward trend. Our children look to us for direction and we owe them more than a collective shrug.

“I wish no harm to either Senator Portman or his son but they are wrong.

“And Senator Portman’s attempt to use his position in the Senate to affect the future path of our culture and the lives of other Americans compounds the wrong.

“Being a good parent is infinitely more difficult than being a Senator or President. And telling someone you love that he or she is wrong is the most difficult part of that difficult job.

“A nation which recognizes this is on the road to a vast spiritual recovery.”

(Please Note: The introduction to this article is satire. Drunk driving is immoral. I abhor it. I also believe homosexuality is immoral and sinful.) 

To which I respond:

Dear friends,

I know your message wasn’t really meant for me.  I came upon it because the man I will soon marry happens to be on your distribution list for reasons neither of us can fathom.  We were not your intended recipients, and so perhaps I am disinclined to a charitable reading of your statement.

Sadly, I cannot escape the conclusion that you are not only losing the debate on the question of marriage equality, but that you are losing it because you are putting out stupefyingly incompetent arguments.

Swapping in “drunk driver” for homosexual in Senator Portman’s own statement as though it makes your point obvious is so intellectually vacant as to be almost funny.  Almost.  It would be funny if there weren’t people who would somehow find it persuasive, and we could all hold our sides in collective glee.  Unfortunately, I am sure that many of your fellow travelers will read your statement and think you nailed it.

However, what anyone who gives it more than three minutes of actual thought can see is how your attempt at wit actually makes my side’s point for us.  Because it is in close personal relationships with people that we truly see the impact their lives and decisions have on those around them.  And it is in those relationships that the difference between drunk drivers (and I must admire your restraint; I’m rather surprised you didn’t go for the gusto and pick “serial killers”) and homosexuals become most apparent.

The father of a person who drives drunk can see the devastation that behavior can wreak.  He can see the lives lost to reckless driving.  He can see the guilt that plagues his son when sobriety comes.  He can know the fear and the frustration of wondering if his beloved child is hurting himself or someone else on any given night.

It is precisely the lack of this kind of fear and devastation and pain that informs Senator Portman’s change of heart.  Rather than seeing horrors and harms, he has (presumably) come to understand exactly the opposite of what you aver in your ersatz statement above.  He can see firsthand that his son and his relationships do not hurt other people, but rather are no less deserving of our respect and protection than anyone else.

The loved one of a drunk driver sees closer than just about anyone exactly why it’s immoral.  And the loved one of a gay man can see closer than just about anyone exactly why it isn’t.

Your argument is a glib shambles.  It belies a terrible poverty of thought.  I would almost imagine you would be embarrassed by what you put out on further reflection, if I thought you capable of either reflection or embarrassment.

In any case, you are losing.  You lost soundly enough in my state, and you failed to prevent the marriage I’m planning for the near future.  And you’ll continue losing if the garbage I quote supra is the best you can do.

Your chum,


Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. Tomorrow when I have a full computer and not just this silly little semi-tablet, I’m going to send you a photoshopped picture with a Disney character rolling on the ground laughing and pointing upwards. The caption reads “That is some stupid shit right there.” It belongs immediately below your reprint of that press release.

  2. These past few days have been very painful ones for me.
    Earlier this week one of my children came to me and told me something which was shocking.
    He is a social conservative and has been voting Republican regularly since college.
    I have taken several days to reflect on this and I have decided to disinherit the smug little shit.

  3. Government cannot redefine marriage no matter how much anyone wants to. You cannot make an apple an orange through law. Gay relationships are sterile by definition. They are not union of opposites and cannot produce children. I didn’t say that, Nature screams it! And you cannot get much more “absolute” than Nature.

    • Here’s some <a href=""nature for you.

      But if this is really your belief, we should forbid all sterile marriages. No old ladies getting married; nor infertile men. I suggest you begin advocating for laws requiring a sperm count before a marriage license is issues. And if it’s too low, the offending males should be branded with a scarlet “S” on your forehead so that all potential wives know to avoid them.

    • “Gay relationships are sterile by definition.”

      …and your point?

      What about hetero couples who don’t want kids? Are they not allowed to be married, since they’re refusing to ‘go forth and multiply’? What about women who have had chemo as a young girl/teen, and lost their fertility? Are they not ‘worthy’ in your eyes of being married? What about post menopausal women?

      Why don’t you sit down and give your mind a rest. It obviously isn’t working right.

      • Thank you for your response. All cultures including primal cultures have created marriage ceremonies around the union of opposites. Religions of man have created ceremonies around this union. And all of these unions usually taking place in youth look forward to the logical conclusion of the creation of children. Now, if a person is sterile, it is of no fault of their own. It is only with modern science that we now know whether people are sterile or not. But even with science people today stress about being childless and go to great links to create children through the union of opposites in vitro.

        So what do we do about committed gay relationships that have adopted childen. Even here the care and concern of the adopted child is taking place with attempts to create a family to be as normal as possible despite the abcense of a mother and/or father. And when that adopted child grows up they will most likely want to know who their bio-mother and bio-father is. Adoption message boards are filled with children who, while not rejecting their adoptive family, look for their biological roots. Again this points to the ideal of Marriage as union of opposites as in Nature.

        Regarding post-menopausal women, I fully recognize the need for people to enter relationships without the “marriage” aspect of children. In fact, my libertarian leanings would allow people to enter their own contracts with other people. At the same time I would hope that a majority of society would so embrace their Christian Faith that looking to government to define what is a marriage would not even be necessary.

        • A couple of small points, Phoszoe.

          First of all, marriage has been defined many ways in many cultures over the many years. We no longer treat wives like chattel. We no longer expect them to smilingly forebear when their husbands philander. We no longer look the other way should their husbands beat them or rape them. We do not use women as proxies for the transmission of land or title or as pawns in matters of dynastic succession. And, of course, we don’t let men marry more than one of them, at least not in this country at this time.

          All of these things are differences in the understanding (or, if you prefer, “definition”) of marriage, many of which have come to pass in the no so distant past. We are intellectually flexible creatures, and our ideas of marriage now focus largely on the notion of love and enduring commitment, and it is this kind of relationship that enjoys legal recognition and protection. Hearkening to outmoded understandings of what marriage is about in order to express disapproval of same-sex relationships ignores the myriad changes that have already happened in our society.

          Also, if what the government calls marriage is so very irrelevant to what it really is (and by the bye, in my state it was the majority of voters who made the call… though I suspect that lends it no further legitimacy in your eyes), why do you care what the government calls it? If marriage is one man and one woman no matter what the government says, then why are you so fixated on whether the government calls it this or that or the other thing? If your Christian Faith sets your terms for you in all things, with government definitions rendered moot, why are you worried about the latter at all?

          • Saunders, thank you for your reply and from the author too! Much appreciated.

            You claim that marriage has been defined in many ways by many cultures over the years. Then you proceed to attack the traditional view of marriage and its need to change due to weaknesses in the human condition. Same sex couples will experience the same human weaknesses as heterosexual couples. They will mistreat their partners, abuse children, have affairs, and beat and rape, and divorce. The failings of humanity are not a reason to change Traditional Marriage. Indeed the failings of humanity are the reasons for a Traditional View of Marriage.

            Nor are the myriad of changes taking place in society a reason to change the definition of marriage. Under my logic marriage is conjugal and special because of the possiblity of children. Under your logic people who merely love each other and are committed to each other should be allowed to marry. Your logic places a persons sexual preference and orientation on the pedastal. But your definition of marriage cannot legitimately argue why infertile incestuous couples of the opposite sex or same-sex siblings should not be allowed to marry. By defining marriage as merely committed love, you fail to define marriage at all and fail to tell me on what basis some relationships should be excluded from marriage.

            Finally you ask, why I would be worried about this at all if my Christian Faith sets the terms for me in all things. Well, in the 70’s marriage started to be viewed as unnecessary and just a piece of paper. Living together became more and more popular. I would argue that the the sudden push for gay marriage is merely a result of the decline of Traditional marriage due to the horrible failure of heterosexuals to adhere and value Traditional marriage. Gay marriage furthers this decline by obsuring the need for opposite sex parenting. And by redefining marriage excluding the conjugal interpretation, the government establishes a precidence that the Traditional view is only held by bigots as is evidenced by some of the comments from others on this message board.

          • But I differ that embracing and respecting same-sex love and commitment reflects a failing of humanity. Further, nowhere have I attacked a traditional view of anything. (You beg the question, by the way, when you refer to “traditional.” Whose tradition in particular do you refer to, and from when?) I have nothing but the utmost respect for marriage. I just think you define it too narrowly, and to the exclusion of people whose relationships do not congrue with your religious beliefs.

            Your stipulation that marriage is special solely because of the possibility of children is also too narrow, and out of keeping with society’s view of the marriage relationship. It renders second-class not just same-sex relationships (really, third-class or worse) (and I should mention that I have two children), but also those heterosexual relationships that are entered into with no intenti0n of having children. You give them a pass on the marriage question because they are enough like procreative relationship that they’ll do in your eyes, but I think the issue of procreation is not dispositive in either direction.

            [Edited to add: A slippery-slope argument about other types of couple (siblings, in this case) is not a cogent argument against same-sex marriage. Please make your arguments against same-sex marriage on its merits, and refrain from arguing against irrelevant hypotheticals.]

          • Russell, is it really a slippery slope argument? Upon what basis do you limit marriage relationships?

          • Uhm, “if we allow this, where will it stop?” is pretty much the very definition of a “slippery slope” argument.

            But since you ask, I would probably make “people who haven’t asked for it” a relatively low-controversy exclusion criterion for marriage. Since, outside a few ruling houses of the ancient world, there aren’t a whole bunch of parent/child or sibling pairs clamoring to be married, your question about whether or not to let them seems to have answered itself. You are meeting a perfectly reasonable question with an answer to one that nobody has asked.

        • I would hope that a majority of society would so embrace their Christian Faith

          Not to mention their Aryan heritage..

        • I’m really sorry your attempt a the logic of marriage = reproduction falls apart on infertility.

          I’m really trying not to rile Millicent with this response, she’s very gracious and I’m proud to call her my friend. But it offends me to hear you — even in these dulcet tones — come into her house and speak hate as if it were reasonable.

          She so often reminds us of good manners, decency, and the value of a sense of humor; but I’m not as good a person as she, and have no humors but melancholy and phlegmatic for these silly defenses limiting two people’s ability to commit fully and in good faith to one another. I find it evil, truth be told. The devils very spawn you must be, spreading hate in the name of love. Take your hate, your twisting of reason to separation and discord, and return to the fires from whence you sprang.

          • Oh Zic, I love you enough to allow you the freedom to hate me. I have been called many things, but never “the devil’s very spawn”. You are creative, but your debating is weak when it relies on name calliing.

          • My debating is weak? You come here, suggesting that I should adopt your perversion of Christian Faith as law of the land, and you think my debating skills are weak?

            Hmmm. I am not Christian. I do not believe in god; I believe humans create myths of gods to answer their very human unanswerable questions. I did not name call you, I suggested that based on your own professed faith, you had failed and by the standards of your own beliefs, are evil, that your actions were the devil’s work. Because Jesus did not command you to put efforts into dictating the rules of marriage, but into caring for the lowliest and the least, without judgment; he taught it is not your job to judge, but to serve others.

            By that light, you are failing his teachings here, you are doing the devil’s work.

            Me? I just think you’re a bigot.

          • I just love it when people say they are not Christian; do not believe in God; and then proceed to tell Christians what Jesus believed.

            How about Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Taoists (Yin Yang, Male Female), Jews, and Primal Religions? Are all these people bigots too since the vast majority of these major religions teach Traditional Marriage?

          • Yes, they are subscribing to the bigotry of their religions. But they are not here suggesting their’s is the only right way to do things, you are, and you are, so I’m addressing you. Your suggestion that I’m not also challenging them is a strawman argument.

            And unlike many so called ‘Christians,’ I have read the bible. All of it. More then once.

            There’s nothing in it about SSM; barely anything in it about being gay, and that’s highly subject to interpretation. There are, however, many a tale about the deep bonds between men. And women. And many other things that we now view as wrong, including plural marriage, sacrificing your children, and slavery. So that times change our view of things moral but not this one thing is just an example of how silly your arguments about ‘Christian’ marriage are.

            Marriage is a thing of laws; it’s the right to make medical decisions, the right to tax advantages, the pooling of wealth (including health insurance), to inheritance. It’s not just a thing of religion. No religion is needed for there to be a marriage, but without the rule of law, there is no marriage.

          • You have made a very common mistake. You are reading the Scriptures thinking they can be interpreted with a simple reading. The Fundamentalists do the same thing. Both of you read Scriptures separated from Tradition and come up with ways to make your points and different points of view too!

            I am glad you have stated pretty much every religion is bigoted. However, marriage is more than the definition of law. For example, gay people can have very meaningful relationships but they can never be married even if we changed the definition of marriage under the law because they cannot have coitus. It is this special relationship around which laws have formed to protect marriage because of children and the possibility of children. If our species were asexual and we could reproduce ourselves without sexual union, would there be any need at all for marriage or would marriage laws even make sense? It is with this understanding of nature around which all marriage laws and religous marriage ceremonies were created. The laws were not created out of bigotry, but out of an understanding of simple biology, the creation and protection of children for the common good, and the unique male/female bond that brings all of us into this world.

          • I started writing a comment about a government that had the power to enforce the marriage/coitus arrangement (“it’s like the soda ban, except it’s mandatory”) but I asked myself “let’s say that I wanted more people who were on the fence to start supporting gay marriage… what would I say? What arguments would I employ?” and I came to the conclusion that I’d argue pretty much what Phoszoe is arguing.

            As such, I can only feel a small amount of gratitude.

            Thank you, Phoszoe. You are truly doing the Lord’s Work here.

          • For example, gay people can have very meaningful relationships but they can never be married even if we changed the definition of marriage under the law because they cannot have coitus. It is this special relationship around which laws have formed to protect marriage because of children and the possibility of children. If our species were asexual and we could reproduce ourselves without sexual union, would there be any need at all for marriage or would marriage laws even make sense?

            I do think there would be a need, or at least the occasion, for marriage. Even if we reproduced asexually, I imagine it would be much easier to raise children with a partner than without, and implementing laws to make such partnerships more workable would be, if not necessary, at least highly desirable. And of course, gay couples, often have kids, either in some way biologically, or aided by artificial insemination, or through adoption, or maybe they play a secondary role in raising children. (As for the latter, my sister and her partner played a huge role in raising her partner’s four nephews, through babysitting and otherwise mentoring them as they grew up.)

          • You have made a very common mistake. You are reading the Scriptures thinking they can be interpreted with a simple reading. The Fundamentalists do the same thing. Both of you read Scriptures separated from Tradition and come up with ways to make your points and different points of view too!

            Ahh. So you’ve a secret key to the scriptures. A magic lock. God speaking in your head. You know the right way to read the bible; the right path to serve in heaven.

        • ” I would hope that a majority of society would so embrace their Christian Faith that looking to government to define what is a marriage would not even be necessary.”

          Sorry, not a Christian.

          Take your stifling religion elsewhere, thank you.

          All citizens of the United States are to be treated equally under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Your religious beliefs do not supersede those inalienable rights.

          • Your view of Christinity as stifling is viewed by Christians as Freedom. Society is filled with people who have not followed “The Way” and are eslaved by thier passions. A walk on the streets of any major city can show you that.

            Darwy, are you a breast cancer survivor?

          • Perhaps Darwy is misinterpreting Christianity, although one has to share certain assumptions about your version of Christianity and about freedom in order for me to fault her for what she says. (I for one don’t believe that Christianity necessarily prescribes the same definition of marriage you believe in. But then, I’m not Jesus Christ, so I don’t know for sure.)

            However, Darwy also made an argument about equal protection of the laws in the United States. And, lest we turn this into merely a constitutional discussion, there is a notion of right and wrong that suggests if we wish to intrude upon others’ life choices, we need a compelling reason.

        • Russell, since polygamists have asked for it, would you allow polygamy?

          • I think women should be able to have as many husbands as they want.

          • One to earn lots of money, one to work around the house, one to take care of the kids, … what was the other one for, again?

          • Anyway, what’s wrong with polygamy? It’s very biblical: Abraham, Jacob, David, Soloman, etc.

          • Phoszoe, I have already told you I am not interested in countering a slippery slope argument, certainly not one in which you decide to move the goalposts with every comment. My views on polygamy are irrelevant to whether or not same-sex couples should be allowed to marry legally. If you’re going to keep playing Three-Card Monte with your point, whatever value I once saw in engaging with you will become too dim and distant to pursue.

          • Understood Russell. I think we have covered the arguments from all sides and I do appreciate you taking the time to respond. I checked out some of your other articles and found them engaging. I hope to be back in the future and perhaps we will find things we agree on. Good thought provoking website!

          • Thank you for this reply. I would be delighted if you did stick around. I’m always happy to have another regular reader, and a diversity of viewpoints is good for any online community that hopes to keep its intellectual integrity.

    • I had the operation when I was 24. Perhaps one cannot make an apple an orange through law, but with science you can make an orange into a seedless orange.

          • Is that a clever reference to the ability to mitigate the effects of the procedure through sperm banking? Or just asserting the guaranteed ability to reverse it?

          • i giggled.

            ” I didn’t say that, Nature screams it!”

            do you follow adoptive parents around yelling “you didn’t build that!” ?

          • zic is not the type that equates drunk driving with marriage; she’s more of a squatter and welcomes people who didn’t build stuff to shelter from the storm, sober, fertile, or not.

          • “zic is not the type that equates drunk driving with marriage; she’s more of a squatter and welcomes people who didn’t build stuff to shelter from the storm, sober, fertile, or not.”

            marriage is more like that scene in aliens where the dorky white dude and the ripped up lady hold that grenade in the elevator shaft.

          • Yep. I expect “You always were an a-hole, Glyph” to be the last words I hear.

          • ” I didn’t say that, Nature screams it!”

            I was going to riff about how marriage is a human institution, not a Natural one (ha!), what with no wolf ministers and such.

            But instead I will just say, “fish Nature as an arbiter of human morality”. That red-toothed (though Her matching nails do look nice) B*tch is always trying to kill us, what with wild animals, gravity/inertia, time + systems entropy, heat, cold, starvation, shock, oxygen deprivation, war/jealousy/rage, pestilence, goddamn loneliness and all the rest.

            Despite being raised in an environment that was, to say the least, unsupportive of gay rights, as long as I can remember thinking clearly about the question my position has been that whatever arrangement gives consenting adults some small feeling of safety and comfort and home is nobody, and I mean *nobody* else’s business.

            So appeals to Nature leave me largely unmoved. It’s a hard world out there. I’ll take a leak on Nature if She’s on fire, but that’s just to save my own hide.

        • It is but it is a long surgery and is not garunteed. A family member (albiet 30 years ago) tried to have it reversed after his wife passed and he remarried. The reversal did not take.

          • Thanks, Teacher.

            I’m asking because recently we had a conversation about whether people have a right to sell themselves into permanent slavery, and a case was made that this should be disallowed because it violated the rights of your “future self”. For whatever reason, I thought of that when reading JB’s comment and wonder if we should view medical procedures such as this in a similar light.

          • Kazzy, that’s too much like chasing a rabbit with a pocket watch on his waistcoat.

          • That’s not MY argument necessarily, but an argument I saw made and I think this makes an interesting potential test case for the underlying logic of it.

          • Kazzy,

            I know that’s not necessarily your argument, but whoever holds that argument–and maybe there’s something to it–would have to somehow address the fact that many of the decisions we make at one point in our lives set us down a pathway that binds us in the future. By saying that they would have to “address the fact,” I don’t think I have demolished the argument, but I do think the holder of that argument would need to find some way to distinguish pathway-making decisions from the types of decisions like selling oneself into slavery.

          • it violated the rights of your “future self”

            My meeting with the doctor involved him giving me a short speech, asking me if I was for serious for serious, and he nodded and scheduled me for a week Friday and That Was That.

            One of my female friends went in to have her tubes tied and, my god, she had to have meeting after meeting with the doctor, the doctor explained over and over again that while this was reversible in theory, it’s not always reversible in practice, what if you meet a man and want to have kids… over and over and over again. She finally had to say “if you won’t okay this, can you refer me to a doctor who will?” to get the okay for the operation.

            From what I understand, both of our experiences were representative of what happens to our respective genders when we go in for the respective operation.

          • Sometimes doctors won’t sterilize without spousal consent. Interestingly, in the only numbers I’ve seen, this is more likely for vasectomies than libations. On the other hand is common for doctors to refuse to do it for women under a certain age (like 25)and I haven’t heard of that for men.

            For women, it’s possible to do something like clipping rather than cutting the tunes which greatly increases the odds of a successful reversal down the line. I’m not sure what the downsides for that are (or whether they’ll do it for a 20 year old).

          • I should point out: I was unmarried at the time of mine and my friend was unmarried at the time of hers.

            I waltzed in and waltzed out. She got the third degree.

          • Right. I was just making mention of an odd exception to the higher burden for women. Which may actually be coming from the same belief: women who want children but can’t have them (because they had a tubal when they were young or their husbands secretly had a vasectomy) is a bigger deal than the inverse.

            There is also some resistance among surrogacy circles for wannabe single dad’s than wannabe single moms (who can’t carry their own).

          • PC,

            I thought I remember JB being amongst those making the argument, which is why I thought his perspective would be informative.

            It does seem interesting that the response to men and women are so different, and I fret that it is based on some rather unsavory ideologies.

          • I do know men who’ve gotten the third degree about vasectomies, including one who had a doctor who refused to perform it on men below a certain age (I think he said 30, although it might have been the 25 Will mentioned for women).

    • Men and women are opposites. We are two genders of the same species.

      • gah…aren’t opposites…..oy… and women aren’t opposites.

        • Men and women are opposites, and they are also members of the same species. “Opposite” doesn’t mean “different in every conceivable way.”

          • Are you sure? I just Googled this definition: “A person or thing that is totally different from or the reverse of someone or something else.”

          • You mean like dextrins and sugars?
            So, if you put a man in front of a mirror, do you see a woman in the reflection?

            But then, insofar as light is a wave, if you reverse the wave to where all the peaks & zero crossings are the same, it comes out to be the exact same.


          • Clearly, the opposite of a beautiful, intelligent, young woman is an ugly, stupid, old man. After the marriage of these ideal mates, you can add unlucky and lucky, respectively

          • so is “opposite” a dog whistle of some kind that i’ve missed out on? it apparently heats the blood something fierce.

      • What’s the opposite, the antipode, of a person of either gender?

        1) protozoa or other single-celled organisms incapable of photosynthesis;
        2) zombie/demon/vampire;
        3) fungi;
        4) chimp or other primate;
        5) plants;
        6) other, supply answer below

    • Phoszoe,

      You’re getting a lot of pushback, almost all of which I agree with. But I’ll grant you that someone–including, I assume, yourself–can consistently stake a claim about what marriage is and ought to be and, equally consistently, decide that marriage exists outside the state or is pre-political. And I’ll go further and say that although my definition for what makes a marriage a marriage is different from yours on the point of whether same sex people can marry and it still be a marriage, I do agree that in many senses, marriage is something that exists beyond politics and beyond the state.

      That send, there are certain places where marriage falls within in the bounds of what the state does. These are numerous, and they include (but are not limited to) such things as who gets the default right to decide medical care for an incapacitated loved one, who gets the legal status as parent of a child, and who gets certain tax exemptions and state or (in some cases) private requirement benefits. In such cases and for the sake of such cases, government defines “marriage” for good or for ill. Therefore, the argument gets moved in the direction of what the state will and won’t recognize, and what the government ought to recognize is primarily when you and I (and most of the others here) differ when it comes to whether gay marriage ought to be legal.

      I would be lying if I said some of my support for gay marriage isn’t because of the symbolism of saying that society approves of gay marriages. Part of my support for ssm rests in its symbolic nature as something that affirms my values. But the most pressing aspect of the debate, for me and for countless of same sex couples, is to attain the same rights and take on the same responsibilities that are available to married couples but not fully available (or available at greater cost) to same sex couples in “civil unions” or in other jurisdictions that don’t recognize gay marriage.

      • Pierre, thank you for your thoughtful reply and the honesty of your arguments. It is much appreciated.

      • I agree fully with you there – I think “marriage” is no more than dirty bathwater, and the associated rights and privileges are the clean baby.

        A simple action that would let Phoszoe and his/her ilk define the thing in whatever way they like, while simultaneously granting equal rights to everyone, would be to make it a non-thing. Write marriage out of law – replace all instances of the word “marriage” in law with “civil union” – the bathwater thus safely cleared of babies, it can be tossed out the window, where any number of churches, brothels, yacht clubs, pari-mutuel gambling houses, and buffet restaurants may harmlessly assert any definition of it they like as the one true and correct one.

        • And, it should be made clear in enacting this measure, that it’s not because we as a society don’t want to let gay couples have marriage – it’s entirely because the churches have so debased the word that it’s too become too filthy a thing to force on loving couples who just want to share pension benefits.

    • Nature screams it is going to be go-to argument from now on. Possibly my only argument.

  4. Phoszoe, since the good doctor is way to diplomatic to say what needs to be said, I will. Chuck you farley and thank you for proving his point.

  5. Doc, you are missing the obvious parallel: They fear gay marriage for the same reason they fear leaving the house and getting in the car drunk; because for some reason, every time they do, they mysteriously end up a wreck at the gay bar again.

  6. I dunno, man, do you know how many people die each year because of gay marriage? Have you seen the statistics?

  7. What’s tragic here is that she’s pretty spot on for the last half of the letter.

    One of the hardest things as a parent is to tell our kids “no, you can’d have/ do/ be X”. It’s not easy to say “I know you want to do X and that you think you should be allowed to do X but for your own good I have to put my foot down and say no.”

    What makes it so sad is that she cannot see that being gay just isn’t the kind of thing that you can put into the same box as drunk driving, or cheating on a girlfriend or any other moral choice. It’s just not a choice and the conservative wing of the Repubs needs to figure that out.

  8. Her logic is, not surprisingly, asinine and full of more holes than a colander.

  9. I would like to add that my Christian faith taught me, an ex-homophobe, to accept gay people as they are.

  10. One of the wacky things about matters of taste is that folks are allowed to not like stuff.

    So when I see the whole homosexuality/heterosexuality continuum thing as a matter of taste, it strikes me as just normal to say “ew” for one or the other. I mean, I don’t like black olives. I think that they’re downright awful. I go to Subway and I see someone putting black olives on his sandwich and I just… well… I don’t *COMMUNICATE* displeasure at the choices the person is making because it’s none of my freaking business. I do, however, shake my head on the inside and think “that person just fucked up a perfectly decent sandwich.”

    As such, I can understand someone like Phoszoe looking at gay marriage and responding the way that I respond to black olives.

    Hey. It’s a matter of taste.


    As stupid as I happen to find black olives, it would never occur to me to tell you to not eat them. Perhaps maybe to not eat them so close to me that I can smell them. Perhaps to ask you to enjoy a bite of onion or a clove of garlic if we will be talking close enough for your breath to wash over my nose.

    I don’t know where Phoszoe gets the idea that he can tell other people that they shouldn’t have black olives on their sandwich and to justify such by pointing out how gross black olives are.

    It’s like it never even occurred to him that people don’t share a handful of his foundational assumptions.

    Phoszoe, I am not offended by your distaste of homosexuality. What I am offended by is your assertion that I shouldn’t be allowed to marry another dude. I’m not gay, I’m not bisexual… but whether or not I marry another guy does not fall under your authority. I do not understand where you got the idea that it was.

    • I should also point out that the whole “pairing off, making a life together, relying on each other” thing that married people do is one of those things that is not a matter of taste but pretty unequivocally a matter of morality.

      That should bring you to a grudging “at least they’re getting married” position rather than the “I didn’t give them permission to get married!” position.

    • My hunch is that Phoszoe’s respond would be something to the effect that homosexuality and homosexual marriage is NOT a matter of taste, but a moral abomination which threatens the downfall of our society. Olives on sandwiches simply do not rise to that level.

      Now, mayo on an Italian combo? Yea… you’ll draw that wrath of the almighty for that one.

      • Blaspheme. With mayo? Blech, perish the thought.

        But I do like mine with olives. Kalamatas, please. And extra onions. and peppers, hold the cold cuts (the nitrates give me migraine).

        Seems like it takes all kinds of sandwiches to make the world go round.

        • In this and other threads over the past few days, I have learned that my cherished friend Jaybird and I have very different tastes in certain foods.

          • I did not enjoy olives until visiting Greece, where a switch was flipped. I generally avoid the pre-sliced black ones that tend to come in cans and will argue to the day I die that eating olives with the pits still in them tastes infinitely better than pitted olives and there are certain varieties which I have no interest in and I’m not sure I’d ever put them on a sandwich but, yea… I do like me some olives.

          • It’s so shocking.

            And did you see his bubble gum list of road trip music? NO THE MONKEYS. No Davey Jones; be still my beating heart.


            But I value his commentary and would be happy to break bread with him any time, though I might have you pick the music. I wouldn’t impose my avant garde tastes on the meal.

          • Okay, the road trip thread was a friendly thread so I didn’t get into this.

            The Monkees are *NOT* bubblegum. What the hell? They’re actually fully realized musicians who were *FORCED* into making bubblegumesque music for their first album but actually gained enough cred to tell the engineers “nope, let’s do it *THIS* way” for the 2nd and 3rd albums which were not merely peers but *RIVALS* of the Beatles’ albums being co-released.

            And I’m disappointed that you people think otherwise.

          • JB, I did say, “be still my beating heart.”

            And the best of sarcasm only works when it’s rooted in truth; that was the truth of my sarcasm.

            Though ‘rival’ is such a harsh word.

        • Thank you, Zic! I go with oil-and-vinegar, LTO, hot peppers (if they have the right kind), and salt-pepper-oregano.

          Zazzy will order the same basic sub with mayo instead of O&V and no hot peppers. But she always makes *ME* order, meaning I have to draw the wrath of the I-talian sandwich monger who has to do a double-take… “You want MAY-O (he always dragged it out that way) on that #7?” “Yes.” “You sure, kid?” “Yes… it’s for my wife, I swear! Please don’t judge me!”

          • I usually don’t go with oil and vinegar, not because I don’t like them, but they’re too messy to eat in civilized society. (At home on my couch, with the drapes closed, that’s another matter.) There’s a great sub-shop near my campus and has what in my opinion are the best subs I’ve ever tasted. Alas! I can’t eat there because they’re too messy.

            Yeah, I like hot peppers, too. Jalapeno and banana peppers are okay, but for me the right kind is giardinara (I’m not a connoisseur of giardinara, but I like what I’ve had so far at the places I’ve been).

          • Most of my sandwich eating does happen in privacy but… food should be enjoyed. If it is messy, so be it.

          • Kazzy, one foodie to another: did you ever notice that when food is really good, you end up eating it with your fingers?

            I love that.

          • Indeed. A truly great food experience involves all the senses.

          • But it’s heck trying to get chocolate pudding out of cashmere.

          • Glyph wears cashmere sweaters.

            Funny how we fill in the negative spaces, isn’t it?

  11. Oddly enough Russel I felt a surge of relief when I read that laughable release. I hink it boiled down to: “If that’s what they’re reduced to deploying against us then they’re utterly fished!” I think a bomber would feel the same way if, during a pass over the enemy airfield they saw a big hangar door winch ominously open to disgorge… a wooden catapult. With plastic rocks.

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