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Highlights from The Great Dinner Table Debate! NOM Marriage News

 

NOM National Newsletter

Dear Marriage Supporter,

At last it happened! The Great Brian Brown v. Dan Savage Dinner Table Debate actually took place!

The tape is now live. You can watch me take on Dan Savage here.

But first you should watch the MarriageADA interview with Julia Naman, one of the young teens whose faith Dan Savage decided to attack in an event billed as an anti-bullying initiative for middle and high school students.

Many of you have already watched our debate and blogged your comments or emailed me. I want to thank you!

One viewer wrote:

I found Mr. Savage to be articulate and informed, which made Brown's response the more awesome.

Brown clearly "won" the debate: He had tradition, logic, natural law, and modesty on his side, and was able to eloquently express this and made Savage look weak and pathetic. I do not dislike Savage, I felt genuine sorrow for him. Brown looked like the Patriarch and Savage came across like a teenager.

Of course not everybody who watches agrees; another guy just dashed off, "Brian Brown was destroyted [sic], per usual."

Please go watch and leave your own comments. I want to hear from you!

Let me first begin by saying thank you to Dan Savage for the invitation to come to his home and the chance to meet his partner and his child.

Dan has since told the moderator, Mark Oppenheimer, that he regrets having the event at his home because his role as host interfered with his full prosecution of me (and through me, all NOM supporters):

"Playing host put me in this position of treating Brian Brown like a guest," he said. "It was better in theory than in practice — it put me at a disadvantage during the debate, as the undertow of playing host resulted in my being more solicitous and considerate than I should've been. If I had it to do over again, I think I'd go with a hall."

So I want to make sure and thank Dan Savage and his partner for opening their home to me.

It's hard, when people feel as strongly as Dan Savage and I do, to acknowledge each other's fundamental dignity; the twin and complementary roles as host and guest is one way to accomplish keeping each other's dignity central, even when we strongly and fundamentally disagree on absolutely core moral issues.

So, unlike Dan, I do not regret meeting in his home, even though it contained moral constraints, and I am grateful to him for his hospitality.

One thing is very clear to me after the time we spent together: Dan Savage believes that gay people are "a tiny defenseless minority," as he said during the debate.

He made this claim while defending the public tongue-lashing of Christian students that brought us together. He doesn't seem to realize that his position as a 47 year old adult—one with the power of fame, celebrity and access to not only the White House, but also MTV—requires a new mentality.

With power comes responsibility, including the responsibility to show how you intend to use your newfound power.

A grown man does not accept an invitation to speak to middle- and high-school students and proceed to insult their faith, and to call them names when they show their objection in the only polite way possible, by politely leaving.

Dan has apologized for the latter, but not the former. As I told him face to face: "To have a bunch of high school students and attack their religious beliefs is not appropriate, it doesn't show respect."

He appears unable to process this point of view.

He has become a hero to a lot of gay people not only for the good he's done (like telling gay kids their lives are precious—don't commit suicide!), but in some cases because Dan Savage is willing to insult and demean those with whom he disagrees. He doesn't even acknowledge or see he is doing that, even as he does it!

Another commenter on the debate put it this way:

Wait, Savage doesn't think he was "bullying" because "bullying is the strong picking on the weak"? He really thinks the high school students he bullied from stage were the strong ones? Really?

I called for this debate with Dan Savage to show that I—with your support and help— that we would go anywhere to defend the principles that you and I hold dear.

On that level, this was a stunning success for us pro-marriage people. Another commenter had this to say:

And is this moderator objective? He suggests the title of this "debate" should be: Christianity is bad for LGBT Americans. Come on.

But this speaks volume[s] of the NOM president to step into the valley of the beast and take on this ideologue and (apparently) biased moderator.

The title and the leading topics of the debate were chosen by Dan Savage, not me. Thus, I went beyond the marriage arguments I often make in the public square and took the opportunity to defend the Bible from the most radical charge Dan Savage hurled—that the Bible is a radically pro-slavery document.

He uses that charge to undermine the moral authority of the Bible as the word of God. If it got slavery wrong, Dan maintains, what are the odds it gets human sexuality right? Zero, according to Dan Savage.

Savage wants to believe that he can reconcile his views with Christianity. He keeps telling Christians nothing will change for them if he gets his way: "I don't think LGBT Americans are asking American Christians to do anything you haven't already done. We know you can move because many Americans have already moved. "

And then he uses his growing power (personal and cultural) to argue that Christianity is wrong, the Bible is wrong, and retaining the traditional understanding of sex and marriage is bigotry because he says it's like picking and choosing which texts to believe. For Dan, there is no authoritative tradition in the Bible. Just like he gets to make up his theology on marriage, he gets to make up what Christians believe as well, and if we don't agree with him we are bigots.

I wasn't really too surprised by that.

But what did surprise me was his determined and, in my view, ignorant defense of the slavery charge.

As I told Dan face to face:

To say...that the Bible is a pro-slavery document is just point blank false. What you are essentially saying is your interpretation trumps that of Frederick Douglass, of Harriet Beecher Stowe, of William Wilberforce, of William Lloyd Garrison and all of the abolitionists, who pointed directly to the book of the Bible that you [use to] attempt to justify this notion that the bible is pro-slavery: Philemon. They all pointed to Philemon to say, look what Paul does: Paul...tells Philemon to take Onesimus back, not as a slave, but as a brother, a dear brother in Christ.

This gets to the heart of what Christianity is to the world and Christianity's view on traditional sexual morality. Christianity is, if anything, radical: it's radical in its view of human dignity, of the human dignity of each and every one of us.

Gay marriage is not like racism or interracial marriage.

Christian teaching and practice was never rooted in racism, but in the radical equality of all people and peoples before God. The American South, under slavery, was the exception to the rule—which is one reason why, when challenged, the belief that Christianity can justify not only slavery but also racism, failed abjectly and is now a dead idea. That was Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s great triumph.

But sexual morality and marriage are quite different. Here we have the broad consistent sweep of the authoritative teaching of Christ and the Christian church he founded, recorded in the Bible, and in Christian teaching and practice across the centuries. Here we have something core to the Christian faith, and as I told Dan Savage, it's not going to go away just because he doesn't like it:

The notion of the uniqueness of men and women is not some side thing in scripture, it's a key part of our view of humanity: that there are two halves of humanity, male and female, and that we complement each other, and that complementarity bears fruit in children, can bear fruit in children; that even without children the unitive nature of marriage brings together the two great halves of humanity. . . this is not something we will ever discard. We will always have this view. There will be Christians who always stand up for this view.

And they don't do so...because of any animus or hatred. They do so because they believe this is true; they believe that faith and reason are not at odds here, that scripture reinforces something that is true about human nature, and good, and beautiful.

Maggie says this is the part of my argument she found the most moving, so let me dwell on it a minute. After explaining Christianity's fundamental radicalness, I told Dan: "The reason I'm here is because I believe in your human dignity. I'm willing to come and argue with you because of my respect for you. This notion of equality before God, of us all having this dignity before God, is key to the scriptures."

The reason the Pope and the Catholic catechism condemn slavery, the reason the evangelical abolitionists worked so hard to end it, the reason the Civil War happened, the reason Martin Luther King, Jr.'s revolution in manners and mores triumphed is this: The Biblical idea of the radical dignity of all human beings. As I said in the debate, "This call we have to live out the Gospel message, of love, the call of creating a civilization of love, is not at odds with our idea of marriage. Scripture begins with a marriage, its middle point is the wedding feast at Cana, and it ends with the marriage feast of the Lamb."

On these truths, faith and reason support one another.

I went on to tell Dan in his own home: "What I see attempted here, and sometimes in other things you've said [is to make] those of us who know marriage...deserving of treatment less than others because we are bigots and we deserve what we get.... I don't think it furthers your argument and I think it's wrong."

He can't see his own aggressiveness.

Dan Savage called us here at NOM liars. He thinks we are telling lies, because we say things he doesn't believe.

"Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor'," he told me. "I do believe NOM is in the bearing false witness business and routinely bears false witness against LGBT people."

"NOM tends to do it through linking and surrogates," he said, echoing the absurd arguments of Scott Rose and now also Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Next, Dan went on to call the Regnerus study a lie and a NOM project (which is a total falsehood by the way). Certain members of the gay community, embraced and endorsed by as powerful a voice as Dan Savage's, are out trying to destroy a young scholar's career—not debating and refuting his study, or accepting the challenge of coming up with random samples of gay parents raising children as Regnerus did—but trying to end his career because he published a study in a peer-reviewed journal—but Dan absurdly claimed that this attempted destruction of Prof. Regnerus' career is our fault.

Something about that dynamic captures what we all see at work at this point in the gay marriage debate. Power is being exercised by a minority, which denies it has the power it is exercising, and denies what we see happening in front of us: this power is being used to label and demonize all who disagree, no matter how relentlessly civilized we are, no matter that we uphold gay people's real fundamental civil rights.

I promise you not one word comes out of my mouth, or the mouths of other leaders at NOM, that is not the truth, as best as I can see it. I may be wrong—any of us can be wrong—but we do not lie.

But to Dan, what you and I care about is all lies designed to hurt him and other gay people.

Sad. I don't know what to do about it.

I do know we cannot surrender an idea as important as marriage to people like Dan Savage.

We all have the right to choose how we live, as does Dan Savage. We do not have the right to use the power of government to redefine marriage in law and society.

The dangers of such an ideological shift in society are being seen now abroad: in France gay rights groups are protesting as homophobic (and a possible violation of hate speech laws) a prayer the Catholic bishops of France had their flock pray at Sunday mass. The prayer they see as homophobic asks God to hear the prayer of the faithful:

For children and youth, that all of us may help each one of them to find his own way to progress towards the good, that they cease to be the objects of the desires and the conflicts of adults, by benefiting completely from the love of a father and a mother.

Let me pose a question to the Dan Savages of the world. Once gay people were a powerless and defenseless minority. Now, you have organized, protested, and become powerful through the use of democratic freedoms and intellectual debate, a powerful cultural force in our time. What use do you intend to make of your power?

"Liberty when men act in groups is power," as Edmund Burke said, and before we congratulate them, or they congratulate themselves, it behooves us to look at what use they intend to make of the growing cultural power.

We should not forget in our culture war the individual dignity of each and every human soul. We shouldn't forget that it's hard to be gay in many places, that children are bullied and hurt, that we have to find a better (I would say more Christian) way to combine truth and love, to sustain our understanding of what's right while retaining compassion for human suffering, including the suffering of gay people. But when praying that kids "benefit completely from the love of a father and a mother" is labeled phobia and hate, there's something clearly wrong.

Thank you for all you've made possible. Thank you for your friendship, and your comradeship. Thank you for refuting in the way you live your life the lie that we who stand for God's truth about marriage are liars, haters and bigots. Thank you above all for obeying one of the most often repeated Biblical commands: Be not afraid!

This great work undertaken we will not abandon. We know who triumphs in the end.

Contributions or gifts to the National Organization for Marriage, a 501©(4) organization, are not tax-deductible. The National Organization for Marriage does not accept contributions from business corporations, labor unions, foreign nationals, or federal contractors; however, it may accept contributions from federally registered political action committees. Donations may be used for political purposes such as supporting or opposing candidates. No funds will be earmarked or reserved for any political purpose.

This message has been authorized and paid for by the National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006, Brian Brown, President. This message has not been authorized or approved by any candidate.

72 Comments

  1. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    "But to Dan, what you and I care about is all lies designed to hurt him and other gay people."

    There is nothing you really can do about it, Brian, except to pray for him and continue to hold up the standard of real marriage. The real problem lies in the fact that in his heart of hearts, he doesn't know God's love for him, and can't love himself. So he projects his own sense of worthlessness onto others, desperately looking for validation from others, when the real source of love and validation is through Charity, or the pure love of Christ. Once he feels that in his life, he'll be able to find the good in others, and even feel love for them. That's as miraculous as parting the red sea--but miracles like that happen every day.

  2. Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Brian, you are a great example and inspiration to me and I am sure many others. I would never dare to debate Dan Savage face-to-face. I've never had success debating people filled with anger and hate. Yet you faced this head-on, and you've given me courage to stand up and not back down simply because my opponents are angry or filled with hate.

    Thank you for your inspiration.

  3. Ash
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    "Power is being exercised by a minority, which denies it has the power it is exercising, and denies what we see happening in front of us: this power is being used to label and demonize all who disagree, no matter how relentlessly civilized we are, no matter that we uphold gay people's real fundamental civil rights."

    This is one of the best quotes from Brian's NOM Newsletters, and is a perfect and powerful summation of the marriage debate.

  4. Zack
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    So Mr Savage regrets being a host having a civil conversation.

    Yeah civility is really a burden. Yeah heaven forbid your credibility and movement should be dismantled when you treat the opposition like trash Mr. Savage.

    It was a good debate, you made your points and Brian made his. I think he's sour because he was probably trying to convince Brian instead of the people watching.

  5. David in Houston
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    It simply doesn't matter what the Bible has to say about homosexuality or marriage. In our country, "civil" marriage is available to non-religious straight couples, and our laws are not based on religious doctrine. THAT is the marriage that the gay community is referring to when we speak of marriage equality. When New York made same-sex marriage legal, it did not force churches to participate in those marriages if they didn't wish to. So please stop conflating an optional religious ceremony with the legal status of civil marriage. They are not the same thing. Dan Savage pointed this out, but you failed to address this major issue.

    As for the uniqueness of "joining two halves of humanity"? For starters, opposite-sex couples don't have to get married in order to "join" with each other. They don't even have to get married in order to have children. (My nephew and niece are aware of that fact.) Since 95% of the populous is straight, I'd hardly call the pairing up of men and women that unique. Especially when 50% of those "joinings" fail. Just out of curiosity, which one of Rush Limbaugh's FOUR marriages epitomized the two halves of humanity the best? Apparently, straight people like Rush have the right to define their marriages and families however they see fit, even if it goes against your personal belief system. Rush also doesn't have any children, which makes me wonder why the state has had any vested interest in ANY of his non-procreative marriages? During the debate you said that children were the only reason why the state is interested in overseeing marriages. But later you said that opposite-sex couples aren't obligated to have children. So why are you using hypothetical children as a means to exclude gay couples from civil marriage?

  6. Donna
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    All you can do now is pray for Dan Savage. You have presented Christ and what the Bible has to say. All you can do now is step back and let God take over.

    As Christians, it's time we lifted this issue up in prayer and left it in God's hands. It is only with God's intervention that we will get anywhere in this issue, and only with God's intervention will homosexuals turn away from their sin.

  7. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Brian,

    As they teach in Web design and development classes, people on the Internet have short attention spans. You need to keep that in mind when deciding how long your posts should be.

    Thank you for providing a voice for all of us that believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and should stay that way.

    You always handle yourself well in debates and I enjoy watching them.

  8. Rick Small
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    The truth fell out of Brian Brown's mouth, probably inadvertently, when he said, "Just because you believe something's wrong it doesn't mean you make it illegal." If the National Organization FOR Marriage were really about being FOR marriage, they would be working to make divorce less easy to obtain and they would welcome all people who want to share the blessings of the married state, regardless of the genders involved. I don't see any campaign to restrict divorce or make it more difficult to obtain, and I certainly don't see the Organization FOR Marriage welcoming all to the marital lists. Perhaps a new branding is in order?

  9. Paul McMichael
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    NOM is mis-named judging by BB's words. It is in fact the National Organisation Against Gay Marriage. He admitted they do little else but object to equal marriage.

  10. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    I was fascinated when Savage said homosexuals were three-ish percent of the population.

    They used to say they were "ten percent," an obvious lie.

  11. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Did Brian walk right into Savage's trap?

    "Many times Christians present our arguments for the traditional family by making arguments from Scripture and speaking of 'God’s design for marriage.' [...] It’s no wonder, then, that the broader population thinks opposition to gay marriage is a matter of religion alone. And as such, it can be marginalized. Indeed, it must be marginalized, for our culture assumes a fundamental split between faith and reason."
    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/08/opposing-gay-marriage-is-rational-not-religious

    An important SSM activist tactic is to portray marriage supporters as all religious people that are trying to impose their religion on others.

    Savage actually squeezed in this talking point.

    This debate does nothing to refute that.

    "Christian friends are looking for a way to relate to those who may not hold the same views, and that’s wise.

    "To be clear, our religious beliefs do offer legitimate reasons to oppose same-sex marriage. But if we’re to win this important debate and win hearts and minds, we must be able to articulate our convictions in culturally relevant ways."
    http://byfaithonline.com/the-cultural-argument-against-gay-marriage/

  12. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    "equal marriage" -- nice spin.

    Have they figured out how to call it Shangri-La, bliss, utopia, or nirvana yet?

  13. MarriedGayChristian
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    Dang. I thought for a second I was going to have to give some credit to Brian for being decent and thanking Dan. But then I kept reading.

    A little backhanded to say you are thanking someone for their hospitality then call their home the 'valley of the beast'

  14. Debbie
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I appreciate your efforts to continue to defend marriage. You did a wonderful job. After seeing Mr Savage berate teens, I was surprised he was able to be as civil as he was because of his obvious pride. I was also amused that he used as the most prominent source of information to support his arguments...the Bible. He must believe in a god because he seems so angry and set on proving him a liar, but his arguments show that he doesn't know god, and he knows very little about the Bible. Of course we realize that Dan Savage is really fighting a battle with God. I also feel very sad regarding the little boy that this man is raising and influencing, and pray that somewhere along the way he comes to know the God of the Bible in a real way in spite of the hateful rhetoric and lies he'll be brought up on. That happens in any Godless home no matter who the parents.
    Thanks againBrian, and NOM
    Debbie

  15. Good News
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I don't know Brian. I want to give you my comments on the debate, but there are so many that I don't have the heart to even start.
    For now, just another thanks to you, for speaking out load on this subject as you do here, there and anywhere.

  16. Jim
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Sorry Brian - but since you don't believe in the legitimacy of the love between two people of the same sex, you're a bigot. I know you hate that word, but not even giving gay people the basic dignity to love who they choose is bigotry. If you supported simple civil unions or domestic partnerships, that might be different - I understand your objections to marriage. But since you support NO legal arrangement for a same sex couple, that shows real bigotry. Having watched the full debate twice, it's clear that you are a glib speaker who can justify your bigotry with a myriad of half-truths and evasions. You had no answer when Dan told you of the 3 heterosexual couples who had denied parenthood to his son. You had no answers for a host of other points he made. You are so caught up in your religious fervor that an alternate point of view is simply not acceptable.

    Bigotry is bigotry, and you are a bigot. So sorry.

  17. TC Matthews
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Jim, calling names doesn't make your arguments any better. Redefining marriage just doesn't make sense. It's not good for kids, it's not good for families. I have waited a long time for a cogent argument from the SSM side, but your example is all too often as good as it gets. Come off the hate, and talk real ideas, real solutions.

  18. Zack
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    @Jim

    Believing Marriage is between a man and a woman is not bigotry nor denying "love" for anyone. Emotionally charged arguments are great for points and winning over hearts, but fall flat when convincing people.

    "You are so caught up in your religious fervor that an alternate point of view is simply not acceptable. "

    None of the arguments he made were religious. He explained the consequences religious institutions faced when they adhere to their teachings.

  19. M. Jones
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    My heart aches for that poor little child of God who is without a mother and then subject to indoctrination, early sexualization and brain washing. it is always the innocents who suffer, and to walk away without being able to do anything about it, what a sad tragedy.

  20. Sarah Woods
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Brian,

    One of your core arguments is the complementarity of one man and one woman.

    Yet there are also gender nonconforming people in this world. transgendered, queer, etc.

    My best friend from high school, a female, married a man, had two children with him, and then, for both medical and psychological reasons, transitioned to male. The testosterone helped with a chronic medical condition and the transition to male was more comfortable as a gender. So he is now both his children's mother and father.

    What public policy do you propose to address the reality of transgendered people in our society?

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Woods

  21. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Jim, you seem in such a hurry to look for a reason to stigmatize Brian, with the "bigot" claim. You don't think Brian recognizes love between two people of the same sex? How about two sisters--same sex, and they love each other. Two brothers--love each other, and they're the same sex. A mother who loves her same-sex daughter? A father and son? Two neighbor women who love and respect each other as bffs? Two men who love each other like brothers? A male pastor who loves the men in his flock? A female teacher who loves her female students? We could go on and on. I've just named quite a few loving relationships that aren't recognized as marriages, and are therefore not licenced and regulated marriage relationships. Marriage is not a product of romantic love alone, nor is it entirely a product of sexual behavior between consenting adults. Care to suspend judgement on Brian, and reconsider your assertion?

  22. J. C.
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Well, I must say...there is certainly one aspect of this post that I appreciate. And that is the fact that you say we are not the poor little gay people deserving of pity due to being a minority. Because we are not.

    Deserving of pity, that is. We're deserving of rights. And before the vast majority of you jump the gun and start mentally writing out your insulted retort to this, please take the time to read what I have to say. The only way to have a fair debate is to actually give time and consideration to what the other side has to say. I read this article in its entirety, twice, and watched the debate as well.

    All this double-talk and circular arguments that lead to the basic assumption we are simply deviants who need to be pitied amounts to nothing more than the southern equivalent of "bless their hearts". You know, how we can get away with saying something horrible about someone down here, as long as we follow it with "bless her heart"? - i.e., "She looks positively obese in that dress, bless her sweet heart!"

    Unfortunately, this is the elitist attitude that is all too often displayed by you, Mr. Brown, and many of your cohorts/followers. 'Well, I tried to tell them, but they just won't listen! They seem completely immune to the truth, and bent on remaining deviant...bless their hearts!'

    What is somehow just not getting through to you is that while you absolutely have the right to believe as you wish, and you absolutely have the right to speak about and promote those beliefs, you absolutely do not have the right to seek change or ban change to civil legislation on religious grounds. Marriage is a civil institution. Religious marriage is a religious institution. There is most certainly crossover - even in the gay community - but it is not mandated. Pagans are entitled to civil marriage. Atheists are entitled to civil marriage. Divorcees are entitled to civil marriage. Muslims, Taoists, Hindus...everyone is entitled to civil marriage under the law...unless you happen to have the same plumbing.

    It is a fundamental flaw that we are seeking to repair.

    I do not need nor desire your approval of my relationship or my family, just as you do not need or desire my approval of yours. That is what is so wonderful about this country - it's not necessary that one or the other of us be 'right' on the subject.

    But what you and so many others seem to dance around every time is that this country is not a theocracy - not by a long shot. In fact, it was founded on principles that run directly contrary to theocracy. Therefore, civil legislation must be decided on civil merits, not religious ideology.

    So many on the right are whipped up about the possibility of the nation falling under Sharia Law... Have you even stopped to think that Dominionism or a Christian theocracy is every bit as frightening to some people? Yes, I know you believe your way is the only way, and that's just fine. But there are millions of others who believe the same thing - about their version of the Christian religion or their non-Christian religion.

    What if a large, well-funded majority of them stood up and suddenly started making claims that everyone should be subject to the tenets of their faith, even in a country that is founded on the inherent right to religious freedom? Take Sharia Law just as an example...there are only the tiniest of echos of any kind of possibility that it could ever become a widespread situation, and how crazy has the world gone over just that? Do you think women would just sit by and let it happen? Or millions of others? Without protest? No. Because what is right for some is not right for all, and that goes for all of us. Period.

    So please do not continue equating your religious beliefs and therefore your basis for the definition of marriage with actual civil rights. While there are certainly places the Venn diagram of life shows overlap, it does not - in any fashion - show dominion.

    Learn to see outside of yourself. Not go into "the valley of the beast" and consider yourself a hero...truly see outside of yourself.

    Honestly take a good look inside, and find the courage to say, "No, I do not agree with your life and who you are or claim to be, and I do not support your marriage. But my opinion is not law, and you have the same rights to the over 1130 federal benefits and protections that legal civil marriage has to offer." It's not so much to ask, really. It's what we do every day with others who do not hold our same faith or morals or ethics in whatever regard. This is no different, except where you make it so.

    Call us what you wish...call us pitiable, or wrong, or lost. That is absolutely your right. But do not stand in the way of our civil rights based on your personal interpretation of one of hundreds of religions (or the absence thereof) that are allowed and practiced in this great nation. Because that, Mr. Brown, is not.

  23. Jon
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    @M. Jones
    Are you trying to say that you are sorry that Dan Savage's adopted son is not still in foster care?

  24. Ron Lussier
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    "What use do you intend to make of your power?"

    Defend ourselves from people like you, Brian. People who want to take away our religious liberties and make us believe what your religion teaches. (I am Unitarian.) People who want to destroy our marriages. People whose whole focus is denying our relationships.

    - Ron

  25. Little Man
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I think this is an admission of defeat:

    "...treating Brian Brown like a guest... put me at a disadvantage during the debate."

    Excuses, excuses...

    After all, it was called a 'debate' by Mr. Savage. People decide for themselves who the winner was.

    The point of the debate was that Mr. Savage could easily pick on captive students of journalism. Not so easy with Mr. Brown.

    Expect listeners on this blog to have different opinions. Otherwise call it a 'discussion', not a debate. “Listen, then, if you have ears!”, said Jesus over and over. Some people are beyond listening. Why should that surprise us?

    Luke 14:
    34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. 35 It is no good for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown away. Listen, then, if you have ears!”

    (salt represents the Christian counter-culture). Using Mr. Savage's words: Christians who have lost their influence are not even good for the "Bull Shit" pile(!) These are the kind of Christians who give Mr. Savage his political power.

    The burden of proof is on those who seek to fundamentally change the civil institution of marriage (more). Their main argument is "Because we want it so."

    So,... it's not as easy to pick on Brian Brown as it is to pick on young students. Christians are and have been persecuted too, as we can see Mr. Savage doing publicly (even invited to do so by the organizers).

    It's about time the issue got to the Biblical interpretation, because the power of the 'gay' marriage (legislated as same-sex marriage) movement is given by the votes of so many Christians who believe Christianity is just about being 'unselfish'.

    C.S. Lewis wrote about this decades ago.

  26. Little Man
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    David in Houston says "our laws are not based on religious doctrine."

    Mr. Savage brought up the 'bull shit' in the Bible topic. He now regrets it.

    No one said our laws are based on religious doctrine, but all people (of all religions which can accept the US Constitutional 1st Amendment) have a right to vote according to their opinion.

    You won't be able to side-line us. We are just getting started. And voters are seeing the 'hate' in your propositions. You are no longer 'the victims'.

  27. Little Man
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Jim. Savage is the bigot, as can be seen in his lecture video. It's documented. So, your hate prompts you to call someone a bigot, becoming one yourself. Savage is not only a bigot. He is uninformed.

  28. Little Man
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    M. Jones: Why didn't you adopt that child before Mr. Savage adopted him?

  29. Little Man
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Ron Lussier: You are doing exactly the same.

  30. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Sarah Woods (post 20),
    >
    > Your best friend "transitioned to male" for medical reasons?<

    I can't believe you have the chutzpa to write this.

    For what medical reasons is self-mutilation the recommended "medical" procedure?

  31. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    J. C. wrote,
    >
    > there is certainly one aspect of this post that I appreciate. And that is the fact that you say we are not the poor little gay people deserving of pity due to being a minority. Because we are not.<

    I agree, and thank you for making it clear that no heightened scrutiny is called for.

    Sexual preference refers to behavior, and is not an immutable trait.

  32. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Ron Lussier wrote, "People who want to destroy our marriages."

    What "marriages"?

    See why SSM needs to be stopped in all four states, in November?

    The next argument is that there are men "married" to men, and women "married" to women, and we're trying to "destroy" their "marriages".

    The truth is that, where SSM was reversed (in California), for same-sex couples that were "married", those "marriages" were left alone.

    Joe Sixpack won't likely know that, nor think that deeply about it, and the speciously soundbite will be persuasive, with some.

    The California Supreme Court refused to stay its 4-3 ruling, even though Prop 8 was already on the ballot. That's why there are same-sex "marriages" in California.

  33. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    In response to J.C.,

    1) nobody is disputing your right to omit religion from your life, including in your marriage

    2) nobody is disputing your right to get married

    3)nobody is disputing your right to spend your life with whom you will, share property, bank accounts, powers of attorney, deed your property, etc.

    4) the issue is whether the state should consider you married, when your bride (if you're male) is conspicuously absent, or the groom (if you happen to be a female).

  34. leviticus
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    @jon, No child should be ripped away from the opportunity to have both the mother and father.

  35. MarriedGayChristian
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I think it's pretty funny that NOM supporters keep saying things like: " The point of the debate was that Mr. Savage could easily pick on captive students of journalism. Not so easy with Mr. Brown."

    If they were paying attention, they would know that the students in their story were neither captive, nor picked on.

    A. Dan was an invited speaker, so he was SUPPOSED to be speaking to the audience.
    B. He is a sex advice columnist by profession, so he is SUPPOSED to talk about sex advice. it is his job.
    C. Some of the students were offended by his speech, so they left. By definition they couldn't have been held captive if they were allowed to leave.

    D. Dan is right when he says the bible has a lot of bull@hit in it. Since I've read most of the bible I know its true. Hardly anybody in NOM believes that eating shrimp is just as much of a sin as homosexual conduct. Hardly anyone believes it is a good idea to stone your children to death, or that women are property, or that slavery is a good thing, or that polygamy is a good thing, or that a woman should marry their rapist, or that saving money is a sin, or that it is a good idea to light a cow on fire in church, or....well the list goes on and on.

    And eve..."3)nobody is disputing your right to spend your life with whom you will, share property, bank accounts, powers of attorney, deed your property, etc. "
    Either you are lying or you aren't paying attention. NOM does not support any rights for gay families. because they say any recognition at all is a stepping stone to marriage recognition. Their many posts in support of DOMA make it very clear that they want anyone and everyone to oppose gay families getting any of the rights other families get for being married.

  36. Posted August 25, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    "they want anyone and everyone to oppose gay families getting any of the rights other families get for being married."

    >> Wrong. I oppose any *non-married* couples, or trios, or any other configuration of persons, from being granted marriage benefits because.........

    They are not married!

    If we extend marriage benefits to non-married couples, or trios, or whatever other configurations might at some point be determined to have acquired a constitutional right to be what they are not, the end result is that *there is no such thing as marriage* any longer.

    Marriage has become another word for Federal and/or State Relationship Benefits.

    Individuals in non-married relationships are fully entitled to their civil rights.

    Non-married relationships are not marriages.

    There exists no constitutional right to same sex marriage, or polygamous marriage, or friendship-with-benefits marriage.

    But the power to indoctrinate children in the profoundly anti-Christian world view of the same sex marriage movement is closely tied to the redefinition of marriage.

    This is a very bad idea, and ought to be defeated soundly wherever it is proposed.

  37. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    MarriedGayChristian wrote, "And eve...'3)nobody is disputing your right to spend your life with whom you will, share property, bank accounts, powers of attorney, deed your property, etc.'
    "Either you are lying or you aren't paying attention. NOM does not support any rights for gay families."

    That's false.

    Nice straw man argument, btw.

    The point is that you can "spend your life with whom you will, share property, bank accounts, powers of attorney, deed your property, etc." without redefining marriage.

    If you want to get married for rights and benefits, in contrast with heterosexuals, that marry to publicly acknowledge their love and commitment to each other -- then you should know that you have these rights, married or not.

  38. B DeCicco
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    @ JC: An Open Letter to JC:

    You say:

    "What is somehow just not getting through to you is that while you absolutely have the right to believe as you wish, and you absolutely have the right to speak about and promote those beliefs, you absolutely do not have the right to seek change or ban change to civil legislation on religious grounds. Marriage is a civil institution. Religious marriage is a religious institution. There is most certainly crossover - even in the gay community - but it is not mandated. Pagans are entitled to civil marriage. Atheists are entitled to civil marriage. Divorcees are entitled to civil marriage. Muslims, Taoists, Hindus...everyone is entitled to civil marriage under the law...unless you happen to have the same plumbing.

    It is a fundamental flaw that we are seeking to repair."

    Then why, pray, does Dan Savage - when arguing about what is essentially a legal, civil matter - choose of all people on this earth for his debate, Brain Brown? I do NOT believe Savage is dumb or a fool. But according to your purview, Dan Savage is arguing about a legal and civil matter, and the Brian Browns of this world should just keep silent.

    And yet it is Brian Brown who was chosen to enter Savage's home and debate. Yes, Brian Brown:

    With his religion, his transcendent Catholicism, his patriarchal demeanor: Above all, his belief in the Natural Law Theory of Aquinas., that ethical transcendent giant of the Medieval Synthesis.

    Why would this be? Again, we know Savage is intelligent and educated: Not dumb enough to pick Brown by mere accident.

    But there is a crude psychological self-contradiction in his choice: He argues a civil and legal and secular matter with one of the best Catholic minds of our era.

    Might it just be that he harbored a secret wish to persuade Brown? Precisely BECAUSE he is a Thomistic Natural Law Theorist of the highest order? And if successful, Savage would have received what HE HIMSELF has deemed - for we know no one persuaded him to feel this way - to be the highest blessing in the same sex marriage debate?

    Now who is the hypocrite? Brown did what a Thomistic philosopher HAS to do: He defended natural law theory. He assured Savage that "did not dislike him" and "certainly did not hate him". He also called Savage "a gracious host".

    Savage's husband Terry in an email to the New York Times called Brown "cruel". But in this case, cruelty is in the eye of the beholder only.

    Say what you like, but I believe Mr. Savage wants/wanted to enact a moral suasion campaign against Brown. His prerogative, but he must be man enough to remain aloof and undaunted when the plan fails.

  39. Little Man
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    MarriedGayChristian: Thanks but no thanks for your shallow biblical interpretation. You cannot compare the rules of a theocracy with those of a democracy. You are obtuse in this regard, on purpose. You are one of those who have ears but cannot hear.

  40. Little Man
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    MarriedGayChristian: Yes, the students were 'captive'. It is a form of speech. They were captive in a way because they signed up for a lecture on journalism and got one on Biblical interpretation. Are you dumb, or just faking it?

  41. AGK
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I think its clear people like Dan Savage are looking for more than tolerance. They indeed have tolerance, and most people at this point approve of civil unions.

    By redefining marriage they seek to move from tolerance to total equality - a term which they now openly use - and not only acceptance but celebration. They also seek to transform society and remake it in their own polymorphous image. Thank God for men like Brian Brown who are impervious to their political seductions.

  42. B DeCicco
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    @ JC:

    If Savage believed the debate to be about merely civil and legal terminology and benefits, he would keep the discourse and debate on this level.

    Instead he seeks out a Catholic transcendent thinker and advocate of Thomistic Natural Law theory as his worthy opponent. And what an opponent:

    Brown defended himself and his ideology superbly while praising Savage as "a gracious host" and reiterating that he harbored neither hate nor dislike for Savage.

    My belief is that Savage believed he could successfully use moral suasion on a man like Brown - because in the end , it is the religious man which the gays hope to transform., They will never admit it., Men like Brian Brown are the last immovable bastion of natural law theory and thus a sought after prize. It will never happen.

  43. lonesomerhoades
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    We need to be honest about his whole thing. To use the word "gay" as a synonym for homosexual is a misuse of the word. Mr. Savage is a homosexual. He engages in aberrant sexual behaviors. He is out to take away any kind of morality related to sex. Read some of his columns and you will see what I mean. Nothing, and I mean nothing is discouraged, short of violence of course. You have a sexual urge to act in any way, go do it. Little is disallowed. He is about as amoral as a person can get.

  44. Michelle Roberts
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    " Unique and special,unique and special, unique and special." I WIN.

  45. Posted August 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Michelle.

    He does.

  46. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    MgC, families don't have rights--individuals do. :)

  47. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    lonesomerhoades wrote, "To use the word 'gay' as a synonym for homosexual is a misuse of the word."

    Especially since homosexuals aren't especially happy.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/06/local/la-me-gay-youth-20120607

  48. Louis E.
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    I am not religious.
    Civil marriage can only be justified if it furthers the public interest in privileging opposite-sex relationships,whose existence is critical to humanity,over same-sex sexual relationships,whose existence is unfortunate.
    Jim's offensive assertion to the contrary does not make those who can tell right from wrong "bigots".

  49. Rick L.
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    @Preserve Marriage
    Did you read more than just the title of that LA Times article? If you did you would have seen that the reason why Gay and Lesbian youth are more unhappy than their heterosexual counterparts is because of the harassment and abuse they experience from their peers and their communities.

    To everyone else I would like to say that marriage has two very distinct aspects.

    The first aspect is the spiritual aspect. This is where two people make a vow to each other, to love, support and defend each other. To face the challenges that life presents, and bask in the joys it has to offer as a unit. This vow is made between two people, perhaps in the sight of their friends, family and depending on their beliefs their god. Regardless though this vow is only as strong as the depths to which these two individuals feel it and then honor it.

    The second aspect is the business aspect. These are the rights and responsibilities bestowed upon a married couple by the government. Among them are next of kin rights, property rights, hospital visitation rights. There are over a 1,000 of these rights that are automatically put in place when the two people marrying complete and sign a marriage license.

    One of these aspects is not now, nor will it ever be, controlled by any government. One of these aspects is not now, nor will it ever be, exclusive to one religious affiliation. One of these aspects is not now, nor will it ever be, exclusive to heterosexuals. Can you guess which?

    It is the other aspect ... the government run institution for which loving gay and lesbian couples are fighting for. For those right and responsibilities that heterosexual couples earn with a few swipes of a pen. It takes a lot of time and work to try and secure those rights individually and even then not all of them are procurable.

    You see homosexual couples do not need permission from anyone to love each other and build their lives together. You might not view it as a marriage, but seeing as you are not a participant in it that doesn't really matter.

    Faith is a personal truth. One of the ten commandments states "I am the lord your god you shall have no others gods besides me". As a Christian you hold this to be true, but there are many many other religions in this country that do not worship the Christian god. Do you work tirelessly to make them illegal? No, because you understand that in this country there is room for more than one way. You may not like their way, you may pray for them or say things against them in the privacy of your home, but you do not have the right to stop them from living their personal truth.

    This is why putting civil rights issues up to a popular vote is not a good idea. You are in essence asking people about their personal truths. I would imagine for many of you voting to allow same sex marriage would feel like a horrible violation of your personal truth, tantamount to denouncing your faith. That isn't a fair question to ask people, and the results are not fair either.

    It has been said many times ... if same sex marriage is against your personal truth then do not enter into a marriage with a person of the same gender. If the business aspect of marriage exists for homosexual couples it does not mean it will no longer exist for heterosexual couples. It also does not mean that churches will be forced to perform same sex weddings, or that you will be forced to attend. It doesn't even mean that you have to in your mind consider it a marriage. You can continue to disagree, you can continue to pray for them, and you can continue to say things against them in the privacy of your home.

    But what you should not be able to do is demand someone else live by your personal truth, or your faith. That is saying that someone else's feelings, someone else's faith is less than yours. And being told you are less would make anyone unhappy, like the teens mentioned in Preserve Marriage's article.

  50. Sam
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    As a gay atheist and same-sex marriage supporter myself, I disagree strongly with the content of your views, Brian. But I commend you on the intellectuality, rationality, civility, and sensibility that I've seen from you here.

    Would that our opposing camps could speak a bit more objectively about these matters: engage in joint deliberation and high-level debate rather than in constant battles of childish labeling and dogmatism. Insofar as the discourse I've seen from you here does some part to advance us toward that end, I thank you for it. In truth, I somewhat wish that I might have been debating you on these issues, rather than Savage.

  51. Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Rick L:

    It seems that you have forgotten the most important "aspect" of marriage altogether.

    The most important aspect of marriage is that it has, always and everywhere, brought together the two complementary genders of our species in long-term, stable unions from which children commonly reult, and within which they are best nurtured.

    Your argument seems to hinge on the proposition that this aspect is somehow religious or faith-based in nature.

    It isn't.

    All religions, all cultures, even cultures of explicit atheism, have recognized this constitutive aspect of marriage.

    So it seems that what you are actually arguing for above, is that we should all accept *your* faith, even though it is utterly and radically opposed to what the institution of marriage has consisted in for all of human history.

    I don;t think that's going to fly, Rick L.

  52. Preserve Marriage
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Rick L. wrote,
    >
    > @Preserve Marriage
    > Did you read more than just the title of that LA Times article? If you did you would have seen that the reason why<

    doesn't change the fact that homosexuals aren't especially happy.

  53. Posted August 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Bullying is always wrong.

    No special class need be created in the course of opposing it.

    All classes are equally entitled to protection from bullying, not because they are a member of a class, but because they are human beings.

  54. Zack
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    @Rick

    1)

    2) I'm all for equal protection and equal rights. The definition of Marriage however, does not need to be redefined to accommodate that.

    3) See point 2.

    4) " You might not view it as a marriage, but seeing as you are not a participant in it that doesn't really matter. "

    This is where you are wrong. It absolutely does matter. The differences between men and women are inherent and many. To call a union between two men or two women a Marriage serves to blur this distinction. Whether or not this is intentional is irrelevant because that's exactly what's happening. Gender matters.

    5) "One of the ten commandments states "I am the lord your god you shall have no others gods besides me". As a Christian you hold this to be true, but there are many many other religions in this country that do not worship the Christian god. Do you work tirelessly to make them illegal?"

    Because we have Freedom of Religion as described in the Constitution. That doesn't dispel the fact that this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values and beliefs.

    "No, because you understand that in this country there is room for more than one way. You may not like their way, you may pray for them or say things against them in the privacy of your home, but you do not have the right to stop them from living their personal truth."

    Moral relevancy. There is but one God. Different cultures and religions may believe in multiple beings but there is always one being that reigns supreme over all creation including the other beings.

    6)"This is why putting civil rights issues up to a popular vote is not a good idea."

    Except that Marriage isn't a civil right.

    7) "You are in essence asking people about their personal truths. I would imagine for many of you voting to allow same sex marriage would feel like a horrible violation of your personal truth, tantamount to denouncing your faith. That isn't a fair question to ask people, and the results are not fair either. "

    Well of course you are asking people about their beliefs. You are making them apart of the conversation. Self-Governance is what the Founders intended. It's perfectly fair to ask people to decide if they wish Marriage to be redefined or not. The question has been asked 30+ times and every single time the people have voted to affirm Traditional Marriage.

    8) "It has been said many times ... if same sex marriage is against your personal truth then do not enter into a marriage with a person of the same gender."

    Refer to my point about Men and Women being inherently different.

    9) If the business aspect of marriage exists for homosexual couples it does not mean it will no longer exist for heterosexual couples. It also does not mean that churches will be forced to perform same sex weddings"

    Ah but you see, churches receive a tax exempt status and if such a church had the misfortune of not marrying a same-sex couple then they could be subject to lawsuit and have their tax exempt status rescinded. I refer to people who were sued for refusing civil union ceremonies.

    10) " It doesn't even mean that you have to in your mind consider it a marriage. You can continue to disagree, you can continue to pray for them, and you can continue to say things against them in the privacy of your home."

    Oh but it does because you are changing the language of society. I may not personally see it as such, but what of my children who might disagree? What of a place of business that disagrees? An adoption agency?

    11) "But what you should not be able to do is demand someone else live by your personal truth"

    Nothing of the sort is being demanded.

    12) "And being told you are less would make anyone unhappy, like the teens mentioned in Preserve Marriage's article."

    Nothing of the sort is being said either.

  55. Zack
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    woops...I made a typo...I left point 1 empty...well just think of point 2 being point 1. >.<

  56. Rick L.
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    @Zack

    A couple of questions so I can fully ascertain your arguments:

    1. You say you are all for equal protection and equal rights. What is your solution to this issue then?

    2. You state that the differences between men and women and inherent and many. Other than biology, what are these differences?

  57. Rick L.
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    @Rick DeLano

    The decision to have children can not be deemed the most important aspect of marriage as it is an optional aspect (and one that I feel fits into the spiritual aspect that I outlined above). Also a wedding does not bestow the ability to be a good parent or a good partner on either individual involved. Sustaining a marriage ... or being a good parent takes work. However from the legal standpoint, and as far as I know the religious standpoint as well, having children is not required to legitimize a marriage.

    @Preserve Marriage
    You generalize, and also don't seem to understand that the homosexual youth in the article you sited are unhappy because of the treatment they receive from others ... not because of their homosexuality itself. That being said I don't think either of us know every homosexual in the world and their feelings to state that "homosexuals aren't especially happy"

  58. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    "the reason why Gay and Lesbian youth are more unhappy than their heterosexual counterparts is because of the harassment and abuse they experience from their peers and their communities."

    Actually, in countries where SSM and homosexuality have been considered legal and normal for several decades, youth who engage in homosexual activities continue to exhibit higher levels of depression, etc., than their non-homosexual peers. So, one cannot blame bullying for this phenomenon. The truth is, that any sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman will lead to negative emotional feelings.

  59. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    "The first aspect is the spiritual aspect. This is where two people make a vow to each other, to love, support and defend each other. To face the challenges that life presents, and bask in the joys it has to offer as a unit. This vow is made between two people, perhaps in the sight of their friends, family and depending on their beliefs their god. Regardless though this vow is only as strong as the depths to which these two individuals feel it and then honor it."

    Well, any two siblings, a parent and child, or two individuals already married, could make the same depth of love and commitment to each other. So there is more to marriage than simply a spiritual commitment, public avowed. Many a mother and daughter or two sisters feel a deep, abiding, spiritual connection with each other. A spiritual commitment is not considered an eligibility requirement for marriage.

  60. Chairm
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    "Personal truth"?

    5ruth ecists and we pursue it. We might even cross paths enroute or at the destination. Truth does not come with an owner's sticker. Once the truth is known it is yours. And yours and yours and ... but it is not a one-of-a-kind custom-made fabrication sculpted by the owner.

    Savage is an intelligent fool on these serious matters.

  61. Chairm
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Truth exists and we pursue it.

  62. Zack
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    @Rick

    "1. You say you are all for equal protection and equal rights. What is your solution to this issue then?"
    Full martial rights to same-sex couples without the title of Marriage. Since it's the legal benefits I hear some prominent activists are arguing for, then this should be a sufficient compromise. This has been something my side(at least I and some prominent Conservatives) has argued for a while.

    "2. You state that the differences between men and women and inherent and many. Other than biology, what are these differences?"

    Other than biology? You can't be serious. You mean you do not understand the psychological and emotional distinction that separates men from women? Or perhaps do I need to refer you to the numerous studies that show when a father is absent, children often struggle more in life? Our very sex drives are just one obvious characteristic that distinguishes men from women.

    I apologize if I'm coming off as brash but really, the question is so plainly obvious it doesn't require an in depth explanation.

    I refer you to some sources I myself have read.

    http://www.bygpub.com/books/tg2rw/chap11excerpt.htm

    http://www.albatrus.org/english/lien_of_oz/fatherhood/men_women_different.htm

    http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/study-men-and-women-are-different-species/

    And there are many many other sources to look at.

  63. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Furthermore, Rick L. omits a very important aspect of marriage: marriage is a sexual union, not just a spiritually sympathetic one. Marriage represents both sexes, equally, and acknowledges the unique sexual exclusivity between a male and a female. Sexual orientation is a non-issue, as any adult male can marry any adult female, as long as they are not married to another, and as long as they are not close kin, as defined by the state. Marriage as a sexual union acknowledges the inherent ties to procreativity, as witnessed in family law (presumption of paternity, consanguinity law, annulment law, etc.). While not mandating procreation, marriage anticipates its possibility, and legally binds both a male and a female to their common offspring (something SSM cannot ever do), making the couple, and not the state, responsible for the welfare of a child. Marriage unites both sexes and concurrently creates kinship, where none has previously existed. SSM cannot do this. Marriage also binds successive generations to each other, on both sides of the family tree. SSM cannot do this.

  64. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    When it comes to protecting children and families, marriage between a man and a woman is like the fence at the top of the hill, while SS"M" is like a hill, with no fence, and an ambulance at the bottom.

  65. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    "Either you are lying or you aren't paying attention. NOM does not support any rights for gay families."

    Please define "gay" family, or even "gay" individual. What are the immutable characteristics of "gay?"

    And, can you produce documentation stating that NOM "does not support ANY rights for gay families?" Also, can you please produce documentation wherein families or groups have rights, from the Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc.? Thanks.

  66. Posted August 27, 2012 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    @ Rick L. #57:

    "The decision to have children can not be deemed the most important aspect of marriage as it is an optional aspect (and one that I feel fits into the spiritual aspect that I outlined above)."

    >> Children are not a "decision", Rick. Children are the biologically predictable outcome of sexual relations between a man and a woman.

    Not all unions will be fruitful- they don;t have to be.

    The state's *sole* interest in marriage- the next generation, best nurtured- is adequately secured by the simple and obvious expedient of fostering long-term, stable unions of the two complementary gend4ers of our species.

    This done, nature will take care of the rest.

    "Also a wedding does not bestow the ability to be a good parent or a good partner on either individual involved."

    >> Yes, it instead bestows the ability to be a *parent* in a *marriage*.

    Not all marriages involve resplendently succesful parents, but then again, how is society to know this outcome in advance?

    Of course it cannot.

    Society's interest- the next generation, best nurtured- is adequately secured by fostering the union of the complementary genders of our species.

    Nature will take care of the rest.

    Laws exist to rectify especially egregious cases of incompetence or abuse in parenting.

    Still no reason to redefine marriage here.

    "Sustaining a marriage ... or being a good parent takes work. However from the legal standpoint, and as far as I know the religious standpoint as well, having children is not required to legitimize a marriage."

    >> It is not required, nor should it be. We cannot know in advance which unions will be fruitful. Society's interest in marriage- the next generation, best nurtured- is adequately secured by simply joining the two complementary genders in long term, stable marriages.

    Nature will take care of the rest.

  67. Rick
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    @ Rick DeLano

    If the state's sole interest is in the creation of the next generation then it would. logically speaking, need to be limited to those that can bear children. We can go a step further and say limited to those who are likely to bear children, as many people do not know of their infertility until they are trying to have a child. However this is not the case as women who are beyond child bearing years are still able to be married.

    I believe that we are starting to branch off into another issue when we begin to discuss the choice to have children. Many married couples choose not to, while even more couples make decisions about the timing and number of the children they have. There is a lot of decision making when having children.

  68. Chairm
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Rick @ August 27, 2012 at 11:57 am,

    SSMers are like the characters in the story of three blind men and an elephant.

    http://www.thoughtoftheweek.co.uk/archive/17%20-%203%20blind%20men%20and%20an%20elephant.html

    You have blinded yourself to the whole and so have not regarded the coherency of the marital union.

    Marriage provides for responsible procreation and it integrates the sexes; it combines these as a coherent whole (i.e. as a social institution).

    In contrast, the SSM idea is segregative by sex (and by sexual attraction btw) and is non-fertile (that non-fertility is an inability -- an intrinsic lack of ability -- in the one-sex-short scenario and is not a disablity of procreative power as infertility would be in the two-sexed scenario).

    So you need not get your knickers in a twist over the lack of a law that would make procreation mandatory. Such a lack does not stand against the core meaning of marriage. But that lack does show that the marriage law is reasonable rather than totalitarian. That is a very good thing.

    We do have legal requirements to which those who form the marital relationship give their mutual consent. Obviously, the bride+groom requirement is well-enforced; it stands for integration of the sexes and much more. Also, there is the sexual basis of marriage that is embedded in the marital presumption of paternity; that sexual basis is the same sexual basis for consummation, annulment, and adultery. All of this hangs together in terms of marital norms such as sexual exclusivity.

    The SSM idea really is a bunch of mismatched bits and pieces that form no coherent whole. This is a conceptual mess.

    SSM is not foundational to civil society. It is not marriage.

  69. Zack
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    @Rick

    I know you weren't talking to me but I just couldn't resist.

    "f the state's sole interest is in the creation of the next generation then it would. logically speaking, need to be limited to those that can bear children. "

    Wrong, since in most cases, married couples are unaware of their infertility till after they have attempted to conceive a child there is no litmus test. Secondly it's a matter of principle since procreation is always possible between a man and a woman regardless of any particular circumstances where as impossible between two people of the same gender.

    "Many married couples choose not to, while even more couples make decisions about the timing and number of the children they have. There is a lot of decision making when having children."

    What's your point here? Deciding on when to have a child or whether you want one or not does not provide a logical basis for redefining Marriage.

  70. Zack
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    typo: where as procreation is impossible between two people of the same gender*

  71. bman
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Rick->If the state's sole interest is in the creation of the next generation then...[why are] women who are beyond child bearing years....still able to be married.

    Marriage policy "presumes" all opposite sex couples are fertile or potentially fertile, and that the act of even "trying" to procreate should occur only within marriage, and should not occur at all outside of marriage.

    Its true, of course, that not all OS couples are fertile, but that does not prevent policy from operating on a presumption that all OS couples are fertile.

    At most, your argument shows marriage policy is based on a presumption of fertility that is over-inclusive. It does not show the state as being "disinterested" in the procreation of the next generation.

    The courts have also answered your point numerous times by saying its rational for public policy to have a small degree of over-inclusiveness where it helps manage public policy.

    Consider, too, that sex between men and women is something the elderly can and do engage in.

    Given a choice between a policy that says "sex outside of marriage is OK for men and women if they are infertile or elderly" and one that says, "all sex between men and women should occur within marriage" which of those two shows the most interest in deterring unwed child births in society?

    Clearly, the later.

    Its also more uniform and morally cohesive to say "all sex between men and women should occur within marriage" compared to saying "only fertile men and women are expected to marry," or saying, "society expects the infertile and elderly to have sex only outside of marriage. "

    In sum, a marriage policy that presumes fertility for all OS couples can be charged with being "over-inclusive," but such a policy can not be charged with being "disinterested in the creation of the next generation," as you proposed.

  72. Chairm
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Might as well bookmark this thread because Rick can be counted on, yet again, to trot out his goofy rhetoric on procreation as if he had never been replied to and just has no clue.