Pharyngula

The division on Proposition 8

California’s Proposition 8 is a ballot measure that aims to ban same-sex marriage — it is a regressive proposal that aims to strip equality from a minority population. It is revealing to see who is supporting each side of the contest.

The organizations trying to oppose Proposition 8 include Apple Computer, Sergey Brin of Google, the California Teachers Association, and the state Democratic party — anyone supportive of civil rights, progressive causes, or (to be honest) finding a profit in not discriminating against well-educated people in a technological workforce for irrelevant reasons, like what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms.

Who is supporting it? Yahoos and churches. Once again, on a basic civil rights issue, religion comes out fighting for the wrong side. For a great example of narrow-minded wretched biblical rationalizations, listen to Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church. He comes out strongly for Prop. 8, calling it a “moral issue” (which it is — too bad he’s fighting on the side of evil), and trying to argue why his sheep should vote for it…and the only reason he’s got is “because its always been this way”. Seriously — he repeats himself multiple times, and that’s the only reason he offers, again and again. Apparently, the “traditional, historical, universal” definition of marriage has always been “one man, one woman”. I don’t think he’s been reading his bible very carefully.

So, Californians, whose side are you on? 21st century America, or the imaginary repressed Puritan America of the theocrats?

Comments

  1. #1 Bjørn Østman
    October 25, 2008

    Apparently, the “traditional, historical, universal” definition of marriage has always been “one man, one woman”. I don’t think he’s been reading his bible very carefully.

    What exactly do you mean by this? I never read the Bible in much detail… Is there anything in the that suggest something else?

  2. #2 Luke
    October 25, 2008

    Right, I’m cancelling my Yahoo account and moving to Google mail. Shame on Yahoo.

  3. #3 June
    October 25, 2008

    The crazy part is that the current CA statute against same-sex marriage has been held unconstitutional based on equal protection guarantees, which flow down from the federal constitution. So, California is waging an election war to make its constitution unconstituional!

  4. #4 Zeno
    October 25, 2008

    The twelve tribes of Israel were named after Jacob’s twelve sons, whom he fathered with his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and a pair of concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah. This was not serial monogamy either. What’s more, Leah and Rachel were sisters, which must have added to the fun.

    We are disrespecting the traditional Biblical family when we don’t allow plural marital arrangements in this godforsaken country. No wonder God inflicts [insert latest newsworthy disaster] on us!

  5. #5 Nancy
    October 25, 2008

    How can anyone think that this blatant discrimination is OK? They are running yes on 8 ads constantly on tv & radio – frightening ads stating how horrible it would be if our schools taught our children that boys can marry boys. Such open hatred. It makes me so sad that anyone could not only think that way – but state it so publicly.

  6. #6 Walton
    October 25, 2008

    The organizations trying to oppose Proposition 8 include Apple Computer, Sergey Brin of Google, the California Teachers Association, and the state Democratic party — anyone supportive of civil rights, progressive causes, or (to be honest) finding a profit in not discriminating against well-educated people in a technological workforce for irrelevant reasons, like what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms. [my emphasis]

    Libertarianism and the free market, anyone? :-)

    I would be voting No on Proposition 8, were I a Californian; that goes without saying. Banning gay marriage is pointless, and has no legitimate secular justification. All persons must be treated equally under the law.

    But, as regards the private sector, the free market ought to take care of it in time. If a shop were to put up a sign saying “NO HOMOSEXUALS”, for instance, not only would they be automatically cutting off a potential customer base, but most decent non-bigoted people would also probably boycott the shop – meaning that it would be unable to compete with its rivals. This effect will become more pronounced over time as open bigotry against homosexuals becomes less widespread – just as has happened with open racial bigotry – and the private sector, acting in its own rational self-interest, will solve the problem on its own. People’s desire to make money is generally greater than their hostility to minorities (otherwise capitalism simply woudln’t function).

    (Yes, I’m aware that exactly the same argument could be made about racial discrimination in the private sector – and many libertarians do make that argument.)

  7. #7 Scott from Oregon
    October 25, 2008

    This is what happens when you give people the idea that government is a tool to control society and get it to do what you want.

    You get the nutjobs trying to control everything using their nutjobbery numbers.

    So, may I suggest a new “progressive” position?

    A return to more liberty and less intrusion from an irrational state…

  8. #8 gribley
    October 25, 2008

    Luke, PZ said “yahoos”, not “Yahoo!” — I don’t think the internet company has taken a stance, and I’d find it hard to believe that they would be so regressive. There are, however, a lot of yahoos in California.

    (That said, I think gmail is superior to any web-based mail client I’ve ever used, so you might as well switch!)

  9. #9 Luke
    October 25, 2008

    Hehe I was kidding.

  10. #10 CRM-114
    October 25, 2008

    When I was a kid, interracial marriage was not legal everywhere. Civil rights won out, and the haters lost out, but eventually they got over it — or gave up all hope of resegretation — it’s hard to say for sure.

    Incidentally, wouldn’t a one-man-one-woman law rule out Mormom polygamy?

  11. #11 Zeno
    October 25, 2008

    Proponents of Proposition 8 are celebrating their recent victory in Sacramento, where a right-wing cabal on a college student council survived a recall election. Nine percent of the student body voted, and the coalition of Mormons and Slavic Christians scraped by with a narrow majority among those voting. Some of them promptly said this meant Proposition 8 would pass in November, although the recall was not simply a referendum on Prop 8 (it was also motivated by student club members who were upset that the student council tried to choke off the minority clubs they didn’t like — like the gay club and the Muslim club). The student council’s supporters were highly motivated (they’re on a mission from God, after all) and that made the difference. It could turn out that way in the rest of the state if Prop 8 opponents don’t work just as hard as the supporters.

    Even if you don’t live in California, you can help by contributing to the effort: No on 8!

  12. #12 CalGeorge
    October 25, 2008

    There should be a law against this kind of proposition.

  13. #13 gribley
    October 25, 2008

    Walton, that’s a logical argument, but logic is not enough. By the same token, companies wouldn’t pollute their local environments, or poison their own workers, but they do it all the time — even, at times, when it is more expensive than not polluting. Three points: First, there are often other financial factors at work, for example, catering to a racist or homophobic population; second, everyone makes decisions against their own financial interests all the time, including large companies; and finally, the theoretical free market requires a transparency of information and level of competition that is rarely seen in practice.

    Libertarianism would be a great social theory in a society of utility-seeking robots. Unfortunately, it fails utterly in real human society.

  14. #14 Erdrick
    October 25, 2008

    This proposition makes me wish I still lived in CA.

  15. #15 Carlie
    October 25, 2008

    What exactly do you mean by this? I never read the Bible in much detail… Is there anything in the that suggest something else?

    Don’t forget King David, who had a couple hundred wives and a few hundred concubines. Or there was Moses, who claimed his wife was really his sister so he could throw her at the king to be a concubine and not get himself killed. Or the law that a woman who gets raped has to marry her attacker. Or the example of Lot’s daughters, who got him drunk and had sex with him specifically to get pregnant. Of course, one might not blame them for being all messed up about sex, after their father was rewarded by God for offering to throw them at an angry lustful mob to protect a couple of houseguests he had just met. The Bible is full of interesting ideas on male/female relationships if you actually read it.

  16. #16 Brownian, OM
    October 25, 2008

    Apparently, the “traditional, historical, universal” definition of marriage has always been “one man, one woman”.

    We really need to start pushing for an anthropology segment on marriage and kinship to be included in high school social studies curriculi.

  17. #17 Walton
    October 25, 2008

    By the same token, companies wouldn’t pollute their local environments, or poison their own workers, but they do it all the time — even, at times, when it is more expensive than not polluting.

    They do indeed pollute their local environments; but this is because of the problem of negative externalities and public goods, or, as it’s sometimes termed, the “tragedy of the commons”. (Coincidentally, amk and I have been discussing this on another thread.) Where you have a non-excludable public good – such as clean air – it is, indeed, in everyone’s long-term interest to preserve it; but it is in each individual’s immediate interest to pollute freely, so as not to have to bear the cost of reducing pollution.

    The classic metaphor is that of medieval common land. Every peasant could graze his animals on the land; obviously, acting in his rational self-interest, he put as many animals as he could on the land. This led to over-grazing and the depletion of the land – even though preserving the land for future use was in everyone’s collective interest, individuals’ interests did not tally with the collective interest.

    This is why clean air, being a public good, is an oft-cited example of market failure. But the same considerations do not apply, self-evidently, to the reduction of bigotry; bigotry is not in any trader’s rational self-interest, because it restricts the number of people with whom he can profitably trade.

    To address your three points:

    First, there are often other financial factors at work, for example, catering to a racist or homophobic population. – True. But as I’ve suggested, this ought hopefully to change over time, due to social pressure; just as open racism is less acceptable than it was a few decades ago, so attitudes are changing towards homosexuals.

    …second, everyone makes decisions against their own financial interests all the time, including large companies… – Again, true, but all political and economic theory, of whatever stripe, rests on the mythical Homo economicus, who acts in his own rational self-interest based on the information available to him. This is why economics and political science are never exact sciences; but it’s the best model we have.

    …and finally, the theoretical free market requires a transparency of information and level of competition that is rarely seen in practice. – See above.

  18. #18 Jay
    October 25, 2008

    Luke, Yahoo is not taking a stance on Proposition 8 actually–but blame Jerry Yang, not the employees. His long rambly memo explaining why he has no spine (in case we didn’t already know) is posted on Valleywag in its entirety. I hear that his employees are less than thrilled about this.

  19. #19 Ktesibios
    October 25, 2008

    Outlawing polygamy was a condition for Utah to be admitted as a state. In the present, it’s only loony schismatic sects split off from the Mormon church that still practice it- if you want to know how that’s working out, Google “Warren Jeffs”.

    Well-heeled reactionaries have blanketed this state with anti-equality ads to the extent that I’ve had to give up listening to my car radio lest I have another stroke.

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the Dominionist shitbags who are buying this travesty also intend to outlaw interracial marriage after the machtergriefung. Much of the defense of miscegenation laws was couched in godbot babble and supported by fundy preachers.

  20. #20 Bubba Sixpack
    October 25, 2008

    PZ:
    “For a great example of narrow-minded wretched biblical rationalizations, listen to Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church. He comes out strongly for Prop. 8…”

    And yet, whom does Obama and McCain choose to spend time with instead of visiting pro-science conventions they have been invited to?

    That’s right, this knuckledragger Rick Warren. Whom the two gushed all over.

  21. #21 Emmet Caulfield
    October 25, 2008

    If a shop were to put up a sign saying “NO HOMOSEXUALS”, for instance, not only would they be automatically cutting off a potential customer base, but most decent non-bigoted people would also probably boycott the shop.

    Yes, look at all the shops and boarding houses that went out-of-business in England with signs in the window that said “No Irish. No Blacks. No Dogs.”

    Oh. Wait. Doh!

  22. #22 SeanH
    October 25, 2008

    Incidentally, wouldn’t a one-man-one-woman law rule out Mormom polygamy?

    You’d think, so it’s a bit Ironic that the Mormons are going full steam supporting prop 8. They’re hoping they might get accepted into the “real Christian” club if they can really swing for the fences on the gay-bashing.

  23. #23 Eshto
    October 25, 2008

    @Bjorn:

    Marriage in the Bible is a contract of ownership = women had very few rights and were considered to be the “property” of their husbands. Husbands could acquire multiple wives and concubines and many of the Biblical patriarchs did so – King Solomon is said in the Bible to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

    In the Bible, even when a husband has only one wife, the wife is still considered inferior to the husband. in Biblical times, marriages were usually arranged, the women could be very young (11-13), and the women were required to submit sexually to their husbands.

    And there are lots of other fun rules, like if a virgin is raped she must marry her rapist. This sound strange until you remember that the woman is considered “property”. The rapist has to marry her and compensate the girl’s father for his “property loss”. Sort of a “you break it, you bought it” rule.

    Needless to say, the Bible portrays an archaic culture with backwards, sexist values. Biblical marriage has nothing to do with love, it’s about patriarchy and property.

    Meanwhile, same-sex unions have existed throughout history. They were legal in the early roman empire, for example.

    Also, Rick Warren is a fucking fascist, he’s no better than any of the other haters even though he thinks smiling a lot makes him a better Christian than Falwell or Robertson. He’s just as evil and he can kiss my ass.

  24. #24 clinteas
    October 25, 2008

    At least there seems to be a grassroots movement against this proposition,my american facebook friends keep sending me stuff to join groups against 8…

    So, Californians, whose side are you on? 21st century America, or the imaginary repressed Puritan America of the theocrats?

    Define 21st century America ! Isnt that where all this crap is happening in the first place….

  25. #25 Brownian, OM
    October 25, 2008

    But the same considerations do not apply, self-evidently, to
    the reduction of bigotry; bigotry is not in any trader’s rational self-interest, because it restricts the number of people with whom he can profitably trade.

    I disagree. Bigotry is not in the self interest of a trader only if one considers a trade to be a purely material transaction, rather than a complex social one.

    Discrimination in who one trades with is a huge, even if not superficially obvious, component of any real economy. What company would advertise that it proudly supplies Kim Jong Il with his sneakers? At the time of segregation in the southern US, it was not in the interest of white traders to deal with blacks; even one only considers market size, the potential loss of bigoted whites as a market usually outweighed the potential gains from marketing to blacks.

    You cannot separate trade from culture as if were some separate entity any more than you can separate marriage from culture as if it were a separate entity.

  26. #26 matt
    October 25, 2008

    How is it these idiots still have tax-exempt status?? How?

  27. #27 I am so wise
    October 25, 2008

    “Who is supporting it? Yahoos and churches. ”

    I wonder if Yahoo Inc. ever regrets the decisions that led to its name.

    Anyone who thinks the free market will prevent and fix racial or any other form of religious discrimination needs to be take out back and fire from a clown cannon into a 6th grade history class that they so desperately need.

  28. #28 fly44d
    October 25, 2008

    I voted NO on Prop 8 for sure!
    Warren, Prop 8 supporters, and unfortunately many of my friends and family, gripe about the court ruling the current law unconstitutional is what has me riled up about it. WHY do they insist on being so offended that a court ruled a law passed by the people got judged unconstitutional? Don’t they understand that the Judicial branch protects them from mob rule? That the constitution is what keeps the mob from easily passing laws that could reduce their rights? It is such a basic part of our government. Like being innocent until proven guilty… uh…. well….. they don’t always understand that either….

  29. #29 Blake Stacey
    October 25, 2008

    Also, Rick Warren is a fucking fascist, he’s no better than any of the other haters even though he thinks smiling a lot makes him a better Christian than Falwell or Robertson.

    One may smile, and smile, and be a villain. . . I feel like this sentiment has been expressed before!

    (Probably by some bisexual freak.)

  30. #30 Faith Minus
    October 25, 2008

    I live in Orange County, CA and there is quite a battle going on down here over this issue. This area is pretty conservative and on the way to dinner last night there were at least 4 corners overtaken by mobs of christian, fascist bigots waving there “yes on 8″ signs. The most disturbing part about it was the amount of CHILDREN that were in attendance with their parents. All the attack ads have been warning of “gay marriage taught in schools”, but these parents are putting there kids right there on the front line. It was disgusting

    This morning I was happy to see the very same corners occupied with an equal amount of “No on 8″ protesters. Maybe there is hope here yet.

  31. #31 factician
    October 25, 2008

    In my new neighborhood in California, there are picketers along my commute with signs that say, “Vote Yes to Prop 8″ and “Prop 8 is about parental rights, vote yes” and weirdly “Prop 8 is a freedom of speech issue, vote yes”. The folks who are supporting prop 8 are not even being disingenuous – they’re being blatantly dishonest.

    To people that I’ve met in person, I tell them this story: My sister is a lesbian. She has 2 sons, one of them born to her, one to her partner. If she lived in a country that didn’t support gay marriage, if something happened to her, I could sue for custody of her child – and I would win. Her partner has fewer rights to my sister’s son than I do. Prop 8 would give me more rights over my sister’s son than his other mom. That’s not right.

  32. #32 GregB
    October 25, 2008

    I am absolutely disgusted with the bigotry of the Yes on 8 people.

    I posted my analysis on my own blog here:
    http://www.brouelette.com/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/2008/10/18#noOn8

    I don’t know if I can change the minds of the religious nutjobs. But I can add my voice to those who have had enough of this hatred and bigotry.

  33. #33 Brandy Spears
    October 25, 2008

    Thanks PZ for speaking out against Prop 8!

  34. #34 Scott from Oregon
    October 25, 2008

    “Anyone who thinks the free market will prevent and fix racial or any other form of religious discrimination needs to be take out back and fire from a clown cannon into a 6th grade history class that they so desperately need. ”

    Anyone who thinks “gubmint” will end or fix racial or any form of religious discrimination without a free market needs to sit down and shut up.

    The freer the society, the less racial and religious discrimination. Kinda take a look around…

    Granting even soft fascism in government leads away from ideas like equality and the first Amendment type of rights…

  35. #35 Lago
    October 25, 2008

    But everyone told me Jesus was gay, right?

    So wouldn’t he be against this proposition?

    Should we remind them ever time they try and do things like this?

  36. #36 Reginald Selkirk
    October 25, 2008

    But don’t you see this is a step on to the slippery slope? If today gay marriage is acceptable, before you know it we’ll be seeing dog – on – Rick Santorum sex.

  37. #37 Nick Gotts
    October 25, 2008

    all political and economic theory, of whatever stripe, rests on the mythical Homo economicus, who acts in his own rational self-interest based on the information available to him. This is why economics and political science are never exact sciences; but it’s the best model we have. – Walton

    Walton, even within neoclassical economics, they are allowed to postulate bounded rationality. Beyond that narrow dogmatism, there are whole realms of behavioral and evolutionary game theory, decision theory, cognitive science, experimental economics, neuroeconomics, institutionalist economics, evolutionary economics, theories of cultural evolution and gene-culture coevolution… Just because you know nothing beyond Homo economicus, don’t assume the rest of us are equally ignorant.

  38. #38 Brownian, OM
    October 25, 2008

    Again, true, but all political and economic theory, of whatever stripe, rests on the mythical Homo economicus, who acts in his own rational self-interest based on the information available to him. This is why economics and political science are never exact sciences;…

    Duh. I didn’t read far enough to see that you’ve made the point I argued in my last comment. Sorry about that Walton. I completely agree with this.

    but it’s the best model we have.

    This is my sticking point and my biggest frustration with political and economic theory.

    These aren’t the best models we have, and they’ve generally failed in their ability to predict behaviour. This is not to say that they’re wrong, but that they’re needlessly incomplete.

    For example, I work on the analysis side of public health (as opposed to the policy side), and see first hand how the mythical Homo economicus model has resulted in huge failures, particularly in tobacco usage, nutrition and exercise. Despite all the efforts made by public health advocates (public or private) to disseminate information about the dangers of tobacco use, smoking rates didn’t start to significantly decline until it started becoming outlawed (an act of regulation) in public places in the mid- to late-90s. Now (and especially since even government agencies are pressed to evaluate policy outcomes), those that work in public health are forced to consider the contributions of fields such as geography and anthropology to the prevailing economic rationalist theory. (If the population understands the risk factors for and the health risks associated with obesity, why are we still so fat? Are we not close enough to grocery stores or parks or something not yet considered in the economic rationalist model?)

    It’s all a lot more messy, but ultimately more effective.

  39. #39 Demonic Gophers
    October 25, 2008

    “There should be a law against this kind of proposition.”

    There is. It’s called the United States Constitution. Along with the freedom of religion issue, there’s Article IV, Section 1: “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. […]”.

    We do not have the legal ability to declare that marriages performed in another state may not be valid, which Prop. 8 requires. It’s quite simply unconstitutional. Whoever wrote it ought to be arrested and sentenced to mandatory civics classes.

    Even if it weren’t contemptible garbage, anyone with the slightest respect for our country’s founding document would have to oppose it.

  40. #40 llewelly
    October 25, 2008

    <comic sans>OUR LORD GOD IN HEAVEN PROTECT US FROM TEH HORROR OF MEN HOLDING HANDS!!!</comic sans>

  41. #41 Trogdorina
    October 25, 2008

    Hey, have you seen these pro prop 8 ads? http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2008/10/meet-the-hip-young-people-who-hate-gay-marriage.php
    They feature a bunch of young hip people talking about how it’s cool to refuse equal rights to other human beings. And some of them even have gay friends! Jesus Haploid Christ.

  42. #42 Brownian, OM
    October 25, 2008

    Anyone who thinks “gubmint” will end or fix racial or any form of religious discrimination without a free market needs to sit down and shut up.

    Scott, read the example I give above in which the ‘gubmint’ achieved more success in reducing smoking use through legislation than any free market initiatives. Smoking and tobacco use is as much a social behaviour as entrenched discrimination is.

    Then sit down and shut up.

  43. #43 Newfie
    October 25, 2008

    Anybody who uses the phrase “traditional values” should be reminded that the tradition of throwing Christians to the lions was once valued. And then be asked if there should be time limits on traditions… since we’re clinging to the past and all.

  44. #44 Walton
    October 25, 2008

    Brownian at #38: You make an interesting and valid point – and this is, of course, a flaw in all socio-economic models, since human beings are not always rational or consistent and do not act according to deterministic economic laws. But the problem is, if we abandon the Homo economicus model, then we have absolutely no basis on which we can accurately predict human behaviour, other than observation of past trends – which, of course, may not be continued in the future, due to the complex web of psychological and cultural factors which affect a person’s decision-making.

    Despite all the efforts made by public health advocates (public or private) to disseminate information about the dangers of tobacco use, smoking rates didn’t start to significantly decline until it started becoming outlawed (an act of regulation) in public places in the mid- to late-90s. – That doesn’t surprise me. But (since I’m not especially familiar with this area of policy, I’m speculating here) do you have statistics for the impact of Pigovian “sin taxes” on tobacco use? That is to say, do smoking rates decline when governments impose high excise duties/sales taxes on tobacco products, as they now do in most Western countries?

    The best guess I could make, as to interpretation of the situation, is that most people are more inclined to gratify their short-term impulses (to smoke, eat, etc.) than to take a longer-term view of their own interests. We’re getting into the territory of psychology here, a field of which I know very little, so I don’t know whether there’s any validity to my guess.

  45. #45 GOPnot4me
    October 25, 2008

    I’m voting “no” on Prop 8.

    ALL people have a right to be miserable in wedlock.

    Seriously, though, what consenting adults do in their private lives should be their business, alone.

    What’s next, constitutionally mandated, missionary position, procreative intercourse only?

  46. #46 Stanton
    October 25, 2008

    I oppose Proposition 8 if only because many of the arguments for it sound identical to the same arguments against interracial marriage.
    Plus, these people are lying about school children being “indoctrinated into same sex marriage”? Do these people honestly think that gays and lesbians intend to force children into same sex marriages by the time children reach puberty?

  47. #47 snoozebar
    October 25, 2008

    It’s a vaguely held idea of mine that the government get out of the marriage business completely. Everybody can designate one person to get all the benefits of marriage, and you can only be the designated of one. That’s it. It’d make a lot more sense than all these silly rules.

    Anyways, I’m Californian and voting no. I kicked ‘em some money too. I just got married to my favorite guy a month ago, and can’t imagine being prevented from doing that. But that’s the reality for my gay and lesbian friends.

  48. #48 paul
    October 25, 2008

    I’m keeping Nov 4/5 open, just in case Prop 8 passes, so I can riot in the streets. We’re so complacent that I may be the only one out there, so I’ll look ridiculous, but hell with it. Any of the 22,000+ new spouses (who will be demoted to fuckbuddy strangers) who can just sit on their asses and do nothing as they’re stripped of their dignity have my contempt. There are too many of us, and our allies, to keep on just talking about this shit as if it’s just a theoretical discussion. We can’t allow it to continue even another day.

  49. #49 snoozebar
    October 25, 2008

    Oh, and my new husband is Asian, and I’m white. Our marriage would’ve been illegal before 1948.

  50. #50 fyreflye
    October 25, 2008

    Note that Apple not only “opposes” Prop 8, it has just donated $!00,000 to the No on 8 campaign. So…Get a Mac!
    :-)

  51. #51 Liz D
    October 25, 2008

    Of course I voted no on Prop. 8. But don’t overlook Prop. 4, where organized religion has also been very, very active. Here’s the No on Prop. 4 site. Prop 4, or “Sarah’s Law”, seeks to impose onerous parental-notification conditions for girls under 18 who seek an abortion.

    Both have been funded by a select group of religious zealots. “Yes on Prop. 8″ has had significant financial and volunteer support from Church of Latter-Day Saints

    “Yes on Prop. 4″ funding has largely come from two people, funding by Sonoma County winemaker and former Republican state Assemblyman Don Sebastiani, and Jim Holman, publisher of the San Diego Reader and a major contributor to the previous parental notification measures.

    Election Track also indicates either $200,000 or $400,000 (may be one donation counted twice) from the Knights of Columbus national HQ.

  52. #52 varlo
    October 25, 2008

    I like to think that I am a language purist (except when I deviate from the mother tongue by choice), and Iwill admit, with NO anti-gay sentiment that on linguistic grounds I dislike the idea of gay “marriage.” (Hell, I object to marriage at all for myself. Tried it once, didn’t like it.) But we have a fundidiot-inspired amendment on the Florida ballot also. I have already voted against it, would gladly do it again both here and California if I could, and in a pallid imitation of Voltaire, while I do not agree (see liguistic argument) with the verbiage of gay marriage, I will defend the right of gays to do it at least to the extent of a bruise or so. The Christo-Turds should get the xxxx out of any damned bedroom but their own.

  53. #53 patrickhenry
    October 25, 2008

    There really is an economic argument here — by allowing this type of marriage there will be an increase in those claiming a “widow’s pension” under various pension plans (and maybe Social Security too, but I don’t know how that works). There will also be an additional number of spouses entitled to benefits under company medical plans. These costs are real, but in the case of medical insurance and company pensions, it’s no different than if a company’s bachelor employees all got married the traditional way.

    In any event, this is not a moral argument. If morality is on the side of such marriages, the suddenly more expensive programs can be either adjusted, abandoned, or tolerated. I see such issues (the corporate costs) as being matters of private contract.

  54. #54 SimonG
    October 25, 2008

    I know what these religious bigots are like, but I still don’t understand them. Nobody’s telling them how to live their lives; they can have whatever stupid rules they like in their own little clubs. It saddens me to think that so many people can be so… I don’t even know what they are: they’re like some alien species.

  55. #55 Randall
    October 25, 2008

    Why is everyone getting so worked up over Proposition 8 when no one seems to care about Amendment 2? It’s Florida’s equivalent of Proposition 8, but all the various left-leaning places I read haven’t heard about it. What, is it just assumed that Florida sucks and therefore it isn’t worth putting money or time into fighting Amendment 2?

  56. #56 Spaulding
    October 25, 2008

    “Saddleback Church” opposes gay rights? That’s just too easy.

  57. #57 Brownian, OM
    October 25, 2008

    But the problem is, if we abandon the Homo economicus model, then we have absolutely no basis on which we can accurately predict human behaviour, other than observation of past trends – which, of course, may not be continued in the future, due to the complex web of psychological and cultural factors which affect a person’s decision-making.

    Oh, we’re still rational actors, it’s just that we take more into account in our individual cost-benefit analyses than the economicus model describes. Fields such as psychology, anthropology provide empirical evidence for those other aspects.

    - That doesn’t surprise me. But (since I’m not especially familiar with this area of policy, I’m speculating here) do you have statistics for the impact of Pigovian “sin taxes” on tobacco use? That is to say, do smoking rates decline when governments impose high excise duties/sales taxes on tobacco products, as they now do in most Western countries?

    Generally, sin taxes do correlate with a reduction in tobacco usage. But like most strategies aimed at changing widespread behaviours, they’re of limited impact on their own, and are most effective when combined with other evidence-based measures, such as smoking bans in public areas.

    The best guess I could make, as to interpretation of the situation, is that most people are more inclined to gratify their short-term impulses (to smoke, eat, etc.) than to take a longer-term view of their own interests. We’re getting into the territory of psychology here, a field of which I know very little, so I don’t know whether there’s any validity to my guess.

    Yeah, but the process is iterative, and when the perceived benefits of the long-term strategy begin to outweigh the perceived short-term benefits, we’re more inclined to change our behaviour.

    Are you back in school this term?

  58. #58 Brownian, OM
    October 25, 2008

    Oh, and my new husband is Asian, and I’m white. Our marriage would’ve been illegal before 1948.

    Well, I’m glad it’s not before 1948 so I can offer my congratulations!

  59. #59 Paul Lundgren
    October 25, 2008

    @fyreflye

    I would if I could afford one. And let’s be honest: with Apple’s profits, 100k is a drop in the bucket. Let’s see their employees do matching funds, and I’ll be really impressed.

  60. #60 Brownian, OM
    October 25, 2008

    Walton: I forgot to give you some citations, but if you search around on PubMed you can find the latest results on the effectiveness (or not) of such policies.

  61. #61 Trev UK
    October 25, 2008

    I’m a Brit living in Sacramento, so unfortunately I can’t vote against this prop. Opinion polls are suggesting the prop will fail, but we all know how accurate they are. With regards the college student council that survived a recall effort here, the college includes a large number of christians from slavic countries, who came to the U.S. to escape religious persecution back home. How ironic and deeply sad.

  62. #62 Nicole TWN
    October 25, 2008

    “No on 8″ is such a no-brainer that I’m more than a little surprised and ashamed that the Forces of Good are nearly tied. My neighborhood has a couple “Yes on 8″ signs; I grit my teeth and restrain myself from knocking on their doors and asking them what the hell is wrong with them.

    A friend of mine’s rabbi had this to say on the subject. It had me cheering.

  63. #63 Cuttlefish, OM
    October 25, 2008

    It’s a simple little proposition, Proposition Eight:
    All we ask is that you join us, as we all discriminate!

    Much longer, more offensive poem here.

  64. #64 EvoStevo
    October 25, 2008

    Thanks for posting on the topic, we have got a real fight on our hands and we can use all the money and help we can get.

  65. #65 NMcC
    October 25, 2008

    “Apparently, the “traditional, historical, universal” definition of marriage has always been “one man, one woman”. I don’t think he’s been reading his bible very carefully.”

    Yes, and as the Christian loon, Ken Ham, is forever pointing out, it doesn’t even matter if she’s your sister!

  66. #66 Scott from Oregon
    October 25, 2008

    “Scott, read the example I give above in which the ‘gubmint’ achieved more success in reducing smoking use through legislation than any free market initiatives. Smoking and tobacco use is as much a social behaviour as entrenched discrimination is.

    Then sit down and shut up.”

    It wasn’t the “gubmint’s” obligation or perogative to “reduce” smoking among its citizens.

    Granting government this right means you grant them the right to start banning Big Macs and apple pie, on the grounds that they cause bad behavior and fat people.

    I was living in California when smoking was banned by a majority vote on a Proposition and voted for the ban. Government DOES HAVE the obligation to prevent the acts of individuals from infringing on the rights of others, and smoking in public places was an infringement on other’s rights.

    That is vastly different than government enacting a ban to stop people from smoking, nor should government ever be seen as a tool to curb people’s behaviors if they do not harm others.

    The “ban” on marriage is a case in point. Two men or women marrying has no deleterious effect (other than percieved) on anyone else, and should not even be considered a government problem.

    It is a matter for private contracts and private consideration. Period.

    Your very notion that government should be used to curb behavior you don’t like is what I call soft fascism. Your WANT to control the habits and activities of others, even when they do not concern you. There is no difference between you and a Christian fundie in this regard. You both are guilty of trying to control others via majority control.

    You get what you deserve when the government goes against what you want, then…

  67. #67 Armchair Dissident
    October 25, 2008

    The freer the society, the less racial and religious discrimination. Kinda take a look around…

    /Takes a look around.

    Nope. You see, the fundamental problem with your argument is you have failed to define, “free society”.

  68. #68 bubbaj30
    October 25, 2008

    Apparently, the “traditional, historical, universal” definition of marriage has always been “one man, one woman”.

    Well, things change. So all he has left to do is realize this and suck it up. Shouldn’t be to hard for a Fundy to do now should it?

  69. #69 Bay Area Yahoo
    October 25, 2008

    This morning, I drove past some people at a very busy Silicon Valley intersection. They held signs to honk if you support Prop 8. NO ONE WAS HONKING. Of course, the signs actually said, ‘honk if you support parental rights. Yes on Prop 8′ but still, no honking. So glad the uptighties decided to put this on the ballot the same year as we’re lining up in droves to vote for Barack Obama.

  70. #70 Azkyroth
    October 25, 2008

    This effect will become more pronounced over time as open bigotry against homosexuals becomes less widespread – just as has happened with open racial bigotry – and the private sector, acting in its own rational self-interest, will solve the problem on its own.

    Uh, open racial bigotry hasn’t disappeared in some areas of the country, and in fact is only no longer practiced because the government forbade discrimination in commerce, the workplace, etc. What the hell planet are you living on?

  71. #71 Robert Maxwell
    October 25, 2008

    Whats next. Brothers marrying sisters,fathers marrying daughters or mothers marrying sons.

  72. #72 Rey Fox
    October 25, 2008

    Yes, Robert. All of that and more. Men marrying television sets. Women marrying shoes. It will be utter chaos! WooOOOOooooo scary!

  73. #73 Cuttlefish, OM
    October 25, 2008
  74. #74 Karey
    October 25, 2008

    Randall @55, forgive the California-centric statements I’m about to make, but the reason California’s prop is a lot more important than equivalent ones in other states is because of how big and populus the state is. Its generally being viewed that whatever direction Cali takes on this issue will determine the future of the gay rights movement for the whole country. Once gay mariages start really going here, any attempts to keep it a states rights type of issue will get buried in litigation from the sheer number of gay marriages happening as a result.

  75. #75 DominEditrix
    October 25, 2008

    19: No, everyday people practice polygamy as well – there’s a poly compound around the corner from my mother’s house, filled with ordinary, middle-class people who wear regular clothing and have ordinary jobs.

    70: “less widespread” doesn’t mean “disappeared”. Open racism is, indeed, less widespread than it was a few decades ago.

    The Yes on 8 folks have been trying to blackmail No on 8 donors. It is apparently backfiring.

    I’ve already voted: No on 8, No on 4 [parental notification] and Yesyesyes for Obama.

  76. #76 Escuerd
    October 25, 2008

    I’m voting “no” on Prop 8 this week. I really hope this disgusting endeavor fails, and that they gay marriages get rubbed in the faces of all of the Mormonic assholes who voted for it.

  77. #77 Nick Gotts
    October 25, 2008

    But the problem is, if we abandon the Homo economicus model, then we have absolutely no basis on which we can accurately predict human behaviour, other than observation of past trends – which, of course, may not be continued in the future, due to the complex web of psychological and cultural factors which affect a person’s decision-making. – Walton

    And yet, you think you can predict that governments’ actions can only make things worse? Walton, the Homo economicus model is nowhere near being even a good approximation: we know people value equity and social approval, discount hyperbolically, rely on simple rules-of-thumb, misjudge probabilities, imitate each other, are influenced by the way a decision is framed, etc. What’s more, evolutionary theory can tell us something about why human cognition and motivation has the characteristics it does.

    It may sometimes be useful to ask “Well, how would it be if people were well approximated by Homo economicus?”, just as it might be to ask “Well, how would it be if everyone assigned equal weight to others’ benefit as to their own”, but using either of these models as a guide to policy, or the foundation of social science research, is ludicrous.

  78. #78 Jordan Fett
    October 25, 2008

    Whenever I read stories like this… I’m reminded of the bullshit dobsonite article PZ posted a while ago painting (what the Christians would see as) a dystopian future.

    The fact that we can’t settle this debate in favor of basic human freedom and goodness, makes me ASHAMED of my countrymen.

    http://jdfettblog.blogspot.com/

  79. #79 Michael
    October 25, 2008

    It isn’t just California.

    FL has Ammendment #2
    and there is another one in AZ.

    I don’t know how many others are trying it.

    What I do know is that even the people that would disagree are likely to vote it in, because they word it to make you think you are voting for something good.

  80. #80 Dave L.
    October 25, 2008

    As an atheist, I think it still bears mentioning that some fairly large religious organizations have actually come out (no pun intended) against Prop. 8. Both the Episcopal Church in California and a sizeable chunk of the Jewish community.

    There are, of course, MORE religious institutions FOR Prop. 8, but you can’t really expect any better from them.

  81. #81 Stagyar zil Doggo
    October 25, 2008


    Who is supporting it? Yahoos and churches.

    Many of whom it appears, are black people. So a large Black turnout while sure to help downticket democratic candidates (Obama doesn’t appear to need them in CA) will likely hurt the “No on 8″ cause.

    This indicates that the present Progressive coalition is tenuous and may carry the seeds of its own destruction within. Nontrivial fractions of racial minorities in this coalition – significant numbers of African Americans and Latinos, and perhaps even Asians – appear to be better aligned with the Christofacists on “social” issues. Only economic considerations, not to mention that members of the other party sit around with torches set to “minority-proximity” fuses, seem to keep them amongst Progressives. They are likely to switch over as soon as they achieve some measure of economic success (something much desired amongst progressives) along with a modicum of confidence that the torches have been put away.

    Progressive social values are secular values and can ultimately prevail only by the systematic delegitimization of Religious authority and the promotion of atheism/agnosticism.

  82. #82 Abcd
    October 25, 2008

    I’m against Prop. 8. Seriously, their commercials aren’t even that convincing. They spew things like “with same-sex marriage, churches could lose their tax-exempt statuses” or “same-sex marriages are immoral”.

  83. #83 Michael
    October 25, 2008

    to: Stagyar zil Doggo

    What does being black have to do with gay marriage?

  84. #84 Enkidu
    October 25, 2008

    There have been tens of thousands of gay marriages performed here in California. I’m waiting for my “unprotected” marriage to suffer the horrible but unspecified disaster predicted by the knuckle walkers. Do you suppose it already happened and I didn’t notice?

    No on Eight!

    Apologies to the other great apes . . . the true knuckle walkers would most likely be better neighbors and voters.

  85. #85 burgdogg
    October 25, 2008

    Okay well we are all familiar with the term church and state. Well here is another issue that the state needs to back off on, and let marriage be deciding based on an individuals choice/religion. In a country that is continuously evolving..this has got to be one of the largest things to swallow since the beginnings of the signing of the Constitution, or the formation of the bill of rights…or any of early history.
    But a las..I still think that it boils down to a division of church and state…keep them seperate and let people decide for themselves what type of marriage they would like to persue. It doesn’t need to be taught in schools, it doesn’t need to be spread across national news…it just needs to be sacred between you and your significant other. Ramble Ramble Ramble…GROWL!

  86. #86 Andy C
    October 25, 2008

    I guess Rick Warren has found his purpose in life. I’m bemused that a “prominent steward of social justice” (as he is described by some [many?]), would seek to deny basic rights to a minority. Cognitive dissonance anyone?

  87. #87 Enkidu
    October 25, 2008

    There are, of course, MORE religious institutions FOR Prop. 8, but you can’t really expect any better from them.

    Why the hell not? We should shine a spotlight on their ghoulish obsessions with other people’s sex lives at every opportunity. We should shame them into hiding their bigoted bronze age “morality” behind at least a facade of civilization. Just like “mighty white of you” is now considered a phrase few would use in public, “gay” should lose its pejorative connotations and “faggot” should go the way of “nigger”. This won’t happen until we expect better of people.

  88. #88 Stagyar zil Doggo
    October 25, 2008

    Michael:

    What does being black have to do with gay marriage?

    If you follow the links I supplied, a SurveyUSA poll conducted on 10/17/2008 indicates that African Americans support prop 8 by 58% to 38%, which is a higher ratio than any other polled racial subgroup. Presumably this is because they are more religious on average, or perhaps more likely to belong to fundy churches.

  89. #89 jayh
    October 25, 2008

    Your very notion that government should be used to curb behavior you don’t like is what I call soft fascism.

    This is a very important point. People like this, and that includes some in the ‘public health’ sectors consider human freedom secondary to keeping their population statistics looking good. Homo economicus may behave in strange ways sometimes, but it beats the hell out of homo authoritarianus decding how we all should live.

    I do not smoke, however I am absolutely opposed to some of the extreme smoking bans, and also to the ‘sin tax’ (unless the entire tax is being used to treat smoking illness… something which is not usually the case). Freedom is the most valuable thing we have, and is a hell of a lot more important that tweaking the ‘average’ life span. Public health should be a resource, not a master.

  90. #90 Phyllis
    October 25, 2008

    I’m in a fairly conservative part of California and want to go out and find a bunch of little yellow “Bigot on Board” signs (does anyone make those?) and sneak around and put them on all the cars with Yes on 8 bumper stickers. Then hmmmmm what to do to all the yard signs?

  91. #91 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 25, 2008

    Public health should be a resource, not a master.

    When your freedom impinges with my life and / or health then there is an issue. Freedom has responsibilities

  92. #92 Marc Abian
    October 25, 2008

    The scientologists are also for Prop 8.

    I know, I know, are there no heroes left?

  93. #93 Adviser Moppet
    October 25, 2008

    In Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives, princesses and 300 concubines. Give me 700 husbands and 300 manwhores! Hoorah for biblical values!

  94. #94 Quiet Desperation
    October 25, 2008

    The sad thing about the pro-8 radio ads is that you could replace “gay marriage” with “interracial marriage” or “women voting” and it’s a quick flashback to the past. They don’t even seem to realize how it sounds. If I were running the anti-8 campaign, I’d do just that to illustrate the point. I really have to go work on a campaign some day.

  95. #95 Dave J L
    October 25, 2008

    It never ceases to amaze me that people would actively campaign not to change something in law, or to prevent something they disagreed with, but actually campaign to ban something in advance of it possibly becoming law.

    It doesn’t affect these people’s lives in the slightest if gay people can marry (much as they like to imagine it would somehow impinge on their rights); their opposition is based on nothing but sheer hatred and, in a lot of cases, superstitious rubbish. I’d like to think here in Britain we don’t have these problems, but unfortunately, while opposition was much smaller and more muted, we were still left with Civil Partnerships, marriages in all but name and only not called so as a pathetic sop to the primitivists.

  96. #96 John C. Randolph
    October 25, 2008

    Apple has taken a stand on civil rights issues like this before. When they built their offices in Austin, where they do most of their accounting and customer service work, the county where they had originally planned to locate objected to Apple’s policy of offering domestic partner participation in employee health benefits. Apple went to a neighboring county instead, so the bigots don’t get Apple’s tax money.

    The scientologists are also for Prop 8.

    Hubbard was a closet-case, so Scientology has been anti-gay from the beginning.

    -jcr

  97. #97 John C. Randolph
    October 25, 2008

    Shame on Yahoo.

    I don’t think PZ said that Yahoo! (the company) has supported proposition 8. He was referring “yahoos” in the more general sense. As far as I know, Yahoo, Inc. hasn’t taken any position on the matter.

    -jcr

  98. #98 Dennis N
    October 25, 2008

    Why do the religious always come out on the wrong side of moral issues, before being dragged kicking and screaming into modernity? And then they have the balls to reinterpret their Bible to claim they meant it all along. They like to ignore “Love thy neighbor” until they’re forced to down the road. Totally. Morally. Bankrupt.

  99. #99 Wowbagger
    October 25, 2008

    Why do the religious always come out on the wrong side of moral issues, before being dragged kicking and screaming into modernity?

    Because, deep down, they know they aren’t relevant to people’s lives anymore. But by clinging to something like this, and attacking the GLBT community – who are still vulnerable – they can get themselves mentioned in the media.

    It’s a bit like the religious groups who opposed desegregation and the civil rights movement – by standing up and openly attacking those who enough small-minded morons hate, they can convince themselves they’re a force in today’s society.

  100. #100 Luger Otter Robinson
    October 25, 2008

    I might be pedantic, Ktesebios (comment #19), (actually PZ would insist I am pedantic, were he unfortunate to know me), but it is “Machtergreifung” not “Machtergriefung”. German takes the consistent position that sounds “ee” are spelt “ie” and sounds “eye” are spelt “ei”, unlike English, which says that sounds pronounced “ee” are spelt “ie” except after “c”.

  101. #101 Laurie Soule
    October 25, 2008

    My ex-husband and his longtime partner (15 years) finally got married this week! I’m really happy for them, and I feel physically ill every time I see a yes on 8 yard sign or bumper sticker and seriously want to throw up (or throw things at the TV) when I see one of the disgusting “Your child will be taught that men can marry men in school” ads.

    I’ve already voted against it…

  102. #102 Michael
    October 25, 2008

    Stagyar zil Doggo:

    Thanks for the clarification.

    The way it was worded looked odd at first.

  103. #103 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    October 25, 2008

    Another example of Biblical traditional marriage is yibbum, where a man must marry his dead brother’s wife.

    People who speak of one man – one woman as traditional, are being selective about tradition, though they would deny it. They are just trying to force their ways on others because then they will feel less uncomfortable.

  104. #104 Luger Otter Robinson
    October 25, 2008

    Apple computers are not all that expensive (Paul Lundgren comment #59), if you compare equal specifications versus equal specifications, and you have the added advantage that the operating system actually operates almost all of the time (I can’t remember the last time I had to restart my Mac because of a glitch, not an update in software). PCs I have to restart because of software glitches every few days or so, and it takes much longer to restart. And you have the satisfaction of knowing that you aren’t giving money to the Evil Empire.

  105. #105 Tatarize
    October 25, 2008

    According to the Bible marriage is between one man and several women, various concubines, and the occasional dead brother’s wife.

  106. #106 Claire
    October 25, 2008

    Separation of church and state, let me repeat, separation of church and state. Religion should not have any part in this. We should allow gay people to get married. They might have a better success rate than the current heterosexual marriage situation with a current divorce rate of 50%.

    But in all sincerity, I hope that this proposition does not pass. I have friends and family who are in homosexual relationships and they deserve the right to marry if they want.

  107. #107 Rey Fox
    October 25, 2008

    “They spew things like “with same-sex marriage, churches could lose their tax-exempt statuses””

    I no longer dare to dream, but it’s nice that there are those out there who will dream for me.

  108. #108 Brownian, OM
    October 25, 2008

    Government DOES HAVE the obligation to prevent the acts of individuals from infringing on the rights of others, and smoking in public places was an infringement on other’s rights.

    That is vastly different than government enacting a ban to stop people from smoking, nor should government ever be seen as a tool to curb people’s behaviors if they do not harm others.

    The “ban” on marriage is a case in point. Two men or women marrying has no deleterious effect (other than percieved) on anyone else, and should not even be considered a government problem.

    It is a matter for private contracts and private consideration. Period.

    I don’t deal in shoulds and should nots. Either make an argument as to why something should or should not, or sit down and shut up.

    Your very notion that government should be used to curb behavior you don’t like is what I call soft fascism.

    I don’t give a flying fuck what you call shit. Your running around screaming about the ‘gubmint’ is what I call “Being a Complete Fucking Retard,” but that’s hardly an argument now, is it?

    Your WANT to control the habits and activities of others, even when they do not concern you.

    There is no difference between you and a Christian fundie in this regard. You both are guilty of trying to control others via majority control.

    Says the guy who YELLS IN ALL CAPS and punctuates his unsupported claims with ‘Period!’ as if he’s poking you in the chest and citing scripture. If you ever made a structured argument to support your dogma, I might be more inclined to give a shit about your shrill hysterics, klaxon.

    You get what you deserve when the government goes against what you want, then…

    As a smoker living in a municipality in which smoking is banned in enclosed public spaces, I guess I do.

  109. #109 KiwiInOz
    October 25, 2008

    Adviser Moppet – where does one sign up for the manwhore job?

  110. #110 Timcol
    October 25, 2008

    I’m a gay person who lives in a quiet suburban neighborhood of a large city in California. Today I went for a walk and counted a dozen ‘Yes on 8′ signs on two ‘No’ signs. I live with my partner and we are quiet and thoughtful neighbors – we pay our taxes, we keep our house in very good condition, and trouble nobody. We don’t have parties and in fact rarely have friends over. Yet, seemingly our good Jebus-loving neighbors assume that we are a sufficient threat to their ‘traditional’ way of life that the very groundrock of our law – the constitution – must be changed to single out as as not being worthy of the very rights they enjoy.

    What’s next – a sign on our house warning passers-by that gays live here? I know – perhaps we should wear special armbands so anybody who approaches us can take special defensive action in case we somehow ‘contaminate’ them?

  111. #111 Brownian, OM
    October 25, 2008

    I do not smoke, however I am absolutely opposed to some of the extreme smoking bans, and also to the ‘sin tax’ (unless the entire tax is being used to treat smoking illness… something which is not usually the case). Freedom is the most valuable thing we have, and is a hell of a lot more important that tweaking the ‘average’ life span. Public health should be a resource, not a master.

    I agree, jayh. But don’t assume all government intervention immediately rolls the ball down a slippery slope to gulags for dissidents. Your ‘average-lifespan tweakers’ do exist, but they’re not necessarily the majority. Take those who advocate harm-reduction strategies such as safe injection sites or even promoting chewing tobacco as a less dangerous alternative to smoking. These aren’t the policies of control freaks.

  112. #112 Mark
    October 25, 2008

    I am staggered to learn that tens of millions of dollars are being spent in California to argue the toss about same sex marriage.

    Why would anybody care enough to actually try to legislate against same sex marriage?

    Somebody has way too much free time on their hands and the most bizarre of agendas.

  113. #113 Rey Fox
    October 25, 2008

    My cousin in California recently came out to the family, and got officially married (that is to say, in an office) to his partner in order to secure hospital visitation rights for when he goes in for a major operation sometime this year or next.

    I’m not in the best financial shape at the moment, but I donated $25 to No On 8, because I’ll be DAMNED if a bunch of medieval fuckheads deny my cousin and his partner rights. Please let me be on the winning side of this.

  114. #114 R.j.
    October 25, 2008

    We should really make “Marriage, A History” by feminist historian Stephanie Coontz required reading. It completely contradicts this “traditional marriage” fallacy.

  115. #115 Walton
    October 25, 2008

    I was reading the Old Testament and am simply becoming insanely depressed by the whole thing. I was brought up in a Christian household (albeit a liberal one), but I just can’t understand, and have never had a satisfactory answer, why the God of Israel, if He exists and if the narrative has any historical value, saw fit to act in such a barbaric and arbitrary way (Numbers 31 being the best example). And the legal code, while certainly not any worse than most others of its time, surely ought to have been better than it is? Why would a just God need to order that people be put to death for breaches of completely arbitrary and absurd laws? And why would an omnipotent God concern Himself entirely with the affairs of one small tribe, to the exclusion of the rest of humanity, and order massacres against the Amalekites and others who were not of the “chosen people”? Why would God be so limited in scope?

    I know I’m rambling, and this is miles off the topic of the thread. I apologise to everyone. But it is kind of relevant; it seems incredibly facile to purport to base one’s morality (and hence one’s desire to ban “non-traditional” marriage) on the Bible, when the Bible contains so much that appears to me to be fundamentally immoral. I believe in an objective morality; I believe human beings have consciences, and we instinctively know right from wrong. Yet some of God’s commands in the Hebrew narrative run directly counter to that instinctive sense of right and wrong. If God is good, and all good comes from God, then surely our consciences ought to come from God – in which case, why did God command people to do things which are antithetical to that sense of morality? Or if our sense of morality did not come from God, where do we get it from?

    It’s just depressing. There is nothing I want more than to believe in a just and loving God. I love the poetry and inspiration of religious belief, and I have the highest regard for the teachings of Jesus. But the Bible itself – which so many Christians seem never to have read from cover to cover – makes it very difficult to believe. The doctrines and assertions are simply internally inconsistent.

  116. #116 JStein
    October 25, 2008

    Warren is a moron, and should be treated as such by the citizens of California. Unfortunately, people suffer from the delusion that Pastor’s are educated people, and not the incompetents they are.

  117. #117 SPINETINGLER
    October 25, 2008

    It’s been so long since I’ve gotten laid that, yes, I’d have to vote for that proposition.

  118. #118 Katharine
    October 25, 2008

    Walton –

    You don’t need an imaginary friend to be moral. The vast majority of us are atheists, and I’d say we’re all significantly more moral than many, many Christians.

    Morality is partially evolutionary, partially environmental – doing things for the good of the species is an evolved trait. This has been demonstrated through various psychological studies. People can, of course, be warped by a bad environment, but for the most part, if they’re raised by parents who love them and are generally secure and not absolutely stupid and don’t have any major mental defects, they’ll probably be moral.

  119. #119 Kel
    October 25, 2008

    “A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” – Albert Einstein

  120. #120 spinetingler
    October 25, 2008

    Er, my quote in the post above got left off, ruining the punch line. I’ll try again:

    What’s next, constitutionally mandated, missionary position, procreative intercourse only?

    It’s been so long since I’ve gotten laid that, yes, I’d have to vote for that proposition.

  121. #121 Nerd of Redhead
    October 25, 2008

    Walton, a good place to start with non-god given ethics is actually use the golden rule. Many Xian sects ignore this. Start with how you would like to be treated, then realize you have to apply this to others. If you don’t quite want to give the same respect you demand to others, then refine it by iterations until you can live on either side of the treatment at issue. It’s amazing how fast it comes close to present behavior, and points out laws, like gay marriage, that may need changing.

  122. #122 Mike
    October 25, 2008

    “So, Californians, whose side are you on? 21st century America, or the imaginary repressed Puritan America of the theocrats?”

    21st Century America, of course.

  123. #123 amk
    October 25, 2008

    The best guess I could make, as to interpretation of the situation, is that most people are more inclined to gratify their short-term impulses (to smoke, eat, etc.) than to take a longer-term view of their own interests.

    I’d guess the fact that nicotine is highly physically addictive would be somewhat relevant too.

    Which also addresses Scott’s assertion that the government should keep out of peoples private choices. Smoking tobacco (unlike, say, cannabis) is not simply a matter of free choice.

    Whenever I’ve heard “sin taxes” on tobacco discussed in the UK, they are largely justified as pricing the young out of the market, and being (almost) the only effective method to cut youth smoking. No doubt Brownian knows more.

  124. #124 Scott from Oregon
    October 25, 2008

    “I’d guess the fact that nicotine is highly physically addictive would be somewhat relevant too.
    Which also addresses Scott’s assertion that the government should keep out of peoples private choices. Smoking tobacco (unlike, say, cannabis) is not simply a matter of free choice…”

    Sex for some people, is highly addictive. So is running for some. Alcohol. Many “drugs”. Fast food especially, has been shown to contain addictive qualities…

    Laziness is addictive. So too love.

    Let’s let government control them all…

    Sure.

    Good thinking.

  125. #125 Norm Olsen
    October 25, 2008

    Oh my Dog! He actually said “This is a humanitarian issue”. Rick gets everything backwards. I recall that Dan Dennett once used the phrase “The Life Driven Purpose” in response to Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life”.

  126. #126 amk
    October 25, 2008

    And why would an omnipotent God concern Himself entirely with the affairs of one small tribe, to the exclusion of the rest of humanity, and order massacres against the Amalekites and others who were not of the “chosen people”?

    We’ll make you one of us yet :D

    Have you got to Joshua? It’s hilarious! Joshua’s army bursts into the “promised land” and, without either provocation or warning, proceeds with Yahweh’s help and encouragement to exterminate all the non-Hebrews because they are non-Hebrews in the “promised land”. I’ve seen various screen adaptations including Joshua, but they all end right after Jericho’s walls fall (before the “every man, every woman, every old person, every child and all the livestock killed with the edge of the sword” bit), also skimming over the real reason for the siege. Someone should make a film faithful to the Book of Joshua – advertisement through controversy FTW!

    And then I remember that there are religiously inspired Zionists. Hmm.

  127. #127 amk
    October 25, 2008

    Sex for some people, is highly addictive. So is running for some. Alcohol. Many “drugs”. Fast food especially, has been shown to contain addictive qualities…

    Laziness is addictive. So too love.

    Note I said physically addictive. Of your list, only alcohol is, and that is weak enough to allow the vast majority of users to use and not get hooked.

  128. #128 Rachel
    October 25, 2008

    There is a really good interview with Ed Tabash on Point of Inquiry in which he discusses why everybody should worry about Prop 8, not just those of us in CA and even those of us, like myself, who don’t particularly like marriage as a patriarchal institution. Prop 8 is a clear attempt to penetrate the line between state and religion.

    So, please, please, help if you can to get this thing defeated! The polls are not very promising because the “Yes on 8″ side has a ton of money.

    And if you’re a U.S. citizen above 18, vote on November 4 (or before – many states now offer early voting)!

  129. #129 raven
    October 25, 2008

    According to the Bible marriage is between one man and several women, various concubines, and the occasional dead brother’s wife.

    FAIL!!! Bunch of biblical illiterates. You forgot the sex slaves. In Exodus, one can sell their daughters as sex slaves. The owner then has the option of marrying them.

    Not sure what happens to your kids if you don’t marry your sex slave. I guess you just have a bunch of fungible goods to feed and order around.

    Is this what they mean by “small town values?” And what is the going rate for a wife sex slave anyway, these days?

  130. #130 raven
    October 25, 2008

    So what do the polls show about 8? I haven’t been paying too much attention to it being more concerned with watching McBush and apPALINg spiral into the much.

  131. #131 llewelly
    October 25, 2008

    Scott from Oregon:

    Sex for some people, is highly addictive. So is running for some. Alcohol. Many “drugs”. Fast food especially, has been shown to contain addictive qualities…
    Laziness is addictive. So too love.
    Let’s let government control them all…

    amk argues in favor of government regulation of nicotine. Then Scott engages warp 9 and zooms off to a fantasy planet where his opponents seek government regulation of laziness.
    It’s like a weird parody of the slippery slope fallacy.

    Shows haw far he’s willing to go to find a strawman.

  132. #132 Sven DiMilo
    October 25, 2008

    Well, I just watched the clip of Pastor Rick and his Big Red Nose. He feels certain that every culture and every religion for the past 5,000 years agrees with him about The definition of “marriage.” Except for four guys.
    In the immortal words of B. Bunny, what a maroon.

  133. #133 Trev UK
    October 25, 2008

    Latest poll: 52% to 44% against Prop 8 amongst likely voters, according to the Public Policy Institute of CA

  134. #134 Daniel
    October 25, 2008

    Do you really think you are going to persuade anyone with a tone like yours? There are huge civil rights at stake here. What about freedom of speach? What about freedom of religion?

    Don’t give me the same old arguments the no campaign resorts to. I’d like seriously, one time, for the no campaign to respond to what will happen when gays, who want to advance their agenda, complain to the state of “discrimination” when a church chooses not to marry them. As a protected class, they will have recourse to the government, and when the gov steps in, that is not, as the no ad says, keeping government out of all our lives.

    Don’t even try to tell me this won’t happen. And don’t try to say I’m scared. I’m not scared, I’m aware of how things work.

    I await legitimate responses,

    Daniel

  135. #135 Sastra
    October 25, 2008

    Walton #115 wrote:

    I believe in an objective morality; I believe human beings have consciences, and we instinctively know right from wrong. Yet some of God’s commands in the Hebrew narrative run directly counter to that instinctive sense of right and wrong.

    Although I agree that human beings share a very basic consensus on right and wrong, and good and evil, it’s only in loose and general categories: context is critical. And I think that’s where religion steps in, and plays havoc.

    What religion provides is a narrative structure in which to place moral choices in context. But, because it’s based on faith and special revelation, the facts of the matter are flexible. What seems wrong from a universal, humanist, secular standpoint is suddenly right from the standpoint of people who have the “facts” in which to frame the situation.

    Imagine that Christian fundamentalists are right about God. AND THEN imagine that they’re also right about people: there are good people, and bad people. The bad people may seem good — nice, likable, worthy, virtuous — but in reality, they’re without any real worth. They are not like you in the important way that matters.

    This is the story you have to buy into. This is where you suspend your disbelief, and play along. The Bad Guys — be they the Amalekites, or gays, or the Damned — are only plot devices. They’re as one-dimensional as the Orcs in Lord of the Rings, as negligible as the ‘evil minions’ in a James Bond movie. All your attention is on the main characters: you, God, and the rest of the godly. This is a story about heroes who triumph: who learn to fight the bad guys, submit properly to the rightful leader, and are rewarded in the end.

    In the story, the entire universe was created for one thing only: it is a stage for the human drama of those who accept and follow God. There is no objective meaning or worth in any other choices. God can drown the entire world for being “wicked,” save only 6 “righteous” people, and Christians gladly reserve that story as especially nice for the children — because the good get saved, and it has animals in it, and a big boat.

    Bottom line, the Proposition 8 advocates live in a world that exists only in their heads, and the rules don’t make sense out of it.

    I find it so ironic when people like Warren claim that, without a belief in God, morality is relative, and ‘can be anything at all.’ Only belief in God can provide an unquestionable and otherwise absurd context which can justify anything at all. There is no legitimate secular argument for preventing gay marriage. You have to either bring in a specific religion, or bring in some sort of teleological purpose in an appeal to “intuition.”

  136. #136 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 25, 2008

    There is no requirement that binds churches to marry anyone that asks so I don’t think you have a point.

    And even if you did you think that makes discrimination ok?

  137. #137 craig
    October 25, 2008

    Atheists don’t need a god to be moral because properly functioning humans have this thing called empathy.

    People without empathy are broken. They are sociopaths. Perhaps some sociopaths need churches. Others need prisons and psych wards.

  138. #138 Sastra
    October 25, 2008

    Daniel #134 wrote:

    I’d like seriously, one time, for the no campaign to respond to what will happen when gays, who want to advance their agenda, complain to the state of “discrimination” when a church chooses not to marry them. As a protected class, they will have recourse to the government, and when the gov steps in, that is not, as the no ad says, keeping government out of all our lives.

    No, that cannot happen — because of separation of church and state. Churches today can choose to refuse to marry inter-racial couples (and some do.) Many of them refuse to marry people of different religions, or people who are divorced, or even people who are not in good standing with that particular church.

    It would be unconstitutional for the government to make the same choices, and refuse to allow people to legally marry for those kinds of reasons. But even today, a black person who complains that Bob Jones Church won’t allow them to marry a white person — and a woman who complains that the Catholic Church won’t allow her to be a priest — are out of luck. Churches have their OWN rules. They don’t have to be “fair” from the secular point of view. They discriminate between sinners and godly. That’s their job Within their church. Of course.

    And people who are strongly in favor of separation of church and state are fine with this. We have to be. It rationally follows.

    Come on — don’t you already know this?

  139. #139 Kel
    October 25, 2008

    Scott, there’s a difference between chemical addiction and psychological addiction. Nicotine is chemically addictive, alcohol is not. Both are psychologically addictive, but that’s a different point entirely.

  140. #140 llewelly
    October 25, 2008

    I’d like seriously, one time, for the no campaign to respond to what will happen when gays, who want to advance their agenda, complain to the state of “discrimination” when a church chooses not to marry them.

    CA and the other states where gay marriage is legal have been telling gays they must either seek a civil ceremony or a ceremony from a religion that aproves of gay marriage. That’s exactly what happened with interracial marriage. Neither the federal government or nor any state government ever passed a law requiring any religion to marry blacks and whites, and there were several prominent religions that refused to marry interracial couples well into the 1970s. (Example, the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints – Mormons.) There are still some fringe religions continue to refuse. (Example: FLDS.) Those churches that changed their policies on interracial marriages did so because their own parishioners forced them, not because the government forced them.

    So there’s no reason to believe laws will be passed requiring all religions to provide for the marriage of gays. However, there is plenty of reason to hope the parishioners of those religions may force the issue, independent of government action. (As is already happening in some American branches of the Anglican Union.)

  141. #141 craig
    October 25, 2008

    Nicotine is chemically addictive, alcohol is not.

    Bullshit. What causes the DTs then?

  142. #142 Nerd of Redhead
    October 25, 2008

    Bullshit. What causes the DTs then?

    Alcohol poisoning, not withdrawal like narcotics Ethanol itself isn’t so bad, but the metabolite acetaldehyde is very hard on people. It forms and converts slowly to acetic acid after a binge.

  143. #143 MNLandon
    October 25, 2008

    It is a sad proposition that will probably pass because every religious kook under a rock (yes we have those in California too) will be out in full force. My fiancee and I go around tearing down Prop 8 signs on public property and are amazed to see the local morman groups putting them up the very next day. Although I am encouraged by the number of other people i see tearing them down. Not that it really matters…if it indeed does fail…these onward christian soldiers will get the 800 thousand signatures to put it on the books again and again and again. We need the supreme court to put an end to this by declaring it a civil rights issue. Maybe then all of the mormons i see putting up signs will go on permanent missions outta the country.

  144. #144 Michael OBrien
    October 25, 2008

    I’m part of a straight couple who has been together thirteen years, plans on having children soon, and plans on being together the rest of our lives. What we do not plan to do is get married, or at least not until gay couples can marry everywhere in the country. I would rather not sound high-and-mighty or holier-than-thou, but as recently as forty-one years ago there were fourteen states in which it was illegal for a black person to marry a white person, and I believe that in forty more years it will seem just as incredible and appalling that at one time the law prohibited gay people from marrying one another. I am hoping that voters in California will get on the right side of history.

  145. #145 SC
    October 25, 2008

    Nicotine is chemically addictive, alcohol is not.

    Does anyone have a citation for this?

  146. #146 Rick R
    October 25, 2008

    Daniel @ #134-

    I’ll respond.
    2 things: I’m gay. And I firmly support separation of church and state.

    I support the defeat of Prop 8. It’s a civil rights issue. These should never be put to popular vote, nor should they be coyly fobbed off with that cop out of cop outs “it’s a state’s rights issue” (you listening Obama?)
    There is no secualr purpose to denying gay people equal marriage rights. None. It is purely a religious objection. Just look at the groups funding it.
    I want the same rights and benefits to marry that my fellow citizens take for granted.
    I object to religion enroaching on public policy in my country. It’s wrong. But so is it’s opposite- government imposing it’s will on religion (outside of obvious wrongs like human sacrifice. You get the idea.)
    I know of no organization of people anywhere who would force churches to marry anyone they don’t wish to. And there’s that pesky First Amendment again, it protects the churches from just such an eventuality. In fact, it’s basic, that any attempt to challenge that church freedom in court would be dismissed out of hand.

    To sum it up- Church/State separation gives us BOTH what we want, see how that works? It’s actually quite cool, and it’s right there in the Constitution.

    There are no boogeymen (or women) under the bed, Daniel. Except for the ones your church tries to scare you with.

  147. #147 Sastra
    October 25, 2008

    Daniel #34:
    Bottom line, from the point of view of the law, we don’t care what kind of discrimination goes on inside of Christian churches for the same reason you don’t care what kind of discrimination goes on in mosques, temples, or Urantian meeting houses. If someone whines that their religion won’t let them do such and such because the leaders say it’s a sin, then they should get another religion. Or find a church which isn’t such a hardliner. Or vote in new leaders. Or suck it up and live up to their previous commitment.

    Are you really worried that gay fundamentalist Christians are going to demand to be married by their fundamentalist church? If they belong to the church and believe the fundamentalist version of Christianity, it seems unlikely. They’ll agree it’s wrong. Because they’re fundamentalists.

    I’d think the last thing outsiders are going to want is to be married in a someone else’s church.

  148. #148 Sabazinus
    October 25, 2008

    Daniel at 134…I’m gay and frequently hear of the “gay agenda.” I think I missed the memo, however. What is it we’re supposedly out to do? Dominate the world or something? I mean, really, come on. We’re your neighbors, your coworkers, your doctors, your teachers, your landscapers…gay people are already among you and none of us are planning to complete some kind of secretive agenda. We’re not Cylons…

    Additionally, a minor quibble, I know, but still…it’s “freedom of speech” not “speach.”

    Furthermore, I’m an atheist, so the chances of me wanting to marry in a church of any sort are just about zero. Why would there be a movement to force the government to change what churches can do when there is protection in the US constitution? And what about other countries where gay marriage is legal? Have there been massive gay uprisings there to force churches to perform gay weddings? Don’t think so. Why would it happen here?

    A different question arises, however. With all the pressures placed by religious groups on the political process, when will someone challenge their tax exempt status? I mean, they get this freedom from taxes and in return agree to not specifically support candidates. Sounds like some are skating awfully close to the edge here. I’ve seen “Mormon” attached so heavily to the “Yes on 8″ campaign that it makes me wonder.

  149. #149 C.B. Warren
    October 26, 2008

    People Vs. Larry Flint ring any bells???

  150. #150 John C. Randolph
    October 26, 2008

    why the God of Israel, if He exists and if the narrative has any historical value, saw fit to act in such a barbaric and arbitrary way

    People invent gods, and jehovah was invented to suit the purposes of the priestly class of a semitic tribe which frequently warred with neighboring tribes.

    -jcr

  151. #151 Frederick F
    October 26, 2008

    I believe that each person has the right to love who he or she wishes and if they want to get married they be allowed too these so called Christians they need to look in their souls and find what being Christ like really means

  152. #152 Adviser Moppet
    October 26, 2008

    KiwiInoz,

    Why, on the manwhore website. http://www.biblemanwhore.com :)

  153. #153 Ichthyic
    October 26, 2008

    “Substance dependence When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed. Compulsive and repetitive use may result in tolerance to the effect of the drug and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped. This, along with Substance Abuse are considered Substance Use Disorders…” [18]

    Physical dependence on a substance is defined by the appearance of characteristic withdrawal symptoms when the substance is suddenly discontinued. Opiates, Amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, alcohol and nicotine induce physical dependence.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction

    lots of sources to support the idea of alcohol causing physiological dependence AND withdrawl symptoms.

  154. #154 Kel
    October 26, 2008

    Fair enough, I was wrong.

  155. #155 Ichthyic
    October 26, 2008

    let me try some operant conditioning on Walton:

    I would be voting No on Proposition 8, were I a Californian; that goes without saying. Banning gay marriage is pointless, and has no legitimate secular justification. All persons must be treated equally under the law.

    good boy! this is a clear explanation of what you actually would do, and why. you get a scooby snack.

    But, as regards the private sector, the free market ought to take care of it in time.

    always, the bait follows the “but”, and this time is no exception.

    Bad BOY! no trolling! no milkbone for you.

    *hits Walton on head with rolled-up newspaper*

    fucking moron.

  156. #156 Ichthyic
    October 26, 2008

    Fair enough, I was wrong.

    it’s not a big deal, I just wanted the information out there in case someone was wondering if their own/acquaintance’s alcoholism was really classified as an addiction or not, and how it is actually medically addressed these days.

    there’s a decent group of source links on the wiki on the subject, plus thousands more on a google search.

  157. #157 Shaden Freud
    October 26, 2008

    The protestors held signs that read “Adam and Eve – not Adam and Steve.”

    “Adam and Steve?” Of course not. Never “Adam and Steve.” It’s “Adam and Steven.

    -David Rackoff

  158. #158 Leigh Williams
    October 26, 2008

    Daniel: “There are huge civil rights at stake here. What about freedom of speach? What about freedom of religion?”

    What about them? You are free to espouse any fuckwittery you desire, no matter how depraved I find your views. Your church is free to be as bigoted as you and your fellows can stomach.

    The only thing you CAN’T do is promote violence. Surely you and your brethren and sistren can avoid that, can’t you? See how easy it is . . . for you, no gay marriage. For the rest of us, civil rights. That’s how it’s supposed to work, after all. Your religious and speech freedoms are untrammeled; and so are everyone else’s. (Whoops. That’s probably the part that’s disturbing you.)

    I am proud to tell you all that the United Methodists of California say, “Vote NO on Prop 8″.

  159. #159 John C. Randolph
    October 26, 2008

    let me try some operant conditioning on Walton:

    Don’t quit your day job.

    -jcr

  160. #160 Ichthyic
    October 26, 2008

    Don’t quit your day job.

    *hits Randolph with same rolled up newspaper*

  161. #161 John C. Randolph
    October 26, 2008

    I’m gay and frequently hear of the “gay agenda.”

    Since you hear about it so often, perhaps there’s a market opportunity to create one!

    Along those lines, a couple of friends and I started up the International Zionist Conspiracy a couple of years ago. Made up a spiffy logo with the eye from the pyramid in the upper point of the star of David, wrote up some flyers, threw a few parties at some SF conventions. It was a lot of fun.

    -jcr

  162. #162 Leigh Williams
    October 26, 2008

    p.s. Daniel, most people don’t take you seriously when you talk about the gay “agenda”. That just waves the “I’m a fundy idiot” flag.

    Yours for higher-quality trolling,
    L

  163. #163 John C. Randolph
    October 26, 2008

    hits Randolph with same rolled up newspaper

    Imagination is fun, isn’t it?

    -jcr

  164. #164 Wowbagger
    October 26, 2008

    Sex for some people, is highly addictive. So is running for some. Alcohol. Many “drugs”. Fast food especially, has been shown to contain addictive qualities…

    Laziness is addictive. So too love.

    Let’s let government control them all…

    I’d hazard a guess and say that the far greater negative impact of tobacco on health is what makes it the target of legislation. Short of having the libertarian wet-dream of an entirely user-paid medical system, the government is going to have to be paying at least some of the costs involved. And to do so they tax the crap out of cigarettes, and minimise how much tobacco companies can encourage people to purchase them.

    Alcohol’s probably not that different. Trying to legislate those other things, however, might be a bit difficult – though taxing fast food to help pay the costs of obesity is something that gets mentioned here in Australia from time to time.

    Legislating sex, running, love or laziness might be a little more difficult.

  165. #165 Ichthyic
    October 26, 2008

    Imagination is fun, isn’t it?

    you oughta know, John. That is what you substitute for argument a lot of the time around here.

    ..or did you somehow think Walton trolling libertarian economics on a thread about gay marriage was appropriate?

  166. #166 Patricia
    October 26, 2008

    I am SO tired of Walton and Scott From Oregon. I wish they would just get married and get over it.

  167. #167 John C. Randolph
    October 26, 2008

    The only thing you CAN’T do is promote violence

    Sadly, many “churches” can and do promote violence. There’s something about claiming to be a church that paralyzes law enforcement agencies in the USA. If you ever look into the shit that the Scientologits have gotten away with, it would just about turn your hair white.

    -jcr

  168. #168 Ichthyic
    October 26, 2008

    I wish they would just get married and get over it.

    or at least go on a long honeymoon off a short CA pier.

  169. #169 John C. Randolph
    October 26, 2008

    You know itchy, if you unroll those newspapers and read them, you can learn things. You should try it sometime.

    -jcr

  170. #170 Phil Boncer
    October 26, 2008

    PZ, I’m with you 100% on this one. I am in CA, and am not only voting against it, but have yard signs and have been speaking out with friends and neighbors and co-workers and so on. This shouldn’t even be on the ballot: people’s rights are not properly up for a vote. I just want to note that I am not, however a “progressive”; I’m a libertarian.

    Scott from Oregon wrote (#7): “This is what happens when you give people the idea that government is a tool to control society and get it to do what you want. You get the nutjobs trying to control everything using their nutjobbery numbers. So, may I suggest a new “progressive” position? A return to more liberty and less intrusion from an irrational state…”

    Hooray! +1!

    All of this agitation about how to force others to behave in certain ways is very much a double edged sword. Once you have advocated the use of force to make others behave as you think they ought, you have conceded that others likewise have the right to use force to make you behave as they think you ought, and it all goes to hell from there. And government is force, inherently. So, like any other form of force, government should only be used in self-defense; i.e. to make and enforce laws against people causing actual harm or significant danger to others. Any such laws should be required to be demonstrably effective, and should be directed exactly at the action that causes the harm or danger, and not at other ancillary actions that could be performed without causing that harm or danger.

    snoozebar wrote (#47): “It’s a vaguely held idea of mine that the government get out of the marriage business completely. Everybody can designate one person to get all the benefits of marriage, and you can only be the designated of one. That’s it. It’d make a lot more sense than all these silly rules.”

    Exactly. Long term, that would be the best. The government has no business defining that at all. For that matter, why only one? It ought to be a “civil union” for any pair or group of adult humans that wants to intermingle their lives at that level.

    PhilB

  171. #171 mtraven
    October 26, 2008

    Check out this dishonor roll of Proposition 8 supporters. Of particular interest: the Templeton family, of the Templeton Foundation, gave $1 million dollars to a variety of anti-gay-rights organizations. Their name is in the list right next to Howard Ahmanson, who bankrolls the Discovery Institute and has ties to the most extreme kinds of religious fanatics.

    Until I saw this I was under the impression that the Templeton Foundation was a harmless funder of fringe-y but occasionally interesting work on religion and the foundations of science; and I figured that there was no harm in accepting the Templeton Prize as many prominent scientists have done, or getting funding through the Foundational Questions Institute, another Templeton-funded organization. I’ve changed my mind, and I think that any scientist who has been getting money from this odious source ought to at least feel obligated to publically repudiate the political views associated with them.

  172. #172 GuyIncognito
    October 26, 2008

    “Incidentally, wouldn’t a one-man-one-woman law rule out Mormom polygamy?”

    It is really only against LDS doctrine for a man to be married to multiple women legally. A Mormon man can still be sealed to multiple women in what the church calls celestial or eternal marriage. For that reason, a man does not have to be granted a “cancellation of a sealing” by the LDS President before being allowed another sealing, but a woman does. However, I believe a Mormon man must obtain a civil divorce before he can be granted the “sealing clearance” needed to obtain a subsequent sealing. Basically, Mormons believe that polygamy is just peachy in the afterlife, and as with any good death-cultist, the afterlife is all that matters. Earthly law is just a temporary inconvenience. It is also a poorly kept secret that Mormons believe Jesus will reinstate full blown polygamy after the second coming.

  173. #173 Ichthyic
    October 26, 2008

    You know itchy, if you unroll those newspapers and read them, you can learn things. You should try it sometime.

    one often wonders if newspapers are indeed the primary source of your knowledge, John.

  174. #174 John C. Randolph
    October 26, 2008

    PhilB,

    I concur, and I would add that I consider it rather dangerous as a member of any readily-targeted minority to go and get on a government list. That worked out very badly for Japanese-Americans within living memory.

    Personally, I find it appalling that there’s such a thing as a marriage license at all. Getting married is a right, and right doesn’t require a license. The sad historical fact is that marriage licenses were instituted in the United States as a way to enforce miscegenation laws.

    -jcr

  175. #175 John C. Randolph
    October 26, 2008

    one often wonders if newspapers are indeed the primary source of your knowledge, John.

    I read a lot of books. You should try that, too.

    -jcr

  176. #176 Nibien
    October 26, 2008

    one often wonders if newspapers are indeed the primary source of your knowledge, John.

    It doesn’t seem that he’s informed enough to even have read a newspaper.

  177. #177 John Phillips, FCD
    October 26, 2008

    Leigh Williams said, among other things, “I am proud to tell you all that the United Methodists of California say, “Vote NO on Prop 8″.”

    In which case, obviously the United Methodists of California are not true Scotsmen :)

  178. #178 bezoar
    October 26, 2008

    I KNEW that there was something redeeming about being a Mac User besides the fact that it is the best OS out there :-).

  179. #179 Walton
    October 26, 2008

    I’d hazard a guess and say that the far greater negative impact of tobacco on health is what makes it the target of legislation. Short of having the libertarian wet-dream of an entirely user-paid medical system, the government is going to have to be paying at least some of the costs involved. And to do so they tax the crap out of cigarettes, and minimise how much tobacco companies can encourage people to purchase them.

    I concur, essentially. As long as we have any state funding or involvement in medical care, it is legitimate to tax cigarettes – not out of a paternalistic or moralising desire to change people’s behaviour, but simply so that smokers pay their own way within the medical system.

    However, I don’t think the revenues from cigarette taxes should go into the general government budget; they should be earmarked entirely for health services and for research into smoking-related illnesses. People have a right to smoke if they wish; but as long as they continue to be an excessive burden to the public medical system as a result of their lifestyle choices, they should pay the cost of it.

    On the related topic of whether, and how much, the state ought to be involved in healthcare: ideally I would propose an “opt-out” public healthcare funding system, which would be funded by a separate payroll tax; citizens who didn’t wish to participate could choose to take out private medical insurance instead, and would not have to pay the health payroll tax. Medical treatment itself would remain private and competitive, with consumers choosing their health providers, but paid for by public funds. This would be seen as a somewhat leftward initiative in the US, I don’t doubt, but here in the UK, where, as Nigel Lawson once said, the NHS is “the closest thing we have to a national religion”, it’s considered an almost sacrilegious idea of the “loony right”. But I know I’m digressing somewhat from the topic of the thread, so I’ll stop there.

  180. #180 amk
    October 26, 2008

    So, like any other form of force, government should only be used in self-defense; i.e. to make and enforce laws against people causing actual harm or significant danger to others. Any such laws should be required to be demonstrably effective, and should be directed exactly at the action that causes the harm or danger, and not at other ancillary actions that could be performed without causing that harm or danger.

    I am not a libertarian. I am a progressive. And I agree with the above.

    When I write the Constitution for the New World Order, it will include the provision that for an act to be criminalised it must have an identifiable victim.

  181. #181 Walton
    October 26, 2008

    And I agree with the above.

    Do you really? Let’s see.

    …like any other form of force, government should only be used in self-defense; i.e. to make and enforce laws against people causing actual harm or significant danger to others.

    I agree with this, because I am a libertarian. But self-proclaimed “progressives”, like yourself, would seem to advocate that free and consensual transactions between individuals ought to be “regulated” by government; that it is legitimate for government to nationalise industries, thereby, ultimately, using the threat of coercive force to override a person’s property rights; and that it is legitimate to “redistribute wealth” by taking from one person and giving to another, ultimately resting, again, on the threat of coercive force.

    If A is wealthier than B, and the government takes money from A (via taxation) to give to B (via tax credits or welfare), how does that qualify as “mak[ing] and enforc[ing] laws against people causing actual harm or significant danger to others?” Is A doing “actual harm” or causing “significant danger” to B by not sharing his earned wealth with him? If not, how do you justify the use of coercion to achieve a predetermined social goal?

  182. #182 amk
    October 26, 2008

    Libertarians assume that the rewards extracted from the capitalist system are just and fair. I do not. In particular, corporations are structured to redistribute wealth from consumers to shareholders. Also note that corporations are state created entities. If the world economy consisted of the self employed and co-operatives, I’d have more sympathy for your position.

  183. #183 Salad Is Slaughter
    October 26, 2008

    I mailed in my ballot two weeks ago and voted in favor of the traditional biblical definition of marriage (polygamy) and voted against Prop 8.

  184. #184 Phil Boncer
    October 26, 2008

    amk wrote: “I am not a libertarian. I am a progressive. And I agree with the above.
    When I write the Constitution for the New World Order, it will include the provision that for an act to be criminalised it must have an identifiable victim.”

    Excellent. How do you square that with being “progressive”? The progressive platform involves people using government for a LOT more than self-defense. e.g. When they use government force to make people “contribute” to a retirement scheme that they may not wish to, to take just one.
    =====
    amk wrote: “Libertarians assume that the rewards extracted from the capitalist system are just and fair. I do not. In particular, corporations are structured to redistribute wealth from consumers to shareholders. Also note that corporations are state created entities. If the world economy consisted of the self employed and co-operatives, I’d have more sympathy for your position.

    If the government is doing a reasonable job of investigating and punishing theft and fraud (which admittedly is not a given, and is not currently the case), then the rewards extracted from the capitalist system will be a good approximation of just and fair. This is the legitimate purview of government — (a) to pass and enforce laws against violence, theft, fraud, property damage, and dangerous negligence, and (b) defend the country against actual threats and invaders. And that’s it. Some infrastructure and other projects might be OK for government to do, if they are paid for by user fees or otherwise structured so that they are entirely voluntary to participate in (the definition of participation ebing understood to include having to pay for).

    A corporation with shareholders IS a co-operative; shareholders are owners of the company. They have paid money to buy some of that company, and deserve a return on that money. Without that, no endeavor that is of a larger scale than a family fortune would be done (except through government force).
    =====
    Walton wrote: “I concur, essentially. As long as we have any state funding or involvement in medical care, it is legitimate to tax cigarettes – not out of a paternalistic or moralising desire to change people’s behaviour, but simply so that smokers pay their own way within the medical system.”

    I disagree with this. If you are going to set up a public fund for medical care (or another purpose) it must rightfully be equally available to anyone regardless of their personal choices. Otherwise, you see what we usually do see, which is that the public fund is then used as a justification for interfering in people’s lives and choices. “Public cost” is already used to justify laws and taxes about tobacco, seatbelts, helmets, guns, other drugs, alcohol, etc. Can you IMAGINE what could come under that rationale if healthcare becomes entirely government funded?
    =====
    PZ, I realize this is well off-topic. But the discussion seems to be of interest, and the actual topic of CA Prop 8 seems to have died due to being in virtually universal agreement here. We all apparently think CA Prop 8 is bad and wrong. That’s nice to see.

    PhilB

  185. #185 amk
    October 26, 2008

    If the government is doing a reasonable job of investigating and punishing theft and fraud (which admittedly is not a given, and is not currently the case), then the rewards extracted from the capitalist system will be a good approximation of just and fair.

    That’s supposed to be an argument? Is the fact that capitalism cannot keep people employed “just and fair”, or do you actually deny that genuine unemployment exists?

    A corporation with shareholders IS a co-operative

    This is a co-operative. They are owned by their workers and/or consumers.

    Can you IMAGINE what could come under that rationale if healthcare becomes entirely government funded?

    Or you could LOOK at the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of other countries with partially nationalised health systems.

  186. #186 Phil Boncer
    October 26, 2008

    Yes, that’s an argument. I repeat: The purpose of government is to (a) to pass and enforce laws against violence, theft, fraud, property damage, and dangerous negligence, and (b) defend the country against actual threats and invaders. If it does those things, does them well, and does nothing else, then liberty, justice, and prosperity will all be well served. There will always be criminals in capitalism, just as there will be in the church, or in everyday life, or in any other milieu or system. That is not a rational indictment of, or justification for eliminating, any of those institutions. In all cases, you have to catch and deal with those who harm others, and everyone else should be left to live their lives in peace.

    Capitalism is a dynamic situation. It has been described well as “creative destruction”. So of course there will be a certain amount of unemployment at any given time, as the fortunes of businesses and whole industries shifts about. Most will find different jobs. A few will need the help of their fellow man, and are free to ask for that. That’s what charities are for.

    It is exactly capitalism that has made Western civilization, advancement, and prosperity possible. No other economic system has shown anywhere near the power to enrichen people, to improve the quality and standard of living of the ordinary man.

    And yeah, you could look at “the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of other countries with partially nationalised health systems” and see long waits, rationed care, and more nanny statism in the field than we have here. As well as much reduced medical R&D. Canada had a thriving medical R&D industry until they nationalized their system, then 3/4 of it moved here. If we nationalize our system as well, there will be no place for it to go to, and it will largely wither on the vine. We will then have done a huge disservice not only to ourselves but to all future generations (i.e. our own children and grandchildren) that might have benefitted from more and better medical advances.

    PhilB

  187. #187 amk
    October 26, 2008

    Yes, that’s an argument.

    No, it’s an assertion.

    Concerning national health, this and this.

  188. #188 windy
    October 26, 2008

    …and that it is legitimate to “redistribute wealth” by taking from one person and giving to another, ultimately resting, again, on the threat of coercive force.

    ALL taxes fit that description and not only “progressives” believe that some form of taxation is justified.
    It’s incredible that an European would fall for this stupid fearmongering. Walton, have you checked out Obsidian Wings yet?

    Look: socialism is a word that has a meaning. It means public control of the means of production. It does not mean taxing the top bracket at 39%. Likewise, “collective ownership” has a meaning, and it does not mean the situation that obtains when the government can repeal tax cuts for the top 5% of the population.

  189. #189 MikeM
    October 26, 2008

    To make things worse, the Yes on 8 folks are now threatening to blacklist those bankrolling the No on 8 campaign.

    McCarthyism rocks, dudes.

  190. #190 Seandc
    October 26, 2008

    I live in an area that I would consider a pretty liberal portion of CA, not even 100 miles from SF and it’s pretty frightening here. Everyday we have people on the street corners holding up signs displaying “Yes on 8!” “Protect the sanctaty of marriage” “Voting no on 8 will give homosexuals the same rights as hetrosexuals. Yes on 8!” and various others that get much much worse. I’ve approached these people and well PZ is right. We’ve got some real yahoos in California. They couldn’t name one real reason other then that gay marriage is against the word of god. Which was quickly shot down with me pointing out that the bible is against gay sex, meaning they should be downright for gay marraige. Then also they said it was against nature. Luckily I had anticipated this and brought some science articals that give plenty of evidence against that standpoint. Their last arguement that was thrown at me was that children would learn in school that gay marriage was O.K. which I refuted with the simple bit of proof that schools don’t teach anything about marriage in the first place. And to top it off I asked how many children the prop 8 supporters had between them there. 26 in all was the answer. After pointing out that statistically about 2.6 of their children are homosexual (does that make the .6 kid bisexual?) They responded to the final comment with lots of threats and a few accusals of being myself (I still don’t understand why this is an insult, being about as common as being left-handed, which I am) But yeah, if you can give some donations to the NoOnProp8 website.

  191. #191 Anri
    October 26, 2008

    Greetings!

    Am I misunderstanding the ‘free markets eliminate bigotry’ argument if I assume that such an effect only would occur in a market in which the (targeted) minority wielded greater economic power than the bigots?

    If I’m missing something important, please let me know.

    Thanks!

  192. #192 Dave
    October 27, 2008

    Toward the top of the comments, someone mentioned that re-writing the California Constitution would make it unconstitutional on a federal level, based on equal rights protection flowing from the federal constitution.

    If Prop 8 passes (and I have a sick feeling that it will), is there any way of getting the US Supreme Court involved, with the intent of having it struck down?

  193. #193 Kel
    October 27, 2008

    “Voting no on 8 will give homosexuals the same rights as hetrosexuals. Yes on 8!”

    What an odd angle for them to come from.

  194. #194 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2008

    How do you square that with being “progressive”?

    because he doesn’t live in a cardboard box like you moronic libertarians do?

  195. #195 Benjamin Baxter
    October 27, 2008

    I’m not a bigot. I’m not stupid. I unashamedly voted yes.

    Before we come to a conclusion on Proposition 8 — controversial issues are only self-evident after the passage of time — we should first consider that marriage is an ancient societal construct, and that we should treat it as such.

    First: Why did marriage exist?

    Did marriage exist simply as an expression of deep, undying love? Nope — romanticism as we recognize it first spread widely at the time of the Renaissance, and, after dying out for a matter of centuries, was brought back to life no sooner than the 19th century. Marriage predates both.

    Did it exist simply to procreate children? Not quite — you don’t need to be married to get pregnant. Just ask Palin’s daughter.

    Marriage existed also to provide a roughly stable family unit, with a clear lineage from father to son — or, more rarely, mother to daughter — to help with the transference of property and debts as well as to provide something of a social stigma to discourage sleeping around and, thus, open chaos.

    Monogamy, as pointed out earlier, is relatively new — only a millennium or so.

    Secondly: Why does marriage exist in America?

    Inertia, largely. This isn’t the right question.

    Thirdly: What is the role of marriage in America?

    Inductively, the role of marriage is to provide stability for children and society, and, thanks to the Romantics, as an expression of deep, unending love. This, in it of itself, does not preclude gay marriage. However, that isn’t it.

    The role of marriage is doubly to provide that same stability from the moment of conception, and to encourage marriage as more than just the love of members of a couple for each other — instead, to redirect that love towards the conception of children.

    Unfortunately, due to an oversight at the highest levels of creation, or evolution, or whatever invisible guiding force that may or may not even exist or have guided humanity to this point, procreation of children — and, thus, marriage — requires a man and a woman.

    I don’t hate gay people. I think they should have all the rights afforded them by marriage, including the rights to see their spouse in the hospital, or to retain custody of any children, adopted or otherwise.

    Marriage is completely the wrong word to express that idea.

  196. #196 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2008

    Am I misunderstanding the ‘free markets eliminate bigotry’ argument if I assume that such an effect only would occur in a market in which the (targeted) minority wielded greater economic power than the bigots?
    If I’m missing something important, please let me know.

    nope. you haven’t missed anything.

    It’s an absolutely moronic argument to assume that the markets could set social policy with anything remotely resembling fairness.

    I curse the day PZ pointed out the foibles of Ron Paul and attracted the commentary of a bunch of whackaloon self-proclaimed “libertarians” to the blog.

    their denialism and lack of knowledge of history, economics, and politics is beyond tedious.

    since Walton appears to be a wanna be American “libertarian”, he can take my place here in the states, since he seems to want to participate in trying to turn politics back to before 1920. He’ll find many ignorant rubes here happy to oblige.

  197. #197 Benjamin Baxter
    October 27, 2008

    On another note, the government shouldn’t have appropriated the word “marriage” to begin with. It will cause just as much fracas as the secularization of Christmas has, if not even more — this time, the survival of the species appears to be at stake. Not that it is, but the appearance that it might within substantially large sectors of society would be enough to set off a long and divisive cultural firestorm.

    The quickest way to bring this issue to a head would be to let the Supreme Court decide? Isn’t it ironic, though, that the quickest way to do that would be to pass a state amendment exactly like Proposition 8, rather than to vote No and let the issue continue to boil over for the next decade?

    Anything court lower than the Supreme Court would be much less than decisive enough to sway the American population — look how the Yes campaign mocks the four “activist judges” for being from San Francisco. They don’t represent anything but the most radical region of California, runs the subtext, so they certainly don’t represent every California.

    Depending on how they look at it, voting yes is really what both sides want.

    I’m sure a similar argument could be worked out for the other side, and it probably already has. I just don’t have the patience to read what a 192-piece choir has to say back to their preacher.

  198. #198 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2008

    Unfortunately, due to an oversight at the highest levels of creation, or evolution, or whatever invisible guiding force that may or may not even exist or have guided humanity to this point, procreation of children — and, thus, marriage — requires a man and a woman.

    well, aside from the rest of the BS you spewed in your post, this bit has “epic fail” labeled all over it.

    you simply cannot link biological reproduction to a social contract, and since you yourself eliminated the idea of romanticism, you haven’t left yourself that area to segway into either.

    In short, your decision to vote yes was neither intelligent nor informed.

    it hardly matters whether you have convinced yourself that you do or do not hate gay people.

    You would deny them their happiness all the same.

  199. #199 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2008

    Depending on how they look at it, voting yes is really what both sides want.

    no, your logic is flawed here.

    nobody on the no side wants to see this become an issue for the supreme court, as OUR state supreme court has already ruled on it.

    aside from the stupid nightmare this would create, think in terms of how this would even BECOME an issue for SCOTUS based on an amendment to a state constitution.

    no, I can tell you right now that the vast majority on both sides really don’t want this being completely rephrased as an issue for SCOTUS, though if the republicans lose much more ground, they might get desperate enough in future elections to push a US constitutional ammendment yet again, and THEN make it an issue for SCOTUS.

    right now this is in large part merely a political hotbutton issue, utilized in this state and others to mobilize the fundy base to go out and vote.

    that’s bad enough as it is.

  200. #200 Benjamin Baxter
    October 27, 2008

    Social contract refers to the rule of a people by their ruler. I’m not sure what use you use here.

    I’ll assuming you mean “that which binds societies together by the common consent of the people, by the people and involving no hierarchical class.”

    How is that not related to biological imperatives? Society and biology evolved together, the former by default to the needs of the latter.

    Law doesn’t deal with happiness. Law deals with semantics, and the definition and meaning of words — marriage is the wrong word.

  201. #201 Benjamin Baxter
    October 27, 2008

    You misunderstand. The Yes side looks shortsightedly, to the immediate passage of the amendment. The No side should look in the long term, as a standing law for use in fodder for future court battles.

    State constitutional amendments have not regularly but often enough been fodder for SCOTUS. As a rule of thumb, SCOTUS is more likely to pick up a court case the fewer times that case has been heard by a lower court.

    As a state-level constitutional amendment, the case would effectively bypass the state-level courts, getting that much closer to a final decision by SCOTUS.

    The 14th Amendment to the national constitution is on the side of No on 8. Once it gets to the federal level, it’ll be pretty clear, and the stakes much higher.

  202. #202 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2008

    Law deals with semantics, and the definition and meaning of words — marriage is the wrong word.

    try applying that same logic to opposite sex couples and see how far you get.

    The No side should look in the long term, as a standing law for use in fodder for future court battles.

    the no side already won this battle, period.
    our constitution already supports marriage for all couples.

    the CA constitution already stands as well established law.

    The 14th Amendment to the national constitution

    now you know why there was never a REAL push to pass another US const. amendment banning gay marriage.

    it’s just a hotbutton issue. The rights are ALREADY there. It’s fucking morons voting for these ridiculous amendments that don’t seem to grasp that.

    Certain segments of the Republican party choose to manipulate these folks via hotbutton issues like abortion and gay rights, both of which have already been decided, and they never seem to notice that the very politicians they vote for never actually DO push through any serious changes in favor of the fundies.

    unfortunately, they’ve been doing it for so long now, that there actually are enough elected morons to start really causing damage.

    McCain himself tried to warn his own party about this in 2000, and was shouted down by them for it.

    t’ll be pretty clear, and the stakes much higher.

    well, the stakes will be higher, but I rather doubt there will be additional clarity, given the repeated efforts by various congressionals and administrations that shall go nameless to pander to passing amendments banning gay marriage at the federal level.

    I think you’re 100% wrong that anybody who knows anything actually wants to see this changed by SCOTUS.

  203. #203 Susan Silberstein
    October 27, 2008

    This Californian is voting No on 8. So are my mother, my sister, my husband, my cousins, and my friends.

    Since I have been married (to a man) more than once, clearly I do not believe that marriage should be restricted to *one* man and *one* woman.

  204. #204 Rick R
    October 27, 2008

    “Voting no on 8 will give homosexuals the same rights as hetrosexuals. Yes on 8!”

    Wow. Who knew bigotry supports truth in advertising?

  205. #205 Walton
    October 27, 2008

    The problem is really linguistic; it’s the fact that we use the same word, “marriage”, to represent both a civil and a religious marriage. They are entirely different things; one is a religious sacrament, and the other is a legal relationship conferring certain rights and privileges in law. (No different from, say, the formation of a limited-liability corporation.) There is already a clear distinction between a civil and a religious marriage; for instance, if you are a Catholic in England, you can quite easily be divorced under English civil law but still married under Catholic canon law.

    Perhaps ideally we shouldn’t talk about “civil marriage” at all, but “civil partnerships” for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples? That is to say, maybe we should abolish the legal concept of “marriage” – allowing anyone who so wishes to refer to themselves as “married” – and just use the legal term “civil partnership”, making it open equally to all couples of full age and capacity, regardless of gender. This seems to me the option most consonant with the total separation of church and state.

  206. #206 Ole Eivind
    October 27, 2008

    A bunch of us over at the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe forum made this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H3kxDFgmu8

    You can digg it here:
    http://digg.com/2008_us_elections/NO_on_proposition_H8

  207. #207 Arnosium Upinarum
    October 27, 2008

    There is a short but very perceptive opinion piece on this phenomenon (as PZ aptly characterizes it) of division.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20081026/cm_huffpost/137935

    The piece, by Stephen Ducat, focuses on the racist angle, but the overall treatise applies to the prop 8 issue and every other instance of religious pigeon-holing.

  208. #208 windy
    October 27, 2008

    The role of marriage is doubly to provide that same stability from the moment of conception, and to encourage marriage as more than just the love of members of a couple for each other — instead, to redirect that love towards the conception of children.

    Do you think infertile heterosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry, then?

  209. #209 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    The role of marriage is doubly to provide that same stability from the moment of conception, and to encourage marriage as more than just the love of members of a couple for each other — instead, to redirect that love towards the conception of children.

    I guess my wife and I aren’t “really” married then?

  210. #210 Nerd of Redhead
    October 27, 2008

    I guess my wife and I aren’t “really” married then?

    I guess that means the Redhead and I have also been living in sin for over half our lives.

    I just love the way the goalposts move depending on what you refute. Amusing, but frustrating.

  211. #211 windy
    October 27, 2008

    Walton:

    That is to say, maybe we should abolish the legal concept of “marriage” – allowing anyone who so wishes to refer to themselves as “married” – and just use the legal term “civil partnership”, making it open equally to all couples of full age and capacity, regardless of gender. This seems to me the option most consonant with the total separation of church and state.

    This rests on the faulty assumption that marriage is primarily a religious concept.

  212. #212 Gizmo
    October 27, 2008

    I live in California and would have thought by now that California of all places would have stopped this crap long ago. Im saddened by the fact that for a long while it looked like this Prop 8 crap would epic fail, but a few polls in the last month (unfortunately after a lot of the smear ads on TV started running), the poll has flipped and last I saw it was something like 49 in favor, 42 against and like 9 undecided.

    It would be great if it didn’t pass, but im not holding my breath (I have a low opinion on most people who are voting as they usually vote wrong).

  213. #213 John
    October 27, 2008

    This author is nothing but a closed minded individual pushing his immoral religious views on society. Even a lack of religion is religion.

  214. #214 James F
    October 27, 2008

    #190

    Then also they said it was against nature.

    Seems there’s no new tale to tell.

  215. #215 Rey Fox
    October 27, 2008

    This just in, lack of religion is a religion. Also, baldness is a hairstyle, not collecting stamps is a hobby, black is white, and an invisible sky daddy cares about what you do with your penis.

  216. #216 windy
    October 27, 2008

    This just in, lack of religion is a religion. Also, baldness is a hairstyle, not collecting stamps is a hobby, black is white, and an invisible sky daddy cares about what you do with your penis.

    And lack of a penis is a penis. Therefore, hetero sex is a form of cock-rubbing.

  217. #217 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    This author is nothing but a closed minded individual pushing his immoral religious views on society. Even a lack of religion is religion

    Thank you John. We haven’t had any people make that point recently. And because it is easily one of the most ignorant, mind numbingly stupid points about atheism one can make it is nice to have some religious zombie worshiper come by occasionally and remind us that yes, there are people that utterly incompetent of making a cohesive argument out there.

    We all thank you.

  218. #218 AtheistSpy
    October 28, 2008

    It’s not just Sergey; Google, as a company, is officially against Prop 8. Which is pretty unprecedented:

    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/our-position-on-californias-no-on-8.html

  219. #219 Thelea Draganic
    November 10, 2008

    This bear repeating before too much damage has been done.

    I am upset about this erroneous finger pointing at African-Americans regarding Proposition 8. Why are you so quick to believe whatever you hear? If someone told me 70 percent of gay people voted against Obama my first thought would be, excuse me Jesus, that is crap! I don’t believe it! This political year was fraught with right wing lies. Bear that in mind.

    “Religious organizations that support Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church], Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family[and the National Organization for Marriage Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California’s largest, has also endorsed the measure. The Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has publicly supported the proposition and encouraged their membership to support it, by asking its members to donate money and volunteer time. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read in every congregation. Latter-day Saints have provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California. About 45% of out-of-state contributions to Protect Marriage.com has come from Utah, over three times more than any other state.”

    Still, even though gays were fighting to preserve a basic right, it was the anti-equality side in California that seemed to have the most fervor. A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means – he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys – who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. “It was a decision we made very prayerfully,” Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee’s Jennifer Garza. “Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

    This is your real enemy. Don’t trust exit polls. I think they are pitting one group against the other. African-Americans are less than 7% of the state population, do the math. Many more Whites voted and they put this over, not Blacks. What are the total numbers of each group that voted. Someone dug into the data and found that we’re just now learning is that the exit poll was based on less than 2,300 people. If you take into account that blacks in California only make up about 6.2%, we get roughly 224 blacks who were polled. 224 blacks to blame an entire race! The original percentage of black voters who were expected to say yes to Prop 8 was only around 52-58%. Anytime you get a vote that much higher over the projected vote, something went wrong.

    I know someone who watches C-Span and they said most Blacks did not even address the question at all. And they do not have the money to fund a tens of millions of dollars Proposition 8 campaign. Note that they also targeted affirmative action for eradication in another state.
    I cannot believe that these groups get a pass and Blacks are being targeted for the blame game. Rather than be upset at the phantom African-American menace, fight like hell. There is no right wing black conspiracy against gay Americans. When you tried to align your struggle with that of Blacks you inherited their enemies. These same enemies are now trying to pit one against the other because they fear the combined numbers of both.

    How many gay activists supported the civil rights movement in the 1960’s? Then how do you automatically expect support in return? Have you asked Blacks to support you or did you just assume?

    No one gave Obama anything and they will not give gays anything either. Obama stands on the shoulders of a lot of brave people who gave their lives for him to stand on that podium last night.

    Never trust exits polls because in all my years of life, no one has ever been seen at a polling place asking anyone anything when they left.

    Don’t fall for the lies.

  220. #220 SC
    November 10, 2008

    Thelea,

    You may want to post that on the “Mormon Meddlers” thread.

  221. #221 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 10, 2008

    Yeah I think it is starting to come out that the sample size used to make the “70% of African American’s voted for Prop 8″ was ridiculously small.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.