NOM, A Late-Stage Cancer in the American Body Politic

Anti-gay demonstrator in Iowa

Anti-gay demonstrator in Iowa

The National Organization for Marriage conducted a dark and troubling experiment in Iowa on Tuesday. Funded by secret donors from out of state, NOM and other anti-gay groups poured an estimated $1 million into attack ads in a bold attempt to punish three Supreme Court justices for ruling in 2009 that the state constitution applied equally to heterosexuals and homosexuals, and that both groups have an equal right to marry. The effects of this experiment were intended to resonate beyond the boundaries of Iowa, and to send a warning to judges from coast-to-coast: If you try to defend the constitutional rights of this particular minority, your seat on the bench will be at risk.

Even more distressingly, NOM’s experiment in monkey-wrenching one of the basic checks and balances of American democracy — an independent judiciary — was triumphantly successful. For the first time since the state’s current system was adopted in 1962, Iowa voters chose to remove a sitting Supreme Court justice; and in this case, not one, but three: Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit.

The Sioux City businessman who allied with NOM to lead the effort after a failed Republican campaign for governor, Bob Vander Plaats, was exultant. “It’s the people rising up, and having a voice for freedom, and holding an out-of-control court in check,” he told reporters. “I think we sent Iowa a message, but also sent the country a message.” On his blog today, Former Speaker of the House, Republican Newt Gingrich, praised the “unprecedented and largely unreported decision.”

Never mind that the removal of the judges threatens to impede the operation of the judiciary in Iowa, denying justice not only to the minority targeted by NOM’s mystery donors, but to anyone else in the state court system. Never mind that the state’s governor, Chet Culver — also defeated by a Republican on Tuesday — is unlikely to fill those vacancies on the bench before his term ends in January, further tampering with the due process of law in the state. Never mind that John Adams, one of the founding fathers who people like Gingrich and Sarah Palin like to invoke at any opportunity, believed that a judiciary protected from the political storms that rage around the contentious issues of the day is one of the foundations of a stable democracy:

The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both should be checks upon that. The judges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men.

The sweeping ramifications of NOM’s success in Iowa this week are not lost on legal authorities. “What is so disturbing about this is that it really might cause judges in the future to be less willing to protect minorities out of fear that they might be voted out of office,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, told the New York Times. “Something like this really does chill other judges.”

Though the judges themselves declined to mount a campaign in their self-defense or talk to the press until it was too late, they issued a statement after the vote decrying the “unprecedented attack by out-of-state special interest groups” and warning that the continued existence of a fair and impartial judiciary “will require more than the integrity and fortitude of individual judges, it will require the steadfast support of the people.” Though a loss for gay marriage in the Corn Belt may seem unsurprising, the unprecedented nature of this vote was particularly notable in Iowa, where the Supreme Court has traditionally led shifts in public opinion on issues like slavery and segregation.

NOM’s ever-escalating assault against the lives, liberties, and happiness of gay people in America is a perfect example of the type of “jarring interest” that Adams sought to protect the judicial branch of government against. The very name of the organization is a damned lie, as it exists solely to prevent one stigmatized minority from enjoying the many quantifiable benefits of lifelong commitment, which include not only tax breaks and the ability to visit a spouse in the hospital if he or she gets sick, but improved mental and physical health and more robust connections with family and community. (Naming the group the National Organization for Marriage is like christening a group devoted to keeping minority or disabled students out of public schools the National Organization for Education.)

If NOM didn’t cloak its mission in intentionally misleading, focus-grouped, Frank Luntz-approved slogans about defending “freedom” and “common sense” from the “overreaching” of “activist judges,” its grotesque nature would be readily apparent. Imagine an organization founded for the sole purpose of getting state laws passed barring Jews, those of Japanese descent, or left-handed people from settling down and taking vows of matrimony.

Yes, NOM claims to have a more high-minded purpose than that, though its leaders have a hard time articulating it beyond vague sloganeering. The group’s ubiquitous founder, National Review pundit Maggie Gallagher, took advantage of the occasion of a recent, highly-publicized series of suicides by gay teens to declare that she has “no blood” on her hands, in the kind of ghoulish public pronouncement that could have been ghostwritten by Pontius Pilate himself. In her statement, Gallagher relieved herself of the burden of ever being taken seriously again as a lay interpreter of social science — her former career goal as the author of such unheeded bids for bestsellerdom as Enemies of Eros and The Age of Unwed Mothers — by claiming that “four years of legalized gay marriage” in Massachusetts should have been enough to slash the gay teen suicide rate there.

Imagine that kind of specious reasoning applied to the life and death of your own child. Yet groups like NOM, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council are routinely given a pass in the mainstream press for retailing crap faux-science and simply making things up in the interest of the media maintaining an illusion of balance on hot-button issues.

I agree with Newt Gingrich on one point: What happened in Iowa on Tuesday deserves more attention from the press and public, in the same way that cancer cells that have taken root in the body and flourished into a tumor with its own blood supply deserve more attention. It’s time for our collective immune system to focus on these toxic intruders roaming from state to state with their multimillion-dollar war chest, metastasizing in a series of mean-spirited ballot measures that — particularly as of Tuesday’s vote — strike at the very core of our democracy.

Even if I was a staunch red-state conservative who was personally uncomfortable with the notion of same-sex marriage, I’d be taken aback by NOM’s careless disregard for the safeguards of liberty that the Founders fought so hard to insulate from the fickle ambitions of opportunists like Gallagher and Vander Plaats. (Though the original decision was unanimous with seven justices presiding, University of Iowa law professor Todd Pettys told the Wall Street Journal that he doesn’t expect the remaining jurists to face threats when they come up for retention, because the “out-of-state money will be finding new homes by then.”)

What does “states’ rights” mean when NOM can parachute into your state, emboldened with cash from an elusive network of partisan and religious groups like the Mormon Church, to rewrite your constitution or unseat judges for making a decision they don’t approve of? Precedents like this are not only regrettable if you happen to fall on the wrong side of them — they’re fundamentally dangerous to the integrity of our nation, as John Adams knew.

John Adams

President John Adams, signer of the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence

For some liberals, it’s tempting to dismiss NOM as a sour joke that’s well past its sell-by date: Don’t they realize that young people don’t care about gay marriage? Chill out, folks — demographic attrition will do the job; just wait long enough for the rabid homophobes to die off and we’ll all be cool. In their view, NOM is a nothing more than a fumbling Hail Mary pass in the waning twilight of the Falwell-era culture wars. After all, don’t they let gays appear on TV now?

Far from becoming a more and more impotent threat, however, NOM — fed by a shadowy network of donors who may have nothing personal against the gay dude who cuts their hair or interns in their office, you see, but are happy to stoke bigotry to boost turnouts on Election Day — is morphing and evolving into something much more pervasively destructive: a late-stage cancer in the American body politic. It’s time for a thorough biopsy of this malignancy before it becomes terminal.

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116 Responses to NOM, A Late-Stage Cancer in the American Body Politic

  1. Owen says:

    Steve, followed your link from Dispatches. Very good article and the comments have been informative. Thanks for linking it, I plan on following your blog from now on.

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  2. Wade@MacMorrighan.Net says:

    Hey guys, Maggie Gallagher has publicly lied to the American people on national TV (CNN) numerous times. Don’t allow her to get away with it! In an interview with Tobias she had the nerve to declare that sub-second class Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships were okay with her; but, Toby immediately called her out, reminding her that NOM was currently launching a negative campaign against WA. state’s recent CU law (which is a demonstrable fact). So, what does Maggie do? She calls Toby out and accuses HIM of lying and saying things that are patently false! later on, during Maine’s Question 1 ballot initiative, Maggie has been quoted–QUOTED–as having said that CUs and DPs “erodes the status” of marriage! That is simply far more chilling…

    More recently, also on CNN, Evan Wolfson called out Gallagher who was pontificating about “the vote of the people”, when he reminded the audience that NOM doesn’t really care about the “the people” (unless they vote NOM’s way!), otherwise they wouldn’t be seeking a Fed. Marriage Amendment which would take the “right to vote on marriage” *away* from “the people”! Now, despite the facts, here, Maggie turned it around, and AGAIN charged that Evan was putting words in her mouth that she doesn’t agree with! Another lie!

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  3. IT says:

    Our history is rife with examples of how the judiciary functions to maintain the laws, NOT the will of the mob.

    I find it informative that the fraction of Americans opposed to inter-racial marriage a year AFTER it was legalized by the Supreme Court, is vastly higher than the fraction opposed to LGBT marriage equality NOW (see here for a comparison). Yet same sex marriage is still hotly contested.

    NOM and its gang of thugs may be storm-troopers of a dying world view, but they are still vicious and doing great damage. They are a calculating money-laundering operation that significantly also fights campaign finance disclosure laws, which also offers dangerous precedent. The more light shining upon them, the better. See NOM Exposed for more information.

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  4. John says:

    It’s sad that supremacist groups like NOM still exist in this day and age, and what’s even worse is their mobility and secret revenue streams. There is absolutely no accountability. I’m probably helping to fund these bullies and don’t even know from where.

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  9. Ed-M says:

    Eventually, the cancer known as NOM will be eradicated and destroyed. Let’s hope the world doesn’t have to resort to removing that cancer the way the Western Allies and the Soviet Union eradicated Naziism some 65 years ago.

    On a lighter note, the thinking of NOM and other groups on the right: http://ifpeakoilwerenoobject.blogspot.com/2010/11/actual-teabagger-photo-found-on-web.html

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  10. Maggie4NoH8 says:

    Steve Silberman – thank you for being a rational human. You give us hope.

    As for North Dallas Thirty and Allessandra, you reminded me of exactly why I have worked hard to overcome my “christian” upbringing to become the person I am today.

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  11. John Culhane says:

    correction: last line in first paragraph should have read: “the other branches quite rightly must answer to.

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  12. John Culhane says:

    Note that Gallagher never responds to the post’s central thesis: The judiciary has a unique role within our constitutional democracy, and must be left free to decide cases without the fear of political repercussion that the other branches quite rights must answer to.
    Because she can’t. Instead we get a puerile comment that John Adams would have agreed with her on the marriage equality issue. Aside from the obvious response that Adams held many views that most today would place somewhere on the spectrum between quaint and abhorrent, she (wilfully) misses the broader point: No matter the issue, Adams would have found repugnant what NOM — and the voters, not incidentally — did.

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  13. Richard R says:

    Hey Maggie,

    I wonder how John Adams would have felt about a marriage between one Roman Catholic and one Hindu. I notice how carefully you keep your husband, Raman Srivastav, including his name, out of public view. I presume your marriage (plus your previous out-of-wedlock child) would not be considered traditional enough for many of NOM’s donors. Does your persecution of gay people help you feel better about your own pathetic self?

    Whenever I see or read about great human achievements (often in the areas of the arts or scientific discovery) that make life more joyous or otherwise better , I then think about people such as you who devote themselves to making the lives of others as miserable as possible.

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  14. David in Houston says:

    A few questions for Maggie Gallagher…

    If gay couples get married, how exactly will that prevent straight couples from getting married and having children? Your obtuse argument against gay marriage is that “children should be raised by a mother and a father”. This position makes a LOT of assumptions: That all marriages involve the upbringing of children. Barren couples, senior citizens, and those not wanting children, disprove that theory. That marriage is actually required to raise children. My nephew and niece have disproved that theory. That all gay couples that get married want to raise children. Me and my husband disprove that theory. Only one-third of married gay couples want to raise children.

    First of all, if you honestly believed your position, NOM would be trying to prevent straight couples from getting divorced. The 50% divorce rate is the number one threat to the destruction of the nuclear family, not the 5% of the population that can’t even get married. (You can also add unwanted/unplanned pregnancies to that list.) There are currently 20 million children being raised in single-parent families. Don’t THOSE children deserve a mother and a father? Why is NOM sitting back and doing nothing about this national tragedy? (…or are single-parent families only important if the parent is gay?) Making it nearly impossible for those families to get a divorce would have ensured those children a mother and a father. Supposedly that’s NOM’s ultimate goal, right? Can NOM honestly say that one heterosexual parent is better than two homosexual parents? By not addressing the issue of divorce and single-parent families, that is EXACTLY what they’re saying. If Maggie wonders why she’s labeled homophobic, there’s her answer. By targeting ONLY gay couples as an enemy of “family values”, she exposes the hypocrisy of her organization’s agenda.

    Finally, any gay couple (or individual) that makes the herculean effort to adopt a child should be applauded, not condemned. I needn’t remind Maggie that those children were ALL discarded by heterosexuals. Even she must realize that there aren’t enough heterosexuals couples available to adopt every child in the system. Would she actually prefer that those children stay in orphanages until they get too old to adopt? Anyone that truly cared about the welfare of children would obviously say no. Which makes me question Maggie (and NOM’s) real agenda.

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    • Wade@MacMorrighan.Net says:

      David, I would ask Maggie your questions, and MORE (such as informing her about the REAL history of marriage and that we have been allowed to marry in every culture on Earth, because as a Historian it deeply offends me to watch as she re-writes the historical record!); sadly, I doubt highly that she would directly answer a single one. In interviews she only seems able to speak in sound bites and talking points. In a recent CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, she kept talking over him as he was trying to direct her to answer his questions, but she refused by blathering on with NOM’s bullet points that lack rationale.

      Oh, and as a pet parent I’m really pissed that I, now, cannot name my new puppy the name I had chosen for a years (when I was finally able to adopt her), because it would remind me of this arch villain: Maggie!

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  15. John H. Maurer says:

    Thanks, Steve, for your cogent arguments. I’ll go at it from another direction.

    I am a Christian. I am saved. I am straight.

    I also believe that the hatred of gays displayed by many right wing Christians is abhorrent. The Christ who died to save the WORLD (John 3:16) did not die to save only straight people. I don’t believe it’s my job to decide who God loves. He’s already said he loves everyone.

    Why is it unclear that that includes gays as well as straights? Why does it seem that LGBT people don’t have the same love from God as straights do? It doesn’t make sense to me to deny them rights, to harass them, to murder them. It is as sinful to hate and oppress LGBTs as it is to hate and oppress blacks.

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    • oilers1972 says:

      AMEN, John H. Maurer! I too am a Christian who feels the same way.

      Keep on with the truth, Steve Silberman. And keep on being one of the coolest dudes I’ve encountered.

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  16. Ernest McLeod says:

    NOM may be a late-stage cancer in the body politic, but the good news is this cancer will be eradicated. It’s no longer a matter of if, but when.

    Despite setbacks (and there will be more) along the way, the historical trajectory is clear: marriage equality is the future. Gay people will be equal citizens. Young people support marriage equality by a comfortable majority, and that will only increase. Courts are deciding in our favor with decisive, rational opinions. Baseless discrimination always loses in the end.

    I live in Vermont, where there is full marriage equality within the state. NOM has stayed away from VT, because they know they’ve lost here. While VT is more liberal than most of the U.S., it’s telling that in a few short years, the idea of gay couples marrying has rapidly transitioned from controversial to so non-controversial that even a staunch opponent of marriage equality ran terrified from the issue during his campaign. The man who advertised his marriage equality support is now governor; that is the future despite NOM claims to the contrary.

    So Maggie & Co can keep fattening their wallets via their Mormon-sponsored hatred, but in the end their miserable life mission will fail, and they will be rightly remembered as the useless bigots they are.

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  17. Zach says:

    Maggie,your husband is Indian and in the past (and even today in some places) that was viewed as as abomination.
    Being a race isn’t a choice, but choosing to marry outside of it is, and according to bigots of the past, that’s why it was a-okay to have bans on interracial marriage.
    Any state where it came up for votes failed with overwhelming majority.
    Funny how you label judges who follow the law “activist judges”, when they’re the reason you have a marriage to your husband in the first place.

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  18. Confabulator says:

    How ironic that two gay people can seek a relationship together founded in love. A love that then becomes nurturing not only the couple but to any children involved and to those in their greater circle who come in contact with them.

    Which is then attacked by people like Maggie who function from a position of hate and insecurity who also infect and inflame those around them (not just the targets of their hate) with that hatred. While claiming to act toward a greater good.

    There is no safe haven, politically, psychologically, or culturally for the promotion of hatred. It is the true pathology of the human spirit. In contradistinction stand a gay couple who are in love, love being the highest expression of the human spirit.

    So who gets to claim righteousness here?

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  19. David in Houston says:

    Brian Brown has said that the public should get to vote on the civil right of marriage. — Oddly enough, I don’t recall voting on his right to marry. Should people that flagrantly disregard federal court rulings (against them) in multiple states have their civil rights taken away? Let’s have the public vote on it, shall we? I have a feeling Brian wouldn’t like the results of that vote.

    The problem with his position is that 70 years ago the public did vote on the civil right of marriage, and those darn activist judges of U.S. Supreme Court overruled the will of the people and legalized interracial marriage across the United States. At one time, 33 states had bans on interracial marriage, and over 70% of the public supported bans. The public used their religious beliefs to justify the bans. Sound familiar? Bigotry is bigotry… only the targets keep changing. It’s amazing what people can rationalize if they have the Bible on their side.

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    • Wade@MacMorrighan.Net says:

      Sadly, David, it’s because of much of the disconnect with Gallagher and Browne is that they sincerely don’t believe that they should be forced (by the gov’t, according to them) to accept as legal a civil marriage that their religion cannot and will not support! Gallagher calls this “legalizing a lie about human nature”! Nice how she and their supporters have mechanized marriage so that love scarcely is involved in any way…

      I just wish that more people–including NOM’s followers–would remember simple American history! Of course, Gallagher wrote an article back in 1991 where she stated, “Embarrassing as it may to admit, most African Americans are Christian’. Ummm….is it just me, or doesn’t that sound racist?

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  20. David - Ft. Lauderdale FL says:

    Very well written article – I believe anyone who respects the role of the Courts as defenders of last resort for oppressed minorities will recognize the merits of your arguments. NOM and its anti-equality allies have made significant gains with last Tuesday’s election and clearly the most significant of those gains was the ouster of Supreme Court Justices in Iowa. LGBT persons and their allies must respond with expanded public awareness campaigns and increased advocacy and activism. Of course these efforts demand participation, effort and funding – things many of us in the LGBT community have so far failed to provide. Far too few of us have realized the dangers posed by anti-equality and anti-gay organizations over the last half decade to the rights, aspirations and future happiness of LGBT citizens.
    Either we push back or we get pushed over in their mad march.
    I’m hoping we all push back… let’s answer with the truth and simple dignity of our lives.

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  22. Kahil says:

    I would really like to know the answer to a question that has been left unanswered. How does “gay marriage” affect “traditional marriage” in any way? Does Adam and Steve getting married in Massachusetts affect the marriage of a couple in say…Montana? The answer to that is simple in my book. A gay couple getting married affects the marriage of a hetero couple no more/no less than the marriage of another hetero couple. Which is to say that it in no way does. The facts are there if you are willing to see them.

    In this economy, one would think that from an economic standpoint that gay marriage would be a plus. Does it no mean more work for the marriage industry? Does it not mean more work for the counseling industry? Does it not mean more work for divorce lawyers? Gay couples face the same ups and downs and challenges that hetero couples do, which would therefore mean all of the industries that reap the benefits of hetero marriage would reap the same benefits from homosexual marriages.

    If you strip away all the talking points that NOM and other anti-gay groups have which are clearly based upon opinion and made up evidence, then all they have left is the religious argument. As we all know, we all have the right to worship as we choose, but religion shall not be a basis of law. Doing so would force one religion’s values and beliefs upon others, which is unconstitutional. I see it as no better than the Sharia law that these conservatives are so afraid of. Since all they have is their religious argument, then their point is moot….it has no standing.

    Finally, despite what NOM and others will say, there is no significant difference between a traditional family and a family with homosexual parents. If the children are loved, taken care of and healthy, then what’s the problem? Studies clearly show that homosexual relationships tend to be more stable than their heterosexual counterparts. These bigots and hypocrites will barely bat and eye at a hetero relationship/family being torn apart due to infidelities, drug abuse, physical abuse, etc. But if two homosexuals want to be together and raise a family, you’d think the world was about to end. Answer this NOM/Maggie… Would you rather children spend their entire childhood in an orphanage or in and out of foster care or living on the street…or have them living in a home with two loving, caring parents who happen to be homosexual?

    If someone is gay and wants to be apart of a loving, committed relationship…then why stop that? If a loving, committed gay couple wants to adopt a child or children and give them the love and care they would otherwise lack…then why stop that? If a homosexual is willing to serve and die for you so you can continue to freely continue a campaign of hate…then why stop that? Why Maggie?

    If all you have is repeated conservative rhetoric that has no basis in fact…then save your breath.

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    • These bigots and hypocrites will barely bat and eye at a hetero relationship/family being torn apart due to infidelities, drug abuse, physical abuse, etc.

      Actually, both NOM and organizations like Focus on the Family have strongly come out against all of these things.

      In contrast, gay and lesbian organizations and leaders routinely promote promiscuity, insist that monogamy is “hurtful”, demand that divorce be made virtually instantaneous, mock marriage as meaningless and patriarchal, attack those who speak out against pornography addiction and other such activities that negatively affect intimacy, and insist that enforcement of drug laws is wrong and “homophobic”.

      The answer to that is simple in my book. A gay couple getting married affects the marriage of a hetero couple no more/no less than the marriage of another hetero couple.

      Then of course, you support and endorse child, bestial, and other forms of marriage, since these do not affect the marriages of anyone else, correct? Or are you willing to state that it may be in society’s interest to limit marriage? Doesn’t that make your stance hypocritical, since you insist that the only reason to limit marriage is that it would negatively affect your relationship?

      Answer this NOM/Maggie… Would you rather children spend their entire childhood in an orphanage or in and out of foster care or living on the street…or have them living in a home with two loving, caring parents who happen to be homosexual?

      One would think, Kahil, if you really cared about these children, that you would not promote the promiscuity, divorce, and irresponsibility that would lead to them being in this situation.

      That is what truly makes your example hypocritical. Point to one gay and lesbian organization that promotes monogamy, fidelity, and responsibility. Point to one gay and lesbian organization that criticizes divorce. Point to one gay and lesbian organization that tells parents that they are responsible for their children and criticizes child abandonment. Point to one gay and lesbian organization that promotes positive family relationships and counseling in the same way that Focus on the Family or similar groups do. Point to one gay and lesbian organization that applauds responsible parenting and promotes fostering and adoption of children.

      You only care about these hypothetical “children” if you can use them as bargaining chips and hostages to demand gay-sex marriage. Otherwise, they mean nothing to you.

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      • Steve Silberman says:

        Point to one gay and lesbian organization that promotes monogamy, fidelity, and responsibility. Point to one gay and lesbian organization that criticizes divorce. Point to one gay and lesbian organization that tells parents that they are responsible for their children and criticizes child abandonment. Point to one gay and lesbian organization that promotes positive family relationships and counseling in the same way that Focus on the Family or similar groups do. Point to one gay and lesbian organization that applauds responsible parenting and promotes fostering and adoption of children.

        The movement for marriage equality. Next question, Dallas?

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        • Emma says:

          Steve, perfect answer. I was wondering when he would stop ranting long enough to figure out the idiocy of his entire rant. Thanks for making me smile at the end of his vitriol.

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      • Mark M (Seattle) says:

        Courage Campaign, HRC, PFLAG, and countless other family positive organizations all working toward full equality in this the ‘land of the Free’…these are the organizations that promote the things you are asking about.
        Name me one GLBT organization that promotes promiscuity?
        And don’t you honestly think instances of promiscuity is a slippery slope to be going down when in any city, in any state in this coutry you can so easily find strip clubs, nudie bars, and variations on each all catering to the ‘straight’ men of society.
        Sexual freedom and sexual play is NOT a gay issue alone.
        If you wish to point fingers make sure you pay attention to those pointing back at you.

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      • Maggie4NoH8 says:

        Wow NDT… You nailed it! I am assuming you are from TX, and I hope you are familiar with the old southern saying “showing your ass”…

        Steve – HIGH FIVE! You nailed it with your response to NDT! Too bad it will be lost on him/her.

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      • Fiona64 says:

        And I’m sure you have a source for every single one of your assertions, right?

        And that would be “what my pastor told me,” as opposed to something from the reality-based community.

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      • Catherine says:

        NDT –

        You are truly ignorant of anything based in fact. Name one legitimate GLBT organization that promotes promiscuity, divorce and child-abandonment. Of course the majority of gays are against and do not promote these behaviors but you just stick to your outdated and prejudiced viewpoints about gays – of whom you obviously know nothing. The reality is that the system is full of children that were brought into this world by irresponsible heterosexual behavior but people of your ilk would prefer that these innocents be left to the care of the state rather than be “tainted” by homosexuals. You are a dinosaur. Everything you spout is couched in your belief that you are correct by Divine authority. All you people forget the love of God. You pay lip service to it while you torment, harrass and, yes, hate other people. I hope you are all ready for what REALLY awaits you on Judgment Day.

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      • Vienna Hagen says:

        Why is it that supporters of “traditional marriage” cannot seem to come to terms with the fact that bestiality and pedophilia are completely unrelated to homosexuality?

        No. Supporters of marriage equality do NOT support bestiality. Nor do they support pedophilia. Marriage is a contract between consenting adults, and neither your goldfish nor your six year old are consenting adults, and homosexuals do not want to marry them. It is just the same as heterosexual marriage which is not about to encourage bestiality or pedophilia either.

        An interesting side note is that in some states, it is legal for a man to marry a girl as young as 14 with parental permission. So it sure appears that pedophilia is legal for heterosexuals. Go figure that one.

        As to organizations that promote homosexual monogamy, fidelity and responsibility, all the Marriage Equality groups do just that. Not to mention the many churches who support same sex marriage.

        And it is insulting and a flat out lie to say that we don’t care about our children. Were we to say the same about you, you would scream bloody murder. We love our children, we even love YOUR castoff children who we adopt and take as our own. Do not insult us or lie about us, you unmitigated bigot.

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  23. Pingback: I Want to Hear Maggie’s Answer. « wakingupnow.com

  24. Pingback: NOM’s Abhorrent Behavior Called Out Again | DanNation

  25. Dan Tomkinson says:

    The real truth about marriage equality is that support for marrriage equality is the conservative position. Wherein the government actually some influence over the lives and actions of the citizenry. Government has no standing in determining who can or can not enter into a civil contract between two (or more) consenting parties. And Maggie (the same Maggie who demonized a movie about just treating people with dignity) doesn’t understand this. Her position is actually the intrusive and radical position.

    That being said, the role of the family in America has changed drastically from the idyllic days of the ’50′s that Maggie and NOM seem to want to restore. In my humble opinion, the shift to a debt based economy with floating currency and constant inflation did more to create stresses on traditional marriage than any real or perceived activity of any real or perceived gay rights advocacy group could ever do. Economic stress is the number 1 factor in the breakup of any marriage. Maggie knows this. But 2 jobs are now, barely enough for a traditional family to get by. So kids are at day care or being baby sat by the one eyed monster 9which is now interactive) and parental oversight from at least 1 parent is a pipe dream to the VAST majority of American families. And that pipe dream is only going to get worse as the fiscal conservative politicians enter government and demand austerity measures from the very people who have no more left to give.

    Economic stress is the NOM’s enemy Maggie, not some group of people who are just asking to be treated as equals.

    And while you, Maggie, are not bound by law to treat anyone else as an equal, the constitution itself demands that our government must treat all as equals, regardless of your personal prejudice.

    if NOM REALLY gave a damn about all families then NOM would be much better served to work towards economic justice and kicking the moneybaggers the hell out of our government. It’s unfortunate that NOM is, instead, fixated on religious tradition instead of real justice.

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  26. Dan Colman says:

    Steve,

    Your lengthy reply to Maggie Gallagher was extremely well put, and it’s too bad she couldn’t take the time to offer an equally thoughtful response — just a quippy one liner. It kind of says something about the intellectual bankruptcy of her arguments. I know there is little solace in this, but she will end up on the wrong side with history with the George Wallaces of the world. And it will happen sooner than later. It’s sad to see someone embracing such a legacy. But you have it with each generation.

    Dan

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  27. Lab Rat says:

    @Maggie:

    I genuinely don’t understand why you are so against gay marriage, or why you have such a determined attitude that the “only” way to make a marriage is between husband and wife.

    My fiance’s father is gay – him and his wife stayed together while my fiance grew up, and then split up in the nicest and calmest possible way. His mother married again, his father found another partner, but his father was not allowed to “marry”. How is that fair? While there may be no proof that gay marriage laws *on their own* prevent gay suicides (which I don’t know), it’s clear that stigmatising gay people (as with any minority) leads to huge unhappiness, particularly among children who will be getting the message that they are less likely to have a happy married future. In some cases, even in some parts of America they start to come to the conclusion that they have *no* future. Legalising gay marriage helps to reassure them – no you still will be happy, yes your relationships are still valued.

    And before you ask my fiance is perfectly nice, perfectly normal and perfectly straight. I get on really well with all four of my in-laws and find it really exciting that my kids will have four granddads!

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  28. Marcia Simon says:

    Maggie,
    Get your thinking into the 21st Century! A “normal” family is one that consists two parents, regardless of gender, who provide support to their child(ren). The dynamic created by having two parents is more important than the sex of the parents when providing a stable household in which to raise children. Duh. I am a straight, married woman with a modern view of America. You are stuck in the dark ages, I see.

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    • Barbara Saunders says:

      Oy!

      So my single, female friends who adopted children in need are not “normal”? Let’s please not turn the equality movement into nothing more than an exercise to move gay people out of the “deviant” group while leaving a whole lot of the rest of us behind.

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  29. Wendy Jackson says:

    Maggie,

    The reason gay (or LGBTQ) teens have suicidal thoughts is because in many places across the US they are ostracized. I think this much is obvious to you and most other people.

    It seems to logically follow that the way to prevent teen suicide would be reduce, and hopefully eliminate the ostracism. This is, supposedly, something you and other hetero-supremacists would want as well, or would at least be willing to pay lip-service to.

    But like bigoted whites during Jim Crow, or men during most of human history, you want this group of people to remain “other”. You feel that their existence somehow threatens your way of life, and so you want to keep them down. Ingrouping/outgrouping is a basic human behavior. It also causes immense suffering, in which you have directly had a hand.

    As long as you continue to advocate for the idea that people who are LGBTQ somehow do not deserve the same right to happiness as hetero folks, you are sending a message to these teens that they are unworthy and lesser than their hetero peers. Achieving legal force behind Gay marriage is a start. But if a teen is continually assaulted by these messages (of subtle degradation) from people like you, how are they supposed to see the light a the end of the tunnel? Marriage is Years off. Their tormentors are in their everyday lives.

    Further, what many studies have shown is that teenagers have very little perspective in making all kinds of decisions in life. This is partially why so many teens die in car accidents, or make myriad other foolish decisions.

    What troubles me more, though, about your “question” is that it seems little more than a thinly veiled ploy to advance the argument that if LGBTQ teen suicide rates aren’t affected by their ability to marry, then either we don’t need to have marriage rights for everyone, and/or that LGBTQ teens are more susceptible to suicide for reasons other than their ability to eventually marry. However, as I mention above, this argument neglects that even when marriage is legal, teens will still be tormented and excluded, especially as long as people like you are sending messages to them that they are somehow unequal or less deserving.

    I know you have really ‘bought in’ to this idea that LGBTQ are somehow going to threaten your hetero marriage, and other peoples’ hetero marriages. Listening to these arguments may create some cognitive dissonance for you. I encourage you to listen to that dissonance. I think you will find that your worldview is inconsistent, and I wish for you the courage to rethink it.

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    • Bill says:

      “As long as you continue to advocate for the idea that people who are LGBTQ somehow do not deserve the same right to happiness as hetero folks, you are sending a message to these teens that they are unworthy and lesser than their hetero peers.”

      Indeed, that is her INTENTION.

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    • Wade@MacMorrighan.Net says:

      Wendy, ending prejudice against Gay people is not what NOM and Maggie want. In fact, mags has made it clear that to secure “religious freedom” she wants people to be able to openly discriminate against gay people for whatever reason in the civic sphere of life (housing, employment, shopping, etc.) so long as one is allowed to invoke their religion to excuse themselves from the consequences of the laws! To Maggie and NOM, their Freedom of Religion is predicated on our oppression!

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  30. Raymond says:

    I’d like to offer some quotes from a USA Government publication, found here:
    http://www.america.gov/st/democracyhr-english/2008/May/20080609194934eaifas0.5346796.html

    Majority Rule, Minority Rights

    (The following one-pager is taken from the U.S. Department of State publication, Principles of Democracy.)

    On the surface, the principles of majority rule and the protection of individual and minority rights would seem contradictory. In fact, however, these principles are twin pillars holding up the very foundation of what we mean by democratic government.

    • Majority rule is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to oppression. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual.

    • Minorities – whether as a result of ethnic background, religious belief, geographic location, income level, or simply as the losers in elections or political debate – enjoy guaranteed basic human rights that no government, and no majority, elected or not, should remove.

    • Minorities need to trust that the government will protect their rights and self-identity. Once this is accomplished, such groups can participate in, and contribute to their country’s democratic institutions.

    • Democracies understand that protecting the rights of minorities to uphold cultural identity, social practices, individual consciences, and religious activities is one of their primary tasks.

    • Acceptance of ethnic and cultural groups that seem strange if not alien to the majority can represent one of the greatest challenges that any democratic government can face. But democracies recognize that diversity can be an enormous asset. They treat these differences in identity, culture, and values as a challenge that can strengthen and enrich them, not as a threat.

    • There can be no single answer to how minority-group differences in views and values are resolved – only the sure knowledge that only through the democratic process of tolerance, debate, and willingness to compromise can free societies reach agreements that embrace the twin pillars of majority rule and minority rights.

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  31. Patricia marvin says:

    I wish people using Fred Phelp’s teaching wouldn’t. I have nothing but respect for those fools willing to marry, gay or straight. Marriage is hard work, changes the person’s identity but is a vehicle for great intimacy, friendship and love. U think gay marriage would strengthen traditional marriage. NOM is no friend to family, it is friend to bigotry.

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  32. I should add: My column (the title of which I hate and am not responsible for–this is not about me) is a response to repeated claims that passing gay marriage would reduce the gay teen suicide rate.

    It’s notable that a columnist who claims to be devoted to science it totally uninterested in whether there is ANY evidence that passing gay marriage reduces the gay teen suicide rate.

    He does not contest the evidence with better evidence. He says the fact that I cite evidence is proof I should not be taken seriously ever again.

    Obviously, despite his commitment to neurosci9ence, science and reason,. . .something else is at stake.

    I’m okay with that. Science is incredibly important but it is not everything.

    I just note his condemnation of my column has no roots in any scientific fact he is willing to produce.

    Of course the deaths of gay teen may requires some serious response –esp from those of us who disagree with gay marriage.

    But does it matter whether or not gay marriage helps?

    Or do we just condemn those of us who believe to make a marriage you need a husband and wife–regardless of facts?

    At least some readers of this column will care about the answer.

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    • Steve Silberman says:

      Maggie, thanks for dropping by.

      I see you’re playing a coy rhetorical game about science. Obviously, gay marriage has not been legal in any state long enough for anyone to do a credible study of how such a basic step toward equality might affect teen suicide rates. You personally have seen to that. But let’s not waste time with such nonsense as demanding citations for studies that you know don’t, and can’t, yet exist.

      Here’s a study that does exist. It’s a report on the mental health of the children of gay parents, which proves the untruth of one of your most oft-repeated claims: that kids are harmed by having same-sex parents. Or as you put it: “Children conceived in marriage typically begin life with a mother and father who are pre-committed to caring for that child. In other kinds of couplings, the child is an accident, an intrusion, an unexpected crisis… Same-sex unions are not marriages. For the government to insist that two men or two women in a household union are ‘married’ is unjust.”

      The study is called “The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-being of Children,” from the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2006. The researchers concluded:

      Civil marriage is a legal status that promotes healthy families by conferring a powerful set of rights, benefits, and protections that cannot be obtained by other means. Civil marriage can help foster financial and legal security, psychosocial stability, and an augmented sense of societal acceptance and support. Legal recognition of a spouse can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a nurturing and secure environment for their children. Children who are raised by civilly married parents benefit from the legal status granted to their parents.

      Gay and lesbian people have been raising children for many years and will continue to do so in the future; the issue is whether these children will be raised by parents who have the rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage. Same-gender couples are denied the right to civil marriage in every state except Massachusetts and the right to civil union except in Connecticut and Vermont. The federal government and other state governments do not recognize those civil marriages and civil unions.

      There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents. More than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and any measure of a child’s emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment. These data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up in a family with 1 or more gay parents. Conscientious and nurturing adults, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, can be excellent parents. The rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage can further strengthen these families.

      If you need more information, in my original post, I included a link to a 2007 Department of Health and Human Services report on the salubrious effects of marriage on health. I’m sure you’ve seen many more studies than these, because one of the most persuasive books on the benefits of matrimony is “The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially” — which was, indeed, written by you and Linda Waite. Thanks for that book. I learned a lot by reading it.

      One thing that has haunted me about the book is when your co-author writes: “We suspect, but do not know, that adults in such same-sex couples would reap some, but not all, the benefits of marriage. The benefits accorded same-sex couples by marriage would also depend on the extent to which family, friends, and other social institutions supported these unions… As private citizens, the authors have reached different conclusions, with Linda Waite tending to favor and Maggie Gallagher tending to oppose extending marriage to same-sex couples.”

      I found that deeply interesting — that after examining all the evidence, your co-author came to the conclusion that the benefits of marriage should be extended to gay couples, but that you decided, instead, to make your life’s work depriving gay couples of the very benefits that you understand so keenly. That indicates to me that you must have, as you put it here, “something else at stake.” I wonder what that could be? And I wonder how Linda Waite has come to peace with having her name so closely associated with yours and the kind of work you do now?

      In my case, my “something else” — the deeply personal reason I am so opposed to NOM’s project of depriving other people of happiness, stability, meaning, and love — is that my husband and I are legally married in California after 16 years together, despite your best efforts. (This weekend is our anniversary, actually.) If you’re curious about it, I told the personal story of our marriage in a piece called “Happily Ever After.”

      One of the main things that I’m curious about in reference to you — though it’s really none of my business — is what you would tell one of your sons if, in ten or twenty years, he comes to you and tells you that he’s gay. (These things happen; ask the Cheneys!) Would you feel comfortable telling him the truth?

      That is, will you feel comfortable telling him, “I’ve spent many years ensuring that you and the love of your life can never have the kind of happiness and stability that your father and I took for granted. Should your beloved get sick, I have worked tirelessly so that you will be unable to visit him in the hospital — adding panic, confusion, and layers of bureaucracy to the most frightening moments you will have to endure together. I have also spent millions of dollars tithed by goodhearted Mormons and other people of faith promoting ballot initiatives to deprive you of the benefits that I spent the first half of my life chronicling in my books. Read my books and know that I became a national celebrity by making sure that you, anyone you will ever want to share your life with, and people like you will never have access to the precious, meaningful, and profoundly fulfilling life I describe in those pages. Life is brief. Spend your life as I did, making certain that other people can’t have the security and fulfillment we all ache and yearn for when we’re young. At least your father and I will not have to endure the shame of ever seeing you get married.”

      I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes then, Maggie. But it’s never too late to take stock of what really matters, and to change your life so that you’re working for a more hopeful future for everyone. I earnestly wish you the best in coming to that moment of clarity soon.

      Thanks for visiting.

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      • Ben Turner says:

        I like how you have to write a PhD-level thesis to give a suitably scientific response to someone’s comment these days. And then it’s still not enough for most people.

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      • Coy and rhetorical is your emotional response to the question of evidence. You have argued that gay marriage will eliminate gay teen suicide. Without any evidence.

        I mean many people make arguments without empirical evidence. Science only reaches so far. But you fancy yourself a scientific–”neuroscience” –reporter.

        Perhaps haver ten years, gay marriage will reduce gay teen suicide in Mass–or how many years would you accept as an empiricial rebuttal.

        Meanwhile the gay kids keep dying. And the adults keeps saying–our culture wars will save them.

        I don’t think it’s true, and I know there is no evidence of it.

        Whether there is evidence that gay marriage is “bad” is different from the case you’ve made: opposition to gay marriage causes gay teen suicide.

        Anyone who cares about athe actual kids has to ask: is that true? What is the evidence?

        Ranking on gay marriage may make you feel good but it will not save one child’s life.

        Take care and thanks for responding to me–emotionally and not scientifically but heck not everything can be a scientific quesiton I acknowledge.

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        • Jexer says:

          Maggie- As a questioning/gay teen, I seriously considered suicide on multiple occasions because my world was filled with hateful homophobes like you. My options were: live a lie, pretend to love someone I don’t to ‘fit in’… or build a life with a person I could love and face discrimination and injustice every day… or remain alone and unloved.

          Of course, you’ve never been in our shoes and have no idea what it’s like, but presume to judge us anyway. How Christian of you. Not.

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          • Actually, you had a fourth option, which was to live your life and enjoy what you have.

            But then again, that doesn’t give you the opportunity to blame others for your problems or play the victim all day, does it?

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            • Evan Meyers says:

              Hello North Dallas Thirty,

              What do you mean by “enjoy what you have?”

              Are you attracted to the opposite sex? If so, you fit in pretty much wherever you go. You can relax, live your life, and just “enjoy what you have.”

              Do you wake up every morning and ‘decide’ to be attracted to the opposite sex? People who are gay are attracted to the same sex the same way you’re probably attracted to the opposite sex.

              Best,
              Evan

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              • I mean exactly what I say. Enjoy what you have, instead of whining and crying and claiming you’re a victim every single second of every single day.

                I also find it amusing that you automatically assume that anyone who tells you to live your life and enjoy what you have must be straight. Clearly gays and lesbians are constantly miserable and can never enjoy anything. They have to be victims 24/7 and are incapable of functioning normally in society.

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                • Evan Meyers says:

                  North Dallas Thirty,

                  You say that you want gay and lesbian people to enjoy their lives, and yet you spew out intolerance, ignorance, blame, and hate.

                  I hope that the people in your life treat you better than that.

                  Best,
                  Evan

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                • Vienna Hagen says:

                  Enjoy being constantly attacked by homophobes? Enjoy being bullied in schools? Enjoy being regarded as second class citizens?

                  If you were to suggest that any other minority “enjoy” those things, you would be immediately called out on it as a bigot. Guess what, its true. You are.

                  I, and many others, am perfectly capable of functioning normally in society. The norms of society call for marriage and kids. As soon as marriage equality happens, we will all be delighted to show you how normally we function in society.

                  Until then, I am, and will continue, to enjoy MY life, and to strive for equality for myself and others because it is the right thing to do.

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            • KS says:

              Jexer was simply acknowledging the injustices we as gay American citizens face. There’s no way around it. Looking at our culture and our laws, it’s obvious gays are treated as less than.

              Do YOU know what it’s like to be on the brink of suicide because so many people hate you, for something you were born with? It IS in fact the fault of others that gay teens are driven towards suicide. That we can’t reap the benefits of marriage. That we are beaten. That we are fired because of our sexual orientation. That we are murdered – in some countries, by the government itself.

              Get over yourself and walk in someone else’s shoes.

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            • Cake says:

              Wow, NorthDallas30, that’s a really handy response. You can use it in just about any circumstance:

              Victims of human trafficking? “Live your life and enjoy what you have.”

              Japanese in internment camps? “Live your life and enjoy what you have.”

              Women who want the vote? “Live your life and enjoy what you have.”

              Starving children who only get 400 calories a day? “Live your life and enjoy what you have.”

              Now, thanks to the genius of NorthDallas30, we never have to listen to those who call for justice and liberty. We can just tell them, “Live your life and enjoy what you have.”

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          • Evan Meyers says:

            Thanks for sharing this, Jexer. So many terrible options in a culture of oppression. And right when you’re forming your identity and trying to figure out what’s going on in the world. It’s startling that someone could think that denying basic human rights would reduce suicides among gay youth. My dad is gay, and it took him a long time to find peace with himself and with his parents who are conservative Christians. Best to you in your journey.

            Evan

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        • Maggie,

          You say that your work has no scientifically proven effect on LGBT teens and suicide.

          Fine.

          It’s telling, however, that you did not respond to any of Steve’s other points. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that you want the mental and physical benefits of marriage explicitly denied same-sex couples.

          Based on your article Why Marriage Is Good For You, you want same-sex couples to:

          10. BE LESS SAFE “Marriage lowers the risk that both men and women will become victims of violence, including domestic violence.”

          9. DIE EARLIER “Married people live longer and healthier lives.”

          8. HAVE UNHEALTHY CHILDREN “Children lead healthier, longer lives if parents get and stay married.”

          7. EARN LESS MONEY “Married men make, by some estimates, as much as 40 percent more money than comparable single guys, even after controlling for education and job history.”

          6. ACQUIRE LESS WEALTH “Married people not only make more money, they manage money better and build more wealth together than either would alone.”

          5. BE UNFAITHFUL AND NOT HAVE LIFELONG RELATIONSHIPS “Marriage increases sexual fidelity. Marriage is also the only realistic promise of permanence in a romantic relationship.”

          4. BE MENTALLY UNSTABLE “Marriage is good for your mental health. Married men and women are less depressed, less anxious, and less psychologically distressed”

          3. BE UNHAPPY “Overall, 40 percent of married people, compared with about a quarter of singles or cohabitors, say they are “very happy” with life in general. Married people are also only about half as likely as singles or cohabitors to say they are unhappy with their lives.” [you and NOM fight to make sure same-sex couples can be nothing more than cohabitors]

          1. HAVE LESS SEX, LESS OFTEN “both husbands and wives are more likely to report that they have an extremely satisfying sex life than are singles or cohabitors.”

          I’ve left out your #2 as it deals only with children of divorce, unlike the other points you made.

          Please, explain how you are not a bigot, when your own writings attest to the ills you wish upon gays and lesbians.

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          • Leslie says:

            What a stunning rebuttal. But, alas, I doubt that the good lady will have anything substantial to add. Asking Maggie Gallagher to prove she is “not a bigot” is a little bit asking her how a Catholic woman having children out of wedlock somehow makes her “not a hypocrite” for citing religion in her anti-gay crusade.

            Yeah. It doesn’t quite work.

            Oh. and if you’re still lurking around this corner of the internet, Maggie I’m-Not-A-Bigot, here’s a question for you: if you actually give a damn about gay people killing themselves, why were you all so hot and bothered over schoolkids learning tolerance in the classroom — and so silent on the Ugandan bill aimed at genocide against those you “care about” so much?

            Nevermind. I got it. In NOMland, a *gay* schoolbook that killed nobody is SO MUCH WORSE than government-sanctioned apartheid and genocide. Gotcha. In that case, I’ll have what you’re smoking. I could use a little break from sanity and rational thought, myself.

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        • Wade@MacMorrighan.Net says:

          Maggie, as a Historian, I must admit that I take great personal and scientific offense at how you–in your speeches, articles and interviews–have consistently misrepresented, or altogether are attempting to re-write the historical record, chiefly for those that do not know any better.

          As a Pagan High Priest I am well-acquainted with the historical record, and as a Historian with numerous articles under my belt I prize intellectual integrity. You often make the simply fallacious and outlandish claim that (paraphrasing), “in every society–everywhere–marriage has been understood to be the union of a husband and wife to assure the rights of the child to know and love their biological parents.” This simply is untrue! Not only do you not supply any sources to support your allegation, but the vast historical record speaks to quite the contrary. Even the Anthropological Association of America (the largest on Earth) has endorsed Marriage Equality based not only on the historical record, the evolving nature of marriage, but over 100 years of study in world-cultures.

          Now, on to the meat of your claim… About 5 years ago I began a research project on the Eurasian hearth-goddess cultural motif which led to a more than 30 page article revealing data from not only Indo-European societies, but proto-Indo-European as well. Much of it gave me a deep insight into the history of marriage, because the hearth-goddess in almost every Eurasian culture was associated with local marriage rites as the personification of the ancestral hearth-flame. It was through this lens that I was able to discern (as other scholars before me) that marriage began in an age (north in the Caucas Mts.) before the IEs, when women had no rights–they were property, not people. And, as such, marriage served to provide no bond between a child and their parents. Instead, it served as a mechanism to ensure inheritance rights and the passage of paternal/ patriarchal titles, lands and privileged. In fact, in several cultures, such as the Kurgan nomads and early Hindu cultures the so-called “wife” would be dispatched and buried alive with her deceased husband along with his other prized possessions (or, in India, burned alive on his funeral pyre). But, if marriage really *was*, always and everywhere, about the alleged rights of children, than why do we have data from many cultures that, even after marriage, after a period of a few days it is decided if a child should be kept or rejected, as in Greece when a sickly or malformed infant would be thrown over a cliff instead of introduced to the ancestral hearth-flame in a ceremony of welcoming? (That, of course, is a rhetorical question.)

          You also claim that two men or two women in a relationship to not constitute a marriage. According to whom? (Again, that’s rhetorical.) After all, the anthropological and historical records evince a wealth of data from cultures–many which are still thriving–where two men or two women were allowed to marry each other. Several Roman emperors had lawful husbands, it was common in China and Japan, as well as Greece. Indeed, in every culture on Earth, at one time, Gay people were revered as natural-porn Shamans; we were special and sacred, and to violate us or oppress us in any way was deemed a “sin”. In fact, in Native American tradition there is a wealth of evidence for their chiefly Gay shamans marrying other men, while the in present-day Siberia, the Chuckchi people’s Gay shamans (called, in English transliteration, “soft men”) are greatly revered and marriages between them and another man is celebrated as with any other marriage under the sun.

          I strongly urge you to cease and desist misrepresenting the historical record by fallaciously asserting a lie as historical fact when it’s not!

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      • Wade@MacMorrighan.Net says:

        Steve, according to this investigative article over at Huffington, Gallagher grossly misrepresented the sources she was citing when writing that book:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bella-depaulo/harvard-press-was-right-t_b_480152.html

        Oh, and the chances of her having a Gay grandchild, niece/ nephew, or great-grandchild are ever larger. Could she honestly look them in the eye and truly think that she has their best interests at heart considering her life’s work to meddle in other people’s private legal affairs?

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    • Paul in Canada says:

      Maggie,
      how do you sleep at night? God have mercy on your soul!

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  33. Leaving aside our core disagreement Steve: I’m pretty sure John Adams would be on our side on this one!

    It takes a great deal of chutzpah to suggest otherwise. Perhaps neuroscience gives one that.

    Cheers,

    Maggie

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    • Evan Meyers says:

      Hello Maggie,

      I find it interesting that you disregard the entire argument and simply invoke Adams as being on your “side.” This is consistent with conservative rhetoric that often claims the mantle of U.S. political founders as an ultimate source of authority.

      The question should not be whether this or that founder would have agreed with your position – the focus of an honest dialog is on the substance of ideas and arguments. It is the substance of documents like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence that contribute to their relevance today.

      “All men are created equal.” The words ring true because they are true – not because of the weight of their author. For the purposes of affirming and defending human rights, we do not need to parse whether or not Jefferson, who owned hundreds of slaves, had people of African descent or women or gay people in mind when he wrote it. The words are heralded today because of their truth – a truth worth fighting for.

      I strongly urge anyone who believes that being gay is wrong to consider their own sexuality. Do you wake up in the morning and “decide” to be “traditionally” attracted to people of the opposite gender? There are lots of traditions in this world, including war and the oppression and subjugation of women and of people who look, talk, behave, or believe differently than the dominant population. Some traditions definitely need to be left behind and rejected.

      Best,
      Evan

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      • Bill says:

        That Gallagher possesses not the moral fortitude to even experience shame or embarrassment at her immoral goals tells the world everything it needs to know about her.

        Mostly, I feel sorry for her children, who will one day pay the price for the sins of their mother.

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  34. Confabulator says:

    We all know that the bible is the literal word of God and that God himself is a homophobe, homosexuality being an abomination and all that. Do the good people of Iowa really need any more justification than that?

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  35. Confabulator says:

    You know in the south many people still like the idea of lynching black people. What we need are non activist judges who will not thwart the will of the people in that area. It does, after all, have tradition behind it. It’s high time that east coast liberal elites stop telling southern folk how to conduct their affairs.

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  36. MikeA says:

    Judges who twist Constitution to the wishes of GAY SUPREMACISTS deserve to be removed from their benches.

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    • Steve Silberman says:

      Interesting theory, Mike. And how is demanding marriage rights equal to yours an act of “supremacy”? Were civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King “black supremacists” in your view?

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      • MikeA says:

        Demanding “marriage” rights for a small (but influential) minority, but not for other minorities (polygamists, polyandrists, etc.) is a SUPREMACIST behavior.
        Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equals rights for ALL racial & ethnic groups. That’s not a supremacist behavior.
        (I’ve put the word “marriage” in quotes because same-sex marriage is not a marriage in the traditional common sense; certainly not in the any-sane-person-opinion of the time when Iowa Constitution was written)

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        • Steve Silberman says:

          I see. Well, Mike, go mount a protest for polyandrous marriage rights if that’s really keeping you up nights; God knows, no one’s stopping you.

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          • MikeA says:

            === 2nd attempt; 1st one was blocked ===
            After removing personal attack your answer comes down to:
            “I see.”

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            • Vienna Hagen says:

              No, in fact, his answer was, if you feel that strongly that polyandry should be legal, go and petition for it. You may even find some support.

              I will give you credit (where perhaps others might not) that you did NOT try to bring up bestiality and pedophilia. Thanks for that.

              However, I have to say that I am not protesting AGAINST polygamous marriage, and if there were a way to work it out that all partners would have equal treatment I would be for it. I hope that makes you feel better?

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  37. Kara Lynn Stone says:

    The gay marriage issue is but the tip of the iceberg of discontent with judges who have become laws unto themselves. Gay marriage was but the lightning rod in a massive political storm that is lashing out across the country.

    The fact that Iowa voters for the first time in nearly 50 years determined to remove sitting jurists illustrates the level of frustrations average citizens feel toward a judiciary they perceive as increasingly foreign and hostile.

    Voters are disgusted by the perception that too many judges have abused their office to legislate from the bench. They view some radical judicial rulings as upending not upholding the Constitution, as inventing privileges mislabeled as rights rather than sustaining natural rights. Dissatisfaction with strained logic to release violent criminals, trespass on private property rights, and agenda-driven rulings to advance the power of the state while trampling personal liberty piled up.

    Obviously Iowans felt Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit were not serving democracy well when they ignored overwhelming public sentiments to twist public morality by judicial diktat. The judges poured salt in the wounds with what was generally perceived as a
    “f–k you J.Q. Public, we are the law, we are above the law, and whatever we say is the law” decision. Voters responded to this judicial arrogance by exercising their rarely used vote to dismiss the most visible offenders who legislate from the bench.

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    • Steve Silberman says:

      Kara, please do explain two things to me:

      1. The phrase “natural rights.”
      2. The difference between “personal liberty” and the liberty to marry one’s life-partner.

      Thank you.

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      • MikeA says:

        Can’t speak for Kara, but I’d answer:
        1. Defining the meanings of the words (such as “marriage”) is one of society’s Natural Rights.
        2. Liberty to CHOOSE life-partner is a “personal” liberty. “Liberty” to force State to issue marriage certificate is neither “personal” nor a “liberty” (it’s a “legal right”, subjected to many restrictions).

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        • Steve Silberman says:

          Mike, you still haven’t explained why you believe that gay people do not deserve the same right to find happiness that you enjoy. That’s the problem with the anti-gay marriage movement: It’s so clearly based on either religious reasons that are inappropriate to apply to secular society (unless you’d also feel comfortable with a council of rabbis or imams raising millions of dollars to pass laws in your community banning pork and shellfish) or personal animus against gay people (which is obvious in your case every time you engage your caps lock). You folks try to ennoble your arguments by claiming to be victims, but in a world where gay people die every day because of bigotry and bullying, the notion that your “liberties” are somehow threatened by a gay couple down the block that has been together for decades formalizing their commitment and celebrating their happiness with their friends and families seems frankly implausible. I understand that you probably belong to a religion that you believe doesn’t approve of homosexuality (though you could probably find people of your faith who are not as motivated to intrude into the lives of others) and that you have a personal discomfort with gay people that you attempt to rationalize with various arguments. But in the United States, the judicial branch (at least, as we’ve known it until the Roberts era) exists to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority, as Brown vs. Board of Education protected blacks from the prejudice against them.

          Loving gay couples will exist whether you approve of them or not. They deserve the same rights that you have.

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          • Barbara Saunders says:

            I agree, Steve, and I would add that there is a strong current of sexism to it, too. By that I do not mean anti-woman attitudes so much as an idea of rigid gender roles for both men and women, upheld in part by marriage roles.

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            • Fiona64 says:

              I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve said this: prick a homophobe and a misogynist will bleed.

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        • Jeffrey says:

          It sounds like your definition of “natural rights” is “whatever rights seem right to me and people like me, at this moment.” Which is to say, tyranny.

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    • Maggie4NoH8 says:

      If the “founding fathers” were so opposed to same-sex marriage, why didn’t they just include those words in the original Constitution? That way, we wouldn’t have to try to figure it out today.

      I feel for the those judges – they have spent their lives devoted to interpreting the law, upholding the US (and state) Constitution and I seriously doubt they bored in their chambers one day and wondered how best they could spice their work day up? Or as Kara Lynn Stone puts it “f–k you J.Q. Public”?

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      • MikeA says:

        And if the founding fathers were opposed to rape, murder, etc., “why didn’t they just include those words in the original Constitution”?
        How could they be so stupid not to foresee than in mere 220 years such questions will be asked?

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        • Steve Silberman says:

          Mike, I honestly appreciate your comparing my marriage to rape and murder, because it relieves me of the burden of ever having to approve one of your comments again. See ya — but not here.

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  38. Pingback: Quick Links | A Blog Around The Clock

  39. Jonathan says:

    The net effect is as you say, a chilling effect on the future of legislation to protect minorities through the courts. The source of every important piece of legislation that improved the rights and lives of minorities.

    To neglect to see the overt threat of the recall iof the judiciary is sheer stupidity or just denial. This is an excellent article. I commend the author.

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  40. nicholas says:

    …but seriously. shouldn’t the national organisation for marriage be concerned with the separation of the churches ceremonies from the state. seems like that might be the best way to “protect” marriage. would they then be against civil unions for gays? or for that matter, any couple that isn’t religious?

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    • Steve Silberman says:

      Oh, but Nicholas, you’re taking them at their word. “Protecting marriage” is just NOM’s buzzphrase sleight-of-hand for “hating gays.” If NOM was serious about protecting marriage, it would be working on the much larger problem of reducing heterosexual divorce and infidelity. And yes, they are against civil unions for gays too. They’re not serious about explaining what they believe, but they’re deadly serious about accomplishing their mission.

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    • TikiHead says:

      Nicholas, we already allow nonreligious to get Married. You go get a license from a Judge, and it’s done.

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  41. nicholas says:

    ha! NOM should be called NONFGLBTMOFBARN (national organisation not for gay lesbian bisexual transgender marriage, only for bigots and religious nuts)

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  42. Fall says:

    If men and women are totally equivalent in every way, then laws against gay marriage are unconstitutional. But then again, if that’s true, separate restrooms and separate athletic teams for women are too.

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  43. Alessandra says:

    “It’s time for a thorough biopsy of this malignancy before it becomes terminal.”

    Speaking of destructive and irresponsible people such as yourself… that’s where the biopsy is needed.

    Go NOM, go IOWAns who worked hard and courageously against your lies and libel and slander of your opponents!

    Alessandra

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    • Steve Silberman says:

      Yes Alessandra, I note on your blog that you believe that Tyler Clementi, one of the young gay people who killed himself last month, had a “homosexual problem,” rather than a problem with being terrorized by his roommates and their hidden webcam. I think that speaks for itself.

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      • Alessandra says:

        This was quoted yesterday in the news:
        A few days later, Wei confided to friends that Ravi used her computer to remotely turn on the webcam in his dorm room.

        “She said, ‘Dharun came in to my room and turned on my computer to web chatting. We watched for two minutes,’…” said Sean Yan, 18, a longtime friend.

        Wei told friends she saw Clementi and a male visitor kissing. She described the visitor as “kind of sketchy,” with ragged clothes and a scruffy beard, Yan said.

        ==============

        Along with the “older man” or “much older man” clue previously mentioned in the media, this is the only new clue I have seen about the mysterious homosexual that was with Clementi. But what really stands out to me is the “ragged clothes.”

        Ragged clothes?

        What kind of an older man wears ragged clothes and goes to have homosexual sex with a youngster in a dorm room?

        Although with so little unconfirmed information, this is all sketchy speculation about a sketchy man doing sketchy homosexual acts with a sketchy teenager, it certainly all stinks to me. From the beginning, after having looked at the homosexual porn site Clementi was such a fan of, I got the impression that he could have had a much more perverted little (homo)sexuality mind than his little violin-playing, “shy” persona let on. The big question here is: will there actually be an investigation about this aspect of the case? Or will no one bother to find out – conveniently and cowardly, that is?

        I’m not holding my breath, knowing how spineless and in denial most Americans love to be when it comes to facing how deformed and twisted so much of America is concerning sexuality.

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        • Steve Silberman says:

          Alessandra, while I’m not going to let you turn this blog into a platform for further harrassing Clementi after his death, I’m going to let this one last post of yours through, because it makes plain the sadistic, intrusive, and bizarrely obsessive animus against gay people that motivates Maggie Gallagher, NOM, and so much of the anti-gay movement.

          It’s not enough for people like you that Clementi killed himself; because of your own unexamined psychological needs, you’re still squinting through that hidden webcam, desperately trying to find a way to heap more abuse and injury upon a young man who has already paid the ultimate price of homophobia. Had you been born in the age of lynchings, I have no doubt that you would have been one of the twisted faces in the crowd that lurched forward to spit on the deceased.

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          • Alessandra says:

            Froth away, Steve! Nothing like spinning a vile attack on wonderful, respectful, law-abiding people who think that sexuality’s place is in within loving, long-term, healthy personal relationships. I’m sure this is what people with a deformed sexuality hate the most.

            There is nothing but abuse and hatred in your comment. The only purpose is to demonize conservatives into those horrid, distorted stereotypes that your ignorance fosters with such glee.

            May I remind you that you do not know in any way what led Clementi to kill himself. If being seen kissing was such a devastating experience, the homosexuals who have just staged a “kiss-in” to insult the Pope in Spain this week would have all committed collective suicided right after their dysfunctional little protest. But they have no qualms about shoving their homosexuality ideology into other people’s faces when it comes to insulting conservatives!

            Interesting, isn’t it?

            What is most worrisome in any case such as Clementi’s is that an investigation into the facts – including events and everyone involved – may be clearly stifled because it would disrupt your ideological narrative. And liberals can’t tolerate that.

            Nevertheless, inquiring minds want to know what Clementi had in his mind, how did he behave concerning sexuality, and who this other mysterious homosexual man was. The answers to these questions may reveal that Clementi never paid any price for “homophobia,” but actually killed himself much more on account of adhering to a destructive sexuality ideology that you enthusiastically promote.

            In any case, without a thorough investigation, all that remains is your wildly dreamed up version of everything that happened as *fact*. Obviously for liberals, reality should never interfere with *the* narrative, so this isn’t in the least a problem.

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            • Evan Meyers says:

              Hello Alessandra,

              How many lesbian or gay people have you gotten to know well?

              Best,
              Evan

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            • Fiona64 says:

              Hello, Alessandra.

              I’m a straight, married woman who is most likely old enough to be your mommy.

              You know what I think?

              That you’re full of it.

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          • That’s very entertaining, Steve, given that you and your fellow gay-sex marriage supporters are trying to trash Tyler Clementi’s parents and claim that they WANTED their son to kill himself.

            I can imagine Tyler Clementi having a father and mother similar to Clint McCance.
            And I can think with assurance that such a thing contributed to Tyler’s suicide.
            His parents have not DEFENDED him since his death.
            Not a word.
            Whereas the more supportive parents HAVE done so.
            Something that’s very telling unto itself.

            So you refuse to let any questions be asked about Clementi while you and yours claim publicly that his parents forced him to commit suicide.

            So is it “sadistic, intrusive, and bizarrely obsessive animus” against religious people that leads gay-sex marriage supporters to make such claims about Clementi’s parents? Or is it merely the fact that Clementi is worth more to you as a corpse than he ever was as a living being?

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            • Steve Silberman says:

              Sorry, Texas, but you seem to have wandered in from Alessandra’s blog, which is all Tyler Clementi all the time. Enjoy!

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            • Evan Meyers says:

              Hello North Dallas Thirty,

              What do you think gay people should do? Pretend to be straight?

              Clementi is not an isolated case. Gay youth kill themselves at rates 2-3 times that of other youth.

              Please consider a moment what it would feel like if everyone around you told you that being straight was wrong and perverted.

              Best,
              Evan

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        • Elizabeth says:

          “sexuality’s place is within loving, long-term, healthy personal relationships”. Which is why gay people should be able to dignify their loving, long-term healthy personal relationships with marriage.

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        • Trudy says:

          Congratulations!
          Your comment has won the 1st. prize in the How To Blame A Victim Contest.
          As a bonus you’ve also won the special Fashion Police Prize, because your consern for gays’ people’s clothing choices are beyond anything one would expect.

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        • Bill says:

          Even in death, Alessandra continues to bully Tyler Clementi.

          Stay classy, Alessandra.

          What will you say to God on judgment day when he asks you about what you posted above?

          That you said those things to honor God?

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    • KJS says:

      It’s the general conclusion by myself and thousands of others in the LBGT community that people who have vindictive attitudes toward homosexuals, such as yourself Alessandra, tend to be very conflicted closeted homosexuals themselves.

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    • Andrew says:

      Alessandra,

      I’m sorry, but I must be misreading your comments. You support NOM’s mission of preventing the availability of marriage rights and rites to gay couples, because you believe, as you stated in your comment on November 8, 2010 at 1:33 AM, “sexuality’s place is in within loving, long-term, healthy personal relationships.” You then go on to state that gays and lesbians with their “deformed sexuality” don’t like the idea of such long-term, healthy personal relationships.

      You are aware, aren’t you, that the reason the gay marriage movement exists in the first place is that there are gay and lesbian couple in “loving, long-term, healthy personal relationships” who only wish for the legal recognition of those relationships that is given freely to their straight counterparts?

      Please clarify how I am misreading your comments, because the only way they make sense together is that you are either a hypocrite only acting out of loathing towards a particular minority, or are so laughably out of touch with the facts of the matter that nothing you say can be taken seriously. I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I find it especially trying in this case.

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  44. AC says:

    You seem to believe that justices should be utterly independent, not accountable to the people they rule. That may be a tenable view, but it’s contradicted by the fact that the judges were up for election in the first place. The intention of having elected judges is to insure that they rule broadly in the interests of the people. I’m sorry if in this case the outcome is not to your liking, but the vote was a correct demonstration of the intentions of the folks who instituted the elected-judge system.

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    • Steve Silberman says:

      No, in this case, the vulnerability of minorities to brutalization and prejudice trumps some notion of “accountability.” I don’t believe, for example, that school segregation should have been put up to a popular vote in the South, or that the judges who desegregated schools and restaurants should have been more “accountable” to voters in states with racist laws on the books. This is particularly obvious in this case, where the reinforcements of NOM and its out-of-state millions influenced the vote; I don’t want Mormons in Utah funding campaigns to recall judges in California either. That kind of toxic meddling has nothing to do with judges “being accountable to the people they rule.”

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      • AC says:

        Again, it’s possible to argue that justices should not be forced to worry what their constituents think. But if you hold that view, your target should be the original lawmakers who decided that judges should be elected, not the fun-to-hate right wingers that you dedicate your vitriol towards in this post. Taking the easy NOM-sucks route makes it look like you’re not really serious about judicial independence, but rather are just disappointed that this particular election didn’t break your way.

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        • Steve Silberman says:

          Oh, but Mr. (Ms.?) Anonymous AC, you’re working so terribly hard to deflect criticism from NOM. As a resident of California, where NOM used the same out-of-state moneybomb tactics to get Prop. 8 passed — complete with a torrent of TV ads equating marriage equality with bestiality and pedophilia, and flipping the polls in the last weeks of the campaign — I’m particularly interested in sounding the alarm about this organization, which may use entirely different tactics the next time it launches an assault on equal protection for all. There’s nothing “fun” about hating NOM, AC. They’re a frightening bunch of aspiring theocrats.

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        • Evan Meyers says:

          Hello AC,

          From your writing, it is evident that you do not consider gay marriage a human rights issue. You did not address Steve’s point about desegregation.

          It is easy to be dismissive of the power of social norms and institutions when a person is a member of a dominant population.

          Best,
          Evan

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    • Fiona64 says:

      They weren’t up for “election,” they were up for *retention.* Iowa, like many states, has a rather ridiculous opportunity for people to vote judges out of office for no reason whatsoever. The judges are *appointed* to the bench.

      “The interests of the people” is not the purpose of the judiciary. Its purpose is to follow the rule of law, not the rule of the mob.

      /civics lesson for AC, who apparently needs one

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      • Ed-M says:

        Fiona, you are exactly right. Unfortunately, being accountable to the rule of law requires the justices to *ahem* “legislate from the bench” and the founding fathers admitted this in different words. If judges have to hold themselves “accountable to the people” instead, we end up not with a strong judicial system, but a bunch of kangaroo courts worthy of the old Soviet Union.

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