Thursday, November 20, 2008

An open letter to social conservatives

Dear Motherfuckers,

You have exactly one person to worry about: yourself.

You don't want to have an abortion? Don't have an abortion. You don't want to use any sort of birth control? Don't use any birth control. You don't want to play around with any kink? Don't play around with any kink.

Now take a look around yourself. The area immediately surrounding you is your area. Stay in your area. Don't come over to my area. I don't want you in my area. I do what I want over here and you do what you want over there.

But you mothers are sure as hell worried about what goes on in my area. Drives you about crazy, doesn't it? You want total control of my area. Maybe you think that God's up there watching you, waiting to see if you can change things in my area and if you do, he goes ahead and puts another point under your name or something. Well guess what? I don't appreciate you trying to get God points over here in my area.

Now this next part is really going to torque you.

I am exactly what you guys love. Been married once, am still married to the same guy, been married 16 years. Have one kid. Live in a house here in the middle of America, keep up with bills and mortgage, do the laundry, meatloaf on Tuesday nights: the whole bit. I'm your Right As Rain sort of broad. But guess what? If every gay man and every gay woman married whomever they choose, it would have no effect on me, my marriage, my kid, or my Crayola green lawn. I know that. What are you people afraid of? Does every gay marriage lose you some God points?

And if one of you starts going on about how allowing gay marriage leads to people marrying their goats or some crap, I think I'll scream. Marriage is a legal union. To dissolve a marriage is a difficult legal matter called divorce. The entire concept of marriage is a complex human endeavor. Why should only people who look like you be entitled to it?

And before I close, do not say "America is a center-right country" one more time. With every passing second, the United States becomes more diverse, more global, more urban and less like the dying lily-white Normal Rockwell dream that you've painted in your closed mind.

Now go back to your area and stay there.




Charles Lambert said...

I love you. That's all I want to say.

dean said...

They want things to be as they never were.

Anonymous said...

you took the words quite literally out of my mouth. go look at my blog, and you'll see what i had to deal with recently (and there is more, which i haven't even posted yet, which i was planning to write something VERY similar to this post about).

Anonymous said...

oh and also:, scroll down until you see the one with the big red's very apropos.

Anonymous said...

'scuse the un-writer like language but: these are the same motherfuckers who can't pay their phone, cable, gas, utility bills, or mortgages, can't properly feed their kids or themselves, have mothers/fathers/relatives shriveling away because they cannot afford healthcare, have a shitty school district/system to contend with (i.e. kids not getting the proper level of education, cannot be in a safe environment), have very little or no unemployment insurance, are losing their jobs, are foreclosing on their homes...but are more preoccupied with Jim and Joe or Susan and Kate getting married.

yea, the fabric of their life is being eroded away by that.

this shit is laughable to me, a U.S. citizen (naturalized immigrant) who observes from afar what conservative ideas and organized religion have done to potentially free-thinking people and families.

Zen Wizard said...

This should be on Pamela Anderson's Recommended Reading List, for President-Elect Obama.

garrett said...

Please don't hate, y'all ... but EOB, abortion impacts two people (one of whom is not consulted).

My view: including that topic overwhelmingly distracts from the points you make in the rest of the article (which don't include the same complication).

Love you!!

Erin O'Brien said...

All opinions welcome here, Garrett.

Kirk said...

Suggested reading: WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS? by Thomas Frank. He lays out how people who could care less about social issues are able to manipulate those that do. It's actually the same point Barack Obama made earlier in the year about people "clinging" to guns, religion, etc, a comment that Hillary Clinton, our putative next Secretary of State, jumped all over him for. She claimed he was being "elitist".

The term "elitist" has been so abused this past year that it's tempting to be "pro-elitist", in response. To think it's somehow desirable that "elitists" rule over us. That would be a mistake. Look at the people appearing before congress these past couple of months asking for a bailout. You don't think they're a member of the elite? Look at the auto executives (I'm not neccesarily against giving their industry a loan so long as there several balls of strings attached) who testified yesterday. They each took their own corporate jet there. They aint the prolumptariat!

Incidentally, Norman Rockwell once voted for Norman Thomas.

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

Bravo - well said and amen.

Amy L. Hanna said...

::: Applause :::

(And whether "Normal Rockwell" was a Freudian slip or a play on words, kudos just the same!)

Anonymous said...

Gay marriage lead you to marry your goat. And I've got my eye on a cute little nubian in the pasture across the road. Ba aa aa a.

And Garrett, when I see prolifers protesting the carpet bombing of soveriegn countries that have never threatened the U.S., in which countless innocents are blown to smithereans, then maybe I'll believe your "lack of consultation" argument holds water. Until then it leaks like a sieve.


Harry Finch said...

I can, and do, to a degree, respect the "pro-life" position. That doesn't mean I agree with it, just that I see where they're coming from. I would respect it more if it were consistent, meaning that "pro-life" is also anti-war and anti-death penalty.

Respecting the anti-birth control position is more difficult, mainly because it seems so silly. And really, disrespectful towards women.

A real conservative might condemn abortion, but at the same time would have to condemn the government that thinks it can tell women what to do. Because the government that can forbid the abortion has the power to insist upon it.

It is almost painfully impossible to respect the anti-gay marriage position, mainly because it is a manifestation of one's inability to confront one's own fears. It's okay to be uncomfortable with the idea of gay-unions. I am not comfortable with it. But my discomfort is not a reason for denying someone the same rights I enjoy.

It all comes around to that respect word, and more, perhaps, to self-respect.

(Okay, I really think this self-respect concept is key, and that I could go somewhere with it; but it's too big an idea for me: I don't know what I'm talking about it.)

Zen Wizard said...

It's interesting that the target link (Motherf******) has a piece on Daschele getting the the Sect'y of HHS gig.

I predicted this a long time ago.

Daschle is the Colonel Tom Parker of Obama--the guy who convinced him to accomplish nothing substantive in his Senate "career" (which well-kept pet hummingbirds outlived), so that the electorate could project their own hopes and aspirations onto a blank screen.

So, in the 21st century, I guess "intentional mediocrity" has replaced, "asking not what your country can do for you" as a career template.

Anonymous said...

well once again you have summarized the world as it should be if people werent so worried about everyone else and I thank you!
a repeat anon poster

VitaVagabonda said...

Hmmm. If they get enough God Points, maybe they can trade them in for United miles or something... In any case: Faboo, both in English and in Italian! Thanks so much. Wendell

Anonymous said...

the thing is, gay marriage does impact you and your kid ... by creating a more just planet. we have to start taking a more active stance on this. civil rights for a minority never succeed without the support of some in the majority. teil the world that it does impact you, positively, because a world with gay marriage is one you want to live in

Erin O'Brien said...

Hi anon,

Point well taken, but in my post, I was protesting the bigotry in my own way.

And I agree Finch, I have a healthy respect for the pro-lifers that are screaming just as loudly about Iraq and the death penalty as they are about abortion.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in on this post.

Libby Spencer said...

Dear Erin O'Brien, I find your ideas very interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. Love, Libby

Kirk said...

Concerning abortion and gay marriage. Garrett is right that being for or against one is not the same as being for or against the other. BUT, it's the people who are "against" that linked the two together in the first place. I think you should take your argument up with them.

By the way, Erin, you're missing from Scene two weeks in a row. You still work there?

Kirk said...

I just re-read my comment, and it looks like I fucked up my syntax or something. When I said "you should take you argument..." the "you" is Garrett, but you might not know that, as I start out the comment describing him in the third person, rather than speaking to him directly.

It's been a long time since Miss Othmars third grade grammer class.

JT said...

I've always felt that the desire by the religious right for the government to dictate moral values to the people is in contradiction with the US constitution.

As a society we use law to enforce universally held moral values. An example of which would be the criminalisation of theft, with which few would argue.

The religious right seems to make the naive assumption that all moral values held by the church are perfect, and furthermore that these values should also be enshrined in our law, this is despite the fact that over the centuries various churches have promoted many dubious moral crusades (e.g. the Inquisition).

The US constitution clearly states that we should not base our laws upon religion, and yet that is exactly what the religious right would have us do.

Karl Marx once said:

"Religion is the Opium of the masses"

(Clearly he lived before television.)

Erin O'Brien said...

I am due back in the Scene on Dec. 3. Thanks for asking.

I'm hoping for a more regular schedule in 2009.

Glass Houses said...

The thing that strikes me, more so than Constitutional issues, about the Religious Right taking over the government is this;

They are not saving any souls by making "sinning" illegal.

Religion class was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure that the desire to sin is just as bad as the act, according to that great big book they all like. By making the "sin" illegal, you are not changing the heart or mind of the "heathen".

So not only are these laws questionable on a Constitutionality front, but also on a religious one.

I wonder who keeps track of the God points, anyway? I mean, God would obviously be too busy.

The Fool said...

God, I love it when you rant. Can you do it in French, or Italian?

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm a motherfucker then.

Well, actually no.

I part from the Republican Party when it comes to things of this nature.

My take is that a woman's body is, well, her body. What she chooses to do with it is her call. I hope that most women would include others (men) that may have had an impact (pregnancy) on said body, but I also realize that some won't. So be it.

Our government shouldn't tell anyone, man or woman, what they can or cannot do with their own body. The decision to abort a pregnancy is a very personal one, and one I think our government has no place in it. If a woman/man choose to abort a pregnancy, it's a decision they alone have to live with, not the government or you and me.

Like Erin, I have been married once. No kids, but married to the same woman for nearly 17 years. I am a poster boy for the "morality police (I don't cheat on my wife)." Yet I just can't share their view on abortion. I may be personally against it (and I am), but I would never deny a woman's right and choice (and I would hope a man/woman's right) to choose. Not my call to make. I don't have to live with the decision. They do.


P.S. I am not for gay marriage. There are many reasons, but none of which I think would resonate here. I'll leave it at that.

"As You Know" Bob said...

Thanks for this.

(Just a drive-by, via 'Impolitic' , via Avedon's 'Sideshow'.)

Joe said...

I agree 100% with you.

I will wait while you get off the floor.

In addition I do not want anyone to tell me I can't drive my SUV (as long as I am paying for the gas), how warm or cold I should keep my house, whether I can smoke an occasional cigar, or limit me from frying my pork or french fries in the fattiest nastiest oils I can find.

I do not want to be told that low spot in my backyard is a "wetland" or that I can't clear a logjam in the creek. I do not want to sort and wash my garbage.

I want to pay the bare minimum taxes, to support the defense of our country, maintain the infastructure and offer a limited helping hand to my fellow citizens.

I just want to be left alone, as long as I do not infringe on your rights, let me have mine.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks for stopping, hoose.

I smoked for years and years, quit in 1993. About the smoking thing, I had a buddy who was a bartender, very beautiful girl. She made a FORTUNE working in a blue collar joint where all the men loved her.

But her respiratory health wasn't so good and eventually, she had to leave a lucrative job she loved because the thick cigarette smoke in the bar completely disabled her. I thought that just sucked.

Her situation gave me a different opinion on the smoking issue. Ohio banned smoking in all bars and restaurants a couple years ago by a vote of the people. Despite my bartender buddy, I voted to continue allowing smoking, although now I love that bars and restaurants no longer make my thick hair stink.

About your SUV, all I can say is this: when gas was $4 a gallon, I plastered a shit-eating grin on my face every time I pulled up next to a Hummer in my Mini Cooper at the gas station. I get up to 40 MPG on the highway.

Now here are a few more of my opinions on the topic.

Anonymous said...

May God heap points on you for your awesomeness!

Anonymous said...

I had a conversation with Erin today, and we broached the subject of my reluctance to discuss my opposition to gay marriage in this forum.

Basically, I told Erin that I felt that since I would convince no one here, and no one would convince me otherwise, it was a futile exercise.

Erin wondered if my positions are indefensible. They are not.

This being said ...

I oppose gay marriage for any number of reasons. Among them is my strong belief that a marriage is between a man and woman.

Why do I feel this way?

Upbringing. Religion (I am a lapsed Catholic, BTW, but this is one issue I agree with the church on). Personal opinion. You name it.

Do I oppose the same legal rights for same sex couples? No. Will it affect me personally if they marry? No.

Do I agree with allowing same sex couples to marry? No. Again, it is a matter of personal beliefs, many of which I suspect those who visit here will vehemently disagree with. And that is as it should be - it is a republic, after all.

It is akin to Erin and my disagreement as to who would make a better President - Obama or McCain. She believes Obama would (and will) and I don't. We base this on any number of things, e.g., campaign statements, upbringing, research, etc. It is no different here.

I realize I will probably be excommunicated from the site for this. ;-) Flame away, folks.


Harry Finch said...

Hey Al, in this thread you've said you're not for gay marriage and that you don't agree with allowing gay marriage. You haven't said you're against gay marriage. I don't think it's splitting hairs to say there's a difference between not being for something and being actively opposed to it.

I've already said here that I'm not completely comfortable with idea of gay marriage. That doesn't stop me from supporting it. Several years back, when Vermont was in the forefront of gay rights, I wasn't sure how I felt about civil unions. Then I applied (not consciously, mind you)the nasty-test. The behavior of the anti-civil union faction was plainly appalling; it violated every sense of common decency I possessed. I had to be on the side of people who were simply asking to be treated fairly.

I don't think you're a nasty person, Al. You're honestly stating your feelings and fairly crediting their source. I read your comments and I don't hear the rage of Super-Homophobe. My guess is, when gay marriage becomes the law of the land, you'll scratch your head, shrug your shoulders, and acknowledge that not everything in this life is going to conform to your personal notions of how it should be.

Erin O'Brien said...

Regarding the Prop 8 vote, the idea of the majority voting on civil rights for a minority is reprehensible to me.

All of us decided that a few of you can't have the same rights as we do.

How the hell do you defend that?

Anonymous said...


To clarify, I am against gay marriage for the reasons I stated above. And you're right, if it indeed becomes the law of the land, I really won't have much recourse other than to contact my elected representatives and make my views known.


If I were a Californian, I would defend it thusly: we put it on a ballot, and the majority won the day/issue.

In terms of your observation that "all of us decided that a few of you can't have the same rights as we do," I'd offer this ...

All of the people who voted for Obama decided that we couldn't have John McCain as our President. The idea of the majority voting for a person I felt was not the best choice for President is reprehensible to me. They decided that Obama would make a better President (which, of course, we don't know, at least not at the moment).

My point is you can use the same logic on any issue that involves a vote, election, etc. The majority wins, and that is how our republic is set up, like it or not. It is not a perfect system, but it's clearly better than the alternatives (dictatorships, fascism, communism, socialism ... oops, we're on our way to that one already) if what I've seen in other places around the globe is any indicator.


Erin O'Brien said...

Al, selecting elected officials by a majority is not the same as doling out rights to some and not others.

It is not the same.

I don't have the time to research it now, but I wonder how biracial marriages became legal. I doubt it was by a vote of the people.

Or ADA compliance, which is very far-reaching. Anyone vote for that?

Erin O'Brien said...

Quick and dirty from Wiki:

In the Western world certain jurisdictions have had regulations banning or restricting interracial marriage in the past, including Germany during the Nazi period, South Africa under apartheid, and many states in the United States prior to the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia. In both Nazi Germany and certain American states, such laws have been linked to eugenics programs.

In many Arabic nations, laws and customs continue to exist which revoke the civil rights of women who marry men not native to the woman's country of birth, or to men who are non-Muslim in particular. Women who follow through on this choice run a high risk of being subjected to honor killings by male family members. Saudi-Arabia, Syria, Morocco, Jordan, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Authority retain laws in which violence against women on the grounds of "adultery" is condoned or mitigated by the legal systems. In 2008, Pakistani senators defended the practice of burying young women alive who were judged guilty by tribal elders of having engaged in a relationship with men not of their tribe.

According to the report of the Special Rapporteur submitted to the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (2002) concerning cultural practices in the family that reflect violence against women, similar such legal situations where the law is interpreted to allow men to kill female relatives in a premeditated effort as well as for crimes of passions, in flagrante delicto in the act of committing adultery, include: Argentina, Equador, Iran, Israel, Peru and Venezuela.

Anonymous said...


To my mind, it is the same. The people are making a choice, whether it be choosing an elected official or say, a decision to raise taxes to pay for improvements in our schools. BTW, I looked at our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc. and I can find no statute, statement, or other utterance that guarantees anyone, gay or straight, the right to marry. That a man and woman can, legally is a matter of tradition (based on religion, cultural mores, etc.) I submit, and one the vast majority of Americans support, California notwithstanding (I think the vote was 52% against out there).

The argument can be made that tradition, Judeo-Christian values, one's personal beliefs, etc. shouldn't be a part of the discussion regarding same sex marriage. Again, for reasons I've stated above I disagree.

What we're really discussing here is legality. Making something legal brings into play a whole bunch of other things, such as wills, inheritance taxes, child support, and God only knows what else. Do same sex couples want the right to marry in order to say they're married, or do they want all of the things that come with a marriage? To me that goes more to the heart of the matter than the actual act of marrying someone.

As I've stated above, if laws are passed making it legal, so be it. We all, as citizens, have the right to contact our elected representatives and make our views known. We also have the right to elect those we feel that would best represent said views. That of course involves choosing. Voting means choosing. And that's exactly what the people of California did, like it or not.

Bottom line: if same sex couples want to make same sex marriage legal in this country, I suggest the following - work to get a constitutional amendment ratified by the congress to make it legal (much like women's suffrage movement in the early 20th century led to the amendment giving women the right to vote). This means writing their congressmen; running for office themselves; supporting campaigns to this end, etc. This is what has been happening in California. You can read about it courtesy of Wiki at

A comment on your Wiki reference: whether we in the west like it or not, the nations mentioned in the article are free to do what they want. Yes, much of what they do regarding women is horrific to the western mind. But that is their culture. Trust me when I tell you that many aspects of our culture are as abhorrent to them as theirs is to us. I've been to these places and I've seen it in person.

The world, I think is never going to be the way we want it. Rather, it is what it is. We are not, for example, going to influence most countries in the middle east to change their laws. Why? Their laws, whether we like it or not, are irreparably intertwined with their religious and cultural beliefs. The Koran and Sharia are the basis of their legal systems for the most part. That isn't going to change anytime soon, trust me.

Do I think that they should have carte blanche to do horrible things to women? No, of course not. But again, this is their culture, their religion, their laws, their countries. As distasteful as it is to us, there's not much we can do about it in the end, no more than they can impose their beliefs and laws on us. Of course, we should continue to work to eliminate such practices, but unfortunately, I'm not optimistic. One doesn't erase thousands of years' worth of belief, tradition, culture, etc. overnight.


P.S. I missed my flight. I'm still in liberal hell, but I'll be out of here first thing in the morning.

Erin O'Brien said...


"In the Western world certain jurisdictions have had regulations banning or restricting interracial marriage ... in the United States prior to the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia."

My point was that in the U.S., the Supreme Court ruled that interracial couples can marry. It was not determined by a vote of the people.

Read more here.

From your comment, "BTW, I looked at our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc. and I can find no statute, statement, or other utterance that guarantees anyone, gay or straight, the right to marry." If that is the case, then the Supreme Court will have no choice but to protect gays to marry when faced with the inevitable.

Saying you would prevent someone ELSE to marry based on YOUR OWN religious/moral views is just plain sad-ass sorry, Al. After all, you say it won't affect you if they do marry. You just don't want them to do it. It is nonsensical to me.

What is it? Are you worried about God points?

I believe gay marriage is coming to the U. S. and that it will have far-reaching implications in the gay community, but that's another post.

As far as the international bits in that wiki reference, I probably should have only included the line about the 1967 Supreme Court ruling or just referenced the Loving vs. Virginia page. But I was glad to read your commentary on it nonetheless (note, I made no commentary on it).

And you are stuck in "liberal hell" because Your Lord is seriously irritated with you for obvious reasons.

Have a good Thanksgiving, Al.



Harry Finch said...

Ms OB - Thank you so much for keeping this thread alive. I trust you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving, achy tailbone notwithstanding.

Al - Hope you made a flight somehow and that your Thanksgiving is as peaceful and pleasant as mine.

One of the criticisms of the California system of amending its constitution is the ease with which the majority can deny rights to a minority. Direct democracy is generally a good thing, but it can be distinctly non-deliberative; I would argue that amending a constitution should be as deliberative and difficult as it is in Vermont and many other states. But it's their system, they've had it around a 100 years, so I guess they like it.

It is true that there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that clearly states a right to marry. But the Ninth Amendment reads: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. In other words, the Framers did not pretend to list all the rights and privileges of citizenship.

I believe the right to marriage for any group of people would be based on the Fourteenth Amendment (Section 1): ...No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

By the way, the Nineteenth Amendment did not literally grant women the right to vote. It prohibited the federal and state governments from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex. Which I think is interesting: not only does it undo a great injustice done to women by men, it ensures that women can never repay the men in kind.

I don't believe a strict interpretation of the Constitution is available to us, at least as far as the enumeration and understanding of rights goes. The First Amendment wasn't meant to protect government from religion but religion from government. The words separation of church and state aren't there. Yet today, we use that amendment to keep religion out of public policy. The Second Amendment was designed to protect the states and people from a tyrannical federal government; just this year the Court decided that you possess the right to own a handgun to protect yourself from a lunatic prowler, based on the entirely new interpretation that self-defense is the central component of the amendment.

Now, Al, I agree that when debating the merits of proposed legislation and/or constitutional changes we should permit personal beliefs, values and tradition into the conversation. But we must also recognize (which you have honestly done) that they are personal beliefs, etc. They have a place in the house, but I will not grant them the master bedroom.

I found a line from that great constitutional scholar, Woody Allen: Tradition is the illusion of permanence.

If we built for the future solely on the foundations of tradtion, our children would inherit a country where slavery is still legal and only men can vote.

A final note on the liberal hell of Vermont: have you checked out our gun laws, Al?

Once again, have a great Thanksgiving. Left, center or right, this is a hell of a country.

The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. - Art Spander

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. - George Bernard Shaw

On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does. - Will Rogers

Erin O'Brien said...

Oh hell. What Finch said.

I am up to my elbows in turkey and stuffing and potatoes and cannot properly articulate as he did!

gobble gobble gobble ...

Harry Finch said...

Since I don't have much going on this Thanksgiving aside from providing solace and comfort to my good friend Jim Beam, there is more one thing I'd like to address.

Al, you said: Do same sex couples want the right to marry in order to say they're married, or do they want all of the things that come with a marriage?

I'd say gays want all the responsibilities that come with marriage as much as heterosexuals do. I doubt very much that most people, regardless of their inclinations, have a strong sense of the all the hard work that goes into a marriage until they start one. So, on a certain level, gays are only asking to be permitted to be as stupid as the rest of us.

The law doesn't ask heterosexuals if they know what they're getting into by marrying. A church will, but the law doesn't.

What motivates a gay couple to join in matrimony is irrelevant.

Erin O'Brien said...

Your last sentence is so true Finch and it exemplifies the bigotry that drives the anti-gay marriage drive.

None of them care about how actually "holy" a union is, just as long as it's between a penis and a vagina. Every sicko impetus that puts a bogus marriage into play is overlooked.

Trophy wives and their purchasers come to mind. Al, why not be against them?

Anonymous said...

Erin, Harry,

I've been traveling the last few days, and have been without internet access. My apologies for not replying sooner.

First, Erin ...

"From your comment, "BTW, I looked at our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc. and I can find no statute, statement, or other utterance that guarantees anyone, gay or straight, the right to marry." If that is the case, then the Supreme Court will have no choice but to protect gays to marry when faced with the inevitable.

Saying you would prevent someone ELSE to marry based on YOUR OWN religious/moral views is just plain sad-ass sorry, Al. After all, you say it won't affect you if they do marry. You just don't want them to do it. It is nonsensical to me."

While it is a fact that there is no amendment permitting or not permitting anyone to marry anyone else, there are churches which don't allow it. Additionally, states also have the legal and constitutional authority to adopt laws, statues, and any other measures the people of those states deem desired to ban any number of things. What I was trying to say is that folks say "well, it's a right." It's not. It is a legal question in my view. Allowing gays to marry, as I've noted brings a whole bunch of other things from a legal perspective to the table. This is the crux of the matter - gays want the same legal rights that straight folks have. And I understand why they want them.

As I've said, I believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman. Additionally, most of our states have laws to that effect. Until that changes, I believe that domestic unions, whatever you want to call it, giving gay couples every legal right that their straight counterparts have is sufficient for the legal part of the issue. Allowing gay marriage is quite another thing, and one issue that won't be decided soon I think.

I would never prevent anyone from marrying anyone else they wished to marry, and I never said I would. I said I was against gay marriage. I don't have the authority or legal power to stop anything. I do have the power as am American citizen to make my views known to my elected representatives. They have the power, not me, as provided for in the Constitution.

"What is it? Are you worried about God points?"

Nope. I'm going to hell, remember? It's OK. When you get there I will have already taken over. ;-)

"I believe the right to marriage for any group of people would be based on the Fourteenth Amendment (Section 1): ...No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

I guess what I'd ask is marriage an immunity or a privilege? Is it defined anywhere in our laws (I'll defer to a lawyer on that)? Absent a legal opinion, I looked the following up on

privilege/prvəld,prvld/Show Spelled Pronunciation [priv-uh-lij, priv-lij] Show IPA Pronunciation
noun, verb, -leged, -leg⋅ing.
–noun 1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich.
2. a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority or office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities: the privilege of a senator to speak in Congress without danger of a libel suit.
3. a grant to an individual, corporation, etc., of a special right or immunity, under certain conditions.
4. the principle or condition of enjoying special rights or immunities.
5. any of the rights common to all citizens under a modern constitutional government: We enjoy the privileges of a free people.
6. an advantage or source of pleasure granted to a person: It's my privilege to be here.
7. Stock Exchange. an option to buy or sell stock at a stipulated price for a limited period of time, including puts, calls, spreads, and straddles.

Number 5 comes closest to what I think is intended in the constitution. However, unless I know whether marriage is a privilege, I can't say for sure.

For immunity:

immunity   /myunti/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [i-myoo-ni-tee] Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun, plural -ties. 1. the state of being immune from or insusceptible to a particular disease or the like.
2. the condition that permits either natural or acquired resistance to disease.
3. the ability of a cell to react immunologically in the presence of an antigen.
4. exemption from any natural or usual liability.
5. exemption from obligation, service, duty, or liability to taxation, jurisdiction, etc.: The ambassador claimed diplomatic immunity when they arrested him for reckless driving.
6. Law. exemption from criminal prosecution or legal liability or punishment on certain conditions.
7. special privilege.
8. Ecclesiastical. a. the exemption of ecclesiastical persons and things from secular or civil liabilities, duties, and burdens.
b. a particular exemption of this kind.

I think the framers of the Constitution had number 6 in mind.

And no, I'm in liberal hell solely to attend culinary school, not by divine intervention. And as soon as I'm done, I'm never, and mean never (other than for graduation) going back.

"Trophy wives and their purchasers come to mind. Al, why not be against them?"

Because, the last time I looked, a union between a man and a "trophy wife" is legal in all 50 states from what I understand. When, in such time, gay marriage becomes legal I will have no recourse to accept the reality that it is legal. I don't necessarily have to agree with it or like it, nor do I have to support it should I choose not to do so.

For Harry:

"If we built for the future solely on the foundations of tradtion, our children would inherit a country where slavery is still legal and only men can vote."

I agree. I merely said they should be part of the debate, and that they should not be the sole consideration.

"A final note on the liberal hell of Vermont: have you checked out our gun laws, Al?"

Yep. Vermonters really like guns. Mostly for hunting from what I understand (lots of moose, deer and other animals to kill I guess). It's probably the only liberal state that agrees with the NRA on gun control.

"What motivates a gay couple to join in matrimony is irrelevant."

If I am to accept this statement as a prurient one, I also have to believe that love in a marriage or relationship is equally irrelevant. I think we'd all agree that love is a motivation for getting married, no? If not, folks would be getting married for tax breaks, whether someone can do laundry, fix a lawn mower, etc. I have to believe that at least one motivation for gay couples to desire the legal right to marry is because they love each other. If not, then their whole motivation for pursuing this legal right becomes moot.

This just in: Gas is down about two bucks in the last two months. Since everyone blamed Bush, Republicans, and in Vermont, anyone who disagrees with them, I thought I blame Bush for lower gas prices. What the hell? The buck stops there, right? Might as well be fair across the board.

What? What's that deafening silence on low gas prices I hear in the media? That's what I thought.


Erin O'Brien said...

Al, George Bush and his filthy administration are to blame for a lot of things, but high gas prices aren't one of them. You can search this blog for 100 hours and you won't find me saying anything different.

John Q. Public is mostly to blame. Gas prices are all about supply and demand. When gas shot up to $4 a gallon, U. S. citizens shaved some 12 billion miles off their monthly commute. Prices responded immediately. Now the global recession has prices in the tank.

It's too a complicated recipe for this comment box, so that will have to do for now.

I don't know what news you follow, but ABC World News comments on the drop in travel, fuel prices and the lot of it all the time. So do the rest of the major news sources. So I say, what deafening silence?

Harry Finch said...

Al - I was merely citing the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments because I think those are the source for many of the rights not specified in the Constitution. I'll grant you, the lack of specificity is what makes these sorts of conversations interesting.

I wouldn't have classified my statement about the irrelevance of what motivates gay to marry as a prurient one (but thanks for giving me something puzzling to ponder). I do hope/believe gays wish to wed for love. I was saying it's none of the law's concern.

I confess to a little sadness that you so dislike Vermont. I grew up in the conservative hell of North Country New York (the real Upstate New York), but I will return there for my retirement years. It is where I'm from, so I can overlook the politics. In your case, I understand how the combination of Vermont's politics and it's not being home is a touch much to overcome.

Anonymous said...


I was commenting on the fact that I have heard from various sources (people I talk to, some talk shows both liberal and conservative - VPR and NPR are big things in Vermont) that many blamed high gas prices on George Bush, Republicans, etc. I can't recall exactly which shows (next time I'll write them down) but they mostly had interviews with folks blaming high gas prices on George Bush/Republicans/anyone who disagrees with the "tolerant" people of Vermont. One guy even told me (as I was doing my laundry) that Bush and crew were pulling the strings so they could get rich off of oil profits before he left office ("think about it, it's expensive before the election, and now it's cheap?"). When I asked him what facts/sources he had to back up his views, he went silent. My take it was just another example of blaming everything on George Bush, the last eight years, etc.

I agree it is supply and demand. Also refining capacity. We haven't built a new refining facility in this country in the past twenty or thirty years or so.

It just amazes me that when things are bad, Bush is to blame. They change for the better and it's to everyone's credit except Bush, republicans, or anyone who disagrees with the "tolerant" people of Vermont.

I've mentioned once before privately that I wonder who you or anyone else who hates Bush so much will blame if our economy, quality of life, or anything else is not improved in two or three years of an Obama administration and a Democrat-controlled congress. And I don't mean "well, I won't blame them any more than the scumsucking Republicans." I want names, organizations, people. No less than has happened with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Frist, etc. And there are things as you know that I hold them accountable for.

By the way, speaking of blame, there was an interesting article I read in the New York Times the other day. Seems Robert Rubin, Clinton's Treasury Secretary pushed for bank de-regulation, one of the things most experts agree led to the financial mess we're now in. Again, all I ever hear when I mention this is "the last 8 years" despite the fact that Rubin did indeed push for bank de-regulation and got it through. Easier to blame Republicans I guess than to admit that there's alot of blame on both sides of the aisle to go around.


P.S. It's good to be home.

Anonymous said...


I wish I could ignore the politics but they're pretty much in one's face, everywhere. And it's too bad - I like the fact that the produce, meat, etc. is so good, and that there are local businesses worth supporting. It's just not a place I feel comfortable in.


Harry Finch said...


I know a couple of people who insist that Bush will stage a coup before January 20th. To which I struggle for a measured response. In Montpelier you likely have more exposure to folks like that than I do. I like Montpelier, but mainly for it's tiny capitol building. I find the counter-culture ambience of the town amusing (there's a weird sort of theme-park quality to the place); I'm sure you can take only so much of it.

Presidents get hung with their times; that's part of the job. These have been bizzare times, and unfortunately, Bush didn't help himself.

I agree that we shouldn't let Obama off the hook. And these strange times may drag down his presidency, but I don't think his particular personality flaws will be the source of his downfall.

Kirk said...

Regarding majority rule vs individual rights.

It would be impractical for every individual to have their own personal president, governor, mayor, etc, so we rely on majority rule. That means, if your candidate loses, your technically disenfranchised. Which is one reason we need a Bill of Rights, to provide some degree of protection for the losers. It also has the added benefit of discouraging the losers from going out and starting a revolution, since there's always another election (countries that have tried democracy based SOLEY on majority rule, often have only one election and one election only.)

Also, under majority rule, the majority are voting on things that effect EVERYBODY, such as garbage disposal. If it doesn't effect everybody, if it only affects the individual, then everybody else, aka the majority, should back off.

Besides, when the Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia, I don't think they said, "What's the best way to screw over the minority?"