Ethics Hero: David Blankenhorn, Former Same-Sex Marriage Opponent

Same sex

In a well-reasoned and sharply written op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, former gay marriage opponent David Blankenship writes eloquently and persuasively about why he has reversed his position. He writes in part:

“In the end, I didn’t change my mind on gay marriage because I stopped believing in the importance of intact biological families. Nor was it because of new studies or additional facts. (Gay marriage still strains biological family bonds, although research also points to the potential stability of gay marriage and family structures.) And I didn’t change my mind because I got tired of being criticized. I changed my opposition to gay marriage because of personal relationships. In my case, it began with the writer Jonathan Rauch, who I’d been publicly debating on the gay marriage issue. But at some point we stopped debating and started talking about our lives, including about my wife, Raina, and his husband, Michael. Did Jonathan’s marriage threaten the idea of marriage? Perhaps in theory. But in real life, was I able to see it? No. In fact, quite the opposite. It may sound trite, but for me the key was the gradual breakthrough of empathy. I found that as friendships develop, empathy becomes at least possible, no longer kept at bay by a wall of fixed belief. Put simply, becoming friends with gay people who were married or wanted to get married led me to realize that I couldn’t in good conscience continue to oppose it.”

Bingo.

_______________________

Pointer: Advice Goddess

Sources: LA Times

104 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: David Blankenhorn, Former Same-Sex Marriage Opponent

  1. This is a point that I’ve been trying to make about any issue. Gay marriage, Muslim Americans, Illegal Immigrants, Sassy Servers, whatever. An opinion formed based on a personal relationship or experience is a lot more sincere and understandable than some mockery from whatever TV or media source you’re loyal to. Sincerity is ethical.

    I had a gay uncle who lived with the same guy for 30 years until his death.. They were at every family function. No one ever said the word gay, or questioned the validity of their relationship. It was who they were.

    My aunt has Jewish tenants who always at her Easter and Christmas dinners.. No one ever said you Jews don’t belong here, this is not your holiday. They were just part of the family, and disliking them based on their religion is ridiculous.

    I worked with many Muslim and Hindu American Engineers at a secure facility, and had people from 15 different countries work for me over a career. Never noticed them doing anything out of the ordinary, or be anything but trustworthy, over a 20 year period. They’re just people whose character should be judged, not their religion.

    Being ethical is being true to your understanding based on your experience and opinion. Let external factors like media influence you at your own peril.

    • “One of these things is not like the other.” I can like and even admire an illegal immigrant, but that doesn’t remotely justify illegal immigration. I had a friend who was a terrific guy, but a complete racist and anti-Semite. You are confusing perspective with cognitive dissonance.

  2. Jack,

    Didn’t you skewer Portman who changed his views because of assumed empathy towards his own son coming forward as a homosexual?

    Why does this guy get a pass?

    Additionally, realizing a person is just a nice person shouldn’t make you change your opinions about something not related to ‘niceness’.

    If I met someone in prison who is a decent and nice guy for all other aspects of his life other than him engaging in an act I consider wrong, should I suddenly change my opinion on thievery?

    You know my opinion on homosexual marriage based on the last long debate. And I won’t fault this guy for his change of opinion.

    But empathy is no reason to change your opinion. Empathy may be a solid reason for feeling bad about being a vehement and possibly spiteful opponent to something.

    But his opinion should have been changed by seeing the fallacies of opposition, not the hurt feelings.

    I clarify that all by saying that yes his empathy is appropriate and its great that he made friends, but that isn’t a rational basis for coming to a new opinion on something.

    Erg. It certainly sounds like I disagree with his new found stance. I don’t.

    • Ack. That was all confirmation bias.

      His lead off with empathy clouded my reading of his summary rational terms at the end.

      Yes, his article and explanation is proper.

      Empathy opened his eyes to see the rational reasons for a mind change.

      The empathy itself did not change his mind.

  3. How is David Blankenhorn an ethics hero?

    At best, support for same-sex “marriage” is a morally neutral opinion based upon the belief that recognizing same-sex unions as marriages best serves the common good. It can not be credibly argued that the moral traditions we inherited from the Reformation, the Enlightenment, American Revolution, or American Civil War mandates that we must recognize same-sex unions as marriages. There is no SSM equivalent of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Indeed if there were, they would have been cited for the past forty years.

    Based on the above facts, I can only conclude that, at most, David Blankenhorn’s change of heart was ethically neutral.

    • Gay bullying, gay bashing, tax discrimination, benefits discrimination, inability for gay couples to adopt (in most states), inability to make medical decisions for a partner (unless contracted up front), and inability to marry (in most states). Yeah, but you’re right — ethicially neutral, no question. Hate is hate. Discrimination is discrimination.

      • I note your inability to cite any published material dating back to colonial times that argues that it is wrong to define marriage as an exclusive union of man and woman.

        https://groups.google.com/group/soc.veterans/msg/197620f77b3df7c5?hl=en

        The reason I oppose redefining marriage is because I have not been
        presented with a good-enough reason to do so.

        Could it be that the prevailing legal definition is at odds with the
        social understanding? While that could be the case in certain times
        and places, it was not the case in North Carolina. The people of North
        Carolina understand marriage to be an opposite-sex union. In over
        thirty states the people voted to define marriage, and that vote is a
        clear indicator of the social understanding of marriage.

        Is there any difference between same-sex and opposite-sex unions?
        The answer is yes. There are basic biological differences between men
        and women. It is because of these differences that we have different
        words for men and women. In addition, several dating blogs highlighted
        the different dynamics in human pair bonding between men and women.
        And of course, unintentional pregnancies can happen with opposite-sex couples without outside intervention, while it can never happen with
        same-sex couples, pairs of brothers, or trios of sisters. Therefore,
        the dynamics of same-sex unions and opposite-sex unions are different.
        This is sufficient reason to use different names for same-sex unions
        and opposite-sex unions.

        To be sure, there are some similarities. Canals and highways have
        similarities too, in that they are both used for transportation across
        land, and yet they are different. Using different names to describe
        different things- whether marriages and same-sex unions, canals and
        highways- is not immoral and not oppression.

        Can gay couples raise children? To the same extent that pairs of
        brothers and trios of sisters can raise children. Society has
        recognized alternate arrangements of raising children. Indeed,
        monasteries in medieval Europe would often raise orphans. No doubt
        what the monks and nuns did were admirable. Most people at the time
        were certain the monks and nuns in those monasteries would give all
        for each other, and for the orphans they raised. And yet, while
        society admired what they did, they were not considered the same as
        married couples, nor afforded the same social recognition. Pairs of
        brothers and trios of sisters were not considered married, even if
        they raised children. Why should same-sex couples be considered
        married merely because they raise children?

        Is it immoral to define marriage as between one man and one woman?
        If something is morally wrong, it is morally wrong always. And yet,
        our secular moral traditions lends no support to the idea that it is
        immoral to define marriage as between one man and one woman. No
        writing or publication dating from the Reformation, Enlightenment,
        American Revolution, or American Civil War even hints so.

        Does the definition of marriage oppress homosexuals? Is it the only
        possible reason for such a definition? The very first dictionary I
        read, the 1981 World Book Dictionary, defines marriage as “the act or
        fact of living together as husband and wife; relations between husband
        and wife; married life; wedlock. Perhaps this line of argument would
        have some force if the word marriage was invented in 1981 by
        heterosexuals to oppress homosexuals. But this definition clearly
        predates 1981. John Locke, one of the Enlightenment philosophers,
        wrote that marriage was “made by a voluntary compact between man and woman.” Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government § 78 (1690) One hundred seventy-eight years alter, a leading law dictionary was
        published affirming this definition. John Bouvier, A Law Dictionary
        Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States
        105 (1868) Indeed, the concept of sexual orientation itself did not
        exist until the late 19th century. See J. Katz, The Invention of
        Heterosexuality 10 (1995); J.
        D’Emilio & E. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in
        America 121 (2d ed. 1997) (“The modern terms homosexuality and
        heterosexuality do not apply to an era that had not yet articulated
        these distinctions“), cited in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 at
        568-569 (2003) Clearly, the purpose of marriage was not to oppress
        homosexuals, any more than its purpose was to oppress airline pilots.
        And, of course, the nomenclature used to describe same-sex unions is
        distinct from the issue of how to treat people in same-sex unions.
        After all, women were not oppressed merely by being called women
        instead of men, but by denying them property rights, the right to
        vote, etc.

        • I don’t understand why the desire of law abiding citizens to create a legally and socially respected family unit without stigma and with all benefits, legitimacy and recognition of heterosexual marriage when discrimination against gays has been legally prohibited as a violation of the Constitution doesn’t constitute a “good-enough reason.”

          • Because it is not entitled to the same type of social acceptance as real marriage, anymore than pairs of brothers or trios of sisters.

            (I bring up sibling examples because society does not consider it immoral for siblings to live together, or support each other, or even raise children, and yet does not equate them with married couples.)

            • There are still valid reasons not to confuse family heirarchy and lines of authority by mixing siblings and spouses.

              There is no valid reason NOT to permit same sex marriages other than ” we never thought seriously about it before.” “People used to think gay people were sick or evil” is not a valid reason.

        • Michael — what are you talking about? You are citing historical references from the same time period where women were considered the property of their male relatives or husbands, and certain minorities were “actual” property. Ethics, fairness, morality, and laws are an evolving concept — and we should always be striving for a higher standard — not looking to the past for justification of modern day bias or discrimination.

          • You are citing historical references from the same time period where women were considered the property of their male relatives or husbands, and certain minorities were “actual” property.

            There were people who had objected to anyone being actual property since colonial times. Jeff Jacoby cited a long history of abolitionist literature dating as early as the 17th century . While there were people who argued that there was nothing wrong with this, the fact remains that there were people back then who made arguments against slavery. there was a moral debate, a debate that continued for centuries.

            There was no debate as to the opposite-sex nature of marriage back in those times. One can not cite pro-SSM literature dating back to colonial times- let alone literature arguing that it is immoral to define marriage as between one man and one woman. And the reason for it is that no such literature exists.

            • It doesn’t matter whether or not there is literature. Who cares? This has always been moral behavior, it just took society time to recognize it.

              • Seven thousand years of record history and God only knows how much prehistory… but it was left to you and your cohorts in the present day to discover that people performing acts on children and each other that were once considered the height of criminality to be “moral”. Obviously, you are a superior being beyond measure.

                • Who said anything pedophilia? Why does supporting gay marriage mean that I support child abuse? As for God, I’m not worried. And as for seven thousand years of recorded history, surely you jest. Homosexual relationships have been around forever. Society just has not labelled those relationships as marriages until recently.

                • Yes, Steven, this is only one manifestation of the arrogance of modernity which we are seeing. You and I see very clearly the slippery slope to the ruin of civilization on which the culture in this part of the world is sliding with glee, one hollow humanistic victory after another. But, no worries: “Evolution” will take care of itself. HA!

                  • The reason, Beth, is because these are all manifestations of the same condition. It’s called sexual perversion. It’s a sickness of the spirit that leads one to commit physical atrocities on one’s self and on others; whether or not they share that sickness. Innocence defiled is a part of the satisfaction they derive. Anyone who tells you that pedophilia is not inherent in this is telling you a mammoth lie. Among themselves, deviants know the truth and speak it openly.

                    “Gay marriage” and the other items of the pervert agenda, however, now have another motive beyond their prime one of procuring objects of their desires. Political power has entered into the formula. As they do not breed (and as genetics plays no role at all in this process) they must recruit. This means corrupting children at an early age. This fits in well with gay marriage. With such unions recognized as legitimate and on level with true marriages, they cannot be denied adoption rights. Thus to they break children to their lifestyle and their covens; by both psychological and physical methods. Do I have to draw anyone a picture, here? Do I have to explain further why I consider their agenda one of the greatest possible evil?

                    As a man, it’s my foremost duty to protect women and children from those who would prey on them. That includes those who abet that evil for the purpose of their own political advantage… or because it’s now considered politically correct and cool to condone the degradation of children in their inherent worth. I stand against the pervert movement because, as a decent and civilized man, I cannot do less.

              • The reverse, not recognizing same-sex unions as marriages, is certainly not immoral, and almost everyone who ever lived would have considered it plainly absurd to consider defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman to be immoral.

  4. (Disclosure: I’ve argued with David Blankenhorn on the internet for years, and at one time was a frequent guest blogger at his think tank’s blog.)

    David Blankenhorn is even more of an ethics hero than you may realize.

    David spent a great deal of his life building his think tank, the Institute for American Values. IAV focused on promoting marriage, fatherhood, thrift, and civil society.

    When David switched sides on same-sex marriage, IAV remained officially neutral, as it has always been. However, almost half of IAV’s board of directors – which included some of the nation’s most prominent gay marriage opponents, like Robert George – resigned. Even worse, the various foundations that had been giving money to support IAV, virtually all of which were right-wing, cut off their funding.

    David and the other folks at IAV scrambled hard to make things work, and IAV is continuing, although it’s been a bit of a struggle, and I’ve been told they lost a huge amount of their budget. David’s public change of opinion very well could have ended his life’s work.

    In the entire country, probably no person has personally risked as much or sacrificed as much because of their support for same sex marriage, as David Blankenhorn. But you’d never know that from reading David’s writing – he’s a very serious person, morally, and not only did he refuse to let his own best interests prevent him from doing the right thing, he’s also chosen not to trumpet the sacrifices he has made.

    I admire David a lot.

    • Thanks for the perspective, Barry. I was not aware of all of that, though his essential integrity came shining through his op-ed.

      How many of our national conflicts would evaporate if those whose life’s work is dependent on ideology-based positions could muster the courage to change those positions when facts, objectivity and logic demand it? Saying, “I have been wrong” is often the most courageous act.

  5. Can someone please define “well-reasoned” and “eloquent” for me because this article has none of the above. Because you like someone ad a person is not well reasoned to abandon marriage the way God defined it. This is utterly Stupid with the capital S.

    • Sure. “Well-reasoned” means not basing a prejudicial and unconstitutional policy on ancient pronouncements by 2500-year-0ld tribal leaders who claimed to be the spokesmen of a speculative all-knowing deity, in fact using fear and ignorance as ingredients to go with social rules that are no longer necessary, and are now obsolete. “Eloquent” means a hell of a lot better than “Because you like someone ad a person is not well reasoned to abandon marriage the way God defined it. This is utterly Stupid with the capital S.

      Glad to help!

      • Sure. “Well-reasoned” means not basing a prejudicial and unconstitutional policy on ancient pronouncements by 2500-year-0ld tribal leaders who claimed to be the spokesmen of a speculative all-knowing deity, in fact using fear and ignorance as ingredients to go with social rules that are no longer necessary, and are now obsolete. “Eloquent” means a hell of a lot better than “Because you like someone ad a person is not well reasoned to abandon marriage the way God defined it. This is utterly Stupid with the capital S.”

        Unconstitutional?

        Did not the Supreme Court say otherwise the last time they were presented with the argument back in 1972? As California Supreme Court Justice Joyce Kennard pointed out.

        Indeed, there is a decision of the United States Supreme Court, binding on all other courts and public officials, that a state law restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples does not violate the federal Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process of law. After the Minnesota Supreme Court held that Minnesota laws preventing marriages between persons of the same sex did not violate the equal protection or due process clauses of the United States Constitution (Baker v. Nelson (1971) 291 Minn. 310, 191 N.W.2d 185), the decision was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, as federal law then permitted (see 28 U.S.C. former § 1257(2), 62 Stat. 929 as amended by 84 Stat. 590). The high court later dismissed that appeal “for want of substantial federal question.” (Baker v. Nelson (1972) 409 U.S. 810, 93 S.Ct. 37, 34 L.Ed.2d 65.)
        As the United States Supreme Court has explained, a dismissal on the ground that an appeal presents no substantial federal question is a decision on the merits of the case, establishing that the lower court’s decision on the issues of federal law was correct. (Mandel v. Bradley (1977) 432 U.S. 173, 176, 97 S.Ct. 2238, 53 L.Ed.2d 199; ,i>Hicks v. Miranda (1975) 422 U.S. 332, 344, 95 S.Ct. 2281, 45 L.Ed.2d 223.) Summary decisions of this kind “prevent lower courts from coming to opposite conclusions on the precise issues presented and necessarily decided by those actions.” (Mandel v. Bradley, supra, at p. 176, 97 S.Ct. 2238.) Thus, the high court’s summary decision in Baker v. Nelson, supra, 409 U.S. 810, 93 S.Ct. 37, 34 L.Ed.2d 65, prevents lower courts and public officials from coming to the conclusion that a state law barring marriage between persons of the same sex violates the equal protection or due process guarantees of the United States Constitution.

        Lockyer v. City and County of San Francisco, 17 Cal.Rptr.3d 225 at 278-279 (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2004) (Kennard, J., concurring uin part and dissenting in part)

        And as Supreme Court Justice Thomas Stanley Matthews eloquently put it,

        “For certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the coordinate states of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guarantee of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.”

        Murphy v. Ramsey, 114 U.S. 15 at 45 (1885), quoted in
        Davis v. Beason, 133 U.S. 333 at 344, 345 (1890) ,
        United States v. Bitty , 208 U.S. 393 at 401 (1908), and Windsor v. United States, 699 F.3d 169 at 205 (2nd Cir. 2012) (Straub, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part)

        The Supreme Court first described the right to marry as a union of man and woman in Murphy, reaffirmed it in Baker, and no amendment to the Constitution was passed that abrogated either Murphy or Baker.

        Who are we to tell the Supreme Court that they were wrong?

            • Michael, this will not be the first time that the Supreme Court acknowledges that it was wrong. Brown v. Board of Education being an easy example.

                  • Disapproved, disavowed, specifically apologized for by several justices who took part in the decision. Regarded as an aberration and fraudulently achieved using tainted evidence, as a new book persuasively shows. It has only avoided formal reversal because no appellant has ever been stupid enough to cite it as authority. Saying it has not been overruled is technically accurate but misleading. It is not the law of the land.

          • “They will tell themselves they were wrong around June.”

            But they won’t be telling just themselves, will they? It won’t be the first time they screwed up royally – as royalty is wont to do.

                  • The Supreme Court noted that “Marriage, while from its very nature a sacred obligation, is nevertheless, in most civilized nations, a civil contract, and usually regulated by law.” Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 at 165 (1878) It later reaffirmed in Sosna v. Iowa that “[t]he State . . . has absolute right to prescribe the conditions upon which the marriage relation between its
                    own citizen shall be created, and the causes for which it may be
                    dissolved,” 419 U.S. 393 at 404, quoting Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714 at 734-735 (1878) Later, in Zablocki v. Redhail, Justice Powell noted that the case was about laws that interfere “with the decision to marry in a traditional family setting”, 434 U.S. 374 at 396 (1978) (Powell, J., concurring) (emphasis added) and that “State regulation has included bans on incest, bigamy, and homosexuality, as well as various preconditions to marriage, such as blood tests.” id. at 399 (emphasis added)

                    If they were wrong, what caused them to all be wrong?

                    • Maybe the same bigoted beliefs that cause you to be wrong? Religious stupidity? Deference to tradition and unenlightened masses? It really doesn’t matter. Your argument from historical authority is just as invalid now as every time you try to pull it. You’re not stupid, so I must conclude that you are intentionally attempting to subvert logic. You’re a duplicitous fraud.

                    • Tgt: you are so obviously so far above and beyond bigoted beliefs; religious stupidity; deference to tradition and unenlightened masses; argument from historical authority; intentional attempts to subvert logic, and duplicitous fraud (to name a few) – obviously, so superior to anyone and everyone who says anything you disagree with – that I shudder and shake in the deepest dark of night with the terror that all you need to say additionally is “I am God,” and I may have no choice but to worship you.

                      But then, since I am ever evolving (therefore “not there yet” and inferior), my night terrors are short-lived, since I can trust you to have eternal and superior patience.

                    • Eeyoure,

                      Do you have an actual argument against anything I said?

                      What I see is some combination of an ad hominem attack, a strawman (I have never claimed perfection), and a belief that logic is arrogance.

  6. This article is really quite dumb! One of the things that people tend to think when it comes to homosexuality and homosexuals is that the reason we do not agree with such a lifestyle is because we either don’t know homosexuals or we have never met a homosexual.

    Not only is this the most asinine belief that I cant think of, but the simple truth is most people know homosexuals, have them in their families, and are even friends with many. I could respect Mr. Blankenhorn’s position more if his change of heart was due to simply seeing homosexuality differently. The reason he gave is neither “well-reasoned” nor “eloquent” as the title falsely assert. I know many, many homosexuals and grew up with friends that are homosexuals and every single one of them know two things about me:

    1. That I genuinely care very much about them as people and treat them with the utmost respect and dignity.

    2. That I do not agree with homosexuality as it is unnatural and abnormal, and that I could never ever support the so-called “same sex marriage”.

    And they are not intimidated by my beliefs and they treat me and my views with respect as well. To me, Mr. Blankenhorn caved in to political correctness and nothing less or more. It is really that simple.

    • It is obviously one of the reasons. I never heard anyone claim it was the only reason.

      You have odd friends who don’t mind being openly thought of as “unnatural and abnormal,” which suggest to me that your gay “friends” are self-hating and victims of pervasive bias that has undermined their self-esteem, or not really as friendly as you think. My guess is the latter. “Some of my best friends are gay.” Uh-huh.

      Political correctness is where a legitimate and supportable point of view is demonized by a self-satisfied and dictatorial majority or group in power. That’s wrong. Changing an outmoded and demonstrably biased point of view based on empathy, observation and logic is called “maturity” and “responsible citizenship.” Saying you “disagree with homosexuality” has all the validity of saying “i disagree with liking spinach” or “I disagree with being tall” or “with being a Democrat.” You don’t have to do it or like it, but you can’t justify allowing the laws to stop it or penalize it.

        • DOMA. How many times are you going to repeat already answered arguments. It’s like you have a belief and refuse to listen to evidence that contradicts your belief…like a bigot.

          • Uh-uh, watch it, tgt. You’re getting into the what-you-say-is-what-you-are area again. Don’t spoil your superiority. Just expound on your faith.

            • Stop. This is not an issue where someone gets to say, “I disagree” and society has to acknowledge both views as valid and deserving of respect. These are unconstitutional laws and they have to be overturned. If you don’t believe in interracial marriage, fine, don’t get one. If you don’t believe in gay marriage, fine, don’t marry someone of the same gender. But you don’t get to deny that same right to other people because of your own personal beliefs.

              • A marriage liberationist you are, eh Beth? No, I most certainly will not stop. You are advocating expansion of rights based on your personal beliefs, and it is your beliefs about what is or is not constitutional that underlie your beliefs about what are rights and what are not rights, and for whom and for what actions. And your beliefs stem from nothing but a contemporary sense – a feeling, the source and object of today’s faith, nothing more, nothing less – about what is true, kind, just, good and right.

                • The same exact argument was made against interracial marriage. You’re a bigot, plain and simple. You don’t like being called a bigot, but instead of dealing with your bigoted beliefs, you attempt to bring your opponents down to your level of “faith”.

                  • The same exact argument was made against interracial marriage. You’re a bigot, plain and simple. You don’t like being called a bigot, but instead of dealing with your bigoted beliefs, you attempt to bring your opponents down to your level of “faith”.

                    The exact same arguments were also made against polygamy- and accepted by the Supreme Court.

                    Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.

                    Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people. At common law, the second marriage was always void, and from the earliest history of England polygamy has been treated as an offence against society….

                    An exceptional colony of polygamists under an exceptional leadership may sometimes exist for a time without appearing to disturb the social condition of the people who surround it; but there cannot be a doubt that, unless restricted by some form of constitution, it is within the legitimate scope of the power of every civil government to determine whether polygamy or monogamy shall be the law of social life under its dominion.

                    Reynolds v. the United States , 98 U.S. 145 at 164 to 166 (1878)

                    Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries. They are crimes by the laws of the United States, and they are crimes by the laws of Idaho. They tend to destroy the purity of the marriage relation, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman, and to debase man. Few crimes are more pernicious to the best interests of society, and receive more general or more deserved punishment. To extend exemption from punishment for such crimes would be to shock the moral judgment of the community.

                    Davis v. Beason , 133 U.S. 333 at 341 (1890)

                    “For certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and
                    necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit
                    to take rank as one of the coordinate states of the Union, than that
                    which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as
                    consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that
                    is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guarantee of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in
                    social and political improvement. ”

                    Murphy v. Ramsey , 114 U.S. 15 at 45 (1885), quoted in Davis v. Beason, 133 U.S. 333 at 344 to 345, and United States v. Bitty , 208 U.S. 393 at 401 (1908), and Windsor v. United States, 699 F.3d 169 at 205 (2nd Cir. 2012) (Straub, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part)

                    (all emphases added)

                    Let me repeat those anti-polygamy arguments again.

                    …in violation of social duties or subversive of good order…

                    …an offence against society…

                    …destroy the purity of the marriage relation, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman, and to debase man….

                    …shock the moral judgment of the community…

                    These are good enough reasons to ban polygamy.

                    These are good enough reasons to ban same-sex “marriage”.

                    • Block quotes and string cites are the mark of poor reasoning and bad writing in general. My catty remark aside, polygamy hurts children. There is also vast evidence of welfare abuse and fraud in these communities. Inapplicable to gay marriage.

                    • The exact same arguments were also made against polygamy- and accepted by the Supreme Court.

                      Appeal to historical authority. Again. The Supremes accepted them for interracial marriage as well for a time. That in no way makes them valid.

                      As for you individual points:

                      …in violation of social duties or subversive of good order…

                      This is a conclusion. What was the supporting information? For polygamy, it was the subjugation of women, child marriages, and cult like insulation. There isn’t a parallel for gay marriage.

                      …an offence against society…

                      Again, why was it an offense? Because of the demonstrable negatives that it led to. Again, no parallel with gay marriage.

                      …destroy the purity of the marriage relation, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman, and to debase man….

                      The first two are about a man being able to change the contract that the woman thought she had agreed to. No parallel to gay marriage. The third has been shown above. No parallel to gay marriage. The fourth is invalid.

                      …shock the moral judgment of the community…

                      Ick factor. Always invalid.

                      What you’ve done is divorce the reasoning that led to judgments about polygamy from the judgments. You then claim to have the same judgments about gays. You’re substituting personal beliefs for logic.

            • Eeyoure,

              Is it not true that DOMA penalizes homosexuality?
              Is it not true that this has been pointed out to Michael before?

              Are you just attacking me generally because you don’t like the results of my points?

          • DOMA does not penalize anyone. To the contrary, those who enter into a same-sex union, regardless of what it is called in their state of domicile, do not lose whatever existing federal legal entitlements they had prior to the union.

            In addition, you misapprehend the line that DOMA draws. To the contrary, federal law and executive order forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. DOMA does not deny benefits to individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, but reserves certain benefits to those who enter into a particular form of marriage.

              • And a non sequitir.

                Unjoined homosexuals are treated precisely the same under federal law as homosexuals in same-sex civil unions or “marriages”.

                • As was supposedly true under school segregation. It is exactly the same principle, and the same fallacy. Stigma by exclusion. If you can’t see that, it’s because you don’t want to.

                  • Jack, you’re not responding to Michael’s argument. His argument is even stupider. It’s not gays and straights have separate but equal laws. He’s saying that married gays are treated the same as unmarried gays, which is completely irrelevant to whether or not gays are discriminated against relative to straights.

            • Homosexuals are treated differently than heterosexuals. Your attempt to argue around that is insane. Here’s your argument applied to race:

              To the contrary, federal law and executive order forbids discrimination on the basis of race. [A miscegenation law] does not deny benefits to individuals on the basis of [race], but reserves certain benefits to those who enter into a particular form of marriage.

              The issue is that the “particular form of marriage” is, itself, discriminatory. You’ve tried to define away the problem and beg the question.

    • I personally think “it is unnatural and abnormal” to be thinking about any couple’s sex life regardless of sexual orientation. This is why I’ve never understood this debate.

          • The publicly declared “sex life” of individuals has everything to do with the public idea of common decency. Justice may be blind, but not so the father of a minor child who can discern, by reading one “lgtb” tweet, the intentions of an aggressive, would-be/wannabe “partner” of the child.

            • Heterosexual and/or same-sex relations between consenting adults does not condone or lead to pedophilia. Child predators are a separate problem.

              • I agree that pedophiles are among adults (and other children) of all manner of sexual orientation/preference. Linkage of same-sex attraction to preying upon children was not where I was going. My second sentence was just a ramble-on example of parental concern and involvement, mostly unrelated to my first sentence. I like the idea of common decency regarding sex and sexuality. But for that to develop and be sustained, enough individuals representing all manner of private sex life must publicly declare, else we all risk a tyranny of closeting and the closeted.

                  • You know, working the theater, I find this attitude genuinely surreal, like learning that some primitive culture is afraid of redheads or something. After a while, it’s impossible to reconcile reality with the opinion—these normal, kind, smart, law-abiding, intelligent loving human beings should be permanently stigmatized and prevented from forming a legally recognized, undifferentiated family unit with the person they love because of 2500 year-old taboos that no longer apply in a non-tribal world, were based on fear, and now make no sense at all, because some people were taught that a supreme being who created everyone and is infallible somehow decided to turn on one of his designs. And we’re really fighting over this? Astounding.

                    • And this is why religions (and any other ideology that praises belief over reality) must be fought. Every day. They lead generally good people to believe horrible, horrible things.

                    • That is a somewhat unenlightened and ignorant standard to establish TGT.

                      By the reasoning we ought to fight X because X generally leads good people to believe horrible horrible things; then we ought to oppose atheism and ideologies that believe in large nanny governments at all costs.

                      A simple review of 20th century history will reveal something in the neighborhood of over 200,000,000 people murdered in the name of those beliefs.

                    • tex,

                      You didn’t properly parallel my argument.

                      By the reasoning we ought to fight X because X generally leads good people to believe horrible horrible things;

                      That parts good.

                      then we ought to oppose atheism and ideologies that believe in large nanny governments at all costs.

                      That part’s bad. Atheism doesn’t generally lead people to believe horrible, horrible things. The horrible atheist leaders of the 20th century (1) weren’t good people and (2) did there horrible things independent of the evidence based conclusion of atheism.

                      Backing interventionist government doesn’t generally lead good people to believe horrible, horrible things. It’s the propaganda that the government is good (belief contra to evidence) that’s a problem.

                    • tex,

                      For no true Scotsman, I assume you’re referring to my claim that the megalomaniacs that committed genocide were not good people. I’ll take that point. Fortunately, I don’t need it for my point. My greater argument still stands.

                    • First, of all the “leadership” of the mass murdering regimes were not in my assertion, so it was a strawman for you to argue against that. The masses of ‘good people’ being led to believe horrible horrible things are what is in question, as per your original statement. So you were already off there.

                      Second, your assertion to the effect that “Well, this set of atheist and big-state ideas wasn’t properly adhered to and that’s why it ended with people believing horrible horrible beliefs” is a No True Scotsman defense, and therefore fallacious.

                      Since you were off the mark on what I was addressing, your ‘greater’ argument doesn’t stand, my rebuttal does.

                    • tex,

                      First, of all the “leadership” of the mass murdering regimes were not in my assertion, so it was a strawman for you to argue against that.

                      I referred to leaders as the subordinates were (1) acting on orders and (2) unlikely to be atheists. Do you have evidence that the masses that killed believed it was right to kill? Do you have evidence that they believed this based on their atheism? I was being charitable to your comment, but we can add those flaws in if you really want.

                      Second, your assertion to the effect that “Well, this set of atheist and big-state ideas wasn’t properly adhered to and that’s why it ended with people believing horrible horrible beliefs” is a No True Scotsman defense, and therefore fallacious.

                      I didn’t say that Atheist ideas weren’t adhered to; I said atheism was irrelevant to the bad beliefs that were held. I didn’t say no Atheist would kill; I said these killers killed for reasons other than atheism. Those reasons happened to include separate ideologies that praised belief without evidence. The cult of personality of Mao, for instance, caused people to believe and follow against evidence. That’s what led to bad results. The atheism did not lead to the mass killings anymore than the color red is at fault.

                      I didn’t say that big state ideas weren’t adhered to. I said that the bad results came from the nationalist propaganda, not the big state ideas. Again, the actual cause neatly falls into the belief without evidence category. (If the big state ideology includes an idea that it must be believed on faith, then of course, this would be bad as well.)

                      There was no true scotsman in my argument there.

                    • “I referred to leaders as the subordinates were (1) acting on orders and (2) unlikely to be atheists.”

                      Irrelevent. We’re discussing “generally good people being led to believe horrible horrible things”.

                      And atheist world views and large government world views have led people to believe horrible horrible things, and commit far worse acts.

                      Here’s your No True Scotsman:

                      “Atheism doesn’t generally lead people to believe horrible, horrible things. The horrible atheist leaders of the 20th century (1) weren’t good people and (2) did there horrible things independent of the evidence based conclusion of atheism.”

                      History has shown that atheistic world-views as well as large-state world views have led generally good people to believe (and do) horrible horrible things. You then followed to divert towards a discussion of the leaders (strawman), and then your #2 which basically says “well they didn’t follow atheist ideas then”, essentially saying they weren’t following a real atheist world-view.

                      It’s pretty clear cut.

                      You are wrong then if you wish to apply the standard to religion as a reason it must be fought, while exempting equal and often more heinous examples from atheist world-views.

                      It’s an easy fix, retract the idiotic statement that started this, and I won’t hold you to be consistent to what I consider to be a dumb standard (your standard).

                    • Sorry Jack,

                      It was the end of the reply options and TGT followed your comment with a patent “I hate religion” assertion.

                      An assertion not based on any desire to do good but of one based on pure revilement of religion.

                    • tex,

                      “I referred to leaders as the subordinates were (1) acting on orders and (2) unlikely to be atheists.”

                      Irrelevent. We’re discussing “generally good people being led to believe horrible horrible things”.

                      My comment was only irrelevant if you continue to ignore the point I was actually making in favor of a strawman. I’ve explained it multiple times now.

                      And atheist world views and large government world views have led people to believe horrible horrible things, and commit far worse acts.

                      As I’ve noted, it was things separate from atheism and believing in large government that are responsible. Correlation isn’t causation.

                      History has shown that atheistic world-views as well as large-state world views have led generally good people to believe (and do) horrible horrible things.

                      Still false, no matter how many times you repeat it. As I said before, you might as well blame the color red.

                      You then followed to divert towards a discussion of the leaders (strawman),

                      This was handled above.

                      and then your #2 which basically says “well they didn’t follow atheist ideas then”

                      Absolutely not. Can’t you follow a simple argument?

                      You are wrong then if you wish to apply the standard to religion as a reason it must be fought, while exempting equal and often more heinous examples from atheist world-views.

                      As noted, again, atheism just happened to be present. It was not the driving force in causing people to do bad (like belief without evidence). You ignored the part of my argument where I explained all this. That looks intentional.

                      —-

                      An assertion not based on any desire to do good but of one based on pure revilement of religion.

                      Fighting bad things IS doing good. Your claim about my motives is inaccurate. Fighting religion correlates with my hating it, but both are caused by the inherent negatives of placing belief above evidence.

                    • I’m not responding to any of that circumlocution.

                      It is pure dishonest drivel.

                      I see that you will adhere to a double standard. But most people do when their first principles are based on hatred.

                      None of what you said refutes a damn thing. My objections to your assertion are fair, honest, and logical.

                    • You refuse to engage with my complaint with your example, even to say how my complaint does not apply. Instead, you make false statements about my first principles. Statements that you know are false. That says everything.

                    • Incorrect. I already engaged your complaint and showed it thoroughly illogical.

                      I need not repeat that. You then responded with repetition and circumlocution.

                      Anytime religion is brought up by you or someone else, your responses are apparant and do not hide your loathesomeness and abhorrence of religion. That is what is telling of your first principles.

                    • tex,

                      Incorrect. I already engaged your complaint and showed it thoroughly illogical.

                      Really? My recollection is that you ignored my actual complaint and created strawman arguments. When I called you on this behavior, you said:

                      “I’m not responding to any of that circumlocution.

                      It is pure dishonest drivel.”

                      The following is a spot that I think my actual complaint is clear. Could you please respond to it?

                      “I didn’t say that Atheist ideas weren’t adhered to; I said atheism was irrelevant to the bad beliefs that were held. I didn’t say no Atheist would kill; I said these killers killed for reasons other than atheism. Those reasons happened to include separate ideologies that praised belief without evidence. The cult of personality of Mao, for instance, caused people to believe and follow against evidence. That’s what led to bad results. The atheism did not lead to the mass killings anymore than the color red is at fault.”

                      You responded to my argument as if it was “religion is bad because religious people have done bad things.” My actual argument was “religion is bad because the reliance on faith causes people to do bad things that they could have avoided by using logic.”

                    • So, you understand, the narrative actually went this way:

                      TGT: “Preposterous and ridiculous assertion…

                      Tex: “OK, how about you apply the standard of that assertion across the board, to ideas you espouse?”

                      TGT: “Poppycock! People who think like me would never engage in the ridiculous assertion! People who claim to think like me and do engage in the ridiculous assertion aren’t really people who think like me!”

                      Tex: “No True Scotsman”

                      TGT: “Obfuscatory drivel!!

                      Tex: “Sigh…”

                      _______________________

                      “I didn’t say that Atheist ideas weren’t adhered to; I said atheism was irrelevant to the bad beliefs that were held.”

                      Incorrect, only abject ignorance of history would assert that the totalitarians did not derive from atheist worldviews and nanny-state worldviews.

                      “I didn’t say no Atheist would kill; I said these killers killed for reasons other than atheism.”

                      Strawman yourself. I never said you said such. And to your second objection, I could easily say “those generally good people held horrible horrible beliefs for reasons other than religion, that religion was merely the front to a more perfidious ends”. Then you would cry “No True Scotsman” for all the same reasons I did.

                      “Those reasons happened to include separate ideologies that praised belief without evidence. The cult of personality of Mao, for instance, caused people to believe and follow against evidence. That’s what led to bad results. The atheism did not lead to the mass killings anymore than the color red is at fault.”

                      That is further attempt to justify the No True Scotsman. I could easily drum out a list of “It’s not really religion’s fault that sometimes people engage in bad beliefs and actions in the name of religion”. Then you’d cry “No True Scotsman”!!!!

                  • Tgt: No, you translated, or concluded, incorrectly. I think that public disclosure of homosexuality by individuals is part of what is necessary for the public to determine and sustain standards of decency.

                    • How? If someone says “I am gay” or “I am straight” or “I am hetero-flexible”, how does that have a bearing on what is publicly decent for people to do sexually behind closed doors?

  7. Deviants, like Islamists, are driven by the need to legitimize an irrational and often violent lifestyle. To do this, they require political power and a free rein to recruit (by ANY means) new members in their ranks. This causes them to focus on the corruption of children from the earliest age. Establishing “madrassas” or inflitrating youth organizations- and mandating public school curricula favorable to them- is part of their common formula. So, also, is establishing their sordid excuses of “families” and legitimizing that as well. The Islamists use “honor killings” as their means for enforcing discipline among their groupings. Pervert couples use adoption and the dispicable practices that follow soon afterward. To them, marriage is a means to power. It does not and cannot apply anything that traditional Christians associate with the institution; love, devotion and duty to themselves and the children given to their care.

      • Courtesy of rationalwiki:
        The term refers to a statement that is apparently profound but actually asserts a triviality on one level and something meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has (at least) two meanings; one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound, but is essentially false or meaningless and would be “earth-shattering” if true.

        Think Deepak Chopra or any “sophisticated” theologian.

  8. Blankenhorn’s “conversion” is just more evidence that we are living in an era in which emotion rules; therefore rules must be made with the aim of satisfying emotions.

    In the U.S., our faith is now predominantly in our feelings, and almost to the exclusion of faith in anything else, for better or worse. The fundamentals of this religion of feeling might be represented and reflected thoroughly enough in the following individualized ostensible plea for kindness, mercy and justice:

    PLEASE!! Everybody, just love me. Everybody, just let me love and be loved. Let me love the object that I feel love for, in all the ways that I feel are loving toward that object. And please, everybody, I beg of you, please, love yourselves. Love yourselves as much as I love myself, if you can. Help me with your love to love myself increasingly, and thereby love yourselves increasingly. And, love as closely as you can, more and more as well as you can, the object of my love at least as much as you love yourselves.

    All that’s missing from our American pseudo-theocracy is a Ministry of Love. But, that is coming together too, though cobbled now from the ruins of the old, rejected faiths.

    (I puzzle and humor myself with the rest of my own comment. I can read it, and say in all honesty, simultaneously, “I am being serious,” and “I am being tongue-in-cheek.” I’m going to blame that on a Star Trek Effect this time – some inspiration from Mr. Spock – from a scene in the newest movie where he says something about expressing multiple attitudes at the same time…must see the movie again, and laugh again.)

    Today’s is an era of feeling over reason – but, the “reasoning” goes, our reasoning of today is so in-tune with our feelings, it is thus none other than superior reasoning by superior people with superior ideas. Previously existent people were inferior – shackled by inferior ideas, out of touch with their feelings. Equality was viewed through dirty lenses that failed to see many inequalities. The old, inferior lenses of the inferior people were dirtied by millennia of repressed and suppressed feelings – and in many cases, further dirtied by millennia of unsuppressed and unrepressed feelings.

    Inferior people, their inferior feelings, their inferior old lenses, and the resultant inferior outcomes (especially, the injustices that many of today’s superior people continue to suffer) survive today. This is a cause of great frustration of today’s superior people.

    But, the feelings of the superior people of today are cleansingly corrective. Superior people inevitably produce and distribute superior lenses and create superior results.

    Check yourself here, to verify whether or not you are one of today’s superior people; if you agree with what follows, you are superior: What you feel, you have a right to feel. You even have the right to feel that what you feel is right, no matter what anyone else feels about what you feel. Moreover: If you are truly in touch with your feelings, then you also feel – but also, know – that you deserve the right to do as you feel is right. And, you feel (and know) that no one else has the right to keep you from doing as you feel is right, no matter what or how anyone else feels. This is the “If it feels good, do it” approach to life – with the all-important “It’s my right to do it” justification.

    As history clearly shows, however, many people, who felt good about what they did, have had their doings, and their rights, and even their feelings disrespected, hindered and punished by repressed, repressive, inferior people using inferior, dirty lenses. Relationships among the inferior people of old were inferior, not just because the people of old were inferior, but also because they used inferior lenses. Relationships existed, but feelings were easily overlooked, which led to much inequality between persons in relationships. The much inequality – the many inequalities – naturally led to all manner of injustice and oppression.

    In contrast, the superior people of today have relationships that are superior to the relationships that the inferior people of old had. Today’s relationships are superior, not only because many people of today are superior, but also because today’s superior people use new, superior lenses which help guarantee that today’s relationships are not so marred by inequality. The inferior people of old, with their old, inferior lenses, obviously failed to feel sufficiently about what too many fellow people long felt was right, and equal. But today’s superior people, using the new, superior lenses, are feeling what is right and equal, unlike the inferior people who were ever incapable of feeling. New rights and new equalities are thus inevitable; we stand at the threshold of rights and equalities, the likes of which the world has never seen (or felt, or done).

    The new lenses – which of course will require new laws and new enforcement to compel everyone to wear them (or at least, to act as if they are being worn) – will make it impossible to overlook a bunch of previously overlooked inequalities. So, call present times a Cognitive Dissonance Cleansing. Or maybe, a Renaissance of Equality. Or maybe, a Revolution of Rights. Doesn’t it all feel so exciting? Ready to claim and act out your rights? Don’t fail to feel! Don’t miss your equality! DO IT! It’s your right.

    So much of what was heretofore deemed and accepted as unequal, will be equal – must be equal – will be made equal. Failure to change, failure to accept the changes, just won’t feel right (if you are one of the superior people, that is) – must not feel right – will be made to feel wrong. Therefore naturally, inevitably, the new lenses also eventually will be found inadequate for seeing new inequalities – many of which will inevitably result from the enforcement of the new equalities. Thus, the “If it feels good, do it” approach, superior though it is, will remain continually embattled and besieged in perpetuity by forces of “Only if it feels good to us, may you do it.”

    Thus shall the stage be set for yet another, future era, inhabited by people even more superior to today’s superior people – to feel even more, correct even more, and enable and liberate and secure even more feelings and rights and equalities and doings than people ever imagined or felt or had or did in any previous time.

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