Ethics Dunce: Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd (D)

How low will she go?

How low will she go?

Ms. Todd is Alabama’s only openly gay legislator, and now she’s an openly unethical legislator. She doesn’t like the political and social arguments some of her colleagues are making against gay marriage, so she’s going to extort them to  shut them up. Maybe she got the idea from “Citizen Kane.” Charles Foster Kane’s political career was ruined by similar extortion from a political opponent. Of course, the Orson Welles classic made it clear that James Gettys was a ruthless villain. So is Todd.

Her threat: if opponents use “family values” rhetoric as a reason to oppose marriage equality, she’ll start making rumors of their marital infidelities public. “I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about ‘family values’ when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have,” Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd wrote on Facebook.  “I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet out…If certain people come out and start espousing this rhetoric about family values, then I will say, ‘Let’s talk about family values, because here’s what I heard.’ I don’t have direct knowledge, because obviously I’m not the other person involved in the affair. But one thing you would never hear about me is that I ever cheated on a partner or had an affair.”

That’s certainly ennobling: openly dirty politics, using threats of exposing tales of embarrassing personal misconduct to force opponents to surrender. Next: Taking their kids hostage?  Framing those hypocritical reps with photos of dead prostitutes in their beds, like in “Godfather Part  2”? Todd is dangerously unschooled in right and wrong, because she is just right, that’s all, and anyone who stands in her way deserves to be destroyed. She can’t prevail on the merits of her policies and her ability to argue persuasively for them, so her strategy is to cause carnage in her opponent’s lives, families, and careers as vengeance, or to intimidate them into not doing their jobs. She doesn’t even care if the rumors are true.

Awful woman, unethical official, political thug. See? Gays in power are just like anyone else!

__________________________

Sources: Huffington Post, Alabama.com

 

342 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd (D)

  1. She is unfit to serve because she exposed herself as a person willing to lie and extort others to achieve an end. I thought extortion was a crime not just unethical conduct.

  2. And you wonder why I oppose gay marriage?

    Because those who support it have acted like thugs or encouraged people to act like thugs. From Andrew Sullivan saying that gays should view Mormons as the enemy, to Perez Hilton’s bullying of Carrie Prejean, to Dan Savage and his antics (remember his cyber-bullying of Rick Santorum?), to Floyd Corkins (as an aside, Corkins ADMITTED in court that the SPLC’s “hate groups” map provided him information he used in the shooting), to the treatment of Dr. Angela McCaskill, to what has happened to multiple other people who merely ask to not have to participate or express support for a same-sex wedding, to efforts to get TLC to yank “My Husband’s Not Gay”… the pattern is not only clear, it is undeniable:

    They have decided that the ends (so-called “marriage equality”) justify pursuing any means necessary to attain them.

    The sad fact is, those who oppose such conduct in the LGBT community are either unable or unwilling to stand up against such bullying. We may well see the Supreme Court impose gay marriage across the country, but the scorched-earth tactics will have a price that the LGBT community may end up paying.

    Between the bullying, the state coercing expression on behalf of the LGBT community (let’s be honest, that is what the New Mexico Supreme Court did in the Elane Photography case, and is trying to do in other cases)… let’s just say that when the pendulum swings, the LGBT community will wish it had been much more tolerant of those who disagreed with their political agenda.

    • The LGBT community doesn’t police its crazies. The only community that polices its crazies worse is Islam. The problem isn’t only the crazies, it’s the ordinary folks who look the other way and don’t say anything, and also the non-LGBT people who see this as a progressive wave to ride to somewhere, and so latch onto the bullying, forcing, anything that appears to be going somewhere, and consequences be damned. I don’t doubt there are some in the movement who are principled, but I believe there are a lot more who are cynical and see it as a means to self-advancement, whatever the price to society as a whole.

      In all fairness to Andrew Sullivan, who I’m not really a fan of, but in the interest of being factual, he did say it was time to back off, lest the gay rights movement become as bad as the religious right. That movement may soon get the ultimate prize it’s been chasing for years. The question becomes what next after that? I am guessing a fair amount of the LGBT community will just settle down with mortgages, kids, and occasionally divorces. At that point the scorched-earth activists will have to decide whether they want to settle down also or not. If not, the next round of battles, where people are “made to care” is not likely to garner as much public support.

      • “I am guessing a fair amount of the LGBT community will just settle down with mortgages, kids, and occasionally divorces.”

        Uh huh. Some of them will even come out as Republicans.

        • What absolutely aggravates me is how many homosexuals I know espouse generally right-wing attitudes on most key political points…except their key topic.

          And the Republicans refuse to adopt a more Libertarian attitude towards this…

          ugh.

          • Ugh is about right. I might be tempted to change political alliances (I started as a Republican after all) but for the party’s moral agenda.

      • I just looked up Sullivan on Wikipedia. I now know what a bear is in the gay community. It is a large hairy gay man, or more uncommonly a large hairy lesbian, more properly known as an Ursula. Further subcategories include, but are not limited to:

        Cub – a younger (or younger-looking) version of a bear, typically, but not always, with a smaller frame. The term is sometimes used to imply the passive partner in a relationship.[18]
        Daddy – A mature bear who is often looking for a cub (or a younger man) for a relationship.
        Ewok – A bear of short stature, but not younger.[citation needed]
        Otter – A slimmer or less hairy bear regardless of age.[19]
        Chaser – Somebody who is attracted to bears and/or chubs but is not part of the bear culture.
        Chub – A heavy-set man who might be described as overweight or obese. These men are also a distinct subculture within the gay community, and may or may not identify with the bear movement per se.
        Teddy – A fully hairy bear. Chest, back, beard, everything is hairy.[citation needed]
        Musclebear – A bear whose size derives from muscle rather than body fat.
        Ursula – A lesbian bear.[7]
        Goldilocks – A straight woman friendly with bears.
        Black Bear – A bear of African descent.[citation needed]
        Panda (or Panda Bear) – A bear of Asian descent.[citation needed]
        Koala Bear – A bear of Australian descent.[citation needed]
        Polar Bear – An older bear whose facial and body hair is predominantly or entirely white or grey.
        Grizzly – A dominant bear of extreme stature in height, weight, and/or hairiness.[citation needed]
        Wolf – A slimmer bear, with the behavioral characteristic of sexual assertiveness or aggression.
        Manatee – A hairless, chubby male who is called a bear but does not identify as such.

    • Your forgot about the gay marriage advocates who scuttled the reconciliation between the United Methodist Church and the CME and AME churches. Years spent trying to reconcile a horrible wrong gone in days and resulting in more resentment. The next conference where they used delaying tactics to try to disenfranchise all the African churches was almost as bad. Remember, these gay marriage activists are supposed to be Methodist clergy and lay leaders.

    • Your reaction mirrors my reaction to the tactics of the gun control fanatics. The difference for me is that the Constitution is on the pro-gun side, while the anti-gay marriage argument is, in the end, a denial of core American values as articulated by the Founders, whether the Founders would have supported gay marriage or not (they wouldn’t, of course…unless they had 200 years to think about it.)

      • This is where I’m torn. The only thing I really have against gay marriage is that I truly believe that it’s a small part of a plan to take down our society (Claussen, The Naked Communist). I’m not sure about its usefulness towards that end, but the association with it is what bothers me, not so much the marriage itself. On the other hand, I’m a bit of a constitutional purist. In the end, I believe I have to (somewhat reluctantly) side with gay marriage.

            • What is?
              Do you actually know any gay couples? I know a lot of them. They want to have a family, not be discriminated against, be able to have tax and survivor benefits, maybe adopt kids. Power has absolutely nothing to do with it.
              “Unnatural” is a last resort argument and beneath you—indeed, beneath just about anyone. And if God had wanted us to fly, He would have given us wings. Clothing is unnatural. Artificial hips are unnatural. Two people who love each other wanting to commit to each other without some separate but equal stigma? The most natural thing in the world.

              • No comparison, Jack. We’re dealing with a fundamental of the human condition… and a perversion of it. The purpose of “gay marriage” is to establish a moral equivalency with the real article, thus boosting their political authority over normal people and, as a big bonus, giving them unlimited power to adopt children for their “families” and indoctrinate them into their deviant lifestyle- thereby keeping their numbers up.

                • As I say, there just is no “they.” There are just regular people. No agendas, just fair play. Sure, there are angry extremists, as in any group. I wonder where you got these ideas, and how they got rooted so deep.

                  • That’s like saying that most Moslems are “moderate”. Yet, in both cases, they are party to a culture that virtually demands certain things of them- few of which are compatible with civilization. Even when they don’t participate in crimes against humanity (and, thus, risking apostacy!), they are nonetheless part and parcel of it as they must support it. This is particularly true of deviants, as their behavior relegates them to a closed, insular subculture. The attempts of both to impose their depraved non-values on decent society is the root cause of so many modern troubles, as they now pose to us a visible threat.

                    • It’s nothing like the Moslems, Steven! Gays aren’t a cult, or a religion, or a nation, or a race. They don’t share beliefs, or political views, or anything else. This is like saying joggers, or redheads, or people who wear glasses or who like okra or who have tattoos are like Moslems. It sounds demented, frankly.

            • Yes, I certainly believe the Democrats only see the homosexual community as a voting bloc to exploit. Just as soon as it were politically expedient, I would easily envision the Left dumping the homosexual vote if it became electorally profitable to do so.

              But that isn’t the issue.

              • I know almost as many conservative gays as liberal. Once the conservative party stops featuring candidates who declare them evil, corrupting, god-forsaken threats to civilization rather than the law-abiding, tax-paying, church-going (in many cases) soldiers, lawyers, police officers, accountants, entrepreneurs, teachers and bankers they are, I suspect the partisan mix will be pretty diverse too.

                  • Nor pederasts, exhibitionists, vulgarians, or sissies. Nor politically active, militant, or harboring dire plans of converting children to their orientation after luring them to their lairs. And you’d be surprised who don’t know.

                    • Same problem as with Islam. Wait, hear me out. The majority of Muslims are just ordinary folks, but they either turn a blind eye to or silently enable the bin Ladens et al. If they want to be accepted and not hated or mistrusted, they need to take steps to knock Jihad John off the front page, because most folks frankly aren’t interested in getting into the subtleties, especially not after last year’s string of Muslim terrorist actions and near actions. I’m also not talking “well, sorry about the victims but, blah blah blah, Palestine, blah blah blah Iraq.” We need clear statements that this is wrong, this is not Quranic, and concrete steps to aid the west in its fight against terror, that means no more money laundering and funding disguised as charity, no more safe havens, and no more Islamic governmental foot-dragging and shrugging when it comes to dealing with terror in their own midst.

                      The comparison isn’t perfect, for the simple reason that the LGBT folks aren’t resorting to violence, BUT, if indeed the majority of them are just ordinary folks who want the same as everyone else, I think it’s in their best interests to knock Dan Savage, et al off the front page, and that means these ordinary folks need to provide an alternate, reasonable voice to columnists spewing profane poison, militants suing bakers and chapels, and frankly, weirdos sporting Speedos and assless chaps in pride parades. If there is more of that reasonable voice and less vindictiveness and coercion, you might be surprised how many conservatives might give at least grudging acceptance (the battle for hearts and minds is going to take a while longer) to them as full partners in society. I think it’s also in their best interest to NOT appear that their rights could be used as a tool for religious suppression, because then it’s not just about equal rights, it’s about one group’s rights crowding another’s. That’s not what America is supposed to be about and not what true equality is. Equality should not be on its way to becoming a buzzword for gay rights any more than constitution should be on its way to being a buzzword for Tea Partyism.

                    • But Steve, that merely brings the argument full circle to the origin of the disagreement.

                      Either:
                      1) Homosexuals are homosexual because they are born that way – that is – it is completely natural and they can’t change that.
                      2) Homosexuality is a mental disorder slowly constructed through childhood through a series of unfortunate experiences or via other external causes – and by adulthood this disorder has manifested in homosexual orientations
                      3) Homosexuality is an arbitrary decision of an autonomous, apparently healthy human.

                      I’m sure there are other options, but I think that covers the gist of it.

                      Now, if #1 is true, then comparison to Islam doesn’t hold, because Islam, in the end, *even when force of death is present*, is still an individual choice.

                      Now, I can easily hold that all 3 can be simultaneously true, which leads to:

                      If 1 is true, and some people simply are that way, then out of accepting that they are who they are, one must quietly tolerate the #2s and #3s of the world.

                      And before anyone decries #2 – don’t for once pretend like unhealthy sexual proclivities and behavior cannot be derived from mental imbalance. And since that can occur with individuals (heterosexual OR homosexual) then it CAN manifest in a variety of ways.

                    • I see what you are saying, Tex, and the point’s well-taken, BUT, my main point is that both of these social groups (I can’t think of another sufficiently broad term) have an image problem that’s hurting their mainstream, and that that mainstream could do more to help that image by more forcefully rejecting the crazy element. I’m not too too worried about how either Muslims came to be Muslims (usually socialization, some might call it brainwashing) or gay people came to be gay (still unknown, but I’m leaning away from #3, as an Asperger’s person I know first hand no one in their right mind CHOOSES to be odd and take on all that comes with it).

                    • But we all have our assholes, Steve. Bill Maher embarrasses straight middle-aged white guys. Ann Coulter embarrasses female outspoken lawyers. Nancy Pelosi embarrasses Democrats; Lena Dunham embarrasses feminists; Alec Baldwin embarrasses actors; Al Sharpton embarrasses blacks; Bowe Bergdahl embarrasses veterans…why should Dan Savage represent all gays, when we don’t treat other obnoxious outliers that way, unless it suits our biases?

                    • I’m afraid that Dan Savage represents them all too well. The only “virtue” he possesses is his brutal honesty about the nature of what he and his cohorts actually think and do.

                    • Believe me, nothing irks me more as a conservative than when some outlier makes a Todd-Akin-esque gaffe about rape or the Tea Party puts another substance-less candidate up who has not a chance, and Ann Coulter is beyond crazy (she was fired from National Review). None of the others have gotten to the point where they are turning the mainstream against their constituency…yet.

        • In honesty, my ONLY objection to gay marriage (by-the-bye, I’m not all that fond of the concept of marriage. More on that if it ever comes up in a post) is that I am reluctant to change the definition of a word totally, for no other reason than that it suits the desires of a very TINY minority. There has got to be a better way to ensure relationship rights for gay couples.

          • There can’t be, without a societal stigma. If gay couples have to be [gay-married] then they are permanently tarred to all as not good/virtuous/clean/moral/Biblically sanctioned enough to be married married. I get the gut reaction to changing the comfy, well-accepted, unambiguous definition of marriage after eons, but that’s the ick factor—marriage isn’t immune to recalibrating as society evolves.

            I can’t wait for an alien race to settle here in peace with us, one that is completely productive and benign, intellectually brilliant, compassionate, blue, with three arms, but othwerwise humanish, that can breed safely with humans of either gender and produce human hybrids that are, objectively, an upgrade, and the years of arguments we’ll have that “Marriage was never intended to be between a man or women and a Splingblapp!”

            • I bet you can’t wait for an alien race you kinkster!

              Couldn’t resist.

              “We have failed to uphold Brannigan’s Law. However I did make it with a hot alien babe. And in the end, is that not what man has dreamt of since first he looked up at the stars?” -Zapp Brannigan (Futurama)

            • “Evolves”, Jack? That would likewise require an evolution of human physiology and psychology; realities that any healthy society reflects. Unless another human species has just arisen without attracting much attention, I think that theory can be safely discounted!

            • Interestingly, I’d probably like the Splingblapps, but would still oppose changing the definition of marriage. My feeling is that once we make it easy to change definitions, we make it very difficult to stop. The definition of ‘human’, probably from the founding of America until a measurable number of years, ago did NOT include black people. Indeed, changing that definition required a lot of work and more suffering, pretty much for all involved. If the definition of ‘marriage’ is to be changed, and I would still rather it not be, then it should NOT be undertaken lightly and as a reaction to political intimidation.

  3. Just curious: do any of Todd’s critics here have any ethical problems with politicians wrapping themselves in the flag of “family values” while violating the very values in which they wrap themselves? Like, you know, having affairs that devastate their spouses, harm their children….

    • Sure. Although it is not necessarily hypocritical, nor would it be hypocritical if the opponents were themselves gay. The question is, do they really believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that this is what the law should limit it to? If they do, then they are not hypocrites, and their infidelities, or whatever she is talking about, are irrelevant to the issue at hand. They are, again if true, engaging in unethical conduct that may or may not be contrary to what they believe. Was Jefferson a hypocrite? No, he knew what was right and in the best interests of society. He just lacked the character to live by his own ideals.

  4. A thug is a thug is a thug. Being a pudgy, white-haired old lady will not change that. She should be treated like any other thug would be treated.

  5. It’s ironic and sad that this new protected class of people started out saying that they simply wanted to not be bullied or subjected to unfair treatment, are now bullies demanding preferential treatment. They’re especially pushy in our schools, and I resent it. It’s good to teach kids to love, respect, and not be judgmental to all, but another thing entirely to demand the reading of “Heather Has Two Moms” to kindergarteners or a demonstration of fisting to middle school kids, or face lawsuits and other forms of censure. By protected class, I mean a group that has assumed the mantle of perpetual victimhood, which can do no wrong, and can default to accusations of racism, misogyny, homophobia, or islamophobia (to name but a few) toward any detractor in the face of any criticism, legitimate or otherwise. It’s sad because this pushiness will alienate people who would otherwise advocate for gays who simply want to be accepted as human beings and enjoy equal protection under the law.

    • “…alienate people who would otherwise advocate for gays who simply want to be accepted as human beings and enjoy equal protection under the law.”

      Otherwise they would, Joed? Really? Be accepted as human beings? Instead of… ? Wow. What a truly revolutionary idea! I have to think about it, though. I mean, after all, I find it hard to accept your crass generalizations and condescension (and that of a great many commenters here), even if you are an OLD “protected class.”

      Note: I am responding to that particular inhumane phrasing quoted above and those particularly vicious attitudes toward the “pudgy old dyke/thug.” For a group of people who espouse American values and traditions (and decry the other half of the country as not having any), some of you — SMP and Dragin_Dragon for two — don’t exactly live up to them.

                • Surprisingly you appear to have failed this time out. Talent said he was never going to let anyone get away with provocateurism or unacceptable comments without a rebuttal again, but not a peep have we heard on that score here, and this thread is approaching 200 posts. That said, I frankly don’t think that every gay issue thread degenerating into a profane, personal hate-fest does anything for anybody.

                  • Don’t take me too literally on that statement, Steve. Nor do I habitually engage in profanities while posting online… anywhere. If my position on an issue is not politically correct, so be it. I’ll defend what I consider to be a manifest truth.

      • Seriously, you’re being a grammar Nazi. It probably would have been better if I just said accepted, or accepted as ordinary people, or whatever. It’s what I meant. I stand by every word of the rest of it, though. I won’t respond to the OLD protected class thing, because I honestly and simply don’t have the time right now for the epic diatribe needed to describe how you are so very, very wrong in that assessment. Maybe Thursday, barring any unexpected disaster.

      • Also, maybe I didn’t make it clear that I was differentiating between the people who just wanted acceptance (likely the silent majority) and the loud, angry, obnoxious ones that demand special treatment, special consideration under the law, and free, unfettered access to our children’s minds. They can piss up a rope.

            • Okay, I tried it. Do NOT piss up the rope; you’ll only end up covered in piss. Instead, aim waist-high on the rope and let capillary action do the work. Pissing in the wind yields the same results. Get upwind of your enemy before engaging.

                • Well, I’m glad somebody tried it. Better you than me. And I could’a told you what will happen pissin’ into the wind. Served on a destroyer escort one weekend a month when young and stupid.

                  • That reminds me of a few incidents, one of which was MS2 Jim Eng, black-out drunk and returning with us from a night of binge drinking in Holy Loch. He crossed the brow leading up to the Hunley’s (submarine tender) spit-and-polish quarterdeck, and decided it was time to make pee-pee off the brow, right in front of the OOD. He was so drunk, he honestly had no idea where he was. He went to mast. Another was during surf torture in BUD/S, where we had the bright idea that maybe if we could all simultaneously urinate in the water while laying in close proximity to each other, it might alleviate our hypothermia even the tiniest bit. It didn’t. Slightly off-topic, I once walked into a masturbation contest in missile control center (where our SLBMs are launched from), where the object was to finish first while reading the ship’s Plan of the Day. As it happened, Charlie Dodge, whose father invented Velcro (or so the story goes), won the contest.

                    • Yup. Naval Reserve outfit I was in outta Richmond, Va. was given the USS Hensley, forgot her number, for the monthly drills. 1963 ’til December 1965. The insanity struck and I went into the Army.

                    • You mean SANITY struck! I’ll bet that old tub leaked like the White House press room. We have a DE on display down in Galveston. Buckley class.

                    • Been there. Also have a sub, don’t know what class. The USS Kidd is docked in Baton Rouge, LA. Very nicely restored. Wife claims the DE is only slightly more roomy than the sub. Obviously, I disagree.

                    • That is a serious possibility, Steven. The T-shirt I bought at the visitor center says “DD-661” which sort of rules out being a DE, ya know.

                    • I’m going to make a wild guess, and say Fletcher. I vaguely remember a conversation with one of the volunteer destroyermen at the aft gangway.

                    • There’ve been 2 more Kidd’s since, one the lead ship of class of 4 originally intended for the Iranian Navy and therefore jokingly referred to as the Ayatollah class, the other from the Arleigh Burke mainstay class of DDGs.

                    • Ship classes and warrior creeds. This is becoming a man cave. Another pour of whiskey? A light? Or do you just want to shoot another round of pool?

                    • This conversation is cute and all, you guys talking about your little boats and such…

                      But there are only two ways to get into battle:

                      Beneath the open canopy of a T-10 parachute.

                      Inside the raging hulk of an M-1 Abrams tank.

                      There would be a third, but the horse is retired except for special forces…

                      Carry on men.

                    • I’ve usually found it to be either mud or rocks! The back of a deuce-and-a-half, if I’m lucky. That plus a box of cold C-Rats. “The Navy gets the gravy, but the Army gets the beans, beans, beans…”

                    • I’ll tell ya, the driver’s seat of an M-1 Abram’s tanks is one of the most comfortable “beds” around.

                      Unfortunately so much so that Tank Commander’s and Drivers often have this Conversation:

                      TC: Driver, move out…

                      TC: Driver… MOVE OUT!!!!

                      TC: DRIVER!

                      DVR: I’m AWAKE I’m AWAKE!

                      TC: That’s not what I said to you… but thanks anyway.

                    • Utterly impractical, of course. That was akin to his idea of building gigantic battleships mounting 20 inch guns! Grand Admiral Raeder had to mpatiently explain to him that there were no naval facilities in the world that could accommodate something like that. Then there was that huge railway cannon that WAS built and required a full battalion to operate.

                    • Totally. It would have rolled off the factory floor with a full complement of a battalion of Nazis singing the Panzerlied full of vim and vigor until the first P-51 saw it, dive bombed it and put it out of commission with one armor piercing bomb…

                    • As a sitting target, It would have been without peer! The Germans always seemed to go overboard on these things. Of course, Lord Mountbatten’s iceberg aircraft carrier strained credulity as well!

                    • Since I am some older that the M-1, when I went to war, it was in an M-60. Remarkable vehicle, that one. And why in the world would anybody want to jump out of a perfectly flyable airplane?

                    • “And why in the world would anybody want to jump out of a perfectly flyable airplane?”

                      Because the bad guys aren’t in the airplane. They’re on the ground.

                    • But I’ve got you now. That “nearby airstrip” isn’t available for the air force to land like civilized people until the paratroopers have gone first and cleared it out…

                    • Which is why I had the M-60. All kidding aside, my oldest boy was Ranger. You can’t imagine the respect I have for you guys.

                    • An M-60 tank can still kick ass today. As for the airborne, I spent three years at Fort Bragg. When I saw all those guys hobbling around the main PX with braces all over them, I was cured of any desire to go to jump school!

                    • In the spirit of honesty, I never had the guts to try it. I was perfectly content to ride along in my ’60. However, my son, the Ranger has trouble with his knees, even today.

                    • By this time all the women have rolled their eyes and left the room. That’s fine though, they can see to the roast for later and trade gossip.

                    • That’s not how we were trained when I was in. We were trained to take immediate and aggressive action when ambushed. Don’t they have M.P.’s running convoy escort anymore?

                    • We do? Not if you’re an FMF or SEAL corpsman. I have vivid recollections of 30-plus mile humps with over 100 pounds of 782 gear, weapons, and medical shit (like IV bags). Worst of all, we got no breaks. We were too busy popping bloody foot blisters and filling them with tincture of benzoin. Our old man, Col. Dennis Hejlik, would also take us on 9-mile boots, utes, and gear runs pretty regularly.

                    • Yup. Dad agreed with you. He often spoke to veteran’s groups, but found the culture in them (and, he said, the flag-waiving by a group often dominated by veterans who never hoisted a weapon) sad and annoying.

                    • Most veterans never engaged in actual combat, Jack. A lot of World War II vets never made it overseas, either. But you go where you’re sent and do what you’re assigned to do. If you do so honorably, it’s enough.

                    • Of course. My father’s point was that the combat veterans were typically quiet, modest and reflective about their service, and the most vocal chest bangers, drum beaters and jingoists tended to have been far from the gunfire.

                    • In more modern times, the idea of a “front line” is a lot more tenuous. Even the battalion commander’s orderly could find himself under fire at any time. Safe Areas are much more relative. But even in World War II, rear echelon troops could be conscripted as riflemen to contain an enemy offensive. When you put on the uniform, you’re a secondary infantryman, no matter what your MOS is. In the Military Police, we ALL had a secondary MOS of 95B (infantry).

                    • Speaking of getting places, we had this rifle company skipper, Capt. Khan. Seriously, that was his name; Lebanese guy. We had just gotten back from Somalia, and we went almost immediately to cold weather training in Norway, then to a CAX at 29 Palms, CA. He did not believe in amtracks, helos, and apparently not even water buffalos. I guess he wanted to impress the old man by being the biggest prick in 2D MARDIV. Long story short, we lost a marine to heat stroke (and almost another) because we were humping all over the Mojave desert without water. Nothing I could do; when your hypothalamus is cooking, you just piss out IV fluids.

                    • Decades from now, when archivists read this thread in researching my biography, they will wonder how the hell a post on extortion by an overmatched lesbian pol turned into military reminiscences about the hypothalmus.

                    • “combat veterans were typically quiet, modest and reflective about their service”. No, not necessarily. This is a stage-dependent thing. It’s pretty common to go for years not saying a word to anyone about it, but if you’re lucky enough to get effective treatment, it becomes cathartic to talk. Your dad was probably around people who served in an era when treatment was almost nonexistent. Nowadays, there are great programs. I go to something called “The Equus Effect” , and use meditation; two of many treatments available these days. I’m not too bad off, but I’ve seen people who would literally patrol the perimeter of their house at night with a rifle healed by this stuff. Okay, you can have your thread back.

                    • I’m sorry too. I’ll add this, though. Decades from now, when archivists read this thread in researching your biography, they might be saying, “Mr. Marshall knew Joe D too!” I’m half-joking. My sisters and a couple of close friends have been pushing me hard to write a book. They all say that it would be one of the most absolutely insane and intense life stories they’ve ever read or heard of. I’ve been debating it for a while. There would be some very personal stuff in there that would be hard to share, and I have this fear that people would think much of it was fabricated or embellishment. My current wife did, until she met my sisters and they confirmed the stories that I’d slowly shared with her. It just feels a bit narcissistic and exhibitionist, too. It all started when my dad was crushed by a horse, the drugs made him insane, and I ran away a few years later and lived in the woods at 12. It just got crazier from there, and I mean really, really crazy. A couple of shrinks have told me that my life would have left most people completely and utterly shattered, or would turn them into homicidal psychopaths. I disagree, and I think I could put together something with some very positive messages. It would also be entertaining as hell, and the countless ridiculous situations and near-death adventures would be hysterical too. I probably won’t do it, though, or if I do, it would be for limited circulation among family and a few friends. In any event, I’d certainly have to mention this blog, and the awesome, intelligent, and inspirational people in it. “Yeah, I knew that guy Jack Marshall, even pissed him off on a couple occasions”. 🙂

                    • Yeah, some bizarre shite. Not long after he was crushed, my parents got involved in this cult, headed by a woman named Veronica Leuken. We would go to Bayside, Flushing Meadow Park, NY and pray the rosary all night no matter the weather, while in the middle of the crowd was Veronica, talking to Jesus and Mary. The gist of it was that the end of the world was nigh, and that we had to withdraw from the world, live in poverty off the land, and pray. My parents took us out of school wen I was 7, and we split and stacked cordwood from dawn to dusk, 6 days a week. We prayed the rest of the time. We lived like gypsies, moving about every 3 months or so. The last place we lived, a summer cottage on Lake Hayward, had no heat other than a small leaky pot-bellied stove that we huddled around, no running water, and no electricity. My father, like I said, was nutz. He would shoot at us, kill our pets, threaten to shoot my mom, you name it. One time when I was 5, I drank his orange juice while he was in the shower. I vaguely remember it. It seemed to go on for eternity. I lost a bunch of my baby teeth, a fractured jaw, and a bunch of broken ribs. It was a “riding accident” (we still had the stables at the time). The last straw was when he killed my puppies. We had a female Doberman, Bella. She got pregnant, and had 10 mongrel puppies. We kept them on the plot of land where we harvested firewood. They became feral, but they responded well to me. One day, a contractor was having perc test holes dug in order to assess the land so it could be sold. Bella bit the contractor on the shoulder. My father promised to destroy the dogs in order to avoid a suit. That night, he threw the dogs in one of the holes. I had to shine a flashlight on them while he shot them. The really messed up thing was, the ones still alive started eating the dead ones; they were hungry. I’d had enough, and I went into the woods until I was 17. You know what’s really messed up? There are kids all over the world who would say I had it made. That was one of the important lessons I learned in my life; it can always be worse, and happiness is entirely a matter of perspective.

                    • I’ve heard a lot of stories about some of these crazy, nihilistic cults that cropped up since the 1960’s. We seldom hear, however, what the effect was on the kids of parents who came to subscribe to this insanity. Thanks for the insight, Joe. From this, one can think further on what it must be like for kids living in Islamist countries having to deal with this sort of thing… and where it’s the rule of law as well.

      • Thank you, Penn. I am honored to be lumped into the same category as SMP and Joed68. As to your deranged comment, there are a LOT of gay people, in or out of a relationship who simply want, like many of us, to live their lives and be left alone. I have no problems with that whatsoever. Apparently you do. What I will bloody well guarantee you is that NOBODY is ever going to change my mind or my behavior with threats, intimidation or insults,. as you attempted. I don’t blackmail worth a shit, and efforts at intimidating me generally have a paradoxical effect. If you don’t know what that is, google it. You can cut and paste.

        • Dragin, sorry I missed your post the other day – I don’t get notices of new posts so I just happened to come back to this topic to see if there was anything new. And there you were. So.

          If calling you out for gratuitous insults is deranged, then I must apologize for my upbringing in family, school and community. I was taught, crazy as may seem to you, that no valid point of discussion could be made by derogating a person’s physical appearance. It is at the least, impolite; at best, irrelevant. I didn’t even note that slamming someone for their looks is childish. That would have been impolite. And unnecessary. And “thug” is such a strange word to use — Though I didn’t mention it before, I think you should look it up.

          Nor did I refer to gay people in general in any way, so I do not understand “there are a LOT of gay people, in or out of a relationship who simply want, like many of us, to live their lives and be left alone. I have no problems with that whatsoever. Apparently you do.” Are you arguing with someone? Not me.

          “Blackmail” “threats” “intimidation” ? Whatever for? Even if I could, why would I bother?

          As it happens, the main reason for putting my call-out in print was to place a bit of civility in the way of all the ugliness some of you smear over Ethics Alarms, a website for which I have grown to have great respect. I have referred many to EA only to find out later that while they appreciated the blog, they couldn’t understand why I thought the level of comment was challenging, mature, intelligent, often witty and worth getting into. It seemed to them to be, as one put it, “just a nest of name-callers.”

          No, I never did expect to “change” you, just for the sake of others, to mitigate the venom a bit.

          • Sure, we usually mitigate, but none of us suffer fools gladly, and challenge anyone directly or launch a direct attack, and we’re coming after you. Jack pointed out elsewhere that we usually don’t use invective in real life because usually the Golden Rule kicks in when we are facing another person, and I also pointed out that we don’t do it as much in real life because if you goad someone too hard in person you might end up getting either really badly hurt or killed. I was an inch away from bringing a huge stapler (the kind used for fastening documents that are 200+ pages) crashing down on a secretary’s head after she was both profane and insubordinate to me, it escalated into a shouting match, and, after her statement that I was lucky she wasn’t married or she’d have her husband beat the shit out of me, I decided I had had enough.

          • First of all, I promised myself long time ago that I would not respond to ANY comment you made. Why I made that promise is irrelevant, and I do not inte3nd to discuss it here. Instead, I intend to honor that promise…again. Nor will I address any conflict you might have with SMP or Joed. They are big boys and I assume that if they so choose, they can handle anything you throw at them. I assume you comment is towards my response calling this woman a thug. I am well aware of the origins of the word, and I think they are appropriate to the situation and to a description of this woman’s behavior. Certainly not what I would describe as venomous. As far as you “changing” me you are right. That ain’t going to happen. What is going to happen is that I will go back to my promise to NOT respond to your comments, such as they are, again.

      • That’s exactly right. The lack of respect and dignity in their comments tarnishes anything valuable that they might have to say on this or any other topic.

        • I’ve been trying to figure out what it is in this topic that always brings out ugliness in the comments of participants whose contributions are usually anything but. I’m sure there would be something valuable to be learned from the answer, but I don’t know what the hell it might be…

          • Basic hate combined with ick factor, Jack, and little room for compromise. You’re either gay or you aren’t, surprisingly I don’t buy the idea that gay people can be “turned” any more than other paraphilias can be cured or a manic-depressive can “just cheer up.” If you are, you tend to get lumped in by a lot of folks with all the worst elements of that community: coercion, bully lobby, exhibitionism, hypersexuality, perceived disgusting sexual practices, and you know all the rest. Is it possible to have a respectful conversation with a gay person about some of this stuff? Yes, some of them probably find some of this behavior embarrassing and self-defeating. Is it possible to have such a conversation with someone if you are going in thinking he’s a hair-trigger Dan Savage who’s going to tell you “eff you, eff your family, eff everyone who doesn’t agree with me” the minute you disagree? Is it possible to have such a conversation if you can’t get the image out of your head of him strutting down Fifth Avenue in chaps that show his hairy ass to the world? Not really. It’s definitely not possible if you go in yourself thinking he’s a pervert or a sodomite or whatever name you want to stick on him. So it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: the guy who is opposed to gay stuff comes away thinking the gay guy’s an unstable, disgusting pervert who can’t control his temper and the gay guy comes away thinking the guy who’s opposed is an intolerant pig.

            • Accidentally hit post. Here are some others:
              3. Concurrent with the hypocrisy is that for a growing number of gay-marriage opponents, they are feeling that their First Amendment rights are at stake. They aren’t going to give those up without a fight.

              4. There is also a growing concern that LGBT rights mean that practicing Christians will end up second-class citizens – or at least, closed out of careers and/or promotions (see Kevin Cochran, Julea Ward, Angela McCaskill, and others). In short, promoting LGBT rights means religious discrimination against any religion who doesn’t accept the re-defintion of marriage. It’s not a small concern. There are 6 million Mormons, 18 million Catholics, and tens of millions of Evangelical Christians.

              5. Finally, there are personal grudges now held on both sides. Me, personally, I have some for what happened in the wake of Prop 8. I have no desire to give an inch to Andrew Sullivan, who said gays should view Mormons as the enemy.

              • 3. “Concurrent with the hypocrisy is that for a growing number of gay-marriage opponents, they are feeling that their First Amendment rights are at stake. They aren’t going to give those up without a fight.”

                This is a classic example of people not understanding the First Amendment. With a few notable exceptions that have been shot down (Chicago/Chik-Fil-A), you will retain your right to be as insulting as you want if gays have the right to marry and get the same tax breaks you do.

                4. “There is also a growing concern that LGBT rights mean that practicing Christians will end up second-class citizens – or at least, closed out of careers and/or promotions.”

                No. You have the right to be fired if you are discriminatory toward a gay employee, just like I have the right to fired if I discriminate against a Mormon employee. See how equality works? You are on equal footing.

                5. “Finally, there are personal grudges now held on both sides. Me, personally, I have some for what happened in the wake of Prop 8. I have no desire to give an inch to Andrew Sullivan, who said gays should view Mormons as the enemy.”

                Well, that is your right although I suggest you get over it. I don’t throw insults at Republicans even when they play dirty in politics. If everybody did that, state legislatures and the US Congress would be an even bigger mess than it is.

              • …to continue then:

                3. That’s a general progressive tactic problem, and not isolated to this issue.

                4. If they end up second class citizens, it will be their choice, and a stupid one. A religion that shuns and marginalized women, for example, can stand on principle, but didn’t those Saudis look like assholes snubbing the First Lady? Any religion in America that tries to cut out a law abiding minority from basic decency, compassion, fairness and respect is going to lose support, and deserves to.

                5. Do you hold a grudge against abolitionists because of John Brown? Andrew Sullivan is one, flawed, often silly and emotional individual who was accorded far too much influence for what he contributed. Holding other gays responsible for what he did makes as much sense as holding a grudge against everyone named “Sullivan.”

                • 4. Sorry, Jack, that analysis needs to end with “it’s their choice.” Faith is faith and there is no challenging someone’s belief or making them bend their belief for fear of adverse consequences. One of the biggest reasons for founding this country was that the UK essentially said attend the Anglican Church or go to jail. Yes, faith bends to a certain degree with the times, but, as a theater person surely you are familiar with (maybe you were even involved with a production of) “Fiddler on the Roof.” First Tzeitel marries a poor tailor not chosen in the traditional matchmaking manner, and Tevye accepts. Then Hodel marries a student who has broken with many Jewish traditions, and again Tevye accepts. Finally Chava marries a non-Jew, and that’s a bridge too far for Tevye, if he bends any further he will break. It’s not for anyone to tell anyone else where that line is when it comes to faith. The law, yes, that’s why we have the system of government we have, but not with regard to faith. And BTW, Islam is one of the fastest-growing faiths in the world, partly for the reason that it encourages its adherents to be fertile and confident and not worry if they offend the infidel.

                  5. I know I hold a few grudges of my own, mostly against the professional assholes like Dan Savage. I wouldn’t hesitate to pop open a bottle of Pol Roger if someone put a bullet in him.

                  • And Tevye looks like a rigid cruel fool. Few moments in theater, certainly musical theater, point up the absurdity of religion-dictated prejudice more powerfully. Who watches that scene in Fiddler and says, “Good for him! He rejected his daughter!”

                    People can believe what they want, but when they act on that belief in ways that hurt others who have done nothing to deserve being hurt, they cross the line into unethical conduct. Faith-based it may be—so are women who are killed for adultery in Iran. It’s wrong. And THAT’s the connection to Islam: rigidity and cruelty.

                    • Does he now? He’s lived his whole life standing on the rock of religious tradition against a powerful majority who hate him, and in a few weeks he’s seen his whole world start to crumble around him as the outside forces its way in, his daughters defy him, and it becomes obvious that there are worse things coming. The only thing he has left to sustain him has cracked twice, he can’t see it crack again. No, I don’t say “Good for him, he rejected his daughter,” but I do say “I guess he just couldn’t see his way clear on this one.”

                      Believe me, I am the first to agree with you that Islam is rigid and cruel, in fact I consider it a religious pestilence the same way I consider Communism a political pestilence, but I hardly equate rejection of homosexual behavior with a trip to the rock pile for adultery.

                      As an aside, I find it hypocritical that the left, which is so supportive of the gay agenda against Christians, takes a very hands-off view of Islam, which, in places like Iran and Arabia, commands stoning for homosexuality.

                    • Actually, Steve, Communism is an economic pestilence, one that cannot exist without a tyranny to support it. Which leads to a political pestilence.

          • Why is the debate so ugly: Several factors.
            1. Proponents have decided to use the courts to establish same-sex marriage, especially after they were losing in the democratic process. As Antonin Scalia point out, such an approach tends to leave one side feeling “cheated.”

            2. The sad fact is that the LGBT community, after long asking for tolerance, has refused to show it towards some people (see the Elane Photography case).

            • Kudos for tackling this…

              1. I don’t see how this is anything to object to. When governments don’t adhere to constitutional principles, the only—and correct—remedy is the courts, who exist to enforce them. We can’t abridge free speech by majority vote, and we can’t violate Equal Protection that way either. The public doesn’t read or understand the Constitution: one side wouldn’t feel “cheated” if it understood the principles involved. I read an amazing “duh” essay that asked why conservatives were more successful opposing the pro-abortion position than with same sex marriage. Well, conservatives have an argument in abortion: if the fetus is a life, then Roe v. Wade is sloppy balancing and subject to attack on the merits. There just isn’t a similarly compelling argument for the government telling two people who love and want to commit to each other that they can’t do it. “It’s never been like this before”; “it’s icky” and “God says its wrong” are just not as strong as “it’s not just the mother: there’s another life involved too.”

              2. There is no “gay community.” There are just gays. There was no organized conspiracy to coerce Elane. And while I think a photographer should be immune from the public accommodation laws as expressive art, I also think the studio’s attitude was unethical and cruel, and a flat-out breach of the Golden Rule.

              • No, there is a gay community, Jack, or at least there are gay organizations (Lambda Legal Defense, etc.), same as there are ethnic organizations (UNICO, the Bronze Shields) , hobby organizations (any number of collecting societies) and political organizations (Heritage Foundation, etc). Frankly some of them are no better than the Freedom From Religion Foundation or the ACLU, roaming the country for test cases they can use to force whoever they can into line with their view on things. And I don’t know what was cruel about the studio’s attitude, but I am an occasional singer, and if I had enough business going in that aspect of my life, I would see nothing wrong with putting a rainbow with the “Ghostbusters” symbol on it on my business card with a clear message that says “I don’t do gay ceremonies, please don’t ask.”

                  • Depends on the occasion, I solo in the various Missae Brevae (Haydn, Mozart, etc.) and small oratorios with a group, my solo repertory is basically Daniel Rodriguez meets Celtic Thunder (Broadway, light classical, religious, Celtic, patriotic, occasionally vintage stuff like “I’ll Walk Beside You” or “As Time Goes By”). For weddings it’s the usual suspects: Ave Maria, Panis Angelicus, the Malotte Lord’s Prayer, etc.

                    You can believe that, but some of us aren’t comfortable lending our art to blessing something we aren’t comfortable morally with. Another singer I am friends with turned down a very sizable sum to sing at the wedding of someone she was certain was involved in organized crime although nothing was ever proven.

                    • Art makes people better. The worse they are, the more they benefit from it. Imagine if the Bible was handled that way: if you aren’t good enough, you don’t get to read it.

                    • Hate to mention this, but it one time, it was. ‘Course, at the time, it was written in Latin, which nobody outside the Church could read and, besides, nobody outside the Church could read ANYTHING.

                  • It WAS handled like that once, Jack. For a very long time the Bible was only available in Latin to ensure that the faithful even those who were literate, couldn’t read it without ecclesiastical guidance.

                    • Haha, no, it probably wasn’t the best approach, it was the approach taken so that the priestly class, who were in the pocket of the noble class (or sometimes members of the noble class, the clergy was a notorious dumping ground for unwanted younger sons) , could tailor the message being passed to ordinary folks, with emphasis on things like kings are God’s anointed and the clergy are God’s earthly representatives, so to resist them is to resist God, affliction is a test of faith you need to pass to get into heaven so bear your cross patiently, children, obey your parents, wives, obey your husbands, etc., anything to keep everyone in his proper place, quiet, and motivated. Nowadays the message hasn’t really changed, just the source as we grow up – kids, keep quiet and do your meaningless busywork because teacher says so, workers, keep quiet, run the machines, and do the paperwork and maybe a raise will be forthcoming if the boss isn’t building his shore house this year, citizens, keep quiet and vote for the same old guys because you can only lose with the new ones.

                      That little tirade aside, the Bible also offers some valuable moral and ethical advice if you read it for yourself, and that includes the advice not to cast pearls before swine, who aren’t interested in the pearls and will just rip the profferer apart. Christ also told his disciples if they met with resistance to the message to leave the place where they met resistance and shake its dust from their feet in testimony against that place. If the message isn’t getting through, or if those you are delivering the message to are mocking the message, then remove yourself from the situation. If I were approached by a loving, believing couple who just happened to be a same-sex couple, I might rethink things, but not if I were approached by a same-sex couple who just wanted to use me as a test case to see who else they can force, I don’t think it’s ethical to push someone into a position he finds morally uncomfortable in order to grandstand or use him as a legal “guinea pig.”

                      P.S. I know you said there isn’t a gay community, but I think the rainbow flag and other shared symbols say otherwise. I can display a lot of flags myself – the Navy flag because my dad was a Navy officer, the POW flag because he was in the Vietnam War and that’s associated with that conflict, the Italian or Irish tricolors because those are my two main ancestries, the Vatican flag as a Catholic, the BSA flag as a Scout leader, don’t all of these bodies: memory of veterans, ethnic heritage, faith, organizational involvement, constitute “communities” with certain shared values, history, etc? If I were Mike Adams I’d go a step farther and mock the rainbow flag saying all these other things are legitimate, but it’s something between eyebrow-raising and disgusting to display a flag strictly about the way you choose to have orgasms. I’m not Mike, though I admire his principled stand for the First Amendment, so I’ll just say there seems to be at least a loose “community” around certain history (i.e. Stonewall) and certain values. Maybe not all gay people choose to be actively involved, same as there are a lot of veterans who come home, hang up the uniform for the last time, and never look back, a lot of folks whose last names begin in Mc or O’ who couldn’t tell you who Michael Collins was and can’t stand the sound of bagpipes, and a lot of folks who stood at the altar to be anointed with chrism in 8th grade who ceased involvement with the church when they got to college four years later and decided they’d rather sleep in on Sunday, but these are all still “communities.”

                    • Which should (but probably won’t) serve to cause me to read ALL the comments before replying to one. Sorry, Steve.

              • How is it unethical and cruel? It goes against the proprietor’s beliefs. The ruling in that case was wrong, in my non-lawyer’s opinion. That woman actually found another cheaper photographer, but decided to make an example out of her for having her religious convictions. THAT was cruel. I would have told the judge to get bent. Jail me if you want, but you’re not getting a dime. I draw the line at forcing people to betray their faith.

                • “It goes against the proprietor’s beliefs.” It does not! Show me where it says “thou shalt not bestow the common courtesies of society and community on those who do not share your beliefs”; “thou shalt not be kind and apply the Golden Rule to those who are different from yourself,” “thou shalt gratuitously treat as untouchables and undesirables those whose sexual desires are different from yours,” or “It is a sin to render a simple service to non-believers”? Talk about behaving like Islamic radicals. Nothing in the owner’s beliefs prohibits taking a photograph for a fee. Their claim is bogus and a pretense to be hateful, exclusionary, and to express disapproval of a personal event that is none of their business to approve of or not.

                  • I think they’re extraordinarily courteous when you consider that they’re dealing with people who practice what the Bible calls an “abomination”. That decent folks don;t want to associate themselves or their regular customers with such things is completely understandable. They are also within their natural rights. If someone had tried this in a Moslem country, the refusal wouldn’t have been so polite!

                  • On the contrary; it really looks like many gay couples are pushing for test cases. I wouldn’t be a party to that sort of manipulation either, for that reason alone. It’s not up to anyone but me to decide what goes against my beliefs, or what constitutes using me or my business to advance a social agenda that I don’t agree with. I personally probably wouldn’t have a problem shooting pictures for gays, even though the Catholic church says homosexual acts are a sin. I believe that’s between them and God. I do think that a thought experiment, like “what if the age of majority for marriage was lowered to 9” is apt, simply because, again, acceptability is a subjective thing, and the point where people feel they need to take a principled stand differs.

                    • “It’s not up to anyone but me to decide what goes against my beliefs”

                      1) We both know that’s not true. Be grateful I don’t indulge myself in an orgy of amusing examples of conduct you could say go against your beliefs that would be objectively ridiculous, or that you could argue all the way to jail.

                      2.) Ethics, now. Keep focused. Everything can’t be ethically justified by beliefs. It’ stipulated that we all have a right to be rude, mean, nasty, selfish assholes over things that don’t really mean that much to us but we just want to stick it to someone. That’s not the issue.

                    • Jack, I’m talking specifically about this sort of situation, not “wearing clothes and paying taxes goes against my beliefs.” I am talking about ethics. You think they’re just being assholes, apparently. From what I understand, she was very polite about it. I’m inclined to give the benefit of a doubt, especially because the couple didn’t claim otherwise. On what basis can you claim that this doesn’t mean that much to them? I can’t believe you’re not open to the possibility that they simply felt they couldn’t be party to this, without feeling that they were endorsing and furthering a societal change they strongly disagreed with on moral grounds. You might not think it’s immoral, but they do, and I fear the the government that can compel us, under threat of force (which is what happened here) to participate in immorality. Seems funny to me how the whole “church and state” crowd can both use that to rid all public institutions of any religious reference on the grounds that they should be separated, and at the same time use the public apparatus to intrude on the church’s domain.

                    • Quite simply, selling a product that is used in a wedding does not make you a “party to it.” Feeling that way is pathological, whether it is “polite” or not, and irrational, and the harm done by the insult and the stigma is an excessive one to address an imaginary problem based not on belief, but phobia, and underlying disrespect and animus.

                    • Pathological in all cases is a stretch, and irrational is in the eyes of the beholder. I have a good friend who is a wedding photographer Actually, he’s a world-class photographer who used to shoot for magazines, but is now temporarily relegated to weddings due to the economy (Blazophoto). I give him a hand whenever I can, doing a little shooting, but primarily helping him set up and move stuff. It’s a bit more than selling a product. You get pretty involved with the whole process, spending hours with the couple pouring over the details, doing all the rehearsals and whatnot, then the ceremony and reception afterwards. All told, you end up with a lot of contact time with the couple. I know Steve has had to deal with people that he says weren’t worth enduring, even for the substantial sum he charges. He does turn people down, simply because they’re obnoxious or unreasonable. In other words, it’s much more than just selling a product. I’m not going to be obnoxious myself, but as an empathy exercise, imagine any of a number of wedding situations that you would personally find morally, or even aesthetically, wrong or unpleasant. In this situation, you don’t, but she apparently does, simple as that, and in this country, we tolerate much of what we see as irrational within certain bounds, don’t we?

                    • I’m sorry, guys, but I have to go with Jack on this one. If you open a business, unless the business itself is exclusionary (say, a Christian Book Store. No, we do NOT carry the Koran, nor do we stock Hustler), then you are pretty much obligated to serve whoever walks in the door. The one exception would be if you are closing the business down.

                    • I am, but I so often agree with Joe and Steven Mark that I felt softening the blow in one of the few times I don’t would be appropriate.

                    • Do you mean that when you’re closing, you can gather all the people that you didn’t want to serve for a customer-appreciation fire sale, lock the doors, and burn it to the ground?

                    • Hey, don’t go giving him ideas. Here a while back, he got all depressed (Blue Funk depressed) because he thought none of us were listening to him. He might have entertained that idea, then.

                    • I think you’d probably be surprised to know how this is going to take off at some point. I believe it’s really just a matter of getting the word out to the many people who look around in despair, feeling alone, but surrounded by boorish automatons who would sell their souls for a nice car. I think people are being corralled towards a moral vacuum, where nothing matters, nothing is worth preserving, and anything goes. If people don’t feel anchored to things like values, personal integrity, traditions, and family(to name a few), they will look to other stable points of reference, benevolent or otherwise. I think people sense this happening, but they don’t know how to go about finding true North anymore. Everywhere they look is garbage. They know it’s garbage, but they don’t know how to sift through it anymore. This is why I come here; to fine-tune my compass, to enjoy the camaraderie of thoroughly decent and intelligent people, and to hone my critical thinking skills. I can surround myself with other moderately intelligent people, and feel intelligent by comparison, or come here and be humbled and challenged by you guys. It’s also the place to get you thinking outside the box, to see the ideologue ruse for what it is. It’s so easy to get lulled into an intellectual stupor by all these political or cultural used-car salesmen, and so great so see Jack and his merry crew grind these ghouls into so much hamburger. Man, don’t despair. I think it’s easy to see how important this is to the people who participate in it, the people who watch from a safe distance, and the many people who will get here eventually.

                    • He does gay weddings, by the way. I am fortunate in that I’ve never had to see a penis cake, ass-chaps, or anyone backing into doorknobs to Rick Astley songs.

                    • Sorry, Joe, but on this issue, I do disagree, with both you and SMP. On the other hand, I’m not the most religious person in the world. My belief is that, if you open a business, to provide a service, you pretty much need to provide that service to whoever walks in the door. Unless, as I said, the nature of the business specifically prohibits some people from the service.

                    • Oh, yeah. Same way a bar can (is required to) refuse service to a customer who is drunk. I was making a generalization. Customer comes in, you provide whatever service you provide. There will be all kinds of exceptions, but as a general rule, that’s it.

  6. Ms. Todd needs to look up the definition of REPRESENTATIVE. As a
    “Representative” she is tasked with the duty, obligation, and job of representing the ideology, doctrines or beliefs of her constituents. Just as the other State Reps and Senators are charged with representing their constituents. She needs to take a poll of her constituents opinions and beliefs. I dare say the majority would be opposed to her stance on this issue. Why? because the majority of Alabamians are opposed to Gay Marriage. But self-righteous, self-serving Todd will not do that. Instead she is going to use threats of destruction against those who will not follow her lead, even if it goes against the beliefs and doctrines of their constituents. Maybe some of those she is threatening to “out” are guilty of marital misconduct. Their conduct is not being excused. But to force them to take a stand and support her and her beliefs to keep from destroying their private lives is reprehensible. She doesn’t deserve to represent the people of this State! The People of Alabama should rise up and take this Butch down. Not because she is Gay, but because she is Stupid and dishonorable.

  7. I’m a little shocked this is so one sided. New to your site, so forgive me if I misunderstand the site’s intention of ethics. I would think you would want to consider both sides to an event/issue. In this case you might consider offering what you would do in her case, apparently being repressed and/or sick of being treated poorly by her colleagues. Or perhaps the venom could be used on those oppressing her, in case they are indeed being unethical by saying the things they do about her. Because gay marriage is legal in so many parts of the country, you could even consider those against it ‘anti-American’ as they are not supporting the laws.
    Just some things off the top of my head…I really hadn’t given the issue any thought, but your stance seems…not well thought out.
    – And yes, I do see your point about her reaction. It is a valid point and it points to her reaction and perhaps at a stretch, her credibility. But you didn’t like to your articles BEFORE her reaction, how she was being treated unfairly and those people were unethical. If you don’t have those articles, then perhaps you are being unethical in this post.

    • 1) I am focusing on her conduct, which is objectively wrong. I have focused on the conduct of her adversaries or people like them many, many times.
      2) You are entering a forum 5000 posts in. There are ways to catch up. Start with the Rationalizations List. You seem to think that someone else’s bad conduct justifies unethical conduct in response. Wrong. You have homework.
      3) There is nothing in what I have read to suggest she is being “oppressed.” She’s in a legislature: nobody is ethically obligated to agree with her position, and if they don’t, she’s not being oppressed. Is she being insulted, called vile names, being treated unprofessionally? She is certainly within her rights to expose THAT, and shame them.
      4) “Because gay marriage is legal in so many parts of the country, you could even consider those against it ‘anti-American’ as they are not supporting the laws.” WHAT??? Talk about not thinking things out. Alabama has no obligation to follow the lead of other states.; Was Massachusetts being “un-American” by adopting its new health system? Yes, you “could” say that, but it would be really stupid.
      5) My stance is very well thought out, and pretty much irrefutable.
      6) “But you didn’t like to your articles BEFORE her reaction, how she was being treated unfairly and those people were unethical. If you don’t have those articles, then perhaps you are being unethical in this post.” I have no idea what you think you are trying to say. I never heard of the woman. She was not, however, being treated unfairly just because there is opposition to her position.

      • This is my favorite part of the Ethics Alarms experience: when an unsuspecting newbie just stumbles into jack’s lair without his shit in one sock.

          • Do you know, my 3 year-old daughter once poured a glass of milk on my $1400 laptop’s keyboard? Fried the motherboard, and 5 refurbished boards and 3 months later I got it back.

            • A year or so ago, when I first found Ethics Alarms, I had no clue what I was getting into. The wife found it first and told me about it. It took about a month of reading the comments, then somebody said something and I snorted coffee, through my nose, onto the keyboard. Since then, I have found it to be prudent to have MANY keyboards in the house, as this happens on a regular basis, and I live out in the boonies.

              • Just 1 month before, she had smashed the LCD screen. Cost me $170 from China for a new one. This computer is actually entirely new; the board, the screen, the audio board, the hard drive, the memory. I’ve got brand-new 4-year-old technology! I can count all the way to potato with this thing, without breaking a sweat! I gave up on snorting coffee. It clogs your nose, there’s no rush, and it feels like you’re being waterboarded.

                  • Oh man is she. She says ” Ima ho-lee terra”. God, she is adorable, though. I wish we could share pictures on this thing. My kids are little dolls. It comes from mom, who is absolutely stunning. I look like Shrek.

                    • You mean the suitors? I’ll just casually bring up in conversation how I was known as “El Cuco” in Connecticut’s DOC some years ago, and how I can still deadlift well over a quarter-ton. “Have a nice time! Make sure she’s back at 10, just the way you found her!”

                    • Or an assassin for the CIA! I remember a skit on SNL with Steven Segal playing a hard nosed father who scares the hell out of his daughter’s date. Doug Giles posted a video on the subject that was pretty good, too!

                    • Wow—this post is nearing the Ethics Alarms record for comments. If only most of them actually had anything to do with Pat Todd, ethics, or Alabama…

                      Actually, I’m pretty jazzed about the moves the Red Sox have made this winter.

                    • Why don’t you start an Ethics Alarm “Lounge” section, where people can just talk about random stuff if they want, rather than clutter up the main site? I know you put an incredible amount of work into putting together threads, but I can’t imagine a chat room drawing people away to any significant degree. We come here for the ethics. Either that, or maybe I could figure out how that’s done if you don’t have time.

                    • Groan… Bring back the days of AOL chatrooms and my first introduction to AnarchoLibertarians, AnarchoCapitalists, and Anarchists… And their perfectly worded rhetorical traps that justify the purity of their system as long as we pretend like bad people can be dealt with on the free market.

                      Disingenuous…

                  • These little smart-asses both were reading just after their 3rd birthdays! High-energy, intense personalities, and intelligent. Woe is me. I just pray I can ward off senility long enough to see them to adulthood.

                    • That’s good, Joe. I learned to read when I was four. It was a big boost for me over others and has been all my life. One of my worst classes in high school was English grammar… because I had long since developed a “feel” for grammar and didn’t take to this artificial way of constructing sentences! Did you kids become self-taught from reading? I did.

                    • They did. They love reading, and being read to. That is the best time of day for me; when they’re sitting on my lap and I’m reading to them. I could do that all day.

                    • My mom read me “The Wizard of Oz”. I liked it so much that I not only learned to read it, but went on to read the entire series! I still have the book, too- a special 1939 edition that included still photos from the movie.

                    • Last post: My favorite was The Lord of the Rings. I read that over and over again as a child. It’s where I got most of my values and ethics from. Gandalf was my father, for all intents and purposes. That, and tag sale school books. I taught myself 5th through 9th grade at night after work, because we weren’t in school at the time.

  8. Seriously, when autofill is working, and I don’t have to type it in myself, it’ll always be right. If I have to type it in manually, well, who knows what you’ll get. I’ll start being more careful, whichever of my 5 computers I’m on.

  9. I don’t claim to know Jack (so to speak) about business; I’m more of a worker bee, so you all probably know more about this stuff than I do. Intuitively, though, it seems like it should be up to a proprietor who he or she serves. I’m not an anarchocapitalist or whatever the proper term is, but it seems like market pressure should be what deals with people who ban redheads or midgets or gays, not the government. I’m definitely a limited government type.

  10. I have no sympathy with people being exposed for violating the same family values they are claiming to support in opposition to marriage equality.

    If this legislator would lie and spread a false rumor, that would not be ok at all.

    If this legislator would share rumor that is unsubstantiated that would also not be ok.

    But if she has proof that someone is cheating on a spouse who is claiming to oppose marriage equality for family values reason, I do not see that as unethical at all. In fact, it is unethical for that cheater to use family values to oppose anything considering they do not seem to value their family at all.

      • nay nay, I am not saying it is for a good cause and there for ethical. If i was justifying her actions for being for a good cause I would have been ok with her making up stories and/or repeating unsubstantiated rumors.

        I am saying there is nothing unethical about exposing someones inability to live up to their own personal standards while they seek to push those standards on others via government. It is also unethical to promote your personal ethical standards via government so you can push them on others if you are not capable of living up to them by yourself. Do as I say, not as I do should never be ok.

        • So then it is for a good cause to air out private matters on a notion of hypocrisy?

          Because even if candidate A has infidelities that still doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe family values are healthy for society nor does it mean they aren’t.

          You are still just creating euphemism for #13.

          • By advocating against certain kinds of relationships via their governmental positions and seeking to use government to push their ideas on what “family” is they are consenting to have their personal private lives dissected. They are making personal relationships the business of the public by advocating for such laws, are they not?

            If they are concurrently advocating for family values and violating those same principles I believe the public has the right to know of such hypocrisies.

            And it is absolutely not 13. Period.

            • Not if it was someone else exposing him or her. As much as I am against adultery, it’s not my place to expose the cheater. Sometimes, cheaters feel the appropriately crushing guilt and mend their ways before it comes out, or he or she reveals it, in their own way and their own time, so that the marriage can be mended, and the kids don’t end up being traumatized. Her doing this is pure evil, and inexcusable.

              • Generally speaking people should mind their own business. But I stand by the idea that if you are in a position of authority and make a certain subject the business of everyone then you also make your involvement of that something the business of everyone.

                Maybe if one doesn’t want ones children traumatized one shouldn’t be throwing rocks from glass houses.

                • Uh, adultery is not even vaguely the same as same sex marriage. Not even close. Different conduct, unrelated to each other. So it’s OK and consistent if a gay marriage supporter is engaged in adultery? This is de fact extortion and intimidation, and that’s all it is. If she wants to play dirty and release what dirt she has, fine—and let her accept the consequences. But threatening unless they bend to her will? Uh-uh. Extortive.

                • So, in addition to what Jack said as a politician, you can’t have a position contrary to one’s own actions, past or present, without being subject to extortion? Maybe that person feels strongly about something BECAUSE they’ve had personal experience in it. Anyway, that’s not really my argument. This is a person’s private life, and it involves inflicting harm on children and an innocent spouse. This is the sort of tactical muckraking shit that is making this the province of the lowest forms of life.

                  • This was part of the Clintonistas’ despicable Maginot line in Monicagate: threaten legislators who might vote to impeach Clinton for perjury, obstruction of justice and using his office and staff for a cover-up on the grounds that they were hypocritical if they had engaged in past affairs. They wouldn’t even have been hypocritical if they had past affairs, had been President, and had illegally covered the affairs up, which, of course, they weren’t and didn’t—because they had a specific duty that was unrelated in any way to what they might have done themselves. I will never recover the respect I lost for friends who made this sad, silly,ethically ignorant, desperate argument.

                  • If the person is currently cheating while preaching family values in opposition to the rights of others then it is fair game to suggest that people preaching x, y, and z should live up to x, y, and z. Any evidence that they are not living up to it is fair game to use in opposition to that politicians advocacy.

                    Now, if this was about what tax rate should be imposed and the legislator was threatening to release proof of cheating to get their way in tax law then I would absolutely agree that the threat to release the data is extort and wrong. However, when it comes to family values and a debate on if government should step in and interfere with the families of others, it is absolutely ok to expose people who cannot live up to their own standards .while seeking to impose those standards on others.

                    • Repeating yourself doesn’t make you right.

                      Repeating yourself after having been thoroughly debunked not only doesn’t make you right, it makes you look dumb.

                    • Interestingly enough, when I claim you were debunked, it is because you were. You may not see it, but that’s not my problem. Reread the responses to your rationalizations and weak analogies.

                      Keep doubling down though.

                    • First of all, in this situation who is “imposing standards ” on who? Isn’t she trying to change existing laws and traditions (I point this out simply for clarity’s sake)? Also, couldn’t she, if she wanted, claim that almost any sort of private behavior falls within the purview of family values? I wholeheartedly believe that these people are knaves, and probably deserve to be exposed as such, but to assume you have the right to do so under any circumstances, let alone one like this, when a possible result could actually be a distraught spouse or child killing themselves, is absolutely wrong. This is the kind of thing that makes people believe that the ends always justify the means for liberals. You can also bet that she’s not going to win a lot of people over with this behavior. Many have this image of lesbians as angry militants who hate men as it is.

                    • Also, let me point out that she is not putting her hand over her heart and piously saying that people who preach family values should practice them, which is what I am gleaning from Liberal Dan, and with which I do not disagree. She is saying “If you oppose me, I am going to out you”…very clearly extortion. Which, in Texas, will get you prosecuted.

                    • Yep. I am loathe to assume, but have strong suspicions, that if this we’re ANY other situation, with any other actors, Ole Dan would be absolutely against the extortion for a good cause efforts.

                    • Joed: If she gets her way, nobody is forced to live a particular way that is against what they desire. Politicians pushing for so called “pro family” legislation force others to live in a way that differs from how they would want to live. HUGE difference there.

                      She could claim that anything would fall under “family values” but that wouldn’t make it so. I believe she is talking about individuals who take actions that are hypocritical to the holier than thou stance such politicians make (like people who cheat on their spouses)

                      I don’t see her as hating men, just hating people who seek to relegate her to a 2nd class citizen because of who she happens to be attracted to AND because of a moral code that they themselves cannot live up to yet for some reason seek to push on others via government.

                    • I’m not suggesting she hates men; I have no idea who she hates and doesn’t. I’m talking about image, and generalizations that people are known to make. As far as personal applicability, the anti gay marriage sentiment is probably not borne out of wanting to regulate the home or bedroom, but of seeing all of this country’s values and traditions slipping away, and wanting to do their part to stop it. Right or wrong, it’s likely how they feel.

                    • Tex: I have already said that there would be many examples where threatening to out someones personal lives would be uncalled for. Those cases, regardless of if the person is conservative or liberal, typically would have nothing to do with the thing being outed.

                      For example. Let’s say Rand Paul was pushing for a vaccine ban. Someone threatens him to stop pushing for that ban or else they will reveal evidence of an affair. Vaccinations and affairs have nothing to do with each other and as such the action to out the person is clearly to prevent an action and is wrong.

                      However, when the information being released to out someone reveals that the person is not the “family values” candidate that they are claiming to be, then the goal is to prove to all those people that the person championing for family values is nothing close to what he/she claims to be.

                      That being said, if she doesn’t provide PROOF of an affair and just shares rumors, then that is not something I support.

                    • You are really really really revealing a level of obtuseness that may be impenetrable. But here we go again-

                      Candidate A’s personal life may not perfectly match the policies A pushes. That doesn’t mean A doesn’t believe those policies aren’t good for the community.

                      Please meditate on that. I know you can you see it. I really do. I am hopeful.

                      Also, you say you aren’t rationalizing that the extortion is for a good cause all the while saying that “full discolsure of hypocrisy or inconsistency in a candidate’s personal life is good” (a good cause) for which it is fair to hold the threat of revealing instances where that candidate has personally failed as collateral (extortion).

                      This is still #13 no matter how you reword it.

                      And, the issue at hand is gay marriage, not adultery…

                      Apples and oranges.

                    • “However, when the information being released to out someone reveals that the person is not the “family values” candidate that they are claiming to be, then the goal is to prove to all those people that the person championing for family values is nothing close to what he/she claims to be. “…….and any havoc and destruction wreaked as a consequence is acceptable loss. After all, this is war.

                    • Tex: I don’t need to meditate on anything. I understand what you are saying. I just believe it to be wrong. If you cannot live up to the standards you wish to push on others via government you should not be pushing them. If you do, your hypocrisy should be revealed.

                      I do not give a rats ass if the politician believes the polices are good. That not relevant. If he cannot live up to it, then he shouldn’t be pushing it.

                      It is not unethical to reveal hypocrisy. Therefore it is not 13 (no matter how much you insist otherwise).

                      Joe: When someone has an affair they gamble with the possibility that their loved ones may find out, especially when that person is living in the public eye like a politician does. So I firmly hold that the person responsible for causing the pain is the person who had the affair and not the person who revealed the affair. I find it highly irrational to blame anyone else. In fact, I find it unethical to blame anyone but the person who had the affair for any revealed knowledge of the affair because you are shifting blame away from the guilty party.

                    • 1. “If you cannot live up to the standards you wish to push on others via government you should not be pushing them.”

                      That’s a completely fanciful standard that has nothing whatsoever to do with the duties and requirements of the job. Never the less, it’s irrelevant to the issue at hand. Someone who believes government should uphold the centuries old traditional definition of marriage is in no way whatever failing to live up to those standards by having an adulterous relationship.

                      2. Even if that was the standard and even if it did apply, that would not make it less unethical for a political opponent to use the threat pf exposure to force political capitulation. She can expose them, or not. She may NOT ethically use the threat of exposure to cause them not to do what they think is right.

                      You have no ethical argument. At all.

                    • Jack: Exposing hypocrisy is not the same as forcing political capitulation.

                      I will quit responding on this thread as it is obvious I will not change your minds nor will you change mind. But I reject a definition of ethics that requires one to not expose hypocrisy on the part of a politician.

                      Again, if she doesn’t have proof but instead releases “rumor” then I would agree that such an action WOULD be unethical and wrong.

                      If you advocate for family values, or any other government action to prevent personal behavior, you better practice what you preach. Do as I say and not as I do is not ethical.

                    • Dan: I will say once again, because you aren’t listening: she isn’t revealing what she thinks is hypocritical (and is wrong about that, but you and she do not know what the word means). She is using the threat of doing so to FORCE them, out of fear, to stop taking a position that they believe in. That is virtual, if not criminal, extortion. Extortion is unethical.

                • “Maybe if one doesn’t want ones children traumatized one shouldn’t be throwing rocks from glass houses.”

                  I’ll give you a chance to retract that, because it is both epically stupid AND unethical.

                  And the job of legislators is to do what they think is in the people’s best interests, not to do what they think has the least chance of inspiring some nutcake to harm their kids.

                  Jesus, Dan.

                  • People who propose tax laws should be exposed for being tax cheats.

                    People writing laws on embezzlement should be exposed if they are found to be embezzling.

                    And people who propose laws based on their own code of personal morality should be exposed when they cannot live up to that same code that they wish to impose on others.

                    • You are still clouding this issue because of your politics –

                      A person can’t break a tax law if it hasn’t been written yet, which I would assume is why they are proposing it. If after he/she proposes it, they then break it, then they should be punished as a law breaker… That that individual broke the law, doesn’t undermine whether or not the law was good for the public or not…

                      You conflate this because you think that his view of “family values” IS FLAWED, not that his inability to live up to family values is the problem. His inability is just convenient ammunition for you to justify the extortion the candidate in question is using.

                      #13. Still.

              • And liberal. But I DO believe that people ought to be responsible for their own behavior, and fully cognizant of the consequences thereof.

                • Absolutely. I can’t understand cheaters. If you don’t love your spouse enough to want to never hurt them this way, why are you married?

                  • Now, THAT, my friend, is a VERY good question. I can only speculate that the newly-wed politician-to-be did not start out INTENDING to be unfaithful. If such is the case, then what changed? Did the trophy-wife turn out to be too smart/dumb? More popular than he? Who knows? I think such a study, to answer these and other questions, would be interesting and informative, but would probably tell us way more about our politicians than we really want to know (but should).

                    • I was thinking something along the lines of “Why?”. Curiosity on my part, I’ll admit. Most politicians seem to think infidelity is OK, and my question would be is there something that motivates both going into politics and being unfaithful? And if so, can it be treated?

                    • I hate to be negative, but I think that there are innate qualities, even among those with good intentions, that allows them to be comfortable in politics. The main ones are desire for power, narcissism (sometimes to a pathological extent), and superficiality. Amorality and apathy are the natural consequences. I’m sure, though, that they see their lack of moral rectitude as “flexibility”, and requisite to being an effective politician. If you’re looking for “studies” on the psychology of politics, there are hundreds out there that essentially say conservatives are evil and unstable. This is a big part of why I abandoned my pursuit of a Ph.D. My second undergrad was psychology (chemistry my first), and I was well into an M.S. in applied psych at Sacred Heart U, when I realized that the field is infested with liberals who stripped the field of any legitimacy with this horseshit. Lots of them are much crazier than I am, too, when you dig down beneath the surface. That, and the M.S. wouldn’t have helped me nearly as much as I was led to believe. Oh well, I might end up in psychiatry. I’ll see how my clinical rotation goes. Anyway, check out some of these studies. It’s amazing to me that they actually had the gall to publish this garbage. To me, if’s proof that most life-long academics never grow up.

                    • Just an FYI, I am a retired psychologist, and you have just put your finger on why I retired when I did. I’d still like to see the study, preferably from someone reputable (if such could be found).

                    • Absolutely not, buddy. Keep in mind there was a reason I retired when I did. My chosen field had gotten crazy.

  11. Jack: She is saying that she is only exposing those people who use a “family values” argument against gay marriage. She is not saying this to people who oppose marriage equality for other reasons.

    And it is absolute hypocrisy to oppose any issue because of family values while you are cheating on your spouse. So perhaps you need to check your own definitions but mine is correct.

    • There is no official collection of “family values.” Find me one of those critics who frames their objection solely as “family values.” The definition of marriage, the danger to the institution, the Biblical sin—none of these are values arguments. The first is a linguistics argument. You, like she, are the one defining the term to argue hypocrisy, and you can’t even do that. You should drop the argument: it’s endorsing extortion for a “good”cause”: the ends justifies the means.

      • Oh come on…
        While there may not be an end all and be all list of family values, being anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, and anti-infidelity are three basic requirements.

        She didn’t require that they “solely” frame their objection on family values. She only requires them to base their objection to gay marriage in part on family values in order for them to open themselves up to her criticism.

        The argument you make about us making up a definition of “family values” is like being critical of the term “pro choice” because I am not stating what I am “pro choice” about.

        • So they can’t oppose gay marriage because they faltered on fidelity to their wives?

          You do realize we’ve already debunked your apples and oranges comparison many posts ago…

          • No, you have not debunked it. It is clear you are presenting a strawman of my argument.

            Your representation of my argument: “people who cheat on their [spouses] cannot oppose gay marriage:

            My actual argument: People cannot use the “family values” opposition to gay marriage while cheating on their spouses without being labelled a hypocrite.

            HUGE difference there.

            Let’s say, for example, a Conservative argued that “states have the 10th amendment power to define marriage as they see fit”. Such an argument is not invoking a family values argument and as such is not making an argument from a hypocritical place (if that person was also having an affair on his/her spouse).

            Telling such a person that their infidelity would be exposed if they do not drop that opposition would be akin to extortion. Absolutely. Why? Because the argument made in opposition does not have anything to do with the affair.

            But making a family values argument while cheating on your spouse IS hypocritical and exposing hypocrisy of elected officials, regardless of party, should always be seen as opening transparency and as such always ethical.

            Expose liberals who want wind farms but not in their back yards (like Ted Kennedy did).
            Expose a pro-life candidates who have abortions (or pay for them for their kids).
            Expose anti-vaxxers who vaccinate their children.
            Expose people who advocate against drunk driving who get caught while DWI.
            Expose Governors who go after prostitution who then hire prostitutes (like Elliot Spitzer)
            And expose people who seek to push “family values” legislation on others via government who cheat on their spouses, have homosexual relationships in secret, or who otherwise violate those family values they claim to support.

            • “Expose liberals who want wind farms but not in their back yards (like Ted Kennedy did).
              Expose a pro-life candidates who have abortions (or pay for them for their kids).
              Expose anti-vaxxers who vaccinate their children.
              Expose people who advocate against drunk driving who get caught while DWI.
              Expose Governors who go after prostitution who then hire prostitutes (like Elliot Spitzer)”

              What these don’t have in common with our topic is that they’re not guaranteed to cause pain and destruction to innocent parties (with the possible exception of the last one). That’s where I’m coming from on this. It’s absolutely vicious, no matter how you dress it up.

              • So people can act crappy without fear of retribution just because they have kids? That doesn’t seem like a good excuse to me at all. Hey guys, make sure you have children before your affair because they make great human shields. People might act twice about outing you if they know your kids might cry a little.

    • ” it is absolute hypocrisy to oppose any issue because of family values while you are cheating on your spouse.” Maybe, maybe not, but to deliberately set into motion something that is likely to cause incalculable pain and destruction to an innocent spouse and children is cruel, malicious, and absolutely inexcusable. Yes, the husband Shouldn’t be cheating, and is absolutely responsible for what transpires, but that doesn’t mitigate one bit the fact that this woman would be responsible for pulling the trigger on this thing. Do you think she has the right to preempt some other sort of possible outcome, like him ending the affair, and either living with the guilt for the rest of his life, or at some better time, revealing it to her? This woman gets to make that call, just to make a political point? That’s really sick.

      • It is more than just a political point. These politicians are actively seeking to make (or in the case of Alabama keep) people like her second class citizens. If she can actually expose a hypocrisy on the family values types opposing gay marriage for family values reasons then more power to her. These politicians have nobody to blame for themselves for their vile behavior.

        She gets to make her call because she is being harmed by them and she is seeking to stop that harm. I cannot blame her for exposing a hypocritical argument just because that argument might hurt the feelings of a kid.

        • Dan, here’s where I personally stand on the issue. I have to admit I’m not crazy about the gay marriage thing, not because I have anything against gays as individuals, but because, looking at the bigger picture, the more vocal element seems to be part of a much larger overall effort to move us away from anything that anchors us as a society, including traditions and values that have been held dear for a long time. It feels nihilistic, and as if it’s designed to destabilize us and push us towards the open arms of Mother Government for shelter. You might laugh at me for what you might regard as paranoia, and I would feel sorry for you for not seeing this. From what I gather, this is also the concern of a great many people, including some legislators and even a few liberals. Nonetheless, there is nothing in the constitution that prohibits this, so I have to be categorically in support of it. I believe it should be a state issue, though. Anyway, yes, they have nobody to blame but themselves for their vile behavior; agreed, but the harm (and no, Dan, it’s more than hurt feelings and you know it, or should) caused by her equally vile choice to compound the cheater’s harm, cannot be compared to, or excused by, her deciding that she’s being “harmed” by people not bending to her will and changing a long-standing tradition. I agree that adultery is wrong, and not in keeping with family values, but the issue at hand isn’t changing a law about adultery, or about pushing for its acceptance. Besides, do you think that anyone, including the cheater, would then admit (right or wrong) “well, I have no room to talk about gay marriage”, or that this would give the issue traction with the public on that basis, after that sort of shit-flinging? What I’m getting at is that this doesn’t even have that basic utility, other than coercion. That’s what it boils down to; coercion and meanness, disguised as championing forthrightness by a party that is all but utterly bereft of it.

          • States do have the right to define marriage how they see it under the 10th amendment. The ruling against DOMA proved this.

            However, the 10th amendment doesn’t exist in a vacuum and laws written by states with their authority to do so must also follow other parts of the constitution (including the requirement on states that they do not deny persons living there equal protection under the law).

            An appeal to tradition is not a sound logical argument. Our having done X for however many years does not justify X.

            I would like for people to say “you know what, perhaps I am being a hypocrite for having affairs while touting family values as a candidate or as an excuse to push/fight for certain legislation”. Am I stupid enough to believe that would happen? Of course not. Power corrupts and people believe they should be able to do what they want to do because of their position of power. This is why it is vital that people reveal it when seen. Because politicians are not ethical enough to admit to their own failings.

            And she absolutely is being harmed. Look at the Lisa Pond case to see the actual harm that happens to person who are in homosexual relationships, especially those with families. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/health/19well.html?_r=0

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