« on: April 23, 2006, 08:05:52 PM »
Ok study break...
that is about as direct an answer as I could have hoped for. Your reasoning is very sound and thanks for not dodging the difficult questions. I only wish that everyone took such a pragmatic approach to balancing these issues. A couple of thoughts in response...
I would just add that, as I'm sure you realize, the Court did not endorse homosexual sodomy in Lawrence or broaden anyone's rights to privacy, etc. It simply ruled on the equal protection issue where the law did not target sodomy itself as a societal concern, only sodomy by some. Regardless where I stood on any issue, I would take comfort in the Court's ability to treat the law so mechanically. I don't see this case as any kind of liberal expansion of social ideology at all, just a soundly structural interpretation of the Constitution.
As far as sodomy still being technically the "law" in many states, I think it's also fair to point out that the Mississippi legislature abolished slavery about 7 or 8 years ago.
You also raise a policy argument (which in itself is very refreshing) about 2 men likely having a greater combined income. Perhaps, but this still fails to acknowledge the union of two women, nor does it address the fact that many heterosexual couples also have greater combined incomes than others. I have to admit, it seems that your belief that gay men are predisposed to skipping rope and avoiding sports doesn't seem consistent with them being just as agressive in a career context as other men. I would be tempted to dismiss both extremes as social stereotypes. Nevertheless, if the policy interest is to prevent some couples from having greater incomes than others, this could be regulated without consideration of sexual orientation. Tax laws could be adjusted rather painlessly to account for such discrepancies so I don't quite see this as a firm policy justification, especially since this marginal advantage could arguably be offsetting a bit of a sociel underdog status anyway. These secondary considerations aside, the real issue is this: If not allowing two people to marry is indeed a denial of personal rights, the government interest would have to be a compelling one to pass constitutional muster, not just a beneficial one.
I also notice in your point about nature that you believe sexual orientation to be a conscious decision and not a natural disposition. Until a more concrete scientific explanation arises, I can certainly respect you in your differing beliefs. Yet I cannot find a logical way to reach this conclusion myself. Gay people undoubtedly live a very difficult life that most of us can never understand. Often having to live in secrecy, they are ridiculed, threatened with violence, socially oppressed, alienated from their families and are generally less able to participate everyday as openly as heterosexuals. While a guy can "whale" on his ladyfriend to his heart's content, gay couples are widely thought of as subhuman for being intimate in the same way (I would personally be disgusted by a fat heterosexual couple "whaling" on each other, but I don't see this as a justification for treating them differently in public). They also as we know are not entitled to the same rights. That millions of people would "choose" this fate just for kicks is something I have a hard time accepting. It would also seem that there would be a lot more switching back and forth going on. I imagine some of this goes on for young people like the one you described who must be very scared and confused about who they are but once they have become oriented, most do not switch. I believe the reality of it that many try to resist it in a state of denial for as long as they can, not wanting to bring pain to themselves, their families, etc.
To be honest I didn't actually intend this to be a particularized discussion about same-sex marriages (In fact I moved this thread off of the same-sex thread), but more about the balancing of religious views and civics in a broader sense. I am curious for instance, if religion continues to absorb blows from science, for example an identifiable neurological phenomenon explaining homosexuality, do the religious explanations about the big picture continue to retreat issue by issue, as they have for hundreds of years? At the risk of treading on dangerous ground, it seems the "potential" issue of decreasing practical relevance of organized religion is a real issue over the last decades/century. In fact I would think the American everyman knew almost nothing about Hindus or Buddhists 100 years ago. Today on the other hand, the planet is starting to feel rather small and crowded. I just want to know how a person of faith copes with doubt, if they indeed have any at all. And if not, where they find that level of faith. It just isn't something I can answer for myself or read up on.
Speaking of which... I need to get back to the books.
Deltau, while we may not agree on every point, I applaud you for being practical instead of emotional in negotiating where your beliefs conflict with others. The world would be a better place if more people could relate to each other in this way.
But a little joke:
All this time we thought the Red Sox were cursed. Turns out they just sucked for 85 years!
Okay, okay, just kidding. I don't want to offend anyone's religious beliefs or worse yet, angry Red Sox fans!