The Gay Fray

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, Jul 28, 2004.


I am . . . .

  1. Homosexual

    25 vote(s)
  2. Heterosexual

    201 vote(s)
  3. Bisexual

    31 vote(s)
  4. Other (I would have complained if there wasn't an "other" option)

    16 vote(s)
  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    "Freedom", According to Mat Staver

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    Are you ready for this: Not only does Kim Davis' religious freedom entitle her to opt out of the law, it also means she can assert her religious freedom to prevent others from abiding by the law.

    Sounds incredible, doesn't it?

    Steve Bittenbender↱ explains, for Reuters:

    Deputies of a county clerk in rural Kentucky issued marriage licenses to four gay couples on Friday after she defied a federal judge's orders for months because as a Christian she opposes same-sex unions.

    With Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis jailed for refusing to follow the orders of U.S. District Judge David Bunning, her deputies issued a marriage license to James Yates and William Smith on Friday. The couple had previously been denied five times.

    However, Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel which represents Davis, said he believes Friday's licenses are invalid because they were not issued with her approval. Davis' name does not appear on the licenses.

    "They are not worth the paper they are printed on," Staver said, standing in front of the Grayson, Kentucky, detention center where Davis is being held. He added she had no intention of resigning as clerk.

    Additionally, it is worth reconsidering the question↑ of what manner of attorney Mat Staver actually is.

    "The stay request offers several options such as removing Davis's name from the marriage license, thus removing the personal nature of the authorization," Staver pointed out. "Another accommodation would be to allow licenses to be issued by the chief executive of Rowan County or developing a statewide, online marriage license process," Staver suggested. "There is absolutely no reason that this case has gone so far without reasonable people respecting and accommodating Kim Davis's First Amendment rights," Staver concluded.

    (Liberty Counsel↱; boldface accent added)

    What was that note from Reuters?

    However, Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel which represents Davis, said he believes Friday's licenses are invalid because they were not issued with her approval. Davis' name does not appear on the licenses.

    (Boldface accent added)

    It would appear Mr. Staver is trying to argue both sides of the same coin; on 31 August, he suggested that removing Ms. Davis' name from the licenses would remove the personal nature of the authorization. Ms. Davis' name is no longer on the licenses, and on Friday Mr. Staver asserted them invalid because his client has not exercised authorization of a personal nature.

    This is pretty straightforward.

    Would any of Ms. Davis' defenders care to attempt reconciliation of this point? Because the thing is that Mr. Staver now ranges in disciplinary territory, but we also know that his supporters would think action against his legal practice unjust. In the end, though, would any of them be able to reconcile the contradiction?

    And how is this remotely appropriate?


    Bittenbender, Steve. "Kentucky clerk's office ends ban on same-sex marriage licenses". Reuters. 4 September 2015. 6 September 2015.

    Liberty Counsel. "Accommodations Would End Rowan County Dispute". Press Release. 31 August 2015. 6 September 2015.
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  3. Stuart Registered Member

    Just a thought, being I'm not at all familiar with the situation beyond reading the above post, and am not that familiar with related law in general. As a government employee Davis must comply with the law, including doing things that go against her religion, or resign. She asked for a minor gesture in having her name taken off the certificate, right? But my assumption is that she meant for the certificate to have been released while she was on the job. So while satisfied with the symbolic importance of the certificate not having her name on it, her dissatisfaction was then directed towards a different issue, which is the fact that certificates are being issued while she's gone.
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  5. Stuart Registered Member

    Right. Think about it. The Tennessee Judiciary must do something foreign to it which is allow a same sex couple to marry. That's easy enough, they only need sign the papers. But, when going about the subject of divorce, where, for example, one side is suing for divorce against the wishes of the other, it's more complicated.

    In the cases of an opposite sex couple with a spouse suing for divorce against the wishes of the other spouce, then they go by precedent and other guidelines to decide if they'll grant the divorce. In the case of a homosexual couple, they may find past precedent is difficult to translate into the situation being that both spouses are the same gender. (After all, the law is far from blind to gender.)

    So they may be at square one deciding how to proceed. Being that they never wanted the couple to marry in the first place their first instinct would be to grant any same sex couple a divorce immediately no matter what the reasoning the suits contain. The problem is, that whether they grant all suits for divorce with one spouse opposing the divorce, or just some of them, the spouse opposing the divorce may be inclined to say that his rights had been violated by a court that was too eager to allow the divorce because the couple is of the same sex.
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Technically, that is beside the point. Do her clerks issue licenses while she's not in the office for other reasons, or do those have to wait for her specific, personal approval?

    They do not, no more than the DMV has to wait for the state director to approve ID or driver licenses before issuing them.

    Neither is your traffic ticket referred to the chief of police for specific approval.

    Furthermore, this is a particular instance in what Ms. Davis asserts violates the law; thus she not only reserves for herself a dysfunctional assertion to be exempted from the law according to the fact that she claims to be a Christian, but also the extension of that reservation to force other people to violate the law, as well.

    This is problematic, to say the least.

    Perhaps you might enlighten me as to what is so difficult to translate.

    Which would only return to the question of conservatives and judicial activism. If a judge's sentiment so challenges his or her ability to do their job, that judge should resign; justice is supposed to be blind, and counting genitals should not so confuse the court, nor even take a so much as a moment of its time.
  8. Stuart Registered Member

    As alluded to in my previous post, sex discrimination is common concerning divorce. And so of course the inconsistencies regarding the right of each sex in a divorce often have a large impact on a opposite sex couple's lives while married. So it seems to me that one can conclude that sex discrimination has not been struck entirely.

    This is an aspect of the gay marriage issue that just occurred to me after reading your post. May I ask if you've heard this argument before, and what you think of it?
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    In what way does that apply, though?

    Of course it hasn't any more than the Equal Protection clause itself got rid of racism. But what part of all that so screws up the formula that a judge can't grant a divorce?

    And, furthermore, what part of gay marriage so screws things up that a judge can't grant a divorce to a heterosexual couple?

    In the end, it really does seem like petulance; at best Chancellor Atherton is seeking to fulfill a dire conservative prophecy about devaluing heterosexual marriage. Even still―

    The conclusion reached by this Court is that Tennesseans have been deemed by the U.S. Supreme Court to be incompetent to define and address such keystone/central institutions such as marriage, and, thereby, at minimum, contested divorces .... With the U.S. Supreme Court having defined what must be recognized as a marriage, it would appear that Tennessee’s judiciary must now await the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court last to what is not a marriage, or better stated, when a marriage is no longer a marriage."

    ―that would be something of a stretch, given what he wrote.

    I would call it a juvenile non sequitur, but the kids don't need me baggin' on 'em like that.

    Chancellor Atherton just went straight to vinegar.
  10. Stuart Registered Member

    My assumption is that they had (verbally, at least) her specific disapproval. Perhaps it's a slight, if not extremely common, abuse of power, to have your office stop running in some regards while in jail or suspended. Think of it this way though, not regarding this specific issue, but in general. Person X wants something government official Y does not want to provide for her. Y gets jailed or suspended for not providing it, decides that under conditions both parties can agree on, she will provide it after all, but will not do so until back on the job. -- Does that seem unreasonable?

    For example, many places still provide alimony for women after a divorce, and even in circumstances where a man had given up a promising career to be a stay-at-home father for his wife and his children, while his wife pursues a lucrative career, I have never heard of a man being granted alimony. With that said, how could such a man sue for divorce on the grounds that his wife, who may control the money, is not providing for him, when he can't expect to be provided for after a divorce.

    Now take a Judiciary that may actually find this to be an injustice, but perhaps not having the power to grant a man alimony or deny a woman, they try to rectify the inequality by being very conservative about granting divorces at the behest of women who might otherwise reconsider if alimony was not a possibility. Concerning opposite sex couples, it's unclear to me if alimony would be an option at all. Let's say it isn't, then would mean that they would grant more divorces among same sex couples on average simply because they'd have no need to deny divorces based upon their desire to rectify the previously mention injustice, but if that fact is unknown or disregarded then it may seem as if they are being biased towards ending marriages among same sex couples for other reasons.
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    It is insidiously stupid, to be honest.

    (1) This isn't a question of approving an expense that needs to be justified before signing off; it is a question of following the law.

    (2) As yet, Ms. Davis has no intention of providing licenses to same-sex couples if returned to her job.

    (3) There are also the victims of her lawbreaking to consider; they should not be subject to further alienation of constitutional rights.​

    To the one, it is a practical contradiction: Ms. Davis cannot compel other people to break the law; she cannot compel the public trust to break the law.

    To the other, it is inapplicable, given that it invokes a condition Ms. Davis has rejected.

    To a ski-boxer's third, it still does not excuse further offense against the constitutional rights of Rowan County citizens.

    What is remotely reasonable about a "compromise" that gives the party in the wrong everything it wants in violation of the law?
  12. Stuart Registered Member

    If they are uncertain how to lawfully grant divorces to homosexual couples, and so decide temporarily to not, then it makes sense to stop granting divorces altogether to avoid being accused of discrimination.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Oregon Being ... Oregon

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    In a way, this isn't surprising:

    A circuit court judge in Oregon's Marion County is refusing to perform same-sex marriages, claiming doing so would violate his First Amendment rights.

    Judge Vance D. Day, who has served in Oregon's Third Judicial District since 2011, has never married an LGBT couple, and has stopped performing marriages all together. Day says performing gay marriages would go against his religious beliefs, and has reportedly instructed his clerks to refer gay couples to other judges.

    While no complaint against Day has been made public, Day spokesman Patrick Korten told KATU that the judge is currently under investigation by the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability. According to KPTV, that investigation was prompted by a 13-point complaint against Day, and will be assessed in a hearing this fall. Day is in the process of setting up a legal defense fund to fight any potential charges.


    There are a number of things we might say about His Honor's refusal, but at least he has stopped performing any marriages, and the process in place to deal with judges running amok seems to be underway.

    Meanwhile, it should also be noted: Judge Day is also the former head of the Oregon Republican Party.

    In that respect, at least, this isn't necessarily surprising; we have no real reason to expect any better of Republicans.


    Reilly, Mollie. "Oregon Judge Refuses To Perform Same-Sex Marriages". The Huffington Post. 4 September 2015. 6 September 2015.
  14. Stuart Registered Member

    Perhaps it isn't reasonable. I think I'll wait until reading the full articles before commenting further.
  15. Stuart Registered Member

    Do you put your morals regarding your support for gay rights over the law at any time, and if so what past illegal actions done by those in the name of promoting gay rights do you find acceptable and which do you find unacceptable?
  16. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    Replace the word "gay" with "interracial" or "black" and see how it sounds.
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    "Finally, the pile of people has been put in order. At our last farewell, a whispered angel's voice: We'll soon be happy, won't we?"

    But to this part we're back 'round the circle; the idea of uncertainty seems preposterous. Then again, this is something that does happen in the American discourse.

    To wit, it seems to me pretty obvious the Chancellor is putting on a show for the benefit of making a point. However, that point faces a certain problem of dysfunction. The whole question of why that uncertainty exists orbits a basic petulant assertion:

    "With the U.S. Supreme Court having defined what must be recognized as a marriage, it would appear that Tennessee’s judiciary must now await the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court last to what is not a marriage, or better stated, when a marriage is no longer a marriage."

    There is nothing about the Obergefell decision that would compel the states to wait for a new definition of divorce. The pretense of confusion has to do with the conservative argument that two homosexuals over there getting married somehow denigrates the marriage between this heterosexual man and this heterosexual woman. It goes something like this: "A marriage is between a man and a woman. What? The Supreme Court says gays can get married? Well, I guess I just don't recognize what marriage is, anymore. And, hey, if I don't know what marriage is ...."

    The alleged misunderstanding depends entirely on Chancellor Atherton's bigotry.

    It is worth making this point: One need not reflect actual Christianity when claiming a Christian argument, as Ms. Davis shows; one need not make sense in order to assert a political argument, as Chancellor Atherton demonstrates.

    In the end, not all things are equal. Ms. Davis' assertion against gay marriage is rooted in the Old Testament and Pauline Evangelism; meanwhile, she ignores instruction from Jesus fucking Christ himself that tells her to shut up and do her damn job or else resign.

    Ms. Davis has shown her false piety for the sake of being seen by others; she has her reward. Everything else is just abject cruelty in defiance of her claimed Lord and Savior.

    Asserting Christian conscience is one thing, but ignoring Christ in order to excuse wilful cruelty is the antithesis of Christianity.

    Just like asserting himself an idiot does nothing to increase the influential gravity of Chancellor Atherton's tantrum.
  18. Stuart Registered Member

    I don't understand.
  19. Stuart Registered Member

    There's no circle being that I gave an example of where uncertainty can come from, and await comment.
  20. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    I was referring to the civil rights movement in America.
  21. Stuart Registered Member

    I addressed the question you responded to to Tiassa, but would appreciate a response from you as well. I'm very aware that you were referring to the civil rights movement, I didn't want to be presumptuous, but since you didn't elaborate more, I'll guess as to what you meant.

    Being there was much illegal actions done during the heart of the civil rights movements regarding race, I assume you're implying that it's supposed to be obvious that such illegal actions were morally right, and I assume you're implying that illegal actions of the same kind (violence against law abiding citizens, and many lesser crimes) are justified for the sake of gay rights as well.

    Anyway, I asked the question originally, because I'm trying to understand how to correlate the mixture of detailed arguments for why certain acts done by those opposed to homosexuality were illegal and the less detailed descriptions of why those acts are immoral. If the illegality of an act supports the argument of the immorality of an act then I'd assume that the illegality of an act would hurt the argument for the morality of an act. I'm not claiming it's all or nothing regarding one's belief in the law as a moral rule, I'm just looking for consistency in both directions. The more importance people stress on the illegality of an action they find immoral, the more I assume that they stress a greater degree of belief in the morality of the law in general.
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    "Mankind―the public enemy is not the man who speaks his mind. The public enemy is the man that goes and acts blind, searching for an answer that he'll never find. An action from reaction, and you can't make a retraction once you've put your head out. And you're blue in the face as you try to state your case; you can think with your dick, but it can't shout. I try to understand what the hell is going on; I can't imagine how things ever got so far gone. You separatists, say you want your own state; I'll give them a state, a state of unconscious: Retribution, no solution, constitution. Discrimination, through the nation, raining hatred. I yell, when there's a schism you must rebel. I yell, so you'll hear. I yell, I refuse to live in your Hell. I am what you fear: I am the truth; I don't keep it the family. Live your life; take someone else. Keep it in the family: The real world is outside your door. You can't keep it in the family. You've got the longest way to fall."

    Well, I suppose that depends on which actions you mean; have you any in mind?

    To wit, there is classic civil disobedience, in which protesters are frequently accused of trespassing; for the most part I'm fine with that, since the first person jailed for marriage equality conscience was an Alabama minister who offered to marry a gay couple after the probate judge refused.

    As Matt Baume↱ noted in May:

    To be clear: this is an actual example of a religious official who has been sent to jail for exercising her religious beliefs. It is the very thing that the marriage equality opponents have been claiming will happen to them. And yet none of them are coming to DePrizio's defense.

    So here's what we have, by comparison:

    • County clerk in contempt of court for claiming religious conscience as an excuse to violate equal protection udner the law, and the expected, loud "religious freedom" protest.

    • Minister sentenced to thirty days for offending a judge by trespassing after undermining his delberate violation of the law.​

    Pretty much any comparison of Christian supremacism to genuine civil disobedience is going to be offensive and make you look silly; I would advise caution on that count. Or, at the very least if human rights and basic decency are somehow insufficient for you, some sort of definitive argument that doesn't leave me to decide what your questions mean.

    We see this titptoeing method of inquiry at present in various issues generally placed on the conservative side of the American spectrum, and as with, say, human rights and women's health, the problem is twofold. First, the lack of definition about such questions makes it hard to answer them directly; second, the vague terminology generally appears intended to whitewash the attitudes and politics the questions are intended to promote and protect, and that generally for their difficulty in finding a real, functioning application.

    Please remember that in the gay rights question, my team has gotten plenty of practice with these questions over the last quarter-century since Christians picked this fight. We've been through this puerile needlepoint routine over and over and over again, and the striking thing throughout that time is that conservative advocates never seem to get any better at this. It really does look like once upon a time our Christian supremacist neighbors came up with an idea, were stunned when it lost, and have spent the last twenty-some years pitching a holy-rolling temper tantrum trying to win back what they never really, properly theirs.

    What we're hearing from Kim Davis and Liberty Counsel, for instance, is nothing more than we heard from Tipper Gore and Susan Baker in the 1980s about heavy metal music, or any number of parents protesting L'Engle or McCammon or Blume or Newman in libraries. It is a basic formula asserted by supremacists: Your rights stop at my aesthetics.

    The original formula is practical: Your right to swing your fist stops at another person's nose. We've heard several less practical reformulations over the years:

    • Your right to listen to heavy metal stops at my right to not have to know you or anyone else is listening to it.

    • Your right to read that book stops at my right to censor it, because what about the children!

    • Your First Amendment right to free speech stops at my First Amendment right to censor you in the name of my religion.​

    Seriously, we're aware these all sound pretty stupid, but that was the argument. Hell, Tipper even convinced her husband to call a Senate hearing, which as you might imagine didn't go well, and did actually haunt him the rest of his public office career.

    The underlying function here is the societal and legal supremacy of Christianity to decide who gets what rights: Your right to equal protection stops at my right to not be injured by being equal to my neighbor. And that's it. That's all Kim Davis asks. The right as a Christian to be so superior to her neighbors that she gets to dole out who gets their constitutional rights according to her aesthetics and warm-fuzzy feeling of empowerment.

    Fundamentally, what she wants is dysfunctional; supremacy ≠ equality.

    Legally, what she wants is dysfunctional; supremacy ≠ equality.

    Theologically, what she wants is to defy Christ Himself. Her argument is rooted in the Old Testament and Pauline evangelism; absent is the actual Word of Christ, which instructs her to do her damn job or get out of the way.

    If there is actually a proper argument against gay marriage, one wonders why Christians have been so unable to find it. To the other, they really aren't looking. And here is Liberty Counsel, with their Tool of the Month, encouraging Kim Davis to continue blaspheming the Holy Spirit in the name of Christ. It would be tragic if the discourse could afford the moment to actually consider the reality of her actions; barring that eternal stake, though, it would be funny if it wasn't so damn old and used up.


    Baume, Matt. "Alabama Jails, Fines Minister After Performing Lesbian Wedding". The Advocate. 25 May 2015. 7 September 2015.
  23. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    I would post to this thread, but Bells would probably take offense and shut me down.

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