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California Supreme Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban

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On Tuesday the California Supreme Court voted to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage approved in November of last year by a referendum of California voters on Proposition 8. Softening the blow slightly, they ruled that about 18,000 gay couples who were married before the law took effect will remain legally married.

The 6 to 1 court decision came in response to a number of lawsuits which were based around the assertion that the ban on gay marriage violated the equal protection clause of the state constitution and was invalid because it was not approved by the legislature before being submitted to a referendum.

When the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in May of 2008, it ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to be married was state-sanctioned discrimination, but apparently that discrimination is acceptable when it comes at the decision of a majority of the voters rather than the state legislature.

The announcement triggered widespread protests and marches, signalling a renewed effort to change California’s law on gay marriage, though without the support of the courts it may be difficult to reverse the results of the Proposition 8 referendum.

In the time since Proposition 8 passed, three other states (Iowa, Vermont and Maine) have joined Massachusetts and Connecticut in legalizing same-sex marriage and more states seem likely to follow this trend before the year is out.

This situation highlights the problems with California’s initiative and referendum system which can permit the effective tyranny of the majority over the rights of minority groups, and has also played a role in California’s critical budget crisis by placing unmanagable financial obligations on the state. It also creates a bizarre system of legal inequality where gay marriage is illegal for most Californians, but remains legal for the 18,000 same-sex couples who are already married. This anomalous situation guarantees further court challenges and renewed efforts to reverse the ban, most likely through the ballot initiative process to pass a new amendment to the California constitution to reverse Proposition 8.

Pastor Chris Clark of the East Clairemont Southern Baptist Church in San Diego who was part of a coalition of ministers working against gay marriage rights, said: “This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and when the people feel that there’s a branch of government that is not representing them properly, it is their right and responsibility to take it back and let their voice be heard.”

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About Dave Nalle

  • Ruvy

    Well, at least we see that there is more happening in America than Hispanic women being nominated for the supreme court. I’m wondering when someone will notice that Norh Korea is smoking its nuclear cigars again, for example. I’d write about it myself but work calls…. I guess that for Americans, North Korea is “far, far away” and just don’t matter.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ruvy, I was thinking of doing something for the North Korea situation, but I’m trying to learn more about it first. Maybe in the next few days. It is perhaps the most vital situation on our planet right now and requires an urgent solution, yet the majority of the talk round here seems glued right where it always is.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I had to struggle through the Sotomayor fog to get this important but largely overlooked issue covered. I’ll try to get to North Korea tomorrow if no one else does it. Sadly I have actual work to do and that makes it hard for me to be a one-man news service for BC.

    Dave

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “This anomalous situation guarantees further court challenges”

    Ted Olson and David Boies already filed suit in federal court on Tuesday

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see this go to the SCOTUS. Wouldn’t it be interesting if California’s disastrous and oppressive initiative and referendum system were brought down by this issue.

    Maybe that would stop all these damn Californians from flooding into Texas and gobbling up our tech jobs.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    I’ve been surprised at the lack of coverage of both these stories in the press.

    I think the court made the right ruling, and it’s certainly the result I wanted to see, but I wasn’t expecting it. Opponents were arguing that the ban fundamentally changed the state constitution, and that’s a real stretch. But when the liberal “haves” want something, they won’t let the will of the people or the courts stand in their way forever.

    North Korea won’t get much coverage because it contradicts the “peaceful world under Obama” narrative.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I’ve been surprised at the lack of coverage of both these stories in the press.

    Battle fatigue, I think, at least in the case of Prop 8.

    The court understandably erred on the side of caution, but there was a strong case for the proposition having violated the state constitution’s equal protection clause. The thing is, the language of Prop 8 is now also part of the state constitution… so what happens when one part of the constitution is at loggerheads with another?

    That’s why, I think, Dave expects this to go all the way to DC. And I hope he’s right that one upshot of this will be that California’s ballot initiative system comes a cropper. It’s very dangerous and Californians have frequently voted for popularism and against their own best interests. I do, however, get a sense that the people of the Golden State are wearying of having to consider all manner of wacky propositions, measures and initiatives several times a year, and increasingly seem to be voting all of them down on general principle: hence the recent failure of Props 1A through C.

    An initiative’s best chance of success seems to be to get on the ballot at a general election, when the turnout and passions are higher and the electorate is more persuadable.

    As far as North Korea goes, I’ve seen some good coverage on the BBC. The prevailing feeling seems to be – while admittedly you never know with the DPRK – that the current round of saber-rattling has less to do with the North’s international relations than with the complex internal manoeuvrings with regard to who gets to take over from Kim when he decides to retire or pops his clogs.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “I guess that for Americans, North Korea is “far, far away” and just don’t matter.”

    yep, we don’t care about it at all. that’s obviously true. never even heard of the place. what is this mysterious land? i assume it is north of south korea…

    just because something hasn’t popped up here doesn’t mean we’re completely unaware of it.

    baronius, what sources of information are you missing that you haven’t seen “much” coverage of north korea? oh wait, you have seen it, you’re just saying that because it fits your point better. i get it. it’s cool.

    as for prop-8, i guess hate wins again. anyone who thinks that laws restricting someone’s rights is a good thing needs to take a good, long look in the mirror. your day is done, anyway… it’s just that the sun is setting very, very slow.

  • Baronius

    Zing, I just didn’t see much coverage in the mainstream press about NK. Maybe there was and I missed it. Anyway, “NORTH KOREA ACTS CRAZY” can only be a news story so many times, so I could understand if it got diminished coverage.

  • Baronius

    Dread, “comes a cropper”? I can’t even guesss from context.

  • zingzing

    it’s at the top of cnn.com right now, third down on nytimes.com. i’m sure you can look at other major news sites and find the same thing happening.

    your last sentence is true… because of fatigue, and the fact that the largest reason nk does this shit is to get attention like some ignored child.

  • Baronius

    Dave, does this CA Supreme Court decision overturn the Miss USA results?

  • Doug Hunter

    “anyone who thinks that laws restricting someone’s rights is a good thing needs to take a good, long look in the mirror.”

    I appreciate laws that restrict the right to murder someone else or molest children. It’s whether or not you agree with the underlying morals that matters. Apparently, you have no qualms with gay marriage, some folks have no problem with adults and children having sex, or prostitution, or bestiality. We have a system called democracy set up to determine things like this, which of our made up morals get coded into law and democracy has spoken. Does ‘hate’ win because you don’t support NAMBLA’s position? These are morals, there is no ‘logic’ to them, there is no ‘right’.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    It’s not a moral issue for you, who I have sex with. In fact what is a moral issue here is whether or not you have any right to interfere with my life.

    Dominating people is a moral issue.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, does this CA Supreme Court decision overturn the Miss USA results?

    I think that the Court of The Donald has already ruled on that one.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    “comes a cropper”? I can’t even guesss from context.

    Baronius, ‘to come a cropper’ means to injure yourself, to have something unfortunate happen so that you can’t continue doing what you were doing, or just generally to go splat.

    Not sure of the origin of the expression – it may be an old racing or prizefighting term.

  • zingzing

    doug hunter: “some folks have no problem with adults and children having sex, or prostitution, or bestiality.”

    oh, doug… that is such a tired argument. and it’s complete bullshit. as for your nambla argument, molesting/having sex with a child is already illegal. (as it should be.) it’s not “hate” to deny a man’s ability to fuck a helpless boy.

    being gay is not illegal. it’s two adults having whatever kind of fun they want. still, you want to restrict the rights of another class of people just because you don’t agree with their lifestyle, think they should go to hell, etc. that’s a product of hate.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing,

    you still have to argue against bestiality.

  • zingzing

    ok, it’s not “hate” to deny a man’s ability to fuck a duck. i don’t know if that’s really even possible. but now i’m certainly thinking about it!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I just wanted to throw you the curve before Doug might.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Doug is all about the immorality of sex between adults…meantime he thinks torture is just dandy.

    Animals cannot consent. Neither can children. The power differential precludes considering any cooperation as consent.

    But the mentally damaged people we churn out as a society have trouble discerning things like this.

  • Dan

    The American Psychiatric Association once enlightened us by removing homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

    Now many members are contemplating removing pedophilia as well, saying “psychiatrists have argued that there is little or no proof that sex with adults is necessarily harmful to minors. Indeed, they have argued that many sexually molested children later look back on their experience as positive…”

    It is a sad fact that so many gay marriage activist would be so hatefully retrograde as to support the denial of sexual expression between men and boys.

    If the ignorant gay activists could overcome their selfishness to empathize with the men and boy lovers, they might recognize the same backstab they felt over the fact that California blacks voted 70% to ban gay marriage.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #21 just cracks me up. Good show.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But to add to #21, “mentally damaged people” can’t consent either. Legally speaking, they should have no voice until they recover.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Roger, That depends on what you call mentally damaged. I consider the bulk of our society mentally damaged.

    They’ll recover in about 10,000 years with any luck.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    #22

    Most psychiatrists are crazy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m trying to inject some humor into the American tragedy – picturing as we speak the bulk of society, including the shrinks, as mental defectives. For some reason, it cuts a funny picture.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “It is a sad fact that so many gay marriage activist would be so hatefully retrograde as to support the denial of sexual expression between men and boys.”

    A perfect example of ideology getting in the way of common sense.

  • Dan

    “Most psychiatrists are crazy.”—Cindy

    Many are gay as well.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, that explains it then.
    I know Jet is going to shoot me for having said that.

  • Dan

    “A perfect example of ideology getting in the way of common sense.”

    I agree, but society has not even progressed to the point of decriminalizing pedophilia yet. At least gays have that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Suddenly, your #22 makes sense, and I quote:

    “The American Psychiatric Association once enlightened us by removing homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.”

    Since most of them are gay, they declared themselves (and their brethren) well – by way of self-diagnosis.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Don’t mind #32. Somewhat facetious, but what the hell.

    I didn’t not though about the point you’re making in #31. You mean it’s not illegal?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “didn’t know.” I don’t really get your point.

  • Dan

    “You mean it’s not illegal?”—Roger

    The natural sexual expression between adults and children is illegal. Society has a long way to go in shaking off this unenlightened vestige of sexual repression.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    I’d like a link please Dan, if you would, to anything that supports your assertion that most gay marriage activists would support pedophilia. I’m a gay marriage activist. I don’t support it and I know not a single other one who does.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Oh am I ever wrong. Dan supports pedophilia. He is miffed that most gay activists do not.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    #28

    Really Roger? You support pedophilia? I think you misread like I did.

  • Clavos

    Cindy #14,

    Though I likely wouldn’t carry that as far as you would, I find nothing in that comment as written with which I would disagree.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    “psychiatrists have argued that there is little or no proof that sex with adults is necessarily harmful to minors. Indeed, they have argued that many sexually molested children later look back on their experience as positive…”

    Is that like when cigarette companies used to say there was no proof that smoking was harmful to one’s health?

    And do these perfectly undamaged children who look back on their experiences as positive have warm loving sex lives with adults? Or are those who look back the one’s who’ve gained an interest in becoming abusers themselves?

    In other words, are the psychiatrists talking to people whose sense of love has been perverted by the damage done to them and on that basis concluding that these people are happy so no damage must have occurred.

    I think you will find that many pedophiles justify their actions. It seems likely they might offer as evidence their own story of how fond they were of their own molester and how it didn’t hurt them a bit.

    Children do not have the capacity to make decisions about having relationships with adults. That is why children (like other young animals) are reared by parents. They lack experience to determine in many cases what will and will not bring them harm.

    Secondly, adults have power that children lack. It is never ever okay to either seduce or to accept seduction from a child. It is always an abuse of power.

    Look at your words Dan.

    No proof that it is necessarily harmful.

    I mean, really is that good enough for you? It may not be harmful is a good enough justification for using children for sexual gratification?

    I feel like I am in an insane asylum. First, I am arguing with people about whether drowning is torture…as if this is a reasonable thing to be doing. And now I suppose I will be arguing with child molesters as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

    Any axe murderers, out there who’d like to have a chat while I’m on a roll?

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Secondly, adults have power that children lack. It is never ever okay to either seduce or to accept seduction from a child. It is always an abuse of power.

    I just have to go one step farther. Any adult who thinks otherwise is a seriously damaged person. Ipso facto.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Cindy, I think it helps if you start from the working assumption that Dan is playing devil’s advocate.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dr.D,

    I have no idea what anyone thinks any more. There is a pedophile on twitter. I’ve never spoken to him, but it freaks me out that he is there. He’s using his right to free speech. I just hope he’s not doing more than that.

    You think Dan is just being a devil’s advocate? I have been so shocked by people lately, maybe I can’t tell the difference. It seems they are likely to think or do any insane thing as if it’s perfectly natural.

    Today there was a very disturbing article in a UK paper that says the Abu Ghraib photos that weren’t released show prisoners being raped by Americans.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Cindy, I’m not sure, but if this is the same Dan* I think it is, then I’ve crossed swords with him a number of times before. He opposes gay marriage and my guess is that he’s trying to trap you into making a logical error.

    * It’s not Dan Miller, of course, but then you and I both knew that!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy #38,

    Dan is being facetious since he speak of “the natural sexual expression between adults and children.” That’s the only way I can understand him. What I don’t understand it the second paragraph of his #31.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Doc’s got it right in #42; don’t forget, too, that Dan is a conservative.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy, #43

    “I have no idea what anyone thinks any more.”

    Yes, it can be depressing, especially when hearing all kinds of voices, even on BC.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Hi Roger,

    You were laughing yesterday. I saw those posts. It was a good thing to see. :-)

  • Doug Hunter

    I for one support gay marriage and have voted in favor of it every time available. I don’t understand why prostitution is a crime in the first place. I don’t care for pedophilia or any of those other things, they disgust me (although that’s not a logical response).

    What gets my goat is everyone else who thinks they have some special insight into what is morally ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. From the Taliban, to Christians, Liberals, Conservatives almost everyone thinks they know what is right and seeks to force that on other people. I don’t believe the government should be the vehicle to enforce those beliefs or that anyone should hate or otherwise look down on people who don’t share their particular moral code. Your ‘morality’ is just as abhorrent to someone else as theirs is to yours.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, can’t be serious all the time. Men, too, have moods.

    I was a little concerned (#47). Try not to let those feelings overcome you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So are you making all your decisions, then, on a logical basis. Like gay-marriage is logical and pedophilia is not?

    Just wonder.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Take #50 back. I’m not giving you any advice.

  • Doug Hunter

    Roger,

    Certainly not. I don’t think logic is even applicable to one’s true underlying morals in most cases. First you have basic morals then you build logical extensions from there that sometimes lead you to other positions of morality. If someone starts from a different base then all your ‘logic’ is meaningless.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    There you go! You’ve got that part right. And so is the case for other values – like freedom, liberty and personal responsibility – which you definitely believe in.

    Why then do you vacillate when it comes to morals?

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Well, you wear ‘amused’ very well Roger. I hope you let the world strike you as funny more often.

    The rest: The Abu Ghraib photos got to me. I’ll learn to cope.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Too many hard knocks, Cindy, to be shocked anymore. But what options are there?

    You gotta believe.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Roger, It’s quite alright to wish me well and make kind suggestions. That actually a very nice thing. Thanks. :-)

    It’s only when I get news such as my opinions are based on emotion and not reason that I get fired up.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But your opinions should be based on emotions more often (or at least be informed by them). Everyone’s are. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here; it’s the human condition.

    It’s got to be the right emotions, though. And I never faulted you for your motives.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Cindy, I was hoping you would read my first attempt to write something political that wasn’t a rant and a rave…:)

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    It has been a very common thing historically for dominating men to proclaim that women were unable to participate in the decisions of society because they were biologically incapable of being logical and rational. It is a sore point. And when I myself know I have studied the problem from prenatal, perinatal, postnatal, developmental, anthropological, historical, sociological, scientific, and just about any way one can…then to be told my opinions are merely preemptive or reactionary or emotional and not rational or logical…well, you can see the problem, I think. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Jeannie, I was just on my way! :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I do. Except that my characterization wasn’t of you, your opinions, or person – only of the proposition (and again, only with the idea that you reconsider it).

    There is a difference. But I see why you took it that way.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Sorry Cindy, I’m so emotional! it must be my empathy showing..:)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Stop it, Jeannie. You’re opening the door now to some of the reactionary voices here. Now they’ll come clamoring for throwing out “the empathy bit” like the baby with the bathwater. We don’t want any regression after the progress we’ve made.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dave, I have a view on gay marriage. I say why not! Just because it is not my cup of tea,who am I to say no? Is it the insurance companies that are really opposed to gay marriage and employers who would end up covering more people in their group insurance plans that are really the reason and not religion right? Or am I totally incorrect…

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    It’s such a wonderful thing to have Jeannie on BC. :-)

    Roger,

    About being hardened: You know, it’s not just the bad news that I spend all day with that is disturbing. It’s that, whether I am right or wrong, in my mind at least, I believe I have an understanding of what causes all these terrible things. To watch the stream of evil on the one hand and then on the other hand–to also watch the stream of the opinion that makes the evil possible–both at the same time–that’s what I have to learn to cope with. It’s made possible by the internet. It’s not something I have ever had to deal with in such volume.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Roger, Sorry..:( I was trying to be light hearted today

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As they say, follow the money trail.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I knew you were. And so was I.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #66,

    Of course. Evil wouldn’t exist (at least on the scale it does) if it didn’t have its accomplices – not necessarily active perpetrators and passive ones as well. Lots of the voices have a vested interest (like talk-show hosts); others speak more or less out of ignorance (but that’s a vested interest, too – to persist in a state of self-deception). And you see how vested some of these interests are by their recalcitrance and vehement opposition to any idea that runs counter to their dark psyche.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    #70

    What you said there. That is an aspect of what I have been referring to as cultural indoctrination. I agree, it’s both active and passive, intentional and ignorant.

    For me, its accomplices are certainly those, the visible influences. But if you take your time and look very closely you might find that we have been influenced in the very way we see things. Ways like what variables catch our attention…what is salient, what we cannot see. In my view this comes in from the culture at large through education, media, and the other people of our particular group who serve to pass this on to us thus fashioning a culture.

    Sonia Sotomayor spoke, in her speech, about something very similar to this. She didn’t analyze how it happens like I am, she simply said it does happen–people in different groups see things differently. They can only see through the eyes of the other with difficult and intentional effort and work. Should they be uninterested, ignorant, or worse–it won’t happen. As it takes a great deal of motivated and open effort and is hard to accomplish even with the best intention. If one is resistant, I think it can only happen by accident.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, maybe I’m not the one to judge then or have a proper perspective on the extent to which cultural influences define one. And because of my own unique experience and history, I may be projecting and thereby minimizing the gravity of the problem.

    See, when I came here, it was from a different culture (a number of them). So although I became assimilated and absorbed the American culture, I was always an outsider looking in (as it were) rather than being beholden by the cultural values and unawares. A great deal of it was a conscious decision on my part – I absorbed what I liked, rejected what I did not.

    Coupled with a number of paramount teachers I had had, I suppose I started thinking for myself rather early – always as an individual rather than as part of any collective or a group (because I didn’t really belong to any). I was always unto myself – except for the relationships I have had with the women in my life.

    So for this reason perhaps – because I have such a long history of thinking as an individual and for myself (I was really transplanted and uprooted from my own country), that I have a problem understanding the difficulty others might have in freeing their mind of the cultural influences which are part and parcel of who they are and who they think they are.

    And that’s the projecting part I spoke of earlier.

  • Baronius

    “I’ve been surprised at the lack of coverage of both these stories in the press.”

    “Battle fatigue, I think, at least in the case of Prop 8.”

    C’mon, Dread. Do you really think that if the court threw out the proposition, that the press would be too “fatigued” to cover it?

  • zingzing

    it may be that this story (or how prop 8 could make it through the voting public and the courts) is so fucking inexplicably stupid and damning of our society and nation that no one wants to point out our collective, ignorant ass to the rest of the world, nor to ourselves, anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    …that I have a problem understanding the difficulty others might have in freeing their mind of the cultural influences which are part and parcel of who they are and who they think they are.

    Yes, more difficult for some than others. However, I think you are hasty in excluding yourself. Neither I, nor anyone else I know is excluded or has conquered what I’m describing. If you do, you don’t quite understand the depth of influence I mean. It is not inescapable. Every indoctrinated idea is there, unknown (with the effect of being an idea you believe is your own), until it is specifically examined.

    You seem to be referring to the conscious things we see, ideas, influences of culture. I can accept that you are self-examined. So am I. Neither to the degree I mean and that is regardless of effort. Because we cannot know what we don’t know.

    It is insidious, not necessarily obvious. It is why girls play with dolls and boys play with trucks. Why girls wear pink and like Barbie. Why they want to be princesses and boys fight with action figures.

    It’s why men bend to a certain idea of what ‘male’ is and women wear make-up. Why you are attracted to a certain ‘looking’ woman and not some other look. Why there are bullies at school and why boys can’t cry. It’s why my niece believes she needs liposuction and breast implants. And why people are addicted to acquiring things. Why we even have a discussion about what torture is. Why pornography is acceptable. Why men don’t know enough about female sexuality. Why schools operate the way they do. Why we sometimes fail in parenting.

    A child comes into a classroom every day and is told to put her hand over her heart and recite the pledge of allegiance. It has an effect. That the teacher is the leader and holds all the information, has an effect. Everything we do. All the images we see. Even the fact that we see a world through images rather that real life. Guy DeBord called this the society of the spectacle.

    Okay, that’s enough. Hopefully that gives you a better idea. If not then you’ll have to wait until I ever write about it.

  • Baronius

    Cindy, you’re saying that the things our society teaches us to accept can greatly influence who we become. That’s one of the arguments against gay marriage.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Bar,

    I think maybe you are confusing two things. The argument, as I see it, is whether or not gayness is learned or inborn. The argument does not state, as far as I can tell, that if we learn anything at all, then gayness must be one of those things learned.

    But yes, that is what I am saying. But not just what it actively teaches, what we absorb. For example, we watch television, which not only holds a limited number of perspectives (and fails to hold others), but we see images of what we are supposed to smell like, look like, act like, aspire to be, etc. Constant and repeated images and messages. These are replicated throughout the culture, in schools, by the people we know.

    (BTW in my #75, it should say: It is inescapable. Not: It is not inescapable.)

  • Baronius

    Cindy, I’m not confusing anything. The reason that you’re arguing two opposite things simultaneously is that your argument is wrong. It’s intellectually dishonest to apply an argument only when you like the results and deny it when you don’t.

  • Dan

    Cindy, if you are want to set out and effect change in just the cultural influences you mention, you have your work cut out for you.

    And how could you be confident in the ratio of influence between nurtute v nature?

    And what societal prescription would you be content with? If half the girls played with action figures, and half the boys Barbie?

    I empathize with the thing your feeling. Your very much a woman, and an asset to the site.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Bar,

    I’m not arguing two opposite things at the same time.

    There are qualities that are inborn, i.e. genetic and those that are learned.

    Psychology, genetics and probably other fields attempt to ascertain what is genetic and what is learned.

    If you have a problem with that please take it up with your local university or whatever.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    And frankly, I don’t care if gayness is genetic or not. If I was to sleep with women. It’s no ones business but mine.

    People against gay marriage, in my book, are dominators who think they should control what other people do.

    That is the thing I think we should discuss, whether that personality flaw is genetic or learned.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dan,

    Well thanks. And I am glad to discover you are not a child molester! (um..right?)

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dan,

    But actually, ideally I want a society that did not compete and have to market to people. When you do not project images of what girls and boys should be and want, because you are trying to hook them into consumption, you can arrive at a society that does not get its goals, values, desires and ideas about self-worth from marketing companies. One where people can like who they are and what their body looks like.

    No wrinkle cream commercials can become being comfortable with the aging process. Being comfortable with the aging process can lead to not locking old people in nursing homes where the valueless are sent and we don’t have to see them.

    I want a society where people do not have to fight for basic needs or status. Where people work because work is what people do. And they don’t work like slaves or believe that work is the thing that makes them worthwhile. But this could go on forever. So, I’ll stop here.

  • Baronius

    Cindy, that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it. Whether or not you like the idea. If you do, it doesn’t have to be defended consistently; and if you don’t, no argument to the contrary should be considered. If I don’t agree with Cindy, it’s because I’m a hater.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Bar,

    If you don’t acknowledge that there are both things that are genetic and things that are learned then you are defying the whole realm of knowledge and science we have on the subject.

    It seems to me that reality is different than what you are saying. When people become grossly non-reality based I’m not sure the conversation can progress. If you are suggesting that god controls these things, that is fine. But minimally you at least need to acknowledge that I did not make up the rules. Science did.

    I defend my ideas completely consistently. If you don’t think so you are free to re-explain how I don’t. Maybe I missed your point.

    The way I understand what you said makes as much sense to me as saying that if you think eye color is genetic than your taste in music must therefore be genetic.

    I mean, that seems like what you are saying: If our culture effects us via learning then gayness must therefore be learned.

    I don’t say either way whether it is or not. It might be. How do I know. Even if it is, sexual preference is not a choice in my opinion. But even if it was, it doesn’t matter to me. That’s why I don’t address it. I’m not interested in it because it would never make a difference to me. It’s a moot point.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    C’mon, Dread. Do you really think that if the court threw out the proposition, that the press would be too “fatigued” to cover it?

    I don’t know, Bar. It would be an important ruling that changed the status quo, so probably not.

    But bear in mind that when the vote went against gay marriage back in November, there was no dearth of coverage even though there was a presidential election going on at the time.

    I honestly think you tend to see media bias everywhere, whether it’s there or not. The North Korea thing, for example. Prominent coverage in a variety of places, yet you were convinced the media were ignoring it because it didn’t make Obama look good.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Bar,

    Maybe this will help. I don’t know about gayness because, even if I was interested, I don’t think there is adequate information to determine–having had a brief look about a year or so ago.

    The other things I am talking about I can determine to my satisfaction and do have adequate information to form an opinion on. I get information from cross-cultural studies as well as studies in psychology. Observation, research, history and personal experience in becoming aware of things I was formerly unaware of–we have all done this, as well. I am sure you can carefully examine a situation where that has happened to you and combine it with other knowledge to reach a conclusion.

    Gayness, is just something I have not studied from a cross-cultural perspective or really much at all from any perspective. Maybe gayness is 100% non-genetic. That’s fine with me if it is.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    One more important thing. We don’t learn to be gay from being around gay people. That much I do feel confident in saying.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy, #72 & #75,

    I haven’t excluded myself, and I think you fail to appreciate special circumstances. (It was my mistake, anyway, to bring it down to a level that’s personal, partly because it makes to more difficult for me to be able to respond to your ideas more objectively, which is to say, if I were not implicated in them already, which now I am). But I’ll try.

    The kind of examination you’re proposing is 1) ultimately not doable, there being layers and layers and layers, and subject to infinite regress; 2) not verifiable, because of point #1; 3) therefore secondary to the kind of examination one can do in terms of conscious processes which are available and objective.

    To really discuss your ideas, yes, you would have to write a paper. You would really have to explain your project and how you envisage it being brought to any kind of completion – not that there would be a completion; but you must have identifiable stages and or benchmarks – more or less objective standards in terms of which to measure progress. Unless you do with considerable attention to detail and examples, I don’t think it would be fruitful for me to comment on the general idea. I happen to think that I may have said too much already.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Roger,

    Whether complete self-examination is doable or not is not the problem I am concerned with or even interested in. Those are the terms you are interested in, I think. Perhaps you want to be completely self-examined. I don’t care about that, as such. That sounds like science fiction to me anyway.

    What I care about are these few things:

    1) Whether my theoretical understanding of how we develop bias and POV is correct and how it can be improved.

    This information I use to try to understand the following:

    2) What process is necessary, to cause transformation in understanding/thinking/perspective and how can this be deliberately replicated.

    3) How can we raise/educate children to be as free as possible from indoctrinated culture so they can make choices of their own as free thinking people.

    That’s pretty much it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    Well, then. It looks like your concerns are more methodological than anything else. It didn’t appear so at first.

    Some of my thoughts have crystalized on the matter since, and I think I’ve managed to dissociate myself sufficiently from what I took originally to be the import of your remarks to give you some feedback, if you interested.

    I think it would be of help to initiate the discussion by starting with the general concept of CULTURE – what is it, the function it serves, the good, bad, and indifferent things about it.

    In conjunction with that, you might consider an ancient adage: Man is the measure of all things.

    So if you’re interested in pursuing the subject further, let me know.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The best ever work on “methodological doubt” is of course Descartes’ “Meditations” – a work of genius not only stylistically but also in conception. And although it relates to somewhat different concerns, I think it’s relevant to you project.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To change the subject, Cindy, I think you might appreciate this.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Hey Roger, I think I like Protagoras! Something in his work related to the scientific method. Do you know how Antilogies works exactly? Could you explain it?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s what I found thus far.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Significant passages:

    “Cognition of the World proceeds first of all on the basis of comparison”

    “Statements and judgements are usually combined into an unified statement-judgement set that is called an reasoning. Descriptions, statements, judgements and reasonings could be united by one common name as reflections.

    Reflections are concerned with the level of knowledge, below of which there is a level of ignorance. On the interface between these levels, the intuitive processes of consciousness and thinking occur. They are induced by experience, experience and Cosmos, and only by Cosmos. Logic induced by experience, experience and Cosmos are human-controllable to some extent. Intuition induced by Cosmos alone occurs on the subconscious level. Intuition is not human-controlled and deep understanding of the World is impossible without it. Intuition generates its own ideas, concepts, statements, judgements and reasonings.”

    You do of course subscribe to the notion that our knowledge and structure of the world reflects (and is given by) the structure of language.

  • Baronius

    cindy, there’s an amazing article on the Weekly Standard website about gay marriage, that I think would help your thinking on the subject. But the problem is, the article assumes that the reader doesn’t want to overturn human society. You and I ran into the same problem with the Sotomayor speech. The speech indicated an approach to jurisprudence antithetical to our legal tradition. You read it and approved of it.

    And that’s a big problem with our conversations. I don’t know how to discuss the costs and benefits of a particular policy with someone who wants to destroy everything. It doesn’t matter what I think of your motivations or of the consequences of your policy ideas; ultimately, it’s taking firefighting advice from a pyromaniac. You don’t want to fix things, and I’m out of ideas about how to communicate around that.

  • zingzing

    that article was despicable, baronius. the guy totally misses the point of legalized marriage. and gay people don’t want what straight people have in their “kinship system.” what a bunch of phooey.

    has this guy ever read an argument about gay marriage? it seems like he hasn’t. he even goes as far as to say men are foolish to fall in love with any woman but their own mothers and then reveals he’s been in 3 marriages. i’m not absolutely sure he’s the expert on what makes for successful marriage…

    that, seriously, was one of the most disgusting displays of arrogance, ignorance and right-wing masturbation i’ve ever seen. sickening.

  • zingzing

    really, i’m shocked at how far gone that guy is. i suggest everyone read baronius’ link for an interesting insight into the minds of prop 8 supporters. and maybe a good laugh.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing, yes, I read that. Lots of what he says about kinship is on the right track – however, it’s no longer applicable. A hundred, even sixty years ago, perhaps. So the “loss of kinship” which constitutes the main objection for him, is like crying over spilled milk: it’s been long lost.

  • zingzing

    it’s also completely off base. homosexual people don’t want heterosexual relationships. they want the same legal rights. it’s like he thinks there’s some gay assault upon heterosexual love.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    More like an assault on an institution which is no longer there.

  • Baronius

    The article is noteworthy because it doesn’t get bogged down in either the pro-gay-marriage argument of rights or the anti-gay-marriage religious arguments.

  • zingzing

    it also misses the point of the argument.

    it’s as if someone entered into a raging beatles vs stones argument and said “britney.”

    sure, it’s still in the same realm, but everyone involved just rolls their eyes and moves on.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    True. And it’s still applicable (in the sense intended) to the more traditional, non-Western cultures, even the traditional elements of American cultures (e.g., the descendants of the Irish/Italian immigrants), where the idea of kinship still plays a prominent role.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #104,

    Yes, zing, because the ideas he brings to bear no longer seem relevant to many of us. Which isn’t to say that kinship wasn’t relevant in the past – very functional in fact. But the contours of the world have changed. We, as individuals, have become atomized and removed from the social network which used to be an integral part of our lives. The wages of modernity.

  • zingzing

    maybe there’s some truth to that, roger. but the fight for gay marriage is all about rights and the pursuit of happiness. it’s about having the same protections as any other devoted couple. it’s not about ancient societal rites and mores and the protection of the uterus, or whatever. equal rights, for all, we say. let’s see it then.

    and did you notice the incest argument in the article? that, right there, was the absolute last straw for me. there was a time in the article when he seemed to blissfully wallow in his own ignorance and willful denial of the true nature of the argument, but when he brought up incest, and how gay men have no real reason not to fuck their brothers and fathers, etc… well, i started to really think this guy was a straight-up bigot, cloaking himself in stupidity.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re completely right in that he bypasses the current argument. I’ll have to re-read the incest part. The underlying claim is, of course, that gays (by nature) are more promiscuous than the heterosexuals; and from there, it’s but one step to saying that in gay relationships incest doesn’t or shouldn’t matter.

  • Baronius

    Zing, it’s like you’re not judging the article’s ideas by their validity, or even by whether or not you like them, but only by your previous familiarity with them.

  • zingzing

    i wasn’t aware of the “kinship system” or whatever he calls it, at least by that name. in fact, i’ve not heard the subject argued in this way before, at least not exactly this way. i don’t consider the fact that gay marriage is unlike straight marriage in a number of ways to have any bearing on the argument. that’s obvious. it also doesn’t change the fact that they deserve the same rights and protections. also, his argument that gay marriage is doomed to failure by its own nature also doesn’t sway me.

    yes, i am familiar with these arguments. they are and have been wrong and i don’t like them. any argument, like this one, that has such underlying stupidity–i.e., the gay marriage will lead to incest, no matter how he put it–is pretty obviously wrong, and invalid.

    do you find the article to make a valid point against giving equal rights and protections to homosexuals? if so, i’d like you to explain that…

  • Baronius

    The article doesn’t argue about rights and protections at all. He cedes that whole subject, far too quickly in my opinion. He says that that part of the debate is over. As to conferring the particular status of marriage on a homosexual union, he argues that it’s not a right (I agree) but a burden (I’m not sure I agree, but it is at minimum a status that’s granted protection because of the natural inequality of its members).

  • Clavos

    any argument, like this one, that has such underlying stupidity–i.e., the gay marriage will lead to incest, no matter how he put it–is pretty obviously wrong, and invalid.

    I don’t think that’s what he said, zing. He said that it wouldn’t matter (from a biological standpoint) if they did.

    And that, of course, is incontrovertible, since the taboo against incest is rooted in the danger of shrinking and distorting the gene pool.

  • zingzing

    clavos, incest is also frowned upon for different reasons. even if that is the underlying reasoning, it’s not the full story. and yes, i agree with you that that is what he said, but just bringing it up is duplicitous at best. his reasons for bringing it up are suspect, and a manipulation of his audience.

    baronius, if homosexuals want that burden, no one has the right to deny them that burden, especially if that person enjoys the burden enough to try and deny it to someone else. “equal protection under the law” IS a right, and that’s all that homosexuals are after.

  • Clavos

    incest is also frowned upon for different reasons.

    Such as?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What about Oedipus Rex? Somehow, I don’t think that depleting the gene pool was at the heart of the story.

  • zingzing

    Lévi-Strauss quotes the Arapesh response:
    “What, you would like to marry your sister? What is the matter with you anyway? Don’t you want a brother-in-law? Don’t you realize that if you marry another man’s sister and another man marries your sister, you will have at least two brother’s-in-law, while if you marry your own sister you will have none? With whom will you hunt, with whom will you garden, who will you visit?”

    there are social reasons beyond the biological reasons. also, there is general social revulsion, rooted in biological reasons, but somewhat separate from those reasons.

  • Clavos

    What about Oedipus Rex? Somehow, I don’t think that depleting the gene pool was at the heart of the story.

    Of course not. That would have made it boring. But genetic problems ARE at the heart of the taboo.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No argument there, because one could well argue that a great many precepts we’ve accepted over time as moral precepts are functional in makeup. I.e., what’s functional and good for the society acquires over time moral force.

  • Clavos

    …also, there is general social revulsion, rooted in biological reasons, but somewhat separate from those reasons.

    Right. Absent the “biological problems,” it’s likely there would have been no taboo.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing, you impress me citing a French structuralist.

  • zingzing

    clavos, are you saying–and i am just trying to push this argument forward–that you think gay people would have sex with their siblings/parents, since it’s a fact that it won’t affect the gene pool?

    or do you think they’d have more reason than that to not have incestuous relations?

  • zingzing

    “Absent the “biological problems,” it’s likely there would have been no taboo.”

    right, that’s true. but the reasons behind social mores get left behind and we just have the social mores to deal with. if there never had been biological problems, incest probably wouldn’t be so taboo. but there are biological problems with it. so it is taboo. and even absent those problems, we still have the taboo.

  • Clavos

    No. I’m saying we ALL would be capable of it, absent the aforementioned genetic problems AND the status of taboo.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I tend to disagree, zing. I think your order is mixed-up.

    1) Functionality comes first
    2) Biological and moral reasons (depending on whether you’re a scientist or a moralist)
    come later as justification/rationalization.

    “Biological reasons” wouldn’t come into play if incest wasn’t detrimental to what people came to regard as “the health of the society.”

  • Clavos

    Because of the taboo, it’s unlikely any gays would enter into an incestuous relationship, but it’s also true that the biological barrier is nonexistent for them.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I leaning to thinking that the notion of incest becomes vacuous in gay relationships/marriage. It’s no longer the same.

  • zingzing

    true, but we’ve gone beyond the rationalizing stage. we know what’s behind it. but, even absent the rationalization, we still have a deeply-rooted and inescapable taboo.

  • zingzing

    #127 was for #124.

    as for #125, i guess we are in agreement then…

  • Clavos

    Didn’t I say that, zing?

  • zingzing

    say what?

  • Clavos

    129 was in response to 127

  • zingzing

    yeah, but that’s what i’ve been saying, and i didn’t see your previous comment until i had already published that one. fast n bulbous, they come today.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Consider 126: to add a reason.

    If “incest” is to continue to function in a forceful way in our language, it can’t be diluted to situations where it doesn’t really matter.

    The “deeply-rooted in inescapable taboo” you’re referring to is a vestige of morality. And it’s part of our everyday language. Difficult to uproot.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Bar,

    I am almost done with an article I’m writing in response to the article you linked to. So, I won’t comment on it here.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    #93

    Roger,

    Thank you for that wonderful article. It was good enough to make me cry. Not only that, but it gave me some ideas about the style I’ll want to use in writing about certain ideas. So, where I had a blank I have a guide now.

  • M a rk

    Technicality:

    If articles published in the Politics section are not clearly labeled review, opinion, interview, satire or news, what’s the point of having to chose an Article Type when submitting a piece? imo the distinction between news and opinion (at least) is an important one and should be made clear to readers.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    See what you mean, Mark. He did manage to sneak in “the tyranny of the majority” towards the end. Couldn’t help himself.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Oh good, Mark is still alive. I thought I threw the grapefruit too hard.

  • M a rk

    Hi Cindy. Here in northern NM, the last of the snow is off the north slope of the Picuris Mtns — time to plant.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Ah nice…Mark. So, that is how you decide when to plant. The old-fashioned way.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Here in NJ, we go straight from clouds of swarming gnats, quick close the door season, into gypsy moth caterpillar season. It’s a very itchy season, whether merely imagining them dropping into you hair or actually finding them inside your shirt. It can be a very noisy, everyone comes running to see what all the shrieking is about season too, when you do.

  • M A rk

    Ah, the sounds of nature…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Mark — Comment #136

    I agree that the articles should be categorized, as they were back in the good old days. Until that happens, maybe we should just include the category at the beginning of the title, e.g. “NEWS: World Come to an End.”

    When all else fails, self-help can sometimes work.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Dan (and anyone else),

    While a seemingly good idea, for SEO reasons article titles cannot be prefaced by the article type.

    Please, just be patient; all good things come to he who waits.

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