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11/19/2008

'Crimson' columnist has us seeing same

by Jeremy Hooper

Lucy CaldwellLast year, Harvard Crimson columnist Lucy Morrow Caldwell caught national attention (and much ire) when she chose to publicly reveal that Rudy Giuliani's minor daughter had joined a pro-Obama Facebook group (privately, under a pseudonym). Today she comes on our radar for her decision to publicly regurgitate insipid far-right talking points about gays not being harmed by marriage bans because they can already marry someone of the opposite sex, majority rights not being the jurisdiction of the judiciary, and gay activists' unwillingess to "face that democracy has spoken." Check out some of the "brilliance":

Since most American voters oppose gay marriage, the question of how to proceed on the gay rights front now hinges on whether or not same-sex marriage bans constitute an act of tyranny of the majority—in other words, whether or not gay rights are minority rights. Many activists have described the gay rights debate as the most important civil rights issue of our time. This is not an apt description, as gay Americans are not being denied rights. This was not the case in previous civil rights movements. African-Americans living in the sixties were granted fewer rights than their white counterparts. Women living in earlier decades were granted fewer rights than their male counterparts.

Gay Americans are not being granted fewer rights than their straight counterparts—technically, a gay man does have the right to enter into a marriage with a woman. The push for same-sex marriage is a rally for additional rights. While this characterization of the movement strikes most gay rights activists as harsh, it is a useful distinction to be made when devising ways to advance the cause effectively. Yet gay rights advocates have not taken the appropriate cues from their defeats earlier this month, as reflected in their continued ignorance of their opponents’ thoughts and motives. They seem unable to face that democracy has spoken, and it has said “no” on same-sex marriage.

We always have to ask these sorts of people: Do you REALLY want us gay folks entering into opposite-sex marriages? Do you REALLY want us entering into a sham, loveless marriage with your son or daughter? And seriously, when you stop and utilize your brain to its fullest capacity: Do you REALLY think it's acceptable to tell a gay person that they're already equal since, instead of opening up the marriage system so that it accommodate their realities, they can just go ahead and mold their realities to fit the current system?! We know you say it, because it's one of your handful of agreed-upon talking points. But do you seriously buy that tripe?!!? And would you have dared say that to an interracial couple who was fighting against the system that once excluded their own actualities?

But this chunk, as thoroughly insulting as it is, isn't all. At the link you can find Lucy's full commentary, wherein she goes on to call gays impatient for going through the court system, supports the idea that voters were right to react negatively to the "activist judges," and claims that support for gay rights is "fluctuating." If you're like us, it might make you feel a little guilty for ever embracing the "news" that Giuliani's daughter was pro-Obama.

Misguided Activism [Harvard Crimson]

**Lucy certainly found a fan in the "yes on 8" crowd. Her piece is the current top story on their official website:

Picture 22-24

**ALSO: Here's Lucy talking to CNN about the Giuliani thing:

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper


Your thoughts

So is this the logic that Harvard is teaching these days?

"technically, a gay man does have the right to enter into a marriage with a woman."


And once same-sex couples are allowed to legally marry, heterosexual women such as Caldwell will have the same exact right to marry another woman that a lesbian will.

Posted by: fannie | Nov 19, 2008 2:40:58 PM

Fannie: It really does shock me that any student representing an Ivy League institution would use this logic. OF all of the anti-equality talking points, I would put this one in the deepest depths of the intellectual cellar.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 19, 2008 2:52:56 PM

I guess it would be equal rights if straight people could only marry people of the same sex.

Posted by: jon | Nov 19, 2008 3:06:48 PM

Telling a gay man he can marry any woman who will have him is like telling a man in a wheelchair he can take any staircase he can climb.

Sure, it's technically possible for me to marry a woman and have sexual relations, just as it is technically possible for a man in a wheelchair to use the railing to hoist himself up each step, or to leave the chair at the bottom and pull himself up each step on his hands and elbows --both notions are utterly degrading.

To piggyback on Jeremy's point about whether these folks really want us to marry their sons and daughters....How on earth does that help the sanctity of marriage? How does it keep it sacred, when it's merely out of convenience? Did she not bother seeing Brokeback Mountain, the main theme being when two people are not allowed to love each other -- they, and everyone around them suffers!

That's nice that democracy has spoken, but in case she forgot what country she's in -- This is America, and America is NOT a democracy. We are a Democratic Republic, a very different concept. Religious Rights, Voting Rights are all granted by the constitution, to ignore that document arbitrarily is to put these other rights in jeopardy.

Posted by: Jason D | Nov 19, 2008 3:06:56 PM

If she's this dumb, then I suspect she's a trust fund baby who's parents paid her way through Harvard.

Either way, her idiotic mindset is more widespread than you might think. When I came out, my dad actually asked me if I would ever get married. My mom and my brothers were speechless, not an easy thing to do in my family. Although at the time, we only had Massachusetts.

Of course, both my parents are still hoping I'll just be celibate for my whole life.

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Nov 19, 2008 3:08:05 PM

...And I would send her and all her ilk to the following report published by the American Psychological Association indicating that marriage bans do have a profound psychological effect on GLBT people and their families.

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/546583/

Posted by: Chris | Nov 19, 2008 3:08:44 PM

That's an extremely important point. It's not a mere 'technical' point, it's a fundamental, basic civil right for all people to marry someone of the other sex.

No one is forcing anyone to marry, but people should certainly have the right to, and no one should feel that they do not have the right to marry someone of the other sex, or that if they did, it would be a 'sham', or 'loveless'. That's a terrible thing to say to people.

Would I want a quote unquote "gay person" marrying my daughter if I had a daughter? Well, I doubt she would marry someone she didn't love and who didn't love her, and I would hope she wouldn't fall for a philanderer who lusted outside of the marriage for anyone. If your definition of "straight" is that he would have his affairs with women, that's not a good definition. And straight people can be lousy in bed too, you know, and gay people aren't incapable of being good in bed. I wouldn't want a gay person eroding my son-in-law's confidence and happiness and convincing him that it would be right for him to abandon my daughter, or a woman doing the same thing to her, just as i wouldn't want anyone breaking up their marriage.

Posted by: John Howard | Nov 19, 2008 3:18:36 PM

You can dress it up in all the four syllable words you want, but it's still bigotry.

Posted by: Matt Algren | Nov 19, 2008 3:33:34 PM

Oh, John Howard. Again with your silliness.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 19, 2008 3:48:27 PM

"Gay Americans are not being granted fewer rights than their straight counterparts—technically, a gay man does have the right to enter into a marriage with a woman."

When you have to qualify your defense of discrimination with the word "technically," then you really should know that there's something fishy with your loophole reasoning, you disingenuous conservative mouthpiece.

Posted by: zortnac | Nov 19, 2008 3:58:46 PM

Wait, Jeremy, what's silly? Now, there is an important point about rights being useless if people don't want them, but that doesn't make the right go away.

It's similar to when people tell me that people will still have the right to use their natural gametes after genetic engineering has begun to offer enhanced babies with fewer risks of disease. Yes, it's true they will still have the right (for a while, anyway) but what good is it if they have been coerced into eschewing it and choosing GE instead? But that doesn't make the right go away either.

In each case, it's vitally important to insist that there is a right to be straight, and there is a right to use your own genes to procreate, even if it's not someone's preference to do that. And in each case, it erodes the right and makes it useless to suggest that it is ever wrong for someone to exercise that right, because for them, they don't have it.

Posted by: John Howard | Nov 19, 2008 4:07:25 PM

General thought offered up for comment: having a right to do something means that it is allowed, first of all, it can't be prohibited by the state or restricted by people with the power to do so, but also (here's my thought) that it is the right thing to do, it is perfectly fine and dandy and right. Consider - that's why gays are offended when people say that gay sex is wrong, it's not enough to be allowed to do it, having a right means that it is not wrong, damn it! When someone says something is wrong, they are saying there is no right. Profound? Obvious?

Back in context, it is not wrong for a man to marry a woman or a woman to marry a man, for anyone (unless of course they're related, under-age, already married, or, doing it for non-bona-fide reasons, like to gain citizenship or get the person's money, or please one's family, without loving that person).

Posted by: John Howard | Nov 19, 2008 6:18:10 PM

when i referred to non-bona-fide reasons for marriage above, in addition to "not loving that person", i should have added "and without consenting to have any children you might have with that person, and that person's genes, and not someone else's. That makes a marriage bona fide, not trying to procreate, or wanting to, or being able to, just consenting to do it together, if at all.

Posted by: John Howard | Nov 19, 2008 10:52:15 PM

Hmmm... I wonder why blacks and asians and whites etc... couldn't understand that simple, straightforward, logical reasoning back in the 60s and before. After all, technically blacks could marry and whites could marry and asians could marry... everyone had equal right to marry... those ingrates...claiming "special" rights to be able to marry across racial boundaries.

Posted by: Marsha | Nov 20, 2008 12:23:15 AM

What I find funny is this line here: "The push for same-sex marriage is a rally for additional rights."

Was the push for inter-racial marriages not a rally for additional rights? They had the right to marry others within their own race. I think it is funny that she cites the issues African Americans faced back in the day without realizing that the parallels are closer than she thinks.

I think the most enjoyable thing though, is the fact that people like Lucy always resort to such fallacious arguments. I wonder, if these people participated in a real, moderated debate, how quickly the majority of their arguments would be thrown out of the discussion for hinging on such blatantly obvious fallacies?

Here's a tip for you Lucy. This line here? "They seem unable to face that democracy has spoken, and it has said “no” on same-sex marriage." Argumentem ad populem; just because the majority think it is right, does not make it so. Back in the day, the majority thought that slavery was acceptable, but that did not make it so.

Posted by: Tyler Zilkie | Nov 20, 2008 3:54:08 AM

Tyler, the push for interracial marriage didn't require allowing genetic engineering, which is the additional right that same-sex marriage requires. It did declare that there was a right to marry someone regardless of race, but it didn't really "create" that right, it was already there, but prevented by racist policies. There is no right to procreate using genetic engineering that is "already there" being prevented by bigots. Keeping procreation natural and stopping radical experiments in human genetic design is entirely a supportable basis to prohibit same-sex procreation.

Posted by: John Howard | Nov 20, 2008 1:25:11 PM

Time to take a magic school bus journey back to the talking points of 1952:

Technically, colored people have the same rights as white people! I mean, a colored person can't drink out of a white water fountain any more than a white person can drink out of a colored water fountain! GIGGIDY GIGGIDY!

Posted by: chris | Nov 20, 2008 1:51:02 PM

John, as has been stated by hundreds before me, and will be stated by hundreds more in the future, marriage is not about procreation. If it was, the state would have to forcibly divorce tens of thousands of childless couples. Your genetic engineering argument makes no sense. If a same-sex couple wants to raise a child they can simply adopt. God knows there are plent of children who need the homes.

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Nov 20, 2008 2:29:25 PM

Rainbow: I would encourage you to look at John's website (linked to his screen name) before engaging him too much. I think you'll see that you're unlikely to convince him of much.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 20, 2008 2:40:34 PM

Is that your way of admitting i'm right, Jeremy :)

Rainbow, I'm raising a new issue, that we need to prohibit attempts at same-sex conception and preserve procreation as one man one woman, literally, the genes of a man and the genes of a woman. Preserving it means we have to limit procreation to a man and a woman using their unmodified genes.

Marriages are not required to procreate, but it is required that if the couple were to procreate, it would be ethical. Thus we don't allow siblings to marry, even though they can procreate. It's about the right to try, not the ability. Same-sex procreation would be unethical and should not be allowed,.

Posted by: John Howard | Nov 20, 2008 3:35:38 PM

"Tyler, the push for interracial marriage didn't require allowing genetic engineering, which is the additional right that same-sex marriage requires."

What does this have to do with what I said? Red Herring much? Since when is procreation a requirement of marriage?

"It did declare that there was a right to marry someone regardless of race, but it didn't really "create" that right, it was already there, but prevented by racist policies."

The definition still required changing, at least, the removal of the ban on interracial marriages.

"There is no right to procreate using genetic engineering that is "already there" being prevented by bigots. Keeping procreation natural and stopping radical experiments in human genetic design is entirely a supportable basis to prohibit same-sex procreation."

This has nothing to do with the same-sex marriage debate. Take your Red Herring fallacy and go home. Your words are meaningless in this discussion if you think you, like Lucy, can't avoid the use of such fallacious arguments.

"Is that your way of admitting i'm right, Jeremy :)"

No, this is someone admitting that arguing with someone such as you is a waste of time. You cannot argue with someone who relies solely on fallacies to support their point, who will change the topic at the drop of a hat (Red Herring). People call others who exhibit that behavior a "forum troll", and the best way to defeat one is to ignore it.

"Marriages are not required to procreate, but it is required that if the couple were to procreate, it would be ethical."

The ability to procreate is not a requirement to make marriage ethical. Should we say those who are unable to procreate (say, a man who cannot produce sperm marries a woman) are unethical?

Posted by: Tyler Zilkie | Nov 20, 2008 4:25:46 PM

Wow... I think she must have been talking about poor Elizabeth Taylor... she's married a lot of homosexuals.

To heck with procreation - what about recreation!? As if every heterosexual couple goes into the bedroom thinking, "Man, I hope it results in a baby this time or it wasn't worth it." The procreation argument is completely flawed. Very few people get married for the sole purpose of having children and there is no marriage requirement to have children...

Posted by: jaysays | Nov 20, 2008 5:27:53 PM

Jaysays, I agree with you. Same-sex couples do not need or even want conception rights. Leave that to couples that are a man and a woman. It doesn't change anything about anything else, it just prohibits non male-female conception. Why insist on the equal conception rights of a married man and woman when a) they aren't wanted or needed, and b) they hold up getting equal protections in all other aspects?

Posted by: John Howard | Nov 20, 2008 8:26:13 PM

btw, that was funny about Elizabeth Taylor, and a good point about her argument.

Posted by: John Howard | Nov 20, 2008 8:27:36 PM

What does this have to do with what I said?

Absolutely nothing. Which is the same that what you said had to do with what I said.

Red Herring much?

I wouldn't call it a red herring, because it is at the very center of the question of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. It is something entirely new that hasn't been part of the debate before, though, so it does stand out like a red herring. But it isn't one.

Since when is procreation a requirement of marriage?

It never has been and it never should be. But it always has been and should always be a right of marriage. By "right" I mean, it has never been prohibited. It should never be prohibited of any marriage, but it should be prohibited of all same-sex couples.

Posted by: | Nov 20, 2008 8:40:49 PM

No, this is someone admitting that arguing with someone such as you is a waste of time.

Don't think of it as arguing with "someone such as me", but think of it as exploring the specific issue that I introduced here: same-sex procreation and whether it should be allowed or not.

You cannot argue with someone who relies solely on fallacies to support their point, who will change the topic at the drop of a hat (Red Herring).

Well, there are no fallacies, and I never change the topic, I am always talking about the conception rights of marriage and how same-sex couples should not be allowed to attempt to conceive together, with their own genes. You either have to argue that same-sex conception should not be prohibited, or you have to argue that marriage should not protect the couple's right to attempt to use their own genes to create children, or, your best option, you have to agree with me that equal protections are more important than equal conception rights.

People call others who exhibit that behavior a "forum troll", and the best way to defeat one is to ignore it.

No doubt, but do you really want to defeat me? I'm offering the best idea to get equal protections to same-sex couples across the country, right away, and really protecting same-sex couples and gay people from exploitation by labs that want to use them as guinea pigs, to say nothing of how much it would benefit the whole world if we eschewed genetic engineering of people and kept everyone created equal.

The ability to procreate is not a requirement to make marriage ethical. Should we say those who are unable to procreate (say, a man who cannot produce sperm marries a woman) are unethical?

Try again: the requirement for marriage is that procreation, if it were to occur, would be ethical. We don't let siblings marry because their procreation would not be ethical (and not just because of birth defects). We don't examine any private medical information like genes or diseases to do make that determination, we just look at the public information (relatedness, adulthood, marital status).

Posted by: John Howard | Nov 21, 2008 3:29:10 PM

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