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Daly dose of B.S.

by Jeremy Hooper

Jim-DalyIn a new column on Newsweek/Washington Post's "On Faith" blog, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly admits something that we actually found shocking. He says:

"Focus on the Family realizes that couples can be married in church all day long, but if they don't stop at the County Courthouse, they ain't married, no matter how beautiful the church ceremony was."

Which, as regular G-A-Y readers well know, is an argument that we make all the time. The church component, no matter how oft utilized, is an option. It's an ancillary. In terms of civil marriage, which is the form for which gay activists are fighting, the religious element is an elective.

So in actuality, Daly's argument should stop right there. Logically, he would admit that his fellow church members will still have every right to oppose gay couples in the "eyes of God," even if the government grants full marriage equality. Rationally, he'd admit that his own personal views about what constitutes a legal marriage cannot be used in this church-state-separated society to deny others (be they gay, non-believer, or member of a faith with which Mr. daly does not agree) of their civil freedoms. Reasonably, he'd take this opportunity to concede the civil debate and instead focus all of his faith-based "protect marriages" on the various denominations and sects who wants to keep "sacred."

But this is Focus on the Family we're talking about, so Mr. Daly instead goes on to cite two flawed examples. First, he cites 1965's Griswold v. Connecticut, making it sound as if that ruling spoke fully to the "sacred":

The U.S. Supreme Court uses that very term without the slightest concern for constitutionality. Describing marriage in its groundbreaking 1965 Griswold decision, the Court describes civil marriage as "a coming together for better or for worse...and intimate to the degree of being sacred" and recognized the "sacred precincts of marital bedrooms.

This constitutes some major -- MAJOR! -- dancing on Daly's part, as Griswold v. Connecticut, a case dealing with the right to use contraceptives, is actually a ruling that is DRIPPING with right to privacy precedent! When the ruling speaks to the "the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms," it does so in the form of the question: "Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives?" And that question is then immediatedly answered with the line, "The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship," showing that the referenced "sacred" element speaks far more to privacy than it does to faith! If anything, this case helps our side, not his. And in fact, Griswold is one that the conservatives have historically used to support "judicial activism" claims!

Daly then goes on to cite Loving V. Virginia, the landmark case that brought down anti-miscegenation laws. He says:

This man and woman had every right to marry because, as this Court stated in its summary, marriage is "fundamental to our very existence and survival." You see, a black woman and white man can contribute quite nicely to "our very existence and survival" by bringing forth the next generation of humanity which is what our civil Court said marriage is about.

But as we already pointed out to the Family Research Council when they used the EXACT SAME CHERRY-PICKED SNIPPET: While this line of reasoning is a convenient thing for the "every 'I do' must be followed up by a baby" crowd to say, it is factually inaccurate. For Loving v. Virginia's mention of the "basic civil rights of man" and the "fundamental" nature of marriage in no way speaks to the non-required marital element known as reproduction. Loving speaks directly to the right of free people to pursue happiness. ALL people. To pursue their own marital freedom. Period:

The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

Loving v. Virgnia [FindLaw]

The fact of the matter is that Jim Daly is spinning these cases, because there is simply no other way that he can justify his outright admittance that civil marriage and religious ceremony are two different things! Why? Because he obviously knows what's right, but just doesn't want to stop this needless "culture war" nonsense. So he and his team cherry pick, spin, use the flawed reproduction argument, and say/do basically anything that will allow them to dupe at least some of the public.

Well we are not duped. And we will not rest until Jim Daly and the movement that he leads respects our right to have a civil marriage just as fully as we respect their church's right to not perform our ceremonies/baptist our kids/eulogize our cold gay bodies!!

Daly's full piece: A Sacred Institution Government Must Protect [Newsweek/WaPo]

**SEE ALSO: Dan Gonzales takes on other misrepresentations: Focus President Jim Daly Misrepresents Anthropology [Box Turtle Bulletin]

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Your thoughts

JH, the WaPo's ideological bent is probably skewed far too much to the radical right, but you should offer up your opine of Daly's diatribe and see if their "journalistic integrity" is sufficiently sound to actually publish it.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jul 29, 2009 2:08:29 PM

God I hate the bigots who try to pretend they oppose gay marriage because of reproduction. its such an obvious load, ignoring that the US has never in its history required couples to have children to be married theirs the simple fact that not one single person making that argument against gays will EVER try to stop sterile straights and ones who dont want kids.

Posted by: penguinsaur | Jul 29, 2009 2:32:48 PM

Let's not forget Daly's claim blatantly contradicts the American Anthropological Association which called out Focus when they made the same sort of claim last year.


Posted by: Dan Gonzales | Jul 29, 2009 3:07:25 PM

I love when the far-right wingnuts insist that "sacred" is ALWAYS a synonym for "religious". Just because the SCOTUS said marriage was "sacred" does in NO way require that they believed it should be tied to a religious ceremony or any other religious doctrine/belief/ideology. According to dictionary.com, one of the many meanings of sacred is:

"secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right" (meaning number 7)

That pretty much describes my marriage to my husband, or at least it should. No one should be able to violate or infringe on my right to marry and I DO have a sense of right to be married to him. End of story.

Posted by: Ken | Jul 29, 2009 6:06:37 PM

To me, sacred means SACRED, not religious, because I am NOT religious, but they prolly dislike my very existence for that too.

The two are not synonyms, folks!

Posted by: Clicky the Fox | Jul 29, 2009 10:06:30 PM

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