Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm Disgusted

Hello, Space Monkees.

New Jersey is and for some time now has been run by a group of horribly corrupt incompetent thieves and criminals.  That's the bare truth right there.  From the governor down to the local mayor offices, the entire system is a rotting husk of self-serving politicians, trying to steal as much as they can before the center falls apart.  I'm honestly afraid for the future of my state.  The democratic political machine that runs this state seems to more and more seem to be an organized crime syndicate than representatives of the people.  Last year's revelation that major government officials were involved in a black market organ-stealing scheme came as no surprise to any resident of this state that I've talked to.  Its gotten so bad here that such scandals are not cause for horror or outrage - they're just business as usual.  We expect our public servants to steal our body parts; we laugh at it.

So it should really come as no surprise that this state is also run by cowards.

And cowardly is the word for the actions of the state legislators this week.  Back in 2006, the NJ Supreme Court rules in the case of Lewis v. Harris that the NJ state constitution could not tolerate discrimination laws against same-sex couples.  (That's my topic here, same-sex couples.)  Following that decision the state legislature signed into law that same-sex couples could be joined in civil unions, just as long as those were not called "marriages".  So now if you're homosexual in the state of New Jersey, you cannot give out wedding rings, you must give "civil union rings".  You can't buy a wedding dress, its a "civil union dress".  You can't go to the church (assuming your denomination accepts same-sex marriages) and get married, instead you can only go for a "ceremony recognizing the beginning of a civil union".  Its ridiculous hypocrisy, and obviously needs to be amended.  However, with the defeat of - the admittedly incompetent - democratic governor Corzine by the conservative Christie, any bill that is passed by the legislature beyond the short lame duck period would be immediately vetoed.  This is why such a bill would need to be passed now.  Today.  Without a second to be spared.  Instead it has been bogged down thanks to the inherent lack of moral fiber of New Jersey's representatives, who clearly care more about preserving face by not joining a seemingly failing cause than do about preserving the equal rights of their constituents.

The really sad part is, New Jersey is one of the better states in this union on the issue of same-sex marriage.  This sad sideshow of a political process comes from a state that is on the enlightened spectrum on this issue.  As for the rest of our country, five states have legalized it and the District of Columbia is about to legalize it, Maine is in the same situation NJ is in, California formally did but that was defeated by a 2008 popular referendum to change their state constitution, New York recognizes same-sex marriages but does not perform them, some recognize a few rights, and the rest outright ban same-sex marriage either through law or by direct amendment to their state constitution.  Plus, at a federal level, thanks to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, all same-sex marriages are not recognized.  This is a disgraceful record, and all Americans should be ashamed.

I honestly cannot understand any sort of logical argument against same-sex marriage.  In all disputes, I try to follow Atticus Finch's sage wisdom of "seeing both sides" but here I simply cannot wrap my head around the opposition's logic.  Instead, all I see is an emotion:  fear.  Fear that the "gays" will get to marry and have families just like us.  And even worse, such fears point further down into naked horrible intolerance of another group of human beings.  Yes, there are many religious argument against same-sex marriage, but religion should never be any sort of justification for political policy.  That right there is against every single political tradition we have in this country.  George Washington may have been horrified by watching two men kiss, but I like to think he would be more horrified by watching legislators using the bible to decide things instead of the Constitution.

The most important question that can be asked about civil rights question is this:  "does giving rights to one group harm the rights of another?"  Here it doesn't, it just doesn't.  How does Ben marrying Steve affect Gwen marrying Cleve?  I've heard arguments that same-sex marriage somehow weakens the institution, the logic behind it alludes me.  There have been claims that children of same-sex couples somehow suffer psychological effects, since the natural family is that of a man and woman raising children.  This is has been more of less refuted by dozens of scientific studies; naming them all is an entire essay in of itself.  Some arguments exist purely in the realm of right-wing evangelical fiction:  the government will force your church to marry homosexuals, your son will be forced to marry Obama, your daughter will be stolen from you and given to some militant lesbians who will teach her to hate men by not submitting to their every sexual will.  Its the same sort of insane panic you hear on FOX News when they react with outrage that the 9/11 terrorists will be tried with due process.  Once people start shouting such arguments - worse believing them - all hope of rational discussion is lost.

Doesn't anybody see the dangers inherent in restricting marriage for one group?  For all the arguments about how same-sex marriage somehow destroys the institution, nobody seems to have realized that they are weakening it far more by giving the government the power to tell people who they or cannot marry.  What sort of standard are we setting here?  Worse yet, it gives the government the power to single out certain groups for discrimination.  For all the ludicrous right-wing fantasies about the liberal government taking over, they seem to have not seen this one.

You know what the saddest part of all this is?  President Obama, the most hated man in the entire country in the eyes of the right-wing evangelical movement, also stands against same-sex marriage.  I cannot go ahead and try to interpret what the man thinks in his heart of hearts, but from this you can only read one of two possibilities:  1) Obama is one of the fearful discriminatory masses who have not thought this through logically, or 2) he simply lacks the personal conviction to stand for what is right, instead choosing to sacrifice this issue in his grand realpolitik scheme.  What a shame.  What a regrettable, regrettable shame.

If any of you against same-sex marriage are out there and have some kind of logical argument to give, I'd love to hear it.  I want to just be a close-minded liberal fool who is too blinded to see the other side's argument, because if what I've outlined here is the case, then this country is in for some very dire consequences.  Tell me what I don't see.  I want to learn.

But if I am right, NJ legislator, you all should do the proper thing:  resign.  This affair has shown that you are too selfish and cowardly to ever hope to be a proper protector of your constituents' rights.  Worse yet, you cannot simply do what is right and moral.  How you reached such a place in your lives would make for an excellent morality play, but it does not make for good government.

I'm disgusted.

Correction:  I fear I may have made it seem like the vote was dead; like so many legislative measures, it had been killed in committee.  However, this is not the case.  The NJ Senate will in fact vote on this issue tomorrow, January 7th.  So you senators don't need to resign just yet, vote with your hearts.  And if you vote against the measure out of fear to follow your convictions, then resign on Friday.  I can understand opposing a bill because you feel it would harm the people of your state; that is noble (you're still wrong, but your intentions are good).  I cannot forgive spinelessness.


  1. Wow. Wow! Seriously... AWESOME explanation. It's kind of weird hearing it from you but then again I'm not suprised. I agree with you 100%, it really is stupid. Try putting this in the newspaper or something; I really think it's that good. You get a cookie and a free poke. *pokes*

  2. In my opinion, most of the people so ridiculously against gay marriage probably have some repressed homosexual issues themselves. No-one can be logical about sex.

  3. Anonymous (whoever that was) has a great point. Wasn't it a NJ senator that revealed he was in a homosexual affair?

    But to my point. Blue, many conservatives believe that letting same-sex marriages exist will lead to a slippery slope, and eventually people are going to marry animals.

    Seriously, that's what some Rupublicans believe.

    I very much agree with you, Mr. Highwind. The witch hunt against gay people will only get worse with each passing Fox and Friends episode. Outside of the Daily Show and Colbert Report, no news group has the....., well, balls, to stand up against FOX.

    But, too my point, I agree, Blue. Keep up with the awesomeness.

  4. People marrying animals... What? That makes no... What are they on? Seriously, anyone that would want to marry an animal is either in, or will be in, a mental institution. Besides, doesn't marriage require the consent of both parties? I believe a person would be hard-pressed to get, let's say, a duck to say "I do". At any rate, like Blue said: How does this harm others?
    I'd weep for humanity, but there aren't enough tears.

  5. This reminds me of a debate that occurred on the FF wiki. I fully support gay marriage, but allow me to quote from the other side:

    "Actually, Milly, you can consider marraige as either the purview of a state or a religion. If you don't believe in a religion, then that pretty much leaves the state, and the state will tell you exactly who you can and cannot marry; not more than one person of the opposite sex, not someone of the same sex, not your cousin, etc. Just remember, right now in the US, you're more likely to have a marraige ceremony in a church than you are to get any legal status out of it. Its all legislating morality and it is essentially what all laws attempt to do on some level."


    "Well the legal definition of marraige has legal implications in filing taxes, inheritance, (implied) power-of-attourney, property and tort, even what an insurance company charges. If you want to say you're married to another person of the same sex, I don't think there's any way to stop you. I mean you could say you're married to a tree for all I care. It sounds like a spiritual thing, but for things corporeal, you'll have governments. I have found (for many years) the gay marraige debate to be bogus, because gay people will tell me its wrong for me to marry my sister and that the law shouldn't allow it* or that I can't marry more than one woman, which is actually far more natural. Its all just selfish belly-aching rather than an actual problem. If you want to argue a new definition of marraige based on amoral principles, you should not exclude incestuous relationships. Plus I really doubt if you get down to it, that you're going to throw away anti-trust laws because all they try to do is legislate corperate morality or abolish labor laws or hate crimes.
    - I don't actually have a sister."

    I doubt you care much for anything TA says, but we need at least the semblance of a Devil's Advocate. ;)

  6. America fascinates me in how it manages to be the most developed and powerful country in the world, and yet such a huge amount of it's citizens believe in religion whole heartedly without daring to question it's authority putting it's reason above all else.

    I know it seems a bit off topic but in reality isn't that where the initial distaste for homosexual marriage comes from? The bible says so, therefore you can't refute an ancient text. It's never mentioned in the Bible that same sex marriage was allowed, and if you look deep enough you can find a quote telling you it's wrong. People belief that it's God's will that only men and women marry. After that it is essentially interpretations building up on one another with people arguing against it because they believe it is morally wrong. Then they argue for various other reasons that it will undermine society and what not.

    It perplexes me greatly that a country that demands 'liberty and justice for all' has the biggest history for discrimination against it's own people and it still continues even today.

    I believe that a marriage is between two people who are in love and want to show this in the eyes of the law. The law should serve the people's interests and it's such a shame that the interests of the morality weilding majority outweigh the minority who just wish to live happy existences.

  7. TacticAngel's point about bigamy and incest are difficult ones to unravel, but ultimately one must break into it, since its actually the best argument I've yet heard. I care what all people think, especially if their arguments are more or less sound. Of course, one of the implications of his argument is that same-sex marriage is in of itself not wrong, but that those two are. Its the "slippery slope" argument - if this is done, then that horrible thing will have to be done. He seems to be forgetting that this is also a civil rights issue, not simply morality. I wonder if bigamous couples and incestuous siblings would even count as their own group (they don't seem to be as well organized as homosexuals). I could be lazy and say "that's something our future generations will have to solve" (and it will be), but I need to define it myself in my own moral code.

    Bigamy on its own I cannot find any moral objection to. Of course, one of the major problems is that it inevitably leads to one person being the "leader", and the others being "followers". Equal partnerships are easy, equal societies are next to impossible. But if several people want to try, I will not try to stop them. Beyond that, the legal implications of such a union are extremely complex - the entire marriage would have to be rewritten. Which spouse gets the power of attorney? How are possessions divided after death? Bigamy leads to so many legal hurdles that it belongs in its own category beyond same-sex marriage. Legally, I think bigamy is impossible because of how our system is put together.

    Legally you cannot marry an inanimate object like a tree because it cannot hold property, it not a citizen of this country, and more logically, is incapable of caring about a human being. A person might want to believe that, but legally its a meaningless union. So that's out right there. Morally, power to you, brother. Enjoy your tree-wife if you think it loves you. Just don't expect too many children.

    Incest is a more difficult subject. If two siblings truly loved each other, morally I could not hope to step between them. (I'm ignoring parent-child incest because that union would almost certainly point to child abuse, either at the moment of marriage or in the past - which is indeed morally reprehensible.) As for siblings, as horrible as the notion of TacticAngel marrying his non-existent sister is, I must admit I only feel that way because of societal norms. 100 years ago I would have been disgusted by two men kissing. But then, as with now, I could not see anything morally wrong with either homosexual relations or incestuous ones. I really do hate to agree with insane SciFi author Robert A. Heinlein on anything, but in the end I have no choice in this matter. So ultimately I must conclude that the government has no place being there either. Same with cousin marriage, which actually is legal in many states. Out is grandparent incest for the same reason as parent ones; same with aunt and uncle marriage.

    So yeah, that's my answer to that right there. Enjoy your sister, TacticAngel.

  8. Referring to what Anonymous said about the Bible being a major factor, I both agree and disagree. The bible has been revised countless times by people who feel like it in the past 2000 years. Most of it was recollected from the people who first heard it, yet naturally people as they write it down tend to weld their own opinions and such in it. It's sad that one of the world's greatest pieces of religous writing contains so much bias in it that it's hard to know if one should unquestioningly believe it or not.

    On the topic of Same-Sex Marriage, I'm waiting to see what the NJ senators will say, then, though, honestly, I doubt that they will either allow Same-Sex Marriage or resign on Friday. Still, one can hope. NJ is for the most part pretty left and liberal, so if it really came to it, I wouldn't be suprised with either outcome. If they decide to not pass a bill in favor of marriage, than they just may as well not be liberal at all. Sticking to the Bible, which is all well and good, is incorperating even more religious "un-freedom" in political government, which is... conservative to the extreme!

  9. wee187, as you said, the bible was written 2000 years ago by people with a completely different view on society to our own modern one, that's why it confuses me that it still dictates how people view the world when it is from a completely different one.

  10. Well, it's really final now, for now, anyway. I just found that the NJ senators have rejected the bill, so now same-sex marriages are for the moment not permitted in New Jersey. Fear has its hold, but they're not resigning tomorrow.

  11. Anonymous's point is one that is actually scares me a bit. his idea seems to be that purely because the Bible is old, its advise and its message are without merit. Essentially he's ignoring the common human experience which can be found in every form of literature - especially ones that have lasted for 3000 years. Not to mention that anybody who could so easily dismiss the entire message of Jesus Christ which boils down to "be a good person, give to those less fortunate, love your neighbor", is somebody who I would be more than a little afraid of. Or maybe he's just misinformed. Other misinformed people seem to view the Bible only as a list of "Bad Things We Should Not Do", without looking deeper into the internal message.

    Anyway, the Bible never says anything about same-sex marriage. You have to kill homosexuals, but you can still marry them.

  12. No, Blue, the point of disregarding the bible because of it's age is mainly based on the fact that times have changed, and many old testament morals have no relevance to modern times (Not eating shellfish, wearing clothes of more than one cloth being a sin) and etcetera. Things like preventing gay marriage seemed imperative at the time when it was written, both out of fear, and the fact that these tribal societies had to keep their population stable. (Not a practical concern, but it would have seemed like one to them). Also, although some biblical morals may be valid to an individual self regulation, they would be oppressive if written into law. Most forget the difference between personal morals and political practicality. For example, I think MTV culture damages society and makes people stupid. I would never make a law to ban it, however.
    Also, some bozo higher on the comments says law is to legislate morality. I suppose his computer fell into a time warp and his comments are being posted by Emperor Charles V in fucking 1530. Anyone with half a brain could tell you that since the Enlightenment, laws in western societies were intended mostly towards preserving societal freedom (didn't always work that way, though)

    Also, I'm too lazy to make a profile, so I'll sign my anonymous comments "XYZ"
    I posted the one up there about repressed homosexual issues, too

  13. Also, a different anonymous than the one who posted about the bible's messages being irrelevant due to it's age.

  14. Oh, one thing I forgot. Tactic Angel said that anti-trust laws are to legislate corporate morality. No they're not, they're to stop members of the upper class from creating another Gilded age and causing harm to the lower class. It also has the practical concern of keeping the lower class happy with a more comfy life so they don't get angry enough to overthrow the government, and if the corporations get too rich, they threaten the government's sovereignty.
    Apparently Tactic Angel isn't living in the sixteenth century, but is a cowboy capitalist in 1898.

  15. There is a practical argument against incest. Mutations and birth defects.
    And you're also likely to be lynched, at least here where I come from.

    Banning single sex marriage is just...stupid. I mean...why? There's no point, If two people love each other then go ahead. In the immortal words of Eric Cartman "Why the fuck not!? It doesn't hurt anybody!"

  16. To look at it from a economical standpoint, *every* marriage puts a strain on the economy. One way of limiting that stress is to censor the marriages.

  17. Apparently, in the comparatively rare cases where an incestuous union doesn't cause any significant genetic defects in the children, the kids' life expectancy is actually higher than average.