Thursday, August 5, 2010

10 "Points of Light"

From Politics Daily, citing part of the 130+ page decision which overturned California's Proposition 8 as unconstitutional:

1. "Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation."

2. "California has no interest in asking gays and lesbians to change their sexual orientation or in reducing the number of gays and lesbians in California."

3. "Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions. Like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples have happy, satisfying relationships and form deep emotional bonds and strong commitments to their partners."

4. "Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."

5. "The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships."

6. "Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages."

7. "Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society."

8. "Proposition 8 increases costs and decreases wealth for same sex couples because of increased tax burdens, decreased availability of health insurance and higher transactions costs to secure rights and obligations typically associated with marriage."

9. "Proposition 8 singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment. Proposition 8 perpetuates the stereotype that gays and lesbians are incapable of forming long-term loving relationships and that gays and lesbians are not good parents."

10. "The gender of a child's parent is not a factor in a child's adjustment. The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent. Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted."

While the theological question of LGBT marriage and ordination remains a deeply contentious one, and I am able to understand many of the various views that people hold even where I disagree with them, the civil case for LGBT marriage seems overwhelming.  The only real arguments against it seem to be theological arguments with the serial numbers filed off - or they're just vague threats with a background of storm clouds.  While these might have some power among portions of society, I don't see how they can hold up in the harsh light of a courtroom.


Aric Clark said...

You got to this before me. Having read the full decision it is just full of quality stuff like this. Line after line, Judge Walker completely demolishes the case against LGBT marriage.

The facts are so overwhelming that it is very hard to see where another court will be able to overturn this. Appellate courts are restricted to deciding whether the legal rational of the decision is flawed, they are forced to accept the "findings of fact" that the lower court laid out. With the facts before them the rational is pretty obvious, and Judge Walker was so thorough that he set it up so the case against LGBT marriage doesn't withstand even "basic scrutiny" though in dealing with categorization of peoples as "suspect groups" the courts are supposed to use the standards of "strict scrutiny". Meaning Walker just hit this one way out of the park.

We're likely to get plenty of backlash. Lots of advertisements and whiny commentary about "activist judges" (though this one was appointed by Reagan and is a registered Republican). There will probably be attempts in the legislature to draft new laws to get around this decision, but I think conservatives are going to despair of making headway in the courts.

Doug Hagler said...

Got your Gagnon argument link - have you ever sent him your Not A Sin series? Maybe he doesn't know his arguments can be thoroughly torn apart.

Jodie said...

The only question left is why the Church (well, not all of it) is willing to proactively spend money to deny gays and lesbians equal civil rights in a secular society?

It's an upside down world where a right wing secular judge knows more about the art of being fair than followers of Christ.

Doug Hagler said...

I think that, for opponents of equal rights for LGBT people, the church (or mosque, etc.) is their only recourse, because the secular argument against it just isn't there. It doesn't have nearly enough rational, scientific, or evidential support. So you have to fall back on a particular theology and a particular interpretation of a few selected Bible passages to have any ground to stand on. Since there are still opponents of LGBT equality for various reasons, (a certain segment of) the church is where they end up and where their support comes from.

On purely religious grounds, avoiding the devastating secular arguments in support of LGBT equality, I can understand an argument being made against it. I don't agree that the argument is persuasive, but it can be made, I think, in good faith and on some rational grounding. It just depends on a hermeneutic that no one applies to all parts of scripture and which I do not myself choose to apply to any part of scripture - the hermeneutic of literalism and of accepting every word of the bible as exactly the word that God consciously intended.

If anyone applied that hermeneutic to all questions, not just this particular one, Christianity would be an entirely different religion. Among other things, it would be incoherent as such.

But at least we would have to love our enemies and render to no one evil for evil. But it's a lot harder to take that seriously than to focus on ancient purity laws or Paul's hangups.

Jodie said...

"the hermeneutic of literalism and of accepting every word of the bible as exactly the word that God consciously intended."

And the argument for that hermeneutic is by subjective decree. I know the bible is exactly the word that God consciously intended because???...

I feel it? It says so? Somebody told me and I believe them?

No. If that is the argument then there is no argument at all. It's just prejudice and bigotry being projected onto the Scriptures, and to the extent that we have the ability to do so, we should never be silent and allow it to proceed.

It is evil and it is wrong.