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Legal War For WA State Sunshine Law 1364

Posted by kdawson
from the public-acts-public-records dept.
joeszilagyi writes "In a major battle in Washington State, anti-gay rights groups created and got R-71 on the 2009 election ballot. This is a public initiative to put same-sex civil unions up for public vote. The real legal war then erupted: activists created WhoSigned.org to take advantage of WA state's Public Records Act, and put the names of all people who publicly endorsed R-71 on a public, SEO-optimized website. Lawsuits quickly followed, and today it reached the United States Supreme Court, in a matter of months. The records appear to have always been public, but have only been available in digital form since 2006. An assault on civil rights, an assault on marriage, or an assault on sunshine laws and freedom of information?"
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Legal War For WA State Sunshine Law

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  • by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:15AM (#29806141) Journal

    is passed in every legislative session.

  • by piotru (124109) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:17AM (#29806159) Homepage Journal

    Since you asked.

  • So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:20AM (#29806171)
    Did anyone really expect their participation to be secret? It's a public vote; they should be tracked for verification. Anyone who signed should have understood that as well-informed adults. Anyone who didn't has no excuse for being upset over this. If they didn't want people to know they support gay rights they shouldn't have signed it.
  • by ZekoMal (1404259) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:21AM (#29806177)
    I saw an article on Yahoo! the other day about an interracial couple being denied their wedding license for being interracial. In the article, it stated that the constitution says that we can marry "whoever we want".

    Shame that's not true. Oh well...as they say, it's the old people that are opposing gay marriage the most. We just have to wait a few years, then we can re-send gay marriage laws all over the country and finally get this biblical fear knocked out. I mean really, what year is it?

  • Wait a minute here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:24AM (#29806195) Homepage

    put the names of all people who publicly endorsed R-71 on a public, SEO-optimized website.

    So you're telling me that you can sue someone for publicly telling everyone (via a website) something you publicly told everyone?

    Look, mate, when you sign a petition, what you're doing is saying to anyone who cares to listen in the world that you endorse the views of the petition. If you aren't willing to attach your name to what the petition says, don't sign it.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:26AM (#29806209) Homepage Journal

    that their signature remained secret, however no one should have to put up with an organized intimidation process which is the new method of choice. Seeing the pubic exercise their opinion has so offended certain elements out there. As such these same elements intend to use intimidation while expertly avoiding stepping over the line or just not getting caught to get any big names on their to back down or pay up.

    In other words, the names should be protected based on what we know these elements will do with them. We cannot have the democratic process circumvented by threats and intimidation. I am all for treating these signatures like votes, off the public record. keep them private. If only to stop the new tactics.

    This is similar to why Unions want Card Check, to intimidate their way into power. Freedom of expression is freedom from fear

  • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:28AM (#29806233) Homepage Journal

    Maybe they got the impression that voting was anonymous from the fact that it usually is in elections. Secret ballots are necessary for democracy to function free from intimidation - these people took part in a non-secret ballot, and now they are being intimidated, Q.E.D.

  • by sanosuke001 (640243) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:29AM (#29806237)
    Honestly, I don't have a problem with churches not allowing same-sex marriages. However, the state should have no such rule. It's ridiculous. There is no direct or indirect effect on the state by allowing same-sex couples to marry. I don't see how they could ever win in a court of law.

    It just shows you how biased judges are. If they were unbiased, the same sex marriage ban wouldn't last 5 minutes.
  • by Roachgod (589171) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:30AM (#29806257)
    While I wish there wasn't this intimidation process... I don't think a person's rights and privileges are up for "vote". I don't want other people deciding how I can and cannot live my life - CERTAINLY when it doesn't involve them. Voting on who OTHER PEOPLE can and can't marry bothers me on a deep level, far away from whether it is 'gay' rights or 'racial' rights or... I don't know.... 'alien' rights. I am all for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Voting on other people's marriages seems an offense against all three. Against such a threat... I think anything is justified. Kudos to the intimidators for not just shooting them all.
  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:35AM (#29806303)
    "These elements?" Fuck your shit. Those elements are people who are trying to win their own freedom of expression from a giant lobby who want to keep it from them for no reason other than that they can. The first amendment protects your speech from the government. Your speech should not be protected from the consequences of other citizens hearing it. The businessman expresses himself, and his customers express themselves by taking their money elsewhere.
  • by sanosuke001 (640243) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:35AM (#29806309)
    Why should we make an exception for this? We already have laws to stop assault, abuse, and slander. Why do we need to make this exception to try and stop those things from happening? If someone has a problem because of this, file a complaint with the police.

    Hiding public records is how people stack votes; doing that now just because people MIGHT be annoyed with an email or a phone call goes against everything this nation is supposed to stand for. Like I said, if someone has a problem because of this, go to the police. If not, deal with it. They signed a public document, they have no right to ask for it to be protected from scrutiny.
  • by Ritchie70 (860516) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:35AM (#29806313) Journal

    An assault on civil rights, an assault on marriage, or an assault on sunshine laws and freedom of information?

    It's all about gay marriage. Neither group involved cares about any of the rest of that stuff.

    Personally, I don't get it; so long as you don't make me marry a person of the same gender against my will, why do I care what you do? Don't pretend there aren't same-sex families already; according to one of the links, 18% of same-sex couples in Washington state are raising a child under 18.

    I do have a tiny little bit of sympathy for the signers of the petition; I don't think people really understand the legal details behind the signing of a petition, and many of them many have assumed that it was as anonymous and protected as voting.

    One shouldn't take a stand that involves limiting someone else's rights but only be willing to do it anonymously. That's just chicken shit.

    And if you just shrugged and signed because your neighbor, coworker or fellow church goer asked you too without actually believing it, that's chicken shit too.

  • by ZekoMal (1404259) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:36AM (#29806315)
    People who hate on gays don't want to be seen as horrible people; they're nice to gays in front of them but try to get them shut down. You know, like that psycho ex-girlfriend who meets up with your current girlfriend and convinces her you're a terrible person even though she hates the girlfriend's guts.
  • by quantumplacet (1195335) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:37AM (#29806321)

    except they didn't go into a voting both and pull a lever or press a button. when you walk into a closed voting booth, there's a presumption of anonymity. when you sign a petition a street corner, there is not.

  • Re:So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:39AM (#29806337)
    However, for a public office vote, they have ways to verify people's identity (for the most part). With a petition, they have nothing. Their names have to be public record in case some group or organization wants to verify people actually signed it instead of someone making up a list of names. Unintended consequences, maybe; it doesn't negate the need for public access.
  • Re:So? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:41AM (#29806353)

    I don't think the names should be released, although I do support gay marrage. The reason is the same as the reasoning behind secret ballots when voting for candidate; you're denying people the right to persue referenedums because what whatever notion is popular of the day

    This wasn't a ballot, this was a petition to put a question up for vote.

    If you sign a petition, your power comes from your public declaration of supporting that cause. If you want to be anonymous, do it at the voting booth. A petition with 10,000 anonymous signatures is toilet paper.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:47AM (#29806401) Journal

    The are not being intimidated. If having your name put on website that lists your participation in a public action counts as intimidation then virtually anything does. I also find the argument people not understanding the difference between a circulating petition and a balloted election a bit of stretch.

    Secret ballot elections make sense, because we want people to be able to vote their conscience free from social pressure. I don't think though anonymity should be an expectation when you are participating in a public debate, and a petition is a form of participation.

  • by Speare (84249) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:47AM (#29806403) Homepage Journal

    Signing a petition does not mean that you agree with the views of the petitioner, it just means that you agree that the issue should be brought to a wider vote to decide the matter. I've known plenty of people who would sign pretty much any referendum or initiative in the states that have that process. In their view, it just airs more discussion and opportunities for democracy.

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:48AM (#29806409)

    that their signature remained secret, however no one should have to put up with an organized intimidation process which is the new method of choice. Seeing the pubic exercise their opinion has so offended certain elements out there. As such these same elements intend to use intimidation while expertly avoiding stepping over the line or just not getting caught to get any big names on their to back down or pay up.

    In other words, the names should be protected based on what we know these elements will do with them. We cannot have the democratic process circumvented by threats and intimidation. I am all for treating these signatures like votes, off the public record. keep them private. If only to stop the new tactics.

    This is similar to why Unions want Card Check, to intimidate their way into power. Freedom of expression is freedom from fear

    If it really were a measure of public opinion they would not be so fast to cry foul and scream "intimidation".

    For one, there are laws against anything substantive (vandalism, assault, etc), and for another, if the majority of the public really DOES agree with them there should be no risk of ostracism.

    Of course, they obviously know this is NOT the case, and their efforts to conceal their signatures are no different than the white hoods the KKK used to wear.

    The reality is this referendum doesn't do anything except exploit the "squeaky wheel" phenomenon to oppress gay people. The (silent) majority of the public could care less, so they won't consider it important enough to show up at the polls, allowing the "vocal (and bigoted) minority" to disenfranchise them.

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ritchie70 (860516) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:48AM (#29806419) Journal

    If people are shamed by having signed the petition then they shouldn't have signed it. The people who are shamed aren't listening to their little voice.

    If they are not ashamed to have signed it then what's the problem?

    I don't know about you, the only petition I've signed as an adult was for a local politician to get on the ballot. Go ahead, put my name on the front page of the newspaper - all I did was agree that this nice guy on my front porch should get his name on the ballot if he wants. I guess it implies I support him, but really, I don't even know what he thinks, just that he seems OK enough to be on the ballot.

    All these people did, when you get down to it, was agree that the question of gay marriage should be on the ballot. Same thing.

    There's the implication that you're in favor of the measure passing, of course - but you shouldn't put your name on a piece of paper if you don't understand what could happen with that list of names.

    I have no sympathy for any of the signers.

  • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:53AM (#29806457)

    However, the state should have no such rule.

    Cannot have such a rule. The anti-gay(-marriage) people will be quick to tell you the Constitution does not forbid discrimination based on sexual preference. Indeed, you won't find the words "sexual preference" or "sexuality" anywhere in the document. But pretending that you can in any way separate sexual preference from gender, against which discrimination is expressly forbidden by the Fourteenth Amendment, is nothing more than parlor-trick hand-waiving by a homophobic community intent on forcing Biblical morality on an entire nation.

    If two people each have the right to marry, they have the right to marry each other. No, that does not somehow open the door to marriages with goats like some people (including, sadly, some in this very discussion) would like you to believe. Does this somehow create a strain on government programs that pay you for being married? Good. Get rid of them. It's ridiculous to incentivize marriage, for straight or gay people.

    I'm sorry if this doesn't fit with some peoples' narrow-minded world view, but I'm tired of gay bashing being the last acceptable form of discrimination in the US. End rant.

    (And sorry to the grandparent; most of this rant was not intended for you, merely used as a jumping-off point.)

  • by friday_drag.net (905390) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:53AM (#29806459)
    No when you sign a petition you saying that you think the issue is worthy of voting on, not that you agree or disagree - only that you want the matter settled by the voters.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:53AM (#29806463) Homepage Journal

    I do have a tiny little bit of sympathy for the signers of the petition; I don't think people really understand the legal details behind the signing of a petition, and many of them many have assumed that it was as anonymous and protected as voting.

    I have none. Don't put your name on something whose ramifications you don't understand. I now ask for a copy of the privacy policy before putting my information on ANYTHING. If I don't get a good result, then I make something up (except as prohibited by law, i.e. filling out a government form.) I don't care if I'm at a video store or what.

    One shouldn't take a stand that involves limiting someone else's rights but only be willing to do it anonymously. That's just chicken shit.

    Doing it anonymously is not taking a stand.

    And if you just shrugged and signed because your neighbor, coworker or fellow church goer asked you too without actually believing it, that's chicken shit too.

    Amen to that.

  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:55AM (#29806487)

    People who hate on gays don't want to be seen as horrible people

    Careful, there's a baby in that bathwater.

    People who are opposed to same-sex marriage don't necessarily "hate on gays." They're just... opposed to same-sex marriage. In fact, it's this broad-stroke-painted stereotype of everyone who opposes gay marriage as no-necked, knuckle-dragging, fag-bashing, Republican-voting, Judy-Garland-hating neanderthals that the peeps who voted for this in Washington state are trying to avoid getting tarred with. Their opposition has done a real good job of perpetuating that stereotype, and it's no more valid than the one of gays as all being lisping, limp-wristed nancy boys.

    You want to know the biggest block of demographic opposition to gay marriage? Blacks and Latinos, particularly Mexican immigrants. And you wonder why Obama has back-burnered GLBT issues now that he's been elected...

  • by Xeth (614132) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:59AM (#29806525) Journal

    Marriage is, by definition, not a private institution, but a public one. Being married doesn't affect what you do inside your own home (to be taken as an idiom for things that don't affect others), it affects how society interacts with you. I therefore think it is disingenuous to claim that it is not a social issue, outside the purview of societal interest.

    That's not to say that it should be regulated, in this case or any other, but I merely wish to indicate that the question is not itself injurious, as you seem to say.

  • Streisand effect (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:00AM (#29806545)

    So... my only real religious belief is in the Streisand effect, so someone please provide a torrent and a wikileaks link to the list of names.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org]

    Note, that some people on the list did not sign the petition, if you know what I mean. Someone could have sat down with the parish directory, or my kids elementary school family book, or my employers phone directory, or my ham radio club mailing list, etc, and "helpfully" signed me up, to "save me the time of signing myself up". I think that is the real reason they are fighting the publicity, heck, I'd file suit if I learned someone put my name on that list of ignorant hillbillys, as that would obviously defame my reputation...

  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:02AM (#29806561) Journal

    The are not being intimidated. If having your name put on website that lists your participation in a public action counts as intimidation then virtually anything does.

    So what was the point of the web site then? Would you hold the same position if an evangelical Christian organization published a web site containing the names of people who signed a pro-gay marriage petition, or would that somehow be different?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:07AM (#29806607)

    Shaming someone for their opinion != intimidating them. Shame has always been an integral control mechanism in society, see the methods used by the churches backing putting gay marriage up for a vote, eg. "Brothers and sisters, here at teh altar this morning is a petition against gay marriage. If you care about God and marriage you'll come up here to sign it after the service." The whole point of signing a petition is and always has been to let the rest of the world know you agree with the view expressed in it. We're not talking the Slashdot survey here, this is a legal document that requires signature verification. Addititionally, if fear of shame (intimidation is an adsurdly strong word) is enough to prevent you from expressing a political opinion, maybe you should reassess your position, or grow a spine.

  • by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:10AM (#29806639)

    In a democracy there are two ways to participate in politics. One is to exercise your right to vote in secret. The other is to publicly organize. A petition is not a vote, it's a public statement that "I support initiative X." As a public statement the speaker assumes the risks associated with speaking out in public - such as the possibility that your friends and neighbors will find out your opinions. Intimidation and harassment are illegal and these laws should be enforced, but petitions are public for a reason and should stay public regardless of whether or not some bad actors will do bad things. Participating publicly in politics is risky, which is why you're under no obligation to do so. If signature gathering efforts for ballot initiatives or to get a candidate on a ballot become private they risk becoming about as important as internet petitions and polls. When you sign a petition, you're literally putting your name on the line - which is what gives them the impact that they have - if it's anonymous and cannot be publicly verified no one will believe you when you say we have Y signatures. What's more these are most certainly not new tactics - the declaration of independence was essentially a petition, and the signatories certainly faced consequences for attaching their names to the document. Do you suppose that the declaration would be held in such high esteem had it been signed by BenLightning and SamTEHdrunk?

  • by jipn4 (1367823) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:10AM (#29806649)

    that their signature remained secret, however no one should have to put up with an organized intimidation process which is the new method of choice

    There is nothing "new" about it: so-called "Christians" and "conservatives"--probably many of the same kind of people who have signed this petition--have been using organized intimidation of minorities for two centuries. And they haven't stopped at intimidation: they have killed, injured, and discriminated.

    Seeing the pubic exercise their opinion has so offended certain elements out there. As such these same elements intend to use intimidation while expertly avoiding stepping over the line or just not getting caught to get any big names on their to back down or pay up.

    That is outrageous. For decades, gay rights activists have put their lives on the line to fight for safety, security, acceptance, and civil rights. Many have been murdered, more beaten up merely for speaking out, and many have lost their jobs. They have been vilified and persecuted. But finally, they have been making some headway.

    Now a minority of bigots wants turn back the clock and they don't even have the decency and honesty to stand up and identify themselves when putting a referendum on the ballot?

    This is similar to why Unions want Card Check, to intimidate their way into power. Freedom of expression is freedom from fear

    This has nothing to do with "freedom of expression". These people can spew their bigotry in complete anonymity if they like; our laws and our Constitution guarantee that.

    But once they want to put a referendum before the voters, they do not have a right to do so anonymously. The public has a right to know where these kinds of referenda come from.

    The people putting this referendum on the ballot are not "the public", they are a bigoted minority. And their attempts to shield their names is like the robes of the Ku Klux Klan. Any legal issues aside, it is despicable, and it is despicable that you would defend them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:14AM (#29806697)

    And the difference is..?

    Nothing.

    If you don't think same-sex marriage should happen, then heterosexual marriage shouldn't happen either. Divorces should never be allowed and split marriages should have all their children wards of the state. All unmarried pregnancies must be terminated.

    And so on.

    Either that or there's something you have against gay men and women.

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:14AM (#29806699) Homepage Journal

    Statements such as these:

    "Against such a threat... I think anything is justified."

    Public condemnation and exposure is a tactic used by most groups, and particularly favored by those who support Washington Senate bill SB5688, which would institute civil unions in Washington state between persons without restriction on gender.

    Somehow, when it comes to 'outing', it doesn't feel very good after all.

    I personally believe the law permitting access to the signatures should stand. It was a petition, not a ballot. And you should at least have the courage to proclaim your convictions.

    And presenting referenda proposed virtually in secret will lead to more than just increased fraud and abuse of the system. It will virtually invalidate the process.

    One more reason I don't sign those well-meaning but misguided petitions that infest balloting places here in Arizona, and didn't when I lived in Maine, where the initiative is the favorite tool of the intense and driven minority that is convinced they are not merely right, but chosen as the singular instrument of justice on Earth. Such pleas are designed to take full advantage of our misinformation culture. A pox on them. Let them eat the same cake they baked.

  • by pregister (443318) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:17AM (#29806719)

    Except this wasn't a vote. Thanks for playing, though.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:20AM (#29806761)

    Of course, if you are a liberal who believes there is no personal responsibility

    How about if you're a normal liberal who does believe in personal responsibility, believes that the scientists are right and that not only are there gay human beings but that many other species have an analog, that this is a result of genetic makeup and prenatal environment, and that gay people can no more help being attracted to the same sex than I, for instance, am attracted to the opposite one? How about if you're a Liberal who believes you right wingers are a collection of mindless buffoons endlessly repeating what your shock radio cheerleaders tell you, and that it's us Liberals who are responsible for almost all human progress, while your lot, from Southern Baptists to the Taliban, want to drag us back screaming and kicking into the Dark Ages?

    Well, then we might think you're just another racist/homophobe spouting a load of offensive bullshit. And your point is?

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:22AM (#29806781)

    People who are opposed to same-sex marriage don't necessarily "hate on gays." They're just... opposed to same-sex marriage.

    Oh really? Name one intellectually honest reason for someone to oppose same-sex marriage that isn't rooted in hate. I've read lots and lots of the PR by the anti crowd and its either obviously hate-based, or completely dishonest (citing the bible with the hypocrisy of picking and choosing which passages are OK to ignore).

  • by LMacG (118321) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:22AM (#29806785) Journal

    So when did you choose to be a heterosexual?

    Further, why do you think somebody would choose to be gay? Just to enjoy the intolerance of a bunch of religious wackos, be unable to marry the person they love, be able to be fired from their job just because of their homosexuality, be beaten to within an inch of one's life (Google 'Jack Price Queens NY')?

    Yeah, it's a choice.

    Moron.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:23AM (#29806795)

    What a load of utter bullshit. I'm sorry but rarely have I ever heard such a fountain of total nonsense spew forth, here or elsewhere on the internet (with the possible exception of /b/).

    For laws that are even less specific, would you prefer to have the ability (or let others have the ability) to marry animals or inanimate objects?

    False equivalence. One is a conscious, sentient adult, the other is an animal. Or an inanimate object. You're an idiot.

    agree there is nothing wrong with interracial couples under the premise a person has no control over their race

    So if skin colour was a choice you'd be happy to discriminate? Gotcha. You're a hateful, dumb, bigot.

    I'm also someone who believes a person *does* have control over their sexual preferences

    Totally irrelevant. If it's a choice it's their choice, not yours, and doesn't affect you in any way.

    and therefore should not get special treatment if they choose a preference that goes against societal standards.

    Nobody's asking for special treatment, they're asking for equal treatment, and you're clutching at straws to try and deny it.

    Of course, if you are a liberal who believes there is no personal responsibility and by extension you have no control over your sexual preferences then you believes that you are being treated unfairly in the eyes of the law when you are told you cannot marry someone of the same sex.

    Where to begin?

    Liberal used as an invective (sure sign of an underdeveloped brain), non-sequiturs galore and yet more crap.

    Why is sexual preference linked to responsibility? What is irresponsible about homosexuality? And I'm not inviting you to spew more stereotypical nonsense about promiscuity here, what is irresponsible about the fact of homosexuality itself?

    Basically, you're wrong and pretty dumb. Or a troll, I'm not sure which.

  • Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jDeepbeep (913892) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:24AM (#29806827)

    Gay rights activists go too far. It's one thing to demand a right to do what seams right to you, its another thing to lash out against those who express any kind of disapproval. .

    Let's take away your ability to marry, and then see if you might be so inclined to lash out in any way. Perhaps when your loved one is dying in the hospital, and you are not allowed to go see her. Would you sit quietly by? I doubt it.

  • by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:27AM (#29806875)

    The guiding principles of western democracies are Liberté, égalité, and fraternité.

    You'll find no single source, because it's been in constant evolution, but starting with the magna carta and working through the great philosophers of the enlightenment (especially Voltaire) there's been an unmistakable movement from despotism (even the benevolent variety) to open public society and personal freedom. It's hard to argue that either the suppression of government petitions or the continued persecution of gays is in line with the rights and privileges of the western moral system.

    Incidentally, that's why a "strict constructionist" judicial philosophy is really at odds with western values - we don't have sacred texts, we value constantly and continuing expanding personal freedoms.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jDeepbeep (913892) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:34AM (#29806965)

    I can't marry my dog, what's your point?

    Same sex marriage is not comparable to marrying your dog. Please troll in a less obvious manner.

  • Re:So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:35AM (#29806983) Homepage Journal

    If they are not ashamed to have signed it then what's the problem?

    Maybe they're afraid that signing may now have left them open to reprisals and other unpleasant repercussions? Maybe they're afraid enough not to sign such a thing again?

    Mission Accomplished.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CensorshipDonkey (1108755) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:37AM (#29807011)
    A dog is not a consenting adult. What difference does it make which consenting adult you marry?
  • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:41AM (#29807075)
    While I wouldn't endorse the behavior of the more extreme activists, at the same time I have a hard time getting upset about it either after all the gay people who have been assaulted and murdered over the years for who they are. If anything the current social climate has enabled the pendulum to swing. Two wrongs may not make a right, but I'm not crying any tears over here.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:42AM (#29807093) Homepage Journal

    If you tell people their signatures are confidential, that makes it harder for newspapers to double-check for fraud.

    If you tell people their signatures are public, it can create a chilling effect, especially for those whose friends, employers, or supervisors are opposed to the issue on the petition.

    Yes, signing a petition may mean "I think this should be voted on, even if I disagree with it" but your friends, employer, or supervisor may read it as "I agree with the issue" and no amount of explaining will say otherwise.

    Also, if signatures are made public and easily searched, NOT signing a petition may also get you into trouble with friends, employers, or supervisors. Imagine a work environment where NOT signing petitions that relate to certain issues gets you shunned by your peers, with the result that your boss, not knowing what is really going on, thinks you are not a team player and sidelines you and your career stalls.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andymadigan (792996) <amadigan.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:45AM (#29807123)
    It's more than that. In NYS there are over 1000 rights (1400 or something?) that are reserved for married couples. The total cost of getting each of them that you can without a marriage is in the thousands of dollars, and it takes *a lot* of time to get done. There are others for which the only legal avenue is marriage. Many private institutions such as employers only recognize marriage for certain benefits, and hide behind the "well you're not really married" defense to cover their bigotry.

    This is in NYS, which has NYC and Rochester, plus Toronto not far away. I can only imagine what it's like in Washington.
  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mixmatch (957776) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:45AM (#29807133) Homepage
    I always wondered why marriage has anything to do with the government anyway.
  • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:46AM (#29807139)

    People who are opposed to same-sex marriage don't necessarily "hate on gays." They're just... opposed to same-sex marriage. In fact, it's this broad-stroke-painted stereotype of everyone who opposes gay marriage as no-necked, knuckle-dragging, fag-bashing, Republican-voting, Judy-Garland-hating neanderthals that the peeps who voted for this in Washington state are trying to avoid getting tarred with. Their opposition has done a real good job of perpetuating that stereotype, and it's no more valid than the one of gays as all being lisping, limp-wristed nancy boys.

    This is a good point, and an important distinction. However, we do need to be clear about the fact that these people (anti-gay marriage advocates) are looking to have legislation passed to limit the rights of a whole sector of society, and they need to be taken to task for it. That is like saying that Strom Thurmond didn't "hate on blacks" He was just... in support of segregation. Like I said, your point is well taken, and the distinction certainly needs to be taken into account, but there comes a point where we need to draw a line in the sand as to what we will and will not consider to be acceptable behavior in a free society.

  • by NiteShaed (315799) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:47AM (#29807153)

    BTW for those of you who say that it is discrimination, gays are allowed to marry. They just aren't (in most states) allowed to marry someone of the same sex, but then neither are straights.

    And following that logic inter-racial marriage wasn't discrimination either. Blacks weren't allowed to marry outside their race, but then nether were whites.

  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:47AM (#29807157)

    So, because some OTHER people, in the past, have wrongly beaten up and attacked (or, worse, killed) some Gays, then it is OK, to do the same to OTHER completely innocent people who had nothing to do with, nor condone the violence perpetrated against some gays?

    Wow. How humane of you. I assume you also believe in punishing children for the evils of their parents?

  • by schon (31600) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:47AM (#29807159)

    They want marriage specifically for the legal protections that straight people already have: so they can force employers to provide health insurance, get estate rights when their partners die, tax breaks, etc.

    There, fixed that for you.

    Is there something so horrible about people wanting equal treatment under the law?

  • by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:47AM (#29807163)

    this is not an unintended consequence.

    Petitions have always been public, and sunshine laws let the public see public records.

    The only unintended consequence is that some activists are unhappy that they're being associated with the movement they support.

  • by amplt1337 (707922) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:48AM (#29807169) Journal

    You want to know the biggest block of demographic opposition to gay marriage? Blacks and Latinos

    Right. Those groups have particularly negative views of homosexuality and gay people. This significantly weakens your earlier point about opposition to same-sex marriage not necessarily being opposition to gay people...

    That said, there is no justification for opposition to same-sex civil marriage that doesn't (a) reduce to homophobia or (b) apply equally strongly to anti-miscegenation laws (which are much more widely recognized as undue limitations on freedom). That's where the stereotype comes from. Maybe people who want laws to take away the rights of others would like to think of themselves as perfectly reasonable, nice, principled people; but sadly, that refuge isn't available to you once you're taking away other people's rights, whatever your self-justification.

  • by pleappleappleap (1182301) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:50AM (#29807203) Homepage

    We're not talking about politicians here, we're talking about private citizens, so yes, it's obvious you didn't RTFA.

  • by tophermeyer (1573841) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:50AM (#29807211)

    For decades, gay rights activists have put their lives on the line to fight for safety, security, acceptance, and civil rights. Many have been murdered, more beaten up merely for speaking out, and many have lost their jobs. They have been vilified and persecuted. But finally, they have been making some headway.

    Now a minority of bigots wants turn back the clock and they don't even have the decency and honesty to stand up and identify themselves when putting a referendum on the ballot?

    Perhaps that is because the people that signed this petition witnessed the persecution of those gay rights activists, and simply want to ensure that they will not be similarly persecuted.

    The public has a right to know where these kinds of referenda come from.

    Perhaps you should review the concept of rights. People most certainly have basic human rights (including the right to marry), and the right to be made aware of and have the opportunity to vote on legislation. People do not have the right the be provided a list of people that oppose their opinions. That is silly and dangerous.

    their attempts to shield their names is like the robes of the Ku Klux Klan.

    No its not. Wishing anonymity in signing a petition for a referendum to be put to a Public Vote is nothing at all like the atrocities committed by the KKK. Comparing the two is an insult to anyone victimized by the Klan.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:53AM (#29807245) Homepage

    Sorry, but voting for what you believe in doesn't sound like oppression to me.

    Actually, it is, if it involves voting for a measure that oppresses others.

    Or do you think voting for segregation doesn't qualify as oppression?

    All that said, I happen to agree with you: using intimidation is the wrong thing to do. It's a shame the homosexual community (or, at least, the subset of said community that's involved in this) hasn't learned anything from the words of Martin Luther King.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:57AM (#29807313)

    The problem is that government sponsored marriage has always been an uncomfortable and troubled fit. It essentially started as secular governments stepped in and usurped a power that had traditionally been controlled by the church (or, after the Reformation, churches). This sounded great to a lot of secular leaders (who had long resented having to concede any power to the church), but it also opened up a legal can of worms. Suddenly the state had to make laws around a traditionally religious institution; establish a whole legal system to deal with divorce, custody issues, etc.; and decide a lot of thorny issues where legality and morality collided (like this issue).

    Personally, I think the government should get out of the "marriage" business altogether. If two of more parties want to sign some sort of cohabitation contract, they should be allowed to do so (and it should be treated like any other contract), but beyond that the government shouldn't be in a position of sanctioning something that should remain in the religious/moral domain. Custody hearings would still be necessary, and divorce hearings would too (but they would be treated merely as breach of contract cases). But it would remove the thorny issues of Uncle Sam having to decide moral questions like "What constitutes a marriage, anyway?" Leave those issues to religious institutions, where they belong.

  • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:57AM (#29807321)

    Marriage is between a man and woman.... anything else can NEVER be called marriage... Period...

    Why can't we call it marriage? I do and 48% of Californians agree with me. Ask us again in 2010 and it will be 49%. Ask us in 2012 and it will be 50.1%. Inevitably, Gay Marriage will be recognized as a right and our grandchildren will be shaking their heads that this was really ever a debate.

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:00AM (#29807341)

    If someone asks me to sign, in person, a real live petition, then at least one person saw me sign it. I'm not doing it in a private location, therefore I would have no expectation of privacy. Signing in a private location in front of someone removes the expectation of privacy. Signing something expecting that it will influence politics should remove the expectation of privacy.

    In this case, the process is to submit names and they are collected and verified by the Secretary of State. Unless these people are supremely ignorant, or are ashamed about what they have done, there is no reason for them to even think for a moment they qualify for privacy about this. Anyone can go look them up already, especially those with bad intentions.

    In other words, this changes nothing for the people who signed. This is not a ballot, not signed in a voting machine. If the people who gathered these signatures misled the signators, THAT is the real problem.

  • by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:03AM (#29807371)

    I do not condone intimidation. However, if you're afraid of the consequences of your political views, you should keep them to yourself.

    There's nothing tragic about the El Coyote story. A woman made her living off of catering to the gay crowd, then publicly supported a movement that succeed in stripping a civil right from her clients. Shockingly, he clientele decided to boycott.

    Finally, the involvement of churches in this political arena is of questionable legality and homophobia has always been immoral.

  • by njfuzzy (734116) <ian@ian-[ ]om ['x.c' in gap]> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:04AM (#29807389) Homepage
    The problem with Referenda on sensitive social issues is that the Consitution is specifically designed to protect minorities against discrimination by majority rule. Just because there are more people who believe something doesn't make it right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:05AM (#29807403)

    No, his argument consists primarily of well-reasoned logic.

    There's just a lot of name-calling, too, because there's no point in being nice to assholes like the previous poster.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob Kaper (5960) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:05AM (#29807407) Homepage

    From my point of view, the state/government should get out of the "marriage" business all together. It should be a religious state. Just have civil contracts to define "partners" rights.

    Agreed.

    However, governments insist on calling those contracts "civil marriage". And because of that wrong label same-sex couples cannot enter into such a contract together.

    (Personally I don't care whether they fix the criteria or the label.)

  • by Fortunato_NC (736786) <`moc.nsm' `ta' `57hnilrev'> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:06AM (#29807421) Homepage Journal

    Freedom of speech means that you have the right to express your beliefs secure in the knowledge that the government will not persecute you for your opinions.

    It does not mean that you will be protected from being ostracized by the rest of society, however. Decisions have consequences, and if you decide that your beliefs require you to endorse state-sanctioned bigotry, then when that endorsement is made public, AS IT SHOULD BE, then you are going to have to face the consequences of your decision. If that means you lose business, or that your workplace becomes less welcoming, or that your picture shows up on a website, then maybe you should consider keeping your bigoted opinions to yourself.

    No matter what your pastor says, gay rights ARE civil rights. Period.

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:06AM (#29807431)

    One could have the view that:

    Marriage is a societal contract. This contract evolved so that offspring would be provided for by the 'father' and to contain the spread of venereal disease. Marriage creates a construct that will allow for public shaming for extra-marital affairs as well as legal consequences. As such, marriage is basically pregnancy insurance.

    The other function of marriage is to allow for easier property transitions after a death of someone in the "family". A boilerplate legal document of sorts that existed before everyone had access to lawyers. Spouse gets X, descendants get Y, state gets Z.

    The concept of romantic (or any other love) is actually foreign to marriage and should not be considered as part of it.

    So to sum up: just because you "love" (or lust after) someone does not mean that you should be married to them. In fact, with modern contraceptive measures, marriage shouldn't be as necessary. Unfortunately religious and romantic ideals have become intertwined with a legal concept.

    Now, for legal benefits that come with a marriage license, those options should be available through other means for people to establish a legal equivalent to a spouse or household.

    Personally, I don't care who marries what, though I do wonder why same sex couples are trying so hard to be as miserable as hetero couples. Work for the legal benefits, avoid the societal drawbacks.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:06AM (#29807437)

    Marriage used to be between a white man and white woman, or black man and black woman.
    Now you can intermarry...
    The definition has changed before, it can change again.
    They didn't need to come up for a new term when blacks and whites married.

    Definitions change all the time. Whoever makes the marriage is between a man and woman argument is ignorant.
    They are basically saying, it is because it is.

    You say marriage is between a man and woman.... I say voting is for white men who own land, thats the definition.

    You're an idiot and biggot.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:08AM (#29807457) Homepage

    You want to know the biggest block of demographic opposition to gay marriage? Blacks and Latinos

    So, what... blacks and latinos can't hate gays? Interesting, given both communities are known for being deeply intolerant toward homosexuals (which is sadly ironic):

    Latinos do not differ from Whites and are more tolerant thati Blacks on the morality dimension of attitudes toward homosexuality but are less tolerant than either of the other groups on the dimension measuring approval of civil liberties for homosexuals.

    Citation [sagepub.com]:

    In fact, even after homosexuals emerged, like Blacks a generation earlier, as an offi-
    cial "minority" (Barron 1975), research has shown that African Americans possess
    disproportionately negative attitudes toward homosexuals (Lorde 1978; Staples 1981).

    Citation [umich.edu]:

    So all you've illustrated is that those who hate gays aren't "no-necked, knuckle-dragging, fag-bashing, Republican-voting, Judy-Garland-hating neanderthals"... rather, they're "no-necked, knuckle-dragging, fag-bashing, Republican-voting, Judy-Garland-hating neanderthals", and/or black/latino. They, nevertheless, still hate gays, and their opposition to same-sex marriage is simply a symptom of that fact.

  • Re:So? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:10AM (#29807493)

    I'm all for gay marriage. Well, more exactly, I could care less whether my gay friends are married or "living in sin." They seem to care. So, I would vote to legalize it.

    That said, I would sign a petition for a ballot measure in a heartbeat. Then, it would go for a vote and the people decide. Not the courts. Not the legislature. The people.

    Some people LIKE it when they can vote directly on laws. They may even find this principle more important than any particular law.

    Some one will ask why I post as anonymous coward. It's because I'm too lazy to get an account.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jhon (241832) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:20AM (#29807637) Homepage Journal

    1) You've little understanding what rights are. Particularly the difference between Legal and Natural rights.
    2) You engage in name calling and threats of violence against those with whom you disagree.
    3) Demonstrate little understanding of logical fallacies.

    Let's see... You attempt to:

    o brow beat me
    o talk down to me
    o imply I'm illogical
    o imply I'm stupid
    o threaten anybody who further disagrees with you

    Do you want to discuss the topic, or attack the person?

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:22AM (#29807663) Homepage

    (I'm pro-gay marriage, btw, but this goes for the opposing view as well)

    If I sign my name to a petition, and someone publishes just my name, I have no problem with it. There's actually a benefit to me in some ways: if a news organization starts looking for people with my views and picks someone to talk to at random, then I get a chance to make the best case I can for my position to a public audience.

    Is there a slight risk? Of course. But if I wanted to assume absolutely no risk of retaliation for my political opinions, I'd post as an Anonymous Coward to an Internet forum after going through Tor or some other anonymizer.

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:26AM (#29807727) Journal

    With respect, the vote isn't about how people choose to live their lives, but whether their partnerships get the full legal respect of the law. And that is something that, by definition, must be decided through law. While there are people who would discriminate against a gay couple for living together (and that's wrong), the debate here is about inheritance rights, spousal rights, and legal recognition of union.

    As it stands, for example, inheritance law states that spouses don't need to go through Probate to get their inheritance, because anything owned within the marriage is common property. This is a right unique to marriage, but it's a legal right and in order to determine when it applies you need to have a legal statute defining what constitutes an applicable partnership. Some states have a "common law marriage" that in essence forces hetero couples to be considered "married" if they've lived together for a period of time.

    We have a body of laws that legally define who is eligible for marriage, what it takes to be considered "married," how marriages are dissolved, and what rights and responsibilities are part that institution. If we change the eligibility for marriage, then the relevant laws to do so would need to be changed.

    And it's important to avoid the slippery slope of "anything is justified", because it will. These are tricky issues, because (and this is oversimplifying the issue) it pits newly-enabled rights for one group against core religious beliefs of another, and once emotion and self-righteousness enter the debate, it'll end in tears or blood.

    If you feel you need to resort to intimidation to accomplish your goals, and this goes for both sides of the debate, then you should really look at whether your goals are worth pursuing. Intimidation begets violence.

    For the record, I agree with your overall view on gay marriage - I fully support gays getting the full legal rights currently available to heteros. I signed the petition here in Maine that got the ball rolling, and I will be at the ballot box on November 4 to vote against the recall initiative of the gay marriage law here in Maine.

    However, I must disagree with anyone who has the slightest inkling that debate on this issue needs to resort to intimidation, lies, or violence to get there. The end DOES NOT justify the means. Look up "Pyrrhic Victory" sometime. You might get a law passed, but you'll also show the people on the other side that you had to resort to unpleasant measures to get it, which means they'll be motivated next year to overturn the measure with even more unpleasant means of their own.

    If the law stands, it needs to stand because a majority of people looked at the issue and decided with a clear conscience that it was the right thing to do. If the law falls, it must fall because a majority decided with a clear conscience that it was the wrong thing to do. Not because a bunch of them on either side were intimidated with threats of violence into voting against their conscience.

    If the law is voted down, then that means the people are not ready yet, and another petition will start up to test the waters again, and it'll pass eventually. I think anyone with eyes can see how the tide is flowing. It just takes time, diligence, respect, and patience. All of which are hard.

    If intimidation is a valid answer, you need to look at the question again.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:28AM (#29807757) Journal

    >>>some activists are unhappy that they're being associated with the movement they support.

    Wow.

    Terrible.

    The horror.

    /end sarcasm. If you support a cause then you ought not be ashamed about it. Hand me that petition; I'll sign it. I don't care if you marry another man, woman, or a whole bunch of women (harem), and I don't care if you find my name on it. It's a free country and you should be free to marry whoever you want to marry. That's what freedom means. ----- Now as for the extra benefits of marriage - those are the things that should be eliminated. A guy and girl who are just living together shouldn't feel pressured to get "married" just to reduce their taxes. Even when married they should still pay the same tax as when they were two singles. I believe in equality - all individuals treated identically.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:29AM (#29807777)

    Name one intellectually honest reason for someone to oppose same-sex marriage that isn't rooted in hate.

    Someone who is against state involvement in people's relationships might well oppose all marriage.

    Then opposing gay marriage without making the same, or even greater level of effort to oppose straight marriage (since it's already established and will require significantly more work to overturn) is intellectually dishonest.

    How is that not obvious?

  • by PHPNerd (1039992) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:29AM (#29807787) Homepage

    False equivalence. One is a conscious, sentient adult, the other is an animal. Or an inanimate object. You're an idiot.

    So if skin colour was a choice you'd be happy to discriminate? Gotcha. You're a hateful, dumb, bigot.

    Basically, you're wrong and pretty dumb. Or a troll, I'm not sure which.

    This is what I hate about slashdot nowadays. "You don't agree with me? I'll demean you and make you look stupid, rather than providing an adult conversation." I don't care if the person you're replying to *sounded* stupid. You sound just as stupid when you treat others the way you do. Your point of view looks just as ridiculous when you lower yourself to the level of an insulting jerk. Grow up.

    I'm *so tired* of people who proclaim freedom for all and are against hate and discrimination, but are okay with slandering and maligning those who do not agree with them. It's like saying "No more hate! But if you don't agree with me it's okay for me to discriminate against you, because you're stupid." What do you call that? I call it more of the same hate just turned around, and it has to stop from *both* sides before we can move on in this country. Good grief.

  • by IICV (652597) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:31AM (#29807825)

    So what? Homosexuals are people, not saints. A law was passed with the only purpose of taking away one of their rights. Some of them got pissed off and did shitty things. Yet, I don't really blame them; after all, we haven't seen discrimination of this caliber since Plessy v. Ferguson - except in this case the marriages are separate but unequal.

    I see your sort of response all too often - it's basically "you guys should sit down, shut up, and take whatever we feel like dishing out. Stop protesting for your rights, it's rude. And if some of your group decide to go over the line (which I get to define), it's not just because they're assholes, it's because you're all violent."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:33AM (#29807847)

    if the majority of the public really DOES agree with them there should be no risk of ostracism.

    So this is what "the land of the free" now becomes. You are free to do whatever you want, say whatever you want, as long as the majority of the public agree with it.

    Whatever happened to the "I don't agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it" ideal?

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Forge (2456) <kevinforge AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:37AM (#29807893) Homepage Journal
    You also can't Marry your sister. Even if she is a consenting adult. What's your point?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:38AM (#29807907)

    Generally, when people are praying 'for' gay people, many rational people would term it praying 'against' gay people.

  • by schon (31600) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:38AM (#29807909)

    Food laws were explicitly repealed in the new testament.

    [citation needed]

    But even if you're right, I thought that the Bible was the inerrant word of God? Delivered directly to publishers via his Holy Fax Machine (or whatever device He uses.)

    If God is perfect, and God wrote the Old Testament, then the Old Testament must therefore still be in effect, right?

    Or was God wrong when He wrote the Old Testament?

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by omega_dk (1090143) <alpha,dk&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:43AM (#29807975)

    Since the dawn of time, the family, consisting of a husband and his property has been the fundamental unit of society.

    I, for one, am glad that we altered the whole structure of that civilization - why not this one?

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hoggerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:44AM (#29807983) Journal

    It is and always has been about money. Do you actually think government, states, hospitals, or any company cares if one is gay or straight? It boils down to money. It was believed that homosexual people were more likely to catch/pass on certain diseases. That is when the rules were set. Prove that this is not true and those rules may change. One has to prove that the lifestyle of people who are gay carries no higher risk then those that are straight. Prove that for all and this issue will go away.

    Religion is a separate issue. There is supposed to be a separation of 'church' and state in the US. And church can be what ever your religion is. One can still get married and not have to go to a 'church' to make it happen.

    Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

    It’s all about religion. And control.

    Religion forbids homosexuality because it robs them of fresh kids to indoctrinate and to swamp the other tribes with.

    It’s about control, too: religion forbids homosexuality because gay men can have all the sex they want without having to contend with headaches nor birth control, and thus make compromises so the wife consents to be fucked. Someone who is not accustomed to make compromises because his sex partner is always willing will be harder to control.

    “Certain diseases gay people have” is only a very recent phenomenon for which technology [trojancondoms.com]exists to address.

    The same comment goes for masturbation: one can jerk-off any time he wants for instant sexual gratification. There is no need for someone else, and thus even less compromise than with homosexual intercourse.

    Religion has had thousands of years to rot our brains; any society has a hard time to get rid of it.

  • by jcnnghm (538570) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:45AM (#29808003)

    That said, there is no justification for opposition to same-sex civil marriage that doesn't (a) reduce to homophobia or (b) apply equally strongly to anti-miscegenation laws (which are much more widely recognized as undue limitations on freedom).

    Except there is. As a straight man that has a roommate and friend that's a gay man, and is good friends with two lesbians, I don't believe I'm homophobic. Yet, I don't support gay marriage. It's really nothing personal. The primary reason I oppose gay marriage is because of the huge body of evidence which suggests that single motherhood produces unfit offspring. When you control for all other factors, single motherhood plays a huge role in the success of a child. In my view, many of the same issues that plague children that grow up in single parent households, will also plague those that are raised by same-sex couples. Therefore, given that marriage is designed to encourage family life, I do not support gay marriage as I feel it would be unfair to the child, and ultimately to society as a whole as they will ultimately have to pay for the child.

  • Re:So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pleappleappleap (1182301) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:47AM (#29808037) Homepage

    Wrong wrong wrong. This is a petition, not a vote. A petition that isn't a matter of public record isn't a petition . If you can't stand for your signature on a petition to stand up to scrutiny, you shouldn't have signed the petition in the first place .

  • Pathetic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HubHikari (1217396) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:49AM (#29808085)

    And to split hairs, homosexuals currently have the right to marry. A homosexual man can marry any woman who sees fit agree, and a homosexual woman can marry any man who sees fit to agree. As a heterosexual man, I do not have the right to marry any man. Seems pretty clear and equally applied. Man marries Woman.

    You make me sick. Homosexuals currently have the right to marry....only within the context already defined. They do not have the right to marry the person they love. You do.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Forge (2456) <kevinforge AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:51AM (#29808117) Homepage Journal
    Right back to my original point.

    Homosexuals attempting to silence other people. Notice the opinion based moderation on this topic. What ever happened to moderating based on the quality of argument rather than weather you agree with it?
  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:52AM (#29808127)

    I'm sorry if it offends your delicate sensibilities, but I don't consider it necessary to be civil to intolerant bigots.

    More power to you if you do.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NiceGeek (126629) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:55AM (#29808173)

    "And to split hairs, homosexuals currently have the right to marry. A homosexual man can marry any woman who sees fit agree, and a homosexual woman can marry any man who sees fit to agree.
    As a heterosexual man, I do not have the right to marry any man. Seems pretty clear and equally applied."

    'And to split hairs, blacks currently have the right to marry. A black man can marry any black woman who sees fit to agree, and a black woman can marry any black man who sees fit to agree
    As a white man, I do not have the right to marry any black woman. Seems pretty clear and equally applied"

    Are you freaking serious?

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:57AM (#29808191)

    Because marriage is a civil union. You have it backwards. The whole church involvement is simply a nice ceremony. It has no authority to do anything until the government validates the marriage. You could get married all day in church and it would mean nothing until you file the proper papers. Try to get married five times and the church wouldn't know you had, and certainly couldn't come after you. The government on the other hand, certainly could.

    Now from the other perspective, if you go the government, and get a marriage performed, there is no church needed.

    See the difference?

    This is the part that the church and organized religion fails to understand. They are taking a civil issue and trying to push their religious views into it. Granting civil unions, or even marriage to two people doesn't harm them in the slightest. It might affront their beliefs, but there is simply no harm done to them personally, and that is an important distinction.

    Separation of church and state doesn't protect the government from religion. It protects you, me, and everyone else from government sponsored religion. That is what makes these "defense of marriage" acts so wrong. There is no provable harm in these civil unions, and when they state that it is 'morally wrong according to the bible', they are essentially forcing government sponsored religion onto US citizens when these acts are passed even if these citizens are not followers of the bible. The 'harm' is stated in a religious document. There is no prove-able harm outside of the bible.

  • Re:Oh the irony (Score:2, Insightful)

    by berbo (671598) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:01AM (#29808259)
    Disagreeing with someone is not 'intolerance'. Calling an act of discrimination 'discrimination' is not intolerance, its a statment of fact. Actually discriminating against a class of people, e.g. taking away their right to marry, is intolerance.

    Please go back to kindergarten and learn the difference.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jayme0227 (1558821) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:02AM (#29808271) Journal

    And since the dawn of time, marriage was considered to be for a lifetime, yet anti-gay conservative after anti-gay conservative cheats on his wife and/or gets a divorce. If you were railing against divorce and philandering in defense of the sanctity of marriage, I would have a much easier time listening to your anti-gay rhetoric, but since the only time the "sanctity" of marriage comes up is with regards to homosexuality, I have a hard time respecting that argument. (Here's looking at you, Rush, the three time divorcee, [wikipedia.org] for single handedly making this argument for me.)

    Also, as to your procreation argument, many gay couples often want to adopt children but are forbidden from doing so because of state laws that use bogus logic in order to discriminate. There have been plenty of children who have grown up with gay parents, yet there is still no evidence that this harms the children, [religioustolerance.org] whereas there is plenty of evidence that these children are better off than kids in single-parent families and foster homes. Yet people feel that these children should be put in less advantageous positions in foster homes rather than be raised by loving same sex parents.

    Finally, marriage IS a right. If a white man and a white woman were denied their right to marry, there would be holy hell to pay. There’s even a considerable backlash (as there should be), when an interracial couple is prevented from marrying, as was recently the case in Louisiana. [usatoday.com] Yet when two men decide to marry, many people feel the law should be used to prevent this from happening. This even happens even though there are progressive churches that bless same sex unions. [wikipedia.org]

    Personally, because of all this mess, I think the government should just back off. Marriage should be a religious choice rather than a legal one. Allow anyone to get a civil union and the legal protections afforded by it, and get out of the way when it comes to marriage.

  • Let them marry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ogive17 (691899) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:03AM (#29808287)
    So that they can be as miserable as the rest of us married folk!
  • by tsm_sf (545316) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:05AM (#29808315) Journal
    2) Gay people in CA already have all the legal rights of straight people. No civil rights were stripped, only special rights unavailable to everyone else. (IE: As a non-gay, I could not marry a man. Only members of the special group had that right. It was clearly unconstitutional, and prop 8 rectified that.)

    That is a truly bizarre leap of logic.
  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vahokif (1292866) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:08AM (#29808371)
    Because incest is bad for the gene pool but homosexuality isn't bad for anything.
  • by jambarama (784670) <(jambarama) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:09AM (#29808391) Homepage Journal
    I'm for eliminating state-sponsored marriage. Marriage is two things - a document that giving religious people permission to have sex without feeling guilty, and a set of legal rights. These two parts were given to the state back when the state and church were intertwined. However, the state has an important role in the set of legal rights, but should not have any role in granting permission to have guilt-free sex. Separating the two functions shouldn't eliminate the benefits gays want and would not force the religious to recognize **** relationships as marriages.

    The state should create standardized domestic contracts for consenting adults which give the standard rights of marriage with the standard ways out of the contract (a divorce process with normal characteristics, like an obligation to pay child support for any children in common, equal division of assets, etc). These rights would inhere automatically to long-term relationships, as common-law marriages do now. This takes care of the rights function of marriages. The other function can be taken care of by churches. Churches can bless any contract or relationship they deem appropriate with the title of "marriage" and thus bestow guilt-free sex for religious individuals.

    This is win-win. Gay people get the rights they want. Religious people still get permission to have sex.

    People in gay relationships wouldn't object unless what they really want is for the government to force the religious to recognize their relationships as legitimate. Religious people could only object because they don't want gay people to have the same rights which straight people enjoy, not because they want to define marriage in a particular way. Religious individuals can still believe gay relationships are wrong, and pretend churches which marry these individuals don't have authority to do so. Gay individuals can get the rights they need and the title they want.
  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Taevin (850923) * on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:11AM (#29808435)
    What the fuck are you talking about? I'm going to ignore for a moment the fact that that one line in Leviticus is about the only one people follow in the whole damn book. Who said anything about compelling any religious institution to sanction any particular union male/male, male/female, or female/female? Honestly, no one cares what sort of hate you chant in your nuthouse.

    More importantly, why would a homosexual want to be involved with a group that tells them they are going to Hell simply because their Creator says so. Their Creator makes them gay and then punishes them for eternity for it. Yeah, makes a lot of sense.
  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:14AM (#29808477) Homepage Journal

    The real unintended consequence is, that gay rights activists can come to your place of employment, or to your home, and picket. Signing a petition is very similar to voting - it's no one's business how I mark a ballot, nor is it anyone's business that I signed the petition.

    State officials are responsible for ensuring that signatures are valid. The "opposition" might challenge the validity of signatures, but they have no right to make a list for publication. The ONLY reason for such a list, is future harassment.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:18AM (#29808549) Journal

    You should be able to marry your sister. And if genetic screenings say you won't make web footed duck babies, you should be able to have kids with her too. But you should be able to marry her in any case. Marriage isn't necessarily about procreation, if it were, then barren couples wouldn't be allowed marriage either. Your sister and you are adults, you can consent, why shouldn't you be able to marry? Just because some people think its gross? Some people think mixed marriages are gross, too.

    The institution of marriage has a stabilizing effect on society. This occurs whatever the partners' sexual orientation or capacity to breed. Married couples tend to be more stable and responsible. Marriage is a positive institution. Why deny that to homosexuals?

    You see, you are advocating denying people the right to marry whom they choose. That does not impact anyone else except in indirect but positive ways. You need to justify this abrogation of rights. How will denying homosexuals the rights to marry benefit society? You can't just compare homosexual unions to bestiality or incest without more complete reasoning. You appear to be trying to appeal to emotions rather than using logic. You say, 'you can't marry your sister,' but you don't state why you can't, or how the case of sibling incest is similar to homosexuality. Sure, it's a step up from comparing homosexuality to bestiality, but not by much.

    You are the one making outrageous claims. You are the one advocating harmful actions against oppressed minorities. You need to justify your claims as best you can, rather than making cheap appeals to emotions. If you don't even attempt to justify your position logically, people are correct to disrespect you.

  • Voting != Petition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:32AM (#29808831)

    If they were the same it would be called 'voting'. It is not. It is a public record and should be treated as such. If people do not have the strength of their convictions then they shouldn't sign it. That is the point of peer pressure. It molds society into what is acceptable and what is not.

    If someone steps over the line and takes illegal retribution against someone who signed a petition after that info was made public then they would be in the wrong and handled under the law. If someone signs onto a discriminatory petition and is treated badly (but legally) as a result, once it becomes known, then they've reaped what they've sewn.

  • That's the point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zogger (617870) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:33AM (#29808861) Homepage Journal

    Look at the larger picture and don't be instantly knee jerk about it, logic it out further jus *one step more*.

      The government should have *nothing* to do with who you live with or "marry" in any outside ceremony. If the straight and gay folks would realize this, that they have a 100% common beef with STATE PERMISSION to marry, they could lobby TOGETHER to get all governmental laws about marriage just removed from the books. Instead, once again like they always do, the governmental goons use that old tired 'divide and keep them conquered' routine to keep you in serfdom.

    Any sort of personal economic or custody issues can be addressed by *private contract*. YOU and your partner(s) decide how to run your affairs entirely, fullstop.

    I mean really, say from the religious and very hetero side, which keeps fighting to stop gay marriage, what business of government is it that you need a PERMIT, permission, and LICENSE to get married? None, you can do it like they did in ye olden days, with your pastor and community, and that's it. The heteros are suffering under that same delusion that they need "permission" to marry, and keep fighting for less freedom for themselves! And now all the gay folks want that same thing?!? Nuts! Crazy! "Please government, we beg you and petition you, take away more of our rights and sell us a piece of paper permission slip, signed by one of your useless kommisars!"

    See how crazy that is?

        Get the stupid state and government out of the marriage "permission" business entirely, FOR EVERYONE, all of the above, "we the people", it is no longer needed, if ever it was, and it should be illegal because of freedom of association born with rights.

        And if you look back in history, a lot of the first state "licenses to get married" were jim crow racist laws designed to prevent interrace marrying, now they are the "norm" when they should have all been repealed. (incidentally the same with some of the earlier "gun laws", they were racist in origin then got extended to the population in general)

    Repeal the marriage "license" entirely, and all the ancillary stupid laws around that, (like tax issues and your hospital visit issues, etc) don't seek and fight and lobby to extend that abomination of statist power and control. What the heck do you want governmental restrictions for? Makes no sense, the better solution is end it entirely.

        Straights, gays, Bis, and all the otherwise out there, the polygamists and polyandrous-ists, all of the above, could all unite behind that, and end this state control nonsense once and for all.

    That's FREEDOM, that's EQUALITY.

  • by sexybomber (740588) <boccilino&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:45AM (#29809057)

    Actually, this discussion is over a website listing in a searchable way those who signed a petition to put gay-civil-unions on a ballot.

    I think that's the wrong way around; if I'm reading the article correctly, the people in question are those who signed a petition to put Washington's version of Prop. 8 on the ballot, i.e. those who are against civil unions.

    This is an important point. If it were pro-equality signatories who were being "exposed", then I'd be a lot more worried about it. Simply put, giving the radical right easy access to a list of people who are pro-equality would be very, very dangerous, much more so than giving "the gays and their allies" easy access to a list of bigots... the reason being that the right-wing reactionaries fighting against gay rights tend to be a whole lot more violent than those fighting for them. Tell me, have you ever heard of a fundamentalist Christian getting brutally beaten, tied [wikipedia.org] to a fencepost, and left to die, just on account of their beliefs? When was the last time a right-wing megachurch got shot [knoxnews.com] up [wikipedia.org]?

    Now, granted, there may be instances where right-wingers have felt intimidated because of their stance against equal rights. There may have been threats made. Someone's feelings may, in fact, have been hurt. But I maintain that any intimidation coming from the pro-rights camp doesn't even begin to come close to that perpetrated by the right wing. I'm sure the poster who was wharrgarbling above about pro-gay intimidation will have something to say to this, but I'll nip it in the bud by requesting that any corroborating links in a reply not come from Michelle Malkin or other shrill, obviously biased, right-wing mouthpieces.

    What's that? Can't find any examples from actual, reputable sources? Well, that's going to be a problem, then, isn't it?

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jhon (241832) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:47AM (#29809119) Homepage Journal

    The commenter you were responding to was asking about taking away Forge (2456)'s right to marriage, meaning his/her right to marry a heterosexual partner. That right has historically existed. Comparing a heterosexual who can't marry the person they love and a homosexual who can'y marry the person they love is a valid comparison.

    I disagree. I believe it is not a valid comparison. I think the problem is you and others are considering the term "marriage" to mean something today that it did not mean historically.

    This isn't about suppressing rights of a minority group -- it's about the creation of a NEW right -- one that didn't exist before -- and in so doing fundamentally change what the meaning of the term/word "marriage" is. I'm all for civil and legal equality for those who are "married" and domestic partners, but I'm against changing what "marriage" means.

  • by Chyeld (713439) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dleyhc.> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:52AM (#29809221)

    Because voting has safeguards that were meant to prevent dead people from voting, live people from voting twice, and imaginary people from even showing up at the polling place. Notwithstanding the matter of the effectiveness of those safeguards or the manner in which our less than upright politicians have attempted to circumvent them, petitions have none of these.

    Additionally, even if these were 'codified' into the manner in which petitions were made, the entire point of a petition is "We proudly support this idea and are the ones that put you in office, do it!" That implies you are willing to take a stand on it.

    PS. You don't have to go through the 'petition' stage to get to the 'voting' stage. It's just as possible for you to walk into your congressman's office and have a nice private chat with him.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:02PM (#29809431)

    Still has some "what ifs" though:

    What if a dude wanted to marry his brother? No gene pool issues there.

    What if he wanted to marry his sister and one or the other were known to be infertile?

    Or more realistically, what about marrying one's cousin? Some states do allow this, and some don't. Birth defect rates from such unions are barely above that of two strangers pairing, and most of the reasons for disallowing it is simple cultural stigma.

    Seriously, in all the above cases there was to be a better reason given than "Ew, gross.", because that's pretty much the reason being given by the homephobic population against gay marriage.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:10PM (#29809573)

    That's a nice story, but unfortunately, it IS a civil process. It doesn't matter what it was 2000 years ago, 500 years ago, or 5 years ago. It doesn't matter who 'invented' the word "married", or what it meant to Jesus, the planters peanut guy, or whoever.

    What is relevant is what it is right now. As far as the 'church' is concerned, it's just a word. Legally it is a whole other issue which has nothing to do with the Church.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:26PM (#29809841)

    No one has hijacked anything. You can get married tomorrow, and never notify the government. You don't even have to involve them. Of course if you did so you wouldn't get any LEGAL benefits, which is where this is being argued. This has nothing to do with religion.

    Same goes for getting a marriage license from the state. You don't have to involve the church either. The two are totally separate and should remain so.

  • Re:So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alpha830RulZ (939527) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:31PM (#29809913)

    The entire point of a petition is that it's a public statement of opinion. The law regarding signatures on a petition for a referendum in Washington require that the signer be a voter, and that they be identifiable. Petitions need to be public so that opposing interests can contest the signatures if they are demonstrably invalid. That they also publish the identity of the partisans on an issue is an interesting side effect, and not one that I, for one, mind. If you don't want yourself to be identified with the issue, don't sign. There are other, more private channels for getting your way, including contacting your congress-critters, and contributing to the campaigns of candidates or PACs that support your goals. Of course, these have some sunshine laws on them as well, and again, I think that's OK. Citizens should have the right to know who is driving the issues of the land. If you really don't want to state your opinions publically, then just vote, which is absolutely guaranteed to be private.

    I've been on both sides of this. I have supported petition effects and indeed led one some years back. It was entirely public, and -everyone- who signed was quite willing, and indeed eager, to be publicly identified with the issue. In most petition drives, that isn't a problem. If it is a problem, I think that signifies something deeper is gravely wrong.

  • by paranoid.android (71379) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:32PM (#29809951)

    This isn't an assault on anything, the public has every right to know which among them votes for whatever. Dave Chapelle had it right, this country seems to think that the way you vote is the most private information. That shouldn't be the case, if you're voting in a public election then your vote should also be public. In fact, you should be proud to stand up and say you voted for any one thing. If you're not proud to say that, then why did you vote?

    There are a few reasons you can't (and shouldn't be able to) tie a name to a ballot: bribery and coercion, to name two.

    If Joe can make a few bucks voting for Mr. A instead of Mrs. B, when he couldn't care less about the outcome of the election, why wouldn't he?

    Should the management of Acme Co. be able to award bonuses to those who vote for a favored candidate, and demote or fire those who don't?

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:41PM (#29810155)

    Petitions are no different than gathering in a public square to protest. They are a PUBLIC statement of support for the cause. That's their entire purpose. If they were intended to be private they would have no value. Apparently no one ever taught you what signing a petition means and why even people who support an idea won't sign a petition for it. Petitions have been used throughout their history to persecute the people that signed it. The declaration of independence was nothing more than a forceful petition as the people that signed it didn't truly represent anyone at the time (under English law). Signing a petition is the one of the ultimate forms of support for a cause because it publicly associates your name to the cause so your elected officials know how many people support it. Only voting is anonymous, not petitions nor should they ever be. Without public petitions the petition isn't worth the paper it's printed on as other people could sign your name to it and you would never know.

  • by samuraiz (1026486) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:45PM (#29810223)

    It would, in fact, be different.

    Religious homophobes and religious abortion protesters are intersecting communities- right-wing religious extremists. There's a history of murder and terrorism in America's right-wing religious extremist fringe, and a history of hit lists being posted to the internet, ostensibly to shame but too often resulting in the listed people being targeted for violence.

    When gay marriage activists publish a list, it really is just a shame list.

  • by bar-agent (698856) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:53PM (#29810385)

    Petitions have been used throughout their history to persecute the people that signed it. The declaration of independence was nothing more than a forceful petition as the people that signed it didn't truly represent anyone at the time (under English law). Signing a petition is the one of the ultimate forms of support for a cause because it publicly associates your name to the cause so your elected officials know how many people support it.

    This is a good point. The idea behind the petition is that if a bunch of people feel strongly enough about an issue to put their names and reputations behind it, it is definitely worth checking with the rest of the populace, through a real vote.

    But, I don't know, I think petitions have changed over time. The bunch of people role is taken over by activists, getting their message out there using television and media, rather than a signed letter to an official. Now, petitions are just a second-tier check for broad support, and that can be done by counting valid signatures then tossing the lot.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Glothar (53068) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:57PM (#29810449)

    ...and they'll still have problems in states like Virginia which decided to pass laws which refuse to honor such contracts when they are between two homosexuals.

    If you're saying to yourself: "Wait. How can they do that? Doesn't the constitution prevent them from picking and choosing which contracts they honor?"

    Welcome to Virginia, where a delusional sense of historical importance mixes with long-standing bigotry to create a state where many* people think they should be above the Constitution.

    Virgina: Its for (heterosexual) lovers.

    [*] Note: I am from Northern (aka "Fake") Virginia, where diversity is tolerated and even celebrated. Sadly, we're only about 45% of the state at the moment. Give us another decade so we can try to fix some of our social problems.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:01PM (#29810513) Journal

    So, you are proposing a second class of marriage for barren citizens, with no economic incentives like tax breaks. That would be fine, if children were the only societal benefit of marriage. To quote drsmithy from this very thread: "Overall, marriage creates a 'stronger' community. On a more individual scale, married couples generally live longer, make more money and and have higher employment rates. Additionally children brought up by married couples tend to have better health, better school results and fewer problems with the law."

    There are other positive externalities of marriage besides children. If nothing else, married couples both gay and straight can provide a better, more stable family for adopted children. But married couples also tend to be better for the community in general, more productive, more stable, contributing more wealth.

    Still, if you would be willing to take a consistent stance and advocate for banning marriage benefits to barren couples, I can accept that. mostly because, if you take that stance, your entire argument will be disregarded by right minded people. So, you can either be a hypocrite, or you can be ignored as a loon. Your choice.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:11PM (#29810681) Journal

    No, most of you DO oppose civil unions. You just want to sound tolerant and enlightened, so you claim that would be okay, until it comes up in the polls, and then most of you vote against it. There is no misunderstanding.

    You obviously don't want to ban marriage ceremonies by other religions, right? So, if there were a religion that wanted to perform gay marriages, you wouldn't want to restrict that religion, right? I mean, if we went around restricting one religion, what's to stop us from restricting yours?

    And there are religions that will perform gay marriages, and call them marriages.

    Nobody wants to force your church to perform gay marriages. If your church is not tolerant of homosexuality, why would any gays want to invade that nest of bigots? They wouldn't, any more than Muslims would want to force you to perform Muslim marriages.

    You are being disingenuous, and hypocritical. You want to espouse your bigotry without being called a bigot. You want 'separate but equal,' which we all know is not equal at all. You want to impose your religious intolerance onto other religions, and claim the institution of marriage for your religion exclusively.

    Understanding what I just wrote makes your post moot, because you are a bigot who wants to impose your religious values onto other religions besides your own and wants to dictate what ceremonies other religions are allowed to perform.

  • by denbesten (63853) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:17PM (#29810763)

    For those looking in from outside the US borders, an initiative petition is a document filed by a group of ordinary citizens asking that a particular issue be put up for election. Amongst other things, it is required that a certain percentage of voters sign the initiative indicating that they feel it should come up for a vote.

    I have signed referendums and initiatives both for causes I intend to vote for and for causes I intend to vote against. My signature on an initiative is an indication that I agree that we should vote on it. It is not an indication of which way I will vote.

    TFA states "signers of the petition fear hostile confrontations". If true, this must be addressed. The courts seem like a good place to determine if the fear is well founded, and if so, the legislature ought to figure out how to address it.

    BTW, I am not a resident of Washington, so my name can not appear on this initiative. Please don't confront me hostily :-).

  • by wastedlife (1319259) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:19PM (#29810799) Homepage Journal

    I believe that you are mistaking a petition with a vote. Votes are and should be kept as anonymous as possible while still preventing fraud, signing a petition means you are signing that you personally are in support of the cause. If you could anonymously sign a petition, then what is to stop someone from filling a petition with anonymous #1 through #1,000,000? Votes are handled by voting authorities to try to prevent fraud, petitions can be held by the person or group supporting the cause they are petitioning for.

  • by amplt1337 (707922) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:34PM (#29811057) Journal

    Is the problem lack of attention, or lack of exposure to people of multiple genders? There isn't enough evidence either way.

    Hogwash. Unless the child is raised in a lesbian commune, s/he will be exposed to plenty of people of varying genders -- teachers, non-parental relatives, friends, parents of friends... Many of these people might even have different personalities and identities outside of their gender roles!

    Men and women, contrary to political correctness, approach many situations differently.

    I'm not disagreeing with the assertion, but the problem is that variance within each gender is greater than stable variance between genders. Are you going to next ban marriages where the dad's a bit of a girlie-man?

    Isn't that what this is all about, the tax credits given to married couples for children. If it wasn't about money, then wouldn't civil commitment be good enough?

    Um, no. For one, there's inheritance rights within the couple. Or hospital visitation rights, tax inequality (regardless of the presence of children), right not to testify against a spouse, and a slew of other benefits.
    Gay people don't want marriage rights so that they can have children. (And most gay couples, married or no, are unlikely to have children accidentally...)

  • by virg_mattes (230616) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:35PM (#29811077)
    > This is an important point. If it were pro-equality signatories who were being "exposed", then I'd be a lot more worried about it.

    The problem is that the actual topic is the exposure of petitioners' names in a searchable format. The very problem that worries you becomes much easier if this happens, and I defy you to tell me that the "right wing" that worries you so much won't immediately start using this very law to expose their opponents.

    I'm concerned for the same reason that you're not. This sunshine law is a system that encourages abuse and intimidation of petitioners, thereby interfering with the voting process by suppressing petitions. Anonymity may not be a big concern for this particular petition, but it's a concern for every future petition.

    Virg
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:36PM (#29811103) Journal

    "...the issue should be brought to a wider vote to decide the matter."

    And this is the crux.

    Gay activists do NOT want democracy on this issue. They are a fringe group representing perhaps 10% of the population (in their optimistic numbers), and they know it (not to mention their militancy is driving the broadly tolerant middle ground against them as well).

    They DON'T want a vote.
    The WANT to know who's 'opposing' this signing the petition.
    They have shown repeatedly that they have no problem with using intimidation and scare tactics to silence their opposition.

    I have a very good friend who is openly gay and Republican (yes, I keep telling him that he needs pictures in the wild to prove he's not a hoax). He has told me repeatedly that he is perfectly comfortable being a gay man in any Republican gathering, yet if he dares acknowledge his political views at a Pride rally, he risks his physical safety.

    He's opposed to gay marriage by the way; he said that letting the government have any say in hetero marriages was part of the reason they're so screwed up and valueless today.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vahokif (1292866) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:36PM (#29811121)
    But there's a solid biological reason for why incest is a bad thing. Homosexuality being a danger to society or marriage or whatever is vague bullshit.
  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:39PM (#29811177) Journal

    Why you rotten... wait, what? Where am I? Who replaced my regular Internet with something civil?

  • by Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:54PM (#29811413)
    I have to disagree here, and shake my head sadly at the number of up-modded clueless Slashbots talking on this.

    It is people who wish to restrict gay rights behind this. It is a first in terms of arguing for anonymity in such a way on a petition-backed ballot option.

    Gays who have campaigned elsewhere, and run petitions for ballot items, have put up with their names being publicly available.

    If you're a raging homophobe in private, fine. If you want to sign a petition calling for a ballot on restricting the rights of people you don't like — have the balls to accept the potential consequences.
  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:55PM (#29811443)

    Your not disagreeing with me, so I'm not sure what your angle is here. Your piece about "will be later honored in good faith when necessary by the government" is key. Religious groups would deny this LEGAL recognition for no other reason than the fact that it conflicts with their FAITH.

    When you involve the government, as this issue MUST as it involves legal benefits, then religion should not play a role.

    It sounds like your trying to say the government "shouldn't" be involved without acknowledging the fact that the very basis of these legal challenges is to grant legal benefits to this group of people. There is no way that the government cannot be involved as it is the very basis for these legal challenges.

  • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy&anasazisystems,com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:01PM (#29811523)

    If I felt a petition was necessary to bring an issue to a vote (whether I supported it or not), and signed said petition, that's an expression of even more sincere (and public) support than a bumper sticker, sign on my yard, or banner on my roof. If I sign a petition, I don't care who knows it, because the petition is a way of explicitly saying to the world, "I think this needs to be voted on". ... I don't imagine myself signing a petition for something which I didn't support, though. I'd prefer that things I don't support never got on a ballot. ;)

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:08PM (#29811639) Journal

    You don't get to define marriage. Some religions consider a same sex union a marriage. Your definition of marriage is based on your religion.

    As for hate speech, the laws are clear and do not trump free speech rights, except for clearly defined exceptions that already exist. That is, even without hate speech laws I can not advocate for murder without opening myself up to prosecution. Nothing about this situation would change if gays were allowed to marry. What's illegal would still be illegal, and saying that being gay is evil, or minorities are inferior, is not illegal now and it wouldn't be with gay marriage.

    You have no basis for restricting marriage to heterosexual couples except for your religious bias. If you can show a reason to have separate terminology that does not rest on religious reasoning, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, you are not advocating for purity of language, you are arguing that your religious laws should be the law of the land.

    I've been to a Christian church that accepts gays and supports gay marriage. Not civil unions, gay marriage. Who are you to tell them they are wrong? You are arguing from semantics. If you aren't against gay civil unions, why does the terminology matter so much to you? It isn't a redefinition of the word marriage, that is only your opinion.

  • by blitziod (591194) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:08PM (#29811655)

    well jurors names are public. So I guess these can be. People do sometimes harras or pressure jurrors BUT if caught we throw them UNDER the jail..This makes jury tampering fairly rare( well bribery still happens a lot, but who said people did not give away a toaster for every signature)I say lets treat this the same. You try to intimidate these people from lawfully perticipating in goverment we give you a mandatory 25 to life in prison and a 1 million dollar fine per instance. Your activist group does this and we use RICO to make it triple fines and throw everyone in the group in prison. should solve the problem.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:45PM (#29812317) Journal

    You do not get to define religion, sorry. You don't get to say that someone's 'changes' are not legitimate. By your logic, Martin Luther had no right to change things.

    But in any case, Buddhism has never had a ban on gay marriages, so any Buddhist sects performing them would have to be legitimate in your eyes, as they haven't changed anything that was originally in their religion, and they are legitimate religion recognized in the United States.

    You do understand that homosexual civil unions don't exist in most states, right?

    Marriage is a legal right. You see, there are two different definitions of marriage. There is marriage as it relates to the state, and marriage as it relates to a particular religion. While religious marriage might not be a legal right, one does not even need to practice a religion in order to be legally married by the state. That is a right, as recognized by the state, not a particular religion. I was not married in a church, but I am legally married and that status confers certain rights and responsibilities on my partner and I.

    Historically, the word 'marriage' did not include partners of different races. We saw that that was unfair, and changed it. Just because something is a particular way does not make it right, That's known as the 'is/aught fallacy.' We used to consider black people to be property. It was part of the definition of property. We changed that too.

    Your argument boils down to 'this is the way it has always been, and therefore this is the way it should always be.' You do see the problem with that line of reasoning, don't you?

  • by xmundt (415364) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:08PM (#29812679)

    Greetings and Salutations....
    While this is a huge discussion, I am moved to address some of the points you raise in this and your subsequent post.

    ...As a straight man that has a roommate and friend that's a gay man, and is good friends with two lesbians, I don't believe I'm homophobic. Yet, I don't support gay marriage. It's really nothing personal.

    Ok....and, my qualifications for holding the following opinions are that I am familiar with single and multi-parent families, and, have a number of friends who work for Department of Human Services. I, also, have a number of gay friends and acquaintances, and, my general opinion is that (gay or straight) what someone else chooses to do with a consenting adult is not only not any of my business, but, in general, is NOT something I want to know about.

    The primary reason I oppose gay marriage is because of the huge body of evidence which suggests that single motherhood produces unfit offspring.

    First off, with this, and a couple of other remarks you make in these postings, that you believe that the only way for the species to continue is through reproduction within the confines of marriage. The good news is that the species will continue, no matter WHAT, and marriage is not now, or ever has been, necessary for that.
    Now...as for the "huge body of evidence". Could you provide some citations for that? i can find a number of discussions and studies across the Net that indicate that a single parent rearing a child has a lot more challenges, but, so far, not one of them has shown that the children are "unfit". I would suggest that a more correct observation would be that "poor parenting" causes "unfit children". (and by "unfit", I mean children that grow up to be antisocial in the extreme, being caught in the net of drug abuse, hate, gangs, etc). All the citations I have been able to find consistently say that a parent who practices good parenting skills such as: maintaining communication with their children; giving them clear boundries and structure while they are growing up; instilling in them good rules for living a positive life, including respect for others, empathy, etc; are far more likely to produce well adjusted adults who fit into society and become good members of it.
    Oh, yes, I know there are likely a number of single FATHERS who might take issue with your insistence on "motherhood"...

    When you control for all other factors, single motherhood plays a huge role in the success of a child.

    As I pointed out above, a more apt way of putting it would be "good parenting plays a huge role in the success of a child".

    In my view, many of the same issues that plague children that grow up in single parent households, will also plague those that are raised by same-sex couples.

    I take issue with your opinion here, because you are comparing apples and oranges. You are comparing a single parent household with a two-parent household. Two parent households tend to be "better", because the two adults can share responsibilities in rearing the children, and, can supply some of the vital support for each other in times of trouble. Also, there is an economic benefit, in that two incomes added together tend to provide more cash at hand than ONE income. It is as if, in your mind, having a same sex couple causes the two people to merge together into a chimera of some sort, and, not maintain their individuality...needless to say, this is unlikely to happen in any kind of an equal relationship.

    Therefore, given that marriage is designed to encourage family life, I do not support gay marriage as I feel it would be unfair to the child, and ultimately to society as a whole as they will ultimately have to pay for the child.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:27PM (#29812949) Journal

    This is the Internet. When you make outrageous claims such as 'Specifically, some studies have shown that the child-rearing environment provided by gay couples is less healthy for children than that provided by heterosexual couples.' You need to cite those studies. Otherwise, people simply won't believe you. Same thing for your 'raised by gays makes you gay' claim.

    There are definitely no ill effects to being raised by two gay people, outside of the oppression that goes along with being gay. Do away with the oppression, and you've done away with the problem.

    What rights, in what states, do civil unions confer? You don't even know, do you?

    Nobody is forcing anyone to change their definition of the word marriage. You can believe marriage is a bowl of ice cream for all I care. We are asking the government to not exclude homosexuals from being married. Nobody is going to force you to marry a gay.

    We aren't talking about definitions of words, we're talking about laws. People who support gays marrying aren't the minority, people who want to restrict other people's rights are. You and the other religious bigots like to think you are the majority, but you aren't. Look at any polls on the matter and you will see that you aren't. You can go on thinking marriage is whatever you like, nobody is asking you to change your definition. We are saying, you can't dictate what others call marriage. You think it is okay for you to dictate to me what my definition of marriage is, but not the other way around. That's hypocritical.

    You still have not shown any reason to deny gay people the right to marriage. The only reason you have given boils down to, 'it would make me uncomfortable, and I believe the majority of people are just like me.'

    If we did manage to get gay civil unions, which we don't actually have yet, gay people would still say they were married and you would be unable to stop them. They would not say, 'this is my civil partner, Frank.' They would say, 'This is my husband, Frank.' Heck, they do now.

    But how does any of this even impact you? Why do you care? Are you similarly worked up over other redefinitions of words, like how awful used to mean 'full of awe or awe inspiring' and now it means 'terrible,' or how property used to mean 'places, or things, or animals, or black people,' and now it does not include the latter?

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:36PM (#29813075) Journal

    Your definition of marriage is not the definition of marriage. Your religion can define what your religion's version of marriage means, but it can not define what my religion's definition of marriage is, and you can not tell me that my religion isn't as legitimate as yours, that is kind of in the Constitution.

    You realize that what you call 'backlash,' gay people call 'defending their beliefs,' right?

    Also, you state that homosexuals don't want to force churches to marry them. This has been proven untrue. Many adoption agencies, doctors, and churches have been sued for similar cases in the United States and outside of the United states.

    [citation needed] or put another way [you are lying.]

    You can argue from religion. But there are many religions in this free land of ours, and yours doesn't trump anyone else's.

    As I stated before, no 501(c)3 organization, be it educational, religious, or charitable, is allowed to campaign, donate to a campaign, or advocate for changes to the law. That does not apply only to churches, in fact, if churches wanted to give up their tax exempt status they can lobby all they like, and some do. The law applies to anyone claiming tax exempt status. So, either keep your church out of the legislative process like it should be, or lose your tax exempt status like any other 501(c)3 caught cheating.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:58PM (#29813343) Journal

    Freedom of religion is a right enshrined in the Constitution. My religion practices ceremonies related to marriage, and does so for same sex marriages. By denying my religion the right to practice those ceremonies, you are denying my freedom of religion.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:08PM (#29813521)

    I found a picture of your "wife" on facebook. You might want to think twice about whether you married your dog.

    On a more serious note, sex is unfortunately not binary. Species isn't either, but it's a heck of a lot closer. When people start being able to breed with animals then I'm sure we'll have to cross that bridge as well.

    Whether a man can marry a dog is one question. What about their off-spring? Would you let a man-dog vote? Have a right to freedom? Would you let it marry a person? What about letting it marry a dog?

    You might laugh, but that's the real question in gay marriage anyway. There's a whole range of "half-man" and "half-woman". For trolls like yourself, what about a hermaphrodite for whom neither sex organ functions. Can they marry a man? A woman? What sex would you assign to such a hermaphrodite?

    I doubt you'll take the time to think and understand this either, but biology allows for people to be born with one set of sex organs and a different set of hormones. What if your body diverged to grow a penis but your hormones went towards female? You're attracted to men, you have mannerisms of females, but you were unfortunate enough to have a penis. Why should we deny such a person's right to marry?

    We can't even decide sex for runners properly, let alone marriage.

    This is America, we consider it appropriate to have freedom of pursuit of happiness when it does not infringe on other people's rights. If you want a religious fundamentalist society you'll need to move to another country. You might want to try Afghanistan or Iraq, perhaps?

  • by 10Brett-T (11197) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:19PM (#29813691) Homepage
    You do understand precedents, right? Little to no retribution against signers of this petition does not prove that signers of a future, unrelated, and perhaps well-supported petition have nothing to fear from some entrenched opponents. It's necessary to weigh the benefit of publicizing the list of signers of any petition against the possibility of intimidation toward signers of it or any other petition.
  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:20PM (#29813707) Journal

    Well I'm glad you agree that marriage is defined by the state, and not by religions. Therefore, religions should have no say, this is a civil matter. The fact that your religion does not approve of gay marriage has no bearing on whether it should be allowed or not, by your own logic.

    Now, what would you call it, a privilege? If so, why should that privilege be reserved for only certain people? If a privilege, it is one that entails certain advantages, those advantages should be open to all, equally. As we have shown in court in the past, 'separate but equal' is not equal. Drinking from a water fountain isn't a right, either, yet we ruled that everyone, regardless of color, must be allowed to drink from the same fountain.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:40PM (#29814045) Journal

    Gays who have campaigned elsewhere, and run petitions for ballot items, have put up with their names being publicly available.

    If you're a raging homophobe in private, fine. If you want to sign a petition calling for a ballot on restricting the rights of people you don't like -- have the balls to accept the potential consequences.

    I'm just going to agree with you, and add one more significant item that I think some people are missing...

    Signing a petition is a public, formal, declaration of support for something. That's what a petition is. That's the entire purpose of a petition. Period.

    This is not about sunshine laws or oppression of anyone (gays or homophobes or religious fundamentalists). This whole issue arises from stupid people not understanding what it was they were signing... they signed a public statement of support.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:46PM (#29814159) Journal

    Wow. So you're saying anything not explicitly prohibited is permitted?

    I don't know. It's your religion, right? What does it say, hmmmm, you tell me.

    Who are you to decide what the spirit of the law is? I say, the spirit of the law is 'love each other and treat each other as you would be treated,' and you are completely ignoring THAT, the CORE of your religion's value system, so don't even try that argument.

    My religion practices gay marriage. By restricting 'marriage' to only what your religion defines it as, you are imposing your religious beliefs on me, and limiting my religious freedoms.

    You can vote however you like, and espouse whatever kind of bigoted, hateful crap you like. You are even free to cloak it in spurious and unsupported arguments about religion and God, if you like.

    I AM a polyamorist, ten years into a man-woman marriage, two years into a man-woman-man relationship. I DO advocate for poly marriage rights, as much as for gay marriage rights. So, looks like someone kinda got egg on their face there, trying to appeal to a prejudice that simply doesn't exist in me.

    Now, I would be fine with your last suggestion as well, as long as two men married by a church could call themselves married, if they got a civil union from the state and a separate marriage ceremony from their church. There are two parts to marriage, the part the state has an interest in, and the part religion has an interest in. If they were fully separate, I would be fine with that. But my religion is legitimate, and it practices gay marriage, and I will continue to use MY definition of marriage, not yours. You do not get to impose your religious beliefs on my religion, no matter how you try to justify it, you can't do it thanks to the Constitution.

    You say your religion teaches that homosexual marriage will damage the fundamental building blocks of society. Fine, that is a minority opinion even in Christianity, but whatever, people are allowed to be wrong. You don't say how, or why you think that, except that your religion told you so. I say the institution of marriage is a stabilizing factor in society, regardless of the sexual orientation of the participants. Married people are more stable, contribute more to society, are less apt to engage in risky behavior, and care more for their community in general. They provide more stable family situations to any foster or adoptive children they may take in. All in all, marriage is a benefit to society, and there is simply no good reason to restrict anyone who wants to engage in it from doing so. In fact, restricting marriage in any way is against societies best interest.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:56PM (#29814361) Journal

    Nobody is saying trying to limit what you say. You, a human, have freedom of speech. A 501(c)3 corporation is not a human, and has more limited rights. A religious person may help shape the law, a tax exempt religious institution may not, and that IS the law. Your religious institution is not allowed the privilege of tax exempt status while advocating for changes in the law.

    Assuming for the moment that you are right and that marriage is a privilege, you need to show why we should restrict certain people from enjoying that privilege. And, as marriage is a privilege granted by the state, religion has nothing to do with it. It is not a religious matter, marriage is a matter for the state. If you can't show a reason why gays should be restricted from marrying other gays, then you have no case.

    What 'duties' does marriage legally entail, that gays can not fulfill? If you can not show any, then we have to assume your drivers license comparison is spurious, because we can show logical reasons for every person we restrict from having one.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:02PM (#29814477) Journal

    Denying marriage to polygamous families is just as wrong as denying it to homosexuals.

    You have it backwards. I don't care how you define 'marriage,' but you are not allowed to impose your definition on me. That is what you are trying to do, and you have the utter hypocrisy to claim that by refusing to let you impose your view on me, I am the one imposing my view on you.

    If you can't see the complete lack of logic there, I can't really help you.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:21PM (#29814825) Journal

    Well, it really is the best way forward on this. The government issues civil union contracts for anyone, granting them all the same rights, like hospital visitation, inheritance, things like that, that are the concern of civil government. Religions that have an opinion on it can issue their own marriage contracts to whoever they feel qualifies, with whatever rights and responsibilities the religion is concerned with. Getting a religious marriage license does not mean you have a civil union in the eyes of the state, or vice versa. If you want both, you get both. There are plenty of churches and pastors out there that will marry gays, right now, today, if you ask them to. 'Marriage,' in that system, would not mean anything special to anyone outside of your religion, it would be a religious agreement. If a particular religion wanted to marry cats and dogs, that would be fine, because the religious contract would carry no legal rights, and 'marriage' would be a legally meaningless concept.

    Ah. You are a Mormon. Just so you know, the man my wife and I are dating was a Mormon. He's still Christian (some would say, NOW a Christian, as most Christians don't think you guys are) but he goes to a more tolerant Lutheran church now.

    We hear ALL about your religion from him. Not that there's anything wrong with it. Just that, you know, all the, hmmm, silly little things your religion advocates? I know ALL about them. Even the patently ridiculous ones you wish people don't know about, the stuff that could get you excommunicated (you guys are plain CRAZY for that one, eh?) for talking about, yeah, we know that stuff.

    Hope the magic underwear isn't bunching up too badly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:23PM (#29814865)

    No, it's exactly the same. Excuse the oversimplified terms:

    - A black man can marry a woman of the same race; he can not marry a woman of a different race.
    - A white man can marry a woman of the same race; he can not marry a woman of a different race.

    Compare:

    - A homosexual man can marry a woman; he can not marry a man.
    - A heterosexual man can marry a woman; he can not marry a man.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:33PM (#29815009) Journal

    Right, so you'd be fine with the country changing its mind and democratically granting the right to marry to anyone. You aren't even presenting an argument anymore, you are just stating, 'this is how things currently are.' Well, duh. Yes, we know that's how things are, and I, for one, have presented an argument, that is, a series of assertions and logical connections leading up to a conclusion, as to why things should change. You, on the other hand, have not presented an argument as to why they should stay the same. Just to be clear, 'that's the way things are' is not a reason why things should stay the same.

    I'm not saying religion can't be involved. I'm saying, tax exempt 501(c)3 corporations, including tax exempt religious institutions, are limited by law in advocating legislation, unless they want their tax exempt privileges taken away. If a religion does not care about 501(c)3 status, it can advocate whatever it likes, but if it goes around collecting signatures to change the law, it is in violation of the law. Which is all the gay activists were pointing out. They just want justice to be applied impartially, and the law is the law, right?

    I mean, let's put things in perspective, YOU were the one bleating about the nasty gay activists trying to silence you, right? Which is a blatant misrepresentation, those gay activists just want the law, as it currently stands, applied impartially, and you, by your own logic, are all for that, so we've got no argument on that count, right? The gays are right and you know it. Tax exempt churches collecting signatures to change laws are breaking the law, and should lose their tax exempt status.

  • Re:Turn the tables (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @06:05PM (#29815473) Journal

    I know what garments do. He doesn't call them magic underwear, I do.

    Anyway, you guys really got your scripture out of a hat? From one guy translating a language no one had heard of before, using magic lenses? And when a clever skeptic claimed to have lost the translation, and asked your dude to retranslate, he got furious and claimed that, because she lost the translation, God had changed things and he couldn't retranslate the same way? And you BELIEVE all this?

    And God Sent Jesus to America, but no one except you guys have ever heard of it? And the 'Red Man' is somehow cursed, and a lesser person, for what reason, exactly?

    You honestly have no idea to what I am referring? No clue why the majority of Christians, let alone anyone else, thinks of your church as a cult that grew too big, a legal hustle for con men, something invented out of whole cloth by a guy who just wanted to marry lots of women? Do they not let you watch TV in the compound? Not to be a bigot or anything, I think most religions are as wacky as yours, but you guys don't have the best reputation amongst other religious types.

  • by Eskarel (565631) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:16PM (#29818259)

    That is sort of true, however there's a difference between a vote and a petition.

    Voting is used to decide the government, petitions are used to sway the government. In a petition you're saying "I the undersigned believe in this cause enough to publicly endorse it", it's supposed to imply that if you were asked to vote on it you would do so, but that's not really the point.

    If you're not comfortable with publicly endorsing the cause of a petition then you shouldn't endorse it, since your public support is the whole point of the exercise. They're not anonymous and shouldn't be. Voting is, and should be.

    Personally, I don't see how these guys have much of a leg to stand on. If you're ashamed of being a conservative bigot then maybe you should stop being one. If you're not ashamed and truly believe in what you petitioned for, then you shouldn't need to be anonymous.

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