Does Gay Marriage Threaten Religious Freedom?

A while back, Mary Ann Glendon, Professor of Law At Harvard University, wrote this with regard to gay marriage:

Religious freedom, too, is at stake. As much as one may wish to live and let live, the experience in other countries reveals that once these arrangements become law, there will be no live-and-let-live policy for those who differ. Gay-marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination the likes of which we have rarely seen before. Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The ax will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don’t go along. Religious institutions will be hit with lawsuits if they refuse to compromise their principles.

I find the threat of religious intolerance and discrimination so obvious, so likely, that I find it hard to believe others don’t see it as clearly. Many proponents of gay marriage already (falsely) see gay marriage as a civil rights issue, so with that view in mind, it’s a small step to conclude that religions that teach against homosexuality or gay marriage, are just like a religion that would teach, say, racism or sexism.

In other words, proponents of gay marriage currently have a very difficult time distinguishing between bans on actions and bans on non-actions. Do you think this will get better after gay marriage is allowed? No, it clearly will get worse, especially with the next generation. After gay marriage is allowed, with each passing generation, more and more people are going to (falsely) see a ban on gay marriage as equal to a ban on race, or gender, or nationality. Let me ask you this, how would you see a religion that bans black people from its membership? If there were such a religion, there would have already been people who would have tried to remove the tax exempt status from that religion, who would argue that any politician who belongs to that religion be removed from office, and who would publicly chastise members of that religion, right?

What’s to make you think that the same thing wouldn’t happen to religions that continue to teach against homosexuality and homosexual marriages? Religious people who believe that homosexuality is wrong, whose religion does not allow gay marriage, will be reduced to (the same level as) those members of today’s society that are for racism. Sure, they are allowed to speak publicly, they still have free speech rights after all, but like racists today, they will be rebuked by society, seen as a fringe group of individuals that are out of the mainstream, that don’t deserve to be heard. In short, members of the Catholic Church tomorrow will be seen as members of the KKK today.

I normally shy away from conspiracy theories, but allow me to break one of my rules and float a conspiracy theory on this. Some of my conservative comrades believe that the primary motive behind several proponents of gay marriage, specifically those groups of people that absolutely hate religion, is not to give gays the ability to marry, but the hope that allowing gay marriage will further push religion into the far corners of society. In other words, their primary motive behind gay marriage is not because they care about gays, it is not because they want gays to be recognized publicly, it is primarily because of their dislike for religion. They know that by bringing in gay marriage, they are indirectly pushing out religious politicians from public discourse and thereby furthering their secular utopia.

Either way you look at it, it is so abundantly clear to me that those who (falsely) view gay marriage as a civil rights issue, which will certainly be more people if gay marriage is allowed, will logically follow through on their views, and with time, religions that teach against homosexuality or against gay marriage, will be no different than KKK members today. Some proponents of gay marriage look forward to this day consciously, others do not. Either way, allow gay marriage and the road is clearly paved in that direction.

Still think it’s unlikely? Well it looks like it is already starting to happen in Canada.

Link via Cella’s Review who has more on this.

42 Responses to “Does Gay Marriage Threaten Religious Freedom?”

  1. Michael says:

    HP. your comments are offensive. I support gay marriage and I have absolutely no problems with religion. I just want innocent people to live happily together without stigma. It has nothing to do with religious people. I am trying to help people and all of a sudden I am a bigot. This is back-assward thinking.

    Enough with the attacks on christianity crap. Tell you what, stand on the middle of a street corner in most parts of this country with a bible in you hand one day and then holding another mans hand the next day and you will see which group faces more hatred.

  2. DD says:

    HP wrote: “In other words, their primary motive behind gay marriage is not because they care about gays, it is not because they want gays to be recognized publicly, it is primarily because of their dislike for religion”.

    I agree with that. Now more than ever……when checking out the forums (high and low), I have come to the conclusion that there are many who view religion as ‘evil’.

    I enjoyed Mary Ann’s article, specifically when she said, “Whether one is for, against or undecided about same-sex marriage, a decision this important ought to be made in the ordinary democratic way–through full public deliberation in the light of day, not by four people behind closed doors”.

    And Michael…….if you don’t have “problems with religion”, then you would understand that there are some of us who fear a ‘god-type’ and what His ‘manual’ says about this issue.

    Michael, I have a dear friend who is Muslim……out of respect to him and his religion, I refrain from eating ham in front of him………why can’t the gay population see that?

    I say avoid ‘gay marriages’…… it something else, find another ‘legal description that described the civil union………and do so if you truly do not have a problem with religion.

    You’re right, HP, the ‘ax will fall’ eventually……… keep educating on how gay marriage IS NOT a civil rights issue.

    My 2 cents.

  3. Michael says:


    Not eating ham in front of your muslim friend is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. You are treating your friend like his religion is an addiction/disease. Like not drinking in front of an alcoholic friend.

    I got news for you, I grew up an orthodox jew and my non-kosher freinds used to eat seafood, bacon whatever in front of me and I never had the compulsion to eat what they had.

    Following that logic, all heterosexual couples should not hold hands in public. No work should be allowed to be performed on Saturday. After all its in the ten commandments to honor the sabbath.

    You truly do not understand the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment. If you are arguing that gays should not have legal marriages because it runs contrary to the bible, then that standard establishes a religious doctrine as national religion.

    If you want to outlaw gays from outwardly behaving in a gay manner. Maybe the ban can cut both ways. Maybe the Jews for Jesus folks can stop standing around the corner from synogogues on the high holidays.

  4. Hey Michael,

    How is my post offensive? I didn’t accuse all proponents of gay marriage of being a certain way, I only said there is a danger, and proceeded to connect the dots. I can’t see how that could be offensive.

    You write,

    I am trying to help people and all of a sudden I am a bigot. This is back-assward thinking.

    For the record, I didn’t call you a bigot. In addition, my post was not meant to imply that those who are against religions who speak out against homosexuality or gay marriage are bigots either. My only point in this post was to show that those who, A. Believe homosexuality issues to be equal to race issues will B. Logically follow those conclusions, and since C. This will increase with the allowance of gay marriage, D. Religions that teach against homosexuality and gay marriage will been seen as racists, hence religious freedom is reduced, and threatened.

    I’m not calling anybody a bigot, not saying everybody is against religion, only showing a very real, possible, and I would say likely, threat.

  5. Michael says:


    Further, I am still religious although no longer orthodox and I don’t fear my god-type, I love him. But if you want to fear him than be my guest, it is a free country. you have the right to worship as you please.

    Also what are you implying by the “ax will fall”. Knowing HP’s posts I don’t think he would endorse what I am kind of interpreting you are recommending.

  6. DD says:


    I prevent eating ham in front of him becuase it is considered disrespectful to his religion.

    If YOU don’t want to respect religion… be it…..

  7. DD says:

    Michael wrote: “I don’t fear my god-type, I love him. But if you want to fear him than be my guest, it is a free country. you have the right to worship as you please”

    If you love ‘Him’, you will obey ‘His’ commands.

    He commands against homosexuality in the Christian religion as well as beastiality……he destroyed cities like Sodom(y) and Gomorrah because of these types of sins.

    Now, if you had children that continued to disobey you, would you discipline them into the behavior you desire? Then so it is with our Father.

    Even though He loves us………IF we continue to do what HE tells us not to do, we might have to deal with His discipline.

    Discipline is somewhat of a deterrence, and that is my main point. In other words……..

    We have certain traffic speeding limits that we ‘should’ obey. ‘If’ we don’t obey the speed limits, we ‘may’ have to suffer receiving a speeding ticket which might include penalties of some sort.

  8. myke says:

    i wouldn’t say that this whole post and resulting comments is necessarily offensive. i would, however, say that it is somewhat laughable and off the deep end. what you fail to realize in your theory is that there are quite a lot of spiritual and/or religious gay individuals. most find it extremely disheartening to not be able to take the same sort of rights within the church and have their partnership be recognized by the church. now, having said that even those i know that do not particularly affiliate themselves with organized religion aren’t out to ‘get’ religion or bring it down .. they simply want the same rights associated with marriage that hetero couples have. they want to be able to carry each other on insurance policies. have right to die authority for each other. etc. the fact is, if it were just a matter of calling marriage by another name (ala ‘civil unions’), one would think the issue would be moot. unfortunately, at this point i’m not sure that would be good enough. i’ve watched most of the state amendments against gay marriage go into effect over the past year or two do so with accompanying codiciles that include a ban on ANY legal union that carries the same rights and benefits as marriage. so in effect, i should be the one to assume that the conservative moral majority types are utilizing the fervent issue of gay marriage to try to garnish the rights of gays even further than the issue of marriage itself. personally, i’d be ok as a gay man being able to get legally ‘partnered’ AS LONG AS THE SAME CONTRACTUAL LEGAL RIGHTS WERE IN THAT PARTNERSHIP WERE AVAILABLE TO ME. but have we gone past that? is it even possible to have an alternate terminology as a solution? i’m not ruling out the idea but it’s not looking good at the moment

    hp — your arguments don’t offend me as much as i find them a bit on the absurd. it’s almost as if some of the prior debate over on has negated your other arguments so now you need something else to justify your stand.

    IF i were to be offended …it would be from the comments and clearly pious attitude of your commenter, DD who has proceeded to preach to substantiate an opionion. it does appear to me that you and quite a few other religious zealots like you would prefer to simply outlaw gay behavior all together because it is against your personal relgious beliefs. when you bring in issues of sodom and gomorrah, that assumes that our laws should take that into account .. which would clearly violate the establishment clause.

    hp … if you .. or anyone else … wants to see how legalized marriage for gays would affect a society over the long term whether you look at divorce rates, religion, etc. … then simply look at the trends in a country like the netherlands where gay marriage has been in place for over several years. you’ve not seen any backlash against religion itself and the majority of people have gotten so used to the issue that they you really don’t even see it in the news anymore. we also could learn a lesson from the british who have a firm distinction between marriage in the church and marriage in the court. in order to sanctify a marriage legally, you must go thru the court after you’ve went thru the church and you don’t HAVE to go thru the church at all, thus leaving it as an option for those who are themselves religious but not forcing those who aren’t to do so.

  9. Hey Myke,

    Thanks for stopping by, as you know, you are my favorite gay friend. 🙂 That is why I warned you yesterday that todays post might offend you, I am glad that you didn’t find it offensive. I try as hard as I can to narrow my topics on gay marriage and be as clear as possible, especially because I know they are sensitive topics to those who genuinely do feel that they are deprived of certain marriage rights that they feel they deserve.

    With that said, I stand behind my argument. Just as it is fair for a Democrat to say that there are some on my side who want to completely abolish social security, I think it is fair for my side to say that there are some on your side who have a hostility toward religion. I wouldn’t say that they are necessarily restricted to gay people though, it is certainly some gays, but definitely a large percentage of them are heteros. I am not trying to say that this is all or even a majority of your side, just as you would not say that it is all or a majority of my side that wants to abolish social security. My point here is only that there are some.

    Regardless of that, I do believe that religious freedom is at stake. I connected the dots as closely as possible. Do you disagree that there are many, and will be many more if gay marriage is allowed, of people that view gay issues equal to race issues, or gender issues? If you don’t deny this, than is it really such a huge step to conclude that people will start to act on those beliefs, and will start to marginalize current religions like they do racists groups today?

    For the record, by religious freedom I mean all religions, not any specific one or any specific teaching. I am concerned for Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhists religious freedom as much as I am Catholic. While I still profess the Catholic faith, I am not a religious person by anyone’s standards, my point here is with the overall shared value all Americans have of religious freedom (and free speech).

    As far as the Netherlands goes, I don’t think they are the model country that you make them out to be. In addition, gay marriage is still relatively new. Social changes always take a while to propagate, and clearly show their effects. Just look how long it has taken for us to see what the welfare programs of the 1960’s have caused. Aside from this, I have already provided examples of what is going on in Canada, a country that is showing results very early. I expect that sort of stuff to only get worse with time, not get better.

    As far as changing my position, I disagree. My position on gay marriage has stayed the same from my first gay marriage post on this blog, to my first part in the gay marriage series we had on Oso’s blog. I may have changed emphasis somewhat, but overall the arguments are exactly the same (in fact, the very same Mary Ann Glendon quote is in both versions of my gay marriage argument).

    As for what DD writes, while she has every right to believe whatever she wants, the gay marriage discussion primarily has to do with marriage, and a marriage rooted in ‘natural law’, not any specific religious view or faith. If she happens to share a religious view that coincides with that, than so be it, and I will let her defend her views. As for my objections, they are rooted in natural law, not in any religious argument.

    Again, thanks for stopping by and you are welcome here anytime.

  10. Michael says:


    The offense I took was that there is an ulterior motive in the defense of gay rights. To me and to I believe most proponents of gay marriage. It is about gay rights, not religion. It may run contrary to most religious beliefs, but many religious doctrine are not illegal (adultory, dishonoring thy father and mother, observing the sabbath). That is the point of the establishment clause. Religious doctrine is not law.

    I have a great deal of respect for your views. It is one of the great conservative blogs. You look at things with stats on your side and try to avoid emotional issues. This one I don’t buy. I enjoy the cyberdebate with you. You always have another stat to pull out and you treat me and other opponents of your views with respect. I just wish the talking heads inhabitiing MSNBC, CNN, Fox News etc were as rational as you.

  11. Hey Michael,

    I agree that most proponents of gay marriage are in favor of it out of a true concern for gays (just like I believe that a large amount of people for social security reform are in it to fix social security, not abolish it, but that’s a different story for another day…), so I can see how my post can come off as offensive. But I try and choose my words carefully; I didn’t mean to imply that this was a majority of proponents of gay marriage but that it was some that were for it out of a strong dislike of religion.

    My views against gay marriage are all about marriage, in other words, the gay marriage debate to me is not a debate about gays, it is a debate about marriage. As far as rational debates go, I completely agree, this is one of the reasons why I fight so hard to get more of my Mexican brothers and sisters to vote conservative. Not because I want them to all vote conservative, but because I think it is bad for any group to stand behind one single party so heavily. It is time for us all to move past the political racial stereotypes and start debating real issues, irregardless of who is making the arguments, be they white, black or brown, be they Catholic, Muslim, Jew and Atheist, and be they heterosexual or homosexual.

    A world in which we are colorblind and debate ‘facts’ for what they are is my utopia, and I try to live it as much as I do preach it.

    Thanks for the kind words Michael, you are one of my favorite many liberal online friends I have gained throughout blogging.

  12. eric says:


    The most disrespectful thing you could do in front of a Muslim is to claim that Jesus is the son of God.

    Do you refrain from doing that as well?

  13. DD says:

    Actually Eric………

    The Muslims believe that Jesus was wise and prophetic-like.

    They just do not believe he was the Savior of the Whole World.

    My friend/business partner believes Jesus was a good man, he does not believe he rose from the dead.

  14. eric says:

    I am well aware of Muslim beliefs about Jesus.

    You say that it is offensive to adherents of a religion when someone does something that violates their beliefs in front of them. Witnessing gays getting married evidently offends many Christians. Witnessing someone eating ham evidently offends your Muslim friend, or so you believe.

    I was just wondering if you denied the divinity of Christ in front of your Muslim friend as well, in order not to offend him.

  15. DD says:

    Again, Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet… doesn’t mean that ‘Christians’ should avoid talking about Him (Jesus). It becomes offensive to Muslims when we tell them that Jesus died and was raised from the dead. They don’t believe that and they don’t want to believe that.

    Now, I do not bring Jesus in our discussions unless he, (my friend) does first. That’s the thing……I respect his beliefs and unless he brings “Jesus” up himself, I avoid the “Jesus” topic.

    And so it is with ham…….I avoid eating ham in front of him out of respect for his cultural background.

    You wrote: “Witnessing gays getting married evidently offends many Christians”.

    Witnessing gays getting “married” is something I wish to avoid.

    You wrote: “I was just wondering if you denied the divinity of Christ in front of your Muslim friend as well, in order not to offend him”.

    I do not deny my divinity. I just don’t bring up “Jesus” in our discussions unless my friend goes that route first.

    To be quite honest with you, I think that people who believe in some sort of god-type are good because there is some sort of a deterrence-system. A reward and punishment type of view or give and take type of view that I can relate to. You know?

    Those who do not believe in a god at all is weird and foreign to me.

    Anyway……I hope you have a good weekend! 🙂

  16. Andy says:

    The study on the Netherlands that you quote is cherry-picked data. I’ve done a write up on this post and the misconceptions that Kurtz makes.

  17. eddie says:

    Apparently if Gay Marriage is offensive to your religion than abide by it and don’t do it…. simple.

    There is a separation of Church and State. Get married in a church that supports your beliefs gay or straight. The legal argument is about equal rights, not your religous beliefs. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is a continued fight for equal rights. Let all persons in this country be treated the same without discrimination.

    HP your logic doesn’t make sense to me, probably because it isn’t logic but your religious beliefs. which I respect, but so did does the Taliban. I just don’t have the same as either of you. Each of your intrepretations of god and how to live life is your choice, not mine so why the insistence on trying to control the how others choose to live.

    What makes this country great is the separation of church and state, and I’ll fight to keep it that way as much as possible. You live your life and beliefs and I’ll live mine without having to conform to yours, but I want the same rights for both.

    You deal with your creator in the end, I’ll deal with mine. Isn’t that what free will is about?

  18. Hey Andy,

    Thanks for stopping by. A couple of things about your response.

    1. The Netherlands article has very little to do with my argument in my original post. If you want to address something germaine to my point, why not address the Canada article linked to on the original blog?

    2. A google search on Stanley Kurtz (who has a doctoral degree in Social Anthropology from Harvard University) and the Netherlands shows that this issue is debatable. I grant that you may have some valid points, but so do those on the opposing side.

    The important point here is that there is a risk, a small risk or a big risk is debatable, but that there is a risk is not debatable. Add to this the fact that social changes always take time, they rarely manifest themselves so quickly and so rapidly (which again is why the Canada article is so important).

    3. I still have not seen you address the core of my argument which shows that,

    A. Many people believe homosexuality issues to be equal to race issues.

    B. If gay marriage is allowed, this number will rise significantly.

    C. These very same people will logically follow those conclusions.

    D. Religions that teach against homosexuality and gay marriage will been seen like racists today.

    Conclusion: Religious freedom is reduced, and threatened.

    What premise do you disagree with, or where does my logical conclusion fail is what I am looking for? As much as I’d like to get into a discussion with you over the Kurtz article, or address some of the other claims you have made, I try very hard to keep focused on every discussion I have. So I will limit myself to responding to the points you made that directly deal with my point at hand (being that gay marriage may threaten religious freedom).


    Thanks for the advice, I’ll try to use less bible verses next time I make an argument. 😉

  19. Observer says:

    Bullshit. 🙂

  20. Kevin Ballie says:

    Hispanic Pundit,

    I have to say that I see your point of anti-gay marriage religious folk becoming scarcer as we progress in time, however in a larger sense that is a sign that our nation is undeniably moving in an inevitable direction of supporting gay marriage. Just since last year, support for gay marriage went from 28% to 37%, still with a strong majority opposed to gay marriage (note that this poll did not include polls on gay civil unions).

    There are many who are still very much against interracial marriage, however general public opinion tolerates it enough so that those who wish to ban it as it was in the past really have no chance. With gay marriage, we are far from that stage, but to see an inevitable shift in that direction, I am touched, moved, and inspired by how our society works to become more inclusive, not less.

    If you comment I might not be able to find this website again so could you please comment on my site? Thanks.

    And let’s not forget that Spain has leegalized gay marriage recently.

  21. Observer,

    Nice to have you back my friend. 🙂


    That is my only point. In this particular blog, I was not making a judgement whether this was good or not, whether this should happen or not, whether this is a cost worth paying, I was only making the claim that it is a cost. For example, had I been a proponent of gay marriage, I would have probably responded to this post, “Yeah, I see your concern, it does sound probable, but so what, it is worth it since gays deserve to be married”. On the other hand, if I was on the fence, I might respond, “Wow, just one more cost associated with gay marriage”. And since I am already an opponent of gay marriage, it is yet one more reason why I dont support gay marriage.

    In other words, in this post I am not address gay marriage per se, but only costs associated with legalizing it. Most people who have responded have addressed gay marriage, and ignored a threat that is there whether you believe in gay marriage or not.

  22. Andy says:

    I just don’t see how seeing anti-gay marriage proponents in the same view as racists inhibits religious freedom.

    Everyone is perfectly allowed to be as close-minded as they want or adhere to whichever sacred text they find sacred. It is when these religions views enter the public sphere and legislation that they are harmful to equality and civil rights.

    I don’t see what the risk is… What future are we scared of? What are actual tangible events that would indicate that this is happening?

    Why do you not approve of gay marriage? Do you feel that I am not capable of maintaining a relationship? Do you feel that I am not capable of raising a child with another man?

    I’m wanting to understand where you draw your beliefs.

  23. Lets say that there were two politicians, one who believed that blacks were inferior to whites and the other who believed gay marriage should not be allowed.

    Given your premise, that gay issues are equal to race issues, how would you say these politicians should be treated? The same right? In other words, gay marriage will push religious people, especially those religious people that believe gay marriage should not be legal, into the corners of society.

    As far as my views on gay marriage, they are all natural based related. In other words, to summarize what I said in more detail here, it all basically boils down to children. Marriage has always been tied to children, and the proper upbringing of children.

    In other words, I am against gay marriage for the same reason that our society currently is against first-cousin marriages, because they are inherently ordered against the procreation of children.

    The loving commitment of a heterosexual union, by its very nature, has the potential for children. It is the core of all families, and something that is cross cultural, it is unique, makes its mark on everyone, and is the basic building block of all societies. It has something that all other unions fall short of, whether they be first cousin unions, polygamous unions, platonic unions, and yes, even homosexual unions.

    And any argument any other union gives to being established into law, the loving heterosexual union has that claim, and more. And therefore should always be seen separate and above all other unions.

    To read more on my views on gay marriage, go here.

  24. myke says:

    there you go with that whole thing with procreation … we whittled that argument away over on … yet you continue to persevere .. how altruistic.

  25. I don’t think I was proven wrong on Oso’s blog, but I guess that is left up to the eye of the beholder. For those who wish to see that exchange and decide for themselves, go here.

  26. DD says:

    I thought HP won that argument. 😉

  27. Andy says:

    Thnx, HP. It was good to better understand your views. I need to engage disagreement more often. Cheers!

  28. Thanks also to you for offering constructive criticism.

    You are certainly welcome here anytime.

  29. myke says:

    at least we know that engaging in discussion of the issue can be had in a civil manner .. and if gay marriage is ever legalized in this country, it won’t be the fall of society. no more than allowing blacks and women to vote or blacks and whites to marry did and people said the same thing would happen if those two things occurred … ‘the sky is falling! the sky is falling’ … i think not. 😉

  30. Actually, the verdict is still open on whether or not gay marriage will be the fall of society. It is still way too early to tell, social changes take time, and the examples of race don’t parallel gay marriage, since racial marriages in no way change the fundamental function of marriage. On the other hand, allowing gay marriage is alot like allowing polygamous unions, it fundamentally changes marriage, and how this will affect society nobody knows.

    I can say this though, when it comes to issues that conservatives have warned will affect society, issues that do fundamentally change things – much like gay marriage will change marriage – things like no fault divorce, welfare programs, and what not, the conservatives have tended to be right.

  31. DD says:

    HP wrote:

    “On the other hand, allowing gay marriage is alot like allowing polygamous unions, it fundamentally changes marriage, and how this will affect society nobody knows”.

    Hmmmm. 😕 Here is one opinion….

  32. myke says:

    HP & DD — I did read the article pointed out above and there was nothing there that comes even close to proving that legalizing gay marriage will lead down the road to polygamy. The author spoke of “a politician” that supported it but didn’t name them. Also, the author themselves described the very liberal professors and organizations as radical. He fears that those on the fringe groups and individuals would gain momentum from the gay marriage/civil union issue itself but there is no evidence of this. What correlations he trys to make are weak at best. Again, I can point out the Netherlands and say that polygamy hasn’t sprouted up as a major issue though gay marriage has been legal there for several years … though I know you’re going to point out to me that you consider that country as a weak example in the same vein that i consider the correlation to polygamy to be weak. Or we could look at vermont where civil unions have been legal for several years. I haven’t seen any strong evidence that polygamous groups are pushing for the same ability.

    I’d have to say that every social change to a sacred institution inevitably will lead to some radical notion of change elsewhere. But society will continue to see the radical as just that in more cases than not and they will stay on the fringe .. polygamy inlcuded. Another point of note .. one thing that is often included in polygamy and is not (& won’t ever be) a socially acceptable part of our society is the arrangement of young girls being forced to marry much older men. Do you honestly think that the majority of our society will ever accept this?

    Look, change in societal norms is constant. Whether it be a woman’s right to vote and acceptance of women as equal to men in society or societal acceptance of gays as positive members of our culture. This doesn’t mean that a landslide will open up leading to the fall of that very society and culture. We’ve seen it over and over again, guys. Change may come in fits and starts but it is inevitable in any maturing society. However, it is also worthy of being pointed out that their are some things that won’t ever be accepted as a result of other changes .. incest .. forced marriage … girls not even in their pre-teens marrying. Those issues right there are much easier to equate in conversation than two committed gay individuals marrying and polygamy.

  33. DD says:

    Myke here are some valid points that the author made in the article:

    Advocacy of legalized polygamy is growing. A network of grass-roots organizations seeking legal recognition for group marriage already exists. The cause of legalized group marriage is championed by a powerful faction of family law specialists. Influential legal bodies in both the United States and Canada have presented radical programs of marital reform. Some of these quasi-governmental proposals go so far as to suggest the abolition of marriage………..When Tom Green was put on trial in Utah for polygamy in 2001, it played like a dress rehearsal for the coming movement to legalize polygamy. True, Green was convicted for violating what he called Utah’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on polygamy. Pointedly refusing to “hide in the closet,” he touted polygamy on the Sally Jessy Raphael, Queen Latifah, Geraldo Rivera, and Jerry Springer shows, and on “Dateline NBC” and “48 Hours.” But the Green trial was not just a cable spectacle. It brought out a surprising number of mainstream defenses of polygamy. And most of the defenders went to bat for polygamy by drawing direct comparisons to gay marriage.

    During the 2004 election, approximately 120 million voted. Approximately 25% of those people voted for Bush, and approximately 25% did not.


    There is really no confidence in leading ‘the people’. Political scientists say that “special interest gourps” love these situations because it increases their legislative power. I agree with that. I think it is probably that polygamy will be legalized.

    The article said: “The ideas behind this movement have already achieved surprising influence with a prominent American politician”.

    I will have to find out which prominent politician this article is referring to. I would venture to say it is a Utah politician. 😉 The Mormon population is huge there.

    Myke wrote: “Also, the author themselves described the very liberal professors and organizations as radical. He fears that those on the fringe groups and individuals would gain momentum from the gay marriage/civil union issue itself but there is no evidence of this”.

    Make note of the following within the article:

    Writing in the Village Voice, gay leftist Richard Goldstein equated the drive for state-sanctioned polygamy with the movement for gay marriage. The political reluctance of gays to embrace polygamists was understandable, said Goldstein, “but our fates are entwined in fundamental ways.”
    Libertarian Jacob Sullum defended polygamy, along with all other consensual domestic arrangements, in the Washington Times. Syndicated liberal columnist Ellen Goodman took up the cause of polygamy with a direct comparison to gay marriage. Steve Chapman, a member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board, defended polygamy in the Tribune and in Slate. The New York Times published a Week in Review article juxtaposing photos of Tom Green’s family with sociobiological arguments about the naturalness of polygamy and promiscuity.

    In regards to the ACLU and what the ACLU Utah legal director says:

    The ACLU’s Matt Coles may have derided the idea of a slippery slope from gay marriage to polygamy, but the ACLU itself stepped in to help Tom Green during his trial and declared its support for the repeal of all “laws prohibiting or penalizing the practice of plural marriage.” There is of course a difference between repealing such laws and formal state recognition of polygamous marriages. Neither the ACLU nor, say, Ellen Goodman has directly advocated formal state recognition. Yet they give us no reason to suppose that, when the time is ripe, they will not do so. Stephen Clark, the legal director of the Utah ACLU, has said, “Talking to Utah’s polygamists is like talking to gays and lesbians who really want the right to live their lives.”

    Can legalizing polygamy lead to polyamory? See a trend taking place below:

    “Polyamorists trace their descent from the anti-monogamy movements of the sixties and seventies–everything from hippie communes, to the support groups that grew up around Robert Rimmer’s 1966 novel “The Harrad Experiment,” to the cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Polyamorists proselytize for “responsible non-monogamy”–open, loving, and stable sexual relationships among more than two people. The modern polyamory movement took off in the mid-nineties–partly because of the growth of the Internet (with its confidentiality), but also in parallel to, and inspired by, the rising gay marriage movement.

    Unlike classic polygamy, which features one man and several women, polyamory comprises a bewildering variety of sexual combinations. There are triads of one woman and two men; heterosexual group marriages; groups in which some or all members are bisexual; lesbian groups, and so forth. (For details, see Deborah Anapol’s “Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits,” one of the movement’s authoritative guides, or Google the word polyamory.)

    Polyamorists are enthusiastic proponents of same-sex marriage. Obviously, any attempt to restrict marriage to a single man and woman would prevent the legalization of polyamory.

    Myke wrote:

    “Also, the author themselves described the very liberal professors and organizations as radical”.

    I believe the below individuals ARE radical. They are trying to change what is considered customary.

    And like Ettelbrick, Polikoff is part of a movement whose larger goal is to use legal gay marriage to push for state-sanctioned polyamory–the ultimate subversion of marriage itself. Polikoff and Ettelbrick represent what is arguably now the dominant perspective within the discipline of family law.

    Cornell University law professor Martha Fineman is another key figure in the field of family law. In her 1995 book “The Neutered Mother, the Sexual Family, and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies,” she argued for the abolition of marriage as a legal category. Fineman’s book begins with her recollection of an experience from the late seventies in politically radical Madison, Wisconsin.

    But it’s University of Utah law professor Martha Ertman who stands on the cutting edge of family law. Building on Fineman’s proposals for the abolition of legal marriage, Ertman has offered a legal template for a sweeping relationship contract system modeled on corporate law. (See the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review, Winter 2001.)

    In 1996, in the Michigan Law Review, David Chambers, a professor of law at the University of Michigan and another prominent member of this group, explained why radical opponents of marriage ought to support gay marriage. Rather than reinforcing a two-person definition of marriage, argued Chambers, gay marriage would make society more accepting of further legal changes. “By ceasing to conceive of marriage as a partnership composed of one person of each sex, the state may become more receptive to units of three or more.”

    Finally, Martha Minow of Harvard Law School deserves mention. Minow has not advocated state-sanctioned polygamy or polyamory, but the principles she champions pave the way for both. Minow argues that families need to be radically redefined, putting blood ties and traditional legal arrangements aside and attending instead to the functional realities of new family configurations.

    The article you read also addressed conjugality which is another concern we should keep in mind.

    The article brings up valid points in regards to these radical people……or people who are trying to change what is considered customary.

    Gay ‘marriage of convenience’ probable?

    I think the article brings about valid concerns where it states:

    IRONICALLY, the form of gay matrimony that may pose the greatest threat to the institution of marriage involves heterosexuals. A Brigham Young University professor, Alan J. Hawkins, suggests an all-too-likely scenario in which two heterosexuals of the same sex might marry as a way of obtaining financial benefits. Consider the plight of an underemployed and uninsured single mother in her early 30s who sees little real prospect of marriage (to a man) in her future. Suppose she has a good friend, also female and heterosexual, who is single and childless but employed with good spousal benefits. Sooner or later, friends like this are going to start contracting same-sex marriages of convenience. The single mom will get medical and governmental benefits, will share her friend’s paycheck, and will gain an additional caretaker for the kids besides. Her friend will gain companionship and a family life. The marriage would obviously be sexually open. And if lightning struck and the right man came along for one of the women, they could always divorce and marry heterosexually.

    In a narrow sense, the women and children in this arrangement would be better off. Yet the larger effects of such unions on the institution of marriage would be devastating. At a stroke, marriage would be severed not only from the complementarity of the sexes but also from its connection to romance and sexual exclusivity–and even from the hope of permanence. In Hawkins’s words, the proliferation of such arrangements “would turn marriage into the moral equivalent of a Social Security benefit.” The effect would be to further diminish the sense that a woman ought to be married to the father of her children. In the aggregate, what we now call out-of-wedlock births would increase. And the connection between marriage and sexual fidelity would be nonexistent”.

    All in all, I think the article brought up some very good points, one thing that I believe the article failed to address which has been at the back of my mind, (particularly when the article was addressing ‘grassroots’)……..

    ……….with the introduction of polygamy and polyamory in the works…..will this also bring about change of the appropriate ‘age of consent’?

    It was ‘typically’ acceptable in the mid 19th century for the appropriate age of consent to be between ten through to thirteen.

    Fifteen through eighteen had become the ‘norm’ in many countries by the end of the 20th century.

    If Utah is trying to go back to their ‘grassroots’, their grassroots also include having sex with 10 year olds.

    If and when polygamy is legalized, will these same ‘groups’ push the legal age of consent to the grassroots of age 10 – 15?

  34. DD says:

    HP: Is there a way we can edit our comments?


  35. DD,

    No, sorry.


    You keep referring to countries with relatively recent gay marriage laws as examples that what conservatives predict will not happen, but as I have said repeatedly, social changes take time (which again is why the Canada article I linked to in this blog is so important, the fact that religious freedom is threatened so early in Canada leads one to believe that religious freedom will start to go elsewhere much quicker than the speed of normal social changes), certainly atleast one generation of time.

    For example, conservatives predicted that legalized abortion would lead to the acceptance of infanticide, and everybody thought pro-lifers were crazy, yet now we have university professors openly admiting they support a weak form of infanticide. Many other examples of conservatives being right can also be given.

    In addition, Matthew Yglesias himself admits that with the allowance of gay marriage polygamous relationships are sure to be around the corner, he writes,

    Now I think it’s just great that the slope has slipped as far as it does, and hope it will slip more. So I have mixed feelings about the pragmatic political necessity of convincing people that the slope will not, in fact, slip. But it seems to me that gay marriage probably will lead — not as a matter of metaphysical certainty, but just as a matter of banal causal fact — to some kind of legal recognition of polyamorous relationships at some point down the road. And I think that’s fine. Just like I’m not particularly frightened of the prospect of human/animal hybrids or a world where pushy transgendereds abolish gender-segregated bathrooms.

    But I think you are still missing my greater point here, that being that if gay marriage is allowed, it strips marriage of its objective meaning, and marriage now becomes nothing more than a power grab.

    If you think I am wrong, than please tell me, on what basis would you deny allowing polygamous unions to also marry?

  36. Eric says:

    Well, I honestly don’t see what the ‘problem’ is with gay marriage. Perhaps that’s because I’m gay. Perhaps it’s because equal protection and rights and all that other legal nonsense is the ‘right’ thing to do (from a lefty perspective).

    Do I want to commit myself to someone for the rest of my life and provide a loving, nurturing and caring environment for that person in which he can thrive as a person? Undoubtedly.

    Do I want to get married? I, and many of my close friends, would only want to get married if it would confer the same rights and such that are currently conferred to heterosexual couples. You might say, “Why wouldn’t you want to get married? Isn’t that what ‘you people’ have been struggling for for so long?” The so-called sanctity of marriage has been long-since annulled by reality television, dramatic celebrities, Las Vegas and the ever-changing and ever-disappointing American cultural ideals that seem to always point to materialism and immediacy as opposed to emotional engagement, true commitment and the patience that a loving relationship deserves and necessitates. Why would I want to spend countless hours of stressful, self-induced torture painstakingly putting together a symbolic ceremony that has been cheapened to the tune of millions of dollars behind the cameras of cable television as of recent? Would it be so that I can show off a hunk of metal wrapped around one of my digits? Would it be so that I could ‘prove’ my devotion and love in front of everyone that received an invitation?

    Well, here might be some news for some people. Nobody needs a ring to symbolize unity and commitment if they make it a point to show their dedication to the aforementioned on a regular basis. Actions speak louder than words, and even words speak louder than Tiffany & Co.

    Additionally, proving your love to to your significant other needs only involve your significant other. If you love that special someone enough, it will become quite obvious to everyone around you and all those that you interact with on a routine basis. Sometimes it even occurs much to the lament of the single people in your life. They’ll get over it and they’ll be just as happy for you, with or without the reception and the cake.

    For all the homosexual people that I know, marriage is not about religion and it’s certainly not about all the things it would seem that the heterosexual sanctity of marriage has apparently come to mean. It’s about equality.

    Regarding a ‘god-type’ and His/Her/Its ‘manual’: I find it amusing how convenient that line of Leviticus is to *everyone* that is against gay marriage and homosexuality in general. If it’s such an abomination, and if the ‘manual’ is to be taken quite literally (at least that’s the way I’ve always heard it put to me), then flip back a bit and look at Leviticus 11:7 or Leviticus 10-12. These few verses are just an example of how it’s also “abomination” (read “sinful” a.k.a. “burn in hell”) to eat swine and shellfish. There are many, many other things that the ‘good book’ tells us not to do, or to do, that we indulge in or refrain from, whichever is the exact thing that we’re not supposed to be doing. I really wish that some people would re-think that whole “mote and beam” thing before bringing religion into the scene. If those people that tell me that I need to repent and that I can be ‘saved’ have no guilt chowing down at Red Lobster after the morning service every other week or so, then I can certainly fall asleep every night next to the one I love without a twinge.

    Regarding ‘the institution’ being destroyed by allowing same-sex marriages: Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire?, Temptation Island, Who Wants To Marry My Dad?, Britney Spears, The Bachelorette… I don’t think I need to go on any longer. Marriage already is a power grab in and it’s colored green. ‘Straight America’ is doing a swell job of destroying its own precious “sacred institution of marriage” without us. Giving the same rights and equality under the law to same-sex couples most certainly would not be the end of the world, nor of the sanctity of the aforementioned institution. The relgious aspect of marriage isn’t once that any of my gay friends ever even want to come close to. Like I mentioned before, it’s about legal equality. The same doomsday prophets and naysayers said many of the same types of things when it came to granting equality based on race or gender. Did the sky fall?

    Regarding procreation and the worthiness of a couple: So I guess it’s safe to say that those heterosexual couples in which one is congenitally infertile or perhaps paraplegic or otherwise unable to produce offspring are “lesser”? If that’s the way you feel then that’s the way that you feel, but I’d always thought that a union was about two people loving and sharing their lives together, in good times and in bad, with or without children. Did they recently splice in “…and produce plenty of offspring…” somewhere into the vows?

    So where do I stand? After reading all of this, you might think that I’m a proponent of gay marriage. As it turns out, I really don’t care. I simply want to be seen and respected and acknowledged as just as much of a human being and a person as my good friends of years and years. Yet I can’t have that. At least not yet. Does that mean that I want to walk down the aisle at some point? Some days I think it’d be nice and other days I’d rather the ‘traditional’ part of America keep the ceremonies and throwing of rice all to themselves because the symbolism of the whole ordeal is quickly becoming an ugly shadow of what it was when my parents were married (and it still means the same to them, even though the rest of the nation seems to have changed its mind).

    If I’ve offended anyone with my comments, forgive me for being unapologetic, but I’m just “leaving a comment”. I didn’t come here to troll or incite flames, but if I did, that’s simply a result of the way that I voice myself, I suppose. Perhaps I shouldn’t be googling at 4am. 🙂


  37. Good stuff Eric, and no, you didn’t insult anybody.

    Theres a few things I want to respond, but I don’t have the energy right now (to adequately address your points, it requires a somewhat long response). I am studying for a Monday quiz and a Friday midterm for my summer school class.

    Hopefully when all of that is done I’ll have the energy to respond.

  38. St Lou Guy says:

    I found this string and found its contents very thought provoking. I find it somewhat hard to swallow that treating Gays as equals in society will somehow push religion to the sidelines, the analogy was that it would be like as it was put “a ban on race or gender”. I am confused by this…you could establish a religion that discriminated against race or gender – some would say the Mormons do now. I am not certain I agree with that contention, but I feel as if what you are really seeking is the right to profess items as religious tenets and not be challenged….good luck with that. You have the rights to espouse any views you like, under religious or other organizational structures. I have the right to disagree. To attempt to deny equal treatment to any people(s) from scriptural reading that at their very best were warped in their translation is not, in my opinion, palatable. Our system of government, when it works, was designed to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. The reason you do not see religions sprouting up espousing that interracial marriage or rights for Blacks should be denied is not becuase they couldn’t attempt to justify such behavior from scriptural reading (they did prior to the 60’s) Its because Americans got tired of seeing minorities treated like second-class citizens, even by “people of faith” and passed laws to attempt to level the playing field. If those laws didn’t exist and societies views had not been shaped by them, we would still see bans on interacial marriage in some states on the grounds of religious tenets. Fortunately that is not so much the case these days, and the number of americans who count themselves as religious has grown both in numbers and in percentage, the changes in societal thinking did not marginalize religion at all. If you saying that the preacher can’t jump up in the pulpit and condemn some race without reprecussion, I agree..but it sure isn’t because they are marginalized, it is becuase as a society we view social justice as being more important than any one religions view on race, gender or sexuality. Heck, the churches themselves cannot agree on what the scriptures mean regarding homosexuality. I am gay and I can’t bend them to say that its allowed, but I sure think its a stretch of translation to say its banned. If there is no clarity, in a democracy I think we err on the side of equality for all peoples in these United States, I think I read in one of those documents the forefathers wrote that that was how we were supposed to do it. I know it seems like we have implemented it in steps…but as we become a more informed people, we begin to see that marginalizing or keeping anyone from equal protections and rights under the laws make us a weaker, not stronger society.

  39. DD says:

    St Lou Guy Wrote:

    “Our system of government, when it works, was designed to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority”.

    Key word is tyranny.

    I doubt our government will be under tyrannical rule.

    A point in Mary Ann’s article:

    “Whether one is for, against or undecided about same-sex marriage, a decision this important ought to be made in the ordinary democratic way–through full public deliberation in the light of day, not by four people behind closed doors”.

    I think our founding fathers wanted balance in our government…… be ruled by many, as well as protecting the minority. 😉

  40. Randy Blue says:

    Yes thanks for your honesty. That is very refreshing on the net these days.


  41. Observer says:

    For the love of God, let the homos marry!!!

    Show some tolerance for once in your Republican life. 🙂

  42. […] is precisely what Mary Ann Glendon, Professor of Law At Harvard University, referred to when she wrote: Religious freedom, too, is at stake. As much as one may wish to live and let live, the experience […]

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