I Was Wrong About Same-Sex Marriage

June 27th, 2011 at 12:09 pm David Frum | 205 Comments |

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As I discuss in my CNN column, New York’s just-passed same-sex marriage law has been received with equanimity by the same conservatives who just a decade or so ago would have ardently opposed such a measure. I should know: I used to be among the naysayers.

I was a strong opponent of same-sex marriage. Fourteen years ago, Andrew Sullivan and I forcefully debated the issue at length online (at a time when online debate was a brand new thing).

Yet I find myself strangely untroubled by New York state’s vote to authorize same-sex marriage — a vote that probably signals that most of “blue” states will follow within the next 10 years.

I don’t think I’m alone in my reaction either. Most conservatives have reacted with calm — if not outright approval — to New York’s dramatic decision.


The short answer is that the case against same-sex marriage has been tested against reality. The case has not passed its test.

Since 1997, same-sex marriage has moved from theory to reality.

If people like me had been right, we should have seen the American family become radically more unstable over the subsequent decade and a half.

Read the column here.

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205 Comments so far ↓

  • Frumplestiltskin

    abk1985, if you are not looking for exclusivity, then why get married? Are you saying that gays do it simply for tax purposes? The fact that people cheat does not nullify the whole point of marriage vows. And I know gays who have broken up because their partner was unfaithful. Anyway, I think you also misunderstood my point, marriage is different because it includes the sexual act within it, (I was referring to notthinkers point about marrying your mother) otherwise you can just assign power of attorney and other such things. And by sex I just don’t mean intercourse, intimacy is an important element as well, which is why spouses can not be compelled to testify against their spouse. I never claimed that marriage is anything beyond that which is derived by law.
    And even though I think you misread my statement (I never said inherently exclusive) I actually agree with what you believed I initially said.
    Are you stating that there should be a seperate category of marriage for gays that include a license to cheat based on…polls? I am not advocating criminalizing adultery. People know the risks. I think though that society itself has in its own best interest to encourage monogamy, whether gay or straight. You do have the public health reason (there would be no aids, virtually no STD’s if people were faithful) and you do have the notion of jealousy, which is intensely volatile. What starts as open doesn’t stay open. And you state that gays don’t have children, many, in fact, do have families. Lesbians have children and many gay male couples adopt or have a surrogate. Would you think it a healthy environment for children to live in an environment of open promiscous and anonymous sex?
    Again, we are not bonobos. We can strive to have ideal versions of marriage even when people falter.
    I personally don’t care if some gay couples have open relationships, it isn’t my business but we simply can’t reclassify the whole concept of marriage because of the personal lifestyle choices of 2 people.

  • Hunter01

    Can someone lay out the constitutional argument for why marriage restrictions should be determined by the states? Put a little differently, at what point does the scope (and restriction) of individual rights become a federal matter? Any constitutional lawyers out there want to take a shot at this? Would very much appreciate the information.

  • drdredel


    “blah blah blah… biblical morality etc etc ”

    You show me the most vile, ugly, hateful, blood thirsty, sexually depraved, twisted, despicable works of modern fiction you can find, and I’ll take 15 seconds to find you passages from your holy text to make your examples look like mother goose.

    If ever there was an oxymoron it would be the term “biblical morality” in the context of something positive!

    Why don’t you sit down and actually READ that piece of filth… it might change your tune about both the nature of your god and, if you’re not a complete moron, might humble you to refrain from judgement based on such disgusting works of iron age savagery.

    • vivianclare

      Dr. Dredel – you describe the Bible as a piece of “filth”, I believe. Why? Be specific. Yes, there are instances of vile behavior in it, vile behavior which God says he despises, and which he punishes. Would you prefer a God who does not punish evil, but lets it continually fester, so that it harms as many people as possible? Just what do you consider filth?

      • CanadianLiberal

        I can’t speak for DrDredel, but I consider the following filth:

        “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” Numbers 31:17-18

        “For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” Exodus 17:16

        “Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.” Isaiah 13:16

        I could go on, this is just a tiny sample from your “holy” book. Filth.

        • indy

          Don’t forget my favorite:

          Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. Leviticus 25:44

          I’ll make you a good deal for vivianclare.

      • Nanotek

        vivianclare– “Dr. Dredel – you describe the Bible as a piece of ‘filth’, I believe. Why? Be specific. … Would you prefer a God who does not punish evil, but lets it continually fester, so that it harms as many people as possible? Just what do you consider filth?”

        the Bible has no moral authority IMO … it seems the Devil wrote the Bible abut gave your God the credit, clever that he’s reported to be:

        However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

        When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

        Kill People for Working on the Sabbath
        The LORD then gave these further instructions to Moses: ‘Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to remember that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. Yes, keep the Sabbath day, for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest. I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.’ (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)

        Kill People Who Don’t Listen to Priests
        Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

        Kill Witches
        You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

        Kill Homosexuals
 “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

        Kill Fortunetellers
        A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

        Death for Hitting Dad
        Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

        Death for Cursing Parents

        All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

        Death for Adultery
        If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

        Death for Fornication
        A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

        Death to Followers of Other Religions
        Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

        Kill Nonbelievers
        They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

        Kill False Prophets
        If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, “You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.” When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

        Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God
        Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

        Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night
        But if this charge is true (that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)

        Kill Followers of Other Religions.
        1) If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

        2) Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)

        Death for Blasphemy
        One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father got into a fight with one of the Israelite men. During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the LORD’s name. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother’s name was Shelomith. She was the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They put the man in custody until the LORD’s will in the matter should become clear. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard him to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who blaspheme God will suffer the consequences of their guilt and be punished. Anyone who blasphemes the LORD’s name must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the LORD’s name will surely die. (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)

        on and on and on the evil goes

  • LFC

    Reading the arguments here and other places against gay marriage, they seem to boil down to a few things:

    1) God hates it
    2) It (somehow, but the “logic” is always strained) will hurt “traditional” marriage
    3) It’s icky

    Pretty weak gruel when balanced against blocking loving gay couples from the same basic institution available to hetero couples.

    • vivianclare

      We’ll see about that. Let’s see how many gay couples actually stay together and are monogamous. Let’s see how divorce will work out for them. My advice: save up a minimum of $40,000 if there’s any possibility of a divorce down the horizon. Many gay sources admit that their idea of gay marriage does NOT include faithfulness. So, I’d like to see, for a change, a few honest reasons for expecting society to call a homosexual relationship a “marriage”? Care to answer? As in, how will that improve society, how will it improve the life of the homosexual who “marries”? What will be different for a homosexual couple who “marries” as opposed to one who does not? That’s the question I would most like to see answered.

      • dante

        You have zero proof for any of that which you just stated. I’ll throw down a nice crisp $5 that says that in 10 years gays have lower rates of divorce than heterosexuals.


      • think4yourself

        @ Vivianclaire: The answers to your questions about homosexuality and whether they will have better divorce rates doesn’t matter. Perhaps it will be better, perhaps worse, but unless you plan to mandate that heterosexuals getting married can never be divorced then your point is irrelevant. Gay people ought to have the same right to choose whom they marry as straight people regardless of the outcome of that marriage.

      • CanadianLiberal

        In the Netherlands, where gay marriage has been legal since 2001, gay and heterosexual divorce rates are equal at 1 %. This is the most reliable statistic so far, as the Netherlands was the first country to legalize gay marriage.

        They have a very low divorce rate. It’s also interesting to note the fact that approx. 40% of the Dutch population are atheists. In addition to astronomically low divorce rates, they have one of the lowest abortion rates in Europe and their crime rate is so low, they had to close 8 prisons in 2009.

        So, how’s that conservative christianity working out for all of you?

  • hisgirlfriday


    Marriage has historically been decided by the states because it’s an institution that predated our U.S. Constitution and our federal government so when the government got involved it only made sense that it was something regulated at the local level (like most things) because there was no reason to worry about Congress passing a law about it (until DOMA) and there’s no explicit “right to marriage” in the U.S. Constitution.

    The way that a state’s restriction on marriage possibly violates someone’s individual rights is under the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Similarly to the way that the U.S. Supreme Court wound up invalidating anti-miscegenation statutes on due process violation and equal protection violation grounds in Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court will probably invalidate all state restrictions on gay marriage eventually.

  • LFC

    Wow. I knew John Guardiano was an unapologetic warmonger who would bankrupt our nation to keep us continually invading countries he doesn’t like, but it turns out he hates gays too:


    Nice of him to attempt to invalidate my incredibly happy 20+ year marriage because my wife and I chose not to have children, partly due to her health issues. (I guess people who medically shouldn’t have children have no business getting married.) And it’s also nice of him to fail to acknowledge the gay couples who are already successfully raising and loving children in our society.

    • CanadianLiberal

      Haha! This guys seems to be blaming the gays for increased rates of out-of-wedlock births. I don’t think he knows what “gay” means.

  • ChallengingFrum

    What David misses of course is that SSM is outgrowth a society that has ALREADY devalued marriage.

    As for statistics, can divorce rates get any higher? Any plateau in divorce during the 2000s would probably have more to do with the economy or shifting demographics.

    Finally, if you really want to prove why your wrong…please explain why the state shouldn’t recognize the loving, committed relationships between polygamists?

    Otherwise, good job David you are ready to go back to your Yale reunion and tell everyone how much you have grown.

    • TJ Parker

      Yeah! If we’re going to base our notions of marriage on the Bible, then polygamy is part of the package! Its the Biblical way of doing things.

      Dude, your notions of marriage don’t come from tradition or the Bible. They come from Father Knows Best. I’ll bet you’re old enough to remember the original broadcasts.

    • jakester

      Oh give me a break. While I deplore the breakdown of marriages and the skyrocketing growth of fatherless kids and unwed mothers, gay marriage has NOTHING, repeat NOTHING, to do with any of that. Blaming gay marriage for a trend that has been almost 50 years in the making is the height of dishonesty and/or bad logic.

  • japhi

    “Finally, if you really want to prove why your wrong…please explain why the state shouldn’t recognize the loving, committed relationships between polygamists?”

    Maybe they should? If all parties are legal age, and doing so on their own will who cares how people live.

  • FacingHarshRealities

    Hello, Mr. Frum:

    I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “Better a gay marriage than a tragic one.”


    If you are really serious about personally promoting stable marriages, then you must investigate the #1 primary cause of unstable families. No it’s not gay relationships, it is abuse in the home.

    The objective, very experienced behavioral health professionals in the know will tell you that they believe unreported, covert, serious abuse (including the generally disregarded mental abuse) occurs in 50% of families. If you are really committed to preventing the deterioration of the family, then research this. Go to the women and families shelters and centers; talk to counselors who are very experienced and trained specifically in the psychology of family abuse and the resulting post traumatic stress disorder (shockingly, most therapists are not!).

    Our society does not want to face–nor properly define–abuse (especially mental abuse) in the home. It is routinely swept under the rug or blamed on drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, etc. Those are more often the symptoms and results of domestic violence, not necessarily the cause.

    I have heard and read here and there that studies are being done to determine how many contemporary divorces are due to women leaving abusive husbands, because the general opinion is that abused women are filing for divorce more now than ever. If you are serious about promoting healthy marriages and families, research this, and get involved.

    Very importantly, anyone can easily Google “Malignant Narcissism” or “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. These are the omnipresent covert abusers who until recently have been able to completely hide behind closed doors . It is only recently being assumed by many professionals that ALL abusers are malignant narcissists, an incurable personality disorder.

    Write about it, spread the word: We women and children need and deserve to truly be safe and happy in our own homes, not just pretending to be. The ultimate goal of all forms of abuse is power and control. All forms of abuse are ultimately mental abuse that leave the victim mentally beaten into helpless submission .Too many of us put on a happy face in public and then go home to be afraid, miserable, hopeless and alone; it’s referred to as “The Code of Silence.” That’s how it’s always been because there is virtually no where really effective to turn for proactive help and protection unless you have lots of money, which is unlikely.

    Better a committed, responsible gay marriage than a nightmarish straight one.


  • Frumplestiltskin

    As to polygamy, I challenge all readers here to show me where there are polygamous marriages in which one woman was married to 4 men. It just doesn’t happen in society. In all the world I know of only 2 cultural cases, one in India where a woman marries 2 brothers, and in the few matriarchal societies where children are raised by the woman and her family (brother acting as father) with the real father as the visitor. It simply is not common. However we do have examples of what happens when polygamy is practiced here in the FLDS, the church elders take many wives and later on kick out excess males, essentially excommunicate them for make believe offenses.

    Polygamy as is really practiced is a tool of oppression and dominance. Imagine a world in which millions of surplus men have no hope of marriage.

    No, polygamy is bad for society. Every male here, tell me that you would be perfectly happy having your wife share her bed part time with another man? And if you are saying somehow there will be 3 men and 3 women swapping and sharing, that is a highly unstable situation in itself.

    Give it up on the polygamy angle. It isn’t going to happen

  • vivianclare

    Mr. Frum, I think you’re being very hasty in your conclusion that gay marriage has no effect. It hasn’t been around long enough, is not actually available or respected nationally, and it’s way too early for you to be pontificating that it has no effect. First of all, you claim that conservatives have not said much about this recent development in NY. I think you have drawn the wrong conclusion from that. Let’s face it, conservatives have given up on New York City as having any common sense long ago. NYC is hardly a bastion of conservatism, being as it is a magnet for those wishing to live in a full-blown gay lifestyle, and is on record of being a place with an extremely low average of charitable giving on a per capital basis. It has been a city for decades which was seen as mecca for those seeking to earn a living from the arts and looking for approval there, and as a hell-hole in which immigrants arrive, take the first lowly job they can find, save money, and then get the hell away as far as they possibly can. Those who stay in NYC are not like the rest of the state, and definitely not like the rest of the country. Conservatives expect nothing but RINOs from the GOP inside the state.
    You also have not considered what will be the effects on Christians or on the personal freedoms of Americans long term. Promoting homosexuality is a road which will increase the demands on health care, driving up costs, as it is a proven fact that homosexuals incur, on the average, higher medical costs, not all of which come from AIDs. Promoting discrimination and hate-speech against Christians not to mention outright persecution of Christians for their beliefs will doubtless be the outgrowth of this incursion into the state legal system whereever SSM is law. Having read the many hate-filled messages directed to Christians on blogs on that subject should be a dire warning to you. I invite you to voyage around the world to the current violent persecution of Christians, and to remember your own Jewish heritage, and then tell me this is not a possibility. I hope you will do a bit more long-term thinking before speaking out of turn.

    • CanadianLiberal

      I find that what most Christians call “hate speech”, the rest of us call rational thinking. Are you aware, VivianClare, that the group with the highest divorce rate in the USA is Conservative Christians? And that the group with the lowest rate is atheists? So, I think that the real way to save marriage is to ban Christians from marrying, since they are the one who are truly screwing it up!

      Your post is just bigoted nonsense.

      • TJ Parker

        Christians are among the most foul-mouthed, vulgar liars that I’ve met in my life.

        • anniemargret

          TJ. Be careful not to subscribe to the Some/All Fallacy. Some Christians are bad. Many are good. The problem is that you don’t hear the good.

          I’ve met my share of nasty people in my life, and they come from everywhere. There is no label that a person can pin on another race/creed/culture without becoming stereotypical. You wouldn’t want homosexuality to be stereotyped, and neither should any group either. Let’s try to find the good out there.

          c’mon. I understand your frustrations….but there is good everywhere and in the Christian community as well.

        • Primrose

          Hear. Here Annie Margaret. Plenty of people are christians for the best possible reasons. Plenty are not. No need to Bash all in order object to one.

    • Watusie

      vivianclare, the divorce rate in NY State is 2.5 divorces per 1,000 of population. That is LOWER than every single red state in the country.

      And the rest of you post is just as ridiculous.

  • _will_

    i’m sure it’s already been mentioned, but the only true conservative approach to marriage is to get the govt out of it entirely. allow for civil unions for all (consenting adults, two at a time) if you need a legal appeal. let churches decide who they’ll “marry.”

    if you have a problem with this then you simply have no respect for the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses. why do you hate the Constitution and America???

  • Frumplestiltskin

    By the way, for you Americanos:
    This is from last year:
    Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that all 31 states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in the capital, though its decision does not force those states to begin marrying gay couples in their territory.
    In a 9-2 decision, the tribunal cited an article of the constitution requiring states to recognize legal contracts drawn up elsewhere.
    It did not specify what degree of recognition must be granted to same-sex couples.
    Mexico City’s same-sex marriage law, enacted in March, extends to wedded gay couples the right to adopt children, to jointly apply for bank loans, to inherit wealth and to be covered by their spouses’ insurance policies. Some of those may end up applying only in the capital.
    The Supreme Court ruled last week that same-sex weddings are constitutional

    How many posters here even knew this? Mexico having troubles has everything to do with drugs and nothing to do with gay marriage.

    • CanadianLiberal

      I would agree with all of what you said, Frumpelstilskin, except that it’s not drugs that cause the problems in Mexico, it’s the “War on Drugs” being eternally and hopelessly waged by the USA that is causing problems. No prohibition = no need for violent gangs = less violence.

      Legalize it. (and tax it!)

  • drdredel


    CanadianLib sums it up nicely, but that is the tippiest tip of the iceberg. In any event, my argument wasn’t that the Bible is filth (that’s self evident); my argument is that people have the audacity to claim some sort of moral authority BASED on it! I would look for an analogy that could shine a light on the hypocrisy of such an arrangement, but using this text as a marker for decency is itself the most vivid example of such back-asswardness that I can think of.

    • anniemargret

      drdredel. You make a good case against the O.T. Personally I’ve always thought the OT God was probably alien in origin….you know….the ‘gods from the sky’ which are found in so many literary cultures of the world. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

      OTOH, Jesus gave us some spirituality to embrace, that is both loving and forgiving. I cannot fault with that, as this sorry world needs more of it. If a religion propels a person to live a better life to help others, solve the world’s problems, create more peace, love and harmony for this planet we live on, then I bless it.

  • anniemargret

    I apologize because I haven’t yet read all the bloggers here. But as a left of center Democrat, I am conflicted. I believe every human being should not be barred from the same rights as others, so that part of me leans toward homosexuals getting married. My own marriage to my husband is not imperiled because two men or two women want to live together in a legal married state. Cheating spouses, emotional and physical abuse and subsequent divorce is much more dangerous to the child than homosexual marriage.

    My problem lies with children. Yes, I believe two men or two women can raise a child. That is not the problem per se. The problem as I see it is that the ideal situation for a child is to have both sexes represented within their lives. More and more we see evidence that children need a mother and a father – a woman and a man.

    There are so many children now growing up without fathers – a man’s influence in their lives. Both young men and young women need the father. Both need the nurturing of the mother. Our jails are filled with young men who did not have a good father influence in their lives.

    I am very stuck in this. Very conflicted because I believe homosexuality is something you don’t acquire, but is innate. Because it is innate and intrinsic to biology of the human being (and in the animal kingdom as well), then I cannot in good conscience say that two human beings shouldn’t make legal, or even sanctify, a marriage if permitted. Who am I to say they shouldn’t?

    On the other hand, I am less inclined to think that children who lack the influence of a woman (Mother) and a man (Father) do less well in life than those that do.

    And I believe the family unit is the strength of a healthy society. Divorce is rampant…and we are seeing the consequences of this.

    I don’t need to excoriate religious people, who feel strongly about this, as I am somewhat religious in nature, but to me, this is more of an cultural/societal issue that can be debated and discussed without everyone throwing hate-bombs at each other.

    • CanadianLiberal

      anniemargret, you should look at this study. (reported on here: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1994480,00.html ). It is a longitudinal, prospective study of children raised from birth by lesbian couples. Not only did the children do as well as their peers, they did better than their peers in several areas of psychological functioning at age 18. They did better academically and were less inclined to aggression and rule breaking. Not only that, but in their sample, their was not a single case of physical or sexual abuse.

      I think the question about gay parenting has been answered, not just in this study, but in others as well. I have yet to hear any credible (i.e. reality based) reason to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry. All the arguments fall flat when examined.

      Children of gay parents are not more likely to be gay themselves (Bailey, Bobrow, Wolfe, & Mikach, 1995; Gottman, 1990; Golombok et al., 1983) or have confused gender identities (Golombok et al., 1983; Gottman, 1990).

      Studies of other aspects of personal development among children of gay and lesbian
      parents have assessed a broad array of characteristics. Among these have been
      separation-individuation (Steckel, 1985, 1987), psychiatric evaluations (Golombok et al.,
      1983; Kirkpatrick et al., 1981), assessments of behavior problems (Flaks, Ficher,
      Masterpasqua and Joseph, 1995; Golombok et al., 1983; Patterson, 1994a), personality
      (Gottman, 1990), self-concept (Gottman, 1990; Huggins, 1989; Patterson, 1994a;
      Puryear, 1983), locus of control (Puryear, 1983; Rees, 1979), moral judgment (Rees,
      1979), and intelligence (Green et al., 1986). These studies have revealed no major differences in these children.

      [Sorry, I'm a grad student, citations are automatic!]

      • anniemargret

        canadianliberal. Thank you for your response to my ‘conflict.’ I haven’t the slightest conflict that gay people should marry. It is the only moral response to being human in this world. I can’t think of something more wonderful that two people devoted to each other, trying to make the other one safe and happy and calm and peaceful.

        We need more of it!

        Your stats on children raised in gay homes is interesting…and I am not doubtful of it per se. I think if two people, hetero- or homo- are basically decent, loving, kind, disciplined people then there shouldn’t be any worry overmuch that children from that home would also be the same.

        I guess for myself I have to say I was blessed with a very loving involved father, who took time to be a great parent to me and my sister. So I cannot imagine not having a father. On the other hand, I know I was lucky, because just having a ‘father’ or ‘mother in the home doesn’t necessarily spell out happiness. There is such a thing as really bad parents, sadly.

        I think we are seeing a cultural change happening in our society and the wheels of change grind slowly. There was time – not too long ago – when two people from two different ethnic backgrounds couldn’t even marry with blessing! Jews and Gentiles couldn’t go anywhere near those marriage vows, or the Italian couldn’t marry the Irish, etc…

        Soon the last boundaries will give way…. races marrying other races, cultures marrying outside of their cultures, and homosexual marriages both legalized and blessed.

        And did anyone catch Republican Sen Mark Grisanti’s eloquent speech on same subject? I was very moved by it.

    • Primrose

      I understand where you are at Annie Margaret, but neither the state nor society insists that children do grow up in perfect homes, so there is no reason to start now. I would also suggest that children actually don’t need perfect homes because then they are unprepared for life. And being gay doesn’t mean you don’t know people of another gender.

      Dan Savage solved this problem by having an open adoption. Others might solve this problem with the use of extended family members, which has a long tradition in human history. We must remember back when people died often, this was the norm. Mom’s died in childbirth and Dad’s died in war or just daily living.

  • trav

    A couple of points….

    1. please explain why the state shouldn’t recognize the loving, committed relationships between polygamists?
    If, in the future, polygamy gains widespread acceptance as a valid living and family relationship, it, like gay marriage, will go through a process of public debate, opposition, legal wrangling, etc. to a point where the public will accept it. Don’t think it wil happen in my lifetime, but social morality, like the rest of society, changes every now and then.

    2. “Promoting discrimination and hate-speech against Christians not to mention outright persecution of Christians for their beliefs will doubtless be the outgrowth of this incursion into the state legal system whereever SSM is law.”

    Well, if the shoe fits…..
    Any gains the homosexual community has made throughout the decades in terms of tolerance, value as human beings, value to society, and basic personal security have been won despite religious sentiment, not because of it. Christianity and Christians have been smeared and condemned in certain circles, its true. This is reprehensible, and should be called out. Having said that, the Christain community at large is no friend to gays.

    3. I always thought the best solution would be to create a parallel institution, lets call it a civil union. Marriage is and has always been a religious function, and I have some empathy for religious people when their institutions are co-opted by the non-religious. However, regardless of what it’s called, all the legal and civil benefits/rights due to a life partner are due to all citizens of a country. Anything less is to declare a lesser tier of citizenry.

  • TJ Parker

    Blah blah blah. Where’s the apology? “Oh, I’m sorry for the unfounded speculation that became part of the GOP platform and public policy?” “Oh I’m sorry for my part in the systematic discrimination against 5-7% of the nation’s population?”

    “Oops. My bad.” Very weak. Insufficient.

  • pnumi2

    If God considered homosexuality an abomination, the pilot for “Will & Grace” never would have seen the light of day or cathode ray.

    So get over it, people, gays are the prodigal sons and daughters and there’s enough fatted calf for everybody.

  • TJ Parker

    “Many gay sources admit that their idea of gay marriage does NOT include faithfulness.”

    This is absolute and complete bullsh!t that you just made up. There’s NO “gay source” that says anything of the sort. Lesbians, indeed, are more far faithful than heterosexuals, and there are statistics on that. What kind of pig are you, that you can just make up things and attribute them to whole groups of people? Can you not see the bigotry in your own dark heart? Pig.

    Hey, I watched Desperate Housewives and Real Housewives of Orange County! Heterosexual marriage is like a clown show!

    • anniemargret

      I have to say, TJ, that I totally agree. Smearing large groups of people just doesn’t work. Surely the heterosexual marriage institution in this country has enough cheaters, liars, shameless folks who abuse emotionally and physically, and many sadly don’t think much of their marriage vows.

      I would assume the homosexual population is not any more or less pure than the heterosexuals who certainly have made a muck of it across this nation. There are so many parent-less kids around. No guidelines, no boundaries, no understanding of themselves and our world. If parents can’t do that job, no one will.

      More power to any couple that stays together and tries their best to make it work.

  • anniemargret

    I don’t think Christianity as a religion should be bashed here. That some Christians believe in their religous principles is their right. As a person brought up in Catholicism, I simply remember being taught that Jesus was Love and Forgiveness…the Light.

    So how did it become so filled with anger and rage? Because it’s about people. And people can say hurtful things to each other in fear. Homosexuality often fills people with fear. We fear what we do not know. Life is so complicated and so layered with shades of gray that it is much easier to throw hate bombs at each other than simple to disagree and discuss.

    But we all can evolve past the negativity, the fear, the hate. There is good and bad in every strata of society, in both heterosexuals and homosexuals….we can call out the bad, and root up and support the good in people. My parent’s generation wouldn’t/couldn’t even talk about it. That must have been a terrible time for homosexuals when they had to ‘hide’ their true selves.

    So we are moving on….society has a lot more to discuss…. in fact, matters like war and peace are greater problems a society needs to discuss, as this impacts our very collective souls and consciences.

    • CanadianLiberal

      anniemargret, I agree with you, in principle, that a specific group of people should not be “bashed” here, or anywhere. But the fact remains that the prominent voices of Christianity in North American are almost without fail, vile, bigoted, violent people who scream obscenities at people they disapprove of and exhibit a level of smug, self-satisfied self-righteousness that I have rarely, if ever, seen anywhere else. They deny scientific fact (and want to teach the bible in science classrooms), would choose to force 12-year-old rape victims to bear the tragic outcome of their violation, claim to be “pro-life” while supporting the death penalty, would outlaw birth control.

      As an outsider (to the US), I actually fear the evangelical movement in your country more than any Islamic terrorist. To me, the truth is self-evident: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross” ~Sinclair Lewis

      It’s arrived.

      • anniemargret

        I understand. And agree with some of this. Most of what passses off today for “Christianity’ is a morphing of what it is supposed to represent and do. What you hear on the airwaves and online is a group claiming Christianity who use it for foment hate and/or fear, or to undermine other people’s faiths or ideologies.

        This is not what true Christianity is to me. Frankly, I am a somewhat “Christian” deist, if such a thing is possible. I think Jesus was an enlightened being, and his mission was to promote harmony and love on this planet. I also think any person can find God, the Source, in whatever way that works for them as long as it doesn’t hurt another person or creation on this earth.

        How’s that for all encompassing? ;-)

        The problem is that Christian have become loud and vocal, and nasty in places. A real turn-off. My own Catholic faith as a child was very quiet and simple, no ‘prosytelizing’ or arrogant smugness; just an attempt to live a life of honor and integrity, and do some good everyday, because every person on this earth is ‘from God.’

        I can live with this. But sure can understand your rage and bewilderment.

    • pnumi2

      “So how did it become so filled with anger and rage? Because it’s about people. And people can say hurtful things to each other in fear”

      Unfortunately, all persons of the same religious belief, do not have the same brains and intelligence.

      For example, the Third Commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Think of all the Christians who think that saying ‘God damn it’ is a major sin, but stand around with signs that say ‘God hate fags.’

      If there is a God and there is a penalty for contravention of the 3rd commandment, these guys are in trouble.

  • pnumi2

    “Marriage is an institution ordained of God and is not to be entered into lightly or in jest and only after much consideration.”

    ‘Nuff said.

    • rbottoms

      What’s your point. I suspect my gay friends took their marriage more seriously than Newt Gingrich did his first two, or Limbaugh’s first three. I’m still on marriage #1, doing better than the sanctimonious closet queen assholes preaching at me from inside the GOP.

      • pnumi2

        If you read the bold text it doesn’t say anything about men and women, men and men or women and women. It just says what it says. You don’t like the word God? Delete it.

        That’s my point.

    • CanadianLiberal

      pnumi2 – maybe your imaginary friend should mention that to Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy Guliani, John Ensign, Mark Sanford and, dare I say it, Ronald Reagan. All paragons of fidelity and examples of marriage.

      • pnumi2

        To which imaginary friend do you refer? I have so many.

        Are you taking umbrage at this oath I pulled out of google? Because the dirt you mentioned may have said it on numerous occasions, shall we wipe our asses with it? Shall we wipe our asses with the Star Spangled Banner because it was sung before the civil war.

        Speak up man. What are you saying.

        • CanadianLiberal

          Sorry, my sarcasm meter (see, I spelled that the American way, just for you!) is a bit off today. I realized when reading back in your comments that I misunderstood your point. I thought you were going off on some God nonsense, blah, blah, blah. nvm.

          And, just for the record, that should be “speak up, woman!” ;)

        • pnumi2

          To be Canadian, liberal, and a woman.

          Your cup runneth over.

          You’re not the type who conflates God and religion, are you? No, you’re too smart for that. You’re Canadian.

        • CanadianLiberal

          “To be Canadian, liberal, and a woman.

          Your cup runneth over.”

          It does indeed, and for many more reasons than those you state.

          I do not wish to conflate god with religion – I know many believers who are loving, kind and compassionate people and who I admire greatly. I think that kind of belief, free of dogma and compulsion is beautiful. I see no harm in those beliefs as long as they do not impose on others.

          I will admit that in the course of discussion such as this one, I tend to get a bit oversensitive to the word “god” since there is a high correlation between someone talking about god (on the interwebz) and intolerance, inflexible thinking and bigotry. I try to inhibit that reaction and take people for who they are, but I sometimes fail in that endeavor. My frustration runneth over…

          Anyway, I was clearly wrong in my knee-jerk reaction to your post, and I apologize. Too many of these discussions make me defensive sometimes.

          Peace and all that.

  • drdredel


    I know we’re on the same page here but you do make one mistake here…

    “I always thought the best solution would be to create a parallel institution, lets call it a civil union. Marriage is and has always been a religious function”

    That is historically inaccurate. Marriage has for the vast majority of its history, been largely a financial transaction between the parents of the couple. Religion cut in when it realized how favorable this is to its institutions (and note that catholic priests were denied the right to marry SPECIFICALLY because the church didn’t want church funds to be passed on to the widows). So, the religious angle is a complete red herring. For that matter the notion of a “traditional” marriage is only relevant to those that know nothing about history. The institution has morphed endlessly throughout its existence and continues to do so now.
    The fact is that including same sex couples in the arrangement is arguably a much smaller deviation from “traditional” marriage in which parents pick who will marry whom and loveless couples are forced into what in essence is a business partnership.

  • drdredel

    @ CanadianLiberal
    first of all, your handle is an oxymoron! :)

    secondly, I wouldn’t make such bold statements about Thor. Have you SEEN his hammer, Mjolner?! it’s HUGE.

    • CanadianLiberal

      To take your second point first – I always did like a man with a big hammer. ;)

      And, I am liberal, even for a Canadian. (or else I don’t understand your point?)

      • drdredel

        No, I just didn’t have much of a “point” there. My wife is Canadian, so, I josh that you guys pretend to have “conservatives” but in fact, you’re all pretty left of center… some a bit more so than others.

        • CanadianLiberal

          Haha… I agree. As much as I loathe Harper (and consider his politics SO conservative), he would be a Democrat in the US. He won’t reopen the abortion debate, wouldn’t dream of touching our single-payer healthcare, and has stated that he is not interested in re-examining gay marriage (legal!). Definitely a Democrat.

  • drdredel

    @ pnumi2
    That’s just it, dude. It’s not ordained of god. It’s ENTIRELY a government affair. That someone chooses to do a little song and dance for their tooth fairy is entirely up to them, but “marriage” is a government contract, and as such, it is enforced exclusively by government laws. Holy books say you should be stoned to death for adultery? well… tough nuggets, that would still be deemed murder by the state and unless the angels are sent down to rescue you (don’t hold your breath) you’re going to prison.

    If you want to have a religious marriage you’re going to have to do 2 things.
    1) convert to islam
    2) move to Saudi Arabia.

    Who’s up for a trip? :)

    • pnumi2

      Dr Dredel

      So nice to hear from you except I hate when you wear your Bible Police outfit. I’m sure it’s still popular in sundry and assorted dram shops you frequent in the West Village. But it makes me a little nervous.

      You don’t have the faintest idea of what the Bible means to me and how much of it I take as fantasy.

      And you also know that all the marriages in Genesis and Exodus were not recorded in Oasis Hall by the county recorder of wives and herds.

      It is none of my business who believes in God and who doesn’t. I am a believer and happy to say so.
      My religion, although you didn’t ask, I conceived myself. It is called “The Church of God without Religion.” No building, no congregation, no minister, no plate passing.

      I can’t say that you’d like it.

      I must go to Starbucks now. I plan on replying to all your verbal abuse.

      • drdredel

        I have no abuse for you to reply to. Frequently, because I am so hostile to the JCI religious trifecta, I am mistaken for an atheist. But I am not by any means an atheist, and have nothing but respect for those that go and seek out their own mythology, and base it on whatever makes sense to them.

        I’m sorry my Bible Police uniform upsets you. I only put it on when I see people pretending they know what they’re talking about, or taking out for a spin the notion that the bible has some authority on the subject of decency. That idea drives me absolutely bonkers. It’s like holding up the Saw series as a good fable for children because if you look deep enough you might find something resembling a moral message buried in all the savage blood lust.

        To be honest, I wouldn’t even be bitter at those that choose a mythology of bigotry, so long as they made the choice consciously and after examining all the evidence. I wouldn’t agree with them, but I would have more regard for them than those that are simply steeped in some hokey pokey from the age of 3 and go on to believe that bunk, unquestioned, till the day they die. Worse yet when they start spewing it back at me! Though even them I have some pity for because really, they had no say in the ideas that they were molested with as children. They are all victims of a truly vicious cycle.

        I’m not sure what point you were trying to make when I replied to your single bold sentence. Perhaps I missed a lengthier argument above? I don’t see it. But the defense of marriage as a religious institution is one that I feel needs vigorous opposition, since it is NOT one, in point of plain fact. I realize there’s a lot of winking and nodding between the church and the state, but marriage wasn’t invented by religion and isn’t performed by religious bodies! Sure, you can have a ceremony, in a church, where someone asks you what you’d like to promise to god, but the contract between you and god is not enforced by the state and everyone knows this (but pretends to forget when this particular argument crops up).

        If it were up to me, I’d go the other way and simply abolish all government marriage, all together. Create a wholly (no pun intended) civil institution that identifies two people (it doesn’t matter WHO they are, they can be a nephew and an uncle, or distant cousins, or simply room-mates) as “partners” and doesn’t concern itself with what their actual relationship is. It’s a financial arrangement. period. If we had that, then there would be nothing left to talk about here (not that there is much as is).

        Sorry if my initial reply sounded more scathing than I intended. I’ve reworded it slightly to be less directed at you and more at that sentence you posted, whose purpose still escapes me.

        • pnumi2

          Good Doctor

          If I reacted to strongly at yours and bottoms replies, it was only my shock that so harmless (?) and, in my mind, and poetic a phrase would raise the PC hackles.

          “Marriage is an institution ordained of God and is not to be entered into lightly or in jest and only after much consideration.”

          The meter, the repetition and alliteration I find very moving, notwithstanding all the scumbags who have uttered it.

          And I thought my ‘Will & Grace’ remark would gather me the laurels tonight; but no one noticed it because I forgot to zip up my fly.

          But then God is the author of all things. Mistakes, too.

        • drdredel

          indeed, it is a lovely and wise sentiment. my cockles were raised by the initial capped “God” and the placement within this thread… I overlooked Will & Grace.
          I, myself, am very fond of marriage in all its forms, including those that have no sexual or financial connotations. I think all people who are close to one another are entrusted with the responsibility of holding up their end of the relationship, which is frequently a very difficult task.

          Ultimately this thread (and all the ones like it, and all the ones that will follow) fall along two lines. People who worship love and people who worship fear. Anyone who doesn’t recognize that they’re walking down the path of death when they start dictating who should love whom and how, is already so completely lost that I see virtually no point in attempting dialog.
          Similarly, I am happy to admit that I am so lost down my path of love worship that there is, basically, no argument that one can make that would make me take stock and reconsider. I’ve made my decision, and I can’t even imagine what evidence would need to be presented to make me change my mind on this topic. (On many others, I’m still entirely open to suggestion).

        • pnumi2

          Dr Dredel

          Undone by a capped god.

          It must have been the infernal Serpent; he it was whose guile made me press the shift key and, well,
          hideous ruin and bottomless perdition are my reward. Don’t worry, I’ll make lemonade.

          I think you are following in my foot steps on love’s trail. (I agree with your division of the world into love and fear; but into which category money falls). I too have spent a lot of time on that trail. But then (I am pre WWII) there came a divergence. A little less travelled by.

          It’s silly to talk about, so I’ll only say it is the path of beauty. A desire to see beauty and beautiful things. To avoid the mediocre. As the world becomes more unbearable with greed, decay and ignorance, the more I want to hear beautiful music, see copies of beautiful paintings that hanging in the great museums and are printed in books, look at beautiful architecture, read classic novels and, yes, see beautiful people — men, women, children. Oh, and beautiful dogs, too.

          So I live in a wonderful little town in a valley surrounded by stumpy mountains where there are no traffic jams and no traffic. There’s not a lot to do here so the people who like to do alot of things,, don’t want to live here. That helps keep the traffic down.

          And very once in a while you catch sight of a beauty crossing the street or shopping in the market and every time you see one, an angel gets its wings.

  • drdredel


    I know we’ve discussed this before, but…

    “This is not what true Christianity is to me. Frankly, I am a somewhat “Christian” deist, if such a thing is possible.”

    sadly, it simply isn’t. And believe me I sympathise. I know a lot of people who love the idea of a Jesus that isn’t actually in the Bible. A Jesus that said stuff like..
    “My dad has a lot of nutty wackiness that he talks about with the whole killing and raping and slavery bit, but he’s not minding the store anymore, and as long as I’m in charge we’ll have NONE of that!”

    But there is no such Jesus. The image of peace and tranquility and love and fairness has been (inexplicably) grafted onto the personage of Jesus in many churches, and many priests have quietly allowed their followers to (erroneously) believe that this is what the guy said. Why? because this is what he SHOULD have said! Because by 2000 years ago, he should have known better.
    So, lovely people like you, who have the most loving souls and the most giving hearts and want nothing more than to see everyone get along and stop nagging one another about how they should be, are subscribers of an official dogma that is 180º in opposition to these ideals!
    This is why so many Christians who examine their faith turn away from the church. They aren’t convinced that god must be fiction, but they are convinced that god can’t POSSIBLY be associated with THAT institution, because if it is, what does that mean?! How many children need to suffer at the hands of priests before god levels their churches and gives them all testicular cancer? The answer is always “mysterious ways”, but everyone who thinks about it sees immediately that there is nothing even remotely mysterious.
    So, one of two things is going to happen
    Either you and your kind are going to overwhelm the church and bring it into a new age of existence (maybe rewrite the book, while you’re at it… couldn’t hurt, not much of use in there)


    The church will be overrun by literalists (as it’s slowly being now) and everyone else will simply leave and adopt their own mythologies which can range from outright atheism to extremely devout (fill in the blank-ism) but which relies on newer, fresher, more love filled dogma. The kind that you actually believe and not the kind that you’re constantly at war with, every time you have to go and look at what Jesus actually said and did.

    My money is on the latter.

  • anniemargret

    Well, you may be right, drdredel. Perhaps our ‘myths’ are simply the way humans respond to life….and to death. Isn’t that what religion is anyhow? The things that humans must endure and witness and not really sure how to deal with it? And religions fill that much-needed void?

    There is nothing wrong with myths…or religions, if they are based in peace and harmony for humans and our fellow creatures and this beautiful blue planet. What is wrong about hope? Because that is what religion gives to people….hope.

    And yes…a meaning for existence. And there is nothing wrong with that; religion is man’s answer to his knowledge that he will someday die. I find it perfectly natural and not to be mocked.

    The debate between belief and doubt and outright disbelief will go on forever, as long as there are humans on this planet.

    We are all having this wild discussion on this thread about homosexuality and marriage because at the core, there are still many, many people who cannot conceive of such a thing as homosexuality. It is rooted in fear and misunderstanding and new way of looking at life.

    And that is where everyone needs to calm down a bit. My kids (all now in their mid to late twenties) are completely nonplussed about homosexuality and marriage and kids. Because their generation is much more liberal-minded and open to new possibilities. But this country has people of many faiths and non-faiths and many folks who like ‘traditional’ ways of thinking.

    Not everything ‘traditional’ is bad! For instance, keeping your marriage vows goes a long way to reducing divorce, and keeping families intact, and children growing up in healthier homes. On the other hand, grasping on to non-scientific theories that fly in the face of all that we know is not just wrong, but head-banging stupid.

    My own personal idea is that religion has to morph into something more enlightening that fits this world we live in. I still love the “Beatitudes” of Christ, and it is a shame that more Christians don’t speak of this than the ‘my faith is better than yours’ that is more common. I think there was an historical Jesus and I think something miraculous occurred. Can anyone prove this? No.

    And if it were proved, or not proved, it wouldn’t matter. Because at the core, we believe what we want to believe. I asked my Dad once why he believed in God….because he said, ‘if I don’t believe in God, then I am really nothing, and I don’t feel like nothing.”

    What a hoot! I loved this response!

    So can a person be religious (spiritual) and scientific at the same time? I don’t see why not. Why does it have to one or the other? What we know now is only what we know now. Twenty years from now, aliens might have taken over the planet and our views on *everything* might change. And we might find out, even then with such an event of such magnititude happening, that there is a deep spirituality in all existence, throughout the universe.

    Or you could be right…and it is all meaningless.

    I hope the former is true. ;-) It is what I choose to believe.

    I still believe intrinsically and intuitively in the soul of mankind. I think there is something more than the material world . But I dont’ agree that I have the right to force my views on to others, as we are all on a different evolutionary path.

  • anniemargret

    And I agree with you about the unexamined life, or believing too quickly without thought. Or believing in non-sensical things that defy scientific principles. Yes, I agree with that. It is just stupid to pretend something is untrue, when it clearly is true. But I still think there can be a ‘marriage’ between religion/spirituality and science. Both need to progress and grow if it wants to stay respected.


    • drdredel

      sure. I didn’t say anything to contradict any of your points. I was using the word “myth” in the kindest sense, not as a pejorative to diminish the place of faith, but quite the contrary. We do all need myths and we do all need purpose (though many are quite content with that purpose being nothing more than some short single life span on this planet, but that is but one myth in an endless library of them).
      My point, however, which you don’t need to address, but which I’ll briefly restate, was that the Christian myth has two very distinct presences. One written and one practiced. And they are not even remotely connected. Sure you can point to passages here and there where Jesus says things that are lovely, but they are all undone by the core message, which is that the old testament is the word of God, and that Jesus is not undermining said word.
      Once you establish this as the core of the belief system, then, assuming you’re a decent person, the rest of your religious practice is spent dodging and weaving around all the things you’re NOT doing, that you’re supposed to be doing, and making excuses for said exemptions.

      To me this seems really tiresome.

      If however, you make the decision that the ugly stuff is all false, then I simply fail to see any point in sticking to any of it. There are so many beautiful loving ideas out there, many of them just as unprovable, but ones based in schools of thought that never mention stoning someone to death or raping little girls. It seems more sensible to simply adopt those than keep tying oneself into knots trying to make Christianity fit into a box that has “peace” on the label.

      • anniemargret

        I’m not totally sure about that, drdredel. Christianity’s essence is that the soul survives the body, and that our actions will be accountable on earth. That to love and forgive is the single greatest attribute to live by. That God is Love.

        Yes, I understand all the conundrums of organized religion, and it is precisely why I have fallen away from a strict adherence of it. Yet, there remains a beauty to this that I have not found elsewhere. I am not of an atheistic persuasion because it doesn’t feed my inner need, comfort, soul, etc… I need much more than atheism or agnosticism offers.

        Judaism is also beautiful, with works over faith as the cornerstone of a person’s life journey. But eastern religions also have beautiful philosophies.

        So I cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater. I can judge Christianity and see its faults, its errors, but I also can acknowledge its essence, which by the way, has been perverted by politics today. I don’t ‘make excuses’ for the mistakes of mankind. We are all on an evolutionary path, learning as we go, right?

        We will make mistakes and hopefully own up to them. There is a deep inner spirituality to this universe and I think religions do their best to express it. I don’t shy away to call out the inanities when it needs to be called out, nor do I pretend religions cannot do wrong. Because they are human-based, they can do wrong.

        But what are my choices? Belief or atheism, or inbetween? I don’t like inbetween, too bumpy a ride. I don’t like atheism, been there, tried that, it doesn’ work for me, it is too reductionist for me, and too nihilistic. It leaves me feeling empty.

        I believe in something greater, and I think most people of the world sense this, but cannot express it or find it. Perhaps we are only meant to search for it, not find it?

        Look , the Catholic Church has already acknowledged the possibility and probably existence of aliens in the universe. Why? Because they have to. Because they are not stupid or dull minded and they know that the stats show the probablitly is high that we will encounter sentient species one day. How they will encompass this within the dogma I don’t know, but they have already proclaimed that ‘aliens are God’s children’ – If one believes in a universal creator, then this makes sense…

        What a ride..>! Life is the great unknown and we are only bit players on the stage.

        Sorry I got off topic-

  • pnumi2


    I think that religion, which is chock full of the timeless tradition one grows up with as a child, and the beautiful ceremony witnessed at daily and weekly services, and the edifice and the other congregants are all an enormous anchor to keep one from riding out into the unknown.

    But also in religion are the opinions and ideas of men who came before and may have let their own interests, and not God’s, become the belief of the religion.

    My religion is to intuit what is right and what is wrong and try to avoid wrong. There’s kind of an instant karma thing that helps me toe the line.

    I don’t usually make the same mistake twice.

    • anniemargret

      pnumi2. Yes. I agree. It is something innnate in the human, conscience perhaps that keeps most people from doing wrong. And there is a clear distinction between evil and goodness. We know it when we see it. So the only time religion becomes a problem is when it strives too hard to adhere to ‘tradition’ even when that ‘tradition’ flies in the face of rationality or common sense.

      I think that is what turns most people off…oh, and the smugness of ‘mine is better than yours’ which is just tribalism. Every time we try to unify, despite our differences, we become better. So a religion which encourages us to do that is a force for good, not evil.

      I’m not sure where it is written that one cannot think and believe at the same time. After all, if God is Truth, then it is incumbent upon humans to seek out the truth, even if it means the end of some dogma that was meant to evolve anyway.

      I see no conflict between a spiritual/religious life (not necessarily organized religion) and scientific pursuit.

      • pnumi2


        There is nothing to disagree with in what you said. If there is a monkey wrench hovering around your construct, it is having too many balls in the air. Not seeing the tree for the forest. It can be done. It’s a little harder.

  • John Q

    The case against same-sex marriage has been tested against reality. The case has not passed its test.

    Ah, reality has intruded.

    How long before we can read Mr. Frum saying:

    Yhe case against Keynesian economics has been tested against reality. The case has not passed its test.

  • baw1064

    Like Mr. Frum and a few other commenters on this thread, I’ve changed my view on this issue. Simply put, I don’t see how anybody’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is threatened by who somebody else marries.

    • Nanotek

      ” I don’t see how anybody’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is threatened by who somebody else marries.”

      BAW1064 + 1

    • budgiegirl

      that’s just it ! You would think Gay Marriage would be touted by Liberterians and Less-Gov’t-Is-Better voters everywhere. It seems so obvious that this should be championed by the Right… except for those who actually DO want the government to legislate their own particular brand of religious convictions.

  • Nanotek

    Hunter01: “Can someone lay out the constitutional argument for why marriage restrictions should be determined by the states? Put a little differently, at what point does the scope (and restriction) of individual rights become a federal matter? Any constitutional lawyers out there want to take a shot at this? Would very much appreciate the information.”

    Will do my best for you. If the right is federal — protected by the U.S. Constitution — it is available to people equally. To be a matter properly determined by state law, the state right must provide greater protections than the federal right … federal rights establish the floor.

    But because the SCOTUS has continuously ruled that marriage is a fundamental right … under its traditional standards of review, a government must convince the court that a “compelling” governmental interest overwhelms the right and the ‘remedy’ is most narrowly tailored to minimize harm to the right.

    During the Prop 8 trial, the anti-equality folks proved unable to prove their case with evidence. All they had were their stereotypes … which didn’t pass muster.

  • Nanotek

    “Marriage is and has always been a religious function”

    and some religions don’t sanction marriages between couples of the same sex while others do … so situated, it is also a religious freedom issue.

    religions that don’t sanction such marriages should not be forced to perform them … equally, religions that do sanction such marriages should not be forced not to perform them

  • greg_barton

    My goodness. Just the fact that this topic has garnered 182 comments, more than any in recent memory on this site, proves that gay marriage is still an effective weapon of mass distraction.

  • politicalfan

    Great quote on the side by Aaron Sorkin.

    David Frum is “reason for hope.”

    Nice piece of writing!
    We become wiser when we stop thinking we are ‘right’ all the time.

  • rummager

    Canada has had same sex marriage for about ten years. The sky has not fallen. It’s as unobtrusive as the rising sun in summer – when we’re all asleep.

    • CanadianLiberal

      I don’t know, rummager, I’ve had to buy a lot more wedding presents. Surely, that’s a downside to gay marriage? ;)

      There’s a great youtube video in which they interview Canadians about how their lives have changed since the SSM law passed. It’s great, since the answer is, consistently, it hasn’t. In fact, there is this old lady at the end who makes a fantastic statement about how gay people are born that way and she doesn’t see why they should have to be alone all their lives! (shorter clip of her here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JI3ajM4QLc )

      Love her!

  • pnumi2

    @Canadian Liberal

    “Anyway, I was clearly wrong in my knee-jerk reaction to your post, and I apologize. Too many of these discussions make me defensive sometimes.”

    Well, my apologies back at you. Your ‘bark’ was actually quite enjoyable.

    I’ll bet your your ‘bite’ is too.

  • Primrose

    Dr. Dredel,

    I think you are making a bit of a mistake, and one that most christian churches do so it s understandable, of trying to reconcile the different gospels and letter of the new testament. They actActually have quite different views of Jesus, some of them harken to the old testement and some don’t.

    I’m sure someone here will remember the book that discussed this at excruciating length and detail, but a thorough read shows they are actually different books. And that isn’t even counting books like the gospel of Thomas.

    I am not a practicing Christian so I don’t really have a dog in this fight but I will take issue with the idea that Jesus was the bible was literal kind of guy. I don’t find that to be the central message at all. It doesn’t track with the Judaism of his day and it doesn’t track with the point of his message or the idea of Gnosticism.

    You might not believe in it, for the most part I don’t but one should be fair. Also, I think we must be honest and say that the religion of Hillel was no longer the religion of a vengeful Abraham, that there was already movement away from the stern patriarch who didn’t spend a lot of time on nuance (it also meant he didn’t demonize sex the way later religions did, just property violations). It simply isn’t fair either to combine the gospels, the testaments and every age’s understanding of the Abrahamic religions all in one. There was a distinct progression.

    • anniemargret

      And there may be some evidence of the Gnostic gospels that Jesus may have left the area for the Far east where he was influenced by Eastern philosophy. There is a ‘gap’ between when he was 12 y/o and then his ministry when he was 33 y/o.

      I think there is an historical Jesus and I think his ministry made a huge impact on the people of that time, and there may have been ‘miracles’ or at least, phenomena. At the very least, I would call Jesus an enlightened being – ‘of God’ or ‘from God’ or ‘son of God.’

  • nuser

    David Frum
    How many lives do you think ,you have effected by your harsh stance on gay marriages, all these years? When you feed hate , you will most likely increase it.

    • pnumi2


      Here’s what Hamlet says about his mother’s love for his father

      “Why, she would hang on him,
      As if increase of appetite had grown
      By what it fed on.”
      - William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1.2

      It works equally as well for hate, as you wisely point out.

  • The Conservative Movement Raises the White Flag, Again | Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture

    [...] that of the New York Times.  Michael Potemra penned a celebratory piece for National Review, and David Frum confessed on his website that he had been "wrong" to oppose gay marriage, arguing that the rise of gay marriage has not hurt [...]