Thursday, November 20, 2008

For those who need convincing

Opponents of same-sex marriage insist (see comments) that the pro-SSM side is all protests and cries of bigotry, but no substance. For many anti-SSMers, they feel they've provided well-constructed arguments about what marriage is and why, and what do they get? They get called homophobes. They see this as unfair.

Obviously, with any contentious issue, there's a good amount of yelling on both sides. (Abortion: Murderer! Misogynist!) That screaming is, of course, preaching to the choir. That said, anyone who thinks proponents of gay marriage have nothing more to say than that their opponents are bad people is mistaken. (I've tried giving nuanced arguments on this issue, but later in the thread I linked to I learned that all the pro-SSM side offers up are "ad hominem arguments".)

So yes, there are arguments, although it could be they're convincing no one who doesn't already see gay-marriage bans as self-evidently unfair.

Part of any battle for civil rights is yelling from the rooftops that the injustice must end. It's not the whole battle, but it's a fully justified element. One of the pro-SSM arguments is that denying equal rights is bigotry. One does not have to construct elaborate arguments to prove that this qualifies as bigotry, one merely has to point out the injustice. This is true of any civil rights issue. Do opponents of SSM think, in retrospect, that proponents of legalizing interracial marriage should have not bothered calling opponents bigots, and should have instead restricted themselves to peer-reviewed, footnoted papers arguing that black people are indeed enough like white people to marry them?

Even if the cases are different (which they are, but not very) the principle here is the same. The notion of human equality as "self-evident" implies that one need not prove anything to ask to be treated with respect.

28 comments:

Paul Gowder said...

YES. YES. YES. EXACTLY. EXACTLY.

FuzzyFace said...

What counts as "equal", though? Gays are already granted exactly the same rights as others - the right to marry an otherwise unmarried member of the opposite sex. That they are not interested in this does not make it a civil rights issue.

Phoebe said...

OK, FF, how, then, do you define "gay"?

PG said...

FF,

Sure, and blacks had the same right to marry within their race as whites did. So no civil rights issue, right? As long as we've got separate but equal, it's all good.

There was an old Supreme Court case on a similar issue, where a state had a particularly harsh penalty for interracial fornication. The black partner argued that this was unconstitutional; the Court (pre Brown v. Board) said no, it wasn't, because the white partner was getting punished just as harshly.

The only opponents of the same-sex marriage court decisions I'm intellectually OK with are the ones who have the guts to say they think Loving v. Virginia was wrongly decided as well, because there was no textual basis for either. (There is no difference in how race and sex are treated in the text of the Constitution: the wording of the 15th and 19th amendments is precisely the same except for the difference in which classification no longer is a barrier to voting.)

I don't really see same-sex marriage as a "gay rights" issue, in part because I'm uncomfortable with binary classifications of sexual orientation. I'm more accepting of binary classifications of sex, because there are a lot more bisexuals than intersexed people. Most people have at least a little attraction that goes outside their categories of "gay" or "straight," but there aren't a lot of people that have at least a little Y in addition to their XX chromosome.

Same-sex marriage is a sex equality issue. I have never met a opponent of same-sex marriage who didn't believe that there is a fundamental difference between men and women that affects how they behave as spouses and parents. Every SSM opponent I know believes that Wives/Mothers Are Like X, and Husbands/Fathers Are Like Y, and therefore if you have an XX or a YYY couple, something absolutely vital is missing.

I'm not really sure how to talk to people like that. I can point out to them that family law makes no distinctions whatsoever between men and women: husbands and wives, mothers and fathers all have the same privileges and responsibilities. But they don't care what the law says about a legal institution such as marriage.

David A. said...

Phoebe wrote:

"Do opponents of SSM think, in retrospect, that proponents of legalizing interracial marriage should have not bothered calling opponents bigots...."

Setting aside the deficiencies in using the interracial marriage as a parallel to gay marriage, couldn't the cry of bigotry be applied to almost anything?

The "Americans with Disability Act" is a terrible law, which conferred certain "rights" upon supposedly disabled persons.

Should those who have opposed it been called bigots by those who supported the law?

And would the charges necessarily be correct?

And even if the opponents are bigots--maybe they like tripping crippled folks--, would it necessarily mean that their arguments for opposing the ADA are wrong?

PG said...

David, why not answer her question re interracial marriage instead of embarking on a round of bad analogy?

Andrew Stevens said...

The only opponents of the same-sex marriage court decisions I'm intellectually OK with are the ones who have the guts to say they think Loving v. Virginia was wrongly decided as well, because there was no textual basis for either.

If you read Loving v. Virginia, you'll note that they do allege unequal discrimination. Inter-racial marriage was only prohibited if a white person was involved. Asians and blacks could freely intermarry. The Court also went beyond the text in that decision and argued that any law that depended upon the race of the actor was invalid. (Of course, this is no longer consistently maintained.)

I can buy your principled argument that the law similarly should take no notice of sex (thus legalizing same sex marriage) so long as you're willing to agree that this should obviously include Selective Service and women should be required to register for the draft and impartially assigned to combat duty as needed.

By the way, arguing that Loving v. Virginia was wrongly decided is a very easy argument to make. There are people who oppose power grabs even if they're in a good cause and have laudable results.

PG said...

Andrew,

"Inter-racial marriage was only prohibited if a white person was involved."

Not precisely. The 1948 California Supreme Court decision, Perez v. Sharpe, involved overturning the state's anti-miscegenation statute. The "Perez" is for the Mexican who was prohibited from marrying a black.

"I can buy your principled argument that the law similarly should take no notice of sex (thus legalizing same sex marriage) so long as you're willing to agree that this should obviously include Selective Service and women should be required to register for the draft and impartially assigned to combat duty as needed."

Of course. The National Organization for Women also supports this position. NOW was an amicus for extending Selective Service registration to women in Rostker v. Goldberg. Obama has said that women should register for the draft and he would consider putting them officially in combat positions. This is a mainstream position among liberals. The folks who get freaked out by the thought of women coming home in bodybags (which they already do, but let's not get into reality here) are organizations like Concerned Women for America.

"By the way, arguing that Loving v. Virginia was wrongly decided is a very easy argument to make."

It's a very easy argument among lawyers and libertarians. If it were so easy to make to the average voter, the anti-SSM folks wouldn't be so desperate to make distinctions between interracial and same-sex marriage. It's like arguing that Brown v. Board was wrongly decided -- easy to say on a blog or classroom, hard to say in your confirmation hearings.

David A. said...

To PG: If I got into a discussion about why Loving v. Virginia was not a parallel to SSM, there wouldn't be any point. I'm not going to convince you, nor Phoebe.

So, I moved on to the greater point--Loving was just used as an example in Phoebe's post. The greater point, I think, was that the denial of "rights" is essentially bigotry and there should be no reason to not say so.

She writes: "One does not have to construct elaborate arguments to prove that this qualifies as bigotry, one merely has to point out the injustice. This is true of any civil rights issue."

In this case, she refers to SSM, but she also says that it is true "of any civil rights issue."

I picked one of the "any civil rights issue[s]."

It's her argument, not mine.

Phoebe can claim that SSM is a legitimate civil rights issue, whereas others are not. But, this would, of course, open her up to charges of being a bigot with regard to those supposedly illegitimate issues.

Would she be a bigot?

It's a legitimate question based upon her post.

As for Loving v. Virginia, it still involved a man and a woman.

Indeed, Baker v. Nelson affirmed that Loving v. Virginia did not set any such precedent.

Maybe one day, gays will have a Supreme Court decision similar to Loving.

But, as of now, the case has not been used to overturn traditional marriage.

I'm not going to convince you about Loving, though, so I'll just stick with the point about opposition to "any civil rights issue" amounting to bigotry.

So, I hate women because I do not think Selective Service ought to be extended to women.

PG said...

But the greater point IS whether it ever is appropriate, in a civil rights battle, to say that the people opposing those civil rights are bigots. You don't seem willing to stake out a position on whether it ever is appropriate.

Was it OK to say anti-abolitionists were bigots? Or that people who opposed letting women own property, vote, have custody of their children, not have their sexual histories trotted out at rape trials, were bigots? If you say that there are circumstances in which calling people bigots is appropriate, then there's just a disagreement about which circumstances warrant it.

Personally, I don't know that name-calling ever is helpful -- I think MLK is revered even by conservatives today precisely because he focused on demonstrating that black people would suffer the dogs, hoses, beatings and jailings in order to obtain their rights. I don't think he achieved his stature through name-calling. However, I say this comfortable in the knowledge that I'll never be a civil rights leader and therefore freely show my horror at some people's unwillingness to recognize that human beings are basically all the same.

So, I hate women because I do not think Selective Service ought to be extended to women.

According to the Men's Rights Activists whom I've encountered, it actually means that you hate men. You're a self-hating dude!

If I got into a discussion about why Loving v. Virginia was not a parallel to SSM, there wouldn't be any point. I'm not going to convince you, nor Phoebe.


Why do you assume this? I'm an eminently convinceable person. Obviously Loving by itself is not a precedent for SSM, because it turned on the question of race rather than sex. However, as I said above, if you consider this a crucial sticking point, you have to explain how race and sex are treated differently in the Constitution, because they're textually in the same place. Or you can say that the text is irrelevant. Alternatively, you can have the guts to say that Loving was decided wrongly. One thing I enjoy about discussing this with people who disagree with me is that I get more and more people to say, "Yeah, Loving was wrong."

David A. said...

TO PG:

I believe that there are instances in which the persons supporting/opposing some policy could accurately be called bigots. I would not use a blanket statement that I quoted from Phoebe with regard to the charge of bigotry.

The Nation of Islam and the KKK are organizations that espouse race and religious hatred. I would have no problem stating that they are bigots, although I would find the term understates the degree of hatred inherent in their ideologies.

So, yes, I do differentiate between certain groups of people with regard to their actions and policies.

This was the point with using the ADA as an example. One can oppose the adoption of a law without hating those who support it.

As for the Selective Service, fine, I either hate women or I hate men. Either way I hate something, so I'm either bigoted against women or men. So be it.

As for Loving, I am not entirely satisfied with it, but on the whole I think it was the right decision.

Loving, though, was not as broad in its decision as other might like to think. The primary concern was the major reason for the miscegenation law, which was preventing whites mixing with blacks.

As the court states "there can be no question but that Virginia's miscegenation statutes rest solely upon distinctions drawn according to race."

Note the term, "solely."

The court also noted the many laws (even as recently as Brown v. Board of Education.) that dealt specifically with racial discrimination.

With regard to the 14th Amendment, the Court wrote, "The clear and central purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to eliminate all official state sources of invidious racial discrimination in the States."

It is doubtful that anyone can show that marriage laws were designed to "solely" and in "invidious" fashion SPECIFICALLY exclude same-sex partners.

Marriage laws may have effectively excluded same sex partners, but that is not the same as saying that was the sole purpose in the laws themselves.

There was only one purpose with regards to the miscegenation laws and that was enforcing "invidious racial discrimination" based upon white superiority and of minorities' inferiority.

Loving did not need the “peer-reviewed studies” to show that the miscegenation laws were based upon the notion of white supremacy. It was quite evident that the laws were based upon such a premise.

The Court also notes "At the very least, the Equal Protection Clause demands that racial classifications, especially suspect in criminal statutes, be subjected to the 'most rigid scrutiny,'"

There is less “rigid scrutiny” with regard to, for example, incest restrictions, which is why the Court can overlook them. The same goes for homosexuality.

And no, I am not saying that incest is the same as homosexuality. I am saying that racial discrimination trumps the others. The 14th Amendment was created with race in mind, after all.

Thus, the dismissal of Baker v. Nelson by SCOTUS affirms that Loving dealt with racial discrimination alone, and did not, therefore, affirm same sex marriage.

Within the USA, we can extend marriage to gays if we so wish, but there is no constitutional requirement that we do so.

Loving changed nothing in this regard.

So, am I still a bigot for pointing all this out?

PG said...

David A,

So the KKK and Nation of Islam, in your view, espouse racial hatred and therefore deserve the name "bigots." However, people who simply believed blacks to be lesser beings who couldn't be trusted with the vote (I'm thinking of William F. Buckley early in the civil rights movement) ought not be called bigots because they don't espouse hatred (just the possible use of violence in places where blacks were the majority).

As the court states "there can be no question but that Virginia's miscegenation statutes rest solely upon distinctions drawn according to race."

Yes, and marriage laws rest solely upon distinctions drawn according to sex. What's the difference here?

There is less “rigid scrutiny” with regard to, for example, incest restrictions, which is why the Court can overlook them. The same goes for homosexuality.

Incest and polygamy restrictions are based on family status, which is not protected by the federal Constitution; the government bases lots of laws (especially tax laws) on the familial relationship between two parties. If you and I are siblings, that doesn't just forbid us from marrying; it also means that certain transactions between us are not recognized as "real" for tax purposes. And of course, if we aren't siblings and are married, we no longer are allowed to file as single persons.

However, the tax law does not distinguish transactions between people based on their sex, either in isolation or relative to one another. The transaction you have with unrelated-party Phoebe will be treated just the same as the transaction you have with unrelated-party Andrew. Their sex is irrelevant. So is their race.

So why should their sex be any more relevant to who can marry one another than race is?

Andrew Stevens said...

It's like arguing that Brown v. Board was wrongly decided -- easy to say on a blog or classroom, hard to say in your confirmation hearings.

While there are probably plenty of people who believe Loving was wrongly decided, I don't think there are many who believe Brown was wrongly decided. The far right generally agrees that it was Plessy that was wrongly decided (indeed, they use Plessy as analogous to Roe).

Not precisely. The 1948 California Supreme Court decision, Perez v. Sharpe, involved overturning the state's anti-miscegenation statute. The "Perez" is for the Mexican who was prohibited from marrying a black.

You are slightly mistaken. Your facts are right (she was Mexican, he was black), but the statute in California also only prohibited marriage between whites and other races. Ms. Perez was deemed, by the statute, to be white. (I think the view of Mexicans as some sort of "other" race might postdate 1948. In any event, the statute was enforced against her on the assumption that she was white.) And the fact that the statute only stopped marriages between whites and other races was also used in the decision in Perez.

PG said...

While there are probably plenty of people who believe Loving was wrongly decided, I don't think there are many who believe Brown was wrongly decided. The far right generally agrees that it was Plessy that was wrongly decided (indeed, they use Plessy as analogous to Roe).

Really? Whom do you know who advocates the idea that Loving was wrongly decided but Brown wasn't? They seem to be quite similar in principle: both say that segregating the races, whether in schools or in marriage, is unconstitutional. I know people who say that if the result in Brown had been constrained only to school districts that clearly weren't living up to the equal part of "separate but equal" -- which Topeka, Kansas actually was -- they would agree with the decision, on the grounds that any district that fails to fulfill the equal part of the bargain loses its ability to do the separate. But I certainly don't know anyone who thinks that Brown and Loving are so different in principle that the first was correct and the latter incorrect.

I also never have heard someone refer to Plessy as analogous to Roe, and indeed can't even figure out how they'd be analogous. Dred Scott, of course, is so often analogized to Roe as to serve as a political dog whistle to the abortion prohibitionists. There the analogy is obvious: the Dred Scott failed to recognize blacks as citizens with rights, just as Roe failed to do for fetuses.

David A. said...

To PG:

You referred to the textual and constitutional reasons for Loving being a precedent for SSM. I referred specifically to the text in Loving. I also referred to another precedent for a case (Baker) denying Loving as affirming SSM.

To this you reply, "Yes, and marriage laws rest solely upon distinctions drawn according to sex. What's the difference here?"

I answered this. You may not have a difference in your morality, but your mere morality is not something that would win or overturn a SCOTUS decision. You have to have facts, history, and the law on your side.

Race is simply treated, by dint of our historical relations with blacks, quite differently than homosexual orientation. Like it or not, there is a historical quality to race, which Loving referred to numerous times, that is not so in homosexual orientation.
I quoted the text of Loving that said that marriage law restrictions were designed specifically to enforce "white supremacy." The laws were specifically created as an extension of the racial superiority laws that the 14th Amendment was specifically created to correct. I mentioned that the Court said that the miscegenation laws were ONLY designed for this purpose and no other.

That is why it is different than SSM: Marriage laws effectively discriminate between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples, but that is not their SOLE intent. The marriage laws were not specifically designed to create an analogue to "white supremacy." They were not created to enact a "heterosexual supremacy."

States have been traditionally allowed to regulate sexual relations and its recognition in marriage. Loving, in general, did not change this. It changed the "white supremacy" aspect of marriage restrictions, but nothing else.

When you can truthfully say that marriage, as it is, was specifically designed to enact "heterosexual supremacy" you'd have a point. But, you never will be able to say that.

Look, I'm sorry that a lot of people point to Loving and say "what's the difference?" But, I can't help that those people don't read the text of the case and hope that others are merely ignorant of both the history of this nation and of any rudimentary understanding of the law.

But, the fact is that Loving did not affirm SSM and Baker set a precedent in actually denying SSM in constitutional law.

These things are all true.

I mentioned incest and that the law allows for this segregation. You say that incest is not protected in constitutional law. So, we have this agreement.

But, we also have the fact that homosexual marriage is not protected in constitutional law.

You had several long posts here. You said that you were eminently convincible. I tried. You replied with a fairly short post, citing no specifics as to why what I wrote is wrong. Note, that what I wrote came specifically from Loving. You simply ask a question that is basically "what's the difference."

I answered that question. If you want to give an answer, go right ahead.

So, how specifically are they the same and how would Loving specifically allow for the requirement of SSM?

Specifically.

PG said...

David A:

But if a state court's reading of Loving is sufficient to say whether it sets a precedent for SSM, I can just as easily point to Kerrigan (CT) and Goodridge (MA) to say that Loving does indeed set such a precedent. The Supreme Court's dismissing the Baker appeal in 1972, when sex-based classifications were struck down only when they were based on administrative convenience, doesn't provide much guidance for how to treat sex now that it explicitly has been held to deserve "heightened scrutiny" rather than merely a rational relationship between the classification and the objective of legislation.

Moreover, if the concern is that a set of laws historically had been used to oppress one group, family law historically did precisely that to women. We have gradually reformed the family law so that it now is sex-neutral, but for most of Anglo-American legal history, marriage worked to deprive women of their right to own property, hold custody of their offspring, etc. The historical oppressiveness of marriage toward women is a major reason some feminists and gay rights proponents reject marriage as a tool of equality; they believe it to have been poisoned by history. Unlike them and you, I believe what a law says today is more important than its historical pedigree.

Indeed, if we go by such pedigrees, your assertion that "the 14th Amendment was specifically created to correct racial superiority laws" is dubious, considering that Congress created and maintained racially segregated schools in the District of Columbia at the same time it proposed and passed the 14th Amendment.

You also consistently refuse to answer my question. I say, "marriage laws rest solely upon distinctions drawn according to sex. What's the difference here?"

You say, "Race is simply treated, by dint of our historical relations with blacks, quite differently than homosexual orientation. Like it or not, there is a historical quality to race, which Loving referred to numerous times, that is not so in homosexual orientation."

Are you seeing the difference? I ask you, "What is the difference between distinctions drawn based on sex and those drawn on race?" You answer, Race is different from sexual orientation.

That's not an answer to my question, and I am not convinced by efforts to twist away from what I have articulated as my concern. If I say, "I think race and sex are constitutionally comparable classifications and therefore do not see why marriage laws that distinguish based on the latter are more acceptable than laws that distinguish based on the former," you fail to address that concern when you go on about how race isn't comparable to sexual orientation. The law doesn't prohibit homosexuals from getting married; they can and do and have for centuries. The law prohibits people of the same sex from getting married. And you have said nothing to address this fact.

PG said...

So, how specifically are they the same and how would Loving specifically allow for the requirement of SSM?

Specifically.


Specifically, race and sex are similarly situated in the text of the Constitution, both being categorically prohibited as reasons to withhold the right to vote. (Compare the 15th: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." with the 19th: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.")

The Supreme Court has come to the consensus that both race and sex classifications in the law require more than a rational basis justification in order to be constitutional.

Loving's holdings with regard to the terms of the Constitution itself, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, are as follows:
"There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause ... To deny this fundamental freedom [to marry] on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law."

Why does restricting the freedom to marry solely because of sex classifications NOT violate the Equal Protection Clause? Why does the denial of the fundamental freedom to marry on so unsupportable a basis as the sex classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, NOT deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law?

Phoebe said...

I hate to interrupt the discussion, but it seems the conversation being about legal precedent ignores the point of the post these comments respond to. One does not need to know immediately what Loving refers to, what role precedent plays in our legal system, to speak out against bigotry. The role of nuanced argument, or scholarly expertise, is substantial but does not change the fact that the fight against inequality stems not from a knowledge of case law, but from an immediate sense that it is self-evidently wrong for a hetero family to 'count' and a gay one not. PG, I really do appreciate your taking up the pro-SSM side, but I think what's happened is David A, etc, have successfully turned this into a footnote-type discussion, steering the conversation away from my point, namely that one doesn't need to offer up 'expert' arguments to fight injustice.

PG said...

Phoebe,

I realize we've strayed from your original point about bigotry toward homosexuals, but I am uncomfortable with arguing from that ground because if someone believes that homosexuality is morally wrong and is a chosen behavior (or at least a behavior one can avoid, like pedophilia), then just telling that person he's a bigot doesn't move him toward changing his mind.

Some people consider homosexuality and thus families headed by same-sex couples to be inferior to heterosexuality and families headed by opposite-sex couples. The superior sexuality and family formation gets marriage recognition; the inferior sexuality and family formation doesn't. If you concede that one rationally can be deemed better than the other, then it's difficult to explain why it shouldn't be treated better. That's why I argue from the first principle: male + female is inherently neither better nor worse than male + male or female + female.

After all, some people can yell "bigot" at me because I don't support marriage recognition for polygamy, and I am OK with going beyond mere non-recognition to criminal penalties for incest. There are children born of polygamy and incest, and theoretically functioning polygamist and incestuous families. My unwillingness to grant marriage recognition to those families could be considered to be making those children's lives worse. I know that calling me a bigot isn't going to change my mind about polygamy and incest; I have to be persuaded that my concerns about abuses of power and incompatibility with our existing family law either aren't a real problem, or should be overridden by a principle of relationship equality.

Phoebe said...

"I am uncomfortable with arguing from that ground because if someone believes that homosexuality is morally wrong and is a chosen behavior (or at least a behavior one can avoid, like pedophilia), then just telling that person he's a bigot doesn't move him toward changing his mind."

True. And there's certainly a place for citing court cases and providing rational arguments. But do you really think that method is more likely to convince the stubborn than reminding them that, whatever their rationale, their view at the end of the day ends up promoting hate?

David A. said...

To Phoebe, who wrote:

“PG, I really do appreciate your taking up the pro-SSM side, but I think what's happened is David A, etc, have successfully turned this into a footnote-type discussion, steering the conversation away from my point, namely that one doesn't need to offer up 'expert' arguments to fight injustice.”

This quote makes it seem like I (and others) began this “footnote-type discussion,” which as far from the truth as you can get!

My initial comment was with regard to the idea that any opposition to any civil rights initiative can automatically be labeled bigotry. That is, one can oppose something without being a bigot.

I made no specifics to Loving, at all.

Nor was it in reply to anyone specifically in the thread.

PG responded to my post:

“David, why not answer her question re interracial marriage instead of embarking on a round of bad analogy?”

I responded to this stating, “If I got into a discussion about why Loving v. Virginia was not a parallel to SSM, there wouldn't be any point. I'm not going to convince you, nor Phoebe.”

PG then wrote:

“Why do you assume this? I'm an eminently convinceable person. Obviously Loving by itself is not a precedent for SSM, because it turned on the question of race rather than sex. However, as I said above, if you consider this a crucial sticking point, you have to explain how race and sex are treated differently in the Constitution, because they're textually in the same place. Or you can say that the text is irrelevant. Alternatively, you can have the guts to say that Loving was decided wrongly. One thing I enjoy about discussing this with people who disagree with me is that I get more and more people to say, "Yeah, Loving was wrong."”

So, clearly, PG drew me into a “foot-noted discussion,” one that I never wanted to begin in the first place.

He also was involved in a back and forth with other posters with regard to specifics of Loving.

It was PG who turned this into such a discussion and I ignored him twice with regard to “foot-notes.”

All one has to do is look at the order of the comments to see that your implication is plainly dishonest.

Phoebe said...

Fair enough. Nearly all the comments are to blame for getting this discussion well off the path I'd hoped for. If your contribution stood out, it's because your first comment ignored the question it ostensibly responded to.

David A. said...

To Phoebe:

Thank you for your comment.

As to my comment ignoring the question, which question is that? Your original post had many elements to it. I counted at least six.

I only chose to pick on the easiest to dispute, which was that not all opposition to all civil rights issues is based on bigotry.

Sometimes it's bigotry and sometimes it isn't.

If the question you refer to is whether or not people opposing Loving were bigots, they probably all were.

But, once again, sometimes it's bigotry and sometimes it isn't.

PG said...

David A.

You actually quoted a specific question from her post at the beginning of your first comment:
"Do opponents of SSM think, in retrospect, that proponents of legalizing interracial marriage should have not bothered calling opponents bigots...."

Situating yourself as an opponent of SSM, you then did not give a yes or no answer to that question. Instead of addressing interracial marriage, the specific point you quoted, you talked about other civil rights issues.

As for "expert" arguments, I think they actually can indicate quite a bit about people's intuitions. Despite my talking about same-sex marriage as a matter of equality between the sexes from my very first comment, David A. persistently ignores my references to sex equality in favor of framing the question as sexual orientation equality, and then saying that such equality definitely has much lower standing than racial equality. He apparently is much more comfortable saying why homosexual relationships shouldn't be treated like heterosexual ones, than why men and women shouldn't be treated the same under the law.

David A. said...

To PG:

Fine, I'm sort of caught. I didn't originally answer the specific question as to whether Loving opponents are bigots. I wrote that I would set it aside because I don't think it's a parallel to SSM.

However, I see no requirement that says I must answer the question I quoted. I used the quote to address a different aspect of Phobe's post. I think that is perfectly legitimate.

The point of my quote in that post was to address the claim that bigotry could be used as a charge in any other case. That's what Phoebe claimed, even if it wasn't what she exclusively claimed.

As to my treating homosexual relationships differently than heterosexual ones, I do. I also think that, in general, equality of sexes under the law is valid.

But, we have exceptions: separate public restrooms based upon sex, female cops frisk female arrestees, female troops are not on the frontlines in battle, etc.

If SSM is supposed to be an exception from the equality of sexes issue, then there must be an argument to be made. In this argument, one cannot separate orientation from the equality of sexes argument.

But, you seem to want to live in a world of absolutes--total equality. It doesn't exist.

I said in a much earlier post, in reply to you, there isn’t any point in addressing any specifics as to Loving and all of the talk about equality of sexes and such is derived from my addressing the specifics in Loving.

I was correct in not wanting to address such specifics, so I will not continue to do so on this thread.

I will focus only on my original post, which basically says that a person can oppose some civil rights issue and not be a bigot.

It would be nice to get an answer to that post—especially since I have attempted, in good faith, to answer your posts.

But, I won’t expect any answers.

PG said...

But, we have exceptions: separate public restrooms based upon sex, female cops frisk female arrestees, female troops are not on the frontlines in battle, etc.

But these exceptions generally are matters of local regulation, not federal or even state statute. The sex discrimination involved in Selective Service and official combat status essentially is a matter of courts' deference to the military; see also the mention of the military's brief in favor of affirmative action for an instance in which distinctions drawn on the basis of race have been upheld.

If SSM is supposed to be an exception from the equality of sexes issue, then there must be an argument to be made.

Certainly. I haven't seen that argument made by you.

In this argument, one cannot separate orientation from the equality of sexes argument.

Why? Sex under the law is a binary; while some states will recognize a sex change, I don't know of any state that will accede to someone's claiming that s/he has NO sex, or has a sex other than male/ female. Orientation, as I noted above, is not binary. Moreover, it simply doesn't make sense to organize the right to same sex marriage by whether one identifies as gay or straight. I have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex regardless of whether I am attracted to him or to men generally; why do I not have that right with regard to the same sex, regardless of my own orientation?

I will focus only on my original post, which basically says that a person can oppose some civil rights issue and not be a bigot.

Depends on the basis of opposition. The definition of "bigot" is "a person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles, or identities differing from his or her own," and to the extent that one's opposition is not driven by intolerance of that which is different, it isn't bigoted. Someone who opposes same-sex marriage because he simply doesn't think the state should recognize ANY relationship, and is opposed to opposite-sex marriage as well, isn't a bigot. Someone who opposes the Americans with Disabilities Act because of he is disgusted by the sight of people with disabilities and therefore doesn't want businesses etc. made more accommodating to disabled people is a bigot.

Is there anywhere to go with this discussion, or were you just wanting someone to agree with a rather obvious point?

David A. said...

To PG, who asked:

"Is there anywhere to go with this discussion, or were you just wanting someone to agree with a rather obvious point?"

If the obvious point you refer to is whether or not a person can opposed some thing and not be a bigot, which you apparently agree with to some degree, I will just say that it is funny that it took several hundreds of words in your posts to simply answer this "obvious point."

Apparently, it wasn't so obvious to others after all. It certainly wasn't obvious to Phoebe.

My original point has been (finally) answered.

So, as to the answer to your question, the answer is no.

There is no where that this discussion can go.

PG said...

No, Phoebe said, "One of the pro-SSM arguments is that denying equal rights is bigotry." The example I posited of non-bigoted opposition to SSM (someone who doesn't want there to be any marriage at all for anybody) wouldn't be denying equal rights. You appeared to be unhappy with calling people bigots even if their motivation to oppose the ADA was the sort of personal revulsion I described as being appropriately called bigotry: "Should those who have opposed it been called bigots by those who supported the law? And would the charges necessarily be correct? And even if the opponents are bigots--maybe they like tripping crippled folks--, would it necessarily mean that their arguments for opposing the ADA are wrong?"

Under your premise of the last question: Yes. Yes. Depends on what the arguments are, but if they're "this law will make it more difficult to trip 'crippled folks,'" then yes.