Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Unequally yoked-2

Let us now transition from his exegetical arguments to his sociopolitical arguments, from some articles at his website.

Here Comes the Groom: A conservative case for gay marriage.

"The judge ruled that to all intents and purposes a gay lover is a part of his lover's family, inasmuch as a 'family' merely means an interwoven social life, emotional commitment, and some level of financial independence."

The assumption here is pretty breathtaking. As Sullivan would have it, a judge has the prerogative to define the institution of marriage. Judges don't merely interpret the law, consistent with legislative intent, with a view to applying general laws to specific cases. No, judges now enjoy the stipulative authority to define reality. A fact is whatever a judge says it is. If a judge says that the moon is made of green cheese, then we must acquiesce to his sovereign judgment in the matter.

Other issues aside, I scarcely suppose that Sullivan would be so docile and deferential to the judiciary if it were ruling regularly against his sexual agenda.

"In these cities (San Franciso, Berkeley, Madison, and LA), a variety of interpersonal arrangements qualify for health insurance, bereavement leave, insurance, annuity and pension rights, housing rights (such as rent-control apartments), adoption and inheritance rights. Eventually, according to gay Lobby groups, the aim is to include federal income tax and veterans' benefits as well. A recently case even involved the right to use a family member's accumulated frequent-flier points."

How many people, when they are polled on same-sex marriage or other queer rights, are the least bit aware of the whole package of entitlements and benefits? What do you bet it would change the survey results if they knew?

"The only possible effect of [same-sex marriage] would be to persuade gay men and women who force themselves into heterosexual marriage (often at appalling cost to themselves and their family) to find a focus for their family instincts in a more personally positive environment."

How are homosexuals being "forced" into heterosexual marriage? Do straight men and women—"swinging singles" and "confirmed bachelors"—feel forced into the matrimonial state?

It is, of course, true that, especially in the past, many homosexual men have led double-lives, maintaining the façade of a normal family life while having a boyfriend on the side. However, the very fact that they were able to father children proves evinces a capacity for heterosexual arousal. So they must find women somewhat attractive.

And if a homosexual's familial "instinct" is that strong, then he sounds like a good candidate for reparative therapy. The familial instinct goes hand-in-hand with the procreative libido.

"Even the most hardened conservatives recognize that gays are a permanent minority and aren't likely to go away. Since persecution is not an option in a civilized society, why not coax gays into traditional values rather than rain incoherently against them?"

There are many permanent minority groups: the rapist, the robber, the murderer. Should we mainstream everything we can't eradicate?

Are we persecuting the rapist, the robber, or the murderer, when we imprison or execute the members of his minority group?

Is this uncivilized? Of course, "civilized" is a value-laden word. For example, some of us would regard a society in which the age of consent is lowered so that sodomites can safely prey upon adolescent boys is barbaric rather than civilized.

"Many lesbian relationships are virtual textbook cases of monogamous commitment."

That may or may not be so, but women are not wired the same way as men. Indeed, you notice that he doesn't say the same thing about queer men, and for good reason.

"Given that gay relationship will always exist, what possible social goal is advanced by framing the law to encourage those relationships to be unfaithful, undeveloped, and insecure?"

Of course, this all hinges on the moral status of the relationships in question. Organized crime will always exist, but do we really wish to pass laws that strengthen the ties between various members of the syndicate?

And even setting aside the moral question, this assumes that it's the duty of government to make people feel good about themselves. But this is just plain childish. Indeed, it plays into the stereotype of homosexuality as a state of arrested development, as if the homosexual yearns for parental approval, for a pat on the head from Mother Church and Uncle Sam.

Why Civil Unions Aren't Enough

"Marriage, under any interpretation of American constitutional law, is among the most basic civil rights."

What about an interpretation based on textuality and original intent? Since the Constitution never says that marriage is a civil right, to insist otherwise is just an act of make-believe.

Since all the Colonies had anti-Sodomy laws on the books at the time the Constitution was ratified, it is absolutely certain on any historically authentic interpretation of Constitutional history that sodomy is a civil wrong rather than a civil right.

"There are no arguments for civil union that do not apply equally to marriage. To endorse one but not the other…is to engage in an act of pure stigmatization. It risks not only perpetuating public discrimination against a group of citizens but adding to the cultural balkanization that already plagues American public life."

I agree with Sullivan that any argument for one is an argument for the other. Of course, this reasoning is convertible. Any argument against one is an argument against the other. So I concede his logic, but reverse the presumption.

Some social stigmas are good. They have deterrence value.

Some forms of discrimination are good. That's why we have a criminal law code.

"Is there some reason a heterosexual couple without children should have the rights and responsibility of civil marriage but a lesbian couple with biological children from both mothers should not?"

Yes, there is a reason. Either a lesbian should not be a mother, or a mother should not be a lesbian. Simple as that.

"As a political matter, to secure the rights of a majority by eviscerating the rights of a minority is the opposite of what a liberal democracy is supposed to be about. It certainly should be inimical to anyone with even a vaguely liberal temperament."

Well, then, I guess I lack an even vaguely liberal temperament. Should I cry myself to sleep? Jump off a bridge? Read Das Kapital? Given a choice I'd rather jump off a bridge than read Das Kapital!

To cast the issue as though we were denying them their rights is begging the very question at issue. We cannot deny what we never affirmed.

Again, this is not a question of liberal democracy, but a Constitutional republic. The Constitution of the United States allows for anti-sodomy laws. Always has.

"Marriage is a fundamental mark of citizenship. In its rulings, the Supreme Court has found that the right to marry is vested not merely in the Bill of Rights but in the Declaration of Independence. In the Court's view, expressed by Chief Justice Earl Warren…'the freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.' It is one of the most fundamental rights accorded under the Constitution. Hanna Arendt put it best in her evisceration of miscegenation laws in 1959: 'the right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which…[other rights] are minor indeed…nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution are secondary to the inalienable human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs.'

You can see Arendt's point. Would any heterosexual in America believe he had the right to pursue happiness if he could not marry the person he loved?

When an extremely basic civil right is involved, it seems to me that the burden of proof should life with those who seek to deny it to a small minority of citizens, not with those who seek to extend it…if gay love truly is as valid as straight love, and if civil marriage is a deeper constitutional right than the right to vote, then the continued exclusion of gay citizens from civil marriage is a constitutional and political enormity. It is those who defend the status quo who should be required to prove their case beyond even the slightest doubt.

To concede that gay adults are responsible citizens…and then to offer gay men and women a second-class institution called civil union makes no sense…Gay men and women are citizens of this country. After two centuries of invisibility and persecution, they deserve to be recognized as such."

There's so much wrong with this that it's hard to know where to start, but I'll give it a go. Perhaps the most fundamental blunder is the failure to draw an elementary and elemental distinction between a civil right and a human right. Civil rights are conferred by the state, but human rights by God. At least, Jefferson grounded human rights in a divine donation, and if we're going to bring the Declaration of Independence into the mix, then there goes a neat and tidy division of church and state.

Indeed, there's a screaming contradiction in Sullivan's argument. For whatever the state can give, the state can take back. For Sullivan to lead all his weight on judicial fiat is a very shaky reed indeed.

Governments routinely take away life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's called imprisonment and execution. And this is ordinarily done to citizens. The rapist, the robber, the murderer, is a citizen.

Where does the Constitution empower the courts to "find" new rights in the Constitution? "Find"? Like something lost or hidden? What does that really mean? Once again we're back to play-acting. Judge pretend to find new rights, and we pretend they found them.

This sort of game, which is really a bait-and-switch scam, is played by those who don't have an honest argument for their position, so they must resort to legal fictions. They see faces in the clouds, and insist that we must seem them too.

And, of course, his arguments are reversible. Court rulings are reversible. If "gay love is truly valid," then a certain conclusion may follow; but if invalid, so much for the conclusion. If citizenship confers equal rights, then one solution to the incongruity of second-class citizenship is to strip the sodomites of their citizenship. Indeed, if we were to accept Sullivan's judicial philosophy, this could be done by simple judicial fiat.

To equate same-sex marriage with interracial marriage is to compare the incomparable. In an interracial marriage, all the parts intermesh, like a lock and key, whereas a same-sex marriage is a misfit. I don't mean this merely at a physiological level, although that's fundamental. But also in terms of complementary role relations and nurturing role models. And if this is considered sexist, I'd just note how often queer coupling parodies the stereotypical positions and role relations. So the analogy falls apart at the precise point where it needs to hold together.

Note, also, how sweeping are the statements of Arend and the Warren Court. The right to marry whomever one wishes? What if a man wants to marry his five-year-old daughter and consummate the wedding? What if he wants to marry his dog?

And for all the indignant rhetoric about unjust discrimination and lump-throated oratory about the pain of persecution, let us never forget that it's the liberals in general and sodomites in particular who are exerting every effort to penalize dissent through their hate speech and speech codes.

And let us also not forget, when we talk about queer rights in the abstract, what we're really talking about—about rimming and fisting, anal sex and scat, not to mention all the STDs, not to mention the seduction of minors, not to mention the whips and chains.

And while we're on the subject of who has what rights, let us not forget the rights of a child to be reared in a natural and normal and moral environment. Of course, the heterosexual ideal often falls short, but a homosexual environment is intrinsically evil and abusive.

The State of Our Unions

Finally, Andrew Sullivan published a piece of pro-homosexual advocacy in the WSJ (

Much of what makes a fallacious position persuasive is the cumulative impact of sly half-truths, equivocations and, exaggerations. These are all on display in his article. Let us therefore dissect his leading arguments:
"Whatever you feel about the reasoning of the decision [Lawrence v. Texas], its result is clear: Gay Americans are no longer criminals. And very few conservatives want to keep them that way."

Of course, many conservatives regard Lawrence is another example of a runaway judiciary. (Cf. R. Bork, The Tempting of America (Free Press, 1997); Coercing Virtue (AEI Press, 2003);;

Scalia, for one, cut it down root and branch (

Why should conservatives feel bound to accept the result? After all, Lawrence represents an express reversal of past precedent. So it could be reversed again. Judicial activism cuts both ways. All you need is five votes. Or, state and federal executives could just tell judges to go fly a kite. That's what Jefferson said when he was President. There's nothing in the Constitution that empowers or authorizes the court to strike down social legislation. When one branch of government oversteps its Constitutional mandate, it is the duty of other branches to uphold the Constitutional division of powers. Congress ought to exercise its Constitutional right (Article III, Section 2) to rein in the jurisdiction of the courts

I don't know what percentage of conservatives oppose anti-sodomy laws. Where is Sullivan's polling data? It's clear that theonomic conservatives were excluded from the sampling base!

In any event, this is a red-herring. This issue is not whether anti-sodomy laws are good or bad, but whether they're unconstitutional. The fact that all thirteen colonies which ratified the Constitution had anti-sodomy laws on the books, and the further fact that it took a 21C court to discover a right to sodomy in an 18C document, go to show that this newly-minted Constitutional right is just another legal fiction, like Roe v. Wade or Everson v. Board of Education.
"The social transformation of the last decade cannot simply be gainsaid: A poll this week for USA Today found that 67% of the 18-29 age group believe that gay marriage would benefit society. The public as a whole is evenly split on that issue. Many of the people favoring a new tolerance are Republicans and conservatives. And this is inevitable. When the daughter of the vice president is openly gay, it's hard to treat homosexual citizens as some permanent kind of Other, as a threat to civil order and society."

Of course, many social conservatives would take this polling data as an indictment of the liberal media and liberal education establishment. Also, to seize on this as evidence of social transformation is a bit optimistic. There is no popular groundswell for the mainstreaming of sodomy. What we have is a highly polarized population with a cultural elite trying to force its value system on the majority. And there's a stiff, grass-roots opposition to this heavy-handed imposition. Indeed, the reason that the left-wing resorts to such iron-fisted, top-down tactics is that it doesn't enjoy a popular mandate for its radical agenda.

But perhaps even more to the point, moral relativism cuts both ways. If yesterday's immorality is today's morality, then what is to prevent today's morality from becoming tomorrow's immorality? Moral relativism can do a double flip. Indeed, the reason the far left is so strident and imperious is the fear that its social and legal gains could revert overnight.

As to the VP's daughter, social conservatives could, to the contrary, view this as yet another dangerous step in the insidious ascendancy of the queer lobby to the levers of power. And there's nothing new about powerful parents of dissolute youth. That, indeed, is an occupational hazard—from David and Absalom to Saddam & sons.

To imply that social conservatives have hitherto treated homosexuals as "some kind of Other," carries with it the odious insinuation that any disapproval of sodomite sex is based on prejudice and ignorance: if we only got to know homosexuals, we'd discover that they're human too!

However, social conservatives have never treated homosexuals as subhuman. Sullivan is stereotyping and demonizing his opponents. To the contrary, it is just because the homosexual is human that he is a morally responsible agent, accountable for his actions and answerable to God. Opposition to sodomy is not rooted in irrational fear and ignorance, but a considered judgment which is well grounded in natural law and revealed theology.
"The majority of social conservatives oppose gay marriage; they oppose gay citizens serving their country in the military; they oppose gay citizens raising children; they oppose protecting gay citizens from workplace discrimination; they oppose including gays in hate-crime legislation, while including every other victimized group; they oppose civil unions; they oppose domestic partnerships; they oppose . . . well, they oppose, for the most part, every single practical measure that brings gay citizens into the mainstream of American life.
This is simply bizarre. Can you think of any other legal, noncriminal minority in society toward which social conservatives have nothing but a negative social policy? What other group in society do conservatives believe should be kept outside integrating social institutions? On what other issue do conservatives favor separatism over integration? We know, in short, what conservatives are against in this matter. But what exactly are they for?"

Not only do most social conservatives oppose queer marriage, so do most queers. It is telling that Sullivan doesn't favor the reader with any polling data on the rate of promiscuity among homosexuals.

As to military service, are sodomites serving their country or their own agenda? Most sodomites are social liberals, and social liberals always want to slash the defense budget. Our coed military has already sidetracked the brass on sexual misconduct trials, and it doesn't take much imagination to see openly queer CO's hitting on their subordinates.

As to anti-discrimination in employment (or housing), let us keep in mind that many social conservatives take a broadly libertarian position on this issue, believing that a private employer (or landlord) should be free to hire or fire anyone he pleases, whatever the grounds. It is one thing to legislate discrimination (e.g., Jim Crow), quite another to legislate non-discrimination. One can oppose the former without supporting the latter. For example, if a black restaurateur refused to serve a white customer, social conservatives would voice their disapprove, but they would never legislate their disapproval.

Yes, we don't want homosexuals anywhere near our kids. If they can't be trusted in the confessional—witness the Catholic sex scandal—then they can't be trusted in the classroom.

And, yes, we believe that there are two sexes, that men and women were made for each other, that children have a natural right to be raised by suitable role-models of manhood and womanhood. This is as old as boy-meets girl. Hardly an outlandish position.

Social conservatives quite logically oppose the extension of hate-crime legislation to homosexuals for the general reason that social conservatives oppose hate-crime legislation across the board. They reject the whole cottage-industry of victimology. (Cf. R. Rushdoony, Politics of Guilty & Pity [Thoburn, 1978].) Sullivan is imputing a false premise to the social conservatives, and then accusing them of inconsistency. That's a straw man argument.

Can we think of any other legal, noncriminal minority in society which social conservatives with to exclude? This way of framing the question is itself prejudicial and tendentious. Once again, Sullivan is imputing a false premise to social conservatives. Since they've have never conceded a Constitutional right of sodomy, they don't classify sodomites with other minorities. For that matter, social conservatives don't believe in legally classifying any minority group. It's the liberals who want to stamp everyone with a legal label, as a member of some protected and preapproved subculture. So Sullivan's accusatorial question is question-begging twice over.
"Let me be practical here. If two lesbian women want to share financial responsibility for each other for life, why is it a conservative notion to prevent this? If two men who have lived together for decades want the ability to protect their joint possessions in case one of them dies, why is it a conservative notion that such property be denied the spouse in favor of others? If one member of a young gay couple is badly hurt in a car accident, why is it a conservative notion that his spouse not be allowed to visit him in the intensive-care unit? In all these cases, you have legal citizens trying to take responsibility for one another. By doing so, by setting up relationships that do the "husbanding" work of family, such couples relieve the state of the job of caring for single people without family support. Such couplings help bring emotional calm to the people involved; they educate people into the mundane tasks of social responsibility and mutual caring. When did it become a socially conservative idea that these constructive, humane instincts remain a threat to society as a whole? And how do these small acts of caring actually undermine the heterosexual marriage of the people who live next door?"

How did we make the sudden jump from homosexuals to "couples"? Do homosexuals ordinarily pair off? Not according to the statistics I've read. And how is homosexuality a constructive instinct? It hardly qualifies as a survival instinct.

Sullivan throws in the little tearjerker about a homosexual who can't see his injured boyfriend—note how Sullivan sneaks in the word "spouse"—in ICU. What's missing from this picture? Maybe the immediate family—you know, the mother and father who reared him from birth, the brother and sister with whom he grew up. Shouldn't the natural family have first dibs at tending and caring for a fallen family member?

How do homosexuals pose a threat to the neighbor next door? Well, now, let us count the ways. What about queer Boy Scout leaders who wish to take young boys on remote retreats? What about pressure groups like NAMBLA that wish to lower or abolish the age of consent? What about the same-sex ratio between victim and victimizer in the Catholic sex scandal? What about the spread of AIDS? What about hate-speech that outlaws the freedom of dissent? One could go on and on about this, but you get the picture. Really, it's no different than our suspicion of a leering old man who hangs around the playground, scoping out the boys and girls.
"On what grounds do conservatives believe that discouraging responsibility is a good thing for one group in society? What other legal minority do they or would they treat this way? If a group of African-Americans were to set themselves up and campaign for greater familial responsibility among black couples, do you think conservatives would be greeting them with dismay and discouragement or even a constitutional amendment to stop them?"

Whether social responsibility is a virtue or a vice rather depends on the social circles in which you move, does it not? Gang-bangers are responsible to gang-leaders. Vikings are responsible to their warlords. Hookers are responsible to pimps. Suicide-bombers are responsible to the Mullah. Mafiosi are responsible to the Don. Nazis are responsible to the Führer. Kamikazes are responsible to the emperor. Call me intolerant, but I'd rather like to discourage that brand of social responsibility.

The comparison with black skin is a non-sequitur, for dark pigmentation is no sin, whereas sodomy is a sin that unravels the social fabric.
"At times, the social conservative position is almost perversely inconsistent: Many oppose what they see as gay promiscuity; but even more strongly, they oppose any social measures that would encourage gay monogamy, such as marriage. What, one wonders, do they want?"

Yes, social conservatives oppose queer monogamy and promiscuity alike for the simple reason that they oppose any form of homosexual activity. What could be more consistent?

Suppose we were to plug another example into Sullivan's pseudo-dilemma. "At times, the social conservative position is almost perversely inconsistent: Many oppose what they see as serial killing; but even more strongly, they oppose any social measures that would encourage a one-time hit. What, one wonders, do they want?"

Sullivan knows perfectly well the conservative alternative. Social conservatives favor Christian conversion and sexual healing.

In answering Sullivan's question, I cannot speak for all social conservatives, anymore than he can speak for all sodomites, but speaking for myself and other like-minded conservatives, what I want is a social order that honors and upholds the fundamental institutions of society as defined by the creation mandates in Gen 1-2 and their practical application throughout the remainder of OT and NT ethics.

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