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June 08, 2005

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Chairm

We can agree that the amendment clarified marriagability and protected the man-woman criterion. And that supporters defended the special status of marriage in Oregon.

>> Galois: "I just think it is awful to think that RB's provide adequate protection for same-sex couples and their families, nor does it do much to address the goals of providing stability and security."

Yes, Galois, you'd refight the amendment campaign and hope to win marital status for the unmarriagable same-sex combination. Having lost that campaign, SSM advocates now imagine that they are entitled to bestow marital status under a different guise.

Sounds like the old playground ruse: "Heads I win. Tails you loose."

Supporters did not insist that unmarriagable relationships would be made eligible for all that marital status includes in Oregon.

The RB proposal does make some protections available but it does not replicate marital status under a different label. The civil union proposal on the table explicitly does what RB is careful not to do. It is not hypocritical to support both the state constitutional amendment and the RB proposal AND oppose the civil union proposal.

>> Galois: "Now the question becomes what can be done to protect same-sex couples and their families."

In the absence of marriage-like status for the unmarriagable (an absence I think is correct), RB has great merit. Civil union, as per Vermont, is just another way to enact SSM, as has been explained earlier in this discussion.

Galois

Oh, good enough for children being raised by aunts, but not good enough for same-sex couples? Why not?

I explained why not. Read before you criticize. I explained that aunts should not have to go through court proceedings if one wishes to remarry. If you disagree then you should explain why they should.

Isn't that the same thing?

Of course not. Again I explained why in the event of one relative helping to raise the child of another, either should be able to remarry with dissolution proceedings. Please explain why you believe they should.

You can say what motivated you to include it. Hatred of children and extended families, it is clear.

You're a shmuck.

Why? How are their children any different? You keep insisting that same-sex couples and consanguine couples be treated differently but you fail to show why.

I have explained why. I'll try one more time since you seem to be so slow. In one case we have the situation of one child being raised by a parent with the help of another relative (aunt, uncle, grandparent). That relative has a particular legally recongized relationship with the child and it should not depend on the couple obtaining an RB status, nor should it end when the RB status terminates. If an uncle helps to raise his brother's child, he should still be able to marry someone else. In another case we might have a person marry someone and take on the commitments to care for his or her family including stepchildren. Thus he or she enters into the legal relationship of stepparent. It is important for the child, the couple, and the security and stability of the family as a whole that neither parent or stepparent could leave the family at the drop of the hat. They should be able to make decisions on behalf of the family with the idea that the family will remain together. If nevertheless they split up it is important to have dissolution proceedings to orderly deal with all of the issues involved. In the case where both spouses are parents to the child all of this is even more important.

After all, you argue laws based on gender and sexual preference require strict scrutiny and that strict scrutiny demands you prove necessity.

This wouldn't be based on gender. The bill already excludes couples who are permitted to enter into marriage and could also exclude couples permitted to enter into civil union. No gender classifications would be used. So this case would be evaluated under rational basis, and I have provided a legitimate state interest served by the exclusion. The state does not want to make it easier for couples to avoid taking on the obligations of marriage.

HB3476 provides the most inclusion, and meets your goal of equality at any cost.

I never had a goal of equality at any cost. You must stop putting words in my mouth. As Charim noted, the decision need not be HB3476 or SB1073, they could pass both. As for why, if they do so, they should amend HB3476 to make it less inclusive, I have explained above. If your goal were to simply have the most inclusion you should push to amend HB3476 so as to include couple who could marry and push to amend SB1073 so as to include close relatives.

Extended families taking care of each other and raising children are beneficial to society, contrary to what you would have us believe, and therefore deserve the same protections as "gay and lesbian" couples.

I never said they weren't beneficial. I have explained why I don't believe civil unions would serve their needs, but if you feel otherwise you could push to include them in civil unions.

Either show how the word game of calling a same-sex union a "civil union" and then equating it to marriage is different than equating it to marriage directly or admit you are wrong.

First of all they are not "equated" to marriage. I have noted time and again how civil unions are separate and unequal. They do not do as much as marriage to provide security and stability. Secondly, the amendment never even said anything about equating same-sex unions with marriage. It said marriage is strictly a heterosexual union, but allowed the possiblity of the legislature offering the protections of marriage to same-sex couples through a different avenue.

Not according to you. According to you the voters in Oregon just wanted them to stop off and call themselves civil unions first and then they could have full access to marriage.

I am sick and tired of you just making up arguments of what you think I believe. I don't know what each voter in Oregon wanted, but the voters as a whole wanted to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. The supporters of the measure intentionally left open the option of allowing same-sex couples to take on the obligations of marriage via some other method. You have constantly whined about same-sex relationships not being marriage, but being something else. That does not mean that something else cannot be given the same protections and obligations that are associated with marriage. If you have a problem with a particular protection being applied to same-sex couples, explain which protection and why it would be wrong to apply it to same-sex couples, but don't complain about a law being applied to civil unions simply because it is also applied to marriage.

According to you, the voters in Oregon didn't really want to do anything at all when they voted to amend their constitution.

Wrong. Stop saying "according to you" and then making claims on my behalf that I don't hold. As I mention above, the amendment restricts marriage to be only a union of a man and a woman. Nobody can change marriage in Oregon to be anything else. That does not mean that other couples, who cannot marry, may not be given an opportunity to take on the obligations and protections that marriage offers to opposite sex couples. Supporters of the amendment said it would was important that marriage be defined in terms of its man-woman criterion, and so it is because of the amendment. If you beleive that this does nothing at all, then say so. I don't believe it for a second so don't claim I do.

Then you wouldn't be so contemptuous. Voters are not as stupid as you would have us believe.

Did I ever call a voter stupid. I have not been contemptuous. I have recognized what the voters did. I disagree and think it was wrong, but I recongize that Oregon has constitutionally defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Well, now your chickens have come home to roost and you are left rejecting those self-same arguments based only on the fact they arrive at a different conclusion.

Wrong yet again. You make up arguments on my behalf. You then apply those made up arguments in this case and I reject them. That says nothing about the arguments I have actually been making. If you want to make up arguments to reject, have fun arguing with yourself. Don't go attributing your claims to me, though.

On Lawn

Galois seems to have been put on the ropes rather easily. I've always measured the success of an argument by the inconsistencies resorted to by its arguer(s), and their need to re-define my own position for their convenience. A cute little snippet from one of the truly great essayists of our times describes pretty well what happened to Galois here. It isn't his argument skills, which are pretty good, that failed him. Found as the mission statement on his web page, Bill Whittle describes this phenomenon EjectEjectEject.com

Your world view has just been hit with heat-seeking reality and you are on fire and out of control.

You only have a few decades in which to react. Think fast! Cool soothing logic tells you its time to get out. Eject! Eject! Eject!

So when Galois is caught in some pretty blatant errors, his first reaction is to blame the people pointing it out to him, "It's been quite a day here. Mr. John Howard accuses me of making cruel and inaccurate analogies in a post in which he compares taking a spouse of the same sex to undertaking a career in robbing banks. Then On Lawn after accusing me of attacking straw men goes on at some length criticizing positions I have never claimed. It is a day filled with ironies."

Of all the marriages Galois should worry about, he is clearly so wedded to government validation of marriage impersonation that he has divorced himself from reality. Because right now, and this post will make it plenty evident, his divorce with reality is all but a done deal. I apologize in advance for the expediency of highlighting Galois in cataloging these failings. He is little different from any of the others attempting to foist marriage impersonation off on the rest of us. It is not my intent to highlight his failings any more than the failings of any other marriage pretender. However, the conclusions are evident, and as he has tried to "mistake" my position, and then cover it up with lies. It is necessary to enumerate those lies.

To start I will give Galois credit where he acknowledged the disparity between my position and what he said my position is. He's acknowledged as much in some of his writings about Kurtz as well. But Galois would have us believe that his misrepresentation was a mistake and not a straw man. I'm not sure to what he attributes the mistake. Perhaps the position was not explicitly stated beforehand? No, that isn't the case. Oddly enough, the reply he is discussing is just as relevant now as then. One may conclude that he is to do the same thing over and over, but I digress. The quote is:

Is that what happened? Honestly, I can understand people trying to re-write history for their own purpose. But re-writing recent history? My own history?

Lets look at these side by side...

Civil Unions, at least as I understood them, was a way to accomplish a social experiment without having to rip out and replace the moorings of society. The political expedience of them, I felt, was their ability to let us see how well the homosexual model of union worked. That can only happen if they are truly independent of marriage.

And here is what you said happened:

somebody said that if you pass civil unions then there won't be a demand for marriage and you believed him or her

Clearly I stated just what I understood civil unions to be before Galois tried to tell me what I thought Civil Unions to be. Was he mistaken? Was he blind? Or is he just trying to weasel out of his guilt. Feigning poor comprehension is so often a tactic of those arguing for validation of their marriage impersonation. I begin to wonder if they think anyone else sees their potentially feigned incomprehension or ignorance as a virtue.

Galois then would have us believe that "this is not a straw man because I did not criticize this position or attack it as wrong." I'm not sure then what this statement is, if not an attack on that "mistaken" position...

If somebody said that if you pass civil unions then there won't be a demand for marriage and you believed him or her, then you could complain about what you were sold.

From Galois writings it is clear that he thinks the people who do complain about being misled by the promises of civil unions are "hypocrites".

As for SB1073 being a legislative run-around, that argument is a favorite among the hyprocrites in Oregon.

Then Galois also seems to think it that the statement "if you pass civil unions then there won't be a demand for marriage" is exactly what were were told -- by the "hypocrites". And that is why he feels he has grounds for complaint. It seems we have a "heads I win, tails you lose" proposition here (which seems to be popular of late). Either way, yone is a hypocrite just for being in the other camp as he. Only people in his camp can complain.

So how did he accomplish this? I mean it appears that any way you take it Galois is set to exploit a weakness in a position. Well how he accomplished this is by crafting it around a position entirely orthogonal to anything I said. In other words, by creating a false premise. The only conclusion that follows is that the exploitation of this carefully crafted "mistake" is that of a straw man.

Then, failing to try to use a straw man attributed to myself, he points to two other examples. Apparently he believes that if he can find just one person who thinks that equating civil unions to marriage is enough to make it not a marriage that it is true. Unfortunately at least one example of his doesn't feel that way. Galois says, "Consider Elizabeth Marquardt who writes at FamilyScholars.org ... it is also clear that she supports civil unions".

Again the point is not supporting "Civil Unions" or not. The distinction continues to elude those that want us to validate marriage impersonation. The objection is formed from equating Civil Unions and marriage. I would venture that this is important to Elizabeth also. She considers Civil Unions to be, "providing benefits but still not 'real' marriage". The keep Civil Unions independent of marriage is also apparent in a quote Galois provided in his article from Marquadt:

Help me understand how something you passionately and loudly label as “insulting” and “discriminatory” can also be – when you realize it’s all your going to get for now – “a step” towards what you want? If it is truly discriminates against you, you should never tolerate it under any circumstances, isn’t that right?

If I go deeper, and in fairness to Galois he too thinks that Civil Unions and marriages not only should be, but are different entities. He says, "I don't believe civil unions can offer the same protections". Perhaps that is why he hasn't confronted the plain and simple math provided in Op-Ed's piece, "Civil Unions, a Legislative End-Around". It would, I presume, force him to confront the deception Civil Unions are in that they are directly equated to marriage. Whatever reason's he has for not directly addressing this point either here or by comment on Opine, it looks like it will simply be a waiting game while he comes up with some way to reconcile such conflicting opinions. Especially after calling people who do acknowledge the end-around "hypocrites".

Unfortunately the hijinks over straw men continues when a series of events led Galois to conclude that I made a straw man out of him. He says, "I never claimed the referendum didn't pass" and claims that I said he did. Let me set the stage a bit...

Galois had said that I was "wrong" when I said, "In the popular referendums from Oregon to Kansas to North Caroline people do not support conflating civil unions with marriage." Is that statement right or wrong? Well Galois thought it was wrong because, "Many voters in Oregon wanted same-sex couples to have the same protections of marriage". As a statement it is true, depending on what one considers "many". To Galois, perhaps three people is "many" so I'll accept that for him the statement is probably true. Never the less as a contradiction to the referendums passing in those states, the statement is a mind-boggling.

For "many voters" to be a solid contradiction proving me wrong he would essentially be saying, "because some people voted against a measure that these referendums didn't pass" which is clearly wrong. It is honestly amazing just how often when those that wish to validate marriage impersonation have their positions put in a straightforward manner the illogic is evident. Perhaps that is why Galois in particular divorces from his own arguments in such cases and says, "positions I never took". Only "never took" apparently means he just didn't put them that way.

Exposing such non-sequitors is not new. Socrates was famous for exposing such problematic premises with questions. His questions would take the premise forwarded in the logic presented to him, and lead people on their own accord to self-evident inconsistencies. Today we call this "sarcasm" which name derives from "Socrates". It is also called "reductio ad absurdum". Today these Socratic questions are simplified as part of a grander household phrase:

A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for rhetorical effect rather than for the purpose of getting an answer ("How many times do I have to tell you to stop walking into the house with mud on your shoes?").

A rhetorical question seeks to encourage reflection within the listener as to what the answer to the question (at least, the answer implied by the questioner) must be. When a speaker declaims, "How much longer must our people endure this injustice?" or "Will our company grow or shrink?", no formal answer is expected. Rather, it is a device used by the speaker to assert or deny something.

So when I ask, "You tried to say that because some people voted against a measure that these referendums didn't pass?" it doesn't say he did. But the extension of the premise draws out the contradiction of what he is saying.

Again we note that what Galois says people say, and what they are saying are very different things. He was caught doing this to Kurtz, and now caught doing it to me. Galois was a good enough sort to sneak in an inferred apology when he acknowledged the "mistake". But maybe the inferred apology is just my imagination as he continues in the tactic. It has been this author's experience that what marriage impersonators will say and then turn around and say they just said are just as different. We call this "ambivalence".

So I will refrain from continuing to call "straw man" as this is more a repeated behavior than anything else. One may simply consider Galois a tiger with very unfortunate stripes.

To give Galois more credit, however, I'll note that at points he does hit the topic reasonably well when he quits talking about straw men. But again problems are hidden in inferences. Galois said "this [people do not support conflating civil unions with marriage] does not follow from the vote in Oregon at least." One might want to check to see how he accomplishes this conclusion over where the argument is made. I checked as early as this morning have have yet to see a complaint lodged against the logic. Perhaps he doesn't see how it follows because he hasn't read it? This is interesting because as yet another counter argument we have yet another inferred "does not compute" over the very same point -- conflating Civil Unions with Marriage. It doesn't follow, he doesn't see it.

And maybe no one else should too, we are left to presume. It is not a surprise then when Galois claims, "even today, as they oppose the civil union bill they don't dare say that the bill is precluded by the measure." Again he basically admits that he doesn't see the logic, and infers no one else sees it either.

Perhaps he doesn't see how the legislative end-around is precluded? But then perhaps he does. His claim is easily contradicted by examples provided by himself, in this very article:

the Oregon Family Council is leading the fight against it and Nashif tells the Bend Bulletin:
We would be against any measure that takes all the benefits of marriage and then calls it something else. We don't think Oregonians had that in mind when they passed Measure 36. --4/15/2005

He also said later in a post to this article:

As for SB1073 being a legislative run-around, that argument is a favorite among the hyprocrites in Oregon. When they were pushing to have the amendment passed they argued that the needs of same-sex couples should be addressed legislatively through civil unions, not through the courts and marriage. Using such arguments they were able to get the measure passed. Now that they have denied same-sex couples access to marriage they turn around and use the passage of the measure as evidence that the voters of Oregon don't want the legislature to pursue civil unions. [emphasis mine]
This humble author isn't going to claim to be an expert on Galois. I can't explain such ambivalence. I do mirror Fritz's commentary on the subject as a likely explanation.

And so when yet another direct contradiction appears it is noteworthy to mark the emerging pattern. Galois claims that he "never said how much popular support I have or even how much popular support certain policies have. Then let these quotes be informative to the reader to gain their own conclusions.

You are wrong. Many voters in Oregon wanted same-sex couples to have the same protections of marriage

Of those Oregon voters who supported Measure 36, a majority--57%--agree with allowing gays and lesbians to enter into civil unions, but not marriage.

Many people in this country, especially in states like Oregon and Connecticut, support civil unions but not marriage rights. This is not so unbelievable.

Yet he [the Con. State legislator] observed that about a third of the legislature supported marriage, about a third supported civil unions but not marriage, and about a third supported neither. Thus civil unions was all that could be passed in the last legislative session.

As an aside and in full disclosure, I will agree that while 2/3 majority for the marriage defenders happens often in this debate, in Oregon it is more like 3/5ths. Yet to say "Later on he even gives up the qualifier 'near' and simply refers to 2/3" as fodder for complaint is straining at gnats. Often qualifiers are established and not repeated as to not bore the reader with repetition.

The exploration of Galois lack of explanation to his opposition to RB's was done already by Op-Ed, I see nothing needed to add except to point out the hypocrisy of demanding that relationships be compelled to stay together, while pointing to mythical homosexual households we later find are created by divorce. Does he (and this is a rhetorical question also) care more for impersonations of marriage than the marriages dissolved to create that illusion?

Why RB's are better than Civil unions was given four times, though Galois again claimed to not see it. The ability to ignore is not shocking anymore. I said, "the problem with Civil Unions is two-fold, (1) they try to extend benefits to one set of people based on the capacities of another class of people, (2) they extend government's arm to governing romance. Every argument lobbied against RB's as "not good enough" seems to fall in either one of those two categories. One can presume the accuracy then of the statement that "to marriage impersonators, those aren't problems, they are features."

Perhaps the difference here is that I don't see children as necessary accessories to validate romantic relationships. As John Howard points out, one may not be willing to endorse risky cloning or other scientifically difficult procedures to afford such validation. I just know I'm not even willing to see children go father-less and mother-less to be used as cheaply as validation of romantic relationships.

When a child was taken from a mother because she was in a relationship with someone of another race, the Supreme Court gave the child back to the mother and said, "Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect." Putting the law aside, I agree completely with the sentiment.

Here we find often spouses leaving and taking their children away from their mothers and fathers to pursue their own private gender bias. They think a household with two fathers or two mothers is better. Well the private biases that preclude someone of loving someone of the opposite sex enough to give children a mother and father, to me, deserve no effect from the law either.

Galois

Fitz,

I believe your first post is misplaced in this thread. You wrote:


Courts that will be seeking to define “or other union for similar purpose” and all other language included in the various state amendments prohibiting civil unions and other marriage counterfeits will be forced to either acknowledge this will of the voters, or will seek to subvert it. (as you do)

This thread was dealing with Oregon where the amendment did not include any such language. The drafters of the amendment intentionally left out such language probably for fear that it would not pass if such language was included. Thus when one of the chief petitioners tried to justify it he said:

Same-sex couples should seek marriage-like rights through another avenue such as civil unions.

As for your seond post, while I don't appreciate the insults your criticisms are based on the premise that my arguments are invalid. They are not. If you're tired and bored of them anyway, then you don't need to read them.

Chairm,

You keep harping on this notion that SSM advocates feel they are entitled to civil unions because they didn't like the outcome of the measure. I have told you every single time that this is not my view. I have argued for civil unions in Oregon because I think they would be good policy and explained why I think so.

Supporters did not insist that unmarriagable relationships would be made eligible for all that marital status includes in Oregon.

I NEVER CLAIMED THEY DID.

It is not hypocritical to support both the state constitutional amendment and the RB proposal AND oppose the civil union proposal.

I NEVER CLAIMED IT WAS. Nor is it hypocritical to support the state constitutional amendment AND support the civil union proposal. I take it you agree with me there. If so, the civil union bill should be judged on its own merits and not opposed simply because the mesure passed.

I take it you oppose the civil union bill. Why? I thought you opposed same-sex marriage because it would send a message that marriage is not about procreation or bridging the gender divide. Well, marriage would now still be about all those things you want it to be about. Civil unions would be about creating stable and secure homes, protecting families, taking responsibility for one's family, and the like.

What protections of marriage do you think would be inappropriate to apply to same-sex unions? For example, Mr. John Howard believed that it could be inappropriate to require dissolution proceedings because he felt no hinderance should be placed to an individual leaving such a relationship to enter into marriage with another. I disagree with him that this is a good idea, but it is at least a specific reason to reject a specific provision. Do you agree with him? Also do you believe that Vermont and Connecticut have enacted SSM?

Chairm

Galois, did you like the outcome of the amendment campaign? Nope. Do you now assert that Oregon enact marital status for same-sex couples under the guise of this proposed civil union status? Yep.

>> Galois: "Civil unions would be about creating stable and secure homes, protecting families, taking responsibility for one's family, and the like."

Nope. That is not what civil unions is about. It is about replicating marital status under and different guise. Rince and repeat.

You say I've misread you, so please unpack the following sentence:

>> Galois; "The supporters of the amendment were insistent that they were not trying to deny same-sex couples the protections of marriage, but rather were tyring to preserve the institution of marriage as defined as a union of man and woman."

By their protection of the man-woman criterion and the special status of the marital relationship, supporters of the amendment insisted that unmarriagable relationships would be eligible for all that marital status includes?

That account of the campaign is fanciful. Of course, maybe you remember what you wanted to hear. It happens a good deal on the loosing side in campaigns of all sorts.

>> Galois: "I have argued for civil unions in Oregon because I think they would be good policy"

Yes, but good policy supposedly because it would replicate marital status under a different label and snatch victory from the jaws -- or the belly -- of defeat. You cannot see how that would be undoing the lost campaign in Oregon?

>> Galois: "the civil union bill should be judged on its own merits and not opposed simply because the mesure passed."

Sure. But the constitutional amendment was ratified and it carries significance that you'd evade with a proposal that does what the amendment was meant to guard against. The proposed legislation expressly attaches civil union status to the hip of marital status as if they were twins. It makes the unmarriagable, marriagable -- i.e. "marriage/civil union" and "spouse/partner".

You're nuanced statements have not withstood scrutiny. I'm not going to pile on here. There are other points raised by others in the discussion you need to sort out before diverting to another subtopic, imo.

F. Rottles

Oregon's marriage amendment:

"It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage."

There are technical hairs to split, but it looks like the civil union bill would recognize an alternative relationship type as marriage. I think the legislature can still pass this bill but it would be very vulnerable to a legal challenge.

I think it would need to be modified to distinguish between marriage and civil union within the state of Oregon. The problem arises from giving legal status to the relationship type and making that status the same in all ways as marriage.

Galois

So when Galois is caught in some pretty blatant errors...and this post will make it plenty evident, his divorce with reality is all but a done deal...However the conclusions are evident, and as he has tried to "mistake" my position, and then cover it up with lies. It is necessary to enumerate those lies.

I was hopeful at this point that he would actually enumerate my alleged lies succinctly so that I could defend myself. Alas, he does not do so and so I must do my best to enumerate them and respond to each in turn.

I. The Mistaken Position

The first accusation seems to be that I never honestly mistook his position as I claim, but rather I am "just trying to weasel out of [my] guilt" and "feigning poor comprehension". To what position did I refer when I said I was mistaken?


Let us start with how I supposedly made him a straw man. I noted that many people support civil unions, while opposing allowing same-sex couples to marry. I said that he took this position himself. Apparently I misunderstood what he meant by civil union.


This was in reference to On Lawn's comment:

You said you once took this position yourself
Thank you for allowing me to repeat once again my position:  Civil Unions, at least as I understood them, . . .
I don't appreciate being made a strawman, Galois. No one does.

This was in turn a reference to my comment:

Many people in this country, especially in states like Oregon and Connecticut, support civil unions but not marriage rights. This is not so unbelievable. You said you once took this position yourself. It is why Connecticut was able to pass civil unions, but not a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry.

So the position he and I refer to was that he at one time "support[ed] civil unions, but not marriage rights". Now the mistake was not that he once took this position, for he indeed said:

Sorry folks, civil unions was something I was for as a comprimise [sic] a while back. Nowadays I see it for what it is, a zwischenzug.

The misunderstanding was that I took his support for "civil unions" to mean support for something like that which has been proposed in Oregon, and which they have passed in Vermont and Connecticut. I now believe he meant something else by "civil unions".

So was this a genuine misunderstanding or is On Lawn correct in accusing me of dishonesty? I contend that not only did I genuinely understand him to mean "civil unions" like those passed in Vermont and Connecticut, but this was a very reasonable way of reading his statement.

First of all let us look at the general context. Civil Union bills have passed in Vermont and Connecticut. Massachusetts has passed the first reading of an amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage but establish civil unions, and Oregon has proposed a civil union bill. In all four cases "civil union" refers to a status that same-sex couples could enter into that would give them all the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Here are the relevant sections:


OREGON: SECTION 21. (1) Partners in a civil union have the same privileges, immunities, rights, benefits and responsibilities under the laws of this state, whether derived from statute, administrative or court rule, policy or common law, as are granted to or imposed on spouses joined in a marriage. If a law provides privileges, immunities, rights or benefits to, or imposes responsibilities on, a person because the person is or was married, the law applies equally to a person who is or was in a civil union.

VERMONT: § 1204.  (a) Parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether they derive from statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage.

CONNECTICUT: Sec. 14.  Parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether derived from the general statutes, administrative regulations or court rules, policy, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage, which is defined as the union of one man and one woman.

MASSACHUSETTS: It being the public policy of this commonwealth to protect the unique relationship of marriage, only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in the commonwealth. Two persons of the same sex shall have the right to form a civil union if they otherwise meet the requirements set forth by law for marriage. Civil unions for same sex persons are established by this Article and shall provide entirely the same benefits, protections, rights, privileges and obligations that are afforded to persons married under the law of the commonwealth. All laws applicable to marriage shall also apply to civil unions.


I know of no civil union or civil union proposal in this country that does not include such a phrase. A number of states have passed other legal relationships available to same-sex couples which did not contain such a phrase, but they never called them civil unions. In light of this, was it reasonable to assume that this was what he meant by "civil unions"? Of course.

On Lawn, however, claims that it should be obvious that this is not what he meant because in a subsequent post he wrote:


Civil Unions, at least as I understood them, was a way to accomplish a social experiment without having to rip out and replace the moorings of society. The political expedience of them, I felt, was their ability to let us see how well the homosexual model of union worked. That can only happen if they are truely [sic] independant [sic] of marriage.

After his original post where he talked about once supporting civil unions I naturally took him to be referring to the only civil unions with which I'm familiar. Should this paragraph in a subsequent post have alerted me otherwise? No. His very next sentence was:

Unfortunately the betrayal of that promise comes from Oregon and Connecticut. The zwischenzug of threatening marriage to afford a dishonest political maneuver like Civil Unions is very telling.



It seemed to me that he supported civil unions at one point (which must have been after Vermont since that was the first time the phrase was used). It wasn't until Oregon and Connecticut that he had a problem. So it seemed to me that his problem could not originally have been with defining the protections of civil union with respect to the protections of marriage which he terms "equating civil unions with marriage" (since Vermont did that). Instead it seemed clear to me his problem was "the zwischenzug of threatening marriage". That is I thought he no longer supported civil unions because he had a fear, based on political maneuvering in Oregon and Connecticut, that it would lead to marriage. As soon as On Lawn later explained that he actually never supported having a civil union status that would define the same statewide legal effects as marriage, and that he was using civil union in a significantly different sense than it was normally used, I used other examples to support my original claim that one could oppose same-sex marriage and yet support such a civil union status.


INTERLUDE. The Original Argument

I'm afraid On Lawn has used this grandstanding about mistaken positions to deflect attention from the original argument. When I said he once took this position himself, it was as an example to support my claim that one could support civil unions (including a phrase like the one above which seems to be an essential part of civil unions) but oppose the right of same-sex couples to marry. The point being that the vote in Oregon should not be taken as an indication of opposition to civil unions (including such a phrase). [It is annoying to have to keep saying "including such a phrase; since all civil unions include such a phrase, but I seek to avoid his word games like "Again the point is not supporting `Civil Unions' or not...The objection is formed from equating Civil Unions and marriage.] In any case, is it true that one could support civil unions which include such a phrase and oppose allowing same-sex to marry? Of course it is.

Polls show significantly more support for civil unions than same-sex marriage so clearly some support civil unions but not marriage. But perhaps all of these people think like On Lawn did, that "civil unions" mean something other than the civil unions passed or proposed in Vermont, Connecticut, Oregon, and Massachusetts. I doubt people's misconceptions are so great, but I suppose it's always possible. So instead I try to turn to explicit examples of particular people I could point to that clearly take such a position.

Example 1. Senator Ben Westlund. He publicly and strongly supported measure 36. He even submitted a statement to the official voter's guide explaining his support and encouraging others to vote in favor it as well.  He also cosponsored the civil union bill in Oregon.  There is no contradiction there. Measure 36 was clearly about defining marriage, and had nothing to do with whether the legislature could grant the same legal rights and obligations of marriage to a different institution, civil unions.

It is extremely wrong to encourage voters to vote for a measure with the assurance that it still leaves open the possibility of passing civil unions through the legislature, and then when someone tries to pass civil unions through the legislature turn around and use that vote as an indication that the voters did not want civil unions. On Lawn tries to weasel out of this by saying the problem is not with civil unions per se, just with equating them to marriage which he claims Oregon's bill would do because of a phrase that is like that in every other civil union proposal in the nation. So apparently when the measure's supporters said it left open the possibility of civil union, they meant a civil union unlike any other in the nation. Not only did they mean that, but they are also going to assume that everyone else had this new meaning of "civil union" in their mind, too. If they wanted a vote for measure 36 to be a vote against such civil unions they should have put that in the amendment and had that as part of the campaign. It's clear, though, that the supporters did mean "civil union" as in Vermont and they did not intend for the measure to deal with this matter. This can be seen from the following two quotes:


"Gay and lesbian couples are free to pursue marriage-like rights via a different avenue, such as civil unions that have been approved in Vermont." -- Georgene Rice, who was the spokesperson for the Oregon Defense of Marriage Coalition which was dedicated to leading the fight for measure 36.

"Oregon’s measure was written specifically not to address civil union" -- Tim Nashif, who was appointed by the measure's petitioners to serve on the official five person committee established by the state to provide an explanation of the ballot measure.

This is the hypocrisy and it's not unavoidable.  One can oppose having civil unions like Vermont and oppose SSM. There is nothing hypocritical there.  One can, as Chairm noted, support having the matter of civil unions be debated publicly in the legislature and yet oppose passage of them. There is nothing hypocritical there. It is hypocritical, however, to encourage someone who supported civil unions like Vermont to vote for the measure because it only concerned marriage, and then use that vote to imply that he or she opposed civil unions like Vermont. Talk about being sold something different. To argue that everyone must have understood that when they said "civil unions" they meant something else and voters meant something else is laughable. At times they even said "like Vermont". A civil union, including the standard phrasing above, was certainly not unimaginable. Vermont, which coined the term, had them for years. Connecticut and Massachusetts had proposed them. So either (a) The measure's supporters believed that the measure did not preclude such an option. In which case it is hypocritical to use the passage of the measure as an indication of opposition to that option, or (b) The measure's supporters believed that the measure did preclude such options but refused to alert people to this and by using the phrase "civil unions" sought to make it sound as if it didn't so that people would still vote for the measure. In this case their practice was extremely deceptive. The way the supporters are speaking now it seems that (a) is what happened which is why I label them hypocrites.

Example 2. Elizabeth Marquardt. On Lawn and I agree that she opposes same-sex marriage, but when I note that she supports civil unions he tries to play his word game:

Again the point is not supporting "Civil Unions" or not. The distinction continues to elude those that want us to validate marriage impersonation. The objection is formed from equating Civil Unions and marriage. I would venture that this is important to Elizabeth also. She considers Civil Unions to be, "providing benefits but still not 'real' marriage".
Well sure she doesn't consider civil unions to be "real" marriage. I don't either. The whole point is one could still support civil unions like those being proposed in Oregon, while restricting marriage to heterosexual couples because the bill in Oregon does not provide "real" marriage. Would the fact that the Oregon bill contains a clause like the one listed above cause Marquardt to withdraw her support from such a civil union bill? No. The Connecticut bill had such a phrase--and On Lawn has grouped the Connecticut and Oregon bills together as examples of "conflating civil unions with marriage"--and Ms. Marquardt has been explicit in her support for that bill.
Yesterday’s NYT editorial noted that civil union legislation may well pass in Connecticut. I’ve said before that I support civil unions and I think this is a good development.
Marquardt has explained her position before:
Further, if the state I lived in put an ammendment on the ballot that banned not just SSM but also civil unions and/or any other kinds of benefits and protections for SS couples, I would vote against it. I’m against SSM because it requires a gender-neutral, legal redefinition of marriage for everybody. It makes the law unable to affirm that children need and ideally are raised by the mother and father who gave them life. I am, however, completely for civil unions and every other kind of domestic partnership benefits I have heard of or can imagine.
You can't possibly suggest that Marquardt couldn't imagine a civil union proposal like that in Oregon when it mirrors all of the other civil unionn proposals. Nor could you suggest that Marquardt was unaware of the provision in the Connecticut bill. So I ask, isn't it reasonable to believe that there are a number of other voters out there like Marquardt or Westlund, that voted for the measure as written, but that would have voted against it if it banned civil union? I think we all know that is true which is why the measure was "written specifically not to address civil union" and why the supporters empasized that civil union, not marriage, was the appropriate avenue. And I won't buy the suggestion that the voters did not realize what civil unions entail.

Example 3. I'll add one more example while I'm at it. Governor Jodi Rell of Connecticut. She threatened to veto the Connecticut civil union bill unless it included a line reiterating that marriage was defined as the union of one man and one woman. The bill was amended to include such a line and Governor Rell signed it. Obviously she knew that the bill contained a phrase which mirrors the section of the Oregon bill that On Lawn and Op-Ed find objectionable.

If such a phrase makes the civil union "directly equated to marriage" in Oregon, then don't the nearly identical phrases in Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have the same effect? And yet people manage to support such unions while simultaneously supporting a man-woman criterion for marriage. Why is that? I believe the most likely reason is that while such a phrase might directly equate the legal obligations, rights, and protections of marriage with those of civil unions, these people view marriage as being more than this. Thus civil union can do this and yet not directly equate civil union with marriage. They correctly view the word "marriage" as being an important aspect of marriage. This is part of the reason I feel that civil union does not do enough, and it is also the reason others view civil union, but not marriage, as the appropriate answer. You might disagree and believe that civil unions and marriages are equal, but I would hope that you could at least understand how others--on both sides of the SSM debate--might not share your view.

II. The Wrong Mistake

As noted in section I, the "mistaken position" I mentioned was that I thought On Lawn meant civil union as in what they have in Vermont and Connecticut when he used the phrase "civil union". In this most recent post, though, On Lawn acts as if the "mistaken position" was that I thought he believed that civil unions would end a demand for marriage. He contrasts his "Civil Unions, at least as I understood them" quote with the following statement he claims I made:


somebody said that if you pass civil unions then there won't be a demand for marriage and you believed him or her

When he first brought this up in a previous post I thought it was merely a typo and that he had unintentionally left off the beginning of the sentence. It is clear from his most recent post, though, that this was, in fact, a deliberate distortion on his part. He repeats the quote (again without the critical first word) and harshly criticizes me for supposedly believing that statement that to be true. To try to get people to believe that I made such a statement he acts if I had in fact admitted to being mistaken in making such a claim (thus implying I made the claim in the first place), when in fact the misunderstanding I spoke of had absolutely nothing to do with this line and he knows it. To top it all off he has the nerve to act aghast at how I could make such a mistake when it was obvious this statement wasn't true. That is the height of dishonesty and deception.

So the "mistaken position" had nothing to do with this statement, but did I indeed make this claim? Absolutely not. At least three times now he has written that phrase, but let's look at the full sentence (emphasis added):


If somebody said that if you pass civil unions then there won't be a demand for marriage and you believed him or her, then you could complain about what you were sold.

So the claim was not that the phrase "somebody said that...and you believed him or her" was true.  On the contrary the implication was the phrase was NOT true.  That phrase was part of an If-Then statement.  If X ("somebody said...believed him or her"), then Y ("you could complain").  In general, an if-then statement says nothing about the validity of the hypothetical (the "if" part).  For example, "If aliens exist, then it would be nice if we could talk to them" says nothing about the proposition that aliens exist and it would be completely irresponsible to take the phrase out of the full sentence and accuse someone of claiming the existence of aliens, and reprehensible to then attack that person for holding such a belief.  But it gets even worse in this case.  An if-then statement is logically equivalent to its contrapositive (If NOT Y, then NOT X).  For example, "If the test comes back positive, then you are sick" is equivalent to "If you are not sick, then the test does not come back positive".)   So in this case if I believed that statement Y ("you could complain") was NOT true it would follow that I actually believed that statement X is NOT true.  So do I believe that On Lawn could legitimately complain about what he was sold?  It was clear that I didn't.  The full quote was:

In short, and you will agree, people who are supporting Civil Unions in comprimise [sic] like I used to are being sold something different than they are getting.<

Actually I disagree. If somebody said that if you pass civil unions then there won't be a demand for marriage and you believed him or her, then you could complain about what you were sold.


So it is clear that I disagreed that he was being sold something different, and thus did not agree that "somebody said...and you believed him or her".  This was so clear that On Lawn admits as much as he wrote:

From Galois writings it is clear that he thinks the people who do complain about being misled by the promises of civil unions are "hypocrites". 

So by taking a phrase out of a full sentence On Lawn twists a claim which it was clear I believed to be false, and passed it off as if I said the claim was true.   Then in order to try to cement this distortion he takes a statement I made about something else and acts as if I made it about this claim thereby furthering the falsehood that I made such a claim in the first place.  After all of that, he has the chutzpah to hurl insults at me for making such a claim and then feigning poor comprehension.   It makes me sick.

III. On Lawn never said "say", he implied "imply"

While the last accusation was the most reprehensible, this one is the most ridiculous. 


He says "I never claimed the referendum didn't pass" and claims that I said he did.

I've reread the section five times and can't figure out whether the alleged lie is that "I never claimed the referendum didn't pass" or whether it's "I said he did".  They can't both be lies.  If On Lawn is claiming that the first statement is a lie, then it follows that he believes "I did claim the referendum didn't pass" and thus the second statement is true.  In any event neither statement is a lie, and he can choose later which charge he was making.

I never claimed the referendum didn't pass

This is no lie.  I never made such a claim.  In fact I claimed the contrary.  Here's one such direct quote:

Using such arguments they were able to get the measure passed.

But On Lawn claims I'm full of contradictions.  So how does he believe I did make such a claim?

Galois had said that I was "wrong" when I said, "In the popular referendums from Oregon to Kansas to North Caroline [sic] people do not support conflating civil unions with marriage." Is that statement right or wrong? Well Galois thought it was wrong because, "Many voters in Oregon wanted same-sex couples to have the same protections of marriage". As a statement it is true, depending on what one considers "many". To Galois, perhaps three people is "many" so I'll accept that for him the statement is probably true. Never the less as a contradiction to the referendums passing in those states, the statement is a mind-boggling.

For "many voters" to be a solid contradiction proving me wrong he would essentially be saying, "because some people voted against a measure that these referendums didn't pass" which is clearly wrong.


So his reasoning is
1. Galois said I was wrong about X ("In popular referendums from Oregon...conflating civil union with marriage").
2. In support of that claim Galois cites a claim Y ("many voters").
3. For the claim Y to prove me wrong he would need to say: If Y ("many voters") then Z ("these referendums didn't pass").
4. Therefore he is essentially saying Z (which is clearly wrong).

There are a couple of problems here, but the biggest problem is the third premise.  It assumes that Z is the only possible conclusion that could be drawn from Y which would support my claim that X is wrong.  (Follow all that?)  Since he agrees that Z is clearly wrong, and I have stated Z is wrong, he might guess that there is a different statement, Z' that can be inferred from Y which would indicate that his claim is wrong.  Sure enough, there is.  The claim Z' ("the vote in Oregon provided no indication as to people's views about "conflating civil union with marriage")  This would certainly demonstrate that your statement X is wrong.  Does Y support this claim?  Sure.  If many voters of Oregon voted for the measure despite wanting same-sex couples to have the same protections of marriage, and in his mind that means "conflating civil unions and marriage", then the outcome of the referendum says nothing one way or the the other about popular support for "not conflating civil unions and marriage".   

I said he did

Above we see yet another example where indeed On Lawn accused me of "essentially" saying that the referendum did not pass.  As I noted, if he is claiming the first statement is a lie, then this statement must be true. 

On Lawn then explains that it was merely a rhetorical question, but either way he admits the purpose was to "draw out the contradiction of what [I was] saying".  So he was "drawing out" my contradiction.  What contradiction?  The measure passed, and the measure did not pass.  So On Lawn's defense is that he never said that I said X, he only implied that I implied X.  That's supposed to say--excuse me, imply--I lied?

IV. Precluded or Unpopular
The charge:


Galois claims, "even today, as they oppose the civil union bill they don't dare say that the bill is precluded by the measure."...

...His claim is easily contradicted by examples provided by himself, in this very article:

We don't think Oregonians had that in mind when they passed Measure 36...

...they turn around and use the passage of the measure as evidence that the voters of Oregon don't want the legislature to pursue civil unions.


Preclude means to make impossible.  That is it seemed to me that On Lawn was implying that the civil union bill would be constitutionally forbidden by the measure.  (Although his earlier writings imply he opposes judicial review so if the legislature passed it, I suppose he would not want a court to strike it down).  In any case, my claim was that these groups are not making such an argument.  And the alleged contradictions show no indication that they are. Instead, as I have noted, they argue not that the bill is forbidden by the measure, but rather that the passage of the measure should be taken as an indication that Oregonians do not want this bill. On Lawn just doesn't seem to understand the difference between claiming a bill is politically unpopular and claiming it is constitutionally prohibited.

V. Popular Support
The charge:


Galois claims that he "never said how much popular support I have or even how much popular support certain policies have". 

I must plead guilty to this one.  I did indeed refer to a press release from Basic Rights Oregon with information regarding a poll on Oregonians views on civil unions. I had been explaining earlier to Chairm that I did not view the vote on measure 36 as giving any indication of voter's views on civil unions (since the measure was written specifically not to address civil unions) and I do not know how much support there is for the civil union bill. That is why I must speak in general terms like "many voters" and "many people".  When I said that I found the poll believable it was not that I believe necessarily that 57 percent of measure 36 supporters also support civil unions. Rather I believe that a significant portion of them support civil unions (like VT, CT, MA, etc.)   The poll arrived at a number of 57 percent. If the percentage of measure 36 supporters who would vote against a ban on civil unions were as little as 15 percent such a ban would be defeated.  I don't put a lot of stock in polls but I don't believe that it would be off by a margin of error or 40 percent!  In any case what I should have said I was I don't know with much precision how much popular support there is for any of these policies, and I don't claim to know.

op-ed

Galois,

You have spent your last several posts telling others you didn't really say things. This is a clear indicator that, as I have said, your chickens have come home to roost. Like a political spin doctor, your only avenue remaining is to deny, deny, deny. You could not have made the desperation of your position stand out any more clearly.

You're a shmuck.

Wow. I guess you could make it stand out more clearly.

Op-Ed: you argue laws based on gender and sexual preference require strict scrutiny...
Galois: This wouldn't be based on gender.

Not only is this spin-doctoring, but it is really bad spin-doctoring. The evasion of the sexual preference issue is so transparent the reader is left to question not only your integrity, but your assumptions about his/her mental faculties. A response, any response, would have been preferable. It may still have left questions about your ability to reason, but it at least would not have raised questions about your readers' ability to do so.

If you have a problem with a particular protection being applied to same-sex couples, explain which protection and why it would be wrong to apply it to same-sex couples, but don't complain about a law being applied to civil unions simply because it is also applied to marriage.

This is just more bad spin-doctoring. Proposing a change and then asking someone else to dis-prove it rather than you proving it yourself sends the message that you have no proof and are simply hoping the other side hasn't, either. Note how your words sound when I use them in the Oregon debate:

"If you have a problem with a particular protection being applied to [Aunt Milly and Aunt Tilly], explain which protection and why it would be wrong to apply it to [Aunt Milly and Aunt Tilly], but don't complain about a law being applied to [Aunt Milly and Aunt Tilly] simply because it is also applied to [homosexual couples]."

Once you have shifted the burden of proof to the other side, you can simply raise the standard of proof impossibly high, as you did with marriage. Again, letting your chickens come home to roost, show how treating Aunt Milly and Aunt Tilly differently than a homosexual couple is necessary, your own word. For example...

Homosexual couples, according to you, need the intrusion of government dictating the terms of their dissolution. After all, they may be raising children. But Aunt Milly and Aunt Tilly can also be raising children, so if children necessitate a government intrusion in the one case, they must in the other as well. By your own standard, because you have failed to show the difference in treatment you seek is based on an actual difference rather than your own prejudice, the two groups must be treated identically. After all, equal protection demands it.

As I mention above, the amendment restricts marriage to be only a union of a man and a woman.

This is just really, really bad spin-doctoring. This is like the politician deflecting a sexual harrassment charge by saying sexual harrassment is bad rather than explaining his conduct. You agree marriage is to be "only a union of a man and a woman," but you fail to deal with the actual conduct of SB1073 which says marriage is also a civil union:

Partners in a civil union have the same privileges, immunities, rights, benefits and responsibilities under the laws of this state... as are granted to or imposed on spouses joined in a marriage.

Not only do you fail to deal with your own contradiction, you try to portray anyone who notices the conflict at all as being a hypocrit, as in the following exchange:

Galois: As for SB1073 being a legislative run-around, that argument is a favorite among the hyprocrites in Oregon.
Chairm: It is not hypocritical to support both the state constitutional amendment and the RB proposal AND oppose the civil union proposal.
Galois: I NEVER CLAIMED IT WAS.

Notice that the spin-doctorish denial at the end only does yet more damage to your credibility.

Look. As long as you stay in damage control mode you are only going to hurt your credibility, and hence your cause, still further. Let me help you onto a more productive plane. Rather than deny, deny, deny, take the opportunity to sum up for yourself what your position really is. If you are not arguing for same-sex marriage on equality grounds, if you are not arguing for same-sex marriage because it benefits same-sex couples, if you are not arguing for same-sex marriage because same-sex partners can raise children, if you are not arguing for same-sex marriage because same-sex partners can take care of each other, then why are you arguing for same-sex marriage?

op-ed

I know of no civil union or civil union proposal in this country that does not include such a phrase.

Got it. Everyone agrees on what civil unions mean. That fact supports your foregone conclusion, so of course you would spout it here. But in a different thread where you are trying to reach a different foregone conclusion you find the opposite is true:

Not so with civil unions where different people have very different understandings of what sort of commitment or obligation is involved

Galois, you have spun out of control. You have woven such a web of lies you have ensnared yourself.

Galois

Nope. That is not what civil unions is about. It is about replicating marital status under and different guise.

The purpose of replicating the rights and responsiblities of marriage is in order to create stable and secure homes, protect families, have one take responsibility for one's family, etc.

You say I've misread you, so please unpack the following sentence:

"The supporters of the amendment were insistent that they were not trying to deny same-sex couples the protections of marriage, but rather were tyring to preserve the institution of marriage as defined as a union of man and woman."

Sure. A question comes up quite a bit about whether the intention of prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying is either to keep a certain definition of marriage or to withhold protections from gays and lesbians. A number of people declare that their intention is strictly the former. For example, I know you've read this post by Elizabeth Marquardt explaining how she would vote for an amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman provided it did not ban civil unions. The campaign in Oregon was aimed at voters like her.

That account of the campaign is fanciful. Of course, maybe you remember what you wanted to hear. It happens a good deal on the loosing side in campaigns of all sorts.

Fanciful? Didn't a person charged with explaining the amendment say "the measure was written specifically not to address civil union"? Didn't the spokesperson for the DOMC say repeatedly that gays and lesbians would be able to pursue civil unions like those approved in Vermont? The idea you have that the amendment was intended to preclude these civil unions is fanciful. You provide absolutly no basis for that, and it's simply not true. And the push for civil unions is not just coming from the losing side. One of the four co-sponsors of the civil union bill is Sen. Westlund who was on the winning side. He campaigned on behalf of the measure.

Sure. But the constitutional amendment was ratified and it carries significance that you'd evade with a proposal that does what the amendment was meant to guard against.

The amendment was not meant to guard against civil unions. It was specifically written not to address that issue. Why would Sen. Westlund be trying to evade what he had been guarding against? The amendment was meant to define maraige as the union of a man and a woman. This is like the amendment that Gov. Rell insisted be put into the CT civil union bill. Why would she sign a bill that did what such an amendment was designed to guard against? You would have liked the amendment to guard against civil unions, but your wish does not make it so and the amendment would probably not have passed had it done so.

The proposed legislation expressly attaches civil union status to the hip of marital status as if they were twins. It makes the unmarriagable, marriagable -- i.e. "marriage/civil union" and "spouse/partner".

In your opinion do the civil unions in Vermont and Connecticut do this? Does the proposal in Massachusetts do this? If not, what is they key difference? If so, what other model of civil union did people have in mind when they talked about the measure not addressing civil unions, or civil unions being the appropriate avenue?

You're nuanced statements have not withstood scrutiny.

Which nuanced statements of mine? (Or did you actually mean that I am made up of nuanced statements?) This idea you have that by "civil union" people meant something other than the model of every civil union proposal in the nation is asking us to attach a great deal of nuance to that phrase, and I don't believe it withstands scrutiny.

Galois

Op-Ed,

Was Sen. Westlund conradicting himself when he campaigned on behalf of measure 36 defining marriage to be the union of a man and a woman, and then co-sponsored the civil union bill that said that parties to a civil union should have the same rights and responsibilities as a marriage?

Was Gov. Rell contradicting herself when she insisted the bill define marriage to be the union of a man and a woman, but then signed the bill giving parties to a civil union should have the same rights and responsibilities as a marriage?

Was Elizabeth Marquardt contradicting herself when she explained how marriage needs to be defined as the union of a man and a woman, but then applauded the bill in CT which gave parties to a civil union the same rights and responsibilities as a marriage?

Is anyone who supports defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but yet also supports civil unions as in VT or CT contradicting oneself?

Do you know of any civil union proposal in the nation that does not provide the same rights and resonsibilities as marriage?

Galois

Got it. Everyone agrees on what civil unions mean. That fact supports your foregone conclusion, so of course you would spout it here. But in a different thread where you are trying to reach a different foregone conclusion you find the opposite is true:

You're at it yet again. I never said everyone agrees on what civil unions mean. When On Lawn explained that he didn't mean civil unions such as those passed in VT and CT, I said fine, I misunderstood him. Here are three other people that clearly and specifically support civil unions as I use the term and yet oppose same-sex marriage. I emphasized that this meaning is the natural assumption because On Lawn was so outraged that I could misunderstand how he meant the term.

I also emphasize this point because even those that mean something different by civil union must be aware that civil unions like in VT and CT (and proposed in MA) exist. So if they are going to say that the amendment would prohibit same-sex marriage but allow civil union, but only if the civil union is not like every other civil union in the country, they need to say so. It's one thing to say that they personally meant something else by civil union, but it's quite another to suggest that everybody else had the same meaning. (And the fact that at times they said "as in Vermont" kills the idea that even personally they had different meanings).

Finally I emphasize that my meaning (civil union as in VT and CT) is the most natural meaning because it is clear that a significant number of people who support marriage as only male-female also support civil unions. We can't be sure how many of those that support civil union but not marriage mean it as in VT or CT and how many really mean domestic partnership. Seeing as the former is the natural meaning, I feel it is safe to say it is a sizable portion and ridiculous to say that it is none.

It's ridiculous what you and On Lawn are doing. I claim X is true and you conclude that by this I must mean Y is true. Since I also say Y is not true you cite this as evidence that I'm contradicting myself, being intellectually dishonest, and saying whatever I need to say to reach foregone conclusions. Yet a reasonable person would see my statement that Y is not true as an indication that when I said X I could not have meant that Y is true. There must be a misunderstanding. Indeed this is how I reacted with regards to On Lawn's position on civil unoins. He said he once supported civil unions and I concluded that he supported civil unions like those in Vermont. When he made clear that he never supported such civil unions, I did not say he was contradicting himself nor accuse him saying anything to reach some conclusion. Instead I said I misunderstood him and corrected the misunderstanding (after which he promptly accused me of feigning miscomprehension since it should have been clear from a different statement that he could not have meant that). It would be like me accusing you of a deliberate misunderstanding since it was obvious from my other statements that I could not have meant everyone agrees on what civil unions mean. So the next time you see what you think is a contradiction, you might try politely asking me to explain my position. Don't worry. I promise I won't accuse you of "feigning miscomprehension".

op-ed

Interesting. Two more posts worth of deny, deny, deny and no posts at all clarifying your position. I'll give you one more chance to move into a productive space:

Rather than deny, deny, deny, take the opportunity to sum up for yourself what your position really is. If you are not arguing for same-sex marriage on equality grounds, if you are not arguing for same-sex marriage because it benefits same-sex couples, if you are not arguing for same-sex marriage because same-sex partners can raise children, if you are not arguing for same-sex marriage because same-sex partners can take care of each other, then why are you arguing for same-sex marriage?

Galois

I am arguing for same-sex marrriage on equality grounds. (See this whole category: SSM and Sex Discrimination).

I am arguing for for same-sex marriage because it would benefit the couple. (This is a particularly good post on that subject, but other posts in the category What Is Mariage explain this idea as well.

I am arguing for same-sex marriage because in many cases children have two parents of the same sex and it is important for their parents to stay together and for the parents to be able to securely make sacrifices on behalf of the family. I explain this in more detail in this category, Children and Same-Sex Parenting.

As for arguing for same-sex marriage because they can take care of each other, I think that falls into the category of how it benefits the couple (and society) which I mention above. I am also arguing for same-sex marriage because it would provide the potential of stable and secure relationships for gays and lesbians which is good for society. I also argue that it would strengthen the notion that marriage is important. I have explained these reasons in countless posts. You should also read Rauch's book. If you have any questions about them, I could explain in more detail. If you think this some denial, then I'm afraid I can't help you. Now would you care to answer my questions. Is anyone who supports civil unions as in VT or CT, but who also supports marriage being defined as only the union of a man and a woman (like for example, Sen. Westlund, Gov. Rell, and Ms. Marquardt) contradicting oneself?

Marty

Hmmm, maybe it's just me, but none of those 3 reasons have anything to do with sexual orientation. Those arguments are just as applicable to other family arrangements that are also denied a right to marriage, and precedents are currently being set on their behalf.

To the second question, "Is anyone who supports civil unions ... but who also supports marriage being defined as only the union of a man and a woman ...contradicting oneself?

Yes. Because "marriage-lite" doesn't solve the fundamental problem of people who take Marriage too lightly.

Mr. John Howard

Wouldn't a pretty good distinction between marriage and civil union be whether or not the couple has the right to combine their gametes and produce offspring? I think we'd make a lot of headway if we just established what the difference actually is. Few SSM advocates insist on a right to procreate (Galois is an exception) so this should work perfectly to achieve what everyone wants. Why not make headway and put this whole thing behind us?

Chairm

John Howard makes a sound observation.

I'd add the observation that if the SSM advocates insist that courts must strike down the man-woman criterion of marriage due to unjust sex discrimination, then, they must find the same-sex criterion of civil union to be unjust as well.

According to the Massa Court's advisory opinion on civil union as a distinct alternative to marriage, there is no difference between marital status and civil union status. Just the label. In Massachussetts, marriage has been flattened and subsumed by civil union. The Vermont model did the same thing and although it was enacted by the legislature it was forced directly by the court.

Following the Vermont model in light of the Oregon amendment campaign, and the ratification of the amendment, is very contradictory.

Chairm

Elizabeth had started her post by saying that, "I guess I haven’t written much about the federal and state ammendment issues because my thinking is not completely sorted out."

She did express opposition to banning civil unions and other legislative measures that might extend benefits to same-sex couples, partly out of concern about campaigns that might stir-up homophobia. Voters like Elizabeth would support a marriage amendment, and campaign, if it did not disparage homosexual men and women.

While I cannot speak for Elizabeth, it is fair to say that not all such voters are inclined to make civil union everything that marriage is, except for the label. A large portion would see the Vermont model as the enactment of SSM, and the contradiction of the special status of marriage. But they'd respect the democratic process in which the legislature, not the courts, made changes to the law in this regard. I think you overstate your case by claiming that a prominent amendment supporter in Oregion had referred to the legislative product, rather than the forum, in Vermont.

Not every voter would be aware of how the Vermont court had twisted the arm of the legislature. Some might have thought their vote would promote the democratic process of which Elizabeth had also made mention. Something like what happened during a few years, not months, of wrangling in Hwaii -- and which included elections.

You may assert that the amendment left the door wide open for civil union to be equated to marital status, but it is not based on the actual vote nor the express meaning of the amendment.

Chairm

It is incorrect to portray support for the amendment as having said that,

"Only the union of a man and woman will be recognized as a valid marriage. And, by the way, this means that the union of two men or two women can be accorded marital status in all but the label, marriage."

No other union was to be recognized as possessing marital status.

The proposed civil union bill contradicts the notion that a vote for the amendment was a vote to protect the special status of marriage in Oregon. Such a vote was for recognition of one type of union as being validated as possessing the only status from which all marital privileges, responsibilities, and protections flowed. But it left room for other alternatives under the label, civil union, or whatever other label might be selected.

Galois, surely you can see how supporters of the amendment would expect that in light of ratification of such an amendment there would be a legislative path open for some form of civil union that did not equate civil union status with marital status.

Keep in mind that Vermont has not ratified a marriage amendment. Neither has Massachussetts. Nor Conneticut. The Vermont model is a model sans marriage amendment.

Proposing that model in light of the ratification of the Oregon amendment is a contradiction. I think it is dubious to claim that the campaign appealed to voters to bide their time and await the Vermont model.

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And I'll agree with the sentiment expressed by Marty upthread. I'll leave the last word here to you, Galois.

Thanks for the exchange.

Mr. John Howard

I think opposite-sex couples should be eligible for Civil Unions. It just would not grant the couple the right to combine their gametes, ie, attempt to procreate or have sexual intercourse, that they would get if they married.

I also think it should be very easy to end a civil union, with only minimal legal impediments to ensure that material obligations will get dealt with properly. A CU should not prevent them from leaving their CU partner to enter a marriage with a different person, or from marrying their civil union partner should they wish to attempt to procreate. But it would grant them certain legal protections for as long as both wanted to be in a civil union together, regardless of their sex or relation to each other.

The ease of dissolving a CU should not be an issue, because the relationship should be based on an ongoing love, not any coercive requirement of the state to bid the partners together. Only opposite sex couples that have consummated their marriage should be coercively bound to each other, because they have become one flesh in the act of intercourse. The two partners in a civil union never become one flesh that cannot be put assunder, because they can not have sex. The partners in civil union would still be subject to fornication and crimes against nature laws as they exist for unmarried people, but it would not be adultery to have intercourse with a person in a civil union (though it would be fornication).

Marty

John Howard, i'm not sure i understand your position here. While i get that your entire focus is on "combining gametes" and the legal priviledge that marriage grants in that regard, i'm not sure your position on CU is entirely compatible. Your take on CU seems entrenched in the biblical definition of marriage (not a bad thing, imo, but not legally relevant either), and subject to certain laws that are already unenforced at best, and archaic at worst (fornication).

Your hair splitting may not be very useful in making decisions such with long-term ramifications. Care to expound?

On Lawn

Galois,

Just a further note, your over-the-rainbow assertion of children having same-sex parents was specifically what was referenced when I wrote,

Perhaps the difference here is that I don't see children as necessary accessories to validate romantic relationships. As John Howard points out, one may not be willing to endorse risky cloning or other scientifically difficult procedures to afford such validation. I just know I'm not even willing to see children go father-less and mother-less to be used as cheaply as validation of romantic relationships.

When a child was taken from a mother because she was in a relationship with someone of another race, the Supreme Court gave the child back to the mother and said, "Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect." Putting the law aside, I agree completely with the sentiment.

Here we find often spouses leaving and taking their children away from their mothers and fathers to pursue their own private gender bias. They think a household with two fathers or two mothers is better. Well the private biases that preclude someone of loving someone of the opposite sex enough to give children a mother and father, to me, deserve no effect from the law either.

It is surreal to watch you float those couplings over the rainbow on a tempest of circular reasoning, and then rely on them as a foundation to your argument. On its own a same-sex coupling does not look like a family. Children must be provided by the state and legally linked to a same-sex couple so they can look like a family. The state then needs to bestow marriage on the couple for that child's sake. This isn't substantiation it is hostage taking.

Add to that the demand for government to provide access to resources meant for the handicapped and you have two very defenseless and innocent groups being manipulated to pamper a lifestyle.

Efforts to point out the victims, I feel, is met with "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"

Pay no attention to the broken families, the fatherless and motherless children, the gender prejudice that is involved in same-sex coupling. And pay no attention to the resources stolen from the handicapped.

op-ed

Galois,

As others have noted, all the reasons you state, stability, benefit to the couple, and children, are reasons to reject SB1073. While HB3476 may not be sufficiently intrusive for you, at least it provides stability and benefit to all couples and most importantly, to all children.

Of all your reasons, the only reason left standing for the discrimination and exclusivity you support in SB1073 is your own prejudice based on sexual preference, which you tucked into your fourth paragraph:

I am also arguing for same-sex marriage because it would provide the potential of stable and secure relationships for gays and lesbians...[emphasis added]

Is anyone who supports civil unions as in VT or CT, but who also supports marriage being defined as only the union of a man and a woman (like for example, Sen. Westlund, Gov. Rell, and Ms. Marquardt) contradicting oneself?

Yes, clearly. The result is the same.

Mr. John Howard

Marty, I don't think http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/272-18.htm>fornication laws are archaic, I think they are necessary to have on the books, along with adultery laws, in order to give meaning to marriage. (Some people think marriage laws are archaic, too.) Marriage makes sex (combining gametes) legal, without marriage, it is illegal. It would be great if all we had to do to prevent same-sex procreation was deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but today we need to ban non egg+sperm procreation in order to stop unmarried couples from doing it. That ban then would prohibit same-sex marriage, because if people are prohibited from combining gametes, they may not marry.

I'm not sure what part of my Civil Union position you find incompatible. CU's just wouldn't grant a license to combine gametes. That's obviously the key distinction. What benefits they did offer could be anything from "all the other benefits", to just a few specific ones. And there's no reason that it couldn't apply to opposite sex couples, siblings, fathers and sons, etc. If they want to have sex, they would have to marry, but if they don't, they could get a Civil Union and remain unmarried. There would be no assumption in a civil union that they were having sex or engaging in sodomy, rather, the assumption would be that they are partners who desire some mutual protections and responsibilities for the time being. It won't prohibit them from marrying someone else, which is absolutely key. There would be no state compulsion to remain together, only their ongoing mutual commitment would keep them together.

Mr. John Howard

And hey, Marty and Chairm and op-ed and on lawn: What do you think of procreation rights as the distinction between Civi lUnions and marriage? Surely you agree that Civil Unions should not include procreation rights, right? Is that at least a starting point? Is it enough? Won't it be useful to be able to offer a precise distinction, a precise right of marriage that we are not granting with civil unions, instead of having to use phrases like "approximate the design of marriage" and junk like that?

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