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Gay Marriage: Stone Them to Death!

by Michael Shermer, Nov 04 2008

What the Bible says about homosexuality and other abominations

Today voters go to the polls in California to vote for or against Proposition 8, which “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.” If passed, Prop 8 will “change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.” A new section would be added, stating “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Because of the importance of precedence in the law, and the size and importance of California in American politics, this proposition is historic. The issue of Gay marriage in particular, and homosexuality in general, is a case study in how religion, especially Christianity, has erred egregiously.

The overwhelming evidence from science shows that gender preference is primarily determined by our genetics and prenatal biochemistry, especially embryological hormone balance. Almost everyone is born attracted to members of the opposite sex. A small percentage — perhaps as few as one to two percent (but probably not as high as ten percent, as some estimates have put it) — are attracted to members of the same sex.

Asking a homosexual when he or she chose to become gay is like asking a heterosexual when he or she chose to become straight. The answer you will get (I know because I’ve asked) is “Uh? I didn’t choose. I’ve always felt that way.” And that’s the answer I get from straights as well as gays.

Nevertheless, on this particular issue Christianity remains mired in pre-civil rights, pre-enlightenment, even pre-scientific medieval thinking, basing their beliefs on a few biblical passages, most famously Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” This prohibition is tucked in between other passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that should be repeated every time someone cites the above passage. (All biblical passages cited within are from the Revised Standard Version.) For example, for professional women thinking of adorning themselves in business attire that may resemble men’s business ware (or for guys who dig cross dressing), Deuteronomy 22:5 does not look kindly on such behaviors: “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”

An even worse abomination is a rebellious child. Deuteronomy 21:18–21 offers this parental moral guideline: “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they chastise him, will not give heed to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”

If that isn’t jarring enough, here is the Bible’s recommendation on how to deal with women who may or may not have had sex before marriage. According to Deuteronomy 22:13–21, “If any man takes a wife, and goes in to her, and then spurns her, and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings an evil name upon her, saying, ‘I took this woman, and when I came near her, I did not find in her the tokens of virginity,’ then the father of the young woman and her mother shall take and bring out the tokens of her virginity to the elders of the city in the gate.” (For those not accustomed to reading between the biblical lines, the phrase “goes in to her” should be taken literally, and “the tokens of virginity” means the hymen and the blood on the sheet from a virgin’s first sexual experience.) If the father of the bride can produce the tokens of virginity, then he “shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. Then the elders of that city shall take the man [the husband] and whip him; and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver, and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought an evil name upon a virgin of Israel; and she shall be his wife.”

However, lo to the woman who has dared to have sex before marriage. “But if the thing is true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has wrought folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house; so you shall purge the evil from the midst of you.”

To be fair, not all biblical ethics are this antiquated and extreme. There is much to pick and choose from that is useful for our thinking about moral issues. The problem here is consistency, and selecting ethical guidelines that support our particular personal or social prejudices and preferences. When slavery was the social norm, it was simple for pro-slavery defenders to point to passages such as those in Exodus 21, which outlines the rules for the proper handling of slaves, for example, “when you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing,” and “when a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.”

Of course, we no longer endorse slavery, or the death penalty for disobedient children, nonvirginal women, and adulterers, so why pick on the gays? What happened to the ethic of Christian charity and Jesus’ doctrine of love for all humanity? In their stead, we find Christian preachers, writers, and theologians who think nothing of tormenting gays by telling them that their desire to love another person of the same sex is an “abomination,” by telling them that they have a disease that can be “cured” through “treatment,” and by telling them that promiscuity is evil but that the single best prophylactic against it — marriage — is legally banned from them. Worse, some Christians actually believe they are being charitable by proclaiming that they “hate the sin, not the sinner,” which is not dissimilar to what Christians declared just before lighting faggots to burn women to save their souls for allegedly practicing witchcraft, or when Christians called for pogroms against Jews for being Christ-killers.

Mark my words. Here is what is going to happen. Within a decade, maybe two, Christians will come around to treating gays no differently than they now treat members of other groups whom they previously persecuted — women, Jews, blacks — but not because of some new interpretation of a biblical passage, or because of a new revelation from God. These changes will come about the same way that they always do: by the oppressed minority fighting for the right to be treated equally, and by a few enlightened members of the oppressing majority supporting their cause.

Then what will happen is that Christians will take credit for the civil liberation of gays, dig through the historical record and find a few Christian preachers or bloggers who had the courage and the character to stand up for Gay rights when their fellow Christians would not, and then cite those as evidence that were it not for Christianity, gays would not be equal.

Finally, politics and religion aside, are we to believe that the biggest concern of the creator of the universe — that all-knowing, all-powerful all-good deity capable of constructing stars, planets, life, consciousness and love — is what consenting adults do with their sexual organs in the privacy of their bedrooms?

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56 Responses to “Gay Marriage: Stone Them to Death!”

  1. Brian says:

    We’ll all be watching the California returns closely tonight….

  2. Big Dan says:

    I guess you’re aware that the Christian arguments are not just based on Leviticus. The following article provides a reasonably balanced (if rather brief) summary: http://www.explorefaith.org/questions/accepting.html

    Clearly this article is written from the liberal end of the spectrum…

  3. Middlerun says:

    Very well said. Although I do spot a rather poorly chosen word in there…

  4. Morné says:

    Firstly, I always chuckle at most Christians who so easily damn homosexuals when they themselves would have found many of their own, supposedly moral (by modern standards) “lifestyle choices” condemned by the early Church fathers – e.g. choosing freely whom to marry; allowing their wives to read … and earn a living (just to mention a few!).

    But as the Author himself states, it is an interesting phenomenon that selected standards are upheld for hundreds of years while others are discarded or adapted as seen fit! And then they have the gall to state that “morality” and “ethics” are rooted firmly in religion!

    Secondly, one has to remember that homosexuals tend to be the easy target, the one minority whom many despots pick on first – as their freedoms and liberties are often seen as more negotiable than the rest of society…

    Living in South Africa, I saw this trend occur again many years ago with Zimbabwe, when the first minority who found their liberties seriously limited was the Gay & Lesbian community – and as I suspected, this was merely the first step onto a (familiar) slippery slope.. followed by the decreasing rights of ever-expanding groups of people seen as “un-fit” or “unpatriotic” by the ruling party.

    As such, I wish I could share the optimism of the Author that a change in attitudes will occur so quickly – gay people (and gay culture) have been around for centuries and yet because they make up such an “easily bullied” minority they have never seemed to break through the negative perceptual barrier.

    Nonetheless, I sincerely hope to be proved wrong!

  5. Big Dan says:

    Middlerun, you are referring to the incendiary device mentioned towards the end of the article? :-)

  6. Florida (Floriduh?) has the same sort of proposition on the ballots, except it is worded in such a strict manner that I fear for anyone’s civil liberties!

    “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

    Of course, I could go on a long post about how their precious bible is just a collection of stone age fables, and the new part of the book is also a fabrication… But that’s surely a topic for another blog. :)

  7. Andrew says:

    The ten percent figure that is often given comes from a mis-reading of the 1948 Kinsey report. According to his statistics, forty percent of respondents said that they had had some kind of homosexual interaction. Of that group, ten percent said that their sexual activity was completely homosexual.

    So the it’s not ten percent of the total population, but ten percent of forty percent of the population. That figure is closer to later (and better designed) studies.

  8. … so I guess this means the Episcopal Church is not Christian as it ordains openly gay people … I always find it interesting when smart people explain complex behaviors in the simple terms of ideologies and religions. Don’t we know more than that? Don’t we as skeptics mistrust the easy interpretations?

    While I find the actions of Christians over the centuries to all too frequently be appalling, is it the theologies or simply our dubious natures? I vote for dubious natures as most of the world isn’t Christian and I’ve yet to find a utopia.

    But yes, lets hope reason, compassion, and decency prevail in California.

  9. Joe L. says:

    @Middlerun
    “Very well said. Although I do spot a rather poorly chosen word in there…”

    I’m sure that was an intentional, and grammatically proper, use of the word “faggot.”

  10. Raymond says:

    You are skeptic that religious people selectively pick the crazy things they believe in? I’m failing to see how this ties into the general theme of the site.

  11. Amanda M says:

    Here in my state, Arizona, there is a similar proposition on the ballot today (Prop 102) to amend the state constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

  12. oldebabe says:

    Just like the ‘God’ Dr. Shermer’s defines, I, too, really don’t care what adults are doing about sex with adults in the privacy of their own home, or if they want the legal or moral responsibility of what is called `marriage’. Too many much more interesting things to find out about, to think about, to talk about, and to do – in my own life, anyway (perhaps that’s the problem for Christians, i. e. boredom…just a guess…).

  13. NOTgayBUTdon'tHATE says:

    Wow… so you’re one of those religious FREAKS who refuses to think for themselves I see (

    psssst, good luck with “Heaven”… I’ve heard it’s a big crock)

  14. Stephen says:

    The best thing would be to have the government get out of the marriage business altogether. If two people wish to have a contract between themselves for any number of reasons, the that should be fine.

  15. BillDarryl says:

    To answer a question you posited, Dr. Shermer:

    1979. 9 years old. Saw a clip of Bo Derek running on the beach in slo-mo from the movie “10.”

    That is precisely the moment I chose to be straight. Yowzah!

  16. fluffy says:

    I’m surprised nobody’s made mention of the shellfish-eating thing, also part of the screed in Leviticus.

  17. ConservativeAtheist says:

    I might agree with everything you say, but that does not make one a supporter of gay ‘marriage’ and particularly the rights entailed.

  18. miller says:

    What’s odd is that I occasionally see secular arguments against gay marriage, and they tend to be very uncompelling. It’s usually to the effect of, “homosexuals don’t actually need marriage,” or “no marriage, same-sex or otherwise, should be encoded in law.” They completely miss the point.

    I think this raises the question: Are people actually persuaded these arguments, or are they after-the-fact justifications of a position rooted in homophobia? Personally, I suspect that right-leaning people look for justifications not necessarily because they are homophobic, but simply because it’s part of the Republican platform.

  19. Craig Arnold says:

    Why should there be gay marriages?

    Marriage is a union sanctioned by the state which provides some benefits for the recipients. In return for those benefits there must be some corresponding benefit to society or the state itself. I can’t see any particular benefit accruing to society or the state. The chief benefit for society in hetero-sexual unions of course is that a married couple generally provide a more stable, safe and happy environment for children to grow up in. This is an empirical claim that I believe has reasonable evidence to support it.

    So why should gay marriages be allowed? Most gay marriages are not conducted for the benefit of children, most gay couples don’t in fact have children. It is politically correct to allow gay adoption, but I think the evidence is unclear as to whether it is actually generally beneficial or detrimental to the children, certainly when compared to adoption by a hetero-sexual couple of similar socio-economic status.

    I don’t have a personal axe to grind, sexual orientation is not something one should ever be punished for. But not allowing someone to partake in a positive benefit is not the same thing as discrimination.

    Seriously – is there any positive argument in favour of gay marriage? I am always willing to be pursuaded, but I don’t think anyone really has a strong right to be married. Marriage is a weak right, merely a civil contract for which society should be given some payback.

  20. Amanda M says:

    Marriage grants a couple certain legal rights that don’t necessarily have anything to do with children. Health and life insurance benefits are a good example. When you remove the religious arguments against gay marriage, the secular ones that remain are pretty weak. As for direct benefit to society there are monetary concerns that could be considered. I wonder how much revenue the states are missing out on by not collecting fees for marriage licenses for gay couples.

  21. LLee says:

    @Craig Arnold: Your argument for opposite-sex marriage as opposed to same-sex marriage in terms of providing a better child-rearing environment is pure conjecture. It is based on YOUR OWN preconceived notions of child-raising with no empirical evidence whatsoever.

    If your argument in favor of opposite-sex marriage relies on the ability of the couple to have/raise children, then a fertility test and child-bearing agreement should be a prerequisite for a marriage license. Or maybe a parenting test as well. Oh, that’s ridiculous isn’t it? Well, same as denying a same-sex couple the benefits of marriage.

    There doesn’t need to be a positive argument for same-sex marriages. Gay citizens can partake in any other civil activity afforded by the state/country. If one can get a driver’s license, pay taxes, then they should be able to marry as well – regardless of sexual orientation. That’s called civil rights.

  22. Craig Arnold says:

    Is it really pure conjecture? I seem to remember a bunch of studies in the UK at least that support it, and I believe it is at the root of the conservative (non-religeous opposition).

    Exactly – you get benefits from being married. I don’t have any particular argument against it, just can’t see any strong reason for it. I really can’t see that the fees from marriages even pay for the administration involved, that cost in fact is a reason against rather than for.

    It would be impractical to apply breeding/parenting criteria to hetero couples. (Though of course child welfare will step in if a couple is blatantly unfit.) Taken as a whole however it’s really not necessary is it? Most hetero couples do have children. Taken across the population the position is clear, even though many individuals may choose not to or be unable to.

    LLee your final point doesn’t follow at all. Not every citizen is able to partake of every advantage in a society. Civil rights in a democracy are simply those things we choose to grant our citizens, no more or less. Not everyone may have a driving licence – there are many obvious restrictions. There are many different types of rights, and it’s really not clear that everyone is entitled to every kind of right. When the left gets on its high-horse about “civil rights” I feel just as uncomfortable as when the other side starts quoting their bible. It’s often an emotional appeal without much thought behind it.

    I am actually quite agnostic about this, I really don’t see that either side has much of an argument in its favour.

    In the end though I would come down in favour of erring on the side of allowing it, because some gay couples do raise children, either adopted or biologically their own. And in that respect allowing them the benefits associated with marriage in exchange for the burden of a civil contract which entangles them may well provide the same benefits of additional stability to the family unit, and the cost doesn’t seem very large.

  23. Craig Arnold says:

    In the UK of course there are almost no benefits to being married anyway. The tax breaks were abolished many years ago, though a conservative government would probably bring them back.

    Health care is state-provided.

    The only obvious thing is that on the death of one spouse the other inherits without needing a will and is not subject to inheritance tax.

  24. ConservativeAtheist says:

    I think religion is so successful because it codifies a set of values that while based explicitly on the irrational are actually integral to the healthy functioning of society, and perhaps a few 100 years of scientific stagnation is the penalty for straying too far. It seems to be a repeating cycle across cultures.

    Of course, I wish we could recognise the value of these values without the need of the supernatural as a justification.

  25. Peter says:

    haha I liked your conclusion there. Yes the thing about the Bible is that if you read the whole thing, you will be asleep, but you will also be very disturbed by what you read most of the time.

  26. [...] But speaking of Prop. 8, Michael Shermer address this potential amendment and the inevitable future of homosexuality. [...]

  27. LLee says:

    @Craig Arnold: “Civil rights in a democracy are simply those things we choose to grant our citizens, no more or less.” When one “right” is withheld from a certain demographic of people, there is little rational civility behind it. Not everyone may have a driver’s license, but everybody has the opportunity to obtain one. As it stands, not every couple has the opportunity to obtain a marriage license. Civil rights isn’t the requirement of participation in an activity, it is the opportunity to do so. In the US, everybody over the age of 18 has the right to vote. Do they all do so? No. Should a group or demographic of people who regularly abstain from voting be stripped of that right? I don’t see a reason to.

    As for studies which conclude that opposite-sex married couples are more fit to raise children, you have to realize that the numbers of opposite-sex married couples outnumber same-sex married couples by an absurd amount. This has to do with the small number of homosexuals in the population in general, and the even smaller number who can marry and/or raise a child. There is simply not an equivalent population of children raised by same-sex couples to perform a statistically significant study where the only difference between the children are their parents. Most of the studies that do support the “traditional” family structure are funded by religious groups and often try to find the evidence to prove their point, not the other way around.

    At some point in this century in the US, women were not allowed to vote and ethnic minorities could not own property, marry whites, or even eat in the same restaurants as whites. Most of the reasoning behind this could be explained by “I don’t see a strong benefit to it.”

  28. Shahar Lubin says:

    For raising children.
    Please point me at the place that is codified in the law books. If not show me the relevent protocol of the congressional hearing in which marriage was espoused as that.
    The meaning, reason and purpose of marriage like all other civil activites had changed and developed through history. Women no longer lose right for property when married, right? They’re not ownded by their husband, right?

    I always find it intersting that conservatives are against gay marriages. It should be all supported by their ideals and idealogy(before christianity took over the republican party). Non intravenous government and marriages(and families) as the building blocks of society. In today’s world the reason for marriage has mostly morphed from the child bearing aspect towards corporations of sort. Families are economical units on which captalism is built.

    To big dan. The whole point of the article was that biblican scriptures are picked and chosen not accepted as whole. To then choose one as set in stone while ignoring others is hypocritical. BTW you don’t have to look at leviticus for that. All churches go against the second one and most christians break the fourth. Funny how many people want to put the ten commandments in public sphere yet can’t even remember more than five(personal anecdotal survey, anyone got numbers?).

  29. Craig Arnold says:

    @LLee

    I accept the “dirty” nature of the studies which show hetero couples do better than gay couples. But it is in the nature of these issues that the funding is almost never politically neutral. The conclusion must be “not enough good data”.

    Absent a religious motivation, what are the arguments you would put forward in favour of marriage at all? If there are good arguments in favour of marriage as a civil institution, it should be easy enough to then examine those. Would one’s sexual orientation make any difference to those arguments? If not, then allow them, the implication is clear.

    But your closing comment is both offensive (egregiously ad-hominem by implication) and ridiculous – is it really true that “I don’t see the benefit” was seriously put forward by any significant opponent of womens’ or black rights? If so then I would be very interested in any evidence you have to back up that statement. I am willing to be educated. I spent much of my life in Apartheid South Africa; and I certainly never heard that used as a justification for Apartheid even once, and I heard a thousand bogus reasons.

  30. Sadly amendment 2 passed in Floriduh, even though the state went to Obama. Personally, by defining the term marriage in the terms they have, don’t they implicitly endorse the Judeo-christian definition? As I recall, the Wiccan definition does not specify gender. So in as much as they put these strict terms to it, they are excluding the whole freedom of religion thing to those who do not follow the Judeo-christian ethos, and violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution. I’m no lawyer though, so maybe I am not following something here, or is it that the fundamentalist views cannot fathom that others may not believe as they do?

  31. LLee says:

    @Craig Arnold: Unfortunately, marriage is a religious construct which has made its way into a government sanctioned contract. The argument is not whether marriages should be recognized by the government, but whether one group of people should be excluded from marriage. One can argue that the licensing of firearms is a bad idea, but if owning one is legal, then there should be no arbitrary discrimination of that legality. Personally, I believe the government should ONLY recognize civil unions (and provide the same legal implications as marriage); if a couple wishes to marry, they should find a church to acknowledge it.

    I apologize for the tone of my last statement, which was not meant to attack you but to illustrate a point that certain rights which society now views as self-evident were at one point (and in some parts of the US, still are) hotly debated. There are a myriad of reasons why women’s suffrage and equal rights were withheld for so long. These reasons, which seem blasphemous now, were probably quite legitimate for those in opposition of these rights then. In my estimation, “Women are not educated enough to vote” equals “I don’t see a benefit for women to vote.” Similarly, “I don’t have a problem with blacks, I just don’t want my children attending the same school as them” is synonymous with “I don’t see a benefit for desegregation.” More often than not, hatred, bigotry, and ignorance were at the root of these reasons. I see opposition of same-sex marriage in the same light. “I don’t have a problem with gays, I just don’t want them to define what marriage is for me.” A truly illogical and fear-based statement…

  32. The fact is, whether or not marriage is beneficial or completely inessential to society, it exists. And there is no measurement on the amount of love required before a marriage license is given to a heterosexual couple. There is no assessment of the betrothed couple’s potential benefit to society. There are a number of heterosexual couples who choose not to have children, so should they, like same-sex couples, be considered as having less value for society?

    This is the problem with banning gay marriage while celebrating heterosexual marriage: it suggests the gay community is inferior in some way, and doesn’t deserve the same right. The points you make that question the validity of marriage outside of the religious construct) are quite valid on the whole, but they aren’t quite relevant to the topic at hand. What matters is, if we have this institution in our society, it should be granted equally, across the board.

    In every civic right, there are exclusions that protect society, like not giving drivers’ licenses to the visually or cognitively impaired. It endangers people. Unfortunately, the religious side is adamant that homosexuality endangers the fabric of the family construct. This is dangerous ground, because this is a more philosophical argument. Really, this idea is being imposed on all of society (at least in the three states who voted on it yesterday – California, Arizona and Florida), with no empirical evidence.

    Sorry to go on – I actually trimmed it down quite a bit, and I have a lot more to say about it on my blog. Thanks for taking the time to read/listen here.

  33. Phil says:

    Raymond -
    “You are skeptic that religious people selectively pick the crazy things they believe in? I’m failing to see how this ties into the general theme of the site.”

    To answer your question: When religion tries to make its beliefs law, it becomes the business of skeptics. Their reasoning is based on myths and it sets our baloney detectors off.

    Hope that helps.

  34. ÅÄÖ - THE SWEDISH LETTERS says:

    I got sad when I heard about prop 8 and its implementation. Here in Sweden, there is a wide majority which wants to include gays in the law of marriage – about 72 % of the whole population, I think (82 % in Holland!).

    I had a view of the state of America as separated from the church. I was wrong. In Sweden we separated church and state just 8 years ago. Maybe you should try it too! (yes, I think you should try both: with and without separation… I don’t think your churchES will get along – which interpretation is the correct one?)

    Although many of the churches in Sweden wanted separation (because just one church, the Church of Sweden, was getting tax-money) they want, as in California, to define marriage… weird. Luckily, only about 23 % is religious in Sweden!

  35. John says:

    It’s not bigoted to desire that the definition of marriage is not changed. So I am appalled of the appeal to bigotry by unbelievers as this issue being black and white of one about bigotry. As a doubting/skeptical Christian who believes in evolution, I support the MAJORITY will of the people “the will of the people” in keeping a 5,000 year old tradition of marriage as having the same definition.
    It’s really annoying watching the gay protests that have become violent recently, as if the tyranny of a minority can redefine the definition of an institution that has kept civilization intact.

  36. John says:

    this lie about separation of church and state– prop 8 is not about joining church and state of separation of church and state- it’s the will of the majority of people in keeping the marriage definition the same! I saw how many lies of the gay community were given during the Yes on 2 , No on 2, Florida amendment debate (same thing as Prop 8).
    The propaganda given by the No on 2 people said that the gays would lose their hospital visitation rights. No one loses the rights of power of attorney or hospital visitation-or to live with whoever they want. So there were evil bogus lies on the No on 2 campaign.
    There are conservative skeptics out there as well who don’t want a definition changed. We are not bigots.

  37. John F says:

    A reply to post 38
    If the definition of marriage is based on a “5,000 year old tradition”, I wonder why amendent 2 in Florida limits marriage to ‘one man and one woman’. Polygamy is an inseparable part of the tradition…

  38. Claude Angeli says:

    No matter how excited I am about President elect Obama I feel disappointed by the passage of these terrible propisitions. I have just joined the company of dispare when I said to myself “this cant be happening here”. I am running out of states to move to in this country.

  39. The Blind Watchmaker says:

    If it is the “will of the majority” that matters in the definition of a “marriage”, then hopefully, the will of the majority will change and become less xenophobic in the (near) future. Women got the right to vote by persuading the men to give it to them. Gay couples are going to have to persuade the xenophobic majority in much the same way. This won’t be easy if a church is going to run a 20 million dollar campaign against them.

    I do hope that the couples that are currently married in California will not have their marriages annulled.

  40. Nick says:

    according to studies done by the APA, gay and lesbian parents raised children as well as straight parents, there was no increase in problems in personal development, social relationships, abuse, and sexual identity.

  41. Roy Latham says:

    The reason that we know that Proposition 8 is about the definition of the word “marriage” is that when propositions supporting gay civil unions providing equal legal rights have been proposed in California, they pass easily. Polygamy is part of some definitions of marriage, but not the dominant traditions of the United States. In any case, if someone wants polygamy legalized, the correct approach would be to pass a law, not make a human rights claim as part of a “right to marry.”

    There is also a problem with making law by changing definitions. I am convinced that the gay/straight distinction is genetic. However, that does not imply that all of written law and and court precedents will serve gays as well as it serves straights. Note that the laws applying to women are very close to those for men, but not identical.

    I think the gay rights cause would be helped if gays adopted a different word for “gay marriage.” Someone suggested “covenant.” The problem with “civil union,” aside from not being very romantic, is that it covers a variety of partnership relationships codified in law, such as dependent elders.

  42. Jamal Wills says:

    Here are a few ways that marriage has changed, according to my understanding, off the top of my head:

    Originally, it seems, marriage was a form of property. Wives were stolen or bought. In some ways wives were more like slaves than free people. There are still some who practice mock kidnappings or pay doweries as a legacy of this tradition. Wives were also given to secure alliances between tribes and nations.

    In the distant past, wealthy men could afford many wives. Monogamy only laws came much later. In some parts of the world they still can and do marry multiple women. In the U.S. some Mormons tried to revive this custom, but the mainstream church dropped this practice. I’ve heard that they even bankrolled a large part of the campaign for Prop 8 in CA.

    I think the Church of England was established, in part, so that the king could divorce. (My uncle is a Catholic bishop and he still doesn’t recognize my mother’s divorce. I think, in his mind, it was annulled so he refers to her maiden name instead of her legal name.)

    Over time, women have gained rights granted to men as persons under the law such as the right to: divorce, own property, defend themselves in court, to work and earn their own money, to vote, etc. (Some of these rights they had when single but were actually lost when they got married.)

    The nature of marriage also changed by the choice of whom to marry. In the ancient world, it was illegal for a man of a certain age NOT to be married. Arranged marriages gave way to marriages of convienence and eventually romantic marriages. Today, people get married on the advice of matchmaking websites running AI software.

    The latest changes to marriage include interracial marriage and the protection of women from abuse. Women are almost equal to men in marriage. Some might see this as progress. However, almost every one of these changes to marriage has been fought as vehemently, or perhaps even more so as today’s fight against gay marriage.

  43. pantone204 says:

    Two atheists can go and get married with no religious intervention whatsoever down at city hall. Religion has no say in the matter, it’s unconstitutional. What more needs to be said?

    During the years of slavery, there were more voting slave owners in the south than anti-slavery proponents, that doesn’t make it right. Not to draw a strict comparison between slavery and same-sex marriage, I’m just tired of hearing this “the people of California have voted” BS.

  44. Jamal Wills says:

    Sorry for the length of that post. I’ll try keep this one shorter.

    This argument called “will of the people” (often used as a synonym for democracy) also goes by other names such as “argumentum ad populum,” “mob rule,” or “might makes right.”

    The point is that democracy, even though it is rule by the people, has safeguards to protect the rights of minorities, regardless of whether the majority agrees to those conditions or not. The majority is often not swayed by reason, but by passion.

    Consider that many of those who supported Prop 8 believed many of the talking points they were told by their ministers and propagandists in a well organized media campaign such as gay marriage would be taught in schools and churches and pastors could be sued, fined, or jailed if they refused to officate gay marriages, against their religious beliefs.

    As far as I know, a Catholic priest can’t be sued if they refuse to marry someone who was divorced, for instance. That would be like suing if they refused communion. Has any religious institution been sued for not allowing interfaith marriages? What about countless other rules that they put in place? Besides, there are many churches that already bless same-sex marriages regardless of the law, so getting married in one of those churches shouldn’t be a problem.

    Besides churches, temples, synagogs, and other institututions are not irreperably harmed when two people stand before a JUDGE like my wife and I did.

  45. George M.Christy says:

    GOD CREATED man and women not middle person be wise share bed room with opposite sex.(man to women) GAY?shame on YOU people.God hates and so is ME.

  46. lisa says:

    i am so ashamed of people like george m. christy who say god hates. god does not hate gay people or anyone for that matter… he loves all and wants salvation for all. IMO, if He were capable of hate, He is more likely to hate people that tell others He hates people he actually doesn’t than to hate Gays.

  47. Jonathan says:

    “The overwhelming evidence from science shows that gender preference is primarily determined by our genetics and prenatal biochemistry, especially embryological hormone balance.”

    In the history of overstating the facts…WOW…I would have to say this one is in the top 3. There is no un-biased empirical study anywhere in the scientific landscape to back up this statement.

    It is naive but very trendy to copy & paste opinions without any research…as long as the opinion is within the framework of political correctness, it rarely is challenged….unquestioning liberalism is just as bad as unquestioning conservatism…

    • Janine Paquette says:

      Actually there have been many studies done that support Shermer’s claim. Some of them attempting to prove the opposite, but ended up validating what Shermer said.
      Do you bother to do any research before lashing out?
      How can you possibly say there is no un-biased study to back up this statement? You obviously have not studied the topic. Do you think Shermer made it up? Do you think these studies went unchallenged and unverified. I will not argue that many studies are done with bias, but those studies can be replicated and checked by others, and usually are.
      Twin studies showed the genetic factors behind homosexuality and anyone who replicated the study came up with the same or similar conclusions.
      Studies have been done and are still being done to show the link between hormones in the mother’s body during pregnancy and homosexuality and so far have been quite successful.
      I wish I had the information with me to cite these studies for you, but I am not at home.
      I will, however, get back to you so you can find something else in Sherman’s writing to lash out at.
      It is naive to attack someone regarding a topic you know little about, when they have obviously looked into it themselves to be able to come by such conclusions.

  48. Gwen says:

    My being born black was as much under my control as my being born heterosexual. If gays can’t marry because they can’t reproduce, then why was there no law to prevent my last (postmenopausal) marriage? What has may ability to have or not have children do with anyone’s marriage? What has a gay couple’s marriage have to do with my marriage? I believe that (as in much of Europe) civil unions and marriage should be separate for EVERYONE.The government should require a civil union and remove the word marriage from the document. If, after your civil union you would like a church ceremony (called a marriage), you would find the minister of your choice to perform it, if it is agreeable to both parties. The government should not even be involved in ‘marriage’ ceremonies.

  49. CPN says:

    Let me be a skeptic. For all the blame on Christians and conservatives being on the wrong side of gay marraige, can anyone name a religion that sanctions gay marraige? Compared to some intolerance by some of the world’s organized religions Christians are very tolerant towards gays as well they should. Also, can anyone name a country that recognizes gay marraige as a civil right?

  50. captain b bloody says:

    choice is the word, there is no gay gene, its in the mind.

  51. John Huston says:

    “Can anyone name a country that recognizes gay marriage as a civil right?” asks CPN. Actually, I can name two: Canada and Denmark.

  52. [...] de ler isso, eu fui obrigado a postar aqui: … Deuteronômio 21 18: Quando alguém tiver um filho contumaz [...]

  53. Rene Spirlet says:

    In addition to 52 : Belgium, the Netherlands , and France has created a ” marital civil status ” that gives acces to all rights of married people .
    Civilisation makes some progress sometimes … when religion is a very strong brake …

  54. Brian says:

    I created an Atheist / rational thinker store, mostly out of anger and frustration at the general public’s stupidity and/or apathy about just these kinds of things. Check it out if you like… I keep all of the prices as low as is possible through zazzle in order to get as much out there as I can and help spread the word that we’re not going to take this shit anymore. :-)
    http://www.zazzle.com/briman232*