October 16, 2004
Being in the Majority
Posted by Bill
Fifty-seven percent say being homosexual is the way people are, not the way they choose to be — up from its level a decade ago. But likely voters by 2-1 also call it inappropriate for Kerry, when asked that question, to have noted that Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian.
Yet, on the question of whether homosexuality is a trait or a choice, more people take Kerry's position. (In response to this question at the debate, Kerry said, "I think if you talk to anybody, it's not choice." Bush said, "I just don't know.") A third of likely voters call homosexuality a choice; 10 percent have no opinion; and, as noted, 57 percent say it's the way people are. (That compares with 49 percent in an ABC News/"Washington Post" poll of the general population in 1994.)
I wonder if Andrew Sullivan will label all of the Dems and independents that found Kerry's remark to be inappropriate as closeted homophobes.
Posted by Bill at October 16, 2004 05:49 PM | TrackBack (1)
Sullivan knows what the truth is; his partisanship has placed his credibility at risk.
If Sully were to be honest, he would put a message such as this at the top of his blog:
Posted by: Another Thought at October 16, 2004 05:57 PM
It's a pity about Sullivan; what he may not have realized is that his earlier pre-FMA commentary, with its emphasis and honesty on national security issues, did more to further the image of gays and gay rights, especially among conservatives, than just about anything else.
Sully's current stance convinces no one, and if anything marginalizes the cause of gay rights.
His pre-FMA stance brought gay rights greater credibility; his current commentary only diminishes his cause, because it is so blatantly dishonest and partisan.
Posted by: Another Thought at October 16, 2004 06:00 PM
what he may not have realized is that his earlier pre-FMA commentary, with its emphasis and honesty on national security issues, did more to further the image of gays and gay rights, especially among conservatives, than just about anything else.
I couldn't agree with you more.
Posted by: Bil from INDC at October 16, 2004 06:01 PM
Bill, I gotta to as you who this Andrew Sullivan charater is. To the uninitiated (I find TNR terminally boring) he appears a single issue man who has been shucking the conservative community for quite some time in order to gain some false legitimacy with them.
I'm with you on gays for the most part exclusive of marriage, but isn't it time to show this man the exit light? I don't like being gamed.
Posted by: Terry Mann at October 16, 2004 07:04 PM
What the apologists for Kerry and the Edwards fail to miss is this is not at all about homosexuality. It is about the purposeful, crass and calculated effort to use someone else's child to score points.
I'm a mom. *I* can talk about my girls, I can offer up kidding stories or roll my eyes as I relate issues where they've turned my hair grey. But if someone else, someone with some sort of axe to grind with me, decides in talking with others relates a story about MY child in order to reflect negatively on me, then they had better watch out.
For all his wife's money and his aristocratic airs, Kerry is a schlub.
Posted by: Darleen at October 16, 2004 08:11 PM
One thing I've noticed since Bush came out for the FMA and Sullivan turned on him, he now cherry-picks which polls he highlights.
Anytime a poll shows Kerry up, he trumpets it, but ignores polls when they show Bush is up. In the early summer when the LAT had some obviously bogus poll w/ Kerry up by like 12 or something, he made a big deal about it. The blogosphere ripped it to shreds as it way, way, way underrepresented Republicans.
Recently, some poll showed Bush w/ a 47% approval rating, which he chose to mention, not mentioning pretty much every other poll had Bush's AP at 50% or higher.
Now, this, with Cheney's daughter. What ever your feelings on homosexuality, it was just tacky for Kerry to gratuitously bring up a family member from the other side. The old Andrew Sullivan would've seen that.
He just doesn't have any credibility anymore when it comes to anything connected with Bush.
Posted by: Huck at October 16, 2004 08:19 PM
I just stumbled across this graph with commentary from Steven Den Beste.
Posted by: Darleen at October 16, 2004 08:37 PM
I have to ask, who really cares whether or not you are "born" homosexual? it isn't relevent. this is typical post-modern excuse making.
we as straight people need to come to the realization that this is a free society, and whatever their reason, nature, nurture, or simple choice, they should be, and are, free to make that choice. i don't care if they were "born" gay. we should not pretend that isn't their choice to act on their desires. we need simply to say that their desires may offend some people, but that offense is not a sufficient reason to outlaw that behavior.
let us not give aid and comfort to those who would deny those choices by pretending that it matters whether or not it is innate rather than a simple choice.
Posted by: Sean at October 16, 2004 08:48 PM
what you said. The nature/nurture argument is one for scientific circles.
That said, who is asking to outlaw homosexuality?
Posted by: Darleen at October 16, 2004 08:59 PM
"That said, who is asking to outlaw homosexuality?"
Posted by: Al at October 16, 2004 09:05 PM
Fifty-seven percent say being homosexual is the way people are, not the way they choose to be
Posted by: Dan Kauffman at October 16, 2004 09:12 PM
well, duh. ;-)
I thought the context of the discussion was the US.
Posted by: Darleen at October 16, 2004 09:14 PM
Darleen writes "But if someone else, someone with some sort of axe to grind with me, decides in talking with others relates a story about MY child in order to reflect negatively on me, then they had better watch out. This.is.just.not.done."
How does referring to Mary "reflect negatively" on the Cheney's? They are proud of their daughter, they are supportive of her. There is nothing negative about her - right?
Posted by: Rollins at October 16, 2004 09:19 PM
How does referring to Mary "reflect negatively" on the Cheney's?
Because he chooses to support a president that happens to be in favor of an FMA, that's why.
Liberals don't believe in sin---except for the sin of "hypocrisy". And I put that in quotes because liberals rarely use the term correctly.
Posted by: mcg at October 16, 2004 09:47 PM
(When I said "he" above, I meant Dick Cheney.)
Posted by: mcg at October 16, 2004 09:48 PM
What mcg said.
Kerry was going for a "twofer"... trotting out the word "LESBIAN" in a calculated way to get some knuckledragging 'phobes to wring their hands and stay home and to wink wink nudge nudge the Good.Proper.We.Know.The.Correct.Causes.To.Support acolytes to tut.tut over the "shame" of Dick Cheney supporting GW in regards to the FMA.
I think Camp Kerry failed to calculate the "mom" factor, which overrides those two groups.
Posted by: Darleen at October 16, 2004 10:09 PM
I think Kerry/Edwards used the reference to drive a wedge in part of Bush's base-dumb move, it just indicates he or his advisors misunderstand Christian conservatives.
I think the fact that most people saw it as innappropriate is a good indication that the feeling is correct. I think Kerry would have done better to have just apologized for it, than go through his wishy washy defense.
Posted by: Just Me at October 16, 2004 10:14 PM
What Darleen said.
Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at October 16, 2004 10:31 PM
This is all too gob-smackingly vile for my tastes...
Posted by: OneDrummer at October 17, 2004 01:51 AM
"Bush said, "I just don't know.""
Which is exactly the right answer, (for someone we suspect is a heterosexual). Fer cryin' out loud.
The only way to improve upon it, imho, would have been:
I don't know, (how would I?), and furthermore, what the HECK difference does it make? And what's that question doing in this debate???
Posted by: zeppenwolf at October 17, 2004 02:04 AM
I live in a small town, with a fairly large gay community. Yes, I live in California, if anyone was really wondering. I've known gay people, men and women, worked for gay people, men and women, yes, they own businesses, and are pillars(spp?) of the community in my town. I am not gay, and I have never once felt anything like Us and Them, or Gay and Straight, etc. in my town.
Posted by: moehawk at October 17, 2004 05:53 AM
Darlene hit the ever elusive "nail on the head". It doesn't matter how Kerry was describing Mary Cheney. What he said in front of 50 million people was beyond the pale.
People watching it had an instant visceral reaction. Why? Because we all recognize a low blow when we hear it. We recalled that Edwards had done the same thing. Within minutes campaign aides were calling Mary "fair game", but we didn't need spinners to tell us we'd just witnessed a personal foul.
And then came Elizabeth Edwards, informing us that the Cheneys must be ashamed of their daughter. Well. I guess she hadn't gotten the memo saying Kerry meant to "compliment" the Cheneys.
Elizabeth Edwards cemented the gut reaction of a majority of Americans. No amount of spinning, apologizing, or changing the subject can remove that moment when we concluded this was a cheesy deliberate strategy to use an opponent's parent/child relationship as a political football.
That bell cannot be unrung.
Posted by: jeanneB at October 17, 2004 08:01 AM
In some sense the "hypocrisy" tag could just as easily be applied to the Kerry defenders, if that's the only language they listen to. What did Kerry say? He said if you ask the vice president's daughter, she'd tell you.... In other words he presumed to speak "for" her without consulting her. For years, the same holier than thou academic suporters have been railing about how so-and-so hasn't been given a voice and how this group or that group needs a voice, or hasn't been allowed a voice, etc. Kerry tried to steal Mary Cheney's voice as a means to hurt her father. Kerry was asked what his ideas were, and he answers by trying to tell us what Mary Cheney's ideas are? Come again?
The fact that Andrew Sullivan can't acknowledge something as basic as that, no matter what his views on FMA, indicates that he's not as good a writer and thinker as he has seemed to be at times. His invoking the "hypocrisy" meme seems to be due more to his apparent desire to be liked by the likes of Bill Maher (who has made a fetish of finding hypocrisy in everyone he meets) than with his interest in consistency.
Posted by: Barry Dauphin at October 17, 2004 11:23 AM
who is asking to outlaw homosexuality?
Homosexual conduct WAS outlawed in Texas and other states until June 2003, when the US Supreme Court struck down the various anti-sodomy statutes. The Bush administration argued before the court that those laws should be upheld as a valid exercise of state power (even though at the last debate Bush said "consenting adults can live the way they want to live . . . and that's to be honored").
Bush is currently arguing that he favors a constitutional amendment on the issue of gay marriage because it's something that shouldn't be left to "activist judges" (although the proposed amendment also strips legislatures of the power to approve gay marriages). Kerry thinks states should have the right to either approve or outlaw them (basically the Bush administration's position on whether homosexual conduct could be criminalized).
Under either candidate's position, it seems, the states would have the power to criminal homosexual conduct.
Posted by: The Raving Atheist at October 17, 2004 12:19 PM
Stay tuned: Tammy Bruce is weighing in with a new column today. She's been busy writing a book, but said she had to address the Mary Cheney biz. I love her radio show & can't wait to hear her take. She's also no friend of Ms Sullivan
Posted by: jeff at October 17, 2004 02:13 PM
I'm not clear where this argument about whether someone is born gay is heading. Is it a political argument intended advance a rationale for why we should support the legalization of gay marriage? Or is it a legal argument intended to suggest that the court's have solid constitutional grounds for legalizing gay marriage. Or asked another way, do you agree with the MA court's decision both in outcome and method for reaching it, or only in outcome?
Maybe you have already posted your answer to this question, but I'm not sure and apologize if you have. Would you mind telling me where you stand on this specific point?
Posted by: jim at October 17, 2004 02:28 PM
Kerry "used" Cheney's daughter to score debating points and by doing so exposed his crass nature. Edward's wife dug the hole deeper with an even crasser remark.
Kerry-Edwards will take any position, say any remark, stoop to any level, agree with any anti-American sentiment, and oppose any statement or deed of the Bush administration, in order to score "points".
That's what his comment in the debate was about.
Posted by: HomericPundit at October 17, 2004 03:04 PM
I know it rubs you wrong, but there is a strong legal argument for States having the right to criminalize all sorts of conduct that you and I may believe should be decriminalized. However, the constitutional argument for striking down statutes like the one in Texas is much stronger than an argument for legalizing gay marriage (in fact I don't think there is any legitimate argument for legalizing gay marriage on constitutional grounds).
Posted by: jim at October 17, 2004 03:09 PM
I don't see the issue of "choice" with respect to homosexuality as a strong political or legal argument for either side. The desires to engage in heterosexual conduct, homosexual conduct, pedophilia or serial killing are probably not "choices" in any meaningful way. Whether acting on those desires gets criminalized has nothing to do with how voluntary the underlying urge is. It's the consequences of the conduct, not whether one was born with the desires or not, that matters. Lehrer's question was completely irrelevant to the debate. He should have asked whether the candidates thought that homosexuality was a harmful practice, either to the individuals involved or society in general.
Politically, I suppose, some people find it compelling to argue that it's not a choice and that people shouldn't be penalized for engaging in conduct they can't control. Legally, I don't think that's something that even gets considered by the courts. Even if the medical establishment somehow proved that everyone chooses their sexual orientation at puberty, the question would remain whether such choices should be permitted, penalized or rewarded.
As for the method of deciding, arguments about whether the judicial, legislative or executive branch should resolve the question are just smokecreens. If you raised fancy separation of powers arguments about whether blacks should be allowed to marry or vote today, you'd just be laughed at. With respect to gays, people just make a moral judgment about the underlying conduct and support the power of whichever branch they think is most likely to agree with them.
Posted by: The Raving Atheist at October 17, 2004 03:14 PM
Let me add "constitutional" to the list of smokescreens.
Posted by: The Raving Atheist at October 17, 2004 03:18 PM
I am an ordained minister, and the first thing my teen-age daughter said to me when I started preaching was that I did NOT have perission to use her or her actions as an illustration in any sermon, in fact I wasn't even to mention her NAME. My son, on the other hand, thinks it's kind of cool to hear his name mentioned from the pulpit. My point is that you don't toss out people's names, especially when it pertains to their personal sex lives, just to make a point in a speech unless you have specific permission. I'm guessing John Kerry didn't chat with Mary Cheney about it first.
Posted by: kj at October 17, 2004 04:00 PM
The Cheney's have used Mary when they feel the need, and she is active in the campaign. No, Kerry did not ask her permission, but has she come out to say he is wrong? If she disagreed with his position, why wouldn't she say so?
Posted by: Rollins at October 17, 2004 04:28 PM
- Sometimes your competitor hands you the best kind of victory. Judging from the latest poll numbers lets hope Kerry and Edwards have some more nice things to say about Mary Cheneys proclivities....
Posted by: Hunter at October 17, 2004 04:48 PM
"Lehrer's question was completely irrelevant to the debate. He should have asked whether the candidates thought that homosexuality was a harmful practice, either to the individuals involved or society in general."
I actually agree to this. Whether or not a person believes homosexuality is a choice or inborn, has little to do with what public policy should be in regards to homosexuality.
The only clip I have seen, was a question about the issue that Cheney responded to. Also, they are in a position to discuss their daughter, Kerry isn't-I wonder just how many conversations Kerry has had with Mary over her sexual orientation. Also, Kerry just shoved it into the answer-and then presumed to put his words into her mouth.
I do not think Mary Cheney is "fair game" for the democrats to use, and I think the polls have pretty much indicated that.
It was crass, impolite, and down right presumptuous of him.
Posted by: Just Me at October 17, 2004 06:08 PM
I agree that the question of choice should be irrelevant to the issue of whether to legalize gay marriage. That has been my opinion all along. However, it is THE battleground because acceptance of this belief impacts the courts and undoubtedly affects the politics of the issue. That is why there are comparisons being made between the prohibiton of gay marriage to the former prohibtion of interracial marriage in parts of the US. The argument goes that just as black people can't choose the color of their skin, so gays can't choose their sexual preference. Hence, the argument continues, the constitutional rights of gays are being infringed just as they were for blacks at one time.
This type of specious rationale lies at the heart of the MA Supreme court's intellectually dishonest opinion.
My view is simple, the question of gay marriage is one properly left only to legislative action, which could include a constitutional amendment.
Posted by: jim at October 17, 2004 07:11 PM
The Massachusetts decision on gay marriage didn't rest at all on the ground that homosexuals lacked choice over their sexual orientation (that isn't why straight marriage is permitted, is it?). It rested on the ground that gays are equal to everyone else and that, like blacks, there's no reason to discriminate against them in the important area of civil marriage. You can discriminate against dogs in various areas of the law, but it's because they're not equal to humans (even though they don't have a choice about being dogs).
As I said, the notion that only one branch of government may properly grant rights to a particular group is a smokescreen. The states argued that only their legislatures had the right to dictate whether the public schools were segregated or integrated; the Supreme Court ruled otherwise (Brown v Board of Topeka). The states argued that only their legistlatures had the right to ban or permit interracial marriage; the Supreme Court ruled otherwise (Loving v Virginia). The states argued that only their legislatures had the right to permit or criminalize homosexual conduct; the Supreme Court ruled otherwise (Lawrence v Texas). It doesn't matter to me at all which branch of the government reaches the morally correct decision.
Posted by: The Raving Atheist at October 17, 2004 08:42 PM
Actually the MA decision rests upon the notion that gays are unlike (not like) everyone else in the sense that marriage laws that permit any person to marry any other person of the opposite sex are discriminatory and violate their civil rights on equal protection grounds. Their plight is likened to blacks repeatedly in the decision, which by logical extension implies that marriage laws discriminate against gays based upon a factor beyond their control.
In fact, in Justice Spina’s dissent the point is made that there is no equal protection violation by prohibiting same sex marriage because the law applies equally to all persons (every person is entitled to marry any person of the opposite sex). In concurring with the majority Justice Greaney finds this point “disingenuous at best”.
Notwithstanding the court’s attempt to avoid the issue of genetic disposition and to rule on other grounds, the majority opinion reeks of the view that homosexual couples are being denied the joys of marriage due to circumstances beyond their control…just as interracial couples had been at one time.
In fact, if Justice Spina is correct, and I submit that the history of equal protection jurisprudence compels us to say that he (she?) is, there really is no other way to make a legal case for same sex marriage except to argue that being gay is a genetic disposition beyond the control of the person. Without the genetic argument being taken into consideration by the courts, whether overtly or sub silentio (as in MA), the decision on gay marriage will remain right where it should be …in the legislature.
And respectfully, it does matter who grants us our rights. We have constitutional rights that are protected by the courts and circumscribed by the legislature. And we have statutory rights and privileges that are granted by the legislature. And because your idea or my idea of what is “morally correct” may be different than someone else’s we have a system of government that does not stand for the proposition that it doesn’t matter how we arrive at deciding who’s view will prevail.
Posted by: jim at October 18, 2004 04:51 AM
And because your idea or my idea of what is “morally correct” may be different than someone else’s we have a system of government that does not stand for the proposition that it doesn’t matter how we arrive at deciding who’s view will prevail.
This common conservative argument doesn't always hold water against the test of history though, does it?
And second amendment activists would lose their minds if the majority of a bunch of soccer moms held sway (as they may at some point), to take the right to bear arms away, wouldn't they?
I think that the concept of "judicial activism" is real, but I also think that it's applied very selectively as a bogeyman.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at October 18, 2004 06:56 AM
My pastor had an interesting way of stating it.
He said, "I'm not a homophobe, I'm closer to being a 'SINophobe', so this sin, like all sin, needs to be addressed from a Biblical perspective and not from a humanist perspective."
Posted by: TEWSPilot at October 18, 2004 11:16 AM
Well, people like me don't believe in the Bible, so a humanist perspective is all I got.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at October 18, 2004 11:19 AM
In politics moreso than in regular life there is a reason why you never refer to, mention, criticize or anything else to a rivals family. The reason is the safety of the rivals family and all other political families. A lot of people cannot understand that there is a difference between politicians politics and their personal lives. My wifes uncle was a 16 term US Rep and she attended a very liberal college in the district. Twice she was the victim of attacks by people who disagreed with her uncle's position on one issue. One of which caused a lot of concern for her safety because whomever did it had to know her schedule and habits. Both times her personal property was destroyed and whomever did it left some kind of message as to there excuse for wrecking her property. People who do this sort of thing are mentally unbalanced but it happens all the time. Polticians on both sides recognize the danger of this and this is why you never talk about a rivals family. That's why when family members campaign the rivals never mention what the wife or daughter or whomever says. That's why it IS OK to use your own family because they risk entering the public eye and why it's never OK to mention your rivals family because potentially some nutjob supporter is then going to think it's OK to do something asinine against that person. Then everyone is at risk.
Posted by: jacktanner at October 18, 2004 11:49 AM
Judicial activism certainly is real, but I think that it is an insidious plague on our system of government and wholly innappropriate.
Regarding my view being a common conservative argument I think that what undermines the argument, which is rarely challenged on legal grounds, is that more and more people are guilty of accepting judicial activism if it feeds their pet cause. There is an erosion of principles in this country. And the problem with that is that we all eventually get bit in the ass by that mentality and everyone loses. Keep in mind I have not said that gay marriage cannot be legalized, I have only said that it is clearly a legislative matter not a judicial one.
I'm not sure what to make of your second-amendment-soccer-mom point. No where have I indicated that a person's constitutional rights can be abridged just becuase the majority want them abridged, as the soccer mom point seems to indicate. I think that my post is pretty clear; it is the proper province of the courts to protect our constitutional rights, such as our rights under the second amendment. That is quite different than the MA decision which invents constitutional rights that don't exist and does so by butchering the meaning of equal protection.
I truly believe that if we are ever to address the issue of gay marriage without deep and irreconcilable divisions being the result, then the very first order of business has to be agreeing where the issue must be threshed out - in the legislature or in the courts. When you cut through all the chaffe, the truth of the matter is that gay activists want the issue in the courts because at this point in history they cannot prevail in the legislature...that's what this is really all about.
Posted by: jim at October 18, 2004 01:03 PM