Russell and Duenes

Intimidation the Name of the Game for Same-Sex Marriage Advocates

with 11 comments

A great piece by Matthew J. Franck over at The Public Discourse on the shameful shenanegans by certain lawyers involved in the Defense of Marriage Act. Here’s the apt conclusion:

But intimidation—“mau-mauing the flak-catchers,” Tom Wolfe memorably called it—is now the default tactic of same-sex marriage advocates. What else, for instance, explains the antics of now-retired federal judge Vaughn Walker, who wanted to broadcast the Proposition 8 trial in California, and then broke his promise—and his legal duty—to keep the trial’s video record from public view? What else explains the instantaneous denunciation of all opponents of same-sex marriage as “haters”? Resistance to such intimidation, in the name of the ethic of institutional integrity, is fast becoming the duty of all persons in positions of institutional responsibility, whatever their private views on homosexuality or same-sex marriage. When we witness such principled resistance, as in the case of Dean Evan Caminker’s decision to stick with Ohio Senator and alumnus Rob Portman as the commencement speaker at the University of Michigan’s law school—despite the outcry of those who object to Portman’s 1996 vote for DOMA as a House member—we should applaud it heartily.

Read the whole piece here.


Written by Michael Duenes

May 3, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Posted in Duenes, Legal Matters

11 Responses

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  1. Good Lord, are we really at a juncture where people are being protested for having voted for DOMA? The principled must stand strong, indeed…


    May 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm

  2. OK, into moderation I go. As I mentioned in another comment, I am not a religious believer. At times I have called myself a “radical agnostic” (and used other terms), but now I call myself an “ethical nihilist.”

    Anyway, my daughter has lived for twenty years with another woman. They have never tried to get married. Thus I call her partner, “my daughter out of law.” I live in Washington state, which has an approach I support. That is, do not call same sex partnerships “marriage” (as it agitates fundamentalist religious believers too much), but do allow consenting adults to have legal relationships.

    My daughter is co-mom with her partner of a seven-year-old daughter, whom I call my science fiction grandchild. Daughter-out-of-law lost two children before birth because they were allergic to her body. Medical science allowed our adopted granddaughter to be born safely. (She and her mommies will visit us tomorrow.) Unlike Cheney’s daughter (and most lesbian moms who hae children, the sperm did not come out of a sperm bank, but was donated by a college school mate who has been in a eight year relationship with another man.

    My granddaughter thus knows both her “dad” and his partner and thinks it perfectly normal to have “two mommies,” and “two dads.” That is the other science fiction part, the anthropology of an alien culture where a child thinks such a family is perfectly normal.

    My question to you if you allow this comment to be posted and see fit to answer is: should a couple like my daughter and her partner be allowed to have a legal relationship, not to mention to have and keep children?

    Why or why not? Arguments that you know what God wants in this regard are not impressive or persuasive to me, though if that is what you will post, I will read it carefully. Thank you.

    I have a “disposable email” that I use for Internet communication––so if you or any readers you have want to communicate that is a way to do so. I get lots of spam in every language and from just about every religious belief, though I am not describing a coherent comment sent to me as “spam.”


    May 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    • Modesty – You ask: “Should a couple like my daughter and her partner be allowed to have a legal relationship, not to mention to have and keep children?” My response to your first question is to ask you a question: What do you mean by “a legal relationship?” Do you mean a relationship that is entitled to all of the legal benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoy? Or do you mean something else? I’ll be honest, I haven’t thought through the issue of what legal benefits gay couples should be entitled to well enough to give you a good answer.

      In regards to your second question about gay couples being legally allowed to have and keep children, I would say “no.” I don’t think they should be permitted to raise children together. I realize that at this point you may have no further interest in reading what I have to say, but I’ll leave it out there, for that is my view. I think I have good and rational grounds for it. What might those be, you ask?

      Well, you said that “arguments that you know what God wants in this regard are not impressive or persuasive to me.” So, before I answer any further – which I’m perfectly willing to do, from both a religious and non-religious standpoint – what I’d like to know from you is: Why do you find arguments claiming to know what God wants “not impressive or persuasive?” From what epistemological foundation would you like to argue? And can you give a basis for why your epistemological starting point is rational and authoritative? Or is what you will find “impressive” and “persuasive” based on a prior faith commitment you have in some set of ultimate principles? I admit I have a faith position, and it begins with God and the Bible. I believe you have faith in something ultimate as well. I’d like to know what it is and why you think it’s binding. If you can tell me this, then we may have some grounds for going forward.


      russell and duenes

      May 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm

  3. You wrote If you can tell me this, then we may have some grounds for going forward. and quite a bit more.

    I have in extensive comments to another post explained about my “belief system,” to the point of being obnoxious. I can be more obnoxious, but I am taking a breath on that discussion.

    I am against murder because I would not like to be murdered, and would not like to see someone I care about murdered. (When I was young, a young aunt of mine was murdered, so this is not entirely a hypothetical situation.)

    On the other hand, I think killing someone in self-defense is permissible, again because if it is person X or me, I would prefer it to be me who gets to live.

    In terms of rules involving sexuality, I think rules involving age of consent are sensible. Most humans (through evolutionary development) have drives to protect and support children. One of my sisters was a victim of “statutory rape” by a predatory man much older than she was. I consider such behavior a bad thing, though not because an imaginary being delivered a message to me.

    Rules against incest seem sensible because of the dangers of genetics leading to harmful effects in offspring. Again, one can make decisions on such matters (though all are subject to argument) without claiming to know the intent of a probably imaginary being called “God.”

    On the other hand, by and large, I believe sexual relationships among consenting adult humans should be allowed. The religious arguments seem dubious in a lot of respects. Why are some people homosexual? We don’t know. If you are a religious believer, why did God make so many homosexuals? If you are not a religious believer, the arguments that allowing homosexuals to form legal relationships because such relationships are harmful to society are quite open to debate (and believe me, I can argue this at quite a bit of length, as you know by now, so don’t tempt me).

    I don’t know if you are a parent. I am. Children don’t necessarily turn out how you would like them to be, no matter how much effort you put into trying to shape them into what you want them to be, whether you are a religious believer or not. When I was a young parent, I thought, if my child stays out of jail, stays healthy, stays off harmful drugs, is able to support herself, and behaves in a reasonably responsible way by society’s standards, I will be reasonably happy as far being a parent goes. My daughter meets these standards and exceeds them by quite a bit. When she told me that she was engaged to her college roommate (female), I thought If that is the worst thing you ever do, I can deal with it.

    As I’ve said, she and her partner have been together 20 years. They visited us last weekend. Their seven-year-old daughter (born to her partner by artificial insemination) is a bit of a “drama queen” but is turning into a decent and presentable young lady. They have never tried to get “married.”

    I think they should have the right to raise and care for their daughter, to have legal rights and protections (such as visiting the other in the hospital if the partner is sick) and so on. To oppose such rights because of your religious belief (which has no more basis in empirical fact than anyone else’s religious belief) strikes me as silly, childish, and excuse the expression, a bit nasty.


    May 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    • There’s a lot in your post, so I won’t respond to everything, but here’s the fundamental problem:

      On the other hand, by and large, I believe sexual relationships among consenting adult humans should be allowed. The religious arguments seem dubious in a lot of respects.

      The “religious arguments” – you don’t grasp that your own arguments are as “religious” as any others, only *less* legitimate and persuasive because you’ve rejected any objective foundation for them. You mention “rights”, and “harms”, not seeming to realize that you have no rational basis to speak on these issues because you’ve rejected any philosophical basis for defining what a “harm” or a “right” even *is*.

      You think homosexuals should have the afore-mentioned rights? Based on what? Why should I accept *your* religious worldview (and make no mistake, you have a religious worldview every bit as much as Russell, Duenes and I do)?

      Furthermore, you use words like “silly” and “childish”. The irony is that your own writing is replete with childish psychological denial like “God is probably imaginary”. God has reached out to you in a thousand different ways. You are the “child” with fingers in your ears trying not to notice.


      May 13, 2011 at 9:48 am

  4. I am glad to see that reinforcements have arrived. Just think if Duenes had to fend me off all by himself.

    your own arguments are as “religious” as any others, only *less* legitimate and persuasive because you’ve rejected any objective foundation for them..

    The physical universe seems to exist. I live in the woods on an island. I am looking out the window at the trees as I type this on my computer. There are all sorts of philosophical arguments about the nature of reality, but each day I wake up and experience the same physical reality. If you experience a different, more profound physical reality than I, I am glad for you. I don’t experience your reality. Lots of people don’t.

    objective foundation for them.

    I see words from you. I don’t see what “objective foundation” they are based on.

    Furthermore, you use words like “silly” and “childish”. The irony is that your own writing is replete with childish psychological denial like “God is probably imaginary”. God has reached out to you in a thousand different ways. You are the “child” with fingers in your ears trying not to notice.

    I am glad that you “know” that God has reached out to me. As far as I can tell, this is your opinion, which you have typed on a computer (which is real) and sent in packets over the Internet (a real phenomenon which can be explained in empirical terms and replicated) but beyond that, it is simply words expressing your opinion, and not based on anything which can be proven or demonstrated.

    Again, Christianity (similar to Islam) seems to be a “viral” religious belief, in that members feel compelled to convert people who do not share their belief system to believe as they do. For the most part, they are successful in converting children (who are relatively helpless and vulnerable to adult control and influence), converting people who are old and weak and perhaps close to death (who are again relatively helpless and vulnerable to control and influence), and people who belong to even less effective and consoling religious/philosophical belief systems (such as people in China).

    An interesting aspect to both Christianity and Islam is how much emphasis they put upon “obedience,” to God. As God is not tangible and visible in any “objective” form, the representatives of these religious beliefs appoint themselves as the people to be obeyed in God’s name. How convenient.

    I hypothesize that the desire to “convert” people to one’s religious belief is analogous to an addiction, such as an addiction to alcohol, drugs, television, video games, sex, and so on. Each time a person with an addiction indulges in that craving, we say he or she is getting their “fix.”

    The nature of an addiction is that it is never permanently satisfying. (Nothing in mortal life is every permanently satisfying, which is why human beings imagine a place called Heaven, where we are permanently satisfied.) If the addiction is to “convert” non-believers to one’s religious belief, my hypothesis that after a while the satisfaction of the “fix” will wear off, and the proselytizer sets off in search of another person to convert.


    May 13, 2011 at 10:52 am

    • Modesty – I really do appreciate your comments, and I’m not banning you. But I do have a job to do and there’s a lot of transition going on in my life right now. So at this point, all I can say is that I won’t have time to respond to most of your comments. You can feel free to leave them, and I harbor no ill-will toward you, but I simply can’t keep up.


      russell and duenes

      May 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm

  5. I appreciate your appreciation, patience, and tolerance. I do believe you have a job to do, and I hope the transition going on in your life right now works out reasonably well. After all, it’s the only life we have (in my opinion), so it’s a shame if much of it goes amiss.

    The discussion of conversion is an interesting one. Most people form their opinions at a fairly early age, and then it becomes difficult (though sometimes possible) to convert them.

    I am sure you would love to convert me to become a conservative Christian. As you can see, it’s not very likely.

    On the other hand, while I would love to convert you–not to being an atheist or agnostic–about which I don’t care one way or the other–but to being a little more tolerant–not only of homosexuals–but of other variant groups–such as most non-Christians (religious and not religious) who are themselves tolerant and non-violent–I think the chances of my changing your mind in that regard are very low indeed.


    May 13, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    • Thanks for the sentiments. Actually, I don’t hope to convert anyone. I share the gospel and let our sovereign Lord work according to His good pleasure and wondrous grace. Actually, I believe I’m quite loving toward others, and that’s because I believe all people are created specially in God’s image. I also believe God created us with a certain nature and for good purposes, purposes which are not achieved by going against His loving commands. But I don’t have contempt for people, and I seek to offer them love, respect, and grace in Christ Jesus.


      russell and duenes

      May 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm

  6. Have you ever heard the statement, “Love is a verb?” That is, saying “I love you,” either in the romantic sense or in the spiritual, societal, friendship, fellowship sense does not mean much unless the actions match the words.

    Many Christians feed the hungry and tend to the sick and do many other deeds of kindness. [Please don’t start the “how do you know what is good or kind?” “what philosophical basis do you operate on?” stuff all over again; you know I will answer such comments in deadly detail.]

    I am a heterosexual person. I knew that I was when I was twelve years old. I am not a homosexual.

    I have been married to the same woman for 45 years. I have never been unfaithful to her. While I am far from a perfect husband; being faithful is one example of treating love as a “verb,” that is acting on it, not just saying it.

    I have known many homosexual people during my life, long before my daughter “came out”; so my opinions on this are not based on my love for and acceptance of my daughter’s relationship.

    Homosexual people are just like heterosexual people. There are good ones and bad ones, faithful ones and unfaithful ones. In my opinion, whether you call it marriage, or you call it “domestic partnership,” or you cal it “civil union,” they deserve to have the same right to pair up with people they love; they deserve the same right to raise children, share property, visit each other when ill, and so on as heterosexual people.

    But I don’t have contempt for people, and I seek to offer them love, respect, and grace in Christ Jesus.

    Unless these words expressing love are accompanied by the kinds of actions that permit the rights I describe, I am in opposition to you.

    Fortunately, we live in a mostly peaceful society, so opposition is expressed most of the time in speech (such as these posts and comments), in elections, in courts, and so on, and those are the methods I choose to use. I know many Christians where I live and I communicate with many Christians (as I am posting on your blog) but on issues such as the one described in this post, I am in steadfast and deep opposition to you and I do not experience what you call “love” as love.

    I think this is a polite and respectful comment, but I do not want to be misunderstood in this regard. Unlike many people, I am willing to compromise on a few things. I don’t think the word “marriage” is that important, so I would accept the euphemisms I just listed, but it’s not up to me, and I think you are losing and I don’t feel sorry for you and I will not defend your “rights” to oppose the rights I have described.


    May 13, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    • Well enough, but as you point out, your understanding of “love” and mine are radically different. I get my understanding of love from the love shown by Jesus Christ. This love was not some kind of sentimental love that simply allowed people their “rights” and affirmed all that people wanted to do. His love took stock of the fact that we are sinners, in high rebellion against God, under God’s wrath and condemnation. Therefore His love seeks to deliver us from this and give us the wisdom and power to live in the life-giving way that he commands and that he showed with his own life. This is why you and I disagree. You would be happy to let people engage in behaviors (i.e., homosexuality) that will ultimately ruin and destroy them. You will disagree that these behaviors destroy people, but then we’re back to epistemology and “the good” and who defines what is good. Jesus defines it, and I’m happy to take his trustworthy word for it.


      russell and duenes

      May 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm

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