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Civil Unions: Compromise or Surrender? [Long- 4 parts]

Schweddy

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[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1]Excellent read...

"Reprinted by permission from IMPRIMIS, the monthly journal of Hillsdale College (www.hillsdale.edu)."

[/size][/font] [font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1]The term "civil marriage" or "civil union" has become a euphemism for both the legal and social legitimation of homosexuality. In the current public conversation the phrase no longer means the wedding of a man and woman conducted by a civil authority - a town clerk or a justice of the peace or a judge. In that old sense of the term, of course, every legal marriage is a civil one, because the ministers and priests and rabbis who conduct weddings according to the established rites of their respective religions are at the same time acting with full civil authority to do so. The fact that so many of the fully sanctioned marriages in recent years have turned out to be too casual and thin-blooded to hold out for very long against the trials of real life is nothing to the point. For while the number of easy-come, easy-go marriages in our midst speaks to the failure of spiritual education in this great, rich, lucky, but somewhat spiritually impoverished land, there has not until now been any kind of real assault on what marriage is supposed to mean: one man, one woman, formally and officially joined in the hope of becoming a real family.

Today what is being called "civil marriage" is a kind of trick of language, a term used as a political euphemism for surrendering to the most recent demand of the homosexual rights movement. For now what it is intended to mean is that the mating of two men or two women must be regarded by society as equally hallowed. The surrender to this idea has taken place very quickly, and I think we cannot understand it without going over the history of how we got here.
Homosexual rights is an idea that began to assume the force and energy of a movement hard on the heels of the women's movement (which itself, of course, gained energy and force from the civil rights movement that preceded it). It began with the demand that homosexuals no longer be considered pariahs, bedeviled by the authorities and viewed with unconcealed discomfort by many of their fellow citizens. In the abstract, this demand seemed very reasonable, particularly among people still stung by the shame of the country's long history of both attitude and behavior toward the blacks. The movement was what you might call a smash success - perhaps because it was the third in a row and thus was presenting its case to an already softened public, or perhaps because to assent quickly to the movement's claims made it a lot easier to avert one's eyes from homosexuality itself. In any case, rapid is the word.

Let me tell you the story of two parades. Some years ago my husband and I happened to be strolling through midtown Manhattan on a sunny afternoon when we came upon a large and noisy crowd lined up on both sides of Fifth Avenue. We had quite forgotten that that Sunday was the day of the annual gay pride parade. It was, as the kids say, a very "in your face" occasion. A number of the men had made-up faces and were dressed in satin evening gowns, blowing kisses to the crowd from the backs of open cars. The parade passed by St. Patrick's Cathedral, and some of the marchers ran up the front steps of the cathedral virtually naked and proceeded to express their opinion of the Church by going through a repertory of obscene gestures (the following year the cathedral was barricaded). We left wondering how all this would sit with the city authorities. If they had any views of the matter, they kept them to themselves.

A number of years passed, and last June one of my daughters and I were running an errand downtown on a Sunday afternoon, and again, all unthinking, we happened on this year's parade. As we approached the corner there hove into view a large, simply decorated float on which were seated a group of people, including children, smiling and waving to the crowd. The sign on the float announced that its passengers were representing the Episcopal Archdiocese of New York and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. As the old commercial for Virginia Slims cigarettes had it, "You've come a long way, baby."[/size][/font]
 
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Schweddy

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[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1]Put on the Defensive[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1] In the years that stretched between those two parades, the country had been confronted with the phenomenon of AIDS, a mortal disease that at the beginning of the epidemic in America was contracted in one of two ways: either a common form of homosexual mating or the use of dirty needles for injecting heroin. And AIDS, it will be remembered, was for a time threatening virtually to decimate the male homosexual community. Though at first there was a good deal of lying about the problem of AIDS - "We are all at risk," said the sympathizers and those raising funds for medical research to find a cure - the lie could not be sustained for long. Heroin addicts, prostitutes, and recipients of tainted blood aside, among homosexuals it was and is spread through a kind of blind and rampant promiscuity that had been growing ever more blind and rampant in certain institutions of the homosexual community, primarily the bars and the bathhouses. In any case, what the Cathedral of St. John the Divine was revving up to embrace, Mother Nature was obdurately rejecting. The impulse of compassion for the discriminated against had become so habitual that rather than expressions of horror, what the discovery of AIDS elicited from the community of the sensitive was a great outpouring of sympathy. Though AIDS was a disease contracted by a species of sexual behavior that might have straightened the curls of many a fashionable lady to hear about, the issue was spoken of in polite circles as a kind of mysterious tragedy that struck out of the blue. And finally, men dying of the disease were not merely pitied but positively beatified among the artistic community in both song and story - song and story, indeed, in which the word "angels" figured heavily.

It goes without saying that there are homosexuals who are not and have never been activists, who do not storm the streets, who do not frequent the bathhouses, and who keep their sex lives - as most of the rest of us do - to themselves. But in the current debate these homosexuals are, alas, irrelevant. They are neither the stuff of which movements and flamboyant public gestures are made, nor are they people whose ambition is to overturn the conditions of ordinary, everyday life.

Eight years ago, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which states in so many words that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Imagine: a congressional act that certifies something - more properly, reminds us of something - that one might have thought should need no reminding. Just think of it: a defense of marriage - not from a galloping divorce rate, not from marriages more easily sundered than many business contracts, and not from the idea put about some years ago by the women's movement that marriage is no more than a form of indentured servitude for women. No, the members of Congress who proposed and then passed this Act were defending marriage from the already looming demand that it be redefined to include homosexual coupledom. As we now know, the act was insufficient to hold off the assault from the idea that marriage be defined as an act of commitment between any two people of whatever sex. Imagine again: many of the leading defenders of marriage in the land propose that we - at least the citizens of three-quarters of the states - include among the articles of the Constitution a statement that denies definitively the demand that homosexuals be granted the legal right to marry.

Thus doth compassion, combined with a certain willful blindness, make cowards of us all. A culture grown sick with the refusal to uphold common wisdom - not to speak of common sense - sinks to requiring the services of politics and politicians in the face of difficulty.[/size][/font]
 

Schweddy

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[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1]The Real Stakes[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1] Because the question of homosexual marriage has at this time been left in the hands of judges - mere legislation having proved to be of little avail against the forces of activism - we have been treated to the sight of homosexual couples celebrating outside of courthouses and city halls in such places as San Francisco and Boston. By the way, and not surprisingly, it seems that a number of the male couples admitted they had no intention of getting married - it was merely their having won the battle that they were there to celebrate - while every one of the female couples declared their intention to marry. I say not surprisingly because - some might think it impolite of me to point out - homosexual men are essentially no more like lesbians than heterosexual men are like the women whom they either merely pursue or marry. In short, men are men and women are women, whatever their sexual proclivities. Which brings us to the nature of modern, that is to say, voluntary, marriage.

In the contemporary world, marriage is the result of a voluntary agreement between two people that they will swear to make a home together and be faithful to one another. It is, in other words, a deal. Cleave unto me, says the man, and I will cherish and protect you; cleave unto me, says the woman, and I will make your life comfortable, bear your children, and be faithful to you. Of course, this deal is sometimes - nowadays, indeed, fearfully often - honored in the breach. Nevertheless, it is the best arrangement ever devised for those, meaning all of us, who are considerably lower than the angels. Nor is it merely happenstance that so very large a number of these deals are consecrated by formal ritual in houses of worship, where they are blessed in the name not only of the state but of God.

Female homosexuals who have achieved coupledom tend to approximate this arrangement far more closely than do male homosexuals - even those male homosexuals who remain together for life (and who are, by the way, many, many fewer in number). Why is this? Because, again, women are different from men. They wish - correction: need - to be monogamous and faithful; it is in their nature. Men, on the other hand, in the most elementary sense of the nature of males, have impulses to promiscuity. A woman says to her prospective mate, "Be faithful to me and I promise that I will make it worth your while." It is a bargain men who marry not only agree to but in a very important sense are saved by. Being women, lesbians are most often given to a facsimile of this same deal. Moreover, they can be, and often are, mothers and thus inclined to stability. Men who are sexually attracted to, and even truly love, other men have no such exchange to make. In an all-male society, promiscuity is thus the norm. And as things have grown easier and more comfortable for men to be openly, often flagrantly, homosexual in our ever more tolerant society, the promiscuity of the bathhouse and orgy has become ever more the norm. Hence, for example, the wildfire of HIV and AIDS (and now, I am told, certain even newer forms of venereal disease). That is why the right to marriage, fought for with every weapon at their command by homosexual men, would - or must I say will - be largely acted on by lesbians.

Why, then, are these men fighting so hard for it? The answer is, the right to legal marriage that they are demanding is not about them - it is about the rest of us. It is, and is meant to be, a spit in the eye of the way we live. And whatever the variety of efforts to oppose it - another law or even a whole set of laws, let's say, or a constitutional amendment - none of it will matter unless and until all the nice and decent people in America begin to understand that we are in a crisis, and it must be up to them to sustain, and with all good cheer defend, the way they lead their lives.[/size][/font]
 

Schweddy

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[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1]The Best Defense [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1] I tend to oppose a constitutional amendment because I fear the oh so easy use of that great document to deal with problems that arise from this society's sloth and unwillingness to face the mess that has become of our culture in general and the issue of sex and family in particular. It would be a shame, I think, if we had to tinker with so rare and precious an inheritance as our Constitution because people who hate the way we live storm the streets while others try to look away. Also, we should keep in mind the nature of politicians. A key part of their job is to keep people happy. Indeed, doing so is the way most of them got that job in the first place. That is why only a very few moral heroes among them risk being frowned at by their constituents, or worse, making them angry. There is no sense in anyone's complaining about this; it is in the nature of our political system - and it is the best system that has yet been devised by man. But politicians simply do not - I would even say cannot - make useful arbiters of cultural problems, let alone spiritual ones like this.

Let me return to the idea being proposed by some that we invent a kind of second-level marriage - call it "civil union" - that would provide homosexual couples with certain legal and financial marital rights without the full standing of heterosexual marriage. I am not against allowing a homosexual to be his partner's legal heir, for instance, or to be granted official status as rightful partner in a hospital emergency room or other such things. But this idea of creating a new level of marriage - call it whatever you want - smacks of the congenital passion of politicians to invent a compromise where none will serve. For it is not compromise that the homosexual rights movement is after. Nor do they even want the standing in the community that heterosexuals have. They are radicals. What they want is not a room of their own; they want to bring the whole damned house down.

By now we as a society have pretty much ceased the persecution of homosexuals. They are not ostracized from polite society - and indeed, if truth be told, many of them never were. In addition, they now freely camp around to a most appreciative audience on prime-time television and, as we know, have for some time served as the arbiters of high fashion. In New York City they have a high school that has now become an official part of the city's public school system. And though they have been seen on the newscasts standing outside the San Francisco courthouse smiling and waving their new marriage licenses, it is vitally important to remember that they are the denizens of a radical movement: I will say it again, they do not want what the rest of us have - they want to bring the whole house down.

So if the lady tends to be against a constitutional amendment and opposes unequivocally the idea of civil union, what does she want? The answer is, I want us to stick up for ourselves and the way we live, be as mighty a force in the culture as we are entitled to be if nothing else by virtue of our sheer numbers. I want us to resist all attacks on the way we live, whether from our kids, our grandkids, their momentary culture heroes, or from the overpaid, mindless, sheep-like followers of fashion in the press and academic community who make so much noise in the world around us every day. In other words, let's take back our country. Let us be decent, civil and even loving to our homosexual fellow citizens; but draw the line on what they stand for and on everything else that makes light of our existence.

For the privilege of living in the most nobly founded, the freest, and the richest country in the world we owe nothing less, not only to ourselves but also to the oncoming tide of generations. We are given the choice of leaving them with a blessing or a curse. Not so many people in the world have that choice. I hope we can go down in history as having deserved it.[/size][/font]
 

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I want us to resist all attacks on the way we live, whether from our kids, our grandkids, their momentary culture heroes, or from the overpaid, mindless, sheep-like followers of fashion in the press and academic community who make so much noise in the world around us every day. In other words, let's take back our country. Let us be decent, civil and even loving to our homosexual fellow citizens; but draw the line on what they stand for and on everything else that makes light of our existence.

For the privilege of living in the most nobly founded, the freest, and the richest country in the world we owe nothing less, not only to ourselves but also to the oncoming tide of generations. We are given the choice of leaving them with a blessing or a curse. Not so many people in the world have that choice. I hope we can go down in history as having deserved it.

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That's ridiculous. What she is proposing is to "stand up" to the gay people. Why? Because they are different? Then she goes on to say that we should leave future generations with a blessing (I'm assuming no gay marriage) not a curse (which is gay marriage). Then she tries to tell me that we should be loving to homosexuals? This person can write well, but boy, that's a very jaded conclusion.
 

Schweddy

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What she is proposing is to "stand up" to the gay people. Why?

Absolutely, her position, and I tend to agree with her is that the loud mouths are causing the rukus. They are screaming and causing kaos for 'gay marriage'. The people that do not agree should stand up to them.

It goes without saying that there are homosexuals who are not and have never been activists, who do not storm the streets, who do not frequent the bathhouses, and who keep their sex lives - as most of the rest of us do - to themselves. But in the current debate these homosexuals are, alas, irrelevant. They are neither the stuff of which movements and flamboyant public gestures are made, nor are they people whose ambition is to overturn the conditions of ordinary, everyday life. .
These are the gays and lesbians that I can respect.
 

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How, exactly, does someone keep their sex lives to themselves? Do they pretend they're unmarried, if they are, introducing their spouses with, "I'd like you to meet my friend ________" ? Or if not married, but otherwise in an intimate love relationship, pretend they are not? Do they leave the person they are sleeping with, whether married or not, at home when they attend parties? Do they avoid holding hands in public? How about meaningful glances, or standing just that little bit closer than you do with "just a friend"? When they say good bye in public, do they give a friendly hug, avoiding the good bye kiss that would indicate that they're sleeping together? At the office, do they leave their cubicle devoid of pictures of their loved one, lest it spark the imaginations of their co-workers regarding the activities the individual might be engaging in with the person in the photo? In conversation about "home", do they trade 'My wife blah blah blah' with 'The woman who lives in my house blah blah blah.' ?

If so, I don't think I remember meeting anyone who keeps their sex lives to themselves.

On the other hand, if keeping your sex life to yourself is simply not telling strangers stories about what you did last night with the other person who lives in your house, then nearly everyone I have ever met, heterosexual or homosexual keeps their sex lives to themselves.

On a side note, bath houses are hardly exclusive to the homosexual community. If complete lack of attendance at such places establishes the legitimacy of one's sexual preference, then heterosexuality was delegitimized with the advent of the first city, and has remained so ever since. Here is one example out of thousands: www.clubchic.com

vauge said:
[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1]Put on the Defensive[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1]
It goes without saying that there are homosexuals who are not and have never been activists, who do not storm the streets, who do not frequent the bathhouses, and who keep their sex lives - as most of the rest of us do - to themselves. But in the current debate these homosexuals are, alas, irrelevant. They are neither the stuff of which movements and flamboyant public gestures are made, nor are they people whose ambition is to overturn the conditions of ordinary, everyday life.

[/size][/font]
 

Schweddy

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Welcome to Debate Politics :)

I think you read the statement a little too close and didn't fathom the idea this lady is saying in her whole piece. There always has been the neighbor down the street that everyone thinks is "gay". As there are the scary old ladies 'who killed thier husband' and haunted mansions. But, no one ever really finds out. Rumors.

This lady is saying - keep it that way.
 

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Dezaad - a voice of reason. Beautifully written. Well done. And ditto to all you said!
 

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I have to totally agree with Dezaad here, and well said by the way. Personally I like introducing my wife as my wife. I'd like to think she feel's the same way. Why would homosexual couples want any different? And why should they be expected to except anything but?
 

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Pacridge said:
I have to totally agree with Dezaad here, and well said by the way. Personally I like introducing my wife as my wife. I'd like to think she feel's the same way. Why would homosexual couples want any different? And why should they be expected to except anything but?
Because there are lots of bigots out there who can't see beyond their own noses! Sad, but oh so true.

Does your wife really like introducing you as her wife?!?
 

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Naughty Nurse said:
Because there are lots of bigots out there who can't see beyond their own noses! Sad, but oh so true.

Does your wife really like introducing you as her wife?!?
Okay Mr. Monty Python ya got me. No, I hope my wife likes introducing me as Mr. Spamalot thank-you very much.
 

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Pacridge said:
Okay Mr. Monty Python ya got me. No, I hope my wife likes introducing me as Mr. Spamalot thank-you very much.
Great to meet you, Mr Spamalot. Send my regards to Mrs Spamalot.
 

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Thank you for the welcome, and the reply.

vauge said:
I think you read the statement a little too close and didn't fathom the idea this lady is saying in her whole piece. There always has been the neighbor down the street that everyone thinks is "gay". As there are the scary old ladies 'who killed thier husband' and haunted mansions. But, no one ever really finds out. Rumors.

This lady is saying - keep it that way.
Actually, the piece was quoted by you in a post you made, and I was responding more to that. I disagree that I misunderstood what she was saying here. It was, of course, said in a context, yes. But, you and I agree on what she is saying, as shown by your interpretive commentary above.

She is, indeed, saying, "You can be gay, just don't let everyone know. In fact, don't let anyone know, whenever it can be helped."

The gay couple living down the street do not need to go to any pains to spare the sensibilities of any of their neighbors, or anyone else. If they go to the trouble of placing a sign on the door that says "Homo of a Happy Gay Couple", the rest of the neighborhood should simply chuckle to themselves about what oppression does to people, and forget about it. When the couple introduces themselves they should indicate their relationship to one another in some manner, just as every other couple does. And so on.

All of which removes any doubt about whether they are gay to nearly everyone they meet. But, that is to be expected. It is immediately obvious when a heterosexual couple moves in next door because of the way they talk to their new neighbors about each other, the way they interact with them in the context of their daily lives. The gay couple would have to keep tight discipline on their toungues to succeed at concealing their couplehood, and each time they almost say something "wrong", their relationship would be invalidated. Thus their life is nickel and dimed out of its validity, since one's spouse is such a huge part of one's life.

Which, I assert, is exactly what this woman wants. She wants their lives to be invalidated. She wants their relationship to fail, and she wants them to crawl into the shadows. She indicates that with every word she writes. She wants to feel that her pastor was right, that her conception of god is right, that she is superior and holy.

This debate is not about gays attempting to invalidate heterosexual marriage. People like this woman have nearly succeeded in turning the debate on its head, but truth and reason will expose them. This debate is about invalidating gay couples, and nothing more. And this woman will be remembered, not for her holiness, but for something else entirely.
 
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Dezaad, I'll second all of that, and wish I could've said it so well. Good on ya!
 
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