Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 4, 2008
POLITICS: Life Matters

Ross Douthat looks at why the pro-life cause is doing well among younger voters, and specifically why it's doing much better than opposition to same-sex marriage, which started in a much stronger position and still commands a majority even in liberal states like California.

Of course, if you ask social conservatives which battle they'd rather win, it's no contest; both issues are important to the future functioning of society, but only one of the two is an issue of life and death. If the same-sex marriage fight has sometimes burned brighter in recent years it's only because the battle lines have been more fluid and the assault from the left more intense.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:41 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

"[B]oth issues are important to the future functioning of society, but only one of the two is an issue of life and death."

I agree the life-and-death part of abortion is what makes it a more difficult issue than gay marriage. But another problem is that social conservatives have hard time convincing people that gay marriage is "important to the future functioning of society." In fact, how exactly is that issue important to the future functioning of society??

Posted by: MVH at December 4, 2008 9:38 PM


The answer you get to that question depends entirely on what one believes is the purpose of marriage - whether it is merely a legal/social construct, or something more meaningful than that. Likewise what one believes of the differences between male and female - whether their physical characteristics are the only meaningful differences between them, or whether there are more than that.

Posted by: 94by50 at December 5, 2008 3:52 AM

How does gay marriage impede "the future functioning of society"?

Posted by: seth soothsayer at December 5, 2008 4:20 PM

If "the purpose of marriage . . . is [not] merely a legal/social construct, [but] something more meaningful than that," why is that so many fundamentalists divorce?

Posted by: Magrooder at December 5, 2008 6:34 PM

If we have Commandments, why is there still sin? As Madison said, if men were angels, no government would be necessary.

It's amazing how much trouble some people have processing the idea that it's possible for there to be such things as right and wrong even though people don't always do the thing that is right. Human nature.

Posted by: Crank at December 5, 2008 6:41 PM

I keep waiting for the answer to how gay marriage impedes societal functioning. You dont honestly think the human race would stop reproducing if a few members were allowed to marry intragender do you? At least admit that its purely a religious objection on your part, a belief that gay sex is evil because (cue the music) the Bible tells you so. That would be infinitely more honest than cloaking your objections in supposedly secular theories like societal functioning, which you do both to gain votes at the margin and to avoid the dangerous precedent of letting temporary religious majorities impose their practices into law. Come a time you could be on the ass end of that, pun intended.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at December 5, 2008 8:46 PM


Crank already answered it well enough, but as I'm a child of divorced parents from a Lutheran background, I can vouch for the truth of his explanation first-hand. "Sin" is an outdated (some say childish, some say loopy) idea, to hear the non-theistic tell it. However, if you want a reason for why the world can be such a terrible place and why people can do terrible things - a reason for why bad things happen, period - it works better than anything I've heard so far.

Posted by: 94by50 at December 6, 2008 1:26 AM

"The answer you get to that question depends entirely on what one believes is the purpose of marriage - whether it is merely a legal/social construct, or something more meaningful than that."

Well, no - the phrase he used was functioning of society, so there has to be some danger to society that gay marriage poses. So what is it?

Look, it's clear that many religions would consider gay marriage sinful, but this is a secular ceremony. Why shouldn't the state recognize it? No one is forcing a church to perform it.

This is the problem I have with social conservatism. It's too often concerned with converting private, religious beliefs into public policy. My religion may not condone gay marriage, but that doesn't mean I should be enforcing that on the rest of America. If conservatism is really about getting the government out of the way of society, then it should have no problem recognizing gay marriage, civil unions, or whatever you want to call them.

Posted by: MVH at December 6, 2008 9:57 AM

Crank & 94by50,

As the Church Lady (appropriately enough) used to say, "How Conveeeenient."

Posted by: Magrooder at December 6, 2008 2:07 PM

Marriage has existed far longer than the Bible, and in many more than only Judeo-Christian cultures, so references to the Holy book are superfluous. Marriage is what it is, and neither a ceremony nor a license is necessary for a marriage to exist. The state, therefore, recognizes common law marriage.

Likewise, saying some mumbo-jumbo over two people of the same sex, homosexuals or whatever, won't make them married in fact, regardless of what some ordinance might hold.

This is simply an argument over privilege. How convenient, though, for men or women who room together. If laws against incest come to be overturned, brothers can be "married" while attending college, for instance, and claim all the privileges which their nominal status gains them.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at December 6, 2008 7:14 PM


Really? Dana Carvey? Best of luck to you. Obviously you're not to be taken seriously.

Posted by: 94by50 at December 6, 2008 8:13 PM

I find hilarious the conservative's "slippery slope" argument against gay marriage, that all of a sudden legalizing incest is next in line. Where is this groundswell of public sentiment to permit the marriage of brother to sister? Gimme a break. While you come up with these ridiculous notions gay soldiers are defending your freedom around the world, gay jurors are shielding your freedom from government prosecutions, log cabin republicans are helping to elect your favorite officials, and yes --- gasp --- some our teaching your kids how to read. Get over your illogical biblical literalism already and your sexual insecurities and be true conservatives...ones that live and let live.

Posted by: robert at December 7, 2008 2:14 AM

"Marriage has existed far longer than the Bible, and in many more than only Judeo-Christian cultures, so references to the Holy book are superfluous. Marriage is what it is." That understanding of marriage, "it is what it is," (whatever that means), puts you at odds with the majority of social conservatives who are against gay marriage/civil unions.

Posted by: MVH at December 8, 2008 7:48 AM

Interesting that neither Crank nor his supporters answered the simple question, how does gay marriage ""the future functioning of society?"

I suspect that's because it doesn't impede the functioning of society. It merely gets in the way of certain people's religion-based prejudices.

Posted by: Mike at December 8, 2008 7:54 AM


Seriously, dude. Don't take yourself or your arguments so seriously. Allusion. Metaphor. Joke.

Posted by: Magrooder at December 8, 2008 12:24 PM

The silence is deafening. I'd be interested in hearing the strongest -public policy- argument the conservatives can muster on this issue. I imagine the case would begin with a study such as this one, an analysis from the American College of Pediatricians, which I found by accident when I was trying to get some information on my soon-to-be newborn:

It argues that homosexuality, is influenced only minimally by genetics, and a high degree of sexual fluidity exists:

"In summary, SSA is determined by a complex interaction between familial and peer influences, unique events, social and biological factors. An attachment deficit, cross-gender behavior, rejection by same-sex peers, sexual abuse, involvement in pornography and sexual experimentation are associated with SSA for many, but do not unilaterally or universally cause it. In other words, not every person who has these experiences will develop SSA, and not every person with SSA will have a history of these experiences. This is likely where biological influences and unrecognized environmental or societal factors play a role. (1, 2, 13-16) What the current political climate ignores is that the last forty years of data proves only a small biological contribution and a significant degree of sexual fluidity.

Parents have the right to make informed health care decisions for their children based on accurate and unbiased information, as do psychosocially mature adolescents themselves. While sexual attractions may not be consciously chosen, one can choose what to do with these attractions once recognized. No one is “born gay.” Biological and environmental influences may be fostered or foiled. Therefore, SSA is indeed preventable and changeable to varying degrees for many who desire these outcomes."

And the analysis also states:

"Those who do label themselves “gay” or bisexual tend to become sexually active at younger ages and are more sexually promiscuous than their peers. The serious physical and emotional illnesses associated with homosexual behavior are well documented. Increased rates of drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression, suicide, eating disorders and intimate partner violence are more prevalent among homosexual men and women than among their heterosexual counterparts."

This is the strongest argument I've seen yet for opposing homosexual marriage/adoption.

Of course, this isn't without debate. See the report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the subsequent criticism by the American College of Pediatricians, links to both of which are here under "Letter to the Editor::

Posted by: MVH at December 11, 2008 11:39 AM
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