Maine thoughts

A message to my fellow heterosexuals:

What the heck is wrong with you?

No, seriously, what is wrong with you?

It would be one thing if there were a single reasoned argument for the prohibition of gay marriage that were not laughable on its face. Slippery slope? A joke. Natural law? You gotta be kidding me.

It would be one thing if it there were even a shred of empirical evidence that extending marriage to gays had any discernible effect on the quality or duration of heterosexual marriages. Or if there were empirical evidence showing a negative impact on children of homosexual marriages.

So please tell me why on earth you schlep out to a polling booth to deny people the benefits of a union? No harms accrue. No principle of reason is violated.

I honestly just don't get it, and I'm so deeply disappointed.

To the gay community:

I don't know what's wrong with us. But please know (as I'm sure you do) how many heterosexuals are heartsick about this. Your rights should not be withheld from you by the whim of an unreasonable crowd. More importantly, the crowd should understand that such a withholding is an injustice - it should be obvious to a majority what is the right thing to do.

This sucks. I'm sorry.

One more thing. Next semester, I'm teaching a class on contemporary moral issues: an introduction to some of the philosophical arguments for and against things like abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment. I have heretofore always taught such things neutrally, since I don't want to unduly influence my students. And in all those cases, there are intelligent arguments on both sides. I was reluctant to teach gay marriage since I could not remain neutral - there are no good philosophical arguments for gay marriage. But now, I think it is my obligation to demonstrate that all moral arguments in favor of restricting gay marriage fail.


  1. As a "No on One straight male" - I think it was 3 things:

    1) Folks don't view a Yes vote as a vote of bigotry. They simply thought using the word "marriage" was going too far (I really think lexicon is at the root of this - not bigotry).
    2) 30 states (or whatever the number) have trended this exact same way. It's tough to go against such a strong trend. If you look at slavery, it was not just Maine that was thinking...hey, we should stop this stuff.
    3) People were more annoyed with the No on One campaign overall. For instance, I got 9 multi-page COLOR print pieces in the mail and 3 phone calls (that was almost enough to consider me to vote YES or at least complain to the EPA)...verus the YES folks only stuck one piece of mail in my box and called me one time.

    Just some thoughts, I think bigotry is too easy of an answer to be honest. Also, as Dan wrote, I think the YES folks did run a more organized effort (and perhaps?) spent more money - although I doubt it.


  2. There is an interesting semantic question to be asked. Most people don't bother to take time out of their day, however, to vote on semantics.

    That said, I don't think it is bigotry either. At least not all the time. And not hate.

    But I do think there is a serious lack of willingness to take a look at a received view, and understand what justifies it (or doesn't justify it). And that saddens me.

  3. maybe, just maybe, this is not as cut and dried as you imagine it. What was the turnout? If this had been last year I think no would have won. A lot of people who went to the polls are probably just po'ed at the world, and only people who are po'ed or enthusiastic go to the polls.

    What is it with these states and their stupid referendums for anyway? That is what you have State Government for. We are a representative Democracy, not a direct one, for the simple reason direct ones have their head up their ass.


  4. Charo, We actually have a Republic so those that passed the law allowing us to have rights were overruled by the mob mentality, better known as a peoples referendum. I have a great suspicion a ton of money dumped into Maine was from the Mormon Church. They used the same ads, same actors, same scripts as California. There was a complaint filed with the State of Maine before the election to see who has been pouring funds into the campaign. However, this state in its wisdom chose to investigate after the election. To make matters worse department: Today the No On 1 folks held a rally at Portland City Hall and yep you guessed it some YES ON 1 folks showed up to protest... seems winning was not enough for those uneducated bigots.

  5. showed up to protest what?

    I have to state though that not everyone is bigoted. Elderly Catholics won't go against the dictates of the church, that doesn't mean that they hate gays, or wish violence upon them, etc. I think the nail in this coffin is the Catholic church. It is tough to go against faith, especially as one as big as the Catholic church.
    As a Catholic I can say I accept the church's teaching of the ideal that marriage is a spiritual union between a man and woman for the procreation of life, yada yada. As a practical matter I could give a rats ass. It might be that, but it is also a simple contract. Keep this sin (which is against oneself only) seperate from the law. By all means, preach against sin, but don't make that sin illegal.
    For me, reconciling faith and law is easy, and I tend to think future generations of Catholics will come around to our way of thinking.


  6. I agree with the majority sentiment here; voting against SSM is not necessarily a bigoted stance. Human sexuality is a farrago of emotional, evolutionary, and religious views. Hence, it is not usually amenable to rational discourse. In general, people do not hold religious or emotional positions for rational reasons, and to expect rational dialog to succeed in such circumstances is asking a bit much. Better arguments and better funding don't carry the day against human nature and religious tradition.

    There are two ways to acceptance of SSM; one, like charo points out, is to wear down the emotional/religious objections over time. Show that you are a decent human being, and the rest will happen. The other is to reframe the goals, and get what is possible, which is civil unions (and I suggest get the government out of the marriage biz altogether), and let whatever religious order you prefer give you the label of marriage. This avoids most of the minefield of human nature, and as an added benny will pass the poll test of what is doable now.

    The least useful thing is to argue against religious tradition as if people will change when presented with a more compelling argument. Religion is not normally acquired by rational considerations, but because of emotional ties. Most religions are careful to point out the inadequacy of human reason in evaluating the divine commands. Hence, religious stances aren't normally suceptible to short term campaigns. It takes the cognitive dissonance of decades to change religious institutions.

  7. OK Charo and JG, mostly Charo as I for once am almost in agreement with that rat bastard from the south. Here goes: They showed up to protest the gathering at the Portland City Hall... I guess you could call (judging by the tears shed by the No folks) a catharsis of sorts. These few protesters were not elderly persons! Charo if you actually believe the horseshit you just wrote about procreation then that church would not allow elderly persons past the menopause to be married, not a sterile woman or a sterile man, nor someone that does not posses a uterus or that had testicular cancer and on and on. If they really believed that, which I honestly believe they do not. That statement of yours just has a hollow ring to it and I love the way you write. (although Dan does not enjoy our colorful nouns & adjectives). Now then hold on...When I was twelve years old and as devout a young Catholic boy as anyone could be, I was molested by the Reverend Louis Barcelo, the same good father that wrote the Boy Scout Handbook for Catholic Boys. The same Fr. Barcelo that was awarded the order of the Silver Buffalo, whatever the fuck that is by President Ronald Regan. No surprise there, after all Nancy was a good friend of Roy Cohen. As a good Catholic boy for some reason I thought I had something to do with his actions, as a priest never would have done that. (even though I protested). I felt dirty as though I had committed a mortal sin and that I had been the one that committed some horrible act. Fr. Louis told me it was my sin the next morning. I ran to confession the following Saturday. My confession was heard by Msgr. Gerald R. Dolan, head of St. Andrews parish in Boston, who upon hearing what happened to me... told me never to repeat even one word to anyone including my mother and father or I would burn in Hell for all time. Catholic church..... you robed me of my faith and belief at the age of 12, FUCK YOU!
    PS. The Pope... HA, that Bastard was a member of the NAZI Youth Party, sworn to obey and follow Heir Adolph Hitler to hate, Kill and torture Jews, Homosexuals and Gypsies, and other assorted persons. Fuck Him too. I should have sued the church, but did not. It has only been in the past two months that I have written of this molestation and how it robbed my of my faith. The ONLY solace I have had has been with my partner of 40 years who I was praying would be my spouse after yesterday, but the Catholic church fucked me again... only this time in the heart.

  8. Just for the record, I think it was NO on 1 that ran the good campaign. Yes on 1 ran a crappy, poorly-produced campaign. It's only real advantage was weekly meetings of supporters, also known as Catholic mass.

  9. Oh, and there were all of two protesters at City Hall. If the news made it seem like there were more, then the news grossly misrepresented things.

  10. I don't think it's asking too much for people to evaluate their religious and emotional views. My 94 year old Catholic grandmother, who is intensely devout, thinks that the Church does the world as a whole and impoverished nations especially a huge disservice by banning birth control. She thinks banning gay marriage is ludicrous because she things it's born of the kind of hatred and earthly judgment Catholics are supposed to eschew. There is a way to be devoted to the faith of your choice (or upbringing) but to be a thoughtful human being. I think it is a pretty clear argument for bigotry, hatred, and close mindedness. Critical thinking needs to be taught from fourth grade on, because clearly citizens are not getting it now.
    Intelligent people can think for themselves, and hold a deep and honest spiritual belief even if they disagree with some dogma. Disagreeing with Jesus is different than disagreeing with the Pope is different than seeing the Bible as a text that has been edited and rewritten for thousands of years but that was arrested in a morality very different from ours.
    The 30 state argument is regrettable in a post-Reconstruction America. Benjamin Franklin said that direct democracy is like asking two wolves and a sheep what to have for lunch. It doesn't matter if Wyoming or Kansas are bigoted. Doesn't mean Maine has to be, too. Don't get me started on California.
    Elizabeth, I hope you do teach that class to show that logical fallacies are easy to spot, and important to knock down.
    I'm so freaking mad at just over half of Maine. And REALLY mad at those who didn't vote.

  11. Hey, naptime, that's an interesting argument for Federalism. So tell me again, why do we need a one-size-fits-all national healthcare plan, and for that matter a national education bureaucracy -- and I agree that criticial thinking isn't being taught in public schools, so why keep funding the same soul-numbing, mind-killing establishment?