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Opening Arguments

A say on gay

Poor Barack Obama -- he wasn't able to be the first black president because Bill Clinton took that title. But, now, thanks to Newsweek magazine, he gets his own title: "The First Gay President":

I have always sensed that he intuitively understands gays and our predicament—because it so mirrors his own. And he knows how the love and sacrifice of marriage can heal, integrate, and rebuild a soul.

Does this mean a man can be the first female president? Just asking. Have to be a beta-male Alan Alda type, though, and I'm not sure any of those could even contemplate running for president.

The president's craven political move new enlightenment isn't going over too well here in the Hoosier state:

President Barack Obama might favor same-sex marriage, but the Democratic candidates who will join him on the top of Indiana's ballots do not.

The gubernatorial candidate, former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage last week. Then Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, did the same.

Their positions mean they agree with the Republican candidates, gubernatorial hopeful U.S.Rep. Mike Penceand Senate candidateRichard Mourdock, the state treasurer.

"Joe believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He believes it is an issue that each state should decide, and his is opposed to an amendment to the U.S. Constitution," Donnelly spokeswoman Elizabeth Shappell said.

But we really should come around on the issue, says an Indianapolis Star columnist, because . . .well, just see:

Instead, he's using cold, hard scientific facts, evidenced-based research that shows statewide constitutional bans on gay marriage have a horrible effect on public health and cost taxpayers more money than they probably ever dreamed.

It's all about the "minority stress" model -- a long-established scientific theory that shows people who are shoved onto the outskirts of society, either through policy-driven discrimination or more subtle forms of marginalization, suffer greatly. Those who are thought of as second-class citizens end up with more mental health disorders, have less access to private medical care, are more likely to rely on drugs and alcohol, and are more often the victims of abuse and bullying.

If the comparison of gay rights to the black civil rights struggle seems somewhat of a stretch, the "minority stress model" is really a giant reach. OK, gays can't marry, but when in history have they ever been more accepted? The change in attitudes I've seen just in my lifetime has been downright astonishing. And isn't this the kind of sweeping social change that's best tackled state by state, as is now happening and as President Obama and Mitt Romney both seem to favor?

We might have a chance to have a say here, a fact that's kind of dropped out of the public consciousness. If the General Assembly gives a second nod to the proposal in 2013, a constitutional ban on gay marriage will go to the voters in a referendum in 2014. We seem a little mixed up on the subject these days. A couple of recent polls have said a majority of Americans favor gay marriage, and a new one says "54 percent of those surveyed said homosexual relationships were 'morally acceptable,' while 42 percent called them 'morally wrong,' with four percent undecided." But when the issue does go before the voters, gay marriage tends to lose by overwhelming margins.


Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:34pm

When have they been more accepted? I don't know, 1000 BCE Greece?

You brush aside the "can't marry" thing as if it were trivial. The comparison to black civil rights is spot on. No one chooses his sexual orientation any more than his skin color (OK, Michael Jackson chose his skin color). Limitations on black/white marriages were a central part of Jim Crow.

At any rate, look at the polls and you will see conservatives are betting on the wrong horse. Americans under 40, as a rule, have no problem with gay marriage. Our generation is split. Only the over-60's, i.e., the people who will soon be dead, strongly oppose gay marriage.

At the high school where my wife teaches, there are gay and lesbian clubs among otherwise-conservative teenagers. The gay kids simply out themselves with absolutely no drama. These are the folks who will increasingly fill the roles of voting citizens with each passing year. Gay marriage will be legalized by the feds easily within five years. It is inevitable.

Those now opposing it will look like dinosaurs in retrospect, rather like Strom Thurmond and Bob Byrd.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:13pm

Obama wasn't our first black president and we also know that he wasn't our first gay president.  These legacy moves arent working well.  He should stick with "I shot OBL."

From The Journal of Higher Education comes "The Queer President."




Christopher Swing
Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:45pm

Yeah, things are great, there's not so much physical violence against gays anymore, anyway. Well, mostly.

The thing is, you and your lying pal Leininger are still at best pandering to a diminishing crowd of angry, bigoted old white people.

Presuming you're not among the bigoted old white folks yourself.

Tim Zank
Mon, 05/14/2012 - 8:25pm

"Yeah, things are great, there's not so much physical violence against gays anymore, anyway. Well, mostly. You're right, crime rates are way down.

The thing is, you and your lying pal Leininger are still at best pandering to a diminishing crowd of angry, bigoted old white peopleFalse equivalency, ask black people how much they like their struggle for real rights being compared to you having the legal right to have the federal government officially sanction your method of acheiving an orgasm. Yeah, the similarities are just overwhelming, ask the black people in North Carolina.

Presuming you're not among the bigoted old white folks yourself. Nice try, another progressive common sense epic fail, if Leo was a racist (or any of us for that matter) it would be painfully obvious to all the sane people that read the paper and blog and Leo wouldn't have a job. Or are all the people that read the paper and blog racists as well? And are his bosses racists also? Seems everyone is a racist to you, except you....

Christopher Swing
Mon, 05/14/2012 - 9:29pm

So should the "coloreds" have stopped short of demanding the right to marry "non-coloreds" as well, Tim Zank? Where's the line drawn for "real" rights?

And Zank, denying people the right to be married based on sexual orientation... that's being bigoted, too. You seem to be laboring under the illusion that bigotry only applies to skin color for some reason. Probably because you don't actually know what the word means and assume it only applies to racial bigotry, because that's all you've ever heard of.

So thanks for clarifying yet another limit of your knowledge there for us, Zank. I suppose for you we could expand that to ignorant bigot.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 7:06pm

The last person that that I read who used those "bad" words like "coloreds" was none other than Barry Soetoro.  From page 75 of "Dreams From My Father":

The minority assimilated into the dominant culture, not the other way around. Only white culture could be neutral and objective. Only white culture could be nonracial, willing to adopt the occasional exotic into its ranks. Only white culture had individuals. And we, the  half-breeds and the college-degreed, take a survey of the situation and think to ourselves, Why should we get lumped in with the losers if we don’t have to? We become only so grateful to lose ourselves in the crowd, America’s happy, faceless marketplace; and we’re never so outraged as when a cabbie drives past us or the woman in the elevator clutches her purse, not so much because we’re bothered by the fact that such indignities are what less fortunate coloreds have to put up with every single day of their lives-although that’s what we tell ourselves-but because we’re wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and speak impeccable English and yet have somehow been mistaken for an ordinary nigger. 

Oh! Gosh, he used that other word we ain't supposed to say.  Does that make him racist?  Us old folks had best behave because these youngsters know some much more than we do, 'cause we are prejudiced, dintcha know?  My Mom and Dad didn't know anything either because they thought marriange was a life contract between members of the opposite sex for the purpose of raising a family. Why else would they call it matrimony?

Christopher Swing
Tue, 05/15/2012 - 8:03pm

Well, you wouldn't be Gadfly if you weren't being deliberately obtuse and missing the actual point, I guess.

Though as far as your parents go in the next paragraph, they were fine to think raising children was one of the purposes of marriage. But that historically hasn't been the only reason for marriage:

"For both the upper and aspiring classes, marriage was a way to gain capital — mainly through dowries. And for lower-class families, marriage could increase property holdings by merging one family's land with a neighbor's.

"Beginning around the 16th century, the primary purpose of marriage shifted, to that of building the family as a labor force. At the same time, the Protestant Reformation brought about the idea that marriage should focus more on child-rearing."


I also find this amusing - isn't Leininger Lutheran?

"The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century rejected the prevailing concept of marriage along with many other Catholic doctrines. Martin Luther declared marriage to be "a worldly thing . . . that belongs to the realm of government", and a similar opinion was expressed by Calvin. The English Puritans in the 17th century even passed an Act of Parliament asserting "marriage to be no sacrament" and soon thereafter made marriage purely secular. It was no longer to be performed by a minister, but by a justice of the peace. The Restoration abolished this law and reverted to the old system, but the Puritans brought their concept of marriage to America where it survived. Luther and other Protestants also reduced the number of marriage impediments. Affinity and spiritual affinity were no longer considered obstacles, and consanguinity was interpreted much more narrowly than before. Thus, even marriages between first cousins became possible."


Anyone who tells you (like, oh say, Leininger) that marriage has been one way for one reason for the last 2,000 years is lying to you... or doesn't know any history.

Christopher Swing
Fri, 05/18/2012 - 4:54pm

And on further review, it gets even better with the Lutherans:

"Luther recognized that “he who refuses to marry must fall into immorality,” identified marriage as “the remedy against sin,” and demanded that all of humanity seek the cure “in order that fornication and adultery may be avoided as well as pollutions and promiscuous lusts.” 

"Until then, the Church alone had recognized and overseen marriages, but Luther and the reformers wanted a more powerful and “worldly” enforcer of God’s laws. Marriage, they said, belonged under the purview of “temporal government,” which “restrains the un-Christian and wicked so that—no thanks to them—they are obliged to keep still and to maintain an outward peace.” Moved by these injunctions, governments across Protestant Europe seized control over marriage and instituted rules to enforce it."

Ah, so Luther and his pals wanted marriage to be a worldly thing so they'd have an excuse to get the government to enforce their morals/superstitions on everyone, christian or not.

Somehow it doesn't surprise me that Leininger would get behind that idea.

Tim Zank
Fri, 05/18/2012 - 6:14pm

So if we asked you to research Catholics now would ya go away for 3 days again?


Christopher Swing
Fri, 05/18/2012 - 8:13pm

Aw, did you miss me Zank?

You must have, you couldn't resist saying something to me, even if you had nothing to contribute to the conversation. ;)