In comments to my earlier posting of this YouTube
below, Markarios makes some good points and I thought that I'd post my responses.
First, with Markarios, I agree with the speaker's first point: enshrining religious beliefs in a state constitution is not a good idea. However, watery Pisces and lover of legal prose that I am, I'm not sure exactly where the line gets drawn. I'd vote, were I in the legislature, for constitutional amendments that enshrine, for example, the rights of plants and animals to not be driven to extinction by human profit. I'd enshrine the rights of women to control their own bodies. I'd enshrine the rights of all people to engage in adult, consensual sex of their choice without government intervention. (Maybe "enshrine" is a bad word in this context; say "establish" instead.) And, to be honest, my commitment to those ideals springs from my religion. So while I don't agree that: "Because the Bible (the way some now interpret it) says homosexuality is bad!" is a valid reason to change the state constitution, and while I agree that: "Because the Charge of the Goddess says that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess!" is not a valid reason to change the state constitution, I'm aware that religion sometimes influences the votes of the humans in the legislature. But, yes, like Markarios, I agree that the speaker's first point is the most valid.
Although the speaker is much more eloquent concerning his second point, which I'm about to discuss.
In the law (and I've no idea if this gentleman is a lawyer, or not, but, to my ear, he sounds like a good one), it's permissible, indeed often necessary, to "argue in the alternative." In other words, you can say to the court, "Look, my client did not pull the trigger. I've shown that with evidence A, B, and C. However, even if you find that he did pull the trigger, there are three reasons why he's still not guilty of this crime. First, . . . " And that's what I think the speaker is doing when he moves to: "the other thing . . ." and "what does it mean to the moral force of your arguments arguments if sexual orientation is god-given?" (You know how effective his argument is because his opponent jumps up and makes a jerk of himself saying, "Keep your applause to yourself." How does one even do that?) In other words, the speaker is saying, "First, we shouldn't enshrine religious beliefs in our Constitution. But, even if you believe that it's ok to do that -- to change the Constitution based upon your religious beliefs -- here's another reason why we shouldn't adopt this measure. We shouldn't adopt it because god keeps creating gay people, and how many gay people does god have to create before we accept that god wants them around?" In other words, the moral force of those "religious arguments" you've proposed is nil. So don't change the constitution based upon false religious beliefs, even if you think it's ok to change it based upon religious beliefs.
And to my lawyer's ear, that's ok. And to my lawyer's ear, it's ok to pull out your rhetorical guns against the argument you believe is most attractive to the person you're attempting to convince. And to my lawyer's ear, it's where this speaker's argument becomes so eloquent that it moves from mere prose to persuasive rhetoric, which can, in fact, stir people's souls and change their hearts. And, sometimes, their votes.
As to Markarios' other point, I had to smile, as I had dinner with a dear friend last night (her husband's homemade gumbo -- the nectar of the Gods!) and was making this very same point. I agree that sexual orientation, for the vast majority of the population, is innate. In the speaker's words, translated into mine, it's a "gift of the Goddess." I know that I didn't wake up one morning and decide to be "straight." I've heard from too many of the gay people I love how they spent nights on their knees praying "not to be gay" in a culture and religion that taught that there was little less acceptable than being gay. But I've also known people who engaged in whatever sex was available or approved at the time, whether that meant male homosexual sex in an all-boys' school or lesbian sex when (and this is how old I am) that was favored by feminists, and then went on to have lots of other kinds of sex.
Yet, importantly, I agree that, in my world at least, it should be irrelevant whether sexual orientation is innate (as it often is) or a "lifestyle" choice (as it can be). I don't believe that the government has any reason to tell any person what kind of adult, consensual sex is "Ok" or "sanctioned." And that's true regardless of the reason why that person chooses to engage in any kind of sex. But I also "get" that anti-discrimination laws are often based upon the fact that a person can't choose to be, for example, dark-skinned, or female, or differently-abled and, so, that makes it illogical and wrong to discriminate against them, as if the discrimination could cause them to change their "behavior."
And that brings me back to my religion. Because it's my religion that makes the sex act doctrinally important (well, the Christians seem to consider it important, as well, but for reasons that have nothing to do with what Jesus said and did and everything to do with patriarchy, control, fear, etc.) and freedom to practice all "rituals of the Goddess" free from government interference (especially because that government interference is often based upon (someone else's) religious beliefs) a really important point for me.
More to the point, I would sincerely love to hear more of the "people on our side" able to discuss these issues in a manner similar to this gentleman's discussion. (Good rhetoric backed by real belief.) I'm just embarrassed by Democrats who mouth some namby-pamby version (John Kerry and Barack Obama, I'm looking at you) of "I think marriage is a union between one man and one woman but I'd support blahhabhallahh and please don't hold this against me and could we please just change the subject?" And, in case ya'll haven't noticed, that's not working too well for you. The Christianists see through you and vote for your opponent and those on your side are dispirited. Grow up. Get some ovaries. Stand for something. Stand for sex-positive attitudes. Hell, could it hurt you worse than your Republican-Lite stance?
We're leaving the Age of Pisces (and I'm a Pisces) and moving into the Age of Aquarius. Humans are going to have to figure out some way to live in communities that don't share religious beliefs, even as we focus with laser-beam intensity on how to change the world. It's going to be interesting. I hope to hang around for a bit of it.
What do you think?
More interesting discussion here