Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Reporting for Duty

Well, I don't qualify as a "major blogger" by any stretch of the imagination, but I'll play anyway.

"Timekeeper", United States Navy, 1987-2004+, Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Technician/Avionics Technician.

(See this post at Back Country Conservative for details on this meme, which is an attempt to identify bloggers with military service.)

posted at 05:47 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Why not Same-sex marriage?

As most of my regular readers know, I am a strong supporter of allowing civil unions between same-sex couples. I suggest that the word "marriage" be retained only for unions performed in a church, while all secular unions (heterosexual or homosexual) be designated as civil unions, with the same legal rights and responsibilities. (I've blogged about the issue here, here, here, and here.)

Some time ago, I discovered an extremely well-written (not to mention calm and rational) argument against gun control, written by someone who had supported gun control prior to composing her paper (an assignment for a college class). Her research for the paper led her to change her mind on the issue. When her site disappeared, I assumed that it was gone forever, but I rediscovered it, in a new location. I was also pleased to find a pair of articles ("firestarters") she had authored on the SSM debate, and that many of her views were congruent with mine. The first one can be found here, while the second, which more-or-less summarizes her responses to feedback she received, can be found here. Of the two, I prefer the second, because it is a touch less dismissive of those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds. She also posts the feedback she receives, with her responses, in a fashion that is almost blog-like. (Collie, start a blog!) While I don't agree with all of her arguments (particularly #6, which ratchets up the ick-meter to an uncomfortable level for me), it is well-written and internally consistent (something to which I will admit my opposition to #6 fails to achieve). Even if you disagree with her, she solicits responses; in fact, she notes that she prefers sharing with people who differing views, since it stimulates a discussion. Check out all three pieces; they're well worth your time and attention.

posted at 01:58 PM | permalink | Comments (5)

Civil Unions should apply to all unions, traditionally called marriage, regardless of sex of the couple in the union. The only requirement should be that the both are at least 18 years old and both consent to the union.

Marriage should be reserved for churches to perform and certify, however, marriages should not have any legal standing. There's this little thing about separation of church and state unless, of course, an action causes harm to a person involved.

The only union having legal standing should be Civil Unions.

IMHO, the above would be Constitutional.

posted by Old Friend on August 20, 2004 01:59 AM

I don't have a problem with same sex civil unions. I don't have a problem with a priest who blesses a same sex civil union.
I do have a problem with Bigamy, Polygamy, and polyamina.
That means a homsexual man, a bisexual man, a homosexual woman, a bisexual woman, and larry, who likes small children and animals. And they all want to get married. Because its their constitutional right. And they want to adopt and bring children into this newly evolved institution. And this priviledge will be extended to legal marriage. It should not, I mean never be decided in a court o' law.

If people want to make marriage include same sex marriage, change the state law.

This is where the Supreme court erred in the Roe vs. Wade decision: abortion was already legal, in some states at the time of Roe vs. Wade. And can you think of any decision as damaging to this country as Roe vs. Wade?

I can, it was called The Dread Scott Decision. And look what that lead to. Even when that and other rulings gave the south almost every thing they could have poosibly wanted from govt.

posted by myron on August 23, 2004 05:46 PM

Old Friend, the "little thing about separation of church and state" is a convenient shorthand for saying that the State should never have anything to do with supporting any kind of religious function. That's certainly a viewpoint you're welcome to support. However, neither the phrase nor the concept have anything to do with the Constitution.

What the Constitution does say is that "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion ..." This specifically refers to forbidding the Federal Government from passing legislation that favors the support of one religious sect above all others.

A church that is set above all others and whose clergy, religious observances, etc. are supported by tax dollars and other considerations was known then and is known now as an "established" church. For example, the Church of England is an "established" church. It's clergy are paid by the State, it's heirarchy are appointed by the government, the Head of State is the Head of the Church, and it's most senior Bishops sit as part of the House of Lords and have legislative powers purely as a function of their ecclesiastical office. While other churches are free to exist in England now, they were not at the time the Constitution was written and even now don't have any of the official privileges and powers that the Church of England has. Other present-day examples can be found in Iran, and to a lesser degree in various other Moslem countries where Islam is state-supported and other churches are tightly restricted or even forbidden entirely.

That's an established church. That's what the First Amendment was intended to prevent. The First Amendment was never intended to prevent the government from supporting all religions, as long as it supported them all equally; that's why it's legal for governments to exempt churches from property taxes, and clergy from being subjected to income tax on their housing allowances. "Separation of Church and State" was a phrase that Thomas Jefferson used in a letter and was never intended to mean that religion in general could not receive government recognition or support. There are a host of quotes from the various founding fathers that state that it is imperative that America would never survive unless the people held fast to religious principles in general, and in many such quotes, Christian principles in particular.

posted by Ron Fox on August 25, 2004 12:23 PM

When you (and others) refer to "all secular unions" do you realize, or did the Massachusetts court realize, that this open definition can and does refer to the union of a man and his daughter, a boy and his mother, even a child and his grandmother?

When creating a system for allowing "unions" for the purpose of child rearing that is applied to "any" or "all" unions, ulterior motives, not only licentious, but also for the purpose of sharing health insurance benefits can disrupt significant portions of our economic life. I am not allowed to marry solely for the purpose of gaining U.S. citizenship for an alien, yet there are those who would make a plethora of unseemly unions legal. Is that really your position Timekeeper?

posted by Michael Gersh on August 25, 2004 12:30 PM

No, Michael, I do not support such unions, and you're setting up a straw man there. Such marriages have nothing to do with same-sex unions, and there are still laws in place to prevent such unions. Allowing two men or two women to marry has nothing to do with allowing relatives to wed. The concept of "compelling interest" would allow the existing laws against incest to remain in place, as one of the judges in the Hawaii case noted. Incest between opposite-sex couples (even if both are consenting adults) carries a significant risk of amplifying genetic defects, which is why there are laws preventing it, independent of the laws preventing same-sex unions.

FWIW, for those who worry about the pernicious effects of polyamory and incest on society, same-sex marriage will have no effect on them. Regardless of legality, a man who wants to have a relationship with more than one woman is free to do so (although consent from the women involved is implied); the only difference is that he can only be legally married to one of them. A similar argument can be constructed for consensual (adult) incestuous relationships.

posted by timekeeper on August 25, 2004 03:33 PM

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Three days

Apparently, it takes Yahoo about three days to do a sweep of the 'sphere. Either that, or today was the day that Yahoo finally got around to checking out my blog, because my posts on Saturday are definitely in the cache now. A quick check of the search words that brought visitors here indicates that Hurricane Charley has been getting some serious Yahoo action, particularly people looking for information about Sanibel and Captiva Islands, and Sebring and the Highlands County region. Because of a conscious effort on my part to avoid focusing on the same stories as everyone else, I usually have a relatively low search engine profile. However, I have seen an enormous spike in traffic today. (I wonder what I will see when Google caches the page.)

For those who are looking for information, go the the Fort Myers News-Press site. They have a comprehensive set of links to the situation on the Islands, including updates and photo galleries of Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Also, expect more information to be available tomorrow, as the bridge will open up tomorrow, first to residents, and then to businesses.

One of the photos in the Captiva photo gallery shows the devastation on Upper Captiva Island. Upper Captiva, itself a product of a hurricane (It was part of Captiva Island until the 1926 Miami hurricane carved a new channel) has been split in two by Charley. Since it was already accessible only by boat (or by plane on the tiny airstrip) it's not a big deal, but the people living on the southern end are even more isolated than before. There were no cars on the island (only golf carts), but the new channel will preclude their use now.

posted at 01:18 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Blatent Pandering

This time, from the right, hitting on a favorite issue of the far-left.

In what must be an effort to jump-start his doesn't-have-a-chance campaign against Barack Obama, conservative commentator and Republican senate candidate Alan Keyes suggested a form of reparations be paid to the descendants of African slaves. Following the favored approach of Republicans, it would be in the form of tax breaks rather than direct payments. Unlike most Republican approaches, however, it would be an outright exemption rather than a reduction.

The scope of his proposal is ludicrous; he is advocating a total exemption for all descendants of slaves, for "a generation or two" (quoting the article, not a direct Keyes quote). It doesn't appear to exclude high-income achievers (entertainers, athletes, politicians, and entrepreneurs), and "a generation or two" covers a period up to forty years. It also flies in the face of Keyes' previously stated view that welfare was far more destructive to blacks than was the lingering effects of slavery.

This article has more on the story. I look forward to an editorial from USA Today (or one of the other Gannett papers), endorsing the Keyes plan, considering their enthusiastic support for the concept in the past.

posted at 11:56 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 16, 2004

Auf Weidersehn

Yahoo! News reports that the Germans are concerned about the planned redeployment of 70,000 troops (and their 100,000 family members) out of Germany. The story is interesting because it only relies on one quote from someone opposed to the US presence in Germany—Green Party MP Alexander Bonde. The remaining quotes were all from leaders of the communities that will be adversely affected by the closures. While I didn't experience any outright hostility while I was in Germany (I left before the war started, and returned well after major combat had ended), only the locals and the people in Bavaria were friendly towards Americans; there was a certain standoffishness in the areas where the US had a small presence (Berlin comes to mind).

Contrast this with the report at David's Medienkritik, where the comments clearly reflect the disconnect between the Americans and the Germans, particularly the younger Germans who don't wish to remember the history behind our presence in their country. There are a number of sane commenters there, but there are a lot of disaffected Americans, and several Germans attempting to brush off the effects of our withdrawal. None of those who discount the beneficial effects of US military presence lives in a town that will be seriously hurt by the drawdown; if they were, they would probably not be so dismissive of the money that will not be spent and the jobs that will be lost if our bases close. I know that the tiny town in which my bae was located will not be able to recover from the closure; they have been attempting to turn the portion of the base previously returned into a business and light industry park, but they've had no takers.

posted at 05:35 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

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