We are Now Enemies of the State

I have been warning for some time about the intolerance that we are likely to face from the forces of “tolerance” who backed the bill legalizing same-sex “marriage” here in New York.

The other day, the impending persecution became even clearer, as Governor Cuomo, the highest public official of New York State, declared us to be enemies of the state and nation.

He was speaking to a group of “gay rights” advocates about the process that led to the passage of the so-called “Marriage Equality Act”.  He was remarkably candid about that process, including interesting remarks about the power of money in buying votes, and the behind-the-scenes negotiations for votes.  (By the way, this account of the event comes from the “Gay City News” — I refuse to link to such a source, so you’ll have to take my word for it).

When asked if he found persuasive any arguments offered by the opposition to re-defining marriage, this is what the Governor of all New Yorkers said:

“There is no answer from the opposition. There really isn’t. Ultimately, it’s, ‘I want to discriminate.’ And that’s anti-New York. It’s anti-American.”

Savor that quotation for a moment, and drink in the depth of its arrogance, contempt, and hostility.

No answer by defenders of marriage?

  • Not the thorough and comprehensive philosophical arguments rooted in natural law, offered by Sherif Girgis, Robert George and their colleagues?
  • Not the repeated statements of the United States Bishops and the New York State Bishops?
  • Not the arguments offered by the public in the 41 states that have rejected the re-definition of marriage?
  • Not the arguments that were deemed persuasive by 85 Senators, 342 Representatives, and President Clinton when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996?
  • Not the arguments offered by Mr. Cuomo’s predecessor as state Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, that were found persuasive by our Court of Appeals in the case upholding the real definition of marriage?
  • Not the arguments we were giving legislators in the hallways of the State Capitol and their home offices, for weeks prior to the vote?
  • In reality, Mr. Cuomo doesn’t just disagree with our arguments, he denies their existence.  He clearly believes that they are pernicious, beyond the pale of proper discourse, and motivated only by hatred.

    That is why he has now declared that we are “anti-American” — that is to say, enemies of our nation.

    Those of us who have memories of American history are deeply angered and disturbed by such rhetoric.  We recall a time when Catholics (and the Irish in particular) were deemed to be a threat to America, and were openly persecuted. We thought that we were past those days, but obviously they are returning.

    And remember, the Governor’s thuggish remarks don’t just target the Catholic Church, but also the Orthodox Jewish community, the Evangelical Christian community, many mainline Protestant Churches and Muslims, and others of no religious faith who all believe in the authentic, traditional meaning of marriage.

    It is a chilling moment when the top elected official of our state — a man who took an oath to uphold the Constitutions of our state and nation — has declared that so many people are political pariahs.  When he calls us enemies of the state.

    This is legitimately frightening.  We all know what the power of the state can do to its enemies.

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    104 Responses to “We are Now Enemies of the State”

    1. Patricia says:

      I am certainly glad someone has addressed this outrage by Andrew Cumo.

      Where were his Religion teachers when he was growing up? Why does he not know better? And where are those who should strighten him out now?

    2. Tony says:

      It is becoming clearer by the day that as far as Christianity is concerned we are back to the first 300 years – minus the lions – yet!!!

    3. Kathy says:

      I, too, was disappointed in Gov. Cuomo’s apparent inability to remember that this country was founded on the principle of religious freedom, which inherently entails differences of belief and behavior among Americans. To call someone anti-American or anti-New York when they have a constitutional right to a different belief or opinion shows to me that our governor needs many prayers to help him discern truth once again. Thank you for writing about this situation.

    4. maria says:

      Kudo’s to Ed for standing up for the Catholic Church. I think Cuomo forgot that he too is a Catholic (in name only)

    5. James De Silva says:

      This certainly provies, through the Governor’s own lips, that there will be an inevitable collision between SSM and religious liberty.

    6. Joe Jervis says:

      Maybe if the Catholic Church spent less time thwarting the civil rights of Americans they’d have some free time to do something about all their in-house child rapists. You think?

    7. Bill says:

      Not a single mention here of the inherent rights of LGBT human beings?

      That’s not very Christ-like at all, now is it, folks?

      At the end of the day, it is sad and rather laughable that some people think that other human beings should be oppressed and denied civil equality because of something written in the bible.

      Where are ‘the christians’ on the streets protesting divorce, remarriage, adultery, and all the other heterosexual sins that effect marriage far more than your gay children getting married.

      Mostly, it is sad that you’ve all sullied God’s name with your bigotry.

    8. ewe says:

      Those who abuse religion are not above the law. That is what you are basically fighting because that is what you are finally realizing. Get over it. In other words that perhaps you would understand better since it is so much closer to your style…. TOUGH!!!!

    9. ewe says:

      too bad. you lose. hate loses. Religious people have proven themselves to be haters and all the rest who are not have proven themselves to be spoken for by the haters. You are not above the law and you can just plain ol get over it. TOUGH.

    10. RWG says:

      I like the idea of converting St. Patrick’s Cathedral into a shelter for homeless GLBT youth. It’s about the right size for the job…and is located in a good neighborhood. It certainly would be a more Christian use of the property than its current use as headquarters for a hate group and child sex offenders.

    11. Gregory says:

      When you stop using scare quotes around terms such as “gay marriage” and “gay rights,” I may start taking your hysterical arguments a bit more seriously. Your denigration of the lives and truths of your fellow citizens is indeed anti-American. Pity you can’t see that. The fact that you would suggest that the governor is simply a “thug” (hmm–speaking of ethnic stereotyping) proves that you are indeed “pernicious” and certainly as irresponsible in your language as you accuse the governor of being.

    12. Greg says:

      Using your “religious freedom” as an excuse to discriminate against a segment of the population IS anti-American. The Governor owed an apology to nobody. If you’re going to take your religion into the public square and use it to crusade against your fellow citizens, expect to be criticized for it.

    13. Rhett says:

      I am not understanding the victimhood of religious organizations when it comes to same sex marriage. Aren’t all religions protected from marrying two people of the opposite sex? Just like two Jewish people can’t walk in a Catholic church and expect to get married? If that is the case, then it does become anti-American because people & organizations want to force their religious views on a secular government or other religious institutions who wish to marry people of the same sex. So, which religious views are the “right” one to guide our country?

      I feel like the constant push by the Catholic church (among others) to end same sex marriage when they are protected is only going to make some members of the church seek out another faith. I have seen it happen already in my own family.

    14. Continuum says:

      The persecution occurs when Roman Catholic Bishops try to enforce their own religious views upon the rest of us.

      While even the majority of Roman Catholics agree with the governor’s words, the Bishops cry wolf in order to advance their own religious views.

      It is interesting that not all demoninations agree with the Bishops. Presbyterians, certain Methodist groups, Universalists etc take opposite stands. Which is why we have freedom of religion in this nation.

      Even the most Catholic of nations including Ireland, Spain and Portugal disagree with the views of the American Bishops.

    15. Homer says:

      If your make believe god was so [edited by ETM to remove obscenity] awesomely powerful he/she/it wouldn’t let this happen, right?

    16. Jonesy says:

      Ed, somebody should say it. You’re stretching the governor’s meaning in order to play the victim card. A more reasonable interpretation of the “anti-American” comment is that he believes discrimination to be an anti-American attitude, not that the opponents of marriage equality are ‘enemies of the state.’

      Kathy, I wish you’d remember that religious freedom applies to all Americans, not just those with conservative religious beliefs. What about people who’s religious beliefs are open and welcoming of gay marriage? In my experience NOBODY who supports lgbt equality, not the governor or anyone else, considers it objectionable in any way for you to hold “a different belief or opinion.”
      This is a critical distinction, please try to understand: it is NOT your religious beliefs that are discriminatory, it is attempts to require OTHERS, by force of law, to abide by YOUR religious beliefs.

    17. John Powers says:

      When did the Irish stop being a “threat to America”? Probably was the result of much good that the Irish were doing to give some scrutiny to the type of authority who would declare any race a threat.

      Catholics a threat to Big Government? Good!

    18. Steve says:

      Gay rights and equality = bad. Stealing, selling and raping children = good. That’s Catholic “morality”.

    19. Stephen says:

      Now you can know a little of how it feels to be gay and have the whole weight of the Catholic church vilifying and slandering you.

      The difference is that this so-called persecution by the governor is entirely imaginary. The very real persecution of gay people by the Catholic church, however, is a blight that affects our lives every day.

    20. Christian Francis Cooper says:

      Governor Cuomo’s remarks are being misinterpreted–I fear deliberately by some. The governor did not say holding “traditional” views on marriage is anti-American; he said that trying to force those views on others is anti-American…and he’s correct. (Note that the new law neither forces anyone to enter into a same-sex marriage, nor denies anyone the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. Opponents of same-sex marriage, by comparison, want to deny others they disagree with the right to marry.) So those with “traditional” views are still free to live their lives as they see fit. The only difference now is, those who believe in same-sex marriage are free to do the same.

    21. wmforr says:

      “We recall a time when Catholics (and the Irish in particular) were deemed to be a threat to America, and were openly persecuted.”

      A strange statement in a whine about your own right to persecute others. Perhaps if the Church stuck to religious matters and irregularities in its own ranks instead of using its tax-exempt status to meddle in the civil rights of Catholics and non-Catholics alike, it would not be necessary to play victim like this.

    22. Erick says:

      The governor, like so many of us, is simply tired of the Catholic church using religion to justify bigotry against and persecution of GLBT people. If it does’t want to marry gay people, it doesn’t have to. But leave the rest of us alone. The Catholic church should go back to doing what it does best – protecting pedophiles and fleecing its ever-shrinking mindless flock.

    23. Seth says:

      “We recall a time when Catholics (and the Irish in particular) were deemed to be a threat to America, and were openly persecuted.”

      I’m sorry, but isn’t this how same sex marriage is being touted today by Clergy, and the Catholic Church in particular—as being a threat to Americans and to married Americans?
      Why not take some of your own advice and learn from your own history.

      Saying someone is a threat while denying them basic civil rights is Un-American, as you so deftly pointed out in the above quote.

      Stop trying to say you and your views are being oppressed and trying to paint the church as the victim here. Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and tied to fence and left to die, all because he was gay….DOES THIS RING A BELL?????????

    24. Robert Donohue says:

      The catholic church has sought to deny LGBT citizens the protections fair housing and employment laws. The church also wants to deny us the rights and protections of civil, non-religious marriage. A certain pope has said, in effect, that anti-LGBT violence is just human nature taking its course.
      And yet the church feels it’s the aggrieved party?

    25. ewe says:

      lol. Nothing like a militant catholic who idolizes Jesus censoring commenters who dissent. You are a HYPOCRITE.

    26. John says:

      Sorry, but the bullet pointed answers you provide are not sufficient to deny legal rights to an entire class of citizens. The wil of the majority should never be the determining factor in denying civil rights to a minority.

      At its core, this issue is a civil issue. It is not a religious issue. Churches are protected from having to perform sacramental rites that defy the tenets of their beliefs — but that same protection is not extended to the government. Equality under the law is the rule of the land. I am an active practicing Catholic, and agree with this blogger on many issues, but on this point, there is no equivocation. The battle for “Marriage equality” is over and the Church has lost

    27. Joann Prinzivalli says:

      Freedom of religion means that the Catholic Church doesn’t have to sacramentalize same-sex marriages, and Catholic priests are not required to preside at gay weddings. The statute also allows the Knights of Columbus to avoid hosting gay wedding receptions.

      Freedom of religion goes the other way, too. Unitarian/Universalist congregations and Quaker Fellowships (and I understand some Methodist Churches) are willing to bless these weddings, there are ministers willing to preside at them, and many places willing to host wedding receptions.

      On my blog, I have refuted the arguments of Professor George and his cohorts. (I do not have quite as wide a readership.) If we are going to rely on natural law arguments, we should at least look at nature as it exists in its wonderful God-created diversity, and not through centuries of poring over an Aristotelian interpretation of it (even though adopting Aristotle via the efforts of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Scholastic theologians represented quite an advance in its time, spurring on the Renaissance).

      While the Vatican clearly dictates the official Roman Catholic position, I think it is necessary for those with a well-deveoped moral compass to take that position as applicable solely to the sacrament of holy matrimony, and to understand that religious freedom should apply to everyone, and not solely to those with a position compatible with Catholic teaching on the subject.

      None of the arguments raised against marriage stand up to right reason, once one takes the Magisterium’s bias into account. One can look at the history of the evolution of marriage under New York law since 1848 to realize that the Marriage Equality Act is the logical final step in the century-and-a-half movement to make the rights of spouses equal on a gender-neutral basis.

      I am sorry, but in a state and a nation where religious freedom is accorded to all, we have to operate on a level playing field in the public square. If you want to deny religious freedom in any way, you need to be able to articulate a valid public policy argument that is well-grounded in fact. A reproductive-based argument would work only if allowing connubium on a gender-neutral basis somehow eliminated the possibility that opposite-sex couples could marry and form families.

      I could go on, but it would be better to visit my blog [link removed by ETM] and read my thoughts there.

    28. Ed Mechmann says:

      I reserve the right to edit comments to make sure they’re appropriate for this site. So far, the only thing I have removed was one obscenity in one comment, and a link to a website I consider to be inappropriate. Comments are otherwise being approved so long as they are G rated and not too abusive for family consumption. I have a thick skin.

    29. mike drennan says:

      I’m Irish and I object to you citing the discrimination my ancestors experienced to illustrate the phantom harm being done to Catholicism.

      No one is refusing to hire you, no one is silencing you, no one is physically attacking you for your Catholicism. Until parents throw you out of the house for being Catholic it’s a disgraceful nonsense to say you’re being harmed in equal measure to the LGBT community.

      The premise of this article is insufferable nonsense.

    30. James says:

      “And where are those who should strighten (sic)him out now”? Is this some sort of threat against Gov Cuomo? If so, it mores than reinforces what Gov Cuomo (as well as the CA State Supreme Court) have said. There is no rational constitutional argument that can be made for denying marriage equality. ” We just don’t like them” or ” they are not as good as us” are not arguments that could be applied to deny equality to those born gay. There has yet to be rational proof for the the claim that legalizing gay marriage will weaken heterosexual marriage. As an gay Irish Catholic I object to discrimination of all forms. My church has not made a valid argument for me to answer to a question posed by 2 Jewish male friends of mine who recently married in New York State. The pair wanted to know how their civil marriage – the state’s recognition of their 7 year relationship – impacted the Church and Catholics. I said it does not at all have an impact. The rhetoric of the Church 4 months ago was extremely harmful to those born gay. Let the Church learn from this.

    31. Ed Mechmann says:

      Jonesy, I commend you for your charitable interpretation of the Governor’s words, but I disagree.

      The common meaning of the adjective “anti-American” is, according to dictionary.com, “opposed or hostile to the United States of America, its people, its principles, or its policies.” The noun “anti-American” is defined as “an anti-American person”. If someone is “opposed or hostile” to America, it’s reasonable to say that he is an enemy of America.

      You may recall that, earlier this year, one of the GOP presidential candidates asserted that in her opinion the President had “anti-American” views. She was roundly — and rightly — criticized for impugning the President’s patriotism.

      Governor Cuomo is a well-educated man with a world of experience in the practical art of politics. He knew very well what he was saying, and what words he was using. To point out the meaning of his words is not to play the “victim card”, but to point out the obvious.

    32. BobN says:

      The Catholic Church in this country was vehemently anti-semitic for a long time. That was anti-American. The RCC has harbored ill will towards Mormons and Baptists, among others. That was anti-American. Now, in league with those same Mormons and Baptists and others, the RCC is suppressing the rights of gay people. That is anti-American.

      Just because you call yourselves good doesn’t mean you’re not capable of evil. Justice for all does not mean everyone has to follow YOUR faith.

    33. Debora O'Malley says:

      Earlier this year, the Archbishop suggested that passage of the gay marriage law would make New York State like North Korea. Now, you opine that a statement by the Governor dismissing the arguments against the bill is the equivalent of declaring all religious people the enemy of the state. It is hard to imagine that these arguments actually persuade anyone. In any event, a modestly intelligent child could easily determine that your statement and the Archbishop’s statement are false. If this state were like North Korea or if Catholics were enemies of the state, you wouldn’t be in a position to blog freely about it.

      The Governor is right. The “children deserve a mother and a father” argument is illogical because, unless you are going to ban gay people from raising children, the recognition or non-recognition of gay marriage will not determine whether any child is raised in a traditional household or a gay household. The children being raised in traditional or gay households in May of 2011 are being raised in the same households since passage of the law in June.

      The other major argument, that passage of gay marriage means that school kids will have to be taught about gay marriage, is simply a lie. You can be sure that if there were any truth to this, the anti-gay side would loudly point to the many thousands of angry parents from 5 states and DC. There aren’t any such parents because gay marriage is not taught as part of the curriculum in any of the 5 states or DC. Instead, anti-gay activists periodically haul out 2 conservative MA activist parents, who had a tiff with a single school principal five years ago over a couple of books that this one principal selected for use. But there are 1 million children in MA schools and after 7 years none of them has experienced any curriculum change and no one else has had a complaint.

      Lies and illogical assertions are the basis of valid arguments. That is why Cuomo said what he said.

    34. Roger says:

      Well, i am glad the Governor said it–and it is true!

    35. Roger says:

      I am glad the Governor said it—it is true. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry one. Yes, there was lots of catholic hating in the country, but let’s not substitute catholic for gay and be like the people who used to persecute us.

    36. Stephen Phelan says:

      To all of the homosexualists on this space, what is your definition of marriage? Seriously – in one sentence, write down what marriage is, and therefore (even if implicitly) what it isn’t.

      If it is a union of two people, then why? Why should it be restricted to only two people? Do you hate polyamorists? How can you defend your hatred of them by denying them the right to marry the ones they love?

      Can only humans enter into such a contract? Why should it only be restricted to humans? Do you hate animals, and/or animal “lovers”? Don’t you know that many species are quite intelligent and capable of monogamy (although, now that I think of it, that might make them hateful too) and enjoy human companionship? Your favorite ethicist (whether or not you’ve even heard of him), Peter Singer, has given us the term “speciesist” to identify those haters who think that humans are a step above other animal species in more than intelligence, and thus have special rights that animals don’t have. He thinks that bestiality is perfectly ethical. Is he wrong, and if so, why?

      Should a man be able to marry his nephew? son? daughter? All of them at once? If not, why not? Why do you hate people who, despite society’s bigoted attitude toward them and their love, have the courage to romantically approach their own teenage child or relative and buck societal norms and get married?

      Seriously – how do you define marriage, and how will you defend yourself against charges of bigotry from those who are not allowed to marry by your definition?

      Don’t change the subject, answer the question. Or admit that you really don’t care about marriage at all, and are just out for affirmation of your chosen identity and/or out to destroy something you don’t understand.

    37. Ernest says:

      There are many religious denominations such as episcopalians, which support same sex marriage. The episcopal bishops of California have issued interesting statements in support of same sex marriage, and urged voters there to oppose Proposition 8. As Catholics, we need to remember that the USA is a diverse country, including religious diversity. Should’T Members of other religions or even no religion be able to marry? Their argument would include that they are practicing their religious belief. Should Catholics be opposing or denouncing the valid religious beliefs of others? as Catholics, why don’t we try something really radical t hat our faith is not known for – tolerance. Religious freedom in America started with simple Tolerance , not with official endorsement or sanctioning. Let’s try “live and let live” and clean up our own house ( which needs quite a bit of cleaning) before telling these folks in other religions that they must adhe to the Catholic way alone.

    38. Greg - MA says:

      Ed Mechmann: I believe that the Gov. Cuomo was saying that wanting to enshrine discrimination into the law is anti-American, which it is. He was saying that that concept is anti-American. He was not calling every Catholic anti-American. The Catholic church is always trying to distinguish the person from their behavior (i.e. it’s not gay people we disapprove of, it’s their sexual and romantic behavior). Yet you can’t seem to apply that thinking to the governor’s words.

      And since you seem to be so offended by the term “anti-American”, can you point me to where you’ve written strong criticism against the conservatives who have been calling our President anti-American for the past three years? People like Jim Demint, Christine O’Donnell, Michelle Bachmann, and Mike Huckabee, to name just a few, have all done so.

    39. Phil says:

      He is disgussting, He like many of our politicians have traded morals and religion for votes. We need to just stay our path.leninen

    40. James De Silva says:

      “Tolerance” shouldn’t be equated with a moral relativism where freedom becomes absolute and truth gets discarded.

    41. Ed Mechmann says:

      @Greg-MA:

      A classic ad hominem logical fallacy makes its appearance — because I’ve never condemned similar acts by others, I can’t condemn it here.

      Here’s the thing — this is a blog about faith, discipleship, and public policy from a Catholic perspective. I do not write a general political blog, nor am I associated with any conservative (or any other) politicians, nor am I under any obligation to defend the President from personal attacks. So I am silent on many, many subjects. That does not mean that I approve of any of them, or that my silence about them has any significance.

      Not that it will matter to anyone, but I do in fact condemn any accusation that the President is “anti-American”. That is another form of ad hominem fallacy, namely an attack on his character, in an attempt to discredit his political positions.

      What you say about differentiating between the person and the act is well taken. I gladly dissociate my identity from my sins, and from any accusation by politicians. But the question is not my self-awareness, but rather how the Governor views us, and how he’s likely to treat us. Do you think that he makes that same distinction? There is a long list of political enemies who could testify to the way they’ve been treated by the Governor, who has a well-deserved reputation for brass-knuckles politics. I’d rather not be treated the same way.

    42. Michael says:

      [Governor Cuomo] is a heretic against the faith of his baptism [additional material deleted by ETM]. Persecution is a crime against humanity under international law (Statute of the International Criminal Court)

      Council of Trent, Canon 14, concerning Baptism: “If anyone says that those who have been thus baptized when children are, when they have grown up, to be questioned whether they will ratify what their sponsors promised in their name when they were baptized, and in case they answer in the negative, are to be left to their own will; neither are they to be compelled in the meantime to a Christian life by any penalty other than exclusion from the reception of the Eucharist and the other sacraments, until they repent, let him be anathema.”

    43. Mykel says:

      The Catholic Hierarchy are foreign agents of the Vatican and should be treated as such by our government. They are grifters of the highest order, priests of the pedophile ring and abettors who should be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors under RICO and then deported to the Hague for prosecution under the International Criminal Court for Crimes Against Humanity

    44. John says:

      @Stephen Phelan

      Let me try and take a crack at this. Marriage is a social union or legal contract between two consenting adults. Therefore, Marriage is not a social union or legal contract between minors (age of consent laws), animals (further consent complications), or inanimate objects (even FURTHER consent complications). I’d restrict this further to exclude familial Marriage and say “Marriage is a social union or legal contract between two unrelated consenting adults”, but the unfortunate fact is that some state laws allow Marriage between family members.

      To answer your other questions as succinctly and clearly as I can within the limitation of current state and federal laws:

      (Q) If it is a union of two people, then why? Why should it be restricted to only two people? Do you hate polyamorists? How can you defend your hatred of them by denying them the right to marry the ones they love?
      (A) Personally, I don’t believe in the restriction to two people. The current polygamy laws spring from current culture and the perception of ownership. If 3 consenting adults want to share property rights through polygamy, more power to them. The current laws prohibit polygamy because of perception of bigamy and adultery, two concepts of partnership or possession of another person. “You cannot have a relationship with another human because you are part of contract that says you will not have a relationship with another person.” Change the contract, and it becomes a moot point.

      (Q) Can only humans enter into such a contract?
      (A) Current state and federal laws (and frankly, common sense) state that animals cannot provide consent for a Marriage contract.

      (Q) Should a man be able to marry his nephew? son? daughter? All of them at once? If not, why not?
      (A) See above: In some states, this is already possible (though only with heterosexual couples). Personally, I disagree with the concept of familial marriage and incest based on the need for genetic diversity.

      Hope I was able to rise to the challenge!

    45. Ed Mechmann says:

      @Mykel — Thank you for posting. Paul Blanshard and Jack Chick would be proud.

    46. Ed Mechmann says:

      @ John –

      You raise a point that is actually worth engaging, because it demonstrates the fundamental difference between our worldview and the one that re-defines marriage.

      We believe that marriage (one man, one woman, lifelong, faithful, open to life) is a component of human nature, and has been defined by natural law. We do not consider ourselves to have the authority to re-define human nature, or to contradict natural law. We believe that all human laws have to reflect human nature and natural law, in order to be just and good, and foster authentic human development.

      The revisionist view, which is implicitly held by those who would re-define marriage, believes that human nature does not have a fixed meaning, that words do not have a fixed meaning, and that there is no such thing as natural law that is binding on people in conscience. As a result, everything is subject to re-definition, according to the desires of those who have the power to re-define things.

      Unless the revisionists understand that this is where we are coming from, they will never understand why we take the positions that we do. We, for our part, need to understand this about revisionists. Without that mutual attempt at understanding, public discourse is really not much more than shouting (as seen in the combox so far, and in the halls of the Legislature in June).

      Perhaps the best illustration of this philosophical divide is a person who considers themself to be “transgendered”. We believe that sex (i.e., male and female) is an innate component of human nature and has a fixed and real meaning. Obviously, one who describes oneself as “transgendered” believes that sex is not fixed and defined, but is malleable and subject to various levels of re-definition. The person who believes that would look at our beliefs and find them incomprehensible. We, for our part, struggle to comprehend them as well.

    47. Gregory says:

      While I have met and had friendly conversations with people who have define themselves as transgendered, I can’t say I’ve gotten to know any of them well enough to understand the origin of their self-concept or to be able to form an opinion of same (assuming that it is even my place to do so). From what I’ve read and heard and pretty much figured out for myself, however, I would say that the philosophical and religious concept of natural order does not–in these cases, as in many other–actually mirror nature, which is indeed diverse. You are assuming that a person’s “inner nature” is determined (by natural law) to be determined by his or her outer appearance (and, yes, I’m talking about their genitalia). Yet, there can be other equally natural aspects of that person’s physiognamy that may indeed make that person with male genitalia feminine or the person with female genitalia masculine.
      One could look at hormone levels, brain structure, and likely any number of quite natural, physical traits.

      Let’s put it this way, if nature can produce–at least on occasion–a true biological hermaphrodite, then there is every reason to believe that there can be any number of less immediately detectable but quite natural variations in gender identity. That may not be a comfortable notion to you–maybe not always to me even, BUT it’s out there.

      I imagine you might respond that I have a flawed understanding of natural law. I may, in fact. But in real life–and real NATURE–variants do exist. As they say, “get used to it.”

    48. Ed Mechmann says:

      @Gregory — Thanks for the thoughtful reply. However, in our view, the existence of individual biological variations (e.g., genetic mutations) does not negate the nature of the human being when considered on a philosophical level. This is in some ways similar to the more common objection to the conjugal marriage definition, in which people cite the question of the infertile couple. They are incapable of procreation, yet are still able to enter into conjugal marriage, because the inability is not essential to their nature as man and woman, but is instead an accidental feature of them as individuals.

    49. Stephen Phelan says:

      @John,

      Well done – that is about as honestly and coherently as your case can be put. Ed aptly addressed the Catholic philosophical case, clarifying where we differ with regard to nature, language and law, but your reply leaves open related questions. Your definition is, notably, “your” definition, and I doubt you would disagree with that characterization. But your definition is justified in a way very similar to the way that Carrie Prejean justified her understanding of traditional marriage – she “felt” that marriage should be between one man and one woman. And she was crucified mercilessly as a hateful bigot and fool by the proponents of gay marriage.

      Those who are excluded by your current personal definition of marriage (polyamorists, incestists (?), animal “lovers”), once they achieve political power, will crucify you as a hateful bigot and fool, unless you change your definition to accommodate them. You probably will change your definition to avoid offending anyone, and as you reflect back on conversations like these you’ll be forced to admit that you really don’t have a definition of marriage at all, just feelings subject to the zeitgeist.

      Perhaps, upon reflection, you can understand why Catholics, African Americans and other groups who by majority believe that marriage has a definition beyond the feelings of the mob do not hold these reasons because of hatred (I doubt you hate people who have sex with animals, even if you agree with me that they should be allowed to marry them), but because of their realization that there are reasons why traditional marriage was set apart as a special relationship in law that deserved protection.

      And Gregory,

      Agreed that your reply is thoughtful given the norm for these conversations, but I’m not sure that you realize the quandary in which your argument leaves you. It is the “religionists” who believe that one’s physicality (genitalia, but not only these) reveal one’s sexuality – that is, the empirical is a manifestation of sexuality; whereas the postmodern LGBT? crowd who think that physical traits have nothing to do with sexuality have to come up with non-scientific convoluted reasons for how sexuality is determined. Usually, the base determinant for this group is how a person feels – whether he or she feels like a man or woman, despite the scientifically observable facts of their physicality.

      And given the fluidity of such feelings (for many, but perhaps not all of this category – per all relevant research on the subject), one may be better advised to seek counseling to discover themselves rather than subject themselves to radical medical intervention to satisfy a feeling that may and, per the latest research, often does change. And given the obvious and sadly now-pervasive political pressure being put on children to experiment and determine their sexuality based on feelings at a young age, I would suggest that physicality is a greater biological/natural determinant of sexuality than feelings.

      Appealing to biological anomalies as justification for new categories of being is not generally considered good argumentative form.

      Thanks for the respectful exchange.

    50. A. Gabe says:

      Everything is upside-down now.Perhaps the man is himself a homosexual; I certainly do not know. I just wonder why he is so protective of such wrong living behavior. Surely I have the deepest pity for those born this way. I have other feelings regarding those who experiment and call themselves gay. It is not hatred of homos that peolple generally have. It is total dislike of their need to shout from the rooftops their sin and claim to be normal. They need much prayer, as we all do.