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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why Should Allentown Gay Rights Group Care About California?

According to PaPro, about 250 gay rights activists braved chilly weather in Allentown on Sunday to rally against California's Proposition 8. I spoke to one of them afterwards. When I first heard about this, I smirked to myself that California is nowhere near Renaissance Square, so why the hell should a gay rights group care what happens there?

I had a post ready to go, creating a story in which transgenders are convinced that California is located right by the Top Diner on Allentown's east side. It was my typical swipe, this time at a geographically-challenged gay community.

Then I listened to Rob Hopkins brief speech, and I understood.

"Fifteen years ago, I stood in this same spot in a rally just like this. A lot has changed in fifteen years. Hess' was still up the street, fifteen years ago. It's gone now. A lot of things have changed.

"One thing that hasn't changed is we still don't have rights. We still can't serve in the military. We still can't give blood. We still can't marry the person that we love. That's not right.

"So we need to go out there, we need to reach out to every elected official to make sure they know how important marriage is to us, how important equality is to us, because we need equality for everybody. Not just for straight people, not just for gay people, but for everybody."


Anonymous said...

Nearly three dozen state ballot initiatives opposing homosexual marriage have been approved. Not one has failed. It's time to stop attacking worship services and throwing blood-filled condoms on your political opponents and accept the results of the election. I don't like Obama, but I accept that he won. Interestingly, the black and Hispanic voters he pulled into the process are some of the most ardent opponents of homosexual marriage. Sometimes the big tent invites different opinions. Time to move on.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:38,
Why in the world would ever allow majority vote to decide if we can discriminate against a group of minorities?

Anonymous said...

Ballot initiatives were approved in the south outlawing inter-racial marriage. Going by the first comment, we should have accepted that and moved on. Thank God we didn't listen then.

Marriage equality is a fundamental civil liberty that will catch on. We are probably 20 years from when this happens, but we shall overcome that too.

Funny thing, my gay neighbors never posed a threat to my parents 30 years of marriage.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I* view the right of gay couples to marry as a basic fundamental rights. It should not be subject to the tyranny of the majority any more than the rights of free speech or lawful assembly.

Anonymous said...

Marriage has ALWAYS been between a MAN and a WOMAN. Sometimes multiple women, but NEVER between two of one gender. It has always been recognized as the best environment to raise children. Society has a vested interest in marriage between one man and one woman.

Why do some in our society feel compelled to change this definition? Gays have ALL the same 'rights' straights do. Everyone can marry one person of the opposite gender. Gays may not like that definition, but it is an age-old truth: one man and one woman in a marriage is the best way to raise children. Would anyone argue that? (in the macro sense - it's easy to pick out individual cases of abuse of an institution - policy is made from a macro perspective).

Why change the definition of marriage?

Anonymous said...

"Why change the definition of marriage?"

Your definition of marriage is a religious one. Nobody is compelling religious bodies to change their definition. But religious bodies that wish to marry two men or two women are having a state sponsored religious definition of marriage imposed on them.

If marriage equality happens through the courts, then it will happen b/c somebody capitalizes on the 1st Amendment and points out that gov't is restricting freedom of religion.

Anonymous said...

Religions can define "marriage" any way they like. That doesn't mean their definition has to be accepted by the state. Indeed, that would be impossible, given the number and different types of religions. Some religions permitted polygamy. Some religions require ritual cleansing and food preparation. The "state," being religion-neutral, chooses not to. It does have an interest perpetuating a healthy society. The "family," formed though the union of one man and one woman, is the best way to accomplish this. There are tons of legal arrangements that can be made before the state to handle other relationships, including "civil unions."

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

there is absolutely no credible research to support the claims of anon 8:34 / 9:04.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"There are tons of legal arrangements that can be made before the state to handle other relationships, including 'civil unions.'"

That is kinda' like a "separate but equal" argument. We know from past experience how that tends to work out.

Charlie on the PA Turnpike said...

I have no problem in equality under the law, be it for property rights, powers of attorney, tax purposes, and spousal privilege in court. In fact, such domestic partnerships should not be limited only to gays, but to hetero couples as well (as in: two room mates of any gender, etc.).

What I have a problem with is the attempt to redefine a word that predates the government, in fact that is antediluvian, that has always been defined as a heterosexual contract.

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

Bernmeister says: "I* view the right of gay couples to marry as a basic fundamental rights. It should not be subject to the tyranny of the majority any more than the rights of free speech or lawful assembly."

I agree 100%. The only thing that I had a laugh at was the protests in Allentown against prop 8.

Why the hell would they care in Sacremento what folks in Allentown PA did?

Just me.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Spike, That was my first impression, too. But after talking to Rob and listening to his speech, I change my mind.

Chris said...


The government has no place in defining language, legal, everyday, or otherwise. A gay couple should have the right to define their contract in any matter that they please. The place of the State is to mitigate any disputes that may arise over breach of contract. Marriage is not a trademarked word of the heterosexual community, anyone should be able to use it.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, if you take God out of the discussion, the argument against normalization of homosexual
"marriage" is more understandable, if not politically correct.

The homosexual community is not naturally predisposed to perpetuating itself. Without unnatural processes like artificial insemination, they are dependent upon the "straight" community to take care of that societal responsibililty.

The monogamous pairing of a male and a female for the purposes of reproduction, and the subsequent rearing and protection of offspring, established itself long before the religious/civil institutions of marriage were created. This occurence was a natural progression in the advancement of the species, and illustrates more than any religious argument why same sex pairing is not a natural positive for society.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If we were an endangered species, that argument might have some validity. Right now, however, the globe's biggest problem is that there are too many of us.

Anonymous said...

"If we were an endangered species, that argument might have some validity. Right now, however, the globe's biggest problem is that there are too many of us."

Wow. Do you think thinning us out would reduce the "globe's biggest problem?" Evidently environmental problems (whether real or not, that's another discussion) are your greatest concern? With all due respect, most of us are worried about terrorism, moral relativism, despotism, etc.

Anonymous said...

my admittedly politically incorrect defense of gay marriage goes like this:

marriage is not so much between a man and a woman as between the MASCULINE and the FEMININE. if you look at any gay couples you know, one party will usually be the more masculine the other more feminine.

call it "butch" or "femme" or those repulsive phrases "top" and "bottom" . . . but you get the picture.

as it happens, rosie o' donnell is much more manly than many of my friends and if she wants a wife, who am i to argue?

if marriage is the result of some intra-couple psychological dynamic, why not call it marriage.

bernie, some of your GLBT readers may not agree with my logic here, but we reach the same conclusion nevertheless.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wow. Do you think thinning us out would reduce the "globe's biggest problem?"

Yeah. Sounds pretty stupid, I admit. But that's me.

I do think that we are killing our planet and there are so many of us that it is putting a strain on the planet's resources. So it's hard for me to accept that propogation of the species argument.

Anonymous said...

"I do think that we are killing our planet and there are so many of us that it is putting a strain on the planet's resources."

I guess we disagree here. I believe the advancement of technology will always allow us to more selectively and creatively utilize our resources. As long as we are free to invent, create and discover I am hopeful for mankind.

PavlovsDog said...

I'm amazed more and more each day by the prejudice and racism that is so prominent in today's society.

If homosexuals want to get married and be miserable like their fellow heterosexual married couples, more power to you! :-)

As a union, we take 2 steps forward only to take 3 steps back.

We have elected a mulatto president. We allowed ourselves to be sodomized by the government for the last 8 years. Yet we won't allow equal rights to homosexuals.

At what point will we truly hold these truths to be self-evident that all men (inclusive of all homosapien)are created equally AND are protected and rejected EQUALLY under the rule of law?!

America likes to wave the progressive flag. We are the leaders of the free world. We are innovative. We are this, we are that. But we're not! Our European friends allow for same sex marriage. Cual es la problema?

Anonymous said...

"I do think that we are killing our planet and there are so many of us that it is putting a strain on the planet's resources. So it's hard for me to accept that propogation of the species argument."

The Chineese have a solution for this problem... government forced abortion! I just saw today that they are trying to sell the net loss of carbon emissions as a result of their population control as carbon credits!

Obama will jump right on it...

Anonymous said...

Overpopulation is a myth; same as global warming. Global birth rates are declining and the Ice Age that was promised on the first Earth Day ("in the next ten years") is one of a zillion Al Gore punchlines.

I'm off to pick up more Soylent Green.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I'm off to pick up more Soylent Green."

I was waiting for that one.

I guess it was a really stupid statement. I tried defending it. I failed. But believe me, I got plenty more where that one came form.

Anonymous said...

Marriage is between a man and a woman. Gays deserve their constitutional rights, but marriage is not one of them. Their agenda is to create a protected minority and to evangelize others(including children)into their lifestyle which in my opinion is wrong. If you want to see intolerance, see what happens when others begin to comment on this post. Also, watch the news as gays become violent against those who disagree with them. This is not the civil rights issue of the 60's. The voters have made a decision-twice. Let's respect that.

DemoThug said...

anon 9:52 - are you nuts?

Evangelize children?

I'm ashamed to be of the same species as a person who talks like you.

Your agenda is to belittle and demean fellow human beings for something over which they have no choice,

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Many maintain that sexual predilections are entirely one's choice.

Chris said...

The last five words of our Pledge of Allegiance, learned by all of us in Kindergarten (which, by the way some folks have decided that mandatory recitation has become illegal in some areas, but that's for another day) are "Liberty and Justice for All". Read it - think about it - what does it mean to you? Get God and organized religion out of this. Liberty and Justice for ALL - white, black, man, woman, gay, straight, hispanic, pink, purple, whatever. Everyone here (legally) in America should be entitled to the same fundamental rights as the next person. We have come a long long way in this country, but I'm afraid we still have a long long way to go.

Chris Miller said...

A couple of points. First all cultures develop a marriage custom in order to legally continue the propagation of the society. It also establishes who is the beneficiary of property a pretty important right in most countries.
While we are obliged to protect the rights of the minority we are not obliged to set a majority decision aside and constantly cave to the minority.
Keep in mind that homosexuals are not a minority. They are part of a majority who happen, for what ever the reason, to engage in a minority behavior.
Overpopulation has never really been a problem but the ability to distribute food and goods has been. The unfavorable geography of the African continent is one of the reason for so much suffering there. The elimination of imperialism on the continent prior to the building of infrastructure has made it all but impossible to create a transcontinental railroad of highway system since independence.
I believe that homosexuals certainly should be afforded their constitutional rights but nowhere in the constitution, at least to my knowledge, is there a right to marriage. Society has decided that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. Like wise, children should be reared in that type of home due to the fact that children need a father and mother to be a whole person. Granted the standard family has its difficulties but I doubt that a homosexual family could insure perfection.

PA progressive said...

Some of these bigots here ought to come to my blog and watch the videos from the rally.

This isn't a religious issue, it's about legal rights.

Marriage has been redefined over and over through history.

If you want to put civil rights to a vote wait until white males are a minority in this country and we'll vote as to whether you have any rights. Putting civil rights to a vote is Unamerican. The carving over the entrance to the Supreme Court reads "Equal Justice Under Law." Do you believe in that or not?

Anonymous said...

while i believe in allowing for gay marriage, i continue to be put off by the whiny protests and by all the lame logic of the anti prop 8 supporters. sort of makes you shudder at what gay divorce is going to be like.

Unknown said...

Humans will propagate whether or not the "institution" of marriage exists, and whether or not propagation is "legal" Chris.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Pa Pro,

I share your views concerning gay rights, but reject the accusation that those with different views are bigots. People of good will can reach different conclusions concerning gay marriage. I support it. But I would not call Obama or Kerry, who only support civil unions, bigots.

Chris Miller said...

I would never have thought that people would continue to have intercourse outside marriage. Your suggestion is to simply throw the baby out with the bathwater and then simply give up because everyone just does it all the time. I call that being irresponsible and it is something that should not be tolerated or condoned by any of us. There are too many people taking marriage very lightly and come to it with an attitude of "well, if it doesn't work I can just get a divorce". Please stay single if this is how you feel. If we don't get this right, God knows what we will see next and I am not simply fearful of polygamy. There are a lot of strange folks out there--remember the gal who married a dolphin? On top of all this remember the issue and problems associated with promiscuity. In the homosexual community this means HIV and AIDS and te return of diseases we thought had been eradicated. In the heterosexual community this means a huge number of STDs including AIDS and HIV. I do not see that as a great thing.

So let me see. We should allow every single solitary fringe group to step up and trample over the constitutional rights of the majority. We do opertate on majority rule in this nation. What is wrong it that the California Supreme Courts is going to overrule the voters of California. Is it any wonder that the folks in that state are leaving in huge numbers? Homosexuals are not a minority group. They are part of a majority and they engage in a minority behavior. Their constituional rights should be protected. Marriage is not a constitutional right.
As to white males becoming a minority, you might want to think about that. It is sort of like saying that the US is going to be Number 2 or 3. The question then becomes, who fills the void we left.

Anonymous said...

Chris Miller,
I may be wrong, but I believe the US Supreme Court (in a decision involving bi-racial marriage laws) said marriage IS a constitutional right, linked to the pursuit of happiness. BUT the happiness the Court had in mind was the right to bear children. So if my belief is factually correct, the constitutional right for marriage would not apply to same-sex couples.

Chris Miller said...

I do not recall the Supreme Court deciding a case indicating that marriage is a constitutional right. However, if it did occur as you note it center on what I have said in that cultures create marriage customs in order to continue the legal propagation of the society. I check on this a let you know.

Anonymous said...

I want to know why anyone cares who marries who. If a gay couple are in love and wish to pledge their life to each other in marriage ceromony, why do you care? I do not care what my neighbors are doing, it does not effect me and it does not effect you. The discrimination against homosexuals is no different then the discrimination against black people. In a world we where allegedly "all men are created equal" there seems to be such an uproar over what everyone else is doing. I dont care if man and man, man and woman, woman and woman marry. The constitution grants us all the "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" It does not specify happiness only if heterosexual! The funny part of this discussion is how religion is constantly brought up. Why is it that it is never mentioned that the "religious preist" who are "hetersexual" seem to be the ones who are constantly charged with the molestation of young boys? People need to wake up and only worry about themselves and their life and let others live their life how they see fit...not how you judgemental people see fit...besides...for religious people...Love thy neighbor.

Chris Miller said...

Bob, Jr.
Unable to find any US Supreme Court decision dealing with marriage

Anonymous 10:37AM
I agree with you to the point that I really do not care what you do as long as it doesn't interfer with what I and the vast majority of people value and that is the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman. If you engage in some other practice and you are not harming or cheating someone please go about your business but do not tell me that I have to accept it. I do not ask you to do that.
Let me again remind you that homosexuals are part of the majority but engage in a minority behavior. While you are okay with man on man or woman on woman intercourse are you okay with man on many women or women on many men. Are you okay with man or woman on animal? And keep in mind that the Progressivew would want all of this taught to our children so they don't grow up nasty little bigots. AHHH diversity. Is there a stop point for you? Society, at this point, has said marriage is to be between a man and a woman. Until society changes that I would strongly suggest that we abide by it. One of the biggest problems we deal with if we step out of our parameter is the matter of paternity and property. Homosexuals have discussed the possibility of suing sperm donors in case of a split in a lesbian relationship. Do you not forsee the problems we face?
As to the "life, liberty and pursuit of happines, that is in the Declaration of Independence. It also discusses all men being created equal. That means we are all "equal before the law". It has absolutely noting to do with marriage. Rather you should be concerned that the California Supreme Court might undo Proposition 8 that was passed upon by the citizens of the very liberal state of California. Shame on that court if it does that. Courts are not suppose to make law. That is the job of the legislative branch.
As for the priests, I will just say this, take a look at what has been going on in the teaching profession. Apparently if you are a hot blonde you can molest young teenage boys without fear of incarceration. I believe that there is a lot more teacher-student stuff going on then we truly know. In either case, priest or teacher fooling with the kids should get one locked up forever.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Miller, here's your answer:

The United States Supreme Court, in "Loving v. Virginia," 388 US 1, 1967, held that laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage were constitutionally invalid.

The ruling holds that the Constitution provides PRIVACY RIGHTS ... and that right of privacy extends to marriage.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in this Century stated "There is no question that the U.S. Constitution provides protection for an individual's right of privacy," and that this right is what guided the Roe v. Wade decision in 1977. Here in PA, the state Supreme Court recognized this right in a local case, Stenger v. Lehigh Valley Hospital center, in 1992.

In the Loving v. Virginia case, which allowed a black and white couple to overturn the state's marriage law, the court opinion relied on the Constitutional right for the "pursuit of happiness" to allow adults to procreate. This is why I said there is a "constitutional" right to marriage, but that I'm doubtful that right extends to same-sex couple.

Interestingly, the same "pursuit of happiness" reasoning to support procreation rights has been applied by the PA courts in child custody cases, so I wonder, is there a right for same-sex couples to procreate (artificially of course), but not marry?

Chris Miller said...

Bob, Jr.
I remember that case but forgot what it had down.To base it on PRIVACY, a right we don't really have, is building the same house of cards that Roe v. Wade did. To base it on an inalienable right as stated in the Declaration of Independence, particularly the "pursuit of happiness" where one could get a lot of arguments and laughs, is probably sounder reasoning.
There were a lot of folks throughout the land who were really upset with that decision but it certainly was the right one.
Your last question about homosexuals having a right to procreate under the same guidelines as the above case, I don't believe you can really stop that unless we want to have a policeman in the home of every female homosexual and possibly some male homosexuals given that we now have a pregnant male. I don't believe we can or should punish someone who assits in artifical insemination. I simply wish that people would think about what they are doing before making a statement for the world.