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Town Square

Same Sex Marriage, Prop 8, DOMA, Supreme Court

Original post made by Paul Losch on Mar 24, 2013

I have seen a great deal of the world, and I am of the opinion that overall, the Bay Area consists of the most open minded people than you can find anywhere else. (Well maybe Canada!)

The US Supreme Court hears this coming week two appeals regarding same sex relationships. Can they legally marry (Prop 8 from our state) and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricts what same sex couples are allowed to do regarding estate matters, inter alia.

As a straight middle aged man, who lived in San Francisco in the 1980's, I must admit my own thinking has evolved.

My then wife and I owned a house near the Castro MUNI Station, and I walked a few blocks to and from the Station to get to work in downtown San Francisco. I was young, dressed in a suit, and I passed along the Castro, especially on the way home, feeling like a bunch of really weird homosexuals, wearing leather, drinking in the open air bars, were undressing me with their eyes. (I came to appreciate what women experience in this light.)

I must admit I did not know what to make of gay people at that time. Our house had a little studio unit, which we rented out, and typically a gay person, man or woman, was the tenant. Business arrangement, no judgment.

I landed down in Palo Alto in the late 1980's when my ex was in Medical School and our babies were coming along. Several more or less "out" people in her medical school class, pretty normal in their behavior.

I also got considerably more exposure to people of other nationalities and traditions, all of which led me to keeping an open mind and less judgmental about "stereotypes," be it Hassidic Jews, Muslims, people from Podunk, USA, and others.

I am influenced by my adult children, both of whom are straight, and have gay friends. The situation we face right now, in their opinion and mine, is absurd.

I know too many same sex parents who are making great families for their kids. I have worked with many gay people who are no different from their straight colleagues—sexual orientation is not an issue in many workplaces here in the Bay Area.

By the same token, in my travels around the US in recent years, the attitudes around what gay people are "entitled" to, be it marriage, estate matters, or others, including their simply being gay, still have ways to go.

I don't know what the US Supreme Court's rulings will be about DOMA or Prop 8, although I think what I have written displays my bias. Like many national pundits, I do believe that we have hit a point of inflection around gay rights.

For the 3 women and 6 men who sit on the sacred dais across the street from the Capitol building, it is a matter of whether the have the courage the court had in Brown –v- Education, or the fear and bias that led to the Dredd Scott decision.

We shall see how wise and prescient this court is in its ruling on these matters.

There is no "March Madness" bracket with me and the Supremes, and I predict it will be close.

Comments

Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Paul,

Would you support a fundamental ammendment to our U.S. Constitution that says:

Consenting adults are allowed to marry?


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Uh, John, would that be two consenting adults, or three or four? Which cultures do we wish to limit?


Posted by going to the chapel, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

remove the word marriage from all federal laws, and the tax code

get government out of our lives


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

>Uh, John, would that be two consenting adults, or three or four?

No limit on number or gender or relationship. Consenting adults would be able to express their freedom, as they wish. There has been too much bigotry against gays and polygamists. Time to get it right, all at once, IMO.

>Which cultures do we wish to limit?

None.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Could I marry my dog? Or my dining table? Could I marry all my dining chairs? Or Ursa Major? Where do we draw the line?


Posted by where do we draw the line, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm

These "where do we draw the line" arguments display the same bigotry that the social conservatives used to ban interracial marriage. Gay marriage is about gay marriage. It is not about anything else.


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I am only talking about human beings, consenting adults, not other species or innanimate objects. Why is it so terrible that consenting adults are allowed to marry, except for the bigotry that opposes it?

Paul Losch, what do you think?


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Three or four incomes would sure make Palo Alto housing more affordable, and price "normal" people out.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2013 at 10:24 am

OK, so this is only about gay marriage. But the crux of the argument is that we should allow people to marry the person they love, regardless of their gender. It's only a short hop from that to marrying multiple people they love, to marrying creatures they love, to marrying things they love and you can bet those cases will be coming up, more or less in that order.

So the question stands: how do we define marriage and where do we draw the line?


Posted by where do we draw the line, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 27, 2013 at 10:40 am

The issue is gay marriage. Period. If you want to argue about something else, take it elsewhere.


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2013 at 10:54 am

>The issue is gay marriage. Period. If you want to argue about something else, take it elsewhere.

That statement is typical of the bigots that oppose freedom to marry, because it would also involve plural marriage, not only gay and straight marriage. There appear to be many advocates of gay marriage that are bigots ("hey, I'm getting mine, could care less about you!")

A simple ammendment to the Constituion:

"Consenting adults are allowed to marry", settles the issue for almost everyone. The only line drawn is age (of adulthood); limited to humans only, because only they can legally consent.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Oh, so since Paul Losch the white guy says now is the time, only after he's been exposed to lots of gays and different ethnicities in his lifetime, then I guess we should all fall in line behind him.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Fred- I am sure you will derive more sexual pleasure from that dining chair than an human that You would marry


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm

"Consenting adults are allowed to marry"

Come on, Paul Losch, do you agree (or not)? If not, how would you explain your own bigotry?


Posted by going to the chapel, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Rather than just highlight John's "concern trolling" and calling others "bigots" ("That statement is typical of the bigots...",) let's just ask John what groups are seeking what he proposes.

Who seeks plural marriages, John?

Why don't you put a proposition on the ballot?

Including incestuous and polygamous marriages as part of the same sex marriage debate, which have never been part of the mainstream of American marriage, is a red herring and it is disingenuous.

To imply that homosexual marriage as discussed in the American cultural context is somehow equivalent to incestuous or polygamous marriage is deceptive and is typical of those who bloviate against gay marriage.

At least John hasn't been lame enough to bring bestiality into it.

Yet.

I'll stick with my original thought: remove the word marriage from all federal laws, and the tax code, all 1,100 instances of it

get government out of our lives


Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm

John,

Not takin' the bait, big guy. Fish elsewhere.


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm

>Not takin' the bait, big guy. Fish elsewhere.

Paul, there is no "bait" to take. Just an honest question. What is wrong with a simple proposition that consenting adults be allowed to marry? Try some intellectual honesty.

A palpable historic example of the bigotry of those who oppose the concept was manifested in the coercion (with military arms by the U.S. government) to force the Mormons to give up their beliefs in plural marriage. In fact, Romney's own grandfather was forced to escape to Mexico, in order to avoid the bigotry and hatred. Surely, we must have progressed enough, by this time, to get over this bigotted view of personal freedoms.

Give it an honest try, Paul.


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]