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Todd Reynolds and the Gay Marriage “Debate,” and A Terminology Fix?



New Puck Daddy: Some technicalish hockey stuff, on how teams tighten up during close games


Howdy folks! 

If you missed Elliotte Friedman’s constantly praise-worthy “30 Thoughts” column this week, you can find it here.  Dude knows what he’s talking about.

Anytime you make 30 separate points, people aren’t going to agree with everything, and I’m no different – I quibbled with two things he mentioned this week (a higher total than usually, impressively).

My first minor beef that gives me an excuse to rant:

I’m sure most of you are up on the story about the sports agent (Todd Reynolds) who tweeted from the company account (@UptownHockey) that he was saddened to learn that Sean Avery had spoken out on a PSA for “Equality for Everyone,” which is a sentence I can’t believe I just had to type.  Avery was supporting gay marriage (which will always be wrong, Reynolds explained), cause, y’know, EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE.

Anyway (and yes, I realize the sensitivity meter is jacked up a little high from me on this one, but it’s really just a good jumping off point for me) Elliotte wrote a fairly harmless sentence in his post worth chatting about:

It’s a passionate debate with a lack of intelligent reaction on both sides.

While I’m not sure there’s a “lack on intelligent reaction” from the side that’s for equality – try pulling up the thoughts of Bruce Arthur (radio), Greg Wyshynski (linked above), and Joe Yerdon to get started - I’m almost certain that the word “debate” in there is giving one side of whatever-you-want-to-call-this-madness too much credit.

Not to get too strong in my tone here, but it’s kind of like “debating” with your toddler at the grocery store about whether you should save your money or buy 50,000 boxes of Sugar Bombs cereal.  Logic prevails pretty handily (as much as I love sugary cereals).

The only points I’ve heard against gay marriage in the past day or two involved something about it being a slippery slope before a man can marry a horse (no seriously, someone said that, I’ll try to find the link), and then Todd Reynolds implying on TSN Radio (which I’m on tomorrow at 11amEST to discuss this) that he’d be okay if gay couples ”found a way around it, maybe call it something different or something.”

Gayrriage?  Shmarriage, maybe?

That’s not a debate.  That’s nonsense.

I understand the religious aspect that needs to be mentioned – I grew up with religion as a part of my life so I get it, but frankly, I don’t feel the need to get into my beliefs to defend the stance that as long as we’re here on this earth, and nobody knows anything for damn sure, we need to treat one another like equals.  That’s what everything boils down to.  Do unto others and all that good stuff.

And that argument doesn’t lack intelligent reaction.  That’s flat-out logical.

As George Takei frequently tweets, gay rights are human rights.


My second, and far more minor quibble is on a comment that I’m seeing damn near everywhere, especially on twitter (follow me here, or I’ll kick my kitten) – something to the effect of “can we please stop using the term “mild” concussion,” or as he put it,

“Can we please stop using the term ‘minor’ concussion. No such thing.”

Now, those of you who read my stuff fairly regularly know I’m sensitive to the serious nature of concussions.  No two are alike, and the same hit affects different players in different ways. 

That said, medical staffs are often able to project, based on a player’s symptoms and how they do on the baseline concussion test, a very rough guidline for their return.  If Marc Savard gets Matt Cooked again, and is periodically blacking out and on the verge of puking while repeating himself, he’s in a worse pickle than a guy who’s a little foggy and feels okay on the treadmill two days after the big hit.

When the media wants to know the severity of the concussion, they need to be told somehow, don’t they?  There has to be some way to say “not as bad as many of them,” without people assuming they’re trivializing a concussion.  I don’t think we need to get too sensitive over the terminology. 

We know none of them are fun to have, but anything - ”low-grade” or any other term is going to sound the same way.  They all suck, but some will clearly take longer than others to recover from.


Sorry for the serious tone today friends, but those are the current topics, it appears.  Until Sharks/Wings tonight that is!  Will we see a game seven?


39 Responses to “Todd Reynolds and the Gay Marriage “Debate,” and A Terminology Fix?”
  1. MattyJ says:

    Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are player agents.

  2. Crazy comment from a person in Todd Reynolds position. Personal belief or not to put that into your businesses Twitter feed was a crazy lapse in judgment. Hope that kind of thing doesn’t happen around the negotiating table.

  3. marc says:

    I’ve never understood why people put political ads and crap in their business’s windows or anything similar, doubly so for a business like a sport’s agent is. People don’t make a long career in personal service and sales if customers think they’re dicks generally.

  4. Steve C. says:

    Gay Marriage? Haven’t gays suffered enough?

  5. Andy says:

    Justin: I love your writing and I agree with most of your hockey opinions. What surprises me on this whole debate about same sex marraige is the level of vitriol. Calling people who support retaining the traditional definition of marraige bigots, haters, intolerant etc, as some have on twitter and elsewhere does not win them to your side. In every state that same sex marraige has come for a popular vote it has lost, including California in 08 as it was voting strongly for Obama/Biden… both of whom support the traditional definition of marraige. I understand why gay people want to get married and treated equally. This is a free country, people can live together, have sex, call themselves spouses whatever, but asking the state which represents all society to change the definition of marraige as it has always existed (even in “gay-friendly” Ancient Greece) is opening Pandora’s box!
    What then is the new definition of marraige? 2 people who love eachother and want a legal commitment? Why just two people? Tradition? Many societies that America has immigrants from have long standing traditions of polygamy( African, Asian, Muslim)… should that be allowed? What about the bisexual in GLBT? How dare the government not allow a person to make lifelong, legally recognized commitments with concomitant benefits with a person of each gender? These are questions that need to be answered by those who want the change not by those who seek to uphold traditional marraige! I do not hate gay people, I have a cousin in a long term lesbian relationship and I like and accept her partner but marraige is more than just two people who love eachother and have sex entering a legal contract as you and your beautiful fiancee will find out. It generally involves raising a family which is the real reason government is involved. Society has a compelling interest in stable families for the raising of children which are the natural products of heterosexual relationships. Governments may recognize and give rights to other relationships but it cannot change the natural order of the universe. I understand the impulse to fairness and equality but if that is the case then maybe the government should let any consenting adult “marry” whoever they wish. That is equality. On what basis would polygamy, brother-sister, brother-brother or marrying tons of people so they get a Green Card be prohibited. I would love someone as intelligent as you to lay out why marraige based on equality should only be between two people!
    On a lighter note check out the dispute between Mike Richards @MRichie18 and reporter Tim Penaccio @Tpanotch concerning Richard’s dislike of what he considers “untrue” stories. Again I am a fan of your writing keep up the good work and have a succesful career.

  6. Derek says:

    A few thoughts on Reynolds:
    1) “Todd Reynolds implying on TSN Radio (which I’m on tomorrow at 11amEST to discuss this) that he’d be okay if gay couples ‘found a way around it, maybe call it something different or something.’”

    I have seen this rhetoric many, many times. Its what has resulted in civil unions in many places. I would love for someone to please explain how this is any different than the “separate but equal” doctrine that African-Americans faced prior to the civil rights prior to the 1950′s. That was acceptable when it was introduced in the late 1800′s/early 1900′s, but history does not look too fondly on it. I imagine people will look at Reynold’s comments much the same way in the future.

    2) I would love to hear the Reynolds (gotta include pops in this now as well after his comments to the National Post) opinions on divorce. To me, its pretty simple: if you are advocating against gay marriage on the basis of protecting ‘the sanctity of marriage’, and NOT advocating to make divorce illegal, you are merely using the sanctity of marriage argument as a pretext to not sound like a bigot(which you are).

    3) If I were a client of Uptown Sports, I would leave. Whether I agreed with them or not. I would leave simply because I would not want people that stupid representing me. Any semi-intelligent person would have seen what Avery did, seen the applause he got for his actions and realized that any comments to the contrary would see a backlash. And as someone who represents famous people, Reynolds should have known that making those comments from a forum without his name on it, but the names of a number of NHL stars would get attention (and not in a good way). I have to seriously question his intellect for thinking it was a good idea to post those comments (regardless of the actual opinion).

  7. Firestorm says:

    @ MattyJ: +1!

  8. Sherry says:

    Couple of points Andy…

    We were very disappointed, and shocked, in our house when Prop 8 passed here in CA. The reason I heard it passed was partially because of the strong Latino vote in CA (pro-Obama, but also pro-Prop 8).

    For my husband and me, having children was not a natural by-product of our heterosexual relationship (even with the help of modern science – in-vitro didn’t work) – thus our daughter is Chinese born, adopted.

    And, our daughter is being raised by three, not two, parents – my husband, and me, and our partner who is a woman (I am the primary parent as I am a stay-at-home mom). Our daughter is a happy, well adjusted, very bright 11 year old (we’ve had her since she was 11 months old and been in our “poly-monogamous triad” for the same amount of time), and I attribute that to the level of committment we three have for each other as spouses and as parents to our daughter.

    My point is that the traditional notion of what constitutes a family is inevitably changing, and while I certainly don’t expect that society is ready to accept our alternative family group (at least legally), I believe that people who are committed to each other as partners, and especially to the most important (and difficult :) ) task of parenting, should have the rights conferred upon them by being legally married.

    And on a lighter note, Steve C, your comment made me giggle…

  9. andy says:

    i love that people get so heated about giving people equal rights.
    love what it says about our society. love it.

  10. Marc says:

    Andy: people who support retaining the traditional definition of marriage ARE bigots, haters, and intolerant assholes.

  11. GayHermit says:

    @ Andy,
    I am going to attempt a short response on behalf of my people. I will attempt to be as inclusive as possible, but don’t take my word for law. We have an incredible amount of diversity in my tribe and one person trying to speak for the whole tribe is pretty much impossible. Please also keep in mind that I am presenting this information in terms of constructive criticism, not any form of personal attack.

    Nobody in the current struggle for marriage equality is trying to “redefine” marriage. We are trying to be included in it. We would like the same set of equal rights that heterosexual couples currently receive. The civil union that you say we should use does not give us the same set of equal rights. There are always some missing, held back or otherwise kept from us. This has been proven in a number of places, using currently existing civil unions as examples. The reason we want these equal rights are for the same reasons heterosexual couples do. For our families. Believe it or not, we have been raised in the same social and religious environments that heterosexuals have and have the same sets of hopes and dreams.
    (Some of us manage to overcome these shortcomings, but that is another topic altogether.) ;-)

    This next section is rhetorical and being used to call attention to an argument issue.
    Why is it that whenever the marriage issue comes up, the traditionalists always feel the need to drag out (derail) the more than two people marriage meme? The more extreme always bring up marrying other species as well. At no point have I heard anyone say that this is the current goal. Stop it.

    In regard to the more than two person marriage idea, eventually, when the polygamists are ready, they will bring their own battle for that right to the table. That is not our goal at this time.
    (Personally, I have no issue with polygamy as long as everyone involved agrees to it and is completely aware of what they are agreeing to. As well as being free to say no. The past issues have almost always been involved with people being forced into these arrangements.)

    To briefly address our losing most current state battles for these rights, this has a lot more to do with the money that our foes have to keep us second class citizens and the lies and hatred they use to demonize us, than our ability to achieve equality. The loss that we experienced in CA can be accounted for by the money spent by the Mormon Church. I am sure others were involved, but a major amount of funding was traced back to them.

    Also, please stop with the naming of all your relevant friends to prove you are open minded and such. If you were truly open minded and supportive as you claim to be you would support us in achieving our equal rights, rather than fighting against it.

    @ Justin,
    Thank you for having the courage to address this topic. It is greatly appreciated.

    @ Seamus, marc, Derek, Sherry, MattyJ, Firestorm
    Thanks for your support.

    @ Steve C.
    Thank you for your support and ROTFLMAO!!!

    @ all other lurkers who are supportive, Thanks.

  12. Sean Boulton says:

    Justin, the quote equating same-sex marriage as being the slippery slope to men being able to marry horses was from Donald Reynolds, Todd’s father and the president of that sports agency. It was from an interview that Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post did with him yesterday – piece is here:

  13. peanutflower says:

    The irony of this is is that you will get far more comments on the marriage issue in your blog that you will ever get on a sports issue. Or wait, maybe that’s not an irony. I’m always confused as to what’s ironic and what’s not.

    @Andy, where does it say that marriage is a union solely for procreation? I missed that bit. What does that mean for two heteros who get married knowing fully that they don’t want to have children. Is that then an illegal marriage?

    @Gayhermit — all of the affidavits and accompanying documents in the recent Canadian constitutional reference on the constitutionality of section 293 in the Canadian criminal code are up for public consumption if you’re interested. you can reply and I can find the link for you. The problem is that polygamy in the US and Canada is almost solely (mis) represented by the FLDS, which has really given polygamy a bad rap. Really bad. I have been involved in the court reference peripherally and I must admit that the arguments for and against were both pretty persuasive. If you take the FLDS out of the equation it might not be such a bad thing.

    @Sherry, there were affidavits from the Canadian polyamory society there too, which you might find interesting.

  14. andy says:

    @peanutflower – try explaining to people that, as a hetero, you dont want children… thats a fun one!

    my only real contribution to this is – marriage hasnt always had the religious attached to it. thats a fairly recent development, in the past 100 or so years or even less… marriage is a civil contract. so, to use religion, and “the sanctity of marriage” isnt really an argument with much weight. if it is viewed as a civil matter, there is no basis for an argument against it.

  15. Jeff says:


    Thanks for the article. Very well done. I followed your link on twitter just in time to hear the ridiculous comments from Todd on the radio. I hope you know that you have a large group of gay followers, but not simply because you’re brave enough to touch issues like these. 98% of the time your articles have nothing to do with gay, and they’re great! What makes it even better is we know we have your support as well, and that means a lot. Keep up the good work!

  16. Dave K says:

    I don’t really care who marries who (dude can marry the horse for all I care), but Justin’s argument was just as inflammatory as anyone else’s opinion in the debate so far. Referring to someone’s beliefs as nonsense or comparing them to toddlers doesn’t help advance the issue, it just solidifies mistaken beliefs about the “opposition”.

  17. dwgs says:

    Well said as usual Justin. In a bit of an ironic twist, I’m a straight man who got married in large part to smooth the adoption process. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing dishonest about it, my (now) wife and I were just as committed to one another in our unmarried days, it’s just that having babies the ‘natural’ way wasn’t working for us and some adoption agencies (especially those overseas) prefer married couples. We are now the proud and happy parents of two young boys who have been with us since infancy. We’re a very stable family, even if some would call our children ‘unnatural’ (you might not want to say that to my face btw).
    I just can’t see any valid reason why two people who love one another shouldn’t be able to enjoy the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as anyone else. Steve, what if your cousin’s partner was seriously ill? Should your cousin be allowed some say in her medical care? Should she be entitled to a survivor’s pension? Why shouldn’t she have some legal standing?
    If you take any argument against gay rights and substitute ‘black’ for ‘gay’ all you naysayers sound like those very same nasty people from times (thankfully) gone by.

  18. A&A says:

    Just a lurker on your blog normally, but I gots to comment, as your reaction is a typical one.

    There are all kinds of serious, reasoned arguments against same sex “marriage.” It seems to me, from what you’re saying, that you aren’t even aware of them. (I will say that twitter, sports radio, the Daily Show, etc. are not where you’ll find reasoned discussion about this.)

    But instead of engaging with and responding to serious arguments, you oversimplify the issue as “equality or not.” And, well, since everyone’s for equality, matter closed!

    And then you compare opponents of same sex marriage to toddlers demanding cereal in the supermarket? This is “intelligent reaction”?

  19. Char says:

    As usual, Justin, you come right to the point and make your case perfectly. Mark of a good writer.

    What amuses me is people who say, “I’m not a bigot, but [those people] shouldn’t have equal rights.” No, you’re a bigot. Period.

    A few decades down the road, our children/grandchildren will look at this whole thing with the same confusion/horror that we look at “colored only” waiting rooms.

  20. Andrew says:

    I will never understand the passion and determination that those opposed to gay marriage, or any other form of equality in society, argue with. It is amazing to me that their passion tends to equal that of those directly impacted by a lack of equality.

    Gay marriage being illegal directly affects gays wishing to get married. Allowing them to marry doesn’t directly affect anyone. Even if you don’t like the idea of it or it goes against your beliefs/religion, two gay people marrying each other has no impact on you.

    Defined your anti-gay marriage views by saying, “well those are my beliefs so I’m not a bigot” isn’t any kind of a defence at all. Calling those beliefs nonsense is accurate, because they are nonsense.

    For a more humorus look at the issue, youtube “Louis C.K. Gay marriage” or something like that. It’s stand-up comedy, but the point is valid, and similar to the one I’m making above. If you’ve never seen Louis C.K.’s stuff before, it’s pretty vulgar, so I hope it doesn’t offend anyone that watches it.

  21. wmsheppa says:

    @Dave K: I sincerely doubt you’re doing to successfully convince either the child who wants 50,000 boxes of sugar bombs or the person who thinks that gay marriage will lead to man on horse marriage that they’re wrong. The point is that those kind of people just flat out can’t be reasoned with – and that pretending like you can reason with someone who is convinced that we’re on a slippery slope to me marrying my cat is just delusional.

    Laughing at an irrational position isn’t inflammatory – it’s an attempt to expose the utter absurdity of their views to a wider public to fight those views. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    Hockey: I still say Sharks close the series. No way Detroit can win another, right?

  22. Alex O says:

    OK so let’s preserve the definition and sanctity of marriage when we already know that at least 50% of marriages end in divorce. Im thinking that marriage as an institution is not the strong foundation they think it is.

    Let’s call this what it is. It is the attempt to discuss an issue that relevant to equal rights. That does not need to be discussed. Equality is for everyone. In this country, even people we disagree with get equal rights (For example KKK rallies). So in the end this is a way for bigots to frame the issue into something different then what it really is by bringing in other arguments. Its equal but separate for the new era. (I dont have anything against black people and they can have bathrooms but not my bathrooms…… How incredibly stupid does that sound today)

    The sanctity of my marriage is not affected by 2 dudes or 2 women getting married in any way just like it is not affected by a dude that beats his wife or a dude that cheats on his wife or heck a woman and a man with a happy marriage. Only I and my wife can change that.

    And for you bigots and homophobes who hide behind religion to almost absolve yourself of your hatred, how about not paying attention to the one line that’s against gay people in the bible and paying more attention to the 1000′s of lines by Jesus and others in there about loving each other and treating others the way you want to be treated. I’m guessing by the abundance of the loving lines and the lack of hateful ones; that I’m pretty sure that’s the message that was to be sent there, not the one full of hatred (Heck if we were to do that, then you know there is unpunished incest in the Bible, having multiple wives, stoning of women for minor offences, having concubines to bear children, no women rights, slavery, and I’m missing a lot more). How about Christians actually doing what Jesus would do……

    Oh and on the procreation front, not all hetero couples want to procreate and some cant. Maybe…., maybe some of these same sex couples will adopt and give a good life to an orphan child who would have not had much of a chance oherwise.

    By the way, as far as the natural order of the universe… like we know what that is with any conviction…. Homosexuality has been with us for as long as there have been humans around. Its also has been persecuted, therefore Im pretty sure that it is part of tha natural existence for humanity. (Greatest general of all time Alexander the Great was at least bi, if not downright gay look it up. Most of the Philosophers which defined Western Civilization in Ancient Greece lived in an era in which homosexuality was accepted…)

  23. RC says:


    If your argument is that there are all kinds of reasoned arguments against gay marriage it might be a tad bit handy to, oh I don’t know, present one? I mean perhaps you’re correct, but if you’re going to call out the current sources as not actually representing the viewpoint it would be helpful to provide somethign that you think does. Otherwise your argument rings a bit hollow.

    There’s a lot of great arguments out there, but I’m going to keep them to myself. I don’t know, seems like a losing debating strategy right there.

  24. moose says:

    being in the military, and with the recent DADT (dont ask dont tell) issues, this issue is becoming a forefront topic in all realms of life. If you read about the greatest warriors of all time, the Spartans, they were bisexual and when they were going through the training to become a spartan warrior, the young men were given a “mentor”, an older male that would teach them about everything. To include sexual relations. So for all you homophobes, go back and watch “300″ and picture all those scantly clad warriors cuddling and such before the big fight. And to even make it better, recognize how great of warriors they were. Now personally, i could give a flying..rat..if you want to shackle yourself with a spouse. To me, this is another reason everyone should be required to spend a few years in the military due to learning to work with everyone with no regard to their sex, religion, morals, and orientation. If i dont like you, its because i dont like YOU. Not because you go home to your same sex spouse, because your a different color then me, because you go to church on sunday. I dont like you for you.
    Of course, we have many people that are not in this same mind set, but thats how i work. When i was in iraq, i really didnt give a hoot if the guy next to me on the ground like flowers and wrote home to steve, while i was writing to my girlfriend. They could do the job, and had my back in the shyte as i had theirs. People get too worked up over trivial shyte and need to look inside themselves and figure out why they dont like the idea, and then make a rational argument. If they dont agree, its highly unlikely they’ll ever change their mind.
    this is just my 2 cents. JB, as always, great blog, great articles. Keep it up

  25. Andy says:

    Just a few points. Again proclaiming someone a bigot, homophobe, hater etc is no way to convince them of your belief no matter how heartfelt it is. You may believe that, but all you do is create a an eternal opponent and lose vote after vote by big margins. Why should these conversation stoppers be taken seriously. If name calling caused the desired effect wouldn’t all the people who call homosexuals horrible things have kept them all in the closet?
    I am happy that some proponents of gay marraige who have commented have expressed support for polygamy/polyamory or in the case of some saying not yet. Which means as soon as we win this battle its on to the next. A typical tactic of the Left. At least these commentors are honest enough to admit their true goals. I am glad that Sherry seems to have a happy alternative family.
    The natural order of the universe is very simple. Certain sexual organs perform certain functions and allow for the continuation of the species. Any society has an interest in the next generation hence has granted certain arrangements to encourage stable families capable of producing future tax payers. On that note for the proponents of equality, how about the flat tax everybody pays the same right. If you don’t support it the Right proclaims u a hater, plutophobe, etc. Well I guess i must be a hater since I believe (as a conservative) that the rich should pay a greater percentage!

  26. Sherry says:

    Andy, I agree that the knee jerk name calling is counterproductive – and I have seen a lot of it in the backlash against Reynolds. I really don’t see why people can’t have a reasoned, respectful debate or discussion over differences of opinion. However, that’s individuals – where I believe Reynolds erred was in making his comments under the mantle of his business (at the least, it was unprofessional, and at the worst, and amplified by his father’s comments, it was moronic).

    The point that SSM supporters are trying to make is that it is one thing, as individuals, to disagree with another’s choices in life, but to enact legistation to prevent fellow citizens, who happen to be LGBT, from gaining the same social, legal and psychological rights that straight people enjoy is just wrong. It’s an inequity plain and simple.

    Also, lest you think that I am carrying the banner of polygamy/polyamory as the next battle for civil rights – I’m not. It is not an easy path we’ve chosen (far from it!), and I think it isn’t realistically workable for most people. I only shared my personal story to illustrate that “it takes all kinds,” that social norms are changing, and we need to learn respect and tolerance for each other rather than trying to restrict the civil rights of certain groups.

    You also mention, again, the nature of the universe as it relates to procreation – and that is an argument that is frequently brought up as a point against same sex marriage. Well, my opinion is that just because you *can* reproduce, doesn’t necessarily mean you *should*. Having been thru the adoption process and the myriad of hoops we had to jump thru to adopt an (abandoned!) child, it still makes me angry that committed LGBT couples would be stricken from the list of acceptable adoptive parents because of their sexual orientation.

    As one commenter said, gay people – gay partners, gay parents – are the same as you, and yes, I will include me in that statement. We are all human beings who need to have respect and compassion for each other and who must teach our children the same values. It shouldn’t matter who we choose to be intimate with or share our life with.

  27. neil c. says:

    I can see why the toddler comparison offends people, but it seems completely appropriate to me because the arguments I hear out of the anti-gay marriage crowd are so ludicrously stupid that I can’t believe they are coming out of the mouths and minds of adults. The “gays will have messed up kids” argument, the “society is based on heterosexual marriage and will fall apart if we change it” argument, the “why not let a guy marry a horse?” argument, the “nature has designed organisms for heterosexual coupling argument”, the “marriage is a sacred institution and can’t be changed” argument, that shit is all so shockingly stupid that it is hard to resist the conclusion that the real reason for this belief has nothing to do with logic. I’d be kind of annoyed if a friend of mine used logic that bad to try and convince me to go to a boring party on a Friday night, and I’d likely be correct in wondering what it was that he wasn’t telling me.

    If you can’t provide an argument to support an opinion that you insist on maintaining, people will naturally start questioning your commitment to making sense. If you can’t provide a reasonable argument for why a certain group of people in society should get more rights than another group purely because of their sexual orientation, but you think the government should do it anyways because that’s how you feel, then you deserve to have your opinion disrespected and I’m glad there are people out there who are willing to call you out. If this isn’t a fair characterization of your argument, then please provide us with something more convincing. I’ve read a few people in this comment thread talking about the “real” debate and the “real” reasons, but I don’t see any links or anything. Seriously, give us a good argument that you feel is not being fairly represented.

  28. A&A says:

    I was challenged to produce some of the arguments that I mentioned in my comment. Here’s a selection of six.

    All of those links make their own case and also directly respond to the typical arguments in favour of same-sex marriage that you see repeated over and over.

  29. dwgs says:

    Neil C. +1

  30. A&A says:

    And I’ll add the following link for good measure, which is even more on topic for this debate:

  31. Alex O says:

    Its fantastic how its the people who are excluding rights from others want to debate whether to grant those people rights. There is zero hurt being produced to anybody by SSM. I bet that before the Civil war there was a debate on whether or not to give slaves their freedom.

  32. Alex O says:

    Neil C +2, bravo my man, I read all the links and your comment covers all of them. Thank you.

  33. jtbourne says:

    My apologies for staying out of the comments section on this one, but those that’ve been around the site for awhile know we’ve been through this before on Bourne’s Blog, and if I beat my head against the wall one more time it’s going to start bleeding. Ya’ll know where I stand on this (but I am interested in reading everyone’s thoughts, so feel free to carry on).

    I will say, this is the first post on this topic where I haven’t had to reject comments, so thanks for keeping it civil.

  34. neil c. says:

    A&A, this is exactly what I’m talking about. These links recycle the same arguments over and over, and if anything, they demonstrate that the arguments aren’t being misrepresented at all.

    From your first link:
    “My reasons go to the nature of marriage as the societal institution that represents, symbolizes and protects the inherently reproductive human relationship. I believe that society needs such an institution.” and…..
    “To change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples would destroy its capacity to function in the ways outlined above, because it could no longer represent the inherently procreative relationship of opposite-sex pair-bonding. It would be to change the essence and nature of marriage as the principal societal institution establishing the norms that govern procreation. Marriage involves public recognition of the spouses’ relationship and commitment to each other. But that recognition is for the purpose of institutionalizing the procreative relationship in order to govern the transmission of human life and to protect and promote the well-being of the family that results.”

    So this argument is based on the premise that the spouses’ “relationship and commitment to each” is recognized by the state in order to institutionalize “the procreative relationship”, to “govern the transmission of human life”, and to “protect and promote the well-being of the family that results”. She’s arguing that people will no longer have a socially beneficial attitude toward reproduction if marriage isn’t based primarily on the ability to reproduce. Here are just a couple of the many, many reasons that is really dumb and kind of offensive.
    First, it implies that homosexual couples will not have the same respect for having children, raising them a certain way, preserving social values, etc., that heterosexual couples do. This is an absurd generalization, as there are many heterosexual couples that don’t have children, there are many heterosexual couples that have lots of children and treat them poorly, and there are many homosexual couples that have children, love them, and raise them very well. In the latter case, it seems strange to argue that their successful participation in childrearing is somehow destroying social values related to procreation. It also implies that little children are going to grow up without any respect for reproduction, caring for children, etc., because they see two women with a child. Why wouldn’t these children have the same reaction to seeing ONE woman with a child, ONE man with a child, or seeing half of the nation’s couples divorce, or seeing that many parents are cruel to their children? Why are all of these things ok with the anti-gay marriage crowd, but two mommies isn’t? What aren’t you telling us?
    Second, if marriage is governing the “transmission of human life”, it’s not doing a very good job in countless nations around the world where growing gender equality, the availability of birth control, and a growing sense of individualism have caused the fertility rate to plummet, leading to population stagnation and the need to increase immigration. Doesn’t this indicate that heterosexual marriage is just one of many factors involved “the transmission of human life”? Furthermore, couldn’t we use this same logic to ban any kind of birth control, since reproduction is designed to promote “human life” and to change that would mean that sex no longer functions in the way it has traditionally done? People will no longer respect sex as a way of creating children, they’ll just have it for fun and no one will have kids anymore. Oh wait, that’s actually already happened, it’s happening now, and everybody seems to be just fine with it. Why does marriage have to be treated as a more important reproductive act than SEX?
    Third, the suggestion that marriage will no longer “promote the well-being of the family” if same-sex couples can get married is offensive and, as I said above, shockingly stupid. It’s offensive because it implies that heterosexual couples respect families, and homosexual couples don’t (and it’s also based on a very traditional notion of what a ‘family’ is, as another commentor has pointed out). It’s also pretty stupid. Even if it is true (a few minutes on google scholar will show you that it’s not), it still doesn’t justify violating another person’s rights. For example, one of the pro-slavery arguments was that if all the slaves were freed, they would pour into the cities, increase crime, increase unemployment, etc. Even if this was true (and in many cases, it was), is that a compelling reason for continuing to withhold rights from slaves? This argument implies that the traditional notion of marriage, and the traditional definition of the family, are both more important that the civil rights of homosexuals. I find this offensive, and considering that divorce is rampant, single-parent families are common, there are popular shows on TV about teenage girls having babies outside of marriage, and people are free to be absolutely terrible parents if they choose, I also find it to be so illogical that it makes me wonder why my friend is trying to trick me into going to a boring party on Friday night. What isn’t he telling me?

    A&A, I’ve looked over your links and all I find is more of the same crap. From the second link: “Thus, supporters of the conjugal view often respond to this challenge—rightly, we believe—that abolishing the conjugal conception of marriage would weaken the social institution of marriage, obscure the value of opposite‐sex parenting as an ideal, and threaten moral and religious freedom”.

    From the third link: “In making our case for conjugal marriage, we consider the nature of human embodiedness; how this makes comprehensive interpersonal union sealed in conjugal acts possible; and how such union and its intrinsic connection to children give marriage its distinctive norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence.” Same stupidity as the first two, different words.

    From the fourth link: “Centuries of folk wisdom and thousands of contemporary research inquiries in psychology and sociology also testify to a common truth: Children do best in all aspects of life if they grow and develop in an intact home with their two natural parents.
    The necessary, complementary roles of fathers and mothers in child rearing enjoy their complete expression in such homes. In this setting, children will—on average—be healthier, happier, more intelligent and better adjusted than when living in any other configuration. The institution of marriage exists, then, to maximize the number of children who reside within a stable, heterosexual setting. To extend the same honor and special benefits to gay and lesbian couples (or, by logical extension, to bisexual arrangements and “polyamorous” households) undoes, by definition, the very point of granting special status. If all group living arrangements enjoy equal “honor” and “special benefits,” then no arrangement has recognizable honor or special status. And in this case, the only proven, effective incubator of new and healthy human life would be cast aside as merely another lifestyle choice.” Am I the only one starting to see a pattern here? It’s the “society with crumble” argument, the “the point of marriage is reproduction” argument, the “heterosexual unions deserve more legal standing because they can reproduce, even if they don’t” argument”, written over and over, using different words. And isn’t this an argument for banning divorce? For making marriage legal only to those who have children? For banning birth control, since it robs sex of its special status? Why draw the line at gay marriage, isn’t that awfully convenient given the circumstances?

    Sorry for the crazy long post, but I appreciate that A&A took the time to find some links and I wanted to make a point. A&A, this is exactly why people don’t respect the anti-gay marriage position: when people with letters after their names write articles about it, they make the same 5-6 logical errors over and over, and often these errors are based on assumptions about things like family values, ethics, and childcare that are very offensive and frustratingly dumb. You seem to feel that these arguments aren’t being fairly represented by your opponents, but I assure you, I have seen these arguments countless times (including first year philosophy classes) because they are presented by your opponents as evidence of the ignorance, traditionalism, bigotry, and hysteria coming out of the anti-gay marriage crowd (and they are used by philosophy profs to teach students how to sniff out bad arguments applied to contemporary topics). By offering these kind of arguments and implying that you find them reasonable, you are contributing to the attitude of disrespect that people have towards this point of view. I honestly feel like I just wrote a short article about why black people should be allowed to vote, and why it should just be called “voting” instead of “black voting”. I should take your advice Bourne and just not bang my head against the wall but it’s hard when I know that there are places all over America where gays have to worry about their safety, and that even ‘blue-states’ are buying into this “society will crumble” crap.

  35. Alex O says:

    Thank you Neil, very well put. Honestly, I would respect opponents far more if they just said they disaprove because they hate gay people. That way instead of hiding behind illogical arguments then they would at least paint themselves for what they are. At the end of the day I cant change your opinion if you dont want to. But please stop hiding behind talking points.

  36. Sherry says:

    neil c – your tenacity and thoughtfulness are admirable. I didn’t have the time to explore A&A’s links (but thanks for taking the time to complie them A&A), or even begin to answer them – so neil, thanks for doing that. Kudos!

    What can we all do, but keep fighting the good fight against injustice as we see it? Thanks *everyone* for your thoughful commentary on a very volatile subject.

  37. Sherry says:

    And another country heard from (which many of you have probably seen by now) – Lambert via PD today

  38. Fish says:

    What always baffles me is that so many people see marriage as something that is linked to religion. As in “God intended marriage for a man and a woman”.

    I’m married, but I didn’t do it “in the eye of God” or whatever. I can understand that gay people cannot marry with a priest in a church, because any catholic faith sees gay as being wrong. But I can not, for the life of me, find a reason to deny them legal marriage.

    Plus, Sex evolutionary, is not solely intended to make babies, it is also a way of keeping a couple together after the birth. Of creating a stable unit where the baby can grow up. Personally, I know at least 10 (5×2) gay people that have been together as long as I live. My longest relationship so far is 5 years and counting. My mother enver reached 5 years.

    So if we trample people’s rights for the children, maybe we should start testing people before they’re allowed to have children. You nee a licence to go fishing, but everyone is allowed to have a baby.

  39. Natisha Manson says:

    LOL, I have to say the on-line dating or electronic dating has come a hell of a way from the days of easy chat rooms. Far more and a lot more individuals are turning to on the internet dating web sites to screen potential dates.

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