Equality for All

October 25th, 2009

Following is a video that everyone should see and hear.  It was posted by Kevin at Preemptive Karma.

In the video, an elderly gentleman who saw extensive combat during World War II talks about what he was fighting for.

He and his wife, who’s now deceased, had four sons, one of whom is gay.  He states that he didn’t fight for one set of rights for three of his children and another set of rights for one of them.

Watch the video and think about what he’s saying.

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19 Responses to “Equality for All”

  1. Brianna |

    “Do you think gays should have equal rights?”

    “What do you think I voted for at Omaha Beach?”

    That was good.

  2. larry |

    Can we honestly say that those that fought but opposed gay rights are not heroes as well?

  3. Tom |

    It’s not an issue of who was or was not a hero. That “greatest generation” that fought in World War II were fighting to defend the principles of rights and freedom that define America. If each and every one of those still alive were polled, there would undoubtedly be a large percentage who oppose gay marriage or legal arrangements like civil unions. They would be wrong.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote:

    We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    If a gay couple wishes to pursue happiness through legal marriage, which harms no other citizen, why can’t they? Or do you object to Jefferson’s ideas? Do you want those in power (mostly white men) to have the authority to allocate rights to others based on nothing more significant than their personal preferences and beliefs?

    The gentleman in the video has four sons, one of them gay. When you find that someone you love is gay and seeks his/her own happiness, you want them to have the same right to pursue that happiness that everyone else has. Or if you don’t, you should examine your own values.

  4. Brian Bagent |

    Larry, there were no “gay rights” as such in WWII. In one of its most political decisions ever, in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

    If you want to read about it for yourself, just do a google or bing search on “american psychiatric association 1973.”

    No, I do not want horrid things done to homosexuals, no more than I want horrid things done to anyone for any reason or no reason. Nor do I want to have homosexuals deprived of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. The current bill, as with all of its predecessors, does nothing except create a special class of citizen, to which I am also opposed.

    If I establish a will, I can name anyone an heir that I so chose. My sanguinous relatives are free to contest my will as they so chose. Families do this all of the time, even where there is no issue of homosexuality, and this bill won’t change that. Some employers and insurance companies cover a “gay spouse,” others do not. Some employers and insurance companies offer coverage for significant others and their progeny, others do not.

    Whether or not I like the fact that some employers and insurance companies do not offer family coverage for gay and lesbian couples is irrelevant, for it is, quite literally, the business of the principles running those companies to make those decisions, not mine or yours.

    I’ve noticed that liberals are all about freedom of choice when one makes a decision that conforms to their philosophy, but not so much when one makes a decision that goes against what they believe. What makes this whole thing a monstrous hypocrisy is that these liberal organizations will use their right to freedom of association to deny or disparage others the same freedom of association.

  5. Kevin |

    The APA once considered epilepsy a form of insanity, which was a step up in comparison to the earlier diagnosis of demonic possession.

    Interestingly enough, Hippocrates demonstrated WHY he’s considered the philosophical father of modern 100% science-driven medicine when he remarked that epilepsy would cease to be considered divine the day it was understood.

    Ironically, the primary critics of the APA’s change viz homosexuality comes from… wait for it… wait for it… religious conservatives.

    Nowhere did Hippocrates even vaguely hint that homosexuality, which was very well known in his day, was abnormal in any way.

    Brian’s entire last paragraph appears to be an intensive study in irony. I can’t imagine a clearer example of the proverbial Pot calling the Kettle “black”.

  6. Tom |

    The truth in Brian’s last paragraph goes to human nature. Liberals support privacy, freedom of choice, and the sanctity of life when it comes to sexual behavior among consenting adults, certain aspects of due process, the death penalty, etc. Conservatives support privacy, freedom of choice, and the sanctity of life when it comes to religion (as long as it’s theirs), guns, abortion, etc.

    Maybe this exposes my libertarian streak, but I’d just as soon the government and everyone else just butted out of my personal affairs. I see the need for laws and rules to regulate society, particularly when it comes to keeping the baser instincts under control when they’re likely to be harmful to others. But if I were gay, I would mightily resent all those straight folks who want to deny me the right to marry — given that it hurts no one else and denies rights to no one else.

  7. Brianna |

    What Brian is essentially saying is that people have the freedom to choose, and that this freedom (fortunately or unfortunately) includes the freedom to choose *wrong*. A private business has the right to choose its policies, because that business belongs to the people who own it. You have the right to choose whether or not to deal with these people, but not the right to force them to change their choice. Liberals tend to think that the freedom of choice is *great*… until, of course, somebody chooses something like refusing to provide insurance for a gay spouse. Then the insurance company is suddenly violating gays’ rights.

    Well guess what? People don’t *have* a right to health insurance. Nor does anyone have a right to anything that will come at the expense of someone who will be forced to provide it. People have the freedom to choose, including the choice not to deal with each other, because the only alternative is to throw some people into slavery in order to serve the needs of others. And if you think the free-market system can be vicious and unfair with respect to peoples’ rights, because it allows people the power to follow their convictions, even irrational ones… buddy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  8. Kevin |

    Given that insurance companies typically defer whether to confer spousal rights to legal status (rather than an internal cost/benefit rationale) plus the fact that the gentleman in this video clip similarly referenced legal status… Brianna’s argument about insurers denying coverage amounts to nothing more rational than a logically fallacious strawman seemingly designed to obfuscate rather than illuminate.

    Tom, Liberal and Libertarian share a common etymology for a reason.

  9. Brianna |

    *Given that insurance companies typically defer whether to confer spousal rights to legal status (rather than an internal cost/benefit rationale)

    That is one of the choices insurance companies have, and one that many make.

    *plus the fact that the gentleman in this video clip similarly referenced legal status

    Equal legal status means that you’re not allowed to infringe someone’s rights because you don’t like them. That includes the rights of insurance companies whose policies you don’t like as well as the rights of people whose personal lives you don’t like. When you fight for equal legal status, that’s what your fighting for.

    *Brianna’s argument about insurers denying coverage amounts to nothing more rational than a logically fallacious strawman seemingly designed to obfuscate rather than illuminate.

    I wasn’t referring to any specific insurance companies that were denying coverage to anyone. I merely said that insurance companies had the right to deny insurance to people whether you liked the policies under which they did so or not. I did so, not in direct reference to Tom’s video post, but as an attempt to clarify what Brian was trying to say in one of his comments. The fact is that you have no right to interfere in the private business of others, whether you agree with their decisions and prejudices or not, and that goes for everyone, whether they are gay individuals or businessmen pursuing bad policies.

  10. Brian Bagent |

    Tom, I have no issue with consenting homosexuals contractually obliging each other to their relationships. Where I take issue is with the term “marriage.” The state may have a compelling interest in seeing stable marriages within their jurisdictions, but the fact is that a marriage is, and to my knowledge, has always been, a religious institution.

    If the Presbyterian or Anglican Churches (or any other church, for that matter) wish to provide the sacrament of marriage to homosexuals, well, that is their business. Now, we have people advocating that the government take over a role that the churches have always held in sanctioning homosexual “marriage.”

    Civil unions? No problem at all. Marriages? Big problem. But what does a civil union gain a homosexual couple that they do not already enjoy?

  11. Tom |

    What marriage brings is legal and social acceptance, plus the benefits of law that others enjoy. Again, were I gay, I would want — demand — that status and acceptance.

    I repeat my principal argument — legal recognition of gay marriage impinges on no one and deprives no one of their rights. On what basis can anyone reasonably object?

  12. Brian Bagent |

    Legally sanctioned gay marriages are not going to bring social acceptance. The law is frequently used to create certain legal obligations, but social acceptance is not one of them. For those to whom it is socially acceptable, no law is necessary. For those to whom it is not, no law will be sufficient. To try to use the law to make people think a certain way is to make a mockery of all law, for the law cannot accomplish this objective.

    Other than “status,” what rights are being denied, by force of law, to homosexuals? What “rights” will be conferred by marriage that they do not already possess? The “right” to obtain health insurance? No such right exists for anyone. Employers generally offer family health insurance as a compensatory benefit to employees. My current employer does not recognize my current status as a legal union, ergo only I and my minor children are covered under my employer’s health insurance plan. Their money, their rules. I am perfectly free to seek employment from a company who would do otherwise.

    I will restate my earlier objection as well: marriage is the province of religious institutions (that would be all religions, not just Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), not the government.

    I would say that those are reasoned objections.

    But I wish some clarification on your use of the word REASON, as it seems to have taken on the same meaning as “agreeable” in common parlance. I’m not accusing you of using this new definition, just trying to make sure that we are on the same page when we use that word.

  13. Tom |

    Well, the word “reason” has many different meanings and is used as several different parts of speech. So, you’ll have to judge by context.

    If you’re referring to my use of “reasonably,” an adverb form of the word, it means logical, not excessive, moderate, rational, etc. Again, read it in context.

    But back to substance — I don’t maintain that anyone has a natural right to health insurance, medical care, housing, food, and so on. But what we all do have are constitutional rights to due process and equal protection of the laws. As long as marriage is recognized under the laws, as it must be because of all the legal entanglements involved, then due process and equal protection apply.

    The only alternative, it would seem, is to revoke all federal, state, and local laws regarding marriage. Then it could be just a religious institution, and every confession (including all the wackadoodle little religious groups out there) could set their own standards. There would be no status in law, no rights and benefits under law, and some of the wackadoos would inevitably recognize polygamy and polyandry, unions between people and their favorite cows or horses, divorce by turning around three times with one eye closed while saying “I divorce you” with each turn, etc. Doesn’t sound like a very cool idea to me.

  14. Brian Bagent |

    Fair enough, we are on the same page.

    Then how are homosexuals being denied due process and equal protection? Does their sexuality make them more liable under the law? If so, how? Does their sexuality deny them the equal protection of the law? If so, how?

    What additional legal burdens does homosexuality impose on homosexuals? Must they file a different and more onerous tax form than I do? Are they required to drive 45 in a 55? Must they sit on the back of the bus, or drink from different water fountains? Are they required to live in certain sections of town? Are they limited to certain types of employment because of their sexuality? Is there a different and lower legal standard than “beyond reasonable doubt” to obtain a conviction in a criminal trial? In civil cases, must they demonstrate more than a preponderance of the evidence in order to win? Are they or their children denied access to public schools?

    Other than a lack of mass public acceptance, I’m not certain that they suffer burdens any more onerous than the rest of us. I file single-zero. That was my choice when I signed my divorce papers. I’m a libertarian, and we have no mass public acceptance, either. Most think of us as a bunch of dope-smoking crazies, armed to the teeth. I pay health insurance premiums in my group that cover the children and spouses of other people in my group, just like homosexuals do.

    But you do bring up a few other interesting points, though. Since polygamy and polyandry have no more social acceptance than homosexuality, should those people be denied the right to marry as many people as they see fit? And while we are at it, if you advocate for same-sex marriage, on what rational grounds do you assert that Bubba shouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits of marrying his favorite ewe? If a 15 year old girl can be emancipated in order to marry her 19 year old boyfriend, what’s to stop a 15 year old boy from becoming emancipated to marry his 19 year old boyfriend?

    If we are going to introduce a brand new tradition for homosexuals, what is to stop us from introducing brand new traditions for all of those other things?

    It seems to me that this is all about getting a piece of paper and obtaining health insurance, and nothing else. As you and I can both attest, a piece of paper is worth no more or less than the word of the signatories.

    However, on further reflection, it would seem that there will be another large class of beneficiaries of this business: divorce lawyers.

    And, I am in absolute agreement that certainly all federal laws pertaining to marriage should be repealed, and that includes a preemptive strike on the utterly asinine idea that there should be an amendment that defines marriage.

  15. Kevin |

    I agree with Brian about the marriage/civil unions thing. I’ve sorely irked more than my fair share of Democrats by arguing for the same thing.

    I’ve argued at length on my blog in favor of sending “marriage” back to the clerics from whence it came and essentially copy the French distinction between the civil (civil unions) and the religious (marriage). The French only apply it to hetero couples of course. But it seems a near perfect model for making it orientation-neutral.

    However, as much as I’d prefer to see the government get entirely out of the “marriage” business… Tom makes a very valid argument for why that’d be highly problematic. Although I don’t think it’d be as difficult as he makes it seem, it wouldn’t be simple or easy. Which is the one good argument for simply expanding “marriage” to include gays. But I’d much prefer to back up a few steps and avoid the religious entanglement altogether.

  16. Brian Bagent |

    Kevin Said…
    Brian’s entire last paragraph appears to be an intensive study in irony. I can’t imagine a clearer example of the proverbial Pot calling the Kettle “black”.

    Pray tell what it is that I am trying to impose on anyone?

    I am a fiscal conservative, which distinguishes from all democrat politicians and about 98% of all republican politicians. Socially, you can label me as “I just don’t give a s***”. When it comes to government, I fight the paternalistic republicans as stridently as I fight the maternalistic democrats. I find the democrats considerably more brazen than republicans, so they make much easier targets for my ire.

  17. Tom |

    Brian, we are, indeed, on the same page in many ways. In terms of rights, due process, equal protection, and legal burdens, my sole point is that if two people, regardless of gender, want to get married it’s OK with me. No skin off my nose. If we don’t allow it, then we’re discriminating on the basis of gender, which we’ve already established that we shouldn’t do in other respects.

    I don’t advocate gay marriage. I just don’t object because it doesn’t affect me and it makes someone else happy. No losers in that scenario.

    You’re right that once we’ve said that two men or two women can get married, it would seem we’d be opening the floodgates for all manner of odd combinations. Maybe, but I think the common sense factor, aided by the law, will prevent that.

  18. Brian Bagent |

    I do not trust the “common sense” factor. Common sense has provided us with all sorts of silliness: terra-centric universe; spontaneous production of maggots out of fetid meat and vegetables; the 4 humours; a flat earth; and on and on and on.

    It is skin off of your nose, though. It expands government (again), however minimally. It is an expenditure of our money on a sop that will accomplish nothing except good feelings on one side, and antipathy on the other.

  19. Brianna |

    The problem with the “common sense” factor, is that most people who listen to it don’t fully understand the logical base behind it. This means that when people tell them, “Sure it *seems* to make sense, but really my plan is much better because it takes care of the innocent children” or some such drivel, they are usually willing to fold because

    *they don’t fully understand themselves why they hold the opinions they do

    *they aren’t sure how to defend those opinions rationally

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