And then this amplification from a North Carolina minister, aimed specifically at Jonathan Edwards:
Before I begin, I'd like to note that the first clip illustrates pitch-perfectly one of the trends of political discourse I like least, namely the personalization of every matter and attempts to "put a face" on social policies. "Would you allow US" is not an attempt to get an answer about a matter of the common good. It invites knee-jerking in the answerer, attempts to narrow thought beyond one's own horizon (and thus feeds this generation's narcissism), and is mostly just cheap self-righteous grandstanding by the questioner.
The responses I posted in their entirety here, from the CNN transcript.
This is not difficult. If a person has a right to marry someone of the same sex, then the lack of same-sex "marriage" under the law is government-sanctioned discrimination, truly akin to the miscegenation laws. You cannot be against homosexual "marriage," while considering that any disparate treatment of any definable group is discrimination. This discrimination narrative, "rights talk" as Christopher Lasch and Mary Ann Glendon called it, is something that all the Democrats who answered the question (plus both the questioners and Anderson Cooper) apparently accept. They believe that this is an issue about anti-gay discrimination and not about the definition and purposes of marriage.
One either believes that a person has a right to marry, in principle, anybody he wants to based upon his wanting to do so, and thus the case for gay "marriage" is airtight (as is the case for polygamy and who-knows-what-else-is-waiting-in-the-wings). Or one accepts that marriage has an inherent structure, namely the male-female procreative bond, that contrary unions violate and so are not "marriages." Therefore, privileging the male-female union does not "discriminate." Which is why it is truly incoherent to say, as all the Democrats except Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich apparently believe, that such privileging is "discrimination," but the solution is civil unions. Civil unions are simply another form of discrimination and one made even more incoherent and irrational if such unions have all the privileges and burdens of marriage, but not the name.
Every response was weak at least intellectually and only Kucinich even achieves surface coherence. But the spectacularly incoherent ones were from Edwards and Obama. Here are the highlights of Edwards:
whether it's right for any of our faith beliefs to be imposed on the American people when we're president of the United States. I do not believe that's right. ...Keep in mind he's answering a question partly and undisputedly framed in the lingo: "Senator Edwards said his opposition to gay marriage is influenced by his Southern Baptist background."
I feel enormous personal conflict about this issue. I want to end discrimination. I want to do some of the things that I just heard Bill Richardson talking about -- standing up for equal rights, substantive rights, civil unions, the thing that Chris Dodd just talked about. ...
But I personally have been on a journey on this issue. I feel enormous conflict about it. ... my wife Elizabeth ... actually supports gay marriage. I do not.
Where to begin? How about with Edwards insisting that he doesn't believe in imposing religion-based morality while supporting his stance against homosexual "marriage" in terms of his religion ... excuse me ... his faith community. He reads like somebody saying something he doesn't believe -- in both directions. There is certainly no other reason -- good, bad or indifferent -- for why he does not support gay marriage.
And how disgraceful is it to hide behind your wife's skirt on such a matter? What ... is Edwards afraid that Elizabeth will keep all the hair mousse if he doesn't make some bow toward her stance. This is a classic case of someone trying to straddle the fence -- wanting to say one thing to
I mean, I've been asked a personal question which is, I think, what Reverend Longcrier is raising, and that personal question is, do I believe and do I personally support gay marriage?Does Edwards even realize that the entire claim to homosexual "marriage" made by gay activists is precisely THAT the inability of a man to marry a man is a denial of their rights? Even Uber-Homophobe Moi at least acknowledges their arguments as being what they are. You would have to have spent the last 10 years on Pago Pago not to realize that saying "I do not support gay marriage" and "I don't want to deny gays their rights" is an answer that, in the current intellectual climate, does not answer anything without you having a lotta 'splainin to do.
The honest answer to that is I don't. But I think it is absolutely wrong, as president of the United States, for me to have used that faith basis as a basis for denying anybody their rights, and I will not do that when I'm president of the United States.
Which gives us a nice segue to the incoherence of Barack Obama. Here's the highlights:
COOPER: Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay marriage?Not only does he repeat the same Edwards nonanswer about equality, apparently not realizing that the argument for gay "marriage" is precisely that denying it is a denial of equal rights, Obama even managed to commit two further intellectual crimes.
OBAMA: Well, I think that it is important to pick up on something that was said earlier by both Dennis and by Bill, and that is that we've got to make sure that everybody is equal under the law. And the civil unions that I proposed would be equivalent in terms of making sure that all the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for same-sex couples as well as for heterosexual couples.
Now, with respect to marriage, it's my belief that it's up to the individual denominations to make a decision as to whether they want to recognize marriage or not. But in terms of, you know, the rights of people to transfer property, to have hospital visitation, all those critical civil rights that are conferred by our government, those should be equal.
First of all, he didn't actually answer Anderson Cooper's question, which was that he distinguish the current "ban on gay marriage" from the ban on interracial marriage. The analogy between them was also the unstated starting premise of the North Carolina minister's YouTube question. It's surely worth noting in this context that the analogy between homosexuals right and black civil rights is one that much of the black community, particularly in the black church that finds misguided or offensive. Obama's silence shows exactly how the tension on this issue between the black church and the Democrat netroots is treated -- by not acknowledged as even existing. It may be slipperiness but there is method to it.
Second, the second part of Obama's answer manages to introduce a new nonsequitur. Obama says that the churches should have the right to define what marriage is for their own sacramental purposes. One would have thought that the First Amendment's Free Exercise clause would have made that a rather noncontroversial point, but ... whatever (for now)¹. But the issue of what is a marriage for the church has nothing to do with the matter of what is a marriage for the state, which also both acknowledges and performs them. Most of the time, Caesar does simply rubber-stamp what God has put together. But not always -- the county JP will suffice. To tick "married" on your 1040 forms, or any other government document (state or federal), you need a license from Caesar. Thus the definition of marriage is something on which Caesar must decide -- for his own purposes at least. That's what the whole current dispute is about: who can be considered "married" by the state.² And that's a matter that a political office-holder like Obama cannot punt to the church.
¹ Once gay marriage becomes state policy, we'll see how long it takes before gay activists try to force churches to conform. The over-under is a week, I'd guess.
² Anyone who wants to has long been able to go to the Unitarians, Metropolitans or similar sects, and have a ceremony in (what they imagine to be) the eyes of God, cut a cake, wear rings and have a hot time in bed that night. The free exercise clause does cut both ways.