Proposition 8 Ruled Unconstitutional

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Ham, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. pictish

    pictish Member

    brainof07, you can on at length about how fine you are with homosexuals, but you said the following:

    So automatically homosexuality is equated to a crime (Or more euphemistically, "a choice"). Further more, you imply that since it's a choice it's okay for us to not tolerate homosexuality.

    All these implications are totally unacceptable and homophobic.
  2. ChadMiller

    ChadMiller Well-Known Member

    What? Which forces are those?

    My experience is the exact opposite; in the US at least, prejudices against inborn qualities like race are considered far, far worse than prejudices against things perceived to be a choice like religion.

    I think the video link posted is pretty dumb. A lot of those questions are obviously far dumber when asked of a straight person than a gay person for very legitimate reasons, and including such questions just undermines his point.
  3. Ham

    Ham Member

    I would + this twice if I could.
  4. Boco

    Boco Member

    It wasn't a ruling about Cali's state constitution? I didn't read the actual opinion, just the news articles about it.

    As a member of the GLBT community I'll have to say that there's not any united front about that and for most people the issue isn't about "legitimacy". But the reason civil unions aren't good enough is that 1) other states don't need to recognize your state's civil unions, 2) you don't get Federal marriage benefits in a civil union. You can already just draw up a contract between the two parties to get certain benefits like common property, hospital visitation rights, etc, but it's very hard to get it all in one convenient package without calling it "marriage" unless the laws of the US and most constituent states change simultaneously.

  5. Thelo

    Thelo Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah uh, the scientific (and general) consensus is pretty overwhelming that sexual orientation is not a choice. Making it as far as the third and fourth sentences in the Wikipedia article on sexual orientation should already give you enough links to be satisfied.
  6. brainof7

    brainof7 Member


    I am not trying to say that that is how I personally feel! I have literally heard that kind of argument straight out of the mouth of other people before, and have said that I was relating what I perceive as the general idea that some of the religious people in the nation feel! I only agree with the choice bit as much as I have seen people change their minds about their sexual orientation.

    I do not believe that someone just wakes up one day and makes a choice, it is a product of genes and environment and other factors sure. But I have seen plenty of people decide to change their sexual orientation, and so all that I am really advocating is that people have power over their minds and if they decide they want to they can change. Not that people decide naturally how they are or anything.
  7. Thelo

    Thelo Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah and what we have found out is that that is false and doesn't work. You can decide to try to change your sexual orientation, but it will not work, in the same way that you can decide to be a squirrel but that will just not work. That's well-documented and understood by people now.

    What does happen is that someone will lie about their sexual orientation. I'm sure you can guess some reasons for that.
  8. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Staff Member

    Well say that your family goes to a church, and the church doctrine is that homosexuality is a choice. Then you would pick up this and you'd want to conform to it. That is an example of what I mean.
  9. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    I get the impression that brain is confusing not knowing your sexual orientation with choosing it. My understanding is it's quite easy to do the former but not so much the latter. People who choose seem like they're either lieing, were confused about their orientation, or maybe some % of such people are attracted to both sexes and it appears like they're choosing, I dunno.
  10. Wail

    Wail New Member

    This seems more likely to me. Sexuality is most likely not a conscious choice in any case, but I can imagine people who exist somewhere in the middle of the sexuality spectrum being pushed in a specific direction and later rationalizing it as a choice.
  11. SpicyCrab

    SpicyCrab Well-Known Member

    Gay man: I think that it really 'is' a choice. No way, it's not. You're just rationalizing it as one; I know better than you do.

    That doesn't seem slightly crazy to you?

    Perhaps for some people it is a choice and for others it is not? Or perhaps it is really to complicated a question to boil down to "choice vs non-choice?"
  12. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Staff Member

    Seems okay to me. One thing we learn when studying the brain is that we really have no clue about how we think. There are dozens of research experiments showing that we choose something and then our conscious mind rationalizes it after the fact. "Consciousness: An Introduction" is a good guide for the layman.

    That was a long-winded way of saying that I trust decades of research more than some guy saying something
  13. paradoxical

    paradoxical Member

    They might even have a name for that.
  14. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    I do feel that it was to me an urge you simply acknowledge and deny. Yeah, I get that the brain has 0 insight on how it works and that I might be fooling myself.
    BTW I don't think it is a choice you can go back on and change as Sirlin suggested. Some choices have no rollback points.

    @garcia1000: Yeah, I'm with you man, decades of research FTW. Just don't forget Phlogiston was a valid scientific theory for almost a century.
  15. pictish

    pictish Member

    -Y-, are you stating that we should always disregard the current scientific knowledge we have, or just when you disagree with what it proposes?

    I am also curious what you propose we substitute in to find out the truth, now that science can't be trusted. Whatever it is has to have never been wrong ever, remember.
  16. FMJaguar

    FMJaguar Administrator

    Having only two possible orientations seems like a waste. We should probably exchange the compass for one that can actually hold the range of human behavior.
  17. Boco

    Boco Member

    Such as the Kinsey scale?
  18. nifboy

    nifboy Member

    Basically this. On the one hand you've got an intense social pressure for an individual to be or change a certain way. On the other you have a complex mix of biochemistry known as the human body and brain that is not typically* prone to conscious willpower. Throw in some environmental factors and stir. Trying to apply broad generalizations to everyone's case in either direction is, plainly, stereotyping.

    *:As opposed to "never", such as in the case of a placebo, which works on pure willpower and nothing else.
  19. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    Im treachering myself if I say I want to say what is a choice and what is not.
    Im Full determinist, so trying to say whats a choice is already very hard to me. SO in that sense i agree with garcia1000.

    But i can find possible that SOME gays do CHOOSE to be gay.

    Im not going to say that its true or not but I will present two subjects who I think present certain uncertainties about this to me.

    There is my female cousin. Who had a friend that i knew many years ago. He presented himself as gay and had boyfriends etc. he was very close to my female cousin. Today they are married. Im still unsure what happen there as i didnt ask much but...what?
    This guy who presented himself as gay had boyfriends and all seemed to got in love with a female , i dont know how sudden it happend. But something happend there.

    Then its me. I define myself as straight. But I had male sexual partners. And I wanted to have sex with my friends, and I even convinced the closest friends i loved to try, I was kind of sad it didnt work out.
    Even as young as 8 year old i had fantasies of sex with both men and women.

    At this point you can think ¨why you define yourself as straight? its madness!¨

    There is a huge difference between both sex to me. I cant be romantic to a male. In fact the plain sight of two men being romantic to each other or kissing each other in the mouth repulse me. Yeah Despite the male partners i had, the fantasies etc. Im never ¨romantic¨with males and i cant.

    So I have multiple theories.
    -Im straight, but i have some perversion that makes me like sex with males.
    -Im bisexual (even if this do not make sense to me) and I have some cultural input that makes me repulse the idea of homosexuality.
    -Everybody is actually bisexual, but they choose what the culture say they should choose. (Men that are said to be straight are found to have homosexual relationship if the proper condition are meet)

    Many times in my life, based on the fact that the personalities of women is ugly to me, i considered trying to be in a homosexual relationship.
    In my mind the first thing that make me stop is the prejudice I will get from the people that know me.
    The second problem is that I have this repulse to being romantic to other man. But I dont have to , right?.
    In fact I thought many times that If my relationship with vandy doesnt work I will do this, since I dont see myself standing another women.

    So i kind of feel i DECIDE to be straight until new advice.

    But to be honest im CONFUSED at 28 years old. And at the same time im not too worried.
    But I feel the idea of DECIDING is possible since maybe i am deciding. But have in mind that being a full deterministic person I doubt if I decide anything in first place and the word and its meaning in itself is confusing to me.
  20. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    On the most basic level, it is a choice. A person usually chooses who they have sex with. Their sexual orientation is based on the gender of the people they have sex with; hence they choose their sexual orientation.

    (I believe we will agree that cases where someone has sex without choosing to do so should not be considered in this discussion)

    There are other levels to consider, however; If one defines sexual orientation as mainly a social condition then it is not necessarily voluntary. I had one friend in high school, asexual by the basic definition and by my judgement, who eventually 'accepted' that she homosexual simply because many of her friends insisted she was, and she was not attracted enough to any male classmates to refute them. However, for most people, their social circle makes their 'decision' based on observed behaviors. The person in question can manipulate their perceived orientation by changing or avoiding those behaviors.

    Finally there's the psychological angle, which is a complicated and poorly defined mix of hormones, conscious and subconscious decisions and learned behaviors. An argument on this level runs into problems with the definition of 'choose' because choices are not usually made on a conscious level. Compounding matters, psychological sexual orientation is usually measured indirectly via indicators, most of which can be consciously manipulated.

    Most of the studies I've seen on the subject use self-reporting to measure sexuality, which basically means they use a random mix of the three.

    Under the first definition, I can confidently state that being gay is a choice. Under the second, I can reasonably claim that being gay is usually, but not always, a choice. Under the third, it's up in the air and depends on your definition of choice - it is not usually a conscious decision, but is information produced by that cocktail of neurons and chemicals that is a human brain.
  21. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Staff Member

    I think a reasonable semantic argument on the meaning of 'choice' could be made that it's a choice, for example, whether someone self-identifies as gay or straight or other. And probably there are some cases where a guy is attracted to men and women, but maybe not at the same time! Or like waterd, which is not a conventional sexuality probably.

    Are these cases outliers, which could lead to cognitive bias due to the availability heuristic? Who knows!

    From what I know of normal human's brains, though, it would seem to me to not be a choice. But I'm not trying to convert anyone and it is fine to hold a different opinion!
  22. PhantomGlider

    PhantomGlider New Member

    Bucky, most people use "sexual orientation" to refer not to sexual activity but to sexual attraction. Activity is sometimes used as a proxy for attraction, especially in cases where activity frequently contradicts stated attraction. It's possible to force yourself to have sex with someone you're not attracted to, but most people would say that's not choosing to be a different orientation as much as consciously acting counter to your orientation.
  23. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    We should accept what it says for the time being (if it is a verified claim). We however should never stop looking/testing truth. The claim "Every scientist thinks sexuality is not a choice" is no different than "Every scientist thinks Phlogiston is the source of fire" or "Every scientist thinks the principle of uncertainty is true". Both claims were true in the context because we hadn't yet devised a way to disprove them.
  24. Sirlin

    Sirlin Steward of the Realm Staff Member

    I don't get what waterd is saying at all. By some definition of "choice" that is unreasonable, yeah ok it's a choice. But I'm talking about a using the word in a reasonable way that people actually mean. You can choose to eat your own barf, I understand that it's possible to make that choice. That is not the type of choice we mean. In that same way it's possible to have gay sex you don't want or to stab yourself in the stomach with a knife.

    What people actually mean by choice about the underlying attraction. You can't choose that. If you are an edge case where your'e bisexual and could go either way, ok that is where there could be room for choice. If you are actually straight, no you can't choose. You can choose to have gay sex yes, like you could choose to stab yourself. But that is not choosing to be gay, that is choosing an act you find repulsive and unattractive. If you are straight, you can't just choose to change what you're attracted to. If you're gay, you also can't choose. If you are confused and don't know what your sexuality is, you could discover that, but that is not a choice either, it is revealing what is there.

    When the monsters who support discrimination against gay people with Proposition 8 talk about how it's a choice, they are not talking about the edge case of a bisexual person who likes men and women and can have sex with either one. They are talking about how gay people could just have well chosen to be straight, and that is certainly totally false. If some gay guy you know says otherwise, it remains just as false and he is confused or wrong or bisexual. Again, to those who are not bisexual, just think about how repulsed you are by making that "choice" to go the other way. It should be quite obvious that it's not a real option for you to change your attraction. Also, I think this isn't even debated scientifically unless you mean by FOX News who digs up people who say there is no global warming.
  25. pictish

    pictish Member

    Comparing sexuality not being a choice to Phlogiston carries different insinuations than comparing it to Newton's laws. That's what I was wondering about.

    Of course we all know science changes, I'm just curious why you'd personally go for comparing determined sexuality to a now absurd idea. Or is it just de rigueur to bring up Phlogiston in any discussion involving science?

    It seemed to me like a back handed way to taint the scientific research without actually bringing up any useful points.
  26. Kayin

    Kayin Well-Known Member

    This whole thread seems out of hand. What seems to now be a semantic argument (outside of the first, wrong person who brought it up saying it's ALWAYS a choice) is being treated like some sort of moral outrage/attack on gay rights or whatever.

    Like some people here, the "no one ever chooses to be gay" thing doesn't sound totally right as someone who has many gay friends and seems more of an oversimplifcation of a lot of complicated things. It also gets into the whole deal of 'well what IS a choice?" since almost everything about us, for better or worse, is influenced by predisposition and environment. I know people who are gay through abuse, people who are gay because they relate mostly to their own body, people who are gay because women are crazy and people who are gay because they just always were, even as a child. Even with my self, I found my self to be more... bisexually open after roleplaying female characters in relationships for a long time (initially on a dare!). Obviously that potential had to be there to begin with, but man, I honestly do thing I could push my self to be gay if I wanted. The brain can be pretty malleable sometimes!I'm into so much stuff now that would make my younger self puke that it doesn't seem all that impossible.

    Now, I don't wanna finger wave science away or anything, but it does seem weird to me, though I accept that my gut reaction is probably wrong and that anecdotal evidence often lies. Regardless, lets assume that HALF of gay people choose to be gay (I can't imagine it being more slanted toward choice than that). Does that change any of our opinions here? We're not the guys on fox news or the guys voting against prop 8. Personally, being gay could be entirely a choice always and I'd still feel the same way about the issue. The tone of the argument here seems more like one that would be aimed at Brain, but it's being used for a discussion that is mostly now about psychology.

    So pretty much I'm just saying "Save the venom, guys, no one is really attacking gays or anything here(besides for that one guy)". Maybe some of the guys have gone beyond what really should be discussed in this thread, but hey. I'm not trying to make an argument that sexuality is or isn't always a choice, I'm just saying that theres probably no malice goin' on here. I mean, Waterd made it with a dude, I think he's allowed to be confused and conflicted.

    Also this is pretty sweet news. It being a gay judge is going to be an issue for awhile though. Hopefully the court system will uphold this though and it actually seem quite plausible.
  27. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Staff Member

    The only social issue which is black and white is racism!
  28. fullspectrum

    fullspectrum Member

    I'm very pleased about the ruling. Sirlin's first post was excellent and recflected my own sentiments, so I will add it to the 'epic post' thread.

    I'm straight but the thought of two men together doesn't disgust me (after all, the though of 'Kayin: Woman Edition' is pretty exciting, especially after having seen the beard : ) /lolz).

    It should go without saying that any two people in a relationship should be treated the same as any two.

    It's things things like prop 8 that disgust me, not homosexuality.
  29. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    Well I'll admit I disagree with "It's not a choice" so I naturally used an example that furthers my goals.
    OTOH I don't see much core difference between Classical elements (Air, fire, water, earth), Phlogiston and the Newton's theory. Both were created by brightest minds of their time by applying their currently available methods. We can't judge Aristotle for not discovering Newton's theory any more than we can't blame our ape like ancestors for not discovering fire sooner.
  30. Ham

    Ham Member

    (removed; I think I read a couple things wrong in a previous post)
  31. Boco

    Boco Member

    Um, Phlogiston was quite accurate, it's just that the sign was reversed. It accurately described all observable evidence and made testable predictions that could be (and were) verified. Then we found out about oxygen and figured out phlogiston was just negative-oxygen.
  32. Ham

    Ham Member

    I'm not too familiar with the history of chemistry. TBH I only skimmed the article when I looked it up, and in my mind it got lumped together with Aristolean mechanics. I think I just got bothered by a comparison of Aristotle's theories (not really watertight even in the days of the Greeks) to Newtonian mechanics, but I misread the post's tone.
  33. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    Yes Kayin sorry if i did a misdeed at jumping at this thread when my point of interest maybe wasnt what OP intended.

    To be honest I couldnt care less about laws, and most people know why, I could expand but i wont in the fear to make this too long.
    I find the whole thing about human brains choosing and how they choose plenty interesting and thought my post would add to that. It was in no way a pro or against the laws and constitution thats being discussed here as i have no respect or interest about those.
    Its true Kayin that about my own sexuality is something that has me confused, but dont worry i dont lose even a minute of sleep about it if you know what i mean.

    Sirlin@: I didnt intend to provide a stance, just material. I have no opinion about the issue and I think i made it clear. Im not sure yet what is a choice exactly and how we choose things etc. I think its a complicated issue for which we do not have an answer yet.
    It seems you have very clear what is a choice and what is not. And i wont criticize you for that. What I meant with my post is just provide material and my POV that you may note its not well defined. I just said i have experiences that make me thing it is a choice. And as Kayin said the brain is malleable.

    Final point I dont feel i have a solid answer, i think it was material for a discussion I find interesting and i think others find it too. What is choice? How much can we change our minds?
    Yes maybe we are guilty since this is more about some political issue and we went out of the main point, the politics.
    Maybe here and there , there was a point were we should just make a new thread about this, we just did not.
  34. pictish

    pictish Member

    Good thing this is not a topic about science or there'd be a lot to say about this intellectual dishonesty!

    Kayin with the super reasonable post, being a lunatic fringe and all. I think it's expected/acceptable for discussions of gay marriage on the internet to get somewhat heated though. It does seem like a pretty important thing, the rights of gay people!

    Ultimately though, choice or not is pretty irrelevant. I forget why it matters if people choose to be gay or not when we're giving them equal rights or whatever.
  35. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    Dishonesty? I just used an example that drives my point home at no expense of the truth.

  36. Thelo

    Thelo Administrator Staff Member

    Here's a Wiki quote that argues a bit about why the distinction matters:
    Intuitively, it makes sense that discriminating about some aspect of yourself that you cannot do anything about is worse than discriminating on something you can change. So discriminating based on non-choice things like race, gender, national origin, or (as I would argue) sexual orientation is a degree worse than discriminating based on things people can actually do something about.

    Although you're right that even if it was a choice, it would still be bad to discriminate against (see: discrimination based on religion, political affiliation, etc.).
  37. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Wow, this thread moved fast... hope noone minds me going back about 40 posts...

    I tried to say why before, garcia. But basically my answer would be that there's too much emotion invested on both sides of the argument. There's too much misinformation and too much hatred going around, and so it's not really a "win" until the marriage thing goes through. Sort of a "If this much time and effort has been invested, why not go all the way?"

    Also, while SpicyCrab was joking earlier when he said marriage is going downhill, I totally agree with him on that too. If anyone actually cared about the "sanctity of marriage" they'd be concerned about the divorce rate, not this stuff. And if marriage is losing it's importance in our society anyway, then the most reasonable reason to fight this battle at all is for acceptance of the gay community.

    *Edit*: I want to be completely clear, I'm not saying "2 days ago I thought it was a legal issue, and now I think it's a social issue". I'm saying that just getting the legal win is not satisfactory by itself.
  38. icewolf34

    icewolf34 Well-Known Member

    Claytus, sounds like the claim is that government should favor the term 'marriage' over the term 'civil union' because the former will, along with protecting the rights of gay people, also shape the language and attitudes of other people. Is that right? I think instinctively I am a bit scared of this line of reasoning.

    I mean, the government chooses an emotionally loaded term for citizens to use (by the way, a majority of citizens don't wish to use it), and hopes that the enforced term will also influence people through its connotations rather than just its legal meaning. In this case, maybe we happen to agree with the cause that the government is advocating for, but it's easy to imagine less agreeable uses of this tactic.

    Kind of late here, so this isn't a great example but maybe it will illustrate my point. Imagine that a conservative government pushes to streamline the various aid agencies. Without any cut in services provided, this results in a substantial saving to taxpayers. As a side effect, minority students who receive federal aid for college tuition are now technically referred to as 'welfare recipients'. The term has a legal meaning, but also some undesirable connotations.

    EDIT: On a related note, I'm kind of also taken aback by this "right to marry". I mean, the ruling seems to put this right on the level of Bill of Rights protection, at the same level as freedom of speech and congregation, freedom to bear arms, right to a fair and timely trial, etc. I had thought that marriage in the eyes of the state was some legal convenience that is mainly a contract between two people that holds some ancillary tax benefits and legal shortcuts (don't have to explicitly draw a will, grant power to make medical decisions, etc, but I thought these were just shortcuts achievable through other means.) Didn't really expect it to be enshrined so highly.
  39. Sirlin

    Sirlin Steward of the Realm Staff Member

    No icewolf, it needs to be real marriage, not a separate but equal kind. Separate but equal is not equal. Maybe we should not let native americans get married, but come up with a new thing for them called "craptridge" that has the same sort of rights, so that we are treating everyone the same.

    Also, it has to be marriage because of the full faith and credit clause of the constitution. Other states have to respect marriage but not really a made up thing called civil union. So again, to be equal it has to be equal.

    To the issue of whether it matters if being gay is a choice or not (newsflash: obviously not a choice), it matters slightly. If it were a choice, there is still no reason to discriminate or treat as second class. But if it's not a choice, our laws treat things we can't change specially, with something called a protected class. As a country we've decided to make it especially bad (legally) to discriminate against things that are out of your control, such as the color of your skin. (Or, the genetic proclivity you have toward homosexuality vs heterosexuality...)
  40. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Staff Member

    I think marriage is a loaded term because it has religious connotations. Therefore, it would be better if marriages were eliminated and replaced with civil unions. imo
  41. Sirlin

    Sirlin Steward of the Realm Staff Member

    Sure, that's acceptable to me. What ever happened to separation of church and state anyway.
  42. icewolf34

    icewolf34 Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, that would be my proposal as well. But I think Claytus might say, that does not have the full social benefits.
  43. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Staff Member

    Yeah I don't mean banning people from using the word 'married' to describe themselves. I just mean, that the legal status of people is 'civil union'. So you can say to friends "o we are married guys" whatever, and have ceremonies in churches or whatever you like.
  44. pictish

    pictish Member

    Oh, right. Thanks for clarification guys. Discriminating on mutable is bad and immutable is very bad, fair enough. Seems that either way discriminating is a losing move!

    Either way, not a great case there for making gay marriage illegal.
  45. PhantomGlider

    PhantomGlider New Member

    The problem with "civil unions for everyone" is that the current institution of marriage isn't a religious thing. If I had somebody to marry, I could go down to a government office and get a marriage license without ever setting foot in a church. Nor are religions required to recognize all legal marriages; I'm pretty sure that the Catholic church refuses to marry people who have been divorced and nobody gives a half a shit. Combine that with the fact that the "government GTFO of marriage" argument didn't pop up until gay marriages were a thing, and it comes off as transparently denying marriage to gays because fuck faggots.
  46. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    No, I would not say that. Making all the government stuff just about "civil unions" would be fine.

    My problem with that is only that it's unrealistic. It's just arguing semantics, when the actual meaning of these words is not actually what's at stake. I mean, it's not like marriage is tied to any particular religion in common usage, anyway. Like I said before, if people actually cared about the importance of marriage, there's a million terrible trends affecting the longevity of heterosexual marriages that they should be discussing. Instead, this gay marriage stuff is what actually gets talked about, and I'm 100% convinced that the arguments about the literal meaning of the word "marriage" are actually just a legal cover to allow homophobia to get some public credibility.
  47. PhantomGlider

    PhantomGlider New Member

    The text of the decision, by the way, is absolutely delicious. I know it's 130-odd pages, but there are so many good bits in there. For example, at one point the decision literally quotes one of the prop 8 defenders as saying that the source of a statement was "the internet." In another part, it uses a quote from Scalia's dissent in Lawrence vs. Texas - the part where he says, in essence, that if gay sex can't be banned because of moral opprobrium then how can we possibly ban gay marriage? - and uses it to support his contention that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

    It's also hilarious that the defendants couldn't even manage rational basis for Prop 8. He goes through all the supplied "rational bases" for Prop 8 and is like "this is manifestly false, this is contradicted by the evidence, this is not even a rational basis, what the fuck is this 'all other state interests' bullshit."

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