Gay Rights and Misleading Arguments

The two biggest flash points on Gay Rights are marriage and the military.  In the opinions being generated on both, a common but effective tactic is being used to sweep the real agenda under the table.  Taking a cue from the central martial concept of redirecting an opponent’s force rather than meeting it head on, some political players are trying to move the debate over homosexuality and human rights into other domains where they hold more defensible positions.  Let’s take a deeper look at these arguments, and why they are bunk.

Let’s start with the military.  As you know, Ron Paul did not support repealing the disastrous “don’t ask don’t tell” policy via the Military Readiness Enhancement Act.  Instead, he argues it is a question of behavior rather than orientation (hat tip craig tindale in comments).

Are soldiers engaging in gay sex during combat?  Is heterosexual sex going unpunished when it occurs on dangerous missions?  This is a false front to provide cover for the real argument:  That the very existence of openly gay individuals in the military offends the more biblically minded among the brass.  Soldiers don’t suddenly become so addicted to sex upon revealing their orientation that they can no longer function in their capacity to serve.  That is bull.  And it forms a bull argument that only appears reasonable on the surface.

The arguments against Gay Marriage are even more transparent.  One classic argument (although not origina, as anyone familiar with the civil rights movement can tell you) is the respect of states rights.  Ron Paul trotted this out when he helped take on the Federal Marriage Amendment.  The redirection here is subtle.  If, as Ron notes in the above video, rights are given by our creator, how are they not universal?  How do our rights exist in one state, but not another?  Again, something doesn’t quite add up, and what seems reasonable (people should decide for themselves, this is about democracy, this is about states rights) is really a flimsy cover for sinister bigotry.

One argument libertarians and Ron Paul supporters like to add to the pile is that of keeping the federal government out of the bedroom.  Craig Tindale makes this argument in comments:

He is against federal interference in peoples bedrooms, if California wants allow gay marriage then fine but dont make it law for Alabama , that should be up to the folk in the state you live.

As does Matt in the comments section of

As an old Libertarian I can tell you that libertarians as a group generally do not think the government should get involved with any facet of one’s personal lives. We believe that what two (or more) consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home is their own business.

The marriage debate isn’t about bedrooms or privacy.  It is about legal status and respect.  It is about equality under the law and the separation of Church and State.

Because when it comes down to it, homophobia is rooted in interpretation of the Bible.  This isn’t something to shy away from, it is something to confront.  Just as the Bible was used to justify slavery and racism, it is being used to justify how our society treats homosexuals.  Just as creationists re-branded their argument as intelligent design, homophobes are trying to make the debate of gay rights a debate over individual conduct and states rights.

Individual rights are universal, and foundational to this country.  But just as we can allow state government power to protect those rights, we can allow our federal government the power to ensure the rights of the minority are protected.  This is one of the biggest responsibilities of a republic, and to date we have been lacking.  We can start down the right path by making honest arguments.


19 Responses

  1. Given his druthers, Ron Paul would actually take the feds out of marriage all together, meaning that the federal government wouldn’t have cause to recognize any marriages, hetero, homo or otherwise.

    His answer on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” didn’t quite make sense though.

  2. But states would still be in the marriage game, right? And hence our individual rights would apply in some states, but not in others. This argument didn’t work for the racists who opposed civil rights, why should it work now?

    There are interesting arguments to be made for taking all government out of marriage itself (and only recognizing legal agreements between people regarding their status). After all, if marriage is sacred, why is the government even involved?

    Agreed in spades on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” answer. Although if you read the youtube comments, the users there seem to find his non answer compelling.

  3. Watch some Ron Paul TV 🙂

  4. Great post. It was great to see the other Republicans put on the spot about the issue, as well. Giuliani especially surprised me with his unwillingness to speak on the issue. They are cowards, every one.

  5. its also a matter of degree, none of us are going to find a candidate that they completely agree and getting someone to address the war , government size and debt issue are way ahead of the nancy boys 🙂

    I think I can say this because I have allot of close gay friends, gay sexuality and hetro sexuality are completely different drives, most gays have many more partners than hetrosexuals by a factor of 10-100. I embrace all sexuality but the reality is they are way more active and provocative than what the hetro world is used to and the military aint a democracy, its there to achieve a purpose.

    I think there is some pragmatism that needs to be consider you let them loose in the military and I can imagine they could be very disruptive (well at least the ones I know), I think a sense of disipline is probably useful in this instance, in any case the military is drawn from a very diverse pool, if it gets to open it will probably cause allot of trouble with some of the smaller minded recruits, we can argue the fact along idealogical lines that they shouldnt be discriminated against but pragmatism tells me that we should be fairly careful.

    In Pauls case everyone comes home anyway, so the problem is different in peace time its easier to deal with and maybe offers an opportunity to be more relaxed.

    I would say that we need to ensure their legal rights are protected, I dont support gay marriage but I have witnessed some sad situations where long term couples have not had the support fo the law when a partner passes away etc.

    We should be able to do this with defacto type legal support to recognize long standing co habitation etc.

  6. Craig,

    If you have close gay friends as you claim, then why would you not support gay marriage? Especially after seeing those same friends suffer after the loss of a loved one?

    I totally disagree with you about gays, sex, and the military. I do think that some gays are more sexually active, but I am far less sexually active than many of the straight guys that I work with. And no, I’m not a prude, they’re just whores. I like to pair with one person and build a life.

    I certainly don’t see how homosexuals will affect the military at all, considering that several of the most sophisticated militaries in the world allow homosexuals. Do you seriously think that gays are going to join the military for sex, knowing that they could get killed in a foreign war as a consequence?


  7. 3. Nothing to reply to here.
    4. Thanks Brian! They are indeed cowards.
    5. Craig, I think I can say this because I have a lot of close friends also named Craig, but craigs are way more likely to engage in destructive eating habits than non craigs. The military is there to achieve a purpose, dammit, and those fat filthy craigs can’t be a part of it (but I luv them).

    Nice argument.

    Even if it held the least drop of water, how would having mnore partners and being more active effect service? Unless they are getting it on on the battlefield, I don’t see how it should matter in the slightest.

    Here’s a possibility, you keep your super active friends from disrupting the military, and we let the rest of the gay community choose for themselves whether or not they have the discipline to serve (which is the same decision straight folks make).

    Why should “smaller minded recruits” set policy for the American military? The US Military is hiring in people with neo-nazi ties. Should we keep Jews and Blacks out too?

    Why should there be a “long standing co habitation” waiting period? Heterosexual couples can just get married. Why should homosexual couples have to commit to loving together for 7 years to get the same legal rights? That is ridiculous.

    6. Brian,
    Right on, that is a very good question.

    I don’t think any of the arguments presented against having gays in the military are geniune. “Join the military for sex”? That is of course rubbish. But rather than come right out and admit WHY he doesn’t support gay marriage, or gays in the military, he needs to pull in tenuous arguments to distract from his real point.

    So, Craig, why is gay marriage a bad idea? Why don’t you think gay people deserve equal rights? Do you believe homosexuality is a choice? Do you believe it is a sin? Do you think it is unnatural? Be honest.

  8. I tell you what — you pay the illegal corporate Federal Income tax on my wages and the hidden Federal Reserve inflationary tax on my retirement savings for the rest of my life, and you might have an audience here against Ron Paul.

    Whaddya say — deal, or no deal?

  9. 8. Gosh John. I never thought of it that way before. So your support of Ron Paul boils down to taxes. Don’t care whether he hates gay, black, or jewish people, huh? Position on the environment? Who cares, let the market handle it!

    How much else are you willing to trade away to lose that pesky corporate federal income tax?

  10. lol

    I like that argument its not valid but I like that argument.

    No well in theory the lowest common denominator of a society should not dictate the rights or behavior of others but we have a difference in the military, that is that its not a free and democratic society inside the military, it’s a pragmatic instrument of purpose where folk sign away their normal rights to fulfill a purpose , if the mayor of your town comes knocks on the door and tells you that you are no longer to go to the beach and you are to stay home you might tell him where to go, its just not the same systematic form of organization that everyday life is and as such rules are applied to you so that morale can be maintained.

    Pragmatism tells us that there is widespread homophobia in the military, we might not like that but the reality is that military folk are some of the most homophobic people that we might find and because these folk are taken from a pool of men with these attitudes then homosexuality is more likely to cause conflict within that system.

    Now the question is do we care more about them performing their military purpose than we care about their civil rights, we already accepted above that they had given up some of their freedoms to fulfill their purpose of waging war etc and that morale was an important aspect of performing military operations, so my view is that its more important for them to fulfill the purpose of the military than to be able to proudly brand themselves gay while marching into battle.

    Now no none is saying they should not be in the military, the reality is that probably are as prevalent or more prevalent in the military as anywhere but in order to wage war its better that these personal aspects not be bought to the fore.

    I don’t think there should be a long standing cohabitation waiting period for any sexual orientation , the cohabitation period was put their by the state as a compromise to the church, all of this should be done by contract, if a someone wants form a union then let them sign and contract and have a union ceremony. I believe the Mormons should be able to practice polygamy as well. I don’t think these kind of rules are relevant anymore.

    Although, I do recognize the Christian background to marriage, just like I recognize the culture of the American Indians I want to honor the Christian culture, marriage is part of the Christian culture (and other religions) it pre dates our modern society, so I want these folk to be able to preserve it as they see fit, if on the other hand people want to have commitment ceremonies with contracts then I have not got a problem in the world about that, all I want to avoid is social engineering by the state, I want the government to get out of social engineering and do government stuff.

    Homosexuality to me is as natural as heterosexuality, I have always been curious about the origins and causes so I have taken a straw poll right through my life and asked them. Because they are my friends I have often hung out in their world, gone to their parties and kind of played my own anthropologist along the way. Where I have lived Sydney and San Fran we live as an integrated whole, so attending a gay event with your wife is totally acceptable as long as your completely accepting, your totally welcome.

    In some cases its organic, they were like that at birth, in other cases they have made a choice to be that way. Some of the answers I have received are very amusing and diverse, the idea that we can put them in a box and define a cause and reason is ridiculous. I have come to the view that there is no such thing as either homosexuality or heterosexuality, These are just broad labels that we apply to broad groups that don’t really apply individually, each of our sexualities is unique. If you look at the broad group referred to as homosexuals you find that they are in fact a multitude of sub groups that relate to their particular preference of sexuality, you’ve got the twinks (boyish), the bears (into hairy men), the straights (more or less like regular men) , the leathers , the water guys, the S&M, D&S, the gym guys etc etc and the funny thing is they tend to keep to themselves, like a bear would never be attracted to a twink etc, if you look at heterosexuals they also have their preferences but their groups are much less defined socially, so my conclusion is that we are all uniquely sexual and so the very process of trying to define them is ridiculous.

    I go with Ron Paul on this we don’t gain our rights from sexuality or groups we gain our rights as human beings and those rights are human rights and as long as we don’t hurt or impact the rights of another human being then everything’s fine.

    Then lets take it a step further, if Rosie and her partner want to have a baby and bring up that baby in a Lesbian relationship then that’s fine as well, similar many folk come to homosexuality via a traditional heterosexual path, so many men and woman who have had children in their heterosexual path find themselves as homosexual parents and that’s fine as well, similarly with transsexuals, from my observations this sexual orientations re assignment that occurs through life circumstance doesn’t impact their parenting ability as free human beings we should not impose the state ideas about what is right and wrong through social engineering on folks because they don’t conform to what we perceive as the norm. If folks want to adopt then in a democracy the majority can decide if that’s appropriate, if the child is a ward of the state then it’s the states right to choose, if the child is being given up by their natural parent then its their right to choose.

    Going back to the military you would never dream of forcing men and woman to shower together, you would say it is the right of the woman to have her privacy, most woman would not feel comfortable showering with men, similarly with gay and hetro men they do not wish the element of sexuality in the wash room, if the hetro men don’t know they wont feel uncomfortable, so it’s the reality that sexuality has no place in the military, hetro, homo or otherwise, so folks should keep it to themselves.

  11. Craig,

    A couple of things…

    First, the tradition of marriage that people always refer to as coming from Christianity is far different than our concept of marriage today. It wasn’t about a man and a woman falling in love and deciding to spend the rest of their life together. Marriage was for convenience, status, protection, etc. Many of the marriages in the Bible were polygamous. Denying access to gay marriage based on the “biblical” version of marriage being between a man and a women is a baseless argument in my opinion.

    Secondly, you say that sexuality should be kept to ones self in the military. That may be true, but that’s not the issue. We aren’t talking about men trying to have sex with other men in their units. We’re discussing people who are being DENIED the very right to declare which sex they are attracted to.

    No one seems to have a problem with straight military men getting it on with hookers all over town, yet one would think that might affect morale (maybe in a positive way, who knows?). I just don’t agree with the whole “morale” argument anyway. It’s a lame excuse to fall back on when a politician or citizen doesn’t want to reveal their homophobia or distaste for the homosexual lifestyle.

    Ron Paul is no better than any of the other Republican candidates. He claims to support the rights of the individual, but can and would he do anything to take government out of our personal lives? Would he do away with marriage licenses so that all could marry? I don’t think so…

    I’m much more comfortable with a candidate like John Edwards who is honest about his personal feelings. Here’s what he said recently:

    “I support civil unions to guarantee gay and lesbian couples the same rights as straight couples, including inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, equal pension and health care benefits, and all of the 1,100 other legal protections government affords married couples.”

    “Gay marriage is an issue I feel internal conflict about and I continue to struggle with it. However, I believe the right president could lead the country toward consensus around equal rights and benefits for all couples in committed, long-term relationships.”

    Edwards said he supports the “repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act provision that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex relationships.“

  12. your in trouble now the grannies warriiors are armed and dangerous lol

  13. I have nothing to add, except that this thread is a delicious read….oh, and a big thumbs up to Brian.

  14. 10 Craig,
    Indeed, and neither was yours. The “I have friends who are of group x so this is ok” argument never really works.

    The military is a special case, but in the direction of discipline and honor, not away from it. If some homophobic or racist asshole isn’t able to serve, discipline him and if necessary review his/her assignment/enlistment.
    You need to maintain morale, but is morale really in danger of being smashed by allowing gays to serve openly? This doesn’t seem to be the case in other countries where they are allowed.

    Why assume the worst of military folks? I don’t. In fact in many of the cases of someone outing themselves, it is the brass, not their comrades, who seem to make a big deal out of things.

    The question is do we care about our military being the best. If so, we need the best people. We have been throwing out language experts and decorated soldiers, all because they said “I am gay” in public. That is not putting the effectiveness of our military first. It is putting homophobia first.

    Nifty argument on letting people sign contracts as they wish.

    If marriage is Christian, it has no place in government. Period. Separation of Church and State. Let the state only be involved with civil unions, and let marriages be a purely religious status/matter then. If marriage has any legal weight, then it needs to be free of religious prejudices.

    In the case of choosing to be homosexual, might such a person not be considered to have been born bisexual, rather than purely heterosexual? I can see someone choosing to date/form relationships within their own sex, but choosing who you are attracted to doesn’t seem biologically feasible.

    Bravo on adoption rights, sexual orientation shouldn’t have any impact.
    As for letting folks decide in a democracy, again, apply that situation with regards to another factor, like race. Still think the state should decide?

    If the argument against gays in the military boils down to shared showers, then I’m sure we can all work together to find a solution.

    11. Brian,
    Right on with the origin of marriage!
    Very salient pionts all around. The point on hookers was very interesting, and I especially enjoyed Edwards take on gay marriage.
    Very honest of him, although still a little bit of a dodge.

    12. Craig, interesting post.

    13. Thanks Mirth, and a Brian does deserve quite the thumbs up!

  15. Letsw make it simple I presume you agree with “dont ask”, in my view no one has a right to ask about anyones sexuality. Agreed?

    So presuming you do your actually objecting to “dont tell”?

    I support “dont tell” because its no ones business!

    No one is suggesting that gays should not serve, I think it was Goldwater who said , “people dont have to be straight to serve they just have to shoot straight”

    Being hetro or gay serves no military purpose whatesover, on the other hand sexuality of any type in the military can be disruptive.


  16. 15. Craig, if sexuality of any type is disruptive, then why let straight people serve? The cats already out of the bag!

    I don’t support the entire policy. It is predicated on prejudice and an inaccurate assessment of our troops. Reality based policy is especially important with regard to military policy.

    The policy explicitly suggests gays should not serve. It does more than suggest. If someone is “outed”, they are out of the service. That is a destructive policy. It leads to a loss of people who can shoot straight.

  17. I wront a long response that got erased.. argh.. Anyway the short version is that a little more clarity was revealed when Paul was interviewed at Google.

    It was clear that he was not aware of the inequalities of the policy, and took The name Dont ask, dont tell at face value. Which is reasonable.

    However when an audience member told of a millitary translator that was discharged for no reason other than his sexual preference. Paul responded with “I dont support that interpretation and would work to change it”

    He is the only candidate nipping at the underlying source of all things inequal or discriminatory. Once we embrace the concepts of individual liberty, these issues will take care of themselves. I would suggest listening to the Google interview.

  18. Eric,
    That sucks! Sometimes when that happens, what I then write is much more focused, so perhaps there was a silver lining for you too. I did catch (thanks to Alexia) that speech at Google, and wrote about it here.
    I don’t think he was that confused by the name. But given the seriousness of the issue, research would have been good, no?

    He actually talked about having met the translator himself, didn’t he? In any case, I would like to know what he would change. Why not just eliminate DADT?

    The google interview, while on some points informative, on others was not. I don’t see how issues of inequality and discrimination will just take care of themselves. I haven’t seen Ron Paul make a good argument to this effect. Perhaps you could point me to something (ideally in written format)?

    If you can find such a convincing argument about rugged individualism leads to equal rights, I’d gladly explore it.

  19. The rhetoric about the “federal” government (as opposed to “state” government show that Ron Paul is not a libertarian – he is a Confederate.

    There is nothing in classical libertarianism about “states rights” or a concept that the federal government can’t violate individual rights but it’s hunky-dory of state governments get in your bedroom.

    That is a concept used by the south to preserve slavery and later support their right to keep the darkies in line.

    On almost every issue Ron Paul is much more aligned with the relgious right than he is Ayn Rand – the idea that he has been embraced by our current “libertarians” just show how bankrupt an ideology it has become.

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