Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Hampshire gets back on track for SSM

If "traditional marriage" (read heterosexual monogamy) supporters thought they were stopping the gay "marriage" bandwagon in New Hampshire, they can think again. New Hampshire's bill is moving forward. From "Everyday Christian."
"New Hampshire is now home to a winding road that may ultimately lead to it becoming the sixth U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage. The other five are Iowa, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Democratic governor John Lynch had been on the record as supporting civil unions for same-sex couples but opposed to gay marriage. He later agreed with the state legislature which viewed it as a civil rights issue and sent a bill to be signed. Lynch sent the bill back seeking extra protections written in for churches and religious groups which might refuse same-sex weddings. The amended bill was narrowly defeated in the House and has been sent to a conference committee for restructuring.

The new compromise bill may be on Lynch’s desk as early as next week. A hearing is scheduled next Wednesday, June 3.

The delay in passage has been helpful to illustrate the potential pitfalls same-sex marriage holds for people unrelated to a gay couple who oppose the marriage, said Bruce Hausknecht.

'We wouldn’t support any same-sex marriage bill, period, but what (Lynch) has done is raise awareness of the connection between religious liberties,” said Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action. 'The fix proposed falls woefully short of any serious protection of religious liberties.'

Hausknecht cited in particular the New Mexico case of Elaine and Jonathan Hugenin. The conservative Christian couple owns Elane Photography in Albuquerque. Vanessa Willock contacted Elane asking it to photograph a commitment ceremony with her girlfriend. After the Hugenins declined, Willock filed a charge against the company with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. The commission found the company guilty of discrimination and fined it $6,000.

'When (Lynch) said he wanted to revisit the language that’s OK, but it barely scratches the surface,' Hausknecht said. 'There are a whole host of small businesses that will be effected by this and punished if they don’t agree with what is happening.'

The provisions being taken in the bill are adequate and worth a few days’ wait for Mo Baxley. Baxley is the executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, a leading state lobbying firm in favor of gay marriage.

'Absolutely, we would stand up for individual liberties, including people’s religious liberties,' Baxley said. 'It’s pretty clearly spelled out in the legislation. The intent is not to discriminate.'

Baxley also defended Lynch on being characterized as a flip-flopper on supporting civil unions then later supporting gay marriage."
I've heard talk in my own church about retreating from "state registered" marriages which was amusing to hear since when debating the topic of polygyny being marriage, even if informal, I continued to hear variations of the "living in sin" argument based on the fact that the polygynous marriage was not "legal." Now the very same people are saying "well, we just won't have 'legal' marriages if we're forced to submit to laws geared for SSM." It's amusing because I'm now hearing the argument rejected by my opponents instantly offered as a shield against gay marriage. They propose to simply take marriage private, as polygynous marriages have always been. Remind me again, what was the objection to the informal nature of polygynous unions? They weren't "legal?"

Combine the interest now in Evangelical/Reformed circles to take marriage "private" or "not legal" (not "illegal" mind, you, just not "legal) and the following story reported on over at "Modern Pharisee."
KTVG San Diego - "Attorney Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.

Broyles said, 'The county asked, "Do you have a regular meeting in your home?" She said, "Yes." "Do you say amen?" "Yes." "Do you pray?" "Yes." "Do you say praise the Lord?" "Yes." '

The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.

Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed 'unlawful use of land' and told them to 'stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit' -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars."
There could very well be a move on to do what was done to the FLDS, after a fashion, and bring churches under more state regulation. Attack them on all fronts, including the pocketbook. Whoever thought that there would be a move on to make Bible Studies "illegal?"

Consider this: A chain of events where you are driven into the church building to have Bible studies, and the state starts moving in to see if you're engaging in "hate speech" and zoning laws imposed on Bible Study gatherings and informal weddings.

I can see it now, we get forced to have all services in designated areas. We are sued and regulated in those areas where we officially practice. We end up not being able to have "informal" weddings. We're charged with a variety of violations for this or that. We're bled of our resources in lawsuits, and so on.

All of this to get you in church for church. To tell you what you can and can't do in church. To discourage informal weddings. To force churches to participate in SSM.

Forgive me if this appears a bit fuzzy at the moment but it's beginning to sound like a communist nation with the state sitting in on everything we say and do. I honestly don't know how it's going to work out but I foresee the state not wanting informal marriages and wanting to be in on every aspect of our religious practice and I can't see that as good. Feel free to comment as I don't think I'm making the best connections here, but I see the connection between the two stories.

I have been saying for years that perhaps we should fold our tent on opposition to SSM in exchange for being able to write religiously defined "marriage contracts" or prenups. I think that window is rapidly closing and what we'll be left with is the state writing and regulating our "marriage contract," and SSM as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Same Sex Marriage Advocates continue to Pummel Christianity...

With their own Bible. From a Letter to the Editor in the Bangor Daily News, Kelly Connell and Heidi Plante write:
"Those who use (the Bible) to attack gay marriage claim (it) promotes marriage as the union of 'one man and one woman.' In fact, in much of the Bible, marriage is between one man and many women. Abraham, Jacob and Lamech all had multiple wives (Genesis chapters 4, 16, 25, 28 and 29). To follow all that the Bible endorses one would have to fight for polygamy, incest (Genesis 19), adultery (Genesis 30), and many other behaviors we no longer tolerate or believe to be God’s intent for us."
Neatly summarized here is also the point made of progressive revelation. Not "progressive" in the sense that we know more about God's plan, but progressive in the sense that God's plan is erroneously perceived and corrected as time goes on. This is the idea that the Church plays a role in revelation and social policy in the sense that the Church makes doctrine up or invents it and interacts with society to arrive at "values" or "social mores." "Change," in other words.

Unless we as the Church retreat to a Biblical position, which states that (among other things), polygyny is NOT wrong, the SSM crowd will continue to throw the book at us. Our Book. The Bible.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Same Sex "Marriage" stalls again in New Hampshire

There are certain passages that preachers neglect in scripture, to their peril. One is the capstone story of the Book of Judges, in which a rather spineless Levite loses his rather unfaithful and less than sympathetic figure of a wife, his concubine. Virtually everyone in the story remains unnamed. It's not a good commentary on the principals involved. He woos her back, then he throws her to the wolves in a story that parallels remarkably the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Why should we be more afraid of "Gay Marriage" than of polygamy? It's contained in this one sentence.
CNN - "The (new) language (of the same sex marriage bill) would specify that religious organizations can decline to take part in any marriage ceremony without incurring fines or risking lawsuits."
To say I watch my legal facilitators with a baleful eye is to grossly understate the situation. If SSM advocates were truly of the "live and let live" variety of folks by and large I could almost be in favor of same sex "marriage." Almost.

The most recent failure of the bill in New Hampshire had several former supporters of the bill switching sides to vote against it. Why? Because it removes the ability to "force" religious organizations into acceptance. It wasn't so much that the bill was designed linguistically to sue churches and denominations, but it did open the door to such suits and now we see an idealistic pettiness I usually associate with the right. A "my way or the highway" attitude.

If you want to examine the rather dense language (I advise two "pirin" tablets, that's Aspirin with the A and S scraped off) and a reading of the post immediately preceding this one. It is Governor Jim Lynch's statement on the New Hampshire bill, and the changes he requires in it.

The legal common ground between supporters of SSM and supporters of legal polygamy (in my case, the more narrow case of polygyny) should make, except for the religious differences, happy bedfellows. Ultimately I think it does not which is why I lean so hard on the horn of marriage contracts. Just as it wasn't the object of the men of Sodom, Gomorrah or Gibeah to compromise or live and let live, I don't think it is the object of present day SSM advocates to do that either. While they may open the door to legal polygamy, we must not only take that gift, but also built a legal wall between us and them or they will be at the door, pounding on it, demanding that they destroy. There is nothing new under the sun. We are not better. We have not progressed. The same scenes will play themselves out again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gov. Lynch Statement Regarding Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

Hat Tip to the "Law Dork."

CONCORD - Gov. John Lynch released the following statement today regarding same-sex legislation in New Hampshire:

“The gay marriage debate in New Hampshire has been filled with passion and emotion on all sides.

“My personal views on the subject of marriage have been shaped by my own experience, tradition and upbringing. But as Governor of New Hampshire, I recognize that I have a responsibility to consider this issue through a broader lens.

“In the past weeks and months, I have spoken with lawmakers, religious leaders and citizens. My office has received thousands of phone calls, letters and emails. I have studied our current marriage and civil union laws, the laws of other states, the bills recently passed by the legislature and our history and traditions.

“Two years ago, we passed civil unions legislation here in New Hampshire. That law gave same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights and protections as marriage. And in typical New Hampshire fashion, the people of this state embraced civil unions and agreed we needed to continue our tradition of opposing discrimination.

“At its core, HB 436 simply changes the term ‘civil union’ to ‘civil marriage.’ Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change.

“I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families.

“I have also heard, and I understand, the concerns of our citizens who have equally deep feelings and genuine religious beliefs about marriage. They fear that this legislation would interfere with the ability of religious groups to freely practice their faiths.

“Throughout history, our society’s views of civil rights have constantly evolved and expanded. New Hampshire’s great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections.

“That is what I believe we must do today.

“But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty. In their current form, I do not believe these bills accomplish those goals.

“The Legislature took an important step by clearly differentiating between civil and religious marriage, and protecting religious groups from having to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their fundamental religious beliefs.

“But the role of marriage in many faiths extends beyond the actual marriage ceremony.

“I have examined the laws of other states, including Vermont and Connecticut, which have recently passed same-sex marriage laws. Both go further in protecting religious institutions than the current New Hampshire legislation.

“This morning, I met with House and Senate leaders, and the sponsors of this legislation, and gave them language that will provide additional protections to religious institutions.

“This new language will provide the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions.
It will make clear that they cannot be forced to act in ways that violate their deeply held religious principles.

“If the legislature passes this language, I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law. If the legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it.

“We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity.

“I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the legislature to pass it.

Below is the language Gov. Lynch has proposed for the same Sex legislation.

# # #

I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if such request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage, the celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious counseling, programs, courses, retreats, or housing designated for married individuals, and such solemnization, celebration, or promotion of marriage is in violation of their religious beliefs and faith. Any refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such religious organization, association or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society.

II. The marriage laws of this state shall not be construed to affect the ability of a fraternal benefit society to determine the admission of members pursuant to RSA 418:5, and shall not require a fraternal benefit society that has been established and is operating for charitable and educational purposes and which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization to provide insurance benefits to any person if to do so would violate the fraternal benefit society’s free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States and part 1, article 5 of the Constitution of New Hampshire

III. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed or construed to limit the protections and exemptions provided to religious organizations under RSA § 354-A:18.

IV. Repeal. RSA 457-A, relative to civil unions, is repealed effective January 1, 2011, except that no new civil unions shall be established after January 1, 2010.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Hampshire will have Gay "Marriage"

All the signs are there. The stagy Republican boycott/walkout is all about how everything in politics can be a victory, as long as you stay in office.
The Nashua Telegraph - "Rep. William O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, claimed the group has a meeting with Gov. John Lynch this morning and will urge Lynch to veto the bill (HB 436), which would let gays and lesbians marry, and a related one (HB 310) that fixes mistakes and omissions made in the first.

Rep. David Cote, D-Nashua, chairs the House panel, but O'Brien stressed the GOP members were upset at House Democratic leadership and not at Cote.

'I have a great deal of respect for David Cote and think he's a decent person,' O'Brien said. '. . . The comments he and others made have convinced me this process was beyond his control.'

House Republicans vigorously protested the second same-sex marriage bill that went through the Senate and House on the same day a week ago without a public hearing.

For his part, Cote said he served more than two decades in the House minority before Democrats took control of the House after the 2006 elections.

He couldn't recall such a committee walkout before while adding that any member of the committee can come and go as they wish.

'The idea that the Republican minority did not have an opportunity to participate in this debate is just not true,' Cote said.

Other local representatives who signed protest statements and did not take part in the committee meeting Tuesday included Robert Rowe, of Amherst, Nancy Elliot, of Merrimack, Robert Mead, of Mont Vernon, and Peter Silva, of Nashua.

Seven of the nine Republicans members on the House panel signed the statement.

An eighth, Rep. Anthony DiFruscia, of Windham, supported both bills after the Senate created separate religious and civil marriages for same-sex couples in the compromise. He was not at the Statehouse on Tuesday.

The ninth, Rep. Joseph Hagan, of Chester, voted against both bills and was also absent Tuesday."
One really doesn't need to get too technical about who is where, or who is absent. What is important is the quick language fixes in the bills and the fast tracking of them to Gov. Lynch. Nothing short of a massive demonstration on the capital steps could persuade Gov. Lynch to exercise his veto now.

Republicans will posture about how they tried to save marriage and use the issue as grist for the next election campaign. Democrats who supported it will immediately start distancing themselves from the legislation so as to minimize the damage and gay "marriage" will be a reality in Hew Hampshire. The only state in doubt now in the "northern tier" will be Maine, with it's unpredictable "voter veto" looming on the horizon. New York may chime in with it's own bill soon. I'm sitting right in the middle of all those state capitals.

If you want to keep reliable track of that bill's progress, there is always the New Hampshire Governor's site, and there's the "Law Dork," published by Chris Geidner, a gay lawyer who doesn't seem to get panicky about things. The bill's submission date to the Governor seems to have been changed to the 12th, making it likely that the law will be real law by Monday of next week. The five days required by New Hampshire law expire on Saturday. Or he could just sign it.

Glenn Beck (Grudgingly) speaks the truth, but doesn't explain it

For that, you have to speak with bloggers such as moi.

For the LOGIC you must go to my preceding post. Yes Glenn, it is not logically possible to exclude more than two from entering into marriage when you've broken the gender difference barrier, but you need to tell them why that is.

This is why polygamy and polyamory will probably be legalized by the courts.

Hat tip to Media Matters. (&Toes)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dumb, Blonde, Republican: Margaret Hoover on Bill O'Reilly

God help me if I ever get my wish and end up on some program like "The Factor." Just keeping up with the auctioneer's style of delivery that some the guests have would be one of the biggest problems. I have listened to the audio of this encounter now three times, and only in conjunction with the transcript at "Media Matters," did I begin to understand everything that was said, and who said what.

Of the three, Gretchen Carlson and Bill O'Reilly make the most sense, Margaret Hoover makes the least:

An accurate transcript is linked to in the above video window, that takes you to Media Matters.

Right away, Bill seems to get it wrong, and misnames the group the "World Polygamy Association" when in fact, as noted by Media Matters, it's the "World Polyamory Association." (CONTENT ALERT)
"All right, Hoover (Margaret). I did not know this, but I had said from the jump if you OK gay marriage, then you have to do plural marriage, which is now -- has a name, triads. Three people getting married. There is a group in Maui, Hawaii, called the Lessin's adversary group -- advocacy group, and it's World Polygamy [sic: Polyamory] Association. They're associated with that. And they want to be married.

So, No. 1, I'm an oracle. And No. 2, how you can deny them under equal protection under the law?"
Bill's been beaten to the punch by a number of people, including myself, but admittedly he has a bigger pulpit so we can give him that one. Until the O'Reilly's of the world start to talk about it, usually the rest of us don't know. Typically though, when you wish to control an issue, partly by ridicule, you pick a ridiculous example. The "World Polyamory Association" will now benefit from Bill's largess, it will be interesting to see how much. At present, the have a downward trending website that has a world rank of 4,124,110 with no discernible footprint in the United States. By contrast I have a world rank of 469,519 trending upward and flirt constantly with a top 100,000 ranking in the United States with the Modern Pharisee blogspot. I'm a registered lobbyist on behalf of the legalized polygamy effort (nearly non-existent) in Vermont. By far, I'd be the better choice to pick on or interview, but no one calls, save one timid reporter from the Burlington Free Press that has never called back.

Watching the video is instructive. The leaning forward body language of Ms. Hoover, the energy, the finger stabbing and teeth baring behaviors all reflect the cornered mentality exhibited in the Vermont Legislature during testimony against the Gay "Marriage" bill. What were the witnesses most afraid of? Polygamy. Apparently so is Margaret;
"Here's what I think. First of all, I think it is extremely disingenuous for you to suggest that, if you allow gay people to get married, they're going to have to allow -- that polygamy is then going to run -- rampant across the United States."

Bill: "You just said you have to allow them."

Margaret: "Due process is when we have laws, we then enforce them. We barely in five states have laws that gay people can be married. We have laws in zero states that polygamy can happen."

Bill: "I walk in with the O'Brien twins from South Boston and say, "Hey, you've got to marry me, because you're allowing gays to get married, and I'm in the Lessin's group, the World Polygamy (Polyamory)Association."

Margaret: "You've got to change the law, then. Because the law says it's between two people."
I've "redacted" some meaningless interjections from the discussion and excised some banter. To be sure I've accurately quoted the substance, read the transcript and watch to the clip.

Ms. Hoover, The LAW said two people BEFORE, one of which was a man and one of which was a woman. The law then was changed in several states (and changed back in one) by the courts, stating that denying the benefits of marriage to gays was unconstitutional. Thus marriage supposedly survives as a social contract, but is made available on a non discriminatory basis to homosexuals as well as heterosexuals. Equal protection under the law. Hoover then tries a dirty debate tactic and Gretchen Carlson jumps right on it:
Margaret: "Not multiple people. By the way, the last time polygamy was on the rise? 1896, when Utah became the 45th state in the union. Not a massive movement going mainstream."

Gretchen (Fox & Friends co-host): "Thirty years ago we didn't think we'd be where we are today."
Bingo. This is what O'Reilly is trying to set up and he succeeds, pinioning Ms. Hoover who continues to squirm.

If it is MINORITY rights you respect and defend, then at what point does a minority rise to the status of protected? Polygynists are not vocal, they try to stay to themselves and live their lives quietly for the most part. Polyamorists are a bit more vocal and the most likely to marry Bill's "turtle." They will be militant and loud, advocating for fornicating with anything and calling it marriage.

Then Margaret tries to retreat to the new definition of marriage, showing just how amorally pragmatic she is. She doesn't care about the institution of marriage, she cares about losing power in marriage, which is what would happen if polygamy were legal. This does threaten her and does produce the teeth baring snarling cornered animal look that I have seen in my own friends in the church. Two will do as far as Margaret is concerned, because that protects her status quo.

Gretchen though points out that gender difference was part of the definition of marriage, and now is not. Why then would number need to be part of the marriage definition. In addition, the polyamorist movement declares a need for multiple partners, and as i have famously pointed out, a bisexual needs more than one partner to "sanctify" their sexual relationships in the confines of marriage, so two ill not do, thank you. The rest of the discussion goes as follows:
Bill: "But you're denying them equal rights."

Gretchen: "No. Exactly. I care when the government, and I care when the private businesses of this world are going to be paying for everything with regard to this. I do. Because who's going to be next?"

Bill: "All right. So you disagree?"

Margaret: "I don't buy into the slippery slope argument at all."

Bill: "You'd let everybody do whatever they want?"

Margaret: "That's the slippery slope argument. That's if you allow one thing to happen, then another thing, and another thing."

Bill: "(Margaret), you would let everybody get married who want to get married. You want to marry a turtle, you can."

Margaret: "Due process. I want to abide by the law. If the law says I can marry a turtle, I'll marry a turtle. Last time I checked, we're a Judeo-Christian culture that doesn't allow me to marry turtles."

Bill: "You've got to take a stand. You've got to take a stand, now. You would be for, then, putting the umbrella over all groups."

Margaret: "I am for what the law says. I do not support polygamy."

Bill: "That's a copout. Total copout."

Margaret: "No, I don't support polygamy. I support two people, couples, marriages."

Bill: "OK, but then you have to explain why two and not three."

Gretchen: "And then you don't call it marriage anymore. It's not marriage anymore."
Both Gretchen and Margaret now seem to think "Two" is territory they can hang their hat on having conceded the loss to gay "Marriage." Bill continues to bore in on the idea that this is just as irrational as gender difference definitions in marriage, from a legal standpoint that is.
Bill: "Explain why two and not three? And you can't."

Margaret: "I think that the crux of our foundation of our culture depends on two people."
Bill never hammers the bisexual angle as I have, but he's right. If you say that marriage is a state institution designed to protect the rights of sexual cohabitants, as gay marriage laws now essentially mandate, you can't stop at two. Relying on religious definitions isn't going to work either, since Bill and Gretchen and Margaret, don't even know what their own are.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gay "Marriage" in Maine, or not.

Maine became the second government to pass a gay marriage law, and it was immediately challenged.
The Associated Press - "Couples anxious to wed under Maine's new gay marriage law may have a long wait. A formal challenge to it has been filed, setting into motion plans for a possible public vote that could be months or more than a year away.

'We're very disappointed,' said Steve Ryan of Buxton, who was looking forward to the new law with his partner, Jim Bishop. 'We plan to get married as soon as we can. This is going to put our whole life on hold.'

Activists on both sides Thursday started working up strategies for campaigns leading up to a possible November referendum under a state constitutional provision known as the people's veto."
Eventually the fickle American electorate will just tire of being bullied about the subject, and pass it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gay "Marriage" Bills advance in Maine and New Hampshire

My territory may expand. I shall have to look into registration as a Lobbyist and accompanying political action in both New Hampshire and Maine. From the Blog of Robert Schlesinger at US News and World Report:
"I noted with satisfaction that Maine's senate passed a gay marriage bill this week. So too did the New Hampshire senate. Whether the two lower chambers will pass the accompanying bills is unclear (New Hampshire's house passed a slightly different version, so they have to address it again), and whether the governors would sign the bills is also not known (Maine's governor used to be opposed but now says he may be open to the experience). As Josh Marshall points out, it may be that we've reached some sort of societal tipping point on this issue—I can only hope so."
With the repeated caveat that I don't wish to advance the cause of Gay "Marriage," I am entirely willing to swoop in on the wreckage it leaves behind to salvage something of value.

Though it sounds arrogant, I have been right all along on this, pointing out years ago (though I was not alone) that gay marriage would be a reality and that it would be soon (it happened in the time frame I gave) and that polygamy would follow shortly afterward.

The danger continues to be that in trying to preserve a church legislated definition of marriage, that the church will then fail to act and defend marriage from the coming storm. There is still a window of opportunity but it's closing fast. The conservative, evangelical, reformed denominations need to band with polygynists to protect the true Biblical definition of marriage.