How We Win Matters: Observations on the Recent SCOTUS Decisions (Guest Post)

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roberts

Process Should Matter But Doesn’t Anymore

Colonel Hyrum Graff: We won. That’s all that matters.

Ender Wiggin: No. The way we win matters.

—From the film Ender’s Game

Really, process hasn’t much mattered for a long time.Thursday, a 6-3 majority of the Court rewrote portions of the Affordable Care Act because that was the easiest thing to do. It was the only way to save a poorly written, supremely complex law. Rather than uphold the Act’s plain, unambiguous language as written by Congress (well, by someone anyway—we wouldn’t know what was in it until they passed it, according to Nancy Pelosi), the majority used very selective context to rule that when Congress explicitly wrote about exchanges created by “the State” it didn’t really mean “the State”. That’s like ordering a chocolate donut for breakfast, and the waitress bringing you a bear claw and a turkey sandwich and telling you that’s what you really meant.

The following day, a 5-4 Court held that all 50 states had been violating the Constitution for nearly 150 years. How? By failing to recognize that it guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage. This despite the fact that no society in, oh, all of human history had recognized it much less been rooted in the practice. It was not enough for the Court to uphold the actions of those states who have validate same-sex marriage, the large majority of which had it forced on them by judges (though that wasn’t specifically what they were asked). No, the Court saw fit to discover (eureka!) a new fundamental, constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

We have evolved a system where our courts are a super-legislature. First, judges and justices can simply rewrite inartfully drafted laws to suit what they think is best. Second, they can make final decisions on controversial issues as they see them, effectively ending public, political and legislative debate. Sure, they’ll pay lip service to “legislative intent” and our “traditions”. But they are results driven. They will focus on cultural and societal changes that help them arrive at the more enlightened conclusion they want to reach.

Funny, I thought justice was supposed to be blind. Clearly she’s learned how to hold the scales while simultaneously peeking through her blindfold.

We got to this point because we, the people, in order to form a more perfect union, have decided the best place for editing laws, “creating” or “finding” new constitutional rights, and expanding government power is the one branch of government that has absolutely no accountability to the people. This is entirely inconsistent with the representative republic our Founders established. If the Founders had wanted to give nine unelected judges legislative power, they would have written it in the Constitution. They didn’t. They implied the some form of judicial review but several Founders, including Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, cautioned that the judiciary shouldn’t have super-legislative authority and judges shouldn’t substitute their own will for proper judgment.

The Founders vested legislative power in the Congress, the body originally designed for representatives of the people (the House of Representatives) and the states (the Senate) the place to draft, debate, consider and ultimately vote on proposed laws. And the constitutional restrictions on federal power were designed to limit the areas Congress and the rest of the federal government could regulate. The states, local governments and people were to retain most of the power and function as the great experiments of democracy, joined in union on a few federal issues but otherwise fully independent of federal intervention. In other words, our system was deliberately created to promote tension among equally empowered groups.

Unfortunately, we, the people, have conceded over the decades that the legislative process is too slow, too cumbersome, too partisan, too whatever to accomplish all the changes we want. Unhappy your state has restrictions on abortion? Believe sodomy laws are outdated and should be repealed? Think your state should authorize same-sex marriage? Don’t go through a legislature populated by the people’s representatives. You might (gasp) lose. The people may not be ready for your changes and their representatives may reflect that.

Instead, pick the best “test case” you can—you know, the one with the most sympathetic plaintiff and the best story to tell—and file suit instead. Shop for a friendly judge who is politically sympathetic and argue the system must be changed judicially because that’s the way to right the wrong. Those legislators and their hayseed constituents just aren’t sophisticated or brave enough to act. And if you get to the Supreme Court, rely on the political and cultural climate to persuade 5 of 9 to rule in your favor because, you know, we are more enlightened now. And if you don’t succeed, find another test case and try again. Maybe a little more time will change culture and, as a result, judicial minds.

Chief Justice John Roberts took seemingly contradictory positions in the Obamacare and same-sex marriage. In upholding Obamacare he reminded that the legislative and political process had taken their course and the Court’s role was to interpret the Act the way Congress intended. Curiously, he claimed “[T]he power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people,” while ignoring the fact that the law was not written by the people’s representatives but lobbyists and policy wonks, and ignoring the actual words of the law. He must have meant that the legislators have the power to make law unless they write something we don’t like. Then, the very next day, in dissenting from the same-sex marriage majority in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Chief wrote, “It can be tempting for judges to confuse our own preferences with the requirements of the law. The majority today neglects that restrained conception of the judicial role. It seizes for itself a question the Constitution leaves to the people, at a time when the people are engaged in a vibrant debate on that question.”

Huh? Has the Chief Justice of June 24 met the Chief Justice of June 25? He argues essentially the same point to reach completely contradictory positions. How else to explain this than conclude the judiciary is a super-legislature substituting its own results-driven conclusions for those of duly elected legislatures.

Cheering either of these decisions because you support the result you places us all on a very slippery slope. After all, a court that makes decisions you favor without respecting established process can just as easily rule against you next. As Justice Samuel Alito aptly put it in his dissent in Obergefell: “If a bare majority of Justices can invent a new right and impose that right on the rest of the country, the only real limit on what future majorities will be able to do is their own sense of what those with political power and cultural influence are willing to tolerate.”

That is oligarchy—government by a select few—not democracy.

The Living, Breathing, Meaningless Document

Supporters of the judiciary’s power grab will defend these and other controversial decisions as the natural evolution of society and culture. The Constitution was enacted more than 200 years ago, they’ll say. The drafters couldn’t possibly have envisioned the issues we have to deal with today. So the language they used can’t realistically be used to confront today’s issues.

They are correct to an extent. Take birth control. Assume for argument that the Founding Fathers had some knowledge of the issue and considered it as a possible fundamental right when deciding which rights to enumerate. Clearly the issue was not of sufficient significance or seriousness to warrant specific inclusion in the Bill of Rights. But if they had little to no knowledge of birth control, can we blame them for failing to include it? Fast forward to the 1960s and the states have various laws criminalizing or substantially regulating the use of birth control. The appropriate process to change these laws, again, would have been to go to the state legislatures and urge them to deregulate and decriminalize. If they chose not to, then you try again and gain greater public support. The other alternative would have been to seek to amend the Constitution to provide recognition of the right to use birth control.

What actually happened, however, was Estelle Griswold opened a Planned Parenthood clinic in Connecticut with the goal of hoping to test Connecticut’s law criminalizing the dispensing of birth control. She and a colleague were arrested the day they opened the clinic, convicted at trial and fined. Their case was the last of several perviously unsuccessful “test cases” over a couple decades designed to use the courts to do what the legislature apparently wouldn’t.

The case made its way to the Supreme Court—Griswold v. Connecticut—in 1965. A majority not only overturned the convictions, it ruled Connecticut’s law was unconstitutional. The Griswold majority wrote that the law violated the “right to privacy.” Not familiar with the words “right to privacy” in the Constitution? Don’t feel bad, they’re not in there. In fact, Justice William O. Douglas, who wrote the majority opinion, conceded they’re not there. No matter. Justice Douglas reasoned this new “fundamental right” can be found in the “penumbras” (essentially, shadows) of the “emanations from [other] guarantees” found in several specifically mentioned rights in the Constitution.

So, in other words, if it’s not specifically in there but we think it should be because (a) of our modern enlightenment, and/or (b) the legislature isn’t doing what we think they should, we’ll find it there somewhere, even if we have to look at the penumbras from emanations (whatever those are). A bear claw and a turkey sandwich might be found in the penumbras from emanations of a chocolate donut.

Justice Potter Stewart dissented in Griswold and would have held the Connecticut law constitutional despite being “an uncommonly silly law.” Justice Hugo Black agreed with Stewart but separately dissented to explain the reason for his conclusions: “I agree with [Justice Stewart’s] dissenting opinion. And, like him, I do not to any extent whatever base my view that this Connecticut law is constitutional on a belief that the law is wise, or that its policy is a good one. In order that there may be no room at all to doubt why I vote as I do, I feel constrained to add that the law is every bit as offensive to me as it is to my Brethren of the majority [and the justices who wrote opinions concurring with the majority] who, reciting reasons why it is offensive to them, hold it unconstitutional. There is no single one of the graphic and eloquent strictures and criticisms fired at the policy of this Connecticut law either by the Court’s opinion or by those of my concurring Brethren to which I cannot subscribe—except their conclusion that the evil qualities they see in the law make it unconstitutional.” Brilliant.

Justices Black and Stewart recognized their proper role as justices was to consider the actual language of the Constitution, not to decipher its emanations and penumbras. The actual words were supposed to be the gold standard by which Ms. Griswold’s claim should be measured. The so-called “right to privacy” wasn’t in there; therefore Ms. Griswold’s ability to dispense birth control, and the people of Connecticut’s ability to use it, was not a fundamental right. It was subject to regulation—even stupid, wrong-headed regulation, including outlawing—by their legislature. These justices also knew what their role was NOT—namely to substitute their opinions for the Connecticut legislature as dumb as the law might be.

This brings us back to the Founding Fathers. So they didn’t specifically enumerate the “right to privacy” or the right to use birth control, or have an abortion, or engage in sodomy, or permit same-sex couples to marry. So what? Justice Anthony Kennedy told us in his majority opinion in Obergefell that the drafters of the Constitution, and eight decades later the Fourteenth Amendment, that guaranteed due process, “did not presume to know the full extent of of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”

He’s right. Clearly the full extent of freedom and liberty evolve because our society, culture, technology all evolve too. The Founders, as smart as they were, weren’t clairvoyant. Future generations should have input on what is and is not a fundamental right. What’s the easiest way to do this? Make the Constitution a living, breathing document that must naturally change with the times when judges say so.

Except the Founding Fathers, with wisdom that dwarfs to a minuscule level the wisdom of modern leaders and judicial majorities, established ways for the Constitution to be amended. Article V gives only Congress (two-thirds of both houses) and the States by convention (two-thirds of the state legislatures) the authority to propose amendments, which then head to the state legislatures where three-fourths of them are needed to ratify. Notice that neither method gives the Supreme Court or any court this authority.

And yet that’s exactly what the modern judiciary and Supreme Court do. You want to modernize the Constitution’s language? You want to have a right to privacy in ones personal affairs constitutionalized? Better yet, you want the Constitution to guarantee specific rights related to privacy like, say, a woman’s right to choose? Don’t concern yourself with “original intent” or actual words because these antiquated notions cannot compare to our modern sensibilities (some of the Founders owned slaves, after all). Don’t bother with that pesky, arduous amendment process. Just cling to the notion that the Constitution means what we say it means because it lives, it breathes, it is malleable and should naturally adapt to the times.

Chief Justice Roberts said it well in his dissent in Obergefell: “The majority expressly disclaims judicial ‘caution’ and omits even a pretense of humility, openly relying on its desire to remake society according to its own ‘new insight’ into the ‘nature of injustice.’ As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are? * * *“Yes, the majority concedes, on one side are thousands of years of human history in every society known to have populated the planet. But on the other side, there has been ‘extensive litigation,’ ‘many thoughtful District Court decisions,’ ‘countless studies, papers, books, and other popular and scholarly writings,’ and ‘more than 100’ amicus briefs in these cases alone. What would be the point of allowing the democratic process to go on? It is high time for the Court to decide the meaning of marriage, based on five lawyers’ ‘better informed understanding’ of ‘a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.’ The answer is surely there in one of those amicus briefs or studies.”

And let’s not forget that many states had already legalized same-sex marriage. Most of them had state court judges impose it but nearly a dozen actually passed and signed bills into law. The Supreme Court should have deferred to the states to make their own decisions. That’s what was happening already. Without their help.

Practical Madness

Those trumpeting the same-sex decision in Obergefell pooh-pooh the conspiracy talk of what the practical consequences could be. Relax, they say. No one is going after Christians or churches. No one is going to be discriminated against or get sued. This is just the easiest way to equalize all people so stop being bigoted and just get over it.

Now, put emotions to the side. Is it that hard to imagine how Obergefell could have wide-ranging impact beyond gay couples getting wedding licenses?

Suppose a gay couple want to marry in a particular church and the church refuses. Does the church now have any legitimate grounds to refuse? What if the couple wants their pastor to perform the ceremony away from the church building? Can the pastor refuse? Do you honestly believe every couple in this situation wouldn’t sue the church? Who has the greater “fundamental right”? I guess we’ll have to leave that up to the judges—which means the conclusion is obvious in light of modern jurisprudence.

Many churches and religious organizations have 501(c)(3) tax exempt status under the tax code. They can lose their status if they support a particular candidate or engage in improper political activities. Could refusing to perform same-sex weddings jeopardize their status? I guess we’ll have to leave that up to the IRS—which means the conclusion is obvious given their recent history of targeting religious and conservative groups.

Can a private business operated by a religious person refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings? Can a Christian baker refuse to bake a wedding cake? Can a Muslim florist refuse to provide floral arrangements? Can a Hindu limousine driver refuse to drive the same-sex couple to the honeymoon suite? Well, we know prior to last week’s decisions that several times business owners have been fined, sued, and/or run out of business for standing by their religious beliefs. Heck, a Christian pizza parlor owner in Indiana was compelled to close her business due to backlash when she gave the “wrong” answer to a hypothetical question about whether she’d cater a same-sex wedding. Is it so hard to fathom that incidents like this will only increase after this past week?

What about polygamy? Again, leave the emotion aside and look at it logically. Chief Justice Roberts correctly stated in his dissent that there is a much greater history of societies allowing polygamous marriages than same-sex marriages. And one of the key reasons in favor of marriage has always been procreation—at least until this last week. Given that same-sex marriage is now a “fundamental right” why should there be a limit on the number of people that can marry each other? What would be the justification to continue to outlaw polygamy?

What about other fundamental rights? Can a state that outlaws concealed carrying of a firearm still prevent a person with a concealed carry license from another state from carrying there? Abortion (we’re told) is a fundamental right too. Can a medical doctor refuse to perform an abortion if the mother really wants that doctor to do it? In light of Obergefell, how?

Social engineering through government is the root of this problem. And unfortunately this is nothing new. Our federal government has been using the tax code, administrative regulations through myriad, often duplicative executive agencies and programs, the decennial census, and judicial authority to encourage some behaviors while discouraging or outlawing others, set policy, and “right” perceived “wrongs” for centuries. Cases like Griswold and Obergefell continue this trend by forcing society to change at the stroke of a judge’s pen rather than debating, discussing, deliberating and deciding together.Is it really a stretch to think these conflicts will not only continue but accelerate?

A Final Personal Note

All of the above does not change the fact that I love and care for all my friends and family.

To my gay friends, I love you. Christ came not to judge us but to forgive us and reconcile us to the Father. My goal as your friend is to treat you as He would. I pray that you will experience Him and the freedom that comes from relationship with Him.

A recent Facebook meme captures it well:

“Yes, I am a Christian. I believe the Bible. I do not support homosexuality or ‘homosexual marriage.’

Yes, I still love you.

Yes, we are still friends.

No, I am not judging you.

No, I am not condemning you to hell.

No, I will not let anyone bully you.

But realize that name-calling and stereotyping those of use who stand for what we believe is exactly what you don’t want done to you. We have a right to speak what we believe, same as you have a right to speak what you believe.”

I would add a couple of things.

I don’t hate you because we may disagree. We don’t have to agree on everything to be friends.

I don’t raise concerns about the process of how things are done because I am trying to deny anyone anything.

I am not an alarmist or conspiracy theorist for looking at the logical extension of what we do.

I simply believe that words mean things, our heritage and history are important, and we need to make changes in the appropriate manner.

I also believe these things should concern every American.

And none of this makes me “homophobic” or bigoted or any other negative epithet.

How we do things is as important as what we do. Do we want to continue ceding our authority and increase the imbalance of powers, so these privileged, select few can tell us what is best?

I think that’s a really bad idea.

As Ender Wiggin said, “The way we win matters.”

Leo is a conservative trial lawyer (yes, there is such a thing) with 15 years of courtroom experience in Washington and Idaho, and a former Seattle talk radio host. A supporter of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, government that is smaller, less wasteful and more accountable, lower taxes, and a strong military, Leo believes God grants rights to the people who in turn permit the government to regulate as the people see fit...well, at least that's how it should work!

29 Responses to “How We Win Matters: Observations on the Recent SCOTUS Decisions (Guest Post)”

  1. 1

    Kevin Kirkpatrick

    I do not support homosexuality or ‘homosexual marriage.’

    Waffling double-talk. Be honest: in real-world terms, this amounts to, “I will not stand by you during the most important event of your life. After you’ve exchanged vows, I will show no respect for the most important relationship in your life. Of course, I’ll take it for granted that you will do so for me and my marriage.”

    Yes, we are still friends.

    You sure about that?

  2. 2

    john

    You believe in the Bible ? Then you believe that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old? And that T-Rex went onto Noah’s Ark? And unicorns…. unicorns are mentioned in the Bible several times so I guess that is part of your belief also?
    The Founding Fathers would have been considered quite progressive in their own time.

  3. 6

    Kevin Kirkpatrick

    @Bill:
    Hi Bill,
    No anlogy is perfect, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve come across one as strained as yours. We don’t even have to muddy the water with LGBT rights. If I married a black woman (I’m white), and a friend of mine told me, “I do not consider interracial marriages to be legitimate. I will not be attending your wedding, nor will I ever refer to that woman as your wife.”, then that friendship would be over. Period.

    Would you feel any differently? Because frankly, if don’t see the difference between a friend making a statement like that vs a friend voicing disagreement over truck brands, I guess I can only say (as would just about anyone of any ideological bent): that is one royally —-ed up value system you’ve got there.

    [edited to fix typo & reply-to link]

  4. 7

    Bill

    @Kevin Kirkpatrick: So, it is stupid to wreck a relationship over someone having a gay marriage. However, if someone wants to wreck a relationship with someone that does not AGREE with a gay marriage, that is justifiable. Does that sum it up?

    One should not violate one’s right to a same-sex marriage. However, violating one’s 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHT to religious freedom (one written down for us, the other not) is OK. Is that correct?

    Vilifying someone over what they think or prefer is stupid; unless one vilifies someone over something liberal that the person disagrees with. Right?

  5. 8

    Kevin Kirkpatrick

    @Bill:
    Bill, you can’t convince me that your views are coherent if they prevent you from addressing a simple hypothetical: If somebody told me that my marriage was not legitimate, refused to attend my wedding on those grounds, and refused to refer to the woman I married as my wife, then that person would not be welcome in my house. I would consider efforts to maintain a personal friendship with such a person to be a transgression of the marital vows I made to my wife. Would your reaction be any different?

    If yours is the more reasonable stance here, show me! Turn off the rhetoric, tone down the hyperbole, stop bringing up trucks and vilification and stupidy and 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHTs and religious freedoms… and just focus on giving a straight answer to a simple question.

  6. 9

    Bill

    @Kevin Kirkpatrick:

    Bill, you can’t convince me that your views are coherent if they prevent you from addressing a simple hypothetical: If somebody told me that my marriage was not legitimate, refused to attend my wedding on those grounds, and refused to refer to the woman I married as my wife, then that person would not be welcome in my house.

    Sounds like a personal issue. What do you want, some LAW to compel the person to accept and like all the choices you make? He may be a jerk but, prepare for a major shock, it just might turn out that YOU are the jerk. In any event, either pick your friends or your life partners more carefully.

    I don’t think the question is personal feelings. In question is, does anyone have the RIGHT to their own opinion or belief? You feel YOU do, and so does everyone else that feels the same way. I, on the other hand, say you are absolutely wrong, but you have every right to think as you do; you just don’t have the right to COMPEL me to agree or like your choice. If you want to say to me, “Since you don’t like my choices, F- you.”, oh, well. See ya.

    For instance, my sister-in-law (a liberal), the twin sister of my wife, has unfriended us BOTH on Facebook and blocked us. Our sin? She does not agree with some of the things we post…. not on her page, but our own. Guess how much that has changed my life. Just take a guess. Liberals… what are ya gonna do?

    How’s that for clarity?

  7. 10

    Kevin Kirkpatrick

    “Sounds like a personal issue.”

    Yep, exactly – it is a personal issue. I was responding to a personal statement from the OP. Which is why I’m confused that you continue to bring law into it.

    The personal statement from the article amounted to:
    1) Because of my religious beliefs, I do not recognize your marriage.
    2) But I’m still your friend.
    My point was that #2 is flawed: friendship is a 2-way street, and the response anyone should expect to statement #1 would be: “Because you do not recognize my marriage, I do not recognize our friendship.”

    Many Christians seem to feel that this response is out of line; that a person taking that stance is “being a jerk”. I think that’s mis-guided, and even those same Christians would recognize it as such if roles were reversed.

    You (STILL) have not been clear: Would you maintain a close/personal friendship with somebody who refused to recognize your marriage? In other words, would that still be someone you’d invite to dinner, knowing they’d tell your wife her marriage is a sham and your kids that they have unwed parents? If you would continue such a friendship, then you’re attitude toward marriage is very different from mine.

  8. 11

    Bill

    @Kevin Kirkpatrick:

    The personal statement from the article amounted to:
    1) Because of my religious beliefs, I do not recognize your marriage.
    2) But I’m still your friend.

    That is him being the “bigger person”. Perhaps you should try it.

    Your question is ambiguous. Would I sever a long-standing relationship with someone because they don’t like my marriage? Who is this person? What do they object to? How long have I known them? What have they done for me? What have I done for them?

    I go back to my original scenario:

    “I like Fords.”

    “That’s nice. I drive a Dodge.”

    “You’re a goddamn hater.”

    If I take you at face value, that is your position; differ with me on one detail and you can kiss my a$$ and die. I’m not like that.

  9. 12

    Kevin Kirkpatrick

    Ford vs Dodge again? Quit acting like a brat. Your attempt to pretend as if I’ve indicated that I’d discontinue a friendship over ANY difference of opinion on ANY subject is dishonest and childish. Your attempt to pretend “not recognizing your wife as your spouse” means the same as “they don’t like my marriage” is dishonest and childish. There’s a huge difference in how I’d react to a friend who disapproved of my choice of spouse vs. a friend who refused to acknowledge and respect that my choice was made.

    Despite your rhetorical antics, I’m quite sure you’re aware that not all beliefs/opinions are just inconsequential things that bounce around in our heads. Some opinions/beliefs lead people to act hurtfully to others. And if a friend, no matter what our history, has a belief that causes them to – consistently and without apology – do and say things that are hurtful to me, my spouse, and/or my kids, then yeah, that friendship is almost certainly doomed.

    Maybe I can demonstrate the difference (and shed light on where you and I diverge) by answering 2 versions of my own question:

    Version 1: “… In other words, would that still be someone you’d invite to dinner, knowing they’d tell your wife and your kids that you should’ve bought a Ford?”

    Me: Yep.
    You: Yep.

    Version 2 (original): “… In other words, would that still be someone you’d invite to dinner, knowing they’d tell your wife her marriage is a sham and your kids that they have unwed parents?”

    ME: “Nope. Sorry, but I made a vow to stand by my wife and our marriage ‘until death do us part’. Thanks for all the good times; have a good life.”

    [Don’t get me wrong: I’d harbor no ill-will; and would be totally sincere in hoping they have a health/happy life from that point on. I’d also hope they’d change their bigoted views over time, even correspond as an acquaintence if I thought it might help, and would be 100% open to rekindle the friendship once that obstacle was removed.]

    YOU: “Eh… it’s tricky. I mean, maybe I’d have them over for dinner. It really depends on why they choose to piss all over my marriage. I guess if it’s for a good reason, or if they really helped me out once before, then probably I’d quietly shrug off the continued disrespect they aim at my marriage, wife, and kids.”

    If I’m capturing that stance wrong, please correct me.

    If that is your stance, then as I said before, it seems our values and attitudes toward marriage are fundamentally different.

  10. 13

    retire05

    @Kevin Kirkpatrick:

    Your arguing apples and oranges. If you, a white man, married a black woman, and your friend objected to the marriage, that is a racial issue. But same sex marriage is NOT a racial issue, it is one of sexual deviancy. So a better equation would be if you, a man, decided to marry your sister. Under those circumstances, I would distance myself from you as far as I possibly could, and I certainly would not want to be invited to your home, nor would I accept the invitation if given. Incest is just as wrong as sodomy.

    The gaystapo grabbed on to the tactic of trying to equate same sex marriage with race. Perhaps that is why so many black pastors and ministers have denounced that tactic. They are not one and the same.

  11. 14

    Bill

    @Kevin Kirkpatrick: I’m sensing you are too full of sh!t to have a discussion with. I have made my position clear. You on the left feel it is righteous to vilify someone for their opinion, yet those same individuals don’t GET an opinion. Plain and simple.

    I have gay associates. Some, who make no issue of their orientation, are just fine with me. I enjoy being around them. Others, who love to work in the fact that they are gay and all their habits, fetishes and desires made public, disgust me. Gay Pride parades disgust me. These displays do nothing , as far as I am concerned, to create or nurture mutual understanding or acceptance. If I accepted a gay couple, it would be dependent upon them. If I don’t endorse their procedures, I can still accept the people. You, however, can’t.

  12. 15

    George Wells

    @Kevin Kirkpatrick:

    Aren’t you getting a bit tired of trying to get an honest answer out of Bill?
    He doesn’t have enough self respect to answer your unambiguous question, instead choosing to suggest “conditions” which he insists would influence his answer, a shameful effort to hide the fact that an honest answer would reveal his bigotry. You placed him in check, but he avoids checkmate by refusing to move so much as a pawn, ultimately forfeiting the game.

    The icing on YOUR cake is that Retire05 sensed that Bill was on thin ice and dove in with her race/racist card to rescue him. THAT is your reward for a job well done.

  13. 16

    Bill

    @George Wells: It’s just that neither one of you is very smart. What you want is for someone to validate your hatred for anyone with a different opinion from yours and confirm that anyone that disagrees with your lifestyle is a scumbag. I showed quite simply and clearly how stupid that mindset is.

    By your way of thinking, if two people agree on 97% of their views, until person B comes around on the 3% and aligns with person A, person B is a hateful, homophobic racist (regardless of what the 3% consists of).

    I simply am not wired that way. Sorry.

  14. 17

    Kevin Kirkpatrick

    @retire05:
    Retire05 – You’re conflating topics. I’m addressing the idiocy of someone who feels they can say, “I won’t attend your wedding, I don’t recognize your marriage, and I don’t consider that woman to be your wife. But, good news! I’m still your friend.” In your example, if someone I’d befriended entered into an incestuous marriage, and I told them that I did not consider their marriage to be legitimate, I WOULD TOTALLY UNDERSTAND if their response was to terminate our friendship. Whether gay marriage is more akin to interacial marriage or incestuous marriage is an entirely different debate than what Bill and I are disagreeing on.

    @Bill:

    What you want is for someone to validate your hatred for anyone with a different opinion from yours and confirm that anyone that disagrees with your lifestyle is a scumbag.

    I’m not sure if you missed this, or have a very different meaning for “hatred” than I do. My exact words were “I’d harbor no ill-will; and would be totally sincere in hoping they have a health/happy life from that point on.”

    Nothing that I would feel in this situation would approach the sentiment of “hatred”.

    By your way of thinking, if two people agree on 97% of their views, until person B comes around on the 3% and aligns with person A, person B is a hateful, homophobic racist (regardless of what the 3% consists of).

    Really? Still with this? “…regardless of what the 3% consists of”, you claim???

    For crying out loud, my ENTIRE last post explained, in excruciating detail, why what matters is precisely what the 3% consists of. IF (and only if), somewhere in that 3% is an opinion or belief that leads my friend to treat me or my loved ones poorly, THEN (and only then) that opinion would put our friendship on shaky grounds.

    Maybe I need to be more direct (feel free to read this twice): If a difference of opinion between a friend and I pertains to preference in truck brands, then that difference in opinion will not affect our friendship.

    This is just so tedious – it feels like the kind of conversation I have with my son while he’s half-listening and entranced by a cartoon on the television. I mean, do you really not comprehend the difference between
    1) someone telling me and my wife “your marriage is a sham”,
    and
    2) somebody telling me that I made a poor choice in which truck I purchased?

    How can anyone possibly have as much difficulty as you’ve had understanding that these are different things? Are you not paying attention to what I write? Are you just being deliberately obtuse (is this some pathological strategy you employ that scores you “internet points”)? Or are you legitimately confused by this concept?

  15. 18

    retire05

    @Kevin Kirkpatrick:

    @Bill:

    What you want is for someone to validate your hatred for anyone with a different opinion from yours and confirm that anyone that disagrees with your lifestyle is a scumbag.

    I’m not sure if you missed this, or have a very different meaning for “hatred” than I do. My exact words were “I’d harbor no ill-will; and would be totally sincere in hoping they have a health/happy life from that point on.”

    Nothing that I would feel in this situation would approach the sentiment of “hatred”.

    By your way of thinking, if two people agree on 97% of their views, until person B comes around on the 3% and aligns with person A, person B is a hateful, homophobic racist (regardless of what the 3% consists of).

    Really? Still with this? “…regardless of what the 3% consists of”, you claim???

    Obviously it is you that is not very smart. That whole section you quoted from Bill was directed at George Wells, not you.

  16. 19

    Kevin Kirkpatrick

    @retire05:

    Obviously it is you that is not very smart. That whole section you quoted from Bill was directed at George Wells, not you.

    Bill:

    “It’s just that neither one of you is very smart”

    Neither one of… George Wells?

    I guess I “obviously” read at least a tad better than some…

  17. 21

    Kevin Kirkpatrick

    @retire05:
    Is there some punchbowl of deliberate obtuseness being shared? Did you seriously just quote the automatically-generated string that appears when somebody clicks the “Reply” button, as if that somehow changes the plain fact that the content of Bill’s comment was directed at both of us?

    I thought Bill was putting on quite the show, but you’re really taking tediousness to new levels here. Bill, you should take notes!

    [By the way, in case there’s any confusion – the “you” in that last sentence was directed to Bill. Yes, even though this comment opened with a @retire05 reply-to-link]

    But if it’s tedium you want…

    In the English language, “you” can function as both a singular and plural pronoun. It is necessary to evaluate the context to discern which is being used. The phrase “neither of you” only makes sense if “you” is treated as a plural pronoun (even more precisely, a pronoun referring to 2 people). So clearly, Bill’s comment wasn’t directed at George Wells alone. As I am the only other adversarial conversant in this thread, it’s equally clear that the other referent of the plural “you” is me.

    Convention holds that In English prose, once a pronoun has been linked to an object, that linkage is retained until the pronoun is linked to something else (e.g. by introduction of a new object). So Bill’s subsequent usage of “you” is most naturally read as continuing to refer to both George Wells and I. This is further reinforced with the context of its usage: the rest of Bill’s response is a direct continuation of exactly the subject matter Bill and I were debating, and not the subject of George’s post (i.e. how completely I’ve wiped the floor with Bill in this debate). Case in point: Bill’s paragraph starting with “By your way of thinking…” clearly goes on [in utterly sophomoric fashion] to paraphrase & criticize the sentiments that I (not George) have been expressing in this thread.

    Conservatives have a notoriously difficult time with context/nuance in social issues; they’re always the ones routinely confounded by simple concepts like “If the N-word is so bad, why can black people use it?” and “If men can marry men, then doesn’t that invalidate my marriage?”. I wonder – does this struggle extend just as deeply for you when it comes to grasping context/nuance in conversation & grammar? Or are you just doing the same “deliberately obtuse” gambit I suspect Bill of doing? (perhaps you share the same pathological notion that if you can just spew enough stupid at those arguing against you, you’ll somehow “win at the internet”).

  18. 22

    Bill

    @Kevin Kirkpatrick: Your entire thought was based on someone that disagrees with your decision is, from then on, dead to you. Then, you asked for people to agree with you. I presented a simple yet succinct example of why that is stupid and hateful.

    A friend of mine (white) has a daughter that has married a black man. The man is serving in the Army, stationed in Alaska and, though I have not met him, seems to be squared away and honorable. The daughter’s father has rejected the marriage and has, for all practical purposes, disowned his daughter. That is your mindset, Kevin. Perhaps the man disapproves of interracial marriage, perhaps he is defensive of his daughter for fear she will become victim of a black man looking to victimize a white girl, but to deny HIMSELF the joy of his daughter is paramount stupidity.

    So, you would say, “if you don’t agree with my choices, F- you.” I, however, think the situation has to be thought out, considered and every effort to find some common ground or room for accommodation. But, since you subscribe to the “all or nothing” rules of relationships, you cannot consider this.

  19. 23

    George Wells

    @Bill #16:

    “@George Wells: It’s just that neither one of you is very smart. What you want is for someone to validate your hatred for anyone with a different opinion from yours and confirm that anyone that disagrees with your lifestyle is a scumbag. I showed quite simply and clearly how stupid that mindset is.”

    That’s funny.

    I didn’t give Kevin’s question a thought, much less critique it or its ramifications.
    What I commented on was your refusal to get boxed into a corner by giving ANY answer to it, as if it was one those famous “Sara-Palin-Gotcha!” questions.

    You and Kevin were playing a game, he out-maneuvered you, and you refused to give him satisfaction by conceding. That was the entire point of my comment.

    You have every right to hold whatever opinion you choose, and there is nothing to hate in that. Neither is there anything to hate in the specific content of your opinion.
    However…
    When someone obstinately holds to a belief when that belief has been demonstrated to be wrong, that is bigotry. I used that word in my post #15 because you were being evasive, refusing to answer Kevin’s question on preposterously shallow grounds, and this tactic APPEARED to be an effort to camouflage your bigotry – your hatred of homosexuals. Your post #14 comment that you “hate gay pride parades” seems to corroborate this diagnosis. Gay pride parades aren’t hate-worthy. They aren’t MEANT to “nurture mutual understanding” any more than the Black Power “Greek Week” that descends upon Virginia Beach each summer is meant to foster “mutual understanding” between the Black youth that attend it and all of the White folks in the resort city. Greek Week spikes the city’s crime statistics and sucks up a load of the region’s law enforcement personnel, but to “hate” their parade would be bigotry, plain and simple.
    You are a bigot. You’ve proven as much by your own words.
    But I don’t “hate” you because you’re a bigot.
    I don’t “hate” you at all.
    I disagree with a number of your political positions and cultural opinions, but as I have said repeatedly, I respect your right to have, to express and to act upon them.

    Your opinions would garner much more respect if you would refrain from insisting that your opponents hold views that they have neither expressed nor implied. Such unfounded hyperbole confuses every conversation and begs the question of whether or not you really have a logical argument on your side to begin with. Your use of inflammatory rhetoric suggests that you do not.

  20. 25

    George Wells

    @Bill #24:

    ” I gave the answer.”

    Yeah, your answer was a dodge, and NOT the truck type.
    If you’d wanted to answer the question, you could have GIVEN an answer and qualified it by saying “all things being equal…” or “if there are no complicating factors such as…” or you could have included any number of other disclaimers to void the mitigating factors you claim to have been concerned over… but you didn’t.
    You didn’t WANT to answer the question, so you ducked it.

    “it isn’t the answer you wanted”

    I didn’t WANT any answer. I didn’t have a dog in that race.
    But when you started squirming and wiggling, your pathetic excuses caught both my and Retire05’s attention. Hers because she takes your side, like… ALWAYS, and she tried to rescue you from your inept stumble, and mine because your tortured logic made me laugh.
    I didn’t care WHAT answer you gave Kevin, but he posed a valid question. And he was even reasonably polite about it, and so he deserved an honest answer – something you didn’t give him.
    And you go on about how Democrats are such a mess.
    Ppppfffftttt!

  21. 26

    Bill

    @George Wells: Problem is, you leftists think it’s acceptable to hate, vilify and crucify someone for having a different opinion than you have; others are not allowed to have an opinion by you.

    No matter what the width and breadth of the relationship may be, it takes but one misalignment of thought to justify the hate.

    Hate. Why does each disagreement have to boil down to hate for you people? Above, you accuse ME of hate because I fail to agree. Hate has nothing to do with it though, even if I DID hate gays, what difference does it make as long as I respect their rights? (the REAL ones) This is what I mean; I can’t have a different view of homosexuality than you without being a hater. The same as the Ford/Dodge analogy. The exact same. Same level of stupidity, same level of hate.

    You have some work to do, buddy.

  22. 27

    George Wells

    @Bill #26:

    “Why does each disagreement have to boil down to hate for you people?”

    Ummm, it was YOU who said:
    “I HATE gay parades.
    You’ve never seen me say that I HATE anything.

    “Above, you accuse ME of hate because I fail to agree.”

    No, I accused you of “hate” because you ADMITTED to it.
    I have work to do? No, I don’t. You’ve done all the heavy lifting. All I have to do is quote you.

    You have completely misunderstood the context of virtually everything I have posted here at Flopping Aces.
    I have NEVER “hated” anything.
    I have NEVER “demanded” anything.
    Not “Equal Rights” for gay people, and certainly not same-sex marriage.
    If you had bothered to notice, much of my discussion has been a consideration of constitutional interpretation, going as far as speculating on what the SCOTUS would ultimately decide and why. I never ONCE said that they HAD to decide the Obergefell case the way they did, or any other way, for that matter.

    My discussions regarding “Religious Freedom” issues have been supportive of giving religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws and have NEVER suggested that bakers or anyone else HAD to serve gay people if they didn’t want to.
    I even went so far as to explain why I believe that a country has the right to EXTERMINATE gays if they choose to do so.

    These are not the rants of a radical leftist, yet you continue to insist that that is exactly what I am. What profound lack of comprehension leads you to that conclusion?

    I have explained why I have supported the Democratic Party, the HRC and the ACLU. While you may not have appreciated my reasons – and certainly you don’t share them – they were the rational product of my evaluation of my personal priorities. None of my priorities have ever included FORCING anyone to accept gay marriage, or homosexuality, in spite of your insistence that they do.

    Kevin is correct when he asks:
    “How can anyone possibly have as much difficulty as you’ve had understanding that these are different things? Are you not paying attention to what I write? Are you just being deliberately obtuse (is this some pathological strategy you employ that scores you “internet points”)? Or are you legitimately confused by this concept?”

    You do the same thing with me. You are so absolutely convinced that I am something that I am not, that you cannot be bothered to acknowledge – much less address – the actual content of my posts. Your mind is made up, and we shouldn’t confuse you with the facts.
    That’s the raw definition of bigotry.

    There you have it.
    Connect the dots.
    You are a hateful bigot.
    Wear it proudly.
    You’re in good company here.

  23. 28

    Bill

    @George Wells: Somehow, where I state REPEATEDLY that I believe taking an issue and suddenly hating and vilifying someone for their views is stupid, you conclude that I am a hateful bigot.

    You are an utter moron. Totally stupid, blinded by hatred of anyone that will not agree with and align themselves with what you want everyone to align with.

    Why don’t you continue on to blather on how everyone that doesn’t share your views that the beliefs of everyone else need to be redefined based on your whims are hateful bastards. My efforts to clarify the facts so a hate-blinded heterophobe can understand them are concluded.

  24. 29

    George Wells

    To one and all Re: Bill #28:

    Here is a self-confirmed bigot who refuses to accept that anyone who might have voted for Obama could possibly agree with him on ANYTHING.
    He CONTINUES to repeat that ALL liberals “HATE” people with opinions other than their own, while proudly professing his own hatred. He cannot accept that I’m not the liberal he imagines me to be, in spite of my having provided him with ample evidence in support of that fact.
    I’ve explained it all to him repeatedly, but to no avail. His mind is locked shut, spinning in its own delusional fog, oblivious to the absence of logic in his discourse. Textbook bigotry.
    And he now professes to unilaterally end the conversation – proof of his cowardice.

    I don’t “hate” Bill, but he certainly hasn’t earned anyone’s respect.

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