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Culhane: Taking On Jonathan Rauch's Advocate Piece

December 30th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Jonathan Rauch makes the clearest, most consistent conservative case for equality – especially marriage equality – that I’ve yet read. Even his opponents, on both the left and the right, accord him respect. (Andrew Sullivan recently referred to him as “Mr. Nice Gay.”) He deserves his reputation.

At times, though, Rauch’s conservatism causes him to call for compromises that are seriously flawed. Earlier this year, he took Judge Walker to task for his opinion stating that Prop 8’s denial of marriage equality was unconstitutional; for Rauch, the civil unions (domestic partnerships, actually) available in California should have been enough. He overlooked the fact that no reason was adduced at trial for conferring all of the benefits of marriage without the label – in other words, to engage in discrimination simpliciter.

Worse is his piece in this month’s Advocate. In an effort to achieve an elusive compromise between anti-discrimination laws and accommodating religious belief, he clatters far off the track. Please read the entire piece. It’s beguiling in its apparently reasonable call for LGBT advocates to tolerate some (unspecified) level of discrimination, but his seemingly commonsensical call for civility falls apart under a closer reading.

At the risk of oversimplifying his exhaustively developed argument, here are his main points: (1) Mainstream opinion has shifted in our favor, with a majority of Americans polled now declaring that they don’t think homosexuality is immoral; (2) It’s therefore time to start acting like a majority instead of like a beleaguered minority, and to show charity and compassion for those who object to our full equality on religious grounds; and, relatedly, (3) It’s not wise to insist on rigorous, unyielding enforcement of existing laws in our favor. Where we can accommodate religious objections, we should.

He’s wrong on every count. First, the entire article depends critically on believing that polling data indicating (bare) majority approval of homosexuality means that we’ve won (or at least that we’re winning).

Not so fast. A simple, binary “yes/no” on the morality of homosexuality, while a promising development, doesn’t necessarily translate into success on any specific issue. It might be, for example, that a substantial percentage of those who think homosexuality isn’t immoral object to same-sex marriages anyway, or that others don’t see protecting the LGBT community from job discrimination (note that the “T” doesn’t appear in Rauch’s piece) is terribly important.

And it seems to me that the national data, and Rauch, miss the local effect. It’s precisely those places where homosexuality is least accepted that are likeliest to create the greatest number of practical problems for the LGBT community. I’d expect many more instances of religious objections to equality in, say, Oklahoma, than I would in Philadelphia. But red states are exactly where it’s most important to place the force of law behind the anti-discrimination imperative.

I understand that Rauch is making a more general point here, about a movement toward acceptance that might have reached a tipping point. But given all the work this poll is being called upon to do, the use of the data seems a bit facile, to me. The first year in which homosexuality has lurched across the 50% approval line seems insufficient occasion to declare imminent victory, and Rauch’s recognition that there are still victories to be won comes across as grudging, in context.

Now to the second and third points, which are intertwined. Rauch tries to bolster his argument by opening his piece with a carefully chosen example: A “mom and pop” bakery – not a large corporation, of course – refuses to bake rainbow cupcakes for a college Gay Pride event. The students accept the decision and vow to continue dialogue on LGBT issues, but the city launches an investigation into the event, with the eviction of the business from city-owned property a possible outcome.

Rauch deplores the second of these outcome, referring to it as “positively dangerous”. He wants you to ask: Are they really going to kick out these long-term, family tenants over something like cupcakes? I mean, who cares?

His argument depends critically on diverting the reader’s attention from what’s really at stake here. I’d guess that the same religious views that prevented the baking of rainbow cupcakes (for the gays, but not for the second-grade Rainbow Pageant) would also make that same “mom and pop” unlikely to hire a gay employee, or to fire him if he came out – say, by getting married to another man. Would that be OK?

What about a teacher who refused to teach a unit on family inclusion that mentioned gay and lesbian-parented households? (The private/public distinction isn’t available to Rauch because he thinks that the discriminatory bakery should be able to retain its place on city property.)

What if “mom and pop” decided to open a bed and breakfast and didn’t want to accommodate same-sex couples? Let’s use a pointed example: You and your same-sex spouse see the “Vacancy” sign, and walk to the front desk. You’re tired and sleepy after a long day on the road. You’re turned away, and not nicely. (By the way, the same could happen to an unmarried opposite-sex couple under the “religious (sometimes) trumps civil rights” view of Rauch. Should that be OK, too? Or is it only the gays who need suffer the withering reprovals of the ”tsk-tsk” brigade?)

Are these costs “we” can – or, more to the point, must – live with? Rauch doesn’t say, nor does he provide any standard by which to begin to answer the question.

Even the facially silly cupcake example can be reworked, with little imagination, to up the cost: Imagine that the student asking for the dazzling treat was mercilessly bullied as a kid, and is just now developing a healthy sense of self. To him, the refusal will have a very different meaning than it would for Rauch, or for me.

It’s precisely this difficulty in drawing the line that dooms Rauch’s fuzzy call to…non-action. Any statutory religious exemption beyond activities clearly at the core of the entity’s ecclesiastical mission – celebrating weddings, training clergy – quickly runs into all kinds of line-drawing impossibilities.

Some, like Robin Fretwell Wilson, try to limit the problems by restricting proposed religious exemptions to non-discrimination laws to actions that are closely tied to recognition of same-sex weddings. To his credit, Rauch understands that there’s just no principled reason for roping off that category; if we want to recognize religious accommodations, it’s hard to see any good reason for limiting them in that way.

In a series of posts last year, I argued for a different kind of accommodation: Businesses that are anti-gay should be able to make their religious views known, but not otherwise able to act on them in any way. For many, a choice between a gay-friendly and a homo-hating business will be clear, and they’ll go somewhere else. But laws of general application should apply…generally. Or else it’s hard to see why exemptions should be limited to disapprovals of homosexuality, generally. Plenty of religious doctrine opposes the equality of women, even today. Should businesses be able to act on that?

One last point: Rauch doesn’t want to give the religionists a rhetorical weapon by allowing them to claim the label of oppression, saying that they’re being treated as “bigots.”

But they’ve already made this move, even where we don’t have laws protecting us. When we do get those laws, there won’t be any need to name-call: The law will speak clearly enough.

John Culhane is Professor of Law and Director of the Health Law Institute at Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Del. He blogs about the role of law in everyday life, and about a bunch of other things at: http://wordinedgewise.org. He is the editor of and contributor to a just-released book, Reconsidering Law and Policy Debates: A Public Health Perspective, now available on Amazon.com.  His chapter is on marriage equality.

  1. JonnyBoy
    December 30th, 2010 at 13:04 | #1

    I like the compromise that religious folk can express their beliefs while still having to serve us…that gives us the option to choose their services or not. We should all recognize that it is allowable for some folk to dislike our existance, but it is NOT appropriate for them to refuse service or force their beliefs on us. Of course, forcing beliefs does not involve disallowing them to communicate their beliefs; we do still have a constitution in this country. We also have the right to communicate our beliefs, and I would clearly indicate to a religious person that I will not use their service, given the option, while they have their negative attitude regarding gays and/or lesbians, etc.

  2. December 30th, 2010 at 13:09 | #2

    It’s interesting that I agree with Rauch’s call for using two *political* strategies for winning the middle: allow religious exceptions (and it will be tough to figure out which ones make sense), and dial down the “homophobe/hater!” accusations.

    I support the first strategy because, well, it’s already being done on a state level, and it’s working pretty well. I know you and I have been down this road before, John, and that you disagree with me, but MA has religious exemptions in it’s ENDA law, which has been in effect since ’89, and I never heard a *peep* from friends, acquaintances, or in the media about these accommodations being burdensome, confusing, or undermining the intent of the law in general.

    Since minor religious accommodations seems to work with no fuss, no muss on the state level, do you really want to go to the mat over this issue just to be legally/philosophically pure? I don’t think it’s worth the blood, sweat, and tears involved. But that’s just me.

    As for his point about dialing down the heated rhetoric, I think that the repeal of DADT was a great example. I was stunned by the use of flame throwing rhetoric by the LGBT community, and the hero status that a few people achieved by blasting into the media on the issue. BUT…as best I can tell, such flame thrower rhetoric had little-to-nothing to do directly with the dynamics that actually got the repeal done. (It had an indirect effect, especially in psyching up our community to be active. But it had little-to-no direct effect on the Leiberman/Collins/post-Pentagon-report reality of the actual repeal.)

    And, finally, just so that I’m clear that I’m not 100% on Rauch’s side, He takes his whole accommodation scenario way too far. Why? Because life is more complicated than angling everything through a single political strategy. Let’s take his examples of allowing counselors or adoption agencies to alter their professional services based on their agendas. Usually, that undermines the whole point to licensing professions in the first place. The whole idea is that the delivery of professional services, on a minimal and baseline level, needs to be consistent with a minimum criteria for reasonable delivery of service. I don’t really care if it’s religious based or not, but if a licensed professional wants to alter delivery based on anything other than a minimally acceptable level of empirical support or professional consensus, then they shouldn’t carry their licenses. I don’t think we should contort the licensing process to further a political agenda. (Not that professions are free of politics. But that’s a gnarly discussion for another time.)

    In Massachusetts today, a state that’s pretty darn happy with its LGBT legal set up, an owner occupied house with less than four apartments can deny a gay person a rental, and a church can refuse to hire an LGBT janitor. Those accommodations are not thwarting our progress. If you’re a purist, they will get under your skin. But they really aren’t holding us back, IMO.

  3. coxhere
    December 30th, 2010 at 13:32 | #3

    “I like the compromise that religious folk can express their beliefs while still having to serve us. . .” Can religious cupcake makers express their belief that African-Americans are not equal and have less intelligence as the “curse-of-God” upon them? What if cupcake makers, Mom and Pop, say that they don’t use chocolate in their cupcakes or in the icing because it creates an inferior product just like African-Americans are? What if they insist that we purchase vanilla cupcakes? Will we merely say, “No thanks,” and go happily on our way to another cupcake manufacturer?

  4. December 30th, 2010 at 13:41 | #4

    One more thing that I think Rauch gets wrong: he seems to think that a “brilliant” political strategy will please those in the middle and disarm our opponents. I haven’t seen that turn out to be true.

    Instead, with super hot-button issues, the trend I’ve seen is that you have to pass and *protect* LGBT legislation, despite the fears in the general population. Then, over time, the general population looks around, sees that the sky didn’t fall, and support swells to much larger numbers. (Ahem. 😉 )

    So, although I’m on the side of some minor religious accommodations, let’s not think that accommodations alone are going to do much. We have to fight and win, we have to hold the fort, and *then* people will come around. I favor accommodations because they are a useful tool during the “fight and win” stage.

  5. December 30th, 2010 at 13:44 | #5

    RE coxhere

    Actually, legally, a cupcake maker can say everything you mentioned. Free speech? Even if it’s ugly and tanks your own business?

    The restricting the purchase to vanilla cupcakes? That’s a refusal of service based on race, which is against the law.

  6. December 30th, 2010 at 13:59 | #6

    I have to agree with part of Rauch’s points. “Marriage” is a religious rite–some churches restrict it to m/f pairings, and some do not. Some restrict it to never-marrieds or widow/er’s, some do not. Churches should be able to do whatever churches want.

    The problem here is the conflation of the religious rite with the civil marriage. I think that religious marriage and civil marriage should be completely separate entities and that EVERYONE should get only a civil marriage via the government. Religious groups can do whatever they want–and some, I’d like to point out, will do religious marriages for any couple.

    If we look to France, for example, we see that the civil union allowed to gay people is now more often chosen by straights as well (I believe it is 90% straights who choose the civil union) because it is a preferred status.

    Yes, I realize that a civil union cannot be the same as a marriage–but it does not stand to reason that it must be the second-tier status. Either the civil union should be created in such a way that it circumvents the pitfalls of “marriage” as currently posited in law and also confers better benefits (both easily done) or everyone should have a civil union and then, if they wish, a religious marriage.

    I do not, frankly, find Rauch to be wrong in this. I do think his example of cupcakes is silly. Any business can refuse to serve whomever they like. If the company puts up a sign stating that they reserve the right to refuse business, they can do so. They can, for example, choose to do no special-order cakes or cupcakes any more–they can just have a standard sheet from which people order. They will lose business–but that’s their affair. This is not a black/white issue of allowing them to refuse the order or not refuse the order but a matter of the business deciding what services it wants to provide and dealing with the consequences.

    Sorry, but I cannot agree with your black/white reasoning here. This is not an on/off, 1/0, black/white thing. The whole idea of celebrating diversity means understanding that there is, well, diversity and not everyone agrees with you. There are ways of accomodating everyone’s views without stomping your foot and demanding to get it your own way. Deal.

  7. marcus99
    December 30th, 2010 at 14:08 | #7

    I guess that I simply cannot accept that there should be any discrimination at all, nor should there be religious loopholes.

    In conceding religious loopholes, we are acknowledging that we are who we are because of choice. The “so called” choice argument has been, and will continue to be, our Achilles heel. As long as we are not a creation of God, but an abomination by choice, then we do not deserve equality.

    Religion is the entire root of anti gay bigotry. If you concede to religion, you keep the enemy alive to fight another day. Either you are right or you aren’t. Either you have chosen to be gay, or you have not.

    Now, how many of you out there feel like you have chosen to be gay? If the answer is as I suspect, conceding the right to discriminate by reason of religion is not only unethical, it is an abdication of our responsibility, and it is a profound betrayal to those who have given their lives because of who they are, not who they have chosen to be.

    This is not a matter of state rights or federal law. The world looks to the trends of USA, right or wrong. Like it or not, American citizens have greater responsibility than many with their ballots cast. Leave the religions the right to discriminate, and I guarantee they will continue to export their heinous product to the detriment of many less fortunate than us in North America.

  8. December 30th, 2010 at 14:39 | #8

    Rauch is being disingenuous – but then, right wingers excel at that.

    One is either equal before the law – or one is not.

    It is THAT SIMPLE.

    And no amount of genuflecting and wordplay and sucking up to those whom, for some reason, we are expected to placate can change that fact.

    Mr. Rauch can, politely, ride in the back of the bus and quiver all he wants. Just don;t ask the rest of us to join you there, dear.

  9. December 30th, 2010 at 17:00 | #9

    The crucial distinction comes down to this: there is a difference between trying to legislate behavior, which is legitimate, and legislating belief, which is not only illegitimate but is in fact impossible.

    To use the example of the cupcake-makers: they are free to believe whatever they wish. However, they are using a publicly owned-facility granted to them on favorable terms. They therefore have the responsibility, regardless of their beliefs, to treat all potential customers the same, without exception, unless they are behaving violently.

    The same is true for civil marriage. No action on the part of our movement is attempting to make religions change their views on how to conduct their internal affairs. However, religious institutions are granted certain benefits, such as tax exemption, in exchange for not meddling in the affairs of individuals who aren’t members of their denomination. Therefore they’re free to refuse to marry any couple for whatever reason. No law will change this. For them to interfere with the marriages of non-members is a very different matter.

    I see no legitimate reason to accomodate a prejudice simply because it is “justified” by appeal to one form or another of theology. If such an accomodation is permitted, there is no logical reason not to extend that same sort of exception to prejudice against racial minorities or the members of other religions. In permitting a specific religion to dictate the terms of civil law you’ve in fact instituted a theocracy or, at a minimum, you’ve established a state religion. In theory at least, neither of these is permitted by our Constitution.

  10. December 30th, 2010 at 21:18 | #10

    Janine Norberg: So should businesses be permitted to refuse to deal with women? With African-Americans? If that’s your position, then at least it’s a consistent one. If not, you need to explain why the LGBT community — but not others — should be made to suffer at the hands of the religiously motivated.

  11. December 31st, 2010 at 00:32 | #11


    You capture the fundamental distinction perfectly!! Couldn;t have said it better myself!!!

    THOUGHTS are not subject to social control. But ACTINS definitely are when they impact others in a public context or setting.

  12. Jim in ColoSpgs
    December 31st, 2010 at 01:17 | #12

    Quite fascinating and intriguing discussion. Kudos to all for keeping a civil tongue on what can often be a rather emotional issue.

    Perhaps the issue is what the level of expectation should be from all the players in the public space. Accommodation of free speech does not engender the expectation to be free from commentary or positions which one may find hurtful or morally offensive to their internal compass.

    Fervent religionists should have zero expectation to NOT see happily married same-sex couples in the public square pushing around strollers or engaging in otherwise innocent public displays of affection such as handholding or a quick peck on the cheek. Neither the religionists nor their children have any moratorium to determine the content of the public square.

    By the same token, LGBT couples or individuals should never have the expectation to live in a world where jeers and taunts and disparaging commentary is not the norm. It will never happen, nor can it happen through force of law. One cannot legislate morality.

    Both sides need to wrap their brains around the dicta: “America = thick skin required.”

    While that may seem an overly libertarian take on a complex social issue, it truly is the one destined to have the greatest positive impact on our community and garner us the most respect from the straight side of the house. Respect is earned, not given.

    We must always remember that. 😉

  13. Jay
    December 31st, 2010 at 09:29 | #13

    John, thanks for an excellent analysis of Rauch’s flawed essay. Remember that Rauch has already capitulated on the question of gay marriage, having co-authored with the odious David Blankenhorn a so-called “compromise” that would grant civil unions to gay couples on the condition that marriage is reserved for straight couples. He is not exactly a fierce advocate.

    There are religious exceptions in the law already. There is no need to expand them. Doing so will not gain any support from anyone. Those who hate us will continue to hate us. Those who don’t hate us will not be swayed by the fact that gay people are allowed to be singled out for some forms of discrimination on the putative grounds of religion.

    As long as the law allows businesses and governments to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation, sexual minorities will continue to be second-class citizens.

    Our country promises equal protection under the law for all of its citizens: until it actually achieves that goal, we will not be the bastion of freedom and liberty that we proclaim ourselves to be.

  14. December 31st, 2010 at 11:01 | #14

    I have to agree with John on this one. Any special accomidatations for religion should stop at the door. What is practiced inside their own building is there call. But once they enter the rest of world their special protection goes away.

    Let’s flip this argument. The HRC publishes a list every year with their score for major companies.

    Would it be descrimination to boycot Exxon because they score a 0 on that survey?

  15. StraightGrandmother
    December 31st, 2010 at 11:49 | #15

    I agree with Bob Katz, “I see no legitimate reason to accomodate a prejudice simply because it is “justified” by appeal to one form or another of theology. If such an accomodation is permitted, there is no logical reason not to extend that same sort of exception to prejudice against racial minorities or the members of other religions. In permitting a specific religion to dictate the terms of civil law you’ve in fact instituted a theocracy or, at a minimum, you’ve established a state religion. In theory at least, neither of these is permitted by our Constitution.”

    And to this I would add, NEVER RETREAT, NEVER RETREAT, NEVER RETREAT. The example in the article that gave me the most pause was the example of a gay couple showing up at a B & B after a long days drive and be refused a room based on the owners religious convictions. When I read that my heart started racing and I breathed quickly. Tha is when the words came out, NEVER RETREAT, NEVER RETREAT, NEVER RETREAT. I will never be satified until my gay and lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender friends and family have FULL EQUALITY, No exceptions. The African Americans fought and earned it and they never retreated. A cup half full is still a cup half empty.

  16. michaelandfred
    December 31st, 2010 at 18:36 | #16

    “Marriage” does not belong to religion, nor is it only a “religious ceremony.” Marriage and the rights it grants belongs to the state and We the People. This is why, for example, anyone can go online and get a license to perform a wedding. Different church’s can perform a billion ceremonies but not a single one is legal, is not a marriage, until sanctioned, in writing, by the state. If church’s want so desperately to separate themselves into a special class, then let THEM settle for civil unions. If it’s “only a word” then let them have it and the pretend union it creates. I wonder how many heterosexuals would choose this?

    As for the small business example, it’s very simple. To operate a business you must apply and be granted a business license from the state. In doing so you agree to follow the rules that We The People have set down to govern society. AS far as I know, we have no constitutional guarantee to own a business. We have the “right” to own one so long as we follow the rules of governance that the rest of business owners must also follow. One of those is that one cannot discriminate. End of story. If you feel you must, then maybe owning a business is not for you, whether you’re a mom and pop or Exxon Mobile.

    This reminds me of the recent outcry over the pat downs at the airport. People keep screaming about their “rights.” We have no special “right” to fly. Follow the rules set down by the airport security or you can walk, drive or take a train or ride your bike to New York. Owning a business is the same thing. If you cannot follow the rules set down by the states to run a business, then don’t own one.

    Until we become a theocracy, a persons private religious beliefs are their own and should not entitle them to discriminate against others outside the confines of their own religious establishment. I was born a homosexual. People choose their religion, often many different ones over a lifetime. Why should I be forced to relinquish my constitutional rights to someone who may tomorrow change their religion or give it up completely?

  17. December 31st, 2010 at 19:56 | #17

    A friend ,now long dead of AIDS, was a singer/songwriter. My fav line from one of his songs always stands out for me and is too appropriate here. “I won’t take it anymore, I won’t take your ugly shame. Don’t do any favors just call me by my name”. Apologists like this schmuck need to go to hell.

  18. Drewski
    January 1st, 2011 at 03:06 | #18

    I was able to get to maybe the second paragraph of the second page before I just started skimming the article. Any time you deny a group of people equality under the law, you better have a damn good reason for it. Claiming that gays harsh on your Biblical mellow isn’t enough.

    I could feel my anger start to rise, which is why I stopped reading each word. My anger was rising because here’s a gay man who seems to live in a world where he’s somehow immune to the consequences of bigotry and discrimination. I’ve been jumped before. I’ve been fired before. I’ve been harassed before. All happened in their time because I was obviously gay. That was it, that was the reason. I changed; those things don’t happen to me, haven’t happened to me for a long time. I have a harder demeanor then I did back then, and I look harder than I did. I don’t read as stereotypically gay.

    I changed because I feel more comfortable with myself now. There’s a fundamental difference between changing for yourself, for your own growth, versus changing who you are to appease others. And I think that’s why I felt my anger start to rise as I read Rauch’s piece. I can’t tell a woman to not be a woman, or tell somebody to stop being black. It’s absurd and insulting. It’s un-American in the most fundamental way, and I’m obviously talking about national identity more than historical experience.

    The one thing the US has done, and that no other country has done, is that we have not only based our identity on a document (the Constitution) instead of racial, ethnic, cultural or geographical identity (including continuity or homogeneity therein). The US has done more to address and redress historical inequality than has any other country. We aren’t done, but we are on the path. That’s how I describe my America.

    Jonathan Rauch really seems to live in a bubble where being gay somehow carries no concrete consequences, yet gays should robotically accept a second-class status with infinite permutations. You can be flaming in a Hilton lobby in DC or Arlington/Rosslyn; however, if you’re at a Hilton near Dulles, but in Loudoun County VA, then you are obliged to accept legal consequences for being a flamer. This is my take on Rauch’s world, and it’s a fucked-up world that I have no intention of legitimizing. I value my country, my Constitution, and my fellow Americans. I have no respect for anybody who suggests that America should have graduated citizenship. That’s not American; it’s not who we were or who we are. Yes, we’ve done it in the past, but we generally accept the wrongness of it. I won’t presume to speak for anyone else, but my America is a country where citizenship is a living and tangible thing, and it’s like pregnancy–you are or you aren’t. Rauch doesn’t realize what a bizarro bubble he lives in, and I’m glad to not be in it.

  19. January 1st, 2011 at 03:40 | #19

    I completely agree with “drewski” The short version is that Culhane is dead WRONG on every single point. Period!

  20. michaelandfred
    January 1st, 2011 at 09:19 | #20

    Imagine someone trying to explain away killing their child because he was over eating and the bible says…. Or some guy who finds out his new wife wasn’t a virgin so had the town stone her to death because the bible says….

    The idea that in 2011 there are still people who really believe that our lives should be governed by a bunch of stories put together by men in a time when they thought the earth was flat, shaving your sideburns was worthy of death and most illness’s were caused by possession by demons is unfathomable and unacceptable. We don’t allow incest, we don’t sell our children into slavery, we don’t sequester women during their periods or kill people for adultery, working on the sabbath, eating shrimp or the hundreds of other ridiculous things primitive men used to do.

    Why then should people be allowed to discriminate against us for religious beliefs created at exactly the same time? Or is it just the case that eventually god has to get at least one of them right? I mean, ok, he missed the earth being round and the sun not revolving around the earth, even an omniscient deity can have an off day…sooo ….maybe????..what’s left that doesn’t upset too many people?…the homo thing? They’re such a small minority after all and no real skin off anyone’s nose, let me at least still push them around..

  21. January 1st, 2011 at 12:56 | #21

    Dr. Peter: I assume you mean that Rauch is wrong? Not l’il ol’ me?
    Anyway, a Happy New Year to all! Let’s hope for good things for our movement and for us, each, as individuals, in 2011.

  22. StraightGrandmother
    January 1st, 2011 at 14:40 | #22

    I came back again to add another comment becuase I was thinking of this off and on all day. I agree with Drewski, in that Rauch is living in a bubble. I BET he lives in DC. DC has to be THE most gay friendly place on the planet. Do you know that if two lesbians use a sperm donor, or two gay men use a surrogae that right off the starting block at the hospital on the birth certificate they are BOTH listed as parents. They don’t even have to go to court or nothing. Boom! Done deal. Yeah, Rauch needs to get out of DC and go talk to Constance McMillin in Mississippi and see if Constance thinks appeasement will work in her community.
    Here from Wikipeadia a little lesson on APPEASEMENT (which is what Rauch thinks we should do)

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power.[1] It has been described as “…the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be expensive, bloody, and possibly dangerous.”[2] It was used by European democracies in the 1930s who wished to avoid war with the dictatorships of Germany and Italy, bearing in mind the horrors of the First World War.

    The term is most often applied to the foreign policy of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain towards Nazi Germany between 1937 and 1939. His policies of avoiding war with Germany have been the subject of intense debate for seventy years among academics, politicians and diplomats. The historian’s assessment of Chamberlain has ranged from condemnation for allowing Hitler to grow too strong, to the judgment that he had no alternative and acted in Britain’s best interests. At the time, these concessions were widely seen as positive, and the Munich Pact among Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy prompted Chamberlain to announce that he had secured “peace for our time”.[3]

    The word “appeasement” has been used as a synonym for weakness and even cowardice since the 1930s, and it is still used in that sense today as a justification for firm, often armed, action in international relations.

  23. January 2nd, 2011 at 15:05 | #23


    Yes – I was saying that Rauch is wrong – not you!!

    Happy New Year to you as well!! 😀

  24. Facebook User
    January 2nd, 2011 at 15:26 | #24

    StraightGrandmother, while it’s great that we have straight people on our side, just remember that the US is way behind other western countries and saying things like “on the planet” is simply not true.

  25. footwork61
    January 3rd, 2011 at 00:26 | #25

    So, a majority of people no longer demonize homosexuality. That is not the same as saying that a majority of people are homosexual. Therefore his point is fallacious. Even if it were true that a majority of people were homosexual, it does not necessarily mean that homosexuals should not belong to a protected class. In many populations females outnumber males but are still in a protected class because they are treated as a minority and are institutionally discriminated against.

    Also, I find it supremely ironic that discriminatory treatment of people because of gender, race, and sexual orientation, when executed as part of one’s religious beliefs, should even be discussed as being permissible: one’s religion is the only attribute of the four that is voluntary and changeable. How is it that we’ve allowed discrimination based on immutable innate characteristics because of someone’s voluntary and capricious membership in some religion? It’s tantamount to saying that a person is responsible for his membership in his own race, gender, or orientation, but he is not responsible for his religion. That’s anti-matter, bizzarro world thinking.

  26. Morgan
    January 3rd, 2011 at 09:44 | #26

    John, about some “mom and pop” place turning away the weary gay couple on the road all day and not very nicely…the exact opposite has happened where the mom and pop of a gay man was turned away from a gay-owned place and not very nicely. It happened some time ago. So even though I am a gay man, I have no trouble pointing out that some of my fellow gays are themselves discriminators.

  27. January 3rd, 2011 at 10:56 | #27

    i think if you want to discriminate against the LGBTQ community based on whatever reasoning you wish, then you should grow a private, membership only business. otherwise you are trying to acquire work from the general public which includes LGBTQ, Muslim, Hindu, etc. it’s an easy fix for these homophobic and bigoted people.
    simply put, if you don’t want to serve certain types of people then don’t be open to the public and offer memberships cards to be checked at the door. of course they won’t do this!! they would rather be stuck in the past with their bigotry and hatred!

  28. michaelandfred
    January 3rd, 2011 at 12:04 | #28

    LOL.. What a great idea Draigh. Every time I hear these people crying that they have suffered discrimination because their names were released after donating to anti gay causes or amendments. Really? If you’re going to be a bigot at least be one proud and strong, not the privacy of the voting booth. “You’re here, you’re a bigot, get used to it!” Put up a sign, give out special cards and then let the public decide if they want to give you custom. If not, suck it up like everyone else and follow the rules.

  29. January 3rd, 2011 at 20:21 | #29

    I think what I have a problem with is somebody else supposedly within the “movement” determining when and where it is appropriate to oppose discrimination. Why does he get to decide when it is the right and wrong “punch line” … it seemed to be largely rhetorical… he never seemed to offer a clear reason for his assertion that “punch line 2 was wrong”

  30. January 3rd, 2011 at 20:26 | #30

    Lets put up a hypothetical situation…. Should gay business owners be allowed to turn away Christians? I don’t think so. Especially if their business is in a government owned/controlled space. There are certain standards of business and ethics we have to hold ourselves accountable to in order for our businesses to collectively flourish. Making money off the public means treating the public with respect. There is no reason why our laws shouldn’t reflect basic standards of respect… and in many cases it would seem the functioning of our economy is improved by it.

  31. January 4th, 2011 at 13:52 | #31

    Thanks for the many thoughtful and forceful comments. Thought that readers might be interested to learn that Rauch weighed in, but just briefly, on this piece over on my blog (http://wordinedgewise.org). I’ve invited him to offer a more comprehensive response.

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