Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

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Bill would allow organizations to deny services to gay couples

Critics call it legalized discrimination; supporters say it protects religious associations, schools and charities
By Meghan Malloy | 02.09.11 | 7:51 am

An Iowa House subcommittee will consider legislation Wednesday that would allow businesses and organizations to deny services to people whose marriage violates their personal religious beliefs.

The bill, which is aimed squarely at legally married same-sex couples in Iowa, mirrors legislative efforts in other states and has been characterized as “legalized discrimination” by civil rights advocates and legal scholars.

House Study Bill 50, also called the Religious Conscience Protection Act, would give religious institutions, including charities and schools, exemptions from performing, recognizing or providing services to couples in regards to celebrating their marriage, if the couple violates the institution’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”  The bill would create the same exemptions to small businesses from providing goods and services pertaining to a marriage for the same reason.

The Standing Judiciary Subcommittee will discuss the bill today at 2 p.m. at the Capitol.

Though some congregations perform same-sex marriages in their churches, synagogues or temples, religious institutions in Iowa are not required to perform or recognize such unions by the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2009 Varnum v. Brien decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

“This bill is meant to cause confusion and worry,” said the Rev. Matt Mardis-LeCroy of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines. “There is nothing in the Varnum decision that ever forced any religious group to marry gay and lesbian couples.”

Mardis-LeCroy said he has performed at least a half-dozen same-sex marriages in his United Church of Christ denominational church.

One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBT-rights organization, has come out strongly against the bill, saying it discriminates against gay couples, and if passed, could lead to further discrimination against others.

“This Marriage Discrimination Bill is another shameful and hurtful attack on the institution of marriage by members of the House Judiciary committee,” said Troy Price, political director of One Iowa. “This bill would not just affect LGBT couples, but opens the door to discrimination against interracial and interfaith couples.”

State Rep. Vicki Lensing (D-Iowa City) a member of the Standing Judiciary Committee, said the bill directly violates the Iowa Civil Rights Code, and will also have a damaging effect on heterosexual couples who maybe interfaith or interracial.

“I don’t think state government should tell Iowans whom they can or cannot marry, (and) putting this in code is just as offensive,” Lensing said Tuesday. “I don’t understand why Iowans would think that discrimination against certain groups of people is a fair and just action to take.”

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, characterized House Study Bill 50 as legalized discrimination.

“Since no church has to perform or recognize same-sex marriage, what this bill in your state does is give religious bigotry a sanction unheard of in this country,” said Lynn, an attorney and ordained minister.  And while there have been many cases throughout the United States debating where the line of discrimination and religious rights protection is drawn, “no courts have upheld the principle [Iowa's] legislation is seeking.”

House Study Bill 50 is similar to other efforts made across the country within the last decade, all modeled under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, enacted in 1993 as a means to prevent violation of one’s right to freely exercise their religion. Lynn cited court cases where, even in light of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, judges ruled one could not use to religious beliefs to prevent renting a building, or deny services, to someone whose lifestyle may violate a religiously-held principle.

Legislation similar to Iowa’s has pushed in Louisiana, North Dakota and Colorado, typically by local affiliates of larger, anti-gay organizations such as the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.

Tom Chapman, executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference, said his organization wanted to see a bill in Iowa that was modeled similarly to other Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislation.

Chapman said the issue is not so much churches performing or recognizing same-sex marriages as the idea of such recognition applies to religious associations, schools and charities.

“It’s true that the bill does repeat itself concerning churches performing or recognizing same-sex marriage, no question,” he said. “We want to hang on to our religious identity and continue to provide services by doing what we believe our religion calls us to do.”

Chapman added House Study Bill 50 is potentially a way to bridge the gap between two sides of a heated emotional debate over marriage in Iowa.

“I cannot speak for the legislators, but I suspect the sponsors (of the bill) are trying to find middle ground between those who say marriage is nothing but one-man-one-woman, and those who say it isn’t,” Chapman said. “We just want a protected right to live out our teachings.”

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Rich Anderson (R-Clarinda), did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Follow Meghan Malloy on Twitter


Comments

  • Anonymous

    It is obvious that the undercurrent of hatred for gays is rearing its ugly head this time. Iowans need to respond and fight this. Iowa was never a supporter of hate and discrimination, why the change now?

  • http://qcblue.blogspot.com/ UIGrad2010

    This bill makes me sick, literally. Your stomach would turn also if bills were being proposed attacking you as a couple. It would lead to discrimination against not only gay couples, but inter-generational couples, and inter-faith couples. This is all about attacking gay people, which republicans in Iowa love to do. This is a lost battle for them especially in the next generation’s eyes. And they should know that. Bigotry in the name of religious conviction is still bigotry. Iowa is one of the most safe, protected states in America for gay people, and these neanderthals are trying to take us back to 1952. Troglodytes. Get some real work done, stop focusing on putting BIG republican government in our bedrooms!

  • Anonymous

    What’s next? “No coloreds allowed? ” no jews? No irish?

    Really Iowa? This is what we want to be known for? I ma not be a native, but I’ve been here for 34 of my 36 years. I am an iowan and this offends me to my very core.

    • Anonymous

      One thing you can always count on in life:

      Christians will always crawl out from under their rocks to fight for their right to treat others badly.

  • Anonymous

    “‘I suspect the sponsors (of the bill) are trying to find middle ground between those who say marriage is nothing but one-man-one-woman, and those who say it isn’t,’ Chapman said.”

    Legal marriage in Iowa includes both different-sex and same-sex couples. End of that discussion. That IS the ‘middle ground’ on that subject. For any and all secular considerations, both kinds of couples are married. The section about allowing businesses to discriminate is flatly a violation of the Iowa Constitution.

    For religious purposes, on the other hand, even without this bill any church– when acting as a church, and not as a business– can discriminate against same-sex couples or anybody else to their ugly little heart’s content.

  • Anonymous

    Nice job—not even trying to hide the prejudice. So, Iowa….A Catholic or Catholic owned business can choose to not provide services to divorced people? Those who lie? Those who eat shellfish? Anything that is stated as wrong in the bible can be a sincerely held belief (return to slavery? Anyone?) No way this will stand up in court—ugliness at it’s worst…this can not possibly be the will of the good people of Iowa, can it?

  • http://www.TheGayManifesto.com BigBearCO

    Can I as a Gay person discriminate against christians because I view them as small minded bigots? No of course not. Everyone needs to remember that christians are protected against discrimination by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Christians are a protected minority class with special rights and privileges.

    Why do christians work so hard to promote discrimination and violence against others.

    • Anonymous

      There is no love like ‘christian’ hate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1621074032 Harlan Messinger

    This law would last exactly as long as it would take for someone to refuse to serve biracial couples on religious grounds, or for a Catholic business owner to start drilling her engaged customers as to whether either has been divorced.

  • Anonymous

    Gotta love the GOP. Always on the look-out to make it easier for businesses to turn away paying customers with even less hassle while in the midst of a major recession…

  • Anonymous

    Stay classy, Iowa!

  • Anonymous

    Another day and another, impose the government in our lives bill from the party of small government. Have not seen much in the way of improve the economy bills from the people who campaigned on that. But then they never really had any idea of how to do that. Instead they fall back on get the gays bills, which they know a lot about.

  • Anonymous

    Well, this isn’t completely wrong and (unconstitutional?)… Hasn’t this issue already been dealt with? Religious views do not give the right to discriminate. That’s the bottom line. I suppose if it was against their religion for a black person and a white person to get married, they should have the right to discriminate against an interracial couple? Hogwash. State anti-discrimination laws trump religious discrimination beliefs every time. Not surprising that this is coming from a “Christian” Republican.

  • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

    GOP: the small tent party… getting smaller every day.

  • Republican

    Here’s the thing. If passing these kinds of laws meant that same-sex marriage would be the law of the land in all 50 states tomorrow, I’d almost be for it. Letting a few people with no business sense run their businesses into the ground because of their ridiculous bigotry would be a relatively small price to pay for winning the larger war. Besides, after a few years of same-sex couples getting married and the sky not falling, people would see how absurd it is and the exemptions would be removed.

    But, of course, that’s just fantasy, because such a scenario wouldn’t satisfy people who hate homosexuality. Much like with the repeal of DADT , there is always one more hoop that they want rights supporters to jump through. There’s always another study to conduct or another concern that they have.

    The reality is that they are uncomfortable with homosexuals and want people to go back into the closet. That isn’t happening, but it’s their fondest wish. The rest is just BS they spew to make others (and perhaps themselves) think that they are tolerant folk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Peer/100000786332664 Robert Peer

    I am just as happy to not trade with phobes. I dislike them as much and with much more reason than they hate me.

  • Anonymous

    Simple solution: Let’s get the church/temple/mosque/cultlodge out of the civil marriage business altogether. Want to get married? Have whomever you want perform whatever ceremony you want. Want your marriage to be recognized by the state (with all the rights, tax implications, etc)? Get married by a justice of the peace or other duly-recognized civil authority.
    Problem solved.

    • Anonymous

      That is the procedure followed in a number of European countries. You have a brief civil ceremony at a government office to establish your legal marriage, and then if you choose you can have a separate religious ceremony at a place of worship to sancify your religious marriage.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly. I observed this when I lived in Germany. We can learn a lot from those folks. Ike started the Interstate highway system based on the Autobahn, something he experienced while there. We would do well to emulate their marriage system, too.

        • paulflorez

          I’m pretty sure that’s already the way it works in the U.S. Getting married at your church does not grant you a civil marriage, you still have to apply for your marriage certificate with the government. I think most if not all governments also offer a small ceremony, but it is not required.

          • Anonymous

            Difference is over there whatever you do in a church has no bearing at all on what you must do in the courthouse in order to be *legally* married. Here, we’ve outsourced the marriage ceremony to any yahoo who claims their invisible friend says it’s ok, and they get to sign the *legal* documents stating you’re married. This causes confusion among the slower, more gullible, dare I say stupid, among us that church and state are conjoined. In other words, Bob Vander Platz and the followers of his cult try to usurp from the state powers that are not within the province of the cult.

          • Anonymous

            Actually, most (perhaps even all, I haven’t checked that thoroughly) US states require your legal marriage to be officiated by a secular official– BUT they also have statute that makes any ordained minister a state official for purposes of officiating a legal marriage. So, if you marry in a church the minister is simultaneously acting as a religious AND a secular official.

            I’d like to see that “dual-authority” practice eliminated, since it leads to the blurred understanding people have of the distinction between civil and religious marriages.

  • Anonymous

    Does this mean Businesses and Organizations can also deny services to Interracial couples, Asian couples, Mexican couples, Indian couples, etc? So if I still worked at Starbucks, this means I could deny coffee to any Straight people?

    • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

      Serving coffee doesn’t imply acceptance of the lifestyle. Taking pictures at a wedding, presiding over the wedding, providing the facilities for the wedding, etc does imply acceptance and might be contradictory to the person’s religious beliefs. Good question, though.

      • Anonymous

        Serving coffee to a couple on a date facilitates said encounter. Nice try, Billy, but you just made a couple of gay folks happy through your mocha magic!
        Fail. Good attempt, though.

        • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

          Now you’re just creating new scenarios and hypothetical and expecting each answer I give to anticipate the next response. Not very intellectual–you’re just looking to “catch” me, rather than have a debate. Good attempt, though.

          • Anonymous

            Wrong again, Billy. I responded to your statement regarding gays and coffee. Not even a good attempt at dodging this time.

        • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

          Now you’re just creating new scenarios and hypothetical and expecting each answer I give to anticipate the next response. Not very intellectual–you’re just looking to “catch” me, rather than have a debate. Good attempt, though.

      • Anonymous

        You can’t possibly believe that gay couples are asking ministers they know to be against gay marriage to preside over their ceremonies, can you? Do you realize how stupid that sounds? “Oh honey, this may be the most important day of our lives, but let’s force that priest who rants against gay marriage all the time to marry us, because what could make our special day more special than a heaping lump of religious rancor at the altar?”

        • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

          If you wouldn’t force a priest to preside over a wedding they disagree with, why would you force a photographer? One is bonded by the state to preside over weddings, and the other has a business. What’s the difference–why would you want to force either to do something against their conscience?

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            Why would I want to force either to do something against their conscience? I think we’ve actually, finally, come to a question that’s at the crux of the debate. It’s the balance and conflict between absolute freedom and the necessity (to form a functional society) to restrict our freedoms to accomodate another’s freedoms.

            In balance: you can only swing your arm freely until it reaches my face.

            In balance: America’s religious freedoms allow a priest to refuse to marry gays: his is clearly a religious practice and the balance tips toward him. A photographer is not clearly practicing his religion so the balance tips towards the customer.

            In balance: Same-sex marriage is allowed but Catholic priests are not required to preside over the marriage.

            If America were a Catholic country you would have a stronger stance because then the Church’s doctrine would tip the balance. But America is not a Catholic country and the balance tips differently. That is the unique, wonderful, ever re-balancing, messy beauty of America.

            God bless America.

  • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

    Religious freedom should not be severed by the hand of the gay agenda. My right to live my faith and exercise my Catholic conscience is protected by the Constitution. Get over it…

    • Anonymous

      As is my 1st Amendment Right (which I fought for, btw) to suggest to you that you go fuck yourself when I see you propagating hatred and bigotry and working against the Constitutional Right to Equal Protection, regardless of whether your reason is coproencephaly or some crap you think your invisible friend told you to say.
      It’s called Free Speech. Get used to it.

    • Anonymous

      As is my 1st Amendment Right (which I fought for, btw) to suggest to you that you go fuck yourself when I see you propagating hatred and bigotry and working against the Constitutional Right to Equal Protection, regardless of whether your reason is coproencephaly or some crap you think your invisible friend told you to say.
      It’s called Free Speech. Get used to it.

      • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

        Thanks for the civil discourse. The more angry you are the less you’re going to convince others of your opinion. You might want to improve your tone and methods, or else you’ll continue to look emotional and not rational. It depends on your goal–if it’s to look wild, congrats. If it’s to begin a discussion, start over.

        • Anonymous

          Billy, I’m not angry. I’m merely exercising the First Amendment Right (which I fought to support and defend) in response to someone else (you) whining about their First Amendment Rights being threatened (they’re not). You’re allowed to believe any hokum your invisible friend in the sky tells you. People are allowed to respond when you try to impact our lives with unsubstantiated prattle based on aforementioned invisible friend.
          Want to have civil discourse? Try starting the conversation based on rational ideas instead of magic and mythology. Otherwise, my invisible friend might just issue a decree that people who believe in your invisible friend are irreparably insane and should be euthanized for the good of all humanity….then where would you be? (note: your invisible friend has decreed equally batshit ideas….look ‘em up.)
          May you be Touched by His Noodly Appendage!
          RAmen

          • Anonymous

            I hope you were wearing your pirate regalia when you typed that. Otherwise, it’s more global warming for us!

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            Oh, I see. Just because I don’t start out by agreeing with what you say or accepting your premise of atheism I shouldn’t be spoken to like a human being. Not very civil or patriotic or decent.

            Why do you keep telling me that your fought to defend my rights? Do you think that that will compensate for the rude language you used? You clearly are more interested in ranting than discussing important issues.

          • Anonymous

            No, Billy, you don’t see. I don’t care whether you agree with me or not. You’re not in my state, you have no dog in this fight, yet you insist on spreading misinformation about how a specific issue in MY state affects your belief in your invisible friend. You want to discriminate based on the message from that invisible friend, and you want others to be able to ignore the Constitutional Right to Equal Protection Under Law based on your invisible friend’s message of hate.
            The reason I bring up that I fought for your Rights is that I also fought for MY Rights, and the Rights of all Americans – even ass-tards and people who spew crazy shit because the voices in their heads tell ‘em to. I took an oath to Support and Defend the Constitution against all Enemies, both foreign *and domestic*. Out-Of-State assholes, such as yourself, who insist on wandering into Iowa to spread lies in order to take away my fellow Iowan’s Constitutional Rights fall under the category of domestic enemies of the Constitution.
            I have every right to be rude, crude, and downright mean to assholes such as yourself. I eared that right, and will continue to exercise my Rights as I see fit, not as the voices in your head want me to.
            What have you done to support your fellow Americans and the Rights that We The People enjoy?

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            It sounds like you fought not to protect my rights, but to only protect your own. That’s why you’re so angry, and why you curse, when someone like myself respectfully disagrees with you. You’re the one flying off the handle, not me.

            Again, Natural Law is not contingent on Christianity. Natural Law implies an order to the natural world that influences our human nature. There are atheists who believe in Natural Law.

            I’ve done what I’m doing now, which is engaging in the civil discourse that founded our country, established the constitution, and gave us liberty. If I just shut my mouth as you want me to, we would be subject to the totalitarian dictatorship of a liberal agenda. If you love freedom as much as you say, you wouldn’t be so vitriolic when I disagree–you would see it as an extension of liberty and freedom. From what I can tell, you’ve broken your oath by asking me to stop speaking in the public square. People did the same thing to black Americans during the civil rights era. Just because you change the group of people from black Americans to Christians, doesn’t make it right.

          • Anonymous

            Sure, you have the Right to rant away all you want. I’m not at all angry, although perhaps disappointed in your lack of ability to stay on topic. I’ve not asked you to shut your mouth. Try sticking to facts instead of making shit up.
            Where do you get the idea that Natural Law is homophobic? Why do you bring atheists into the conversation?

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            Natural Law is not homophobic; rather it does not deem homosexual relationships a healthy expression of our sexual purpose (unity and procreation). Homophobia is a fear of homosexuals, which is an extremely rare condition. Disagreement with an opinion does not imply hatred for the subject group. Democrats disagree with Republicans, but I doubt they hate them. You understand that, right?

            I brought up atheists because it was mentioned previously by “egc…” that Natural Law is specifically theistic. That is not true at all. That’s why I mentioned it.

            You’re not angry? Really? You said, “…even a**-tards and people who spew crazy sh** because the voices in their heads tell ‘em to.” That wasn’t angry? You made fun of my religion and you weren’t angry? If not, I would appreciate you being more clear about your opinions, and not just your passion.

            How about, “Out-Of-State assholes, such as yourself, who insist on wandering into Iowa to spread lies…” Again, this sounds angry. After all, do you usually call people names when you aren’t angry with them?

            I hope you do not mistake outrage, passion, and anger with intellect or reason. You certainly have the former, but I have yet to see the later. I look forward to it, though.

          • Anonymous

            Billy, perhaps your definition of Natural Law opposes homosexuality, but not all definitions do. Because homosexuality exists in nature, it is in keeping with Natural Law. As usual, theo-fundi-nutters such as yourself try to impose your own brand of bigotry on the general public through your changing of the definitions to suit your own nefarious ends.
            Your flavor of Natural Law appears to be a Catholic version, which is not the same as being the only definition. Likewise, your definition of Christianity is not a universal definition – just ask any Mormon.
            Again, not angry at all. Disappointed that out-of-state special interests are coming into Iowa to spread their personal brands of hatred masquerading as God’s Love. Yep, I made fun of your religion. I tend to laugh at stupid shit, whether it’s millenia-old dietary and fashion restrictions or crazy creation mythologies or holidays co-opted from previous faiths merely for convenience. I mock you, call you names, etc, because you come here – to MY state – trying to impose on me that which the voices in your head (or perhaps your in cult leader’s head) tell you to do. You come without any facts, you come without logic, you come without proof. You come here with stupid shit, and expect me and my fellow Iowans to bow down and accept your stupid as fact prima facia. Thanks, but no thanks.
            Just as there’s no reason for you to have to follow what my invisible friend says, there’s no reason why I should listen to yours. You’ve shown no intellect or reason, only the false dogma of “faith”. You are welcome to your faith, but I roundly reject it and you as I have my own, and mine doesn’t include having to live my life restricted by your faith’s weird twisted rules.
            We are *not* a theocracy, as much as you may want it to be. You want to live in a Catholic country, move to Vatican City.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            Wow. For a man who “fought for” my freedom (which I doubt the more you misrepresent my thoughts and insult me as if I were a dog) you seem utterly insulted that I would even have an opinion. I don’t mean to insult you by dissenting–but you’re going to have to learn how to have a healthy discussion with other people.

            Given what your last post says, you are just repackaging your previous statements and ignoring nearly everything I said. There’s no point in continuing if you aren’t going to stop with the insults and start a health discussion and debate.

            God Bless!

          • Anonymous

            Silly Billy, I don’t insult dogs…I like dogs – unless they’re those yappy little beasts (toy-whatevers and teacup ankle-biters). I’m not insulted that you have an opinion, I just know your opinion is ill-conceived, based on mythology, and has no connection to the real world where real people live.
            May you be Touched by His Noodly Appendage!

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            It really would be nice if you would address the issues I present rather than hide behind the ignorant veil of disdain for my religion. I am confident you can do better.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            Oh, I see. Just because I don’t start out by agreeing with what you say or accepting your premise of atheism I shouldn’t be spoken to like a human being. Not very civil or patriotic or decent.

            Why do you keep telling me that your fought to defend my rights? Do you think that that will compensate for the rude language you used? You clearly are more interested in ranting than discussing important issues.

    • paulflorez

      Religious freedom is acceptable up to the point where it causes other people harm. It may be your “religious belief” to stone gays but it is not a violation of your religious freedom to send you to jail if you do so.

      Same with racism. Your religion may believe that blacks are inferior and thus should not be allowed in your business, but the U.S. Supreme Court has already found that you do not have a right to discriminate as a business that serves the public, religious belief or not.

      • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

        Ah, nothing like reading am Old Testament Biblical verse without the context of the New Testament. We’re called to love our neighbor, but not accept their sins. Sin is something we all do and all need to be cleansed of. I love gays, but I cannot accept their sexual behavior–just as you cannot accept my constitutional rights.

        • Anonymous

          I do not accept that being gay is a sin. Whereas I think showing hostility towards or ostracizing someone based on their sexual orientation is a grievous transgression. Which of our spiritual convictions wins? Isn’t it better that state government not take a side?

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            I find it vitally important that government reflects the Natural Law and basic ethics. The notion of what marriage is and isn’t has changed over centuries; but one element has never been questioned. That is that men and women should get married. To strip out this basic element of marriage is to dismiss the institution altogether.

            To you find it unnecessary that government take a side on sanctioning something that has never existed (namely, gay “marriage”). Then why are to pushing to have the government recognize these relationships further?

            I prefer to have the government take sides on moral issues. For instance, rape is wrong, stealing is wrong, abuse is wrong, tax evasion is wrong, etc. Similarly, homosexual relationships are wrong. Does that mean we should not love them, or love them less than anyone else? Absolutely not. They have equal dignity, regardless of their choices to bed with someone of the same sex. But that does not mean we should punish them or make a spectacle of them, or give them legal recognition as being in a legitimate relationship.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O7CF6T77AEL3JFQX35UCQT6U2Y Robert Ahrens

            …”rape is wrong, stealing is wrong, abuse is wrong, tax evasion is wrong, etc.”

            No, these are not moral issues at all, but issues of harm, either to society or to individuals. You may or may not include them in your personal pantheon of morals, and others may not. The crime rate would suggest that plenty of people do not!

            The State’s position is not as a MORAL guide or enforcer, but that it is an enforcer and protector of the public welfare, preventing actions which harm the welfare of individuals, groups or society as a whole.

            As such, the position that gay marriage is against your morals does not obligate the State to legislate against it.

            The court case which makes gay marriage legal in your State specifically states that churches are not obligated to perform marriages that violate their religious values.

            So your support of this bill merely is in support of legalized discrimination to force gays into a more socially acceptable lifestyle, which just happens to be your own chosen selection.

            This violates their dignity, which you so piously claim to want to uphold.

            Shame on you!

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            “… in your State…”

            For the record, Billy Atwell doesn’t live in Iowa; he’s from Virginia.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            But justice and nature is universal.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            It’s not just about other people acting against “my” morals (don’t forget the rest of the orthodox Christians in this nation). Homosexual marriages would not be a fit foundation for the education of children. Men and women balance each other out emotionally such that children are raised in a proper, healthy home. Homosexuals inherently cannot balance each other out.

            This was made evident in the Prop 8 court hearing…http://catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=38857

            The most fit home for children is with one man and one woman, married, and living together. Obviously other factors help too, like stable financials, religious faith, etc. But the foundation was made abundantly clear. You can ignore evidence, experts, science, and all the rest…but then you are living in the dark.

        • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

          So your idea of “not accept[ing] their sins” means you are supposed to compel them to not sin?

          If that is so, do you really think outlawing same-sex marriage will change their behavior one whit?

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            It won’t change their behavior, perhaps, but it will not legally sanction it either.

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            Don’t be coy. What you want is far more than “not sanctioning” their behavior; you intend to punish them for their behavior even though it affects you not at all and will not change their behavior at all.

            I find that position pitiful.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            I never said I want homosexuals punished–you’re creating a position that I don’t stand by and attacking it (that’s a Strawman fallacy). Why are you presuming to know what I think? If you want to know if I think punishing homosexuals is a good idea, just ask me.

            I don’t, in fact, think homosexuals should be punished for their behavior, but I also don’t think that the law should enshrine it either.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O7CF6T77AEL3JFQX35UCQT6U2Y Robert Ahrens

            It is not a strawman, but follows logically from your position. You want to use the power of social ostracism to punish gays and force them into a more acceptable lifestyle – yours!

            The very idea is anathema to the American value of individualism and freedom of conscience.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            We do not believe freedom is the ability to do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t “directly” harm someone else. Do you have any regard for the common good? People pay taxes not just for their own well-being, but for the common good. We imprison people for doing drugs both because it hurts those caught in the cross-fire of the cartel wars and such, but also because drug use harms the common good.

            Have you no regard for other people? Or is all of justice and freedom a selfish notion of what I can do for myself? That’s not justice or freedom at all–that’s slavery to one’s self.

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            To me, preventing somebody from marrying who they love IS punishment.

            But if you must, change the word “punish” to “restrict” and my main point is still the same.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            So it’s punishment to keep someone from marrying someone they love? What if an adult man wants to marry a young, consenting girl. According to your logic, adult men should be able to marry very young girls because otherwise it would be punishment. Do you also fight against pedophilia laws?

    • Anonymous

      Here’s a simple idea: put up a sign in your window stating that you only serve gays because you’re legally obligated to, but you’d really rather not, because somehow you got the impression that’s what Jesus ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ Christ would have wanted.

      I guarantee, you will not have any more gay customers. Or straight customers like me who are ashamed and appalled to find out Iowa has such narrow-minded, self-serving bigots in it.

      My spiritual convictions require me to shun your business, because I will not support discrimination, or those who engage in it. So what was your business name?

      • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

        I don’t have a business. I just don’t want my constitutionally protected right to live my faith and exercise my religious tenets without discrimination or vitriol from those who wish to advance an agenda contradictory with Natural Law.

        • Anonymous

          There was never any concern that your rights to religious freedoms would be protected. But why should your beliefs be protected, and not another’s? Would you be comfortable with a law that said you could be denied services/ goods/ whatever if someone found themselves fundamentally opposed to your religious views?

          ‘Natural Law’ is a cute term which seems to get trotted out quite a lot these days. Have you looked at Nature? It’s not exactly the most genteel place. Religion has absolutely no place in it. Your religious convictions entitle you to nothing in nature. In fact, pretty much anything goes.

          I personally fully endorse avoiding Natural law. I would like not to be eaten, killed, raped, or otherwise abused by anything bigger or stronger than me that I don’t manage to eat/rape/kill first. I would like to live past 30. I would like the option of not producing offspring randomly. I like having a roof over my head, and this thing where I only must stalk my prey as far as the grocery aisle? Flat out awesome! Antibiotics, also very nice. And dental hygiene. And women not dying in childbirth. And babies not dying in childhood. And clothes…if we’re going to live past 30 and not grow fur, well, some sort of ornate coverage is a must. Money is very handy, because barter would get tedious. Books, computers, TV? More win for the unnatural! Indoor plumbing? With door a on it? Heat in winter, cold in summer, refrigeration…

          You can have your idiotic Eden. Enjoy your fig leaf. I feel certain it will provide you with firsthand understanding of the one true Natural Law: Evolve/ adapt, or die out.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            Interesting that you end with a point about evolution. Do you see that homosexual marriages, if practiced, would inherently die out? Don’t you see that as a bad thing? Or do you like the idea of evolving away from homosexuality? I’ve never heard of a homosexual couple adopting several kids from Africa, like you hear about Christians. You only see them adopt 1 or maybe even 2–perhaps to make a point. At that rate, few people will carry on the belief, with the exception of “converts” to it.

            It’s like how there are less abortions happening. We can’t thank Obama, sorry. It’s because abortionists are far more likely to have an abortion, and then have nobody to carry on their belief.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O7CF6T77AEL3JFQX35UCQT6U2Y Robert Ahrens

            Homosexuality doesn’t “die out”, so gay marriages won’t “die out” either. Contrary to your assertions of “natural law”, homosexuality is not unknown in the animal kingdom. It occurs quite naturally.

            Humans don’t “learn” to be homosexual. Did you “choose” to like girls? Did you just sit down one day and compare guys you knew with the girls you knew and just make a decision to like girls? Of course not, that attraction to them was natural, or you wouldn’t talk that way.

            So it is with gays, their attraction to the same sex just happened. They didn’t somehow choose to like their own sex. Would any sane person “choose” a lifestyle that would bring them as much grief and hardship as the gay lifestyle does?

            So this controversy would’t just fade away if somehow, gays would just stop being gays. Each generation results in a similar percentage of gays developing.

            Your logic is just astonishingly stupid.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            I never said that homosexuals “learn” to be gay. I don’t care if it’s natural or learned. That does not weigh on its moral consequence. I am a 2x cancer survivor, for instance. I don’t find cancer to be good even though it happens naturally. I think it’s a bad thing. Whether or not homosexuality is a natural/biological phenomenon, has no bearing on its morality. Feeling homosexual feelings isn’t immoral, either. Its homosexual behavior (sexual acts) that are unnatural and unethical. Devout Christians also teach deferred gratification, so its not like we are singling homosexuals out.

            If evolution is true, though, the homosexual gene would go away since the most popular means of having children would be via adoption, and the gene would not be passed on. Other medical means are extremely expensive and wouldn’t be the common means of raising children.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            It’s also very rude to call people stupid. Can’t you be kinder, even if you don’t respect my beliefs?

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            Homosexuality hasn’t died out yet, even though it has been around for thousands of years. How long should we reasonable wait to prove your point?

        • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

          First, whether there is “an agenda” or not is a political view, not necessarily fact.

          Second, whether that “agenda” is contradictory with “Natural Law” is a theological view, not necessarily fact.

          Third, your constitutional rights aren’t without limits. In America and Iowa you may not distinguish (aka discriminate) based on religion, creed, etc. These are tenets that have been a part of America and Iowa since their founding. They are fundamental to the American / Iowan culture and government. Iowa’s constitution also protects sexual orientation the same as it protects these other rights.

          Fourth, since you don’t have a business then how is a same-sex couple’s marriage impacting your ability to live your faith or exercise your religious tenets?

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            Wow, where do I start?

            Natural Law is not theistic. It simply states that there is an order to the natural world, not a random assortment (even if that means self-contradictory ones).

            Since when can we not distinguish based on religion, creed, etc? You sound like Stephen Colbert when he said that he can’t tell a black person because he’s color blind. We are allow to distinguish (otherwise affirmative action would be impossible). Try again…

            Am I now allowed to weigh in on a freedom issue without being directly persecuted? White Christians marched with MLK–would you have responded to them like you have me? Perhaps…

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            > Natural Law is not theistic

            You see in Nature that homosexual sex cannot produce children and conclude that American and Iowan laws should make same-sex marriage illegal. Anybody can take one point from “Nature” and make any conclusion they want, if they are already pre-disposed to that conclusion. For example, someone sees in Nature that people tend to get sleepy at night… and could conclude that being awake at night should be illegal. Or, someone sees that men are (in general) physically larger than women…. and could conclude that our laws should require men to protect women and criminalize any woman who protects a man. Your use of “Natural Law” is a thin facade to hide your predetermined anti-homosexual bias.

            Since when can we not discriminate based on religion, creed, etc? Since the Constitution was adopted in 1787 and the Civil Rights Act was adopted in 1964. It’s a little thing called History… you might try it.

            Am I persecuting you in any way…. other than disagreeing with you and pointing out that the flaws in your logic?

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            You didn’t say discriminate in your first posts….you said “distinguish.” Be clear about what you’re saying, or reconsider your argument. Either way, you can’t change your words halfway through and expect your claim to remain consistent.

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            Go back and read it again. I wrote, “In America and Iowa you may not distinguish (aka discriminate) based on religion, creed, etc. “

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            Your presupposition that “distinguish” and “discriminate” have the same meaning is wrong. When I look at a man, I distinguish that he is not a woman, is of a relative height, and has a particular complection. If I were to discriminate that man, it would mean that I, for instance, decide that because he is not a woman, I deem him unfit to perform the duties of a business analyst.

            Try again, your point is falling apart starting with your poor use of grammar–from there it falls apart in logic and history.

            Our country does not accept discriminating people who act on a religious belief because we value the freedom of the conscience. I may speak out against what I find to be morally wrong, just as you may. Your perception of history seems to believe religious people should be subverted in preference to another agenda. That’s unconstitutional, unethical, and defies the principles of true freedom.

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            @atwell: “Your presupposition that “distinguish” and “discriminate” have the same meaning is wrong”

            Nope, in this context it’s right. When you “distinguish” in a way that prevents other citizens their freedom — as defined in the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act — then that is “discrimination” plain and simple.

            You can attempt to hide behind a different word, or claim that your religion gives you the right to distinguish along these lines, but you are wrong in the eyes of American and Iowan law. There are LIMITS to the distinguishing acts you are allowed to make. Beyond those limits is discrimination.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            This is basic English. Distinguishing and discriminating are different words. If you take a word, add to the definition, and change the context in which it can be properly used, then OF COURSE it will mean something else. It’s like saying, “there was a single guy who got married–so now he’s both.” Sorry, but that would mean he’s married. I’m not going to debate basic English–this article and argument is about marriage and the natural design of the human person (not your disdain for people not like yourself).

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            I don’t disdain you because you are not like me; I disdain you because you would impose your beliefs on others who are causing you no harm.

            And, BTW, I have no respect for your attempt to hide your true meaning behind euphemisms. What you call “distinguishment” I call “discrimination”. What you call “natural law” I call “religious belief”.

            And, BTW, your attempt to teach me “basic English” is insulting.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            I certainly didn’t mean to insult you, but you are still preferring to ignorantly use words and place blame on me for beliefs that I have not claimed.

            Do I have to be harmed by somebody to defend justice and natural law? I would defend women from abuse even though the abused woman isn’t someone I know personally. Judging from your reaction to my interest in this case, you wouldn’t extend that consideration.

            Again, you cannot redefine Natural Law to “religious belief” and expect anyone to find your arguments intellectually stimulating. What if I called you something that you weren’t, just because I didn’t like what you have to say. Wouldn’t that be uncharitable and mean?

            I at least take your thoughts seriously (as hard as it may be when you throw insults around).

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            And while we’re at it: is that the basis of your argument? That denying people rights on the basis of religion, creed, race, etc is OK if you call it “distinguishing” and not “discriminating”?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SJLX3TYWY2B75STYO2TNQ6FMC4 Joe

        Well this is the state where they threw out three perfectly good supreme court judges because they didn’t take a poll on how many rednecks didn’t want gays to be able to get married. They interpreted the constitution and found that this class of people should not be discriminated against and were kicked out for doing their JOB!

        • Anonymous

          I know! I don’t have a palm big enough to properly do the *facepalm* that episode of mass-moronics deserves!

        • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

          Sounds like you don’t believe in democracy. The people voted…get over it and stop complaining.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t believe we should ever allow the right to equal status under the law to be determined for a minority by a slight majority, no. If we did, how many states would still allow discrimination based on race? Or gender? Or religion? I also don’t believe we should put determination of constitutionality of a law to a popular vote after the Supreme Court has made a very tight case against it. These are trained, experienced professionals whose whole job is to defend the rights of all and the sovereignty of the Constitution over all other laws. To decide to change the Constitution just because a slim majority of voters (not even a majority of the governed population) object is obscene…you don’t change the rules just because they let someone else have something you wanted all for yourself.

            I’m intrigued by your blog advocating Christian behavior online. You postulate that Christians may feel more comfortable being less charitable in the ephemeral context of cyber-space. Might not the same be true of the distancing involved in creating laws that injure another? When you deal with the language, you aren’t seeing the people your law has devalued, the children whose homes are suddenly rated as subpar. I think if you were to spend some time around the couples who have rejoiced at the recognition of their relationships, and now have that recognition threatened for a ridiculous coincidence of biology, it’d be harder to judge them as “unhealthy” or to dismiss their grief. Perhaps then you’d see that each gay individual is also “an actual person. Each person has incredible value and worth—Christ died for them too.”

            Don’t be so quick to judge on the assumption that this is what God wants. After all, if He really cared, wouldn’t there be some smiting going on? A sign? Some sky-writing? Something? Instead, Christ gave a new commandment: to love thy neighbor as thyself. In this matter, Christ should know the pain of being judged for not having a traditional family…after all, his was a completely singular one, by Christian tradition.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            You really think gay “marriages” have the coincidence of biology? What’s coincidental about that? It’s the very heart of the problem/question here. I don’t know where you’re from, but people generally recognize their potential spouses gender, rather than find whatever it is to be a “coincidence.”

            Don’t tell me not to assume God’s will, and then in the next few sentences tell me what he wants. That’s classic hypocrisy. It doesn’t take theism to see that homosexuality is not sustainable or healthy, since it violates natural inclinations. I know, I know, you’re going to say that gay people are gay “naturally”, but you have no basis to prove that. In virtue of procreation and the fact that the rest of the natural world unifies opposite sexual organs to produce children, homosexuality cannot be of a natural origin.

          • Citizen Kane

            Bill, I won’t get over it! It seems the current people driving all this needs to get over it. If your positions would have been offered in the campaigns directly, openly, and honestly to the people of Iowa, none of these people would have been elected.
            Don’t we have bigger issues then these personal life choice issues? What about my kids not being able to find work? I have been told they need educations and they need to go deep into debt to find good work OK, been their, done that. But do you really need masters to work at Wal-Mart or Casey’s? Get off your religious pious high horse and lets work to solve my children’s dilemma.
            ,

  • http://twitter.com/DiggerDoggg Hank

    It’s a good thing I moved out of Iowa. I use to have pride being an Iowan, now it’s an embarrassment. It’s become a state of ignorant, gun toting, homphobic trailer trash.

    • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

      On the other hand, Iowa today still protects these rights where most other states do not. Take a close look at the rights guaranteed in the state you’re living in now.

  • http://twitter.com/DiggerDoggg Hank

    Iowa, you have become an embarrassment. I was born in Iowa and I disown you. You have become a state of ignorant, gut toting, homophobic trailer trash.

  • Anonymous

    What if my religion doesn’t agree with blacks or Jews? Should we write into law that I have the right to refuse service to them?

    Absolutely ridiculous. Separation of church and state, separation of church and state! I’m sick and tired of the only argument against gay and lesbian freedoms are ENTIRELY religious!

    I thought American law was supposed to be religiously agnostic and the basis of our laws on the principles of democracy. That’s not what’s happening here and I don’t understand why we keep electing these buffoons who only support their own religious agendas as law!

    • Anonymous

      “What if my religion doesn’t agree with blacks or Jews? Should we write into law that I have the right to refuse service to them?”

      Good news – if they’re married you can definitely refuse service to them under this bill. Just tell them your religion doesn’t believe in blacks or Jews getting married and voila. Particularly Jewish people – doesn’t a Jewish marriage automatically conflict with sincerely held Christian beliefs?

    • Anonymous

      “What if my religion doesn’t agree with blacks or Jews? Should we write into law that I have the right to refuse service to them?”
      ********

      There is at least one religion I know of that doesn’t agree with blacks or Jews: a white-supremacist Christian cult called “the Church of Jesus Christ Christian.”

      If the proposed Iowa law were to let other business owners discriminate for “religious” reasons agains gays and lesbians, the state could potentially face a religious discrimination litigation from a member of CJCC for permitting other religious groups to discriminate based on sincerely-held religious prejudices but not permitting CJCC members to likewise discriminate against those they call “mud people” for equally sincerely-held religious prejudices.

  • http://twitter.com/Rickstersays Rickster Rickster

    what we need is DISESTABLISHMENT the removal of religion from our government and laws. i am getting sick and tired of the religious nut jobs and gun owners being the only ones who have any rights and claiming they can trump others rights.

    tax the churches and these hate groups!

  • paulflorez

    Remember Rand Paul’s little confession about want to repeal the part of the Civil Rights Act that makes it illegal for your to refuse to serve a customer because of their race? This is exactly what they want.

    Religious freedom is allowed up to the point where it causes other individuals harm. A business discriminating against a minority group causes that minority group harm. Just because your religious belief is that gay people should be stoned, doesn’t mean that you have a right to stone them.

    • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

      Read the article. It specifies the conditions of the law:

      “House Study Bill 50, also called the Religious Conscience Protection Act, would give religious institutions, including charities and schools, exemptions from performing, recognizing or providing services to couples in regards to celebrating their marriage, if the couple violates the institution’s ‘sincerely held religious beliefs.’”

      It only applies to marriage-related services that might violate the person’s constitutional right to exercise their faith and uphold their beliefs.

      • Anonymous

        “Read the article. […] It only applies to marriage-related services that might violate the person’s constitutional right to exercise their faith and uphold their beliefs.”

        ******
        Read the bill, Mr. Atwell. It’s not just the wedding.

        Section 2(2)(a) says that sole proprietors, small businesses, and even just individuals can openly and substantially discriminate against legally-married gay and lesbian employees or customers at any time on an ongoing basis.

        Furthermore, how would letting someone else be married violate YOUR right to exercise your faith and uphold your beliefs? Is someone requiring YOU to get gay-married? The bigot in that scenario isn’t having his beliefs violated, he’s just upset that he isn’t permitted to force others to comply with his beliefs.

        • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

          In the countries that accept same-sex marriage, the country has deteriorated and the family has suffered. That’s how we all are impacted by this type of decision. (http://fota.cdnetworks.net/pdfs/2011-02-10-cpac-marriage.pdf)

          • Anonymous

            *snork* Do I even have to point out that a propaganda pamphlet is pretty damn far from actual, useful research? Wow, people who accept same sex also believe that marriage isn’t necessary to have children? Clear evidence that the country has deteriorated! Having two incomes raises a child’s chances of not living in poverty (can I just say “duh”?) Who’d have thought! But doesn’t this support the viability of having two mommies/ two daddies, if the point is to increase the child’s advantages in life? And isn’t a single parent who is loving and nurturing but not wealthy better than two disinterested parents with boatloads of cash, or has love taken a complete backseat to wealth in our nation?

            If your concern is that the percentage of children born out of wedlock is increasing (which seems like a silly concern, but whatever), shouldn’t you be supporting gay marriage, since it allows more couples to provide their children with married parents?

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            I’m not so short-sighted as to think that our only options are bad straight marriages or good gay marriages. You’re standing on a stereotypical ad hominem fallacy (red herring).

            My desire isn’t just to see a reduction of children born out of wedlock, but also to see a strengthening of traditional marriages. We can make children marry each other, or adults marry children, but that wouldn’t help the situation of the children they produce, now would it? Think…

      • Anonymous

        I’m especially concerned about the application of this to school. Will kids with gay parents be banned from bringing them to parent events? Will schools refuse to accept permission slips signed by the non-biological parent? If a child is ill, will they refuse to allow the non-biological parent attend to or take that child home?

        • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

          What do non-biological parents have to do with this? You’re taking this in the wrong direction. The problem with gay couples isn’t that they aren’t the biological parents, it’s that they are not the healthiest situation for children to be parented under.

          • Anonymous

            Presumably, while these organizations are refusing to recognize the legal rights of a married couple, they’ll include rights to access to children raised within the family for anyone but the biological parent. Or would you deny the biological parent too?

            Who are you to decide what the healthiest situation is for raising a child? And even if there were some evidence that any difficulty is a result of same gender parents (as opposed to a socially accepted culture of bigotry that I can’t imagine kids don’t perceive), how could you stack that against situations where there’s no home, abusive parents, mentally ill parents, neglectful parents, etc?

            What about single parents? Is a home with two mommies somehow worse than a home with one, and would you limit the rights of that parent? (Single moms/dads, please note: I’m not saying you’re a bad situation either; you’re just another type of “non-traditional” family that sometimes has to deal with extraordinary bias.) Or better yet, force both biological parents to stay together, even if there were very real circumstances that caused one to leave the other, sometimes for the safety of the kids?

            A healthy home life is not the automatic result of have a penis and a vagina under the roof. It comes from having a loving, invested, stable, supportive parent, two if possible. I knew a lot of kids who had outwardly apple-pie families with two cars and a nice house, a steady income…and hostility at home, or absentee parents who didn’t know their kids were getting high or having sex at age 13, or parents who pressured them to fit a cookie mold of external perfection, no matter what was going on under the surface, or parents who actually encouraged eating disorders and drinking.

            These are not the healthiest situations for children to be parented under…but I suppose if they meet that requisite of 1 penis + 1 vagina, they satisfy your idea of healthy just fine.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            You ask a ton of questions, but offer no answer to the breakdown that homosexual “marriages” would cause. Please show me how homosexual marriages would benefit society in any way.

            In fact, the surest sign of a breakdown of a society or nation is when they destroy the nuclear family (http://fota.cdnetworks.net/pdfs/2011-02-10-cpac-marriage.pdf)

            Bad heterosexual marriages isn’t a good argument FOR something else. It’s totally irrelevant. Bad hetero marriages are, well, bad. But they have the potential to be good. Homosexual ones wouldn’t be good, since they violate human nature and Natural Law.

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            So the bottom line is: you’ve made up your mind that homosexual marriage is bad and no amount of evidence to the contrary will change what you believe.

            Which is OK as long as you recognize that this is a belief system. But it isn’t an argument of logic and provable fact. Logic and provable fact (and therefore, science) depend on drawing conclusions from the evidence… not the reverse.

            Evidence: plenty of homosexuals have happy marriages.
            Factual reason: they say they are happy
            Factual reason: their kids are fine
            Factual reason: they’ve stayed married for years
            Logical conclusion: homosexual marriages can be good.
            Your conclusion: don’t confuse me with facts; homosexual marriages are bad.

            So if you want to say you believe what you believe, then fine. We can disagree. But don’t pretend it is a logical argument, because it isn’t.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            People claiming to be happy means they are happy? WRONG! (ask any psychologist or counselor)
            Their kids are fine? According to who? Is that scientifically proven or anecdotal?
            How many years proves a “successful” marriage? Is duration the only sign of a successful marriage?

            This is the kind of unscientific, anecdotal argument that makes your position so unstable. Here is some more EXPERT evidence showing that homosexuals are the the best fit to be parents… http://www.billyatwell.org/2010/10/defending-marriage-update-on-evidence.html

            You said you have science on your side and then gave me random “factual reasons” that are totally baseless in reason or logic. I’m still waiting on a sound argument about why gay “marriage” is natural and in accordance with human nature. I guess that will never come…

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            Wow. Now you claim that we should ask experts if we are happy or not? That YOU claim that YOU know that homosexuals are unhappy despite what they say? How can anybody have a rational debate with that kind of irrationality?

            But once more into the fray:

            Scientific proof? Read http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/documents/Amer_Psychological_Assn_Amicus_Curiae_Brief.pdf — which summarizes the American Psychological Association’s stand, concluding SCIENTIFICALLY, non-ANECTDOTALLY: “There is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage.”

            Your so-called “expert evidence” is an opinion piece from the religious website Catholic.org…. and we’re supposed to accept this as “science”? So much for your earlier claims that your position is based on “natural law” and not religion. It’s impossible to read the Catholic.org article and believe they are any kind of scientific expert, writing, [QUOTE]… so-called “married” couple would be another slide away from God’s plan for human society.[/QUOTE]. Yep, right there. That’s the basis for the “expertise”: their religious belief in “God’s plan.”

            So now you can stop waiting. You can stop posting articles from Catholic.org as scientific expertise and read the link from the APA and all their references.

            But now we come to the real point: you DO NOT have the moral, religious, civil, or factual authority to impose your beliefs on others. OTHER people getting married in a way that is offensive to you is just TOO BAD FOR YOU. This is AMERICA and we are not a theocracy. We are a country dedicated to freedom.

            It just seems you don’t like that America.

            And now I’m done answering your bigotry and small-minded screeds. I pray (yes, I pray) that you will open your eyes to how lacking in old-fashioned Christian Charity your positions have. It should be important to you because someday you will face God and will have to defend why you turned away from His children.

          • http://twitter.com/BillyAtwell Billy Atwell

            The Catholic Online article cites the expert testimonies from the court record. You can ignore the experts mentioned if you like, but don’t tell me that you’re interested in truth.

            The APA redefined and readdressed homosexuality after they were pressured by the homosexual lobby to treat them differently. Previously to that bombardment their definition of homosexuality and addressing it as a disorder was almost identical to Catholic teaching. Coincidence? I say not.

            Ah, I see. I don’t have the moral authority to impose my beliefs on you, as you said, but you have the moral authority to impose it on me? Interesting. Sad, but interesting.

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            A little more digging behind your claims shows they are baseless. Just because these people testified in court doesn’t make them “experts” in any objective way.

            Judge Vaughn Walker wrote this about the two so-called “experts” you cite. (viz: https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/files/09cv2292-ORDER.pdf)

            Re: David Blankenhorn (“expert” #1), Judge Walker wrote:

            [QUOTE] …suffice it to say that [Blankenhorn] provided no credible evidence to support any of the claimed adverse effects proponents promised to demonstrate.[/QUOTE]

            [QUOTE]the testimony of Blankenhorn is unreliable.[/QUOTE]

            [QUOTE]Blankenhorn lacks the qualifications to offer opinion testimony and, in any event, failed to provide cogent testimony in support of proponents’ factual assertions.[/QUOTE]

            [QUOTE]The court now determines that Blankenhorn’s testimony constitutes inadmissible opinion testimony that should be given essentially no weight.[/QUOTE]

            Re: Kenneth P. Miller’ (“expert” #2), called by Pro-Prop8 lawyers to testify as a political expert. Judge Walker wrote:

            [QUOTE]the court concludes that, while Miller
            has significant experience with politics generally, he is not
            sufficiently familiar with gay and lesbian politics specifically to
            offer opinions on gay and lesbian political power.[/QUOTE]

            [QUOTE]The credibility of Miller’s opinions relating to gay and
            lesbian political power is undermined by his admissions that he: (1) has not focused on lesbian and gay issues in his research or study; (2) has not read many of the sources that would be relevant [...] (3) has no basis to compare the political power of gays and lesbians to the power of other groups [...], (4) could not confirm that he personally identified the vast majority of the sources that he cited in his expert report [...]
            Miller’s credibility was further undermined because the
            opinions he offered at trial were inconsistent with the opinions he
            expressed before he was retained as an expert. [/QUOTE]

            [QUOTE]For the foregoing reasons, the court finds that Miller’s
            opinions on gay and lesbian political power are entitled to little
            weight and only to the extent they are amply supported by reliable
            evidence.[/QUOTE] (if the read the court documents you’ll see that there is very little “amply supported” reliable evidence)

            So here we are, Mr. Atwell. You claim solid standing based on an opinion piece in Catholic.org, which is based on “expert” testimony, which was completely discredited.

            I am VERY interested in the truth, but you have not presented any evidence other than opinions of people you believe and I (and Judge Walker) do not.

            You imply that the APA redefined homosexuality ONLY because they caved to pressure from the “homosexual lobby.” You present no evidence of that, nor would it matter at this point. It is evident that you believe what you believe and facts don’t much matter to you.

            I am not imposing ANY of my beliefs on you. I am actively trying to protect people from YOUR impositions. Protecting people from theological tyrants is NOT the same as imposing our beliefs on you. You are completely welcome to practice your faith any way you want. But you may NOT force anyone else to practice their faith as you want.

            It’s a little thing called freedom. You might want to look into it.

            And as I’ve already said, I’m no longer going to post here. Anybody reading these threads has heard all the arguments and has links for more information. Go in peace. But go.

          • http://www.eddiecaplan.com/ egc52556

            BTW, the material in that link you sent is astonishingly misleading. It offers statistical evidence that marriage — all marriage (not just same-sex marriage) — is good. But when it comes to same-sex marriage it only offers “attitudes” as a contradiction.

            If you have statistical evidence — not opinion dressed up as fact — that same-sex marriage produce a societal breakdown, I’ll look at it. But don’t offer opinion as fact.

  • Anonymous

    What about people who are divorced–if a church doesn’t approve of that, they can be prevented from renting, too?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O7CF6T77AEL3JFQX35UCQT6U2Y Robert Ahrens

    It is astonishing that the party of small government, that wants to limit the government’s “interference” in their lives (especially regarding taxes…) wants that same government to continue to get into everybody’s bedrooms!

    The cognitive dissonance should just explode their brains, if they had any…

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