Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Compelling Pro-Marriage Equality Testimony


(Via Slog.)

How can anyone with a conscience say no to that kid? No wonder the Vermont State Senate passed the marriage equality bill by such a commanding margin.

Update:

Commenter Peggy writes:
Little James Neiley is a total pawn.

I agree with Yasmin Nair's take on this whole debacle.

My response:
Were 17-year-old black kids who took part in activism against Segregation in the 1960's pawns, too?

Have you ever even thought about what your view on this issue would be if you were gay?

I wish I had been half as brave as him when I was 17. I didn't even feel comfortable starting to come out until I was 21.

Peggy:
Save your comparisons to racism. Not even in the same league.

Nieley may be sincere but he's sincerely wrong.

He's going to spend the rest of his life proving himself above and beyond what is necessary - now that's stress!

Me:
Again I ask, have you ever even thought about what your view on this issue would be if you were gay?

Peggy:
What would your view be if therapy had been made available to you as a young man and you were able to re-orient your sexual attraction?

I can't promote anything that presents a danger to one's physical health.

Me:
First, mainstream medical science views such "therapy" as a hoax. There's no good research supporting it. About the only thing that's been determined from such studies is that being in an environment that is hostile to one's sexual orientation substantially increases the risk of teen suicide.

Second, my sexual behavior is no more dangerous than that of most of my heterosexual friends. I have never had sexual intercourse without a condom and am not promiscuous. Plenty of my straight male friends have more sex and are less likely to use protection than I am.

Finally, I'm happy with who I am. Even if given some hypothetical opportunity to become heterosexual, I would decline it.

20 comments:

Peggy said...

Little James Neiley is a total pawn.

I agree with Yasmin Nair's take on this whole debacle:

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/03/the_kids_arent_alright_the_gay_marriage.php

Christopher Patton said...

Were 17-year-old black kids who took part in activism against Segregation in the 1960's pawns, too?

Have you ever even thought about what your view on this issue would be if you were gay?

I wish I had been half as brave as him when I was 17. I didn't even feel comfortable starting to come out until I was 21.

Peggy said...

Save your comparisons to racism. Not even in the same league.

Nieley may be sincere but he's sincerely wrong.

He's going to spend the rest of his life proving himself above and beyond what is necessary - now that's stress!

Peggy said...

I couldn't hear what the panel member was saying but what was Nieley saying about Splenda being bad?

Christopher Patton said...

Again I ask, have you ever even thought about what your view on this issue would be if you were gay?

Peggy said...

What would your view be if therapy had been made available to you as a young man and you were able to re-orient your sexual attraction?

I can't promote anything that presents a danger to one's physical health.

Christopher Patton said...

First, mainstream medical science views such "therapy" as a hoax. There's no good research supporting it. About the only thing that's been determined from such studies is that being in an environment that is hostile to one's sexual orientation substantially increases the risk of teen suicide.

Second, my sexual behavior is no more dangerous than that of most of my heterosexual friends. I have never had sexual intercourse without a condom and am not promiscuous. Plenty of my straight male friends have more sex and are less likely to use protection than I am.

Finally, I'm happy with who I am. Even if given some hypothetical opportunity to become heterosexual, I would decline it.

Christopher Patton said...

One more thing: If gay marriage provides a framework for encouraging long-term, monogamous gay relationships, then it would have positive public health effects. Those who really care about preventing the spread of HIV ought to be in favor of marriage equality.

Peggy said...

To the contrary, there is tons of valid research - and living, breathing persons who had success - to show that conversion therapy is not a hoax.

Maybe you would not choose to seek therapy but it seems as though you're discounting the wishes of those who are NOT happy with their SSA.

Get on the CDC website and look at their research. Even two virgin lesbians can, by virtue of their sex acts, contract AIDS and other STD's.

Are your promiscuous heterosexual friends beating down the doors of the Iowa Supreme Court asking for their behavior to be held in esteem by the courts? I hope not!

Can I ask about when you first thought you might have SSA? How old? Your thoughts and feelings about it? I won't be offended if you don't want to talk about it.

Peace, my friend.

Christopher Patton said...

Make all the silly claims you want, but don't expect anyone to take you seriously when you say something as ridiculous as this: "Even two virgin lesbians can, by virtue of their sex acts, contract AIDS and other STD's." Virgins cannot contract AIDS or other STD's from having sex with each other unless they caught them through non-sexual means. And lesbians are actually at lower risk for HIV than are straight women.

Regarding me personally, I first became consciously aware of being gay when I hit puberty. That was when I was 12-13, which is pretty common.

Peggy said...

Silly claims? It's not my claim, it's the CDC's research. Of course, they bury it at the end of a lengthy article but it's there.

I'll try to find the link but it could take me a while.

I've only read that persons with SSA "felt different," as they say, as young children.

Peggy said...

I stand corrected. My memory of the CDC article is not accurate - leave out the virgin part. I was thinking of women who reported never having had sex with men. My bad.

It's a chore plowing through that medical jargon!

Regardless, here's the link:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no11/04-0467.htm

Christopher Patton said...

You have yet to respond to my question about why if health and safety are really your core concerns, why you don't favor monogamous same-sex relationships. Being gay is only unhealthy if one is promiscuous. But being promiscuous is a bad idea regardless of one's sexual orientation. Even if you choose to look down upon homosexual behavior, you still ought to prefer that behavior to be in the context of long-term, committed relationships. That's the real conservative position. And it's my position.

Peggy said...

You said, "Being gay is only unhealthy if one is promiscuous."

It's common knowledge that monogomy is almost non-existent among men who have sex with men.

Please read this page from the CDC site, paying attention to the not-so-definitive claims about the protection that condoms provide AND how some STD's such as HPV can be contracted simply by skin-to-skin contact.

http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm

The failure rate for condoms, regarding pregnancy alone, is actually quite high (hovering around 30% last time I heard; and keep in mind a woman can only get pregnant about three days of the month). This means the failure rate for condoms when used to prevent STD's will be even higher.

Are the risks really worth it? I think you should seriously consider getting out - YOU are worth it.

Christopher Patton said...

Most gay men aren't as promiscuous or reckless as you're making us out to be. If we were, we'd all be HIV positive rather than just a small minority.

And you're still ignoring my question. Just asserting that not enough gay men are involved in long-term, committed relationships doesn't explain why you seem to be opposed to those relationships.

Think for a bit about how societal attitudes impact sexual behavior. You almost certainly think that permissive public mores lead to higher rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, etc. Thus, you seem to believe that getting better messages to young people can help them choose a healthier lifestyle that puts sex off until later in life when they are mature enough to handle it responsibly. Why shouldn't the same apply to gay youth?

As I've said before, my own lifestyle is safer than that of many of my heterosexual friends. And I do fully intend to get married someday. I know exactly what's best for me. It's quite unfortunate that you are unable to accept that and are instead happy to assume that you know better. I make no such ignorant, arrogant claims about you or your life. And I don't support politicians who seek to prevent you from having equal rights.

Peggy said...

The stats from the CDC do not support your "small minority" theory.
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm

Two people of the same gender are incapable of fulfilling the requirements of marriage, and calling the relationship a marriage is nothing less than a re-defining of the word.


It's akin to demanding motherhood for men.

Christopher Patton said...

The numbers you provided don't say anything about the total percentage of gay men in the US who are HIV positive. But something really important does stand out in them. The percentage of black "MSM" who are HIV positive is substantially higher than the percentage of white openly gay men who are. There are a number of issues at play here, but the role of social stigma versus acceptance is huge.

As a general rule, poorer and less educated communities in the US tend to be less accepting of gays and lesbians than are wealthier and better-educated communities. Particularly in the African American community, which is unfortunately on average poorer and less educated than the US population as a whole, many gay men never feel comfortable coming out and being openly gay. Instead, they live a double life. They might get married and have kids with women, but they also continue to have sex with other men on the side. These men are less likely to use condoms and more likely to have sex with more men than those who are openly gay.

Look, I have better things to do than continue to carry on this conversation when you keep refusing to address the key issue that I keep bringing up: There are going to be gay people no matter what. As much as you'd like us to just go away, we won't. Thus, the most logical course of action is to look at ways to encourage gays to live as happy and healthy of lives as possible.

Pursuing policies that encourage long-term, committed relationships is key. Gay men who aren't promiscuous or reckless and ultimately settle down in stable partnerships are far less likely to contract HIV than are gay men who make unhealthy choices. That's just obvious.

Ultimately, you're just setting up an unrealistic dichotomy when you suggest the choice is between some men being gay and no men being gay. The real question is whether men who are gay live responsibly or not. Pressuring gay men to act straight and remain in the closet only makes them more likely to engage in dangerous sexual behavior. And it's not just dangerous for them. Gay men who marry women and continue to have sex with men on the side aren't just endangering themselves but their wives and children as well. However, gay men who settle down into committed relationships with other gay men endanger no one.

You're allowing your ideology to blind you to reality. All you're really doing is pushing for a situation in which more people will end up infected with HIV. And that's really sad because I'm sure it's not what you want.

Peggy said...

You're drawing conclusions from the CDC report that aren't there, and ignoring what is there.

Anyway, back to your question...Marriage, traditionally in most cultures, has had two essential elements, consent and consummation.

Two persons of the same sex can consent to marriage but they can't consummate a marriage since there is only one specific act which accomplishes such.

Peggy said...

And, Christopher, I never said I want gay people to "just go away." I'm very much enjoying this exchange and wish nothing but the best for you.

Anonymous said...

Is it just butt sex?