No Compromise on Marriage

Everything but the word.  That’s what we won in Washington state last year.  Civil unions with all the (state-level) rights of marriage, but not the word itself.  I’ve heard people talk as though it’s a reasonable compromise.

There can be no compromise.

Some people out there want us to have nothing.  No civil unions, no domestic partnerships.  And even that’s too much for others who want us to have less than nothing.  People who want to throw us in prison.  This is Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council on Chris Matthews’ show:

Matthews:   Do you think we should outlaw gay behavior?

Sprigg:  Well, I think certainly it’s defensible –

Matthews:  I’m just asking you:  Should we outlaw gay behavior?

Sprigg:  I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas which overturned, uh, the sodomy laws in this country was wrongly decided.  I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.

Matthews:  So we should outlaw gay behavior.

Sprigg:  Uh, yes!  [laughs]

You know, it’s the laughter that gets me. I live in L.A., where I can pretend this sort of thinking is limited to the extreme, bigoted fringes of society.  But this is on MSNBC, and Sprigg is a spokesperson for a group that brings in over twelve million dollars a year.   We see what their position is — and how can you compromise between full civil equality and being thrown in prison?  What would that compromise even look like?

No matter what we do, no matter what we offer, it won’t be enough for these folk.  If we agree to everything-but-the-word, they’ll go to work on the “everything.”    They’ll chisel away at civil unions and domestic partnerships until they strip us of even the right to claim the dead body of your partner from the morgue.  They’ll keep chiseling  — chiseling until we’re in prison.  And I’ll tell you this:  I’m not going to prison just because Peter Sprigg and the Family Research Council freak out at the thought of me grabbing Will’s ass and planting him one on the lips while we’re making ourselves dinner.

Here’s Sprigg on Matthews’ show.  Go to 7 minutes and 41 seconds.

(Thanks to Joe.My.God for finding this.)

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23 comments to No Compromise on Marriage

  • 1
    bob says:

    they did the same thing in wisconsin where i live. when they put out the vote to amend the state constitution regarding marriage they said they would not touch domestic partner benefits if it ever came up. now, two years later, they are arguing the constitutionality of DP benefits in relation to the constitutional amendment. if any of these so called marriage organizations did anything else for marriage I’d find them half credible but their only mission is an anti-gay one.

    On a side note, I’m trying to figure out what I’d pay more to see: you putting up a fight when they try to put you in jail, or the ass grabbing and kissing that got you there. Both worth every penny.

  • 2
    Bob says:

    I, too, sat in stunned silence listening to Miss Peter speak.
    People can chortle and giggle or merely dismiss this man, but he is very dangerous.
    I posted some other, infamous, Peter Sprigg “words” on my blog.
    He gives crazy a whole new name!

  • 3
    Emma says:

    Sprigg’s assertion that the purpose of the military is to defend this country and not to shape its social values is a weak one. Historically, our armed forces have done both: the desegregation of the armed forces was a huge step in the struggle for Civil Rights in America. We have a similar opportunity in front of us now, to secure the right of openly gay individuals to serve their country without having to lie about themselves. Once we have gay men and women fighting and dying to protect the rights of American citizens, perhaps American citizens will do a little more to protect the rights of gay men and women.

  • 4
    Frank says:

    Emma wrote: “Sprigg’s assertion that the purpose of the military is to defend this country and not to shape its social values is a weak one.”

    Indeed, if that were the case the President would be a slave.

  • 5
    Tre says:

    I watched this last night, in horror. Yes, it seems as if it’s true – they want us in jail. …and they think it’s funny.

    Honestly, who has the “agenda” here? Why do I feel like it’s 1942 and I’m a European Jew?

  • 6
    C. Augustus says:

    Amen, Amen, and Amen.

    I’m all for taking the half-loaf when the full one is out of reach. But we can never, ever forget that the opposition wants us to have nothing – not even our personal liberty. The conservative movement will not rest until gays are being rounded up and imprisoned – or worse.

  • 7
    Sam says:

    People like Sprigg believe and teach that there is no such thing as a gay person, then they torture the english language to come up with expressions like “people who have experienced homosexual attractions.” They de-humanize us so that it’s easier to demonize us. They work very hard at denying reality to they can prop up their paranoid delusions.

    When people become anti-gay crusaders there is always, always a deeply personal reason. Plenty of people don’t like gays but they don’t give it a lot of thought because they have other issues in their lives. With people like Sprigg, fighting homosexuality becomes their central focus. It’s not normal or healthy and there’s always a personal reason.

  • 8
    Kathy Harvatt says:

    It absolutely chills my soul to hear individuals such as this neanderthal being allowed to broadcast their vile comments over anyone’s open airwaves. And while I stand tough for the first amendment, this sort of discourse is reminiscent of Nazi German tactics around the “Jewish solution.” I have two beautiful children – one who is gay, the other who is lesbian. Both of them are in committed relationships; hold down responsible jobs; own their own homes; give back regularly and often in their communities; have earned several degrees between them; and follow each and every law to its letter. They are not criminals; nor are they second class citizens. They are two of the finest human beings I know. And I will fight to the death until they are accorded the very same rights enjoyed by their two straight brothers, and their interracial parents. There is simply no room for virulent oppression of this sort in a world that is already scary enough.

  • 9
    Regan DuCasse says:

    When the most vile of heterosexuals, has more freedom and rights than the most exemplary of gay person, it’s not moral values or rational reasons for it.

    It’s just one group entitling themselves to those rights and freedoms because they TOOK them or inherited them or ungratefully accepted them at the expense of someone else, not because of earning them on their own merit.

    Sprigg should be required to visit where I’m a member and volunteer, the Museum of Tolerance, Simon Weisenthal Center and maybe he’ll learn a thing or two about what historical socio/political things should never be forgotten, let alone REPEATED.

  • 10
    ChadSF says:

    Alvin McEwen @ Pam’s House Blend said it well, that, religious right groups don’t see us as people, as human beings with the same rights as every other individual in this country. They have, for years, been exploiting on the fears and ignorance of the people in order to get others to share their views about us.
    I refused to watch this because it’s just going to make me go apesh*t, but I am curious as to why Chris “I forgot Obama’s black” Matthews did not say anything after Sprigg’s response. Did he do it so he can simply show how crazy bats**t and hateful this person is??
    I just let out a big sigh when I see, hear, or read stuff like this. It makes one think if there’s any hope for this country??

  • 11

    ChadSF asked: “I refused to watch this because it’s just going to make me go apesh*t, but I am curious as to why Chris ‘I forgot Obama’s black’ Matthews did not say anything after Sprigg’s response. Did he do it so he can simply show how crazy bats**t and hateful this person is??”

    That seemed to be the point. Matthews asked questions that seemed to broaden in scope until he was getting to the core of Sprigg’s beliefs and value system. The interview ended after that question, but I don’t know where else Matthews could have gone with his questioning.

    At that point, you’d realize that you’re not debating someone who has principles; you’re talking with someone who doesn’t like certain behavior to such a degree that he doesn’t want anyone to engage in it anywhere at any time – despite the behavior being irrelevant to anyone other than the parties engaged in it. I mean, I don’t like the taste of olives, but it’s not like people are forcing me to eat them at dinner parties…

  • 12
    Tre says:

    Chad, W. Eric, Chris Matthews did the right thing – he didn’t argue, he didn’t try to convince, he gave the guy enough rope to hang himself…. and he did it on prime time cable news. It was actually genius, he got the guy to admit the agenda of the “christianists”. Now we all now.

  • 13
    telyawot says:

    for the many nations blessed with excellent gay men and women in uniform, this is a non-issue.

    here in global laughing stock ‘murica, we still have these 70′s dinosaur types loitering on tv talk shows desperate for validation. enjoy the display while it lasts, brothers and sisters of the world. his views are laughingly antiquated, and his kind will die off soon enough.

  • 14
    Mouse says:

    My dear fellow,

    I believe, as many do, that homosexual relationships are not only morally wrong (whether or not it affects other people is irrelevant), but of a metaphysically different nature than heterosexual relationships. (I have both same-sex and opposite-sex attractions, and I can tell you that they are experientially very different.) Therefore, to treat gay couples exactly the same as straight couples

    However, unlike Mr. Sprigg, I do not think it is the place of the government to force moral behavior on its citizens in all areas of their life; that is, I oppose anti-sodomy laws as much as any of you, and there is no reason why most of the legal benefits of marriage should not go to gay couples if they want them.

    I do support civil unions, because this is a secular society. I also oppose DADT.

  • 15
    Janice says:

    Wow! That’s some serious gobbledygook.

  • 16
    IT says:

    Hmmmm….my wife was married to a man before she married me, and she will attest that although she loved her ex husband (or wasband), ours is better. because she is who she is. on other issues, not really different….and the ideal is the same, faithful lifelong commitment.

    And trust me, we will make that.

  • 17
    Fred says:

    I’ve just come across blog (via the Box Turtle Bulletin), I wouldn’t normally comment on something I have just stumbled upon. However this post struck me as so politically misguided, that I had to leave a comment.

    ‘There can be no compromise.’ Of course, compromise is undesirable, it sticks in the throat, its open acceptance of discrimination, but if there can be no compromise what can there be? It seems to me that there are four remaining possibilities.

    Obviously, one is to win the gay marriage argument either via political process or through the courts. This plainly is the ultimate goal, however the track record for achieving this in America is not good. Supposing gay marriage is not achieved in the short term, what are the other three remaining possibilities (as I see them)? Public opinion is clearly slowly shifting in favour of gay marriage, a lot because the old are dying off and the young become registered voters (a very slow process), eventually gay marriage will be achieved and in the mean time gay and lesbian couples receive no recognition or protections. The two remaining possibilities involve refusing to accept that there is no gay marriage in America, one, armed revolt, overthrow the government and enforce gay marriage by force or, two, all American gays and lesbians emigrate to one the handful of countries that do recognise gay marriage (practically speaking, Canada).

    I hope we can all agree that the last two possibilities exist only in theory and not in reality. I included them to, hopefully, demonstrate my point that if compromise is excluded then all that remains is complete defeat until and unless complete victory can be achieved.

    Arguments in favour of gay marriage essentially can be divided into two camps, equality and benefits. Crudely, gays should be treated the same as straights, straights have marriage, so gays should have it too versus gay marriage brings practical benefits to gays and/or society as a whole. If you believe that gay marriage is, purely, about equality then compromise is meaningless, it might, at best, be a useful political stepping-stone but it would have no merit in its own right. If, on the other hand, you believe that gay marriage is not just about equality, that it brings practical benefits, then compromise i.e. some but not all of those benefits would be better than nothing and therefore a good thing, so long as it doesn’t unduly delay full gay marriage.

    This brings me to the question of whether compromise delays gay marriage? It’s very difficult to answer objectively since it involves either predictions about the future, or counter factual questions where gay marriage has been achieved with or without a preceding compromise. Obviously, there may be times where gay marriage is achievable and compromise effectively partially snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. There is also reason to believe that there may be times where compromise actually hastens gay marriage. There is a natural conservatism amongst voters a tendency to stick with the devil they know than to leap into the unknown, in the presence of moral doom-mongers predicting the end of the world in the event of gay marriage voters may not quite be willing to trust that they are wrong but are prepared to give some benefits and recognition to gay and lesbian couples which they feel confident will not lead to moral disaster. When gay and lesbian couples eagerly take up these benefits, prove themselves to be much like heterosexual couples and society doesn’t show signs of moral collapse enough these voters may feel confident enough to allow gay marriage.

    Even if you believe that gay marriage is, purely, about equality then I hope I have shown that there may be circumstances where compromise is beneficial to the eventual goal of gay marriage. Whether a particular compromise, at a particular time is or is not a good thing will inevitably be a difficult and hard-nosed decision but I don’t think any compromise in any future circumstances should be written off on principle.

    Of course there are anti-gay folks out there for whom no compromise is acceptable and will fight tooth and nail prevent any compromise or failing that water it down, but they will continue oppose us if we restrict ourselves to full gay marriage or even achieve it. However there are also folks out there for whom full gay marriage is unacceptable, but may be prepared to compromise.

    [Webmaster's Note: Thanks for this thoughtful response. My point, though, was not that compromise is an unacceptable strategy on our way to winning full equality. My point, rather, was that the civil-union/domestic-partnership compromise is unacceptable as an ultimate goal. Many people (most of them straight, but not all) argue that everything-but-the-word civil unions are a solid permanent solution. I'm using Peter Sprigg's comments to show that the other side can never be appeased; they will continue to whittle away our rights until we have nothing. In a nutshell: do I support a measure like Washington state's R-71? Certainly, for the moment. But most certainly not, as an attempt at a permanent solution.]

  • 18
    Fred says:

    Thanks for your reply. I apologise for my misunderstanding. I entirely agree that ‘the civil-union/domestic-partnership compromise is unacceptable as an ultimate goal’.

  • 19
    Ed-M says:

    I also entirely agree that ‘the civil-union/domestic-partnership compromise is unacceptable as an ultimate goal’. But it’s a decent stepping stone from which to reach the ultimate goal: full marriage equality.

    Unfortunately the crazies don’t even want us to settle on an interim compromise: look what happen in Hawaii and New Mexico when their Civil Un ions / Domestic Partnership bills died in their state legislatures, and all due to pressure from antigay pressure groups!

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