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Oct-08-2007 19:32printcomments

Homophobic Bigotry and the Oregon's Voter's Conscience

In 50 years folks will look back at our time like we look back at the 50s and wonder "How could people have been so ignorant and closed minded and bigoted and intolerant?".

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Courtesy: San Francisco State University

(SALEM, Ore.) - Less than 1/2 of 1 percent. Not a very wide margin but enough to keep the religious right's challenge to HB2007, Oregon's Domestic Partnership law, from putting the rights of thousands of Oregonians on hold.

This is the finding of the Oregon Secretary of State's office after checking the validity of signatures on petitions submitted by ex-State Senator Marylin Shannon and her slavic church backed homophobic zealots.

The likelihood of their challenge to SB2, the anti-discrimination law, making it to the ballot is even slimmer since they submitted hundreds fewer signatures for that challenge.

Ex-State Senator Shannon has vowed that even if they failed here they would seek referendums on the ballot through an initiative drive.

Well, that means they would need roughly 82,000 valid signatures instead of less than the 56,000 this time around, and they would need to be arguing to REPEAL the laws, not just stop them from taking effect.

By the time of the election in 2008 the laws will have been in effect for nearly a year and everyone will be able to see they did not cause the planet to explode. Even if they managed to make it to the ballot their chances of passing such hatemongering statewide is virtually zero - look at the track record of the OCA as a bellweather. Even measure 36 would not have passed in all likelihood if the Oregon Family Council who sponsored it had not gone to great lengths to state during the campaign that it in no way barred civil unions or domestic partnerships or anti-discrimination protections.

I have watched the hatemongering homophobic bigotry in Oregon since the 1980s when the OCA was running around like Chicken Little screaming that unless the state banned abortion and denied the equal rights (mislabeled as 'special rights') of homosexuals the State and the nation would immediately burn in perdition or something equally dire.

It seems to me that such folks do not have much faith in heterosexuality or the attractive power of heterosexual unions. That in the free market of ideas such concepts could never compete unless they were the only options allowed. Very pessimistic if you ask me.

I know for an undisputed fact there was never a time in my life that I was attracted to anyone of the same sex. I have always been heterosexual as long as I have had a sexual orientation (in other words at 5 years of age I did not care about it one way or the other). But I know for a fact I never had a choice in the matter. The only folks who get to choose are bisexuals, and that just qualifies them as bisexual.

And to rant that marriage is for only one man and one woman smacks of the racist days when interracial marriages were banned with folks saying any man and woman OF THE SAME RACE can marry. By limiting marriage to only one man and one woman we are doing the same thing to GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans-gendered) folks that the laws against interracial marriage did against interracial couples. When you love someone of a different race how much value is there when someone tells you that you can marry anyone you want OF YOUR OWN RACE? The same applies to a GLBT person whose love does not happen to be of the opposite sex.

The 'slippery slope' argument of the homophobes does not hold water. They try and equate same sex relationships with everything from necrophilia (sex with the dead). pedophilia (sex with children) and bestiality (sex with animals). However their illogic falls apart when you look and see that neither the dead, children or animals are deemed capable of forming informed consent like two consenting adults, gay or straight, can do.

Now they might have an argument with polygamy, but if you ask me even though more complex a legal hairball so long as all involved are adults and in full knowledge they all consent to the arrangement I see no legitimate justification for the government to interfere and to ban polygamy. Harmful polygamy/bigamy is where some involved are not fully aware of the entire situation and have not consented to it. As this is harmful and a violation of basic contract law there is justification for legally proscribing such situations. But as far as polygamy goes that is as far as it goes. No slippery slope. Just a puddle.

Right now only two groups have 'special rights'. Heterosexuals who can marry and homophobic organizations who due to exemptions in SB2 have the right to discriminate against innocent citizens.

So we still have a ways to go. But steps in the right direction are still a good thing, so long as they are seen as part of the path to the destination and not the destination itself.

In 50 years folks will look back at our time like we look back at the 50s and wonder "How could people have been so ignorant and closed minded and bigoted and intolerant?".

So no matter how shrilly the religious right and their bigoted foot soldiers howl and shriek, it is clearly the death rattle of their outdated ideology as it tumbles into the dustbin of history.

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Jancis M. Andrews July 16, 2010 7:57 am (Pacific time)

Good morning, Mr. Feldman, and I have just come across your comments made more than 2 years ago. It is quite apparent from your letter just who is "ranting and raving." Can't you discuss contentious issues without losing your temper and insulting the person who dares to challenge your ideas? Carry on like that and you're going to die of a heart attack. Meanwhile, if you check governmental sites on the Internet, you'll discover that researchers state that polygamy harms women and contravenes their equality rights. You'll also discover that the Association of Women Living Under Muslim Law is petitioning their various governments to ban polygamy, which they say harms them and reduces them to second-class citizenship. And who would know better than the women who are actually enduring this ancient patriarchal practise?

Neal Feldman October 9, 2007 9:51 am (Pacific time)

Jancis - It might help your 'cause' if you would actually read and respond to what I wrote. Your hystrionics and hysteria have nothing to do with my position any more than the fundie Mormons do. Nowhere do I limit polygamy to one man and several women. If it were one woman and several men or a varied combination, such as 3 women and 4 men etc, it would be polygamy. The active point in my definition is full knowledge of all aspects by all involved, all being adults at time of entry into the arrangement and all fully consenting to it. I seriously doubt many, if any, of the examples you provided meet these criteria. And the reasons in many older cultures for the many wives concept has nothing to do with 'chattelhood' misogyny or stepping on anyone's 'right' to a woman. It was basic reality that 1) a rich person can support more than a poor person, 2) that to propogate it is necessary to have as many kids as possible and 3) that one woman, no matter how many husbands, can only have one kid at a time (well with multiple births one prgnancy at a time) while one man can impregnate any number of women simultaneously. Now in the modern age there is not as much need for this (except maybe in areas of the third world with populations devastated by AIDS and wars) so the main basis, like any other marriage, is they love each other and want to be in a relationship together. I have known several polygamous group marriages and there was not a misoginystic aspect in any of them. If polygamy became legal rich PEOPLE would have more than one spouse... male or female it would not matter as there are plenty of rich women. And do you think the 'harem of concubines' does not exist today? Look around the poolside of the home of any rich person and you will often find their harem of those they are attracted to. But none of these are anything but disposable and none have any rights in this kind of tenuous relationship. In true polygamy, not that which you ranted and raved about, all are equal and all have the same rights. If you do not think polygamy exists for the rich now look at Hugh Hefner and his three 'girlfriends'. None of those women have spit for rights that they would in a true polygamous marriage. So how is that better for them? Ah well...

Jancis M. Andrews October 9, 2007 7:38 am (Pacific time)

It is always distressing to read some men's comments that they see nothing wrong with polygamy. I would ask them to really examine the subject from WOMEN'S POV. Polygamy is condemned by the Human Rights Tribunal of the UN because it impoverishes women, denying them and their children health and insurance benefits, property rights, inheritance rights, and denies women equality with men. Polygamy comes to us from the dark ages when women were considered chattels.It is also anti-social in that Nature has made the sexes almost equal in number -- there are not even two women for every one man! If polygamy became legal, rich men would have harems of concubines (as they do in the Third World) while poor men would have to go without the chance to have a family of their own. Women are not sexual collectibles, and concubines and harems have no place in modern society. Polygamy is a cruel, discriminatory, misogynistic practice that should have been banned decades ago.

John K. October 8, 2007 11:43 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you so much, Mr. Feldman, for being the first person in a year of my following this issue to write that polygamy is arguably ok. LGBT supporters always seem to want to try to distinguish polygamy from same-sex marriage, which can be done, but not as well as pedophilia and bestiality. The much simpler answer is that polygamy is not necessarily "immoral" or otherwise harmful either. Sometimes I feel like I'm undermining my credibility when I make that statement, so it's nice to see that I'm not the only "radical" out there.

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