Saturday Bites & Pieces: Southern Comfort

I’m baaaack!  There has not been time yet to catch up on all the ATiM posts and comments, but at a glance you certainly had some interesting discussions that I very much look forward to reading more thoroughly.  Thanks to all of you for that gift.

Mexico was fabulous, although I only got out of the resort for one excursion so unfortunately don’t feel like I experienced any of the local culture.  The food at the resort was plentiful but IMHO so-so in quality, with a few notable seafood exceptions, and obviously off-the-charts in sodium content.  So I’m happy to get back to my regular low-sodium diet, and this recipe is both quite healthy and very low sodium (fairly rare on both counts for a “comfort food”).

While shopping today at my local farmers market, I was overwhelmed by the gorgeous and inexpensive produce.  I wanted everything, so it took some self-discipline not to buy too much.  The local okra is coming in plentifully, and it inspired me to make one of my favorite southern-style comfort foods.  I love okra.  If this summer is as hot as last summer, I’m sure it will be another bumper crop.  I grew up eating a version of this (proportionately much more chicken) served over grits, but it’s just as good or better served over rice.  The original recipe (for the below, not for what I grew up eating) calls for twice the amount of chicken and half the amount of okra I’ve included below, but my modification lowers the calorie and fat content significantly.  If you are not particularly fond of okra, you probably would still like this in the original proportions or you could substitute squash or another veggie for the okra.  I hope you’ll give it a try.

FB, this is another “one-pot” meal (except for the grits or rice), but I have no idea if your boys will eat okra, especially considering the texture issues many people have with okra.  And it takes at most 30 minutes to prep and cook.


Makes 2 servings, 1 ½ cups each


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon paprika

Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably no salt added

2 cups fresh or frozen sliced or chopped okra

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and corn and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and softened, about 4 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 2 minutes.  (The chicken just needs to be browned, not cooked through because it will be cooked later.) Add garlic, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and okra. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add pepper and salt.


Per serving: 175 Calories; 4 g Fat (1 g Sat); 33 mg Cholesterol; 23 g Carbohydrates (8 g Sugar, 6 g Fiber); 13 g Protein; 173 mg Sodium

P.S.  I STILL  l.o.v.e  the Thunder.  They had a great year.


Old Fashioned Sweet Cherry Conserves

From The Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary Edition

Makes enough for about eight 1/2-pint jars

  1. Wash and cut oranges into very thin slices, discarding any seeds.
  2. Barely cover with water in a large saucepan, about 1/4 cup, and cook until  very tender.
  3. Wash, stem, pit (see Note below) and add 1 quart cherries.
  4. Add 6 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, 3 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 6 wholes cloves tied in a cheesecloth bag.
  5. Simmer the conserves, stirring frequently until thick and clear.
  6. Discard the spice bag and ladle the hot conserves into hot 1/2-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headroom.  Process for 15 minutes.

Note:  To pit the cherries, I treat them like olives.  First put on an old t-shirt (one that you use for painting would work well), then take the cherries, a chef’s knife, and a cutting board outside to an area that will clean up easily (a pool deck is probably perfect).  Using the flat side of the blade, whack a couple of cherries at a time and remove the pit(s).  Once all of the cherries are pitted, go back inside and finish the conserves.

Gay Marriage Strawman 4: I Pronounce You Man and Wife and Wife and Wife

Fourth is a four part series which closes out Pride Month.

I have previously discussed pedophilia and bestiality as slippery slope oppostions to to gay marriage. Another one frequently brought up is polygamy. When in doubt, the man whose name is synonymous with slippery slope (so to speak) metaphors, Rick Santorum is always good for a quote.

“So, everybody has the right to be happy? So, if you’re not happy unless you’re married to five other people, is that OK?”

Rick is prone to these Socratic rhetorical outbursts, but why did he pick that particular example when ‘man on dog’ had been such a winner for him in the past? Well, Eugene Volokh in the Hofstra Law Review explicitly endorses polygamy as a slippery slope gambit.

And as it happens, there probably is a large group of American listeners that neither firmly opposes nor firmly supports same-sex marriage, but pretty firmly thinks that polygamy ought not be recognized, and a smaller but nontrivial group that is open to same-sex marriage but skeptical about at least some kinds of bans on sexual orientation discrimination. People in these groups are thus potentially swayable by the slippery slope argument.

As I mentioned in my last post, the most common definition arrayed against gay marriage is that it is traditionally between one man and one woman. And while I find the gender distinction irrelevant, some people fixate on the ‘one’ part of the circumlocution. They feel that allowing gay marriage could lead to polygamy, not realizing that polygamy exists in lots of countries already, many of them highly opposed to gay rights of any variety, so the connection is tenuous at best. Polygamy is a Biblicly endorsed practice along with slavery and the shunning of menstruating women. As such, it is hardly novel or shocking.

These objections over tradition also seem oblivious to the fact that the religion of the Republican candidate had polygamy as one of its founding tenets, a practice it refuted only just over a century ago even though splinter sects still practice it. And the practitioners don’t go through the motions of civic marriage, even if they could, because that infringes on their gaming of the child welfare system that is part of their economic model.

Polygamy raises the hackles of many people including feminists who find it a patriarchal institution suppressive of women. I doubt you will find many lesbians, single or married, in support of ‘traditional’ polygamy.

The more modern form of multi-partner relationships is called polyamory in order to distinguish it from the older variety, but even it is nothing new as it is just a newer variation on the Free Love and Open Marriage movements which have been around for years. By taking the ‘gamy’ suffix out, it divorces (so to speak) the romantic/sexual relationship from the square traditional concept of fidelity. Also within the concept of polyamory is an implicit acceptance of bisexuality as at least one of the possible permutations.

For the most part, polyamory seems to be for people who just find the emotional tightrope of traditional relationships too easy and need a greater challenge. At least that is my impression from my major source of information on this topic, Dan Savage’s Lovecast podcast. Judging by his listenership the predominant paradigm in these relationships is a primary partnership, which may or may not be a legally married couple, and ‘special guest stars’ of indeterminate duration. The very ephemeral nature of the secondary partners makes absorbing them into the marriage concept complicated to say the least, and most likely unnecessary in the long term.

Conceptually the idea of extending marriage to multiple partners is simply to make marriage contracts non-exclusive. This could lead to all sorts of interlocking directorates of sorts which would really not do much except open new areas of practice for divorce lawyers. This would also require the elimination of bigamy laws which I have no qualms with since I have always considered bigamy its own punishment.

So when someone goes on clambering about how gay marriages are going to destroy society, try to realize how much society has absorbed already. Gay marriage was originally drafted as a conservative measure to draw homosexuals into society. Marriage in any form is a civilizing influence. It creates responsibility and fosters commitment, not just to a person but to a code of behavior and expectations. Love comes is all colors, sizes, and shapes and should be celebrated wherever it occurs and to whomever it happens.

On a personal note, my cousin had her civil union in Delaware on Wednesday. The Delaware rules make a ‘solemnized’ union literally indistinguishable from a marriage. Today four generations of all political stripes will gather to celebrate and honor the creation of a new family. I’m sure it will bring a tear to my eye because I find all brides beautiful and today’s ceremony will be doubly gorgeous.


New thread for the LIBOR investigation:

Here are some links:

Matt Taibbi:

A Huge Break in the LIBOR Banking Investigation

Another Domino Falls in the LIBOR Banking Scam: Royal Bank of Scotland


Barclays’ gift to private antitrust plaintiffs in Libor case


Barclays Big-Boy Breaches Mean Libor Fixes Not Enough

Daily Mail:

“Earlier, Tan Chi Min, a former head of delta trading for RBS’s global banking and markets division in Singapore, alleged that managers at RBS condoned collusion between its staff to set the Libor rate artificially high or low to maximise profits.

He named five staff members he claims made requests for the Libor rate to be altered and three senior managers who he said knew what was going on.

 He also says the practice ‘was known to other members of [RBS]’s senior management’.

Mr Tan, who was eventually sacked for gross misconduct, worked for RBS from August 2006 to November 2011and alleges that senior members of staff knew about Libor fixing, and that the behaviour started while Fred Goodwin was chief executive”

British bankers now face criminal inquiry after 20 more banks are found to have rigged interest rates

My overarching question would be at what point do repeated patterns of criminal misconduct from the same organizations cease to be isolated incidents of specific bad actors and instead become a systemic problem with the organization itself?

The Political Supremes

The WSJ today notes something odd that I noticed and thought was peculiar yesterday in reading through the dissent:

One telling note is that the dissent refers repeatedly to “Justice Ginsburg’s dissent” and “the dissent” on the mandate, but of course they should be referring to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s concurrence. This wording and other sources suggest that there was originally a 5-4 majority striking down at least part of ObamaCare, but then the Chief Justice changed his mind.
The Justices may never confirm this informed speculation. But if it is true, this is far more damaging to the Court’s institutional integrity that the Chief Justice is known to revere than any ruling against ObamaCare. The political class and legal left conducted an extraordinary campaign to define such a decision as partisan and illegitimate. If the Chief Justice capitulated to this pressure, it shows the Court can be intimidated and swayed from its constitutional duties. If this was a play to compete with John Marshall’s legacy, the result is closer to William Brennan’s.

Charles Krauthammer proposes a similarly political explanation for Roberts’ decision.

Why did he do it? Because he carries two identities. Jurisprudentially, he is a constitutional conservative. Institutionally, he is chief justice and sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the Court’s legitimacy, reputation, and stature…
How to reconcile the two imperatives — one philosophical and the other institutional? Assign yourself the task of writing the majority opinion. Find the ultimate finesse that manages to uphold the law, but only on the most narrow of grounds — interpreting the individual mandate as merely a tax, something generally within the power of Congress.

Whether or not this is true, Roberts’ decision will not, and should not, restore any lost legitimacy of the court. The legitimacy of the court (to the extent that it even matters) had not been brought into question because one or two contentious decisions have been perceived as politically motivated. The legitimacy of the court is in question because the court has become a political institution. In our post-Roosevelt and, in particular, post-Roe world, justices are appointed and confirmed to the court by politicians in a blatantly transparent effort to effect political ends via the judiciary. And once on the court, those justices do what they were nominated to do. From a layman’s perspective, it has become obvious that, on many politically contentious issues that make it to the court, justices have a preferred result in mind and use whatever lawyerly semantics, sophistry and tortured reasoning they can to justify reaching that preferred outcome.

Far from dispelling this impression of the court, Roberts’ opinion merely strengthens it. The fact that he is a conservative joining a bloc of liberals does nothing to blunt the undeniable conclusion that this decision was politically motivated. It doesn’t matter much whether it is because he likes the direction in which Obamacare is taking the nation, or because he is trying to – ironically – alter perceptions of the court. It is clear that he has engaged in the same semantics, sophistry and disingenuous parsing that has made so many of us non-lawyers so cynical about the court’s proceedings.

If Krauthammer is correct and Roberts’ decision was driven by a desire to burnish the courts flagging reputation as an impartial, non-political interpreter of the law, he could not possibly have taken a more counter intuitive approach, nor have failed more abysmally.

Gay Marriage Strawman 3: Think Of The Children

Third in a four part series.

One of the most common mantra against allowing gays and lesbians to marry is that marriage is meant to be between one man and one woman. When asked why, the response is that only a man and a woman can make a child. Despite this basic biologically obvious observation, not all men nor all women can make a child. Otherwise an enormous fertility industry would not exist. Nor do all married couples want children despite the best efforts of some to turn back Griswold vs. Connecticut.

If children were the sole reason for marriage, then the logical position would be to deny licenses to anybody who cannot produce a positive pregnancy test result. Indeed, apocryphally (and I cite Jude the Obscure as but one literary example) many marriage proposals in times past not involving the exchange of property occurred only after a metaphorical rabbit had died. For peasant farmers there was no reason to do otherwise. And if marriage was only for raising children the fact that infertile people or post menopausal women can get married proves that there are larger issues than just procreation in the mix.

Recently David Blankenhorn has reversed his position against gay marriage which had largely been based on the pro-procreation argument.

I had hoped that the gay marriage debate would be mostly about marriage’s relationship to parenthood. But it hasn’t been. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say that I and others have made that argument, and that we have largely failed to persuade. In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens.

He makes the case that it is ironic that the gay community is embracing marriage as broader society is becoming more blasé about it, with or without children. 53% of children born to mothers under the age of 30 who weren’t married. Many weddings that do occur now include the children of the bride and groom as members of the party.

And lots of gay couples enter marriage to form families. Despite the biological headwinds they face, they have available the same resources heterosexual couples can take advantage of, adoption, donor sperm, surrogacy, etc. And to say that a gay or lesbian person is not the parent of a child just because they have no genetic material at stake is an insult to any adoptive or step-parent who has ever taken on parental duties.

But having children is not the sole or even primary reason to get married. Many straight couples never intend to have kids. Why should gay couples have to meet some higher standard? Marriage throughout history has had many purposes, exchange of property, insurance of fidelity, political bonding, but the modern notion is that marriages should be based on love and affection. While arranged marriages still occur in many cultures, the Western notion of the love match is taking root through the soft imperialism of popular culture.

And with modern contraception, children are not a necessary nor sufficient reason for a marriage. For two people to get married the necessity nor the possibility of them having children no longer makes any sense as a criteria. A mutual affection and a desire for commitment should be be all that is needed.

What’s Next

The PPACA extends the current system to more people to increase coverage, but doesn’t fundamentally reform health care at the delivery level. As such, it will not succeed in bending the cost curve to make the growth rate of health care spending sustainable. The interesting question now is what path it takes when it inevitably collapses. I see one of two options: 
1. “Individual Market Based” – Some combination of Ron Wyden’s and Paul Ryan’s reforms are enacted eliminating the employer based tax preferences and replacing them with individual tax credits, thus eliminating the already tenuous “firewall” between the exchanges and the employer based system.  
Medicare and Medicaid (and potentially TriCare) are voucherized and integrated into the existing subsidy system in the exchanges so that all health insurance is purchased by individuals in the exchange system with varying levels of subsidies and tax credits based on age and income. About as close to “Free Market” as you are likely to get. 
2. “Single Payer (sort of)”. Medicaid for all is enacted replacing the exchange system entirely with a universal minimal standard insurance package provided by the government. Coverage and reimbursement is dictated by a more robust version of the Medicare Payment Advisory board that strictly limits name brand drugs and other expensive treatments in favor of generics and applies similar cost/benefit analysis to approved procedures (and reimbursement rates). The ability to see specialists without a referral or otherwise go “out of network” is curtailed, as are end of life procedures.  
In parallel with the public system, private insurance and medical care remain to provide enhanced care for those who can afford it.  
Eventually, the public system comes to resemble public schools vs private schools as taxpayers who opt for the private system are not receptive to tax increases to maintain and improve a public system that they themselves do not participate in, thus regulating the public system to a second tier level of care, much like Medicaid is today.

SCOTUS Decision (Open Thread)

So today is the day. I thought we could just use an open thread for comments as the decision and opinions come in.  Anyone have a link to that liveblog we can add here?

How Different Are Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same Sex Relationships? Comment on a study

The starting point for this thread is a comment written by QB on the gay marriage thread. To quote: “Recently a study came out, greeted by a firestorm from the left, refuting claims that children do equally well raised by either a mother and father or by same-sex couples.

I presume that QB is referring to M. Regnerus, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study”, Social Science Research 41 (2012) 752 – 7750. As my institution has a subscription to Elsevier journals, I was able to download the original article. This is copyrighted material, so I cannot post it in full here. I think it’s fair use to post the abstract as Harvard does that.


The New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is a social-science data-collection project that fielded a survey to a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18–39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements. In this debut article of the NFSS, I compare how the young-adult children of a parent who has had a same-sex romantic rela- tionship fare on 40 different social, emotional, and relational outcome variables when com- pared with six other family-of-origin types. The results reveal numerous, consistent differences, especially between the children of women who have had a lesbian relationship and those with still-married (heterosexual) biological parents. The results are typically robust in multivariate contexts as well, suggesting far greater diversity in lesbian-parent household experiences than convenience-sample studies of lesbian families have revealed. The NFSS proves to be an illuminating, versatile dataset that can assist family scholars in understanding the long reach of family structure and transitions.

This is an excellent example of something worth addressing in greater detail. That is, a non-specialist citing current research. [Edit. I recognize this post is doing exactly the same thing. I can drill down a bit further and have familiarity with the publishing process, so have attempted to discuss it in those terms.] One paper cannot simply refute such claims. Then again, the author doesn’t attempt to do so in this paper. Regnerus does raise some interesting questions.

In my science post some time ago, I discussed the pecking order of journals. SSR has an impact factor of 1.57, a bit on the low side. The author’s decision to submit to SSR rather than a higher profile journal may indicate anticipation of a backlash or that he had trouble getting it into a more highly cited journal such as American Sociological Review (3.7). Elsevier is a highly regarded publisher, so he didn’t just put it in a fly by night journal. The paper was accepted within 4 weeks of being submitted. Also, it usually takes an editor a week or two to assign a paper and get a referee to review it. I seriously doubt this paper had more than a cursory review. That doesn’t mean it’s bad research, but it raises a caution flag when it comes to drawing sweeping conclusions.

There are some legitimate questions that can be raised about this study. Principle among these is false equivalence. The comparison is between “intact biological families” (IBFs) and children who report a parent as having a same sex relationship. These are not directly equivalent. As a classic example, a case where a father comes out of the closet and divorces the mother. A better comparison would be with a failed, heterosexual marriage. The author concedes this point. Quoting from the paper: “Child outcomes in stable, ‘‘planned’’ GLB families and those that are the product of previous heterosexual unions are quite likely distinctive, as previous studies’ conclusions would suggest.” He did not attempt to draw this direct parallel or control for other factors (see below). He does make a strong point in that other opposite sex relationships (step parent, cohabitating) fail to achieve the same outcome as IBFs.

Much of the paper is a data dump. It’s useful as a starting point, but drawing conclusions is challenging. There’s a few oddities. For example, only 61% of children with a lesbian mother identify as heterosexual and 71% of children with a gay father. Only 82% of children of non-IBF or non-GLB parents identify as entirely heterosexual. [Note: this is adoptive, step, single parent or other.] Those are far higher numbers than generally accepted (probably 3% – 5%). Are we talking bi-curious? Having had a same sex encounter at some point? I’m a little suspicious. I don’t know if there’s some sample bias (the author worked very hard to get a large sample size, by the way) or something else is operative. If truly a random sample, a tenfold increase suggests a biological connection or there may be issues with the sample. I’d be interested in seeing how those numbers compare for children in which the parent with custody is homosexual.

Another number. 23% of respondents with a lesbian mother report having been sexually touched by a parent or other adult. This compares with 2% for children of IBFs. Contrast this with the overall estimation for the population of 10% or more. I’d like to see how this particular study compares with other studies, independent of the sexuality of the parent. Heck, 69% of children of lesbian mothers report having been on welfare. There’s some really surprising data there, but no follow through. I don’t think the author performed adequate control checks on his sample. That’s probably an issue of resources.

I’m not questioning the accuracy of Regnerus’s reporting, but rather the depth of the study. Overall, this is interesting work, but far from conclusive. The author makes a strong point that studies need to be performed with larger sample sizes. It does open the prospect to me that there may be statistically different outcomes between a planned GLB family and an IBF.

There are also some strong points for proponents of gay marriage in the study. Regnerus cites previous research that outcomes are better for children of a married, heterosexual couple than for cohabiting couples. I quote from the introduction:

“Social scientists of family transitions have until recently commonly noted the elevated stability and social benefits of the two-parent (heterosexual) married household, when contrasted to single mothers, cohabiting couples, adoptive parents, and ex-spouses sharing custody (Brown, 2004; Manning et al., 2004; McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994).”

Those opposing same sex marriage should consider this point. Opposing it apparently condemns children of those relationships to inferior outcomes, to the detriment of society. I suspect there will be interesting research in the decades to come, particularly when it comes to the outcomes of children of married gay or lesbian parents as opposed to those who can only cohabit due to the laws of their state.


Gay Marriage Strawman 2 – Man on Dog

Second part of a four-part series. Thanks to everyone wishing my cousin well. She has changed her Facebook status, implying that they got married in DC today.

In the first post of this series I mentioned that one of the arguments marshaled by opponents of marriage equality is that it will lead to open practicing of pedophilia. Another frequent slippery slope case made famous by none other than erstwhile presidential candidate Rick Santorum. In the famous interview he said:

In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —

It was this equating homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality which prompted Dan Savage to redefine ‘santorum’ in a way that muddied his name forever. But he isn’t even the only presidential candidate to make the connection. Here is Michele Bachmann and Glen Beck making the direct comparison.

This is not to say that there are not proponents and advocates of bestiality. Here is a British documentary on zoophiles. As you might imagine, it’s rough stuff. But they are hardly mainstream and usually much reviled, ridiculed, or pitied. In addition to the general rubric of ‘unnatural acts’ (the same broad blanket which covers homosexuality and non-reproductive heterosexual acts), bestiality invokes the ire of animal rights activists, proving that opposition to the practice is not the sole providence of one end of the political spectrum.

But by equating bestiality with homosexuality, anti-gay rights advocates are literally dehumanizing gays and lesbians. It defines all homosexuality as a perversion of the highest order. This is thankfully now a minority view.

The mere engaging in homosexual acts has been protected since at least Lawrence vs. Texas. The primary reason gay rights advocates want gay marriage for the legal protection it entails. It is the legal benefits of the 1138 legal rights and responsibilities which marriage confers. They include:

Property inheritance without probate
Military and veteran benefits
Medical visitation and decision rights
Legal status in adoption and step-parenthood

If it were only about sex, there would never be an issue. Nobody can prevent you from teaching your dog to lick peanut butter off your genitals, but that is no reason to need to get married. Marriage is about forming legal and permanent and loving bonds. And that is something you can’t do with a dog, cat, horse, sheep, chicken, or gerbil. You can will a pet your entire fortune but you cannot give it a medical power of attorney.

Marriage creates a relationship that cannot be easily duplicated by other means. When one creates a life-bond with a partner it should supersede other previous relationships. The cases where estranged parents make life or death decisions for their gay adult children just because the person’s life partner has no legal standing are heartbreaking. To deny these rights to any couple just because of the gender of who they choose to love just doesn’t make sense.

Gay Marriage Strawman 1: Free Sandusky!

First in a four-part series.

The implementation of same-sex marriage has been accompanied much gnashing of teeth, mostly along slippery slope lines, about the impending collapse of civilization while not noting that civilization has been collapsing just fine without it. This Saturday my cousin will be in some sort of ceremony with her girlfriend of several years. I really don’t know whether it is a legal marriage since the Maryland marriage equality law does take effect (barring a referendum challenge) until January.

Regardless, the entire family including my very conservative father will be there to celebrate this happy occasion. This seems to be a good time to ruminate on the various arguments which have been arrayed against gay marriage.

One is that once gay marriage is allowed, it will shortly allow pedophiles to marry the objects of their affections and for incest to run rampant. One such subscriber to this fear mongering is Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri) who worries:

Why not allow an uncle to marry his niece? Why not allow a 50-year-old man to marry a 12-year-old girl if they love each other and they’re committed?

The National Organization for Marriage raises the concern this way:

When you knock over a core pillar of society like marriage, and then try to redefine Biblical views of marriage as bigotry, there will be consequences. Will one of the consequences be a serious push to normalize pedophilia?

Notice the way that both of these quotes are in the hypothetical because nobody is seriously proposing this. When pushed to extremes, groups will cite the North American Man-Boy Love Association aka NAMBLA, a nearly apocryphal group not unlike the New Black Panthers which seems to exist only to serve as a strawman. No serious statement has been issued by the groups since the late 90s when they were driven out of GBLT umbrella groups out of genuine outrage.

As the recent Sandusky case attests, nobody is out there defending the right of adults to sexually exploit minors. Even in cases which would seem to push the boundaries such as Mary Kay Letourneau (afterall, what middle school boy hasn’t been hot for teacher, amirite?) the social approbation has been nearly universal.

Several issues get conflated, but several broad bullet points need to be always mentioned.

Few gay men are pedophiles.
Most pedophiles, even those who abuse boys, are straight.
Most pedophiles were victims of sexual abuse themselves.

Frankly , most revulsion towards gay marriage is simply thinly veiled homophobia over the fact that gay sex is icky. That is why lesbian couples such as Mary Cheney and Heather Poe, as well as my cousin, are much more palatable to the public than the male variety. But that is why straight men watch ‘lesbian’ porn and women write slash fiction.

But to say that same sex marriage is going to release the floodgates for pedophiles eager to use this as a camel nose under the tent is simply false. And the key difference is one of consent. Minors are not considered able to consent knowledgeably. And while the laws vary widely from state to state, there are key broad assumptions about how and when minors can engage in sex and/or get married, and the rules are often different. For example, Maryland had an age of consent exemption allowing a marriage to women as young as thirteen provided the bride was pregnant (thus making Hartzler’s argument above moot). And by simple biology this situation can’t possibly be gay. It’s the straight abusers of children who were being legally protected.

Letting adult gays and lesbians marry isn’t going to make pedophilia socially acceptable as long as parents love and protect their children. And adult homosexuals fucking each other in their own marriage beds is not something kids need protection from.

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