Human right to comfort the dying — and decide who comforts us

On rare occasions, a news development forcefully reminds us of what it means to be deprived of a basic human … Continued

On rare occasions, a news development forcefully reminds us of what it means to be deprived of a basic human right that the majority of citizens in democratic societies take for granted. Such an event was President Obama’s executive order last week, designed to ensure that same-sex partners will be able to visit their loved ones in the hospital and make medical decisions on their behalf if the partner has assigned them the legal right to do so. The order was inspired, in part, by the case of Janice Langbehn, who, when Lisa Pond, her partner of 18 years, was taken to the hospital after a brain aneurysm–and even though Langbehn possessed power of attorney–was deprived by a Florida hospital of the right to sit by her partner’s side as her life ebbed away.

I missed the story of what happened to Langbehn and Pond when it was first reported in The New York Times last year. The couple lived in the state of Washington and had four adopted children; Pond collapsed from a brain aneurysm during a family vacation in Florida. When Pond was taken to the trauma center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami–and even though Langbehn had the legal papers proving that she possessed Pond’s power of attorney–she and the children were denied the right to visit. Eight hours later, Pond died alone. Exactly how this happened is somewhat mysterious, since Jackson Memorial has no policy against visits by same-sex partners. Yet when Langbehn sued after her partner’s death, the hospital fought and won, taking the position that no trauma center should be legally required to grant visiting rights to anyone. My guess: a callous, homosexual-hating employee decided to make trouble for Langbehn on general principle, and the hospital was trying to cover up for the insensitivity of its staffer by asserting some general right to refuse visitation.

In fact, as anyone who has ever accompanied a family member or, for that matter, a friend to an emergency room knows, urban trauma centers are generally happy to have someone on hand who knows the patient. People die all the time–or are on the verge of death–in these centers and, in my experience, the staff generally goes out of its way to allow family members (or anyone who has accompanied the patient) to say goodbye. I can imagine the lawsuit that would be slapped on any hospital whose administrators had kept a wife from her dying (male) husband or a husband from his dying (female) wife. And that is why Obama is directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to draw up rules ensuring that, whether a patient is part of a gay couple or a straight unmarried couple–or not part of a couple at all–hospitals must respect the patient’s choices regarding the power to make health care decisions.

Some on the left have pooh-poohed this move as a measure that costs Obama nothing and is intended to defuse pressure for gay marriage and an end to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military. They are wrong. In the first place, prohibiting discrimination against same-sex couples (or again, against unmarried heterosexual couples) in hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid is something that can be done by executive order. Ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” requires an act of Congress. Second, I can think of nothing that makes a stronger case for gay marriage (though this is certainly not Obama’s intent) than the fact that an executive order needs to be issued to prevent what happened at Jackson Memorial from happening again to someone else. Langbehn and Pond had done everything possible to safeguard their legal rights. They had all the papers you are told you need to have if you don’t have the automatic rights of a spouse. And yet Lisa Pond died alone because some bureaucrat, infused with meanness and faith in the Book of Leviticus, decided to exercise petty power in this situation.
Given the fact that virtually all opposition to gay rights is religiously based, you can be sure that this hospital functionary thought he or she was doing the will of God.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow at the far-right Family Research Council, said his group does not object to allowing gays to visit their partners or to make medical decisions for them (how generous!) but added that the presidential order “undermines the definition of marriage” and offers another example of “a big government takeover of even the smallest details of the nation’s health care system.” Ah, those “small” details! I cannot imagine anything bigger than being deprived of the right to comfort the person I had loved for decades in his final weeks, days or hours on earth. Every taxpayer funds Medicare and Medicaid. And if some hospital employees need to be told that they are legally required to treat all taxpayers decently, then that is what they must be told. It speaks well for Obama as a human being that he took the time to phone Langbehn after he made the announcement of his executive order.

There is another important aspect of this story–one insufficiently emphasized by the media–for anyone who is not legally married or who wishes to assign a medical power of attorney to someone other than an immediate family member. Unless you have drawn up a health care proxy or power of attorney, depending on your state’s law, and assigned decision-making power to a specific person, your next of kin will always have priority when it comes to making health care decisions. This should be a matter of utmost importance to aging baby boomers, because many more are either divorced or childless than was the case in previous generations. All public policy regarding end-of-life issues–on everything from estates to end-of-life care decisions–is heavily influenced by preferential treatment for blood relatives. Gays couples tend to be more aware of this than straight men and women because they know that their partners have no legal standing in many states unless they have done the paperwork.

Only 30 percent of Americans have living wills that specify their wishes about end-of-life care; an even smaller number have special health care proxies that are often required. This is a dangerous business for all who do not have a spouse or a child in perfect agreement with their wishes about end of life care. If, for instance, your closest living relative is an adult child who has very different attitudes about end-of-life issues than you do, you will need to assign power over medical decisions to someone else. If you are single and have no children, you will need to take the same measures. These issues are not solely matters of gay rights but of human rights.

Appeals to traditional “family values” will not meet the needs of the millions of baby boomers who do not have a living spouse or children. The idea that everyone has a devoted and conventional family–or that family members can always be counted on to act in the best interest of their loved ones–is ridiculous. It always was, or there wouldn’t be so many 19th-century novels about family battles centering around the estate of a dying parent. The plight of gay couples whose lives do not fit the conventional legal guidelines is part of a much larger problem involving assumptions that privilege marriage and blood relationships above everything else.

The attention now being paid to medical rights of gay couples ought to be a wakeup call for all Americans to exercise more individual initiative and take responsibility for ensuring, insofar as possible, that their wishes about end-of-life care will be followed. By 2030, more than 20 percent of Americans will be over 65. It is time for boomers to grow up and face the fact that (despite all of the cosmetics ads and pscyhobabble about “defying age”) we are entering the final decades of our lives. Planning for the last stage of life is not only a human right but a human responsibility–especially for those of us who don’t believe that God is looking after us and deciding our fate.



Susan Jacoby Susan Jacoby is the author of "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism"­ and is completing a secular history of religious conversion.
  • daniel12

    Super article.

  • YEAL9

    The hospital administration definitely messed up but there are many pluses about the place.from Wikipedia: (also known as “Jackson” or abbreviated “JMH”) is a non-profit, tertiary care teaching hospital and the major teaching hospital of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Florida. It is owned and operated by Miami-Dade County through the Public Health Trust, and is supported by Miami-Dade County residents through a half-cent sales tax.Jackson Memorial Hospital is served by the Miami Metrorail at the Civic Center Station.Located in the Miami Health District, in the Northwest quadrant of the intersection of I-95 and FL-836, the hospital is the center of a thriving medical center that includes the Miami VA Medical Center, the University of Miami Hospital (formerly Cedars of Lebanon Medical Center), and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, with its numerous research affliates and laboratories – including the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the UM/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the world-renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital, the Diabetes Research Foundation and the National Parkinson Foundation. The Miami-Dade Justice Center and Miami-Dade County Jail are also within a few blocks of the hospital. It is readily accessible via the Civic Center Station of the Miami MetroRail.It is the third-largest public hospital and third-largest teaching hospital in the United States. With more than 1,550 beds, it is a referral center, a magnet for research and home to the Ryder Trauma Center – the only Level 1 Adult and Pediatric trauma center in Miami-Dade. Jackson Memorial is the centerpiece of the Jackson Health System, operated by the Miami-Dade County Public Health Trust. The Jackson Health System also includes Jackson North Medical Center (formerly Parkway Regional Medical Center) in North Miami, which is the teaching hospital of the new Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine Jackson South Community Hospital (formerly Deering Hospital) in Perrine, FL, Holtz Children’s Hospital, Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital and Jackson Mental Health Hospital.”

  • WmarkW

    I’m not exactly sure of the minituae of detail of the particular event, but it seems and example of how what should be simple matter is being complexified to make it about same-sex marriage.When my maiden aunt’s best friend became a childless widow at 50, they move in together for the remaining 25-30 years of their lives. This is not uncommon. No member of either of their families ever challenged the idea that they were each other’s closest relative when hospitalized in their 70s, and were each other’s power of attorney.If we could create a “designated next of kin” status to cover non-traditional relationships like these, we could cover all the practical implications of same-sex partnerships without the deadweight some people attach to calling it “marriage.”But the sides seem to want THAT to be the debate.

  • persiflage

    The hospital had deep pockets and better lawyers – and that’s that. This kind of litigation is all about keeping retroactive lawsuits at bay, and keeping Pandora’s box closed. If there’s an upside, the hospital will probably not screw up a second time in such a blatant manner. And indeed, the social worker in question was probably ‘repulsed’ by a bout of homophobia and anti-lesbian sentiment that kept a significant other from tending to her loved one’s final hours of need.

  • persiflage

    The hospital had deep pockets and better lawyers – and that’s that. This kind of litigation is all about keeping retroactive lawsuits at bay, and keeping Pandora’s box closed. If there’s an upside, the hospital will probably not screw up a second time in such a blatant manner. And indeed, the social worker in question was probably ‘repulsed’ by a bout of homophobia and anti-lesbian sentiment that kept a significant other from tending to her loved one’s final hours of need.

  • FarnazMansouri

    I doubt Susan’s claim that Leviticus had much to do with the hospital’s decision, since it does not appear that they follow Judaic law.Christians justify homophobia primarily with the NT. Particularly popular are Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10.It makes us look rather foolish in some other nations, and it should.

  • barferio

    When I was young, traveling on the road [homeless], I spent a few days traveling with a guy I had met hitch hiking on the freeway near Corona, California.We were spending a rainy night under a freeway bridge. He walked down the embankment to look for snipes [cigarette butts], without looking he stepped into the street and was hit by a car. It sped off, a hit and run.He was dying from a brain hemorrhage they could not repair. He asked for me to be there with him … the hospital asked me to wait with him. And he died. Alone except for a stranger he met on the highway.The hospital said he “expired”. At least he didn’t have to expire alone I guess. Why did this hospital let a complete stranger be there with this other complete stranger, people who didn’t even know each other’s last name, people who had no attachments of any kind other than randomly hitching a ride on the same freeway onramp.To this day I wonder if his family ever knew what happened to him.

  • gimpi

    To me this demonstrates the need for that much-decried “big-government take over.” There was no reason for this woman to be kept from her partner’s side. It shouldn’t have happened. It did happen. It happened for no reason (except, perhaps, someone’s personal distaste). Passing laws to prevent such foolishness is one of government’s basic duties.I know from personal experience that hospitals generally work closely with the families and friends of their patients to bring in anyone who can offer comfort. When my live-in boyfriend (now husband) was stricken with a severe respiratory attack, I had no trouble visiting him or being briefed on the care he would need after his discharge. When his mother had a heart-attack (before we were married) I had no difficulty visiting her, and was included in her after-care. If my partner had been a woman, should I have been treated differently?Government SHOULD step in and prevent this kind of cruel stupidity. If that meets someone’s definition of “big-government take over” so be it.

  • YEAL9

    “The hospital had deep pockets and better lawyers – and that’s that. This kind of litigation is all about keeping retroactive lawsuits at bay, and keeping Pandora’s box closed.”The hospital is a non-profit operation so deep pockets they do not have.from”Foundation Health Services, Inc. (FHS) operates exclusively for the benefit of and to carry out the purposes of Jackson Memorial Foundation, Inc. a code section 509(a)(1)/170(b)(1)(A)(vi) organization and Jackson Memorial Hospital a Code Section 170(b)(1)(A)(iii) organization by operating non-clinical programs on behalf of Jackson Memorial Hospital, the only public hospital in Miami Dade County, Florida. ” “Jackson Memorial Foundation supports the mission of Jackson Memorial Hospital which is “to provide medical care to the underserved community”.

  • APaganplace

    Somehow not mentioned in all this is how overt the discrimination was: one of the hospital employees claiming, ‘This is an anti-gay city and an anti-gay state, and you will not be recognized in any way’

  • YEAL9

    Just because a lawyer is on a board of directors of a non-profit hospital does not make said hospital have deep pockets.Check The “non-profit” ACLU and The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith have significantly deeper pockets than the Jackson Memorial Hospital. e.g. The total revenue for the ADL in 2008 was $59,960,134 mostly coming from contributions and grants.

  • michaelbindner

    The United States Government have considerably deeper pockets than Jackson Memmorial. JMH will geek.

  • persiflage

    ‘Just because a lawyer is on a board of directors of a non-profit hospital does not make said hospital have deep pockets.’And just lucky for them the lawsuit was thrown out – however would they have paid a judgement against them for their callous, unjustified, and discrimitory behavior??On the other hand, maybe something other than luck was at work…..hmmmmmm? The lawyer on the board of directors had a legal braintrust at his disposal, you may have noticed. Anyway, Obama has been inspired by this event to craft legislation that will prevent a similar happening in the future – so all is not lost.Until you’re personally on the receiving end of stupid and insensitive hospital employee behavior and/or unintelligent hospital policies, it’s hard to appreciate the impact. I’ve had my own experience in this realm.

  • APaganplace

    Marriage inequality hurts humans. This policy just relieves, somewhat, one of the worst of em. Which is very good, ….But this doesn’t remove the inequality.

  • Susan_Jacoby

    I was moved by the comment from a man who, when he was homeless, accompanied a stranger who had been hit by a car to the hospital and remained with him while he was dying. It attests to a recognition of common humanity that transcends social arrangements and legal categories.

  • YEAL9

    “The United States Government have considerably deeper pockets than Jackson Memmorial??Our current debt:As of one second ago: Borrowed by the General Fund – $ 12,768,330,654,791*

  • FarnazMansouri

    All discrimination against gays needs to end immediately. Period.As for religious institutions, any and all that discriminate against gays, women, et al, are in violation of United States laws and should be ineligible for tax exempt status and state funding. There are, at present, no greater threats to democracy on this issue than the Vatican and the Christian fundamentalists. As for the former:WHAT other religion save Roman Catholicism enjoys the simulataneous privileges of National Sovereignty and tax exempt institution in the United States of America?WHAT other Foreign Nation is permitted to lobby the Congress without registering as a foreign lobbyist?WHAT other Foreign Nation cum Tax Exempt Institution coralled District Attorney’s Offices and the police in its nation-wide (also, worldwide) shielding and relocating of pedophiles?WHAT other Foreign Nation cum Tax Exempt Institution has “bishops” outrightly lying, obstructing justice, perjuring themselves without penalty?

  • YEAL9

    Why some have problems with the conduct of homosexuals:The general population to include many of the voters in California, rightly or wrongly, find gay sexual activities, “unionized” or not, to be “yucky” and unusual and typically associate such activity with the spread of AIDS which is of course wrong. Said AIDS epidemic in the gay male community at the start of the AIDS crises will always remain unfortunately a stigma on the gay community.From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay sexual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex sexual defects. Some defects are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O’Donnell. Of course not all having these abnormal tendencies, show it outwardly as alluded to in the following synopsis:From Wikipedia:” No simple cause for sexual orientation has been conclusively demonstrated, and there is no scientific consensus as to whether the contributing factors are primarily biological or environmental. Many think both play complex roles.[1][2] The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association have both stated that sexual orientation probably has multiple causes.[3][4] Research has identified several biological factors which may be related to the development of a heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual orientation. These include genes, prenatal hormones, and brain structure. Conclusive proof of a biological cause of sexual orientation would have significant political and cultural implications. [5]“

  • persiflage

    Very funny article Walter! I would agree with tremors, if not quakes……

  • persiflage

    ‘Why some have problems with the conduct of homosexuals:’More specifically, Yeal/CCNL, JJ/??, and assorted religious wackos of the fundamentalist stripe…..Now that’s a group that should deservedly end up together on their own desert island. Only heterosexual activity would be condoned….violators would be ostracized to the other side of the island – no crowding permitted.

  • Chaotician

    Dying is big business and in America nothing is done or allowed to be done unless someone is making money; the more the better. By extension, anything which does not contribute to the bottom line is useless and not worth consideration! Allowing anyone into a dying center is just an interference; an obstacle to getting the job done as cheaply as possible while of course using as much expensive stuff and personnel as possible! The very notion that comfort is an element in the process is absurd!

  • Alex511

    fr yeal9:>Why some have problems with the conduct of homosexuals…You’ve posted this before. Quit the spam, get a life, get educated, and grow UP.

  • FarnazMansouri

    I had a rather amusing experience in class today with a student who is doing research on the gay marriage debate. As she undertook this, I advised her to try as hard as possible to find intelligent arguments taking the opposing view.She’s literate self-starter who had a handle on the controversy before she began researching it in earnest and doubted she’d be able to find much in the way of substantive objections. In the end, she could find nothing that would hold up against academic standards for argumentation, given that we are, in theory, a secular society. As a consequence, she would not be able to respectfully address the opposition in her paper.As we talked, the class–believers (Catholics and Christians), skeptics, and atheists–listened politely as I did everything short of drugging myself not to offer an opinion. In the meantime, the student and the peer with whom she routinely sits smiled up at me as if they would laugh for eternity should we go any further into the arguments against.One brave believing soul assited by introducing Biblical opposition, which was dispensed with as Biblical support was brought forward.The believer then pronounced, “God says….”"God?!” said the researching student. “GOD?! What does Aang say!?”(I myself prefer Batman.) Wild laughter ensued with even the devout unable to control themselves.What did the religious find amusing? And they were amused.

  • YEAL9

    Added notes on why some people have concerns about gay sexual activities:Hmmm lets see, in gay sexual activity, who plays the guy and who plays the gal? Who is on top and who is on the bottom? A coin flip? To say the least, an unusual situation. Then there are those “made in China” toys/strap-ons. Lets hope the FDA has checked them for lead and other toxic components. And do said “toys” come with sanitizers and/or sterilization instructions. Lots and lots of “gays” doing their hot and heavy things on Internet tube sites but nothing about coin flipping, who is on first, and sanitizers sites?? There must be some “Gaying It For Dummies” books out there somewhere. Do said books/sites have to have FDA and CDC approval??

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    YEAL9, you asked,perhaps you could ask “some people” when you see them why they care what the answers to those questions are.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    YEAL9In the well-known book “Gaying it For Dummies,” there is no exact standard operating procedure for gay sex; it varies a lot; but generally, if the same sex pair is female, then you have two women together, being and acting as women; and if the same sex pair is male, then you have two men together, being and acting as men. Whomever may be on top or on bottom at any given time is not particularly relevant to who may or may not be pretending to be in the role of the other gender, since there are a lot of changing positions in sex in general, that it is not really standard among any group, what maybe correct or incorrect. Sometimes, no one is on top and no one is on bottom; sometimes, they are laying on their sides, face to face, or laying on their sides, front to back; sometimes both may be standing in an upright position, or sitting on a couch or love seat, (maybe that is why they call it a love seat?) Sometimes, they may be inside of an airline rest-room, trying to join the mile-high-club, all squished up and crammed into that tiny space, so neither one is really sure if anything happened, or not.If you want to know about the particulars of any specific couple, I am sorry, but I cannot help you with that; you have to tap one of them on the shoulder and ask them yourself. But then if you do, you should be open to explaining to them, what are your favorite sexual postions for you when you engage in sex with your wife (maybe get her in on the discussion, too, since I think you might be suprised by what she says, if she doesn’t slap you in the face for dragging her private life into a public discussion.)I hope this has been helpful in answering your questions.

  • YEAL9

    Apparently “Gaying It For Dummies” is out of print.But has this substitute:”The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex – Stephen E. Goldstone, M.D. ” (FDA/CDC sanctioned?)

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    YEAL9Why are you so curious about EXACTLY what gay people do, sexually? The variations are pretty limited, physically. Make a few pictures of what it might be like in your mind, and then, let it go.Are you saying that this weird curiosity of yours is relevant to Susan’s essay?

  • timmy2

    Homosexual behavior harms Yeal9 how?

  • YEAL9

    It is all about safety and sanitation is it not? Maybe that is what this one social worker at the Jackson Memorial Hospital had some concerns about? Unfortunately, a better-educated employee was not in charge that day!!!

  • ladyknight1

    Death is More Memorable than Sex. Sex is that part of life or Life is that part of sex is like a Fantacy that came and went while alive. And Posterity, if any, bears the torch of good or evil, for what it’s worth.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    abortions only come after hetero sex.

  • ladyknight1

    Mr. Charles:Please excuse us Sir but, As the Director Of Contentent for ‘Patheos” your writings are those of a “Pathetic” and or as a “Pathological” [Christian Fundmentalist] yourself.You also state that you are in the process of getting a “PH.D in Religion” from Harvard.I agree with MBECK1, in that “McVeigh was a Right-Wing Christian Malitia” meaning not an “Atheist”. Science is everybody’s Religion. Even Albert Einstein (a Deist or Sponozian or both; not an Agnostic nor a Atheist nor a Humanist, et al) said One Is “Blind” and or “lame” between Religion and Science assimilation. So Since your completing a PH.D in “RELIGION”; the next thing you should do is complete a PH.D in “SCIENCE.” Then You Will also say, “Science ins my Religion” like Mr. McVeigh did and many after and before him.So your a “Scientist” in Religion (New/Old Testament, …), but not a Scientist in real Science (Exmpl: Physics, Astro-Biology etc.. via PH.D in Mathematics ). is not an honost site. I’m sorry Sir. And Who is Chad Chatfield?

  • ladyknight1

    Mrs. Jacoby; that last entry was inadvertly posted. I aplogize. I’ve had problems posting on the other posts. Maybe because I’m new. Anyways; I need to remind you and audience that the RCC had their own “HOSPITALL” during the Middle-Ages and the Crusades. Here are some atachments that will get us to appreciate how fare we have come and how the word “Hospital” figures in our Western-Civilization and East Civilization too.Knights Of HOSPITALLER:Knights Of TEMPLAR:

  • schnauzer21

    Yeal9…As for this specific quiestion, yes they do. Most are actually made to be dishwasher safe.As for what do gays and lesbians do…?The same things as straight couples! There maybe toys required for certain situations, but its pretty much “tab A into slot B (or C)” Whith the exception of causeing a pregnancy, a women can do all the same same things to another woman that a man can and vice versa.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Yeal”It is all about safety and sanitation is it not?”What is? Have you ever witnessed childbirth?Oh My God! It’s a Show!

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    YealWhy does the CDC or the FDA have to approve a book that explains being gay to morons?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    YaleYou’re part of the problem.The word “gay” cannot even be mentioned without people like you picturing what gay sex must be like, getting yourself into a disgusted tizzy about it, then your futile effort to shut it all out and shut it all down. Haven’t you got anyting better to worry about? There is an old saying: “LET IT GO.”There’s another saying: “PUT A PERIOD AT THE END, AND THEN TURN THE PAGE.”

  • persiflage

    ‘Do you think maybe the topic situation was brought about by the sex-toys being used by the topic couple? Hmmm??’As Jesus H. Christ is our Lord and Savior, he has not been able to prevent sex toy stupidity among his followers Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Sex toys are really the most direct route to heaven….

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    “thy staff” may refer to people. maybe jesus was in favor of orgies?

  • FarnazMansouri

    Frankly, I’m not certain how the varieties of gay sex figure in this discussion. Adolescents going on seventy of the Catholic variety could, perhaps, find children willing to explain to them the rudiments of gay and straight sex.

  • ladyknight1

    Interestingly; I’m not sure if it was the PEW research folk or some other research done in U.S.A., but it classified most “GAY” types as folks being descendant from the “CELTIC” and the “NORDIC” Europe-Areas. Acsually, these types make-up around 70% of the entire GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL and TRANSVESTITE Community here. And 90% in Europe; And Majority Gays in Australia and New-Zealand too and other nations.And The word “GAY” originally did not refrence to the “SAME-SEX” Connotations.And the Fact and Reality is is that The “GAY-VOTE” is now very strong but only for those player States whom recognising-Same-Sex- semblances. But In Federal Election the GAY-VOTE is not so strong being that they are a “Minority” now which, with the New Election ban on “Corporates can now Spend as much as they Want” rule via the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent unleashinguch; puts gay’s at a disadvantage , meaning That GAY’s [Movements] will be drowned-Out in both this comming GENERAL and PRIMARY Elections; for the next 100′s of years or for 1000′s. Important: There’s a Natural-Limit to the population of All GLBT here. It’s called the “Gay-COMMUNITY-Maximum.” The U.S. CENSUS is an important tool , if filled-out Truthfully by both Straight’s Vs. Non-Straights. Example: if the Roman Catholic Church has an estimated 4% Pedophile-Rate; then the U.S. Gay-Rate of 310-Million is not even 30% of 1.0%. So Calling Every body a “Bigot” especially non-GLBT because they are telling or being straight or honest with facts, truth and Opinions or Thoughts; Oo by dodging straight-answers will not help the GLBT Community, Here nor Abroad (Total Gays Overseas is unknowable). Note: As a Power-House; it can only be more so if Gay’s Internationalized as a world order, with Own Gay-Church and own Gay-Bank Of America, international etc…So Gay Votes Can’t compare to say, WOMAN’S VOTE, MAN’s VOTE, Adult-Teen-Agers or young-Adult Voters and the African-American block who quite frankly don’t like the gay-block. Yet as a cash rich Gay-Union-Hall-Members, that the the GLBT is being heard. And there will be lot’s of money spent on Hope and Thomas’s Promises. Good Luck.Imagine: A 1st Openly Gay President before a 1st Woman President. Or before a 1st Jewish President. Or imagine a 1st Gay U.S. Supreme Court Justice.?PS: I’m Straight, but if you all listen to me, I will elevate your cause such that, you all will be satisfied or happy. I Hope. So Vote For Me.

  • persiflage

    JJ/LadyNight is having a rational moment – we should enjoy it while it lasts……

  • FarnazMansouri

    WmarkW:I took a glance at the article for which you provide a link, largely in hopes that it would assist a student of mine who has been searching relentlessly for substantive secular opposition to gay marriage, which she supports.Unfortunately, MacDonald’s essay does not fit the bill, which she will see at once as you, no doubt, have noted. Most salient among its many problems is its central focus. which concerns gay marriages with children.In forty-eight of the fifty states, gays may adopt children, and they do. Gay marriage rights and gay adoption rights have not been related for quite some time.There are, of course, many other logical missteps, among them lack of empirical evidence acknowledged by the author, who nevertheless perceives a threat to traditional beliefs. On this, I need not comment, I trust.Still, it is a useful article. It helps, I think, in fostering understanding of the fears of cultural conservatives on this issue.

  • WmarkW

    I do think there’s a good point in MacDonald’s article that I probably won’t articulate as well as it deserves. The primary argument for gay marriage is that straights can marry and not allowing gays to do so results in discrimination against their ability to act as each other’s next of kin, as in the hospital example of Susan’s article. I agree with that. We should create a “designated next of kin” status where anyone, such as two elderly women living out their widowhood together, can stipulate someone to act in place of a spouse for practical decision-making.The other argument for gay marriage is that there are straight marriages that are just like gay marriages would be. Most gays don’t raise children, so DINK (double-income, no kids) marriages are no different and we permit those. MacDonald’s (and my) position is that DINKs are not the reason marriage exists. MOST newly-married couples are fertile and intend to have children, or perhaps one partner already does and they are uniting to do so together. A two-parent family is the preferred vehicle for child-rearing. Since marriage exists for couples to have children, there would be little basis for saying any other heterosexual couples shouldn’t marry because they won’t reproduce, because that would be too intrusive. But childless marriages are not the reason marriage exists, it’s a byproduct. Other-than-two-opposite-sex-parent childrearing is not the preferred way to raise a child. It’s hard to argue that mass illegitimacy has been anything but a disaster for African-Americans, even though there are successful individual cases. Although gays can adopt, an adopted child is already in a less-than-ideal childrearing situation, and gay adoption is probably an improvement for them.But sanctioning gay marriage would create an expectation that such a union is just as appropriate a vehicle for child raising as a heterosexual union is, and there’s no basis for saying that since the two sexes usually bring different skills and attitudes into the family. “Pro-family” is a code word often used by anti-seculars to justify patriarchal positions, but allowing gays to marry would create the expectation that they have just as much right to modern reproductive technology to overcome their biological limitations as any heterosexual couple does. And that would denigrate the quality of childrearing by denying that traditional couples provide the preferred environment.

  • WmarkW

    LadyKnight, even though I agree with you on gay marriage, I don’t think these examples are helpful.In a highly sexually repressive environment like Taliban Islam or the Catholic clergy, children might become the most available targets for sexual expression. But this is an argument for providing everyone a healthy sexual outlet. If there’s evidence that gay parents IN AMERICA are more likely to abuse children, let’s hear it; but if there was, I’m pretty sure it would be well known.

  • tryreason

    Public school teachers are counseled to not engage social hot button issues. The school boards are largely responsible for this state of affairs. Apparently school boards prefer the ignorance of the past to the controversy of the future. In any case the comments posted here demonstrate the educational apocalypse now occurring in these ignorant united states. We are rapidly becoming the laughing stock of the modern world.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Gay sex is irrelevant to this discussion. I sought to make Yale look foolish by trying to answer his foolish wondering about it all. LadyKnight is a little mixed up. People cannot TURN gay; some people just ARE gay; once they are alive, and existing in the world, what does she want them to do? will themselves into nonexistence? become invisible? just passively take abuse from people like her? none of those options is likely to happen in the real world.Gay marriage for gay people is just; denial of gay marriage for gay people is unjust; it is true that no one ever said that life is fair, but if there is any justice at all anywhere, then gay marriage is a cause worth fighting for, as much as any other just cause.

  • persiflage

    LadyNight is in fact the long established foe of all things gay – the notorious JJ.

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