Mormon Outed by Campaign Finance Laws

When reason.tv spoke with former FEC head Brad Smith earlier this year, he offered this through-the-looking-glass take on campaign finance requirements:

Imagine if George Bush were to announce here in the fading twilight of his presidency that in order to prevent terrorists from infiltrating American political parties and thus asserting control of American government, we needed to introduce the PATRIOT II Act. And the PATRIOT II Act would require citizens to report to the government their political activities. And the government would keep that in a database, which by the way they would then make available to private individuals like employers or maybe groups that might want to protest outside your home...

You know what, we have that law already, and it's called campaign finance, it's called the Federal Election Campaign Act. Which requires you to report to the government, or requires the campaigns to report to the government people who give them money and the government keeps that in a database, and they make that available, anybody can go online and look that stuff up on the Internet.

Ta Da! Meet Scott Eckern, the Mormon artistic director of the California Musical Theater (take a second to ponder that combo) was forced to resign yesterday after activists mining campaign donations publicized the fact that he had given money to the effort to ban gay marriage in California.

It is, of course, the perfect right of the theater to send him packing for any reason, and I personally think anyone who gives money to oppose gay marriage sucks nuts. 

But the whole episode is pretty unsavory. Eckern, who seems to have a decent relationship with his sister (a lesbian), and good relationships with his theater colleagues (lots of gay), was probably not spewing anti-gay bile at work. If he had been, it's hard to imagine he would have lasted for seven years in his current position.

Instead, Eckern's private, personal donation to a legal political cause he believes in was forced into the public eye by government-mandated disclosure. It seems unlikely that Eckern wanted the donation to be made public—he may not have even known that it would be. Though I hesitate to make this comparison for obvious reasons, Eckern was essentially outed by the state for his privately-held views. 

But wait, The New York Times says "the swift resignation was not met with cheers by those on either side." Whew. At least everyone realizes that this is a forced error, that everyone has been put into a terrible position by forces outside of their control.

Or not. Marc Shaiman, the Tony Award-winning composer, told the Times that the entire episode left him "'deeply troubled' because of the potential for backlash against gays who protested Mr. Eckern’s donation." [itals mine]

"It will not help our cause because we will be branded exactly as what we were trying to fight," said Mr. Shaiman, who is gay.

At worst, those who forced out Eckern are guilty of failing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and perhaps (as Shaiman can't quite bring himself to admit) a little hypocrisy. Imagine the situation reversed: A small non-profit that focuses on, say, education and happens to be culturally conservative, discovers that an employee has given money to protect gay marriage and fires him.

But the real culprit here is campaign finance laws. Not all political actions should be public actions, and this case illustrates why minorities of all kinds occasionally need privacy to be full participants in political life.

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  • Naga Sadow||

    Damn campaign finance laws! If only we had someone in Washington who was a MAVRICK. Willing to buck the beltway crowd and repeal these laws!

  • ||

    Yeah, too bad Mel Gibson wasn't running...

  • ||

    Thanks John and Russ. Didn't see that one coming did ya? Oh yes, the fundie Christians are going to be pouring over the lists now. You opposed prop 8 and you're single. Have fun proving that innuendo is slander/libel.

  • ||

    I agree with the article in principle but I don't have much sympathy for those who act to involve themselves in the consensual actions of other adults- secretly.

    The guy is a coward.

    As for gay marriage. Many here have said that the government should get out of the marriage business. I agree- but after everyone is treated equally in regards to marriage.

  • Merlin's tiny wand||

    Sure, and to ensure equality they needed to find every illegal whiskey still before they should have ended prohibition

  • ||

    Says a guy who posts under the name StupendousMan...

  • ed||

    There are gays in the theatrical arts? This explains much.

  • Mad Max||

    You see, Eckern's case proves why we *need* campaign finance laws.

    His support for the binary (man/woman) definition of marriage proves him to be a hater, a bigot, a shotgun-toting fundamentalist who is just waiting for an opportunity to kidnap Matthew Shepard, tie him to a fencepost, and leave him to die. In fact, do we really *know* where Eckern was on the day of Shepard's murder?

    Eckern was obviously a danger to society and needed to be fired. But in addition to that he is clearly a smooth operator. He worked with these actors and theater people, who were (at minimum) very gay-friendly, and he was able to pass as one of them for several years. He obviously had his colleagues fooled into thinking that he was a nice guy. It was only thanks to the disclosure provisions of the campaign-finance laws that he was outed as the potential serial killer and Nazi that he actually is.

    I would say that the California Music Theater just dodged a bullet. And instead of being grateful to the compulsory-disclosure laws, we're whining about his outing?

  • ||

    Mad Max, I can only guess that you are joking when you suggest that those who oppose gay marriage hate, tote shotguns, and are dangerous? Potential serial killer and Nazi? I know many people who are opposed to gay marriage, and while I think they are wrong, and need to be debated and convinced by reason, they are not evil, they are not Nazis and they are not hateful. I on the other hand rarely leave the house unarmed.

  • ||

    You opposed prop 8 and you're single. Have fun proving that innuendo is slander/libel.

    I opposed Prop 8 and started getting LGBT spam shortly after the election. I'm sure it was purely coincidental.

  • ||

    "I personally think anyone who gives money to oppose gay marriage sucks nuts."


    What's wrong with people who suck nuts? Some of my closest friends are nut suckers.

  • classwarrior||

    I suggest to you Katherine, that the real problem here is the employer's ability to fire without anything approaching just cause. I know libertarians are into the "freedom of contract" mantra but the courts here in Canada know this is bogus when it comes to employment situations because of the severe imbalance of power. Or perhaps you would like to go back to the days when you could be fired for not putting out for your boss?

  • ||

    I have pity for him. It's unfortunate that his work found out about his views regarding gay marriage. But I can't help but note that he donated money, something most people who support bans on gay marriage don't do. His views were obviously strong for the cause to warrent more than just his vote.

    Obviously who you give money to should only be the business of you and the person you give it to, unless you're informed that the person you're donating money to is going to make that information public. But that shouldn't be something the government decides.

  • B||

    To play devil's advocate here: don't I have a right to know who is funding a campaign to enact a law that might abridge my freedom?

  • ||

    I personally think anyone who gives money to oppose gay marriage sucks nuts.

    Umm yeah....

    How are these people more repugnant then people who support state sanctioning of marriage in the first place?

    Supporting the idea that the state must validate marriage is what is sucking nuts....not having a different scope as to what should be validated and what should not.

  • democracy is dying||

    It's illegal in California to harass or discipline an employee because of their political or religious activities, yet substantial pressure was brought on his employer to terminate him. Since his termination was an illegal act, anyone trying to induce his employer with threats has committed extortion and is subject to both civil and criminal penalties. I hope he sues both his employers and the people who forced him out. He has a really good case.

  • ||

    As for gay marriage. Many here have said that the government should get out of the marriage business. I agree- but after everyone is treated equally in regards to marriage.

    You sir are a fucking imbecile.

  • Merlin's tiny wand||

    +1

  • Mad Max||

    Now, if only we could abolish the secret ballot, so that the people who voted against Prop 8, but who didn't make any political donations, can be identified and harassed the way they deserve.

  • ||

    JC,

    Your argument is compelling.

    My point was to take it one step at a time.

    ...jackass

  • Mad Max||

    Voted against or voted for - whichever.

  • Mad Max||

    With voters being required to publicly disclose which candidates and propositions they voted for, then all supporters of Prop 8 would have had to identify themselves. They the forces of tolerance would really be able to retaliate against the Mormon fundamentalists, as well as the dumb, superstitious Negroes who voted so overwhelmingly for the proposition.

  • Lester Hunt||

    I am old enough to remember gays being treated this way. This is very sad. Some people just don't get the idea of freedom.

  • gorgonzola\'s foil||

    If the principled argument against campaign finance reform is that it infringes free speech, then what's the problem here? If you speak, your speech should be attributable to you.

    You're free to speak your mind or demonstrate your intent through action, and everyone else is free to change their opinion of you. Full stop.

  • ||

    To play devil's advocate here: don't I have a right to know who is funding a campaign to enact a law that might abridge my freedom?

    No more than you have a right to know how anyone voted on Prop 8.

  • ||

    Dammit Mad Max! Quit typing faster than me!

  • ||

    If the principled argument against campaign finance reform is that it infringes free speech, then what's the problem here? If you speak, your speech should be attributable to you.

    Because the right to free speech includes the right to speak anonymously. Mandatory disclosure laws have a chilling effect on speech.

    In case you totally missed the point of the post.

  • kinnath||

    . . . the courts here in Canada . . .

    This explains so much. We're being overrun by CANADIANS!!!!!!

    I thought the patriot act was supposed to protect us from CANADIANS!!!!!!

  • paulie||


    What's wrong with people who suck nuts? Some of my closest friends are nut suckers.


    Without nut suckers, how could I get my nuts sucked?

  • Robert Enders||

    Donations to candidate's campaigns should be fully disclosed on the grounds that a donor might have influence over that candidate if elected.

    Donations regarding public questions should not have to be disclosed, since it is not possible to have influence over a new law or state constitutional amendment.

  • Merlin's tiny wand||

    Wait politicians might be infleunced by money? I should have given Obama the $200 I paid my tax guy.

  • kinnath||

    Transparency versus privacy is always a tough call.

    Voting must always be private.

    Donations of any kind almost always filter down to some attempt to sway someone else to vote a specific way.

    I am torn between transparency and privacy regarding donations. I would like to see more transparency, but don't know how to prevent retalliation as in the example above.

  • Robert Enders||

    Classwarrior,
    If a woman works as a prostitute, she should be fired if she fails to put out.

  • Zeb||

    joshua, the people who supported state sanctioning of marriage in the first place have been dead for hundreds of years. However repugnant they may be is really irrelevant here. The fact is that the state does get involved in marriage and that is not likely to change. Don't be a jackass, imbecile.

    A similar argument could be made along these lines. The state should not be involved in providing education. SO lets enact a law prohibiting black people from attending public schools. That's good right? It is closer to the ideal libertarian situation because the government is less involved in education. Right?

  • Merlin's tiny wand||

    FAIL.

    The argument isn't against equal marriage because it less "pure" libertarian, it is against the idea that the one must come first. Getting rid of gov sponsored marriage makes the gay marriage question moot. Anyone who would be against a gov sponsored marriage repeal because we "must" have gay marriage recognized first is the real ideologue.

  • Ken||

    How was he "forced to resign," as Katherine claims repeatedly? That strikes me as a rather imprecise use of language. His employer disavows firing him or requiring him to resign and reaffirmed the rights of its employees to hold political views. Protesters might have boycotted his employer, or continued to say nasty things about him, but that does not strike me as "forcing" him in any meaningful sense of the word or any sense that we need worry about as a matter of individual rights.

    The Prop 8 aftermath has brought out a surge of comments betraying a Palinesque grasp of freedom of expression. No rational version of freedom of expression privileges my speech from response.

  • ||

    Robert Enders has it exactly right. I assume most people here would not oppose transparency requirements (rather than limits on amount) for contributions to candidates. That's the position of most Cato-type folks. I think I'm entitled to know who's greasing my congressman before I decide whether to vote for him, and democracy would have little meaning without that kind of disclosure.

    But donations on referenda like this seem to be a different animal--people should be able to "speak" through their donations anonymously.

  • ed||

    Without nut suckers, how could I get my nuts sucked?

    Perhaps that's the essence of Prop 8.
    If nut-suckers are outlawed, only outlaws will suck nuts.
    Or something.

  • Mad Max||

    "A similar argument could be made along these lines. The state should not be involved in providing education. SO lets enact a law prohibiting black people from attending public schools. That's good right? It is closer to the ideal libertarian situation because the government is less involved in education. Right?"

    The race-related comments on these threads can be broken down into two types: (a) Why don't black people realize that LGBT people are their brothers and sisters? Solidarity, man! (b) Why are black people such superstitious hypocrites? It must be their moronic religious beliefs!

  • B||

    No more than you have a right to know how anyone voted on Prop 8.

    Maybe. I guess what matters here is if you draw a meaningful distinction between voting and bankrolling (as well as between bankrolling and "speech"). If money = speech then it shouldn't be limited (even though it is) and anonymity ought to be respected (even though it isn't).

    My inclination is that giving money to a cause (or a candidate) is different from speech, though I'll be the first to admit that I can't say how, exactly. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that not everyone can express themselves equally in this way. Transparency of contributions seems like a good check on this.

    But really, I'm just thinking out loud here...

  • kinnath||

    But donations on referenda like this seem to be a different animal--people should be able to "speak" through their donations anonymously.

    All well and good, except in this specific case the individual involved donated money to a cause to strip a whole class of people a basic civil right that the CA supreme court ruled that they have.

    In one view of the world, this is a far greater evil than trying to bribe a government official.

  • Mad Max||

    What if Joe Sixpack gay dude had donated to the Gay Weekly for the specific purpose of "supporting your fight against Prop 8"? Would the Gay Weekly have had to disclose its donors to a government agency, thus putting Joe at risk of being fired by his fundamentalist boss?

    It's my understanding that you don't have to disclose donations to newspapers. Is this correct?

  • zoltan||

    The Prop 8 aftermath has brought out a surge of comments betraying a Palinesque grasp of freedom of expression.

    Excellent.

  • ||

    If the principled argument against campaign finance reform is that it infringes free speech, then what's the problem here? If you speak, your speech should be attributable to you.

    Ya think that posting the above as "gorgonzola's foil" kinda makes you appear like a hyupocritical moron? Maybe?

  • ||

    So, Robert Enders and jdb, neither of you are worried about having state constitutional issues determined by anonymous money from out of state or overseas or from a few millionaires? It seems to me that your cure is worse than the disease. I still think full disclosure is best, regardless of the occasional case like this.

    I did read some years ago that a court allowed some hardcore socialists to make anonymous campaign donations on the theory that they would be exposed to harassment if their actions were made public. I'm not sure I agree with that, either. I think there's a difference between anonymous speech and anonymous financing, but am open to counter-arguments.

  • ||

    In one view of the world, this is a far greater evil than trying to bribe a government official.
    How the hell does that relate to the discussion about disclosure vs. anonymous speech? Oh yeah, not one fucking bit.

    And I also think Robert Enders nailed it.

  • kinnath||

    Anonymous speech prevents the government from taking retribution against someone using their 1st ammendment right to seek redress from that government. I have absolutely no problem with that, because the power of the state is so great.

    Anonymous speech to prevent other private individuals from taking retribution against you should be important as well. But when the primary purpose of that speech is to sway the outcome of an election, I am less willing to give total protection to the speaker.

    I don't know where the line should be between transparency and privacy, but I am confident that some transparency is required. Either that or throw all your eggs in one basket (an active judicial system that has the balls to occaisionally squash the will of the majority).

  • KenK||

    "people should be able to "speak" through their donations anonymously."

    Millions of dollars were collected by Obama from people using fake names, why should this be any different.

  • ||

    Perhaps it needs to be more publicized that such donations can be made public, I don't really have a problem with disclosure of such contributions.
    The fault does not lie with making the information public but with those that would mis-use the information.
    If the University had no other reason for dismissing him, perhaps he will have a good civil suit...
    Bottom line, any information in the public domain may be abused but that is no argument for hiding it.

  • kinnath||

    How the hell does that relate to the discussion about disclosure vs. anonymous speech? Oh yeah, not one fucking bit.

    Donations to candidate's campaigns should be fully disclosed on the grounds that a donor might have influence over that candidate if elected.

    So was "bribe a government official" a little too over the top for you? Or did you just not make the connection?

  • rhywun||

    Ugh. Another troll-infested gay marriage thread. Moving along...

  • ||

    to strip a whole class of people a basic civil right that the CA supreme court ruled that they have.

    Oh, how I hate this talking point. If a court ruled that "equal protection" meant that all blue-eyed people got a free ice cream cone every Sunday, and it were reversed by an initiative, you could say the same thing.

    Whether you believe in same-sex marriage or not, this is obviously a case of judicial over-reaching, because the people who wrote the words "equal protection" never meant same-sex marriage. There were gay activists 15 years ago who didn't think that's what it meant. (I know because I was friends with one.) If the term can be stretched to mean same-sex marriage, I see no reason it can't be stretched to mean anything: plural marriage, incest marriage, identical health care for all, identical wages for all.

  • ||

    It is, of course, the perfect right of the theater to send him packing for any reason, and I personally think anyone who gives money to oppose gay marriage sucks nuts.

    I think that's pretty unlikely.

    This artistic director may not be anti-gay. It may be just the opposite.

  • MAX HATS||

    Uh, I thought the libertarian argument on campaign finance was that money = speech. Now we learn that, no, money = secret ballot? There is a circle that needs squaring.

    Distasteful? Yes. Troubling? Yes. The logical outgrowth of the very arguments made by those against campaign finance reform laws? Absolutely.

  • Zeb||

    "The race-related comments on these threads can be broken down into two types: (a) Why don't black people realize that LGBT people are their brothers and sisters? Solidarity, man! (b) Why are black people such superstitious hypocrites? It must be their moronic religious beliefs!"

    Mad Max, what the fuck are you talking about. You provided a counter example to your own point. I wasn't saying anything about black people. Substitute any subset of the population for black people in my example and it says the same thing.

  • ||

    Many here have said that the government should get out of the marriage business. I agree- but after everyone is treated equally in regards to marriage.

    Your argument is compelling.

    My point was to take it one step at a time.

    ...jackass


    No, JC pretty much pegged it the first time. That's like saying "I support making drugs illegal, but only after we lock everyone up."

    Instead of berating someone that points that out to you, perhaps the effort to recognize the word "marriage" would be better spent in eliminating the legal preferences for marriage and instituting a one sentence thing saying "Marraige is officially recognized as a subset of Civil Unions and those who are married will get all the rights specified."

    jackass back to you.

  • kinnath||

    Whether you believe in same-sex marriage or not, this is obviously a case of judicial over-reaching, because the people who wrote the words "equal protection" never meant same-sex marriage.

    And I am just as tired of dick heads like you.

    Judicial review has a purpose. If the CA supreme court overreached, then the losing party should have gone to SCOTUS to get them slapped down (given the current make up of the court, that is a likely outcome).

  • ||

    He donated a 1000.00 towards Prop 8. That's some serious commitment right there.

    Should it have been anonymous? I don't know. Where do you draw the line? What amount?

    I do not think he hates gays, but he sure showed that it was important enough for him to deny them the word marriage...I wonder if he didn't realise how much it mattered to the people he apparently worked beside for years that telling them they were second class citizens wouldn't upset them?

  • ||

    Those comparing disclosing campaign donations to disclosing the vote are being too clever by 1/2. Voting is your single vote, donating a campaign is an attempt to influence other voters.

    I find Robert Ender's POV very compelling, however, Papaya, whom I frequently disagree with, brings up a valid issue. There are risks of fraud by allowing no disclosure. Not to mention that issues can be used to bolster candidates by exciting the base.

  • ||

    By the way, he was not forced to resign, he resigned because people he previously worked with were going to stop working with him and others were going to boycott his shows. They were responding to his speech by changing their associations.

  • robc||

    My point was to take it one step at a time.

    His point is that one step in the wrong direction is worse, not better.

    If the goal is eliminating state marriage, then adding to the number of state marriages is a negative step, not a positive one.

    I think you do qualify as a fucking imbecile.

  • Publius||

    If you speak, your speech should be attributable to you.

    I agree.

  • ||

    Without nut suckers, how could I get my nuts sucked?

    You might try yoga.

    His employer disavows firing him or requiring him to resign and reaffirmed the rights of its employees to hold political views.

    As would any employer trying to avoid a lawsuit for wrongful termination.

    All well and good, except in this specific case the individual involved donated money to a cause to strip a whole class of people a basic civil right that the CA supreme court ruled that they have.

    So, people who you disagree with should have reduced rights to privacy? Is that the principle here?

    Would you be so eager to publicize the people whose donations on the right side of your pet causes are potentially career-limiting?

    Uh, I thought the libertarian argument on campaign finance was that money = speech.

    No, we still say money = speech. That is why not allowing people to give anonymously is the same as requiring to speak anonymously. Really, its not that hard.

    I am willing to make an distinction between donations to a candidate and donations to a cause. But that's not the case here, is it?

  • ||

    That is why not allowing people to give anonymously is the same as requiring to speak anonymously. Really, its not that hard.

    Apparently, it is that hard. Let me try again:

    That is why not allowing people to give anonymously is the same as not allowing people to speak anonymously.

  • kinnath||

    All well and good, except in this specific case the individual involved donated money to a cause to strip a whole class of people a basic civil right that the CA supreme court ruled that they have.

    So, people who you disagree with should have reduced rights to privacy? Is that the principle here?

    No, I made a poorly argued post that changing the consitution had a greater impact on society than electing a government official.

    So, if you can accept that some level of transparency is necessary to prevent corruption of elected officials, then at least the same level of transparency should be applied to efforts to alter the consitution which has the potential to do far greater evil then merely corrupting an elected official.

  • Mad Max||

    "I wasn't saying anything about black people. Substitute any subset of the population for black people in my example and it says the same thing."

    That may be, but you were in fact using black people in your reductio ad absurdam: "The state should not be involved in providing education. SO lets enact a law prohibiting black people from attending public schools."

    This is part of an overall H&R meme that gay is the new black, at least for purposes of the law. And if a law with a disparate impact on blacks and whites would be wrong, a law with a disparate impact on gays and straights would also be wrong. It's a thought-stopping technique which assumes that which is to be proven.

    Then there is the inevitable comparison to laws against interracial marriage, as to which I may as well note:

    These miscegenation laws were *innovations,* abrogating an even earlier tradition that marriage does not depend on race. These laws started in some English-speaking Protestant colonies in the 1600s, where they rejected the sacred, sacramental character of marriage, rejecting over a thousand years of Christian tradition.

    Nor did every state have such laws, and large numbers of states which had such laws repealed their laws before the U.S. Supreme Court (with the support of the Catholic Church) declared interracial marriage to be a positive-law right under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    In the famous California Supreme Court case in 1948 which legalized interracial marriage, it was the interracial couple which invoked religious freedom. The majority of the state court ruled for the couple on religious-freedom grounds. The deciding vote was cast by a justice who said that there was no compelling government interst in overruling such a deeply-rooted religious practice. It was the dissenting judges - the ones who wanted interracial marriage banned - who called for separation of religion and state by saying that the government's (alleged) *secular* reasons for promoting racial purity overruled the silly religious superstitions about God making of one blood all races.

  • ||

    gorgonzola's foil | November 13, 2008, 1:26pm | #
    If the principled argument against campaign finance reform is that it infringes free speech, then what's the problem here? If you speak, your speech should be attributable to you.


    Says someone posting anonymously with no link to an email address.

    /irony

  • ||

    Huh and ROBC,

    What reality do you guys live in? What you say makes sense as a thought experiment but do you actually think that eliminating state marrige is going to be easier than allowing gay marriage?

    Secondly, I understood your point. I just don't think that this is the time to push for it.

    But I guess I should bow to the Libertarian wisdom. After all you've been so successful lobbying for change in the past.

  • ||

    So, if you can accept that some level of transparency is necessary to prevent corruption of elected officials, then at least the same level of transparency should be applied to efforts to alter the consitution which has the potential to do far greater evil then merely corrupting an elected official.

    I don't think that follows. We don't want disclosure of who funds officials to prevent some "evil" in some general sense. We want it as part of the safeguards against corruption, bribery, kickbacks, etc.

    There's no way to bribe or corrupt a referendum, so the reason for "transparency" of donations to elected officials doesn't carry over. All that you are left with is chilling of speech.

    Really, is there any positive use that the information would be put to? Its either going to be used to build a mailing list, or to attack somebody. That's about it.

    I see nothing but downside.

  • jkp||

    Eagerly awaiting Chapman's forthcoming article explaining why public financing of political campaigns is the REAL libertarian position.

  • ||

    I'm against married heteros getting privileges, so I have to support forbidding married homos from getting the same privileges.

    The perfect is the enemy of the good once again.

    An analogy,

    I'm against the state regulating drugs, so I have to vote against medical marijuana.

  • jtuf||

    Great post, Mangu-Ward. I whole heartedly agree.

  • ||

    There's no way to bribe or corrupt a referendum

    Really? In California Proposition 71 (stem cell research) has had a variety of ethically questionable issues involving donors and such. And public employee unions regularly promote/oppose initiatives according to whether they would feather their nests or not.

    Kinnath: Name-calling, very classy and persuasive. And you didn't respond to my point.

    J sub D: We have domestic partnerships in California, and AFAIK there is no legal distinction between that and marriage.

  • Zeb||

    Well, Max, you have again missed the point completely and filled another half page with irrelevant facts.

    The point I was making is that there seem to be a few people trying to make the argument on the marriage issue that the government excluding certain groups from certain privileges is a good thing from a libertarian perspective because the government should not be involved in granting those privileges in the first place. This is why cynicism gets a bad name.

    I probably shouldn't have brought race into it. It's too emotional of an issue. I should have said "people who wear size 9 shoes" instead of "black people".

  • ||

    We have domestic partnerships in California, and AFAIK there is no legal distinction between that and marriage.

    Which can now be changed by a majority vote in both legislative houses and the governor's signature. Not so when it was guaranteed by the stste constitution as interpreted.

    But you knew that.

  • ||

    Don't cry for Scott too much Argentina. Campaign finance laws are in place to prevent nefarious and illegal contributions to political campaigns. Doesn't anyone remember what it was like before there were campaign donation limits and such? Also, though I feel for Mr. Eckern, imagine how it must feel for the gay couple whose marriage is now invalidated or the lesbian couple whose domestic partnership doesn't come with the same rights as people who are married? Not to mention the years of discrimination and bigotry aimed at the Gay community. It may be that Scott's situation is a sad one but it would be sadder if our citizens' right to protest - whether by votes or dollars - were taken away? Chalk it up to life in a democracy.

    I also don't buy that Scott's religious belief's weren't hurting anyone. Inequality is simple and clear to see and is unacceptable. Why should Mr. Eckern's religious beliefs be forced upon the rest of us when we live in a country where church and state are separate?

    Meanwhile is anyone examining the Mormom Church's tax exempt status now that they've taken on a political agenda?

  • robc||

    What reality do you guys live in? What you say makes sense as a thought experiment

    I live in gedankenland. You?

  • robc||

    do you actually think that eliminating state marrige is going to be easier than allowing gay marriage?

    Its always easier to go the wrong way. What with the slipperyness and all.

  • robc||

    After all you've been so successful lobbying for change in the past.

    I dont judge right or wrong based on success. The means are what matter, the ends are what they are.

  • robc||

    J sub D,

    I'm against the state regulating drugs, so I have to vote against medical marijuana.

    I think the more accurate analogy would be, "Im against the war on drugs, so I will vote in favor of alcohol prohibition".

    Got to treat all drugs equally, after all.

  • Mad Max||

    Jack,

    The love and tolerance simply oozes through every paragraph of your discussion.

    "Meanwhile is anyone examining the Mormom Church's tax exempt status now that they've taken on a political agenda?"

    This is third-world dictator stuff - attacking civil-society institutions for daring to get out of line.

    Of course, the U.S. tax code invites this, thanks to rules against "lobbying" and "partisanship." In practice, this is interpreted to mean "too much lobbying" or "specifically mentioning a candidate as someone to oppose or support, but social-justice-advocacy is OK."

    Where is the boundary between enough lobbying and too much? Where is the boundary between "nonpartisan" and partisan involvement in elections? The answers aren't always clear - not to worry though, the hearing examiners in the Internal Revenue Service will be happy to clarify all those ambiguities for us in a transparent, unbiased manner.

  • Mad Max||

    Remember:

    Be loving, open and tolerant - or we'll screw you over!

  • ||

    "Its always easier to go the wrong way. What with the slipperyness and all."

    Wrong way? I don't think it's going any way, it's just a continuation of current practices. As long as marriage is state sanctioned what difference does it make if another group is allowed to be part of it?

    They is even a chance that once gays are allowed to marry the religious and other anti-gay types won't want to be part of it and focus on religious ceremonies to define their marriages.

  • ||

    "I dont judge right or wrong based on success. The means are what matter, the ends are what they are."

    Pounding your head against a rock feels good?

  • ||

    FIRING HIM MAY BE ILLEGAL

    I BELIEVE THAT THE CALIFORNIA LABOR CODE (SECTION 1100 ET SEC) PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT FOR POLITICAL REASONS.

    HAS THAT LAW BEEN REPEALED?

  • Mad Max||

    martin Henner,

    Here it is. I don't know if theater companies qualify as "employers," and I'm not going to check.

    LABOR CODE
    SECTION 1101-1106

    "1101. No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule,
    regulation, or policy:
    "(a) Forbidding or preventing employees from engaging or participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public office.
    "(b) Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees.

    "1102. No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity."

  • kinnath||

    Kinnath: Name-calling, very classy and persuasive.

    Whether you believe in same-sex marriage or not, this is obviously a case of judicial over-reaching, because the people who wrote the words "equal protection" never meant same-sex marriage. There were gay activists 15 years ago who didn't think that's what it meant. (I know because I was friends with one.) If the term can be stretched to mean same-sex marriage, I see no reason it can't be stretched to mean anything: plural marriage, incest marriage, identical health care for all, identical wages for all.

    Either you're ingorant or an asshole.

  • ||

    inassgoranthole

  • The Expatriate||

    I think the key thing here is that the guy resigned, and was not fired. Once this became public, he probably realized that his ability to work with fellow employees, at least some of whom are gay, would probably be compromised.
    That's just workplace politics.

    I also find it amusing that someone would endorse blatantly anti-libertarian ideas, and then come crying to libertarians for pity when hoisted by his own petard.

    Think of it. He donated money to a cause that invades the privacy of individuals, then cries when his own privacy winds up violated.

  • ||

    So, if you can accept that some level of transparency is necessary to prevent corruption of elected officials....

    How's that corruption-free political body working out for us?

    I will make the argument that this disclosure requirement has had very little actual effect on influence peddling. It just finds a different method of compensating for favoritism, like home repairs and such.

    Speech should be anonymous unless the speaker doesn't wish it to be so. Money = speech. End of line.

  • Just Plain Brian||

    inassgoranthole



    "Heh. Which is longer than...the whole purpose of smooshing would be to shorten the..."

  • ||

    Think of it. He donated money to a cause that invades the privacy of individuals, then cries when his own privacy winds up violated.

    So, we shouldn't let the Nazis march in Skokie? We're only protecting popular speech now?

  • ||

    Brian, Plain and Tall,

    I know. I just liked the way the blended word reads of the page. It's fun to say.

  • sfb||

    GOOOOOODWIIIIIIIN!

  • Just Plain Brian||

    I was just quoting from "Lucy, Daughter of the Devil"

    If it makes you feel any better, DJ Jesús would agree with you: "Is that the whole purpose, or is it to have fun?"

  • ||

    He resigned of his own volition, the theater didn't ask him to leave. More oddly, however, is Shaiman. He condemns the action but he started the boycott of the theater. And he publicized his friends contribution to others to do so as well.

    However, let us imagine that individuals frequenting a local kosher deli discover that the manager of the deli is a contributer to something like the Institute for Historical Review -- IHR is clearly anti-semitic but doesn't go as far as Prop 8 did in stripping away legal rights for Jews. The customers boycott the deli because they are paying the salary of someone who funds anti-Semites. The manager may even get along with his brother-in-law who is Jewish and has Jewish friends. Are the customers wrong? I don't see why they would be.

    There seems to be an assumption that if someone acted in a similar manner based on race then the actions are bad and such boycotts legitimate. But as long as they only go after gay people then it isn't serious or important and doesn't deserve the same response. Such remarks would not be accepted when other groups are attacked and I don't see why they should be accepted when gays are the target.

  • ||

    GOOOOOODWIIIIIIIN!

    Godamnit! I wasn't even thinking about that when I wrote about Skokie.

    I think Skokie, and Illinois, Nazis are exceptions to the rule. Do we have a second?

    And for the record, I do hate Illinois Nazis.

  • ||

    There's no way to bribe or corrupt a referendum

    Really? In California Proposition 71 (stem cell research) has had a variety of ethically questionable issues involving donors and such. And public employee unions regularly promote/oppose initiatives according to whether they would feather their nests or not.


    People supporting propositions that will benefit them directly is not the same thing at all as people giving money to a politican as a quid pro quo for favors.

    You really don't see the distinction?

  • ||

    He donated money to a cause that invades the privacy of individuals, then cries when his own privacy winds up violated.

    How does defining marriage as being between a man and a woman invade anyone's privacy, again? Whether you are married, not to mention whether you are a man or a woman, is generally public knowledge, no?

  • ||

    Such remarks would not be accepted when other groups are attacked and I don't see why they should be accepted when gays are the target.

    This isn't about accepting or not accepting speech.

    We can all agree that speech has consequences, but yet we don't want to discourage speech. Can you imagine H&R if we all had to give our real names and identities?

    I work with a whole bunch of people, many of them hard-lefties, who would not be tolerant of my libertarian views, which is why I don't espouse them at work. My CEO is a H-U-G-E Obamanaut and wouldn't look kindly on my lack of, shall we say, enthusiasm for his man. I don't need that kind of needless pain in my life.

    I would hate to think, that the idea that I'm seeing in this thread by some posters is that everyone, everywhere, should pay some kind of penalty when they say something that someone else disagrees with.

    Is that right? No one should ever be allowed to speak without fear of reprisal?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    No one EVER says anything worth saying without some fear of negative consequences. But that's just in my world.

  • ||

    Kinnath, you are lowering the collective IQ of the discussion. Answer the point without name-calling or go away.

    R C Dean, I just think it's a distinction without much of a difference. If interested groups can raise unlimited amounts of anonymous money to pass initiatives, I think it's ripe for corruption.

  • kinnath||

    Kinnath, you are lowering the collective IQ of the discussion. Answer the point without name-calling or go away.

    I have answered your question in multiple threads over the last few weeks.

    Here is the short version:

    The legal institution of marriage provides benefiets and privileges to those individuals involved in the marriage.

    The 14th ammendment prohibits the states from discriminating in its application of laws.

    Therefore: the states must remove the institution of marriage from the books, or the states must allow all consenting adults (men, women, groups, whatever) to join in marriage.

    If the 14th didn't exist, there would be little or no legal basis to argue for same sex marriage.

    And concluding, anyone that says if equal protection means same sex marriage must also mean equal health benefits or equal pay or whatever is still either igorant or an asshole.

  • kinnath||

    To be perfectly clear:

    If the term can be stretched to mean same-sex marriage, I see no reason it can't be stretched to mean anything: plural marriage, incest marriage, identical health care for all, identical wages for all.

    This statement is far and away one of the most stupid comments I've seen on this topic in the last several weeks.

  • kinnath||

    adios

  • Robert Goodman||

    Robert LeFevre opposed the secret ballot. (Hard to refer to it as the "Australian ballot" any more since Australia made voting mandatory; you don't know whether it's referring to the secrecy or the mandatoriness, which many countries have adopted as well.) His reason was, why shouldn't all be held accountable for what they attempt to impose on the polis? Of course that would apply to all sides, and is not especially a libertarian vs. authoritarian thing.

  • Mad Max||

    "However, let us imagine that individuals frequenting a local kosher deli discover that the manager of the deli is a contributer to something like the Institute for Historical Review -- IHR is clearly anti-semitic but doesn't go as far as Prop 8 did in stripping away legal rights for Jews. The customers boycott the deli because they are paying the salary of someone who funds anti-Semites. The manager may even get along with his brother-in-law who is Jewish and has Jewish friends. Are the customers wrong? I don't see why they would be."

    Once the information is genuinely in the public domain, customers can act on it and boycott establishments who employ people with despised views.

    In my view (although California law seems to disagree - see above) is that governments should not conscript private businesses to be on the front lines of the culture wars. So if an employee's political views are hurting the business, then the business should have the right to fire the employee, unless there's an employment contract saying otherwise (as with many universities).

    But the reason the issue arose in the first place is that someone was forced to disclose his political views to the public. So, if the reason the guy's contribution to IHR became knows was because an "anti-extremist law" required donors to that group to be listed on a publicly-available government database, then yes, that would be a problem.

  • ||

    If interested groups can raise unlimited amounts of anonymous money to pass initiatives, I think it's ripe for corruption.

    You and I have different definitions of corruption, then.

  • ||

    He will be blessed for his efforts in this righteous cause. God bless you Scott.

  • Jim O\'Neal||

    A civil right has been taken away from a group of people, and some guys are yelling THEIR rights have been violated? What a crock. Example - Please! Your rights were never in question.
    No one has forced any beliefs on Scott Eckern. They have rejected his choice to force his beliefs on them. He has no need to accept anything contrary to his beliefs. Most in the theatre are very upset Scott resigned. That need not have happened. But people will no longer sit back and allow discrimination. People are hurt and angry. And for what? A proposition based on lies and fear.
    No one is threatening marriage or children, no one is attacking churches. It is the churches actively struggling to deny a group of Americans their civil and human rights. Work on your congregation - not strangers.
    Don't tell me "the people have spoken." If women's rights had been put up for men to vote on they would still be "property."
If civil rights for African-Americans had been put on a ballot they would have advanced nowhere. Civil rights are not to be voted on. Human rights are not opinion.
    Up until a few hundred years ago, marriage was a property issue. (Sorry ladies. It's true.) Most churches wanted nothing to do with it. Now it is considered a religious sacrament by some churches, a bond sanctioned by God. Wonderful ... for those church members. But it is still a civil union for citizens not of those churches. This is discrimination. It is unAmerican, unConstitutional.
And NO ONE can yet explain how it is a threat to ANYONE's marriage. How in the world does it have anything to do with someone else's religion?
Everyone can hold to their beliefs and religious convictions, but you cannot force those beliefs on others - not in America.
    This is not about people exercising their religious convictions.
This is about forcing those convictions on others!
There can be no second-class Americans.

    "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
-Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
-http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/index.htm

  • Mad Max||

    "This is not about people exercising their religious convictions.
This is about forcing those convictions on others!"

    Precisely so. If the state of Cali started handing out "marriage licenses" to same-sex couples, it wouldn't be long before private employers would be forced to recognize these "marriages." There are discrimination laws in Cali, and how could an employer defend itself under these laws if it offers marital benefits to employees with opposite-sex marriages but not to employees in same-sex "marriages"?

    Soon, the government would be indeed forcing its views of damages, on penalty of damages, on those private employers who wish to hew to the man-woman dichotomous definition of marriage.

    So your point is well taken.

  • Mad Max||

    "views of marriage," not "views of damages."

  • ||

    Mad Max

    You're right. The freedom of people to be bigots would be limited.

  • ||

    I think it's a bit common and petty to look people up like this though. Sure the guy might be something of a hypocrite, but this is not the kind of activity that makes any political movement get the high ground.

  • Jim O\'Neal||

    That's a crock.
    The government would only enforce the law. The government would uphold the Constitution. If you deny equal rights you are discriminating.
    If you don't want to recognize a same-sex marriage, then don't. No one cares. But you cannot discriminate and you cannot treat people differently under the law. It has nothing to do with your religion or beliefs.
    Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

  • sfb||

    Precisely so. If the state of Cali started handing out "marriage licenses" to same-sex couples, it wouldn't be long before private employers would be forced to recognize these "marriages." There are discrimination laws in Cali, and how could an employer defend itself under these laws if it offers marital benefits to employees with opposite-sex marriages but not to employees in same-sex "marriages"?

    This is a feature, not a bug.

  • Mad Max||

    CED,

    If it's a public record, then people can act on it. What made it a public record in the first place? A statute. Does the statute violate the First Amendment? Consider this comment on the volokh.com blog.

    More amusing incidents: A mob of pro-tolerance, anti-Prop 8 people attacking an old lady who counterprotested their rally, tearing a cross from her arms and shouting down the reporter who tried to interview the lady. Or, as one of the anchors put it, A lot of anger and a lot of hate, quite obviously, on both sides. It's a good thing that anchor was fair and balanced, because to the average, uninformed viewer it seems that all the anger and hate is on the pro-tolerance side.

  • Jim O\'Neal||

    An employer needs to treat it as the law. He cannot discriminate and deny rights. But he has no obligation to condone or change his beliefs on the issue. It does not affect his religion.

  • Mad Max||

    "This is a feature, not a bug."

    I suppose this a welcome development, in that libertarians seem willing to acknowledge that liberty in itself is not the highest value, but that liberty only has meaning in the context of an ordered society in which the government enforces certain basic norms, even (yes) regulating individual license, since license is not the same as liberty.

    This is a good development, since the conflation of liberty with license, and the erection of liberty into an idol, not only endangers the community, it undermines liberty itself in the long run.

    But let us be cautious - not every infringement on liberty can be justified because it feels good to the person advocating the infringement. Limitations on individual liberty and freedom of action can only be justified by reference to the public good. What public good can be served by compelling private employers to *reject* a definition of marriage which is millenia old, and which has sustained the human race during its most trying times?

  • Jim O\'Neal||

    Oh, gee, CED. People are angry just because they have been stripped of civil rights. How dare they.

  • Mad Max||

    "An employer needs to treat it as the law. He cannot discriminate and deny rights. But he has no obligation to condone or change his beliefs on the issue. It does not affect his religion."

    Ah, yes. He is free to hold whatever religious beliefs he wants, so long as he doesn't *act* on those beliefs.

    I learn so much from libertarians!

  • Jim O\'Neal||

    Nice try Mad Max.
    But the definition of marriage has been changing along with society for thousands of years. Just one more bump.

  • ||

    Let's be clear here, Mr. Eckern's civil rights have been in no way violated. He exercised his right to speak, worship, and vote and he voluntarily left his job.

    However, no where in the U.S. Constitution does it say that there would be no repercussions from exercising those rights. For example, we elected George W. Bush in 2000 and the consequences have been eight years of disastrous leadership.

    On the other hand, it can be argued that Mr. Eckern and others who supported Proposition 8 violated the civil rights of about 4 million California members of the LGBT community and put the legal status nearly 20,000 families in jeopardy. For anyone to think there would be no repercussion is simply naive.

  • Jim O\'Neal||

    Denying someone their rights is not acting on your beliefs.
    It's descrimination. It's bigotry. It's un-American and un-Christian.

  • Jim O\'Neal||

    And what's with the name calling?
    "libertarian"
    I'm not even sure how to take that.

  • ||

    Watch out for Mormans......so many are hypocrites!

  • ||

    "What public good can be served by compelling private employers to *reject* a definition of marriage which is millenia old, and which has sustained the human race during its most trying times?"

    Equality? It's the same public good that doesn't allow private employers to discriminate against black people even though the idea they were inferior was one that had been around for a long time as well.

    As to the Mormons, I think it's hilarious they were so opposed, seeing as how their "traditional" view of marriage was a little different than Man+Woman...

  • ||

    Jim
    I'm angry about this kind of thing too. But looking up individual donors and messing with them in this way is common in itself and is a bad pr strategy to say the least.

  • highnumber||

    Ms Mangu-Ward,

    Good work!

  • Mad Max||

    Jim O'Neal,

    I'm sincerely sorry if I called you a "libertarian"' without cause.

    "But the definition of marriage has been changing along with society for thousands of years. Just one more bump."

    Let us take a look at some of these "changes."

    Starting in the 16th century, legislatures in many Protestant North American polities tried to redefine marriage to exclude slaves, and to exclude the parties to interracial unions. This attempt to redefine an ancient institution were ultimately fruitless - they have been justly repudiated, and cast into the dustbin of history.

    The eugenicists redefined marriage so as to exclude those who were alleged to be genetically unfit. By way of sterilization and limitation on marriage licenses, these "reformers" also sought to redefine marriage. What beautiful results they achieved! The eugenicists, too, have been rebuked and repudiated, although there is today an effort to revive their horrid doctrines.

    The redefinition of marriage by the early Protestants - terminable on account of major breach of marital duty, like a contract - opened the door to collusive divorces. The husband and wife simply had to cook up a fake story about adultery (with the help of false witnesses and greedy lawyers), and the courts would grant a divorce.

    In the 60s and 70s, even this collusive system was deemed insufficiently progressive, and *unilateral divorce on demand* was instituted - if one spouse proclaimed himself/herself dissatisfied, then the court had to dissolve the marriage, regardless of the wishes, and the good behavior, of the innocent spouse. That certainly led to improved happiness for spouses and children, didn't it? (using only the utilitarian calculus of the greatest happiness for the greatest number)

    Then there were the reformers who wanted to de-link marriage from procreation. Single-motherhood was proclaimed to be as valid a family structure as the old, boring, husband-wife-and-kids model. Wow, what a great success *that* turned out to be!

    Now there are reformers (often the same people who proclaim the virtue of easy divorce and single motherhood) who what to redefine marriage as involving two people of either sex.

    I'm confident that this latest reform of marriage will be *just as successful* as all the earlier reforms.

  • Mad Max||

    "Equality? It's the same public good that doesn't allow private employers to discriminate against black people even though the idea they were inferior was one that had been around for a long time as well."

    Now, let me clarify - do the people on this libertarian site think the government should tell people they have to hire blacks (or whites, or Methodists, or Scientologists, or disabled people, or women, or old people) if they don't want to? I can see the arguments for such laws, but do libertarians go in for that sort of logic?

  • Jim O\'Neal||

    See? I knew I could win you over.
    ;)

    Been great talking with you. Thanks - God Bless

  • Mad Max||

    Likewise, Jim.

  • ||

    A civil right has been taken away from a group of people, and some guys are yelling THEIR rights have been violated?

    You're conflating the issues. The issue here is not whether or not gay marriage should be allowed, but whether or not donations to politcal candidates or causes should be a public record.

    If there was never a stronger argument that money is, in fact, speech, this case clearly illustrates that it indeed is. And as such, there's that pesky "no law" issue coming into play.

    His name should never have been part of a public record. His ability to perform his job was obviously not dependent on his political beliefs, since he had been working around a significant number of gays for 6 years without running around yelling "faggots!", just as my political beliefs aren't relevent to my job performance either.

    People can disagree about the gay marriage issue, although you and I won't, but the issue of his outing should have never come to bear.

  • sfb||

    "This is a feature, not a bug."

    I suppose this a welcome development, in that libertarians seem willing to acknowledge that liberty in itself is not the highest value, but that liberty only has meaning in the context of an ordered society in which the government enforces certain basic norms, even (yes) regulating individual license, since license is not the same as liberty.

    You read much more into my comment that was necessary.

    Point 1) CA has an anti-discrimination law

    Point 2) If CA has same-sex marriage, then employers cannot discriminate between same-sex and opposite sex married couples when doling out benefits (see point 1)

    This is a feature of the system, not a bug.

    That is not an endorsement for CA having an anti-discrimination law on the books to start with. That is an entirely separate discussion which many libertarians would tell you CA should not have such a law on the books.

  • economist||

    "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's"
    Ah, but what does belong to Caesar? That is the question. I personally would have been in favor of telling Caesar to f*** himself, but I hear that kind of thing didn't go over so well in those times.

  • ||

    I opposed Prop 8, but I'm fed up with the GBLT community right now.

    This has degenerated in hateful bullying coming from gays.

    NPR recently reported on gays picketing a small restaurant because the owner donated $100 dollars in support of Prop 8!

    Are you kidding me?

    What is wrong with you people?

    What's next? Throwing eggs at Mormon children on the way home from school?

    It seems clear that the GBLT community is revealing itself as every bit as hateful and bigoted as those they oppose. This is not a proud moment for you guys. What on earth possessed you to start channeling David Duke?

  • Mad Max||

    "That is not an endorsement for CA having an anti-discrimination law on the books to start with. That is an entirely separate discussion which many libertarians would tell you CA should not have such a law on the books."

    A fascinating case of compartmentalization.

    Libertarians generally want employers to have the broadest discretion possible to regulate their employees, except as contrained by employment contracts. But on this issue, they don't want the "antidiscrimination" laws rolled back, bit they want to tighten the screws.

    Fascinating.

  • Mad Max||

    but they want

  • robc||

    sfb,

    The CA and federal discrimination laws are part of the problem.

    State sponsored marriage just compounds it.

    All employees should be able to discriminate by race and sexual orientation as they please. And should be ridiculed and boycotted for it.

  • robc||

    Mad Max,

    Yes, we do. Im not sure what these other people are, but if you support discrimination laws, you arent a libertarian. And I support big tent libertarianism.

  • Jonas||

    Can I just point out the irony of those people who, under internet pseudonyms, have stated that you have the right to free speech as long as the speech is attributable to you?

  • Jonas||

    Rather, their hypocrisy... I don't believe they were trying to be ironic.

  • robc||

    jonas,

    sure, just realize about a dozen people have already pointed it out.

  • Mad Max||

    robc,

    I'm sincerely sorry if I painted with too broad a brush.

  • robc||

    Mad Max,

    Your mistake is assuming that everyone who posts on reason is a libertarian.

    Also, Drink!!!

  • Jonas||

    Ah, robc, you must realize that I gave up reading about 40 posts into this because I could see this shaping into a "Well if you think that you must hate gays!"-vs.-"Well if you think that you must hate free speech!" debate and I skipped to the end. I don't mind being the dozenth plus one person to point it out.

  • robc||

    In a democracy, we are all Caesar.

  • robc||

    jonas,

    Im just upset that no one declared my post as "Publius" at 2:25 a thread winner. :(

  • Jonas||

    Well, I would declare it a threadwinner, but at this point it would just seem a bit trite. And I would only be doing it out of pity. Condolences.

  • Mad Max||

    Here's the attitude I've encountered with *some* libertarians: (a) It may be true that, in the real world, state-issued marriage licenses for same-sex couples (or, alternately, deregulation of marriage altogether) could lead to tightening the screws on private employers, but (b) we will still advocate state-issued marriage licenses (or marriage neutrality) because these things are good and beautiful and *shouldn't* lead to tightening the screws on private employers; when this happens, we'll protest it.

    Thus, they're willing to support a policy which forseeably results in extra burdens on the discretion of private employers, but don't feel called upon to recognize this causal link, because, in Libertopia, such a causal link ought not to exist. Thus, they debate the policies which ought to exist in Libertopia, and end up advocating laws to be enacted in the very different world of modern-day America.

    I suspect that Libertopia is only a short swim away from Rainbow Puppy Island.

  • robc||

    I thought RPI and libertopia were the same place.

    If I ever buy and island, Im naming it Rainbow Puppy Island.

    I think its like the welfare/immigration thing. I favor open immigration. I oppose welfare. There is a good question over whether one or the other should come first. But, my answer is, never take a step backwards.

  • Mad Max||

    The Institute for Justice released a report last year about the effect of disclosure laws on ballot issue elections.

    IJ did a survey whose results should, of course, come as no surprise:

    "• More than 56 percent of respondents
    opposed disclosure when it includes their
    name, address and contribution amount.

    "• Opposition rose to more than 71 percent
    when an employer's name must be disclosed.

    "This opposition translates into a lower
    likelihood of becoming involved in political activity through donations, meaning that mandatory disclosure chills' citizens' speech and association:

    "• A majority of respondents would think twice
    before donating to a ballot issue campaign if
    their name, address and contribution amount
    were disclosed.

    "• An overwhelming plurality would think twice
    before donating to a ballot issue campaign if
    their employer's name were revealed.
    When asked why they would think twice,
    respondents cited, among other things, privacy
    and safety concerns, fear of retribution, and the revelation of their secret vote."

  • zoltan||

    Hey Mad Max, go ahead and not mention any actual good reforms to marriage, like women not being the property of their husbands or needing their permission to do anything a la Saudi Arabia.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Thus, they're willing to support a policy which forseeably results in extra burdens on the discretion of private employers, but don't feel called upon to recognize this causal link, because, in Libertopia, such a causal link ought not to exist. Thus, they debate the policies which ought to exist in Libertopia, and end up advocating laws to be enacted in the very different world of modern-day America.

    Yep.

    I know I'm old, but in my day it wasn't very often that libertarians supported new layers of legislation.

  • Mad Max||

    zoltan,

    I would be happy to mention some good reforms, but you won't like it.

    The idea that fidelity is a *mutual* obligation - that it's wrong for the husband to cheat, not just the wife? Guess who came up with *that* idea?

    The abolition of polygamy? Again, guess who?

    Marriage must be based on the free consent of the parties? You're welcome!

  • Mad Max||

    "Saudi Arabia"

    Saudi Arabia didn't reform marriage. They still have polygamy and easy divorce (for men). Western countries used to be able to boast that they rejected easy divorce - even 1940s American was abhorrent to the Islamist fanatic Qutb because divorce was too difficult. But now the West has regressed to Saudi standards (with the added bonus that women as well as men may unilaterally dissolve a marriage).

  • Mike Laursen||

    The abolition of polygamy? Again, guess who?

    Isaac S. Struble?

  • ||

    Katherine, are you trying to say not everyone who opposes gay marriage is a vicious homophobic bigot? How dare you?

  • sfb||

    Feature: something you don't need or want, but you have to pay for anyway.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Katherine, are you trying to say not everyone who opposes gay marriage is a vicious homophobic bigot?

    Why would she say that when they ARE all vicious, homophobic bigots?

  • Logic please||

    How would you all be reacting if it was a gay man who was forced to resign because he supported a gay agenda? There would be protests, boycotts, hateful slogans chanted in front of their temples . . . . oh, wait, you are already doing all of that. It only a Mormon, so its cool . . . but don't forget that they are less of a minority than the gays and lesbians. Can you say, HYPOCRITES!

  • ||

    She did say.

  • ||

    "But I guess I should bow to the Libertarian wisdom. After all you've been so successful lobbying for change in the past."

    Why does it seem like every non-libertarian who comes here resorts to arguments based on popularity? For every issue, why don't we just take a poll instead of having a discussion? This kind of think is the political equivalent to calling someone "fat": a low-rent cheap shot.

  • ||

    "If interested groups can raise unlimited amounts of anonymous money to pass initiatives, I think it's ripe for corruption."

    Raising money to support an initiative is a legal activity. Bribing candidates is not. Clearly there is a difference.

  • ||

    Mad Max,

    If a state had a deranged law saying Muslims couldn't get married, but then that law was overturned, I'd think this would be welcome from a libertarian perspective, even if it put a lot of employers on the hook for those Muslim couples.

    Basic equal treatment takes priority over a whole lot.

  • ||

    Mad Max, I am not sure if you are a complete Kool-aid drinking zombie, or you are just being sarcastic. Secret ballots? Harrassment? You automatically tote a shotgun if you voted yes? I suppose you are totally cool with the fact my friend's dog was poisoned for the contribution of it's owners. I feel sorry for your parents that they have had to endure you. I feel sorry for anyone who has to endure you. Your blind hatred and bigotry is nearly incomprehensible. No wonder you don't appeal to the opposite sex.

  • the top finance||

    Robert has found the truth. If you are given a trillion bucks for nothing, why would you risk lending good for nuthin middle class idiots money?

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