Linda Harvey: Gays Aren’t ‘Persons’

Deranged bigot Linda Harvey of Mission America made some truly bizarre claims on a recent radio show while talking about the Supreme Court accepting the two marriage equality cases. For instance, that since being gay is a choice, gay people aren’t persons for the purposes of the 14th Amendment:

Why should the equal protection argument be made in favor of homosexual behavior, which is changeable? People are not naturally homosexual, so the definition of “person” in the Fourteenth Amendment is being twisted to make this assumption.

“Person” should be understood based on historic, beneficial, or at least neutral and fact-based traits; it should not be twisted to incorporate behavior that most religions and most cultures have said a firm “no” to.

Uh, what? She also doesn’t realize that gender isn’t entirely black and white:

This should still have some standing and it remains a fact that there are only two types of human in the world: male and female. Any other distinctions made are appearance, custom, and construction. So marriage is the lawful, orderly confirmation of what we already see in nature.

So what of those that don’t fit easily into those two genders? There are, in fact, a sizable number of people are born intersexed and with conditions like Klinefelter’s Syndrome. I know they’d like the world to be that simple, but it just isn’t.

35 comments on this post.
  1. Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant):

    People are not naturally Christian either.

  2. busterggi:

    “Person” should be understood based on historic, beneficial, or at least neutral and fact-based traits”

    Except for fetuses of course.

  3. Gregory in Seattle:

    It is an age-old technique: dehumanize your enemies to make them easier to murder in cold blood.

  4. typecaster:

    She also doesn’t realize that gender isn’t entirely black and white.

    I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that she doesn’t realize that race isn’t entirely black and white.

  5. otrame:

    @typecaster,

    *while smiling happily

    Your comment reminded me of my three year old grandson solemnly informing me that he and my dog Bob were just alike. I said, oh yeah? and he said yes, Bob was black and white and he (my grandson) was black and white.
    I told him, yeah, being black and white is pretty cool. He agreed.

    One of those little moments you cherish.

  6. tulle:

    “There are two kinds of people in the world, those that think there are two kinds of people and those that do not.” — Tulle 1994

  7. John Hinkle:

    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant):

    People are not naturally Christian either.

    Linda Harvey: Usher, can you please escort Mister Avenger out of the auditorium please? Thank you. Now, where was I?

  8. Didaktylos:

    There are 10 kinds of people – those who think in binary and those who don’t …

  9. Gretchen:

    “Person” should be understood based on historic, beneficial, or at least neutral and fact-based traits; it should not be twisted to incorporate behavior that most religions and most cultures have said a firm “no” to.

    Lady, we don’t even consider criminals non-persons, and those are people whose behavior the law has said a firm “no” to. So your “most religions and cultures” can take a long walk off a short pier, if you know what I’m sayin’.

  10. eric:

    “Person” should be understood based on historic, beneficial, or at least neutral and fact-based traits; it should not be twisted to incorporate behavior that most religions and most cultures have said a firm “no” to.

    The scary thing is that we seem to have taken one step down this road already. We do not extend due process of law or some of the other considerations of “personhood” to some of those the executive claims have committed terrorism. Ms. Harvey is just taking a current conservative-hawk position (there are some acts you can do that void your legal rights) and applying it more broadly.

  11. Marcus Ranum:

    Since being christian is a matter of choice, I suppose they’re not persons under the 1st amendment. Wow! This is a fun game!

  12. baal:

    “So marriage is the lawful, orderly confirmation of what we already see in nature.”

    She got everything else wrong so I’m not too surprised here either. ‘Marriages in nature and history’ also include arranged marriages, posthumous marriage, child brides, forced marriages, polygamy, polyandry (less often) and a number of marriage as alliance but you get to have paramours. In other words, the modern binary nuclear Leave it to Beaver is one of many forms of marriage and family structure seen in nature or in history – but only 1.

  13. rork:

    We in the genetics labs have often been very amused by people trying to define what “man” or “woman” means for the purposes of these laws, since there are hundreds of ways to be something a bit different (dozens of them are named syndromes, I know the mutations at NR5A1 best, though they are rare – see “OMIM”). I’m not really a deep student of the legal definitions, but understand that whether you qualify as a man or woman (or maybe even neither) depends on which state you are standing in at the moment. Hi Ho!

  14. davidct:

    Marriage is what is not natural. It is a man made construct unlike gender which includes a wide range of natural variation.

  15. Raging Bee:

    Why should the equal protection argument be made in favor of supernatural thinking, which is changeable? People are not naturally supernaturalists, so the definition of “person” in the Fourteenth Amendment is being twisted to make this assumption…

  16. No Light:

    Does that mean my American brothers and sisters in queerness don’t have to pay taxes anymore?

  17. zmidponk:

    Hmm. Another bit that left me puzzled:

    it’s also not beneficial and does not stand the definition of marriage, used for millenia – that is, the act of consummation. It’s another sad fact of homosexual behavior that two men or two women can never consummate a marriage; they can never conceive children together.

    OK, if that’s what a ‘marriage’ is, name the law which states that, for a marriage to be valid, the man and the woman getting married MUST conceive children. If there is no such law (and, as far as I’m aware, there isn’t), it is therefore perfectly legal for a man to marry a woman, even though the two of them have no intention of even trying to conceive. So why should this legal right be restricted to only couples consisting of a man and a woman? Why not two men or two women?

  18. hunter:

    “People are not naturally homosexual.”

    But penguins are.

  19. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden:

    Didaktylos said what I would have, except I would have added:

    Suck it, Harvey!

  20. greg1466:

    “Bigot” is a choice, so I guess they aren’t people either?

  21. wscott:

    To be fair(ish), I think she’s trying to say that gays shouldn’t be a “protected class” of people, not that they aren’t people at all. That’s been a popular argument on the right for years. Of course, that’s an idiotic argument too – as other have pointed out, it applies equally well to religious choice.

    @ otrame #5: You win the Parenting Award as far as I’m concerned!

  22. RickR:

    Is it just me, or is this Ed’s only new blog post for today?

  23. Freedonian:

    It is not just you, Rick R.

  24. noastronomer:

    Even if we were to accept that there are only 10 types of people in the world what impact could that possibly have on whether we should or should not have marriage equality?

    Mike.

  25. Rob F:

    Harvey’s remarks remind me of a comment (by someone named Patrick) that Ed once quoted at the old location.

    Although concerning that reactionary Scalia, that comment is also relevant here. The key point to recall is that Harvey is claiming your 14th Amendment does not apply to gays.

    [...]

    So we’ve got a law that says “All persons have Right X.” But Scalia Harvey says we have to interpret that to only apply to men straights, because the original intention at the time it was passed didn’t include women anyone else. Fine.

    What amendment should we pass? We want it to apply to men and women gays and straights equally. How about this language:

    “All persons have Right X.”

    Perfect! That precisely encapsulates the meaning we intend to impart to the passage! We’ll just amend

    “All persons have Right X.”

    to read

    “All persons have Right X.”

    But this time we’ll beam different thoughts at it while we cast our votes. And now no one will be confused.

  26. cptdoom:

    So what of those that don’t fit easily into those two genders? There are, in fact, a sizable number of people are born intersexed and with conditions like Klinefelter’s Syndrome. I know they’d like the world to be that simple, but it just isn’t.

    Even if the world were that simple, surely Harvey isn’t claiming that men and women aren’t “persons,” right? That is, even Harvey must believe that, at some level, men and women have the same legal rights. IIRC, during the debate over the ERA (which happened when I was very young) it was the conservatives who claimed the 14th Amendment already protected the rights of men and women to be treated equally under the law. How, then, can we limit the lives of people based on their gender? We cannot limit the kind of work they do, or the schools they attend (with very limited exceptions), so why should we limit the gender of their marriage partner?

  27. scienceavenger:

    I’m amazed they even try the “choice” gambit any more, it’s so patently absurd, even in its honest form (you choose to like other men). The dishonest form (you choose to act on your urges), is laughable sophistry, worthy of little more response than pointing and laughing.

    It’s the URGE, idiots, that makes a person homo or hetero, not the behavior. Got it? GOT IT? (sigh) probably not…

  28. W. Kevin Vicklund:

    it’s also not beneficial and does not stand the definition of marriage, used for millenia – that is, the act of consummation. It’s another sad fact of homosexual behavior that two men or two women can never consummate a marriage; they can never conceive children together.

    I’ll take non-sequiturs for $1000, Alex. Consummation has nothing to do with conception (although conception sometimes is a result of consummation). It is the first time a couple has sex after getting married. And I assure you, gay and lebian couples don’t have any problem getting it on (well, any more than straight couples do).

  29. vmanis1:

    In Canada, we celebrate Persons’ Day every October, in memory of a famous legal case of about 80 years ago. Women were not allowed in the Canadian Senate, because the constitution of the time specified the qualifications of `persons’ who were eligible to serve. On appeal, it was decided that women were indeed persons.

    If Ms Harvey knew as much about driving a car as she does about jurisprudence, I certainly would avoid any streets on which she drove.

  30. bradleybetts:

    Let’s say it is a choice… since when did making a choice others don’t like make you not a person? The woman’s an idiot.

  31. bradleybetts:

    @ Zinc Avenger #1

    Ooooh, snap! :)

  32. matty1:

    Marriage is what is not natural. It is a man made construct unlike gender which includes a wide range of natural variation.

    There are those who would say that physical sex is a natural property with a wide range of natural variation, while gender is a social role that usually correlates with sex but not always. People can be trans without being physically intersexed.

  33. thalwen:

    But she thinks foetuses are persons – so would she consider a gay foetus a person?

  34. burberry borsa:

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  35. Skip White:

    “So marriage is the lawful, orderly confirmation of what we already see in nature.”

    So that’s why my dog has to pay child support…

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