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Oct 23 2011

Lavender becomes us

Minnesota Atheists are highlighted in Lavender magazine. The reason? Gays and atheists often find themselves fighting on the same side in battles against the Religious Righteous, and Minnesota Atheists recently filed a friend of the court brief in a pending argument against the odious “Defense of Marriage Act”.

The amicus brief filed by Minnesota Atheists supports the couples in their effort to get rid of the law and argues the unconstitutionality of DOMA, noting the law’s theological basis.

The Minnesota State Constitution, with clauses guaranteeing freedom of conscious and freedom of religion, and the U.S. Constitution, which establishes freedom of religion in the First Amendment and equal protection for all in the Fourteenth Amendment, are violated by DOMA, according to the brief.

Berkshire said the religious roots of the law are grounded in “conservative Christian” views and leave those who have differing beliefs out in the cold.

“[DOMA is] a religious law that’s not just a difference of opinion,” Berkshire said. “It’s a religious law that’s harming people.” The amicus brief gives several sectarian arguments why same-sex marriage is considered unacceptable by some religious institutions, but says there is no secular reason to bar same-sex couples from opportunities given to heterosexual couples.

There those atheists go, making the world more tolerant and wiser one step at a time.

29 comments

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  1. 1
    Species8472

    “There those atheists go, making the world more tolerant and wiser one step at a time.”

    How dare they!

    I’m still baffled by the fundies always trying to enforce their theology on the whole nation. Take a look around and see how well that work in countries where this is done!

  2. 2
    Zeno

    I’m still baffled by the fundies always trying to enforce their theology on the whole nation. Take a look around and see how well that work in countries where this is done!

    If you ask them, I’m quite certain you’ll get a horribly smug answer: Those other countries? They chose the wrong religion!

    See? Simple! (Like the fundies are.)

  3. 3
    mijan

    I’m not baffled. Not at all. It’s absolutely obvious – it’s an enormous power trip. As long as their views are in power, they can play the might-makes-right card, while simultaneously playing the “poor persecuted me” card because all these evil gays and atheists (and even quite a few straight religious folks) are arguing with them! It’s a win-win for these bigots. They get the power, and they call themselves persecuted. As long as they can continue to marginalize another group, they get to set themselves apart.

    There’s also the much more simplistic and direct view: They can’t be happy unless they’re making someone else miserable. It’s classic bully psychology. People have to be JUST LIKE THEM, or they’ll use majority power to inflict misery on people who are different. Religion is just an organized excuse.

  4. 4
    Stardrake

    Meanwhile, here’s noted local conservative Catholic nutbar Katharine Kersten playing the “Oh NOES! We’s gonna be PERSEKYUTED agin!”card in the Sunday Strib:

    http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/132348678.html

    After all, if CHRISTIANS do it, it must be good! (vomit)

  5. 5
    Dick the Damned

    Yes, the “Religious Righteous” help maintain stupid prejudice against gays. They ought to be able to realize that they have the blood of all those gay teenagers who commit suicide because of bullying on their hands.

    But i guess anyone who can believe that Bronze Age myths about gods have anything to say about the functioning of the natural world is too screwed up to accept that.

  6. 6
    razzlefrog

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150434376979575&set=a.55312839574.82532.666149574&type=1&theater

    PZ, you should post what I’ve linked to. It really says something about this church and state thing. (And I swear, I’m no Spamzilla you want to run over in your car or anything, it’s safe.)

  7. 7
    Brian F. Wood

    I’m a big, old, straight atheist, but I have marvelous wide-brimmed pink drinking hat I bought while drunk, and I’m pleased as punch to be lumped with gay folks fighting repellent laws.

  8. 8
    Crudely Wrott

    @ #1:

    I’m still baffled by the fundies always trying to enforce their theology on the whole nation.

    Simple: Misery loves company. aka Blue Crab Syndrome.

    I was in a fish market once and on the floor sat a wooden box full to the brim with live blue crabs. At first I thought someone had forgotten to put the lid on. As I watched I discovered that a lid was unnecessary. Now and again a crab would start to crawl up and over the edge of the box but wouldn’t get too far; the crabs below would reach up with their pincers and drag the adventurer back down. I observed the behavior repeated over several minutes.

    Leaving with a tasty fish sandwich I reflected that I knew people who were just like those crabs. Intolerant of any individual acting differently or making an attempt to avoid the fate of those who had decided that the box was a fine and proper place to languish.

  9. 9
    mickwright

    @ #8:

    That reminds me, I should reread Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett. He makes the same analogy, but about poor neighborhoods ostracising members who ‘get ideas above their station’.

  10. 10
    Rip Steakface

    @7
    I’m a scrawny, young, straight atheist, and I’m just as pleased to be lumped together with others to fight horrid laws. Unfortunately, being below the voting age, I can’t quite do as much as I’d like… oh well.

  11. 11
    Sengkelat

    Freedom of conscious? I’m unfamiliar with that freedom. Conscience, perhaps?

  12. 12
    'Tis Himself

    The fundies keep saying that same-sex marriage will “destroy the institution of marriage.” They never explain how marriage will be destroyed, but they’re sure it will be.

  13. 13
    R

    Stardrake:

    I grew up being a friend of her family (my younger brother was best friend with her son, and I often went over and played with her daughter who was around my age). Like Maggie Gallagher, she uses her maiden name for publications.

    She’s mental.

  14. 14
    Blizno

    Straight people are destroying marriage.
    Straight people are divorcing and cheating.
    Straight people are making a mockery of marriage.
    Gay people could not possibly harm marriage as much as straight people are doing.

    Ensign: Captain, the Titanic struck an iceberg and we are sinking.
    Captain: Those passengers in steerage are the problem!

  15. 15
    elaine

    Well athiests are all gay.

    obviously.

    and must Go To Hell TM

    *snorts*

  16. 16
    Moggie

    ‘Tis:

    The fundies keep saying that same-sex marriage will “destroy the institution of marriage.” They never explain how marriage will be destroyed, but they’re sure it will be.

    Yep. Just look at countries where gay marriage has been legal for a while, like the Netherlands. Totally destroyed.

  17. 17
    ckitching

    Moggie wrote:

    Yep. Just look at countries where gay marriage has been legal for a while, like the Netherlands. Totally destroyed.

    Or Canada. I remember just the other week I was reading how the Catholic church down the road wasn’t shut down for its continual refusal to endorse gay marriage, and don’t even get me started on the continual lack of police raids to shutdown Protestant churches. It’s gotten to the point where you don’t hear about one every single day!

  18. 18
    Ophelia Benson

    Gays and atheists often find themselves fighting on the same side in battles against the Religious Righteous.

    Damn right! Not to mention the “let’s ignore our differences and focus on what unites us, which is disdain for atheists and/or gays.”

  19. 19
    Monado, FCD

    I guess the Star Trib article is an opinion piece, because no respectable newspaper would publish an article that consists wholly of hand-wringing and catastrophizing about the things that MIGHT happen to straight people who not only display their bigotry but also try to maintain discrimination against others. Not a word about the real harm, up to and including murder, that has been inflicted on gay people (or, as I like to call them, people) because of the expressed opinions of gay-haters.

    Deep breath. They’re losing! They’re losing! Everyone can see that the catastrophes are not happening.

  20. 20
    lithosol

    DOMA is one reason I was really, really angry with the otherwise “sainted” Paul Wellstone: He voted for that POS. And he also voted for the “USA PATRIOT” Act. What on earth was he thinking? Ugh.

  21. 21
    Stardrake

    Monado,FCD @20–Yep, she does a regular Sunday pinion column in the Strib–she’s the Designated Conservative®. Her day job is at the Center for the American Experiment, the local right wing think-tank.

    It always seems they are trying to make sure the experiment is a failure….

  22. 22
    Julien Rousseau

    @#9: Pratchett also made the same points with crabs but I don’t remember in which book (Jingo comes to mind for some reason but I am not sure at all).

    On topic: Having watched John Corvino’s Skepticon talk on youtube where he talks about many gay people reacting badly to him coming out as an atheist I think it is good to have both unite as not only is it for a just cause but it also puts a favorable portrait of atheists in the gay community.

  23. 23
    Carbon Based Life Form

    I live next door to a gay couple who have been together for nearly 30 years. While waiting for a divorce case of mine to be called, I mentioned to another lawyer that this gay couple had a far more durable relationship than many of the straight couples I knew.

    He immediately went into a tirade about gay marriage harming straight marriage. I asked if he were married, and he said that he was; I then asked how gay marriage would affect his marriage or my marriage. He replied that gay marriage would not affect any specific marriage. I said that he seemed to be saying that gay marriage would harm all straight marriages, while simultaneously harming no straight marriages and asked him to reconcile this contradiction. He said that gay marriage would harm the ideal of marriage. I said that since ideal marriage does not actually exist, he was saying that gay marriage harms non-existant marriages.

    Unfortunately, at that point my case was called, and I had to leave. I have not seen that particular lawyer since then. But I still want to know what harm gay marriage does to anyone whatsoever.

  24. 24
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    Despite being insufferable idiots in many other respects, at least the current lot of politicians in the UK seem to be generally moving towards legalising gay marriage here (currently we have legal civil unions, which are almost, but not quite, the same thing).

  25. 25
    Das Boese

    The funny thing to me is that, in the same venue, religiously motivated opponents of equality find themselves having to join forces with members of competing cults that they otherwise completely despise.

    Various Christian splinter groups alone hate each other’s guts, to say nothing of Muslims and Jews, just not when there’s gays or heathens around to bully. Throw atheists and or LGBT people into the mix and watch them suddenly become aware of how they’re totally BFF who have so much in common. Hypocrisy at its finest.

  26. 26
    Julien Rousseau

    Various Christian splinter groups alone hate each other’s guts, to say nothing of Muslims and Jews, just not when there’s gays or heathens around to bully.

    Or other religious group that they dislike more than the group they ally with, which reminds me of this video:

  27. 27
    Rational Human

    He immediately went into a tirade about gay marriage harming straight marriage

    I too have had this conversation many times. It’s always how gay marriage would “take away” or “diminish” what marriage is really about. When I ask people to explain this further, they can’t.

  28. 28
    August Berkshire

    If you want to follow this court case, go to: http://marrymeminnesota.org

  29. 29
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    The only effect of any sort that allowing gay almost-marriage has had on my own marriage is utterly incidental. Many of my straight married male friends and I started to strongly encourage our gay friends in long term relationships to get hitched because, dammit, they were on our stag dos, so they owe us an excuse for a weekend of male idiocy. The effect on my marriage? I’ll have to ask my wife nicely if I can go on a couple more stag dos than I would otherwise have done.

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