Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Owen V. Ingrid--Some Thoughts

Heard about 15 minutes in the car, and downloaded the audio for purposes of putting up a few thoughts.

Owen began with the beginning--that marriage, the institution, has been around since time immemorial and until very recently, was acknowledged by all as between a man and a woman. (It is still so in all the world, save Massachusetts.) He then made the salient point: that the courts, aided and abetted by lawyers, have begun to change 'the name of the game,' and that is why The Amendment must have a YES vote.

Ingrid's opening statement concentrated on the Second Sentence--no surprise, as one can spread a lot of confusion by concentrating on what is essentially a defense against Screechin'Shirley's Wisconsin Supreme gang.

She coyly asserted that "homosex marriage" is already illegal in Wisconsin. What she did NOT state, of course, is that the terms "husband" and "wife" used in the legislation are far more malleable than most people ever imagined. (See Screecin'Shirley, above.)

But Ingrid also used the occasion to bring up "other consequences," such as the elimination of "civil unions." On that specific, Owen agreed--recalling that in Vermont, another Supreme Court has ruled that "civil unions" are the equivalent of marriage.

Then Sykes asked "what other things might be banned..."

Ingrid mentioned 'hospital visitation rights, domestic-partner benefits' and stated that if the Amendment passes, these things would be "Banned." That's simply not true. She also brought up "domestic violence" problems in Ohio.

Owen nailed it when he said that there have been no Court rulings in any State which has 'taken away' domestic-partner benefits.' NONE.

In addition, Owen cited the Legislative attorney's opinion which clearly allowed for such benefits to be legislated into existence--without "marriage" as a pre-condition. In other words, one does not have to be "married" for the Legislature to allow hospital-visitation, power-of-attorney, or 'domestic-partner' benefits.

It was at this point that Ingrid went to the "Fair Wisconsin" script (see below) and personalized the discussion. No surprise. She was losing on the facts---

Then Sykes asked about Gay Adoption.

Owen opined that since we are dealing with "the best interests of the child," that perhaps a stable gay couple would be better parents than a single crack-mom. [This is a false dichotomy, of course--and his acquiescence was far too facile, for a number of reasons.] He did manage to re-state the obvious: that "adopting a child" does not make a couple "married."

Ingrid did not have a response, period. She wound up with noises about "lawsuits," and went to the default feelings argument that 'The Amendment' would deprive homosexuals of "rights."

Wrong argument...

Sykes then brought up "vague language," referring to the second sentence.

Owen slam-dunked that one, stating that ALL the terms in the Second Sentence are legally precise--in other words, that the smoke-and-mirrors argument was just that--smoke and mirrors, although he conceded that there would be lawsuits, as did Ingrid. His response: "So What?" That's what lawyers DO, after all...

Ingrid then skated onto very thin ice by endorsing the "Hawaii option" which cut the Courts out of the equasion (and leaving only the Legislature as the decider...) Owen confessed that he wasn't familiar with the Hawaii option...but a door was opened when he mentioned that "all the arguments made [by Ingrid] were arguments "for Gay Marriage," which is already illegal in Wisconsin...so why make all those arguments, Ingrid?

And Sykes then allowed Ingrid to become....ah...."disingenous."

After running a "Fair Wisconsin" ad, featuring a young man dissembling about the effects of the ad while allowing that gay people should be allowed to be married, Sykes tossed it to Ingrid, asking if Fair Wisconsin was really for "Gay marriage."

Ingrid meandered around for a while--and Sykes re-stated--"if it were just the FIRST sentence, would you vote against it?"--and Ingrid said she would oppose it, but the organization would not.

Owen nailed it--she was disingenuous.

Next, Sykes asked whether it was not, in fact, a GOOD thing to encourage "stable" gay marriages.

Owen, unfortunately, semi-contradicted his earlier faux pas (conceding that gay couples should be allowed to adopt) by bringing up the research indicating that the best environment for children is a monogamous heterosexual marriage. He recovered a bit by discussing the "dilution of language," and re-stating that "marriage" is simply not "marriage" when we include homosexual unions.

Curiously, Ingrid responded by saying "At this point we are not trying to re-define marriage...." again stating that Wisconsin law does not [seem] to allow "gay" marriage.

What's "At this point", Ingrid?

At any rate, Ingrid went right back to being.....ahh...disingenuous about the effects of the Second Sentence.

That's because it's really the only argument Ingrid has...disingenuity.

Owen simply quoted Constitutional theory to the effect that the Second Sentence is not severable from the first sentence--and said that The Amendment simply would NOT prevent legislative passage of laws allowing for the benefits described above.

Sykes asked whether Ingrid was prevented from anything under the law (aside from the obvious,) and Ingrid mentioned 'transferring a license plate,' and 'getting a fishing license.' Owen said it's a matter of culture, which judges should not forcibly change, and that the Libertarian argument (I'm OK, you're OK) is irrelevant to institutions like marriage--which is about more than just "love." [We will add that it's about more than just "sex."]

Sykes: Procreation?

Owen: also not a Government issue. We need to determine what is "marriage" and what is not.

Sykes: Civil unions? Why do we need an Amendment that bans civil unions?

Owen: If civil unions are just like marriage, then you have downgraded marriage.

Sykes: "Marriage-lite"? That's really a "civil union."

Ingrid: back to personalization. She states that the Amendment will ban civil unions.

Owen: If it's going to be identical to marriage, then it will be banned. But it does NOT take away the possibility of benefits through legislative action. Ingrid, instead, WANTS GAY MARRIAGE--not satisfied with 'half-measures.'

Sykes: I think the Amendment over-reaches. But Ingrid's group seems to want Gay Marriage, period--because she opposes the Amendment.

Ingrid: Well--that's presumpuous. Not all gays want marriage. Some want "civil unions."

[What's the difference, Ingrid??]

Ingrid goes back to fallback #2: cloud the meaning of English, followed by fallback #1--it's personal to me.

Owen: In fact, the homosexuals ARE suing all over the Country for "gay marriage." The Amendment simply prevents that.

Sykes: If it's up to the courts to define, why not three or more people?

Ingrid: That's an irrational argument. [Yah--Scalia is irrational...] Back to the personalization, "it's who I am, polygamy is not the question." But Sykes presses: but if it's just a "norm," then why can't we re-define ANY "norm."?

Owen: If we decide that the insitution of marriage is no longer valid, then what we have is an ambigous definition which could include anything we want. We cannot establish law based on "love" [or lust] between any two [or more] individuals.

Ingrid: let's get back to "gay marriage."

Then the summaries:

Owen: not about hate, not about bigotry--it's about changing a major civil institution. Once it's changed, you can't go back easily.

Ingrid: Sad that it picks on people who "mind their own business." Personalization, "I'm just like you are, mostly. We can agree that 'this goes too far.'"

I won't use National Forensics League scoring to judge the debate--in reality, it was not a "win/lose" discussion, and it was between two very nice people. They should be thanked for taking their time to present their arguments.

However, as Wigderson mentioned, it's clear that the "Vote No" folks are, in the end, all about Gay Marriage. They intend to get it in Wisconsin, and know that passage of The Amendment will stop them dead in their tracks.

That's why they "personalize" and spray foofoodust all around the room (regarding the Second Sentence) in the discussion. They are trying to find a way to get married, but can't possibly say so out loud. Thus, use emotions or simply lie about the effects of the Second Sentence.

Vote Yes. Let them sue.

Final note: No chairs were thrown, and no nastiness was evident. Apparently Sykes has acquired a large lion-tamer's chair and whip and keeps them handy.

Thanks, Charlie, for a good show.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the analysis, Dad.

I would like to clarify one point. The problem with live debates is that things don't always come out as I intended. On the gay adoption issue, I do believe that a loving home with a married couple is the best environment for kids. But it is a matter of degrees. In the case of adoption, if all other alternatives have been exhausted, I would rather see the child go into a loving homosexual household than an abusive heterosexual household. I don't think that that contradicts my earlier point.

Anyway, thanks again an thanks for listening. I thought that Ingrid did a good job representing her position in a cordial manner and I hope I did the same.


Neo-Con Tastic said...

The debate seemed very interesting.

Vote YES.

Dad29 said...


It's easy for me to criticize--retrospect is a great spot from which to address the dialogue.

Having said that, you did a fine job. So did Ingrid (albeit her case is very weak) and Charlie kept the place orderly, at least from what we heard.


Anonymous said...

Ingrid: Well--that's presumpuous. Not all gays want marriage. Some want "civil unions."

[What's the difference, Ingrid??]

The difference is (should be) that marriage has the religious connotation to it. Civil unions provide the rights/responsibilities that should be available to any couple that wishes to enter into that arrangement - gay or straight.

Marriages should be left to the church and the church should be able to marry whoever they wish to marry.


Dad29 said...


Your attempt to confuse utilizing "church" v. "civil" is cute. Too bad the adults understand the law.

"Church" weddings are ALSO "civil" weddings--the paperwork is recorded just like that from a JP ceremony.

Derogating marriage by licensing lust-preference is NOT an option.

Vote YES!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't trying to confuse anything...I'm simply saying that the Government should be out of the Marriage business altogether.

Let the churches decide who they want to marry or don't want to marry.

Any couple that wishes to have a civil union, gay or straigt and the rights and responsbilities that come with it should be able to have it.

Just because you get married in a church doesn't mean you are automatically married under state law. You need to complete the paperwork with the state.

So for you religious nut jobs, let's just separate the two. You go and restrict your churches all you want. You have no business telling anyone they can't have a civil union.

I have yet to find a single reason why someone getting a civil union will be a threat to marriage, families or ANYTHING. Straight people are screwing marriage up all on their own.

So, because of the idiotic second sentence of this amendment...people should VOTE NO.

Dad29 said...

I see that your discourse is sinking to your natural level.

The State licenses marriage for two reasons: health concerns (inbreeding, blood-type deficiency, etc.) and for maintenance of right order regarding marriage (principally to prevent polygamy/polyandry.)

The records are kept accordingly, but happen to be almost identical to the records maintained by Churches.

The State CANNOT 'get out of the marriage business' for exactly those reasons.

Since I have not mentioned "religion" in connection with my objection to queer "marriage," I think you are deluded.

It fits your posting style...

Anonymous said...

Not much any more, Dad -- I was surprised recently to find out that the blood tests are dropped by a lot of states (they were put in place, by the way, thanks to women pushing for them, because they wouldn't know if they were marrying a man with a sexually transmitted disease -- to be transmitted to wives, children, etc.).

I'm still trying to determine if they're still required in Wisconsin -- but I saw something that indicates there was a bill to drop blood tests as a requirement for marriage; I just haven't found out for sure if the bill was passed.

So I guess that must mean there has been progress on other public health means of reporting, tracking, etc., STD's and other health concerns that could affect marriage. (If only there was a mental health test!)

As for inbreeding, that also is so different to determine these days -- the blood tests for marriage were not and are not DNA tests. With adoptions and sperm banks and such these days, it has to be tracked by other means . . . if at all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot for this, Dad29. Very helpful.

And no one used the word "suck?" Charlie must have had that chair and whip.