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dclary on 12-7-2009

A non-story. Its only redeeming feature is that it might have shined a light on the insane obsession in this country with "reality" television.
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The term as I've seen it used (and used it) is applied almost unversally to men. And I can't speak for anyone else, but when I call someone a douchebag, I'm not comparing them to a dirty vagina. Also, columnist Dan Savage addressed this in a recent Savage Love podcast. His observation is that the notion of douching as applied to female bits is a holdover from the 70s and 80s, and that most actual douching that occurs these days is anal. This fits the way I use the term a lot better: a total asshole with an undeservedly high opinion of himself.
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Also... "Either you agree that it is ok to discriminate against certain types of relationships in determining which relationships are to receive status and privilege from society, or you do not. If you agree, then I sincerely would like to understand your criteria for deciding when it is ok to discriminate and when it is not."

The sex of those people wishing to enter into a legal contract (which is what marriage is) has no bearing on the legality of that contract in any other case. Clearly, from a purely secular legal standpoint, denying people the right to enter into a contract of any kind based on their gender would be nonsensical, discriminatory and illegal. Except for marriage? I concede that this argument would also open the door for polygamous marriage, not that I think that would be society-crushing either. America has a proud tradition of throwing tradition in the garbage whenever it conflicts with civil liberties. USA! USA!
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Your framing of the argument in terms of utilitarianism misses the point. The question is not whether Same-sex marriage benefits society, but whether its existence would substantively harm society. It would not. And since the specific society in question is the United States of America, the further issue is whether its absence harms society. (It does.)

Ultimately, the same-sex marriage debate is a question of civil rights. The 14th Amendment affords all citizens equal protection under federal law, and denying any two consenting adults the right to the legal protections and privileges marriage provides based on their gender is, to me, a clear violation of that Amendment. (caveat: I am not a lawyer) Legal precedent in America has been a long tradition of increasing civil rights for individuals, and I fully expect that we will eventually realize that denying any committed couple the right to marry helps no one and harms us all.
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