DC Smoking Ban Poll

DC Ward One Councliman Jim Graham has a little poll on his website asking “Should the DC Council act to eliminate smoking in indoor workplaces?” (On the left column, a ways down.) Apparently the anti-freedom forces at Smoke-Free DC already got the word out and they're way ahead in the poll. Will you help? Tell my councilman that DC should not violate the rights of business owners to run their establishments as they choose.

  • ck

    Holbo’s passage should be listed as an example next to the dictionary definition of “straw man argument.” Doesn’t dignify a response

  • ck

    That last, ungrammatical sentence should be: “it doesn’t deserve to be dignified with a response.”

    God, I’m a moron.

  • pidgas

    Marriage has an existential relationship to reproduction and resource sharing that cuts across cultures through recorded history. The institution of marriage forms the basis by which many cultures (including our own) deal with potential fertility and the consequences thereof. I personally believe that the discomfort most people have with same-sex marriage derives less from homophobia than it does from the required and explicit “divorce” of marriage from fertile potential.

    Conceptualized as the “pinnacle” of courtly love (i.e. “I love you enough to do paperwork if we break up.”), there is no reason to question the wisdom of legalizing same-sex marriage. Yet, legalizing same-sex marriage so thoroughly embraces this conception of marriage that potential fertility cannot be considered foundational to the institution. This is not without consequence, and those consequences bear careful consideration.

    • Kevin

      Reproductive technology already allows us to create embryos using an ovum from one woman, and genetic material from another woman. One of the women can then have the embryo placed implanted and give birth.

      A child has already been born with Mitochondrial DNA from one woman and nuclear DNA from another.

      These lesbians have potential fertility. Should we let them get married? Should we continue to let 90 year old women get married. Should we let known infertile women (or men with vasectomies) get married? Or is it just the illusion of “potential fertility” that matters to you?

      • Jeff

        Yeah, that horse left the barn a long time ago.

      • pidgas

        First, I am not hostile to homosexuals, their formation of long term pair bonds, or their legal and spiritual union. I have not yet heard the argument which requires those unions be considered marriages.

        Second, your example of a child born with mitochondrial DNA from one woman and nuclear DNA from another is at least incomplete. Either that baby was a clone or there was more nuclear DNA involved.

        Third, I was referencing the pan-historic pan-cultural institution of heterosexual marriage. The reference to fertile potential was imprecise but referred to the potential for reproduction through heterosexual copulation within the marriage.

        Although I did not explore all of the boundary cases in my argument, I acknowledged them when I said that discomfort with homosexual marriage flows largely from the “_explicit_ ‘divorce’ of marriage from fertile potential.” My larger point was that discomfort with homosexual marriage need not be rooted in homophobia or “ick.” Instead, it may derive from the traditional rooting of the institution in heterosexual reproduction and resource sharing.

        An institution like marriage, with roots extending beyond recorded history, is likely to resist separation from its existential relationship to heterosexual reproduction. I suspect that the cultural norming of marriage to heterosexual couples will persist so long as homosexual reproduction not requiring genetic material from outside the relationship remains experimental and rare. Either that, or marriage will be wholly re-defined.

        If marriage is explicitly re-defined as separate from reproduction, how can we maintain legal prohibition on consenting adult relatives getting married? Is that prohibition not rooted on the potential harm that would befall their progeny? If considerations of reproduction and progeny are wholly external to the institution of marriage, upon what basis can that prohibition persist? It seems that supporters of homosexual marriage find this logic in poor taste, but why? Is it not a fair question that flows from the logic required to extend marriage to homosexual couples?

        Again, the point is that skepticism regarding the wisdom of re-defining marriage need not flow from homophobia or “ick.” There are reasoned considerations which merit debate surrounding the raison d’ etre for the institution of marriage and the consequences of its re-definition.

        • Some thoughts.

          The first thing I’ll say is that it doesn’t seem likely that relatives getting married is much of an issue. There’s not much of a lobby nor are there serious issues involving sexist oppression and so on of people who want to fuck their sister. That said, if both parties consent I have no issue with it.

          Anyways, I’m not convinced that redefining marriage in broader terms will mean anything for breeding heterosexuals. I’ll tread carefully since you make such a calm argument, but often there comes along an unconscious homophobia, to put it mildly: Straights so vastly outnumber gays that claiming a fraction of the two percent or so of gays (who are not, for the most part, reproducing) will undermine the marriages of the rest of the society strikes me at best paranoid and at worst unbelievably arrogant.

          A bit unrelated, but important: Opposition to same-sex marriage often goes in tandem with other forms of anti-gay sentiment (which is what it is), exclusion from the military, discrimination in home and at the workplace, etc. There’s also a near prohibition of gay literature and art by the public that is less *formally* restricted in the U.S., although there is a just below the surface dislike of it — the “ick” factor.

          This comes from a fear (when reasoned, although it is almost invariably simple bigotry) that the public visibility of same-sex relationships will act as an alternative to the “traditional” avenues of heterosexual bonding and so on. By opening up the public realm to gays, it seems likely that many people would feel less compelled to conform to heterosexual roles. And of course, to stamp down public visibility of homosexuality requires a great deal of coercion by a heterosexist society, often brutally and with traumatic consequences for gays.

          Prohibition of same-sex marriage, then, is only one form of oppression, and it’s a political issue because reform through public pressure is quite likely.

          It’s as much the focus of the gay civil rights movement, as part of a broader campaign to end heterosexism, as the fight for desegregation was about ending racism. Smashing heterosexism completely is another thing and is much more complicated, and we’ll probably never be rid of it entirely.

          Ending that (and marriage is a very important step) is a greater matter for me than whether a straight couple — out of the hundred or two hundred million (who knows) in this country — choose not to do something they’re biologically wired to do because of a change of heart there’s not a lick of evidence they’ll have.

    • Urstoff

      Funny, I don’t see too many protests over married-but-childless heterosexual couples.

  • CJS
  • uknowbetter

    You know what is ick?

    Marriage.

    Having sex with the same person, animal, vegetable, mineral, day after day, week after week is a sick thing.

    Screw all you marriage perverts. I don’t care if you are flaming queers or raging fundamentalists, you are all sick fucks in my book. Perverts every single one of you sick, sick people.