July 28, 2007

Attorney General Activism

Justin Katz

Keep an eye out for my piece in the Providence Journal today, "Lynch: Rhode Island’s Activist General?," which addresses Attorney General Patrick Lynch's response to an op-ed by Joseph Cavanagh and Lincoln Oliphant, objecting to Lynch's finding that Rhode Island would recognize same-sex marriages from Massachusetts.

The heart of the matter is that those pushing same-sex marriage — believing that all opposition comes down to bigotry — behave as if the lack of a "strong public policy against homosexuals" proves that there is no public policy against same-sex marriage. That is incorrect, and it is particularly inaccurate when it comes to analyzing the law. This appears to be another example of liberals, progressives, or whathaveyous treating procedures and the law as if it may be bent whichever way will allow their policy preferences to be forced on their fellow citizens.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Dear Justin,

No one is forcing anything on you. If you don't want to participate in a same sex marriage, simply stay married to your wife.

It should also be noted that Mr. Cavanaugh is a member of Opus Dei. Need we discuss what that means??

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at July 28, 2007 8:42 AM

Lynch wanted a certain result and then maneuvered to get there.

His premise was that RI had stated no specific public policy against homosexual marriage and cited to statutory prohibitions concerning discrimination against homosexuals in employment, housing, etc.

The problem is, Rhode Island HAS expressed a public policy against homosexual marriage - it has been introduced before the General Assembly for many a year, and is always shot down. This is the same body that enacted the statutes expressing a public policy that homosexuals not be discriminated against in the workplace.

So this was Lynch coming up with a very weak rationalization for his preferred outcome (pandering to the homosexual lobby, which is very influential within the Democrat Party) ... and thereby seeking to incrementally advance a potential imposition of homosexual marriage via judicial fiat, as happened in MA (does anyone believe that those who wrote the MA Constitution would ever have conceived of the possibility, much less sanctioned, an interpretation of it that there is a "constitutional right" to homosexual marriage)?

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at July 28, 2007 8:57 AM

Justin, your article was sound, but unfortunately too many readers will see this in terms of what they want the law to be, not what it actually is.

Rhode Island recognizes common law marriage. At no point in the colony/state's 350 year history has a same sex marriage here been treated as lawful.

And, of course Justin, you make the very valid point that any of the on-point statutes deal entirely with marriages between male and female.

Absent a statute authorizing it, I do not see how any honest legal analyst can say that current Rhode Island permits/authorizes same sex marriage.

One can advocate for a change in the present law by appropriate means. But that is very different from distorting what the present law is to meet your preference.

By the way, does membership in Opus Dei deprive one of the right to speak and be heard on important issues? It amazes me how the liberal proponents of free speech are always ready to challenge the freedom to speak of those they oppose.

Posted by: brassband at July 28, 2007 9:04 AM

Opus Dei? Now that changes everything! Clearly Mr. Cavanaugh's argument cannot be considered on its own merits. It's a wonder we let the man vote!

I can't help but see a bit of the old "judge your opponents' strategies and motivation by your own, for your habits must be theirs." So are you saying, Bobby, that liberals realize that their legal arguments are fabricated of air, merely expressions of ideological imperatives, and therefore assume that conservatives' (esp. Catholic conservatives) must be the same?

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 28, 2007 9:36 AM

Dear Justin,

Not at all.

I believe that the same-sex issue is an equal protection under the law issue and is therefore covered by both the State and US Constitutions. My reasons for this are scientifically based.

By the way, when, notice I said when and not if, the Church accepts the science, it too must also change practice.

Opus Dei has its own issues. If someone was a member of the Klan, wouldn't we judge them according?? If someone was a member of the Communist Party, wouldn't you judge them accordingly?? You must the way you folks throw around the terms Communist and Socialist. This is no different.

Social Conservatives supported slavery. Social Conservatives separated segregation by race in marriage. Social Conservatives supported only men voting. This is just another issue that Social Conservatives are evantually going to lose on.

(For purposes of the historical record, it should be noted that at the time of opposition, these Social Conservatives were Democrats.)

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at July 28, 2007 12:31 PM


You use science like an advertising tag: "Now more scientifically based!"

There has been no change in science, nor any fuller scientific understanding, that changes the fundamental reality that male-female relationships have different capabilities (and consequences) than same-sex relationships. The question of whether those differences should be relevant to the cultural and legal institution of marriage is not answerable by science. (I won't get into the more complex considerations growing from the fact that I believe my opinions to be grounded in scientific facts, as well, because I'm not optimistic that such discussion would be fruitful with you.)

As to your affinity for ad hominem argumentation, I'll say that, even as I label others, I address their arguments on their own merits. You are throwing out the name "Opus Dei" as a disqualification of the argument.

Lastly, as Andrew explained in another comments section, capital-C "Conservative" is a proper name for a political party, and I'm unaware of any groups proper-named "Social Conservative" that fit your description. If, on the other hand, you mean lower-case-c "conservative," then your propagandistic slander fails to take account of the relative nature of the term.

You are merely taking your "Opus Dei" strategy and dishonestly layering it on an amorphous group of contemporaries with whom you disagree and whom you wish to tar with all the evils of history. Maybe that passes for argumentation within your crowd — as you squeeze each other's morally superior shoulders — but it doesn't make you correct or your rationalizations founded in science.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 28, 2007 1:45 PM

Dear Justin,

If being gay is as scientifically significiant as being left handed, that makes it matter of genetics or equal to ethnicity.

You are relating what you believe to a book based on superstition. If the Bible hadn't told some guy in a robe, through a bad reading of the Old Testament, to hate gay people, neither would you. There's not much science there. Lots of superstition, almost no science.

This is where your argument dies.

This is why we label all of you as bigots.

Opus Dei, through its founder, and subsequent actions has labeled itself as anti-Semetic.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at July 28, 2007 2:07 PM


Your comments continue to fail to engage the ideas that I am attempting to convey (and that I've broken down for you several times in the past). Your inability to get beyond your erroneous preconceptions as to my beliefs' derivation makes conversation with you somewhat worse than useless.

When you figure out what I'm actually saying and address me on that basis, perhaps I'll make another attempt at communication.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 28, 2007 2:26 PM

>>If being gay is as scientifically significiant as being left handed, that makes it matter of genetics or equal to ethnicity.

But it's not.

When one is left-handed one still uses their hands for, e.g., grasping objects, not for walking, which would be abnormal.

Conversely homosexuals' sexual "orientation" does not match their anatomy - their desire to / actual use of their sexual organs with the same same sex, which biologically is inherently abnormal.

Similarly, ethnicity is a normal variation like skin or eye color - humans of different ethnic groups still behave within normal biological norms, e.g., one ethnicity doesn't try to walk on all fours and then claim that its desire to do so is a civil right issue.

If homosexuality is normal and not an abnormality, then why do transsexuals require hormone treatments and surgery in order to reconcile their "sexual orientation" with their anatomy??????

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at July 28, 2007 3:00 PM

Dear Ragin,

I know your argument was coming and it begs a question:

Why then can infertile people marry??

Why then can folks with genetic abnormalities, Jezac's and the like, marry??

The answer is simple: no church has ever told anyone to hate them.


Are you seriously trying to tell me that if the Church, notice the capital, did not tell you to disapprove of homosexuality you still would?? Based on what?? You might find it odd, even revolting (as I do with gay men) or really cool (as I do with gay women) but you wouldn't try to create laws about it.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at July 28, 2007 4:30 PM

I repeat: Your comments continue to fail to engage the ideas that I am attempting to convey.

Is this something the Party taught you in some activist training course: absolutely refusing to address points made outside of your defined context? This is about the meaning of marriage, not about homosexuality. The argument I've been making is logically prior to the civil rights assertions that you so doggedly (and dogmatically) make.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 28, 2007 4:43 PM

Dear Justin,

Other than the separation and joining of property, there is no meaning to marriage.

You keep trying to ascribe a meaning to it that simply does not exist.

Again, this meaning, since it does not exist in "civil law" on its own only comes from one place. In the 1300's, it meant sociakl classes. In the anti-bellum south, it meant segreation. Acoording to your argument, "segregation" is ok because it was a "meaning" at one time.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at July 28, 2007 6:24 PM


I've refuted that argument from you before. To the extent that it is not incoherent, it is utterly false. To the extent that your assertion has validity, it is purely that: your assertion. So we're back to your belief that your assertions ought to have the force of law. How very progressive of you.

P.S. — If you're of a mind to provide some meager entertainment, go ahead and list your reasons that marriage has no meaning other than property, and I'll illustrate once again why you're missing the forest for the bark on the trees.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 28, 2007 7:17 PM

Dear Justin,

Because all you're doing is making it up. None of the stuff you cite has ever been codified. You want marriage to be something it has never been.

If it was about "love", why were they arranged for son long??

If it's about kids, why can the infertile marry?

If it's about childcare, where is the fitness test??

This is why we separated church and state. You do not have the right to force your religous views on the rest of us. Man and woman is only a religous view.

Even as a religous view, it's pretty weak based on the idea that gay priests do not get tossed from the Seminary. All you have is religion. I have a Constitution that says are created equal, not just those who prefer a sexual preference that makes your religion happy.

Again, the entire since day 1 has moved towards Social Liberalism. Evantually, this will too. Then what?? Your going to through your Bibles at us??

Not only is your position weak, it shows once again why social conservatives should have nothing to do with sex policy. Keep your bedroom habits away from the rest of us. They are not wanted nor welcomed.

If two gay people get married, can you demonstrate an "injury??" Funny, it's happened in places for a while now and no one is injured.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at July 28, 2007 8:22 PM

Y'okay, Bobby?

How 'bout that explanation about why marriage is all about property? I know you've got it; you've offered it before.

I've answered all of your questions at length before. That you can't address my points doesn't mean you get to go back to all of your original assertions about how my opinion on a topic on which I've written tens of thousands of words is merely dictated by some guy in a robe and about how I can't force my religion on everybody else because (damn it) your articles of faith are Truth.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 28, 2007 8:38 PM

Dear Justin,

You have no truth. You are confusing superstition with truth. Worst of all, you are doing so to intentionally engage in hatred and bogotry.

Again, if a gay person gets married then how are you injured?

The truth is that you are not.

The truth is that it is none of your damn business. Much like a woman's body, this is the same.

Keep your "faith", by definition under the catechism not truth, to yourself.

The "property proof" sits in the law. Divorce law are about two things: distribution of peoperty, distribution of children (who used to be property). There is no reference to anything else.

The reason you do not get engaged on your points is for the same reason you do not engage someone who starts with the argument that the sky is plaid. Since there is no truth, there is nothing to engage.

Why don't you do yourself a favor and take a few of your kind down to that Creationist Museum in Kentucky. Then you to, in accordance with your faith, can ride the dinosaur with the saddle.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at July 28, 2007 9:41 PM

Oh dear Bobby, your hatred and ignorance are too palpable to leave any doubt that you're operating from emotional imperatives and deep-seated needs at which I won't presume to guess. I suppose I can do little more, when it comes to you, than hope that you never gain the power to send me off to some reeducation camp that has the grave as the consequence of failure.

I should thank you, though, for illustrating so clearly an impulse of which others who agree with your specific policy conclusions ought to be aware in their own arguments, and ought to avoid as if it were eternal damnation to do otherwise.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 28, 2007 10:32 PM

Lynch is merely trying to do what Robert's Rules of Order might call moving the question.
The two sides of the issue in the Assembly have been locked in a standoff for years. Every year there's a big hearing with a huge turnout, but how long has it been since anyone's even tried to move a pro-gay marriage or civil unions bill through committee? Is it because the other side is prepared to move the constitution amendment through committee? I'm not convinced either one would pass right now.
We're talking about the third rail of Rhode Island politics here. Neither side really wants a vote (if it didn't happen this year, it sure won't happen in an election year). The longer the inevitable vote is put off, the uglier a showdown it'll be (Mass, will look tame).
Time to let the chips fall where they may, GA. Pro-gay marriage folks want a vote. The bishop wants a vote. Let's bring it.
P.S. The Dems probably don't want a vote because it will badly cleave the House leadership. That may not be a bad thing.

Posted by: Rhody at July 29, 2007 12:14 AM

I do like your P.S., Rhody. It almost makes me want to go out and campaign for gay marriage.

I must disagree with one thing you said, though. It is not the Attorney General's job to "move a question", it is to enforce Rhode Island law. He wrote (or had someone write for him) these OpEds for the same reason that he commits most of his public acts: to say, "look at me!"

While I continue to be ambivalent about gay marriage, I agree that gay people are born with their orientation, they do not choose it.

However, using a void in the law to justify "legalizing" something strikes me as wholly weak and inadequate. So then, this raises a bigger question. How do we decide whether to pass a law or to legalize something? The recent illegal immigration bill that Congress came awfully close to passing makes it clear that some politicians are willing to do bad things for selfish reasons. So we can't necessarily trust our elected officials. Let the people decide? Then we get into mob rule or - the opposite - stuff getting passed because no one was paying attention and they just went along with someone's great ad campaign.

Oh damn. What's left?

Goodnight, everybody. I can see I've been a big help here ..

Posted by: SusanD at July 29, 2007 10:18 AM

Dear SusanD,

Once you agree that it's not a choice, then you must agree that you cannot discriminate based on it. You could even apply the ADA to this example.


I would also remind you that I know more about the Catholic faith and have sacrificed more for it than you ever could or will. It is people like you who make all religous folks come across as intolerant and hypocritical. Hope one of your kids isn't gay but you have 3 so there is a 3 out of 10 chance.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at July 29, 2007 10:59 AM

Face it Bobby, Elton John will never be considered a role model by real men, and Rosie O'Donnell will never be considered a role model by real women.

I think that I can safely assume that you would oppose putting the issue of homosexual marriage out for referendum by the citizens, for you know that the outcome would be negative - so forcing it by judicial or AG fiat is not going to make people believe the desired pretense that it is normal.

The "gay lobby" is so concerned about society considering them to be be normal / "just like everyone else" then it should be devoting its energies into funding research to find a cure ... instead of attempting to "turn on its head" the universally understanding of what marriage is, that has been held over THOUSANDS OF YEARS AND ACROSS EVERY CULTURE.

How many societies / cultures can you name in recorded history have officially sanctioned homosexual marriage???

Yes, people are presumably born "hard wired" for that homosexual orientation, but surely with all of the progress in genetic and related research, with adequate funding, science will someday be able to find a genetic or prenatal treatment to correct it.

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at July 29, 2007 11:01 AM

Once again, Bobby, you prove yourself incapable of understanding why it is that my opinion on homosexuality (an opinion with which you apparently are not familiar, relying instead on myopic assumptions) is a separate matter from my opposition to same-sex marriage.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 29, 2007 11:26 AM

I wonder what the kid with no father (but an extra 'mom') thinks about BO's "equal protection" argument.

As if separate was EVER equal...

Posted by: Marty at July 31, 2007 2:41 PM

In case Ragin Rhode Islander question wasn't rhetorical "How many societies / cultures can you name in recorded history have officially sanctioned homosexual marriage???
I offer the follwing list of countries where equal marriage regardless of gender is officially sanctioned :
Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, South Africa.
Mostly all of European countries and Australia have separate and not necessarily equal recognition of same gender partnerships. Although this may be what you mean by homosexual marriage, as there is no distinction in the countries with equal marriage, the list of countries that permit these partnership registrations or civil unions is exhaustively long.

Posted by: Foxsnooze at August 1, 2007 9:34 AM

I think it's reasonably easy to infer that, with "recorded history," Ragin' was referring to examples prior to the current secular liberal push.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 1, 2007 8:10 PM

Foxsnooze, in those places in which a merger of SSM and marriage has very recently been enacted, the thing that is now recognized is not the social institution of marriage but some substitute that has misleadingly retained the labelled "marriage".

Marriage integrates the sexes, provides contingency for responsible procreation, and does this in combination. This core of marriage is extrinsic to the selective sex segregation of SSM. No one-sexed arrangement can provide contingency for responsible procreation.

The campaign for "equal marriage" is based on a littany of false equivalencies. That campaign is not about sanctioning marriage but about appropriating the societal significance of marriage recognition -- and this appropriation is done in the name of identity politics. It is very like the racist identity politics that once imposed laws based on a racist system which also selectively segregated the sexes and promoted non-responsible procreation.

Patrick Lynch has reduced the issue to simple-minded slogans that pander to identity politics and attacks the nature of marriage. He hasn't the courage to declare that he would have society replace marriage recognition with recognition of some other thing.

Posted by: F. Rottles at August 2, 2007 5:04 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.