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open discussion day

Thank (I think) to Arthur for pointing this out to me.

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) has the quote of the day:

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

That's not all:

"All of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family," Santorum said. "And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution."

Let's just say I have a dump truck full of outrage ready to bury Santorum with, but it will have to wait as I have to be somewhere in ten minutes.

You may begin to discuss this while I am gone. Do you agree? Disagree? Want to hurt him or hug him? I'd like to hear all sides of this.


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Howard Kurtz has a great article in the Washington Post (via Chris) about Rick Santorum's recent comments likening gays to bigamists and polygamists and gay sex to incest and adultery. "Rick Santorum, the Senate's third-ranked Republican who is under f... [Read More]


What does consensual sex (ie. sex between consenting people of legal age) have to do with incest, which is sexual assault and a crime, or polygamy and bigamy, when marriage in law is an economic arrangement?

And yes indeedy do, you do have a "right" to adultery....it's not illegal, last I saw. Perhaps Mr. Santorum should concentrate on trying to make adultery illegal....I wonder how many of his colleagues would be left after the jailings began.

What a moron. People like that, and statements like that, are the reason I can no longer call myself a Republican.

...and you thought the middle ages lived on only in Saudi Arabia......

I'm frankly shocked by that statement. Apparently "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" don't require privacy in his world.

And I agree, how do you equate sex between consenting adults, of whatever sex, with incest. That's monstrous and wrong and I hope the residents of PA are listening.

Finally, I have for some time wondered about our laws regarding polygamy. As long as all parties involved are aware and cognizant I don't consider it a problem.

Having said that, I've also never seen a polygamous relationship work. I've heard stories, but never seen the beast myself. It's only slightly less credible than a "good" marriage, however.

Everything he expressed is withing his personal right to hold an opinion on. Nevertheless, I do not agree that his opinion should be considered a law or even a precedent.

Santorum is using a slippery slope argument. The answer of course is, no, it's not a slippery slope.

My concern is this: Why is the federal government involved in this issue? I'm pretty sure the Constitution is silent on this, and the matter is properly left to the States. But I'm not a constitutional lawyer.

grin what an idiot!! incest isn't even on the same page as bigamy, adultery, or polygamy.

I do, in a sense, agree with him tho. how can people so readily agree that same sex couples are perfectly capable of raising healthy children and turn around and say that family units that involve more than two parents (polygamy) are not?

I'm far more concerned with his views on privacy than I am with his views on sex. While Privacy is never spelled out as a right in the constituion, the right to be free from government influence is, and privacy is assumed to flow from that right.

His views frighten me. Myself, I lead a conservative lifestyle. But the consentual things two people do in the privacy of their home is their OWN business.

Does he really not want to get re-elected?

Datarat brings up a good point about polygamy. But I think the idea behind banning polygamy has less to do with the quality of the marriage than with the impact of group marriage on the community.

In social systems with polygamy (which tend toward extreme patriarchy), the community ends up with an excess of poor, young, horny males without prospects for marriage. Unlike in engineering schools, where the hapless youth turn to Unix shell scripting, broadband porn and planning trips to the next Star Trek convention, these youths develop bad habits, such as pillaging, vandalism, and religious obsessions, which in turn leads to repressive systems of government to keep the peace.

Better everyone pair off or at least have the opportunity to pair off, I think.

However, banning homosexual sex doesn't really have a social function other than to condemn it. If there are too many homosexual men in the system, you end up with an excess of single women in the community. Horny single women, when faced with a loss of prospects, do not form gangs and roam the streets at night to see what trouble they can get into. Or at least I've never heard of that happening.

I think our problem post 9/11 is being caught between Islamists who would kill all infidels, (and other muslims when they get around to them later) and christian nutters who already have power in our country.

See to protect ourselves from the Islamist terrorists we give up all our privacy, and that breaks down the deal we had where all those religion based, victimless crime laws aren't enforced because no one complains when you have gay sex , swing, see a hooker or smoke a joint.

I think the best solution is to fight this out now and make a constitutional amendment prohibiting laws against victimless crimes. Then we can have our protection against murdering terrorists, and have the freedom we really always did have unofficially, but we do have to give up our privacy.

Otherwise we have to protect provacy and accept that we will lose the war on terrorism, live with terrible tragedies and probably watch our economy and society as a whole fall into ruin. Or we have to accept that we will, defacto live in a christian theocracy with no rights to be anything by white bread, monogamous , married heterosexuals who never take drugs etc.... And I don't think we can live with that choice at all.

Rick Santorum just needs to be gagged whenever he says anything on social issues. He should only be allowed to speak on Budget issues and guns.

If there were a few million more Andrew Sullivans in the US, I bet Karl Rove would gag the social conservatives in no time flat.

I'll gladly invite Santorum to pray the rosary with me, but I think same sex marriages should be legal.

"My concern is this: Why is the federal government involved in this issue? I'm pretty sure the Constitution is silent on this, and the matter is properly left to the States. But I'm not a constitutional lawyer."

Because clearly, anal intercourse is a matter of interstate commerce.

Or something.

There is only one right that the Sentor has going for him. It's the right to say these things whether we agree or disagree. When he chooses to publish these statements we have the right to argue against and to let his constituency know that we think his statements are in error.

Sounds like a case of Blabbermouth Syndrome to me. The good senator must have some interesting fantasies. Well, perhaps "interesting" is the wrong word.

Oh, sigh, sigh.... it's been decades since I gave a damn about what consenting adults did in private. Of course, the operative words here are : Consenting, Adult, and Private!

HOLY SHIT! And this guy got elected?!

Now, while I don't agree with Rick, you commenters contridict yourselves. Here is a HINT: when you detect a logical contridiction, the proper response is to sit and think until you have resolved the conflict, not react blindly. Got it? Good. Lets continue:

Take one sentiment that has been repeated multiple times:

What does consensual sex (ie. sex between consenting people of legal age) have to do with incest, which is sexual assault and a crime, or polygamy and bigamy, when marriage in law is an economic arrangement?

And now the other theme that keeps popping up:

Oh, sigh, sigh.... it's been decades since I gave a damn about what consenting adults did in private. Of course, the operative words here are : Consenting, Adult, and Private!

Well, lets see:

  • Can ADULTERY happen with the magic words: Consenting, Adult, and Private? Yes indeed it can.
  • Can POLYGAMY happen with the magic words: Consenting, Adult, and Private? Yes indeed it can.
  • Can BIGAMY happen with the magic words: Consenting, Adult, and Private? Yes indeed it can.
  • Can INCEST happen with the magic words: Consenting, Adult, and Private? Yes indeed it can, - Consenting/Adult/Private incest is still illegal.

Using YOUR criteria, it seems Mr. Santorm might just have a point. Did you just justify these things?

Now, I want you to THINK for a moment before blindly lashing out at the eeeeevil person who dares contradict you. Simply saying 'oh, but its not the same!' is not enough. You also need to come up a principle WHY Consenting/Adult/Private (insert item here) is not protected while Consenting/Adult/Private anal sex is protected.

Reacting is easy. Thinking is less easy.

I can understand the outrage for any secular observer, but I have a hard time seeing how supposedly faithful Catholics or Christians reconcile a pro-homosexuality position with their purportedly Christian beliefs.

What Sanctorum seems to be trying to convey here is that one thing will lead to another. As far as I know, only ONE of the acts he mentioned (incest) could involve no consent, but, polgamy, bigamy, adultery all involve consent. Should these things be legal? It's a good question.

Jane, this may surprise you but adultery is IN FACT illegal in some states. It is not a federal crime, nor do I believe it should be one. Should adultery remain legal, even though it clearly has destructive effects both to families and communities?

IB Bill, there is another reason to criminalize sodomy other than a simple condemnation of homosexuality, and it involves serious health concerns. Should a particular sexual activity unique in its propagation of the spread of STDs be kept legal? Like cigarette smoking, we say what you do is your own business, but as soon as it enters the public arena, that's out the window. Same thing with drugs. Drug abuse is not a private matter either because it deeply affects the public as well. Should the same principles be applied to sexual behaviour?

Given how out of control our society has gotten in terms of sexual depravity, it may be prudent to have SOME legal constraint on sexual activity. This in fact was the case in Florida where some jurisdictions laid down the law as a result of spring break, where college students on an incresingly disturbing level engage in flat out drunken orgies that brought a destructive effect on the communities. Unfortunately the incentive was the concern of loss of tourism, apparently not of any moral conviction, at least that's what it sounded like from the article I read.

the moron's like that ar why i so loathe the political right in this country.

how hard is it to have a third party around here?

socially liberal
economically conservative
and moderate with a truly global view of world affairs.

too much to ask?

the mighty jimbo,

Start the Bill Gates party. That's more or less his political ideology. :-D

IB Bill makes some great points. But Bill, we already have lots of gay men around, and I don't think women have been any worse for it. There aren't too many of us straight women for eligible straight men, because the gay women balance everything out.

Ryan - here are a few clues to your questions:

a) Adultery is harmful because it negates the marriage contract, or at least damages it.

b) Read Bill's post for why polygamy and bigamy could be a bad thing.

c) Incest is different because it not only results in a shallow gene pool (with the health problems that come with that), but because there's a strong cultural taboo against it. Wake up, man. There just isn't that strong a cultural taboo against homosexuality anymore.

On the other hand, I'm privileged to know many wonderful gay people, male and female. In fact, one couple is the quintessential case for why gays should have some kind of legal protection for their life partners, as we do for our husbands/wives. They have a house together, they've been with each other for 7 years, and are one of the most committed couples I know, straight or gay. Both are incredibly talented, and they both own their own businesses. One of them, however, is not a U.S. citizen (although he's trying to become one). So, if his business goes south, he faces having to leave the country, his "husband" and his life behind. Now, is that fair? As a fairly conservative straight girl, I can't fault them for wanting some sort of legal status.

And this senator guy is just nuts.


And yes, Caleb. I'm a Christian. It's just that your definition of "Christian" and my definition of "Christian" are totally different.

See, I think we should love one another, not judge one another. Leave the judgement for the Big Guy. It really is his job, anyway.

And the couple I mentioned? They're devoted Christians, too. Caleb's position would keep Christianity to an exclusive club of the "I'm morally better than you" variety. That just doesn't work for me. Maybe I'm going to hell for thinking that way, but I think I'll take my chances, thanks.

Linds, Ryan is simply playing the slippery slope thing, and I have to agree with his mindset.

If Incest is simply a cultural taboo, then there should be nothing to stop it. Taboos will change over time, just as they have with the whole homosexuality, interracial, (etc.) issues.

If a brother and sister decide to become sterile and have sex, there is nothing wrong with it since it can't produce a genetically troubled child. And they should be allowed to adopt and receive full marital benefits.

Sounds weird doesn't it? But once you start "down the slope" you have to either draw a line (which is usually based on someones personal views) or let it go the entire way.

Just adding fuel to the fire :)

So, anotherwords all you have to do to ban incest/bigamy/polgamy/adultery is come up with reasons they are harmful, even when consentual/adult/private?

You mean, like Caleb just did for anal sex?

So incest can be banned on medical grounds(gene pool), but anal sex cannot(aids)?

So polygamy and bigmay can be banned because we believe they'll have ban effects on society, but anal sex and presumably gay marriage cannot be banned on these grounds?

And adultery's insult to marriage must not stand, but anyone with an agenda can change what marriage is? (gay marraige again)

You have contradicted yourself AGAIN. You purport to put forth principles that would make incest - bigamy -polygamy -adultry unique, but these principles suddenly become invalid when you try to use them anywhere else.

Try again?

Okay, I'll second all the "he's an idiot" votes. That's easy as granting one right does not necessarily grant the others--there is no direct connection between them.

The right to privacy that he questions, though, is disturbing as hell. I would certainly never vote for him

Someone way up above, though, noted that this is why he couldn't call himself a Republican. I think that's just as foolish--not all Republicans agree with this sentiment. In fact, none of my conservative friends, all card-carrying Republicans, would say any of what Santorum said. Are there others in the GOP that would agree? Probably. But that doesn't define the entire party. There's room for disagreement and dissent within the party.


It's amazing that you believe we shouldn't judge each other, and yet you appear to have no trouble judging me. I'm seeing no love here either. ;-) The irony of the "judge not crowd" always seems to escape them. They are in fact judging, with the same degree of hypocrisy that liberals claim all forms of views are acceptable and valid, (except the conservative judeo-christian views)

My point on this is that according to you, we both define what it means to be a "Christian" differently. Really? And what makes you think YOUR definition is somehow more valid than mine? Because you say so? Because you feel your definition is somehow morally superior to mine?

Isn't Christianity supposed to be a professed belief in the inspiration and divine teachings and final authority of the Holy Scriptures, to which the word of God itself alone defines the true meaning of Christianity? And what say we if the Holy Scriptures clearly indicate that homosexuality is a sin? You cannot have both. The "Big Guy" has already made his view known. We either believe in that or we dont.

For a person to water down the definition of Christianity to such an extent, that we cannot discern ANY form of evil for fear of "judging others" makes that person a liberal, and not a real Christian, but rather a new ageist.

In this society you are free to believe what you want, but it is prudent that you not call yourself what you are in fact not.


You can't change what marriage is. This is true, as it applies to the covenant between a man and a woman, with the intent of producing a family.

Did I say ANYTHING about forcing the Church (or the local magistrate) to perform gay marriage? No. I simply said that life partners should have some kind of legal, governmental status and protection. Whether or not there's a religious ceremony should be (rightly) left up to the Churches themselves (if you don't believe me - read up on the Establishment Clause).

And something I forgot to point out before. Probably because I thought it was obvious enough: anal sex could lead to AIDS. So can heterosexual sex. So can dirty needles. So can blood transfusions. The homo-phobe crowd has been hiding behind that gay=AIDS banner for way too long.

So you say that we should ban anal sex because it could lead to AIDS? Then we should ban sex altogether. Even with condoms, because you know they don't work 100% of the time.

I think I already addressed the fact that I don't think a committed gay relationship has a "bad" effect on society. In fact, monogamy of any sort (hetero or homo) should have positive effects on society. Non-committed hetero relationships are no better for society than non-committed gay sex. So do we allow the government to throw unmarried couples in jail if they have sex? I hope not.

What you're proposing is that people who are gay have NO rights equivalent to straight people when it comes to what they do behind closed doors. And I'm sorry, but I don't think the Founding Fathers had a "bedroom monitor" in mind (missionary position ONLY, or you go to jail) when they drafted the constitution.

So you see, your logic isn't exactly sterling. Why don't you come up with an argument for why you think the government, despite the Constitution, has the right to tell us what kind of sex we can have?

That's easy as granting one right does not necessarily grant the others--there is no direct connection between them.

Both true and false.

False because the principles people are citing to label him a moron, would lead to exactly the conclusion he cites... in effect most of the people here are condemning him while unintentionally proving that he has a point.

Face it: Consenting/Adult/Private is a heck of a lot more radical a concept than you seem to give it credit for. And consistantly applied, it would actually lead to quite sweeping changes.

If you accept the principles that you cite, then the only thing preventing the legality of the things Santorum fears is political inertia, which is not an insigifigant force.

Which means from a principles standpoint, Santorum is completely right, and your words PROVE him right. But from a practical standpoint, he's probably wrong...

For Santorum to be wrong about his slippery slope, people would have to be able to mouth platitudes like "it's been decades since I gave a damn about what consenting adults did in private", while actually meaning no such thing. People would have to be illogical, inconsistant, and more concerned with how much political backing a particular change has behind it than weather or not its a good idea, or weather it conforms to their ideals. And their legal system would have to have the reasoning powers, long-term memory, and sense of direction of a chicken with its head cut off.

And since we are all of the above, Santorum is worrying himself about nothing.

Ahh the American Constitution. You have the right to say what you want blah blah blah.. but when it comes to doing what you want the lines are drawn.

I'm a live and let live kinda guy, that first statement from Mr. Santorum is a classic example of political speak. It's all to do with implication (one that probably isn't there) and ambiguity. Ohh and column inches don't forget...

In short, I agree with Linds point of view, accept Robbs stoking of the flames as a valid point and depart with a final thought: you can't please all the people, all of the time.


P.S. Ryan, try contradiction instead... ;-)

Oh, and Linds:

As my post above makes clear, I was NOT saying the government has the right to monitor our bedrooms, but merely pointing out that "Consentual/private/adult" is not enough by itself to ban all government interference. You simply CAN NOT dispute that.

For a person who cautions against making unwarranted leaps, you sure as heck jumped from 'not lifing the ban on anal sex' to 'bedroom monitor' in a hurry, now didn't you?

What did I tell you about blindly lashing out? Now you look like a fool, and its no one's fault but your own.

Michele - one more tweak, and then I swear I'm done!


I'm not getting into a theological debate with you. I'm sure I can't quote long passages of the Bible at you, nor do I want to. But I do know what my faith is, and it is Christian, not "new ageist" (what the hell is that?) or "liberal" (anyone who knows me would laugh at that one). I just like to avoid the wild-eyed variety of "Christendom" as much as possible.

Although I won't say here what my denomination is, I can assure you it's a major one - nothing freaky. Very traditional. Very reliant on the Scriptures. I think a lot of people realize, though, that Scriptures are God's word as conveyed through human mediums, which were naturally colored by the prejudices and cultural influences of their times. Again, that's just my belief, and you don't have to adhere to it, or even approve of it.

What everyone here should be concerned about is the government trying to make inroads into our privacy. That's the really scary thing about what the Senator is saying.

Okay, end of semi-theological debate (told you I'm no good at it).

Okay...I look like a fool, but I'm putting my honest point of view out there, not even anonymously, Mr. "my email is "none@hotmail.com".

Whatever. I'm late for Constitutional Law class.

Happy Debating, kids!!!

So if went and created a doohicky@hotmail.com account, I'd suddenly be legit? Because forgive me for saying so, pretty much any http-based mail client is as anonymous as you like.

I hope you aren't saying that my views are somehow dishonest because i don't choose to have email conversations.

Let's all go out for pie.

Good idea, Keith! Make mine Chocolate! Yum!

How come everyone is ignoring the point that we DO have these laws on the books in plenty of states, and that now with the Patriot act and what's coming next we DON'T have privacy?

We gotta face up to the fact that things can't go back to the way they were when you have no privacy rights anymore and the Total Information Awareness geeks read all your email.

Santorum is a buffoon, but having said that I believe Ryan and Linds both raise some interesting points. Myself, I've always been of the belief that what ever you choose to do, as long it's not in the streets, doesn't harm children or scare horses, then by all means have a jolly good time. But that’s really the coward’s way out in some respects.

The question remains whether we as a society can continue to adopt such a blithe attitude toward the behaviours Santorum describes? Irresponsible behaviour and actions can have a lasting negative impact on society in many ways, some small and some great, but at what point do we acknowledge that individual rights and freedoms do not divorce one’s self from individual responsibility nor excuse one from the needs of propriety in society? Or are we to resign ourselves to a social discourse that grows coarser and meaner as people cast off more inhibitions in homage to their rights as free people? At what point do we finally say enough? I don’t know, but the more crap like this I read, the more I want to find a nice little island and say “here are the rules . . . ”

Just something to ruminate on. . .

... And this is why it takes 9 very smart individuals a great deal of thought to come up with an answer no one agrees with.

These kinds of questions are tough, and not to be answered with 5 minutes of deliberation and a catchy phrase.

Scrappleface has a "different" take on this issue.


The first thought that came to mind was this quote:

"I regret to say that we of the F.B.I. are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce."
-J. Edgar Hoover

Pie? What pie? There is no pie! This is all a carefully orchestrated deception by the American infidels!

"I can assure you it's a major one - nothing freaky. Very traditional. Very reliant on the Scriptures."


It begs the question though, how do you know they are reliant on the Scriptures if you have only a superficial knowledge of Scripture yourself? Do you just take their word for it, relying on hearsay, or do you just go by feelings? I agree that God's word as conveyed through human mediums can be colored by the culture of its time, though as God fearing writers, they clearly thought twice about changing his word and message to suit their own human prejudices. Their fear of God and of the consequences of changing his word should weigh into the validity of the Scriptures. It would seem obscene to consider God would suffer his word and message to mankind to be diluted or corrupted by human prejudice. It would suggest he is either not capable of preserving his word and law, or that he doesn't care. Presuming for argument's sake that this is not the case, what would change between now and then in God's law? Why would something considered sin thousands of years ago be any different today. If adultery was wrong then, why would that change now? Is the difference between right and wrong only legitimized based only on what society considers taboo? What if pedophilia no longer became taboo?

It's interesting to consider that for the longest time, society (at least ours) has considered homosexuality taboo, until today for the most part. What's changed? Is it that we have evolved as a society, or are we regressing? Have we become more moral, or less able to discern good from evil? If we hold Scripture with any degree of respect, then the latter would be true as it foretells. Mankind will eventually sink into such a mire of decay and utter wickedness that unless God intervened himself, no flesh would survive.

To the atheist and secular person, the point is moot. However, for any professing Christian, this goes to the very heart of the issue.

Ryan Waxx: because people are discouraged from thinking clearly about sex. In our society you're considered immoral unless you disapprove of everyone's sex life - especially anything you haven't tried.

We don't agree on the actual morality so we agree to fake it and all cop an attitude. If you don't regret what you've done and disapprove of what other people do then you're immoral, It doesn't matter if your reasons make any sense. We define good people as those who'll condem and regret almost anything that has sex involved or implied.

It's like the old line about Communist China under Mao. "In the Soviet Union they have laws describing what you can't do. In China we have laws telling what you can do [ie everything else is illegal]"

Ryan WaxX: IO just reread.. Oh you were talking about the court... I thought you meant that no one HERE agrees with each other.

I thought you were saying that at least 9 of us are smart :)

I posted my comments on this last night on OTB and have expanded on them in hopes of getting picked up in a print op-ed. Frankly, Santorum is basically right. Short version here. Hopefully, the long version will see print.

And, Jane, sodomy is a crime in Texas and many other states. Hence the Supreme Court case Santorum was commenting on.

Wow, lots of heated discussion.

About the question: "Why is the federal government involved in this issue?" The answer is that when people get busted on these sodomy or whatever laws, they appeal to the Federal Courts for the privacy protection afforded by the Constitution.

Ryan: I agree with you to the extent that consenting, adult, and private apply to all of the no-nos listed. I do not agree that it shows that Santorum has a point. Why should adultery, incest and polygamy be illegal? Clearly, they should not be.

Caleb: Easy on the holy rolling, K?
-First of all, it is not clear from the "Holy Scriptures" that homosexuality is a sin.
-Secondly, just because an act is forbidden by the "Holy Scriptures" doesn't mean that you must support or demand its prohibition by the laws of the land in which you live in order to be a Christian. Render unto Caesar, and all that, right?
-Finally, in response to your comment: "It would suggest he is either not capable of preserving his word and law, or that he doesn't care." One other possibility: God might have wanted us to communicate with God directly for revelation of God's word, since the "Holy Scriptures" are chock-full of inconsistencies and anachronisms if read literally. Of course, this might require some effort to establish a relationship with God over a long period of time, but why bother when it's all right there in instantly searchable form on the net, right? Since you are apparently an authority on the scriptures, I'm sure I don't have to quote Matthew 7 for you.

Mr. Santorum, I think, was in effect addressing the idea that privacy is not a right guaranteed by the constitution.There are people who believe that having sex with children in the privacy of their own home is ok. The moral life of this country has declined as the abortion rate has increased.

Addendum: perhaps incest should be illegal to the extent it is practiced without contraception.

I miss living in Pennsylvania, when I would vote against that asshat. I have fond memories of working across the street from his office headquarters, particularly the day a bomb threat came in with his name on it. We all danced outside gleefully, hoping dumb shit would get blown to pieces. But no, he had to live to make an even bigger ass out of himself.

Per this statement, he has the right to go fuck himself. :)

A religious fanatic by any other name....

Whether a Muslim with a suicide vest, a Liberal with the Nanny State, or a Jesus Freak with his extortion for your afterlife, a fanatic is a fanatic.

Who said this, and what is the Irony?

"Death to all Fanatics!"

Senator Santorum, who's generally a pretty decent guy, is probably the poster-Senator for Conservative Guilt. This syndrome, and the closely associated, better known malady known as Catholic Guilt, are among the most important of the social afflictions of our time, especially for their political ramifications. My most recent thoughts on both (admit it, you knew this was coming) can be found here: Ultra Vires.

The origin of marriage, and the only plausible rationale for governmental participation in its definition and / or enforcement, was the need to protect dependent women and, more particularly, minor children, from the faithlessness of men. Of course, it emerged as an institution well before such niceties as contraception, paternity determination by DNA matching, and career opportunities for women. That doesn't make the original rationale entirely irrelevant, but it does indicate how there came to be so much controversy over the modern import of marriage, and how narrowly or broadly it ought to be defined today.

It's hard to see why government should have any role in the definition of marriage today. Gay-rights activists disagree on this, of course; they want government power to force the rest of us to consider their unions to be legally identical to traditional heterosexual marriage, for reasons they'd prefer we not discuss. The question of "gay marriage" would never have arisen, had marriage remained a matter of private contract, and had the income tax not impelled employers to begin sweetening their compensation packages with noncash benefits in the Forties.

Gay-rights activism has grown tired. The conductors of the homosexual-identity-politics movement, like those of the black-identity-politics and women's-identity-politics movements before them, are anxious to "protect their rice bowls" by keeping homosexuals enthused about potential further gains. But there are no further gains to be made by political action... unless, as with the slavery-reparations movement, the vanguard elite can transform homosexual identity into a source of transfers from others. I can think of only two potential sources of such transfers:

1. Federal funds directed to the treatment, palliation, or cure of AIDS;
2. The redefinition of marriage to include unions between homosexuals, coupled to legal changes that would force employers to extend marriage-related noncash benefits to the mates of their homosexual employees.

But the pressure on these two fronts, plus some rather bad behavior by homosexual activists in other venues (e.g., their repeated, public assaults on the Catholic Church), is beginning to trigger a backlash against political homosexuality. Heterosexuals have been willing, up to now, to concede that homosexuals ought not to be discriminated against, by the law or in the workplace, for their sexual orientation. But further than that, they're not willing to go -- especially not at cost to cherished traditional institutions, to their freedom to choose their own associates, or to their own pocketbooks.

Backlash seldom contents itself with thus far you have gone, and you shall go no farther. It almost always invokes a desire to roll back changes prior to the incident that triggered the backlash.

Is there a "right" to commit homosexual acts in the privacy of one's own home? Not a specific right; it's covered by the broader and more inclusive right to do anything one pleases with one's own life, liberty, and property, so long as one does not infringe upon the equal rights of nonconsenting others. The overwhelming majority of heterosexuals will concede that right, as little as they might like the images it conjures up. But further incursions on marriage, the prerogatives of employers, or freedom of association could cost the gay-rights movement that concession and much else. In that regard, Senator Santorum is merely a stride or two ahead of what could be a very ugly crowd.

I knew there are such laws in the US but I never thought there are people enforcing them. Oh my. How bored must he be to care for what other people (means Consenting Adults) do in private? What drives someone to think so? I have no idea. Here in germany gays since two years or so gay folks can have some marriage-like ceremony which includes some rights heterosexual couples have. For example when one of the couple has a non.german citizenship he can stay like a non-german heterosexual part of a couple can and stuff like that. Makes lofe way easier for many gay folks and they're lobbying now for the right to adopt children.

First of all, it is not clear from the "Holy Scriptures" that homosexuality is a sin.


"Leviticus 18:22 - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

In lieu of many other references from the OT to the NT on homosexuality, how much plainer does it have to be? A non-Christian need not be concerned about these things, but I challenge any supposed "Christian" to defend their complete disregard for whole segments of God's word, simply because society no longer views such acts as sin. It is the hypocrisy of this position that I address.

As for your assertion that Scripture is chock full of "inconsistencies and anachronisms if read literally", this is the rationale used by some who simply have not made an objective effort to actually sit down and do some constructive research on the matter. We're not idiots, so we do bare some responsibility in gaining a intelligent understanding of Scripture. Your opinion that God somehow allowed his word to be corrupted so we'd place greater emphasis on a "relationship with him" is a bit awkward on its face, since the whole point of Scripture is for that end. But to suggest that it has been corrupted to some degree so that its original meaning has been lost puts the credibility of all inspired writings into question. (what part isn't corrupted and what part is, and so on)

-Secondly, just because an act is forbidden by the "Holy Scriptures" doesn't mean that you must support or demand its prohibition by the laws of the land in which you live in order to be a Christian

Who said anything about that? Personally I feel this should be a state matter, and left up to the states to decide these laws, while the federal government should really stay out of it. The "render unto Caesar" has merit, but to what extent? Do we legalize stealing because the Bible says "thou shalt not steal" and therefore making such a law would run parallel to the moral guidelines set forth in Scripture?

What I was addressing was the hypocrisy of so called "Christians" condemning Santorum's statement when it only reaffirms biblical teaching. What could rightly be argued is his impression of privacy. Do we have a constitutional right to privacy? Even though there's no explicit caluse in the Consitution, there are certainly allusions to it, such as the right not to be subjected to unlawful searches and seizures, which would indicate a constitutional approval to SOME degree of privacy.

My try: I really don't care if Bobby and Stevie want to set up house and break all the furniture during their nightly escapades...as long as they close the blinds and provide sufficient sound-proofing so that my privacy is protected. People do that all over the place right now. The question I have is, why does that behavior rate "official" state, and that means me and you, approval? For that matter, why does my relationship with my wife? It's to supposedly to convey "benefits" to encourage the practice. Frankly, I can't innumerate many societal benefits I accrue from being married, but there are supposed to be some. Frankly, the extension of health benefits is an employer-employee issue, and they ought to be resolved in that venue. Inheritance should be oh, gosh, where you think your money should go after you are dead, not mandated by the state.
Without getting tiresome, my point is that I find it interesting that those who want "the government out of the bedroom" are the first to invite it in by appealing for recognition of gay/multiple/multi-species (pick one) marriage. A more logical approach would be to repeal (State!) sodomy laws and approach economic issues, such as inheritance, in economic venues. Change or repeal marriage preference laws to be consistent.
Senator Santorum is right about the question of privacy in the Consitution. That concept was created in whole in response to another issue. To me, it makes a whole lot more sense to base privacy issues on the 10th Amendment, and restrict the authority of the Federal government in an area not given to them in the Constitution. And then work within the States, which is another story.

My paltry contribution:

The right to mutually consensual adult gay sex (which I think is a given) would seem to imply the right to mutually consensual adult sex of any stripe with any number / gender / relationship of members. Since mutually consenting adults already have the right to cohabitate and to draw up a contract between themselves that is, in effect, marriage vows, rights to bigamy and polygamy follow. (It does not follow that a man may marry one woman, then marry another without telling either spouse about the other. That's plain deception. It also does not follow that employers have to extend spousal benefits to anybody you want to claim as a spouse/partner. They ought to be able to restrict spousal benefits any way they want.)

Incest (at least, between parent and child) is a whole different kettle of fish, at least until the child is at/above the age of consent. Making incest between parent and underage child criminal doesn't violate the mutually-consenting adults standard above.

As for adultery, well, you have a "right" to break a contract if you are willing to suffer the penalty that the contract contains for noncompliance. So you may have a "right" to commit adultery, but you don't have a right to hide it from your spouse or to stay married after your spouse is informed of the breach.

Caleb, I happen to consider myself a Christian and know of the scriptures that you reference. I'd lay odds, though, that you don't keep a kosher household. I'd lay odds that many of the laws of the old testament aren't observed in your home. We Christians have a tendency to pick and choose the rules that we like, that we grew up with, and that we are comfortable with instead of being consistent in our observance of biblical teachings.

Our belief in Jesus is also a symbol of our belief that some of the biblical laws of the old testament no longer apply--the laws of kosher, for example. I find it difficult to admit to my Christianity and say that I follow scripture religiously when I fail to follow those rules that I don't agree with. I am a Christian in that I am a follower of Christ, a believer in the God in the Christian interpretation. Jesus did not say "Whosoever believeth in me, and who condemns homosexuality, shall have everlasting life."

My best friend is gay, and she is truly one of the kindest people I have ever known. In honesty, she's a much better person than I am. I refuse to condemn her because she's a lesbian, I refuse to say that Jesus would hold that against her, and I refuse to believe that it is a flaw in her character that she prefers to sleep with women. Hell, I agree with her--I prefer to sleep with women, too.

There are many laws in Leviticus that we Christians don't recognize. When we get nervous that the sanctity of marriage is about to be breached, we pull that old chestnut out of our bag of tricks and don't manage to notice the hypocrisy involved.

Caleb: The bible hasn't been corrupted? Ummm...wasn't there a time period where the western world thought Moses had horns? Yea, translation error. How many OTHER translation errors have there been? Oh, and the fact of the seperation of church and state which is supposed to be a foundation of the United States alone should keep religious views of sexuality out of the equation.

Santorum is and always has been an idiot. I've had the "good grace" to meet him on a few occasions and I was never impressed by him, sadly I live in a state that still elects people like him. Maybe I should move to California

Zombyboy -

Couldn't have said it better myself.

"Leviticus 18:22 - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

As with womankind, too? So this means I get none from anyone? I'm gonna go cry in the corner now. Unless of course that's a vague reference to the concept that a married couple is one in the eyes of the lord, making it more of a blast against sleeping with those you have no "claim" to.

Also, I'm no biblical scholar (ex-catholic, I was told what the bible meant. Doesn't mean I'm anti-catholic tho), but wasn't there someting about Christ being the new word and that there was no word before him?

Lastly, I'm fairly sure that when advantages for married couples were recognized by the government, it invalidates the very concept of the bible having a say. The way I see it, the government has every say in the definition of marriage or none at all (including all the advantages that a married couple enjoys under the law).

Well, I gotta go, my trainer's back with banannas for my dinner.

I hate to be a cynic...but it's 2004 fund raising season. Santorum is tossing a little red meat to the party faithful to fill the coffers. This is the first strike of the RNC money machine as Bush heads out to fly-over country next week.

Kerry's crack about regime change at home was the same sort of hype. The Dems will counter Santorum and Bush with an equally outrageous statement to rile their base and fuel the grassroot movement.

The party flacks expect le merde/ hyperbole will hit the media fan for a few days and money will flow.

"Caleb, I happen to consider myself a Christian and know of the scriptures that you reference. I'd lay odds, though, that you don't keep a kosher household."

Are we trying to find excuses here? How do you try to equate a person's repentant heart with a person's heart who will not even acknowledge a particular act he does is sin?

You're correct that the condemnation of the law has been done away with through the cross, but that is not a license to sin, of course. The issue then is if homosexuality having first been defined as sin in Leviticus, is that carried over into the NT. Consider the first book of the NT after Acts, and what Paul said:

"Romans 1:27
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."

Does that sound like a sweeping approval of homosexuality from within the new covenant of the New Testament?

It's nice to know you have a good lesbian friend, but then again you're basing acceptance in God's eyes on how "good" a person is. Hey I could be a real standup guy and everybody loves me just like everybody loves Raymond, but if I dont accept that Im a sinner, and that only Christ's sacrifice to pay for the penalty of sin could save me, then Im not really a Christian am I? I know it's hard for some of us to fathom how God can reject some people no matter how good they appear to be, but in pure Scriptural terms, it's very clear. All mankind is depraved, there is none good, and all have fallen short of what is necessary to fulfill God's law. And hence the need for a saviour. So our true goodness lies not in how much good we do, but in our acceptance of Christ the Messiah as God our Saviour. That's my personal belief. I convey such beliefs to people who are gay at occasion, and just leave it at that. I remember having a pleasant relationship with a gay professor back in college even though he clearly did not like my religious viewpoints, he respected my right to express them. A TRUE liberal, and ironically enough, I was his best student.

As for Chris, "Ummm...wasn't there a time period where the western world thought Moses had horns?"

And your evidence of this is...where again, because that's the first I've heard of it? and as for your assertion that religious views of sexuality should be kept out of legsilative equation, are you saying atheists somewhat have the moral high ground in appropriate laws regarding sexual behaviour?


I'll let a Catholic priest explain the Romans passage for you:

"Paul tells us that due to our pagan idolatry and self-deception, God has given us up to "dishonorable passions" and corrupt behaviors, such as the sexual practices of the pagan world. That is the context of Paul's only discussion of homosexuality in Romans. But we must not read "dishonorable passions" with contemporary images and prejudices. Paul, who believed in a careful ordering of the world, is speaking here of passions out of control, or that became an end in themselves and thus idolatrous. Dishonorable passions refers to the worship of sexual pleasures which needs to be condemned." http://home.mindspring.com/~bcglm1/pride-oxymoron.html

Further, from Fr. Peter Gomes in "The Good Book": "All Paul knew of homosexuality was the debauched pagan expression of it. He cannot be condemned for that ignorance, but neither should his ignorance be an excuse for our own. The biblical writers never contemplated a form of homosexuality in which loving, monogamous and faithful persons sought to live out the implications of the Gospel with as much fidelity to it as any heterosexual believer. All they know of homosexuality was prostitution, pederasty, lasciviousness and exploitation. These vices, as we know are not unknown among heterosexuals, and to define contemporary homosexuals only in these terms is a cultural slander of the highest order, reflecting not so much prejudice, which it surely does, but what the Roman Catholic Church calls "invincible ignorance," which all of the Christian piety and charity in the world can do little to conceal. The "problem," of course, is not the Bible, it is the Christians who read it."

Christ himself makes no mention of homosexuality whatsoever. He did on many occasions teach a variant on this theme from Matthew 7: "With the judgment that you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

So Caleb, WWJD?

Regarding Senator Santorum's remarks: I think a lot of people are failing to see the distinction between the political and the constitutional issues involved here. It's quite possible (though not entirely clear from the article) that Santorum would vote for a ban on homosexual sex if given the opportunity, and you're certainly welcome to attack him for that. But I think the real point Santorum is making here is a different and far more defensible one. Regardless of whether a ban on homosexuality is a good thing, Santorum is saying, there is nothing in the federal Constitution to prohibit such a ban. The Constitution gives state and local governments a pretty wide range of discretion to enact laws according to the wishes of the people under their jurisdiction, as long as they stay within certain norms spelled out by the Constitution. This is a reasonable, and I think most democratic, position: We don't think anti-homosexuality laws are a good idea, but we're not going to prevent people of a particular state or municipality from enacting one if they wish to do so. Laws may be unwise or even stupid, but that doesn't make them unconstitutional.

And Santorum's slippery slope argument is entirely valid. If the reasoning employed by the Supreme Court in its "right to privacy" cases is taken to its logical conclusion, all of the things Santorum mentions would indeed be mandated legal by the federal government. Some of you might prefer to live in such a country; fair enough. I'd rather live in a country where the people's elected representatives are free to pass dumb laws -- not one where nine unelected judges constantly find new rights in "penumbral emanations" of the Constitution and use them to micromanage the political life of the entire country. Diversity is good, right folks?

So again, go ahead and ridicule Santorum for supporting anti-sodomy laws, if that's what you think he's saying. But recognize that he makes a legitimate point about constitutional law. And overall, I think gay-rights activists would be far better served by using the democratic process -- you know, persuading people, war of ideas, all that stuff -- to overturn these laws, rather than by going to court to try to make an end-run around the democratic process. The latter is much more divisive; just look at the aftermath of Roe v. Wade. But that's a whole other topic.

BTW/ the law about which Santorum is opining is the Texas sodomy law, which states:

"§ 21.06. Homosexual Conduct

(a) A person commits an offense if he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor."

Two men were appealing their convictions under this law for having sex IN THEIR BEDROOM.

As for Jay's "unelected judges constantly find new rights in "penumbral emanations" of the Constitution and use them to micromanage the political life of the entire country" - I think the state is doing the micromanaging of peoples lives when they tell them they can't have homosexual sex in their bedroom. Surely you understand that the function of the Courts is to guard the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. That's high school civics stuff.

Pie. We all need pie. Pie makes everything better.

Who's up for pie?

"It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution."

He got that part correct. Individual rights do not reside in or eminate from the United States Constitution.


Sure Texas is micromanaging here, but where does the Constitution say anything about a right to not be micromanaged? Yeah, of course courts guard the rights of the minority, but they're supposed to be guarding the rights that are actually in the Constitution. Personally, I think that a lot of regulations on the books are micromanaging and prevent me from doing things I'd like to do (hello, underage drinking laws!) But they aren't preventing me from doing things I have a constitutional right to do, therefore the state is allowed to enact them.

If you can show me where the Constitution provides a right to engage in consensual sexual relations of one's choice, then I'll agree with you. So far, the Supreme Court hasn't been able to come up with anything better than these vague "penumbras."

Anybody else vote for chocolate? Or fudge, even. Keith, how good are you at making fudgey pie? I could really go for some fudgey pie and chicory coffee right now...

That's not a "dump truck full of outrage!" That's not even a dump truck full of PIE-LOVING!

Give me back my five dollars!

Oh wait, that's what I told the ice cream man. Cause I, y'know, PAY him for my happiness. Whereas this is free...

Carry on.

Just saying I had a dumptruck full of outrage should have been sufficient.

I have been sidetracked by a sleepover party.

pie ala mode...even better.

OK Jay, let us pretend that half of the gay people in the country move to Wyoming. Being 90% of the population, they elect legislators who outlaw heterosexual sex. Let us further pretend that you live in Wyoming and get busted for having sex with your girlfriend/spouse. There is no explicit constitutional protection for you to have sex with your spouse. Think you will be so dismissive of the phantom penumbral rights? Be honest... :)

No, I would not find a Constitutional right to heterosexual sex either. It might get more complicated if someone claimed that sex within marriage was a religious duty for them. But ignoring that little wrinkle... as a member of the Supreme Court, yes, I'd vote to uphold the law.

Of course, it would be rather suicidal for a state to enact a law like that, don't you think? ;o)

Actually, one other point: I'm assuming there that the gay people in this hypothetical situation view heterosexual sex as morally objectionable or otherwise socially damaging. That would be necessary to make it a truly analogous case. Restrictions on liberty become more constitutionally problematic when they are entirely capricious (i.e. when the state doesn't even attempt to provide any justification for them).

Malory: A more relevant quote from Jesus would be the one on adultery. At least it concerns sexuality.

If looking at a woman with lust counts as adultery (that is, sin), then lust-driven sexual acts (or thoughts) of any kind are sinful.

But this isn't what I came here to talk about. I thought we were discussing federal regulation of certain conduct normally understood to be free, as Francis described. Why do these conversations always end up about the Bible?

And did I hear something about pie?

I want my coconut cream pie...
But I'm alergic to cow's milk and flour now, so I'd have to make my own pie with goat's milk and a corn, rice or soy flour crust.

Mirang (sp) (you know that fluffy egg topping) sounds good too.

In short, he called it like it is, and you can't stand it.

That isn't outrage stuck in your craw, girl. It's a cold hard lump of reality.

"For example when one of the couple has a non.german citizenship he can stay like a non-german heterosexual part of a couple can and stuff like that."

I thought I'd disgorged everything I had to say about this subject over the last few days, and it didn't seem worth asking at this point whether anyone had put up any pie-worthy rhubarb when it was in season. But what Lilli Marleen mentions here is not a tangential issue for those of us who have foreign partners. The suggestion that Japan might make gay marriage legal is a total laugh riot, but it's still much easier for me to keep my work visa and residency permit than it would be for my boyfriend to get set up in the States (although the INS, being the INS, goes out of its way to screw over even the straightest, most God-fearing spouses of Americans who bring them home, anyway).

i don't want to get in too deep. but i do remember being surprised when my pastor told us that paul was staunchly against sexual activity of any variety, even of heterosexual, married sex. i found this on a quick search. i was taught that paul's attitude was generally "sex is a distraction from your relationship with god; if you absolutely can't control yourself sexually, then get married". interestingly, jesus himself never married, because his life had only one purpose, which was neither to sate his desires in a morally acceptable way nor to bear children or manage property. and if he is the example christians are to follow...

i don't often agree with catholic priests on much of anything, but the previously quoted one made much food for thought.

everything is all about context anyway.

Saint Augustine fought actual battles and street fights to try to bring the church into line with his theory that all sex is a sin, even in marrage...

Oh, our wonderful past.

I like sex. Boy-girl type, not boy-boy type, although pictures of girl-girl type and the thought of boy-girl-girl(-girl-girl-girl) type excites me tremendously.

I also like rhubarb pie.

I generally don't like to mix my sex with rhubarb pie.

Just thought you'd like to know.


You might want to post an update to the Santorum "controversy. Turns out he was misquoted, and not only that, but curiously enough, the reporter who wrote the original article is the wife of John Kerry's campaign manager.

Here's the MISquote:

""If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything." "

Here's the actual quote:

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

He never said "gay". That was ADDED. Thew New York Times, out of all places, actually got his quote right. Amazing.

It reminds me of Wallace's quote that "the enemy we're fighting is different than the one we wargamed against" when he actually said "the enemy is A BIT different than the enemy we wargamed against"

Forget the sex issue. I say we pass laws that punish the media everytime it resorts to these propaganda-type antics with a severe caning. Five stripes for misquoting a Republican. 5000 stripes for supressing news in Hillary's dirty dealings. Yes, no?

I say Caleb for freakin congress. And we want him now.

I commented on Arthur's site and on my own. Here's a summary:

I don't know much about Santorum, so I hesitate to agree 100%, but he's absolutely right, in a slippery slope sense.

Either ALL adult consensual behavior is protected or it isn't. If you can't pick and choose one thing, then you can't selectively include behaviors you like--it's still picking and choosing. You can either pick and choose or you can't. If you CAN pick and choose you can limit it to accepted morals and standards. Which do you want?

I waited this one out and I am happy that I did. The word "gay" not being in the statement Santorum made makes a world of difference.
Is a law making sodomy illegal un-constitutional? I say no, and so does Santorum - as well as the Supreme Court itself in 1986.
Is it stupid? Yes. Should it be repealed? Yes.
(info, includes the bad quote though)
If people like the two men charged just fought to have the asinine law repealed instead of waiting until some dope tries to use it and waste our tax dollars fighting it to the supreme court the U.S. would be a much better place IMHO.

Whoa Michele, don't look now but you actually AGREE with Morford on this one:
Homophobic Slimeball Republicans Say The Cutest Things Rick Santorum, noted self-loathing hunk of spasming nightmarish oozing man-flesh and a general pasty-assed whitebread embarrassment to humanity as a whole, and also the Senate's third-ranked Republican, if you can believe it, says he has "no problem with homosexuality -- I have a problem with homosexual acts." In an interview with the AP that made reporters and the universe cringe repeatedly, Santorum, R-Pa., said he believes homosexual acts are a threat to the American family, and compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. "I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions," he actually said, before being slapped. Which is much like saying, you know, I have no problem with Republicans, I have a problem with what sniveling white-ass kitten-molesting Republican homophobes do and say and eat and hiss and the vicious laws they enact and the imbecilic hate-filled bile they spread on their dumbed-down constituents like so much rancid margarine. Following the interview, the last nodule of Santorum's shriveled soul was yanked through his big toe by a demon worm and barbecued as an hors d'oeuvre.

Stranger things have happened I suppose...

And oh by the way...who really needs the Bible when you have the Republican Party anyway, with Messiah Bush at the helm?

Now that we have all hashed this out, I have Chocolate Silk, Banana Cream and Blueberry pie. Who wants some?

I have never been so ashamed,it's so hard to believe that I have been the biggest fool. However Maxwell's this is not the first and trust me my all family it's not the last. TO ALL I NEVER WAS LAUGHING AND STILL NOT. IN GODS EYES YOU CAN KNOW FOR A FACT, I'M NOT MARRIED I DONNOT HAVE A HUSBAND, WHAT I HAVE IS A LITTLE DICK JOKE.