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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Law and morality

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Author Topic: Law and morality
Delvain
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I was reading the thread where it said same sex is illegal in texas (which is where I live) and I keep getting bothered by a question. What right does the goverment have to set our moral values? All these laws are cutting off personal freedom. I believe the law should follow one path, If your not bothering with someones right to live (rape, murder, assault, ect.) you should be okay.
What do you think?

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Gumdrop Girl
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delvain, ever heard of "anarchocapitalism?"

you are on the brink of being Libertarian. i'd have to say it's something you should read up on.

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Kill your TV! And while you're at it, your mobile phone, too.


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SlowCookie
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The government doesn't set our "moral values". However, they can decide what is legally right or wrong. Your morality and the law do not have to agree. If you see nothing wrong with same-sex relationships, will a law actually change your moral stand on that issue? I doubt that.

This reminds me of people who say we don't have freedom of speech and yada yada (there was a post awhile back). Get over it. You can't always do everything you want. Your rights end when you start infringing upon another person's rights. So have your personal freedom, but when your freedom begins to edge over on to someone else's territory, how much personal freedom are you giving them?

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Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.


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Ron
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Hey Gumdrop, believing the state should not legislate personal morality and "crimes without victims" doesn't necessarily make you a libertarian. Some think that is what is implied in the constitution in the first place--that doesn't mean you buy in to the whole libertarian rap.
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Heather
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That's a great questions, Delvain, and a good point.

But I would add to that: the right to live is a pretty simple thing. But without having the right to any quality of life, it'sd be pretty meaningless.

For instance, I don't feel that rape being illegal is a bad thing. While I am sure there are rapists who feel that such laws "hinder their freedoms" and make moral judgements, the real deal is that they protect the quality of life for people whose lives and right to that quality are direly threatened by a rapist.

Rape doesn't alawys threaten an actual life -- but it does seriously threaten it's quality, both for poetential victims as well as for a culture at large.

And some laws -- like same-sex laws, in and of themselves hinder that quality of life.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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Lin
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The way I see it, for every one person who says that same sex sex is ok, another person will say it is wrong.

So who is right? Who is wrong? Who can define who is in the right here? I doubt anybody can.

So it is left up to the law makers, the government. The people who are the "chosen ones".

Someone has to set a guideline. If not, I firmly believe that all hell will break loose.

Unfortunately these people who set the guidelines think differently from many of us here.

Really, that's the way I see it. I don't think anybody is wrong or right because we all have different values and we can't really tell someone who is against homosexuality that "Hey, you are wrong. Your values and teachings are wrong. Only I am right."

It's a lose-lose situation really. Whichever path the governent takes.


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Heather
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I don't know about that one, Lin.

The truth of the matter is that consenting heterosexual adults have liberties that consensting homosexual adults do not have.

And so, regardless of anyone thinking it 'right" or "wrong" the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of people who, for instance, think BDSM is 'wrong" but consenting heterosexual adults can participate in it, and that's fair because they are consenting in their own bedroom.

So, when it comes to laws that regulate an orientation -- which cannot BE regulated by law or choice -- you're looking at a pretty serious civil rights infringement. Giving heterosexuals rights which homosexuals do not have is akin to giving whites rights that blacks cannot have.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 02-23-2001).]


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Confused boy
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OK, lets see if we can work out a general basic law for people's rights. Let me think...

It is the common right of all people to do anything desired on the condition that the action will not injure themselves or anybody else physically or mentally.

That almost covers it I believe if you extrapolate mentally to mean that it is the right of anybody not to see anything conducted by other people that might damage them.


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Heather
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...in that vein, Confused, breaking someone's heart or simply hurting their feelings would be criminal.
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Delvain
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"The government doesn't set our "moral values". However, they can decide what is legally right or wrong"

I disagree, what about gays that blow thier head off because thats what they've been told is right or what the law has implyed is wrong?

The only way gay sex could hurt someone is if its public, and straight sex in public places is wrong besides.

And no, what is anarchocapitalism? and whats wrong with believing in free will?


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KittenGoddess
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The government doesn't make moral values...but history has proven that moral values do make the government. If you look at the history of the government of this country, you'll see that the basic laws were crafted from the deep seeded religious convictions of many of our first law makers. And if you'll look at church doctrine from that time, you'll see that they did believe that homosexuality is a sin (some people still hold that value today). And, if you were going to make laws making other "sins" such as murder, robbery, rape, etc. illegal, then how is it illogical to make something like homosexuality (which you also consider a sin) illegal too? Right or wrong, that's what they based their decisions on. I'm not defending it, or saying that it should be illegal (I personally see no need to have these laws, which serve no purpose really, and as I believe it has been pointed out, are rarely enforced), I'm just saying that they didn't just make these laws so that they could make the papers longer.

Also, I've never heard of anyone shooting themselves just because a law said that they were involved in something that was illegal. Possibly because their religious laws said it was wrong...but never because the local, state, or federal law said that they were doing something illegal. There is a distinction between religious law, and federal law and between the way that individuals hold each kind of law to be important to them. If someone chooses to shoot themselves in the head (which is also technically illegal), I highly doubt it's going to be because some member of the government (ie. judge, law maker, law officer, etc.) told them it was wrong, or against the law to be a homosexual.

~KittenGoddess

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"Reality is nothing but a collective hunch."
~Lily Tomlin

[This message has been edited by KittenGoddess (edited 02-23-2001).]


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Delvain
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Well, what if he/she gets caught and a high fine? What if they decide they dont want to live in a world that does that? I ralize this is speculation, but just as an example.
Also I believe I said that as long as thier not hurting someone, it shouldn't be made a law, which would rule out legalizing rape, murder, and other such crimes

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Bobolink
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I think the late Pierre Trudeau, when he was Justice Minister of Canada, said it best, "The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation"
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KittenGoddess
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Yes, but even speaking hypothetically...when is that person going to get caught? I haven't heard about the police getting search warrents so that they can break into people's homes to catch them having same sex sex. If you're doing that in public, then yes, you deserve to be fined...and if you're having heterosexual intercourse in public, you deserve to be fined too. I can't really think of too many people who are so morally sensitive that they would decide that just because someone fined them for something they should shoot themselves. I didn't think I should get a parking ticket last month, but I didn't go shooting myself just because I had to write a check for $70. It's just that the entire idea of "Oh I've been so wronged by the world...I can't live in a place like this where no one tolerates the way that I am and there are laws like this!" is just entirely over romanticised. Social tolerance and accptance and legallity are completely different issues. Generally speaking, I believe that people harm themselves because of what they feel is social intolerance, not legal intolerance about these kinds of things. While speaking hypothetically is just fine, you have to look at it from a realistic point of view.
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Delvain
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Society is the goverment, its the majority that makes the laws.

Not all people are emotionally stable, and tickets and sexual prefrences are two diffrent things.


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Heather
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In general, calling homosexuality a preference is a real faux pax. It's an orientation, not a "preference."

Preferring blondes or liking short people, or enjoying back massages before sex, or likeing one sexual activity more than aanother is a preference. Difference. Big one.

Seems to me that perhaps putting this discussion in the hypothetical might help, so, if you want to continue it, here's your scenario:

***
You wake up and discover that heterosexuality (being straight) has been claimed by religious leaders to be unnatural. That given, your lawmarkers have determined that it is now illegal, and that being found to have participated in any heterosexual activity -- even with your spouse -- carries with it the possibility of 10 years in prison and a $300 fine.

Now, you know that most people you know aren't going to report you. But you also know that your boss thinks you're a perverted slimeball for being heterosexual, and that the e-mail love letters from your partner are in the company records.

Would you simply accept this as okay, whether you were heterosexual or not? Or would this be an infringement of your civil rights and basic liberties -- or anyones -- that you felt was unconstitutional? And given the leaders think you're a pervert, but you can't make yourself be anything other than heterosexual, what do you do? Do you become celibate? Do you accept that doing what you do naturally and consensually carries a prison term you're willing to serve? How do you keep from holding your partners hand to keep people who you know don't like you and would like to see you in jail from reporting you? Will you lobby? What do you do?
***

If that one doesn't work for you, how about one we know the answer to?

***
You live in Selma, Alabama in 1955.

As an afro-american, you may not legally take a seat on the bus, drink from a "white" drinking fountain, or attend public schools, and if you do, you will be fined, jailed, beaten or lynched.

***

Sound familiar? It should.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 02-23-2001).]


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Ron
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Those are good illustrations Heather.

I think Kitten's post brings up an important point. Legislatures usually make laws according to their values, even though those values may not be explicitly made into to laws.

The'founding fathers' who wrote our Constitution believed that all men are created equal. They didn't say explicitly that "all men" meant "all white male property owners", but that is indeed what they meant. Women,property-less men, afro-americans, native americans etc. couldn't even vote.

So there have been a number of amendments to the Constitution as our values changed. Women finally got the vote (when? like 1920?) Afro-americans can now vote, though as we saw in Florida last year, that may not always be so true.

The thing is our values are changing because our reality is changing. The laws are still made based on "family values". Yet according to the 1990 census guess how many families in the US are your 'typical' family of a heterosexual couple and their children: only 25%! The rest of the households are other types: single parents, homosexual couples, "roomates" of all kinds etc. Is it right to base the laws on values that only 25% of the people are actually living by?

We have a more plural society now and our laws have to be better at respecting the differences among us or we will not be able to live together very well.

[This message has been edited by Ron (edited 02-23-2001).]


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Jeff_5000
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We don't live in a utopia. There will always be people who disagree with a certain way of life for one reason or another. I don't believe that our country will get to that point where everyone's view is accepted by everyone else. If that did happen, that would mean that every single person would think the same, and that would be a rather boring place to live, wouldn't it?
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Heather
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It's not about everyone agreeing, Jeff.

It's about the fact that certain people do not have the same civil liberties other people do based on unmutable factors of their being, like sexual orientation, gender or race.

And that is unconstitutional.


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lemming
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Psst, Kitten...there ARE cases of people who knew that they had homosexuals and their partners living next door, and who called the police under the pretense of saying that these people had drugs, weapons, loud yelling, or whatever in there. The police came and busted the two guys in bed, and they were brought up under sodomy charges.

I gotta find that case, but I know we just talked about it in English...

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~lemming, Scarleteen Advocate

want to know the inner lemming? read her diary at http://innerlemming.diaryland.com/.
"Is love like the sweet, bitter taste of marmalade on burnt toast?"


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KittenGoddess
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Oh I believe you lemming.

I know some people who would probably do things like that, lol. I guess I simply meant that I had never heard of anybody getting warrents that said "suspected of homosexuality" and breaking in on people.


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