Dear Reader,
This is an opinion article printed in an “off-broadway” L.A. newspaper called the
Garment & Citizen.

The chain of emails  it set off
(Jack [me], Kevin, and the Ed), starting with my
answering letter to the editor (not published) has me reeling, not about what is in my
head but about my ability to share.
It minds me of two television sets turned on and set facing each other.
Skip to the letter
The Final Draft printed in this font at the end of this file if you
want a quick read.
Article, Garment & Citizen 3/6/09


Why Gays Fight Prop 8

By Tom De Simone

On the steps of City Hall, a middle aged man recently told a
crowd of young gay rights activists what it was like to live in the
era of
Harvey Milk: “We felt like we were so close to full
equality,” he says, “like we could reach out and grab it.”

Yet 30 years later, the passage of Prop 8 reminds us that progress
can be slow. For young people who believed that we grew up in
an era of seemingly increasing acceptance, Prop. 8 has been a
shocking and brutal assault. Prop 8 invokes more than same-sex
marriage; in many ways it is a litmus test for society’s tolerance
toward gay people in general.

Take the television commercials that ran during the campaign.
Supporters of the initiative threatened that legalized same-sex
marriage would somehow endanger children. This insinuation
revived the archaic misperception of homosexuality as a learned
and shameful behavior. Many people oppose gay marriage
because they believe homosexuals choose their lifestyle and
society should not reward such behavior. Not only is this belief a
fallacy, it is also an affront to our individual liberty.

In the California Supreme Court’s original decision to allow same-
sex marriage, marriage itself was only part of the ruling. The
Court reiterated that gay people are fully entitled to all the rights
and responsibilities which every group of society is granted. The
Court thus determined that discrimination based on sexual
orientation was just as nefarious as discrimination based on race
or sex. Yet in passing Prop. 8, for the first time in history, a bare
majority overturned a court’s granting of full equality for a
minority and enshrined discrimination in our constitution.

While many voters saw this initiative as a matter of opinion—
another question on their long ballots—gay people saw it as a
direct attack on their full social inclusion in the nation’s most
diverse state. This is why gay people will not settle for second-
class terminology, such as civil union or domestic partnership.
Yes, it may be easier to accept almost all the same rights under a
different name, but the reason for severing the name from the
rights is to separate one group of people from another. As history
has proven, separate is never equal, and to deny same-sex couples
the word marriage is to condone inequality.

The California Supreme Court planned to once again hear
arguments regarding the right of same-sex couples to marry in
California on March 5, as this newspaper went to press. It can
only be hoped that the court will reject Prop 8 and restore same-
sex marriage. Not doing so will set the dangerous precedent that
minority rights are forever at the mercy of the beliefs of the
majority. That would undermine the entire reason for
constitutional rights.

No matter how the court rules, the battle over same-sex marriage
will likely continue. But if the aftermath of Prop 8 is any
indication, gay rights activists are unwilling to relent in their
struggle for full equality, no matter how far we must reach out to
grab it.

De Simone is Downtown Community Vice President of the
Stonewall Young Democrats
My letter to the editor

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2009 10:51:04
Subject: Why Gays Fight Prop 8
To: editor@garmentandcitizen.
com;; xphomo@aol.
com;;;; xBK@mac.

Editor, L.A. Garment & Citizen
Response to Guest Viewpoint
3/6/09 "Why Gays Fight Prop 8"

Dear Ed,
I am ambivalent about writing
this response because I
believe in individual freedom
and think this country would
be better off if every
individual paid more attention
to it.  However, freedom stems
from‚ responsibility. When a
gay activist invokes the
trampling of his rights,
comparing himself to black
freedom riders of the nineteen-
fifties, without paying even
lip service to responsibility,
this begs the question (old
definition: slyly inserting an
assumption into the posing of
a question.  The assumption
turns out to be the beggar's
desired answer, e.g., "Have
you stopped beating your
I raised two daughters, and as
I made my poor battered way
Through these people's teenage
years, I was thankful that I
and every last adult member of
my community believed in, and
taught by example, the concept
of marriage (even to the
extent of tsk-tsk-ing the
inevitable shacking up and
divorcing).  My kids breathed
it in almost from birth,
without it being forced upon
them by lectures or onerous
classroom study.  Everybody
knows that this is about
getting the young to at least
THINK about what the effect on
their lives would be of
postponing sexual activity
from age 14 to, say, age 24.  
I demand that gay activists
abandon the hidden assumption
that they are being
discriminated against
analogously to black-skinned
individuals and other
disadvantaged minorities, that
is, because of appearance.  
They are being discriminated
against because of behavior,
and however much (or little,
guess which) I feel gays
should be discriminated
against for their behavior in
private, the dilution and
obfuscation of marriage with a
free license to do so, is very
much a PUBLIC behavior of an
ADVANTAGED minority and is, in
my humble opinion, deserving
of castigation and
condemnation and proscription,
not protection.

Jack B Nimble
Echo Park

redundant extra jab
(50's civil rights,
after all, was only
asking for the removal
of discrimination based
on appearance:  they
didn't have the nerve,
say, to ask that black-
skinned individuals who
were on trial for
embezzlement get a
mandatory innocent
Kevin responds first

--- On Sat, 3/7/09, xme
<> wrote:

Actually, the gay marriage thing is as
much about responsibility as for
anyone else!

As for the "appearance" bit, actually, it
wasn't appearance that was the issue.
It was discrimination for being what
they were born as. Gays contend they
were born gay -- and are being
discriminated against for that. They
say their conduct is the same and as
meritorious as anyone else's.
I answer Kevin

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2009 18:19:39
Subject: RE: Why Gays Fight
Prop 8

my letter was a response to an
opinion piece (which I sent
later) and could have been
titled "why straights fight
gays fighting Prop 8".  Your
picky pickies totally ignore
my core concept about the how
and why of the damage that
broadening marriage will do to
civilization—the civilization
that everyone including gays
have to live in.  It's a
cutting off your nose to spite
your face argument that I
expect all but the most
foaming at the mouth gay
activists will eventually
subscribe to.  READ THE

Kevin comes back

--- On Sat, 3/7/09, xme <xme@hotmail.
com> wrote:

You did not make an argument about
"broadening marriage will do to
civilization-- the civilization that
everyone including gays have to live
in." That was not in your argument,
although having spoken with Susan
over the hears, I was looking for it.
Had it been there, I would have said
that it is preposterous, it will have NO
civilization! And to make that your
argument would require implicitly that
all gays be stamped out and eliminated
– or converted -- as it is the conduct
that that argument gets at, not
Marriage is about taking on
responsibility -- they thing you argued
gays should have to do!
Me back at Kevin

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2009 23:02:54
Subject: RE: Why Gays Fight
Prop 8

Dearest Kevin,
The argument is in my having
raised two daughters, and is
obvious to anyone who has
(tried to) parent teenagers:
try to imagine yourself in my
position (as I can empathize
with young fathers who are
coming after me), and you will
find the viewpoint easier to
love; the clearness of the
definition of marriage,
heretofore, was and is
important to me.  Please at
least try this thought
experiment:  pretend that it
is your view of reality that
marriage is not only about
protecting babies by affecting
the behavior of young parents,
but also about protecting
young teens from becoming
parents too young by affecting
THEIR behavior in a measured,
gentle way.  Can you pretend
you have this worldview for at
least a moment?
It's not that it isn't
valuable to have gay parents
being all nice and
responsible, but the effect on
the majority population has
much greater weight in the
mind of a father of teenagers
who is deprived of the support
of this institution.
How, you say, is he deprived?  
Marriage doesn't any longer
connect-- in the mind of his
teenager-- with the teenager's
contemplating the long range
consequences of his sexual
activity!  Why? Because it now
equally (and more tenuously)
applies to any two people
tickling each other's fancy!  
It puts off the connection
with babies and responsibility
for them from the age of 14--
the age at which boy-girl
couples start being in the
greatest danger of being
babies having babies-- to let
us say 24—the age at which
paired straights contemplate
marriage and paired gays
contemplate adoption, etc.  In
my humble opinion, the
psychological need of the far
greater numbers of boy-girl
couples in the earlier age
range outweighs the desires of
adult gays to fit in.  If
foaming-at-the-mouth gay
activists continue to harp on
this as EXCLUSIVELY "the
majority stepping on the
minority", deliberately
refusing to acknowledge that
there are other POTENTIALLY
VALID viewpoints out there
which have to do with a
society not letting itself
descend into chaos, then they
are either a) very crazy or b)
very selfish (in my humble
And don't tell me that we have
perfect contraception and that
this (purported) fact makes
all arguments about humans
controlling their moral lives
moot, and don't tell me that
our science is so good that it
can cure any ills that may
crop up as more and more
humans decide to let it all
hang out and explore their
animal sides.

Over to you, Kevin

--- On Sun, 3/8/09, xme <xme@hotmail.
com> wrote:

You're just using a smoke screen. The
two things have absolutely no
connection. If you're not gay, you're
not gay, and just because someone
you never even heard of gets into a
gay marriage is not going to make you
gay. That's an incredibly rediculous
argument. You're arguing that
everyone deep down really wants to be
gay and that we all have to fight that

That aside, just talking about writing
and communication, your issue in
writing tends to be that you presume
everyone else has the same things in
their head as you do so you don't
need to say that that is, just need to
make a mere reference to children and
everyone with children as no thoughts
of their own, all walk in lock stop, so
just say the word and everyone knows
everything in your mind. If so, why
make the argument if everyone
already knows it! No, you have to say
what is on your mind because
everyone -- even if they have children
– have completely different things in
their mind. In fact, you will find that
many people with children are not
thinking the same thing you are, and at
any rate, are not going to PRESUME
that you are thinking what they are.
You need to say what you are thinking.
If is NOT obvious to anyone, whether
they have children or not.
Me Again

From: xj
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2009 23:02:33
-0700 (PDT)
Subject: RE: Why Gays Fight
Prop 8

Dear Kevin,

I didn't mean seeing someone
in a gay marriage would make
my teenager gay.  I meant it
would make them straight but
out of control. Why?  Because
it would make marriage exactly
one-third as meaningful and
compelling as it has been for
thousands of years. To
everybody?  No, just to
straight teenagers who
represent the biggest damage
to a society if you cut them
loose from this moral compass.
I can believe that childless
old you would read my words
with such extreme prejudice,
but again, just realize that
parenting is a sometimes
daunting experience and it
ties a lot of us together.  Do
we have the final say?  I
don't know, but this is a
broad societal issue which
should be discussed by the
whole population and not
decided in judges' chambers
with lawyers talking abstruse
legal technicalities.  And I
think, gay gene or not, that
this is indeed beyond a
genetic endowment issue, and
that, as with all us humans,
gays are not robots and at
some point even they would
have to admit that they are
b-e-h-a-v-i-n-g.  The issue
then becomes, do you care more
about getting your
entitlements as an abused
minority or whether you may be
damaging YOUR society.
And make no mistake:
exhibiting black skin is not
really a behavior, although
freedom riding is.  The
difference between gay rights
and black-skinned rights is
that, while black-skinned
individuals would be expected
to demand a clause in their
rights-giving laws to allow
them to continue their
behavior of exhibiting black
skin, they would not be
expected (assuming they
received total equal treatment
from then on) to demand a
statute giving them the right
to continue to create civil
disturbances any time they

p.s. I hope it's ok with you
that I've been sharing this
exchange with S and J.

Kevin Redux

On Tue, 3/10/09, xme
<> wrote

Whether a same-sex couple gets
married has absolutely NO effect on
ANYONE else's marriage. A marriage
is between the couple being married,
not between them and the rest of the

1/3? How do you make up such

Children are not going to be out of
control because someone else gets
married - that comment is insane.
Someone else's marriage has NO
effect on teenagers actions. In fact,
teenagers won't even give it another
thought -- unless YOU drum it into
them and seek to brainwash them. The
issue would not be whether gays get
married but what you scream to the
teenagers about it. That would mean
that you are the problem, not the gays
getting married.

Also, parents have no monopoly on
knowing about children. That's just
pompous -- and a very unknowing
statement. I'll tell you, many parents
know nothing about children.
The editor responds to my
original letter

--- On Thu, 3/12/09,
<> wrote:

I tried editing your Letter to the Editor (see
below), but I'm not sure
point has been rendered clear and correct.
I held it from the issue on
March 13, but would like to get it in next
week. Could you take a look and
see if this accurately represents your
I don't think, by the way, that gays in
general claim to be singled out
because of the way they look. I think they
concede that bias against them
is based on their behavior.
They do claim kinship to
African/Americans, casting their efforts as
matter of Civil Rights--but I don't hear gay
folks denying or going around
the fact that the matter is behavior based in
their case.
In any case, I think that you have to clearly
state that you find gay
behavior abberant, and make if plain that
you endorse discrimination based
on such behavior.


I am ambivalent about writing
this response to the recent
column urging the
legalization of gay marriage
[Guest Viewpoint, “Why Gays
Fight Prop
issue of March 6].
I am ambivalent because I
believe in individual freedom and
think this
country would be better off if
every individual paid more
attention to it.
However, I cannot accept gay
activists' claims that their rights
are being
trampled, or or their efforts to
compare themselves to the
Freedom Riders of the 1950s.
African/Americans have been
discriminated against, in large
part, because
of their appearance, or physical
Prop 8 does not discriminate
against gays because of their
appearance or
physical characteristics. It does
so based on the behavior of gays.
The granting of rights to
marriage would condone such
behavior, which, in
my opinion, is not worthy of
constitutional protection.

Jack B Nimble
Echo Park
Jack v. Ed

From: xJ
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2009
23:39:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: RE: Why Gays Fight
Prop 8/from Ed

Dear Ed,
It is interesting watching
one's words go out and come
back not having created the
effect one desired.  I'm glad
you didn't print it.
I don't know if I can come up
with a small enough
column-inches, even
eliminating all the
yada-yada-yada about how we
rely too much on the notion
that we have great
contraception or even great
mental science to deal with
the ills that were once
exclusively the province of
social-moral indoctrination
(or pointing to the bedraggled
girl in the gutter and saying
"this could be you if you
don't mind your 'p's and
And the remarks about how
Hollywood personalities have
already done for marriage and
so what is the big deal?  And
I have seen at least two
people interpret my arguments
concerning my kids' perception
of sex to mean I was concerned
that gays were out to somehow
artifically goose up their
fertility rates, someday to
become a majority perhaps.  If
I said that, then in the words
of George Harrison, "I din't
know wot oi wuz dewin' !"
Let me start out with a
non-letter form and see if you
agree that
there IS a clear idea here and
maybe we can work up from
there to a
presentable piece.

CORE ARGUMENT:  My daughters
were taught gently (from
birth, by the unspoken
assumption of all the adults
around them that there was
this big deal called marriage)
to view their relationships
with boys (biggest payoff to
be at onset of puberty) as
special (important, tagged,
flagged, dangerous,
interesting). This gentle,
effective training, without
reading assignments, without
classroom regimentation,
a powerful aid to the shared
goal of all of us who live in
and contribute to this
society-- even gays-- of
lessening babies having
babies. This fundamental
social contract issue needs
to be brought up when gay
marriage advocates cry "civil
rights being trampled here!"
and seem to be able to
"statutorily" trump all other

father is having a rough time
with his increasingly
uncontrollable teenagers, and
tunnel-visioned civil rights
lawyering has now taken this
civilizational aid called
marriage away from him,
because his straight teenagers
now no longer comprise the
totality of the marriage
"story", but they are now only
one-third of it, being
required to share with boy-boy
and girl-girl.  (and does this
churning have any payoff with
gay teenagers?  how many gay
teen pregnancies will be
I don't need to bash any gay
behavior to make this argument
other than the gay behavior of
demanding that they be
anointed by this civilization
by the sacrifice of a simply
defined institution called
marriage.  Gay marriage sucks
not because of gays being
married, not even because of
whatever gays do in the
privacy of their homes, but
because it attenuates the
business end of the "old"
institution (or is it the
"real" institution), which, in
the example above, is the
effect on the minds of the
unmarried straight couples
when they contemplate their
relationships and the effects
of these relationships on
themselves, on their potential
offspring, and on the
civilization that provides a
past and a future and is now
giving them a fairly unharried
present without 24-hour
scrabbling just to survive.
Am I ascribing too much mojo
to marriage?  Maybe.  But I
deeply believe that this is an
issue that needs to be
reviewed by broad public
discourse as opposed to being
decided in judges' chambers by
lawyers juggling legal

Editor comes back at Jack

--- On Fri, 3/13/09,
<> wrote:

You have a giant gap in your logic:
Consider this, from you:
I don't need to bash any gay behavior to
make this argument other than the gay
behavior of demanding that they be
anointed by this civilization by the sacrifice
of a simply defined institution called
marriage.  Gay marriage sucks not because
of gays being married, not even because of
whatever gays do in the privacy of their
homes, but because it attenuates the
business end of the "old" institution (or is it
the "real" institution), which, in the
example above, is the effect on the minds
of the unmarried straight couples when
they contemplate their relationships and the
effects of these relationships on
themselves, on their potential offspring,
and on the civilization that provides a past
and a future and is now giving them a
fairly unharried present without 24-hour
scrabbling just to survive.

I take that to say that a married couple
serves as a model for the institution,
passing along a tradition and a beneficial
social norm to their children--preferably by
example rather than inculcation, accordign
to your stated ideals.
Meawhile, gays want to get married, and
their arguments for the right indicates that
they also see great value in the instituion.
Gays right now are forbidden marriage, but
can adopt children. They want to gain
rights to marriage in order to achieve
entree to the benefits the institution that
you cite. So they agree with your premise
about the value of marriage. Your point is
that they don't merit the right to marriage.
So you have to delineate clearly why they
don't merit the right. You have no
argument with them over the value of
marriage. You simply maintain that they
shouldn't be permitted access to marriage.
You have to say why not--and the best I
can figure from your writing is that you
would forbid gays marriage because of
their behavior, and I assume you mean
their sexual behavior.
You've explained your view of why
marriage is valuable to society.
You've explained your view of the
difference between discrimination against
folks based on the color of their skin as
opposed to bias based on behavior.
You haven't said clearly that you believe it's
the behavior that should exclude gays from
the rights of marriage. It seems to me that
gay behavior, in your view, amounts to
"content of character," or lack thereof, as
opposed to color of skin when it comes to
discrimination. Some tend to forget that
not all discrimination is illegal. Employers
discriminate when they only consider
hiring workers who can read, or those
with a college education. That
discriminates against the illiterate or folks
who didn't go to college, but it's not illegal.
Employers discriminate against folks who
have been convicted of theft--a content of
character matter. You have to explain why
gay behavior merits a veto on marriage
based on content of character.
Also, it seems to me that if you forbid gays
marriage based on these arguments you
would intellectually obliged to forbid any
two people who present the possibility of
becoming parents—through offspring or
adoption--from living together without
Jack to Earth (Editor)

RE: Why Gays Fight Prop 8/from
From: "xJ"
To: editor@garmentandcitizen.
Cc:  "b" <>, "xIan"
<>, "‎kevin‎"

Dear Jerry,
Thank you for the extreme
amount of care you have
lavished on my effort to
popularize my "killer"
argument against samesex
Again, I don't need to make
arguments that are prima facie
offensive to gays or even
skeptical about gays' ability
to form successful
propagational groups (though I
reserve the right to examine
statistical evidence in the
years to come).
The slant on this is not that
my straight teens' moral
indignation about cornholing
is what keeps them from
fucking (or performs the
absolute good of delaying this
by whatever years, months, or
minutes), if you can excuse
the greek.  It's that their
straight relationships are
special.  How special we won't
know unless and until this
society ultimately anoints
samesex marriage as totally
equivalent to 'regular'
Backing into it by debating ad
infinitum the benefits of
marriage per se is the
cerebral trap I'm trying to
divert people from when I talk
about a fundamental "social
contract clause" and the
benefit it's now providing by
affecting the mindset of
people who are not even
married, nor soon expected to
be and whether society wants
to experiment, for whatever
group's perceived benefit, by
jerking around with its
essence.  Its essence is that
boys and girls are a special
combination.  Further, its
essence is that boy-girl
couples GET IT, and they won't
GET IT as effectively if they
find themselves now in a
clubby atmosphere of three:
along with THEIR no-longer-
exclusive combination, there
are now boy-boy couples and
over here we have the girl-
girl couples.  I of course
have no statistics and will
not have until we, at the
behest of the gays, perform
this experiment.
As before, my closing of the
communication about this
viewpoint would be to sound
very reasonable and merely
request that we consider this
in wide public discourse and
urge that we DECIDE this in
the same way, casting as much
doubt as possible on the
validity of it being handed
back, ever, to a wise elite
such as the Calif Supreme
If you couldn't glean all this
from my original effort, can
you please tell me why so I
can be more effective.  All
you've done for me so far is
show me that I failed to get
it across (of inestimable
value so far as it goes).  Now
can you tell me what went
wrong so I can put something
in or take something out or be
cuter or less cute or assume
tacit agreements with my
audience or kick myself for
such assumptions.


P.S. Don't kill yourself, I
think I have ample food for
thought about a revised letter
now.  Just if some simple bell
suddenly rings, let me know.

P.P.S. Get this:  
"CFC (www. is also
taking action to protect
children in  public schools.  
Right now, California Family
Council is joining with
Advocates for Faith and
Freedom, a religious liberty
law firm, to oppose Senate
Bill 777 on legal grounds.  SB
777 has re-written the
definition of gender in our
public schools.  It allows
students to self-identify as
male or female  (on any given
day) and disallows any school
activities or class
instruction that opposes this
new definition!  Today in the
Los Angeles City School
system, teachers are
encouraged to approach
children, asking them if they
prefer to be called boy or
girl, he or she!"
The Final Draft

Dear Ed,
Nothing incenses me more than
hearing the loud crowing of "Boo Yah!"
out of gay activists and their allies
after they invoke "Trampled Civil
Rights".  All other philosophical
approaches to the matter now
"thrown out of court: irrelevant and

What about the rights of parents of
straight teenagers-- and these could
be straight OR gay parents-- who
thank their lucky stars that this
ancient societal agreement still holds
for a while longer.  And what about its
reason for having come into
existence: the fact that babies'
making of babies is detrimental to
the society's ability to have its
culture last through more than one
generation (as opposed to the ability
to produce ever higher totals of two
legged creatures running around with
no more sense of themselves than

My gay teenager was quite docile in
this arena, and anyhow, his particular
gender outcome was never a worry in
the procreational arena, for obvious

My straight teenager, however, when
she wasn't
simply beating me about the head and
shoulders mentally, was quite
independent, and I was glad that she
had been exposed from birth to the
mental attitudes around her.  I'm
talking about the picture of marriage
that everyone she came in contact
with had in his head.  By the time she
hit puberty, there was no chance that
she would come home pregnant simply
because she didn't take her
relationships with members of the
opposite sex seriously.

I hope that her children, if she has
any, will continue to receive this
subtle instruction that our society
has heretofore practiced.

My point is that the removal of
marriage's function of making fertile
young couples aware of their
importance in the scheme of things
(yes! at the expense of gay couples'
feelgood needs!) should not be
considered lightly; should be
considered in broad public discourse;
should not be allowed to be decided
by lawyers juggling narrow

(this fictive account expresses my
feelings better than my actual life
could in a brief letter)

Echo Park
Gay Constitution
argument du jour 3 archive