But how many pedophiles, he isn't saying
A number of observers on the political left have expressed degrees of concern with self-styled God-spokeperson and megachurch proprietor "Pastor" Rick Warren's comparison of gays with pedophiles.
While it's true Warren likened gay couples to child molesters and it's also true that the comparison is outlandish and wildly insulting on its face, there are at least two important distinctions overlooked by most of those observers.
Pedophilia is an aberrant psychological condition and plenty of pedophiles are already legally married. They just aren't married to children. And when it comes to sexual — or even contractual — relationships involving children, the question of consent arises.
Because as a matter of fundamental legal (and psychological) principle, children aren't even capable of extending consent. Whereas among adults, consent is not an issue. It's a given.
Nevertheless, the ongoing debate over gay marriage is not so much a question of sexuality or even consent but of equality and civil rights, two other fundamental legal principles.
And the civil rights and bonds sought by many gay people are no different than those enjoyed by anyone else. It just so happens that those bonds are sought by two people of the same gender. All of their other goals and aspirations may be identical to those of other legally married couples, including child rearing and even child bearing.
Take a look, for example, at this assembly of New Jersey plaintiffs.
In a number of the same sex marriage cases litigated throughout the country, States have asserted, in opposition to SSM, that State's compelling interest in fostering procreation. Frankly, it's just about the strongest argument they have.
Except nobody ever said that gay couples can't procreate, either through surrogate parenting or adoption.
Nor has any State forced more "traditional" couples to procreate who otherwise might decide not to — or even have intercourse, for that matter. In other words, women and men, regardless of their sexuality, are still able to fulfill those State objectives if they so desire. Or not. They remain free to make those choices.
Much in keeping with the U.S Supreme Court's 1967 unanimous opinion in Loving v. Virginia, it took a judicial decision in California to recognize the constitutional right of gay people to enter into the same type of civil arrangement that the widely admired Britney Spears was able to freely enjoy for as long as 55 whole hours.
Former Paramount Studios head Robert Evans enjoyed it so much he did it seven times with nary a peep from the religious rightists.
Yet "Pastor" Warren, allegedly at the personal behest of noted civil libertarian and community organizer Jesus of Nazareth, helped lead the efforts of Californians to rescind that right on November 4.
That alone should preclude him from sharing the inaugural podium with the president of all Americans a month from now, in my opinion. But that's Barack Obama's decision, and he can take his political lumps for it. And he will. And he should. And he deserves to.
Warren's position is not a "principled decision," as some might suggest. That Warren views consensual, adult gay relationships through the same antediluvian blinkers that he does those who would commit first degree sexual assault of a child, which carries a 60-year prison term in Wisconsin, is instead strong evidence that his position is one of a foolish and unprincipled ignoramus.
As for Obama's selection of Warren to intone some species of abracadabra during the chief executive's installation next month, we don't yet know of its exact content. But Warren says he plans to "pray God's blessing on the office of the president," so obviously it's not going to make the slightest bit of difference one way or the other.