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Preview: Comments on The Y Files: Extremism, hate speech, and moral equivalency

Comments on The Y Files: Extremism, hate speech, and moral equivalency





Updated: 2017-11-15T04:48:49.399-05:00

 












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Jeez, in the midst of my frequent absences, all go...

2005-12-19T16:30:00.000-05:00

Jeez, in the midst of my frequent absences, all goes wild.

Revenant, if it weren't for the filibuster, it would have passed. I agree that many of the legislation sponsorships are likely throwing bones to the constituents. As I said before, most democratic politicians are not really pro-gay. I also agree that marriage is a benefit, not an entitlement. In fact, my other half(republican until recently) thinks that the government should get out of the marriage business all together.

Cobra, I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, that all republicans are homophobes, evil, or any of that. I do, however, believe that republican party politics is, at times, explicitly anti-gay. This is true at the federal, and a lot of times, the state level, too. I think I have presented some clear examples of that, and if you need more, there is plenty where that came from. I also believe that their are social conservatives who support the republican party, in part, because of that anti-gay political slant. I can provide plenty of examples of that, too.

As a lesbian, gay rights is a bread and butter issue for me, and I don't have the luxury of ignoring it. It affects everything from how honest I can be with my co-workers to how my partner and I plan our finances for the future. So I pay very close attention to the rhetoric, the proposed legislation, and the votes. I also pay close attention to attitudes in the surrounding community about gay related legislation and the politicians who come down on one side of the issues or the other. I compare notes with my friends in more liberal communities. Again, I have to.

When it comes to where we put our votes, we all make hard choices. As a fiscal conservative, at times, I've had to really swallow hard to vote democratic. I am well aware than when each of us goes to the polls we don't endorse EVERYTHING a politician stands for. Still, when people I have voted for have done things I don't agree with, I own the fact that I helped put them there.

Z



That misses the point. The simple fact is that som...

2005-12-18T18:24:00.000-05:00

That misses the point. The simple fact is that some cultural conservatives physically assault gay people. It doesn’t matter if the cultural conservative in question is black, white, red or purple – Republican, Democrat or Independent – and whether they live in San Francisco or Tulsa.

After the Sheppard example, we KNOW you'd hear more about them if they happened.

And, you know, if you want to be REALLY technical, gays are treated equally under marriage laws:

Gay men are more than free to marry any woman they want. Gay women are very free to marry any man they want.

Like it or not, that is a totally equal system. It's not like, say, interracial marriage, where black men weren't allowed to marry white women and vice versa.

And, you know, when I see stories of ANY college conservative destroying liberal student papers, I'll buy into this concern. God knows stories of liberals destroying conservative student papers on campus are hardly unheard of.

-=Mike



Nobody is entitled to themThe government could cho...

2005-12-18T14:22:00.000-05:00

Nobody is entitled to them

The government could choose to offer no marriage benefits at all. But once the government starts handing out goodies, it can't do so in a way that is unconstitutional.

For example, the government could decide that everybody under age 10 gets a free basket of candy on his or her birthday. Now, nobody has a right to this candy. There is no Constitutional obligation to hand out candy. But it would be unconstitutional if the candy was only given to white children, or children born to married parents.



Pooh, I agree entirely with your last point. But ...

2005-12-18T10:46:00.000-05:00

Pooh, I agree entirely with your last point. But I also understand Revenant's frustration with marriage benefits as they currently exist and presumably would exist for gays and lesbians who marry. The original definition of marriage didn't account for the sharing of insurance benefits or tax breaks any more than it did same sex couples. Marriages that involve children, I believe, should be granted extra privileges by the state--but all the headache of deciding how that should work is daunting, and the official designation of what may or may not be a marriage of convenience is dismayingly cynical. Changing the definition of marriage could have radical unseen consequences, and being nervous about them isn’t necessarily a sign of bigotry.

This issue is one in which civil (or not) personal communication can be a vastly more powerful than the rantings of high profile commentators.



Guys, I haven't had the time to monitor the thread...

2005-12-17T11:41:00.000-05:00

Guys, I haven't had the time to monitor the threads, but can I ask everyone to cool it? I think it's pretty clear from Rev's posts that he harbors no animosity toward gays.

Revenant: maybe I'm missing something, but are you now arguing that opposition to gay marriage, per se, equals homophobia? That it's equally homophobic to be in favor of various legal benefits for gay couples but against same-sex marriage, and to be in favor of throwing people in jail for homosexual sex?



Cobra,Point taken. I thought he was willfully avoi...

2005-12-17T01:09:00.000-05:00

Cobra,

Point taken. I thought he was willfully avoiding answering my specific point (dunno how I could get that impression), and said something intemperate for which I apologized.

I think z's underlying point, though overstated, is basically right in that the GOP is more explicitly 'traditional' (though in practice, as has been pointed out, neither party has been out in front on this issue, DOMA and DADT both Clinton era policies. So the party platform is more marketing than anything else)

There are reasonable arguments to be made against same sex marriage. I don't think 'why doesn't Will just marry Grace' is one of them.



Hi, Pooh--Let's have a look at a few quotes: …you...

2005-12-16T23:48:00.000-05:00

Hi, Pooh--

Let's have a look at a few quotes:

…you can't seriously be suggesting that red states, in general, aren't more homophobic than blue states (again, in general). I mean, Jeez, the Republican party platform explicitly states opposition to gays in the military and gay marraige. Z

“Red” states, on the other hand, have overtly vicious laws…brian

Outside of blue states(where the republicans tend to be more moderate), however, it is quite challenging to find a republican who isn't pretty anti-gay. This isn't just an opinion. –Z

If you don't want gays to get married because you don't like gays, be upfront about it, don't hide behind faux Libertarian nonsense.--Pooh

I think I could predict how the posters would defend the above, but seriously--not interested. Blah blah red states homophobic...blah blah red state vicious laws...blah blah anti-gay republican...You get the idea. Revenant can be difficult (I speak from experience), but do you think any of the above did anything other than bolster his opinion a bit more? And to cause me to wander a little farther from the gay marriage bandwagon?

This isn't to say anybody here shouldn't express themselves as they choose (though Cathy WILL BAN if you get out of hand), just to suggest perhaps friendly persuasion in matters as important and sensitive as this one.



It is analagous to loveless, mercenary hetero marr...

2005-12-16T18:35:00.000-05:00

It is analagous to loveless, mercenary hetero marriage -- i.e., the kind you suggested to me when you said I could just go out and get married if I wanted the benefits.

That's a much better argument against all partnership benefits, period, than against same-sex partnerships.

As to Syriana, yes, you did switch arguments from 'lefty oscar-bait' to crap. I admitted that they aren't exclusive, but neither are they the same.

Realist in terms of zero-sum nature of the oil business. If China gets it we don't. Realist in that everyone is acting in their own interest, and the manner in which these interests intersect and overlap creates conflict. There was little moralizing (which would be the hallmark of Liberal, in International Relations terms, point of view.)

The piece of the film that is getting the most play in a lot of the reviews is the Tim Blake Nelson speech which is explicitly about the positives of the oil-business.

But in the interests in allowing you to have your say, what would a 'rightist' piece on the oil business look like?



Address this specific argument: If straight (marri...

2005-12-16T17:49:00.000-05:00

Address this specific argument: If straight (married) couples are granted a benfit based on their marital status, so should same-sex marriage-like partnerships. This is not an argument based on entitlement, it's based on equal treatment.

It's not an argument at all. It's just a claim.

Another way of phrasing the exact same claim is this: since straight married couples are treated better than single people, the principle of equal treatment requires that gay married couples be treated better than single people too. That's "equal treatment"? Only if some people are more equal than others. :)

Are you serious that gay persons marrying opposite sex is analagous to hetero marriage?

It is analagous to loveless, mercenary hetero marriage -- i.e., the kind you suggested to me when you said I could just go out and get married if I wanted the benefits.

Consider for a moment that the number of straight people in America who are never able to find someone they want to marry, who wants to marry them too, outnumbers the number of homosexuals here. I'd like you to explain why you don't give a shit about us and have no problem with treating us like second-class citizens.

As to Syriana, you're switching your argument. Whether you thought the movie was crap is a seperate (though probably related) question to its politics

How am I switching my argument? I said that it pandered to leftist paranoia and that it was a badly-made film. Those aren't contradictory statements. Oh, and I'm still waiting for you to support your claim that Syriana was Realist instead of leftist.

As to 'leftist perceptions', I don't know what you mean.

I mean the movie takes every left-wing perception of how US politics and the oil industry works and flogs us over the head with them, while showing none of the positive or right-wing perceptions of those things. Imagine if somebody made a biography on Martin Luther King which focused on his plagiarism and infidelity and showed nothing of the civil rights movement but the riots. Would you scratch your head and look puzzled if civil rights leaders complained that the film was aimed at racist whites?

Do rightists claim we don't blow stuff up?

Give me a break. Most of the stuff in Fahrenheit 9/11 actually happened, too, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a leftie hit piece. If you show every dirty detail of one side and ignore the other side, guess what -- you've made a partisan film, even if it doesn't contain a single lie.



Rev,Address this specific argument: If straight (m...

2005-12-16T17:01:00.000-05:00

Rev,

Address this specific argument: If straight (married) couples are granted a benfit based on their marital status, so should same-sex marriage-like partnerships. This is not an argument based on entitlement, it's based on equal treatment. Are you serious that gay persons marrying opposite sex is analagous to hetero marriage? There is a large and obvious difference in kind, and you're unwillingness to address this is what lead me (probably unfortunately, and sorry about that) to question your real motives.

As to Syriana, you're switching your argument. Whether you thought the movie was crap is a seperate (though probably related) question to its politics. I enjoyed the movie because I like that style of storytelling. I'm not going to say you are wrong for disagreeing.

As to 'leftist perceptions', I don't know what you mean. Do 'rightists' perceive U.S. foregin policy to not act in its own interests? Do rightists claim we don't blow stuff up? I guess my underlying point was that I didn't feel the movie took a moral position.



That's a summary based on overheard talking points...

2005-12-16T16:26:00.000-05:00

That's a summary based on overheard talking points.

It's a summary based on my getting bored out of my mind with incoherent storytelling and walking out of the movie, actually. I've seen better film on teeth.

But rather than simply attacking my summary of the film, why don't you cite the parts of the film which are at odds with leftist perceptions of how US foreign policy operates?

to your point on gay marriage, that is simply asinine. You CAN get married and get benefits, they can't.

Sure they can. They just can't marry a person of the same gender and receive benefits. If requiring me to get married to a woman in order to receive benefits is fair, why is it unfair to require a gay man to do the same?

So, no. I think gays should receive marriage benefits, but the idea that they're entitled to them is laughable. Nobody is entitled to them. People are, on the other hand, entitled to the fruit of their labor.

If you don't want gays to get married because you don't like gays, be upfront about it, don't hide behind faux Libertarian nonsense.

Don't be a jackass.



CATHY WRITES...To William Barker:...your post kind...

2005-12-16T16:25:00.000-05:00

CATHY WRITES...

To William Barker:

...your post kind of rubbed me the wrong way because of its condescending tone ("You really need that vacation" etc.)

---------------------------

WRB REPLIES...

Oops! Sorry Cath! I didn't mean to push your buttons! That was me being a wiseass... written with a smile on my face... rather than me trying to be condecending. (*SMILE*)

-----------------------

CATHY WRITES...

If you want to insist that Malveaux ever had anything like Coulter's prominence ... well, I won't argue the point. I just think you're totally wrong on this.

-------------------------

WRB REPLIES...

We agree to disagree. Fair enough.

--------------------------

CATHY WRITES...

And by the way, why is it "vile" to joke that you hope someone will die from eating too much fried food, and merely "obnoxious" to joke about hoping that someone will be assassinated?

-------------------------

WRB REPLIES...

Because I think Malveaux was serious. I put that right in my post. Now who's not "carefully" reading posts?! (*GRIN*)

-------------------------

CATHY WRITES...

[D]oes Malveaux, unlike Coulter, get no benefit of the doubt as to whether she was joking?

---------------------------

WRB REPLIES...

No. (How's that for short and sweet?) (*SMILE*)

----------------------------

CATHY WRITES...

As for partisanship: Sorry if I misread you.

----------------------------

WRB REPLIES...

No problem! (*SMILE*)

----------------------------

CATHY WRITES...

Your posts struck me as exhibiting a "no enemies on the right" mentality.

-----------------------------

WRB REPLIES...

Heaven forbid! (*GRIN*) One example... I think Pat Robertson is off his rocker! (*SMILE*)

---------------------------


CATHY WRITES...

By the way, I believe you asked why the Terri Schiavo case is so important to me. Sorry, but when Congress acts in a blatantly unconstitutional manner, and when leading conservative media personalities tell or abet blatant lies and cause the entire country to be gripped by nearly a week of hysteria, I find that pretty scandalous.

----------------------------

WRB REPLIES...

First of all, Cathy... speaking of hysteria... (*GRIN*) (*WISEASS REMARK... NOT CONDESCENDION*) you'll have to explain to me - with quotes from the Constitution if you can - exactly why you believe the Congress acted "unconstitutionally."

Second of all... I'm as against lies as you are. (*SMILE*)

Third... back to hysteria... (*SMILE*) my experience was that people differed over the Schiavo case, most with the best of motives.

Finally... just for the record... I didn't "ask" why the Schiavo case was so important to you, rather, I wrote the following:

...when you go on and on about Terri Schiavo I just tune out. I just don't attach the same importance or emphasis to this footnote to American history that you do....

See the difference, Cath? And by the way, I wasn't saying that in a nasty or dismissive way; I was just sharing my own personal feelings on the subject.

As always, thanks for providing this blog and thanks for addressing my comments.

BILL



Cobra, to be clear, I wasn't accusing Revenant of ...

2005-12-16T14:36:00.000-05:00

Cobra, to be clear, I wasn't accusing Revenant of bigotry, I was accusing him of obfuscation. Plus the "poor oppressed single guy" argument just ticks me off. I am not a victim damnit ;)



The very best way to prevent gay marriage from win...

2005-12-16T09:22:00.000-05:00

The very best way to prevent gay marriage from winning at the ballot box is to continually accuse all Republicans/ conservatives of bigotry. I understand that some may simply see it as a calling a spade a spade, but you should recognize how alienating it is to otherwise sympathetic people. I support gay marriage on principle and would vote for it if it given the opportunity, but have to admit that after a couple years of abuse that conflates any support whatsoever for the current administration with all manner of anti-gay evil…I’m just not that interested in gay causes any more.

Which I guess is a decent illustration of how intemperate rhetoric can backfire on those who employ it.



does that, maybe, tell us more about blue-staters'...

2005-12-16T02:18:00.000-05:00

does that, maybe, tell us more about blue-staters' prejudices than about those of the red-staters'?

Why would it tell us "more" about one or the other? I'm honestly not sure what you mean by this.

I'm *not* saying that lefties are better than righties. What I am saying is that the misconceptions each 'side' has of the other seem to be different.



Revenant, if that's your plot summary then you hav...

2005-12-16T00:51:00.000-05:00

Revenant, if that's your plot summary then you haven't seen it. That's a summary based on overheard talking points. It's Joe Morgan saying Moneyball is full of crap having never read it. But who needs evidence when you are 100% certain of your correctness ex ante?

As to your point on gay marriage, that is simply asinine. You CAN get married and get benefits, they can't. You have superior rights in this area to every gay person. (Oh wait, they can 'marry' opposite sex too. Yup that's the same thing.) If you want to argue that no-one should have access to 'partnership' benefits, I'll listen, but you are being obtuse, I think willfully so. If you don't want gays to get married because you don't like gays, be upfront about it, don't hide behind faux Libertarian nonsense.



There's no way I can reply to most of these commen...

2005-12-15T21:22:00.000-05:00

There's no way I can reply to most of these comments, so I'll have to limit myself to a few quick points.

To William Barker:

I wonder how carefully you read my post. I said that a few prominent right-wingers' "humorous" talk about mass murder or incarceration of liberal has no precise equivalent on the left. But I said there were other things that were, essentially, just as bad.

If you want to insist that Malveaux ever had anything like Coulter's prominence ... well, I won't argue the point. I just think you're totally wrong on this. And by the way, why is it "vile" to joke that you hope someone will die from eating too much fried food, and merely "obnoxious" to joke about hoping that someone will be assassinated? At least the former invites no human action. Or does Malveaux, unlike Coulter, get no benefit of the doubt as to whether she was joking?

As for partisanship: Sorry if I misread you. However, I don't think it's a matter of partisanship so much as ideology -- a lot of conservatives who are hardcore ideologues have been plenty critical of Republican administrations. Your posts struck me as exhibiting a "no enemies on the right" mentality. (By the way, I believe you asked why the Terri Schiavo case is so important to me. Sorry, but when Congress acts in a blatantly unconstitutional manner, and when leading conservative media personalities tell or abet blatant lies and cause the entire country to be gripped by nearly a week of hysteria, I find that pretty scandalous.)

Regarding your claim that I somehow treated mythago more favorably than you -- I suggest that you re-read my reply to mythago's comment about blue staters' fears about red staters. If the tone of my reply to you was somewhat more brusque... sorry, but your post kind of rubbed me the wrong way because of its condescending tone ("You really need that vacation" etc.).

letmespellitoutforyou, re PJ O'Rourke: I didn't see the "enemies list" as that big a deal because (1) it was merely one bit of schtick in PJ's overall body of work; (2) it was not part of a larger tidal wave of demonizing rhetoric; and (3) it was clearly humor, albeit edgy humor. In Coulter's case, I can see how some of her cracks can be written off as humorous, but does she even claim she's joking when she declares the Democrats the party of treason?

cobra: I agree that "pieing" incidents are more troubling than Ann Coulter's extreme rhetoric, but why does it have to be one or the other? Surely one can be opposed to both (with the caveat, of course, that throwing a pie at someone is illegal and should be punished, while Coulter's speech, and indeed speech far nastier than Coulter's, is fully protected by the First Amendment).

Interesting debate on where the big bucks for extreme rhetoric are. I don't really have any coherently formulated thoughts on this at the moment, but a quick comment to Brian. I think you may be overlooking more "genteel" varieties of extreme/opponent-demonizing speech left of center. I'm thinking, for instance, of things like Maureen Dowd's assertion in one of her columns that Clarence Thomas's critique of raced-based affirmative action revealed him to be "barking mad."



Left-wing crazy has the other major news networks,...

2005-12-15T17:40:00.000-05:00

Left-wing crazy has the other major news networks, National Public Radio, and all of Hollywood. I'm sorry, but the idea that there's a greater market for right-wing nuts just doesn't pass a laugh test. "Left Behind" didn't get made into a major Oscar-bait motion picture -- "Syriana", "Jarhead", and "Good Night and Good Luck" did.

It’s simply pointless arguing with you. If you think NPR is the left-wing equivalent of Rush. OK. You go with that. If you think “Jarhead” is in any way, shape, or form as crazy as the multi-bazillion selling Left Behind series. Um, well, I guess you are entitled to your opinion. Did anybody actually see “Jarhead” for it’s politics – everybody I know who went to see it just wanted to see Jake Gyllanhaal take off his shirt.

The functional equivalent of Rush, Hannity, LaHaye, etc. is Michael Moore, Margaret Cho and Al Franken. Rush, Limbaugh and Hannity make a whole lot more mollah than Cho and Franken. Sorry the facts offend, but the facts is what they is.

Yes Hollywood is liberal. No, it does not make money due to its liberalism. Again, my point hasn’t been refuted. There is a paying market for right wing hate and crazy, but the market for similar left-wing hate and crazy is much, much, much smaller.

I wasn’t arguing that there are no relatively liberal media outlets, nor that there are no liberals in media, or that there aren’t crazy liberal jerks out there, or anything of the sort. I don’t understand why you keep arguing against straw men.

b/t/w – the fact that you bring up a nonprofit entity like NPR to refute my point that there is no paying market for left-wing crazy – um – well – that’s kinda funny.

Sorry about the taxes. I know, I know, it's practically like having to sit at the back of the bus, or having your kids taken away, or being arrested for sodomy. It's almost exactly like that. Sure is. Yup.



This is simply disgraceful. To compare paying prop...

2005-12-15T16:48:00.000-05:00

This is simply disgraceful. To compare paying proportionally more money out of your income to being denied a near-fundamental right is simply absurd.

There is no right to government benefits, fundamental or otherwise. Gays aren't fighting for the right to marry -- they're fighting for the right to receive the government benefits that heterosexual married couples get. In other words, they're fighting for the right NOT to be treated equally, but to in fact be treated better than single people like myself are.

So yes, it is vastly more unjust that I should have to work extra hours of slave labor just because I'm more valuable as a worker. "You have more money, ergo I should be allowed to take more of your money" may be run-of-the-mill left-wing thinking, but that doesn't change the fact that it is nothing more than the majority enriching itself by preying on the minority.