Abortion, Homosexuality, and Marriage

Some years back, a classroom instructor advised us that an audience would always be interested in sex. ‘Find a way to bring sex into it’, he promised, ‘and your audience will stay focused and enthusiastic’. Looking back, I would say that the poor gentleman probably had some wish fulfillment issues in that area, but even so I have to admit that many of today’s top issues have a clearly sexual component, particularly the volatile issues of Abortion, Homosexuality, and Marriage.

It seems very clear to me that the issues of Abortion, Homosexuality, and Marriage are heated because each side not only believes its position to be right, but that any other position is heinously immoral. This leads to the inevitable accusation that “they” must not even be human if they believe what they claim. Being compared to infernal monsters or sadists tends to make civil discussion difficult. For these issues, people seem to fall broadly into one of three camps – the liberal position, the conservative position, and the people who refuse to take a position and just want to be left alone. As a result, a few people end up speaking for everyone, and their positions are almost always extreme to one end or the other of the spectrum.

Abortion is a horrible thing to contemplate, the deliberate killing of a – what? For liberals, the woman concerned is the focus, pregnancy being a difficult process even when you are healthy and financially secure, and bringing up a child a long and arduous ordeal if you are not prepared for it and desire to be a mother. This is further complicated by a society which, let’s be honest, does not do much to compel biological fathers to meet their responsibilities. Aborting the fetus, to a liberal, is a difficult decision but a necessary option for women facing the burden of having and raising children they do not want and cannot care for. But for conservatives, the matter is not of removing a fetus, but killing a pre-natal infant, murder by any reasonable definition. For conservatives, people have rights according to their merits, and no one can hold a higher moral claim than a baby. So liberals focus on the woman, conservatives on the baby-to-be. Both sides believe the other is ignoring the proper balance of interests.

The biggest problem I find in trying to consider this issue, is the extremely personal nature of the situation. No one is likely to think through the decision to have an abortion or go through a pregnancy, until they are faced with the reality of a pregnancy. Therefore the matter is compounded by the emotions and stress of crisis, multiplied by the family and relationship conditions in place. Is the father ready to be a dad? Is the mother prepared to become a mother? Are the families supportive or critical? And then there are additional complications to consider. I leave off the ‘rape victim’ or ‘having the baby might kill the mother’ scenarios because they are really very uncommon, but it needs to be said that pregnancy is full of unforeseen conditions and risks. This is also one of my strongest complaints against abortion. Abortions are surgical procedures, which always carry a degree of medical risk to the woman having the abortion, in addition to a certain psychological trauma. Women have died having abortions, and others have committed suicide after having abortions. This is not to equate having an abortion to becoming clinically depressed, but the risk in such an operation must be recognized as well.

Homosexuality has long been treated socially and legally as unacceptable behavior. It has been grounds for dismissal, divorce, even incarceration, yet after thousands of years it still occurs in every sort of society and culture, even where efforts to eradicate homosexuality by force, like in Iran, are promoted. The plain fact is, on the one hand homosexuals will always be a small minority of the population, but on the other hand homosexuals will always exist in any substantial population. Conservatives would argue that personal conduct is a choice, and so homosexuals are not entitled to any special benefits simply for being homosexual. Liberals argue on the other hand that homosexuals are a demographic minority, who have rights like anyone else which are infringed by a majority society which marginalizes homosexuals. Both sides believe the other is trying to impose an intolerable social order.

(continued)

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It seems strange to me, sometimes, that conservatives should be unduly offended by homosexuality. That is, when it is practiced in the same way that most people practice heterosexual sex. So long as I am not the object of homosexual advances, what should I care what someone does in private with another consenting adult? Yes, there is the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, but that exists when someone is sexually promiscuous in any way, so it seems not to really be a problem on the personal level, stay out of risky behavior and you’re fine. Sure, some gays get into protests and such, but this is the same nation that allows Nazis to march and someone keeps paying money and giving TV shows to Rosie O’Donnell.

At the same time, I do think it’s inappropriate for gay special interest groups to try to influence kids in grade school. Look, I want my daughter to be tolerant and make her own decisions, but an 8-year-old does not to be indoctrinated in sexual conduct. Those discussions belong to the family, not the government anyway.

Marriage is in some ways a new battlefield, but in others an old one. Not so long ago, pretty much everyone accepted a definition of marriage that, more or less, was the same everywhere for everyone. Since no one was required to get married, it was a low-priority issue. That’s changed, with the push to grant first civil unions, then religiously-sanctioned marriage ceremonies, for same-sex couples. The problem comes from the question of who has the greater right, couples to be married if they decide to do so, or religious institutions to stay true to sworn ideals. The reason that the battlefield is in some ways an old one, is that the moral boundaries began to decay with the liberal advocacy of casual sex a generation ago. Sexual conduct has been a factor for half a century in changing attitudes about marriage. Remember the “open” marriage, wherein the vows were apparently optional when one partner so desired? Remember when they introduced the “no-fault” divorce, a ‘limited’ measure designed to remedy the bitter court fights and post-marriage feuds? The sanctity of marriage has been under attack for quite a while now, and it’s no accident. So now it should be no surprise that liberals want to redefine what a marriage is in the first place. That said, however, it is impossible for conservatives to compel the country to abide by the standards used in 1950. The question therefore, stands at hand – what makes a marriage, and who has the right to define its terms? For here and now, the best first step would be civil discussion with consideration of all reasonable perspectives. I have little confidence, however, that we are ready for that discussion as a nation.

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  • Hansel2

    I even split the word postpubescent apart to help them and they still thought it applied to a 4 month-old girl.

    This is what I wrote:

    “I have a 4 month old daughter. The idea of doing anything unnatural with any minor is as foreign to me as having relations with a goat (and was before having my daughter).”

    Did I say “…doing anything unnatural with a 4 month old? ” No. A minor. That is a general reference to anyone under 18 years old – and that statement I stand by.

    You, somehow, seem to separate very young minors from older minors in your explanation. I don’t do that – but that’s the least of where you’re just plain off the mark. You are trying to rationalize abhorrent behaviour (attraction to minors – those under 18 – and what you feel are men’s “urges” to act on that.) with some idea that you can break it up by age – and in some twisted way applying this paradigm to homosexuality.

    I have a daughter. Anyone under the age of 18 I look at as a child. As a parent, the idea of doing anything with any minor is reprehensible and not a natural “urge.”

    Try reading less into what others say and a little more into what they actually write.

  • Hansel2

    As Donna B. has stated, homosexuality and pedophilia are not related for a myriad of reasons. That you continually try to link the two shows your ignorance of this issue – it’s like linking a Sikh with a Wahhabi muslim simply because they both have turbans and beards. Furthermore, that you have obviously never been friends with any homosexuals at all makes your clarity on this issue limited.

    Ignorance combined with a strong, uninformed position does not make an argument any more true.

  • Hansel2

    And yet the age of sexual consent is 15 in Denmark.

    Yes – too young. Just as certain muslim cultures treating women as second class citizens is wrong – and is also a civil rights issue. And a 17 year old by going out with a 15 year old girl is hardly considered in any legal or social context to be a “pedophile.” When I was 21 I went out with a 17 year old – and was well aware of the laws and keenly aware of her youth and lack of emotional maturity and was very conscious about it all the time – and she was 17!

    Homosexuality regarding a legal union is a choice between two consenting adults. Trying to push this argument of comparing them to pedophiles is, as I said before, uninformed – and your definition of normal male urges as being linked to pedophilia is way off.

  • Scalia

    Hansel says, “As Donna B. has stated, homosexuality and pedophilia are not related for a myriad of reasons. That you continually try to link the two shows your ignorance of this issue – it’s like linking a Sikh with a Wahhabi muslim simply because they both have turbans and beards.”

    Donna B offered no argument, just bald assertions, rhetorical questions and blatant non sequiturs. If bald assertions and non sequiturs are rational, then I’m right because I say so. Repeating your illogic doesn’t help your position.

    The “link” I made is notice the FACT both phenomena are sexually aberrant and that a genetic argument cannot be the basis of the gay rights debate. It is bad science to assume genetic causation and irresponsible to teach children said behavior is normal.

    Don’t assume who I have or haven’t been friends with. I had two homosexual friends in high school and I’ve worked with several homosexuals. “Ignorance” might have logical force if you reinforced it with some evidence. Standing alone, it’s just a signpost you have no ammunition.

    Regards,
    Scalia

  • Hans

    Okay, here’s a recent study:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/06/13/0801566105.abstract

    and here’s reference to another one:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6519-survival-of-genetic-homosexual
    -traits-explained.html

    The problem with these studies is not whether they were thorough. It’s whether you believe science has anything to offer a discussion. I’m inclined to believe you’ll ignore science if it doesn’t fit with your very unscientific theory. Just because you’ve laid out your theory in a sober manor doesn’t assure it’s correctness. And, even if you did offer some footnote of scientific trials, it’s a wash.

    It is bad science to assume genetic causation and irresponsible to teach children said behavior is normal.

    No one said anything about “normal.” Normal has no play in these kind of rights. No one in school teaches that children with downes syndrome are genetically “normal” but their rights are not infringed apon due to their “abnormality.” As well, unless an abnormality is truly a danger to society, those individuals should be afforded equal rights in civil unions. It is a societal moral issue, having more to do with religion than anything else, that is the road block here. And while this is one nation under God, the separation of church and state is a responsible approach, since legal issues don’t always coincide with moral.

    Mac Lorry believes the biological underpinnings of the family will collapse if we allow gays to have “civil unions” in our society.

    Darwinism did not destroy religion now, did it? This is why I think these are neanderthal arguments – the last gasp of quietly scared people. If I thought being gay could be “taught” I’d redirect my son to a football game rather than listening to show tunes, wouldn’t I?

  • Mac Lorry

    “I have a 4 month old daughter. The idea of doing anything unnatural with any minor is as foreign to me as having relations with a goat (and was before having my daughter).”

    Did I say “…doing anything unnatural with a 4 month old? ” No. A minor. That is a general reference to anyone under 18 years old – and that statement I stand by.

    You wrote that in response to my post #40. The only explanation is that you didn’t know what postpubescent means. Nothing I wrote was in regard to prepubescent children.

    You, somehow, seem to separate very young minors from older minors in your explanation. I don’t do that – but that’s the least of where you’re just plain off the mark.

    Unbelievable! You still don’t know what puberty means, and yet you accuse me of being ignorant. Please read what puberty means and the age it normally happens at. Here’s a link to help you.

    You are trying to rationalize abhorrent behaviour (attraction to minors – those under 18 – and what you feel are men’s “urges” to act on that.)

    What seems beyond your grasp to understand is that there’s a difference between the age a girl becomes physically fully mature and the age our society defines as an adult. Normal men feel sexual attraction to physically fully mature women. Having such feelings are not “behavior” any more than feeling hungry when you smell good food. Acting on those feelings is behavior, not having them. Your argument requires some flag men can see to pop up on a women’s 18th birthday and that without that flag men feel no sexual attraction to an otherwise physically fully mature women. That’s just stupid.

    That vast majority of men experience sexual attractions they know are inappropriate in our society or in their marriage and they control them. If heterosexual men can control their behavior then so can homosexual men, or are you going to claim homosexual men are just animals incapable of controlling their behavior?

    I have a daughter. Anyone under the age of 18 I look at as a child. As a parent, the idea of doing anything with any minor is reprehensible and not a natural “urge.”

    Nobody is talking about your 4 month-old prepubescent daughter. Are you going to find it reprehensible when your daughter is a physically mature 16 year-old and some teenage guy wants to date her? Maybe you will, but I can assure you there’s nothing abhorrent or unnatural about it.

    Try reading less into what others say and a little more into what they actually write.

    Please take your own advise.

    As Donna B. has stated, homosexuality and pedophilia are not related for a myriad of reasons. That you continually try to link the two shows your ignorance of this issue – it’s like linking a Sikh with a Wahhabi muslim simply because they both have turbans and beards.

    But of course she is referring to real pedophilia, a term you obviously don’t understand. I linked the sexual attraction of heterosexual men to postpubescent minors to that of homosexuals only to show that, while the feelings are in-born, the behavior is readily controllable. Why do you think there are so few muslim homosexuals? It’s because in their society homosexual relations are seen as abnormal and abhorrent. Muslim men live as heterosexuals, miswired or not because their society demands it.

    Furthermore, that you have obviously never been friends with any homosexuals at all makes your clarity on this issue limited.

    You, on the other hand, base your opinions on your personal feelings for your friends, not on readily provable facts and the historical record. Your feelings cloud your judgement.

  • Mac Lorry

    Yes – too young. Just as certain muslim cultures treating women as second class citizens is wrong – and is also a civil rights issue.

    And yet you probably think Denmark is right on homosexuals. You go on to confuse civil rights with human sexuality.

    And a 17 year old by going out with a 15 year old girl is hardly considered in any legal or social context to be a “pedophile.”

    So a 17 year-old being attracted to a 15 year-old in normal, but by the time he becomes 21 you are saying he’s a pedophile if he’s still attracted to 15 year-old physically mature girls. Yet you then tell us such attractions are in-born and can’t be changed. Which is it or is that question beyond your intellect?

    Homosexuality regarding a legal union is a choice between two consenting adults. Trying to push this argument of comparing them to pedophiles is, as I said before, uninformed – and your definition of normal male urges as being linked to pedophilia is way off.

    In post #51 you define pedophilia as “doing anything unnatural with any minor”. That age (minor) is determined by society, not by nature. I use the FACT that most girls become fully physically mature (postpubescent) while they are still a minor under the law. The reason I point that out is to show that heterosexual men (who by nature are sexually attracted to fully physically mature women) accept the legal restrictions and they CONTROL their behavior. Thus, unless homosexuals are truly deviant, they can also CONTROL their behavior. Do you dispute that?

  • Hansel2

    If heterosexual men can control their behavior then so can homosexual men, or are you going to claim homosexual men are just animals incapable of controlling their behavior?

    And why should they – as long as their partner is not a minor and is consenting?

    Your issue is one of suggesting homosexuals are abnormal and their acts are abnormal, so therefore their rights should be limited. Once again, if they are not a danger to society (and I’m talking in a physical sense, not your definition of morality within your religion) than their rights should coincide with anyone elses under law. The only thing standing in the way of this issue is fear-based morality derived from ignorance, not genetics.

    Why do you think there are so few muslim homosexuals?

    You can be sure there are quite afew. So are you suggesting that the muslim policy – and cultural taboo – on homosexuals is correct? These folks hide their identity because they’d be killed if they didn’t. Once again, this all comes back to civil rights for particular groups.

  • Hansel2

    …and furthermore, you’re talking about the sexual “act” as a “choice” to abstain from. This is not about a sexual act, it is about a group of people who are born feeling this way.

    Anyone can convince themselves of anything. It doesn’t mean that if I convince myself I’m the King of England that I really am.

  • Han

    That vast majority of men experience sexual attractions they know are inappropriate in our society or in their marriage and they control them.

    You feel homosexuality is inappropriate. It makes you uncomfortable. That is not a good theoretical reason to curb someone’s rights.

    Society has accepted homosexuals, just as they’ve accepted equality with blacks. The next natural step is to afford them their equal rights. Your feelings about this are completely tied to this issue of “choice.” Once again, this is not a group of people as a whole who choose their sexual orientation.

    And none of this has anything to do with choices of adult men curbing their inapropriate feelings for minor women. That is a legal issue. Being gay and liking another person who is consenting and gay is not illegal.

  • Mac Lorry

    Hans,

    Mac Lorry believes the biological underpinnings of the family will collapse if we allow gays to have “civil unions” in our society.

    If you are going to state my position then please get it right. No where did I say the biological underpinnings of the family will collapse. What I said is that history shows that every society that has abounded the nuclear family as it foundation has collapsed. Even if that’s irrelevant, I go on to show that our society has awarded special benefits and status to married couples for the purpose of procreation. I’m sure you understand that society must insure the production of the next generation of good citizens in order for that society to survive. Thus, taxpayers and individuals get back something for the financial benefits they award procreation couples.

    Now if our society had ample public resources we could extend these substantial financial benefits to every couple who wanted them regardless of biology or sexual anything. It’s obvious that our society doesn’t have such resources and Obama is even talking about scaling back social security. Now that a spouse can retain part of a deceased spouse’s social security benefits, every additional couple strains the system. Once procreation biology is breached as an augment for limiting such benefits, you’ll find there is no rational argument of limiting the union of any two adults including the millions of currently single siblings who already pool their resources. In the end, our society will be forced by financial reality to cut back on the assistance we give procreation couples and we will get fewer of the next generations of good citizens as a result.

    Darwinism did not destroy religion now, did it? This is why I think these are Neanderthal arguments – the last gasp of quietly scared people. If I thought being gay could be “taught” I’d redirect my son to a football game rather than listening to show tunes, wouldn’t I?

    Please note that my augment against gay marriage does not invoke religion nor is it born out of fear. And yes, we have separation of church and state in this nation, but no where does that mean a religious person can’t vote their conscious nor express their opinion. Gay’s and their supporters will do well to not cross the line of religious oppression. BTW, Darwinism is a religion and that’s why it can’t destroy religion.

  • Hansel2

    Unbelievable! You still don’t know what puberty means, and yet you accuse me of being ignorant.

    Puberty has nothing to do with this argument. It is illegal for an adult to have sexual relations with someone under 18 years of age in our society, urges or not.

  • Mac Lorry

    Your issue is one of suggesting homosexuals are abnormal and their acts are abnormal, so therefore their rights should be limited.

    I didn’t say that. My argument against gay marriage neither relies on religion nor on gay’s be in abnormal. Try reading my post #25.

    You can be sure there are quite afew. So are you suggesting that the muslim policy – and cultural taboo – on homosexuals is correct?

    Weather or not there are quite a few, they live as heterosexuals. Gene Robinson proves gays can live as a heterosexual man even fathering children, if that’s what society demands.

    However, I don’t demand that gays go back in the closet, only that their relationship not be recognized as equal with traditional marriage. Also, if gays can form civil unions than any two adults should be allowed to do the same thing regardless of age, sex, or sexual orientation. Will you oppose two brothers or two sisters who have no sexual relation from forming a civil union for financial benefit?

  • Scalia

    Hansel, I’ve already addressed the science issue (several times). I cite scientific fact, not fantasy disguised as scientific evidence.

    As to the “studies” you offer, they are woefully incomplete which is to say they are light years from scientific law. Savic’s & Lindstrom’s methodology is flawed and this is obvious to anybody trained in science. If one wants to demonstrate birth differences lead irreversibly to sexual orientation differences, one would have to scan at least several thousand newborns (before learning and behavior can have any effect), follow them into adulthood and then determine whether there is a significant correlation between newborn brain anatomy and adult sexuality.

    Did you read Camperio-Ciani? He said his study might or could account for a very small percentage of homosexuals having a genetic component while the other factors are environment and personality. “Might” or “could” work as an hypothesis, but that doesn’t fly as scientific theory.

    The identical twin studies are far more comprehensive and demonstrate conclusively that genetic causation IS NOT the exclusive cause of homosexuality. That’s not a “footnote” as you deliberately mischaracterize my posts. Identical twins have the same genetic makeup and are raised in the same environment (generally). If fully 80% of the twins of homosexuals are not gay, then you cannot claim genetic causation.

    Even if the cause is genetic, as I’ve stated repeatedly, whether in animals or humans, it is more likely due to genetic disorder.

    I am glad you acknowledge homosexuality is aberrant. Insofar as the “genetic” argument is concerned, that was my only point. Gay rights advocates vehemently disagree and would consider your comparison to Down’s Syndrome as offensive as anything I’ve said. Incomplete scientific “studies” fuel irrational assumptions. Bad science clouds rational dialog.

    Your other comments about rights are hanging irrelevantly in midair. Nobody here wants to persecute gays. Engage my argument, not a straw man.

    Regards,
    Scalia

  • Mac Lorry

    Puberty has nothing to do with this argument. It is illegal for an adult to have sexual relations with someone under 18 years of age in our society, urges or not.

    So who’s posts are your reading? No where did I say it was legal to have sexual relations with minors, only that normal men are attracted to fully physically mature women even if they are under 18 (It’s the puberty thing). I wrote many times that men C O N T R O L their behavior is this regard. How is it you can’t seem to read what I write?

  • Mac Lorry

    You feel homosexuality is inappropriate. It makes you uncomfortable. That is not a good theoretical reason to curb someone’s rights.

    What are the odds that two people responding to me on this thread can’t read? Is that you Hansel2 posing as a second person to prop up your ego? If not, then try to respond to something I actually wrote. I’m taking things one point at a time trying not to go too fast for Hansel2.

  • hansel2

    And did you read what I wrote:

    “And none of this has anything to do with choices of adult men curbing their inapropriate feelings for minor women. That is a legal issue. Being gay and liking another person who is consenting and gay is not illegal.”

  • Mac Lorry

    That is a legal issue. Being gay and liking another person who is consenting and gay is not illegal.”

    No one said it was illegal, but you have made the point that any attraction a man feels for an underage fully physically mature woman was “abhorrent”. My point has been that such an attraction is normal, but that being attracted does not create a legal right, not for heterosexuals nor for homosexuals. Gays have said in many TV interviews that they should have the right to marry someone they love just as heterosexuals do. However, it’s not the feelings of love that create the legal right. If it were love, then two close relatives who loved each other should also be allowed to marry, and that’s not the case.

  • hyperbolist

    Scalia, you seem to think that liberalism or tolerance of homosexuality leads to moral relativism. That is fallacious.

    This guy understands that liberalism holds an objective moral standard. Kant proved it; Nietzsche understood it; and Rawls put it out there in plain English, available at your local public library.

    Moral relativism tends to spring up among post-modernists, whose philosophies do not play any real role in contemporary American political discourse.

    You need to better acquaint yourself with what you are arguing against because as such, you are speaking to shadows (albeit eloquently).

  • Scalia

    Hello, Hyper! I hope you don’t mind the abbreviation. It’s not an epithet.

    I never said liberalism or tolerance of homosexuality leads to moral relativism. Perhaps you are confusing me with somebody else.

    The closest I’ve come to what you allege is what I said in Post 29:

    “When morality is subordinated to emotion and appetite, then we become moral relativists.”

    If you subordinate your moral standard to your appetite, then you have no moral standard. You become a de facto relativist.

    I appreciate your recommendation I better acquaint myself with the issues. Being a theologian and a philosopher, I’m better acquainted with these issues than you think.

    May I kindly suggest you read my posts a little more carefully before you accuse me of positions I do not take?

    Kind regards (really),
    Scalia

  • Hansel2

    There was a time in this country when it was illegal for two people of different races to marry. People on THAT side of the argument then had what they thought were logical reasons why it should have stayed illegal. In today’s world, they were considered narrow-minded.

    You feel marriage should be between a man and woman. I think when we talk about “marriage” and are able to separate that from the legal terms, sure, “marriage” as a word should be left untampered. There are alot of perfectly good words out there that gay couples can use rather than “marriage”, but to me that’s the only issue (only because I think It makes for a greater uphill battle for them, but that’s my opinion).

    However, legally, they are not able to be considered family when their loved one dies. And quite honestly the benefits you get from the “marriage tax breaks” are non-existent today. (at least in my state) to make that some abuse milestone.

    So then we’re talking about medical benefits. The reality is there will always be people trying to abuse the system. There is in heterosexual marriage as well – such as those trying to marry to get a green card. Should we redefine the qualifications of a legal union to make sure the couple truly are a couple? The reality is it’s a much smaller minority that abuse the system.

    So then, once again, it comes down to people’s personally feelings about this. Some law has been changed over the centuries to accomodate the times. If we learn nothing more from “Footloose” (nothing more being the key for that film), we know dancing has been illegal in some counties around this country.

    And lastly, you can’t define a minority on your terms simply by whether you agree with their beliefs or m.o. or not.

    If someone makes a “choice”, or as you feel can make a “choice”, they should not be afforded the designation of minority in legal circumstances. Many religions have believers that are of varied ethnic groups and previous religious orientation, and they are all afforded different pretections under the law, irregardless of their genetic makeup.

  • Hansel2

    Many religions have believers that are of varied ethnic groups and previous religious orientation, and they are all afforded different pretections under the law, irregardless of their genetic makeup.

    …and religious beliefs, after all, are a choice.

  • Mac Lorry

    There was a time in this country when it was illegal for two people of different races to marry. People on THAT side of the argument then had what they thought were logical reasons why it should have stayed illegal. In today’s world, they were considered narrow-minded.

    Minorities who have fought racism find it offensive when you equate their struggle to that of homosexuals. A black man can’t hide his race, but a homosexual can and many have (Gene Robinson) done so, coming out only when it’s safe to do so. Unlike, homosexuality, interracial marriage is biologically correct producing the next generation of good citizens, like Obama, which society must have to continue.

    Race and sexual orientation are not equivalent. Sexual orientation is more like inherited obesity, or less than perfect eyesight. Older airline pilots are allowed to wear corrective lenses, but any young person with less than 20-20 eyesight is barred from that job. If myopic groups cited racial struggles as equivalent to their fight for equal rights as pilots they would be laughed at. Same for the those with inherited obesity wanting equal rights to be fashion models or jockeys.

    However, legally, they are not able to be considered family when their loved one dies.

    That has never been the case. There are legal documents such as wills and power of attorney that parties can enact that give the surviving partner full rights over the deceased partner’s remains and property. The only thing such parties can’t do is encumber a third party or the government.

    And quite honestly the benefits you get from the “marriage tax breaks” are non-existent today.

    And yet it’s gays who argue the loudest that they are being denied financial benefits. The biggest one I know of is that the surviving spouse can retain some part of the deceased partners pension. With social security on the financial ropes this is no time to be opening the door for those in non traditional marriages to dip into that trough.

    And lastly, you can’t define a minority on your terms simply by whether you agree with their beliefs or m.o. or not.

    That works both ways. People can’t just say they are a minority and their struggle for equal rights is the same as that of racial minorities. Otherwise, bald men would be pointing to groups of men with too much hair and claiming discrimination.

    …and religious beliefs, after all, are a choice.

    But only the proponents of gay rights are bringing up religion on this thread. Obviously, you weren’t ready for a non-religious argument against gay marriage.

  • hyperbolist

    Fair enough, Scalia.

    I don’t know of anybody who argues that we ought to base our morals on our basest appetites, though. For instance, pedophilia is wrong because it implies a lack of informed consent. (13 year olds cannot be expected to make informed decisions.) Same goes for animals. And, with incest and polygamy, there is a degree of harm involved in these relationships that cannot be fully ameliorated. It does not matter what pedophiles etc. want; what matters is what’s right. As for what standard we ought to use, well, we’re a pretty clever species and when we think about things we tend to get them right, of course with horrible exceptions to this rule.

  • Scalia

    Hyper,

    My point about morals and appetites was made in the immediate context of adultery and in the greater context of self-control. Although not explicitly expressed, orientation alone is insufficient justification for action. A man may think he cannot avoid pornography, but that does not ipso facto legitimize pornography. A man may have a paraplegic wife, but that does not justify adultery. If such a person uses weakness as justification for lowering the bar, he is subordinating a standard to his passion. Hence, he unwittingly becomes a relativist (at least, as to that issue).

    I’m certain you’ve seen human weakness justifications in many philosophical, political and religious debates. I contend such arguments are fallacious appeals to pity or simple red herrings.

    My philosophical endeavors have lead me to interact with and debate many moral relativists. Their presuppositions are, of course, internally inconsistent and epistemologically toothless, but they are definitely out there.

    Best wishes,
    Scalia