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Fertile ground for an argument

Last week, when I summed up a bunch of my positions, I mentioned my support for gay marriage. A couple of commenters disagreed with me on that point. The elements they cited were the ties between marriage, children, and state support thereof. I'm not going to do an item-for-item rebuttal to those points they made, but I am going to use it as a springboard for a larger discussion.

Marriage came about, as I understand it, as a way for a society to provide for the raising of children, and the perpetuating of the society as a whole. It was a way of forming permanent bonds between unrelated people, allowing the culture to expand and widen its gene pool.

But that has changed drastically, especially in the last 50 years. Human reproduction has come under tremendous scrutiny in that time, and social, legal, and medical advances -- especially medical -- have virtually redefined human fertility. It has reached the point where conception -- and non-conception -- are, for about 99.99% of people entirely voluntary and under their control.

Want a child? Go for it. Try the natural way. If that doesn't work, we have entire professions dedicated to getting people pregnant when they can't do it on their own. And if they can't pull it off, then we have professions lined up to arrange adoptions.

And then there's Tom Cruise... but I digress.

Don't want a child? Fine. There are a zillion ways to keep that from happening, too. Start off with abstinence. Then move on through the plethora of contraception out there. Wrap it, snip it, take the pill, have the shot, put on the patch, mark the calendar, put it somewhere else, and so on. Hell, do several at once.

If they don't work, there are also abortion and adoption options waiting in the wings.

In brief, we have developed to the point where every single child should be welcomed, and no child should go unwanted -- if people just show a modicum of personal responsibility.

I consider myself an exemplar of this. I decided several years ago that, for various and sundry reasons that apply to me and no one else, I did not want to father children. Then I spent a lot of time working up my nerve, and had the procedure.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is that child-rearing as a primary function of marriage is going out the window. Originally, it was for uniting couples who were likely to have children. The random element has been pretty much eliminated. If we continue that principle, then we ought to ban any people who can not or will not produce children should be banned from marrying.

With the child factor fading in significance, then why should we keep the institution around at all? Because it promotes social stability. It allows people to form social structures that promote and preserve the culture. A married couple is fundamentally more stable, more prosperous, more desirable from a social perspective than two unattached people.

And that is part of why I support gay marriage. It allows people to set up their own family unit, to become more stable and secure members of the society. It gives them a bond to their society and culture, and increases the general prosperity of the culture as a whole.

Yes, I understand the religious objections, and respect them. But there is supposed to be a separation of church and state in this country, and allowing a civil ceremony (or even a civil union) apart from religious sanction should be no skin off the church's nose. They don't have to perform the weddings, or sanction them, or even recognize them -- they just need to butt out and let those of us who don't ascribe to their beliefs to go our own way.

I think that, eventually, gay marriage will be widely tolerated, and even grudgingly accepted, by most people. But the virulent tactics being used by both sides will delay that coming, and a lot of people will suffer in the meantime.

It can be delayed, but I don't think it can be denied. And I don't think it should.


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Comments (70)

I am not a Christian... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:


I am not a Christian. But I am very much a social conservative. While my views are greatly informed by my religion, I know for a fact that I would still be a social conservative even if I were agnostic or an atheist. I'm taking issue with the notion that marriage is somehow unrelated to the fact that heterosexual couples tend to have children. The very raison d'etre of marriage (there is no such thing as "traditional" marriage; it's just marriage) as it has been for all of human existence is entirely about children i.e. when a man and a woman have sex, children are a very likely possibility.

I may be repeating this; but there are three laws that are universal about marriage, perhaps the only institution, other than religion (the intertwining of which with marriage is no coincidence) that is found everywhere on Earth. First of all, think of marriage in terms of what it is at the very basic level; it is a socially enforceable contract between two people to both care for each other and, even more importantly, provide for the children produced by their union.

These three laws are essential to the very definition of the institution that is marriage, and they're based around children, and their raising.

(i) Only two people can be in a marriage contract. That is because a child can only be the product of sexual contact between two people. A woman can have sex with twenty men on a single day and no matter what, the child conceived on that day would only have one father. This rule recognizes this fact and codifies that any child born by the woman in a marriage is the child of her husband and is therefore entitled to support, recognition, inheritance, membership in an extended family, etc. from him.
Polygynous marriages do not violate this law because a man with three wives is involved in three completely independent and individual marriage contracts each involving two people (the man and one wife). Every child produced by any of the wives is therefore a child of the husband.
This also applies in polyandrous marriages. Note that this is very very rare given that it occurs only in extremely harsh conditions where resources are scarce and dividing them as inheritances would leave nothing of value to the inheritors, e.g. the Nyinba people of Northwestern Nepal. In these cases, it is more important that the child's paternal origin is known to be from a particular family as opposed to one particular individual. Note also, that the woman, in this case, marries a man and all his brothers (or some other subset of his male clan in the line of inheritance). Most importantly, note that the woman's relationship to each husband is also independent of her relationship with the other husbands.
In other words, this rule is silent on the number of marriage contracts an individual is involved and, essentially, on monogamy.
A marriage that would violate this rule is a marriage involving three (or more) people in one single marriage contract i.e. John, Jim and Jane are married to each other such that John and Jim are married to each other, John and Jane are married to each other and Jim and Jane are also married to each other. In other words, if any two of them have sex, they're not cheating on the third one and if, say, Jim wants a divorce, he can divorce both John and Jane or one but not the other. i.e. what if he still wants to be with Jane but not with John, but Jane wants to be with them both?
How do we establish legal paternity in this situation? If Jim is the biological father (impossible to determine conclusively prior to the latter half of the 20th Century) of Sam (the child produced in this "marriage"), what obligations does John have toward Sam? What about alimony? What if there were five people in this "marriage"? Three guys and two women? Vice versa?
If children were actually just tangential to marriage, what's wrong with any number of people choosing to get married in whatever arbitrary arrangement they so choose?

(ii) Only people of opposite sex can be in a marriage contract. This is because only opposite sex couples can produce children. Although this drives the Left crazy, the fact remains that no matter how often Adam and Steve or Madam and Eve do it, neither couple would produce a child. No amount of digital, oral or anal intercourse would ever result in a pregnancy.
Again, if children are tangential to marriage as an institution, why does this rule exist in every single culture around the world? Why does every culture around the world treat the union of a man and a woman as a special thing? Because a child can result from such a union, and only such a union. And after thousands of years of trial and error, they've realized that the ideal environment in which to raise a child is with both his/her natural parents, which excludes same-sex couples. This is the reason why every culture around the world grants a committed opposite sex relationship certain privileges that they deny other unions; to encourage the creation of such environments for the raising of children, which is very much a societal concern.

(iii) Only people of sufficient distance in blood can be in a marriage contract. After thousands of years of trial and error, every culture around the world noticed that incestuous unions far too often produced weaker, deformed or otherwise compromised offspring. Which is why this law is also universal. There is no other reason for its existence other than the fact that the violation of it results in tragedy, especially for the child. There is a great deal of diversity among the cultures of the world as to what constitutes sufficient distance although it is universal (excepting ancient Egypt where 20% of marriages were at one point brother-sister: there are reasons why that society crumbled) that members of one's natal and conjugal families were off-limits.
However, cousins are often known to marry. In Northern Nigeria, among the family, this is not unusual among the Fulani, although these marriages are most often between half-cousins (have the same grandfather but different grandmothers). This tends to ameliorate the risks to almost nothing.
Again, if children were not particular important when it comes to marriage, this law would not make sense. After all, who cares about the child produced? Marriage is supposedly all about the sexual and emotional needs of the adults, isn't it?

NOTE: The order in which I listed these laws is not indicative of an order of significance.

Anyway, one can quibble but I am unable to come up with an argument (especially a legal argument) that would successfully eliminate any of these rules that would not apply to the others when advocates for their elimination come calling.

If the sex of the people wanting to get married is irrelevant why is the blood relationship relevant? If a fully grown 28 year old woman and her 34 year old brother "fall in love" (two consenting adults) and decide that they want to marry, why should they be stopped? It's disgusting and unnatural? People openly said that about homosexuality less two decades ago and millions of people still feel that way today. Their children would be damaged? Marriage has nothing to do with children, the Left has been insisting for years now. What if the woman goes for a hysterectomy and her brother gets a vasectomy? Will it be okay, then? What if it were two gay brothers who want to get married? And if it would be okay for two gay brothers, would it not be discriminating against opposite sex siblings if they are not also allowed to get married?

Again, if the sex of the people wanting to get married is irrelevant, why is the number relevant? If four consenting adults want to get married each to one another at the same time, why should the state stop them? After all, children are not an issue. I beleive there's much more of a scientific case to be made that man is, by nature, a promiscuous animal than there is to made that people are actually born gay (i.e. there's a gay gene) so the "I was born this way" argument is at least as valid for a polyamorist as it is for a gay man or lesbian. Some people are just very highly sexed.

The next quibble is that if marriage is indeed wholly based around the fact that children are produced by heterosexual unions, why are old people, paedophobic couples, sterile men, barren and/or post-menopausal women allowed to marry? Because their marriages do not violate any of the three rules and do not alter the definition of marriage one iota. Prior to the medical advances of the last one or two centuries, one wouldn't know a man or woman was infertile until much later in life after years of trying for a child to no avail. Neither were young men and women asked at the altar how many children they intended to have. So this, to me, is not really a particularly strong argument: the fact that marriage is about providing the ideal environment for the rearing of children does not obligate you as a married person to have children (after all, the first thing about providing the ideal environment for raising a child is actually wanting that child).

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Y'all on the Left (or Right) may pick apart at will.

No matter your personal pre... (Below threshold)
Whitehall:

No matter your personal preferences, SOMEBODY has to have children. Who's going to be your doctor or your nurse in the old folk's home? Who's going to defend you from thiefs and criminals?

Society MUST reproduce. Now, perhaps you decide you don't want to jave children - fine. But those of us who do bring children into the world, nurse and clothe them, rear and educate them could use a little help from society.

Being married has certain advantages - tax rates are lower, for example. My problem with expanding marriage to non-breeders is that those minor advantages are diluted. Eventually, they will disappear as advantages. Try to out-bid a married same-sex couple for a home when you have only a single income and your wife stays at home to raise the kids.

I say that marriage should be kept to a single breeding pair and given advantages over those who do not pick up the burdens of parenthood. Arguing for some legal and financial support for parents is not the same as being prejudged against gays.

Jay Tea,One questi... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Jay Tea,

One question: Should we now remove laws against incestuous marriages?

If marriage is now largely about stability and support structures and not about children, then a brother and sister should allowed to marry. Or a father and daughter. Or a Mother and son. After all, a son who is single might live with his widowed or divorced mother to help support her. Shouldn't he get the same benefits as a married couple?

Assuming you object to incestuous marriages between those of the opposite sex because they put potential children at risk, what about incestuous homosexual marriages? Say two brothers or two sisters. What objection could anyone have to that except for the ick factor? And if you allow two brothers to marry, how do you reconile that with outlawing marriages brother and sister and the 14th amendment?

Hmmmm.How about re... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

How about removing the unnecessary impediments to self-marriage?

If I want to marry myself I can't do it.

I'm oppressed!!

I think Whitehall's last pa... (Below threshold)

I think Whitehall's last paragraph hit the nail on the head for how most of us think, BUT there are homosexual unions that act as family units to raise children.

The problem is that we are talking about making a major change in acceptable societal institution(s). The ramifications are significant, and they challenge the established mores of a fair chunk of our society. This chunk has invested their sweat and tears up to this point expecting these values to be constant. And now we are considering changing that.

If a change occurs now, it comes down to having to choosing between the desires/interests of the homosexual population and the population who believe homosexuality is immoral or an undesirable aberration.

Where is King Solomon when you need him? Well, as a truly dedicated polygamist and fornicator, maybe he wouldn't be the best person to choose to make the decision in this case...

All the above still does no... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

All the above still does not answer the age old question--how do you tell the "mommy" from the "daddy" in same sex marriage?

Maybe we should just elimin... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Maybe we should just eliminate the legal construct of marriage. Let it stay in the realm of the various religions and person-to-person contracts etc. The state doesn't have to sanction marriage to make it legitimate.

In the case of relationships not working out, the courts can still step in (if required)and make sure the children are taken care of as they already do in the case non-married couples with children and divorcing couples.

To level the playing field tax wise, do away with the supposed tax advantages of marriage. If maintaining tax deductions are a hang up there are enough other deductions you can work to make up for it, just plan ahead a little bit, you will probably be a lot better off. You could keep the child tax deduction, keep filing as head of household etc (assuming household is not defined as a married couple).

Having been married more or less succesfully for a lot of years in our current society, I don't see any truly inherent advantages to marriage. I have known lots of people in long term, committed, monagomous relationships, that never got married and were happy until death did them part.

Even though our inheritance laws default towards married couples, that can be overcome by having a well written will that conforms to your states requirments. Besides, most inheritance issues now seem to be negotiable regardless of the presence of a will if the decedants want to argue it anyhow.

Personal property, co-joined finances, etc can all be taken care of with regular contracts, if needed, that can be filed with local jurisdictions.

If we get the state out of marriage, we will be better off in the long run.

I do not oppose same sex ma... (Below threshold)
Scotty:

I do not oppose same sex marriages. I am a conservative and, as such, I don't care what my neighbor does or whom he does it to, as long as it has no effect upon me. I don't care if my neighbor is a lawyer or a policeman or mechanic or gay. None of those things have an effect on my life (if he starts selling drugs or setting his house on fire, then we'll talk). But, I believe that the term "marriage" should be reserved for religiously recognized unions between a man and woman. It's a term with religious roots, and as such I don't think the definition of the word should be expanded to cover non-religious unions - at least, until an official religion recognizing unions between same sex couples emerges. Even then, same sex unions should be called something else. Civil unions, whatever. I don't care. And at that point, they should be awarded the same rights and responsibilities as married couples. They should be able to decide life and death issues as married people do. They should be able to adopt children - heck, if we create more potential adoptors in this country, we might be able to create an addition system to reduce the number of abortions performed in this country (I would like to see incentives for pregnant mothers with unwanted children to bring their children into this world and give them up for adoption - I don't like abortion but I don't want to get rid of the practice). Anyway, my two cents.

Moral arguments for or agai... (Below threshold)
Jimmy the Dhimmi:

Moral arguments for or against gay marriage (or any type of marraige) are all moot regarding this issue.

The question comes down to who defines the institution of "marraige" and how does the government recognize it.

Do judges decide?, do people decide democratically? is the institution of marraige already defined in the constitution as the union of any two people?

Religious conservatives want to vote on it. Homosexuals want the courts to decide in favor of marraige because they are in the minority.

To me, its like a logo of your local minor-league hockey team. It is an arbitrary cultural institution that has changed through time. Let the local community decide amongst themselves.

Let the local comm... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
Let the local community decide amongst themselves.

That's not possible since a marriage is an ongoing contract and the constitution specifies that contracts granted in one state must be given full faith and credit in another state.

Let's say that you and I both live in Texas and that we make a contract to host your web site on my server for $1000/year. You've paid for the first year up front but after a few months I move with my server to Alaska. If you sue me in Alaska, the Alaskan court can't say, "Well the contract was made in Texas, so we don't have to enforce it here." That would be unconstitutional. Ergo, this is a national issue.

For this same reason, one state can't refuse to recognize a legal marriage from another state. They try to do so, but once a case against that state hits the federal court, the only correct decision would be to enforce the marriage contract in all states.

Jay,While human re... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Jay,

While human reproduction has been changed by medical advancements, child-rearing has suffered many setbacks in the same time period. Human reproduction is just the beginning of child-rearing assuming you want to raise productive law-abiding citizens. It's for the purpose of child-rearing, not just reproduction, that society bestows the status of "married" upon generically compatible pro-creation couples. In return society receives a new generation of productive law-abiding citizens, vital to the continuance of society as we know it.

Gays argue that not every pro-creation couple reproduces, and so marriage can't be defined by pro-creation. However, society deals with "types" of people, not with individuals. For example, people of the type "65 years of age or older" get an extra tax exemption regardless of their individual financial status. People of the type "blind" also get an extra tax exemption, while people of the type "quadriplegic" don't. People of the type "female" are not allowed in combat units regardless of their physical and mental aptitude for combat. I could go on an on with examples such as voting, the military draft, driver licensing, and many more, but hopefully you get the point.

Society bestows the title of "married" upon people of the type "generically compatible pro-creation couples" in exchange for the next generation of productive law-abiding citizens. The foundation of marriage is based on the two sound principles pro-creation and equality of the partners. That means one man and one woman who are generically compatible. No others need apply.

Great post, Jay.Th... (Below threshold)
John:

Great post, Jay.

There was a time when I questioned your honesty when it came to gay marriage, since you usually give the caveat that you don't like judges deciding the issue.

So although I disagree with you on the process (perfectly fine for the courts to decide civil rights issues) I'm glad to see you sticking to your guns here. Your position is rational and reasonable.

Years from now we'll look back on this debate with amazement that it took us so long to allow gays to marry.

If all this were about was ... (Below threshold)
LJD:

If all this were about was 'civil unions' to allow gays the same benefit as other married couples, it wouldn't be a problem. But it's about so much more. The 'stick it in your face' liberals want to MAKE you all accept gay lifestyles. Just wait, members of a church congregation suing because their chosen institution will not perform the ceremony. Liberal whacko teachers pushing same sex parent agendas on YOUR kids in school.

The same rights gays have to civil unions, the rest of us have to not accept their lifestyle. We can teach our own kids the values we grew up on. We can continue to be secure in our places of worship, and not have to worry about things like forcing the Boy Scouts to accept girls, or he-shes, or whatever.

To sum it all up, do what you want in your own bedroom. Pay your taxes. Stay the hell out of my life, my church, and raising my kids.

jay, is this gonna end up b... (Below threshold)

jay, is this gonna end up being some kinda polipunditian meltdown?

I am on the opposite side t... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

I am on the opposite side than you on gay marriage. I can sum up my objection in classical conservative terms. Marriage has been around a long time, so lets be careful we don't break something else trying to 'fix' this. Because of the law of unintended consequences, I don't support just any change. I look at countrys like Russia which are seeing an annual decline of 700,000 people a year and think that for any and all ills that gay marriage might rectify, having something like that population decline happening to our country would be a lot worse. Would gay marriage nudge us towards the non-replacement birth rates many other countries suffer from? Possibly, but I don't see anything conclusive on either side. But I also haven't heard any reason to risk the nudge either.

In my younger years, feminist decried the divorce laws that forced women to stay in marriages because of the difficulty of getting a divorce. The laws were liberalized. Divorces became easier to obtain. And we found that divorced women did worse economically than divorced men. Were the feminist trying to push women down economically? No, that was far from their intent. But they saw a problem, applied a solution and got an unintended consequence. I suspect that if we were to allow gay marriages, we would see a similar unintended consequence. Now the chance of unintended consequences shouldn't stop us from ever moving forward, but they do put out a burden for those advocating going forward to explore the potentials for unintended consequences, look at alternatives and make their case that the gain and its potential for happening is on balance greater than the loss and its potential for happening. No one has even come close to making that case from a gay marriage stand point.

I agree with you that the worst way to go about this is judicial fiat, as oppossed to the legislative process. I also have personal objections to gay marriage on religeous grounds, but that is personal to me. I should no more be able to impose my personal beliefs on others than they should impose them on me.

If an amendment came up, I would vote against gay marriage (as apparently would a majority of American voters). If the amendment passed, I would think it was wrong, but live under it (there has been more than one vote that I was on the losing side of).

For those who think gay marriage is the right way to go, they have a duty in a democracy to put their arguments forward. It may take them 100 years to change enough peoples mind to win the right, but if they do it by convincing others the vistory will be more permanent and will likely not lead to a running political sore. Likewise, those who disagree with gay marriages need to step up with our objections. By having both sides present their arguments, we are more likely to figure out some of the unintended consequences that would arise. Maybe we even identify some of the work arounds.

Finally, to the commenter who likes the idea that civil right issues should be decided by judges, how happy would you be if 5 supreme court judges (who are in there for life) decided that given the totality of the decleration of independance, American writings etc, first amendment right to freedom of worship should only apply to the Christian religeon? If you say you will ignore the means because you like the ends, don't be surprised if someone starts using the means to enact ends you don't like.

Let's get the government ou... (Below threshold)
Brahma:

Let's get the government out of the marriage business, and set the institution up as any other contract. However, let not that contract be binding on others, such as taxpayers providing benefits, or companies offering health insurance. Then the commitment will be between, and only between, partners to the agreement, who can then sue to abridge the deal, just like they do today. I'd bet if the health insurance thing was abolished, so too would most of the issue energy go away.

This whole issue boils down... (Below threshold)

This whole issue boils down to one clear and simple point:

We're terrified of defining anything as "normal" or "abnormal" regardless of how long a behaviour has been established as one or the other by Western Civilization (as well as a vast majority of other civilizations).

There is an inherent arrogance in modern thinking that claims that in the vast history of mankind, we're the most intelligent and well-reasoned beings to walk the planet.

Bottom line: some things have "always been that way" for a reason. Traditional values shouldn't be immune to analysis, but they shouldn't be presupposed to be wrong, either.

"But there is supposed to b... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

"But there is supposed to be a separation of church and state in this country" has to do with not having any establish church and Church leaders like the Pope and Catholic Church from running the country like they did in Europe at one time.
IT does not say a separation of religion and State. There is also a freedom of religion in the Constitution. Our law is base on religion and if you take it out then society will suffer greatly. I'm not a big church person but I get tired of certain people who think we that the separation of church and state is equal to taking all religion out of state.

"It can be delayed, but I d... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"It can be delayed, but I don't think it can be denied. And I don't think it should."

"I think that sums up the conservative movement pretty well!"

JayGreat essay.</p... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Jay

Great essay.

What seems to come through in most of the comments is an abiding tendency to cling to one's values regardless of what changes in civilization have transpired thru the ages.

Some of these bloggers try, thru any connivance, to define the issue of marriage in traditional terms. What leaks thru in many posts is a fundamental ostracism of gays albeit with the use of social customs, traditional beliefs and mores as justification.

Some have used the concept of "incest" to skewer the argument. Yes, as civilization evolved, the dangers of that sort of practice emerged. But, if one wants to go back in time to sanctioned ancient practices, one should consider the state of man even before man ever put 2+2 together after 9 months.

Almost everyone agrees that "man" is a sexual being. It seems likely in evolution (evilootion to some posters) that the human sex drive comes as the tool to ensure reproduction and it seems clear that the degree of the sex drive in regard to procreation easily currently exceeds the design of nature viz-a-viz repopulation vs. overpopulation.

Consider that it may well be Evolution's intention that, after a certain point, enough people would form non-procreative relationships to circumscribe the danger of global overpopulation and that that evolutionary development may be seriously contradicted by archaic religious and cultural beliefs.

Cultural practices, that in past days may have ensured species' survival, are not necessarily helpful today.

So, whatever practices our forebears may have sanctioned or proscribed do not necessarily have the same applicability now: otherwise, why have given up the cave as abode or grunting for communication?.

Back in ancient days, once man had connected sex w/ birth, there was good cause for some sort of stable union for the child's welfare. Most likely, prior to that discovery, some sort of contract or public binding of 2 people made sense in that it tended to remove the potential for conflict between 2 men.

The most important point is that modern circumstances do not require the same social practices from ancient history that might have been beneficial for past times.

Whether god-given or simply the result of Evolution, the one thing that makes man different from all other species is his ability to think and use his mind to modify and to adjust to the physical conditions of life and thus enhance survivability.

When that adaptability of the mind is shut down because of a primitive urge to cling to immutable social practices, customs and values, species' survival is diminished.

There is no justifiable cause to deny the bonding of 2 individuals thru a social contract sanctioned by the State w/ the same privileges granted to others in a similar contract except for a primitve urge to keep social customs and mores anchored in past history. That myopic view inevitably leads to discrimination which is really what some of these posters harbor; notwithstanding their attempt to use some lofty, but archaic, values that just happen conveniently to square their prejudices whether religious or cultural.

I think your original premi... (Below threshold)
flalaw:

I think your original premise is incorrect. Marriage was established to provide a legal mechanism to recognize legitimate and illegitimate children for the purposes of inheritance (including royal titles). People were considered married if they lived together for a fortnight (the honeymoon). These common law marriages are still recognized in some states. In common law England, a notice was posted on the town hall or church stating that Mr. John Smith was taking Miss Mary Jones as his wife on a certain date. The notice was left there for a month and if there was no objection that there was fraud or a previous family, the two could marry. The notice was kept in the public records as proof, similar to today's marriage license. The church's blessing on the marriage was for legitimacy of the union for royal titles or for spriitual purposes. Not everyone married in the church. From that day forward, children born from that union had certain rights upon the death of the father (and eventually the mother as the laws recognized a woman's right to property).
The issue of inheritance must be addressed before same sex marriages are recognized. People cannot stick there head in the sand and ignore the issue of who is the mother and father. A child cannot have two mothers or two fathers under existing laws in all of the states. The laws specifically terminate the birth mother's rights in adoption and surragacy. In addition, there is no father in artificial insemination unless there is a marriage. It is presumed that the man in a convential marriage (woman and man) is the father when a child born to a married husband and wife (unless the wife declares otherwise on the marriage certificate). Unless society is willing to address these issues (and many others that I am not listing), same sex marriage will remain outside mainstream thinking.

I know I'm going to regret ... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

I know I'm going to regret engaging mak44 in a "discussion" (assuming mak44 can have a rational discussion with anyone)...

Some have used the concept of "incest" to skewer the argument.

And yet you and everyone else have not responded to my questions above. Perhaps if someone could explain how we ban incestuous marriages while allowing gay marriage or convince me that incestuous marriages really aren't that bad then I might be persuaded to your side.

Kbiel -Children of... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Kbiel -

Children of incestuous marriages are likely to have serious health issues related to inbreeding. (which is why a lot of royalty was insane.) This problem wouldn't affect gay marriages.

Kbiel -Interesting... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Kbiel -

Interesting to note; if an genetically closely-realated infertile couple got married, then objections to that particular incestuous marriage would be based solely on our discomfort with the idea.

Kbiel -Interesting... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Kbiel -

Interesting to note; if an genetically closely-realated infertile couple got married, then objections to that particular incestuous marriage would be based solely on our discomfort with the idea.

This problem would... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
This problem wouldn't affect gay marriages.
if an genetically closely-realated infertile couple got married, then objections to that particular incestuous marriage would be based solely on our discomfort with the idea.

So then, do we ban incestuous marriage outright? Do we allow it if either or both of the bride and groom are sterile? Do we allow them to marry if they merely infertile (a condition that is reversible) or do we restrict to sterile couples?

Assuming an outright ban or a ban on incestuous marriages that could produce children then how should the Supreme Court interpret the 14th amendment to allow two brothers to marry, but not a brother and sister?

Perhaps if someone could... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Perhaps if someone could explain how we ban incestuous marriages while allowing gay marriage or convince me that incestuous marriages really aren't that bad then I might be persuaded to your side.

Well, I doubt I can convince you since you seem determined to adhere to the slippery slope argument/fallacy, but here goes.

First, the slope. Society is a complex thing, and to adopt an "all or nothing" viewpoint on social issues such as marriage is foolish and ignorant. Marriages were not even performed by the Church for the first 800 years or so. Arranged marriages have been common for thousands of years. Polygamy was and is common in many cultures. Marriages between religions were banned in much of Europe for hundreds of years, marriages between racial groups were banned here until 1967. Henry VIII started a new church just so he could get divorced and remarried. Conservatives love to insist that marriage was, is, and always should be a union of one consenting man and one consenting woman, but the history of marriage is much more varied and complex than that. Changes in marriage have been made in that history, all of them without opening the floodgates allowing brother to marry sister or man to marry dog. We as a society get to define marriage how we like, and if we want homosexuals to be able to marry but not blood relatives, we can do that.

Second, incest. Incest, like polygamy, beastiality, and forcing children/minors to marry are choices. Homosexuality is not a choice. One can be homosexual and celibate. One cannot be incestuous and celibate; one cannot be polygamous and unmarried; one cannot have sex with animals and not have sex with animals. Homosexuality cannot be turned off, even if it can be ignored. Incest is a choice that we as a society agree cannot be allowed. Homosexuality is not a choice, and we as a society accept its existence (mostly). That we do not accept gay marriage (yet) only proves that society is not perfect, we still have some evolving to do.

There are millions of committed homosexual couples in this country, many of whom have children. There is not, to my knowledge, an underground society of incestuous couples yearning for acceptance. Why must we deny the homosexual couples the rights and privileges that the rest of us enjoy? Because of the contention that it may lead to other activities that it is well within the government's power to stop? Sorry, that ain't good enough.

"That myopic view inevitabl... (Below threshold)

"That myopic view inevitably leads to discrimination which is really what some of these posters harbor; notwithstanding their attempt to use some lofty, but archaic, values that just happen conveniently to square their prejudices whether religious or cultural"

Hey Mak, you're going to tell me that if I think gay marriage is a bad idea, it must be because I harbor "prejudices," even if I am not aware of them?

Is it possible to oppose gay marriage and not be prejudiced? If so, why? If not, why not?

Kbiel -Actually, I... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Kbiel -

Actually, I wasn't taking a stand on either incestuous or gay marriage; I was merely pointing out that they raise different issues--they pose different questions.

Personally, I have no objection to gay marriage; I see no harm in it. I'm opposed to incestous relations because of genetic dangers; I happen to also be personally uncomfortable with the idea, but my personal comfort or discomfort is no argument either way...

PublicousRigh... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Publicous
Right on-you made it incredibly simple... except for the simple-minded like kbiel.

wavemaker

Exactly... if you think it's a "bad idea" then you are masking bygotry w/ a pseudo-argument. You have no basis to allege that gay marriage is a "bad idea" save your belief.

You likely are not aware of your biases; most biased people are not aware because, to them, what they perceive is reality.

BTW "belief" in etymology comes from the Old English be lief, i.e. to have something as you would lief (wish) it.

Not much of a basis to discuss reality, but grounds for prejudice & bigotry.

First, the slope. ... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
First, the slope. Society is a complex thing, and to adopt an "all or nothing" viewpoint on social issues such as marriage is foolish and ignorant.

mantis, I said nothing about a slope, slippery or otherwise. This is not an "all or nothing" viewpoint that I hold. I am trying to determine how one might ban the marriage between a brother and a sister while allowing two brothers to marry in the face of the 14th amendment.

It's not a simple choice of society to allow or disallow marriages based on the collective biases of its constituents. If that were the case, then interracial marriage prohibitions should be constitutional and yet they are not.

You dismantled those strawmen so well. Now try explaining how one bans male/female sibling marriages while allowing male/male or female/female sibling marriages while preserving the 14th amendment.

Actually, I wasn't taking a stand on either incestuous or gay marriage; I was merely pointing out that they raise different issues--they pose different questions.

I know you are trying hard to not take a position on incestuous marriage because it's hard to defend homosexual marriage as a civil right while still explaining why heterosexual sibling marriages are not.

Now, if you want to argue as mantis has that it's really just a choice of society then that deflates the argument that allowing marriage to include same sex couples does not open the door to other marriage options (e.g. polygamy, beatial). I guess that same sex marriage advocates could say that homosexual marriages are OK, except in case of incestuous relationships (i.e. brothers marrying each other), but what would be the reasoning?

Kbiel -Actually, I... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Kbiel -

Actually, I don't have really strong feelings about homosexual marriage. I see nothing wrong with it, but I wouldn't be crushed if it didn't happen. And, as I said before, there is no connection between incestuous marriage and homosexual marriage. It's not hard to argue for one and against the other. They're just different issues.

However, I do think that marriage IS a choice of society. We need to decide where we favor it, and where we don't and why. Many people say that marriage has always been a particular way (which it has), and that it cannot or should not change. One doesn't follow the other. Sometimes traditions are imperfect or even bad and should be changed. Sometimes they are good and should be preserved. We need to THINK about them and EVALUATE them...and then come to a conclusion.

I am absolutely confounded to even understand how, for example, and change in marriage laws would somehow require us to approve of, say, bestiality. I just can get the connection.

Marriage came about, as ... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Marriage came about, as I understand it, as a way for a society to provide for the raising of children, and the perpetuating of the society as a whole.

Uh-huh. This straight from the transcript of that moment? Documentary? Comic book?

Kbiel -Here's anot... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Kbiel -

Here's another bit of confusion. I have been talking about moral/rational argument for or against various postions on marriage. You are talking (also? instead?) about Constitutional issues; in particular, the 14th ammendment. I would say, let's decide the moral issues first. Then, if legally it requires another Constitutional amendment to do the moral thing, we can get to that next.

But, I guess, you are saying that by allowing homosexual unions, we would automatically legally unleash other kinds of unions not necessarily intended.

So, is your primary concern here legal arguments? Or moral arguments? Or both?

KbielYou wr... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Kbiel

You wrote: "because it's hard to defend homosexual marriage as a civil right while still explaining why heterosexual sibling marriages are not."

This is a specious argument & there is no logical reason to link the 2 ideas other than the so-called slippery slope which is implicit in your position.

This sort of illogical reasoning is exactly what I referred to above: it is a vain attempt to justify your homophobic bigotry.

The 2 things have nothing to do w/ one another. Only in a bigoted mind could they be equated. As Publicus argued, one is a choice, the other is not.

Why don't you just 'fess up that either thru your archaic religious ethic or your homophobic predilections you are intolerant?

Only a twisted "Dobson" like mind would conceive of that sort of linkage.

Use the brain that Evolution gave you & take a few baby-steps toward Reason.

mak44 - I see your concern ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

mak44 - I see your concern about a logical flaw by kbiel - the slippery slope argument. However, maybe we should get clarification from kbiel. For example, he may be concerned about this as a strategic issue -- that is, if we allow one alteration in marriage laws, the door to other alterations which we don't like may be coming. This is not a moral argument or a legal argument; it would be tactical concern.

I have been unclear whether our discussion has been about ethics, law or tactics. I like us to be clear and discuss one at a time...

Interesting discussion. Gl... (Below threshold)

Interesting discussion. Glad to see not too much use of the term "traditional marriage." Which was the point of my King Solomon reference. Traditional marriages in the Old Testament were not exactly the same as our Western version of Traditional Marriage.

Heilein pushed the envelope in his works. So have many others. Still, a large chunk of our society would not accept his approaches, or homosexual marriage. We can debate pros and cons here, but until a majority supports the idea, and the minority that opposes it is powerless to block it, it ain't happening.

PublicusI understa... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Publicus

I understand your concern. You made a powerful differentiation above.

What concerns me is the apparent tactic of the religious right to use the "slippery slope" argument to attempt to skewer the granting of rights to a specific group. I was recently accosted at a supermarket by a woman w/ a petiton to overturn Cincinnati's anti-discrimination ordinance re sexual orientation on the grounds that it granted "special rights" to a certain group of people. This is just another discrimnatory posture to maintain homophobic bigotry.

There is no rational basis to draw the inference that if one thing is tolerated in law that the flood gates are turned open for any behavior. Tou made that distinction rather eloquently. The manipulation of such a proposition is typically a subterfuge to legitimize discrimination. Similar tactics were used against the '60's Civil Rights movement.

The point being, people who engage in the "slippery slope" argument would deny civil rights to people on the grounds that it is a path to total acceptance of any behavior. This is a red herring to cover intolerance. The issue may be viewed as a tactical matter, but the end result is discrimination nontheless.

The reality is that there is a significant number of people in this country who would deny civil rights to others in the pursuit of narrow-minded beliefs.

It was used against African-Americans for 2 centuries.

Furthermore, the argument posted above by another blogger that the this issue should be left to "democratic decision" rather than a court fiat flies in the face of reality. Discrimintion against African-Americans would likely not have been dislodged were it not for that "terrible activist" Warren Court ruling "Separate but equal is inherently unequal." The Court is a bulwark against denial of civil rights inspite of the mockery of the Constitution that the majority might make.

One aspect about the origin... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

One aspect about the origins of marriage that was missed or not played up well is that marriage has always been conveyed by society upon a couple. Marriage is performed by a Priest, Judge, Ship's Captain, or Witch Doctor. It's performed by a high ranking member/representative of society. And without Society's agreement, marriage is essentially public a declaration of 'going steady' that has a really really expensive Party attached to it.

Perhaps this is why heterosexual marriage rates have declined in the more progressive countries that embraced marriage in all its progressive variants. Perhaps society's wishes were ignored by the politically correct elite of those countries and now the perception of marriage has been smashed into something hollow and meaningless (except for the really really expensive party).

mak44 - I share your concer... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

mak44 - I share your concerns. I'm a little more circumspect, possibly naive, about people's motives. I cut people slack because I'm really concerned about not understanding them. At the same time, kbiel made some errors in logic which you did a great job pointing out.

I have another view about gay marriages...

There's another way to look at marriage and civil unions. The latter needs no religious sanctions and is bascially a contract between two people.

In one sense, gay couples can already get married. They can volutarily sign a contract between them that contains the marriage vows, and other legal language as they choose. The onlyl thing missing are the benefits that outside parties accord them--which is important, but not everything. If I were gay and wanted to get married, I would do exactly that--get a contract with my partner, and have whatever ceremony we desired. And, if society catches up and recognizes the arrangement, so much the better.

Of course, this is easy for me to say--I'm heterosexual and happily married...but from my outsider perspective...I would think it's important to just get on with one's life in the meantime...

Let's keep this grounded in... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Let's keep this grounded in reality.

There is not a single right gay people lack the straights have.

A gay man can marry any woman he wishes to. A lesbian can marry any man she wishes to.

This is NOT like interracial marriage, where men and women couldn't marry the opposite sex whenever they wish.

Homosexuals want a right that nobody has (hey, I can't marry a dude, either). If they wish to make their argument and win this "right" politically, fine.

Go the route of judicial fiat and the issue will never cool off. Period.
-=Mike

This whole subject is nause... (Below threshold)
CurlyLarryMoe:

This whole subject is nauseating at best.

CurlyLarryMoeron... (Below threshold)
mak44:

CurlyLarryMoeron

Typical homophobic comment. Is it based on religious bigotry or are you just wedded to archaic social custom?

MikeSC

You wrote: "Homosexuals want a right that nobody has"

That is the "special rights" red herring used by the likes of Dobson & Tony Perkins and Janet Parshall among others. It simply misdefines the issue by identifying gender as the focal point.

What gays & lesbians want is the right to be legally bonded w/ all the obligations & benefits that any married couple has. That is not a "special right," it is equal rights.

Furthermore, if a hypocritical & persecutory majority will not uphold equal rights thru proper legislation, rhen it is a matter for the courts to order.

Too bad for the Southern bigot of the past who used his regional majority of fellow bigots to run a Jim Crow society and keep the African-American a second class citizen.

When the majority will not relent because of prejudice or reliance on bigoted religious beliefs, then the courts must overturn a hateful practice. To do any less is to negate the principles of the Constitution.

It's just too damn bad that it takes court order to ensure the concepts contained in the Constitution that ought not be subject to bigotry, even if insisted upon by a majority of haters.

Human Rights are not granted by a
"majority," they are inherant to the nature of a human being.

Publicus, I choose to engag... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Publicus, I choose to engage you in this conversation because I tend not read posts that start with "homophobic bigotry".

You keep saying that the issues are not intertwined and yet because of the 14th amendment they are. It is not a tatical or moral judgement I am investigating, but one of law. I don't believe that homosexual marriage will automatically lead to incestuous marriage and bestial marriages (if that is the proper term), but there are legal questions that have yet to answered.

Since you are at least making a good faith effort in understanding all sides of the issues, as am I, then perhaps we can dispense with rhetoric and answer pointed questions:

1.) Does allowing homosexual marriage also include allowing two brothers or two sisters to marry each other?

1a.) If no, then what is the legal objection to doing so and how does one defend that objection on constitutional grounds?

1b.) If yes, then one must contend with the 14th amendment and how that might require us to allow brother-sister unions as equal protection under the law. How does one legally argue that brother-brother and sister-sister unions are allowable, but brother-sister unions are not?

These are valid legal questions, especially if one contends that homosexual marriage is an equal rights issue (again with the 14th amendment). I know you have not contended that, Publicus, but you are the only one even willing to have a rational discussion with out using dismissing terms such as "homophobic bigot".

I know you keep saying that homosexual marriage and incestuous marriage are different issues (and they are), but from a legal standpoint, they might not be different. Obviously, from a moral standpoint, they are different issues, but the law is not always informed by moral differences and a court can not take moral sensitivities into consideration with laws that clearly define those moral sensitivities.

Oops. "consideration with ... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Oops. "consideration with laws" should be without.

Marriage came about, as ... (Below threshold)

Marriage came about, as I understand it, as a way for a society to provide for the raising of children,

Not exactly true raising children in all primitive cultures was done by the clan as a whole because at the time the link between sex and pregnancy was not well understood. It was only when civilizations developed and inheritance became an issue that marriage started to come about, but not in any way we recognize it today. Even the Old Testament version of marriage complete with its polygamous features was a common law affair with women being traded as prizes or for political reasons (a tradition that lasted until the modern era).

The state sanctioning of marriage has had only one purpose throughout history and that is to establish inheritance and bloodlines for the nobility. The state sanctioning of marriage for commoners is a practice of fairly recent vintage as most "marriages" at the founding of our country were "common law" in the sense that there were no official documents issued other then, perhaps, a note by a priest that was tucked away in a family bible (if that).

So the whole idea that the state interest in marriage is anything more then a means of incorporating two people in a legal bond that offers mutual protection and division of property and inheritance to children (if any) is unsupportable.

Laws controlling the behavi... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Laws controlling the behavior of consenting adults should be abhorrent in a free country.

How many people here commenting on the offensiveness of redefining marriage, etc, were also rightly defending Tony Snow for stupid criticism over the "tar baby" comment? You do not have a right to NOT be offended by someone else's choices.

For the record, I am in favor of gay marriage, and don't see a rational impediment to contract marriage, incestous marriage, group marriage, or the like. Bestiality is and should remain illegal, animals cannot give consent, and children are legally and pratically unable to similarly consent. Some of these may give me the creeps personally, but so does the Southern Baptist Convention, and I see no need to render them illegal.

i agree with the point made... (Below threshold)
Dave:

i agree with the point made above about using a civil union instead of marriage. To let two men get "married" is to change the entire meaning of the word. It's man and woman, not 2 people. If they were to change the definition of this word, then what other words could we change the definition to? i won't cite any examples, as i'm sure you can create your own examples.

Civil Unions, fine. Marriage? Thats not what a marriage is. The term "Same-Sex Marriage" is extremely contradictory and an oxymoron in and of itself.

For the record, I ... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
For the record, I am in favor of gay marriage, and don't see a rational impediment to contract marriage, incestous marriage, group marriage, or the like.

Finally, someone who is consistent.

This is the point of my questioning on incestuous marriage. Many proponents of homosexual marriage claim that it is no different than heterosexual marriage, but that other forms of marriage are different. That may be true from a moral standpoint, but it is not from a legal standpoint. I'm trying to figure out how one splits the legal hair to allow one new form of marriage but excludes all others especially if one maintains that homosexual marriage is a civil rights issue (meaning that they have to be using the 14th amendment).

"That is the "special right... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

"That is the "special rights" red herring used by the likes of Dobson & Tony Perkins and Janet Parshall among others. It simply misdefines the issue by identifying gender as the focal point.

What gays & lesbians want is the right to be legally bonded w/ all the obligations & benefits that any married couple has. That is not a "special right," it is equal rights."

And they can. They just have to marry the opposite sex. It's not like if a gay man marries a woman, they won't be given "equal rights" as any married couple.

I can no more marry a man than a gay man can. They want a right nobody has.

Thus, they want a special right.

"Furthermore, if a hypocritical & persecutory majority will not uphold equal rights thru proper legislation, rhen it is a matter for the courts to order."

If homosexuals refuse to make a case as to why they deserve a special right, that is their problem. Rule by fiat is a problem and the SCOTUS has been guilty for years of it.

"Too bad for the Southern bigot of the past who used his regional majority of fellow bigots to run a Jim Crow society and keep the African-American a second class citizen."

Note how Jim Crow denied equal rights.

There is ZERO difference in rights between gay men and straight men; between lesbians and straight women.

Under Jim Crow --- blacks couldn't vote. Gays can. Blacks couldn't marry the opposite sex of a different race. Gays can. They couldn't live where they wanted. Gays can.

You've yet to demonstrate any right that I presently have that a gay man does not.

"When the majority will not relent because of prejudice or reliance on bigoted religious beliefs, then the courts must overturn a hateful practice. To do any less is to negate the principles of the Constitution."

So, you're not searching for equality. You're searching for acceptance.

Sorry, but it's not a Constitutional right for anybody to like what you do.

"It's just too damn bad that it takes court order to ensure the concepts contained in the Constitution that ought not be subject to bigotry, even if insisted upon by a majority of haters.

Human Rights are not granted by a
"majority," they are inherant to the nature of a human being."

And you've yet to name a single right that straight people have that gay people do not. If a gay man wants to marry a woman, he can do so no problem. If a straight man wants to marry another man, he cannot.

Like it or not, it's completely and totally equal.

But you don't seek equality.
-=Mike

There is no natural right t... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

There is no natural right to be married as the term is currently defined in the U.S. The title "married" is not only a contract between individuals, but also with the state. For example, when one of the two dies, the other gets a share of the deceased partner's social security pension. Same is true for military pensions and some private pensions. Gays, in arguing their case before the Massachusetts supreme court identified 50 some benefits bestowed on married couples by society (state and private). Those benefits justify society's involvement in defining marriage.

Love between the partners is irrelevant to the marriage contract with society. Society bestows marriage benefits for the sole purpose of promoting the pro-creation and rearing of the next generation of productive law-abiding citizens, which is necessary for the continuance of society as we know it.

Government deals with people by type rather than by individual. One example is that people of type "65 years of age or older" get an extra exemption on their income tax regardless of their actual financial status. I gave more examples of "types" in my prior post on this topic. Government grants the title "married" to the type "genetically compatible pro-creation couples" It's irrelevant that some genetically compatible pro-creation couples don't or can't pro-create just as it's irrelevant that some 65 year-olds don't need an extra tax exemption.

Marriage is founded on the principles of pro-creation and equality of the partners. Removing either of these foundations weakens the propagation of society itself and that entitles the people to vote on any changes to marriage laws. Every voter is entitled to vote their own beliefs regardless of the nature or source of their beliefs.

Consenting adults can already live in whatever relationships they choose, so there's no human rights issue at stake. Power of attorney laws already allow unrelated individuals to exercise legal authority over each other's property and even make medical decisions for others.

Government grants the ti... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Government grants the title "married" to the type "genetically compatible pro-creation couples"

I must have missed that part of the law, that states people with conflicting genetic markers may not marry.
Consenting adults can already live in whatever relationships they choose, so there's no human rights issue at stake. Power of attorney laws already allow unrelated individuals to exercise legal authority over each other's property and even make medical decisions for others.

Bullshiat. A close family member (such as a parent) who disapproves of a gay individuals partner has far more recourse in courts to wrest control from a power-of-attorney partner than they do over a spouses similar authority.

What physical negative impact does allowing people to marry as they choose to have on you? Because kvetching about definitions of "marriage" and "because it's always been done that way" is crap. Definitions and social meanings change constantly, and the way it's always been done is more often a good argument for change. After all, prior to the 13th amendment, slavery was the way it's always been done. Prior to suffrage, men having the sole vote was the way it had always been done.
It's not "special rights," it's equal as much as ensuring wheelchair access to public buildings. Every 100% healthy adult can climb steps, but that shouldn't exclude those who can't.

WARNING...SOMEWHAT EXPLICIT... (Below threshold)

WARNING...SOMEWHAT EXPLICIT CONTENT AHEAD...(edited slightly to not tip the search engines)

First, Mak....drop the "homophobic" bullshit. Nobody here is scared of a damned thing, and you know as well as anyone here that the term was coined to make a mockery of anyone who opposed the radcal homosexual agenda, not unlike a schoolyard accusation of being "chicken." If we're going to talk about "grown-up" issues, let's use "grown-up" language, shall we?

Next, I make absolutely no bones about it...I'm anti-homosexuality. There's a distinction between someone who enjoys homosexual sex, and someone who has an aversion to heterosexual sex. The first is a conscious choice...the latter is a psychological disorder.

To see this exemplified in another area of sexuality, look at the world of fetish. A person who enjoys b_ndage, s_do-m_sochism, or foot-w_rship isn't considered imbalanced or abnormal, by and large...until their preferences towards those things precludes them from enjoying sex without incorporating those elements, in which case therapy is indicated.

To say that a predisposition exists towards homosexuality (therefore not a conscious choice), and to therefore normalize it does indeed open the door to normalization of other sexual activities, most notaby pedophilia. A solid argument can be made that the pedophiliac has never made a conscious choice to be attracted to young minors, but rather finds himself naturally satiated by sexual experiences with prepubescent girls.

Psychology has always recognized that a person's "natural" tendencies aren't necessarily "healthy and normal." To blur the line here is a dishonest and agenda-motivated distortion of the facts.

Now, before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, because I say that homosexual behaviour shouldn't be "normalized" doesn't mean that I'm opposed to the freedom of adults to engage in whatever sexual deviance they prefer, so long as it occurs strictly between consentual adult parties. As I believe strongly in personal freedoms, what goes on in the bedroom is nobody's business except those folks in the bedroom...but that goes both directions. At the same time that the government has no business in the bedroom, what happens in the bedroom has no business in public. I don't care what you do, with whom you do it, or how you do it...just don't insist that I call it "normal."

I must have missed... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I must have missed that part of the law, that states people with conflicting genetic markers may not marry.

The law doesn't allow close relatives to merry because of the known problems with offspring. Some locations require a blood test to get a marriage license for the same reason.

Bullshiat. A close family member (such as a parent) who disapproves of a gay individuals partner has far more recourse in courts to wrest control from a power-of-attorney partner than they do over a spouses similar authority.

Not so. A properly executed power of attorney along with a notarized letter explaining a person's wishes is excepted by courts as that person's will when they are unable to speak for themselves. There are also living wills and witnessed video tapes to bolster this. The only means a family member has of overcoming such documents is to prove to the court that the person making them was either not competent at the time or coerced.

What physical negative impact does allowing people to marry as they choose to have on you?

It dilutes, and thus, weakens the benefits society provides to pro-creation couples in return for the next generation of productive law-abiding citizens. Society has a compelling interest in promoting such future generations as it's existence is at stake. I listed the pension example in my prior post, but there are many more financial benefits society provides that would be diluted by homosexual marriage without any hope of increasing the quality or quantity of the next generation of citizen.

"because it's always been done that way" is crap. Definitions and social meanings change constantly, and the way it's always been done is more often a good argument for change. After all, prior to the 13th amendment, slavery was the way it's always been done. Prior to suffrage, men having the sole vote was the way it had always been done.

None of my arguments are based on keeping marriage as it is for the sake of keeping marriage as it is. I have highlighted the reasons society limits marriage benefits to pro-creation couples. Nothing you have said addresses those arguments.

It's not "special rights," it's equal as much as ensuring wheelchair access to public buildings. Every 100% healthy adult can climb steps, but that shouldn't exclude those who can't.

Everyone has the same right to marry any genetically compatible person of the opposite sex. What you're asking for is special rights, just as someone wanting to marry a sibling of the opposite sex would be asking for special rights. The fact that you love someone is irrelevant as it's not a foundation of marriage. Marriage is based on pro-creation and the equality of the partners, which results in the best payoff for the continuance of society. Live with who you want, but don't expect society to provide you with extra benefits just because you're porking some guy.

I knew someone would bring ... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

I knew someone would bring up the pedophilia strawman.

Since the largest apparent generator of pedophiles is organized religion (particularly the Catholic Church, but others have shown similar faults), it is clearly abnormal and should be banned for the good of the children.
/snark
It's been clinically shown multiple times that pedophilia is distinct from homosexuality.

Jamie, you're confusing sexual behavior with relationships. Someone in any kind of adult, consensual relationship shouldn't have to worry about your disapproval preventing them from taking care of each other.

kbiel - needed a night's sl... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

kbiel - needed a night's sleep. Thanks for your comment. I think we agree on something here. I don't claim that the 14th amendment protects gay marriage as a civil right. I can't imagine that the authors who wrote it had that in mind at all.

I think that, legally, the matter is one for the states...Of course, things get more complicated when one state recognizes gay marriages and another state refuses to recognize that marriage. Then, we have to ask...are they legally married or not? Or are they legally married in one state but not in another?

This brings the Feds in--to settle a dispute between states. Hopefully, if this happens, it'll be settled more peacefully than the dispute of the 1860s--whatever the ruling.

Mac Lorry - interesting pos... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mac Lorry - interesting post. Re:

"Society bestows marriage benefits for the sole purpose of promoting the pro-creation and rearing of the next generation of productive law-abiding citizens, which is necessary for the continuance of society as we know it."

I think this overstates things; I believe people would pro-crate without financial incentives from the state. I also don't see that allowing gay marriages would discourage heterosexuals from marrying, procreating and, thus, preserving the state.

It dilutes, and thus, we... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

It dilutes, and thus, weakens the benefits society provides to pro-creation couples in return for the next generation of productive law-abiding citizens.

Oh geez. Society does not provide benefits, it recognizes rights. The right to choose your partner, lifemate, and caregiver is as fundamental as any other.

This is why I have to hold my nose when voting for Republicans. . . the Dems may be absolute crap when it comes to national security and economic policy, and I recognize that importance, but they stink on ice when it comes to social issues.

By the way, please show the statute that states "Everyone has the same right to marry any genetically compatible person of the opposite sex" because it smells like something pulled out of the back pocket. You've failed to show any statute that requires a genetic test for marriage, for one, but it sounds like your trying to provide a unified definition of legal marriage while disallowing incestous heterosexual marriages, but not all related individuals are genetically incompatible, and not all unrelated individuals are. Recessives can pop up in all manner of crossings. So your entire basis for your definition is false, which either you fail to realize or you're just trying to cover for the current imbalance in the recognition of rights.

Personally I think the "gay marriage is bad, mmkay" crowd is as boring and annoying as the "guns are bad, mmkay" bunch. How exactly are we a free country, with the freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, when adults whose behavior has no material impact on others can have those same rights curtailed by closeminded reactionaries.

JamieSorry,... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Jamie

Sorry, but you are no defender of some sacrosanct concept of marriage but rather you are a homophobe using contrived arguments in an attempt to justify your intolerance & predilection for discrimination.

Your position denies to some the right to have a life-long partner along w/ the traditional benefits that come from society's recognition of that bond.

You wrote further:

"Next, I make absolutely no bones about it...I'm anti-homosexuality. There's a distinction between someone who enjoys homosexual sex, and someone who has an aversion to heterosexual sex. The first is a conscious choice...the latter is a psychological disorder. "

Your labeling of homosexuality as a psychological disorder is totally unsupported in any mainstream field of psychology w/ rare exceptions coming from discriminatory religious fundamentalists citing archaic biblical references. Mainstream psychology dropped your label a long time ago.

Finally, if you had 1 shred of psychological understanding, you would know that your claim that "homosexuality is a choice" is absolutely false. That kind of statement from you that I quoted shows clearly that, if you are not homophobic, then you certainly have a passion for discrimination, which makes you a bigot. That is your conscious choice.

There is little doubt that, given your hateful discriminatory attitude, you would have been in the trenches w/ George Wallace & Strom Thurmond in opposition to the civil rights laws of the 1960's when, at that time, it was still acceptable in some circles to be an avowed racist. People who think like you are always about imposing discriminatory limitations on some unfavored group.

As the Declaration of Independence was quoted
above, we are a society where one has the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Intolerant people like you make a mockery of that Declaration and the Constitution that ensued.


Ok, let's take a look at th... (Below threshold)
Chad:

Ok, let's take a look at this from a rational viewpoint.

a.) no-one has proven why people are gay. There is no Gay-Gene, It may be psychological, but thus far there is no reason to believe that homosexuality is a physical process. Let's just take that one off the table.

b.) marriage, was, until governments wormed their way into the business of licenses, fees, and bureacracy, an entirely religious practice, requiring the blessing of a priest, shaman, what-have-you. (thus the old english practice of the government and anglican church keeping records)It was for the sake of being able to justify a function, or functionaries.

c.) modern government seeks to protect minorities in western cultures. I'm not saying they are given excessive rights, but if a heterosexual beats up a homosexual, it's a "hate crime". However, if a homosexual beats up a heterosexual, it's simple assault. Much different penalties. Should homosexuals be considered a minority if they are given the same rights to marriage as a heterosexual? They have all the same benefits, except procreation, and we must assume that if a man and a man are together they understand that neither of them will ever be pregnant. The same can be said for two monogamous women.

I know where I stand on this issue, but my point is this, calling each other names is NOT accomplishing anything for either side. Put up or shut up, and get out your petitions. It's a national issue for the reason listed above, not a state issue, and last I looked, the courts of the united states do not have the authority (by the constitution) to create a law out of thin air(although that's pretty much what they did with RvW). Let's get it hashed out and settled with a vote of the people, as issues like this are supposed to be.

Publicus,... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Publicus,

I believe people would pro-crate without financial incentives from the state.

Pro-creation is only the first step in the process. The next step requires 18 plus years to rear a child, hopefully, into a productive law-abiding citizen. It's in society's own interest to help pro-creation couples accomplish that task.

I also don't see that allowing gay marriages would discourage heterosexuals from marrying, procreating and, thus, preserving the state.

That like say it doesn't hurt to give social security retirement benefits to people who never paid into the system, as if there's an infinite amount of money for that purpose. The harm in allowing gay marriage is that it dilutes, and thus, weakens the purpose for which society gives benefits to pro-creation couples, which is to secure future generations of productive law-abiding citizen.

John Irving<blockquot... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

John Irving

Oh geez. Society does not provide benefits, it recognizes rights. The right to choose your partner, lifemate, and caregiver is as fundamental as any other.

And gays already have that through existing laws as I pointed out in detail.

You've failed to show any statute that requires a genetic test for marriage.

Genetics is a relatively new science. Science has only discovered a small number of genes involved in genetic diseases, so it's too early to say that closely related individuals are genetically compatible for the purpose of producing offspring. Courts are still releasing prisoner who were convicted of rape before DNA testing was widely available and recognized by the courts. Until such time as science can make absolute determinations the law will continue to ban marriage of closely related individuals. Some states still requires couples to pass a blood test before they get a marriage license.

when adults whose behavior has no material impact on others can have those same rights curtailed by closeminded reactionaries.

You ask how gay marriage materially impact others before and I responded with an example. Obviously you didn't read that response or it's you who are closed minded on the issue.

John, I did not, in any wis... (Below threshold)

John, I did not, in any wise, assert any connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. To my knowledge, no such link exists, as pedophiliacs come in "both flavors."

Jamie, you're confusing sexual behavior with relationships.

No, I'm distinguishing the two, asserting that homosexual behaviour is not the threat to society, but rather normalization of homosexuality as a lifestyle is, as it paves the way to acceptance of any other "natural" abnormal sexual urges.

Mak....grow up, shit-stain.

JamieJust who the ... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Jamie

Just who the f... are you to define "abnormal?"

You need to grow out of your predilection for discrimination and false labeling of that which you do not approve. It's unfortunate that you are so steeped in hatred of others who happen to be different from you.

Apart from bigotry, you have no credible grounds for labeling homosexuals as abnormal.

That normalization of homosexuality would pave the way for acceptance of other abnormal behavior as you stated just reveals your bias. You have no demonstrable basis to make such a claim of abnormality or any definable reason to point to what something will lead apart from bigotry. You cannot find any mainstream psychology that supports such a claim. You are left w/ ranting religious whack jobs like Dobson, Robertson, Parshall, Falwell & Perkins to dredge up support for any of your claims about gays.

It would be cathartic to label a bigot like you as "abnormal" except that there are so many of your ilk that it would not be beyond the norm.

Your Creator or Evolution gave you a mind to think and you abuse it with your instinctive animal response of defense maifested with bigotry and discrimination. Your reaction is just a more complex human form of animal defensive behavior. No matter how you try to dress it, you are a bigot.

ChadYou wrote: ... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Chad

You wrote: "a.) no-one has proven why people are gay. There is no Gay-Gene, It may be psychological, but thus far there is no reason to believe that homosexuality is a physical process. Let's just take that one off the table."

Sorry, but you cannot just take that one off the table. Because no one has identified a gay gene as yet, does not mean that none exists. No one yet has been able to demonstrate that homosexuality is a matter of Nature or Nurture or a combination. One thing for sure; it has been persistent throughout history and has been observed in some species in the animal world as in the case of some same-sex bird pairings and the rearing of young among many examples.

To attempt to judge and/or proscribe certain behaviors solely because they appear not to meet a certain norm is short-sighted and most likely reflects a failure to understand the complex interactive world in which we abide.

"I knew someone would bring... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

"I knew someone would bring up the pedophilia strawman.

Since the largest apparent generator of pedophiles is organized religion (particularly the Catholic Church, but others have shown similar faults), it is clearly abnormal and should be banned for the good of the children.
/snark
It's been clinically shown multiple times that pedophilia is distinct from homosexuality."

Which makes the irony that the problems with the Church that you mentioned so prominently were homosexual in nature.

Just saying. You didn't have men touching girls.

"Apart from bigotry, you have no credible grounds for labeling homosexuals as abnormal."

Wouldn't the fact that they are a small minority, by definition, mean that they are not of the norm? Which means that they are abnormal.

Going with textbook definitions here.

"That normalization of homosexuality would pave the way for acceptance of other abnormal behavior as you stated just reveals your bias. You have no demonstrable basis to make such a claim of abnormality or any definable reason to point to what something will lead apart from bigotry."

Feel free to explain how incestual marriages can remain illegal if gay marriages are not. A single argument that would hold up would be lovely.

"Sorry, but you cannot just take that one off the table. Because no one has identified a gay gene as yet, does not mean that none exists."

Since none has been found --- yes, you can say none exists (using that logic, you can say "Well, you can say unicorns exist, even though nobody has ever seen one ever"). It's up to you to prove that it DOES in fact exist in spite of nobody having isolated it.
-=Mike

MikeSCNo one, and ... (Below threshold)
mak44:

MikeSC

No one, and not you either, has delivered a valid argument as to why sanctioning gay marriage leads next to & results in some campaign to sanction incestual marriage. This line of argument is just plain silly and relies on the use of a straw man. So I don't feel compelled to explain how incestual marriages would be barred in the event that gay marriage becomes legal. That is not even close to a rational discussion of the issue. You can attempt to establish any nonsensical situation that you want: it has nothing yo do w/ gay marriage and you cannot prove otherwise.

Secondly, the human genome has only recently been decoded and there are millions of human traits yet to be identified and linked to specific genes. Again, your unicorn analogy is just assinine.

On the other hand, if you are attempting to suggest that homosexuality is a choice, there is absolutely NO evidence to substantiate stch a claim, apart from the lunatic bigoted rantings of Dobson, Robertson, Perkins, Parshall, Foulwell et al & their devolved rabid bible-thumping fanatics.

mak44,How about in... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

mak44,

How about incestual gay marriages? Do you have any objection to them? I hope you're not incestualphobic. But what if the siblings aren't really gay, but like many unmarried siblings, just live in the same house as roommates in order to save money? If pro-creation is overturned as a foundation of marriage, there's no valid argument for denying same sex siblings the finical benefits of marriage. Does anyone think courts will require same sex siblings to perform sodomy in order to qualify for marriage benefits? It's real simple, if any same sex couples are allowed to marry, then all same sex couples must be allowed to marry.

"No one, and not you either... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

"No one, and not you either, has delivered a valid argument as to why sanctioning gay marriage leads next to & results in some campaign to sanction incestual marriage."

We've simply pointed out that any barrier to it is shot down by the exact same arguments that are trying to shoot down the reason why same-sex marriages aren't legal.

"This line of argument is just plain silly and relies on the use of a straw man. So I don't feel compelled to explain how incestual marriages would be barred in the event that gay marriage becomes legal."

You couldn't do so.

"That is not even close to a rational discussion of the issue."

Yes, because legalizing one thing never leads to more things getting legalized. Never happens.

"You can attempt to establish any nonsensical situation that you want: it has nothing yo do w/ gay marriage and you cannot prove otherwise."

If you wish to believe that, feel free.

"Secondly, the human genome has only recently been decoded and there are millions of human traits yet to be identified and linked to specific genes. Again, your unicorn analogy is just assinine."

No, it's 100% apropos. You want to claim something is real when there is zero evidence that it is. Just because it's a sacred cow for you does not make it one for me.

"On the other hand, if you are attempting to suggest that homosexuality is a choice, there is absolutely NO evidence to substantiate stch a claim, apart from the lunatic bigoted rantings of Dobson, Robertson, Perkins, Parshall, Foulwell et al & their devolved rabid bible-thumping fanatics."

Seeing as how there is legitimately zero evidence of homosexuality being genetic --- only one option exists, no?
-=Mike

Jay Tea,A... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Jay Tea,

Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is that child-rearing as a primary function of marriage is going out the window.

Yet the vast majority of productive law-abiding citizens continue to come from married parents. Society as we know it depends on the continued pro-creation and competent rearing of future generations. No modification to the current family format of one man one woman has been shown to be as effective.

Originally, it was for uniting couples who were likely to have children. The random element has been pretty much eliminated.

Only, the random element of having unwanted children has been pretty much eliminated. The random element of having children and raising them into productive law-abiding citizens has increased, and it's for the sake of promoting future generations that society bestows benefits on genetically compatible pro-creation couples. The resources society gives married couples are not in unlimited supply, so opening marriage to others who can't pro-create and competently rear the next generation, dilutes those resources. Society has the right to get the most bang for the buck, as it has a compelling interest in promoting future generations of productive law-abiding citizens. That interest is the very existence of society as we know it.

If we continue that principle, then we ought to ban any people who can not or will not produce children should be banned from marrying.

Apart from some as yet to be developed medical procedure, the only way to know for sure that a given man and a given woman can have offspring is to wait until the man gets the woman pregnant. Rather than deal with individual cases, government deals with types of people. People of type "65 years or older" get an extra income tax exemption regardless of their financial status. People of type "18 years or older" can vote regardless of their competency, while those younger than 18 can't vote regardless of their competency. Consider all the other areas where government deals with people by type and not by individual. Examples include driver license (minimum age), military draft (gender and age), and affirmative action (gender and race). By what logic should the government deal with marriage on an individual basis while dealing with people by type in all other areas? It can't be that marriage is the most valuable, because the military draft (still on the books) can be a life and death issue. It can't be because marriage is some constitutional right, because so is voting. It can't be because marriage is financially important, because so are extra tax exemptions.

I believe your support for gay marriage is based on inaccurate information and ideas and doesn't recognize the consequences society faces should such experiments with the basic structure of society prove disastrous. Please reconsider.




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