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Maggie Gallagher Guest-Blogging About Same-Sex Marriage:

I'm delighted to say that Maggie Gallagher will be guest-blogging this week about same-sex marriage. Maggie is founder and president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy; National Journal named her to its 2004 list of the most influential people in the same-sex marriage debate. Maggie has also written extensively on marriage and family more generally; she's the coauthor of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better-Off Financially.

Maggie, as many of you know, is a leading opponent of same-sex marriage. In a couple of weeks, I also look forward to having as a guest-blogger Dale Carpenter, a law professor at University of Minnesota and a prominent proponent of same-sex marriage. (I'd thought of having them guest-blog at the same time, but decided to try a less head-to-head exchange; we'll see in several weeks how well that has worked.) Many thanks to Maggie and Dale for joining us.

Jam (mail):
When and why did the government begin to get itself invoved with the licensing of marriages?
10.17.2005 10:15am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Looking forward to the exchange, and appreciating the effort to present opposing views. Probably very smart to avoid the head-to-head as well, since those encounters usually decay into quibble matches very quickly. (Maybe after they've laid out their positions, an exchange would be fruitful? If that's not a loaded word here?)
10.17.2005 10:22am
Maggie Gallagher (mail) (www):
The answer to the above query is: In the U.S. from the earliest days before the republic.

Historically, the answer is: when state and church became sufficiently separated that the state interest in regulating marriage became clear. Maggie (Gallagher)
10.17.2005 11:08am
Nobody (mail):
Perhaps when Maggie and Dale are done doing their thing, you can get Kweisi Mfume and David Duke to debate whether slavery was such a bad idea after all.
10.17.2005 11:12am
It's Mr. Queer to you! (mail) (www):
Hmmm, sounds interesting... just one question, wasn't Gallagher paid by the Bush administration to help push it's pro-het/anti-gay agenda on the "down low"? I could be wrong.... It will be interesting to see how Maggie's "expertise" plays out on this blog.
10.17.2005 11:32am
Lindsay Harrison (mail) (www):
I'd love to hear why same-sex marriage hurts the government's interest in "preserving the institution of marriage." Doesn't readily available, no-fault divorce hurt the institution even more?
10.17.2005 11:33am
Zed Pobre (mail) (www):
Since nobody else has asked yet, or possibly recognized the name...

Ms. Gallagher, are you still being paid by the current administration to push this agenda?
10.17.2005 11:38am
Observer (mail):
Marriage is a social institution that serves social purposes. It is not, and until very recently in a historical sense no one thought it was, an institution created for the purpose of making individuals happy. The social purpose of the institution of marriage are to channel the sexual instincts of men into supporting mothers and raising children. It is only because marriage serves a social purpose that marriage is given a privileged position both socially and legally. The happiness of the individuals involved is a byproduct only. Arguing about individual "rights" makes no sense in this context since the institution was not created to vindicate individual rights to happiness and fulfilment but to provide for the procreation and raising of children.

Has no fault divorce hurt this institution? Emphatically yes in the case of marriages with children. Let's do away with no-fault divorce in such cases, as soon as possible.

Are there childless couples? Of course, but that's an exception. The existence of an exception doesn't disprove the rule.

Do all children deserve a father and a mother? Of course.

Does homosexual marriage threaten this institution? I don't know but why take a chance on an already threatened institution? I say, let's give federalism a chance. Let Vermont or Massachusetts experiment with homosexual marriage and the rest of us can watch over the next 20-30 years and see how it turns out.
10.17.2005 11:58am
Aaron:
Maggie Gallagher writes:

"Historically, the answer is: when state and church became sufficiently separated that the state interest in regulating marriage became clear."

What possible interest does the state have in regulating marraige beyond the simple enforcement of private marraige contracts?
10.17.2005 12:15pm
Leeron:
Is Maggie getting paid to advance this particular agenda, and if she is would she remember to tell us this time?
10.17.2005 12:34pm
Gabriel Malor:

Does homosexual marriage threaten this institution? I don't know but why take a chance on an already threatened institution?


Generally, one needs a better reason than "why take a chance?" to make laws that restrict people's freedoms. Now, you're going to say that gay marriage has never been a recognized freedom of Americans. That argument is not compelling (e.g. women's suffrage, prohibition laws AND prohibition repeal). Freedom is simply the ability to live as one chooses. The government may limit individual's freedoms when neccessary in order to protect the freedoms of the rest of society, BUT it needs a reason to do so. "Why take a chance?" is NOT a good reason.
10.17.2005 12:59pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Is Maggie getting paid to advance this particular agenda, and if she is would she remember to tell us this time?

I'm curious. Could you please explain the implications you believe this would have on the discussion?

Lamda Delta, Alliance Defence, et all are hired guns to promote agendas from various people. Would this have the same implication on the discussion?

I honestly don't believe so, probably because I am at heart a meritocrat. People are often hired because they are devoted and good at what they want to do. My current employment (which is entirely technical in nature) came at such evaluation of how much I liked doing it and how good I was at doing it.

So I am, of course, curious as to what impact you are expecting this would have on the debate.
10.17.2005 4:55pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):

What possible interest does the state have in regulating marraige beyond the simple enforcement of private marraige contracts?


I agree. Lt's go back to the good old days when the Church controlled dom rel law.
10.17.2005 5:51pm
Chairm (mail) (www):
Maggie,

What is a social institution? Can you give us examples of other social institutions that depend on the vitality of marriage?

* * *

[I think that SSM (or even Civil Union merged with marriage in all but name) would be a replacement for marriage. At the societal level, discarding the man-woman criterion of marriage would enact the notion that the nonconjugal unisexed arrangement is preferred over the conjugal relationship that society has long-recognzied as marriage.]
10.17.2005 5:58pm
Jam (mail) (www):
Marriage licenses in Alabama, for exampla, did not exist until 1800's. I have read that marriage licenses, in what is now the uS, began as a means to prevent miscegination. Do you agree/disagree?

My point is that historically marriage involves 2 families and no government. (BTW, The Bible does not even grant the pastor authority to marry anyone)

If the government can license marriages why not baptisms?
10.17.2005 10:49pm
Jam (mail) (www):
Another thing. A license, from reading legal dictionaries, are a special permit to engage in an activity that otherwise would be illegal. (I am not a lawyer)

Are non-State sanctioned church (ie non-501c3 church) marriages, illegal?

Would that not be an unconstitutional establishment of religion? Since marriage, in Christianity for example, is a religious covenant, the oath is taken under the authority of God and not the state. The oath is under God and NOT under Caesar.
10.17.2005 10:57pm
homer:
It always amazes me that mediocre people can start some fancy shmancy advocacy organization, give it an important sounding title- such as the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and then tell the rest of us how to live our lives. I'd like to know exactly how Maggie's life has been torn apart by the gay marriages that have taken place in Massachusetts in the last year. Does she suddenly have the urge to divorce her husband, abandon her family? How come Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country?

This gay marriage racket has replaced Godless Communists as the preferred target by conservatives who want to interfere in the lives of their fellow Americans. Not a very patriotic stance, in my (probably unwanted) opinion.
10.18.2005 1:27pm
Buinovsky:
What right does any couple or group of people have to get "stuff" from society—e.g., preferential legal treatment in estate planning? May a society decide, collectively, that some groupings are, from a social perspective, superior and, consequently, subsidize them in some fashion? Or does "equal protection under the law" mean that a people may not state its considered preferences and have those preferences embodied in the laws under which they live?
10.18.2005 2:40pm
Dan Cobb:
Why would this blog or any other media outlet give Maggie Gallagher one line of space? This women cannot be trusted, just like Armstrong Williams can't be trusted.
She's part of the "anything for money" crowd. Considernig she apparently has no probelm with illegal government propaganda, it's inevitable that you will lower the credibility of your blog by associating yourself with such a person.
Dan in Baltimore
10.18.2005 3:05pm
PeaceBeWithYou:
"The social purpose of the institution of marriage are to channel the sexual instincts of men into supporting mothers and raising children."

Ah, the heart of Maggie Gallagher's argument.

Even if this claim were true (and history shows many glaring reasons why it is not), it is a very poor reason to ban gay marriage.

For if the rights &priveleges of marriage can only be granted to the procreative, society must immediatly ban marriages of heterosexual couples that do not desire children, or ones that include a postmenopausal woman or any infertile partner.

But why stop with just mandatory fertility tests before marriage?

After all, Maggie (or the handlers that secretly pay her) claim they just want to give kids the best possible homes.

So in that case, why not ban marriage for those parents likely to produce children with severe genetic defects? Or why not screen out abusive parents, alcoholics, the chronically unemployed? Heck, why not go Bill Bennett and ban marriage for blacks -- statistics tell us blacks don't provide an ideal environment for raising kids?

If there is a good reason to ban gay marriage - and I have yet to find one - the procreation issue is not it. And unfortunately for Maggie &company, she's running our of other ideas.
10.18.2005 5:43pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
> Peacebewithyou: Even if this claim were true (and history shows many glaring reasons why it is not), it is a very poor reason to ban gay marriage.

My study of history would show otherwise, but history is an open book for all to read.

For if the rights &priveleges of marriage can only be granted to the procreative, society must immediatly ban marriages of heterosexual couples that do not desire children, or ones that include a postmenopausal woman or any infertile partner.

This comes up a lot. So much so that its been dubbed the "Sterility Strawman". Exception to many groups is given for various reasons to marry but they can be summed up in two categories...

1) The infertile
2) Those who wish to not have kids

Infertility is a disability, and in our society we try to overcome disabilities and restore to people what naturally would be their capacities. Yet homosexuality is not a handicap. And no more would I endorse, say lazy people to get disability checks than I would same-sex couples being given the same exemption that infertile people get.

The elderly are a subset of the infertile that often come up. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that if the purpose of marriage was for procreative couples then marriages should be dissolved with menopause. Yet this totalitarian divorse system would simply tear parents apart because some people don't have the capacity to understand very clear and simply nuance. That would be a shame.

Second we deal with those choosing not to have kids. Our government is not into thought policing. Nor should it be. It is much easier to change one's mind than it is to change one's gender. Our government doesn't pretend to know, even by sworn affidavit who will or who won't have kids. Same-sexed arrangements are publically and 100% guaranteed predictible, and require no magical crystal ball or totalitarian enforcement.

I also note the desperation in your commentary. Things like, "And unfortunately for Maggie &company, she's running our [sic] of other ideas." Fascinating...
10.19.2005 5:23pm
Anonymous Coward:
I'm just curious what happens to the procreation strawman when biological sciences advance enough to allow 2 human males or 2 females to produce genetically related offspring. In vitro production of embryos from two sperm or two eggs have been experimented with in mice, so what happens when this becomes possible for humans and thus allow any two people, regardless of sex, to bear genetically related offspring? Thus, same-sex couples will be procreating (albeit with some help from a lab), so at that point, will they be welcomed into the 'marriage is for procreation' fold?

Or at that point, will the argument be changed to 'marriage is only for non-lab assisted procreation', or perhaps to 'marriage is only for sperm and egg procreation'?
10.19.2005 6:02pm
PeaceBeWithYou (mail) (www):
Homosexuality is not a disability?? I'm shocked to hear it from you.

Seeing as we agree on that, then what evidence do you have that shows homosexuals are inferior to heterosexuals in raising chilren?

While I wait for your response, let's get back to the heart of the Gallagher argument: fertility.

You seem to agree that elderly couples or those not wanting children are _undeserving_ of marriage licenses. (Talk about desperate to not concede defeat...try floating that idea next time you're on TV.) But, you claim it's too intrusive or totalitarian of the government to police such individuals, so you'll continue to allow them marriage licenses. That's so generous of you. Of course you have no such empathy for the intrusion of government into homosexual lives, but I don't want you to explain that contradiction.

What I am curious about is this: if you want to 1) have marriages be only for those with children and 2) minimize government 'police' work.... why not wait to grant marriage licenses to those that have children?

In other words, heterosexual couples, upon arrival of their first child, are granted a marriage license. But not one day before. If they want a religious marriage earlier, absolutely fine. Civil union? Sure. But marriage is only for the procreative -- you said it yourself!

It meets both your tests: marriage is for children, and should minimize government intrusion.
10.19.2005 6:28pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
> Peacebewithyou: Homosexuality is not a disability?? I'm shocked to hear it from you.

Just a question, do I know you? Are you confusing me perchance with someone else? The underlying link in that quote is to my own writings which date back many years. It is suprising that you are at all shocked.

Seeing as we agree on that, then what evidence do you have that shows homosexuals are inferior to heterosexuals in raising chilren?

The issue that crystalizes this part of the debate comes in realizing we are not discussing the capacity to raise children between any random set of couples. Orphanages raise children, wolves raise children (sorry that was a World News Daily think I think), grandparents raise children, foster parents raise children, etc... In all of those cases there needn't be a marriage, nor is there one solicited.

We are talking about a child's parents. Evolution has given us the mandate that only by combining the two sexes are children created. A child's parents sharing physiology and with equal gender representation are the most advantaged couple in raising that child.

Beyond that a marriage establishes the governance in a home. Just as we wouldn't want to see California take Nevada's seats in Congress, it is not equal representation when only one sex is represented in a marriage. But that is also covered in the link in the previous paragraph. So while gender orientation is orthoganal to raising children (i.e. "homosexuals" and "heterosexuals"), the makeup of the household governance does play a role.

You seem to agree that elderly couples or those not wanting children are _undeserving_ of marriage licenses.

My view is the opposite, as explained in the post above. They have been presented to me as undeserving and I have defended their rights. So where exactly did you get that opinion from?

Of course you have no such empathy for the intrusion of government into homosexual lives, but I don't want you to explain that contradiction.

You'll have to explain to me how marriage's equal gender requirement amounts to intrusion on homosexual lives. If anything it is an intrusion on the lives of heterosexual couples. For instance immigration services will often intrude into private affairs of individuals to make sure they are in fact married.

why not wait to grant marriage licenses to those that have children?

Or why not give marriage licenses to every couple that has a child? Hmmm?

Marriage has many dimensions to it but underlying the state's purpose in recognizing it is the potency of the combiniation of genders -- it makes new citizens who the state has an interest in ensuring certain rights of.

A marriage is a three-party contract between husband, wife, and state, and all three have different interests (as with any contract). The state's interest is much like an insurance policy, it covers the potential of something happening. We don't wait for someone to have an accident to sign them up for car insurance. We don't wait for a house to burn down to sign them up for house insurance. But we do note that cars have the potential for accidents, and houses the potential to burn down. And when gender's combine intimately there is the potential for children, and that is enough.

But marriage is only for the procreative -- you said it yourself!

Procreative... not neccissarily procreating. Which would be the point of my previous post.

It meets both your tests:

The policy over marriage may need to be adjusted from time to time but things work pretty well already. Even for same-sexed couples who already through contract law can have everything a marriage gives aside from how people recognize that relationship. And honestly people are free to recognize if they give benefits to married people just as much as any contractual same-sex couple.
10.19.2005 6:54pm
PeaceBeWithYou:
"Evolution has given us the mandate that only by combining the two sexes are children created."

Certainly, and evolution has mandated women the weaker sex and the Irish undisposed to Saharan sun and certain Africans anemic ... my point is that "evolution" isn't instructive in determining 'superiority'.

And it's certainly not evidence that homosexuals are any less talented at raising children. You can't provide such evidence because there _is_ no such evidence. And if there is no such evidence, there is no reason to ban them from marriage.

"They [elderly and childless couples] have been presented to me as undeserving and I have defended their rights."

No, you merely said it would be too "totalitarian" to ban the elderly and too much like "thought policing" to ban childless couples from marriage.

In fact, you made no argument in the _affirmative_ why an elderly couple or a childless couple should be awarded a marriage license.

So please explain why these non procreative couples deserve a license that is supposedly based on procreation.

"You'll have to explain to me how marriage's equal gender requirement amounts to intrusion on homosexual lives." And "same-sexed couples ... already through contract law can have everything a marriage gives."

This is an absolute lie. Even after spending thousands of dollars in legal fees, gay couples are still denied thousands of legal rights and priveleges that (sterile, elderly) heterosexual couples get. From tax issues to inheritance to simple hospital visitation, same sex couples cannot replicate the legal framework of marriage on their own.

"Marriage has many dimensions to it but underlying the state's purpose in recognizing it is the potency of the combiniation of genders."

Oh, it's the combination of genders now.

So now the root of marriage is _not_ procreation?

"The state's interest is much like an insurance policy, it covers the potential of something happening."

And in this age of planned parenting, a child can _happen_ to gay and straight couples alike.

"And when gender's combine intimately there is the potential for children, and that is enough."

And when two lesbians start nesting, there is the potential for children, and that is enough.

"Procreative... not neccissarily procreating."

Exactly, like nesting lesbians.

"The policy over marriage may need to be adjusted from time to time"

Exactly, like now.
10.19.2005 8:20pm