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Question on the Marriage Debates:
Whether states should recognize same-sex marriages strikes me as a very complex question, one that taps into lots of different instincts and arguments. I confess I am a bit puzzled, though, by Maggie's effort to articulate the harm of same-sex marriage for the majority of us that are straight. As I understand her argument, the claim is that reforming the institution of marriage to include same-sex relationships will have a profound negative impact on how straight couples view marriage. My question is, why? As Maggie herself has pointed out, the institution of marriage is one of the basic building blocks of every society. If marriage is so innate, why should we expect a small number of same-sex marriages to have a significant effect on how the majority in opposite sex relationships behave? This isn't meant to be a trick question. I guess I just don't see why the existence of same-sex marriages would discourage opposite-sex couples from tying the knot.
anonymous coward:
Maybe the argument is not that SMS will discourage opposite-sex marriage, but rather that SMS will help unmoor marriage from child-creation? (The fact that marriage, to most of us, now means something vague about love more than reproduction may--or may not--be part of the problem.)

Presumably she'll enlighten us...eventually.
10.19.2005 8:33pm
SP (www):
The best argument I can think of is a quasi-Groucho Marxism: "I don't want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member." (or something of that sort).

To some, LGBT persons are 'the other', and marriage is currently one of the few things that explicitly differentiates between 'us' and 'them'. If marriage is no longer a way to trumpet one's own heterosexuality, it becomes a less desirable institution to this segment of the populous.

As this rationale is based on a (to my mind) illegitimate bias, it doesn't do much for me, but it may well represent an unfortunate reality.
10.19.2005 8:39pm
anon:
I'll take a swing at this one.

The theory is that marriage as an institution suffers when its foundational justification is compromised by same-sex marriage. No doubt the likely small number of same-sex marriages would have a proportionally small effect, but the effect would be net harmful to society by loosening the connection between marriage and procreation - particularly among men.

Anyway, that is the theory as far as I can tell.
10.19.2005 8:41pm
TRL:
This isn't meant to be a trick question. I guess I just don't see why the existence of same-sex marriages would discourage opposite-sex couples from tying the knot.


You're not missing anything. You don't see because Gallagher hasn't told us yet, nor will she.
10.19.2005 8:49pm
HC:
I'm pretty sure the first poster is right about what this prong of Gallagher's argument is - I think she believes that we are experiencing a fertility crisis, that heterosexual marriage is an institution which has in the past helped channel sexuality into fertility and parenting (especially with fathers), and that the social use of this institution in promoting these valuable social ends would be undermined by redefining marriage solely as a bond of affection between consenting adults.

The fact that marriage is no longer regarded principally as for procreation is, in this view, definitely part of the problem.
10.19.2005 8:49pm
Goober (mail):
Well, if Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is a reliable guide, gay weddings, at least, could intimidate a lot of straight men planning their own. I think those men would be forced to just acquiesce to the better judgment of their fiancees. (Which I believe would mean zero change at all.)

But let me play devil's advocate for a second: What Ms. Gallagher apparently believes about the institution of marriage is, in part, that it derives much if not all of its meaning from cultural understanding. There exists a certain cultural framework that sees (a) sex as kosher only in the marital relationship; and (b) marriage as involving a promise that lasts forever, til death do the parting. It's not terribly difficult to imagine the point of thinking about sex and marriage in that way; if you suspect men are, by their nature, prone to wandering, and believe that children raised by their mothers alone do poorly growing up, the institution of marriage, and especially its cultural baggage of "this is the way that sexual relations are proper," is an important step to taming the human male and yoking him into a long-term relationship that affords children a stable home.

The important thing about this is that it's the cultural mores that do the work of channeling and containing human nature's baser instincts. All this by itself assumes a lot and proves little, but if you add to it the conservative suspicion that institutions reflect an inherited wisdom and shouldn't be reformed willy-nilly, it can be a reasonable fear that changing the cultural understanding of what marriage means could undermine the institution in unpredictable ways.

Now everything above relies upon a certain way of looking at the world that isn't non-controversial, but it is a respectable political philosophy. And if you were such a conservative, it could be entirely reasonable to conclude that, the benefits of extending marriage rights to gays are essentially symbolic, while the potential downside, though unlikely, could be tremendously destabilizing. And so gay marriage, while an arguable point, could be legitimately troubling.
10.19.2005 8:50pm
Taeyoung J. (mail):
I'm in more or less the same position as Orin Kerr, here, except that (well, I don't *know*, but I *suspect*) I'm more in sympathy with Maggie's underlying argument about the essential and foundational heterosexuality of marriage.

I'd say for me, I can even seen the broader cultural externality point that I suspect she's making . . . except that, for all the media hype (on both sides), homosexuality is extremely marginal. Not many homosexuals, and not all that many of them are likely to avail themselves of marriage, at least as far as I can see. And what's more, the homosexual union (unlike, say, polygamy) doesn't really provide a working alternative ordering of society. Even if homosexual couples adopt or employ some technological means to reproduce, it would take a massive societal changes over on down the line before the cultural primacy of the (monogamous) heterosexual model, in all its procreative glory, could be weakened, let alone overthrown. It just seems too marginal for there to be any meaningful effect on the public, shared understanding of marriage.
10.19.2005 8:58pm
Mjdemo (mail):

What most of the commenters on this site, including Orin, have left out of their analyses, is the effect of SSM on the culture. Culture is something that social conservatives believe is a significant part of our heritage as a country, and in a broader sense, a civilization. Law and culture create a powerful feedback loop in the U.S., since culture and law are both causes and effects of each other. But the cultural responses ot changing situations (in law, technology, etc) are rarely straightforward and hard to predict. If I am not mistaken, Ms. Gallagher's primary point during her arguments here, has been that SSM will radically change the cultural meaning of marriage, causing shifts in law across all levels of society. Advocates of SSM claim that the rest of society will go along its merry way happily ignoring legally mandated changes to the definitions of the words "husband,"wife", "mother" and "father." Whether you think those changes are for good or for ill, they are hardly insignificant. Will these changes cause harm to anyone? I don't expect to change anyone's mind, but I hope that we all think hard about this for a little bit. Looking at the numbers cited earlier, a 1 percent increase in the number of children currently being raised by a single parent would nearly equal the number of ALL children being raised by SS couples. Can any SSM advocate demonstrate that some marginal 1% of the men out there who will father a child and are considering whether to get married vs. "playing the field", won't be culturally put off by a changed idea of marriage?

Obviously, this line of reasoning ignores the plight of individual gay/lesbian couples. I think Ms. Gallagher would suggest that some type of legal arrangement or institution civil unions, partnerships, or ?) can be created to meet their unique needs. Is it so awful to set aside marriage as a unique place in society for hetero couples (who might have to deal with unexpected pregnancy), and another for those who will never have that problem.

Thanks
10.19.2005 8:59pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
The elephant in the room here that Mags is ignoring is Massachusetts. The state aint falling apart. Frankly, as I understand Mags' argument it goes like this:

1. Gays are gross.
2. Thus, gays shouldn't get married.
3. Not that I have anything against gays or anything.
10.19.2005 9:00pm
Challenge:
Mr. Kerr, Jane Galt has an interesting post about your very question.
10.19.2005 9:02pm
Challenge:
Also, I have no opinion of Kurtz's work, but he has addressed this question. He believes that same-sex marriage helped decrease the prevalence of traditional marriage, while increasing out-of-wedlock births and cohabitation in, I believe, the Netherlands.

The recognition of gay marriage will change how everyone VIEWS marriage. Is marriage about having and raising children? Or is it about love and some cool benefits? Emphasizing the latter comes at the cost of the former.
10.19.2005 9:09pm
Taeyoung J. (mail):
I have to say, re: Greedy Clerk's post there, *that* sort of bile is exactly why I find myself consciously avoiding discussions of this sort of thing. Inevitably, they sap my will to support gay marriage. I suddenly want gay marriage to *lose*, just to spite them.

It takes a conscious effort of will to remind myself of the human reality underneath -- that some gays just want to get married to each other, and they're not doing anyone any harm in the process.
10.19.2005 9:09pm
paa:
Mjdemo, the cultural effects are nowhere near as certain as you think.

There is no evidence to establish that the forecast change in culture that accompanies SSM will decrease the strength or viability of traditional marriage.

Given that marriage is a lifelong monogamous commitment, when SSM is legal, why won't it change the norm everywhere to monogamy and increase the social pressure to stay committed?

Couldn't the current "state of the american family" problems be caused by straight men who se promiscuous homosexuals and envy their lifestyle? Why wouldn't SSM cut down on homosexual promiscuity and make all men less likely to philander or divorce their life partners?

Further, we know there is a cost, to gays who want to marry, from banning SSM. Why should we subject gays to this actual cost based purely on unfounded speulation about potential future harm?
10.19.2005 9:11pm
Taeyoung J. (mail):
"The recognition of gay marriage will change how everyone VIEWS marriage."

It's not clear how this would necessarily be so, though. There are, I imagine, plenty of people whose vision of marriage has little or nothing to do with what the government says. The fact that the government refuses to extend recognition for -- and in fact actively suppresses -- polygamy does not stop polygamists from believing their polygamous marriages are legitimate. On the other, more restrictive end of the spectrum, I understand that some Catholics still preserve their confession's old views on divorce, in spite of liberalised no-fault divorce laws across the country. A similar point could be made even more broadly regarding adultery.

I think it has to be a pretty dominating cultural phenomenon before it's going to actively change the perception of marriage in many communities. Not that I have numbers on this or anything.
10.19.2005 9:14pm
Challenge:
"Obviously, this line of reasoning ignores the plight of individual gay/lesbian couples."

A "plight" every non-married person also suffers? Why can't everyone be married so we can eliminate this horrible discrimination!
10.19.2005 9:15pm
Be Fair:
Greedy Clerk's characterization of Maggie's arguments shouldn't be dignified with a response.

But yes, Massachusetts is not falling apart. And attitudes are changing there as across the country.

The argument that Mjdemo that puts forth -- essentially 'what if' gay marriage changes attitudes among heterosexual men -- isn't a valid reason to ban SSM.

If 'what if' arguments were a valid argument, we would never have enacted women's suffrage or interracial marriage.

I do recognize that Mjdemo said this argument ignores the plight of SS couples.

In conclusion, I think our society is strong enough to adapt to the inclusion of SSM. And just think: 'what if' SSM acts as a tonic, not a poison, to show heterosexual men that committed unions are universally sought and healthy?
10.19.2005 9:16pm
Challenge:
NOBODY has ever said the country will "fall apart." They have questioned whether it will be a healthy thing for the country to do.

Welfare wasn't a healthy social policy, and probably accomplished the opposite of what it intended, but the country didn't "fall apart." Further, many of its negative affects took over a generation to fully appreciate.

Can we stop with the straw man arguments?
10.19.2005 9:20pm
Goober (mail):
It's like the Player Hater's Ball in here. Greedy Clerk's summary of Ms. Gallagher's argument---at least, as best as I can read it---was if anything over generous. Greedy Clerk provided an obviously invalid argument; Ms. Gallagher (as countless posters have noted) hasn't yet presented any argument.

Oh, and lest it be overlooked: Massachusetts still has the lowest divorce rate in the nation. Almost certainly part of it is due to large number of Catholics there, but if the pro-gay liberal majority who keep electing Ted Kennedy were divorcing at anything like the national rate that still wouldn't be possible.
10.19.2005 9:23pm
frankcross (mail):
Ultimately, I think Maggie's arguments destroy the conclusion she wishes to reach. She accurately points out that marriage has been a consistent attribute of societies over the centuries and has provided substantial social benefits. Those are the sorts of characteristics that make it robust, not fragile. And they are the reasons why gay marriage won't significantly affect the institution.

Unless you think gay marriage will cause straights to suddenly become wildly irrational and determined to act contrary to their self interest and that of society.
10.19.2005 9:25pm
CounterChallenge:
People should stop both the straw-man arguments and the _speculation_.

You can NOT use speculation as an argument.

Is there evidence that SSM will make heterosexual men reject the institution of marriage? No. It's speculation.

Maggie et al need to come up with a logical argument, not speculation.
10.19.2005 9:26pm
Steve:
It's hard to imagine how anyone at all could have their individual decision of whether to get married impacted by whether society allows some other class of people to get married. I'd imagine this same argument was made quite vigorously against interracial marriage, though.
10.19.2005 9:26pm
Challenge:
Counter,

Are you arguing the US should wait on SSM because its affects are unknown? Because that is precisely what I recommend!
10.19.2005 9:29pm
JB:
Unscientific poll:

Raise your hand if you think marriage is more about having children than about having a life partner.

*Does not raise hand*

It's my contention that the people who would raise their hands are a much smaller proportion than they would wish, and that that's part of the problem.
10.19.2005 9:34pm
Angus (mail) (www):
Advocates of SSM claim that the rest of society will go along its merry way happily ignoring legally mandated changes to the definitions of the words "husband,"wife", "mother" and "father." Whether you think those changes are for good or for ill, they are hardly insignificant.

Those changes are already happening, and not just in Massachussetts.

Same-sex marriage, as a cultural phenomenon, is a direct and unavoidable consequence of the growing awareness and acceptance of gays in American society. Is there anyone among us would be confused if a man we'd just met introduced us to his husband? Startled, maybe. Curious, perhaps. (Revolted, in a few cases? Unfortunately, yes.) But confused? No.

Gay men and lesbians have been forming life-long committed relationships, and treating those relationships as marriages, for ages. What's new in the last few decades is that those relationships are becoming visible to the society as a whole.

Yes, that process is changing how we think of marriage, just as the advent of romantic love did. Just as the feminist revolutions of the twentieth century did. (Who today defends the laws, ubiquitous not long ago, that declared husbands immune from prosecution for raping their wives?) I don't shy away from those changes --- I embrace them.

More important, I see them as inevitable. I suspect that most of the people reading this count couples in same-sex marriages among your friends and acquaintances (whether you know it or not). With every year that passes, there are more such marriages in our country, and they are more public. That was true before Massachussetts, and it will be true whether or not the laws continue to change.

The genie is out of the bottle --- or, I should say, out of the closet. Barring the door to legal recognition of same sex marriages will make life more difficult for some families. It will likely destroy some familes. But it will not rejuvinate the fiction that marriage as a cultural and social institution is exclusively heterosexual.
10.19.2005 9:40pm
Cal Lanier (mail) (www):
I think the obvious reason that SSM would hurt "traditional" marriage is that it would be so expensive it would ultimately result in a restriction of benefits for all married couples. Priority for benefits would go to married couples with children.

Of course, no one's going to make that argument. I'm all for that change, since I see no reason why the government should give benefits to two people who don't have kids--and if it does have a reason, those reasons apply equally to SSM.

But anyone who doesn't think that SSM will result in an enormous reduction in tax revenue and a huge increase in government expenditures isn't thinking it through. Any two people who aren't siblings will be able to get married.

Right now, marriage primarily operates as an income transfer, almost always from men to women. The tax breaks were all written at a time when women didn't work. They've survived this long because it would be political suicide to touch them.

But if marriage is open to any two people at all, how many months will pass before the gaming starts?

Social Security Survivor benefits are just one case ripe for exploitation. Spousal exemption from inheritance tax is another. I'm sure there are many more. Then there's the many single people who would love to benefit from the lower tax rates given to married people.

It won't be gay people per se who will abuse the system. Everyone will, once it becomes normal. There's no requirement that married people live together. No requirement that they have sex, in most states. All they need is a piece of paper that says they're married. About the only real downside is the financial and legal responsibility that comes with marriage, and a good prenup can take care of a great deal (and no doubt they'll improve). Someone, somewhere, will figure out how to game the bennies for all they're worth--and ultimately, that will kill them for everyone.

Ms. Gallagher is simply wrong about procreation being the reason for government support of marriage. It may have begun that way (although I'm not convinced), but it's simply not true anymore. She never addressed that huge hole in her argument, despite the many people who pointed it out.
10.19.2005 9:41pm
CounterChallenge:
Well, I guess we now know which side of the suffrage &miscegenation movement you would have been on. Ok, cheap shot.

But when deciding whether to extend rights to one group that has been denied them, one needs to put up an affirmative case as to why they should be denied.

"What if" is not an argument.

And, as our lengthy discussion of our fertility technology showed, neither is evolution/procreation.

And, as we are finding here, the "weakening of straight marriage" is not an argument either.

What's next?

Taxes? Well, you have a valid point this could have big implications for the IRS and Social Security Administration. It will be tempered by the fact that un-interested couples who marry not only get tax &social security breaks but severe legal liabilities for their partner. Your married roommate go bankrupt? Have fun sorting that mess out.

Anyhow... antiquated social policy written into financial law is no reason to deny SSM. Perhaps this could be the final straw that brings some needed reform and sanity to our tax &social security laws. So in that sense SSM could be a positive.

What's next?
10.19.2005 9:50pm
Paul Sherman (mail):
I have two questions.

First, let's imagine we allow gay marriage and that gay people decide to get married at exactly the same rate as straight people. Let's also assume that they all reach the decision and avail themselves of the right to marry as soon as it's granted them. That would mean about 3% of marriages would be between same-sex couples.

How is this 3% of overall marriages more harmful to "marriage" as an institution than the 50% of hetero-sexual marriages that end in divorce?

Second, let's assume, as I think we must, that gay people are less likely to get married because of an unintended pregnancy, their families pushing them to settle down, or any of the other traditionally "straight"--but also not particularly "good"--reasons people get hitched. Wouldn't we expect same-sex marriages, in general, to be more successful (as defined by "not ending in divorce")than heterosexual marriages?
10.19.2005 9:51pm
Shirly553:
Paul,

Stop making sense!

There's really no reason left to deny gay marriage. I'm waiting to hear Maggie's response to this thread, but it's probably going to be her old procreation &keep-hetero-men-chastened argument warmed-over. Those just don't hold water.

-Shirl
10.19.2005 9:56pm
Michael Lopez (mail):
First, a side note: Maggie apparently thinks the danger is in the medium/long term. Massachussettes cannot be used as a counterexample, because there hasn't been enough time to see the effects. Furthermore, the type of problems that she is suggesting might occurr could be vitiated, at least in part, by the fact that Massachussetts is surrounded by other states with open borders and an expansive federal system that doesn't seem to have adopted the same attitudes.

Now, on to the meat of my point.

Schools.

If you legalize SSM, it will become part of the curriculum: the normalization of SSM -- a concerted effort to put it on the same footing as heterosexual marriage. Now, will this turn millions of schoolchildren into mindless zombies chanting the platitudes of equality uber alles? Of course not. But it is in the schools that we will witness the genesis of whatever social changes do come about. It is over decades, as students grow up and carry the ideas that were given to them when they were younger into adulthood that we will begin to see if the lady's hypotheses are correct.

So don't be so quick to dismiss her arguments. The population is NOT a static, stable thing. Just because the legalization of SSM won't radically affect the opinions and attitudes of those alive at the time of legalization does not mean that it won't radically change society over time.

Please also note that I am not necessarily endorsing her views... I merely think that some of y'all are really being intellectually cheap in your counterarguments.

-Michael E. Lopez
10.19.2005 10:01pm
Gruntled (mail) (www):
Ms. Gallagher's argument is primarily a legal one. The attempt to legalize homosexual partnerships would not much change the daily lives of same-sex couples. There are some benefits to a marriage-like status, which could be solved with a more modest civil union law. The main effect of legal marriage for same-sex couples has been to create a legal status for gay divorce, with the state regulating the breakup of the couple's property.

Maggie Gallagher argues that the real purpose of pushing for legal acceptance of gay marriage is not for the legal benefits of marriage. The real purpose is to change the culture to normalize homosexuality, and treat same-sex unions as the moral equivalent of marriages of men and women to raise their own children.

This is why the argument offered by several commentators above that legalizing same-sex marriage would not affect the decision of heterosexual individuals to marry misses the point. The debate is not primarily about individual effects, but social effects.
10.19.2005 10:07pm
eswierk (mail):
Challenge wrote:

A "plight" every non-married person also suffers? Why can't everyone be married so we can eliminate this horrible discrimination!

No, the original poster obviously refers to the plight of those gay and lesbians who wish to get married but cannot.

For those who think the word plight is melodramatic, here's an example: Two people form an intimate relationship. One is a U.S. citizen. The other is a foreigner in the country on a student visa. If the two are unmarried, when the foreigner's visa expires, he gets thrown out of the country unless he has found an employer that will qualify him for a visa and then begins the years-long process of filing for a green card. If the two get married, the foreigner applies for a fast track to immigration and avoids the politics and whims of the H1-B and green card process. (Note that the absence or existence of children does not enter into this equation at all, except as evidence of a committed relationship. Evidence of a shared mortgage or a bank account would serve the same purpose.)

When SSM proponents talk about the thousands of benefits bestowed upon a married couple from the moment they say "I do," they aren't only thinking of membership discounts for the local gym.
10.19.2005 10:11pm
Eisenstern (mail):
"Maggie apparently thinks the danger is in the medium/long term."

Right, exactly where cause and effect can't be linked. Resorting to the fear of long-term effects dissolves the empirical argument into an ideological one.
10.19.2005 10:21pm
tdsj:
yes, I'm pretty much with Orin here. Still would like to know exactly how the legal status of same-sex marriage will create some disincentive for heterosexual marriage.

I went to Jane Galt's site at Challenge's suggestion. She doesn't really offer one either. (All seems vaguely luddite to me.) The closest she really comes is saying that one of the benefits of straight-only marriage is that it offers defined gender roles, and that SSM will take that benefit away, so it will reduce the incentive to marry.

That seems pretty tenuous to me. (And I guess I don't really think of defined gender roles as a great benefit of marriage anyway.)

The underlying concern, that a few people here have finally mentioned, is "normalizing" homosexuality. I don't really see what the problem is with normalizing homosexuality, and I'm not sure how that's responsive to Orin's question.

Is the idea that normalizing homosexuality will make more people gay (i.e., people who would otherwise be straight will end up gay because it's more normal)?
10.19.2005 10:24pm
Commenterlein (mail):
I am surprised how little weight is given to the simple argument, often made by Andrew Sullivan and other pro-SSM advocates, that SSM is likely to strengthen the institution of marriage. As a resident of Massachusetts I can honestly say that the positive excitement and loving commitment displayed by the hundreds of gay couples which were finally allowed to marry here last year were deeply moving and inspiring.

Let me phrase it as a question: why do most of the commenter here seem to take it for granted that SSM will either have a neutral or a negative effect on heterosexual marriage? My intuitive take is that the example of homosexuals clamoring to be allowed to enter into legally sanctioned long-term relationships strengthens the institution of marriage for everyone.
10.19.2005 10:44pm
Kendall:
Actually I think its a little bit more basic than that hetero people will decide to go gay. I think the argument is that people's religious beliefs are against homosexuality. Therefore, it should be a valid policy argument that homosexual marriage is not allowed. Of course, this fails the most basic tests separating our society from a particular religious dogma so supporters go back to the ideas of "family" and "children" and "tradition" without looking at the facts.

Gay people have families. We have children. We have values. We do each an every thing straight families do except what couples do behind closed doors. There has yet to be a clear, current, scientific study which cites homosexual families as problematical for the raising of children. Yet people still oppose "normalizing" something which, for many people in this country IS in fact normal.
10.19.2005 10:48pm
Laura Heymann (mail):
It seems to me that MG's arguments against SSM are similar to those against affirmative action in educational institutions. Both rely on a type of "brand identity" that is somehow being diluted by expanding the pool of those eligible to claim the brand. Just as the value of having gone to an Ivy League school is, the argument goes, diminished if applicants without "merit" are admitted to the institution, the value of being married is diminished if same-sex couples are admitted to the institution. But such an argument wholly depends on one's definition of merit/marriage. Thus, those who oppose AA can say that merit means high GPA/SAT scores and so beneficiaries of AA by definition lack merit; those who oppose SSM can say that marriage means man-woman and so same-sex couples by definition can't be married. But, as MG's posts have demonstrated, this argument gets you nowhere -- the whole question is what we want marriage (or merit) to encompass. And if, as MG has suggested, we want marriage to create stable relationships in which to raise children, then there seems to be no reason why same-sex couples don't qualify. (MG has suggested at times that the goal is to create stable situations in which to produce children, but that isn't really her argument; otherwise she wouldn't care what a married couple did with their child after procreation, so long as the procreative goal of marriage was satisfied.)

Of course, as noted above, MG doesn't think same-sex couples qualify as stable relationships in which to raise children. This much is clear from her posts, albeit as yet unstated.
10.19.2005 10:56pm
Noah Snyder (mail):
Although I have little respect for Ms. Gallagher's position or her arguments thus far, I think you might be missing the point here Prof. Kerr.

The argument isn't that straight people won't get married, it's that they will de-link marriage and procreation in their minds. They'd be getting married because they love each other, not because they're making a commitment to raise children together.

I'm baffled by why gay couples who adopt aren't making a commitment to raise children together, and why "procreation" is more important than "child-rearing." The arguments still baffling, just not in the way that you're describing it.
10.19.2005 10:57pm
Perseus (mail):
Why wouldn't SSM cut down on homosexual promiscuity and make all men less likely to philander or divorce their life partners?

SSM might reduce the extent of homosexual promiscuity, but would it significantly increase monogamy among gay couples? A substantial number of gay couples reject the ethos of monogamy (preferring instead "open" sexual relationships) and declare that their interest in marriage is confined to its economic and legal benefits. Thus SSM is just as likely to further undermine the link between monogamy and marriage in people's minds.

And in the Netherlands, gay couples have significantly higher divorce rates than their straight counterparts. So I don't really see how SSM is likely to do anything but increase the divorce rates.
10.19.2005 10:59pm
Noah Snyder (mail):
In fact, coming from a family with two children who were born into the family and two were adopted, I find Ms. Gallagher's emphasis on procreation over child-rearing deeply wrong, and somewhat offensive.
10.19.2005 11:00pm
Michael Brazier (mail):
Is everyone here familiar with the phrase "jumping the shark"? Legalizing SSM, according to Ms. Gallagher, would be such a moment for marriage as a public institution.

And Mr. Kerr's perplexity at Ms. Gallagher's argument is exactly parallel to the question "So why would having Fonzie jump over a shark hurt 'Happy Days'"?
10.19.2005 11:05pm
frankcross (mail):
Actually, Perseus, if you do the research you will find that gay divorce rates in the Netherlands are virtually identical to those of straights.

Why did you claim otherwise?
10.19.2005 11:06pm
Adam (mail) (www):
For those who are concerned about hetero same-sex pairs "cheating" or devaluing the system for nefarious purposes, there's a simple answer: call it "marriage", and not just a "civil union". It seems to have discouraged opposite-sex couples from doing same.
10.19.2005 11:06pm
Mjdemo (mail):
The problems that SSM cause for hetero marriage are NOT merely speculative - they are a logical outcome of the policy change. SSM vitiates the only logical rationale for having an institution like marriage in the first place, which is why Maggie thinks that marriage will eventually disappear altogether if current trends continue. If humans reproduced in trios, we would have had tripartite marriage since the dawn of time. If humans reproduced by asymmetrical division (e.g. pseudopods that separated into new entities - sounds like fun, eh?) there would be no marriage as we know it today - even if we fell in love and had "sex" with each other. With SSM, marriage ceases to have any logical ties to reproduction by making a rule (SS couples) of the exceptions (the permanently infertile, who are an invisible class with the exception of the elderly, most of whom married when they were younger). If marriage now means what SSM advocates say that it means (it's about being tied to your lover), then it's a nice lifestyle choice but not morally required - for example, the majority of gays in Canada have not chosen to get married since legalization there, and no one really expects them to. If it's just a nice lifestyle choice, then why not just have generic "partner contracts" for everyone, and you can desgnate hospital visitation, inheiritance rights, etc. regardless of who you happen to be having sex with. At that point, who needs marriage? The only real answer to the question of who needs marriage in its current form is: women and their children. Marriage largely exists to protect the spouse who stays home with children against abandonment. The love part is nice but its not a serious grounds for government policy. I love my brother, my parents, and my best friends but none of them depend on me like my wife and children do. The woman in a hetero marriage is uniquely vulnerable in a way that no SSM partner could ever be - think about a single women with a crisis pregancy vs. a married counterpart. Gay and lesbian families will likely need something that looks a bit different than hetero marriage, due to this critical difference. Unfortunately, the extremes of both sides of this debate raise the stakes by not accepting any compromise solutions.
10.19.2005 11:12pm
Kendall:
"The woman in a hetero marriage is uniquely vulnerable in a way that no SSM partner could ever be - think about a single women with a crisis pregancy vs. a married counterpart."

Explain to me how this is ANY different than a lesbian couple that was artificially inseminated? "uniquely vulnerable"? I think a lot of women would find that offensive actually.
10.19.2005 11:18pm
Perseus (mail):
Sorry, my mistake. I should have said SWEDEN instead of the Netherlands.
10.19.2005 11:19pm
Bob W (mail):
I take issue with the people that ask for ways in which SSM will harm society then demand that no one speculates.

If you ask for speculation, don't be surprised when you get it.
10.19.2005 11:26pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Might I offer....

I think much of the disconnect in this discussion (e.g. how Maggie has been answering questions, yet people say she is not) is the result of an amphibology. It in and of itself in a microcosmic way should illustrate what happens to marriage.

There are many amphibological arguments in this debate (as explained in 1=2 for Large Values of 1). But they all center around one in its core, marriage itself.

To marriage supporters, it is a life-long procreatively potent mating. Illustrated by the Greek gamos which describes everything from sexual intercourse, to "getting to know", to mating marriage and the egg and sperm itself. The potency of gender integration, the devotion to someone of another gender leads someone to discover this is an actual "thing" that can be experienced in an almost tangible way.

To ss"m" advocates it is all about "me too". Not really experiencing the real thing its all about imitation. "They have it, we should to" is the cry. And the definition turns into something more convenient to their purposes. Searching for a least common denominator (or perhaps a function of immitating only what they can detect from afar) to them it seems compatible.

Now I submit this piece by mathematician Daniel Gottlieb, "A defining moment in mathematics and the Gay Marriage decision" which comes at this same point in a very simple and logical way.
10.19.2005 11:29pm
BobNelson (mail):

And in the Netherlands, gay couples have significantly higher divorce rates than their straight counterparts. So I don't really see how SSM is likely to do anything but increase the divorce rates.


That is absolutely not true. You've no doubt been hoodwinked (willingly, I suspect) by the repetition of the results of a "study" done on relationships in the Netherlands. The researcher -- either grossly unqualified or with an axe to grind -- compared heterosexual marriage to the results of a survey on relationship that he conducted by sampling patrons of gay bars. The gay folks were found to have "long-term relationships" that lasted, on average, a year and a half.

Same-sex couples in the Netherlands have had a LOWER divorce rate than opposite-sex couples. The same is true for civil union dissolutions in Vermont.

What does that mean? Well, I doubt it means much about long-term results. Mostly I think it means that if you take a group of committed couples, many of them together for decades, and FINALLY offer them the opportunity to marry, they're likely to have a much higher success rate at staying together than heterosexual couples who have a 50% failure rate. Most of the same-sex couples married in Massachusetts had already passed the period of relationship failure.
10.19.2005 11:35pm
belle waring (mail) (www):
When I see the quality of the arguments being made against SSM in these threads, I begin to appreciate the wisdom Ms. Gallagher has shown in declining to make any at all. Mdjemo: gay people can have children. Let's all say it together: gay people can have children! Gay men and women have children from previous (straight) marriages; gay man and women can and do (in some states) adopt; many others act as foster parents to children whom they are not permitted to offer a permanent, loving home; lesbian couples have children via artificial insemination, using sperm either from a bank or from a friend; gay couples have children using surrogates. I think it's clear that the gay men and women who wish to get married will be precisely those who are most likely to want to start a family. The gay couples who marry and do not have children will be just like the infertile straight couples who marry, or the older couples past childbearing age. Even if we stipulate that the proportion of gay childless couples will be higher, I fail to see any plausible mechanism by which this altered proportion will magically vitiate the concept of marriage. Gay marriage is not conceptually equivalent to childless marriage, because (all together now) gay people can have children!

Separately, the argument that the existence of gay marriage will make everyone in the country suddenly enter into sham marriages for the tax benefits is truly risible. Do straight couples who are not romantically involved often do this? Anyone know any roommates or coworkers who have gotten married to reap those sweet sweet deductions? What, no? Not even one couple? Elderly couples, not romantically inclined towards one another; do they frequently marry to gamble on SS survivors benefits? Or, ever? Now, given that almost no one enters into love- and sexless straight marriage contracts on this basis, what on earth makes anyone think people will do so when gay marriage is legal? (Sham green card marriages are a counter-example, but they are undeniably rare). I don't know how to point this out delicately, but many people regard homosexuality as sinful or disgusting. Do you really think frat brothers are going to pair off in sham marriages for tax or health insurance benefits, heedless of having to go through a gay divorce later when they meet their female intended? That would be easy to explain, right? Please, people, if this is the best you can do...
10.19.2005 11:41pm
Mjdemo (mail):
Kendall -

A fertile woman cannot have intercourse with a man without risking a pregnancy - did you read the data on contraceptive failures? (9% on average per year!) Whatever you think about abortion, a pregnant woman who has been abandoned is in a remarkably difficult situation physically and emotionally. Lesbian couples can have all the sex they want without any physical consequences. Either one of them is free to leave the relationship with no long term effects. That's just not true for a pregnant or nursing woman. The fact that lesbians can buy sperm on the internet is not necessarily a reason to change the institution of marriage for everyone else. A 1% uptick in out-of-wedlock births (1% of 4 million births per year = 400,000) would have a greater effect than a 100% increase in the number of births to lesbians each year (less than 200,000.) (Census data) If SSM leads to either 1) people on the margins thinking that marriage isn't for them or 2)government eventually destructuring marriage entirely, the ones who will get hurt the most are women who will end up as unplanned single mothers. Single motherhood is the single largest factor contributing to poverty in the U.S. Isn't their some way to get gays and lesbians the benefits they want without shaking the foundations of marriage?
10.19.2005 11:41pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob,

While the lack of a reference to study may indeed be absent in the post you quote it seems suspiciously absent from your post also.

One would rather see peer review studies than cynical aspersions and conjecture.
10.19.2005 11:43pm
Mjdemo (mail):
Belle Waring - Gay couples can have children, but they will never have children they don't want or expect. This is a big deal to hetero women who want to have sex. See my post above to Kendall.
10.19.2005 11:45pm
Mjdemo (mail):
Oops - I apologize for the math error in my earlier post. 1% of 4 Million = 40,000. Nonetheless, the point still stands with regards to the disparity of the numbers.
10.19.2005 11:50pm
thedaddy (mail):
There has yet to be a clear, current, scientific study which cites homosexual families as problematical for the raising of children.

Has there ever been a study that shows "homosexual" "families" having a beneficial effect on the children they raise?

if not, then anything said about children being raised by "homosexuals" is pure conjecture and annecdotal.

thedaddy
10.19.2005 11:52pm
BobNelson (mail):

To marriage supporters, it is a life-long procreatively potent mating. Illustrated by the Greek gamos which describes everything from sexual intercourse, to "getting to know", to mating marriage and the egg and sperm itself. The potency of gender integration, the devotion to someone of another gender leads someone to discover this is an actual "thing" that can be experienced in an almost tangible way.


Florid nonsense. "The potency of gender integration". Yes, yes, heterosexual sex is marvelous... for HETEROSEXUALS. Discovering the selflessness of devotion to another person is often revelatory (to people who apparently never considered altruism until their reproductive glands swelled up). The miracle of conception and reproduction is awe inspiring. Personally, I think it's inspiring in ALL species, including those which reproduce asexually.

Where does that leave us? Regarding sex, it means that one form of heterosexual sex -- one that can occur within marriage or without -- is special because it can lead to a new life. Regarding marriage, it leaves same-sex and opposite-sex couples on completely equal grounds.
10.19.2005 11:52pm
LeeKane (mail):
Isn't the origin of marriage ultimately socio-religious? It seems that marriage has two faces--its religious origins and implications, on the one hand, and, on the other, a "secular" state's purpose in legally sanctioning and regulating what would normally otherwise be a private matter. It seems most people on this board are only discussing the reasons for state sanction--promotion of social order, child rearing, etc.--but Maggie is referencing the intersection of marriage's socio-religious aspects with its state aspects. The only reason that marriage is in a position to fullfill the state objectives (like social order and the promotion of 'healthy' child rearing) is because of the power invested in it by its socio-religious origins.

If the state says, "To hell with religion, I am detaching marriage from the cultural goo from which it emerged so as to afford anyone the privilege of calling themselves "married" and to realize any financial benefits of such an arrangment." At that moment, if culture, society and religion are not on board with the new "role" for marriage assigned by the state--marriage begins to lose its power and dissolves as a union whose power transcends "the law."

In short, it becomes a legalism, a contract. I would imagine any benefits conferred on marriage based on its extra-legal (socio-relgious) force to soon dissipate (provided the culture is not following along).

Further, since marriage is essentially a mystical 'holy' union--one steeped in a mythology that calls for male-female unions--any change in the cultural view due to its 'rational' (ie., ,non mystical) thinking is also likely to destroy the extra-legal force of marriage.

Cultural change that brings along the mythology by transforming it can not happen quickly, as the result of a few well-structured arguments.
10.19.2005 11:53pm
Randy R. (mail):
<>

au contraire. Maggie herself has said that if gays get to marry, it is "losing western civilization. It is losing, period." That's pretty much saying that the country will fall apart, and although she hasn't stated on this blog, it has long been her tag line in columns and speeches.

Regarding Jane Gault: Gault makes an economic argument about the margincl cost of gay marriages. She says that if we allow gay marriage, there will be a margin of straight marriages that won't occur. She offers no proof of this, just speculation.

What both Jane and Maggie both say, in essence, is that if we allow gay marriages, there will be all sorts of changes that we can't predict, but we CAN predict that every one of those changes will be completely negative. They allow for no possibility that some changes might be completely positive, or even a mixed bag. But neither will explain exactly what those negatives are, other than "all people's views will change." We expect a little more.
10.19.2005 11:58pm
A Guest Who Enjoys This Site:
The majority of posts on this version of the discussion seem to be making a couple of major assumptions.

1.) Assumption: Defenders of 'marriage' as it is currently defined, who are, by default, anti-homosexual 'marriage,' bear the burden of 'defending' the definition as it has been traditionally understood and accepted in this society.

Or, as Kerr broaches it by begging the issue in his post originating this thread:


If marriage is so innate, why should we expect a small number of same-sex marriages to have a significant effect on how the majority in opposite sex relationships behave? This isn't meant to be a trick question. I guess I just don't see why the existence of same-sex marriages would discourage opposite-sex couples from tying the knot.


As another poster asked on another thread of this discussion, and pro-homosexual marriage advocates and sympathizers seemed to absolutely ignore - "Why is it NOT the responsibility of those who seek to change the definition of 'marriage' to demonstrate WHY said definition should be changed?"

In a very real sense, this in the intellectual trap Maggie Gallagher has fallen or stepped into. She has taken upon herself the "burden of proof" as to why the definition of marriage should NOT be changed by attempting to demonstrate perceived or potential 'negativities.' This intellectual trap is, in fact, a major factor in the weakness of her arguments; i.e., that she feels compelled to defend the definition of "is."

Since the issue of marriage falls under the heading of civil law/litigation, doesn't the burden of proof require the plaintiff, in this instance, pro-homosexual marriage advocates, to convince the 'trier of fact' (whether judge or jury or legislator or society) of the plaintiff's entitlement to the relief sought? Doesn't it follow then, that the plaintiff must prove each element of the claim, or cause of action, in order to recover? Isn't this the same as when, outside the courtroom, "burden of proof" means that someone suggesting a new theory or stating a claim must provide evidence to support it; where it is never considered sufficient to say "you can't disprove this."

2.) Assumption: 'Marriage' is a 'right.'

Regardless of the complexity of emotions, behaviors, cultural identification, et al., at the practical level, 'marriage' is this society's legal recognition of a contractual, verbal and/or written, arrangement between two individuals. Said contract involves the exchange of tangible and/or intangible assets/services; i.e., a fulfilling of needs or desires. Thus, just as one is required to obtain a business license, a driver's license, a day-care license, a license to practice law/medicine, etc. by way of demonstrating that they or their circumstance meet the qualifying criteria, the requirement of a marriage license demonstrates that you meet specific, society-determined criteria to obtain legal recognition of your contract. Therefore, if you do not like or agree with the society-determined criteria, you are returned to meeting the "burden of proof" that said criteria requires change or elimination.

Bear in mind that Maggie Gallagher's arguments do not represent the core, the substance, or the best of anti-homosexual marriage arguments. (Frankly, I've seen better informed, more logically consistent, emotionally satisfying, and less 'reaching' arguments in defense of the anti-homosexual position presented in the discussions of her posts.) Therefore, simply taking them apart, shouting them down, denigrating them, or pointing out their intellectual inconsistencies does little more than vent your own frustrations or give voice to arguments that, as often as not, do not represent the core, the substance, or the best pro-homosexual marriage arguments.

I guess, in some ways, Maggie Gallagher's posts provide an exemplar of the phrase: "You often get as good as you give."
10.20.2005 12:02am
Randy R. (mail):
I'm having trouble copying quote here. The above post by me was supposed to have a quote from someone who said to stop the straw man arguments, that no one is arguing for the complete collapse of society. Truth is, that is exactly what Maggie argues.

Another poster makes an economic argument, that if we allow gay marriages, then there will be a decrease in tax revenues, and all the benefits for marriage will become too burdensome.

On this you are completely wrong. My piano student works at the Congressional Budget Office here in Washington, DC. Last year, the CBO issued a full scale report on the effect of same sex marriages on the budget. Turns out that there will be an INCREASE in revenues.
10.20.2005 12:04am
Randy R. (mail):
Mjdemo: Who Needs marriage? Women and children.

I agree totally. You know who also needs marriage? Two lesbians who have children. And two gay men who have children. Why do you assume that no gay people have their own families? Thousands do, and your argument actually strenghthens the reasons why gay parents need marriage. It's for the children, right?
10.20.2005 12:12am
Adam (mail):
Has there ever been a study that shows "homosexual" "families" having a beneficial effect on the children they raise?

Yes.
10.20.2005 12:13am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
Eugene: If marriage is so innate, why should we expect a small number of same-sex marriages to have a significant effect on how the majority in opposite sex relationships behave?

Murder is such a rare occurance, much less than 1% of the population. If percentages are to be the measure of harm, then murder is harmless.

I guess I just don't see why the existence of same-sex marriages would discourage opposite-sex couples from tying the knot.

It always amazes me how eager people are to trot out their ignorance as if it somehow supports a conclusion. "I just don't see..." is no protection from harm any more than sticking one's head in the sand protects from an approaching lion.

What is the harm you cannot see? The harm is obvious and immediate: the existence of same-sex "marriage" or more accurately, the replacement of marriage with same-sex "marriage" will prevent, not just discourage everybody, not just the majority of opposite sex couples, from marrying. The only available institution will be same-sex "marriage," an institution in which your readers admit society has no purpose.

Now you tell me, Eugene, what is the ultimate destination for this rudderless ship of yours that is same-sex "marriage?"
10.20.2005 12:18am
Noah Snyder (mail):
It's odd, but unsurprising that not only does Ms. Gallagher completely ignore all the arguments made in comments, she also completely ignores questions raised by other VC posters. If Eugene's goal was to have an interesting discussion, this is a failure, instead we have Ms. Gallagher on a soapbox.
10.20.2005 12:19am
BobNelson (mail):

au contraire. Maggie herself has said that if gays get to marry, it is "losing western civilization. It is losing, period." That's pretty much saying that the country will fall apart, and although she hasn't stated on this blog, it has long been her tag line in columns and speeches.


You're right about her hysterical rant, but something just struck me. Her argument on here has been reduced to the not entirely illogical assertion that same-sex marriage will lead to the (re)normalization of homosexuality. (Of course, she assumes that that will somehow harm heterosexuality.)

What's really ironic here is that she calls that "losing Western civilization". Taking gay people out of the closet and letting us live as full and equal member of society would RESTORE the Western tradition. Greece? Rome?

What she means is that "CHRISTIAN civilization" will lose, bearing in mind that Ms. Gallagher cannot conceive of and does not want a Christianity that accepts all people into the human family.
10.20.2005 12:19am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Adam,

A study of such studies shows they have no basis for the conclusions.
10.20.2005 12:21am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
One should also note that "have children" is another of the amphibologies of this debate. Navigated with care.
10.20.2005 12:24am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
BobNelson: What she means is that "CHRISTIAN civilization" will lose, bearing in mind that Ms. Gallagher cannot conceive of and does not want a Christianity that accepts all people into the human family.

Another interesting glimpse behind the mask of ss"m". Interesting the number of ss"m" proponents that judge its merit by the damage it will do to their respective bogeymen.
10.20.2005 12:33am
Randy R. (mail):
You want traditional marriage? I'll give it to you. For most of the past thousand years, most people did NOT get married. You think in the middle ages all those peasants got married? Not on your life. They lived in a rudimentary barter system, but getting married cost money -- you had to pay a priest to get married in a church, hard currency that most peasants, the vast majority of people, simply didn't have. So what they did do was just call themselves hitched, and if the local church didn't charge, their union was entered into a book. (Even this wasn't done until at least the 14th Century in Europe.) So for at least a thousand years, there was no marriage for commoners. That's a pretty long tradition. Why not select that as your model for "traditional marriage" Maggie?

Who DID get married? People of property. Why? Because of bloodlines! You had to establish clear bloodlines to inherit the titles and the land. So it was only the aristocracy in the middle ages that got married. And the parents would arrange marriages to the benefit of both families, if possible. So daughters would have a dowry, money they paid to the husband's family. She got nothing, of course. And if a family couldn't raise a dowry sufficient to make her marigible? Well, off to the nunnery!
Any legitimate children that came from this contractual marriage could inherit the property, any illegitimate ones couldn't not. If you were an illegitimate daughter, there was certainly no dowry for you. Off to the nunnery! Sons would often go to the priesthood. (Gee, do you think all those people took their vows of celibacy seriously when their parents through them there?)
And marriage was simply a contract that two families drew up for their own benefits. Love certainly had nothing to do with it, and the only responsbility you had was to produce an heir. If the wife was barren, you would divorce her and send her -- guess where? Off to the nunnery!

So on this point, Maggie is correct. Marriage is about procreation -- if you lived in the middle ages, and you were an aristocrat. (The vestiges live on. you will recall that once Princess Diana produced an heir and a spare, her official duties as princess were considered fulfilled. The prorogative of the king having a mistress also lives on, the one whom he truly loves, vs. the one whom he had to marry for royal duty.) But I hardly think we should model 21 century american life on such a dubious past.

What HAS changed in the past two thousand years is the concept that we now expect to marry for love, not producing heirs or making a good bargain for the cousins. We marry because we wish to have kids to send to school, and maybe help us out in our old age..

My point? Marriage has changed drastically over the past thousand years. In the middle ages, you could not marry outside your class, race, women past menstruation, any disabled people, and so on. You could, if of royal blood, be married at any age, even as an infant. (The Spainish royals loved doing that). These things all gradually change, and each change was greeted with the same fears that Maggie has. And guess what? In each and every instance, marriage survived! Western civilization went on to become a global empire! So I think all this hullabaloo about gays getting married is so much a tempest in a teapot. Marriage will survive this one too.
10.20.2005 12:34am
PhilaMark (mail):
Mjdemo is right - fundamentally the issue is how heterosexuals define marriage - is it about beaIring and raising children, or is it a lifestyle choice? As I understand it, Maggie is arguing that over the last 40 years or so society as a whole has shifted too far towards the "lifestyle choice" side of the spectrum, creating a crisis (15 million children being raised by single mothers, etc) that requires a concerted effort to create incentives that will encourage a shift back towards a focus on raising children in a stable two parent family. In comparison, from a larger social policy perspective, the number of infertile couples, artificially inseminated lesbians, and gays generally all fade into insignificance. SSM is simply a distraction from the more important issues, such as how to handle absent fathers. To the exent Maggie and others are trying to shift social mores, SSM is an example of society moving in the wrong direction - marriage as a lifestyle choice. Does the shift Maggie is advocating discriminate against gays? Absolutely, but then pretty much every social policy or law can be seen as "discriminating" against the disfavored behavior. Is that discrimination immoral or inappropriate? Much of society believes the burden is on gays to show that homosexual behavior is not a "choice" before they are willing to accept that this is a "civil rights" issue.
10.20.2005 12:36am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
> Randy R: You think in the middle ages all those peasants got married? Not on your life.

Having personally reviewed marriage records back well into the 11th century, I can say your comment does not strike me as accurate.

Also changes in policy and protocols around marriage have occured, but that does not amount to a definition change. In fact that marriage's definition remained in tact for all the other changes happening around it commands our attention.
10.20.2005 12:40am
Randy R. (mail):
OPED: The harm is obvious and immediate: The existence of same sex "marriage" or more accurately, the replacement of marriage with same-sex marriage will prevent, not just discourage, everybody, not just the majority of opposite sex couples, from marrying.

Same sex marriage is currently allowed for the last year two years in Massachusetts. So far, people are getting married (and I mean heterosexual, opposite sex marriages) at roughly the same rate that were previous to that.
The Netherlands and Belgium have had same sex marriage, and people are still getting married there. Most provinces in Canada have had same sex marriages for over a year, and people are still getting married. This is so obvious I can hardly believe anyone would say such a thing.

In fact, opponants of same sex marriage have been unable to indentify just ONE couple who have said, well now that they gays are getting married, we just can't.

You may consider providing proof to support your statements, or revising them.
10.20.2005 12:43am
Cal Lanier (mail) (www):
one needs to put up an affirmative case as to why they should be denied.

Actually, one doesn't. If that were the case, gays would already have marriage rights.

In any event, I'm all for gay marriage, given the likelihood that the government bennies would diminish overall--which I believe they should. I'm also not opposed to it in any event. I don't think there's a "right" to marry, but I think all the arguments against gay marriage are absurd--Maggie Gallagher's in particularly are nonsensical.

But it's foolish to pretend gaming isn't almost inevitable.

Do straight couples who are not romantically involved often do this? Anyone know any roommates or coworkers who have gotten married to reap those sweet sweet deductions?

You surely can't be asking for anecdata. What good would that be?

That said, are you saying that you don't know any gay men married to gay women? It's supposedly quite common in the military. And green card marriages aren't anything approaching rare.

What do you suppose the Russian mail order brides--or, for that matter, Anna Nicole Smith--are getting married for? Love? Passion? A fondness for wrinkled men?

Elderly couples, not romantically inclined towards one another; do they frequently marry to gamble on SS survivors benefits? Or, ever?

You're joking, right? This is quite common--as is the decision not to marry if they're at risk of losing benefits.
10.20.2005 12:48am
Randy R. (mail):
Lawn: Marriage definition has remained in tact.

Well, I guess it depends on what you consider a "definition." I would argue that when you change the limits, you change the definition.
In ancient Rome, Emperor Hadrian married his male lover Antinous, and a few other emperors married both men and women. Would you consider that a definiation change, or that it stayed in tact?

And yes, you are right -- certainly many people did get married in the middle ages. But many did not. Your records go back to the 11 century? That still leaves the first thousand years of post-roman history without our concept of "traditional marriage." And were those church records, or state records? What was the difference? Was there a legal difference if there were? Was marriage in the 11 C. common throughout all of europe for all peasants, or just the regions you studied? How do you know it included all unions? Was there some other list of people who were not considered married to check that against? Just having a list of married people in a certain town in 1088 does not mean that it is a complete list of all people who would have liked to have gotten married but could not afford the fees. Your response raises more questions than it answer, I'm afraid. But it hardly changes the substance of my argument, that the concept of marriage and what it is about has changed drastically over the centuries.

And still we survived all this change.
10.20.2005 12:56am
Perseus (mail):
Bob Nelson: You missed my correction. I meant Sweden (and Norway), and the study that I relied on analyzed demographic data from the population-register systems of Sweden and Norway, not surveys of patrons of gay bars.
10.20.2005 12:56am
Cal Lanier (mail) (www):
Of course, when I said "quite common", I meant "not at all well-bred". Otherwise, I should have said "not uncommon", because there just aren't enough old men for all the old women to game the system.
10.20.2005 12:59am
SAC (mail):
Orin says (as have a hundred other people): I guess I just don't see why the existence of same-sex marriages would discourage opposite-sex couples from tying the knot.

Frankly, I don't see how that could happen, either. On the other hand, if SSM is truly cost free to society, why hasn't it been allowed at all times and places? And please don't just say "homophobia". Bigotry has costs as well (Coase), so historically, the average cost to society of homophobic bigotry must have been less than the cost of SSM would have been.
10.20.2005 1:00am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
Randy: Same sex marriage is currently allowed for the last year two years in Massachusetts. So far, people are getting married...at roughly the same rate that were previous to that.

No. In Massachusetts they may only same-sex "marry," and that is the point.
10.20.2005 1:03am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
> Randy R: In ancient Rome, Emperor Hadrian married his male lover Antinous

His servant, and something that was a stunt as best I can reckon. But looking at him and Claudius we see what is the true social impetus of marriage.

There are those that call themselves Kings, or other types of fraud. Some are powerful enough to get away with it -- but the proof of its contradiction of nature is in how quickly it is extinguished in reality. The more things change the more they stay the same.
10.20.2005 1:12am
Mjdemo (mail):
Mjdemo: Who Needs marriage? Women and children.

Rany R.: I agree totally. You know who also needs marriage? Two lesbians who have children. And two gay men who have children. Why do you assume that no gay people have their own families? Thousands do, and your argument actually strenghthens the reasons why gay parents need marriage. It's for the children, right?


Please see my earlier posts. A gay couple has 0% risk of an unexpected pregnancy. I'm all for them staying together and arranging their affairs accordingly. I'm also all for creating more easily available legal arrangements for those in difficult situations. But hetero marriage needs its own category to manage the problems that are associated with hetero sex: babies and the differences between men and women. "It's a wise child who knows his own father."
10.20.2005 1:17am
Quarterican (mail):
BobNelson -

No! Stop! This must cease immediately! Classical Greece and Rome are interesting, educational examples of how mutable societal mores are, and I think their examples are quite valuable for that. But for that same reason, they aren't good examples - they aren't examples - of the kind of society I think you (and I) would like to see, i.e. one where gay people aren't stigmatized, etc. In the Greek city-states a free male with property was free to penetrate his male slaves (and free male children who hadn't hit puberty) as an expression of his "active" nature. He was derelict of duty if he performed any "submissive" sexual act. Appeal to antiquity isn't necessary, and it is misguided.
10.20.2005 1:19am
Perseus (mail):
No! Stop! This must cease immediately! Classical Greece and Rome are interesting, educational examples of how mutable societal mores are, and I think their examples are quite valuable for that...

Thank you, Quarterican!
10.20.2005 1:35am
Paul Sherman (mail):
I'm no constitutional law scholar, so everything I'm about to say should be taken with a grain of salt.

A Guest Who Enjoys This Site mentions two assumptions. I'll address them in reverse order, because my argument will make more sense that way.

Assumption: 'Marriage' is a 'right.'


Ordering one's life with another as husband and wife, or husband and husband, or wife and wife, is an associational right. Being granted the title of "marriage" by a church is an entitlement, not a right, which the church as a private entity is allowed to dispense however it likes.

As your post indicates, that's not really the "marriage" you're concerned about. The "assumption" you give relates to the contract-recognition benefits conferred by the state upon those who meet its definition of "married." These, like the title bestowed by the church, are also entitlements, not "rights" (at least in the natural law sense of the term).

So you are partially correct, "marriage" is not a "right". However, just because it's not a right doesn't mean that the state can put whatever restrictions it wants on it. This ties into the other "assumption" you list.


Assumption: Defenders of 'marriage' as it is currently defined, who are, by default, anti-homosexual 'marriage,' bear the burden of 'defending' the definition as it has been traditionally understood and accepted in this society


As I mentioned above, church's are private entities and can bestow the entitlements they control in whatever manner they like. However, the state is not a private entity. When the state wants to distribute entitlements unequally it must justify it's position. There are strong arguments that, even under a rational basis standard (if that is the applicable test), it can't justify granting these benefits to heterosexuals while denying them to homosexuals.

It's ironic that the "'marriage' is not a 'right'" argument, which some people seem to believe should dispose of this entire debate, actually paints the opponents of gay marriage into an equal-protection corner.

I also find it interesting to consider that, if prohibition of gay marriage is found to be an equal protection violation, the state will be forced to choose between extending the entitlement to gays or abolishing it entirely. I wonder if abolition of this entitlement would change the tune of those who argue that marriage is not a right?
10.20.2005 2:18am
Paul Sherman (mail):
I apologize for my abuse and misuse of apostrophes in the above post. It's late.
10.20.2005 2:21am
BobNelson (mail):

No! Stop! This must cease immediately!


No, I will not stop. When people claim that homosexuality brought down entire civilizations while asserting that it will do the same to ours, I will not let them get away with it. It's nonsense.

As for your point about social privilege and stigma related to penetrative sex and class power, you don't really believe that rape of subordinates was the primary, let alone the only, manifestation of homosexuality in Rome, do you?
10.20.2005 3:45am
Quarterican (mail):
BobNelson -

I replied on the other thread (understanding the argument). *I'm* not arguing that homosexuality brought down entire civilizations and *I'm* not asserting that it will do the same to ours. I don't know as much about Rome as I do about Athens, so I can't answer your question.
10.20.2005 3:51am
BobNelson (mail):
Perseus:

Thanks for linking to the article you were refering to. Yes, I did miss your correction that you were talking about Sweden and not The Netherlands.

I'll read the PDF, but before I do, I'd like to point out that it is comparing same-sex domestic partnerships to heterosexual marriages. It's not quite apples and oranges... more like plums and pluots.

Furthermore, even if it's true, so what? Baptists in the Bible Belt have an abysmal divorce rate compared to atheists in the Northeast. Blacks divorce more easily than hispanics. Should those factors be taken into consideration when deciding who can marry?

I'll report back with my thoughts on the report.
10.20.2005 3:51am
spectator:
Angus wrote:
Who today defends the laws, ubiquitous not long ago, that declared husbands immune from prosecution for raping their wives?


That's actually one of these recent re-definitions I'm wary about. Yes, husbands couldn't rape their wives, because the definition of rape recognised the intrinsic difference between sex within and sex without marriage. The immorality of rape consisted in the arrogation of intercourse with someone you could not have legitimate intercourse with, in the desire for a goal that is intrinsically immoral. Since intercourse with one's wife is legitimate, this defintion could not be met within wedlock.

This, of course, has never meant that husbands were free to use physical violence to force their wives into submission. The goal of the action, intercourse with one's wife, was legitimate, the method of achieving it, coercion and battery, was just as illegitimate as in rape properly so called.

For this reason, I agree with the traditional judgement which rendered fornicatious rape a more severe crime than coercion within marriage. IMHO, the modern redefinition with its emphasis on consent damages the unique reality created between two bodies through the institution of marriage in the same subtle, cultural way that SS"M" would.
10.20.2005 3:55am
Quarterican (mail):
spectator -

I've got a reasonably strong stomach, but you nearly made me lose my midnight snack there. So nice of you to concede that coercion and battery is an illegitimate way of acheiving intercourse, even with a wife. So nice of you to resurrect the notion of marriage as a property arrangment: the wife is the man's property, and he is not to abuse it unduly, in the course of using it as is his natural right. She's like a pet that way!

Battery is illegal. If a man assaults a woman on the street but doesn't sexually assault her, he's charged with...assault. If he attempts to sexually assault her, he's charged with attempted rape. So a husband should never be charged with anything more serious than assault?

No unique reality is created between two bodies when the Mr. comes home drunk and decides to take what's his, sure in the knowledge that No means Please.
10.20.2005 4:05am
BobNelson (mail):
Maybe we should resurrect the Roman custom of having a vomitorium handy...
10.20.2005 4:17am
Perseus (mail):
Bob Nelson: Comments on this topic multiply like rabbits so my correction was easy to miss. I was responding to a previous argument that SSM would likely reduce the rates of divorce among all men.

It strikes me as the best data on the subject will eventually come from the states that adopt civil unions because the big problem with cross-country comparisons is that the US is in many important respects different from Europe.
10.20.2005 4:37am
BobNelson (mail):
Well, I read the report and I would agree with you that it is probably largely irrelevant to our discussion here. Same-sex couples had higher divorce rates, but they also exhibited much higher levels of other risk factors like immigrant partners, non-native partners, non-European partners, greater age differences, etc. It was interesting that the higher rates DISAPPEARED when the study compared childless couples. Quelle surprise!

Two things leapt out at me: same-sex couples had higher divorce rates than opposite-sex couples, but did you notice how LOW the divorce rate is? Less than 10% for heterosexual marriage! Also, I was surprised to see that 58% of Swedes(?) marry AFTER becoming parents. I guess Maggie would like that... marriage being all about children. I'd ask her, but everyone here knows she won't answer questions, so why bother?
10.20.2005 6:05am
A Guest Who Enjoys This Site:
Paul Sherman: You are correct that "marriage" is an 'associational right.' As stated by the Supreme Court:


Choices about marriage, family life, and the upbringing of children are among associational rights this Court has ranked as "of basic importance in our society," Boddie, 401 U.S., at 376 , rights sheltered by the Fourteenth Amendment against the State's unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect. See, for example, Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987), Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978), and Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) (marriage); Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535 (1942) (procreation); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510 (1925), and Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U. S. 390 (1923) (raising children).


But the inference that 'marriage' as an 'associational right' guaranteeing homosexual marriage would be a contention, not a precedented or settled legal interpretation so far as I can discern.

The few cases I am aware of that pro-homosexual marriage advocates cite related to associational rights do not provide specific precedent. For instance, Board of Directors of Rotary International v. Rotary Club of Duarte, 481 U.S. 537 (1987) stipluates in footnote 1:


The plaintiffs expressly disclaim an interest in recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions or
domestic partnerships as a remedy in this case. They seek only "a level playing field, an equal opportunity
to convince the people's elected representatives that same-sex relationships deserve legal protection" and
"equal access, not guaranteed success, in the political arena." Filing No. 1, ¶ 4. The court is not asked to
decide whether a state has the right to define marriage in the context of same-sex and opposite-sex
relationships.



The establishment of homosexual marriage in Hawaii relied on the State constitution's prohibition against gender discrimination, not the U.S. Constitition; the latter being the source of 'associational rights.'

Even in this year's CITIZENS FOR EQUAL PROTECTION, INC., et al. v. BRUNING in Nebraska fails to directly support such a contention. The problem was not that the definition of 'marriage' violated 'associational rights,' but that gay and lesbian 'associational rights' were violated in that the judge perceived and held that the State's constitutional amendment went beyond defining marriage as between a man and a women in that it: prohibited relationships 'similar to marriage' (can we say: civil unions and domestic partnerships?); creating potential impediments to "potential adoptive or foster parents and children, related persons living together, and people sharing custody of children, as well as gay individuals;" and "discouraged lobbying..." Thus, it was the cumulative effect, not the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, which constituted the violation.

In the Judge's words:


Section 29 is distinguishable from statutes that serve nonpunitive purposes and are thus valid. See, e.g., Dempsey, 167 F.3d at 465 (removal of funding for abortion services deemed to support nonpunitive purpose of removing State’s approval from abortion services); Selective Service System, 468 U.S. at 858-59 (denial of financial aid to males who would not register for draft not punishment where goal was to make males register); and United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367, 385-86 (1968)(conviction for burning Selective Service card not punitive where nonpunitive goal was to continue availability of Selective Service certificates). Section 29 does not merely withhold the benefit of marriage; it operates to prohibit persons in a same-sex relationship from working to ever obtain governmental benefits or legal recognition, a right they had before the passage of Section 29. If the purpose, as offered by the proponents of Section 29, were merely to maintain the common-law definition of marriage, there would be no need to prohibit all forms of government protection or to preclude domestic partnerships and civil unions. [emphasis mine]


Thus, pro-homosexual marriage advocates' citation of this decision is actually 'spin' on a portion of the language and not indicative of the Judge's interpretation as it strictly pertains to associational rights and 'marriage.' Likewise, in pointing to the Judge's expansion of "associational rights protected by the First Amendment to unprecedented levels," critics of the decision are, once again, referring to the cumulative or total effect, not specifically to 'marriage.' Of course, there is always the question of whether the decision will stand upon appeal (filed 9 June). For a critique of the decision, see here:

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/commentary.aspx?id=15537

And, before you throw Romer into the mix, remember that it was held that there was violation of the 14th's "Equal Protection," not the First Amendment's implied "freedom of association." As Kennedy said in the majority decision: "...the amendment is at once too narrow and too broad, identifying persons by a single trait and then denying them the possibility of protection across the board." In other words, it was the aggregate effect, not the specific preclusion of 'marriage.'

As to your 'entitlement' argument. First, 'entitlements' are NOT 'rights.' Second, 'marriage' is NOT the 'entitlement.' The benefits derived from 'marriage' vis a vis the government are the 'entitlements.' Thus, the 'marriage is not a right' argument is not, of necessity, painted into a perceptual, 'equal protection' corner of 'all or nothing at all."

Yes, the elimination of government benefits as a direct result of marriage is one option. Yes, government could accede to the desires of many posters to this discussion and get out of the "marriage business" altogether by leaving "marriage" to respective religions or other, private organizations; thereby, in practical effect, dismantling it as a 'social institution.' But, wouldn't either of these eventualities vitiate a significant part of the rationale supporting homosexual marriage?

The problems of Equal Protection and Due Process in the "bestowment" of these benefits is, to this point, largely a matter of language vis a vis STATE constitutions. As the Massachusetts Supreme Court pointed out in its 2003 advisory decision related to the State Legislature's attempt to extend 'marriage' benefits to 'civil unions:' "under our Federal system of dual sovereignty, and subject to the minimum requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, "each State is free to address difficult issues of individual liberty in the manner its own Constitution demands." Further, in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (2003), this same court explicitly stated: "Our concern is with the Massachusetts Constitution as a charter of governance for every person properly within its reach."

So, again, the problem was not with the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. The issue was not one of associational rights. The discussion wasn't one where marriage was defined as an 'entitlement' or even in the bestowing of the 'entitlements' derived from marriage. The problem, as the Massachusetts Supreme Court stated, stemmed from the fact that: "The Massachusetts Constitution is, if anything, more protective of individual liberty and equality than the Federal Constitution; it may demand broader protection for fundamental rights; and it is less tolerant of government intrusion into the protected spheres of private life."

Thus, the State Court held that exclusion of homosexuals from civil marriage was not an issue of associational rights or even access to the 'entitlements' you cite. It held that, based on the language found in the State's Constitution, i.e., "The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens...", that by not allowing homosexual marriage, the State was creating 'a second-class' of citizens.

Therefore, based on YOUR argument, the validity of my stated assumptions still holds weight. First, because homosexual marriage is still not protected as an "associational right." Second, because the primary issue in even the most recognizable, recent case was not specifically tied to 'entitlements' either by erroneously defining marriage as an 'entitlement' or in the derivation of 'entitlement benefits' from the state of marriage. Even if we, for the sake of argument, accept that one may create a viable case based solely on access to 'entitlements' derived from marriage, the 'burden of proof' is still with the plantiffs, in this case, pro-homosexual marriage proponents, in that, as a civil matter, they must demonstrate that they are, in fact, being denied the benefits (entitlements) derived from 'marriage' based upon arguments tied to their STATE constitution or the U.S. Constitution; which, again, wasn't even the specific problem in the Massachusetts case.
10.20.2005 6:40am
A Guest Who Enjoys This Site:
Paul Sherman, et al.: My apologies. I was unavoidably pulled away just as I was attempting to finish my last post. Thus, the final paragraph was 'rushed into production.' With your indulgence, allow me to attempt the clarity I originally intended.

Rather than:


Therefore, based on YOUR argument, the validity of my stated assumptions still holds weight. First, because homosexual marriage is still not protected as an "associational right." Second, because the primary issue in even the most recognizable, recent case was not specifically tied to 'entitlements' either by erroneously defining marriage as an 'entitlement' or in the derivation of 'entitlement benefits' from the state of marriage. Even if we, for the sake of argument, accept that one may create a viable case based solely on access to 'entitlements' derived from marriage, the 'burden of proof' is still with the plantiffs, in this case, pro-homosexual marriage proponents, in that, as a civil matter, they must demonstrate that they are, in fact, being denied the benefits (entitlements) derived from 'marriage' based upon arguments tied to their STATE constitution or the U.S. Constitution; which, again, wasn't even the specific problem in the Massachusetts case.


...the intended text should read as follows...

Therefore, YOUR argument as related to 'entitlements' has not been fully or specifically addressed in even the most recent court decisions. Once again, even in the language of the decisions, 'marriage' itself is not the entitlement. It is the governmentally bestowed benefits derived from marriage which constitute the entitlement.

Even if we, for the sake of argument, accept that pro-homosexual marriage proponents might create a viable case for changing the definition of marriage so that it includes 'homosexual unions' based solely on access, or the lack of access, to 'entitlements' derived from marriage, the 'burden of proof' is still with the plantiffs, in this case, pro-homosexual marriage proponents, in that, as a civil matter, they must demonstrate that they are, in fact, being denied the benefits (entitlements) derived from 'marriage.' For now, the U.S. Supreme Court has explicitly left it to individual states to decide based upon arguments tied to their STATE constitution.

But, as we have seen, even in the Massachusetts case where the Court was predisposed to the plantiffs based specifically on their interpretation of the State constitution, the decision was NOT based solely on a lack of access to entitlements. Given DOMA (1996); given even the Massachusetts Supreme Courts' recognition that the U.S. Constitution is somewhat less broadly applicable than the one which predicated their decision; recognizing that even SCOTUS "on more than one occasion has recognized, marriage involves interests of basic importance in our society. See, e. g., Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967); Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942); Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923)" [see BODDIE v. CONNECTICUT, 401 U.S. 371 (1971)]; and realizing that SCOTUS has a much broader reach and, therefore, must demonstrate an awareness regarding a greater diversity of language and intent than does a single, state court, I perceive that any such 'entitlement' argument may have a severe, uphill battle at the Federal level.

Therefore, you have not demonstrated that the assumptions, as I have presented them above, are invalid or do not apply, as I stipulated, to the majority of arguments presented on this version of the discussion. Neither have you provided a fully accurate or precedental alternative. Interestingly or, using your term, 'ironically,' in your attempt to parse an 'associational right' into an 'entitlement,' you have further strengthened the arguments I presented in my original post. First, because, as we have demonstrated, homosexual marriage cannot, as yet, even be inferred as a 'associational right.'

Second, even if we allow parsing of the issue of defining 'marriage' into an argument for re-defining marriage to include 'homosexual marriages' based on access to 'entitlements' derived from marriage, then it is even more the circumstance that the "burden of proof" lies with those who desire such a re-definition. Even if we were to accept the premise that it is solely the government's burden to demonstrate that equal access is provided (something I'm not convinced would actually be the case), the burden of proof still lies with the plantiff, i.e., pro-homosexual pundits, to demonstrate that such a redefinition is the ONLY, suitable remedy.
10.20.2005 8:09am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I'm pleasantly surprised to see the comments have improved to a point... I havn't gotten through all 97 or so, but I felt the need to respond to Goober above. I apologize if someone has already responded to it.

Massachusettes has the lowest "divorce rate" as a percentage of its population. The relevant point you're ignoring is that you can only get divorced if you get married in the first place. Coincidentially, Massachusettes also has the third lowest MARRIAGE rate in the country after Connecticuit and DC. If you take the divorce rate as a percentage of overall marriages, I doubt your statistics will help your point.

For statistics, see http://www.divorcereform.org/rates.html (Click on the PDF file for State Divorce and Marriage Rates at the bottom of the page)
10.20.2005 1:27pm
A Guest Who Enjoys This Site:
Addendum: I resisted pointing to the obvious last night, but find I cannot longer forestall the inevitable.

Any 'entitlements' argument in favor of homosexual marriage is going to run into almost insurmountable issues of 'fair access.' Government entitlements, by definition, are discriminatory in nature. Petitioners for just about any 'entitlement' must meet specific, qualifying criteria. To qualify for student loans, you MUST meet the qualifying definition of 'student.' To qualify for homeless assistance, you MUST meet the qualifying definition of 'homeless.'

In this instance, to qualify for the 'entitlements' of marriage, you MUST meet the definitional qualification of 'married.' This is why a case solely predicated on 'entitlements' has not, as yet, been successful. It is also why the burden of proof falls to the plantiffs, i.e., pro-homosexual marriage advocates. One must demonstrate that the definition of marriage precludes fair access to benefits which derive from the discriminatory nature of ALL entitlements.

Thus, it is the argument of 'entitlements' which paints itself into an "all or nothing at all" corner. In the end, for the Court to require a definitional change in the qualifications for entitlement access related to marriage, they would inevitably, no matter how narrowly they attempted to construe this particular ruling, open a Pandora's Box related to ALL entitlement programs; something which is impractical and contrary to the very purposes of entitlement programs.
10.20.2005 7:09pm
Goober (mail):
Dan Chap---

I was unaware of that wrinkle. Interesting, thanks!
10.20.2005 7:16pm