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[Maggie Gallagher (guest-blogging), October 20, 2005 at 9:45am] Trackbacks
Is Marriage Innate? More Reply to Orin:

Orin, I also want to respond to your first very perceptive question: " 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?"

I don't think marriage is a universal human institution because marriage is innate. The forms of marriage differ so wildly, cultural variations are huge. You only have to go into the inner cities to see that marriage is not innate. It can disappear.

Yes, there are things in human nature that help sustain it (e.g. a pair bonding preference; sexual jealousy) but others that undermine it (e.g. men's subjection for much of their life to powerful, indiscriminate and rather impersonal lusts).

But fundamentally marriage is sustained by culture, not biology. Why then is it universal? Because it is the answer to an urgent problem that is biological and innate: sex makes babies. Nature alone won't connect fathers to children. Children need a society in which both men and women are committed to their care.

When anthropologists in the thirties went out into the vanishing world of human diversity, the reason they found marriage everywhere is that societies that do not hang onto the marriage idea do not survive very long.

But marriage in a particular society is not inevitable; death by sexual disorganization is always an option. Happens quite a bit actually. cf. Roman empire.

So in one sense I'm not worried about marriage. In spite of the progressive mythology that the drive to gay marriage is the irresistible wave of the future, I'm quite confident that 200 years from now, we're not going to be living in a world where gay marriage is the norm.

I'm just not sure of the place of Western civilization in that future world.

This is part of what I mean when I say if I'm right (big if!), gay marriage is not in the interests of gay and lesbian people. We may need to find some new solutions to the legitimate social needs of gays and lesbians. But don't mess with marriage.

Anon7:
But marriage in a particular society is not inevitable; death by sexual disorganization is always an option. Happens quite a bit actually. cf. Roman empire.

So is this the new revisionist conservative meme? That the Roman Empire collapsed because of homosexuality?

There is a better argument for Christianity causing the Roman Empire's collapse than homosexuality.
10.20.2005 10:53am
anonymous coward:
"But marriage in a particular society is not inevitable; death by sexual disorganization is always an option. Happens quite a bit actually. cf. Roman empire."

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

I increasingly feel that Gallagher's anxiety about SMS is as much about gender roles as homosexuality. This may be part of why it's so difficult for some of us to really understand her views.
10.20.2005 10:56am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
Children need a society in which both men and women are committed to their care.

Then why actively discourage couples who want to get married and have children from doing so?

I don't actually expect you to respond to this, because your idea of a debate would appear to be most people's idea of a lecture:

Fact: Same-sex couples adopt children, and are committed to their care. It would appear to be an essential part of your argument that it's not important for adopted children to have married parents.

Fact: Lesbian couples have children by AID, and are as committed to their care as any mixed-sex couple. It would appear to be an essential part of your argument that it's not important for children conceived by AID to have married parents.

Again, you seem to be arguing that marriage isn't important because it provides a stable and nurturing environment for children - your argument requires you to believe that it's unimportant if some children are legally forbidden from having married parents.

If your argument is that marriage is important because both men and women should be committed to the care of children, why do you oppose men and women who are committed to the care of children getting married? Once more you strip away all the usual social justifications for marriage and reduce it to just one: fertility.
10.20.2005 11:01am
tdsj:
Are you really arguing that the Roman Empire dissolved as a result of sexual disorganization?

For the love of God... don't. That does such a disservice to the rest of your argument.
10.20.2005 11:03am
Christopher (mail):
Is anyone else a bit disconcerted by the fact that Maggie is arguing her case entirely from a point of view of social control? I find her assumption that law leads public sentiment rather than following it rather condescending. I tend to feel that the future of at least this nation rests not with our legislators, beaurocrats, and judges, but with individuals making individual decisions. Our laws only offer a somewhat distorted view of the aggregate of those decisions and actions. Attempts to do otherwise tend to fail since you can lead the horse to water but you cannot make him drink. If some of us must take our unprecedented wealth and flirt with hedonism and nihilism then so be it, but I remain confident that there enough of us capable of enlightened, rational thought and endowed with both vision and self-discipline that we are not in jeopardy.
10.20.2005 11:05am
Grant Gould (mail):
So the actual lives of actual living human beings are to be subordinated to the imagined interests of some notion of "Western Civilization"?

Putting ideals of civilizational purity before individual rights has killed far more people than the collapse of any empire ever did.
10.20.2005 11:08am
MAH (mail):
But marriage in a particular society is not inevitable; death by sexual disorganization is always an option. Happens quite a bit actually. cf. Roman empire.

Assuming that this is true, how does gay marriage, the forming of committed relationships in a sexually organized way, equate to sexual disorganization? It seems in this context that GM actually solves the disorganization problem by pair bonding gays. Wouldn't the more logical conclusion to this statement be that GM stregthens society?
10.20.2005 11:10am
Angus (mail) (www):
We may need to find some new solutions to the legitimate social needs of gays and lesbians.

This is as close as Gallagher has come in this forum to addressing commenters' repeated requests that she state her position on civil rights for gays and lesbians. But while the phrase "legitimate social needs" sounds supportive, it needs to be placed in the context of what she has written elsewhere to be properly understood.

In a 2001 article, Gallagher said that homosexuality "a sexual dysfunction much as impotence or infertility," referring to it as "same-sex attraction disorder." She endorsed increased research into the question of how "motivated homosexuals could achieve normal sexual relationships with members of the opposite sex."

From my reading of this piece, it seems clear that when Gallagher refers to "the legitimate social needs of gays and lesbians," she is referring to pyschological treatment, not social and legal equality.
10.20.2005 11:12am
Commenterlein (mail):
I agree with MAH above, there is a vast gap between Maggie's alarmist rhetoric and the underlying topic she is discussing. Reading her arguments one gets the impression that she must be talking about people advocating everyone moving into free-love communes or something similarly radical. SSM is by definition about bringing order and structure to relationships, it adds commitment to long-term relationships, and it is the anti-thesis of sexual disorganization. Her arguments simply make no sense as she applies them to SSM.

And finally, the point about sexual disorganization bringing down the roman empire is absolutely absurd. Do social conservatives really believe stuff like this?
10.20.2005 11:18am
Taimyoboi:
"Fact: Lesbian couples have children by AID, and are as committed to their care as any mixed-sex couple. It would appear to be an essential part of your argument that it's not important for children conceived by AID to have married parents."

For all the allegations of disingenuousness and emptiness on Mrs. Gallagher's part, I've seen quite a number of posts willing to throw out lots of these so called "facts."
10.20.2005 11:20am
Taimyoboi:
"Is anyone else a bit disconcerted by the fact that Maggie is arguing her case entirely from a point of view of social control?"

Why should we be disconcerted about this? There is a fair amount of social control already built into US Laws. Outlawing murder would be the most basic case in point.

I think that you disagree with her over degree.
10.20.2005 11:26am
Crane (mail):
I suspect that a large part of Ms. Gallagher's opposition to SSM is based in her feeling that the reproductive sex act is sacred, as she mentioned a few posts ago. That and the idea that the two people who made the baby must therefore be the best people to raise it.

It would be nice if she'd at least tell us what she thinks of couples, both same- and opposite-sex, who adopt children.
10.20.2005 11:26am
Toad734 (mail) (www):
Marriage is not innate in nature; even the conservatives "monogamous penguins" only keep their mate for one season. Sure love birds and a couple of other creatures stick together for life but we as humans are quite odd in that respect. Men naturally have a strong sexual drive to spread their seed. And even though marriage does exist in the Middle East and Utah they often take many brides and they are usually seen as property and just a sexual outlet for men; not a committed monogamous relationship.

I may also point out that 50% of all marriages in the US end in divorce so let's stop trying to act as if it were something sacred. Most people are more loyal to their cable company than their spouse.

Who is anyone else to say that marriage is or isn't in the best interest of gays, lesbians or anyone? Maybe I don't think marriage is in the best interest of you. And in looking at the divorce rate marriage isn't in the best interest of most people.
10.20.2005 11:26am
Ray:
This is getting funny. Not only did the Roman Empire collapse because of 'sexual disorganization' (says Gallagher the historian), but if western society allows gay marraige, it will disappear in less than 200 years! Seriously, if you want to make it as a futurist, you should throw in a few references to 'the Singularity' and nanotechnology along the way. Something like this
"I'm quite confident that 200 years from now, we're not going to be living in a world where oil-burning SUVs and gay marriage are the norm, because we will all be disembodied brains living in crystal matrices in orbit at the Lagrange point. I'm just not sure of the place of Western carbon-based civilization in that future nanotechnologically-enabled world." See, now its much more credible.
10.20.2005 11:28am
szajic (mail):
I'm disappointed by how quickly Gallagher's arguments have fallen back upon reactionary disdain for "liberal elites" and city-dwellers. And now we get the argument, based on zero evidence, that gay marriage will quite literally lead to the decline and fall of the Western world.

Look, this argument is a fun little exercise, but can we just wait a few years? Do we think that gay marriage will be established policy nationally, or even in a plurality of states? No. It doesn't have anywhere near that level of popular, or even judicial, support. So, let's see how things in Massachusetts turn out. So far, a few thousand gay folks getting married hasn't made a damn bit of difference in anyone's lives but theirs and their families.

The streets and cafes here in Massachusetts are not filled with scorn for heterosexual couples who get married, and men and women certainly haven't stopped getting married. But, admittedly, it's early. Wait five years, and we'll see how this experiment is working out.
10.20.2005 11:29am
LTEC (mail) (www):
Christopher --

You say:
"I tend to feel that the future of at least this nation rests not with our legislators, beaurocrats, and judges, but with individuals making individual decisions."

Then why are those individuals insisting that the legislators, bureaucrats, and judges must sanctify their personal relationships? Your comment only really makes sense if you support doing away with the state notion of marriage altogether.
10.20.2005 11:33am
Hans Bader (mail):
You say "nature alone won't connect children to their fathers."

But neither does state-sanctioned marriage, which just gives the spouse statistically more likely to initiate a divorce (that is, the wife -- wives initiate more than two thirds of all divorces in this country, according to the National Center for Health Statistics) an added incentive to do so, by giving that spouse alimony without requiring any showing of fault (under divorce laws that arbitrarily bar any evidence of fault in considering alimony and equitable distribution).

The social rituals of engagement and marriage, and solemn ceremony in a church or other forum, undoubtedly helps to bind husband and wife together, and thus to connect children with their father.

But the state laws of marriage and divorce merely reduce the cost, and thus increase the likelihood, of the wife leaving the husband and producing a fatherless home (since wives typically receive physical custody of the children; in the unlikely event that the husband receives custody, it is likely to be joint legal custody, which is largely honorary in nature, and not joint physical custody).

No wonder some have suggested the separation of marriage and state, i.e., getting the state out of the marriage business entirely and leaving it to churches and voluntary organizations.

That might also solve the gay marriage controversy, leaving churches free either not to perform gay marriages (as the Southern Baptists and Catholics would not) or to perform them (as the United Church of Christ would), without the state having to decide for them.
10.20.2005 11:33am
SuperChimp:
Did Maggie even respond to Professor Kerr's question?

But fundamentally marriage is sustained by culture, not biology. Why then is it universal? Because it is the answer to an urgent problem that is biological and innate: sex makes babies. Nature alone won't connect fathers to children. Children need a society in which both men and women are committed to their care.

This logic makes NO sense. The fact that sex makes babies does NOT mean that marriage must be the vehicle for such sex--many species produce offspring at a prodigous rate without marriage. The main point of Maggie's argument therefore seems to be that children need committed parents. Yet this has nothing to do with procreation, and seems to suggest that SSM would actually help the matter.
10.20.2005 11:35am
Oh my word:
I don't think we should have same sex marriage, but I think Maggie's gone about making the argument in a very unsatisfying way. I think one of the biggest negative externalities of SSM is that it sends a signal that homosexuality is roughly equivalent to heterosexuality, and there is no competent scientifice evidence that it is. It also blurs gender lines, and consistent scientific and sociological evidence holds that the sexes are quite physiologically and psychologically different. SSM, by equating traditional marriage with gay marriage, errantly sends something of a signal that genders are more similar than they are.

I would say that one of the biggest negative externalities is the signal that SSM sends to adolescents who are confused by their sexuality, may be rejected by the other sex, and are looking for the sexual safety that homosexuality often affords. The cultural/environmental causes of homosexuality are very complex and idiosyncratic. Not one single study, even by the most gay-friendly researchers, has found a genetic explanator for homosexuality more than maybe 30-40%, and even those studies have a lot of methodological errors.

That does not mean that we have to condemn gays or say they need to go to psychological reeducation. Once someone is 25, if they have spent the last 10 years as a homosexual, they will be a homosexual for life, 99 times out of 100. That's fine. But society does not need to put the imprimatur of normalcy onto that, or imply that homosexuality is genetically predetermined or to be encouraged, something that giving it the status of marriage would do.

In regards to the Roman empire, it did not collapse due to sexual licentiousness; it's crazy to think that. Also, it's probably good that such a bloody empire collapsed. I suspect it's bigger problem was that it was founded on hedonism and pure power, something which is bound to collapse on itself if the government has nothing but power undergirding its structure. Some would say that pure pursuit of power at the expense of the family is yet another symptom of that--including men who leave their wives for other men and deemphasize family. Mass encouragement and acceptance of homosexuality was more of a symptom than a cause, though.
10.20.2005 11:36am
Alixtii O'Krul V (mail) (www):
If I am interpreting Ms. Galagher correctly when she says

Yes, there are things in human nature that help sustain it (e.g. a pair bonding preference; sexual jealousy) but others that undermine it (e.g. men subjection for much of their life to powerful, indiscriminate and rather impersonal lusts).

and other similar comments, then she is operating under a gender essentialism which I consider to be a subspecies of sexism. Thus, I conisder her views to be deeply morally abhorrent, and I feel justified in rejecting them on those grounds alone.
10.20.2005 11:40am
acs:
i've been sitting on the sidelines of this debate, and i have to say that this has been an extremely interesting thread of discussion. eye-opening, in a lot of ways.

my question, though, if you have time to answer it, is this: what is your proposed solution to declining birth rates in western, industrialized nations? this trend can be traced to more than liberalized attitudes toward marriage -- as you pointed out, it also has to do with reliance by one generation on the government and themselves for support, instead of on their children. a solution to this problem, if something other than immigration is needed as a "solution," will encompass more than simply maintaining the status quo on traditional marriage.

is there something that i'm missing in your SSM argument that addresses the problem? becuase if not, i think you're conflating the argument against SSM with arguments about falling birth rates and the future of Western nations in order to make a point about why we should be against SSM.
10.20.2005 11:41am
Taimyoboi:
"And in looking at the divorce rate marriage isn't in the best interest of most people."

This is a non sequitur. Simply because the divorce rate is high does not mean that most people should stop getting married.

A high divorce means that people are no longer seeking relationships for the right reasons and with the right person.
10.20.2005 11:41am
guest:

You only have to go into the inner cities to see that marriage is not innate. It can disappear.


Well, at least we're not getting into veiled racism or anything.
10.20.2005 11:42am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
Taimyoboi: For all the allegations of disingenuousness and emptiness on Mrs. Gallagher's part, I've seen quite a number of posts willing to throw out lots of these so called "facts."

Tai, are you then asserting that "Lesbian couples have children by AID, and are as committed to their care as any mixed-sex couple" is not a fact? Or that Maggie is arguing that lesbian couples who have children by AID ought to get married?
10.20.2005 11:43am
mb (mail):
I've been spending a few minutes looking through these threads, and it's been fascinating. Before, when I've approached the question of SSM, I have generally been opposed to it, I suppose because it just seems to me that marriage is what happens between a man and a woman. But this is the best that an opponent of SSM can do? Gallagher tosses out an argument, it's knocked down in the comments, and instead of defending it she just moves on to a different argument! Now we're on to civilizational collapse. I'm sure if Ms. Gallagher had a few more days we'd see the all-gay-men-are-pedarasts argument appear, dogs &cats living together....

I'm sympathetic to the argument that marriage has eroded more than it should have over the past few decades, and that children of divorced (or unmarried) parents have suffered for it. I'm even of the belief that, in a perfect world, children need mothers and fathers. But how in heaven's name is SSM going to harm marriage further? How exactly will gay people getting married discourage straight men from stepping into the husband role? And how precisely will allowing a few women (and, I suppose, men) to marry and raise together the children they're already raising harm other families? Nothing Gallagher has said here has made that case.

Oh, and I especially love the implication that adopted children are second-best.

Congratulations, Ms. Gallagher--you've changed my mind about SSM. Now I'm a supporter
10.20.2005 11:45am
Taimyoboi:
Are there any statistics on divorce rates for parents who have a child relatively soon after marriage?

I would suspect that the divorce rates are substantially lower than for families that do not have children after shortly after marrying.

Using immediacy of procreation after marriage as a proxy for the focus of children in that marriage relationship, I would suspect that marriages who make children one of their primary focuses are far more healthy, and so are the resulting households.
10.20.2005 11:53am
Taimyoboi:
"Tai, are you then asserting that "Lesbian couples have children by AID, and are as committed to their care as any mixed-sex couple" is not a fact?"

I wasn't saying either way.

I'm just saying that if we are going to demand that Mrs. Gallagher substantiate her claims then the same demand should apply to people posting.

Merely stating the word "fact" does not make it so. Perhaps providing links to adoption rates of gay couples or some such would go a longer way in elevating the debate rather than tossing out unsubstantiated claims.
10.20.2005 11:55am
Visitor:

Happens quite a bit actually. cf. Roman empire.


To be fair, Maggie used "cf." which, according to my Bluebook, literally means "compare" and is used when the cited material "supports a proposition different from the main proposition but sufficietly analogous to lend support." She didn't, therefore, cite the Roman Empire as an example (see or e.g.) of a society that collapsed due to sexual disorganization.
10.20.2005 12:11pm
chris (mail):
No one on these increasingly inane comments (veiled racism anyone?) has countered one assertion of Gallaghers: babies need both mothers and fathers. Not two parents, but one father (in the best case, the biological father) and
one mother (again, preferably the biological one). That is, in Gallaghers view (and anyone with eyes that will see) men and women are different and complementary. What fathers teach children is different from what mothers teach children and both teachings are necessary. We know that fatherless households tend not to turn out good children. (Oops. There goes my veiled racism again.) As an earlier commenter caught, a lot of this discussion is about gender roles. SSM advocates basically have to argue that men and women are interchangable.
10.20.2005 12:13pm
Cornellian (mail):
So a widower isn't capable of raising his children? Even assuming an opposite sex couple will do a better job of raising a child than a same sex couple on average, why is that a reason for prohibiting same sex couples from marrying? Straight people who are demonstrably lousy parents (drug addicts, violent criminals etc.) are free to get married and bear children, no questions asked by the State.

Are you assuming that gay people, if prevented from marrying are suddenly going to turn straight and marry someone of the opposite sex in order to have children?

No one on these increasingly inane comments (veiled racism anyone?) has countered one assertion of Gallaghers: babies need both mothers and fathers. Not two parents, but one father (in the best case, the biological father) and
one mother (again, preferably the biological one)
10.20.2005 12:24pm
Cornellian (mail):
Wow, wonder how long the Roman Empire would have lasted if its sex had been more "organized", whatever that means. If I recall correctly, Edward Gibbon ascribed the fall of the Roman Empire to "the triumph of barbarism and religion" and I suspect he knew a bit more about Roman history than Maggie Gallagher. I think with this we see another glimpse of what's behind her position, namely a view that it is important for the State to control (or "organize") the sex lives of its citizens, quite apart from any issue of who can marry or where children are raised. Her arguments against SSM, such as they are, being merely a proxy for that position.

Ms. Gallagher isn't helping her case by trotting out such obviously absurd assertions as if they were commonly known facts.

But marriage in a particular society is not inevitable; death by sexual disorganization is always an option. Happens quite a bit actually. cf. Roman empire.
10.20.2005 12:29pm
Adam (mail) (www):
No one on these increasingly inane comments (veiled racism anyone?) has countered one assertion of Gallaghers: babies need both mothers and fathers. Not two parents, but one father (in the best case, the biological father) and one mother (again, preferably the biological one).

That is an argument against allowing same-sex couples to raise children at all, and an argument for tightening divorce laws. Gallagher's not making that argument here.
10.20.2005 12:47pm
Taimyoboi:
"Are you assuming that gay people, if prevented from marrying are suddenly going to turn straight and marry someone of the opposite sex in order to have children?"

Like Chris said, that doesn't refute Mrs. Gallagher's point.

She's not concerned about whether people who would normally procreate inside of marriage would go gay and not procreate in an SSM.

She's concerned about the effect that a cultural readjustment towards non-traditional marriage arrangements would have on those marginal couples who would otherwise seek a traditional marriage over time.

Wide-spread legalization/approval could weaken cultural taboos enough to result in greater rejection of traditional marriage on the margins, an effect that would be amplified across generations.
10.20.2005 12:52pm
RBG (mail):
Perhaps the Roman Empire did not collapse due to sexual disorganization; however, as Rodney Stark details in the Rise of Christianity, various sexual and fertility related practices (late marriages, abortion, infanticide) in Roman society did lead to continuing, centuries-long, but ultimately failing efforts (subsidies for marriages and child-bearing, penalties for remaining unmarried) to boost the fertility rates of Roman citizens. None of them, however, were successful. Christians, who eschewed both abortion and infanticide and highly valued marriage, were the exception. Gibbons may have been correct in seeing a correlation between the rise of Christianity and the decline of Rome, but the historical facts suggest his analysis was a bit simplistic.
10.20.2005 12:53pm
chris (mail):
So a widower isn't capable of raising his children?

A widower is certainly less capable of raising his children then if his wife was still around. Ask any widower. That's why it's usually considered a tragedy for the children when mom dies. I can't believe this is even considered controversial.

Even assuming an opposite sex couple will do a better job of raising a child than a same sex couple on average, why is that a reason for prohibiting same sex couples from marrying? Straight people who are demonstrably lousy parents (drug addicts, violent criminals etc.) are free to get married and bear children, no questions asked by the State.

So since we already have a situation that isn't perfect with regard to creating good conditions for child rearing, we should make it moreso as a matter of fairness to adults?

Are you assuming that gay people, if prevented from marrying are suddenly going to turn straight and marry someone of the opposite sex in order to have children?

No, and nothing I wrote implies that.
10.20.2005 12:55pm
Anon7:
No one on these increasingly inane comments (veiled racism anyone?) has countered one assertion of Gallaghers: babies need both mothers and fathers. Not two parents, but one father (in the best case, the biological father) and one mother (again, preferably the biological one).... We know that fatherless households tend not to turn out good children.

Actually, we don't know that this assertion is true. You are trying to compare apples to oranges.

What we do know: children raised by only one parent tend to have more problems as teens and adults.

What we do not know: if children raised by a married, same sex couple tend to have more problems.

You are making the false assumption that single parent households and two-parent gay households are the same thing.

There are a lot of explanations for why single-parent households struggle, and a main one is that a single parent who works does not have sufficient time to give the child attention and instruction. Hence the need to share the responsibility with a loving partner. That's an argument FOR SSM, not AGAINST.
10.20.2005 1:02pm
Cornellian (mail):
I'm saying if you're concerned about competent child rearing, then take action against incompetent parents, whether gay or straight, and don't give a free pass to incompetent straight parents while using their existence as an excuse to try to prevent gay people (who may or may not be capable parents in individual cases, just as straight people may or may not be) from raising children.

Even assuming an opposite sex couple will do a better job of raising a child than a same sex couple on average, why is that a reason for prohibiting same sex couples from marrying? Straight people who are demonstrably lousy parents (drug addicts, violent criminals etc.) are free to get married and bear children, no questions asked by the State.

So since we already have a situation that isn't perfect with regard to creating good conditions for child rearing, we should make it moreso as a matter of fairness to adults?
10.20.2005 1:11pm
Taimyoboi:
"What we do not know: if children raised by a married, same sex couple tend to have more problems."

Precisely. Along with a host of other major uknowns in this debate is a strong reason for either disallowing SSM or for doing it in a very measured and cautious process (read: federalism).

Not knowing whether the sea is infested with sharks is not a reason for going ahead and diving in.
10.20.2005 1:13pm
Taimyoboi:
"There are a lot of explanations for why single-parent households struggle, and a main one is that a single parent who works does not have sufficient time to give the child attention and instruction. Hence the need to share the responsibility with a loving partner. That's an argument FOR SSM, not AGAINST."

No, that's not a reason FOR SSM, it's a reason against allowing single parents to raise children. Nothing more.
10.20.2005 1:14pm
Noah Snyder (mail):
I completely agree with Crane's comment: "It would be nice if she'd at least tell us what she thinks of couples, both same- and opposite-sex, who adopt children."

I was expecting some amount of anti-gay bigotry and Ms. Gallagher has actually be surprisingly tame on that front. What I wasn't expecting was this anti-adoption bigotry.

What makes a father or a mother is someone who loves and cares for his or her children, not their having provided the sperm. Ms. Gallagher has been deeply offensive on this point.
10.20.2005 1:17pm
BrentN (mail) (www):
Wide-spread legalization/approval could weaken cultural taboos enough to result in greater rejection of traditional marriage on the margins, an effect that would be amplified across generations.

And yet in Switzerland, where the tax regime discourages marriage to the point where a large fraction of 20 and 30-somethings are choosing to simply cohabitate, there is no sign of any 'cultural decay.'

I think the point both you and Gallagher are missing is that government rules on social conventions are absolutely irrelevant to the "stability" of society. Social customs will keep on evolving despite reactionaries' best attempts to stop the tide.
10.20.2005 1:32pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
I don't think marriage is a universal human institution because marriage is innate. The forms of marriage differ so wildly, cultural variations are huge. You only have to go into the inner cities to see that marriage is not innate. It can disappear.

Really? You are saying that people aren't pair bonding in the inner cities, or isn't it more likely you are cherry picking the cases where they aren't and acting like they were some monolithic group?
Again, your whole premise is flawed - same gender couples are marrying, have been marrying and will continue to marry in-spite of anyone else's opinion. Marriage is something decided upon by the individuals, not the made up government or the amorphous 'society'. You don't get to decide for others if they are 'married' or not - that ship sailed so long ago its not even visible from the dock.
The current issue is about allowing all citizens reasonable access to the civil contract licensed to support marriages. IF the state is going to license such a contract then it must be reasonably available to all citizens since all citizens have the fundamental right to marry. If it is not, then there has to be a very very good reason why some citizens are so denied, something you have been unable to come up with in numerous long posts.
This contract allows two people and their family to in many ways appear as one entity to the body of established law and does so in ways that can not be duplicated through any other means. To say that some married people can have access and others can not is a slap in the face to your fellow citizens - why not just call them 'second class' with lesser rights than other citizens and get it over with?
10.20.2005 1:38pm
Taimyoboi:
BrentN-

Speaking of missing points, no one is arguing that economic disincentives to marry will not have a negative impact on marriage rates. And since in Switzerland gays are not able to marry, to adopt children or undergo fertility treatment, this has no bearing on the issue of cultural decay to begin with.

And are you suggesting that gov't incentives (economic or otherwise) have no bearing on cultural attitudes or the stability of society?

Take a long hard look at the impact of welfare on out of birth wedlocks and marriage rates for US inner cities.

Unless you're suggesting that inner city life is just cozy...
10.20.2005 1:54pm
Shawn (mail):
While it is true to say that no studies have been done on *married* same sex couples with children, there have been studies on committed same sex couples with children. It may be the case that getting married would change things dramatically, but I doubt it. So it is possible to draw some tentative conclusions on the effect of having two daddies or two mommies in the same household. It isn't an unknown.



American Psychological Association



CBS News Article



American Academy of Pediatrics



This was just a quick Google search but it's a decent starting point to get some deeper information on this issue.

In summary, there were no significant differences between children raised in heterosexual or homosexual two-parent homes.

In a world of mass media, soccer games, and sleep-overs, I'm not sure it's fair to say that a child in a same-sex household gets no socialization on our culture's gender roles. (Both the good and the bad.)
10.20.2005 3:03pm
BobNelson (mail):
I'm almost beyond replying to Ms. Gallagher's bilge anymore, but, concerned about her mental health as I am, I thought I might seek to calm her fears on one point. She predicts the end of the West in 200 years (overrun by brown-skinned Muslims apparently) and cautions gays that they should be more worried about that than about SSM. Well, she may be relieved to note that a native-born gay-rights movement is already taking hold in the Middle-East. Of course it's tentative and faces strong opposition, but so did the gay-rights movement in the West. Judging by that history, gay equality should be entrenched on the hoard side a good 100 years before they take over.
10.20.2005 3:13pm
Ampersand (mail) (www):
No one on these increasingly inane comments (veiled racism anyone?) has countered one assertion of Gallaghers: babies need both mothers and fathers.


To quote an author of a recent peer-reviewed study,

We found that adolescents whose parents had same-sex romantic partners were developing in positive ways. We found no significant differences in their school achievement or psychological well-being when compared to their peers with male/female parents.


To the best of my knowlege, no peer-reviewed study has found that children raised by lesbian or gay parents have measurably worse outcomes than children raised by a mother and a father. In contrast, at least 30 peer-reviewed studies have found that children raised by lesbians and gay men fare as well as children raised by a mother and a father. Supporting links for this claim are available at this post on my blog.

Are the studies perfect? No, they're not; no study is perfect, and this is a particularly difficult subject to quantify and measure. However, the studies are published in well-known peer-reviewed journals and meet the standards of good social science. In addition, the significance of how often this result has been replicated - and the lack of even one peer-reviewed study showing that children raised in same-sex households are harmed - should not be ignored.
10.20.2005 3:43pm
BrentN (mail) (www):
Taimyoboi:

You can "prove" anything if you choose a small enough group as your model.

Again, you miss the point. The issue in American inner cities is one of poverty, not one of marriage rates. Again and again, we've heard the argument bandied about that the decline in traditional marriage will bring about cultural decay and end civilization as we know it. And obviously, the solution to this just HAS to be more intrusive legislation, right?

No. There is ample evidence, such as the example I gave above, that any such conclusion cannot be supported. And while government can certainly affect society, it is pretty clear that society affects government to a much greater degree.
10.20.2005 3:46pm
Maggie Gallagher (mail) (www):
On this point: "But marriage in a particular society is not inevitable; death by sexual disorganization is always an option. Happens quite a bit actually. cf. Roman empire.

So is this the new revisionist conservative meme? That the Roman Empire collapsed because of homosexuality?

There is a better argument for Christianity causing the Roman Empire's collapse than homosexuality."

No I don't think this had anything to do with homosexuality, but from the time of Christ as least Roman elites were expressing deep concerns about their inability to persuade Roman citizens to marry and have children. (Augustus put fines on bachelors).

This problem was temporarily solved by the Roman equivalent of immigration: conquering other countries and getting their elites to wish to become Roamn citizens.

When the Empire stopped expanding, it collapsed.

This is not a conservative commonplace but a 19th century one.

Maggie
10.20.2005 3:50pm
Maggie Gallagher (mail) (www):
My own son is brown-skinned because I've miscegentated with Hindus ( or one HIndu anyway), but thanks for your concerns about my mental health!

On this quesetion: "what is your proposed solution to declining birth rates in western, industrialized nations?"

I hardly think opposing SSM is sufficient. But I think it is necessary. Because I think it is necessary to have a social institution that is oriented towards generativity--managing the procreative consequences of sexual attraction in the dual sense of encouraging men and women to make and rear the next generation together.

Having the law declare this is a discriminatory idea is going to make it pretty hard to focus on achieving the goal.

On my website, I have a publication called "How CAn Government Strengthen Marriage? Evidence from teh social sciences" that might provide some ideas.

Government is by no means the only or main actor. Lately I've been thinking about how to get faith communities to transmit their marriage cultures more effectively to the next generation.

My goal (aside from SSM) is to genreate LOTS of ideas, for LOTS of actors, from government to families. . .

Thanks or the question. Maggie
10.20.2005 3:59pm
frankcross (mail):
Maggie, Gibbons classic Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire attributed the fall in large part to Christianity (and to overexpansion of the Empire). He may be wrong, but you should confront his argument.

I think procreation may be a real problem. But the empirical evidence here is very clear. A declining birth rate is closely associated with wealth and significantly with equal rights for women. If one really cares about procreation, that is what you would attack.

Your concerns are legitimate but they are totally unhinged from gay marriage, save for the occasional unevidenced assertion. It really does make one wonder why the defense of marriage, procreation, and traditional values has decided to make its stand here, taking on a small minority group rather than looking at the beam in its own eye.
10.20.2005 4:00pm
Elliot123 (mail):
If our culture defined marriage as Gallagher says it does, then we wouldn't be having this discussion.
10.20.2005 4:22pm
BobNelson (mail):
For those who fear the "end of Western civilization" as Ms. Gallagher does, news of another case of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do from Ms. Gallagher must be quite disheartening.

Me? I don't much mind cultural mixing. I am concerned about the disparity between western birth rates and those of the developing world, not because I fear one will swamp the other, but because I fear that together they will destroy the planet.

But, if anyone really is worried about disparate birth rates, maybe ENCOURAGING BIRTH CONTROL for the developing world would be a good idea. That would be a case of do-as-we-do.

I'll bet Ms. Gallagher objects to birth control programs, too...
10.20.2005 5:30pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
Maggie: Because I think it is necessary to have a social institution that is oriented towards generativity--managing the procreative consequences of sexual attraction in the dual sense of encouraging men and women to make and rear the next generation together.

...guh.

I'm definitely gonna quote that one.

So, again: Marriage by this definition is explicitly not important for couples who adopt children or who have children via AID.
10.20.2005 5:57pm
Pietro Armando (mail):
Why does a child need two mothers/fathers? It seems as if the SSM argument as it relates to children is that two is the magical number regardless of gender. If two moms are better than one, would three be better than two?

In order for a same sex couple to become parents, at least one of the child's opposite sex parent must be eliminated, either design, tragedy, or as a result of abuse. What child does not yearn for his/her own mother and father, barring abuse of course, and even then, their is often a secret wish.
10.20.2005 11:12pm
acs:
maggie, thanks for addressing my question. ill check out your website. i think my main concern here is that i see your argument about declining birth rates as missing the point: youre right that all western nations experience a decline in birth rate, but i dont think that it correlates with any specific attitude toward marriage or homosexuality. instead, it has to do with increasing life expectancy, economic development (requiring the devotion of the "prime" of ones life to work), and (probably more than any other factor) the feminist movement, which brought more women into the workplace. i would hate to see "the end of civilization" used as a justification for govt interference in the expansion of women's equality.
10.21.2005 12:16am
The Countess (mail) (www):
Maggie: But fundamentally marriage is sustained by culture, not biology. Why then is it universal? Because it is the answer to an urgent problem that is biological and innate: sex makes babies. Nature alone won't connect fathers to children. Children need a society

Ah, your issue isn't so much about married or same sex families being married and bearing children, but children allegedly lacking fathers. You said "nature alone won't connect fathers to children." So, by reason, I would assume that you frown on divorce because you believe that "fatherless" children are doomed because of all the alleged social science that supposedly shows that "fatherless" children - primarily those in hetero single and divorced families when mothers get custody - are supposely more prone to drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, not graduating from high school, getting low SAT scores, and all the other scary stats family ideologues like to march out when they condemn single- and divorced-mother homes. You are aware that researchers such as Mavis Hetherington have shown that three-quarters of children in divorced families do just fine? It's insulting enough that "fatherless" statistics denigrate single- and divorced-mother homes, but you also denigrate same sex homes.

Same sex marriage isn't a threat to hetero marriage. If you were really concerned about how children fare, you'd actively oppose divorce, not same-sex marriage. The two are not connected.

I know that fatherhood ideologues such as yourself see marriage as a buffer to contain men's supposed sexual wanderlust. Marriage is seen as a way to corral men's sexual wanderings and aggression towards one woman and the children he bears with that woman. This view was more than adequately critiqued in Silverstein and Auerbach's "Deconstructing The Essential Father". Same sex couples were cited as a sufficient family form to raise children, amongst other types of couples. It isn't right that family ideologues see onlly hetero married couples and the children they bear biologically as the only "real" family form. There are many family forms that work very well, both hetero and same sex. The research has proven this to be the case.
10.21.2005 1:56am
The Countess (mail) (www):
(link)Taimyoboi:
"And in looking at the divorce rate marriage isn't in the best interest of most people."

This is a non sequitur. Simply because the divorce rate is high does not mean that most people should stop getting married.

A high divorce means that people are no longer seeking relationships for the right reasons and with the right person


The divorce rate figure also includes divorce rates of a small subset of people who marry, divorce, and remarry again. That subset drives up the divorce rate. It's the same small subset of people who keep marrying and divorcing, over and over again. Most first marriage don't end in divorce. It's the subsequent marriage/divorce rate that drives up the divorce rate numbers. Subsequent marriages are much more likely to end in divorce than first marriages. These figures include people who should not have married in the first place - the control freaks. abusers, alcoholics and drug abusers, and ne'er do wells. Family ideologues don't often point that out.
10.21.2005 2:04am
Gene Balk (mail):
40 years ago I was firmly against inter-racial marriage becoming legal, and it turns out I was right. Look at divorce rates since then! Maggie, please join me in trying to re-criminalize inter-racial marriage.
10.21.2005 5:08am
Taimyoboi:
"It's the same small subset of people who keep marrying and divorcing, over and over again. Most first marriage don't end in divorce."

I most certainly agree. And, as I suggested earlier, if you probed a little deeper I wouldn't be surprised if the divorce rates for marriages that have children relatively quickly would be significantly lower than those that don't. Indeed, I bet the divorce rates for actively religious people are also substantially lower.

Not substantial proof against SSM per se, but it makes a strong argument that those marriages that are healthiest are those where the parents are focused on children rather than having an "intimate relationship."
10.21.2005 10:59am
visitor:
Can someone explain the problem with declining birth rates in an increasingly overpopulated world?

Even if you were concerned with maintaining Western economic and cultural domination, surely the continuing influx of immigrants from the growing third world would smooth out any population disparities.

Or is that the problem?

Surely part of the objection must be connected to the perception that gays and lesbians are overwhelmingly white... which is of course not true, but caucasian GLBTs have certainly been more visible in our culture. That's a whole perceived group of supposedly white people supposedly not making babies in traditional families, while non-whites - I mean, ahem, people in the "inner cities" - are supposedly making babies left and right outside of Western-approved tradition. The spectre of a Brown America must be an effective boogeyman for some.

The ideological connection to declining birth rates is not an attractive one for anti-SSM advocates.
10.21.2005 11:18am
mmc:
I would like to point out that the period of sexual profligacy moralists always trot out when blaming immorality and sexual deviency for the fall of the Roman Empire, the first century bc through the first century ad, were actually the height of the empire's power. This was the time of its greatest authors, poets, greatest emperors, art, etc.

The empire actuallt fell about 150 years after the Christians took over.
10.21.2005 11:29am
Steve Burnap:
It is certainly true that Augustus put fines on bachelors. This is certainly evidence that Rome under Augustus was "sexually disorganized". (And it was. Divorce was common, infidility and homosexuality were winked it.)

But this was around the time of Christ, over 450 years before the Western Roman Empire fell.

It's a bit like blaming the decline of the British Empire on the policies of King Henry VIII.
10.21.2005 11:38am
The Countess (mail) (www):
I most certainly agree. And, as I suggested earlier, if you probed a little deeper I wouldn't be surprised if the divorce rates for marriages that have children relatively quickly would be significantly lower than those that don't. Indeed, I bet the divorce rates for actively religious people are also substantially lower.

Not substantial proof against SSM per se, but it makes a strong argument that those marriages that are healthiest are those where the parents are focused on children rather than having an "intimate relationship."


I don't have any cites, but I also believe that divorce rates for marriages that have children relatively quickly would be significantly lower than those that don't. However, Barna Research has found that the highest divorce rates are in Bible Belt states.

Religious Tolerance Org. also discussed the topic. George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented: "While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages."
10.21.2005 11:54am
Deoxy (mail):
"What we do know: children raised by only one parent tend to have more problems as teens and adults.

What we do not know: if children raised by a married, same sex couple tend to have more problems."

No, that's wrong - here's the right one:

What we do know: children raised without their father around tend to have more problems as teens and adults.

What we do not know (or I haven't seen the studies on): if children raised without their mother around tend to have more problems.

In other words, we KNOW that children of lesbian households tend to have more problems, as they have no father in the household. We DON'T know if children of gay couples tend to have more problems (or at least, I haven't seen the studies - male adult only households are very rare, so such a study would be difficult).

THAT is why marriage is important (and that's what she was saying): a child needs one parent of each gender. That produces, in general, on the whole, and ON AVERAGE, the most successful children.

Different topic: Christian areas do indeed have a higher divorce rate, in significant part because people feel that they should go ahead and get married - that is, they "jump the gun" so they can have sex. In less religious areas, people just have sex without the marriage... I view both as bad, with different sets of bad consequences. Sadly, "Christian" areas often have a "Christian" culture, in which people are christian as a culture (this phenomenon started in the Roman empire and continued at various levels all though Europe up until the last couple hundred years), rather than Christian as a religion. This also shapes such things... it's messy.

The "divorce rate" statistic also has several flaws (as pointed out above). A better statistic would be how many people who have ever been married have ever been divorced.

Different topic: She is not ANTI-adoption - you're beign deliberately obtuse. She was pointing out that, almost without exception, adoption can only take place after bad stuff has happened - death of a parent (often a good one), having a really bad parent to begin with, etc. And adoption itself is not without its problems (it is quite possible to get lousy parents the second time, though we try to avoid it).

In other words, adoption is similar to organ transplant: a wonderful, amazing thing that we all are greatly appreciative is around and is much better than not having, and yet, not nearly so good a thing as NOT NEEDING an organ transplant.

That's not anti-adoption, that's anti-bad-things-happening-to-people. If you think that's bad, you have a problem.
10.21.2005 2:15pm
Pietro Armando (mail):
The Countess:You are aware that researchers such as Mavis Hetherington have shown that three-quarters of children in divorced families do just fine?

Does this mean that children are glad their parents divorced as opposed to working things out?
10.21.2005 11:09pm
My First Post (mail):
In other words, we KNOW that children of lesbian households tend to have more problems, as they have no father in the household. We DON'T know if children of gay couples tend to have more problems (or at least, I haven't seen the studies - male adult only households are very rare, so such a study would be difficult).



Do you think part of the problem is with society's attitude towards same-sex couples? If society continually discriminates against a particular couple sort of create the problems? Such has continually deriding/looking down on single mothers pretty much ensures that children of single mothers will grow up with more problems?

If society, government, churches, etc. were more accepting and loving towards same-sex couples, the children of said couples would be far more well-adjusted?
10.23.2005 11:56pm
Ghostmonkey:
Shifting through all the rhetoric and hate from the homo-activists is very difficult. The contempt for those who hold an opposite view point is rather obvious, and somewhat amusing.

However, let's look at this issue from two different aspects. First, Constitutional law, then Natural Law.

In 1971 two Male Subjects, Richard John Baker and James Michael McConnell, applied for a Minnesota Marriage license and were denied. The two filed litigation that made it's way before the Minnesota Supreme Court, citing violations of various Federal Constitutional Provisions. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Marriage in the State of Minnesota was limited to One man and One Woman. Upon Baker and McConnell losing their case they appealed to the United States Supreme Court Invoking the Supreme Court's then-mandatory appellate jurisdiction, in 28 United States Code ' 1257(2) (repealed in 1980).

Upon review, the United States Supreme Court dismissed the appeal "for want of [a] substantial federal question." 409 U.S. 810 (1972).

Examining Precedent of the United States Supreme Court shows the clear and explicit directive that dismissals "for want of a substantial federal question" are binding precedents on all lower Federal Courts.

"[U]ntil the Supreme Court should instruct otherwise, inferior federal courts had best adhere to the view that the Court has branded a question as unsubstantial". Hicks v. Miranda, 422 U.S. 332, 344 (1975)

"[D]ismissals for want of a substantial federal question without doubt reject the specific challenges presented in the statement of jurisdiction." Mandel v. Bradley, 432 U.S. 173, 176 (1977).

Lower Federal Courts are expressely prohibited from ruling in a way inconsistant with binding precedent. "[Summary Decisions] prevent lower courts from coming to opposite conclusions on the precise issues presented and necessarily decided by those actions." Mandel v. Bradley, 432 U.S. 173, 176 (1977)

This is explicit not only in the holdings of the United States Supreme Court, but also the holdings of other Circuit Courts. "[L]ower courts are bound by summary decision by this Court 'until such time as the Court informs [them] that [they] are not." Doe v. Hodgson, 478 F.2d 537, 539 (2nd Cir. 1973)

Baker is binding precedent and until overruled by the United States Supreme Court, it remains that way.

Baker explicitly and with clarity addressed the 14th Amendment's Due Process and Equal protection claims in regards to this issue. It is clear that: "The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is not a charter for restructuring [Marriage] by judicial legislation." Baker V Nelson (Citation Omitted).

With regards to Equal Protection the court stated: "The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, like the due process clause, is not offended by the state's classification of persons authorized to marry. There is no irrational or invidious discrimination..." Baker V Nelson (Citation Omitted). They also noted that "abstract symmetry " is not demanded by the Fourteenth Amendment." Baker V Nelson (Citation Omitted).

Baker is not alone in this regard, indeed A long line of Court decisions make clear that: "[T]he Constitution does not require things which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same." Patsone v. Pennsylvania, 232 U.S. 138 (1914). Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141 (1940), and Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535 (1942)

Baker also expressly distinguishes Loving V Virginia 388 U.S. 1 (1967), upon which the petitioner relies, as not being applicable to the same-sex marriage debate. Loving V Virginia was decided on the grounds that it unconstitutionally prohibited marriages by invoking "invidious racial discriminations."

At issue in Loving was the Marriage between one Man and One Woman, who happened to be of a different race.

As the Minnesota Supreme Court stated, which was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court: "Loving does indicate that not all state restrictions upon the right to marry are beyond reach of the Fourteenth Amendment. But in commonsense and in a constitutional sense, there is a clear distinction between a marital restriction based merely upon race and one based upon the fundamental difference in sex." Baker V Nelson (Citation Omitted).

Without Doubt, Baker V Nelson expressely establishes that a State's decision to limit marriage to One man and One Woman does not offend the First, Eighth, Ninth, or Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The same applies to the Federal Government's decision to codify the traditional marriage relationship soley for the purposes of Federal law and Federal benefits.

The Plain fact of the matter is this, Homosexuals, just like anyone else, can receive a marriage license. However, Homosexuals, just like anyone else have to comply with the accepted criteria for marriage, including an intended spouse of the opposite gender, in order to receive that license. In that sense, Homosexuals are in the exact same position as all other residents. The State makes the same benefit, that being mixed-gender marriage, equally available to all individuals on the exact same basis. It does not matter that Homosexuals do not wish to enter an opposite sex relationship. It is the availability of the right on equal terms, not the equal use of the right that is central to the constitutional analysis.

What is quite clear is that homosexuals and their allies do not simply seek to lift a barrier to marriage, instead they wish to change its very essence.

Now, to natural law. There is a very simple and inescapeable fact that is very apparent in the same-sex "marriage" debate. It is one that cannot be ignored.

The very existence of the institution of marriage does indeed "privilege procreative heterosexual intercourse." In fact, Marriage is a privileged state and that is precisely why homosexuals, and their allies are waging this battle. No matter how hard anyone tries to escape reality, Procreative heterosexual intercourse is and has been historically through all times and cultures an important feature of that privileged status, and that distinct characteristic is a fundamental, originating reason why the State privileges marriage. (For commentary on this refer to: Dean v. District of Columbia, 653 A.2d 307, 337 (DC 1995)).

Homosexuals argue, correctly, that the State imposes no obligation on married couples to procreate. However, in making this argument, they badly miss the point. The Vital purpose of Marriage is not to mandate procreation but instead it's to control its consequences, this is called the "private welfare" purpose. The insistance on maintaining otherwise is absurd, and purposely ignores that Central to the Institution of Marriage is indeed the act of procreation.

There can be no denying what is the underlying purpose of homosexuals on this issue. Homosexuals are seeking public recognition and affirmation of their private relationship. It is the very essence of the battle that is being waged. Any talk of governmental benefits is necessarily a red herring. The real goal is changing the essence of marriage to seek societal and governmental approval of a particular type of relationship.

What is interesting however, is that during the course of the debate, Homosexuals necessarily admit that marriage is much more than a merely private declaration, instead it is an act of public significance and consequence for which the State exerts an important regulatory role. Indeed the very fact that homosexuals are seeking official assent, recognition and approval of their relationship, by the State, is to concede the authority of those whose regard is sought.

Throughout the history of American law, it is clear that marriage has secular implications (IE: governmental benefits), it is not an entirelly religious institution, therefore the State does have a legitimate interest in determining eligibility criteria for entrance into that institution.

As a result there are numerous reasons for limiting unfettered access to marriage. Otherwise, by allowing all range of potential human choices that bear no resemblance to marriage to qualify, the institution would become non-recognizable and unable to perform its vital function.

This is the reason that the States can Constitutionally ban bigamous marriages, common law marriages, incestuous marriages, marriages to persons adjudged to be mentally incompetent, or even marriages that have a partner infected with a venereal disease in a communicable stage. The governmental interest in these restrictions has been repeatedly and widely recognized.

What is also amazing is that the homosexuals and their allies basically concede the fact that a core feature of marriage is its binary nature. Very rare is it (Yet) for homosexuals to stat that marriage should be opened to more than one person, no matter how loving or caring these relationships are. The fact is however, that homosexuals ignore the fact that the binary idea of marriage arose precisely because there are two distinct and different sexes.

The fact is the homosexual position is therefore illogical. There is no way that any Court could logically open the institution of marriage to homosexual couples, but still limit the marriage institution to two people. (Please See Lawrence V Texas 539 U.S. 558 (2003) (Scalia, J. Dissenting)) If the essence of marriage and the right to marital status is sufficiently defined without reference to gender, then no principled objection could remain to removing its binary barrier as well.

The fact that homosexuals do not wish to enter into such a non-binary relationship is irrelevant. Homosexuals, and their allies continually define marriage as only in reference to emotional or financial interdependence, and in terms of autonomy, privacy, and intimacy. If this is the case, then no reasonable that is not of an arbitrary nature, can exist for denying marriage to polygamous unions, whose members also can claim the arrangement is necessary for their self-fulfillment, privacy, autonomy, and intimacy. The legal nature of marriage cannot be totally malleable without the durability and viability of this fundamental social institution being seriously compromised, if not entirely destabilized.

Going back to Baker above, The Minnesota Supreme Court stated: "]In commonsense and in a constitutional sense, there is a clear distinction between a marital restriction based merely upon race and one based upon the fundamental difference in sex."

The United States Supreme Court in Murphy V Ramsey, 114 U.S. 15 (1885) said: "For, certainly, no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the co- ordinate states of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement. And to this end no means are more directly and immediately suitable than those provided by this act, which endeavors to withdraw all political influence from those who are practically hostile to its attainment."

In Davis V Beason, 133 U.S. 333 (1890) The High Court Referenced the above case and restated this very phrase again: "...Consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement..."

What does this mean? What is the clear distinction noted by the Minnesota Supreme Court, affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, between laws prohibiting interracial marriage, and laws prohibiting homosexual marriage? That distinction in the eyes of the court is one of common sense. Marriage is based on the Fundamental difference of sex and the unique relationship that occurs between a man and a woman, and the validity of the governmental sanction of that relationship. What makes a governmental sanction of the union of man and a woman valid? The answer to this question was provided by the United States Supreme Court

"Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race." Skinner V State of Oklahoma Ex Rel Williamson, 316 U.S. 535 (1942)

The key portion of that opinion bears repeating. What is at stake here is the very existance and survival of the human race.

Despite any feelings that a homosexual man may have for another man, or that a lesbian woman may have for another woman, their union can never result in the continuation of the human race. Their feelings for each other, no matter how sincere, are irrelevant to the Existence and Survival of the human race. Government has the right and power to reward and sanction particular behavior that is a benefit to society. Rewarding One Man and One Woman, who together form the family unit, continue the human race, and provide stable homes for their offspring, is a goal that is time-honored and legitimate.

Marriage is a natural institution, as It's union of a man and a woman is rooted in the order of nature itself. It is an institution that the state protects because it's members form the bedrock of society. The members of that institution must necessarily be of the opposite sex. No matter how seared one's conscience may be, reality dictates that Men and Women's bodies are different and that those differences compliment each other. Only a Man and a Woman can properly join together as one flesh.

While homosexuals may argue, correctly, that various individuals may choose to marry for all sorts of reason, some of which may even not be sincere. The fundamental fact remains that marriage is a natural institution that brings together men and women for the purpose of continuing the human race and keeping a mother and father together to work together in raising the children they produce as a result of their coming together as one flesh. The public interest in such an institution is without equal, because thousands of years of human experience and a vast body of scientific research demonstrate that married husbands and wives, and the children they conceive and raise, are Healthier (both physically and mentally), Happier, and more prosperous than people in any other living situation.

The argument in favor of redefining the institution of marriage to include members of the same-sex, can only be logically sustained if there is no real difference between men and women. In real difference, this means the actual physical differences between a man and a woman. One would have to make the absurd contention that Men and women are physically identical and are able to serve as completely interchangeable parts in the structure of the marriage relationship. The contention is an exercise in lunancy. Necessarily the term "same-sex marriage" is oxymoronic.

The historic example of the Roman civilization sliding into family breakdown and sexual hedonism, and the ultimate fall of that civilization as a result, exclaims the damage that the attempt to break apart the nature order can cause.

Requoting the Supreme Court of the United States again, in light of this position: "For, certainly, no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the co- ordinate states of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement."

The fact is: "Marriage is the civil status, condition, or relation of one man and one woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent on those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex." Black's Law Dictionary (4 edition.)

The Kentucky Court of appeals, in Jones V Hallahan 501 S.W.2d 588 (1973) refered to this precise definition when it ruled:

"In substance, the relationship proposed by the appellants does not authorize the issuance of a marriage license because WHAT THEY PROPOSE IS NOT A MARRIAGE."

No matter how loving or devoted, without possessing the required prerequsites of being members of the opposite sex, one cannot obtain entry into the marriage institution, and any attempt to force entry only results in blurring the lines of reality and playing with the meaning of words. It also forever devalues and changes the meaning of that unique institution that exists between a man and a woman.

The relationship between a Man and a Woman is necessarily different from any relationship that can occur between a Man and a Man or a Woman and a Woman. Feelings and emotions are irrelevant. Men and Woman are different. The laws of nature demand it, no governmental interference can change it.

Homosexuals, those who despise Judeo-Christian Morality or the Natural Order, may want to play pretend, but they can never change reality. They can never change the fact that the union of a man and a man or a woman and a woman IS NOT A MARRIAGE.

Just as calling an apple and orange does not magically change it's character, neither can any governmental or activist interference can the nature of marriage.

Any attempt to do so is futile, and will be met with resistance the like of which has not been seen in politics for a long time.
10.24.2005 2:45am