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Israeli Supreme Court Requires Recognition of Gay Marriage:

In a recent decision, the High Court of Israel has ruled that the Israeli government must recognize gay marriages contracted by its citizens abroad and extend to them the same benefits granted to heterosexual marriages. The decision does not mean that Israeli gays and lesbians can enter into homosexual marriages in Israel itself. The Israeli state does not have any system of civil marriage, and - to my knowledge - none of the state-certified religious authorities (Jewish, Muslim, and Christian) endorse gay marriage. Moreover, the decision is based on statutory interpretation rather than constitutional grounds (Israel does not have a written constitution). Therefore, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) could potentially override the holding by amending its marriage recognition law.

However, under the new decision, Israeli citizens can enter into gay marriages in foreign jurisdictions that allow them (such as Canada, Massachusetts, and some European countries), and have them recognized by the Israeli state. Given the large number of Israelis who travel and/or live abroad, it is likely that many Israeli gays and lesbians will be able to take advantage of the court's decision. And while the Knesset can indeed override the decision if it chooses to do so, it is far from clear that such a measure can get through Israel's fractious parliament anytime soon.

In any event, as Andrew Sullivan points out: "The contrast with the murderous homophobia in the Arab-Muslim Middle East could not be starker."

Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
The Israeli state does not have any system of civil marriage, and - to my knowledge - none of the state-certified religious authorities (Jewish, Muslim, and Christian) endorse gay marriage.
I'm curious. If one is an Israeli and either an atheist, a Buddhist, a Hindu, etc., does that mean that you simply cannot get married in Israel?
11.22.2006 12:38am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Charles, the short answer is yes. Many Israelis, particularly ethnic Russians, who tend to be more secular, go to Cyprus to get married, and then spend their honeymoon. Bulgaria also works, as does Croatia.

Also, I'm very proud of this decision - fantastic.
11.22.2006 12:44am
jvarisco (www):
"The contrast with the murderous homophobia in the Arab-Muslim Middle East could not be starker."

Those conservative Jews really love homosexuals...

Why exactly would the Knesset have trouble amending the marriage law? This is something that everyone, Arabs and Jews, agrees on.
11.22.2006 1:12am
Ilya Somin:
Those conservative Jews really love homosexuals...

At least they aren't stoning them to death. Moreover, if by "conservative" you mean politically conservative and not religiously conservative, there are plenty of conservative Jews in Israel and elsewhere who have no problem with homosexuals.

Why exactly would the Knesset have trouble amending the marriage law? This is something that everyone, Arabs and Jews, agrees on.

Many secular Jews (and a few secular Arabs) would not agree, and some of these secular Jews are essential elements of the ruling Israeli government coalition.
11.22.2006 1:23am
Randy R. (mail):
This is particularly good news since recently there was to be a gay pride parade in Jerusalem. However, because all three religions there are very conservative and hateful towards gays, they put enough pressure on it to be forced into a stadium, rather than the streets.

Funny isn't it? Love can't bring these religions together, but hate sure can.....
11.22.2006 1:37am
Steve:
I feel like we've been out-Old Testamented somehow.
11.22.2006 2:23am
professays (mail):
I have always suspected that the majority of persons somehow related to law and justice systems are latent gays and lesbians irrespectively of their nationalities.
11.22.2006 5:04am
Tocqueville:
Can't one be opposed to gay marriage without hating gays?
11.22.2006 5:59am
Federal Dog:
"I'm very proud of this decision"


Why? What role did you play in its formation that would make you "proud?"
11.22.2006 7:23am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Dog, I am proud that the highest court of my father's country issued this decision. This is "pride" much in the same vein that one can be proud of his country w/o having played any role in its formation. Then again, you probably didn't need this explanation, right? Just wanted to have a semantic pissing contest? Well done, hope it made you sleep better.
11.22.2006 7:53am
Ramza:
To my understanding this court case is just a somewhat incremental step. Just adding more benefits to the already existing civil unions that were created in 1994, these civil unions though had unequal benefits with marriage, such as survivor and pension benefits but these were added in later years. Still unequal but less so.

This court result has two changes, homosexual couples now have the same marriage tax benefits and homosexuals couples can adopt since in Israel you have to be technically married to adopt.
11.22.2006 8:02am
AppSocRes (mail):
Just a quick comment on "homophobia" in Muslim countries. Based on my somewhat limited experience of the culture, what we're really talking about is a deep-seated, hypocritical ambivalence towards homosexuality in all those parts of the world that were once nominally part of the Ottoman empire. Homosexual relations among men. particularly young men, are extraordinarily common and tacitly excepted. Homosexual prostitution is probably as common as heterosexual. Although all of this is known by everyone in the culture, nobody admits it exists and to do so is to risk a great deal. I'm not sure whether this is a result of Arab polygamy (If rich, old men hog all the women, what are poor. young men to do.) or aspects of Turkish culture, or a combination of the two. I think anyone really familiar with male-male relations in North Africa and the Middle East would be willing to confirm my observations at least to some degree.
11.22.2006 8:44am
classmate-wearing-yarmulka (mail):
Moreover, the decision is based on statutory interpretation rather than constitutional grounds (Israel does not have a written constitution).

That hasn't stopped the High Court from striking down laws by claiming that they were unconstitutional.
11.22.2006 9:04am
Anderson (mail) (www):
As Randy R. notes, murderous homophobia is alive &well among Israel's Jews. It just hasn't taken over the government, apparently.

I look forward to seeing the above commenters urge Congress to pass similar legislation.
11.22.2006 9:23am
buddingeconomist:
"I'm not sure whether this is a result of Arab polygamy ... or aspects of Turkish culture"

I'm curious, what part of Turkish culture, and where does it come from (eg if not polygamy?)

I don't know much about Turkish cultural history, but I do know that there is a lot of discrimination against homosexuals today in Turkey; poor treatment by police, rape in jails, etc but also a strong underground gay scene for example in Istanbul.
11.22.2006 9:36am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):

murderous homophobia is alive &well among Israel's Jews

Would you mind supporting that statement by providing an example of a homophobic murder carried out by Israel's Jews? (The word "murderous" is used so wantonly these days.)
11.22.2006 9:42am
AppSocRes (mail):
buddingeconomist: Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6%C3%A7ek "Köçek" in Wikipedia.
11.22.2006 9:51am
buddingeconomist:
App: Yes, true, I have read about that before. And I suppose it does inform current gay culture as well, with crossdressing folk singers. My friend's favorite was named something like Ziki Marin, but I must be spelling it wrong.
11.22.2006 10:02am
Oren Elrad (mail):

Would you mind supporting that statement by providing an example of a homophobic murder carried out by Israel's Jews? (The word "murderous" is used so wantonly these days.)


From MSNBC


Last year’s march was marred by bloodshed when an ultra-Orthodox man stabbed and wounded three participants. In the past week, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews battled police and torched vehicles and trash bins in the streets to protest the planned march, and threatened further violence if the parade went ahead.
11.22.2006 10:10am
JB:
MikeBUSL: Here:

Calling for physical assault may not be strictly "murderous," but it's close enough for me.
11.22.2006 10:12am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Oren, touche. That really sucks.
11.22.2006 10:12am
Oren Elrad (mail):

Can't one be opposed to gay marriage without hating gays?


It's got nothing to do with hate and everything to do with whether you are willing to accept gays as equal members of society.

To put it another way, I would ask whether one be be opposed to the forced desegregation of schools without hating blacks? The answer can clearly sometimes be yes - one need not hate blacks to want them out of your schools if only for the shallowest reason of keeping the spending per student high (which has nothing to do with hate).

I would nevertheless assert that opposition to desegregation is racist position because it avers that educating blacks and whites in different schools is situation that society is prepared to accept. Similarly, with gay marriage. I don't assert that ALL opposition to gay marriage stems from hate (although a fair bit does) but nevertheless, I'm not willing give a pass that it is societally acceptable to treat a gay couple differently from a straight couple.
11.22.2006 10:23am
davod (mail):
This comes all comes under the under the poligamy, pedolphilia and gay rights umbrella.
What standards should a society have and who decides when they should change.

In the US recent Supreme Court judgements giving rights to Gays will soon be interpreted to give rights to poligamists. What then.
11.22.2006 11:01am
Brian G (mail) (www):
And all of the homosexuals I know still prefer the Palestinians over Israel, and will no matter what happens.
11.22.2006 12:11pm
buddingeconomist:
Not me. I have found that a lot of my liberal friends (socialist roots) are Jewish and prefer Palestine, but most of my gay friends are more conservative (just Democrat, not socialist), and prefer Israel in solidarity with the suffering of Jews. Funny, that.
11.22.2006 12:19pm
Randy R. (mail):
I know several gay people who back Palestinians over Israel. Beats me, too. I think it's part of the phenomonen of liking the people who are hated by the people who hate you.

In other words, the religious right hates gays.
The religious right loves Israel, but not the Palestinians.
Therefore, gays will love the Palestinians to stick it to the religious right.

Not a very effective or thoughtful policy, I agree, but it has an emotional logic to it, if that makes any sense.
11.22.2006 12:21pm
Randy R. (mail):
Davod: In the US recent Supreme Court judgements giving rights to Gays will soon be interpreted to give rights to poligamists. What then.

You mean George Bush appointed two Supreme Court justices who support polygamy? How did this fact escape the attention of the religious right?
11.22.2006 12:24pm
Chumund:
Although at least in Oren's example, the Israeli officials are trying to protect gay people from violence. In a place like Iran, the officials would themselves be conducting the violence.
11.22.2006 12:43pm
DavidSC (mail):
What, exactly, is wrong with giving polygamists (or the polyamorous) the right to live their lives as they see fit? Not talking about pedophilia, obviously, just about adults letting their freak flag fly as they want to. It's coming ... and rightfully so.
11.22.2006 1:24pm
AppSocRes (mail):
DavidSC: And what exactly is wrong with giving pedophiles the right to live their lives as they see fit. Not talking about sadistic pedophilia, obviously, just about letting people do what they want. It's coming... and rightfully so.
11.22.2006 2:12pm
AppSocRes (mail):
AppSocRes: And what exactly is wrong with sadistic pedophilia?
11.22.2006 2:12pm
Federal Dog:
"Just wanted to have a semantic pissing contest?"


No thanks.


"Well done, hope it made you sleep better."


Chill: I simply see no grounds on which be "proud" of something that you did not do. That pride is proper to the actors involved, not us.
11.22.2006 2:14pm
Crunchy Frog:
DavidSC - In contrast with gay marriage (which I am incredibly ambivalent about) the question of governmental rights/obligations/benefits associated with polygamy/polyandry would require an ungodly amount of effort to accomodate. Nobody is saying you can't have 12 live-in girlfriends (assuming you can get them all to agree of their own free will, and they are all adults), but marriage? Asking society to agree to providing them all social security benefits seems a little onerous to me. What happens if one of them wants out of the relationship? Are they all married to one another, or just you? Do they all have parental rights to each other's children?

Never mind that it seems that every one of these relationships that comes to light has girls as young as 12 forced into it...
11.22.2006 2:16pm
BobNSF (mail):

And what exactly is wrong with giving pedophiles the right to live their lives as they see fit[?].


Pedophiles will get their rights as soon as children march in the streets demanding the right to be molested.
11.22.2006 2:33pm
buddingeconomist:
"Pedophiles will get their rights as soon as children march in the streets demanding the right to be molested."

You mean like the NAMBLA protest marches (when both adult and boy march)... ? Thats the thing about kids, you know, easily impressionable.
11.22.2006 2:51pm
davod (mail):
Randy:

I beleive the Texas V ??? Ruling came down before the recent appointments. Regardless of timing there is still a five four lean to the left on the court.
11.22.2006 3:27pm
John Herbison (mail):
I wonder whether this will affect political support for Israel among "Christian" fundamentalists in the United States who vehemently oppose recognition of gay marriage.
11.22.2006 4:20pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
John: nope.
11.22.2006 4:43pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
This comes all comes under the under the poligamy, pedolphilia and gay rights umbrella.

Polygamy is recognized under Jewish law, and in fact has been sanctioned by the Jewish (sephardic) religious authorities in Israel so polygamy (by the way, you need to work on your spelling) actually predates gay-marriage in the israeli state by many years. So, uhh, in internet parlance, you just got pwn3d. As to pedophilia, I don't see why that is under the same "umbrella" as gay marriage and pedophilia, unless you are a hatemonger.

Andrew Sullivan's comments are certainly true, but we can also contrast the Israeli High Court's decision with the Federal DOMA, signed by President Clinton so we in the US are not really ones to cast stones here (especially when our "liberal" politicians go along with this crap). Further, as another commenter noted, far-right Jewish extremists have behaved in like manner to homosexuals as their Muslim counterparts. In fact, hatred of gays is one of the few areas where all religious authorities agree in Jerusalem.
11.22.2006 5:25pm
Ken Arromdee:
Further, as another commenter noted, far-right Jewish extremists have behaved in like manner to homosexuals as their Muslim counterparts.

If "Muslim counterparts" means "Muslims with a similar influence on the society and making up a similar proportion of all Muslims", then the comparison is ludicrous. You're comparing a small, relatively uninfluential, portion of Jews with a much larger one of Muslims.
11.22.2006 6:57pm
VFB (mail):
Greedy Clerk:

While it is true that in Israel only religious marriages are recognized, it is not true that all religious marriages are recognized. Israeli civil law does not recognize polygamous marriages. Thus, the fact that Sephardic religious law does not prohibit polygamy does not change the fact that the Israeli government does not recognize polygamous marriages occurring in Israel.

If I recall correctly, when the large wave of emigration by Sephardic Jews from Arab lands to Israel occurred in the 1950’s, the government’s policy was recognize polygamous marriages of those who were married outside of Israel.
11.22.2006 7:09pm
davod (mail):
Greedy:

Thanks for correcting my spelling mistake. It was much easier for you to correct my mistake than for the Israelis or the SCOTUS to rectify their mistakes.
11.22.2006 7:10pm
Davide:
Greedy,

Your "pwn3d" note is, in the real world, as faulty as its ridiculous speling. Let me correct you and anyone else who might be misled by your little missive:


Polygamy is recognized under Jewish law, and in fact has been sanctioned by the Jewish (sephardic) religious authorities in Israel


Umm, no. Sephardic rabbis in Israel do not recognize nor perform polygamous marriage ceremonies. That's why there are no recognized polygamous marriages in that country (or anywhere else in the world for the last several centuries so far as anyone can tell).

One may not agree with religious leaders and their edicts, but let's at least try to represent their positions fairly, mmmmkay?
11.22.2006 8:24pm
Adam (mail):
classmate-wearing-yarmulka:

That hasn't stopped the High Court from striking down laws by claiming that they were unconstitutional.


Only when they base it on a Basic Law, which itself can be changed fairly easily, some by an ordinary majority vote like any law, and others by a majority of 61 (of all members of the Knesset, whether or not they vote).
11.22.2006 8:29pm
Randy R. (mail):
Budding: You mean like the NAMBLA protest marches (when both adult and boy march)... ?

Nope, not at all. Because NAMBLA doesn't have 'protest marches.' Unless you can direct me to any within the past 20 years or so.
11.22.2006 9:24pm
Randy R. (mail):
Actually, I should have asked Budding what his point was to bring up NAMBLA, and how that relates to anything about the gay marriage debate.

It makes as much sense as talking about abortion, and than saying the once we have abortion, people will be burning the American flag.
11.22.2006 9:28pm
Josh Jasper:
Because The Volokh Conspiracy is a free fire zone for bigits who use the gays = child molestors blood libel. That's why.
11.22.2006 11:02pm
Randy R. (mail):
Oh, yeah. I forgot. When you have no arguments left, you go with the libels....
11.22.2006 11:59pm
jvarisco (www):
I think that one can in fact oppose gay marriage without hating gay people; there are quite a few opinions between hatred and unconditional support for homosexual behavior. Some of us prefer not to decide something is good when no one understands why it exists or what it comes from. Racism is bad because we have empirical evidence that race is merely an external physical characteristic; if that can be shown for sexuality, then I will support gay rights. But I am doubtful, being that it is impossible for such couples to procreate, which is the reason we have physical attractions in the first place.

I'm not sure where exactly, aside from Andrew Sullivan's ignorant and irrelevant whining, the idea that Muslims somehow disproportionately hate gay people came from. In fact, most Islamic nations are typical of the rest of the world aside from Europe (and recently the US); until the past hundred years or so, everyone was like them. China, Russia, etc. are hardly tolerant of homosexuals, but are certainly not Muslim. And gay marriage as something equivalent to normal marriage has never existed in any society, human or otherwise, that we are aware of.
11.23.2006 2:05am
DG:
jvarisco:

In fact, most Islamic nations are typical of the rest of the world aside from Europe [...]

Is that true? My impression is that the Muslim Middle East is one of the few (only?) places where people can be executed for sodomy. Sodomy is still illegal in a number of places (though not China and Russia), but it seems that the punishments are much harsher in the Middle East.
11.23.2006 3:09am
jb (mail):
Can we agree not to refer to "gay marriage" on the VC blog? I feel safe in assuming that there are "gay" i.e., homosexual, persons who are married in every state in the US. What we are debating is "same sex marriage." It's a big difference, and when properly referred to, eliminates the civil rights argument. Every person has the right to marry any person of the opposite sex who is consenting and available. Motivation does not enter into the equation- marry for love, companionship, sex, money, or a good health plan. The law does not ask, nor care. American society for whatever reason likes it this way. If you disagree, use the democratic process to change the law. Claiming that our current policy is a violation of fundamental human rights, rather than a policy that we have agreed upon, inflames the argument and minimizes the likelihood that incremental change towards a more universally acceptable compromise will occur.
11.23.2006 10:36am
Randy R. (mail):
jvariso: "Some of us prefer not to decide something is good when no one understands why it exists or what it comes from."

Fair enough.

"Racism is bad because we have empirical evidence that race is merely an external physical characteristic"

True, and another fair statement.

" if that can be shown for sexuality, then I will support gay rights."

Terrific! All credible studies have shown that sexuality is an innate orientation that cannot be changed. We welcome your support.

"But I am doubtful, being that it is impossible for such couples to procreate, which is the reason we have physical attractions in the first place."

Ah. Here's the problem. First, you ignore every study that has shown that sexual orientation in inherent within a person's being. It simply cannot be changed. Even the ex-gay groups admit that at best, it is very very difficult to change, and most people cannot. The best that they hope for is to live a life of celebacy. Don't believe me? Consider Ted Haggard -- He stated after his outing that he has been fighting his attractions to men his entire life. If Jesus can't change him (and Ted had a LOT riding on this), then how can us mere mortals?

Which, of course, begs your question. Why do you think I am gay? If I can't procreate with another man, than just why am I attracted to men and only men?

As for Islam, Iran is currently hanging men who are gay, Egypt has prosecuted scores of men a jailed them merely for attending gay parties, and the Taliban in Afganistan, until their were toppled, would kill gay men by pushing brick walls over them. There has never been such treatment of gay men in Russia, China, or the US. In fact, in China, homosexuality is perfectly legal, and there are no religious taboos against it, although the state frowns upon it.
11.23.2006 12:28pm
Randy R. (mail):
JB:: What we are debating is "same sex marriage." It's a big difference, and when properly referred to, eliminates the civil rights argument.

How so?

"Claiming that our current policy is a violation of fundamental human rights, rather than a policy that we have agreed upon, inflames the argument..."

But it IS a fundamental human right that is being violated. SCOTUS in Loving declared marriage a fundamental human right.

What you are arguing is that gay people can marry any old person on the planet so long as it is not the person that they want to marry! This is ridiculous, as ridiculous as telling a black person that they can marry any other person, so long as the person is not white.

"Motivation does not enter into the equation- marry for love, companionship, sex, money, or a good health plan. The law does not ask, nor care. American society for whatever reason likes it this way. "

I agree with you 100%! So why can't I marry the one person that I want to marry, and he want to marry me? What exact harm will that cause you?

"and minimizes the likelihood that incremental change towards a more universally acceptable compromise will occur"

So if I say that my ability to marry the one perons I love is NOT a fundamental human right will make you more likely to grant that right? Okay, then have it your way! It's not a fundamental human right.

So now you support gay marriage?
11.23.2006 12:34pm
whit:
"Terrific! All credible studies have shown that sexuality is an innate orientation that cannot be changed. "

not quite. the vast bulk of evidence supports that sexuality is LARGELY genetic, but not the entirety of the infleunce in all people.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/dispomim.cgi?id=306995
"Bailey and Pillard (1991) studied the genetics of homosexuality by recruiting homosexual male probands with monozygotic cotwins, dizygotic cotwins, or adoptive brothers. They found that of the relatives, 52% (29/56) of monozygotic cotwins, 22% (12/54) of dizygotic cotwins, and 11% (6/57) of adoptive brothers were homosexual. Heritability of homosexuality was considered to be substantial under a wide range of assumptions about the population base rate of homosexuality and ascertainment bias. However, the rate of homosexuality among nontwin biologic sibs, as reported by probands, 9.2% (13/142), was significantly lower than would be predicted by a simple genetic hypothesis and by other published reports. From the rates of homosexuality observed in monozygotic and dizygotic twins, ordinary sibs, and adoptive (adopted in) brothers and sisters of homosexual men (Pillard and Weinrich, 1986; Bailey and Pillard, 1991) and women (Bailey and Benishay, 1993; Bailey et al., 1993), overall heritabilities of 31 to 74% for males and 27 to 76% for females were estimated. The observation that male homosexuals usually have more gay brothers than gay sisters, whereas lesbians have more gay sisters than gay brothers, suggested that the factors responsible for familial aggregation are at least partially distinct in men compared to women."



this is hardly surprising, since nearly ALL genetic influences on behavior are probabilistic, not deterministic.

also, whether or not homosexual orientation is or isn't subject to change is a different question than whether it is 100% genetic.

basically to say it is 100% genetic means that given genetic factor(s) X *at birth*, one can say with 100% certainty that this person will have homosexual orientation and given genetic factor(s) Y, one can say the same thing about that person having heterosexual orientation.

that is certainly not proven, and when compared to other genetic-behavioral influences, occam's razor, common sense, and data support that the genetic factor is exceptionally important, but that we do not know that given certain genetic factor(s) there is 100% certainty we could predict orientation IRRESPECITVE of environment with regards to all people.

it is also a pretty incredible irony that those on the left who want to believe that nearly every aspect of behavior is largely environmental/socially constructed make a complete 180 in ONLY this instance, whereas those on the right do the exact same 180.

both sides are excluding a rather large middle
11.23.2006 3:26pm
Randy R. (mail):
I didn't say that homosexuality is genetic: I said it was innate. That's a difference. Innate means that one is born with it. Most studies agree that it is largely genetic, but that there might be an environmental component. And when they say 'environmental," they are referring to possible hormones in the womb that the mother may produce.

Bottomline on what all scientists agree upon: There is ample evidence that sexual orientation is set at or shortly after birth. How early is open to question, but it's at least set by the age of 7. (It's rather difficult to assess the sexual orientation of a child under 7).

Regardless of how one comes to one's sexual orientation, however, there is NO credible evidence that anyone can change their orientation.

I'm not sure what you are referring to as the 'rather large middle.' Most gay people that have spoken on the issue state that they are gay, they are born that way, it's innate, and it isn't going to change. That's pretty much the consensus with gay people, as well as straight people (Ever hear of a straight person saying otherwise?). There is simply no 'middle' ground on that issue.

True, some religious and social conservatives don't like this fact, and they try to muddy the waters by claiming this isn't true, but they actually don't know what they are talking about.
11.23.2006 3:49pm
jb (mail):
Randy-
It’s not a civil rights argument because every single person has equivalent rights as things now stand. The law says that I can marry any willing available person of the opposite sex, and the same goes, without exception, for homosexuals. I am not allowed to marry another person of my sex, no matter how much he wants me, and no matter how much I envy the size of the deductible of his health plan. You are unhappy because the person that you want to marry is not included in the universe of persons that the law says you are allowed to marry. I might want to marry Angelina Jolie, but I can’t because she is not available to me (or so my wife says). If the government started a program to give every citizen a pound of cheddar cheese on May 1st every year, you would have a choice of accepting your pound of cheddar, or not. You do not have a “right” to a pound of brie because you were born with a preference for more fragrant cheeses.

I’m not a lawyer, so I can not comment on Loving, but I was not aware that marriage is mentioned in the Constitution. My understanding is that the opinion said that if white men are allowed to marry white women, black men are equally allowed to marry white women, assuming that the women are willing and available. While Wiki helpfully says that “Some believe that the Loving ruling will eventually aid the marriage equality movement for same-sex partnerships, if they allow the Equal Protection Clause to be used…” Again, I’m not a lawyer, so I guess I’m not “Some.”

I do not claim that I will be harmed if our society embraces same sex marriage. I believe that our society will be harmed if that happens, but if we democratically do end up with same sex marriage, I will have no choice but to accept it. I do not believe that the deteriorating status of man-woman marriage in our society is good for anyone, and I will vote for any representative or proposition that opposes continued destruction of traditional marriage. You can and should vote and petition for the opposite. The majority will and should prevail. It’s not a matter of moral vs. immoral, or right vs. wrong. It’s cheddar vs. brie.
11.23.2006 4:29pm
Schwa (mail):
A much-needed clarification is required here: the Israeli supreme court decision DID NOT recognize the validity of gay marriage relations as a matter of law. What the decision is actually saying is that the registration clerk in the Israeli ministry of interior affairs does not have the authority to question the validity under Israeli law of an official foreign marriage certification, and when presented with such a certificate, unless clearly FACTUALLY invalid, he/she has to register those requesting the registraion as married. The court, unlike executive authorities such as national social security, seperates the status of marriage under the law and being registered as married.
That said, Israeli courts and other authorities, such as the military have been very liberal with recognizing legal rights for gays under a constitutional rhetoric of equality based upon both statutory and judge-made law in fields such as inheritence rights, spousal benefits for gay living partners of employees and servicemen etc.
11.23.2006 7:33pm
Randy R. (mail):
JB: Sorry, but you completely missed my point. You don't have a right to marry Angelina Jolie. But you DO have a right to marry the person who became your wife. Who is she? just some idiot you picked up off the street? One day you decided you would get married, and you looked her up in the phone book and proposed to her?

Probably not. You dated her, fell in love and proposed to her. She accepted. You got married. Same thing for me: I dated a man, fell in love and proposed to him. He accepted. Guess what: you got married, and i am prohibited from it! Again, you are saying that I have the right to marry any person SO LONG as it is NOT the actual person I want to marry. You, on the other hand, have the right to marry the one person you DO want to marry. I don't want to marry any old woman. I want to marry a man, THIS man. And I cannot. The right to marry the man that I wish is denied me.

You can't marry Angelina because she doesn't want to marry you. In my case, my boyfriend DOES want to marry me. See the difference?

"t it. I do not believe that the deteriorating status of man-woman marriage in our society is good for anyone, and I will vote for any representative or proposition that opposes continued destruction of traditional marriage. "

Terrific. But if I get married to a man, how does that bring along the deterioaration of man-woman marriage in our society? Massachusetts has had full gay marriage now for two years, and over 8000 gay marriages have been performed there. Any evidence that man-woman marriage has deteriorated? What is your definiation of deterioration? That people of opposite sex will stop getting married? If so, that hasn't happened yet, not in Massachusetts, not in Canada, not in the Netherland, and not in Belgium, all of which allow gay marriage. At some point, you will have to show us what harm has actually come to these societies to maintain your argument.

Have you actually heard anyone say that if gays get married, well, that's it, time for a divorce? anyone say, well, now, no point is getting married, because the status has been lowered? (which I find an extremely offensive argument personally. Who the heck are you to say that my relationship with my boyfriend somehow lowers the status of anyone or anything? But I digress). Please -- no more of these "gay marriage will destroy marriage" unless you can come up with some sort of credible reason.
11.23.2006 11:00pm
Randy R. (mail):
I think the crux of your argument, though, is an unstated one. Apparnently, you don't seem to care whether I can get married to the one person I would like to. According to you, there is another universe that I could marry, that of women.

But that's not true at all. I'm a gay man -- that means that I have no attraction, sexually, physically, emotionally, to women. Sure, I have female friends, deep friends, but not one I would ever consider having a sexual relatioship with. (yuck!) In fact, I can't even imagine any woman I would care to have a physical or sexual relationship with. That's what being gay means.

So: I can't marry men by law, and I can't marry women by desire. So I cannot marry any person. Of course, I COULD marry a woman, but it would be a sham marriage. How is that good for the institution?

It constantly amazes me that the very same people who think that marriage is such a sacred institution treat it as though it's meaningless. My belief is that marriage is a sacred union between two people who love each other. Whether the people are gay or straight, male or female, is irrelevant. Your belief, which you have made quite clear, is that marriage is merely a union between any old two people of the opposite sex. Love between them is of no consequence at all. How do I know this? Because you yourself have said that I could marry a person of the opposite sex, and you apparently have no problem with that. So if I marry a woman as a sham, for health benefits, as you put it, that's fine with you. And yet you have the nerve to say that you are defending marriage as an institution!

so which is it? Is marriage a sacred union of two people in love, or is it just an institution that gets you health benefits? Which ever you choose contradicts half your argument.
11.23.2006 11:18pm
jb (mail):
Randy-
Your premise is false. Marriage was instituted, way back, to maximize the chance that children would grow up and be productive. Early societies realized that mom and dad and kids as a stable unit worked better to produce productive citizens when there were strong motivators for dad to hang around even when the hottie in the next cave beckoned, or the former hottie that he married a decade ago wasn’t so hot after a few pregnancies. Dad had to be motivated to stay with her and the kids so that she could take care of them and he had to bring home the bacon. That’s the underlying premise of marriage. Society spends a lot of resources to preserve marriage because it has an investment in the future in the form of the kids.

Subsequently, a lot of baggage began to be hung on marriage. The ceremony, social status, self esteem, ad nauseam. Some made sense- joint tax filing, family health benefits- were designed to assist in maintenance of the “traditional” model. With the major changes in family structure that we have seen in the past 50 years, it’s time to have another look at some of these. There is no reason to have family health benefits if the family is a DINK (dual income, no kids), but how do we structure benefits when a plurality of employees are still traditional? Let the private sector sort it out- some companies are more flexible that others, but as a rule, laws mandating how companies structure their benefits have not caught on.

Now you want to get married. Why? Because you want to. Because you want the emotional/financial/practical advantages. What are you and your beloved going to bring to the table for the benefit of society? Are you going to produce children? No? Then game over. I know you may reply that we do not require couple to promise to produce children, and that is true, but at least there is the potential in the vast majority of cases. I would accept limiting marriage to potential “breeders” (i.e., no marriages for postmenopausals) before I would accept same sex marriage if it comes down to that choice.

So, let’s have the debate. Actually we are having it as we speak- American society has considered same sex marriage, and has not accepted it in the great majority of cases in which it has been voted on, even when voters as a rule go for “progressive” candidates, as they did earlier this month. The main argument that supporters of same sex marriage have to support their side is, “It’s Not Fair!” You’ll have to do better than that. You are arguing against thousands of years of civilization.
11.24.2006 8:41am
Josh Jasper:

Now you want to get married. Why? Because you want to. Because you want the emotional/financial/practical advantages. What are you and your beloved going to bring to the table for the benefit of society? Are you going to produce children? No? Then game over.




Yes, because gay couples *never* raise children.

No, wait, they do.

They adopt in cases where bigots-in-denial-of-being-bigots like you will let them. In the case of lesbians, they can just get pregnant. And some gay parents have biological children from previous heterosexual marriages. There's a range of ways that same sex couples end up raising kids, despite your willfull ignorance it happens. Game over, as you say.

But, of course, your oh-so-fake concern for child welfare vanishes when it comes to *those* children. And so I call bullshit. You're not concerned with children. Quit pretending.
11.24.2006 10:07am
whit:
two points. people have referenced marriage as having been "instituted". i think a big part of this debate is recognizing that marriage (shades of hayek and burke) has EVOLVED. it evolved for a # of reasons into an institution seen in nearly every single society in the history. and in every single one of those (thousands of societies), it evolved in a manner of opposite (or as some refer to it "complementary) sex coupling, whether polygamous or monogamous.

i am NOT against gay marriage. i am against some of the ridiculous comparisons trying to equate the gay marriage debate, with the anti-miscegenation laws, for example.

gay marriage is, whether one is for or against, a complete redefinition of marriage, UNLIKE interracial marriage, which has existed for thousands of years in countless societies.

men and women are fundamentally different creatures. marriage is an institution that gives special recognition to a coupling between the two. like it or not, a woman-woman or man-man marriage is not merely an extension of rights, etc. it is a complete redefinition of marriage.

and again, i am not against gay marriage. i am against stupid arguments for it, and i am against the constant name calling (why does this not surprise me) by gay marriage proponents of the other side as "bigots".

it is also a little mentioned fact that for years (and even to this day) there was a huge proportion of the gay community that was against gay marriage. were they "bigots?". feel free to scour past editions of the advocate, for example, and you will see plenty of gays making arguments against gay marriage.
11.24.2006 10:42am
whit:
"I didn't say that homosexuality is genetic: I said it was innate. That's a difference. Innate means that one is born with it."

which means its genetic. cmon. innate means environment has no influence on it.

" Most studies agree that it is largely genetic, but that there might be an environmental component"

correct. actually, the bulk of the evidence supports that in some there is more of an env. component and in some less, but in most cases, the genetic component is the biggest one.

also, it is wrong to say the environmental component is limited to womb influences. those are part, but not all of the environmental components.
11.24.2006 10:45am
Randy R. (mail):
Thanks Whit, but you haven't refuted my point that sexual orientation is set at birth or at some point shortly afterwards, nor that it can be changed. Yes, 'environmental factors' might be things other than just hormones in the womb, but there isn't much else. There is zero evidence that children, upon seeing a gay person, is influenced to become gay just on that.

JB: There are approximately 300,000 gay couples with children in this country, and that number is growing all the time. Don't those kids deserve to have married parents?

And no, marriage is NOT about children. In each and every state in the union, there are only a few requirements for marriage, which are, age, sex (as in opposite sex) and consent. Basically, two people of opposite sex have to agree to get married. There are NO further requirements. Make all the arguments you like about marriage being for children, but it ignores the basic point that people can get married who cannot or will not have children, and it prevents people, like gay couples, from getting married who do have children. If children were so essential to marriage, why is it not a requirement? This baloney about children and marriage has been raised only in the past few years as a reason to deny gay people the right to get married.

When YOU got married, the sole requirement, beyond the age thing, is that you and your wife consent to be married. If that's the sole requirement for you, why can't it be the sole requirement for me?


"Now you want to get married. Why? Because you want to. Because you want the emotional/financial/practical advantages. What are you and your beloved going to bring to the table for the benefit of society?" And did anybody ask you this question when YOU got married? No? Then why is it asked of me?

As for the fairness issue, I believe it was YOU who argued earlier that we should stop talking about marriage as a fundamental right so as to 'tone down' the debate. But the Constiutition of the US states that if there is a law, then it must be applied 'with equal protection' to all citizens. If the gov't gives out free cheese to everyone except people of blue-eyes, those people will sue the gov't for free cheese. Is there anything in the Constitution about free cheese? No. But IF the gov't is going to do anything at all, it must do so equally to all people. That's our argument: if you are going to allow marriage to people such are yourself merely because they want to get married, and consent to it, then the same standard should be applied to me. That's not only a fairness issue, it's a legal one as well.

And you still have made any arguments as to how gay marriage is going to harm society. And you can't because there is no evidence that it has.

Whit: " it is also a little mentioned fact that for years (and even to this day) there was a huge proportion of the gay community that was against gay marriage"

It is true. However, it is not a huge proportion of the gay community. The vast majority of the gay community backs gay marriage. The debate is whether it should be a priority or something to push when we still have other basic rights, such as the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), when we still can be evicted from apartments when the landlord finds out we are gay, and the military still doesn't accept open gays, just closeted ones. So many people think those battles are more important that gay marriage.

As for gay people who are against gay marriage at all, there are indeed some, just as there are some straight people who are against striaght marriage. In fact, there is a higher percentage of straight people who have specifically *rejected* marriage and just co-habitate than ever before. So I guess because you straight people can't agree on whether marriage is good or not, it should be abolished for you?
11.24.2006 11:04am
whit:
"Thanks Whit, but you haven't refuted my point that sexual orientation is set at birth"

except that the evidence does not support that. it supports that for SOME it is set at birth, and that, for most if not all people, the genetic component is much larger than the environmental component.

iow, given a group of 100 gays, the majority of them would have an almost completely genetic down to vast majority genetic component, and a smaller amount would see a greater environmental component, etc.


"or at some point shortly afterwards, nor that it can be changed."

the evidence supports that, for at least SOME, it can be changed. most likely, those who find it changeable are those for whom the genetic component was smaller, and the environmental component greater.

" Yes, 'environmental factors' might be things other than just hormones in the womb, but there isn't much else. There is zero evidence that children, upon seeing a gay person, is influenced to become gay just on that"

of course not. that's absurd, and i certainly didn't claim that, nor did anybody else i am aware of.

two points. i agree that NOW the vast majority of gays support gay marriage. i would argue that 30 years ago, that was not the case, and this is just based on my immersion in the gay culture, and magazines, etc. and not any studies.

second of all, there is a difference between not engaging in a practice, and being against it in principle.

lots of straights who don't get married are not rejecting the concept of straight marriage as a societal/legal institution. distinguish between those who choose not to get married vs. those who think marriage (hetero or straight) should not exist.

again, i think the point stands that sexual orientation like nearly ALL behavioral aspects is rarely 100% genetic and it is pretty absurd that the exact same people who have argued extensively (sans evidence) that nearly every component of behavior is environmentally based (the tabula rasa theories of gender etc. that were pimped by friedan, steinem, etc. that gender roles were entirely socially constructed), now in the case of sexual orientation do a complete 180

what SHOULD matter is evidence, not ideology.
11.24.2006 11:25am
Randy R. (mail):
Agreed. I sense we are arguing the same point, but with differing reasons?
No 'gay gene' has been found, of course, and I doubt there will be, though it might still be found And there are interesting studies that show that gay men and lesbians share certain physical similarities, such as size of thalmus, finger size ratios, ear dimensions, and so on, that suggest that there is a genetic component to sexuality. But it's not definitive.

Regarding the fact that some people might be able to change their orientation, I still have to disagree with you on this one. Some people are genuinely bi-sexual. So for some people, they might be acting on the homo part, then they suppress it. So it appears that they are changed, when in fact they merely shut down a part of themselves. There are also some people who have only a slight inclination towards homosexuality, and may have acted on it, but stopped it for one reason or another. And we shouldn't discount the fact that sexuality can be fluid, and not everyone is totally gay or totally straight at every point in their lives.

I won't go so far as to say it is impossible to alter in any way your sexuality, but there simply is no evidence to support the notion that anyone can do it or that it comes easily. Bottomline: We know very little about human sexuality, despite years of study, and there is plenty still to learn.
11.24.2006 12:55pm
whit:
"And there are interesting studies that show that gay men and lesbians share certain physical similarities, such as size of thalmus, finger size ratios, ear dimensions, and so on,"

correct. lesbian women also average higher testosterone levels than hetero women (although this can be heavily environmentally influenced)

"I won't go so far as to say it is impossible to alter in any way your sexuality, but there simply is no evidence to support the notion that anyone can do it or that it comes easily"

cmon. get real. there is plenty of evidence to support that some people can and do do it.

as for the 'easy' part, that is not the point.

*if* orientation was 100% genetic in all homosexuals, then it would be impossible to change it (apart from some weird surgery to alter genetics)

but, there is always the hedge you can use (like i expected) , that those who have successfully changed it were not really gay in the first place.

the reality is that there IS evidence to support the notion that SOME people can do it (REGARDless of how hard it is)

your statement is "there simply is no evidence to support the notion that anyone can do it"

clearly, that is false. there is lots of evidence.

and the evidence falls pretty much in line with the scientific data. iow, since there are varying levels of genetic "componentness" for orientation among the homosexual (and hetero for that matter) community, it would seem to be that some people would find it easier than others, and for some it would be impossible, or near so

and clearly, some HAVE changed, some have found it near impossible, and of course many have no desire to do so.

but arguing that there is "no evidence" is absurd.

plenty have changed their orientation, unless one uses the kludge hedge that they were never gay in the first place lol
11.24.2006 1:03pm
Randy R. (mail):
Please give us the evidence then.

You know, Exodus will not release it's "success rate," and in any case, has declared you a 'success' if you haven't have gay sex for a certain number of months. Exodus, in any case, no longer makes any claims that it can turn a homosexual in to a heterosexual. All they claim now is that they can cure you of your homosexual desires. None of this is good evidence that a person can change.

The two men who started Exodus in the 1970s fell in love and declared that changing your orientation is impossible. The most visible ex-gay proponents have been discredited -- John Paulk was the most notorious, and he was eventually found trying to pick up a guy in a Washington gay bar, which lead to his dismissal as Executive Director of Love Won Out, another leading ex-gay group. The man (I forgot his name) who claimed he changed after he became HIV Pos and was featured in ads in Florida was found to be tricking with young men just a couple of years ago. Every single person that has been trotted out to the media as being a successful ex-gay was found to have not changed at all. Interviews with people who have been in 'reparative therapy' indicate that even after several years of therapy, they haven't seen any change, and claim that it will be a lifelong challenge.

So where are all these success stories? Where are ANY? If there are any, the religioius right would be trumpeting them. And they did, with people like Paulk, only to have it backfire against them.

Furthermore, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological ASsociation, and the American Medical ASsociation have all gone on record to state that changing one's sexual orientation is not possible, and that is it far better for a gay person to enter therapy to accept his or her orientation than to try to change it. On that, there is plenty of evidence.

But unless you can show some unprofessional bias on the part of all three respected organizations, you sorta have to give thier findings a good bit of weight. And you have to take Exodus's word on its face that they cannot gaurantee a change either.

So where's your evidence?
11.24.2006 4:34pm
Aleks:
Re: Marriage was instituted, way back, to maximize the chance that children would grow up and be productive.

Mariage was never "instituted". That is, no one ever sat down and said, "Gee let's have this nifty relationhsip called marriage" and then drew up the rules the way the Founding Fathers drew up the Constitution. It is a deeply instinctual behavior that exists (in various forms) in every culture, past and present, on Earth. The fact that gays wish to marry is a tribute to the strength of the isntitution not a cause to fear for it.

Re: gay marriage is, whether one is for or against, a complete redefinition of marriage

Actually no, it is an EXPANSION of the defintion since it does not deny any present-day marraige. but includes them as a very large subset of the whole. A redefinition would imply that the old definition was no longer valid at all, and that marriages conducted under were, in principle, null and void. This is rather the equivalent of amending the Constitution to allow Blacks and women to vote, without perturbing the voting rights of white males in any way.

Re: which means its genetic. cmon. innate means environment has no influence on it.

To see what the the poster was claiming you need look no further than the hand typing your words. That you are right-handed or left-handed is NOT genetic (as far as we know) but it is innate, and your fundamental handedness orientation cannot be changed.
11.24.2006 5:08pm
whit:
"Furthermore, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological ASsociation, and the American Medical ASsociation have all gone on record to state that changing one's sexual orientation is not possible"

look, as somebody who suffered through a bit of grad school for psychology, let me just say LOL

there are few more political organisations than the above just mentioned

please feel free to review the discussions around the declassifaction of homosexuality as a disorder in the DSM.

note that it was removed NOT due to any scientific discovery, but PURELY due to politics. and note i am not saying that homosexuality is or isn't a disorder. i am saying that it is almost entirely a political decision. which is typical of the APA.

i mean, cmon... please.
11.25.2006 12:09am
whit:
"Actually no, it is an EXPANSION of the defintion since it does not deny any present-day marraige. but includes them as a very large subset of the whole. A redefinition would imply that the old definition was no longer valid at all, and that marriages conducted under were, in principle, null and void. This is rather the equivalent of amending the Constitution to allow Blacks and women to vote, without perturbing the voting rights of white males in any way. "

that is sophistry at its finest.

if i REdefine the meaning of "chair" to include labrador retriever, i am REDEFINING the term "chair".

i am EXPANDING it, since i didn't take away from the 'chairness' of other chairs, merely adding another class of items to the set of chairs.

that is the absurdity of your "logic" and i use that term extremely loosely.

again, i am not against gay marriage. i am against dumb arguments for it.

and tryint to equate the redefinition of marriage to include same sex couplings TO the removal of miscenegation laws (both as "expansions") is absurd, from a scientific, historical, and practical angle.

i have no idea whether handedness is genetic or not. do you? i *do* know that the bulk of evidence shows VARIANCE among individuals such that the orientation for some is almost entirely genetic and for others less so, but for all (or close to all) certainly highly genetic in nature.

which is the same for most aspects of human behavior, since there is good evidence that almost all aspects of behavior have environmental influences, it is an exceptional claim that homosexuality is UNIQUE among behavioral traits. and to paraphrase, extreme claims require extreme eviden ce
11.25.2006 12:14am
Randy R. (mail):
Whit: note that it was removed NOT due to any scientific discovery, but PURELY due to politics."

Actually, it was not. The whole debate over that is well documented. Dr. Evelyn Hooker was a noted psychologist in the 1950s. She was suspect of this determination by the APA that homosexuality was a 'mental illness.' So she did extensive research on gay people. By taking every known definiation of mental illness, she applied it to gay people, and found that very few gay people suffered from any of the indications of mental illness. Of course, some were mentally ill, such has exhibiting bi-polarity, but that is not because of the fact that they are gay. She could not find any correlation between mental illness and homosexuality. Her findings were published in 1956.

She wrote several papers that were peer reviewed and turns out they were airtight. To this day, no one has been able to do any research which has contradicted her conclusions. Based on these conclusions, they were presented to the APA.

Dr. Hooker recommended the removal back in 1969 when she was on a panel on the National Institute of Mental Helath, but it went nowhere. Finally, in 1971, there was an annual meeting of the APA in Hawaii, attended by several thousand members, and the issue was debated passionately, but no vote was taken. (note that In 1971, there were no openly gay psychiatrists. None. So to say that the APA caved to a mythical gay lobby is absurd). Seven months later, the APA's Board of Trustees met in Washington and voted 13-0 to remove it from the list of mental illnesses. This decision was based in large part because the Council on Research and Development and the Reference Committee unanimously approved removal. This decision in turn was ratified by the Assembly of District Branches. Because of this, the Trustees felt they overwhelming weight was in favor of removal.

When the decision was made, Dr. Richard Socarides and Irving Bieber were very upset, as they based their entire career upon treating gays as mentally ill. (Incidently, Socarides has an openly gay son within whom he hardly ever talks to). So Socarides demanded a referendum of the membership to overturn the Trustee's ruling, the first time one had ever been requested, because he was certain that the majority would be aghast at the ruling.

The referendum was held simultaneously with the elecion for the new president of the APA, and the three men running were all in favor of gay rights, and all three urged the members of the APA to affirm the Trustee's actions. The vote was announced in April 1974, and the results were that 58 percent had voted to remove homosexuality from the lsit of illnesses, and 37.8 had voted against.

Socarides refused to give up, and demanded a new election, but this time the APA rejected his protest. The charge that is was entirely political immediately was raised him and others that lost the vote, claiming that the APA had been 'manipulated by gay activists." Dr. Marmor later stated that he was people like Dr. Hooker and others who were independently developing their views on homosexuality.

Since then, there has been no evidence whatsoever to show that the reseach of Dr. Hooker and others was wrong. There has been no evidencde whatsoever that homosexuality should be classified as a mental illness. And there is no evidence at all that the tiny band of gay activists that existed in the late 60s and 70s could have moved a majority of professionals to grant them something they themselves didn't believe. Please, where is this enormous political clout that gay people supposedly had in 1971?

Still, if you have any evidence to contradict this that the APA decision was political and the wrong one, let's hear it.

As for the information on reparative therapy, I direct you to Wayne Besen's book, Anything But Straight. He is the only researcher who has investigated the claims of Exodus and other people who claim to change gay people. He interviewed countless numbers of people both in the their programs and graduates of it. Sometimes he even infiltrated reparative therapy groups to gain unbiased information. His conclusion? he hasn't found a single person who says that they were once gay, and now they are striaght. Most will say one of two things: That they were still fighting their gay urges, some even after ten or more years of continuous therapy, or that they are now celebate. Not one was in a healthy normal relationship with a person of the opposite sex.

Now, I'm not one to say that it isn't totally impossible. But as you say, extreme claims need extreme evidence. Claiming that you can change your orientation is an extreme claim, and I'm not even asking for extreme evidence, just something that will back up your case. I asked you for just one example of a person who changed sexual orientation, and you haven't provided any to me. I just presented an entire book of research. No doubt you will dismiss it's conclusions without even reading it. At some point, you really have to rely upon facts.
11.25.2006 2:12am
Randy R. (mail):
Um., Whit? We are anxiously awaiting your response. It's been entire day so far....
11.26.2006 1:49am