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The lyrics without the music:

According to preliminary data reported today in the New York Times, same-sex couples in New Jersey aren't rushing to the altar...uh, union hall. In the first month civil unions have been available in the state, only 229 same-sex couples have signed up (the number may be somewhat larger as it's not clear that all jurisdictions in the state have reported).

If that rate continues, we could expect only about 4,500 to 5,000 civil unions over the next two years in a state with 8.6 million residents. By contrast, in the first two years of full-fledged marriage in Massachusetts, 8,764 gay couples got married in a state of 6.1 million residents.

What accounts for this lack of enthusiasm for civil unions -- in comparison to marriage -- by gay couples? A number of factors may be at work, but one the Times highlights is that civil unions are now seen by gay couples as an insult, a kind of second-class status akin to segregation. Consider what some New Jersey couples have to say:

Charles Paragian, a dance instructor in Little Ferry who with his partner of 17 years adopted five children from foster care, called the civil union "bread crumbs" compared with same-sex marriage.

"I don't want my children to learn to settle for anything," said Mr. Paragian, 44. "It's a Jim Crow law, it's two separate water fountains, it's not equal, we just don't agree with it." . . .

Steven Goldstein, head of Garden State Equality, a leading New Jersey gay advocacy group, and David S. Buckel, senior counsel at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, said they were aware of more than 20 couples who had obtained civil unions but said they were nonetheless denied rights afforded to married couples. None have yet led to a lawsuit challenging civil unions.

"Hospitals, employers, and other institutions will say, 'We don't care what the law says, you are not married,' " Mr. Goldstein said. "The word is starting to spread that the civil union law is in fact not working to provide couples with the protection that only the word marriage can." . . .

Cindy Meneghin and her partner, Maureen Kilian, who live in Butler and were plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case that led to the civil unions, celebrated theirs on Feb. 24.

"It was important that we provide our family with as many protections as we are being allowed by our State Legislature," Ms. Meneghin said. Still, she called civil unions "the Bermuda Triangle of relationships."

"You can maybe pass through without any harm, but wait until you disappear," Ms. Meneghin said. "Your relationship doesn't have reality to people because you're not married. It is very hurtful and degrading that we are not really full, equal citizens in our state."

Think about this. A legal reform that has given gay couples all of the rights and benefits of marriage under state law -- a change that would have been unthinkable a generation or two ago -- is now considered hurtful and degrading by the very people it benefits. Initially seen as a great advance when they began in Vermont in 2000, and embraced by Democratic presidential candidates as a compromise, civil unions are acquiring an unsavory reputation.

What I think this suggests is that for many gay couples the struggle for marriage is not only, or even primarily, a struggle for particular legal benefits. It is a struggle for equal dignity, recognition, legitimacy, and respect under the law. That is something only full marriage can provide because it is a relationship that families, friends, co-workers, and employers readily understand. Marriage has a history and cultural meaning unrivaled by any other status. Academics who have hailed alternative statuses -- civil unions, domestic partnerships, registered partnerships, etc. -- as offering couples a "menu" of choices fail to appreciate that, to lots of gay couples, the only choice that really matters is marriage. To them, everything else on the menu is "bread crumbs." Or to use another metaphor I heard not long ago, civil unions are like a song with all the lyrics but none of the music.

Ramza:
Well I know two great women who are going to get "married" to each other this May in New Jersey (which allows out of state marriages and DPs you don't need to be a resident). They are from Texas, so the civil union will mean squat due to the state constitutional amendment. It will be a waste of 28 dollars, yet I don't think they care if its a "waste of money," they love each other and want to spend their rest of their life together, that is what matters to them.

Sure they are angry that society treats their relationship different than they would treat a "traditional" marriage. Yet they both realize it doesn't matter what society thinks. Furthermore both of them realize that society is changing and will be different 5,10, 20, 40 years from now.

They are a great couple and I am happy for them :)
3.21.2007 12:29pm
Houston Lawyer:
This is not the least surprising. SSM advocates want everyone to be required to agree that there is no difference between heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships. That the whole idea of SSM was outlandish just a decade or two ago means nothing, since it must be offered now.
3.21.2007 12:31pm
Guest44 (mail) (www):
As a supporter of gay marriage, I nevertheless believe this is evidence that there is a such thing as a "slippery slope."
3.21.2007 12:38pm
rhecker:
While I strongly support gay marriage, I think one of the quotes Mr. Carpenter included -- comparing the marriage debate with Jim Crow laws -- is highly flawed and somewhat offensive. That's like comparing the death penalty to genocide, which many dictators do when criticizing the U.S.. Jim Crow laws systematically disenfranchized blacks politically, socially, and economically. The symbolic differences between civil unions and marriage, while emotionally hurtful, do not compare to the discrimination blacks and other minorities faced and continue to face.

The reason why gay marriage is such a front-page issue is partially because the gay rights campaign is so well funded, and its gay proponents are wealthy, highly educated people who have many connections in academia, politics, and the media. (Of course the other reason its such a front-page issue is that the anti-gay rights movement is also very well funded.) Blacks during the days of Jim Crow had no such power.
3.21.2007 12:40pm
Sean M:
I think what this comes down to is that names mean a good deal, to people on both sides.

From my perspective, because I am not much of a religious person or perhaps much of a sentimental person (at least as far as symbols go), the two are the same because they confer the same benefits.

What I find interesting about the debate is that each side wants the other to give up this sentiments about symbolism. The marriage-for-heterosexuals side says, "Well, you got your legal benefits, leave us to our name, because it means a great deal to us. Give up the symbolism about the name."

The marriage-for-homosexuals side says, "Well, if we have all the same benefits, what difference does a name make? You've lost the substantive legal battle. Let us have the same name that you do and give up the symbolism."

I'm not sure if I agree with the quote that claims that what hospitals, etc are doing is saying, "I don't care what the law says, you're not married." I think more charitable is that the law is new and there are not many unions. Many of them simply don't know what the law /says/. As more unions come into existence, instutions will grow more accustomed to dealing with them.
3.21.2007 12:40pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
If true, this is a ridiculous reason to refuse to get a civil union. Civil unions give gay people everything they wanted except for a word, a word which will no doubt be coming along in the next few years, anyway. If this is truly the reason why the rate of civil unions is less than that of marriages among gay people, then New Jersey gays are idiots. They are essentially refusing to accept equal rights because they don't like the manner in which they are offered.

I question whether the idea that gay people are "insulted" by civil unions and so are refusing to get thim is even a realistic possibility. If I want to get a permanent and legal relationship with my boyfriend, I'm not going to refuse to get a civil union for anything less than the most compelling reasons because I have no other options if I want such a permanent and legal relationship.
3.21.2007 12:42pm
Ramza:
Note civil unions only give equal legal benefits on a state level, federal level and private organizations (such as hospitals) do not confer equal benefits. I know this is basic and I assume everybody knows this, but it seems reading some comments some people forget this.
3.21.2007 12:45pm
AppSocRes (mail):
An alternative to Dale's explanation: Homosexual activists really are out to destroy the institution of marriage and family (the foundation of capitalist/liberal society) and will settle for nothing less. The avant garde of homosexuals go along unthinkingly with this agenda (Lenin's "useful idiots"). The vast majority of homosexuals do not really feel strongly about this issue. (And please don't cite polls of homosexuals on this issue unless they're based on accurate sampling frames and unbiased questioning techniques.)
3.21.2007 12:54pm
Sean M.:
I would like to now predict that the rest of this thread will be dedicated to responding to and defneding AppSocRes's quote above, rather than the substance of Dale's post.

I hope I am wrong.
3.21.2007 12:56pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Why should gay couples have to settle for jumping through hoops to pick up some/many/most of the individual rights that make up the bundle that make up the legal status of marriage (apologies for the mixed metaphor)? As a legal matter, the status of marriage bears no necessary relationship to what various social or religious conceptions of marriage entail. If someone who doesn't like gays getting together wants to say, you're married in the eyes of the law, but not in the private view of me or my church, why isn't that an acceptable compromise? Keep the domains separate.
3.21.2007 1:00pm
Misanthronomicon:
Civil unions provide (or ought to provide) gays with equal rights and benefits under the law. The government need not and should not meddle with the centuries-old understanding of marriage simply to make a further, purely symbolic statement. A guy can't marry a guy, just like a triangle can't have four sides. It's not discrimination, it's the plain meaning of everyday words. The government must not redefine words by fiat, especially words whose plain meaning has been established for as long as the English language itself. The notion is rather Orwellian (in more ways than one). If it became a habit for the government, it would be quite chilling.

Marriage remains the union of a man and a woman, because it always has been so defined, while "civil union" refers to any union under the law that is not necessarily marriage but confers the same rights and benefits. The two terms are clear, precise, and historically consistent, and (ought to) confer equivalent rights and benefits under the law. Whether free citizens also treat them equally is their own prerogative (subject to antidiscrimination law). Let the definition of marriage evolve naturally over time, rather than by decree.
3.21.2007 1:02pm
Sebastian Holsclaw (mail):
The fact that DP provides at least state-level benefits is important because of the benefits it provides for inheritance.

As far as it not offering benefits for private organizations, all of the hospitals in San Diego are happy to accept domestic partners as vistors in the same sense as spouses. Even if acceptance comes a few organizations at a time, it is a good thing. Furthermore, are companies required to provide spousal benefits even?
3.21.2007 1:05pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
AppSocRes, that is the position of gay activist Tammy Bruce, among others. I agree with it to the extent that some gay rights activists are probably interested in destroying the very idea of marriage, in the same way that some athiests are militantly pursuing the elimination of organized religion. However, just because there are some activists have bad motives, it does not follow that all activists have bad motives.
3.21.2007 1:11pm
Ramza:

Furthermore, are companies required to provide spousal benefits even?

There are some labor laws, off the top of my head the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. This applies not to husband and wives but to families. Marriage though applies family status to partnre. Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 does not apply to civil unions for its federal law and thus DOMA applies. Each state may have similar laws which they can enforce.

Private institutions even though they are not "required" often offer multiple benefits to married people. By having civil unions but not marriage you give the opportunity for private institutions to discriminate/"favor things they agree with". Yes you can make a libertarian vs government/authoritarian why government should or shouldn't do this. Lets please don't for it has been hundreds of times in the past and it would be hijacking carpenter's thread. (Additionally the amount of time people actually make such arguments using that logic are highly correlated with emotional investment/religious opinion of the person so please don't turn this thread into that.)
3.21.2007 1:18pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

In the first month civil unions have been available in the state, only 229 same-sex couples have signed up


Well in 2004, there were only 2,586 February marriages. If 2007 is similar that means about 8% of marriage &civil union contracts were licensed to same gender couples. Considering about 2% of the adult population is are self-identified gay, lesbian or bi that's 4x their incidence.

I guess I don't understand the complaint - do people really expect gay married couples who have long ago mingled their finances and legal standings in ways they've adjusted to and understand to suddenly go get a 'civil union' and possibly muck that all up?

I've always considered marriage equality primarily for those couples wanting to license a new marriage, not go back and expect couples to get a license when they've already been married for decades (unless it has specific features they need).

One thought though -does New Jersey state government have 'common-law marriage' legislation? If so will it start recognizing 'common law civil unions' now?
3.21.2007 1:20pm
Paddy O. (mail):
Legitimacy is what it's always been about. On both sides. That's why the idea of homosexual marriage destroying the institution of marriage was never true. Marriage has been destroyed by all sorts of things, and my many Evangelical friends with ruined marriages because the wife got smiled at nicely by the guitar player are testimony to this fact.

Homosexuality throughout history has existed but it has existed as a variously permitted perversion. It might happen, but society never really encouraged or justified it, though it might be willing to look the other way, adding a few snickers.

But marriage is indeed the great legitimizer. The word married defines legitimate in many cases. Legitimate children, legitimate relationships, legitimate conduct. It is an anchor to society and for that reason it's a major battle ground.

Even with all the major inroads into popular culture homosexuality still is not accepted. Will and Grace could be a popular show, but people still snickered and winked at the behavior without feeling it was equal. Oh, gay people are funny and silly! They are the minstrels of our generation.

But marriage means something more, and it means something to those who have absolutely no interest in particulars. The television preacher will rail against it and the flighty gay will support it not because marriage itself is in trouble or he wants to get married but because homosexuality may be on the verge of being a legitimate lifestyle.

So the battle continues. But it's not really about marriage at all.
3.21.2007 1:21pm
18 USC 1030 (mail):
I think the way to get around this is for the states to just abolish marriage altogether. States should say well if you want to be viewed as married for rights and the other side doesn't want you married because the word marriage has sentimental value, then: the state no longer provides marriage licenses. We provide Civil Union licenses. Your religious organization can call it whatever they want, including marriage. But for the purposes of the state only Civil Unions are recognized.

Everyone wins and everyone loses. Homosexuals get the rights of their heterosexual neighbors and heterosexuals get the "demeaning" term civil union of their homosexual neighbors. Obviously, this will never happen but in a nation that doesn't (or is legally barred from) legislating religion, we should not be legislating religious/sentimental activities: marriage.

As to the response of those saying that since Civil Unions do not provide equal rights to marriage therefore they will not get one, I say that is the reason why you should get one. If people refuse to get a civil union all they can do is complain that rights aren't equal. If people get a civil union and are discriminated against then they can bring legal action alleging the violation. Refusing civil unions because they are unequal doesn't make sense, it essentially allows the discrimination to remain the same--homosexual couples maintain neither the rights nor sentimental value of their heterosexual neighbors.

This is especially odd being that civil unions are being compared to Jim Crowe laws. The discrimination laws were overturned because people allowed themselves to be discriminated against in order to bring suit to change it. If noone sat at a white sandwich counter, tried to sit in the front of the bus, etc, we'd still have discrimination today. By refusing to accept a civil union because they are unequal, it seems to me the advocates are doing those they represent a huge disservice.
3.21.2007 1:28pm
r78:

"Hospitals, employers, and other institutions will say, 'We don't care what the law says, you are not married,' " Mr. Goldstein said. "The word is starting to spread that the civil union law is in fact not working to provide couples with the protection that only the word marriage can." . . .

You quote this, and then you argue:

A legal reform that has given gay couples all of the rights and benefits of marriage under state law -- a change that would have been unthinkable a generation or two ago -- is now considered hurtful and degrading by the very people it benefits.

If there is any accuracy to the quote, then your argument about "all of the rights" is misplaced.
3.21.2007 1:30pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):
What are the odds that government will get tired of this whole mess and decide that Marriage is a religious service.

The government would register the "civil unions" of any and all couples who come before them. Marriage licenses go away.

If a couple chooses to go through a marriage service, for traditional or religious reasons, the government doesn't recognize it until they file their civil union paperwork. People who get "married" can still tell their friends and family that they are "married", if that is important to them. If their church doesn't want to do homosexual marriages, they don't have to perform them.

I am a supporter of the traditional meaning of marriage. I don't like seeing it watered down. I am grown-up enough to recognize that most of that meaning is due to my religious beliefs about the institution of marriage.
3.21.2007 1:32pm
Oren (mail):

Note civil unions only give equal legal benefits on a state level, federal level and private organizations (such as hospitals) do not confer equal benefits. I know this is basic and I assume everybody knows this, but it seems reading some comments some people forget this.


It would seem well within the power of the state of new jersey to require all hospitals and other open-to-the-public institutions to treat civil unions on exact parity with marriage (within NJ of course). To do otherwise is to invite those institutions to discriminate. Hospitals that do not admit gay partners under the same conditions as married partners ought to be fined enough to change their mind.

I supported civil unions in this debate because I felt that conservatives would use gay marriage as a cudgel against the left -- granting gays the substantive benefits of marriage would be enough until attitudes change. Now I'm starting to think that this was all a charade and that, once defined separately, civil unions will be a second-class situation.

~Oren

PS. Incidentally, I know a few gay couples that "married" in the sense that they had a wedding and a priest and refer to each other as husband and wife. They introduce themselves as married and, when necessary, politely explain that marriage was a sacred vow between the two of them (one couple includes god) that transcends whether or not society choses to accept it. So far, everyone they've talked to understands their position.
3.21.2007 1:35pm
Oren (mail):
Don Miller - I approve of your solution. I don't think it has a snowballs chance in the Louisiana summer though - the right will rail about "taking god out of the public square" and it will be over.

Just wanted to voice my support . . .
3.21.2007 1:41pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
For people who are skeptical as to whether gay marriage is a good idea, the best proof is showing that civil unions are working out. If gays shun civil unions opponents will use that as evidence that they don't really care about marriage, and only want marriage rights as a big F U to traditional marriage.
3.21.2007 1:41pm
therut:
Like this idea just popped into the gay rights activists heads. You jest. This has been the push all along. The Civil union push was nothing but a brick on the way to FORCING (they think) people to ACCEPT (tolerate) them getting married. They may someday call themselves married but Married they will never be. It is impossible. Calling something marriage or even winning in getting it leagally called marriage will NEVER make gay or lesbian couples married. Unless they really think they can redefine marriage. Which is what they have been after all along.
3.21.2007 1:42pm
_:
Guest44, a slippery slope to what exactly? The end of don't ask don't tell?

I have mixed feelings about gay marriage. It amazes me that some are so frightened by it. I resent the fact that opponents believe they have moral or legal ground to dictate who others can marry. But at the same time, I dont understand why proponents are so set on calling it "marriage." As long as a civil union provides the exact same rights as marriage, proponents of gay marriage should be happy. Homosexuals by definition do not want the traditional "marriage." So what's the need to call it that?
3.21.2007 1:43pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think that denigrating civil unions and not partaking in such is counter-productive for those pushing for SSM. I think that it would be far better for their cause to take the civil unions, and then point out that even availing themselves of such, they are still deprived of important rights, dignity, etc. of marriage. This just makes them look like petulant kids.
3.21.2007 1:44pm
rarango (mail):
What Don Miller said!
3.21.2007 1:46pm
pferrel:
This is such a strange issue. What I can't figure out is why government has any say in who can marry. If "marriage" is a legal contract then it should be like any other civil contract. In other words it should be defined by those entering the contract. Why isn't the debate about getting the government out of our personal business?
3.21.2007 1:46pm
spg:
have all 229 gotten on to the nytimes wedding announcement page, or does it just seem that way?
3.21.2007 1:55pm
Swoop&Scoop:
"A guy can't marry a guy, just like a triangle can't have four sides." Great point!

Humans make everything complicated. A triangle will never consciously make the decision to become a four-sided figure, but because humans have the ability to reason, we think we can change marriage. It reminds me of the news about McDonald's. It seems they're upset about the word McJob.
3.21.2007 1:57pm
Adeez (mail):
My God. The biggots are out today!

I have so much to say on this issue, but I'll start with just the following:

CIVIL UNIONS DO NOT CONFER THE EXACT SAME BENEFITS AS MARRIAGE!!!!!

The commenters here are usually so informed, I can't believe so many have that basic point wrong. Thankfully these aren't the typical commenters, just those whose prejudices can't contain themselves. I guess that vitiates the need for me to respond to all of those who started with this false premise.

And pferrel: you got it exactly right my friend. For all of those who can't stand the thoughts of gays getting married, here's the solution. Get government out of the marriage business (the libertarians here hopefully feel me on this one) altogether. The only thing Big Bro is allowed to recogize is civil unions for couples. Then, the bigots and everyone else can get "married" in their church, synogogue, etc. But such a choice has no effect on the government's recognition of civil unions. One's church has every right to discriminate against homosexuals; the government does not.
3.21.2007 1:58pm
Mark Field (mail):

This is especially odd being that civil unions are being compared to Jim Crowe laws. The discrimination laws were overturned because people allowed themselves to be discriminated against in order to bring suit to change it. If noone sat at a white sandwich counter, tried to sit in the front of the bus, etc, we'd still have discrimination today. By refusing to accept a civil union because they are unequal, it seems to me the advocates are doing those they represent a huge disservice.


In official legal terms (Plessy v. Ferguson), segregation could be separate but had to be equal. The Civil Rights Movement protests didn't say "you haven't provided us with equal facilities", they said (in the words of Brown), "separate is inherently unequal." If gays took that same view of civil unions, it wouldn't really be so odd.
3.21.2007 2:10pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

I am a supporter of the traditional meaning of marriage. I don't like seeing it watered down. I am grown-up enough to recognize that most of that meaning is due to my religious beliefs about the institution of marriage.

And I see 3 'kinds' of marriage:

the natural urge to marry, i.e. to pair-bond. Biologically based in the mammalian vospressin/oxytocin mediated pair-bonding response, this is the 'real' marriage - it exists regardless of churches or governments.

the religious rite of marriage - a ritual that merely officially marks for other believers of the existence of the pair-bond. Just a celebration of a marriage that has occurred, not marriage itself.

Finally the civil contract licensed by the state in support of marriage. Not marriage just a set of legal tools to strengthen marriages.

So often when people argue endlessly its because they aren't talking about the same thing. My issue is why isn't every citizen given a reasonable chance to license the civil contract in support of their marriage, the religious rite isn't even 'really marriage' to me or on my radar.

And hence my opinion on this article - that New Jersey now lets their already married gay couples now license a civil contract is nice, but I wouldn't expect married couple that doesn't need what it offers to run out and license a copy 'just because its there'.
3.21.2007 2:14pm
MnZ (mail):

CIVIL UNIONS DO NOT CONFER THE EXACT SAME BENEFITS AS MARRIAGE!!!!!


Adeez, serious questions: What benefits do civil unions not provide that marriage does provide? I realize that certain institutions don't recognize them, but would those same institutions recognize gay marriage?


If "marriage" is a legal contract then it should be like any other civil contract. In other words it should be defined by those entering the contract. Why isn't the debate about getting the government out of our personal business?


It is a contract into which most people enter without a clear understanding of the terms. In fact, most people only learn of the terms when they try to dissolve the contract.
3.21.2007 2:15pm
18 USC 1030 (mail):

In official legal terms (Plessy v. Ferguson), segregation could be separate but had to be equal. The Civil Rights Movement protests didn't say "you haven't provided us with equal facilities", they said (in the words of Brown), "separate is inherently unequal." If gays took that same view of civil unions, it wouldn't really be so odd.

I accept this; however, if there is no one treated unequally, does anyone have standing to say this right and this right are not equal? Wouldn't you need someone who was in a civil union to say this right I have is not the same as the right he has?
3.21.2007 2:39pm
Ramza:

And I see 3 'kinds' of marriage:

the natural urge to marry, i.e. to pair-bond. Biologically based in the mammalian vospressin/oxytocin mediated pair-bonding response, this is the 'real' marriage - it exists regardless of churches or governments.

the religious rite of marriage - a ritual that merely officially marks for other believers of the existence of the pair-bond. Just a celebration of a marriage that has occurred, not marriage itself.

To further expand on your three definitions of marriage, two of them (the ones I listed) are also connected to the idea the concept of natural law, and thus a natural rights. The first one version of marriage attributes natural rights originate from our innate make up as humans. The second version of marriage attributes natural rights as things endowed by a creator. Note some people don't believe in natural law and natural rights, others argue is Xa natural right but Y is it just something good, while other people believe X and Y are natural rights. Regardless even if you don't believe in natural rights it is good that you recongize what logic/motivation others people use in a discussion.

I bring up Natural Rights for the most extreme parties in this discussion the fervernt polar SSM advocates and the extreme fervent traditionalist/religious people beliefs stem from the fact there "definition" is the natural one, and any goverment that doesn't recongize the "natural order" is by its very nature unjust.
3.21.2007 2:40pm
Joe Blow:
>>to lots of gay couples, the only choice that really matters is marriage. To them, everything else on the menu is "bread crumbs."<<

Too bad for them, then. Neither society at large, nor people currently married have any duty to assuage gay couples "feelings" about civil union or ameliorate their current status. And the constant attempt by gays to equate the struggle for gay marriage as on par with racial equality and Jim Crow laws is both ludicrous and trivializing to the historic battle for civil rights in this country.
3.21.2007 2:42pm
wooga:
_: "I resent the fact that opponents believe they have moral or legal ground to dictate who others can marry."

pferrel: "Why isn't the debate about getting the government out of our personal business?"

Adeez: "My God. The biggots are out today! "

Here's a little history for you. All cultures, throughout history and even to the present day, do this little thing called legislating morality. You just don't realize it most of the time, because the laws generally dovetail with your own moral views. It is only when the laws offend your personal sense of morality that you get all worked up and start screaming about all the 'bigots' out there.

I know that "legislating morality" is a boogey man to many progressives, what with the serious problems it poses for practicing moral relativists, but morality forms the basis for practically all of our laws. Why should you be able to keep imposing your morality on me through the tax, vehicle, criminal, civil, health, and probate codes (to hit the high points), and I not get the opportunity to impose my morality on the marriage licensing laws?
3.21.2007 2:45pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Well the problem for the religious 'natural's are that this nation was founded on freedom of religion and a number of religions allow same gender marriages. Their problem is they want their particular religion to set the standard and ignore other religions.

The biological existence of marriage common to all, both through research and empirical evidence. Since both should be able to decide that marriage does NOT come from government, and the religious restriction is sect based, the only type the government should recognize is the biological one and that should be the paradigm in which we frame our decision making.
3.21.2007 2:47pm
Mark Field (mail):

I accept this; however, if there is no one treated unequally, does anyone have standing to say this right and this right are not equal? Wouldn't you need someone who was in a civil union to say this right I have is not the same as the right he has?


If "separate but equal" is the proper principle, I'd agree. If that principle is itself improper, then standing would only require a showing that someone was treated "separately (though equal)".
3.21.2007 2:50pm
wooga:
I am reminded of Speaker Pelosi's statement this week on General Pace's labeling of homosexual behavior 'immoral' (note that he explicitly referred to acts, and did not, as many claim, condemn 'homosexuality' as immoral). She said:
"We don't need moral judgment from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs."

Funny, I would think that the people in charge of bombing other nations are the very people we want to have a sense of morality! Alas, Pelosi only recognizes the condemnation of certain sexual behavior as a 'moral judgment,' and fails to recognize that the frequent and difficult judgments required of General Pace are not detached from morality. This is a prime example of my prior post about people not realizing the intermingling between law and morality.
3.21.2007 2:58pm
Ramza:

Well the problem for the religious 'natural's are that this nation was founded on freedom of religion and a number of religions allow same gender marriages. Their problem is they want their particular religion to set the standard and ignore other religions.

The biological existence of marriage common to all, both through research and empirical evidence. Since both should be able to decide that marriage does NOT come from government, and the religious restriction is sect based, the only type the government should recognize is the biological one and that should be the paradigm in which we frame our decision making.

Okay lets take your arguement on biological natural rights. Does biology care if the union is called marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership? No it doesn't. Yet people on both sides codify their beliefs via natural law, there is no compromise to them, its my way or the highway.

Me I want society to recongize gay marriage or civil unions with equal benefits at the state, federal, and the important private insitutions (things like hospitals and such, I can care less about the church). If I get civil unions that grants me all three things I listed, I can care less what its called. Marriage, civil unions, or xophariages.
3.21.2007 2:59pm
Ramza:

I am reminded of Speaker Pelosi's statement this week on General Pace's labeling of homosexual behavior 'immoral' (note that he explicitly referred to acts, and did not, as many claim, condemn 'homosexuality' as immoral). She said:
"We don't need moral judgment from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs."

Funny, I would think that the people in charge of bombing other nations are the very people we want to have a sense of morality! Alas, Pelosi only recognizes the condemnation of certain sexual behavior as a 'moral judgment,' and fails to recognize that the frequent and difficult judgments required of General Pace are not detached from morality. This is a prime example of my prior post about people not realizing the intermingling between law and morality.

Your arguement doesn't follow. I thought civilan control decide which nations we bomb? The general's job is to decide the most effective way (with the parameters civilan control place on him) to bomb said country after he is given an order to bomb said country.

Maybe you can make the arguement about whether its moral to bomb a mosque, but that logic the general is supposed to use is a mostly a military logic, by bombing a mosque do I do more harm than good? That military logic is what the general should be using with thinking DADT, does it do more harm, good, or is it neutral. Thing is Pace didn't say that, no he said the military should not condone what is immoral.
3.21.2007 3:04pm
18 USC 1030 (mail):

If "separate but equal" is the proper principle, I'd agree. If that principle is itself improper, then standing would only require a showing that someone was treated "separately (though equal)".

I guess I'm not understanding at what point they are being treated differently. Is the different treatment the point when 1 group is provided marriage and another civil union? Or, is the different treatment the point when 1 with a civil union is treated differently from 1 with marriage? No matter what we want it to be, I think there is a stronger legal argument for the latter. Based on the NJ court decision they said that the legislature had to provide the rights, but could do so however they saw fit.

Therefore, it'd seem a stronger argument could be made by someone with a civil union saying that they are treated differently than 1 with marriage. Though the argument that difference of the name is itself seperate may be the argument we want to make, I'm not sure the courts would be willing to go this far. But, I think the court would be willing to accept the former argument. Thus if the court states the rights of marriage are seperate from rights of civil union, I'd think one would need a civil union to challenge.
3.21.2007 3:09pm
Ramza:
wooga:...

One more thing, your arguement has nothing to do with this thread. Carpenter's thread isn't about DADT, pelosi, or pace. He has another thread less than a week old where you can post your thoughts, please move any further dicussion about DADT and immorality there.
3.21.2007 3:10pm
JBC:
It's a simple matter of balancing interests. On the one hand society ostensibly has an interest in recognizing and protecting the primacy of the only relationship capable of creating and nurturing the next generation of citizens who will uphold and protect her, against the aching need of a small percentage of people to feel they have "respect" and "dignity" and not to be made to feel inferior.

It's an easy enough chore. If the post-60's societal changes have taught us nothing, it's that individual "rights" must be fetishized, even when they undermine and destroy the very system that protects these rights. And what could the possible consequences be? It's not like free love led to a rise in divorce, a devaluing of the family, an increase in venereal disease and abortion, a less safe environment for our children or the advent of a popular culture so vile it should make all but the most jaded and senseless plummet into despondency. Massive changes to social architecture, especially those involving sexual mores, are of absolutely no consequence.

And if the events in Europe and Asia in the 20th century have taught us nothing else, we now know that modern civilization is inviolate and utterly resistant. We will never descend into barbarism. Such a thing is utterly impossible, even during the throes of utter moral inversion. And it's not like there's a barbaro-fascist enterprise waiting in the wings to replace Western Civilization.

In short, all you see is carved in stone. Our way of life, our laws, our very social fabric is not merely written on paper or etched into the consciences of some percentage of those presently alive. It is a entity itself and will exist forver and always. Never mind the ancient taboos against homosexuality which have existed in every society of note (including the Greeks--the modern concept of SSM, and indeed, the entire modern concept of "gay" would be more incomprehensible to them that it would have been to a frontier settler). After all, we are far, far smarter and more morally enlightened than all those benighted fools who came before us.

And anyway, global warming will kill us all in about 6 months, anyway, right? So who cares. And it's not like we have anything worth preserving. All societies are really the same, depending upon one's perspective.

But if anyone thinks that SSM has anything to do at all with the actual institution of marriage, is, I would submit, badly mistaken. It is as salient as homosexual adoption is to actually caring about delivering kids from foster care--as witnessed by the callous shutting down of Catholic Charities when they had the Christ-fascist gall to place religious doctrine over modern moral transcendence.
3.21.2007 3:13pm
Genob (mail):
Adeez,

I couldn't disagree more. First, the fact that you resort to name calling for anyone with whom you disagree is telling.

Second, you may disagree, but it is a perfectly reasonable, and I would say non-bigoted, position that the governemnt might have an interest in promoting the male-female relationship above, and in different ways than, other relationships. Like it or not, it is in the interest of society to have procreation and to do what we can to encourage what most agree is the ideal (but not only good) evironment in which to raise the next generation. There are other things unique about "traditional marriage" that benefit society, but the first is obvious and largely not really disputable.

To say that extending marriage to gay couples has no impact on "traditional marriage" is actually quite ridiculous. Simple economics dictates that extending marriage beyond "traditional marriage" means that it is marginally more expensive for government or business to extend benefits to married couples. Thus business and government are less likely to do so, and in some instances at the margin will choose not to...whether that manifests itself in higher co-pays for medical insurance or more extreme cases of fewer benefits, it clearly has an impact.

So the debate over gay marriage is really a debate over whether as a society we should ever be able to promote the traditional male-female relationship in ways over and different than we promote or support other relationships. In many instances the answer is probably no...But there are some where the answer is probably yes.

Actually, it's quite telling that most supporters of gay marriage tend to agree that distinctions should be made, but just think that their particular relationship ought to be in the "most favored nation" category. Here in Washington state, they are in the process of passing a civil union bill....but that bill limits its benefits to homosexual couples unless you are over the age of 62....Why? Because the supporters clearly believe that the relationship of a homosexual couple is different than and deserving of different treatment than two heterosexuals who happen to care for each other. Line is just drawn at a different place. (question whether the bill is on its face unconstitutional is another debate)

As an aside, I'm not sure exactly how they propose to prove or disprove the homosexuality of a couple of hetero roommates that might choose to get hitched so one could get health insurance from the other's employer....interesting privacy implications there.

And as for who might be "bigoted" or "intolerant": when my gandmother was threated with a lawsuit because she didn't want to rent a garage apartment she owned to a gay couple (because she had very strong personal views on the subject)....I have a view on who was being "intolerant" in that particular instance.
3.21.2007 3:25pm
Ramza:
Why should society reward childless marriages and place them on a higher standard than same sex unions? What advantage to society do we have with childless male female relationships over same sex childless relationships. With this logic shouldn't society move where ever "permanent relationship" should be called a domestic partnership or civil union and only after they beget a child that they get to call their a relationship a marriage?
3.21.2007 3:43pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

Okay lets take your arguement on biological natural rights. Does biology care if the union is called marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership? No it doesn't. Yet people on both sides codify their beliefs via natural law, there is no compromise to them, its my way or the highway.


Fine as far as it goes, but our country is based on equal rights, equal protections, equal access to government. We know that 'separate but equal' is NOT equal. Natural rights says it should be a recognized right for all citizens. What reason is there to justify treating a citizen's right differently merely because of the gender of their spouse, another citizen with the same rights?

IF the state is going to license a contract in support of marriage it should be by default available to all married citizens and any exceptions should be measured and strongly justifiable.

I can make reasonable arguments for all of the traditional proscriptions because of their effect AND because they only limit the potential pool of spouses by a very small margin. I can't think of a justification for one that effectively proscribes a citizen's choice of ALL potential spouses.

But back to this blog's point - I think Dale has it wrong - married gay citizens licensing a contract at 4x their incidence in the population is hardly a failure or even should reasonably considered low. It's lower than Massachusetts sure, but at most you could say that the title is enough to push some married gays over the edge into getting one, not that it is the the primary let alone sole factor in their decision to license.

The problem is thinking of either of these contracts as 'marriage' or even necessary for a couple to be married. I live in Washington state which is very likely going to allow licensing of domestic partners for gay couples very soon. But I have a safety deposit box with thousands of dollars worth of papers that give me virtually all of the things it would give me already. So after 17 years of marriage am I going to run out and register? No way! First I have to see what the courts say what effect this will have on possible mingling of personal financial liabilities and the like. If I was going to be responsible for my partner's spending habits we would have had words well over a decade ago.

When licensing or registering gets my marriage federally recognized come back and talk to me, until then I'm not to keen on any civil 'marriage lite' contracts. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be available to those who do want or need the limited one offered.
3.21.2007 3:44pm
wooga:
Ramza,

My point about Pace/Pelosi is directly on point. The choices and orders given by Pace and his suboordinates are predominantly moral. Do you deny that men ranging from Lt. Calley to Sherman were not making intrinsically moral determinations about how to carry out their military tasks?

Your insistence on denying this moral aspect is exactly my point. SSM proponents refuse to allow for the majority to impose it's moral views on homosexuals, yet SSM proponents (like all of society) are more than willing to impose their moral views on others through countless laws and regulations.

The issue is NOT whether a particular anti-gay rule is good, bad, or some other utilitarian determination (despite your scolding of Pace for not basing his remarks on such a point). Similarly, the SSM debate is not about whether SSM 'hurts' straight marriage, is good/bad for tax purposes, or whatever (although those are certainly entertaining rhetorical justifications for pre-determined views - raised by both sides).

Rather, SSM is an intrinsically moral issue, just like most of life's determinations. The insistence of progressives (of which Pelosi's quote is a prime and directly relevant example) to pretend that morality is irrelevant to all except our own private matters is historically inaccurate and demonstrably false. Of course, imposition of SSM by means other than the ballot box requires that particular 'insistence,' so I can't fault Pelosi or you for trying.
3.21.2007 3:48pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

Here in Washington state, they are in the process of passing a civil union bill....but that bill limits its benefits to homosexual couples unless you are over the age of 62....Why? Because the supporters clearly believe that the relationship of a homosexual couple is different than and deserving of different treatment than two heterosexuals who happen to care for each other.


Nice try, no its because the bills that would have just allowed marriage equality weren't acted on by the legislature. The domestic partnership registration (not civil union) legislation is just 'make do'. As the state supreme court recognized although the state has the right to limit access to the marriage contract they may not have the right to limit the benefits it provides. This bill gives a reasonable path for all adult citizens to acquire them with their spouse. That it is discriminatory makes no difference - the Andersen decision that supported DOMA said the legislature can limit contract access for just about any reason they want, even bad ones.

Want everyone to have access to the same path? Allow all to license one or the other of the contracts. Approve one discriminatory contract you open the door to more - that should have been obvious.
3.21.2007 3:51pm
genob:
Ramza,

That's not an unreasonable position, but makes sense only if you believe the only societal benefit and unique attribute of "traditional marriage" is procreation...Some do believe that.

But many think there are a number of other reasons why that relationship is unique (and I'm not talking about religious beliefs)....societal stability, health, the "civilizing" impact it has on males, etc.

But that's exactly why the debate should be had. Are those societal benefits unique enough and significant enough to justify unique treatement.
3.21.2007 3:52pm
Adeez (mail):
"the fact that you resort to name calling for anyone with whom you disagree is telling."

The "name" that you refer to is "bigot." You are incorrect that I call "anyone with whom [I] disagree" a bigot. I reserve the term "bigot" for those who express bigoted beliefs. A bigot, according to one dictionary, is "one fanatically devoted to one's own group . . . and intolerant of those who differ." I do wholeheartedly believe that many of those who oppose gay marriage do so out of sheer bigotry. So while I appreciate your attempt to take the high road and denounce me as the name-caller, you're wrong. Actually, I disagree with many commenters over many issues on this site, but rarely ever do I call names.

This isn't the 2nd Amendment. This isn't global climate change and what to do about it. This is about as one-sided as you can get. We have a system in which the state recognizes unions between two adults for many purposes. Although procreation is an incident of marriage, it's neither necessary nor sufficient: many married couples don't/can't procreate, and many non-married couples can't and do.

That takes us back to square one. We have governmental rights that only heterosexuals can enjoy, solely b/c of the fact that they're heterosexual. On the other hand, an entire class of citizens are deprived of this right solely b/c they're homosexual. "Marriage has always been defined as a man and a woman" is not a justification, it's what people (mostly bigots) tend to say b/c they cannot provide a justification. "My church says gays are evil" is not a justification, it's what those who don't support or appreciate the separation of church and state say.

MnZ: there're over 1000 rights conferred by the federal gov. to married couples that would not apply to those in civil unions. Please don't ask me to recite them.
3.21.2007 3:59pm
Ramza:
genob:

That's not an unreasonable position, but makes sense only if you believe the only societal benefit and unique attribute of "traditional marriage" is procreation...Some do believe that.

But many think there are a number of other reasons why that relationship is unique (and I'm not talking about religious beliefs)....societal stability, health, the "civilizing" impact it has on males, etc.

But that's exactly why the debate should be had. Are those societal benefits unique enough and significant enough to justify unique treatement.


I agree that is some of the wonderful benefits of marriage. I just don't see how those same items don't apply to same sex relationship. Are you arguing long term committed gay men/women are inherently more unhealthy, instable, or more sexually promsicious with other partners besides their married partner than long term committed straight couples?
3.21.2007 4:06pm
Adeez (mail):
"Here's a little history for you. All cultures, throughout history and even to the present day, do this little thing called legislating morality. You just don't realize it most of the time, because the laws generally dovetail with your own moral views. It is only when the laws offend your personal sense of morality that you get all worked up and start screaming about all the 'bigots' out there. I know that "legislating morality" is a boogey man to many progressives, what with the serious problems it poses for practicing moral relativists, but morality forms the basis for practically all of our laws"

On behalf of all of those here to whom it was intended: thanks for the patronizing lecture Wooga. But it all depends on how you define "morality." I don't think morality exists in a vacuum. That is, if I lived in a universe where no other sentient beings existed, morality would cease to exist as well. That's b/c morality only comes into play vis a vis other beings.

That said, there is nothing immoral about homosexuality. If someone wants to be intimate with another willing partner of the same sex, no immoral conduct has taken place. That's why I also believe that taking "drugs" or otherwising harming oneself is not a morality issue either.

Compassion is at the root of morality. Right now fellow citizens are being denied rights that others enjoy solely b/c of their ingrained beliefs. True compassion is to understand their plight and help end the injustice. Immorality is continuing to ignore their rights and feelings and instead concocting frivolous arguments about how granting them these rights will somehow lead to the downfall of society.
3.21.2007 4:13pm
wooga:
Adeez,
"My church says gays are evil" is not a justification, it's what those who don't support or appreciate the separation of church and state say.
What about those who say "My church says liquor is the tool of the devil!" and then outlawed alcohol? That was a "justification" based on a moral determination. Eventually, the general public rejected that moral view, and repealed prohibition.

Why is morality suddenly (some time after Bowers in 1986 and before Lawrence in 2003) a forbidden justification for law? And where can I get in on the abandonment of morality? I have all sorts of laws I want thrown out which are based on nothing more than society's condemnation of my instinctual desires!
3.21.2007 4:17pm
wooga:
Immorality is continuing to ignore their rights and feelings and instead concocting frivolous arguments about how granting them these rights will somehow lead to the downfall of society.
So you are making a moral argument in favor of SSM. That's fine, but why am I a 'bigot' for making a moral argument against SSM? And why does your view of morality get to be the 'correct' one? If morality is truly a social construct, then the proper course of action would be to allow society to determine who has the correct take on morality, not you, me, or any other individuals.
3.21.2007 4:21pm
Ramza:

Why is morality suddenly (some time after Bowers in 1986 and before Lawrence in 2003) a forbidden justification for law? And where can I get in on the abandonment of morality? I have all sorts of laws I want thrown out which are based on nothing more than society's condemnation of my instinctual desires!


Because we live in a society where we say goverment has limited powers. Unless we give the goverment the power to interfere in that area of our lives, they don't have the power to do so. Remember it took a consitutional ammendment to create prohibition at the national level.

So unless you can point to me the clause in constiution X where it says you can do X because morality says so, and you offer no other explanation for your actions besides morality, then I will say morality is not a legimiate legal justification.
3.21.2007 4:23pm
Adeez (mail):
"So you are making a moral argument in favor of SSM. That's fine, but why am I a 'bigot' for making a moral argument against SSM? And why does your view of morality get to be the 'correct' one? If morality is truly a social construct, then the proper course of action would be to allow society to determine who has the correct take on morality, not you, me, or any other individuals."

First, I never actually called you a bigot. Really: read all my posts on this thread. I called those who oppose SSM for bigoted reasons bigots. Tautological, I know. But an important point nonetheless. Important b/c I humbly believe that the vast majority of those who oppose SSM do so for bigoted reasons.

I keep bringing up guns as a good counterexample. Although I disagree with many of those who are anti-gun control, I can understand their position and have a different view. Morality doesn't really enter the debate.

I never said morality was a "social construct." Indeed, the charge of "moral relativism" is often reflexively thrown at those here who identify as liberals by those who love to attack those who identify as liberals. Although I subsribe to no particular religion, I feel those Christians who say that we'll be judged by how we treat the least amongst us. In this instance, the "least" are those amongst us who only want what others already have, and an immutable characteristic (that harms NO ONE) is the only thing that keeps the state from granting them that right.

Your position, quoted above, is that morality is what the majority says it is. I wholeheartedly disagree.
3.21.2007 4:55pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

So you are making a moral argument in favor of SSM. That's fine, but why am I a 'bigot' for making a moral argument against SSM?


These are not opposite positions - opposite ones would be 'only same sex couples can license the contract' as opposed to 'only opposite sex couples' can - these would both be bigoted opinions because they don't allow for others to have differing opinions and acting on them.

Allowing people to choose from both points of view is not bigoted because it allows for people to hold differing opinions and acting on them.
3.21.2007 4:56pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I suspect marriage will also leave gays unsatisfied, not because of any real deficiency in the institution or their participation in it, but because society will simply see it as "gay marriage" rather than marriage.
3.21.2007 5:15pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Actually unlike the federal government, states can do pretty much whatever they like with the police power unless they are limited by some constitutional provision.
3.21.2007 5:16pm
Mark Field (mail):

I guess I'm not understanding at what point they are being treated differently. Is the different treatment the point when 1 group is provided marriage and another civil union? Or, is the different treatment the point when 1 with a civil union is treated differently from 1 with marriage?


Sorry for the confusion -- I didn't make this distinction before. I was addressing #1 and you were raising #2. I agree with the rest of your post.
3.21.2007 5:27pm
Yankev (mail):

The government must not redefine words by fiat, especially words whose plain meaning has been established for as long as the English language itself. The notion is rather Orwellian (in more ways than one). If it became a habit for the government, it would be quite chilling.



The British government did redefine marriage by fiat, and is now en route to shutting down Catholic adoption agencies for refusing to place children with same sex couples. The Catholic agencies do refer same sex couples to other agencies, and there has been no showing or even suggestion that their refusal to place children with same sex couples has resulted in any couple being unable to adopt a child.

Like it or not, there is a long-standing Judeo-Christian belief that homosexual conduct (as opposed to homosexual orientation) is immoral, and neither those who hold to that belief nor those who consider such a belief to be bigoted and immoral are likely to convince the other. But it is not realistic to believe that legalizing same sex unions, or calling such unions marriages is any more neutral toward religion than saying that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

NOT every culture has considered homosexuality sinful; the ancient Greeks, among others, considered it a higher form of love than heterosexuality. But they never created legally sanctioned same sex unions. The idea of marriage as a union of a man and a woman is cross-cultural and of long standing.

To those who posit that because some churches recognize same sex unions as marriage, government must do so to remain morally neutral, and that government must not be in the morality business -- you realize that many religions also recognize polygyny, and that different religions define incest differently. Must government permit any marriage that any religion would allow?

It appears that this is more than a struggle for legal rights. Those who hold long accepted (note that I did NOT say universally accepted) religiously based standards of morality are merely assumed to be bigots (or "biggots") for not abandoning them in favor of newer standards recently adopted by other religions. As the UK and Massachussets experiences demonstrate, this is not about tolerance but about replacement of traditional standards of morality with new and at least equally intolerant standards, so that anyone who does not say "Gay gezinterheit" (go in good health) is to be socially, legally and even criminally penalized.
3.21.2007 5:30pm
right dude:
I'm not sure I understand how "separation of church and state" has anything at all to do with people voting consistent with their morality...Unless you think all people with any religous beliefs should be disenfranchised. Of course people vote consistent with their morals, no matter where or how those morals were developed.

If I vote in favor of laws agasint murder, should my vote be thrown out because my belief in that regard is based solely upon the biblical prohibition on murder? Is your moral belief more valid simply because it isn't based upon "religion" (whatever that term means to you).
3.21.2007 5:30pm
Yankev (mail):

These are not opposite positions - opposite ones would be 'only same sex couples can license the contract' as opposed to 'only opposite sex couples' can - these would both be bigoted opinions because they don't allow for others to have differing opinions and acting on them.

Allowing people to choose from both points of view is not bigoted because it allows for people to hold differing opinions and acting on them.



Hardly. Penalties would be assessed against anyone unwilling to worship at the brave new altar of same sex marriage. We have already seen it in Mass., and they are seeing it now in the UK. Let's not pretend this is about government neutrality.
3.21.2007 5:34pm
MnZ (mail):

MnZ: there're over 1000 rights conferred by the federal gov. to married couples that would not apply to those in civil unions. Please don't ask me to recite them.


I know that, but isn't the Federal government one of those institutions that does not recognize same-sex marriage? Therefore, what federal benefits do same-sex civil unions not provide that same-sex marriages do provide?
3.21.2007 5:34pm
wooga:
Daniel Chapman put it succinctly. States have authority, and have always had the authority, to legislate morality. The most notorious examples were the anti-sodomy, anti-sex toy, anti-alcohol, and other anti-fun laws that are still on the books in many cases. Only in the late 20th did SCOTUS decide the federal gov't had authority to prohibit state moral meddling.

Adeez, you are right on the 'bigot' issue. I revoke that part of my comment and apologize. Regarding guns, I (not surprisingly) see gun ownership as a very moral issue, as gun ownership asserts my individualism and authority to defend my property with lethal force. Lots of moral judgments involved (property, economics, death).

Your position, quoted above, is that morality is what the majority says it is. I wholeheartedly disagree.


And what is the basis for your disagreement? I say it's your own view of morality. And that takes us right back to my central point.

Bob V.B., I don't understand your post. It looks like you are making a point about the technical meaning of the word 'bigot.'

As a point of clarification, I do not think that merely because something is 'immoral' it should be illegal. I just want people to acknowledge that morality has an important and justifiable role in determining whether we legalize/tolerate/consent/celebrate a certain act.
3.21.2007 5:37pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

Must government permit any marriage that any religion would allow?


The civil contract of marriage has nothing to do with any religious rite - 2 atheists can license a contract in any state of the Union.

As to the right itself, the government has a right to regulate even the most basic human rights - it just doesn't have a right to totally proscribe a citizen from doing so. There are no people who can only marry more than one spouse, there is no known condition where someone can only pair-bond with a close relative, so both of these conditions are mere regulation - the citizen still has a huge pool of potential spouses with which to license the contract. But there are people that by excluding same gender spouses you are effectively telling them they have a pool of zero potential candidates in which to exercise this right.

And that is what has changed - we used to think of same sex attraction as a mere vice, now we know (and we do know) that for whatever reason most people can only pair-bond with someone of a particular gender and for some that is the same gender as themselves.

And right dude - your argument is the same one used by many for proscribing interracial marriages and if it had been put up to a popular vote it too would have stayed the law of the land. Marriage is a fundamental right derived from our biology and any hinderance on it must be reasonable, limited, and regulation not proscription.
3.21.2007 5:44pm
FantasiaWHT:
If gay-rights activists are successful in changing the meaning of the word "marriage" to include a union of two people of the same sex, will animal-rights activists attempt to change the meaning of the word "murder" or "homicide" to include the intentional killing of animals?
3.21.2007 5:47pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

Bob V.B., I don't understand your post. It looks like you are making a point about the technical meaning of the word 'bigot.'
And in this instance how the inclusive position is not bigoted and the exclusionary one is.


As a point of clarification, I do not think that merely because something is 'immoral' it should be illegal. I just want people to acknowledge that morality has an important and justifiable role in determining whether we legalize/tolerate/consent/celebrate a certain act.


Depends on what you mean by 'morality' I guess. If you mean 'because that's the way we've always done it before' that would to me be a pretty flimsy reasoning that should fall before just about any onslaught. If you mean 'because its consistent with ethical principles' then I don't even see the debate existing - it was on the ethical morality of the right to marriage and equal rights under the law that Canada allowed marriage equality, qualities that the 'land of the free' should also share.

From my observations American morality is very different from religious morality and if the state hast to choose it should be the one based on American principles rather than religious dogma.
3.21.2007 5:51pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

Hardly. Penalties would be assessed against anyone unwilling to worship at the brave new altar of same sex marriage. We have already seen it in Mass., and they are seeing it now in the UK. Let's not pretend this is about government neutrality.
By 'unwilling to worship' I take it you mean someone wanting to tell some married couples they are not? Just illustrates my example - the bigoted opinion is that only one kind of couple qualifies as married and that anyone who doesn't met their criteria isn't regardless of whether the citizen actually is married or not.

Surely you must see that acting as if there is only one combination is bigoted, allowing married citizens to choose for themselves is not?
3.21.2007 6:00pm
Ramza:

Actually unlike the federal government, states can do pretty much whatever they like with the police power unless they are limited by some constitutional provision.

Nothing is stopping them besides their own state constitution. It has to be given to them as a power in that document.

Of course they can always modify their constitution to give them that power unless the Bill of Rights (the parts that were incorporated to the states) specifically says a state can't do so. Regardless they have to take that step to give themselves that power before they can assume it.

Some state constitutions give their governments far more power and leeway than the federal government. Other states are more constricting in what the state can do.
3.21.2007 6:09pm
RBG (mail):

By 'unwilling to worship' I take it you mean someone wanting to tell some married couples they are not? Just illustrates my example - the bigoted opinion is that only one kind of couple qualifies as married and that anyone who doesn't met their criteria isn't regardless of whether the citizen actually is married or not.

Surely you must see that acting as if there is only one combination is bigoted, allowing married citizens to choose for themselves is not?


Could you please clarify this? Do you mean that it's bigoted for any citizen to morally disapprove of behavior that is permitted by law? So it's bigoted for me to disapprove of marital infidelity and divorce, simply because our civil law permits both? If so, this is precisely the type of creeping totalitarianism and intolerance that many opponents of same-sex marriage fear. As long as a person treats others with respect, what's with the obsession of demanding that he or she also affirm another's lifestyle choices? Isn't the freedom to refuse to do so also a fundamental liberty that is worth protecting? I treat my colleagues and acquaintances who are cheating (or have cheated) on their spouses with the utmost respect, but I would politely decline to affirm their behavior if they sought such affirmance from me (and if they did so, I would consider it a presumptuous act on their part). If it's now impermissible for me to form my own moral judgments about the actions of others when those actions are permitted under law--if that renders me a bigot--well, I guess I'll bear that badge as a sign of my willingness to exercise one of the things that make us human: the capacity for moral judgment, even if I'm wrong.
3.21.2007 6:22pm
Falafalafocus (mail):
Bob V.B.,

Then wouldn't you agree that we should stop trying to justify those other crimes based on religious grounds? Specifically: thou shalt not murder, and thou shalt not steal.

You, of course, are quite free to argue that these laws have very strong utilitarian grounds or societal benefits, but their underlying foundation is religious or based on the Golden Rule (and if it is based on the Golden Rule, I would ask you whether you really would want our entire society based on that approach).

In fact, I would venture to say that all "American principles" which amount to societal morality (as opposed to "religious dogma") stem from religious principle that there is something greater than the self. Most religions call that "something greater" G-d. Political theorists call it "government", or "society", or individual rights", etc. Just like the original post, we can change the name, but the fact remains that the law is grounded in moral principles.

Another commenter argued that morality is not dictated by the majority. I think that conflates two forms of morality: personal morality and societal morality. Society does not dictate to me what I believe to be moral. If I believe that the law is immoral, I have the right and the obligation to try to change the law. I would, of course, only use lawful and peaceful means because I also have the moral belief that a just cause must be fought justly. Not everyone shares that moral foundation.

However, so long as we still believe in the police power, the majority has the same right to impose the majority's view of morality on the rest of us.

Before the argument is made about concentration camps and such, please keep in mind that I am not advocating society's absolute right to legislate notwithstanding the constitution. Unless and until the constitution is amended, society still regards constitutional rights as the highest moral principles. But then, the debate about SSM is not about 14th amendment equal protection or 5th or 14th amendment due process rights and whether the state can legislate for or against SSM, but rather whether the state should legislate.

You may not agree with it, but that's the whole point.

Just for Adeez,
I fully believe that the state has the authority to refuse recognition for SSM. I'll go one further and argue that they have the authority to ignore calls for civil unions. I also think that states would be wise to get out of the SSM/civil union debate and just call everything a civil union. I also believe that all law, at bottom is morally based, even those lowly 2nd Amendment issues. I eagerly await you decision as to whether I am one of those "most people" who are the bigots. Please do not keep me in suspense on this issue.
3.21.2007 6:24pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
pair bond
--noun Animal Behavior. 1. a partnership between a mating couple that lasts through one season, serving primarily in the cooperative rearing of young.

--verb (used without object) 1. (of a mating couple) to form and maintain a pair bond.

American Heritage Dictionary - pair bond
n. The temporary or permanent association formed between a female and male animal during courtship and mating.

American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary -
pair bond
n.

The temporary or permanent association formed between a female and male animal during courtship and mating.

Just thought I'd point that out... I don't know where you got the word from, but it doesn't work to say people can only "pair bond" with their own gender. The term implies reproduction.
3.21.2007 6:31pm
Yankev (mail):
Falafalafocus

You cite the Golden Rule as a possible source of morality that is not based on religion. Are you unaware that the Golden Rule has a religious basis, and is the Christian scripture's rewording of Hillel's dictum as reported in the Mishnah? Or that the rule is unique, as far as I know, to the Judeo-Christian religions?

That aside, I thought your exploration of the concept of "bigotry" was right on point. We are being asked to replace a supposed intolerance with a greater intolerance, one that will silence every non-conforming religion in the name of freedom and tolerance. Melanie Phillips has characterized the result in the UK as Orwellian, and she is right.
3.21.2007 6:34pm
wooga:

Depends on what you mean by 'morality' I guess.

Bob, that again goes right back to my central point, repeated again and again. Progressives pretend that the laws they like are "objective" and not the result of imposing their moral views on others, and pretend that only the laws which offend their personal morality are somehow "legislating morality."

In reality, there are laws you like and don't like, all based on morality. You may disagree or agree with the moral assumptions and judgments enshrined in a particular law, but your dis/agreement is still a moral one. How do we resolve these moral disagreements? Well most of the world, including Canada, has opted to allow certain 'elites' dictate the progress of morality. In America, we let the common man vote it out.

I believe in democracy, even when it results in morons winning high offices and stupid laws cramping my pursuit of happiness (e.g., limiting my access to high quality porn). The democracy-oligarchy distinction is a reflection of a differing view of government (democracy empowers an individual because it weakens the 'dangerous' government, and oligarchy does the reverse in favor of the 'benevolent' government). And that's the source of my willingness to allow moral legislation by the people.
3.21.2007 6:51pm
wooga:
Or that the rule is unique, as far as I know, to the Judeo-Christian religions?
It's in the Gita, I don't remember the specific phrasing. I suppose I could google it. And Zoroaster said something similar. It's a pretty wide spread and universal concept, even in as bland a form as the categorical imperative. It just took a much greater prominence in the J-C tradition.
3.21.2007 7:02pm
ctb:
Dale said:

"It is a struggle for equal dignity, recognition, legitimacy, and respect under the law. That is something only full marriage can provide because it is a relationship that families, friends, co-workers, and employers readily understand."

If all of a sudden marriage meant something else, then they wouldn't so readily understand it now would they? So I don't understand what you were trying to say there.

In the first senence you make a legal argument for equality under the law (which I don't think requires marriage or civil unions), but in the second its equal dignity, recognition, legitimacy and respect by your peers that you want. That of course cant' be solved by legislation. But it seems clear that that is why a lot of gays want gay marriage, not so that they can have "the benefits of marriage" but so that people will all of a sudden think that it's ok to be gay and everything that goes with it. That is apparently your argument here, and I don't think legislation is the right way to indoctrinate. Don't we always hear that we shouldn't legislate morals? Well that is what these people who complain about civil unions are trying to do.
3.21.2007 7:06pm
CrosbyBird:
Or that the [Golden] rule is unique, as far as I know, to the Judeo-Christian religions?

The Golden Rule is absolutely not unique to Judeo-Christian religions. It is common to a wide variety of cultures and religions.

Islam:
"None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."
Hinduism:
"This is the sum of duty; do naught unto others what you would not have them do unto you."
Confucianism
"What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others."
Sihkism:
"As you see yourself, see others as well; only then will you become a partner in heaven."
Buddhism:
"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."
Bahai:
"Wish not for others what you wish not for yourselves"

Seneca the Younger (a 1st century Roman) said "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors."

Aristotle said ""We should bear ourselves toward others as we would desire they should bear themselves toward us." See also Plato "May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me." and Socrates "What stirs your anger when done to you by others, that do not do to others."

The concept of the Golden Rule is likely only slightly younger than the concept of human society. It is not a surprise that it is a fundamental moral principle in nearly every culture or religion because without such a belief, it would be difficult to be at all civilized.
3.21.2007 7:18pm
Yankev (mail):
Wooga,

It's in the Gita, I don't remember the specific phrasing. I suppose I could google it. And Zoroaster said something similar.


I was not aware of that.

ctb

But it seems clear that that is why a lot of gays want gay marriage, not so that they can have "the benefits of marriage" but so that people will all of a sudden think that it's ok to be gay and everything that goes with it. That is apparently your argument here, and I don't think legislation is the right way to indoctrinate. Don't we always hear that we shouldn't legislate morals?


Of course we do, but the unspoken coda is "except the ones that I deem fundamental to society." This is why there is little disagreement that society should punish murder, but major disagreement over what constitutes murder and what the appropriate penalty should be.

As you and others have pointed out, the question is not so much whether we will legislate morality as it is whose morality we will legislate. Those who claim it is intolerant to refuse to redefine marriage to their taste often show very little tolerance toward those who think that millennia of experience should not be lightly tampered with, or who refuse to jettison Judaeo-Christian values for the feel good morality of the day.

The comparison to anti-miscegenation laws is too silly to merit a response, and is frankly insulting to those who suffered from Jim Crow. Numerous societies (and most US states) recognized the legitimacy of interracial marriages; the anti-miscegenation laws were an artificial construct. The idea that marriage is between people of opposite sexes is a long-standing cross cultural social institution, as well as a mainstay of traditional morality. (Interestingly enough, in Jewish tradition, it was stated that even in the most licentious societies, men do not marry other men, and it was a measure of the immorality of the generation of the flood that the men of that generation did so.)

Similarly, I find unconvincing the attempt to construct principled arguments to distinguish between refusing to sanction same sex unions and unions that are e.g. consanginous, otherwise incestuous or polygamous.
3.21.2007 7:32pm
Yankev (mail):
CrosbyBird

The concept of the Golden Rule is likely only slightly younger than the concept of human society.

Thank you for the sources you quoted. I stand corrected.
3.21.2007 7:34pm
Roy Haddad (mail):
Bob Van Burkleo:

I have (independently) come to an analysis of the issue almost exactly like yours - I counted four kinds of marriage. The ones you mentioned, and also marriage before God. Whether one exists or not, the concept has a certain meaning that is not adequately captured by any the others: It is conceivable that a God exists and that It considers two persons to be married on It's own terms.
3.21.2007 7:47pm
Nick H.:
the religious rite of marriage - a ritual that merely officially marks for other believers of the existence of the pair-bond. Just a celebration of a marriage that has occurred, not marriage itself.

Of all the posts thusfar, I found this one the most interesting. The religious approach required for this sort of approach to the rite of marriage is very modern. Essentially, you are saying that major religious rites are more ceremonial and worldy than spiritual. Fair enough, that is a pretty common theology.

I bring this up because it is wildly different than my (and other) faith's approaches towards marriage and other rites.
3.21.2007 8:06pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Could you please clarify this? Do you mean that it's bigoted for any citizen to morally disapprove of behavior that is permitted by law?
No, of course you have a right to morally disapprove. 'Bigotry' is when you say yours is the only valid point of view others can hold. I morally disapprove of the superstitious. Yet when I ran a business I would never have considered not hiring them, I would accomodate their superstitious holidays and practices, and would not require them to act in a non-superstitious way - as an American I never would even consider that an option. See the difference? Disapprove of gay people and their marriages all you want but don't say the state can't recognize them just to suit your beliefs or say that you are going to treat them as less than law-abiding American citizens with the same right to choose their path as you have.
Then wouldn't you agree that we should stop trying to justify those other crimes based on religious grounds? Specifically: thou shalt not murder, and thou shalt not steal.

Hmmm our law is anglosaxon based, pre-Christian, pagan at the very least. One only needs to look at the JudeoChristian 10 commandments to realize that they are NOT the basis of American law - few have ever been statutes and those that have exist in some form or another in all societies.
but the fact remains that the law is grounded in moral principles.
I don't see that as a fact at all but even so that would mean law abiding citizens who marry should be able to license the civil contract in support of marriage. That would be even the Xtian moral principle, right?
I don't know where you got the word from, but it doesn't work to say people can only "pair bond" with their own gender. The term implies reproduction.
That there is heterosexual bias in sexual terminology is a given. I am talking about the vasopressin/oxytocin mediated mammalian pair-bonding response which in some animals does last only a season and in others is life long (google search voles and oxytocin to get up to speed). Humans have very strong pair-bonding mechanisms which are the basis of romantic love and marriage due to love. These biological mechanisms are in the majority towards the opposite gender but are just as trigger-able between those of the same gender.

Do some research on oxytocin and how it initiates and maintains human pair-bonds and its longterm benefits to the individual's physical and emotional health as well as society. We are understanding more about the biological basis of romantic love all the time and its becoming clear humans are made to marry and as such it is as much a right as any other given to us by the Creator whether you think of that as the forces of evolution or a magic sky father.

Government doesn't give us rights, a 'moral' one merely acknowledges the ones we have.
Progressives pretend that the laws they like are "objective" and not the result of imposing their moral views on others, and pretend that only the laws which offend their personal morality are somehow "legislating morality."
Sounds like a nice strawman to me. Our nation was based on individual based rights and by implication that everyone has them means we are 'morally' obligated to give individuals the greatest latitude possible in exercising them.

The definition of tolerance is allowing someone to think or do something even if it was something you would not yourself - isn't the core morality of America really tolerance? If anything that is the morality of 'progressives' that I perceive.

But we do have to answer the question - do I have a right to 'tolerance', a liberty of action? A right to choose, to make my own decisions as long as it doesn't step on your right to make your own decisions? I would have thought that was a 'given' but so many of these kind of discussions lead me to think that 'non-progressives' think I don't have a right to choose, that they have a right to choose for me or at least limit my choices even if my decision doesn't directly impact them.

I would suggest that giving people options and acknowledging their right to choose is not a 'moral' view as much as it is a core 'American' view. Call it moral if you must but it is one that all Americans can be presumed to share, correct? If so then letting each person choose their path, including their spouse, is something all Americans should want to allow, even if that choice isn't one they would make themselves. Limiting someone's right to choose must first involve their exercising it infringes somehow on someone else's rights at the very least, correct?

This is a constitutional democratic republic, not a simple democracy. No the masses are only allowed to do things that conform to the 'morality' of the constitution and the founding principles. One of the core concepts is that people have innate rights and they have wide latitude in exercising them regardless of the will of the majority. if that isn't true then calling this the 'nation of the free' is and would always have been a lie - it would just be a 'nation of the mob'.
3.21.2007 8:10pm
Oren:

They may someday call themselves married but Married they will never be. It is impossible. Calling something marriage or even winning in getting it leagally called marriage will NEVER make gay or lesbian couples married. Unless they really think they can redefine marriage. Which is what they have been after all along.


Such a presciptivist view on language is quite out of place in a social context. As I've said before, I know plenty of gay couples that were married and nobody that I knew ever considered their union to be anything other than a marriage.
3.21.2007 8:11pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

Whether one exists or not, the concept has a certain meaning that is not adequately captured by any the others: It is conceivable that a God exists and that It considers two persons to be married on It's own terms.

Roy I can see adding that as slightly different than the religious rite in that you can perform the religious rite whether what you suggest has actually happened or not - they just assume it has - while yours is definitively saying it actually has happened.
3.21.2007 8:28pm
right dude:
Bob Van B,

I'm a bit confused. Who exactly has infringed on your right to choose? You say you are married...that's great. Sounds like no one prevented you from making that choice. Sounds like you already have the right that you seek. The law actaully acknowledges your right to consider yourself married. You chose your spouse and no one got in the way. You got the right to tolerance and liberty of action that you seek.

So, your unhappiness must stem from the fact that you really want other rights.

It seems what you really want is to force others to appreciate and respect your marriage. But that is a choice that is everyone else's to make... I am married (in multiple senses of that word including the legal one) to someone of a different race. Fact of life is that many do not respect that, no matter what a law or a religion might say. I tend not to hang around with those people.

The rest of it is really all about money. Is it that you want certain benefits conferred upon heterosexual legally married couples? So the fundamental rights you seek are: insurance benefits, community property, hospital vistiation, social security benefits etc.?

But that can't be it, since the civil union or domestic partnerships that you and (back to the subject of this post) many others are rejecting would offer many of those benefits....just not in the package you want them in and not with the respect that you seek. Unfortunately, you can't legislate respect.
3.21.2007 8:40pm
Falafalafocus (mail):
Yankev:

I used to know that the Golden Rule has religious origins. My favorite version comes from Rabbi Akiba. But I forgot that when I had written the post. My appologies. I don't think that that fact hinders my argument though.

Bob V.D.:

In response to my comment that "the fact remains that the law is grounded in moral principles", you stated:


I don't see that as a fact at all but even so that would mean law abiding citizens who marry should be able to license the civil contract in support of marriage. That would be even the Xtian moral principle, right?


I don't know if we are disagreeing at this point. You want to replace a specifical societal moral choice that you disagree with by arguing that there is a higher societal morality that requires removing that choice. In other words, the "moral choice" to ban SSM is contrary to the morality of removing contract choice. Sounds Lochneresque, but you make a compelling argument to me.

I still wait Adeez's finding as to whether I am a bigot.
3.21.2007 8:50pm
Adeez (mail):
I fully believe that the state has the authority to refuse recognition for SSM. I'll go one further and argue that they have the authority to ignore calls for civil unions. I also think that states would be wise to get out of the SSM/civil union debate and just call everything a civil union. I also believe that all law, at bottom is morally based, even those lowly 2nd Amendment issues. I eagerly await you decision as to whether I am one of those "most people" who are the bigots. Please do not keep me in suspense on this issue.
Falafalafocus

Wow. I didn't intend to post anymore, but no one's been so eager for my opinion in a while, and you did ask please. A proper response would have to be in person, preferably over our intoxicants of choice. So the following will have to do.

1. I never said the state didn't have the authority to refuse to recognize SSM. But since you bring it up, I suppose the point is debatable. One could argue that there's Establishment Clause implications, as well as Equal Protection and Due Process. But reasonable people may disagree.

2. As for "states would be wise to get out of the SSM/civil union debate and just call everything a civil union," then we agree. I made that same point in my first post. Civil unions for any two consenting adults who want one, provided they're both single. For those who choose to be married, let them take that up with their respective houses of worship. This I guess is legislating morality, inasmuch as you can call treating a group of citizens---belonging to an oppressed minority solely because of a preference they were born with---as equal to those born with the majority preference moral. By being in this group, they are being denied access to a cherished institution that's at the very foundation of our society. Just another undeserved stigma. That shocks my conscience; perhaps not yours.

3. Whether all law is morally based: maybe. I don't have the time for that one. But even like jaywalking and stuff?

4. Whether you're a bigot: my earlier post used the definition of "bigot" as "one fanatically devoted to one's own group . . . and intolerant of those who differ." I don't know enough about you to answer that, and I wouldn't call your comment bigoted, so I most definitely give you the benefit of the doubt and say no.

And Wooga: I'd already forgiven you
3.21.2007 9:01pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

So, your unhappiness must stem from the fact that you really want other rights.
Right Dude that is one massive strawman that you just built and run with. No I want a right I already have - equal access to government. I'm a married citizen, why can't I license the civil contract in support of marriage that other married citizens can? I am married to someone that is completely marriable, who would be an recognized cosigner to a huge number of other marriable citizens, yet he isn't for me. Why?

Oh and if you knew me you would be laughing at the idea that I want anyone's respect; think of the typical James Woods character and amp it. I just want my government to do what its designed to do, give all citizens equal rights, equal protection, and equal access to it including my ability to license the civil contract of marriage just like all the other married citizens.

But that can't be it, since the civil union or domestic partnerships that you and (back to the subject of this post) many others are rejecting would offer many of those benefits
Well there is no evidence that many are 'rejecting' these 'marriage lite' solutions more like they are embracing them - 4x as many licenses issued for civil unions per incidence population as compared to marriage contracts in the first month is great, not 'rejection' so that strawman burned down before it got out of the field.
3.21.2007 9:08pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
What I can't figure out is why government has any say in who can marry. If "marriage" is a legal contract then it should be like any other civil contract. In other words it should be defined by those entering the contract.

That's how it was until the 16th century (Council of Trent, I think). A marriage was binding if the two people agreed. You could get married in a few seconds.

It changed because there was uncertainty (one person said there was an agreement, the other said it was just an agreement to agree later), which could lead to a bigamy prosecution later. And impetuous teenagers were getting married all over the place without family approval. So the first move was to require that marriage be in front of a priest. Youngsters started cornering priests after mass and announcing they were married. So they put in more requirements -- officially register, have it announced at three masses before the event, etc.

Columbus' grandson had a heck of a mess. He privately married, holding her hand thru the bars of a locked door in the middle of the night. The families decided to hush it up and ignore it. He and she married other people, proper ceremony. His second marriage was unhappy, so he decided to use the first to get it annulled as bigamous. Without waiting for that, he married a third time, and wound up prosecuted. On his way to serve a sentence of exile, he married a fourth time.

When he tried to have the second one anulled, the first wife was passing thru his island with her family, and he had her detained as a witness. Her husband did not appreciate it, of course, and hurled a wonderful insult: "Just think -- if you win, I'll be able to say I slept with the Governor's wife for ten years, and had two children by her!"
3.21.2007 9:15pm
Joshua:
Re: replacing all marriage w/ civil unions and leaving marriage to organized religion (see discussion earlier in this thread): The upshot of that would be that any two people can get a civil union, but only people in organized religions could get married. For those who regard civil unions as second-class marriage, wouldn't that amount to replacing same-sex discrimination with religious discrimination?
3.21.2007 9:36pm
right dude:
Well there is no evidence that many are 'rejecting' these 'marriage lite' solutions more like they are embracing them - 4x as many licenses issued for civil unions per incidence population as compared to marriage contracts in the first month is great, not 'rejection' so that strawman burned down before it got out of the field.


It wasn't my strawman...it was the entire premise of the original post. Maybe his statistics are incorrect or his interpretation of them is incorrect.
3.21.2007 9:37pm
Randy R. (mail):
"The comparison to anti-miscegenation laws is too silly to merit a response, and is frankly insulting to those who suffered from Jim Crow."

Not really. Coretta Scott King was in favor of SSM, and allowing gays to have all the same rights as straights, and she said that MLK would have agreed with her.

" Numerous societies (and most US states) recognized the legitimacy of interracial marriages;"

Nope. In 1950, almost all states prohibited interracial marriage.

" the anti-miscegenation laws were an artificial construct. The idea that marriage is between people of opposite sexes is a long-standing cross cultural social institution, as well as a mainstay of traditional morality."

Really? And so when the nobility in olden times would marry off their children, often as young as toddlers, that was an expression of traditional morality? Arranged marriages are common throughout the world today. Another aspect of traditional morality?

"Interestingly enough, in Jewish tradition, it was stated that even in the most licentious societies, men do not marry other men."

Certainly true. And even in the most liecntious of societies, slavery was common, so that's a traditional morality as well, right?

", and it was a measure of the immorality of the generation of the flood that the men of that generation did so."

Try actually reading the Bible. As you say, men did not marry one another in Biblcal times, so that hardly could have been common in any generation.

One last thing: You forget the marriage of Roman Emperor Hadrian to a young man named Antinous. After Antinous died in a boating accident, Hadrian was inconsolable, and elevated Antinous to status of 'god', naned a city after him, and until the 19th C., there were more ancient busts of Antinous in existence than any other person.
3.21.2007 9:52pm
Mark Field (mail):

Nope. In 1950, almost all states prohibited interracial marriage.


I'm on your side, but this is overstated. According to the book Virginia Hasn't Always Been For Lovers, 41 states had such laws at one time or another, but in 1948 only 30 did. By 1963 the number was down to 24, and it was 16 in 1967. Page 38.
3.21.2007 10:01pm
wooga:
Bob, a couple points of yours:
Government doesn't give us rights, a 'moral' one merely acknowledges the ones we have.
Our nation was based on individual based rights and by implication that everyone has them means we are 'morally' obligated to give individuals the greatest latitude possible in exercising them.

But where do the 'rights' come from? Poof!
The Declaration of Independence identified the source of "inalienable rights." Other rights are "alienable" insofar as they are sourced in the state. But "inalienable rights" are religious --> moral.

- isn't the core morality of America really tolerance? If anything that is the morality of 'progressives' that I perceive.
I would suggest that giving people options and acknowledging their right to choose is not a 'moral' view as much as it is a core 'American' view. Call it moral if you must but it is one that all Americans can be presumed to share, correct?

Historically, no. America was a very intolerant place. For example, until 1986, sodomy was illegal in Georgia, for example (Bowers). "Tolerance" of behaviors is a very modern development, and involves a rejection of the moral condemnation of certain acts. "Tolerance" of people is a very old concept, and forms the core of the "Jesus was a hippie" fallacy. It's a status-behavior distinction, which SCOTUS acknowledged in Romer v. Evans, but rejected in Lawrence (except O'Connor held onto the status-behavior distinction).

Limiting someone's right to choose must first involve their exercising it infringes somehow on someone else's rights at the very least, correct?
The 'right' in question has to come from somewhere. Otherwise there are no standards at all to define what is and isn't a right (I have a right to eat polar bear corn dogs!). State or god?

One of the core concepts is that people have innate rights and they have wide latitude in exercising them regardless of the will of the majority.
Yes, innate rights given to men by their Creator. These rights were not unlimited. They were commonly understood and agreed upon. For example, there was no right to sodomy. The "right to sodomy" didn't appear for a couple hundred years after this country was founded. Do you contend that it was really an "innate" right all along, and the founders just didn't realize it? Or will you concede that the "right to sodomy" is merely a right conferred by modern society, and as such is alienable?

Some rights were important enough to insulate from the mood swings of the masses, and thus warranted elevation to Constitutional status. But even the Constitutional rights could be eliminated by Amendment by the (super) majority of the people! Of course, I'm sure that if enough states ratified a Constitutional Amendment revoking the Establishment Clause, there would still be some lawyer out there arguing "the Amendment is unconstitutional."
3.21.2007 10:06pm
wooga:
Randy,
Arranged marriages are common throughout the world today. Another aspect of traditional morality?

Yes. My in-laws were arranged, in fact. It comes from a moral view that man-woman love and lust are immoral, and marriage serves some other purpose (typically procreation). So that's a moral law which the vast majority of America abhors, and we don't legislate that sort of morality. Instead, America decided (and keeps deciding) to legislate that man-man love is immoral, and marriage serves some other purpose (who knows what that purpose is anymore - traditionally it was to create a covenant with God). Eventually, America will come around to abhor this morality as well. Most Americans know that; we just want it to not happen until the people's morality has changed, rather than when our robed overlords command us to change.
3.21.2007 10:14pm
A Berman (mail):
Dale,
Look deep inside of yourself and admit that this is a strategic disaster for the SSM movement. What happens to the arguments touted over and over again about the '1300 benefits of Marriage' being denied gay couples?

As far as respect-- respect must be earned, not granted or voted on. Marriage is important and respected throughout history for reasons that go to the very survival of societies. Gay unions can never be respected in that manner, and that's all there is to it.
3.21.2007 10:26pm
Ken Arromdee:
Not really. Coretta Scott King was in favor of SSM, and allowing gays to have all the same rights as straights, and she said that MLK would have agreed with her.

MLK was also a great fan of the North Vietnamese and an unabashed socialist, as well as a supporter of slave reparations. I don't consider "MLK liked this" to be much of an argument for anything.

He was also known for his infidelity... which makes him a rather bad reference for anything related to marriage, whether straight or gay.

And on top of that, it's by no means clear he supported gay marriage anyway. True, his widow says he did, but his daughter says he didn't.
3.21.2007 10:27pm
Oren (mail):

Re: replacing all marriage w/ civil unions and leaving marriage to organized religion (see discussion earlier in this thread): The upshot of that would be that any two people can get a civil union, but only people in organized religions could get married. For those who regard civil unions as second-class marriage, wouldn't that amount to replacing same-sex discrimination with religious discrimination?


Only in the sense that you think it's religious discrimination that only catholics can receive communion. The point is, once removed entirely from the purview of the state, people can do with it as they please.

As I said before in this thread, I know gay couples that have gotten married in the eyes of everyone except the state. Some were religious and were married by a priest - others were non-religious and were married by laymen. The point is, once marriage becomes a non-governmental function, we need not worry about how and by whom they are conducted.
3.21.2007 11:13pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

Yes, innate rights given to men by their Creator. These rights were not unlimited. They were commonly understood and agreed upon.


I might agree that the concept of unalienable rights was "commonly understood and agreed upon." But you are dead wrong when you say "they were not unlimited." The historical record aptly demonstrates that the Founders believed the rights of man were indeed unlimited -- so numerous that they were unenumerable, hence the 9th Amendment and hence the declaration asserting that "liberty" in its broad and general sense is an unalienable right.
3.22.2007 12:17am
Randy R. (mail):
Wooga: Arranged marriages: So that's a moral law which the vast majority of America abhors, and we don't legislate that sort of morality."

If arranged marriages are abhored by Americans, then why are they not banned? AFterall, you are the one arguing that law should reflect our moralities.

Ken: "And on top of that, it's by no means clear he supported gay marriage anyway. True, his widow says he did, but his daughter says he didn't."

True. And Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are in favor of gay marriage. My point is not how many black people are in favor , or what they would think. My point was simply to refute the notion that equating gay rights with civil rights for blacks is not 'insulting', as one person stated.

Berman: "Marriage is important and respected throughout history for reasons that go to the very survival of societies."

This is the very generalized baloney that really drives me up the wall. It sounds all warm and cozy, and upon inspection it makes no sense whatsoever. Marriage is hardly respected in the US when at least 50% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce. That's not counting the ones which are miserable marriages, or ones where people are cheating on another. How can marriage be respected when Britney Spears gets drunk one night and marries her friend, only to get divorced less than one day later? How can marriage be respected when people like Anna Nicole Smith marries a billionnaire in his 90s? Oh okay -- I'm sure she was deeply in love, and the fact that he had money had nothing to do with it. But you WILL grant me the fact that there are plenty of people who marry mainly for money, or social status, or something other than true love. There are also sham marriages, one's made for variouis reasons, whether to allow someone into the country as an immigrant, or whatever. It might be a sham, but it's legally recognized and confers all the same rights and benefits as any other.

So you demand that we respect every one of those marriages. But when two men want to get married for no other reason than that they love each other, want to honor each other, grow old, and take care of each other, THAT is deserving of no respect?

Okay fine. But as Charles Krauthammer said, the horses already left the barn. There are thousands of gay couples who currently have children. How do you think the next generation is going to respect marriage when people see that you want to keep the parents of children unmarried? How exactly does that benefit the children of gay parents? Oh -- I guess we just forget about them, right?

Andrew Sullivan predicted that as gay people continue to form long term partnerships and live perfectly normal lives, raising children, going to work every day, revitalizing neighborhoods, and yet not married because of these silly laws, then the next generation of heteros will say, hey, if gays can make a decent life without marriage, so can I.

If you want to destroy marriage, the best way is to show that people can live just as easily without it. And that is exactly what gay people are doing all across the country. The best way to preserve marriage is to show that it is the best institution for two people, whether they are raising children or not, and allow us to get married.
3.22.2007 12:19am
Alec (www):
I feel this conversation has devolved, but I will throw in my own two cents on the issue at hand.

I am not certain that gay couples are "rejecting" civil unions in NJ. Remember, NJ had a fairly comprehensive domestic partnership law on the books when the NJ high court handed down its decision. As some have already pointed out, even in the absence of any state-sanctioned legal protection, gay couples had made numerous financial and contractual arrangements, and upsetting those arrangements does impose costs, and takes time. When you couple those arrangements with those who have taken advantage of domestic partnership legislation and need to now transition to civil unions, that is at least potentially another layer. Californian couples had the same problem; the state-wide domestic partnership protections are an organic creature that grew over several years, while couples had already signed domestic partnership arrangements in cities. And let's not forget the complicated federal tax arrangements. Additionally, as others have pointed out, the numbers seem somewhat inconclusive given past data on DP registry and marriages.

It is interesting, actually, that "separate but equal," as described by Mr. Goldstein in this post, is actually similar (different, but similar) to the apartheid regimes. Fine in theory, awful in practice. No one debated that races had to be treated equally, ownly that this could be accomplished by separate treatment. Whether you say "civil unions provide equal benefits" or "gays can always marry...members of the opposite sex" you do really have a similar principle. It just so happens that the Supreme Court invented levels of scrutiny, race gets strict, sexual orientation gets rational (or rational with bite, depending on how one reads the case law).

To the above commentator who talked about the inability to compare the situation to race, I agree again that it is different. But not all disadvantaged groups are without money (does one really doubt that Jews are not disadvantaged? And Jews do not fit easily into the race/culture/religion identification matrix, as a class). Moreover, economic discrimination is a) present for gays and b) not the only significant form of discrimination. Eviction? Yup. I worked at a fair housing commission for a semester and testing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation revealed a bias only surpassed by disability. It also plays out in custody battles, criminal justice, etc. No, not all groups are disadvantaged equally, but that does not justify withholding protection.

That being said, I am a bit skeptical about Mr. Goldstein's claim that couples have already started to encounter this, as it seems unlikely there would be many incidents so soon.

As for the gay marriage or civil unions/domestic partnership strategy, advocates of "traditional" marriage have shot themselves in the foot by fighting so adamantly. Unmarried heterosexual couples uninterested in the institution will soon find themselves with a menu of options, and in the end I suspect that growing public acceptance will lead to gay marriage (maybe not for decades, but I suspect it will). Even if it did not, the marriage amendments are likely to be repealed because of their broad language and unanticipated side effects. Not only for gay couples, but for unmarried couples.
3.22.2007 12:43am
Ramza:
Note also its just the first month. You don't judge anything statistically with such a small dataset.

For example let say a gay couple in NJ want to get a domestic partnership. They also want to make getting the license something special. Thus they ritualized it, they may throw a big event (such as many families due with their son or daughter gets married) or they may be waiting for a special occasion (such as an anniversary).

I ain't saying these are the main or the only reasons why relying on one months data set to prove a general pattern is very foolish, just possible reasons that can be externalities.
3.22.2007 12:49am
Roy Haddad (mail):

Roy I can see adding that as slightly different than the religious rite in that you can perform the religious rite whether what you suggest has actually happened or not - they just assume it has - while yours is definitively saying it actually has happened.


I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here, but note that even if one thinks that a religious rite is necessary and/or sufficient for God's recognition, then it may often be performed privately (c.f. Romeo and Juliet). The usual way it is done I would not call "religious", but rather "social" , because it serves a distinct purpose of declaring before the community the arrangement (unlike a private rite). And it can be insincere, which is why it is not the same as any of the other kinds of marriage.
3.22.2007 2:19am
wooga:
Randy,
If arranged marriages are abhored by Americans, then why are they not banned? AFterall, you are the one arguing that law should reflect our moralities.
You do know that consent of both parties to the wedding is a prerequisite in America, right?

Either you made some weird typo which totally changed the meaning of your post, or you have no idea what an "arranged marriage" is (hint: having wedding planner does not make it 'arranged').

Out of pity, I will end this post without a full depantsing.
3.22.2007 3:19am
Brian K (mail):
Guest44,


As a supporter of gay marriage, I nevertheless believe this is evidence that there is a such thing as a "slippery slope."


It would only be a slippery slope if most gays wanted civil unions in the first place and then used that as a spring board to get to marriage. That's not true. Most gays have wanted marriage all along and civil unions were brought out as a "compromise" by the anti-gay crowd. It clearly is not a compromise that most homosexuals are willing to accept.
3.22.2007 5:37am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
You must not have heard all the "Who cares about marriage? We just want the tax benefits, etc." arguments for the last ten years or so... opponents have been saying all the long that civil unions wouldn't be a valid compromise.
3.22.2007 9:00am
inahandbasket:
"I suspect marriage will also leave gays unsatisfied, not because of any real deficiency in the institution or their participation in it, but because society will simply see it as "gay marriage" rather than marriage."

Point one: Have you actually discussed your suspicion with actual gay people? I suspect not. As an actual lesbian in a long term relationship with my wife your suspicion is specious.

Point two: There is no such thing as "gay marriage" or "same sex marriage." It is MARRIAGE and same sex couples desire marriage EQUALITY, not watered down domestic partnership legislation or civil unions. Those of us on the pro side of the marriage equality movement need to start calling it marriage equality, not "gay" or "same sex" marriage. Word DO matter and I agree with your last statement. Those opposed to marriage equality will continue to use the term "gay marriage" as a pejorative.
3.22.2007 10:25am
Yankev (mail):

Try actually reading the Bible. As you say, men did not marry one another in Biblcal times, so that hardly could have been common in any generation.


Before you get quite so arch about Jewish tradition, Randy, try reading the Midrash. And the Gemara, in this case particularly the Aggadta. For that matter, try reading Rashi's annotations to what you call "the Bible" -- as my Rabbi used to say, "what is learned without Rashi is not (properly) learned." Then we can talk about what Jewish tradition teaches about SSM. Until then, your references to the unexplicated English translation of a Greek translation of what was never intended to be a stand alone document in the first place is guaranteed to give you a misleading picture of Jewish religious thought and translation. Belief in the Oral Law is perhaps the biggest distinction between traditional Judaism and Christianity.

Someone wrote

I am talking about the vasopressin/oxytocin mediated mammalian pair-bonding response which in some animals does last only a season and in others is life long (google search voles and oxytocin to get up to speed). Humans have very strong pair-bonding mechanisms which are the basis of romantic love and marriage due to love. These biological mechanisms are in the majority towards the opposite gender but are just as trigger-able between those of the same gender.

In other words, we are talking about human beings who want to act with the morality of the animal world. I guess that's fine if one believes that we are merely articulate primates.

As to the observation

Marriage is hardly respected in the US when at least 50% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce.

perhaps we should also abolish traffic laws, given the number of people who ignore them.

Finally as to the observation

But not all disadvantaged groups are without money (does one really doubt that Jews are not disadvantaged? And Jews do not fit easily into the race/culture/religion identification matrix, as a class).

I agree with the latter part of your statement. As to the former, you may be surprised to know that there are many Jews -- even in the US -- who live at or near the poverty level, and that not all Jews are rich and powerful, or even well to do or economically comfortable, just as all homosexuals are not effeminate, and not all black people are criminals. I hope this revelation does not shock you too much.
3.22.2007 10:36am
inahandbasket:
For those who believe civil unions are just the same as civil marriage here are a couple of helpful links:

1) from the National Center for Lesbian Rights: (http://nclrights.org/publications/marriage.htm) you can download in pdf form documents that describe the differences between civil unions and civil marriage.

2) Freedom to Marry also has a lot of information and a pdf comparison chart describing the legal differences of civil unions v. marriage v. no marital status: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/node.asp?id=3468
3.22.2007 10:56am
JosephSlater (mail):
All these posts, and I'm still curious about Bob Van B.'s point way back when:

Well in 2004, there were only 2,586 February marriages. If 2007 is similar that means about 8% of marriage &civil union contracts were licensed to same gender couples. Considering about 2% of the adult population is are self-identified gay, lesbian or bi that's 4x their incidence.

To the extent that the original post was at least implying that gays and lesbians were rejecting civil unions in practice, these facts seem to undermine that claim, at least to the extent it's based on the statistics presented in the original post.

Of course, that doesn't go to the broader issue of whether civil unions are a good or bad idea for folks that support or oppose gay marriage. But maybe people are settling for half-a-loaf, while still fighting for the whole one.
3.22.2007 11:23am
visitor from Texas (mail) (www):
Read Goodson v. Castellanos, No. 03-04-00335-CV 2007 SL 135952 Tex.App.Austin for a Texas approach
3.22.2007 11:28am
minna (mail):
I understand why couples in New Jersey are dissatisfied with civil unions but from my vantage point in Michigan, civil unions sound damn good. Right now we, meaning gay couples whose employers provide same-sex partnership benefits, are fighting to keep these benefits. The Appeals Court recently ruled that the "marriage amendment" that was passed in 2004 (even though gay marriage was already illegal in 3 different ways) prohibits public employers from offering benefits of any sort or even of letting its gay employees "publicly proclaim" our relationships in any way (ie, I can't bring my partner to a faculty dinner which I consider a deep affront). The logic is that doing so is upholding "any similar union, for any purpose" like marriage -- the words from that devious proposal, now state constitutional amendment. . .

The truth is that anti-gay marriage amendments do much more harm to American citizens than gay marriage might do to anyone. No one is harmed by gay marriage but now we risk going bankrupt due to having to pay out of pocket for my partner's health insurance and several medications, not mention scary potential health problems.

We need to get over the word marriage. Let straight people have it if they want it! Even gay marriage is Mass still doesn't have the federal benefits that straight marriage does, so it's really a glorified civil union. Ideally, gay marriage would be great, and I have to hold

I would be happy with a system like federal U.K. registry, which provides the benefits of marriage but is a yes separate system set up for gay couples. That's fine. To me pragmatism comes first. I don't need marriage to meet some deep need for external validation from the powers that be.
3.22.2007 11:28am
IT:
I also don't care what they call it. I agree, the best solution would have civil unions for all, and leave marriage for the churches: IF all civil unions were treated the same.

But right now, civil unions at the state level are at best incomplete, so I can understand the reluctance. Even those married couples in MA cease being married, in a legal sense, the minute they leave massachusetts.

For example, if my partner gets insurance through my employer's plan, my liberal state will treat us as spouses. But the Fed will tax that insurance coverage as a taxable benefit to me (which can add up, if you have a good plan). So the benefit isn't reallyy a benefit. Most of the benefits to civil marriage are federal, and thanks to DOMA and hate amendments in many states, non applicable. We have had to spend thousands of dollars on an attorney to draw up legal documents to protect us as much as possible, protections that are automatic for married people. And in Virginia, the state of hate, even those documents are illegal.

As for teh childless argument, totally bogus. Many gay couples are raising their kids, either their own (from previous straight relationships) or adopted (often those that rae most challenging). If you want to protect families, why is my family so unworthy of protection? Why, if I were to die, is it okay that my partner and her kids would be severely disadvantaged financially, but if I were a step-dad, they wouldn't be? Punish the children, yeah, that's pro-family all right.

And if it's all about reproduction, why do we extend the benefits of marriage to childless straights?

The fact is that gay marriage (in a civil sense) protects children and property just as straight marriage does. it strengthens and promotes stable relationships which is good for society, and has absolutely no effect on the straight marriage next door. I take marriage a lot more seriously than Brittney Spears. Oh, but she can marry on a drunken whim in Vegas, and get it annulled, and I can't marry after a decade of faithful monogamy? Hmmmm, what's wrong with this picture?

Let's get the state OUT of the marriage business and leave the M-word to the religious. They can be as bigoted as they want in their own churches. But I am tired of their religion being a justification to attack my faithful partnership.
3.22.2007 12:39pm
inahandbasket:
"As far as respect-- respect must be earned, not granted or voted on. Marriage is important and respected throughout history for reasons that go to the very survival of societies. Gay unions can never be respected in that manner, and that's all there is to it."

Same attitude the anti-mescegenation crowd has. This issue - marriage equality - isn't about earning respect. It's about EQUALITY. I do not care about being accepted by the fewer and fewer people who will never accept the reality of marriage equality for same sex couples.

You are on the wrong side of history, just as the forty percent of Alabamians who voted in 2000 NOT to take out the unenforceable Article IV, Section 102 of the state's Constitution of 1901: "The legislature shall never pass any law to authorize or legalize any marriage between any white person and a negro, or descendant of a negro."
3.22.2007 12:47pm
Yankev (mail):
IT

The Appeals Court recently ruled that the "marriage amendment" that was passed in 2004 (even though gay marriage was already illegal in 3 different ways) prohibits public employers from offering benefits of any sort or even of letting its gay employees "publicly proclaim" our relationships in any way (ie, I can't bring my partner to a faculty dinner which I consider a deep affront). The logic is that doing so is upholding "any similar union, for any purpose" like marriage -- the words from that devious proposal, now state constitutional amendment. . .

The "publicly proclaim" seems going a bit too far, even to me. What is the policy on non-faculty at faculty dinners generally? I take it that it is limited to spouses only.

Are you prohibited from saying you have a partner, having your partner's picture on your desk and identifying your partner as such?
3.22.2007 1:07pm
Yankev (mail):
Handbasket, I still find the interracial marriage analogy unconvincing. Marriage historically has been a man and a woman. The racial restrictions were an attempt to limit unions between men and women. Those limits were by no means universal or long standing. Re-defining marriage to include a union between two people of the same sex is a drastic attempt to change the very nature of marriage.
3.22.2007 1:12pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Before you get quite so arch about Jewish tradition, Randy, try reading the Midrash. And the Gemara, in this case particularly the Aggadta"

If those readings show evidence that men were married to men before the flood, then I will stand corrected. I was referring to the Bible, and I have no knowledge of any Jewish texts. However, my understanding of ancient history is that no where in the middle east was SSM practiced. If I'm wrong, great. But everyone else seems to be arguing against SSM on the basis that there has been no tradition of it.

"In other words, we are talking about human beings who want to act with the morality of the animal world. I guess that's fine if one believes that we are merely articulate primates."

Or , in other words, classic baite and switch. Many people argue that homosexuality is not 'natural' So then someone will come up with examples of homosexuality withint the natural world. then the person switches arguement and says, so what, we should act like animals?

So first, animals exgage in homosexuality, and some species form life long romantic bonds with members of the same sex. In other words, it is happens often in the other species, so the argument that it is not natural falls flat. When it comes to human beings, being gay is natural for gay people, just as being staight is natural for heteros.

Secondly, we would do well to take our morality from animals. Animals do not kill other members of their species for pleasure, for revenge, or other reasons. They don't go to war with each other, (although they might fight another particular animal for social or sexual dominance). They kill other species for food only. Dogs, as an example, are capable of unconditional love, and freely give it to all members of their masters' family. Animals also don't attempt to destroy their habitat.

Finally, animals, such as the penguins at the Central Park Zoo, or that zoo in Berlin, who are gay and raising an adopted an orhpaned penguing, are not beaten up by the other penguins, shunned in any way, and are in fact treated the same as any other penguin.

Perhaps your morality could improve by observing such animal behavior.
3.22.2007 1:15pm
minna (mail):
As to the Michigan situation, no one is actually taking the "public proclamation" to that literal length, but if you read the ruling, that it what it means.

For example, it is now technically unconstitutional in the state of Michigan for me to list my partner's name in any university directory as my family member/spouse.

In other words, they have interpreted the "any similar union, for any purpose" in the broadest way possible. And this isn't judicial activism?

I supposed this things become even more hostile here I could be reprimanded for such action.

Note: opinion handed down by 3 judges known to be Christian conservatives not reasonable Republicans who might even care about the business climate in a state decimated by all kinds of economic blows.
3.22.2007 1:34pm
Stephen J. Hyland (mail) (www):
Let me put a little New Jersey perspective on this.

First, many of the couples I've spoken to in the last few months have indicated an interest in entering into a civil union, particularly when the rights, benefits and obligations are discussed. Many (like my partner and me) have not yet entered into a civil union for a variety of mundane reasons - inertia, procrastination, etc. In our particular case, we are waiting until my parents return from Florida so that we can gather our families for our ceremony.

Second, some organizations have been so adamant about the "marriage or nothing" argument that they have discouraged couples from taking advantage of the rights available to them under the New Jersey civil unions law. This is silly - committed couples should enter into a civil union if it makes sense given their personal situation. If they do not, they should reconsider their comittement to each other. Entering into a civil union does not prevent you from further advocating for full marriage equality.

Third, some of the "reported" violations are not violations that I have heard about nor are they violations that the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights has heard about. The NJ DCR is VERY interested in hearing about violations and its Director, Frank Vespa-Papaleo (who is openly gay) and the remainder of its staff are more than willing to pursue them - if they are reported! I am told that, so far, NJDCR has only received 5 complaints. I am personally aware of two "violations". One involved an insurance company underwriter who was requiring a civil union certificate as proof of the relationship, something that was not required of married couples. I telephoned the company's corporate counsel, who advised me that this was NOT the policy, and immediately corrected the underwriter. The second one involved a Texas-based utility company that refused to provide benefits to a civil union partner. Their excuse was that the plan was self-funded and was therefore exempt from the civil unions requirement because of federal preemption by ERISA. New Jersey, as in Massachusetts, may be powerless to control this, although there are several of us here who are considering options.

Third, the web sites that trumpet that civil unions are not equal to marriage are doing so based on the approximately 1,138 FEDERAL rights, benefits and obligations that are denied to same-sex couples in civil unions. What they fail to point out is that these federal benefits are denied to same-sex couples REGARDLESS of the form of the legal relationship. Same-sex married couples in Massachusetts are similarly denied these rights, benefits and obligations.

The fault is not in the state law, it is in the part of DOMA that defines "marriage" for purposes of federal law, thereby ignoring the traditional deference to a state's definition of marriage, spouse, husband, wife, and other related terms. Very little legal analysis (and no legal challenges, to my knowledge) has been devoted to challenging this part of DOMA on the basis that it violates the 10th Amendment (at the very least). Forget the part of DOMA that addresses full faith and credit, for now; it is a canard.

That isn't to say that there is not a very good reason to advocate for civil marriage instead of civil union. In fact, the best reason I can see is that even in the absence of DOMA's federal definition of marriage, many of the federal rights, benefits and obligations would be denied to civil union couples and domestic partners because federal law does not contain the words "civil union" or "domestic partner."

Fourth, many couples are confused by the changes in the law here in New Jersey. Unlike other states, New Jersey has undergone four significant changes to the rights of same-sex couples in less than three years. In July 2004, domestic partnership was enacted, providing a small subset of the rights of marriage. In January 2005, domestic partnership rights were expanded to include inheritance rights (a change that I had a hand in). In October 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that "committed same-sex couples" could not be denied rights, benefits and obligations equal to those of married couples under New Jersey law, thereby granting equal benefits to all same-sex couples. Subsequently, the Legislature passed the civil unions act, which went into effect a little over a month ago. Frankly, what's a couple to do?

Unlike couples in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and California, well over 4,000 New Jersey couples had a choice; they could remain in a previously registered domestic partnership, or they could enter into a New Jersey civil union. Furthermore, New Jersey explicity recognizes civil unions from other states. For those couples who had previoulsy entered into a civil union in Vermont or Connecticut, they did not have to take further steps to be considered in a New Jersey civil union.

Complicating this decision was two other factors. The existing domestic partnership act explicitly recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and reciprocal beneficiary relationships entered into in other jurisdictions as domestic partnerships. Then, two or three days before the civil unions act went into effect, the New Jersey Attorney General issued an opinion (and a legally shakey one, I might add) that the state would recognize civil unions, California domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages as civil unions.

What we have here is a lack of communication, folks, and a significant failure on the part of the State and the various advocacy organizations to clearly explain the civil unions act to the community, to the general public, and to the various businesses and organizations that are affected by it. Granted, marriage equality would require less explanation, but I suspect our counterparts in Massachusetts had to similarly ramp-up following that state's changes.

Fifth, you cannot discount the effect of ignorance, apathy, hostility to emulating straight relationships, and society's general drift away from marriage as the sole option for couples. Many opposite-sex couples choose to live together rather than marry, for a variety of reasons. Are same-sex couples any different? One guy told me last month he'd just gotten his divorce from his ex-wife and he was in no hurry to enter into another legal relationship that could lead to alimony.

For my partner and me, we have some of the most important rights (to us) because we registered two years ago as domestic partners. Thus, we feel we can afford to wait until we can gather our families and friends together to help us celebrate - which at this rate, may push us into September. Not to mention, have you ever tried to book a wedding hall, hire a photographer, and do everything else in the spring? So, we are not among the 229 reported couples who have entered into a civil union - yet. But we will be before the year is out.
3.22.2007 1:39pm
dejapooh (mail):

I suspect marriage will also leave gays unsatisfied, not because of any real deficiency in the institution or their participation in it, but because society will simply see it as "gay marriage" rather than marriage.


As Black Doctors have become Doctors, and Women Lawyers have become lawyers, eventually Gay Marriage will become Marriage. For better or worse.
3.22.2007 1:40pm
yankev (mail):

Secondly, we would do well to take our morality from animals. Animals do not kill other members of their species for pleasure, for revenge, or other reasons. They don't go to war with each other, (although they might fight another particular animal for social or sexual dominance).

Randy, they also fight and kill for territorial dominance, including hunting and survival. In fact, when a group of male lions kills off the males of another pride, the first thing they do is kill all the offspring of the conquered pride. I like to think that humans can rise above that.


They kill other species for food only.

That would be news to more than one housecat I have shared quarters with. Also to countless now-deceased birds, mice, moles, chipmunks and other small critters who were unfortunate enought to cross their paths. I assure you those critters were not huntred for food -- I saw the evidence.

Dogs, as an example, are capable of unconditional love, and freely give it to all members of their masters' family.

And that proves?

Animals also don't attempt to destroy their habitat

Neither does man, though man may take actions that have that effect -- as do animals. And animals do not take action to preserve their habitat.

Animals, in short, are incapable of making moral decisions, whether good ones or bad ones. People who mistake animals for characters in Disney movies tend to have remarkably short life spans when exposed to the company of wild animals in the real world.

Finally, animals, such as the penguins at the Central Park Zoo, or that zoo in Berlin, who are gay and raising an adopted an orhpaned penguing, are not beaten up by the other penguins, shunned in any way, and are in fact treated the same as any other penguin.

So by refusing to redefine my view of marriage and advocating that society adhere to the traditional view of marriage (at least the Western tradition), I am committing or at least advocating that same sex couples be beaten up and shunned? And you accuse ME of bait and switch tactics?
3.22.2007 2:17pm
Amicus (mail) (www):
I didn't have time to read this long list of interesting responses, but there is also a simpler explanation than Dale's thesis.

New Jersey residents have been lucky for a while, compared to other backward states, to have a decent domestic partnership law. If one already has a DP, then a civil union is not a *rush* item, per se.
3.22.2007 2:24pm
Brian Miller (mail):
A quick thought experiment.

I made slight modifications to Misanthronomicon's post which would apply in most of the southern United States not even 50 years ago. The logic is as equally "valid" -- would he also accept its premise?

Same-race marriages provide (or ought to provide) blacks with equal rights and benefits under the law. The government need not and should not meddle with the centuries-old understanding of marriage simply to make a further, purely symbolic statement. A black person can't marry a white person, just like a triangle can't have four sides. It's not discrimination, it's the plain meaning of everyday words. The government must not redefine words by fiat, especially words whose plain meaning has been established for as long as the English language itself. The notion is rather Orwellian (in more ways than one). If it became a habit for the government, it would be quite chilling.

Marriage remains the union of two people of the same race, because it always has been so defined in our culture, while "black marriage" refers to any union under the law that is not necessarily white marriage but confers the same rights and benefits. The two terms are clear, precise, and historically consistent, and (ought to) confer equivalent rights and benefits under the law. Whether free citizens also treat them equally is their own prerogative (subject to antidiscrimination law). Let the definition of marriage evolve naturally over time, rather than by decree.
3.22.2007 2:51pm
Colin (mail):
Randy, they also fight and kill for territorial dominance, including hunting and survival. In fact, when a group of male lions kills off the males of another pride, the first thing they do is kill all the offspring of the conquered pride. I like to think that humans can rise above that.

"Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him." Numbers 31:17.

Probative of nothing, just one of those little ironies.
3.22.2007 2:57pm
yankev (mail):
Marriage remains the union of two people of the same race, because it always has been so defined in our culture,

Not in Western culture, pal.

It is a measure of desperation and for lack of valid arguments to redefine marriage that SSM proponents find it necessary use the smear of racism. The analogies are not likely to convince anyone who does not already see SSM as a good thing.
3.22.2007 3:01pm
Brian Miller (mail):
Marriage remains the union of two people of the same race, because it always has been so defined in our culture,

Not in Western culture, pal.


In 1950s and even 1960s America, that was certainly the case. In fact, it was "enshrined in law," and the churches that today lead campaigns against gay marriage were yesterday leading churches against mixed race marriages.

The Southern Baptists, for instance, famously pointed out that "if God had wanted the races to intermingle, he would not have placed them on separate continents."

The reason this approach to government marriage changed? Not because of "separate but equal laws" that "led to integration over time as society evolved."

Racist marriage laws were tossed out by a combination of the federal Civil Rights Act, plus, of course, Loving vs. Virginia in the Supreme Court. In other words, "federal interference with states' rights" plus "activist judges" who undermined the "traditional values of Bible-believing Christians."

Quite instructive, really.

And just as today there are groups of people quoting Bible passages and insisting that a gay marriage will destroy society and never be recognized, so in the 1950s and 1960s, their parents (and the younger incarnations of their own religious leaders) were making the same pronouncements about "black men wanting to come and violate their defenseless white women."

Let's face it. There's never been an "unchanging tradition of marriage going back centuries" and, in fact, the government first got involved in marriage to *prevent* interracial marriage. The first marriage licenses were issued by southern states to. . . surprise-surprise. . . prevent "unnatural mixed race romances."
3.22.2007 3:37pm
minna:
Here's the language from Michigan Appeal Courts ruling:

The "public proclamation" nature of a domestic partnership agreement grants a same-sex couple the status to hold themselves out as a publicly recognized monogamous
couple, i.e. a union.

And there is more in there about how all such "public proclamations" are anathema to the law . . .

What I also don't understand is why a true conservative wouldn't support gay unions, or whatever one calls them, because essentially they privatize social services by making partners financially, legally, etc. responsible for one another. Universal health care or gay unions? What's your choice?
3.22.2007 3:51pm
yankev (mail):
Brian Miller,

And how old were those racially restrictive laws? 50 years? 100 years? Big deal.

And in how many countries and how many societies? (By the way, I'd be interested to see the source material that there were racially restrictive marriage laws in the north.)

Citing the Southern Baptists is hardly convincing, given that the Southern Baptists split from the Baptist church over the issue of slavery.

Your analogy does not hold up, except to those who believe that any opposition to redefining marriage is ipso facto bigotry.
3.22.2007 4:07pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

But where do the 'rights' come from? Poof!
The Declaration of Independence identified the source of "inalienable rights." Other rights are "alienable" insofar as they are sourced in the state. But "inalienable rights" are religious --> moral.
No, as Thomas Jefferson stated they came from the deist Creator - the holy books of the Creator are your biology and physics textbooks among others. Our rights come from our biology, from our innate living qualities - no magical or religious source necessary.

The 'right' in question has to come from somewhere. Otherwise there are no standards at all to define what is and isn't a right (I have a right to eat polar bear corn dogs!). State or god?

Neither. Of course you have a right to eat - that stems from your biology - just as you have a right to sleep, and all the other things required to maintain your right to life. And that right of course extends to polar bear corn dogs too UNLESS it can be shown you are infringing on someone else's rights by ingesting them. As far as I know Inuit have polar bear corn dog feasts - that's their right, right?

We can regulate basic rights but we are not able to totally proscribe them. And because we are driven to marry by our biology we have a right to marry if there actually is a right to 'pursuit happiness' at all. That being married for most makes them happier, healthier, their families better and as a result society is additional icing on the cake. The state can recognize and regulate this right but they can''t effectively proscribe it and be a 'moral' government dedicated to be for the citizen.
3.22.2007 4:20pm
Adeez (mail):
Brian Miller: bravo! I don't understand why people have so much trouble understanding the link between anti-miscegenation laws and opposition to SSM. God help me, I'll give it another stab:
blacks were denied a right (i.e., to marry a person of another race) SOLELY b/c of the color of their skin: an immutable characteristic. They did not choose to be born black, yet, society treated them as inferior because of this "misfortune." That's exactly what's occurring now: gays are being denied a right (i.e., to marry a person of the same gender) SOLELY b/c of their sexual preference: an immutable characteristic. They did not choose to be born gay, yet, society continues to treat them as inferior because of this "misfortune."

I rarely ever am so bold with my statements, but I feel strongly enough about this one to say wholeheartedly that those who think it's just, or moral, to deny this fundamental right to fellow humans/citizens are simply wrong. Kinda like the way those who thought it was OK to treat blacks as 2nd class citizens were wrong. Society evolves/ The self-righteous, who will go to such lengths to deprive others of happiness, will eventually see the light. If not in this lifetime, then hopefully the next.

And yes, minna, I agree. I hope those here that are so anti-gay marriage don't consider themselves principled libertarians or conservatives, as those ideologies would tend to support SSM.
3.22.2007 4:21pm
BobNSF (mail):

pair bond


The back and forth about pair-bonding up there ^ was interesting in one respect. The term "pair bond" was once used by biologists strictly in reference to opposite-sex, animal pairs... until biologists noticed -- and had the courage to publish their observation -- that some of the pairs were not opposite-sex.

Being less theologically laden a term, "pair bond" could readily be applied to same- and opposite-sex pairs because that's exactly what was being observed, whether for a season or for a lifetime. There was no silly belief that those individual animals were somehow doing something different than individuals in opposite-sex pairs, no suggestion that they were civil-pairing or something.
3.22.2007 5:08pm
Randy R. (mail):
"So by refusing to redefine my view of marriage and advocating that society adhere to the traditional view of marriage (at least the Western tradition), I am committing or at least advocating that same sex couples be beaten up and shunned? And you accuse ME of bait and switch tactics?"

Nope. I was addressing your argument. And your argument was that being gay was unnatural. And when someone pointed out that it is in fact natural, you switch and say that we shouldn't take our morals from animals. Okay, then, then we shouldn't, in which case, don't make arguments about whether homosexuality is natural or not!

And the fact is that gays get beaten up and shunned precisely by those people who think that gay is unnatural. Which is not to say that all who think it unnatural beat up on gays, of course. But certainly, the one premise is necessary for the consequent action. And if you persist in stating that it is unnatural, you enable those who do wish to beat up on gays.

And I don't think that you answered my question about whether those older Jewish texts mentioned that there were SSM before the flood, and whether those marriages were widespread. Were they?
3.22.2007 5:09pm
Randy R. (mail):
Wooga: Either you made some weird typo which totally changed the meaning of your post, or you have no idea what an "arranged marriage" is (hint: having wedding planner does not make it 'arranged')."

Not sure what you mean. You stated that arranged marriages are abhorred by Americans. By that, I took you to mean two families arranging for two young people to get married, and their consent was hardly an issue. I agree that most Americans find that sort of marriage unacceptable in today's practice. You stated that what is unacceptable by most Americans is against the law.

So I drew the conclusion that if you believe that, that why aren't arranged marriages against the law? They are not, in fact. So, we have an instance of a practice that is abhorrant and considered immoral by a majority of Americans, yet it is not unlawful. Which means that our laws are not always based on morality, nor what a majority of Americans believe.
3.22.2007 5:14pm
BobNSF (mail):
I'm glad a few posters have pointed out that NJ domestic partnerships already included most of the rights now covered by civil unions and that the potential confusion over changing from one status to another and the lack of urgent need to change help account for the small number of civil unions.

I would contrast that with what happened in San Francisco when the city issued marriage licenses a few years back and with what happened in Massachusetts when equal marriage was extended to same-sex couples. In both cases, thousands of couples quickly acted and got married, even though many already had domestic partnership status. Why? Because, as even the opponents of SSM so often point out, marriage means something that "civil union" just never will.
3.22.2007 5:19pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
re: same-race and same-sex analogies

I've written about this in a previous article by Dale. Here was one of the points I made:

The anti-miscegenation laws were to keep children pure, because that marriage is so tied to procreation. It is easy enough to answer your charge by pointing out that no one is barred from marrying homosexuals, and no one is required to marry heterosexuals. The distinction is based on gender, not sexual orientation. The requirement is for equal gender participation, and that is not what we consider discrimination.


It wasn't just a decision of what kind of person you could live your life with in a government regulated relationship (as homosexual advocates and other marriage neuterists would like marriage to become) it was a choice of what kind of children could be brought into the world. The court in deciding Loving noted that the battleground was heritage, something that is immutable and something someone cannot choose for themselves.

Yet, where do we hear the argument that beyond race, and even beyond gender, the identifying trait of a person that is immutable and chosen from birth is their sexual orientation. Because of that immutable trait, they should not be expected to love-honor and cherish someone of the opposite sex in any meaningfully marital way in order to have access to the term "marriage". While I do not wish to argue that anyone should be expected to do anything by what I just said, I wish to point out that the same-sex equivocation to same-race is drawn most starkly along the lines of "sameness". How the white supremacists wanted their racial identity to be supreme to their gender, and to force others to respect them for it. And how the homosexual activists wish their sexual orientation to be their identity above gender, and that has to be true for everyone else also.

Mark how Bob Van Burkleo mentions nothing in his 3 definitions of marriage about "sex". At least not in the biological sense of the word. Sex denotes how the human race is made up of two genders, that were required to integrate for future propagation. Consider just how well enforced that rule is in noting whether or not some sky-god or evolution designed it that way. With how important procreation is to our race, studying it an any degree above the chemical reactions of an orgasm is, to Bob V.B., biased.

While a large segment of society notes the primacy of marriage's relevance to society denoted along the lines of procreation, its missing entirely from Bob's explanation.

Marriage is the oldest institution of integration I am aware of. It integrates the two most basic segments of our human society, men and women. Both in the same household, to learn tolerate and love each other for the success of their household and children. But we are to believe that isn't equality?

Because some wish marriage to be an institution to integrate sexual orientation, not in the same school or same house as anti-miscegenation laws and other segregationist laws forbade, but just under the same title. That has to mean that they feel sexual orientation is more important than gender, race, etc... That integration is not equality because their identity is more important than that. An identity based on their need to segregate, rather than integrate. Or rather, to repaint their segregation as new integration for everyone around them.

So when I hear people trying to equate marriage with Jim Crowe, or anti-miscegenation, I have to simply smirk in disappointment. It is the very model of repeating the mistakes of history because they fail to learn them adequately enough.
3.22.2007 5:27pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
While a large segment of society notes the primacy of marriage's relevance to society denoted along the lines of procreation, its missing entirely from Bob's explanation.
Wouldn't think I had to - the civil contract of marriage is licensed to sterile couples all the time; it has nothing to do with procreation. Shoot in Utah 2 first cousins can only get married if they can prove they CAN'T procreate.

It integrates the two most basic segments of our human society, men and women.
And what qualities do men exclusively have that women don't and vs versa? Sounds like stereotyping. Again men and women are not biological opposites or even discrete. Every man has a woman, literally, in his genes and a woman has 98% of the genes of a man. The idea that you have to have one of each to make a family or marriage is nonsensical - the variability within each group is greater than between them.

Humans pairbond regardless of if they can or will procreate. Until marriages requires the couple be produce offspring the 'procreation' argument is an obvious red herring.
3.22.2007 5:40pm
Brian Miller (mail):
how old were those racially restrictive laws? 50 years? 100 years?

They're only slightly less old than the concept of government-licensed marriages in the first place.

In fact, the people getting government involved in legislating, structuring and banning certain marriages have committed far more "changes to the institution" than gays who simply want in to the giant welfare program that government-registered marriage has become (and for which gays are expected to pay for despite being barred from the party).

The whole "argument based on tradition" thing is lame. You guys got government into the business of defining marriage in the first place -- a huge change -- so appealing to "tradition" after such a fundamental shift is a cop-out.

(Incidentally, banning interracial marriage goes back much, much further than government involvement in marriage -- few of today's evangelical churches would do it).

Because some wish marriage to be an institution to integrate sexual orientation, not in the same school or same house as anti-miscegenation laws and other segregationist laws forbade, but just under the same title.

Marriage isn't an "institution."

It's a government welfare program. Effectively, certain people have decided to get government goodies and special benefits, including lower tax rates, immigration benefits, transfer tax breaks, custody tax breaks, exclusive domain, etc., and then hand the rest of us the bill.

As a gay guy who cannot get married, I'd happily accept an "exclusive" marriage situation for heterosexual folks if that means I also don't have to pay the various taxes required to support those benefits.

My social security taxes would decline by over 40%, my federal income tax would go down almost 25%, and I'd not blink an eye or demand inclusion.

The rest of you seem to want it both ways -- you want government to serve as a dictator of an "institution" (in direct contradiction to tradition, where government stayed out of that sphere). You want very very generous welfare benefits for those the government designates as "married." You want single people and people who cannot get married to foot the bill for it (since married people don't pay enough in taxes to cover the costs of their own benefits). And then you attack others for being "selfish" or not understanding "history."

I don't really see what the difference is between someone being a welfare freeloader -- someone who is qualified and able-bodied but refuses to work -- and being a marriage freeloader. . . someone who has created a government welfare program for himself that he insists is an "institution" that the rest of us -- gay, asexual, or single -- should have to pay for.
3.22.2007 5:47pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
re: Pair bonding and being natural

Two points to make, first that pair-bonding is a mating ritual. That isn't a product of bias, that is a product of nature. A chemical reaction from being sexually stimulated vs. the reproduction of a species, one might understand, is not much of a contest. Even in nature, simple stimulative contact has not produced the same bond as has the need to take care of the young produced by sexual contact.

Monogamy, at best, in the animal world means you have one partner at a time. The lifelong commitment to each other is extremely rare in mammals, let alone the evolutionarily simpler organisms.

In more primitive human conditions, parents will stay together for about three to four years while a child develops basic survivability. That is "monogamy".

For humans, it is less a natural response as much as it is a civilized response to keep a relationship and companionship longer. The most immediate catalyst of this is the notion that our children require much more time in the nest than any other animal.

What marriage is was never intended as a slight to homosexuality. It is a most insecure view of self-loathing that looks marriage in the eye and imagines hatred of homosexuality. Marriage is not about homosexuality, it is about sex (the kind that you find biased of all things), fatherhood and responsibility to your own children.

So what continues to be compelling to me is not so much that homosexuality exists, it is how much the mating and even beyond mating the commitment to care for your offspring is attacked as "biased".
3.22.2007 5:49pm
Brian Miller (mail):
Marriage is the oldest institution of integration I am aware of. It integrates the two most basic segments of our human society, men and women. Both in the same household, to learn tolerate and love each other for the success of their household and children.

Government "marriage" doesn't require tolerance or love (and, in fact, many anti-gay activists have said "marriage isn't about love" in response to notes that LGBT couples love each other too).

Government "marriage" also doesn't require procreation, children, or a common household. Plenty of career marriages exist where individuals live in separate states and only see each other a few days per month.

Ergo, your entire premise is bunk, I'm afraid.
3.22.2007 5:52pm
Brian Miller (mail):
Marriage is not about homosexuality, it is about sex (the kind that you find biased of all things), fatherhood and responsibility to your own children.

No it's not.

Marriage, in most jurisdictions doesn't require sex, fatherhood, or children.

In fact, as many anti-gay people are fond of pointing out, as a gay man, I could marry a woman legally. I wouldn't be able to have sex or children (at least not without a turkey baster).

You guys keep tying yourselves up in knots with these arguments.

Government-defined marriage doesn't require, mandate or even suggest any of these "values" you keep endlessly repeating, and the "values" you keep repeating aren't even followed by a majority of people who are married.

So it's not in the statute, and it's not in the everyday practice. Just where are these mythical "reasons" for marriage defined (outside of your own head)?
3.22.2007 5:55pm
Randy R. (mail):
And to further point, as I've made in the past, is that none of our state laws require much of anything of two people who want to get married. If they meet the age requirements, and are not siblings, any two people can get married, no more questions asked. They aren'te asked if they will or will not produce children, They aren't even asked if they are in love. All these high falutin' ideas about what marriage doesn't mean a hoot to the state. Perhaps to religions it does, but each religion has their own defination of what a marriage is. Heck, not long ago, it was official that marriage meant that the woman ceased to exist and became one with the husband, who then owned and controlled everything. That definition of marriage has, thankfully, changed.

So today we are left with just one reason to get married: because two people fall in love romantically and want to live happily ever after. This is our basic story in the Western imagination. If that is the only criteria, why can't it be extended to two people of the same sex?

If you want to make marriage more than it is, then you should hold heteros to the same standard. If marriage is about children, then you should require all heteros who are married to have and raise children. If marriage is about a spiritual

On Lawn: Because some wish marriage to be an institution to integrate sexual orientation, not in the same school or same house as anti-miscegenation laws and other segregationist laws forbade, but just under the same title. That has to mean that they feel sexual orientation is more important than gender, race, etc... That integration is not equality because their identity is more important than that. An identity based on their need to segregate, rather than integrate. Or rather, to repaint their segregation as new integration for everyone around them.

Frankly, I have no idea what you are talking about. No one who is gay wants to 'integrate sexual orientation.' What we want is for all laws to treat us the same as they treat heteros. As for integration, you are welcome to enter any gay clubs. I have been to many striaght bars. Integration isn't an issue.
I've never heard that any argue that sexual orientation means more than gender, or sex, or race. To an individual that might be true, but as for a legal argument, no one has made that issue. Quite the opposite, in fact, we have argued that we want to be treated regardless of our sexual orientation when it comes to things such as employment, housing, and other matters.
Sure we segregate -- many gays like going to gay clubs more than straight bars. That's voluntary segregation, just like many blacks prefer to go to bars that cater mainly to blacks.
Again, I just don't understand your point -- you put words in our mouths and then say why those words are wrong. Instead, try listening to the words we actually say.
3.22.2007 5:58pm
Brian Miller (mail):
If you want to make marriage more than it is, then you should hold heteros to the same standard. If marriage is about children, then you should require all heteros who are married to have and raise children.

That would go over like a balloon made of lead. It would actually be consistent with the supposed purposes of marriage.

If anti-gay activists supported a constitutional amendment that *required* procreation, common households, fatherhood defined in law, and banned divorce, then I'd at least respect their arguments as consistent -- even if I disagreed with them.

Instead, they keep coming up with these bizarre notions of "what marriage is," when none of it is written into the law defining it -- and the only changes they support are ones that exclude homosexuals. . . not bad parents, or people who don't intend to procreate, or poor fathers, or people who don't want to set up a "household."

That tells me that their primary objection is the involvement of gays -- i.e. coming from homophobia -- rather than any legitimate fear about dangers that the "institution" faces.
3.22.2007 6:01pm
Randy R. (mail):
"It is a most insecure view of self-loathing that looks marriage in the eye and imagines hatred of homosexuality."

Oh, yes, On Lawn. I have never felt anything but unconditional love from you on the subject of gays.

Perhaps you could talk to all those people who here have argued about the immorality of homosexuality and straighten them out, so to speak.
3.22.2007 6:03pm
Brian Miller (mail):
One quick final thought before I return to doing real work. . .

If gay activists were intent on "destroying marriage," we wouldn't be advocating for equal treatment under the law for our own relationships.

We'd instead be doing what anti-gay activists insist we should do -- marrying women.

Specifically, gay men would be marrying lesbians in marriages of convenience for tax purposes, immigration purposes, and various other goodies. A quick pre-nuptual agreement would handle any of the asset splits, and a network of gay and lesbian people seeking a marriage-of-convenience partner would spring up quickly.

Lesbian? Need health care? Here's a gay man who can get you health care as a spouse in Virginia.

Gay man? Need a visa to work in the USA? Marry a lesbian and live with her for several years. (The law argues this is illegal, but only if it's done exclusively for immigration purposes -- if the marriage is also for tax and inheritance purposes, it's no longer exclusively for immigration).

Whenever these relationships became superfluous, due to a job transfer or a change in circumstances, a quick divorce could easily annull it and a new marriage could be entered into. Gay and lesbian people could get married and divorced dozens of times in their adult lives -- as is their right, according to anti-gay activists -- and send the divorce rate into the stratosphere.

I've often wondered if such a campaign wouldn't be appropriate for anti-gay states like Virginia and Texas. Imagine the rage over it -- and the fact that it would be a scenario entirely the fault of those who made "marriage" a heterosexual legal status with no binding components other than "a man and a woman."
3.22.2007 6:09pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo wrote:

> "Wouldn't think I had to - the civil contract of marriage is licensed to sterile couples all the time; it has nothing to do with procreation."

Sterility and infertility are examples of a disability, and enlightened civilization tends to try to not exclude people because of their handicap.

The homosexual relationship is not sterile or infertile. And homosexuality is not a handicap. To say that homosexuals are afforded the same exception that the disabled receive is promoting fraud.

But even more salient to me is your choice of extremes. In the eyes of homosexualist, procreation has "nothing to do with it" whatever it is, because procreation has nothing to do with homosexuality. Yet the jurisprudence on the matter shows a very strong correlation between procreation and marriage. One may wish to note that if sterile couples are married, procreation must not be everything to marriage. But it is a much further trip away from reality to say procreation has "nothing" to do with marriage.

> "Again men and women are not biological opposites or even discrete."

You are right. In fact, I'll go further and add that the term "opposite sex" to describe the biological relationship of gender to the human race is insufficient.

However, in the terms of gender they are discrete. A person may not fit in each category or may fit in both. But the gender itself is a defined and discrete.

> "the variability within each group is greater than between them"

That is a term that is one of the pseudo-scientific abuses promoted by people. There is a lot that gender does not describe about a person, nor intends to. There is a great variation in those traits external to gender where the influence that gender has on them, though discernible, is not greater than the variation in the genders.

This is all in the realm of debate in feminism and gender roles. Perhaps that would be an interesting subject to discuss, but for me is irrelevant here. The roles gender play in procreation are discrete, defined, and even binary. There is no meaningful way to discuss them as variable, let alone between genders.

An easy way to see this, a child knows who their mother is and who their father is. While what roles the mother and father play may vary greatly, it takes both to make the child. And all else being equal, they are the most advantaged in raising the child.

> "Until marriages requires the couple be produce offspring the 'procreation' argument is an obvious red herring."

Marriage is not about mandating anything, it is about an institution in a unique position to aid in the creation and adherence to the ideal.

Many people want their lives to be very defined and ordered by law. They perhaps thrive in the totalitarian governments who provide such order. Where every law is ultimately enforced and every purpose mandated, I assume they might revel in the security and understanding.

But that isn't the society I belong to, and I appreciate that. We don't have to have totalitarian enforcement of a principle behind a law to understand that principle exists. At least I hope not, for the sake of our freedom.
3.22.2007 6:14pm
Randy R. (mail):
On Lawn: And all else being equal, they are the most advantaged in raising the child.

Too bad that rarely are 'all else being equal.'

"Sterility and infertility are examples of a disability, and enlightened civilization tends to try to not exclude people because of their handicap."

Why? According to most arguments against SSM, marriage is about procreation and the raising of children. Sterile and infertile couples are destroying marriage just as surely as gay people, so why should society be enlightened enough to aid in it's own destruction?

Or are you saying that we allow the sterile and infertile to get married because we don't want to stand in the way of a loving couple? If that's the reason, then the same compassion and enlightenment can be shown upon gay couples, who are also loving couples.

"One may wish to note that if sterile couples are married, procreation must not be everything to marriage."

Yes, Exactly! Finally a point of agreement. Procreation is not everything to a marriage. Therefrore, it is not a requirement, and that would not preclude gays from getting married.
3.22.2007 6:27pm
Randy R. (mail):
So far, On Lawn and others:

You have each ignored the argument of what to do about gay parents who already have children. I've asked how does keeping their parent unmarried help those kids, or don't you care. Since none of you have adressed how we should treat those kids ones gay married is banned, I assume that you simply do not care about what happens to those kids. And that really sends a message that either you don't believe in your own arguments, or you really have a hard heart towards gays and their families.
3.22.2007 6:29pm
Brian Miller (mail):
Marriage is not about mandating anything, it is about an institution in a unique position to aid in the creation and adherence to the ideal.

No it's not. It's a set of laws that define certain legal benefits and obligations.

There's nothing in the statute that talks about any of this other stuff. Your aspirations may include all the "child rearing, society-establishing" stuff you're talking about, but given the extremely high rates of divorce -- and the extremely frequent situation of married parents where one walks out and abandons the other spouse and kids -- your ideal is not only not codified, but it's also not shared by the majority of society or the majority of those who are married.

marriage is about procreation and the raising of children

If that was true, how come no-fault divorces are permitted between married parents while children in the family are still minors?

I've always wondered about that one. If marriage is about creating "stable families," then how come it's so easy for parents who are legally married to walk out on their marriages and kids -- time and again?

Also, please don't mention child support -- one is mandated to pay child support whether or not he's married to the person with whom he procreated.

Seems to me as though marriage's legal (and statutory) reality, as well as the demographic reality, goes diametrically against all the "ideals" being tossed about here. In many respects, it seems easier to walk out on one's responsibility as a parent in a "legal marriage" than in a situation where one isn't considered a "spouse."
3.22.2007 6:35pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Brian Miller wrote:

> "Marriage isn't an 'institution.' "

This is a good example of the self-proclomation from ignorance that is rampant in this debate -- from pair-bonds to what monogamy is, to the relationship marriage has with procreation. The ability to deny is, however, a poor buttress of their argument.

Marriage is such an institution, you find it in the dictionary under the word, "institution".

2 a : a significant practice, relationship, or organization in a society or culture [the institution of marriage];


> "Effectively, certain people have decided to get government goodies and special benefits, including lower tax rates, immigration benefits, transfer tax breaks, custody tax breaks, exclusive domain, etc., and then hand the rest of us the bill."

I'm not sure motive is that easily pinned. Nor does your example work well with history.

For instance, marriage pre-dates government welfare. In most instances marriage is considered a unit of government in and of itself.

But what you describe sounds awfully familiar with what the model of neutered marriage is destined to become. It is the model of CU's and DP's, and as noted above their exclusivity is a good indicator of flaws in their founding principles. Principles such as you would ascribe to marriage's foundation and importance to society.

> "you want government to serve as a dictator of an 'institution' "

No, I wish government to recognize an institution for what it is. Marriage's requirement for equal gender participation has not, until recently, been explicitly noted in law. Instead it relied on the definition of marriage, something much beyond the government's dictation, to establish that fact.

Yet the ability to dictate what marriage is, a sort of government take over of an ancient social construct, seems to be the very thrust of advocates for neutering the definition of marriage.

> "I don't really see what the difference is between someone being a welfare freeloader -- someone who is qualified and able-bodied but refuses to work -- and being a marriage freeloader. . ."

Actually, neither do I. Which is why I am always saddened that infertility is used as an excuse to accommodate same-sex couples in their quest to be called a marriage.

> "a government welfare program for himself that he insists is an "institution" that the rest of us -- gay, asexual, or single -- should have to pay for."

Yet the establishment of the welfare programs of DP's and CU's in their explicit and exclusive targeting of same-sex couples does not bother you? Even if marriage is neutered only homosexual couples are benefited (hence the term "same-sex marriage to describe the new version of the institution). Does that bother you also?

> "Marriage, in most jurisdictions doesn't require sex, fatherhood, or children."

In a vast majority of jurisdictions marriage requires equal gender participation (which is confusingly called inequality by homosexual advocates). Equal gender participation means there is the possibility sex, which due to the nature of biology means the possibility of children. Where there is a man and a woman and their child, I believe you will find a father -- and mother. No?

> "In fact, as many anti-gay people are fond of pointing out, as a gay man, I could marry a woman legally. I wouldn't be able to have sex or children (at least not without a turkey baster)."

And they would be right that you could marry a woman.

But you wouldn't be able to have sex? Is that the law or your homosexuality that demands that?

> "Government-defined marriage doesn't require, mandate or even suggest any of these 'values you keep endlessly repeating, and the 'values' you keep repeating aren't even followed by a majority of people who are married."

I believe that people in successful marriages will attest that while the government does not micro-manage their relationship that success in marriage requires those values.

Your constant need to answer points of value with government totalitarianism is something I addressed in my previous post to Bob.
3.22.2007 6:44pm
yankev (mail):

And your argument was that being gay was unnatural. And when someone pointed out that it is in fact natural, you switch and say that we shouldn't take our morals from animals. Okay, then, then we shouldn't, in which case, don't make arguments about whether homosexuality is natural or not


I was not aware that I had used the term "unnatural." It is silly to deny that one man may feel sexual attraction toward another, or that one woman may feel sexual attraction for another. That proves nothing about what is or is not marriage, any more than does the fact that a couple may be childless by choice or circumstances, or that some marriages fail.

The fact that a behavior occurs in nature does not in iteself make that behavior inherently good or inherently bad. Pedophilia, gang rape, inbreeding and infanticide are all naturally occurring behaviors too. As are eating, sleeping, procreation, and nurturing the young.

I do maintain that humans have the ability to raise themselves above the level of animals.


And the fact is that gays get beaten up and shunned precisely by those people who think that gay is unnatural. Which is not to say that all who think it unnatural beat up on gays, of course.


Are you saying that ONLY those who think it unnatural (again, not my term) beat up on gays? That's absurd. Gays also get beat up by bullies, cowards, thieves or opportunists of every description, some of whom could not care less whether gay is natural or unnatural. The low life scum who killed Matthew Shepherd used Sheperd's homosexuality to lure him away, but they robbed and killed him because they concluded he was an easy target. There certainly are gay beating scum who act out of the motives you ascribe, but by no means do those motives describe every gay beating scum.

(Besides, I thought natural behavior was good? In a state of nature, those perceived to be weak or outnumbered are often attacked. Myself, I think nature is not always a reliable guide to what is right.)


But certainly, the one premise is necessary for the consequent action.


No, for the reasons I explained.


And if you persist in stating that it is unnatural, you enable those who do wish to beat up on gays.



Leave aside that I did not (as best I rmeember) say unnatural. Leave aside that not every gay beating scum uses unnatural as an excuse. In Judeo-Christian cultures, same sex sex is immoral and lowers people to the level of animals. And changing a millennia old definition of marriage to include same sex unions is unwise and gives sanction to immoral conduct. Feel better now? I thought not.

While we're at it, if you say that Judeo-Christian morality is misguided, you enable those who do wish to beat up on Jews and Christians.


And I don't think that you answered my question about whether those older Jewish texts mentioned that there were SSM before the flood, and whether those marriages were widespread. Were they?


The texts aren't "older" per se, but let's leave that aside for now. "Genesis" 6: 1-12 recounts the corruption and moral degeneracy of mankind immediately before the flood. The sources I mentioned explain that "they took for themselves wives from whomever they chose" includes even women who were married. The sources also say that men contracted marriages to other men, as an example of the corruption. (The particular Hebrew word translated there as "coruption" ususally connotes sexual immorality.) As to how widespread, the sources don't say, except that the text itself (i.e. "Genesis") records that the entire world was corrupted. The sources are also emphatic that petty thievery, dishonest busienss practices and other immoral conduct were also rampant, so one can't really say how widespread SSM was -- only that it is given in tradition as one of the causes of the flood.

Elsewhere in the Gemara it states, in another context, that even in the most immoral societies men do not contract marriages to other men. The Gemara was certainly familiar with homosexuality and discusses it in various sections -- the distinction was made between homosexual acts and SSM.
3.22.2007 6:47pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Randy R wrote:

> "Oh, yes, On Lawn. I have never felt anything but unconditional love from you on the subject of gays."

I always try to look for the positive in others remarks. And behind that complaint is what I consider to be a valid point that people should be more tolerant and accepting of others values. And that is a two way street.

Never the less, my philosophy towards marriage is very tolerant. I wish to let marriage be marriage, and its values remain intact. Even if just because people find those values so compelling. To stomp on those values and neuter the definition of marriage for the sake of homosexuality is trite. Let homosexuality maintain what they value, and let marriage maintain its value. Diversity, distinction, and understanding of our humanity makes it worth it.

So I simply say, let marriage be marriage, and let homosexuality be homosexuality. We can then all feel the love, I hope. But because that love is extended more circumspectly than you may like, does not mean you are any less respected or "loved".

> "Perhaps you could talk to all those people who here have argued about the immorality of homosexuality and straighten them out, so to speak."

In the Goodridge decision, marriage's requirement of integration -- of equal gender representation -- is deliberately painted as the moral equivalence of white supremacy. As long as you can respect that valuing what one man and one woman means to humanity is not prejudice or bias, we can make great progress in that regard.

I wrote:

>> "And all else being equal, they are the most advantaged in raising the child."

> "Too bad that rarely are 'all else being equal.' "

Yes it is a shame when a child is taken from their parents. The circumstances that require that action are always drastic and tragic.

To put a relevant face on what you might be alluding to, what is problematic to me is when, in the case of McGreevey, the child is torn away because of the sexual prejudice of the father. And, to go beyond breaking up the marriage and demand sole custody of the children as McGreevey is doing is most disappointing.

>> "Sterility and infertility are examples of a disability, and enlightened civilization tends to try to not exclude people because of their handicap."

> "Sterile and infertile couples are destroying marriage just as surely as gay people, so why should society be enlightened enough to aid in it's own destruction?"

The equivalence is not valid, as explained before. Homosexuality is not a handicap, and is not sterility or infertility.

And, sterile couples are not destroying marriage. Any more than having handicapped parking is destroying someone's ability to park their car. Do non-handicapped people have the same right to the privileged parking space? If so that undermines the very reason for the privileged status.

> "Or are you saying that we allow the sterile and infertile to get married because we don't want to stand in the way of a loving couple?"

A loving couple trying everything they can to overcome a handicap.

> "If that's the reason, then the same compassion and enlightenment can be shown upon gay couples, who are also loving couples."

Yet homosexuality is not a handicap. Or are you arguing otherwise?

> "Procreation is not everything to a marriage."

Yes we do agree on that point. But it is what everything seems to orbit around. It is the part of marriage that makes marriage make sense. And most importantly it is the reference to responsible procreation that puts marriage in an invaluable and unique position to assist society. No subset of purposes that marriage can fulfill justifies removing marriage from that primal purpose.

And nothing justifies the radical and intolerant position of those like Bob B.V. to say marriage has nothing to do with procreation.

> "You have each ignored the argument of what to do about gay parents who already have children."

That is false, that argument was met in the other discussion. I will remind you that where the discussion broke off was in my return question that was repeated many times by Op-Ed (so it would be incredible for you to claim you didn't see it):

What solution to you propose for [other non-marriagable, codependent relationships, viz., mother-daughter co-raising children]? And is it the same or do you feel the same-sex relationship deserves preferential status to them?


If I missed your answer to that, please let me know.

Because if you are going to use the existence of children in a household to justify wrapping that household in the institution of marriage, then you have to speak to all the other households that are not addressed by CU's or DP's or same-sex marriage.
3.22.2007 7:17pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

Sterility and infertility are examples of a disability, and enlightened civilization tends to try to not exclude people because of their handicap.
Hmmm sure we do - if the purpose of marriage is procreation then letting two people infertile together makes as much sense as letting a blind man be a sharpshooter - neither can accomplish their task.

And rights are individually based - if I am infertile with my spouse what difference does it make what gender they are? Either I am obligated to be able to procreate with them or not - either it is essential or its not - you can't have it both ways.
But the gender itself is a defined and discrete.
Only on the chromosomal level, a rather arbitrary standard considering we've only knew we had DNA for a few decades.
And all else being equal, they are the most advantaged in raising the child.
In a very narrow set of criteria possibly. But the successful raising a child includes so much more than merely the gender combination of the rearing parents that I would suggest in the grand scheme of things the other factors that are gender combination neutral are more important and research backs me up.
Marriage is not about mandating anything, it is about an institution in a unique position to aid in the creation and adherence to the ideal.

Wrong - the drive to marry is biologically derived. Marriage would exist if there were no government and no laws - it comes from beyond both. Though most married couples do procreation many do not - some because of their innate qualities or because of those of their spouse. Regardless they still marry - fertile, infertile, same gender or not, and a government based on equality of its citizens needs to acknowledge this fact if it is to be a moral one. All married citizens deserve the same access to government - if there is going to be a contract in support of marriage then all citizens should have a reasonable path to license it.
3.22.2007 7:24pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
But it is what everything seems to orbit around. It is the part of marriage that makes marriage make sense.
Not at all - 49% of children in the US are raised by other than their 2 genetic contributors. I would say raising children is far more important to something being marriage than merely having them. And families do raise children regardless of the gender combination of the parents.

14% of American of civil contract married citizens don't pass on their genes for one reason or another yet they still license the contract. The idea you can ignore an additional 2% (ast most) of married citizens when 7x as many Americans are the same way but can still license the civil contract is nonsensical.
3.22.2007 7:37pm
F. Rottles (mail):
Two men cannot marry each other.

Merging nonmarriage with marriage, as per New Jersey Civil Union which is wrapped around marital status, is the replacement of marriage recognition with something else.

is a struggle for equal dignity, recognition, legitimacy, and respect under the law. That is something only full marriage can provide because it is a relationship that families, friends, co-workers, and employers readily understand.

The mislabelling of nonmarriage as marriage does not magically transform the homosexual relationship into anything that can be respected, under the law, on the same basis as the relationship of husband and wife.

Pro-SSM advocates are barking up the wrong tree. And the bark is shrill, hyper-sentimental, and lousy argumentation.

Wherever the merger of SSM and marriage has been enacted, no clearly stated purpose for the status has been set forth. And where the SSM campaign has demanded that the "lack of requirements" negates the core of marriage, they fail to specify the requirements of SSM that define their idealized adult relationship type.

What are the definitive requirements of marriage, post merger of SSM and marriage -- in any jurisdiction you care to point to?
3.22.2007 7:39pm
Colin (mail):
Two men cannot marry each other.

Merging nonmarriage with marriage, as per New Jersey Civil Union which is wrapped around marital status, is the replacement of marriage recognition with something else.


Treating "marriage" like a magic word could not be less persuasive. "Marriage," like any other word, is defined by its use. In many places two men can marry each other in the eyes of society and the law, and in most places they can marry each other without the benefits of governmental recognition.

The mislabelling of nonmarriage as marriage does not magically transform the homosexual relationship into anything that can be respected, under the law, on the same basis as the relationship of husband and wife.

It's not "mislabelling" in those jurisdictions where marriage is, in fact and in law, inclusive of same-sex couples. Your criticism of "magical transformation" shows a lack of self-awareness, given your incantational usage of the word "marriage." On what tablet is the word engraved, where it can never be changed? Certainly not in history, which has changed the idea of "marriage" countless times.

The Opine crowd drones on and on with the same, repetitive arguments, but none are less insightful or more indicative of strong, preexisting bias than brassy comments like "Two men cannot marry each other." The plain fact of the matter is that they can.
3.22.2007 7:48pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob Ban Burkleo wrote:

> "if the purpose of marriage is procreation then letting two people infertile together makes as much sense as letting a blind man be a sharpshooter"

If that is your determination then you can start a petition as was forwarded in Washington to keep the infertile from marrying.

But do not be surprised if the sympathy society has in general for the plight of the handicapped deflates that proposed law. And I wouldn't expect the same sympathy and compassion for those with disability to translate to sympathy for living a homosexual lifestyle.

You might kick against that in jealousy, but that is just an example of what I would consider to be your own inhumanity. That is if you really wish to keep the handicapped from getting married because homosexuality isn't given the same privilege.

> "And rights are individually based - if I am infertile with my spouse what difference does it make what gender they are?"

The homosexual combination is not infertile or sterile. Such a misapplication of basic words can, if left to fester, even redefine what is natural between the two sexes into the same thing as hybridization. Imagine that, because homosexuality is mis-labeled as infertility that makes genders as if they were different species.

> "Only on the chromosomal level, a rather arbitrary standard considering we've only knew we had DNA for a few decades."

Incorrect. What a gender is would be a functional definition, which can be expressed most predictably through DNA.

> "But the successful raising a child includes so much more than merely the gender combination of the rearing parents"

Agreed. It requires not only procreation, but responsible procreation on the parent's part. Where that is not possible, it is a tragedy. But in the case of the homosexual, it is (in the case of Rosie O'Donell) a point of sexual prejudice. Which is a tragedy of a different kind.

The successful combination of both responsibility and procreation is what makes marriage so valuable, and so unique.

> "the other factors that are gender combination neutral are more important and research backs me up."

This isn't a dilemma, you realize. There is no reason to choose between the two, except in cases of real tragedy. The research clearly shows the natural parents as uniquely advantaged over any other set of parents. As much as marriage promotes people accepting that responsibility for themselves, it promotes people helping restore to children, as best we can, what is lost when they lose their parents.

> "Wrong - the drive to marry is biologically derived."

Agreed, and it is rooted in something much more biologically meaningful than the chemical reaction of an orgasm, mind you.

In fact, how meaningful monogamy is to homosexuality is directly linked to how meaningful the marriage life-bond has portrayed it through the centuries. At least as far as I can tell from writers such as Jon Rauch:

Parents asking their gay kids, "So, you guys going to get married?", plus the longstanding social preference for the unique commitment of marriage (as expressed, for example, in corporate benefits reserved for married couples), plus the fact that most marrying gay couples marry precisely because they see marriage as a unique commitment — all these, I expect, will lead the culture to read SSM as a return to the values of marriage, not a further flight from them.


Homosexual monogamy is the epiphyte drawing its substance from the atmosphere around marriage. And marriage draws its nourishment from its roots in the nature procreation in humanity. To assume the mighty tree that stands for centuries can be transplanted to mid-air and survive like the homosexual ideal is a misplaced hope.
3.22.2007 8:02pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

> "Treating 'marriage' like a magic word could not be less persuasive. ... The Opine crowd drones on and on with the same, repetitive arguments, but none are less insightful or more indicative of strong, preexisting bias than brassy comments like "Two men cannot marry each other." The plain fact of the matter is that they can."

It isn't a "magic" word, yet sometimes I would think that the marriage neuterist thinks it is. Its mere incantation to describe a relationship brings benefits, dignity, and no ill-effects whatsoever. Such mysticism.

The pre-existing bias you wish to ascribe is simply the respect to use words as they are defined, rather than as magic incantations. Definitions do migrate, and I do not believe anyone is saying they cannot. But marriage means, to this day, a relationship between a man and a woman. Even in the dictionary where the same-sex variant is mentioned, it is not "a relationship between two people" but simply noted that there is a same-sex qualified use of the term.

That makes you and Bob who have ascribed simple education as "bias".
3.22.2007 8:12pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
That is if you really wish to keep the handicapped from getting married because homosexuality isn't given the same privilege.
I guess I didn't address that specifically but I should have - many people are in infertile relationships by choice, not disability. People choose to have hysterectomies, vasectomies. They choose to marry a known infertile spouse. If their 'chosen lifestyle' is going to have license to the civil contract what excuse is there to not allow gay married couples who didn't choose the gender who they can marry?

Links to bizarre sophistries aside, a combination that is infertile is infertile, i.e. unable to reproduce - the gender combination doesn't change that observation.
What a gender is would be a functional definition, which can be expressed most predictably through DNA.
What functionality is gender dependent? No ovum or sperm production (men and women exist who can not do either), not gestation ability (woman exist who have never had this capacity) - I am at a loss to what you are referring to.
It requires not only procreation, but responsible procreation on the parent's part.
And this declaration is by divine fiat or what source?
Agreed, and it is rooted in something much more biologically meaningful than the chemical reaction of an orgasm, mind you.
Totally agree, the mammalian pair-bonding mechanism is far more complex and long lasting than mere orgasmic pleasure which can successfully be obtained through myriad mechanisms. But as far as pair-bonding goes the exact same biological mechanism are behind both same gender and opposite gender marriages derived from the same genetic source. Why would any reasonable person say that a married citizen experiencing the exact same things, deriving the exact same benefits, and society benefitting in the exact same ways can't license the contract and a similar citizen can merely on the basis of the gender of their spouse.

As to the last bit, same gender couples have married for their own reasons not for the others. I do see a pattern here though - the only way you seem to be able to rationalize treating married citizens differently is to desperately try and place one above the other - do you ever have any actual success with this technique?
3.22.2007 8:39pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo:

> "If their 'chosen lifestyle' is going to have license to the civil contract what excuse is there to not allow gay married couples who didn't choose the gender who they can marry? "

The vast majority of the difficulty you are having is that you feel providing an exception, and charging my explanation, is equivalent to making an argument yourself.

People may choose to be infertile, they may knowingly join in marriage with someone who is infertile. But how that changes the situation is, I suppose, left to my imagination to connect the dots.

Perhaps this explains it. However, I don't know, because I have no idea why you feel self-inflicting a handicap, or choosing a partner with a handicap changes the nature of the handicap.

People can mutilate themselves, and still get handicapped parking. People can ride with someone who is handicapped, and still access handicapped parking. What you provide, I cannot find examples that substantiate that you have a point.

> "a combination that is infertile is infertile, i.e. unable to reproduce - the gender combination doesn't change that observation."

Infertile means more than unable to reproduce. You never hear a rock referenced as infertile. You do hear of an egg, or a valley as being infertile. You don't hear of a machine being infertile, but you hear of a person being infertile. You don't hear of kissing being infertile, but you do hear of sex being infertile. Underlying in the definition of infertility means it is, as the dictionary puts it at one point, unsuccessful at being fertile. A same-sex combination is not unsuccessful at being fertile, because in the strictest sense if they are simply stimulating each other's genitals they aren't even trying to be fertile.

Gender combination has everything to do with that. Its these points of basic science that you seem to struggle with, no doubt because you find the reproductive nature of human biology being heterosexually "biased". Such a glib ascription of emotion to cold biological fact is something I won't continue to point out, what I've said is sufficient.

> "What functionality is gender dependent?"

The definition is functional. Two examples from M-W.com under the word "sex"

1 : either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures
2 : the sum of the structural, functional, and behavioral characteristics of organisms that are involved in reproduction marked by the union of gametes and that distinguish males and females


Sex is ascribed to flowers, and other organisms that have different DNA let alone sex organs -- based on function.
But the successful raising a child includes so much more than merely the gender combination of the rearing parents"

>>> "But the successful raising a child includes so much more than merely the gender combination of the rearing parents"

>> "Agreed. It requires not only procreation, but responsible procreation on the parent's part. Where that is not possible, it is a tragedy.

> "And this declaration is by divine fiat or what source?"

I cannot claim any divine fiat. However the wealth of research on the matter shows that children have their best shot of success when parents take proper responsibility for their offspring. It isn't just having a child that makes you a successful parent, that part you said as much yourself. It requires more. While many could describe what that part is more than just having children that makes a successful parent, I chose the word "responsibility" because it describes those qualities succinctly.

That children do best in the in-tact family is something I've not seen anyone disagree with in the scientific field. Do you have evidence otherwise?

> "the mammalian pair-bonding mechanism is far more complex and long lasting than mere orgasmic pleasure which can successfully be obtained through myriad mechanisms. ... the exact same biological mechanism are behind both same gender and opposite gender marriages derived from the same genetic source."

The latter sentence undermined the former. Both are undermined by this article.

> "Why would any reasonable person say that a married citizen experiencing the exact same things, deriving the exact same benefits, and society benefitting in the exact same ways can't license the contract and a similar citizen can merely on the basis of the gender of their spouse."

Exact same? Such a statement seems to be based on naivete, a polyanna style execution of wishful thinking. Do you really believe that homosexuality has the exact same impact and capacity on humanity, both socially and individually, that the marriage ideal has?

What evidence do you have for this?

> "the only way you seem to be able to rationalize treating married citizens differently is to desperately try and place one above the other"

To say something is different is not to say it is above the other. Like the insecure and self-loathing assumption that marriage is built on homosexual animus, to say something has a unique value should not be construed to mean it has the only value.

But if they were the exact same, then we wouldn't hear arguments that there exists the homosexual who is incapable of loving, honoring, and cherishing someone of the opposite sex in any meaningful way. Such is the inconsistency I've heard in many marriage neuterists, that gender means nothing -- except it means everything in their own sexual preference. That sexual preference is placed above so much else, to demeaning what it is to be handicapped, to demean the value people place in responsible procreation, is one of the reasons the argument for neutering marriage for their sake has met with such failure across the globe.

But that is only my view. Their failure could be due to any number of another factors. But considering that very pro-homosexual societies never promoted the change that recent homosexual activists have, I am sure it has more to do with homosexual values of self-identity (which change by the decade it seems) than real animus.

Again, that is just my view.
3.22.2007 9:16pm
Elliot123 (mail):

InA HandBasket,

Point 1: Yes. I have discussed with gays the notion that they want to be considered married rather than "gay married." They tend to want the former rather than the latter. I have not discussed it with you or your partner, and note you consider the idea that folks will simply think two guys are in a "gay marriage" is specious.

Point2: Your objection that there is no such thing as "gay marriage" is very similar to the objection by opponents of SSM who agree there is no such thing as "gay marriage." However, that has no effect on what people think about the marriage of two guys. They will simpy think of it as "gay marriage." That's not surprising since so many advocates of same sex marriage call it "gay marriage."
3.22.2007 9:41pm
Randy R. (mail):
Rottles: Two men cannot marry each other.

Yes, then can. In Massachusetts, they do. As in Canada, and soon, Sweden and Spain. You may not like it, but it is a fact.

As for the rest, I'm a little drunk right now from a reception so I can't respond adedqutatley.
3.22.2007 9:52pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
feel self-inflicting a handicap, or choosing a partner with a handicap changes the nature of the handicap.

Its not a handicap if the individual doesn't have it - the person would could be fertile with someone else has CHOSEN to be in an infertile relationship - they are not disabled.

Infertile means more than unable to reproduce.

No it doesn't. Rocks are infertile. Kissing a frog is an infertile act.

A same-sex combination is not unsuccessful at being fertile, because in the strictest sense if they are simply stimulating each other's genitals they aren't even trying to be fertile.

As are an opposite gender couple where one has a vasectomy or a hysterectomy. Your definitions seem to ebb and flow according to your need - that may fool but it doesn't me.

Its these points of basic science that you seem to struggle with, no doubt because you find the reproductive nature of human biology being heterosexually "biased".

No more it illustrates your desperate 'struggle' to try and create some argument that would rationally justify your stance. I said "That there is heterosexual bias in sexual terminology is a given." So unless you are so disconnected that you think sexuality = reproduction you need to pay more attention or be more skillful in your deceptions.

The definition is functional. Two examples from M-W.com under the word "sex"

So now you are saying people who aren't 'functionally' male and female aren't their genders? Amazing.

However the wealth of research on the matter shows that children have their best shot of success when parents take proper responsibility for their offspring.

And yet almost 50% of children are being raised by other people. You are saying that these children should just be left in the breeze and only your 'ideal' should be allowed license to the civil contract? But that isn't the current situation at all, is it?

That children do best in the in-tact family is something I've not seen anyone disagree with in the scientific field. Do you have evidence otherwise?

Considering the quality of many 'intact' families it would amazing you would make that assumption. Again, you are taking a single quality from a complex situation and acting as if it were the key one. From all of my research the primary quality successful child rearing is a stable family environment that is not dependent on either the gender or the genetic heritage of the parents. Do you have any evidence otherwise?

The latter sentence undermined the former. Both are undermined by this article.

Without clarification that sentence makes no sense - the statements are mutually supportive. And please, rambling editorial pieces are not 'articles'. It doesn't even address pair-bonding, merely lust. Mammalian pair-bonding is mediated by vasopressin and oxytocin, not testosterone. Seems the author doesn't really understand the issues involved as seemingly do you don't too.

Do you really believe that homosexuality has the exact same impact and capacity on humanity, both socially and individually, that the marriage ideal has?

You sound like you have lost your focus. The discussion is about individual qualities and rights, not about their spouses not about some group. I would say that all infertile married couples have the virtually the same impact on society whether they are same gender or not. Since some infertile married couples are deemed qualified to license the civil contract it would logically follow that they all should.

And sexual preference isn't being put above anything - I think you are the first to mention it. The situation is that sexual orientation is irrelevant when you look at the citizen and their natural rights - the citizen pair-bonds, they derive the same biological benefits, and society derives the same benefits of their being pair-bonded when compared to those already allowed license to the civil contract. The gender of their spouse seems most important to you, not to me.

What you seem to have missed is that we believe people have natural rights and one of them is marriage and that some marry people of the same gender. There is no quality the individual has that makes their marriage any different from those already allowed license. In a free and equal society if their is going to be legal recognition of this right of marriage it should be reasonably available to all citizens.
3.22.2007 10:13pm
Alec (www):
Someone has been reading too much Aristotle for their own good. Or perhaps simply rehashing the arguments of others. Rottles wrote:

The mislabelling of nonmarriage as marriage does not magically transform the homosexual relationship into anything that can be respected, under the law, on the same basis as the relationship of husband and wife.

Pro-SSM advocates are barking up the wrong tree. And the bark is shrill, hyper-sentimental, and lousy argumentation.

Wherever the merger of SSM and marriage has been enacted, no clearly stated purpose for the status has been set forth. And where the SSM campaign has demanded that the "lack of requirements" negates the core of marriage, they fail to specify the requirements of SSM that define their idealized adult relationship type.


1. Even if one were "mislabeling nonmarriage as marriage" it would indeed have the effect of being equal under the law. At least the laws of man, the only laws I care about. So respect under the law? Yup, that is the effect of allowing gays to marry.

2. Has Enlightenment passed you by? Your teleological assertions may have served you well before Darwin and his successors demolished them, but there is no "idealized adult relationship type." And truth be told, advocates of marriage for gay couples have provided a formula, often by inverting the "lack of requirements" you so despise: To promote romantic and sexual fidelity between couples who are in committed relationships, irrespective of gender. That is the "good" promoted by marriage, whether the couple is heterosexual or homosexual. In the meantime, your metaphysical rhetoric is modern-day nonsense.
3.22.2007 10:21pm
inahandbasket:
"If you want to make marriage more than it is, then you should hold heteros to the same standard. If marriage is about children, then you should require all heteros who are married to have and raise children. "

That would go over like a balloon made of lead. It would actually be consistent with the supposed purposes of marriage.

If anti-gay activists supported a constitutional amendment that *required* procreation, common households, fatherhood defined in law, and banned divorce, then I'd at least respect their arguments as consistent -- even if I disagreed with them.


Well, there's Initiative 957 Washington State:

Initiative 957
If passed by Washington voters, the Defense of Marriage Initiative would:
add the phrase, "who are capable of having children with one another" to the legal definition of marriage;

require that couples married in Washington file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage automatically annulled;

require that couples married out of state file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage classed as
"unrecognized;"

establish a process for filing proof of procreation; and make it a criminal act for people in an unrecognized marriage to receive marriage benefits.

"The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance seeks to defend equal marriage in this state by challenging the Washington Supreme Court's ruling on Andersen v. King County. This decision, given in July 2006, declared that a "legitimate state interest" allows the Legislature to limit marriage to those couples able to have and raise children together. Because of this "legitimate state interest," it is permissible to bar same-sex couples from legal marriage.

The way we are challenging Andersen is unusual: using the initiative, we are working to put the Court's ruling into law. We will do this through three initiatives. The first would make procreation a requirement for legal marriage. The second would prohibit divorce or legal separation when there are children. The third would make the act of having a child together the legal equivalent of a marriage ceremony.

Absurd? Very. But there is a rational basis for this absurdity. By floating the initiatives, we hope to prompt discussion about the many misguided assumptions which make up the Andersen ruling. By getting the initiatives passed, we hope the Supreme Court will strike them down as unconstitutional and thus weaken Andersen itself. And at the very least, it should be good fun to see the social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation be forced to choke on their own rhetoric."

http://www.wa-doma.org/

There ya go.
3.23.2007 12:00am
inahandbasket:
Elliot123:

"
InA HandBasket,

Point 1: Yes. I have discussed with gays the notion that they want to be considered married rather than "gay married." They tend to want the former rather than the latter. I have not discussed it with you or your partner, and note you consider the idea that folks will simply think two guys are in a "gay marriage" is specious."

Depends upon your definition of "folks." The Hannity/O'Reilly crowd? My wife and I married in our Ethical Society. Our true (gay and straight) friends see us as MARRIED, not "gay married." The 'gays' (can't even call them people, can you?) that you've discussed this subject with - are you talking about single gay people, married couples, or what? Are they actually TRUE "I'd take a bullet for you" friends? I doubt it.

You know what's really funny? This may go for you and several "My best friend is gay" straight folks: we DO know people like you in our wider social circle. You may think we are your friends but for us, you are only an aquaintance, someone to keep at least at arm's length. You are not close even if you might be a relative. Your prejudice shows whether you know it or not. You are not to be trusted.


Point2: Your objection that there is no such thing as "gay marriage" is very similar to the objection by opponents of SSM who agree there is no such thing as "gay marriage." However, that has no effect on what people think about the marriage of two guys. They will simpy think of it as "gay marriage." That's not surprising since so many advocates of same sex marriage call it "gay marriage."

Massachusetts and Canada make no distinction in their documentation for a civil marriage. They are the same forms. It is marriage regardless of the gender of the two people getting married.

Yes, advocates of marriage equality need to change their language.

You and several other posters seem to think that we in the LGBT community are hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks of us. So sorry to disappoint...
3.23.2007 12:38am
yankev (mail):
Bob VB,

And yet almost 50% of children are being raised by other people. You are saying that these children should just be left in the breeze and only your 'ideal' should be allowed license to the civil contract?

Every lawyer is used to seeing positions mistated, diostorted, taken out of context and downright misrepresented by opposing counsel, This one is a new low. I cannot find any support in On Lawn's postings for your mischaracterization of his statements. I don't know whether the mischaracterization was deliberate or not. Either way, it does not reflect well on you.

You then tell On Lawn

You sound like you have lost your focus.



I submit that if he sounds that way, it is due to his trying to respond to your shotgun approach.
3.23.2007 11:32am
JosephSlater (mail):
I'm one of those straight folks who views married gays and lesbians as married. And there are more and more of us every day, in the U.S. and elsewhere.

It's truly bizarre to see the anti-SSM folks keep trying to rely on the "but marriage is about having kids" point, and struggling with the obvious, "but we don't make straights have kids or try to have kids." This "the infertile are disabled and we're being nice to the disabled" may be the strangest and weakest yet.

First, of course, we let straights who are fertile but who voluntarily choose not to have kids get married. So it's not just an ADA-type issue. Second, if letting gays and lesbians (a small part of the population) marry will undermine/destroy marriage because they can't have kids, one would think letting the voluntarily or involuntarily infertile would do the same; thus we shouldn't extend this right even to those straights who don't want kids who could be described as disabled.

And Randy R. is right to again point out that gays and lesbians are raising kids, and he's right to note the conclusions one can draw about the "it's for the kids" crowd who ignore or make the lame replies on this issue.

Of course, none of this is going to convince the Opine folks. The good news is, to end where I started, that many others are being convinced.
3.23.2007 12:46pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
yanek, the only shotgun has been Lawns - he is the one bringing bizarre rationalizations - the infertile are disabled? Please! And what's amazing is he thinks that's a justification. No we don't let the disabled do jobs they are unqualified for, we just help them do they jobs the can do with assistance. If procreation is the standard an infertile couple don't qualify for the job - just like we don't let the blind drive 'just to be nice.'

As to your complaint about my answer let's read it in context:

He said that successful child rearing REQUIRES responsible procreation on the parent's part, and lacking that its a tragedy. This was presented to justify limiting state recognized marriage to those that can procreate.

My reply was in that context. Since Lawn is stating that successful childrearing must be done by the parents to avoid a tragic result then that means that all children not being raised by their procreative parents are 'a tragedy' and their parents are just as unqualified for license to the contract as per his reasoning we should only be supporting the 'ideal'.

And do note I gave him the courtesy of framing this conclusion in the form of a question so that he would have an opportunity to gracefully back out.

If you are a lawyer and familiar with distortions its amazing you haven't been taking Lawn to task for his - oh wait a second, strike that - you're a lawyer.
3.23.2007 1:20pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Handbasket,

You ask what I mean by "folks" in saying folks will simply consider two guys as a "gay marriage." By that word I mean a sufficient number of the general public that their attitudes constitute a the dominant social attitude. Some will not have that idea, but I suspect most will. Since gays themselves continually campaign for gay marriage, it's not unreasonable. The term "gay marriage" is well entrenched in common vernacular.

I have discussed gay marriage with gay acquaintances. I don't have any gay friends, never said I did, so there is no need to deteremine if the people I talked to will take a bullet for me. I fail to see how either ballistics or their relation to me has any bearing on the matter.

I agree Massachusetts and Canada make no distinction in their documentation for a civil marriage. That has nothing to do with people's attitudes towards SSM. People in either place can still consider two guys as gay marriage. I doubt personal attitudes all over the state changed when the Massachusetts court handed down its decision.

Is there a cohesive LGBT community? My impression was that gays have just as diverse attitudes as the rest of the population. There are gays who favor gay marriage, and those who don't. Some are liberal, some conservative. Some voted for Bush, some for Kerry. It seems a bit insulting to lump them all together and imply they can't think for themselves.
3.23.2007 1:49pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo wrote:

> "Its not a handicap if the individual doesn't have it - the person would could be fertile with someone else has CHOSEN to be in an infertile relationship - they are not disabled."

You seem to be talking about a case where one person is infertile, and the other is not. They choose to get married, and are allowed. Which means the person who is handicapped is not denied marriage, nor is the person who chooses to marry them. And you are right, one of them isn't disabled and is allowed to get married.

I'm unsure of what point you are driving at. Please explain.

> "No it doesn't. Rocks are infertile. Kissing a frog is an infertile act."

If you wish to play the game of the two year old, and say "no it isn't" as if to wish it untrue, then be my guess.

In full disclosure I have to say my example of rocks was flawed. Rocks can be considered fertile in the sense that they provide a medium for reproduction. Just as a valley, or sand, or even the moon can be considered infertile. So you (and I both) happen to be wrong. Rocks can be referenced as fertile or infertile.

You seem to be arguing that everything is binary, it can reproduce and be called fertile, or it cannot and we call it infertile. I say it is binary in that everything that is infertile is only in the context of presumed or expected fertility. You could do a better job of proving me wrong if you could find something referenced as infertile where fertility was never expected. Where is your reference (outside of your own imagination) for the infertile kiss? Only when you provide that can your claim be evaluated.

But so far, your claims from pair-bonding on down have been evaluated and they are not proving to have the same intention or meaning you claim to hold for yourself. That is something you should address further in your own time, because it indicates you have an extreme bias or willful personality that is not meshing very well with reality.

As to your expectation of the binary fertility and infertility applied to everything I have provided a counter example. As stated above, not everything that reproduces is "fertile". For instance, as shown above, when hybrids do lead to reproduction the are considered "inter-fertile". That is the binary opposite of what we normally consider things that cannot reproduce -- different species combinations.

But that was described above, and met only with something sup-par for an argument -- you considered it a link to sophistry. Dismissal is a poor substitute for an argument. Especially when that leaves you only to re-enforce your ignorance with more of your own assertions. As you just did here.

I wrote:
>> "A same-sex combination is not unsuccessful at being fertile, because in the strictest sense if they are simply stimulating each other's genitals they aren't even trying to be fertile."

> "As are an opposite gender couple where one has a vasectomy or a hysterectomy. Your definitions seem to ebb and flow according to your need - that may fool but it doesn't me."

I'm unsure how that shows inconsistency in definition. Your example may show that my definition is incorrect, providing an example contradicting it. But that doesn't make the definition inconsistent. Me thinks you are grasping desperately at straws, and you are missing your own arguments meanings.

However, your example does not contradict. In the classification of handicapped people, self-mutilation does not keep someone from that designation. You never replied to that refutation, you simply turned to your own self-assertions once again.

I do not believe homosexuality is a handicap. Infertility is. If they are not the same, then your assertion is in vain. If they are the same, you need to come out and tell us they are and argue that more directly.

So far you appear to be arguing that indirectly when you say that someone with a vasectomy or hysterectomy is like the homosexual couple, not even trying to have a child. Your similarity seems to be based on the fact that because neither of them are capable of rising about sexual stimulation in their pursuit of fertility.

So just be honest, if you feel homosexuality is a handicap, and they deserve the same privilege and protection that we give the handicapped, then come out and say so. Otherwise your attempts to draw them as equatable are in vain.

> "I said 'That there is heterosexual bias in sexual terminology is a given.' So unless you are so disconnected that you think sexuality = reproduction you need to pay more attention or be more skillful in your deceptions."

I'll note a few instances where you apply a all or nothing standard incorrectly. Each instance is over-reaching on your part, and shows a flaw in your argument. I do this because in this instance in answering that flaw, you seem to be trying to blame me for that flaw. No, the flaw is your own.

The civil contract of marriage has nothing to do with any religious rite - 2 atheists can license a contract in any state of the Union.


What you showed is that marriage can exist independent of religious context. What you claimed is that means no one ever has a religious context or understanding of their marriage. Such a conclusion is over-reaching and easily disproven by showing the examples of people who are married as a matter of religious rite.

Wouldn't think I had to - the civil contract of marriage is licensed to sterile couples all the time; it has nothing to do with procreation.


What you showed is that the purpose of marriage is not mandated or enforced with totalitarian precision. There exist exceptions to the rule. These exceptions either exist because the rule never existed, or because enforcement of purposes behind law is never precise in real world application. You claim the former, however that was proven false with all of the legal references to the purpose of marriage being rooted in the ability to procreate.

The second assertion is what I brought up, that enforcement is lax. For two reasons, the first is that our society often gives privilege and exception to the handicapped. This is demonstrated by showing all of the extra protections and construction that is limited to, or exists entirely for the handicapped. The second reason, which we didn't discuss, is privacy. A decision when and how to procreate is a private matter held outside of the government's mandate. Between those demonstrable and known exceptions you explain every exception to the procreation rule to marriage.

That is understanding and reason that is unavailable in your all or nothing approach. That is reasoning, that in this case, promotes totalitarian governance of people. You seem to be unable to see a purpose behind a law unless that law is enforced in a totalitarian manner. I discussed that above also, and which you left unanswered.

But in this case you have another all or nothing application of your own making. I'll repeat it again:

So unless you are so disconnected that you think sexuality = reproduction you need to pay more attention or be more skillful in your deceptions.


Honestly, that (like the examples above) really has nothing to do with an all or nothing, sexuality = reproduction or not. Sexuality is based in reproduction. It is that root that you appear to be calling biased, and establishing that root is not saying that sexuality has components that exist even when reproduction does not occur. Such a reading is a product of your own misunderstanding, and that is as directly as I can put it.

There is a wealth of study in sexuality. Sexuality is rooted in procreation, it is the reason we have all of these sexual organs and sexual stimulation in the first place. The reproductive nature of our species is considered "sexual" reproduction. Sexual, you might remember from basic biology, means binary combination of two different genders. There is asexual which does not require a second organism, and sexual. Oddly enough, there is no homosexual reproduction -- ever.

It was your words that called the structure of scientific research and analysis of the matter a bias. I assume to you that means the core of study and research should match your own views of sexuality. You felt the core should be the stimulation around sexual activity, and the reproduction considered the byproduct? I can't imagine what else you could have meant to call the structure of science around sexuality as biased towards heterosexuality.

If it is any consolation, if not equal, outside of reproduction the study of homosexuality probably is given more importance than heterosexuality.

> "So now you are saying people who aren't 'functionally' male and female aren't their genders? Amazing. "

I believe I've told you this in the distant past, but it bears repeating. You will never succeed in an argument where the basis is what I meant by what I said. It will always paint you as the manipulative and dishonest person trying to twist words, because I know what I am saying. Even if you do not.

To say something is a functional definition means the definition is based on function. And that is true, verified by the examples from M-W.com. A proper response would have met those examples, instead you chose to create strawmen.

I also noted that (specifically in the case of DNA, but also in other areas) there is a structural expectation of function. DNA is the best predictor of that expectation, but so are the existence of physical organs. The definition noted this structural expectation also. But the structure is still based in the function it is expected to perform, and sexuality is, in context, a reproductive function. It is in that context, how each are expected to perform to produce a reproductive act, that male and female are defined. Especially across different species where the structure and DNA composition of those expectations are entirely different.

> "You are saying that these children should just be left in the breeze and only your 'ideal' should be allowed license to the civil contract? But that isn't the current situation at all, is it?"

Yankev properly identified this dishonesty of yours. Allow me to explain a few ways that your dishonesty is exposed here.

First, it is untrue to say I didn't acknowledge the existence of households outside of the ideal. I identified the ideal by referencing, "the wealth of research on the matter". And showed that it is the ideal because it, "shows that children have their best shot of success when parents take proper responsibility for their offspring."

The evidence of research and comparison, once again shows that there exists situations outside of this ideal. Further evidence of this comes where I acknowledge that deviation from the ideal is a product of some tragic event. I cite tragic events, and even identify the breakup of a family to pursue an identity of sexual orientation to be a guise for personal gender bias. Which is also a tragedy.

Nor do I seem to be wanting them to twist in the wind. In fact, in a reply to Randy R. I note how in a previous thread that children are in households outside of the homosexual and heterosexual romantic ideal. I asked the same question, in essence, that you did. If the existence of children in a household are a reason to call the household governance "marriage", then why are they only seeking to add same-sex couples to marriage?

As of yet, no one has answered or justified that bias. And your application of imagination, meaning what you imagine I am saying compared to what I am saying, only adds dishonesty to incompetence on your part in replying to that question.

> "Again, you are taking a single quality from a complex situation and acting as if it were the key one."

I'm not sure. I have no idea what such a vague term as "the key one" means in this context. Given your propensity to apply all or nothing criteria to qualified results, I am suspicious of your application here.

I'm sure what I've said is more plain to understand than your what your imagination is substituting on the matter :)

> "From all of my research the primary quality successful child rearing is a stable family environment that is not dependent on either the gender or the genetic heritage of the parents."

A non-intact family only exists after a dynamic and dramatic change in its composition. Hence your assertion that a stable family environment is not dependent on heritage is false. First fix your own inconsistencies, because when built on a contradiction there is no discussion of research that can reach conclusive results.

> "the statements are mutually supportive."

In your context that reproduction is something other than the root of sexuality, perhaps you are correct. But the problem in those statements is in how they go in different directions to establish sexuality.

The latter sentence references chemical reactions related to sexual stimulation, and limits the discussion to just what happens in common between homosexual and heterosexual stimulation. The first sentence reads to me to say that you are pointing to something more than the chemical reactions to sexual stimulation. Again, with your own contradiction at the heart of the argument, it is no surprise you come up with so many false-positive conclusions.

The articles referenced (yes, anyone who visited saw there are real articles in those posts) show the problems in the pseudo-scientific construction you are making of pair-bonding.

1) There is little if any monogamy to study among mammals. Monogamy is the rare exception to mammalian social structures, not the other way around.
2) Pair-bonding by definition directly references mating, and has a context of raising children after the sexual conduct is over.
3) Monogamy, which is the basis of pair-bonding, does not mean a lifelong commitment at all. It means at best just one mate at a time (see #2)
4) There are ways that scientists detect hormonal differences and effects from heterosexual and homosexual intimacy. They are not "the same thing" as you continue to project.
5) The lack of pair-bonding and monogamy expectation outside of the general social (not biological) context of marriage amongst homosexuals explaining their own experience, shows that the two concepts are not as related as you project. Homosexual monogamy is at best an epyphite gaining nutrition from the atmosphere around marriage.

Those were all presented to you before, though your powers of dismissal are formidable they are ultimately poor examples of argumentation in light of the evidence provided against your claims.

> "What you seem to have missed is that we believe people have natural rights and one of them is marriage and that some marry people of the same gender."

Most often when people accuse me of missing something it is because their argument was far short of being compelling, and they are simply trying to blame me for "missing" it.

Your argument is not something I've missed, if I haven't addressed it here I will point to where I addressed it in a previous thread (re: Loving and right to marry who you choose).
3.23.2007 3:24pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Joseph Slater wrote:

> "It's truly bizarre to see the anti-SSM folks keep trying to rely on the "but marriage is about having kids" point, and struggling with the obvious, "but we don't make straights have kids or try to have kids."

Its bizzare to see the sterility strawman portrayed as a valid argument. I'm curious as to who ever said that marriage is about mandating procreation. If no one said it, then your refutation is misapplied.

> "This "the infertile are disabled and we're being nice to the disabled" may be the strangest and weakest yet."

It is also amazing how people will assume that commentary == an argument. I welcome your commentary, and certainly celebrate your ability to come to your own conclusions. However opinions are cheap, and without any supporting arguments I can't place much reliance on them.

> "First, of course, we let straights who are fertile but who voluntarily choose not to have kids get married."

First, since marriage isn't about mandating procreation there is no reason to not have people get married who don't want to have kids the second they get married. If it is a matter of choice, then people can change their mind. It is good that they can change their mind and have their marriage already in place.

Besides, as Op-Ed pointed out, what kind of all-knowing government body are you going to put in charge of reading people's minds? If you are going to enforce that people who decide to not have children not get married, you need some all knowing body to accurate predict who is, 1) thinking they don't ever want kids and 2) actually will accomplish that.

> "So it's not just an ADA-type issue. Second, if letting gays and lesbians (a small part of the population) marry will undermine/destroy marriage because they can't have kids, one would think letting the voluntarily or involuntarily infertile would do the same; thus we shouldn't extend this right even to those straights who don't want kids who could be described as disabled."

Correction, the voluntary can have kids even if they don't want to. And their minds change, as noted above. It is your commentary that needs to address these simple facts of life, rather than expect others to accept your simplistic standard as reality.

And as I presented to Bob B.V. if you want to exclude those with disabilities from getting married feel free to present such a law for our consideration. But don't be surprised if our sympathy towards the disabled hampers support for that measure.

> "And Randy R. is right to again point out that gays and lesbians are raising kids, and he's right to note the conclusions one can draw about the 'it's for the kids' crowd who ignore or make the lame replies on this issue."

He's right? From my standpoint every time people ask him how he justifies a homosexual bias in that argument. Or in other words there are polygamists, incestuals, polyamorists, and non-sexual couples raising children, why is he only affording his efforts to homosexual households to be added to the benefit welfare and dignity that is associated with the word marriage?

As someone noted above, (and I've also noted) given the opportunity to create their own version of marriage, they curiously limit it to only same-sex couples. Why? What justifies that bias and exclusion?

Randy abandons his argument, leaving those concerns about that argument unmet. He then seems to hope that by resurfacing with the same question, and lying that no one has answered his question, that can somehow renew his argument. Such a tactic is not reason, it is not even honest.

> "Of course, none of this is going to convince the Opine folks. The good news is, to end where I started, that many others are being convinced."

Last poll I read showed a quarter of the population of the US supports neutering the definition of marriage. That is down from the 40% or so that we saw when marriage definition referendums were put on the ballots across the USA.

The compelling case has always been for equal gender representation in marriage. And that case is growing as the debate continues. Which is why we see calls from people (such as Dale Carpenter) to quit going after neutered marriage and work towards CU's instead. Only that doesn't seem to be something very popular in the gay community, as the article here mentions.

But, perhaps I'm the only one that remembers Dale's lamentations that even homosexual marriage is not very popular in Massachusetts. So much so that the Boston Globe started corralling its employees into marriage rather than CU's. So much so that couples were called on to get married in Massachusetts even though they were out of state. A recent example I remember (I believe also treated by Dale) was a couple in New York that, as the judge saw it, even though they got married in Massachusetts they never really considered themselves married. They admit they did it to assist the cause.
3.23.2007 3:49pm
Colin (mail):
The repeated (ad absurdem) fancy that infertile couples and individuals are allowed to marry as an accommodation to the handicapped is almost as intellectually shallow as the base assertion, "Two men cannot marry each other." Can you cite any legal or historical source characterizing the infertile's access to marriage as a privilege granted to the disabled to which they do not have in inherent right? Can you find any relevant source denying access to marriage to the infertile? This is a desperate and ineffectual attempt to create, from whole cloth, a fictitious gestalt in which the purpose of marital recognition is purely to encourage the married pair to reproduce with one another.

There are some intellectually serious opponents of same-sex marriage. I have not seen any among the Opine crowd. You'll need more than baseless assertions and biased, discredited interpretations of other people's data to persuade anyone here.

Unless, of course, your aim is to persuade us that your arguments are pretext. You've succeeded very well in that endeavor.
3.23.2007 3:56pm
Fitz (mail) (www):

"This is a desperate and ineffectual attempt to create, from whole cloth, a fictitious gestalt in which the purpose of marital recognition is purely to encourage the married pair to reproduce with one another."


Not purely, just importantly.

In this case more importantly than recognizing same-sex relationships.
3.23.2007 4:49pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

> "The repeated (ad absurdem) fancy that infertile couples and individuals are allowed to marry as an accommodation to the handicapped"

I'm not sure you realize what ad absurdum means as a description of logical proof. Perhaps you had a different intent in evoking that phrase? As absurdum is not a fallacy and can be a valid way to prove a premise. All it really means is that your results contradict your premise. Sometimes that is exactly what you want to happen. But how that happens here is beyond me.

The presentation of the infertile (those that cannot reproduce because of disability) is an attempt at reductio ad absurdum in its essence. It attempts to show that there exists a contradiction between the stated purpose of marriage and the results.

But you seem to be characterizing of the exception as a noted and understood exception as being a contradiction? How do you come to that?

> "is almost as intellectually shallow"

Admittedly, I'm not sure what you mean with such vague terminology. But I'm going to hazzard a guess that you find it simple minded.

However, if so, that application is misguided. To me, it seems the inability to understand the nuances of marriage law is intellectually shallow, or simple minded. I've seen constant assertions that if the law does not enforce the purpose of its existence with totalitarian precision, leaving no exception for the handicapped or the fallibility of government execution, they cannot see the purpose at all. And that, to me, is simple mindedness.

> "'Two men cannot marry each other.'"

Such a phrase highlights the ambivalence around the understanding of what marriage is. It is best described in the dictionary, and according to the dictionary their usage of marriage is more than permissible. A place I deal with that ambivalence more directly is in my discussion with John Scalzi, here.

But what intellectually shallow means in this context, is something I'd appreciate more explanation on.

> "Can you cite any legal or historical source characterizing the infertile's access to marriage as a privilege granted to the disabled to which they do not have in inherent right?"

False premise. The privilege we afford to the disabled is because we find they have an inherent right to something and that their disability (which normally would exclude them) should not exclude them whenever possible. Hence the requirement for handicapped access to public establishments is because we feel they have a right to commerce or employment there even though they are physically unable to reach the location.

> "Can you find any relevant source denying access to marriage to the infertile?"

How about this reference which treats not only the example but the greater context as well?

However, while marriage was deemed important, it was usually treated as a practical matter without much romantic significance. A father arranged the most advantageous marriage for his son and then had a contract signed before witnesses. Shortly thereafter a wedding celebration was held and the young couple (who might never have met before) was escorted to bed. All marriages were monogamous. As a rule, the bridegroom was in his thirties and the bride was a teenager. In addition to this disparity in ages there also existed an inequality in education and political rights. Women were considered inferior to men and remained confined to the home. Their main function as wives was to produce children and to manage the household while their husbands tended to public affairs. For their erotic needs, men often turned to prostitutes and concubines. As Demosthenes, the orator, explained it: "We have prostitutes for our pleasure, concubines for our health, and wives to bear us lawful offspring." Many men also cultivated intense emotional and sexual relationships with male adolescents (paiderastia). The legal inequality of the sexes was further reflected in the divorce regulations. It was always easier for a husband to divorce his wife than vice versa. However, since a divorced woman could take her dowry back with her, men normally asked for a divorce only in cases of female adultery and infertility.


-- link from a page titled History of marriage in Western Culture

Also reference this case study in Jewish law. There the law states that someone must divorce after ten years of infertility, though as the article suggests such a rule is not enforced much any more.

I could find more examples if you wish. I also provided examples of legal precedent stating the purpose of marriage and its relationship to responsible procreation. Any disputing of the link must meet those explicit declarations head on, and in some way other than a sideways endeavor to play the handicapped like pawns.

> "This is a desperate and ineffectual attempt to create, from whole cloth, a fictitious gestalt in which the purpose of marital recognition is purely to encourage the married pair to reproduce with one another. "

Apparently your bluff was called, the evidence provided (and reminded) leaving your blustering to your own embarrassment.

> "There are some intellectually serious opponents of same-sex marriage."

No doubt.

> "I have not seen any among the Opine crowd."

Hmm, Aren't you the one that complained that the Opine crowd was using marriage as a magic word? And then contradicted that by saying it was based in the combinatorial nature of the two sexes? And accused us of making that up of whole cloth when the historic references provided (and re-affirmed in this post) clearly show otherwise?

My assumption is that you no more understand intellectual honesty, let alone serious intellect.

Never the less, I'm not going to sit here and call myself an intellectual. I'm not the type to apply self-marketing in that respect, I rather let people make their own judgments. However, it seems rather certain that even if you are right, your commentary is doing a lousy job of exposing it. If you are right, there is nothing in your commentary that seems to support it except your own self-assertions and judgments. And even those aren't holding up to scrutiny.

Better yet, try to avoid the personal attacks and try harder to understand what is being written. Then you would no doubt find my lack of intellect and expose it with much more appropriate results.
3.23.2007 4:52pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Within the New Jersey court rests the capacity, through some osmosis, to contend that they have "no constitutional compass with which to navigate" and, therefore, "steer clear of the swift and treacherous currents of social policy."44 While at the same moment declaring that equal protection requires that very same court compel its State Legislature to choose between "two apparent options", it must either "amend the marriage statutes to include same-sex couples," or it must "create a separate statutory structure, such as a civil union."45 The New Jersey court, in demanding this change, realized that nothing short of a constitutional amendment could stop it. Yet, it engages in false magnanimity by claiming it will "not short-circuit the democratic process from running its course,"46 even though a mere matter of months before that same democratic process had enacted its first benefits package to same-sex couples. The legal fiction the court has created stands alongside that of Vermont, catapulted onto a wiser and reluctant nation whose people remain tolerant, yet prudent. Waxing democratic, the New Jersey Supreme Court eliminates any distinction between same-sex and traditional marriage, reserving to the people only the adoption of a mere moniker, that it proudly announces "must come about through civil dialogue and reasoned discourse, and the considered judgment of the people in whom we place ultimate trust in our republican form of government."47 Reasoned discourse, one presumes, is ably capable of discerning and articulating the relationship between law and the wider culture. A relationship the Supreme Court of New Jersey, just one page later in its decision, demonstrates it awareness of; when it writes "[h]owever the Legislature may act, same-sex couples will be free to call their relationships by the name they choose and to sanctify their relationships in religious ceremonies in houses of worship."48

44-48 Lewis v. Harris N.J.S.A. 26:8A-2(e).
3.23.2007 5:09pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Pedantic word games aside your note doesn't seem to say much. You allude to that I am wrong but can't seen to actually illustrate it in any substantive way. What you seem to fail to notice is that all of your rationalizations have fallen away too - you have been left with nothing that supports your views out of an over 15,000 character reply.

The idea that infertile people are handicapped is inane. And even if it were true it would still preclude them from marriage if it were truly for procreation. You don't let someone without sight do a task that requires it, similarly you wouldn't let someone marry if it required procreation. That is unless this is just the deceptive presentation it obviously seems to me designed to confuse not truly justify.

Strawmen and red herring distractions seem to be your staple but they aren't reasonable ways to make your points. As way of illustration I mention the civild contract of marriage and you start meandering off on a strawman about marriage. The two aren't the same - no reasonable person would confuse them and that you seem to doesn't make you look reasonable.

But that seems to be a standard technique - when you can't deal with an issue you use a great deal of time and words to try and and change the subject into something you can refute. When you can't answer a question you pretend offense that the individual would even ask it even though it is the logical conclusion from what you've presented. When it suites your purposes you are expansive in your perceptions and narrow them when it suites you then.

You try and sound knowledgeable but fail. My sentence referenced 'chemical reactions'? What person who has any understanding of hormonal mediation control mechanisms would even refer to them as such? Is that ignorance or just setting up yet another strawman to showily knock down?

You at your own final example:

I talk about pair-bonding you bring in monogamy.

I talk about pair-bonding and you mention its mating aspect as if that were all there was to it. Pair-bonding is beyond mere lust, everyone knows that - you can't pretend you don't and look intelligent.

Then you take your monogamy red herring and run with it even further.

You state 'there are ways that scientists detect hormonal differences..." which is obviously true - what you don't show is that any have been detected or any reasonable reason why there even would be any difference detected.

And then you go on and bring in what I bet is a reoccurring theme - the misrepresent gay people in general - stating stereotypes as fact with 'the lack of pair-bonding' and monogamy expectations. All I can decide is that you don't really know many gay people, or a good sampling. The GSS finds that about 25% of all men are randy fellows and 75% much less so regardless of their sexual orientations. It finds the difference between the median number of life-time sexual partners between heterosexual and homosexual men is 2. The stereotypes are just that - bringing them in to cap your discussion makes you look dumb not smart.

It seems obvious to me you think you sound 'right' but you should be told you don't. Voluminous usage of argumentative fallacies might give people headaches but it won't convince them of anything though obviously I doubt anyone will be able to convince you of this.

My Point of View clearly stated one last time:

The need to marry is biologically based and is potentially present in all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation.

All citizens potentially benefit - biologically, mentally, economically - from being married as does the society they live in.

A governmental system based on serving the citizens equally and giving them equal access to government will default to recognizing its citizens right to marriage and disallowing it will be the exception that will have to be justified especially in the case where the prohibition transcends from a regulation limiting the citizen' pool of potential spouses slightly to an effective proscription giving them a pool of zero.
3.23.2007 5:29pm
Colin (mail):
Never the less, I'm not going to sit here and call myself an intellectual.

I'm sure we're all very grateful. Despite the length and density of your posts, you provide very little in the way of content. Your (the Opine crowd generally, as it's hard to distinguish your citations or arguments) citations are generally to discredited or irrelevant sources, such as Kurtz or the "Sexology" passage cited above. (That page goes on at significant length and demonstrates, if it is taken at face value, that traditional marriage has little to do with modern opposite-sex marriage. You yourself quoted its assertion that the historical view you cite in support of your position included the confinement of women to the home and characterized them as inferior partners.)

Your posts go to great and absurd* length to create fragile justifications for otherwise unsupported positions. It is patently untrue that marriage today is a protected institution for the purpose of encouraging reproduction. One (of several) proofs of this is that the infertile (via age, infirmity or choice) are granted access to sanctioned marriage. You pretend that this is a special accommodation granted to the disabled, but your evidence of this is a "Sexology" institute's summary of "Ancient Greek and Roman" marital status, which by its own terms is irrelevant to the modern world. That page describes the marital relationship there as including gross political and social inequalities between the spouses, generally middle-aged men and barely post-pubescent girls. I asked for relevant evidence that your characterization is valid. I don't see any.

I doubt the intellectual seriousness of your position because you have very little evidence, and you take no notice of that lack. You seem to have a dedicated position--gay marriage is wrong--and no objective evidence to support that decision. Well enough; no one has objective reasons for every value they hold. But my conclusion is that your arguments are accordingly pretextual. You're attempting to assemble an intellectual support for your position. I have little respect for your attempts to infringe upon the lives of others because you don't like their lifestyles. The "intellectually serious" opponents of SSM are those that I believe have actually engaged the lack of evidence supporting their belief that others are hurt by gay marriage; I have not seen you do so.


* You confuse the phrase reductio ad absurdem with the term ad absurdem. The first is a formal logical fallacy; the second is just a pretentious way of saying that your posts are absurdly long.
3.23.2007 5:39pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
I can understand you disagreeing with my co-patriot over at opine. We expect people to disagree. However your assertions that there are no intellectually sustainable arguments against same-sex "marriage", that scholars such as Kurtz are discredited, or that marriage &procreation are not linked in important and fundamental ways seem to discredit your own arguments.

I may remind you that intellectuals, lawyers social scientists, your fellow citizens across the political spectrum disagree with the policy proposal you seem so confident in.

57-43 = Oregon
59-41 = Michigan
62-38 = California
62-38 = Ohio
66-34 = Utah
67-33 = Montana
71-29 = Kansas
71-29 = Missouri
73-27 = North Dakota
75-25 = Arkansas
75-25 = Kentucky
76-24 = Georgia
76-24 = Oklahoma
78-22 = Louisiana
86-14 = Mississippi
56-44 = Colorado
3.23.2007 5:53pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I wonder what list similar to the above regarding slavery would have looked like in 1810? Exactly what should we conclude from such lists?
3.23.2007 6:09pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
I may remind you that intellectuals, lawyers social scientists, your fellow citizens across the political spectrum disagree with the policy proposal you seem so confident in.

And if history is correct the results of votes on allowing interracial marriage would have been even more lopsided. That these states had to put explicit exceptions in their constitutions to achieve to prevent marriage equality just goes to show how Constitutionally unsupportable that position would be without an exception. These amendments are points of shame in the light of liberty and equality and history will judge them as such.

Fortunately the majority of those less than 40 y/o support marriage equality - when the bigots are dead and dust justice will eventually be done.
3.23.2007 6:17pm
Colin (mail):
I may remind you that intellectuals, lawyers social scientists, your fellow citizens across the political spectrum disagree with the policy proposal you seem so confident in.


I agree. Some of the arguments are, in my mind, intellectually honest, serious, and founded on a legitimate engagement with evidence and fact.

Others (such as the concept that "marriage" has a mystical definition that humans cannot change, that marriage is primarily intended to encourage reproduction, that infertility is a disability that would be a bar to marriage save for society's kind regard for the handicapped, or that there is evidence that gay marriage actually harms individuals or society) are, in my mind, not founded on fact or evidence but upon an attempt to create a facially non-prejudicial basis for an underlying prejudice.

One of the factors in the distinction is the rationality of the argument. Another is the evidence for it. For example, it is not a persuasive argument, I think, that marriage in the modern world is solely or even primarily intended to encourage childbirth. It is a facially serious argument, though, that I wouldn't disrespect. In comparison, it is inane to argue without evidence that fertility is a condition of marital eligibility that is only waived for the infertile by the graces of society. You distinguish yourself from your mistaken but serious fellow travelers with such paper-thin sophistry.
3.23.2007 6:30pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo wrote:

> "And even if it were true it would still preclude them from marriage if it were truly for procreation."

You are welcome to join the WA-DOMA crowd in their attempt to block them from getting married then. That is if you are really that sure of yourself.

> " You don't let someone without sight do a task that requires it, similarly you wouldn't let someone marry if it required procreation."

We will see in the success or failure of the WA-DOMA proposition if that holds any water with society at large.

However your analogy is flawed still flawed. People who cannot see are given seeing tasks all the time, wherever equipment exists to allow them to use other senses for the same task. You chose not to meet how it was refuted, you simply re-asserted it. There are blind editors and authors, even blind artists. There are deaf composers. And the list goes on.

> "What person who has any understanding of hormonal mediation control mechanisms would even refer to them as such [chemical reactions]?"

Title: CHEMICAL MEDIATION OF HORMONE ACTION 7041

Even the hormones you listed are chemicals and there release and effect are reactions...

> "I talk about pair-bonding you bring in monogamy."

* Ahem *

> "I talk about pair-bonding and you mention its mating aspect as if that were all there was to it. Pair-bonding is beyond mere lust, everyone knows that - you can't pretend you don't and look intelligent."

While your attempt at yet another all or nothing criteria is noted, the underlying point is one I'd rather discuss -- at this point.

You assert that this is my own creation? That would be false. The link between pair-bonding and mating is not my construction. Its context in mating is established in numerous articles and the dictionary.

My view is that your inability to persuade people to your entire dictionary worth of new definitions and new ways of looking at scientific data in order to come to a pre-determined conclusion, you are trying to blame on me. Sorry, it won't work. I am not at fault for the problems in your arguments. By debunking them, even as obvious as they are, I by no means should be construed as validating them or putting my own intellectual investment in them whatsoever.

> "Pair-bonding is beyond mere lust"

True, but a strawman. I never asserted it was.

> "what you don't show is that any have been detected or any reasonable reason why there even would be any difference detected."

False. The quote from above contains a link that shows at least one evidence of differences between sexual contact detected by science, and reasonable reasons why.

Both are undermined by this article.


> "The stereotypes are just that - bringing them in to cap your discussion makes you look dumb not smart."

There are two assertions there to take on. One that I used a stereo-type, and the other that I expect homosexual relationships to be promiscuous compared to heterosexual.

To my understanding, Dale Carpenter, Andrew Sullivan, and Jon Rauch all argue that marriage is needed to stabilize gay relationships. That lends me to believe in the inherent instability and lack of presumption of monogamy and established pair-bonds in their relationships. Your own chaffing at monogamy and pair-bonding being used in the same context provides further evidence that the homosexual ideal of pair-bonding has no inherent relation to monogamy at all. The stereotype is not my creation at all.

And whether that is more or less true for homosexuals than heterosexuals is not discussed by myself. I also noted how outside of the context of a strong ideal of marriage, monogamy is not much expected in heterosexuality either. Not lifelong monogamy, and considering the historic practice of polygamy one could even argue that marriage doesn't inherently establish monogamy. Also the lack of monogamy in mammals shows that pair-bonding is not inherent to mammals.

What I did say was that the presumption of monogamy in homosexuals seems to gain its strength from the atmosphere around marriage. Heterosexual monogamy is rooted directly, through marriage, to the reproductive ideal which is unavailable to the homosexual. To change marriage from the rooted ideal, to the homosexual ideal, is akin to taking an oak tree and planting it in mid-air and hope it survives.

I know what I said, and your attempts to recreate something else from what I said will continue to be unsuccessful.

> "The need to marry [whatever that means to Bob] is biologically based and is potentially present in all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation."

False, it is socially based and expressed. There are many other mammals with similar organ structure and sexual responses -- biologically speaking -- that have no presumption of pair-bonding as a non-reproductive establishment of a lasting relationship, let alone marriage. The only difference is the human sense of civilization which is a social expression.

> "All citizens potentially benefit - biologically, mentally, economically - from being married [whatever that means to Bob] as does the society they live in."

Perhaps, perhaps not. Even if that were true, arguing a biological basis for it does not establish any benefits.

> "A governmental system based on serving the citizens equally and giving them equal access to government will default to recognizing its citizens right to marriage ... "

Where in the law are homosexuals banned from marriage? Where is the test for homosexuality as a pre-requisite for marriage?

Is it their homosexuality or the law that denies them marriage?

Marriage is already an institution of equality, it requires equal gender representation. It is already integrated, it integrates both sexes. It is the oldest institution of integration on the planet.

What you seem to be arguing is that marriage must change from what it already establishes as equal (man and woman) to equalize gender orientations (homosexual, heterosexual). To do so requires putting sexual orientation as a characteristic of identity more important than gender. Your blatant abuse of science, and language, in a grand attempt to establish this point shows its fallacy.

Besides, I do not see where equality is really served by neutering the definition of marriage. As I've pointed out, there are many non-sexual arrangements that are bonded, mutually dependent, and have children dependent on them for maintaining a stable household.

I can't speak for everyone, they simply are not speaking up for their ideal of equality on their own. But some have, like Dale Carpenter and Jon Rauch. They explicitly state they are only concerned with homosexuals, when it comes to benefits and rights of marriage being extended. And that, we are to believe, is their feature not a flaw. Their exclusivity is their primary defense against the slippery slope, which they do not seem to mind traversing in any case.

So where do you stand on that issue Bob?
3.23.2007 6:50pm
Toby:
I am somewhat queesey for a few reasons about SSM. I have referred to the couple of men who threw me an engagement party 25 years ago as married and so has every one else I knew.

But there are many MF marrieages that I have no respect for. There are many SSM I have no respect for. One of the characteristics is that the ones who start yelling Bigot and Morallity first, never get respect from me.

Perhaps some of those who are so adamant about respect should consider whether they are not getting not becuar your relationship is SS, but because you, yourself are a boor who tiresome use of the loaded words at wevery moment make your presence loathsome to all who do not agree with every utterance you conceive of.

I was talking Power Grid Reform last noght with an activist who wanted to disparage the morality of all power company execs at every moment. I lost respect for him, too.
3.23.2007 6:57pm
Brian Miller (mail):
Marriage is such an institution, you find it in the dictionary under the word, "institution".

Usually, when folks fall back on cyberdictionaries to argue their cases, they've lost.

Once again, government marriage isn't an institution -- it's a set of welfare benefits. It has no legal requirement or even statutory expression of any of the requirements, aspirations, etc. that keep being bandied about by anti-gay people.

All these claims of "ignorance of the facts and history" etc. are hilariously tedious, because none of those facts or history are a part of government marriage.

Government marriage has no legal basis whatsoever for all the Norman Rockwell imagery being bandied about -- in fact, it helps dissolve those relationships in the few places they exist by making it quick and easy to walk away from family commitments, etc.

Once again, anti-gay conservatives need to argue from the reality of the situation, not their aspirations or tortured arguments from "history." The reality of the situation is that government marriage has zero -- repeat, zero -- link with any of the so-called "values" they keep espousing.

They confirm this by continuing to support only banning gays from marriage -- without amending any of the other marriage laws to reflect any of these so-called consensus values they claim exist in the "institution." That's because they know that, while there's an active core of people willing to sock it to the gays, a majority of married people don't believe in or subscribe to any of the other sanctimonious mumbo-jumbo being tossed out at gays about "family stability."

One need only refer to well-known conservative divorcees like Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, Rush Limbaugh, and George Allen to see that.
3.23.2007 7:01pm
Brian Miller (mail):
Randy R. is right to again point out that gays and lesbians are raising kids, and he's right to note the conclusions one can draw about the "it's for the kids" crowd who ignore or make the lame replies on this issue.

An interesting note here is that 1 in 3 lesbian couples and 1 in 5 gay male couples in the 2000 US census were raising children.
3.23.2007 7:12pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

>>> "Can you find any relevant source denying access to marriage to the infertile?"

Then when quoted moves on to say:

> "That page goes on at significant length and demonstrates, if it is taken at face value, that traditional marriage has little to do with modern opposite-sex marriage. You yourself quoted its assertion that the historical view you cite in support of your position included the confinement of women to the home and characterized them as inferior partners. ... that page describes the marital relationship there as including gross political and social inequalities between the spouses."

Which is, of course, a different argument altogether. One, I must say, not very developed in his commentary at all. The inequality among spouses is tangential to the treatment of infertility as a disability worthy of dissolving the marriage was the stated goal for an example.

The part in the quote about romance being dismissed as a marital goal, and procreation being the stated goal, was bonus.

> "Your posts go to great and absurd* length to create fragile justifications for otherwise unsupported positions."

Actually, stating that the reference offered is invalid because it is on a page that discusses the inequality among spouses, is probably the most absurd length I've seen you go. But, if it is any consolation, it isn't greater than the lengths Bob has gone, in my view. His strange and large collection self-constructed re-defined terms has been much worse.

You know, you and Bob both seem to write a lot about what you think I'm doing rather than what I'm actually saying. I just overlooked about 80% of Bob's last post because they were simply scurrilous charges and pseudo-topical commentary. It looks like I'll have to do that with your comment also.

Sorry, but I've been around the internet long enough to have learned that commentary is no substitute for argument. But you can keep trying, it is no skin off my nose.

> "'Sexology' institute's summary of "Ancient Greek and Roman" marital status, which by its own terms is irrelevant to the modern world."

Yet you just spent a good number of words saying how it is useful in showing just how irrelevant the modern world is in the context of traditional marriage. Most curious. But, honestly, inconsequential.

So two problems,

As re-quoted in the top of this post, your original criteria asked for examples. I provided two. You were correct that in establishing the context of exception for the handicapped, one should show where disability was a bar for marriage. Well, perhaps I should have pointed out that infertility was never proven until marriage, and the most evidence you would find is what I presented, in how people would divorce due to the disability. In one example provided, it was required.

Your commentary contains many vague and unsupported allegations that alone discredits your position to judge another's intellectual integrity or worth. What is verifiable, and has been put to basic scrutiny, has undermined that platform almost completely. It is as simple as that.

I will continue to concentrate only on the verifiable, and substantiated portions of your posts, and Bob's posts. In the future you can make them either more relevant or less relevant, accordingly.
3.23.2007 7:13pm
Brian Miller (mail):
I wonder what list similar to the above regarding slavery would have looked like in 1810? Exactly what should we conclude from such lists?

Actually, the support for anti-gay laws in states that voted for them, is weaker than the support for racial segregation.

In both cases, the arguments (and even many of the institutions) in favor of the laws were identical:

Let the people decide! This is being forced on us by outsiders! Don't let the federal government overrule our state! The people recognize the reality of the situation! And on and on it goes.

The irony is, in 20 years' time, the anti-gay folks of today will be viewed with the same mixture of disdain, disgust and embarassment that the racists of the 1950s and 1960s were viewed with.
3.23.2007 7:16pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
**sigh**

Concisely

Re: the infertile not being allowed to marry: That WA-DOMA will fail in the effort means YOUR contention is false as I illustrated; i.e. the people DON'T think that procreation is required for marriage or that it is even the salient reason for marriage. If WA-DOMA loses that undermines your case.

Re: the disabled employment red herring: "There are blind editors and authors, even blind artists. There are deaf composers. And the list goes on. " All examples of jobs not dependent on sight or hearing. Worlds away from letting the blind drive or the infertile procreate children.

Re: pedantic dictionary red herrings: If you honestly wanted to discuss it you'd ask the context - I am referring to the biological process of pair-bonding. But you don't ask, you deliberately try to take the discussion afield with unagreed upon definitions and contexts.

Re: 'mating' - again the disagreement is not what you are now presenting - of course pair-bonding involves mating but it extends beyond that. Testosterogen mediated lust is the primary motivator for mating, staying together after the coupling is about oxytocin/vasopressin mediate pair-bonding. And they stay together whether they have children or not, they are not mandatory.

Re: "Brody sex" maybe you don't know but the doctor was testing only heterosexuals and related techniques such as masturbation and oral genital contact Penile anal was not analyzed in particular. No conclusion can be reached about what effect homosexual sex has. Of note is that he speculated that oxytocin release was important in the effect. So really NEITHER were undermined by that article, or rather by the actual science that article skewed.

Re: "Marriage stability" Slight of hand: that licensing the contract of marriage might be beneficial to same gender married couples for the some of the reasons it is for opposite gender one does NOT imply there is some inherent instability in the former that isn't also in the latter. And comparing animals that come into season with those that don't doesn't 'shows' anything about humans. Humans respond to the various biological prompts and cues continuously not just while the female is in estrus. This factor alone changes they dynamics of any pair-bonding going.

But finally we come down to the substantive issues:

We disagree on the biological basis of marriage. Until you have a greater understanding of biology I don't know how much progress can be made there. But in hopes that you are of the majority of humans that have actually experience pair-bonding I ask do you really think that the desperate infatuation we had with another, the person who's smile could make our days or harsh word make it come crashing down is not biologically based? That isn't lust - testostrogen mediated lust is largely target non-specific and isn't the source of these feelings. It is the oxytocin/vasopressin mediate pair-bonding response that made Paris unable to give up Helen, or prevented the archetypical Romeo and Juliet from parting.

Really if you can seriously deny the biological basis of the urge to marry that is our true point of contention, one I don't think many would support your position on. I've often though there is a minority that has never truly been in love and they honestly think it doesn't exist - are you one of those?

And discussion of the rest without this agreement is pointless Our rights come from our biological natures and if you don't think humans pair-bond naturally then you could rationalize any treatment, any restriction, any prohibition.

I sincerely don't think that many would agree with that point of view, at least none of the ones who actually have been in love.
3.23.2007 7:33pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Brian Miller wrote:

> "Usually, when folks fall back on cyberdictionaries to argue their cases, they've lost."

One of the reasons I like the m-w.com is that it stays concurrent with their printed release.

I say, when someone attempts to call a dictionary reference a sign of failure instead of substantiating a point with common reference material, they have lost. It is completely amazing that for all of my referencing (something I do not see matched by the opponents) I am supposed to take that as a sign of failure. A sign of intellectual shallowness.

How backwards there world really is.

> "Once again, government marriage isn't an institution -- it's a set of welfare benefits."

Actually, I already discredited the claim that marriage isn't an institution. But to take it even further welfare benefits are handed tout through welfare institutions. One off-handed reference is how in California, the body of law governing government welfare is called, "Welfare and Institutions Code".

I could find other references to social welfare institutions. They are legion.

> "Government marriage has no legal basis whatsoever"

It is usually found throughout the states in the family code.

> "Once again, anti-gay conservatives need to argue"

A mute and picky point, but one that bears noting. I am neither conservative nor anti-gay. I am rather gay agnostic, Let marriage be marriage, and let homosexuality be homosexuality.

It is always a source of amazement that for all of the homosexual advocates who want nothing to do with marriage, or for marriage to be re-defined, defending marriage is still mis-labeled as anti-gay.

> "The reality of the situation is that government marriage has zero -- repeat, zero -- link with any of the so-called 'values' they keep espousing."

The way you keep demeaning and ignoring those values, and how they are seen by law and the populous, shows a rather willful stance towards the whole concept. Never the less, you are running into the same problem Bob and Colin do, they keep self-asserting their conclusions as if that resurrects them from the rebuking they constantly receive.

As your point was already refuted with examples, etc... there is no need to repeat them here.

> "They confirm this by continuing to support only banning gays from marriage"

Actually it is most likely the product of the homosexual paradigm that sees this as homosexual v heterosexual. The people defending marriage see the institution as a subset of heterosexuality. There is responsible procreation which is marriage, and then there is co-habitation, adultery, fornication, incest, polygamy, polyamory, adult-child relationships, all which include heterosexuality but are still not marriage.

> "One need only refer to well-known conservative divorcees like Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, Rush Limbaugh, and George Allen to see that."

Actually, that they are often derided for their lack of fidelity by conservatives shows your statement as false. It is funny, people also bring up Brittany Spear's first marriage in this context, yet it was pressure from her parents and others that had it annulled. This whole notion that heterosexuals are covering their bad behavior and sticking it to homosexuals is, by and large, a myth. Heterosexuals don't see themselves as a clique based on sexual orientation for the most part, and they are perfectly willing to rebuke people for their misbehavior -- heterosexual or not.
3.23.2007 7:38pm
Colin (mail):

As your point was already refuted with examples, etc... there is no need to repeat them here.


Your facile attempt to point to ancient perspectives on marriage and say, "This is what marriage is all about! Except for the marital rape privilege, legal inferiority of wives, confinement of wives, standard 20-year age difference, familial arrangements, and every other part of this standard that the civilized world has abandoned," is not a refutation. It's a pick-and-choose approach that informs us very well of what you want to be true, but does nothing to show us what is true.
3.23.2007 7:50pm
Colin (mail):
This whole notion that heterosexuals are covering their bad behavior and sticking it to homosexuals is, by and large, a myth.

This is a blatant equivocation. I assure you, your readers are capable of distinguishing between mild criticism in editorial columns and discrimination enshrined in law. There is an enormous, and obvious, difference between pressure to annul a hasty marriage and a law banning that marriage. No one believes that conservatives are willing to truly enforce their putative emphasis on marriage as a vehicle to procreation. These are the sort of shoddy, low-rent arguments that persuade us more of your haphazard approach to facts than of the facts themselves.
3.23.2007 7:55pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Besides, I do not see where equality is really served by neutering the definition of marriage. As I've pointed out, there are many non-sexual arrangements that are bonded, mutually dependent, and have children dependent on them for maintaining a stable household.

On 'that issue' I presume you are talking about extending marriage contract license to other living arrangements that you have mentioned to others. This topic is likewise undiscussable because you don't acknowledge the biological basis of why people marry. if you did you would see the marriage equality movement is merely suggesting the relatively minor change of allowing about 2% of the citizenry who do not currently have reasonable license to the civil contract with their spouse access. There would effectively be no change in the status quo as only married couples would be extended licensing ability.

Letting any 2 people have license to this contract would be a far more drastic change effecting 100% of the citizenry. The contract of marriage is designed to be a mutually exclusive 2 person contract for those who intend to stay married indefinitely. As such many of its factors have the effect of inhibiting those in it from dissolving the contract. Licensing this contract to those who are not pair-bonded and have no intention of being so would lower their ability of ever being in such a relationship with someone else. So the question would be "is that really what is in theirs or society's best interest to actually institutionalize ways that would diminish pair-bonding chances?"

Since I think marriage is a natural instinct I would say giving them access the exact same contract is counter to their rights - that allowing them to license the contract without being pair-bonded would be akin to them selling themselves in to slavery in that they would be taking actions that deliberately diminished their own rights. I could make an argument that that shouldn't be encouraged by the state.

Now with your point of view that marriage is a mere social construct the answer would be harder - I would have to decide if their relationships were just as valuable to themselves and to society as those currently allowed license to the contract. But really I think this line of thinking wanders off into fantasy and science fiction since very few would seriously think that love and pair-bonding do not truly exist and are not forces that must be considered in the decision.
3.23.2007 8:06pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burleo wrote:

> "If WA-DOMA loses that undermines your case."

The statement that failure of your initiative to oppress the disabled undermines my case is False :)

> "All examples of jobs not dependent on sight or hearing. Worlds away from letting the blind drive or the infertile procreate children."

It is dependent on sight or hearing, or our ability to assist the handicapped to accomplish the same task without those senses -- which is more to the point.

Your label of red-herring is wishful and invalid. Your desire to accommodate homosexuality the same as a handicap remains unsupported, and only propped up by indirect assumptions. Homosexuality is still not a handicap.

> "I am referring to the biological process of pair-bonding"

No one said you weren't. All that I've seen people point out is that pair-bonding does not mean what you keep saying it means. Your reference is mis-applied.

> "Testosterogen mediated lust is the primary motivator for mating, staying together after the coupling is about oxytocin/vasopressin mediate pair-bonding."

You'll have to re-read what I wrote then. "Lust" and Testosterone/estrogen do not occur in my writing. In fact, the point that this is a strawman of yours was already brought to your attention.

> "maybe you don't know but the doctor was testing only heterosexuals"

Given your contention that the basis of both is the same, one should assume that even if his sample was limited to heterosexuals, there should be no difference between their reaction and homosexuals.

> "Of note is that he speculated that oxytocin release was important in the effect."

Which is neither her nor there, in the grand scheme of things. If there is another reaction, different hormones involved, that would continue to invalidate an assertion that the pair-bonding is based in the same thing.

> "does NOT imply there is some inherent instability in the former that isn't also in the latter."

That heterosexuality is the creation of the family means it alone holds the position to keep a family in-tact from its inception. Homosexuality has no such capacity, and while its combination may or may not be as stable, it's inclusion of children is always an act of dynamic change in parental status.

That is all. The problem is more logistical than fundamental to sexual orientation, though the logistical component is very much a dependent on a particular makeup of the household head.

> "Really if you can seriously deny the biological basis of the urge to marry that is our true point of contention, one I don't think many would support your position on."

I'm pretty sure you do not understand, at this point. I have said already in response to your assertion:

> "Wrong - the drive to marry is biologically derived."

Agreed, and it is rooted in something much more biologically meaningful than the chemical reaction of an orgasm, mind you.


That biological meaning is directly rooted in mating, as shown even in the words you use to describe the combination, i.e. "pair-bonding". It relates to how you identify with your children, struggle with their other parent in bringing them up in the world. And achieving all the joys that procreation brings (when done responsibly). You continue to reduce it to the oxytocin/vasopressin hormonal response, not to maternity where it plays a crucial role (so crucial it is injected routinely in mothers after giving birth), not to simply trust relationships, but to the sexual act itself (i.e. same as homosexual and heterosexual bonding) and the orgasm it is produced under.

And at the end of the day, it is not our biology that creates the institution of marriage, but our social understanding of our own humanity that establishes the desire for marriage. My reference to Jon Rauch and the social understanding of marriage by homosexuals he conveys is sufficient for that point.

> "I sincerely don't think that many would agree with that point of view, at least none of the ones who actually have been in love."

cf: Fitz's post on marriage referendums above.
3.23.2007 8:16pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

> "Your facile attempt to point to ancient perspectives on marriage and say, 'This is what marriage is all about!..'

Post-hoc. You asked for an example on disability, and two were provided. That we have become enlightened to respect women more, and men more, and give greater assistance to the handicapped as a notion of civil humanity does not invalidate your request or the evidence given to meet that request.

> "There is an enormous, and obvious, difference between pressure to annul a hasty marriage and a law banning that marriage."

What it shows is exactly what I say it shows. This is not a heterosexual v homosexual battle. Even heterosexual marriages are not permitted, even if the pressure is social instead of legal.

And even if the difference were salient, there are even heterosexual marriages that are outright banned, as the examples of incest, polygamy and children that was provided in the same post.

> "No one believes that conservatives are willing to truly enforce their putative emphasis on marriage as a vehicle to procreation."

Strawman. Marriage was never presented as a way to mandate procreation. Other cases where the purpose behind legislation does not actually have to come to fruition is the requirement in many states for car insurance, even though you are not mandated to get into an accident.
3.23.2007 8:27pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
The statement that failure of your initiative to oppress the disabled

Not allowing someone not qualified for a position in the least regard to not have that position isn't 'oppression' to the discerning mind. If people actually thought marriage was for procreation those unable to wouldn't even want the contract - but yet they do. Face it your thesis is bankrupt on several fronts.

All that I've seen people point out is that pair-bonding does not mean what you keep saying it means.

Really? Who has denied the existence of the mammalian pair-bonding response other than you?

"Lust" and Testosterone/estrogen do not occur in my writing

yes fortunately the world (me included) aren't dependent on only the information you provide. That I expanded on the biologic basis for sexual attraction and love is for education.

Given your contention that the basis of both is the same, one should assume that even if his sample was limited to heterosexuals, there should be no difference between their reaction and homosexuals.

That would be my presumption and what exactly do you think the doctor was measuring other than blood pressure? This was not a thesis about the origins of love, it was a test to show the long term effects of various types of intercourse. This might touch on the pair-bonding mechanism, but its not a test of same.

That heterosexuality is the creation of the family means it alone holds the position to keep a family in-tact from its inception. Homosexuality has no such capacity, and while its combination may or may not be as stable, it's inclusion of children is always an act of dynamic change in parental status.

Ha! unless they are lesbians and have them the old fashioned way. Regardless it says nothing about inherent instabilities or the like. Nice herring but I don't like the little bones.

I'm pretty sure you do not understand, at this point. I have said already in response to your assertion:

> "Wrong - the drive to marry is biologically derived."

Agreed, and it is rooted in something much more biologically meaningful than the chemical reaction of an orgasm, mind you.


yes but with all the waffling I really have to respond to what you said last:

"False, it is socially based and expressed."

If you really are saying you agree its biologically derives but also false I really can't be my fault in not knowing what your opinion is at any given moment.

That biological meaning is directly rooted in mating, as shown even in the words you use to describe the combination, i.e. "pair-bonding".

No because as you have pointed out mating can occur without pair-bonding. Sex is a part of pair-bonding but not its 'root' - people can pair-bond without have ever had sex, they can have sex without every pair-bonding, and they can remained pair-bonded even without procreation. None of which refutes the idea that even people who pair-bond with someone of the same gender do so or that their right to do so is any less than those who pair-bond with someone of the same gender.

Same biological mechanism, same results, same benefits, same government with an obligation to treat its citizens exercising their rights fairly. You really don't have any legs left, you might as well sit down.
3.23.2007 9:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
One of the obvious, but less commented upon, aspects of the issue is the very weak position of organized religion in our society. In past years religion would have won this fight without even lifting a finger. Now it is in danger of being completely overwhelmed. I can understand how this might be disconcerting for members of organized religion. Even more disconcerting is the movement of some religions into the camp of those supporting gay marriage. The power has shifted.
3.23.2007 9:30pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
> "Who has denied the existence of the mammalian pair-bonding response other than you?"

Now you are devolving into petty accusations. That strawman was already dealt with above.

> "yes fortunately the world (me included) aren't dependent on only the information you provide."

Correct, you are not dependent on the information I provide. You do seem to be dependent on your version of information you provide. External verification of your assertions has shown them false on a regular basis.

It is correct to point out that it is you who presented lust and testosterone responses as not being the biological root of marriage. I pointed out that by doing so you do not actually discuss anything I wrote. Which is fine if you wish to do so. But it appears wishful thinking to imply it means anything to what I said.

> "This was not a thesis about the origins of love, it was a test to show the long term effects of various types of intercourse. This might touch on the pair-bonding mechanism, but its not a test of same. "

Post-hoc. It is evidence that refutes what I can only assume is your thesis that the homosexual and heterosexual experience is rooted in the same thing.

I hope to see better intellectual honesty from you in the future.

> "Ha! unless they are lesbians and have them the old fashioned way."

Lesbians cannot have children between each other in any way currently known to mankind, let alone "the old fashioned way".

> "Regardless it says nothing about inherent instabilities or the like."

Except where it does. Your assertion to the contrary is yet another example of how you prop up your failed arguments with your self-assertions and distinctly unique if not entirely fanciful outlook on reality.

To repeat what you seem to have ignored: The homosexual household with children is composed of broken families, hence their base for equatable stability is already undermined.

> "If you really are saying you agree its biologically derives but also false I really can't be my fault in not knowing what your opinion is at any given moment."

Your inability to understand does not merit the accusation of contradiction. The quote you provided replied to this statement:

> "The need to marry is biologically based and is potentially present in all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation."

False, it is socially based and expressed. There are many other mammals with similar organ structure and sexual responses -- biologically speaking -- that have no presumption of pair-bonding as a non-reproductive establishment of a lasting relationship, let alone marriage. The only difference is the human sense of civilization which is a social expression.


Which is different from the assertion:

Really if you can seriously deny the biological basis of the urge to marry that is our true point of contention, one I don't think many would support your position on.


and continued re-statement:

If you really are saying you agree its biologically derives but also false I really can't be my fault in not knowing what your opinion is at any given moment.


Biology is a rabbit hole entirely inadequate to delve into and expect to understand the basis for our desire to get married. The example I provided in how marriage is unique to us in spite of similar physiology refutes your thesis adequately. And something I note you didn't disagree with.

However there is a biological basis for what marriage is, and our social understanding of it. Something I don't see you disagreeing with either.

Perhaps then you can explain better just where this contradiction comes from, if not from your post-hoc changes in context.

For more information I'll point out that the nature of language, in this instance Greek and Roman, to describe mating, sex, sexual organs, and marriage with the same word (gamos and conjugal) notes that marriage is inseparably tied to that biological event and its impact in our lives. That is not a derivation, at least not in the way I understand that term. Marriage is a social expression and understanding.

To say marriage is biologically derived is false. To say there is a biological basis is true. To say that biology is 'the' basis for our need to get married is false. Different contexts, different answers.

In case you pretend there is suddenly no difference in a derivation (or the basis) and a basis, your next sentence shows otherwise:

No because as you have pointed out mating can occur without pair-bonding.


Right you are, but that refutes that is the basis or biological derivative of marriage. That doesn't refute that there is a basis in mating, and that comes from our unique social understanding around mating.

> "None of which refutes the idea that even people who pair-bond with someone of the same gender do so or that their right to do so is any less than those who pair-bond with someone of the same gender."

The evidence provided refutes that, I don't need to simply provide theory on the subject. I'll await your evidence that supports your claim, in the mean time.

> "You really don't have any legs left, you might as well sit down."

No, it seems I've been able to side-step every one of your changes in context, and remain standing inspite of other attempts to dishonestly represent what I said. The long string of documentation on your fallacies, dishonest accusations, and intellectual sophistries keeps piling up as we go. You are documenting your own discredit. I'm just pointing it out.
3.23.2007 10:01pm
inahandbasket:
Elliot123 (mail):
Handbasket,

You ask what I mean by "folks" in saying folks will simply consider two guys as a "gay marriage." By that word I mean a sufficient number of the general public that their attitudes constitute a the dominant social attitude. Some will not have that idea, but I suspect most will. Since gays themselves continually campaign for gay marriage, it's not unreasonable. The term "gay marriage" is well entrenched in common vernacular.


The language is changing slowly if incrementally.

I have discussed gay marriage with gay acquaintances. I don't have any gay friends, never said I did,...

You didn't have to say you didn't have any gay friends. I knew that already from your attitude. Maybe you should really get to know some actual gay and lesbian couples. You'll find that we're not really "THE OTHER."

...so there is no need to deteremine if the people I talked to will take a bullet for me. I fail to see how either ballistics or their relation to me has any bearing on the matter.

That's totally obvious.

I agree Massachusetts and Canada make no distinction in their documentation for a civil marriage.

And that, sir, is what matters the most. It trumps social attitudes. It means that couples (whether opposite sex or same sex) who marry in Canada are given exactly the same rights and responsibilities which are valid throughout the entire country. Massachusetts is paving the way here in the U.S. Having access to the legal status of civil marriage is what concerns many of us in the LGBT community, not winning a popularity contest with the straight folks.

That has nothing to do with people's attitudes towards SSM. People in either place can still consider two guys as gay marriage. I doubt personal attitudes all over the state changed when the Massachusetts court handed down its decision.

Ya know, I really get it that you PERSONALLY - and the folks agree with you - will never accept marriage equality. You are a descendent of the ilk who asked the depicable riddle "What do you call a black person with a PhD? A N*gg*r." You will never see us as equal to you. You are free to own and love your bigotry. I will continue to fight for my right to legally marry my wife.

Is there a cohesive LGBT community? My impression was that gays have just as diverse attitudes as the rest of the population. There are gays who favor gay marriage, and those who don't. Some are liberal, some conservative. Some voted for Bush, some for Kerry. It seems a bit insulting to lump them all together and imply they can't think for themselves.

Is there a cohesive straight community? I resent you implying that I'm answering for the entire LGBT community. You have formed opinions based upon some conversations with some gay people. How touristy of you. Did you get your picture taken with one of those gays?

If you really want to get to know some LGBT people, I'll volunteer. I'll correspond with you. I'll tell you about my typical suburban life with my wife and two kids and Labrador Retriever (who's in full shedding mode right now). I'll tell you about my parents who are in their eighties now and who stood up for us at our wedding. I'll tell you how incredibly lucky, blessed and grateful I am that my family of origin has been totally accepting, totally supportive of me from the moment I came out to them some fifteen years ago.

I'll tell you about the grief my wife suffered when she couldn't tell her dad about our marriage because he's a bigoted fundamentalist. I'll tell you about how she had to fist fight her way through an economically and academically poor middle school because she had two strikes against her: extremely smart and lesbian. She's an MD and a self employed medical writer. You can make up your own riddle...

This kind of back and forth is just a game. If you want to really understand a small slice of the very diverse LGBT community I'm offering that by way of correspondence. The ball is in your court.
3.23.2007 10:38pm
inahandbasket:
Elliot123 (mail):
One of the obvious, but less commented upon, aspects of the issue is the very weak position of organized religion in our society. In past years religion would have won this fight without even lifting a finger. Now it is in danger of being completely overwhelmed. I can understand how this might be disconcerting for members of organized religion. Even more disconcerting is the movement of some religions into the camp of those supporting gay marriage. The power has shifted.


That's progress.
3.23.2007 10:53pm
Elliot123 (mail):
HandBasket,

1. The language is not changing, I'm just clarifying in response to your questions. Perhaps it's incremental understanding you are experiencing.

2. You told us, "You and several other posters seem to think that we in the LGBT community are hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks of us. So sorry to disappoint..." Can you tell us what the LGBT community is? Are you implying the LGBT community is not hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks? If so, are you speaking for the LGBT community? I doubt gays are unthinking folks who all have the same attitudes towards the rest of society. Do you?

3. Couples may have the same rights in Massachusetts and Canada. At the same time a majority of the population may hold a dominant view that two guys are a gay marriage. The two are not mutally exclusive. A Google search for "gay marriage" yields 5,200,000 hits. I think the concept of "marriage" and "gay marriage" are deeply ingrained. This is probably due to how often gays speak of gay marriage and the LGBT community. This implies a difference.

4. There is not a cohesive straight community. But you told us there is a LGBT community, and told us what it thinks. That's a bit insulting to gays. I'd suggest they have a wide variety of views about the rest of society. Perhaps widening your friends and acquaintances to include more gays would give you a more accurate perspective.
3.24.2007 12:46am
JosephSlater (mail):
Bravo to inahandbasket for her last two posts. Along the same lines, sort of, I'll say once again that I, my wife, my mother, my father-in-law, and my mother-in-law all attended my sister's wedding to her (lesbian) partner in Mass. a year ago, and all us heteros thought it was a great and wonderful thing. And there are more of us all the time.

So you Opine folks keep clinging to those election stats of a couple of years ago while you can. The times they are a changin'. For the better.
3.24.2007 12:53am
Elliot123 (mail):
Correction: A Google search for the phrase "gay marriage" yields 2,190,000 hits. I previously said it returned 5,200,000 hits..
3.24.2007 12:57am
Ramza:
your point with google? It doesn't really tell you anything.

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,320,000 for "jesus" "son of god". (0.17 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 1,090,000 for "jesus" "lamb of god". (0.13 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 3,580,000 for "jesus" "sin". (0.15 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 1,520,000 for "jesus" "forgiveness". (0.17 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 50,300,000 for "jesus" "love". (0.15 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 1,330,000 for "jesus" "gays". (0.10 seconds)

I chose Jesus instead of god for Jesus is a more "christian" term while "god" is an abstract term that has so many meanings and definitions
3.24.2007 1:39am
Elliot123 (mail):
Ramza,

My point with Google is that the term and concept of gay marriage is well entrenched in society both in the phrase and the meaning. I previously said that regardless of law people will think two guys constitute a "gay marriage" rather than a "marriage." The Google example is simply a quick demonstration that the term is quite common in our vernacular.

"Son of God" and "Lamb of God" are also very common phrases among Christians and are used by many people. I think the Google results support the idea that those phrases are also firmly entrenched in the common veracular.
3.24.2007 1:56am
inahandbasket:
Elliot123 (mail):
HandBasket,

1. The language is not changing, I'm just clarifying in response to your questions. Perhaps it's incremental understanding you are experiencing.


As the stepmother of two teenagers, I live with the reality that language constantly changes. Perhaps you are too old to live that reality. You don't remember the vernacular of your youth. Aside from the area of youthful slang, one example of language changing is the use of 'Negro' to 'Black' to 'African-American' which I clearly recall that incremental change. (I'm 48 years old)

2. You told us, "You and several other posters seem to think that we in the LGBT community are hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks of us. So sorry to disappoint..." Can you tell us what the LGBT community is? Are you implying the LGBT community is not hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks? If so, are you speaking for the LGBT community? I doubt gays are unthinking folks who all have the same attitudes towards the rest of society. Do you?

I answered that question in my previous post. Either you didn't read it or it's not what you wanted to hear. I can tell you what I've experienced. BTW, I'm not just writing this for you but obviously other people have been reading our little "tete a tete." If I thought this was just between you and me, I would have dropped it by now. And you would have gotten all puffed up and run around your room yelling. "I WON!! I WON!!!!!"

It's been my experience that the unwavering support of my family-of-origin has given me a lot of fuel to speak up, speak out and to rattle cages. And I'm pleased to say that the openess of my wife and I in our mainstream (conservative, middle class suburban) community has rarely been an issue. Our older daughter is in the Gay Straight Alliance at the public high school she attends. One of her best friends is also in the GSA, the son of a lesbian couple who live in the next neighborhood over from ours. They are also members of the local chapter of COLAGE (Children of Gays and Lesbians Everywhere). It was her choice to be a member of these two groups. As she is a sophomore, we're pretty much on the sidelines as to her decision to join/not join extra-curricular groups.

We are so proud of her because she's going Wednesday of this week to our state capitol for LGBT rights lobby day. Again, this was her decision and she's going with her COLAGE group leader and friends.

Read up on the attitudes of this up and coming generation. They are the generation who will make attitudes such as yours obsolete by way of the voting booth.

You keep wanting to read my words as if I'm speaking for the whole LGBT community. I would say that as a member of said group I have a whole lot more insight into what my slice of the LGBT community experiences than you, having no gay friends whatsoever, just conversations with "The Gays."

BTW, what dog do you have in this fight, since you have no gay friends in your life?

3. Couples may have the same rights in Massachusetts and Canada.

Not accurate. Same sex couples who are married in Canada have exactly the same legal standing as straight married couples in Canada. Same sex couples who marry and live in Massachusetts have the same legal standing as straight married couples only in Massachusetts, but have no federal recognition because of the Defense of Marriage Act.

At the same time a majority of the population may hold a dominant view that two guys are a gay marriage. The two are not mutally exclusive. A Google search for "gay marriage" yields 5,200,000 hits. I think the concept of "marriage" and "gay marriage" are deeply ingrained. This is probably due to how often gays speak of gay marriage and the LGBT community. This implies a difference.

No, it is due to the fact that the vast majority of the population is STRAIGHT and controls the evolution of the vernacular, not the minority. It was not until the mainstream white population started respecting the minority African American population's desire to be called what they wished to be called. I hope that more and more of the people, whether LGBT or straight, will start using the term 'marriage equality.'

4. There is not a cohesive straight community. But you told us there is a LGBT community, and told us what it thinks. That's a bit insulting to gays. I'd suggest they have a wide variety of views about the rest of society. Perhaps widening your friends and acquaintances to include more gays would give you a more accurate perspective.

You interpreted what I wrote to imply that I speak for the entire LGBT community. You like beating that dead horse a lot...

Your concern that I may be insulting the gay community is laughable. I suggest you take your own advice.
3.24.2007 1:42pm
inahandbasket:
JosephSlater (mail):
Bravo to inahandbasket for her last two posts. Along the same lines, sort of, I'll say once again that I, my wife, my mother, my father-in-law, and my mother-in-law all attended my sister's wedding to her (lesbian) partner in Mass. a year ago, and all us heteros thought it was a great and wonderful thing. And there are more of us all the time.

So you Opine folks keep clinging to those election stats of a couple of years ago while you can. The times they are a changin'. For the better.


Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for being a straight ally, for supporting your sister. It means so much, especially at the ballot box because it will be you and the majority straight society that will vote in the legislaters who are more sympathetic to marriage equality, employment equality, adoption equality, etc.

Thank you.
3.24.2007 1:50pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Colin

In responding to my assertion that...


I may remind you that intellectuals, lawyers social scientists, your fellow citizens across the political spectrum disagree with the policy proposal you seem so confident in.


I'm heartened you said

"I agree. Some of the arguments are, in my mind, intellectually honest, serious, and founded on a legitimate engagement with evidence and fact."

But then you assert that
"Others" [arguments] "such as the concept that "marriage" has a mystical definition that humans cannot change"

Humans can change the definition. What people are getting at is that they cannot change the reality. A man and a woman is a unique pairing. Distinct from the pairing of two men or two women, that cannot change. We prefer to maintain not just the institution, but the word (marriage) that points to that reality.

"that marriage is primarily intended to encourage reproduction"

Its not primarily intended to do this. An institution designed merely for reproduction or to maximize reproduction would look quite different.

It is insurmountably grounded in reproduction inasmuch as it is designed to encourage proper family formation. That is: to ensure that children are born into the married pair of their own Mother &Father. As some say; it encourages responsible reproduction.

"that infertility is a disability that would be a bar to marriage save for society's kind regard for the handicapped,"

Yes, this is On Lawns conception. It has its flaws --yet I appreciate it inasmuch as it gets the idea across that an infertile pairing of a man &a woman is a deficiency of a particular pairing. While a pairing of two men or women are not "infertile" in the correct sense..(they were never fertile to begin with) but rather incapable of fertility by the very nature of the pairing.

"or that there is evidence that gay marriage actually harms individuals or society"

Well, this can depend on what you understand to be a "harm". However its proper to point out that there are advocates for same-se x "marriage" who claim that it will help rebuild a culture of marriage (Eskridge, Spendale, Sullivan) -- If they are to be believed, then (at least) some net effect on the culture is acknowledged. Other advocates of same-sex "marriage" agree with the analysis of Kurtz and others that it changes the institution, yet they claim this change is positive.

What "evidence" one accepts or concedes to does not make any of the above arguments anti-intellectual or unserious.

" in my mind, not founded on fact or evidence but upon an attempt to create a facially non-prejudicial basis for an underlying prejudice. "

This is unfortunate. The idea that one's adversaries are creating arguments post-hoc to mask bigotry is not charitable. It is best to take peoples arguments at face value. If however you mean by "prejudice" that we seek to privilege one man and one women above all other pairings (or more) than Yes- I harbor that prejudice.
3.24.2007 2:27pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Handbasket,

It doesn't take any interptetation to see you speaking for the LGBT community when you say:

"You and several other posters seem to think that are hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks of us. So sorry to disappoint..."

Exactly who do you mean by "we in the LGBT community?"

I agree the rights in Canada are not the same as the rights in Massachusetts. My sentence was poorly written and could easily be read to mean Canada and Massachusetts have the same set of rights. To clarify, while same sex and opposite sex couples in Canada may have the same rights, the public will continue to see same same sex couples as gay marriage rather than marriage. The laws might demand equal rights, but that does not change public attitudes and sppech patterns.

We see an example of this phenomenon right on this blog. Dale Carpernter is an articulate and reasonable advocate of identical marriage rights for all. In a March 22 entry above about Sweden he writes, "If Sweden does recognize same-sex marriages, I believe it would become the first country/jurisdiction to move from civil unions to full gay marriage."

I agree the common vernacular is not controlled by any small subgroup. But, I observe the label of LGBT is not one that came from the dominant group; it came from gays. And the term gay marriage is used so often by gay advocates (as we se with Mr. caprenter)that we might also make a good case that it has been injected into the vernacular by gays. Subgroups do not control the vernacular, but they do contribute to it.
3.24.2007 2:49pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Do you lament the prominence of gay "marriage" in the common vernacular?
Would you prefer just "marriage"- in which case anti-ssm forces would have to speak in terms of "traditional"-marriage?

It certainly says something about the currency of words &the ability of language to be manipulated.
3.24.2007 3:12pm
Elliot123 (mail):
HandBasket,

I misquoted you above and apologize for the error. I was bolding text and instead deleted the text. Here is the corrected section. The bold section is what I deleted the frist time.
------------------------------------------------------------
It doesn't take any interptetation to see you speaking for the LGBT community when you say:

"You and several other posters seem to think that we in the LGBT community are hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks of us. So sorry to disappoint..."

Exactly who do you mean by "we in the LGBT community?"
------------------------------------------------------------

Fitz,

I do not lament anything. I observe the way people use language and don't thnk it will change when a law changes. Forces both in favor and opposed to gay marriage can use whatever terms they choose, however, they have little control over what the rest of the population uses.
3.24.2007 5:38pm
inahandbasket:
Elliot123 (mail):
HandBasket,
It doesn't take any interptetation to see you speaking for the LGBT community when you say:

"You and several other posters seem to think that we in the LGBT community are hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks of us. So sorry to disappoint..."

Exactly who do you mean by "we in the LGBT community?"


The members of the LGBT community who are comfortable with who they are and have thick enough hides to deflect the verbal brickbats from bigots. A lot of us just go about our lives doing our careers, supporting our families, living lives pretty much indistinguishable from the mainstream.

It seems that all you care about is your belief that the terminology 'gay marriage' is used by the majority of people and it isn't going to change, neither the terminology or that most straight folks like you will forever think of a same sex couple who is married is 'gay married.'

and

You keep wanting me to admit that I am claiming to speak for every single LGBT person in the whole USA. You keep trying to trap me by my words. Why do you want to trap me? What exactly are you trying to accomplish? What is your point?

You seem to be opposed to same sex couples gaining marriage equality. Is that true? If so, what are your objections? How would it impact your everyday life? Has marriage equality in Canada or Massachusetts directly affected your way of life?
3.24.2007 9:17pm
inahandbasket:
Fitz (mail) (www):
Do you lament the prominence of gay "marriage" in the common vernacular?
Would you prefer just "marriage"- in which case anti-ssm forces would have to speak in terms of "traditional"-marriage?

It certainly says something about the currency of words &the ability of language to be manipulated.


Same sex couples who have married in Canada or Massachusetts are married. You and the rest of the nothing better to do Opineists have hung your little hats on the ever fading hope that you can beat back the incremental progress of marriage equality in the USA. You know it's a-comin' and your pseudo-intellectual blatherings on your blog isn't going to change the tide of progress.

Ever read Don Quixote? Or "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" ('Nothin' but a flesh wound!') Ever see the awesome special effects of the rogue wave in "The Perfect Storm?" Better get out those buckets and start bailing....
3.24.2007 9:39pm
Elliot123 (mail):
HandBasket,

I care about many things, and I observe many things. One of the things I observe is that people continue to consider two guys a gay marriage rather than a marriage regardless of the law. One can observe that without limiting one's concern for other aspects of life.

I don't need you to admit anything. Your own word reveal you consider the LGBT community to be an unthinking group without the capacity for individual opinions on matters. You tell us what "we in the LGBT community" think. I would hope the time is long past when people are thrown into large groups and stamped with a steroetype. This is a gross disservice to gays and does nothing to advance the cause of equality in our society. It retards it.

I have said nothing for or against gays. Why do you say I am opposed same sex couples gaining marriage equality? A simple review of our exchang will show that. However, I am opposed to people who lump all gays into steroetypical groupings and tell us what they think.

I have no objections to gay marriage. I don't know how it would impact my everyday life. Marriage laws in Canada and Massachusetts have not effect me.
3.25.2007 12:33am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Fitz wrote:

> "Yes, this is On Lawns conception. It has its flaws ... "

Society seems to have always grappled with aspects of marriage. The equality of the genders within marriage, or another way to put it the roles each gender plays in marriage. Also the protocols in establishing a new household, with the transfer of inheritance from the old family to the new. Another is how to deal with broken households and parents unable to raise their children.

And, (which is not my conception) how to deal with situations where the couple is unable to complete what is associated and expected in marriage. Some societies have mandated divorce in those circumstances, others have simply allowed it to be a good reason for divorce, if not one of the only few valid reasons for divorce.

As was relayed, "that infertility is a disability that would be a bar to marriage save for society's kind regard for the handicapped" is not anything reasonably considered inane, and anything but something I came up with. For instance, Terrance from the Republic of T. said this when talking about the WA-DOMA proposition:

Of course, no one would dream of telling infertile heterosexuals they can't marry simply because they can't reproduce. I guess just possessing the proper plumbing is enough to qualify, even if it doesn't quite function. They might technically be considered handicapped, as they are biologically and anatomically unable to fulfill that primary purpose of marriage, and we can't discriminate against the handicapped here.


He is currently a member of the head of a same-sex household. He wants to see the definition of marriage neutered in an effort to grab that elusive dignity that he feels deprived of. He also uses the canard that neutering the definition of marriage promotes greater equality.

Certainly he celebrates the WA DOMA, while agreeing it is absurd. He also hopes its failure helps savage the most important part of marriage, its recognition and purpose in promoting responsible procreation and preserving family ties. But what he doesn't do, is the cheap rhetorical tactic of disagreeing with something simply by calling it inane, or some other ill-conceived and vague epithet.

I have no doubt that it is a delicate topic, subject to flawed presentation and explanation considering the sensitivity in general in discussions about disability. I won't pretend to say Fitz is wrong in saying he's seen flaws. In fact I appreciate his honesty...

Opine has a great range of different backgrounds and ideas. There is, as far as I've ever seen, no effort to squelch the diversity -- which ranges from liberal democrats to arch-conservatives ... the patriarchal and matriarchal, from the divorced to the young married to the very old and married. Different religions are represented, as well as the staunchly secular.

I don't say that to persuade or seek credibility for Opine as a site. It is always the arguments that wind the day, as they have in this thread and the threads previous we've participated in. In the end, all we find left are the "we'll get you next time" style allusions to a future, or calls of hijacking the thread, or people who simply gain-say with strangely constructed accusations, commentary and epithets. But that only works as well it does on the Jerry Springer show.

Or, as sometimes happens, we see as in this case where people hope for a stalemate by repeating their discredited claims over and over, hoping that by throwing more of their credibility into them that it will help keep their arguments alive. Like Rocky Balboa, (or even better -- Homer Simpson) just staying alive in the ring amidst a pummeling is all they hope for to win.

Its been our arguments, not who we are, that always has such an impact. And that is the way I hope it will always be.
3.25.2007 1:24am
Charlie Feather (mail):
It's simple, really.

Only the sexual relationships of men and women together produce children. Therefore, only the sexual relationships of men and women together require governmental regulation because of (1) THEIR CAPACITY TOGETHER TO CREATE SOCIAL DISORDER, and (2) that reproduction is a fact and does have important and inevitable consequences on society both good and bad if it is not regulated. Thus, it inevitably must implicate the political and public aspect insofar as the production of future citizens is not only vital to the survival of a nation, but that the REGULATION OF THIS PRODUCTION OF FUTURE CITIZENS IS JUST AS VITAL.

But why are infertile opposite-sex couples permitted to marry? They fall under this regulatory status for these reasons:

United States Court of Appeals For The Eighth Circuit
Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, U.S.No. 05-2604 ( U.S 8th Ct. App. July 14, 2006)

"But under rational-basis review, "Even if the classification . . . is to some extent both underinclusive and overinclusive, and hence the line drawn . . . imperfect, it is nevertheless the rule that . . . perfection is by no means required." Vance v. Bradley, 440 U.S. 93, 108 (1979). Legislatures are permitted to use generalizations so long as "the question is at least debatable." Heller, 509 U.S. at 326

"We accept such imperfection because it is in turn rationally related to the secondary objective of legislative convenience." Vance, 440 U.S. at 109.


New York Supreme Court
No. 86 Hernandez v. Robles

"..... under rational basis review, the classification need not be perfectly precise or narrowly tailored -- all that is required is a reasonable connection between the classification and the interest at issue..."


That's right! Even infertile opposite-sex couples can marry because they happen to belong to the allowable classes that are rationally related to a legitimate state interest, those of the class of men and the class of women, the only classes that together produce children.

It may not be perfect, but it is convenient.
3.25.2007 8:44am
JosephSlater (mail):
Inahandbasket:

Thanks. It's very easy for me, because my sister and her partner are so cool and loving. The more straights have experience with gay couples, the easier it's going to be. Also, as this and other threads show, the anti-SSM crowd's arguments can't stand up to scrutiny.
3.25.2007 10:51am
JosephSlater (mail):
Inahandbasket:

Thanks. It's very easy for me, because my sister and her partner are so cool and loving. The more straights have experience with gay couples, the easier it's going to be. Also, as this and other threads show, the anti-SSM crowd's arguments can't stand up to scrutiny.
3.25.2007 10:51am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
> "Also, as this and other threads show, the anti-SSM crowd's arguments can't stand up to scrutiny."

It is unsupportable and vain accusations as this that convinces me they are aware of their own failure to discuss this issue rationally :)

So Mr Slater, what argument didn't hold up to what scrutiny? I'm happy to call your bluff.
3.25.2007 11:50am
Fitz (mail) (www):
"Thanks. It's very easy for me, because my sister and her partner are so cool and loving. The more straights have experience with gay couples, the easier it's going to be"

This insinuation always makes me laugh. Like people of all opinions and backgrounds don't know gays and gay couples intimately. Unlike almost any other group, homosexuals are pretty evenly distributed among regions and groups. I have to gay friends who seem to have a committed relationship. They are not advocates of same-sex "marriage"; nor do they feel like their relationship is somehow not worthwhile just because people don't call it marriage or give it benefits. Another (closer) friend I have is living with AIDS. I don't know how to label his orientation, I guess he (was?) bi-sexual.
The list of gay acquaintances and friends goes even longer. Their not all radicals or except gay identity politics nor feel their humanity is somehow undermined because society acknowledges the unique importance of marriage.
3.25.2007 2:49pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz,

I think there is quite a bit to be said for personal experience in developing one's views of a population. In our society, the younger the cohort the more likely they are to have had personal experience with open gays in their lifetimes. We also see increasing acceptance of gay marriage as the cohorts get younger. Is it reasonable to hypothesize that some of this is due to personal experience with gays?

There certainly are gays wo do not support SSM, and there are those who do. However, personal experience with either blunts the argument that these people present some danger to the rest of us and our lifestyles if they marry. It's hard to tell someone the guy they work with, play basketball with, and lives down the street is a danger if he and his friend get a piece of paper from city hall saying they are married.
3.25.2007 6:03pm
inahandbasket:
Elliot123 (mail):
HandBasket,

I care about many things, and I observe many things. One of the things I observe is that people continue to consider two guys a gay marriage rather than a marriage regardless of the law. One can observe that without limiting one's concern for other aspects of life.


Who is "people?" Our family and friends see us are MARRIED. And I've talked with my friends, straight and gay, about the difference in terminology between 'gay marriage' and marriage equality. 'Gay marriage' sounds/feels different than simply marriage, like there's 'gay' marriage and then there's marriage. I am for marriage equality, not 'gay marriage.' Words DO matter. A lot of my friends get it.

Canada and Massachusetts have gotten it right: there is marriage; and couples, whether LGBT or straight, can be legally married. I see civil unions as 'gay marriage' because it IS different and less than than marriage.

I don't need you to admit anything. Your own word reveal you consider the LGBT community to be an unthinking group without the capacity for individual opinions on matters. You tell us what "we in the LGBT community" think. I would hope the time is long past when people are thrown into large groups and stamped with a steroetype. This is a gross disservice to gays and does nothing to advance the cause of equality in our society. It retards it.

Stop that crap right now.

I said "we in the gay community" ONE time in all of my posts to you and that is the sentence that you keep coming back to, in all of the following posts. I said probably four times that I didn't mean to imply the WHOLE LGBT community. I wrote about MY LIFE and my wife's life experiences. I said "my little slice" of the LGBT community and that wasn't good enough clarification for you.

<i>I have said nothing for or against gays. Why do you say I am opposed same sex couples gaining marriage equality? A simple review of our exchang will show that. However, I am opposed to people who lump all gays into steroetypical groupings and tell us what they think.

For some perverse reason you keep going back to one sentence and you can't get beyond it...

I have no objections to gay marriage. I don't know how it would impact my everyday life. Marriage laws in Canada and Massachusetts have not effect me.

If you really have no objections to marriage equality, then drop the "gay marriage" label and start using the term "marriage equality." Try seeing how it sounds and feels. It may change your perspective and you may begin to see two guys who've been able to be legally married as being treated equally in the sight of the law. Getting beyond the use of the word "gay' in marriage is one step beyond labelling certain groups as married vs. 'gay married.' The change in societal attitudes will take a lot longer, I know.
3.25.2007 6:17pm
Elliot123 (mail):
HandBasket,

Earlier you asked what I meant by he word "folks." I responded. Now you want to know what I mean by the word "people" in the sentence, "One of the things I observe is that people continue to consider two guys a gay marriage rather than a marriage regardless of the law." So, I will offer the same response to your question about "people" that I offered to your question about "folks."

By the word "people" I mean a sufficient number of the general public that their attitudes constitute a the dominant social attitude. I will limit future references to collective groups of humans to "folks" and "people" so you don't have to ask for any more meanings.

I accept your correction of your lumping of all gays into an unthinking stereotypical group. You initially wrote "You and several other posters seem to think that we in the LGBT community are hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks of us. So sorry to disappoint..." So, did you really mean your small circle of friends, family, and acquaintances, and just mistook them for all gays? If so, can we then surmise that huge swaths of gays really do care what straight mainstream society thinks of them? (Obviously excepting your small circle of friends, relatives, and acquaintances.) Disappointment fades.

I agree "gay marriage" sounds and feels different than "marriage," I agree it implies a difference, and I agree words matter. Most folks think there is a difference, and they express that by using different words. Note Dale Carpenter uses "gay marriage." He's one of the folks I refer to.

I have no objection to gay marriage. Neither does Dale Carpenter. To be really in favor of gay marriage would he have to stop using the term gay marriage, too? How about "LGBT community?" Should we just say "community." Why use sexual orientation to limit "community" when we shouldn't use it to limit "marriage."

Note: I think Dale Carpenter is a fine writer and has made significant contributions to the cause of same sex marriage. I am not criticizing him in any way, just using his responsible writings to demonstrate that one can use the term "gay marriage' while still supporting the same.

So, now that we have cleared up definitions of folks, people, and LGBT community, let me repeat my original post.

I suspect marriage will also leave gays unsatisfied, not because of any real deficiency in the institution or their participation in it, but because society will simply see it as "gay marriage" rather than marriage.

Would you be satisfied or unsatisfied by this situation?
3.25.2007 10:17pm
Ramza:

I suspect marriage will also leave gays unsatisfied, not because of any real deficiency in the institution or their participation in it, but because society will simply see it as "gay marriage" rather than marriage.

Would you be satisfied or unsatisfied by this situation?

No for the same reason listed above in the first post of the topic.
3.25.2007 11:35pm
inahandbasket:
Elliot123 (mail):
HandBasket,

Earlier you asked what I meant by he word "folks." I responded. Now you want to know what I mean by the word "people" in the sentence, "One of the things I observe is that people continue to consider two guys a gay marriage rather than a marriage regardless of the law." So, I will offer the same response to your question about "people" that I offered to your question about "folks."

By the word "people" I mean a sufficient number of the general public that their attitudes constitute a the dominant social attitude. I will limit future references to collective groups of humans to "folks" and "people" so you don't have to ask for any more meanings.


I'm touched by your clarification. It is all so clear to me. I hear a song in the distance..."I can see clearly now, the rain is gone...."

I accept your correction of your lumping of all gays into an unthinking stereotypical group. You initially wrote "You and several other posters seem to think that we in the LGBT community are hung up on what straight mainstream society thinks of us. So sorry to disappoint..." So, did you really mean your small circle of friends, family, and acquaintances, and just mistook them for all gays? If so, can we then surmise that huge swaths of gays really do care what straight mainstream society thinks of them? (Obviously excepting your small circle of friends, relatives, and acquaintances.) Disappointment fades.

No, not only my small circle of family and friends. I read and comment in several LGBT (progressive, middle of the road and conservative) blogs and read/listen to alternative media: podcasts, newspapers, etc., in addition to the mainstream media exactly to read the pulse of what's going on in the LGBT and straight allied community.

I read several of the more right wing stuff, too, sometimes more than the stuff I find common ground because as Sun Tzu writes in "The Art of War": "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

And no, YOU can't 'surmise that huge swaths of gays really do care what straight mainstream society thinks of them.' You aren't in the community, you can only claim what you've heard based on your conversations with people you can't even claim as friends.

I agree "gay marriage" sounds and feels different than "marriage," I agree it implies a difference, and I agree words matter. Most folks think there is a difference, and they express that by using different words. Note Dale Carpenter uses "gay marriage." He's one of the folks I refer to.

In my opinion, Dale Carpenter needs to change his wording, too.

I have no objection to gay marriage. Neither does Dale Carpenter. To be really in favor of gay marriage would he have to stop using the term gay marriage, too? How about "LGBT community?" Should we just say "community." Why use sexual orientation to limit "community" when we shouldn't use it to limit "marriage."

In my opinion, it would help the cause of marriage equality to use the terminology 'marriage equality,' because THAT is what the cause is, EQUALITY, not 'gay marriage.' "Gay marriage" is a sloppy use of words.

Note: I think Dale Carpenter is a fine writer and has made significant contributions to the cause of same sex marriage. I am not criticizing him in any way, just using his responsible writings to demonstrate that one can use the term "gay marriage' while still supporting the same.

In my opinion, Dale has made good arguments for the cause of marriage equality and he could do more for advancing the cause of marriage equality by using more effective language.

So, now that we have cleared up definitions of folks, people, and LGBT community, let me repeat my original post.

I suspect marriage will also leave gays unsatisfied, not because of any real deficiency in the institution or their participation in it, but because society will simply see it as "gay marriage" rather than marriage.


I disagree. Marriage equality trumps "what will the neighbors think!?"

Would you be satisfied or unsatisfied by this situation?

I'd be plenty satisfied by being able to legally marry the woman who is already my wife.
3.26.2007 12:59am
Elliot123 (mail):
HandBasket,

1. I answer your questions because you ask them.

2. So, now you have moved from 1)speaking for all gays to 2)speaking for only your small group of friends, relatives, and acquaintances to 3)speaking for that small group plus those you have read about. However, if reading and listenng to media enables one to speak for a group, then I guess I can, too, since I also read and listen. These are skills found in both in and out of the LGBT community.

3. If only those in the LGBT community are qualified to speak on gay issues, what makes them qualified? Are they different from the rest of the overall community? Should we treat them differently? State legislatures are not part of the LGBT community. Why should they speak on marriage for people in the LGBT community?

4. It's a disservice to gays to fence them of as some sort of subspecies separate from the rest of society. This only serves to increase prejudice and retard the gains that have been made. If the speech and writings of gays can only be understood by members of the LGBT community, why should the rest of us listen? Should we ignore Dale Carpenter if we are not members of the LGBT community?

Is it unreasonable to observe many different attitudes, expectations, motivations, and values among gays simply because one is not part of the LGBT community? Who speaks for the gay community, since you don't show them the respect of acknowledging they can think and speak for themselves?

4. So, Dale Carpenter has drifted off the gay reservation by his language? I doubt it. I think he is using language to convey his meaning in a very reasonable and effective way.

5. Earlier you told us you and your small circle of friends, relatives, and acquaintances didn't care what the mainstream straight folks/people thought about you. Now you are telling all of us how to speak. So, which is it? Do you care or not care what the mainstream straight folks/people think?

6. You tell us "Marriage equality trumps "what will the neighbors think!?" Then you tell the neighbors how to think and speak. I suspect that even within that small group of friends, relatives, and acquaintances lurks a very keen sense for what the mainstream straight world thinks. (World is used as both folks and people were used previously.)

7. I realize you would be satisfied marrying the spouse of your choice. But would you be satisfied if people* called that a gay marriage?

*People is used as defined in the previous post.
3.26.2007 12:02pm