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Sweden moves toward full marriage for gay couples:

Since 1987, Sweden has recognized "registered partnerships" for gay couples. Gradually, the Swedish parliament has added additional rights to the partnerships so that now gay couples enjoy substantially all of the rights of marriage. The partnerships are thus the equivalent of what we would call civil unions in the United States.

A Swedish government commission has just concluded that Sweden should now recognize full marriage rights for same-sex couples and concurrently abolish the system of registered partnerships. Same-sex partnerships, under the proposal, would automatically be made marriages unless the partners withdrew from the arrangement before a certain date. The report is in Swedish, one of the many languages I don't read, but there is an English language summary available at pp. 31-48 of the report.

I know almost nothing about Swedish politics, but the correspondent who alerted me to the report, Niclas Berggren, tells me that parliament is likely to adopt the proposal. Berggren works for the Ratio Institute in Stockholm, a private research institute focusing on entrepreneurship, institutional economics, and the political economy of reform.

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. That would help to relieve some of the concern that civil unions are a dead-end for gay couples. The concurrent abolition of civil unions would also give some comfort to those of us, like me, who believe that alternative statuses (civil unions, domestic partnerships) should be available only to same-sex couples and only as a temporary step toward full marriage, not as a permanent alternative to marriage

Randy R. (mail):
Well, most of the regular posters on Volokh should be quite happy with this outcome, since Sweden is enacting SSM marriage not by judicial fiat, but through the legislature.

What's more, a gay coupled will be called 'married' despite the objections of those who think that you can't call two men in a relationship married. What those people would call it otherwise, I don't know.

Three cheers for our friends across the North Pole!
3.22.2007 12:58pm
Adeez (mail):
Go Sweden! Hopefully we'll oneday be as enlightened as them.
3.22.2007 1:03pm
roy (mail) (www):
In addition to relieving the concern that civil unions are a dead-end, it will also reinforce the concern that they are a slippery slope.
3.22.2007 1:27pm
Dave N (mail):
I am wondering why "civil unions" as something less than marriage should be exclusively available to gay couples.

I can think of situations where a straight couple would eschew marriage. For example, if one is getting some kind of survivor pension for a deceased spouse, then a committed heterosexual couple may not be in a position to marry even though they are a committed couple.
3.22.2007 1:35pm
The Emperor (www):
Maybe we should just abolish marriage. That would have the benefit of eliminating divorce, which many people seem to think is a bad thing.
3.22.2007 1:46pm
Joske Vermeulen:
Not sure if I understood your 'first country' remakr correctly, but the Netherlands has had the equivalent of 'civil unions' since 1998 and gay marriages since 2001 (that is, 'normal' marriages were opened for gay couples in 2001). If you meant that Sweden is the first country to get rid of civil unions, that could be correct.
In the Netherlands, couples (be it gay or straight) can either get married or have a civil union. It's also possible to switch from the one to the other. Civil unions can be disbanded without a judge getting involved, so that makes way for the 'speed-divorce': if both partners agree, a marriage can be turned into a civil union which can then be dissolved - all in a matter of a few minutes without judges or lawyers involved (it's an administrative procedure in the town hall).
That being said, the current (new) Christian government want to get rid of the speed-divorce.
3.22.2007 1:49pm
Colin (mail):
Dave N,

Some jurisdictions have a somewhat similar doctrine called a "meretricious relationship." It's explicitly not a marriage, but can occasionally have the same result when it comes to distribution of community assets. There are some significant differences between an MR and marriage, though, so I'm not sure it would apply in your specific example.
3.22.2007 1:57pm
AppSocRes (mail):
And for all of those who thought Maggy Gallagher was full of crap, take a look at rates of out-of-wedlock births, new marriage, and partnership dissolutions in the Netherlands and Sweden, how these rates compare with those of other European countries, and how these rates in the Netherlands and Sweden accelerated and decelerated as first civil union and then same sex "marriages' were legitimated. After the inevitable demographic victory of Islam in Sweden I suspect that there will be a return to a more traditional definition of marriage.
3.22.2007 2:27pm
SDProsecutor:
Randy R beat me to the "not by judicial fiat" punch, but we ought to add "nor by the executive activism of a County Recorder, Mayor, etc."

And yes, Adeez, maybe one day we (and my 'we' includes all the branches of our government) will be that enlightened, and we will bring about social change through the elected representatives of the people, not by penumbra-creating activism.
3.22.2007 2:32pm
Brett Bellmore:
Got to agree with Dave; Given the nature of the arguments being made for same sex marriage, I wonder what conceivable basis it's advocates could have for limiting civil unions to couples of the same gender. Or, rather, what conceivable basis which is consistant with their own stance on gender discrimination.

It's definately a rhetorical mistake to oppose gender discrimination, and then say, "But until I get my way, here's the gender discrimination I want practiced against the hetero majority." Makes you look unprincipled.
3.22.2007 2:34pm
Randy R. (mail):
Can you give us a site to those stats, Apps? The only stats I have seem were debunked your claim. Since Sweden hasn't even allowed SSM yet, any stats coming out of that country would be irrelevant. The stats I have seen showed an increase in out of wedlock births since at least the late 1980s, well before there was even a discussion of SSM. Furthermore, the rate has actually been less than in other central european countries, where SSM is not even on the discussion boards.

Mickey Kaus tried to make the connection between SSM and the decline of marriage in the Scan countries, but when questioned about his analysis, he was forced to say that there really was no cause and effect that could be identified.

So, in other words, Maggy Gallagher is still full of crap.

However, your last comment is the most interesting. Dinish D'Souza argues in his latest book that the radical elements of christian fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism should actually unite and join together to create a right wing society. This just goes to show that extremists have lots in common with each other.
3.22.2007 2:36pm
joe fws:
Hey, if they want to join the rest of us in this is misery, all the power to them. As the saying goes, marriage is an institution and why on earth would you want to be institutionalized?
3.22.2007 2:44pm
springjourney (mail):
Yep, Great Marriage to animals is one step closer!
3.22.2007 2:47pm
Fitz (mail) (www):

“That would help to relieve some of the concern that civil unions are a dead-end for gay couples. The concurrent abolition of civil unions would also give some comfort to those of us, like me, who believe that alternative statuses (civil unions, domestic partnerships) should be available only to same-sex couples and only as a temporary step toward full marriage, not as a permanent alternative to marriage”



And the converse is also true. The inclusion of additional language in various State Marriage Amendments has proven necessary. Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships and the like become the camel’s nose under the tent. In order to legally distinguish and privilege the union of one man &one woman exclusively as marriage, it is necessary to deny all counterfeits.

The opposition simply will not be appeased by anything less than a redefinition of this foundational institution. As we saw in New Jersey, efforts to secure some forms of legal privilege for such couples can be used by the Courts as an excuse to extend all privileges associated with marriage. Rather than a cruel overreaction: States considering language (like Indiana’s) are guided by the common sense dictated by the stridency of our adversary.
3.22.2007 3:00pm
Hoosier:
Gay Vikings?


Huh.
3.22.2007 3:08pm
Adeez (mail):
"Yep, Great Marriage to animals is one step closer!"

HAHAHAHA!!! The usual, implied custom here is to deal with drivel by simply ignoring it. So, I apologize to the majority, I just am in one of those moods:

Hey springjourney: thanks for that brilliant analysis. How much research did you do to arrive at such a well-reasoned, thoughful position? Or did you simply meditate deeply on the issue, and after some soul-searching, arrive at such brilliance instantaneously? Please enlighten us some more. Or is your genius too much for the rest of us to handle, so that you can only release its manifestations in drips and drabs so as to not overwhelm your audience?

In any event, I heard that dogs in Mass. have been putting severe pressure on the legislature to marry one another, and---heaven forbid---cats!!! First Tom and Tom wanna get married, next thing we'll have to let Tom and Jerry marry!
3.22.2007 3:26pm
AppSocRes (mail):
Randy R. I get my material from articles that have been published over the years in the journal Demography. Look for articles on out-of-wedlock births, marriage formation, partnership dissolution and related topics. Look at the tables of data, not their interpretation. Interestingly, the authors/researchers are usually liberal on issues like the ones here, but I find that their data usually portray the picture I believe to be true.

D'Souza, I, and others like me are hardly allies of Islamic fundamentalism. We're merely pointing out a sad paradox of liberalism that has been noted by many political and social philosophers: A viable liberal society relies on many social institutions that can be destroyed by a too radical application of liberalism.

I do not rejooice that current social conditions in Sweden, the Netherlands, and other European countries have led to birth rates that are below replacement level in the native population. Neither do I rejoice that the more traditional social structures of immigrant populations assure that these populations will have high natural rates of increase. I merely point out the inevitable result of cultural suicide.
3.22.2007 3:29pm
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
Ahhh yes, Sweden, the lodestar of social policies we should be enacting in the U.S.
3.22.2007 3:34pm
frankcross (mail):
The one study I know of using statistical techniques to analyse this found

This paper analyzes data regarding the impact on heterosexual marriages of laws in five
European countries that provide marriage or marriage-like rights to same-sex couples. The data
provide no evidence that giving partnership rights to same-sex couples had any impact on
heterosexual marriage. Specifically, heterosexual marriage rates and divorce rates in Denmark,
Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and the Netherlands displayed no significant change in trends after
implementation of rights for gay couples; longstanding trends in nonmarital birth rates showed no
sign of acceleration attributable to passage of partnership laws; and nonmarital birth rates showed
the same changes in countries with and without partnership laws.
3.22.2007 3:51pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Marriage is a pre-political, pre-liberal institution. It’s not about rights or freedom. Rather it concerns duty, responsibility, fidelity, honor and sacrifice.

Societies have recognized the unique and foundational nature of marriage since before Pericles (495–429 BC,) who noted “marriage” as an institution outside the powers of the State, and therefore a bulwark against state tyranny.

If any given country can redefine a fundamental social institution, what else can it redefine?
3.22.2007 3:52pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Frankcross

The most prominent advocate of the demographic influence of same-sex “marriage’ in Europe is social anthropologist Stanley Kurtz. Its important that people understand his thesis and not undermine it by miss-representing it.


"Will same-sex marriage undermine the institution of marriage? It already has. More precisely, it has further undermined the institution. The separation of marriage from parenthood was increasing; gay marriage has widened the separation. Out-of-wedlock birthrates were rising; gay marriage has added to the factors pushing those rates higher. Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable."

(emphasis in original)

Counter arguments (most prominently) by authors like Eskridge &Spedale dispute Kurtz thesis. 8/7/04 in an open letter to the Dutch Newspapers THE HAGUE By a group of Dutch Scholars confirmed the thesis that the Netherlands has experienced greater family breakdown since the introduction of same-sex unions.


“there are good reasons to believe the decline in Dutch marriage may be connected to the successful public campaign for the opening of marriage to same-sex couples in The Netherlands. After all, supporters of same-sex marriage argued forcefully in favour of the (legal and social) separation of marriage from parenting. In parliament, advocates and opponents alike agreed that same-sex marriage would pave the way to greater acceptance of alternative forms of cohabitation.”

”In our judgment, it is difficult to imagine that a lengthy, highly visible, and ultimately successful campaign to persuade Dutch citizens that marriage is not connected to parenthood and that marriage and cohabitation are equally valid 'lifestyle choices' has not had serious social consequences. There are undoubtedly other factors which have contributed to the decline of the institution of marriage in our country”

3.22.2007 4:13pm
frankcross (mail):
Fitz, that really doesn't deal with whether there is an association. You have panel data over time. The introduction of gay unions and marriage did not alter the trend line for out of wedlock births, etc.

Now, it may be related in that the liberalizing of social attitudes that leads to one, leads to the other. But it does not appear to be causal or even a meaningful contributory step.
3.22.2007 4:23pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Fitz, that really doesn't deal with whether there is an association

Frank - I'm not sure what you mean by "that".. I was simply relating Kurtz thesis, and some supporting academics.

The introduction of gay unions and marriage did not alter the trend line for out of wedlock births

Well, that’s the argument. Repeating that a statistical correlation does not prove a causal connection is to beg the argument.
3.22.2007 4:27pm
frankcross (mail):
Ok, now I'm totally lost. I didn't say correlation doesn't prove causality. I cited research showing that there was no actual statistical correlation.
3.22.2007 4:33pm
Lior:

Marriage is a pre-political, pre-liberal institution ... an institution outside the powers of the State ... If any given country can redefine a fundamental social institution, what else can it redefine?


Fitz, if this is your view, the your gripe should be that they have a definition in the first place, not that they are changing their definition. Indeed, I am not completely sure why marriage contracts should be treated any differently than other contracts, and why the state should care which competent adults enter into voluntary contracts with other competent adults.
3.22.2007 4:36pm
Randy R. (mail):
". Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships and the like become the camel’s nose under the tent. In order to legally distinguish and privilege the union of one man &one woman exclusively as marriage, it is necessary to deny all counterfeits."

So you would deny the rights of marriage, or even civil unions, to the gay parents? How exactly would that help the children of such a marriage? Or don't you care?

And by the way, how is that working out for you in Indiana? Has the divorce rate changed? Has out of wedlock births declined? Premarital sex? According to Kurtz and Fitz, these things should improve once you have denied gays the right to any civil union or rights.

And specifically, how is YOUR marriage doing? Now that you have banned civil unions, I assume the sex is better and more frequent for you, any licentious thoughts you may have had of Britney Spears have disappeared, and your arguments are getting fewer than ever, right?
3.22.2007 4:57pm
Randy R. (mail):
Apps: After the inevitable demographic victory of Islam in Sweden I suspect that there will be a return to a more traditional definition of marriage"

Which is exactly what the Christian fundamentalists are hoping for as well. It seems that despite your denial, the goals of Islam and Christianists are the same.
3.22.2007 4:59pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Lior

"Fitz, if this is your view, the your gripe should be that they have a definition in the first place, not that they are changing their definition."


When I say "outside the power of the State" I mean it is what Locke called a "mediating institution" beyond government manipulation. Not that the government cannot recognize and encourage it.
Think of it this way...what if the courts redefined property, imagine the trouble it would cause and the power the state could grant itself.

Frank

“I didn't say correlation doesn't prove causality. I cited research showing that there was no actual statistical correlation.”



Yes. I realize that. Although you did not “cite” but rather quoted. Other analysis (such as what I quoted) do maintain such a correlation. Indeed there have been multiple concessions by opponents of the Kurtz thesis. I would be interested as to were you garnered the above quote you use to support your assertion.

Most of the research I have read can be found here http://defendmarriageresources.blogspot.com/

Or at the (corrected) Link by my name
3.22.2007 5:09pm
Fitz (mail) (www):


"So you would deny the rights of marriage, or even civil unions, to the gay parents? How exactly would that help the children of such a marriage? Or don't you care?"



Well, since such couples cannot reproduce, banning such “marriages” would discourage those couples from intentionally depriving children of their mothers &fathers living in an intact marriage.


And by the way, how is that working out for you in Indiana? Has the divorce rate changed? Has out of wedlock births declined? Premarital sex? According to Kurtz and Fitz, these things should improve once you have denied gays the right to any civil union or rights.


You misunderstand Kurtz thesis, a move to NOT institute same-sex “marriage” would forestall further damage. It is not seen as a way to reinforce the norms of marital childbearing. Also, cultural change always takes time, either positive or negative.


And specifically, how is YOUR marriage doing? Now that you have banned civil unions, I assume the sex is better and more frequent for you, any licentious thoughts you may have had of Britney Spears have disappeared, and your arguments are getting fewer than ever, right?


Now this is just silly.


Which is exactly what the Christian fundamentalists are hoping for as well. It seems that despite your denial, the goals of Islam and Christianists are the same.



Both religious traditions are also against fornication, theft, adultery and murder.. Like all religious traditions they share quite a lot.
3.22.2007 5:17pm
Randy R. (mail):
Andrew Sullivan ripped Kurtz apart, and Kurtz finally admitted that all those bad things, such as out of wedlock births and such were increasing well before SSM was ever mentioned in the Scan countries. Furthermore, there is no such research that has been able to correlate the two.

The only correlation possible would be that people somehow think that if gays can get married, then straight people can have children without getting married FOR THAT REASON. No one has sufficiently been able to explain how any sane person would draw that conclusion. Can you?

I have a friend who is French, and she is dating a man from Sweden. He has a child from a previous marriage. They are moving in together, but do not plan to get married. They intend to live as this for the rest of their lives. I asked them if they made their decision because gay men can get married in the Netherlands and Belgium, and they laughed at such a ridiculous suggestion. They gave me a number of reasons why, none of which involved gay people at all.

I realize that's anecdotal evidence. But unless you can come up with something better, it's all we have.
3.22.2007 5:21pm
Fitz (mail) (www):

"Andrew Sullivan ripped Kurtz apart, and Kurtz finally admitted that all those bad things, such as out of wedlock births and such were increasing well before SSM was ever mentioned in the Scan countries."


The most prominent advocate of the demographic influence of same-sex “marriage’ in Europe is social anthropologist Stanley Kurtz. Its important that people understand his thesis and not undermine it by miss-representing it.


"Will same-sex marriage undermine the institution of marriage? It already has. More precisely, it has further undermined the institution. The separation of marriage from parenthood was increasing; gay marriage has widened the separation. Out-of-wedlock birthrates were rising; gay marriage has added to the factors pushing those rates higher. Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable."
3.22.2007 5:40pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Fitz go to eurostat and do some research that doesn't miss the forest for the trees. Marriage rates are down across europe - liberal and conservative nations. Comparing 1993 and 2004 marriage rates. Which countries actually saw an increase in marriage rates between those times? DENMARK, SWEDEN. NORWAY, FINLAND, ICELAND, Croatia. Seems that marriage equality has helped, not hurt doesn't it?

And Kurtz spins by ignoring that people are still naturally marrying in these nations - they just have no practical need to license their marriages with the state until they actually have a child - a natural result of living in countries where the civil benefits are mostly available to each individual regardless of their being in a civil marriage contract.

Marriage is a natural thing - you don't need a slip of paper from the government acknowledging if if it isn't much more than just a slip of paper. Doesn't mean you aren't married.
3.22.2007 6:04pm
Randy R. (mail):
Fitz: Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable."

Even IF it were true that marriage rates were declining in the Scan Countries, how does it follow that gay marriage sends a message that marriage itself is outdated? Wouldn't in fact the opposite message be that the marriage is still vital if gay people want it so badly?

When you see two men coming out of a church after having gotten hitched, is it your thought that marriage is now too old-fashioned? That would be VERY bizarre!
3.22.2007 6:18pm
Lior:
Fitz:
Think of it this way...what if the courts redefined property, imagine the trouble it would cause and the power the state could grant itself.


First of all, we aren't talking about the courts -- we are talking about the Swedish people (via their elected representatives). Secondly, society has redefined property quite extensively. Need I remind your that until quite recently in this country there was property in men? In fact, this newfangled idea of disallowing people as property contradicts several millenia of human tradition, expressly approved and regulated by scripture.
3.22.2007 6:38pm
Oren:

If any given country can redefine a fundamental social institution, what else can it redefine?


Unless you are an absolutist prescriptivist, humanity can redefine things to suit our needs. Historically, marriage was conceived of as the submission of a woman to a man's whim (see 1 Tim. 2: 11-13, 1 Cor. 11:3). Taking your point of view, all subsequent generations of humanity are now bound by their conception of the institution which is somehow inviolate to change.

I anticipate your argument that the changes that we have heretofore allowed (equality of power, no-fault divorce, criminalization of marital rape) were not fundamental but that allowing gays to marry is. To that, I can only say such a conception (women allowed to choose their mate!) would be just as foreign to a man living in biblical times as gay marriage is today.

Unfortunately for the absolutists, the meaning of our "fundamental" institutions does indeed evolve with time and it is my belief that within my lifetime (although I am a youngin) marriage will evolve to include gay marriage.
3.22.2007 6:46pm
Oren:
Gen 3:16 is even better as a reference to the absolutely unacceptable state of marriage in biblical times.
3.22.2007 6:52pm
Broncos:
Hi Dale,
I just wanted to alert you to Godfrey v. Spano, in case you had missed it. I learned about it from a Balkinization post.

DC: Thanks. I’m aware of the decision, but I’m not going to get very invested in it until we have something at least from an appellate court.
3.22.2007 8:19pm
aSwede:
Randy and AppSocRes,

From the from the swedish census bureau:



Data for marriage is in blue and for divorce is in red.
The peak in 1990 is due to a chenge in rules for a widow's pension.

The system of registered partnerships was introduced in 1995.

We may be a small and insignificant country, but nonetheless: we don´t like being lied about, AppSocRes.
3.22.2007 8:36pm
aSwede:
And the link:

3.22.2007 8:39pm
aSwede:
Ok, in clear text then:

http://www.scb.se/templates/Publikation____119732.asp

sorry!
3.22.2007 8:41pm
aSwede:
And for births (in blue):

http://www.scb.se/templates/Publikation____119730.asp
3.22.2007 8:45pm
frankcross (mail):
Well, my long well thought out post of sources and data was somehow obliterated. But that's ok, because so many people just cherrypick the data that suits them.

So how about this. Those who criticize gay marriage, give me a hypothesis. I.e., the legalization of gay unions or marriage will cause an increase in out of wedlock births after x amount of time. Then, we will check it against the data from European nations.
3.22.2007 9:03pm
Randy R. (mail):
Frankcross: Very clever. But it won't work. You see, if the data doesn't show a meltdown in marriage rates, then they just say that those are different countries and the data doesn't apply to us.

How do I know this? Check out the debates about gays in the military. Turns out that Canada, Britain, France, Israel, and Australia allow gays to serve openly in the military. They have done so for several years, and there is no evidence that this has had any effect upon their readiness, unit cohesion or anything at all. In fact, integration has proceeded rather smoothly.

That would settle the issue, right? Wrong! Opponents of gays serving in the military simply argue that those other countries experiences are not relevant because they have different traditions, customs, acceptance levels, and so on. So although it works in Canada, it just simply won't work in the US. Just scroll down to the DADT discussion here at the Volokh Conspiracy for proof.

Naturally, if the stats show that marriage IS in a meltdown, then they will trumpet that data as proof of the evils of gay marriage.

The better question is to ask them now, before the data is in, is the Swedish experience relevant to the US or not? Lock 'em in now.
3.22.2007 9:41pm
Scipio_79:
Randy,
I would say that the swedish experience is not very relevant. the political culture is socialist. thier society is very urban. the swedes i know are very liberal and even supported the recent prosecution of the preacher who spoke out against homosexuality. their young are not interested in marriage. it is very secular and a large minority of swedes are athiests. to be simplistic, sweden is much like a blue state metropolis but not much like red state america.
3.22.2007 9:55pm
SP:
"Go Sweden! Hopefully we'll oneday be as enlightened as them."

I am not sure how either position in this debate is particularly or obviously "enlightened."
3.23.2007 1:16am
springjourney (mail):
(link)Adeez

In any event, I heard that dogs in Mass. have been putting severe pressure on the legislature to marry one another, and---heaven forbid---cats!!!


It does not matter it is up to you to find out. Any kind of sexuality and sexual desire should be elevated to the level of marriage no other way around it.

Equal protection under the law, have you have those words.
Human have a right to marry Animal it is our constitutional right!
Go Sweden to full extinction!
Taliban Rulez!
3.23.2007 9:48am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
SS couples have had "full marriage" for 20 or 30 years since the MCCs started conducting church weddings for SSC's.

These days, commie Episcopal Churches will give you the whole experience in an even more traditional church setting.

The couple performs the act of marriage not the officient in any case.

If a church wedding doesn't suffice then a bureaucratic license sure won't work.
3.23.2007 11:32am
Jeroen:
Not exactly the first/only country.

Belgium has full marriage and civil union for all sides. And adoption as well. There are others as well.
3.23.2007 12:02pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Randy R.:

Nice call on the "but they aren't like US" objection.

ASwede:

You have a great country in Sweden, and thanks for the factual data.

Scipio:

So, gay marriage in the U.S. would only threaten heterosexual marriage in red regions of the country? I would say that I thought such folks valued marriage more, but I can't because I know the relative divorce rates of some key blue and red states.

And how delightful that this thread has already brought out the beastiality and, even more incongruously than usual, "commie" hack lines.
3.23.2007 12:08pm
Broncos:
Thanks, Dale.
3.23.2007 12:55pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
It does not matter it is up to you to find out. Any kind of sexuality and sexual desire should be elevated to the level of marriage no other way around it.

Well not if you want your strawman to survive.

Adult men and women have always been appropriate partners in marriage.
Animals have never been considered appropriate partners in marriage, at least with a human being.

Same gender marriage the complaint is about the marriage spouses' gender configuration, not any innate quality of a spouse or their overall marriagability. With animals the complaint is always about one spouse is an animal and it is always unmarriable.

Would take much to argue one is valid and the other is not.
3.23.2007 1:37pm
Fitz (mail) (www):

This particular author is well aware of the multiple factors necessary in analyzing a countries marriage culture. I don’t think of the arguments presented by Kurtz or his detractors as some kind of game of “gotcha” – were a single statistic or data point ends the debate. Be it all over European birth rates, marriage rates, or cohabitation rates ect, both right and left agree that the last forty years have seen unprecedented demographic upheavals.

Some on the left deny such changes are occurring, while others deny they bear any relationship to the introduction of same-sex “marriage”. Still more (honest) scholars champion such changes as part of a more free-spirited, less confining view of sex, relationships, and family life.

At bottom lies to visions of what kind of culture we should have. I prefer more honest opinion that expressly advocates for a continuation of the dramatic shift in sexual norms. It has the advantage of integrity.
3.23.2007 2:03pm
frankcross (mail):
It's obvious these changes are happening, Fitz. I just don't think that gay marriage is any sort of causal factor. They are happening with or without gay marriage.

I wouldn't advocate for or against such a shift. I would have government go with the flow, though, and not try to stand in the path of the cultural change.
3.23.2007 3:51pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Oren


"Unless you are an absolutist prescriptivist, humanity can redefine things to suit our needs".



I don’t believe same-sex “marriage” suits human needs. To the contrary, I believe it is ill-suited to human needs.


"Historically, marriage was conceived of as the submission of a woman to a man's whim (see 1 Tim. 2: 11-13, 1 Cor. 11:3). Taking your point of view, all subsequent generations of humanity are now bound by their conception of the institution which is somehow inviolate to change."


That’s a misreading of history and Biblical texts. The duty of male headship still applies however.


"I anticipate your argument that the changes that we have heretofore allowed (equality of power, no-fault divorce, criminalization of marital rape) were not fundamental but that allowing gays to marry is."


Yes, none of those three actually disturb its core nature, its very definition, what makes it discernable. The acceptation would be no-fault divorce that threatens it aspect of permanency. However: it still maintains the initial expectation of permanency. P.S.- (I don’t know what “equality of power” means? – She has a job? He vacuums? )


"To that, I can only say such a conception (women allowed to choose their mate!) would be just as foreign to a man living in biblical times as gay marriage is today."


Mutual consent to marriage is a prerequisite in post pagan Western Civilization.


Unfortunately for the absolutists, the meaning of our "fundamental" institutions does indeed evolve with time and it is my belief that within my lifetime (although I am a youngin) marriage will evolve to include gay marriage.


I hope you’re wrong. It’s interesting to note your use of the term “evolve”. This absolves the writer of any responsibility in its implementation. It’s a smack in the face to those who treat it as an issue of social justice. If marriage comes to mean the joining in union of same-sex couples it will be because people advocated for such a change and organized politically to make it occur.
3.23.2007 4:17pm
Colin (mail):
(I don’t know what “equality of power” means? – She has a job? He vacuums? )

He probably means that she has the right to sign contracts, own property, and seek criminal penalties if her husband forces her to have non-consensual sex. Just a few of the benefits "redefining marriage" has had over the years.
3.23.2007 4:29pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
frankcross


"It's obvious these changes are happening, Fitz."


Yes it is.


"I just don't think that gay marriage is any sort of causal factor."


Like many complex social phenomena; it is both cause and effect. As Kurtz thesis proposes, it locks in and reinforces existing trends. Inasmuch as I find many of these changes to be socially regressive, I don’t support same-sex “marriage” and advocate a series of different policy changes.


"They are happening with or without gay marriage."


Such a statement seems designed to be fatalistic. I am not that somber. People’s actions create social change. People themselves are capable of confronting those changes honestly and positively. As the letter from Scandinavian Scholars (above) suggest, we are in a position to effect positively or negatively the way we approach the institution of marriage. European countries are already attempting various subsidies to increase things like native birth rates, demonstrating that aspects of the problem can generate the political will for solutions.


"I wouldn't advocate for or against such a shift."



How courageous of you.


"I would have government go with the flow, though, and not try to stand in the path of the cultural change."


What if the flow is in the wrong direction? I can assure you that the culture will “change” – (such things are inevitable) I can only advocate that such changes are fit for human thriving.
3.23.2007 4:32pm
frankcross (mail):
Fitz, I have my opinions on things, but I generally don't think I'm smarter than the commonweal, at least on things that directly affect it.

This is why I prefer democracy to an autocracy (even if I were the autocrat). It's why I prefer the free market in goods to communism. And it's why changes in social mores throughout the society are likely to be better than my personal opinion (affected as it is by my personal experience without the vast variety of experiences of those in a society).
3.23.2007 5:02pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
frankcross

My only point is that you may have mistaken a readily discernable ideological fervor for the "commonwheel" &"changes in social mores".

Surely you have the ability to distinguish?
3.23.2007 5:26pm
Don Meaker (mail):
I would rather have the legislature abolish governmental recognition of marriage altogether.

That way, marriage would be what it should be, and if an insurance company wanted to give preferential rates, they could, or could not.

Second best: Have the legislature enact GM.

Worst: Have the courts usurp authority and declare GM, with no executive veto, and no fear of the righteous wrath of the people.
3.23.2007 6:14pm
Brian Miller (mail):
Marriage is a pre-political, pre-liberal institution ... an institution outside the powers of the State

As a big-L Libertarian, I agree with you.

I'm in favor of getting the government out of the marriage business entirely and making all the "benefits" available to any two people who want them.

Of course, at that point, the same conservatives who talk about Ancient Unchanging Marriage being outside of the clammy grip of the state start complaining about not getting their government welfare benefits from their marriage anymore.

They seem to want it both ways. A pity, that.

Have the courts usurp authority and declare GM, with no executive veto

That would be the fault of. . . who, exactly?

Oh, that's right -- social conservatives and their socialist bretheren who made "marriage" a government institution to begin with.

You see, government has this pesky thing called the Constitution, and arguments growing out of religious mysticism and "tradition" don't overrule that pesky equal protection clause.

The moment statists tried to use government power to overrule the private lives of gay people, lesbians, Mormons (and other voluntary polygamists) etc., they sowed the seeds of their own destruction.

Once government -- and not individuals who contract in a mutually agreeable way -- began to define marriage, all the trappings of government come in. Taxes, regulations -- oh, and the Constitution.

Game over. And most hilariously, it's the fault of the oppressive "everyone must live like me" statists who will be responsible by making government their divine avenging meddling-in-others'-lives angel to begin with.

Ahhhh, if only conservatives really *did* believe in limited government. . . they'd save themselves so much trouble!
3.23.2007 7:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
Fitz: I don’t believe same-sex “marriage” suits human needs. To the contrary, I believe it is ill-suited to human needs.

let's clarify: SSM probably doesn't suit the needs of heterosexuals. In fact, it doesn't affect them at all It does suit the needs of many gay couples.

Unless you want to argue that getting married doesn't suit the needs of gay couples? I would be interested in knowing what you think WOULD suit our needs better.

As for the cause or effect of gay marriage on divorce rates, and out of wedlock rates: You keep saying that it must have an effect somehow, or that it 'locks it in.' How, exactly? You just make an assumption that it does. But you haven't given any reason for it. Any statician making an argument that correlation means cause and effect at least gives up an hypothesis. I haven't heard one from any of you, except for a vague notion that that SSM makes people think badly marriage.

And in fact, as has been shown to you, marriage trends are UP slightly in the Scan countries! So this clearly refutes your theories in any case.

Here's a better theory: Gay people are often at ahead of the trends. When it comes to fashion, gay men are wearing the clothes that your sons will be wearing in two years. Gay people listen to music at clubs that your children will be dancing to in two years. Realtors have a saying, when the gays move in, it's time to buy. Why? Because gays lead heteros in reclaiming city neighborhoods. we are the urban pioneers that clean up the bad neighborhoods. After the prices rise, the staights move in, and we move on to the next place with old gorgeous homes that need rehab.

You complaint about marriage losing it's luster these past few decades. That' is undeniably true. But did it ever occur to you that gays might be ahead of the trend on this on again? That gays have, like the urban pioneers, renewed in interest in a blighted neighborhood? Could it possibly be that gays getting married in the Scan countries is a harbringer for a rise in marriage rates, a drop in out of wedlock births, and so on? That possibly, striaght people might see the gusto with which gay people enter into marriage, and say, hey, that's better than just living together?

You doomsayers are all the same: You predict that once gays get married, it's the end of marriage. And you do so based on NO evidence whatsoever. In fact, in Mass, the marriage rates have held steady in the past three years! Wouldn't it be the height of irony if in fact we WERE the trendsetters on this issue, like so many others?

Then you would have to find another reason to keep us out of marriage, of course, but at least you would be shooting yourself in the foot to do so.
3.23.2007 7:42pm
springjourney (mail):

Adult men and women have always been appropriate partners in marriage.
Animals have never been considered appropriate partners in marriage, at least with a human being


Who said that? It looks like you do not believe in progress? You know that some time ago black person was not considered a human. You want to go back to those days.

Again, nothing is matter as long as there is a sex it can lead to marriage.

Bestiality is a best sex in the world, people should recoginze it as a marriage, period.

Equal protection under the law!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3.24.2007 1:36am
markm (mail):
Dogs can't meaningfully give consent, hence marriage with them is impossible - unless you're such a traditionalist that you want to go back to the days when women were property and marriages were arranged by the parents, no consent by the bride or groom necessary...
3.24.2007 9:08am
Elais:
springjourney,

Why this obsession with bestiality? Are you in love with Bossy the Cow and want to marry her? Do you fancy a goat? Perhaps that sweet little sheep caught your eye?

How do you make the leap from two people marrying to Farmer John walking down the aisle with the family cow?
3.24.2007 12:00pm
Randy R. (mail):
Springjourney is obviously one of those types of people who like to reduce gay people to a cartoon of sexuality. He or she believes that gay people are incapable of having a loving relationship as close, supportive, loving, romantic or intimate as a hetero couple.

It's best to ignore people like that, in my opinion, as any arguments are impossible to change their mind.
3.24.2007 1:48pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Brian Miller

"As a big-L Libertarian, I agree with you."

Are you? Do you?

“I'm in favor of getting the government out of the marriage business entirely and making all the "benefits" available to any two people who want them.”

Well, that’s not getting government out of the “marriage business”. On the contrary, its expanding the scope of government and getting it into the business of any old pairing. Hardly limited government.

”Of course, at that point, the same conservatives who talk about Ancient Unchanging Marriage being outside of the clammy grip of the state start complaining about not getting their government welfare benefits from their marriage anymore.”

It is “outside” the State. The State – for the benefit of all and in acknowledgment of the primacy &importance of the institution extends x or y benefit, legal status, etcetera.

"They seem to want it both ways."

I’m afraid not – It is a pre-political institution that enjoys a degree of government regulation. That’s by no means inconsistent, rather common.

"Oh, that's right -- social conservatives and their socialist brethren who made "marriage" a government institution to begin with."

It has not been “made” a government institution, any more than a restaurant that is visited by the health inspector, has a liquor license etcetera can be considered a government institution.

"You see, government has this pesky (??) thing called the Constitution, and arguments growing out of religious mysticism and "tradition" don't overrule that pesky equal protection clause."

I’m afraid they do – and always have.

Relying on precedents deeming marriage to be a fundamental right, such as Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987); Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978); Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967); Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965); Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942),


To ignore the meaning ascribed to the right to marry in these cases and substitute another meaning in its place is to redefine the right in question and to tear the resulting new right away from the very roots that caused the U.S. Supreme Court and this Court to recognize marriage as a fundamental right in the first place.”


Andersen v. King County, 138 P.3d 963, 1032 &1036 (Wash. 2006)

"The moment statists tried to use government power to overrule the private lives of gay people, lesbians, Mormons (and other voluntary polygamists) etc., they sowed the seeds of their own destruction."

"Once government -- and not individuals who contract in a mutually agreeable way -- began to define marriage, all the trappings of government come in. Taxes, regulations -- oh, and the Constitution."

"Game over. And most hilariously, it's the fault of the oppressive "everyone must live like me" statists who will be responsible by making government their divine avenging meddling-in-others'-lives angel to begin with."

The “libertarian” arguments presented above is anything but that.This breed of libertarian jettisons their most noble and intellectually serious legacy.

If the goal is less government, anything that threatens the natural family has been proved (in the most real world &dramatic fashion) to lead to much, much more government.

The sophomoric, indeed juvenile “libertarianism” expressed by statements like, “lets just get the government out of marriage” or “its just another contract” dismisses the well established libertarian understanding of the natural family as a “mediating institution” between the individual and the State.

It not only acts as a bulwark against State encroachment, but acts as a mini-society that lifts the burden off government and puts it on the people responsible.

The more infantile libertarianism is simply a species of leftism meant more to undermine society than intellectually enlighten.
3.24.2007 1:57pm
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
What is a "natural family," and who is threatening it with what weapon?
3.24.2007 2:55pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
"What is a "natural family,""

The pairing of a man &a women and their offspring

"and who is threatening it with what weapon?"

Multiple forces that weaken and deprivelage it importance and distinctivness.

Why play dumb? I dont assume you really are.
3.24.2007 3:00pm
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
The pairing of a man &a women and their offspring

So if this is a "natural family," what is an "unnatural family" and why?

Multiple forces that weaken and deprivelage it importance and distinctivness.

How? Who is involved? Specifics, please.

Why play dumb? I dont assume you really are.

There's no point in having a discussion if we're talking past each other.
3.24.2007 3:06pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Ship Erect

"So if this is a "natural family," what is an "unnatural family"

People don’t speak in terms of "unnatural families" - the term natural family denotes those biological ties rooted in the mated pair of a man &woman.

"and why?" – In order to distinguish readily that very same common institution from others.

"How?" – By undermining its distinctiveness and importance.

"Who is involved? Specifics, please."

Well, its an extensive list… here are three more prominent examples.

AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE (in the) PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF FAMILY DISSOLUTION

http://www.ali.org/ali/pr051502.htm

LAW COMMISSION OF CANADA REPORT: BEYOND CONJUGALITY

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2002/rpt/2002-R-0172.htm

Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships

http://www.beyondmarriage.org/

They make no secret of it….

The want to De-privilege the Privileged (traditional marriage)
And privilege the de-Privileged (any thing but traditional marriage)

(your welcome)
3.24.2007 3:26pm
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
People don’t speak in terms of "unnatural families"

So "natural" had no meaning when attached to "family"? Your point was not to, say, overtly differentiate between hetero couples and gay couples because you think one coupling is "natural" and the other is not?

In order to distinguish readily that very same common institution from others.

What are the "others"? From your given definition, It seems that there should be a world of difference between "natural families" and sterile couplings with no children--is this the kind of family you're talking about?

Well, its an extensive list… here are three more prominent examples.

I don't see anything on any of the cited pages about destroying "natural families." In fact, from beyondmarriage: "A majority of people – whatever their sexual and gender identities – do not live in traditional nuclear families. They stand to gain from alternative forms of household recognition beyond one-size-fits-all marriage." What is destructive about inclusion? Why do you feel threatened?

(your welcome)

My welcome what? Jerkiness in response to fair questions doesn't mix well with grammatical errors.
3.24.2007 3:53pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz: Marriage is a pre-political, pre-liberal institution. It’s not about rights or freedom. Rather it concerns duty, responsibility, fidelity, honor and sacrifice

OK. So what is marriage in the US? It sure doesn't demand duty, responsibility, fidelity, honor and sacrifice. It demands $25, birth certificates, a county clerk, and two witnesses.
3.24.2007 4:05pm
springjourney (mail):

How do you make the leap from two people marrying to Farmer John walking down the aisle with the family cow?


Get used to it man! It is your choice to change every possible law, rule and custom. As you know things can change, you know that black people did not have the same right as a white people. So we have fixed it.

Marriage to animals is one step closer. Yeaaaa!!!!!

Remember U.S. Constitution. Equal protection under the law.
3.24.2007 4:19pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Ship Erect

"So "natural" had no meaning when attached to "family""?

(as stated) The term natural family denotes those biological ties rooted in the mated pair of a man &woman. Why?" – In order to distinguish readily that very same common institution from others.

"Your point was not to, say, overtly differentiate between hetero couples and gay couples because you think one coupling is "natural" and the other is not?"
You may take offense, but I can assure you that the term natural family has a lineage and understanding well outside the advent of the concept of same-sex “marriage”

“What are the "others"?"

Those that are not the natural family. (i.e) Those “other” than the accepted definition.

"From your given definition, It seems that there should be a world of difference between "natural families" and sterile couplings with no children--is this the kind of family you're talking about?”

World of difference? More correctly a crucial and readily discernible difference.

Men and women are members of a class that can produce children. While any member of that class may not or cannot produce a child, they remain members of a class that can produce children. Same sex pairings can never produce children. They are members of a class that always and everywhere are incapable of producing children.”

"I don't see anything on any of the cited pages about destroying "natural families.""

I never used the term “destroy” . I said they seek to undermine its distinctiveness and importance.

""In fact, from beyondmarriage: "A majority of people – whatever their sexual and gender identities – do not live in traditional nuclear families.”""

This is a (intentionally) misleading statistic. It includes widowed, not yet married, college roommates ect.

FYI – The NYT

“They stand to gain from alternative forms of household recognition beyond one-size-fits-all marriage.”

I disagree.

"What is destructive about inclusion?"

This is not inclusion, it is the denial of the uniqueness and importance of the natural family.

"Why do you feel threatened?"

I don’t feel threatened; I feel the natural family is under threat. Why is it so important for you to feel "included" in this institution?
3.24.2007 4:21pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Elliot123

"OK. So what is marriage in the US? It sure doesn't demand duty, responsibility, fidelity, honor and sacrifice. It demands $25, birth certificates, a county clerk, and two witnesses."

You’re referring to the list of government requisites to entery; this is stark reductionism when referring to an institution as historically rooted and socially important as marriage. I’m talking about the legal understanding of the institution as well as its cultural meaning.

Even your (limited) list is not accurate. In multiple jurisdictions it requires (to be valid) that the couples are not within a certain degree of consanguinity with one another, that they be over a certain age (with parental consent exceptions) that they not be presently married to another, and so forth. Blood tests are required, a formal vow exchanged with a someone licensed by the state (beyond the county clerk)

The birth certificate you mention, insures among other things…that the pairing is of opposite sex.
3.24.2007 4:35pm
Elais:
springjourney,

Wake me up when you find the word 'animal' listed in the US Constitution.
3.24.2007 5:11pm
Kendall:
This is not inclusion, it is the denial of the uniqueness and importance of the natural family.

So what? "Denying the importance of the natural family" (Clearly the "uniqueness" can't be denied, anymore than any other grouping is "unique" so that's just a throw away description) is giving benefits and rewarding monogamous relationships? Somehow its a negative to reward people for making a long term commitment?

I guess I don't get the essential point here. You seem to be suggesting that if SSM was legalized somehow the "natural family" would be fundamentally reduced. Are you suggesting that gay individuals are likely to marry a member of the opposite sex if SSM is made illegal? Would you allow your daughter (or son, for that matter) to marry somebody who told them they're gay?

It seems that since the obvious answer for most people would be "no" to that there are only a few possibilities. Either you're suggesting that gay people should never get married to anyone of either sex, gay people should enter into sham marriages with willing heterosexuals, gay people should enter into sham marriages with lesbians (thus having two opposite sex couples receiving benefits even as the real relationship is between two men and two women rather than man/woman) or gay people should deceive straight people into sham marriages and try to live heterosexually.

If not, then I suppose the question is what your social policy towards homosexual citizens would be. What benefits would you give their relationships and what benefits would you deny them?
3.24.2007 5:22pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Kendall

If not,

Not

"then I suppose the question is what your social policy towards homosexual citizens would be. What benefits would you give their relationships"

None, to very little

What is your social policy towards male &female couples? (are you philosophically capable of making that distinction?)

"and what benefits would you deny them?"

Those associated with marriage, so as to maintain its privileged and unique status.

P.S. - When I say unique I mean distinct as to other relationships: from same-sex couples, to roommates, to sibling caring for one another - etcetera.

I (admittedly) am more concerned with the institution of marriage, its health, legal status, and cultural ascendancy than I am concerned with homosexual couples.
3.24.2007 5:36pm
Randy R. (mail):
Fitz: I (admittedly) am more concerned with the institution of marriage, its health, legal status, and cultural ascendancy than I am concerned with homosexual couples."

And if one day your son or daughter told you that they were gay, and in a loving relationship with someone of the same sex, your response would be....?
3.24.2007 5:40pm
Kendall:
P.S. - When I say unique I mean distinct as to other relationships: from same-sex couples, to roommates, to sibling caring for one another - etcetera.

Yet again, a meaningless distinction. The uniqueness of "natural families" is as obvious as the uniqueness of those other relationships. Its impossible by definition for something to be "more" unique somehow, its simply, unique. So what? That's not a reason to give a relationship special rights compared to other pairings.
3.24.2007 5:43pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
And if one day your son or daughter told you that they were gay, and in a loving relationship with someone of the same sex, your response would be....?

Not to associate that relationship with the foundational social institution known as marriage.
3.24.2007 5:45pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
"So what?"

What

"That's not a reason to give a relationship special rights compared to other pairings."

I think it is. So does are shared history, culture, and legal tradition.
3.24.2007 5:48pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz,

Once the couple meets the legal requirement for entry into marriage, they are free to order their relationship any way they choose. There is no requirement in the US that they order it according duty, responsibility, fidelity, honor and sacrifice. So, what you have described are not necessary characteristics of marriage in the US. Observation shows all kinds of various relationship patterns called marriage.

Perhaps you can define marriage in the US for us? If we are changing the definition, it seems we must first know the current definition. If one can't state that definition, then it seems unreasonable to say it is changing.
3.24.2007 5:49pm
Kendall:
I think it is. So does are shared history, culture, and legal tradition.

Really now? The fact that natural families are "unique" is the reason they use? Somehow I thought it was the manner in which they are unique, namely that they provide a specific benefit to society that society has historically chosen to recognize.

Bluntly, the reason marriage historically has been recognized as between a man and a woman is because of the raising of children. Historically it was extremely difficult or outright impossible for single people to adopt. it was also very difficult to impossible for unmarried couples to adopt.

Those attitudes are changing. Now even same sex couples are raising hundreds of thousands of children and so far all studies indicate no harm whatsoever to the children of these couples. In other words, marriage is for children, to provide a stable and nurturing environment for children. What is your policy towards the children being raised by gay couples?
3.24.2007 5:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Can someone provide three specific and observable ways same sex civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage in the US?
3.24.2007 6:47pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Following on Elliot123's fine question, I'll ask the same question I ask in many of these threads. My sister got married to her partner in a lovely ceremony outside Boston last summer. Neither I nor any of the many hetero friends and relatives who were there felt any dimunation of the value of their marriages (quite the opposite, in fact).

But if anybody does feel like my sister's marriage damaged their own marriage, I would like to hear -- specifically -- about why they think that.
3.24.2007 10:59pm
springjourney (mail):
Elliot123
<blockquote>
<i>Can someone provide three specific and observable ways same sex civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage in the US?</i>
</blockquote>
It is your responsibility to prove why society should accept same sex marriage. Majority of people in the U.S. do not care about feelings of homosexuals. Their feeling does not produce anything and we cannot supports someone's feeling as a reason for destruction of our way of life.
3.25.2007 12:59am
Kendall:
Their feeling does not produce anything and we cannot supports someone's feeling as a reason for destruction of our way of life.

Interesting point. I'm still curious to know what your policy is in light of the fact over 1 million homosexual couples are raising children. It would seem that regardless how a child is produced, once that child is there and being cared for society has an obligation to provide special benefits to couples that the state has deemed to be suitable parents for the purposes of raising that child, wouldn't you say?
3.25.2007 1:19am
Elliot123 (mail):
SpringJourney,

Let's hope someone here knows the definition of marriage in the US. But, maybe nobody does. However, it would be helpful to know since I read so much in the public discourse about changing the definition.

Do you think it reasonable to say a definition is being changed without knowing the definition?
3.25.2007 1:37am
Ramza:

It is your responsibility to prove why society should accept same sex marriage. Majority of people in the U.S. do not care about feelings of homosexuals. Their feeling does not produce anything and we cannot supports someone's feeling as a reason for destruction of our way of life.

The reasons why has been argued before. In fact dale carpenter first argued them on this very site when he was guest blogging here.
Dale Carpenter's Conserative Case for Gay Marriage

Of course Carpenter wasn't arguing in a vacuum he appeared after Maggie Gallagher who was arguing why we should extend marriage to homosexual relationships. Of course Gallagher didn't really show causation and her arguments were hypothetical and in my opinion lacking (perhaps not in your mind).

One side has stated their position now its your turn to respond to it. Now answer the question.

Can someone provide three specific and observable ways same sex civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage in the US?
3.25.2007 5:18am
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Really now? The fact that natural families are "unique" is the reason they use? Somehow I thought it was the manner in which they are unique, namely that they provide a specific benefit to society that society has historically chosen to recognize.


And this makes it sound like the civil marriage contract is some sort of 'reward' package for 'providing a benefit'. The legal tools in marriage are there to make marriages 'better' - they promote bonding of the couple legally and financially. They increase the ability to have family responsibilities divided differently between the two while each retains most of the benefits of being less specialized. These tools benefit all families whether they have children or not, especially whether they spontaneously procreate or not.

Who should some married citizens have access to these tools and some not based solely on the gender of their spouse? Isn't it to society's benefit to encourage all its adult citizens to marry and strengthen all of those marriages?
3.25.2007 11:26am
Randy R. (mail):
"Can someone provide three specific and observable ways same sex civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage in the US?"


Or the world? Afterall, SSM is a reality in several countries.

Here's another fun exercise: Try to think of three specific and observable ways SSM promotes hetero marriage.

I think that when straight people see gay people get married, they will want to do it too. When they see gay people raising kids, they will want to do it too. After all, if gay men or lesbians can do it, then it can't be that hard. Perhpas people will start thinking that rather than have children of their own, they should adopt one of the many children who are orphaned in China, or in foster care in the US. That would be a real plus to our society, wouldn't it?

My point is that conservatives just ASSUME that all effects of SSM will be bad, and they do so without any foundation or evidence. Just pure speculation.

Well, if that's the standard, then we can speculate that SSM will have good effects.
3.25.2007 12:02pm
Kendall:
Bob Van Burkleo: I agree with you actually. Although my wording was not artful I was simply suggesting that one group of couples should not be given special status over another group, thus cutting out same sex couples (who would except for their gender not be excluded from forming a married pair). Certainly there ARE a series of benefits as well as responsibilities associated with being married.

I personally think that society would be better served by getting marriage out of the sphere of government, but as long as marriage is a specific contract that the government signs off on to give a particular status to individuals I see no rational reason to limit marriage to heterosexual pairings, particularly not in a society that gives homosexual couples the rights of adoption.
3.25.2007 12:35pm
Oren (mail):

Mutual consent to marriage is a prerequisite in post pagan Western Civilization. (emphasis added)


It certainly did not USED to be that way. Consider DEUT 21:11-13


11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.


Doesn't sound like mutual consent to me.
3.25.2007 1:49pm
Randy R. (mail):
I wonder how all those nobles and royal families survived, since their children were married off without any consent of the young marrieds at all? Yet they ruled for thousands of years under such a system.
Even today, in many cultures, arranged marriages are made, especially in India, and they have a very long history of civilization.

It's pure bunk that civilization is based upon mutual consent of a man and wife being married. In fact, it's far more the opposite, and only in recent times.

It was really only since the 1920s that the notion grabbed hold that a man and woman could actually choose to be married to one another. Before that, it was a wistful idea throughout the 19th century, but one that was hardly practical. And before the 18th century, the notion of actually marrying someone because you loved them was regarded as at best foolish and unwise. Marriage was far too important to the two families to leave it to the romantic whims of children. That's why you had mistresses!
3.25.2007 5:11pm
springjourney (mail):

Elliot123 (mail):
SpringJourney,

Let's hope someone here knows the definition of marriage in the US. But, maybe nobody does. However, it would be helpful to know since I read so much in the public discourse about changing the definition.

Do you think it reasonable to say a definition is being changed without knowing the definition?


You can define marriage any way you want. It does not matter to the majority of people in U.S.
If you find any reference in marriage laws about possibility of same sex couple to get a marriage license let me know.
The fact that marriage has not been defined either in constitution or in any other law confirms the point that this term is 100% assumed an no further clarification is needed.
Somehow you do are not asking what the word "IS" is. If you do then go get a psychiatric help.
3.26.2007 10:25am
Colin (mail):
The fact that marriage has not been defined either in constitution or in any other law confirms the point that this term is 100% assumed an no further clarification is needed.

Wow. Our jobs would be so much easier if that was the way things worked. "Judge, 'fiduciary duty' is not defined in this statute or the constitution. Therefore the meaning is 100% assumed and no further clarification is needed. The defense rests."
3.26.2007 12:53pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Just to return to Sweden (part of the topic of this post) Its more than germane to note that the country is renowned for the impact feminist ideology has had upon it. How far has it gone?


"Young women in Sweden,have a new cause: They want men to sit down while urinating. This demand comes partly from concerns about hygiene — avoiding the splash factor — but as Jasper Gerard reports in the English magazine The Spectator, "more crucially because a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women.

"A feminist group at Stockholm University is campaigning to ban urinals from campus, and one Swedish elementary school has removed them.
Some Swedish women are pressuring their men to take a stand, so to speak. Yola, a 25-year-old Swedish trainee psychiatrist, says she dumps boyfriends who insist on standing. "What else can I do?" said her new boyfriend, Ingvar, who sits.



What’s this have to do with same-sex “marriage”? Everything. The feminist quest for an androgynous utopia is a perfect match (indeed the driving intellectual/academic reason detra’) for public acquiescence in same-sex “marriage”. Any cursory inspection of feminist gender journals in fields like family law will leave no doubt.

It takes a generation of sustained ideological attack against marriage and for androgyny to produce the utter Orwellian foolishness of banning urinals and adopting same-sex marriage.
3.26.2007 2:09pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Spring,

If we can define marriage anyway we want, and it does not matter to the American people, then let's allow same sex people to marry each other.

Do you content the definition is assumed but nobody knows what it is?
3.26.2007 3:37pm
Ramza:
To Fitz:

I know several people from sweden who think that feminist in your news story you just posted about the urinals are kooky. The question is, are the people I know, or the the feminist a better representation of the population. Lets try a little more to generalize a whole nations population by the beliefs of a few? (Italics are sarcasm, sarcasm is now off)

Instead of trying to create visual imagery trying to describe your opponents as kooky, why don't you debate your opponents on the merrits of your position versus theirs? Oh wait you did that already, since you are now out of that ammo you resort to this.
3.26.2007 3:56pm
Colin (mail):
I suppose I can't accuse the anti-marriage crowd of lacking hard evidence any more. Fitz has really stepped up to the plate with his well-documented proof of the "feminist quest for an androgynous utopia." Given this well-sourced and objective explication, I can't imagine why I thought the Opine crowd was searching for a pretext to justify preexisting prejudices.
3.26.2007 3:56pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
I little bored (no real challenge I have not been presented with before)

I stand by the general point however, Sweden is one of the most feminist countries &feminist support for ss"m" has an obvious synergy with its ideology.

Here's someone you universally dismiss on the subject.
3.26.2007 4:06pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz,

Here's a challenge to slake your boredom.

Define civil marriage in the US.

AND/OR

Provide three specific and observable ways same sex civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage in the US?
3.26.2007 6:41pm
Kendall:
Am I the only one amused that anti-gay marriage people are so intent on comparing to the US to Sweden, but so opposed to comparing our military to Israel's after they lifted their ban on gay combat troops?
3.26.2007 7:09pm