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Gay Marriage or Homosexual Marriage?

Frank Cross writes, though in the course of making a separate point,

I was advising a conservative student arguing in a debate against gay marriage and suggested he say "gay" rather than "homosexual."

I have a simple suggestion: same-sex marriage. It's clear, descriptive, and does not unnecessarily distract listeners into thinking about subsets of the field. Many people who engage in same-sex marriage -- especially same-sex marriage among two women -- are bisexual, not homosexual; using the term "homosexual" may needlessly focus on the sexual orientation of the participants, rather than on the nature of the union. Likewise, using the term "gay" may needlessly lead listeners to think of male-male marriages to the exclusion of female-female ones.

Neither of the other terms is wrong. "Gay" is sometimes used to mean "gay or lesbian," "homosexual" is often used to mean "homosexuals or bisexuals, so long as the bisexuals are behaving in ways that reflect their homosexual rather than heterosexual attraction," and of course both "gay marriage" and "homosexual marriage" are generally used to mean "same-sex marriage." But they do risk needlessly making the listener think of something other than what you're talking about -- which is same-sex marriage, whether male-male or female-female. I don't condemn people who use them, but I think the more useful approach is to go with "same-sex marriage."

I will sometimes run the risk of offending some people, in order to fight what strike me as unsound attempts to buffalo people into not using certain words. But I see no such benefit in avoiding the descriptive and clear "same-sex marriage," which avoids needlessly focusing listeners on one or another subset of the behavior and its participants.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. "Gay Marriage" or "Same-Sex Marriage"?
  2. Gay Marriage or Homosexual Marriage?
BobH (mail):
Completely off the subject, but:

Your use of "buffalo" reminded me of what is (as far as I know) the only coherent sentence in English made up of five identical words: "Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."

(And to those who will say that "buffalo" and "Buffalo" are not identical: Pfffffft.)
7.25.2007 5:18pm
The General:
Is anyone really confused if they hear "homosexual marriage" or "gay marriage" instead of "same-sex marriage?" Really, outside of the ridiculous and fictional Chuck and Larry situation, does anyone believe that these terms apply to anyone other than male/male or female/female homosexual relationships? Straight people aren't clamoring for same-sex marriages, homosexual people are. We're talking about homosexual/gay relationships and whether they ought to be recognized/sanctioned by the state as "marriages." The terms "gay marriage" or "homosexual marriage" are both apt and are probably more dexcriptive, not less.
7.25.2007 5:23pm
AnonPoster:
To stay off topic w/ BobH, I believe fish works as well. Fish fish fish fish fish.
7.25.2007 5:30pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

I have a simple suggestion: same-sex marriage. It's clear, descriptive, and does not unnecessarily distract listeners into thinking about subsets of the field.


It's also inaccurate because marriage is between a man and a woman and there is no such thing as a "same-sex marriage." A point the conservative student would probably make from the beginning.
7.25.2007 5:37pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Please explain the buffalo sentence? I don't get it.
7.25.2007 5:38pm
Little Loca (mail):
same-sex and homosexual means the same thing (unless the latter refers to sex in the intercourse sense, while the former refers to sex in the biological sense). As for "gay", it's just not formal enough, for a bill or law or whatever, because it lacks precision.

General: male/male and female/female doesn't tell us anything about the sexualities of the individuals. People get married for a whole host of reasons and sex is not necessarily the predominant one. Even so, a female bisexual might want to marry a female lesbian, in that case, same-sex would still apply (as we would expect it to), but "gay" would just be sloppy and "homosexual" (again, if it means sex as in intercouse) isn't really an accurate descriptor either.
7.25.2007 5:40pm
OK lawyer (mail):
To quote George Carlin:

"I have been the same sex my entire life. What's the big deal?"
7.25.2007 5:44pm
Little Loca (mail):
Thorley Winston:

Thanks for introducing us, by example, to the meaning of "tautology."

Also, it's definitely very, very wise to argue in circle like that. When the question is whether same-sex marriage should be allowed, to answer: 'there's no such thing! I rest my case!' Brilliant.

If only the state had you on its team in Brown v. Board of Education, they might have won! "Equality for blacks? Blacks aren't equal, so there is no such thing!"
7.25.2007 5:45pm
Fishkill:
Buffalo - place, animal, verb, place, animal -- yes?

Fish, I don't get. Fish fish fish might work...

In terms of gay/homosexual/same-sex marriage, I think it is only a political issue--not a PC issue. Opponents prefer "same-sex" because it sterlizes the debate a bit (i.e. marriage involves those of different sexes, ergo this can't be marriage). Those in favor would rather the debate be focused on the people who are "as a people" not permitted to be married.

I'm not sure this requires a posting on VC, though...

Fishkill fish kill Fishkill fish...
7.25.2007 5:46pm
BABH:
The General:
Homosexual activity may or may not take place in a same-sex marriage. What's more, many same-sex marriages will feature (adulterous) heterosexual sex. Public policy is concerned with the privileges and responsibilities of marriage, not with the type, quantity or quality of sex acts.
Unless a party sues for divorce, of course.
7.25.2007 5:47pm
John425:
Bosh! This is like the judge who recently disallowed the victim of a rape to use the word rape in testimony. The judge also would not let her be referred to as the victim.

About as PC as you can get.

Compromise: How about referring to it as "Deviant Sex Marriage"-(or DSM)?

Inasmuch as homosexuals (gays, etc) constitute about 2-3% of the global population- That is a measurable deviation from the norm, isn't it?
7.25.2007 5:51pm
Little Loca (mail):
Oh, John, I am sure the 2-3% that you are quoting is oh so accurate, as well as completely uninfluenced by the rampant intolerance that has received it since the onflux of Abrahamic norms on societies. The intolerance that you have demonstrated in your post.
7.25.2007 5:55pm
TomHynes (mail):
After a few years of any marriage, the sex is pretty much the same.
7.25.2007 6:00pm
Christian K:
When marriage between two people of the same gender becomes the law of the land, as it eventually will, we will call it marriage. So why call it something different now?
7.25.2007 6:04pm
Aleks:
While we can't create four-sided triangles, we can create same sex marriage. Just as we could create democracy in an era when government meant a monarch. ("There's no such thing as "government by the people", a monarchist might have said.)
Marriage is a human creation and it is therefore anything humans say it is. You are free to argue that SSM is unwise or immoral, but you are not free to argue that it does not exist.
7.25.2007 6:05pm
bittern (mail):
Same sex marriage, fine. Sounds fine. Why are we on about this, time after time, instead of which/that or affect/effect? Is gayness a better distraction from Rome burning? Or is there some other underlying issue here that we don't want to talk about?

I don't want to watch Gonzales either, but there must be something else going on in the world!
7.25.2007 6:09pm
John425:
I'm not intolerant per se- what someone does in their bedroom is of no concern to me. You can have sex with livestock if you wish- just don't try to dignify the union by bringing your ram home to meet Mama or take him to the local magistrate for a wedding license. The state has restricted "marriage" in many arenas- Consider Incest- One cannot marry one's mother. Polygamy? No, you can't have 3 husbands simultaneously. Age of Consent? How do you feel about a 49 year old man marrying a 10 year old girl? Or him marrying a 10 year old boy, for that matter? At what point does "enlightenment" become decadent?
7.25.2007 6:10pm
Daniel950:
When marriage between two people of the same gender becomes the law of the land, as it eventually will, we will call it marriage.


What are you going to do to the people who don't call it marriage? Tolerance isn't enough these days, apparently. No, you must be FORCED to APPROVE:

Canadians are very good at prosecuting people for their politically incorrect beliefs.
7.25.2007 6:16pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
It's "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo
I find it more useful to discuss Lesbian marriage.
Re the earlier gay v homosexual thread, the argument, as I understand it, is not that homosexual is generally perjorative, triggering the whole "you can't say that!" meme, but rather that the use of homosexual rather than gay is an idiomatic clue that one might be dealing with a christianist. (I prefer the term Christianist to "homophobic zoroastrian cryptocristian"; it should be obvious that it doesn't refer to Christians generally.)
Homosexuals have been around since prehistory; 'gay' is a recent social construct dating roughly from judy garland.
7.25.2007 6:16pm
Fishkill:
John425,

Is marrying a 10 year old boy "decadent?" Hmm.

These are old hackneyed arguments...incest (medical reasons), age of consent (umm...the law doesn't view them as able to consent to marriage), polygamy (historically to protect young girls...same rationale)...

livestock? I'd think twice before comparing a group of people to livestock because you don't like them...
7.25.2007 6:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
Thorley: "It's also inaccurate because marriage is between a man and a woman and there is no such thing as a "same-sex marriage."

Well, considering the fact that same-sex marriage is a reality in Massachusetts, Canada, Spain, The Netherlands and Belgium, I'd say you are quite wrong.

Arbitrary: "'gay' is a recent social construct dating roughly from judy garland."

The earliest known usage of gay has been found in the 1920s, and apparently it was quite common among those people who were in the know. Certainly, Cole Porter knew it when he wrong the lyrics to his songs.

Daniel: " No, you must be FORCED to APPROVE"

Daniel, Daniel, Daniel -- your hatred of gays is well known, but really, it's unseemly to show such bitterness. Especially when the weather outside is so cheerful and, well, gay.

On topic: SSM is fine with me. So is gay marriage. So is homosexual marriage (though a little less so). I don't care what you call it as long as the rights are all the same.
7.25.2007 6:30pm
John425:
Fishkill: you make my point- society forms the law and it becomes what we say it is. If a society says no to same sex marriages- so be it. A politco-legal struggle may ensue but that is the point too- If law is a function of society's POV- why challenge the 41 states that have a DOMA law?
7.25.2007 6:40pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
I have long since argued that there's no such thing as same-sex marriage. But for now, let me set that aside.

Let me ask those who discount the definition argument: What is the definition then? I mean this seriously, not snarky. And with all due respect. If gender is not an essential characteristic of marriage, is it, Aleks says, whatever we want it to mean? Doesn't that mean it's meaningless?

Seriously. Name me essential characteristics of marriage. How is it different from other kinds of social organization? What is its purpose? What are its limits, if any?
7.25.2007 6:40pm
JBL:
What about this:

The people are homosexual; the marriage is intrasexual.

Of course we never refer to an intersexual marriage, but then we never refer to an intraracial marriage either.

Hmmm.
7.25.2007 7:34pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
While I think this whole topic is rather silly, the obsession with gays/lesbians/homosexuals/whatevahs is appparently providing the VC folks with a new target audience for its advertizing...

I mean, the last ad I expected to see here would feature a nearly naked, very buff young guy promoting "Real Jock Gay Fitness Community". But there is it.

And quite frankly, its worth having to wade through the nonsense spouted by a bunch of (ostensibly) straight people to see a hot guy in an ad, rather than Michele Malkin promoting her latest dead tree assault on sanity.

So keep on keeping on, Eugene!
7.25.2007 7:41pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
The people are homosexual; the marriage is intrasexual.

actually, it would be better described as intra-gender.
7.25.2007 7:43pm
Randy R. (mail):
Sorry, Bill, but we beat that horse to death long ago here at VK. Not sure we want to go through that all again....

However, since there is no such thing as same sex marriage, what do you call the people who are, for example, two men who get a marriage license in the state of Massachusetts, and legally married, and the church consecrates the marriage. Since all the legal documents and church documents called them married, what would you call them instead?
7.25.2007 8:16pm
Steve P. (mail):
IB Bill — in all seriousness, you can probably answer that yourself. In your eyes, what makes a marriage a marriage? We know that you believe it must always be between a man and a woman. Well, the relevant question would be what else does it mean to you?

Next, see whether you believe two people of the same gender could achieve those things. After all, if all a marriage rests on is the penis/vagina dichotomy, I've been married many times in my life, and sometimes rather uncomfortably.

If it still doesn't make sense to you that same-sex people should marry, then it's unlikely that anything will. You'll still live a perfectly normal life, but I'd recommend against bringing up that specific topic (or letting anyone else bring it up) among any gay friends you might have.
7.25.2007 8:32pm
Randy R. (mail):
You know, I'm from Buffalo, NY originally. Do people think the name is cool, ugly, or whatever? There is a lively debate as to it's origins, but we don't partucularly use the verb buffalo any more than any else, if you can believe that.
7.25.2007 8:49pm
Christian K:
Daniel: " No, you must be FORCED to APPROVE"

Daniel, personally I don't "approve" of most religious people.

A bit of personal history so you can see my perspective... I was not raised in a religious family. I was 10 or so before I had ever seen the inside of a church and 17-18 before I had read any version of the bible.

So when I hear most christians talk I find it all rather strange. It has very little to do with what is actually in the bible or what Jesus taught.

For me christianity has very much the same problem that Islam does. It reflects the times in which is was really formed (catholicism 300ce, islam 600ce, protestantism 1500ce). They reflect different times, with very different values about freedom, liberty, and the value of human life.

Yet there is no absolution of churches, we hold the freedom of religion to be near-sacred in this nation. Can't we just leave well enough alone? You go do your weird thing, I will go do my weird thing.

Shouldn't that be a core conservative value? Freedom to live our lives as equals without government interference? Can anyone explain to me why it's not?
7.25.2007 9:08pm
Mike S.:
Whatever you call the individuals, the marriage should be "same-sex" if you require a modifier. At least here in Massachusetts, town clerks are not supposed to ask couples, whether of the same gender or not, applying for a marriage license about their sexual orientation or practices before issuing the license. There is no legal requirement to be sexually attracted to your spouse.
7.25.2007 9:18pm
Little Loca (mail):
IB Bill:

The best way (in my opinion) of looking at what marriage is is this: it is a commitment by two consenting people that is recognized by the state in order that they might have rights between them that would otherwise be denied. It is to make them "relatives" and thus qualified for: insurance coverage, community property (in those states that have it) or equitable distribution (in the other states) of property, medical decisionmaking, death planning, etc, etc, the list is virtually endless. All it is is a shorthand that makes all these things easy and not require several lawyers and documents to allow for it.

What makes no sense is why do YOU care? Why do straight people care at all? Gay people don't "get" anything from society, they get things for and from each other (tax benefits might be the only thing, but that's ambiguous at best since most marriages result in a tax penalty).

I'll answer that. You care because you want to impose your so-called religious views on others. It's not enough for you to malign gay people by closing your church door, you want to spend all your energies and efforts stopping their marriages because you are under some misguided and totally unproven impression that gay marriage ruins marriage. It's okay, to you, I guess, that Britney Spears can get married on a whim in Las Vegas and then get divorced days later, but gays can't marry at all, because GAYS are ruining marriage???

This is just the beginning, there is SO much more say...
7.25.2007 9:45pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Daniel Chapman:
What are you going to do to the people who don't call it marriage? Tolerance isn't enough these days, apparently. No, you must be FORCED to APPROVE


No force is necessary. No approval is necessary. You may go on believing what you wish. However, when you go on and on about how this thing that looks like a marriage and acts like a marriage and has a marriage license and supportive in-laws isn't really a marriage, to those around you you'll look at worst like a flat-earther and at best like the woman who after the dissolution of her 20-year marriage angrily declares: "I am not divorced! We got an annulment."

But I agree with Eugene: "same-sex marriage" seems the best term, since it refers only to the gender of the participants, making no suggestions and resting on no assumptions about the sexual orientation of the two people marrying. (It could be two bisexuals.)
7.25.2007 9:47pm
jimbino (mail):
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a constitution that prohibited the use of 'sex' in the formulation of any law? And a constitution that gave a single mother the same rights and privileges as are given to each of the partners of any kind of marriage? Why should her taxes be higher?

Mutilation of male sex organs would then be condemned on the same basis as mutilation of female sex organs, permissible only when medically necessary.

And I find the comment of Mike S interesting, that there is no legal requirement to be sexually attracted to your spouse. What are the legal requirements of marriage, since they appear not to include sex, cohabitation, love, desire and ability to procreate, financial stability, friendship, compatibility, etc?

The legal requirements mostly seem limited to gender difference, lack of consanguinity, and attainment of a certain age. Lack of perspicacity is a practical, though as yet not a legal, requirement, of course.
7.25.2007 10:02pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

Compromise: How about referring to it as "Deviant Sex Marriage"-(or DSM)?

Inasmuch as homosexuals (gays, etc) constitute about 2-3% of the global population- That is a measurable deviation from the norm, isn't it?


Except, "normal" is defined as "within three standard deviations of the mean".
7.25.2007 10:23pm
Toby:
Same Sex marriage would allow two old retired gents, or ladies, long past sex to establish a domicile, declare mutual responsibility, and stay out of the nursing home. What's wrong with Felix and Oscar?
7.26.2007 12:08am
Ramza:
Owen Hutchins (mail):

Except, "normal" is defined as "within three standard deviations of the mean".
For the people who forgot there stat's class under a normally distrubited bell curve.
68.3% of a population is within one standard deviation from the mean.
95.45% of a population is within two standard deviations from the mean.
99.73% of a population is within three standard deviations from the mean.
7.26.2007 12:20am
Randy R. (mail):
Oh please, Ramza! Don't rain on John425's parade! He wanted to make a joke about how 'deviant' gays are, by showing that according to statistics, we actually are. Remember when Dr. Laura said the same thing? Gay bashers have little imagination, so they have to steal from other gay-bashers for their humor.

Let them have the fun once in a while. We'll have it the all night long....
7.26.2007 12:50am
Ramza:
No I don't remember Dr. Laura saying anything for I don't pay attention to Dr. Laura and didn't even hear about her tv show that didn't last a year till after it was canceled. I am familiar with her prior to the tv show due to my mom swearing how good she is (due to her radio show helping her provide emotional support through her divorce) but when I listen to her during this time period I found her to be a windbag and boring.
7.26.2007 1:24am
IB Bill (mail) (www):
Little Loca: Thank you for at least answering the question. Could've done without the last couple of graphs, though :)

I am tired of the heated rhetoric about the subject, too. That's why I'm trying to tone down my own language. At the end of the day, we all have to live in the same country, and a hyper-focus on one issue only gets us really pissed off at each other. So if I've offended anyone here, I'm sorry.

I just wonder, what exactly is marriage, if it's not the union of one man and one woman. What is its purpose? Little Loca said it is a commitment creates certain legal benefits. Well, what kind of commitment? How is different from other commitments? How is it different from, say, a business partnership or a corporation?

It's clearly a contract. If it's a contract that confers certain benefits, why so important to call it marriage? Do you see what I'm getting at? If we're bundling legal rights and benefits for convenience sake (which I'm not necessarily against), why all the talk of rights and of changing the definition of marriage? That is, unless it's about approval.

I was less concerned about the term "civil union." I'd be willing to compromise that we as a society recognize some people seek lifelong commitments with a person of the same gender, and that we can create contracts to make their lives easier and streamline some of their legal issues. Especially since many of these legal benefits are already available to them, if they're willing to jump through enough legal hoops.

I wonder how to get that done ... but that's another issue. It's a policy thing. Details. (Though how on earth do you argue that you can limit the number of folks in this civil union without falling victim to the same arguments used right now by same-sex marriage proponents. And usually it's the next generation that makes the next level of argument.)

Anyway, back to the original definition of marriage. What was the original purpose of marriage? Clearly to regulate sexual conduct, and protect women and men from their vulnerabilities in sexual conduct, and to provide community support for the raising of children. Basically, marriage helps keep the peace. It has a strong social function -- there's still a taboo about adultery, for example.

Lastly, there's the issue of the state of marriage today. I paraphrase another blogger -- no-fault divorce killed marriage, same-sex marriage is merely kicking the corpse.

FTR, I'm unmarried. As a single man, marriage as it currently exists is one lousy contract. That's why there are prenups; unfortunately, my church forbids them.

Perhaps if homosexual activists and other same-sex marriage proponents agreed to help shore up a traditional definition of marriage, by supporting the eliminating the concept of no-fault divorce, agreeing to start using terms like adultery again in divorce proceedings, strongly agreed it is a lifelong, monogamous commitment, agreed that children are an important function, you'd get more support. But instead it looks like, at least from here, that same-sex marriage proponents are pulling at the frayed ages of an already damaged institution. FWIW.

Cheers.
7.26.2007 9:56am
Randy R. (mail):
So sorry to hear your marriage is so bleak, Bill! I know many people who have gotten married. Dozens and dozens! Every one of them has said that they got married, not for the benefits, not for the contract, not to regulate each other sexual behavior, not to protect someone from any vulnerabilities, not just to have children, not to prevent adultery, and not to keep some sort of peace.

Everyone said they got married because they fell in love and wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

Funny, the gay couples said the same thing.

Could it possibly be, that THAT is the real reason to get married? I don't know, as I'm not married. But I hope someday I am!
7.26.2007 11:58am
Randy R. (mail):
Maybe, Bill, all those frayed marriages, the people didn't get married because they fell in love. If so, that' their problem. Why should my getting married to a man be hampered because some straight people screwed up their marriage

Now, I agree, there is a lot of divorce in the world, and a lot of people who treat their spouses badly. And if there are children, then those are the ones who get hurt the most. So I agree marriage needs to be shored up.

But how? What can I do to help your frayed marriage? And do you really think passing any legislation is going to help you regain the love for your wife again? We already have laws that stop you from beating your wife, yet it still happens. We had laws against adultery, and yet it still happens. I suppose we could outlaw divorce, but would that really make a bad marriage better? Heck, divorce was not allowed in Ireland until the last decade, but I have yet to see any person there say it was better back then.

But if you have any ideas, let's hear em!
7.26.2007 12:03pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
Why should my getting married to a man be hampered because some straight people screwed up their marriage

Thank you for not fusing the participle. ("my getting")

So, you're saying marriage is coupling. I mean, how obvious can that be? All I can tell you, gender in marriage is as obvious to me as number is to you. But marriage is not all about coupling. You can already spend your life together with someone because you're in love.

But marriage has a social function as well. You're not addressing it.
7.26.2007 1:06pm
abu hamza:
fishkill, don't be so quick to dismiss the "hackneyed" arguments of pro-traditional marriage people. Here's the definition of marriage: "the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others" with limits on relatives marrying. Now, you want to change it. You want it to be defined as "the union of one man and one man, or one man and one woman, or one woman and one woman, for life to the exclusion of all others" but presumably you want to retain the exclusion of relatives marrying. While I agree it is hyperbole to talk about marrying animals, it is NOT hyperbole or "hackneyed" to ask why the change should stop at allowing monogamous gay marriage. Why not change the definition to allow cousins to marry? or to allow polygamy? Take polygamy. Polygamy has been in existence for thousands of years, all the way back to Solomon and his 300 wives and before that even. Your statement that polygamy is outlawed "historically to protect young girls" is just ridiculous.

There is no intellectually honest way to change the definition of marriage to allow homosexual marriage, BUT NOT to change the definition of marriage to allow polygamy, or allow cousins to marry. Hey: if we are forced to accept homosexual marriage, then mustn't we also allow homosexual relatives to marry, too, because don't the medical/genetics reasons for prohibiting relations to marry disappear? Pro-homosexual marriage advocates are just bigoted against the historical and enriching relations of polygamists. ... right? They want to change marriage to suit them, but not to suit those who they fear. ... right? Don't you see the difficulties with changing (really, "destroying" is more like it) the definition of marriage?
7.26.2007 1:11pm
CrosbyBird:
There is no intellectually honest way to change the definition of marriage to allow homosexual marriage, BUT NOT to change the definition of marriage to allow polygamy, or allow cousins to marry.

Perhaps we should reconsider polygamy or incest among parties deemed capable of consenting.

I would not marry my cousin because I don't have the collection of reciprocated feelings that convince me marriage is appropriate toward my cousin. If I did have those reciprocated feelings, and there was no social stigma, I don't see what the issue is that any outsider should have with the marriage. Having children and the increased risk of birth defect is a separate issue; I can't imagine many people strongly suggesting laws against allowing two carriers of a genetic disorder such as MS to marry (which is much more likely, by the way, to produce a child with health problems).

Similarly, once the issues of consent have been provided for, why shouldn't one person be able to marry two other people?

There's a common backlash where people say "if we allow same-sex marriage, why not..."

A better question is simply "why don't we allow marriage between any parties capable of consent? why have we limited this particular contract and given the recipients extra benefits?"

The likely answer is because there is a societal endorsement of a specific type of bonding contract. That, in itself, should not be sufficient... we could get a sizable portion of society to a agree on a variety of propositions that hurt a small group of people and justify the decision based on that majority's will.
7.26.2007 4:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
"There is no intellectually honest way to change the definition of marriage to allow homosexual marriage, BUT NOT to change the definition of marriage to allow polygamy, or allow cousins to marry."

Yes there is. In fact, in Spain, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands, now allow SSM, and some have done so for years. There is no movement afoot to expand it to polygamy or cousins. So not to worry.

Or, if it really worries you that much, then the solution is simple: Advocate for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit more than two people in a marriage, or cousins. Problem solved.

Bill: "But marriage has a social function as well. You're not addressing it."

You are free to address how the social function of marriage in the above countries has changed or not changed since SSM was legalized there. If anything, it turns out that there has been a slight rise in marriages in those countries since the introduction of SSM.
7.26.2007 5:16pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
You are free to address how the social function of marriage in the above countries has changed or not changed since SSM was legalized there.

Because we know, after all, that if you change a fundamental institution, it only takes a few years to learn all the social consequences. I mean, it only took three years for all the consequences of no-fault divorce to shake out.

Or, if it really worries you that much, then the solution is simple: Advocate for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit more than two people in a marriage, or cousins. Problem solved.

Oh, now you want a constitutional amendment. Boy, does that ever prove my point ... :) I got a better idea. How about a marriage amendment that limits the definition of marriage to an actual bride and an actual groom?
7.26.2007 5:22pm
Little Loca (mail):
Hamza:

There is a huge flaw with your saying that "[t]here is no intellectually honest way to change the definition of marriage to allow homosexual marriage, BUT NOT to change the definition of marriage to allow polygamy, or allow cousins to marry."

To the extent that there is no intellectually honest way to allow gay marriage, but disallow polygamy, I could turn to you and say that there is no intelletually honest way to allow heterosexual marriage but not gay marriage. At some point legal marriage had to be established and when it was there were reasons for allowing one and not the other. We can do that here and it is not more or less intellectually dishonest. Thus, we are back where we started.

Also, as someone has pointed out, you are assuming that polygamy is a bad thing.
7.26.2007 9:37pm
F. Rottles (mail):
If anything, it turns out that there has been a slight rise in marriages in those countries since the introduction of SSM.

Not so among Canadians. As for the other places, you will need to back up your claims.

As for social function, mother and father have not been replaced with "legal parent" in family law there. And the same judge who imposed SSM in Ontario has also decided to grant three adults co-equal parental status for the same children. SSM is being used to silent those who disagree with these and other social changes imposed.

Another significant social function, democratic decision-making, has been undermined in Canada, also, by the imposition of SSM on the country.

In Massachusetts the supporters of SSM have undermined democracy on multiple levels.

Another social function, adoption, was distorted by SSM advocates in that state who sought to impose anti-Catholic doctrine on Catholic Charities and thus pushed Catholic Charities out of adoption services.

Even Civil Union is corruptive of basic principles such as the presumption of paternity. Civil Union is an attempt to merge nonmarriage with marriage. But no man can be presumed to have impregnated another man; and no woman can be presumed to be the father of another woman's child. But stretch and strain, the SSM advocates will attack the marriage presumption just as they have attacked the nature of marriage.
7.27.2007 6:16am
F. Rottles (mail):
Sorry for the typo: As for social function, mother and father have been replaced with "legal parent" in family law there.
7.27.2007 6:18am
F. Rottles (mail):
"There is no intellectually honest way to change the definition of marriage to allow homosexual marriage, BUT NOT to change the definition of marriage to allow polygamy, or allow cousins to marry."

Yes there is. In fact, in Spain, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands, now allow SSM, and some have done so for years.


If there is, please provide that argument as per those places.

SSM is a replacement of marriage recognition so borrowing the rational for prohibiting closely-related people from marriage will not suffice. You need to make a standalone case for each prohibition.

What is YOUR intellectually honest argument to prohibit people who love each other and who consent and who seek equal treatment and who have need of protection?

If consent is the only requirement, what stands in the way of two cousins joining in?

Remember, today if they hold themsleves out to be married they are demonstrating incest -- even if they do not touch each other, not sexually attracted to each other, and otherwise not interested in a husband-wife union. But if they declared their love and lust for each other, I suppose they would meet the criteria for of SSM.

As someone just said above, don't assume polygamy is a bad thing -- don't assume the cousin combo or the mom-son combo or whatever is a bad thing.

If an Ontario court, and also a Pennsylvania Court, can establish tripartite parental status for the same child, and do so on the basis of a same sex union, what stands in the way of polygamy, same-sexed or not?

Don't claim the obstacles is merely the disapproval of society. That stands in the way of SSM, too, but SSM advocates would impose their pet project on all of society so that all husband-wife unions are treated as if one-sexed.

Intellectual honesty was the test. Demonstrate how you think you can pass that test.
7.27.2007 6:28am
F. Rottles (mail):
Another important distinction that gets lost when talking about what to call the one-sexed kind of nonmarital arrangement: the misuse of the word "ban".

Polygamy is banned. It is not just unlicensed. It is positively prohibited and punished directly. Bigamy is a crime.

Incest, too.

Same-sex relationships are not banned. Unlicensed, sure. But even that is questionable since provisions for designated beneficiaries has long-existed throughout the country. Two lesbians or two gay men can be legally recognized for the purpose of benefiting them, but an incestous couple or a bigamist or a polygamous family are recognized to deny them the freedom to carry on. Big difference.

What state marriage amendments have done is bar the miscontruction of marriage law as allowing the merger of nonmarriage with marriage, in terms of a relationship status, at law. Marriage amendments affirm the nature of marriage and in so doing have reinforced the prohibitions against polygamy and incestuous arrangements.

But it is not yet demonstrated that the nature of SSM would do as much. If anything, SSM would bleach sex out of marriage recognition. No consummation, no presumption of paternity based on what consummation is based on, and likewise no adultery. SSM is essentially an asexual relationship type presented in the guise of a homosexual arrangement. That guise is affirmed through the pre-eminence of Gay identity politics in SSM argumentation. But that in itself does not preference twosomes over threesomes or moresomes.

Just look to Ontario and Pennsylvania for evidence of that. The same SSM argumentation that produced those results -- whether or not SSM was enacted in a merger -- stands against those who say "don't worry" even as others embrace SSM argumentation and suggest that we not assume that "polygamy is a bad thing."
7.27.2007 6:42am
F. Rottles (mail):
The topic of what modifier to use serves to shed light on the nature of the thing being described.

What is the nature of the "same-sex" category?

What is the nature of the "gay" category?

Put marriage aside for the moment. These adjectives are at issue here.

I think that they cannot possibly align with the nature of the husband-wife relationship type, but first you should say what you really mean when you refer to "same-sex" and to "gay". What is intrinsic to each? What distinguishes one from the other?

Probaby just identity politics and nothing more than that.
7.27.2007 6:48am
Randy R. (mail):
I"ll only address this issue, because the others have been beat to death in previous posts.

Him :"There is no intellectually honest way to change the definition of marriage to allow homosexual marriage, BUT NOT to change the definition of marriage to allow polygamy, or allow cousins to marry."

Me: Yes there is. In fact, in Spain, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands, now allow SSM, and some have done so for years.

Rottles: If there is, please provide that argument as per those places.

The issue is whether one can honestly allow for gay marriage, but not allow polygamy or cousins. I said, yes, you can. And in fact, that is exactly what happened in Spain, Canada, etc. And there is no movement afoot to create polygamy. So what's the problem? If you are so worried about polygamy, history teaches us that it is NOT a necessary outcome of gay marriage, and there is no evidence to support that it could. And IF you are still worried, then get an amendment to stop it at that point. So what's the problem?

If, by now, you STILL need some sort of argument, it has been hashed out many times for you: If you are gay, then the only person you CAN marry is another person who is also gay and of the same sex. All other routes are closed to you. So if you are in love with one person, that is exactly the person you cannot marry.

A polygamous person, on the other hand, can already get married to one person that he or she really loves. The only prohibition is that he can't marry yet another. So at least he gets more of what he wants than any gay person. Allowing gay marriage puts gay people on an equal footing with other heteros.

That's an intellectually honest answer. Of course, you don't like it.
7.28.2007 2:32am