Balkinization  

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Marriage is Not a Threat to Marriage

Ian Ayres

Here's an excellent youtube clip in which State Representative Angie Paccione answers the marriage equality question in 2006 debate for US Congress in Colorado against the author of the FMA.



Tip of the hat to Jack Hitt.

Comments:

To my astonishment, I have actually been told by "Christians" that my marriage (as a transgendered woman still married to my wife) DOES in fact threaten and devalue their marriages!

Nobody has ever been able to quantify or give examples in any way, but they nonetheless see me as a threat to be eradicated under their religion and the law.
 

celticdragon:

If States got out of the "marriage business" and stopped giving favored status and rights altogether, would you at least agree THAT would threaten and (completely) devalue marriage?
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

My other concern -- although most here will probably see this as a plus -- would be the impact on freedom of religion once the State starts forcing churches to permit same-sex marriages.
 

my friend in law school had an interesting proposal - states should get out of the marriage business. everybody could just have "partnership" agreements. standard contract rules, and you would just give person a the right to visit you in the hospital, etc. taxes could get complicated, but then maybe everybody should file individually anyways. course, there are tax rules for partnerships, so maybe those can just be tweaked. after all, a marriage in the eyes of the states is nothing more than a contract, or at least should be. the value of the marriage is between the participants, not the state.
 

nerpzilla:

Douglas Kmiec proposed the very same solution -- of course, he and I consider marriage as something worthy of protection -- you, not so much:

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/kmiec_scarberry200402110925.asp
 

Charles said...

My other concern -- although most here will probably see this as a plus -- would be the impact on freedom of religion once the State starts forcing churches to permit same-sex marriages.

12:58 PM

I don't think anyone would see this as a plus, and i always thought this argument was a red herring. when has the state forced any church to marry anybody? if you want to go to a Mormon wedding, you gotta be Mormon, or they won't let you in the temple. i haven't heard anyone say this is illegal in any way. if you don't want to marry someone in your church, it would seem you have an absolute right not to. any law that required churches to marry people would raise serious free exercise and free association concerns. whether the states recognize various partnerships seems to be completely independent of coerced religious approval of them.
 

would be the impact on freedom of religion once the State starts forcing churches to permit same-sex marriages.


Why on earth would you think that would happen? Churches in the marriage business today make all sorts of discriminatory decisions about who to marry - I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get married in a Catholic church as I'm not Catholic.

You're making the laughable assumption that the government would dictate to churches when & where they are to perform their sacred rituals. Ain't gonna happen.
 

(From the article)

Like many Americans who understand the significant role played by both a mother and a father within a marital union and in the raising of children, President Bush has been hoping for Massachusetts to resolve this matter on its own. Unfortunately, it doesn't look promising.

. . .

One overlooked possibility is for the commonwealth to temporarily get out of the new marriage business altogether. Since the thrust of the court's reasoning hinges on a finding of presumed equality, the state can satisfy that standard by offering civil marriage indiscriminately to all or to none. In this regard, one of the dissenting justices noted that the majority conceded that the legislature could simply abolish civil marriage.

This wouldn't necessarily be burning the village to save it. Massachusetts couples could marry under civil authority in another state without a residency requirement. And religious couples could then return to Massachusetts for the union to be blessed in a church, mosque, or synagogue as normal. As a matter of theology, the significance of a religious marriage is independent of civil statute. Under Catholic canon law, for example, the validity of the marriage is unrelated to civil license altogether. To the extent churches are legally obliged to coordinate with public authority, religious ministers may simply rely on the civil validity of an out-of-state marriage.

A moratorium would, of course, cause some inconvenience, but the annoyance might help focus the political attention of the Massachusetts electorate. It may even lead some to contemplate yet another option — removing the misbehaving judges. The Massachusetts constitution provides at least two methods for removal. In a procedure that parallels the federal Constitution, a judge may be impeached by the House, tried in the Senate, and removed upon conviction. The grounds for removal in Massachusetts are textually broader than under federal law, and include not only misconduct of the high-crime-or-misdemeanor variety, but also "maladministration."

Interestingly, Massachusetts judges are also subject to removal under a procedure known as a bill of address. The Massachusetts legislature can remove renegade judges from office by a simple majority in both legislative chambers with the concurrence of the governor and his advisory council. Under the bill of address, the legislative and executive branches need not specify the grounds of removal at all. The ancient right is traceable to the 1700 Act of Settlement with the English monarchs, William and Mary, and its purpose was to ensure the accountability of public officers without subjecting them to removal at the pleasure of the Crown.

Ordinarily, prudence would counsel against removing a judge by whatever means necessary in order to reverse a single decision; but a ruling that so completely ignores the words of its own state constitution, which stipulates that "the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it," may be the exception.
 

nerpzilla and rob:

It's already happened in Canada. Don't fool yourself into thinking it's not a goal here too.
 

i don't know about celticdragon's feelings on the issues raised by charles; however, i'll take a stab at those issues.

1. i agree that states have no business under the first amendment telling churches that they are required to recognize same sex marriages, or any marriage for that matter. the first amendment is designed specifically to prevent the state from telling any church what they can or cannot believe in. that having been said, the same sex marriage issue that has arisen on the state level is not a church driven issue, at least from my perspective, as it is simply a marriage driven issue, noted by representative paccione in her superb comments. this brings me to the next issue charles raises.

2. noboby is asking the states to stop recognizing heterosexual or "traditional" marriage. they are simply asking the states to confer the same status upon gay couples who wish to marry; therefore, nobody is asking that the states revoke any rights and priveleges associated with heterosexual marriage, nobody is asking that any "favored status" be taken away, only that all marriages be given such rights, priveleges and "favored status". as such, i disagree that recognition of same sex marriage devalues or threatens "traditional" marriage. as noted by celticdragon, i have also asked my friends who oppose gay marriage how this could possibly effect their own marriage, and have suggested that if two happy gay couples wanting to get married destroys the sanctity of a hetero couple's marriage, then that marriage was probably suffering from many other problems having nothing to do with same sex marriage in the first place.
 

phg:

If the "same rights" were conferred to a woman and her cat, that wouldn't devalue or threaten "traditional" marriage either? Also, someone's friend from law school (above) as well as Professor Kmiec, did indeed bring up States getting out of the "marriage business" altogether. I'd rather see that than the alternative.
 

It's already happened in Canada. Don't fool yourself into thinking it's not a goal here too.

Please offer proof (preferably not from National Review, thank you).
 

Charles said...

nerpzilla:

Douglas Kmiec proposed the very same solution -- of course, he and I consider marriage as something worthy of protection -- you, not so much:

I am a happily married person, in the traditional sense. I must say I take great offense to your comment. I greatly value my marriage, but I must say the piece of paper from the state has nothing to do with it. I would value our marriage whether or not the state said so, and whether or not we got married in the Catholic Church. (we did). I think it is funny, coming from someone who tends to be a conservative, for you to argue that value comes from state action. It seems to me the marriage debate isn't about protecting my marriage, but preventing others from associating in the ways they deem fit for their lives. my marriage has not fallen apart or lost value since Mass allowed gay marriage. if anyone's marriage is so fragile that state action a thousand miles away will make it worthless, well, imho, i think they have a very poor notion of what makes marriage worthwhile.
 

Rob:

You're making the laughable assumption that the government would dictate to churches when & where they are to perform their sacred rituals. Ain't gonna happen.

Tell that to the Native Americans prohibited from their sacred ritual:

http://www.lectlaw.com/files/drg28.htm
 

charles...

a woman and her cat??? i thought you were trying to engage in a serious conversation on the issues, not devolve into the ridiculous... and don't try to tell me (a happily married hetero) that two gay persons trying to get their relationship solemnized is the equivalent of a person wanting to marry outside of the species. that argument is nothing if not insulting to the intelligence of any serious person.
 

Douglas Kmiec proposed the very same solution --

uh, no. he proposed that a state that disagrees with his concept of marriage should get out of the marriage business. he happily approved of ohio's amendment. i propose a pure contractual relationship vis-a-vis the state. let the parties to the marriage determine its inherent worth.
 

nerpzilla:

I certainly didn't mean to offend you. I am stating the facts -- there is a VALUE to federal recognition of same-sex marrige -- just ask H&R Block. Can you answer my question: If the "same rights" were conferred to a woman and her cat, that wouldn't devalue or threaten "traditional" marriage either?

Rob:

I'm the only one providing links so far, but if I come across the Canadian one again, I will gladly provide that too (preferably not from National Review to protect your delicate sensibilities).
 

Tell that to the Native Americans prohibited from their sacred ritual:

What's your point? The question is not whether the govt can dictate to a group that their ritual is illegal, which they can but rather if they can dictate whether an already legal ritual must be performed at a given time, for given people. This isn't close to the same thing.

An analogous situation would be the government forcing the Mormon church to allow non-Mormons into temple weddings. Find case law on that and I'll be impressed.
 

phg:

I am not saying that human same-sex marriage is the equivalent of a person wanting to marry outside of the species. It's a hypothetical question to see where (or IF) you will draw the line anywhere.
 

preferably not from National Review to protect your delicate sensibilities

Haha fair enough. I should have said 'preferably not from a site that routinely makes stuff up.'
 

rob:

I think I've provided plenty of links already, so you can do your own legal research for a change. While you're at it, see if the government can revoke tax-exempt status to churches who discriminate based solely on skin color.
 

I'd bet most of you think Saddam was not a threat to the U.S. either?
 

Charles said...

nerpzilla:

I certainly didn't mean to offend you. I am stating the facts -- there is a VALUE to federal recognition of same-sex marrige -- just ask H&R Block. Can you answer my question: If the "same rights" were conferred to a woman and her cat, that wouldn't devalue or threaten "traditional" marriage either?


So the only value to a marriage are the various tax rules? besides, would it matter to H&R Block if the married couple were gay? would the fee they charge go down? is the fee higher for married couples, thus allowing more profit? wouldn't this be a case of a detriment of marriage? my federal tax filing since marriage has totally bit the big one - check out what happens to your student loan interest deduction if you both have loans!

Cats and women - couldn't do it under my system. a cat is a party that lacks capacity to enter into a legally binding contract (as are the mentally disabled, the underage, and other domestic and barnyard animals). this red herring argument really needs to bite the dust.
 

ok charles,
you know my response to the woman and the cat "hypo".

i guess at this point, we can agree that the state has no business telling a church whom to marry (within the same species if that makes you feel better... oy...). that being the case, we can agree that religion should not be the basis for a state to allow or disallow same sex marriage. i would therefore ask you, charles, or anyone else on charles' side of the issue, to give me a non-religious reason why same sex marriage should not be allowed by the state. secondly, i assume, charles, that you are a married heterosexual. if this is, in fact, the case, please tell me how two married gay people adversely effects your individual marriage and your individual relationship with your spouse.
 

Charles wrote:
If States got out of the "marriage business" and stopped giving favored status and rights altogether, would you at least agree THAT would threaten and (completely) devalue marriage?

I always hear about the 'threat to traditional marriage' posed by gay marriage, yet that's all I every hear - that its a threat. How is it, exactly, that same-sex unions threaten heterosexual marriage (I assume that's what you refer to as 'traditional' marriage)?

Do you see a day when everyone 'turns homosexual' as soon as they find out they can get married that way? Do you see a day when homosexual marriages outnumber straight ones? Is it an economic argument and the value of your marriage is 'watered' down by all the gay marriages? Do you see a day when you won't be able to obtain a homosexual marriage? Are you afraid that the gay marriages will somehow be better, and everybody will flock to them? Are you afraid that the idea of homosexual marriage will prevail in the free market of ideas? I mean, really, put a rational face on the assertion.

Honestly, if people's marriages are so frail that seeing a gay couple married somehow causes them to think less of their own marriage, then they've got much bigger problems than someone else's gay marriage.
 

I'd bet most of you think Saddam was not a threat to the U.S. either?

Is this kind of a new slant on Godwin's law?
 

nerpzilla:

I didn't say the tax deduction was the "only" value -- probably the most widely tangible benefit on the federal side though -- luckily, we don't both have student loans. Also, under your "system" adult brothers and sisters could marry, right?

phg (and, now bitswapper, it would seem):

Taken to the extreme, same-sex marriage would indeed end the human race -- I'm not saying that's likely, but the U.S. birthrate (among citizens at least) is on the decline -- this is not about any "individual" marriage. The State has the duty to protect ALL the people. Did either of you see that movie "Children of Men"? I mean, that would be the worse-case scenario.

Rob:

Sure, if you'd rather not deal with the substance of my posts detailing the "gathering" threat.
 

I will agree that same-sex marriage is not an IMMINENT threat (yet).
 

Charles, would you care to respond to Rob and Nerpzilla? Rabbis routinely refuse to marry a Jew and a non-Jew, let alone two non-Jews. Catholic priests allow a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic and would not think of marrying two non-Catholics. Many other religions discriminate in similar ways. The state has never tried to force any church to perform such marriages. Nor, so far as I know, has any private individual ever sued a church for refusing to do so, and anyone who did would be laughed out of court.

I do not know what the rule on church-state relations are in Canada (any Canadians care to offer some input?), but under longstanding interpretations of the First Amendment in the US, it would be unthinkable for the government to force churches to marry anyone they don't want.
 

Enlightened Layperson:

Perhaps you have not seen my responses to them? I don't think it will come down to government forcing churches to marry anyone from outside their own religion. But, are you saying that a mixed-race couple of the SAME religion -- meeting every other qualification but nonetheless discriminated on the basis of race -- would be laughed out of court??? That is why homosexuals want to frame the debate as the next "civil rights" issue (and need to prove they are "born gay").
 

ah, the bestiality argument.

the cat is incapable of entering into any contract whatsoever.

however, i'm not certain the lack of a marriage certificate will protect the cat from a deviant, unless the deviant is ok with bestiality, but only within the sacred confines of marriage.

have you raised incest yet?
 

Only among consenting [human] adults.
 

Also, if you could get nerpzilla to actually answer my question, that would be grand too:

If the "same rights" were conferred to a woman and her cat, that wouldn't devalue or threaten "traditional" marriage either?
 

incest bewteen two consenting, mature adults would have to be okay. while, i think it would be weird, i have no reason to think it would be common or dangerous (barring genetic issues), maybe they would be same-sex so we could avoid that sticky issue.

but, as Citizens of America, they would have the right to enter into a domestic partnership with each other AND call it a marriage if they wanted to.

what's your problem.

maybe they grew up in different families. maybe they didn't.

it's their affair and their decision. in the absence of an abusive or coercive context, i don't see anything inherently wrong with two individuals making decisions as to how they want to live their life.
 

Charles:
My other concern -- although most here will probably see this as a plus -- would be the impact on freedom of religion once the State starts forcing churches to permit same-sex marriages.

...

It's already happened in Canada. Don't fool yourself into thinking it's not a goal here too.


What can one say about such conspiratorial nonsense, other than that it is asinine? I mean, has equal rights for women as a legislative act "forced" the Catholic church to begin ordaining women? Or for some fundamentalist churches to recognize women as equal human beings? Or forced Orthodox Jewish synagogues to seat men and women together? Or banned the veiling of women by Muslims?

The only thing remotely similar was the pressure placed upon the Mormon polygamists, and that was in a case where they were asking to join the country.

No, I think Charles isn't seriously worried about the "State" forcing churches to solemnize same sex marriage - his statements are disingenuous. What he's actually worried about is if the state recognizes same sex marriage, some churches will begin to solemnize gay marriage on their own. Gay marriage will be mainstreamed, and his point of view will be rightly regarded as a small, extreme radical belief. So here we see the reality of these so-called "conservative" beliefs: they want to use the power of the state to ram their religious beliefs down the throat of the rest of us, and then dishonestly try to claim that it is us who are using the power of the state to "oppress" them.

It's always simple with the radical right: whatever they accuse their opponents of, they are guilty of. It's either clever jiu-jitsu, or simply juvenile projection.
 

i see nothing in the constitution about an obligation to value marriage over the rights of American Citizens to live their lives they want.
 

the only aspect of marriage that is being "devalued" is the idea that it can only be between a man and a woman.

frankly, that's the part that should be devalued.

gays and lesbians make up a significant portion of the population and, as American Citizens, enjoy the equal protection of the law and certain freedoms to live their life the way they want.

it is a civil rights issue. simply substitute gay for negro and it is the same logic. it's a question of fairness and respect for our fellow citizens.
 

Garth:

it is a civil rights issue. simply substitute gay for negro and it is the same logic. it's a question of fairness and respect for our fellow citizens.

Sometimes life gives you beautiful synchronicities. The incredibly fortuitous naming of the parties in Loving v. Virginia is one such sterling example.

Here's the wunnerful Commonwealth of Virgnia'a thoughts from the opinion:

At the October Term, 1958, of the Circuit Court of Caroline County, a grand jury issued an indictment charging the Lovings with violating Virginia's ban on interracial marriages. On January 6, 1959, the Lovings pleaded guilty to the charge and were sentenced to one year in jail; however, the trial judge suspended the sentence for a period of 25 years on the condition that the Lovings leave the State and not return to Virginia together for 25 years. He stated in an opinion that:

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."


Forty years later, and we're still hearing the same old song.

And <*PSSST!*> Charles: FOAD with your "Saddam" 'red herring' trolling.

Cheers,
 

The societal benefits of traditional marriage of one man and one woman are plain to anyone with even a passing knowledge of history.

Marriage is by far the best social institution for creating and raising children. Children raised in marriage are far less likely to have educational, social and criminal problems.

Marriage civilizes and keeps men out of trouble. Married men are healthier and less likely to be in criminal trouble.

Marriage provides physical and economic security for women. Single motherhood is a one way ticket to poverty and most domestic violence occurs between unmarried couples.

As a consequence, our society has extended governmental benefits to married couples to encourage the institution.

Changing the definition of marriage to include homosexual unions (and any other sexual combination which could fall under the new looser definition of marriage) devalues marriage the same was a currency is devalued by the introduction of counterfeit money without any value.

We extend special benefits to marriage to encourage this social structure above all other social structures. However, if we extend the same benefits to homosexual unions, which provide none of the societal returns of marriage, then we have substantially devalued the governmental encouragement to engage in marriage.

As Charles points out, it is better to get the government out of the business of extending benefits altogether than to extend them to everyone without regard to what those benefits return to society.
 

Ah, Bart is here to show me where my marriage is analogous to false currency, thereby cheapening his and every other right thinking person's relationships.

Note how this is purported without any supporting evidence of any kind. He *feels* "devalued", and we must take his word for it that damage is done. I do agree that marriage is great vehicle for raising children. So, what is wrong with raising my son in the marriage I am in. Perhaps Bart prefers that I divorce.
 

Ah, the wisdom of Bart:
The societal benefits of traditional marriage of one man and one woman are plain to anyone with even a passing knowledge of history.

Marriage is by far the best social institution for creating and raising children. Children raised in marriage are far less likely to have educational, social and criminal problems.

Marriage civilizes and keeps men out of trouble. Married men are healthier and less likely to be in criminal trouble.

Marriage provides physical and economic security for women. Single motherhood is a one way ticket to poverty and most domestic violence occurs between unmarried couples.

As a consequence, our society has extended governmental benefits to married couples to encourage the institution.


And where is his evidence for this? Or is it "common sense"?

We happen to know of many successful societies that were emphatically not founded on the basis of "marriage" in any modern sense. Ancient Greece had marriage, but it was not the basic social bond, which was primarily organized along fraternal bonds. Same with pre-Christian Rome, but in their case it was the extended family. Ancient Israel was polygamous, and based upon a patriarchal principle. The Polynesians occupied the entire pacific with amorphous group marriages, straight and gay. You can find almost any combination of social bonds being used to fulfill the needs of women and children.

So, anyone with a "passing" knowledge of history knows that the modern marriage is not essential to raising children or building a stable society. What we have here with Bart is a parochial, short-term view of history masquerading as wisdom. Either it's childish or profoundly ignorant.

But that's what you always get: extrapolation from some recent correlations which depend on the entire structure of society, and then claiming it a universal principle. It's equivalent to claiming that since all men who eat bread die, bread kills! Or that since in Afghanistan most native Christians are ostracized radicals, being Christian leads one in general to be radical and ostracized.
 

celticdragon said...

Ah, Bart is here to show me where my marriage is analogous to false currency, thereby cheapening his and every other right thinking person's relationships.

No, extending benefits to everyone without regard to whether those benefits provide a societal return devalues the benefits, not the relationship. The intrinsic value of my marriage does not derive from government benefits or the lack thereof.

Note how this is purported without any supporting evidence of any kind.

There are literally hundreds of studies on the benefits of marriage. If you want a primer on the societal benefits of marriage to start you off, try The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values (1995) by Gertrude Himmelfarb.

So, what is wrong with raising my son in the marriage I am in. Perhaps Bart prefers that I divorce.

What exactly is the nature of your marriage? From what you posted, my understanding is that you were a man when you married your wife and created your child and then changed genders afterward. Is this correct? Let me know and we can discuss it if it is important to you.
 

"Bart" DePalma channels Jared Taylor, Paul Cameron, and the FRC:

The societal benefits of traditional marriage of one man and one woman are plain to anyone with even a passing knowledge of history.

Marriage is by far the best social institution for creating and raising children. Children raised in marriage are far less likely to have educational, social and criminal problems.

Marriage civilizes and keeps men out of trouble. Married men are healthier and less likely to be in criminal trouble.

Marriage provides physical and economic security for women. Single motherhood is a one way ticket to poverty and most domestic violence occurs between unmarried couples.


Even if true (and as the other "Bart" said, "The poster citing to an authority to make an argument, not the reader, has the responsibility to link to that authority if possible."), WTF does this have to do with whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to get married?

Oh.....:

["Bart"]: Changing the definition of marriage to include homosexual unions (and any other sexual combination which could fall under the new looser definition of marriage) devalues marriage the same was a currency is devalued by the introduction of counterfeit money without any value.

"Bart"'s deathly afraid of the Ted Haggard syndrome ... someone might try and slip him a roll of counterfeit coins and he thinks he might be too stoopid to realise it...

Cheers,
 

The simple answer to the question about incest is that there wouldn't be anything to bar it. I don't think i have that big of a problem with that. if it is actually a problem (genetic issues in offspring), than perhaps the legislature could pass a law barring the practice as against public policy. it wouldn't be unlike the status quo and gay marriage. but, i think the state may have a more significant interest in regulating a relationship that could result in genetically deformed children than a relationship, that by definition, cannot result in genetically deformed children. Yet incest can occur without marriage, so i don't know how effective that law would be.

as to cats, the only one who has proposed giving same rights to inter-species relationships is you. i never thought that would be a good idea, and the laws of contract prevent it just as much as they prevent my dog from opening up a credit card or my cat getting a mortgage. so let it go.

as far as interference with preventing multicultural marriage, i think the answer is three-fold. first, you can't just claim a religious right - i.e. my religion has to allow me to drink and drive - unless there is a genuine basis for it. second, the courts have held that laws which effect all religions equally, like drug laws, are enforceable, unless you are the amish, which get special breaks on schooling. (don't ask me, it was on the bar).

lastly, and most importantly, i am unaware of any case of which a church was forced to marry people of two different races. if you could point one out, we could discuss the implications, and perhaps see if there is a distinguishing factor between that case and the same-sex case.
 

Harm to hetero marriage is one of the flimsiest reasons to oppose gay marriage.
It seems likely that most of those who oppose gay marriage simply believe it to be immoral and don't want government to condone immorality.
Perhaps this reveals an important fault line between those who believe in a moral God and those who don't. Sans God, victimless crimes are no crimes at all. With God, morality extends into our private lives.
For me, it's a question of whether government has anything to say about these 'victimless' crimes. The arguments you hear from right-wing christians are an attempt to deny that homo-marriage is victimless and avoid the difficult question above.
 

OK, let's address the advantages Bart attributes to marriage between one man and one woman:

Marriage is by far the best social institution for creating and raising children. Children raised in marriage are far less likely to have educational, social and criminal problems.

This seems more relevant to the question of whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt (or, in the case of lesbians, use artificial insemination). Obviously our society values marriage, even between a couple who are biologically incapable of having children, otherwise women would not be allowed to marry after menopause.

Marriage civilizes and keeps men out of trouble. Married men are healthier and less likely to be in criminal trouble.

I.e., women civilize men, a male partner cannot fill that role. I don't know how much your source seeks to quantify how much the "civilizing" influence of marriage is from women and how much is from having someone to be responsible for, stay out of jail for, keep healthy for and so forth. Even if having a male partner civilizes men less than having a female partner, so long as the effect is significant, it is still worthwhile. Remember, forbidding gay men from marrying each other will not force them to marry women.

Marriage provides physical and economic security for women. Single motherhood is a one way ticket to poverty and most domestic violence occurs between unmarried couples.

Once again, why can't a female partner provide economic security for a woman? If a husband is just a paycheck, a woman can fill that role perfectly well. As for domestic violence, it occurs between same-sex couples as well. If marriage truly has magic powers to make abusive partners stop being violent, then surely we should be encouraging gay couples to marry.
 

Enlightened Layperson:

OK, let's address the advantages Bart attributes to marriage between one man and one woman:

["Bart"]: Marriage is by far the best social institution for creating and raising children. Children raised in marriage are far less likely to have educational, social and criminal problems.

This seems more relevant to the question of whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt (or, in the case of lesbians, use artificial insemination). Obviously our society values marriage, even between a couple who are biologically incapable of having children, otherwise women would not be allowed to marry after menopause.


Which brings up the question: Is a law which restricts civil liberties and denies equal protection too broad or too narrow for the stated purpose? Under heightened or strict scrutiny, LRM and "narrowly tailored" would seem to apply, and thus the laws as they exist would seem to fail....

["Bart"]: Marriage civilizes and keeps men out of trouble. Married men are healthier and less likely to be in criminal trouble.

I.e., women civilize men, a male partner cannot fill that role. I don't know how much your source seeks to quantify how much the "civilizing" influence of marriage is from women and how much is from having someone to be responsible for, stay out of jail for, keep healthy for and so forth. Even if having a male partner civilizes men less than having a female partner, so long as the effect is significant, it is still worthwhile. Remember, forbidding gay men from marrying each other will not force them to marry women.


Goes to "rational basis" and "narrowly tailored to achieve the stated purpose".

["Bart"]: Marriage provides physical and economic security for women. Single motherhood is a one way ticket to poverty and most domestic violence occurs between unmarried couples.

Once again, why can't a female partner provide economic security for a woman? If a husband is just a paycheck, a woman can fill that role perfectly well. As for domestic violence, it occurs between same-sex couples as well. If marriage truly has magic powers to make abusive partners stop being violent, then surely we should be encouraging gay couples to marry.


"Bart"'s lack of documentary evidence is noted. Even if we take the FRC/PC/JT crapola at face value, all these flawed sutdies do is show correlation; showing cause and proving that the "remedy" will actually effect the results claimed is even farther down the pipe.

But I'd note that such blanket bans on something are akin to saying that only men can be firefighters (or warriors) because they are "on average bigger and stronger" and we supposedly want the "strongest" people to be firefighters. Nonsense, of course; people have a wide variety of strength and stature, even within men and within women, and there's plenty of overlap. To say that men are presumed strong enough and that women are presumptively too weak is an obvious fallacy, and to ban all women for this purpose of getting "stronger" firefighters neglects the fact that simply measuring directly the appropriate qualifications is sufficient to achieve the gummint purpose.

Since we put no tests in place to check to see if hetersexual marriages will achieve the stated goals of society (including fertility tests, for instance), claiming we're actually interested in such in regulating marriage is pure hogwash. "Bart" knows it, but spews the RW crapola anyway....

Cheers,
 

@Garth: it is a civil rights issue. simply substitute gay for negro and it is the same logic. it's a question of fairness and respect for our fellow citizens.

And there you have it. Fifty years ago inter-racial marriage was banned in much of the US. Then the liberals went and legalized it across the country, and what happened?

You have black, whites, browns and yellows marrying across the country willy-nilly. The social bans dried up without governmental support. Churches that would never have solemnized a marriage between a "Negro" and a "Caucasian" became completely comfortable with it. Those who still hold the view that inter-racial marriage is wrong have been socially identified as outside the mainstream, and churches against it are seen as weird cults. The radical right was forced to stop openly calling for bans of that, and everyone knows you can't make racist comments in polite society openly.

Everything the radical right decried fifty years ago has come to pass! The Negros are stealing the white women!

So, you see what Charles and Bart are afraid of. They have good, evidentiary reason to fear it. If we were to legalize gay marriage, fifty years from now their point of view will be a marginalized minority view. Our grandchildren will ridicule them, except for the equivalent of Klansmen in 2060.

They have "good" reason to fear equal rights. Their grandfathers didn't put up enough of a fight and look what has happened...
 

celticdragon:

If States got out of the "marriage business" and stopped giving favored status and rights altogether, would you at least agree THAT would threaten and (completely) devalue marriage?

Enlightened Layperson:

Are you saying that a mixed-race couple of the SAME religion -- meeting every other qualification but nonetheless discriminated on the basis of race -- would be laughed out of court? See, e.g. Loving v. Virginia.

Garth:

Thank you for admitting that incest and devaluing marriage would indeed occur in your "system."

RandomSequence:

I realize mine is a slippery slope argument, especially since no legislature has yet forced the Catholic church to begin ordaining women, or Orthodox Jewish synagogues to seat men and women together, or banned the veiling of women by Muslims. I wish I could be as confident as you that no gay couple out there would ever prevail in such a lawsuit (I suspect you are the disingenuous one if you really believe those lawsuits will never get filed). As for "ramming" (or perhaps you would prefer "fisting") my religious beliefs anywhere, I guess that means we need to get rid of murder laws too?
 

Charles

Are you saying that a mixed-race couple of the SAME religion -- meeting every other qualification but nonetheless discriminated on the basis of race -- would be laughed out of court? See, e.g. Loving v. Virginia.


loving v virginia had to do with the state banning interracial marriage, not a thing to do with private churches refusing to perform interracial marriage. it was a violation of the lovings' 14th amendment rights, and the state could not assert a free exercise or free assembly defense, as a private church could. completely different issue.

If States got out of the "marriage business" and stopped giving favored status and rights altogether, would you at least agree THAT would threaten and (completely) devalue marriage?

nope. i would still value my marriage without the supposed benefits and rights confeered unto me by the state (especially if i could still contract to them). again, i fail to see how state sanction suddenly determines the value of my marriage. further, if i had been smarter, (and my spouse less determined), we could have stayed single and avoided the afore-mentioned dreaded half-of-single-filing student loan interest deduction penalty. the state was actually encouraging me to stay single, yet i valued certain non-state sanctioned benefits over the cost of federal tax law, and got married anyway. imagine that! there are actually things more important to marriage than the taxes!

I guess that means we need to get rid of murder laws too?

murder is illegal because it infringes on core inalienable rights like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. religion is unnecessary to create a basis for the wrongness of murder. ironically, the prohibition on gay marriage infringes these core principles, and therefore is anti-american.
 

Charles:

Please provide a secular justification for denying marriage rights to homosexuals. I can provide secular justifications for nearly every other marriage restriction (murder as well). I have yet to hear a secular justification for banning gay marriage.

Do you believe that the rate of homosexuality would increase if gay marriage was permitted?
 

Charles: I realize mine is a slippery slope argument, especially since no legislature has yet forced the Catholic church to begin ordaining women, or Orthodox Jewish synagogues to seat men and women together, or banned the veiling of women by Muslims. I wish I could be as confident as you that no gay couple out there would ever prevail in such a lawsuit (I suspect you are the disingenuous one if you really believe those lawsuits will never get filed). As for "ramming" (or perhaps you would prefer "fisting") my religious beliefs anywhere, I guess that means we need to get rid of murder laws too?

I never said that no lawsuit would be filed. It's just absurd to even imagine that they would prevail short of some kind of gay revolution. The Muslims are a tiny, hated minority in most of the country. I'm sure there are many (if not a majority) who would positively wish to make their lives hell, and a preponderance of the population who wouldn't bother to defend them, yet somehow no state has managed to ban the veil. It is either foolish or disingenuous to completely ignore the history of religious freedom and tolerance in this country. The only thing that gets rammed down people's throats is patriotism - see the castration of Jehovah's Witnesses during WWII for failing to salute the flag. Unless you can imagine some condition were it would become unpatriotic to be straight, you're simply full of it; no church has been forced to ordain black ministers or marry inter-racial couples, for example, even though the country as a whole believes that racial discrimination is absolutely disgusting (even if they think otherwise in private). Even Santeria sacrifices have been found to be protected practices, even though that is the tiniest minority with practices that are held in disdain by 99% of the population.

And that "fisting" image is pure projection on your part. The ones who protest the most have the most repressed. I happen to be a tame heterosexual who isn't threatened by the sexuality of other consenting adults, and my marriage is very stable and strong, thank-you very much. But I use a common idiom for forcing one's beliefs on others, and you immediately start fantasizing about rough gay sex practices - maybe a little therapy would be in order (it would have helped Haggard).
 

nerpzilla:

You can "value" your pet rock all you want -- I never said that the federal tax deduction was the "only" value above -- there are lots of other benefits to government-sanctioned marriage (or why else would gay couples want it so badly?).

In my hypothetical, however, we are facing a direct conflict between the freedom to practice religion according to the dictates of our respective religions and the freedom to pursue happiness as long as it does not impinge on the rights of others. While this second freedom is widely interpreted to include the right to an alternative lifestyle, your attempt is to widen this interpretation to include entitlement not only to an alternative lifestyle but also to alternative marriage. If this wider interpretation is accepted then opposition to such marriage should, by definition, be illegal.

This raises a serious dilemma. If same sex marriage is deemed an inalienable right then refusal to recognize such marriage is discriminatory and must be outlawed. Yet if this law is applied to religious authorities, forcing clergy to recognize same sex marriage, it would impinge on religious freedom.

The rabbi who won’t sanction same-sex marriage, and a Synagogue that doesn’t offer family membership to a same sex couple, discriminate against the same sex community. If same sex marriage is deemed an inalienable right then such discrimination should be outlawed. Both rights are seen as moral imperatives yet they travel in opposite directions. The road we travel is too narrow to accommodate both rights, making this legislation a virtual traffic accident waiting to happen. A clash of rights seems inevitable.

At some point, a same-sex couple will file suit in the courts claiming discrimination by a major segment of the population, namely the religious community, and the claim will be logically consistent. Then we will have to confront the incongruity of this position and deal with it -- by then, same-sex marriage will be so accepted that defense of religious freedom will seem as silly as refusal to marry mixed-race couples today is.

Mike:

Yes, I do believe it would rise as it became more and more socially acceptable. Is that enough of a secular reason?

RandomSequence:

My "individual" marriage is just fine too -- as I stated above, that's not what I'm concerned about -- again, I wish I could be as confident as you that no gay couple out there would ever prevail in such a lawsuit.
 

. . . no church has been forced to ordain black ministers or marry inter-racial couples . . .

Only because no one has filed a lawsuit with clear proof of 13th and 14th Amendment violations.
 

Charles:

Actually no, it's not much of a response to either question.

First, would the incidence/rate of homosexuality increase because gay marriage was legalized? To attack from a different angle: I couldn't ever marry/be attracted to another male regardless of legal rights. I don't believe you could either. So, would people become gay because they are able to marry?

Second, your response was not a secular justification at all. What would be the problem, without resorting to religious justifications, if gays married? What would be the problem if homosexuality became more socially acceptable?

Also, may I ask a personal question? Since you clearly do not believe homosexuality is genetic, when did you make the choice to be hetero?
 

Charles:
Are you saying that a mixed-race couple of the SAME religion -- meeting every other qualification but nonetheless discriminated on the basis of race -- would be laughed out of court? See, e.g. Loving v. Virginia.

Nerpzilla:
loving v virginia had to do with the state banning interracial marriage, not a thing to do with private churches refusing to perform interracial marriage. it was a violation of the lovings' 14th amendment rights, and the state could not assert a free exercise or free assembly defense, as a private church could. completely different issue.

You see that I'm not crazy for saying that the fear of gay marriage is exactly based on racial equality laws? That it is the 21st century equivalent of saying "the Negros stole our dates!"? It seeps in there, they just can't help saying what they actually think.

The normalization of inter-racial marriage is exactly Charles's point, even if he won't come out and say it.

Here is the original trial judge's statement to Loving:
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

It's just unnatural! Have ya heard that one recently?

And here is according to Warren the Virginia Supreme Courts reasoning:
In upholding the constitutionality of these provisions in the decision below, the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia referred to its 1955 decision in Naim v. Naim as stating the reasons supporting the validity of these laws. In Naim, the state court concluded that the State's legitimate purposes were "to preserve the racial integrity of its citizens," and to prevent "the corruption of blood," "a mongrel breed of citizens," and "the obliteration of racial pride," obviously an endorsement of the doctrine of White Supremacy.

Sound familiar as well? The eroding of our social structure, and the devaluation of our so-called "principles"?

And here is Warren's response:
These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.


Sound familiar again, but this time from the other side?

We're refighting the same old fight. And the fear is that the results will be the same: that an arbitrary traditional dictum of discrimination will be overturned, and those supporting it will be relegated to the dustbin of history, as archaic holdovers that the rest of us tolerate discretely.

Charles knows that no one will force his church to marry gays, any more than we require his church to marry Australian Aborigines with Central African Pygmies. He's afraid that we will simply ignore his church, just like we ignore racist churches today, as long as they stay non-violent. Nothing is worse than irrelevance.
 

Charles: Only because no one has filed a lawsuit with clear proof of 13th and 14th Amendment violations.

And why is that? Hmm? Maybe because it is a clear finding that in private associations, such as a church, you can pretty much associate with whomever you damn well please. That that principle is very clear in the American DNA?

Just steer clear of the meth, Charles. That's the killer - Haggard could have gone on with his secret life if he didn't have to have dirty, drug-addict sex. But that's what repression will do to ya...
 

Mike:

You asked whether I believe that the rate of homosexuality would increase if gay marriage was permitted, and "Yes, I believe that the rate of homosexuality would increase if gay marriage was permitted" is not not much of a response?! I'm afraid, then, that none of my answers to your questions are going to satisfy you much.

RandomSequence:

I have no problem, whatsoever, with the normalization of inter-racial marriage. If a church discriminated based solely on skin color, that church should be shut down. I think I've explained my opposition to same-sex marriage, but, if you have any other questions for me, let me know.
 

P.S. the Boy Scouts of America would NOT be allowed to discriminate based solely on race.
 

Charles:

I apologize. I missed the first portion of your post. Nevertheless, saying that rates would rise doesn't address my questions--specifically, a secular reason why a rise in the rates of homosexuality would be a negative issue.
 

No problem, Mike. You must have missed the secular reasons that I (and Bart DePalma above) already posted as well.
 

Charles said...
No problem, Mike. You must have missed the secular reasons that I (and Bart DePalma above) already posted as well.

6:01 PM


You and Baghdad Bart posted secular "reasons" in favor of heterosexual marriage, but no secular reasons against homosexual marriage.
 

RandomSequence:

In March 2005, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued a ruling that said discriminatory practices of private clubs CAN be investigated and banned. The decision in the case of Commonwealth of Kentucky and Kentucky Commission on Human Rights v. Pendennis Club Inc. et al. held that the Kentucky revenue code provisions are applicable to private clubs and can be used as an enforcement mechanism by denying tax deductions where clubs discriminate in their members. The case further arguably prohibits interference with a complainant’s ability to enter the private club as an employee. Finally, the Supreme Court decision provides a platform on which to decide whether the public accommodation provisions in the Kentucky Civil Rights Act are applicable in the event the Post is determined to be a private club.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Charles:

P.S. the Boy Scouts of America would NOT be allowed to discriminate based solely on race.

Oh, really? Care to cite some authority for that?

Racial discrimination by the gummint is illegal as per the Constitution.

Discrimination in public accommodations, etc., by private orgnizations is barred by statute.

Discrimination on the basis of sex by private clubs is permissible. Same for race.

The Dale case said that the BSA was a private organisation, and
entitled to discriminate in their menbership despite non-discrimination statutes in New jersey. But this "right to discriminate" wasn't limited to discrimination against gays; if they had said that allowing blacks in would interfere with ther right to "expressive association" that would, byt the same logic, have been upheld.

Cheers,
 

Well, Mike, maybe I'm missing something here, but if the secular reasons in favor of heterosexual marriage are ABSENT in same-sex marriage, how exactly are those not secular reasons against such un-traditional marriage?
 

Charles: The Boy Scouts would be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, if they were free from government entanglement. What does stop that discrimination is the fact that they are highly dependent on state sponsorship - the usage of schools as sites for meetings, preferential access to natural preserves, corporate and government funding.

It is perfectly legal to discriminate on the basis of race in private affairs. Racist political organizations exist all over the country. Racist churches do too -- even Bob Jones University had racist policies until they were threatened with a cut-off from federal handouts and student loans.

It would clearly be un-American to ban those organizations, as long as they are private associations free of government handouts. But hey, I guess I'm just a conservative.
 

Charles:

The decision in the case of Commonwealth of Kentucky and Kentucky Commission on Human Rights v. Pendennis Club Inc. et al. held that the Kentucky revenue code provisions are applicable to private clubs and can be used as an enforcement mechanism by denying tax deductions where clubs discriminate in their members.

Quite true. The gummint is no obligation to give tax breaks to organisations that discriminate. In fact, the free (or preferential) access by the BSA to various gummint-owned recreational facilities has been challenged post-Dale.

But that's not the same as banning them from discrimination.

Cheers,
 

arne:

Since you told me to "Fuck Off and Die" (above), you'll have to excuse me for declining to point out how the Boy Scouts could never get away with "expressive association" based on race.
 

RandomSequence:

If you (and arne) want to believe that racist churches and political organizations could get off scot-free, I'm not about to dissuade you from such fantasy.
 


Well, Mike, maybe I'm missing something here, but if the secular reasons in favor of heterosexual marriage are ABSENT in same-sex marriage, how exactly are those not secular reasons against such un-traditional marriage?

# posted by Charles : 6:08 PM


There's no maybe about it.

First of all, not all the reasons are absent. Second of all, there might be OTHER reasons FOR it.

That's like me trying to argue that homosexual marriage is good because each partner has a big strong man to help defend them. To say that is an argument against heterosexual marriage is idiotic, and yet that is exactly the sort of logic path you are following.
 

Charles:

Since you told me to "Fuck Off and Die" (above), you'll have to excuse me for declining to point out how the Boy Scouts could never get away with "expressive association" based on race.

I told you to "FOAD" with your "Saddam" 'red herring' (completely off-the-wall and O/T here). But, to tell the truth, I really don't give a damn if you respond or not; I haven't seen much point or much use in your responses so far. I'm just setting the record straight, I can do that just fine without your 'input', and your 'response' (if any) is your business to deal with.

Cheers,
 

No, bartbuster, the argument that heterosexual marriages lack two strong men to defend each other is, indeed, the first argument I've ever heard against heterosexual marriage. Thanks for your contribution.

Arne:

Maybe "FOAD" doesn't mean what I thought it meant then.
 

Charles:

If you (and arne) want to believe that racist churches and political organizations could get off scot-free, I'm not about to dissuade you from such fantasy.

No need. I never said any such thing (in fact I said the opposite above). That is your "straw man". To the tilt, my good Don, there's fair damsels to be rescued, I'm sure. Give Dulcinea a big kiss for me, willya?

Cheers,
 

Charles:

Arne:

Maybe "FOAD" doesn't mean what I thought it meant then....


Are you really this stoopid?!?!? Nevermind.

Cheers,
 

No, bartbuster, the argument that heterosexual marriages lack two strong men to defend each other is, indeed, the first argument I've ever heard against heterosexual marriage. Thanks for your contribution.

No, it isn't, it's an argument in favor of homosexual marriage. It has absolutely nothing to do with heterosexual marriage.
 

Charles
You can "value" your pet rock all you want

wow, totally unnecessary to compare the value i place on my marriage to a pet rock. i guess you can "value" your bigotry all you want. touche!


In my hypothetical, however, we are facing a direct conflict between the freedom to practice religion according to the dictates of our respective religions and the freedom to pursue happiness as long as it does not impinge on the rights of others. While this second freedom is widely interpreted to include the right to an alternative lifestyle, your attempt is to widen this interpretation to include entitlement not only to an alternative lifestyle but also to alternative marriage. If this wider interpretation is accepted then opposition to such marriage should, by definition, be illegal.

This raises a serious dilemma. If same sex marriage is deemed an inalienable right then refusal to recognize such marriage is discriminatory and must be outlawed. Yet if this law is applied to religious authorities, forcing clergy to recognize same sex marriage, it would impinge on religious freedom.

The rabbi who won’t sanction same-sex marriage, and a Synagogue that doesn’t offer family membership to a same sex couple, discriminate against the same sex community. If same sex marriage is deemed an inalienable right then such discrimination should be outlawed. Both rights are seen as moral imperatives yet they travel in opposite directions. The road we travel is too narrow to accommodate both rights, making this legislation a virtual traffic accident waiting to happen. A clash of rights seems inevitable.
...


One could argue that it would be good if the refusal of same-sex marriage is seen as silly as the refusal of interracial marriage. however, that is the marketplace of ideas taking over, not the law forcing religious institutions to comply with its will. if a religious institution lacks the willpower to stick with its racist or homophobic attitudes, that is its problem. but the state does not prevent the institution from enforcing its bigoted rules.

your logic fails completely because you conflate the concept of a state actor allowing a certain action for individuals and the concept of coercing private groups into certain actions.

for instance, private sexual activity is considered an inalienable right. if an unmarried heterosexual couple engages in sexual conduct, the state can't do anything about it, including sodomy from the Lawrence decision. but nobody, nobody has tried (and nobody would succeed) to make a church recognize the "non-sinness" of premarital, consensual sex. further, the state cannot take away my right to be a member of a church, but it cannot force me to be one either. in between the state allowing an action, and a private group assembling and opining the action to be wrong, is what i'd call liberty. many church groups consider pornography to be naughty, but the state allows it. no one has been able to force the lutherans to add the book of larry flint to the bible. your argument simply is not rational.

likewise, just cause the state says its okay to have gays enter contracts that allow them the benefits of state sanctioned marriage, there is no reason to think churches will be forced to sanction the marriages. the 14th amendment protects citizens from state action. it does not infringe on peoples rights to (peaceably) assemble in discriminatory manners. the kkk still exists and still has rallies, and no one can do a thing about it. they have a freedom to assemble and speak, even stuff that is considered vile by most Americans. churches will have the same right to exercise their religion and assemble, even if one day the majority of Americans think that anti-homosexual speech and conduct is reprehensible.

if i am correct, the kkk still discriminates on the basis of race, and the Augusta golf club still discriminates on the basis of sex. if they don't it ain't because of state action, but people coming to their senses.
 

Yeah, Charles, I guess the facts of the matter are irrelevant. Ho, hum... I guess I won't be seeing an example of a church that would discriminated against by the state for racist practices, other than the withholding of positive support.

I guess I won't be seeing a statement that Bob Jones University wasn't allowed to practice racist policies, as long as they didn't take federal funding. Or evidence of a political association that was banned because of racist policies (Skokie, anyone?)

Yeah, I guess actual facts are so much less useful than random gut reactions. You probably still think that Sadaam had significant stockpiles of WMD, and that Pat Lang is a lefty. Facts are just so damn inconvenient when you already have your mind made up!

Unless you are defining "getting off scott-free" as forcing the state to not only tolerate your beliefs, but positively support and fund them? That would be an idiosyncratic position, particularly from a "conservative" point of view. I guess conservatism ain't what it used to be --- or else conservatism never was what it used to be!
 

Charles:

It is a logical fallacy to state that because something is present in heterosexual marriage, it is an argument against homosexual marriage. Not to mention that there are gaping holes in Bart's logic. Even if Bart's arguments were not fully exposed, the assumptions regarding marriage on which he bases his argument (i.e. the purpose of marriage) are far from a given.

Again, I have yet to see a secular justification for banning gay marriage.
 

Well, nerpzilla, if you want to believe that the 14th Amendment applies only to state actors, be my guest. See you around.
 

Charles in short: Everything that the state does not require is banned.

I've heard that one before.... Oh where, oh where....
 

"The power to tax is the power to destroy . . ."
 

Mike:

Please explain to me what exactly is not "secular" about Marriage is by far the best social institution for creating and raising children. Children raised in marriage are far less likely to have educational, social and criminal problems.
 

Well, nerpzilla, if you want to believe that the 14th Amendment applies only to state actors, be my guest. See you around.

really? is that all you've got after this? let's look at the text:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." 14th amend, Sec. 1

must've missed the private actors clause. i'll look again. in the meantime, i guess i won't be seeing evidence to the contrary from you. see you around.
 

Please explain to me what exactly is not "secular" about Marriage is by far the best social institution for creating and raising children. Children raised in marriage are far less likely to have educational, social and criminal problems. - Charles

sounds like an excellent argument for letting gays adopt and act as foster parents.

thank you Charles for showing at least a spark of imminent enlightenment.
 

Charles:

First off, that is not an argument against gay marriage unless one assumes that adoption of children is at issue.

Second, this statement was already addressed above based on historical grounds.

Third, this argument pre-supposes that the main purpose of marriage is raising children. I would submit that this is not a shared assumption. I would further submit that it is arguable that the notion that the be-all and end-all of marriage is producing children is grounded in religious beliefs.

But if it makes you feel better, it is a secular justification. Just a very very flimsy one.
 

i mean so long as they are married, responsible adults who can provide a loving and nurturing environment for children.

think of the children.
 

let's poll all orphaned children with the question;

Would you rather have a gay mom or no mom and stay here in the orphanage?

aaaaannnnddddd the survey says____!
 

Would Suzy prefer a gay dad that played dolls with her and gave her makeup tips or no dad and stay there in the orphanage?
 

Enlightened Layperson said...

OK, let's address the advantages Bart attributes to marriage between one man and one woman:

BD: Marriage is by far the best social institution for creating and raising children. Children raised in marriage are far less likely to have educational, social and criminal problems.

This seems more relevant to the question of whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt (or, in the case of lesbians, use artificial insemination).


No. It is physically impossible for homosexual couples to procreate. Adoption of children which others have procreated or the participation of one lesbian with a male outside the homosexual relationship is not procreation.

Obviously our society values marriage, even between a couple who are biologically incapable of having children, otherwise women would not be allowed to marry after menopause.

This is a red herring argument. The fact that there are exceptions to a general rule does not mean that you should not establish general rules. Men and women have children. No other combination does. The fact that some men and women do not have children is no reason why marriage should not be restricted to men and women.

Marriage civilizes and keeps men out of trouble. Married men are healthier and less likely to be in criminal trouble.

I.e., women civilize men, a male partner cannot fill that role.


I know of no data which shows that homosexual men in a monogamous relationship are more likely to live longer and less likely to commit crimes than homosexual men who are in other relationships which would be comparable to the data for heterosexual men. If you know of any, feel free to cite it.

Remember, forbidding gay men from marrying each other will not force them to marry women.

This is a variation of the fallacious comparison with the Loving decision. There is no negative law on the books making it a crime for homosexuals from exchanging vows and rings and proclaiming to the world that they are married. Rather, this movement is about affirmatively changing the definition of marriage to compel social recognition and government benefits to homosexual unions.

BD: Marriage provides physical and economic security for women. Single motherhood is a one way ticket to poverty and most domestic violence occurs between unmarried couples.

Once again, why can't a female partner provide economic security for a woman? If a husband is just a paycheck, a woman can fill that role perfectly well.


A lesbian partner cannot create economic security for a child created by a lesbian couple because they cannot procreate.

As for domestic violence, it occurs between same-sex couples as well. If marriage truly has magic powers to make abusive partners stop being violent, then surely we should be encouraging gay couples to marry.

Once again, we have data that married men are less likely to commit domestic violence against their female partners than are live in boyfriends. I know of no data which shows that homosexual men in a monogamous relationship are less likely to commit domestic violence against their male partners than homosexual men than those in other relationships. If you know of any, feel free to cite it.
 

Charles:
In March 2005, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued a ruling that said discriminatory practices of private clubs CAN be investigated and banned. The decision in the case of Commonwealth of Kentucky and Kentucky Commission on Human Rights v. Pendennis Club Inc. et al. held that the Kentucky revenue code provisions are applicable to private clubs and can be used as an enforcement mechanism by denying tax deductions where clubs discriminate in their members.

So, not giving a group preferential treatment is the equivalent to discrimination? I guess I'm discriminated against by the state because I don't get the same tax breaks as churches. Oh woe is me! I should sue under the 14th Amendment!

You do see that your argument is an endlessly recursive one, because then anything the state does is discriminatory. And it is an explicitly anti-conservative position by dissolving the difference between the private and public spheres. It's outright communist to believe that in effect the hand of the state is in everything, and the state has a positive duty to advance what it doesn't ban.

Are the Repubs now endorsing such ideas? Am I leaving in PK Dick's Radio Free Albemuth, or The Manchurian Candidate?
 

I know NUTZING! - Herr DePalma

bart,

why can an infertile couple get the benefits of a state sanctioned marriage and a gay couple can't.

the intent is the same.
these couples love each other and intend to comingle their lives domestically. two people, sharing expenses have time and money left over to child rearing, which with all due respect, may be harder than child birthing.

we are talking about equal rights to pick your partner and create a domestic partnership sanctioned by the state.

the ability or intention to have children is irrelevant to the benefits of a domestic partnership.
 

Ah Bart: Once again, we have data that married men are less likely to commit domestic violence against their female partners than are live in boyfriends. I know of no data which shows that homosexual men in a monogamous relationship are less likely to commit domestic violence against their male partners than homosexual men than those in other relationships. If you know of any, feel free to cite it.

I guess they never taught you at FSU that correlation is not causation. We know that in the US, there are many, many confounding variables differentiation unmarried couples from married couples.

So Bart, the fact that red states with high levels of church attendance have much higher rates of divorce than blue state with lower church attendance means that church attendance causes divorce? Or maybe that being a self-identified conservative does?

Lordy, what passes for "facts" nowadays. I almost prefer verificationism to such content-free "sociology" that a bright 11 year old can punch logical holes through. Did all the old commies shift to the radical right?
 

"Bart" DePalma's daily helping of fallacious (gotta love that word) rhetoric:

["Bart"]: Marriage is by far the best social institution for creating and raising children. Children raised in marriage are far less likely to have educational, social and criminal problems.

[Enlightened Layperson]: This seems more relevant to the question of whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt (or, in the case of lesbians, use artificial insemination).

["Bart"]: No. It is physically impossible for homosexual couples to procreate. Adoption of children which others have procreated or the participation of one lesbian with a male outside the homosexual relationship is not procreation.


SFW? You were the one that insisted on the word "creating" (and the only one to use "procreation"). But I'd note that there's a significant precentage of the population that disagrees with you and thinks that the back seat of a '57 Chevy is the "best social institution for creating ... children" (and they may very well be right). Now that we've dispensed with this "moving the goalposts"/"reframing" of yours, care to argue honestly?

[Enlightened Layperson]: Obviously our society values marriage, even between a couple who are biologically incapable of having children, otherwise women would not be allowed to marry after menopause.

["Bart"]: This is a red herring argument....


No. Just plain no. Claiming it is a "red herring" argument is somewhat of a "red herring argument".

["Bart"]: ... The fact that there are exceptions to a general rule does not mean that you should not establish general rules....

The fact that there are exceptions to general rules means that you'd better get the damn rules right if you want to curtail someone's civil rights. See the unanimous opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court:

"These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."

["Bart"]: ... Men and women have children. No other combination does. The fact that some men and women do not have children is no reason why marriage should not be restricted to men and women.

The logic is missing here, "Bart". Why should the fact that men and women have children mean that marriage should be restricted to between men and women?

["Bart"]: I know of no data which shows that homosexual men in a monogamous relationship are more likely to live longer and less likely to commit crimes than homosexual men who are in other relationships which would be comparable to the data for heterosexual men. If you know of any, feel free to cite it.

Argumentum ad ignoriantiam. Not to mention, you haven't shown proof that because a man is living with a woman, he's likely to live longer (or some other great social "good").

[Enlightened Layperson]: Remember, forbidding gay men from marrying each other will not force them to marry women.

["Bart"]: This is a variation of the fallacious comparison with the Loving decision....


No, "Bart". It's a simple statement that even if your claim about men marrying women being socially "good" was true, there is no showing that laws forbidding gay marriages would achieve that result.

["Bart"]: ... There is no negative law on the books making it a crime for homosexuals from exchanging vows and rings and proclaiming to the world that they are married. Rather, this movement is about affirmatively changing the definition of marriage to compel [...] government benefits to homosexual unions.

Yes. And your problem with that is?!?!?

[Enlightened Layperson]: Once again, why can't a female partner provide economic security for a woman? If a husband is just a paycheck, a woman can fill that role perfectly well.

["Bart"]: A lesbian partner cannot create economic security for a child created by a lesbian couple because they cannot procreate.


This response of "Bart"'s is just bone-numbingly stoopid. I'll let it speak for itself.

Cheers,
 

"Would Suzy prefer a gay dad that played dolls with her and gave her makeup tips or no dad and stay there in the orphanage?"
# posted by Garth

It is an interesting and very real question. My spouse and I are looking at adoption, since my ability to "father" children is pretty much kaput. We already have a son, but would like a daughter as well. "Suzy" would have a "father" (parent might be a better term) who can do as you suggested above...and also take her hunting and camping as the situation arises.
 

One last time, celticdragon:

If States got out of the "marriage business" and stopped giving favored status and rights altogether, would you at least agree THAT would threaten and (completely) devalue marriage?
 

Charles:

Yes. If states stopped recognizing any aspect of marriage, then it would be injurious to the institution and society as a whole. While we are considering such improbable events, maybe you can tell me if the final battle of Ragnarok in Norse legend would also be detrimental? I give either choice about the same possibility of happening...which is to say: ZERO.

Bart:

I did not ask you for studies regarding the beneifits of marriage, but thanks all the same. I asked for proof to the effect that GLBT marriages, and mine in particular, harmed anybody else's marrige. If you think that it would, then you are putting your nose way too far into where it doesn't belong. I make no particular secret concerning my relationship simply because it does inform and influence my stand with respect to GLBT rights. If somebody has the opinion that my marriage has some sort of bearing on their own, then they are in sore need of professional counseling.

As to your question, regarding my being a transgendered woman who was a man, then the answer is yes. Again, I make no secret of that, nor of my continued association within the Republican Party. At this point, I think I stick around to piss off the Fundies more than anything. It is a kick to get somebody to grudgingly admit they don't want me to "quit" the party and I am (of course!) "welcome". Then again, there really is no place for Goldwater Libertarian types like me with the Dems, so I guess I'm stuck.
 

RandomSequence said...

So, you see what Charles and Bart are afraid of. They have good, evidentiary reason to fear it. If we were to legalize gay marriage, fifty years from now their point of view will be a marginalized minority view. Our grandchildren will ridicule them, except for the equivalent of Klansmen in 2060.

:::chuckle:::

More likely, several states are going to end up granting the government benefits of marriage to homosexual couples and they will find comparatively few takers over time. It will be on that basis that people in 50 years will wonder what all the fuss was about.

What I have against the "homosexual marriage" movement is that I believe in providing far more benefits to encourage marriage because marriage is the bedrock of society and I do not believe in wasting valuable resources needed for that task simply to make some group feel socially accepted and good about itself - which is really what this entire movement is about.

If a homosexual couple wants to exchange rings, kisses and vows presided over by whatever authority they like and then proclaim to the world that they are married, I could give less than a damn and am certainly not "threatened" by this game of pretend.

The slur "homophobia" is one of the biggest misnomers ever invented. Most folks I have met who genuinely hate homosexuals do not fear them. Rather, they operate under the cliched misapprehension that gays are effeminate and weak...until they get their asses kicked by some gay guy they are attempting to bully as happened recently out here.
 

Bart:
"What I have against the "homosexual marriage" movement is that I believe in providing far more benefits to encourage marriage because marriage is the bedrock of society and I do not believe in wasting valuable resources needed for that task simply to make some group feel socially accepted and good about itself - which is really what this entire movement is about."

And what resources would those be? Seriously, I am interested. The time taken to file the paperwork, maybe? Perhaps you are speaking of the lost tax revenues that might otherwise be gained from two single people. Please educate me on this...

"If a homosexual couple wants to exchange rings, kisses and vows presided over by whatever authority they like and then proclaim to the world that they are married, I could give less than a damn and am certainly not "threatened" by this game of pretend."

Well, isn't that special! Truth be told, I don't care about your relationships either, but at least I will not do you the discourtesy of calling them a sham.

"
The slur "homophobia" is one of the biggest misnomers ever invented. Most folks I have met who genuinely hate homosexuals do not fear them. Rather, they operate under the cliched misapprehension that gays are effeminate and weak...until they get their asses kicked by some gay guy they are attempting to bully as happened recently out here."

Wrong. There must be something about homosexuality itself, if not any particular person, that is feared. Otherwise, there would be no reason to act so threatened by it and engage in violence. You will tend to see that the things that anger people the most about other people are things that they are also angry about internally. The term is projection.
 

Charles,

If a church discriminated based solely on skin color, that church should be shut down.

Since no one else has said it, let me comment here just for the record that I do not think government should have any authority to "shut down" churches unless they are, say, stockpiling a massive private arsenal and preparing to wage war on the federal government (or some other act violence). If a church discriminates based on race, social disapproval is sanction enough.

Perhaps your aversion to gay marriage is based on a belief that government has or should have a much greater degree of authority over churches than is the case.
 

celticdragon:

Bart: "What I have against the "homosexual marriage" movement is that I believe in providing far more benefits to encourage marriage because marriage is the bedrock of society and I do not believe in wasting valuable resources needed for that task simply to make some group feel socially accepted and good about itself - which is really what this entire movement is about."

And what resources would those be?


The government resources which go to supporting marriage include foregone taxes and the money and time spent to enforce legal protections of marriage. Hell, much of the legal arena of family law is dedicated to marriage and the resulting children.

"If a homosexual couple wants to exchange rings, kisses and vows presided over by whatever authority they like and then proclaim to the world that they are married, I could give less than a damn and am certainly not "threatened" by this game of pretend."

Well, isn't that special! Truth be told, I don't care about your relationships either, but at least I will not do you the discourtesy of calling them a sham.


Marriage was, is and always will be the union of a man and a woman. A homosexual union never has been and never will be a marriage any more than I am a woman. I am sorry if this reality insults you, but the truth is the truth.

The slur "homophobia" is one of the biggest misnomers ever invented. Most folks I have met who genuinely hate homosexuals do not fear them. Rather, they operate under the cliched misapprehension that gays are effeminate and weak...until they get their asses kicked by some gay guy they are attempting to bully as happened recently out here."

Wrong. There must be something about homosexuality itself, if not any particular person, that is feared. Otherwise, there would be no reason to act so threatened by it and engage in violence.


Bullies are indeed cowards when it comes to those who they perceive as better than them. In order to make up for this sense of inadequacy, bullies pick on those they perceive as different and weak. Bullies who pick on homosexuals do not have different motivations. They pick on homosexuals not because they fear them, but because they misapprehend them as weak.

The appellation "homophobia" is meant to denigrate these bullies and to make homosexuals feel like something other than victims, not as an accurate descriptor. It is similar to calling evil people "deranged" because we do not like to think that rational people like us can be evil.
 

Bart:

"Marriage was, is and always will be the union of a man and a woman. A homosexual union never has been and never will be a marriage any more than I am a woman. I am sorry if this reality insults you, but the truth is the truth."

Marriage has always been whatever the local society said it was. It is a cultural construct. You try to imbue it with the certainty of a mathematical theorum, or a physics formula. It doesn't work that way. If our society says that marriage is between two consenting adults, or include polygamous beliefs as well, then that is what marriage is.

Really, that is all there is to it. We define marriage any way we like. You can put your fingers in your ears and hum, but we will get by just fine regardless.

You may want to look and see what marriage was some 400 years ago. The nobility didn't give a damn what the peasants were up to, just as long as they kept breeding enough to keep the fields tilled and the militias manned. States didn't get involved in really regulating marriage among the masses until relatively recently, since they had no need. It was useful for alliances of houses and state, but as I said, the serfs or peasants were superfluous.
Your assertions that marriage is the foundation of civilization rings false for that reason, (Polynesian civilization had extremely different notions of marriage and families) since civilizations were built on whatever family structure was in use. Often, it was polygamous, but could be group based (as in Polynesia) or similar to our model. It was not uncommon to see trial marriages called "handfasting" in parts of Britain and Scotland. These arrangements were valid for a year and a day, and represented a means of validating a relationship until clergy could be found or for the couple to consider each other in full.

Again, marriage was whatever the local culture made it to be, and we can choose how we celebrate it as well. I care not if you refuse to recognize my marriage, since you neither pay my bills nor share my bed (thank God). Just don't be suprised to see society move on without you as you mutter impotent imprecetations to yourself.

Yours, aye
 

celticdragon:

Polygamy is still the union of a man and a woman, just multiplied.
 

celticdragon:

As far as I know, no one on this thread has proposed a renewed battle of Ragnarok -- several have noted proposals for States to get out of the "marriage business" -- thank for answering the question though.

Enlightened Layperson:

Perhaps "shut down" was too strong -- as I noted above, "The power to tax is the power to destroy" and other indirect means -- I have no doubt that there will one day be a legal challenge filed by a same-sex couple against such a church, a la Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948).
 

Bart:
"Polygamy is still the union of a man and a woman, just multiplied."

Not really. We typically understand it to consist of one member of one sex(usually, though not exclusively male) and several members of the other sex. Polynesian marriages could actually contain multiples of both sexes, although I believe that would be called something other then polygamy.

I notice that you fail to adress my point concerning the fact that marriage is a social construct. I realize that you seem to regard it in terms of a religious nature or sacrament, which is fine. That does not excuse your seeming ignorance of the social evolution of the institution, including the fact that 150 years ago it was considered equally impossible for people of color to be married. Also, why would it be necessary for the state to have any particular interest in any religious definitions or objections to marriage? Just a thought.

Again: marriage is what we make it. We as a socity define it as we wish, and the definition has changed over the past 200 years to include millions of Americans who had been barred from it's embrace. The roles and responsibilities have changed as well. Don't be shocked to see this particular train named gay marriage go right by you.
 

celtic dragon:

Marriage is hardly a social construct because a miniscule slice of humanity in Polynesia differ.

Marriage has been the standard since the dawn of recorded history over many millennia. If it were a mere social construct, marriage would vary widely across time and space . Instead, it endured largely unchanged. The only real variation was whether a man would have one or more wives.

Your argument in the face of this reality that marriage is a mere social construct is a weak pitch to redefine marriage after all those millennia.
 

Couple of Bartisms:

people in 50 years will wonder what all the fuss was about

IIRC, many in the GLBT want equality in marriage with heterosexual couples not necessarily for the tax benefits, but because one of the default options for married partners is that in case of emergency/disablement/death, the partner is the default beneficiary/decision maker. Two adults in a long term, stable relationship that is considered marriage should be able to count on that default rather than the vargaries of administrative acceptance of unusual status. So I do hope in 50 years, even if as Bart says non-heterosexual marriage is rare, that such relationships do have such benefits available to them, and people don't fuss over it.

Marriage has been the standard since the dawn of recorded history over many millennia. If it were a mere social construct, marriage would vary widely across time and space.

Actually, the strength, value, and form of marriage has varied widely across time and space. Polygamy and polyandry have occurred, societies where children are raised communally such as ancient Sparta, matrilineal vs. patrilineal descent, the acceptance of wives over concubines and mistresses, serial royal marriages, easy vs. hard divorce, dowry vs. bride price, matriarchal vs. patriarchal society, arranged vs. individual choice marriage partners....

Yes, I can see, Bart, how you can say that marriage is not "a social construct" that "would vary across time and space". By ignoring history.
 

BTW: I do agree that divorce, infidelity, domestic violence, and losing your job are all threats to marriage.
 

Fraud Guy said...

BD: Marriage has been the standard since the dawn of recorded history over many millennia. If it were a mere social construct, marriage would vary widely across time and space.

Actually, the strength, value, and form of marriage has varied widely across time and space. Polygamy and polyandry have occurred, societies where children are raised communally such as ancient Sparta, matrilineal vs. patrilineal descent, the acceptance of wives over concubines and mistresses, serial royal marriages, easy vs. hard divorce, dowry vs. bride price, matriarchal vs. patriarchal society, arranged vs. individual choice marriage partners....


None of that addresses my point that the form of marriage - man and wife - has not varied significantly over time apart from men having more than one wife in many early societies where there was a shortage of men.

Marriage may well have been easier and harder to enter into or exit from, but marriage was still man and wife.

Child rearing may have become communal to various degrees, but marriage was still man and wife who created the children and raised them until society took them from the family.

No matter how much tap dancing you do, you cannot escape reality in the end.
 

Mr. DePalma -

The horse and cart was once the best and most efficient way of getting around and moving things. it worked for hundreds if not thousands of years. why did we ever leave it?

just cause something worked for hundreds of years does not mean it is the best or most efficient way of doing things. humanity was ruled by kings based on bloodlines for thousands of years, the world over. women were bought and sold, given and received, and transferred like chattel for all of recorded history in all cultures. In this very real sense, "marriage" as we know it today - the consensual joining of a man and a woman - is a rather recent development, say, at best, a couple of hundred years old (and, to be fair, probably less than a hundred - in fact, there are still arranged marriages and daughters forced to marry men not of their choosing). so there has been a great deal of evolution in marriage, and there is no good reason to think it couldn't still evolve. your argument that it has been exactly the same, with no changes since the dawn of time is patently false. i mean, solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (the one thing really missing in modern marriage is concubines! that was sweet!)

this leads to a question for all people who think the traditional marriage is the only way to go - do we get ALL the traditional marriage stuff if we kick out the gays? can we have polygamy and concubines back? can we sell our daughters, and buy our wives? after all, that's how marriage has been done since the dawn of time. all this consensual stuff is simply liberal activist judges infringing on my rights to six wives, two concubines, and some dowry goats and sheep. i've always wanted a sheep farm...
 

Bart,

You really don't know how to comprehend history, do you:

None of that addresses my point that the form of marriage - man and wife - has not varied significantly over time apart from men having more than one wife in many early societies where there was a shortage of men.

The usual issue in polygamous societies was not that there was a shortage of men, but that those men on the top of society aggregated women to themselves. Solomon did not have 300 wives and concubines because there were 299 fewer men than women in ancient Israel, but because he was the king who not only cemented various alliances via marriage buy also arrogated additional women to himself. Chinese emperors did not have multiple wives and concubines because they used the additional women who would have been the wives of the palace eunuchs. You also seem to have an enormous blind spot with regards to polyandry.

You additionally state that marriage has not changed over the years. No one can currently argue that the basic reproductive process of the human race is a female egg fertilized by a male sperm. However, you arrogate this biological process into a necessary social function, while my examples show that this has not always been considered the case. The social functions of child rearing, inculcation of societal values, family structure, lineage, inheritance, authority, etc. are not, and have not been, always tied to the biological process. Your sole acceptance of the variety of the varied social structures of marriage is that sometimes "men [have] more than one wife" in "early societies". For you, the only acceptable social structures are one man/one woman (or, early on, one man/many women). Anyone who actually has a passing knowledge of history knows that is not necessarily so, no matter how many times you claim it.

Your multiple assertions of the value of "traditional" marriage are simply claims that fulfilled by various societal constructs. "Traditional" marriage is merely one of them. Other societies in history have used other constructs. None are necessarily better than the other except as they fulfill their roles in their societies. One can easily say that in our current society, marriage no longer fulfills your stated functions because we have a high divorce rate, much criminal activity (even among married, white collar folks), and independent women (unprotected by men).

My final point, is that the important social measure for child rearing is not a marriage between man and woman, but a stable, nuturing environment. This can be given by your "traditional marriage", a GLBT couple, a single parent, an extended family, or many non-traditional relationships. Your strident disallowal of any but your preferred construct actually would make it harder for a child to achieve that sort of environment, because you prefer to limit societal choices and personal capabilities.
 

And Bart, now for my ad hominem.

If I am tap dancing, then you are merely stomping your foot, out of time to the music, afraid that you would otherwise trip and fall.
 

Charles writes:
Taken to the extreme, same-sex marriage would indeed end the human race --

That sounds irrational, since 450 vertebrate species have been observed to exhibit gay behavior, and they aren't going extinct as a result. So the biological argument doesn't make any sense.

I'm not saying that's likely, but the U.S. birthrate (among citizens at least) is on the decline -- this is not about any "individual" marriage.

Is there any evidence that a declining birthrate has anything to do with homosexual marriage?

Did either of you see that movie "Children of Men"?

I didn't see it - did homosexuality cause the problem?

The State has the duty to protect ALL the people.

I hope you're not positing that the state must save us from ourselves.
 

Marriage may well have been easier and harder to enter into or exit from, but marriage was still man and wife.

In addition to observations by other posters more familiar with anthropology than Mr. Depalma, one can also point to various types of camaraderie that obtain in warrior societies, blood brotherhoods, and even age sets that form a social bond as strong--and in many cases, even stronger--than man-woman marriage, which can be ephemeral in comparison.

The peculiar notion of the man-woman bond that you use is more relevant to the Western nuclear family of the 20th century, and I suspect that you're really just playing with a tautology. If "marriage" is defined as a man-woman bond, then yes, I guess "marriage" was always woman and husband.

This tautology is no doubt the result of a functional approach to the subject: you probably would say that the purpose of marriage is to provide an environment for raising children, and biologically children require a mother and a father to be born (all recent or future science aside). True enough, but children weren't always raised in that nuclear family structure. In matrilineal societies, for instance, avunculocal residence--a system whereby boys move in with their maternal uncles at adolescence--was common.

The nuclear family structure (woman, man, and their children) is, by the way, a relative anomaly. Extended families are still all the rage throughout most of humanity, despite ongoing governmental projects to change that situation in certain areas, such as India.

You can say, if you like, that in each of these groups, a man-woman bond is necessary to make children, but saying so doesn't move beyond "the sky is blue." The nature of that bond beyond the physical requirements for procreation is, yes, absolutely socially constructed.

I could go on all day, but to save us all some time, I simply recommend that you take a cultural anthropology course or two before opining about social organizations that "were, are, and always will be."
 

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