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[Dale Carpenter (guest-blogging), November 4, 2005 at 10:24pm] Trackbacks
The Traditionalist Case -- Last Thoughts:

Thanks again to Eugene for letting me in the forum this week.

In the end it comes down to this: Given that gay families exist, and are not going to be eliminated or converted by any means acceptable to the American people, what is to be done with them? Is it better for society that they be shunted aside, marginalized, ostracized, made to feel alien to traditional values and institutions? Or is it better that they be included in the fabric of American life, including the most important social institution we have for encouraging, recognizing, and reinforcing loving families? I can see why a sexual liberationist, or a radical of any stripe, might say, "Keep them out." I have never been able to understand how a conservative could say that.

In the end I doubt this issue will be decided on the basis of debaterish points and arguments. It will be decided on the basis of the lessons we tend to draw from the real-world experiences we have and the people we know. What I have tried to do is outline a different way of thinking about gay marriage that might allow the thoughtful traditionalist conservative to reconcile his innate and healthy suspicion of change with his insight that marriage really is good for people and their families.

Analogies can obfuscate, but in their own way they can distill a matter to its essence. In her last post two weeks ago, Maggie described the issue of gay marriage by use of a vivid analogy that I will never get out of my mind:

Imagine you stand in the middle of vast, hostile desert. A camel is your only means of transversing it, your lifeline to the future. The camel is burdened-- stumbling, loaded down, tired; enfeebled-- the conditions of the modern life are clearly not favorable to it. But still it's your only hope, because to get across that desert you need a camel.

Now, chop off its legs and order it to carry you to safety.

That's what SSM looks like, to me.

That's one way to see it. Here's another:

Imagine you stand with your loved one and child in the middle of a vast, hostile desert. You are burdened -- stumbling, loaded down, tired. These are the conditions of modern life for you and they are not favorable, but you've been trying to make it. To get across that desert you need a camel.

Along comes a caravan with a hundred camels, three of them with no riders, more than enough for you and your family. You plead to use them, agreeing to pay your way and live by their rules for the journey.

But they say, "No, you might disturb the camels we're riding on."

That's what the denial of marriage to gay families looks like, to me.

In a world where gay families had nothing to do with the problems marriage now faces, it's pretty odd to "defend" marriage by keeping them out. With these wholly unrelated challenges to marriage out there, William Eskridge recently said that defending marriage by opposing gay marriage is like building a Maginot Line. You get all excited about your fine fortress, you preen and prance around about your impending victory, you pop open some champagne, and then . . . the enemy sneaks through the Ardennes and overruns you.

Manuel Lopez (mail):
Well, throughout this debate you have argued that the vast majority of marriages are between heterosexuals, and that gays are an extremely small percent of the population (and almost none of them get married where marriage is available). Yet you also argue that the main issue of public concern should be the possible benefits for this small percentage (here the public affirmation of your love)--and don't come to grips with the harm that radically changing marriage will have for everyone else, especially for future generations:

http://volokh.com/posts/1131065231.shtml#35025
and
http://volokh.com/posts/1131065231.shtml#35102
11.4.2005 11:41pm
kipp (mail):
This was a well-argued series of articles. Beyond the advantage at having the second turn, these posts were certainly more substantive than Gallagher's. And you ended with the most important message of the ssm debate: Gay families are not hypotheticals, they are not something we may face in the future. They exist (we exist) today. And these familes are right to expect society to aknowledge that. If not marriage, then what?
11.4.2005 11:48pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kipp,

I'm not sure you read the same articles. The ones Dale wrote were inconsistent, self-contradicting, tried to be something they weren't (for instance this closing was not tranditionalist, it was the liberal case), and without his inane attempts to pat himself on the back one would never know when he thought he made a point at all.
11.4.2005 11:52pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Dale,

I'm sorry to see that you never got around to addressing the following questions...

1) Why does it require marriage? It seems everything you anticipate from marriage can come from RB's, am I wrong?

2) Why do you shut out other couples who are dependant on each other, and are raising children, and have something to contribute?

Having reviewed your argument, it seems inconsistent except for one over-riding principle. You and your lover want marriage and any argument that gets you there (however faulty) is a good one. You tried traditionalism at first, and then tried attacking traditionalist values (as in the standard case for procreation). Then when that failed you hastily borrowed an argument from one of the passers-by that also wound up to be faulty.

I hope that you do find the benefits that will help you and your partner be stable, I am sorry to hear that you require marriage to do that.
11.4.2005 11:57pm
Manuel Lopez (mail):
On reflection, I see the difficulty that Mr. Carpenter has in imagining the effect a small number of gay marriages will have on marriage overall. His analogy talks about separate camels, and they are separate camels--for adults. But the question is the effect on later generations, on those whose imagination of marriage has not yet been formed, on people who don't yet have camels:
http://volokh.com/posts/1131065231.shtml#35025

Mr Carpenter just assumes that there are all these ready-made camels out there--taking the current state of marriage for granted--and not asking himself what goes into the existence of healthy marriages in the first place, what feelings and prejudices, what moral and religious views, etc. In a way, he assumes that marriage is a given, like a rock (or camel), not something that is a complex combination of nature, feeling, opinion, education, and prejudice. He has ignored the effect that disconnecting marriage from any connection to something higher than human will, to natural sexual differences and the potential for reproduction, will have on the strength of marriage. He assumes that we can re-define marriage to suit our beliefs about social convenience, and still preserve the same reverence for marriage. I think he is mistaken. In any case, we have a duty to future generations not to lightly risk destroying an institution that has been passed on for thousands of years and that has made so many precious and good things possible.
11.5.2005 12:13am
Rock (mail) (www):
Here's why I support traditional marriage and oppose same sex marriage:

Sexual activity between men and women used to be closely linked to procreation.

Before science changed everything, people couldn't have children without engaging in heterosexual sex. Before birth control was widely available, the odds were that a man and woman engaging in repeated heterosexual sex would end up having children.

Today one could be forgiven for not remembering that heterosexual sex can lead to children and children can not be had without heterosexual sex.

Same sex marriage removes any link between procreation and marriage as an institution.

To be sure, two men can have children. But any children that a homosexual couple has did not result from the two partners engaging in sexual activity.

For supporters of same sex marriage, this is immaterial. Love is the criterion for marriage, not abstract procreative ability.

But if love is the criterion for marriage, it is difficult to argue against allowing group marriages, three men marrying five women, for example.

Redefining marriage to include same sex relationships would place a man/man relationship on the same legal plane as a man/woman relationship. I doubt that this is good public policy. Society to attempt to make sure a large percentage of its children are raised by a mother (female) and a father (male).

This doesn't mean that gay adoption and gay parenting should be completely banned. But society should indicate its preference for children to be raised in a household headed by a mother and father.

The fundamental differences between men and woman ultimately makes same sex relationships different from heterosexual relationships. Calling them both by the same name isn't going to fool anyone into ignoring their differences.
11.5.2005 12:33am
Defending the Indefensible:
Dale, I wish you and your partner the very best, and hope you are both very happy.

I would like you to consider, finally, that you have every right to marry and to be married if you *are* married, and that marriage is not a thing that can be permitted or denied. It is a hard thing to explain marriage (as my wife and I experience it) to many people, my single friends really cannot understand (until they are married), and all of the pomp and public ceremony that most people associate with marriage is only ever, at most, a celebration of an already accomplished fact.

In our case, my wife and I realized we were married, and simply asked one another whether we both knew it. And so we were and we are. Perhaps this is true for you and your partner as well (though perhaps if so, you don't realize it yet, or don't want to say that you do, or you might refer to him as your spouse). I don't presume to know, but what I am talking about is not a "desire" to be married, but a recognition that two people are made for one another and meant to be together.

The state really does have nothing to do with it.
11.5.2005 12:44am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
DTI,

That reminds me of this statement from a same sex couple when their illegal marriage was disolved in the courts...

Couples said that losing their legal marriages did not mean they have lost their relationships. "In our case, and most of the cases, the marriage existed before the piece of paper, and the marriage will exist after the paper," said Beren DeMotier, 40

Our marriage isn't void. It's so very full. It's miraculous and mundane. It's the foundation we'll build a family on.

"It doesn't change who we are," Lauren said ...

Christine Tanner, 57, of Northeast Portland, a nursing professor, said she and Lisa Chickadonz, 48, a nurse midwife, have two children, have been together 20 years and are married in every way.


We were right all along about same-sex "marriage".
11.5.2005 12:51am
Defending the Indefensible:
On Lawn,
I'm not sure that I'm part of some "we" that you claim has been "right all along." I'm not for or against anyone's conception of marriage, it is a profoundly personal, spiritual, religious or philosophical status (however you may prefer to describe it) that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the state to confer.
11.5.2005 1:05am
Defending the Indefensible:
On another note, now that this thread is presumably at a close, I am reminded very much of the argument in Monty Python's "Life of Brian" wherein the men were arguing that they ought to have the right to be pregnant.
11.5.2005 1:12am
APL (mail):
Dale, it was an interesting week. Thank you for posting. I enjoyed your arguments, and I suspect that you may actually have changed a few open minds. I particularly enjoyed the debate on the board regarding the application of principles of Burkean traditionalist conservatism. Volokh, thank you for hosting.

One difficulty with discussing this issue is that, on both sides, there are people who do not want to reason, but would argue anything to support their pre-ordained conclusion. This is difficult because first it makes for sloppy analysis when people will not concede any weakness in any part of their position or any merit to any part of the opponent's; and secondly because such minds work like Scrooge's when he is trying to reason through the reality Marley's ghost, only to have his mind snap back to the initial question every time his reasoning reaches its logical conclusion.

As an aside, I believe strongly in both the equality and conservative arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples. Although I was not convinced by the opponents posting here, there were many thoughtful, sincere, intelligent and respectful posters who raised legitimate challenges to Dale's reasoning. Taimyoboi, was one, for example, and there were many others.

For the record, onlawn, I do not include you in that group, although you may well have been the most prolific poster. I found your arguments obtuse, and your tone seriously lacking in courtesy, as well as cloyingly self-adulatory.
11.5.2005 1:13am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
APL,

Its hard to maintain poise when people such as yourself make such slights. If my tone has slipped, I do appologize.

Lets move forward then and I await to here just what arguments Dale made that was compelling or even logical. As I pointed out previously in this thread, they had some serious flaws from the beginning that Dale chose to ignore rather than address. If my esteem of him diminished due to that, I have to say that it will simply be my prerogative.
11.5.2005 1:28am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
APL: For the record, onlawn, I do not include you in that group, although you may well have been the most prolific poster. I found your arguments obtuse, and your tone seriously lacking in courtesy, as well as cloyingly self-adulatory.

So APL's lofty analysis of OnLawn's point is that it was too hard for APL to keep up and that he didn't like the tone. Does any of that say anything about the soundness of the argument? Perhaps APL is merely exhibiting "sloppy analysis" rather than "concede any weakness in any part of their position or any merit to any part of the opponent's."

Really, APL, was that cheap personal attack worth discrediting your entire analysis?
11.5.2005 1:33am
Rock (mail) (www):
Do most supporters of same-sex marriage also support requiring states to recognize group marriages?

Must one support state recognition of polygamy if one supports state recognition of same-sex marriage?

Why or why not?

Is the state definiation of marriage simply a personal preference? If so, should the state definition of marriage be infinately elastic and include a man/truck relationship or mother/daughter marriage?

If moral disapproval of homosexuality is bigoted, is moral disapproval of a father having sex with with his six year old son bigoted?

How should we determine whether moral opposition towards certain behaviors are outdated and to be discarded?
11.5.2005 1:41am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
APL, doesn't look like you're viewing this debate very objectively.

For the record, the "equality" argument is the weakest of all arguments for neutered "marriage." Deontologist, whom you quote, carefully words a right "to marry any one other person they like." Despite the fact this wording cannot be found anywhere in any legal writ, (presumably it is found by closely examining the four words "equal protection" and "due process") Deontologist makes sure to include the word one so as to avoid the "polygamy objection," but nowhere does Deontologist nor do you come up with any justification for why the word "one" is found in "equal protection" or "due process." The use of the word one, it seems, is included specifically to make the pretended right UNequal, applying to only the select few that you and he deem are equal enough to deserve the new right.

Further, as carefully as Deontologist phrased the "right" he discovered, he somehow didn't manage to phrase it carefully enough to omit incestuous relationships, or child marriages. For all his careful trying, he didn't even manage to exclude polygamy. There is nothing in his "right" that prohibits one from marrying even though one is currently married to someone else. Even Dale and Volokh have rejected your "fundamental right" argument, yet your esteemed analysis is that it is the strongest available for your prederived finding that marriage should be neutered. Perhaps this "sloppy analysis" is simply your way of saying you concede that Dale's utilitarian claim for neutered marriage has failed.
11.5.2005 2:02am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
For some reason, Carpenter's post is now missing the second half (the "love letter"). Anyone else notice that, or is it a computer glitch? (It doesn't show it's been edited.)
11.5.2005 2:36am
randal (mail):
The fundamental differences between men and woman ultimately makes same sex relationships different from heterosexual relationships. Calling them both by the same name isn't going to fool anyone into ignoring their differences.

Isn't that an argument for SSM?

But the question is the effect on later generations, on those whose imagination of marriage has not yet been formed, on people who don't yet have camels.

Gays are here. The question is whether the next generation should see that camels are only for some, that you can take a camel or leave it, it doesn't really matter - or that everyone is expected to get a camel.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that great care should be taken when fiddling with an institution as fundamental as marriage. But at some point, you've done the due diligence, and you say, yep, let's go for it.
11.5.2005 2:52am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Gays are here.

Dale makes much of this point too. Do you and he not know that gays have existed througout history, co-existing with a marriage preserving and fighting for its equal gender representation?

I suppose someone needs to explain a bit just how gays here today means something different than gays existing 20-30 years ago, or in countries with very tolerant views towards gays (and even having gay leaders). Seems very non-Burkean to dismiss their history. I remember Gabriel Rosenburg arguing that there was a difference. He argued that stability in gay relationships was new. Well that is more of an answer than Dale, but probabl more dissmissive of history.

Perhaps it is meant to bolster some other argument, then.
11.5.2005 3:00am
randal (mail):
A point about the slippery-slope argument that I haven't seen made so I'm making it:

If you're arguing the slippery-slope, you're doing one of two things. You could be using irresponsible scare tactics - but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're being serious.

The only other option is: you agree that SSM, taken alone, is a good idea... it's just not worth the risk of the slope. If that's not what you think, then you shouldn't be making the slope argument - you should be making your legitimate case against SSM itself.
11.5.2005 3:02am
Kendall:
On Lawn - "1) Why does it require marriage? It seems everything you anticipate from marriage can come from RB's, am I wrong?"

I'm curious how you respond to this article which lays out benefits unique and distinct to marriage that cannot easily be conferred through contracts. I mean, you can make the case these rights should be available to people regardless of marital status... and then disconnect the rights of marriage from marriage.
11.5.2005 3:09am
randal (mail):
I suppose someone needs to explain a bit just how gays here today means something different than gays existing 20-30 years ago.

Sure. I mentioned it in response to Manuel's worry that kids raised in a society with SSM will come to regard marriage with less respect than kids raised in a society without SSM. Gays are much more visible than they were 20-30 years ago, and will remain so. The progress gays have made will be very difficult/impossible to undo. The society kids see today is already very different than it was when "everyone" got married, because all these visible gays are making it obvious that whole classes of people don't and aren't expected to marry, yet still form relationships and families. So if the concern is about kids' view of marriage, SSM is a way to "fix" it by returning to a society where marriage is THE expectation.
11.5.2005 3:12am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
In response to randal:
"You've done the due diligence"--based on what? A few tendentious studies, even worse than the absurd Kinsey study, based on a few years experience (or not even that in Massachusetts)? On the basis of less than a decade of debate conducted mainly in legal and social science circles? On this flimsy basis, we're supposed to gut an institution that has stood thousands of years? We're following almost exactly the same pattern that led to no-fault divorce: assurances that children won't be harmed, hatchet social science studies claiming to prove the same, the attack on existing law as backward and oppressive, and abstract egalitarian claims advanced by those gems of political wisdom, law professors and social scientists. And after the damage is done, and so many lives damaged, they don't even so much as say "I'm sorry." Of course, more is at stake now than with no-fault divorce.

The point on the camels, which is not my choice of analogy, is that the camels are supposed to represent "marriage," but that assumes the question that needs to be answered: what will be left of marriage in the generations after making this radical change? There may be no camels left to give. The question is not the effect now, on grown adults, but on how future generations imagine marriage, and what it will look like to them after we've disconnected it from any connection to something higher than human wish--from natural sexual differences and the potential for reproduction--and after years of teaching this new "enlightened" view in our schools and by all the respectable people:
http://volokh.com/posts/1131065231.shtml#35025
and
http://volokh.com/posts/1131065231.shtml#35102
11.5.2005 3:27am
randal (mail):
Another point about the slippery-slope. If you or anyone you know has had a son or daugher say "Mom, dad, I have something I need to tell you. I'm polygamous." please - let me know. That might make the argument make slightly more sense.
11.5.2005 3:35am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
In response to randal's more recent post:
The problem is that, sure a few gays will be getting married, but marriage will no longer mean the same thing. That's the whole point: this is such a radical change that marriage will be a DIFFERENT thing. You can't change the meaning of marriage to include same-sex couples without breaking marriage--not of course for those who grew up with marriage as we have always known it in the past, but for those people growing up in the new world. The damage would be much more limited if you had a separate institution for gays, say civil unions, that didn't tamper with marriage. But you're upending our most fundamental institution, and one that has evolved over thousands of years to answer certain specific needs--and trying to put it on an entirely new and hypothetical foundation, to answer a different set of specific needs, and you're doing it all on the basis of a few flimsy studies and only a decade or two of reflection! And you have the chutzpah to call all this "conservative"!
11.5.2005 3:40am
randal (mail):
No, Manuel, I understand your point about the camels - you're in the "enough is enough" camp, longing for marriage as it existed a hundred years ago. Well, I don't know what to say except tough titties... time goes forwards, not backwards, and I don't think marriage is going to revert to olde.

In this debate you're just a nay-sayer, prophesying doom based on the argument that bad decisions have been made in the past, so lets not make any more decisions lest they be bad. That's not super compelling. We are where we are, and we have a decision to make. I'm fine with erring on the side of caution, but that doesn't mean our hands are tied. The case for SSM is a good one.
11.5.2005 3:50am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
Re randal again on polgamy,
Well, it used to be that kids wouldn't say "I'm gay" either. There are a small number of people right now who are public polygamists. And quite a number of people have said that they are deeply attached to more than one person at once--there's quite a bit of literature on this. That's not an unknown phenomenon.

While gay marriage should be opposed on its own terms, it's hard to see how polygamy won't eventually follow if gay marriage is established. I realize this suggestion has a ridiculous sound to it (as did gay marriage not long ago); but there are already groups in America supporting polygamy and group marriage, including the American Civil Liberties Union. Believe it or not, the position of the ACLU, since they altered their stand in April of 1991, is that "criminal and civil laws prohibiting or penalizing the practice of plural marriage violate constitutional protections" (national policy no. 91).

Supporters of polygamy or "plural" marriage view their position as the logical conclusion of supporting gay marriage; and there is evidently something to that. If marriage has no intrinsic connection to procreation, but simply means two people who love each other, then why not three, or four? On what principled basis does the state reject a definition of marriage embraced by consenting adult citizens, and deny them what their hearts desire? (Similar arguments might also be made on behalf of incest, at least once the parties involved are adults.)

To be sure, there are arguments against polygamy beyond those against gay marriage; however, they are the sort of arguments that often lose in our democracy, conservative arguments about why it's not always good to let people do what they want, even if nobody is physically harmed. If gay marriage becomes the law of the land, those sorts of arguments will already have taken a beating. On the other side will be the right of individuals to make their own decisions in life, the importance of consent as the bedrock of our democracy, and above all the illegitimacy of judging or discriminating against people who harm nobody and simply wish to live their lives as they see fit. One can even imagine proponents of polygamy claiming to hold the true "Burkean" position: Polygamy will mean a lower divorce rate and fewer single-parent homes, since some married people (notably mothers with children) will prefer allowing their spouses an additional spouse to seeking divorce, and so on.
If gay marriage comes, polygamy will probably eventually come too; and if it does, American life will take a giant step towards the restless and unhappy hedonism that characterized the Roman Empire. Gay marriage by itself would be a smaller step in the same direction.
11.5.2005 3:53am
randal (mail):
I've never called SSM "conservative"! It's totally progressive. I think there's enough there for conservatives to be ok with it, but only as a lesser of two evils. (The worse evil, from a conservative standpoint, being unmarried gays all over the place convincing all the conservative straight kids that marriage isn't important for families.)
11.5.2005 4:01am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
re randal,
A hundred years ago? We're talking about marriage as it exists in 49 states and most of the world, certainly the entire world outside of the West! Time indeed goes forward, but that doesn't always mean progress. If something is bad, then the wise policy is to slow it down, even if it can't be reversed. It's not as though anything human lasts forever, so stretching out the period before something goes bad is nothing to sneeze at. (I mean, your position doesn't make sense to me: if no-fault divorce is a bad idea, then should we have hastened its rise just because it was going to happen anyway?)

I'm not predicting doom simply on the basis of other bad things that have happened in the past (though the similarity between the arguments of the gay marriage advocates and those of the no-fault divorce activists is striking). Rather, I made what I think is a fairly straightforward and obvious argument about the feelings and imagination a lot of people have about marriage, and the consequences of altering the meaning of marriage in a way that greatly weakens that.

Our hands are not tied--we can work to stop, or to slow if it cannot be stopped, this destructive change. Trying to preserve a good thing is not a nay-saying attitude.
11.5.2005 4:06am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
randal: "I've never called SSM 'conservative'!

Sorry, I meant to be refer to Carpenter's "conservative case" there.
11.5.2005 4:08am
Chairm (mail):
Enactment of SSM is a devolution and goes against Burkean principles.

After a week of posts, and all the commentary here, there is still no clearly described purpose for the state to establish a preferential status for the unisexed relationship.

Mr Carpenter continues to climb up on the back of the social institution of marriage. No independant claim for recognizing the private relations between homosexual adults. Just a handful of promises.
11.5.2005 4:09am
randal (mail):
Eh, this has been argued before, but to recap: Polygamy typically harms the wives. Incest harms the child in the case of cross-generation, and even in the case of same-generation, has no plausible benefit to society. Remember, the purported societal benefit of SSM is the whole argument here. This isn't a "right to marry" issue. There's no such right.
11.5.2005 4:09am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
randal,
I think there will be some argument against polygamy along the line you mention, but those arguments will eventually lose out in the case of consenting adults, for reasons I explained. At any rate, not everyone confined his case to the purported societal benefits of gay marriage, and there's no reason to expect they would do so with regard to polygamy (and there is a case to be made for its societal benefits).
11.5.2005 4:21am
randal (mail):
One more comment at Manuel:

I have no position on no-fault divorce. You say it was a bad idea. Maybe so. To me that's not an argument against SSM. I'm not saying we should accept SSM because it's inevitable, I'm saying it's a good idea and we should do it as soon as possible. Of course if you think it's a bad idea you should work to slow/stop it.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY

You talk about preserving the feelings and imagination people have about marriage. Except, not the feelings and imagination existing people have about marriage; we all agree their minds are made up. You're worried about the feelings and imagination future generations will have about marriage.

This is one of my least favorite conservative gambits: that somehow your children's children need to have the same feelings and imagination about everything that you have. Ok they aren't going to, no matter what. Things change a lot from generation to generation, and no generation has the same feelings and imagination as any other. You didn't have the same feelings and imagination about anything that your grandparents had, and would you have wanted to? This is the nostalgia argument and is also unpersuasive.
11.5.2005 4:27am
randal (mail):
About polygamy: If someone stands up and makes a compelling argument about why polygamy is good for society, I'll listen and evaluate it. I've never heard anything close to a compelling argument, and I can't imagine one. So I'm not worried. I support SSM because I think it is compelling for society. I'll be the first to agree, simply stating that two consenting adults should have the right to marry, gay or not, just because it doesn't hurt anyone, isn't sufficient. Marriage exists to benefit society, and if you can't make a case for why your marriage benefits society, you don't get to marry.
11.5.2005 4:48am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
re randal,
I don't expect them to have exactly the same feelings. As you say time changes, conditions change. But there is some natural foundation for the feelings people have about marriage, and they've lasted a long time, and there's reason to hope some of that may be preserved, at least for a while longer. Sometimes one generation does a good job of transmitting their best imaginations and feelings to another (such as a decent patriotism, civility, tolerance, love of liberty, sense of honor, pride, taste, etc), and sometimes they fail.

I don't see why some of my ancestors might not have had finer feelings and more delicate understandings of things than I now do. Certainly there are many persons who were vastly superior to me who lived in the past, and I expect in the future also (though somehow I always have a hard time thinking they exist today!). The same is true for periods of time, after taking into account the general progress of the arts over time (--which doesn't always help us as much as people imagine). (Off topic, but an impressive book for depicting the relative virtues and vices of an earlier time is Churchill's Marlborough.)

You admit the possibility at least that the change caused by no-fault divorce was bad, and I assume you've noticed other negative changes in the history of the world. I don't think every change is bad, but for the reasons I gave, I think this is bad change, and certainly risky and needless.
11.5.2005 4:51am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
re randal on polygamy:
Sure, most people TODAY don't think the arguments that I made in favor of polygamy are compelling, any more than anyone would have taken seriously gay marriage 20 years ago. The question is whether people who grow up in a world formed by this radically new understanding of marriage will feel as opposed to it. I say, no.

Now you're the one who's "reverting to olde" and failing to see that "time goes forward."
11.5.2005 4:56am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
Randal Lopez: But there is some natural foundation for the feelings people have about marriage, and they've lasted a long time, and there's reason to hope some of that may be preserved, at least for a while longer.

Randal, can I ask you to consider this.

You want your grandchild to feel that getting married is important. Your grandchild sees that some people are legally barred from marriage, and yet live in couples and raise children, and support each other. Do you feel that your grandchild seeing that couples who are legally forbidden to marry can still form stable long-term relationships and raise children will make your grandchild value marriage more, or less? If marriage is important, your grandchild may ask you, how come Joe and Bob down the street, who have lived together for sixty years, aren't married?

Well, you tell that pesky brat, because marriage is about procreation and raising children. Joe and Bob can't have children, so they don't need to get married.

If marriage is about procreation and raising children, asks the annoying child, why is it that Lucy and Sally, who have three children, aren't married?

Well, you tell your grandchild, because Lucy's daughter is from when she was married to David, and Sally had an adopted child and a child by AID. It's not important that parents are married, it's just important that you're married when you conceive a child.

But, says your grandchild, my parents weren't married when I was conceived, and they aren't married now: remember, Dad and Mom separated five years ago.

Well, you say.... but they could have got married, and that's what's important.

How are you going to convince your grandchild that marriage is important, if the only reason you have that it is important (yet restricted to mixed-sex couples only) is for conceiving children inside marriage?
11.5.2005 5:08am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
Apologies. My comment above is directed to Manual Lopez. Pesky cut-and-paste.
11.5.2005 5:09am
randal (mail):
Not so fast - I said I'd be receptive to compelling arguments for polygamy. Maybe in 20 years someone will have thought of some? I doubt it. But if they do, hey, more power. It doesn't affect this debate. As I mentioned before, saying we shouldn't do SSM for the sole reason that it might enable another debate about something else in 20 years is weak. Let's have that debate in 20 years. If we're going to have it with SSM, we'll probably have it without SSM - I don't see how the arguments could be all that related. We'd probably be debating SSM today whether or not no-fault divorce or interracial marriage happened. They're also not particularly related.

ON GENERATIONS

Yes I agree with all your points. Which goes back to my original. I imagine I'm a little younger than you (29), and I imagine there are now people younger than I am. I'm as concerned as you are about the society that future generations see as they mature. But rather than try to make it seem as much like the society I saw growing up, I focus on trying to make it seem like as good a society as possible for them to grow up in. I find the prevalence of unmarried gays raising families to be a distraction and a detriment to the image of marriage in society today. But I'm not so naive or cruel as to demand less visibility for gays or to advocate policies that discourage gay families. The better option is to legitimize them. Yes, with SSM, future generations' feelings toward marriage will be different from yours or mine. They'll be better.
11.5.2005 5:25am
TRC:
Manuel Lopez:

Kudos to you for laying out a cogent, principled case for urging caution on SSM. It is ironic that a gay man makes one of the most compelling cases against SSM (or at least makes a case for urging caution about SSM).

A few friendly notes (with links):

If the experiments in Scandinavia and elsewhere are any indication, the adoption of SSM marriage (or civil unions) could further exacerbate problems with the institution of marriage among heteros, and result in fewer straights with children marrying or remaining married (which generally would not be good for children).

link

Also, adopting SSM would probably further decouple marriage from its procreative function and encourage same-sex heterosexual couples (without children) to marry for benefits. In fact, over time, the primary beneficiaries of SSM marriage might not be gays but same-sex heteros who want the benefits. (This could further affect how people perceive marriage and its link to procreation.)

link

An interrupted time series design could be used to examine whether marriage has adverse effects on children.

link

As a practical matter, "gay marriage" will never be adopted into law because of the costs of verifying sexual orientation.

link

Advocates of SSM have generally dodge this question: What real-world evidence would indicate that SSM is a bad idea and should *not* be adopted? (One exception: Somebody with the handle Jesurgislac).

link

Excellent posts, Manuel. It's 5:00 a.m. in San Antonio. I am going back to bed.

TRC
11.5.2005 5:59am
randal (mail):
Manuel's gay? *gasp* :)
11.5.2005 6:07am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
Re randal and Jesurgislac:
Hey, grandchildren is still pretty speculative for me, since I'm still in school and I'm gay anyway.

I've actually answered this or a similar point somewhere else here, but there have been so many comments that I can't find it. The point is not a subtle one (your argument about timings and conception etc.). Lucy and Sally didn't themselves have children with one another. Every child sooner or later gets taught the facts of life, and that is that every person born has a father and mother. Now, something unfortunate may have happened, the mother may have died, the father may have abandoned the family--and someone steps in to fill the place of the father or mother. While not ideal, a man replacing a father and husband, or a woman replacing a mother and wife, is not a direct contradiction of the feelings the child is developing about marriage, that there is some meaning to it that is much bigger than human intentions, reflected in bodily sexual differences, reflected in procreation, reflected in a whole amazing package of feelings, including a quasi-religious feeling of awe or reverence.

As for Joe and Bob, the point is the child is not thinking of them as husband and wife--they're two men living together. I suppose most Americans explain that they're "friends." Whatever the case, the point is that if they're regarded as husband and wife, or spouses, that's a very radical change to the understanding of marriage, and of course that's what we'll see taught in the schools, since that's probably the next thing activists will want to do after they've won on gay marriage (p.c. teachings in school). You've probably seen the recent California case (also posted at volokh.com), about first graders being asked about having sex or touching other people's "private parts" and whether they could "stop thinking about having sex." I can attest that's by no means an isolated example. But hey, "time moves forward" and all that.

(re randal on polygamy): The point is that the SAME bad arguments 20 years from now will seem compelling--people are creatures of prejudice, and the prevailing winds have a great effect. There is also a close connection between polygamy and gay marriage which I sketched out above (as I argued, gay marriage will likely make polygamy inevitable), but I agree the case against gay marriage should stand on its own.

I don't ask for less visibility for gays, I'm a fairly visible guy myself, but only that they consider more fully the gravity of the change they want to make and the effect that change may have. There is no way to make them 'legitimate' without fatally undermining the thing that is supposed to legitimate them--the legitimacy of marriage is not simply the result of law, but the result of its connection to something bigger than human will, to natural sexual difference and procreation. I'm not making this up, as most of the response to gay marriage across the country shows. I predict there will eventually be gay marriage everywhere in the U.S., but that will be at the price of feelings and prejudices that marriage cannot do without.
11.5.2005 6:12am
Manuel Lopez (mail):
TRC,
Thanks for the links. I suspect it's too early to say about the effects in Europe--these effects can take decades to develop--but Europe is doing so much worse than us on so many fronts that it's hard to see why anyone would be eager to leap in after them. (It seems that gay marriage is inevitable here, despite short-term political movements, but even a short-term delay is valuable.)
11.5.2005 6:26am
randal (mail):
Perhaps I'm just less sentimental than most. (Perhaps I also don't consider "legitimate" a verb, although I like it!) What there needs is a third guest blogger who focuses on alternatives to gay marriage. As came up frequently in Dale's posts, the motivation for gay marriage is that something needs to be done, and SSM seems like the best plan. I think the dire prognostications of SSM are overblown, but I'm willing to entertain them, so lets hear some alternatives.

Is it seriously the word "marriage" that's the problem? Like, if it's called "gaytrimony" or "civil unions" then it's ok? I find that hard to believe - if it's de facto marriage, then people are going to call it "marriage", no matter what the technical legal term is.

But if it's something substantially different, then what is it? Just, nothing, like today? I find that also hard to believe as the best plan.
11.5.2005 6:51am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
As for Joe and Bob, the point is the child is not thinking of them as husband and wife--they're two men living together.

Yes: is thinking of them as a couple who live together, who love each other, who are publicly committed - maybe they got married religiously at the local church - but who aren't allowed to get married, because marriage is exclusively for the procreation of children.

Likewise, Lucy and Sally, unmarried, show this grandchild (don't put yourself down: there's no reason you might not have grandchildren, if you want children) of yours that marriage isn't for bringing up children - it's only for conceiving children.

The real attack on marriage comes from those who, in order to define marriage as something from which same-sex couples are by nature excluded, redefine marriage to mean nothing but a relationship inside which children are or ostensibly could be conceived. Marriage isn't about a couple who love each other committing to each other for life - because if it is, there's no reason to exclude same-sex couples. Marriage isn't about providing a stable environment for children - because if it is, there's no reason to exclude same-sex couples. Because same-sex couples and mixed-sex couples are pretty much the same - people fall in love, get together, want to live together, regardless of whether it's two women, two men, or a man and a woman - in order to argue that marriage isn't something that same-sex couples should have access to, you have to strip away virtually any reason a couple might have for wanting to get married. Except conceiving children together inside wedlock.

And as all legal discrimination against illegitimate children has been removed, which is good, because it was always unfair to discriminate against children because of their parents' choices, there ends up being no particularly good reason to get married.

As, I think, Maggie demonstrated last week.
11.5.2005 7:17am
randal (mail):
One more point that I haven't heard made here.

There is a good argument against gay marriage. That it would destroy gay culture!

If the gay lifestyle were legitimated, who would the fundamentalists demonize? How could God-fearing straight people feel holier-than-thou in their repressed married life without the presence of sexually liberated homosexuals to feel holier-than?

What would become of the creative energies of a built-in subculture? Would Queer Eye remain compelling? If the gay lifestyle were subsumed into heterosexual society, who would cut our hair?

What of the touching gay coming-of-age-in-an-intolerant-society tales we've grown to love? And the horrifying hate crimes we'd miss on the nightly news?

Thanksgiving would be less fun if the gay uncle were just gay married and everyone was gay comfortable. No more awkward, exhilarating moments covering up reality with the children.

Ok ok that was fun. But seriously, if anyone has something to fear from SSM it's those with a stake in gay culture. It's a point many a gay has made. I'll miss it too, but I think the benefit to society outweighs the loss. What's my point? I guess it's that the hypothetical damage SSM would inflict on straight culture seems a little overstated in comparison.
11.5.2005 7:59am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
And quite a number of people have said that they are deeply attached to more than one person at once--there's quite a bit of literature on this.

I think almost every man is deeply attracted in the physical sense to many more than one woman (or if homosexual, to more than one man).

Human nature shows that there is no special "polygamy" orientation, but rather it's men in general -- especially the most dominant, Alpha-oriented men -- who have a general orientation to spread their seed as far and wide as possible and to horde the entire crop of fertile females to the exclusion of lesser males.

Polygamy, wherever it has existed -- and keep in mind that in cross-cultural history, it has been extremely common, arguably as dominant, if not more so than one man/one woman -- is almost always one man/more than one woman, rarely if ever the reverse, and the powerful dominant males hording the entire crop of women to the exclusion of lesser males who get nada.
11.5.2005 8:56am
Rock (mail) (www):
Marriage is rooted in the abstract ability of a man and a woman to procreate. This doesn't mean that all man/woman married couples will have children. But it does mean that, in the abstract, a man and woman engaged in sexual activity can produce children naturally.

This is what makes the one man/one woman relationship fundamentally different from a two man relationahip or a two woman relationship. It also distinguishes the one man/one woman relationship from a three man/five woman relationship.

Once we remove the procreate roots of marriage from the definition of marriage, marriage becomes anything any individual within society wants it to be. A man can say that since he loves his dog, he should be allowed to marry his dog. A mother can say that since she loves her son, she should be allowed to marry her son.

If love is the criterion for marriage, the insitutition of marriage ends up being dramatically changed from its current state.

Certainly marriage as it is currently defined in 49 states (one man/one woman) is "discrimanatory" in the sense that a man and woman who don't love each other and don't plan to have children can get married while two men who do love each other and plan to have children can not get married.

But one must be 18 years old to vote in the United States even though many 17 year olds are more informed about political issues than many 19 year olds.

Discrimination isn't always bad. That's why a cardiologist sometimes recommends that his patients discriminate between steak and vegatables. Not all discrimination is bad.
11.5.2005 9:25am
A Berman (mail):
Dale,
I think you made some very strong arguments and I appreciate the time you took and the effort you made.
Ultimately, arguments must be tested in the real world. Yet legalizing Same Sex Marriage is a one-way ticket, as you implicitly point out. So are we left just with arguments to determine what to do? No, we are also left with history and other countries that are testing this in the present. In all of history, with all the different cultures of the world, there's simply no evidence that defining marriage so generally leads to a healthy fruitful society. There are currently several countries which have recently legalized Same Sex Marriage. It is too early to be definitive, but I see no evidence that marriage is healthy in any of those countries-- that they are going to be able to work out of their demographic death-spirals (and I do not use that term lightly) Of course, it's not fair to blame same sex marriage for their marriage problems. However, it's not fair to discount it, either. Let's see what happens, OK?
11.5.2005 9:28am
Rock (mail) (www):
randal,

Same sex relationships are fundamentally different than one man/one woman relationships for this reason: There is zero chance that two man having sex will naturally produce children. But there is a chance that a man and a woman will produce children by having sex. Thus, in the abstract, the government has a reason to recognize relationships between men and women.

Now, you could argue that some gays are parents and, thus, should have their relationships recognized. But that arguement fails for two reasons:

(1) Society might be better off if gays were discouraged from raising children. Children might be better off if they were raised by one man and one woman instead of two people of the same sex. One could argue that men and women bring different qualities to childrearing.

(2) If the ability to be a parent becomes the basis for having a "right to marry" there is no reason to prohibit three men and five women from adopting children and being married.
11.5.2005 9:39am
Rock (mail) (www):
randal,

I think you might also be confusing what is legal with what is desirable.

Homosexuality is legal, as it should be. But society does not view homosexuality as morally equivilent to heterosexuality.

Same sex marriage would send the wrong message. It would send a message that society thinks homosexuality and heterosexuality are on the same moral plane.

Similarly, it is legal to have more than one sexual partner. A man who has sex with more than one woman in one week is not breaking the law. But that does not mean that society wants to encourage such behavior by implementing plural marriage.

We need to realize that there is a difference between what society will tolerate and what society wants to encourage.
11.5.2005 9:43am
Marianne:
Professor Carpenter,

Thank you for a well-reasoned, wonderfully written, and thoroughly persuasive set of arguments.
11.5.2005 9:46am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

Once we remove the procreate roots of marriage from the definition of marriage, marriage becomes anything any individual within society wants it to be. A man can say that since he loves his dog, he should be allowed to marry his dog. A mother can say that since she loves her son, she should be allowed to marry her son.


A mother already can procreate with her son. And indeed a mother/son relationship in no way violates the one man one woman model that you have posited. More evidence that the "slippery slope" theory is nonsense.

BTW: You can't contract with animals. Marry your dog if you want, just don't try to file a joint tax return with it.
11.5.2005 10:25am
Jimbino (mail):
What you thought were three unloaded camels showed the effects of a mirage. If you were able to see more clearly, you would notice that they were three camels carried on the backs of dozens of single folks--widowed, divorced, young mothers with children, cohabiting heteros, brother-sister pairs and grandmother-grandaughter pairs, who will hold them for ransom until you manage to come up with a plan that will extend the privileges of camel-riding to everyone.
11.5.2005 10:40am
Rock (mail) (www):
Jon Rowe,

A mother already can procreate with her son. And indeed a mother/son relationship in no way violates the one man one woman model that you have posited.

True, as far as it goes. But those of us who oppose same sex marriage believe that love is not the sole criterion on which marriage is based.

Supporters of traditional marriage believe that men and women are fundamentally different and a one man/one woman relationship is fundamentally different from a two man relationship. In addition, traditional marriage supporters believe that marriage should not encourage a mother and a son to be in a sexual relationship even if they love each other and and are sexually attracted to each other.

Thus, supporters of traditional marriage do not view marriage as a libertarian institution where each person can marry anyone they want.

If we decide otherwise it will be difficult, in not impossible, to argue against a mother marrying her son or three men marrying five women.

Do we really want to turn the institution of marriage upside down and get rid of the "roots of marriage?" The roots of marriage are, after all, the abstract ability of a man and a woman to procreate.
11.5.2005 10:58am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Dale Carpenter is one thing: the problems facing marriage today have nothing to do with same-sex couples and their kids.

The trouble is, that what Dale asks us to do, would require us to change the definition and purpose of marriage. This change, among other things, would make permanent all of the damage that has been done to marriage over the last 40 years through no-fault divorce and other frankensteinizations.

Once you say that the central purpose of marriage is no longer to give potential children a mom and a dad, there is no turning back.

Dale's alterations to Maggie's metaphor similarly distort what this issue is about. In his 100 camels story, Dale pretends that this is about material resources. We have more than enough, says Dale, so why can't we share. In Dale's picture, giving a few camels to another family doesn't affect our own ability to get where we are going. Maggie's metaphor is more apt, because what the ssm proponents ask us to do, materially alters our own marriage covenants, and the entire idea of marriage.

Dale's metaphor also breaks down on the question of necessity. All the legal benefits that accompany marriage can easily be provided through same-sex unions.

The only reasons to demand ssm rather than ssus are invidious reasons. What some cynically call "equality." Same-sex relationships can NEVER equal what marriage is now, for simple biological reasons: a same-sex union cannot spontaneously produce offspring. A man can never put his head against amother man's belly and listen to the movements of his own growing baby. In the ultimate exampe of sour grapes, ssm proponents seem to have decided, that since same-sex couples can't have real marriage, that marriage must be redefined as what same-sex couples can also have. This is the Harrison Bergeron school of "equality." Neutered marriage sets aside reproductive potential as something that bears no inherent relationship to marriage.

This is cultural nihilism. Dale has done a better job than most at replying to the pro-marriage objections to ssm, but he always falls short of addressing core objections, such as why the sterility straw man doesn't work, the fact that changing the meaning of the word "marriage" in the public sphere effects cultural genocide, and redefines the sexual identity of most Americans in crass and demeaning terms, and the fact that ssm requires neutering of essentially sexed laws and constructs, breaking the legal and cultural link between marriage and reproduction.

So thank you Mr. Dale, but no thank you. America is big enough to play host to different ideologies. For example, US regulations define multiple categories of food, including "dolphin-safe," "organic," "halal," "kosher," and another kosher-like category for a different Jewish group whose rabbis defined Kosher differently. The idea is that when you create a different category, you give the category a different name. You don't need to overwrite one set of criteria that has one purpose, with a different set of criteria with a different purpose. If some reform or renewal Jewish rabbis decide they want certain types of bacon cheesburgers to be "Kosher," it would be wrong for them to pressure the courts to change an existing category. They should ask instead for a new category in order to protect food labeling for their own group.

If you want to share a language and community with us, then find another word. Marriage already has a meaning, and we're not going to let you erase that meaning, just because those that don't like it feel left out.
11.5.2005 11:00am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

A mother already can procreate with her son. And indeed a mother/son relationship in no way violates the one man one woman model that you have posited.


That is correct. That's why a marriage between mother and son is an ILLEGAL marriage, while a "marriage" between two men is no marriage at all.

If a man who is already married, marries a second woman while the first is still alive, that is an ILLEGAL marriage and he can go to jail for bigamy. But if the same man "marries" his dog, a tree, or another man, the state won't send him to jail for bigamy, because here the second "marriage" was not a marriage, therefore no bigamy.

Does that help?
11.5.2005 11:06am
Rock (mail) (www):
People form an opinion on same sex marriage based on how they view homosexuality and monogamous heterosexuality (with prohibitions on consanguinity).

I think of homosexuality as something society should tolorate but not celebrate. Monagamous heterosexuality is something that should be celebrated and encouraged by society.

Should society encourage monogamous homosexuality as an alternative to promisuous homosexuality? Yes. But that can be done without implementing same sex marriage.

America has a choice. It can accept the moral relativism that same sex marriage offers or it can fall back on the belief that marriage is more that two people loving each other. I think most Americans have already made the right choice and are opposing same sex marriage.
11.5.2005 11:06am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
Jesurgislac: You want your grandchild to feel that getting married is important. Your grandchild sees that some people are legally barred from marriage [siblings, mother-daughter pairings, polyamorous communes], and yet live in couples and raise children, and support each other. Do you feel that your grandchild seeing that couples who are legally forbidden to marry can still form stable long-term relationships and raise children will make your grandchild value marriage more, or less?

Answer your own question, Jes.

Those who would neuter marriage depend on mischaracterizing and abusing logical terms like "slippery slope" to hide the fact that what is really staring them in the face is a logical contradiction in their position that they simply cannot plug. I am not saying they are arguing in bad faith per se. I believe it is more likely that they are simply too hopeful of a way out that when they think they have found one they simply rush to it without thought. To quote Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." [or in this case, any impediment to reason such as desperation]

My experience has been that the argument for neutered "marriage" is a constantly morphing one, suggesting that the conclusion was reached first, then a justification was sought to sell the end product after. When the simpler justifications are easily refuted, like the "fundamental right" claim, those advancing those theories don't re-evaluate their conclusion, instead they simply re-evaluate their sales pitch, coming up with some different claim or belief system like Dale's utility argument, above. This is not the hallmark of a reasoned position or even a remotely good idea. This is the hallmark of fickle mood and rash behavior.

The capstone of these invented sales pitches is the appeal to novelty. The notion that the new idea must be better than the old idea since the new idea is, well, newer. "The times, they are a-changin'. This is a new world and we must adapt! The genie's already out of the bottle, might as well just conform!" These sales pitches abandon any last pretense of reason and simply admit that the idea preceded the rationale as each of these "rationale's" depends on the pre-existance of an idea and a foothold for it of some kind.

This is the same sales pitch that went along with that epitomy of progressivism, Communism. From the example of communism we learn two lessons: 1) Fads can be resisted. 2) Adoption of a fad for fad's sake can have horrible, horrible consequences. Virtually every country swept up in the untested, faddish communist ideal has since rejected it, but not before much suffering, poverty, and destruction at the hands of their idol to progressivism. Whether neutering marriage has the same potential to destroy is the subject of debate, but regardless, the appeal to novelty some use to pitch it is clearly unsound, dangerous, and must be rejected.
11.5.2005 11:11am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
The fact that same-sex couples have kids, and that these are REAL families, does not mean that they are real marriages.

There are more single mothers than there are same-sex couples with kids. Shall we therefore say that single mothers can get married to themselves? Would that increase the social acceptance of single mothers and their children, or would that just mock marriage?

Lest anyone jump and reply to my previous post that I'm comparing homosexuality to bestiality, please note that I said NOTHING about sex with an animal or with a tree. If we take the whole idea of reproduction out of the idea of marriage, they why not jettison sex as well? Take the family in Peter Pan -- if Wendy's mother dies, why shouldn't her dad be able to marry Nana the dog, and thereby obtain vetenary insurance for her? Clearly Nana is a critical part of that family.
11.5.2005 11:13am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

I'm curious how you respond to this article which lays out benefits unique and distinct to marriage that cannot easily be conferred through contracts.

Well, honestly I wasn't hinting at contracts. I'll agree that contracts are not the complete answer. But I beleive RB's are. Which brings up the second question, having made a case (at least in his own mind) that where there is a dependant relationship possibly raising children there should be some program to stabalize and protect the members of the relationship, I wonder why he excludes non-romantic same-sex relationships (such as a mother-daughter team raising children after an abusive or dead husband). Honestly there might even be a trio in that, as the daughter might have moved back in with her parents or some nice elderly couple she trusts but is not related to. It seems his program should equally cover them also.

Dale rejects polygamy as dangerous because it raises jealousy and strife. I pointed out the same thing happens during the surrogacy and AI of ss-parenting. But lets say his argument is what he says it is, I believe we can associate the problems with the romantic intricasies, so I would be hard pressed to see such non-romantic relationships as drawing the problems he sees.

But then again it just seems wrong to call them a marriage.
11.5.2005 11:13am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Marianne,

I'm all for kudos and congragulatory encouragement, but I'm left to wonder if you read the same arguments I did.

I saw Prof Carpenter start out telling us that gays exist, and made a side-ways cheap shot insisting that no one defending marriage sees this. Was that persuasive to you?

He built a case using more statistics that gays exist with children to present to us that gay marriage helps people around gays. But then he admitted in one of his responses to commentary that he has no evidence, and he deliberately ignores gay-marriage-like institutions to continue the "no-evidence" argument. Did you find that persuasive?

He argued that polygamy caused strife as multiple members of the same gender would get jealous. He noted how the asymetrical loading of one gender in the overall family invited prejudice. Yet ss"m" has exactly the same problems. We see cases where strife between surrogates and sperm donors and members of the relationship wind their way to the courts all the time. We also see how ss"m" encourages gender segregation, which encourages gender chauvanism. In short his dismissal of polygamy winds up dismissing ss"m". But you found his selective dismissal to be persuasive?

His attack on the procreative purpose of marriage wound up being, as Appellate Junkie (noted ss"m" advocate) said, a rhetorical trainwreck.

Then he channeled the spirit of an ancient concervative to try to tell us that he would have supported ss"m". With reasoning supposedly developed from his views such as the simultaneous need to move incrementally but federally all at once in the issue. You found something in that argument to be persuasive?

I'm not saying you didn't or shouldn't have. I'm just wondering what you saw that I didn't.
11.5.2005 11:28am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
"Does that help?"

No. I'm working on a post on my blogs. Your assertion is a self-evident absurdity.

I think I've proven that if we "undefine" marriages by allowing two of the same gender to marriage, the only other "undefined" marriages that this could slope to are with animals and non-animal objects. To say a love that a man has for another man is more analogous to the love a man has for a toaster oven than for a woman is just a self-evident aburdity.

Any rational individual observing a relationship between 1) a man and a woman, 2) a man and a man, and 3) a man and a toaster, and then, through "natural classification" were asked to group together or make an analogy ("which two are closer to one another?") simply would not group the man/toaster relationship with the man/man relationship. It's really that simple.
11.5.2005 11:29am
Rock (mail) (www):
Dale rejects polygamy as dangerous because it raises jealousy and strife.

Polygamy might produce jealousy and strife for some people but not other people. Thus, those who would not want to deal with the jealousy and strife that would result from being in a polygamous marriage would, in a free society, have the option of rejecting polygamy.

Dale's "jealousy and strife" objection might prevent Dale from joining a group marriage. But it does not explain why government should not allow people to make their own choices regarding group marriage.

However, if government has a legitimate role in encouraging good behavior (monogamous heterosexuality) and discouraging bad behavior (homosexuality), than government policy that encourages some behaviors over others (monogamous homosexuality instead of promiscuous homosexuality) might be considered acceptable.

But you can't take a moral relativist position on marriage in one breath, saying that society should not judge homosexuality as less moral than heterosexuality, and in the next breath take a moralist position on marriage by arguing that people who prefer group marriage (despite the jealousy and strife associated with it) should not be allowed to enter into marriage based on their preferred sexual appetites.
11.5.2005 11:35am
The Editors, American Federalist Journal (mail) (www):
Jon Rowe,
To say a love that a man has for another man is analogous to the love a man has for a woman is just a self-evident aburdity.
11.5.2005 11:48am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Rock,

I personally subscribe to a school of thought that morality is based in pragmatism. You can come to the same contradiction pursuing both avenues in Dale's approach. After all Dale seems to have just been masquerading his moralism in pragmatic clothing. But lets take for a second that they are distinctly different principles because I'm sure not everyone has made the connection between pragmatism and morality yet.

Then the contradiction presented, that ss"m" functions much like a polygamous relationship in the mechanisms that he predicts strife and gender oppression exposes just how intrinsic the flaws in his argument are because it follows his pragmatic reasoning (as best I can tell).
11.5.2005 11:50am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
It's closer to a man/woman than it is to a man/toaster or man/animal. See my most recent post.
11.5.2005 11:51am
Antonin:
But you can't take a moral relativist position on marriage in one breath, saying that society should not judge homosexuality as less moral than heterosexuality, and in the next breath take a moralist position on marriage by arguing that people who prefer group marriage (despite the jealousy and strife associated with it) should not be allowed to enter into marriage based on their preferred sexual appetites.
Where did this come from? It's perfectly consistent to take a moral objectivist position on homosexuality (that there's nothing morally wrong with it) while taking a moral objectivist position on polygamy/group marriage (that it's morally wrong). I don't think it's the state's business to be enforcing private sexual morality, however.

I'm interested in equality arguments for gay marriage, not "traditionalist" arguments, and the equality arguments for gay marriage simply can't be translated onto polygamy. There are, as a matter of fact, no "polygamists" or "polyamorists" in the sense that there are gays and lesbians. Gays and lesbians are people for whom marriage to a member of the opposite sex is categorically unacceptable, because we are simply not attracted to them. At all. A marriage between a lesbian or gay man and a member of the other sex would simply be a sham. You might as well tell Christians that they're free to worship Allah at a mosque.

To be a polyamorist in the way that people are gays or lesbians would mean that they were incapable of being attracted to people as individuals, only in groups. This is not how polyamory (or polygamy) works. Polyamorists are attracted to each of their partners as a specific individual.

If there really were polyamorists in the sense that there are gays and lesbians, I'd be open to talking about extending marriage to them. It wouldn't be an open-and-shut case since I would be concerned that as a practical matter such laws would be used as a tool for the oppression and abuse of women, which is what polygamy has amounted to in American history. But since there are no such people, there's no reason to talk about the hypothetical.
11.5.2005 11:57am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Jon,

It may be closer, but its not insurmountable by any means.

Neutering marriage not only removes it of a recognizable procreative purpose, but it removes it from a recognizable romantic purpose also. Any relationship of convenience becomes a marriage. Either that or as others suggest, marriage is so purposeless that it risks being abondoned alltogether.
11.5.2005 11:59am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

Any rational individual observing a relationship between 1) a man and a woman, 2) a man and a man, and 3) a man and a toaster, and then, through "natural classification" were asked to group together or make an analogy ("which two are closer to one another?") simply would not group the man/toaster relationship with the man/man relationship. It's really that simple.


Of course it is, because everything is simple when you start out by saying that anyone who agrees with you is irrational. That's the classic emperor's new clothes fallacy.

If you just had a three different pictures,
1. man &woman
2. man &man
3. man &toaster
and said "which two are most alike," I agree that most people would probably say 1 &2.

But if you asked which two relationships are most most like a MARRIAGE, a perfectly rational person might choose 1 &3 rather than 1 &2. If you think about it, in relationship 3, a man can have a relationship with a toaster where he puts something into the toaster, and after some time, the toaster pops something else out. AFAIK that does not happen with relationship 2.
11.5.2005 12:03pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Antonin,

If there really were polyamorists in the sense that there are gays and lesbians

There was the Dutch threesome in the news recently for having a marriage, well as much of a marriage as they could (they dressed up in bridal gowns and tuxes, had a reception and everything). There is also a site on the internet which encourages polyamourists to proudly display a ribbon on their sites to support polyamoury.

But the contradiction pointed out in the post Rock was replying to is the evidence of the fault in Dale's approach. Now granted, Dale's approach is still better than yours as it specifically nailed down just what made each beneficial or non beneficial to society. Sometimes "morality" is a way to say I don't have to show you benefits, its an ivory tower academic exercise at that point. And sure anything goes then as the subsiquent divorce from reality provides many fruitful planes to traverse effortlessly.
11.5.2005 12:05pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

You might as well tell Christians that they're free to worship Allah at a mosque.


But SSM-advocates are the ones saying that the Mosque should allow Christians to worship there, and to "expand" the definition of Mosque. A more reasonable policy would be to allow Christians to worship at their own churches, rather than trying to change the definition of Mosque.
11.5.2005 12:06pm
Antonin:
The Editors:
To say a love that a man has for another man is analogous to the love a man has for a woman is just a self-evident aburdity.
Reality has a funny tendency to keep proving "self-evident absurdities" wrong. Action-at-a-distance? A self-evident absurdity. But Isaac Newton's theory of gravity proved it. A physical object can exist, but be located in no particular place? Sounds like a self-evident absurdity to me. But quantum mechanics says it's true.

It extends even to matters of moral fact. A man can rape his wife? How could that be true? Isn't that what she's there for? Even within my lifetime (I'm 24) I remember people talking about marital rape as though it were a conceptual impossibility. But it's possible - as a matter of objective moral reality.

The point is that our judgments about what's self-evident can't uniformly be trusted. Sometimes what seems self-evident is actually wrong. Talk to some gay people. If you listen with an open mind, you will see that you are wrong.
11.5.2005 12:08pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Logicblackbelt,

Well said!

Excuse me while I clean the carpet from trying to laugh and dring orange juice at the same time ... :)

Of course I don't see my wife as a toaster, but she does have equipment that makes our marriage potent and useful.
11.5.2005 12:09pm
Antonin:
On Lawn:
Neutering marriage not only removes it of a recognizable procreative purpose, but it removes it from a recognizable romantic purpose also. Any relationship of convenience becomes a marriage.
This logic makes no sense to me. Can you elaborate?
11.5.2005 12:14pm
Antonin:
On Lawn:
There was the Dutch threesome in the news recently for having a marriage, well as much of a marriage as they could (they dressed up in bridal gowns and tuxes, had a reception and everything). There is also a site on the internet which encourages polyamourists to proudly display a ribbon on their sites to support polyamoury.
True. But it's not relevant to what I said. If you provide evidence that there are people who are simply not attracted to people as individuals - for whom any two-person marriage would be a sham, because they couldn't possibly be attracted to a single partner - I'll be willing to consider the possibility that there are polyamorists in the sense that there are gays and lesbians.
11.5.2005 12:20pm
The Editors, American Federalist Journal (mail) (www):
Antonin:

If you listen with an open mind, you will see that you are wrong.

How convenient. Agreement with Antonin is proof of an open mind. Disagreement is proof of a closed mind. How closed-minded.
11.5.2005 12:22pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Antonin,

Well take the quiz then...

1) Why do same-sex couples *have* to be called a marriage? If the government benefits they see coming from marriage were applied through a seperate program would that not satisfy the requirement?

2) If the case Dale, Rauch, Sullivan and other notable marriage neuterers is making is that there needs to be some government program to stabalize and afford mutual care and protection for people in a dependant relationship (that might be raising children) then why exclude the non-romantic relationships such as a woman who moved in with a trusted elderly couple to help raise her children while she worked?
11.5.2005 12:24pm
The Editors, American Federalist Journal (mail) (www):
Antonin:

...because they couldn't possibly be attracted to a single partner...

I don't think I've ever met a man who was only attracted to a single partner.
11.5.2005 12:25pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Antonin,

If you provide evidence that there are people who are simply not attracted to people as individuals

First there is no such evidence about homosexuals. And I'm not arguing that homosexuality is not natural. I'm arguing that it is oppressive to label someone as incapable of something so intrisic as the ability to love someone different than they are. It encourages chauvanism, and is tantamount to saying they have to drink from another water fountain.

Second, there are many people who find they can love more than one person at a time. Adultery is common, and is a situation that someone cannot contain their love to just one person. By the reasoning you present, keeping them from marrying both their mistress and wife is making him live a sham.

Take the Dutch couple, would you really remove the third member of their polyamorous relationship? Can you tell them that their mutual love for each member is not for real, and force them to live in a sham? (as they had done for many years prior to obtaining their mutual contract).
11.5.2005 12:30pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Sorry, that would be the Dutch trio.
11.5.2005 12:35pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
On the other hand, if you asked whether relationship 1 (FM) or 2 (MM) was more like the relationship between man and toaster, my answer would probably be 2, since the only methods of reproduction available to MM couples are scientific, predictable, and toaster-like. Women and their husbands sometimes couple for years before they can have a baby, or, end up suddenly becoming pregnant in spite of using birth control at an incredibly inconvenient time. (I've seen both happen in my marriage.) Marriage exists precisely to fit that sort of unpredictable contingency. It takes much less effort for an MM couple to plan marriage-like legal safeguards for kids that they might produce or acquire, than the work they need to put into actually producing or acquiring the kids in the first place. Obviously getting a surrogate mother and making all those legal arrangements is no picnic.
11.5.2005 12:38pm
Kendall:
"1) Why do same-sex couples *have* to be called a marriage? If the government benefits they see coming from marriage were applied through a seperate program would that not satisfy the requirement?"

they don't if the argument really IS just about the word. Lets call it a civil union and have the federal government extend every right married couples have to those that are... what, unionized? seems a little too socialist for my taste but hey, if this is about a word then sign me up! The argument isn't so much about state benefits I suppose, although those matter. The real meat and potatoes are federal benefits which are of course denied under DOMA to for example residents of massachusetts where SSM is legal both in the court's mind and the mind of the legislature (who rejected an ammendment which would overturn the ruling thereby giving it tacit approval).

So I guess the word isn't that important, except that under current law states already HAVE SSM and as long as DOMA exists Massachusetts gay married couples won't be able to have the same rights under federal law that COULD be provided for under civil union laws. Are you advocating a repeal of DOMA for Mass. residents?
11.5.2005 12:41pm
Noah Snyder (mail):
Rock wrote: "It can accept the moral relativism that same sex marriage offers"

It's not moral relativism, it's just not your morals.
11.5.2005 12:51pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
they don't if the argument really IS just about the word.

Actually, a different word is only a function of the fact that their view of marriage and the benefits they see coming from it are a subset of what marriage currently is. As such I wouldn't be suprised that whatever it winds up being called only has a subset of the benefits. Everything else is superflous right?

I mean Dale and others spend much time taking the procreative purpose out of marriage, (a.k.a neutering marriage). They also try to remove the equality of requiring equal gender participation. So lets let them have something where those are removed, and call it something else. Why do they have to call it a marriage, and thus remove those virtues (and more) for everyone?

DOMA is fine, its ss"m" in Massachusetts that is your enemy.
11.5.2005 12:54pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Noah,

It's not moral relativism, it's just not your morals.

Think very carefully about what you just said here...
11.5.2005 12:56pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

I await your answer for question #2...
11.5.2005 12:56pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Massachusetts gay married couples won't be able to have the same rights under federal law that COULD be provided for under civil union laws. Are you advocating a repeal of DOMA for Mass. residents?

Nope. I would rather see the feds provide the same federal privileges, immunities, and liabilities to same-sex unions as to real marriages. If Massachussetts wants to give same-sex couples the same benefits, then they should pass laws regarding same-sex unions.

You are right that "Unioned" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. How about "partnerered"? It might not sound romantic, but then I'm not sure why you'd want to require same-sex partners to have sex together. As a recent Oregon initiative has noticed, if a same-sex couple lives together, raise kids together, share property, then why should we force them into a sexual entanglement in order for the state to take notice of their socioeconomic relationship?
11.5.2005 1:13pm
Antonin:
On Lawn:
Antonin,

If you provide evidence that there are people who are simply not attracted to people as individuals

First there is no such evidence about homosexuals. And I'm not arguing that homosexuality is not natural. I'm arguing that it is oppressive to label someone as incapable of something so intrisic as the ability to love someone different than they are. It encourages chauvanism, and is tantamount to saying they have to drink from another water fountain.
"Oppressive" or no, that doesn't mean it's not true. Gay people have been trying for at least decades to change their orientation through therapy, Jesus, or sheer force of will. By and large, it doesn't work no matter how hard they try - and the social stigma is enormous, so they have huge incentives to try. In any case, we could turn it around and say it's oppressive to claim that people aren't capable of loving people similar to them.

It's not really relevant anyway. Since when all men the same? I have a lot more in common with a liberal, female graduate student from California than with a conservative male farmer from Kansas. The claim that marrying her would be marrying someone "different" from me and marrying him would be marrying someone the same as myself is untenable. In every aspect of human existence except sexual biology, the differences between individual men are much larger than any statistical differences between men as a class and women as a class.
11.5.2005 1:16pm
Antonin:
On Lawn:
Noah,

It's not moral relativism, it's just not your morals.

Think very carefully about what you just said here...
Are you being deliberately obtuse? It's not moral relativism: homosexuality is morally appropriate as a matter of objective truth. Your beliefs aren't equally valid as Noah's and mine. Noah was just saying "It's not moral relativism, we just disagree about what moral truth is" in a slightly imprecise way.
11.5.2005 1:23pm
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
Antonin: I'm interested in equality arguments for gay marriage, not "traditionalist" arguments, and the equality arguments for gay marriage simply can't be translated onto polygamy.

False. You claim that the sexual proclivities of a class of people makes marriage uninteresting to them, therefore it is our duty to change marriage so that it will become interesting to them. Those who are repulsed by the idea of sexual exclusivity likewise find marriage uninteresting, therefore, it is the same equality argument.

What of your claim that it is the ability to label people that is the true test of whether an equality argument can be made? That is ridiculous on its face. All people are created equal, not all labels. Whether you've managed to stigmatize someone into a particular label or not, they have a right to equality that you are trying to deny to polyamorists. (Whoops, looks like I just labeled them, now you're stuck.)

What of other labels we have applied to people? Labels like pedophile? Pedophiles are labeled. Pedophiles' main sexual motivation is not included under the marriage definition, therefore your label requirement would require marriage redefinition on their behalf.

Gays and lesbians are people for whom marriage to a member of the opposite sex is categorically unacceptable, because we are simply not attracted to them.

So are you saying someone is "gay" or "lesbian" because at any given moment in time they are not attracted to someone of the opposite sex, say someone currently between boyfriends, or are you saying that someone is "gay" or "lesbian" only if they are never attracted to someone of the opposite sex?

What of small business loans? There are lots of people out there who are "not interested" in running their own business. Clearly "equality" dictates that we change this government program to be something they would have more interest in. What if you're simply uninterested in being a soldier? Should we change the definition of soldier so that you can take advantage of veterans benefits? What about President? Lots of people are not interested in politics, let's label them politiphobes. Equality, and the invention of a label to describe the class means we have a duty to redefine the office so it will be of interest to those poor politiphobes.

What's that you say? Something about a purpose in having a President? A purpose for soldiers? Even a purpose for small business loans? Naw. I must have misheard.

To be a polyamorist in the way that people are gays or lesbians would mean that they were incapable of being attracted to people as individuals, only in groups.

Wrong! Above you define "gay" and "lesbian" in terms of whether marrying would be a "sham" according to how they describe their sexual behaviors. That exact definition applies to the poor polyamorist who's sexual proclivities are likewise offended by the concept inherent in marriage of exclusivity. The polyamorist's marriage would be equally a "sham," therefore it is our duty to replace it with some other institution that would interest the poor polyamorist who is not equal enough to live in your world.

If there really were polyamorists in the sense that there are gays and lesbians, I'd be open to talking about extending marriage to them.

Get talking then.

It wouldn't be an open-and-shut case since I would be concerned that as a practical matter such laws would be used as a tool for the oppression and abuse of women...

What? You simply wouldn't afford them the same equality you would the rest of us? After all, claims of fundamental rights specifically preclude consideration of consequences. In this attempt to patch your argument you have simply underscored the inequality, i.e., bigotry, of your position.

Antonin, in a later post: Reality has a funny tendency to keep proving "self-evident absurdities" wrong.

What is really funny about this is that the phrase "self-evident aburdities [sic]" was originally deployed in defense of neutered marriage. Antonin fully accepted it then, but when The Editors parroted the phrase back as a defense of marriage, suddenly Antonin finds claims of "self-evident aburdities" problematic.
11.5.2005 1:28pm
Manuel Lopez (mail):
A minor note for the record: I make reference in my first comment in this section to Carpenter's "public affirmation" of his love. That refers to a love letter that Carpenter quoted and other remarks by him that took up about half of his post (the second half), but that he has since silently deleted.
11.5.2005 1:31pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Antonin,

I'm sorry but I'll just let your comments speak for themselves. I'm entirely uninterested in your "I am what I am" style identity struggles. What compells me is the identity of marriage, and how that is being neutered.

I've posted two questions, and I await their reply.
11.5.2005 1:33pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Manuel,

You are absolutely right! I didn't notice that until now. What happened to the "other traditionalist" reference to their love letter?
11.5.2005 1:34pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
"But those of us who oppose same sex marriage believe that love is not the sole criterion on which marriage is based."

As do those that support marriage equality. Marriage comes from our inborn need to couple up, to form families. This natural need is innate and potentially present in each INDIVIDUAL citizen regardless of their sexual orientatin, they already do marry because if it and as scuh they have a right to have access to the civil contract in support of it in a valid government.

You can claim there is a difference between heterogendered and homogendered couples all you want but it is up to YOU to demonstrate this qualitative difference AND to show that it is greater than the variation within the group that is already allowed to license the civil contract. Failing this its just another contrived rationalization.

And, of course it is very easy to allow all citizens reasonable access to the existing civil contract without having to produce new contracts or give a citizens any kind of access they want - the government can reasonably regulate natural rights, they just can't tell a citizen they have no right at all. Polygamists already exist - I know the 3rd wife of an Islamic man right here in Washington state - and yet he is civilly contracted with this first wife. He has access to the civil contract already as he has used it to legally marry someone he would actually want to be married to. This isn't about 'the insititution of marriage' the government realistically has no say in that - this is about reasonable access to a civil contract licensed by the state to all citizens who need it.

Telling married homogendered couples and their families the they are denied all reasonable access to the civil contract is pure animus, nothing more.
11.5.2005 1:36pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Dale seems to be arguing in favor of "two person marriage," defining marriage as a union between two people.

But isn't such a definition of marriage based on the moral judgement that says having sexual intercourse with more than one person is less morally acceptable than being in a mogomous sexual relationship? If so, same-sex marriage doens't remove morality from the act of defining marriage. It simply defines marriage from a different set of moral assumptions.

One question that everyone in this marriage debate should answer is:

Should people have to modify their sexual appetites in order to qualify for being married, or should the institution of marriage be modified to accomodate the diverse sexual desires of human beings?

Supporters of traditional marriage would accept the former while supporters of same-sex marriage would accept the latter.
11.5.2005 1:45pm
Challenge:
I, too, would like to thank Professor Volokh for inviting Mr. Carpenter to guest blog. He has been courteous to those who disagree and articulate in expressing his views. He is a real credit to the pro-gay marriage camp.

I have been unable to follow each thread, and to carefully read each entry, but I am still perplexed why Mr. Carpenter frames the marriage debate only around gay couples. His analysis is nuanced and multi-faceted but the core of it seems to be about supporting gay families. It is wrong, he says, to leave these families without the recognition and support that heterosexual marriages enjoy. If this is a sufficient reason to redefine the institution, why not give all families raising children the benefits and support of marriage? As I put it earlier, if I were to help raise my brother's children, staying home with them when he worked, then why should this particular family structure suffer from the same "discrimination"? Should I, in this hypothetical, receive health insurance benefits?

There are good reasons to support all families in some of the ways marriage does for heterosexual couples. But it does not follow that structures that resemble marriage should be entitled to the precise and complete benefits marriage entails. State involvement in marriage is tailored to the specific needs and stucture of heterosexual unions. There may be reasons to support all families, but must they be supported how Carpenter prefers, marriage equality?
11.5.2005 1:48pm
Manuel Lopez (mail):
In response to Jon Rowe,
I said *deeply attached,* not merely attracted (of course most men at some point have a desire to sleep with a lot of women). There's quite a bit of literature on a man loving and wanting to spend his life with more than one woman at the same time, because neither one completely meets his needs. Of course, you claim there is no special polygamist orientation, but the polygamists disagree--who are you to interpret their experience for them? What about their rights? They are consenting adults, they say this is what makes them happy, and that they are only a small percentage of the population, etc. I just don't see how your arguments against it are compelling once we live in the new world where we've replaced traditional marriage with the new "gay marriage" version of it. There's already quite a lot of support for it among some of the same circle of professors that have agitated for gay marriage, and I mentioned the A.C.L.U. position. Sure some feminists will object because of the historical oppression of women, but I don't think that will be powerful once it's clear the women are voluntarily engaging in group marriages--this will not be Mormon-style polygamy, but a secular, hip modern variant. (For one thing, there is a movement for group marriages in the case of mothers who want to remain mothers to the children they bear for gay couples.)
11.5.2005 1:48pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob,

As do those that support marriage equality.

People that support equal gender representation in marriage support marriage equality.

Marriage comes from our inborn need to couple up, to form families.

Yet gays have not expressed this need througout history. I'll tell you why, because gays/lesbians can't reproduce and thus "form" a family.

regardless of their sexual orientatin

Agreed, marriage is not made to oppress people based on sexual orientation. There is no need to change it.

they have a right to have access to the civil contract in support of it in a valid government.

Yes they do, and marriage already accomodates everyone. What you wish is for marriage to pamper your lifestyle, and that is enough to throw it out for contempt.
11.5.2005 1:48pm
Challenge:
Also, it is important to note that emphasizing children in this debate seems to make the slippery slope to polygamy an easier sell. Certainly children raised in polygamous arrangements suffer from the lack of state support of their familial arrangment (sometimes even hostility and criminalization). If we really care about these children, shouldn't we approve of their family and provide support like we do for traditional marriages?
11.5.2005 1:54pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Homosexuals can get married today, under the current definition of marriage. But to do so, a homosexual would have to marry a person of the opposite sex.

So, marriage is currently open to all, even if the requirements of marriage are more difficult for some people than for others.

Same sex marriage proponents are arguing that the institution of marriage should be changed so that all human beings are equally interested in the institution. Thus, a homosexual who currently does not desire to be married might desire to be married if same-sex marriage is implemented.

But even if same sex marriage is implemented, some people will be more attracted to the institution than others. People who want to have sex with strangers still might desire marriage less than those who want to have sex with someone they have known for a long time.

Bending marriage to satisfy the individual appetites and preferences of all human beings is destined to distort the institution of marriage beyond recognition.

A much better approach would be to retain one man/one woman tradtional marriage and encourage more people to adjust their own appetites and behaviors to conform with the existing institution.
11.5.2005 2:03pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Challenge:

If we really care about these children, shouldn't we approve of their family and provide support like we do for traditional marriages?

It depends on what you think is good for children.

I think our society should strive to increase the proportion of children raised by a mother and a father. It should not strive to increase the proportion of children raised by a mob of adults under the protection of group marriage.
11.5.2005 2:06pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Supporters of same sex marriage need to accept the fact that marriage is rooted in the procreative act.

Two men can have sex all they want and they will not produce any children as a result of their sexual intercourse.

Thus, trying to pretend that there is no qualitative difference between a heterosexual relationship and a homosexual relationship is an impossible task.
11.5.2005 2:09pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
You can claim there is a difference between heterogendered and homogendered couples all you want but it is up to YOU to demonstrate this qualitative difference

Here's that qualitative difference, in simple terms you should be able to understand: Where do babies come from?


AND to show that it is greater than the variation within the group that is already allowed to license the civil contract.


That, I answered here and here.


Marriage is about responsible procreation. Contrary to Dale's construction, this is NOT just about making more babies. FIRST, Marriage increases the number of children socialized in a stable home with a mother and a father. SECOND, just as importantly, marriage decreases the number of children born into situations where they won't have a father and mother to socialize them.

1: In older couples it's almost always the woman who is infertile, and by encouraging f/m monogamy through marriage, the state makes it less likely that the fertile old man will beget children on younger women. This decreases illigitimacy.

2. Among younger "sterile couples," usually it's only one party that is sterile. If the woman's sterile, the marriage makes it less likely that the fertile guy is going to be going around impregnating other women. Here again, a "sterile" marriage decreases illigitimacy.

3. Even in the rare case where both parties are infertile, a sterile member of an f/m married couple is less likely to develop a romance with a married mother or father, thereby putting the stability of a family in danger. Here, this increases the chance of children growing up with the same mother and father.

4. Additionally, in either situation 2 or 3, having an infertile marriage around increases the chance that an illigitimate or abandoned child might be adopted and given a father and mother.

5. Finally, the f/m model of marriage celebrates gender diversity, driving home the social lesson that a child needs a mother and a father. The more married couples there are, the more power marriage has as a norm. And this norm benefits almost everyone, since it functions as a model to be sought or at least approximated. Three examples: The marriage model (a) motivates single parents to marry, (b) motivates single mothers to at least to seek out some sort of godfather figure for the kids; (c) motivates widowers and other single fathers to at least to seek out some sort of godmother figure for the kids; (d) the marriage model even encourages many same-sex couples to find an opposite-sex godparent. So even if the kids don't get an actual mother and father, the marriage norm encourages their parents to get them some sort of substitute for the missing role. A substitute may be better than nothing.

The same principle applies to the states that allow 1st cousins to marry if they prove their sterility. It's irresponsible for cousins to procreate, so if two cousins get the hots for each other, society is better off bribing the couple with maritial status if they get snipped. When it comes to inbreeding and illigitimacy, responsible procreation means no procreation. That's good social policy, policy that reduces the population of our prisons and mental hospitals. The Goodridge ruling posits marriage as something that somehow protects children by getting tacked on after the children are born. Blended families happen, and they deserve our protection and support, but it strains credulty to pretend that marriage was designed to help blended families, well, blend. If Joey's mom divorces his dad, and then marries Roger, does Mom's marriage to Roger turn Roger into Joey's father? Nope. That might happen, but it's called adoption. It's not a function of marriage. Marrying after you've had kids with someone else does not convey the main benefits of marriage onto your kids, i.e. to give your kids a father and a mother, a stable financially independent home, etc. An acrobat gets the most benefit from a net, if you mount the net before the acrobatics. Once the acrobat has fallen, she probably doesn't need a net. At best, she needs a hospital. At worst, she needs a morgue. Similarly, a marriage that is in place before the child is born, is more likely to help the child.

...
[the purpose of marriage] is to increase the proportion of children raised with a father and a mother. That means that a valid should either (a) increase the chances of children in society being raised with a mother and a father, or (b) Decrease the chances of children in society being raised without a father and mother. SSM does neither, and if anything has the reverse effect, by taking bisexual males out of the pool of eligible husbands. (remember there are more women in the population than men.)

... Marriage is about responsible procreation. Contrary to Dale's construction, this is NOT just about making more babies. FIRST, Marriage increases the number of children socialized in a stable home with a mother and a father. SECOND, just as importantly, marriage decreases the number of children born into situations where they won't have a father and mother to socialize them.

...Marriage makes it less likely that the older man will make illigitimate with a younger UNMARRIED woman. There's no law to stop an older adult from marrying a younger one.

[in response to Peter H's question of "why not allow same-sex marriage to reduce the number of children born to gay people who married a heterosexual for social approval and later broke up?" I replied] How would that (a)increase the number of children raised by a mother and father, or (b) decrease the number of children not raised by a mother and father?


So Bob, let's turn the question back to you. Can you show me now ssm would be liekly to 1) increase the number of children raised by fathers and mothers, or 2) decrease the number of children raised in a situation OTHER than with a father and mother?

Because I've done just that for older and sterile MF couples, here in this post.
11.5.2005 2:12pm
Dale Carpenter (mail):
By email, Manuel Lopez notes that my "Last Thoughts" post originally contained material that I edited out soon after I made the post. I had not intended to include it, and did not initially realize it was included. It was late and I have been exhausted by blogging this week. (I have no idea how people do this and hold down a full-time job.) What's up now is what I intended to send. My apology if my error created confusion among readers.
11.5.2005 2:18pm
Manuel Lopez (mail):
"A mother already can procreate with her son. And indeed a mother/son relationship in no way violates the one man one woman model that you have posited."

Well, that's a big problem (usually father/daughter), and as you know that's one reason we need such strong taboos against it. The point is not that marriage is simply natural--if that were so, we wouldn't need it in the first place. No law as law is natural. Men and women procreate all the time without marriage (and of course there was a time before marriage was invented, sometime before the beginning of history). Marriage needs and cannot do without its connection to something natural and larger than we are, but that connection doesn't mean marriage is simply natural.

Though there will always be a strong natural impulse to the permanent lifelong union of one man and one woman raising a family together, there may not be sufficient guidance to those growing up to lead them well to that end. That's one reason why divorce has had such a powerful effect: people have a natural impulse to something good but they need some guidance as they're growing up from the laws and society.

Marriage is partly natural, but also in need of conventional support (like, e.g., property, which needs laws to define and protect it). Marriage is in an ambiguous position; it is not something any civilized society can wholly do without, yet it is not something that simply exists without laws (including religious laws). It is a big component of the happiness of most decent people, and that is true BY NATURE: Even though marriage is not simply natural, by nature most people don't live very well without some sort of lifelong attachment to one other person, particularly one with whom they have children. Now of course many marriages are childless or unhappy or both, but these are precisely the kinds of exceptions that tend to prove the rule. People need to believe that marriage is bigger than they are, that it is not simply a product of their desire or their "commitment." This belief is (generally speaking) good for them, and for the society in which they live; it encourages them to resist impulses or desires that might harm their own long-term prospects for happiness.
11.5.2005 2:20pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
I just don't see how your arguments against it are compelling once we live in the new world where we've replaced traditional marriage with the new "gay marriage" version of it.

The sexual revolution in some ways was a male fantasy; men, by their nature, enjoy easy hook up sex, without long-term committment; women don't.

Women, who experienced the 1970s easy swinger style sex, by in large, felt emotionally disappointed by it; the men, again by in large, had no such complaints.

Similarly, as I noted in my first post, I don't doubt that many men do have a deep desire to be with more than one woman. But it's not a *special* orientation fixed to a small percentage of men; it's something that men generally as a group have (and likewise, these men by in large have the capacity to flourish in long term monogamous relations as well).

Or at least, if you study cross-culturally, this is what you will see: Men, especially the most dominant ones in any given society, have the capacity to enjoy themselves hoarding as many women as possible, spreading their seed as far and wide as possible to the exclusion of lesser men.

Perhaps we should have a "free-contract" marriage society where this is permitted. But the end result will be the Donald Trumps's, Bill Gates's and Bill Clinton's of the world (at least these are the guys in market oriented liberal democratic societies; in more primitive societies, it was Genghis Khan types, see this link on Khan himself) hoarding the entire crop of fertile women to the exclusion of ordinary joes.

This, it seems to me, raises and entirely different set of concerns than gay marriage.

Indeed in this post (reproduced on Maggie's and Eve's Marriage Debate), I wrote:


We outlaw polygamy for precisely the same policy reason why we would demand the recognition of gay marriage: the meaningful chance for any individual to marry a person they love. The gay man, like the single-unlucky male in a polygamous society cannot marry any person he loves.
11.5.2005 2:23pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - "DOMA is fine, its ss"m" in Massachusetts that is your enemy."

I'm sorry, I believe Massachusetts has every right to not overturn a law just because it is disliked by some people. You can put marriage in quotes but whether YOU like it or not those marriages are JUST as legally valid as any other marriage in this country. The fact is the reason previous challenges to DOMA failed was that plaintiffs had a lack of standing, there were no same-sex married couples in the US therefore there could be no challenge under DOMA for benefits. Since Massachusetts now recognizes marriage rights for all adult couples its not "marriage" its simply marriage. Get your terminology right please. Oh, and explain how its "my" enemy rather than "your" enemy.

As for my "response to your second "point" (you know, you're right, quotes are fun!) your challenge is: "2) If the case Dale, Rauch, Sullivan and other notable marriage neuterers is making is that there needs to be some government program to stabalize and afford mutual care and protection for people in a dependant relationship (that might be raising children) then why exclude the non-romantic relationships such as a woman who moved in with a trusted elderly couple to help raise her children while she worked?" Simple, we don't, and current law doesn't. There is currently no bedroom check for married couples. if a man and a woman are living together, not having sex, (an alien concept to you perhaps?) and want to get married the law cannot stop them. So, if its allowed for heterosexual pairings (a gay man could marry a lesbian I suppose and his boyfriend could marry her girlfriend and they could both get any legal benefits of marriage I SUPPOSE no matter how overly complicated that seems). I suppose I just don't see how SSM changes the potential for abuse of the system like that.

As for polygamy, if that's what you're trying to imply that argument has been repeatedly addressed.
11.5.2005 2:28pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):

I believe Massachusetts has every right to not overturn a law just because it is disliked by some people.

I can buy that. But their program harms its participants. If they had CU or DP or RB program their relasionship would be recognized by other states. That is why it is your enemy, and why they should change.

Since Massachusetts now recognizes marriage rights for all adult couples its not "marriage" its simply marriage.

I don't support amphibologies as an argument, and niether should you. Even if one state out of 50 was imposed to do so by a legislative action of the courts. Thus it is ss"m" to distinguish the seperate entity that is their institution.

Simple, we don't, and current law doesn't.

A woman can (and should be expected) to marry a couple because she is dependant on each other and they are helping raise her child? That doesn't even wash in Dale's commentary.

I'll give you a mulligan on that one.
11.5.2005 2:38pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Jon Rowe,

We outlaw polygamy for precisely the same policy reason why we would demand the recognition of gay marriage: the meaningful chance for any individual to marry a person they love. The gay man, like the single-unlucky male in a polygamous society cannot marry any person he loves.

This represents a moral judgement against polygamy and in favor of homosexual relationships.

I see no reason why society can not develop its policy regarding marriage from a different set of moral assumptions.

We could just as easily decide that people should have the freedom to do what they want and, as a result, allow people to marry whomever they want and any number of people they want.

Far better would be for society to stick with traditional marriage. Homosexuality should be considered wrong but not illegal.
11.5.2005 2:39pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
[Kendall]: So, if its allowed for heterosexual pairings (a gay man could marry a lesbian I suppose and his boyfriend could marry her girlfriend and they could both get any legal benefits of marriage I SUPPOSE no matter how overly complicated that seems). I suppose I just don't see how SSM changes the potential for abuse of the system like that.


Why would that be an abuse of the system?

Remember, the test is, is it likely to

(a)increase the number of children raised by a mother and father, or (b) decrease the number of children not raised by a mother and father?


If the woman decided to get pregnant, artificially, or whatever, that would increase the number of children raised by a mother and father, since the kids don't need mommy and daddy to be knocking boots.

If a relative of either party to the marriage died, they might end up with the relative's children to raise. Here again, the marriage increases the likelihood that the child would be raised by a father and a mother.

Furthermore, the marriage decreases the chance that either of the couple would end up having and raising kids in a situation where they did NOT have a father and a mother.

So what you describe is NOT an abuse of marriage, but marriage functioning as designed.

You know, most government programs have looholes and wastage; it's amazing how air-tight marriage is, for bestowing benefits on relationships likely to increase the proportion of kids raised by moms and dads.

Except in Massachussetts, these days. But that will be corrected soon.
11.5.2005 2:40pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

I believe Massachusetts has every right to not overturn a law just because it is disliked by some people.


Not according to the Massachussetts Supreme Court. The Goodridge ruling was that Massachussetts did not have the RIGHT to not overturn the law (marriage = between a man and a woman) that was disliked by a fringe group of people.
11.5.2005 2:43pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
logicblackbelt,

I'd propose that the question Kendall was answering is well served to meet that purpose, but I offered the criteria as Dale, Sullivan, Rauch and others proposed: that if it benefits relationships and the children raised by them then it should be called a marriage to obtain the benefits.

Kendall took that question and immediately challenged that I was saying that was an abuse of the system. Quite the opposite, Rauch, Sullivan and Dale convinced me that those relationships should have some sort of recognition. I don't see it as abuse. Kendall should answer the question accordingly, and it is rather generous that I use the constraints provided by fellow ss"m" advocates.

Just my 2 cents.
11.5.2005 2:46pm
Public_Defender:

Supporters of same sex marriage need to accept the fact that marriage is rooted in the procreative act.

The anti-gay crowd needs to accept that gay people and gay families exist. They are not going away. With the exception of those who argue for marriage-without-the-word, the anti-gay crowd continues to fail to respond to the key pro-gay marriage argument. Encouraging gays and lesbians to form monogamous relationships (as opposed to short-term promiscuous "relationships") is good for gays and lesbians, good for society, and good for the children of the same sex couples.

It's certainly better for the kids of gay people to grow up in households with legal and social protections that marriage brings to a family.

It seems that some people are so anti-gay they are willing to make life more difficult for the children in hundreds of thousands, if not million, of gay families.

If you think gay sex is icky or immoral, don't do it. But don't sacrifice the kids of gay families because their parents don't interpret the Bible the same way you do.
11.5.2005 3:24pm
Manuel Lopez (mail):
In reply to Jon Rowe,
It seems you're just mired in an uptight, old-fogey way of looking at things, or at least not being very imaginative. Who are you to say what the polygamists feel? They claim they are NOT like the 70's swingers (and not like most men), that you're denigrating and libeling their love, and that they have a need to be bonded with two persons in this special way, and they will be unhappy and NOT flourish in your privileged binary world. This is not a Mormon-style polygamy with women who are not consenting adults. If the women are unhappy, well, there's a lot of unhappiness from no-fault divorce as well, but that's the price of freedom. I doubt it will be possible to stop this development after gay marriage spreads, and there's every indication that the same shift in opinion is gradually occuring on this, starting in academia, as occurred earlier with gay marriage.
11.5.2005 3:57pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - actually, I simply don't understand your point. If you're arguing about polygamy still Dale repeatedly addressed that as have other people, we don't need to make the same point ad nauseum do we? I took the question as whether sex was required for marriage. Simply, it isn't. a male and female friend can marry today whether or not they have sex and whether or not they're straight, there is no "sex test" but since you're arguing about polygamy that didn't answer your question. then again, you didn't address my response to your first point, and the polygamy argument HAS been addressed by several people before me.

I'm still waiting btw for a point by point explanation how the rights mentioned in this link can be given to same sex couples without marriage.
11.5.2005 4:01pm
Kendall:
sorry, bad link. the link is here
11.5.2005 4:02pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
Rock (mail) (www): Homosexuals can get married today, under the current definition of marriage. But to do so, a homosexual would have to marry a person of the opposite sex.

So, marriage is currently open to all, even if the requirements of marriage are more difficult for some people than for others.


And redefining marriage to mean "A formal legal relationship between a man and a woman who need have no sexual or romantic feelings for each other whatsoever".

Wouldn't pass as a legal marriage with U.S. Immigration, and straights who marry gays who lie to them are usually not happy about it when they figure out they were cheated, but if you're honest about only wanting a sham marriage, I guess that's the business of the two who enter into it.

It puzzles me, though, that so many people who claim to defend marriage want to strip it of everything that most people consider to be the best things about marriage. Rock, you evidently consider marriage to be a relationship in which two people have no sexual feelings for each other: do you really think most people share that view of marriage?
11.5.2005 4:09pm
Manuel Lopez (mail):
"It's certainly better for the kids of gay people to grow up in households with legal and social protections that marriage brings to a family."

This argument has been covered a few times. First of all, for all the other children, it's not good to grow up in a world where marriage is no longer available, but has become a gutted, different thing, robbed of its core meaning. Second, it's not clear that it's good even for the children living with two same-sex caretakers to grow up in a world without traditional marriage--after all, they're probably straight themselves. Third, they have plenty of protections as is, via adoption laws; the law can't pretend their parents are like a real mother and father, as it can do with a man and a woman, without violently and harmfully overturning the meanings and feelings attached to marriage. Finally, one shouldn't assume that the evidence on how well children are raised by same-sex couples is conclusive--far from it, and even the tendentious and inadequate studies Carpenter himself cites shows a greater openness to sexual experimentation in children raised by same-sex parents.
11.5.2005 4:10pm
Crane (mail):
logicblackbelt -

So, if a gay man and a lesbian get married solely to take advantage of the legal benefits, and continue their relationships with their partners of the same sex, that's fine and good because any children either one has will still be raised by a mother and a father? I'm sorry, but I just don't see how an arrangement like that is any better than having a kid raised by a same-sex couple, with a neighbor or relative as a role model of the opposite sex.
11.5.2005 4:15pm
Blackbird:
After having read both series and thousands of comments, it seems to me that a lot of the argumentation boils down to an argument over the word "marriage", as many other posters have noted.

A large number of the anti-ssm posters here would seem to have no objection at all to a civil contract that provided all the rights and imposed all the obligations of civil marriage, so long as it is not called "marriage". This amounts to a semantic distinction without a legal difference, or perhaps more to the point of the anti-ssm crowd, a presumed moral or social elevation of the distinctiveness of marriage, without any meaningful legal difference between marriage and civil unions.

I cannot see how, absent some legal andvantage given to "marriage", that the elvated distinction of marriage can ultimately be maintained. It seems likely to me that the elevated status of the term "marriage" will likely erode under the vagueries of liguistic usage. Can anyone prevent civilly unionized same-sex partners from referring to themselves as "married"? And as civilly unionized couples become common, are the truly "married" really going to be able to defend and maintain their exclusive right to the term in the public discourse? I do not think so.

There used to be two distinct pronouns in the English language for the second person singular and the second person plural--"thou" and "you". This was a neat grammatical distinction that was conversationally useful--so useful in fact that some dialects of the American South reinvented the distinction with "y'all".

But "thou" and "you" also used to encode a social distinction. Even when speaking to a single individual, the term "you" was used when speaking to a noble above one's station, and "thou" was used by the noble speaking to the ignoble, and among the ignoble themselves. At some point in the last 400 years, the distinction of nobility became so unimportant in daily usage that we now use the "elevated" term "you" exclusively. I think that something similar will happen to the term "marriage" if civil unions without any legal difference to marriage are enacted into law, because the distinction of saying "'Marriage' is for breeders only" will not be very important in the conversations of daily life, much like the now archaic social distinction between "thou" and "you".

Tendentious purists of the future will make the distinction in the same way that tendentious purists of the present still make a distinction between "less" and "fewer", though most people really don't care, or even know, what that distinction is--and the distinction will ultimately be about as important, merely a way for purists to maintain two unimportant categories.

Ultimately, if anti-ssm advocates want to maintain the nobility of marriage, they will have to maintain its noble priviledge--and that means maintaining a legal and not merely rhetorical denigration of civil unions.
11.5.2005 4:15pm
Antonin:
I feel obliged to point out once again that the final step in the abolition of "traditional" marriage was taken 20-30 years ago when we expanded the definition of rape to include a man's rape of his wife. "Traiditional" marriage was an institution in which a man essentially owned a woman. We've scrapped that and replaced it with something completely different - a relationship between equals. If we want "traditional" marriage, let's stop prosecuting spousal battery, put "not his wife" back into the rape statutes, ban women from owning property, and stop caring whether men cheat on their wives.

Frankly, traditional marriage was more like the relationship between a man and his toaster. Both were his property.
11.5.2005 4:19pm
Antonin:
I feel obliged to point out once again that the final step in the abolition of "traditional" marriage was taken 20-30 years ago when we expanded the definition of rape to include a man's rape of his wife. "Traiditional" marriage was an institution in which a man essentially owned a woman. We've scrapped that and replaced it with something completely different - a relationship between equals. If we want "traditional" marriage, let's stop prosecuting spousal battery, put "not his wife" back into the rape statutes, ban married women from owning property, and stop caring whether men cheat on their wives.

Frankly, traditional marriage was more like the relationship between a man and his toaster. Both were his property.
11.5.2005 4:19pm
Jimmy:
Dale, thanks for presenting a great argument. And thanks again to Eugene for asking Dale and Maggie provide their side of this contentious issue.

I'm still on the fence with this issue but I am now familiar with the sophisitcated arguments on both sides. Being a Texas voter, I have some serious thinking to do between now and Tuesday.

I am heartened that the tone of the comments in response to Dale's posts was far better than the tone of the comments in response to Maggie's. I think the difference should be enlightening to the small but vocal gaggle of dissenters that chose to rebut Maggie's arguments with, "I don't understand/like/agree with your argument so you must be a bigot."
11.5.2005 4:30pm
A Berman (mail):
Antonin:
"Frankly, traditional marriage was more like the relationship between a man and his toaster. Both were his property."

I have parents and had grandparents. I don't know about you, but most of the elderly men I know, and most people who I knew as a child 20-30 years ago, did not have relationships where the men owned the women in any sense. Whatever reasons for the original legal point, it is beyond ridiculous to suggest that it was used in general by men to rape their wives at will.

It's truly amazing how, in order to promote a point, some people feel it's necessary to denigrate and falsify practically all of human history.
11.5.2005 4:36pm
Antonin:
Whatever reasons for the original legal point, it is beyond ridiculous to suggest that it was used in general by men to rape their wives at will.
Not 20-30 years ago, it wasn't. The abolition of "traditional" marriage has been a 200-year process that included allowing married women to own property, destroying the social acceptability of wife-beating (which used to be extremely widespread), actually prosecuting wife-beaters, and abolishing the laws that said it was impossible for a man to rape his wife.It's truly amazing how, in order to promote a point, some people feel it's necessary to denigrate and falsify practically all of human history.Denigrate, yes. Virtually all of human history has been filled with evils that we wouldn't begin to think of tolerating today, of which the fact that marriage used to be a tool for the subjegation of women is only one. Falsify, no. The people who claim that marriage as it exists today is a "traditional" institution, rather than a recent invention, are the falsifiers.

As for your specific point, I don't know how commonplace spousal rape was 20-30 years ago, but it was probably a hell of a lot less commonplace than it was when people thought a man had an inalienable right to beat his wife.
11.5.2005 4:54pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

A large number of the anti-ssm posters here would seem to have no objection at all to a civil contract that provided all the rights and imposed all the obligations of civil marriage, so long as it is not called "marriage". This amounts to a semantic distinction without a legal difference, or perhaps more to the point of the anti-ssm crowd, a presumed moral or social elevation of the distinctiveness of marriage, without any meaningful legal difference between marriage and civil unions.

I cannot see how, absent some legal andvantage given to "marriage", that the elvated distinction of marriage can ultimately be maintained.


Unless marriage IS inherently different and superior, in which case it would maintain an elevated distinction. If the kids of same-sex couples end up doing just as well, or better, and if same-sex unions end up more stable and doing more good for society, then they will ultimately get that credit.

And if they end up basically doing the same thing, then over a generation or two the difference would be lost.

What's the problem then?



Can anyone prevent civilly unionized same-sex partners from referring to themselves as "married"? And as civilly unionized couples become common, are the truly "married" really going to be able to defend and maintain their exclusive right to the term in the public discourse?


Yes, because then even in school settings, we can use terms like "marriage, wife, husband" without threat of being sued or fired for political incorrectness. We can defend our usages so long as there isn't a law to coerce us to "broaden" our definition of marriage.
11.5.2005 4:55pm
Antonin:
My blockquote tags seem not to have come out properly, so let me try that again:
Whatever reasons for the original legal point, it is beyond ridiculous to suggest that it was used in general by men to rape their wives at will.
The abolition of "traditional" marriage has been a 200-year process that included allowing married women to own property, destroying the social acceptability of wife-beating (which used to be extremely widespread), actually prosecuting wife-beaters, and abolishing the laws that said it was impossible for a man to rape his wife.
It's truly amazing how, in order to promote a point, some people feel it's necessary to denigrate and falsify practically all of human history.
Denigrate, yes. Virtually all of human history has been filled with evils that we wouldn't begin to think of tolerating today, of which the fact that marriage used to be a tool for the subjegation of women is only one. Falsify, no. The people who claim that marriage as it exists today is a "traditional" institution, rather than a recent invention, are the falsifiers.

As for your specific point, I don't know how commonplace spousal rape was 20-30 years ago, but it was probably a hell of a lot less commonplace than it was when people thought a man had an inalienable right to beat his wife.
11.5.2005 4:57pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

I am heartened that the tone of the comments in response to Dale's posts was far better than the tone of the comments in response to Maggie's.


You noticed that too? Yes. It's really sad that our universities churn out so many graduates who have been taught that having politically correct views excuses their bad reasoning, bad grammar, and bad manners.
11.5.2005 4:59pm
Blackbird:
logicblackbelt:


Unless marriage IS inherently different and superior, in which case it would maintain an elevated distinction. If the kids of same-sex couples end up doing just as well, or better, and if same-sex unions end up more stable and doing more good for society, then they will ultimately get that credit.

And if they end up basically doing the same thing, then over a generation or two the difference would be lost.

What's the problem then?


In the interest of full disclosure, I don't have any problem with same-sex unions being called marriages. I have not seen any persuasive arguments that the definition of marriage as "one man, one woman" is inherently superior to any other definition. I will stipulate that I have seen many well-reasoned, cogent, well-intentioned, coherent, interesting, thought-provoking, or even intellectually challenging arguments for the present definition of marriage. I simply do not find them persuasive. I also think that there is already a generation or two of enough evidence that same-sex partnerships basically do the same thing as opposite-sex marriages to believe that SSM is socially and legally desirable.

Obviously, many people disagree with me.

As to your point about defending the "marriage" distinction in the public discourse, I will admit that I was unclear. For the record I will agree that the marriage distinction can be defended in the public discourse--defending the distinction is a Constitutional right--I just do not think it very plausible that the distinction could be maintained.
11.5.2005 5:22pm
Justin (mail):
I just love the bigot's rights movement, btw. Hating bigotry is in itself bigotry. The problem with blue states is they just aren't tolerant of others' intolerance. ::rolls eyes::
11.5.2005 5:25pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Blackbird, I'm sorry if you missed the obvious -- that I meant what is the problem with calling ssus ssus, rather than changing the definition of marriage to incorporate ssus. I do not care if you comprehend why real marriage is materially different than the new Massachussetts variety of marriage, AKA Neutered marriage. My question is, if the rights are all that's important to you, then why are SSUs not acceptable.

And if SSUs is unacceptable, isn't it dishonest to pretend that all this is really about legal rights?


As for Justin's bootstrapped emperor's new clothes fallacy:

Bigot, 1920s definition: A person who refuses to consider the ideas of others.

Bigot, Justin's definition: a person whose ideas must not be considered.
11.5.2005 5:32pm
Rock (mail) (www):
The supporters of traditional marriage are ignoring the fundamental differences between men and women. As a result, they are also ignoring the fundamental differences between heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Americans should oppose same sex marriage so that a higher proportion of children will grow up in households headed by a mother (female) and a father (male). If we implement same sex marriage, the likely result would be more children raised by two fathers or two mothers.

Implemeting same sex marriage would demonstrate that society is indifferent as to whether children are raised by two fathers, two mothers or one father and one mother.

Also, implementing same sex marriage would demonstrate that society believes that homosexuality and heterosexuality are on the same moral plane.

Same sex marriage is a bad idea who's time has not come, at least not by popular demand.
11.5.2005 5:34pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Giving Antonin a little taste of his own rhetorical medicine, I turn to Antonin, who says:


[spousal rape] was probably a hell of a lot less commonplace than it was when people thought a man had an inalienable right to beat his wife.


Antonin, I had no idea you were such a spankophobe. If husbands and wives wish to flagelate each other that's their own business, so long as it's consensual, not in front of the children, and so long as they don't scare the horses. If you oppose this as an "inalienable right," are you suggesting that husbands and wives should need to obtain some government permit to beach each other? Why do you limit the requirement to spouses, and not to shacked up couples with kids?
11.5.2005 5:40pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Homosexuality should be considered wrong, but not illegal. Thus, we should not encourage gay parenting by allowing gay adoption, except in unusual circumstances. Since implementing gay marriage would have the effect of encouraging gay parenting and gay adoption, would should reject same sex marriage.

And this isn't a blue-state/red-state debate. The blue state of Oregon rejected same sex marriage by popular demand.

We shouldn't redefine marriage to pander to people who aren't willing to live within marital constraints: one man and one woman relationships.
11.5.2005 5:42pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Antonin and Kendall and other ss"m" advocates,

I kindly and patiently await your answers to the questions I presented you. They are an inquiry, not a point. Please don't read anything into them and they will be perfectly answerable.

Kendall,

I know you took the question simply as to the impact on gay/lesbian relationships. That was the opposite of what the questions asked. For an example of a reply, please refer to Bob Van Burkleo's reply earlier this week. Perhaps you can take that as a starting point and say whether or not you agree with Bob.
11.5.2005 5:43pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Public Defender wrote:

The anti-gay crowd needs to accept that gay people and gay families exist. They are not going away.

Based on that logic, three men should be allowed to marry five women. After all, some people have elevated sexual appetites. Why should the institution of marriage disriminate against people who's sexual appetites are not satified by having sex with one person?

Defining marriage requires that we make moral judgements regarding what types of behavior society wishes to encourage and wishes to discourage. If we are uncomfortable concluding that any consensual sexual behavior is bad, including homosexaulity, then we will end up accepting polygamy into the instutition of marriage in addition to same sex marriage.

If we maintain marriage as a one man/one woman institution we will be enouraging monogamous heterosexuality and discouraging homosexuality. That alone is sufficient reason to maintain marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
11.5.2005 5:52pm
Antonin:
logicblackbelt - I have nothing against consensual beating, but you know damn well that's not what I was talking about.
11.5.2005 5:55pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Is it better for society that they be shunted aside, marginalized, ostracized, made to feel alien to traditional values and institutions?

Last I checked, gay relationships were being publicized, the subject of celebrity talkshows, Parade magazine articles, etc.. Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O'Donnell haven't exactly been run out of Hollywood with pitchforks, nor was Liberace in his time. When some group "outed" a Southern Arizona congressman a few years back, his conservative Republican constituents breathed a collective "ho-hum" and re-elected him.

The argument becomes self-defeating, precisely because gay marriage could only become politically possible if gay couples were NOT ostracized and treated as alien. (The only other approach would be an anti-democratic measure that imposes it despite the popular will, of course). So gay marriage is only seriously debatable as policy where the above-described ostracism does not exist.
11.5.2005 6:00pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Antonin,

What if three men and five woman want to "consensually" get married, have sex with each other and raise children in their household?

Should they be able to some or all of these activities? Why or why not?
11.5.2005 6:01pm
Blackbird:
logicblackbelt:

You are right--I really only care about the the legal rights. I don't care at all about what the state decides to call a civil union, so long as it includes every incident of civil marriage--and by that I mean every federal and state legal right and obligation without exception. Whatever a civil union is called in the statute is probably immaterial to what it will ultimately be called in everyday discourse. I have argued, assuming that ssu's as defined above ever exist, that the term "marriage" will expand to cover "marriage" and "civil union" in de facto widespread usage, irrespective of the attempts of tendentious purists to defend the distinction, simply because the distinction isn't very useful in everyday life, and saying "married" has several fewer (yes, I'm a tendentious purist) syllables than "civilly unionized".

If the only thing you care about is what the ssu is called in the statute, we are on the same page, and we can work together to enact it, and we can stride boldly into that brave new world where both of our desires are fulfilled. But I don't really think that is the only thing you care about, or should.

If ssu is legally marriage in all but name, it will eventually be called marriage. And if you want to prevent that from happening, you should be arguing for making ssu legally inferior to marriage.
11.5.2005 6:14pm
TRC:
I am a Texan and I am dubious about adopting SSM into law. Tuesday, I will vote on the constitutional amendment to ban same-marriage. I have weighed in on the issue of "gay marriage", and I am hardly sympathetic to the claims of advocates of SSM (if you have doubts, scroll down from the top for TRC in this comment section).

However, I hold two conservative values, which are (in part) in conflict, at least with respect to voting at this juncture on a constitutional ban. The first value is to conserve the text of a constitution, unless there is an exceptional threat or a problem that cannot be resolved through the normal legislative process, and let the people, through their elected representatives, decide an issue without constitutional tinkering. The second value is to conserve an institution (marriage) that, I believe, has served humanity, and especially children, exceptionally well over millennia, and that, if changed to accommodate SSM advocates, could have adverse effects on children.

My conundrum is that as a conservative (and a Texan) my gut is not to constitutionally legislate a ban when no serious threat of gay marriage is on the horizon, and when I would prefer to let states (including Texas) experiment with different forms of partnerships (SSUs) -- even ones I might be leery of -- before casting a vote for an absolute ban.

I am also concerned, however, that such experimentation could result in SSM advocates bringing 14th amendment violations, or full faith and credit violations, lawsuits that could lead to judges forcing people to accept SSM (or something like it) and that would pre-empt experimentation.

The text of the Texas constitutional amendment is below:

Ballot Language
"The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

Brief Explanation
HJR 6 would provide that marriage in Texas is solely the union of a man and woman, and that the state and its political subdivisions could not create or recognize any legal status identical to or similar to marriage, including such legal status relationships created outside of Texas.

Note to VC friends: I am working on a grant deadline and so I cannot engage in rhetorical give-and-take, but I will be checking periodically for your take.

TRC
11.5.2005 6:18pm
Antonin:
Dave:
The argument becomes self-defeating, precisely because gay marriage could only become politically possible if gay couples were NOT ostracized and treated as alien.
Get real, Dave. Imagine walking around holding hands with a guy in public. I don't know if you've ever been called a faggot before, but if you have a burning desire to be that's a quick and easy way to do it.
11.5.2005 6:26pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Some behavior is considered mainstream and acceptable while some behavior is frowned upon. The idea that homosexuals are "shunted aside" because same sex marriage doesn't exist is hyperbole.

It is unlikely that homosexuality will ever be considered mainstream. Most parents are going to raise their children in the hopes that they will grow up to be heterosexual. I don't know a single parent who truly wants their child to grow up to be a homosexual, though most parents will love their child unconditionally.

Further, most people correctly see heterosexual relationships as fundamentally different from homosexual relationships. Thus, most people do not want to "update marriage" to include an alternative lifestyle.

Are we going to "update marriage" every time someone in society complains that their alternative lifestyle isn't being adequately represented within the institution of marriage?

Guess what? Marriage isn't supposed to be equally comfortable for everyone. If you are a man that likes to have sexual intercourse with dozens of women, marriage might not work for you.

Which makes more sense, adjusting the institution of marriage to accomodate a man who wants to have sex with multiple women or telling everyone in society that if you want to be married, you have to adjust your attitudes so that you can fit within the marital framework?
11.5.2005 6:37pm
Milk For Free:
Given that homosexuality is innate (and I haven't seen any serious argument on that front), a certain percentage of gay children are being born every year. Without belaboring the issue, they're more likely to be born to straight parents than gay ones. As somebody who had a very rough time coming to grips with being gay, I can tell you that even in relatively permissive areas of the country, it's a huge step to accept that the Ozzie and Harriet life isn't in the cards for you.

Forget the benefit same-sex marriage will have for the children of same-sex couples; the real benefit will be for the gay kids in straight families who despair at their lot in life. The more accepted gay relationships are, the easier it will be for kids who are more than capable of taking or destroying their own lives, to decide not to do so.

When I was 16 or 17 I would have gotten very exercised about this debate, because I'd have felt that the outcome was unclear. But anyone who thinks that societal opposition to gay marriage will last more than 10 or 15 years is deluding himself. Ironically enough, theocons are procreating their way into the ashbin of history; I went to a very conservative college and there was virtually no anti-gay sentiment, even in the fraternities. I hope that all the SSM opponents live long enough to see it happen, and to be embarassed when their kids and grandkids look back on their position as we look back on proponents of segregation and Jim Crow. Everybody just chill; it'll only hurt for a second.
11.5.2005 6:39pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
TRC,

That is a really good question. Is it for the constitution?

I have some unique thoughts on the matter that I've written here Some additional thoughts from a fellow commentator here.
11.5.2005 6:40pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Given that homosexuality is innate (and I haven't seen any serious argument on that front)

It seems many gay-activists would not agree.

the real benefit will be for the gay kids in straight families who despair at their lot in life.

I think you have misidentified the source of the strife.
11.5.2005 6:43pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

I have nothing against consensual beating, but you know damn well that's not what I was talking about.


Glad to hear it, Antonin. Likewise, you knew damn well that spousal rape and wife-beating wasn't what anyone here meant by "traditional marriage."

But thank you for demonstrating to BLACKBIRD why semantics are so important for marriage defenders, and why neutering the word "marriage" in the public sphere ammounts to newspeak and cultural genocide. It leaves us NO means of communicating the idea of real marriage to the next generation. If we say "traditional marriage" to describe the idea of marriage between a man and a woman for life, along comes someone like Antonin, to tell our kids that "traditional marriage" means wife-beating, spousal rape, and women in servitude. And we have no defense against that; all we can say is yes, in some places those were traditions associated with marriage, but that's not the kind of traditional marriage we mean. And we get sloughed off into a little ghetto, marginalized, which is precisely Antonin's point here. Lump ssm opponents with the parade of horribles.

Blackbird, there are other reasons that I oppose ssm, but the word is so important that I'm willing to compromise on everything else. So long as the fed only recognize "marriage" as a union between a man and a woman, I'm willing to require states to recognize ssus from other states and countries. (Not to recognize ssms as ssus -- only to recognize unions from the countries that call them something other than marriage.)
11.5.2005 6:58pm
TRC:
On Lawn: The proposed amendment pertains to the Texas constitution. My concern is that without such an amendment, SSU advocates could bring lawsuits based on the 14th amendment and other provisions of the federal constitution and that such lawsuits could take the issue out of the hands of voters and pre-empt state-by-state experimentation. (Thanks for providing the links to your site.)

Milk for Free: It's a small world; we last met on Becker-Posner, where I briefly addressed the question of the behavioral genetics of homosexuality.

link

Guys: I REALLY am working on a grant deadline. Stop being so darn interesting.
11.5.2005 7:02pm
Milk For Free:
You must be joking, attempting to settle an argument about biology by referencing a law review article from a conservative college. Essentially nobody with a medical degree doubts that homosexuality is innate. Given that my earliest same sex attraction was at 4 years old (to Christopher Robin, of Winnie the Pooh fame, if you must know), I think we're splitting hairs; genetic or environmental, it isn't optional.

I am more than a little offended at being supposed to have misidentified "the source of the strife," when that strife had me practicing noose-tying for a good year and a half. It is not sound practice to presume to know the emotions relating to something one hasn't himself experienced.
11.5.2005 7:06pm
Antonin:
logicblackbelt:
Glad to hear it, Antonin. Likewise, you knew damn well that spousal rape and wife-beating wasn't what anyone here meant by "traditional marriage."
True, and I didn't intend to imply so. I don't think anyone here wants to defend wife-beating or spousal rape, and if I gave anyone the impression that I was trying to do that I apologize.

What I do mean is that people who say "traditional marriage" just to mean "one man, one woman, for life" are wearing historical blinders. If you want to defend tradition as a matter of principle, you can't just pick and choose those traditions you happen to like. You can toss a few out, but you can't take away key features of an institution, change a bunch of others, and then defend the features you happen to like on the grounds that those attributes are "traditional". That's what's what advocates of "traditional marriage" are doing to marriage.

I think the changes to marriage that the past two centuries have seen - the transformation of it from a relation between man and property to a relation between two equals - are enormous enough that labeling the institution as it existed at some point in the fairly recent past as "traditional" is arbitrary and should have no normative force even for those who believe in tradition.
11.5.2005 7:10pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Milk for free,

attempting to settle an argument about biology by referencing a law review article from a conservative college

Please be honest, you presented it as a settled issue when you said, "Given that homosexuality is innate (and I haven't seen any serious argument on that front)".

Besides, if there was any reason to dismiss the article that would show you to be objective and honest, it would have been by reading it and challenging its content rather than its publisher.

Essentially nobody with a medical degree doubts that homosexuality is innate.

As Dr. Byrd has noted...

What is clear, however, is that the scientific attempts to demonstrate that homosexual attraction is biologically determined have failed. The major researchers now prominent in the scientific arena-themselves gay activists-have in fact arrived at such conclusions.

Researcher Dean Hamer (1993), for example, attempted to link male homosexuality to a stretch of DNA located a the tip of the X chromosome, the chromosome that some men inherit from their mothers. Referring to that research, Hamer offered some conclusions regarding genetics and homosexuality.

"We knew that genes were only part of the answer. We assumed the environment also played a role in sexual orientation, as it does in most, if not all behaviors..."(Hamer and Copeland, 1994, p. 82).

"Homosexuality is not purely genetic...environmental factors play a role. There is not a single master gene that makes people gay...I don't think we will ever predict who will be gay" (Mitchell, 1995).

Citing the failure of their research, Hamer &Copeland further write,

"The pedigree failed to produce what we originally hoped to find: simple Mendelian inheritance. In fact, we never found a single family in which homosexuality was distributed in the obvious pattern that Mendel observed in his pea plants" (1994, p. 104).

What's more interesting is that when Hamer's study was duplicated by Rice et al with research that was more robust, the genetic markers were found to be nonsignificant. Rice et al concluded:

"It is unclear why our results are so discrepant from Hamer's original study. Because our study was larger than that of Hamer et al, we certainly had adequate power to detect a genetic effect as large as reported in that study. Nonetheless, our data do not support the presence of a gene of large effect influencing sexual orientation at position XQ 28" (Rice et al, 1999, p.667).

Simon LeVay, in his study of the hypothalamic differences between the brains of homosexual and heterosexual men, offered the following criticisms of his own research:

"It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain.

"The INAH 3 is less likely to be the sole gay nucleus of the brain than a part of a chain of nuclei engaged in men and women's sexual behavior....Since I looked at adult brains, we don't know if the differences I found were there at birth, or if they appeared later." (Nimmons, 1994, p. 64).

Indeed, in commenting on the brain and sexual behavior, Dr. Mark Breedlove, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, demonstrated that sexual behavior can actually change brain structure. Referring to his research, Breedlove states:

"These findings give us proof for what we theoretically know to be the case-that sexual experience can alter the structure of the brain, just as genes can alter it. [I]t is possible that differences in sexual behavior cause (rather than are caused) by differences in the brain" (Breedlove, 1997, p. 801).


It is not sound practice to presume to know the emotions relating to something one hasn't himself experienced.

I'm not your therapist.
11.5.2005 7:19pm
The Editors, American Federalist Journal (mail) (www):
Blackbird:

"I don't care at all about what the state decides to call a civil union, so long as it includes every incident of civil marriage--and by that I mean every federal and state legal right and obligation without exception"


That's central to why marriage should not be redefined. Children deserve a mother and a father. Changing the definition of marriage would make it nearly impossible to legally prefer opposite-sex couples, in adoption for example.


Antonin's point seems to be, "Marriage is a horrible, evil institution, let us in!"


Milk for Free:

Given that homosexuality is innate...


That isn't even close to being a given. To the contrary, the evidence suggests that where homosexual behavior is accepted by a society, that society has more homosexual behavior.
11.5.2005 7:20pm
The Editors, American Federalist Journal (mail) (www):
Antonin:

You can toss a few out, but you can't take away key features of an institution, change a bunch of others, and then defend the features you happen to like on the grounds that those attributes are "traditional".

Male-female comlementarity is the central feature of marriage. Wife beating is not, to say the least.
11.5.2005 7:24pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
TRC,

You have a good point. A federal ammendment would fix that, though I have sympathetic inclinations towards the commenter who noted that "writing marriage into the constitution is like handing a drunk a $20 bill." While they are reckless and unchecked, it could be the catalyst for making the situation even worse (e.g. the way the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in my mind punitively tried to use Bush v Gore in a case about elections in California).
11.5.2005 7:25pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Milk for free wrote,

But anyone who thinks that societal opposition to gay marriage will last more than 10 or 15 years is deluding himself.

Actually, since fundamentalist christians and conservative catholics are having more children than liberal yuppies, opposition to same sex marriage might grow over time.

Last November, 11 states had referendums banning same sex marriage on the ballot. All 11 passed. The only state that has same sex marriage obtained it by court order, not popular demand.

The latest argument, as I understand it, is, "Let's implement gay marriage so gays won't commit suicide."

But whether society implements gay marriage or doesn't, coming to terms with one's sexuality is likely to be difficult for many homosexuals. Homosexuals are still going to be in a distinct minority in high schools and colleges. Thus, the sense of isolation isn't going to end just because a state or the nation implements gay marriage.
11.5.2005 7:29pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
So Bob, let's turn the question back to you. Can you show me now ssm would be liekly to 1) increase the number of children raised by fathers and mothers,

You can't just pull claims out of the air - there is no evidence that shows being raised by a heterogendered couple is of significant importance. Studies all show the most important factor is that the children are raised in a stable family with 2 loving parents regardless of gender combination. To try and require something like this you would also have to consider excluding poor parents, out of work parents, fat parents, 'May September' parents, or parents with funny laughs and on and on. You can't pick some factor merely because the people you are trying to exclude don't have it - you have to empirically demonstrate that it involves some important quality for successful child raising AND that it is more essential than some of the ones I mentioned above that are allowed. This is about a fundamental natural right of all citizens - any restriction that effectively proscribes the citizen from exercising this right has to meet a high level of scrutiny.

Point of fact even prisoners on death row have a right to marry regardless of how this might affect their children. If they qualify for license then to someone tries to say two-law abiding citizens who just happen to be a homogendered couple do not shows an incredible bias that would have to justify.
11.5.2005 7:31pm
The Editors, American Federalist Journal (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo

there is no evidence that shows being raised by a heterogendered couple is of significant importance

This statement is akin to "There is no evidence the Earth is not flat."
11.5.2005 7:35pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
"People that support equal gender representation in marriage support marriage equality."

marriage is an individual right - the gender of their partner is irrelevant to the right.

"Yet gays have not expressed this need througout history."

You need to get out more - many books about gay family units throughout history.

"I'll tell you why, because gays/lesbians can't reproduce and thus "form" a family."

What a limited definition of family and how insulting to the 49+% of US children being raised by other than their two genetic contributors.

"Agreed, marriage is not made to oppress people based on sexual orientation. There is no need to change it."

I agree, and since citizens can already marry someone of the same gender the last step is getting them reasonable access to the civil contract in support of it..

Yes they do, and marriage already accomodates everyone.

No the civil contract of marriage is not reasonably accessible to citzens who have spouses of the same gender. That the couples that petitioned Judge Downing in Washington state were married was a given as far as he is concerned. Each citizen has the natural right to marry that comes from beyond government. The question still remains why are some married citizens given access to the purely secular civil contract and others denied all reasonable access?
11.5.2005 7:41pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
there is no evidence that shows being raised by a heterogendered couple is of significant importance.

Glen Stanton points to many such studies and other opuses in his bibliography...

  • Kyle D. Pruett, Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child, (New York: The Free Press, 2000), pp. 17-34.

  • "Shuttle Diplomacy," Psychology Today, July/August 1993, p. 15.

  • Brenda Hunter, The Power of Mother Love: Transforming Both Mother and Child, (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 1997).

  • As cited in Kyle D. Pruett, The Nurturing Father, (New York: Warner Books, 1987), p. 49.

  • Eleanor E. Maccoby, The Two Sexes: Growing Up Apart; Coming Together, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 261.

  • Karen S. Peterson, The USA Today,"Looking straight at gay parents" (March 10, 2004).

  • As cited in David Popenoe, Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage are Indispensable of the Good of Children and Society, (New York: The Free Press, 1996), p. 144.

  • Suzanne G. Frayser, Varieties of Sexual Experience: Anthropological Perspective on Human Seuxality, (New York: Human Relations Area File Press, 1985), p. 86.

  • Jan Stets and Murray A. Strauss, "The Marriage License as a Hitting License: A Comparison of Assaults in Dating, Cohabiting, and Married Couples," Journal of Family Violence 4 (1989): 161-180;

  • Jan Stets, "Cohabiting and Marital Aggression: the Role of Social Isolation," Journal of Marriage and the Family 53 (1991): 669-680;

  • Michael Gordon, "The Family Environment of Sexual Abuse: A Comparison of Natal and Stepfather Abuse," Child Abuse and Neglect, 13 (1985): 121-130.

  • Scott Coltrane, "Father-Child Relationships and the Status of Women: A Cross-Cultural Study," American Journal of Sociology, (1988) 93:1088.

  • David Popenoe, Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage are Indispensable of the Good of Children and Society, (New York: The Free Press, 1996), p. 197.


Point of fact even prisoners on death row have a right to marry regardless of how this might affect their children.

Put that on a bumper sticker, "Gay Marriage: its at least as good as death row marriages".
11.5.2005 7:42pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo wrote:

Point of fact even prisoners on death row have a right to marry regardless of how this might affect their children.

One must be 18 years old to vote in federal elections. But one could easily find a politically astute 17 year old and a politically uninformed 19 year old and conclude that we should lower the voting age.

But when you ask the wrong question you usually get the wrong answer.

The question isn't whether there are some gay couples that would make better parents than some straight couples. Certainly there are.

But when a child is born in our society, that child is not given to the couple demonstrating that they are the most capable at childrearing. The child is raised by its natural mother and father, unless there is some circumstance that prevents this from happening.

Are we going to change marriage to include plural marriages, group marriages? There has to be a stopping point to who is included in marriage and who is not. We might as well make marriage open to all that are willing to make an effort at living in a monogomous heterosexual relationship.
11.5.2005 7:43pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

So Bob, let's turn the question back to you. Can you show me now ssm would be liekly to 1) increase the number of children raised by fathers and mothers,

You can't just pull claims out of the air -


What claim?

That's a question: Can you show me now ssm would be likely to 1) increase the number of children raised by fathers and mothers, or 2) decrease the number of children raised in a situation OTHER than with a father and mother?

I take it your answer is NO, that you can't, since you responded by complaining about a claim that I did not make, and by making your own claims supported by unspecified "studies."


Point of fact even prisoners on death row have a right to marry regardless of how this might affect their children.


Ah, but death row inmates usually are NOT given conjugal visits. Those of us who have advanced beyond stork theory, understand that getting married does not in itself make babies, right?


So let's pass your hypo through the marriage formula: Can letting a death row inmate marry, reasonably 1) increase the number of children raised by fathers and mothers, or 2) decrease the number of children raised in a situation OTHER than with a father and mother?

Yes. I'll explain how if you like, but I'm sure you can figure that out by yourself, right?
11.5.2005 7:47pm
Milk For Free:
Re: the law review article:

It's true that efforts to prove Mendelian heritability for homosexuality failed. Just because something isn't genetic doesn't mean it's not innate; research now points to the influence of prenatal androgens as a cause of male homosexuality. There is a pretty well-documented fraternal birth order effect in which each successive male child a woman bears amps up the level of testosterone in her system. One's odds of being a male homosexual increase by something like 2% for older brother one's mother bore.

To Rock: Anything's possible, but every survey shows that upwards of 60% of people under the age of 20 support full-bore same-sex marriage. Conservatives have been having more babies than liberals for some time now, and anecdotal evidence suggests to me that whatever the causes of homosexuality, tolerance of homosexuality is almost wholly socially determined. For example, the father of a friend of a friend of mine was the founder of a prominent fundamentalist group associated with the Family Research Council. Said friend of friend (straight and married), on meeting me, begged me to meet his father, with the idea that meeting a "normal" gay guy might change his father's mind(I declined because I was three drinks into the night and didn't think that getting into a fistfight with a "normal" gay guy would much improve Mr. S' opinions of gays). If the son of such a person can be tolerant enough to, say go to a gay bar (which was where I met him and his wife), I delight at the demographic predicament SSM opponents find themselves in.
11.5.2005 7:47pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Marriage can't be a "fundamental right" in the way that supporters of same sex marriage claim.

It is true that anyone can get married if he or she can find an opposite sex partner who agrees to marry him or her.

But the right of marriage is not so "fundamental" that everyone is allowed to bend marriage to fit into his or her sexual appetites.

For example, if I want to live a life enjoying sex with dozens of women, I can do so. But I can not demand that the government celebrate my relationship with those dozens of women by allowing me to enter into a civil group marriage.

Similarly, a person who is sexually attracted to a person of the same gender is allowed to engage in homosexual activity. But he or she can not demand that the government modify the institution of civil marriage to accomodate him.

If I am in a hurry to get to work, I can not drive on the left side of a two way street because "I am left-handed and that's the way I prefer to drive." If I want to drive on that road, I must fight against my instinctive desire to drive on the left side of the road and drive on the right side instead.
11.5.2005 7:51pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
many books about gay family units throughout history.

I hope you can point to one. The only one I know of is by Boswell, and that is as bad an anachronistic abuse of history as anyone can find.

Many cultures have had institutionalized homosexuality, but they were never called the same name as the heterosexual mating for life institution (in our terms "marriage"). There was a roman emperor who for a stunt married one of his slaves, but roman emperors burned their own cities and outlawed marriages too. We see how far that got them. And this was in a relatively very homosexually tollerant society.

What a limited definition of family and how insulting to the 49+% of US children being raised by other than their two genetic contributors.

How is that an insult?

and since citizens can already marry someone of the same gender the last step is getting them reasonable access to the civil contract in support of it

The last step is helping them with a program suited to their special needs as a relationship. Offering them marriage does society no service, and it does only pampers them unduly.
11.5.2005 7:51pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
there is no evidence that shows being raised by a heterogendered couple is of significant importance

This statement is akin to "There is no evidence the Earth is not flat."

Meaning you have some empirical evidence that his is imporant. Ok PLEASE share it - studies of children raised by heterogendered parents compared with children raised by homogendered parents. Every one I've seen has shown that the children develop well adjusted and definitely within society norms with varation within the respective groups being greater than the difference between the groups.

I mean that is how reasonable people decide if something is actually a significant factor in an study, right?
11.5.2005 7:53pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
On Lawn,

By referencing Boswell and 'roman emperors' it seems you are still confusing legal contracts with marriage. Marriage is decided by the individuals as are families. The idea that someone has to have children personally to have a 'family' is what's insulting and obviously false.

No one need 'offer' a citizen marriage, it is theirs by natural right. This is solely a discussion about giving homogendered married couples access to the civil contract in support of marriage as they will be marrying regardless of access for all time to come.
11.5.2005 7:57pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Anything's possible, but every survey shows that upwards of 60% of people under the age of 20 support full-bore same-sex marriage.

If people don't change their political views when they get older, these surveys would indicate that same sex marriage will eventually become law.

But when I was 17 years old, my political views changed from liberal to conservative. Many people go through similar political conversions throughout their lives.

In addition, just because someone is tolerant of homosexuals doesn't mean that he or she wants to change the definition of marriage to accomodate homosexuals.

Is homosexuality genetically determined or environmentally determined.

I would argue that both genetics and environment have a role in people's sexuality. Certtainly Anne Heche (former lover of Ellen DeGeneres) was heterosexual, became homosexual and is now, apparently, heterosexual again.

Perhaps she is bi-sexual. If that's the case, how would our marriage laws have to be distorted in order to accomodate the sexual appetities of Anne Heche?

Common sense suggests that if marriage is redefined in an attempt to please everyone, marriage will eventually be an institution that pleases no one.
11.5.2005 8:00pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Milk for Free,

research now points to the influence of prenatal androgens as a cause of male homosexuality

Influence is the right word. No doubt there are many physiological influences, I hope you didn't take what I wrote as a dismissal of that. But to go from a random assortment of physical influences (in this case only barely statistically significant at 2%) to saying homosexuality is innate is tentative at best, let alone a given.
11.5.2005 8:04pm
The Editors, American Federalist Journal (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo, if all the accumulated evidence of human history doesn't convince you, then you are too closed minded to be convinced.

Milk for Free:

Anything's possible, but every survey shows that upwards of 60% of people under the age of 20 support full-bore same-sex marriage.

But many young people will grow out of their ignorance and lack of wisdom as they age. :)
11.5.2005 8:05pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Rock,

Not to mention that people who find and experience what marriage really is, are less likely to find a same-sex couple as married. It takes a knowledge of the real thing to really spot a forgery.
11.5.2005 8:05pm
Rock (mail) (www):
No one need 'offer' a citizen marriage, it is theirs by natural right.

Yes. But everyone is allowed to get married. But as long as marriage is defined as union between one man and one woman, different people will respond differently to the marriage opportunity.

We can expect that people who think monogomous relationships are boring to be less than eager to get married. Similarly, people who prefer sex with people of the same gender are less likely to get married.

If you change the institution of marriage so that marriage is no longer the union of one man and one woman but is instead a "lifestyle contract between a group of adults, including group marriages," one could expect that more people might be interested in getting married.

But that's sort of like changing the rules of a running competition to attract people who prefer driving formula race cars.
11.5.2005 8:09pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

What claim?

"Marriage is about responsible procreation....FIRST, Marriage increases the number of children socialized in a stable home with a mother and a father. SECOND, just as importantly, marriage decreases the number of children born into situations where they won't have a father and mother to socialize them. "

The implicit claim that the father and mother combination is a requirement for successful child raising.

That's a question: Can you show me now ssm would be likely to 1) increase the number of children raised by fathers and mothers, or 2) decrease the number of children raised in a situation OTHER than with a father and mother?

I take it your answer is NO, that you can't,

No need to since the founding premises are wrong - that isn't the purpose of marriage and even if it was it would have to be balanced against the natural right of marriage for those married to a someone of the same gender. To deny them license of their marriage it would be mandatory to show that they didn't provide and adequate envirnoment for their children.

Ah, but death row inmates usually are NOT given conjugal visits.

No one would be foolish enough to think that means they won't be contracting a marriage that indeed has children. Again, almost 50% of US children are being raised by other than their 2 genetic contributors.

Your conclusion depends on your assumption of what marriage is 'for' and since we do allow sterile heterogendered couples to marry that is obviously not true inspite of handwaving by some to the contrary.
11.5.2005 8:12pm
TRC:
Milk for Free: Any evidence (citations) to support your assertion that, "Conservatives have been having more babies than liberals for some time now?" This seems to contradict your previous statement that, ". . . people under the age of 20 support full-bore same-sex marriage."

Behavioral genetic evidence indicates that political attitudes are partly genetically determined. (This is probably why God makes liberals and conservatives in approximately equal proportions.)

The heritability coefficients for political attitudes are usually quite low (range = .18-.41, see p. 159 of attached article, published in a premier poli sci journal), especially compared to IQ, which has much higher heritability coefficients.

http://www.apsanet.org/imgtest/GeneticsAPSR0505.pdf

TRC
11.5.2005 8:17pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - its an interesting point, but its off topic. We ARE discussing gay/lesbian relationships and gay marriage, other groups can have other debates and I'm sure they would no matter what. Regardless of what is decided on gay marriage polygamists will still have their agenda. NAMBLA and other foul groups of that sort will always want to lower the age of sexual consent so they can marry a child. Fine, none of that has any relevance to a debate on gay marriage. Is it possible if same sex marriage is legalized that these groups will continue to push for their agenda? yes. Does that mean their agenda would get no traction if gay marriage was never allowed and discontinued in massachusetts? I don't see how that follows.

If you really want to get into this, I could point out that among all your historical arguements against gay marriage polygamy had long existed prior to current social norms. Polygamous relationships have a historical presence as well as a presence in the biblical narrative that formed the basis for much of western culture. Polygamous relationships still occur today in a subset of society that while small is not insubstantial.

The problem is, as much as you want this to be a slippery slope it isn't. Its an entirely separate issue with disparate arguments. Linking the two implies that the fate of gay marriage also determines the fate of polygamous marriage and the fate of incestuous marriage and the fate of pedophilliac marriage, when of course the advocates of such issues would be neither deterred nor perceive it as a setback if gay couples did not achieve marriage rights, nor would they necessarily be cheered by gay marriage receiving federal sanction.

In any case, I'm waiting for you to back up your assertion that all the benefits of marriage can be conferred by private contracts when I've provided a link listing benefits that can't be easily conferred.
11.5.2005 8:22pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob,

By referencing Boswell and 'roman emperors' it seems you are still confusing legal contracts with marriage.

Lets look at the reference,

Many cultures have had institutionalized homosexuality, but they were never called the same name as the heterosexual mating for life institution (in our terms "marriage").


There doesn't appear to be any confusion.

The idea that someone has to have children personally to have a 'family' is what's insulting and obviously false.

Many consider their pets part of their family, but they cannot claim them as a dependant. But really what you are doing here is arguing the inverse (a favorite of ss"m" advocates on the ropes). No one doubts that procreation within your own children in marriage is part of forming a family. Everything from adoption to foster parenting shows deference to that formation, and in no wise supplants it.

Every one I've seen has shown that the children develop well adjusted and definitely within society norms

You didn't see the list in that post?

Besides, every study that shows that (usually just lesbian) parenting is on par with a family seems to have no basis.
11.5.2005 8:22pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

I'm glad you found the point interesting. I'm not sure what yo are referring to, however.
11.5.2005 8:23pm
The Editors, American Federalist Journal (mail) (www):
Bob:

The implicit claim that the father and mother combination is a requirement for successful child raising.

The claim is that a mother and a father is the ideal. The fact that some children succeed in less than ideal circumstances does not mean the ideal doesn't exist.

Many children raised by single mothers succeed in life. Would you therefore argue that it matters not at all whether a kid has one or two parents?
11.5.2005 8:40pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

It appears you are disagreeing with Bob (as per the link I provided), is that true? If so what do you feel Bob has not considered?
11.5.2005 8:42pm
Antonin:
On Lawn:

I looked up the USA Today article and the Psychology Today article on the grounds that they were both readily available on Lexis. The Psychology Today article is about the impact of a child's straight parents' divorce and subsequent remarriage. That tells us exactly nothing about how having same-sex parents impacts a child differently than having opposite-sex parents.

The USA Today article is at least about gay parents, but is lacking in information. It consisted mostly of anecdotes that indicated that for the most part things were going well for the lesbian-parented family it profiled, although it did point out that children raised by gay parents might be subjected to anti-gay bigotry.

It had a reference to an article in the American Sociological Review that USA Today said found that children raised by gay parents do as well as or better than kids raised by straight parents, which tends to refute your claim, rather than support it. The other study referenced in the USA Today article was a British study that found that girls raised by lesbians were more likely to be "sexually adventerous," whatever that means. The same study found that boys raised by lesbians were less likely to be "sexually adventerous," so the study sounds like a wash.

Can you please point to the items in your bibliography that actually support your contention?
11.5.2005 8:45pm
Kendall:
On Lawn -
"It appears you are disagreeing with Bob (as per the link I provided), is that true? If so what do you feel Bob has not considered?"

Arguments on an issue do not have to approach things from the same angle. I'm on the record as saying that his first point, that opposite gendered couples can marry regardless of sexual attraction.

On Bob's second point, that they SHOULD be allowed to marry, I don't see it as a relevant issue. in my personal opinion there is some basis for allowing polygamy, but that is neither here nor there in a debate on gay marriage. arguments for incest, which you brought up are also largely irrelevant to a gay marriage debate. As far as I can see people who wish to live in an incestuous relationship and have it recognized will fight for that right regardless of whether gay marriage is allowed. Are you postulating if it is banned they won't fight for incest to be legally recognized? I have seen no evidence of that presented, so I don't see why we should be arguing what is at best a secondary, and really a tertiary debate about effect when it seems that SSM's status will have NO affect on incestuous couples and their fight for recognition.

I'm sure that won't satisfy you but that is the most complete response that I can give to the issue at hand. Now then, is THAT enough for you to address MY link?

Please remember, your question was "1) Why does it require marriage? It seems everything you anticipate from marriage can come from RB's, am I wrong?" I responded with THIS link and have repeatedly asked how those benefits of marriage can be conferred on same sex couples without granting marriage. Your ignoring this question is speaking volumes on your ability to answer it.
11.5.2005 9:07pm
Antonin:
On Lawn:

I just looked up the American Journal of Sociology article from your bibliography as well. It finds a cross-societal corellation between women's levels of public decision-making and the extent of father-child interaction. The relevance of this corellation to the differences in outcomes between kids raised by same-sex parents and kids raised by opposite-sex parents is rather less than obvious. The authors, incidentally, conclude that "the actual processes through which they [the level of paternal participation in childrearing and the level of female participation in public decision-making] are linked cannot be determined". (Coltraine 1090)

Why don't you just point directly to the studies that look at the differences between kids raised by straight parents and kids raised by gay parents? If you're correct, then those studies should support your position.
11.5.2005 9:15pm
Rock (mail) (www):
Kendall,

The reason why polygamy is brought up in a debate over same sex marriage is that some supporters of same sex marriage argue that it is a "fundamental right."

I can understand why some would argue that the ability to get married, given the current one man/one woman marriage definition, is a fundamental right. But some have argue that homosexuals have a fundamental right to redefine marriage so that the institution accomodates their sexual appetities.

If that were the case, people who are bored with monogomy could make similar claims and demand that marriage be redefined to include polygamy.

In theory, at least, government can define marriage however narrowly or broadly it wants.

I prefer to define it terms so that there remains some link between marriage and the natural procreative process.

Women and men are so fundamentally different, even if we set aside their anatomy.
11.5.2005 9:52pm
TRC:
Antonin/Kendall:

Golombok and Tasker, Developmental Psychology (a premier journal in child development), 1996, Vol., 32, pp. 3-11, is representative of the best research available on the effects of being reared by gay parents.

In that study, children adopted by gay parents reported engaging in higher rates of homosexual sex, and were more likely to consider having a same-sex (sexual) relationships, than were children adopted by heterosexual parents. However, no significant differences in reported sexual orientation (attraction) were found. Thus, one outcome measure -- the propensity to engage in or consider having homosexual sex -- was found to be influenced by parent sexual orientation; but the other outcome measure -- preferred sexual orientation -- was not. However, the attraction measure was in the direction predicted by social learning theory (viz., children reared by homosexual parents were more likely to report homosexual orientation, but the trend was not significant, in part due to the relatively small sample, which heavily affects statistical power.)

I am an empiricist at heart, and so such evidence is important to me. But the more important question concerns the standards to evaluate the evidence. In this regard, I have a question for you:

What specific evidence (in a study like the one by G &T) would make you conclude that SSM was a *bad* idea and should *not* be adopted into law?

Very few SSM advocates are willing to address this question, perhaps because they believe that SSM is simply a matter of fundamental fairness, regardless of the (possible) adverse effect on children, or perhaps because they believe that empirical data are not useful here.

TRC
11.5.2005 9:56pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

First, of course "not relevant" is not an acceptable answer. Its just a dodge.

Second, I've addressed your article three times now, one of those times you even quoted in your last post. Vaguely waving at a list of benefits (many of which have nothing to do with government) and complaining they are "not easy" to give by a private contract is simply not listening to my answer.
11.5.2005 10:05pm
Antonin:
TRC - I haven't thought about the issue all that carefully because I don't expect to find that many negatives, but an increased probability that kids will grow up gay won't count as a negative in my book even if it holds up in other studies.
11.5.2005 10:15pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
I said:

That's a question: Can you show me now ssm would be likely to 1) increase the number of children raised by fathers and mothers, or 2) decrease the number of children raised in a situation OTHER than with a father and mother?

I take it your answer is NO, that you can't,




[Bob]: No need to since the founding premises are wrong - that isn't the purpose of marriage


You do not believe that the purpose of marriage is to maximize the number of children raised with mothers and fathers? That's like saying that the purpose of fins isn't swimming, even though marine creatures as unrelated as sharks and whales have acquired fins through evolution, and use them for swimming. If you want to be nitpicky and whiny, then use the term "function;" that will serve just as well. Who cares what the original purpose was; the question is, why is marriage worth keeping now, and that's the only purpose that justifies its existence today. Societies evolve and toss out broken systems and investments that don't yield. Any idiot can see that in the subcultures where fatherhood has been forgotten, gangs form; crime and misery stalk the subcity.

You have yet to come up with a single likely set of facts where our society uses "marriage" to describe a relationship that DOESN'T fit the parameters that I described. I've PROVEN my argument about what marriage is and what it does, and you expect us to accept your conclusory unsupported claim that marriage isn't about that?


and even if it was it would have to be balanced against the natural right of marriage for those married to a someone of the same gender. To deny them license of their marriage it would be mandatory to show that they didn't provide and adequate envirnoment for their children.


Marriage isn't natural, so how in the world could it be a "natural right?" That's nuts. There are whole societies (primitive ones, mind you) where there is no concept of marriage or fatherhood.



Ah, but death row inmates usually are NOT given conjugal visits.

No one would be foolish enough to think that means they won't be contracting a marriage that indeed has children.


So? Kind of hard for a stepfather to abuse his kids from death row. And (though this may strain your conservative imagination), Death Row inmates are OFTEN released, because information comes up that proves them innocent. Do you have a problem with that?


Again, almost 50% of US children are being raised by other than their 2 genetic contributors.


That disproves nothing that I said.



Your conclusion depends on your assumption of what marriage is 'for' and since we do allow sterile heterogendered couples to marry that is obviously not true inspite of handwaving by some to the contrary.


[considers exploding, then realizes…]
Please forgive my impatience, Bob. I just realize that I explained this on a different page, rather than this one. Here it is:

Marriage is about responsible procreation. Contrary to Dale's construction, this is NOT just about making more babies. FIRST, Marriage increases the number of children socialized in a stable home with a mother and a father. SECOND, just as importantly, marriage decreases the number of children born into situations where they won't have a father and mother to socialize them.

1: In older couples it's almost always the woman who is infertile, and by encouraging f/m monogamy through marriage, the state makes it less likely that the fertile old man will beget children on younger women. This decreases illigitimacy.

2. Among younger "sterile couples," usually it's only one party that is sterile. If the woman's sterile, the marriage makes it less likely that the fertile guy is going to be going around impregnating other women. Here again, a "sterile" marriage decreases illigitimacy.

3. Even in the rare case where both parties are infertile, a sterile member of an f/m married couple is less likely to develop a romance with a married mother or father, thereby putting the stability of a family in danger. Here, this increases the chance of children growing up with the same mother and father.

4. Additionally, in either situation 2 or 3, having an infertile marriage around increases the chance that an illigitimate or abandoned child might be adopted and given a father and mother.

5. Finally, the f/m model of marriage celebrates gender diversity, driving home the social lesson that a child needs a mother and a father. The more married couples there are, the more power marriage has as a norm. And this norm benefits almost everyone, since it functions as a model to be sought or at least approximated. Three examples: The marriage model (a) motivates single parents to marry, (b) motivates single mothers to at least to seek out some sort of godfather figure for the kids; (c) motivates widowers and other single fathers to at least to seek out some sort of godmother figure for the kids; (d) the marriage model even encourages many same-sex couples to find an opposite-sex godparent. So even if the kids don't get an actual mother and father, the marriage norm encourages their parents to get them some sort of substitute for the missing role. A substitute may be better than nothing.

The same principle applies to the states that allow 1st cousins to marry if they prove their sterility. It's irresponsible for cousins to procreate, so if two cousins get the hots for each other, society is better off bribing the couple with maritial status if they get snipped. When it comes to inbreeding and illigitimacy, responsible procreation means no procreation. That's good social policy, policy that reduces the population of our prisons and mental hospitals. The Goodridge ruling posits marriage as something that somehow protects children by getting tacked on after the children are born. Blended families happen, and they deserve our protection and support, but it strains credulty to pretend that marriage was designed to help blended families, well, blend. If Joey's mom divorces his dad, and then marries Roger, does Mom's marriage to Roger turn Roger into Joey's father? Nope. That might happen, but it's called adoption. It's not a function of marriage. Marrying after you've had kids with someone else does not convey the main benefits of marriage onto your kids, i.e. to give your kids a father and a mother, a stable financially independent home, etc. An acrobat gets the most benefit from a net, if you mount the net before the acrobatics. Once the acrobat has fallen, she probably doesn't need a net. At best, she needs a hospital. At worst, she needs a morgue. Similarly, a marriage that is in place before the child is born, is more likely to help the child.

That's what I meant when I said that I'd proved that all of those "sterile marriages" and whatever, all fit the mold of maximizing the proportion of children raised by fathers and mothers.

Sorry for misplacing the argument. Is that more clear now?
11.5.2005 10:47pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - So its a dodge to say incestuous relationships are irrelevant to a debate on gay marriage because logically supporters of incest existed before gay marriage became a relevant political issue and will likely exist after the debate on gay marriage is settled regardless of the outcome but pointing out that divorce has already fundamentally changed marriage and no one is loudly and publicly talking about a constitutional ammendment to protect marriage from THAT threat is met with the assertion that THAT is off topic. So lets be clear. On the issue of marriage and expanding the legal definition of marriage you find incestuous marriage (a potential harm that exists independant of gay marriage) more relevant than divorce and no fault divorce laws (an actual harm that you are not on the record opposing with a constitutional ammendment) is that your position? Or, I'm sorry, are you going to reveal how incestuous marriage is directly linked to gay marriage in that defeat of gay marriage defeats incestuous marriage? I still haven't heard that established.

also, as to responding to my link, you haven't directly. You have said the following: "Kendall,

I know you took the question simply as to the impact on gay/lesbian relationships. That was the opposite of what the questions asked. For an example of a reply, please refer to Bob Van Burkleo's reply earlier this week. Perhaps you can take that as a starting point and say whether or not you agree with Bob."

Which deflects both the substance of the link I posted and the issue of benefits into a narrow scope. I agree with bob and disagree which I established. Then you said:

"Kendall,

I'm glad you found the point interesting. I'm not sure what yo are referring to, however."

Followed before my response with: "Kendall,

It appears you are disagreeing with Bob (as per the link I provided), is that true? If so what do you feel Bob has not considered?"

I love how you ignored MY link which I provided (and reprovided) as well as my logic and focused on deflecting the issue I raised.

Now, again, the link is here.

I put it withing a link just as you do. In case you wish to claim you fail to see it here it is again: http://www.religioustolerance.org/mar_bene.htm

This is a response to your question at the beginning of the thread:
"1) Why does it require marriage? It seems everything you anticipate from marriage can come from RB's, am I wrong?"

The only possible way you DID respond is if you would mind defining "RB" I'm unfamiliar with that abbreviation within this debate and I'd think it'd be relevant to define the terms you abbreviate. SSM is of course relevant as an abbreviation, in this debate its an understood term. What is RB and how does it offer "equal" benefits to marriage including the ones listed in the link I've now repeatedly listed which I just detailed (going through EACH AND EVERY ONE of your responses looking for your magic answer) that you appeared to NEVER directly or indirectly respond to.
11.5.2005 10:48pm
TRC:
Antonin:

It is curious that you state, "won't count as a negative. . ." Some gays have sensibly argued that, If being gay were a choice, why would anyone choose it?, which tacitly implies a negative, or, at the very least, a hardship, associated with being gay.

Tangentially related: I would wager that parents who can select for the sexual characteristics of their children (via IVF), based on donor characteristics, probably select heterosexual orientation (and avoid homosexual orientation), because they implicitly understand that being gay constitutes a hardship in our society.

Directly related: The real point of my question was to see (a) if you would be willing to wait and see whether SSM has adverse consequences on children before pressing for the adoption of SSM into law, or (b) whether you believe that SSM is right in principle and therefore should be forced on an unwilling public by the courts (if possible).
11.5.2005 10:52pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Tangentially related: I would wager that parents who can select for the sexual characteristics of their children (via IVF), based on donor characteristics, probably select heterosexual orientation (and avoid homosexual orientation), because they implicitly understand that being gay constitutes a hardship in our society.

Actually, many FF couples who seek out gay sperm donors, and many MM couples use lesbian surrogates. If homosexuality is genetic, then it's likely to increase.
11.5.2005 11:17pm
Kendall:
"Directly related: The real point of my question was to see (a) if you would be willing to wait and see whether SSM has adverse consequences on children before pressing for the adoption of SSM into law, or (b) whether you believe that SSM is right in principle and therefore should be forced on an unwilling public by the courts (if possible)."

This strikes me as an interesting point. (a) it seems ridiculous that we're waiting to look for negative affects on children (presumabely to see if we want children exposed to gay parents)to decide the question of same sex marriage when we're already letting gays adopt. Why DO we allow gays to adopt if gays affect on children is the reason we're allowing same sex marriage?

as for (b) its true that gay marriage was essentially given initially to Massachusetts by the courts, but isn't it relevant now that the legislature has failed to pass a constitutional ammendment that would have banned same sex marriage and nullified the court's ruling? It seems to me by failing to vote to overturn the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling the Legislature gave its tacit approval to same sex marriage so it's not really judicially imposed anymore, is it?
11.5.2005 11:48pm
Kendall:
err my first paragraph's last sentence should read "Why DO we allow gays to adopt if gays affect on children is the reason we're waiting on same sex marriage?"
11.5.2005 11:50pm
Antonin:
logicblackbelt: I'm not going to bother refuting you point-by-point, because your entire argument is predicated on the false assumption that "children need a father and a mother." Evidence, please?
11.5.2005 11:56pm
Antonin:
TRC: it's an issue of prior probability. I don't feel any need to wait because to oppose gay marriage on those grounds you'd need to show that gay parents were significantly worse, not just marginally worse, and the arguments for that are really bad. You hear a lot about how "children need a father and a mother", but all the studies the bigots cite to show that compare single mothers with mother-father parenting arrangments, not same-sex parents with opposite-sex parents.
11.6.2005 12:02am
mitch:
Is it that the conservatives here say that gay marriage will ultimately be bad for children? Is it that the liberals say that a lack of gay marriage is unfair to gays?

If they are both right, then how do we resolve this as fairly as possible?

Oh, and what is a RB? And how much in legal fees will it cost? Do we need to be lawyers to implement it?
11.6.2005 12:03am
Antonin:
Mitch: thankfully, we don't need to worry about it. The conservative claim is that there's something only a male parent can do for a kid and something only a female parent can do for a kid. The problem is that if you examine this closely it turns that all that backs it up is sexist stereotypes.

Now just wait and see how long it is until On Lawn et al chime in to say that my argument is bad, because the stereotypes are universally accurate.
11.6.2005 12:17am
Kendall:
"Is it that the conservatives here say that gay marriage will ultimately be bad for children?"

That seems to be the argument, even though no one will answer why then society allows gays to adopt.

"Is it that the liberals say that a lack of gay marriage is unfair to gays?"

Well, more libertarians than liberals here I'd think, though if you boiled it down to the most basic idea I guess that's a fair consideration of the position.

As for what an RB is, I have no clue either, perhaps On Lawn will share the information with us.
11.6.2005 12:19am
mitch:
Is there a way, though, to be fair about this? To take those points that each side makes that are the most coherent, logical, kind, and wonderful and ensure that they are not ignored?
11.6.2005 1:09am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Antonin -- I take it that you admit that IF children receive irreplaceable benefits from being raised by a mother AND a father, that ssm is a wash?
11.6.2005 2:08am
Kendall:
logicblackbelt - even if that were true, that doesn't erase the fact that children are being raised and ADOPTED by gay couples does it? and no, I'm not conceeding your point, you've provided no evidence afterall that says that a male and a female raising a child is objectively better than a SS COUPLE (you can find things about single parents obviously, not a same sex couple)
11.6.2005 2:50am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Kendall, what part of the word IF do you not understand?

Before I run out and research the obvious for you, I want to know if it would make a difference in this argument. So again I ask -- IF children receive irreplaceable benefits from being raised by a mother AND a father, is ssm is a wash?

What benefits would ssm give kids being adopted and raised by a same-sex couple, that same-sex unions would not provide?
11.6.2005 4:02am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Why don't you just point directly to the studies that look at the differences between kids raised by straight parents and kids raised by gay parents? If you're correct, then those studies should support your position.

That doesn't say anything relevant to this discussion. It's not gay vs. straight parents; it's same-sex couples v. married parents. We aren't comparing sexual orientations of the individual parents; we're comparing the two different types of family unit. I don't think such a study has been done yet, thorougly, same-sex families are just too new.
11.6.2005 4:33am
Milk For Free:
logicblackbelt, did you get your black belt in logic from an online logic dojo? The University of Phoenix martial arts extension program?

A couple of people have responded to my demographics prediction by suggesting that children will come to have attitudes more like those of their parents. The problem with this is that one's attitudes toward same-sex marriage aren't determined by a single episode, but by exposure to otherwise unexceptional homosexuals whose acquaintances one doesn't grow out of as easily as, say, slap bracelets and New Kids music.

I'm going to guess that most of the same-sex marriage opponents are older, and for that reason I don't feel much enmity; if you are too old to have friends who regularly watch South Park, you are probably incapable of seeing how much of a nonissue homosexuality has become among young people. Gay people are the minority that bigots can't flee by changing suburbs - there are some in every neonatal ward! There's no segregating your children from the fey fifth columnists of tolerance. Tell yourself they'll grow out of it if you must, but don't succumb to the temptation to put your money where your mouth is.
11.6.2005 4:44am
DaveP:
The "gay hazard" argument against SSM -- that it will encourage more gay pairings and impair fecundity is objectively false. Birth control is readily available to men -- through contraceptives or surgery. So, if straight men choose not to have children they can easily do so, and still enjoy romance and sex. Clearly children are still being conceived because many men want children. The assumption with the gay hazard is that truly bisexual men will, if homosexuality is accepted, choose gay relationships in greater numbers. Clearly this ignores their desire to have children -- if they want kids, then they will choose a female partner. If they do not, then they may choose either. Regardless, the availability of contraception masks the bisexual's choice, and does not influence fecundity.

I am perplexed that certain SSM opponents view OSM marriage with reverence and simultaneously would wish to force some homosexuals, through fiat, into OSM. Now, if a homo stays in the closet, sets up a sham OSM, and has kids, do the children benefit from a traditional father-mother upbringing?

It has been said that two men raising a child is substandard, as there is no female role model. Would not two men and and a woman, then satisfy the male-female requirement? Or three men and five women -- then the children get a more comprehensive view of male and female roles.

I am further perplexed by the ceaseless fawing over 'traditional marriage,' as I have seen so many truly awful marriages that do irreperable harm to the parents and children, alike. If the divorce doesn't harm them, the terror of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse does. And yet, the conservative view is that OSM is a right that cannot ever be denied any straight couple, regardless their history of abuse, even with a criminal conviction. And that any OSM can legally produce children, even if they killed any previous offspring (once time is served).

We could license childbirth; require that all couples undergo training and pshychological evaluations prior to being allowed to have kids. But that would be social engineering, right? Violating their God-given rights.

So, in the case of OSM couples, so long as they are allowed conjugal visits, their individual rights have priority over their potential children. In the case of SSM couples, however, the presumption is they are universally unfit -- solely based on their sex. And so their rights are trumped by those of their potential (adopted) children, and society at large. Obviously Sullivan has made this point before.

I am attempting to show that the anti-SSM argument is characterized by shifting premises. It is all about the continuation of the species, until it's not. It is all about the children, until it's not. It is all about the slippery slope, until it's not. It is all about society's interest in proper childrearing, until it's not. Etc...

The trouble with social engineering is that it most often fails to deliver upon its promises, and we are left suffering the unintended consequences. This is why we properly cherish liberty.

I simply want the SSM I will someday have to be recognized and enforced by the state, as any other marriage or contract. I care not what anyone else thinks.
11.6.2005 7:56am
DaveP:
logicblackbelt:

What benefits would ssm give kids being adopted and raised by a same-sex couple, that same-sex unions would not provide?


Growing up secure in the knowledge that their parent's relationship is just as secure and binding and socially relevant as an OSM. It's all about child psychology, until it's not.
11.6.2005 8:01am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
logicblackbelt: it's same-sex couples v. married parents. We aren't comparing sexual orientations of the individual parents; we're comparing the two different types of family unit. I don't think such a study has been done yet, thorougly, same-sex families are just too new.

Not especially new, and plenty of studies have been done. No study published in a peer-reviewed journal has come up with any differences between children reared by same-sex couples and children reared by mixed-sex couples. It may not suit your "common sense", but all the evidence is against your "common sense" conclusion.
11.6.2005 8:12am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
I thank those for your speculations that "studies have been done," but please Be Specific. (
11.6.2005 10:30am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
In case my plea to be more specific is too cryptic for you,


No study published in a peer-reviewed journal has come up with any differences between children reared by same-sex couples and children reared by mixed-sex couples.


Absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence. Name me a single study published in a peer-reviewed journal that (A) Screened out education and income of parents, AND (B) examined the following questions as to differences between CHILDREN reared by same-sex couples and CHILDREN reared by mixed-sex couples:

1. UNWED pregmancy rate.
2. Failure to pay court-mandated child support.
3. Promiscuity.
4. Contracted a venereal disease.
5. Incarcerated.
6. Institutionalized.


The only studies that I have heard of that examined these questions, failed to screen out parental income and parental education level. Then, the studies only bothered to examine a couple questions such as "Is the kid gay" (who cares), and what is the kid's education and income level.

Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that parents with higher income and education, will, on average, have children with better opportunities for education and income. How dows garbage like that pass peer review to begin with? NEXT?
11.6.2005 10:50am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

What benefits would ssm give kids being adopted and raised by a same-sex couple, that same-sex unions would not provide?



Growing up secure in the knowledge that their parent's relationship is just as secure and binding and socially relevant as an OSM.


But that would be a lie, Dave, since where there is ssm, the divorce rate among FF couples for the first 2 years is 300% the rate of MF couples, and the divorce rate among MM couples is 150% the rate of MF couples. (As Rep. Barney Frank noted, the adage that men can't commit appears to have transferred to gay men as well, but the very few that do commit, seem to do so more securely than their lesbian counterparts, who, as one joke goes tend to bring a U-haul to the second date.)
11.6.2005 10:55am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
logicblackbelt: I thank those for your speculations that "studies have been done," but please Be Specific. (

Speculations? That studies have been done is not speculation: it's fact. Be specific? You can find the studies for yourself on scholar.google.com: I used the search pattern "children gay parents" but there are plenty of other options you could search on.

Name me a single study published in a peer-reviewed journal that (A) Screened out education and income of parents, AND (B) examined the following questions as to differences between CHILDREN reared by same-sex couples and CHILDREN reared by mixed-sex couples

If you want to find such a study, scholar.google.com is open to you. Go for it.

Bear in mind, however, while you persist in claiming that there must be differences, that there is plenty of evidence: you will find multiple peer-reviewed studies on scholar-google. The problem for your "common sense conclusion" is that the evidence doesn't agree with your "common sense".

The only studies that I have heard of that examined these questions, failed to screen out parental income and parental education level.

Interesting. And I take it that you feel the fact that same-sex couples are more likely to have children when they have completed their education and have good jobs and can plan their career breaks, in itself is an unfair advantage that the children of same-sex couples have, that ought to be allowed for in studies of such children? It sounds like you want to level down - to remove the advantage children have when they are planned and longed-for children. Why's that?

But that would be a lie, Dave, since where there is ssm, the divorce rate among FF couples for the first 2 years is 300% the rate of MF couples, and the divorce rate among MM couples is 150% the rate of MF couples.

That's an interesting speculation, coming from someone with such opposition to same-sex marriage. Follow your own advice, however: Be Specific. ;-)
11.6.2005 11:18am
DaveP:

But that would be a lie, Dave, since where there is ssm, the divorce rate among FF couples for the first 2 years is 300% the rate of MF couples, and the divorce rate among MM couples is 150% the rate of MF couples.


Relevance? How many of the SSMs with children divorced? How many SSMs got married, just because they could, for the novelty (the incidence of which would decline over time). We have the same problem as with child rearing -- no long term data.

http://www.slate.com/id/2097048/

Further, the black divorce rate (1998) is 120% of the white rate. So, maybe black couples should not marry, either? No, the marriage bond -- social and legal -- promotes stability, regardless other factors.

The 150% rate is comparable with other socially accepted hazards:

http://www.divorcereform.org/real.html

If 150% is too high, how about withholding recognition of marriage from all couples whose income is less than $50k and who have conceived prior to marriage.

Are you seriously arguing that "SSUs" or "RBs" would have a lower separation rate than SSM?

So, again, the argument from ignorance -- that we cannot permit SSM because we don't know what will happen -- is specious and circular.
11.6.2005 11:28am
Rock (mail) (www):
Perhaps we need to reevaluate gay adoption. If we truly do want the proportion of children raised by one male adult and one female adult to be as high as possible, perhaps we should restrict gay adoption.

In any case, just because some gay couples have children does not mean that they must have access to marriage.

After all, marriage is an institution based on the ability of a man and a woman to procreate, in the abstract.

Two men can have sex all they want and they won't produce any children as a result of their sexual activity.

Supporters of same sex marriage are trying to say, "Two men who love each other should be able to get married."

But if love is the criterion for marriage, why wouldn't we allow three men and five women to enter into a group marriage.

If love is the criterion for marriage, why wouldn't we allow two brothers to get married?
11.6.2005 11:30am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
(link)Rock (mail) (www): Perhaps we need to reevaluate gay adoption. If we truly do want the proportion of children raised by one male adult and one female adult to be as high as possible, perhaps we should restrict gay adoption

Because children are better off in institutions than with adopted by same-sex couples?

Or is your beef with children who benefit from "step-parent adoption" and get to have two legal parents, both of the same-sex?

What exactly is your goal, Rock? It doesn't sound very child-centred, either way.

After all, marriage is an institution based on the ability of a man and a woman to procreate, in the abstract.

Nothing gives me more fear for the future of marriage than this attack on it by people who claim to be pro-marriage - trying to reduce marriage to the mere theoretical ability to procreate, and arguing that marriage has no advantages other that putting two people together who at least look as if they could have children, even if they can't or won't - while consciously and deliberately excluding couples who do children, because - to you - it looks as if they couldn't.
11.6.2005 11:55am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
(link)Rock (mail) (www): Perhaps we need to reevaluate gay adoption. If we truly do want the proportion of children raised by one male adult and one female adult to be as high as possible, perhaps we should restrict gay adoption

Because children are better off in institutions than with adopted by same-sex couples?

Or is your beef with children who benefit from "step-parent adoption" and get to have two legal parents, both of the same-sex?

What exactly is your goal, Rock? It doesn't sound very child-centred, either way.

After all, marriage is an institution based on the ability of a man and a woman to procreate, in the abstract.

Nothing gives me more fear for the future of marriage than this attack on it by people who claim to be pro-marriage - trying to reduce marriage to the mere theoretical ability to procreate, and arguing that marriage has no advantages other that putting two people together who at least look as if they could have children, even if they can't or won't - while consciously and deliberately excluding couples who do children, because - to you - it looks as if they couldn't.
11.6.2005 11:55am
TRC:
Antonin,

I think you mischaracterize the conservative argument in your comment.

First, as a group, conservatives are temperamentally disposed to conserve (not change) societal institutions such as marriage, on the presumption that those institutions have served the public good. A conservative would generally be skeptical about changing societal institutions unless sustained evidence over a period of time indicated that the current institution was doing more harm than good for society and that, in this case, the replacement institution (SSM) would not have unintended and adverse effects of its own.

One problem is how to weigh evidence about the pros and cons of SSM. A corollary problem is to specify the evidence that is relevant to the debate and whether that evidence constitutes a sufficient basis for overturning institutional precedent (marriage) and replacing an existing institution with a new one (SSM).

In my view, the jury is still out on the question of SSM and whether replacing marriage with SSM, would, on balance, have adverse effects on children. One position is that SSM would provide the same benefits for children of gay parents as marriage does for children of heterosexual parents (perhaps by increasing parental stability). Another position is that SSM would further decouple marriage from its procreative function, which would reshape heterosexual (and, of course, homosexual) social norms about marriage and the procreative function marriage. If the experiment in Scandinavia is any indication, SSM could result in fewer heterosexual marriages and more children being reared by single parents.

The experiment in Scandinavia is interesting example, sort of a Rorschach for people on the right and left. People on the right generally argue that Scandinavia provides proof that changing marriage laws will bring changes in how people (especially straights) view marriage and, as stated previously, result in more children being reared by single parents (which is generally not good for children). People on the left dismiss this and argue that the changes in family composition had begun long before changes in marriage law, and that the changes in Scandinavia had nothing to do with changes in family law.

My own view is that the empirical evidence for either position (conserving marriage or replacing it with SSM) is not entirely clear but will become so over time as some states experiment with new forms of relationship contracts while others retain the status quo (marriage). My one concern, however, is that such experimentation may be pre-empted by claims of 14th amendment violations and full-faith-and credit violations, and by a judiciary that abbreviates public debate on the matter and forces change via jurisprudential penumbras.

VC friends. I am still working on that grant deadline. But I will be checking periodically in the background.
11.6.2005 12:49pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
TRC: If the experiment in Scandinavia is any indication, SSM could result in fewer heterosexual marriages and more children being reared by single parents.

The evidence from Scandinavia does not bolster that view.

No Scandinavian country offers same-sex marriage, but they do all offer registered partnerships open to same-sex couples only, providing almost all the same legal benefits/rights as marriage, and (now) all recognized by each Scandinavian country, so that a couple who get a registered partnership in Norway will be legally recognised as in a registered partnership in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden, and so forth. Denmark was the first, in 1989, and the others followed over the next decade. It's therefore inappropriate for you to refer to this as same-sex marriage, unless you make no distinction between marriage and civil union/registered partnership.

Statistics show (I'd cite from wiki, but it seems to be temporarily down) that the various Scandinavian countries have been steadily falling in marriage and in number of children born inside marriage, for twenty and more years: the advent of a strong welfare state and a culture in which there is no discrimination against unwed couples who have children, have meant that couples can please themselves. But, there is no evidence that the decline in marriage or in children born inside marriage even correlates to the introduction of registered partnerships to the several Scandinavian countries. There's not so much as an unusual downward blip.

I posted this information on another Volokh thread, in response (I think) to another comment of yours - perhaps you missed it then? Anyway, you know now.
11.6.2005 1:18pm
The Editors, American Federalist Journal (mail) (www):
Antonin:

"...your entire argument is predicated on the false assumption that "children need a father and a mother." Evidence, please?"


Yes, evidence it is a false assumption please. People have preferred man-woman marriage for eons, across cultures. But Antonin knows better, and we should just take his word for it evidently.
11.6.2005 1:26pm
TRC:
Jesurgislac:

Yes, I recall that. I stand corrected for at least not qualifying my response (or linking to your response). Although Kurtz et al. would probably dispute your general claim, I am willing to accept your welfare state claim as being plausible from an economic standpoint. Nonetheless, I believe that my general point -- that there is insufficient empirical evidence on which to effectively argue one way or another -- still holds at the present time.

Your more interesting claim, in my view, addressed the role of welfare state benefits on children in SSM.

One implication is that any correlation between SSM and, say, child poverty, would be illusory, being based not on single parenthood but on a third variable (welfare state benefits) that would moderate any adverse effects of SSM, at least in Scandinavian countries, which have generous benefits that offset reduced incomes in single parent families.

Another implication is that in states like the US, where the welfare benefits are much more meager, SSM might be predicted to have adverse effects, assuming an increase in single parenthood would lead to reduction in parental income (and increase in child poverty) that would not be offset by generous welfare benefits. (BTW: I think you implied something like this in your previous post, and, if so, I give you credit.)

This is actually a complex economic argument because welfare benefits may, as many economists know, change incentives for work and innovation, chiefly through providing disincentives for work and decreasing gross productivity and per capita productivity. These changes can reduce GNP, which would lead to less capital for welfare benefits (and poor children), although how capital is allocated by the government is ultimately a political decision.

At any rate, you raise a very interesting question, which, to my knowledge, has not been addressed on this blog or elsewhere: Would SSM have different effects on children depending on the state welfare benefits (which could moderate any adverse effects of SSM on children from single parenthood)? My guess is that in any society, at the margins of subsistence, SSM or any policy that could increase single parenthood (which generally reduces parental income) would lead to greater child poverty. Of course, the general issue of whether SSM does change social norms about marriage and results in fewer straights getting married and more single parent households is itself an empirical question that must be addressed.

My view is that until questions like this are answered, we ought to act with prudence, not with alacrity, in pressing for SSM.
11.6.2005 3:02pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
TRC, as I think I pointed out in that other thread, though I may not have:

1. Being born to unmarried parents does not equate to being born into a single-parent family. Many unmarried couples in Scandinavia stay together and raise children together - they're just not married to each other.

2. Scandinavian countries do provide excellent day care for children and health care for all: this does mean that single parenthood doesn't equate to poverty as much as it does in the US. These are not "welfare benefits": they're not tied to being jobless.

One implication is that any correlation between SSM and, say, child poverty, would be illusory

If you want to find a correlation between same-sex marriage and child poverty, you can look for one. But as far as I can see, this is an assertion you've pulled out of the air. The studies that have been done on same-sex couples and mixed-sex couples rearing children suggest it's the other way about: because same-sex couples have children only when they plan for them and want them, children of same-sex couples are less likely to be living in poverty than children of mixed-sex couples.

Repeated, again: there is no evidence that same-sex marriage is a factor that leads to single-motherhood. None. You are free, of course, to imagine that it might - but given that you are hypothesising with no evidence, I think it's fair to ask what on earth you are basing the hypothesis on, since it's not only not based on any data available to you from countries which have same-sex civil unions or same-sex marriage, it's actually in reverse of what data exists for same-sex couples rearing children.

What hypothesis causes you to call into doubt the available evidence?
11.6.2005 3:35pm
Xander (mail):
Thanks a lot for the commentary, I just now got a chance to read through this post, College keeps me busy. As a rather conservative young man I'm forced to be skeptical of ssm and I don't think that forcibly enacting legislation, or mandating it through the courts is in our immediate best interest. Marriage is an ideal and changing it without pressing reason seems foolhardy. I think our problems stem from something more basic that has been overlooked by many: our inability to control our own property. As a citizen it would be hard for me to contract with another citizen, my boyfriend, to ensure him access to my property and control over decision-making when I am incapacitated. Same-sex couples often see the contracts they have built and signed thrown out, or ignored by those who don't condone their "lifestyle."

I think I should have the last say over who I tie my personal, and as far as the law is concerned, and more importantly legal/property/financial life to. If I choose to leave my home, and other processions to another, regardless of age, sex, etc. I should be able to without loosing half of it to the government. In the end I think my "marriage" should stand on the force of will of the participants, not a sheet of paper. All I ask for, and frankly I think most people would agree, is the freedom to control my life as I see fit. This includes actual legal enforcement of contracts, and the accessibility of contracts, not marriage, that allow me actual control over my life and those participating in it.
11.6.2005 3:45pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
Xander: I think I should have the last say over who I tie my personal, and as far as the law is concerned, and more importantly legal/property/financial life to.

Well, then don't put yourself in the same camp as the people who think you shouldn't have the last say over that. You want to be able to be married: why tell yourself you don't deserve it?
11.6.2005 4:07pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Yay! Let's play the imaginary evidence game with Jesgurgislac again.

Jesgurgislac:
Repeated, again: there is no evidence that same-sex marriage is a factor that leads to single-motherhood. None. You are free, of course, to imagine that it might - but given that you are hypothesising with no evidence, I think it's fair to ask what on earth you are basing the hypothesis on, since it's not only not based on any data available to you from countries which have same-sex civil unions or same-sex marriage, it's actually in reverse of what data exists for same-sex couples rearing children.

What hypothesis causes you to call into doubt the available evidence?


What evidence?

The evidence you keep saying is there, and haven't bothered to reference? Show me studies and the methods used to obtain the conclusions. Until you do, you have not presented any evidence, Jesgurgislac.


If you want to find such a study, scholar.google.com is open to you. Go for it.


Nice try, Jesgurgislac. I told you I have looked and have not found ANY that fit the bare minimum criteria. Here they are again, in case you forgot:


Name me a single study published in a peer-reviewed journal that (A) Screened out education and income of parents, AND (B) examined the following questions as to differences between CHILDREN reared by same-sex couples and CHILDREN reared by mixed-sex couples:

1. UNWED pregmancy rate.
2. Failure to pay court-mandated child support.
3. Promiscuity.
4. Contracted a venereal disease.
5. Incarcerated.
6. Institutionalized.

The only studies that I have heard of that examined these questions, failed to screen out parental income and parental education level. Then, the studies only bothered to examine a couple questions such as "Is the kid gay" (who cares), and what is the kid's education and income level. (It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that parents with higher income and education, will, on average, have children with better opportunities for education and income.)


Obviously you're unaware of a study that fits even half thos criteria, since you told me to go fish. I also infer that you have no coherent argument against the importance of any of the criteria that I laid out above -- no argument against socioeconomic screening, no argument against suicide stats as relevant data here. You do agree that kids killing themselves, getting venereal diseases, getting incarcerated, etc. are bad things, right? Things society wants to avoid?

{{crickets chirping}}

Dave says:

So, again, the argument from ignorance -- that we cannot permit SSM because we don't know what will happen -- is specious and circular.


That's because you are misrepresenting the argument. We aren't refusing to "permit" ssm. We are refusing to redefine marriage. Refusing to recognize same-sex relationships as something they are not.

Marriage is a constitutional right. You can't deny it to blacks as you proposed, or to other individuals. But ssm is not marriage, and therefore is not a constitutional right. If you read the history of cases leading to Redhail and Loving, you understand that the whole concept of marriage as a constitutional right is all about reproduction. Loving fought a Virginia law that was intended to prevent "miscegenation."


Are you seriously arguing that "SSUs" or "RBs" would have a lower separation rate than SSM?


We need more time to do the studies, and to examine that and other questions, before we make any irrevocable decisions.
11.6.2005 4:44pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Let's get this "appeal to ignorance" right, Dave.

I'm going to the market to buy a pig.

You try to sell me a pig in a poke.

I say, wait, let me look at it, make sure it's healthy.

You say: no time. Give me the money and I'll give you the pig.

I say -- I'm not buying it. It might be diseased.

You say -- "again, the argument from ignorance -- that we cannot buy this pig because we don't know what will happen -- is specious and circular."
11.6.2005 4:49pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
logicblackbelt: Show me studies and the methods used to obtain the conclusions

I linked you to a number of studies on scholar.google.com. You don't want to look at them, that's your affair: but don't claim I haven't shown them to you.

I also infer that you have no coherent argument against the importance of any of the criteria that I laid out above

You are free to infer anything you like, though it does make your username less and less apt.
11.6.2005 5:25pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
I don't care for just any studies. I asked you if there were any that met these specific criteria:


Name me a single study published in a peer-reviewed journal that (A) Screened out education and income of parents, AND (B) examined the following questions as to differences between CHILDREN reared by same-sex couples and CHILDREN reared by mixed-sex couples:

1. UNWED pregmancy rate.
2. Failure to pay court-mandated child support.
3. Promiscuity.
4. Contracted a venereal disease.
5. Incarcerated.
6. Institutionalized.

The only studies that I have heard of that examined these questions, failed to screen out parental income and parental education level. Then, the studies only bothered to examine a couple questions such as "Is the kid gay" (who cares), and what is the kid's education and income level. (It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that parents with higher income and education, will, on average, have children with better opportunities for education and income.)


You reply by giving me some link you say contains studies. Does it contain any studies like the ones I asked about? You don't say.

So I repeat: I have searched, and found none, nor have I found rumors of any studies that match the criteria that I listed above. J waves around vague statements that some studies exist, but he not actually challenge my assertions that none exist that show the vital and relevant information that we'd need to make such an extraordinary change to the definition of marriage.
11.6.2005 5:54pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
J waves around vague statements that some studies exist

No: I linked to specific studies of children raised by same-sex couples that I found using one search pattern on scholar.google.com.

Your continued assertion that a direct link to studies in the very area in which you claim you want to read is a "vague statement that some studies exist" is proof enough, for me, of your intellectual dishonesty.
11.6.2005 6:22pm
Appellate Junkie (mail):
Jesurgislac:

I haven't been following your exchange here in much detail (honestly, it seems a bit futile given the some of the characters involved).

That said I did try your scholar.google.com search. It certainly retrieved many of the usual suspects, but I didn't see a relatively recent study that, from a methodological standpoint, was quite good.

It was published late last year in the journal Child Development (I wouldn't be surprised if someone tried to impeach the publication, but doing so wouldn't withstand much scrutiny): Wainright, Russell, and Patterson; "Psychosocial Adjustment, School Outcomes, and Romantic Relationships of Adolescents With Same-Sex Parents" (November/December 2004, Volume 75, Number 6, Pages 1886 -- 1898). It also happens to available from the publisher free of charge, which make it all the more useful.

Like any other single study of such a small population, it couldn't possibly answer "The" question. The dataset used wasn't tailored to study children of same-sex parents (which is frankly one of its strengths), but this limits some of the inferences and illustrates the difficulty of studying this population. Whatever the article's shortcomings, which the authors discuss frankly (as any decent investigator ought to), it was a very interesting read—at least if this sort of research has any appeal.

There have been a couple of other interesting recent articles spawned by the same large-scale study (National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a.k.a. "Add Health"). I didn't notice any of them in the first few pages of the Google search. Of course, you'll only get abstracts for most of them online (unless you subscribe to the relevant journals/databases).
11.6.2005 8:22pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall, (Chris Mathews in training)

I think you are in gainsaying mode, the question was answered and you are vaguely and inconsitently finding complaint against the answer, disengenuousely asserting that means I'm dodging. Chris Mathews is an idiot, and his use of that tactic convinced me of that. Please elevate your commentary accordingly.

Milk for Free,

Accordingly, to say that there is no evidence because you looked at two newspaper articles from a list of a dozen or so references is asenine. To sweep away the articles because they are news paper articles and not in depth enough for you is even worse. The evidence was presented, and until you do a more credible review you should hold off on claiming there is no evidence.

Kendall (again)

Please answer the two questions I asked. Not the questions you wish to answer, the ones I asked. They don't mention incest because the relationship is not sexual at all, and the situational base includes more than even those relationships you misunderstand. Red-herrings are not good discourse. Please answer the question, or simply state if you disagree with Bob who in the link I presented agreed that non-sexual couples (or even trios) that were dependant on each other and raising children should have access to a marriage certificate to gain the benefits in the link you keep providing.
11.6.2005 9:40pm
alexandra (mail):
I think the whole "traditionalist argument" is totally absurd. Traditionalists rely on facts, not emotion. They use facts and facts ultimately support truth. We don't fall for the dialectic (take the facts and the emotions and come up with a compromise. We are not vulnerable to PRAXIS because we stick to FACTS. This attempt at a traditionalist argument in support of homosexual marriage has no foundation. Traditionalists, generally christian, believe God created Adam and Eve and told His creation to be fruitfall and multiply. God created the family.
There is no way around this . God also condemned homosexuality. This is a truth that many wolfes in churches try to deny.but it is a fact.
Again, there are tons of secular facts to support that trying to pervert God's creation has severe penalties , not only for our society but for family and individuals.
It's really quite simple.
11.6.2005 10:15pm
Milk For Free:
First off: I will not accept having any action of mine being called asinine by someone who can't spell asinine.

Second: What I disregarded was Dr. Byrd's article, for the following reasons:

1. Scientific analyses, even metaanalyses, are conventionally presented in scientific journals, not law reviews.

2. The author is affiliated with an organization (NARTH) whose goals are at odds with the larger and better accredited psychiatric community.

3. The article in question contains such circular gems as positing as one of the social ills associated with homosexuality, "a significantly decreased likelihood of establishing or preserving a successful marriage" and points to a 25-35 year decrease in life expectancy among homosexuals without pointing out that the citation is from a book published in 1996, which almost certainly relied itself from early AIDS-era numbers. As AIDS is obviously no longer an exclusively nor even predominately homosexual illness (on a global scale), and as modern drug treatments have extended the life expectancies of AIDS patients, to boot, the figure is doubly disingenuous.

4. The author graduated from a psychiatry program (Brigham Young) whose sectarian origins put its dedication to objectivity and the scientific method strongly into question.

5. The author is also the author of "Homosexuality and the Church of Jesus Christ : understanding homosexuality according to the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," which again calls his objectivity into question.

I will point to Stephen Pinker on the issue as an example of just one credentialed researcher who has come to the opposite conclusion on the weighting of the nature/nurture/mutability question. Harvard, where Dr. Pinker teaches, enjoys a marginally better reputation for research than Brigham Young, I understand.
11.6.2005 10:39pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - You did NOT answer my question based on the link I repeatedly provided. In fact, my link IS the answer to your first question.

Your questions were these:

"1) Why does it require marriage? It seems everything you anticipate from marriage can come from RB's, am I wrong?"

This is my answer. Several posters have asked you what an "RB" is and we can't seem to see where you posted the answer. I'd think you could answer what a 2 letter abbreviatgion means and I think you could address my link.

"2) Why do you shut out other couples who are dependant on each other, and are raising children, and have something to contribute?"

Heterosexual marriage doesn't do that, so neither would homosexual. if another couple wants to marry they can. Be specific here.

I guess if you cannot address the link I've provided (you have not, and if you have PLEASE quote it for me where you addressed that link) by now you must be REALLY desperate.
11.6.2005 10:42pm
Justin (mail):
Awwww, alexandria, thank you.

I haven't laughed like that since Family Guy. (I assume you were posting tongue in cheek).
11.6.2005 10:52pm
alexandra (mail):
Justin,

I am quite serious. Perhaps truth is something that gives you quite a laugh.....since you obviously are unable to respond to its merit.

Again, the only hope various perversions have in achieving status in our society is to rip truth from its primary foundation - GOD. This is why when one introduces Scripture into such a discussion, some laugh, some marginalize, some become angry and others claim God is irrelevant to the discussion.
Without God's moral underpinnings to our society, we are left with moral relativism and a rather fragile attempt to appeal to some sense of "unfairness" to those who are traditionalists. Perhaps I missed it, but was there ever given a working definition of the word "traditionalist" and if it's simply defined by those who oppose SSM, I would state that is a limited definition and historically incorrect.
11.6.2005 11:25pm
alexandra (mail):
To those who believe the Netherlands has achieved the ultimate sophistication, enlightenment...............think again.


In the Netherlands, "gay marriage" hasn't stopped AIDS


A study in the journal AIDS reported that in Holland, where "gay marriage" has been legal since 2001, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are soaring among homosexual men. The study notes that "partnered" homosexuals have "outside" lovers, although fewer than the "unpartnered," and that men in these relationships are still contracting the AIDS virus at alarming rates. This is progress?
11.6.2005 11:43pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

We have the same problem as with child rearing -- no long term data.


That's just what I said. We need long term data before we lunge into such a drastic change. This is nothing like so-called "interracial" marriage, where we had examples all over the world of peoples of different colors intermarrying, going back thousands of years.


Like any other single study of such a small population, it couldn't possibly answer "The" question. The dataset used wasn't tailored to study children of same-sex parents (which is frankly one of its strengths), but this limits some of the inferences and illustrates the difficulty of studying this population. Whatever the article's shortcomings, which the authors discuss frankly (as any decent investigator ought to), it was a very interesting read—at least if this sort of research has any appeal.


I'm delighted that you've found one article on Jegursislac's site that's interesting to read. Please let me know if you find one that screens out socioeconomic status like any real scientific study would do, and examines relevant issues such as suicide, unwed pregnancy, incarceration, institutionalization, etc. What sort of incompetent fools would we be for changing the definition of marriage without finding out potential effects of such a change. internationally, a number of communities have made this change, offering themselves as guinea pigs. Let the real studies begin!
11.7.2005 12:11am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Jegurglesac now calls me "intellectually dishonest for pointing out that he failed to deliver any specific studies. He said "studies exist," didn't say that they were actual scientific studies (i.e. eliminating socioeconomic variation), and linked me to scholars.google.com

Has Jegurglesac ever delivered on his boasts?
11.7.2005 12:18am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Now Milk For Free dismisses one statement based on a typo, and dismisses a study by pointing out that the author is a Mormon.

Milk doesn't bother to examine the methodology or actually show where in the study bias might apply -- Milk just tosses the whole study through the classic poisoning the well strategy.

Yup. It's logic as usual down in ssm-ville. Next?
11.7.2005 12:21am
Kendall:
Logicblackbelt - I can see the sense of saying you need more data before gay adoption for example is allowed, that's only reasonable. However, society has already determined gays/lesbians make fit parents. Now doesn't the question reasonably become whether these fit parents (if they weren't on average fit parents no gay couple would be allowed to adopt) should be given the rights of marriage which would arguably make raising a child easier?
11.7.2005 1:11am
Public_Defender:

I have parents and had grandparents. I don't know about you, but most of the elderly men I know, and most people who I knew as a child 20-30 years ago, did not have relationships where the men owned the women in any sense. Whatever reasons for the original legal point, it is beyond ridiculous to suggest that it was used in general by men to rape their wives at will.

I wish you were right, but, alas, you are not. Wive raping was an express exception to most rape laws. And until roughly the 1980's (yes the 1980's!), law enforcement tolerated men beating their wives. Wife beating was considered a family matter in which the cops should not intervene.

The vision of marriage as an equal, voluntary union of man and a woman is extremely modern. The argument to the contrary is either wishful thinking or dishonest.

Note: many, like the Sourthern Baptists and other politically conservative Christians, still don't subscribe to the "equal" part of marriage.
11.7.2005 5:58am
Public_Defender:
I regret three words in this paragraph:

The vision of marriage as an equal, voluntary union of man and a woman is extremely modern. The argument to the contrary is either wishful thinking or dishonest.
I don't think most people who hold the anti-gay position on marriage are dishonest about the history of marriage. I think they're just wrong.

Sorry for lowering the tone of the debate.
11.7.2005 7:32am
Milk For Free:

Now Milk For Free dismisses one statement based on a typo, and dismisses a study by pointing out that the author is a Mormon.

Milk doesn't bother to examine the methodology or actually show where in the study bias might apply -- Milk just tosses the whole study through the classic poisoning the well strategy.


The statement I dismissed was having my dismissal of Dr. Byrd's statement called asinine, when "asinine" was misspelled. I hope you'll be honest enough to agree it's a pretty funny place to make an error.

I actually went on to respond to the subject of the comment regardless, which you seem to have missed. Particularly where I pointed out examples of where the author showed bad faith by using old life expectancy data when even the authors of the original studies used have pointed out that newer studies would show a much less gloomy picture for gay men.

I also have to question the motives of anyone who would include "a decreasing likelihood of sustaining a successful (heterosexual, one assumes!) marriage" as a danger associated with homosexuality, when a disinterest in heterosexual relations among homosexuals is tautological. I'm not saying that, because he's a Mormon, Dr. Byrd isn't smart - I know a lot of very bright Mormons. I'm saying that he's not honest in his studies about homosexuality.

Is your online logic dojo accredited, logicblackbelt?
11.7.2005 7:45am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
Kendall: I can see the sense of saying you need more data before gay adoption for example is allowed, that's only reasonable.

How much more data is required? Lesbians and gays are already allowed to adopt in 49 states - and adoption agencies in the state of Florida are in strong disagreement with the state on the anti-gay adoption policy that means children can only be placed with same-sex couples in perpetual fostercare.

The issue is not (except in Florida) whether lesbians and gays shall be allowed to adopt: the issue is not (even in Florida) whether lesbians and gays make good parents. The issue is, in 48 states, whether when a same-sex couple adopt, the child adopted should get to be adopted by the couple - having two legal adoptive parents - or if, as at present, the child should only be permitted one adoptive parent, if adopted by a same-sex couple.

The issue is tied in with same-sex marriage, because legally, a same-sex couple are regarded (in 49 states) as an unmarried couple: and an unmarried couple cannot adopt as a couple. With mixed-sex couples, this is half-way reasonable, since a mixed-sex couple can marry: where same-sex couples are barred from marriage, it is not reasonable.

The solution is either to permit unmarried couples to adopt as couples, if they can prove to the assessing agency that their relationship is stable and long-term: or to open marriage to same-sex couples, and continue the rule that only married couples can adopt as couples.

Anything else is discriminatory against children adopted by same-sex couples.
11.7.2005 9:17am
Shawn (mail):
One thing to note about Florida (my current state of residence) is that foster care is open to homosexuals. At one point, the state agency that oversees foster care was advertising at events to get more gay and lesbian foster homes.

In a recent case, a gay couple fostered a "troubled child" that had severe behavioral problems. They were able to correct the child's problems and the child was doing much better in school. The couple attempted to adopt the child. This raised a stink in Florida nearly as large as Terry Shiavo's feeding tube did. The state then attempted to remove the child from the gay couple by adopting to a heterosexual couple. The gay couple sued to retain custody and the judge prevented the state from taking the child away .

So even in Florida the state finds that gay parents can be just as good as straight ones.
11.7.2005 10:21am
Public_Defender:
A recent Washington Supreme Court case shows the importance of marriage, as well as some of the hysterical arguments against it. An article about the case is here.

In the case, a lesbian couple had a baby by using a sperm donor. The non-birth mother stayed home and raised the kid to age six, when the couple split. The birth mother married the sperm donor. The court said the non-birth mother could have visitation.
In The Corner, Stanley Kurtz takes this as a precursor for Armageddon, or worse, polygamy. That's just silly. This case could have easily happened with a heterosexual couple in which the man was infertile. They have a baby through donated-sperm in vitro. They split. Ex-wife marries sperm donor.

The difference is that marriage laws would give the courts aframework to set up visitation. Contrary to Kurtz's histrionics, parents and step parents have been around for centuries. No one would call it a "plural marriage" when an ex-husband gets visitation after his ex-wife remarries.

Marriage and divorce laws give the courts the chance to sort out assets and the interests of children. The kid in this case is much better off being able to continue to see the woman she calls "mama."

Once again, someone with the anti-gay point of view inadvertantly makes a strong case for gay marriage.
11.7.2005 11:40am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Milk, calling someone "dishonest" because he's a mormon is still poisoning the well.

Back in the early 1990s, a mormon professor at Brigham Young University was one of the first reaserchers who brought out evidence of a so-called "gay gene." Whether you accept it or not, religious people are not a bunch of self-deluded fools who refuse to consider contrary evidence. The process of peer review exists to weed out bias in studies. The question of what the Mormon doctrine is about homosexuality is an objective question. Mormons have doctrine that forbids them from drinking wine, but that doesn't mean that a mormon scientist is going to skew data and try to prove that wine is dangerous, any more than a Jewish scientist is going to falsify data to prove that Pork causes Tey-Sachs disease, or an Atheist scientist is going to falsify data to discredit the shroud of Turin.

Following your logic, we should also throw out any study written by a gay person or by a person who supports or opposes ssm.

There's a reason that thinkers through the ages have identified what you just did as a logical fallacy. We should consider possible bias in conjunction with the data -- look for places that bias might have corrupted the study. Not just dismiss the study on the assumption that people from group X are dishonest about y.
11.7.2005 11:42am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

The state then attempted to remove the child from the gay couple by adopting to a heterosexual couple. The gay couple sued to retain custody and the judge prevented the state from taking the child away .

So even in Florida the state finds that gay parents can be just as good as straight ones.


That's a ridiculous misrepresentation of the principles involved in the case.

If the state had tried to take a child from a single mom, and place the kid with a married couple, would you pretend that "the state finds that single mothers can be just as good as married couples"?

I strongly oppose ssm, but I agree with the court's decision. You don't yank a child away from the only family that he knows, just because there's another TYPE of family that's generally superior to the TYPE of family that he's with.
11.7.2005 11:48am
Kendall:
Jesurgislac - I actually agree with you and I was making the same point. My point is the legislatures have ALREADY obviously debated what logicblackbelt is questioning - whether lesbians and gays are fit parents. The data IS there or the legislatures wouldn't have allowed gay couples to adopt. My point is that LBB's argument is about 20 years too late.
11.7.2005 11:58am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

Kendall said: I can see the sense of saying you need more data before gay adoption for example is allowed, that's only reasonable. However, society has already determined gays/lesbians make fit parents.

Society has also said that single mothers and single fathers make fit parents. That doesn't mean that single mothers are married.



Now doesn't the question reasonably become whether these fit parents (if they weren't on average fit parents no gay couple would be allowed to adopt) should be given the rights of marriage which would arguably make raising a child easier?


Not when there are more reasonable and society-disrupting alternatives to meet the same needs, such as the different solutions considered in Vermont, or the Oregon initiative.

Marriage has unique rules that could not reasonably apply to same-sex couples, such as PoP, which severs rights of nonparties to the marriage. PoP narrowly avoided being declared unconstitutional in Michael H v. Gerald D., and only passed because the law was narrowly tailored towards its purpose of maximizing the proportion of children raised by a father and mother. If we broadened the definition of marriage, society's clear purpose of marriage would change, and PoP and other laws would become unconstitutional.

The question reasonably becomes, what legitimate interest does society have same-sex relationships, and which laws would be appropriate, given those legitimate interests. There are over 1400 different rules that apply to marriage. Some obviously would make sense to apply to same-sex couples, but others, like PoP, would not make sense. There may be laws that same-sex couples could use for equity sake, that AREN'T and shouldn't be part of marriage.

It's a different type of relationship, the state's interest is different, therefore it requires a different set of laws.

Some make the bad analogy to "separate but equal," but there's no sane argument that the state has a different interest in a black child's education than in a white child's education. The government has equal interest in the interests of children raised by same-sex couples as in children raised by a father and mother, but marriage regulates the ADULT RELATIONSHIP, where the state obviously has different interests. Why does it have different interests? Because the capacity to generate unplanned offspring is a particular concern to the government.
11.7.2005 12:06pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
logicblackbelt: just because there's another TYPE of family that's generally superior to the TYPE of family that he's with.

And yet, you cannot yourself find any evidence - none whatsoever - that mixed-sex couples are in fact a type of family generally superior to same-sex couples.
11.7.2005 12:25pm
Appellate Junkie (mail):
Logicblackbelt:

I'm delighted that you've found one article on Jegursislac's site that's interesting to read.

Huh? I thought it was apparent that I linked to this study as an example of several studies that I didn't see among Jesurgislac's listings.

As such, it was for the benefit of those who are actually interested in the topic. You may be among that group, but I just can't tell from what you've written here.

Please let me know if you find one that screens out socioeconomic status like any real scientific study would do, and examines relevant issues such as suicide, unwed pregnancy, incarceration, institutionalization, etc.

Yes, the study controlled for the usual extraneous variables.

No, the study didn't attempt to measure the number of adolescents who had committed suicide. Because the researchers set out to study adolescent health in the broadest possible terms, they choose to limit their inquiry to living children, who could actually take the surveys.

Given the design of the study, adolescents who were incarcerated or institutionalized at the time weren't reached either.

The study is rather elaborate. It began by conducting roughly 90,000 in-school surveys of adolescents. From these, about 12,000 students were surveyed in their homes, as were the students' parents. This data is the "Wave I" core sample, which this particular article used for its purposes.

In addition to those students, another roughly 4,000 took the in-home and parent surveys. This oversampling included saturation samples (attempting to reach all students in a small number of the schools), which enabled other interesting research of the sort I linked to earlier (that article has nothing to do with same-sex parenting, but is very interesting to those of us who study health issues in the broader population). Additional oversamples tried to reach groups that are harder to evaluate: certain ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and siblings of varying genetic relatedness (from twins to half-siblings).

One of the most powerful aspects of the underlying data is the longitudinal component. Insofar as was possible, the researchers followed up with the students a year later (Wave II) and again seven years later (Wave III), when the adolescents would be young adults. The Wave III research also included interviews with the original respondents' partners (married, cohabiting, or dating partners), if they had such a partner.

Why you would dismiss such research out of hand is beyond me. The underlying data is an incredibly rich resource, which will keep researchers busy for a decade or more.

Perhaps you should read a few of the hundreds of articles (perhaps even thousands by now) this original study spawned.
11.7.2005 12:28pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Even if we could demonstrate that, all other things equal, OS couples are better for raising children than SS couples, it still would not follow that SS couples raising children is a "bad" thing or that they otherwise shouldn't have rights.

For instance, all other things equal, it's clearly better for children to be raised by higher income families having greater wealth, because those parents can better attend to the needs of children and provide greater life opportunies (in terms of moving into neighborhoods with better public schools, or sending them to private schools, being able to pay for tutors and Princeton Review and Kaplan courses, etc).

We still don't say that therefore, parents of more modest means raising children is a "bad" thing and should be granted fewer rights.
11.7.2005 12:50pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Following your logic, we should also throw out any study written by a gay person or by a person who supports or opposes ssm.

And there are plenty of people on the anti-gay side who do do this, and dismiss any study with pro-gay results written by a gay researcher.
11.7.2005 12:52pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Milk for Free,

I'm saying that he's not honest in his studies about homosexuality.

This coming from Milk Man, who hasn't met a credibile study he can't deny because his faith in homosexuality is unshaken.

I'm with Alexandra, and Milk for Free affirms it, this whole GLBT thing is more "cult" than culture.

Milk I away a *credible* and real approach to all the studies pointed to. You are really straining at gnats here.
11.7.2005 2:20pm
Milk for Free:

The process of peer review exists to weed out bias in studies.

Indeed it does! In this case, however, Dr. Byrd's article was reviewed by law students at Regent U, not psychiatrists. Do you think law students at Regent U have the scientific grounding to ignore their personal biases against homosexuality? They seem not to, having let "a significantly decreased likelihood of sustaining a successful marriage" remain in the article as a danger corrolated with homosexuality.

I can credit that many Mormons, even devout ones, can produce honest work on the underpinnings of homosexuality. Dr. Byrd has evidenced by his shoddy and one-sided "research," however, that he isn't one of them.
11.7.2005 2:25pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
jon Rowe,

The whole "rights" discussion is one of the oldest cannards in history. Communistic oppression was built on the "rights" of the proletariat. Nazi's rose to power on the "rights" of the Aryans.

Just about every oppressive movement in history that I know of started as seeking rights for a stringent minority of individuals who classified themselves on very artificial means. Aryan? Proletariat? Homosexual? They really mean nothing and are unverifiable to some degree or another. And that is, funny enough, in each circumstance a feature not a flaw. Because it is unverifiable, it is undefinable. For instance McGreevey is someone who switched from a happy heterosexual lifestyle to a homosexual lifestyle, and he is a true gay. But thousands of ex-gays who show they can switch to a heterosexual lifestyle happily are either fooling themselves or weren't really gay to begin with. Such arbitrary labeling and casting of members of society is rank of the racial labeling of the past. It should stop, and the GLBT though doing many great things to promote tolerance and social discourse, are doing a great disservice to its own membership. The GLBT represents homosexuality like McDonalds represents farm animals, as a packaged labeled product ready to sell to the highest bidder.

I'm all for liberation, for tolerance and for rights. I'm for the liberation of individuals from being told they can't love someone who for some reason is different than them. I'm for tolerance of people who wish to live their lives as they wish, and tolerance of others who say that it is okay to do but not good to adopt as a social policy. I'm for the rights of children and handicapped and mothers and fathers who are being trampled under the bus of GLBT chauvanism.
11.7.2005 2:28pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Here's some facts to ponder about gay-parenting...

Homosexual lifestyle is a danger to children.

Homosexual culture breeds very poor parenting decisions.

Homosexual chauvanism steps on the rights of children.

Homosexual chauvanism towards marriage marginalizes our efforts to help the handicapped.

Homosexual chauvanism steps on our basic civil rights by focusing the debate exclusively on their demands.

Homosexual chauvanism dictates that you can replace a father (more) or a mother with just another father or mother. That is the epitome of gender chauvanism, and devalues our identities for their self-styled politicism. It states that adults are the victims, and children are resiliant. It states that gender differences are nothing when it comes to raising children, but insurmountable when it comes to their labedos. Such is a world upside down, amoral and wrong. Not that homosexuality is wrong, but that their agenda and what they are trampling on in their cult like rage is more dangerous than they know.

They are on a train they have no idea where it is going. Especially Jesurgislac, who's appeal to her own ignorance and possible ignorance is debasing of the whole debate here.

Really, if I'm not against gays I'm just for marriage. But since the ss"m" advocates left in this discussion are simply running around with this big "gay" chip on their shoulders saying, "how dare you say I'm less than a person" I can't help but reply, "how dare you let them convince you that you are less than a person".

For the rest you can visit the agenda busters. Quick, read it and give your commentary as to why no one needs to read it, before they actually do...

Sorry to the folks who are engaging in more elevated discourse. But if these selfish individuals really want to be talked about honestly for what homosexuality is, then fine. I'd rather talk about what marriage is though.

You need studies to point out the obvious to you? Fine, look at the studies objectively (especially an appeal to Milk for Free).

That is all, and as this is likely to stir up the "oh why are you oppresing me" victimization that they always run to when the facts are pointed out I simply say I'm done. Thank you and have fun.
11.7.2005 2:47pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Sorry setting the record straight,

Technically I'm done because...

1) Only Bob ever answered my questions. His answers show btw, that gays don't need to be called married, and Kendall's balking at answering saying that this discussion should only be about gays, further exmplifies the gay chauvanism that litterally stinks up the place hoping people will leave rather than discuss things rationally. Well it worked for me, I have to admit.

2) People are no doubt going to start flinging political invectives like "anti-gay" and "homophobe" which are in and of themselves just ways to whip the discussion to see things only from the gay perspective (i.e. gay chauvanism).

3) No one is really talking about marriage anymore. That is because ss"m" is not about marriage, but about promotion of gay-chauvanism.
11.7.2005 2:53pm
eddie (mail):
I do not see the logic of the state treating two fundamentally different relationships as being the same. Also, I see no reason to encourage relationships that have been (at least to this point) determined to be inferior to available relationships. Finally, homosexuals can marry members of the opposite sex. In general, most human beings are free (within limitations)to act as they determine is best for them. Homosexuals freely choose not to marry members of the opposite sex. They are not compelled (by any external source) to form intimate relations with members of the opposite sex, nor are they prohibited from forming intimate relationships with members of the same sex.

Essentially, homosexuals want society to place the homosexual relationship on the same level as the heterosexual relationship, even though the two relationships are not equivalent.
11.7.2005 3:00pm
BobNelson (mail):
TRC

You rightly point out that same-sex marriage is not on the near horizon for Texas (if it's on the horizon at all). You are also correct that the amendment upon which you will vote tomorrow does far more than ban same-sex marriage. So why vote for it? Why not vote against it and encourage the anti-gay forces who wrote it to be HONEST about what they're after? Then, next year, they can propose an amendment to ban same-sex marriage without banning everything else (including, possibly, opposite-sex common-law marriage).

Don't hold your breath, though. They tend not to be the most upright group.

On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't be so cynical. Afterall, I'm sure the most ardent opponents to same-sex marriage on here are working tirelessly to assure gay people access to those civil unions they keep referring to. It's a wonder they even have time to post, what with all the efforts they're probably engaged in leading the nationwide movement to legalize CUs.

::eye roll::
11.7.2005 3:58pm
Public_Defender:
From On Lawn:
The whole "rights" discussion is one of the oldest cannards in history. Communistic oppression was built on the "rights" of the proletariat. Nazi's rose to power on the "rights" of the Aryans.



Only Bob ever answered my questions
First, you compare the effort to let gay people form legally recognized monogamous relationships to the rise of communism and Nazis. Then you wonder why only one person takes you seriously enough to answer your questions?
11.7.2005 4:18pm
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
If the marriage neutering crowd here is right that children of current same sex couples don't have any worse outcomes than children raised by their married parents, those children don't need neutered "marriage," civil unions, or even reciprocal beneficiaries.

Time to watch the neutered "marriage" folks morph their argument yet again!
11.7.2005 4:49pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Public Defender,

you compare the effort to let gay people form legally recognized monogamous relationships to the rise of communism and Nazis.

Sorry PD, but you'll have to give credit on that one. The arguments all have the same root. I'm sure it just seems impossible to you, and therefore you wish to dismiss it immediately, but then again that is only to help you sleep better at night with the travesty you are advocating on the American public.
11.7.2005 4:52pm
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
OnLawn: then again that is only to help you sleep better at night with the travesty you are advocating on the American public.

Actually, what Public_Defender did is just your standard, run-of-the-mill dodge. You equated the "we're more equal than others" claim to Nazism and communism. It's Public_Defender that went on to impugn himself by deciding that's the same claim he's making for neutering marriage. That's his problem, not yours.

Dale and Eugene have both rejected Public_Defender's ill considered "equality for my select few" position and he simply goes out of his way here to debase it himself. If that's what he thinks shoring his argument is about, well, there's nothing that can be done for him. Funny how the prospect of a dodge was so enticing to him he didn't bother to think about what he was saying or to actually read what you had said.
11.7.2005 5:07pm
Kendall:
"1) Only Bob ever answered my questions. His answers show btw, that gays don't need to be called married, and Kendall's balking at answering saying that this discussion should only be about gays, further exmplifies the gay chauvanism that litterally stinks up the place hoping people will leave rather than discuss things rationally. Well it worked for me, I have to admit."

Does that mean you conceed that you cannot transfer the rights of marriage that I provided in my link by an RB (which you STILL haven't defined)?
11.7.2005 5:16pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

Does that mean you conceed that you cannot transfer the rights of marriage that I provided in my link by an RB (which you STILL haven't defined)?

Actually, you said "couldn't easily" instead of "couldn't" which cut the legs out from underneath that argument long before you attempted to weasle it.

And please don't lie. I pointed to Hawaii's law for an RB definition.

Kendall, I'm really growing fond of your self-implosion here. Have much more to say?
11.7.2005 5:19pm
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
Let me be a little more clear:

If the neutered "marriage" crowd here believes studies show children living with same-sex couples today don't have any negative outcomes compared to children of married couples then that means children today don't need neutered marriage, civil unions, reciprocal beneficiaries, or any other institution for which they are currently being used as bait.
11.7.2005 5:29pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
On Lawn enters the discussion, and the tone goes down. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.
11.7.2005 5:31pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Surgis,

What a mean spirited personal attack. Perhaps there is a reason you feel the need to personally attack me, but that seems to be much of the problem you are complaining about. You attempt to drag the discussion down and point the finger at someone else. Shame.
11.7.2005 5:39pm
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
Jes: On Lawn enters the discussion, and the tone goes down. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.

Perfect example. Jes has nothing left to go to but personal attacks. Ever the victim, Jes tries to say OnLawn made her do it. Well, she didn't take her position rationally, I suppose it's unreasonable to assume she'd have left it that way.
11.7.2005 5:39pm
Kendall:
On Lawn -
"And please don't lie. I pointed to Hawaii's law for an RB definition."

In this thread you pointed to Hawaii? you used the term "RB" a term I found in a post by CHAIRM, not you, unless you're the same person. I did a page search for Hawaii for you, and I scrutinized EVERY post in this thread. If you can link me where YOU mentioned hawaii in this thread I'll apologize. otherwise I stand by my point you didn't define your term.

Since you mentioned Hawaii though and since I DID look through the other threads I find you most likely mean "registered beneficiaries" an analysis of which can be found here.

"Two relevant quotes from that site are:
The Reciprocal Beneficiaries law allows any two single adults — including same-sex partners, blood relatives or just friends — to have access to less than 60 spousal rights on the state level, and none on the federal level. The state itself appeared confused as to how many rights, at one time specifying "50-60" regulations in their Web site documents regarding this law."

and

"In contrast to the "Reciprocal" status, Hawaiian legal marriage gives access to more than 160 rights and responsibilities on the state level [What Rights Come with Legal Marriage? - Hawaii], as well as access to more than 1,138 federally regulated rights [ U.S. Federal Laws for the Legally Married]."

So I guess the issue here is that you said that RBs would offer the rights of marriage, and I'm impressed. It does indeed offer some of the same rights. Other rights were taken away, and about 100 were never given, but 60 out of 160 is almost the same, right?

"Kendall, I'm really growing fond of your self-implosion here. Have much more to say?"

Yes, I do. Thank you for elevating the level discussion with your intense impartiality and fairness. You are an example to everyone in how to debate an issue fairly and objectively (well, ok, THAT is laying it on a little thick...)
11.7.2005 6:58pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

Thanks for giving me more entertaining self-implosion to watch...

In this thread you pointed to Hawaii?

This question of yours spanned many threads. Why does it have to be here? Or are you simply admitting that you have a very short memory?

I find you most likely mean "registered beneficiaries" an analysis of which can be found here.

"Two relevant quotes from that site are:
The Reciprocal Beneficiaries


Wait, did you mean registered or reciprocal? Keep it coming there Kendall...

Other rights were taken away, and about 100 were never given, but 60 out of 160 is almost the same, right?

Really, they are? Is that what you are really saying here or is your commentary devolving into childish sarcasm?

Sorry, but you'll have to state your point more directly.

Are you saying that RB's cannot give the benefits that Dale is asking for? Are you saying that RB's cannot give the benefits that you want? Sure name a benefit that RB's cannot be made to give.

Or keep imploding, which is just as fun to watch ;)
11.7.2005 7:18pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
For the record Kendall, you started your implosion the second you looked a my two questions and realized you couldn't answer them honestly, no?
11.7.2005 7:21pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Well, I did find something to appologize for. It was technically Medis who I pointed to Hawaii as an implementation of RB's.

Kendall, you can go right on complaining that you have no idea what RB's are or how they can be used to provide the benefits you wish.
11.7.2005 7:33pm
Op Ed. (mail) (www):

Notice Kendall's first oxymoronic complaint is that equality under RBs isn't exclusive enough for him.

Second, it shouldn't have been any trouble at all for Kendall to outline even just one of the so-called "missing rights" and argue why it is needed. It shouldn't have, anyway.

I'm preparing to be quite amused at what Kendall comes back with as a "right." Didn't I say the neutered-"marriage"-ists would morph their argument again?
11.7.2005 7:39pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
Good heavens, Op Ed, you're right, how could I have been so rude? Wherever either On Lawn or you comment, the tone of the argument goes up, because both of you are always so polite and so informative.
11.7.2005 8:00pm
Kendall:
"Wait, did you mean registered or reciprocal? Keep it coming there Kendall..."

Are you really criticizing me for a typo and then saying I'm "self imploding" for a touch of sarcasm? that's a low blow when we're dealing with a substantive debate.


"Are you saying that RB's cannot give the benefits that Dale is asking for? Are you saying that RB's cannot give the benefits that you want? Sure name a benefit that RB's cannot be made to give. "

Well, they're a state issue. Currently thousands of FEDERAL benefits are given to married couples. So no, they can't. For example:
immigration and residency for partners from other countries;
veterans' discounts on medical care, education, and home loans; joint filing of tax return; judicial protections and evidentiary immunity;

none of those appear to be offered. The problem here is that federal benefits of marriage are NOT given in RBs.


Op Ed - "Notice Kendall's first oxymoronic complaint is that equality under RBs isn't exclusive enough for him."

Did you perhaps mean INCLUSIVE? My issue is that he claims that all the rights of marriage can be granted without marriage. I challenge that assumption. Over 1000 federal benefits of marriage are automatically granted to married couples. The same cannot be said of RBs without drastic and systemic rewriting of our laws, a change that would be much less drastic if you allow the federal government to recognize SSMs performed in states that choose to legalize it (rather than forcing states to legalize that through federal legislation).

"Second, it shouldn't have been any trouble at all for Kendall to outline even just one of the so-called "missing rights" and argue why it is needed. It shouldn't have, anyway."

I'm sorry, did I never post a link detailing benefits not given to unmarried couples? what about federal benefits of marriage? We're still waiting on an explanation for how that works, aren't we?
11.7.2005 8:25pm
Appellate Junkie (mail):
Kendall:

The Reciprocal Beneficiaries law allows any two single adults — including same-sex partners, blood relatives or just friends

The site from which you copied this quote isn't quite accurate.

As is true in most jurisdictions that offer Marriage Lite™, neither registrant can be married (or benefiting reciprocally, civilly unionized [vague Communist overtones to that one], or registered domestically).

In Hawaii, the two participants must also be forbidden to marry by state law. As such, two friends could benefit reciprocally, but only if they are of the same gender or, if opposite genders, close family members.

Among the notable failures of this particular law was a series of decisions (executive, judicial, and legislative) that provide for no health-insurance for the beneficiaries, even though the original act provided for them. In fact, there's precious little left to the benefits afforded the beneficiaries.

On the bright side, when the people of Hawaii amended the constitution to prevent what appeared to be the probably judicial outcome of the marriage litigation, they did so in a modest manner: "The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples."

Obviously, state constitutional amendments are no longer so "reserved."
11.7.2005 8:31pm
Chairm (mail):
The point of RB is not to be marriage in another name.

And RB can evolve both at the state level and federal level. That is the incremental approach to the very issues raised by Mr. Carpenter.

SSM is an alternative to marraige. It is more in keeping with the content of the SSM argument, rather than the emotinalism of riding the back of marital status, and is not exclusively about the homosexed relations that some here think should be given preferential status.

And yet those same have failed to give a state purpose to elevating the unisexed relationship.

What is the purpose? If you can quote from Mr Carpenter, please do so. He seems to be wedded to marriage but not to the supposed public merits of the unisexed relationship.

That is THE challenge of the SSMers. Plainly and forthrightly say what the state purpose is for elevating the unisexed relationship.

And if RB doesn't do the trick at the moment, suggest how RB can be altered to do what you think is lacking, precisely, and narrowly tailored.
11.7.2005 8:53pm
Chairm (mail):
Typo correction: It RB is more in keeping with the content of the SSM argument, rather than the emotinalism of riding the back of marital status, and RB is not exclusively about the homosexed relations that some here think should be given preferential status.
11.7.2005 8:55pm
Kendall:
Chairm - The same question could have applied to interracial marriage. I'm not making a substantive comparison, I'm not saying "gay marriage should be legalized because interracial marriage was legalized" or any such thing. However, it would be fair to ask "That is THE challenge of the IrMers. Plainly and forthrightly say what the state purpose is for elevating the interracial relationship." if you're going to use that standard.

But, to answer your question (a concept foreign to your colleagues?) The state purpose for elevating unisexual relationships is to give rights and benefits that would aid already existing same sex couple's families (children being raised by gay couples) to better thrive. If you're asking me why specifically the "word" is so important, it isn't. If you're willing to rewrite federal and state law for example to say "Every legal right conferred on married couples shall be conferred on couples in a Reciprocal Beneficiary relationship." this debate can end tonight. If you'd prefer a different wording, please tell me which LEGAL RIGHTS of marriage you'd deny to an RB relationship and WHY they shouldn't be granted. I don't have a hang up over the word, I have a problem with what so far appears to be the scope of such laws.
11.7.2005 9:52pm
Chairm (mail):

state purpose for elevating unisexual relationships is to give rights and benefits that would aid already existing same sex couple's families (children being raised by gay couples) to better thrive.

In what specific way, if any, would RB not serve that purpose?

RB is not marriage. It is not marriage-lite. It is not supposed to be marraige in all but name. It is not Civil Union Vermont-style. But it can evolve at the state and federal level to meet the needs of trust relationships based on affidavit. But based on the merits, not "me-too" claims.

But you have began to articulate the purpose for elevating the unisexed relationship. Please continue as I think (FWIW) that yours is perhaps the best attempt to engage this question directly, thusfar.
11.7.2005 10:14pm
DaveP:
logicblackbelt:

Let's get this "appeal to ignorance" right, Dave.
I'm going to the market to buy a pig.
You try to sell me a pig in a poke.
I say, wait, let me look at it, make sure it's healthy.
You say: no time. Give me the money and I'll give you the pig.
I say -- I'm not buying it. It might be diseased.
You say -- "again, the argument from ignorance -- that we cannot buy this pig because we don't know what will happen -- is specious and circular."


False. Please, let us test the pig: let the government recognize SSM. Then, we will wait twenty years and see what happens. That is the only way to find out. I am all for that.

You are saying, "Gee, selling pigs may be bad. No one should sell pigs until they can prove selling pigs is good." Since no one can then sell pigs to show empirically it is OK, no one will ever be able to sell pigs. This is circuitous because the premise is dependant on the conclusion. This is specious because liberty is axiomatic -- absent proof of harm, freedom properly reigns.

It is ironic that your position is purely one of ideological collectivism, that the majority trumps individual rights, and soviet-style central planning, wherein all rights are dispensed from the governmental central authority. Even for the most intimate and personal decisions -- who one will take as a mate -- we are to seek approval, according to you, from our government minders.

This is the betrayal of the modern Republican party -- the party has rejected the Reagan era fiscal conservatism and limited government in favor of a Nationalist Socialist platform of central controls, surveillance state, vanity military campaigns, and authoritarian public policies. Since this is all novel, one wonders how such people can refer to themselves as "conservatives." "Conservatism" is dead.
11.7.2005 10:36pm
Kendall:
Chairm - I asked you a direct, honest, and open question: "If you're willing to rewrite federal and state law for example to say "Every legal right conferred on married couples shall be conferred on couples in a Reciprocal Beneficiary relationship." this debate can end tonight. If you'd prefer a different wording, please tell me which LEGAL RIGHTS of marriage you'd deny to an RB relationship and WHY they shouldn't be granted. I don't have a hang up over the word, I have a problem with what so far appears to be the scope of such laws."

You're right, RB presently is not marriage, not civil unions, not marriage lite. It is one state's version of domestic partnerships (perhaps slightly more). Saying it could evolve is not the important question. the question I have is would you support the evolution in the manner I suggested?
11.7.2005 11:06pm
DaveP:

That is THE challenge of the SSMers. Plainly and forthrightly say what the state purpose is for elevating the unisexed relationship.

The state purpose of providing exactly the same state recognition and enforcement of the marriages of same-sex couples is to:

1. Uphold the rule of law. Presently, SS couples who enter into marriage do not enjoy the enforcement of their contract.

2. Eliminate the unjust discrimination against homosexuals. The separate-but-equal doctrine of "RBs" or "SSUs" loudly proclaims that homosexuals are somehow less than human, and morally inferior. This has the same self-fulfilling propensity for ghettoization as with some of our other social policies.

3. Ameliorate the prevalence of promiscuity and STDs within certain segments of the gay community. Providing a socially accepted modality for homosexual relationships will likely reduce the anything goes hedonism present in certain segments of gay culture. This will likely increase productivity, analogous to OSM.

4. Eliminate the acute emotional suffering of gay adolescents, who are afforded no viable role in society for their relationships. (Or, versus "SSUs" and "RBs," eliminate a substandard role in society.)

5. Promote the happiness of adult gay couples, increasing productivity.

6. Unify the law concerning gay and straight couples, which will streamline goverment and business procedures, reducing costs.

7. Promote a framework to integrate gay couples into their extended families. This will offer societal cost-savings by providing additional family resources thus supplanting the demand for government services. For example, contingency economic support, contingency housing, and all the usual fruits of family connections.

8. Offer the best possible environment for the children of gay couples by affording them the benefits of marriage (as above).

9. Demonstrate to the islamic fundamentalists that we will not be cowed by their depraved violence. Gay marriage will definitely piss them off. Woohoo!

10. SSM will pressure Congress to eliminate "Dont' Ask Don't Tell." Then all the gay Arabs who resent their backward culture will be able to keep their linguist jobs at DoD, helping us to win the war on fundamentalist islam(ic terror).

11. Uphold the principle that makes this the greatest country on Earth -- that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness -- that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Possible disadvantages:

1. Some straight couples, not commited to marriage, will not have the option of an "RB" in order to dodge a real commitment.

2. Law practice revenue will be less, for they will not have the opportunity to argue the complexities of having two conflicting forms of marriage.

3. Accepting homosexuality as normal will eliminate the crucible of gay hardship, thus decreasing this prodigal font of edgy cultural innovation. Society will become more staid and boring. This will lead to the downfall of civilization, as we know it.

4. Some of y'all will not get to beat gay kids within inches of their lives, to "teach them a lesson" while wearing pointy white hats. Pointy white hat sales will decline.

5. Some of y'all will have to find some new despised group to denigrate in order to establish your moral superiority. Badgers will suffer.

6. One and only one straight couple, deeply in love and engaged, will say, "Gee, honey, homos can now marry. That spoils it! Let's split and watch pr0n for the rest of our lives!"

7. A six year old child, somewhere, will say, "Oh my God! The gay couple down the block just got married. Now I don't love mommy and daddy any more. I am now going to be a serial killer. Muwahahahah!"
11.7.2005 11:53pm
Chairm (mail):

the question I have is would you support the evolution in the manner I suggested?

My answer can be no more than a tentative no, because you are linking the purpose of state elevation of the unisexed relationship to the current preferential status of marriage rather than describing the merits of the former.

If the purpose for state elevation of the unisexed relationship has merit, it can be stood on its own two feet instead of piggybacking on marital status. It is therefore not a matter of detracting from marital status, but of establishing the content of the proposed status for the unisexed relationship.

How does it benefit society to benefit the unisexed relationship, through the state?
11.8.2005 12:35am
DaveP:
Chairm:

If the purpose for state elevation of the unisexed relationship has merit, it can be stood on its own two feet instead of piggybacking on marital status. It is therefore not a matter of detracting from marital status, but of establishing the content of the proposed status for the unisexed relationship.

How does it benefit society to benefit the unisexed relationship, through the state?


We can all see the statistics, right? Black men are far more likely to wind up in jail, father children out of wedlock, fail to acquire an education, fail to earn sufficient income to provide for a family. So, based on the statistics, we should prohibit black men from whatever. It is not in the interest of society. All complete idiocy.

You wish to run a society like a machine. A machine you control, that serves your interests. Well, guess what? You are not smart enough to know what is good for me (nor me you). We all must presume that unless there is a clear indication of harm, then we are free to associate as we choose. Central control is a failure. See Korea or Taiwan, if you cannot handle subtlety.
11.8.2005 1:11am
Chairm (mail):
SSM is itself an alternative to marriage. On the other hand, RB would be open to the unmarriagable only. RB would be a trust relationship, affirmed by affidavit, and as such it would be a contract that the state would recognize with a special status in the law and in social policy. RB would not be taylored just to fit the homosexual combination and it would be more inclusive than SSM.

Gay marriage has been around for at least a couple of decades, we are repeatedly reassured. The sky has not fallen where this has been recognized by the state. (Of course neither has the sky fallen in our country where states have affirmed the man-woman criterion of marriage.)Has gay marraige caused a reduction in promiscuity, hedonism, and STDs, as well as increase productivity in whatever you meant by "certain segments of the gay community"? The definitive evidence of a before and after would be useful in judging the merits of your proposed elevation of the unisexed relationship.

It is unclear that the state is compelled to provide the valuable role for gay adolescent relationships. But perhaps there is merit in this purpose. Please elaborate.

It is foretold that the enactment of SSM would make available the familial contingencies for economic support, housing, and such. The state would enforce this somehow? Or this would become available where it is not currently available?

How do the legal incidents of marriage directly benefit the child-parent relationship?

All of us are borne of men and women and are created equal. And as a society we are self-governed. Marital status recognizes the conjugal relationship and elevates it as the bedrock of a self-governing people.

Is SSM a threat to society? Eve Tushnet has views on how heterosexuality is a force for chaos. Elevating the conjugal relationship is a wide-ranging response to that known threat to society.

As a matter of public policy, what would be the purpose of elevating the unisexed relationship?

Perhaps enactment of SSM could be explained in a way that would meet the criteria listed in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, for example.
11.8.2005 1:14am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
Kendall: Did you perhaps mean INCLUSIVE?

No, a lack of exclusivity is what you are complaining about. Your direct quote, to refresh the memory, in which you chafe that RB applies to just any two single adults and not your selectively "equal" few:
The Reciprocal Beneficiaries law allows any two single adults — including same-sex partners, blood relatives or just friends —


I'm sorry, did I never post a link detailing benefits not given to unmarried couples? [Emphasis added]

Kendall, this silent switch from "rights" to benefits. That looks awfully suspicious to me. I would like to believe such equivocation is rooted in other than bad faith, but I am at a loss for how to do so.

Nevertheless, I will accept the capitulation. Now, list just one benefit not granted RBs and an argument for why an RB would need it, how it would advance the purpose of the RB to include that benefit. What was the purpose of RBs, again?

My issue is that he claims that all the rights of marriage can be granted without marriage.

As nearly as I can tell, you are the one who coined the term "rights of marriage," to which you have re-equivocated, therefore it is impossible that OnLawn could have made a statement relative to it. I have seen him suggest that Dale's goals could be met with an RB-like solution. I personally doubt that is true, however, as nobody can elucidate a purpose for the state to be involved in RBs, yourself not excluded.

DaveP:
We've been through your tongue-in-cheek list of rosy promises before. What purpose does the state have in involving itself in these relationships to begin with? Why, if the consenting adults involved can't bring these things to pass on their own would the state's involvement enable them to do so?

Don't get me wrong, society is involved in a lot of non-procreative arrangements between adults, but each it calls by its own name, not marriage's, and each it treats under its own purpose, not marriage's. Whether you truly believe all your promises flow by involving government in romance or are simply lampooning Dale's unsupported bill of goods, what good can truly come of turning the vaguaries of private romance over to the beurocracy of government? Mere romance cannot be what moves the government's hand.
11.8.2005 1:35am
Kendall:
Chairm - Lets be clear here. Your position is you support RB and that was a valid answer to On Lawn's question of:
"1) Why does it require marriage? It seems everything you anticipate from marriage can come from RB's, am I wrong?"
because in theory it can grant the rights we want even though you actually don't in truth support those rights being granted? Is that the position?

You don't support gay marriage, but you support an alternate institution where the rights may be granted so long as the rights are NOT granted? Do you see why some might say that you essentially support no change in the current arrangement and thus bringing up RB's might be considered disingenuous? You can't speak for On Lawn of course, maybe his position is different, maybe by bringing up RBs he's suggesting an answer - give same sex couples full status except for the name of marriage.

Op Ed - read it a little more closely. My next paragraph states:

So I guess the issue here is that you said that RBs would offer the rights of marriage, and I'm impressed. It does indeed offer some of the same rights. Other rights were taken away, and about 100 were never given, but 60 out of 160 is almost the same, right?

In other words, my issue is not that people other than gay couples were included, that's fine with me if not perhaps an ideal solution. My issue is clearly with the difference in benefits.

Benefits and rights are somewhat interchangeable in this context. Its true that the benefits of marriage change occassionally over time and can of course be taken away by the state. However, if all you're doing is protecting the "word" marriage then it seems to me that a same sex couple has the right to the same benefits married couples enjoy. Its little like saying interracial couples can marry, but don't get the same benefits as married couples of the same race. Even though we're talking "benefits" people have the right to the same treatment.
11.8.2005 2:19am
DaveP:
Op ed:

What purpose does the state have in involving itself in these relationships to begin with?
...
what good can truly come of turning the vaguaries of private romance over to the beurocracy of government?


Precisely. Marriage and all. Your position is one of despotism. Properly, government should recognize all contracts entered by competent parties, save harm.

Of course, you argue SSM is different, yet child rearing could be enforced regardless the sex of the parents. Simple as that -- childbirth, adoption, and marriage is a matter of public record, and a few seconds of CPU gets us the correlation. So much for enforcement.

Of course, for most everyone, marriage is romance and/or child rearing. Marriage is free will; screw the bureaucrats; screw the politicians; screw the pundits. Do you not cherish liberty? Move.
11.8.2005 2:34am
DaveP:
Preamble, US Constitution:


- form a more perfect Union

Perfection: "an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence" In a liberal democracy, occuracy or excellence entails the people retaining all rights -- liberty -- not inconsistent with the liberty of others. SSM does not harm others.

- establish Justice

Justice is the "conformity to truth, fact, or reason." As there are no facts in evidence which preclude the recognition of SSM, SSM is just. Prejudiced speculation and argument from ignorance is irrelevant.

- insure domestic Tranquility

Tranquility is promoted most assuredly when a minority is not oppressed by the majority,

- provide for the common defence

"Common" refers to all citizens, whatever their arbitrary and irrelevant attributes (straight, gay or whatever).

- promote the general Welfare

Clearly, the welfare of gay people is promoted by SSM. Further, SSM will not significantly affect OSM. Therefore, SSM promotes the general welfare.
11.8.2005 2:53am
Chairm (mail):

Your position is you support RB

Whatever my position may be on Reciprocal Beneficiaries, my question is about the desire of some people to elevate the unisexed relationship through state recognition and endorsement of a preferential status.

My question is about the merits of the purpose that would move the state's hand to establish the preferential status. What is the independant claim for the unisexed relationship?
11.8.2005 4:18am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
DaveP: Precisely. Marriage and all.

DaveP, the state is not involved in marriage to regulate private romance. That is the purpose you put forth for the state to involve itself in neutered marriage. The state, religion, society, etc. are involved in marriage due to its potential to procreate, period.

Properly, government should recognize all contracts entered by competent parties, save harm.

The state does this now. You just dropped your call for neutered "marriage." Private contracts are available to all parties currently. Even RBs are above and beyond what you are asking for.

Of course, you argue SSM is different

No, I do not. You do. You want neutered ("SS") "marriage" to replace marriage and specifically not be treated as a private contract.

Simple as that -- childbirth, adoption, and marriage is a matter of public record...

Thank you for demonstrating the selfish and callous attitude behind the movement to neuter marriage. This setup would be lethal to society and is cruel to children. It is certainly something you find acceptable and is one very believable scenario that would result from neutering "marriage." By separating these three acts, essentially conception, birth, and child rearing, you bring about exactly the kind of irresponsible behavior that marriage is meant to control. What if a man decides to participate in the conception, but then chooses not to participate in any of the other activities? What if couples decide to conceive and give birth, but then just walk out of the hospital rather than "adopt" their own child because it has a birth defect? Now who is responsible for the child? Such is the advocacy of those who would neuter marriage.
11.8.2005 10:31am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

Well, they're a state issue. Currently thousands of FEDERAL benefits are given to married couples. So no, they can't.

You are no so flagrantly gerrymandering the data that I think you've completely imploded now.

You are saying that federal recognition can't happen for RB's without making any sort of constitutional, (or hmm mayby logistical?) I don't know. You've made no case as to why they couldn't be. And this one doesn't wash, as you may recall marriage is a state issue also that federal goverment recognizes just as RB's can be. But lets look at your list of benefits...

  • immigration and residency for partners from other countries

  • veterans' discounts on medical care, education, and home loans;

  • joint filing of tax return;

  • judicial protections and evidentiary immunity;


Now tell me, why would we grant #1 to RB's? For marriage, we have the potential for new citizens to be born between them, they need a cohesive political identity for their political unit (family) etc...

None of those do I see applying to two people from different countries who just want to live with each other for some romantic ideal.

We see that #2 could be given, but that #3 is superfluous. There is nothing united about being a political entity like a family that brings about a need for joint filing. Maybe you have a reason, but I can't find one.

For #4 we see that this is entirely superflous, and unneccissary for a same-sex couple. Nothing about romance is neccissary for judiciary procedural discrimination.

And thats the point here. Every benefit *could* be given through RB's and Appellate Junkie's commentary is rather short-sighted and unimagionative in that degree (more on that later). When you say "can't easily" you mean, can't be done because when put to public debate will expose the innate superfluousness of many of the benefits you may request. So can't easily means you don't want public scrutiny, you want to just ride marriage for benefits. This is also evident in noting that homosexuality is not a handicap, but they want the same benefits as those people too.
11.8.2005 1:57pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Appellate Junkie,

Among the notable failures of this particular law was a series of decisions (executive, judicial, and legislative) that provide for no health-insurance for the beneficiaries, even though the original act provided for them. In fact, there's precious little left to the benefits afforded the beneficiaries.

Thats not a failure, that is a feature. As noted above to Kendall, the nature of RB's is to determine what benefits society wants to give to dependant relationships that may even be raising children. Now why do you think they would rather people be married?

Because marriage works better when the possibility of procreation is evident, to keep that family intact. Dale margionalizes it, Eugene feigns indifference, Kendall outright denies it, and Jesurgislac mocks it. Yet as we can see in Hawaii and other places, such incredulity makes for a poor argument.

But then look at Alaska, which extended benefits such as medical healt for state workers without initiating any RB program whatsoever. Many major and small corporations have done likewise. So you can or can't have it both ways here? I'm not sure. But either way you come at it, Dale's entire logical base however convinced he is of it seems to be inconsequential.

Neither you nor Kendall can argue that benefits cannot be granted to RB's. Instead both you and he are left holding the bag, and explaining away the fact that things simply don't work out the way your intellects expect.
11.8.2005 2:06pm
Christian (mail):
Either I misunderstand Chairm and Op Ed, or I disagree.

If ssm were merely an "alternative" to marriage (like Vermont's ssus) then I'd not find it so threatening. Chairm and Op Ed have persuaded me that RBs make more sense than SSUs, since no one here has presented any reason why the government has an interest in regulating consensual sexual relations between members of the same sex. A close reading of the reasoning in Lawrence v. Texas ruling casts doubt on the idea that ANY regulation of consensual same-sex relationships could pass the rational basis test. Although no ssm proponents has raised this issue, I'll do their homework for them and point out that domestic violence does present one situation where the government has a legitimate interest in regulating same-sex sexual relationships. Since the state doesn't require opposite sex couples to be married in order to enforce domestic violence laws, SSUs aren't *necessary* to enforcing DV laws between same-sex couples. But since the institution of marriage has proven to solidly reduce the occurence of domestic violence in the first place among opposite sex couples, and since this is a very serious problem among the gay community, there's a possible argument that a gay alternative to marriage, i.e. same-sex unions, might address this legitimate government interest. Op-Ed and Chairn will could argue that since we're speculating, that RBs might have this same effect. But I'm willing to leave the question of whether SSUs are constitutional to the courts. I don't see same-sex unions as a threat to legal marriage, so long as we don't shackle marriage to the constititonal viability of same-sex unions, or allow judges to modify marriage based on case law affecting same-sex relationships. And I don't see ssus as a threat to the marriage culture so long as we don't refer to ssus as "marriage."

The real threat to marriage is not "alternative," but replacement. In order to institute SSM, the Goodridge majority and other ssm proponents replace marriage with neutered marriage: the so-called "union of two persons."
11.8.2005 2:07pm
Christian (mail):
Kendall asked if someone was

willing to rewrite federal and state law for example to say "Every legal right conferred on married couples shall be conferred on couples in a Reciprocal Beneficiary relationship."


Kendall, that's impossible without neutering marriage laws. How in the WORLD would you apply the Presumption of Paternity, as it currently exists, to same-sex couples?

I would be willing to say that "Every legal right conferred on married couples, EXCEPT FOR THOSE RIGHTS RELATED TO BIOLOGICAL REPRODUCTION AND GENDER, shall be conferred on couples in a Reciprocal Beneficiary relationship."

Adoption agencies should be allowed (without fear of lawsuit) to take marriage as A factor (not THE factor) when choosing where to place a child for adoption, because marriage between a man and a woman has so far tested as the best general environment for raising a child.
11.8.2005 2:15pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

That is THE challenge of the IrMers. Plainly and forthrightly say what the state purpose is for elevating the interracial relationship.

Thats a question that keeps coming up again and again even after the law supposedly settled the matter through judicial fiat. While that says much of the impotence of judicial reasoning on enacting changes in the public, I have yet another point.

Goodridge pointed to a case from Florida where a man took his child away from his wife because, he argued, her marriage to someone of another race put the child at risk. The Florida State Supreme court agreed and removed the child. The SCotUS agreed also, but restored the child to the mother and said that the constitution cannot regulate personal prejudices but it cannot give them effect either. It was that quote that we find in the Goodridge decision.

In this case, the purpose was to keep the child with his mother, which follows the purpose of marriage to keep children with their parents in the first place.

Now here's something very delicate to understand. An interracial marriage fulfils the purpose of marriage. It is a simple fact that marriage neuterers never seem to grasp. Its very important. So an interracial conjugal relationship qualifies for marriage's overall purpose. In fact interracial marriage has only been outlawed here and there in history, and always as a means to preserve cultural distinctions.

The purpose of allowing interracial nature of marriages, as Loving argued, was to do away with the caste system that was abhored by the american legal system and public. The caste system was overlaying the cultural distinctions, and they felt that they should be abolished. I happen to agree with them.
11.8.2005 2:17pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
DaveP,

1. Uphold the rule of law. Presently, SS couples who enter into marriage do not enjoy the enforcement of their contract.

False. Egregiously so. Everything legal about any contract they sign between each other is enforced. Of course that limitation is even imposed on marriage as we see in pre-nuptual agreements.

2. Eliminate the unjust discrimination against homosexuals. The separate-but-equal doctrine of "RBs" or "SSUs" loudly proclaims that homosexuals are somehow less than human, and morally inferior. This has the same self-fulfilling propensity for ghettoization as with some of our other social policies.

It may require them to form a heterosexual union, and that attacks their self-identification as homosexuals? Is that what you are getting at here?

Then this one is also false. Nothing about marriage oppresses anyone. Nothing about marriage says anyone is less than human or morally inferior. It recognizes what a mating relationship is, establishes the procreators as the head of the political unit they create, and encourages them to do so.

I can't argue that I'm less of a human because I don't get a social security check like the disabled do. I can't argue that I'm less than human because I don't have access to the same medical care program that congress reserves for its members. Its plain vanity to do so, and one of the many ways neutering marriage is more about gay chauvanism than anything else. Its simply selfishness.

3. Ameliorate the prevalence of promiscuity and STDs within certain segments of the gay community. Providing a socially accepted modality for homosexual relationships will likely reduce the anything goes hedonism present in certain segments of gay culture. This will likely increase productivity, analogous to OSM.

This one is possibly true. However, my libertarian leanings give me the hebee jebee's about getting the government to start regulating romantic relationships.

4. Eliminate the acute emotional suffering of gay adolescents, who are afforded no viable role in society for their relationships. (Or, versus "SSUs" and "RBs," eliminate a substandard role in society.)

False. The source of their suffering is not marriage. If homosexuality has no viable role in society it is because of the nature of homosexuality. This argument you make here is even more big-brother-ish than #3. It says that the government must be in the business of homogenization of cultures, classes, lifestyles and anything else that might produce a disparity in social status. Who was it that complained that I mentioned communism earlier?

5. Promote the happiness of adult gay couples, increasing productivity.

True, possibly. This is why many corporations extend benefits to homosexual couples. As noted in Alaska, marriage is not required for this.

6. Unify the law concerning gay and straight couples, which will streamline goverment and business procedures, reducing costs.

True this is what would happen. But this is just the more direct case for social homogenization (like communism) that is really just a bad thing for government to do as noted in dismissals of other points above.

7. Promote a framework to integrate gay couples into their extended families. This will offer societal cost-savings by providing additional family resources thus supplanting the demand for government services. For example, contingency economic support, contingency housing, and all the usual fruits of family connections.

False. I know of marriages where one side or the other have disowned the family. Your expectation of government enforcement of the relationship doesn't help marriage, and won't help ss-couples.

8. Offer the best possible environment for the children of gay couples by affording them the benefits of marriage (as above).

False. As noted almost universally in this debate, the best possible environment for children is inside their intact family. Marriage alone addresses this, and what you are advocating here is really what RB's, foster care, orphanages, etc... more directly address.

9. Demonstrate to the islamic fundamentalists that we will not be cowed by their depraved violence. Gay marriage will definitely piss them off. Woohoo!

We'll just skip this one.

10. SSM will pressure Congress to eliminate "Dont' Ask Don't Tell." Then all the gay Arabs who resent their backward culture will be able to keep their linguist jobs at DoD, helping us to win the war on fundamentalist islam(ic terror).

::shrug:: Sticking it to the other religion is rather an obnoxious reason which is why I'm just going to let these speak for themseles.

11. Uphold the principle that makes this the greatest country on Earth -- that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness -- that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

False. So far the consent of the governed has been rather egregiously thwarted by neutered marriage in Vermont and Massachusetts. Marriage doesn't oppress or take people's rights away, it expands their capacities by integrating the sexes to make society potent and establishes for everyone their own unit for governance with a representative of the opposite gender. Marriage is one of the keys to providing life, liberty and the pursuit of justice. Neutered marriage provides subsidy, enforcement, and the pursuit of benefits.
11.8.2005 2:40pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
DaveP: Clearly, the welfare of gay people is promoted by SSM. Further, SSM will not significantly affect OSM. Therefore, SSM promotes the general welfare.

Sure. The problem lies with people who (as described here by Slacktivist) see other people's freedom as a threat to their own.
In the terms of the First Amendment, the [marriage-defenders] seem to believe that their own free exercise of their religion requires a minimal establishment of that religion and its "family values." Without such a protective canopy, enforced by the state, they believe their own religion, their own way of life, is threatened. This protective canopy is eroded when other citizens with other religious perspectives -- those neighbors who may believe in "20 gods or no God" -- are allowed to freely exercise their religion.

We see a similar, if more extreme, dynamic playing out in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. Certain devout, fundamentalist Muslims believe that their religion requires that women wear a head-to-toe burkha while in public. It does them little good if this practice is left as a matter of the free exercise of religion, because allowing pluralism would mean allowing those women who do not share their beliefs to appear in public without the burkha. This would be perceived by the fundamentalists as an assault on their own religious freedom -- which they believe requires a public square devoid of temptresses flashing their sultry ankles and wrists. They thus see their own right to the free exercise of religion as requiring the legal establishment of their own religious values.

This argument for the religious hegemony of Sharia law has a certain logic. It almost certainly would be easier for fundamentalist believers to practice their religion freely in a homogenous society in which everyone believed -- or was forced to act as though they believed -- the same thing. But this logic is anathema to the whole idea of religious freedom.


(A quote from Thomas Jefferson: "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.")
11.8.2005 5:41pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Jesurgislac,

You and DaveP seem to be on a jihad against religion. A comment from early on should be considered before trying to attack marriage as a religious ideal.

From Manuel Lopez:

Mr Carpenter just assumes that there are all these ready-made camels out there--taking the current state of marriage for granted--and not asking himself what goes into the existence of healthy marriages in the first place, what feelings and prejudices, what moral and religious views, etc. In a way, he assumes that marriage is a given, like a rock (or camel), not something that is a complex combination of nature, feeling, opinion, education, and prejudice. He has ignored the effect that disconnecting marriage from any connection to something higher than human will, to natural sexual differences and the potential for reproduction, will have on the strength of marriage. He assumes that we can re-define marriage to suit our beliefs about social convenience, and still preserve the same reverence for marriage. I think he is mistaken. In any case, we have a duty to future generations not to lightly risk destroying an institution that has been passed on for thousands of years and that has made so many precious and good things possible.


Marriage is a secular institution recognized by religions and governments. A fact that you've ignored constantly and have yet to grasp its ramifications.

The person posting under the name "Defending the Indefensible" alludes to something underlying that is much more fundamental:

I'm not for or against anyone's conception of marriage, it is a profoundly personal, spiritual, religious or philosophical status (however you may prefer to describe it) that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the state to confer. ...

On another note, now that this thread is presumably at a close, I am reminded very much of the argument in Monty Python's "Life of Brian" wherein the men were arguing that they ought to have the right to be pregnant.


Manuel Lopez continues along those lines...

While not ideal, a man replacing a father and husband, or a woman replacing a mother and wife, is not a direct contradiction of the feelings the child is developing about marriage, that there is some meaning to it that is much bigger than human intentions, reflected in bodily sexual differences, reflected in procreation, reflected in a whole amazing package of feelings, including a quasi-religious feeling of awe or reverence.


Giving birth to a child is one of the most reverenced and awesome experiences someone can share as a member of humanity. But you have mocked procreation as simply superflous to anything. Perhaps because it reminds you too much of religion?

Probably no one provided the contradiction of your jihad better than yourself...

is thinking of them as a couple who live together, who love each other, who are publicly committed - maybe they got married religiously at the local church - but who aren't allowed to get married, because marriage is exclusively for the procreation of children.


And as a correction, marriage is not for the procreation of children, marriage is for protection of children's rights and welfare in their procreation.
11.8.2005 5:57pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - Christian makes a fair point, and I conceed his correction to my statement. Chairm has already conceeded he rejects my proposal but let me ask you, you've talked a lot about what RBs COULD be made to say. Do you SUPPORT them being changed to include the various rights and benefits of marriage? This is the language Christian suggested by modifying my original statement which I don't seem to have a problem with: "Every legal right conferred on married couples, EXCEPT FOR THOSE RIGHTS RELATED TO BIOLOGICAL REPRODUCTION AND GENDER, shall be conferred on couples in a Reciprocal Beneficiary relationship." So the question i guess I have is three fold. First, do you support this or similar language? Second, if not, why not, and if so with minimal changes what would those changes be? and Third, if you do not support this language (like Chairm has said he does not) then why exactly bring this up as another way of addressing the gay marriage debate? if you support only a gutted version of rights anyway what does the name matter? What is gained by anyone switching their support to an RB, what benefit does this bring to the debate if so many rights ARE NOT GRANTED and you don't support them being granted?
11.8.2005 6:06pm
Robert F. Patterson (mail):
I think some of these discussions are too long to be of interest. Make the coments short and sweet. For instance, polygamy does have this benefit: that a wealthy man can support several women, some of whom might like to get married but have no other available man. THat does NOT mean that polygamy should be adopted
11.8.2005 6:13pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
On Lawn: And as a correction, marriage is not for the procreation of children, marriage is for protection of children's rights and welfare in their procreation.

"Marriage is for protection of children's rights"

Well, quite. That's why same-sex couples have to be allowed to get married, otherwise it's discrimination against their children.

"and welfare in their procreation" makes no sense at all, however.
11.8.2005 6:23pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Surgis,

If you don't understand the statement, you simply haven't been paying attention. If you don't mind I'm moving on to more engaging aspects of the discussion than your inability to comprehend.

Kendall,

First, do you support this or similar language?

I think it is a good rule of thumb to start with. My interest in RB's is much like Chairms, to give a sandbox for us to discuss and realize what benefits non-married couples should have. One of the reasons I don't come out and say what I support or don't is because I expect that through the process that I'd change my mind on many particulars.

As noted above, whenever you bring this debate to any particular right and benefit we can discuss that. I'm more than happy to do so. In the abstract it is just to vague to really discuss fairly.

Second, if not, why not, and if so with minimal changes what would those changes be?

I'd start RB's simply at first (wow I sound like the guy in Mosquito Coast). All we say is that people can register with someone who they feel they have a dependant relationship with. Allow businesses and governments to look at what relationships actually start forming and see how best to adjust their packages to meet their needs.

This is why I'm so adament that all the benefits of marriage *could* be given through RB's. Because with that possibility there is no reason for the GLBT to reject it. Sure there is the possibility that some benefits won't be realized, but I have confidence that the ones that are appropriate will be.

Its a shame Dale isn't around because this really would be the incremental approach according to his recital of Burkean principles.

if you do not support this language (like Chairm has said he does not) then why exactly bring this up as another way of addressing the gay marriage debate?

In New Hampshire, the commitee set up to review ss"m" has just concluded. They actually advocate no RB's, no CU's but what they did was even more generous than that though the media not reporting this much at all. What they did was look individually at what ss-couples were asking for and realized that CU's and RB's were unneccissary. The list of rights and benefits that they wanted applied so broadly that one shouldn't have to register or become a CU to have them. So they proposed that many rights be extended to non-married couples.

For instance, for medical visits (which are not regulated by the state currently) they suggest that no one be denied to see a consious person. They argued for many benefits to be extended to households with children period, whether or not the guardians were married. And so forth.

While I don't exactly agree with their conclusions either (and we'll see how the legislature and public agree with their findings later in December when the report is released), I think they did frame the debate accurately. And in the end that is more of what I am concerned with than how things wind up.

So thats why I bring it up, because I think we need to take a very apolitical, dispationate and detached look at the situation of un-married couples (of which ss-couples are only a subset) and see what makes sense to help them out. Unless of course you can find a reason that ss-couples should be held above every other un-married couple in priveledged status. I've asked Dale for just such a reason and I've asked many others. Its the heart of the question that you have yet to answer also.
11.8.2005 6:45pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
On Lawn: If you don't understand the statement, you simply haven't been paying attention

I don't understand the statement because I have problems understanding poor grammar. But if you can't re-cast it to clarify what you meant by "welfare in procreation", well, you can't.
11.8.2005 7:37pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - I'm glad at your increased openness

"As noted above, whenever you bring this debate to any particular right and benefit we can discuss that. I'm more than happy to do so. In the abstract it is just to vague to really discuss fairly."

Ok. Lets get rid of the abstract for a minute. Going back to this link the question I have since we can discuss particular rights and benefits, do you support or oppose extended the rights detailed to couples in RBs or other similar forms? If not, why not.
11.8.2005 7:46pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

I'm going to point out that by "particular benefit" I'm interested in rights you feel are needed. As in you should enumerate the specific rights you wish to discuss.

A link to 1000 rights (yada yada) is what I meant by vaguery.

Yes, I'm happy to discuss any particular benefit.

Unfortunately though, you are still stone-walling in answering why a homosexual couple should be considered on a priveledged plane above any other unmarried couple. I was even specific in naming a case where a woman moved in with a generous elderly couple for the purpose of helping raise her children.

I'm not about to have the progress in the debate come to naught because you try (inadvertently or not) to unilaterally set the agenda of the discussion again.
11.8.2005 8:04pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

This is the language Christian suggested by modifying my original statement which I don't seem to have a problem with: "Every legal right conferred on married couples, EXCEPT FOR THOSE RIGHTS RELATED TO BIOLOGICAL REPRODUCTION AND GENDER, shall be conferred on couples in a Reciprocal Beneficiary relationship."


Now we're getting somewhere.

Jesurgislac [checking to see that I spelled that right this time, sorry] -- do you recognize what Kendall sees here? That it's not feasible to confer those marriage rights which are intrinsically RELATED TO BIOLOGICAL REPRODUCTION AND GENDER onto same-sex couples?
11.8.2005 8:46pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - it didn't just say "1000 rights" yada yada, it listed specific benefits, both federal and state that are conferred on married couples. I think that is pretty specific. Would you like me to copy and paste and let you answer yes/no to each one? Very well.

joint parenting Yes/no

joint adoption Yes/no

joint foster care, custody, and visitation (including non-biological parents) yes/no

status as next-of-kin for hospital visits and medical decisions where one partner is too ill to be competen yes/no

inheritance automatically in the absence of a will yes/no

judicial protections and evidentiary immunity yes/no

There are others, but lets start with those. Do you support those being given to same sex couples (whether or not you feel the need to include other groups is your choice)

Logicblackbelt - I see you decided to go back to your other name (yes, I noticed "Christian's" email was the same as yours). I don't see why that invalidates the point. People unrelated can adopt. Same sex couples have kids all the time. Actually, I can't think of another right specific to gender besides presumption of paternity, nor can I see how it would apply in a same sex relationship differently than an opposite sex relationship.

I suspect you want to say something about children here. But the fact is, that issue has ALREADY been decided, its ALREADY delinked from marriage and that debate is ALREADY settled
11.8.2005 9:20pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
Sorry for the confusion, Kendall. I'm posting from a different computer now. I did not realize that I'd accidentally entered my real name at work. Since so many folks have commented on my sig, logicblackbelt@yahoo.com is my email addy; I've had it for years, back to my grad school days when I taught logical fallacies to Freshmen. It's not intended to be a slap in the face or invitation to duel. "Christian" is actually my name, as in, on my birth certificate. I happen to be religious, but please don't assume that I'm making religious arguments for ssm -- I think you'll find my reasoning here is quite secular.

I'm confused, Kendall. First you agree, and now you seem to be arguing, and I'm not sure what I said that you're arguing with. What is the "that" you refer to when you say "I don't see why that invalidates the point." Did you misunderstand me as saying that I don't think same-sex couples should adopt? On the contrary -- I would give same-sex couples priority over single persons for adopting kids. But I'd give higher priority to married couples because a kid is best off with a mom and dad.

But even a permenant single parent is better than one temporary foster home after another.
11.8.2005 9:34pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

Actually, I can't think of another right specific to gender besides presumption of paternity, nor can I see how it would apply in a same sex relationship differently than an opposite sex relationship.


There are more than 1400 laws specific to marriage, Kendall. How many can you name off the top of your head? As far as I know, NO researcher has yet gone through all of the laws to check which ones relate to gender and which do not. That's why I laid out a broad general rule to differentiate, and I thought you agreed. Are you changing your mind on what you said, because you like the name "Christian" and see the name "logicblackbelt" as some sort of personal challenge?
11.8.2005 9:39pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

I suspect you want to say something about children here. But the fact is, that issue has ALREADY been decided, its ALREADY delinked from marriage and that debate is ALREADY settled


What issue, what debate are you talking about? Children de-linked from marriage? Nonsense. The Nebraska case recently ruled along the lines that I described -- that marriage could not reasonably apply to same-sex couples because they did not produce unplanned children, and because marriage exists to maximize the proportion of children raised by mothers and fathers. I believe that was also the case that cited one of the pro-ssm researchers for contempt for refusing to show her raw data during discovery. (i.e. she'd cooked the books and didn't want to be publicly humilliated).
11.8.2005 9:43pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

Whats the matter? I thought we were having a discussion? Are you too dumb or just blind and can't realize that more than three people have asked you the same question over and over without any more than a cheap appology for not answering.

So what if you think everyone but gays are irrelevant. You can take your gay chauvanism and stick it where it belongs for all I care. Because I care about people not just gays. I care about everyone who is unmarried having benefits that they might need. If you can't look beyond your sexual fettishes and pampering your self-identified community then you are on your own. I'm not for anything for you, none of it. If you can't be a decent member of society and look around at the needs around you, then you don't get anything. Nothing at all. Maybe other gays, but you show such lack of citizenship that you should be given an island to live by yourself so you can do what you have done this whole discussion, think about yourself.
11.8.2005 11:36pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
But for the record for everyone but Kendall (who is too selfish to even acknowledge the needs of others around him as anything but "irrelevant") ... Everything he suggests as a benefit should be extended to all non-married dependant relationships, if any at all don't you think?
11.8.2005 11:45pm
Milk For Free:
On Lawn:

Is there a language you speak better than English? If you could write in that language instead, babelfish might produce a translation with correct spelling and approximately correct diction. You obviously have no idea what the word "vagary" means, for example.

Also, isn't 11:45 a little past your bedtime? I assume from your grand and repeated posts that you have an amount of free time that could only be possible to someone in junior high school. Your language issues only lend this assumption more weight.

"You're only attacking my English because you can't find anything to attack in my argument," I hear you say. Actually, I'm investing a small amount of my time in the hope that you will be so humiliated as never to post again, which would be a much greater boon to public discourse than any rebuttal I could issue to any arguments I could extract from your prose.
11.9.2005 12:25am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
You're only attacking my English because you can't find anything to attack in my argument.

Yes, I would still say that.

Actually, I'm investing a small amount of my time in the hope that you will be so humiliated as never to post again

No really go ahead and rebutt :)

which would be a much greater boon to public discourse than any rebuttal I could issue to any arguments I could extract from your prose.

Oh I see.

No really, go ahead and rebutt. Now that you've displayed your maturity, lets see this wealth of wisdom.
11.9.2005 12:48am
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):
M4F-- in three paragraphs, I'd have thought you could have bothered to mention ssm. You remember -- the topic? Same-sex marriage?

Back to Kendall, if he's willing to set aside petty quarrels and get back to business:

joint parenting; - That sounds like PoP, so no. If there's something here that doesn't involve gender or reproduction, please identify.

joint adoption; Yes.

joint foster care, Yes

Joint custody, and visitation (including non-biological parents); antireligiouspropaganda.org seems confused here, since married couples don't get this. Please explain what they meant if I'm mistaken.


status as next-of-kin for hospital visits and medical decisions where one partner is too ill to be competent;
Yes.


joint insurance policies for home, auto and health;
If there's a law requiring that insurance offer these things to married couples, then I'm OK with requiring it for RBs.

dissolution and divorce protections such as community property and child support; Yes.

immigration and residency for partners from other countries; No. Those exist because hetero love makes babies, not because of some government policy to promote love.

inheritance automatically in the absence of a will; To the same extent that marriage gets it, yes. (If you think that all states do this for married couples, you are in error.)

joint leases with automatic renewal rights in the event one partner dies or leaves the house or apartment; Yes.
decision-making power with respect to whether a deceased partner will be cremated or not and where to bury him or her; Yes, of course.
domestic violence protection orders; Absolutely.

inheritance of jointly-owned real and personal property through the right of survivorship (which avoids the time and expense and taxes in probate); I could make an argument against it, but I'd be willing to accept this.


bereavement or sick leave to care for a partner or child;
To the extent that these are imposed by law on behalf of marriage, yes.
11.9.2005 1:10am
Kendall:
"But I'd give higher priority to married couples because a kid is best off with a mom and dad."

Show me the research that says a kid is better off with a mom and a dad than a same sex couple. One study. Just one.

"But even a permenant single parent is better than one temporary foster home after another."

True, which has nothing to do with a same sex COUPLE last I checked, does it?

Also, on you claiming I'm switching positions here. I'm not precisely. I see and saw no difference legally with the change you want to the language. You ask me if I can name ALL the benefits of marriage. I think its just as fair if I ask you to name ONE benefit which would fall under "THOSE RIGHTS RELATED TO BIOLOGICAL REPRODUCTION AND GENDER" that a married person has as a matter of law and a citizen who is in no particular relationship does not have. Can you name ONE? surely you have something in mind, I'd simply like to know where you were going with that.

On Lawn -
"So what if you think everyone but gays are irrelevant. You can take your gay chauvanism and stick it where it belongs for all I care."

Its gay chauvinism to talk about social policy towards gay people in a debate on gay marriage? I don't think everyone except gay people are irrelevant, never have and I hope I never will. I'm trying to limit the scope of discussion to the particular segment of the population being discussed (you know this is a debate on gay marriage, right?)

"Because I care about people not just gays. I care about everyone who is unmarried having benefits that they might need."

Wonderful, so do I. But do we need to focus on that in a gay marriage debate? I acknowledge the solutions you might wish for this debate (even if you don't necessarily support all the rights of marriage which means the debate continues as to WHY) can also include other groups of "unmarried individuals" (as if there should be a substantive rather than semantical difference) but I dont' see the relevance of saying that at every point in a SSM discussion.

"If you can't look beyond your sexual fettishes and pampering your self-identified community then you are on your own."

Ah, personal attack, gotta love it. Being gay isn't a fetish, no major mental health organization (I don't count what, 1500 member Narth as "major" when it rejects basic psychological understanding) believes that it is so. Why describe it as such if you're not trying to start a fight? Oh, and just so you know? its spelled "fetishes"

"I'm not for anything for you, none of it. If you can't be a decent member of society and look around at the needs around you, then you don't get anything. Nothing at all. Maybe other gays, but you show such lack of citizenship that you should be given an island to live by yourself so you can do what you have done this whole discussion, think about yourself."

Nice judgement. I'm sure that personal condemnations like that from your high and mighty perch make you feel better. I certainly disagree with your point, but I find it interesting how you twisted things and totally disregarded the rest of my post because you hadn't thought of an answer yet.

LBB -

Joint Parenting - is a relatively simple concept. Lets say an individual has a child. For example, a lesbian was artificially inseminated and gave birth to a child. She gets involved with someone and wants to instantly give her partner equal rights to the child. If the partner were a man (since we're talking about a lesbian here that isn't the case) she'd marry him and instantly he'd have full rights in raising the child. That is what this is about. Essentially, any child pre-existing the RB would become both individuals responsibility after the RB.

Joint Custody and Visitation - Married couples do indeed have this right. For example, when divorce proceedings are initiated or if the couple is separated the parents can petition for custody and visitation rights. Its basically a question of "who gets the kids" in the regrettable instance a marriage fails. Certainly I think it makes sense for a similar situation to be in place for gay parents, afterall is it fair to leave a child's status in limbo or perhaps leave them with a biological parent that they barely know? (there have been cases like that, the biological parent doesn't care for the kid yet has more legal claim than the nurturing parent. I believe an activist court in california even gave custody to a non biological parent because it was the "primary care giver" even though they had no ties to the child)

"immigration and residency for partners from other countries; No. Those exist because hetero love makes babies, not because of some government policy to promote love."

Prove that. Show me where that is documented in the law. I suppose its an interesting opinion but where's your support for that?
11.9.2005 3:03am
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
logicblackbelt: [checking to see that I spelled that right this time, sorry]

Apology appreciated, but not necessary: I realise that having a handle that is long/unusual means it will often be mis-spelt, and I never take offense at such mis-spellings.

do you recognize what Kendall sees here? That it's not feasible to confer those marriage rights which are intrinsically RELATED TO BIOLOGICAL REPRODUCTION AND GENDER onto same-sex couples?

Marriage rights related to gender: As far as I know, legally, husband and wife are in the US treated equally under the law. There is therefore no reason to assume that it's not possible to have a marriage of two husbands or two wives.

Marriage rights related to biological reproduction: since same-sex couples can and do have children (lesbian couples more likely to have children by "biological reproduction" than gay male couples) I see no reason not to apply the same rights to same-sex couples as to mixed-sex couples. Same-sex couples may make use of those rights less often, but that's hardly a valid reason for arguing that a group shouldn't have them, is it?
11.9.2005 4:02am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

Unfortunately your myopia and gay chauvanism is a cherished avenue of your own creation, and you are not ready yet to part from it.

As long as you only see gays as the only people to consider extending benefits to, that is. To limit the discussion because of your own contravance of scope is a poor appology, honestly.

But it goes to affirm my evaluation that self-importance is the impetus of gay-marriage. You can hide in your Platonian cave, if you really, really want to. And for all the world you seem dead set on staying in that cave.
11.9.2005 11:53am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
Kendall: Show me the research that says a kid is better off with a mom and a dad than a same sex couple. One study. Just one.

Ah, the same old contradiction. It is funny in a sad sort of way how easily the neutered marriage crowd can be goaded into contradicting their own position.

Kendall's is a full-on admission that he has removed all consideration for children from his advocacy of neutered "marriage." Even reading his comments on joint custody he talks of children like no more than a shared vacation home the couples alternate showing around to their friends every other weekend and holidays. He even baldly lies that a second marriage automatically grants rights to those children, creating a sort of timeshare where children can end up being passed around between every adult that might ever have been in a "marriage" with a child's timeshare holder.

In Kendall's neutered "marriage" world, children have no independent needs, no interest in the sex of their parents. Only adults have needs, only adults have an interest in the sex of their partner.
11.9.2005 1:07pm
Kendall:
"As long as you only see gays as the only people to consider extending benefits to, that is. To limit the discussion because of your own contravance of scope is a poor appology, honestly."

Would you point to where I said they were the only one who should receive benefits? I know I stated that gay people are the relevant group being discussed in a gay marriage debate, but I don't believe I asserted that the rights currently associated with marriage cannot or should not be given to other couples, your need to believe in my bigotry merely hints at your willingness to attack, not the reality of the debate.

I also know you've ignored any substantive rebuttal (or at least any attempt at one) in favor of personal attacks, which speaks volumes again as to the substance of my own position.

The problem for the position espoused by Chairm, you and Op Ed seems to be that you don't know what you're arguing for. As near as I can figure, and feel free to correct me your argument is this: Marriage is a unique status reserved for heterosexual couples the benefits of which should be conferred on heterosexual families. Gay couples should not have the name of marriage because the name holds a unique value and meaning to the institution of marriage and removing the name cheapens the meaning and uniqueness of an enduring social institution.

In fairness then, gay people should not be fighting for marriage. Gay people should be fighting for other forms where the rights and benefits of marriage may be granted without cheapening marriage itself. One of these forms is Reciprocal Beneficiaries, the system adopted in Hawaii. RBs can be expanded to all the rights of marriage that gay people wish.

However, gay people are not entitled to all the rights of marriage because those rights should only be reserved to married heterosexuals. To give the rights of marriage to unmarried couples is unwise and imprudent and cheapens marriage.

Is that about right? It sounds to me like you want gay people to support and fight for RBs on the grounds that they CAN get all the rights of marriage, but then you want to argue that they SHOULDN'T get all the rights of marriage afterall since they're not married. If that is accurate, would you please explain, under your logic, the incentive for gay couples to push for what would essentially be second class status? Why would we push for something when you would refuse to give us the same rights we'd get as married couples anyway? You say the word matters and has meaning, but then you want to start instituting nationwide a system that is parallel and fundamentally inequal. Where is the reason, the incentive for doing so?

Op Ed - "Kendall's is a full-on admission that he has removed all consideration for children from his advocacy of neutered "marriage.""

Excuse me? exactly where do you get that? because I believe parents who adopt children are just as loving, nurturing, and caring as biological parents? because I've seen no clear and convincing evidence that biological parents are always better than non biological parents?

When are you going to address the substance of my post?
11.9.2005 2:29pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

do you recognize what Kendall sees here? That it's not feasible to confer those marriage rights which are intrinsically RELATED TO BIOLOGICAL REPRODUCTION AND GENDER onto same-sex couples?

Marriage rights related to gender: As far as I know, legally, husband and wife are in the US treated equally under the law.


I didn't ask about the completeness of your knowledge, Jes. I don't think any of us have read all 1400+ laws. Put it this way: if there are laws (like PoP) that relate to biological reproduction and gender, do you agree with Kendall that there's no inequity* in witholding such laws from same-sex couples?

* I.e. no more "inequality" than, say, administering veterans' benefits exclusively to veterans and their families.
11.9.2005 2:58pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

your need to believe in my bigotry merely hints at your willingness to attack, not the reality of the debate.

When we answer your questions, and you ignore the replies in favor of resurrecting the questions I can't say it is bigotry that is motivating it. I think it is short-sightedness.

When you say that considering those that are not gay into your advocacy is "irrelevant", you are deliberately demeaning them. If you don't think that is bigotry, then perhaps you are in need of some long and heartfelt introspection.

The problem for the position espoused by Chairm, you and Op Ed seems to be that you don't know what you're arguing for.

Now is that really a fair opinion of the matter? You go on after saying this for a few paragraphs stating what you think our position is. For better or worse, that contradicts the assertion that we have no idea. You essentially said we don't know our position before you said you know what our position is.

That is more chicanery than substantive discussion.

If that is accurate, would you please explain, under your logic, the incentive for gay couples to push for what would essentially be second class status?

We've been asking you what you think makes gays feel empriveledged with special status. Never have you answered that, in fact you have avoided answering that for many, many days and posts now.

You've yet to reply with anything meaningful. On may infer that you might answer that you are being oppressed by the equity that marriage displays. Saying you feel victimised if people do not give you what you want is not a meaningful reply. Its simple snobbery, do you not agree?

What makes the heterosexual relationshp special has been discussed plenty, but you like Jesurgislac felt that ignoring it would make it go away.

You are arguing in bad faith, and you should either elevate your commentary accordingly.

Besides, you yourself admit that every unmarried relationship should be equal to the gay/lesbian relationship. That means that marriage is meaningless, that unmarried and married people are the same, which is a contradiction. Add this to the contradiction Op-Ed points out and you *really* have some introspection to do.
11.9.2005 3:24pm
Jesurgislac (mail) (www):
logicblackbelt: Put it this way: if there are laws (like PoP) that relate to biological reproduction and gender, do you agree with Kendall that there's no inequity* in witholding such laws from same-sex couples?

I'd sooner answer the question on my own account than Kendall's, thanks.

If there are laws that relate to biological reproduction, then it would definitely be calculated inequity to withold such laws from any couple to whom they apply.

For example (as with the Presumption of Parenthood law) when two women marry, and one of them bears a child, it would be an example of inequity if the woman's wife could not be presumed to be the parent of her wife's child, when in the same circumstances, with a mixed-sex couple, the man is "presumed the parent" of his wife's child.

Same-sex couples may not make use of these laws as often as mixed-sex couples will, but - as I believe I have already said - that is not a good reason to argue that these laws should not apply to same-sex couples.
11.9.2005 3:30pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

"But I'd give higher priority to married couples because a kid is best off with a mom and dad."

Show me the research that says a kid is better off with a mom and a dad than a same sex couple. One study. Just one.


Marriage has been studied quite thoroughly, it's the best functioning family unit in society. Same-sex marriage has not been thorougly tested against marriage. It's a no-brainer -- comparing a known good to an unknown.



"But even a permenant single parent is better than one temporary foster home after another."

True, which has nothing to do with a same sex COUPLE last I checked, does it?


It rebuts a ridiculous pro-ssm argument that someone made here. Someone on this thread had the gall to pretend that the fact that same-sex couples can adopt means that our society has "de-linked" marriage from child raising, and that "that discussion is over, period." The facts that (1) single people can also adopt, and (2)we don't call single parents "married," disprove that inane argument.


Also, on you claiming I'm switching positions here. I'm not precisely. I see and saw no difference legally with the change you want to the language.


Thanks for clarifying.



You ask me if I can name ALL the benefits of marriage. I think its just as fair


Hang on here. Obviously what I asked wasn't some fair kind of request. Like I said, NO ONE HAS looked into this thorougly. That's why it's so incredibly stupid to jump off the cliff blindly like MA did. It would take decades for them to run into all snags through case-law, and ssm's going to get repealed there by referrendum anyway. (Read the entries: November 08, 2005 at 08:10 PM, and November 08, 2005 at 10:12 PM, and then Google the information posted there to verify -- note these are PRO-SSM activists saying this.)


if I ask you to name ONE benefit...


See my previous posts on this thread, obviously.
11.9.2005 3:49pm
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
Kendall: because I believe parents who adopt children are just as loving, nurturing, and caring as biological parents?

Where, exactly do you say that? Surely you're not referring to this statement, which doesn't mention adoption or any capacity for "loving, nurturing, and caring" at all:
Show me the research that says a kid is better off with a mom and a dad than a same sex couple. One study. Just one.


When are you going to address the substance of my post?

Already did. If you thought there was any "substance" in your position, you'd have stuck with it rather than the above evasion.
11.9.2005 4:02pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - "When we answer your questions, and you ignore the replies in favor of resurrecting the questions I can't say it is bigotry that is motivating it. I think it is short-sightedness."

Actually I usually quote the reply in full (as I'm doing here) and address it point by point. Can you show me where I've ignored your replies? and can you show me where you're answering my questions?

"When you say that considering those that are not gay into your advocacy is "irrelevant", you are deliberately demeaning them. If you don't think that is bigotry, then perhaps you are in need of some long and heartfelt introspection. "

Perhaps you need to read the reply I made and respond to that point by point.

"Now is that really a fair opinion of the matter? You go on after saying this for a few paragraphs stating what you think our position is. For better or worse, that contradicts the assertion that we have no idea. You essentially said we don't know our position before you said you know what our position is."

Alright, then I suppose it would be more accurate for me to characterize your apparent position (Are you going to argue that this is your position? Will you answer the questions I have about that position which I raised in my post?) as lacking internal consistency. It looks good on the outside, but the more I delve into it the more I see it as a smoke screen to cloud the issue. That's my opinion of course but then you haven't addressed my perception directly.


"We've been asking you what you think makes gays feel empriveledged with special status. Never have you answered that, in fact you have avoided answering that for many, many days and posts now."

Who is talking about "special status"? What does that mean? that having equal rights with other couples is somehow "special"? To answer your question, as to why gay couples deserve the rights of marriage, that has been addressed, but simply put its a question of making what the state has already deemed (the ability and right of gay couples to raise children) easier and to provide fewer hurdles in the care of those children.


"Besides, you yourself admit that every unmarried relationship should be equal to the gay/lesbian relationship. That means that marriage is meaningless, that unmarried and married people are the same, which is a contradiction. Add this to the contradiction Op-Ed points out and you *really* have some introspection to do."

Excuse me. Let me get this straight. Because I want a gay marriage debate to focus on gay couples I'm a bigot. Because I agreed with YOUR statement that RBs could (I don't think I said should) include unmarried couples (even if I felt explicitly this wasn't the time to discuss a group not directly affected in the social policy we're discussing) I'm the one being internally inconsistent? Perhaps you need to stop looking to trip me up (you haven't yet of course, you're just making your own internal inconsistencies more obvious) and start actually addressing points I raise.

"Marriage has been studied quite thoroughly, it's the best functioning family unit in society. Same-sex marriage has not been thorougly tested against marriage. It's a no-brainer -- comparing a known good to an unknown."

Have families with adopted children been studied thoroughly? what do studies show there? Your contention is that biological parents are better than non biological. Prove it.


"It rebuts a ridiculous pro-ssm argument that someone made here. Someone on this thread had the gall to pretend that the fact that same-sex couples can adopt means that our society has "de-linked" marriage from child raising, and that "that discussion is over, period." The facts that (1) single people can also adopt, and (2)we don't call single parents "married," disprove that inane argument."

So you're saying that because single individuals can adopt, and because SS couples can also adopt, that means that marriage is STILL linked to children? If anything, saying that single people can adopt further shows that you don't have to be married to have kids, doesn't it?
11.9.2005 4:12pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Can you show me where I've ignored your replies?

Show me where you've answered why gays should be considered priveledged when many other non-married couples are in the same boat.

You say you haven't been tripped up, which is good for self-serving commentary but doesn't hold up to this discussion. You've now spent three or so posts appologizing for not answering that question, saying that you think they are irrelevant, that you want a debate to only be about gay-couples. Then you complain that you aren't in the same posts.

Sure thing there Kendall, you haven't been tripped up at all :)

and can you show me where you're answering my questions?

You've acknowledged the answers previously, why are you changing your tune? Perhaps you should state specifically what questions you feel were not answered. Your ambivolence is not going to be productive, even as an evasion.

Who is talking about "special status"?

You in saying that gays deserve a whole debate to themselves without any consideration of others in the same boat. You say that when you balk and complain about suggestions of incest and polygamy as if homosexuality was at all preferred to those.

What does that mean? that having equal rights with other couples is somehow "special"?

Now you change back from "benefits" to "rights". Your just a dishonest debater, what else can I conclude about your shell game?

Marriage does not steal rights away from anyone. Marriage equality means equal gender pariticipation and representation. Marriage is a program if gender integration, and you see a potential program for gender segregationists. You say you don't want orientation to be a consideration, well it isn't now. But when you want a special exception that no other group has, you are asking for a special right. When you are asking for the IP rights to change the definition of marriage you are asking for a special right.

Its bigotry, its gay-chauvanism, and for the sake of people around you and the benefit of people who really need help it needs to stop.

To answer your question, as to why gay couples deserve the rights of marriage, that has been addressed,

But you can't exactly say where. Mmmm Hmmm. If you mean that "they have it we should to" then that is easily debunked as simply selfishness and we are left with no credible claim for your position.

You see yourself so noble in taking down marriage a notch. In being strident for the cause of a sexual habit you feel your crusade is just. And that is laughable.
11.9.2005 4:34pm
Kendall:
"You've acknowledged the answers previously, why are you changing your tune? Perhaps you should state specifically what questions you feel were not answered."

I asked you about a specific list of rights/benefits (I already discussed why that is interchangeable, it shouldn't take much to find out where that was already addressed) that are given to married couples and asked if you would give these same benefits to gay couples along with RBs which you support because "you can give the rights of marriage through RBs" even though you've never addressed whether YOU support doing so.

LBB of course had the grace to acknowledge that point and address the points I raised. Do you have the same courtesy?
11.9.2005 5:38pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Kendall,

I addressed all of them.
11.9.2005 6:27pm
logicblackbelt (mail) (www):

"Marriage has been studied quite thoroughly, it's the best functioning family unit in society. Same-sex marriage has not been thorougly tested against marriage. It's a no-brainer -- comparing a known good to an unknown."

Have families with adopted children been studied thoroughly? what do studies show there? Your contention is that biological parents are better than non biological.


Please quote where I "contended" any such thing.

I don't have them with me, but the studies that I've seen showed that kids adopted to a father and a mother as babies, and raised in intact homes, did AS WELL or better in every single category than biological kids raised by their own father and mother in intact homes. I have no idea where you're getting the idea that I think that adoption is bad. That's just ridiculous. It's actually another reason to oppose ssm -- anti"discrimination" mandates would make it impossible to "discriminate" in favor of giving the child a mother and a father.
11.9.2005 7:10pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - You addressed 4 of them, so lets look at some things you said:

"We see that #2 could be given, but that #3 is superfluous. There is nothing united about being a political entity like a family that brings about a need for joint filing. Maybe you have a reason, but I can't find one."

Then is it fair for me to ask if you're married? and do you happen to jointly file your tax returns? Why? What is the purpose in doing so for you that would be unnecessary for a same sex couple... oh, I'm sorry, I mean, "person with an RB" to have that same right? If that was an attempt at an answer "I don't support it because I don't see a reason, even if someone wants the right" then it doesn't really respond as to WHY, does it?

"For #4 we see that this is entirely superflous, and unneccissary for a same-sex couple. Nothing about romance is neccissary for judiciary procedural discrimination."

I thought you wanted to discuss all couples? Who are you to limit that to same-sex couples? We're talking (under your standards) about couples with an RB. I also don't know from where you pulled "romance" out. I think romance is in many cases the reason people form relationships, but frankly it has nothing to do with legal benefits/rights, does it?

People get married for romantic reasons usually (in some cases economic, in some simple companionship but usually romance is involved) but the rights/benefits of marriage aren't granted on emotion, are they? two married people who HATE each other get every single benefit/right of marriage as two married people who love each other. Or have I missed something?
11.9.2005 7:15pm
Kendall:
On Lawn - one more minor point. For point #2 you said "could be given" are you saying you SUPPORT it being given, or are you saying it simply "could" be given? I asked if YOU feel that they SHOULD be given to same sex couples. Not what COULD happen.

LBB - "That's just ridiculous. It's actually another reason to oppose ssm -- anti"discrimination" mandates would make it impossible to "discriminate" in favor of giving the child a mother and a father."

I don't follow. Most adoption agencies are controlled by the state, true, and the state is controlled by federal precedent. No one is making an equal protection argument here so homosexuals are not considered a protected class and therefore discrimination laws do not apply.

However, the question I have is why would it be a bad thing if same sex couples raised more adopted kids? There is already a preference for straight couples in place (or, you seem to believe there has to be) yet same sex couples are still raising at the least hundreds of thousands of adopted kids, kids that straight couples weren't adopting. In many cases same sex couples are raising kids that are "hard to place" kids with HIV, cocaine, heroin or other drug addiction, physical limitations or other handicaps. If you're so concerned with same sex couples raising these kids then tell me, why is the state giving same sex couples these children which need the MOST care, the MOST attention, and where are all the eager heterosexual couples being denied adoption of kids by gay couples taking all of them? where is this problem you see occurring potentially? where is ANY sign of it?
11.9.2005 7:25pm
Chairm (mail):
Hi Kendal, I think there is disconnect. On one hand, your under the impression that a discussion of RB is about a

social policy towards gay people in a debate on gay marriage

When I point to RB, I do so as an example of an explicitly nonmarital status can be enacted that would provide 1) a basket of legal incidents and 2) an approach that is incremental based on the merits of the case for state recognition of trust relationships. In this debate, some SSMers have noted that what is desired is a contract supported by the state; and there are key legal incidents that are desired by nonmarital twosomes. RB is not tied to marital status; it is not like Civil Union in Vermont where all the legal incidents of marital status are attached to the newly enacted status of Civil Union. RB is not a 1-to-1 alternative to marriage. It is distinct. As such it can evolve with legislative changes, additions, corrections, as well as state-by-state experimentation. The target for RB would not be "gay marriage", but rather a more inclusive segment of the population where dependancies are evident but are not marriageable. For instance, you have mentioned children raised by two women or two men; there are far more children being raised by daughter-mother combinations, by daughter-father combinations, in grandparent households than there are in same-sex households. Now, not all such households would go for RB if available, just as not all same-sex households would go for SSM if available. But since marriage will be affirmed as the union of a man and a woman, it makes sense, I think, for social policy to take into account a wide range of nonmarriagable households -- given the impetus of the attention given to "gay marriage". A slowly evolving RB probably would not become a parrallel to marital status. That is actually one of the advantages of this approach.

But I am not "for RB" out of the box. I'd like to understand what the merits are in the claimed purpose of the state recognizing and elevating the unisexed relationship. If it is clearly explained, then, an assessment can be made as to whether or not such an elevation should be established, and what shape it would take, and if it would fit properly within RB. None of that is possible to discuss and decide if we do not have the baseline.

So, like you, I have turne my attention to "gay marriage" and to gays and lesbians, because there is a special claim being made that I am trying to learn more about. The special status is inherent in the call for elevating the unisexed relationship. Marital status is a preferential status, for the conjugal relationship (mating of man and woman, sex integration, and so forth), so as it stands, marriage is recognized at law as a special status. Elevating the unisexed relationship under the auspices of that already existing special status seems to confuse the purpose of such an elevation. That is why I have asked, apart from "me too", what is the purpose of society, through the state, enacting a preferential status for the unisexed relationship?

Your response will describe where that relationship fits vis-a-vis the role of government in endorsing "gay marriage" either by discarding the man-woman criterion of marital status (not likely) or by endorsing the trust relationship (more likely) that stands on its own two feet as preferential.

Thusfar, what has been said by Dale Carpenter and by SSMers in the comment sections here, amounts to a call for RB as a social policy vehicle that would respond to the unisexed relationship as well as other nonmarriageable relatinship types. But if this is not obviously so, from your perspective, let's discuss it further and begin with the purpose of a preferential status for "gay marriage" in our society.

I guess it can be encapsulated this way: Marriage benefits society, so society, through the state, benefits marriage. From your perspective, how would the unisexed relationship (gay marriage etc) benefit society, thus moving the state's hand to enact a preferential status that would benefit the unisexed relationship?
11.9.2005 7:39pm
Chairm (mail):
I've asked this in another thread but it may have gotten lost in the broader discussion. In the hope of increasing clarity, I'll resubmit it here:


What is the purpose for elevating the unisexed relationship? Not this or that person's private reasons for doing so in his or her own life, but the public purpose that moves the hand of the state?

[...]

[The] challenge still stands for Mr Carpenter and other SSMers. The public purpose of preferential status for the unisexed relationship? Please try not to piggback on marriage [i.e. "me-too-claims"] for your response. Stand SSM on its own two feet.
11.9.2005 7:51pm