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Blankenhorn and the marriage radicals:

Yesterday I addressed part of David Blankenhorn's argument, relying on international survey data, that support for same-sex marriage is part of a "cluster" of "mutually reinforcing" beliefs that are hostile to traditional marriage. "These things do go together," he writes.

I responded by saying that a correlation between the recognition of same-sex marriage in a country and the views of its people on other marital and family issues (1) could not show that same-sex marriage in that country caused, or even contributed to, those other views, and (2) did not tell us anything very important about whether, on balance, SSM is a good policy idea. SSM might be a small part of a project of reinstitutionalizing marriage -- despite what those who hold a cluster of non-traditional beliefs about marriage may hope for.

I don't deny that people who hold non-traditionalist views about family life and marriage also tend to be more supportive of SSM; I simply maintain that the existence of this cluster in some people is not very important in the public policy argument about SSM. By itself, it tells us nothing about what the likely or necessary effects of SSM will be. It would similarly not be very useful in the debate over SSM to note the existence of other correlations more friendly to the case for SSM, like the fact that countries recognizing SSM tend to be wealthier, more educated, more democratic, healthier, have lower infant mortality rates, longer life expectancy, and are more devoted to women's equality, than countries that refuse to recognize gay relationships.

The second half of Blankenhorn's argument that supporting SSM and opposing marriage "go together" boils down to this:

[P]eople who have devoted much of their professional lives to attacking marriage as an institution almost always favor gay marriage. . . . Inevitably, the pattern discernible in the [international survey data] statistics is borne out in the statements of the activists. Many of those who most vigorously champion same-sex marriage say that they do so precisely in the hope of dethroning once and for all the traditional "conjugal institution."

In a move that has become common among anti-gay marriage intellectuals, Blankenhorn then quotes three academics/activists who do indeed see SSM as a way to begin dismantling traditional marriage and undermining many of the values associated with it. There are many more such quotes that could be pulled from the pages of law reviews, newspaper op-eds, dissertations, college term papers, and the like. They've been gathered with great gusto by Maggie Gallagher and especially Stanley Kurtz, who regards them as the "confessions" of the grand project to subvert American civilization. (Remember the "Beyond Marriage" manifesto that excited Kurtz so much last summer? Not many people do.)

I do not deny that there are supporters of SSM who think this way, including some very smart and prominent academics. I wince when I read some of what they write; in part because I know these ideas will be used by good writers like Blankenhorn to frighten people about gay marriage, in part because I just think they're wrong normatively and in their predictions about the likely effects of SSM on marriage. But mostly I wince because if I believed they were correct that SSM would undermine marriage as an institution, if I thought there was any credible evidence that this was a reasonable possibility, I would oppose SSM -- regardless of whatever help it might give gay Americans and the estimated 1-2 million children they are raising right now in this country.

So I wince, but I am not persuaded that either correlations from international surveys or statements from marriage radicals show that "gay marriage clearly presupposes and reinforces deinstitutionalization [of marriage]."

First, as Blankenhorn well knows, it is not necessary to the cause of gay marriage to embrace the "cluster" of beliefs he and I would both regard as generally anti-marriage. One could, as many conservative supporters of gay marriage do, both support SSM and believe that (1) marriage is not an outdated institution, (2) divorce should be made harder to get, (3) adultery should be discouraged and perhaps penalized in some fashion, (4) it is better for children to be born within marriage than without, (5) it is better for a committed couple to get married than to stay unmarried, (6) it is better for children to be raised by two parents rather than one, and so on.

Second, a policy view is not necessarily bad because some (or many) of the people who support it also support bad things and see those other bad things as part of a grand project to do bad. Some (many?) opponents of gay marriage also oppose the use of contraceptives (even by married couples), would recriminalize sodomy, would end sex education in the schools, and would re-subordinate wives to their husbands. And they see all of this -- including their opposition to SSM -- as part of a grand project to make America once and for all "One Christian Nation" where the "separation of church and state" is always accompanied by scare quotes and is debunked by selective quotes from George Washington. These are, one might say, a "cluster" of "mutually reinforcing" beliefs that "do go together." But it would be unfair to tar opponents of SSM with all of these causes, or to dismiss the case against SSM because opposing SSM might tend to advance some of them.

Third, in citing and quoting these pro-SSM marriage radicals, Blankenhorn and other anti-gay marriage writers ignore an entire segment of the large debate on the left about whether marriage is a worthwhile cause for gays. While there are many writers on the left who support SSM because they believe (erroneously, I think) that it will deinstitutionalize marriage, there are many other writers on the left who oppose (or are at least anxious about) SSM because they think it will reinstitutionalize it. Let me give a just a few examples that Blankenhorn, Gallagher, and Kurtz have so far missed.

Paula Ettelbrick, in a very influential and widely quoted essay written at the outset of the intra-community debate over SSM, worried that SSM would reassert the primacy of marriage, enervate the movement for alternatives to marriage, and traditionalize gay life and culture:

By looking to our sameness and de-emphasizing our differences, we don't even place ourselves in a position of power that would allow us to transform marriage from an institution that emphasizes property and state regulation of relationships to an institution which recognizes one of many types of valid and respected relationships. . . . [Pursuing the legalization of same-sex marriage] would be perpetuating the elevation of married relationships and of 'couples' in general, and further eclipsing other relationships of choice. . . .

Ironically, gay marriage, instead of liberating gay sex and sexuality, would further outlaw all gay and lesbian sex which is not performed in a marital context. Just as sexually active non-married women face stigma and double standards around sex and sexual activity, so too would non-married gay people. The only legitimate gay sex would be that which is cloaked in and regulated by marriage. . . . Lesbians and gay men who did not seek the state's stamp of approval would clearly face increased sexual oppression. . . .

If the laws change tomorrow and lesbians and gay men were allowed to marry, where would we find the incentive to continue the progressive movement we have started that is pushing for societal and legal recognition of all kinds of family relationships? To create other options and alternatives?

Since When is Marriage a Path to Liberation?, Out/Look, Fall 1989, at 8-12 (emphasis added).

Professor Michael Warner of Rutgers argues in his book, The Trouble With Normal (1999), that SSM would augment the normative status of marriage, reinforce conservative trends toward reinstitutionalizing it, and thus be "regressive" (all of which for him would be bad things):

[T]he effect [of gay marriage] would be to reinforce the material privileges and cultural normativity of marriage. . . . Buying commodities sustains the culture of commodities whether the buyers like it or not. That is the power of a system. Just so, marrying consolidates and sustains the normativity of marriage. (P. 109) (emphasis added)

The conservative trend of shoring up this privilege [in marriage] is mirrored, wittingly or unwittingly, by the decision of U.S. advocates of gay marriage to subordinate an entire bundle of entitlements to the status of marriage. (P. 122) (emphasis added)

In respect to the family, real estate, and employment, for example, the state has taken many small steps toward recognizing households and relationships that it once did not. . . . But the drive for gay marriage [] threatens to reverse the trend [toward progressive change], because it restores the constitutive role of state certification. Gay couples don't just want households, benefits, and recognition. They want marriage licenses. They want the stipulative language of law rewritten and then enforced. (P. 125) (emphasis added)

The definition of marriage, from the state's special role in it to the culture of romantic love -- already includes so many layers of history, and so many norms, that gay marriage is not likely to alter it fundamentally, and any changes that it does bring may well be regressive. (P. 129) (emphasis added)

As for the hopes of pro-SSM marriage radicals (like those Blankenhorn quotes) that gay marriage would somehow radicalize marriage, Warner counters that "It seems rather much to expect that gay people would transform the institution of marriage by simply marrying."

Many other activists and intellectuals have written a stream of editorials and position papers over the past two decades expressing a similar "assimilation anxiety" (William Eskridge's phrase) about SSM. Here are just a few:

"[Same-sex] Marriage is an attempt to limit the multiplicity of relationships and the complexities of coupling in the lesbian experience." Ruthann Robson & S.E.Valentine, Lov(hers): Lesbians as Intimate Partners and Lesbian Legal Theory, 63 Temp. L. Q. 511, 540 (1990).

"[I]n seeking to replicate marriage clause for clause and sacrament for sacrament, reformers may stall the achievement of real sexual freedom and social equality for everyone. . . . [M]arriage -- forget the gay for a moment -- is intrinsically conservative.... Assimilating another 'virtually normal' constituency, namely monogamous, long-term homosexual couples, marriage pushes the queerer queers of all sexual persuasions -- drag queens, club crawlers, polyamorists, even ordinary single mothers or teenage lovers -- further to the margins." Judith Levine, Stop the Wedding!, Village Voice, July 23-29, 2003.

"As an old-time gay liberationist, I find the frenzy around marriage organizing exciting, but depressing. . . . Securing the right to marry . . . will not change the world. Heck, it won't even change marriage." Michael Bronski, "Over the Rainbow," Boston Phoenix, August 1-7, 2003.

"But the simple fact remains that the fight for marriage equality is at its essence not a progressive fight, but rather a deeply conservative one that seeks to maintain the social norm of the two-partnered relationship -- with or without children -- as more valuable than any other relational configuration. While this may make a great deal of sense to conservatives . . . it is clear that this paradigm simply leaves the basic needs of many people out of the equation. In the case of same-sex marriage the fight for equality bears little resemblance to a progressive fight for the betterment of all people." Michael Bronski, "Altar ego," Boston Phoenix, July 16-22, 2004.

So, David Blankenhorn, I see your three marriage radicals and raise you three!

Seriously, here's another "cluster" of beliefs to add to the mix: gay marriage will enhance the primacy of marriage, take the wind out of the sails of the "families we choose" movement, cut off support for the creation of marriage alternatives (like domestic partnerships and civil unions), de-radicalize gay culture, gut the movement for sexual liberation, and reinforce recent conservative trends in family law. So say what we might roughly call the anti-SSM marriage radicals.

These anti-assimilationist writers (some of whom have actually opposed SSM and some of whom, to be fair, are just very uncomfortable about it) have not gotten as much attention in the press as other writers because they greatly complicate an already complex debate. And indeed it's fair to say they have kept themselves fairly quiet for fear that their concerns would be seen as undermining gay equality and thwarting gay marriage, a cause that has broad support among gays. They don't want to be seen as opposing benefits for gay people (which in fact they do not oppose).

But these anti-SSM marriage radicals comprise a significant perspective among what I would call "queer" activists, those who observe that the gay movement is pursuing traditionalist causes in traditionalist ways, who think it is endangering sexual liberation, and who fear it is making gay people just like straight people (who are, by implication, all boring, uncultured philistines who couple up, vote Republican, and live in the suburbs). And they think these are bad things.

The point is not to argue that any of these writers are correct that gay marriage will have the significant reinstitutionalizing effect they think it will have. I think both the anti-SSM marriage radicals and the pro-SSM marriage radicals Blankenhorn cites are far too taken with the transformative power of adding an additional increment of 3% or so to existing marriages in the country. So are anti-gay marriage activists generally. I think all of them -- including Blankenhorn -- are mistaken if they imagine that straight couples take cues from gay couples in structuring their lives and relationships, if they think straight couples may stop having children, or if they predict straight couples will be more likely to have babies outside of marriage because gay couples are now having and raising their children within it.

The point is that both support for and opposition to SSM well up from a variety of complex ideas, fears, hopes, emotions, world-views, motives, and underlying theories. The debate will not be resolved by dueling quotes from marriage radicals. SSM will have the effects it has -- good or bad -- regardless of what marriage radicals with one or another "cluster" of beliefs hope it will have.

I should add that I have begun reading Blankenhorn's book, The Future of Marriage. So far, I find it lively, engaging, subtle, interesting, happily free of jargon, and deeply wrong. It is probably the best single book yet written opposing gay marriage.

Richard Aubrey (mail):
Colin. Is Dale a conspiracy theorist?
3.28.2007 1:28pm
jvarisco (www):
What if you look at the argument from a legal perspective? If a judge allows SSM, how can he then not allow polygamy and other non-traditional arrangements? Because he doesn't like them? Restrictive marriage laws are permitted because of 1) children and 2) tradition. Same-sex couples can't have children (at least not biologically), and so that argument fails. Also, it is changing the traditional definition; once you change it once, it's easier to change it again. Questioning the definition of marriage - whether for SSM, polygamy, or just opposing marriage in general - thus contributes directly to the disintegration of traditional marriage.

The important factor here is how one defines "traditional" marriage. If it is just one man and one woman, the argument holds. If it can be two men, or two women, or some other mixture, it doesn't. But that's not very traditional.
3.28.2007 1:44pm
JohnAnnArbor (www):
Or cousin or sibling marriages, for that matter.

So now it's "radical" to say marriage is one man and one woman?
3.28.2007 1:50pm
springjourney (mail):
SS marriage is a complete nonsense. Once SSM is allowed, that would mean that marriage between same sex relatives also should be allowed according to 14th amendment of U.S. constitution. There is no compelling reason to prevent mother and daughter or sister and sister (brother + brother) to get married.
Since marriage entitle couple to get benefits, after certain time people realize that it is more convenient to get those benefits just by marrying relatives.
E.g. parents live with children until adulthood children are covered by their parents insurance. After children turn 18 years old. Parents get divorce and marry children of the same sex to continue insurance coverage.
After while everyone is going to get married everyone.
What is a great world we live in.
3.28.2007 1:52pm
consideration (mail):
Mr. Carpenter,
Your posts tend to be quite long. Is there any way you could insert a "continue below the fold" hyperlink, so that only the first few paragraphs are on the main page? (It's not that what you have to share is uninteresting, it's just that other conspirators are worth reading too, and you push them too far down.)
3.28.2007 1:59pm
Anonymous Educator (mail) (www):
Surely we allow post-menopausal women to marry.

In regards to tradition, the substitution of "person" for "man" or "white man" has certainly caused its fair share of difficulties in the past.
3.28.2007 2:04pm
Colin (mail):
Aubrey,

That's a nice catch. I did not believe that such scholars existed. Let's compare your assertions to Prof. Carpenter's, though. You said,

"It's been at least a decade since people who were anti-marriage glommed onto SSM as a tool for the destruction of marriage. SSM might not fulfill their wishes, but it's probably worth considering they may be on to something. . . . Just keep reading and watching. You'll see them. There are a few in some of the liberal churches--ordained hierarchy, I mean--and columnists. They are sometimes feminists who think marriage is an oppressive institution."

There are several ways to distinguish your conspiracy theory from Prof. Carpenter's post. First, he cites specific examples, rather than throwing out a blanket assertion that "they" are out there, waiting to sow chaos. Did you know of these specific examples earlier? Did you have specific examples in mind? Second, and relatedly, Prof. Carpenter gives details. This is directly germane to my point in the other thread - the anti-marriage crowd is short on details and long on rhetoric. Your comment was rhetorical gold, warning of nebulous and undefined others who are waiting for their chance to destroy marriage. The post above discusses specific scholars and analyzes their impact.

Even bearing in mind the limitations of a comment to a blog post, there is a world of difference between "They're out to get us, and I can't tell you who they are but just you wait and see," and, "Here is a number of scholars who believe in the stated assertion. Their influence and numbers are limited. This is how their advocacy works..."

More importantly, though, your comment was a conspiracy theory because it theorized (on the back of precisely no offered evidence) that a significant portion of SSM advocates do not actually want SSM, but advocate it as a tool to destroying marriage altogether. The scholars Prof. Carpenter cites oppose SSM. Their intentions and goals are right out in the open, and not in the least conspiratorial.
3.28.2007 2:26pm
Nate F (www):
I never have and still don't see how the "slippery slope" to incest and polygamy holds. There are very real reasons to believe that there are problems stemming from either of those arrangements that do not stem from SSM. The psychological impacts of incest are thought to be pretty extreme; and while I haven't seen much about such impacts of polygamy, I can't imagine there wouldn't be problems there as well.
3.28.2007 2:49pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Colin. The reason I didn't provide evidence is that I read this stuff, note it mentally, and move on. I am not a scholar accumulating stuff for a paper to be written at some future date for other people. Since I know it, have read it, and recall at least some of it, know at least one person who has promoted it to me, that's good enough for me.
The demand for providing links and names is not done in good faith, but instead is done to discredit people who have directly experienced such things without writing down the sources.

Yeah, I have seen some of the stuff referenced above. I've seen stuff not referenced above, there being a good deal too much of it to put in any one place, and heard live advocacy of it in church settings--the hierarchy, not the congregation--which wouldn't probably make it to the public unless some church newspaper got quoted someplace. I refer both to the anti-marriage movement and the hoped-for impact of SSM.

So, we managed to prove that calling a reference to a conspiracy a "conspiracy theory" didn't make it go away. Didn't we?
3.28.2007 2:50pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
My opposition to SSM is that it doesn't actually solve the problem. The problem is that marriage is no longer the natural evolution of the individual - it is no longer the case that a vast majority of people will choose to marry and raise children. We need to recognise this, identify the societal benefits that marriage traditionally provided, and deliver appropriate privilege to the people providing these benefits.

If the benefit of marriage is the decision of two adults to raise their own biological children in concert, and I believe this is the major impetus for governmental subsidy of marriage, then we should recognise and subsidise this behavior independently of marriage. If we value and appreciate the collaboration of two people in raising children, their own or otherwise - and I think we should - then we should provide a similar subsidy for them. And if we value the potential that a mated pair of adults promises for the eventual raising of children, even if they have no obvious prospects or express intention of doing so, there should be a subsidy there as well.

But equating a same-sex couple to a marriage doesn't really do that. It certainly covers some ground, but the explanation of WHY we are doing this is inaccurate. It's not because same-sex couples are as good as opposite-sex couples, it's because marriage is not the only way you can provide the societal benefits we value. And calling it marriage ACTIVELY OBFUSCATES THE PROBLEM.

You may begin your accusations of rampant casual homophobia now.
3.28.2007 2:52pm
Stephen Thomas (mail) (www):
Geez,

About halfway through this, I got a little woozy.

What about those of us who just have common sense? You know, those of us who think that "gay marriage" is a ridiculous perversion of the language and custom?

What about those of us who would just as soon decapitate ourselves as have these issues decided by lawyers?

Is there any way we can rid outselves of lawyers who write incredibly dense verbage that defies common sense?

Huh?
3.28.2007 2:56pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Stephen Thomas

I hear you.

Its not just Orwellian, its Carol-wellian.
3.28.2007 3:20pm
Colin (mail):
About halfway through this, I got a little woozy. What about those of us who just have common sense? You know, those of us who think that "gay marriage" is a ridiculous perversion of the language and custom?

Allow me to apologize, on behalf of the real world, for the fact that law is hard. Laws, rights, and the intersection of the two are rarely simple or determined by one guy's subjective "common sense."

Is there any way we can rid outselves of lawyers who write incredibly dense verbage that defies common sense?

Yes. You could live in a state of nature.
3.28.2007 3:21pm
Luddite:
Stephen Thomas: "Is there any way we can rid outselves of lawyers who write incredibly dense verbage that defies common sense?"

Consider reading a less academically sophisticated blog. VC does not purport to dictate the terms of debate over gay marriage in America. The post merely makes some arguments that, to some, are more interesting than the conclusory and undefended assertion that "'gay marriage' is a ridiculous perversion of the language and custom."
3.28.2007 3:31pm
Luddite:
Colin, you beat me to it
3.28.2007 3:32pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Mr. Carpenter has explicitly conceded that one great swath of left thinks (and desires) that same-sex “marriage” will deinstitutionalize marriage. While also explicitly conceding that another great swath of the left desires that marriage be deinstitutionalized, and is concerned that same-sex “marriage” will help re-institutionalize marriage.

And then counts himself among another (supposed) section of those who believe it wont (further) deinstitutionalize marriage: and hold no animus toward the institution.

How curious.
Why do we not trust them?
3.28.2007 3:35pm
Colin (mail):
How does one quantify "one great swath?" Is it more or less than twelve people? Is it inclusive of all "[the] left," even those who disagree with the stated premise?

How curious.
Why do I suspect your arguments of being emotional rather than rational?
3.28.2007 3:41pm
Luddite:
Fitz,

Do you really think that all the gay couples who, following the Goodridge decision, went out and got married, are in on some elaborate plot to bring down the institution of marriage? That they really despise the institution, but spend thousands of dollars on weddings, make solemn vows in front of all their loved ones, and commit to the legal responsibilities of marriage because they take a perverse pleasure in the hope that twenty years from now the institution well fall apart?

Gay couples demonstrate their respect to the concept of marriage every day by committing to it. You tell me, why do you not trust them?
3.28.2007 3:43pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Manual Trackback

Dale Carpenter: Not a radical

It is sufficient to debunk his claims to simply show his asymmetric application of judgment. He is, as the King of Hearts of old, taking credible evidence and labeling it "unimportant", and taking his own weaker assertions as important. In fact, he literally says as much, "I simply maintain that the existence of this cluster in some people is not very important in the public policy argument about SSM." -- emphasis mine.

But in the end, Dale simply wishes to distance himself from those he considers undesirable. I can respect that, and even respect his desire to create an independent argument from theirs. But how can he explain the support that was actively solicited from those "ideologically opposed to marriage" by a major gay publication in Massachusetts? That isn't distancing, that is accepting and embracing their stance because of what is common to their cause. Dale may be trying hard to put distance between the two camps, but he has a ways to go.
3.28.2007 3:53pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Luddite: You mistake the issue. The issue regarding deinstitutionalization--is that a word--of marriage is not that those embarking on SSM are the folks wanting to dewhatever marriage. Just as the poor don't make themselves poor to provide cannon fodder for redistributionists.
The institution of SSM is seen by some as decrapitating traditional marriage. It is unlikely, as you point out, that the SSMers are the ones trying to deloosen traditional marriage.
That is also hugely irrelevant. And does not address the argument at all. Which I'm sure you know.
Irrelevancies of this magnitude are not introduced innocently.
Just in case you missed it, the anti-marriage folks are almost certainly not the SSMers. They just hope the SSMers will have an anti-marriage effect. Are they right? They think so. Are they utterly clueless on the subject? What do you think?
3.28.2007 3:57pm
Ramza:

Mr. Carpenter has explicitly conceded that one great swath of left thinks (and desires) that same-sex “marriage” will deinstitutionalize marriage. While also explicitly conceding that another great swath of the left desires that marriage be deinstitutionalized, and is concerned that same-sex “marriage” will help re-institutionalize marriage.

And then counts himself among another (supposed) section of those who believe it wont (further) deinstitutionalize marriage: and hold no animus toward the institution.

How curious.
Why do we not trust them?
And there is one part of the right who doesn't want same sex marriage for the want to stick it to gays or they find gays abhorrant/icky.
Another part have no amious to gays but they don't want anything to change for they are tradition bound.
Another part of the right wants to extend the legal benefits of marriage to gays but with another name (civil unions or various other names).
Another part of the right wants to extend marriage to gays.
Another part of the right doesn't care one way or another for it doesn't affect them personall.
Another part of the right says Sodomites are going to hell, they are heathens, and that is all they have to say about it.

Why do we not trust them? Is it because a group of people don't have the same views on one thing thus they can't be trusted for they can't make up their mind. Or we paint a group of people all the same way, especially in the most negative light/opinion and say they are all the same.

Maybe it would be smarter to address arguements of people instead of doing a us vs them type termiology. You know use our god given reason and mouths and communicate our ideas and opinions to each other civilly?
3.28.2007 4:00pm
springjourney (mail):

ReVonna LaSchatze:
Springjourney:
Nevermind the taboo, but how many 18-year-olds do you know who would choose to marry their parents to keep the insurance benefits and money in the family?

Even the ones raised right are aching to get away at that age, not solidify the relationship. You're still assuming consent in your examples, right?


I am not assuming anything. I assume that we live in "anything goes" world. Gay marriage is a marriage for beneifts that is it.
There is no one compelling reason have ever been presented why marriage should include also benefits for homosexual relationship but not for any kind of relationship (sexual or asexual)

Once majority of people at least 2/3 in U.S. (who against SSM) realize that that marriage is just benefit reaping process everyone start marry everyone. It is simple.

You have to understand that for majority of people in U.S. marriage is still something special. Marriage is an environment and most effective way for rearing children, so it should be special and should be supported by the government a.k.a people for the sake of future generations.
3.28.2007 4:00pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Colin

How does one quantify "one great swath?" Is it more or less than twelve people? Is it inclusive of all "[the] left," even those who disagree with the stated premise?

For the purposes of this discussion it means those in power.

Their weren’t a lot of Bolsheviks either.

AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE PUBLISHES PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF FAMILY DISSOLUTION

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

LAW COMMISSION OF CANADA REPORT: BEYOND CONJUGALITY

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

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

http://www.beyondmarriage.org/

They make no secret of it….

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

In this regard the first two represent very important, very influential legal opinion. (do look into who is actually leading you… and where)

Why do I suspect your arguments of being emotional rather than rational?

Because you don’t actually read my posts.

Luddite:
Do you really think that all the gay couples who, following the Goodridge decision, went out and got married, are in on some elaborate plot to bring down the institution of marriage? That they really despise the institution, but spend thousands of dollars on weddings, make solemn vows in front of all their loved ones, and commit to the legal responsibilities of marriage because they take a perverse pleasure in the hope that twenty years from now the institution well fall apart?

No

Gay couples demonstrate their respect to the concept of marriage every day by committing to it.

They demonstrate their respect for each other, or even monogamy – not marriage. That is a horse of a different color.
3.28.2007 4:03pm
Ramza:

They demonstrate their respect for each other, or even monogamy – not marriage. That is a horse of a different color.

If its a horse of a different color, can you please describe the horse please. What is the civil (law) definition of marriage.
3.28.2007 4:08pm
Ramza:

They demonstrate their respect for each other, or even monogamy – not marriage. That is a horse of a different color.

If its a horse of a different color, can you please describe the horse, please I am trying to understand. What is the civil (law) definition of marriage.
3.28.2007 4:09pm
Luddite:
Richard,

Respectfully, I don't think it is irrelevant that thousands of couples support gay marriage, but are not "trying to deloosen traditional marriage." Rather, this fact responds directly to Fitz's not-so-implicit disbelief that there is "another (supposed) section of those who believe it wont (further) deinstitutionalize marriage: and hold no animus toward the institution."

My claim is not that the gay couples who get married disprove the existence of a "swath" of people with animus toward the very institution of marriage. My claim is simply that a large group of people who support gay marriage but don't want to deligitimate it constitutes proof of Dale's point - that some people who support gay marriage respect marriage as an institution. I had thought that his was tautologically correct.
3.28.2007 4:10pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Fitz wrote:
>> "They demonstrate their respect for each other, or even monogamy – not marriage. That is a horse of a different color."

Ramza wrote:
> "If its a horse of a different color, can you please describe the horse, please I am trying to understand. What is the civil (law) definition of marriage."

You appear to be asserting that the civil definition of marriage is monogamy? Is that true?

I'm curious as to what you assert the civil (law) definition of marriage to be.
3.28.2007 4:14pm
Luddite:
Fitz: "They demonstrate their respect for each other, or even monogamy – not marriage. That is a horse of a different color."

No, that is incorrect. If we are at all committed to remaining on the current topic - i.e., whether some people can support gay marriage without wanting to delegitimate the institution - the question at issue is whether gay couples respect the institution of marriage, not whether you see their actions as consistent with marriage. Under this standard, you have a heavy burden of production before you can plausibly claim that people who publicly and expensively purport to commit to an institution are in fact motivated by some ulterior motives.

You may well think that gay couples couldn't possibly support the institution of marriage because what they are doing is not "marriage" - you could even be right. Ball all evidence points to the fact that gay couples think they are supporting the institution of marriage. And you have offered no evidence to the contrary.
3.28.2007 4:16pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Luddite wrote:

> "Dale's point - that some people who support gay marriage respect marriage as an institution. I had thought that his was tautologically correct."

Just what that respect entails is uncertain however. It appears they like the benefits, and dignity but have no appreciation for what is so compelling about marriage that warrants those kudos in the first place.

Those that wish marriage de-institutionalized probably have the same view about the worth of marriage as it is understood today, but disagree as to the importance of the goodies.
3.28.2007 4:19pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
marriage


n. the joining of a male and female in matrimony by a person qualified by law to perform the ceremony (a minister, priest, judge, justice of the peace or some similar official), after having obtained a valid marriage license (which requires a blood test for venereal disease in about a third of the states and a waiting period from one to five days in several). The standard age for marriage without parental consent is 18 except for Georgia and Wyoming where it is 16, Rhode Island where women can marry at 16, and Mississippi in which it is 17 for boys and 15 for girls. More than half the states allow marriages at lesser ages with parental consent, going as low as 14 for both sexes in Alabama, Texas and Utah. Marriages in which the age requirements are not met can be annulled. Fourteen states recognize so-called "common law marriages" which establish a legal marriage for people who have lived together by agreement as husband and wife for a lengthy period of time without legal formalities.
3.28.2007 4:23pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Luddite.
Not hardly.
The people trying to discredit marriage are not SSMing it all over the place. It would be insane. So to say, --are you telling me that all these folks who go to all this trouble to get married are against marriage--is to misrepresent the issue. Of course they're not. They are also not the folks who are against marriage.
And Carpenter had a long list of the latter.
Your attempt to conflate the SSMers with the anti-marriage types "are you telling me...." is transparent.
3.28.2007 4:27pm
Colin (mail):
"How does one quantify 'one great swath?' . . . For the purposes of this discussion it means those in power.

Inane. Are you actually pretending that "those in power" want to destroy marriage, and intend to use SSM as a tool to do so? Who are they? What "power?" Your rhetoric is becoming progressively more unmoored from reality.
3.28.2007 4:27pm
Luddite:
On Lawn,

Do you really think the fight over gay marriage is about benefits? If it were, why were months spent in Massachusetts debating whether to implement gay marriage, or pass a constitutional amendment guaranteeing only civil unions? Both sides understand that gay marriage, as opposed to civil unions, are an important symbol. For gay couples, marriage is a way to place their relationship in a deep historical tradition - one that carries both commitment and societal recognition. For opponents of gay marriage, the act constitutes a perversion of that tradition. But both sides are fighting to lay claim to a tradition.

Of course, you can say that gay marriage advocates are attempting to undermine the tradition of marriage by laying claim to it, but this is just a play on words - it does not speak to whether they have animus toward marriage.
3.28.2007 4:28pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
"Butt all evidence points to the fact that gay couples think they are supporting the institution of marriage. And you have offered no evidence to the contrary."

Nore do I wish to.

Point conceded: (most?) gay couples think they are supporting the institution of marriage.
3.28.2007 4:28pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
ReVonna LaSchatze,

You've written eloquently about a new ideal of recognition of households outside of marriage. Even asexual relationships. Do you support recognizing those equally with homosexual relationships? And should the name for this institution still be "marriage" in your eyes?
3.28.2007 4:30pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Are you actually pretending that "those in power" want to destroy marriage, and intend to use SSM as a tool to do so? Who are they? What "power?"

Mr. Carpenter produced multiple quotations on the subject and I provided three separate examples.
3.28.2007 4:31pm
Luddite:
Richard,

I've read your last post three times, but I am still a little confused. My only claim, from the beginning, is that I think the following statement of Dale's is obviously correct:
"First, as Blankenhorn well knows, it is not necessary to the cause of gay marriage to embrace the “cluster” of beliefs he and I would both regard as generally anti-marriage."

I am not trying to "conflate the SSMers with the anti-marriage types" - I was trying to say that the two are entirely distinct as an analytical matter and merely offered earnestly married gay couples as one example.

You have suggested that my previous comments were "not introduced innocently" and that my "attempts to conflate the SSMers with the anti-marriage types . . . is transparent", but to be honest, I am not sure you understood my comments.
3.28.2007 4:38pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Luddite:

> "Do you really think the fight over gay marriage is about benefits?"

Don't ask me, I have no interest in altering marriage to accommodate homosexuality, polygamy, or any other lifestyle. Ask the people who are fighting to enact gay marriage what their struggle is for.

Or as an imperfect sampling, you tell me the purpose behind gay marriage. If you wish to describe that in a way that is void of any desire for any benefits that might happen with government recognition, all the better to justify you asking that question, no?

> "If it were, why were months spent in Massachusetts debating whether to implement gay marriage, or pass a constitutional amendment guaranteeing only civil unions?"

A good question, since the robed council of supremacy decided for the people anyway.

> "For gay couples, marriage is a way to place their relationship in a deep historical tradition..."

That makes as much sense as someone putting a BMW symbol on their Ford Festiva to place their car in the deep historical tradition of Bavarian Motor Works. But that is an imperfect analogy.

I spoke more on the conflicted assertion of altering the institution of marriage in order to take part in it for historical reasons in my reply to Dale.

> "you can say that gay marriage advocates are attempting to undermine the tradition of marriage by laying claim to it"

No attempt to divine the intentions of the neutered marriage advocate is being made. Because, while they are apparently very enthralled with their own intentions and identity, reality moves at a different pace and orbit. Their intentions, best laid in the land, do not determine the actual path they are treading.

That they share that path with people who are ideologically opposed to marriage, even calling on their support, is cause for us to pause and reflect just where the road really goes.
3.28.2007 4:41pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
ReVonna,

For the sake of what you point out, I will amend that comment to read:

It appears they like the benefits, dignity, and regulation of responsibility but have no appreciation for what is so compelling about marriage that warrants those kudos and regulation in the first place.


And I will await your answer to the question I directed to you, above.
3.28.2007 4:48pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
ReVonna,

You even said they overlap specifically in their, "raising children", and "meeting of the minds" which "assumes consent".

There are a number of situations outside of homosexuality that overlap in those very same areas. Yet it is the small yet relatively politically powerful subset of those situations to whom marriage is also unavailable that you seem to be considering.

Perhaps to directly ask the question, How can you justify that discrimination against the larger non-marriageable segment of households that you are fighting for, specifically, same-sex marriage?

Or, do you fully embrace these non-marriageable households in their equal status and equally overlapping situations with marriage?

You can either justify the discrimination, or you cannot and perhaps treat them equally with homosexual couples.
3.28.2007 5:00pm
springjourney (mail):

ReVonna LaSchatze:
....... while heterosexual couples continue to benefit in society -- considering that both categories are now investing time and money in raising the next generations of American ?


Homosexual couples
1. Do not create environment where children know only one way to start a new familiy on its own.

2. Arbitrarily deprive children right to know their bilogical parents.

So homosexual couples are not contributing to the society at all, rather they confuse children and violate U.S. constitution creating inequality among kids where one group know their biological parents and the other don't.
3.28.2007 5:01pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Luddite:

Mentioning the SSMers as if they were the same people as those who sought to discredit marriage is bogus. That's exactly what you do in your post addressed to Fitz at 2:43.
3.28.2007 5:01pm
Luddite:
Richard,
Your failure to quote my post is telling. At 2:43 I wrote:

"Fitz,

Do you really think that all the gay couples who, following the Goodridge decision, went out and got married, are in on some elaborate plot to bring down the institution of marriage? That they really despise the institution, but spend thousands of dollars on weddings, make solemn vows in front of all their loved ones, and commit to the legal responsibilities of marriage because they take a perverse pleasure in the hope that twenty years from now the institution well fall apart?

Gay couples demonstrate their respect to the concept of marriage every day by committing to it. You tell me, why do you not trust them?"


This was in response to an implied claim by Fitz that there existed no third group -- in addition to those who sought to discredit marriage -- who "believe [gay marriage] wont (further) deinstitutionalize marriage: and hold no animus toward the institution.

I just fail to see how my response -- which suggested that there IS a group that believes SSmarriage won't deinstitutionalize marriage and holds no animus toward the institution -- "Mention[s] the SSMers as if they were the same people as those who sought to discredit marriage is bogus"

I would say that errors of this magnitude "are not introduced innocently," but I hesitate to accuse someone of bad faith so quickly.
3.28.2007 5:16pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Just to clarify –mine was an insinuation as to the number of academics on the left who find same-sex “marriage” to be both
#1. Not a probable cause of further deinstitutionalization
#2. &hold no animus twoards the institution.

As to the actual GLBT community – they are what Marx called “useful idiots” in this battle.
3.28.2007 5:29pm
Ella:
Fitz - And what is the number of academics on the left who so believe? And what is their level of social or political influence?

(FYI - I suspect there are more academics on the left who want to deinstitutionalize marriage than academics on the right who wish to reinstitute the death penalty for sodomy, but I also suspect they have no more actual influence than the death-penalty-for-sodomites academics.)
3.28.2007 5:35pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Luddite: It appears that Fitz did not say that what follows "Do you really think...?" He didn't say it, but you claim he implied it. Therefore, you said it. Perhaps it would have been better to ask him an open ended question instead of making something up for him to defend.
If you are willing to say that you don't think SSMers and those seeking to discredit marriage are the same group, go ahead.
3.28.2007 5:38pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Ella

The links I refer to above are extremely influential groups. Both the ALI &Canada's rep Ella

When you start entering the world of legal academia, these groups are very powerful. (especially in the realm of effect on judicial opinion)

P.S. When did we have the death penalty for Sodomy?
3.28.2007 5:46pm
Luddite:
Richard,

Fitz's post referred to "one great swath of left [sic]," "another great swath of the left," and "another (supposed) section of those who believe." I apologize for failing to understand that this referred only to academics.

I was not aware that it was my responsibility to look behind the objective meaning of language — under which "another section of those who believe" is an open class of people — and anticipate the unstated meaning of the poster - to be clarified in a later post. I do commend you on your psychic gift however. Clearly, in criticizing my initial post, you anticipated that Fitz was referring only to academics.

I also apologize for my use of a rhetorical question and appreciate your rhetorical advice. However, I see know that rhetorical questions unjustifiably rely on the fact that words will mean what they say.
[/snark]
3.28.2007 5:51pm
BobNSF (mail):

decrapitating


Best typo I've seen in a long, long time
3.28.2007 5:58pm
Ella:
Fitz,

I didn't see anything in the ALI or Canada report that actually advocated deinstitutionalizing marraige. To the extent that the Canadian report advocated recognizing non-marital relationships, it explicitly did so as a way of responding to problems that have arisen as a result of preexisting trends in adult relationships. To the extent that the ALI document dealt with the issue, it was summarizing state responses to these problems.

This is very different than advocating deinstitutionalizing marriage because you think marriage is bad/negative/whatever. These reports were responding to a problem. The desire to respond to this problem by creating new legal institutions (e.g. in the Canadian report, registered relationships) or presumptions is not advocacy - it's driven in large part by a desire to conserve legal resources and save time and trouble. THe same pragmatic desire drives many of the marital privileges. Legal requirements or presumptions relating to marital property division in the event of death or divorce and even tax preferences and benefits exist in large, to avoid costly and time consuming disputes about what the parties intended/agreed/etc when the marriage breaks up. They also make it easier for doctors, schools, and other service providers to conduct their business when sharing information or taking care of a person who has become incompetent.

I don't claim to be an expert on legal academia, but I'm actually in my last semester of law school and nowhere in my law school or undergraduate education (the latter at an ivory tower Ivy League school) have I ever encountered advocacy of deinstitutionalizing marriage outside of internet chatboards.

And while I can't point to a state statute that provided the death penalty for sodomy, English law provided the death penalty for it until well into the 19th century. Presumably, at least SOME of the American colonies followed it. And there are right wing whackos who advocate restoring it - see some particularly offensive Christian reconstructivists.
3.28.2007 6:00pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Bob. Not a typo. I was trying to avoid typing "deinstitutionalization" again. But I needed to address the meaning.
3.28.2007 6:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz,

Your definition of civil marriage in the US says, "the joining of a male and female in matrimony..." This is a bit like defining marriage as marriage. What do you mean by matrimony in the sense of civil marriage?
3.28.2007 6:15pm
BobNSF (mail):
Richard Aubrey:

Bob. Not a typo. I was trying to avoid typing "deinstitutionalization" again. But I needed to address the meaning.


Nevertheless, a good laugh. But it prompts me to post something that crossed my mind yesterday while reading either an excerpt of Blankenhorn or a comment by Dale. One of them used the term "authoritative marriage". I find that to be a much better term than "traditional marriage" when describing what marriage used to be a few decades back.
3.28.2007 6:20pm
CaDan (mail):
OH NOES!!11!!!ELEVEN!!

ALI is decrapitating the institution of marriage by publishing a book on the law of divorce!
3.28.2007 6:40pm
eric (mail):


Luckily though, I don't see your anti-adoption advocacy gaining much societal support as there are still too many of us traditionalists around who understand the true power of love and family. Those poor adopted children in reality often turn out great, you know!



While adoption is better than state institution care, it may not be ideal. Of course, society gets to decide what it thinks about adoption. Most gay marriage advocates want to take that choice away from society via the courts.

Children often turn out great from a lot of situations, either great, good, average, bad, or horrid. The observation that children often turn out great is beside the point.

I am concerned about lesbian couples depriving a child and father of the right to know each other if gay marriage is recognized.

FF marriage. They decide they want a kid. The woman who wishes to carry is bisexual, picks up a man in a bar, has sex with him, gets pregnant (maybe she has to try a few times). In some states her husband-wife-partner-whatever is the legal father of the child born in the marriage. In other instances, he will never know, unless the woman goes on welfare, etc.

So forget the guy in the bar eh? Why does biology matter then? Why do men that were in one night stands even get visitation?

Because society whats them to? What about the father's substantive due process right to be involved in the life of his children (I know that the courts are not serious about this "right," as is often the case with substantive due process)?

These are some of things that make me agnostic about both gay marriaeg and substantive due process.
3.28.2007 6:56pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
springjourney, I would suggest that adoptive gay parents arbitrarily *provide* parentage to children who are ALREADY deprived of the opportunity to know their biological parents.

I also fail to see how restricting your children to one and only one way of starting a family is positive. There are, after all, at least three such ways: you can couple with a member of the opposite sex, couple with a member of the same sex, or adopt a child as a single parent. All three produce a family every bit as legitimate and valid as a heterosexual marriage producing biological children, which is merely a subset of the first option. Indeed, while marriage by definition incorporates a family, family does not by definition incorporate a marriage.
3.28.2007 6:58pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Caliban Darklock wrote:

> "I would suggest that adoptive gay parents arbitrarily *provide* parentage"

I'm not sure you understand the meaning of the word parentage. Adoption does not provide parentage, though it might provide parental figures and a stable household for their upbringing.

To say that adoption replaces the child's parentage re-affirms the concerns both Eric's, and SpringJourney's comments above. Concerns I also have, and were presented by Margaret Sommerville, and the same David Blankenthorn that Carpenter is writing about.
3.28.2007 7:12pm
ReVonna LaShatze:
FF marriage. They decide they want a kid. The woman who wishes to carry is bisexual, picks up a man in a bar, has sex with him, gets pregnant (maybe she has to try a few times). In some states her husband-wife-partner-whatever is the legal father of the child born in the marriage. In other instances, he will never know, unless the woman goes on welfare, etc.

So forget the guy in the bar eh? Why does biology matter then? Why do men that were in one night stands even get visitation?


Ugh. The traditionalist in me thinks this is a very very poor way to deliberately start a family, whether hetero- or homosexual. I would advise my son, were I raising one, to avoid finding himself in this situation at all costs. Wearing a condom or two would certainly help to protect him, if he chose to engage in risky one-night stands with a person he barely knew who might have intentions more devious than just sexual purposes. Hopefully, my children -- educated in my personal/traditional values -- would be confident enough in themselves to reject the quick inebriated sexual pleasures that come at bar-time, and seek to pursue that in a loving committed relationship -- hopefully marriage. (And I hope they're not big drinkers either -- huge college campuses that promote the drinking culture personally sicken me.) Still, in reality, I would educate them on birth control in case they every rejected my sexual values and were tempted by the quick pleasures.

I also think if a biological father can prove via DNA that he is the child's father and wants to be involved in the child's life, the courts should (and do, I think) respect this relationship and encourage it. Hence, I'm glad Elian Gonzalez got to be with his dad, and I hope baby Danielynn soon gets the same respect from the Bahamian courts too, assuming Howard Stern is not her biological father.
3.28.2007 7:14pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
ReVonna, I am still awaiting your response to the question above.

If anyone else wishes to help me understand better the reason marriage law needs to be altered, please do so by answering the same question.
3.28.2007 7:18pm
ReVonna LaShatze:
Oh and fwiw, I'd also advise my son not to sell his sperm, and my daughter her eggs, as often is advertised in the college job classifieds. I'd want them to know that they're not just selling an ejaculation or having eggs harvested, but in reality they are releasing potential children in the world, whom they will not know and who will be raised by others. College-age kids perhaps don't realize that exactly, the consequences, which to me is sad and seems exploitative.

However, if an older person who is childless or is otherwise well informed about the consequences of the sale/donation chooses to release their potential children in this way, I would respect that decision too.


On Lawn:
I'd stop waiting. You might want to ask someone more educated than I (am). I hope my earlier responses though helped you "understand better the reason marriage law needs to be altered", imho. See 1:42 for my attempt at the clearest reasoning I can provide.
3.28.2007 7:27pm
Colin (mail):
I'm not sure you understand the meaning of the word parentage. Adoption does not provide parentage...

He does, but you apparently do not. There is a definition of parentage requiring actual descent, but even that is arguably met in adoption (as adopted children are inheritors of family interests). But as a general matter, and as my dictionary confirms, "parentage" may also mean simply the state of being a parent. Adoptive parents are, of course, parents.

Where would the anti-SSM position be without arbitrary definitions of convenience?
3.28.2007 7:33pm
CrosbyBird:
How can you justify that discrimination against the larger non-marriageable segment of households that you are fighting for, specifically, same-sex marriage?

I don't justify any such discrimination. So long as any people get government benefits from legal marriage, any parties capable of consenting should be allowed to marry and receive the same benefits.

Ideally, the government would get entirely out of the business of marriage and provide no special financial incentives to married couples. Those incentives come directly on the backs of those who are unmarried by choice or legal prohibition.

I don't care what it's called if the alternate marriage-that-is-called-non-marriage provides just as much legal/economic benefit as traditional marriage.
3.28.2007 7:45pm
CrosbyBird:
Note that I am a believer in the institution of marriage as a cultural concept. I am in a committed relationship with a member of the opposite sex that is very likely to ultimately result in marriage. And I'll take the benefits that come with it, but I recognize that I don't deserve to be exclusively rewarded. I am, after all, lucky enough to have found someone that shares the bond of love and mutual respect that we intend to affirm in a ceremony before our friends and familes.
3.28.2007 7:49pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

> "He does, but you apparently do not. There is a definition of parentage ... "

The habit of saying someone is wrong while providing evidence that they are right, perhaps, requires more rigor on your part to resist.

> "There is a definition of parentage requiring actual descent, but even that is arguably met in adoption (as adopted children are inheritors of family interests)."

Inheritance is not lineage, heritage or parentage.

> "But as a general matter, and as my dictionary confirms, 'parentage' may also mean simply the state of being a parent."

The meaning and context was provided in the quote he was replying to:

Homosexual couples
1. Do not create environment where children know only one way to start a new familiy on its own.

2. Arbitrarily deprive children right to know their bilogical parents.


So, either Caliban is employing a devious equivocation substituting his own context for the one he is replying to. Or he misunderstands the word. And I never ascribe to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity.

Adoption is not in conflict with the child's right to heritage unless it takes on the radical "The state is everything. The ego is death" exalting of legal reality above reality. That is, that the adoption is the same as their birth.

Adoption is not birth or procreation. It can, and hopefully does, try to restore to children what might have been lost to them. But a child never loses their heritage, just perhaps their access to it. And adoption does not need to take a child from their heritage, unless a non-fertile segment of society wishes equal dignity for their family formation style. In which case the child's needs are simply their vain ego.
3.28.2007 7:54pm
Ramza:
On Lawn

Have you adopted and raised kids? If no I question whether you should be attributing things such as people adopting kids which are currently being "nurtered by the state" to such things which you call "vain ego."
3.28.2007 8:03pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
CrosbyBird wrote:

> "So long as any people get government benefits from legal marriage, any parties capable of consenting should be allowed to marry and receive the same benefits."

That is fine for you to say, because in your own words you "Ideally, the government would get entirely out of the business of marriage and provide no special financial incentives to married couples." However I believe that puts you in the category that Dale Carpenter wishes to distance himself from. That is in people who wish to de-institutionalize marriage entirely.

But you relay faith in marriage as a cultural entity:

> "Note that I am a believer in the institution of marriage as a cultural concept."

Perhaps this is further evidence of what I pointed out in my reply to Dale at Opine. That much of what he holds on to that separates himself from those that would de-institutionalize marriage is, perhaps, encapsulated in your addendum.

But as to your greater point that you don't see justification for the 'same-sex' emphasis (for lack of a better word), I have to agree.
3.28.2007 8:05pm
Michael B (mail):
When Blankenhorn states "[t]hese things do go together," he is not obviously presuming to forward the idea of numerical certainty, rather it is a statement reflecting qualities that include data/research in combination with suasion. (Minimally, in Blankenhorn's cited article, there is no positive indication he is forwarding such a positivist/scientistic conception.) A correlation is certainly being suggested, within his informed set of opinions, but the correlation being inferred is only that, a conscious inference based upon research and informed opinion, not a ratiocinated, deductive proof in a numerical or mathematical sense. Even when Blankenhorn states, in the opening graph, that "all the while ignoring the meaning of some simple correlations that the numbers do indubitably show," it's by no means clear he intends this use of language in an absolute, narrow and numerically proven sense.

Thus it becomes something of a strawman argument to state the correlation has not been proven, absent more conscientious, refined and better contextualized definitions applied to such terms as "correlation" and "proof." Within the range of all the subjects being addressed (e.g., ethical/moral and normative valuations, also policy, data/scientific, political, cultural, social issues and questions), it is all too easy to misapply such terms and definitions/connotations and to therein lend confusion rather than clarity to the range and nexus of issues being addressed. DC states this nicely enough in noting "[t]he point is that both support for and opposition to SSM well up from a variety of complex ideas, fears, hopes, emotions, world-views, motives, and underlying theories."

Too, while Blankenhorn has not numerically proven the correlation in question, neither does DC's originating post prove the opposite. Instead it largely argues by means of a via negativa and via abstracta, it by no means, arguably far less than Blankenhorn, successfully argues its own case in any positive sense.

(Perhaps Al Gore and Laurie David are readying a "documentary" on the subject even now, declaring something about the scientific consensus and the non-existence of any serious contending, contrary science, etc., etc. - together with Ellen Goodman ready to remark upon the variety of traditionalist and supportive arguments as being virtually identical with holocaust denial to boot.)
3.28.2007 8:06pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Ramza wrote:

> "Have you adopted and raised kids?"

Currently raising, and have worked closely with people on both sides of the adoption isle.

> "If no I question whether you should be attributing things such as people adopting kids which are currently being 'nurtered [sic] by the state' to such things which you call 'vain ego.'"

That would be a 'vain accusation' :)

I specifically noted what I thought would be labeled as a 'vain ego', and an accurate reading would relay that I do not find that a vain ego exists in that desire at all. Just something labeled a such who find that quality of children to be inconvenient to how they want to view their own families. You should re-read the comment, and I hope you catch the intended meaning.

I hope that clears it up?
3.28.2007 8:12pm
ReVonna LaShatze:
And adoption does not need to take a child from their heritage, unless a non-fertile segment of society wishes equal dignity for their family formation style.

I think Madonna and Guy Ritchie, Brad and Angelina are fertile. (?) Points for consistency if you really are advocating to end adoptions, but in reality it's not practical. Why do you assume children being raised by homosexual parents necessarily lose their heritage anyway? One night stands, sure, but if you go slow and are informed about the heritage/medical/familial history of the biological parent(s) ?

"But a child never loses their heritage, just perhaps their access to it."
3.28.2007 8:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Bob. What is "authoritative" marriage? Are we speaking about the idea of dadthepatriarchal oppressor model beloved of feminists?
3.28.2007 8:26pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
> But a child never loses their heritage,
> just perhaps their access to it. And
> adoption does not need to take a child
> from their heritage

I think you're misunderstanding my view of the situation.

Here is a child. The child has two biological parents. Otherwise, there would be no child. The child is not, in any normal culture, available for adoption.

The child becomes available for adoption when circumstances demand that the child be deprived of its biological parents. Perhaps its parents are unfit, or unwilling, or simply unavailable (e.g. catastrophic accident).

REGARDLESS of any adoptive parents, homosexual or otherwise, the child is ALREADY deprived of its biological parents and heritage. The Bad Thing you want to avoid is already here. You have lost.

When adoptive parents present themselves, regardless of what word you want to use to describe their involvement, regardless of their sexual preferences, regardless of whether there are two or three or just one, the child's life is almost certain to improve with their involvement.

Nobody believes that children should be adopted rather than being raised by their biological parents. Pretty much everybody, however, believes children should be adopted rather than orphans.
3.28.2007 8:28pm
Pyrthroes (mail):
In all the articles on "SSM", the learned citations, we note two glaring omissions: First, the disastrous affects on children [from personal experience]; second, what is cheerfully called the "de-sacraliztion" of the marriage bond, obviously too embarrassing to mention.

To purposely, wilfully deny any child a mother or a father, particularly for selfish financial, political, or supposedly economic reasons is a monstrous crime. Any discussion that does not focus on nurturing mature and stable offspring through lasting heterosexual bonds condemns children to lifelong debilities from which few individuals and no societies emerge.

Choose your canon: Throughout human history, for excellent socio-cultural --even survival-- reasons, all polities have sought to place the basic family unit on a plane over-and-above mundane concerns. Let's face it: In the short-term, commercial/political, hedonistic sense there is no --repeat, NO-- gain in committing to a marriage, raising kids. Homosexuals feed off parents' self-sacrificing time, trouble and expense; and should your offspring prove one of their fourteen per thousand, your family name will perish with all else-- no grandchildren, no legacy of affirmation, trust. Mocked and spurned, you will have fostered cowbirds desecrating their own nest.

As Europe is discovering, all the collectivist Statist forcing in the world will not engender one responsible, civic-minded adult in face of crass and vulgar narcissists intent on self-aggrandizement. A virtual Darwinian selection process rapidly ensues, so far beyond Parliamentary niceties as to make nonsense of SSM's convoluted propositions, which all boil down to: We want something for nothing, and we want it now.

By all means, debate statutory chapter and verse, adopt noxious and self-serving precedents. Absent "parentage", there will be no citizens of character and education, no culture worth the having. To ideologues of a certain stripe, that of course will be just fine.
3.28.2007 8:28pm
Colin (mail):
Inheritance is not lineage, heritage or parentage.

Inheritance is, in fact, a form of heritage, unless you are arbitrarily limiting “heritage” to the biological variety. I'm not sure if you're appallingly ignorant or just unwilling to limit your rhetoric to the facts.

So, either Caliban is employing a devious equivocation substituting his own context for the one he is replying to. Or he misunderstands the word. And I never ascribe to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity.

Neither is justified. Caliban is clearly explaining that adoption provides “parentage” to children who are already deprived of biological parents. You replied that adoption does not provide "parentage," but you are factually wrong. Think before you criticize a point like Caliban’s. Adoption obviously does provide parentage; it’s strange to whine that Caliban should have been limited to a biological sense of “parentage” when he was explicitly describing adoption as a situation in which biological parents are excluded.

Adoption is not in conflict with the child's right to heritage unless it takes on the radical "The state is everything. The ego is death" exalting of legal reality above reality. That is, that the adoption is the same as their birth.

Each of those sentences appears to be a non sequitor. How does equating adoption with birth require “ the radical ‘The state is everything. The ego is death’ exalting of legal reality above reality?” What does ego have to do with it?

But a child never loses their heritage, just perhaps their access to it.

Yes, in fact, they do. Depending on the jurisdiction and the property in question, an adopted child loses their right to inherit from the biological parents. (Many jurisdictions allow adopted children to inherit physical property but not causes of action, for instance.) And of course, adoptees routinely “lose” their heritage of testate biological parents. I think your rhetoric is getting increasingly sloppy; you can’t mean “heritage” in the literal sense. So what do you mean?

Your arguments would be greatly improved if you would remind yourself, before posting each comment, that facts are not determined by belief. Saying a think does not make it so, and saying it twice doesn't help.
3.28.2007 8:41pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Ella (remember: you asked)

To the extent that the ALI document dealt with the issue, it was summarizing state responses to these problems.

(from my article on the subject)

Founded in 1923, the ALI includes within its membership many of America’s most influential judges, lawyers, and law professors. The influence of the ALI includes aiding in the Uniform Commercial Code’s drafting, as well as other model codes, such as the Model Code of Evidence, and the Model Penal Code. It has been typically known for its “Restatements of the Law” in certain fields, including contracts, torts, trusts, and conflict of laws.52 This pedigree has established an informal system through such restatements whereby members of the legal community and, significantly, judges, will use these restatements in discerning the direction of their own state's case law when confronted by conflicts in the law and undecided cases with no state precedent, essentially adopting in the process the restatements' recommended thrust or specifics.

It is considered unusual for ALI to make a foray into a field such as family law. Stranger still was for the ALI to recommend changes to existing law. As we have seen, it has been typical for it to simply restate existing law.53 However, the timing of the Report's release made it more than fortuitous.

The Report was released while both the Lawrence and Goodridge cases were pending. Issued only six months before the former and less than a year before the latter decisions were announced, the Report “appear[ed] intended to influence legal developments, particularly those initiated by judicial decisions.”57 As Arizona law professor and editor of the ALI report Mark Ellman noted, “the new report is intended to set guidelines and for individual judges and state legislatures.”58

Equal to the prestige of the body making the Report and its curious timing is the startling nature of the proposals made in The Principles of the Family Dissolution when compared with family law as practiced.


"The major flaw in the Family Dissolution Principles in general, and chapter 6 in particular, is that it deconstructs family relations and tries to “level” marriage, parenting, and “alternative” relationships by greatly expanding the kinds of relationships that are given the same preferred, privileged legal status and benefits as “family” relations. Some aspects of that theme pervade nearly all of the chapters of the Family Dissolution Principles."59



Indeed, David Westfall, writing in the Harvard Journal of Law in an article entitled “Unprincipled Family Dissolution” goes so far as to raise concerns about the “controlled nature of the consultative process”60 used in drafting the Report, noting how the small group of legal academics who produced it had such broad latitude on a subject of such general and public concern.

The remarks of Professor Katherine Bartlett, one of the three principal drafters of the Report, both tells us something about those drafting this work, as well as neatly summing up the drive of the proposals:


"the value I place on family diversity and on the freedom of individuals to choose from a variety of family forms. This same value leads me to be generally opposed to efforts to standardize families into a certain type of nuclear family because a majority may believe this is the best kind of family or because it is the most deeply rooted ideologically in our traditions.”62



52 See The American Law Institute, at http://ali.org
53 The Future of Family Law, Law and the Marriage Crisis in North America A Report from the Council on Family Law at 16
57 Katherine Shaw Spaht THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE The Current Crises In Marriage
58 Karen S. Paterson Love and the Law: A realty Check USA Today, Dec. 4, 2002, at D8
59 David Orgon Coolidge, Widening the Lens: Chapter 6 of the ALI’s Principles, Hawaii and Vermont, 4 J.L. &Fam. Stud. 79 (2002) Id. at 79
60 David Westfall, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 27 (2004): 918-20.
61 Katharine T. Bartlett, “Saving the Family from the Reformers” (Brigitte M. Bodenheimer Memorial Lecture on the Family), University of California, Davis Law Review 31 (1998):
3.28.2007 8:41pm
Ramza:

Nobody believes that children should be adopted rather than being raised by their biological parents. Pretty much everybody, however, believes children should be adopted rather than orphans.

Drug Addict Parents (I have 1 aunt and 2 uncles who my family adopted due to the state taking the kids from such unfit parents, my family raised them as their own), Teenage pregnancy, Parents who are incestuous or beat their kids, I can go on but I recognize your rhetorical point even if your sentence wasn't thought through completely.
3.28.2007 8:55pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Re: Adoption

When encountering such debates it is important to note….


“According to statistics provided by both the National Survey of Family Growth and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute there are approximately 120,000 children in the United States waiting to be adopted each year. About half of these children are adopted by family members, leaving about 60,000 children who are waiting to be adopted by non-related adoptive parents. By contrast, each year there are anywhere between 70,000 and 162,000 married couples in the United States who have either filed for adoption or in process of filing. That means that in any given year, there are between 1.2 and 2.7 married couples per waiting child. In other words, there is no child-centered need to open up adoption to homosexual couples.”
3.28.2007 9:05pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin,

You are being needlessly acrid, and contrarian. Your accusations, stacked as best as you can, do not accurately represent the conversation.

I see nothing new to reply to, just more emphatic versions of the same fallacies.
3.28.2007 9:11pm
Zoe E Brain (mail) (www):
There are 2 reasons I'm in favour of SSM. I'll just deal with the second one.

That is, the problems with the legal definition of "man" and "woman". Now most men have got 46xy chromosomes, most women have 46xx chromosomes. Most men have masculine genitalia, most women do not. Most women have feminine genitalia, most men do not.

But nearly 1 in 50 do not fit that nice, neat, default ordering of things.

There are people who look like girls at birth who turn into boys late in puberty - they have 5ARD, 5 alpha reductase deficiency, and that's so common in the Dominican Republic and parts of Oceania that they have words for the condition, such as Guavadoches.

There are people who have 47xxy chromosomes, and although most are normal guys (just tall, sterile, slightly odd teeth etc) some are not, and some have even been biological mothers.

1.7% of the population ( we think - we know it's around 1-2% anyway) is Intersexed in some way. Many don't know it, they just have been told they can't have children. Some are even just infertile, they look female, so what if 40% of their cells are male? Or 100%, if their cells aren't responsive to the primary male hormone, testosterone (CAIS - complete androgen insensitivity syndrome)

The Law has not kept up with medical science. We're now pretty sure - at least on the balance of probabilities, though not beyond reasonable doubt, that Transsexuality - you know, those weirdoes who want a sex change - is caused by neurological Intersex. We can't correct the brain, we can modify the body so it's not so hideously uncomfortable, feeling abnormal and perverse.

I know. I had one of the less common IS conditions, one of the ones where apparent sex changes over one's lifetime, like 5ARD. My UK Birth Certificate says "Boy", and not being a normal Transsexual, I can't ever get it changed under the UK Gender Recognition Act. My UK Passport on the other hand says F for Female, based in the medical evidence. I'm married (to another woman) as for most of my life I looked male, and tried to be the best Man a girl could be. Heck, it took a specialist medical exam 20 years ago to find out I wasn't 100% male!

I'm a biological father - and unlike some Intersexed people, I don't have the bits to be a biological mother. And it took medical help.

The formation of same-sex marriages is illegal here in Australia, but the validity of a marriage is judged at the time it was contracted. Practically as well as legally, in 1981 I was male. Mostly.

But in 2005 I was treated for "severe androgenisation of a non-pregnant female", a diagnosis that requires peer review. Shortly thereafter I started a course of hormone therapy designed to stabilise my system (it did) and accelerate the feminisation (it didn't). My UK Passport, as I said, says Female, and if I divorced that would be adequate documentation under the Australian marriage act for me to marry a man. Yet my birth certificate would be adequate documentation for me to marry a woman. In either case, it would be open for the Family Court to decide the marriage was invalid, though I think they'd judge me female on past case law.

In the USA, things are even more bizarre. In order to prevent "same sex" marriages from surgically altered people, 36 counties in Texas have actually allowed them. You see they don't recognise anything other than an original birth certificate. Now move over a county line, and the marriage becomes illegal, an abomination.

It could be argued - an argument I find very persuasive - that the whole of society should not be turned upside-down to accomodate a tiny minority.

But we're talking about possibly half a million people in the US. It is no "tiny minority", it's just that everyone is so embarrassed, and people who are Intersexed are subject to such hate, ridicule and violence, that the extent of the problem has been concealed. Moreover, we're not asking for a huge change, just the recognition that we exist. That we have minimal human rights, amongst which is the right to marry and have a family, adopted or biological.

Same Sex Marriage would at least allow people whose sex is questionable to marry, without it being necessary to make a legal decision as to what their sex might be. For if they have, say, female genitalia, a male birth certificate, have a mosaic 45x (Turner Syndrome Female) /46xy (male) cell line, look likeb women, and self-identify as female, as some people do, then what sex are they? Especially if they are genetic fathers, having had viable sperm extracted from (now removed as due to cancer risk) testicular structures?

Unless you want to answer tens or hundreds of thousands of such fraught questions, where each case differs in the details, then maybe Same Sex Marriages might be justified on purely pragmatic grounds. Because by legislating to prevent them on Religious grounds, you automatically legalise them in cases of Intersex. Maybe the Almighty is giving you a hint.

Finally, and this has not been publicised, but a statement of principles was issued by a panel of eminent jurists on Monday at Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This clarified existing provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is not "new law" as such. And it is now made explicitly clear that not only is discrimination on the base of sex, race, nationality or religion prohibited, but so is discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
3.28.2007 9:11pm
Ramza:
And how many of those adopted parents want a "baby", someone of the same race, or don't want to adopt a "high maintenance" kid (something like Down Syndrome), or a troubled kid (a kid who is no longer an elementary student or younger and has become cynical and problematic due to no parent wanting him). If they don't meet these requirements they are not interested.

Furthermore those stats do not address the amount of kids who are "taken care" of by the state for while they have parents, and most parent contact has been severed/denied voluntarily or by force, the links haven't been separated completely. Because of this there is still a chance, but a very remote one that there parents may take them back. (If anybody remembers the child movie years ago Angels in the Outfield, the Roger Bomman the white kid who saw angels would be one such kid)
3.28.2007 9:16pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Caliban Darklock wrote:

> "I think you're misunderstanding my view of the situation."

Perhaps, please explain.

> "Here is a child. The child has two biological parents. Otherwise, there would be no child. The child is not, in any normal culture, available for adoption. ... Nobody believes that children should be adopted rather than being raised by their biological parents. Pretty much everybody, however, believes children should be adopted rather than orphans."

As far as that is true, I can agree with that. While you put that in opposition to comments such as Eric's and SpringJourney's, I do not find how that actually opposes what they wrote.

> "REGARDLESS of any adoptive parents, homosexual or otherwise, the child is ALREADY deprived of its biological parents and heritage. The Bad Thing you want to avoid is already here. You have lost."

If that is what you are saying, I believe I can say that I do understand what you are writing. But what circumstances do children lose their ability to know their heritage, a right recognized by the UN to combat genocide.

If it is your typical child in a civilized society, no doubt a record of that birth is on hand. The child has access to that birth record. From there they have access to know their heritage. That is not lost when their parents die.

If I can say, I believe your approach shows you are unfamiliar with the arguments being presented. That is okay, its new to everyone sometime. For a better explanation of the position, please follow the links I provided to Margaret Sommerville and David Blankenhorn above.
3.28.2007 9:23pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Zoe E Brain

You seem to be thinking intently about the community you find yourself apart of. I do not deny that the numbers represent real people &real practical problems for both law and culture. Nor do I dismiss the numbers as so small enough to ignore their plights.

Given the numbers manageability and the particularities of the wide varieties of circumstances it’s prudent to note that we have courts precisely to judge things on a case by case basis.

It’s even more important for me to note that the rest of the populations are human also. Their sexuality is important to them, as is their biological linage, their natural parents and a culture and law that reflects their needs.
3.28.2007 9:34pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Zoe E Brain,

Are you saying that without neutering the definition of marriage, there is no access to the institution of marriage for people of ambiguous gender?

A friend of mine actually uses their example to point out that there might be easier access for same-sex couples to marriage if they treated their own gender as meaninglessly as they wish marriage policy to. In other words, to claim themselves functionally females or males respectively to gain the same access that gender ambiguous people do.

If I have it right, there has been at least one case of a person in two different marriages as each gender respectively. But if so, your argument is not an argument for neutering the definition of marriage, that is if the pathway already exists through the same method. But I have no idea what is required or qualified in such circumstances to do more than speculate.
3.28.2007 9:36pm
ReVonna LaShatze:
What Pyrthroes wrote made me wonder:
Have you heard that Karl Rove's father, Louis, was gay? Apparently it's a confirmed fact by the son.

I'm not too into psychoanalysis, but I really wonder if there were some kind of scarring and personal acceptance issues (times have changed, but perhaps not soon enough) that have truly affected America's place in history.
3.28.2007 9:37pm
Brian K (mail):
springjourney,

your views of marriage are so contradictory. What benefit to society are we promoting? If society promotes marriage as a way to give certain groups tax benefits, then you have no rational basis for preventing SSM based on your dislike of gays. If society promotes marriage to ensure only one man can marry only one woman, I would have to ask what's the point? How does this improve society other than ban something which you don't like? If society promotes marriage for the children, then you have to explain why we give marriage benefits to couples without children and why we don't give marriage benefits to gay couples with children. If it's to promote fidelity to one's significant other, than how can you explain the many people who don't get married and don't cheat and how can you explain the many people who do get married and cheat. This position is also at odds with the fact that we don't have legal penalties for cheating on one's spouse. If society promotes marriage for the stability it provides to society, then you have to explain why the high divorce rates haven't destroyed society already and how SSM will destabilize society in ways that heterosexual marriage does not. The burden of proof now lies with the opponents because the existing observational evidence of homosexual marriages shows that they don't act any differently from their heterosexual counterparts.

I have not seen a rational argument how SSM will destabilize or destroy society and/or the meaning of marriage without making the ridiculous assumption that straight people will rush out and cheat on their spouses because gays can now get married. That makes absolutely no sense.
3.28.2007 9:48pm
Brian K (mail):
I forgot to add that if society promotes marriage for the children, then that would eliminate your claims that marriage must also be extended to consanguineous couples. Medicine has conclusively shown that the offspring of consanguineous couples are much more likely to suffer from congenital defects and severe mental and health problems. I'll explain why if you want me to.
3.28.2007 9:50pm
Michael B (mail):
The idea of "correlation" is a recurring term and theme in these marriage discussions. Ambiguity, on various levels, inheres to the idea and it's doubtful this ambiguity can be entirely resolved, i.e. that discrete, unambiguous meaning (beyond abstracta such as definitions) can be applied to the idea of correlation within the context of the marriage issue, other issues as well. For example, there is common, definitional ambiguity associated with the idea of correlation, there is also epistemic ambiguity associated with the term.

Even dictionary definitions, what the term denotes, can be ambiguous. Two dictionary definitions follow, the first from an online source, the second from an American Heritage College dictionary, emphases added:

1) the state or relation of being correlated; specifically: a relation existing between phenomena or things or between mathematical or statistical variables which tend to vary, be associated, or occur together in a way not expected on the basis of chance alone

2) a causal, complementary, parallel, or reciprocal relationship, esp. a structural, functional, or qualitative correspondence between two comparable entities

It may be obvious enough, but the ambiguity of the dictionary definitions, what the term "correlation" denotes, not to mention what it connotes, in turn is a reflection of the more problematic epistemic ambiguity, i.e. vis-a-vis its truth or fact value - thus moral content as well, its epistemic/moral content.

Various implication result. E.g., those who attempt to forward a putatively better scientific/epistemic basis in support of their position are deserving of a certain, specialized scrutiny.

All that is an aspect of an argument in favor of some negative or skeptical treatments. The positive side of that same coin is that people need not be too readily, too easily cowed into submission - when it comes to advancing various moral/ethical concerns - by others who, in whole or in part, pretend to be advancing a more scientific/progressive basis for their own position.

A superficially moralistic/deontological or reactionary argument should also be met with skepticism, but few, if any, are advancing such arguments. Both sides in the general debate have their fair share of mere reactionaries.
3.28.2007 10:45pm
Randy R. (mail):
You know, I've posted quite a bit about SSM in previous posts, and I've learned that those who tenatiously oppose it will never change their minds. No problem there, as we can't get everyone to support SSM, much as I would like to! Frankly, there gets a point where it gets tiresome.

However, the whole debate just proves how far long we have come. Just ten years ago, this debate would never even happened. I am reminded of that statement, was it MLK? Of Ghandi? About basic human rights and dignity: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

Today, we are in the 'fighting' stage. That's pretty good as far as I'm concerned. I remember the days when we were ignored, and the days when they laughed at us. Those who oppose gay rights like to claim that gays constitute only a tiny percentage of the population, like 1% or maybe 2%. So they say why should society accomodate such a tiny percentage -- just forgettabout 'em! But on the other hand, this tiny percentage wields such HUGE and VAST power that we are able to destroy centuries old institutions! We control the entire educational SYSTEM! Politicians of every stripe must KOWTOW to our demands, which of course never end until all children become homosexual, and that WILL happen if we are not stopped RIGHT NOW!

(sigh).

I wish I had a fraction of that power. But I am reminded of James Dale. He is the Boy Scout troop leader who was expelled because he was gay (although he had an exemplary record as a leader) and took the case to SCOTUS, only to loose. But right after the arguments were held, I attended a lunch, and he said no matter what, we win. Because it forces everyone, the media, the courts, the Boy Scouts, and all opponents, to admit that gays exist. And that gives hope to every single lonely gay or lesbian teenager or child who feels the well of loneliness and thinks that they are they only person in the whole world who longs for someone of the same sex. It validates us.

And in this debate about gay rights, no matter the outcome, we win. People are forced to decide what sort of rights and dignities are accorded to gay people. People who never once thought about our needs or desires are now thinking about us. There is greater support for ENDA and other gay rights bills than ever before. Teenagers take their SSM partners to the high school prom today. (Talk about upending tradition! And yet, proms are more popular than ever. Proms have not been 'neutered', though logically Fitz would be forced to argue that, proms have not lost their specialness, though springjourney would have to argue that, proms have not stopped hetero couples from having sex, and there has been no movement for people to bring their parents, siblings or dogs as partners to the prom, thereby squelching the slipperly slope arguments.)

Never before have gays been treated with such dignity and respect. Even George Bush must admit that gays are fine people and don't constitute a threat to America.

The younger generation is about 70% in favor of SSM, and those numbers are growing. Perhaps the most surprising is that support for SSM is growing among the elderly, which historically has been the most hostile to any gay rights. The numbers keep going in our favor over the past two decades. We are winning.

We may not win SSM in all states, maybe not most of them. But we have Massachusetts. Others will surely follow. Over the next few decades, Mass will show us whether the dire predictions of those who oppose SSM will come true. If not, then many other states will fall in line.

Yesterday, they ignored us and laughe at us. Today they fight us. Tomorrow we win.
3.29.2007 12:33am
BobNSF (mail):

Even George Bush must admit that gays are fine people...


Well, I don't think he's gone that far.


...and don't constitute a threat to America.


Unless we get married. Then we put western culture at risk!
3.29.2007 1:47am
Michael B (mail):
"Frankly, there gets a point where it gets tiresome." Randy R.

Do tell. How noble thou art, with the entire world on your shoulders. If you were to pat yourself on the back any more you'd turn into some type of Andy Sullivan impersonator or clone.

Btw, the following is a Mahatma Gandhi quote: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Following are some other Mahatma Gandhi quotes:

Gandhi, in an open letter to the Brits, urging them to surrender and accept whatever fate Hitler had in mind: "Let them take possession of your beautiful island with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your souls, nor your minds."

Gandhi, 1940: "I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed."

Gandhi, to the Viceroy of India, when German panzer divisions had turned west and the Allies were collapsing under the onslaught, also while British ships were streaming across the Straits of Dover from Dunkirk: "This manslaughter must be stopped. You are losing; if you persist, it will only result in greater bloodshed. Hitler is not a bad man."

If Ghandi had had to face Hitler, instead of the Brits, he would have been executed, posthaste, and he'd be little more than a footnote in history, if that.

What you're additionally not tuned into is the fact that you're not the party being ignored or laughed at - to the contrary. The party being ignored and laughed at in this particular ring is the party in the opposite corner. That party is additionally aware of the fact that your party is not interested in playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules, aka democracy.
3.29.2007 2:36am
Ramza:
The quote Randy did of Gandhi had nothing to do about Hitler or the Second World War instead it had to do nonviolent activism leading to political change. So why did you bring it up? Gandhi was also a racist, want to add that. Or if you can't deal with the logic of the quote, you instead try to poison the speaker.

Yes Gandhi was a fool in many things, he was a pacifist to the point of foolishness, yet at the same time he was right about many things. Just because a man is flawed doesn't mean he can't possess insight.
3.29.2007 4:23am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
BobNSF.
"threat to western culture"

Indeed. That is the dearest hope of a good many, including those Dale Carpenter cited.

Others' awareness of that goal isn't going away simply because you act as if it would be silly believe it.
3.29.2007 8:58am
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Perhaps to directly ask the question, How can you justify that discrimination against the larger non-marriageable segment of households that you are fighting for, specifically, same-sex marriage?…

…If anyone else wishes to help me understand better the reason marriage law needs to be altered, please do so by answering the same question.


On Lawn we've been over this before. Civil marriage is not merely a contract but one that supports the natural right and process of marriage, a behavior and desire that comes from beyond government.

The civil contract is mutually exclusive to its participants - they are presumed to meet their immediate social and biological intimacy needs between the two contractees.

Other explicitly non-sexual relationships means either the participants are disavowing any need for such intimacy or they are going to be open to fulfilling these needs from outside the marriage relationship from its incept.

And there is the difference: married couples can theoretically fulfill their relational needs between themselves which strengthens it, those bonded for a subset of these reasons will always have the potential of needing more than the relationship provides, an implicit weakening influence.

For example: the two sisters raising a child might still be 'on the market' for husbands. If they were licensed the civil contract of marriage to each other what happens if one or both find a spouse? Would they still be looking for a spouse even while in the marriage relationship? By licensing them the contract the state would be deliberately setting up a situation with the chance of family instability built right in.

Sure, there would be advantage to their having some of the mutual benefits available to non-traditional family groups but as long as the parenting group cannot fulfill the naturally expected features of a couple committing to an open-ended mutually exclusive relationship its reasonable to consider them differently under the law.
3.29.2007 10:54am
Elliot123 (mail):
Bob: Civil marriage is not merely a contract but one that supports the natural right and process of marriage, a behavior and desire that comes from beyond government.

It may support those things, but it also may be "merely a contract." It's the exclusive choice of the couple. It can also be used to support business alliances, national alliances, gold diggers, citizenship petitions, inheritance, abuse, mothers-in law, or passing the crack pipe. The choice of what it supports is with the couple.
3.29.2007 11:26am
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
It may support those things, but it also may be "merely a contract." It's the exclusive choice of the couple. It can also be used to support business alliances, national alliances, gold diggers, citizenship petitions, inheritance, abuse, mothers-in law, or passing the crack pipe. The choice of what it supports is with the couple.

From a lawyer's point of view I'm sure that's true. But the old NIS had a simple standard, the married couple had to be 'building a life together' and I would suggest that intuitive standard is closer to the truth. As far as your examples of it merely being a 'contract' to license it solely for the purposes of citizenship is considered invalid. I know people that licensed it in the military to get off post housing and they were subject to punishment and a denial of benefits. I doubt the idea that it is 'merely a contract' would get much support from many.

Yes the contract can be abused but that choice is up to the individuals - licensing it where the situation itself fosters abuse is a totally different situation. Ties into the invalidity of the 'gay people can already marry' arguments - saying someone can only license the contract with someone they can't reasonably be expected to 'build a life with' is an opportunity that really isn't one at all.
3.29.2007 11:59am
Fitz (mail) (www):
Self-pity is the worst kind of narcissism.

So called gay “marriage” does two things necessarily. (that is it follows axiomatically from the very definitional change)
#1. It androgynies the institution.
#2. It separates it from any necessary connection to procreation.

You can have this type of yuppie coupling as our ideal, but it fails to promote (and indeed undermines) the integration of the two sexes as a essential part of marriage. Most people are heterosexual and only opposite sex pairs can concieve children. Your standard explicitly states that a child’s natural Father (or Mother) is non-essential to marriage. That any combination of adult is sufficient.

It further reinforces and locks in the notion that all family forms are inherently equal. They are not.

Yes, there is a philosophical maxim that reads – “If it’s everything it’s nothing”. We cant defend what we cant define. You are attempting to severe marriage from its historical and biological heritage, this will have a net effect. (leaving aside the already discernable effects in Europe) That effect is that marriage is outdated and any family form including single parenting is acceptable.

Of coarse I’m going further than that. Mine is not a defensive crouch. I find you to be deeply inhumane and narcissistic in your demands. 40 years of a sexual revolution has given us 50% divorce rates, 70% illegitimacy rates and falling rates of marriage overall, cohabitation and un-chosen childlessness. The social scientific evidence for divorce and Fatherless-ness is in. It leads to sky high crime, depression, suicide, violence, gang activity, and a perpetual cycle of child abandonment.

For you to throw the entire institution up for redefinition is the height of self absorption.
We can and must rebuild the social institution of marriage. Its important that all children are born into married households with their own natural parents. This standard should be advanced not undermined. The institution of marriage is infinitely more important than a vehicle for your inclusion.

In Recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex “marriage” courts do specifically reject the most egregious illogical conclusion of Goodridge, that procreation is some kind of bad faith post-hoc invented reasoning to hide the “real” reason marriage is a husband-wife institution.

From the Washington State Decision


“Plaintiffs also rely on Goodridge, where the Massachusetts court rejected the argument that procreation justified limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples. The court said that “{t}he ‘marriage is procreation’ argument singles out the one unbridgeable difference between same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and transforms that difference into the essence of legal marriage.” Goodridge, 440 Mass. at 333. The court held that “it is the exclusive and permanent commitment of the marriage partners to one another, not the begetting of children, that is the sine qua non of civil marriage.” Goodridge, 440 Mass. at 332.



“But as Skinner, Loving, and Zablocki indicate, marriage is traditionally linked to procreation and survival of the human race. Heterosexual couples are the only couples who can produce biological offspring of the couple. And the link between opposite-sex marriage and procreation is not defeated by the fact that the law allows opposite-sex marriage regardless of a couple’s willingness or ability to procreate. The facts that all opposite-sex couples do not have children and that single- sex couples raise children and have children with third party assistance or through adoption do not mean that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples lacks a rational basis. Such over- or under-inclusiveness does not defeat finding a rational basis.”


Note the court appropriately applies Loving, etc.

The plurality makes strong criticisms of the concurrence and two of the dissents at the outset of its opinion, including charging the main dissent with “sadly overstep[ping] the bounds of judicial review” for suggesting that supporters of marriage laws are bigots. Besides calling the lower court decisions “transparently result-oriented” and a reflection of “the dominant political ideas of their legal community,” the concurrence says: “[t]hough advanced with fervor and supported by special interests loudly advocating the latest political correctness, the arguments (and the dissenters) cannot overcome the plain legal and constitutional principles supporting Washington’s definition of marriage.”

You can agree for any allowance you want to try and win what you want. Problem is the cultural left has a pedigree. They think marriage is archaic and patriarchal.

When Senator Daniel Patrick Monihan published his famous “Report on the Negro family” the cultural left called him a bigot.

When Dan Qualye eschewed Murphy Brown for making single Motherhood “just another lifestyle choice” the cultural left called him a bigot.

The Blogosphere is replete with articles from the NYT and other sources of the cultural left about single women and men “choosing” to raise youngsters on their own. No moral condemnation is made or even suggested. Illegitimacy is not a problem in New Delhi. The correlation with a declining marriage culture is not income, couples live on a bowl of rice and stay together.

I’m afraid the illegitimacy rate is still 70% among the underclass. The lesbian couple next door implicitly states that marriage is androgynized and Fathers are not important. If the cultural left has embraced monogamy and repented from their sexual revolution its news to me. My law school “family” law department was made up of three lesbian strident feminists/polymorist. None of them asserted anything except all family forms are inherently equal, and the traditional family is archaic and patriarchal.

The important thing is not the answer to the question, but who writes the question. Your happy to know that your having your debate on your terms. The capacity of the public for sustained debate on any topic is limited. It’s a precious commodity. Your activists and activist judges have succeeded in pressing this issue. No matter what happens you move your ball down your court.

How do we provide a child with his natural mother and father living together under the same roof? Or.. What is the social utility of traditional morality? Or.. How has the feminist project undermined and alienated relations between the sexes? Or…What accounts for the disintegration of married intact families since the 1960’s? Or… How do we best alleviate and rebuild this broken structure? Or, what accounts for the decline in marriage and increase in cohabitation in Scandinavian countries that have adopted same-sex “marriage”? Or… How can we hope to build a marriage culture around a androgynized definition that separates a Childs natural parent from any necessary connection to his or her child? Or… why is the cultural left suddenly conceding the importance of the family unit when it has spent years calling it archaic a patriarchal? Where were these same people during the divorce revolution? Where were they when Senator Moynihan issued his report on black family disintegration? Could this sudden concession on the importance of marriage and monogamy be a momentary faint in a well documented history of considering all family forms as being inherently equal?

I disagree. I say that allowing SSA couples to marry will do irreparable harm to the institution of marriage by showing that marriage is outdated, any family form is adequate; a Childs own Mother &Father are not inherently necessary to that Childs future and proper upbringing and either sex is ultimately irrelevant to the institution.
3.29.2007 12:07pm
Colin (mail):
On Lawn,

I'm sorry that you find me acrid. Please bear in mind that I was responding a comment in which you attributed Caliban's opinion to "stupidity." (Because, you said, you were too kind to attribute it to "malice.") Your insult alone warranted a response, but it was also based on a false premise - you accused him of not understanding the word "parentage" or the comment to which he was replying, when in fact he applied the word correctly in every way. I thought it was worthwhile to highlight your incivility and your error; if I was uncivil in turn, I apologize.
3.29.2007 12:11pm
Colin (mail):
I’m afraid the illegitimacy rate is still 70% among the underclass.

The "underclass?"
3.29.2007 12:15pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Yes, the underclass.


“Marriage is neither a conservative nor a liberal issue; it is a universal human institution, guaranteeing children fathers, and pointing men and women toward a special kind of socially as well as personally fruitful sexual relationship.
Gay marriage is the final step down a long road America has already traveled toward deinstitutionalizing, denuding and privatizing marriage. It would set in legal stone some of the most destructive ideas of the sexual revolution: There are no differences between men and women that matter, marriage has nothing to do with procreation, children do not really need mothers and fathers, the diverse family forms adults choose are all equally good for children.”


"What happens in my heart is that I know the difference. Don't confuse my people, who have been the victims of deliberate family destruction, by giving them another definition of marriage."


Walter Fauntroy
Former DC Delegate to Congress
Founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus
Coordinator for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s march on DC
3.29.2007 12:18pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Close, let me fix that for you:

Most married people are heterosexual and some opposite sex pairs can concieve children.

Yes, there is a philosophical maxim that reads – “If it’s everything it’s nothing”. We cant defend what we cant define.

How about the 'building a life together' standard?

(leaving aside the already discernable effects in Europe)

You mean the fact that birthrates are down in even the most conservative anti-gay european nations? Or the 'effect' that between 1994-2003 the only european countries with an increased marriage rate were Croatia and the Scandanavian countries most supportive of marriage equality?

That effect is that marriage is outdated and any family form including single parenting is acceptable.

Of course that letting more married couples license their marriages seems to be having the exact opposite effect is a niggling detail I'm sure. :)

The social scientific evidence for divorce and Fatherless-ness is in. It leads to sky high crime, depression, suicide, violence, gang activity, and a perpetual cycle of child abandonment.

And yet you are saying that its best to not allow married couples to have license to the civil contract to strengthen their marriages. Letting more people marry is the opposite of divorce, it is the opposite of single-parents.

"The facts that all opposite-sex couples do not have children and that single- sex couples raise children and have children with third party assistance or through adoption do not mean that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples lacks a rational basis. Such over- or under-inclusiveness does not defeat finding a rational basis.”

And as you know the court was not ruling that that was a rational basis merely that it could be construed as such sufficiently to allow DOMA to stand. The Washington state decision said that the legislature could do as they like even if their reasoning was perceived as faulty by others.

I say that allowing SSA couples to marry will do irreparable harm to the institution of marriage by showing that marriage is outdated, any family form is adequate;

And yet evidence from countries that allow the registering of same gender married couples says the exact opposite. As the you pointed out the SCoW said that people can reach conclusions even by bad reasoning. You're entitled to your opinion, but seems more arguing to reach a forgone conclusion rather than for the truth.
3.29.2007 12:39pm
r4d20 (mail):
What about those of us who would just as soon decapitate ourselves as have these issues decided by lawyers?



Um.....go right ahead!!!!

Seriously, I'm not advocating violence, but, if you choose to remove yourself from both the discussion and genepool.....
3.29.2007 12:59pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

> "you accused him of not understanding the word "parentage" or the comment to which he was replying, when in fact he applied the word correctly in every way."

You claimed he used it properly because "'parentage' may also mean simply the state of being a parent." Not the state of having a parent, or the state of having people raising a child as a parent. The state of being a parent.

Lets look at his original quote then:

adoptive gay parents arbitrarily *provide* parentage to children


And you continued the same fallacy with more emphatic commentary later on:

Caliban is clearly explaining that adoption provides “parentage” to children who are already deprived of biological parents.


In no reasonable interpretation could either quote really meant the definition you attribute to it. Unless you mean that children without parents can adopt, which doesn't appear to match either Caliban's or SprinJourney's discussion. In that discussion the children are not arbitrarily provided the state of being a parent. Such an interpretation is ludicrous. Such is a misunderstanding of the word.

Yet you chose to re-enforce your belief in that alternate interpretation with the following commentary:

Where would the anti-SSM position be without arbitrary definitions of convenience?


Your definition was worse that arbitrary, it was the square peg forced into the round hole completely reversing (if it was to be believed) the role of child and parent. Yet your accusation flew from your keypad just as easily as if you knew what you were talking about. Yet you clearly do not.

Caliban has since clarified his position away from the incorrect use of "parentage", while Pythroes used the term correctly. Leaving you alone to flail in your own bitterness.

And that is where I leave you too.
3.29.2007 1:01pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo &Revonna LaSchatze

Read the post again….(it deserves that much, read it in totality. no immediate parsing of minutia – it your opponents worldview as a whole regarding this drive for SSM)

Its not a defense, its an indictment..

Given the state of marriage: what kind of inhuman monsters assert their social experiment into collapsing birth rates, exploding divorce, ramped illegitimacy, bareness, etcetera…?

Those defending marriage are clearly against ALL and have been.

You may need to employ a little historical &philosophical depth and breadth.

Next your be asserting that heterosexuals caused x, y, &z. The ultimate false dichotomy. The ultimate way to avoid my indictment asserting that you fail to promote the common good of your fellow man.
3.29.2007 1:07pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Yes Gandhi was a fool in many things, he was a pacifist to the point of foolishness, yet at the same time he was right about many things. Just because a man is flawed doesn't mean he can't possess insight."

Honest to pete, if we can only quote from people who have always been right, then there would be virtually no people in history to quote. Certainly none from the Bush Administration.

But I notice that Fitz hasn't argued that allowing gay couples at high school proms has neutered the prom. Here is a terrific example of a traditional American institution that has now changed to accept gay couples in many high schools around the country. How is this different or similar to marriage?

Well, you could argue that the prom is by definition a dance for people of the opposite sex, so a prom that allows gay couples is no longer a prom. but something else. One could argue that a prom couple is by definition hetero, so a gay prom couple is an oxymoron. They could call themselves a gay couple attending a HS dance, but they certainly cannot call themselves a prom couple.

As for the institution itself, it has become neutered, since a dance is for opposite sexed couples. Since gays have joined in this institution, it will mean that proms are destroyed, and worse, attedence at proms will decline at all high schools that allow gay couples. Real prom couples will begin to think that if any old gay couple can attend, then the prom loses its specialness -- girls will fail to wear tiaras, men won't wear ill-fitting tuxes. Corsages will become just a single daisy. Worse, the real men will sit home watching football rather than attend a prom that has gay couples.

And why is it so important for gays to be at the prom? So what if it's only one gay couple -- theey can just go to a regular bar and dance there. At a bar, they can still wear tuxes and dance, which is all a prom is anyways, so they will have exactly the same amount of fun that all the other kids are having at the real prom, so they should be happy with that. It won't necessarily have the garter dance, but we can't let gay couples do ALL the tacky things heteros do.

And why is it so important for gay couples to even attend the prom? Well, we all know why. The radical element, which all gay couples subscribe to, have as their real intentiont to destroy the prom altogether. It's just a relic from the 1950s, of no relevance to today anyway. This is their secret plan, and of course it is working all too well.

Cursed gays!
3.29.2007 1:19pm
r4d20 (mail):
Seriously, it's incredibly simple. The idea that marriage is threatened by SSM is ludicrous to every honestly straight person. No man who is actually attracted to women, and not men, could possibly think that SSM "threatens" marrige.

The entire "it threatens traditional marriage" meme comes from the fact that the anti-ssm crowd is dominated by people who who honestly believe that everyone shares their own same-sex-attraction but is just successfully "fighting it". They have convinced themselves that they are not "Gay" (a negative label they have been trained since birth to abhor), but since they do actually want to have sex with people of the same sex (aka. are Gay) the only logical escape is to assume that everyone feels same-sex attraction and that being "straight" is nothing more than self-control rather than an honest attraction to the opposition sex --- the idea that some guys REALLY DON'T want to suck dick is incomprehensible to them!!
3.29.2007 1:21pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Clearly r4d20 is correct.

I cede the field.
3.29.2007 1:29pm
Colin (mail):
On Lawn,

I'm sorry if I confused you by citing the wrong definition. Are you standing by your assertion that "Adoption does not provide parentage?" You're really not much into families, are you? Homosexuals can't have spouses, orphans can't have parents . . . and you call others bitter!
3.29.2007 1:37pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Colin

You're really not much into families, are you? Homosexuals can't have spouses, orphans can't have parents . . . and you call others bitter!

Your being uncharitable..

Undoubtedly On Lawn says that Homosexuals can BE spouses (i.e –cant/shouldn’t get married under the law) &that orphans should 1.be given every opportunity to be raised by their own parents. &2. If this fails – be provided with the best upbringing known (that with a Mother &a Father)

Otherwise he seems to simply be trying to unpack the persistent use of semantics used by ss “m” advocates to advance their cause rhetorically at the expense of clear terms in debate.
3.29.2007 1:51pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Correction..

Undoubtedly On Lawn says that Homosexuals can't BE spouses-
3.29.2007 1:52pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo,

I did see your previous post, but I had another matter more pressing in that thread at the time. And by the time I got around to replying to it the thread had closed.

I appreciate your answering the question, as so far you are the only one who's tried to justify the discrimination in same-sex marriage against other family arrangements. Early reaction seems to show little interest in fellow neutered marriage advocates, however. But it is the best shot at answering that question I've seen.

I should have taken this to email, but it was enthralling. So I've posted it as its own thread at Opine so anyone that agrees or disagrees with it can discuss it without fear of the pending comment closure here. I'm most interested in the opinions of people who can present a purpose behind their proposed model of marriage, and I'm interested in how others take your purpose.

I have, in full disclosure, posted your mis-use of the term "pair-bonding" previously. But this time I've not taken any attempt at commentary or argument except to introduce your comments with. Because I want to give you full latitude in making your case.

If you want to change anything, for whatever reason (after all you wrote it as a post, not an article) feel free to email me and I'll be happy to make the change -- even it you wish me to change how I set up or framed your comments.

Colin,

I'm not interested in your attempt to bait with misquotes, egregious misinterpretations, and vain accusations. Did I really say that, "orphans can't have parents"? The quote you provided would have answered that had you provided the full sentence, which reads:

Adoption does not provide parentage, though it might provide parental figures and a stable household for their upbringing.


The discussion carries on with Caliban where we are discussing what I meant, and what he meant more fully and accurately.
3.29.2007 2:03pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Can anyone list three specific and observable ways gay marriage harme heterosexual civil marriage? Just list the specific items that constitute the harm.
3.29.2007 2:16pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Randy R wrote:

> "Honest to pete, if we can only quote from people who have always been right, then there would be virtually no people in history to quote. Certainly none from the Bush Administration."

Dale Carpenter, by accounts I find plausible, is a Bush supporter. Bush also supports Dale's plan for gays to have civil unions. I do not say that to support Bush, but rather to take what seems to be an attempt to make a side-ways jab and bring it back to the discussion at hand.

> "But I notice that Fitz hasn't argued that allowing gay couples at high school proms has neutered the prom."

The description "neutered marriage" is a specific and technical one. It describes in a very meaningful way the change that is proposed to our understanding of marriage. Where marriage once reference gender completeness (one man and one woman) it now makes no reference to gender at all.

Fitz, as I understand it, prefers to describe the change as androgynizing marriage. It means that the male-female participation in marriage is considered interchangeable and the same. I like his description too. They can both be considered accurate.

I've looked at the definition of prom, and it seems to already be neuter. I find no reference to gender in the definition of prom, or promenade. Hence, it would not be neutered.

> "Well, you could argue that the prom is by definition a dance for people of the opposite sex"

Citing what reference? The ability to make up definitions for words is constantly the claimed prerogative of people arguing to neuter marriage. We've seen mis-use of terms such as "pair-bonding", "parentage", and marriage itself. But the ability to make up definitions for words is a poor platform to argue from.

In fact, in a previous thread I was told that citing a reference for a definition was a sure sign of -- losing the argument.

I'm not arguing that words cannot change definition. They change all the time. But to arbitrarily argue a definition could be something as support of a grander argument is most certainly a form of fallacy.
3.29.2007 2:19pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@On Lawn:
> I believe your approach shows you are
> unfamiliar with the arguments being
> presented.

The arguments you are presenting are effectively the same argument:

"The rights of the child are of such importance that an adult's rights should be denied in order to satisfy them."

That argument is stupid. I refuse to dignify it with a rebuttal, because if you can't tell it's stupid, YOU'RE stupid - and I'm not going to waste my time trying to explain obvious things to stupid people.

@ r4d20:
> the idea that some guys REALLY DON'T
> want to suck dick is incomprehensible
> to them!!

Is the idea that some guys REALLY DO want to suck dick comprehensible to YOU?

Because if it is... guess what?!

There are certain people who don't have a gay bone in their body, and can't even fathom the concept. There are other people who don't have a straight bone in their body, and can't even fathom the concept. But you can't apply the extreme viewpoints of these fringe elements to the entire group.
3.29.2007 2:30pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Fitz,

In a way you are right both times. His example is a bit ambiguous (maybe deliberately so). It could mean they can not be spouses like BobNSF complains he cannot be a spouse to anyone but someone of the same sex. Or it could mean they cannot be, as a same-sex pair, spouses together.

Homosexuals, in my view, can be spouses to wonderful people of the other sex. I'm not saying any should be, or should be compelled to be, or that it would be as natural as their same-sex attraction came to them. But lets face it, ex-gays exist.

However, I agree, if he is simply saying two people of the same sex do not a marriage make, then that is true. I'd call that more like banding together with the same sex. I could call that "bandage" instead of marriage. In fact, while somewhat tongue in cheek, the term "bandage" might well describe the neutered model of marriage as simply encouraging monogamy and romance stability.

No offense, just saying...

I also want to add that the notion that this is hetero v homosexuals is most likely from the homosexual view of things. To the marriage defender, marriage is a subset of heterosexuality, and homosexuality is just one of many things which are not good to have as a marriage. To the marriage defender, marriage is not meant to bind adulterous spouses, children, immediate family, more than two people together at time, combinations that are less than gender complete, etc... I just wanted to add that to what you wrote about ReVonna.

Elliot123,

I'd be happy to give you three examples. But I'm not sure exactly what you are asking for, and what would be specific enough for you. Its difficult for me to attempt something where the vagueness of the requirements makes me uncertain of success.

Please give me an example of what you might consider meets your requirements, and how it specifically meets your requirements. With that model, I feel confident in being able to present you something -- unless your example involves pure fiction (i.e. nazi riding lizards with lasers). It need not be related to marriage, but it should be an institution of a similar nature to marriage. The closer and more specific you are, the easier it will be to understand and meet your requirements.
3.29.2007 2:38pm
Colin (mail):
Your being uncharitable..

Undoubtedly On Lawn says that Homosexuals [can't] BE spouses (i.e –cant/shouldn’t get married under the law) &that orphans should 1.be given every opportunity to be raised by their own parents. &2. If this fails – be provided with the best upbringing known (that with a Mother &a Father)


Perhaps I'm being uncharitable, but your construction of his comments is unsupported by his actual words. OL does, in fact, advocate prohibiting homosexuals from having spouses (excluding those homosexuals who considerately deny their own natures). For that matter, how can a person have a spouse without being a spouse? Nor did he say (in the quoted excerpt; he did say it later) that orphans are better off raised by their biological parents. He said (in the context of Caliban's point, which was confined to cases in which the biological parents are unavailable), that "[a]doption does not provide parentage," though it provides a substitute. He's wrong, and his his error is symptomatic of his unseemly desire to redefine other people's relationships in order to suit his own biases.

Otherwise he seems to simply be trying to unpack the persistent use of semantics used by ss “m” advocates to advance their cause rhetorically at the expense of clear terms in debate.

The fact that you put quotation marks around the 'm' in that sentence says all that needs to be said regarding your complaint that others "advance their cause rhetorically at the expense of clear terms in debate."
3.29.2007 2:44pm
Colin (mail):
Elliot,

In other words, no, he can't.
3.29.2007 2:46pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Caliban Darklock wrote:

> "The arguments you are presenting are effectively the same argument:

"The rights of the child are of such importance that an adult's rights should be denied in order to satisfy them."


I'm not sure where you got that quote, but it is not bad. A bit overstated, but not too bad.

It is, however, a different track of the argument of whether adoption does or does not violate children's rights. The answer is that adoption is itself neutral, it can respect their rights and it can also be constructed to trample over them.

The primacy of each right, the subject you bring specifically to the spotlight, is evaluated constantly on a case by case basis. Which may or may not conflict with your quote.

Since your reply was simply to call people stupid (over and over again), you might be interested how France recently judged the issue, along side the arguments made in the articles I pointed you to above. I disagree with the French often enough to know that I do not consider them the ultimate reference on any issue, but by no means are they as stupid as your argument would suggest.
3.29.2007 2:48pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Elliot123

"Can anyone list three specific and observable ways gay marriage harm heterosexual civil marriage? Just list the specific items that constitute the harm."

This may be helpfull for you in understanding why your question is rather unfair in certain regards..



"First, while positivism may be discredited among philosophers, it has left a deep mark on how many people think. They are now much more unsure of anything that cannot claim to be “scientifically” demonstrable. They have been well tutored to distrust their own intuitions as possibly naive. They don’t want to be in the position of those who condemned Galileo or who supposedly “laughed at Columbus.” Of course, they know that Galileo and Columbus were proven right, so they accept that objective truth about some matters exists, but they have become very unsure of the possibility of knowing much really and for sure about many matters on which people in the past were fairly confident.

Therefore, morality tends to be conceived of not only in consequentialist terms but also in terms of physically measurable consequences. Before some manner of child-rearing can be confidently asserted to be harmful in its consequences, there must be scientific studies proving that it leads to poor performance in school, or less financial success later in life, or obesity, or something that is quantifiable and measurable. Is adoption by gay couples wrong? Show us the statistical evidence of harm done. What is wrong with teenage promiscuity? Venereal disease and unwanted pregnancies. That is measurable. Those are publicly verifiable facts. Anything else has to do with your “values” and is therefore between you and your God, priest, minister, et al., but of no possible concern to me or to the public at large.

Anything that is not “scientifically” demonstrable is suspected, even by ordinary people, of being mere “old-fashioned” prejudice, custom, taste, cultural preference, and so on. “Well, I’m old-fashioned, but I think . . . ” People do still have some strong moral feelings, and at some level they suspect and want to believe that these are not just feelings, but they also suspect that perhaps in many cases they are.

Positivism is not the only contributor to this lack of conviction coming from the side of “science.” Materialism of the kind preached by such people as Richard Dawkins, E.O. Wilson, Steven Weinberg, and many other prominent scientists has had a great influence among the more scientifically literate and, indirectly, more widely. This brand of materialism implies, and its advocates often openly assert, that morality is just a set of responses bred into us by evolution. We are “hard-wired” to feel certain ways.

Often, I suspect, when people assert that they or others have “rights” they are not making claims about an objective moral order that grounds those rights. What they have in mind is the idea that, in many areas of behavior, it is impossible really to know what is right and wrong (since there is no scientific way to settle the matter), and indeed there may not be an objective right and wrong, and consequently no one is in position to make rules for everyone else on those questions. They say “I have a right” but really mean “It’s none of your business,” “It is my private concern,” “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries.” Rawls? Never heard of him; just mind your own damn business and stop trying to impose your rules on me. That’s what they mean by rights. Of course, implicit in these “arguments” may be the premise that people ought to mind their own business. But that simply shows that it is impossible to be an absolute relativist.

Admittedly, everyone sees murder and embezzlement as wrong, because they do observable and even quantifiable damage. But, where the damage is not measurable, as in supposedly “victimless crimes” or behavior “between consenting adults,” people are very apt nowadays to write off the possibility of really saying anything objectively true about the morality of the deeds in question.

It may well be that in their heart of hearts such people still think there are objective moral norms. But they are not as confident about it, and certainly not confident enough to argue in the public square. In other words, even if not relativist in their hearts, they are intimidated by relativism to keep their mouths shut. And this, as Pope Benedict said, is a kind of dictatorship of relativism. A dictatorship can be enforced by a small number of people on a much larger, but cowed, population. Consistent and convinced relativists may be few, but the moral outlook of the many has been considerably softened up by the assaults of relativism."

Stephen M. Barr is a theoretical particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware and the author of Modern Physics and Ancient Faith and A Student’s Guide to Natural Science.
3.29.2007 2:52pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Colin

"The fact that you put quotation marks around the 'm' in that sentence says all that needs to be said regarding your complaint that others "advance their cause rhetorically at the expense of clear terms in debate."

Exactly the opposite... I am trying to denote that the novelty is on your side (historically this is undisputable) and therefore we should not abandon the word marriage to your side (at the least) in an effort to keep term clear.
3.29.2007 3:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Elliot: Can anyone list three specific and observable ways gay marriage harme heterosexual civil marriage? Just list the specific items that constitute the harm.

On Lawn asks if I can be more specific.

Fitz says my question is rather unfair.

There are people who say gay civil marriage will harm heterosexual civil marriage. If these people cannot tell us what the harm is, then they have no basis to say there is harm.
3.29.2007 3:22pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Elliot wrote:

> "There are people who say gay civil marriage will harm heterosexual civil marriage. If these people cannot tell us what the harm is, then they have no basis to say there is harm."

You seem to be taking a request for clarification from you as a sign of defeat. I couldn't imagine why you would do something like that, it is dishonest.

Before you said, "specific and observable ways ... just the specific ways". Clearly we can, and have described the harm that neutering our understanding of marriage will have in our participation in that institution, and what that institution is meant to benefit society by. To say we haven't is simply erroneous. But you are, in your request, placing restrictions and requirements which must be understood better.

Just what is specific to you? Just what amounts to being observable to you? Clearly you have an example which can demonstrate what you are asking for. I can hardly believe that is too much to ask for.
3.29.2007 3:28pm
BobNSF (mail):

Bush also supports Dale's plan for gays to have civil unions.


Nonsense
3.29.2007 3:42pm
Colin (mail):
I am trying to denote that the novelty is on your side (historically this is undisputable)

It's been disputed many times on this site alone, just over the past few days. The modern concept of "marriage" which you pretend is immutable and ancient is, in fact, a relatively modern development that omits many of the more historically-rooted elements of marriage (such as legal inequality of the spouses and a rape exemption for husbands). Ignoring the historical shifts in the word is not keeping the term "clear." It's an attempt by opponents of equal recognition to, as you put it, "advance their cause rhetorically at the expense of clear terms in debate."
3.29.2007 3:47pm
Colin (mail):
Clearly you have an example which can demonstrate what you are asking for.

Why is it clear that he has an example of what he's asking you to provide? It sounds to me as if he's asking because he doesn't know of any demonstrable harm caused by recognizing same-sex marriages. Nor, it seems, do you. Why does that not give you pause in your attempts to dictate the terms of other people's relationships?
3.29.2007 3:50pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

> "Why is it clear that he has an example of what he's asking you to provide?"

Because he feels that without meeting his requirements there is no basis to the assertion. Since there are no doubt assertions where he finds there is basis and that meet his requirements, he should be able to mine at least one for an example.
3.29.2007 4:00pm
Pyrthroes (mail):
Ravonna LaSchatz (name right?),

Within a mile of my ostensibly quiet suburban enclave, we guarantee that every vice --alas, not every virtue-- known to man is well-exemplified. Tolstoy's dictim in "Anna Karenina" holds, and those unfortunate enough to experience dysfunctional families (perhaps the majority) can only grope upwards to fulfillment.

But we assert most strongly that, for all our frailties ("no-one knows, or shall know, a worse man than myself"), love is a bottomless resource. To love another, become truly paired in marriage, is so desperate an expedient that no well-meaning person could possibly vow fidelity except for love. Children's small souls crave one thing only, a mother's and a father's love.

Deprived of parental attention, cheerful giving, hope, small people receive a deathly wound. Without love, nothing-- and oblivion cannot come soon enough. Such scars never heal. Some may transcend a deprived upbringing, others sink into despair and anomie... but for anyone to purposely inflict even the chance of such a curse on any innocent, needful child borders on Evil? Sin? "Bad Karma"? Is "do unto others" such an outmoded precept after all?
3.29.2007 4:02pm
Grendel (mail):

Children's small souls crave one thing only, a mother's and a father's love.

Is this a a priori truth or do you have some proof for this claim?

Deprived of parental attention, cheerful giving, hope, small people receive a deathly wound. Without love, nothing-- and oblivion cannot come soon enough. Such scars never heal. Some may transcend a deprived upbringing, others sink into despair and anomie... but for anyone to purposely inflict even the chance of such a curse on any innocent, needful child borders on Evil? Sin? "Bad Karma"? Is "do unto others" such an outmoded precept after all?

So it is your claim that a two doesn't have two opposite sex parents is necessarily deprived of all parental attention, cheerful giving, and hope? And again, your proof for this is what, exactly?

For the stake of consistently, I hope you opposed single parent adoption at least as vigorously as you oppose same sex marriage.
3.29.2007 5:21pm
Colin (mail):
On Lawn,

I see. Your earlier comments made it appear as if you wanted him to give you an example in this context - a discrete and provable harm caused by same-sex marriage. You mean, I take it now, that he should give you an example of any discrete and provable harm in an analogous situation? That's clearer, but come on - what he's asked for is simple enough. Tell us whom same-sex marriage hurts, tell us what the mechanism is, and point us to some actual evidence. If you can't do that, then what justification do you have for insisting that other people submit their relationships to your control?
3.29.2007 5:35pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Plaintiff: Judge, I have been harmed.

Judge: OK. How were you harmed?

Plaintiff: Judge, that's an unfair question.

Judge: OK. If you say you were harmed, but can't tell us what the specific harm is, then you have no basis to say you were harmed.

Plaintiff: Judge, can you give me an example of harm?
3.29.2007 5:41pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

> "That's clearer, but come on - what he's asked for is simple enough."

Heh, I note the irony of you saying this in a lawyerly blog.

I have no doubt that any of the examples I've already given over the years would meet what I believe his requirement to be. But this isn't about what I believe he wants, isn't it.

I will await Elliot123's example for the lone sake of understanding his expectations.

Please allow him the courtesy of replying for himself, rather than use it as a springboard to lob more vain accusations with. There is nothing to pile onto until he does. Fair enough?
3.29.2007 5:44pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Well it seems that Elliot did reply, and we cross posted. And his reply is along the lines of Colin, which is simply not satisfactory.

He already established that he wishes no ordinary statement of harm, (which makes sense as those were already provided). He has very strict specifications.

Instead of answering a harmless request to flesh out his specifications better, he and Colin seems to be trying to berate the request as unreasonable for some unsaid reason.

Its most interesting to me the machinations, accusations, false analogies, and outright goading going on instead of providing what should be an easy to assemble example.
3.29.2007 5:55pm
Deep thoughts:
When the nature of a thing is denied, is that denial not itself a harm?

If you request that this question be clarified, you will be answered with beratement for having asked too much.
3.29.2007 6:07pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Colin

I reference to my statement that...
{I am trying to denote that the novelty is on your side (historically this is undisputable) }

Colin (wrote)


“It's been disputed many times on this site alone, just over the past few days. The modern concept of "marriage" which you pretend is immutable and ancient is, in fact, a relatively modern development that omits many of the more historically-rooted elements of marriage (such as legal inequality of the spouses and a rape exemption for husbands). Ignoring the historical shifts in the word is not keeping the term "clear." It's an attempt by opponents of equal recognition to, as you put it, "advance their cause rhetorically at the expense of clear terms in debate."


No – This idea that marriage being between a Man &Woman is somehow not presumable is absurd…

Those who have done so are routinely shot down by every court. They have consistently failed with this line of (ill) reasoning.

I have noticed this absurd line of reasoning in your other threads. You seem quite fond of it. It also goes to the heart of Collins arguments as well.

I shall dismiss with it here using (to begin) the very words of the only State Court to have ruled in your favor. (a 4-3 split decision)


Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003)


"The plaintiffs argue that because nothing in that licensing law specifically prohibits marriages between persons of the same sex, we may interpret the statute to permit ‘‘qualified same sex couples’’ to obtain marriage licenses, thereby avoiding the question whether the law is constitutional. See S 319School Comm. Of Greenfield v. Greenfield Educ. Ass’n, 385 Mass. 70, 79, 431 N.E.2d 180 (1982), and cases cited. This claim lacks merit. We interpret statutes to carry out the Legislature’s intent, determined by the words of a statute interpreted according to ‘‘the ordinary and approved usage of the language.’’ Hanlon v. Rollins, 286 Mass. 444, 447, 190 N.E. 606 (1934). The everyday meaning of ‘‘marriage’’ is ‘‘[t]he legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife,’’ Black’s Law Dictionary 986 (7th ed.1999), and the plaintiffs do not argue that the term ‘‘marriage’’ has ever had a different meaning under Massachusetts law. See, e.g., Milford v. Worcester, 7 Mass. 48, 52 (1810) (marriage ‘‘is an engagement, by which a single man and a single woman, of sufficient discretion, take each other for husband and wife’’). This definition of marriage, as both the department and the Superior Court judge point out, derives from the common law. See Commonwealth v. Knowlton, 2 Mass. 530, 535 (1807) (Massachusetts common law derives from English common law except as otherwise altered by Massachusetts statutes and Constitution). See also Commonwealth v. Lane, 113 Mass. 458, 462–463 (1873) (‘‘when the statutes are silent, questions of the validity of marriages are to be determined by the jus gentium, the common law of nations’’); C.P. Kindregan, Jr., &M.L. Inker, Family Law and Practice § 1.2 (3d ed.2002). Far from being ambiguous, the undefined word ‘‘marriage,’’ as used in G.L. c. 207, confirms the General Court’s intent to hew to the term’s common- law and quotidian meaning concerning the genders of the marriage partners. The intended scope of G.L. c. 207 is also evident in its consanguinity provisions. See Chandler v. County Comm’rs of Nantucket County, 437 Mass. 430, 435, 772 N.E.2d 578 (2002) (statute’s various provisions may offer insight into legislative intent). Sections 1 and 2 of G.L. c. 207 prohibit marriages between a man and certain female relatives and a woman and certain male relatives, but are silent as to the consanguinity of male-male or female to female marriage applicants. See G.L. c. 207, §§ 1–2. The only reasonable explanation is that the Legislature did not intend that same-sex couples be licensed to marry. We conclude, as did the S 320judge, that G.L. c. 207 may not be construed to permit same-sex couples to marry."


(also)

Hernandez v. Robles, 7 N.Y.3d 338 (N.Y. Court of Appeals 2006)

"All the parties to these cases now acknowledge,
implicitly or explicitly, that the Domestic Relations Law limits marriage to opposite-sex couples. Some amici, however, suggest that the statute can be read to permit same-sex marriage, thus mooting the constitutional issues. We find this suggestion untenable. Articles 2 and 3 of the Domestic Relations Law, which govern marriage, nowhere say in so many words that only people of different sexes may marry each other, but that was the universal understanding when Articles 2 and 3 were adopted in 1909, an understanding reflected in several statutes. Domestic Relations Law § 12 provides that "the parties must solemnly declare . . . that they take each other as husband and wife." Domestic Relations Law § 15 (a) requires town and city clerks to obtain specified information from "the groom" and "the bride." Domestic Relations Law § 5 prohibits certain marriages as incestuous, specifying opposite-sex combinations (brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew), but not same-sex combinations. Domestic Relations Law § 50 says that the property of "a married woman . . . shall not be subject to her husband's control." New York's statutory law clearly limits marriage to opposite-sex couples."


(&my personal favorite)
Andersen v. King County, 138 P.3d 963 (Wash. 2006)

(Addressing the larger legal &cultural context)


"Nor is Justice Madsen’s claim that “history and tradition are not static,” coherent, at least outside the context of a George Orwell novel. Our history and tradition are real and ascertainable. This court and the United States Supreme Court have always applied these principles to inform the understanding of the privileges and immunities clause, rather than current political notions. Under our constitutional separation of powers, such issues are for the legislature and/or the people, and here the legislature has clearly spoken. This is not to suggest the constitutional right of marriage may be redefined at will by legislative process; that may be a case for a different day.”


This is the court saying that ssm advocates are trying too "advance their cause rhetorically at the expense of clear terms in debate."
3.29.2007 6:27pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Deep thoughts

When the nature of a thing is denied, is that denial not itself a harm?

If you request that this question be clarified, you will be answered with beratement for having asked too much.


Often yes: like the nature of marriage being between a man &a woman. To deny this unique relationship as unique is to deny its nature.
3.29.2007 6:31pm
Randy R. (mail):
I asked much earlier for a specific example of how gay marriage harms hetero marriages. I even gave some possible examples myself and asked of this is how it goes.

Such as: if a gay couple gets married, are you suggesting that staight couples say to themselves, well, those gays are getting married, that cheapens the whole enterprise, so let's not get married -- let's just cohabitate.

If you could just give me ONE real life example of a real breathing couple who have chosen to NOT get married simply because gays are married, or one married couple who have decided to get a divorce, or a spouse who began to cheat upon another spouse, or abandoned a family, primarily or exclusively because gays can get married, I will be very happy.

But so far, neither OL , nor Fitz have been able to do so. All their arguments are theories constructed almost solely in their heads. Under you can come up with concrete examples, this is all just so much navel gazing.
3.29.2007 6:42pm
Randy R. (mail):
Or better yet: Please tell me how YOUR marriage has weakened now that gays can get married in Massachusetts. Is your wife loving you less? Are you contemplating divorce? Please -- just give me one example how your marriage has weakened because gays can marry.
3.29.2007 6:43pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
<b>Randy R. </b>

You’re being silly, it’s a silly question…(In a forum such as this)

You’re closer to the mark when you say…

<i> “Such as: if a gay couple gets married, are you suggesting that staight couples say to themselves, well, those gays are getting married, that cheapens the whole enterprise, so let's not get married -- let's just cohabitate” </i>

The “case” you want us to make is precisely the case Kurtz and Blankenhorn &Gallagher have been making.

We can hardly be expected to reduce such complex sociological arguments to a short Blog post?

I expect you all know this and this is why you asked. Well one of your answers is precisely the Topic of the post we are commenting on!

And then you go even further down the rabbit hole with a suggestion that we produce some actual couple.

You’re an intellectual child in this regard.
3.29.2007 6:53pm
Randy R. (mail):
"The ability to make up definitions for words is constantly the claimed prerogative of people arguing to neuter marriage. We've seen mis-use of terms such as "pair-bonding", "parentage", and marriage itself. But the ability to make up definitions for words is a poor platform to argue from. "

Apparently, you don't recognize irony when it's plain in front of you. My whoel argument about proms was to show the fallacity of those who oppose SSM. I took all your arguments, about definitions, neutering, equivolancy and applied them to proms, a big ole tradition in America. I was hoping that you would see how ridiculous it is -- that ultimately, the inclusion of gay couples into proms had no negative effect on proms.

And -- you argued against me, which means you are arguing in favor of gay couples at proms. Which exactly my position regarding SSM. Get it?

As for Fitz's definition of neutering marriage, it's one he made up. I haven't seen it argued anywhere else, and it's just a bunch of baloney -- basically he came to the conclusion that SSM is bad, and constructed a theory to support it. Which is what most people do who are against SSM. According to his theory, then, marriage in Massachusetts, Canada, the Scan countries and so on, is now neutered. And yet hetero people still go on getting married at the same rates they did before. So go ahead, say that marriage is neutered, that it turned yellow, that steak tastes like chalk, whatever you like. But marriage is still marriage in those places.
3.29.2007 6:54pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
> I'm not sure where you got that quote

It's a paraphrase of the two links you provided.

> Since your reply was simply to call
> people stupid (over and over again),

Actually, I called the IDEA stupid, along with the people who can't tell it's stupid. And since you think the idea is "not bad", perhaps you've just found a new shoe.

> you might be interested how France
> recently judged the issue,

Well, no, I'm really not. I'm interested in what is right, not what a court decided, and I find it a sad commentary on our modern society that the two are not one and the same.
3.29.2007 7:09pm
Chimaxx (mail):
BobNSF:

Bush also supports Dale's plan for gays to have civil unions.


Nonsense


He has publicly articulated his support for civil unions, if a state chooses to offer them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL5qSiW3LUQ

Have you heard him reverse this position?
3.29.2007 7:27pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ Randy R:

The harm that is done to marriage is done to the idea of marriage, not to marriages themselves. There is value in "marriage" necessarily meaning "one man and one woman". It may not be a value that accrues to YOU, but it is a value.

What makes matter worse is that when "marriage" is expanded to include "one man and one man", this does not create a concomitant value. It is not a value that transfers. It is simply destroyed.

A large part of what is going on here is that both sides see value for themselves in the way they want "marriage" to be interpreted, but both sides also deny that any value is lost to the other. There are ways other than SSM to give that value to the gay community without taking it away from the existing married community, but the married community is too obsessed with keeping what they have, and they're not giving enough thought to what exactly it is that the gay community wants.

Mostly because they think whatever the gay community wants, it's probably icky.
3.29.2007 7:52pm
Colin (mail):
Heh, I note the irony of you saying this in a lawyerly blog.

All Elliot asked for were "specific and observable ways gay marriage harm[] heterosexual civil marriage." As he says above, any attorney should be able to figure that out. If a court asked you to demonstrate harm to your client, and you hemmed and hawed as you do here, all parties would immediately see through you - just as we do here.
3.29.2007 8:02pm
Colin (mail):
It may not be a value that accrues to YOU, but it is a value.

That's an interesting way to put it. I like the characterization, and I think it's accurate.

What makes matter worse is that when "marriage" is expanded to include "one man and one man", this does not create a concomitant value. It is not a value that transfers. It is simply destroyed.

This is where I disagree. I think the expansion does create a new value, albeit not, as you say, one that accrues to the Opiners of the world. Surely we can all agree that equality of marital recognition is a value to those who would enter into same-sex marriages, even if some despise the concept and the couples.

We therefore have two groups - one, the Opiners, who are unhappy because they can no longer wake up in a world in which gays know their place, but who can show no concrete harm to themselves. The other group, the Randy Rs of the world, benefit concretely and by having their values approved by the state. If we forbid same-sex marriages, the value costs are reversed - the Opiners are pleased that the gays are put back in their place, and homosexuals are displeased to be relegated to a second-tier of interpersonal rights.

But there isn't a concomitant transfer of concrete benefits. In neither scenario are the Opiners actually physically or economically impacted by the marriage rules; as is transparently obvious, they can't point to actual effects of same-sex marriages on their own relationships. The Randy Rs of the world, however, incur more than mere value costs and gain more than mere good feelings as we move between scenarios. The stakes are immeasurably higher for them. Shouldn't we recognize that in a purely cost-benefit analysis?
3.29.2007 8:12pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
> I think the expansion does create a new value

But it's not the same value, and there's no productive way to compare the relative merits of the value it creates to the value it destroys. It is simply inconclusive. Is it more important that a man can say "I'm married" and thus imply that he is a heterosexual, or that a man can call his gay lover a "husband" instead of using some uncomfortable euphemism? The two values don't compare. They're entirely different. Indeed, it can be argued that in the latter case, "husband" is STILL an uncomfortable euphemism.

> We therefore have two groups

Yes. We have group A, which has enjoyed a privileged status for thousands of years. And then we have group B, which wants to have that privileged status too.

But that's the fallacy of the undistributed middle. Other people also deserve that status. If you're trying to get that status because it is right and fair, then bring in the other people who deserve it, too. If you're NOT trying to get that status because it is right and fair, then you do not deserve it and cannot have it.

That's my take on the matter. There are a lot more nontraditional family formations than just same-sex couples, and they all suffer the same kind of prejudice and unfairness that same-sex couples do. If you don't care about them, you're not in this for what's fair and right. You're just in it for your own personal gain, and I don't consider that a good enough reason to alter the fabric of our society.
3.29.2007 9:07pm
F. Rottles:
"to his theory, then, marriage in Massachusetts, Canada, the Scan countries and so on, is now neutered. And yet hetero people still go on getting married at the same rates they did before."

1. What the law recognizes in those places is gender-neutral. And since that new thing merged with marriage, it did indeed neuter marriage recognition.

2. The conjugal relationship is now demoted. Its core is not preferred. Its nature is denied. The status that marriage shares with nonmarriage has been limited to what will fit the one-sexed arrangement.

3. The marriage rates of both-sexed couples in Canada has continued to decline. The nonmarital trends in Holland continue to rise. You'll have to backup your claim about Massachusetts and both-sex couples.

But in any case, where the marital trends are declining, and where SSM has been merged with marriage recognition, no improvement has been made in those trends.
3.29.2007 9:45pm
F. Rottles:
There are ways other than SSM to give that value to the gay community without taking it away from the existing married community

Designated beneficiaries. If what is sought is enforcement of contractual obligations, then, it should be straight forward for the SSM campaign to press for changes to make designated beneficiaries both more accessible and more portable. But they would also need to concede that other nonmarital combinations should be included while marriagable combinations should be excluded. The solution is not to wrap SSM around marriage the way that Vermont did or New Jersey did. That's just another way to effect a merger.
3.29.2007 9:51pm
Aleks:
Re:
1. It androgynies the institution.

Actually it does the exact opposite: it creates gendered marriages. Opposite-sex marriages are gender-neutral since they contain both a male and female, in much the way that a hydrogen atom is electrically neutral (containing both a positive and a negative charge). Now you may want to argue that gendered marriages are a problem, but don't state something that is 100% opposite the truth.

#2. It separates it from any necessary connection to procreation.

Marriage has never had any "necessary" link to procreation. From day one there have been both childless marriages and children born outside marriage. SSM might add very slightly to the total number of childless marriages while having no numerical input to the number of children born outside marriage. But if the number of childless marriages increases from, say, 4% to %5 why is that a problem? And if it is should we not be looking at laws to limit marriage to those who are fertile? And meanwhile, SSM does buttress one very traditional moral tenet: that sexual relations belong within marriage. Strengthen that concept and I think we would end up with fewer single-parent families.

Re: Your standard explicitly states that a child’s natural Father (or Mother) is non-essential to marriage. That

At least in traditional ethics, marriage is supposed to precede childbirth, so in traditional situations no one is a mother or father before marriage (except for those widowed from a previous marriage), so your point here is unintelligible.

Re: 40 years of a sexual revolution has given us 50% divorce rates, 70% illegitimacy rates and falling rates of marriage overall, cohabitation and un-chosen childlessness.

what in the world is "unchosen childlessness"? Are you claiming that the number of biologically infertile people has increased as a result of the sexual revolution (and despite advances in the infertility treatment field)? Or that more people who wish to find mates cannot do so and hence remain childless despite technological advances and the option of adoption?
As for divorce, it predates the sexual revolution and today's divorce rates, IMO, are mostly artifacts of our economic and technological circumstances, and would obtain even if we lived as prudishly as the old Puritans. Finally, (long-term) cohabitation is really marriage de facto and ought be recognized as such, much as our ancestors recognized the "common law marriage" in their day.

Re: Or, what accounts for the decline in marriage and increase in cohabitation in Scandinavian countries that have adopted same-sex “marriage”?

There has been no such trend in Scandinavia after SSM was instituted there. The changes occured well before, and have slowed or even (slightly) reversed since. We have heard of the post hoc, propter hoc fallacy, but you seem to be inventing brand new one: prae hoc, propter hoc (Before this, therefore because of this). Alice in Wonderland might understand that way of thinking but the rest of us find it a mite bizarre.

Re: a Childs own Mother &Father are not inherently necessary to that Childs future and proper upbringing

Guess what, they aren't. Millions of adopted children and their parents can testify to that fact, as can those of us who had a (non-wicked) step-parent, and you speak a huge calumny to such people suggesting otherwise.
3.29.2007 9:57pm
Brian K (mail):
Caliban, et al

"The harm that is done to marriage is done to the idea of marriage, not to marriages themselves. There is value in "marriage" necessarily meaning "one man and one woman". It may not be a value that accrues to YOU, but it is a value."

I asked earlier what this value was, and no one answered. So I'll ask again, what is the value to society of marriage being only between one man and one women that is not similarly accrued between SSM? Surely you must be able articulate at least one such value.

I gave specific examples in my earlier post (use ctrl-F to find it) so you can't use that ridiculous dodge.
3.29.2007 10:00pm
Aleks:
Re: The harm that is done to marriage is done to the idea of marriage, not to marriages themselv

Ideas cannot be harmed. Good grief, what a bizarre notion! Only real world things can suffer hurt and damage. An idea doesn't even exist except as figment of the imagination.
3.29.2007 10:01pm
F. Rottles:
Colin it is not all about you, or Randy, or even the rest of us who disagree with you.

It is about marriage, the social institution.

It is not about homosexuality versus heterosexuality.

I will ask again: please provide your single best example of a place where SSM has been enacted as marriage. Then please identify the requirements that define the purpose of the status.

When you last replied to this request you circled back to a rights-based claim and evaded the question itself.

That leaves me to wonder if you believe that the status purposeless?

Is there another SSM advocate here who agrees that the status lacks a societal purpose?

I am not denying that some purpose may be found for it. The follow up question is, would that purpose fit the existing requirements?

I see too much SSM argumentation that bites its own tail. To paraphrase: "The requirements define the status; and the status is accessible only through absolute enforcement of the requirements; however, the man-woman requirement means nothing of importance to marriage recognition itself."
3.29.2007 10:06pm
Brian K (mail):
Caliban,

"But that's the fallacy of the undistributed middle. Other people also deserve that status"
- which groups are these? consanguineous matings? there are legitimate reasons why we make this illegal. it has to do with prevalence of congenital problems and recessive diseases. polygamy? there are legitimate reasons why polygamous marriages shouldn't be recognized independent of SSM. single parent households? this is the only group i can think of that deserves to be recognized and they are already more legitimate that SSM. Although there is something to be said for having two parents...if only that it allows more time to be with your kids.

"But it's not the same value, and there's no productive way to compare the relative merits of the value it creates to the value it destroys"
- what value is destroyed? I hardly think the value of knowing gays are still second class citizens is one that should be praised. (from colin's post)
3.29.2007 10:09pm
F. Rottles:
BrianK, you might read Blankenhorn's book for a full treatment of the question you asked. His book deals with the nature of marriage and he asks whether society will continute to show it preference.

"I asked earlier what this value was, and no one answered. So I'll ask again, what is the value to society of marriage being only between one man and one women that is not similarly accrued between SSM?

It has been answered (here or in the other thread) but you may have missed it.

Marriage recognition shows preference for 1) integration of the sexes and 2) contingency for responsible procreation. These two aspects are combined and are inseperable.

Before you get the wrong idea, integration is more than a roll in the sheets. A good analogy is racial integration.

The nature of humankind is such that human community is both-sexed. We are highly social animals; the human baby is probably the most dependant creature in our world.

And responsible procreation is not just procreation solo. It is not just conceiving any which way.

Men and women make babies and it is a nearly universal principle in civilized societies that each of us, as part of the procreative duo, is directly responsible for the children we create. Resonsible procreation begins with the commitment to this principle.

What flows from this combination of these essential aspects of marriage, i.e. the nature of marriage, is the noncoercive encouragement of an ideal that has served humankind for as long as, and probably longer than, recorded history.

Barring dire circumstances, a man and a woman together are responsible for their children; and this includes the education and raising of their children to also take responsiblity in adulthood.

The nature of marriage is extrinsic to the one-sexed combination. That is not to say that such a combination is without merit -- whether sexualized or not. But it ought to stand on its own merits -- and demerits -- rather than depend on reflected glory, if you will, of the conjugal relationship.

Now, I'll anticipate that you will pooh-pah this as a debunked myth about procreation being the core of marriage. But note: I said responsible procreation, not procreation alone. And I also said this is combined, inseperably, with the integration of the sexes.

The one-sexed arrangement is sex-segregative. That's the nature of it.

And any sort of procreation that would take place with such an arrangement would require third party procreation and the relinquishment of parental status by the third party. That does not define marriage.

Neither does adoption define marriage. The presence of children does not bestow marital status on the both-sexed combo and it does not do so for the one-sexed combo. Adoption is about the child-parent relationship and not the adult-adult relationship. SSM would not create the child-parent relationship without the prequisite parental relinquishment (or loss). On the other hand, it is not unjust to prioritize adoptors on the basis of marital status.

So -- what is the value to society of moving marriage recognition away from its core to the periphary where extramarital procreation and adoption provide the means to attain children?

Could we not serve that value without the relocation of what is recognized? I think so, but the main concern is that society protect, not harm, the social institution any more than it already has. That means that the state authority, i.e. We The People, reaffirm the core of marriage. The government cannot create marriage, and cannot define marriage or redefine it. It can only reaffirm the nature of marriage and then either protect it or show preference for it.

I read SSM arguments that demote marriage to a merely protective status along with other arrangements. And I read SSM-friendly arguments that in effect declare that the government should abandon marriage altogether. But I have not yet read an argument that says SSM adds so much value to society that its core, rather than the core of marriage, must be preferred.

I do see it asserted rather than argued. Maybe here it will be argued very well, I dunno. It seems that the issue is so obviously settled for SSM advocates and yet so little consideration has been expressed in this regard. Maybe SSM is just a hammer looking for a nail.
3.29.2007 10:38pm
F. Rottles:
BrianK, based on the requirements that define the status, what are the reasons to bar closely related combinations? Or more than one marriage at-a-time?

You would abolish the man-woman requirement so you cannot now depend on the man-woman basis for these prohibitions.

I think you abandon the requirement because you think it is a poor proxy for what you think is the core of the status. But what is that core, BrianK, and on what basis would you deny access to the benefits of the status to people who fit the core but run afoul of the tradtional and customary taboos?
3.29.2007 10:46pm
F. Rottles:
Also, isn't the age limit a poor proxy for the maturity to provide informed consent to marry? Some people well over the age limit are less mature than some well below it. And since you would abolish the man-woman requirement, as a lousy proxy for fertility, for example, and would even treat the conjugal relationship as asexual, by its nature, I don't see how you can still hold to the age limits -- or to the concern you raised about closely related man-woman couples.

I am not in favor of incestuous marriages and I would rather the age limit was raised for marriage. But if we are to live by your concept of marriage, then, let's see the full depth of your thinking on these prohibitions.
3.29.2007 10:52pm
Brian K (mail):
F. Rottles,

"Marriage recognition shows preference for 1) integration of the sexes and 2) contingency for responsible procreation. These two aspects are combined and are inseperable."
- 1) Sexes will integrate with or without marriage. It is part of (most of our) human nature in the western world. Removing preference will not affect this. To deny someone a right or a freedom, you must show that it will either harm society or lessen a positive impact. Allowing SSM will do neither with regards to integration. 2) this also doesn't pass the previously mentioned test. allowing SSM will not reduce the ability for heterosexual couples to marry and have kids. Actually this argument works against you. homosexual couples already have the right to have kids either through adoption or IVF. by denying them the right to marry you are having a negative effect on "responsible procreation."


"Before you get the wrong idea, integration is more than a roll in the sheets. A good analogy is racial integration."
- that's not really a good example. remember the civil rights movement? when we had to force racial integration. we have never had to force sexual integration and i very highly doubt we ever will. even now their are problems of "white flight" and voluntary segregation. when was the last time you saw men running away from women in droves? (Gay men don't count because they wouldn't be with women in the first place...there is no net change in integration as a result of SSM).

"The nature of humankind is such that human community is both-sexed. We are highly social animals; the human baby is probably the most dependant creature in our world."
- all true, but it really depends on how you define community.

"And responsible procreation is not just procreation solo. It is not just conceiving any which way.

Men and women make babies and it is a nearly universal principle in civilized societies that each of us, as part of the procreative duo, is directly responsible for the children we create. Resonsible procreation begins with the commitment to this principle."
- this is wrong. this is only true in the judeo-christian western culture. in that culture the parents have the sole responsibility of raising kids. In many eastern and latino cultures, the childrearing responsibility rest on the entire extended family. in many african cultures, esp the non-westernized ones, child rearing is a communal effort. ALL of the women in the village care for ALL of the children. Do you have any evidence to show that these alternate ways of raising children is worse?

"Barring dire circumstances, a man and a woman together are responsible for their children; and this includes the education and raising of their children to also take responsiblity in adulthood."
- see above. this is not the only way, nor is it necessarily the best way. you also have to deal the realities of your position. you are advocating against SSM because it deprives children of a male and female biological parent. Why are you not also advocating for laws preventing a husband from working outside of the same regional vicinity as his children? Why are you not advocating for laws preventing grandparents from raising their grandkids?

"The nature of marriage is extrinsic to the one-sexed combination. That is not to say that such a combination is without merit -- whether sexualized or not. But it ought to stand on its own merits -- and demerits -- rather than depend on reflected glory, if you will, of the conjugal relationship."
- I don't know what you're saying here. Are you demanding that marriage should be defined according to merits? If that's the case many studies have shown that homosexuals are just as capable of raising normal children as heterosexuals.

"Now, I'll anticipate that you will pooh-pah this as a debunked myth about procreation being the core of marriage. But note: I said responsible procreation, not procreation alone. And I also said this is combined, inseperably, with the integration of the sexes."
- of course i'll poo-poo it. your argument reminds of an old joke. Two Irishmen are walking down a path. The first one says "no irishman will put salt on his haggis." The second one says "but my grandpa puts salt on his haggis." The first replies "no true irishman puts salt on his haggis"

"And any sort of procreation that would take place with such an arrangement would require third party procreation and the relinquishment of parental status by the third party. That does not define marriage."
- no. that defines the difference between biological and legal parents. it does not define marriage. also, since you are arguing from a historical view of marriage, historically this was considered perfectly fine. if a man's wife couldn't bear him a son the man was perfectly justified to find another women to bear one for him. the son was then considered to be the man and wife's son and a part of their family, not the surrogate's son. your historical argument fails here.

"So -- what is the value to society of moving marriage recognition away from its core to the periphary where extramarital procreation and adoption provide the means to attain children?"
- it has the value of providing the benefits and stability to marriage to families that ALREADY have kids. this argument would only work if legally only married couples can have kids and no one had extramarital children. Both of these are false. you have argued that marraige is so essential for the wellbeing of the child (responsible procreation) and you refuse to allow couples with children to marry. This viewpoint only makes sense if it is not your main reason for denying SSM.

"Could we not serve that value without the relocation of what is recognized? I think so, but the main concern is that society protect, not harm, the social institution any more than it already has. That means that the state authority, i.e. We The People, reaffirm the core of marriage. The government cannot create marriage, and cannot define marriage or redefine it. It can only reaffirm the nature of marriage and then either protect it or show preference for it."
- you have it backwards. society doesn't exist to protect the social institution, the social institution exists to protect society. society has changed, you may not like it but it has. it is now time for the social institution to change to protect society once again. (this is also a very reasonable explanation for the drop in marriage rates. people no longer see marriage as beneficial because it has failed to adapt to our existing society.)

Quite frankly, allowing SSM will not harm society at all. It won't even harm marriage, but it will expand it. It will allow marriage to do what you propose to even more people. You still haven't answered my question how SSM will harm society. All you've done is make a pretty weak argument how SSM will harm your definition of marriage.
3.29.2007 11:39pm
Brian K (mail):
F.Rottle

"BrianK, based on the requirements that define the status, what are the reasons to bar closely related combinations? Or more than one marriage at-a-time?"
- pick up any medical genetics book and you will convincingly why consanguineous marriages are not legal.

"Also, isn't the age limit a poor proxy for the maturity to provide informed consent to marry? Some people well over the age limit are less mature than some well below it. And since you would abolish the man-woman requirement, as a lousy proxy for fertility, for example, and would even treat the conjugal relationship as asexual, by its nature, I don't see how you can still hold to the age limits -- or to the concern you raised about closely related man-woman couples.

I am not in favor of incestuous marriages and I would rather the age limit was raised for marriage. But if we are to live by your concept of marriage, then, let's see the full depth of your thinking on these prohibitions."
- explain to me how allowing same sex marriage would lead to this result. especially by your own definition of marriage there is no reason to have such an age limit. your definition has absolutely nothing to do with age and makes no mention of it. how can you be for raising the age limit of marriage?

your slippery slope arguments are ridiculous conjecture and nothing more. once you clearly articulate how SSM will lead to consanguinity and marriage of 5 years, then I will explain to you why we shouldn't allow it. the arguments against both do not rely on the belief that marriage should be between only a man and a woman. that is obvious because a man can have a female sister and there exist both male and female 5 year olds.
3.29.2007 11:47pm
F. Rottles:
"- 1) Sexes will integrate with or without marriage. [...] Removing preference will not affect this.

I take it that you concede that the preference will be discarded with your proposed change.

To deny someone a right or a freedom, you must show that it will either harm society or lessen a positive impact. Allowing SSM will do neither with regards to integration.

The liberty to form a one-sexed arrangement is not outlawed. Marriage is both-sexed. No right is denied just because there is a preference for sex integration. In fact, since that is central to the purpose of marital status, the rights-based claim you might make is very misplaced.

The selective segregation of the sexes, as per the homosexual relationship, happens anyway without the status.

It looks like you reject preferential status for both marriage and the homosexual relationship type -- or as you might put it, these relationships will happen anyway.
3.30.2007 12:06am
F. Rottles:
2) allowing SSM will not reduce the ability for heterosexual couples to marry and have kids.

There is no fundamental right to SSM. So this test is inapplicable. But let's continue ...

SSM is allowed. It is not outlawed.

Merging SSM with marriage abolishes the status that recognizes the nature of marriage.

I don't know why you think that I would think that this merger would reduce the ability of both-sexed couples to create children.

And I don't see how you can imagine that one-sexed arrangments can create children. Not one lone person can. Not two, not three, not a mile-long que of persons of the same sex can.

You refer to extramarital procreation. And to adoption. But neither are examples of responsible procreation. In fact, both depend on parental relinquishment or loss. That does not the core of marriage even when married couples partake of it.
3.30.2007 12:14am
Elliot123 (mail):
F. Rottles: Is there another SSM advocate here who agrees that the status lacks a societal purpose?

Observation shows that the purpose of civil marriage in the US is determined by the couple. Civil marriage requires nothing but $25, birth certificates, age eligibility, a county clerk, and two witnesses. There is no civil affirmation of purpose by the state, and there is no civil affirmation of purpose by the couple. The couple chooses the purpose, or the couple may have no purpose. The couple's purpose may be as noble as many here suggest, or it may be to further a criminal endeavor.
3.30.2007 12:19am
F. Rottles:
The point about the analogy with racial integration is not that it sex integration is the literal equivalent.

The idea is NOT that men and women will be repelled from each other. The normative power of the social institution draws them together for the purpose of integration combined with responsible procreation.

I see that you recognize that the combination can be dismantled with ease -- outside of marraige. Hence the need for a social institution that non-coercively bonds men and women and their children. The role of the state authority is not to dismantle but to protect the social institution. That at least allows the rest of society -- the nongovernmental parts -- to bolster marriage and to strengthen its normative powers.

The merger of SSM with marriage is an unjust intrusion on the social institution that does these two things in combination.
3.30.2007 12:31am
F. Rottles:
it really depends on how you define community

The nature of humankind is two-sexed. The nature of human community is both-sexed. The nature of the human family, the foundational human community, is both-sexed.

In many eastern and latino cultures, the childrearing responsibility rest on the entire extended family. in many african cultures, esp the non-westernized ones, child rearing is a communal effort.

Extended families are both-sexed. Communal efforts are both-sexed. Maybe you can find some odd examples that contradict what I described as a nearly universal principle of civilization, but since this principle applies to most civilizations, and particularly to our society, I don't know think the balance tips in your favor on this one.
3.30.2007 12:40am
F. Rottles:
BrianK, by the way, thanks for your extended comments. I am trying to do them justice by going through them with care. I hope we are covering some new ground along with the well-trod ground in this SSM debate. Cheers.
3.30.2007 12:43am
Randy R. (mail):
Rottles: I will ask again: please provide your single best example of a place where SSM has been enacted as marriage. Then please identify the requirements that define the purpose of the status.


The best place, in fact the only place in America, is the state of Massachusetts. That answer the first part of your questions.
The requirements that define the purpose of the status? I'm not sure what you meant. But the reason it was enacted was because gay couples sued under the theory of equal protection, and the Mass. Supreme Court agreed. The only requirements now in Mass are the same as they have always been: Whatever age requirements there are, a fee, and the consent of two people. The difference is simply that the two people can get two men or two women, or a man and a woman.

Does that answer your question?
3.30.2007 12:43am
Brian K (mail):
F. Rottles,

your critique of my "rights" based argument is moot because i said "denying people rights OR FREEDOMS". you are denying some people the freedom to marry and there is a high justification for doing so that you aren't meeting. It is analogous to driving. we have the freedom to drive but we don't have a right to drive. however we cannot in our society arbitrary deprive people of the freedom to drive. we must show that they pose a substantial danger to society first.
3.30.2007 12:47am
Randy R. (mail):
Rottles: That leaves me to wonder if you believe that the status purposeless? Is there another SSM advocate here who agrees that the status lacks a societal purpose? "

I've read this several times, and I really don't understand what you are asking. Perhaps that's why the answers have not satisfied you.

I'll take a stab, though. I assume you think that marriage is an 'status' that higher than that of civil unions, or mere co-habitation. I agree. The status is higher, and they also get more benefits. Gay people would like that higher status, and the better benefits.

But how, by letter gay people partake of this higher status, harm in any way other married people? Or lessen the status? And has that happened in Massachusetts or Canada?
3.30.2007 12:48am
Brian K (mail):
F Rottles, i'll respond to the rest later, but my dinner has finished cooking so i must go eat.
3.30.2007 12:50am
Randy R. (mail):
Rottlles: There is no fundamental right to SSM."

The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled otherwise. Other courts have agreed with you. The correct answer to this statement depends on which state you live in.

"SSM is allowed. It is not outlawed." Again, the truthfullness of this statement depends on which state you live.

"Merging SSM with marriage abolishes the status that recognizes the nature of marriage." HOW SO? You continue to refuse to answer this question.

" I don't see how you can imagine that one-sexed arrangments can create children." So what? What is your point? The fact is that many thousands of gay couples IN FACT have and are raising children. How they got those children, who cares? The fact is that they exist.

"You refer to extramarital procreation. And to adoption. But neither are examples of responsible procreation. In fact, both depend on parental relinquishment or loss. That does not the core of marriage even when married couples partake of it."

Look, the more you argue that adopted kids are not really part of a family, the more you undermine your own credibility. My sister adopted a girl, and I have many opposite sexed friends and relatives who have adopted kids. The kids came from Russia, China, Kazachstan, and Africa, and were in orphanages before they were adopted. All of them told me that there were many, many other children ready to be adopted, but there simply are not enough people adopting them. For God's sake, you should be encouraging people to adopt these children! Instead, in your blind effort to demonize gay marriage, it forces you to say that families with adopted children are not *real* families, or they are undermining marriage, or whatever. It's time to give it up!
3.30.2007 12:55am
F. Rottles:
you are advocating against SSM because it deprives children of a male and female biological parent.

I think you have mischaracterized what I have said here about the nature of the social institution of marriage.

By the way, the same-sex union of two men typically does not deprive children of their mother. Likewise, the same sex union of two women typically does not deprive children of their father.

However, by far most of the children in same-sex households have moved from the previously procreative relationships of their mother and father. The kids have both mothers and fathers. One or the other is nonresident.

But you are right to imply that the way the pro-SSM argument goes these nonresident parents are treated as irrelevant or invisible. Often the people who would agree with my view of SSM would also make that mistake.

The one-sex arrangement that uses third party procreation typically deprives the children of either a mother or a father. This is not done for the best interests of the child; afterall, the child was not conceived until the choice was made. That is unethical.

I know, in the USA we hardly regulate this business and since no laws prohibit it is argued that the practice is therefore perfectly good and sound. But the practice clearly deprives a child of either a mother or a father, in the case of the one-sexed arrangement, and that's no more ethical than a married couple's use of third party procreation. No matter, this practice does NOT define the core of marriage nor of family nor is it in accord with responsible procreation.
3.30.2007 12:57am
F. Rottles:
RichK: Are you demanding that marriage should be defined according to merits? If that's the case many studies have shown that homosexuals are just as capable of raising normal children as heterosexuals.

As a simple matter of lawmaking, make the same-sex option stand on its own two feet.

The nature of it is sex-segregative. What are the merits in that? Any downside?

To attain children, the arrangement would require parental relinquishment or loss. That's not the meaning of responsible procreation. So this alternative should stand on its own two feet.

About 85% of the adult homosexual population does not reside in same-sex households. About 97% do does not reside in such households with children resident. This is the inverse of marriage where almost all men and women marry and almost all marriages have children.

Now, we could say that the law should allow for a new special status for the one-sexed arrangement that includes adopted children. Good. But adoption does not bestow marital status on the adoptors.
3.30.2007 1:05am
Randy R. (mail):
Rottles: The nature of humankind is two-sexed. The nature of human community is both-sexed. The nature of the human family, the foundational human community, is both-sexed. "

Nope. On this you are completely wrong. The nature of humankind is that there are men, women, and a certain percentage that is intersexed. Of these men and women, a certain percentage are bi-sexual, and another percentage is homosexual. We can argue about what those percentages are, but they are fairly significant. If they weren't, you wouldn't be so worried about gays destroying marriage. \

"Hence the need for a social institution that non-coercively bonds men and women and their children."

Marriage does not bond men with their children. There are many unmarried men and women who nonetheless bond with their children. Even after divorce, men and women will still bond with their children. And there are plenty of examples of parents who do NOT bond with their children. The instuttions of marriage has little or nothing to do with the bonding. It is far more dependant upon the person.

" The role of the state authority is not to dismantle but to protect the social institution. That at least allows the rest of society -- the nongovernmental parts -- to bolster marriage and to strengthen its normative powers."

AGreed. And how, by including gay people in marriage, does that 'dismantle' marriage? If the benefits remain the same, then it isn't dismantled. For your thesis to be correct, you would have to say that the state dismantled marriage in Massachusetts and Canada. Is that what happened? Last I see, people are still getting married, and remain married, in those jurisdictions, correct?

"The merger of SSM with marriage is an unjust intrusion on the social institution that does these two things in combination."

Again, how so? How does allowing gay people intrude on the bonding of hetero parents with thier children, even if marriage actually does that? Over and over again, you make these pronouncements. Overn and over again, I ask you, give me real examples that prove your any of your statements. You never answer them.

Please: give me one example of a hetero couple in Mass or Canada that was bonding well with their children, but after SSM was allowed, that stopped.
3.30.2007 1:07am
Randy R. (mail):
Rottles: However, by far most of the children in same-sex households have moved from the previously procreative relationships of their mother and father. The kids have both mothers and fathers. One or the other is nonresident. "

Do you have ANY stats for this? Or are you just making an assumption? Most gay couples I know have adopted orphaned children from China or other foreign countries. Others have adopted kids in foster care. There are kids who have NO parents, and THEN are adopted by gay couples.

The way you put it, it sounds like kids were in wonderful families with both parents, but then the gays came in and took themn away from this perfect family and started raising them for the sole reason to deprive them of their natural parents. It simply isn't true.
3.30.2007 1:13am
BobNSF (mail):
Purpose of marriage?

...to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

Nothing about procreation. Hm... Oversight, no doubt.
3.30.2007 1:17am
F. Rottles:
RichK: since you are arguing from a historical view of marriage, historically this was considered perfectly fine. if a man's wife couldn't bear him a son the man was perfectly justified to find another women to bear one for him. the son was then considered to be the man and wife's son and a part of their family, not the surrogate's son. your historical argument fails here.

From a historical point of view that would be extramarital procreation.

Each and every one-sexed arrangement that uses third party procreation would have to go outside of that arrangement. Each and every one. You might find in that a definitive requirement. That is to say, this defines procreation in the one-sexed arrangement.

It does not define marriage.

The presumption of paternity doesn't overturn what I said about responsible procreation combined with integration of the sexes. And when a wife adopts the child of her husband, that also does not contradict what I have said.

As far as I can tell, the nature of human generativity remains both-sexed. This you might call a historical argument, but I wouldn't.
3.30.2007 1:17am
Randy R. (mail):
Caliban: What makes matter worse is that when "marriage" is expanded to include "one man and one man", this does not create a concomitant value. It is not a value that transfers. It is simply destroyed.'

What is that value? And how exactly is it destroyed? For your statement to be true, then this undefined value has been destroyed in Mass and Canada. Please show me where that has exactly happened in those places.

"There are ways other than SSM to give that value to the gay community without taking it away from the existing married community." Again, what is the value? What has been taken away from married couples in Massachusetts? Last time I checked, they still have the exact same rights and benefits as before.
3.30.2007 1:19am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Aleks wrote:

> "Opposite-sex marriages are gender-neutral since they contain both a male and female, in much the way that a hydrogen atom is electrically neutral (containing both a positive and a negative charge)."

1) This isn't a zero sum game, "-1 + 1 = 0". It is more like a lock and a key function only when they combine. Much of what makes us male and female only functions when we combine the two. Charges function when they are not neutralized. Which brings us to #2:

2) Equal gender representation does neutralize many aspects of gender dominance. I mean that in an inter-personal human relations sense. But to be neutral in a sense of charge, polarity or capacitance is different than being neutral towards something. The term "gender neutral" more commonly refers to our attitude towards the gender make-up of the marriage.

> "Now you may want to argue that gendered marriages are a problem, but don't state something that is 100% opposite the truth."

The attacks that the same-sex community have made on our progressive ideals of integration in the name of their sex-segregative unions is something I have, and will continue to note.

> "Marriage has never had any "necessary" link to procreation."

False. Here is where denial on your part, though emphatic and presented on the side of reason, is really just trampling on what many consider to be the real value of marriage.

> "From day one there have been both childless marriages and children born outside marriage."

From what you write, it sounds like you interpret what a necessary link is in a very stringent way. It sounds like you read that to mean procreation must happen in a marriage. That is not the way the phrase is intended.

Marriage is a social expression of human kinds natural tendency to procreate, which involves a variety of different aspects of our lives. Romance, governance, property management, estates, etc...

Procreation happens during romance. Governance happens as we raise our children. Property management happens as we consider the family its own political entity. And so on. What we are talking about here is a priori understanding of our own humanity, which is not discredited with the existence of exceptions. Only in the imaginary perfection of discrete and determinate theory is anything ever disproved with an exception.

We understand marriage from our early years when we are told, "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage". History understands marriage even in societies that considered homosexuality to be the greatest expression of love...

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



> "SSM might add very slightly to the total number of childless marriages while having no numerical input to the number of children born outside marriage."

I'm not worried about childless marriages. They might be worried, because the desire to have children with the one you love is sometimes very consuming. I wish them the best. But as devastating to society, it is not my worry.

My worry is how the understanding of marriage is neutered, out ability to recognize the unique position marriage has in helping ensure families stay in-tact. As our understanding of marriage is neutered, the biological component of procreation is treated as a state and commercial enterprise. As our understanding of marriage is neutered, children lose touch with the greatest value marriage has -- in being an expression of your greatest human potential (i.e. procreation).

> "And meanwhile, SSM does buttress one very traditional moral tenet: that sexual relations belong within marriage. Strengthen that concept and I think we would end up with fewer single-parent families."

Statistically speaking, the greatest harm happens when the in-tact family is broken up. After that, even re-marriage does not seem to have much of a restoring effect on families. The real ideal of marriage teaches people that because procreation is so important to do right, that people need to establish the foundation of the family first before they enter into the sexual relations. It teaches fathers they need to stay with their children and wives. It teaches them that they need him.

Neutered marriage teaches the father or mother that they are superfluous, all that is needed is two people. Neutered marriage teaches that it doesn't matter if you take responsibility for your own children, whether it is you or some stranger it makes no difference. All these things are taught to assuage the guilt of people who wish release from those burdens for the pursuit of things that are incompatible with it.
> "At least in traditional ethics, marriage is supposed to precede childbirth, so in traditional situations no one is a mother or father before marriage (except for those widowed from a previous marriage), so your point here is unintelligible."

Marriage, in the homosexual ideal, is more like a bandage. Something applied after the fact to a group of individuals without a common foundation to help keep them together. It is something that comes in after the fact.

Marriage, in the real sense, is rooted in the fact that a family starts with the husband and wife. Their commitment to an uncertain future is secured before the possibility of children arises. It establishes the couple as the common foundation where the children come from. Think about that, the marriage expression is to say that the relationship creates children. They are incarnations of the relationship. Secure the relationship first to best take care of the children from whom the relationship spawns.
3.30.2007 1:21am
F. Rottles:
RichK: this argument would only work if legally only married couples can have kids and no one had extramarital children.

It is because both-sexed couples can create children outside of marriage that the social institution is important to society. The essence of it is as I described it. Pointing to stuff outside of it doesn't actually bolster the case for dropping the societal preference for marriage.

SSM would not create the child-parent relationship that adoption woud create. So you are mistaken about the value of SSM on that point.
3.30.2007 1:25am
BobNSF (mail):

However, by far most of the children in same-sex households have moved from the previously procreative relationships of their mother and father. The kids have both mothers and fathers. One or the other is nonresident.


Sort of like the majority of children in opposite-sex households.

Didn't I read somewhere that only 25% of children live in households with their biological parents???
3.30.2007 1:27am
F. Rottles:
RichK: society doesn't exist to protect the social institution, the social institution exists to protect society.

Correct. And society benefits the social institution because the institution benefits society. It is a human good. Why? Because it combines responsible procreation with integration of man and woman.

society has changed, you may not like it but it has. it is now time for the social institution to change to protect society once again.

But I will agree that I do not like the nonmarital trends. The fragmentation of families comes at a very high cost to each generation.

Do you like that change? Maybe you are indifferent. Maybe you find it as troubling as David Blankenhorn (and I)?

I hope that is what you mean to say when you seem to appeal for the social institution to protect society.

Maybe you don't disagree with the preferential status of marriage, afterall? Please clarify.

(this is also a very reasonable explanation for the drop in marriage rates. people no longer see marriage as beneficial because it has failed to adapt to our existing society.)

Our existing society has not changed the nature of humankind, of human generativity, of human community, nor has it changed the core of the social institution of marraige.

Yes, certain modern trends have undermined marriage, that's true. SSM is one of many factors. I don't see how SSM could do anything but further undermine what you say needs to change. Can you?
3.30.2007 1:35am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
F. Rottles wrote:

>> "The nature of humankind is two-sexed. The nature of human community is both-sexed. The nature of the human family, the foundational human community, is both-sexed."

Randy R wrote:

> "Nope. On this you are completely wrong. The nature of humankind is that there are men, women, and a certain percentage that is intersexed."

While that is true, that does not invalidate what F. Rottles said. Human kind is two-sexed, there is no third sex. The two sexes are designed into our humanity and perform a function that is unattainable through just one sex.

There are cases of spontaneous generation, I realize, but to argue that is designed into the species would be a tough sell especially since we could rely on it very far for species propagation at all.

There are people with both sexes or gender ambiguity, but that does not say anything about human kind being designed with two genders.

> "Marriage does not bond men with their children. There are many unmarried men and women who nonetheless bond with their children."

Again you raise a false contradiction. It seems people here are getting so used to Carpenter's constant and egregious use of contrived contradictions that everyone is doing it these days. Much like Eddie the Eagle entering the olympics.

Allow me to explain how your contradiction is invalid in actually contradicting what was written.

That the bond exists outside of marriage does not contradict that marriage establishes that bond. What you want to look at is the number of married fathers and their involvement in the children's lives compared to the involvement of unmarried fathers. You will find the bond greater, and the children much more fulfilled in their home-lives where the father is married.

Hence what F. Rottles wrote is true. You would have discredit the evidence of the bond that marriage creates to discredit his statement. Not complain that bonds exist outside of marriage.
3.30.2007 1:35am
F. Rottles:
BobNSF, according to the Census Bureau only about 4% of the child population is adopted, much less than 1% were attained via third party procreation.

Maybe you can find the source that your read?
3.30.2007 1:39am
F. Rottles:
RichK: Massachusetts did not enact SSM. No change in the marriage statute has been made.

The court opinion proposed a change. But, yes, since the Governor went along and made an administrative adjustment in how licenses are issued, I can see how you could now say that SSM has been enacted.

Many SSM proponents point to the opininions of Justice Marshall in Goodridge and in the advisory. They'd agree with you that this is best example. But you could choose another jurisdiction outside of the USA if you wish.

The requirements that define the purpose of the status? [...] the reason it was enacted was because gay couples sued under the theory of equal protection, and the Mass. Supreme Court agreed.

I'd urge you to take another look at the tortured reasoning of Justice Marshall. She settled on rational basis review. Read it through and note where you might disagree with Marshall, because if this is your best example, then, you stand on a very weak argument.

Like I said, many proponents of SSM would agree with you. However, I think that several in the Volokh group of bloggers don't find the reasoning to be very strong, or persuasive. Dale Carpenter is among those, I think.
3.30.2007 1:49am
F. Rottles:
Sorry, my previous comment should have been direct to RandyR.

Any other SSM proponet could answer the question: what is your best example of enactment of SSM?
3.30.2007 1:52am
F. Rottles:
you are denying some people the freedom to marry

Not at all.

There is no test for sexual orientation in the marriage law. Even Justice Marshall noted this is so.

The freedom to choose the nonmarital alternative is not impaired by the man-woman criterion of marital status.

You presume that marriage is not both-sexed. That's simply mistaken. But if you wish to propose a status for the one-sexed arrangement, make the direct case for it in terms of social policy.

That, or justify your rights-based claim without presuming that marriage is NOT both-sexed. You are in a bind because you are arguing as if some social policy change has already occurred and marriage is not what the law says it is.

But Colin, another pro-SSM commenter here, says the law tells us what marriage is. And that the requirements define marriage. So you have to deal with the law that requires the participation of both-sexes. These are the terms of the SSM arugment that I thinkyou yourself have put forth.

There is no right to state sanctioned SSM.
3.30.2007 1:57am
Brian K (mail):
F. Rottles,

I fear you have gotten me mixed up with someone else. Some of the things you seem to have attributed to me I never said. And some of the things I said were attributed to RichK. I'm assuming from the K in there that you are referring to me, but I am completely unaware the fact that Rich is a recognized nickname for Brian.
3.30.2007 3:02am
Brian K (mail):
F. Rottles

”There is no fundamental right to SSM. So this test is inapplicable.”
- there is no fundamental right to marriage either. It is a social convention.

“Merging SSM with marriage abolishes the status that recognizes the nature of marriage.”
- it only does so if you necessarily define marriage as between a man and a women to the exclusion of all other definitions. That definition is wanted because it ignores all of the benefits that society accrues from marriage. There is no harm to traditional marriage by allowing SSM. However there is harm to society by not allowing SSM because you denying a not insignificant swath of the population those benefits.

”You refer to extramarital procreation. And to adoption. But neither are examples of responsible procreation. In fact, both depend on parental relinquishment or loss. That does not the core of marriage even when married couples partake of it.”
- I concede your point on extramarital procreation in certain circumstances; however in a lot of cases it is identical to divorce and in other cases (e.g. cohabitation) just as good with respect to the child. I still don’t see how adoption is bad.
3.30.2007 3:20am
Chimaxx (mail):
Caliban:
But that's the fallacy of the undistributed middle. Other people also deserve that status. If you're trying to get that status because it is right and fair, then bring in the other people who deserve it, too. If you're NOT trying to get that status because it is right and fair, then you do not deserve it and cannot have it.


That's an absurd requirement. Those in favor of Same-Sex Marriage have no obligation--moral, legal or otherwise--to argue on behalf of others who deserve marriage status. They certainly can argue on the behalf of others if they wish to, but the quality of their case is not affected one way or another on whether they do so. We did not, for instance, require those who extended voting rights from "landowners" to "male citizens" to argue on behalf ofg woman suffrage, nor did we require woman suffragists to argue on behalf of 18-21-year-olds receiving the vote, nor did we require that those who favored lowering the voting age to 18 argue on behalf of released felons who had completed their sentences and thus paid their debt to society, who are currently banned from voting in some states but permitted to vote in others. The quality of their cases were not as dependent on claims to the vote that may arise from some future group, nor on whether or not they supportes or opposed the idea of one or another of such groups receiving the vote.
3.30.2007 3:34am
Brian K (mail):
F. Rottles

”The idea is NOT that men and women will be repelled from each other. The normative power of the social institution draws them together for the purpose of integration combined with responsible procreation.”
- I don’t see your point here. If, as you argue, procreation can only occur between members of opposite sexes why is marriage necessary to compel members of the opposite sex to come together? If they want to have kids, they have to find a member of the opposite sex.

”I see that you recognize that the combination can be dismantled with ease -- outside of marraige.”
- it can be dismantled with ease easily within marriage too. Husbands and wives cheat all the time. Cheating has always been rampant and marriage has done little to stop it. If someone is going to monogamous they are going to do it with our without being married.

“Hence the need for a social institution that non-coercively bonds men and women and their children. The role of the state authority is not to dismantle but to protect the social institution. That at least allows the rest of society -- the nongovernmental parts -- to bolster marriage and to strengthen its normative powers.”
- this non-coercion aspect you argue is only a fairly recent one. Many cultures have arranged marriages. Many cultures practice “shotgun weddings” including ours. Marriage is about binding the parents to the children. SSM will not change this. It will actually increase it. As it stands now, homosexual couples are not afforded the same childcare rights as heterosexual couples. It also ignores the rampant practices in the past of marrying for status. You married to increase your social standing or to marry into wealth. Kids were a distant second, if considered at all.

”The merger of SSM with marriage is an unjust intrusion on the social institution that does these two things in combination.”
- not even true by a long shot.
3.30.2007 3:55am
Brian K (mail):
F. Rottles,

I've realized something going through your arguments. You have defined your terms based on your prejudices and your ideals. I emphasize your. As near as I can tell you are very restrictive and non-standard definitions designed to preclude the possibility of SSM. I forget the name, but that's the fallacy of assuming what you've set out to prove.

The meaning of marriage has varied drastically throughout times and changes along with society. You have picked the only definition that necessarily precludes SSM. Marriage can and does mean very different things to different people and people decide to get married for very different reasons. You seem to be arbitrarily excluding one group of people from marriage while not excluding other people you don't fit your definition. (To give you an idea how ideas of marriage changes, would you like to know why a significant minority of people of my generation get married? health insurance.)

Your idea of responsible procreation is also very narrow as it is not born out by sociological, psychological, epidemiological, or other scientific studies. If responsible procreation involves what is best for the child, then you ignoring a wide variety of healthy family situations. My point about communal family styles is that the individual actors are interchangeable and parity concerning sex doesn't matter. As long as there is a "mother" figure(s) and a "father" figure(s), the child will come out normal. My point about extended families is similar. The biological mother and father are irrelevant. In some families it is the grandparents that raise the kids, in other families it is the uncle(s) or the aunt(s) or the brother(s) or the sister(s) or combination thereof. The children grow up to be healthy and normal regardless of who is taking care of them. Unless you plan on making the preposterous argument that a child of two gay men will never ever interact with any females, then "responsible procreation" is not a basis for denying homosexuals the right to marry.

Does any of this mean that marriage as an institution should be abandoned? No, and I am not making that argument. Marriage serves to codify who is primarily responsible for childcare, it codifies obligations, inheritance, parentage rights, legal rights, etc... and helps to ensure that no matter what someone will be there to raise the child.
3.30.2007 4:20am
Elliot123 (mail):
F. Rottles: Correct. And society benefits the social institution because the institution benefits society. It is a human good. Why? Because it combines responsible procreation with integration of man and woman.

Is civil marriage either a necessary or sufficient requirement for the sociel benefit you describe??
3.30.2007 11:47am
Chimaxx (mail):
On Lawn:
1) This isn't a zero sum game, "-1 + 1 = 0". It is more like a lock and a key function only when they combine. Much of what makes us male and female only functions when we combine the two. Charges function when they are not neutralized. Which brings us to #2:


Why is it more like a lock and key than like a positron and electron in a hydrogen atom? Because you say so? In fact, the molecule metaphor is actually a better one, in many ways: You can't just pair up any lock and any key and make it work (combination locks have no separate matching lock, the lock is the key; most locks that take a physical key routinely have SEVERAL keys mated to and used with them, all of which work equally well and produce the same result, and while most sorts of locks can be modified to work with SOME other keys, there are certain keys that cannot work with them, no matter now much they are modified; there are even some locks that require two keys--sometimes even two different kinds of keys--in order to work; and that some keys--like lists of key ingredients--have no lock), but pair up any positron with an electron, and you have a hydrogen atom. Yes, with the atomic model you have the issue that there are other sorts of valid atoms besides hydrogen atoms, that atoms will sometimes take on an extra electron for brief periods, and that a nucleus will sometimes divorce one electron and marry up with another, and that of course it reverses your cherished neutrality metaphor--but even given all those things, the atomic metaphor seems much stronger than the key-lock metaphor.

The attacks that the same-sex community have made on our progressive ideals of integration in the name of their sex-segregative unions is something I have, and will continue to note.


So you are now claiming the mantly of the progressive, the leftist who prefers to use the coercive power of the state to impose your ideals on the self-selected unions of others?

That the bond exists outside of marriage does not contradict that marriage establishes that bond. What you want to look at is the number of married fathers and their involvement in the children's lives compared to the involvement of unmarried fathers. You will find the bond greater, and the children much more fulfilled in their home-lives where the father is married.


Baloney. The fact that we all can admit to knowing of a vast number of exceptions--in both directions (married fathers who neglect or abuse their children, unmarried fathers who are deeply engaged in their children's lives)--while admitting that in general, in aggregate, what you say is true, says that you have found a strong correlation but no causation and no "necessary" link. You complained earlier about a too stringent definition of necessary, but given your desire to define "marriage" stringently, why should we allow you to deploy a definition of necessary that is so loose as to mean "strongly correlated with but not really, you know, necessary."

That the bond exists outside of marriage exist within marriage may not prove that marriage does not establish the bond, but it does prove that marriage is not the only thing that establishes the bond. But combine that with the fact that the bond sometimes is not created successfully within marriage, and the notion that marriage establishes the bond is suspect. At the very least, the fact that the correlation is not 1:1, that it is not necessary in the sense that breathing is necessary to life, suggests that the relationship of marriage to parent-child bonding, while it may be supportive, is not causative.
3.30.2007 11:56am
Colin (mail):
Caliban,

Sorry to come back to this so late. Others have made some of these points already, so forgive me if I’m retreading old ground.

But it's not the same value, and there's no productive way to compare the relative merits of the value it creates to the value it destroys.

Not objectively, no. But to make my own feelings clear, I ascribe little value to the feeling that “another group can’t have the same privileges I have.” But if we can’t value the two mutually exclusive subjective benefits, then how can we prefer one of them to the concrete benefit that would accrue only to one group?

We have group A, which has enjoyed a privileged status for thousands of years. And then we have group B, which wants to have that privileged status too.

A common argument. I don’t care much for the “thousands of years” argument unless it’s coupled with an explanation of why it was a good restriction for all that time, and why it’s still a good restriction today. I’ve never seen that in this debate.

Other people also deserve that status. If you're trying to get that status because it is right and fair, then bring in the other people who deserve it, too. If you're NOT trying to get that status because it is right and fair, then you do not deserve it and cannot have it.

Why not? Were black Americans not deserving of the vote because they failed to fight for women’s suffrage at the same time? And what if SSM advocates perceive and articulate harms for other relationships, such as bigamy and incest, that haven’t been shown to accrue to SSM? I think this is a very flawed standard.

You're just in it for your own personal gain, and I don't consider that a good enough reason to alter the fabric of our society.

You’re not a capitalist? Personal gain can be a huge force for social good. Frankly, the motives of SSM advocates matter less to me than the effects of what they advocate, and no one has yet shown that those would be ill.
3.30.2007 12:05pm
Randy R. (mail):
"What you want to look at is the number of married fathers and their involvement in the children's lives compared to the involvement of unmarried fathers. You will find the bond greater, and the children much more fulfilled in their home-lives where the father is married. "

Again, did you just pull this statement out of a hat? It's an assumption you are making and asking us to accept without anything to back it up. in fact, as others have pointed out, only about 25% of all American families fit your definition of a traditional family. Therefore, at best, only 25% of fathers are as involved with their families as you require (and I'll bet the figure is actually a lot lower). So what is the majority of dads doing out there? Not being involved?

And that is assuming, of course, that having the father involved is a benefit. A cousin on my other side divorced her husband because he is a drunk and is a major pain to the children. They are all glad he is NOT involved. Then another cousin suffered from Huntington's Corea disease, and so lived much of his adult life in a nursing home, virtually uninvolved in his family's life, which was tragic for all, but a reality nonetheless. In both cases, though, marriage failed to insure that the father would be a good influence on their families.

I notice that Fitz, Rottles and the others continue to fail to answer any of my questions. I've made good faith attempts to answer theirs, but they remain silent whenever I ask for specifics on how to back up their broad pronouncements.

I think it is clear that the opponents of SSM have been forced to argue that marriage is this incredibly fabulous institution that solves all of socieites problems, and saves us for running wild in the streets, and is so strong that it has shaped and molded our soceity for thousands of years, yet it is at the same time so shallow, weak and feeble, that allowing just one gay couple into it will destroy it forever, utterly completely, and that we will all be running wild in the streets in no time.

It's an inhernetly contradictory argument.
3.30.2007 1:11pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
b>Randy R.

in fact, as others have pointed out, only about 25% of all American families fit your definition of a traditional family.

Back that up. The majority of children grow up in homes with their natural mothers &fathers present. Your application of the word "families” is the misnomer
NYT


I notice that Fitz, Rottles and the others continue to fail to answer any of my questions. I've made good faith attempts to answer theirs, but they remain silent whenever I ask for specifics on how to back up their broad pronouncements.

You’re being silly, it’s a silly question…(In a forum such as this)

You’re closer to the mark when you say…

“Such as: if a gay couple gets married, are you suggesting that staight couples say to themselves, well, those gays are getting married, that cheapens the whole enterprise, so let's not get married -- let's just cohabitate”

The “case” you want us to make is precisely the case Kurtz and Blankenhorn &Gallagher have been making.

We can hardly be expected to reduce such complex sociological arguments to a short Blog post?

I expect you all know this and this is why you asked. Well one of your answers is precisely the Topic of the post we are commenting on!

And then you go even further down the rabbit hole with a suggestion that we produce some actual couple.

You’re an intellectual child in this regard.
3.30.2007 1:29pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz,

There is nothing silly in a forum like this in asking for three specific and observable ways that gay civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage.

There is nothing silly in a forum like this in asking for a definition of civil marriage and observing that defining marriage as matrimony is a poor definition.

There is nothing silly in a forum like this in asking what the purpose of civil marriage is.
3.30.2007 1:46pm
Chimaxx (mail):
The “case” you want us to make is precisely the case Kurtz and Blankenhorn &Gallagher have been making.

It's the case Kurtz made, saying "The data show..." Then Eskridge and Spedale analyzed the data in the countries Kurtz first examined, and said "No, the data don't show that." So Kurtz started playing a data shell game ("Did I say Scandinavia? I meant the Netherlands.").

Now Blankenhorn comes along to say "Ambiguous data be damned: It's true anyway," citing the penumbras and emanations from "clusters" of beliefs--which of course means that acceptance of same-sex marriage is not a driver of this change but merely one of the stops for a train being powered by a different head of steam.

And most of the people who want to stop this train before it gets to the same-sex marriage stop don't really want to turn it back. They may think that there's too much divorce generally, but they don't want to give up their right to divorce. They may feel children don't get enough attention in families where both parents work but they don't want to return to the era when women were compelled to stay in the household despite their inclination and were always legally dependent on some man. They may decry the rampant sexualization of culture, but they don't want to turn over their contraceptives.
3.30.2007 2:17pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Q. There is nothing silly in a forum like this in asking for three specific and observable ways that gay civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage.

A. Denmark, Holland, Scandinavia.
See Re: (Kurtz, Blankenhorn, Gallagher)

Q. “There is nothing silly in a forum like this in asking for a definition of civil marriage and observing that defining marriage as matrimony is a poor definition. “

A.
Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003)

"The plaintiffs argue that because nothing in that licensing law specifically prohibits marriages between persons of the same sex, we may interpret the statute to permit ‘‘qualified same sex couples’’ to obtain marriage licenses, thereby avoiding the question whether the law is constitutional. See S 319School Comm. Of Greenfield v. Greenfield Educ. Ass’n, 385 Mass. 70, 79, 431 N.E.2d 180 (1982), and cases cited. This claim lacks merit. We interpret statutes to carry out the Legislature’s intent, determined by the words of a statute interpreted according to ‘‘the ordinary and approved usage of the language.’’ Hanlon v. Rollins, 286 Mass. 444, 447, 190 N.E. 606 (1934). The everyday meaning of ‘‘marriage’’ is ‘‘[t]he legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife,’’ Black’s Law Dictionary 986 (7th ed.1999), and the plaintiffs do not argue that the term ‘‘marriage’’ has ever had a different meaning under Massachusetts law. See, e.g., Milford v. Worcester, 7 Mass. 48, 52 (1810) (marriage ‘‘is an engagement, by which a single man and a single woman, of sufficient discretion, take each other for husband and wife’’). This definition of marriage, as both the department and the Superior Court judge point out, derives from the common law. See Commonwealth v. Knowlton, 2 Mass. 530, 535 (1807) (Massachusetts common law derives from English common law except as otherwise altered by Massachusetts statutes and Constitution). See also Commonwealth v. Lane, 113 Mass. 458, 462–463 (1873) (‘‘when the statutes are silent, questions of the validity of marriages are to be determined by the jus gentium, the common law of nations’’); C.P. Kindregan, Jr., &M.L. Inker, Family Law and Practice § 1.2 (3d ed.2002). Far from being ambiguous, the undefined word ‘‘marriage,’’ as used in G.L. c. 207, confirms the General Court’s intent to hew to the term’s common- law and quotidian meaning concerning the genders of the marriage partners. The intended scope of G.L. c. 207 is also evident in its consanguinity provisions. See Chandler v. County Comm’rs of Nantucket County, 437 Mass. 430, 435, 772 N.E.2d 578 (2002) (statute’s various provisions may offer insight into legislative intent). Sections 1 and 2 of G.L. c. 207 prohibit marriages between a man and certain female relatives and a woman and certain male relatives, but are silent as to the consanguinity of male-male or female to female marriage applicants. See G.L. c. 207, §§ 1–2. The only reasonable explanation is that the Legislature did not intend that same-sex couples be licensed to marry. We conclude, as did the S 320judge, that G.L. c. 207 may not be construed to permit same-sex couples to marry."


(also)

Hernandez v. Robles, 7 N.Y.3d 338 (N.Y. Court of Appeals 2006)


"All the parties to these cases now acknowledge,
implicitly or explicitly, that the Domestic Relations Law limits marriage to opposite-sex couples. Some amici, however, suggest that the statute can be read to permit same-sex marriage, thus mooting the constitutional issues. We find this suggestion untenable. Articles 2 and 3 of the Domestic Relations Law, which govern marriage, nowhere say in so many words that only people of different sexes may marry each other, but that was the universal understanding when Articles 2 and 3 were adopted in 1909, an understanding reflected in several statutes. Domestic Relations Law § 12 provides that "the parties must solemnly declare . . . that they take each other as husband and wife." Domestic Relations Law § 15 (a) requires town and city clerks to obtain specified information from "the groom" and "the bride." Domestic Relations Law § 5 prohibits certain marriages as incestuous, specifying opposite-sex combinations (brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew), but not same-sex combinations. Domestic Relations Law § 50 says that the property of "a married woman . . . shall not be subject to her husband's control." New York's statutory law clearly limits marriage to opposite-sex couples."


(&my personal favorite)
Andersen v. King County, 138 P.3d 963 (Wash. 2006)
(Addressing the larger legal &cultural context)


"Nor is Justice Madsen’s claim that “history and tradition are not static,” coherent, at least outside the context of a George Orwell novel. Our history and tradition are real and ascertainable. This court and the United States Supreme Court have always applied these principles to inform the understanding of the privileges and immunities clause, rather than current political notions. Under our constitutional separation of powers, such issues are for the legislature and/or the people, and here the legislature has clearly spoken. This is not to suggest the constitutional right of marriage may be redefined at will by legislative process; that may be a case for a different day.”


Now – The one thing we know for SURE is that it is between 1 man &1 woman,

Q. ”There is nothing silly in a forum like this in asking what the purpose of civil marriage is.”

A.
Only the sexual relationships of men and women together produce children. Therefore, only the sexual relationships of men and women together require governmental regulation because of (1) THEIR CAPACITY TOGETHER TO CREATE SOCIAL DISORDER, and (2) that reproduction is a fact and does have important and inevitable consequences on society both good and bad if it is not regulated. Thus, it inevitably must implicate the political and public aspect insofar as the production of future citizens is not only vital to the survival of a nation, but that the REGULATION OF THIS PRODUCTION OF FUTURE CITIZENS IS JUST AS VITAL.

But why are infertile opposite-sex couples permitted to marry? They fall under this regulatory status for these reasons:

United States Court of Appeals For The Eighth Circuit
Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning,
U.S.No. 05-2604 ( U.S 8th Ct. App. July 14, 2006)


"But under rational-basis review, “Even if the classification . . . is to some extent both underinclusive and overinclusive, and hence the line drawn . . . imperfect, it is nevertheless the rule that . . . perfection is by no means required.” Vance v. Bradley, 440 U.S. 93, 108 (1979). Legislatures are permitted to use generalizations so long as “the question is at least debatable.” Heller, 509 U.S. at 326



“We accept such imperfection because it is in turn rationally related to the secondary objective of legislative convenience.” Vance, 440 U.S. at 109.


New York Supreme Court
No. 86 Hernandez v. Robles



"..... under rational basis review, the classification need not be perfectly precise or narrowly tailored -- all that is required is a reasonable connection between the classification and the interest at issue..."


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

That's right! Even infertile opposite-sex couples can marry because they happen to belong to the allowable classes that are rationally related to a legitimate state interest, those of the class of men and the class of women, the only classes that together produce children.

Now- You Come up with some new questions that are as well substantiated as our (repeated) answers….&I will stop calling you silly and childish
3.30.2007 2:25pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Fitz:
b>Randy R.
in fact, as others have pointed out, only about 25% of all American families fit your definition of a traditional family.


Back that up. The majority of children grow up in homes with their natural mothers &fathers present. Your application of the word "families” is the misnomer
NYT.


While I actually share your skepticism as to the high percentage of children Randy claims grow up in something other than a home with their biological parents, I'm having trouble finding any relevance to the NYT link you attached--discussing as it does flaws in an article on the number of non-married women and details about the ages of the women included in the survey.

While this article review says "The Times chose to use survey data that counted, as spouseless women, teenagers 15 through 17 — almost 90 percent of whom were living with their parents," it does not specify whether those are biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, or a biological parent-stepparent pair.

Did you attach the wrong link? If not, how does the information in the linked article apply to the question?
3.30.2007 2:33pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I have a suggestion for those who might put forth an example of how SSM hurts straight civil marriage as an institution:
Expect that the other party will say, "So? What's wrong with that? Seems like a feature, not a bug."
This particular question is not worth bothering about. See Carpenter's cites for the reason.
3.30.2007 2:35pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Chimaxx wrote:

> "Why is it more like a lock and key than like a positron and electron in a hydrogen atom? Because you say so?"

The first sentence is sufficient to illicit a response from me. I'm happy to clarify any position or statement I make (sometimes requiring clarification on just where the extra explanation should be given).

I do not appreciate having my arguments uprooted from their grounding -- as if to say my own assertion makes them true. No such attempt was made, so your implication is unwarranted and, if you ask me, dishonest.

It is especially unwarranted, considering what I understand from reading your reply. Simply put, you went through a great deal of effort to agree with me, while pronouncing opposition. Allow me to explain. I will go again to what Aleks wrote:

Opposite-sex marriages are gender-neutral since they contain both a male and female, in much the way that a hydrogen atom is electrically neutral (containing both a positive and a negative charge).


The analogy is most specifically placed on an delicately constructed amphibology -- the word "neutral". The neutrality exhibited by a hydrogen atom is not the same neutrality we show to the gender composition of a marriage. The neutrality of the hydrogen atom is due a net neutrality, a zero sum game, and that is not the neutrality spoken of when we discuss "gender neutral marriage" or neutered marriage. To be neutral in the sense of a net charge does not the same thing as being neutral or indifferent about something.

My reply accurately deconstructs this ambiguity by showing how, like a lock, the charges work together. Your reply did a great job of confirming my argument, that scientific observation is not indifferent (or charge-neutral to use the analogy) because of its specific meaning in the construction of the unit, and for that I appreciate your words even though you did so rebukingly. You even went through the painstaking efforts of narrowing the analogy down to just the one-on-one complementary aspect that makes it similar to a lock and key. And for that I thank you again. You simply confirmed that the atomic analogy works in comparison to marriage only in the way that happens to be analogous to how a lock and key interoperate.

Not to really get trite, but considering what we seem to agree on here about the composition and analogy of marriage, you realize that two electrons cannot make an atom, right? Not without redefining our understanding of what an atom is, and becoming ourselves electrical-charge-neutral. But that would simply be tantamount to throwing out not only our current understanding of atoms, but our ability to understand atoms and express that understanding to future generations.

> "So you are now claiming the [mantle] of the progressive, the leftist who prefers to use the coercive power of the state to impose your ideals on the self-selected unions of others? "

Above you mentioned to Caliban that you feel no prerogative to argue the case of inclusion into marriage for anyone but homosexuals. My prerogative is also limited. That alone imposes the ideals of the self-selected unions on others, as CTB noted in criticism of Dale Carpenter:

Dale said:

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


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

In the first [sentence] you make a legal argument for equality under the law (which I don't think requires marriage or civil unions), but in the second its equal dignity, recognition, legitimacy and respect by your peers that you want. That of course cant' be solved by legislation.

That [equal dignity] of course cant' be solved by legislation. But it seems clear that that is why a lot of gays want gay marriage, not so that they can have "the benefits of marriage" but so that people will all of a sudden think that it's ok to be gay and everything that goes with it. That is apparently your argument here, and I don't think legislation is the right way to indoctrinate. Don't we always hear that we shouldn't legislate morals? Well that is what these people who complain about civil unions are trying to do.


Yankev in reply to that comment wrote:

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

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


They both seem to circle around the same central core, that marriage already means something. I leave to others the mantle of determining what to inflict on others. I am pointing out the values implicitly derived from its definition based on equal gender participation. And I note that CTB and Yankev make a compelling case that in this debate there is no choice forwarded that will avoid inflicting one set of morals onto an unwilling segment of society. It is one or the other. You can't complain about having morality inflicted on the GLBT crowd, while ignoring the Catholic charities who are abandoning their charitable efforts because of how morality is being inflicted on them by the government. Or how parents are losing their ability to determine the sexual education of their children, because the morality of homosexuality is something the state feels a direct interest in preaching. Both of those situations rely specifically and explicitly on the state neutering of the definition of marriage for their basis.

This is just another example of how Dale is living in a fools paradise. A place where he believes his double-edged arguments are, as the childhood refrain goes, "bounces off of me and sticks to you".

So which mantle I choose is immaterial, in fact my continued reluctance to engender liberal v conservative polarization games would make any such mantle an iron clasp.

> "while admitting that in general, in aggregate, what you say is true [about marriage bonding children to fathers],"

Depends on the level of aggregation, actually. Mentioning that on the individual basis there are exceptions to the rule is a refined aggregation of the parameter space. It many group together fathers with alchoholism, or adulterers, or any number of pursuits that indirectly put them at odds with their marital commitments. To compile an average between married and unmarried is simply a rougher aggregation.

In fact I believe that even in the finer aggregation, the bond is even more observable. If we were to study each segment as to their adherence to the marriage ideal we would see a greater bond existing (even when the father is not present) between the father and his children. From there one could construct a stronger correlation to the marriage ideal and what it produces by charting that compared to the priorities people put on marital, family, compared to individual and extra-marital pursuits.

> "That the bond exists outside of marriage exist within marriage may not prove that marriage does not establish the bond"

Correct. At best that is why Aleks, and Caprenter's use of contradictions is misapplied. At best they provide a plausible deniability, which is nothing close to the contradiction or disproof that they (and yourself) continue to claim them to be.

> "but it does prove that marriage is not the only thing that establishes the bond."

Hence plausible deniability, it could have been something else for that particular case. One can't prove the association in any one particular event because there are other factors at play.

However, F. Rottles statement does not say marriage is the only thing that establishes the bond. Or what I wrote that you called 'baloney' (which was not only over-reaching but rather sophomoric).

That the bond exists outside of marriage does not contradict that marriage establishes that bond.


Marriage does establish that bond. There are other factors that can either re-enforce, establish independently, and degrade that bond, but those are simply other factors to consider.

As Op-Ed may point out, the existence of any purpose besides responsible procreation within marriage does not justify removing that purpose. Even in the study of marriages where the children are biological vs. step-children we see a disparity that suggests that the marriage title alone is not the where the power lies in marriage to motivate social change.

The real power of marriage is expressed in the ability to tell fathers that they are unique in their ability to positively influence a child, and encourages them to stand up to that responsibility. So even within marriage it is a specific ideal which incurs the results, not just the title and social dignity that is associated with it.

I should add, that here is another area where Dale's pretended invulnerability to two-edged arguments is evident. He's argued that the value we see in marriage, specifically its ability to promote responsible procreation, will survive if marriage is removed from directly addressing that purpose. And then in this article he presents that his ability to mutually hold his model of marriage, and recognition of the value of responsible procreation, separates himself from those that wish to de-institutionalize marriage.

However, a commenter above provides himself as someone who wishes to completely de-institutionalize marriage yet treats the ideal of responsible procreation the very same way. He sees value in it that will survive even if marriage is completely de-institutionalized.

But Carpenter wishes a new monogamous ideal to replace the marital ideal. By doing so, he argues, we not only preserve every bit as much a bonding ability that marriage once had - we enervate it. But the two edged sword is at work here. Could we say the exact same thing about the monogamous ideal? How close this comes is up to the reader to discern. But I note how Bob VB notes the physical elements of romantic bonding and shows how it exists today even without neutering the definition of marriage to include them. Wouldn't that suggest that the monogamous will (and does) survive outside of government recognition also? No? Prove the harm. Which gay couple breaks up because they cannot get married...

I realize I jumped a bit onto a new soap-box. So I'll just leave it as I've written for now. Something to chew on (though be careful when chewing on double-edged swords).
3.30.2007 2:37pm
CrosbyBird:
But I have not yet read an argument that says SSM adds so much value to society that its core, rather than the core of marriage, must be preferred.

We must start by taking as an assumption that the legal recognition of two people who love each other and providing certain benefits, both financial and of convenience (such as automatic medical proxy, transfer of property, etc.) is a good value for society. (If we don't accept this, then we don't support traditional marriage as it exists today.)

The people who would benefit from SSM are part of society. The same way a heterosexual married couple gets benefits that enhance their lives, so would a same-sex couple.

In essence, society presently provides extra transactional costs for a couple if they are same-sexed. Fundamentally, that is unfair unless you accept as a premise that the love and commitment of same-sexed couples is somehow worth less than the love and commitment of different-sexed couples.

Although I would say you create a false dichotomy. The "core" of marriage as it exists today is the joining of two people in love with each other in a bond of love and commitment to each other. Few people honestly feel the primary value of marriage is that it is limited to man-woman pairings, as opposed to "love," "commitment," or "sharing lives together." Even "raising children" is not part of the core of marriage, as many married couples choose not to raise children, and we allow both same-sex couples and single parents to adopt.

Ultimately, we should have the supported answer to the question of "does the inclusion of SSM have any negative effect on the core of marriage as we understand it today?" before we get to "what does SSM add that makes it worth the negative effect on the core of traditional marriage?"
3.30.2007 2:37pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Chimaxx
"how does the information in the linked article apply to the question?"

Both by highlighting the manipulability of statistics &by noting that large segments of the population (widows, young singles, college roommates) can be misapplied under "nontraditional families" even though they came from traditional families or will (at one point) be a part of a traditional family.
3.30.2007 2:45pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz,

1. You have not listed three specific and observable ways gay civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage. The names of countries are not ways heterosexual civil marriage is harmed.

2. You have not provided a definition of civil marriage in the US. You have provided court decisions, but have not provided a definition. In your last definition you said marriage was matrimony.

3. You have not provided the purpose of civil marriage.

4. All the above are appropriate topics for a forum like this. However, name calling is not appropriate in a forum like this.
3.30.2007 2:45pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Elliot

I have done all 3.

You are not very sophisticated.

1. Those countries are specific and observable. As are their marriage and cohabitation and illegitimacy rates.

2. Common law definitions are definitions.

3. Re-read three again. (hint babies)
3.30.2007 2:49pm
Colin (mail):
You answered only one of his questions, and that answer is nonsensical. There is no support for the idea that the infertile have no right to marriage, and are only allowed the privilege as an accommodation. None of the cases you cite support that theory.

Nor is "Denmark, Holland, Scandinavia" and example of "three specific and observable ways that gay civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage." I realize that the question is impossible for you to answer, but you could at least try. What, in those countries, is the harm identified? Falling marriage rates? Children out of wedlock? Declining GDP? You can point to all of the other commenters that you want, but unless you have some answer to the question, what basis do we have for believing that there is anything but prejudice behind your arguments?

Finally, of course, you have once again failed to identify the "purpose" behind marriage that you find so important. The citations you provided are not germane to the question. Can you identify that purpose in your own words?
3.30.2007 2:51pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Plaintiff: Judge, I was harmed.

Judge: How were you harmed?

Plaintiff: That's an unfair question.

Judge: Well, since you claim you were harmed it's reasonable to ask what the harm was.

Plaintiff: That's a silly question in this forum.

Judge: It's neither unfai nor silly. This forum routinely deals with questions like this. So, since you claim you were harmed, please tell us what the harm was.

Plaintiff: New York, Miami, San Francisco.
3.30.2007 2:58pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Chimaxx wrote:

> "It's the case Kurtz made, saying 'The data show...' Then Eskridge and Spedale analyzed the data in the countries Kurtz first examined, and said 'No, the data don't show that.' So Kurtz started playing a data shell game ("Did I say Scandinavia? I meant the Netherlands.")."

You would be remiss if you didn't mention that the origin of the parameter space was Andrew Sullivan, not Kurtz. What Kurtz showed was more than sufficient to send Sullivan packing out of Scandinavia. And Sullivan continues to assert that gay-marriage actually assists the marriage rate while completely abandoning the basis he once used to prop that up.

Then, as I understand it, the complaint was wielded against Kurtz saying that the slope was pre-existing, that one couldn't see a basis for same-sex marriage (and I mean that in the strict sense of programs specifically for same-sex individuals that are like marriage) in and of itself impacting the curve. The use of the Netherlands, as I understand it, was to meet that specific complaint. It showed much more specific data on how the understanding of marriage (which was impacted greatest in the efforts to re-define marriage before the government change was enacted) rates declined due to that impact.

All said and done, the impact that Sullivan had in the debate was specifically to create the baggage that has since been ascribed to Kurtz. At least that is how I see it.

> "which of course means that acceptance of same-sex marriage is not a driver of this change but merely one of the stops for a train being powered by a different head of steam."

I do not see that essentially neutral tack in the influence neutering marriage will have in what Blankenhorn writes. I'm not sure that even Carpenter interpreted Blankenhorn's words to mean that neutering marriage does not provide steam or drive to the train on its track to the demise of marriage (My apologies if I borrowed your analogy imperfectly). As Carpenter wrote earlier:

To Blankenhorn, it suggests that support for gay marriage is one of a "cluster" of "mutually reinforcing" beliefs about family life that are anti-marriage.


> "And most of the people who want to stop this train before it gets to the same-sex marriage stop don't really want to turn it back."

Most? Well all I can say is if that is the case, then it is only the ideal of procreation resonsibility and its effect on society that can have a real change on that. Monogamy these days simply means one partner at a time, establishing a new institution of romance regulation out of marriage to encourage monogamy would not drive that train back at all. Not even for just the homosexual community, if you ask me.

The real power in procreation is how it is an incarnation of a relationship. One that survives after divorce, etc... As I noted about Deval Patrick's unfortunate experience with his parents, their relationship survives beyond divorce specifically because of the children. You may argue that the responsible procreation ideal is insufficient to turn back the train, you may even argue that it might exist unscathed if marriage is removed from explicitly exercising that purpose. But if we were simply to compare the homosexual ideal of relationships to the marriage ideal, we see that the latter has every flaw of the former -- and more.
3.30.2007 3:04pm
Fitz (mail) (www):

"Constitutionally protected fundamental rights need not be defined so broadly that they will inevitably be exercised by everyone. For example, although the ability to make personal decisions regarding child rearing and education has been recognized as a fundamental right (see, e.g., Pierce v. Society of the Sisters (1925) 268 U.S. 510, 534- 535), this right is irrelevant to people who do not have children. Yet, everyone who has children enjoys this fundamental right to control their upbringing. A similar analogy applies in the case of marriage. Everyone has a fundamental right to “marriage,” but, because of how this institution has been defined, this means only that everyone has a fundamental right to enter a public union with an opposite-sex partner. That such a right is irrelevant to a lesbian or gay person does not mean the definition of the fundamental right can be expanded by the judicial branch beyond its traditional moorings."


In re Marriage Cases, Cal. App. 2006, McGuiness, P. J. (writing for the majority.)
3.30.2007 3:04pm
Ramza:
To understand F. Rottles and to the lesser extent the entire Opine Crowd you have to understand their thinking. I am going to use an analogy for it gets my point across better.

In international politics we have several ways of thinking and guessing how we function and how other people function. Why do they act the way they do. One of the largest schools of thoughts is called Realpolitik. Realpolitik is always concerned about your power projection compared to other peoples power projection. In Realpolitik people in the US were afraid of Japan in the 1970s and 1980s. They were afraid of Japan even though Japan lacked an army and nukes (unlike the USSR), they were afraid of Japan even though Japan was a great army. The reason why people in the US were afraid of Japan was that Japan economy was growing at a startling pace, and thus the relative difference between Japan living and the US living was diminshing. Instead of saying this is a good thing for we can buy Japan’s goods and they cay buy ours, instead of saying this is a good thing for FDI between the two countries lead to productivity growth for both sides, people in the US were saying those Japs they are buying this country up brick by brick. Even Michael Crichton wrote a thriller novel called about this subject.

Of course Japan didn’t destroy the US, it improved and so did we. Now the demon of Japan has been replaced with other countries such as India, Brazil, and Mexico (we also have the demon of China, but unlike the other countries China’s military is expanding so maybe this fear is legitimate, even if all out war is very unlikely).

F. Rottles fears the failure of marriage as an institution. She believes it is dying. Marriage as F.Rottles sees and defines it will no longer be treated as “special,” straight marriage will be less special than it was before not because of straight marriage’s intrinsic value. No it will be less special for “we” as a government will no longer punish/are neutral to gay relationships. Right now “we” as a government favor long term straight relationships, we actively subsidize them with marriage while “we” punish/are neutral to long term gay relationships. By changing the law we alter the discrepancies of award and punish are now equal instead of favoring one/favoring straight relationships.

Personally I fundamentally disagree with F. Rottles and believe this way of thinking is BS. People don’t form long lasting relationships with people of the same sex vs opposite sex vs how much government subsidize them. No they do it for it is natural to them, being gay or straight is an intrinsic part of their being. Of course the romantic couplings they are going to pursue are the ones that are natural to them. Most religions are now recognizing being gay or straight is an intrinsic part of ones being, hell even the catholic church has been saying since 1975 (31 years ago) that homosexual tendencies can be caused due to “innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable” and that these people should be treated with understanding and love. LinkThe majority of people are now recognizing being gay or straight is natural and can’t be changed. Because of this realization the government should do is to try to foster healthy, stable, and long term relationships for gays. Thus the granting of equality in marriage or marriage in all things by names such as civil unions. Society as a whole will improve for society is a collection of its parts and if the health of one part improves then the whole entity also is better off.

If F.Rottles wants to encourage the health of marriages in society and as an institution instead of long term “cohabitation” she would get better results not focusing on gays but instead increasing the monetary subsidy that we give marriages, perhaps making it far more direct. Furthermore she would support things such as waiting periods and therapy before a couple gets married, this way they learn effective communication and are sure they want to get married instead of learning the relationship is impossible 3 years down the road and thus want out leading to a divorce.
3.30.2007 3:10pm
Ramza:
To understand F. Rottles and to the lesser extent the entire Opine Crowd you have to understand their thinking. I am going to use an analogy for it gets my point across better.

In international politics we have several ways of thinking and guessing how we function and how other people function. Why do they act the way they do. One of the largest schools of thoughts is called Realpolitik. Realpolitik is always concerned about your power projection compared to other peoples power projection. In Realpolitik people in the US were afraid of Japan in the 1970s and 1980s. They were afraid of Japan even though Japan lacked an army and nukes (unlike the USSR), they were afraid of Japan even though Japan was a great army. The reason why people in the US were afraid of Japan was that Japan economy was growing at a startling pace, and thus the relative difference between Japan living and the US living was diminshing. Instead of saying this is a good thing for we can buy Japan’s goods and they cay buy ours, instead of saying this is a good thing for FDI between the two countries lead to productivity growth for both sides, people in the US were saying those Japs they are buying this country up brick by brick. Even Michael Crichton wrote a thriller novel called about this subject.

Of course Japan didn’t destroy the US, it improved and so did we. Now the demon of Japan has been replaced with other countries such as India, Brazil, and Mexico (we also have the demon of China, but unlike the other countries China’s military is expanding so maybe this fear is legitimate, even if all out war is very unlikely).

F. Rottles fears the failure of marriage as an institution. She believes it is dying. Marriage as F.Rottles sees and defines it will no longer be treated as “special,” straight marriage will be less special than it was before not because of straight marriage’s intrinsic value. No it will be less special for “we” as a government will no longer punish/are neutral to gay relationships. Right now “we” as a government favor long term straight relationships, we actively subsidize them with marriage while “we” punish/are neutral to long term gay relationships. By changing the law we alter the discrepancies of award and punish are now equal instead of favoring one/favoring straight relationships.

Personally I fundamentally disagree with F. Rottles and believe this way of thinking is BS. People don’t form long lasting relationships with people of the same sex vs opposite sex vs how much government subsidize them. No they do it for it is natural to them, being gay or straight is an intrinsic part of their being. Of course the romantic couplings they are going to pursue are the ones that are natural to them. Most religions are now recognizing being gay or straight is an intrinsic part of ones being, hell even the catholic church has been saying since 1975 (31 years ago) that homosexual tendencies can be caused due to “innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable” and that these people should be treated with understanding and love. LinkThe majority of people are now recognizing being gay or straight is natural and can’t be changed. Because of this realization the government should do is to try to foster healthy, stable, and long term relationships for gays. Thus the granting of equality in marriage or marriage in all things by names such as civil unions. Society as a whole will improve for society is a collection of its parts and if the health of one part improves then the whole entity also is better off.

If F.Rottles wants to encourage the health of marriages in society and as an institution instead of long term “cohabitation” she would get better results not focusing on gays but instead increasing the monetary subsidy that we give marriages, perhaps making it far more direct. Furthermore she would support things such as waiting periods and therapy before a couple gets married, this way they learn effective communication and are sure they want to get married instead of learning the relationship is impossible 3 years down the road and thus want out leading to a divorce.
3.30.2007 3:10pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Judge: Mr. Elliot do you have a law degree? Are we discussing a tort case that requires provable harm? Are we not discussing constitutional law and public policy that requires no “verifiable truth” but rather what policies promote what public goods best?

Plaintiff: Uh…I’m not terribly sophisticated but I like to keep pretending my questions have real saliency your honor.

Judge: Case dismissed: You have failed to show why you have a “right” to get a dog license for your cat!
3.30.2007 3:12pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Elliot123,

Fitz is most generous to entertain your demands. You should be more charitable to his expression of good faith.

I can also note this, that I've asked you for an example too. I required it to better understand what you are looking for. Such an example would have helped Fitz describe how the state of marriage in those areas show what wish to see. The problem is in your ambiguity, not his expression.

Which leads me to another observation. For all your childish goading and taunting, I can't help but notice that what I've asked from you is much easier.

I don't know what you expect when you demand "specific" and "observable" results. That is something I leave you to decide and promise to meet. You can set any bar you want to, and meet it however you want to. But you still act scared, terrified in actually presenting an example.

I've limited myself, as per your request, to showing harm in marriage. I've place no such limit on you, you can choose any institution or any measure of harm you wish. You can make it as easy for yourself as you wish. All you have to do is show an example of what would be an acceptable example to your demands.

But as I see, you are balking, screeming, and creating absurd analogies. You aren't a judge and this isn't a court room, and if it were the expectations would already be understood to a degree because of the wealth of training both judges and lawyers receive in court protocol and presumption. If this were a court room, I could rely on precedent. You can't presume this is the same since you've given no such precedent. And you dance around in strange contortions to avoid giving any.

Which only makes me chuckle, to be honest.
3.30.2007 3:12pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ all and sundry demanding to know what value exists in marriage being solely between a man and a woman:

I went on to say:


a man can say "I'm married" and thus imply that he is a heterosexual


That has value. If we change the meaning of "married", that value goes away. It does not transfer that value; saying "I'm married" simply no longer communicates any information about one's sexuality. That value is forever lost.

Crosbybird makes pretty much the same point I do: that it has value to society for two people to commit to one another in a loving relationship and form a family unit, whether they are opposite-sexed or not, whether they have children or not, whether any children are biological or not, and irrespective of whether they have a public civil or religious ceremony to announce or formalise it.

But it also has value to society that "marriage" still means the same thing it did thousands of years ago. I think it is not only a mistake to ignore that, but deeply disrespectful and offensive to those who recognise that value. It is effectively a denial of the special and unique value of heterosexuality, and you can't deny that while demanding recognition of the special and unique value of homosexuality.

Fundamentally, homosexuality IS NOT special and unique. A homosexual couple is just like every other couple. That's why it's unfair to single them out for special treatment, regardless of whether that treatment is being beaten or getting married.
3.30.2007 3:13pm
Ramza:

That has value. If we change the meaning of "married", that value goes away. It does not transfer that value; saying "I'm married" simply no longer communicates any information about one's sexuality. That value is forever lost.

Crosbybird makes pretty much the same point I do: that it has value to society for two people to commit to one another in a loving relationship and form a family unit, whether they are opposite-sexed or not, whether they have children or not, whether any children are biological or not, and irrespective of whether they have a public civil or religious ceremony to announce or formalise it.

But it also has value to society that "marriage" still means the same thing it did thousands of years ago. I think it is not only a mistake to ignore that, but deeply disrespectful and offensive to those who recognise that value. It is effectively a denial of the special and unique value of heterosexuality, and you can't deny that while demanding recognition of the special and unique value of homosexuality.

Fundamentally, homosexuality IS NOT special and unique. A homosexual couple is just like every other couple. That's why it's unfair to single them out for special treatment, regardless of whether that treatment is being beaten or getting married.

Then give gays civil unions, you can keep your word "marriage"
3.30.2007 3:27pm
Ramza:

That has value. If we change the meaning of "married", that value goes away. It does not transfer that value; saying "I'm married" simply no longer communicates any information about one's sexuality. That value is forever lost.

Crosbybird makes pretty much the same point I do: that it has value to society for two people to commit to one another in a loving relationship and form a family unit, whether they are opposite-sexed or not, whether they have children or not, whether any children are biological or not, and irrespective of whether they have a public civil or religious ceremony to announce or formalise it.

But it also has value to society that "marriage" still means the same thing it did thousands of years ago. I think it is not only a mistake to ignore that, but deeply disrespectful and offensive to those who recognise that value. It is effectively a denial of the special and unique value of heterosexuality, and you can't deny that while demanding recognition of the special and unique value of homosexuality.

Fundamentally, homosexuality IS NOT special and unique. A homosexual couple is just like every other couple. That's why it's unfair to single them out for special treatment, regardless of whether that treatment is being beaten or getting married.

Then give gays civil unions, you can keep your word "marriage"
3.30.2007 3:27pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Ramza

To better understand the camp you purport to understand, this article may be helpfull

The Future of Tradition
Overview-A gay man discusses the fragility of social customs like marriage from a historical/philosophical perspective.
3.30.2007 3:28pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
CrosbyBird wrote:

> "We must start by taking as an assumption that the legal recognition of two people who love each other and providing certain benefits, both financial and of convenience (such as automatic medical proxy, transfer of property, etc.) is a good value for society. (If we don't accept this, then we don't support traditional marriage as it exists today.)"

Two problems.

1) The reason marriage is successful in compelling such interest from the state, and providing such benefit to society, is being denied. Your lips recognize the benefits, but you are denying the power creating them.

2) Taken in and of itself, that is an argument for a much broader recognition of relationships than same-sex marriage. If your example is as absolute as you say as to break down the barriers to marriage, then you must acknowledge that the barriers are broken in total. The argument is simply too absolute to warrant anything less. Carpenter has expressed what I think is the simular argument such as yours. Yet he holds that an incremental approach must be applied. The incremental approach and the use of that justification are only held up by what would appear to be selfishness and chauvinism. At least if the only justification is as Chimaxx wrote in reply to Caliban above.

You either have justification for limiting that institution or you do not. And if the role marriage has in establishing and promoting responsible procreation is flawed and insufficient to apply such a limit, then using marriage as romantic regulation of monogamy is flawed by an order of magnitude more. At least that is how I see it.

But that may not be too far from how Carpenter sees it. When the Beyond Marriage document came out, his reply to their grand plans for beyond homosexual-heterosexual integration was that we shouldn't blame him if they win. The same arguments that Carpenter uses, and more consistently applied than Carpenter does, but he's not to blame? His ability to create arbitrary barriers, perhaps, should be trusted to save us all.
3.30.2007 3:34pm
Colin (mail):
Are we discussing a tort case that requires provable harm? Are we not discussing constitutional law and public policy that requires no “verifiable truth” but rather what policies promote what public goods best?

What weight can we possibly ascribe to your opinions on “what policies promote what public goods best” if cannot articulate (A) the definition of your preferred policy, (B) the specific public good in question, or (C) how A. actually affects B.?

Your constant failure to even consider answering these simple questions says more than you may realize about the legitimacy and even honesty of your arguments.
3.30.2007 3:34pm
CrosbyBird:
If we change the meaning of "married", that value goes away. It does not transfer that value; saying "I'm married" simply no longer communicates any information about one's sexuality. That value is forever lost.

What is the cost of losing that value? Either a person needs to use a few more words, "I have a (wife/husband)" or "I'm married to a (man/woman)" or a relative strange might not be able to prejudge the legitimacy of their relationship because it comports/does not comport with their idea of what represents a legitimate marriage?

I can buy the argument that we're discussing a cost (even if I would call that cost of very limited signficance), but then it needs to be compared to the cost of the present situation... people in committed relationships with same-sex partners have extra transactional costs and/or lack benefits a heterosexual couple would have.

Without having as a premise that homosexuals are somehow deserving of less benefit (or more directly, that homosexual relationships are inferior to heterosexual ones), it's hard to make a strong case that the former cost is greater than the latter.
3.30.2007 3:38pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
(A) the definition of your preferred policy, (B) the specific public good in question, or (C) how A. actually affects B.?

A. the lifelong commitment between a man &a woman

B. The promotion of that commitment for childrearing.

C. The express public policy the B should occur exclusively with A.
3.30.2007 3:38pm
Colin (mail):
That value is forever lost.

Sure, but that value is negligible. You can still publicly identify yourself as heterosexual - wear a t-shirt that says, “I’m a heterosexual.” Tell people, “I’m a heterosexual.” Meet, date, and/or marry a woman (assuming you’re a man). It is also a bit ridiculous to assert this as a serious value. Heterosexuals are at least 90% of the population, and likely considerably more. Why would people assume without information that you were part of a small minority? (I won’t ask what the harm would be, as that’s a subjective quality. I think it must be subjectively pretty negligible, though, or you’d wear the aforementioned “I’m a hetero” t-shirt.)

But it also has value to society that "marriage" still means the same thing it did thousands of years ago.

Except, of course, that it doesn’t. Fundamental characteristics of marriage, mostly relating to the position and rights of the wife, have changed. You’ve identified just one characteristic that has generally remained unchanged... and the value of claiming that characteristic could still accrue to any couple claiming to be “traditionally married” or “married to a person of the opposite sex.” This just seems like a paper-thing justification for discriminatory treatment; as far as cost-benefits go, it doesn’t appear that the benefits of reserving “marriage” for opposite-sex couples are anything more than validating their irrational prejudices, which counts for little in my mind when weighed against the more objective costs of enshrining discrimination.

For what it’s worth, though, your arguments are a world apart from the Opine crowd. Although I disagree strongly with your basic premises, I respect the cost-benefit analysis you appear to be undertaking. It’s more rational and more honest than the hand-waving “this is all that marriage can ever mean” claims we’ve seen from them. Similarly, while I don’t think the harms you’ve identified are serious or worthy bases of policy, at least you’ve identified a harm other than the claim that “someone, somewhere, at some time, will be hurt in some way through some mechanism (but it’s unfair to ask us for details).”
3.30.2007 3:46pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
A statement that can be affirmed by symbolic logic and reduced into a formal proof.


Men and women are members of a class that can produce children. While any member of that class may not or cannot produce a child, they remain members of a class that can produce children. Same sex pairings can never produce children. They are members of a class that always and everywhere are incapable of producing children.”
Therefore same sex “marriage” necessarily severs marriage from procreation. It both androgynizes the institution and separates it from any necessary link to childbearing.


Quoting Professor Germain Grisez

:

“Though a male and a female are complete individuals with respect to other functions – for example nutrition, sensation, and locomotion- with respect to reproduction they are only potential parts of a mated pair, which is the complete organism capable of reproducing sexually. Even if the mated pair is sterile, intercourse, provided it is the reproductive behavior characteristic of the species, makes the copulating male and female one organism”


“it is a plain matter of biological fact that reproduction is a single function, yet it cannot be carried out by an individual male or female human being, but by a male and female as a mated pair….”
And notes a though experiment by Grisez


Imagine a type of bodily, rational being that reproduces, not by mating but by some individual performance. Imagine that for these beings, however, locomotion or digestion is performed not by individuals, but only by biologically complementary pairs that unite for this purpose. Would anybody have any difficulty understanding that in respect to reproduction the organism performing the function is the individual, while in respect of locomotion or digestion the organism performing the function is the united pair?


Only the sexual relationships of men and women together produce children. Therefore, only the sexual relationships of men and women together require governmental regulation because of (1) THEIR CAPACITY TOGETHER TO CREATE SOCIAL DISORDER, and (2) that reproduction is a fact and does have important and inevitable consequences on society both good and bad if it is not regulated. Thus, it inevitably must implicate the political and public aspect insofar as the production of future citizens is not only vital to the survival of a nation, but that the REGULATION OF THIS PRODUCTION OF FUTURE CITIZENS IS JUST AS VITAL.

How we ever came to such a state, were something as profound and obvious as the begetting of children is divorced from all reality and routinely denied…is not just Orwellian, it’s Carol -wellian.
3.30.2007 3:50pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
> "It’s more rational and more honest than the hand-waving “this is all that marriage can ever mean” claims we’ve seen from them."

As I told Chimaxx, it is dishonest to uproot the conclusions from their grounding and then pretend no grounding ever existed. While others no doubt see the secular social value expressed in marriage, and has been expressed in persuasive argumentation here, you are only doing a disservice to yourself to pretend them away.

Just saying.
3.30.2007 3:54pm
Colin (mail):
Unless you can demonstrate the harm inherent in allowing society to define marriage how it pleases, you're only waving your hands when you point to definitions that were acceptable in different times, places, and cultures. Similarly, while Fitz has a glib answer to my request for (A), (B), and (C), I'll predict that he can't link them to discrete, provable harms that would result from recognizing same-sex marriages. Nor, again, have any of you been able to show that the infertile have no right or an inferior right to marriage... I think we all know there's no such law or policy. What do you gain by pretending?

Oh, that's right - you gain the pretense that society only recognizes marriage as a support for childrearing. Unfortunately, it's not true, as society freely and cheerfully allows the infertile to marry.

You may find Professor Grisez's rhetoric insightful, but I find it inane. "Even if the mated pair is sterile, intercourse, provided it is the reproductive behavior characteristic of the species, makes the copulating male and female one organism." This is just more hand-waving. It does nothing to prove the torturously twisted pretense being asserted. The problem with such natural law arguments (even "new" natural law) is that it only carries weight with those who already agree with you... you need evidence to persuade the rest of us, which time and time and time again you fail to offer.
3.30.2007 4:04pm
BobNSF (mail):
Caliban, if subtley conveying your sexuality is important, work the phrase "my wife" into your conversation.
3.30.2007 4:09pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin,

Perhaps you can help Elliot find a case where you can show harm to an institution, similar to what you expect people to show about marriage.

As to your refutation, discrete and determinant elements are extremely rare -- if ever employed at all -- in the social sciences. They are rarely seen (if ever at all) outside of theory or elementary mechanics such as Newtonian physics. Social science has not defined a set of elementary mechanics, and some doubt it will ever be possible.

What Michael B wrote earlier, I believe, applies to your misapplication of science in this regard.
3.30.2007 4:13pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz: A. the lifelong commitment between a man &a woman

Civil marriage in the US does not require a lifelong commitment. Fifty percent of marriages in the US end in civil divorce. Civil law provides the means to easily and readily both enter and exit civil marriage. Civil marriage does not require an affirmation that the civil marriage is a lifelong commitment. If a definition does not apply to fifty percent of civil marriages, then it is not a definition.
3.30.2007 4:43pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Elliot123 wrote:

> "If a definition does not apply to fifty percent of civil marriages, then it is not a definition."

So, just show one example of a couple who is married after they get divorced to support that assertion.
3.30.2007 4:53pm
Michael B (mail):
"The quote Randy did of Gandhi had nothing to do about Hitler or the Second World War instead it had to do nonviolent activism leading to political change. So why did you bring it up? ... Or if you can't deal with the logic of the quote, you instead try to poison the speaker." Ramza

No. It's true I provided two or three Gandhi quotes where he commented on Hitler and that was to accentuate just how silly, inconsequential, unrealistic and uninsightful Ghandi, typically, was or could be. However, the more germane aspect of what was said was: "If Ghandi had had to face Hitler, instead of the Brits, he would have been executed, posthaste, and he'd be little more than a footnote in history, if that."

Too, there is no particular "logic" to the Ghandi quote Randy had provided (i.e. "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."), instead it's merely an example of rhetoric used to encourage one's supporters. In response, it was noted that "The party being ignored and laughed at in this particular ring is the party in the opposite corner. That party is additionally aware of the fact that your party is not interested in playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules, aka democracy."
3.30.2007 5:02pm
Colin (mail):
Perhaps you can help Elliot find a case where you can show harm to an institution, similar to what you expect people to show about marriage.

I don’t recognize harm to “institutions.” I recognize harm to humans. Can you demonstrate any?

As to your refutation, discrete and determinant elements are extremely rare -- if ever employed at all -- in the social sciences. They are rarely seen (if ever at all) outside of theory or elementary mechanics such as Newtonian physics. Social science has not defined a set of elementary mechanics, and some doubt it will ever be possible.

It’s not necessary for you to demonstrate a physically provable chain of events. It is incumbent upon you, however, to at least provide a narrative and some evidence to support it. “Recognizing same-sex marriages would hut these people, for this reason. Here is some evidence to support that theory.” You have neither the narrative nor the offer of proof. What you have are empty, rhetorical assertions: recognizing SSM would harm “the institution,” or some fanciful (and utterly subjective) existential definition of “marriage.” What humans would be hurt, and how?

SSM opponents make this sort of argument all the time. While I clearly think your failure to make even an attempt to answer these questions is indicative of the pretextual nature of your arguments, I’m honestly confused as to why you won’t even try. My best guess is that you’re aware that this is not a forum in which you can make unfounded factual allegations without having the errors pointed out publicly, as has happened re: Kurtz’s work. (I like Alek’s neologism, “prae hoc, propter hoc.”)

What Michael B wrote earlier, I believe, applies to your misapplication of science in this regard.

I’m not asking for science. We haven’t gotten to the point where your factual allegations are tested against the real world. We’re still waiting for you to make factual allegations. You’re stuck in the realm of philosophy, where your preconceptions and assumptions are entirely safe from the predations of honest examination.
3.30.2007 5:24pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

> "I don’t recognize harm to 'institutions.' I recognize harm to humans. Can you demonstrate any?"

It isn't about what I require for accepting an argument, now is it? Let me rephrase the question, Can you show an example of where a change to an institution does harm in the same way you say would be possible for you to believe the assertion that changing marriage will do harm?

> "It is incumbent upon you, however, to at least provide a narrative and some evidence to support it."

It is incumbent on you to establish what is, and what would be an example of meeting your requirement in this matter. Everything else is bluster.

> "While I clearly think your failure to make even an attempt to answer these questions is indicative of the pretextual nature of your arguments, I’m honestly confused as to why you won’t even try."

As am I confused as you won't even try to provide and demonstrative example from whatever context you wish. You go through quite a bit of exertion in reading minds assuming some inability to meet your requirements. Perhaps the answer is much more simple, you have no idea what those requirements are yourself. And if you don't know what would be a good example, then what use is giving you any example?

But that is just an assumption. All I really want is an example so I can better understand your expectations. You and Elliot continue to pretend that is an unreasonable request from me to make.

But you go beyond that, you pretend no example was given. Well the truth is examples have been given, but apparently do not meet some criteria that you failed to disclose in the first place. Or some strange definition of terms such as, "observable", of "factual" that are unique only to yourselves.

Since the failure is in your own establishment of criteria, the request for you to flesh that out better is only reasonable :)
3.30.2007 5:41pm
Michael B (mail):
"I don’t recognize harm to “institutions.” I recognize harm to humans." Colin

Institutions are not abstractions, they exist in the real world. The institutions which inform classical liberal forms of representative governance include executive, legislative and judicial branches of govt., also the Constitution and various state constitutions, among other institutions still.

Your purportedly "human" orientation, thus, is superficially conceived. That marks only the beginning of the problems related to what you're attempting to forward.
3.30.2007 5:55pm
Colin (mail):
Can you show an example of where a change to an institution does harm in the same way you say would be possible for you to believe the assertion that changing marriage will do harm?

Yes, of course. It's trivially easy. Changing marriage laws to allow plural marriage to underage partners would have actual harm on real humans in that (A) communities would suffer from immediate and potentially serious demographic imbalances and (B) the plural, underage partners would likely be subject to abusive, controlling relationships. If these were only theories, then they would be unpersuasive. At least an offer of proof is necessary. We see some proof of these theories, and I think that it is sufficient, in fundamentalist LDS communities. There is room to dispute the validity of the theories and the sufficiency of the proof, but there is both a narrative and an offer of evidence to begin with.

It is incumbent on you to establish what is, and what would be an example of meeting your requirement in this matter. Everything else is bluster.

I would believe you if you had tried to demonstrate some support for your claims. Your constant pretense that you're just too confused to even begin is utterly transparent. Well, translucent - as I said, I'm not entirely sure why you cower so completely from empiricism.
3.30.2007 6:04pm
Colin (mail):
Institutions are not abstractions, they exist in the real world. The institutions which inform classical liberal forms of representative governance include executive, legislative and judicial branches of govt., also the Constitution and various state constitutions, among other institutions still.

You're letting your rhetoric lead you by the nose again. The branches of government are abstractions. The Constitution (excepting the physical document) is an abstraction. Abstractions can be hugely important, but only insofar as they actually affect people. Alleging that an institution would be harmed is shorthand for asserting that people would be harmed by that damage to the institution. The two are not identical, however - what matters is harm to people, and that's something that On Lawn has been unable to demonstrate (and seems unwilling to attempt).

Your purportedly "human" orientation, thus, is superficially conceived.

Why? I am, in fact, concerned with human beings. Abstractions matter to me only insofar as they affect people. That affect can be relatively abstract, as with CB's theory of the interests harmed by SSM, but they're still harms to humans. You may not like the need to return to the real world - I seem to recall that you have a shaky relationship with empiricism yourself, from the creationism threads - but harm to an abstraction is no justification for prejudice.
3.30.2007 6:10pm
Michael B (mail):
Prager's broadly conceived thesis remains a primary hallmark in the general debate, providing anthropological, socio-cultural, historical and general civilizational frameworks, together with a rationally and empirically/historically forwarded set of arguments. (The link provided is the condensed version of the lengthier essay.)
3.30.2007 6:25pm
Michael B (mail):
Colin,

No, I'm not letting anyone's "rhetoric" lead me "by the nose." You might have more simply admitted that harm to institutions can imply or can result in harm to people, to "humans" (it's a perforce obvious point, thus is secondary at best to your own argument), but instead you fall back upon, or are "led by the nose" again, of your own disdain.

Too, the institutional concern itself is not in the least a secondary or tertiary issue since jurists, those black robed judges, usurping the democratic process is very much a primary aspect of the overall debate (ragardless of the pro and con arguments that can be marshaled vis-a-vis this aspect of the debate). Hence my earlier comment to Randy R:

"The party being ignored and laughed at in this particular ring is the party in the opposite corner. That party is additionally aware of the fact that your party is not interested in playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules, aka democracy."

Finally, ideas matter. Ideas qua ideas are certainly abstractions, but they matter and they can in fact be critical. Not all ideas and not all abstractions are equal, but there are critical ideas (e.g., those that serve to inform classial liberal institutions, those that jihadists/salafists regard as primary) that serve a bedrock, foundational purpose.

Good day.
3.30.2007 6:47pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Thanks Colin.

I'll use your template as much as possible. I'll note that it does not meet the requirements you've established so far. But as an example it will do...

----

> "Changing marriage laws to allow plural marriage to underage partners"

The change in marriage laws would be specifically, removing the limit to one marriage a person, and lowering the age minimum for a marriage.

The change in marriage laws to allow same-sex marriage would be to remove the requirement for equal gender participation.

> "... would have actual harm on real humans in that (A) communities would suffer from immediate and potentially serious demographic imbalances and"

First, a quibble. You cannot prove that any demographic balance occurs because of the change in law. The younger men are as able to marry as the older men. The dominance of the older men is a result that is evident even before the change in marriage took place. And the dominance of the older men is not a product of the change or impacted by the change in legislation. The change was not immediate, either.

But given that you only expect the presence of the two in conjunction with each other, and a loosely contrived mechanism to establish that one impacts the other, then I can easily construct the following:

... would have an actual harm on human beings in that (A) communities would suffer from dissolution of marriages where people find their sexual orientation to be primal to their marriage commitments.

> "(B) the plural, underage partners would likely be subject to abusive, controlling relationships."

Again, according the defense such as offered by Carpenter, that is not provable or even observable. There would be abusive controlling relationships outside of marriage, and married relationships of various ages that are not controlling or abusive.

But since your bar is just to say that the accommodating a prevailing culture can expose minors to these additional dangers then...

(B) children would be subjected to sexual paraphernalia and other factors that contribute to the delinquency of a minor. Steve Yuhas writes about how at a family event like a gay-pride parade has such paraphernalia and is considered just part of the festivities of being gay -- a gay family. No doubt because the identity is based on the lifestyle itself. Consider this example:

Some of the most unlikely attendees of Sunday's kinky leather fetish festival were under four feet tall. Two-year- olds Zola and Veronica Kruschel waddled through the Folsom Street Fair surrounded by strangers in fishnets and leather crotch pouches, semi and fully nude men.

The girls who were also dressed for the event wore identical lace blouses, floral bonnets and black leather collars purchased from a pet store. Fathers Gary Beuschel and John Kruse watched over them closely. They were proud to show them off.


How about another. How about how the interests the children have in having a father or mother are subservient and even degraded when compared to the sexual orientation of the parents?

(C) Children suffer from having their rights to their heritage taken away as in Massachusetts where every state means is employed to overcome any difference (even the lack of fertility) between heterosexual and homosexual couples. That means... birth certificates are no longer about births at all. They are simply registrations slips for whomever the current parental figures are. Even worse the origional birth certificates, which are usually preserved when re-written for the case of adoption, are written the first time with the parents not being the biological parents at all, but the people who contracted with a commercial entity to provide those children to them. The real parent is paid to leave the child as much as have the child, bringing up feelings of abandonment in the child and a sense of being a commodity rather than a part of the relationship (which happens also in adoption, but this institutionalizes those feelings as immaterial to the commercial enterprise.

(D) Abandonment also is on the rise because in an effort to equalize homosexual and heterosexual relationships, the meaning of what role you play with your children is expressly biased. The moral equivalence of white supremacy, who are you to believe your supremacy to the same-sex couple who wants to raise your child? The largest number of children in same-sex households are those from broken marriages.

Alright, have at it. This should be fun.
3.30.2007 6:55pm
CrosbyBird:
1) The reason marriage is successful in compelling such interest from the state, and providing such benefit to society, is being denied. Your lips recognize the benefits, but you are denying the power creating them.

Throughout history, societies have granted and failed to grant rights on the basis of bigoted distinctions supported by the weight of "tradition." It could be economic or social class, or religion, or race, or today, sexual orientation.

2) Taken in and of itself, that is an argument for a much broader recognition of relationships than same-sex marriage. If your example is as absolute as you say as to break down the barriers to marriage, then you must acknowledge that the barriers are broken in total.

Why should there be barriers to marriage (outside of consent issues) in the first place? Why is marriage somehow diminished by becoming more inclusive? If anything, I would say the institution of marriage is enhanced by its recognition of same-sex couples in a loving relationship... it drives home even more strongly that a committed, loving partnership is good for individuals and good for society.

The argument is simply too absolute to warrant anything less.

We recognize that there should remain some barriers such as marriage to children or animals most simply because of inability to consent to enter a contract. We can make practicality arguments re: polygamy for the issues that come with multi-party contracts and potential conflicts between spouses.

You either have justification for limiting that institution or you do not. And if the role marriage has in establishing and promoting responsible procreation is flawed and insufficient to apply such a limit, then using marriage as romantic regulation of monogamy is flawed by an order of magnitude more. At least that is how I see it.

One legitimate justification for limiting marriage doesn't open the door for a whole series of illegitimate justifications. Just as those against SSM would argue that race-based limitations on the right to marry do not have legitimacy while limitations against man-man marriage are reasonable.

What are these other potential marriage additions that people want to limit? Child marriage or animal marriage? Inability to consent creates a strong reason for society to draw a line there. Multiple spouses? A harder line to draw, but there are at least practicality concerns; the law would need to make some serious adjustments, and complicated ones. Incestuous marriages? Parent-child and similar relationships are ones where one party exerts such emotional influence over the other so as to render the issues of consent to be problematic.

"Marriage must only be between two parties who can create a child together" is not a honest statement of the current standard as it includes the infertile and the elderly and excludes certain fertile relatives.

"Marriage between parties whose love makes me uncomfortable should be prohibited" is a really crappy standard.

Put aside all other aspects of whether SSM is legitimate or not before answering the question of whether any individual should be in a position to judge the legitimacy of the marriage of other consenting adults. Do we want the government making the call that this is legitimate and this is deviant behavior?

That's why people are harping on "harm." If there was some concrete example of how Joe and Steve's nuptuals somehow diminish the quality of Bill and Alice's, it would be easier to believe the claim that the anti-SSM crowd has a principled objection as opposed to a bigoted one.
3.30.2007 7:02pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Prager's esssay has gotten no better since you mentioned it in November, and Prager has certainly not increased his credibility with his hysterical attack on Representative Ellison's use of the Koran in a symbolic swearing-in ceremony.
3.30.2007 7:15pm
Colin (mail):
Michael, the Prager piece didn’t do much to persuade people of the logic of your position the first time you exposed it to the criticism of rational people. Have you at least read it all the way through, this time?

As for our present discussion, I certainly agree that “ideas matter.” But only insofar as they impact human beings. Good day to you, as well.

On Lawn,

You cannot prove that any demographic balance occurs because of the change in law. The younger men are as able to marry as the older men. The dominance of the older men is a result that is evident even before the change in marriage took place. And the dominance of the older men is not a product of the change or impacted by the change in legislation. The change was not immediate, either.

None of these assertions are true, or even reasonable. You could certainly show the demographic shift is a result of the law (or practice, where this is done illegally). Younger men are unable to support plural families, and are squeezed out of the community. The same thing does not occur where plural families are barred. The harm is not “the dominance of the older men,” but the severe marginalization of those who are unable to marry or form other lasting bonds. Again, we see this happen in the real world; there are many accounts of Colorado City and other FLDS communes where this is an observable consequence of plural marriage. The same effects are not seen in places where plural marriage is banned. Can you identify a real-world harm seen in places where same-sex marriage is recognized, but not elsewhere? I suspect you won’t even try.

I can easily construct the following: ... would have an actual harm on human beings in that (A) communities would suffer from dissolution of marriages where people find their sexual orientation to be primal to their marriage commitments.

Too easily, and without enough thought beforehand. Nothing connects the two. If two homosexual people find their orientation to be “primal to their marriage commitments,” then they wouldn’t be married when the law forbad them to marry a partner suitable to their orientation. If the law changed, then, no such marriage would dissolve. If you mean that the marriages of straight people would dissolve, then once again you’ve failed to identify why that would happen. Do you understand the request? We want you to posit a real-world effect, and propose a real-world mechanism. Your attempt so far is just more of your make-believe: “If the law changed, marriages would dissolve.” That does not establish cause and effect. It establishes that you don’t like gay marriage. We already knew that.

children would be subjected to sexual paraphernalia and other factors that contribute to the delinquency of a minor. Steve Yuhas writes about how at a family event like a gay-pride parade has such paraphernalia and is considered just part of the festivities of being gay -- a gay family. No doubt because the identity is based on the lifestyle itself.

This is just outright bigotry. Kids shouldn’t have gay parents because gay parents leave their dildos lying around? Just slanderous. You can certainly show that some children would be exposed to bad gay parents. Some children are exposed to bad straight parents. Unless you can show a reliable trend that gay parents expose their children to their sexuality, this still doesn’t identify a mechanism. It just flaunts a prejudice and points it a harm, with no connection between the two.

How about how the interests the children have in having a father or mother are subservient and even degraded when compared to the sexual orientation of the parents?

You might have to rephrase that; the children’s interests are degraded when compared to the orientation of the parents? I assume you mean that kids have an interest in mothers and fathers, and that interest is harmed by gay parents. It’s an almost respectable argument, compared to the nonsense you’ve been floating so far. But it still doesn’t identify a harm or a mechanism. How are such kids harmed? Do they grow up to be less stable, less happy, or less successful? How do they grow up when compared to orphans, which many of them would be without gay parentage?

Children suffer from having their rights to their heritage taken away as in Massachusetts where every state means is employed to overcome any difference (even the lack of fertility) between heterosexual and homosexual couples.

Once again, mere empty rhetoric. What “heritage?” How is it lost? Earlier you said that children never lose their “heritage.” Is this the same “heritage,” or have you shifted the rhetoric? The problem with rootless sophistry is that it doesn’t convey any meaning. To be fair, though, I doubt you had much to convey. Your complaint about birth certificates is a nadir, even for you. What does it mean that “birth certificates are no longer about births at all?” It doesn’t make sense to me, nor does it appear to be true - even in Mass., as far as I know, a birth certificate records the birth of a child. Not its glorious appearing from the void, heralded by the institution of marriage, or its craven emergence from the torrid much of gay abandon, but birth. That’s why they call it a “birth certificate.”
3.30.2007 8:14pm
Colin (mail):
Abandonment also is on the rise

Hallelujah! A factual assertion! (Can you cite any support for it? No? We’ll let that slip, for now, because we’re all tired of your stream of excuses.) Now what’s the mechanism? Why are people abandoning their kids in the wake of gay marriage?

because in an effort to equalize homosexual and heterosexual relationships, the meaning of what role you play with your children is expressly biased.

Oh. More crazy make-‘em-ups. Gays are getting married, so parents . . . are biased . . . in regards to . . . their parental roles . . . so they . . . uhhhh . . . abandon their children. Wow. That’s pretty weak. Can you bolster it with a crazy rhetorical jab?

The moral equivalence of white supremacy, who are you to believe your supremacy to the same-sex couple who wants to raise your child?

That’s the spirit! Straight people will abandon their children (or their spouses?) because they're not allowed to feel superior. An absolutely illogical assertion, in your phrasing or mine. A fine example of an Opinism.

Alright, have at it. This should be fun.

No, mostly, it’s just sad. Your prejudices are supporting real harms to real people, and preventing imaginary harm to an abstraction.
3.30.2007 8:16pm
Colin (mail):
Despite the apparent time gap, I posted my link to the earlier Prager discussion without having read Chimaxxx's comment. Great minds think alike.
3.30.2007 8:18pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
> "Younger men are unable to support plural families, and are squeezed out of the community."

Your assertion was that it was marriage that was pushing them out. Now you contradict yourself by saying it is their financial faculties that squeeze them out. You are worse than Kurtz...

> "The same thing does not occur where plural families are barred. ... The same effects are not seen in places where plural marriage is banned. "

Polygamy is against the law in every one of the 50 states. Hence the example you provide (Colorado, Utah) exists specifically where it is outlawed. You are just digging your own hole...

> "an you identify a real-world harm seen in places where same-sex marriage is recognized, but not elsewhere?"

I'm only meeting the bar you set in your own example. Any fallacy you claim exists in my examples I guarantee I can find in yours. The fact that you apply a double standard and accept your claim but deny others just shows you are prejudiced and not applying the same ration that you pretend to honor.

> "If two homosexual people find their orientation to be “primal to their marriage commitments,” then they wouldn’t be married when the law forbad them to marry a partner suitable to their orientation."

That requires a static view of their sexual orientation that exists from before and throughout their marriage. Prove that sexual orientation identity is static. It also requires a view of the relative value of their marriage commitments and sexual orientation identity is static from before marriage throughout their marriage. Prove that their values in marriage commitments over their sexual identity is static.

Since you cannot, your refutation is just wishful thinking.

> "If the law changed, then, no such marriage would dissolve."

As in the previous example above, if the law changed then that wouldn't change the plight of people in those communities since it already exists while the law bars it. Remember,you set the bar.

> "If you mean that the marriages of straight people would dissolve, then once again you’ve failed to identify why that would happen."

Because their spouse decided their orientation was more important than their marital commitments. You didn't read that before? You replied to that point, how could you reply to a point and then assume people are so gullible as to believe you didn't read it just seconds after replying to it?

The acrobatics are entertaining, but not really fruitful, just to let you know.

> "Kids shouldn’t have gay parents because gay parents leave their dildos lying around?"

You men shouldn't have more than one wife because someone else might be abusive to a younger (multiple) spouse? Thats just stereo-typing polygamists. You watch these sensational reports on the news and quasi-news reports, and believe everyone is like that?

Heh, as I said, same fallacy exists in your example.

> "I assume you mean that kids have an interest in mothers and fathers, and that interest is harmed by gay parents. It’s an almost respectable argument, compared to the nonsense you’ve been floating so far. But it still doesn’t identify a harm or a mechanism."

No different than yourself, really. You failed to show how a any of the women are harmed because they are in a polygamist relationship. You mentioned they was possibility of dominance, but does that really do harm?

Well, at least no more specifically and observably than I did. Your own arguments are just ripe with the same problems you would dismiss my arguments over.

> "What “heritage?” How is it lost? Earlier you said that children never lose their “heritage.”"

The full quotes shows that their heritage is not lost, just there access too it. Hence "taken away".

> "as far as I know, a birth certificate records the birth of a child."

The date and time. But the recording of the biological parents is not even attempted any more. The donor dads, surrogate mothers, are all just employees in a grand commercial mechanism to produce children to the willing buyer. Hence they lose their access to their heritage.

And they are re-written at will every time a new set of parents wants to register a child to accessorize their relationship.

> "Now what’s the mechanism? Why are people abandoning their kids in the wake of gay marriage? "

They are paid to. They don't believe they have any special meaning to the child. There are a number of reasons. The evidence is in the number of children not living with one or both biological parent anymore.

So what was the mechanism that young males couldn't get married anymore? Heh, no you are straining at gnats and swallowing camels. Bravo.
3.30.2007 8:48pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
> "Straight people will abandon their children (or their spouses?) because they're not allowed to feel superior."

That sounds like legislating morality. I thought you promised that you wanted to keep people from legislating morality :)

You really understand your own position as poorly as you understand the reality around you. Just saying...

But, while claiming that you do not see any mechanism above, you certainly prove that gay marriage assaults the meaning of fatherhood and motherhood to their biological children (and vice versa) and paints it as the moral equivalent of white supremacy.

Keep up the show. Its as entertaining as I thought it would be. Oh, and keep adding that acrid and pompous patting yourself on the back. Only that can really raise your act to the level of comedic genius :)
3.30.2007 8:53pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
By the way Colin,

This is more between you and me. I don't want the comment expiration to cut short our fun little foray. So I've started a generic continuation thread at Opine.

No doubt you will not go there, because you are afraid of how your fallacies will look outside of a site you feel gives you support for your problematic discourse. But just in case you really are sure of your arguments and such, and feel you can pin this debate without the comment expiration, I've put it up here....
3.30.2007 9:08pm
F. Rottles:
BrianK: :Marriage can and does mean very different things to different people and people decide to get married for very different reasons. You seem to be arbitrarily excluding one group of people from marriage while not excluding other people you don't fit your definition."

It is not "my" definition. I am merely describing it in my own words.

I did not define the nature of humankind and so forth. None of that has not changed throughout human history. It is not I who excludes people who cannot form the conjugal relationship due to the nature of their chosen relationship.

But the SSM argument presupposes that marriage is NOT both-sexed, against all of that. And so your charge of arbitrary definition fits your comments better than mine.
3.30.2007 9:19pm
F. Rottles:
BrianK: "The biological mother and father are irrelevant."

Even the high court in Massachusetts would disagree with you and reaffirm the first principle of responsible procreation.

BrianK: "Unless you plan on making the preposterous argument that a child of two gay men will never ever interact with any females, then "responsible procreation" is not a basis for denying homosexuals the right to marry."

That's your strawman, not mine.

See the remarks above about the combination. You see fragments and claim these, taken seperately, do not combine. I say they do. The nature of humankind leads me to this description of marriage.

And contrary to your odd assertion, it is found in the sociological, psychological, epidemiological evidence. You are simply trying to declare that a near-universal principle is, well, not absolutely universal. If you go further, and I hope for the sake of your own credibility you would not go further, maybe you will say that our society should not have this principle anymore in our traditions, customs, and legal systems.

That would be a truly radical departure. Maybe it would cause NO harm at all. See, the normative power of the social institution does overflow to other circumstances. But if the core of marriage is abandoned, then, no such overflow would occur but rather much would be drained from even the protections that already exist for the very people you say you are looking out for.

Look, when a man decides to leave his wife and form a same-sex union with another man, if he has children this principle of which I speak would protect his parental status. But you would cut him and his children loose to a communal model that assigns children on some other criteria.

Randy R., your questions are answered in the replies to others here.
3.30.2007 9:20pm
F. Rottles:
BrianK: Sorry about the incorrect attribution.

----

"If, as you argue, procreation can only occur between members of opposite sexes why is marriage necessary to compel members of the opposite sex to come together?"

Even with your question you have already, in your mind at least, dismantled the combination of 1) integration of the sexes and 2) responsible procreation. And your "if" indicates you doubt that the nature of human generativity is both-sexed.

Pointing to extramarital procreation does not point to the nature of marriage.

"Husbands and wives cheat all the time. Cheating has always been rampant and marriage has done little to stop it. If someone is going to monogamous they are going to do it with our without being married. "

Pointing to extramarital sexual affairs does not point to the nature of marriage. You are pointing in the wrong direction.

The very fact that there is such a thing as the transgression of adultery does reaffirm the marriage idea. It is the negative of the positive.

"it can be dismantled with ease easily within marriage too"

The social institution is the topic. Not this or that particular combination of husband wife. The combination to which I have referred is 1) the integration of the sexes and 2) the contingency for responsible procreation.

The combination of these two asepcts is the essence of the social institution. Trying to seperate them is just an effort to dismantle the social institution into fragments.

"this non-coercion aspect you argue is only a fairly recent one."

Maybe. Maybe not. Your quibble is irrelevant.

But given the nature of humankind, as I've said above, there is "need for a social institution that non-coercively bonds men and women and their children."

Do you deny this need? Why?

-----

-----

I think your comments above display the pose of cyncism that I described earlier.

Marriage is such a tawdry thing! Sex outside of marriage -- check -- adultery -- check -- divorce -- check -- relative non-coercion is "recent" -- check. I suspect that marriage is not an ideal, in your view of things, but merely a mechanism for benefits. Except where you find it expedient to over-romantice your own ideal of the homosexual relationship.

There is a hostility toward the nature of marriage that seeps out of your words. I do not think that SSM is a noble cause, in your eyes, but it is a good chance to attack the rest of society and the norms that channel both-sexed couples toward the human good manifested in responsible procreatoin combined with integration of the sexes.

Maybe I have misread your comments. I hope there is more to your argument than tearing down the social esteem for the most important social institution.

On my part, I have invited pro-SSM commenters to explain the purpose of the status they seek. Instead, they tend to circle back to the benefits of marriage rather than assert the merits, and demerits, of their own idea the nature of the one-sexed arrangement. I mean, the homosexual relationship you seem to idealize is only a subset of the one-sexed arrangement, which, in turn, is a subset of the range of nonmarital arrangements. You cleary seek to establish a status that distinguishes your idealized arrangement from other nonmarital arrangements. You would conflate your ideal with marriage. But make your claim to a status stand on its own two feet. Why attach it to marriage when you can make it whatever you wish to make it -- as per the claim that the relationship is whatever the law says it is. Define the purpose by its requirements, absolutely enforced, as per your own arguments against the core of marriage.
3.30.2007 9:32pm
F. Rottles:
I did not make a slippery slop argument. I did not say that one thing will lead to another. However, I am deconstructing your claims about the core of marriage.

You advocate the removal a key requirement. You say that marriage is defined by its requirements. I asked you to clarify your reasoning for abolishing the man-woman criterion while retaining the prohibitions that you have already said are directly related to responsible procreation, at least, and it seems you also hint at concern about undesirable forms of sex integration.

Yet you reject my description of the core of marriage: integration of the sexes combined with responsible procreation.

In principle, if the definitive requirement -- the man-woman criterion -- can be tossed aside, then, you should not depend on that criterion for the prohibitions. You need to draw on something very different.

Please, do not circle back to claiming that the law determines the law. We are talking of the social institution, its normative power, and the way the state authority recognizes it. The law is not the source of wisdom about social institutions so you probably will need to search beyond the government and beyond your rights-based claims.
3.30.2007 9:33pm
F. Rottles:
Oops, a slippery slop! err slope.

------------
3.30.2007 9:34pm
F. Rottles:
RandyR: "how, by including gay people in marriage, does that 'dismantle' marriage?"

Well, the argument in favor of the merger is based on deconstructing marriage into bits and pieces and selecting some pieces (those which fit the one-sexed arrangement) and discarding or sidelining the other pieces.

You want an example? Well, Canada only just passed its merger with SSM. Already an Ontario court granted three adults equal parental status for one child. The decision was based on the same-sex union of two women and the indispensable presence of the father. The court said that since the three adults agreed to tripartite parenthood, and since the women were in a same-sex union, the court would change the concept of de facto parenthood to accomodate the arrangement.

A child with three co-equal parents. In Ontario where the imposition of SSM, via a contortion of common-law marriage, occured at the hands of the same judge.

Take it apart. Put it back together in some new way. This merger is a replacement. More of this sort of thing will follow. Polygamy is already on the agenda of the leaders of the legal profession in that country.

But the consequences of the merger will unfold over a couple of decades, like other massive law reforms that were instituted to effect social reforms, and the fragmentation of marriage recognition into bits and pieces will continue apace with no special status for the nature of marriage, the social institution recognized, not created, by the government.
3.30.2007 9:34pm
F. Rottles:
BrianK: :Marriage can and does mean very different things to different people and people decide to get married for very different reasons. You seem to be arbitrarily excluding one group of people from marriage while not excluding other people you don't fit your definition."

It is not "my" definition. I am merely describing it in my own words.

I did not define the nature of humankind and so forth.

None of that has changed throughout human history. It is not as if the nature of humankind has "evolved" into one-sexed, and so on.

It is not I who excludes people who cannot form the conjugal relationship due to the nature of their chosen relationship.

But the SSM argument presupposes that marriage is NOT both-sexed, against all of that.

And so your charge of arbitrary definition fits your comments better than mine.
3.30.2007 9:38pm
Chimaxx (mail):
On Lawn:
Abandonment also is on the rise because in an effort to equalize homosexual and heterosexual relationships, the meaning of what role you play with your children is expressly biased. The moral equivalence of white supremacy, who are you to believe your supremacy to the same-sex couple who wants to raise your child? The largest number of children in same-sex households are those from broken marriages.


I pull this one out not to disagree with it but because I simply don't understand big parts of it.

For instance, in this phrase, "the meaning of what role you play with your children is expressly biased" who is the "you"? the birth mother? adoptive gay parents? Colin? And what exactly do you mean by "the meaning of what role you play with your children"? Do roles have "meaning" outside the theatre? Is this "meaning" inherent to the role or inscribed by the people around you? Is it universal or individualized? What do you mean by "expressly biased" in this context? "Expressly biased" is not a phrase I read frequently, but from googling around to see it in various contexts, I take it to mean taking a stand so egregiously and obviously biased that even you cannot claim objectivity with a straight face? Without understanding who "you" is or how a role takes a stance, I can't understand how "you" are expressly biased? Or is it not the "you" but the "role" (or the role's "meaning") that is expressly biased? But that's even more confusing, because while I can understand how a stand a person takes or the person himself can be expressly biased, I'm not understanding how a "role" or a "meaning" can be.

And I'm trying to figure out what you mean when you write: "The moral equivalence of white supremacy, who are you to believe your supremacy to the same-sex couple who wants to raise your child?" I read the phrase three, four times, and all I can come up with is the idea that in a post-same-sex-marriage world, a mother or couple who put their child up for adoption and feels morally superior to the adoptive parents if it is a same-sex couple (but would not feel so if the adoptive couple were a mixed-sex couple) will be treated like white supremacists once were, and that that is a bad thing (and that that is different from now when children are adopted by same-sex-partnered versus mixed-sex-married couples). (If you've put your child up for adoptrion, what good does it do you, the child or the adoptive parents for you to feel morally superior?) From your follow-up use of this phrease, I take it that is not what you meant, but either I'm too dense today to see your meaning, or you've left out the connective tissue in this sentence that would make your meaning clear.

"The largest number of children in same-sex households are those from broken marriages." How would this be different from now?
3.30.2007 9:52pm
Randy R. (mail):
Fitz: We can hardly be expected to reduce such complex sociological arguments to a short Blog post?

Why not? We are already over 260 comments, and you have shown that you do not shy from long posts.

"I expect you all know this and this is why you asked. Well one of your answers is precisely the Topic of the post we are commenting on! And then you go even further down the rabbit hole with a suggestion that we produce some actual couple. You’re an intellectual child in this regard."

All I did was ask you to produce at least one couple that has decided to forego marriage, or children, or to divorce, primarily because gays can get married. Your whole premise is that allowing gays to marry will destroy marriage blah blah blah. You keep citing to Kurtz's essay which purports to prove that gay marriage will lead to a decrease of hetero marriages. If it truly is, then surely you can produce SOME evidence of someone, somewhere, saying that they will never get married because of SSM.

I have asked you what you think a likely scenario would be. Under what specific circumstance would a hetero couple possibly conclude that marriage is no longer a benefit to them simply because gay people get married?

I have even asked you point blank: If gays can get married in your state, will it lead you to love your wife less, or cheat on her, or cause you to divorce? You not only refused to answer, you instead call me names, that I am an intellectual child. Well, perhaps I am. But it seems that all your arguments are nothing but sophistry. You make up things, and when we ask for backup, you demure. You make broad statements that sound good, but upon inspection mean nothing. Worse, you dismiss any evidence against you, and agre with all evidence that supports you.

"Abandonment also is on the rise because in an effort to equalize homosexual and heterosexual relationships, the meaning of what role you play with your children is expressly biased."

Statements like this are typical from you. So abandonment of children is on the rise? Where's the stats? The cause of the abandonment is because gays are entering into long term relationships? Got ANYTHING to support that one? So basically, gay people are the cause of everything that is wrong with our society. Oh not, it's not the fault of heteros who abandon their children. Oh, no. Gays are just forcing people to leave their children in droves.

Your failure to make even the slightest attempt to defend your arguments with real world examples proves to me that you are the worst type of armchair philosopher.

It wouldn't be so bad, but obviously your attempt to blame every marital problem in western civ on gays displays a certain paranoia on your part.

Well too bad. Gay people are forming long term relationships in greater numbers than ever before, and this will only increase. The numbers of people who support gay marriage continue to grow, and will be a majority withina generation, possibly sooner. More western countries will allow SSM. Thank goodness people see through the ridiculousness in insincerity of your position. Bye.
3.30.2007 11:45pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"...children would be subjected to sexual paraphernalia and other factors that contribute to the delinquency of a minor."

Frankly, I'd rather my daughter attended a gay-pride parade than listened to Prussian Blue. If the fate of those poor kids doesn't convince you that straight people have no business raising children, I guess nothing will...

And while we're at it, I know some gay parents who wouldn't dream of taking their children to a gay pride parade. So I guess my anecdote cancels out yours, and we're back at square one.
3.31.2007 12:49am
F. Rottles:
Randy R.,

You are mistaking the issue of harm.

It is not that this or that same-sex couple forms a relationship that harms this or that particular both-sexe couple's marriage, directly.

In fact, it is not about the same-sex relationship, at all. Rather it is about the consequences of abandoning the priority placed on what marriage actually is -- and as I have described it -- but which you reject as not good enough.

There is a social institution. Its core doesn't fit your vision of society, and more, you attack that established core as irrelevant to the good of society. Actually, you probably deny that such a core has ever existed anyplace at anytime, let alone here and now.

Okay, let's go with your version of the public shared meaning of marriage. You can imagine that you have won the day and society now embraces your version of things.

1) What is the essence, the nature, the core of marriage? and 2) What good does it do for ALL of society?

This, mind, is what your victory would have society embrace as normative for all men and women (including even those who would not enter marriage) and all children.

Maybe you would reduce the public shared meaning to something like "whatever the particular couple decide it is for their particular relationship"?

But I would hope you can offer something more benefitial to society and something less diffusive.
3.31.2007 12:55am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"What is the essence, the nature, the core of marriage?"

A loving, committed, mutually-supportive and (hopefully) life-long relationship between two consenting adults.

"What good does it do for ALL of society?"

Encourages stability, sexual sobriety, fiscal responsibility, emotional maturity. Promotes commerce, property ownership and entrepreneurism. Reduces dependence on the state. Establishes legal bonds and mutual rights.
3.31.2007 1:19am
Grover Gardner (mail):
...oh, and,

"This, mind, is what your victory would have society embrace as normative for all men and women (including even those who would not enter marriage) and all children."

Indeed. Do you have a problem with the norms I stated above?
3.31.2007 2:23am
Aleks:
Re: It's trivially easy. Changing marriage laws to allow plural marriage to underage partners

Hmm. Let's say instead we change the marriage laws and allow humans to marry Ewoks, Hobbits, Martians and Centaurs. Now we've definitely changed the laws and thus, by your definition, changed the institution thereby. Will there be any harm though?

re: children would be subjected to sexual paraphernalia and other factors that contribute to the delinquency of a minor.

Oh, good grief, what silly prudery! You are aware, maybe, that for most of human history (and not uncommonly even today) children at all ages were witness to the copulation of animals as well as to the nakedness, execretory functions, birth and death events, and even sexual behavior of their family members (and friends, etc)? These are simple facts of biological life, not available for repeal by etherally-minded Gnostics like yourself. If they are sources of corruption and delinquency then we are, like, utterly doomed, my dear Mrs. Grundy.

Re: Children suffer from having their rights to their heritage taken away

See: Adoption.

Re: Abandonment also is on the rise because in an effort to equalize homosexual and heterosexual relationships

Care to offer some (real, hard) evidence?
3.31.2007 2:53am
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Collin: Yes, of course. It's trivially easy.

Too trivially, and without enough thought beforehand.

Changing marriage laws to allow plural marriage to underage partners would have actual harm on real humans in that (A) communities would suffer from ...

I do not care about damage to such abstractions as "communities," only to actual humans.

...immediate and potentially serious demographic imbalances...

Immediately?? On what day did this happen in your example?

(B) the plural, underage partners would likely be subject to abusive, controlling relationships.

Likely? That's what you call proof?? And don't abusive and controlling relationships occur outside Colorado City and outside plural, underage marriages?

I think that it is sufficient

Oh, well if Your Grace finds it sufficient then who are we mere mortals to question. It's a good thing Your Grace is so comfortable with double standards since your "proof" example doesn't even meet your own standards of sufficiency as I have shown.

Colorado City does nothing to prove how changing marriage law would affect communities, anyway, let alone humans, as the marriage laws in Colorado City do not allow plural marriage or even underage marriage. One could easily claim it is the culture of lawlessness brought on by your oppressive bigotry enshrined into law that has done whatever harm you claim exists in Colorado City.

It is this same bigotry at work with your standards of sufficiency. You decided based solely on your prejudices that "gay marriage" was a good thing and then adjusted your standards to whatever it took to keep your opinion in tact. Your lack-of-history argument was convenient, since no culture has ever adopted "gay marriage" as you advocate it. You overlook the obvious recklessness in this argument and accept it based only on the fact that it justifies your preconcieved conclusions. I doubt you turn very much of your personal life over to this kind of reasoning.

I provided the argument, narrative, and examples for harm to marriage here years ago. I would like to claim that the arguments presented there are my own invention, but the fact is, they are not. Virtually all of humanity has upheld the man-woman nature of marriage on substantially those grounds throughout all time. Those are the reasonable and persuasive arguments in this debate. The negligent "act first, think later" approach persuades nobody. It merely justifies having a closed mind.
3.31.2007 11:44am
Michael B (mail):
"Michael, the Prager piece didn’t do much to persuade people of the logic of your position the first time you exposed it to the criticism of rational people. Have you at least read it all the way through, this time?" Colin

"Prager's esssay has gotten no better since you mentioned it in November ..." Chimaxx

For reference, thesis in question, at least in its abridged form, is titled Judaism's Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism (and then Christianity) Rejected Homosexuality. It continues to represent one of the primary hallmarks in the overall set of discussions, the general debate. Too, as indicated, it represents a coherent, sustained and cogent argument; a broadly conceived thesis along anthropological, historical, socio-cultural and civilizational lines.

It was brought up in a thread in July '06 and subsequently it was addressed in a November '06 thread. In neither instance was anything substantively refuted, certainly not anything that can be thought of as primary or critical to the overall thesis and set of arguments employed therein.
3.31.2007 12:29pm
Elliot123 (mail):
On Lawn: children would be subjected to sexual paraphernalia

Priceless.

This is such a perfect ending, I withdraw from this thread and look forward to engaging with you folks the next time Mr. Carpenter posts.
3.31.2007 12:51pm
Michael B (mail):
On Lawn: children would be subjected to sexual paraphernalia
Priceless.
This is such a perfect ending, I withdraw from this thread and look forward to engaging with you folks the next time Mr. Carpenter posts. Elliot123
True, the isolated excerpt, alone (i.e. "children would be subjected ..."), has that superficial, moralistic, prudish quality to it, one seemingly deserving of the "priceless" and "perfect ending" dismissiveness. Problem is, the notion of prudishness is not what was originally suggested.

The referenced article was one that referred to San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair. It was not referenced in order to comment in a prudish fashion nor to suggest San Francisco's homosexual community should not be allowed to stage this street fair. Nothing, whatsoever, was being hinted at in that vein.

Instead it was used to allude, by inference, to broader, societal implications and possibilities. In other words - rather than prudery and rather than suggesting censorship of San Francisco's cultural choices and policies - the reference was cited to provide information and to allude to inferences that are not at all unlikely to become more common, more pervasive, on a societal level. In that vein, some excerpts from the cited article are germane:

"Beuschel and his girls were at the 22nd Folsom Street Fair, an annual leather event in San Francisco's South of Market district, which showcased outrageous costumes, fetish attire, and a community into bondage, whipping, flogging and spanking."

Also:

"'Why do (these people) bring kids here? This is a leather fair for god's sake,' said Bahran Aliassa, who was masturbating in public. He has been doing it annually for the past six years."

Hence it's not a matter of prudery or censorship (even to the contrary), instead it's a matter of allowing people, citizens, to choose - at the voting booth and not via judicial fiat - the type of society they wish to create and sustain. Taking an excerpt out of context and misrepresenting it, in order to be censorious and broadly dismissive, serves to obscure rather than clarify.
3.31.2007 2:25pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Op-Ed,

The state requires a number of things when applying for a marriage license. Proof of intent to bear offspring is not one of them. So why should gay partners be prevented from applying for a marriage license? Your letter-writer states that since same-sex unions cannot produce offspring, the state should take less interest in them. But we already do that: the state grants more benefits to couples with children than to those without, effectively offering incentives for child-bearing.

Certainly we have an interest in continuing the species. But since same-sex unions cannot produce offspring as your letter-writer claims, what difference does it make *under what circumstances* they *don't* produce offspring? How is allowing same-sex marriage going to change a) the fact that no offspring will result or b) the fact that childbearing is not a requirement of marriage? And how will allowing same-sex marriages *discourage* straight people from ahving children?
3.31.2007 2:51pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Michael B:

Your "judicial fiat" trope is a terrible mischaracterization itself. California has already passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage (vetoed by the governor, who said that the issue belonged in the courts), and the legislator who wrote that bill is poised to present it again. Meanwhile, bills to establish same-sex civil unions in both New Hampshire and Illinois are advancing well (without any judicial prodding). Regardless of whether any of the three passes (and both have strong support), pretending that supporters of same-sex marriage are only relying on the courts to make progress on this issue is a misrepresentation far more egregios than selectively quoting from a passage presented just a couple of screens up on the same web page.
3.31.2007 9:12pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Taking an excerpt out of context and misrepresenting it, in order to be censorious and broadly dismissive, serves to obscure rather than clarify."

Picking one media anecdote to characterize an enter population is better?
3.31.2007 11:15pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Enter" should read "entire," of course.
3.31.2007 11:18pm
On Lawn (mail):
Chimaxx wrote:

> "Your 'judicial fiat' trope is a terrible mischaracterization itself. California has already passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage (vetoed by the governor, who said that the issue belonged in the courts),"

Only one state has neutered the definition of marriage. That was not only a judicial fiat, but an exercise in its own power to dictate legislation to the legislature.

The legislature is not the voting booth. And the legislature has, so far, only served as a way to launder bad decisions as if to vet them through the people.

> "pretending that supporters of same-sex marriage are only relying on the courts to make progress"

That is quite a bit of mind-reading there Chimaxx. But leaving that aside, I'm afraid the efforts so far in the legislature are nothing exemplary either. I'll give a bit of correction on your misrepresentation of what happened in California.

Arnold did not say he thought we should leave it to the courts, the quote that I've seen is a worse quoting out of context than you accuse of Michael. Arnold's position has been consistent, that the people have ruled on the matter. It is between them and the courts. The legislature has been dealt out of the game. That isn't just Arnold's view, that is the constitutional view of referendums vs legislative bills.

Mark Leno felt that by wording the bill to say they felt it didn't conflict with the popular referendum would work. No amount of pretending can overlook the conflict. Apparently he still feels it will because he's trying again.

But then persistance is the mark of the California legislature where drivers licenses for illegal immigrants is brought up by "one-bill" Gill Cedeno every year. And Mark Leno after having his bill voted down already that year, engaged in some of the worst legislative gerrymandering to keep his hope alive. So while everyone else was concerned with hurricane Katrina, he focused on his pet project and slipped it past the people.
4.1.2007 1:08am
F. Rottles:
Grove Gardner, thanks for the response.

I see that you also stand by the pro-SSM argument about requirements. And proofs.

Please translate into requirements your proposed purpose for the status you would enshrine in the law.

You suggested: "A loving, committed, mutually-supportive and (hopefully) life-long relationship between two consenting adults."

Note that if an item on your list does not stand as a requirement, and if an item on your list does not stand absolute enforcement, it must be stricken and not included.

For just one example consider what proof of love (what kind of love, what criteria, and so forth) would be required and whether or not the government would be able to predict whether or not this or that particular relationship would become loveless or less loving.

That is the test that the pro-SSM proponents, and you yourself, have used to attack the core of marriage which the combination of responsible procreation and integration of the sexes.

I think that core stands up much better to the pro-SSM scutiny than would your list of platitudes. But you might demonstrate otherwise.

I also see that there is no mention of sexual relations in your list. This would be a sexless relationship in the eyes of the law, yes?

As for your speculation about the benefits to society, you will need to provide empiracl proof that each and every relationship so licensed will provide the benefits. If any benefit on the list is not supported, then, it must be stricken. Also if any benefit would happen anyway, outside of the licensed relationship, it too would be removed from the list.

As this thread may soon expire, I will say that I'd expect there is nothing in what you proposed that would withstand the same tests and attacks that the pro-SSM commenters have made on the core of marriage. That is, if you live in the same headspace as those commenters, which it appears you do, based on your comment about the purpose of marriage. Maybe you would distinguish yourself from those previous comments in that regard.

There is one thing that would still stand, I guess, and that is "Establishes legal bonds and mutual rights."

And so I will predict that your two lists will boildown to just that one thing -- and is thus an example of endgaming rather than starting with a purpose and setting forth requirements that define that purpose, enforced absolutely.

But you may have an opportunity here to show the superior strength of your two itemized lists. If not, a thread will be open at The Opine Editorials for you to show your reasoning.
4.1.2007 1:50am
F. Rottles:
Essence of Marriage and the Good it does. [LINK]
4.1.2007 3:26am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"I see that you also stand by the pro-SSM argument about requirements. And proofs."

You asked another commenter what he considered the core of marriage. I butted in and offered my two cents. I think if you asked the average person outside the context of this discussion, that would pretty much be their response. "Two people who love each other who decide to spend their lives together." They might include family in the definition, or they might not. A lot of people these days think about relationships first and building a family later. To most modern Americans' way of thinking, the second is moot if the first is not satisfactory.

Wikipedia states, "The reasons people marry vary widely, but usually include one or more of the following: the public declaration of love; the formation of a family unit; legitimizing sexual relations and procreation; legal, social and economic stability; and the education and nurturing of children."

You say I left out sex, but I did not. The kind of love between two people that results in marriage usually involves sex. And I mentioned among the benefits the confinement of sexual activity to a committed relationship.

"As for your speculation about the benefits to society, you will need to provide empiracl proof that each and every relationship so licensed will provide the benefits."

That's just an argumentative game you're playing. But in any case here's a list of some of the legal and economic benefits of marriage:

http://tinyurl.com/cud2h

Here's a list of some the health benefits:

http://tinyurl.com/2yk364

And here's an article detailing some of the more general benefits:

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/HL-804.cfm

The overall benefits to society would seem to be beyond argument to my mind. Perhaps you disagree.

"That is the test that the pro-SSM proponents, and you yourself, have used to attack the core of marriage which the combination of responsible procreation and integration of the sexes."

There's absolutely nothing in my definition of marriage or list of benefits that attacks the "core" of marriage as you describe it. Can you point out something that does?

The only problem you have with my definition is that it doesn't specifically discriminate against same-sex or childless couples. Otherwise, in the context of any other discussion, there would be nothing remarkable about it.

"I think that core stands up much better to the pro-SSM scutiny than would your list of platitudes."

It may have, in another day and age, and in a different society altogether. But ask anyone you meet today if a loveless marriage would satisfy their needs, or if "integration of the sexes and responsible procreation" is the sole purpose of marriage. I'm willing to bet you'll get some odd looks.
4.1.2007 3:34am
Grover Gardner (mail):
It would have been courteous to ask me before reposting my comment on your web site.
4.1.2007 3:45am
F. Rottles:
Grover Gardner, you did not translate your items to requirements and to enforcement of such requirements.

You did indeed use that sort of attack on the core of marraige. [LINK]


The state requires a number of things when applying for a marriage license. Proof of intent to bear offspring is not one of them. So why should gay partners be prevented from applying for a marriage license?


Your hyperlinked sources do not stand up to the sort of test and the attacks that have been made on the core of marriage which is the combination of contingency for responsible procration and integration of the sexes.

Whether or not I would agree with those sources is irrelevant here as it is you, an advocate of SSM, and other pro-SSM commenters, who have used test by which requirements define the purpose of marriage recognition. You object to a key requirement, that both-sexes participate, as irrelevant and yet have nothing that could really suffice to produce the benefits you speculate would be achieved with the proposed reform.
4.1.2007 6:12am
F. Rottles:

That the bond exists outside of marriage exist within marriage may not prove that marriage does not establish the bond, but it does prove that marriage is not the only thing that establishes the bond. But combine that with the fact that the bond sometimes is not created successfully within marriage, and the notion that marriage establishes the bond is suspect. At the very least, the fact that the correlation is not 1:1, that it is not necessary in the sense that breathing is necessary to life, suggests that the relationship of marriage to parent-child bonding, while it may be supportive, is not causative.


What bond are you really talking about?

The marriage presumption is that the married mother and father of the child will be both the child's biological parents and the child's social parents.

This bond exists in the social institution as a norm; it is expressed in our customs, traditions, and legal systems. Marriage normalizes the integration of motherhood with fatherhood. That is part and parcel of the bond that I had mentioned previous to your comment on the topic.

Now you may wish to characterize that bond as supportive rather than causative if you wish, but that is not on-point. (Actually, I think you may be referring to bonding -- something like the concept of social imprinting, I guess -- rather than the bond I mentioned.)The first principle of responsible procreation is that each of us, as part of a procreative duo, is responsible for the children we create. And each of us, born of man and woman, have a birthright to being raised by both our mother and father.

[Note: I did not claim there is some absolute right to our mothers and fathers. I did not say that there is some requirement that the government must fulfill in each and every circumstance -- i.e. forcing both parents to marry or to never permit adoption and the like. A birthright is what I said and what I meant. It exists as a duty of the parents -- the child's co-creators -- barring dire circumstances.]

Marriage is not a babymaking factory. It is a social institution and as such it is comrpised of a set of coherent aspirational ideals. Bonding men and women and their children is central -- it stands at the core of the shared public meaning of marriage.

Society could throw that away and find some other aspirational ideal for marriage -- or for close adult relationships -- but marriage is the most pro-child social institution that humankind has come up with. That's the starting line.
4.1.2007 6:42am
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Grover Gardner: Proof of intent to bear offspring is not one of them.

I neither claim that it is nor that it should be.

So why should gay partners be prevented from applying for a marriage license?

Asked and answered.
In order for same-sex couples to marry they have to make the definition all about the *feelings* of the two people involved and not about children. They have to remove the very social responsibility that warrants state notice of marriage to begin with. Because their unions will not result in offspring any consideration for children that is allowed to stay in the definition of marriage makes same-sex unions wholly unqualified. As you yourself have noted, once children are taken out of the picture, the state has no more interest in marriage.

A deterioration you, yourself, provide ample evidence of in this very thread:
"What is the essence, the nature, the core of marriage?"

A loving, committed, mutually-supportive and (hopefully) life-long relationship between two consenting adults.



But we already do that: the state grants more benefits to couples with children than to those without, effectively offering incentives for child-bearing.

I neither claim the state incentivizes child-bearing nor that it should.

...since same-sex unions cannot produce offspring as your letter-writer claims, what difference does it make *under what circumstances* they *don't* produce offspring? How is allowing same-sex marriage going to change a) the fact that no offspring will result or b) the fact that childbearing is not a requirement of marriage?

That is an argument why marriage should not be neutered.

And how will allowing same-sex marriages *discourage* straight people from ahving children?

It would not. That is the problem. Disassociating marriage from responsible procreation as you advocate means more procreation without the responsibility of marriage. Quoting again from the article to which you claim to be responding:
The State and I cannot ignore the responsibility of what my wife and I can create. My marriage is a commitment to my spouse, but even more relevant to the state it is a commitment to my children. Barring death, I will be there for my children even after they are capable of caring for themselves and their own children.

Same-sex partners want to marginalize the commitment to my children with a definition of marriage as simply an acknowledgement that my wife and I love each other. Inviting government to take an interest in my feelings for my wife opens up a Pandora's box of unprecedented government intrusiveness.


The preservation of society requires more than the propagation of individuals within it. It depends also on passing on the collective learnings, experiences and values of that society. See Cultural Genocide for Dummies.
4.1.2007 11:49am
Charlie Feather (mail):
ON THE REQUIREMENT TO REPRODUCE

The whole issue of the requirement to reproduce where it concerns marriage is an absolute red-herring. Gay marriage advocates continually bring this up, and I don't know why anyone keeps falling for this deviation of the argument. I see government involvement in human affairs as a proper function of the state to bring order to human activities. One of these activities is that men and women make babies together. That is simply a fact! It is one more human activity among so many others, and government has sought to turn this into an orderly and civilized process as it also does with economic and leisure activities. The institution of marriage is one of the tools it uses for doing this.

But making babies is not something that men together, or women together, or humans with animals or humans with plants together can do. These relationships require no special governmental regulation or institution that can't be achieved with ordinary laws. So marriage is simply inapplicable to people in these situations.

The entire argument of same-sex marriage advocates really boils down to this:

permitting marriage to gays would be "nice."

Awwwww.....
4.1.2007 6:27pm
Charlie Feather (mail):
THE HARM?

Colin (mail):
Heh, I note the irony of you saying this in a lawyerly blog.

All Elliot asked for were "specific and observable ways gay marriage harm[] heterosexual civil marriage." As he says above, any attorney should be able to figure that out. If a court asked you to demonstrate harm to your client, and you hemmed and hawed as you do here, all parties would immediately see through you - just as we do here.
3.29.2007 7:02pm


Restricting the question as you do to the harm that it might do to heterosexual civil marriage does disservice to the true debate, which is the legitimization of homosexuality.

Homosexuality in and of itself may theoretically do harm to no one, as any particular sexual practice may do no harm, also. But the gap between theory and reality is vast.

No action or behavior exists in isolation. They create, exist and perpetuate a particular social climate.

Homosexuality might be compared to drug use, gambling, prostitution or similar vices, and a similar question so often posed by gay rights advocates might also be asked by these practitioners: How does some one minding his own business and shooting heroin or snorting coke, going with prostitutes or gambling affect your personal life and happiness? Well, it shouldn't.

But that is theory.

In real life we know that these things create and perpetuate an undesirable and dangerous social climate. The same can be said of homosexual activity. We know from real life experience that it creates and perpetuates a social climate that glorifies self-centeredness, hedonistic pleasures, the spread of diseases, social instability and so forth, the so-called "gay lifestyle."

If society had to choose between social preferences that focus on children, monogamy, fidelity and stable family relationships, and ones that focus on individualistic, promiscuous, hedonistic pleasures and one-night stands, what should that preference be?

I think we all know.

The problem with homosexuality is not so much the isolated act, but the unhealthy social climate created and perpetuated by the selfish pursuit and glorification of carnal pleasures. It is no different from the same problem that any life of immorality would create.

No society has survived such a philosophy and way of life.

Marriage has never been and never will be an ideal to which most gays have ever aspired. Let's be honest. The use of marriage is part of their quest for social sanction of their behavior. The very few gays who may want to marry will have the effect of legitimizing the sexual choices and practices of the many who do not want to and will not marry. It's supposed to make homosexuality OK, to give it respectability, make it moral. It's really more about therapy than attaining the social ideal of a faithful and monogamous relationship, because this has never been the ideal among gays. The true ideal among gays is unbridled male sexual expression, and this is far more easily found with other males than it is with females, because a male really knows how men like their sex.

Not legally recognizing gay marriage, then, will have the effect of refusing to legitimize the promiscuity and hedonism so prevalent in the "gay philosophy", and sends the signal that responsible sexuality, procreation and family is still an enduring ideal to which men and women might aspire. Society creates in that way a special place for mothers and fathers.
4.1.2007 6:47pm
Charlie Feather (mail):
The SHIFTING FOUNDATIONS

As with abortion, allowing gay marriage really shifts the moral foundation of the law and other institutions onto some mysterious thing that is not part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, one of the pillars of Western Civilization. So the question is: Why should Christians, who are the overwhelming majority in America yield their system of values to this "mystery religion" that is held by only a small minority? In a supposedly "morally relative universe", why should the minority view trump the majority one? The majority says, for whatever reasons it may have, that homosexuality is socially undesirable, that is, wrong. Who's to say they're wrong about this?

Unless anyone saying that occupies the really moral high ground.... sort of like God.

Do homosexuals really want to share in the responsibility for the destruction of Western Civilization?
4.1.2007 7:05pm
Charlie Feather (mail):
The Gay Ideal

I post a revealing commentary that sums up my thesis from a gay man who claims to be fairly representative of the gay community. I did not make up the idea of the homosexual ideal. Homosexuals, themselves, affirm this.

From: bearfist2005@sbcglobal.net 03/31/06 08:38 pm Msg: 182 of 2721 on Yahoo forum


"Gay Marriage is from the Lesbian Asimilationists who want to mimic straight people. The Lesbians have grabbed the forefront of the Gay movement since the onslaught of HIV has killed so many Gay Male leaders in our community. Most of us Gay men don't want to pretend we're in the straight/monogomous role-model, which is becoming more unpopular among ever straights. I don't plan on marrying any one man, I have had long term relationships that were deep and committed, just not monogomous or should I say monotonous. Free Gay men do not want to become nice little queens-next-door. The "marriage" seeking is just a way of saying "Please don't kill me--I'm a human being just like you." However, I have no desire to settle down,"have children" and become nice little republicans. Most Gay men I know feel the same way. This "marriage" push comes from a small segment of Dykes from rich families and is jumping so far ahead of the national protection for employment and housing that we need much more than "marriage" laws."


Even though straight people do "get around" also, there exists, nonetheless, the ideal of marriage, fidelity, children and family, which they are encouraged to pursue. There exists no comparable ideal for gays. The only ideal I've seen promoted in gay lifestyles, gay pride parades, etc. is directed to selfish pleasures. How does this hurt society? The same way drug use, prostitution, gambling and other such activities might hurt society. These create an unhealthy social climate that does not reinforce society
4.1.2007 8:34pm
Ramza:

Yes, liberty's nonsense aside, it is a point that arbitrarily disincentivizing carbon use could disproportionately do economic harm to some countries. But it is also an addressable point. There are a hundred ways of rebalancing the effect. Only rich countries pay, or the per ton rate is partly depending on per capita gdp, or there is aid for growth policies that involve more expensive methods. Advantages and disadvantages to all, but doable.

Well said, but at the same time you describe what is possible, not what is likely. To do what you describe would take an international conference similar to the Kyoto treaty or WTO talks. The first didn't work that well, the second sometimes works very well.

Incorporating an additional cost into a substance to pay for a negative externality is basic economics. It is micro-economics, thus most conservatives forget about it ;) Externalities is why it it is not just important to have a free economy for a nation to become wealthy, no you also have to have other factors including infrastructure, education, flow of resources and capital to most efficient means and finally a system of fair and honest laws which allow you to accurately predict cost and returns.
4.1.2007 10:08pm
Ramza:
I meant to post the last post in the open thread, sorry.
4.2.2007 12:18am