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"Spousal unions" for same-sex couples pass New Hampshire House:

The vote was overwhelming and bipartisan, 243-129. The bill is limited to same-sex couples, who will have all the rights and restrictions of marriage. Attempts to include father-son and sister-aunt partnerships, etc., and opposite-sex couples, were defeated.

The bill moves to the state senate and then to the Democratic governor, who opposes gay marriage but hasn't spoken either way on civil or "spousal" unions.

New Hampshire would be the sixth state to grant full marital benefits to gay couples, and the third to do so purely legislatively, without an order from a court. All of the state-wide laws so far have been limited to same-sex couples (with an exception for elderly opposite-sex couples in California) and have applied the consanguinity and other eligibility restrictions of marriage.

UPDATE: A commenter makes an excellent catch. The actual legislation calls the new partnerships "spousal unions" — not "civil unions" — making it even harder to distinguish what the state is doing from marriage. I've adjusted the title and text of the post to reflect this. It's going to test some boundaries.

Some interesting questions to ask presidential candidates campaigning in New Hampshire and who've said they favor "civil unions," but not "marriage": Do you favor "spousal unions" for gay couples that give them all the rights and responsibilities of marriage but aren't called "marriages"?

And what if we take it the next step and called them "marital unions" but not "marriage"? This will test just what it is people think is at stake in the use of language to describe gay families.

Jay:
There are 373 members in the New Hampshire House? Is that like one per household?
4.5.2007 12:32am
Jay:
Er, 372
4.5.2007 12:37am
anonVCfan:
"Attempts to include father-son and sister-aunt partnerships, etc., and opposite-sex couples, were defeated."

Were these good faith suggestions, or attempts to defeat the bill by making it unpalatable? Obviously this is a matter of opinion, but perhaps someone who's either closer to the facts or less naive than me can enlighten me.
4.5.2007 12:50am
Ramza:

Were these good faith suggestions, or attempts to defeat the bill by making it unpalatable? Obviously this is a matter of opinion, but perhaps someone who's either closer to the facts or less naive than me can enlighten me.

Most likely they weren't "good faith" suggestions as evident by this comment in the article Dale linked too, the comment is in response to those amendments which were trying to broaden the debate about brother marrying brother and similar arrangements.

"I've not received one e-mail, one letter, one phone call from any two brothers seeking to enter a relationship. Have you?" asked Rep. David Pierce, D-Hanover.
4.5.2007 1:01am
Ramza:
In a Massachusetts legislation is about to be introduced to overturn the 1913 law that prevents Massachusetts to granting marriage licenses from residents outside the state. The Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, and the new Governor (not Romney) expect there is enough votes to pass such a law overturning the 1913 law (which was based off preventing interracial marriage).

Link

So if this is passed will we see federal court cases challenging DOMA due to the full faith and credit issue? The theory being I get married in Massachusetts move to another state and then sue that state for not granting me the marriage benefits? Or is there some other court case or past precedence that will prevent such lawsuit in the first place from happening or moving that far?
4.5.2007 1:14am
Luddite:
I don't know this first hand, but multiple professors I know have suggested that the common "public policy" exception to the FFC Clause makes that argument largely a non-starter. Perhaps someone here will correct me. It would certainly make for good political theater.
4.5.2007 1:30am
Ramza:
What is public policy exception Luddite? I can get married in one state and divorced in another even if each state has different requirements for marriage and divorce, these requirements can include "public policy" exceptions such as required cooling off and/or therapy.
4.5.2007 1:35am
Luddite:
DOMA also waives the states duties under the FFC on this issue . Wikipedia
Its not uncontroversial that they can do so, but I think the better argument is that Congress can waive such interstate duties.
4.5.2007 1:37am
John Herbison (mail):
One thing I have wondered about. Suppose a same sex couple lawfully marries in Massachusetts and later moves to a state which prohibits recognition of same sex marriage as valid. Suppose further that, years after the move, these partners sought to divorce. Would Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371, require access to the courts of latter state in order to dissolve the marriage?
4.5.2007 1:40am
Luddite:
Ramza

The following is from Heather Hamilton, Comment, The Defense of Marriage Act: A Critical Analysis of Its Constitutionality Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, 47 DePaul L. Rev. 943, 959 (1998):

The Court has also recognized that the requirements of the Full Faith and Credit Clause do not extend to those acts, records, or proceedings, which, if recognized, would violate the public policy of a state. The public policy exception to the Full Faith and Credit Clause was first discussed by the Court in Pacific Ins. Co. v. Industrial Accident Comm'n, where the Court stated that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a state to apply another state's law in violation of its own legitimate public policy. In Pacific, California desired to apply its own worker's compensation act in a case involving a Massachusetts employee and employer conducting business in California. The Court reasoned:

"It has often been recognized by this Court that there are some limitations upon the extent to which a state may be required by the full faith and credit clause to enforce even the judgment of another state in contravention of its own statutes of policy. And in the case of a statute, the extra-state effect of which Congress has not prescribed as it may under the constitutional provision, we think the conclusion is unavoidable that the full faith and credit clause does not require one state to substitute for its own statute, applicable to persons and events within it, the conflicting statute of another state, even though the statute is of controlling force in the courts of the state of its enactment with respect to the same person and events. . . . Although Massachusetts has an interest in safeguarding the compensation of Massachusetts employees while temporarily abroad in the course of their employment, and may adopt that policy for itself, that could hardly be thought to support an application of the full faith and credit clause which would override the constitutional authority of another state to legislate for the bodily safety and economic protection of the employees injured within it. Few matters could be deemed more appropriately the concern of the state in which the injury occurs or more completely within its power."
4.5.2007 1:40am
Luddite:
A more interesting question arises (and I would imagine could already arise today) if someone obtains a court judgment against a gay spouse and then tries to enforce it against them or their property when they are in a non-gay marriage jurisdiction. I think that the failure to honor another states court judgment would be much more problematic.
4.5.2007 1:46am
Luddite:
John,
That is interesting (this issue is a conflict of law professor's dream). Although this doesn't exactly answer your question, you would think that the state opposing gay marriage would rush to provide a divorce - Massachusetts destroys the social fabric by solemnizing gay marriage. Mississippi repairs it by offering divorces :)
4.5.2007 1:48am
BobNSF (mail):

Were these good faith suggestions, or attempts to defeat the bill by making it unpalatable?


I don't think the intent is to make the bill unpalatable by allowing relatives to CU each other, inplying shades of incest. The intent is to water down the same-sex couples' relationships to something quite less than that of married couples. There are many people who make a good argument that this country needs some sort of legal mechanism to join some relatives, or even friends, in binding relationship if they are dependent on each other. I often find myself agreeing with those folks.

As to whether those who proposed the amendments were acting in good faith, well, let's just note that they only bring up these progressive ideas when faced with a question of same-sex couples' rights. Nothing gets heterosexuals caring about each other like the threat of gay equality!
4.5.2007 1:52am
BobNSF (mail):
Not to quibble (OK, TO quibble), but these are not "civil unions". They are "spousal unions".

The text says so:
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2007/HB0437.html
4.5.2007 2:05am
BobNSF (mail):
How "bipartisan" was the vote? I haven't been able to find the party breakdown by googling, but the NH House is 239 Democrats to 161 Republicans (thank you, GWB). I suspect today's vote, 243-129, was decidedly lop-sided. I know at least a handful of Republicans voted for it -- I believe more than one sponsored the bill -- and I know some Dems opposed it -- a few because it did not grant actual marriage rights.

I'm old enough to remember when "bipartisan" didn't mean "not a strict party-line vote".
4.5.2007 2:31am
Brian K (mail):
What is the purpose of either allowing opposite sex couples or not allowing opposite sex couples to form civil/spousal unions?

If the amendment was an attempt to defeat the bill, why would it defeat it? Alternatively, why was the opposite sex couple amendment not attached to the bill?
4.5.2007 3:08am
Ramza:
Most forms of parliaments or congress require a specific number of votes (usually 50%) to add an amendment to a bill that is out of committee.
4.5.2007 3:13am
Blackbeard's Ghost:

Would Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371, require access to the courts of latter state in order to dissolve the marriage?


Better still, what if that state (say, Georgia) has a constitutional provision that strips all courts in its jurisdiction from hearing any case that even touches the subject
4.5.2007 3:51am
David Smallberg:

There are 373 members in the New Hampshire House?

400 actually, making it the fourth largest parliamentary body in the English-speaking world (after the UK House of Commons, the Indian Lok Sabha, and the US House of Representatives).
4.5.2007 4:12am
Skooby (mail):
The New Hampshire House's membership is capped at 400 by the State's constitution. That does mean that there each legislator represents roughly 2,500 voters, making it (I think) one of the most representative parliamentary bodies in the world. Ditto the executive branch, which has 2 branches--a governor and "executive council" consisting of 5 elected members.

BobNSF:

26 Republicans voted for the bill; so about 15% of the party's membership in the House. I'm not sure how many Democrats voted against it.
4.5.2007 7:43am
Dave N (mail):
David Smallberg responded to an earlier queestion:

There are 373 members in the New Hampshire House?

400 actually, making it the fourth largest parliamentary body in the English-speaking world (after the UK House of Commons, the Indian Lok Sabha, and the US House of Representatives).

Actually, the Mexican Chamber of Deputies has 500 members, though all are not directly elected.
4.5.2007 11:21am
F. Rottles (mail):
Brian K asked a good question: "What is the purpose of either allowing opposite sex couples or not allowing opposite sex couples to form civil/spousal unions?" [LINK]

"The intent is to water down the same-sex couples' relationships to something quite less than that of married couples. There are many people who make a good argument that this country needs some sort of legal mechanism to join some relatives, or even friends, in binding relationship if they are dependent on each other. I often find myself agreeing with those folks."

Bad answer.

So how would the legal mechanism not fite the purpose of the relationship status? And how, precisely, would it water down the status for the one-sexed arrangement?

Requirements define the purpose so please justify the exclusion of relationships which are presumptively not sexual. Even if there would be just one such relationship, you still need to justify the exclusion of all such relaitonships from eligiblity, as per the SSM argument in favor of special status.
4.5.2007 12:15pm
T_C:

A more interesting question arises (and I would imagine could already arise today) if someone obtains a court judgment against a gay spouse and then tries to enforce it against them or their property when they are in a non-gay marriage jurisdiction. I think that the failure to honor another states court judgment would be much more problematic.

Luddite

I think this recently happened in Virginia, with a Virginia court enforcing the child custody terms of a Massachusettes "gay divorce". Case doesnt leap to mind, but I remember some press coverage.
4.5.2007 1:47pm
RV:
400 actually, making it the fourth largest parliamentary body in the English-speaking world (after the UK House of Commons, the Indian Lok Sabha, and the US House of Representatives).

Dave N:Actually, the Mexican Chamber of Deputies has 500 members, though all are not directly elected.

I would guess the Mexican Chanber of Deputies is not English speaking.

So NH has created "spousal unions" which are only available to same-sex couples and provide all of the benefits and burdens of marriage. Opposite-sex couples are eligible for "marriage," which provides all teh benefite and burdens of marriage. We have two separate, theoretically identical systems with the only distinction being the sex of the parties. I don't understand why the language is so important to people. Just call it the same thing (whether it be marriage, spousal union, or civil union) and make it available to everyon regardless of what sexual orientation they happen to be. This semantic game is just silly.
4.5.2007 1:48pm
J_A:
Am very surprided by F. Rottles'previous post.

In several threads he has argued for the special status of the male-female marriage, for reasons that we might or not agree with. Therefore same sex relationships must, as perhis opinion, be a different arrangement, lets call it a civil union

Now, it seems that civil unions represent a special status that same sex couples want to create for themselves, and that is also a bad idea.

No, Sir, the same sex couples want have access to the regular marriage -no special status there. Is because many people believe that that should not be possible, that the alternative civils unions are created. Civil unions are only specila in that they have been created to be "less than marriage", but civil unions, as you say, fit the relationship status. A commited couple sharing their lives and perhaps raising children is different that other arrangements like roommates, and, since, it is your opinion, marriage is not a n open option, then civil unions are created.

Unless your argument is that, yes, all sexual monogamous commited relationships should be marriages, irrespective of gender, and therefore, civil unions can be a separate, different status for friends or siblings sharing resources and assets.
4.5.2007 2:07pm
Dave N (mail):
RV:

Oops--my bad. You are right. I was thinking of size--not language used by the legislative body (I had written but not posted earlier that the NH House was the third largest legislative body in North America, which it also is--the Canadian House of Commons is smaller).

I do wonder how much of the Lok Sabha debate is conducted in English--but regardless, I bow to the mistake of not carefully reading a post before responding to it.
4.5.2007 2:07pm
A.C.:
The question of same-sex romantic relationships often leads to questions about other household relationships that aren't romantic in nature. I saw this once in connection to gym memberships. An organization allowed employees to add a spouse to their gym memberships at a rate considerably less than what would otherwise be charged for another adult. Same-sex couples asked for the same benefit, and got it. The next move was opposite-sex couples who weren't married. Once that was accepted, the organization started to get applications from people in non-romantic family relationships -- people who lived with an elderly parent or adult son or daughter, for the most part. Eventually, the reduced-price second membership became available to any "sponsored adult," even friends who lived apart from the employees who sponsored them. (Each employee could sponsor only one adult.)

As a matter of employee benefits, I find this scheme entirely fair. There may even be certain public benefits that could be spread as widely -- everyone, regardless of romantic status or living situation, should have a trusted other person for certain key purposes, and it isn't really the state's business to decide who that person is or what the people involved do together in all other areas of life. I'm thinking in particular of elderly women, as many of them outlive their husbands by a significant length of time. Shouldn't they be able to enter into non-romantic contractual relationships, with either relatives or friends, to make that phase of life run better?

Even though I think this would be a good idea, I would hesitate to extend the ENTIRE package of rights, responsibilities, and benefits associated with marriage beyond the case of same-sex romantic couples seeking a marriage-like arrangement. Opposite-sex couples who want the whole package can always just get married, so they already have the chance to get that deal. The question of creating more limited arrangements, in terms of either duration or the nature of the package, is separate and should not be mixed up with the same-sex marriage debate.
4.5.2007 2:18pm
BobNSF (mail):
F. Rottles:

Bad answer.


Thank you ever so much for rendering judgement on my answer to an entirely different question than the one you cite.

As another poster has noted, you now seem to have switched sides in the argument and now expect me to defend this society's decision that committed, romantic relationships deserve "special rights". That other poster is surprised at your apparent flip-flop. I am not.
4.5.2007 3:11pm
BobNSF (mail):
Skooby:

26 Republicans voted for the bill; so about 15% of the party's membership in the House. I'm not sure how many Democrats voted against it.


Thanks for the number!

If 26 Republicans voted for, then 217 Dems voted for (total 243). Therefore, 157 Republicans and Democrats either voted against (129) or abstained (28).

So 16% of Republicans voted for and 90% of Dems voted for. The "yes" vote itself was 11% GOP and 89% Dem.

Not what I'd call "bipartisan", but, heck, progress is progress.
4.5.2007 3:20pm
RTG:
I wouldn't get too excited BobNSF, NH Republicans are probably significantly more likely to support gay marriage then Republicans just about anywhere else in the country. It's one of the view places where libertarians haven't been purged from the party.
4.5.2007 3:26pm
BobNSF (mail):
Dale raises the point:

Some interesting questions to ask presidential candidates campaigning in New Hampshire and who've said they favor "civil unions," but not "marriage": Do you favor "spousal unions" for gay couples that give them all the rights and responsibilities of marriage but aren't called "marriages"?


Some "civil unions", of course, also grant all the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Others do not. It varies state by state. (I wonder if someone knows enough about the NJ law to explain why the NH law is a few paragraphs but the NJ one ran 61 pages -- or is that something I misread somewhere??).

Personally, I prefer the term "spousal union" if for no other reason than I'd rather say, "We got spoused!" than "We got civilized!". As it is, living in California, I'd be limited to, "We're domesticated!".
4.5.2007 3:27pm
BobNSF (mail):

I wouldn't get too excited BobNSF


Oh, believe me, I don't.

I'm just being polite and going along with the "let's look at the bright side" attitude of those conservative supporters of same-sex couples (for unions or for marriage) who (over-)emphasize GOP support on those rare occasions when there is any.

;-)
4.5.2007 3:37pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
As a vehicle for gay inclusion same-sex marriage (&DU or CP's or whatever) makes sense. As a central institution for society to bond men &women to their children it's a wreaking ball.

The desire for multiple benefits among "couples" of any sort is real. From business partners to children caring for aging parents, to roommates, to brothers &sisters. Same-sex marriage leaves us with no principled reason to limit these benefits to "people who happen to have sex with one another."

Indeed, as the reality of gay marriage spreads, more compelling cases of long term care givers will rise to the forefront. And what will we be able to say?

LINK


LINK
4.5.2007 5:50pm
LnGrrrR (mail):
Well, given New Hampshire's state motto, I'd be surprised if there WEREN'T a few Libertarians left! (This coming from a New Hampshire libertarian...)



Ps. For those of you who don't know, our state motto is "Live Free or Die".
4.5.2007 6:07pm
BobNSF (mail):

And what will we be able to say?


Uh... that two elderly sisters living together are to married lesbians as an elderly brother and his elderly sister living together are to a married, opposite-sex couple.

As I said earlier, nothing gets people more concerned about their elderly relatives than gay equality.

The motivation strikes me as rather odd, but, since the concern is long overdue, it's about time.
4.5.2007 6:09pm
Dick King:

I think this recently happened in Virginia, with a Virginia court enforcing the child custody terms of a Massachusettes "gay divorce". Case doesnt leap to mind, but I remember some press coverage.


Child custody laws have nothing to do with marriage laws, with one small exception [that when a wife bears a child the husband is presumed to be the father].

In the Virginia case the parent[s] who didn't actually bear the child almost certainly signed adoption papers.

-dk
4.5.2007 6:13pm
A.C.:
BobNSF got it right. Whether society ALSO decides to provide some legal recognition to siblings living together is irrelevant to whether the legal recognition currently available to opposite-sex couples who choose marriage should also be available to same-sex couples who choose a status that is legally equivalent to marriage.

Questions about temporary relationships, "palimony," and so on are also irrelevant unless states adopt a form for legal gay relationships that is different from the form straight couples get. That's what opens up the whole can of worms. Gay marriage on the same terms as straight marriage, whatever you want to call it, is much more clear-cut.
4.5.2007 6:50pm
springjourney (mail):
New law is absolutely unconstitutional, since there is no compelling reson to prohibit same sex relatives from spousal benefits. Brother and brother sister and sister can be in love as any other gay couple and fully entitled to any kind of benefits that unrelated same sex couples have.
4.5.2007 11:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
Fitz: "As a central institution for society to bond men &women to their children it's a wreaking ball. The desire for multiple benefits among "couples" of any sort is real. From business partners to children caring for aging parents, to roommates, to brothers &sisters. Same-sex marriage leaves us with no principled reason to limit these benefits to "people who happen to have sex with one another."

Yes, because our society is overflowing with business partners having sex with each otheer and children caring for and having sex with their aging parents, who want to then have children just so they can abandon them later.

Yes, now that NH has this new law, parents will stop loving and bonding with their children from the Canadian border (especially there!) right on down to the smallest maple-syrup producing hamlet.

Let's check in in a couple of years to see if you are right, eh Fitz? How aboot those Canadians?
4.6.2007 1:36am
Randy R. (mail):
Yup, Spring journey, you are right. I hope that you are among the first petitioners to prove that you love your siblings just like gay couples do and contest the constitutionality of the law.

Hey, I have nothing against incest, especially since our most conservative people are always advocating on its behalf whenver the topic of SSM arises.
It's funny -- I've never seen so many people try to get to incestuous relations legitimized as when SSM is raised!
4.6.2007 1:40am
F. Rottles (mail):

Therefore same sex relationships must, as perhis opinion, be a different arrangement, lets call it a civil union


No, let's not, especially if you mean merger with marriage recognition.

The one-sexed arrangment is nonmarital so it should not be intertwined with marital status.

Designated beneficiaries would be a better solution particuarly for those who think this is really about a contractual arrangement and a series of protections for that arrangement.

Marriage is about a preferential status based on the nature of the social institution. The one-sexed arrangement is sex-segregative, not sex-integrative; it does not provide contingency for responsible procreation. So its nature is not that of marriage. Treating to things the same -- through a merger by whatever name -- is a lousy way to make social policy.

The homosexual relationship type is a subset of nonmarital alternatives; the one-sexed arrangement is another subset of within which exists the homosexual type. Thusfar, no commenter here has differentiated (in terms of the SSM argument about requirements) the homosexual relationship type from other one-sexed arrangements or from other nonmarital arrangements involving caretaking relationships. Apparently the law should not consider what people do, or do not do, in the privacy of their relationships -- so this concept of "spousal union" or "civil union" is not based a presumptin of a sexual relationship. It is more along the lines of designated beneficiaries, which needs no special relationship status. It is merely a validation, by affidavit, of a particular arrangement for protections. Unlike the nature of marriage, no preferential status flows from it and none is justified.
4.6.2007 5:01am
F. Rottles (mail):
BobNSF: committed, romantic relationships deserve "special rights"

That is your position, is it not? Afterall, this is what you think is core of what is recognized by marital status.

Your postion is wrong. Your previous answer, bad or poorly considered.

What distinguishes the homosexual relationship from the marital relationship is, as I have outlined, the fact that the nature of, the core of, the essence of marriage is extrinsic to the one-sexed arrangement -- homosxual or not. It is this that the homosexual type of relationship has in common with many more common arrangements.

But you seem to say that the key thing that distinguishes the homosexual type from the other nonmarital type of relaitonships is romance.

Is there now a requirement in the "spousal union" law that the couple love each other? That a loveless union is invalid? That if love diminishes, or becomes impaired, the state can revoke the new status?

Maybe you can consider this in light of the prohibition on closely related individuals, in the spousal union law. This is not marriage, so why the prohibition based on marriage?
4.6.2007 5:11am
F. Rottles (mail):

I've never seen so many people try to get to incestuous relations legitimized as when SSM is raised


Nonsense. The point is that love and commitment come in many forms of nonmarital arrangements.

The SSM advocates want to elevate a particular type of such an arrangement -- but can't seem to provide a purpose defined by the requirements. It is open-ended, in principle.

It is unjust to borrow from marriage just because some here would are satisfied to make the error of equating the homosexual relationship type with the conjugal relationship type.

If a special status is in accord with the nature of the relationship type, then, justify that status based on that nature. If not, then, you haven't met the burden that a reformer carries when seeking to enact his or her pet project.

Marriage recognition provides a preferential status, not just a laundry list of protections, based on the nature of marriage: it is both-sexed and thus integrative of the sexes; it bonds men and women in the context of providing contingency for responsible procreation -- ie. the man and woman who would create a child together are presumed to be, and to continue to be, both the biological and the social parents of their child (barring dire circumstances). This is extrinsic to the one-sexed arrangement. A fact which is conceded when the pro-SSM argument denies that this is the nature of marriage.

So, defend the special status sought for the homosexual type of relationship, apart from other nonmarital arrangements, based on the nature of it -- based on the merits and demerits of the nature of that type of relationship. And, as per the SSM argument presented by commenters, write the law with requirements that define that purpose and justification for this special status.

(If you are tempted to say, "Hey, its all marriage so no special status," hold on a minute. Marital status is a preferential status both in customs, traditions, and laws. It is preferred and not merely protected nor merely tolerated. If you seek to treat a certain type of relationship on par with that preferential status, then, you either seek to elevate that type to a special status, or you seek to demote marital status.)
4.6.2007 5:27am
F. Rottles (mail):
If you seek to merge nonmarriage (i.e. in this case same-sex registration) with marriage, you might also be seeking to deinstitutionalize marriage. But no matter the motivation, if you wish to set apart one type of relationship from other comaprable types of relationships, you need to justify the special treatment you seek.

What is the essence of the relationship type you think should be the subject of a so-called spousal union law? What would be the definitive requirements?

And, as per Fitz, what's the reason you think such a type of relationship is superior to the conjugal relationship (its nature being both-sexed) -- why is your idea superior, by your reasoning, than the need for integration of the sexes and responsible procreation?
4.6.2007 5:34am
GreenGiant:
Springjourney said: "New law is absolutely unconstitutional, since there is no compelling reson to prohibit same sex relatives from spousal benefits. Brother and brother sister and sister can be in love as any other gay couple and fully entitled to any kind of benefits that unrelated same sex couples have."

Springjourney, by this logic, current marital laws are unconstitutional becuase, to paraphrase your argument, "brother and sister can be in love as any other straight couple and fully entitled to any kind of benefits that unrelated opposite sex couples have."

These slippery slope arguments are a bit short sited. If it is such a dangerous slippery slope, then we should get rid of the slope altogether and abolish all forms of marriage. As it stands, the heterosexuals have started us on this slippery slope -- gay folk just want to sit next to them on the slide.

The key fault in these types of arguments for incest and bestiality is that no one, male or female, is currently allowed to marry a sibling, close relative, or animal. Everyone is equally restricted by law.

However, men do not have the same right as women do to marry a man, and women do not have the same right men do to marry a woman. Do we have laws only allowing men to be business partners with women, but not with other men?
4.6.2007 6:32am
GreenGiant:

F. Rottles:
"Marriage is about a preferential status based on the nature of the social institution. The one-sexed arrangement is sex-segregative, not sex-integrative; it does not provide contingency for responsible procreation. So its nature is not that of marriage. Treating to things the same -- through a merger by whatever name -- is a lousy way to make social policy."

Providing contingency for responsible procreation is not sole purpose in allowing/promoting both-sexed marriage. You seem to recognize this in citing it as the only difference between the two.

Procreation, though, is the wrong word -- it should be "child rearing". What does "responsible procreation" mean? That the couple got a good night's rest after coitus? That they didn't do it in public? That they performed the act on a sturdy bed? Clearly, the arguments must not be "responsible procreation" but "responsible child rearing".

Obviously, the social good behind your sentiment is that couples responsibley care for their children. Gay couples adopt, act as foster parents, have children from previous opposite-sex sex, artificial insemination, etc. It's the same "social instituion" of a loving couple raising thier children responsibly.

Why are the children of both-sexed parents any more important than the children of one-sexed parents?
4.6.2007 6:59am
Shawn-non-anonymous:
So now we have "Civl Unions", "Domestic Partnership" (California), and "Spousal Unions."

Can we at least standardize on a name? Geez. This is like trying to choose a cell phone service (CDMA? GSM? Which spectrum? 1800?) ARGH.
4.6.2007 10:07am
springjourney (mail):

GreenGiant:"

Springjourney, by this logic, current marital laws are unconstitutional becuase, to paraphrase your argument, "brother and sister can be in love as any other straight couple and fully entitled to any kind of benefits that unrelated opposite sex couples have."

Do not try pervert the logic.
Current law is absolutely constitutional, because any person regardless of gender can get married another person of the opposite sex. This is a nature of marriage, at least in 49 states in U.SA.



These slippery slope arguments are a bit short sited. If it is such a dangerous slippery slope, then we should get rid of the slope altogether and abolish all forms of marriage.

I do not care, if we get rid of marriage, that at least will be constitutional.


As it stands, the heterosexuals have started us on this slippery slope -- gay folk just want to sit next to them on the slide.

Pervert logic again.


The key fault in these types of arguments for incest and bestiality is that no one, male or female, is currently allowed to marry a sibling, close relative, or animal. Everyone is equally restricted by law.

As well as everyone can get married. Your logic is flawed.


However, men do not have the same right as women do to marry a man, and women do not have the same right men do to marry a woman. Do we have laws only allowing men to be business partners with women, but not with other men?

There is no such right for man to marry man, and woman marry woman does not exist. YOu made it up.
4.6.2007 1:07pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Re: Neutered Marriage.

As a example of OnLawns point referring to same-sex "marriage" as neutered marriage (and also my androgyny language)

One example: Gendered language such as Husband, Wife, Grandmother Grandfather, Bride, Groom, Mother, Father, are (after adoption of same-sex "marriage") not simply under inclusive -- rather as a legal matter are simply not accurate. That is - they no longer are valid in describing the institution as an institution. They may be applicable in any given instance, or even a same-sex couple could use them in reference to themselves. As a legal matter however (which is vested in the accurate use of terminology) they are simply not accurate descriptive terms as to the institution.

Example: Notice the use of Partner A &Partner B on Massachusetts marriage licenses and Progenitor A &B on Spanish Birth certificates.
4.6.2007 2:51pm
BobNSF (mail):
When folks like F. Rottles go into absurdity mode with high-falooting language like "sex-segregative", etc., I generally stop engaging them because it's utterly useless, but I was struck by this:

What distinguishes the homosexual relationship from the marital relationship is, as I have outlined, the fact that the nature of, the core of, the essence of marriage is extrinsic to the one-sexed arrangement -- homosxual or not. It is this that the homosexual type of relationship has in common with many more common arrangements.

But you seem to say that the key thing that distinguishes the homosexual type from the other nonmarital type of relaitonships is romance.


It got me to thinking about how some folks must view any male/female interaction. By F. Rottles' sex-integrative standard, there is more "maritality" (I can make up absurd terms, as well) in my interaction with the nice lady at the burrito shop down the street than there is in my 26-year partnership with my other half. Afterall, I'm fertile (as far as I know), and she appears to be so, as well. Besides, F. Rottles has already stipulated that actual ability to procreate is irrelevent... it's the appearance that matters.

Having dismissed romantic love and a desire to commit as superfluous to the "core" of marriage, there's little to marriage, other than the threat of reproduction. Why, strolling through a "sex-integrated" crowd, every man is a walking bigamist in the making!

I think this is how the Taliban view "sex-integration".
4.6.2007 2:59pm
GreenGiant:
springjourney, I am not quite sure if I should take the time to respond to a post that amounts to "nuh-uh, I'm right and you're wrong" (You may want to show the flaws in my argument by making a better argument, not by simply stating my logic is "pervert" [sic]) but you've sucked me in...

Current law is absolutely constitutional, because any person regardless of gender can get married another person of the opposite sex. This is a nature of marriage, at least in 49 states in U.SA.
Just because this is the nature of marriage in 49 states does not mean that it is morally right or even constitutional. Two state supreme courts have already agreed with this.

And you state the obvious that opposite-sex marriage is the "nature of marriage" in most states. That's the point of our discussion - whether these laws are fair. More precisely, you should have stated that these are the "laws on marriage".

Remember, the "nature of marriage" (i.e. laws on marriage) just 40 odd years ago was such that people were sentenced to jail for interracial marriage. The last of such laws was finally removed from the books in the year 2000. The accepted "nature of marriage" back then was discriminatory, just as the current laws against or excluding SSM today are discriminatory.


As well as everyone can get married. Your logic is flawed.
No, not everyone can get married - or we would not be having this discussion. Check this logic again. I argue that the system you advocate is gender discrimination. Men have a right which women do not - to marry a woman. You seem to say, ya, but it works the other way, since woman can marry men, while men cannot. Can you name another legal arrangement, contract, or gov't conferred right that works this way? Separate but equal didn't work for races. It should not work for gender either. Especially when children are being harmed by the current discriminatory laws.


There is no such right for man to marry man, and woman marry woman does not exist. YOu made it up.
And someone before me made up the right for a man to marry a woman, and a woman to marry a man. Besides, your assertion is incorrect. As you pointed out earlier, there IS such a right for man to marry man, and woman to marry woman - in 1 state. Now NH and NJ have marriage in all but name, a silly semantic game, pushing the number functionally to 3 states.
4.6.2007 7:54pm
springjourney (mail):

GreenGiant:
...
Just because this is the nature of marriage in 49 states does not mean that it is morally right or even constitutional. Two state supreme courts have already agreed with this.


Where the evidences that marriage is immoral and our current laws are unconstitutional? Please give me the law that explicitly prohibit anyone from marrying unrelated anyone of opposite sex. This is an essence of marriage man. There is no room for negotiation. Either you get married or not get married, that is it. If you do not like your gender then change your gender get a proof that you are woman and marry the man. Why should the society adjust to your feelings? There is no law that talks about sexual feelings.
We need marriage as a mechanism to support natural relationship between man and a woman, natural birth and natural rearing of the generation of people that will be supporting us. There is no other reason to have a marriage, all B.S. about SSM is big B.S. there is no compelling reason to have it.


Remember, the "nature of marriage" (i.e. laws on marriage) just 40 odd years ago was such that people were sentenced to jail for interracial marriage. The last of such laws was finally removed from the books in the year 2000. The accepted "nature of marriage" back then was discriminatory, just as the current laws against or excluding SSM today are discriminatory.

This is lousiest argument I have ever heard. How race is related to gender. Marriage is about genders not the race. That is exactly why those laws have been abolished, because it was discrimination against race it had nothing to do with marriage.
Using your logic we should say that because women could not vote 150 years ago, now presidential election should include all citizens of all possible countries in the whole world.
Or likewise, because black could not have property, we change the definition of the property and now private property is something that always should be opened to the public.
You are talking about discrimination against what? EVERY man and EVERY woman can get married that is it. Marriage is assumed to be a union of one man and one woman. That is why we have husbands and wives, brides and groom, grandmothers, parents in laws.
And how you can even think about discrimination if you are going to discriminate against those children that will not be able to know their biological parents, because of that B.S. called SSM. Who you are to judge what is moral and what is not?
4.6.2007 11:56pm
GreenGiant:

We need marriage as a mechanism to support natural relationship between man and a woman, natural birth and natural rearing of the generation of people that will be supporting us. There is no other reason to have a marriage, all B.S. about SSM is big B.S. there is no compelling reason to have it.
...
And how you can even think about discrimination if you are going to discriminate against those children that will not be able to know their biological parents, because of that B.S. called SSM.

I must assume you've never heard of foster care, adoption, artificial insemination, surrogacy, or children from previous marriages. These are facts of life that will never go away. In my small state there are over 1200 children awaiting adoption. Gay men and lesbians are allowed to foster and adopt in most states, but not to marry. Why should the children of same-sex partners be denied basic benefits and protections? How could you possibly feel that the children of straight parents are any more deserving than the children of gay parents?

On a side note, how many children have you fostered or adopted? If the answer is zero, you really have no moral ground on which to stand. If every person or couple against gay marriage would fostor or adopt, not only would the world be a better place, but the argument for gay marriage would have one less leg to stand on.


How race is related to gender. Marriage is about genders not the race. That is exactly why those laws have been abolished, because it was discrimination against race it had nothing to do with marriage.

It's called an analogy. Your argument is the same argument used by bigots against interracial marriage. You admit your argument did not work then, so why does it magically work now?

And seriously, you say "it was discrimination against race it had nothing to do with marriage."????? So, if I follow you, marriage laws against interracial couples had nothing to do with marriage? That would be like me saying "it is discrimination based on gender and has nothing to do with marriage." These are marriage laws we are talking about here.


There is no law that talks about sexual feelings.
Again, we are talking about marriage, not sexual feelings. If you think gay marriage is about sexual feelings, then you must think that straight marriage is about sexual feelings. So much for love, caring, companionship, family, children.


Who you are to judge what is moral and what is not?

Are you serious? You spent two paragraphs talking about what is "normal" and "good", and then ask who I am to judge what is moral? I've got to call a flagrant foul on that one -- excessive pot calling the kettle black.

I do not think it is a huge leap of logic to state that discriminatory laws aimed at destroying gay familes and harming their children are immoral laws.
4.7.2007 2:42am
GreenGiant:

One example: Gendered language such as Husband, Wife, Grandmother Grandfather, Bride, Groom, Mother, Father, are (after adoption of same-sex "marriage") not simply under inclusive -- rather as a legal matter are simply not accurate. That is - they no longer are valid in describing the institution as an institution. They may be applicable in any given instance, or even a same-sex couple could use them in reference to themselves. As a legal matter however (which is vested in the accurate use of terminology) they are simply not accurate descriptive terms as to the institution.

Example: Notice the use of Partner A &Partner B on Massachusetts marriage licenses and Progenitor A &B on Spanish Birth certificates.

I would assume they use Partner A and Partner B to make one all inclusive form. Otherwise they would need a form with Husband A and Husband B, and a second form with Wife A and Wife B. I would also assume this language is used to be less "offensive" to those with an anti gay marriage agenda. We can't use the term "marriage" so why use the term "husband" or "wife"? For that matter, why "Partner" and not "Spouse"?

I'm also not sure why you consider husband, wife, grandparetns, etc. to not be valid any longer?

Husband means "male spouse" or "married male" and not necessarily or uniquely "straight male married to a straight female".

And Mother means "female parent", not "straight female parent maried to a straight male".

And do you think the children of gay parents don't have grandparents? Even Dick Cheney won't be disowning his grandchild.

Okay, I am having a little fun. But seriosly, why would this language not apply legally if used in the way I suggest?
4.7.2007 3:02am
F. Rottles (mail):

Clearly, the arguments must not be "responsible procreation" but "responsible child rearing".


The first principle of responsible procreation is that the man and the woman, as the procrative duo, are responsible for the children they'd create. The father is both the biological and the social father of her child; the mother is both the biological and social father of his child. Society does not pluck children from maternity wards and randomy assign children to this or that adult. Motherhood and fatherhood, together, flow from this in, yes, responsible parenting.

Okay, so there are single parents. I am not saying they are irresponsible parents. I am simply pointing out that the starting line is responsible procreation, which entails integration of motherhood and fatherhood. This is the nature of marriage.

But if you wish that for all of society -- for all both-sexed couples in particular -- that we abandon this principle, then, you would propose a very radical change.

Most of the children living in same-sex households, by far, got there via the previously procreative relationships of their parents. These children have both mothers and fathers. One parent is nonresident -- usually as a result of divorce. Responsible procreation protects the parental status of the parent who migrates from marriage to a same-sex relationship. The resident parent's same-sex partner does not supplant the nonresident parent and unilaterally destroy the nonresident parent's parental status. Responsible parenting has this overflow effect -- the mother and father are expected to remain the social parents of their children. But if the nature of marriage is abandoned, then, no such overflow would be sustainable as the preference for responsible procreation will be drained from social policy -- and more importantly drained from the normative influence of the social institution of marriage.
4.7.2007 3:57am
F. Rottles (mail):

Gay couples adopt, act as foster parents, have children from previous opposite-sex sex, artificial insemination, etc. It's the same "social instituion" of a loving couple raising thier children responsibly.


The two-dad or two-mom situation depends on parental relinquishment (or loss). That is not the nature of marriage.

Foster parenting and adoption are not the core of marriage.

Same-sex parenting is not the same social institution as marriage. If you wish to propose that the core of all marriages must now be equated with the way that one-sexed arrangements attain children, then you do indeed propose a radical change in society.


Why are the children of both-sexed parents any more important than the children of one-sexed parents?


False dichotomy.

All children are born of man and woman. Here we are speaking of marriage, not of extramarital procreation nor of adoption.

The presence of children does not bestow marital status on a both-sexed couple. The new man in the life of a mother does not become her husband by merely residing with the mother's children.

When SSM advocates drag children into the spotlight, they do so as an exercise in backward engineering. That effort is part and parcel of fragmenting marriage into bits and pieces.

SSM would not create the child-parent relationship that would be created through second-parent adoption, for example.
4.7.2007 4:10am
F. Rottles (mail):
BobNSF:


F. Rottles has already stipulated that actual ability to procreate is irrelevent... it's the appearance that matters.


I made no such stipulation.

Since you have admitted that you imagine that sex integration is a man buying a burrito from a woman, you have conceded that your are not competent to ratinally discuss the nature of marriage.


Having dismissed romantic love and a desire to commit as superfluous to the "core" of marriage, there's little to marriage, other than the threat of reproduction.


You proposed romance as the purpose of marriage. Please point to the requirements in the "spousal union" law. This is the test you have repeatedly applied to the both-sex requirement.

Your silence on this speaks louder than your sarcasm.


I think this is how the Taliban view "sex-integration".


Namecalling does not distract from your failure to address the substantive flaws in your proposal, as per your earlier comment about romance.
4.7.2007 4:18am
F. Rottles (mail):

Remember, the "nature of marriage" (i.e. laws on marriage) just 40 odd years ago was such that people were sentenced to jail for interracial marriage.


You conflate the laws of marriage with the nature of marriage. That is a common problem with SSM advocates. The law recognizes marriage and does not create the nature of marraige.

The race analogy is deeply flawed. There is one human race and its nature is both-sexed, not one-sexed.

In the past, the racist identity filter was used to selectively segregate the sexes; today the SSM demand passes through the gay identity filter to bring selective sex segregation under the auspices of the social institution that integrates the sexes -- combined with responsible procreation.

Racism exists, yes, but consider how the laws against interracial marriage attempted to define racial purity. Race classification is extrinsic to sex integration and responsible procreation. The nature of marriage was not created by racist laws, anywhere, at anytime in human history. Pressing racism into marriage is as unjust as pressing gay identity into marriage.
4.7.2007 4:25am
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Still the same old attempts to say that gay married couples aren't married when they have every single attribute that is required of straight married couples.

Marriage is about a commitment to 'build a life together' exclusively. That is how it differs from living with your dad, or your brother, or your sibling, etc. Gay couples are married, two brothers are just 'playing house' as the old disparaging comment used to go.

This issue is and has always been why aren't all citizens given reasonable license to the civil contract in support of their marriages? All flavors of heterosexuals already have access, the only ones excluded are those who can only reasonably be expected to build a life with someone of the same gender.

Its an equal access issue.
4.7.2007 4:41am
GreenGiant:

F. Rottles:
Responsible parenting has this overflow effect -- the mother and father are expected to remain the social parents of their children. But if the nature of marriage is abandoned, then, no such overflow would be sustainable as the preference for responsible procreation will be drained from social policy -- and more importantly drained from the normative influence of the social institution of marriage.

Can you clarify this last point. I believe I follow what you are saying up to here. It sounds like you've basically described the standard flow of marriage leading to divorce leading to step-parents with biological parents still involved in thier childrens' lives. Are you saying that having same-sex step-parents will cause a change in social policy and normative influences that opposite-sex step-parents will not? If I am understanding you correctly, I do not follow this reasoning. Why would same-sex step-parents cause other people and lawmakers to no longer value responsible child rearing, or biological non-resident parents to stop caring for thier children?

Also note that the numbers are declining for straight divorce followed by one or both of the partners entering a same-sex reltaionship. As the stigma of homosexuality has declined there are fewer gay people entering opposite-sex marriages out of confusion, cover, guilt, etc. These numbers are sure to continue to decline.

On the other hand, same-sex couples are increasingly adopting, fostering, or using artificial insemination or surrogacy.

I can understand the visceral reaction when child welfare is involved. However understandable this gut reaction is, in this case it is completely unfounded. Over 20 research articles published in peer reviewed journals over the past ~25 years concerning emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and social outcomes for children raised by same-sex couples have shown no difference compared to children raised in opposite-sex couples, save one: social acceptance (issues other people have with them).

Here are all of the organizations with statments and/or research in favor of same-sex marriage and adoption:
-Child Welfare League of America
-North American Council on Adoptable Children
-American Mecical Association
-American Academy of Pediatrics
-American Psychiatric Association
-American Psychological Association
-National Association of Social Workers

Massachussetts still has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country and no decline in the rate of opposite-sex marriages. To paraphrase Mark Twain, "Reports of Marriage's death have been greatly exaggerated."
4.7.2007 5:07am
GreenGiant:

All children are born of man and woman.

But not all children are raised by a man and woman, or even by the man or woman who are the biological parents. Should we not allow divorce? Should we force unmarried couples to marry if the women become empregnated? Should step-parents not be allowed to marry or adopt? Why do we allow step-parents to adopt, but only if they are opposite-sex?


When SSM advocates drag children into the spotlight, they do so as an exercise in backward engineering. That effort is part and parcel of fragmenting marriage into bits and pieces.

You brought children into the spotlight by making procreation the major purpose and justification for marriage. It's a practical argument at its base, that responsible child rearing is a social good. So is my discussion of children in same-sex parented families.

How can children be excluded from the discussion? It is a reality that is not going to go away - there are growing numbers of children being succesfully and happily raised by same-sex parents. I agree that child welfare is important, but don't limit this social good with blinders on disregarding the current state family forms in our country. You focus on the word "procreation", I focus on the word "children", but we're both talking about the same thing.


The two-dad or two-mom situation depends on parental relinquishment (or loss). That is not the nature of marriage.

Foster parenting and adoption are not the core of marriage.

Same-sex parenting is not the same social institution as marriage. If you wish to propose that the core of all marriages must now be equated with the way that one-sexed arrangements attain children, then you do indeed propose a radical change in society.

It would appear, then, that the social institution of marriage is broken. It ignores fostering, adoption, same-sex step-parents. Interracial marriage was a radical change in society, but an appropriate one. So is same-sex marriage.
4.7.2007 5:44am
Brian Miller (mail):
Marriage is about a preferential status

A special right, in other words. One that advocates of the preferential status tend to indulge in, themselves.

Most of the opposition to gay marriage seems to be, at its core, a reptilian response to the idea that one's special marital welfare benefits might not be so exclusive anymore.
4.7.2007 5:52am
GreenGiant:

You conflate the laws of marriage with the nature of marriage. That is a common problem with SSM advocates. The law recognizes marriage and does not create the nature of marraige.

And you conflate the nature of relgious marriage with the nature of legal marriage. This is a common problem with the anti-SSM crowd. The law does indeed create the nature of legal marriage, and has changed its nature over time (women can file for divorce, interracial couples can marry, etc.).


There is one human race and its nature is both-sexed, not one-sexed.

Actually, there is one human species, and its nature one of multiple races, two genders, and homo- and heterosexuals, among many other characteristics. Humans should not be defined and restricted uniquely according to gender.


the social institution that integrates the sexes -- combined with responsible procreation.

Is this really how heterosexuals view marriage? Integration of the sexes and responsible procreation? Boy, why would anyone want to get married? It's no wonder the divorce rate is so high. ;)

Seriously, though, I've wondered why this social institution deserves more protections and rights than do gay citizens. The "institution" of marriage is not a person with certain inalienable rights, or with enumerated rights in the bill of rights. Marriage is not having its civil rights trampled. Marriage is not having its families torn apart. Marriage is not being denied rights and protections for it's family and children. Marriage is a legal contract to be bestowed upon citizens, not an entity to be incomprehensibly protected from citizens. I would prefer to protect the rights and liberties of our fellow gay citizens.
4.7.2007 6:08am
springjourney (mail):

(link)GreenGiant:
...
I must assume you've never heard of foster care, adoption, artificial insemination, surrogacy, or children from previous marriages. These are facts of life that will never go away.

Foster care is unfortunate fact of life. So you are promoting more unfortune. I guess you are.


I follow you, marriage laws against interracial couples had nothing to do with marriage?

You are following me correctly. Marriage itself has nothing to do with race. Like concept of Election or concept of Private Property do not have anything to do with women's liberation or slavery.
4.7.2007 8:56am
Fitz (mail) (www):
GreenGiant.


Okay, I am having a little fun. But seriosly, why would this language not apply legally if used in the way I suggest?

Because it is no longer a gendered institution. The terms would never be capable of accuracy in describing the institution at large. Terms like spouse, Parent, or grandparent would be accurate. Terms denoting gender would not apply to the institution as generally referred to in legal discourse. As such they cannot be accurate enough to be referred to in a legal setting. That is why they are not used on marriage certificates and birth certificates as I describe.

It would appear, then, that the social institution of marriage is broken. It ignores fostering, adoption, same-sex step-parents.


"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.)
4.7.2007 4:44pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
"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."

That doesn't mean people don't still have the fundamental right to marry even same gender spouses, it just means the government is broken and doesn't recognize their fundamental right.

Once a difference between the citizen that marries someone of the same gender and one who does the opposite can be shown you might have a leg to stand on, but until then their rights are presumptively the same.
4.7.2007 5:26pm
F. Rottles (mail):

they have every single attribute that is required of straight married couples


Except for the definitive requirement that both sexes participate. That is the point of contention that your comment does not address.

What is the nature of marriage, in your own words? Please point to the legal requirements, enforced absolutely, that define what you claim to be the nature of marriage.
4.7.2007 5:31pm
F. Rottles (mail):

Why would same-sex step-parents cause other people and lawmakers to no longer value responsible child rearing, or biological non-resident parents to stop caring for thier children?


Thanks for asking for clarification. You have inferred incorrectly.

Today, by far, most of the children in same-sex households have both a mother and a father who were once married. One or the other is nonresident usually due to divorce. These children are children of marriages that have ended with seperation or divorce.

The nonresident parent who is not in the same-sex household continues to be the parent of the child living there. This is due to the first principle of responsible procreation. Children born into a marriage are expected, an in fact are legally presumed, to be the children of mothers AND fathers united in conjugal relations. Even after a husband and wife split up, this principle applies.

That principle originates within marriage, the social institution, but there are ways in which it is extended, through more clumbsy rationales and mechanisms, beyond marital status in a weaker form. Recent attempts to write criteria for the presumption of paternity in unwed cohabitation are one example of this.

The extension typically requires much more intervention by the government -- often via the judicial process -- on a case-by-case basis. This is so for both-sexed parents and markedly more so for same-sex scenarios. On the other hand, the various doctrines of "social" parenthood that courts have conjured up are very poor substitutes if applied to marriage.

Surely to drain marriage of responsible procreation -- which would effect all of society -- would be antithetical to the libertarian and conservative view of limited government.

If society does not recognize the nature of marriage, and instead bestows special status for some other reason, such as "social" parenthing, then, this would impact more than just the same-sex combination. We can see this beginning, already in the close-to-home example in Ontario, as per a prevous comment of mine. Three adults were granted equal parental status for one child because 1) the women were in a same-sex union and 2) the father and the women agreed to the arrangement. The judges did not work up much of a sweat skipping around the two-parent limitation. Mutually consent and commitment was the deciding factor.
4.7.2007 5:52pm
F. Rottles (mail):

As the stigma of homosexuality has declined there are fewer gay people entering opposite-sex marriages out of confusion, cover, guilt, etc. These numbers are sure to continue to decline.


Actually, they formed marriages out of genuine love and commitment to their spouses; and generally they say that having children with their opposite sex spouses was a very large motivation for having married. They acted in accord with the nature of marriage.

But maybe the newly asserted stigma of being called confused, and even self-hating, works to undermine their marriages.

Remember that due to the stigmatization that occurs both from gay sources, and from other non-gay sources, the marriages that stay intact do not draw the sort of attention that the failed marriages get.


On the other hand, same-sex couples are increasingly adopting, fostering, or using artificial insemination or surrogacy.


Adoption and fostering are not affirmative action programs for the homosexual population. The use of third party "donors" is extramarital procreation. Neither of these ways of attaining children are situated at the core of marriage. On the other hand, prioritizing adoption, and fostering, and fertility treatments, based on marital status is legitimate.
4.7.2007 5:59pm
F. Rottles (mail):

Massachussetts still has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country and no decline in the rate of opposite-sex marriages.


I've responded to this sort of claim before, so before I do so again, please cite your source(s). Thanks.
4.7.2007 6:01pm
F. Rottles (mail):

You brought children into the spotlight by making procreation the major purpose and justification for marriage. It's a practical argument at its base, that responsible child rearing is a social good. So is my discussion of children in same-sex parented families.


The nature of marriage brought responsible procreation, combined with sex integration, into marriage recognition. The SSM argument introduced the attack on the nature of marriage.

The nature of marriage pre-exists the SSM campaign which is not about marriage but about homosexuality.

Pointing to extramarital procreation does not point to the core of marriage. Pointing to adoption does not point to the core of marriage.

As for responsible childrearing ... Grandparent households, alone, are doing far more childrearing than same-sex households. Will the mother-daughter arrangement be eligible for marriage, should SSM be merged with marriage? If not, why not, if childrearing is the core of marriage?
4.7.2007 6:11pm
F. Rottles (mail):

You focus on the word "procreation", I focus on the word "children", but we're both talking about the same thing.


I am talking of responsible procreation which entails the integration of motherhood and fatherhood. You are fragmenting the nature of marriage and selecting the bits and pieces that fit the nature of the one-sexed arrangement. The difference is not insignificant.

Note: I did not refer to procreation, but to responsible procreation. I did not refer to some androgynized concept of parenting, but to the integration of motherhood and fatherhood. This is a human good.

Adoption is how society attempts to make-up for a shortfall experienced by a child due to parental relinquishment or loss. It too is a human good.

The use of "donors", or the reduction of fatherhood or motherhood to "donor", enable extramarital procreation. This is so even when married couples partake of it. This rejects the first principle of responsible procreaton and is extrinsic to marriage. Users of this method of attaining children cannot claim to put the children first, for the children are not conceived until the adult desire to go outside of marriage is made and acted upon.

But the SSM argument co-opts these two things -- the presence of children in need of mothers and fathers -- and the extramarital practice of third party procreation -- to attack the core of marriage.

Whether or not adoption and third party procreation are somehow central to the idealized homosexual relaitonship type that inspires the SSM argument, is very unclear, however, it is not intrinsic to the nature of marriage.
4.7.2007 6:20pm
F. Rottles (mail):

It would appear, then, that the social institution of marriage is broken. It ignores fostering, adoption, same-sex step-parents.


No, marriage does not ignore these things.

Provision for step-parent adoption is explicitly made in the context of marriage. The husband of a mother, for example, does not automatically become her children's father just by virture of their marriage. And adoption takes place, if the nonresident father relinquishes, dies, or his status if quashed by a court. This is another example of the overflow effect of responsible procreation.

The presumption of paternity is another shade of adoption based on marital status. This serves to protect the children and the marriage. The presumption is rebuttable but the government does not intervene unilaterally. So you are mistaken to throw up the claim that the social institution ignores children in need.

Recruitment of married adoptors can legitimatey be prioritized over other categories of potential adoptors. Given attitude survey results, such recruitment would eliminate, almost entirely, the need to resort to unrelated unmarried adoptors.
4.7.2007 6:30pm
F. Rottles (mail):

A special right, in other words. One that advocates of the preferential status tend to indulge in, themselves.

Most of the opposition to gay marriage seems to be, at its core, a reptilian response to the idea that one's special marital welfare benefits might not be so exclusive anymore.


No, society shows preference for the nature of marriage, not for groups classified by sexual orientation or whatever you have in mind.

Your response above demonstrates an inability to recognize what others have actually said. Bennies do not create marriage. The government has not, does not, create marriage. Attacking the nature of marriage by attacking the strawman that marriage is a government welfare program is common in SSM advocacy but is profoundy flawed. I realize it is used as a wedge to gain traction for the rights-based claims, which are fueld by false equivalencies and mischaracterization of the social institution that the marriage law recognizes rather than creates out of whole cloth.
4.7.2007 6:34pm
F. Rottles (mail):

Actually, there is one human species, and its nature one of multiple races, two genders, and homo- and heterosexuals, among many other characteristics. Humans should not be defined and restricted uniquely according to gender.


Well, you either borrow the racist filter or you are referring to genetic differentiation which is not actually classification based on race. In any case, the one human race is the species to which all men and women belong by virtue of their being born of men and women, regardless of "racial" classification.

Homosexuality is irrelevant to the nature of marriage. This is so even if, as you assert, humans should not be restricted uniquely according to gender. The two-sexed nature of humankind is hard to deny even by SSM advocates who peer through the gay identity filter -- or borrow from the racist identity filter to justify through analogy selective sex segregation within the social institution of marriage.

Since human generativity self-restricts, I guess you are left with being at odds with the nature of human community which does not long flourish without 1) integration of the sexes and 2) responsible procreaton and 3) these two features combined.
4.7.2007 6:50pm
F. Rottles (mail):

And you conflate the nature of relgious marriage with the nature of legal marriage. This is a common problem with the anti-SSM crowd. The law does indeed create the nature of legal marriage, and has changed its nature over time (women can file for divorce, interracial couples can marry, etc.).


No, I have not so conflated.

I also note that you have switched from the nature of marriage to a false dichotomy of religious and legal marriage.

Both the legal shadow and the religious protocols of marriage recognize the both-sexed nature -- the essence -- of the thing that casts the legal shadow and which is subject to religious regulations.

I doubt that the nature of humankind varies depending on religious beliefs or whether or not a state is expressly athiestic or theistic or pluralistic. It hasn't changed, and the nature of marriage itself hasn't changed, for all of human history.

Ah, but you will misread this and put forth the various changes to the protocols that regulate the practice of marriage throughout human history and across various cultures and religions.

Marriage, as the combination of sex integration and responsible procreation, is a near-universal social institution that arises from the two-sexed nature of humankind.

You might assert there is another nature of marriage apart from this. Well, please state what that is and then we can compare and contrast.
4.7.2007 7:27pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
What is the nature of marriage, in your own words? Please point to the legal requirements, enforced absolutely, that define what you claim to be the nature of marriage.

You have it backwards - marriage is a natural process, based on biology. The law merely recognizes that people marry and therefore the right of marriage, it has nothing to do with marriage itself - it would exist without government or law.

And those biological drives and processes are the same whether the citizen marries another citizen of the same or opposite gender. Humans can and do pair-bond with sexual partners, and our society and possibly the individual's inclination is to try and make that pair-bond last 'forever'. Marriage.

In contrast the example of the two brothers (who presumptively aren't homosexual) will not be pair-bonding in this way AND for the most part are biologically left open to doing so with someone outside their relationship. Because their relationship can not fulfill this sexually fueled pair-bonding and they would still be open to such fulfillment outside the relationship their relationship, no matter how close, is not comparable to a citizen who has actually entered into a presumptively unending exclusive relationship with one person 'forsaking all others' as the old saying goes.

Yes, they might be close, they might actually needs some legal entanglements, but they would be of a lesser nature than two citizens who are 'building a presumptively permanent' life together. It could be claimed that they have a right to make a commitment to forsake looking outside their relationship for this pair-bonding but that raises at least 2 issues: 1) can someone realistically make such a commitment since pair-bonding is essentially irrational, and 2) is it in society's interest to be facilitating citizens be in 'other than married' relationships that are by their very nature inherently incomplete and unstable?
4.7.2007 8:04pm
F. Rottles (mail):
Bob Van Burkleo, thanks for the reply.

You must realize that my comment, which you quoted, mirrors the pro-SSM argument (made by almost every other SSM advocate in these discussions) that since there is no requirement for procreation, absolutely enforced by the government on each and every married couple, this must mean that responsible procreation can not be considered essential to what society, through state authorities, recognizes as marriage.

In other words, they attacked the man-woman requirement for lack of an explicit requirement that they imagine must exist for each and every instance of marriage.

That test should be applied to their claims, and your claims, about the societal purpose of marriage recognition. I think they miss the point that marriage law is the reflection of the social institution, the Law does not create marriage, however, you seem to lean towards agreement with me on that point, yes?

In good faith, here is my attempt to restate in my own words what I think you have just said. Please confirm or correct or embellish where necessary.

First, the legal requirements do NOT define the purpose of marriage and do not define the purpose of marriage recognition.

Second, the conjugal relationship is presumptively a sexual relationship.

Third, marriage is the biological process of pair-bonding, the nature of which is irrational.

Fourth, the societal interest is to facilitate sexual relationships which are presumptively permanent.

If people are to go on disagreeing about something, it is important that they make an honest effort to understand what is being said. So I extend to you my effort to first understand and, then, to be understood.
4.8.2007 4:18am
F. Rottles (mail) (www):
This thread is probably due to be closed soon. (What determines the expiry date, by the way?). So I'll add another post in response to Bob Van Burkleo at The Opine Editorials, in due time.

Bob Van Burkleo, please confirm that I have accurately restated your perspective. If you can't do it here before the thread closes, please drop-by to comment under my post on our blog. Thanks.
4.8.2007 1:49pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
All 4 your points are correct as far as they go..

2 I would restate that there is a qualitative difference between a sexual relationship and an asexual one with the former far more potential to be able to fulfill all the biologically determined psychological needs a human naturally has.

3 I would restate less absolutely - while not all marriages are due to this it is the sociological institution that was created in response to this biological process. If people didn't have any urge to couple up at all we wouldn't.

4 It is the purpose of society to service the basic needs of the individuals - society is a mental fiction for balancing individual rights and needs, the only real things are the individual. And in our society it is supposed to treat all individuals as if they have the same rights.

My contention is that our rights all derive from our biological natures, and all humans potentially have the need to pair-bond. It is to their advantage to do so which should be enough in itself to justify facilitating it in a society dedicated to serving the citizens equally. But also it is to society's benefit because coupled citizens, mutually fertile or not, are better members of society - they are healthier both physically and mentally, they are more economically stable able to give more to society and take less of the pooled assets. And it provides a better environment for raising children which households do whether the married couple are mutually fertile or not - 49% of children in the US are being raised by other than their 2 genetic contributors.

So ethically it is society's obligation to treat citizens with similar needs equally and pragmatically it is to theirs and society's benefit to do so.

And I would point out that our rights are individually based, if both people in a marriage met all the criteria for license what is the reason why they shouldn't be allowed access to the contract? (I realize this opens a discussion about incest but there are reasons to disallow it on sociological grounds but what is the reason merely because the citizens are the same gender?
4.8.2007 5:10pm
F. Rottles (mail):
Thanks for the confirmations.

Could you provide a source for the 49%?
4.9.2007 9:10am
Op Ed. (mail) (www):
BobVB: I realize this opens a discussion about incest but there are reasons to disallow it on sociological grounds but what is the reason merely because the citizens are the same gender?

Amazing. You honestly haven't a clue? Did you sleep through high school biology? Did you never ask your parents where babies come from?

Or are you arguing that nature itself is being irrational and that by changing the law nature will fall into line?
4.9.2007 12:14pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
BVB

Kin Altruism?
4.9.2007 6:01pm
Charlie Feather (mail):
PROBLEM OF THE STATUS QUO

Part of the problem is that states traditionally have recognized only two domestic relationships where it concerns unrelated persons:

1) Marriage
2) Singleness

Other domestic relationships, generally, have had no legal status, and states were not obliged to provide one. The issue of same-sex marriage has the merit, at least, of opening up the debate to state recognition of other domestic relationships that might further the general welfare of society and convenience to individuals.

But so long as same-sex couples insist on the status quo, but to being included in only the first of the two above alternatives with all of the presumptions that accompany it, they will meet with opposition and find themselves forced into the latter. A wiser and more realistic course would be to lobby for the creation of categories of domestic relationships that exist between those of married and single — because they do exist — and these could include relationships between dependent family members, friends, lovers and what have you. These can be tailored to the categorical situations specific to the various domestic arrangements and relationships.

The failure of the recent Indiana constitutional amendment affirming state recognition of opposite-sex marriage only, which was largely acceptable, but forever denying recognition of any other domestic situation, led to its rejection in committee, and is an example underlining this either-or mentality.

Otherwise, the insistence of maintaining only those two categories or similar for the entire gamut of human relationships, and including or excluding various ones within them, will introduce the element of IRRATIONALITY into the law and create a lot of employment for lawyers.
4.9.2007 6:30pm