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Blankenhorn (round 2):

Last week I responded to an article by David Blankenhorn in the Weekly Standard arguing that support for SSM and non-traditional views of marriage "go together" and are "mutually reinforcing." He based this conclusion on international survey data that shows, he claims, a correlation between recognition for SSM in a country and non-traditionalist beliefs. He also quoted from a few pro-SSM marriage radicals in academia who literally embody the tendency of these views to "go together": they support SSM because they think it will undermine traditional marriage. I responded that, for a number of reasons, this was not a winning argument.

Now Blankenhorn has defended his argument against my criticisms. (1) First, he denies that he has "eschewed" the argument of Stanley Kurtz, based on claimed correlative data, that gay marriage has contributed to the decline of marriage in Europe. Instead, he says that he "embraces" Kurtz's argument, and is trying only to "build" on it. (This has come as a relief to Kurtz, who initially suggested there might be some disagreement between them.) (2) Second, he argues that it is unfair of me to require him to "scientifically demonstrate" that gay marriage is contributing to non-traditional beliefs about marriage when the correlative data allow us "to make reasonable (if qualified, and modest) inferences about a likely causal relationship" between the two. (3) Third, he claims that while there may be a few anti-SSM marriage radicals who believe gay marriage will actually strengthen marriage, "the dominant, most influential idea about gay marriage" on the left is represented by the marriage radicals he cites and not those I cite. (4) Finally, he challenges me to cite a "prominent supporter" of SSM who has publicly committed to otherwise traditionalist beliefs about marriage (e.g., we should make divorce harder, discourage out-of-wedlock births, stigmatize adultery).

Let's take these responses one at a time.

(1) The whole point of Kurtz's work has been to show, mainly through the use of correlations, that gay marriage has caused marital decline in Europe. (Even Kurtz's correlations are faulty, incomplete, and unpersuasive -- but that's another matter.) In his book, Blankenhorn said flatly, "These correlations [between SSM and non-traditional attitudes] do not prove that gay marriage causes marriage to get weaker. I am not trying to prove causation." (p. 232) (emphasis original) In his Weekly Standard article, he suggests "giving up the search for causation" and looking for "recurring patterns" in the data instead.

It seemed to me that Blankenhorn was trying to distance himself, at least rhetorically, from Kurtz. I thought it was a wise decision.

(2) It is now clear that Blankenhorn's argument is structurally and conceptually the same as Kurtz's, only weaker. Here's why.

There are a couple of ways one might argue that gay marriage is hurting marriage. First, one might argue that gay marriage has caused problems to marriage itself, like rising cohabitation and unwed childbirths. That is what I'd call a strong and direct claim about the harm of gay marriage. Second, one might argue that gay marriage has caused people to have beliefs about marriage that might, in turn, cause concrete harms to marriage itself. This is an indirect and weaker claim about the harm of gay marriage. Kurtz presents the former, stronger and more direct, form of the argument. Blankenhorn, it turns out, is presenting the latter, weaker and more indirect, form of the argument. Blankenhorn's argument is thus a poor cousin of Kurtz's.

Except for that, the arguments are basically the same. Like Kurtz, Blankenhorn relies on what he claims is a correlation to "infer" a "likely causal relationship." (Blankenhorn is, to his credit, rhetorically more modest than Kurtz about the strength of his own argument.)

What do we make of Blankenhorn's use of correlations? I don't think correlations are useless. They might indicate something important is going on. By itself, a correlation could be a starting point for further investigation. It's a clue that two seemingly unrelated phenomena may be related. But it might also seriously mislead us unless we're very careful.

Consider the case of smoking as a cause of cancer, which Blankenhorn uses to show that correlations can be valuable because they can help show causation. Yes, there's a correlation between smoking and cancer. But we know smoking causes cancer not simply because of this simple correlation. Instead, we know smoking causes cancer because decades of careful, replicated, peer-reviewed, and methodologically sound medical research has revealed (1) a correlation (2) that sequentially matches the harm (e.g., lung cancer often follows smoking), (3) we've controlled for confounding variables and (4) ruled out multiple other plausible causes of the harm (e.g., auto exhaust or coal-fired plants), (5) and we've identified the agent or mechanism (over 70 chemicals in tobacco) that (6) causes a harmful result (tobacco carcinogens damage DNA inside lung cells).

When it comes to gay marriage "causing" harm by leading to non-traditional attitudes about marriage, Blankenhorn gives us only the first of these six. He has only correlation. And even this, it turns out, is suspect.

I'm not just playing with words here and I'm not requiring "scientific proof" analogous to demonstrating pathological processes in the body. I'm asking for a standard degree of reliability in inferences and an accounting when the correlations seem explicable by numerous other factors and are sequentially all wrong (more on that below). There's good reason to be suspicious of an argument that a correlation allows us to infer a causal relationship. There's a correlation between people who buy ashtrays and people who get lung cancer, but this hardly proves that buying ashtrays causes lung cancer. If we relied on correlation, we'd think all sorts of crazy things were causally related.

Consider what can be done with a correlation used to "infer" a "likely causal relation." People in countries without same-sex marriage are more likely to believe women should stay at home and not work, that men should be masters of their households, that there should be no separation of church and state, that people should not use contraception when they have sex, that divorce should never be permitted, and that sodomy should be criminalized. If these correlations exist, have I demonstrated the existence of a "cluster of beliefs" that reinforce one another and "go together," undermining the arguments against SSM?

Or consider the more sympathetic correlations to SSM that Blankenhorn ignores. Countries with SSM are richer, healthier, more democratic, more educated, more liberal, have more egalitarian attitudes about women, etc. Have I shown that the absence of SSM is likely causing harm in those unfortunate backward countries that refuse to recognize it?

Here's another correlation helpful to the conservative case for SSM: countries with SSM are enjoying higher marriage rates since they recognized it. Have I shown that SSM likely caused this?

Even Blankenhorn's correlation is suspect, in a way very similar to Kurtz's. Non-traditional attitudes about marriage in countries with SSM preceded the recognition of SSM, just as signals of marital decline in Europe preceded SSM. Though I haven't gone back and checked the previous international surveys from the 1980s and 1990s, I'll bet my mulberry tree they show that. Besides, even the survey data Blankenhorn relies on show that he's got a problem. In one survey, the data comes from 1999-2001, before any country had full SSM. In the other survey, the data comes from 2002, when only one country (the Netherlands) had full SSM.

How could SSM have caused a decline in traditional marital attitudes before it even existed? Of course, Blankenhorn is still free to argue that non-traditional attitudes greased the way for SSM, but this doesn't show that SSM caused or even reinforced non-traditional attitudes. What Blankenhorn needs, even as a starting point, is some evidence that non-traditionalist views rose after SSM. He doesn't have that.

Of course, even if he had the sequence right, he'd still have the problem of trying to deal with the existence of multiple other factors that have plausibly fueled non-traditionalist attitudes. Here, too, Blankenhorn has the same problem as Kurtz. Just as we can plausibly surmise that factors like increased income, longer life spans, more education, and women's equality -- rather than SSM -- have caused actual marital decline, so we can plausibly surmise that factors like these have caused a rise in non-traditionalist attitudes about marriage. And even if the data showed a rise in non-traditional attitudes after SSM, that might well only be a continuation of pre-existing trends. Kurtz has that problem, too, when he tries to show marital decline.

(3) I demonstrated in my last post that there are quite a few marriage radicals who are uncomfortable with gay marriage (either oppose it or very reluctantly support it) because they think it will strengthen marriage. That was just the tip of an iceberg, believe me. Blankenhorn says that he is familiar with these authors and cites them in his book.

But wait a second. While he mentions Michael Warner, for example, it is not to present Warner's concern that gay marriage will reinstitutionalize marriage but as evidence of the bad reasons gay couples seek marriage (see p. 142). And while he quotes from Tom Stoddard (pro-SSM marriage radical) in the noteworthy early debate Stoddard had with Paula Ettelbrick (anti-SSM marriage radical), he omits even mentioning Ettelbrick's influential concerns about SSM expressed in the same debate he quotes from (p. 162). (I quoted from her essay in my last post, "Blankenhorn and the Marriage Radicals".)

Apologies if I missed it, but I can't find any acknowledgment from Blankenhorn of the marriage radicals' deep unease with gay marriage, an unease that is present in the writings of even those marriage radicals who favor gay marriage. This is a significant and strange omission, one that henceforth opponents of gay marriage must know will not go unchallenged.

Blankenhorn may now say that the authors I have cited and the concerns they have expressed are a minority on the left. I don't know what the basis is for that claim, so I don't know how to assess it. But frankly, it is hard to credit such an observation when his book demonstrates no familiarity with these quite common anti-SSM concerns among marriage radicals.

And why do we care what marriage radicals think anyway? Though prolific in academic journals, they're a small group and are not very influential in public policy. They won't be able to control how heterosexuals or homosexuals think of their marriages or how they practice them. Gay marriage will have its effects, whatever they hope for.

Blankenhorn defends his reliance on their writings in his book this way (p. 128):

I believe that my nightmare can even be expressed as a sociological principle: People who professionally dislike marriage almost always favor gay marriage. Here is the corollary: Ideas that have long been used to attack marriage are now commonly used to support same-sex-marriage. (emphasis original)

We could have a lot of fun with "sociological principles" like that. How about this:

People who professionally dislike feminism almost always oppose gay marriage. Here is the corollary: Ideas that have long been used to attack feminism are now commonly used to oppose same-sex marriage.

Or this:

People who professionally dislike homosexuality almost always oppose gay marriage. Here is the corollary: Ideas that have long been used to attack homosexuality are now commonly used to oppose same-sex marriage.

(4) Blankenhorn challenges my claim that conservative supporters of SSM generally believe the following:

(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

He thinks such people don't really exist and asks me to name a prominent one. OK, here goes.

As I thought was clear in my post, I believe these six things (though I may not count as a "prominent" SSM supporter). Though I'd prefer to let him speak for himself, I know that Jon Rauch unequivocally supports 1, 4, 5, and 6. On 2, he certainly supports the goal of reducing the divorce rate, but isn't sure how to do it. On 3, he supports discouraging adultery socially ("stigmatizing it," as Blankenhorn aptly puts it), but doesn't want the law to penalize it. And while Andrew Sullivan can certainly speak for himself, I also know that he supports all six, though he also doesn't want the government investigating or penalizing people for adultery. (Like Rauch and Sullivan, I don't support criminalizing adultery but am open to proposals for attaching some form of civil disadvantage to it. I suggested as much reviewing William Eskridge's book Gaylaw six years ago.) I'd bet David Brooks, a conservative supporter of SSM, agrees with all or most of these ideas in some form — but I frankly haven't asked him. I'm certain there are others in this pro-SSM traditionalist camp. Maybe conservative pro-SSM writers and bloggers will challenge Blankenhorn's suspicion that they're a fiction.

Where have we said all these things? I don't know that each of us has written about each of them in precisely these terms or in the somewhat different terms Blankenhorn insists we should have. But these views are at the very least implicit in the conservative case, and in some cases they've been made explicit. The conservative case for SSM is now almost 20 years old, going back to Sullivan's pathbreaking New Republic article, and continuing through his book Virtually Normal, Rauch's voluminous writings and book arguing that marriage should be the gold standard for commitment and raising children, and my own work.

I don't have time to chase down sources and quotes for Blankenhorn, but for my own work he could start with the Traditionalist Case for Gay Marriage or look at some of the many columns I've written on the subject. If he really cares what I think, he can look forward to a law review article I'll be writing soon on traditionalism and gay marriage. I don't know how one could come away from all this with the impression that I think marriage is outdated, that high divorce rates are good (I've criticized them in numerous debates on the subject with St. Thomas Professor Teresa Collett, BYU Professor Lynn Wardle, etc), that children's well-being is unrelated to marriage, etc.

As Blankenhorn correctly puts it, we really do "operate[] from a very important shared intellectual and moral framework," which is what makes the SSM debate among conservatives so much more interesting than the tired debates between the pro-SSM marriage radicals and anti-SSM marriage traditionalists. They really have nothing useful to say to each other. By contrast, I've suggested ten principles upon which conservatives, both pro- and anti-SSM, can agree. They give us a lot of common ground.

In conclusion (!), I wouldn't usually use this many electrons responding to a single article or book. But Blankenhorn's book is unusually well-written. And intellectual guilt-by-association has an easy appeal that may make his argument that these bad things all "go together" an anti-gay marriage mantra in the future. Like Kurtz's superficially frightening correlations, now largely ignored on both sides of the debate, Blankenhorn's argument has to be carefully unpacked to show how unsatisfying it is.

P.S.: If you haven't had enough, see some further thoughtful comments about Blankenhorn's argument by St. Thomas Law School's Robert Vischer.

P.P.S.: Rauch has now finished reading Blankenhorn's book and calls it "the best piece of work that the anti-gay-marriage side has yet produced, containing much to admire despite its flaws."

P.P.P.S.: Maggie Gallagher weighs in: "The question is: what is the main idea SSM advocates are asking us to embrace and what implications over the long term will accepting this core idea about gay marriage have for our ideas about marriage in general?"

frankcross (mail):
A well analyzed statistical correlation can be strong evidence of causation. But the correlations provided so far are laughably weak, as a statistical matter. It's not that hard to look at this with some reasonably sophisticated statistical models. But frankly, I don't think people care about the truth on this issue -- they start from their conclusion and grab whatever evidence they can find.
4.5.2007 11:31pm
Randy R. (mail):
Absolutey, Frankcross. I've seen on these boards that the facts don't matter, history doesn't matter, and even personal experience doesn't matter. All that matters to the people who oppose SSM is their certainty that it will destroy or somehow 'neuter' marriage. It's very interesting that there has been a slight increase in marriage in the countries where SSM has been legalized. Apparently, no one ever thinks that SSM might actually improve the situation.

I have yet to have one person anywhere, any place, tell me that they are getting a divorce primarily because gay people can get married in massachusetts and Canada and a few other places. I have yet to see any person claim that they love their spouse less, or have decided against getting married for these reasons. I've put the challenge out there, only to have people dismiss this as childish. Yet no one can point to any person anywhere who has done so. One would think that if gays can so singlehandedly destroy such a strong institution that has lasted for thousands of years, you could come up with thousands of such couples, perhaps millions. But no.
4.6.2007 1:21am
Truth Seeker:
It seems that one of the presumptions of proponents of same sex marriage is that if people are born gay it is normal and we should all accept it and give equal marriage rights, etc. to gays.
But, people are also born crippled, blind and with various other abnormalities and we consider these to be birth defects. Is it not possible that a person born gay, without an interest in normal reproduction is also the product of a birth defect? If so then the question would be do we want to celebrate and encourage this particular birth defect.
The left wing theory is that all people and cultures are equal and who are we to judge, let’s celebrate everyone. This has taken especially deep root in the deaf community where some apparently are starting to believe that being deaf is better than being able to hear and I think I read that they are aborting their children if they are not deaf. In any case they are preferring deaf children and actually believing that deaf culture is something special to be preserved rather than a defect to be cured.
Getting back to gay culture, an overview of life on Earth shows that reproduction is the purpose of nearly all life. An attraction to the same sex, precluding reproduction seems clearly a defect as compared to all species of life on Earth. Why would we want to celebrate it and support it rather than try to find a cure or a way to prevent it? We don’t celebrate blindness. Or an inability to walk due to a birth defect. Why should we pretend that gayness is normal and equal?
4.6.2007 1:27am
Lev:
Just a request, for Carpenter as well as the others: if you are posting a long recitation, it would be ultra polite if you would use the formatting that "hides" the latter part of the very long post while allowing those who wish to read it merely to click a button to "see the rest."

While I am sure the details of, for example, this particular offering are extremely scintillating to those who are interested in it, it is somewhat annoying for the rest of us to have to scroll through screens and screens of text to get to the next topic.

Surely the code is simple. And the full text is there for those who wish to read it.
4.6.2007 1:31am
Ramza:
Lev, its called the page down key.
4.6.2007 1:41am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
[Comment deleted: Please keep in mind the principles of civil debate on this site. Strongly worded and passionate disagreement are fine. But accusations of "lies" and "dishonesty" tend only to inflame the discussion.]
4.6.2007 1:50am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Randy R wrote:

> "I have yet to have one person anywhere, any place, tell me that they are getting a divorce primarily because gay people can get married in massachusetts and Canada and a few other places."

Lets say you really believe that is what is being said. Its not and I don't believe you really think that (for reasons below). But lets just that you really believe that if people get divorced primarily because marriage is neutered for the sake of homosexuality.

You've never show me one same-sex couple that broke up primarily because of their inability to get a marriage license. You won't because honestly you can't. You know that isn't how it works, yet you pretend it is a requirement anyway.

Much of what I learned in the other thread (from Colin's example especially) was that the double standard is well enforced on your side. For instance you also said:

> "I've seen on these boards that the facts don't matter, history doesn't matter, and even personal experience doesn't matter."

So show us one fact that was ignored, one historical event or record that was left unmet, and one personal experience that was disregarded.

Yet the facts on what "parentage" means didn't matter in the last thread, the history of homosexual acceptance and marriage definition didn't matter, and the personal experiences of children who wished their childhood involved their natural parents didn't matter.
4.6.2007 2:07am
tom schofield (mail):
I've not read the book by Blankenhorn, but I thought Dale's post was great. It's not easy for me to patiently address point after point from intellectual opponents, but I thought this was well-done. As someone who opposes gay marriage, I enjoy sober criticism like this, even if I'm unpersuaded. If there's any hope for an eventual consensus on this matter, it will probably evolve from level-headed discussions like this one. Thanks for sharing Dale.
4.6.2007 2:11am
BobNSF (mail):

You've never show me one same-sex couple that broke up primarily because of their inability to get a marriage license. You won't because honestly you can't. You know that isn't how it works, yet you pretend it is a requirement anyway.


Without the path to residency and citizenship afforded to bi-national, heterosexual couples who marry, gay couples are forced to try to sustain relationships through extended separations and all the stresses and expenses of travelling back and forth between countries (sometimes illegally). Two couples I know gave up after seven years of trying. Three others chose to emmigrate to Canada (and took their valuable engineering skills with them).
4.6.2007 2:20am
BobNSF (mail):

You've never show me one same-sex couple that broke up primarily because of their inability to get a marriage license. You won't because honestly you can't. You know that isn't how it works, yet you pretend it is a requirement anyway.


There are many cases of couples who had to separate so that one of the partners didn't lose custody of his or her children by a previous marriage. The courts often view cohabitation without marriage as a disqualifier for custody (though many only seem to notice the "innapropriateness" of such living arrangements when the couple is lesbian or, even worse for some reason, two men).
4.6.2007 2:24am
Cornellian (mail):
Like Rauch and Sullivan, I don't support criminalizing adultery but am open to proposals for attaching some form of civil disadvantage to it.

I'd consider the risk of divorce and alimony to be a pretty big civil disadvantage.
4.6.2007 2:29am
Cornellian (mail):
Randy R wrote: "I have yet to have one person anywhere, any place, tell me that they are getting a divorce primarily because gay people can get married in massachusetts and Canada and a few other places."

That's the beauty of the Kurtz et al position - SSM weakens marriage in the abstract, without actually weakening anyone's marriage, thus no data is required to prove that this weakening occurs.
4.6.2007 2:32am
Cornellian (mail):
Lets say you really believe that is what is being said. Its not and I don't believe you really think that (for reasons below). But lets just that you really believe that if people get divorced primarily because marriage is neutered for the sake of homosexuality.

You've never show me one same-sex couple that broke up primarily because of their inability to get a marriage license. You won't because honestly you can't. You know that isn't how it works, yet you pretend it is a requirement anyway.


I would think the accurate analogy would be how many same sex couples are likely to get divorced if opposite sex couples cannot get married?

How many opposite sex couples would break up if the state didn't recognize any marriages? What would that prove? Your analogy isn't analogous at all.
4.6.2007 2:35am
Cornellian (mail):
Last week I responded to an article by David Blankenhorn in the Weekly Standard arguing that support for SSM and non-traditional views of marriage “go together” and are “mutually reinforcing.”

If he's abandoned the term "causation" for weasel word phrases like "go together" then someone needs to send him a copy of Orwell's "Politics and the English Language."
4.6.2007 2:37am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Dale wrote:

> "We could have a lot of fun with “sociological principles” like that. How about this:

"People who professionally dislike feminism almost always oppose gay marriage. Here is the corollary: Ideas that have long been used to attack feminism are now commonly used to oppose same-sex marriage. "


I'd be interested in the examples to this. I'm sure there are ideals in feminism that Dale disagrees with, it all depends on how radical one wishes to go (which I presume is Dale's point to a degree). But what ideas does he cite that have attacked feminism that are commonly used to oppose neutered marriage?

With how thorough Dale has been on the other points, that would be an interesting investigation. I believe the correlation between his principles and what Blankenhorn suggests would be strong evidence against what Dale is trying to say.

As Fitz points out, while some can describe the change to the marriage institution as "neutering the definition" one can also say that the gender composition of it is simply androgynized. The androgyny of male and female in feminism can certainly be taken to an unhealthy radical extreme, or be a healthy way of acknowledging that gender doesn't matter. The bottom line is that sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't.

But that is something both arguments have in common, the androgynizing of the sexes. Only in the case of marriage, it plays to the most radical extreme of that case -- and there is no "half pregnant" kind of middle ground. Is a mother and father important and unique in the eyes of their children? Is the equal dignity that Dale wishes were enforced through neutering the marriage law possible as long as there is an ideal that children be born with their parents married beforehand? Read the comments in the previous threads to find out for yourselves.
4.6.2007 2:37am
Cornellian (mail):
Getting back to gay culture, an overview of life on Earth shows that reproduction is the purpose of nearly all life. An attraction to the same sex, precluding reproduction seems clearly a defect as compared to all species of life on Earth.

An "overview of life on earth" (whatever that means) shows nothing of the sort.

Is an attraction to the calling of a Catholic priest "precluding reproduction" a "defect as compared to all species of life on earth?"
4.6.2007 2:39am
Cornellian (mail):
Three others chose to emigrate to Canada (and took their valuable engineering skills with them)

Or as Garrison Keillor once put it, "there's a reason the iPod was designed in California, not Alabama."
4.6.2007 2:43am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
BobNSF wrote:

> "Without the path to residency and citizenship afforded to bi-national, heterosexual couples who marry, gay couples are forced to try to sustain relationships through extended separations"

1) Seperation is not breaking up.

2) Your example relates to immigration laws and not the marriage license. If there were an immigration law that accommodated them without the license they would be fine.

But even more interesting is the polygamist version of your argument has also been made. Does that mean you are pro-polygamy, or do you recognize the argument as insufficient in and of itself to compel altering marriage laws?

> "There are many cases of couples who had to separate so that one of the partners didn't lose custody of his or her children by a previous marriage."

Separation is not breaking up. Beyond that, I can't comment except to point out that even re-married couples can lose custody depending on the courts evaluation of the new circumstances.
4.6.2007 2:48am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Cornellian wrote:

> "That's the beauty of the Kurtz et al position - SSM weakens marriage in the abstract, without actually weakening anyone's marriage, thus no data is required to prove that this weakening occurs."

Neutering marriage weakens the ability of marriage to address social concerns. This is something that Badgett gets wrong (Carpenter cites him above) in that he feels the marriage rates indicate the strength of marriage while out-of wedlock rates are just a curious non-story. What that really shows us is that while Carpenter tries to be reassuring, he can't help but inadvertently point to how much one has to abandon marriage as a mooring of procreation responsibility to even accept his data and perspective in the first place.

> "I would think the accurate analogy would be how many same sex couples are likely to get divorced if opposite sex couples cannot get married?"

Since no one is suggesting that we make marriage homosexually exclusive, I don't see that as a relevant analogy at all. What I see is that same-sex couples are harmed (in this case breaking up is the analogy to divorce) because they don't have a marriage license to their relationship.

> "How many opposite sex couples would break up if the state didn't recognize any marriages?"

That is a good question, as someone in the previous thread mentioned that he is against any recognition of marriage and he demonstrated belief in all the tenants of marriage belief that Carpenter outlined.

Carpenter is clearly is a dreamland that his belief in marriage at all shows that he is different than people ideologically opposed to marriage.

> "If he's abandoned the term 'causation' for weasel word phrases like 'go together' then someone needs to send him a copy of Orwell's 'Politics and the English Language.'"

You should simply read Blankenhorn for yourself, as Carpenter's representation is clearly giving you a poor understanding.
4.6.2007 2:59am
BobNSF (mail):
Perhaps you didn't read carefully, On Lawn. I said the two couples "gave up" trying to stay together. They broke up.

You asked for examples. You dismiss them, of course. (As my people say, "quelle surprise!")

I await On Lawn's passionate call for immigration rights for elderly, spinster sisters...
4.6.2007 3:00am
F. Rottles (mail):

It's very interesting that there has been a slight increase in marriage in the countries where SSM has been legalized.


In Canada the marriage rate of both-sexed couples continues to go down, not up.

The basic rate is calculated from total marriages performed within Canada and the total population of Canada. Add foriegners and you get a slightly padded result. Add foreign same-sex coupes to the same-sex rate and you get an inflated result. To do a correct before and after, it is necessary to look at both-sexed marriages apart from same-sex couples.

The composite rate (of both-sexed and same-sexed couples) includes the unusual contribution of same-sex couples from the USA which has inflated the already low marriage rate in Canada. The participation rate of the Canadian homosexual population is as low as other places with state registration of same-sex relationships.

In Scandinavian countries the statistics on marriage are misleading, apart from anything to do just with SSM. That is unfortunately not news.

The recent slight uptick in marriage rates has occurred in the context of the already very depressed marriage rates in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The uptick reminds me of like the old salesman's saying, that a percentage of nothing is still nothing.

Meanwhile the rises in unwed cohabitation and in nonmarital births have continued apace.

The slight uptick in marriage rates has been accounted for -- by local scholars -- by two large contributing factors: the catching-up by older people who have delayed marriage; and remarriages amidst the large pool of divorced people.

In both factors the rising unwed cohabitation trends play a big part because older couples are more likely to delay marriage until the arrival of a child -- sometimes until a second child -- and even that sequence has been diminishing in prominence -- especially amongst younger couples.

All of this shows marriage is in freefall in Scandinavian couuntries.

In Sweden there is little room left to fall before it hits bottom. Denmark and Norway are not far behind. This context hides the higher rates of dissolution that manifest in unwed cohabitors -- with and without children -- which in turn masks the increased risk of dissolution for previous cohabitors during their subsequent marriages or subsequent unwed cohabitations. This doesn't bode well for the next generation of children.

Dale Carpenter mentioned Eskridge. Well, Eskridge has argued that the unwed cohabitation trend in Scandinavia is not a net negative. That may or may not be so, it is a judgement call, but it rather goes against Dale Carpenter's claim that SSM might strengthen marriage as a social institution.
4.6.2007 4:11am
F. Rottles (mail):
Dale Carpenter:


What Blankenhorn needs, even as a starting point, is some evidence that non-traditionalist views rose after SSM. He doesn’t have that.

[...]

The conservative case for SSM is now almost 20 years old, going back to Sullivan’s pathbreaking New Republic article, and continuing through his book Virtually Normal, Rauch’s voluminous writings and book [...] and my own work.


Okay so the starting point might be about twenty years ago. That would coincide with the SSM campaign's timeline in Scandinavia, which in turn, is the context for what occured in Holland.

The timeline for Ontario and Massachusetts overlap, as does the timeline for Canada and the USA. This is reflected in the count of same-sex relationships registered in Canada: more than half include foreigners and most of these are Americans from places with state DOMAs and marriage amendments. Something similair has occured in Holland and Scandinavia countries where immigration rules incent registeration.

So the starting point might be in the mid-1980s with key flashpoints in different countries during the mid-1990s.

To Mr. Carpenter, perhaps you can suggest (and defend) some criteria by which to determine a reasonable starting point for comparison of attitudes and behaviors toward marriage.
4.6.2007 4:26am
jim:
I am skeptical that the primary causation in the data is the idea of gay marriage undermining societal beliefs about marriage. I have long thought that the more accurate model is that straight people stop caring about marriage and subsequently decide that since it doesn't matter, they'll let the people who do care about it, i.e. gays, have it if they really want.

That said, Blakenhorn's effect probably still exists, and I think one of the first steps for supporters of same-sex marriage is to own up to the reality of criticisms like Blankenhorn's. Same-sex marriage is a change that would have great effect on the views of people who would not have otherwise understood marriage to be a social construct. Such a change is also likely to have some diminishing effect on traditional marriage as some people who would have settled for an opposite-sex marriage will instead pursue a same-sex marriage. Finally, there is likely to be a social cost in any behavior that deviates significantly from the behavioral norms on which much of society is built.

The case for same-sex marriage isn't to deny these, but to show that they would be overshadowed by the societal benefits of same-sex marriage.
4.6.2007 7:36am
Shinobi (mail) (www):
I think their is a flaw in the basic underlying assumption that the reduction of the marriage rate is a bad thing. Marriage serves less of a purpose now than it did 100 years ago, it is no longer the venue for property transfer, or the venue through which women are supported in the world(back when we couldn't own property, run businesses, vote etc). It has morphed into an emotional commitment and a legal state in that it allows couples to bind their lives together, and confer certain rights, based oon their desire to be together. But as many long term committed gay couples can tell you, those rights can also be confferred through a lot of legal paperwork as well, though they can be challenged in a way that marriage can't.

I would argue that the thing that truely caused marriage to become obselete is womens rights and their ability to support themselves without being legally bound to a man. I (obviously) have very progressive views on this subject.

What I think is key to this analysis is a look at the relationship between homophobia and traditional views of marriage/procreation etc. To try to pretend that this is only a legal question and has nothing to do with a negative view of alternative sexuality and gender roles is to ignore an important aspect of the issue. Some people hate gay people, some people fear them, and some just don't understand them, and because of this they do not see why gay people should be given rights. And it is likely that these people claim to be "protecting" marriage, so as not to appear to be bigoted.

(an Aside... I can't tell you how many times I wrote Correlation DOES NOT EQUAL Causation on papers back when I was a Stats TA. It was a lot. It seems to me that progressive views of marriage would lead Same Sex Marriage, just as much as they would declining marriage rates. I think the analysis is extremely flawed.)
4.6.2007 9:44am
Shawn-non-anonymous:
Truth Seeker, assume for the moment that homosexuality is something a person is born with. Now try to imagine why such a thing might be beneficial for a community of humans. This is simply an exercise in imagination I'm asking for and nothing more.

I would like to think everyone here could list at least two items regardless of what side of the debate they are on.

Am I correct in remembering, for example, that sickle cell anemia provides resistance to malaria? So is sickle cell anemia a "defect" or a beneficial mutation?

Anyhow, the origin of homosexuality is hardly in line with the topic of the thread. Please excuse my tangent.
4.6.2007 9:46am
On Lawn (mail):
BobNSF wrote:

> "Perhaps you didn't read carefully, On Lawn. I said the two couples 'gave up' trying to stay together. They broke up."

I don't appreciate having my argument misrepresented, and neither would you. I asked for examples of couples who broke up primarily because they didn't have a marriage license.

You gave an example where people had to live long distance relationships due to immigration laws. If they gave up due to a long distance relationship, or immigration laws that isn't primarily because of lack of a marriage license. Instead of supporting your claim, you simply accused me of trite dismissal. I'm sorry but these are examples of trite dismissals, I only asked you questions about your own examples. I the end, you are abandoning your examples. I don't have to dismiss them.

> "You asked for examples. You dismiss them, of course. (As my people say, 'quelle surprise!')"

On the contrary, I didn't dismiss your argument -- you did.
I demonstrated that there was a polygamy allegory to the immigration connundrum. Relationships are seperated, relationships with children are seperated, because polygamy which is recognized internationally is not accepted in the USA. You were asked to comment whether or not their case was sufficient to alter marriage law. Instead you dismissed the entire discussion -- your argument included -- rather than deal with the question.
4.6.2007 10:28am
On Lawn (mail):
Shinobi wrote:

> "I would argue that the thing that truely caused marriage to become obselete is womens rights and their ability to support themselves without being legally bound to a man. I (obviously) have very progressive views on this subject."

That argument strongly mirror's Kurtz's on Scandinavia. It is the ability to survive (expecially with welfare) outside of marriage that makes it obsolete. The same thing can be observed, I would argue, in the african-american decline of marriage.

But I read Carpenter as arguing that marriage isn't outdated, though I admit he undermines his own conservative claim by proposing a dramatic change to the institution of marriage in order to ennervate it.
4.6.2007 10:39am
Luis (mail) (www):
So ... bivariate correlations, OK. Anyone doing MULTIVARIATE models? Did all these people fail Statistics for the Social Sciences, or just not take it? "When phenomena are complex, on average, more complex models have more explanatory power?"

Anyone? "Suppressor effects?" Remember those?

Kind of strange, really.
4.6.2007 10:41am
Peter Wimsey:
On Lawn writes
I don't appreciate having my argument misrepresented, and neither would you. I asked for examples of couples who broke up primarily because they didn't have a marriage license.


This is, of course, a strawman argument. Opponents of SSM often claim that it is bad because it weakens traditional marriage. Given this claim, it is reasonable to ask the opponents for proof.

AFAIK, proponents of SSM have never claimed that the absence of SSM was bad because it causes gay couples to break up. So demanding proof of something they never claimed is sort of silly. What SSM proponents do claim is that the absence of SSM causes them to suffer various legal and other disadvantages vis-a-vis traditionally married couples. These claims are easy to support (off the top of my head - tenancy by the entirety, intestate succession, insurance coverage, hospital visitation).

I think it would be a more productive argument if you addressed claims actually made.
4.6.2007 11:03am
A.C.:
I thought a lot of those cohabiting couples in Scandinavia were in what we used to call common law marriages. The relationships endure, and the people in them behave as if married, but they don't get the actual marriage license. If that is the case (does anyone have any data on this?), a low rate of legal marriage is not a problem. The goal is permanent relationships, and a legal document is one way of helping couples get there. If a cultural preference also works, that's good too.

But most people who post here are probably in the United States, and that's not usually how things work here. I think Americans marry too lightly and get divorced too much, which is a much bigger problem than committed couples failing to file the legal paperwork.

People who oppose gay marriage seem to fear that allowing it will encourage society as a whole to take marriage even more lightly than it does now. That's not an idle concern, and I think gay marriage advocates should emphasize that the whole point of the campaign is to take marriage seriously. The individual rights approach, whatever it may be worth in court, does not make this point politically. Focusing on the social importance of committed relationships can help with this.

(This is in parentheses because it's off topic, but one of the reasons marriage is in trouble is precisely that weddings are such a big deal. So much of social life revolves around weddings that people have them who really shouldn't. Or at least not before sorting out their relationships a bit more first.)
4.6.2007 11:25am
nrein1 (mail):
On Lawn you were given an example of where lack of marriage license caused a couple to creak up. It was not due to immigration laws. The immigration laws say nothing about same sex marriage. Rather it was the fact that marriage laws do say such a thing, and thus the couple could not be married. This caused the immigration problems that were cited.

Think, if one were to rectify the situation would you change the immigration laws or the marriage laws?
4.6.2007 11:35am
On Lawn (mail):
Peter Wimsey wrote:

On Lawn writes:
>> "I don't appreciate having my argument misrepresented, and neither would you. I asked for examples of couples who broke up primarily because they didn't have a marriage license."

> "This is, of course, a strawman argument. Opponents of SSM often claim that it is bad because it weakens traditional marriage. Given this claim, it is reasonable to ask the opponents for proof."

I should thank you, really. You've pointed out afresh the double-standard that exists for people to treat marriage so rudely -- and justify it for themselves. You call it a strawman, but then why do you repeat the same argument as your own?

> "AFAIK, proponents of SSM have never claimed that the absence of SSM was bad because it causes gay couples to break up."

Actually, you should read BobNSF who did just that. So here we have two people on the same side disagreeing what the main thrust of neutering marriage is. No suprise, Carpenter has been struggling with that now for three articles.

> "So demanding proof of something they never claimed is sort of silly."

The point of the matter is that you are applying a double-standard. While the arguments to defend marriage do say that the marriage institution is weakened, you interpreted that to mean that divorces must exist with a causal relationship. When the arguments to neuter marriage say that homosexual couples are harmed without marriage licenses, you deny that means there has to be any breakups at all.

Thats a double standard, and one that I feel expresses just how advocates of neutering marriage don't really believe in the arguments they make. If they did believe in them, they'd treat their own case with the same expectations. If they did believe in them, they wouldn't back away from the arguments when applied to people other than their biased and select group.

> "What SSM proponents do claim is that the absence of SSM causes them to suffer various legal and other disadvantages vis-a-vis traditionally married couples."

What marriage defenders claim is that the institution of marriage is dramatically altered from a powerful expression of humanity in reproductive responsibility, to just romantic triviality. That is a mechanism that is specific and observable, btw. Every state that has same-sex marriages also has completely removed the requirement for equal gender representation in marriage. The correlation is 1.0. The mechanism is that gender segregationist relationships require that gender integration be devalued and demoted, and the removing of the requirement preceedes the other.

Carpenter's response is duplicitous and twofold... He simultaneously says "But so what?" to the actual evidence, and then claims that he still believes that children should be born in a marriage and that marriage stay in-tact. The reconciliation seems to be that it is okay for them, and will persist even without the direct reference in marriage requirement. When backed into that corner he says it will "survive", but otherwise does his best to say that it won't be harmed at all -- in fact it might be strengthened.

Meanwhile Dale ignores the great cry from the majority of the neutered marriage movement, who also say "But so what?" and give more frank assessments. Much like Shinobi above. Much like the Beyond Marriage project.

To be frank myself, Carpenter's approach is more an exercise is social engineering in and of itself. It is meant only to minimize resistance instead of applying an independant claim of marriage with an incremental approach. It is meant to diffuse any blame people might have on his agenda through vigorous application of plausible denaibility. It contextually implies marriage as a romantic recognition by the government hoping that by re-defining it in his context will eventually re-define it for everyone. And that this change will strenthen marriage, rather than weaken it from its status.

> "These claims are easy to support (off the top of my head - tenancy by the entirety, intestate succession, insurance coverage, hospital visitation)."

And you don't need to show actual break-ups -- and that is the point.

> "I think it would be a more productive argument if you addressed claims actually made."

I agree with that entirely.
4.6.2007 12:05pm
jrose:
On Lawn: If they gave up due to a long distance relationship, or immigration laws that isn't primarily because of lack of a marriage license

Do you support the Uniting American Families Act?
4.6.2007 12:08pm
On Lawn (mail):
nrein1 wrote:

> "On Lawn you were given an example of where lack of marriage license caused a couple to creak up. It was not due to immigration laws."

No I wasn't for the reason you state next...

> "The immigration laws say nothing about same sex marriage."

Meaning, they could have a marriage license in Canada or some other country and they would have the same problem.

> "Rather it was the fact that marriage laws do say such a thing, and thus the couple could not be married."

Only he cites exampes of where they were -- in Canada.

> "This caused the immigration problems that were cited."

So really, you put the cart before the horse.

> "Think, if one were to rectify the situation would you change the immigration laws or the marriage laws?"

I'm awaiting Bob's answer to that, and I'd invite your answer also. Specifically in the example of polygamist marriages, only to take you outside of any homosexual bias or chauvanism that may or may not exist. Is your position and reliance on that argument consistent or just prejudiced?
4.6.2007 12:11pm
On Lawn (mail):
JRose,

Good question. I could endorse it, but I have one qualm...

"The term `permanent partnership' means the relationship that exists between two permanent partners.'"

That definition is ambiguous, their relationship is defined as their relationship. And the word permanent doesn't seem to have any meaning either as the permanance is just until they find a new "permanent partner".

I dunno, do you think that wouldn't water down the requirement to the point of being a mere formality?
4.6.2007 12:17pm
jvarisco (www):
Even if one denies the causation, surely allowing gay marriage would make it harder to return to more traditional views of marriage?
4.6.2007 12:24pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Much of the argument against SSM is "it will damage traditional marriage." I'm not sure that I particularly believe this. But so what? The real question is whether there is any strong argument for SSM.

Governments got into the business of defining and regulating marriage because of children and defining the obligations of men to support their wives and biological children. Why? Because women were in an inferior legal status, and a woman--especially a woman with children--was at great risk if her husband fell down on his duties, or abandoned them.

None of this applies to same sex couples. They can't have children. (Adoption and children from previous heterosexual relationships are handled sufficiently by current law.) The argument that, "The wife stayed home raising kids for ten years and needs to be supported," does not apply to a same sex couple, and increasingly doesn't fit traditional marriages anymore, because so few mothers stay home with their children.

What this boils down to is that same sex couples want everyone to say, "You are perfectly normal." This is why civil unions aren't sufficient to satisfy the activists--because civil unions are a reminder that homosexuals are not like others.

There's no question in my mind that the courts will eventually impose SSM throughout the United States, with no legal basis. I keep hoping that when that day comes, it will lead to the transformation of our legal system so that lawyers are no longer allowed to sit on the Supreme Court.
4.6.2007 12:28pm
jrose:
On Lawn, The term `permanent partnership' means the relationship that exists between two permanent partners.'

The UAFA details the definition of "permanent partners" [See Sec 2(2)(51)]. IMO, this definition is not more watered down than marriage (which is just as "permanent" until a divorce). The INS (USCIS) would apply the same criteria in reviewing sham relationships for marriage and permanent partners.

However if you disagree and cannot support this legislation, how could an American citizen sponsor their same-sex, loving partner for a green card other than having the federal government recognize SSM or civil unions, something you appear to oppose.
4.6.2007 12:43pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Jrose wrote:

> "However if you disagree and cannot support this legislation"

Thanks for showing that there is a workable, verifiable definition of permanent partners. Though I'm still dubious about it being too watered down.

My own views of immigration are deep and intensely interesting, I'm sure. But I can't help but notice that you must have an answer to the question I posed earlier also. What is your own answer?
4.6.2007 12:57pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
What makes SSM not only "okay" but legally required, but not polygamy? Just the fact that many SSM advocates find polygamy "icky"?
4.6.2007 12:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
On Lawn,

If a man and woman get married today in Massachusetts, do they have a neutered marriage?

Do all heterosxual married couples in Massachisetts have neutered marriages?

If a heterosexual couple marries in New Hampshire, then drive to Masssachusetts, does their marriage become neutered?

If a couple marries in Massachusetts, and has a neutered marriage, can they drive to New Hampshire for a weekend respite from the neutered status?

If a heterosexual married couple is lost in the woods near the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border, can they determine what state they are in by observing if their marriage is neutered? How do they make the determination?

If a man and woman are married by a priest in a Catholic church, under the applicable rules of the Church, are they in a neutered marriage? Does the Church agree?

If the answer to any of the above is "yes," what are the specific and observable characteristics of the Massachusetts heterosxual marriages which differ from New Hampshire heterosexual marriages? (This will help wayward hikers.)
4.6.2007 1:04pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Correction:

I failed to mention the Catholic couple is in Massachusetts.
4.6.2007 1:06pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Elliot123 wrote:

> "If a man and woman get married today in Massachusetts, do they have a neutered marriage?"

Depends. By marriage do you mean the institution they belong to or their relationship between each other?

The neutering of the marriage definition is an institutional change, and the effects are seen the relative values of each institution for society. One could put it simpler though, they no longer have access to the institution that recognizes and promotes responsible procreation. Whether the watered down form of marriage still has value or not is their own judgment to make.

Your other questions read to me like immature mockery. If you wish to understand the position, understanding that marriage is an institution as much as it is a single relationship is the first place to start. One can reference one or the other or both, but you should understand the reference first.
4.6.2007 1:29pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Does this mean it is possible for the institution to be neutered, yet no individual marriage is neutered? If neutering an institution has no effect on individual marriages, then then who cares? Perhaps we should recognize the institution is nothing more than the reflection of the reality of millions of American marriages. If individual marriages are not neutered, then neither is the institution.

And that couple is still lost in the woods.
4.6.2007 1:39pm
Colin (mail):
Much of what I learned in the other thread (from Colin's example especially) was that the double standard is well enforced on your side.

I note that you cite to your own misleading characterization of the exchange, on your own echo-chamber website, rather than to any actual post of mine. Classy. You also misspelled “cowered.”

I won’t take your bait. What I learned from the Opine visitors is that you argue from rhetoric, rather than evidence or logical premises. There is no practical, productive response to the ad nauseam repetition of “marriage and non-marriage,” or the barely sensible “gender-integrative” and “gender-segregative” gabble, especially when it's repeated four or five times by you, Fitz, and F. Rottles in tag-team. Asking for evidence or an articulation of the harms of gay marriage produces, at best, thirty intertwining Opine posts of what can be accurately paraphrased as “non-marriage just can’t be marriage because we say so, and besides, people will sell their children to the gays if we gender-segregate a non-conjugal relationship in a way counter to the marriage purpose.” Rather than help bog down Professor Carpenter’s thread with another round of that, I’ll bow out. The signal-to-noise ratio of your ongoing blather expresses, better than I am able, the vacuity and intellectual bankruptcy of your advocacy.
4.6.2007 1:43pm
jrose:
On Lawn,

You did not make it clear if you support or oppose the UAFA?

I oppose allowing a married man to sponsor their second wife for a green card. IMO, polygamy as it is practiced is abusive to both women and children.
4.6.2007 1:46pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Elliot123 wrote:

> "Does this mean it is possible for the institution to be neutered, yet no individual marriage is neutered? "

In a previous thread, you defended the right of Carpenter and others to use the phrase "gay marriage". I use the term neutered marriage to describe the change. You said:

I agree "gay marriage" sounds and feels different than "marriage," I agree it implies a difference, and I agree words matter. Most folks think there is a difference, and they express that by using different words. Note Dale Carpenter uses "gay marriage." He's one of the folks I refer to.


Yet, not all marriages are gay or even same-sex under your proposed change. So on one hand you defend the ability to call the new institution a different name, but on the other hand you seem to chaff at the distinction in reference that I use. Why is that?

What is neutered? Our understanding of marriage is neutered, our way of describing marriage is neutered, our definition of marriage is neutered. That perspective and application applies to each marriage to one degree or another, there is no doubt about that. But the application of the term is from the perspective of the state, which is indifferent to the gender composition of the union. Each individual perspective may or may not match the state definition (which you argued previously).

You should simply admit that your aversion to recognizing the change in marriage is sending you flailing like a school child on the playground avoiding the end of recess.
4.6.2007 2:06pm
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 2:54pm
Steve P. (mail):
Wow, lots of craziness being thrown around in these comments. Almost too much to bother with, but this nugget from TruthSeeker is too good to pass up:
But, people are also born crippled, blind and with various other abnormalities and we consider these to be birth defects. Is it not possible that a person born gay, without an interest in normal reproduction is also the product of a birth defect? If so then the question would be do we want to celebrate and encourage this particular birth defect.

Umm, I don't know, TruthSeeker. Do we let blind/crippled people marry? Should we?
4.6.2007 2:58pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
The signal-to-noise ratio of your ongoing blather expresses, better than I am able, the vacuity and intellectual bankruptcy of your advocacy.


Well, I guess everyone is not a fan of the site.
4.6.2007 3:15pm
Truth Seeker:
Steven P: Umm, I don't know, TruthSeeker. Do we let blind/crippled people marry? Should we?

Apparently this is way over your head. Getting married has nothing to do with being crippled, but has everything to do with sexual orientation.

The equivalent to gay marrieage for crippled people would to make all sidewalks and floors padded and encourage them to crawl everywhere. But we don't do that. We give them artificial limbs and wheel chairs so they don't have to be crippled. We remedy the problem not encourage it.
4.6.2007 3:28pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Colin wrote:

> "I note that you cite to your own misleading characterization of the exchange"

More flailing, from a different sort. Colin's example falls short of his own requirements, yet he lets it pass. There is clearly a double standard taking place.

> "on your own echo-chamber website"

I'm not sure where you get that impression. However if it were an echo-chamber it is only because people such as yourself feel that pretending to be aloof is easier than meeting the arguments presented. It is easier to come here and make a bunch of unfounded, and inaccurate accusations rather than go there and make a point of your own. No?

Prove me wrong. Go there and just tear it apart. We only delete comments for profanity, you can read in that very thread where someone was challenging our views. We let them have their say, but apparently he didn't have much to say at all.
4.6.2007 3:32pm
anonVCfan:
this is an example of the value of the hide/show function
4.6.2007 3:36pm
Adeez (mail):
"What this boils down to is that same sex couples want everyone to say, 'You are perfectly normal.'"

That's funny, Mr. Cramer, because as I see it, it all boils down to is heterosexuals (and closeted homosexuals)refusing to accept that homosexuals are indeed "perfectly normal." And by "normal," I mean just as worthy of the rights that their fellow citizens have simply by virtue of being born different.

Shinobi stated it eloquently, so I'll merely repeat his words:

"Some people hate gay people, some people fear them, and some just don't understand them, and because of this they do not see why gay people should be given rights. And it is likely that these people claim to be "protecting" marriage, so as not to appear to be bigoted."
4.6.2007 3:50pm
F. Rottles (mail):
Adeez, the issue is not homosexuality or heterosexuality or bisexuality or various other sexual inclinations.

The issue is the social institution of marriage, the nature of which is both-sexed.

Clayton E. Cramer has it correct. Make the case for a special status for the one-sexed arrangment -- the chief feature of which is presumed (by SSM advocates rather than the rest of us) to be homosexual sexual relations. Now, is that the core, the essence, the nature of the one-sexed arrangement you think is worthy of being treated as marriage?

Marriage integrates the sexes (i.e. man and woman, husband and wife, father and mother) and provides contingency for responsible procreation (the man and woman who create a child are both the biological parents and the social parents. This does not fit the one-sexed arrangment -- whatever sexual orientation you wish to attribute to it.

The issue is whether or not society ought to continue to treat the nature of marriage as worthy of preferential status.

You mistake the marriage debate for an opportunity to promote freedom for the homosexual population. Well, there is no liberty denied when two men, or two women, of whatever sexual orientation, choose the nonmarital one-sexed alternative to marriage. They choose nonmarriage. That is an exercise in liberty. It is not a right denied by marriage recognition.
4.6.2007 4:01pm
Ramza:
F. Rottles, forget procreation for a second, integration of the sexes, liberty denied, love and all that.

Is there a reason why someone who doesn't plan to reproduce, a straight person, may want to get married to another person?
4.6.2007 4:06pm
F. Rottles (mail):
Colin, you have discredited yourself. Your latest rant is way off-topic and with it you have, surely, disqualified yourself as a competent observer of this discussion.

You were answered in the other discussions. Your arguments were met fairly.

Your argument from Legal Requirements [LINK]

Your reliance on the observable facts [LINK]

Your confusion in the legal arena [LINK]

Your attempt to switch topics midstream [LINK]

For someone posing as a "just the facts" lawyer on the internet, you present yourself as ill-prepared for this marriage debate.

Thus, what I said earlier may now have expired with the emotional outburts in your most recent comment:

I had said [LINK]


Colin, we disagree, obviously, on a number of basic points.

You slip around quite a bit. You say that the law is all that concerns you. And you say that the law is whatever the polity wishes it to be. But you also agree with the reasoning of the Goodridge opinon which, as you noted, used rational basis review and yet define the law not as the polity wished it to be. The contradictions and twists in your comments have accumulated here for all to read.

But you have persisted with a modicum of dignity and civility. That is much more than most SSM advocates can bring themselves to do when met with persistent and civil disagreement. And, yes, your reasoning does follow the common pattern of SSM argumentation, quite faithfully, but, no, that does not make your view of the legal institution factually correct.


Readers can judge for themselves whether or not what I've said is sensible and on-point. Somehow I cannot give your claim much credence that the nature of marriage is irrelevant to marriage recognition. But if nonmarriage is to be treated as marriage, in your headspace, I guess were are at an impasse.
4.6.2007 4:11pm
Martin Grant (mail):
TruthSeeker says
Apparently this is way over your head. Getting married has nothing to do with being crippled, but has everything to do with sexual orientation.


Why? Because you say so. In fact getting married has nothing to do with sexual orientation either.
4.6.2007 4:16pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Randy R/On Lawn/ Cornelius:

The anti-SSM side (to my knowledge) has never claimed that any particular couple would respond to gay marriage by freaking out and saying 'ohh my god they let gays marry so maybe we should get divorced.' The claim has always been that SSM slightly weakens the institution of marriage. If true we would expect to see the marginal cases of marriage (people hovering on the edge of divorce, unsure about getting married) to be influenced.

If the anti-SSM side was correct we would just expect to see couples feeling less compelled by the idea of marriage and experiencing less social stigma for transgressing it's rules (breaking up, having affairs). Hence noting that we don't see people claiming that SSM caused them to break up proves nothing.

Anti-SSM Crowd:

First of all (and this applies to everyone) to prove your point you need to show that your arguments are valid and the best arguments against your position are invalid. Showing that some people on the other side have a double standard (why not an honest mistake?), are ideologically biased or whatever does nothing to prove that you have the evidence on your side. Now on to the substantive issue.

To be precise the question we are asking is: does the legal recognition of SSM increase the number of divorces and out of wedlock children over and above what they would be in a society who favored SSM. No one is contesting the fact that the same social forces which result in recognizing SSM might also weaken marriage.

In general correlation only suggests that the two factors are related in some fashion, e.g., they both have some common cause. Studies showing smoking and lung cancer are correlated suggest a cause while the correlation between ashtrays and lung cancer does not because smoking is the most plausible causal explanation of the correlation. However, In the case of gay marriage we already have a plausible causal mechanism to explain the effect which doesn't suggest SSM weakens marriage.

I mean common people your own belief that liberals are ruining things by campaigning against traditional marital values and supporting SSM tells you to expect a correlation between countries that recognize SSM and those that have less traditional views of marriage. Even if legally recognizing SSM strengthened marriage you would still expect to see this correlation! Hence finding that correlation tells you nothing about the effect of legally recognizing SSM.

In short since we would expect this correlation whatever the effects of SSM it adds nothing to your intuition that SSM will weaken marriage. Since those intuitions are suspect (likely to be influenced by moral/social attitudes to gays) and many of us have opposite intuitions this means your case is very weak. In fact I think there is a good argument to be made that the abscence of gay marriage gives anti-marriage forces an important cause to rally around thus strengthening their position.

--

As an aside I have no problem recognizing polygamous marriages (tho the use of these to abuse children must be stopped) or even platonic marriage like relations. In fact I think the government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Who I have sex with is none of the government's business and it shouldn't affect who I can file tax returns with or visit in the hospital. We should let all these things be decided by private contract.

Given that everyone here is so libertarian and conservative in other areas why are you willing to support government involvement in marriage at all?
4.6.2007 4:20pm
F. Rottles (mail):
Hi Ramza,


"Is there a reason why someone who doesn't plan to reproduce, a straight person, may want to get married to another person?"


Shor answer: Probably, yes.

However, pregnancies occur despite plans and intentions. We probably can agree that the core of marriage recognition is contingency for contraception or abortion.

Plans change. Intentions change.

And circumstances during marriage will certainly change -- often in surprising ways -- and not always in ways that we can control through choice or force of will.

With all of that, the contingency for responsible procreation comes with marriage recognition. I am not referring to recognition on a case-by-case basis. We recognize the social institution into which the individuals enter as husband and wife.

So, sure, the individualized choice can be made based on various reasons (or no reasons) minus an individualized plan to create children during a conjugal relationship.

The individualized reason(s) don't supersed the nature of marriage. That's how social instutitons work. Now, sure, I see that the SSM argument would replace the nature of marriage with some other set of ideals and would push integration and procreation to the sidelines. This would be a change in the public shared meaning of marriage that is taken as part of getting married -- whatever the individualized reasons of this or that husband or wife.
4.6.2007 4:26pm
F. Rottles (mail):
Sorry for the typos.


Short answer: Probably, yes.

[...]

We probably can agree that the core of marriage recognition is NOT contingency for contraception or abortion.
4.6.2007 4:31pm
Adeez (mail):
"Given that everyone here is so libertarian and conservative in other areas why are you willing to support government involvement in marriage at all?"

Great question, Logicnazi. Perhaps those who claim to be (1) for government recognition of marriage for two people of opposite sex; (2) against government recognition of marriage for two people of the same sex; and (3) libertarian, could enlighten us?
4.6.2007 4:42pm
Lonely Capitalist (mail):
On many college campuses the suggestion of one poster that homosexuality is a birth defect would be a punishable offense. Ironic that college campuses are the one place where not all ideas can be discussed.
4.6.2007 4:48pm
jrose:
there is no liberty denied when two men, or two women, of whatever sexual orientation, choose the nonmarital one-sexed alternative to marriage

I strongly disagree. We had in this thread the example of a binational couple who cannot stay together because immigration law treats married people differently. There are many other such examples that impact on liberty as well.
4.6.2007 5:00pm
Cornellian (mail):
"Given that everyone here is so libertarian and conservative in other areas why are you willing to support government involvement in marriage at all?"

Great question, Logicnazi. Perhaps those who claim to be (1) for government recognition of marriage for two people of opposite sex; (2) against government recognition of marriage for two people of the same sex; and (3) libertarian, could enlighten us?


No problem here, I'd be happy to see the government (especially the federal government) withdraw from subsidizing marital relationships. It's not like people need that excuse to get married. However, since that's not going to happen, I'd prefer to see those subsidies more equitably distributed.
4.6.2007 6:06pm
Ramza:
The reason why I asked you that question, is to answer a bigger point, you F.Rottles , Adeez , and Clayton Crammer harped on (links are in reverse order, CC was the first to bring up the point).

The reason why people want to get married, Clayton Crammer said gays want to get married is this

What this boils down to is that same sex couples want everyone to say, "You are perfectly normal." This is why civil unions aren't sufficient to satisfy the activists--because civil unions are a reminder that homosexuals are not like others.

Crammer is being simplistic in this example, perhaps he wanted to create a strawman by generalizing a very large group of people and say they have one goal one interest. This is foolish, groups of people, hell even individuals are pluralistic in their thoughts, motivations, and reasons. There are so many reasons why a gay couple want to get married, just like there is so many reasons why a straight couple want to get married

F.Rottles you may say the "real purpose" of marriage is X (X being responsible procreation and the integration of the sexes). You then say that is also the goverments interest in marriage. Just because it is the "real purpose" in your mind, doesn't mean that is the same reasons motivate other people to wanting to get married.

Marriages have so much more "utility" than the arguements you have listed, it has so many more benefits than responsibile procreation and the integration of the sexes. Marriage does so many "good things." To say that is the only reason we have marriage and to say that is the only reason people (gay or straight) want to get married is being disengious to the thoughts and motivations of millions of people, the world is far more complex than you are describing it.
4.6.2007 6:28pm
Elliot123 (mail):
On Lawn,

I did indeed observe people would continue to call the marriage of two guys a gay marriage. That means their particular marriage and relationship would be called gay marriage. The aggregate of such marriages would also be called gay marriage.

However, I note you do not call a particular Massachusetts marriage a neutered marriage. That makes sense; I wouldn't either. So who cares if the institution is neutered if it doesn't effect any particular marriage? If no particular marriage is effected, the characteristics of the institution are only a curiosity.

But, it is a relief to know all those heterosexual Catholics getting Catholic marriages in Massachusetts are not entering into a state of holy neutromony.
4.6.2007 7:17pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

The equivalent to gay marrieage for crippled people would to make all sidewalks and floors padded and encourage them to crawl everywhere. But we don't do that. We give them artificial limbs and wheel chairs so they don't have to be crippled. We remedy the problem not encourage it.


Ah no. SSM is the artificial limbs and the wheelchairs. Anti-SSM is saying you are fine as you are crawling around.
4.6.2007 7:54pm
fishbane (mail):
Great question, Logicnazi. Perhaps those who claim to be (1) for government recognition of marriage for two people of opposite sex; (2) against government recognition of marriage for two people of the same sex; and (3) libertarian, could enlighten us?

That's easy.

(1) To the extent that government is doing something, that something should be available to all people. ("Gay people can marry the opposite sex" isn't an answer.)
(2) Thinking that (1) is true is not incompatible with thinking that the government shouldn't be involved at all, any more than thinking that, say, while the IRS shouldn't exist, it also shouldn't double-tax people with blue eyes.
(3) I consider myself a libertarian, but am finding myself pushed to the left as a practical matter more and more these days.
4.6.2007 8:50pm
fishbane (mail):
Oh, shoot. I mentally swapped "same" and "opposite" in the original for the purposes of my above post. Commentary applies, just not to the original questioner. Apologies.
4.6.2007 8:52pm
Aleks:
Re: Getting back to gay culture, an overview of life on Earth shows that reproduction is the purpose of nearly all life.

How odd that the conseravtive family value folks are driven to depend on Darwin, who normally is anathema to them, for their case! A more robust world view would accept that human life at least may have deeper purposes than simply churning out copies of human DNA. Not to mention this hyper-materialistic viewpoint also condemns as failures non-breeders as diverse as Jesus, Plato, Elizabeth I, Beethoven, George Washington and Mother Teresa.

Re: All of this shows marriage is in freefall in Scandinavian couuntries.

Huh? Marriage is marriage, no matter how old the bride and groom. Dismissing unsupporting data out of hand is not a very honest way to make an argument.

Re: This context hides the higher rates of dissolution that manifest in unwed cohabitors -- with and without children .

Single parent families are actually rarer in these countries than in the US (if you count cohabiting parents as de facto married, as the law used to do even in this county. See: Common law marriage)

Re: This doesn't bode well for the next generation of children.

Maybe take a look at outcomes for Swedish children? Health and nutrition factors. School graduation rates. Deliquency. Substance abuse problems. There's some trouble in the last category (may be something to do with the long, dark winters as Russia and Alaska and even Greenland have similar troubles), but you will find that Swedish children compare quite well with American children in all other areas.

Re: it is no longer the venue for property transfer, or the venue through which women are supported in the world(back when we couldn't own property, run businesses, vote etc).

American women couldn't vote 100 years ago (except in Wyoming), but they could and did own property, and the idea that no woman ever worked outside the home 100 years ago is laughable.

Re: What makes SSM not only "okay" but legally required, but not polygamy?

Number and gender are very categories. The latter is a biological accident, while the former is one of the most basic logical categories there is-- you can inmagine a world withiout gender. A world without number is impossible to conceive (except as a panetheistic, undifferntiated monad). In legal terms extending the franchise to people formally disallowed did not create an argument in favor of allowing plural votes to the same person.
4.6.2007 11:02pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Until Dale or any of the other SSM denizens on this list produce scientific proof that legalizing polygamy causes more divorce or less marriage, this discussion is officially a red herring.
4.7.2007 12:05am
fishbane (mail):
Kudos to Alecks for (I think) the first use of the term 'monad'. Even divorced (ahem) from compSci meanings, it might be interesting to both sides of the debate. And the philo meanings are much more interesting.
4.7.2007 1:00am
Lev:

Ramza:
Lev, its called the page down key.


Thank you for your kind comments. I submit that five (5) screens of post on the main page is way too many, and is rude.
4.7.2007 1:23am
Charlie Feather (mail):
logicnazi: "Who I have sex with is none of the government's business ...."

That is the false dogma that we've been brainwashed with. The truth is your sex life is everybody's business.

Wow! What a revolutionary idea!

The fact is, everyone's sex life is everyone's business with the exception of masturbation, perhaps, which has no or little effect on anyone. Otherwise, whom you are doing it with implicates all of society insofar as these things lead to the birth of children, the spread of disease, can create social instability, disrupt society (adultery, for instance), affect demographics, and so on.

It is a lie of the Playboy Philosophy and the sexual revolution that private sex acts are just that and nobody else's busines. Sex has very public consequences.
4.7.2007 1:23am
Ramza:

Thank you for your kind comments. I submit that five (5) screens of post on the main page is way too many, and is rude.


You see if Dale did what you request him to do, anybody that reads his post would have to click on the "show" link he would have to devise. Thus either you will have to push the page down key, or people that want to read his writing will have to click the "show" link. No matter what someone is going to have to waste 3 more seconds.
4.7.2007 1:33am
Charlie Feather (mail):
Causation..... will gay marriage cause negative affects to traditional marriage? This is another red herring in the marriage debate. The number of arguments for and against same-sex marriage are not infinite, and Blakenhorn and Carpenter are really debating quite sophisticatedly the argument, "Why not? What's the harm?"

Why is it a red herring? Because gay marriage doesn't have to harm necessarily traditional marriage only in order for it to be undesirable to society. If gay marriage increased the number of auto accidents, that would be sufficient to oppose it. Maybe gay marriage would not harm traditional marriage, but the damage it creates could lie elsewhere.

But, first, let's be honest. Marriage has never been, and never will be, the ideal to which most gays have ever aspired. The issue of marriage is being used as part of the homosexualist's quest for social sanction of their behavior. The very few gays who may sincerely want to marry will have the effect of legitimizing the sexual choices and practices of the many who do not, and will not, want to marry. It's supposed to make homosexuality OK, to give it respectability, make it an equally moral choice, to remove all stigma. It's really more about collective group 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 most gays is more about and sexual freedom and its unbridled male sexual expression, which is far more easily found with other like-minded males than it is with females, because a male really knows how men like their sex.

Like drug use, gambling, prostitution and other similar vices, the problem inherent to the homosexualist utopia, the so-called "gay lifestyle," are no different from the same problems that any of these other activities would create. We know from observing real life that these create and perpetuate an undesirable and dangerous social climate, the real "cluster" that glorifies self-centered hedonistic pleasures, but also the spread of diseases, social and mental instability, addiction, crime and so forth. Whether a causative factor can be identified is beside the point; it is only sufficient to observe. The problem with homosexuality, then, is not so much the isolated act or the fact of being homosexual, but the undesirable social climate created and perpetuated by the selfish pursuit and glorification of carnal pleasures. This is a state of arrested sexual development more appropriate to a 15 year old than a mature adult. No society has survived such a philosophy and way of life.

I include a revealing commentary from a gay man who claims to be fairly representative of the gay community that sums up fairly well my thesis. I did not make up the idea of the homosexualist ideal. Homosexuals, themselves, affirm this.

From: bearfist2005@(deleted) 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 (sic) role-model, which is becoming more unpopular among [even] straights. I don't plan on marrying any one man, I have had long term relationships that were deep and committed, just not monogomous (sic) 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."

Not legally recognizing gay marriage, then, will have the effect of refusing to legitimize the promiscuity and hedonism so glorified 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.

Symbolism has its value, also, and the fight is over the meaning of that symbol. That is the value of marriage and why it should be protected and supported as it is.

Gays and others in relationships that are not procreative and family supportive should more logically petition for civil unions, reciprocal beneficiaries or something of that sort.
4.7.2007 1:46am
Ramza:

logicnazi: "Who I have sex with is none of the government's business ...."

That is the false dogma that we've been brainwashed with. The truth is your sex life is everybody's business.

Wow! What a revolutionary idea!

The fact is, everyone's sex life is everyone's business with the exception of masturbation, perhaps, which has no or little effect on anyone. Otherwise, whom you are doing it with implicates all of society insofar as these things lead to the birth of children, the spread of disease, can create social instability, disrupt society (adultery, for instance), affect demographics, and so on.

It is a lie of the Playboy Philosophy and the sexual revolution that private sex acts are just that and nobody else's busines. Sex has very public consequences.

Three important words: Liberty, Autonomy, and Self-Determination

Yes my sexual actions affect a lot of people, regardless they don't get a say in my actions in this sphere. Society doesn't have the power to choose my mate, society doesn't have the right to force me to reproduce or not to reproduce, no one has this power besides myself.

Sex has public consequences, just because it has public consequences doesn't grant society complete authority over my life. If you believe society has or should have this authority, you might as well throw out the declaration of independence and much of the enlightenment philosophy.
4.7.2007 1:52am
F. Rottles (mail):

We had in this thread the example of a binational couple who cannot stay together because immigration law treats married people differently.


Marriage is a preferential status, as I have said previously. Discriminating on the basis of marital status is not unjust in the example of immigration.

Now, an individual can also successfully emigrate to the USA. There are various ways this can be done without asking society, through its state authorities, to treat the one-sexed arrangement as a special category. But if there was merit in such a category -- apart from other more inclusive categories, then, that would be a matter for modifying immigration regulations or laws, not marriage laws and not demoting marriage from its preferential treatment altogether.
4.7.2007 2:45am
F. Rottles (mail):

Just because it is the "real purpose" in your mind, doesn't mean that is the same reasons motivate other people to wanting to get married.


Okay, but this purpose is well-established in the nature of humankind and so forth. Even if, as some SSM advocates claim, this purpose could be pursued in some other way (with or without special status) the issue is not one of purely incentivizing the formation of marriages. Marriage recognition is not a benefits program. Contrary to much of the SSM rights-based claims (and even Dale Carpenter's so-called 'conservative case') the benefits did not, and do not, create the social institution of marriage. This really is not a chicken-and-egg connundrum. So private motivations may be part of the equation, on a case-by-case basis, but not in terms of the normative influence of the social institution that the Law merely recognizes.

Granted, this gets lost in the various debates about the purpose of the marriage law and the demand that nonmarital arrangments (not just the homosexual variety) be treated more like marriage. The point I am making is central: the equality sought is not between homosexual and heterosexual people but between one particular kind of nonmarital arrangement and the conjugal relationship.

I'd rather see the demand for changing marriage recognition shift away from marriage and toward an intellectually honest discussion of the merits, and demerits, of a new status for the idealized homosexual relaitonship type. The sexual ecology of the two things that some people want to treat as identical is far too great. It is significantly different between the two homosexual types of one-sexed arrangements -- the man-man and woman-woman relationship types probably required different sets of ideals and differences in the law. If all we look at is the adult relationship, minus the core of marriage, then, the man-woman relationship type would be severed from the purpose that is normative. These three major types of sexualized relationship types are not identical in terms of sexuality and the public interest.

Thusfar, in the various years of debate about SSM, I have not read or heard an advocate of SSM justify a social policy that would create a status that is based on the limitations of the man-man or the woman-woman combination but which would adequately deal with the nature of marriage. Sure, some peripheral things to marriage are shared in these other types of relationships -- as idealized in the SSM argument -- but that's not sufficient to remove the core of marriage from marriage recognition.

Start from the purpose for the special status you would like to enact for your idealized version of the man-man, or the woman-woman, type of relationship. See if it can fit the one-sexed sexualized relationship of the other sex. Then, based on requirements, as per the pro-SSM argument, define the purpose in the law. It has taken many generations for marriage law to get where it is today, so I do not expect the pro-SSM crowd to accomplish this goal without doing a good deal more homework, i.e. thinking through what is really desired from a societal perspective rather than individualized choices. I really do think far too much energy and attention is being diverted to an unnecessary conflict with the nature of marriage.


To say that is the only reason we have marriage and to say that is the only reason people (gay or straight) want to get married is being disengious to the thoughts and motivations of millions of people, the world is far more complex than you are describing it.


Well, I described, in my own words, the societal purpose for marriage recognition. I haven't gone through a laundry list of privatized reasons to form a conjugal relationship because at that level of granularity we loose sight of the social institution. I think if you read my previous comment you might note this is not an insignficant distinction between the "me too" argument of SSM advocates and the argument that Blankenhorn and others, including myself, have put forth in defence of the both-sexed requirement.

So in that context, Cramer was correct. The SSM movement, as such, is about homosexuality. The resistance to the demands of that movement is about marriage the social institution. Two things that need not conflict as I have just outlined.

It is important in these types of discussions to read what is actually said and to not ascribe ill-motive. Pointing to the effect of an argument, rather than the divined motives of the person relaying the argument, is a good approach -- the advised approach for social policymaking -- that is applicable to all sides of the SSM debate. I hope you'd agree on that.
4.7.2007 3:07am
F. Rottles (mail):
Aleks, I think you misread my comment.


Marriage is marriage, no matter how old the bride and groom. Dismissing unsupporting data out of hand is not a very honest way to make an argument.


I did not dismiss the data. I explained the context.

I did not say that the age of the bride and groom made their marriages invalid, in terms of the analysis of the trends.

Please, reread what I did say about the rise of unwed cohabitation.

The older couples (late thirties - early forties) are having children while unwed. In the earlier phase of unwed cohabitation that took-off in the 1980s, the first child usually triggered a transition to marriage. The younger couples have made such transitions less common than even those couples a generation -- or less -- ahead of them.

But in both large age groups the transition from cohabitation to marriage has been declining. This demonstrates that in the space of about a decade the normative influence of marriage has declined quickly. Not just for the older couples, but also for the younger couples who typically make-up a disproportionate share of new marriages.

Older people also are more likely to have been divorced and so their contribution to the marriage rate uptick is in the remarriage column. As I said, the risk of dissolution is higher for unwed cohabitors and for unwed cohabitors who marry -- with or without children.

The increase in the marriage rate is a very slight uptick and does not merit description as a resurgence or a strengthening of marriage there.
4.7.2007 3:28am
F. Rottles (mail):

Swedish children compare quite well with American children in all other areas.


How does that counter the observation that marriage is in a freefall? Do you applaude the nonmarital trends in Sweden?


Single parent families are actually rarer in these countries than in the US


I've seen that said in other discussions. Before I reply, again, please cite your source.
4.7.2007 3:32am
F. Rottles (mail):
Sorry for the typo.

The difference in sexual ecology of the two things that some people want to treat as identical is far too great. [LINK]
4.7.2007 3:39am
Charlie Feather (mail):
Ramza:
Three important words: Liberty, Autonomy, and Self-Determination

Yes my sexual actions affect a lot of people, regardless they don't get a say in my actions in this sphere. Society doesn't have the power to choose my mate, society doesn't have the right to force me to reproduce or not to reproduce, no one has this power besides myself.

Sex has public consequences, just because it has public consequences doesn't grant society complete authority over my life. If you believe society has or should have this authority, you might as well throw out the declaration of independence and much of the enlightenment philosophy.


Society may not have the power to choose your mate or force you to reproduce or not to reproduce, but through government, it certainly has the power to encourage or discourage your choices. It has a vital interest in the sexual activities of its members, whether you like this or not, and the degree of control it exercises varies from culture to culture. How much or how little is a constant question for debate, which is informed by the values and philosophy that shapes these cultures.

If societies show signs of weakening, then maybe they should call into question the philosophical assumptions that underlie them.
4.7.2007 8:28am
Charlie Feather (mail):
F. Rottles: The point I am making is central: the equality sought is not between homosexual and heterosexual people but between one particular kind of nonmarital arrangement and the conjugal relationship.

Simply put, same-sex marriage would bestow the status of conjugality to friendships. The harm is to logic, itself.
4.7.2007 8:48am
jrose:
Marriage is a preferential status, as I have said previously. Discriminating on the basis of marital status is not unjust in the example of immigration.
I agree. However, allowing one group of people (straights) to marry their romantic, permanent partner, while not allowing another group (gays), results in immigration law (among many other laws) disadvantaging gays in a serious and significant way.
But if there was merit in such a category -- apart from other more inclusive categories, then, that would be a matter for modifying immigration regulations or laws, not marriage laws
Do you support the Uniting American Families Act?
4.7.2007 9:44am
Op-Ed. (mail) (www):
jrose: I agree. However, allowing one group of people... while not allowing another group..., results in ... disadvantag[e]

Your second sentence is a natural consequence of the first. There are many groups that are disinterested in marriage. Saying you support discrimination based on marital status means you accept disadvantage against those groups.

Immigration law discriminates based on other relationships as well. Employment relationships get special status under immigration law. Note that employers didn't try to lobby to have marriage law redefined just because they weren't interested in "marrying" their employees. Instead they made an independent case for society's interest in furthering employment. You can make the same case for societal interest in homosexual intimacy without redefining marriage.

Do you support the Uniting American Families Act?

Do you really want to link homosexual unions to polygamy as that bill would do? Activists on your side of the debate are constantly claiming their arguments can't possibly apply to polygamists. See my previous comment about Dale's whopping self-contradiction in this regard.
4.7.2007 10:57am
jrose:
There are many groups that are disinterested in marriage. Saying you support discrimination based on marital status means you accept disadvantage against those groups.
True, but gays aren't disinterested. They are disadvantaged against their will.
You can make the same case for societal interest in homosexual intimacy without redefining marriage.
That would be what the UAFA Act accomplishes with regards to immigration. And yet you apparently oppose the UAFA. Doesn't that mean you are not only opposed to "redefining" marriage - but also opposed to equal immigration rights for gays?
Do you really want to link homosexual unions to polygamy as that bill would do?
Polygamy is distinguished because as practiced it is abusive to women and children.
4.7.2007 11:16am
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
jrose: True, but gays aren't disinterested. They are disadvantaged...

False, though the attempt to equate homosexuality with handicap is noted.

...but also opposed to equal immigration rights for gays?

I am opposed to anything that bills itself as "equal immigration rights." "Equal immigration rights" can only be achieved by eliminated all immigration restrictions.

Polygamy is distinguished because as practiced it is abusive to women and children.

I take it you do not want to link homosexuality and polygamy, in which case you oppose the UAFA.
4.7.2007 12:03pm
Cornellian (mail):
One quick little bit of shorthand: Any post that uses the non-word "homosexualist" can be disregarded out of hand.

Polygamy is distinguished because as practiced it is abusive to women and children.

Not to mention it has a range of other problems as well. It's not a complicated matter to legalize SSM in terms of integrating SSM into the existing set of laws that applies to marriage. Not so with polygamy. If a man marries two women, are the two women married to each other? If the man divorces both of them do they remain married to each other? If one of the woman bears a child, what rights, if any, does the other woman have to custody of the child or control of its upbringing? Could a marriage consist of two men and two women? Fifty men and fifty women? Who inherits when one of the women dies? Polygamy under the existing legal system would be an open invitation to fraud in terms of pensions and tax evasion. Come up with a legal system that copes with polygamy and then I'll worry about the polygamy argument.
4.7.2007 1:16pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
JRose wrote:

> "Polygamy is distinguished because as practiced it is abusive to women and children."

Two problems:

1) If Carpenter were a polygamist instead of a homosexual, his arguments might read this way...

Polygamy is not abusive to women and children, abusive people are. Polygamy can't be blamed for the way that people treat their wives and children. Right now polygamy is illegal, and that is hurting polygamist families. It is to the advantage of the children that their parents be married, and it is to everyone's advantage to encourage the stability of their families.

You can't say that polygamy would lead to neutered marriage. If marriage is neutered it has nothing to do with polygamy. It is not the plight of the polygamist to argue against neutered marriage, and the reckless arguments of people against polygamy might even be encouraging neutered marriage.


Jon Rauch might add:

Think of the young woman in a polygamist colony who looks at marriage and knows it is unobtainable because her future husband can only have one marriage recognized by the state


BobNSF might add:

Immigration laws are breaking up these families, we need to give them marriage licenses


JRose might add:
They are disadvantaged against their will. You can't say that they can just get married monogamously, how can you tell someone who they can marry and how they live their lives?


2) In all seriousness, if you could show that neutered marriage wouldn't lead to commercializing children in an expanded reproductive industry, and people being told that their status as father and mother is meaningless, I'd be for it. But so far, as Charlie Father mentioned about Spain and Massachusetts, our fears of degrading children and parents are coming true.
4.7.2007 1:32pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
addendum:

Cornelian might add:

One quick little bit of shorthand: Any post that uses the non-word "polygamist" can be disregarded out of hand.

Not to mention it has a range of other problems as well. It's a complicated matter to legalize SSM in terms of integrating SSM into the existing set of laws that applies to marriage. Not so with polygamy. If a marriage has two women, which one is the husband/father? If the man divorces another man does on of them remain a mother? If one of the woman bears a child, what rights, if any, does the other woman have to custody of the child or control of its upbringing? [note: no change on that last sentence] Could a marriage consist of two men and two women? Fifty men and fifty women? Who inherits when one of the women dies? Neutered marriage under the existing legal system would be an open invitation to fraud in terms of pensions and tax evasion. Come up with a legal system that copes with neutered marriage and then I'll worry about the polygamy argument.


But in a more serious note, polygamy and polyamory are two different things. Polygamy is still only two people per marriage, but more than one marriage (poly-gon more then one side to a shape, poly-gamy more than one marriage to a person).

Also, polygamy already exists in some countries laws, and has existed in what is now the US. These legal systems exist, so cope away.

Neutering the definition of marriage requires the same order of complexity as polygamy. For instance one could argue that all we need for neutered marriage is to remove any reference to gender (husband, wife, male female) in marriage law. Polygamy is simply removing the requirement for only one marriage.

I'm not pro-polygamy, I just find the un-informed nature of this debate is highlighted in how people in favor of neutered marriage have no idea about any marriage policy debate outside of the homosexual community message. No GLBT is an island though.
4.7.2007 1:49pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I think we can see there is agreement here that SSM does not harm heterosexual marriage, and a neutered institution of marriage does make any particular marriage neutered.

F. Rottles tells us that marriage is not harmed, but the idea of marriage is. Lawn tells us that the institution is neutered, but no particular marriage is neutered. Charlie tells us that "gay marriage doesn't have to harm necessarily traditional marriage."

Does anyone dsagree? If so, just list the specific and observable harm that civil SSM does to civil heterosexual marriage, or show us how a neutered institution makes any particular marriage neutered.
4.7.2007 1:55pm
occidental tourist (mail):
For anybody who has gotten this far, I trust that my responsive comments can be appropriately considered without clipped references which are helpful, but my thoughts arise out of reading this entire thread.

Firstly, it is a stylistic question for those who operate the blog whether longer posts ought to be truncated and require clicking a follow. I wouldn't view such a format as troublesome despite my own penchant for loggerhea ( attended by the obvious desire to force feed my intellectual output to the largest possible audience) or my general desire to read the entirety of posts, but neither do I view it as an imposition that I have to scroll further to look for a post on the Supreme Court's recent waltz down global warming lane.

I haven't found it yet because I got drawn in by the Blankhorn / Carpenter colloquy (by the first paragraph, and would have done the same regardless of whether I had to click a follow link; after all, I had to click several links in the post to get to Blankhorn's original article, Carpenter's first post, Blankhorn's response, the slate article, etc. and then clicked the follow to read all these comments.)

On the substance, I tend to hold to the position that society can favor what it perceives as stable arrangements without discriminating. This grows directly from my understanding of the rights framework as negative and much of the work to force a flip in that conception to affirmative rights encompassing any privileges or favoritisms the government doles out as misguided.

Notwithstanding, but in full recognition of various arguments by folks such as Ira Katz Nelson that various New Deal goodies were affirmative action for whites, I just don't think the answer to such misuse of government is to give those goodies to blacks --- and women -- and hispanics --- etc. Such poor policy should be addressed by arguing the role of government rather than by using the polity to put chickens in the pots of those who are likley to vote for you -- not least of which because you put chickens in their pot.

In these various arenas, poor policy choices and unintended consequences of various government involvements tend to be ignored while people are bent on seeking analogous grants to everybody -- or worse, as is the case with gay marriage, and most often despite gallant rhetoric purporting to extend government benefits in egalitarian fashion, simply extending those possibly excessive benefits to some other constituency but not to everyone.

Obviously the debates over what are stable or favorable arrangments become, then, the central responsibility of the polity if such action is legitimated. There is an understood danger that the procedural ability to display such favoritism is subject to capture under public choice theory - which is to say the this favoritism can be pushed to an illegitimate point.

But, I think despite this risk, if the court concentrated more on governmental structure as the limit to such programs, rather than seeing themselves as some kind of appointed cultural meterologists predicting social consensus from whatever barometric influences they personally favor, we would be much better off.

I heard Rick Santorum give a fairly good account of himself at Brown University this week and inevitably the questions about gay marriage came up although he was speaking largely about a global conflict with Islamist precepts and the extent to which he expected that to actually unify rather than divide Americans.

Santorum made paraphrased references to the style of arguments advanced by Kurtz and Blakenhorn. After his presentation he continued in debate on this subject with a small group of students. They were, of course, loaded with the lexicon of wanting rights that were being denied to gay people, when what they were actually articulately familiar with is a desire for licenses that underlies the desire for a marriage license. I'm sure this process has been repeated in many states, but proponents of SSM have gone through the RI General Laws with a fine tooth comb and come up with something in the hundreds of instances of preference or favoritism to married couples in obtaining various permissions from state and local authorities.

Their argument on behalf of gay marriage then amounts to the notion that the denial of these affirmative benefits to gay couples is discrimination. It should be unsuprising that government benefits programs are discriminatory, as that is their very nature. All of the benefits these students cited are designed to discriminate in favor of marriage. It is really only a subset of the discrimination argument that is advanced by gay marriage proponents. Why should there be discrimination against single people? And if the government ought to be able to discriminate in favor of anybody, it seems a de facto reality that the lines they draw are the business of the polity.

I would be the first to acknowledge that such an outlook has troublesome consequences. There is no worry with a return to segregated lunch counters under state segregation statutes as these are effectively invasions of freedom at issue rather than benefits. I am sure some clever reader can construct a semantical reference to convert such practices to a benefit, but they are assuredly an invasion of the freedom of the owner of the lunch counter as they might be of any would be customer. So you could have segregated lunch counters at the instigation of private individuals but not government legislated segregation. I view this as probably a good circumstance under law overall.

So the problems to which I refer might be legal efforts to give social security only to whites (or more likely given the current political climate something of the inverse). I can see a doctrine the commands equal treatment under the law but this should regard the position of the claimant with regard to the government purpose.

If, for instance, social security is even a defensible exercise of government power - whole 'nother discussion - with the purpose of providing for a stable, humane, independent, self-supporting circumstance for seniors (arguably itself lead to the demise of the family as much as attitudes about marriage) then there is an argument that, with respect to this purpose, black and white individuals, gay individuals, etc. are similarly situated and thus should be similarly treated(for now I'm not drawing survivor benefits under the rubric of this quick example.)

But I do not think it is a chestnut to suggest that gay people who want to marry can marry someone of the opposite sex. Rather, if the purpose of the governmental support of the institution is a stable family circumstance and two gender complementary parent household for child rearing, gay claimants of discrimination do not hold the same position with regard to the institution.

They might try to convince policymakers that it would be a wise choice or serve equally important social and governmental prerogatives to extend marriage or some facisimile thereof to the gay context, but they are not discriminated against in a constitutionally cognizable way by affirmative benefits afforded for a governmental purpose which they do not serve.

That said, the obvious tack for those who feel sleighted by benefits afforded to married couples is not to form coalition with married couples, but with singles. Is this a war on marriage or an attempt to marginalize the institution? Not necessarily. While I think the tradition relevant and don't propose such an assault on its tenets out of change for change's sake mentality, it is not unreasonable for the polity to reconsider the merits of the extent of benefits provided as social cue here.

For instance, one of the benefits of marriage in Rhode Island that stuck in my mind from this debate is the automatic transfer of a license to operate a gas station to a spouse. Santorum's response, when I pointed out that some of these marriage benefits might be reconsidered, was that the government was entitled to favor marriage with a fairly heavy hand. But that wasn't the reconsideration I was commending.

The question is the legitimacy of the government licensing such behavior as operating a gas station in the first place. If the state maintains a police power prerogative to license gas station owners, then how does creating a spousal exception - whether afforded heterosexually or additionally homosexually - assure the public safety supposedly being guarded?

If these regulations exist to provide for needed protections (mind you, that is a big 'if' given the Carolene Products case , better known as the "if you think its butter" case) then there is no reason that the protections should be waived for a spouse, unless the protections are essentially perfunctory, largely arbitrary and predominately unnecessary in which case the state should should be barred from trying to regulate this behavior in the first place under the pretext of the exercising the police power.

I remain agnostic because I haven't given the matter matured consideration whether out of wedlock births or other indices reflect a weakening of marriage that should encourage an active policy resistance to same sex marriage. I think my eventual consideration would be informed not only by ideas of how this trend has affected children in the subject countries but reasonable inference regarding how it might affect children here given a decidely different demographic and culture.

In any event, I am quite clear that the SSM debate is part of the battle for cultural accommodation that I don't believe is wise or mandated. In a fully libertarian sense I support any living arrangements that consenting adults want to engage in. (That certainly includes polygamy excepting to the extent that child endangerment and coercion into such arrangements may be practiced. I am chary to force the state far into these child protections -- after all it just depends what the source of the potential harm is to define whether you have a right leaning or left leaning stampede for government enactments to protect the children.)

That being said, society is in no way obligated to reform its cultural institutions to make gay people fell comfortable or to enforce some kind of thought policed acceptance of their sexual or cultural undertakings.

The most notable example I have fallen across of where this is headed is a case in which the ACLU threatened suit in April of 1999 against the Lincoln, RI school system for countenancing a 'father-daughter' dance held by a middle school.

I haven't bothered to pay for the entirety of News coverage at the time, but the Providence Journal editorial board described the circumstance as follows: "Father-daughter dances, and mother-son ballgames,[the ACLU feels], promote stereotypes of what's for girls, and what's for boys. That occasionally legitimate civil rights advocates would pursue such a claim (suit was never filed but the school backed away from the event) I think is a fair example of what people think is likely to be taken from their traditional institutions but the recognition of atraditional forms.

Perhaps it was an intellectual bridge too far, as I haven't seen this line of argumentation repeated too often (maybe I don't look in the right places enough, because despite my willingness to go on about this in a comment equal to the length of any 10 others, I don't really care too much about this issue except to the extent that how it is reconciled reflects upon our law and political system). But the reasoning underlying the ACLU's outrage here suggests exactly that existing cultural traditions will be truncated rather than enlarged by changes such as the adoption of gay marriage.

Given that most of these father-daughter dances (and I believe the Lincoln Dance in question but I no longer have the entire coverage at hand)make various styles of accommodation so as not to exclude students who don't have a present father in their lives -- e.g. have an uncle go, join big brothers, have a male friend go, acceptance of student chaperoned by other than a male if none of the above are adequate solutions -- this kind of action threatened by the ACLU, aimed not even at reasonable accommodation (Which I am not saying is required but usually is offered) but at effectively outlawing cultural traditions that don't reflect every possible culture, is the canary in the coal mine.

Again, this is fundamentally not an issue of discrimination, as no district that I know of has refused to allow a mother-daughter or father-son dance or some such social undertaking that reflects another lifestyle. The argument is simply that the majority cultural practices make the minority feel uncomfortable. So?

This just doesn't raise any kind of cognizable legal issue. The fact that the ACLU is trying to construct one is very instructive regarding the effects of broadening any cultural institutions to accept atraditional players as essentially undercutting, weakening or barring the traditional practice. As a serial cohabitor, my own interests could be well served by an assault on marriage. I have nothing at stake here to speak of, but I tend to think that strong traditional institutions allow we libertarian contrarians to make informed choices whether we prefer the traditional or atraditional setting.

Perhaps this does reflect a conflict of interest in that I generally prefer to be seen as going against the grain and if suddenly our culture is defined as nobody is going against the grain then my persona gets wiped out.

Brian
4.7.2007 1:57pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Apologies again. I forgot a negative in the above. The first para should read:

I think we can see there is agreement here that SSM does not harm heterosexual marriage, and a neutered institution of marriage does not make any particular marriage neutered.
4.7.2007 2:15pm
jrose:
Op Ed,

Your argumnent that gays are not disadvantaged because they can marry someone of the opposite sex is lame.

If you oppose the UAFA, then you support greater immigration rights for straights than gays.

Support of the UAFA does not link homosexuality with polygamy. I distinguished the two.
4.7.2007 2:16pm
jrose:
On Lawn,

Polygamy is inherently abusive to women and children (it's not just the actions of particular people). The institution fosters a patriarchy that subjugates women and forces the community to throw boys out not long after they reach puberty.

Of course polygamists are disadvantged in immigration (and other) law. That is a good thing in my view. Why don't you be honest and admit you don't support the UAFA because you want to disadvantage gays.
4.7.2007 2:21pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
DALE CARPENTERS: answers a thesis NEVER PRESENTED

(Carpenter writes)
There are a couple of ways one might argue that gay marriage is hurting marriage. First, one might argue that gay marriage has caused problems to marriage itself, like rising cohabitation and unwed childbirths. That is what I’d call a strong and direct claim about the harm of gay marriage. Second, one might argue that gay marriage has caused people to have beliefs about marriage that might, in turn, cause concrete harms to marriage itself. This is an indirect and weaker claim about the harm of gay marriage. Kurtz presents the former, stronger and more direct, form of the argument. Blankenhorn, it turns out, is presenting the latter, weaker and more indirect, form of the argument. Blankenhorn’s argument is thus a poor cousin of Kurtz’s.

Well…hardly. The two arguments work together, with Kurtz presenting the statistical claim of present demographics and Blanlenhorn presenting the cluster of beliefs that are both cause and effect of a disintegrating marriage culture. Kurtz thesis regarding marital statistics in the Scandinavian countries relies on his own formulation about this cluster of beliefs that Blakenhorn flushes out more thoroughly and within a wider spectrum of cross cultural data.

First, one might argue that gay marriage has caused problems to marriage itself, like rising cohabitation and unwed childbirths.

Indeed, ideas have consequences. Kurtz never maintains that the introduction of same-sex “marriage” causes “rising cohabitation and unwed childbirths” through some unimagined mechanism. To the contrary he asserts that societies beliefs about what marriage now means is one driving mechanism in marital decline. Its important to note what Kurtz thesis actually says before (like Carpenter does) one paints it as a simplistic and unsupported “magic” causal connection.


Will same-sex marriage undermine the institution of marriage? It already has. More precisely, it has further undermined the institution. The separation of marriage from parenthood was increasing; gay marriage has widened the separation. Out-of-wedlock birthrates were rising; gay marriage has added to the factors pushing those rates higher. Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.#1 (Italics emphasis is Kurtz original. Bold emphasis is my own.)


#1 Stanley Kurtz, The End of Marriage in Scandinavia, WEEKLY STANDARD, Feb. 2, 2004,

As both authors readily acknowledge, same-sex marriage is part of an ongoing trend in western nations that both reinforces and further exasperates the decline of the institution of marriage. The criticisms pointed out by Carpenter are readily acknowledged, conceded and effectively accounted for by both authors. It is unfair to proceed as if these obvious corresponding factors have not been acknowledged.

(Carpenter writes)
Even Blankenhorn’s correlation is suspect, in a way very similar to Kurtz’s. Non-traditional attitudes about marriage in countries with SSM preceded the recognition of SSM, just as signals of marital decline in Europe preceded SSM. Though I haven’t gone back and checked the previous international surveys from the 1980s and 1990s, I’ll bet my mulberry tree they show that.

Well, neither Kurtz nor Blakenhorn would take that bet. As I demonstrate with Kurtz thesis above: a proper scholarly case is laid out acknowledging both the way same-sex marriage reinforces existing trends in marital decline &become further corrosive elements in maintaining a robust marriage culture. Blakenhorn’s thesis equally acknowledges the sophistication that Carpenter eschews in his simplistic “unpacking” of these scholars work.


In my article, I lay out new evidence strongly suggesting that, around the world, a cluster of marriage-weakening trends and attitudes (one of which is the embrace of gay marriage) hang together and appear to be mutually reinforcing. No, I cannot prove causation beyond any doubt (no one could); and no, scholars cannot measure with scientific precision the exact degrees and instrumentalities of causation. But to me, the evidence suggesting mutual reinforcement, a kind of syndrome of related attitudes and behaviors — i.e., evidence suggesting some form of causation — is quite persuasive. Carpenter is free to disagree, of course, but to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than simply repeat back to me that correlation does not prove causation.#2 (Bold emphasis is my own.)


#2 Family Scholars: Dale Carpenter, Stanley Kurtz, and Me
(An answer to Dale Carpenter from David Blankenhorn.)
4.7.2007 2:28pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
JRose wrote:
> "Polygamy is inherently abusive to women and children"[...]

As argued above, neutered marriage is abusive to women, children and men. Their fatherhood, childhood, and motherhood becomes commodities for sale because only in the industrialized commercialization of procreation can the equal dignity that Carpenter is seeking be satisfied.

> "you don't support the UAFA because you want to disadvantage gays."

I haven't said either way, actually. Since it has nothing to do with marriage, or neutered marriage, I'm rather indifferent on it. Except to note that "permanent relationship" is probably so broad a term as to be a completely meaningless regulation to have in the firstplace.
4.7.2007 2:30pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz,

If Carpentner is confused, maybe some others are similarly confused. I certainly am. Can you clear up something for us? Does American civil SSM harm American civil heterosexual marriage?
4.7.2007 2:34pm
jrose:
neutered marriage is abusive to women, children and men
In my view, allowing same-sex couples to enter into marriage does not neuter marriage. One of civil marriage's purpose is to encourage single people to settle down with their romantic lifemate. Same-sex couples fit comfortably within that purpose.
I'm rather indifferent on it [the UAFA]
I take it you don't care if gay couples are broken apart because of current immigration law. It's no big deal for you, right?
4.7.2007 2:45pm
Elliot123 (mail):
On Lawn: As argued above, neutered marriage is abusive to women, children and men.

Well, earlier you told us only the institution of marriage was neutered, and individual marriages were not neutered. So, if their parents' marriage is not neutered, how are kids abused by an institution?
4.7.2007 2:57pm
Fitz (mail) (www):
Elliot123

(writes)
"If Carpentner is confused, maybe some others are similarly confused. I certainly am. Can you clear up something for us? Does American civil SSM harm American civil heterosexual marriage?"

Don’t take this personally, but I am going to stop responding to your posts if you insist on repeating the very causal case that is the crux of Carpenter, Blankenhorn, Kurtz’s and multiple other scholars work. You seem to be a one trick pony in this regard. Perhaps you think #1. The inability of the anti-ssm side to answer your question without long and sophisticated arguments makes it excellent ammunition for advocates of same-sex “marriage”. Or #2. Repeated attempts will wear your opponents out.

I am going to recommend this post of mine.

Please read it. Familarize yourself with your opponents arguments and stop repeating your demand for a demonstration of a discreet and demonstrable harm.

It is not within the nature of the debate to provide one.
Mr Carpenter is not confused (he’s unfair) You may be confused.
4.7.2007 2:59pm
Charlie Feather (mail):

Cornellian:
One quick little bit of shorthand: Any post that uses the non-word "homosexualist" can be disregarded out of hand.


Anyone who can't accept the coinage of new words should be disregarded out of hand.
4.7.2007 4:42pm
Charlie Feather (mail):

Elliot123

"If Carpentner is confused, maybe some others are similarly confused. I certainly am. Can you clear up something for us? Does American civil SSM harm American civil heterosexual marriage?"




Does SSM have to harm only traditional marriage in your eyes to be legitimately opposed? Or perhaps, does one need to show how one might be personally harmed from allowing SSM for it to be legitimately opposed? How about if it harmed my pet goldfish? Are you going to set that as the next standard?

The harm of SSM is to the logic of the law, itself.

Marriage that included couples of the same sex would regulate at the same time and in various combinations, a socially important relationship whereby children are produced; a relationship of mere legality and hollow symbolism; another where gender distinctions would be crucial and socially important; and others where gender distinctions would be not at all important. This institution would be thorough mess and a legal nightmare open to constitutional challenges on all fronts; a one-size-fits-all legal garment, and it would fit just as well.

Realism is called for.
4.7.2007 4:59pm
esteem (mail) (www):
"You've never show me one same-sex couple that broke up primarily because of their inability to get a marriage license. You won't because honestly you can't. You know that isn't how it works, yet you pretend it is a requirement anyway"

I am a US citizen. My same-sex partner is not. He can't come to live with me in the US because we can't get a marriage license which the Feds will recognize. There are thousands of such couples around not just a few. Americans in same sex relationships with non-US citizens are told by the law to either give up their country or give up their partner. And since most countries still don't recognize their relationships either many of them are just told to break up since neither can live in the other's country. Unless they can afford to be perpetual tourists (few can) they have no other choice. And while they can get married in Canada unless one of them is Canadian they can't live there. I know individuals who now live in exile as the only means to stay together. Others didn't even have that option. So yes, there are couples who broke up because they were not allowed to legally marry.
4.7.2007 5:04pm
F. Rottles (mail):

However, allowing one group of people (straights) to marry their romantic, permanent partner, while not allowing another group (gays), results in immigration law (among many other laws) disadvantaging gays in a serious and significant way.


Is romance a requirement in anyplace that has enacted the merger of SSM with marriage? If not, why not? Is the socieal purpose of marriage defined by the legal requirements or not? If yes, then, the both-sex requirement stands against the false equivalency claims of the SSM argument.

In any case, you have confirmed that for you the discussion is about homosexuality, not marriage. So why do you wish to change the shared public meaning of marriage? Right, back to your assumption, false indeed, that the one-sexed arrangement is the equivalent of the conjugal relationship.


They are disadvantaged against their will.


To choose a nonmarital alternative, is an act of will and it is a rejection of marriage.


Any post that uses the non-word "homosexualist" can be disregarded out of hand.



On what basis, precisely? You may have a point to make, so please elaborate.


It's not a complicated matter to legalize SSM in terms of integrating SSM into the existing set of laws that applies to marriage.


You over-estimate complexity as an insurmountable barrier. The argument in favor of SSM is very simplistic and convoluted. Just look at the contradictory rights-based claims that have been thrown at the wall to see what might stick. The chief feature of the pro-SSM argument is incoherence based on false equivalencies.

As for consequences that open the door to multi-relationship types...

An Ontario court bestowed equal parental status to three individuals for one child. The reasons? The same judge who had imposed SSM in Ontario gave his reasons: 1) the two women were in a same-sex union and 2) the three adults, including the child's father, agreed with each other. Now, given the SSM argument in favor of 1) freedom to choose one's partner and 2) the presence of children requires the protection of marital status, on what principle would marriage be denied to three adults who agreed to jointly parent a child?

As for your questions about polygamy, and polyamory, why are you so interested in regulating the private affairs of otherwise law-abiding people whose arrangements do not affect your particular private relationship?

Provide the uncontested scientific proof of unilateral causality of specific harm when three adults agree to form a single parental and mutually committed arrangement. You might do the same for closely related couples -- mind, related people can marry each other but not everyone is allowed to do so. I don't advocate incestuous marriages (even if some might not be sexualized) nor do I advocate multi-relationship types. But the SSM argument has no principled reason to stand against the further "extension" of equal rights.


F. Rottles tells us that marriage is not harmed, but the idea of marriage is.


That is a mischaracterization. If you are confused, just ask for clarification.


[The] argumnent that gays are not disadvantaged because they can marry someone of the opposite sex is lame.


Two men can form a nonmarital alternative. You argument that the one-sexed arrangement is the equivalent of marriage is false. So instead you argue that marriage recognition should switch from preference for the nature of marriage to something else that excludes the nature of marriage. But discrimination the basis of marital status is not unjust always.

Okay, so you might deny the nature of marriage is as I've described, and as Blankenhorn has described it, and so on. So, then, please state what you believe is the nature of, the essence of, the core of marriage.

And give the best example of a place that has used that description to enact the merger of SSM and marriage. I'd like to see the legal requirements that defined the core of what was recognized. Afterall, the SSM argument from Requirements attacks the definitive requirement of both sex participation. Let's see how that test would work when applied to your proposition.

Surely your idea of the core of marriage is more substantive than the anemic suggestion you made earlier: "One of civil marriage's purpose is to encourage single people to settle down with their romantic lifemate."

Since when is romance the all powerful force that moves the hand of the state? If you want to base marriage recognition on something so fickle, then, you probably should shift from attacking the nature of marriage and start trying to build the case for romance as the thing the government must now regulate.
4.7.2007 5:24pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
jrose: Your argumnent that gays are not disadvantaged because they can marry someone of the opposite sex is lame.

By "lame" you mean true. If for whatever reason you choose not to marry, that is still your choice. I have no obligation to redefine marriage because you made that choice.

Support of the UAFA does not link homosexuality with polygamy. I distinguished the two.

The only effort you made to "distinguish the two" was to air your scientifically baseless prejudices against polygamy. You fall into the Dale Carpenter trap of requiring absolute scientific proof to oppose neutering marriage, but not requiring the same level of proof to oppsoe polygamous marriage.

In a different comment you restate these prejudices:

Of course polygamists are disadvantged in immigration (and other) law. That is a good thing in my view.

Then you oppose the UAFA which advantages polygamous marriages.
4.7.2007 5:36pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Since when is romance the all powerful force that moves the hand of the state? If you want to base marriage recognition on something so fickle, then, you probably should shift from attacking the nature of marriage and start trying to build the case for romance as the thing the government must now regulate."

Romance is not the all-powerful force that moves the state. But can you give me another reason why modern Americans get married?

So while romance is not the government's business, it is probably the main reason people marry in this day and age. Yet civil marriage automatically confers certain rights and benefits. So while you maintain that romance has nothing to do with the government's interest in marriage, the romantically-inclined must submit to the state if they want the benefits of marriage.

My partner and I have a committed relationship of many years. We enjoy each other's company and are sexually compatible. We are raising a child together.

Our neighbors across the street have a committed relationship of many years. They appear to enjoy each others company and are, as far as I know, sexually compatible. They also are raising a child together.

So, what's the difference between the two relationships? And what interest does the state have in parsing that difference?
4.7.2007 5:49pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Elliot123: ...individual marriages were not neutered.

If you really want to know if individual marriage is neutered, why not go to Massachusetts and ask Subject A or Subject B of a marriage there if their marriage is neutered.

...if their parents' marriage is not neutered, how are kids abused by an institution?

Another good question to ask while in Massachusetts of either Parent A or Parent B.

jrose: In my view, allowing same-sex couples to enter into marriage does not neuter marriage.

Your view (and, I'm guessing, Elliot123's) aside, go look up the word. It precisely neuters marriage.
4.7.2007 5:50pm
jrose:
Is the socieal purpose of marriage defined by the legal requirements or not?
No. The permissible legal requirements should follow as a logical consequence of the purpose. Thus, when you say:
why do you wish to change the shared public meaning of marriage
I counter that the meaning (purpose) would not change, only the legal requirements would. One of the shared public meanings is to encourage people to settle down with their romantic lifemate - something which applies equally to straights (same-sex couplings) and gays (opposite-sex couplings). Thus, the legal restriction against same-sex couples doesn't logically follow.
To choose a nonmarital alternative, is an act of will and it is a rejection of marriage.
Gay people don't choose a nonmarital alternative. They are forced into it because of who they are and how the law is written.
4.7.2007 5:58pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Grover: So while romance is not the government's business,...

Then what, other than romance justifies the call to neuter marriage?

So, what's the difference between the two relationships?

Try auditing a local high school health or biology class.

And what interest does the state have in parsing that difference?

You can start here. There are lots of adult relationships in this world and the government involves itself in very few; in none to the extent it is involved in marriage. What distinguishes marriage from any of these other relationships?
4.7.2007 5:59pm
jrose:
I have no obligation to redefine marriage because you made that choice.
You and I have very different views on the nature of sexuality.
Then you oppose the UAFA which advantages polygamous marriages.
The UAFA does not advantage polygamous marriages (the law states a person can have only one permament partner) and I support the UAFA.
It precisely neuters marriage.
Marriage has no gender. It cannot be neutered.
4.7.2007 6:11pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Then what, other than romance justifies the call to neuter marriage?"

You tell me.

"Try auditing a local high school health or biology class."

Why? What interest does the state have in my auditing a high school biology class?

"There are lots of adult relationships in this world and the government involves itself in very few..."

That's debatable.

"...in none to the extent it is involved in marriage."

True enough, no doubt.

"What distinguishes marriage from any of these other relationships?"

Again, you tell me. All I know is that civil marriage automatically confers certain legal and financial benefits that cannot be questioned or denied by any other authority.
4.7.2007 6:15pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
jrose: One of the shared public meanings is to encourage people to settle down with their romantic lifemate...

Nonsense. The government has never taken an interest in whether you or I "settle down" with our "romantic lifemate." If that is your choice, then you are free to it as am I. In this case you are your own evidence for the damage done to marriage by the neutered marriage activists. As I have said elsewhere:

So when people ask me, "How is your marriage weakened by allowing same-sex marriages?" The answer is simple... 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.


They are forced into it because of who they are and how the law is written.

Got any scientific proof of that? Even then, there are also those that claim they cannot be "tied down" to any one "romantic lifemate" because of "who they are." What about those who claim they cannot commit for more than a few months, that it is just not "who they are?" Should marriage law be rewritten for the sake of their claimed handicaps as well?
4.7.2007 6:35pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
jrose: You and I have very different views on the nature of sexuality.

You and I have different views on the nature of human behavior, perhaps. I have expressed no views on human sexuality.

Marriage has no gender.

Marriage has both genders.
4.7.2007 6:42pm
jrose:
The government has never taken an interest in whether you or I "settle down" with our "romantic lifemate."
Why then does the state offer civil marriage?
4.7.2007 6:44pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Grover: All I know is that civil marriage automatically confers certain legal and financial benefits that cannot be questioned or denied by any other authority.

Let me see if I can parse that. The only thing you know about marriage is it has legal and financial benefits. Is that right? The part about "cannot be questioned or denied by any other authority" is nonsensical. Marriage is not an authority and it certainly doesn't go around questioning or denying benefits. I'll let you work that into your own clarification if it makes sense to you.
4.7.2007 6:47pm
Cornellian (mail):
Does anyone dsagree? If so, just list the specific and observable harm that civil SSM does to civil heterosexual marriage, or show us how a neutered institution makes any particular marriage neutered.

As you can see from reading most of the anti-SSM posts here, you're never going to get any concrete instance of any opposite sex marriages actually being harmed by SSM. You just have to accept that SSM harms opposite sex marriage in the abstract, without harming any individual opposite sex marriages, and must therefore be opposed for that reason.
4.7.2007 6:50pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
jrose: Why then does the state offer civil marriage?

I'll take this as a rhetorical question meant to say that in your view there is no other purpose. Doesn't that demonstrate exactly the harm that neutering marriage would have? Elliot123 and Dale Carpenter, do you need more proof than this?
4.7.2007 6:54pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
I'm sorry, but I don't understand the problem with my statement. Is it, or is it not true that a marriage license *automatically* confers legal rights and financial benefits that cannot be challenged by any other authority--the INS, the IRS, a court of law, a hospital, etc. etc.?

Anyway, no one has directly answered my question. Fitz's letter-writer doesn't provide the answer. I gave as examples two essentially identical relationships, both involving the raising of children. What interest does the state have in determining which of those couples can apply for a civil marriage license, and on what does it base its determination.

Fitz's crack about biology class implies that he thinks the answer is the sexual identity of the couples. Is that it? Any other reason?
4.7.2007 6:59pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Cornellian: ...you're never going to get any concrete instance of any opposite sex marriages actually being harmed by SSM.

Look at the post right after yours.
4.7.2007 7:00pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
You folks are awfully confusing. First you say that the state has no interest in romance. So others say fine, let's leave romance out of it and look at it solely from a legal POV. Then you respond, "Is that all you think marriage is about?"

So which is it?
4.7.2007 7:01pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Even then, there are also those that claim they cannot be "tied down" to any one "romantic lifemate" because of "who they are." What about those who claim they cannot commit for more than a few months, that it is just not "who they are?" Should marriage law be rewritten for the sake of their claimed handicaps as well?"

Which current marriage law would need to be rewritten?
4.7.2007 7:06pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Grover: You folks are awfully confusing.

Well, perhaps I can help you out.

So others say fine, let's leave romance out of it and look at it solely from a legal POV.

There's you're problem. Who said that?
4.7.2007 7:08pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Grover: Which current marriage law would need to be rewritten?

Any that limit marriage to one or that have any expectation of permanence. I am confident you'd have figured that out without my help if you had taken the time to try.
4.7.2007 7:11pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Well, perhaps I can help you out."

I'm waiting.

"Any that limit marriage to one or that have any expectation of permanence."

Oh, now we have an "expectation of permanence"? Please show me where that is spelled out when one applies for a marriage license.

And if it's an expectation of permanence we're after, what does that have to do with the gender of the partners?
4.7.2007 7:16pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Who said that?"

F. Rottles: "Since when is romance the all powerful force that moves the hand of the state? If you want to base marriage recognition on something so fickle, then, you probably should shift from attacking the nature of marriage and start trying to build the case for romance as the thing the government must now regulate."

So I won't bother making the case for romance. Instead I'll concentrate on the legal requirements and benefits. Sound good to you all?
4.7.2007 7:20pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Fitz,

I'm sure lots of us would be delghted to famliarize ourelves with the anti-SSM arguments. Could you help us a bit? Do you contend SSM civil marriage harms heterosexual civil marriage? If not, then we can all stop asking you about it. Just let us know.
4.7.2007 7:21pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Should marriage law be rewritten for the sake of their claimed handicaps as well?"

Another way to answer this question, of course, is "No." And anyway, what does SSM have to do with people claiming they are constitutionally incapable of forming permanent relationships? I thought the object was rather the opposite.
4.7.2007 7:31pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Grover: F. Rottles: "Since when is romance the all powerful force that moves the hand of the state?"

Well then, there's your confusion. I never replied to F. Rottles, certainly not to say "Is that all you think marriage is about?" My response was to jrose's questioning if not romance, then why else would it recognize marriage?

Instead I'll concentrate on the legal requirements and benefits. Sound good to you all?

OK. The legal requirement is one man and one woman. If you are limiting yourself to the legal requirements, then we both understand and the conversation is done. Although you could always go back to answer F. Rottles's question about why we have any legal requirements or "benefits" in the first place, which is what the rest of us have been discussing.
4.7.2007 7:39pm
jrose:
I'll take this as a rhetorical question meant to say that in your view there is no other purpose.
Nice dodge. Care to attempt an answer this time?
4.7.2007 7:41pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Grover: And anyway, what does SSM have to do with people claiming they are constitutionally incapable of forming permanent relationships?

I'll try one last time to bring you up to speed. jrose claimed because some are "constitutionally incapable of forming" a marriage relationship by its current definition that marriage should therefore be redefined. I asked about other incapacities for forming a marriage relationship and whether those also require marriage to be redefined. Your answer "of course, is 'No.'" I take it you do not buy into jrose's line of reasoning, then.
4.7.2007 7:47pm
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
jrose: Nice dodge. Care to attempt an answer this time?

Not much of a dodge, considering I provided the link that answers that question in the comment to which you were replying.

What was important was not repeating what had already been said for you to ignore it again. The important thing was your admission that you want to define the state's interest as in furthering romance, which Grover claims we all agree isn't a valid government purpose. In other words, you want marriage to be defined as something the state has no interest in. The end result would be no more state recognition of marriage, which would amount to harming the institution, even Elliot123 would have to admit.
4.7.2007 7:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Op-Ed,

I'm not sure how institutions are harmed, so I can't admit much. If actual, individual, particular civil marriages are not harmed, I have no interest in what happens to the institution. To date any question about how real civil marriages are harmed has been firmly avoided.

I also have to question if there is a single institution of marriage in our culture. There are so many conflicting and varying ideas of marriage, it's a bit of a stretch to say there is some single institution.

Can you define the institution of marriage in the US? I presume one must be able to define the institution in order to determine it has been harmed.
4.7.2007 8:18pm
jrose:
Op-Ed,

The marriage-is-solely-for-procreation argument? That doesn't fly becuase of the infertile and eldlerly. Your attempts to explain that away don't fly.

I do not define the state's interest in offering civil marriage. I empirically observe that one of its interests is encouraging single people to settle down - and I believe it is a legitimate state interest.
4.7.2007 8:20pm
Cornellian (mail):
Any post that uses the non-word "homosexualist" can be disregarded out of hand.

On what basis, precisely? You may have a point to make, so please elaborate.


It's not a word with any meaning, but rather a term dreamed up solely to disparage those who hold a particular viewpoint, thus, the use of that term signals the poster isn't interested in argument so much as disparagement, ergo the post need not be taken seriously as an argument. It's rather like dismissing everyone to the left of you as "moonbats" or everyone to the right of you as "wingnuts." It's not an argument, it's just a label trying to pass itself off as an argument.
4.7.2007 8:25pm
jrose:
jrose claimed because some are "constitutionally incapable of forming" a marriage relationship by its current definition that marriage should therefore be redefined
That is not my argument. Firstly, I have no idea what you mean by "constitutionally incapable of forming" (not my words). Secondly, I argue that the restriction against same-sex couples from entering into civil marriage should be dropped (which would not redefine marriage) because these couples fit within the purpose of marriage and the state has no compelling interest to deny them marriage.
4.7.2007 8:35pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
That's not what jrose said at all, Op-ed, as he was quick to point out. But even if he did, how does that argue against SSM? We're not discussing people who are incapable of sustaining committed relationships. But here again, even if we were, where's the specific law that restricts such people from marrying? There is none. We do currently prohibit multiple, simultaneous marriages. And we try to discourage fleeting committments by erecting barriers to divorce. But there is nothing I know of which prohibits the fickle from obtaining a marriage license.

"OK. The legal requirement is one man and one woman. If you are limiting yourself to the legal requirements, then we both understand and the conversation is done. Although you could always go back to answer F. Rottles's question about why we have any legal requirements or "benefits" in the first place, which is what the rest of us have been discussing."

In the last thread on this topic, I enumerated many reasons for the state to offer incentives for marriage, beyond the male-female requirement. There are in fact a great many reasons for the state to take an interest in offering a legal framework for relationships which are, more often than not, based on the changeable nature of human emotions.
4.7.2007 11:03pm
Charlie Feather (mail):

Cornellian:
As you can see from reading most of the anti-SSM posts here, you're never going to get any concrete instance of any opposite sex marriages actually being harmed by SSM. You just have to accept that SSM harms opposite sex marriage in the abstract, without harming any individual opposite sex marriages, and must therefore be opposed for that reason.




.... uhhhh.... my wife and I had a discussion on the subject of same-sex marriage and we violently disagreed. She accused me of being a bigot, she being a lefty, and all. So, being angry, I went out and had an affair with her best friend to get revenge, which she found out about. Now she wants to divorce me, and her best friend's husband wants a divorce, also, and also wants to kill me. All because of those gays who want to marry.

If that isn't an example of how same-sex marriage has harmed two marriages!
4.8.2007 12:07am
Elliot123 (mail):
Good point. And just think how much more damage religion has done.
4.8.2007 12:13am
Charlie Feather (mail):

Grover Gardner: Romance is not the all-powerful force that moves the state. But can you give me another reason why modern Americans get married?

Who cares? The concern is with the state's purpose for marriage. Individuals may have any and all the reasons in the world, but there is really only one primary reason why the state would have the legal institution of marriage.

It is to bring some measure of control to the sexual activities of people so they do not create DISORDER to society when they eventually make children, and secondarily, to ensure as best they might that these children are raised up responsibly to become, themselves, good and responsible citizens.

This is a purpose that is utterly removed from anything that should concern same-sex relationships.

(A few more years of repeating this evident truth, and maybe some same-sex marriage advocates will eventually get it.)

Is the societal purpose of marriage defined by the legal requirements or not?

No. The legal requirements are the means that are rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose. (See above) Government has no legitimate interest in attempting to regulate the relationships of same-sex couples, because these do not have any special capacity to create disorder to society. So it's none of government's business.

jrose: One of the shared public meanings is to encourage people to settle down with their romantic lifemate -

I posted earlier from a gay that this is something most gays are generally not interested in. This was something that he categorically refused, in fact. (See my post of 4.7.2007 12:46am)

Cornellian: [Homosexualist] is not a word with any meaning, but rather a term dreamed up solely to disparage those who hold a particular viewpoint, thus, the use of that term signals the poster isn't interested in argument so much as disparagement, ergo the post need not be taken seriously as an argument. It's rather like dismissing everyone to the left of you as "moonbats" or everyone to the right of you as "wingnuts." It's not an argument, it's just a label trying to pass itself off as an argument.

Dogmatic, are you not? What would be easier to type; homosexual rights advocates, supporters and sympathizers; or just homosexualists? I believe this is a word that Gore Vidal, himself, uses.
4.8.2007 12:17am
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Elliot123: I'm not sure how institutions are harmed, so I can't admit much.

OK, so Elliot123 has dropped out.

jrose: I do not define the state's interest in offering civil marriage.

OK, so jrose has dropped out.

Grover: But even if he did, how does that argue against SSM?

You wander confused yet again. Let me walk you back through it.

Countering an argument for something does not, itself, argue against something. It only asks the arguer to present a new argument. That is your point of confusion.

But I also do argue against neutering marriage. My arguments against neutering marriage are outlined in this link which I have referred to repeatedly in this thread. The damage neutered marriagists such as yourself would reek on marriage was outlined in this previous post which even refers to one of your own stated premises. You do not counter those arguments, only wander around dazed at how a counter-argument works. Hopefully that clears things up. Now if you have a counter argument, make it.

But there is nothing I know of which prohibits the fickle from obtaining a marriage license.

Well what a shame the many who shy away from marriage's commitment don't come to you to ask what you don't know. I'm sure they would take great solace knowing that you don't know what their problem is.

I enumerated many reasons for the state to offer incentives for marriage...

Wait, wait, wait. Do you feel marriage should be incentivized by the state? Do you feel the legal treatments of marriage are meant merely to entice people to marry?? Do you honestly see the ideal of marriage being two people looking longingly into each others' eyes and thinking "I'd like not to have to testify against you in a court of law, so let's get married," or "I want to die intestate and have you wander through the probate courts to get any of my stuff so let's get married?"

Dale Carpenter are you listening? Do you think marriage is an incentive plan? Do you see the damage your push for neutering marriage is doing? You said you would abandon that push at the first whiff of damage. Well, here's another example. Time to put your money where your mouth is.

Grover, you can argue why the state should take an interest in regulating the homosexually intimate relationship. I wish you would. I wish Dale would. I wish Rauch would. I wish any of the marriage neuterers would. You might find that people agree with you. But if you want to replace marriage, you also need to explain why whatever interest you claim the state has in the homosexually intimate relationship requires that it abandon its interest in responsible procreation that is currently at the heart of marriage. It is with this second part of the neutered marriage argument that the vast majority of Americans (and indeed all humans through history) have (had) a problem with.

There are in fact a great many reasons for the state to take an interest in offering a legal framework for relationships...

Private contracts already offer "a legal framework for relationships." What interest does the state have in offering something different, specifically for homosexually intimate relationships?
4.8.2007 12:40am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"This is a purpose that is utterly removed from anything that should concern same-sex relationships."

You might wish this were true, Charlie, but it isn't. That's just a plain fact. The gay movement is growing up, the younger generation is far more accepting of homosexuals and their relationships, and procreation is no longer the sole privilege of heterosexual couples.

"Government has no legitimate interest in attempting to regulate the relationships of same-sex couples, because these do not have any special capacity to create disorder to society."

And yet you just insisted that sex is a public matter.

"I posted earlier from a gay that this is something most gays are generally not interested in. This was something that he categorically refused, in fact."

And I could respond with hundreds of comments, culled from the internet, from gay people who will tell you that they are categorically *quite* interested in receiving the benefits bestowed on legally married couples.

Just off the top of my head, you could read some of the blog entries on this topic by Jason Kuznicki at Positive Liberty. There. I've just cancelled out your anecdotal "proof."

"I believe this is a word that Gore Vidal, himself, uses."

Well, that settles it then. All gay people will surely defer to this authority.
4.8.2007 12:57am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Grover, you can argue why the state should take an interest in regulating the homosexually intimate relationship. I wish you would."

I have. Dozens and dozens of people have. You don't listen and/or you don't care.

Let's just go through a few of my previous points:

Children: Gays now adopt and procreate. They didn't insist on these methods--straight people did. Gay people are merely taking advantage of new medical techniques and adoption opportunities to become parents.

Sexual regulation: Encourage gay people to get out of the bars, regularize their lives and rein in their sexual impulses.

Health costs, economic productivity and dependence on the state: Married people and people in stable relationships live longer, tend to be healthier and more productive, make more money and depend less on the state in old age.

That's a few. There are more. But I'm sure you have some rhetorical trick up your sleeve to try to convince me that I haven't answered the question. I don't know how much more plainly it can be put:

Marriage is an emotional committment. More and more gay people are making such committments. Marriage involves children. More and more gay people are recognizing that being gay doesn't mean they have to suppress their maternal/paternal impulses. There are children out there who need parents--any parents--and there are children yet to be born who will love their parents and be loved by them regardless of their parents' sexual identity. More and more gay people are buying houses, spending money, contributing to the revitalization of inner cities ("Follow the Rainbow Flag" is an excellent investment tip, BTW) and emerging as influential in politics, finance and the arts. IMO, society and the state have every interest in recognizing and legalizing their relationships. I don't know how to state it more plainly than that.
4.8.2007 1:29am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
On Lawn wrote:

>> "As argued above, neutered marriage is abusive to women, children and men."

> "Well, earlier you told us only the institution of marriage was neutered, and individual marriages were not neutered."

I'm not sure where you got that. Earlier I said:

What is neutered? Our understanding of marriage is neutered, our way of describing marriage is neutered, our definition of marriage is neutered. That perspective and application applies to each marriage to one degree or another, there is no doubt about that. But the application of the term is from the perspective of the state, which is indifferent to the gender composition of the union. Each individual perspective may or may not match the state definition (which you argued previously).


> "[...] how are kids abused by an institution?"

The neutered institution that replaces marriage which has stood as a mooring for responsible procreation for as long as recorded history?

If it isn't obvious enough to you, I refer to the arguments presented by Blankenhorn, Sommerville, and others.
4.8.2007 1:57am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Wait, wait, wait. Do you feel marriage should be incentivized by the state?"

Doesn't matter what I "feel," does it? The state already does. What was all this talk about the "marriage penalty" in the tax code a few years ago, and the accompanying push to eliminate it?

"Do you honestly see the ideal of marriage being two people looking longingly into each others' eyes and thinking 'I'd like not to have to testify against you in a court of law, so let's get married,' or 'I want to die intestate and have you wander through the probate courts to get any of my stuff so let's get married?'"

Do you think my partner and I don't think about such things? The latter more than the former, certainly. But we've been over the "romance" thing. My views should be fairly clear at this point. Mostly, these days, people get married for love. But MOST PEOPLE IN RELATIONSHIPS will seriously consider the LEGAL AND FINANCIAL PLUSSES AND MINUSES of marrying or not marrying. Now why would that be do you think?

Why would my partner worry about common property laws, do you think? What about debt responsibility, shared credit ratings, mutual bank accounts, car insurance, etc. etc.? Why do people sign pre-nuptual agreements?

You'd be fool these days if you DIDN'T consider the legal and financial aspects of marriage--a HAPPY fool, I'm sure but a fool nonetheless. Is that MY fault? Nooooo.

"Private contracts already offer 'a legal framework for relationships.' What interest does the state have in offering something different, specifically for homosexually intimate relationships?"

If I get married and have children, and the government offers me a tax break to pay for those children, is it still a "private contract"?
4.8.2007 2:03am
Randy R. (mail):
on lawn: "won't because honestly you can't. You know that isn't how it works, yet you pretend it is a requirement anyway."

Actually, I asked whether you can identify any marriages that are actually harmed, not theoretically harmed, and you have consistently failed to do so. Instead, you have come up unsupported arguments about marriage being somehow 'neutered' once SSM is approved.

In another posting, I asked whether school proms are 'neutered' because many of them allow gay couples, and to show me how said proms have suffered. You again failed to answer.

"Yet the facts on what "parentage" means didn't matter in the last thread, the history of homosexual acceptance and marriage definition didn't matter, and the personal experiences of children who wished their childhood involved their natural parents didn't matter."

Of course they do matter. The point is that the personal experiences od children who wished their childhood involved their natural parents is irrelevent to this discussion. My sister and her husband adopted a five year old girl from Russia, and a) she doesn't wish for her natural parents, whom she never met, and b) she knows that she is much better off adopted than continuing to live a Russian foundling home. Had she been adopted by a gay couple, she would no doubt feel the same way.

Furthermore, studies have shown that children in foster care here in the US would much prefer, by a wide margin, to be adopted by gay parents than continue in foster care, given the option.

So are you going to dismiss this evidence? Or say it doesn't matter?

How about this one: there are already thousands of children being raised by gay parents. Do you really think that our society OR their families are better off by preventing their parents from being married? Again, you refuse to answer the question.

jim: "Same-sex marriage is a change that would have great effect on the views of people who would not have otherwise understood marriage to be a social construct. Such a change is also likely to have some diminishing effect on traditional marriage as some people who would have settled for an opposite-sex marriage will instead pursue a same-sex marriage"

REally? How so? You mean a straight man would get married to another man just because it's available? honestly, at soime point, you really have to have a BASIC understanding of human sexuality!

jvarisco: , surely allowing gay marriage would make it harder to return to more traditional views of marriage?"

Okay -- please enumerate some of these 'traditional views of marriage" and then explain HOW it would be harder to return to them just because gays can get married. That, of course, assumes that we have turned away from these traditional views.

onlawn: "The neutering of the marriage definition is an institutional change, and the effects are seen the relative values of each institution for society. One could put it simpler though, they no longer have access to the institution that recognizes and promotes responsible procreation. Whether the watered down form of marriage still has value or not is their own judgment to make."

In other words, it's all in the minds of the married couple. If you think your marriage is neutered, it is. If you don't think it is neutered, then it isn't.

Cornellian said it beautifully: The Anti-SSM crowd concocts these theories that SSM is somehow going to harm marriage. But they can never identify exactly how it will harm any particular marriage, nor can they even hypothesize how it would, nor do they know of any. So they keep coming around to this Grand Theory: Marriage is this wonderful religious and secular institution that is magnificient, awesome, terrific, unexplicable, pure, God's will for us, the Hope for the Future, the Wisdon of the Ages, and for Real Men and Real Women.

Allowing gays to marry will diminish this institutiont in our own eyes. Therefore, it is very bad.

So SSM is outlawed in several states. Is the marriage rate increasing? Oh, that's right, stats don't anything if they cut against your argument.

Again, it's a strong institution that has served us well for thousands of years, but also it's so weak that allowing a handful of gay people into it will utterly destroy it. Children need to be raised by married parents, or else they turn out to be utter vegetables, unable to function in society, but if their gay parents should marry, well, they don't explain how the children would be harmed by that. They just will somehow.

Marriage is declining in the Scandinavian countries because gays can get married, and it's declining in the rest of europe because a few people are arguing for SSM. It's that weak! Just to talk about SSM causes people to leave their bethrothed and shack up with someone else of the same sex.

Oh, and SSM emboldens the terrorists, too.
4.8.2007 2:08am
Grover Gardner (mail):
Opps, the last was probably a bad example. Any parent is entitled to tax breaks for dependents. But still, what is that--an incentive? Just a recognition of the added expense? What?

And "most people" probably do not let legal and financial issues stop them from marrying if that's what they want to do--but again, they'd be foolish to ignore them.
4.8.2007 2:11am
Grover Gardner (mail):
And BTW, Op-ed, regarding "incentivizing" marriage: What happened to that "expectation of permanence"?

If there's NO incentive to marry, then why would anyone do it? Just because they "felt" like it? It seems to me that it confers no advantages whatsoever, then there's not much point, eh?
4.8.2007 2:23am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Randy R wrote:

> "I asked whether you can identify any marriages that are actually harmed"

Thanks for pointing that out. One of the real problems of neutered marriage is how it focuses so exclusively on the adult relationship and their fickle views of romantic bonding that it ignores what is going on around them. And that may even promote and strengthen these relationships at the cost of so much else around them.

I mean just look at them. I mention how it harms the relationships parents have with children, how it harms the states ability to protect the rights of children, and how it commits disability fraud in order to do so. I mention how it confounds our ability to understand our own humanity, or own lives and the real joys that people have expected from marriage for millenia.

-- but all they care about is if the relationships are harmed, in a self-centered metric of harm --

And that is why Carpenter suggestion that replacing the current view of marriage with the homosexual ideal might even enervate marriage, is selfish, foolhardy, and deeply wrong. Its like the Regan administration saying that children were getting their vegetables by re-defining french fries as a vegetable. Its like saying people will eat more broccoli, and appreciate it more, if we re-define chocolate éclairs as broccoli.
4.8.2007 3:03am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Randy R cont...

> "In another posting, I asked whether school proms are 'neutered' because many of them allow gay couples, and to show me how said proms have suffered. You again failed to answer."

Failed to answer? Thats a pretty extreme charge. It is also flat wrong.

> "Furthermore, studies have shown that children in foster care here in the US would much prefer, by a wide margin, to be adopted by gay parents than continue in foster care, given the option."

Put that on a bumper sticker, "gay adoption -- at least it isn't foster care!"

Problem is, it isn't really the same as adoption with a father and mother either. What is our source, by the way. Did they ask if they would rather a gay household or one with a equal gender representation?

> "The point is that the personal experiences od children who wished their childhood involved their natural parents is irrelevent to this discussion."

I have nothing to really reply to this. I'm just quoting it to further show evidence of what I wrote in the preceding post.

> "there are already thousands of children being raised by gay parents. Do you really think that our society OR their families are better off by preventing their parents from being married? Again, you refuse to answer the question."

Again, you make a rather charged claim. And again, it is .
It was answered, and you dropped the ball.
4.8.2007 3:17am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
jrose wrote:

> "The marriage-is-solely-for-procreation argument? That doesn't fly becuase of the infertile and eldlerly. Your attempts to explain that away don't fly."

Actually, it doesn't fly because it is a strawman. One that has been pointed out to you repeatedly.

Marriage has many aspects and dimensions, but they all intersect at addressing one point, encouraging the most responsible procreation expectations. Its marriages greatest success though history -- if not just in its attempts to keep a father involved with his children and supporting his wife.

The neutered marriage ideal is more like McGreevey, who is celebrated for honoring his homosexual identity above his family commitments.
4.8.2007 3:23am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Sorry, the above reply to Randy R. is missing a link (you can tell because the sentence is chopped off).

Here is the link.
4.8.2007 3:32am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Put that on a bumper sticker, 'gay adoption -- at least it isn't foster care!'"

Or, alternatively, "Let Gays Adopt--It's a HELL of a Lot better than Foster Care."

"The neutered marriage ideal is more like McGreevey, who is celebrated for honoring his homosexual identity above his family commitments."

Why isn't it also like Newt Gingrich, or Bill Clinton, or any of the millions of other straight people who've honored adulterous affairs over their family committments?
4.8.2007 3:55am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"I mean just look at them."

Look at WHO?
4.8.2007 3:59am
Charlie Feather (mail):

Grover Gardner:
You might wish this [purpose that is utterly removed from anything that should concern same-sex relationships] were true, Charlie, but it isn't. That's just a plain fact. The gay movement is growing up, the younger generation is far more accepting of homosexuals and their relationships, and procreation is no longer the sole privilege of heterosexual couples.


Did you want to make a point here, or just rant? I'd be very interested to see where same-sex relationships lead to procreation, as you seem to claim, or to anything special at all. Perhaps you can direct me to some cases. Otherwise, same-sex relationships are not really the government's concern where it concerns marriage. How could they be? They are, at best, socially neutral.

And yet you just insisted that sex is a public matter.

Grover! Learn to read more carefully! Sex between men and women has an interest to the government; sex between members of the same sex do not ...... except as a public health concern, perhaps, when their promiscuous behavior spreads diseases.

And I could respond with hundreds of comments, culled from the internet, from gay people who will tell you that they are categorically *quite* interested in receiving the benefits bestowed on legally married couples.

If its benefits they want, then they could do without the marriage and just receive the benefits. Isn't that what civil unions do? The whole business of love and lifelong commitment, fidelity and monogamy, etc., is just a smoke screen, then, in order to receive benefits. You people really have to make up your minds.

Well, that settles it then. All gay people will surely defer to [Gore Vidal's] authority.

Gore Vidal is quite a famous gay, himself, though he is respected on the merits of his writing talents.
4.8.2007 4:09am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Did you want to make a point here, or just rant?"

I think I did make a point.

"I'd be very interested to see where same-sex relationships lead to procreation, as you seem to claim..."

They lead to procreation in the same way that straight people use sperm donors or surrogates, or adopt. If we have an interest in children at all, we have an interest in the results of these alternative methods of conception and child-rearing.

"...or anything special at all."

That's a matter of opinion, I suppose.

"...sex between members of the same sex do not ...... except as a public health concern, perhaps, when their promiscuous behavior spreads diseases."

Sounds like a concern to me.

"The whole business of love and lifelong commitment, fidelity and monogamy, etc., is just a smoke screen, then, in order to receive benefits."

No. It's both. Marriage automatically confers certain benefits. Don't try to tell me straight people don't consider the legal pros and cons as well. We've already covered that. "Civil unions" could also do that--if they were universally permitted. But they are not. And yes, there are gay advocates who want it all--including marriage. Yes, they want their relationships acknowledged and legitimized. It's COMPLICATED.

"Gore Vidal is quite a famous gay, himself, though he is respected on the merits of his writing talents."

Sorry, Charlie. He's also a pedophile, and as such is not universally admired in the gay community. Your attempt at "cred" fell a little flat.
4.8.2007 4:36am
Charlie Feather (mail):

Grover Gardner:
Let's just go through a few of my previous points:
Children: Gays now adopt and procreate. They didn't insist on these methods--straight people did. Gay people are merely taking advantage of new medical techniques and adoption opportunities to become parents.


The truth: There is nothing to adoption that specifically implicates the gay relationship. There is nothing to new reproductive technologies that specifically implicates gay relationships. Gayness is utterly irrelevant to adoption and reproductive technologies. And, gay couples still cannot procreate.

Sexual regulation: Encourage gay people to get out of the bars, regularize their lives and rein in their sexual impulses.

This is laughable. Bars, gay baths and glory holes and unbridal sexual expression is the whole point of being gay. Whereas societies everywhere throughout the world and throughout time have steered men and women into the socially approved institution of marriage that embraced the ideal of responsible sexuality and procreation, no such comparable thing has ever been done for gays, as there was never any social necessity for this. The self-assumed ideal for gays has always been libertinism. For gays to assume the mantle of the heterosexual ideal is ludicrous at best, psychotic at worst, because gay sex will never produce the effects on society that are children. There is simply no point pretending, otherwise. It's like a man dressing up in women's clothes and pretending he's a lady.

Health costs, economic productivity and dependence on the state: Married people and people in stable relationships live longer, tend to be healthier and more productive, make more money and depend less on the state in old age.


For gays, just ceasing their promiscuous ways would go a long way to reducing health cost, increasing economic productivity and lessening dependence on the state, that is, the taxpayer. They don't need marriage for this.

"Marriage is an emotional commitment"...... which we already exposed as a null and void argument..... "More and more gay people are making such commitments...." which doesn't concern the state..... "Marriage involves children....." at last an admission..... "More and more gay people are recognizing that being gay doesn't mean they have to suppress their maternal/paternal impulses....." then they should try and convert..... "There are children out there who need parents...." no, not any parents...... "and there are children yet to be born.... if they're not aborted first..... "who will love their parents and be loved by them regardless of their parents' sexual identity. " — and who would do better with a mother and a father.

More and more gay people are buying houses, spending money, contributing to the revitalization of inner cities ("Follow the Rainbow Flag" is an excellent investment tip, BTW) and emerging as influential in politics, finance and the arts. IMO, society and the state have every interest in recognizing and legalizing their relationships. I don't know how to state it more plainly than that.

The recognition you are really speaking of is not about their sexual orientation or their relationships, but about their tribal affinities. That is, government has recognized them as a political entity, and if they do attain the right to marry, it will not be on the basis of any moral right or logical imperative — because there is none — but merely because of their political clout.

In this way, they are an ordinary "special interest" lobby that is able to buy and extract from the government whatever favorable legislation they desire.

So much for the equality and fairness argument.
4.8.2007 7:49am
Charlie Feather (mail):
Grover Gardner:
"I think I did make a point......" But then again..... I'm not so sure.

[Same-sex relationships] lead to procreation in the same way that straight people use sperm donors or surrogates, or adopt. If we have an interest in children at all, we have an interest in the results of these alternative methods of conception and child-rearing.
In other words, same-sex relationships do not intrinsically lead to procreation.

"...sex between members of the same sex do not ...... except as a public health concern, perhaps, when their promiscuous behavior spreads diseases." For which concern marriage would fail miserably to solve.... unless you want to legally obliged them to marriage and fidelity.
"No. [ The whole business of love and lifelong commitment, fidelity and monogamy, etc.] is both."
Both what? A smoke screen? An what else, again?
....And yes, there are gay advocates who want it all--including marriage. Yes, they want their relationships acknowledged and legitimized. It's COMPLICATED.
Is this your admission of incompetence to explain the situation?

"Sorry, Charlie. [Gore Vidal] is also a pedophile....." and a gay one at that!.... "and as such is not universally admired in the gay community....." except among other gay pedophiles...."Your attempt at "cred" fell a little flat....." What in the world are you talking about? Because Gore Vidal uses the word homosexualist, is a gay pedophile and is not universally admired in the gay community, that makes his coinage of the word illegitimate??? Maybe one day, you can explain your tortured logic to me. On second thought, I don't want to know.
4.8.2007 8:29am
Charlie Feather (mail):
A CHALLENGE TO THE LEGAL EAGLES: WHAT IS THE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM,

This is what marriage essentially says:

The state approved sexual relationship is between one man and one woman who are:

of the legal age of majority
single
not of close parentage
consenting

Gays would like the state approved sexual relationship to be between "persons" who are:

of the legal age of majority
single
not of close parentage
consenting

The requirement of "not of close parentage", though, would not make sense for persons if they are a same-sex couple, so it can be eliminated. But not so fast! If the persons happen to be a man and a woman that would make it necessary to make gender discriminations. So either all persons, even those of close parentage, will be marriageable, or else, the requirement of "not of close parentage " should be added back into a "marriage between persons" even if this would not make sense where same-sex couples are concerned.

But a same-sex couple of close parentage could easily argue that the law is not rational where it concerns them, which is true. So this would make it necessary to create two legal standards, one for opposite-sex couples, which would permit gender discrimination, and one for same-sex couples where gender discrimination would be, of course, a moot issue.

How could this problem be resolved in a constitutional and legally rational manner that would be inclusive of persons into a single classification?
4.8.2007 9:22am
jrose:
On Lawn: Marriage has many aspects and dimensions, but they all intersect at addressing one point, encouraging the most responsible procreation expectations.
Because of the elderly and infertile, I disagree.
On Lawn: I mention how it harms the relationships parents have with children, how it harms the states ability to protect the rights of children, and how it commits disability fraud in order to do so. I mention how it confounds our ability to understand our own humanity, or own lives and the real joys that people have expected from marriage for millenia.
You take Kurtz and Blankenhorn to a whole new level. It's not just that SSM negatively influences marriage (based on what I believe is at best flimsy analysis). It harms the states ability to protect children, confounds our ability to understand our own humanity, and fatherhood/childhood/motherhood become commodities for sale. Sounds like a rant to me.

But hey, let's accept your view and keep same-sex couples from marrying. What alternatives do you propose to rectify the resulting harm to gay people?
4.8.2007 9:48am
jrose:
Charlie,

The "not of close parentage" restriction is salient to same-sex couples because it is rational that your childhood relationship with your brother or father would be harmed if you knew while growing up that one day you might marry him.
4.8.2007 9:55am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
jrose wrote:

> "Because of the elderly and infertile, I disagree."

Before it was those who chose not to have kids. Now you come up with a different reason.

No, it is clearly because of your bias and prejudice you disagree. The elderly and infertile do not contradict the responsible procreation purpose behind marriage. If they did, they would have already been barred from marriage.

As another prominent advocate for neutered marriage wrote:

Of course, no one would dream of telling infertile heterosexuals they can’t marry simply because they can’t reproduce. I guess just possessing the proper plumbing is enough to qualify, even if it doesn’t quite function. They might technically be considered handicapped, as they are biologically and anatomically unable to fulfill that primary purpose of marriage, and we can’t discriminate against the handicapped here.


Besides, if you really did believe that exceptions disproved the rule, you would be all the more anxious to provide a purpose behind neutered marriage independent of procreation responsibility, so you could apply the same totalitarian enforcement. Is the purpose romance stability? Then what is your way to make sure people who are non-romantic cannot enter into marriage? What is your romance test to give people to make sure they are as romantically inclined as you expect?

Is the purpose equality? Then why do have such prejudice against non-homosexual relationships that also are "disadvantaged against their will" and kept from marriage?

I mean after all, if the existence of the disabled causes you to doubt the purpose of marriage as I state it, then what is your plan to keep *your* purpose of marriage pure and understandable?

You don't have one, do you.

> "You take Kurtz and Blankenhorn to a whole new level. [...] It harms the states ability to protect children, confounds our ability to understand our own humanity, and fatherhood/childhood/motherhood become commodities for sale."

I take Blankenhorn to a new level?

> "Sounds like a rant to me."

Which sounds to me like you don't care as long as the romantic aptitude of the participants is adequately pandered to by every one else.

> "What alternatives do you propose to rectify the resulting harm to gay people?"

Finish the sentence:

-- When a unisexed couple cannot get a marriage license they are harmed because...

We'll work up a good policy from that starting point, I'm sure.
4.8.2007 10:18am
Op-Ed (mail) (www):
Grover: If there's NO incentive to marry, then why would anyone do it?

And with that, Grover drops out. Three activists for neutered marriage, each who claims they don't know what marriage is about.

But on a different topic, Grover gives a list of reasons why the government should take an interest in the homosexual union. He never explains why the government should drop its interest in marriage in order to accomplish any of these goals for homosexual unions, so I will not discuss his planned take-over of an institution he claims he doesn't understand beyond his own lust for "incentives."

Children...

Any procreation or adoption that "gays" do is completely unrelated to their homosexual intimacy. Individuals not in homosexually intimate relationships adopt or participate in procreation. This obviously doesn't argue why the state has an interest specifically in the homosexually intimate relationship, only in people generally. The challenge was to explain why the homosexually intimate relationship had special interest to the state. The state already has a very extensive body of laws dealing with people who adopt or participate in third party procreation.

Sexual regulation...

This is, at least as you describe it, specific to homosexual intimacy. So, do you claim that if the state registered homosexual intimacies that promiscuity within the "gay community" would decline? While that is an implausible theory, I don't see why I'd oppose the attempt if you wanted to introduce such a homosexual registry in legislation.

Health costs, economic productivity and dependence on the state...

Again, all completely unrelated to homosexual intimacy. You are supposed to be arguing a special interest by the state in specifically the homosexually intimate relationship. All citizens have health cost, economic productivity, and state dependence issues. These are all concerns addressed in the existing legal framework. Any failing you'd like to claim exists in that legal framework would apply outside the homosexually intimate relationship as well.
4.8.2007 11:04am
Randy R. (mail):
On lawn: " I mention how it harms the relationships parents have with children, how it harms the states ability to protect the rights of children, and how it commits disability fraud in order to do so. I mention how it confounds our ability to understand our own humanity, or own lives and the real joys that people have expected from marriage for millenia. "

So that's your response? I asked what harm gay marriage does to heteros who are married, and that's all you can come up with?

Those are nothing but unsupported conclusions. "Gay marriage harms the relationships parents have with children." How so? You mean that now that gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts and Canada, and Spain, parents no longer have the same relationship with their children? IF that's the case, it certainly isn't because of gay marriage. Explain to me how this works: a gay couple gets married down the street, and you say to your kids, sorry, I can't play catch with you any more, and I won't be attending your school play, or take the day off when you get sick. No more birthday parties. Those gays down the street have just ruined it for us! If that's your argument, it is sorely lacking in any rationality.

How has Mass. been harmed in protecting the right's of children? You mean they repealed such laws? They cut the budget for Social Services? The legislature said, well, now that gays can get married, we shouldn't care for children anymore. Is this the logic you use? Please name show me where widespread disability fraud has occured as a result of gay marriage.

So you are now 'confounded' in your ability to access your own humanity? What the heck does that mean?

Yes, you claim to have answered my questions, but you really didn't. You just throw out this unsupported baloney that you made up in your own head. If your notion of your own humanity is so fragile that it is shaken up by a small number of gay people getting married, then you have more serious problems than SSM!

All you can fall back on is an emotional argument that SSM 'neuters' marriage, but you provide no evidence at all, nor do you even argue cogently or logically. It's a good sound bite, but that's about all you have.
4.8.2007 11:34am
jrose:
Besides, if you really did believe that exceptions disproved the rule
The elderly, infertile and those who choose not bear children are not exceptions that we merely tolerate for convenience or out of sympathy. We celebrate these marriages to their fullest.
Is the purpose romance stability? Then what is your way to make sure people who are non-romantic cannot enter into marriage?
Out of practicality, we likely cannot do so (although as applied in some laws [e.g., immigration], we do). However in contrast to the elderly, we don't celebrate these non-romantic marriages. They are exceptions we merely tolerate. If we could screen them out, we would. In contrast, we do not desire to screen out infertile marriages.
When a unisexed couple cannot get a marriage license they are harmed because
a gay person cannot sponsor his lover for his green card, is unable to visit his lover in the hospital if another family member objects, is unable to
receive veterans or Social Security spousal benefits, is not exempt from estate taxes when his lover dies, is unable to receive spousal health insurance from his lover's employer, is unable to take medical and family leave when his lover is ill, is not afforded preference in adopting their lover's child, is subject to attack from hostile family members in matters of inhertiance and power of attorney, is not afforded the privilege of not testifying against his lover, is not afforded protection in domestic violence laws.
4.8.2007 12:28pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"The state already has a very extensive body of laws dealing with people who adopt or participate in third party procreation."

And many of those laws exclude gay people. Allowing gay marriage would force the issue.

"(Sexual Regulation) This is, at least as you describe it, specific to homosexual intimacy."

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

"Marriage is almost universally approved as an outlet for sexual behavior. Societies regulate sexual activity in a number of different ways."

Really, is this so hard?

"Again, all completely unrelated to homosexual intimacy."

Agreed. So why exclude gay people from participating in the proven benefits of marriage?

All you can do is peck at my statement. It gets tiresome.
4.8.2007 12:53pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"But a same-sex couple of close parentage could easily argue that the law is not rational where it concerns them, which is true."

They could, but since the law needs to cover *all* marriages, including heterosexual ones, the argument wouldn't appear to have much standing.
4.8.2007 12:56pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Is this your admission of incompetence to explain the situation?"

No, it's shorthand for saying that it's not really worth discussing it with you any more.
4.8.2007 1:05pm
Charlie Feather (mail):
On Lawn:" Is the purpose equality? Then why do [you, jrose] have such prejudice against non-homosexual relationships that also are "disadvantaged against their will" and kept from marriage? I mean after all, if the existence of the disabled causes you to doubt the purpose of marriage as I state it, then what is your plan to keep *your* purpose of marriage pure and understandable?"

The point jrose wants to make, as all those who repeatedly bring up the infertile, elderly couple argument do, goes something like this:

Little Johnny gets ice cream when he doesn't deserve it, so I should get ice cream too, because I don't deserve it, either.

We recognize this "equality" argument as a two-wrongs-make-a-right type of argument. It's a bit transparent as arguments go.

Randy R.

"So that's your response? I asked what harm gay marriage does to heteros who are married, and that's all you can come up with?"

And why don't you ask what harm gay marriage does to my relationship with my pet red herring while you're at it? Gay marriage needn't be harmful at all to the marriages of heterosexuals for it to be legitimately opposed. It can be harmful in other ways also. Like introducing irrationality into the law.
4.8.2007 4:08pm
Charlie Feather (mail):
Grover Gardner: ["But a same-sex couple of close parentage could easily argue that the law is not rational where it concerns them, which is true."]......They could, but since the law needs to cover *all* marriages, including heterosexual ones, the argument wouldn't appear to have much standing."

Thus, IRRATIONALITY must be introduced into the law!!

jrose: "The "not of close parentage" restriction is salient to same-sex couples because it is rational that your childhood relationship with your brother or father would be harmed if you knew while growing up that one day you might marry him.

Would be harmed.....??!! This is a preposterous speculation!! There is nothing rational about it. I suppose we have to go through the ritual now, of me asking you how this knowledge would harm them, what evidence and authority you can offer to support your affirmation etc., etc. and you coming up with even crazier theories.

I believe the glaring irrationality of including same-sex couples into the current marriage statutes is thoroughly exposed with this little thought experiment. It is evident that two separate statutes regulating the relationships of opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples is the only rational course. Unless you prefer Wonderland to the real world.
4.8.2007 4:38pm
jrose:
Charlie,

If a statute which forbids both consanguineous same-sex and opposite-sex marriages is sujbect to rational-basis review, per FCC v Beach:

"On rational basis review, a statutory classification [has] a strong presumption of validity, and those attacking its rationality have the burden to negate every conceivable basis that might support it. [...] Legislative choice is not subject to courtroom factfinding, and may be based on rational speculation unsupported by evidence or empirical data."
4.8.2007 4:56pm
jrose:
Charlie: We recognize this "equality" argument as a two-wrongs-make-a-right type of argument. It's a bit transparent as arguments go.
It is not a "wrong" that the infertile and elderly are allowed to marry. It is clearly something we celebrate.
4.8.2007 5:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
On Lawn: What is neutered? Our understanding of marriage is neutered, our way of describing marriage is neutered, our definition of marriage is neutered. That perspective and application applies to each marriage to one degree or another, there is no doubt about that. But the application of the term is from the perspective of the state, which is indifferent to the gender composition of the union. Each individual perspective may or may not match the state definition (which you argued previously).

OK, so if a male and female Catholic are married in a Catholic church in Massacusetts, by a Catholic priest, and in keeping with Church marriage regulations, is their marriage neutered? Is it partially neutered?

To what degree does neutering apply to this Catholic marriage? Does he Church know its marriages are neutered? Has the catechism been changed for Massachusetts and Canada? Is a Catholic marriage in Canada different from one in New York? How is it different?

Should these Catholics seek out a church in New Hampshire to avoid the neutering? If they stepped across the state line are they safe?

If these Catholics are lost in the woods can they tell if they are in Massahusetts or New Hampshire by determining if their marriage is neutered?
4.8.2007 8:43pm
Charlie Feather (mail):
Elliot123: Re: neutered marriage

Marriage is neutered for the reason that the qualified classifications would no longer be men and women, but would now be "persons", as the MJSC had stated in Gooding.

The classification of "persons", as I understand it, is neither male nor female, thus, neutered.
4.8.2007 10:37pm
Charlie Feather (mail):
[Charlie: We recognize this "equality" argument as a two-wrongs-make-a-right type of argument. It's a bit transparent as arguments go.]

jrose: It is not a "wrong" that the infertile and elderly are allowed to marry. It is clearly something we celebrate."


You're right, of course! What was I thinking? This is an example of the Goose and Gander Argument.

To gays, marriage is the legal and societal recognition of an emotional, sentimental bond, the intimate relationship of two people committed to aiding, supporting and loving each other in sickness and in health until death do they part. Of course, when it is pointed out that the government has no business, really, involving itself in the private, emotional lives of its citizens, and that its business is not to hand out "love licenses", the usual rebuttal is: why does government do that for heterosexual couples?

When it is argued that the government does have an important state interest in managing its demographics and that heterosexual relationships are naturally and directly implicated in this, the objection is: why, then, are sterile or non-child bearing heterosexual couples still allowed to marry and gay couples denied?

The rule for heterosexual couples is that the vast majority of them DO eventually produce children with each other, but there are the exceptions to this rule.

The rule for homosexual couples is that they are without exception incapable of ever producing children with each other.

Gays, then, would justify their accession to marriage based on the heterosexual exception to the rule, such that the EXCEPTION for heterosexuals should work to favor the RULE for homosexuals. In a sense, the homosexual rule is riding on the coattails of the heterosexual exception, and gays are just asking for the same inclusion that the heterosexual exception enjoys. They're saying in effect, "Just think of us as any other non-reproducing couple who is also allowed to marry." This is the "goose and gander" argument.

"WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE, IS GOOD FOR THE GANDER."

This argument simply follows the reductio ad absurdum train of thought that is premised on the idea that marriage is primarily for reproduction, which even defenders of traditional marriage don't really believe. This is, evidently, a straw man argument when it is assumed that reproduction should be a requirement in order to marry. Marriage, I have repeatedly stated, is meant to bring a semblance of order to reproduction, which can become quite chaotic if left unchecked. This is quite different from being a requirement.

Once that is acknowledged, the whole Goose and Gander argument falls apart.
4.8.2007 11:55pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Charlie,

In that case, a man and woman who marry are not in a neutered marriage regardless of what the law says. Neither are two guys in Massachusetts who marry; both are male. Neither are two women in Massachusetts who marry; both are female. So, we can conclude no actual marriage is neutered.

Once again, we see an abstract concept that has no effect on the reality of actual marriages. And, we can reasonably question the validity of the abstract concept since we do not see it in any real marriages; we see the opposite.
4.9.2007 12:01am
Charlie Feather (mail):
jrose:
"Charlie, If a statute which forbids both consanguineous same-sex and opposite-sex marriages is sujbect to rational-basis review, per FCC v Beach, [then]: On rational basis review, a statutory classification [has] a strong presumption of validity, and those attacking its rationality have the burden to negate every conceivable basis that might support it. [...] Legislative choice is not subject to courtroom factfinding, and may be based on rational speculation unsupported by evidence or empirical data."

What would be the statutory classification here if not "persons"? What would be the presumption of validity to forbid consanguineous marriages between "persons," as there should be no presumption that the relationships of "persons" is necessarily of a sexual nature that could lead to the birth of children.

A same-sex couple need negate only on the basis that the rationale of consanguinity is not applicable to them, since it cannot be presumed that their relationship can ever lead to the birth of children as reproduction is impossible for them. Which is, in fact, utterly rational. There is nothing speculative about this.

It is evident that the classification of "persons" is so overly-inclusive as to be of little worth.
4.9.2007 12:40am
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Elliot123 wrote:

> "In that case, a man and woman who marry are not in a neutered marriage regardless of what the law says."

I missed where you got that from Charlie's commentary. Could you post a quote?

> "Once again, we see an abstract concept that has no effect on the reality of actual marriages."

You've fallen far short of showing that, especially from any commentary I've read here.

So... thought experiment.

Here is a dictionary definition of marriage:

1 a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law


There is a separate definition of same-sex couples, much like you argued before. However, they are supposed to exist under the same legal description and definition.

So tell me, anyone who continues with the last vestiges of resistance to the term "neutered marraige" how they would alter that definition to suit both same-sex and equal-gender-representation couples. Just tell me how you'd change that definition.

How to alter the definition other than simply remove the gender reference, I don't know. But as we all know, removing the gender reference to a term is rendering it neuter, and that act is "neutering". Your complaint that it doesn't describe harm to the adult relationship itself is something that does not address why the outcome is called "neutered marriage". Its a poor substitution, and only displays misinterpretation on your part. It is, as I see it, substitution patterned after the Chewbacca defense.
4.9.2007 1:01am
Charlie Feather (mail):
Elliot123 (mail):
Charlie,

In that case, a man and woman who marry are not in a neutered marriage regardless of what the law says. Neither are two guys in Massachusetts who marry; both are male. Neither are two women in Massachusetts who marry; both are female. So, we can conclude no actual marriage is neutered.


In which case??? I don't think you were paying attention. If you were responding to my post:

"Marriage is neutered for the reason that the qualified classifications would no longer be men and women, but would now be "persons", as the MJSC had stated in Gooding."

"Persons", as I understand it, is a class that is neither male nor female, thus, neutered. This is still true. "Persons" is more inclusive as a classification and no gender can be attributed to it. Thus, sexless, genderless, neutered.... chose the word you like.
4.9.2007 1:08am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Just tell me how you'd change that definition."

"The state of being united to a man or a woman in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law."
4.9.2007 1:39am
F. Rottles (mail):
It would be very interesting to see if someone here who supports merging SSM with marriage can accurately restate in their own words the gist of what David Blankenhorn has said in his address to the Danish Institute for Human Rights. [LINK]

Restate, and seek clarification, before you criticize what you think he might have said and before you attempt to attribute ill-motive to his words. Demonstrate that you are indeed listening and, with your supposedly superior view of marriage, can give him credit for making at least some valid observations. Can you recognize the actual argument that he makes from his observations?

First step, read what he has said. Second step, seek clarification, if not confirmation, that you "get" what he has said. Third step, point out the bits you agree with. Fourth step, point out the bits you are unsure about. Fifth step, point out, for the sake of identifying substantive disagreement, what bits you would challenge.

I think that David Blankenhorn has gone a very long way in his book to do exactly that with the pro-SSM arguments that have been made. Maybe some who have lept to dismissing his contribution can do him the courtesy of the same. You might actually learn more that way.
4.9.2007 1:43am
F. Rottles (mail):
Here is the hyperlink to David Blankenhorn's remarks at the Danish Institute for Human Rights. [LINK]
4.9.2007 1:44am
Grover Gardner (mail):
Funny--your cited authority has another definition of marriage:

"(2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage"
4.9.2007 1:45am
Grover Gardner (mail):
I also noticed that you mentioned this in your post, saying, "There is a separate definition of same-sex couples..." But M-W isn't defining "same-sex couple." They're defining marriage, and one definition they give is "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of traditional marriage."

Then you say, "However, they are supposed to exist under the same legal description and definition." But I believe several people, including myself, have argued that there is more than one way to define marriage. It seems we now have an authority to back that up. ;-)
4.9.2007 4:55am
F. Rottles (mail):
Grover Gardner, You seem to have read something of what David Blankenhorn had to say. Can you restate, in your own words, the gist of what you think he said?
4.9.2007 8:00am
F. Rottles (mail):

OK, so if a male and female Catholic are married in a Catholic church in Massacusetts, by a Catholic priest, and in keeping with Church marriage regulations, is their marriage neutered?


Again, you are misreading the comments.

Justice Marshall's opinion explicitly neutered the Law's recognition of marriage within the jurisdiction of the State of Massachusetts. [LINK]

First she noted the obvious:


[In the marriage statutes] the Legislature did not intend that same-sex couples be licensed to marry. [The marriage law] may not be construed to permit same-sex couples to marry.


Justice Marshall made passing reference to the marital presumption of paternity (which arises from the both-sexed nature of marriage and the contingency for responsible procreation) and, then, she proceeded to neuter this presumption, at least rhetorically. It is not clear how this would apply in one-sex "parentage" cases. Parental relinquishment (or loss) would ordinarily be prerequisite.


While establishing the parentage of children as soon as possible is crucial to the safety and welfare of children [...] same-sex couples must undergo the sometimes lengthy and intrusive process of second-parent adoption to establish their joint parentage.


Note that she thus acknowledged the immediacy of the presumption of paternity while she also stated a complaint which is based on a false equivalency. She did this with her eyes wide-open:


[The] marriage restriction impermissibly "identifies persons by a single trait and then denies them protection across the board."


What is this single trait?

Well, Justice Marshall mischaracterized this "trait" -- the nature of marriage which is extrinsic to the one-sexed arrangment -- when she referred to the "marriage is procreation" argument. Most of the pro-SSM commenters here have repeated her error. They, like Justice Marshall, neglect to pay attention to the actual argument.

The actual argument related to procreation is that the nature of marriage is sex-integrative (husband AND wife, fatherhood AND motherhood) and provides for responsible procreation (i.e. the mother and father are both the biological and the social parents of the children they create).

Even Justice Marshall admitted that this presented an


"unbridgeable difference between same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and transforms that difference into the essence of legal marriage."


Nonetheless, in her opinion, Justice Marshall sought to neuter marriage recognition by, first, presuming that marriage was already gender-neutral and, second, that the marriage law excluded a category that was already eligible. She began with her predrawn conclusion.

Although Justice Marshall's words demonstrated that she understood 1) the intent of the Legislature, 2) the plain language of the marriage statues, and 3) the difference between the both-sexed and the one-sexed combinations, she strode out of bounds to misconstrue both common law, the state constitution, and the role of the judiciary in interpreting statutory law.

—————-

One year later, in the case of the Adoption of Marline [LINK-1] [LINK-2] [LINK-3], the court reaffirmed "the deeply entrenched public policy on the subject of child support":


[We] start from the proposition that parents have a preexisting obligation [i.e. duty] to support their children. This duty to support "has existed by statute in some form since as early as 1692." [...] Over time, the Legislature has created a comprehensive statutory system governing child support, imposing that obligation on any parent who acknowledges paternity or is adjudicated to be the father.

[...]

To the extent there is any ambiguity [...] resolution of that ambiguity is informed by the fact that the Legislature is unlikely to have relieved a biological parent of the existing duty of support by inference. [LINK-1]


It would appear that, upon examing the case law, the court discovered some glimmer of the importance entailed in responsible procreation.

Furthermore, the court rediscovered the principles of statutory interpretation which should have guided it away from the emotion-laden invocations in Justice Marshall's Goodridge opinion:


"We will not add words to a statute that the Legislature did not put there, either by inadvertent omission or by design."

("We will not read into the plain words of a statute a legislative intent that is not expressed by those words").

"The law of adoption is purely statutory . . . and the governing statute, G. L. c. 210 . . . is to be strictly followed in all its essential particulars."

"We ordinarily construe statutes to be consistent with one another."

"A basic tenet of statutory construction requires that a statute 'be construed so that effect is given to all its provisions, "so that no part will be inoperative or superfluous."


So, yes, the effect of mischaracterizing the essence of marriage, and merging marriage with SSM, was to neuter marriage recognition.

Even in California where the pro-SSM advocates have sought to enact statutory changes to marriage recognition, there is acknowledgement that they seek to neuter marriage recognition in that state.

See: AB 43 aka "Gender-neutral marriage" [LINK]

The proposed reform specifically addressed a preference for a "gender-neutral description of marriage," which would strip marriage of its both-sexed, or "gender-specific," meaning.


Where necessary to implement the rights and responsibilities of spouses under the law, gender-specific terms shall be construed to be gender-neutral ...


But then the proposed change blatantly contradicts itself:


An unmarried [strikeout: male or female] [substitute: person] under the age of 18 years is capable of consenting to and consummating marriage ...


———————-

The both-sexed couple in Massachusetts will form their marriage, and the Catholic Church will witness their marriage, but the state, as per Justice Marshall, will not recognize their relationship for what it actually is.

In Massachusetts, the high court abandoned marriage recognition in favor of some alternative limited by the nature of the one-sexed arrangement. It has seperated responsible procreation from integration of the sexes from the special status of the social institution of marriage.

Still, the Legislature in that state has not amended the marriage statutes to conform to the opinion written by Justice Marshall.
4.9.2007 8:15am
F. Rottles (mail):
Neutering marriage recognition:


Certainly our decision today marks a significant change in the definition of marriage as it has been inherited from the common law, and understood by many societies for centuries. [The United States adopted] the common law of England that civil marriage is "the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others." [...] We construe civil marriage to mean the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others.


Justice Marshall [LINK]
4.9.2007 8:25am
jrose:
Charlie,

In my opinion, the infertile and elderly are not exceptions. We celebrate their marriages to the fullest. They are integral to the purpose of marriage.
4.9.2007 10:41am
jrose:
Charlie: What would be the presumption of validity to forbid consanguineous marriages between "persons," as there should be no presumption that the relationships of "persons" is necessarily of a sexual nature that could lead to the birth of children.
I already answered this question: "it is rational that your childhood relationship with your brother or father would be harmed if you knew while growing up that one day you might marry him."

You may believe this isn't rational, but per FCC v Beach, you have the burden to disprove it. The state need not introduce any evdience to support their rationale.
4.9.2007 10:46am
Randy R. (mail):
"Persons", as I understand it, is a class that is neither male nor female, thus, neutered. This is still true. "Persons" is more inclusive as a classification and no gender can be attributed to it. Thus, sexless, genderless, neutered.... chose the word you like."

Okay, I can understand what you are saying. But why is that so bad? And how does it affect actual marriages? The vast majority of people in this country have never read a legal marriage document, or if they have, can't remember a thing about it. So what if the law says persons instead of man and woman?

I would be most interested in an example from your own marriage (assuming you are married.) Please tell me how this change in the law has affected your relations with your wife or your children.
4.9.2007 11:02am
jrose:
Rottles,

I think Balnkenhorn is arguing that same-sex marriages negatively contributes to two trends: 1) dis-association of marriage with child rearing (same argument as Kurtz) and 2) children be reared by other than both biological parents.

On point #1, same-sex marriage no more dis-associates marriage with child rearing than the elderly and infertile, which we happily (and in my view correctly) celebrate.

On point #2, same-sex marriage may produce more children raised by only one biological parent (some gay couples will choose to raise kids only because they are married). But, the alternative is not having these children raised by both biological parents - rather it is not having them born in the first place. Moroever, some gay couples will choose to raise kids with or without legal marriage. Thus, SSM will result in some kids being raised inside of marriage who otherwise would not be.

One final point, what is Blankenhorn's proposal for rectifying the harm caused to gays by not having the marriage option?
4.9.2007 11:31am
Elliot123 (mail):
On Lawn: There is a separate definition of same-sex couples, much like you argued before. However, they are supposed to exist under the same legal description and definition.

I do not argue there is a separate definition. I say people will call the marriage of two guys a gay marriage. That does not demand a separate definition.

Now, to clear things up a bit, is any individual and specific marriage neutered? Which ones? Where? How do we recognize a specific neutered marriage? Do Catholc marriages qualify as neutered in Massachusetts?
4.9.2007 12:50pm
Elliot123 (mail):
On Lawn,

I don't think anyone cares if you call a definition neutered if it simply means gender is not specified. That's fine. Almost everything else in the law is also gender neutral, and would also be neutered under that notion. So is my car, lawn mower, and the Catholic Church. My point is that no individual and specific marriage is neutered.

Since no individual and specific marriage is neutered, we can dismiss the idea since it doesn't effect real relationships.
4.9.2007 12:58pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Grover Gardner wrote:
> "The state of being united to a man or a woman in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law."

Hence removing the "opposite-sex" reference, and husband and wife which are terms of gender reference. Also the "man or woman" in and of itself may carry a gender reference, but it explicitly denotes the neuter (neutral or indifferent) nature of the marriage, hence "neutered marriage". It is also a good example of how marriage is androgenized, for people who prefer that term.

> "Funny--your cited authority has another definition of marriage:

"'(2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage'"

Yes it does, which accurately references that same-sex marriage is merely a metaphor of marriage from the perspective of the homosexual couple. There is a mistake belief that with some magic incantation of the word "marriage" an inclusion happens with no change whatsoever to the institution or our understanding of. Then perhaps if we clap loudly enough, we can save the dying institution of marriage?

Which is one reason people do not like neutered marriage, it simply replaces the old institution with the homosexual version of it, telling all of humanity their there is nothing more than what the homosexual experience is.

It is the most intrusive invasion of the government into people's lives that I am aware of in the matter of marriage. Even in the hands of a self-declared Burkean conservative like Carpenter, it is most importantly a tool of legislating feelings and perspectives.
4.9.2007 1:46pm
BobNSF (mail):
Do any threads other on VC last as long as SSM threads?
4.9.2007 1:52pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Elliot123 wrote:

> "I do not argue there is a separate definition."

To clarify, I didn't say you argued there is a seperate definition. I said the separate definitions work much like how you argued different terms can continue to apply to both.

> "I say people will call the marriage of two guys a gay marriage. That does not demand a separate definition."

Please see my reply to Gardner above. What you demand or do not demand is at best orthogonal to how best to describe something.

For your questions, I will answer with questions. Most of the answers have been given, and your continued drumming of the questions seems more like you wish to inculcate a point rather than describe it. But perhaps you are simply confused, ignorant, and severely hampered in reading comprehension. So I'll give you questions to better understand where the disconnect may be...

> "Now, to clear things up a bit, is any individual and specific marriage neutered?"

Is any individual marriage not neutered? You tell me, is there any distinction or difference given to any marriage because of its gender composition?

> "Which ones?"

Ibid.

> "Where?"

Everywhere the reference to the gender composition of a marriage is homogenized, flattened, and otherwise manipulated into a false, government imposed sense of thoughts and feelings of equality. Hence, legislating what people's morals should be in spite of what is observable and dispassionate facts about our humanity.

So you tell me, where are the marriage licenses changed from husband and wife to "spouse A" and "spouse B"? Where are the birth certificates changed to father and mother to "Parent A" and "Parent B"? Where are adoption agencies not allowed to practice unless they fall to the moral demands of the state? (-- not that anyone is allowed contrary to the state demands, I should add.)

> "How do we recognize a specific neutered marriage?"

"Neutered marriage" is about *not* recognizing some aspect of marriage. So how do we recognize a specific marriage where we specifically don't recognize some aspect? Is that what you are asking?

> "Do Catholc marriages qualify as neutered in Massachusetts?"

No state recognizes any ecclesiastical distinction in any marriage. So you are asking if some aspect of a marriage that isn't recognized by the state, qualifies as a where the state is indifferent to its gender composition also?

Just answer those to clarify for me, please.

> "I don't think anyone cares if you call a definition neutered if it simply means gender is not specified."

And when the reference is removed, the change is described as "neutered".

> "That's fine."

Thanks.

> "Almost everything else in the law is also gender neutral,"

I've seen it attributed to Einstein that we should see things as simply as possible, but no simpler. When we disregard something that is pertinent because we wished it wasn't, as if we wished the government could alter the laws of biology, that is just foolish.

> "Since no individual and specific marriage is neutered, we can dismiss the idea since it doesn't effect real relationships."

You keep saying that, and I have no idea where you get that impression from. I've asked you before, and all I get is continued inculcation of the point, rather than elucidation.

Interesting.
4.9.2007 2:33pm
Elliot123 (mail):
On Lawn: Is any individual marriage not neutered? You tell me, is there any distinction or difference given to any marriage because of its gender composition?

You introduced the idea of neutered marriage. So, I ask you. Perhaps someone else knows.

Does anyone know if individual and specific marriages are neutered? If so, which ones, where, and how do we recognize them?
4.9.2007 3:12pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
Elliot123 wrote:

> "You introduced the idea of neutered marriage. So, I ask you. Perhaps someone else knows."

Yes I did. I also unpacked your question using the meaning of neutered marriage in case you were hung up on the term.

Again, "is there any distinction or difference given to any marriage because of its gender composition?"

> "Does anyone know if individual and specific marriages are neutered?"

This is rather interesting. I pleaded that there was an obvious disconnect in the answers given and your inability to accept that any answers have been given.

So I unpacked the question and asked it without the term you find "fine" but continue to give us a show of reading incomprehension over.

Why should anyone else answer when you are doing nothing more than ignoring the answers given, and refusing to give an answer to the unpacked version for yourself?
4.9.2007 3:27pm
On Lawn (mail) (www):
So I unpacked the question and asked it without the term you find "fine" but continue to give us a show of reading incomprehension over.


Sorry, let me render that more clearly...

I unpacked the question that Elliot123 asked as to avoid using a term he seems hung up on (even though he finds the term to be "fine"). And he not only ignores the question, but continues to give us a stage performance of reading incomprehension.
4.9.2007 3:30pm
Ramza:

Do any threads other on VC last as long as SSM threads?

As a general rule no, other threads don't last as long on average. Of course there are many exceptions, but as a general rule no ;)

And once a thread is 170 or 200+ comments there is rarely anything new that hasn't been said before in the previous 170 comments, and people are just yapping.
4.9.2007 3:43pm
F. Rottles (mail):

Almost everything else in the law is also gender neutral, and would also be neutered under that notion. So is my car, lawn mower, and the Catholic Church.


Don't mistake neutral language for useful language in all aspects of the Law.

A husband and wife combination is gender complete, not gender neutral. The law recognizes this in the marriage presumption, for example.

Also, see the starting place for a father and mother's obligation (i.e. responsiblity) that is most assuredly not based on randomly selecting fathers and mothers from a gender-neutral pool of persons.

See the Ontario case (decided by the same court that imposed SSM) which bestowed equal parental status to three adults for one child — because 1) the two women were in a same-sex union and 2) the three adults agreed to three-way "parentage". Several legal principles were stretched out of shape to adhere to the logic of SSM.

Look at the differences recognized in the variations of third party procreation facilitated by sperm "donation" and "surrogacy."

Gender completedness is very relevant, but cutting it out of marriage recognition is highly contrived. No woman can be presumed the father of another woman's child, for example, even if that woman is the wife of the father. A father is not gender-neutral.

In the case of two-men, the presumption of paternity doesn't even have the need to be rebutted. Likewise with two women, but in an obviously different way. Thus, the male-specific scenario is fundamentally different from the female-specific scenario; and both are unlike the both-sexed scenario. Squeezing all three under the banner of "marriage" might obscure this, but would not actually neutralize gender in fact. A state definition of marriage that is neutered is a contradiction of the nature of marriage. It seems top contradict the nature of each of the two types of one-sexed arrangements, as well.

—————

A quibble: while, in the eyes of the Law's, the Catholic Church is an organisation, it is not presumed to be all-male or all-female, like, say, an all-girls basketball team.

(Of course, within the anthropology of the Catholic Church, Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church is the bride in their indissoluble union.)

Likewise, society is not viewed as an abstract mass of gender-neutral persons but rather as a human community which is both-sexed.

How can we even begin to treat men and women equally if we deny that human community is both-sexed. Likewise within marriage, the foundation of the most basic human community of family, if we explicitly deny that the conjugal relationship is both-sexed? The two-man arrangement is gender-specific; there is no equality between man and woman within that arrangement.

This is not at all like being neutral regarding race since it is only through the racist filter that distinctions are concocted. To be "color-blind" in marriage is really not the same thing, not nearly the same thing, as to be "sex-blind".

To even start from the premise that marriage could be gender-neutral, if only we would reform the law of civil marriage, is to begin with the mistaken belief that the social institution which is recognized is not both-sexed.

I doubt that the typical SSM advocate can be moved from that bias. It is built-into the misperception of the nature of marriage itself. And it builds on false equivalencies to declare that marriage must be replaced with something else.
4.9.2007 3:50pm
F. Rottles (mail):
I dunno, Ramza, but at least jrose [LINK] has made the effort to seek clarification of what David Blankenhorn has actually said.

I will respond to your last comment by posting over at The Opine Editorials where the comment sections don't expire. I think if we tried to continue the exchange here we would run short.

Off-topic: jrose, please refer to me as "F. Rottles" rather an abbreviated moniker. Not a biggie. But this is my name, afterall.
4.9.2007 4:01pm
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 6:44pm
MJB2000:
Boy these Opine people sure like to hear themselves talk.

I do like this idea of "equal gender representation", though. It's a shame that they use the term "gender" rather than "sex", because everyone knows that gender is a social construct whereas sex is fixed.

It just so happens that I recently took an internet quiz to determine what gender I am (the internet is such an amazing place). Turns out I'm 56% male. My partner took the same quiz and he is 44% male. I think we should print out our test results and march right down to City Hall and demand a marriage certificate since our relationship has "equal gender representation". I'll just tell them On Lawn said that's all the requirement we need...
4.9.2007 6:45pm
jrose:
Charlie: A wiser and more realistic course would be to lobby for the creation of categories of domestic relationships
Isn't that what civil unions and spousal unions accomplish, and do you support these institutions?
4.9.2007 7:39pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Plaintif: Judge, marriage has been neutered.

Judge: Really? What specific and particular marriage has been neutered?

Plaintiff: Judge, I have unpacked your question and can't answer unless you tell me what neutered means.

And in anoher courtroom.....

Plaintif: Judge, I have been harmed.

Judge: What harm was done to you?

Plaintiff: Judge that's an unfair quetion.

Judge: Well, you said you were harmed, so what is the specific harm?

Plaintiff: Judge, what does harm mean?
4.9.2007 8:10pm