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Blankenhorn (Round 3):

David Blankenhorn and I are continuing an exchange about his arguments opposing gay marriage, expressed in an article for the Weekly Standard and in his new book The Future of Marriage. In his latest posts, he has responded here, asking me to identify weaknesses in the case for gay marriage and strengths in the opposition to it, and here, asking whether I agree that society should take steps to increase the likelihood that children are raised by their married biological parents and refrain from taking steps that make that less likely.

These are fair questions and I'll respond below. But first I want to emphasize something unique and valuable in Blankenhorn's work. In The Future of Marriage, Blankenhorn says he believes homosexuality "is closer to being a given than a choice," that he "disagrees" with the parts of the Bible that are commonly interpreted to condemn homosexuality, and that Jesus' teachings are inconsistent with the condemnation of gay people. (P. 210) I'm told that in a recent debate with Jon Rauch, Blankenhorn actually affirmed "the equal dignity of homosexual love." He also said that he "agonized" over the real harm done to gay couples by prohibiting them from marrying. The debate occurred at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank for religious and social conservatives, which shows he's unafraid to say these things in environments potentially hostile to them.

If there were more advocates on both sides in the mold of David Blankenhorn, we'd have a much more civil and fruitful debate over gay marriage. It would be terrific if gay-marriage supporters would occasionally acknowledge that it's at least possible (though very unlikely) that some unintended harm might occur if marriage is expanded to include same-sex couples and that not all anxiety about gay marriage arises from base hatred of gay people. And it would be terrific if gay-marriage opponents could at least acknowledge that they are asking gay couples and families to bear the burden of not running that cultural risk.

Having said all that, I'm a bit disappointed by Blankenhorn's lack of response to my specific criticisms of his argument. I challenged on several grounds his claim that gay marriage in Europe is contributing to a miasma of anti-marriage attitudes. Blankenhorn offers no defense against the criticism that his argument rests on correlation alone and that this is insufficient to show gay marriage has caused anything bad to happen. He makes no response to the observation that non-traditional attitudes about marriage and family life in pro-SSM countries preceded gay marriage and so could not have been caused by gay marriage. He says nothing about how several other long-term and deep systemic factors likely caused non-traditional attitudes about marriage in Europe long before SSM entered the picture. He ignores correlations in countries with gay marriage that cut in favor of the reform (like rising marriage rates). He passes by correlations in countries without gay marriage that cut against his opposition (less respect for women's equality, less commitment to individual rights, etc., in countries like Saudi Arabia). He still demonstrates no real familiarity with the complexity of the debate on the left over the effects of gay marriage, and particularly the concerns expressed by many marriage radicals that gay marriage will reaffirm the normativity of marriage.

His only response is that there's nothing new to respond to. He's a busy man, so I don't entirely fault him for this. But it seems to me he has left a lot on the table. That's his right, and like him I'm content to let readers decide whether he has more to answer at the very heart of his empirical arguments.

Randy R. (mail):
"He also said that he "agonized" over the real harm done to gay couples by prohibiting them from marrying."

Hey, Thanks for the crocodile tears, David! We really appreciate it!

"His only response is that there's nothing new to respond to. He's a busy man, so I don't entirely fault him for this"

Oh, gosh, NO! David, we wouldn't expect such a busy and important man as you to actually defend your thesis. That's for interns to do, right?

BTW, anyone else hear about Randall Tobias? He's the guy in the Bush Administration that is in charge of implementing the abstinence and celebacy rule in Africa because we know how well that works. And his contentiont that condoms don't stop any sort of STD. Well, turns out he just resigned, because he was married and hiring south american prostitutes.

Just one more example of how everyone in this administration has the attitude of do as I say, not as I do, and that the rules don't apply to me. Kinda like Wolfowitz, right?
4.28.2007 6:43pm
Randy R. (mail):
"It would be terrific if gay-marriage supporters would occasionally acknowledge that it's at least possible that something in the traditional cultural message about marriage will be lost if it is expanded to include same-sex couples and that not all anxiety about gay marriage arises from base hatred of gay people."

Okay, as a gay -marriage supporter, I will occasionally acknowledge that 'something in the traditional cultural message about marriage' is lost if someone can a) identify what that something is, b) show what actual harm it will cause and c) prove that this harm occured or is occuring in Massachusetts, Canada and Spain.

DC: You're right, Randy, that the risks of any harm are very remote (I've changed the post somewhat to reflect this). It's possible that some harm will occur, of course, but with every passing day that we have actual gay marriage in the U.S. and around the world without harmful consequences it gets harder and harder to take these fears seriously.
4.28.2007 6:47pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Randy R. Been there, done that. Any harm is dismissed as either nonexistent or that those harmed deserve it in some way.
Play this one by yourself.
4.28.2007 7:28pm
80s Child (mail):
What do you expect, Richard, when there really is no harm to instituting gay marriage? Any "harms" will therefore be nonsensical.
4.28.2007 8:20pm
Randy R. (mail):
Yeah, I know, 80s child. You see, try as they might, the only harm that occues as a result of gay marriage is the harm that exists inside their head. They are shocked, shocked, I tell you, at the thought of two men or two women marrying, and somehow that in itself is a harm.

That doesn't work, so they come up with all this baloney about the children, conveniently ignoring the children of gay parents.
4.28.2007 8:35pm
Latinist:
I guess I agree that it sounds plausible that "something in the traditional cultural message might be lost"; gay marriage is a pretty big change, after all. But I've never heard a really convincing explanation of WHAT, exactly, gets lost. I'd be interested to hear what Mr. Carpenter thinks of as a possible harm.

I'll also grant that "not all anxiety about gay marriage arises from base hatred of gay people," and that maybe we gay-marriage supporters should take note of that more often. But there's two sides to this; I'd really like it if gay marriage opponents would acknowledge that a large chunk of support for their cause DOES come from base hatred of gay people. And I'd like the "nothing-against-gays, just-preserving-our-institutions" type of GM opponents to acknowledge, once in a while, that they are a tiny minority on their own side, and that the real political force behind the anti-gay marriage movement is based in widespread moral disapproval of homosexuality.

Is it a deal?
4.28.2007 8:47pm
Cornellian (mail):
BTW, anyone else hear about Randall Tobias? He's the guy in the Bush Administration that is in charge of implementing the abstinence and celebacy rule in Africa because we know how well that works. And his contention that condoms don't stop any sort of STD. Well, turns out he just resigned, because he was married and hiring south american prostitutes.

Nothing sweeter than seeing another "family values" hypocrite bite the dust although there are so many of them these days it's hard to keep track.

Even better is his semi-defense that he just hired them for massage, not actual sex. In other words, he's stupid enough to throw his reputation away by hiring prostitutes without even getting the payoff of having sex with them. How stupid is that, especially if those south americans prostitutes look like that Brazilian woman who has a CD for sale at Starbucks?
4.28.2007 9:46pm
Casey Pick (mail):
Y'know, Carpenter's claim that "gay-marriage supporters [ought to} occasionally acknowledge that it's at least possible that something in the traditional cultural message about marriage will be lost if it is expanded to include same-sex couples" does have something of a point. I'm a gay woman, and an activist on this issue, and I have no problem acknowledging that what may be lost is the straight world's ability to universally claim that every marriage demonstrates the unique way that men and women come together and interact... there is a particular beauty to seeing opposites united, and two people making a vow to serve each other, particularly in the modern context where that mutual service includes a dedication to mutual equality and a rejection of the hostility that has existed between the sexes for too long. I was recently at a good friend's wedding, and I saw that beauty - it is something different from what my dreamed of marriage to another woman will someday embody.
The thing is, as an advocate of marriage equality, I respond to those who want to defend their ability to make universal claims about the significance and symbolism of marriage by pointing out the potential for beauty and significance that same-sex marriages also embody... the natural equality between the partners, the conscious divisions of labor and roles as befits the individual personalities of those involved, and the creation of families that in some ways transcend biological imperatives toward passing on your own DNA - families of choice who often take in those children who otherwise are rejected by the world. For Christians, the theology of adoption hits home for those of us who acknowledge that through grace we are given the right to call ourselves children of God. So yes, what is lost is a universal symbol that has never really been universal at all - and what is gained is a broader spectrum of what marriage means.
4.28.2007 10:15pm
Drake:
"It would be terrific if gay-marriage supporters would occasionally acknowledge that it's at least possible that something in the traditional cultural message about marriage will be lost if it is expanded to include same-sex couples and that not all anxiety about gay marriage arises from base hatred of gay people."


Alright, I'll try one. I don't have empirical evidence concerning this, but it has been my observation, for what it's worth. One thing I have found particularly prevalent in the male (but not the female) homosexual community is a greater propensity toward promiscuity. I have known of several homosexual relationships (some domestic unions with 20+ years under their belt and an adopted kid) which were openly "open." That is, if the opportunity for a worthwhile extra-relationship fling presented itself, there was no problem with one partner so indulging.

One of the "traditional cultural message[s] about marriage," I believe, is fidelity. To the extent that homosexual relationships dismiss with fidelity as a fundamental foundation of the relationship, I believe they do damage to its adherence in heterosexual marriage. I think it goes without saying that it would not be healthy for children to be raised in a heterosexual marriage similarly "open."

Now, you may dispute that deleterious practices of homosexual couples will have any effect on the practices of heterosexual married couples, but I think that is simply naive. As a married man, my relationship with my wife is affected and shaped by the practices of other married couples. I would not make it my practice to be in close friendly association with married men who regularly commit adultery, and my wife would be more than entitled to request that I not. Attitudes rub off, and both prevalent practice and the law are tutors.
4.28.2007 11:17pm
Randy R. (mail):
Good point, Drake. I myself know several homosexual couples that have been together for years, and to my knowledge, there is no cheating. On the other hand, we see people like Rudy Guiliani who actually did cheat on his wife. Ditto Newt Gingrinch.

My grandparents ran a two motels. If you want to know something about adultery, I suggest you operate a low cost motel for a few months. My mother said that her experience growing up in the motel business is that Italian men cheat on their wives more often than others. (I myself, as a young child, wondered what the 'cheaters' were that my family would talk about. They would rent the room sometime in the afternoon, and would leave after a few hours. You only needed to change the sheets, empty the ashtrays, and wipe down the bathroom, and the room was ready to be sold again)

I think it is naive to think that all or even most married couples today never cheat on their spouses.

So: Perhaps we should limit marriage to all non-Italians, since their cheating undoubtedly rubs off your family and affects that. That would be fair, wouldn't it? Or perhaps we should have a law that if you commit adultery, your marriage MUST end, and you cannot ever get married again. Perhaps that would be the better solution?

However, your solution of refusing marriage to gay couples because your anecdotal evidence shows that some couples, but not all, are 'open' doesn't really fit the problem, does it? Why punish all gay couples because of the few that you know? Or conversely, why not punish all hetero couples because of the way a few Italian men operate?

Finally, I'm just curious: would you make it your practice to be in a 'close friendly association' with a gay couple that is married and faithful to one another?
4.29.2007 12:22am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"I have known of several homosexual relationships (some domestic unions with 20+ years under their belt and an adopted kid) which were openly 'open.'"

I agree with your point, basically, but why single out homosexual couples here? I've known straight couples with "open" relationships or marriages. I also know quite a few gay couples who would find such an arrangement unacceptable.
So where does that leave us? If bad examples are a determining factor, then it's my experience that gays and straights share the burden equally.
4.29.2007 12:36am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
"homosexuality 'is closer to being a given than a choice,'"

I've always wondered about this analysis. It is heavily pushed, but it still seems to go in complete contradiction of historical knowledge and a good portion of psychological experimentation. Historically, pure homosexuality or heterosexuality has never been a normal motion for the human race: male/male and female/female sexual relations are fairly well-recorded in most of the older societies. Likewise, there are noted cases of self-identified (very) gay men being choosing to have sex with or being raped by women before. In addition, despite the lack of 'success' in reperative therapy, 'inducing' bisexuality has been shown to be possible without any of the sadistic methods used in RT. Genetics, environmental influences, and upbringing all play a role in sexual preferences, that's for sure (the INAH-3 nerve cluster alone is proof), but that doesn't preclude the opposite action.

That's not to say that choice or lack thereof matters in the argument (there's nothing inherently beneficial about male-female compared to male-male or female-female when we're looking for fun rather than reproduction), but it seems like a foolish choice for the Gay Rights movement to champion. Do they really want to argue that "it's okay, because we can't stop ourselves?"

I go both ways, so it's an actual question here. I understand that sexual identity is more complex that simple orgasm, but it seems like that's an unnecessary extra complexity with no actual additional clarity added.

For one argument, it could be forwarded that self-identified gay men and lesbian women statistically have and enjoy having many times the number of partners that those self-identifying as straight (even in situations where those self-identifying as straight only have male/male or female/female sex). Pure monogamy is even more rare in self-identified homosexual couplings than in straight unmarried couplings. It might be reasonable to conclude that homosexual individuals enjoy long-term relations -- the very sort that marriage creates -- much less than heterosexual individuals, and the numbers suggest that this is to the point where , particularly without the additional benefit of encouraging reproduction. Without a significant and pressing reason to give a damn, I don't see why the government should require itself to register or pay attention to anything.

Those gay or lesbian couples wanting to gain legitimacy from a ceremony really should be looking for a gay-friendly church or generic wedding hall, anyway, and going under the 1st Amendment there -- it's a lot more entertaining than the pure legal version.

And, Cornellian, no one with an ounce of medical knowledge would say that condoms stop STDs. They don't, and can't. They slow STDs, but in most cases the transmission rate remain well over 10% per year of normal use, less if the populace employs spermicidal condoms. Rips, use of expired condoms, vigorous actions, or simple normal permeation are just too common. If you can't serosort the population or encourage less risky behavior, they're useful, but they can't stop STD transmission on a large scale the same as concrete can't stop an EMP.
4.29.2007 12:47am
springjourney (mail):
There is no one going to be hurt if we ban any attempt to change definition of marriage. That is very simple.

Also I see that you guys (proponents of SSM) are totally ignorant people. Promiscuity is described as an attribute of male homosexuality in educational behavioral science books but there is no word on promiscuity among italians there.
4.29.2007 1:09am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"It might be reasonable to conclude that homosexual individuals enjoy long-term relations -- the very sort that marriage creates -- much less than heterosexual individuals..."

It *might* be reasonable, but I don't know that there's any proof that homosexuals are *inherently* more promiscuous than heterosexuals.

Maybe I'm off base here, but it seems to me that we attempt to imbue our heterosexual offspring with values of self-respect, sexual temperance and fidelity. Whereas most gay men I know were only taught that what they felt was wrong. No one taught them self-respect, they had to find it for themselves. If today's gay teens were taught to respect relationships as much as their straight counterparts are, would this inclination toward promiscuity change? I don't know.
4.29.2007 1:16am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Promiscuity is described as an attribute of male homosexuality in educational behavioral science books but there is no word on promiscuity among italians there."

What explanation do these behavioral science books you speak of offer for such behavior?
4.29.2007 1:24am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
That's quite possible, Mr. Gardner, but I don't really see the point. Today's gay men (and to a lesser extent, lesbian women) show signs that indicate long-term monogamous relations are not as rewarding as they are for heterosexual males or females. Today's law has to focus on those individuals, not a generation or two of potentiality.

I'm not sure we should really go nuts advocating that gay and lesbian individuals should be educated into expressing their sexuality differently than they would without government intervention. There might be a reduction in STD transmission rates to justify it (not assured, since both hetero- and homosexual individuals tend to 'search' for a while before settling down), but that same argument could be used to justify attempts to brainwash 'fresh' individuals who would normally self-identify as gay or lesbian into acting heterosexual and choosing non-penetrative acts to express their homosexuality (the "it's not gay if the balls don't touch" memetic would one be one current example of this). That sounds like absolutely no fun to me.
4.29.2007 1:36am
Drake:
As I said, my evidence concerning the greater promiscuity among male homosexuals, is only anecdotal. I don't have empirical evidence at my disposal, nor would I know where to look -- although, from the above comments, it seems that the empirical evidence is out there. I do, however, find it quite telling the statements of the [former?] editor of the Harvard Gay and Lesbian review on the subject:


[I]n talking about an institution that most Americans define as fidelity to a single partner for a lifetime, how can we avoid discussing sexual promiscuity and serial monogamy and the myriad ways that long-term gay couples have defined their relationships[?] I for one know relatively few gay male couples whose relationship is not "open" to some extent. Gabriel Rotello and Andrew Sullivan ... have regarded same-sex marriage as a possible antidote to gay male promiscuity and wildness -- which it may well be, though I think it's just as likely that gay marriages would liven up the institution [of marriage] as submit to its traditional rules (which suits me fine). 4 Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review: A Quarterly Journal of Arts, Letters &Sciences 4 (1997).


Note two things about the editor's statements: (1) his acknowledgment that he knows of few gay male couples whose relationship is not "open" to some extent; (2) his belief that it is quite likely that gay marriage could "liven" up the traditional heterosexual institution of marriage.

Concerning the similarly anecdotal evidence about cheating Italians and cheap motel paramours, I doubt such illicit unions were the fruit of openly "open" arrangements. That is, there is a reason why these affairs take place in cheap motels: because there is still a degree of proper shame in adultery. You may think these men are hypocrites, and you are right! But, as Matthew Arnold quipped, "hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue." There is no similar shame in the homosexual community, no need to either refrain from infidelity or pay the price of hypocrisy.

You may say, "then the heterosexual community should likewise shake off its Victorian ideals and de-marginalize marital 'openness.'" Congratulations, you have just proved my point.
4.29.2007 2:42am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Today's gay men (and to a lesser extent, lesbian women) show signs that indicate long-term monogamous relations are not as rewarding as they are for heterosexual males or females."

What "signs" are you referring to, specifically? My own experience living in a gay-friendly neighborhood speaks differently. And there's reason to question the notion that gay men are more promiscuous than straight men.

http://www.jeramyt.org/gay/gayhealth.html#prom

"I'm not sure we should really go nuts advocating that gay and lesbian individuals should be educated into expressing their sexuality differently than they would without government intervention."

Again, this assumes that gays are inherently more promiscuous, and that societal conditioning has nothing to do with their behavior. And I think many gay eenagers, looking ahead in their lives, might say that there's more at stake for them than avoiding STDs.
4.29.2007 2:54am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"As I said, my evidence concerning the greater promiscuity among male homosexuals, is only anecdotal. I don't have empirical evidence at my disposal, nor would I know where to look -- although, from the above comments, it seems that the empirical evidence is out there."

I'm not sure it is. But at any rate, you then go on to quote a prominent homosexual's views on fidelity. I could counter with dozens of expressions to the opposite. A qucik random search, for instance, reveals this blog with a diversity of comments on the topic:

http://www.topix.net/forum/news/gay/T0238TC2EAM8VQ9NI

There are many more to be found.

"There is no similar shame in the homosexual community, no need to either refrain from infidelity or pay the price of hypocrisy."

What is your source for this blanket assertion? Do you really believe that there are no gay men and women who value fidelity? I think you'd be wrong...

"You may say, 'then the heterosexual community should likewise shake off its Victorian ideals and de-marginalize marital 'openness.'' Congratulations, you have just proved my point."

Since I would say no such thing, your smugness is a little premature.
4.29.2007 3:17am
Grover Gardner (mail):
Also, gattsuru said:

"...but that same argument could be used to justify attempts to brainwash 'fresh' individuals who would normally self-identify as gay or lesbian into acting heterosexual and choosing non-penetrative acts to express their homosexuality..."

Um, I think we've tried that--and failed spectacularly.
4.29.2007 3:22am
Drake:
you then go on to quote a prominent homosexual's views on fidelity. I could counter with dozens of expressions to the opposite. A qucik random search, for instance, reveals this blog with a diversity of comments on the topic...

Ah, but can you find me one example of a heterosexual (or even homosexual, for that matter) saying that he knows of few heterosexual relationships that are not "open"?

"There is no similar shame in the homosexual community, no need to either refrain from infidelity or pay the price of hypocrisy."

What is your source for this blanket assertion? Do you really believe that there are no gay men and women who value fidelity? I think you'd be wrong...


No, I do not believe that "there are no gay men [or] women who value fidelity." I am simply saying that from my observation, and from the observation of others in the movement, fidelity is not, as a whole, valued in the homosexual community to the extent that it is in the heterosexual community.

As a functional matter, it is also understandable that such promiscuity would be inevitable. Generally speaking, men are more sexually aggressive than women. In most heterosexual relationships I've known, it has been the woman that has been the limiting factor in the fact or the frequency of sex. Although, I will tip my hat to the small exception to this rule: women generally sexually peak in their late 30s, early 40s, during which time it is not uncommon for the woman in the relationship to want sex more than the man. But for the most part, men are the far more sexually aggressive. They constitute the overwhelming majority of sex offenders and the overwhelming majority of the pornography industry's consumer base.

Again, in the normal heterosexual relationship, it is the woman that is the limiting factor in the fact or frequency of sex. Once that limiting factor is removed, and the combination is instead two individuals both likely to be sexually aggressive, it is understandable there would be such promiscuity in homosexual relationships.

Moreover, men are far more able to have a detached view of sex, far more likely to have the attitude of "wham, bam, thank you, ma'am" (to the great frustration of countless females for being "used"). This explains the overwhelmingly male consumption of pornography, which treats sex precisely in this manner. It is not surprising in the least that it would be far more likely for a male-male relationship to be "open." I know of many married men who would be very happy to have their marriage "open." But I cannot think of a single married woman I know who would.
4.29.2007 4:32am
Derek:

You may say, "then the heterosexual community should likewise shake off its Victorian ideals and de-marginalize marital 'openness.'" Congratulations, you have just proved my point.


Drake:

I think you are missing the point. There is anecdotal evidence that heterosexual couples already engage in high rates of adultery. I, for one, do not see how legalizing gay "open" marriages would have ANY effect on heterosexual marriages.

If you want to outlaw something that may be eroding marriage, out law hourly rate motels, or MTV, or any number of other TV shows that present adultery in an almost flattering light.

In my not so humble opinion, people who point to the slippery slope argument regarding gay marriage are simply looking for an excuse to hate.
4.29.2007 5:31am
Derek:
To add a little more clarity:

As a straight man, I have NEVER ONCE asked myself if I want to cheat on a girlfriend because some of my gay friends may or may not have an open relationship. I model other straight men, because that is what works when dealing with straight women.

Your suggestion that gays will somehow contaminate the concept of marriage is ridiculous.
4.29.2007 5:37am
Randy R. (mail):
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that lesbians actually have high degrees of fidelity in their relationships. In fact, I know quite a few lesbians who would shun any woman in a relationship found cheating.

So: If lesbians are found to be as monogamous or more than hetero couples, then you would have no problems with SSM, at least for them?

But I find all this arguments about whether gays or women or Italians are deserving of marriage to be quite distasteful. I brought up the example of Italian men to show the absurdity of this: A group does not have to "earn" the right to marriage. When SCOTUS overturned the laws against interracial marriage, they didn't look at to whether black men are more or less promiscuous than white men. And perhaps they should have, since I know many people who dislike blacks (people who are racists) claim that blacks are far more promiscuious than whites. You will find that claim even today.

But rights are not granted based on the bahavior of a few, even if demonstrated. Rudy Guiliani is on his third marriage, Liz Taylor on her, what seventh? Should we have a law that prohibits marriage to just one person per life? One divorce? Should we bring back the laws that criminalize adultery?

This might be valid issues, but they have nothing to do with whether *I* should have the right to marry my boyfriend.

Grove: ""There is no similar shame in the homosexual community, no need to either refrain from infidelity or pay the price of hypocrisy."

I don't know if you have any idea how inflammatory this statement is. I remember well that these exact same comments were mmade about blacks not even 20 years ago, and they were said by people who were racsists. To wipe an entire class of people with one derogatory comment made up by you indicates more than just bias on your part. It's something Pat Robertson or Jerry Fallwell would say.
4.29.2007 12:36pm
Randy R. (mail):
Sorry, Grove, I misquoted you. It was someone else who made that quote about shame.

Also, Gattsuru, you never answered by question: would you make it your practice to be in a 'close friendly association' with a gay couple that is married and faithful to one another?
4.29.2007 12:43pm
jimbino (mail):
It would be interesting if one of those thumping the Bible in support of straight marriage and in condemnation of gay marriage, particularly with regard to the concept of the nuclear family as an ideal place for rearing children, could cite a single Biblical passage describing "marital bliss" or "family harmony." Would that be the story of Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel? How about Abraham? King David? Maybe Job or Lot? How about Jesus, John the Baptist or St Paul?

Amerikan nucular marriage, with its over special legal 1100 privileges, is more un-Biblical than an orgy.
4.29.2007 12:47pm
grendel (mail):
Thank you Randy R. for finally bringing the lesbians into this. I am constantly struck by how androcentric the arguments of many SSM opponents are. The "gay men are too promiscuous to marry" is a classic. Yet I've never once heard anyone who advances that argument also accept the converse: since lesbians are (stereotypically) much less promiscuous than even heterosexuals, shouldn't they be more entitled to marry than anyone else? Somehow it never seems to work that way.
To me, the androcentrism of so many anti-homosexual arguments reveals them for what they mostly are -- post hoc rationalizations that dress up what really just pre-reflective visceral disgust at the the thought on man to man intimacy with a semblance of intellectual respectibility.
4.29.2007 1:23pm
Randy R. (mail):
True, Grendel. In addition, gay men are far more "icky" than lesbian women. In fact, lesbian sex is a big turn-on for many straight men.

It isn't a coincidence that in almost all places where civil unions or gay marriage has been accorded, even temporarily such as in SF, the majority were lesbian couples.

Somehow, there is always a higher standard, always just out of reach of gays and lesbians, that prevents us from getting married. And this higher standard is NEVER applied to hetero marriages.
4.29.2007 3:00pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Ah, but can you find me one example of a heterosexual (or even homosexual, for that matter) saying that he knows of few heterosexual relationships that are not 'open'?"

Probably. Google "open marriage" and see what comes up. I was certainly surprised.

But trading quotes and perceptions about homosexual behavior really misses the point, I think. Certainly there's a strong perception that gay men are more promiscuous. I question the validity of using this as a club to beat the gay community as a whole. If it could be proven that the majority of gay people arte conservative in their romantic behavior, would this change your mind about gay marriage?
4.29.2007 3:07pm
Samantha:
As Randy has pointed out, Drake misses the obvious, interchanging homosexuals and gay men throughout his arguments, and conveniently ignoring the hyper-fidelity of lesbians.

Even so, it does seem sort of silly to deny gay men entry into a relationship-stabilizing institution like marriage on the basis that their relationships are allegedly not stable enough without it.
4.29.2007 4:27pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Mr. Gardner
What "signs" are you referring to, specifically? My own experience living in a gay-friendly neighborhood speaks differently. And there's reason to question the notion that gay men are more promiscuous than straight men.

In Massachusetts and Canada (the only culturally similar locations with available data to my knowledge), gay/lesbian marriages per year make up much less than the 3-5% of total marriages yearly that would be proportionate to the population of gay or lesbian individuals. That's true even including the year MA made gay/lesbian marriages legally recognized, which one would expect to have a pretty hefty and noteworthy 'jump' value. Also, despite the complaints of your link, there are more than one study suggesting homosexual men have more partners in a specific timeline than straight couples (Gay men — not unexpectedly — had more sexual partners than heterosexuals, an average of nearly six over the previous three months compared with just under two for heterosexuals with a median just above two sexual partners per year for gay men and significantly under two for straight). Lesbian women are a little more difficult to get numbers in regards for, but from what I can gather, while lesbian women are much less likely than gay men or heterosexual couples to be 'open', they are much more likely to have a greater number of sexual partners throughout their lifetime (that this shows up despite the tendency of heterosexual males to over-report their 'conquests' is kinda impressive).

Speaking from an economics viewpoint, when there's an infinite supply of an item available at low prices, but fewer purchasers than expected, you have a thing called low demand running around.

I don't particularly see a problem with the above attributes. As long as everyone's careful about STD testing and protection, promiscuous behavior is quite entertaining for all parties involved. But it doesn't really give a pressing interest to require government recognition, particularly when it's likely to result in a societal pressure to end up in a relationship that, by the above data, isn't what these individuals want.

Again, this assumes that gays are inherently more promiscuous, and that societal conditioning has nothing to do with their behavior.

We can change the law in ten or twenty years when/if societal conditioning changes. We can't undo damage done by poorly chosen laws for the next ten or twenty years.

Um, I think we've tried that—and failed spectacularly.

One might think I was trying to push a point with that statement, particularly given that I noted reparative therapy with revulsion earlier. Reparative therapy and the ex-gay movement is a little different than what I mentioned, largely because I left out sadistic torture and complete lockdown on any same-gender sexual activities, aiming more for the Athens-esque methodology that actually had worked, but that's the sticks.

Randy R.
Also, Gattsuru, you never answered by question: would you make it your practice to be in a 'close friendly association' with a gay couple that is married and faithful to one another?
Hm? Already do, met a pair through work at a restaurant a few years ago. Nice folk, although Clayton's got that pessimistic cynical thing going on that's starting to get to be a cliche these days.

I'm not sure how my experience or willingness to go for said experience matters on a policy debate.

grendel
Yet I've never once heard anyone who advances that argument also accept the converse: since lesbians are (stereotypically) much less promiscuous than even heterosexuals, shouldn't they be more entitled to marry than anyone else?

Few basic reasons. First, it's really not Constitutional to legally recognize a thing under one gender constraint but not the opposite. Secondly, lesbians make up less of the sexually active homosexual population (typically 1/3rd from my memory). Also, like the "lesbian bed death" concept (which ignores that lesbians still tend have a lot of sex with each other even if less then heterosexual women, and are more likely to be sexually satisfied for each 'session'), it seems to be a limited analysis of data rather than a known fact — numbers for life-time samples of lesbian women point toward normal or above-normal numbers of sexual partners.
4.29.2007 6:26pm
grendel (mail):
So, Mr. Gardner, I take it you would support lesbian marriage, if it were not for that darn equal protection clause? Somehow I doubt it. Besides, the constitutional argument isn't that convincing because: 1) even opponents of SSM outside the US never support lesbian marriage, and 2) even in the US, the sexes may be treated differently if there are compelling reasons for doing so, which their very well may be if the primary reason gay men are not worthy of marriage is their inherent promiscuity and lesbians do not share this failing.

As for your other points, I'm not sure what the ratio of lesbians to gays has to do with the rights of either one of them. As for your last point, I would like to see a cite. Everything I've seen says the opposite ...
4.29.2007 8:31pm
Ramza:
Why does the Equal Protection squad stop the government from recognizing lesbian relationships but preventing gay men married relationships?

I mean gay men can still marry straight women and lesbian women, gay men have equal access to the institution of marriage, just like right now gay men and lesbian women have equal access to marriage right now. Any gay men can marry any women, he just can't marry a man for lets be completely honest, a marriage with two male will be inherently promiscuous. This inherent promiscuity of two males is against the state definition of marriage, and since it is against the state definition of marriage, it is against the state's goal of marriage, and the state has a right to discriminate to protect such goal. As long as it allows everyone access to the institution, it survives equal protection, for its access to the institution, not all logical combinations of people in such institution that matter. The state has the right to discriminate and say this combination is against the state interest thus we won't subsidize it, we won't allow it, for this combination is rationally related to a state interest we are trying to promote or discouraged.

I mean every marriage needs a woman in it, else it isn't a marriage. If there isn't one woman inside a marriage, it will fall apart for it isn't men who are promiscuous, it is actually the fact that woman are anti-promiscuity. Get married to a woman, and suddenly the partner to such woman lose all interest in sex unless it is somehow connected to his wife. Women are the backbone of modern society, they are the glue who holds the family together, and if we don't have healthy families well then we can't be good citizens.
4.29.2007 9:11pm
Ramza:
If anybody doesn't notice, my previous post, this post ^ was complete satire and sarcasm of some other arguments people present. If you get it good for you, if you don't...well some people just don't get things no matter how many times you explain it to them.
4.29.2007 9:12pm
Randy R. (mail):
Well, all this talk about how much sex gay men have, how much sex lesbians have. Since I'm a gay man, then I must be promiscuoius?

I'm not sure what relevance our sex lives have to do with the rights of getting married. A majority of gay men and women want the right, although that doesn't mean that all gay men and women will avail themselves to the right, just as many heteros don't. YOu haven't made a case as to WHY we should be denied the right to marriage. Straight people need only to meet certain minimum requirements regarding age, not already married, not siblings, and they can get the license. Why can't it be the same for gay people? Do you want an affidavit from us at the time of the issuence of the license in which we state that if we ever cheat on our spouse, the marriage become invalid? Would that satisfy you?
4.29.2007 9:13pm
Michael B (mail):
A little googling. There have been more formal studies of homosexuals, the recent Spitzer study is one of the more recent (Dr Robert Spitzer, noteworthy as he was a lead on a prominent psychiatric team in '73 that resulted in removing homosexuality from psychiatric disorders). There have also been follow-up studies supportive of Spitzer (e.g., Hershberger's).

One of the earliest reports was the '79 "The Gay Report" by Jay and Young, published in a single volume, book format (available at Amazon). Jay and Young apparently cover a range of issues, promiscuity being one of the more prominent factors covered in some detail.

Robert Spitzer: Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 5, October 2003, covers reparative therapy

Scott Hershberger: "Guttman Scalability Confirms the Effectiveness of Reparative Therapy," op cit
4.29.2007 9:32pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
Going back to the original post-
You know, I don't actually care what the bible says or doesn't say regarding homosexuality- the bible isn't the basis for secular law anyway.
4.29.2007 10:04pm
Latinist:
It's very hard to tell what gay-male promiscuity numbers mean. A lot of people in this country, growing up, are very strictly taught that (a) promiscuous sex is wrong, and (b) homosexual sex is wrong. Depending on temperament, some people are more willing than others to go against the morals they were raised to believe in. The more willing they are to go against those morals the more likely they are to identify themselves as homosexuals, and ALSO the more likely they are to have promiscuous sex, without the two necessarily being related. Maybe if you found a population of people who were raised to believe a but not b, in a society that accepted a but not b, you'd get different results.
4.29.2007 10:06pm
springjourney (mail):
<blockquote>
What explanation do these behavioral science books you speak of offer for such behavior?
</blockquote>
Those books are Behavior Science study books for medical school students. Personally I do not care what is causing the promiscuity in homosexual males, it is a fact of life. So by recoginizing promiscuity as an attribute of marriage it would difinitely harm a marriage.
On the other hand if we prohibit any kind of interpretation of marriage other then union of one man and one woman it would be just great, because no one is going to get hurt.
4.29.2007 10:40pm
springjourney (mail):

Straight people need only to meet certain minimum requirements regarding age, not already married, not siblings, and they can get the license. Why can't it be the same for gay people?

This is great, this is laughable. You have exactly the same right as every man in the United States. Find a woman and get marriage license.
Why don't you complain that you can't marry a piece of wood.
Bummer.
4.29.2007 10:48pm
Randy R. (mail):
Springjourney, I usually find that most people who are fixated upon gay promiscuity are exactly the ones who just aren't getting enough at home. I find that most people who have a happy healthy sexual life really aren't concerned about the sex lives of gay people, or anyone else, for that matter.

Now, I was going to respond to your posts, until I saw your stupid last comment. Such plain idiocy and sheer bigotry isn't worthy of a response. End of discussion.
4.30.2007 1:19am
Ramza:

This is great, this is laughable. You have exactly the same right as every man in the United States. Find a woman and get marriage license.
Why don't you complain that you can't marry a piece of wood.
Bummer.

Notice the difference between the above comment I highlighted and this one below.

I'm told that in a recent debate with Jon Rauch, Blankenhorn actually affirmed "the equal dignity of homosexual love.

One person says he recognizes the couple love is one with equal dignity, the other comparing someones love to an inanimate object.

Well its obvious the people arguing for anti-gay marriage are not all the same, some are actually decent human beings with empathy, some obviously lack empathy. Since some people lack empathy they do not realize the rational and logic of other peoples positions for they can't comprehend a mindset that is different than their own. Rational debate is impossible with people who can't comprehend arguments that differ from their own position.
4.30.2007 1:58am
Grover Gardner (mail):
gattsuru--

Let's quote the linked article correctly, shall we?

"Gay men -- not unexpectedly -- had more sexual partners than heterosexuals, an average of nearly six over the previous three months compared with just under two for heterosexuals. This figure was skewed by a few gay men who had a lot of partners; the most common number of partners mentioned by gay men was in fact two."

And let's also mention that this was NOT a study of the general population, but rather a survey of sexually-active HIV-positives.

"But it doesn't really give a pressing interest to require government recognition, particularly when it's likely to result in a societal pressure to end up in a relationship that, by the above data, isn't what these individuals want."

Perhaps we could let individuals decide for themselves, rather than second-guess them on the basis of dubious statistical claims.

"One might think I was trying to push a point with that statement, particularly given that I noted reparative therapy with revulsion earlier."

I wasn't referring to reparative therapy.

grendel--

I don't think you meant me.

springjourney--

"Personally I do not care what is causing the promiscuity in homosexual males..."

I don't imagine you do.
4.30.2007 5:36am
waiting adoptive parent:
The Right's War on Adoptive Families

Blankenhorn has joined the Right's war on adoptive families, or any other family where the kid's are not biologically related to both of their parents. I think Professor Volokh called this "biological essentialism."

The real slippery slope is not towards polygamy and incest, it's toward the social and legal rejection of all families that do not meet the Right's definition of ideal.

Blankenhorn's arguments put heterosexual married couples with adopted kids in the same social and legal position as gay couples. Blankenhorn's arguments put infertile couples in the same social and legal position as gay couples. Blankenhorn's arguments put remarried couples in the same social and legal position as gay couples.

Since I'm a waiting (and hopefully soon-to-be) adoptive parent, Blankenhorn makes it easy to pick sides in the gay marriage debate. He's making that decision easier for a lot of others, too.

The anti-marriage arguments Blankenhorn makes are the true threat to millions of American families.
4.30.2007 8:05am
grendel (mail):
Mr. Gardner -- no, I didn't mean you. My comments should have been directed at gattsuru. sorry for the confusion.
4.30.2007 10:09am
springjourney (mail):

Now, I was going to respond to your posts, until I saw your stupid last comment. Such plain idiocy and sheer bigotry isn't worthy of a response. End of discussion.

I am crying. Sorry I have hurt your.
Marriage is a union of one man and one woman. Sex life has only indirectly related to marriage because it is not mandatory. Also general non-religious public does not give a s..t about someone's sex.
What is important though, that you are trying to force me to pay for success of your sexual life by elevating your personal feelings to some kind of special right.
4.30.2007 1:48pm
Ramza:

What is important though, that you are trying to force me to pay for success of your sexual life by elevating your personal feelings to some kind of special right.

I assume you also are complaining about how much you have to "pay" for the success of all those heterosexual sex life? Or do you have a double standard, you shed tears for homosexuals but are indifferent to heterosexuals?
4.30.2007 1:57pm
Chairm (mail):
waiting adoptive parent,

What is your definition of the ideal? Or is there no such thing, in your view?

* * *

I'm still waiting for Dale Carpenter to make his list of the good reasons not to merge same-sex coupling with marriage recognition.

So far I do not think he shows he has understood the argument he keeps saying he disagrees with.
4.30.2007 3:00pm
springjourney (mail):

I assume you also are complaining about how much you have to "pay" for the success of all those heterosexual sex life? Or do you have a double standard, you shed tears for homosexuals but are indifferent to heterosexuals?

Absolutely not, I am ready to pay even more, not for sex but for the future of a strong country that can protect itself by providing optimal environment for upbringing new generations.
I am ready to pay my money not just for new children that have raisen in chaotic gay families, but for new members of our society that understand why it is important not to destroy a marriage, way of our life and our free society.
4.30.2007 3:37pm
Marty (one of many, apparently) (mail):
Legalized SSM will mean that more children -- not less -- will grow up never knowing either their mother or their father.

Heather doesn't have a father not because her mommies are homosexual -- but because neither of her mommies can stand the thought of having a man around the house being a Daddy.

And because mommie doesn't much like men, little Heather has to trade her father for a second mother. In short, Heather is the one paying the price for her mother's inability to relate to the opposite sex.

Sounds like gender bias to me. A cruel thing to inflict on a little kid.
4.30.2007 9:24pm
Marty (one of many, apparently) (mail):
Are two left shoes "equal" to a pair of shoes?

Sure, it's better for an orphan to be adopted by two women than it is to be adopted by only one, or none.

But neither is one, or none, a "marriage", anymore than two women can be a marriage. One left shoe beats no shoes, and two left shoes beats only one. But they still aren't quite a "pair of shoes" to the kid who has to walk in them... are they?
4.30.2007 9:31pm
waiting adoptive parent:
Marty, that would be a useful thought--if I were buying a pair of shoes. It would make as much sense to say that kids would be better off with a pair of loafers instead of a left combat boot and a right high-heel shoe.

The metaphorical possiblities are endless.
5.1.2007 8:01am
springjourney (mail):

The metaphorical possiblities are endless.

Only for the person who does not know what is the purpose of shoes.
5.1.2007 1:45pm