Saturday, January 28, 2012
I've been off the blog for a few days on account of my duties as a corporate tool at my company's annual national sales meeting in San Diego. These are smart reps -- they are well educated and have to be credible and of value to neuro and orthopedic surgeons -- and, perhaps because of the Obama administration's relentless rhetorical, legislative, and regulatory assault on our great industry, they are, in the main, eager to vote against him come November. Many of them are also, however, extremely unhappy that social conservatives have captured the GOP, particularly on the subject of gay marriage.
Last night I had an interesting conversation in the hotel bar that hammered this home. This is a group that spends most their professional life in the operating rooms of hospitals supporting surgeons and nurses who save and improve lives, so they are almost certainly more thoughtful on complex ethical questions than most people. On the subject of abortion, my small sample had great sympathy for both sides of this fraught question and understood how it could legitimately animate passion in either direction. Unfortunately for the current GOP field, there was no such forgiveness of the opposition of leading Republicans to allowing states permit gay marriage. What could the objection possibly be? And whatever one's considered philosophical position, why does opposition to gay marriage, which at a minimum feels cruel, spark such passion? I wish I had an answer. For the life of me, I cannot understand the passion on the right for the subject. How do social conservatives talk to their gay friends about this subject? Or do they arrange their lives so they do not have gay friends?
Regardless, it is clear to me that the Republicans are making a huge political mistake by not accommodating themselves to the inevitability of gay marriage in many parts of the country and its ultimate federal recognition. I am persuaded beyond doubt that there is no issue that more alienates affluent voters who otherwise support core Republican values, and if the GOP waits too long to neutralize or "evolve" its position -- no actual endorsement of gay marriage is necessary, so much as dropping opposition -- it will do itself grave and lasting damage at the ballot box.
Your trips are certainly more cultural than mine, TH.
On the issue: I guess I'm a bad conservative, because I simply don't get why anti-gay marriage is a plank on Republican platforms. I say, think what you will, but this is not an appropriate political issue. I have similar feelings about the issue of abortion legality. I'm deeply embedded atop the fence on the latter.
Other than those, I'm 'way down with real Conservatives--know any?
As a Libertarian, I fail to understand why it is the business of the state who marries each other. America had no state issued licenses before 1840. They only became common so local officials could forbid interracial marriages.
I am also a Christian, so I see marriage as a covenant between the people involved, the community and God. No partnership is a marriage, to me, unless it is sanctioned by God. A partnership won’t last unless the people are serious about it.
Of course, the issue of Gay Marriage is not about freedom, equality or civil rights. It is about free concessions from the state and social acceptance for the Gays. The Gay want to impose their lifestyle as “normal.” This plan is doomed, I think. The community cannot be compelled to give sanction or approval.
I suggest we Conservatives stop opposing it and allow the Gays make an utter mockery of their partnerships. They are not stable people, so their divorce rates should be close to 90%. Let them be laughed out of public venue. For those few homosexual couple who truly love each other, let us honor them as a curiosity.
I guess that on this issue, I'm with "UrbanBard" and trending towards Ron Paul and the libertarians; it ain't nobody's else's business!
But then again, I'm think that "civil unions," in the form of legally binding contracts, are the method for society to recognize the fact that people will choose to live together. They can also contain terms of "dissolution," if that has any legal basis, and include terms to allow the union to last only a set number or years, such as until a child is of legal age.
Let the churches/ synagogues/ mosques/ temples continue to celebrate any marriage ceremony that they believe in. If a certain church does NOT believe in same-sex unions, then they have the right to assemble only with whomever they choose.
I do not believe that any person has the right to marry a non-human; doesn't PETA condemn cruelty to animals?! (heh!) And if some idiot wants to marry more than one human, hey, that's THEIR problem, one spouse is enough for ME to handle!
But I don't believe that the issue is that simple; I think at least some of the folks who are protesting that they need to "MARRY" their same sex partner are asking for all of the other "benefits" that society has put into a marriage; tax breaks, insurance, health care, you name it, and there is some special stipulation differentiating between a married couple, and everyone else. If we eliminate them for EVERYONE, how hard do you think same-sex couples would be protesting for the right to marry?
I am NOT endorsing the elimination of these "perks" for a married couple; I even understand why they exist. Throughout history, any civilization has had very clear distinctions about married couples, because they are the foundation of any civilized society. As far as I can tell, the only two reasons to get married are to provide a stable foundation for the raising of children, and to help with the saving and formation of capital, be it land, or money or even job skills (think apprenticeships, etc.)
In the last 50 years, we have managed to take the shame out of divorce and single motherhood; hows that working out when it comes to raising our children? I'm NOT saying that a single parent cannot raise wonderful children, but it's MUCH harder on both the parent and children.
Now we want to "endorse" not only same-sex couples, but ensuring that they have the right to raise children. The only thing is, I heard on the news just last month, that the DC government, which has already made same-sex marriage legal, is NOW proposing a law that would also allow them the "right" to divorce also, if they were married in another place. Well, there goes THAT idea...stability, that is.
Reminds me of the concerns over gays in the military. The resistance seemed to be with the old, retired guys - the vast majority of those currently serving simply did not view it as an issue.
I would think that the GOP, if they would take the time to talk to the conservative young (and they are many in number), would let this issue go. The ship has sailed and there is no need to be on the pier trying to call it back.
I am old enough to remember when the Catholic Church decided, about 1970, that homosexuality (that means "gay" for you whippersnappers) should be no bar to the priesthood. I think we all know how that turned out.
Would you in light of that disaster, have no qualms about a gay couple adopting children? Isn't that already a stated goal? And before you castigate me as a hopeless bigot, be advised I follow the rule that prejudice is wrong when there is no basis for it in fact. When there is a rational basis, it is not prejudice, it is good judgment. How would you rationalize an accommodation to gays that allowed adoption? If you don't approve of gay couples adopting then on what evidence would you assert that there is no difference between gay couples and the other kind? If you balk at the idea of gays raising kids, how can you support the idea of gay marriage, as opposed to some other recognition of their partnership?
The 2012 presidential election will be decided by the outcome in about ten states. I doubt that gay marriage will figure in any of these ten. Abortion and illegal immigration could tip the balance in a few.
Personally, I don't care about gay marriage. I used to say that for traditional folks marriage is a duty and an obligation, not a lifesytle option. But that doesn't hold up so well anymore.
But what may work in California may not in Mississippi.
We still have a "state action" issue. Can you be free to dissent from the new orthodoxy? e.g. what about the Boy Scouts?
Curious that TH makes this an issue of this given his support for Romney. Mitt courted the religious right by taking hard positions on abortion and gay marriage, when he didn't have to. He's now clearly identified as "staunch" on these matters. So I'd rank the New Improved Mitt -- now with lemon! -- as more socially conservative than Newt. Am I wrong?
This is a group that spends most their professional life in the operating rooms of hospitals supporting surgeons and nurses who save and improve lives, so they are almost certainly more thoughtful on complex ethical questions than most people
Your kidding , right?
TH, these people are salesmen. One can scarcely find a more mindless, ill-educated and superficial group of people, this side of the Democrat Party, that is. And "sales" is hardly a "profession". It is a "line of work".
They are quickly followed by the "medical profession", BTW. One has to look hard for a profession that down through the ages was so chuck full of frauds and fakes.
Quackery has general been the rule here.
I will also remind you that the Soviets and the Nazis hand a good many members of the "medical profession" within their ranks as well.
Homosexually its is neither normal or normative, and one can hardly object to people objecting to being told otherwise. Those who support this project are the ones who are immoral. It is proscribe by all major faits and held repugnant by the vast majority of people throughout this world. it is hardly just the stance of so-called "Social Conservatives". in the GOP. One need only drop by a Black, Baptist Church in Liberal Democrat Brooklyn to see this. That you think otherwise shows merely how deeply you have drunk from the swill of cultural marxism. You really should get out of NJ more often.
People who imagine that gays are "victims", or that marriage is merely a legal convention, and who further hold that we must destroy our civilization to "protect" these sodomites against so-called "wrongs" are profoundly immoral themselves
This sort of inversion of values is moral madness.
I've been hearing this for decades, that there are all these people out there who would side with the GOP if it wasn't for those darn social conservatives.
I have yet to see any evidence from elections that this is particularly true. Even up here in NH, which is less evangelical, more libertarian, and thus likely to be an excellent proving ground for such theories, the support just isn't there. When the battle comes, those clowns are all wandering around in the back saying"yeah, we'll be out there in a minute."
I am not especially socially conservative, being squishy pro-life, against gay marriage but not too concerned about it, in favor of the legalisation of drugs on a gradual basis. But I see what I see, and you can pass on my contempt to your pals. They vote their tribe when the chips are down, and any taint of yahooness is enough to put tham off. They are unable to be honest with themselves. This is not the first time you've reported these sentiments, TH, and it is clear that you take them at face value. So did I, for two decades. No more.
If they think I'm wrong, then they should prove me wrong. Pony up. Evangelicals lick the envelopes and man the phones; country-club Republicans provide the money; libertarian Republicans get together with their friends and complain that the other two groups are ruining everything.
Just saw Aegon1 -
You are following your prejudices and the popular culture instead of your reason again.
If you want to start drawing national political conclusions from individual murders, you are going down in flames in any discussion, because the evidence is going to point against you. You might start by learning something about gay-on-gay violence first.
Ok ok, we're talking about marriage here. Anon @8:15 was just talking nonsense about how gays only IMAGINE the victimization they suffer, and that pushed a couple buttons for me.
In my opinion, if we're going to subsidize families and couples based on the idea that it engenders economic and social stability and creates a healthy environment to raise kids, then the thing the state prescribes should be civil unions, to heterosexual and homosexual couples alike.
I also agree that if a church or synogogue doesn't want to perform a homosexual marriage, they shouldn't be forced to. They're private institutions (even though they're ALSO getting subsidies and that's a little weird) and can do what they want.
But I swear I will fly into a furious rage at the next person who suggests that it's a lifestyle choice (as if they asked themselves "You know what my life has been missing? Self-loathing and ostracization!") or suggests they haven't been victimized or they're imagining it (Google it, you lazy bigots).
Of the committed gay and lesbian couples I know, whether legally married or acting that way in all manner of ways, I see no greater instability than in the straight marriages I know. People crave stability and commitment. Some people are good at executing on it, some people are not.
As for reproduction, I have no problem with gay or lesbian couples adopting. None whatsoever. Even if you think that homosexuality is a pathology of some sort (a point of view I obviously do not agree with), it is hardly more pathological than any number of other core psychological issues that can turn people in to poor parents.
Unlike my dear son, I am not quite so exercised about the historical persecution of gays, or any other people. Or, put differently, we have learned that historical persecution is a poor basis for granting preferences or privilege. But that said, for the life of me I do not get why straights give a damn about this issue. Makes no sense to me. For starters, promoting commitment and stability in gay relationships seems like a conservative value.
In my neck of the woods (northern Indiana) the GOP would be a rump party if its official platform were "tax breaks for same-sex marriages." How one extrapolates from these (mine and TH's) conflicting data sets the "best" position of the GOP is far from obvious: as someone else pointed out, it's the evangelicals who stuff the envelopes and make the phone calls, why trade them for fence-sitters who seem to prefer Barack Obama to Jim Dobson? (Even at Princeton religiosity was a much better indicator of likely GOP affiliation than, say, "corporate tool" ambition--and it wasn't because the Catholics wanted less regulation.)
I increasingly think how one answers the "whither GOP?" question is basically provincial. One might ask if the educated and affluent salesmen "arrange their lives so they do not have evangelical Christian friends"? So perhaps Charles Murray's new book ("Coming Apart") is right about there being two incommensurable American cultures. If he is, it only makes sense that tension would afflict the GOP, too, no?
I may be a little unusual. I am a vocal conservative who has lived almost my entire life in liberal places (Princeton for the last 14 years, and for four more earlier in my life, and before then Iowa City, Ann Arbor, and the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago). I read at least as much left wing stuff as right wing, I definitely have more liberal friends than conservative. I am genuinely friends with more than one gay person, and so are my children. I go to church only occasionally, but I like even intensely religious people even when I disagree with them (I worked for four years as the Gentile general counsel of a company owned and run by Orthodox Jews, under Jewish law). I enjoy both decidedly middle American fun (college football, county fairs, country music, funnel cake, and anything fried), but I also enjoy excellent museums and fine restaurants (OK, I am not much for ballet). I divide my time between New Jersey and Texas (albeit Austin). I do not understand this tendency of people to segregate themselves. It seems very, very, boring. But yet it clearly happens.
Speaking as one person's curiosity, all I can say is that this blog made me cry today.
Homosexuality is not pedophilia. Study after study shows gay/lesbian parents raise healthy children, most of whom are straight.
As I said elsewhere today, I just want to be treated the same way in the courthouse/city hall as anyone else. I don't want churches/synagogues/mosques/kingdom halls/mormon temples to do anything that violates their teachings vis-a-vis conferring marriage licenses.
Speaking as a curiosity, Mark and TH have nailed it.
Curiosity... how farookin' patronizing.
If this poll is accurate and complete I suspect it answers the question:
GLBT account for 3% of the voting population and voted 70/30 to the Dems. In the interest of keeping the math easy lets say there are 100MM voters, so 3MM GLBTs who split 2.1MM to 0.9MM. A change in policy might pick up another 100k to 600k votes. OK.
Meanwhile 48MM of those voters attend weekly services, and I think it is fair to assume most aren't Unitarians. If support for GLBT issues costs Republicans 1 or 2% of these voters the losses have already swamped the gains of GLBT voters.
I have never met a voter who said that he/she would vote R but for the party's stance on for whom GBLT issues. People who shriek about this issue are all Democrats anyway.
The fact that 31% of GBLT voters voted for Republicans reveals that the gay community is not monolithic on this issue. My gay friends are mixed on the issue of marriage, but failure to support it brings derision in segments of the gay community, analogous to the way failure to support the affirmative actin programs brings derision in black community.
Separately, I think most opposition within the Republican party has been to court-imposed recognition of gay marriage as opposed to democratically-enacted recognition.
I am not particularly passionate, bordering on indifferent, about the issue of gay marriage. I am intensely passionate about the type of judicial activism that enables a court to discover a right to gay marriage in statutes that are 100-200 years old and have never been interpreted in such manner. As an attorney, you should be too.
Anon, Sun, 6:34~
What precludes that interpretation? In other words, why are these 100-200-year-old interpretations acceptable in this era? The assumption that marriage is restricted to two people, one of whom is male, the other female, has been tested/is being tested by those who believe that it is fallacious. Many of those testing it believe in God and worship as Jews, Christians--Unitarian, Episcopalian, and Congregationalists, to quickly name three Christian Churches off the top of my head which are welcoming to the LGBTQ community--and are married within those places of worship. Others testing it are atheists.
And what about Atheists? Straight atheists can have a civil ceremony and file their marriage certificate and their union is recognized by the local, state, and federal government.
We need to remove God/god from the discussion it seems. We need to address parity. Or is the term equality? Under the eyes of the government.
If it is genuinely inevitable, then it shouldn't be an issue at all. It will happen regardless of what social conservatives think or do, so there should be no problem joining the Republican side based on agreement in other substantial areas.
In fact, if they joined the Republican side, they would have more influence to make it less of an issue.
So, this rejection of the Republican Party strikes me as one of those deeply emotional issues where people who are beginning to realize their commonalities with 'the other' flail about trying to find some way to continue to distinguish themselves from this long-scorned other. Republicanophobia might be a good term for it.
I will provide you with a thoughtful, reasoned answer. I hope you will respond in kind.
That interpretation is precluded by every single canon of statutory construction that predates modern legal theory. Words in a statute are presumed to have meaning at the time a law is drafted, and that meaning does not change over time just because of changes in the social context. The law remains the same unless the statutory language is changed through the legislative process.
At the time state marriage laws were written the term marriage was universally understood as a union between one man and one woman--many explicitly define it as such. At no point in time in the 100-200 year history were the various state laws governing marriage ever intended or interpreted otherwise, until recently. Modern legal theory provided the tools for activist judges to disregard both statutory language and decades of consistent legal interpretation, declaring it inconsistent with modern social norms.
This may seem unimportant or technical, but it is not. America was designed as a self-governing constitutional republic. A conservative, originalist approach to statutory construction is one of the most important safeguards in retaining the character of the country as a nation of laws, not a nation of men.
Substantively, I don't have a dog in the hunt of gay marriage. Procedurally, we all have an interest in maintaining the nation as a constitutional republic in which free citizens govern themselves through democratically elected representatives.
Litigation is a blunt instrument. The traditional interpretation of marriage was union of one man and one woman. Now that the issue has been placed on the slippery slope of modern legal interpretation the Parade of Horribles predicted by opponents of gay marriage is, in fact, happening. Polygamists are suing for their right to marriages. Familial marriages will be next.
Courts will respond with pretzel logic to achieve their desired outcome. But pretzel logic comes at the expense of credibility and inherently politicizes the judiciary.
When I debate this issue with people, which is rare, I always issue the same challenge, which always ends the debate: Please provide a PRINCIPLED reason that marriage statutes which were written and consistently applied to provide for marriage between one man and one woman should be construed to enable same sex marriage, while continuing to deny polygamist marriages? (Hint: "Because that's the way liberals want it" is NOT a principled reason).
I will await your response.
I'm not the least bit passionate about the issue, and I don't feel the need to list my intellectual qualifications to bolster my opinion, but I just don't think it absolutely must be called "marriage". I know it's just a word, but although I strongly believe that any two people should be able to have a civil union with all of the same rights as married couples, I think calling it a marriage is too big of a step culturally. I think it's a bit cheeky that we can suddenly decide that we are so kind, open-minded, and cultured that we can fundamentally change centuries of tradition. I am also concerned that it's a slippery slope to polygamy. Why does it have to be only two people in a marriage? And if you say that's the definition of a marriage, you are using the same argument as some of us marriage traditionalists use about gay marriage.
BTW - I have been a guest at two civil partnerships between women in the past year, one in the UK, and the other in Switzerland.
Neither used the term "marriage" and both liberally made use of the term "civil union" in the UK and "registered partnership" (English translation) in Switzerland. This did not detract in the least bit from the sense of commitment, love, or joy of the ceremony or celebration.
Haven't read all the comments.
Conservatives tend to be opposed to gay marriage because they think it's morally wrong. And it's a natural impulse to try to forbid state recognition or encouragement of something that you think is morally wrong; temperance laws, anti-racial discrimination laws, endangered species protection, and so on have all been advocated by people who believed passionately in what was fundamentally a moral issue. What's the point of democracy, after all, if the people cannot enact policies that they believe in? A mystery it ain't.
It's married to lesser issue of judicial activism, the idea that 'the gay agenda' is being enacted through a conspiracy of liberal elites over the objections of the majority. And they're occasionally right (see Iowa), which is all it takes to validate the concept.
If gay marriage were enacted properly, by state legislative action (as in Mass.), I think there would be much less opposition. I've never heard a conservative complain about gay marriage in Massachusetts; the general reaction seems to be, "It's their state, not mine" (granted, I've never asked [nor met] a Mass. conservative).
Note: I saw Anon. Attorney's last comment just now by accident. It's a good point, and one I've made myself. In fact, one major weakness of trying to shove gay marriage into the law by arguing unconstitutionality is that the precise same arguments will apply to situations of polygamy, polyandry, and incest.
I could care less who marries whom, as long as we are talking about consenting adults and one to a customer (so that the courts don't get clogged up sorting out competing estate claims) and really don't understand why the state has a role in the decision. Beyond that, though, I am curious about one thing: how many gay people are there in this country seeking to get married? Are we talking about a lot of people? Just curious.
First, Mojo, in this country, DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) defines marriage, and the benefits and the responsibilities the state confers, as between one man and one woman. I know plenty of people who enter into domestic partnerships/unions and are happy to call them that, for a variety of reasons, but they are still not granted the benefits their straight counterparts are, even here in MA, as their unions are not recognized on a federal level.
Anon Attorney, I am not an attorney, so if I misspeak/misuse legal terms, I apologize in advance.
I do understand the judicial activism aspect of this. And, I think, sometimes, that activism is called for when one group of people is being denied the rights and privileges of all other citizens for discriminatory reasons. Gay couples, who have filed health care proxies, regularly find that hospitals invalidate them for no other reason than the perceived sexual orientation of the couple. Federal recognition of their union--it needn't be a marriage--will strengthen their rights all around. And that's just one example where discrimination against homosexuals is condoned/practiced. It's far worse in states where there is no recognition of their unions--when a family member is dying and their family denied entry into the hospital room, say.
Your question, about marriage between a man and a woman, reads to me as one with gender bias. The contract of marriage between two consenting adults should be gender neutral. The couple enters into a contract and gets the benefits and responsibilities now conferred on local and federal level. Period.
If you are asking me to discuss the expansion of the definition beyond two consenting adults, that's another matter entirely. Those unions would require a change is how, say, Social Security and Pension survivor benefits are awarded. In the tax code. In a whole host of areas and arenas. That is a different arena.
Marriage equality, as it is being fought now, is confined to the union of two consenting adults, entering into a partnership contract that entitles them to the benefits and responsibilities now conferred on heterosexual couples, whether those heterosexual couples marry religiously or not. Any other definition of marriage is for a different discussion, one that discusses the eradication, perhaps, of governmental participation in those unions. And not one I am facile with or advocating.
"Your question, about marriage between a man and a woman, reads to me as one with gender bias."
Of course it has gender bias. That's the point. For several millenia people of the Book and their descendants have defined marriage that way. It's part of our fundamental heritage, including abhorring murder and cannibalism. Most other people in the world define marriage this way too, with exceptions for primitive tribes and rich potentates. We as a nation didn't wake up one day and define marriage so we could legally disenfranchise a minority. You can call it ordained by God or not, but it is rooted in biology and nature.
"And, I think, sometimes, that activism is called for when one group of people is being denied the rights and privileges of all other citizens for discriminatory reasons."
Says who! That's another basic question. Who gets to decide? You ducked Anon Attorney entirely.
Our Constitution was/is about creating the space to protect individual rights. About keeping the state out of our business. We continue to subvert this by wanting to use the power of the state to enforce somebody's idea of the collective good. As they define it.
You use examples of people being treated badly by beuracrats at hospitals. When it comes to abuse by beauracrats, get in line. We're turning the country into a big DMV, for most of us. Seriously, we can legislate a narrow answer to ensure hospital visiting rights. Fill out a form, give it to the DMV.
I want to marry my son or daughter some day. OK with that? I assure you it's not sexual -- just an estate planning trick.
ps Matthew Sheppard does not equate with Emmit Till.
Biology and nature? Not taking that bait.
The Book? News for you, many Bookers pronounce same-sex couples married couples in their eyes.
You want the state out of your business and I want it out of mine. Married couples of same and opposite genders form loving family units. The times they are a-changing.
Says who about what? Lesbians and gays are being denied the right to marry for no other reason than their sexual orientation. This reason in increasingly being recognized as unacceptable and discriminatory.
As for marrying your children, not taking that bait, either.
I don't assign values to the reasons for murder. Skin color. Religion. Sexual orientation. It all sucks.
Countries where same-sex marriages are legal and performed:
Same-sex marriage is legally recognized nationwide in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden
Israel does not recognize same-sex marriages performed on its territory, but recognizes same-sex marriages performed in foreign jurisdictions. In Brazil, the state of Alagoas performs same-sex marriages.
Ignoramus is right. You did dodge my question. Perhaps I can rephrase?
Marriage was traditionally defined as a union of one man and one woman.
You have advocated the gender-based limitations should be read out of the state statutes defining marriage by the courts as a means of protecting same sex couples from discrimination. Fine.
Please provide a PRINCIPLED reason that the numerical limitations should not also be read out of the definition by the courts as a means of protecting polygamists from discrimination.
And make it a good one, because plan on using it with my wife to rationalize getting a second wife . . . LOL!
"many Bookers pronounce same-sex couples married couples in their eyes"
A recent phenomenon, not widespread (but growing) and by their own choice. The state isn't telling them to.
"Same-sex marriage is legally recognized nationwide in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden"
That's ten out of about 200. Again, a recent phenomenon.
If you want to decide things by global referendum, many of the other 200 expressly outlaw homosexuality, often with harsh penalties.
"I don't assign values to the reasons for murder."
So you're not in favor of "hate crime" legislation then ?
"Lesbians and gays are being denied the right to marry for no other reason than their sexual orientation."
Echoing Anon Attorney:
And polygamists are being denied the right to marry for no other reason than their number.
Groucho: "Well whadaya say girls? Are we all gonna get married?"
Women: "All of us? But that's bigamy!"
Groucho: "Yes and it's big of me too!"
Many of us here are concerned with the process for how these things get decided, and the implications.
Much of these issues would get settled organically if you just give people time, and kept the state out of it.
Want a gander at the post-marriage future? Just check out the Black American experience. Making great strides towards the middle class in the 1940s and 1950s, black marriage cratered with the introduction of the Great Society welfare state in the 1970s. The rest is history. 70%+ illegitimacy sets in motion a virtually inescapable cycle of poverty and cultural decline.
Sorry, but you don't f**k with thousands of years of human history without some damn good reasons. Marriage means one man and one woman. Civil unions...fine. Marriage no. That line is the last logical stop this side of polygamy, group marriage, and whatever other combinations of sex and species somebody desires.
The burden of proof that gay marriage will not result in social pathology rests with the advocates of the radical position--not the defenders of the status quo.
I do not understand this tendency of people to segregate themselves. It seems very, very, boring. But yet it clearly happens.
The proverb is "Birds of a feather flock together". Socrates in the Republic uses the phrase, "Like goes with Like". It is a law of nature. Again, in Genesis God specifically states that "I will put enmity between good and evil". Good must hate evil and Evil must hate good. There is NO middle ground, no grey here. That is just reality.
America has no social cohesion anymore when the Bible was thrown out of the classroom in the 60's by the Jewish/Gentile progressive movements. America is divided. In 1880 there were some 200 socialist and communist organizations in America proselytizing for their cause which is antithetical to the Christian Protestant foundation of this country.
I don't know Tigerhawk, are you for the original setup of this country or are you part of the socialist progressive element that seeks to "change" things?
Truth and Right never change, Tigerhawk.
The reason me and Pam don't buy into the slippery slope argument with regards to polygamy is that people are not born to marry multiple people. They are born homosexuals. Denying them the right to marry the gender they're attracted to means they'll remain unmarried forever (which will promote instability), or they'll marry someone of the opposite gender as a cover (which will be messy if there are children in the house when that level of dishonesty is going around).
But that argument holds absolutely zero water with anybody who believes its simply a lifestyle choice, 'cause it's "in" right now or something. Your opinion on this is based entirely on how you were raised and educated.
More kids today are being educated like I am, which means that gay marriage WILL be legalized someday. If the Republicans keep harping on this issue, the party is going to keep getting older while the liberals take over. Doesn't it make sense for them to change their position to one of not giving a shit?
Anon Attorney, I don't know where my answer to you "went...." Yikes..... I will attempt to reconstruct...
And in no particular order,
As far as nature and biology, I meant not going there as nature v. nurture. Bad attempt at humor. Where the Book is concerned, marriages were codified not to define love but to structure society and control property. As for marrying one's son/daughter, there are enough prohibitions against that. As for marriage as an estate planning trick, well, I guess some arranged marriages are about that....
As for the DMV, well, my point was that legally filed paperwork is being ignored because the hospitals are discriminating against those who filed it. The only way to prevent that is to make the discrimination illegal.
Which brings me to civil unions, long my preference for a union as the history of marriage never did float my boat. Repeal DOMA and give civil unions the force and effect of marriage and the issue of same-sex unions being equal to straight is addressed. But that's my view. Others want the term marriage to be opened to same-sex couples.
Extending the contract to more people is not the same thing as advocating for polygamy, which would be expanding the contract. Whether or not I see that as a problem, it is not the end result of reading out the discrimination in the current understanding of marriage, a contract between two people.
A principled reason for not opening that up? I don't have one. All I know is it's not the same thing.
Oh, and I do not support hate crimes legislation. Targeting someone because you hate what you perceive them to be is vile. But I don't think making those crimes special deters haters from committing them, I think it's a knee-jerk response to the particularly vile nature of the crime. The only way to deter crimes perpetuated out of hate and ignorance is to teach tolerance.
Wanna try again, Aegon? Monogamous marriage as a social construct as practiced in the Judeo-Christian West is a relatively new and unique practice. Polygamy has been the norm throughout global history, and remains common in many parts of the world outside the West. Your response is shockingly naive.
Pam, I think you are confusing my comments with the comments offered by others. I've asked you for a principled distinction between reading out the gender limitations for marriage and reading out the numeric limitations. You have indicated you don't have one. Good. At least you are honest. But one must conclude, then that either you support judicially imposed polygamy or that your support for same sex marriage is simply because you think it is good. It is you bias. And that is fine.
Now, to get you in touch with Mrs. Anon Attorney so you can explain to her how Anon Attorney should get his 27 year old second wife . . .
It may have been "normal" for most of history, of course I know that. But it's not a sexual orientation. People are not born polyamorous, and your joke at the end actually proves that. (Although if it "remains common" outside the West, you could always just move there. I heard the weather is lovely in Africa.)
It's just frustrating that the point I just made holds absolutely no water with someone who thinks people are gay just 'cause it "feels good, man." They were educated differently from me.
My point, and TH's point, is that the tide is clearly turning. Liberal education is turning everyone my age into pinko Commies, and Republicans will either stay the same and be the party of (percieved) bigotry, or it can "modernize" and just keep its mouth shut about the whole thing.
>> It may have been "normal" for most of history, of course I know that. But it's not a sexual orientation. People are not born polyamorous . . .
You understand the internal inconsistency in those statements don't you?
People most certainly ARE born polyamorous, which is precisely why polygamy has been the norm outside the imposition of the Judeo-Christian social construct of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
Any attempt to characterize homosexuality as innate but polyamory as a choice is blatantly bigoted and contrary to thousands of years of human sexual history.
"Any attempt to characterize homosexuality as innate but polyamory as a choice is blatantly bigoted and contrary to thousands of years of human sexual history."
First of all, that's untrue in many times and places. What happened to a guy in the years before Judaism who slept with multiple women? He and the women who had their virginity taken get stoned to death. I'm pretty sure that's in Hammurabi's Code. The only example I can think of where polyamory sans marriage is condoned is Greece in the time of WLW's philosophers, but I'd have to look that up.
Furthermore, there isn't a single polyamorous person I've talked to, and I know quite a few, that thinks it's anything other than a choice. Some of them will rationalize it with biology ("Hey man, it's clearly just evolution and survival of the species and whatever.") if someone tries to tell them it's morally wrong, but they've all had exclusive, happy relationships before. Most of them will probably settle down and get married.
Sleeping with multiple partners of the opposite gender is still just heterosexuality. Sleeping with multiple people of the same gender is still just homosexuality. Sleeping with multiple people of both genders is still bisexuality.
It's a kink. Not an orientation. There's nothing morally wrong with it if everyone consented, although it's probably not very healthy either from a psychological standpoint or a physical one. I have absolutely no problem with polyamory if everyone involved is on board with it (if they're not, that's infidelity, which hurts people, which is wrong).
What has been the norm outside of the Judeo-Christian social construct is actually polyGAMY. This *IS* morally wrong (at least, as it's traditionally done) for one HUGE reason.
Women were property, to be traded off to secure social positions. As far as I know, this is still basically the case in all the places outside of the Judeo-Christian sphere of influence, where polygamy is still practiced. When we use the word "PolyGAMY" it is true by definition. "PolyANDRY" is the reverse, where one woman has lots of men. That happens *very* rarely in history. Monogamy helped to protect women from being worth the same thing as, say, a lot of cows. Yes, now that it's 2000BC, we're living in a more modern time, so instead her entire worth is determined by whether or not she has a hymen when she gets married. PROGRESS!
But hey, maybe you're right. That was hasty AND bigoted of me. And you know what? Maybe it IS a slippery slope. Maybe 50 or 75 or 100 years from now the children of polyamorous households will grow up to be well-adjusted, productive members of society, and there will be a push to legalize polygamy. And everyone in my generation (probably including me, 'cause I'm against it) will say "What, are you crazy? You can't raise kids in this environment! And that's WAY too many benefits! You'll start marrying into one big collective blob to get tax breaks!"
If, as conservatives, you extoll marriage as promoting financial security, cultural stability, and creating a healthy environment to raise kids, and gay couples have already proven they can do all of these things as well as straight couples, I can't see any reason NOT to give them the same recognition that straight couples enjoy. "It's tradition, that means it's good" is NOT a good argument. Read "The Lottery" sometime.
And like Dad and I have been saying, acceptance of homosexuality is inevitable. Do you really think that in 30 or 40 years, this issue is going to go away, like it's a fad or something? We're not going to be sitting around saying "Hey, you remember when America had all those queers, and they were all talking nonsense about getting MARRIED and whatnot? Thank God they all moved to Britain."
We don't want to end up on the wrong side of history here.
"But what may work in California may not in Mississippi."
Earth to TH comments section: gay marriage LOST ON THE BALLOT IN CALIFORNIA!!!!!!!!!!! Moreover it lost in the same election where Obama was sweeping the state in a landslide.
DF as usual has it right - if you're going to have gay marriage it needs to be passed by the legislature or referendum, not imposed by the courts.
Anon 7:31 -- No, gay marriage is not a subject about which I feel great passion. I would vote to legalize it if given the chance, but do not support gay marriage by judicial imposition. However, I think passionate opposition to gay marriage, at least by democratic means, is bizarre, and, no, I do not understand it. Finally, by the way, it indirectly cheapens the fight over abortion, over which the stakes (either way) are genuinely huge.
I've got to go with George. Someone who's main issue is gay marriage when our economy is being destroyed - as is their profession specifically - is an idiot. You waste your time listening to them.
And that's before we get to issues such as the way the party of Gay Marriage Support is eager, in the name of multiculturalism, to appease and support cultures whose primary gay rights issue is the proper means of executing those found to be homosexual.
Given the world wide revulsion to homosexual behavior, I can only speculate that this attitude is hardwired into our DNA. The attitude is so deeply held that I suspect it is closely related to the instinct for self-preservation.
If my hypothesis is correct it is going to be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible to change this belief by Government decree.
The bottom line is that opposition to gay marriage is something the GOP will have to live with, or embrace at their peril. The dems have internal conflicts as well. For instance, greens that want to abolish jobs that unions covet (see keystone pipeline for a golden example).
Neither side is ever going to have a perfect, or even an optimum constituency. It is just the way politics works.
I am not sure that there has always been world-wide "revulsion" over homosexuality (see contra evidence in many Asian societies). Granted, it has been widespread, but it seems especially common in places that still have vibrant Abrahamic religions. And, anyway, there was widespread revulsion over interracial coupling here and in many other places until quite recently. What was "unnatural" no longer is.
"We don't want to end up on the wrong side of history here."
Who is this "we"? You haven't made a single comment here that could be considered remotely conservative.
Pardon us if we don't take advice from liberals about how we should feel on a moral issue.
Bob from Ohio
In no particular order, a response:
1. Yes, conservatives do complain about gay marriage in Massachusetts. It was not done the "right" way. It was only done at all because the Supreme Court of Justice in Mass. ordered the legislature to legalize it. It was court ordered and not any sort of voluntary undertaking by the legislature.
2. Someone mentioned miscegenation. That's interesting because the final paragraph in the majority decision in Loving v. Virginia begins with this sentence: "Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival." Clearly, the Warren court was talking about procreation. Every Supreme court decision I've ever read that attempts to define marriage inextricably links it to procreation.
A synonym for marriage is matrimony. It comes from latin matr or mater, meaning mother. That's always been recognized as an essential purpose of marriage. I think it's important to note that the Romans did not think of wives as property or inferior, but equals. Clearly from the start it had other purposes, but that's one.
3. If the Mass. court can simply redefine marriage as having nothing to do with procreation, what's to prevent the next court from rejecting the Mass. court's declaration that marriage has anything at all to do with being exclusive or committed? Rendering the definition of marriage completely meaningless.
4. Adoption is not procreation.
5. Having lived in Asia for 7 years, I've seen varied attitudes toward homosexuality. I've never seen anyone confuse a homosexual relationship or any other besides a male-female relationship as marriage.
Clearly, I'm opposed to gay marriage, now called marriage equality I see. I see it as associated with dying societies that no longer value it. "Sure, what the hey, it's meaningless so why not have same sex marriage." In Europe to combat the shrinking population they kick around the idea of subsidizing married couples to take time off and have sex. Obviously hoping to produce babies and boost the dismal birthrate.
If we achieve "marriage equality" will it be discrimination to deny gay couples the same subsidy to go home early and have sex? If it is, it makes my point about dying cultures that have lost their minds. If it isn't discrimination to deny them the subsidy then how is their marriage equal?
If it isn't discrimination to deny that subsidy then it isn't discrimination now to deny that relationship the title of marriage. It's not discrimination if there's a valid purpose behind drawing distinctions.
Forgot to ask while I was at it.
As Chief Justice Warren noted in Loving (the decision that threw out Virginia's miscegenation laws) marriage is "fundamental to our very existence and survival."
How would gay marriage be fundamental to our very existence and survival?
I'm not going to use the term "traditional marriage" because that implies there can be more than one kind. Gay marriage isn't marriage.
I can't find an instance of a western civilization calling a homosexual relationship a marriage.
Gay sex was still illegal in many states until 2003. It was illegal in the military until last year.
If gay marriage was so fundamental, wouldn't we have known by now?
Regarding what you've observed about the stability of same sex relationships, you may be interested in the conclusions drawn by this study by the Max Plank Institute for Demographic Research. It's the largest research institute in Europe and doesn't seem to have an ideological axe to grind. One of the participants in the following study is the University of Oslo, Norway.
I guess you'll have to cut and past the link.
Basically they found that same-sex male couples divorced at nearly double the rate of heterosexual couples. And same-sex female couples at nearly four times the rate as heterosexual couples. But please don't take my word for it.
The rule of Western Culture, TH, is:
"We are NOT in this world to give the laws but...in order to OBEY the commands of the gods". Plutarch, priest at the Doric Temple of Apollo at Delphi
We are not to "Make the laws". Western Culture is about obedience to the Law, to the Good.
Thank you all, this thread has given me a lot to think about. Mind you, "marriage" was never my choice for the battle for equality. Matrimony -- mother state, because one always knew who gave birth to the child -- always seemed to me to be a function of society enabling it to create uniform relationships. Oh, and to create a clear chain of property rights. Me? If DOMA were eradicated, and civil unions granted the full force and effect of marriage, I'd be happy. But that's an issue for many who refuse to accept that marriage has evolved into a contract one might enter into for love.
All this talk of procreation.... so should the current tax code's benefits/responsibilities only kick in if a couple produces a child? And, since adoption "doesn't count" to some, not at all in heterosexual adoptive families? And, if Social Security and the like remain intact, should those benefits be similarly constrained?
I like the subsidy offered to procreate. Children are good for society. So, since I am chidless, and even were I straight would have been due to a medical condition, could I have a similar subsidization for volunteer work in my community? Tutoring reading, say, at the library or in a school?
Polyamory? Well the many polyamorous unions I know of include people of more than one gender. So my pesky problems with Health Care Proxies and Wills being ignored do not crop up as long as the designees are of opposite genders. How can I address that issue? The one where a legally binding contract duly filed is not blatantly disregarded by hospitals and the like? Oh, right. By repealing DOMA and allowing civil unions to carry the full force and effect of marriages, even if named something else. Oh, and by eliminating discrimination based upon perceived gender and sexual orientation.
Yes, lots to think about.
pam, I certainly never intended to write anything on this comment thread to hurt you. But Tigerhawk asked what the reasoned argument against gay marriage could possibly be. Recognizing the inevitability of hurting someone's feelings though be it not my intent, I still thought I'd make an attempt at a reasoned argument.
As far as procreation and it's relationship to the tax code and social security, it'd be fine with me to scrap the tax code and social security.
When I said adoption doesn't count, I meant as procreation. Adoption only becomes possible for one set of people after two other people procreate. Adoption is a truly wonderful thing, but it's not the same thing as procreation. Even if a heterosexual couple adopts, that couple has not procreated.
I personally am indifferent on the subsidy; if you have to pay couples to have sex then your society is doing something wrong. But the fact is that countries with birth rates that have declined so much they face population collapse are offering such subsidies. I mentioned them to make a point about the term "marriage equality."
If you lived in a country, pam, that was trying to combat its declining birth rates by subsidizing such activities, would you think it makes sense to offer these couples subsidies because society has anointed their relationship with the term "marriage?" Or is it because these couples can have babies? Would applying the term "marriage" to same sex couples change the equation?
I would posit that even if you called same sex relationships marriage, paying 1,000 couples involved in them to (or more accurately both them to compensate for lost wages and the companies that employ them for lost work to let them) leave work early on 10 years worth of Wednesday afternoons to go home and have sex would never produce a baby.
The same experiment with the heterosexual couples would be guaranteed to have different results. I realize that I'm treading on thin ice when I say this but as far as working toward the objective, raising the declining birthrate, one type of couple is so much better at achieving the desired result it's not even a contest.
If these relationships are not equal in this, and perhaps other, regards then how does a simple name change, "marriage," create "marriage equality?"
Did you read the study I linked to at the Max Plank Institute for Demographic Research? Same sex couples differ from heterosexual couples in other ways as well. I posted in response to Tigerhawk's assertions about same sex marriage which in this country sound reasonable because they remain theoretical. But in the actual experience of other countries haven't worked out to be true in practice.
I suppose I don't so much have an argument against gay marriage except the objection that I've never seen a reasoned argument for gay marriage. Even the Loving v. Virginia decision that struck down laws banning interracial marriage said it was discriminatory because the ban was unsupportable. If one can draw a rational difference between two different things, it is no longer mere discrimination nor unsupportable to make that distinction.
I'm sure you're a fine person, pam, perhaps in many if not most ways a better person than me. You certainly deserve to be treated as an equal to any other citizen in all regards. Treating you or any other person as a lesser being because of sexual orientation is just inexcusable bigotry.
But, and you knew a but was coming didn't you, if it's possible to draw a rational distinction between two things (and relationships are things, not living, breathing beings) then it isn't discriminatory but rational to consider them two different things.
I hope I haven't said anything hurtful but rather clarified my original intent.
Anonymous, I am not ignoring you, I am fighting a headache. But I wanted to say that nothing you've said has been inflammatory or hurtful.
If the meds kick in, I'll write more tonight. Otherwise, tonight's more of a light writing night and I'll "see" you (and everyone else) tomorrow.
Peace out, as they say.
I lost my response to you; I hope I can reconstruct it.
I am not an attorney, but I have read Loving and Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Insofar as those, and other cases, may be consulted in the larger discussion of this issue, I wonder if the Fourteenth amendment wouldn't grant same-sex marriage, as a sectarian concept. Which is where I am "coming from."
I read the Planck study a while ago. Part of me wondered how many entered into marriage without much thought because they could, and how many when the were able despite the sunset of their relationship....
A very small study pointed to no abuse in lesbian-parented homes. Should that have any bearing on the discussion of what is and isn't a family? I don't think so; at most it's a footnote. But, there are lesbian-parented families. Definitions of what is and isn't a family are changing ....
Thank you for clarifying your adoption argument. And as for the subsidies? As long as those couples, however constructed, seeking/using IVF treatments to reproduce, sure....
I don't know why the notion of marriage as a man/woman relationship is evolving slower than the actuality of it. I don't know how to eliminate the discrimination a gay couple experiences without giving their union the same force and effect of a marriage between opposite gender participants. Many gay marriages occur in the same places of worship as straight. Are performed by the same Justices of the Peace. I really don't know else to level the playing field. And the family units, when children--whether naturally produced, adopted, or "stepped"-- and parents, etc., are involved all resemble each other much more than they don't.
I do understand the difference between legislating this and judicial proclamation and I do recognize that that's a sticking point. It's taking too long for those who are experiencing the horrid discrimination I've discussed in earlier posts.....
We probably agree more than not on the whole tax issue. ;)
Thanks for your compliments, but I think you too kind.
I appreciate your response, pam. Do you live anywhere in the vicinity of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex? While I think you are wrong I think it's also necessary to clear up why that's so.
Unlikely on the internet.
In any and all cases, I don't believe I was excessive in my use of what some would term an abuse of compliments towards you.
I live in the people's republic of Jamaica Plain, in Boston, Anonymous.
Did you see the piece on the Florida businessman who is going to stand trial for manslaughter? He adopted his girlfriend to protect his estate.... sigh.