Why government can’t get out of the marriage business

Political scientist Steven L. Taylor explains why the government can’t just get out of the marriage business (as Ron Paul called for in the GOP presidential debate and as some of you have called for on this blog):

Here’s the deal:  much of the significance of marriage is very much linked to civil-legal matters in a way that makes it impossible for government to extricate itself from its definition.  Marriage is many things that have nothing to do with government such as romance, love, friendship, lifelong companionship, and even sacred bonds.  There is  little doubt that those things can all be achieved without the government being involved (as is the case with friendship, for example).  However, marriage is also about certain mutual legal obligations regarding property, finances, children and whatnot, about which governmental intervention is sometimes necessary to resolve disputes (as is the case with any contractual relationship).  Further, marriage diminishes legal complexity in a variety issues (children, death [i.e., funeral arrangements], hospital visitations, medical decisions, etc.).  Now, we could utterly remove marriage as a legal institution, but then we would have to replace it with something else, and that something else would almost certainly be more cumbersome in terms of government entanglements that the current system.

To put it as simply as possible:  for government to truly get out of the marriage business it would have to stop recognizing the spousal relationship as having special legal standing.  This is because to recognize that relationship as having specific legal significances it would need a definition of “marriage” that could be held up to legal scrutiny (to, for example, stop people from arbitrarily claiming whatever privileges might exist for married couples).  Such a stand would have to exist whether the government issued the licenses or not.  Once the law has to define “marriage” then government is, by definition, in the “marriage business.”

To summarize the summary:  the only way to truly get government out of the marriage business would be to reduce marriage to the same status of friendship, i.e., a social relationship utterly defined by private interactions and that lacks legal significance.

As such, I just don’t see how government can get out of the marriage business, and this is why the same sex marriage issue has to be addressed.

Indeed, fundamentally, legal marriage can be seen as a means of safeguarding the property rights of both parties to the marriage, and therefore strikes me as something that a libertarian would see as a legitimate role for government to play.

There is also a sidebar to Paul’s response that raises other questions.  Stating that marriage should be “in the church” rather ignores the fact that there are people who want to get married, but who are not religious,  and given that a lot of libertarians are not religious, it seems odd for Paul to direct marriage to the church.  Granted, there is room in his answer for other private entities to operate, I suppose, but that might also create licensing issues, which could bring the government back into it (unless you want to say anybody can marry anyone at any time, but here we get back to that legal definition problem above).

via Can Government Get out of the Marriage Business?.

In addition, there are theological reasons why marriage is the business of the state and why the church cannot just take over that institution.  Can anyone explain why?

HT: Joe Carter

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    The question for Mr. Taylor is – how did marriage operate for hundreds or thousands of years outside the purvey of government? Apparently mass chaos reigned and no children could ever have possibly hoped to know who their parents were or what their inheritance might be. The entire world was engulfed in a morass of begetting without blessing, spousal abandonment, child endangerment, and all sort of other social ills that could only be cured by the legal invention of the marriage license – which really started out as a way for “gentlemen” to quickly and quietly dispose of an inconvenient wife and then quickly marry the little piece of side action without having to observe all the customary processes of unwinding marriage obligations. I could argue that the initial government interference of the marriage license increased divorce and placed the status of women and children on a less sure foundation, thereby requiring, not a removal of the licensing law, but, dream of all lawyers and poli sci profs, more government laws and regulations! A win, win for government and lawyers. The rest of us, not so much.

  • SKPeterson

    The question for Mr. Taylor is – how did marriage operate for hundreds or thousands of years outside the purvey of government? Apparently mass chaos reigned and no children could ever have possibly hoped to know who their parents were or what their inheritance might be. The entire world was engulfed in a morass of begetting without blessing, spousal abandonment, child endangerment, and all sort of other social ills that could only be cured by the legal invention of the marriage license – which really started out as a way for “gentlemen” to quickly and quietly dispose of an inconvenient wife and then quickly marry the little piece of side action without having to observe all the customary processes of unwinding marriage obligations. I could argue that the initial government interference of the marriage license increased divorce and placed the status of women and children on a less sure foundation, thereby requiring, not a removal of the licensing law, but, dream of all lawyers and poli sci profs, more government laws and regulations! A win, win for government and lawyers. The rest of us, not so much.

  • Michael Z.

    @SKPeterson 1
    You seem to make the error that “government” is limited to our western European forms of civic management. Man has always organized himself under authority, whether familial, or locational, or religious, there has always been “government”. It just hasn’t always looked like it does now.

  • Michael Z.

    @SKPeterson 1
    You seem to make the error that “government” is limited to our western European forms of civic management. Man has always organized himself under authority, whether familial, or locational, or religious, there has always been “government”. It just hasn’t always looked like it does now.

  • Stephen

    SK

    “I could argue that the initial government interference of the marriage license increased divorce and placed the status of women and children on a less sure foundation, thereby requiring, not a removal of the licensing law, but, dream of all lawyers and poli sci profs, more government laws and regulations! A win, win for government and lawyers. The rest of us, not so much.”

    Huh? Why don’t you argue that? The law is or can be very helpful to women who have deadbeat husbands. Without it, women would get screwed over a lot. Even Jesus’ teaching on marriage is about the law and that it is there to protect people, not be used for abusing them. It is about delivering justice and not to be abrogated by mere outward “rule keeping.” He did not come to abolish the law, right? It is useful for old Adam, believer and pagan alike.

    Marriage has always entailed law. Even if that law was once based solely on the customs of a community, it still carried the weight of law and its consequences and boundaries within a tribe or community. When was it ever not fundamentally a “civil” institution that grounded a community, society, etc. for the sake of good order and peace? What are you talking about? Are you just having a problem with the “size” of the civic realm and maybe its complexity in our day?

  • Stephen

    SK

    “I could argue that the initial government interference of the marriage license increased divorce and placed the status of women and children on a less sure foundation, thereby requiring, not a removal of the licensing law, but, dream of all lawyers and poli sci profs, more government laws and regulations! A win, win for government and lawyers. The rest of us, not so much.”

    Huh? Why don’t you argue that? The law is or can be very helpful to women who have deadbeat husbands. Without it, women would get screwed over a lot. Even Jesus’ teaching on marriage is about the law and that it is there to protect people, not be used for abusing them. It is about delivering justice and not to be abrogated by mere outward “rule keeping.” He did not come to abolish the law, right? It is useful for old Adam, believer and pagan alike.

    Marriage has always entailed law. Even if that law was once based solely on the customs of a community, it still carried the weight of law and its consequences and boundaries within a tribe or community. When was it ever not fundamentally a “civil” institution that grounded a community, society, etc. for the sake of good order and peace? What are you talking about? Are you just having a problem with the “size” of the civic realm and maybe its complexity in our day?

  • Cincinnatus

    My first response to this article is that it is actually a fantastic argument for gay marriage–much against its will, of course. The author makes a compelling case for some sort of privileged contract between two people–let’s call it a civil union–for the purposes of inheritance, power of attorney, property transfer, etc., but not one of these things is or need be exclusive to a heterosexual marital relationship.

    Personally, I question the value of arguments for “traditional marriage” via appeals to “public reason” (i.e., rational justifications that can satisfy the conditions of public discourse without appeals to “merely” religious, moral, or partisan claims). Robert George, for instance, attempts to make a case for heterosexual union in the Clash of Orthodoxies–a rather popular book at PHC–but it simply doesn’t work. Marriage is founded in tradition, social pragmatics, and theological sacrament. The first and third reasons no longer appeal for obvious reasons, and the second is increasingly irrelevant (for instance, it’s not even remotely true that a heterosexual couple is necessary for child birth and rearing any longer).

    Of course, I say this as an ally of “traditional marriage.” But the arguments we make simply no longer work. I’m skeptical that there are valid arguments for heterosexual marriage on the grounds of public reason, actually, especially in a liberal democracy constructed to “give the people what they want.”

  • Cincinnatus

    My first response to this article is that it is actually a fantastic argument for gay marriage–much against its will, of course. The author makes a compelling case for some sort of privileged contract between two people–let’s call it a civil union–for the purposes of inheritance, power of attorney, property transfer, etc., but not one of these things is or need be exclusive to a heterosexual marital relationship.

    Personally, I question the value of arguments for “traditional marriage” via appeals to “public reason” (i.e., rational justifications that can satisfy the conditions of public discourse without appeals to “merely” religious, moral, or partisan claims). Robert George, for instance, attempts to make a case for heterosexual union in the Clash of Orthodoxies–a rather popular book at PHC–but it simply doesn’t work. Marriage is founded in tradition, social pragmatics, and theological sacrament. The first and third reasons no longer appeal for obvious reasons, and the second is increasingly irrelevant (for instance, it’s not even remotely true that a heterosexual couple is necessary for child birth and rearing any longer).

    Of course, I say this as an ally of “traditional marriage.” But the arguments we make simply no longer work. I’m skeptical that there are valid arguments for heterosexual marriage on the grounds of public reason, actually, especially in a liberal democracy constructed to “give the people what they want.”

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    SK, if I read my Bible correctly, there was not a time prior to Noah where marriage existed independent of government, and we know how things went for every extended family save one, no?

    And I like the article our gracious host linked; I would even extend the logic per Stephen’s comment to note that the state gets involved in marriage not because of what happens when wedlock works, but precisely because of what happens when marriage is terminated or damaged for some reason. It protects the weaker vessels, and that is exactly why it can never honestly be extended to homosexuals.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    SK, if I read my Bible correctly, there was not a time prior to Noah where marriage existed independent of government, and we know how things went for every extended family save one, no?

    And I like the article our gracious host linked; I would even extend the logic per Stephen’s comment to note that the state gets involved in marriage not because of what happens when wedlock works, but precisely because of what happens when marriage is terminated or damaged for some reason. It protects the weaker vessels, and that is exactly why it can never honestly be extended to homosexuals.

  • SKPeterson

    Ah, yes but you two are saying exactly what I was saying: marriage was built upon custom and the mores of the local community, not expressly upon government, unless we are equating government with all authority. That is how I read Taylor’s argument – that government is necessary for marriage.

    Michael – Taylor is making the argument that our Western ideas of government are necessary for marriage, not civil society. I am arguing that civil society is necessary, not government. That does not preclude the cooperation of both institutions. The status of women and children in marriage and then out is problematic , but even the remedies of government often fail.

    Stephen – is government necessary for the Law to be in effect? Or is the Law separate from government? I would argue the Law is part of the ordering of civil society, whether government enforces it or not, or whether government is present or not.

  • SKPeterson

    Ah, yes but you two are saying exactly what I was saying: marriage was built upon custom and the mores of the local community, not expressly upon government, unless we are equating government with all authority. That is how I read Taylor’s argument – that government is necessary for marriage.

    Michael – Taylor is making the argument that our Western ideas of government are necessary for marriage, not civil society. I am arguing that civil society is necessary, not government. That does not preclude the cooperation of both institutions. The status of women and children in marriage and then out is problematic , but even the remedies of government often fail.

    Stephen – is government necessary for the Law to be in effect? Or is the Law separate from government? I would argue the Law is part of the ordering of civil society, whether government enforces it or not, or whether government is present or not.

  • SKPeterson

    bike – antediluvian marriages were only government sanctioned? How so?

  • SKPeterson

    bike – antediluvian marriages were only government sanctioned? How so?

  • Michael Z.

    @SKPeterson 6
    Civil Society cannot exist without an ordering institution to protect it and its members. That is what government is, whether it is the US government or a tribal unit where the chief dispenses justice. They are government.
    The problem I believe with this issue is that marriage is a tw0-fold institution, legal and spiritual. couples are bound spiritually “the Twain shall be one flesh” as Scripture says. But they are also bound to each other legally, through societal custom and responsibilities. These responsibilities have to be enforced or the second, legal, part of the institution can’t stand. This is where the tribal chief’s authority prevents the man’s dismissing his wife because he found another flame, and where the US government forces the Ex to pay child support for his abandoned family.

  • Michael Z.

    @SKPeterson 6
    Civil Society cannot exist without an ordering institution to protect it and its members. That is what government is, whether it is the US government or a tribal unit where the chief dispenses justice. They are government.
    The problem I believe with this issue is that marriage is a tw0-fold institution, legal and spiritual. couples are bound spiritually “the Twain shall be one flesh” as Scripture says. But they are also bound to each other legally, through societal custom and responsibilities. These responsibilities have to be enforced or the second, legal, part of the institution can’t stand. This is where the tribal chief’s authority prevents the man’s dismissing his wife because he found another flame, and where the US government forces the Ex to pay child support for his abandoned family.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Theological reasons for government to be in the marriage biz? ‘How about the doctrine of two kingdoms? The article cites the legal entanglements that marriage creates. This is not the business of the church. God has furnished the structure of government to manage these things through the rule of law. On the other hand, the primary function of the church is to proclaim the gospel.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Theological reasons for government to be in the marriage biz? ‘How about the doctrine of two kingdoms? The article cites the legal entanglements that marriage creates. This is not the business of the church. God has furnished the structure of government to manage these things through the rule of law. On the other hand, the primary function of the church is to proclaim the gospel.

  • Gary

    Question 1: From a strictly legal standpoint, does marriage confer any benefits that are not also conferred by a civil union?

    Question 2: From a private insurance standpoint, do insurance companies generally recognize civil unions as equivalent to marriage with regards to paying out benefits?

    Question 3: In any state that licenses civil unions, are there any restrictions preventing heterosexual couples from entering into a civil union, rather than getting married?

    Depending on the answers to those questions, the solution may be for government to _only_ recognize civil unions, that is, redefining all current marriages as civil unions, only granting licenses for civil unions, and then telling the religious if they want to call their union a “marriage” they’re free to do so, or inquire at a religious institution how to get theirs recognized as a marriage.

    This would create potential for an interesting problem for churches: suppose two Christians (male and female) entered into a civil union, but chose not to have it recognized as a Christian “marriage” for whatever reason–does their church recognize them as husband and wife or not?

  • Gary

    Question 1: From a strictly legal standpoint, does marriage confer any benefits that are not also conferred by a civil union?

    Question 2: From a private insurance standpoint, do insurance companies generally recognize civil unions as equivalent to marriage with regards to paying out benefits?

    Question 3: In any state that licenses civil unions, are there any restrictions preventing heterosexual couples from entering into a civil union, rather than getting married?

    Depending on the answers to those questions, the solution may be for government to _only_ recognize civil unions, that is, redefining all current marriages as civil unions, only granting licenses for civil unions, and then telling the religious if they want to call their union a “marriage” they’re free to do so, or inquire at a religious institution how to get theirs recognized as a marriage.

    This would create potential for an interesting problem for churches: suppose two Christians (male and female) entered into a civil union, but chose not to have it recognized as a Christian “marriage” for whatever reason–does their church recognize them as husband and wife or not?

  • Michael Z.

    @Gary: That is one way of dealing with the two-part aspect of marriage. It is actually one solution that I am not sure isn’t a good idea. (the double negative was needed to convey my doubt. sorry) However there are cultural reasons for maintaining the sanctity of marriage as a civil institution for the morals of civil society

  • Michael Z.

    @Gary: That is one way of dealing with the two-part aspect of marriage. It is actually one solution that I am not sure isn’t a good idea. (the double negative was needed to convey my doubt. sorry) However there are cultural reasons for maintaining the sanctity of marriage as a civil institution for the morals of civil society

  • Stephen

    SK

    I think you make a distinction without a real difference. “Custom” and “government” are at an essential level the same thing in relation to the Law. saddler @ 9 makes the Lutheran (biblical) point. As Michael z. points out, this has to do with authority. Whether religious/civil were more synthesized in prior ages or distinctly separate as they are now misses the fact that this “institution” is grounded in the mores and ethos of a community which “governs” its use. It is foundational as a matter of fact.

  • Stephen

    SK

    I think you make a distinction without a real difference. “Custom” and “government” are at an essential level the same thing in relation to the Law. saddler @ 9 makes the Lutheran (biblical) point. As Michael z. points out, this has to do with authority. Whether religious/civil were more synthesized in prior ages or distinctly separate as they are now misses the fact that this “institution” is grounded in the mores and ethos of a community which “governs” its use. It is foundational as a matter of fact.

  • Gary

    @Michael: A Libertarian government might pounce on the issue precisely as a way to _change_ the culture of our society, allowing more individual freedom for Americans to frame their union/relationship anyway they prefer.

    Whatever the government may or may not propose, what should be the church’s stance if _all_ marriages were recast as civil unions as a baseline, and “marriage” became something one’s conscience, culture, or church got concerned about without government influence?

  • Gary

    @Michael: A Libertarian government might pounce on the issue precisely as a way to _change_ the culture of our society, allowing more individual freedom for Americans to frame their union/relationship anyway they prefer.

    Whatever the government may or may not propose, what should be the church’s stance if _all_ marriages were recast as civil unions as a baseline, and “marriage” became something one’s conscience, culture, or church got concerned about without government influence?

  • Stephen

    Bike,

    While you and I agree that the government role is there to protect the interests of each when things go amiss in marriage, there is nothing essential about being a woman that makes her necessarily weaker in our society. Yes, women get left holding the bag more often than not with kids and such, but there is nothing about marriage per se that indicates the exact opposite could not be the case – the man could be “weaker” given our society of equal access and equal protections and potentially get short shrift without the force of law.

    I think the argument against gay marriage falls flat in this case. Depending on how you define weakness (financial is usually the way the law defines it seems to me) there is nothing about being in a gay relationship that says one partner could not be weaker. Lesbians who marry and have kids through one birthing parent might have the exact same issues with children that heteros do. Same for gay men. Should a man who already has a child enter into a gay marriage, same issues would come up it seems to me.

  • Stephen

    Bike,

    While you and I agree that the government role is there to protect the interests of each when things go amiss in marriage, there is nothing essential about being a woman that makes her necessarily weaker in our society. Yes, women get left holding the bag more often than not with kids and such, but there is nothing about marriage per se that indicates the exact opposite could not be the case – the man could be “weaker” given our society of equal access and equal protections and potentially get short shrift without the force of law.

    I think the argument against gay marriage falls flat in this case. Depending on how you define weakness (financial is usually the way the law defines it seems to me) there is nothing about being in a gay relationship that says one partner could not be weaker. Lesbians who marry and have kids through one birthing parent might have the exact same issues with children that heteros do. Same for gay men. Should a man who already has a child enter into a gay marriage, same issues would come up it seems to me.

  • Stephen

    Gary,

    Marriage is, at its most basic level, a “civil union.” It is a societal structure we recognize “civilly” as such, with all the rights, benefits and boundaries that entails. Saying “marriage” might have deeper theological/religious or emotional attachments, but how it functions in a society is basically as a recognized civil/societal union. I think you are arguing semantics.

  • Stephen

    Gary,

    Marriage is, at its most basic level, a “civil union.” It is a societal structure we recognize “civilly” as such, with all the rights, benefits and boundaries that entails. Saying “marriage” might have deeper theological/religious or emotional attachments, but how it functions in a society is basically as a recognized civil/societal union. I think you are arguing semantics.

  • Michael Z.

    @Stephen,
    Sadly enough, semantics is part of this political game…remember in “1984″ and its “newspeak” win the language win the mind.

  • Michael Z.

    @Stephen,
    Sadly enough, semantics is part of this political game…remember in “1984″ and its “newspeak” win the language win the mind.

  • SKPeterson

    Stephen @12 – the distinction is very real in the context of Taylor’s use and meaning of the term “government.”

    Taylor equates it to the manifestation of state power, not other institutions of civil society that make up the Second Kingdom. That is a very real distinction, and the danger is that if one equates authority only with government in the form of the state, or government as encompassing all of civil society in which each is essentially the same, then the sole source of authority becomes the government and other institutions are undermined and their claims to any legitimate authority are diminished. If state and custom or state and church are essentially the same, then why not get rid of custom or the church or only have state-sanctioned churches?

  • SKPeterson

    Stephen @12 – the distinction is very real in the context of Taylor’s use and meaning of the term “government.”

    Taylor equates it to the manifestation of state power, not other institutions of civil society that make up the Second Kingdom. That is a very real distinction, and the danger is that if one equates authority only with government in the form of the state, or government as encompassing all of civil society in which each is essentially the same, then the sole source of authority becomes the government and other institutions are undermined and their claims to any legitimate authority are diminished. If state and custom or state and church are essentially the same, then why not get rid of custom or the church or only have state-sanctioned churches?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Government in the marriage business is a problem when there is a multicultural society with no consistent community standards. A society as fragmented as ours can’t agree on much of anything.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Government in the marriage business is a problem when there is a multicultural society with no consistent community standards. A society as fragmented as ours can’t agree on much of anything.

  • Gary

    @Stephen–I do see your point, that marriage is a basic (legal) level a civil union. I also see SK’s point, namely, the danger of collapsing all lefthand institutions, including a society’s culture, into one lefthand Kingdom institution, the State. But a fundamental question has to be from whence does a civil union/marriage derive its legitimacy? And it’s a thorny question, because if that legitimacy is established by the State, then by what right–either Constitutionally or Two Kingdom Theologically–does the church escape recognizing the legitimacy of homosexual unions?

  • Gary

    @Stephen–I do see your point, that marriage is a basic (legal) level a civil union. I also see SK’s point, namely, the danger of collapsing all lefthand institutions, including a society’s culture, into one lefthand Kingdom institution, the State. But a fundamental question has to be from whence does a civil union/marriage derive its legitimacy? And it’s a thorny question, because if that legitimacy is established by the State, then by what right–either Constitutionally or Two Kingdom Theologically–does the church escape recognizing the legitimacy of homosexual unions?

  • fws

    Sk @ 17

    I am not familiar with taylor. It sound like he is defining terms in order to prove a thesis. that is not usually a good idea. it tends to ignore reality. But as I said, I am not familiar with Taylor so my comment is probably off point.

    Stephen is defining “govt” as that hidden hand of God that is “in , with and under” everything in the world that looks like order. SK I am seeing that you are maybe missing some pieces of how the Lutheran Confessions identify what is the Revealed Law of God.

    Let’s quickly review the Confessional teaching on the Law of God. This is rarely presented , but it is all available in the Apology to the Augsburg Confessions. I will summarize here:

    The Lutheran confessions identify this Law (based on rom 2:15) as being Divinely Revealed in the Reason of All Men. This Law in the mind agrees with the Decalog. Why ? it is the same Law.

    There is a part of the Law that Reason and those without Bibles are veiled to. Because of this Veil Reason is of the opinion that the Law of God looks exactly like civil Law. It is about doing the Letter of the Law and is kept by following a written code.

    So what is that part of the Divinely Revealed Law that Reason is “veiled ” to or blind to? It is only this part:

    The confession say that this part of the Law that is “veiled” to reason is “peculiarly ” found in “the 1st Table of the Decalog that deals with movements of the heart.” This is that part of the Decalog that demands faith alone in Christ alone. Faith in Christ is what the Apology calls “new movements of the heart.”

    You can find all this in the first part of the Apology art IV “On Justification”. and especially in art III “Love and the Fullfilling of the Law”.

    The confessions say further, that veiled Reason is only unveiled when men are given “new heart movements”, ie faith in Christ. This is to know that sin is not in what we do, as civil laws work, but rather is about our hearts that are full of faith in anything BUT Christ. (Apology art I).

    So as st paul says, even in those that have no bibles, the work of the Law is written in the faith-filled hearts of all men that hate the Law that is Divinely Revealed in their Reason or conscience. But it also makes them do love for others. It forces them to do it and accuses and also excuses them. (rom 2:15). “faith-filled hearts” of pagans? Apology art I says that Original sin is that the heart is filled full of faith in anything BUT Christ. So for Lutherans even sin is about faith. What we do is “mere” symptom.

    This work of the Law that is written in their hearts is death. It is mortification. And God works all the 1st article goodness and mercy precisely by employing that mortification to extort his goodness and mercy out of Old Adam. This is the source of all second table Law. This is the Law Stephen is talking about SK.

    Now then, here is the most important part for Christians:

    That part of the Law that is veiled to Reason , is the Law that Only the Church can preach.

    Why is that?

    It is that part of the Law that can only be unveiled when it is accompanied with the Holy Gospel . Only the Church is able to unveil that part of the Law because it alone has the Holy Gospel. It is this form of preaching the Law alone that works true repentance in the hearts of men.

    The result of this preaching is that men are terrified of their best and most honorable and noble works, and so then only present the Obedience of Christ to God and see that the are utterly void of true obedience in their hearts, even though outwardly they may impeccably keep the Law of God.

    This is really the sum total of the Lutheran teaching of the Law of God.

  • fws

    Sk @ 17

    I am not familiar with taylor. It sound like he is defining terms in order to prove a thesis. that is not usually a good idea. it tends to ignore reality. But as I said, I am not familiar with Taylor so my comment is probably off point.

    Stephen is defining “govt” as that hidden hand of God that is “in , with and under” everything in the world that looks like order. SK I am seeing that you are maybe missing some pieces of how the Lutheran Confessions identify what is the Revealed Law of God.

    Let’s quickly review the Confessional teaching on the Law of God. This is rarely presented , but it is all available in the Apology to the Augsburg Confessions. I will summarize here:

    The Lutheran confessions identify this Law (based on rom 2:15) as being Divinely Revealed in the Reason of All Men. This Law in the mind agrees with the Decalog. Why ? it is the same Law.

    There is a part of the Law that Reason and those without Bibles are veiled to. Because of this Veil Reason is of the opinion that the Law of God looks exactly like civil Law. It is about doing the Letter of the Law and is kept by following a written code.

    So what is that part of the Divinely Revealed Law that Reason is “veiled ” to or blind to? It is only this part:

    The confession say that this part of the Law that is “veiled” to reason is “peculiarly ” found in “the 1st Table of the Decalog that deals with movements of the heart.” This is that part of the Decalog that demands faith alone in Christ alone. Faith in Christ is what the Apology calls “new movements of the heart.”

    You can find all this in the first part of the Apology art IV “On Justification”. and especially in art III “Love and the Fullfilling of the Law”.

    The confessions say further, that veiled Reason is only unveiled when men are given “new heart movements”, ie faith in Christ. This is to know that sin is not in what we do, as civil laws work, but rather is about our hearts that are full of faith in anything BUT Christ. (Apology art I).

    So as st paul says, even in those that have no bibles, the work of the Law is written in the faith-filled hearts of all men that hate the Law that is Divinely Revealed in their Reason or conscience. But it also makes them do love for others. It forces them to do it and accuses and also excuses them. (rom 2:15). “faith-filled hearts” of pagans? Apology art I says that Original sin is that the heart is filled full of faith in anything BUT Christ. So for Lutherans even sin is about faith. What we do is “mere” symptom.

    This work of the Law that is written in their hearts is death. It is mortification. And God works all the 1st article goodness and mercy precisely by employing that mortification to extort his goodness and mercy out of Old Adam. This is the source of all second table Law. This is the Law Stephen is talking about SK.

    Now then, here is the most important part for Christians:

    That part of the Law that is veiled to Reason , is the Law that Only the Church can preach.

    Why is that?

    It is that part of the Law that can only be unveiled when it is accompanied with the Holy Gospel . Only the Church is able to unveil that part of the Law because it alone has the Holy Gospel. It is this form of preaching the Law alone that works true repentance in the hearts of men.

    The result of this preaching is that men are terrified of their best and most honorable and noble works, and so then only present the Obedience of Christ to God and see that the are utterly void of true obedience in their hearts, even though outwardly they may impeccably keep the Law of God.

    This is really the sum total of the Lutheran teaching of the Law of God.

  • JonB

    I venture into this conversation acknowledging that I’m a puny minnow in an ocean of thought. But I think that Lutheranism especially has a framework that better addresses the challenges of the institution of marriage than Two Kingdom approaches. That framework is the three estates; Church, Family, and Government. This framework draws heavily on Luther’s Commentary on Genesis; it is worth reading for this alone.

    Marriage is the creation of a new family and ought to be recognized by the other two estates, church and government. Marriage is not simply a construct of society; it is instituted by God from creation, regardless of if we recognize this or not. It is a matter of the First Article of the Creed and applicable to all cultures and times. It predates the fall. It falls under the application of Natural Law.

    The church has a role in recognizing that marriage is God’s institution and has something to say about marriage. But marriage does exist in places that are beyond the church. Likewise, the Government, in whatever form, has a say on Marriage. But marriage isn’t a function of the government. The balancing agent in all this is the Natural Law. Neither the church nor the government can demand something or proscribe aspects of marriage that are contrary to Natural Law. The church recognizes a marriage before the civil authorities until that marriage is contrary to Natural Law. The government recognizes marriages conducted by the church, unless that marriage is somehow against Natural Law. When the institutions of church and state are missing, (such as frontier settings or inaccessible because of cost or social hurdles) the institution of the family is entered into by common-law marriage, which is then recognized by the other two institutions, provided the common-law marriage is in conformity with Natural Law.

    It is a difficult perspective to share in a comment section on a blog. It assumes a lot of shared perspectives. But it is worth considering in the midst of our muddled society.

  • JonB

    I venture into this conversation acknowledging that I’m a puny minnow in an ocean of thought. But I think that Lutheranism especially has a framework that better addresses the challenges of the institution of marriage than Two Kingdom approaches. That framework is the three estates; Church, Family, and Government. This framework draws heavily on Luther’s Commentary on Genesis; it is worth reading for this alone.

    Marriage is the creation of a new family and ought to be recognized by the other two estates, church and government. Marriage is not simply a construct of society; it is instituted by God from creation, regardless of if we recognize this or not. It is a matter of the First Article of the Creed and applicable to all cultures and times. It predates the fall. It falls under the application of Natural Law.

    The church has a role in recognizing that marriage is God’s institution and has something to say about marriage. But marriage does exist in places that are beyond the church. Likewise, the Government, in whatever form, has a say on Marriage. But marriage isn’t a function of the government. The balancing agent in all this is the Natural Law. Neither the church nor the government can demand something or proscribe aspects of marriage that are contrary to Natural Law. The church recognizes a marriage before the civil authorities until that marriage is contrary to Natural Law. The government recognizes marriages conducted by the church, unless that marriage is somehow against Natural Law. When the institutions of church and state are missing, (such as frontier settings or inaccessible because of cost or social hurdles) the institution of the family is entered into by common-law marriage, which is then recognized by the other two institutions, provided the common-law marriage is in conformity with Natural Law.

    It is a difficult perspective to share in a comment section on a blog. It assumes a lot of shared perspectives. But it is worth considering in the midst of our muddled society.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    SK: I was actually saying that prior to Noah and God’s institution of the death penalty, there was no government sanction for marriage. The argument here is that in Genesis 9:6, God institutes the death penalty, and this presumes an authority for administering it. Soon later, we read about Nimrod and his kingdom, and a few generations later, we read about Abraham and how the kings of the Philistines and Egyptians honor marriage as part of their law.

    Stephen; regarding a weaker partner in a homosexual relationship, the “femme” of such a relationship is hardly as vulnerable as a mother or child. Moreover, even if he were, your “could be” is not an always. You are confusing the logical categories, hence your attempt to apply the argument fails.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    SK: I was actually saying that prior to Noah and God’s institution of the death penalty, there was no government sanction for marriage. The argument here is that in Genesis 9:6, God institutes the death penalty, and this presumes an authority for administering it. Soon later, we read about Nimrod and his kingdom, and a few generations later, we read about Abraham and how the kings of the Philistines and Egyptians honor marriage as part of their law.

    Stephen; regarding a weaker partner in a homosexual relationship, the “femme” of such a relationship is hardly as vulnerable as a mother or child. Moreover, even if he were, your “could be” is not an always. You are confusing the logical categories, hence your attempt to apply the argument fails.

  • DonS

    The primary purpose of the civil institution of marriage (as opposed to God’s institution of marriage) is to protect children, and their primary caregivers (usually the mom). Plain and simply, society has a strong interest in ensuring that its future generations are preserved, and parents, together, have a fundamental right to direct the raising of children. So, society’s interest is in ensuring that those parents have a stable and secure institution and relationship within which to do their duty with respect to their children.

    Somehow, a judge in California thought that this compelling interest was not even a rational one.

  • DonS

    The primary purpose of the civil institution of marriage (as opposed to God’s institution of marriage) is to protect children, and their primary caregivers (usually the mom). Plain and simply, society has a strong interest in ensuring that its future generations are preserved, and parents, together, have a fundamental right to direct the raising of children. So, society’s interest is in ensuring that those parents have a stable and secure institution and relationship within which to do their duty with respect to their children.

    Somehow, a judge in California thought that this compelling interest was not even a rational one.

  • fws

    JonB @ 21

    Wow. I am grateful you are pointing us to Luthers awesome Genesis commentary. I did not think to do that. Great catch!

    I would point out a couple of other points from the Lutheran confessions. This will dovetail what you have presented in the the true Doctrine of the “Two Kingdoms and Their Respective Two Kinds of Righteousness”.

    If you read Luther’s Genesis Commentary carefully, you will see the following:

    (1) Luther includes all three estates or ordos, Family, Church and Society as part of the Earthly Kingdom that Luther also refers to variously as “Man’s Kingdom”, “Old Adam”, The Kingdom of the Law”, “The Visible Kingdom” , “the kingdom of good works” and too many other labels to mention.

    (2) note that Luther suggests that the family is the basis for all civil government. You sort of reversed that in your comment I think.

    (3) Note especially here that Luther includes the Church here. The Church in Luther’s mind is just another form of earthly Govt to maintain order.

    This is the Kingdom of the Law. In this Kingdom contains ALL we can see and do in our bodies. It is the Romans eight “flesh” as in ” flesh vs spirit”. it includes fully the churchly Ordo or estate. Because all we can see and do in Church is stuff we are commanded to do and stuff we can see. Law! It is only “in with and under” that stuff we can see, that ushers in the “heavenly kingdom”. And this only comes “in with and under ” the church and nowhere else on earth. but it “comes in a way that cannot be seen” as Jesus says in the Gospel according to Saint Luke.

    And the Apology echos this by suggesting that “Holy Catholic Church” in the creed is that visible , earthly kingdom government, that contains, “in , with and under it” , the “communion of saints” that is , in fact, that other Kingdom called the “heavenly Kingdom.

    So what then is the other Kingdom? It is the heavenly Kingdom. This heavenly kingdom doesnt include anything we can see or do in our bodies. How could it? those things are already ALL and FULLY included in that other Earthly Kingdom. So this Kingdom includes alone , invisible faith, alone, in Christ alone.

    So you see? The Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms and their respective Two Kinds of Righeousness ” is actually merely the casuistic modality of the Doctrine of Law and Gospel.

    Luther present this Two Kingdoms Doctrine rather vividly his Sermon referred to by FC art VI as the actual basis and further elaboration of that article. So what does the Two Kingdoms have to do with “the Lutheran Third Use of the Law?” Read the sermon and find out!

  • fws

    JonB @ 21

    Wow. I am grateful you are pointing us to Luthers awesome Genesis commentary. I did not think to do that. Great catch!

    I would point out a couple of other points from the Lutheran confessions. This will dovetail what you have presented in the the true Doctrine of the “Two Kingdoms and Their Respective Two Kinds of Righteousness”.

    If you read Luther’s Genesis Commentary carefully, you will see the following:

    (1) Luther includes all three estates or ordos, Family, Church and Society as part of the Earthly Kingdom that Luther also refers to variously as “Man’s Kingdom”, “Old Adam”, The Kingdom of the Law”, “The Visible Kingdom” , “the kingdom of good works” and too many other labels to mention.

    (2) note that Luther suggests that the family is the basis for all civil government. You sort of reversed that in your comment I think.

    (3) Note especially here that Luther includes the Church here. The Church in Luther’s mind is just another form of earthly Govt to maintain order.

    This is the Kingdom of the Law. In this Kingdom contains ALL we can see and do in our bodies. It is the Romans eight “flesh” as in ” flesh vs spirit”. it includes fully the churchly Ordo or estate. Because all we can see and do in Church is stuff we are commanded to do and stuff we can see. Law! It is only “in with and under” that stuff we can see, that ushers in the “heavenly kingdom”. And this only comes “in with and under ” the church and nowhere else on earth. but it “comes in a way that cannot be seen” as Jesus says in the Gospel according to Saint Luke.

    And the Apology echos this by suggesting that “Holy Catholic Church” in the creed is that visible , earthly kingdom government, that contains, “in , with and under it” , the “communion of saints” that is , in fact, that other Kingdom called the “heavenly Kingdom.

    So what then is the other Kingdom? It is the heavenly Kingdom. This heavenly kingdom doesnt include anything we can see or do in our bodies. How could it? those things are already ALL and FULLY included in that other Earthly Kingdom. So this Kingdom includes alone , invisible faith, alone, in Christ alone.

    So you see? The Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms and their respective Two Kinds of Righeousness ” is actually merely the casuistic modality of the Doctrine of Law and Gospel.

    Luther present this Two Kingdoms Doctrine rather vividly his Sermon referred to by FC art VI as the actual basis and further elaboration of that article. So what does the Two Kingdoms have to do with “the Lutheran Third Use of the Law?” Read the sermon and find out!

  • Gary

    @Jon–yes, I think I agree with your basic insight, although I wouldn’t see the need to tie it to the concept of Natural Law. You also needn’t bring to the argument that marriage is instituted by God, because what this turns on is indifferent to _how_ marriage was instituted. What does matter is that _government_ didn’t invent or institute marriage. Marriage is an institution antecedent to all earthly governments, and while a Lutheran Two Kingdom doctrine allows for the State to regulate aspects of how marriage is entered into and how one may be dissolved, government does not have the authority to redefine or recreate this earlier institution it had no hand in creating in the first place.

    And yet a few states have redefined marriage to include homosexual unions, notably Iowa and New Hampshire. It seems to me that even though the license says “marriage” on it, in those two states there is a serious question whether the institution couples are entering into is, in fact, the ancient one (of which the Christian claim is it was once and for all instituted by God between one man and one woman), or whether this is some Johnny-come-lately institution, entirely the creation of these states, masquerading as marriage.

    And where does God fit in all this? At what point do we err on the side of caution and tell Iowans to get married in Nebraska or Missouri so they have no question about whether they are legitimately married? And just as importantly, how long can any state defy what you are calling Natural Law, but I would call the boundaries of its delegated authority, before God delegitimizes that state!

  • Gary

    @Jon–yes, I think I agree with your basic insight, although I wouldn’t see the need to tie it to the concept of Natural Law. You also needn’t bring to the argument that marriage is instituted by God, because what this turns on is indifferent to _how_ marriage was instituted. What does matter is that _government_ didn’t invent or institute marriage. Marriage is an institution antecedent to all earthly governments, and while a Lutheran Two Kingdom doctrine allows for the State to regulate aspects of how marriage is entered into and how one may be dissolved, government does not have the authority to redefine or recreate this earlier institution it had no hand in creating in the first place.

    And yet a few states have redefined marriage to include homosexual unions, notably Iowa and New Hampshire. It seems to me that even though the license says “marriage” on it, in those two states there is a serious question whether the institution couples are entering into is, in fact, the ancient one (of which the Christian claim is it was once and for all instituted by God between one man and one woman), or whether this is some Johnny-come-lately institution, entirely the creation of these states, masquerading as marriage.

    And where does God fit in all this? At what point do we err on the side of caution and tell Iowans to get married in Nebraska or Missouri so they have no question about whether they are legitimately married? And just as importantly, how long can any state defy what you are calling Natural Law, but I would call the boundaries of its delegated authority, before God delegitimizes that state!

  • fws

    don s @ 23

    why make a distinction between marriage as a civil institution and God’s institution. Lutherans see them as one and the same.

    why do you see it as important to make such a distinction?

  • fws

    don s @ 23

    why make a distinction between marriage as a civil institution and God’s institution. Lutherans see them as one and the same.

    why do you see it as important to make such a distinction?

  • fws

    JonB @ 21

    I would like to point out the following:

    The Lutheran confessions and Luther’s personal writings quite frequently make use of the term “natural law.”

    you will never find, anywhere in those writings where they mean by natural law anything other that Reason.

    St Thomas Aquinas has a far more expansive definition of Natural Law. By the fact that Lutherans never identify anything but alone and narrowly Reason as being = to natural law, you can know that the Lutherans completely rejected St Thomas’ definition of that term and the aristotelian ideas of man’s “telos” as being a revelation of Gods Image, etc etc.

    why did they reject this Thomastic/Aristotelian version of Natural Law? . That is simple:
    This would be to make Original righeousness and the Image of God = conformity to the Law. That would mean that the Gospel has as it’s end a Law purpose, which is to reconform us again to the Law of God. Calvin also shares this view. So ultimately, the Holy Gospel serves the Law of God eh?

    Lutherans reject this notion in favor of saying that the Original Righeousness and Image of God are alone faith alone in Christ alone. (apology art I)

  • fws

    JonB @ 21

    I would like to point out the following:

    The Lutheran confessions and Luther’s personal writings quite frequently make use of the term “natural law.”

    you will never find, anywhere in those writings where they mean by natural law anything other that Reason.

    St Thomas Aquinas has a far more expansive definition of Natural Law. By the fact that Lutherans never identify anything but alone and narrowly Reason as being = to natural law, you can know that the Lutherans completely rejected St Thomas’ definition of that term and the aristotelian ideas of man’s “telos” as being a revelation of Gods Image, etc etc.

    why did they reject this Thomastic/Aristotelian version of Natural Law? . That is simple:
    This would be to make Original righeousness and the Image of God = conformity to the Law. That would mean that the Gospel has as it’s end a Law purpose, which is to reconform us again to the Law of God. Calvin also shares this view. So ultimately, the Holy Gospel serves the Law of God eh?

    Lutherans reject this notion in favor of saying that the Original Righeousness and Image of God are alone faith alone in Christ alone. (apology art I)

  • fws

    Gary @ 25

    You will find that the Lutheran confessions and Luther often use the term “natural law.” You will also find that they ALWAYS narrowly define the meaning of that term to be Reason, as the Law of God Divinely Revealed in the Minds of Men that is the same Law as that found in the Decalog.

    From this you can be certain that the Lutheran fathers rejected the definition of natural law that St Thomas proposed base on aristotle that you seem to have adopted.

    so if I am right (and I am!), and Natural Law = Reason, then how would that affect your opinion as expressed in your post?

  • fws

    Gary @ 25

    You will find that the Lutheran confessions and Luther often use the term “natural law.” You will also find that they ALWAYS narrowly define the meaning of that term to be Reason, as the Law of God Divinely Revealed in the Minds of Men that is the same Law as that found in the Decalog.

    From this you can be certain that the Lutheran fathers rejected the definition of natural law that St Thomas proposed base on aristotle that you seem to have adopted.

    so if I am right (and I am!), and Natural Law = Reason, then how would that affect your opinion as expressed in your post?

  • DonS

    FWS @ 26: Quite simply, FWS, civil laws are for all citizens, regardless of their faith.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 26: Quite simply, FWS, civil laws are for all citizens, regardless of their faith.

  • Stephen

    SK – this last part of your post @ 17 is a red herring.

    “If state and custom or state and church are essentially the same, then why not get rid of custom or the church or only have state-sanctioned churches?”

    There are not, as Gary seems to suggest @ 19, more than “one lefthand kingdom.” It is all the same Kingdom and it is all Law and it is all instituted by God to bring about goodness and mercy. Government, customs, etc. or as Frank likes to say “poop scoop ordinances, nagging spouses and dirty diapers that “nag” to be changed on the baby” are all the Divine Law written in the mind as Reason (what Frank is saying). All law all the time. Those things still get done regardless of the institutions because God is at work in all law to compell us. And that goes for being compelled by the COMMAND to preach and baptize. All old Adam being gigged to do it by the law.

    In the discussion about marriage, what part of property and mutual care of children, usually the two main things government/legal system is set up to manage regarding marriage, should the “law as civil authority” not be useful/used for (1st use, if that helps)? Nothing about marriage that is eternal (sacramental) according to Jesus and St. Paul in Romans. It is an earthly kingdom, second table thing. Only faith alone in Christ is eternal.

    If in some far-fetched universe the boogey man of the State were to take over all institutions, the goodness and mercy of God would still happen – i.e. people would still have babies and form families and be bonded in marriage. Marriage will not disappear. We don’t do the law.

  • Stephen

    SK – this last part of your post @ 17 is a red herring.

    “If state and custom or state and church are essentially the same, then why not get rid of custom or the church or only have state-sanctioned churches?”

    There are not, as Gary seems to suggest @ 19, more than “one lefthand kingdom.” It is all the same Kingdom and it is all Law and it is all instituted by God to bring about goodness and mercy. Government, customs, etc. or as Frank likes to say “poop scoop ordinances, nagging spouses and dirty diapers that “nag” to be changed on the baby” are all the Divine Law written in the mind as Reason (what Frank is saying). All law all the time. Those things still get done regardless of the institutions because God is at work in all law to compell us. And that goes for being compelled by the COMMAND to preach and baptize. All old Adam being gigged to do it by the law.

    In the discussion about marriage, what part of property and mutual care of children, usually the two main things government/legal system is set up to manage regarding marriage, should the “law as civil authority” not be useful/used for (1st use, if that helps)? Nothing about marriage that is eternal (sacramental) according to Jesus and St. Paul in Romans. It is an earthly kingdom, second table thing. Only faith alone in Christ is eternal.

    If in some far-fetched universe the boogey man of the State were to take over all institutions, the goodness and mercy of God would still happen – i.e. people would still have babies and form families and be bonded in marriage. Marriage will not disappear. We don’t do the law.

  • Stephen

    Bike -

    Now you get a “Huh?”

    You are hung up on gender roles and stereotypes. I made no mention of that, neither does it matter. I did say that anyone in a relationship can be “weaker” on the kinds of terms the civil law has a stake in managing – property and children – the ones we actually agree on. In what way could a gay partner not get raked over the coals, abandoned to pick up the pieces of a family, or robbed by an expensive divorce lawyer should a gay couple that were married split up?

    Sorry, but your argument is premised on a stereotype.

  • Stephen

    Bike -

    Now you get a “Huh?”

    You are hung up on gender roles and stereotypes. I made no mention of that, neither does it matter. I did say that anyone in a relationship can be “weaker” on the kinds of terms the civil law has a stake in managing – property and children – the ones we actually agree on. In what way could a gay partner not get raked over the coals, abandoned to pick up the pieces of a family, or robbed by an expensive divorce lawyer should a gay couple that were married split up?

    Sorry, but your argument is premised on a stereotype.

  • Gary

    FWS @ 28:

    Are sure you’re answering/asking me? I was only responding to JonB (21), who first brought it (Natural Law) up.

    From a civil (albeit theistic) point of view, I’m offering that there’s a real difference between regulating and redefining, and the legitimate authority of the government to regulate is overstepped when the government attempts to redefine what marriage is.

    Neither Luther nor the Confessions have much direct bearing on this, although there’s no doubt Luther would go ballistic. But this is, after all, left hand kingdom stuff, so I think we have to approach it from that angle, don’t you?

  • Gary

    FWS @ 28:

    Are sure you’re answering/asking me? I was only responding to JonB (21), who first brought it (Natural Law) up.

    From a civil (albeit theistic) point of view, I’m offering that there’s a real difference between regulating and redefining, and the legitimate authority of the government to regulate is overstepped when the government attempts to redefine what marriage is.

    Neither Luther nor the Confessions have much direct bearing on this, although there’s no doubt Luther would go ballistic. But this is, after all, left hand kingdom stuff, so I think we have to approach it from that angle, don’t you?

  • fws

    gary @ 32

    dear brother, take my comment as a side bar from one Lutheran to another. You mentioned natural law in a way that did not sound like the Lutheran and confessional definition of that term.

    Lots of lutherans are digging into the roman catholic and scholastic version of that term that the confessions are directly aimed at rejecting.

    So I was hoping my comment would be helpful.

    and yes, marriage, as with matters of the church on earth, are all earthly temporal govermental matters that are all flesh that will perish with the earth. along with all who trust in those thing for eternal Life.

  • fws

    gary @ 32

    dear brother, take my comment as a side bar from one Lutheran to another. You mentioned natural law in a way that did not sound like the Lutheran and confessional definition of that term.

    Lots of lutherans are digging into the roman catholic and scholastic version of that term that the confessions are directly aimed at rejecting.

    So I was hoping my comment would be helpful.

    and yes, marriage, as with matters of the church on earth, are all earthly temporal govermental matters that are all flesh that will perish with the earth. along with all who trust in those thing for eternal Life.

  • Gary

    Stephen @ 30

    Correction: I never suggested there is more than one lefthand Kingdom, I expressed there are multiple _institutions_ that are distinct but all part of the lefthand Kingdom.

  • Gary

    Stephen @ 30

    Correction: I never suggested there is more than one lefthand Kingdom, I expressed there are multiple _institutions_ that are distinct but all part of the lefthand Kingdom.

  • fws

    gary @ 32

    the difference as to redefining is a difference without a distinction.

    It would be the equivalent of “redefining ” the Law of gravity. God’s Laws , by their very essence, are quite impossible to redefine. They then would still persist in existing, but merely under another name is all.

    So that redefining marriage thang is alot of BS.

  • fws

    gary @ 32

    the difference as to redefining is a difference without a distinction.

    It would be the equivalent of “redefining ” the Law of gravity. God’s Laws , by their very essence, are quite impossible to redefine. They then would still persist in existing, but merely under another name is all.

    So that redefining marriage thang is alot of BS.

  • Gary

    fws @ 32

    No offense taken at all, I was just a bit caught off guard. I still wonder why no one has tried answering any of the questions of my original post.

  • Gary

    fws @ 32

    No offense taken at all, I was just a bit caught off guard. I still wonder why no one has tried answering any of the questions of my original post.

  • Stephen

    Gary,

    Sorry if I misinterpreted this statement, but it sure sounds like that is was what you were saying:

    “I also see SK’s point, namely, the danger of collapsing all lefthand institutions, including a society’s culture, into one lefthand Kingdom institution, the State.”

    Another distinction being made without a difference it seems to me. Even if we had bureaucrats running churches (isn’t that what elders, boards and synods kinda are?) that would not cancel out the law, the one you rightly define as established by God. The all encompassing “State” that is the boogey man of conservatism isn’t eternal. If that were to actually happen, which I doubt, God is still faithful. In, with and under is the kingdom of heaven which comes in a way that cannot be seen. God would still have his way and would do what God does – bring goodness, mercy and salvation.

    There is only one law, accusing every conscience so that goodness and mercy happen on earth (such as that civil institution we call marriage that protects family bonds and benefits society for the peace of all). It is the same law, expressed in the 2nd table, what the Confessions call “natural law” as that which agrees with and is part and parcel of our human Reason (way different than scholasticism). It is there accusing all of us, so that we form institutions, like synods and congregations, and governments, etc. in this earthly kingdom – Christian and pagan – so that goodness, mercy, peace, and justice happen. It is useful in just this way, but it is not eternal. It is all left hand kingdom stuff.

  • Stephen

    Gary,

    Sorry if I misinterpreted this statement, but it sure sounds like that is was what you were saying:

    “I also see SK’s point, namely, the danger of collapsing all lefthand institutions, including a society’s culture, into one lefthand Kingdom institution, the State.”

    Another distinction being made without a difference it seems to me. Even if we had bureaucrats running churches (isn’t that what elders, boards and synods kinda are?) that would not cancel out the law, the one you rightly define as established by God. The all encompassing “State” that is the boogey man of conservatism isn’t eternal. If that were to actually happen, which I doubt, God is still faithful. In, with and under is the kingdom of heaven which comes in a way that cannot be seen. God would still have his way and would do what God does – bring goodness, mercy and salvation.

    There is only one law, accusing every conscience so that goodness and mercy happen on earth (such as that civil institution we call marriage that protects family bonds and benefits society for the peace of all). It is the same law, expressed in the 2nd table, what the Confessions call “natural law” as that which agrees with and is part and parcel of our human Reason (way different than scholasticism). It is there accusing all of us, so that we form institutions, like synods and congregations, and governments, etc. in this earthly kingdom – Christian and pagan – so that goodness, mercy, peace, and justice happen. It is useful in just this way, but it is not eternal. It is all left hand kingdom stuff.

  • Stephen

    Gary,

    I was trying to address your questions by saying that I think they are based on some premise that isn’t real. Calling something “marriage” or a “civil union” does not change how they function in society on any essential level. The way they function, the way in which these institutions are useful for the purposes intended in a society is basically the same – defining boundaries, protecting family interests/children, financial/property, etc.

  • Stephen

    Gary,

    I was trying to address your questions by saying that I think they are based on some premise that isn’t real. Calling something “marriage” or a “civil union” does not change how they function in society on any essential level. The way they function, the way in which these institutions are useful for the purposes intended in a society is basically the same – defining boundaries, protecting family interests/children, financial/property, etc.

  • Stephen

    So I guess I would answer your questions @10 – no, not really as far as how they function for a society/don’t know but why not? Seems like they should under equal protection/I don’t agree that there is some difference. If we are preserving a difference between these two things in our government, that to me seems largely political to appease some who want to guard the term “marriage.” But as far as how they actually function in society, I don’t see any essential difference, not really.

    The church certainly conveys/imposes a level of seriousness upon marriage commitments as it does with all relationships, but this comes from the same law that compels governments to administer justice – namely, the whole of the law which is to do love and mercy and service for the neighbor. That is the telos of the law, all law, on earth. But it does not save (give life) because it is in this world which is passing away. And still, if governments do not function to these ends of bringing about peace, God will send armies and even dictators (the State!) so that goodness and mercy happen. Why? Because God is love. He’s in the business of getting good gifts to us.

  • Stephen

    So I guess I would answer your questions @10 – no, not really as far as how they function for a society/don’t know but why not? Seems like they should under equal protection/I don’t agree that there is some difference. If we are preserving a difference between these two things in our government, that to me seems largely political to appease some who want to guard the term “marriage.” But as far as how they actually function in society, I don’t see any essential difference, not really.

    The church certainly conveys/imposes a level of seriousness upon marriage commitments as it does with all relationships, but this comes from the same law that compels governments to administer justice – namely, the whole of the law which is to do love and mercy and service for the neighbor. That is the telos of the law, all law, on earth. But it does not save (give life) because it is in this world which is passing away. And still, if governments do not function to these ends of bringing about peace, God will send armies and even dictators (the State!) so that goodness and mercy happen. Why? Because God is love. He’s in the business of getting good gifts to us.

  • Gary

    Stephen, thanks for taking a stab at the 3 I raised in 10. Taylor is being described as political scientist, and so he needs to frame his defense (of why government _can’t_ get out of the marriage biz) in terms of social contracts.

    If people want to enter into civil unions, I don’t see anything stopping them.

  • Gary

    Stephen, thanks for taking a stab at the 3 I raised in 10. Taylor is being described as political scientist, and so he needs to frame his defense (of why government _can’t_ get out of the marriage biz) in terms of social contracts.

    If people want to enter into civil unions, I don’t see anything stopping them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I still think that the trend is selecting for people who genuinely love kids and are more agreeable etc. About 27% of women have over 50% of the kids. More than half of all children have at least two siblings. Over 70% of all kids live with both biological parents. In 1970 10% of women over 40 had no children. Now 20% of women over 40 have no children. If genes unfriendly to kids are dying fast, because folks who don’t want kids can so effectively self select themselves out of the gene pool, we could potentially see quite a rebound in marriage minded folks.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I still think that the trend is selecting for people who genuinely love kids and are more agreeable etc. About 27% of women have over 50% of the kids. More than half of all children have at least two siblings. Over 70% of all kids live with both biological parents. In 1970 10% of women over 40 had no children. Now 20% of women over 40 have no children. If genes unfriendly to kids are dying fast, because folks who don’t want kids can so effectively self select themselves out of the gene pool, we could potentially see quite a rebound in marriage minded folks.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Do trends drive laws or do laws drive trends? Some of both? Which is more dynamic?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Do trends drive laws or do laws drive trends? Some of both? Which is more dynamic?

  • Rose

    Has anyone read “Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy”?
    The deconstruction of marriage is tied to the devaluation of children.
    We place children on the sidelines of our life.
    We hurry them to be adults.
    Then marriage becomes an appendix:
    what was this ever for?

  • Rose

    Has anyone read “Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy”?
    The deconstruction of marriage is tied to the devaluation of children.
    We place children on the sidelines of our life.
    We hurry them to be adults.
    Then marriage becomes an appendix:
    what was this ever for?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Stephen, my note on the weaker vessels is not only in the Scriptures–1 Peter 3:7 to be precise–but as the father of five children and husband to their mother, I assure you that the woman’s weakness is anything but stereotypical, hypothetical, or debateable. Strong in bearing children, my wife is, but just as certainly the process of bringing them into the world makes her–and my children–extremely vulnerable. There is no consistent, plausible equivalent in homosexual relationships.

    Sorry, but let’s not play games here. The realities of the marriage relationship are a matter of fact, and one of them is that wives tend to bear children at some point in their lives. Government involvement in family relationships is by and large predicated on this principle, and we forget it at our peril.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Stephen, my note on the weaker vessels is not only in the Scriptures–1 Peter 3:7 to be precise–but as the father of five children and husband to their mother, I assure you that the woman’s weakness is anything but stereotypical, hypothetical, or debateable. Strong in bearing children, my wife is, but just as certainly the process of bringing them into the world makes her–and my children–extremely vulnerable. There is no consistent, plausible equivalent in homosexual relationships.

    Sorry, but let’s not play games here. The realities of the marriage relationship are a matter of fact, and one of them is that wives tend to bear children at some point in their lives. Government involvement in family relationships is by and large predicated on this principle, and we forget it at our peril.

  • fws

    rose @ 43

    most of the folks on here are Lutheran rose, so they would be a little off put by the title of the book because of that. For a Lutheran there is nothing more holy about marriage than about being a plumber or carpenter, or accountant. it is a vocation. and it IS already holy as are all other vocations, Thisis because we are already holy, not because a vocation will make us more so.

  • fws

    rose @ 43

    most of the folks on here are Lutheran rose, so they would be a little off put by the title of the book because of that. For a Lutheran there is nothing more holy about marriage than about being a plumber or carpenter, or accountant. it is a vocation. and it IS already holy as are all other vocations, Thisis because we are already holy, not because a vocation will make us more so.

  • fws

    bike at 44

    why does there need to be an equivalent of a weaker vessel in a homosexual relationship? or a friendship? or …

  • fws

    bike at 44

    why does there need to be an equivalent of a weaker vessel in a homosexual relationship? or a friendship? or …

  • Stephen

    Bike,

    Sorry, but let’s not play games here. The realities of the marriage relationship are a matter of fact, and one of them is that wives tend to bear children at some point in their lives. Government involvement in family relationships is by and large predicated on this principle, and we forget it at our peril.

    What the . . . ? You are getting awfully preachy and condescending. Take a pill. I’m a husband of 18 years and a father. So what? “The realities of marriage are a matter of fact” – What are you even talking about?

    The stereotype I was referring to was the one you level at gay people, as if you know what their relationships consist of, that someone must always be “femme” in every case. THAT, my friend, is a stereotype.

    People in this country have equal protection under the law, and we forget THAT at our peril. Government involvement in marriage has to do with protecting children and whoever is left holding the bag if there is a divorce, which is usually (but not “always” – there’s qualifier!) women. Did I ever say anything different? It also has to do with protecting and sometimes justly dividing property and it is to be encouraged in a society (I bet you like all those tax breaks, huh?) for the sake of civility and peace.

    Give me a break. Where does anything you said preclude gays being married so that they can enjoy (yes, enjoy!) the same rights, privileges and protections for themselves and their children? Nowhere. But hey, I’m listening. Explain that to me, but please avoid stereotyping gays while you are at it. You obviously don’t know any.

  • Stephen

    Bike,

    Sorry, but let’s not play games here. The realities of the marriage relationship are a matter of fact, and one of them is that wives tend to bear children at some point in their lives. Government involvement in family relationships is by and large predicated on this principle, and we forget it at our peril.

    What the . . . ? You are getting awfully preachy and condescending. Take a pill. I’m a husband of 18 years and a father. So what? “The realities of marriage are a matter of fact” – What are you even talking about?

    The stereotype I was referring to was the one you level at gay people, as if you know what their relationships consist of, that someone must always be “femme” in every case. THAT, my friend, is a stereotype.

    People in this country have equal protection under the law, and we forget THAT at our peril. Government involvement in marriage has to do with protecting children and whoever is left holding the bag if there is a divorce, which is usually (but not “always” – there’s qualifier!) women. Did I ever say anything different? It also has to do with protecting and sometimes justly dividing property and it is to be encouraged in a society (I bet you like all those tax breaks, huh?) for the sake of civility and peace.

    Give me a break. Where does anything you said preclude gays being married so that they can enjoy (yes, enjoy!) the same rights, privileges and protections for themselves and their children? Nowhere. But hey, I’m listening. Explain that to me, but please avoid stereotyping gays while you are at it. You obviously don’t know any.

  • Stephen

    html sucks

  • Stephen

    html sucks

  • Jeremy

    “If genes unfriendly to kids are dying fast, because folks who don’t want kids can so effectively self select themselves out of the gene pool, we could potentially see quite a rebound in marriage minded folks.”

    I think this has some truth to it. What more could one do to influence evolution that limiting your number of children? And many people limit their number of children in lots of ways, including the pill, condoms, abortion, and even abstinence. Already birth control is greatly influencing human natural selection. Just as a trivial example, America’s racial mixup is going to look quite different in 2050 according to the US census.

  • Jeremy

    “If genes unfriendly to kids are dying fast, because folks who don’t want kids can so effectively self select themselves out of the gene pool, we could potentially see quite a rebound in marriage minded folks.”

    I think this has some truth to it. What more could one do to influence evolution that limiting your number of children? And many people limit their number of children in lots of ways, including the pill, condoms, abortion, and even abstinence. Already birth control is greatly influencing human natural selection. Just as a trivial example, America’s racial mixup is going to look quite different in 2050 according to the US census.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Just as a trivial example, America’s racial mixup is going to look quite different in 2050 according to the US census.”

    That is not trivial. It will have profound effects as identity politics comes to dominate all areas of government. Distrust and social pathologies have been rising with diversity. We are on target to look like Brazil. Inequality grows with diversity.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Just as a trivial example, America’s racial mixup is going to look quite different in 2050 according to the US census.”

    That is not trivial. It will have profound effects as identity politics comes to dominate all areas of government. Distrust and social pathologies have been rising with diversity. We are on target to look like Brazil. Inequality grows with diversity.

  • fws

    sg @ 50

    brasil has a very very homogenous culture sg. you know that right? so your point of comparison is?

  • fws

    sg @ 50

    brasil has a very very homogenous culture sg. you know that right? so your point of comparison is?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Hey, fws, I am not talking about culture, but social class by race. Back in the day, England had a homogenous culture and people but was highly stratified by class. Brasil is similar, but it is also stratified by race. What are marriage rates in Brasil by race and social class? I read recently illegitimacy in on the rise, especially among the poor.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Hey, fws, I am not talking about culture, but social class by race. Back in the day, England had a homogenous culture and people but was highly stratified by class. Brasil is similar, but it is also stratified by race. What are marriage rates in Brasil by race and social class? I read recently illegitimacy in on the rise, especially among the poor.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “People in this country have equal protection under the law, and we forget THAT at our peril.”

    Nah, modern divorce is not equal protection. A woman can cheat on her husband, then divorce him and the court will make him pay child support for the child sired by her lover even after she goes on to marry the lover and the child is living with both his biological married parents. That is a real case and it is not equal protection. In a sane world, she would be paying her ex-husband damages, but it is not a sane world and there are numerous laws that brazenly discriminate against certain identity groups.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “People in this country have equal protection under the law, and we forget THAT at our peril.”

    Nah, modern divorce is not equal protection. A woman can cheat on her husband, then divorce him and the court will make him pay child support for the child sired by her lover even after she goes on to marry the lover and the child is living with both his biological married parents. That is a real case and it is not equal protection. In a sane world, she would be paying her ex-husband damages, but it is not a sane world and there are numerous laws that brazenly discriminate against certain identity groups.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “why does there need to be an equivalent of a weaker vessel in a homosexual relationship? or a friendship? or …”

    Great point. If there is no weaker vessel, they don’t need marriage to protect the interests of the weaker party. Way back when, a woman with small children was pretty vulnerable, so society wanted to protect the kids and by extension, the woman with laws obligating fathers to support their kids and the mother of those kids. Two independent adults don’t need that kid of protection, they can just work and take care of themselves.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “why does there need to be an equivalent of a weaker vessel in a homosexual relationship? or a friendship? or …”

    Great point. If there is no weaker vessel, they don’t need marriage to protect the interests of the weaker party. Way back when, a woman with small children was pretty vulnerable, so society wanted to protect the kids and by extension, the woman with laws obligating fathers to support their kids and the mother of those kids. Two independent adults don’t need that kid of protection, they can just work and take care of themselves.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Of course marriage is inseparable from government, at least if it means anything. Marriage entails certain legal rights, and those rights must be enforced. What other entity do we expect to hold people accountable and – if necessary – use force to ensure that people are held to these standards? Unless we want to give the sword back to the church…

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Of course marriage is inseparable from government, at least if it means anything. Marriage entails certain legal rights, and those rights must be enforced. What other entity do we expect to hold people accountable and – if necessary – use force to ensure that people are held to these standards? Unless we want to give the sword back to the church…

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 48, try this. You just select and click to make text bold, italic, a link, block quote, etc. No more forgetting to close a tag, spelling mistakes, etc. (Just be sure to set the toolbar’s code to HTML for this site.)

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 48, try this. You just select and click to make text bold, italic, a link, block quote, etc. No more forgetting to close a tag, spelling mistakes, etc. (Just be sure to set the toolbar’s code to HTML for this site.)

  • Jeremy

    “Nah, modern divorce is not equal protection. A woman can cheat on her husband, then divorce him and the court will make him pay child support.”

    That is true, and this is an issue that our society is largely silent on. A lot of men are delaying marriage because the financial burden of divorce can be devastating. Financial gurus tell us we need car insurance in case we wreck our $15000 car, but a divorce can talk 50% of your entire assets. And then there is a child support. If a woman gets pregnant, she can abort it at her will, or force the guy to pay child support over the next 2 decades.

  • Jeremy

    “Nah, modern divorce is not equal protection. A woman can cheat on her husband, then divorce him and the court will make him pay child support.”

    That is true, and this is an issue that our society is largely silent on. A lot of men are delaying marriage because the financial burden of divorce can be devastating. Financial gurus tell us we need car insurance in case we wreck our $15000 car, but a divorce can talk 50% of your entire assets. And then there is a child support. If a woman gets pregnant, she can abort it at her will, or force the guy to pay child support over the next 2 decades.

  • Stephen

    sg

    My point about equal protection does not simply cover the sort of thing you refer to. there are many other rights and privileges to being married in this country that are not available to gays. For instance, if a gay couple who wishes to or already has children were able to marry they would be granted several things they do not already enjoy, lower taxes being one of these things. Then there are the other issues of sharing various benefits, etc. that they are not permitted. That, to me, is not equal protection guaranteed constitutionally in the 14th Amendment and why the “protection of marriage” thing hasn’t got a legal leg to stand on and will eventually crumble.

    By the way, I’m pretty sure this same logic is used by abortion opponents who wish to protect the rights of the unborn. There, however, we have a conflict with the rights of women. The gay marriage issue in my view is much more straight forward.

    Did I say “straight?” :)

  • Stephen

    sg

    My point about equal protection does not simply cover the sort of thing you refer to. there are many other rights and privileges to being married in this country that are not available to gays. For instance, if a gay couple who wishes to or already has children were able to marry they would be granted several things they do not already enjoy, lower taxes being one of these things. Then there are the other issues of sharing various benefits, etc. that they are not permitted. That, to me, is not equal protection guaranteed constitutionally in the 14th Amendment and why the “protection of marriage” thing hasn’t got a legal leg to stand on and will eventually crumble.

    By the way, I’m pretty sure this same logic is used by abortion opponents who wish to protect the rights of the unborn. There, however, we have a conflict with the rights of women. The gay marriage issue in my view is much more straight forward.

    Did I say “straight?” :)

  • Stephen

    Thanks Tom for the link. It’s frustrating to have to type commands beyond the words I want to write. It breaks up my stream of thoughts. I’d prefer keystrokes or something like this. Haven’t yet checked to see if this works on Mac, but if not, perhaps there is something similar somewhere.

  • Stephen

    Thanks Tom for the link. It’s frustrating to have to type commands beyond the words I want to write. It breaks up my stream of thoughts. I’d prefer keystrokes or something like this. Haven’t yet checked to see if this works on Mac, but if not, perhaps there is something similar somewhere.

  • Stephen

    Testing Testing Testing

    This is a test of the html toolbar on my Mac using Firefox

  • Stephen

    Testing Testing Testing

    This is a test of the html toolbar on my Mac using Firefox

  • Stephen

    Sweet!!!!!

  • Stephen

    Sweet!!!!!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “My point about equal protection does not simply cover the sort of thing you refer to.”

    How so?

    “there are many other rights and privileges to being married in this country that are not available to gays.”

    because they don’t need them. There is no vulnerable party to protect.

    “For instance, if a gay couple who wishes to or already has children were able to marry they would be granted several things they do not already enjoy, lower taxes being one of these things.”

    Not true. Their taxes would be higher. The child tax credit is more valuable for a single than for a married. Many choose not to marry because it is more expensive than cohab.

    “Then there are the other issues of sharing various benefits, etc. that they are not permitted.”

    Such as?

    “That, to me, is not equal protection guaranteed constitutionally in the 14th Amendment and why the “protection of marriage” thing hasn’t got a legal leg to stand on and will eventually crumble.”

    It has the leg of natural procreation to stand on. That can’t be eradicated. Marriage laws at their core exist to tie men to responsibility to their children. A gay person cannot be put in this position. He/she cannot abandon his/her offspring that were naturally created with a same sex partner. Marriage is about responsibility, not privilege. Each party has a duty to the other. Traditionally the man had the responsibility to provide and protect and women had to be faithful and nurture. The laws were designed to support the natural order. Homosexual relations cannot be part of this natural order because they do not give life and do not need protection the same way that life giving relations do.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “My point about equal protection does not simply cover the sort of thing you refer to.”

    How so?

    “there are many other rights and privileges to being married in this country that are not available to gays.”

    because they don’t need them. There is no vulnerable party to protect.

    “For instance, if a gay couple who wishes to or already has children were able to marry they would be granted several things they do not already enjoy, lower taxes being one of these things.”

    Not true. Their taxes would be higher. The child tax credit is more valuable for a single than for a married. Many choose not to marry because it is more expensive than cohab.

    “Then there are the other issues of sharing various benefits, etc. that they are not permitted.”

    Such as?

    “That, to me, is not equal protection guaranteed constitutionally in the 14th Amendment and why the “protection of marriage” thing hasn’t got a legal leg to stand on and will eventually crumble.”

    It has the leg of natural procreation to stand on. That can’t be eradicated. Marriage laws at their core exist to tie men to responsibility to their children. A gay person cannot be put in this position. He/she cannot abandon his/her offspring that were naturally created with a same sex partner. Marriage is about responsibility, not privilege. Each party has a duty to the other. Traditionally the man had the responsibility to provide and protect and women had to be faithful and nurture. The laws were designed to support the natural order. Homosexual relations cannot be part of this natural order because they do not give life and do not need protection the same way that life giving relations do.

  • fws

    sg

    nope. marriage, or rather the legal contract of marriage, which is how the govt is involved, is a contract that provides alot of rights and protections sg that are not just about child rearingg. it is also about caring for your partner when they get sick and old so they dont need to get on the public dole.

    such as… the right to not have to testify against ones spouse
    hospital visitation rights
    inheritance rights
    government insurance and other benefits

    sg you are saying that the rights provided by a marriage certificate are ONLY for the benefit of children. this is just not the truth. maybe in your brain it is abstractly true.

    when two people get married whether they ever have kids or not, their contractual obligations and relationship changes dramatically. and you are trying to say this is just not true? or does not matter? or.. what?

  • fws

    sg

    nope. marriage, or rather the legal contract of marriage, which is how the govt is involved, is a contract that provides alot of rights and protections sg that are not just about child rearingg. it is also about caring for your partner when they get sick and old so they dont need to get on the public dole.

    such as… the right to not have to testify against ones spouse
    hospital visitation rights
    inheritance rights
    government insurance and other benefits

    sg you are saying that the rights provided by a marriage certificate are ONLY for the benefit of children. this is just not the truth. maybe in your brain it is abstractly true.

    when two people get married whether they ever have kids or not, their contractual obligations and relationship changes dramatically. and you are trying to say this is just not true? or does not matter? or.. what?

  • Stephen

    “Homosexual relations cannot be part of this natural order because they do not give life and do not need protection the same way that life giving relations do.”

    How so? Gay parents have kids.

  • Stephen

    “Homosexual relations cannot be part of this natural order because they do not give life and do not need protection the same way that life giving relations do.”

    How so? Gay parents have kids.

  • fws

    sg @ 62

    “Marriage laws at their core exist to tie men to responsibility to their children.”

    this is just not a fact sg. You inserted the “at their core” as a qualifying statement as a dodge. as in “at their core”=”in the abstract ideal”

    You need to argue reality sg.

    Marriage contracts , aka licenses, are not granted only to those who are able to give birth. there is no fertility test required. it easily could be done . so your basis for argument is just dishonest.

  • fws

    sg @ 62

    “Marriage laws at their core exist to tie men to responsibility to their children.”

    this is just not a fact sg. You inserted the “at their core” as a qualifying statement as a dodge. as in “at their core”=”in the abstract ideal”

    You need to argue reality sg.

    Marriage contracts , aka licenses, are not granted only to those who are able to give birth. there is no fertility test required. it easily could be done . so your basis for argument is just dishonest.

  • fws

    tom hering

    is there a text formatting toolbar for window explorer?

  • fws

    tom hering

    is there a text formatting toolbar for window explorer?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Marriage contracts , aka licenses, are not granted only to those who are able to give birth. there is no fertility test required. it easily could be done . so your basis for argument is just dishonest.”

    I disagree. Marriage laws predate the ability to test for fertility. When a guy asked a man to marry his daughter the reasonable presumption is of normal fertility. Sexually active women conceive at a rate of 89% per year. That is very good odds. Marriage is for procreation. It is the natural order. Marriage laws reflect the natural consequences of human union. The only human union is the fusion of gametes, aka babies.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Marriage contracts , aka licenses, are not granted only to those who are able to give birth. there is no fertility test required. it easily could be done . so your basis for argument is just dishonest.”

    I disagree. Marriage laws predate the ability to test for fertility. When a guy asked a man to marry his daughter the reasonable presumption is of normal fertility. Sexually active women conceive at a rate of 89% per year. That is very good odds. Marriage is for procreation. It is the natural order. Marriage laws reflect the natural consequences of human union. The only human union is the fusion of gametes, aka babies.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “How so? Gay parents have kids.”

    The kids are not a result of their union. Gays cannot spontaneously fuse their gametes with their same sex partners. Their activities do not give life. The kids are from a union with another person outside of the same sex relationship.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “How so? Gay parents have kids.”

    The kids are not a result of their union. Gays cannot spontaneously fuse their gametes with their same sex partners. Their activities do not give life. The kids are from a union with another person outside of the same sex relationship.

  • Tom Hering

    Frank @ 66, I’m using the toolbar with Windows/Firefox. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with Windows/Explorer. Have you tried?

  • Tom Hering

    Frank @ 66, I’m using the toolbar with Windows/Firefox. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with Windows/Explorer. Have you tried?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    such as… the right to not have to testify against ones spouse
    hospital visitation rights
    inheritance rights
    government insurance and other benefits

    The hospitals could change their policies yesterday.

    Any person can get a lawyer to draft contracts to give them these rights, except for government benefits.

    So, the bottom line is just about trying to get money from other people.

    The benefits are all centered around the family as the foundation of society. Same sex friendships are not considered valuable enough to warrant support from society. Society doesn’t need people to form these arrangements. It does need people to form families.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    such as… the right to not have to testify against ones spouse
    hospital visitation rights
    inheritance rights
    government insurance and other benefits

    The hospitals could change their policies yesterday.

    Any person can get a lawyer to draft contracts to give them these rights, except for government benefits.

    So, the bottom line is just about trying to get money from other people.

    The benefits are all centered around the family as the foundation of society. Same sex friendships are not considered valuable enough to warrant support from society. Society doesn’t need people to form these arrangements. It does need people to form families.

  • fws

    tom @69

    the file extension for the download works for firefox. couldnt find one for explorerr

  • fws

    tom @69

    the file extension for the download works for firefox. couldnt find one for explorerr

  • fws

    @ 70

    we are talking about the law here sg. we are not talking about your pet social theories.

    the law changes over time .

    this is 2011

    and there was never a time when people would could not give birth could not get married. that was never ever a condition for marriage. ever. you are making stuff up that no attorney our court would accept as an argument . ever. and we are talking about the law here. so what you argue would need to stand up in court. in 2011

  • fws

    @ 70

    we are talking about the law here sg. we are not talking about your pet social theories.

    the law changes over time .

    this is 2011

    and there was never a time when people would could not give birth could not get married. that was never ever a condition for marriage. ever. you are making stuff up that no attorney our court would accept as an argument . ever. and we are talking about the law here. so what you argue would need to stand up in court. in 2011

  • fws

    sg @ 70

    here and now in the usa in 2011 marriage is a social contract between two adults that is not dependent on the two parties being able to reproduce.

    your religious and theoretical and romantic ideas are quite irrelevant in this conversation.

  • fws

    sg @ 70

    here and now in the usa in 2011 marriage is a social contract between two adults that is not dependent on the two parties being able to reproduce.

    your religious and theoretical and romantic ideas are quite irrelevant in this conversation.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@72 and 73: I’ll confess to having dropped out of this conversation once it devolved into endless citations of Lutheran commentaries (b-b-but I thought this was about THE LAW? How are those commentaries on Genesis going to “stand up in a court in 2011″?).

    Look, sg is correct. We’ve evacuated the concept, institution, and (in my theological case) sacrament of marriage of all meaningful content. The specific economic and other legal benefits that still appertain to civil marriage were specifically applied to that relationship not merely because it’s “convenient” for individuals to assign inheritance rights to another individual, etc., but because the familial unit–heterosexual, monogamous, stable, likely to produce children–was a good and necessary institution in society for all the reasons (and more) that sg cites.

    So yeah, this is about the law–specifically the way the law was designed to encourage particular social arrangements. Obviously, this isn’t social engineering: the state didn’t invent civil marriage to establish the familial unit but only to encourage and safeguard practices that already existed. This is the only reason these legal structures exist.

    Yeah, the law changes over time…because society changes over time. Except for ideological spasms (think the Great Society or the New Deal), legal institutions are almost always a reflection and symbiotic organism of social institutions. Now that our society has changed–now that we no longer see any particular value in heterosexual, monogamous union–the law is likely to change. This is why I’m rather ambivalent on the subject of gay marriage: once the social train has left the station, the law serves as a very poor emergency brake.

    But sg is still 100% correct.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@72 and 73: I’ll confess to having dropped out of this conversation once it devolved into endless citations of Lutheran commentaries (b-b-but I thought this was about THE LAW? How are those commentaries on Genesis going to “stand up in a court in 2011″?).

    Look, sg is correct. We’ve evacuated the concept, institution, and (in my theological case) sacrament of marriage of all meaningful content. The specific economic and other legal benefits that still appertain to civil marriage were specifically applied to that relationship not merely because it’s “convenient” for individuals to assign inheritance rights to another individual, etc., but because the familial unit–heterosexual, monogamous, stable, likely to produce children–was a good and necessary institution in society for all the reasons (and more) that sg cites.

    So yeah, this is about the law–specifically the way the law was designed to encourage particular social arrangements. Obviously, this isn’t social engineering: the state didn’t invent civil marriage to establish the familial unit but only to encourage and safeguard practices that already existed. This is the only reason these legal structures exist.

    Yeah, the law changes over time…because society changes over time. Except for ideological spasms (think the Great Society or the New Deal), legal institutions are almost always a reflection and symbiotic organism of social institutions. Now that our society has changed–now that we no longer see any particular value in heterosexual, monogamous union–the law is likely to change. This is why I’m rather ambivalent on the subject of gay marriage: once the social train has left the station, the law serves as a very poor emergency brake.

    But sg is still 100% correct.

  • Cincinnatus

    i.e., if marriage no longer has anything to do with two people being able to reproduce, then there is little purpose to it. We may as well let two or three men marry each other. Heck, now that animal rights are taking off and gaining legitimacy, we may as well let goats and cows and people marry, ad infinitum. At that point, the so-called “slippery slope” is completely valid. It doesn’t matter, because, as you insist, marriage these days is solely a matter of fiscal convenience for the attainment of various legal benefits–if even that!

  • Cincinnatus

    i.e., if marriage no longer has anything to do with two people being able to reproduce, then there is little purpose to it. We may as well let two or three men marry each other. Heck, now that animal rights are taking off and gaining legitimacy, we may as well let goats and cows and people marry, ad infinitum. At that point, the so-called “slippery slope” is completely valid. It doesn’t matter, because, as you insist, marriage these days is solely a matter of fiscal convenience for the attainment of various legal benefits–if even that!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “your religious and theoretical and romantic ideas are quite irrelevant in this conversation.”

    Nothing religious or theoretical about procreation. And procreation is what marriage is all about. Romance was never required either. Men don’t want to support other men’s children. That is why infidelity especially by women was such a big deal. This ain’t romanticism. Marriage laws mean that guys have to pay for their fun by supporting their wives and kids. The rest of the guys in society don’t want to pay for the other men’s kids. Laws that encourage family revolve around this point.

    Childless marriages are not the norm and no laws were ever specifically devised for such. Laws are designed to support the desirable norm.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “your religious and theoretical and romantic ideas are quite irrelevant in this conversation.”

    Nothing religious or theoretical about procreation. And procreation is what marriage is all about. Romance was never required either. Men don’t want to support other men’s children. That is why infidelity especially by women was such a big deal. This ain’t romanticism. Marriage laws mean that guys have to pay for their fun by supporting their wives and kids. The rest of the guys in society don’t want to pay for the other men’s kids. Laws that encourage family revolve around this point.

    Childless marriages are not the norm and no laws were ever specifically devised for such. Laws are designed to support the desirable norm.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Do trends drive laws or do laws drive trends? Some of both? Which is more dynamic?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Do trends drive laws or do laws drive trends? Some of both? Which is more dynamic?

  • fws

    cincinatus @ 74

    the law is not religion or religious doctrine.

    how is sg right? lets say she is right about the original and practical purpose of the marriage laws. back when women and children were considered to have the same status as slaves in massachusetts courts in 1830. … ok

    so what? how does that make what she says right? the uniform commercial code was created before the internet. it needs to be changed and that is in process. the historical circumstances are not a matter of right or wrong or good or bad. no need to turn law into a religion.

  • fws

    cincinatus @ 74

    the law is not religion or religious doctrine.

    how is sg right? lets say she is right about the original and practical purpose of the marriage laws. back when women and children were considered to have the same status as slaves in massachusetts courts in 1830. … ok

    so what? how does that make what she says right? the uniform commercial code was created before the internet. it needs to be changed and that is in process. the historical circumstances are not a matter of right or wrong or good or bad. no need to turn law into a religion.

  • fws

    cincinatus

    ad absurdum.

    contracts are between humans. that is to say that if anyone can enter into a partnership or make a contract we should allow minors or animals to be legally competent to do so.

    there has never been a time when persons who verifiably could not bear children could not get married cincinatus. to argue that marriage law becomes an empty shell if bearing children is not the essential element that sustains those laws just does not hold up to scrutiny.

  • fws

    cincinatus

    ad absurdum.

    contracts are between humans. that is to say that if anyone can enter into a partnership or make a contract we should allow minors or animals to be legally competent to do so.

    there has never been a time when persons who verifiably could not bear children could not get married cincinatus. to argue that marriage law becomes an empty shell if bearing children is not the essential element that sustains those laws just does not hold up to scrutiny.

  • fws

    cincinatus,

    if that is the case, what we do is pass laws that allow only those persons to get married who first given birth and have a child right? what am I missing here?

  • fws

    cincinatus,

    if that is the case, what we do is pass laws that allow only those persons to get married who first given birth and have a child right? what am I missing here?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I will go along with the idea that no fault divorce is the enemy of marriage far more than the micro tiny percentage of folks who are both gay and want to marry. Would gays be interested in full on marriage that would penalize them the way marriage laws used to penalize folks who wanted out of their marriages or who were unfaithful? I really don’t know, but real and true marriages where parties were actually penalized for breaking the contract, as in no easy way out, were a whole ‘nother ball game. The divorce rate was very different when sexually active women could not afford to go from man to man and neither could the women. Government benefits also hail from that pre-contraception era. Perhaps they should be eliminate now as well. Maybe childless folks, gay or otherwise should be eligible for fewer government benefits because they didn’t contribute any new little rate payers. Social Security is a pyramid scheme that was rational based on the population structure at the time. Now that folks don’t spend so much of their money up front on kids, they really shouldn’t be able to tax the next generation so heavily for their retirement.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I will go along with the idea that no fault divorce is the enemy of marriage far more than the micro tiny percentage of folks who are both gay and want to marry. Would gays be interested in full on marriage that would penalize them the way marriage laws used to penalize folks who wanted out of their marriages or who were unfaithful? I really don’t know, but real and true marriages where parties were actually penalized for breaking the contract, as in no easy way out, were a whole ‘nother ball game. The divorce rate was very different when sexually active women could not afford to go from man to man and neither could the women. Government benefits also hail from that pre-contraception era. Perhaps they should be eliminate now as well. Maybe childless folks, gay or otherwise should be eligible for fewer government benefits because they didn’t contribute any new little rate payers. Social Security is a pyramid scheme that was rational based on the population structure at the time. Now that folks don’t spend so much of their money up front on kids, they really shouldn’t be able to tax the next generation so heavily for their retirement.

  • fws

    sg

    so then there is a reason why people are NOT insistent on a constitutional amendment banning divorce isnt there? but they ARE pushing for one to “defend marriage”.

    doesnt something not pass the smell test here?

  • fws

    sg

    so then there is a reason why people are NOT insistent on a constitutional amendment banning divorce isnt there? but they ARE pushing for one to “defend marriage”.

    doesnt something not pass the smell test here?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “there has never been a time when persons who verifiably could not bear children could not get married”

    Doesn’t matter. Laws are for the general case. In the general case, married folks have kids. Besides, it is very hard to say for sure that someone is permanently sterile. Plenty of folks who don’t get pregnant for several years, later do and go on to have several children. Also, way back when, spouses didn’t inherit, sons did, legitimate sons that is. So, we know the history of marriage was to protect and preserve families, not spouses.

    There is no reason that society should take an interest in promoting the rights of gay partners to the other partner’s stuff. Children of gays are already protected by other laws even illegitimate children are protected.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “there has never been a time when persons who verifiably could not bear children could not get married”

    Doesn’t matter. Laws are for the general case. In the general case, married folks have kids. Besides, it is very hard to say for sure that someone is permanently sterile. Plenty of folks who don’t get pregnant for several years, later do and go on to have several children. Also, way back when, spouses didn’t inherit, sons did, legitimate sons that is. So, we know the history of marriage was to protect and preserve families, not spouses.

    There is no reason that society should take an interest in promoting the rights of gay partners to the other partner’s stuff. Children of gays are already protected by other laws even illegitimate children are protected.

  • fws

    sg

    i was thinking of the elderly, and those who are incarcerated and will never be able to have sex. yet they have always been allowed to be married. why is that?

    and yes… there is no clamoring for a constitutional amendment to prohibit divorce. but there is one to “defend marriage”. does that pass the smell test to you?

  • fws

    sg

    i was thinking of the elderly, and those who are incarcerated and will never be able to have sex. yet they have always been allowed to be married. why is that?

    and yes… there is no clamoring for a constitutional amendment to prohibit divorce. but there is one to “defend marriage”. does that pass the smell test to you?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “and yes… there is no clamoring for a constitutional amendment to prohibit divorce. but there is one to “defend marriage”. does that pass the smell test to you?”

    Nope. If they really wanted to defend marriage, they missed the opportunity with no fault divorce. That was where society needed to take a stand.

    Anyway, there was already term for wanting to have benefits from sexual partners unrelated to procreation, it is called prostitution.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “and yes… there is no clamoring for a constitutional amendment to prohibit divorce. but there is one to “defend marriage”. does that pass the smell test to you?”

    Nope. If they really wanted to defend marriage, they missed the opportunity with no fault divorce. That was where society needed to take a stand.

    Anyway, there was already term for wanting to have benefits from sexual partners unrelated to procreation, it is called prostitution.

  • Jeremy

    @sg

    What did you think had/will have a bigger effect on the institution of marriage in the US: no-fault divorce or same-sex marriage?

  • Jeremy

    @sg

    What did you think had/will have a bigger effect on the institution of marriage in the US: no-fault divorce or same-sex marriage?

  • fw

    my dad is looking to get remarried and he is 83. his fiance is 72. thanks for calling their relationship prostitution sg.

  • fw

    my dad is looking to get remarried and he is 83. his fiance is 72. thanks for calling their relationship prostitution sg.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What did you think had/will have a bigger effect on the institution of marriage in the US: no-fault divorce or same-sex marriage?”

    No-fault divorce had a bigger effect, no question. I can’t see how same-sex marriage would have much affect on marriage, but that could just be my limited ability to foresee things. Same-sex marriage is a problem in as much as it distorts reality in the eyes of children. It just isn’t marriage biologically speaking because it is biologically sexless. It could be a drain on government resources as friends marry to get benefits. It is a poor example to children, etc. There is no upside for society. Society has no interest in regulating friendships.

    “my dad is looking to get remarried and he is 83. his fiance is 72.”

    There goes your inheritance. :-D I’m KIDDDING!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What did you think had/will have a bigger effect on the institution of marriage in the US: no-fault divorce or same-sex marriage?”

    No-fault divorce had a bigger effect, no question. I can’t see how same-sex marriage would have much affect on marriage, but that could just be my limited ability to foresee things. Same-sex marriage is a problem in as much as it distorts reality in the eyes of children. It just isn’t marriage biologically speaking because it is biologically sexless. It could be a drain on government resources as friends marry to get benefits. It is a poor example to children, etc. There is no upside for society. Society has no interest in regulating friendships.

    “my dad is looking to get remarried and he is 83. his fiance is 72.”

    There goes your inheritance. :-D I’m KIDDDING!

  • Cincinnatus

    Jeremy@86:

    I’ll answer (and I think sg would agree). Obviously, no-fault divorce has had a devastating effect on the institution of marriage. Just an unbelievably horrific idea that is. Will same-sex marriage have an equally horrific impact? a) Who can say? Any answer is, at this point, unfalsifiable; b) Probably not if only because the primary damage has already been done.

    fws@87: Chill. No one called your parents or anyone else a prostitute. All marriage rites in all churches in all countries prior to the mid/late-twentieth century explicitly affirmed that one of the primary purposes of marriage as a religious and not merely civil ordinance was procreation. Does that mean everyone must procreate? No. Of course, this discussion implicates questions of birth control and contraception, but all in all, the institution of marriage simply cannot survive its scission from procreation.*

    In fact, I would be inclined to say that the real damage to marriage came when we decided that marriage is about love and pleasure rather than, say, the composition of a family.

    *I’m obviously not claiming that the only good served by marriage is procreation.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jeremy@86:

    I’ll answer (and I think sg would agree). Obviously, no-fault divorce has had a devastating effect on the institution of marriage. Just an unbelievably horrific idea that is. Will same-sex marriage have an equally horrific impact? a) Who can say? Any answer is, at this point, unfalsifiable; b) Probably not if only because the primary damage has already been done.

    fws@87: Chill. No one called your parents or anyone else a prostitute. All marriage rites in all churches in all countries prior to the mid/late-twentieth century explicitly affirmed that one of the primary purposes of marriage as a religious and not merely civil ordinance was procreation. Does that mean everyone must procreate? No. Of course, this discussion implicates questions of birth control and contraception, but all in all, the institution of marriage simply cannot survive its scission from procreation.*

    In fact, I would be inclined to say that the real damage to marriage came when we decided that marriage is about love and pleasure rather than, say, the composition of a family.

    *I’m obviously not claiming that the only good served by marriage is procreation.

  • Cincinnatus

    So yeah, like sg says above, and as I noted much earlier, there’s really no point to anything called “marriage” if it’s divorced from procreation and other familial functions and practices.

  • Cincinnatus

    So yeah, like sg says above, and as I noted much earlier, there’s really no point to anything called “marriage” if it’s divorced from procreation and other familial functions and practices.

  • Stephen

    Whether or not a couple has children, marriages are performed before a community and are also about the union of two people which the community is then expected to support and respect. There is more to not “coveting” a spouse than issues of children. There is the general peace that marriages provide by setting such boundaries for relationships.

  • Stephen

    Whether or not a couple has children, marriages are performed before a community and are also about the union of two people which the community is then expected to support and respect. There is more to not “coveting” a spouse than issues of children. There is the general peace that marriages provide by setting such boundaries for relationships.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@89) said:

    All marriage rites in all churches in all countries prior to the mid/late-twentieth century explicitly affirmed that one of the primary purposes of marriage as a religious and not merely civil ordinance was procreation.

    [Citation needed]

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@89) said:

    All marriage rites in all churches in all countries prior to the mid/late-twentieth century explicitly affirmed that one of the primary purposes of marriage as a religious and not merely civil ordinance was procreation.

    [Citation needed]

  • Stephen

    In other words, marriage has always been understood to be just as good for the community as it is for the individuals and their children. Thus, the community (and the way it governs itself) has a vested interesting supporting it for the general peace.

    I can’t think of any reason why this would not also be the case with gay marriage. It will take adjustments and acclimation, but the outcome would be more stable relationships all around. Same thing with and civil right being honored.

  • Stephen

    In other words, marriage has always been understood to be just as good for the community as it is for the individuals and their children. Thus, the community (and the way it governs itself) has a vested interesting supporting it for the general peace.

    I can’t think of any reason why this would not also be the case with gay marriage. It will take adjustments and acclimation, but the outcome would be more stable relationships all around. Same thing with and civil right being honored.

  • Stephen

    That’s “vested interest” though I think it is interesting. :)

  • Stephen

    That’s “vested interest” though I think it is interesting. :)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I can’t think of any reason why this would not also be the case with gay marriage. It will take adjustments and acclimation, but the outcome would be more stable relationships all around. Same thing with and civil right being honored.”

    Were similar arguments suggested in favor of no-fault divorce?

    The thing is gay folks who are now stable and with only one partner will continue to be without any marriage license. However some will be encouraged to marry to get benefits because they can even if they aren’t really in a relationship. Basically, it is just gaming the system for benefits, especially because there is no fault divorce.

    Consider that taxing the diligent selects against diligence, while subsidizing the indolent selects for indolence if the diligent will not choose to have kids they can’t provide for and the indolent then have more. Likewise taxing the procreative to subsidize the non procreative selects against interest in procreating.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I can’t think of any reason why this would not also be the case with gay marriage. It will take adjustments and acclimation, but the outcome would be more stable relationships all around. Same thing with and civil right being honored.”

    Were similar arguments suggested in favor of no-fault divorce?

    The thing is gay folks who are now stable and with only one partner will continue to be without any marriage license. However some will be encouraged to marry to get benefits because they can even if they aren’t really in a relationship. Basically, it is just gaming the system for benefits, especially because there is no fault divorce.

    Consider that taxing the diligent selects against diligence, while subsidizing the indolent selects for indolence if the diligent will not choose to have kids they can’t provide for and the indolent then have more. Likewise taxing the procreative to subsidize the non procreative selects against interest in procreating.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: Fine. I made a claim that would be onerous (and possibly impossible) to prove. But I know that the Roman Catholic rite, the Eastern Orthodox rites, the Anglican rites in the Book of Common Prayer (those take care of a lot of pre-20th century marriages right there!), and all rites I’ve seen from other Protestant denominations from the period in question mention procreation as a fundamental “activity” or purpose of marriage. My own wedding did, because I used “traditional” rites.

    I won’t throw down the gauntlet and challenge you to find a rite that doesn’t mention procreation (or better: positively affirms that procreation is irrelevant)–and there may very well be pre-1950 rites that fail to mention just that–but I do know for a fact that my general point holds.

    Today, pastors preach sermons waxing eloquent about how marriage, in “God’s eyes,” isn’t about procreation, etc., etc. All of this is very new. All of this is, in my opinion, very bad. Again, I know that marriage, both scripturally and popularly, has much more than procreation as its substance. But, in terms of its civic value (and, as I said, religious value), procreation is inseparable. Otherwise, as sg notes, we’re merely privileging a fairly meaningless friendship or sexual partnership for no particular public good except, apparently, the self-satisfaction of those involved, which in most cases, seems to be centered around various arbitrary legal and economic benefits that were originally established specifically to encourage heterosexual monogamous marriage.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: Fine. I made a claim that would be onerous (and possibly impossible) to prove. But I know that the Roman Catholic rite, the Eastern Orthodox rites, the Anglican rites in the Book of Common Prayer (those take care of a lot of pre-20th century marriages right there!), and all rites I’ve seen from other Protestant denominations from the period in question mention procreation as a fundamental “activity” or purpose of marriage. My own wedding did, because I used “traditional” rites.

    I won’t throw down the gauntlet and challenge you to find a rite that doesn’t mention procreation (or better: positively affirms that procreation is irrelevant)–and there may very well be pre-1950 rites that fail to mention just that–but I do know for a fact that my general point holds.

    Today, pastors preach sermons waxing eloquent about how marriage, in “God’s eyes,” isn’t about procreation, etc., etc. All of this is very new. All of this is, in my opinion, very bad. Again, I know that marriage, both scripturally and popularly, has much more than procreation as its substance. But, in terms of its civic value (and, as I said, religious value), procreation is inseparable. Otherwise, as sg notes, we’re merely privileging a fairly meaningless friendship or sexual partnership for no particular public good except, apparently, the self-satisfaction of those involved, which in most cases, seems to be centered around various arbitrary legal and economic benefits that were originally established specifically to encourage heterosexual monogamous marriage.

  • Cincinnatus

    And, since we’re playing that game:

    Stephen @93, you claim:

    “In other words, marriage has always been understood to be just as good for the community as it is for the individuals and their children. Thus, the community (and the way it governs itself) has a vested interesting supporting it for the general peace.”

    [citation needed] How is marriage in the absence of family good for the community? Why? And why privilege such a relationship between two people? Why not two best friends? An employer and his favorite employee? A farmer and his dog? The social good of marriage, as it has been traditionally understood, has always been rooted, among other things, in its role in the continuance of the human race–i.e., procreation and children. As sg and I keep repeating, if we excise procreation from the stated civic purposes of marriage–as we are increasingly doing–then what’s the point? It’s just a random, arbitrary relationship that we’ve defined that we somehow think is good for the community. But why? And what interest does the community have in protecting and subsidizing a sterile relationship between two people “in love” (ostensibly…or not)?

  • Cincinnatus

    And, since we’re playing that game:

    Stephen @93, you claim:

    “In other words, marriage has always been understood to be just as good for the community as it is for the individuals and their children. Thus, the community (and the way it governs itself) has a vested interesting supporting it for the general peace.”

    [citation needed] How is marriage in the absence of family good for the community? Why? And why privilege such a relationship between two people? Why not two best friends? An employer and his favorite employee? A farmer and his dog? The social good of marriage, as it has been traditionally understood, has always been rooted, among other things, in its role in the continuance of the human race–i.e., procreation and children. As sg and I keep repeating, if we excise procreation from the stated civic purposes of marriage–as we are increasingly doing–then what’s the point? It’s just a random, arbitrary relationship that we’ve defined that we somehow think is good for the community. But why? And what interest does the community have in protecting and subsidizing a sterile relationship between two people “in love” (ostensibly…or not)?

  • Cincinnatus

    Addendum to my response to Stephen:

    I think you’re flat wrong. Homosexuals want marriage because a) it “legitimates” them within the cultural artifice and b) because they’ll get financial benefits from it.

    But simultaneously, the heterosexual “community,” having long ago dispensed with the notion that marriage is a lasting, “till death do us part” covenant, one of whose central goals is the creation and raising of children, no longer see the purpose of marriage except insofar as it provides a collection of modest financial benefits if they can manage to stick it out until things get too inconvenient or annoying.

    After all, if “marriage” is supposedly just about being in love and playing house, why bother? Weddings are expensive, the tax rebate is quite meager, and wills are easy to write in anyone’s name. Why not just cohabit?

    I can assure you that eviscerating marriage of its connection to procreation (sounding like a broken record here) goes quite a distance in eviscerating the entire institution. People won’t get serious about marriage again–and they won’t understand the intrinsic problems with both no-fault divorce and gay “marriage”–until they get serious again about marriage’s purposes. It’s not just about romance and tax rebates.

  • Cincinnatus

    Addendum to my response to Stephen:

    I think you’re flat wrong. Homosexuals want marriage because a) it “legitimates” them within the cultural artifice and b) because they’ll get financial benefits from it.

    But simultaneously, the heterosexual “community,” having long ago dispensed with the notion that marriage is a lasting, “till death do us part” covenant, one of whose central goals is the creation and raising of children, no longer see the purpose of marriage except insofar as it provides a collection of modest financial benefits if they can manage to stick it out until things get too inconvenient or annoying.

    After all, if “marriage” is supposedly just about being in love and playing house, why bother? Weddings are expensive, the tax rebate is quite meager, and wills are easy to write in anyone’s name. Why not just cohabit?

    I can assure you that eviscerating marriage of its connection to procreation (sounding like a broken record here) goes quite a distance in eviscerating the entire institution. People won’t get serious about marriage again–and they won’t understand the intrinsic problems with both no-fault divorce and gay “marriage”–until they get serious again about marriage’s purposes. It’s not just about romance and tax rebates.

  • fw

    cincinatus @ 98

    isnt this about govt getting out of the marriage biz? why do u keep dragging the church into it cinn?

    ” if we allow people to marry who are well past the childbearing age, that will effectively change the very definition of marriage as being purposed to bear children. oh…but we have always done that havent we? even in the churches you names cincinatus. so why doesnt that vitiate everything you have said….

    why didnt the churches in that case have a committment ceremony for these older persons and not call it marriage?

  • fw

    cincinatus @ 98

    isnt this about govt getting out of the marriage biz? why do u keep dragging the church into it cinn?

    ” if we allow people to marry who are well past the childbearing age, that will effectively change the very definition of marriage as being purposed to bear children. oh…but we have always done that havent we? even in the churches you names cincinatus. so why doesnt that vitiate everything you have said….

    why didnt the churches in that case have a committment ceremony for these older persons and not call it marriage?

  • fw

    I think you’re flat wrong. Homosexuals want marriage because a) it “legitimates” them within the cultural artifice and b) because they’ll get financial benefits from it.

    not true. they want to be married for exactly the same reasons heterosexual couples do. why would you imagine they are different here cinn?

  • fw

    I think you’re flat wrong. Homosexuals want marriage because a) it “legitimates” them within the cultural artifice and b) because they’ll get financial benefits from it.

    not true. they want to be married for exactly the same reasons heterosexual couples do. why would you imagine they are different here cinn?

  • Cincinnatus

    ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE WARNING:

    I got married because I loved a women enough to start a family with her. Not because I wanted to be “recognized” by the state. Not because I wanted tax benefits, a consistent hospital visitor, etc. I got married because I want to have a family, to raise children, to establish a household–all things I consider essential aspects of a flourishing human life.

    So why, then, do homosexuals want to get married? Because I can assure you that their reasons must, by definition, be different from mine.

    Two more points:

    1. I’ve already noted that most people in modern America do not get married for the reasons I did. They do it because it’s apparently the thing you do when you’re in love. Or because of familial pressure. Or because…huh, they don’t really know. Hence, a vast and increasing number are tossing the whole thing and simply co-habiting. Why assume all the risks and burdens of marriage if it’s ostensibly just about two people in love making a public commitment? And if that’s the case, why not let the gays do it? It doesn’t mean anything anyway, and it serves no public purpose. Marriage, once an institution for the public good, now serves the private good–which, I suppose, in our hyper-individualized egalitarian society is the same thing, right?

    2. I’m not “dragging” the church into it. Prior to…well, never, because I think it’s still true–the vast majority of marriages in Western societies were performed by the church, being legally (and spiritually) empowered to do so. Even today, proportionally few people are married solely by a justice of the peace. Thus, the contents of the ceremonies and rites that characterized these marriages is, in my opinion, relevant to their perceived public purposes. Both the Church and the State have, until very recently, established marriage for the primary public purpose of instituting family units, which unites have, until very recently, been deemed essential for social order, stability, and happiness, especially for the members of those units known as children.

  • Cincinnatus

    ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE WARNING:

    I got married because I loved a women enough to start a family with her. Not because I wanted to be “recognized” by the state. Not because I wanted tax benefits, a consistent hospital visitor, etc. I got married because I want to have a family, to raise children, to establish a household–all things I consider essential aspects of a flourishing human life.

    So why, then, do homosexuals want to get married? Because I can assure you that their reasons must, by definition, be different from mine.

    Two more points:

    1. I’ve already noted that most people in modern America do not get married for the reasons I did. They do it because it’s apparently the thing you do when you’re in love. Or because of familial pressure. Or because…huh, they don’t really know. Hence, a vast and increasing number are tossing the whole thing and simply co-habiting. Why assume all the risks and burdens of marriage if it’s ostensibly just about two people in love making a public commitment? And if that’s the case, why not let the gays do it? It doesn’t mean anything anyway, and it serves no public purpose. Marriage, once an institution for the public good, now serves the private good–which, I suppose, in our hyper-individualized egalitarian society is the same thing, right?

    2. I’m not “dragging” the church into it. Prior to…well, never, because I think it’s still true–the vast majority of marriages in Western societies were performed by the church, being legally (and spiritually) empowered to do so. Even today, proportionally few people are married solely by a justice of the peace. Thus, the contents of the ceremonies and rites that characterized these marriages is, in my opinion, relevant to their perceived public purposes. Both the Church and the State have, until very recently, established marriage for the primary public purpose of instituting family units, which unites have, until very recently, been deemed essential for social order, stability, and happiness, especially for the members of those units known as children.

  • Cincinnatus

    loved a WOMAN*

  • Cincinnatus

    loved a WOMAN*

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Regarding the elderly marrying, this report suggests that very few older people are marrying, mostly because they are already married, I would suggest, but probably after a lifetime of marriage, widows might be uncomfortable cohabiting even though procreation after a certain age would be miraculous for a woman. Elderly men can still be fathers, of course, if the wife is younger.

    pp. 31-33 (easy to read graphs)

    http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/workingpapers/wp89.pdf

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Regarding the elderly marrying, this report suggests that very few older people are marrying, mostly because they are already married, I would suggest, but probably after a lifetime of marriage, widows might be uncomfortable cohabiting even though procreation after a certain age would be miraculous for a woman. Elderly men can still be fathers, of course, if the wife is younger.

    pp. 31-33 (easy to read graphs)

    http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/workingpapers/wp89.pdf

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus, I’ll admit to having only skimmed much of this conversation, so forgive me if I’ve missed some context here.

    Still, I’m not sure I’ve got a handle on exactly what you’re arguing here. Is procreation a “fundamental ‘activity’” of marriage (@96)? Sure. I could agree to that, as I understand those terms. But I don’t see that as being equal to “one of the primary purposes of marriage” (@89), as you do. Ah, semantics.

    I mean, consider the foundational mention of marriage in the Bible (Gen. 2:18-24, later cited by Jesus in regards to marriage and divorce). Tell me what it says about children and procreation:

    The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

    Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

    But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

    The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

    For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    Seems to me that the primary purpose of marriage, biblically speaking, is that it’s not good for man to be alone. Which reinforces not a small bit the romantic/friendship talk you’ve hastily dismissed — far more than any notion of procreation being a/the primary purpose.

    Again, not that I’m denying procreation being a part of marriage. But, again, your claim is to what the (main) point of marriage is. Companionship seems to be the fundamental biblical answer.

    I tried looking in my 1941 Lutheran hymnal for a marriage liturgy, but couldn’t find one. So that’s all I’ve got for conclusive research to contradict you. I have a more recent hymnal, but that wouldn’t disprove your thesis, anyhow, no matter what it says. I just found your statement to be remarkably broad and, as such, likely a product of some massive guesswork on your part.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus, I’ll admit to having only skimmed much of this conversation, so forgive me if I’ve missed some context here.

    Still, I’m not sure I’ve got a handle on exactly what you’re arguing here. Is procreation a “fundamental ‘activity’” of marriage (@96)? Sure. I could agree to that, as I understand those terms. But I don’t see that as being equal to “one of the primary purposes of marriage” (@89), as you do. Ah, semantics.

    I mean, consider the foundational mention of marriage in the Bible (Gen. 2:18-24, later cited by Jesus in regards to marriage and divorce). Tell me what it says about children and procreation:

    The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

    Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

    But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

    The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

    For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    Seems to me that the primary purpose of marriage, biblically speaking, is that it’s not good for man to be alone. Which reinforces not a small bit the romantic/friendship talk you’ve hastily dismissed — far more than any notion of procreation being a/the primary purpose.

    Again, not that I’m denying procreation being a part of marriage. But, again, your claim is to what the (main) point of marriage is. Companionship seems to be the fundamental biblical answer.

    I tried looking in my 1941 Lutheran hymnal for a marriage liturgy, but couldn’t find one. So that’s all I’ve got for conclusive research to contradict you. I have a more recent hymnal, but that wouldn’t disprove your thesis, anyhow, no matter what it says. I just found your statement to be remarkably broad and, as such, likely a product of some massive guesswork on your part.

  • fw

    cinncinatus @ 98
    Homosexuals want marriage because a) it “legitimates” them within the cultural artifice and b) because they’ll get financial benefits from it.
    [citation needed]

    here is a survey that contradicts you …..

    http://www.relationships.com.au/relationship-advice/faqs/why-do-people-get-married

    Factor
    Response %
    Love
    91
    Companionship
    88
    To signify a life-long commitment
    82
    Security for children
    79
    To make a public commitment to each other
    77
    For legal status or for financial security
    66
    Because of religious beliefs
    62
    Response to Family pressure
    50
    Desire for a special occasion
    45

  • fw

    cinncinatus @ 98
    Homosexuals want marriage because a) it “legitimates” them within the cultural artifice and b) because they’ll get financial benefits from it.
    [citation needed]

    here is a survey that contradicts you …..

    http://www.relationships.com.au/relationship-advice/faqs/why-do-people-get-married

    Factor
    Response %
    Love
    91
    Companionship
    88
    To signify a life-long commitment
    82
    Security for children
    79
    To make a public commitment to each other
    77
    For legal status or for financial security
    66
    Because of religious beliefs
    62
    Response to Family pressure
    50
    Desire for a special occasion
    45

  • fw

    sg @ 103

    1) what does the data say about the reasons for why people get married nowadays?

    2) does the data suggest that raising a family is the primary reason people become legally married?

    3) is there any data to suggest, as cinncinatus insists is a fact, that gays are motivated to marry for different reasons than the general population?

    thanks!

  • fw

    sg @ 103

    1) what does the data say about the reasons for why people get married nowadays?

    2) does the data suggest that raising a family is the primary reason people become legally married?

    3) is there any data to suggest, as cinncinatus insists is a fact, that gays are motivated to marry for different reasons than the general population?

    thanks!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It is easy to have companionship (now that the earth has been filled with folks due to procreation) but not so easy to raise kids without marriage. Children whose parents are married have better outcomes on all measures on average than those whose parents are not married. Marriage serves the interests of children and by extension, society. What is best for kids is ultimately best for society. Now this is one of those chicken-egg problems. Do kids of unmarried parents do worse because they inherited the genes of folks who couldn’t form a stable marriage, or did the unstable situation depress their performance?

    I heard a preacher say that the first thing God said was not good was for man to be alone and the first command was to fill the earth. Seems like a hair splitter.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It is easy to have companionship (now that the earth has been filled with folks due to procreation) but not so easy to raise kids without marriage. Children whose parents are married have better outcomes on all measures on average than those whose parents are not married. Marriage serves the interests of children and by extension, society. What is best for kids is ultimately best for society. Now this is one of those chicken-egg problems. Do kids of unmarried parents do worse because they inherited the genes of folks who couldn’t form a stable marriage, or did the unstable situation depress their performance?

    I heard a preacher say that the first thing God said was not good was for man to be alone and the first command was to fill the earth. Seems like a hair splitter.

  • fw

    sg

    ok. more questions…

    what would determine, officially, and authoritatively I mean, the “purpose ” of marriage?

    would it be…

    1) the bible (in that case the primary reason is companionship),
    2) how the general population finds the institution useful
    3) what the laws say?
    4) other?
    5) what sgs logic decides?

  • fw

    sg

    ok. more questions…

    what would determine, officially, and authoritatively I mean, the “purpose ” of marriage?

    would it be…

    1) the bible (in that case the primary reason is companionship),
    2) how the general population finds the institution useful
    3) what the laws say?
    4) other?
    5) what sgs logic decides?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “1) what does the data say about the reasons for why people get married nowadays?”

    Dunno. I do know that rationalization hamsters active in the minds of all of us sinful folk are pretty creative. Probably most say something socially affirmed like “love”. Saying “to have a family” might be considered uncool these days.

    “2) does the data suggest that raising a family is the primary reason people become legally married?”

    dunno. I could look.

    “3) is there any data to suggest, as cinncinatus insists is a fact, that gays are motivated to marry for different reasons than the general population?”

    dunno. Researchers might not want to look at such things too closely for fear they may find stuff they can’t publish because it is radioactive and won’t lead to more grants.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “1) what does the data say about the reasons for why people get married nowadays?”

    Dunno. I do know that rationalization hamsters active in the minds of all of us sinful folk are pretty creative. Probably most say something socially affirmed like “love”. Saying “to have a family” might be considered uncool these days.

    “2) does the data suggest that raising a family is the primary reason people become legally married?”

    dunno. I could look.

    “3) is there any data to suggest, as cinncinatus insists is a fact, that gays are motivated to marry for different reasons than the general population?”

    dunno. Researchers might not want to look at such things too closely for fear they may find stuff they can’t publish because it is radioactive and won’t lead to more grants.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “what would determine, officially, and authoritatively I mean, the “purpose ” of marriage?”

    Nothing. Authority is no longer recognized in the post modern age. Folks who claim to believe in evolution can’t stand discussion of selection in recent human history because it doesn’t agree with their political ideology. Religious folks reinterpret their own texts to get new never before imagined interpretations that conveniently fit current social trends. Once a modern human decides she wants a pony, she will shake that magic 8 ball till it says, “Yes.”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “what would determine, officially, and authoritatively I mean, the “purpose ” of marriage?”

    Nothing. Authority is no longer recognized in the post modern age. Folks who claim to believe in evolution can’t stand discussion of selection in recent human history because it doesn’t agree with their political ideology. Religious folks reinterpret their own texts to get new never before imagined interpretations that conveniently fit current social trends. Once a modern human decides she wants a pony, she will shake that magic 8 ball till it says, “Yes.”

  • Cincinnatus

    fws, you’re the one who proclaimed, with apparent certainty, that homosexuals wish to get married for the very same reasons heterosexuals do. You thus seem to know. Instead of asking me to seek research (that, for reasons sg mentions and others, probably does not exist), why not just tell me what you had in mind?

    I can tell you that, based on popular movements in favor of gay marriage, the motivations are primarily legal and economic. For instance, the “1138 Reasons” campaign, a petition for which I have been repeatedly asked to sign by my peers: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,993523,00.html

    Think of the common rhetoric surrounding the movement for gay marriage. Why should it exist? “Equal rights” Huh? Rights to what? Why, the various legal and fiscal benefits that apply to marriage according to American law, of course. Prior to the discourse of gay marriage, no one thought of marriage in terms of rights, equal or otherwise. Marriage was, definitionally and inexplicably, an institution established so that two people could form a unit that the social order had deemed efficacious for the procreation and raising of children in a stable environment. It wasn’t a right or even a privilege. It was just something two humans of opposite sex did. In the absence of the need to procreate and raise children in a suitable context, why bother? Seriously!

    Let me ask you this: if the American government, at all levels, abolished the various now-arbitrary benefits that pertain to marriage–tax rebates, hospital visitation rights, etc.–would gays still be so excited about the prospect of marriage? Heterosexuals are already giving up on the whole thing because the aforementioned benefits no longer seem worthwhile or “cost effective.” I suspect, though I obviously can’t confirm, that agitations for gay marriage would subside considerably if this happened.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws, you’re the one who proclaimed, with apparent certainty, that homosexuals wish to get married for the very same reasons heterosexuals do. You thus seem to know. Instead of asking me to seek research (that, for reasons sg mentions and others, probably does not exist), why not just tell me what you had in mind?

    I can tell you that, based on popular movements in favor of gay marriage, the motivations are primarily legal and economic. For instance, the “1138 Reasons” campaign, a petition for which I have been repeatedly asked to sign by my peers: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,993523,00.html

    Think of the common rhetoric surrounding the movement for gay marriage. Why should it exist? “Equal rights” Huh? Rights to what? Why, the various legal and fiscal benefits that apply to marriage according to American law, of course. Prior to the discourse of gay marriage, no one thought of marriage in terms of rights, equal or otherwise. Marriage was, definitionally and inexplicably, an institution established so that two people could form a unit that the social order had deemed efficacious for the procreation and raising of children in a stable environment. It wasn’t a right or even a privilege. It was just something two humans of opposite sex did. In the absence of the need to procreate and raise children in a suitable context, why bother? Seriously!

    Let me ask you this: if the American government, at all levels, abolished the various now-arbitrary benefits that pertain to marriage–tax rebates, hospital visitation rights, etc.–would gays still be so excited about the prospect of marriage? Heterosexuals are already giving up on the whole thing because the aforementioned benefits no longer seem worthwhile or “cost effective.” I suspect, though I obviously can’t confirm, that agitations for gay marriage would subside considerably if this happened.

  • Cincinnatus

    definitionally and inescapably*

    Marriage has already been redefined by the heterosexuals. As far as I am concerned, gays are welcome to that vitiated, shameful institution we now call “marriage” (an affront to the institution that once was) with the full faith and credit of the American legal order. And good riddance, I guess.

  • Cincinnatus

    definitionally and inescapably*

    Marriage has already been redefined by the heterosexuals. As far as I am concerned, gays are welcome to that vitiated, shameful institution we now call “marriage” (an affront to the institution that once was) with the full faith and credit of the American legal order. And good riddance, I guess.

  • Jeremy

    “Marriage has already been redefined by the heterosexuals.”

    Absolutely right, Cincinnatus, and many times over. Let us suppose that social conservatives score a decisive victory on gay marriage. This would basically take marriage back 8 years to 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. Consider all the changes made to the institution of marriage since 1950. Marriage in 2003 is not that different from marriage in 2011, but way different than marriage in 1950. But under the most favorable of political circumstances, the best social conservatives will be able to do is to roll back marriage 8 years.

  • Jeremy

    “Marriage has already been redefined by the heterosexuals.”

    Absolutely right, Cincinnatus, and many times over. Let us suppose that social conservatives score a decisive victory on gay marriage. This would basically take marriage back 8 years to 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. Consider all the changes made to the institution of marriage since 1950. Marriage in 2003 is not that different from marriage in 2011, but way different than marriage in 1950. But under the most favorable of political circumstances, the best social conservatives will be able to do is to roll back marriage 8 years.

  • Stephen

    Gays want to have families same as anyone else. They want their kids to grow up in a home where spouses are committed to each other and that relationship enjoys all the protections and securities of the law that anyone else has. They don’t want to be alone and, yes, they want those marriages to be legally and “culturally” legitimate anywhere they go just as anyone else would. So?

    The couple who marries knowing they cannot procreate from a heterosexual union, whether they are gay or straight, seems to have second class status to no good benefit for anyone in the opinions being offered here. Anyone hear of adoption?

    As far as needing any citations for claiming that marriage has always been understood as involving the interests of the community within which a marriage happens as well as those getting married, I mean please! Do you live in this world? Marriage is the founding “institution” of human community that determines to a large degree ones fundamental obligation to others. Nothing I have said makes gay marriage “apart” from human community or family. Nothing.

    So what if gays argue primarily on legal and/or financial terms? I’m pretty sure that’s how equal protection and civil rights are understood – harm done financially, illegal exclusion to opportunity, etc. That does not preclude desiring as well all the other benefits marriage gives.

  • Stephen

    Gays want to have families same as anyone else. They want their kids to grow up in a home where spouses are committed to each other and that relationship enjoys all the protections and securities of the law that anyone else has. They don’t want to be alone and, yes, they want those marriages to be legally and “culturally” legitimate anywhere they go just as anyone else would. So?

    The couple who marries knowing they cannot procreate from a heterosexual union, whether they are gay or straight, seems to have second class status to no good benefit for anyone in the opinions being offered here. Anyone hear of adoption?

    As far as needing any citations for claiming that marriage has always been understood as involving the interests of the community within which a marriage happens as well as those getting married, I mean please! Do you live in this world? Marriage is the founding “institution” of human community that determines to a large degree ones fundamental obligation to others. Nothing I have said makes gay marriage “apart” from human community or family. Nothing.

    So what if gays argue primarily on legal and/or financial terms? I’m pretty sure that’s how equal protection and civil rights are understood – harm done financially, illegal exclusion to opportunity, etc. That does not preclude desiring as well all the other benefits marriage gives.

  • Jeremy

    Social conservatives that are better-read pretty much understand that they are going to lose the battle on same-sex marriage. As Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family wrote last month: “We’re losing on that one [gay marriage], especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age — demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that.”

  • Jeremy

    Social conservatives that are better-read pretty much understand that they are going to lose the battle on same-sex marriage. As Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family wrote last month: “We’re losing on that one [gay marriage], especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age — demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that.”

  • Gary

    Cincinnatus @ 98

    I don’t agree with much of your argumentation, but I could perhaps get some traction with one of your observations (albeit in a way you wouldn’t agree with), and that is in #98: let’s go ahead and, in your view, “eviscerate” marriage. That is, let us agree as a civil society that we will exercise the option of changing what we mean by the word. The fact is, our institution of marriage is NO LONGER ’till death do us part, and our society has absolutely no intention of ever going back to that. Facing these facts, what shall we say?

  • Gary

    Cincinnatus @ 98

    I don’t agree with much of your argumentation, but I could perhaps get some traction with one of your observations (albeit in a way you wouldn’t agree with), and that is in #98: let’s go ahead and, in your view, “eviscerate” marriage. That is, let us agree as a civil society that we will exercise the option of changing what we mean by the word. The fact is, our institution of marriage is NO LONGER ’till death do us part, and our society has absolutely no intention of ever going back to that. Facing these facts, what shall we say?

  • fw

    cincinatus @ 110

    “Think of the common rhetoric surrounding the movement for gay marriage. Why should it exist? “Equal rights” Huh? Rights to what? Why, the various legal and fiscal benefits that apply to marriage according to American law, of course. Prior to the discourse of gay marriage, no one thought of marriage in terms of rights, equal or otherwise”

    google loving vs state of virginia. interracial couple denied the”right” to marry. 1970. and what do u suppose black slaves did to get married? They jumped over a broom handle together. and then…. probably one of them got sold off…

    My point is of course that heterosexual marriage was not a universal right even for heterosexuals until fairly recently.

    as to gays wanting to get married for the all the same reasons you and your wife did… they are human beings. I think that the burden of assumption is that they humanly want the same good things that you get out of your marriage. Start a family? ever heard of adoption and foster parents cinn? I can tell you that when i attended foster parent orientation, the hetero couples really wanted to adopt, and they wanted a baby that was young of their race with no special needs etc etc…

    gays were usually the ones in the room open to accepting children and babies with special needs…. how is that germaine? people seek having children for alot of selfish reasons to “play house” as well. I am not sure that the fact that hetero couples can breed makes them more suitable as parents…

  • fw

    cincinatus @ 110

    “Think of the common rhetoric surrounding the movement for gay marriage. Why should it exist? “Equal rights” Huh? Rights to what? Why, the various legal and fiscal benefits that apply to marriage according to American law, of course. Prior to the discourse of gay marriage, no one thought of marriage in terms of rights, equal or otherwise”

    google loving vs state of virginia. interracial couple denied the”right” to marry. 1970. and what do u suppose black slaves did to get married? They jumped over a broom handle together. and then…. probably one of them got sold off…

    My point is of course that heterosexual marriage was not a universal right even for heterosexuals until fairly recently.

    as to gays wanting to get married for the all the same reasons you and your wife did… they are human beings. I think that the burden of assumption is that they humanly want the same good things that you get out of your marriage. Start a family? ever heard of adoption and foster parents cinn? I can tell you that when i attended foster parent orientation, the hetero couples really wanted to adopt, and they wanted a baby that was young of their race with no special needs etc etc…

    gays were usually the ones in the room open to accepting children and babies with special needs…. how is that germaine? people seek having children for alot of selfish reasons to “play house” as well. I am not sure that the fact that hetero couples can breed makes them more suitable as parents…

  • Gary

    Jeremy @ 112

    “Marriage in 2003 is not that different from marriage in 2011, but way different than marriage in 1950.”

    One hundred years from now future generations will view the ideas about marriage that were prevalent in the 1950s as barbaric, benighted, backward, fundamentalist, oppressive, and tantamount to slavery.

  • Gary

    Jeremy @ 112

    “Marriage in 2003 is not that different from marriage in 2011, but way different than marriage in 1950.”

    One hundred years from now future generations will view the ideas about marriage that were prevalent in the 1950s as barbaric, benighted, backward, fundamentalist, oppressive, and tantamount to slavery.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD and Stephen, It appears that you are asking me the following question, the former explicitly, the latter implicitly:

    Why is procreation an essential and not merely accidental function/characteristic of marriage?

    I’m glad you’ve asked. The argument, which is generic and not specifically legal or ecclesiastical in nature, goes something like this:

    Marriage is defined fundamentally as a sexual union. This is why it is distinct from other forms of companionship. This is a fairly uncontroversial statement that is both traditionally Western and traditionally Christian, insofar as those two things are distinguishable. Thus, tODD, woman was not created just for the purposes of companionship but for sexual companionship. Unless one is a resident of Sparta circa 450 B.C., sexual congress is the only thing that separates marriage from friendship (absent the purely and arbitrarily legal structures we’ve been discussing).

    Here’s the next premise, and here’s where it gets controversial—at least for we moderns: Sex is intrinsically and inextricably associated with procreation. Post-Sexual Revolution, this is a hard teaching, and one that even evangelicals are loathe to accept in this brave new world. Nonetheless, this is, I think, an essential and quintessential Christian view of sex and marriage. Marriage is about sex, and sex is about procreation. Does this mean that all sex must bear fruit? No. Does this mean that all marriages, thus, must bear fruit? No. But this is what sex and thus marriage is about (in part!). Only the questionable luxuries of contraception have enabled us to divorce sex from the “danger”—and it is dangerous, for it comes with tremendous responsibility!—of pregnancy. Without igniting a debate about the ethics of contraception, allow me to assert that its universal adoption has proven incredibly destructive to our perceptions of both sex and marriage. Sexual relationships in which procreation is definitionally impossible (i.e., homosexual activities) are not sex properly understood. They are a deviation from the intent of “real” sex.

    This is why marriage fundamentally involves procreation.

    The invention of contraception destroyed our entirely natural notion of sex as linked with procreation; our relaxed social mores have destroyed the notion that sex ought to be a monogamous activity that occurs only within the bonds of marriage.

    Two subsidiary questions have been broached.

    Why can’t gays participate in this institution? Stephen, with astute political correctness but questionable evidence, affirms that what gays really want is to create and nurture families like we heterosexuals. Perhaps this is so—I know it is so—for many of them. But not for others. In the manner of most modern heterosexuals, marriage is about “love” (our vitiated version thereof, that is) and convenience, economic and otherwise. And sure, let’s throw children in there–because the desire for children is, I think we would all agree, a natural human impulse. But surely you see that, except for the aid of modern technology—itself questionably ethical, and another discussion I’m not attempting to broach here—if marriage is about sex, and sex is about procreation, then homosexual “sex” and “marriage” are contradictory and impossible given the proper understandings of sex and marriage. As I said, if gays want our deracinated, eviscerated version of marriage, they can have it. There’s no reason for them not to have it. But marriage properly understood is off-limits simply because homosexual marriage is literally impossible under such a paradigm.

    Second, what about people who are sterile and conscious thereof? Too bad. Can they get married? Sure. But, again, too bad: their marriage is lacking something, and most of them know it, I warrant. Though I sound terribly insensitive, I say this as someone whose marriage may very well be barren (no children yet). It is our modern obsession with political correctness and inclusion that leads us to insist that a barren marriage is just as good as any other. But this is a highly “modern” assertion, related like so many other innovations to the sexual revolution. Sex without procreation is lacking something—and thus so is a childless marriage. Another harsh teaching. Why do you think barren women are so terribly upset in Scripture, Greek drama, medieval history, etc., when their barrenness is discovered? It’s not simply because they won’t have a male heir for the purposes of inheritance. It’s because something is missing. Sterile folks can (and even should) get married, have sex, enjoy one another’s love—but something will always be missing.

    I expect to be flamed hard for this one, but there you have it.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD and Stephen, It appears that you are asking me the following question, the former explicitly, the latter implicitly:

    Why is procreation an essential and not merely accidental function/characteristic of marriage?

    I’m glad you’ve asked. The argument, which is generic and not specifically legal or ecclesiastical in nature, goes something like this:

    Marriage is defined fundamentally as a sexual union. This is why it is distinct from other forms of companionship. This is a fairly uncontroversial statement that is both traditionally Western and traditionally Christian, insofar as those two things are distinguishable. Thus, tODD, woman was not created just for the purposes of companionship but for sexual companionship. Unless one is a resident of Sparta circa 450 B.C., sexual congress is the only thing that separates marriage from friendship (absent the purely and arbitrarily legal structures we’ve been discussing).

    Here’s the next premise, and here’s where it gets controversial—at least for we moderns: Sex is intrinsically and inextricably associated with procreation. Post-Sexual Revolution, this is a hard teaching, and one that even evangelicals are loathe to accept in this brave new world. Nonetheless, this is, I think, an essential and quintessential Christian view of sex and marriage. Marriage is about sex, and sex is about procreation. Does this mean that all sex must bear fruit? No. Does this mean that all marriages, thus, must bear fruit? No. But this is what sex and thus marriage is about (in part!). Only the questionable luxuries of contraception have enabled us to divorce sex from the “danger”—and it is dangerous, for it comes with tremendous responsibility!—of pregnancy. Without igniting a debate about the ethics of contraception, allow me to assert that its universal adoption has proven incredibly destructive to our perceptions of both sex and marriage. Sexual relationships in which procreation is definitionally impossible (i.e., homosexual activities) are not sex properly understood. They are a deviation from the intent of “real” sex.

    This is why marriage fundamentally involves procreation.

    The invention of contraception destroyed our entirely natural notion of sex as linked with procreation; our relaxed social mores have destroyed the notion that sex ought to be a monogamous activity that occurs only within the bonds of marriage.

    Two subsidiary questions have been broached.

    Why can’t gays participate in this institution? Stephen, with astute political correctness but questionable evidence, affirms that what gays really want is to create and nurture families like we heterosexuals. Perhaps this is so—I know it is so—for many of them. But not for others. In the manner of most modern heterosexuals, marriage is about “love” (our vitiated version thereof, that is) and convenience, economic and otherwise. And sure, let’s throw children in there–because the desire for children is, I think we would all agree, a natural human impulse. But surely you see that, except for the aid of modern technology—itself questionably ethical, and another discussion I’m not attempting to broach here—if marriage is about sex, and sex is about procreation, then homosexual “sex” and “marriage” are contradictory and impossible given the proper understandings of sex and marriage. As I said, if gays want our deracinated, eviscerated version of marriage, they can have it. There’s no reason for them not to have it. But marriage properly understood is off-limits simply because homosexual marriage is literally impossible under such a paradigm.

    Second, what about people who are sterile and conscious thereof? Too bad. Can they get married? Sure. But, again, too bad: their marriage is lacking something, and most of them know it, I warrant. Though I sound terribly insensitive, I say this as someone whose marriage may very well be barren (no children yet). It is our modern obsession with political correctness and inclusion that leads us to insist that a barren marriage is just as good as any other. But this is a highly “modern” assertion, related like so many other innovations to the sexual revolution. Sex without procreation is lacking something—and thus so is a childless marriage. Another harsh teaching. Why do you think barren women are so terribly upset in Scripture, Greek drama, medieval history, etc., when their barrenness is discovered? It’s not simply because they won’t have a male heir for the purposes of inheritance. It’s because something is missing. Sterile folks can (and even should) get married, have sex, enjoy one another’s love—but something will always be missing.

    I expect to be flamed hard for this one, but there you have it.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, the analogy to miscegenation laws is a terrible analogy for the same reason that comparing our “oppression” of homosexuals to antebellum slavery is a bad analogy.

    But hey, it we insist that homosexuality is an inborn trait, maybe it is the same. Or is sexuality something we choose and have the right to choose? The sexual revolution always confuses me :-P

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, the analogy to miscegenation laws is a terrible analogy for the same reason that comparing our “oppression” of homosexuals to antebellum slavery is a bad analogy.

    But hey, it we insist that homosexuality is an inborn trait, maybe it is the same. Or is sexuality something we choose and have the right to choose? The sexual revolution always confuses me :-P

  • fws

    marriage circa 1960

    http://www.businesspundit.com/10-most-sexist-print-ads-from-the-1950s/
    http://www.bspcn.com/2010/05/27/25-horribly-sexist-vintage-ads/

    i do suppose that sg and cinn’s reaction will be… nevermind…

    this article would seem to call alot of your assertions into question. who knows who is right… probably u cinn eh?

    http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/ATLAS_EN/html/history_of_marriage_in_western.html

  • fws

    marriage circa 1960

    http://www.businesspundit.com/10-most-sexist-print-ads-from-the-1950s/
    http://www.bspcn.com/2010/05/27/25-horribly-sexist-vintage-ads/

    i do suppose that sg and cinn’s reaction will be… nevermind…

    this article would seem to call alot of your assertions into question. who knows who is right… probably u cinn eh?

    http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/ATLAS_EN/html/history_of_marriage_in_western.html

  • Gary

    Cincinnatus @ 118
    “Marriage is defined fundamentally as a sexual union.”–I’m doubtful whether I agree, but if, for the sake of argument, I say you’re right, then gay marriage falls right out of this, for it is clear the first thing homosexual people are interested in is finding a partner for a “sexual union.”

    “Marriage is about sex, and sex is about procreation. “–Not if we don’t want it to be. Sex without procreation is easy.

  • Gary

    Cincinnatus @ 118
    “Marriage is defined fundamentally as a sexual union.”–I’m doubtful whether I agree, but if, for the sake of argument, I say you’re right, then gay marriage falls right out of this, for it is clear the first thing homosexual people are interested in is finding a partner for a “sexual union.”

    “Marriage is about sex, and sex is about procreation. “–Not if we don’t want it to be. Sex without procreation is easy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus, sorry, but I’m still trying to respond to your original claim (@89), which I will repeat again here:

    All marriage rites in all churches in all countries prior to the mid/late-twentieth century explicitly affirmed that one of the primary purposes of marriage as a religious and not merely civil ordinance was procreation.

    As I mentioned, I don’t have any copies of pre-mid-twentieth-century rites laying around my house, so I had to do some Googling.

    I found a copy of a book A Collection of Hymns, and a Liturgy for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Churches… (the title does go on), published by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the State of New York. I tried Googling them, but couldn’t tell you where their theological descendents ended up among modern Lutherans. Anyhow, the book is from 1827, and I will now quote from the section on matrimony (section XII):

    Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony; which was instituted of God himself for the happiness of mankind; which is commended in his word as an honourable state; and which is, therefore, not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discretely, advisedly, and in the fear of God. …

    N. Do you take this woman to your wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the state of Matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honour and keep her, as a faithful Christian husband is bound to do, in health and sickness, in prosperity and adversity; and, forsaking all others, keep you only unto her, so long as you both shall live? …

    Let us pray. … We praise thee, that thou hast ordained for us domestic institutions. And we beseech thee to behold with thy favour and to bless these thy servants, who have now entered into the closest and tenderest of all earthly connections. Help them to fulfil with fidelity the vow and covenant which they have made in thy presence; that the relation in which they stand to each other, may not be to them a state of temptation and sorrow, but of holiness, joy, and perfect indissoluble friendship. Give them grace to overlook each other’s infirmities, to cherish a due regard for each other’s opinions and feelings, to be just to each other’s virtues and good intentions, to improve each other’s understanding and heart, and to travel together hand in hand the road which leads to heaven and thee. Enable them, by persevering affection, by a worthy deportment, and by united devotions, to soften to each other the unavoidable cares of life, to alleviate its sorrows, to increase its innocent enjoyments, and to edify their friends and all around them. Prosper, we beseech thee, their useful worldly pursuits, if thine infinite wisdom perceives this to be good for them; and, should they be visited with affliction, let them find a never-failing Friend and Supporter in thee. And, having been pious, virtuous, and happy in their connection here on earth, may they be at last united in the realms of everlasting love and bliss, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    The following exhortation may be addressed to the parties after marriage.

    It will be of great advantage and importance to you, My Friends, to consider frequently and seriously the sacred engagement, which you have now made. Marriage is the union of one man with one woman for their joint happiness, and for the pious education of children, where God gives them, and, by the original appointment of the Almighty, confirmed by our Saviour, (Genesis ii. 24. Matth. xix. 4. 5. 6.) this union is to be dissolved only by death. It was intended by the benevolent Parent of mankind, not to be a hard yoke, but a means of promoting our true happiness, and of exercising us in the best and most amiable dispositions. … Should God bless you with children, let it be your chief concern, not that they should be rich or great in the world, but that they should be educated as Christians; and let it be your highest delight and nyour noblest employment, to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Bolds (and any errant typos — I had to retype it by hand) are mine. I tried not to omit anything relevant to our discussion, but you should go read it all in context at the above link, if you’re interested.

    Point being, I think this particular liturgy tends to disprove your theory.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus, sorry, but I’m still trying to respond to your original claim (@89), which I will repeat again here:

    All marriage rites in all churches in all countries prior to the mid/late-twentieth century explicitly affirmed that one of the primary purposes of marriage as a religious and not merely civil ordinance was procreation.

    As I mentioned, I don’t have any copies of pre-mid-twentieth-century rites laying around my house, so I had to do some Googling.

    I found a copy of a book A Collection of Hymns, and a Liturgy for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Churches… (the title does go on), published by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the State of New York. I tried Googling them, but couldn’t tell you where their theological descendents ended up among modern Lutherans. Anyhow, the book is from 1827, and I will now quote from the section on matrimony (section XII):

    Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony; which was instituted of God himself for the happiness of mankind; which is commended in his word as an honourable state; and which is, therefore, not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discretely, advisedly, and in the fear of God. …

    N. Do you take this woman to your wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the state of Matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honour and keep her, as a faithful Christian husband is bound to do, in health and sickness, in prosperity and adversity; and, forsaking all others, keep you only unto her, so long as you both shall live? …

    Let us pray. … We praise thee, that thou hast ordained for us domestic institutions. And we beseech thee to behold with thy favour and to bless these thy servants, who have now entered into the closest and tenderest of all earthly connections. Help them to fulfil with fidelity the vow and covenant which they have made in thy presence; that the relation in which they stand to each other, may not be to them a state of temptation and sorrow, but of holiness, joy, and perfect indissoluble friendship. Give them grace to overlook each other’s infirmities, to cherish a due regard for each other’s opinions and feelings, to be just to each other’s virtues and good intentions, to improve each other’s understanding and heart, and to travel together hand in hand the road which leads to heaven and thee. Enable them, by persevering affection, by a worthy deportment, and by united devotions, to soften to each other the unavoidable cares of life, to alleviate its sorrows, to increase its innocent enjoyments, and to edify their friends and all around them. Prosper, we beseech thee, their useful worldly pursuits, if thine infinite wisdom perceives this to be good for them; and, should they be visited with affliction, let them find a never-failing Friend and Supporter in thee. And, having been pious, virtuous, and happy in their connection here on earth, may they be at last united in the realms of everlasting love and bliss, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    The following exhortation may be addressed to the parties after marriage.

    It will be of great advantage and importance to you, My Friends, to consider frequently and seriously the sacred engagement, which you have now made. Marriage is the union of one man with one woman for their joint happiness, and for the pious education of children, where God gives them, and, by the original appointment of the Almighty, confirmed by our Saviour, (Genesis ii. 24. Matth. xix. 4. 5. 6.) this union is to be dissolved only by death. It was intended by the benevolent Parent of mankind, not to be a hard yoke, but a means of promoting our true happiness, and of exercising us in the best and most amiable dispositions. … Should God bless you with children, let it be your chief concern, not that they should be rich or great in the world, but that they should be educated as Christians; and let it be your highest delight and nyour noblest employment, to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Bolds (and any errant typos — I had to retype it by hand) are mine. I tried not to omit anything relevant to our discussion, but you should go read it all in context at the above link, if you’re interested.

    Point being, I think this particular liturgy tends to disprove your theory.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, Cincinnatus (@110), I’m surprised to find how flat your arguments sound to me. And I’m largely replying merely to your claims. I’m not really trying to press an agenda here.

    For instance, you seem to deny (@110) that homosexuals wish to get married for companionship reasons, as if this weren’t the primary reason most marriages occur. No, for the gays, you say, “the motivations are primarily legal and economic”, citing the “1138 Reasons” campaign. Perhaps you’re merely annoyed by the constant petition-circulating, but what about that campaign convinces you that it concerns the “primary” reason homosexuals want to marry? It seems perfectly plausible to me that gays want to marry for the same reason I wanted to get married — again, committed companionship — but they would also like the ability to enjoy the same benefits that the state grants to my wife and I, in that regard. But, just as I would’ve almost certainly married my wife if I had access to none of those “1138 reasons”, why would this not be true of a gay couple? In short, the “1138″ campaign doesn’t prove anything like you claim it does.

    Prior to the discourse of gay marriage, no one thought of marriage in terms of rights, equal or otherwise.

    So, all those legal benefits just … magically appeared and attached themselves to marriage? I don’t get your point here. I really don’t believe this claim. Women never concerned themselves with, say, property rights vis-a-vis marriage, before the gays came along and ruined everything?

    Marriage was, definitionally and inexplicably, an institution established so that two people could form a unit that the social order had deemed efficacious for the procreation and raising of children in a stable environment.

    See, when you use a word like “definitionally”, I kind of expect you to be able to point to a definition. I’ve already shown how the Bible doesn’t appear to back you up on this one. Oregon’s statutes don’t appear to contain such a definition, either — and I’m pretty certain that’s not just because it was eviscerated in recent decades.

    It was just something two humans of opposite sex did. In the absence of the need to procreate and raise children in a suitable context, why bother? Seriously!

    “Just something [people] did”? That’s … a terrible defense. And you know what my answer is going to be to your asking “why bother?”, don’t you? For companionship! Why do old people in nursing homes get married? Why do people incapable of having kids get married? You’d think those questions were inanswerable, the way you’re approaching this.

    If the American government, at all levels, abolished the various now-arbitrary benefits that pertain to marriage … would gays still be so excited about the prospect of marriage?

    Do you … just not know any gay people? I mean, honestly? Because I’ve known gay people who went to Canada to have an official, legal ceremony performed, even though this afforded them no legal rights in the US, where they lived. I’ve known gay people who had “marriage” ceremonies in front of their friends and their congregation, even though that ceremony conferred no legal benefits to them. Are you utterly baffled by such actions? I must assume you are. Because you seem to know it’s all about the greedy gays out for your tax-conferred benefits? Seriously?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, Cincinnatus (@110), I’m surprised to find how flat your arguments sound to me. And I’m largely replying merely to your claims. I’m not really trying to press an agenda here.

    For instance, you seem to deny (@110) that homosexuals wish to get married for companionship reasons, as if this weren’t the primary reason most marriages occur. No, for the gays, you say, “the motivations are primarily legal and economic”, citing the “1138 Reasons” campaign. Perhaps you’re merely annoyed by the constant petition-circulating, but what about that campaign convinces you that it concerns the “primary” reason homosexuals want to marry? It seems perfectly plausible to me that gays want to marry for the same reason I wanted to get married — again, committed companionship — but they would also like the ability to enjoy the same benefits that the state grants to my wife and I, in that regard. But, just as I would’ve almost certainly married my wife if I had access to none of those “1138 reasons”, why would this not be true of a gay couple? In short, the “1138″ campaign doesn’t prove anything like you claim it does.

    Prior to the discourse of gay marriage, no one thought of marriage in terms of rights, equal or otherwise.

    So, all those legal benefits just … magically appeared and attached themselves to marriage? I don’t get your point here. I really don’t believe this claim. Women never concerned themselves with, say, property rights vis-a-vis marriage, before the gays came along and ruined everything?

    Marriage was, definitionally and inexplicably, an institution established so that two people could form a unit that the social order had deemed efficacious for the procreation and raising of children in a stable environment.

    See, when you use a word like “definitionally”, I kind of expect you to be able to point to a definition. I’ve already shown how the Bible doesn’t appear to back you up on this one. Oregon’s statutes don’t appear to contain such a definition, either — and I’m pretty certain that’s not just because it was eviscerated in recent decades.

    It was just something two humans of opposite sex did. In the absence of the need to procreate and raise children in a suitable context, why bother? Seriously!

    “Just something [people] did”? That’s … a terrible defense. And you know what my answer is going to be to your asking “why bother?”, don’t you? For companionship! Why do old people in nursing homes get married? Why do people incapable of having kids get married? You’d think those questions were inanswerable, the way you’re approaching this.

    If the American government, at all levels, abolished the various now-arbitrary benefits that pertain to marriage … would gays still be so excited about the prospect of marriage?

    Do you … just not know any gay people? I mean, honestly? Because I’ve known gay people who went to Canada to have an official, legal ceremony performed, even though this afforded them no legal rights in the US, where they lived. I’ve known gay people who had “marriage” ceremonies in front of their friends and their congregation, even though that ceremony conferred no legal benefits to them. Are you utterly baffled by such actions? I must assume you are. Because you seem to know it’s all about the greedy gays out for your tax-conferred benefits? Seriously?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Gary said (@115),

    The fact is, our institution of marriage is NO LONGER ’till death do us part, and our society has absolutely no intention of ever going back to that.

    Um, when was that ever true for our society? Back when divorce didn’t exist? And when was that, exactly? Because I seem to be able to read about it the Bible, going all the way back to Leviticus. So I’m thinking it hasn’t been “till death do us part” since at least that far back — and that sort of predates our society.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Gary said (@115),

    The fact is, our institution of marriage is NO LONGER ’till death do us part, and our society has absolutely no intention of ever going back to that.

    Um, when was that ever true for our society? Back when divorce didn’t exist? And when was that, exactly? Because I seem to be able to read about it the Bible, going all the way back to Leviticus. So I’m thinking it hasn’t been “till death do us part” since at least that far back — and that sort of predates our society.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And because I’m a loser and staying up late on a Saturday night arguing by myself about marriage…

    Cincinnatus (@118), framed the question as such:

    Why is procreation an essential and not merely accidental function/characteristic of marriage?

    And then went on to answer it like this:

    Marriage is defined fundamentally as a sexual union.

    Um, hold on right there. Defined by whom? Where?

    This is a fairly uncontroversial statement that is both traditionally Western and traditionally Christian, insofar as those two things are distinguishable.

    Well, that’s obviously not true. I’ve already quoted to you from Genesis on how it’s “defined fundamentally” as being about companionship. So I very much disagree with your “uncontroversial” statement, from the get-go.

    Sexual congress is the only thing that separates marriage from friendship.

    Um, what about commitment? I’m not committed to my friends like I am to my wife. I may be friends with them for the rest of my life — I certainly hope to be — and I may support them financially, emotionally, or however else — again, that’s something I try to do — but not really at the level of “duty” I feel in my marriage. Surely the same is true of you? Perhaps all your friendships are, I don’t know, equally committed. Or, less charitably, perhaps your wife gets no more benefit from you (save sexual congress) than do any of your other friends. So I disagree with this claim of yours, as well.

    I won’t even bother, therefore, with your more “controversial” arguments.

    Again, I’m not trying to push for gay marriage, per se, here (though I have precious little dog in the fight against gay marriage, either). I’m just surprised at how flat your arguments are here. You’re usually a pretty sharp guy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And because I’m a loser and staying up late on a Saturday night arguing by myself about marriage…

    Cincinnatus (@118), framed the question as such:

    Why is procreation an essential and not merely accidental function/characteristic of marriage?

    And then went on to answer it like this:

    Marriage is defined fundamentally as a sexual union.

    Um, hold on right there. Defined by whom? Where?

    This is a fairly uncontroversial statement that is both traditionally Western and traditionally Christian, insofar as those two things are distinguishable.

    Well, that’s obviously not true. I’ve already quoted to you from Genesis on how it’s “defined fundamentally” as being about companionship. So I very much disagree with your “uncontroversial” statement, from the get-go.

    Sexual congress is the only thing that separates marriage from friendship.

    Um, what about commitment? I’m not committed to my friends like I am to my wife. I may be friends with them for the rest of my life — I certainly hope to be — and I may support them financially, emotionally, or however else — again, that’s something I try to do — but not really at the level of “duty” I feel in my marriage. Surely the same is true of you? Perhaps all your friendships are, I don’t know, equally committed. Or, less charitably, perhaps your wife gets no more benefit from you (save sexual congress) than do any of your other friends. So I disagree with this claim of yours, as well.

    I won’t even bother, therefore, with your more “controversial” arguments.

    Again, I’m not trying to push for gay marriage, per se, here (though I have precious little dog in the fight against gay marriage, either). I’m just surprised at how flat your arguments are here. You’re usually a pretty sharp guy.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, “flat”? I won’t claim that they were brilliant, but perhaps you didn’t read them, as I responded specifically, for instance, to your claim that marriage is fundamentally about companionship.

    I don’t have time this morning to parse all your responses, some of which are good and some of which are, well, quite “flat.”

    But a few notes:

    1. I already admitted that I claimed beyond my ability to prove that “all marriage rites in all churches” prior to the sexual revolution noted procreation as a fundamental aspect of marriage. But I do know for a fact that Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and several major Christian rites from that period (including the one used in my own wedding) do make explicit mention of procreation in this context. So my point isn’t exactly “disproven” because you found a random liturgy that apparently makes little mention of procreation. The larger point that procreation is an essential aspect of both sex and marriage still holds given my claim. Besides, the anthropological definition of marriage, for whatever it’s worth, commonly notes that it is a relation of kinship that begins with sexual union and persists at least until children and mother are self-sufficient. So social science agrees with me I guess? Here’s an assumption I’m making: in the absence of a legal institution called marriage, is there still marriage? I, along with many theologians, etc., would say yes. If we disagree here, we may fundamentally disagree on the whole question.

    2. Do I know any gay people? Well, I don’t like those sorts of contests: “I’ll have you know I have no fewer than three gay friends and they all say x!!1″ But I do, in fact, know quite a lot of gay people (disproportionate to their actual presence in the wider population) and several of them–more than three!–are even friends and colleagues. It’s impossible to avoid in Madison even if I wanted to avoid it. But I’m not making a claim about the gay people I know. I’m making a claim about the gay rights movement and gay marriage.

    I’m not claiming that gay rights agitators are all greedy manipulators of the legal system, or that their motives for marriage are mercenary in nature. Moreover, there’s still a modicum of symbolic value in the institution of marriage: “It demonstrates our commitment!”–though I’m not sure that’s true, given the complete ease of obtaining divorce these days. There is, in any case, a strong parallel push for “legitimacy” within the gay community that includes a desire to be included in “heterosexual” institutions, but this quest for legitimacy isn’t really what we’re talking about anyway. That quest is, I think, prima facie nullified by the fact that marriage in general is an increasingly worthless (i.e., illegitimate) institution anyway, even to heterosexuals. Poll a group of twenty-somethings on how important marriage is to them; compare results with the percentage of 18 year olds who were married circa 1930. We’re talking about the fundamental purpose of marriage itself and its legal nature. Let’s be frank: gay people don’t want to get married for the sake of companionship alone. They can already have companionship. In many states, they can also adopt children, have sex, live together, go on “family” vacations together–all the things that legitimately married folks can do as far as companionship goes. There is nothing, generally speaking, preventing homosexuals from companionship these days. Even heterosexuals seldom wish to get married these days for the sake of companionship. It’s not worth the risk. Companionship doesn’t require a legal imprimatur. The large and rising percentage of opposite sex couples who unabashedly cohabitate without marriage–a deeply shameful activity until very recently–figured this out a long time ago. As sg and I keep emphasizing, the decline in heterosexual enthusiasm for meaningful marriage is intimately related to the homosexual movement for marriage. The gay “rights” movement is about the “rights” we now consider fundamental to marriage: various arbitrary legal conveniences, economic benefits, etc. I don’t blame homosexuals for wanting these, and I don’t care whether they have them or not (as you say, I don’t really have a dog in this fight). More anecdotal evidence: I can tell you that the strong gay marriage movement in Wisconsin died down considerably–disappeared even–when the legislature instituted a thing called “domestic partnerships” wherein gay couples can have all the legal benefits of marriage without actually going by the name “married,” even though they simultaneously adopted a constitutional amendment outlawing gay “marriage.” Say what you will, but this isn’t a robust view of marriage we have going on here for anyone involved.

    And did you really just deny that marriage has ever been about a “till death do you part” commitment? Really? This is just factually inaccurate. While I’m not denying that there have always been ways of getting out of marriage (Christ himself had a few words to say on this topic, after all), there was a time, at least, when the wedding vows were taken seriously by both the couple and their community. Do I need to remind you that divorce is still generally forbidden by the Catholic Church?

    Maybe I’ll have time to add more later. We may, however, fundamentally disagree: if you can’t agree that sex is a fundamental attribute of marriage, and that sex is fundamentally related to procreation, we may be talking past each other.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, “flat”? I won’t claim that they were brilliant, but perhaps you didn’t read them, as I responded specifically, for instance, to your claim that marriage is fundamentally about companionship.

    I don’t have time this morning to parse all your responses, some of which are good and some of which are, well, quite “flat.”

    But a few notes:

    1. I already admitted that I claimed beyond my ability to prove that “all marriage rites in all churches” prior to the sexual revolution noted procreation as a fundamental aspect of marriage. But I do know for a fact that Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and several major Christian rites from that period (including the one used in my own wedding) do make explicit mention of procreation in this context. So my point isn’t exactly “disproven” because you found a random liturgy that apparently makes little mention of procreation. The larger point that procreation is an essential aspect of both sex and marriage still holds given my claim. Besides, the anthropological definition of marriage, for whatever it’s worth, commonly notes that it is a relation of kinship that begins with sexual union and persists at least until children and mother are self-sufficient. So social science agrees with me I guess? Here’s an assumption I’m making: in the absence of a legal institution called marriage, is there still marriage? I, along with many theologians, etc., would say yes. If we disagree here, we may fundamentally disagree on the whole question.

    2. Do I know any gay people? Well, I don’t like those sorts of contests: “I’ll have you know I have no fewer than three gay friends and they all say x!!1″ But I do, in fact, know quite a lot of gay people (disproportionate to their actual presence in the wider population) and several of them–more than three!–are even friends and colleagues. It’s impossible to avoid in Madison even if I wanted to avoid it. But I’m not making a claim about the gay people I know. I’m making a claim about the gay rights movement and gay marriage.

    I’m not claiming that gay rights agitators are all greedy manipulators of the legal system, or that their motives for marriage are mercenary in nature. Moreover, there’s still a modicum of symbolic value in the institution of marriage: “It demonstrates our commitment!”–though I’m not sure that’s true, given the complete ease of obtaining divorce these days. There is, in any case, a strong parallel push for “legitimacy” within the gay community that includes a desire to be included in “heterosexual” institutions, but this quest for legitimacy isn’t really what we’re talking about anyway. That quest is, I think, prima facie nullified by the fact that marriage in general is an increasingly worthless (i.e., illegitimate) institution anyway, even to heterosexuals. Poll a group of twenty-somethings on how important marriage is to them; compare results with the percentage of 18 year olds who were married circa 1930. We’re talking about the fundamental purpose of marriage itself and its legal nature. Let’s be frank: gay people don’t want to get married for the sake of companionship alone. They can already have companionship. In many states, they can also adopt children, have sex, live together, go on “family” vacations together–all the things that legitimately married folks can do as far as companionship goes. There is nothing, generally speaking, preventing homosexuals from companionship these days. Even heterosexuals seldom wish to get married these days for the sake of companionship. It’s not worth the risk. Companionship doesn’t require a legal imprimatur. The large and rising percentage of opposite sex couples who unabashedly cohabitate without marriage–a deeply shameful activity until very recently–figured this out a long time ago. As sg and I keep emphasizing, the decline in heterosexual enthusiasm for meaningful marriage is intimately related to the homosexual movement for marriage. The gay “rights” movement is about the “rights” we now consider fundamental to marriage: various arbitrary legal conveniences, economic benefits, etc. I don’t blame homosexuals for wanting these, and I don’t care whether they have them or not (as you say, I don’t really have a dog in this fight). More anecdotal evidence: I can tell you that the strong gay marriage movement in Wisconsin died down considerably–disappeared even–when the legislature instituted a thing called “domestic partnerships” wherein gay couples can have all the legal benefits of marriage without actually going by the name “married,” even though they simultaneously adopted a constitutional amendment outlawing gay “marriage.” Say what you will, but this isn’t a robust view of marriage we have going on here for anyone involved.

    And did you really just deny that marriage has ever been about a “till death do you part” commitment? Really? This is just factually inaccurate. While I’m not denying that there have always been ways of getting out of marriage (Christ himself had a few words to say on this topic, after all), there was a time, at least, when the wedding vows were taken seriously by both the couple and their community. Do I need to remind you that divorce is still generally forbidden by the Catholic Church?

    Maybe I’ll have time to add more later. We may, however, fundamentally disagree: if you can’t agree that sex is a fundamental attribute of marriage, and that sex is fundamentally related to procreation, we may be talking past each other.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, I have to add, in case it wasn’t already clear: your assertion that marriage is essentially about companionship is utterly inadequate, both theologically and legally. I won’t go into the theological argument here (gotta get to church this morning!), but–and I’m merely repeating myself and sg at this point–legally speaking, the state and the public have no interest whatsoever in ensuring that two people (or three? or an indefinite number of indefinitely gendered folks?) can form lasting “companionships.”

    Again, if we divorce procreation from sex and marriage, there’s really no point, especially at the legal level. Why even recognize a civil institution called marriage if it’s just about two (or, again, three + ) people who “love” each other and enjoy one another’s company? So they can share assets more easily? No need for marriage in that case, and really–what a sad view of marriage.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, I have to add, in case it wasn’t already clear: your assertion that marriage is essentially about companionship is utterly inadequate, both theologically and legally. I won’t go into the theological argument here (gotta get to church this morning!), but–and I’m merely repeating myself and sg at this point–legally speaking, the state and the public have no interest whatsoever in ensuring that two people (or three? or an indefinite number of indefinitely gendered folks?) can form lasting “companionships.”

    Again, if we divorce procreation from sex and marriage, there’s really no point, especially at the legal level. Why even recognize a civil institution called marriage if it’s just about two (or, again, three + ) people who “love” each other and enjoy one another’s company? So they can share assets more easily? No need for marriage in that case, and really–what a sad view of marriage.

  • Jeremy

    @Cincinnatus

    “woman was not created just for the purposes of companionship but for sexual companionship. ”

    I love your view of women. But seriously, your wife, if you have one, was not created for the purposes of giving you sex and children.

  • Jeremy

    @Cincinnatus

    “woman was not created just for the purposes of companionship but for sexual companionship. ”

    I love your view of women. But seriously, your wife, if you have one, was not created for the purposes of giving you sex and children.

  • Jeremy

    “Again, if we divorce procreation from sex and marriage”

    Everyone who uses birth-control divorces sex from pro-creation. And just about everyone except people like the Duggars use birth control.

  • Jeremy

    “Again, if we divorce procreation from sex and marriage”

    Everyone who uses birth-control divorces sex from pro-creation. And just about everyone except people like the Duggars use birth control.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus,

    Well, yes, I liked all the stuff you wrote @ 118 primarily for entertainment purposes. I mean, c’mon Cinncinatus! I haven’t seen you work so hard to create second class citizens (gays and straights who cannot naturally bear children) in a very long time, if ever.

    I’m also surprised how you have chosen the vacuous and intentionally pejorative term “politically correct” as if calling something that discredits it. I suffer something of a similar problem I admit, a kind of intellectual arrogance and exasperation that gets me hot under the collar when people don’t see it my way. But is “politically correct” is the best you’ve got, I’d say you are slipping into the empty rhetoric you often decry.

    Here’s an example of your hard work:

    Why can’t gays participate in this institution? Stephen, with astute political correctness but questionable evidence, affirms that what gays really want is to create and nurture families like we heterosexuals. Perhaps this is so—I know it is so—for many of them. But not for others. In the manner of most modern heterosexuals, marriage is about “love” (our vitiated version thereof, that is) and convenience, economic and otherwise. And sure, let’s throw children in there–because the desire for children is, I think we would all agree, a natural human impulse. But surely you see that, except for the aid of modern technology—itself questionably ethical, and another discussion I’m not attempting to broach here—if marriage is about sex, and sex is about procreation, then homosexual “sex” and “marriage” are contradictory and impossible given the proper understandings of sex and marriage. As I said, if gays want our deracinated, eviscerated version of marriage, they can have it. There’s no reason for them not to have it. But marriage properly understood is off-limits simply because homosexual marriage is literally impossible under such a paradigm.

    As for me “knowing” what gays want, I’d suggest you get to know some of them, make friends with them, and then do your Christian duty and find out how they may be served. You don’t have to hunt very far. There’s probably some in your church.

    As for the rest of it, marriage is about something we ought to do, and as Todd points out, something God would have us do for our happiness. It is a fundamentally stabilizing institution that serves individuals, their children and the society in which they live. This is obvious. Why do you think all those kings had to marry the right, often politically needful, bride. Procreation? Yes, but they could get that anywhere. Procreation was tied to political aims, and they would trade wives and/or adopt sons if the wife and her ovaries didn’t provide.

    If it were merely about sex and then consequently children, then what’s all this need for religion and sacredness you seem to insist upon lest we have a “deracinated, eviserated” version of marriage? Isn’t that what you mean? It’s somehow a lesser thing because, in your mind, allowing gays to marry just makes it not so special anymore, right?

    I’ll admit that this too was my first reaction, that gay marriage downgrades the whole thing. But a few steps back and I found that wasn’t the case. Marriage serves to stabilize our society. When a society honors the boundaries it sets it brings about peace between neighbors. It is a fundamental good on earth for these reasons and all they possibly entail. The ten commandments testify to this it seems to me. And without getting too confessional on you, we understand this as human beings in our Reason and conscience, and thus, like Frank’s observation that people will jump over broom handles to have it. Furthermore, as a social institution, governance of some sort is part and parcel of it in order to arbitrate those boundaries.

    As far as Holy Scripture goes, there isn’t a “good marriage” depicted in it, except perhaps Adam and Eve prior to the Fall. Afterward their kids killed each other. Bad parenting? Maybe it’s because they didn’t yet have a community around them to support them as is assumed in marriage ever since.

    Okay, maybe all that is a stretch, but I threw it in there. Maybe you’ll laugh, roll your eyes, or otherwise write me off as ignorant. But please tell me how any of what I say about the purposes of marriage is so “politcally correct.”

    Gays could indeed and do have families without modern technology. Adoption and children from other failed and miserable marriages come to mind. Heck, Moses was adopted. Shall we begrudge that situation for being less than ideal? Seems to me that in, with and under that God used Pharaoh’s sister to bring up his own deliverer.

    And what does St. Paul have to say about it being better to marry than to burn. Seems to me he sees marriage as fundamentally about relieving our sexual urges in an orderly way that benefits individuals and their community. He could have said “better to have sex than to burn trying not to have sex so you don’t lose it and disrupt the community.” Marriage creates good order and provides for human needs (the list is long). One of those needs is to have progeny, and you could perhaps argue this is somehow basic. But necessary? It seems the fundamental need is to prevent disorder and provide for human well-being.

    I think gay marriage would eventually have a stabilizing and beneficial effect for our culture once the smoke clears in much the same way as the Civil Rights movement did for our issues of race that created a system of second class, oppressed and disenfranchised citizens, that’s all. And I think it is safe to assume that because gay people are human beings, they desire marriage for the same reasons anyone else does. To expect that they have some perfect set of intentions in each instance that are noble and beyond reproach is unfair if not silly.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus,

    Well, yes, I liked all the stuff you wrote @ 118 primarily for entertainment purposes. I mean, c’mon Cinncinatus! I haven’t seen you work so hard to create second class citizens (gays and straights who cannot naturally bear children) in a very long time, if ever.

    I’m also surprised how you have chosen the vacuous and intentionally pejorative term “politically correct” as if calling something that discredits it. I suffer something of a similar problem I admit, a kind of intellectual arrogance and exasperation that gets me hot under the collar when people don’t see it my way. But is “politically correct” is the best you’ve got, I’d say you are slipping into the empty rhetoric you often decry.

    Here’s an example of your hard work:

    Why can’t gays participate in this institution? Stephen, with astute political correctness but questionable evidence, affirms that what gays really want is to create and nurture families like we heterosexuals. Perhaps this is so—I know it is so—for many of them. But not for others. In the manner of most modern heterosexuals, marriage is about “love” (our vitiated version thereof, that is) and convenience, economic and otherwise. And sure, let’s throw children in there–because the desire for children is, I think we would all agree, a natural human impulse. But surely you see that, except for the aid of modern technology—itself questionably ethical, and another discussion I’m not attempting to broach here—if marriage is about sex, and sex is about procreation, then homosexual “sex” and “marriage” are contradictory and impossible given the proper understandings of sex and marriage. As I said, if gays want our deracinated, eviscerated version of marriage, they can have it. There’s no reason for them not to have it. But marriage properly understood is off-limits simply because homosexual marriage is literally impossible under such a paradigm.

    As for me “knowing” what gays want, I’d suggest you get to know some of them, make friends with them, and then do your Christian duty and find out how they may be served. You don’t have to hunt very far. There’s probably some in your church.

    As for the rest of it, marriage is about something we ought to do, and as Todd points out, something God would have us do for our happiness. It is a fundamentally stabilizing institution that serves individuals, their children and the society in which they live. This is obvious. Why do you think all those kings had to marry the right, often politically needful, bride. Procreation? Yes, but they could get that anywhere. Procreation was tied to political aims, and they would trade wives and/or adopt sons if the wife and her ovaries didn’t provide.

    If it were merely about sex and then consequently children, then what’s all this need for religion and sacredness you seem to insist upon lest we have a “deracinated, eviserated” version of marriage? Isn’t that what you mean? It’s somehow a lesser thing because, in your mind, allowing gays to marry just makes it not so special anymore, right?

    I’ll admit that this too was my first reaction, that gay marriage downgrades the whole thing. But a few steps back and I found that wasn’t the case. Marriage serves to stabilize our society. When a society honors the boundaries it sets it brings about peace between neighbors. It is a fundamental good on earth for these reasons and all they possibly entail. The ten commandments testify to this it seems to me. And without getting too confessional on you, we understand this as human beings in our Reason and conscience, and thus, like Frank’s observation that people will jump over broom handles to have it. Furthermore, as a social institution, governance of some sort is part and parcel of it in order to arbitrate those boundaries.

    As far as Holy Scripture goes, there isn’t a “good marriage” depicted in it, except perhaps Adam and Eve prior to the Fall. Afterward their kids killed each other. Bad parenting? Maybe it’s because they didn’t yet have a community around them to support them as is assumed in marriage ever since.

    Okay, maybe all that is a stretch, but I threw it in there. Maybe you’ll laugh, roll your eyes, or otherwise write me off as ignorant. But please tell me how any of what I say about the purposes of marriage is so “politcally correct.”

    Gays could indeed and do have families without modern technology. Adoption and children from other failed and miserable marriages come to mind. Heck, Moses was adopted. Shall we begrudge that situation for being less than ideal? Seems to me that in, with and under that God used Pharaoh’s sister to bring up his own deliverer.

    And what does St. Paul have to say about it being better to marry than to burn. Seems to me he sees marriage as fundamentally about relieving our sexual urges in an orderly way that benefits individuals and their community. He could have said “better to have sex than to burn trying not to have sex so you don’t lose it and disrupt the community.” Marriage creates good order and provides for human needs (the list is long). One of those needs is to have progeny, and you could perhaps argue this is somehow basic. But necessary? It seems the fundamental need is to prevent disorder and provide for human well-being.

    I think gay marriage would eventually have a stabilizing and beneficial effect for our culture once the smoke clears in much the same way as the Civil Rights movement did for our issues of race that created a system of second class, oppressed and disenfranchised citizens, that’s all. And I think it is safe to assume that because gay people are human beings, they desire marriage for the same reasons anyone else does. To expect that they have some perfect set of intentions in each instance that are noble and beyond reproach is unfair if not silly.

  • fws

    cincinatus and sg:

    what jeremy, stephen and Todd say.

    give it up. They are annihilating your logic and reason and doing it from the Holy Scriptures.

  • fws

    cincinatus and sg:

    what jeremy, stephen and Todd say.

    give it up. They are annihilating your logic and reason and doing it from the Holy Scriptures.

  • Stephen

    What was the reason for the marriage of Mary and Joseph? Seems to me it was about parenting and making the kid legitimate in the community. Not sure about 1st c. Judaism, but I’m guessing they didn’t let whores bring their bastard sons into the synagogue. And then there’s that whole escape to Egypt thing.

  • Stephen

    What was the reason for the marriage of Mary and Joseph? Seems to me it was about parenting and making the kid legitimate in the community. Not sure about 1st c. Judaism, but I’m guessing they didn’t let whores bring their bastard sons into the synagogue. And then there’s that whole escape to Egypt thing.

  • Stephen

    I love it when Christians put “love” in quotation marks, as if we have no mutual understanding about what it means. Would that be an indication that we are all postmodern? Now there’s a term that is misappropriated around here.

  • Stephen

    I love it when Christians put “love” in quotation marks, as if we have no mutual understanding about what it means. Would that be an indication that we are all postmodern? Now there’s a term that is misappropriated around here.

  • Stephen

    Hey Todd, if you think you’re a loser, I am not in church today because the evangelical relatives are in town. Way too complicated!

  • Stephen

    Hey Todd, if you think you’re a loser, I am not in church today because the evangelical relatives are in town. Way too complicated!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “give it up.”

    Na, it is important to stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone.

    “They are annihilating your logic and reason and doing it from the Holy Scriptures.”

    LOL, as if.

    Human sexual selection are going to make the difference, not rules and regs. Homosexuality has been popular before in history. This is just a phase. It too shall pass.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “give it up.”

    Na, it is important to stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone.

    “They are annihilating your logic and reason and doing it from the Holy Scriptures.”

    LOL, as if.

    Human sexual selection are going to make the difference, not rules and regs. Homosexuality has been popular before in history. This is just a phase. It too shall pass.

  • Stephen

    @ 134

    “Human sexual selection”

    LOL

  • Stephen

    @ 134

    “Human sexual selection”

    LOL

  • Stephen

    @134

    So which is it, standing up for “what is right” or a Darwinian thing? Contradict much?

    LOL

  • Stephen

    @134

    So which is it, standing up for “what is right” or a Darwinian thing? Contradict much?

    LOL

  • Cincinnatus

    While I admit that it’s humbling to be the butt of this discussion (I feel like Porcell or Grace!), I don’t think you’re “annihilating” my logic so much as you disagree with me on some fundamental presuppositions about love, sex, and marriage.

    I believe, and I can make a strong case that, sex is theoretically and theologically inseparable from procreation. You don’t. I believe that sex is an essential and definitive, not merely accidental and subsidiary, aspect of marriage. You don’t. You’ve made fair, but in my view inadequate, arguments for your beliefs. No need to be condescending about it. The fact that the majoritarian consensus agrees with you now is irrelevant, though I suppose it renders me a bit of a reactionary. For what it’s worth, nothing I’ve said would have been remotely controversial sixty years ago. But maybe the milieu back then–its understandings of sex, marriage, and the common good–was just bigoted. *shrug*

    And Stephen, come off it. I nowhere even implied that anyone–women, homosexuals, fornicators, those who are barren, [fill in the blank]–are “second class citizens,” which I take to mean “inferior humans.” I never said, for instance, that, in order to be “fully and properly” human one must get married or have sex or have children. I don’t believe that. It’s interesting that you assert these baseless claims while accusing both yourself and myself of intellectual arrogance. Indeed.

    And tODD, you can call my arguments “flat” again, if you happen to rejoin the discussion, and I agree that they are neither brilliant nor original. But they aren’t, I don’t believe, banal. In fact, Wendell Berry (ironically, a current darling of the left), Robert George (a Catholic intellectual), and many other contemporary thinkers of note subscribe to precisely the arguments I’ve articulated. I’m not making an appeal to authority, only to the fact that these aren’t simply random, idiosyncratic prejudices I harbor in my darkest of hearts.

    /and yes, I do believe that calling someone “politically correct” is pejorative ;-)

    p.s. Do not get the impression that I think marriage is only about sex or that sex is only about a teleological notion of procreation. I’m merely making a case that we re-instate these things as fundamental attributes of marriage and sex respectively. Otherwise, marriage is little more than a glorified friendship (with benefits!) and sex is a hedonistic indulgence.

  • Cincinnatus

    While I admit that it’s humbling to be the butt of this discussion (I feel like Porcell or Grace!), I don’t think you’re “annihilating” my logic so much as you disagree with me on some fundamental presuppositions about love, sex, and marriage.

    I believe, and I can make a strong case that, sex is theoretically and theologically inseparable from procreation. You don’t. I believe that sex is an essential and definitive, not merely accidental and subsidiary, aspect of marriage. You don’t. You’ve made fair, but in my view inadequate, arguments for your beliefs. No need to be condescending about it. The fact that the majoritarian consensus agrees with you now is irrelevant, though I suppose it renders me a bit of a reactionary. For what it’s worth, nothing I’ve said would have been remotely controversial sixty years ago. But maybe the milieu back then–its understandings of sex, marriage, and the common good–was just bigoted. *shrug*

    And Stephen, come off it. I nowhere even implied that anyone–women, homosexuals, fornicators, those who are barren, [fill in the blank]–are “second class citizens,” which I take to mean “inferior humans.” I never said, for instance, that, in order to be “fully and properly” human one must get married or have sex or have children. I don’t believe that. It’s interesting that you assert these baseless claims while accusing both yourself and myself of intellectual arrogance. Indeed.

    And tODD, you can call my arguments “flat” again, if you happen to rejoin the discussion, and I agree that they are neither brilliant nor original. But they aren’t, I don’t believe, banal. In fact, Wendell Berry (ironically, a current darling of the left), Robert George (a Catholic intellectual), and many other contemporary thinkers of note subscribe to precisely the arguments I’ve articulated. I’m not making an appeal to authority, only to the fact that these aren’t simply random, idiosyncratic prejudices I harbor in my darkest of hearts.

    /and yes, I do believe that calling someone “politically correct” is pejorative ;-)

    p.s. Do not get the impression that I think marriage is only about sex or that sex is only about a teleological notion of procreation. I’m merely making a case that we re-instate these things as fundamental attributes of marriage and sex respectively. Otherwise, marriage is little more than a glorified friendship (with benefits!) and sex is a hedonistic indulgence.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “a kind of intellectual arrogance and exasperation that gets me hot under the collar when people don’t see it my way.”

    It is not arrogance. It’s just that something seems obvious to you and when others disagree, you just feel like they must be joking. I felt the same way when my husband misunderstood toggle bolts. I was exasperated because I thought it was so obvious that I shouldn’t have to explain it.

    Anyway, gays have always been around and always adopted kids even if informally because that is the way life works out. When there are kids who needed care, a bachelor uncle or neighbor who could take the child just did it. The stringent adoption rules we have now are probably nothing more than a result of supply and demand issues.

    HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “a kind of intellectual arrogance and exasperation that gets me hot under the collar when people don’t see it my way.”

    It is not arrogance. It’s just that something seems obvious to you and when others disagree, you just feel like they must be joking. I felt the same way when my husband misunderstood toggle bolts. I was exasperated because I thought it was so obvious that I shouldn’t have to explain it.

    Anyway, gays have always been around and always adopted kids even if informally because that is the way life works out. When there are kids who needed care, a bachelor uncle or neighbor who could take the child just did it. The stringent adoption rules we have now are probably nothing more than a result of supply and demand issues.

    HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So which is it, standing up for “what is right” or a Darwinian thing? Contradict much?”

    No contradiction. God makes the rules of nature as the author of creation. He gives us a rule book so we can play to win.

    We lose when we think we can replace his order with one of our own invention.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So which is it, standing up for “what is right” or a Darwinian thing? Contradict much?”

    No contradiction. God makes the rules of nature as the author of creation. He gives us a rule book so we can play to win.

    We lose when we think we can replace his order with one of our own invention.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” The fact that the majoritarian consensus agrees”

    They don’t agree. Gay marriage has lost in every ballot initiative. It is entirely media driven as is the perception by the public that 25% of folks are gay. This alone proves the schools can’t teach evolution.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” The fact that the majoritarian consensus agrees”

    They don’t agree. Gay marriage has lost in every ballot initiative. It is entirely media driven as is the perception by the public that 25% of folks are gay. This alone proves the schools can’t teach evolution.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg@140: Correct, and duly noted. My primary point with that oversight was to note that the claims of Stephen, tODD, etc., are by no means self-evident, and my claims are not prima facie preposterous.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg@140: Correct, and duly noted. My primary point with that oversight was to note that the claims of Stephen, tODD, etc., are by no means self-evident, and my claims are not prima facie preposterous.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • Jeremy

    @SG

    “God makes the rules of nature as the author of creation. He gives us a rule book so we can play to win.We lose when we think we can replace his order with one of our own invention.

    The Bible says that the penalty for a man having sexual contact with another man should be death (see Leviticus 18:22). If the Bible is God’s word, why shouldn’t we criminalize homosexuality and impose the death penalty on those found guilty? When you say some bible verses are relevant, and others are of no effect, you are playing by your own rulebook.

  • Jeremy

    @SG

    “God makes the rules of nature as the author of creation. He gives us a rule book so we can play to win.We lose when we think we can replace his order with one of our own invention.

    The Bible says that the penalty for a man having sexual contact with another man should be death (see Leviticus 18:22). If the Bible is God’s word, why shouldn’t we criminalize homosexuality and impose the death penalty on those found guilty? When you say some bible verses are relevant, and others are of no effect, you are playing by your own rulebook.

  • Stephen

    Cin-

    I interpret your stance as labeling people second class because of what you say about their marriages not having the same valid claims as those who bear children naturally. They are somehow lesser relationships. I’m sorry, but that is what you seem to suggest and are working pretty hard at it.

    sg – Again, @ 134 is it right and wrong (rules and regs) or is it natural selection (no ethic implied there – an is is not an ought) or is it a historicla cycle?

  • Stephen

    Cin-

    I interpret your stance as labeling people second class because of what you say about their marriages not having the same valid claims as those who bear children naturally. They are somehow lesser relationships. I’m sorry, but that is what you seem to suggest and are working pretty hard at it.

    sg – Again, @ 134 is it right and wrong (rules and regs) or is it natural selection (no ethic implied there – an is is not an ought) or is it a historicla cycle?

  • Stephen

    Cin -

    Furthermore, you ought to know that calling someone a “citizen” does not imply an ontology as in “lesser human being.” That is a political/social distinction that we create and govern.

  • Stephen

    Cin -

    Furthermore, you ought to know that calling someone a “citizen” does not imply an ontology as in “lesser human being.” That is a political/social distinction that we create and govern.

  • fws

    cincinatus @ 138

    CINNI believe, and I can make a strong case that, sex is theoretically and theologically inseparable from procreation. You don’t.

    FWSHuh? This is not your thesis. And no one is arguing that babies happen without sex. Wierd this line….

    CINN I believe that sex is an essential and definitive, not merely accidental and subsidiary, aspect of marriage. You don’t.

    FWS Your thesis seems to have been rather this: sex and procreation is THE essential and definative essense of marriage.

    You do this by going so far as to say that if the intent of becoming married is not to have sex with the clear intent of breeding, marriage as a concept is a hollow nullified concept.

    So be honest about who is arguing what please.

    No one here is arguing that sex and child rearing (adoption is an option) are “merely accidental and subsidiary aspects of marriage”.

    CINN I’ve said would have been remotely controversial sixty years ago. But maybe the milieu back then–its understandings of sex, marriage, and the common good–was just bigoted. *shrug*

    FWS You are not proposing what was the standard religious idea pre 50s. That was that , based on the order of creation, women are to never be in authority over a man , not even in civil society as voters, ceo’s or politicians. they are to be homemakers. I dont know if you are Lutheran, you sound roman catholic with your ideas about marriage as a sacrament, but Franz Pieper in the LCMS Lutheran group believed what I just expressed. So your historical horizon as to what is “reactionary” I find to be extremely limited to say back to your own childhood and not before?

    CINNAnd Stephen, come off it. I nowhere even implied that anyone–women, homosexuals, fornicators, those who are barren, [fill in the blank]–are “second class citizens,” which I take to mean “inferior humans.”

    FWS You certainly and inescapably implied this by asserting that gays are differently human as to why they would want to get married. That is the basis for their accusation. so the basis may be in error but dont say “baseless”.

    CINNnever said, for instance, that, in order to be “fully and properly” human one must get married or have sex or have children.

    FWS Actually, the other side is arguing that to be fully and properly human it is only natural to want to get married, have sex inside of a committed relationship and to rear children and have a family that way. Sorry you were deaf to that point. More of an indication that you consider gays differently human in some way. Ok. maybe not the ones YOU know, but they are not representative of the general population. how myopic is that way of seeing things?

    CINN But they aren’t, I don’t believe, banal. In fact, Wendell Berry (ironically, a current darling of the left), Robert George (a Catholic intellectual), and many other contemporary thinkers of note subscribe to precisely the arguments I’ve articulated. I’m not making an appeal to authority, only to the fact that these aren’t simply random, idiosyncratic prejudices I harbor in my darkest of hearts.

    FWS Banal is not overcome by numbers . a majority of the south believed in slavery based on skin color. so. what.

    CINN p.s. Do not get the impression that I think marriage is only about sex or that sex is only about a teleological notion of procreation.

    FWS. That IS the impression you leave. Correct it please for us. Tell us more.

    CINN I’m merely making a case that we re-instate these things as fundamental attributes of marriage and sex respectively.

    FWS I think I can speak for the others in saying that our ideas about sex and marriage is that they are all part of God’s ordinance , or Gods ordering, which , for Lutherans is very distinct from the natural law ideas of Aquinas. And what that means is that this stuff will all just happen because it is Gods will for it to happen.

    Think of the Law of Gravity here to get the full flavor of what we are suggesting CINN. The Law of Gravity is in no danger from someone attempting to redefine it, or by using it for the advantage of man even by defying it with airplanes. It does us. We do not do it.

    And so, because gays are humans too, they are driven to want to pair off, their conscience tells them to be monogamous, and they want to raise a family. This because God has ordered this and put this into all humans. And some heterosexuals and gays resist this. ok. no difference humanly there either between gays and heterosexuals.

    You may not agree with this point of view, but there now you have it spelled out explicitly. This is not to deny the Ordering of God. It is to confirm it. But we dont put the law of gravity or this kind of ordering into the form of a Moral Demand of God.

    CINN Otherwise, marriage is little more than a glorified friendship (with benefits!) and sex is a hedonistic indulgence.

    FWS you are setting up a false choice here. an “either or”. an “all or nothing. ” and these false choices you are setting up are warranted neither by holy scriptures nor any of the sciences nor the history of social conventions surrounding marriage either.

    - Show quoted text -natus @ 138

  • fws

    cincinatus @ 138

    CINNI believe, and I can make a strong case that, sex is theoretically and theologically inseparable from procreation. You don’t.

    FWSHuh? This is not your thesis. And no one is arguing that babies happen without sex. Wierd this line….

    CINN I believe that sex is an essential and definitive, not merely accidental and subsidiary, aspect of marriage. You don’t.

    FWS Your thesis seems to have been rather this: sex and procreation is THE essential and definative essense of marriage.

    You do this by going so far as to say that if the intent of becoming married is not to have sex with the clear intent of breeding, marriage as a concept is a hollow nullified concept.

    So be honest about who is arguing what please.

    No one here is arguing that sex and child rearing (adoption is an option) are “merely accidental and subsidiary aspects of marriage”.

    CINN I’ve said would have been remotely controversial sixty years ago. But maybe the milieu back then–its understandings of sex, marriage, and the common good–was just bigoted. *shrug*

    FWS You are not proposing what was the standard religious idea pre 50s. That was that , based on the order of creation, women are to never be in authority over a man , not even in civil society as voters, ceo’s or politicians. they are to be homemakers. I dont know if you are Lutheran, you sound roman catholic with your ideas about marriage as a sacrament, but Franz Pieper in the LCMS Lutheran group believed what I just expressed. So your historical horizon as to what is “reactionary” I find to be extremely limited to say back to your own childhood and not before?

    CINNAnd Stephen, come off it. I nowhere even implied that anyone–women, homosexuals, fornicators, those who are barren, [fill in the blank]–are “second class citizens,” which I take to mean “inferior humans.”

    FWS You certainly and inescapably implied this by asserting that gays are differently human as to why they would want to get married. That is the basis for their accusation. so the basis may be in error but dont say “baseless”.

    CINNnever said, for instance, that, in order to be “fully and properly” human one must get married or have sex or have children.

    FWS Actually, the other side is arguing that to be fully and properly human it is only natural to want to get married, have sex inside of a committed relationship and to rear children and have a family that way. Sorry you were deaf to that point. More of an indication that you consider gays differently human in some way. Ok. maybe not the ones YOU know, but they are not representative of the general population. how myopic is that way of seeing things?

    CINN But they aren’t, I don’t believe, banal. In fact, Wendell Berry (ironically, a current darling of the left), Robert George (a Catholic intellectual), and many other contemporary thinkers of note subscribe to precisely the arguments I’ve articulated. I’m not making an appeal to authority, only to the fact that these aren’t simply random, idiosyncratic prejudices I harbor in my darkest of hearts.

    FWS Banal is not overcome by numbers . a majority of the south believed in slavery based on skin color. so. what.

    CINN p.s. Do not get the impression that I think marriage is only about sex or that sex is only about a teleological notion of procreation.

    FWS. That IS the impression you leave. Correct it please for us. Tell us more.

    CINN I’m merely making a case that we re-instate these things as fundamental attributes of marriage and sex respectively.

    FWS I think I can speak for the others in saying that our ideas about sex and marriage is that they are all part of God’s ordinance , or Gods ordering, which , for Lutherans is very distinct from the natural law ideas of Aquinas. And what that means is that this stuff will all just happen because it is Gods will for it to happen.

    Think of the Law of Gravity here to get the full flavor of what we are suggesting CINN. The Law of Gravity is in no danger from someone attempting to redefine it, or by using it for the advantage of man even by defying it with airplanes. It does us. We do not do it.

    And so, because gays are humans too, they are driven to want to pair off, their conscience tells them to be monogamous, and they want to raise a family. This because God has ordered this and put this into all humans. And some heterosexuals and gays resist this. ok. no difference humanly there either between gays and heterosexuals.

    You may not agree with this point of view, but there now you have it spelled out explicitly. This is not to deny the Ordering of God. It is to confirm it. But we dont put the law of gravity or this kind of ordering into the form of a Moral Demand of God.

    CINN Otherwise, marriage is little more than a glorified friendship (with benefits!) and sex is a hedonistic indulgence.

    FWS you are setting up a false choice here. an “either or”. an “all or nothing. ” and these false choices you are setting up are warranted neither by holy scriptures nor any of the sciences nor the history of social conventions surrounding marriage either.

    - Show quoted text -natus @ 138

  • Stephen

    sg -

    If the natural selection theory were correct, it seems like gays would be selected out by now. Funny how they keep showing up, eh? Sounds like the “historical cycle” theory is clashing with the theological Darwinism. For that matter, which one is more theologically weighty I wonder?

  • Stephen

    sg -

    If the natural selection theory were correct, it seems like gays would be selected out by now. Funny how they keep showing up, eh? Sounds like the “historical cycle” theory is clashing with the theological Darwinism. For that matter, which one is more theologically weighty I wonder?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The Bible says that the penalty for a man having sexual contact with another man should be death (see Leviticus 18:22). If the Bible is God’s word, why shouldn’t we criminalize homosexuality and impose the death penalty on those found guilty?”

    Consider the selection pressure such a rule exerts on the population.

    Let’s say that at some point the rule was actually enforced. How would that affect the population that enforced it? I mean, exclusively gay males can’t pass on genes. A rule such as that could mean that gays would marry or abstain, no? Or maybe they would leave the community? What do you think?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The Bible says that the penalty for a man having sexual contact with another man should be death (see Leviticus 18:22). If the Bible is God’s word, why shouldn’t we criminalize homosexuality and impose the death penalty on those found guilty?”

    Consider the selection pressure such a rule exerts on the population.

    Let’s say that at some point the rule was actually enforced. How would that affect the population that enforced it? I mean, exclusively gay males can’t pass on genes. A rule such as that could mean that gays would marry or abstain, no? Or maybe they would leave the community? What do you think?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “If the natural selection theory were correct, it seems like gays would be selected out by now. Funny how they keep showing up, eh?”

    Natural selection is correct. So is sexual selection. However, these processes don’t explain the origin of life. Anyway, if homosexuality is congenital, like Downs Syndrome, then no, it will not go away even though very few Downs syndrome folks have children.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “If the natural selection theory were correct, it seems like gays would be selected out by now. Funny how they keep showing up, eh?”

    Natural selection is correct. So is sexual selection. However, these processes don’t explain the origin of life. Anyway, if homosexuality is congenital, like Downs Syndrome, then no, it will not go away even though very few Downs syndrome folks have children.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” @ 134 is it right and wrong (rules and regs) or is it natural selection (no ethic implied there – an is is not an ought) or is it a historicla cycle?

    Both. What is right is harmonious with nature. God created nature, and His Word is harmonious with it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” @ 134 is it right and wrong (rules and regs) or is it natural selection (no ethic implied there – an is is not an ought) or is it a historicla cycle?

    Both. What is right is harmonious with nature. God created nature, and His Word is harmonious with it.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    “Both. What is right is harmonious with nature. God created nature, and His Word is harmonious with it.”

    That’s a nice idea but it doesn’t work out when you consider the Fall and creation that groans in expectation for redemption.

    And “both” is, well, contradictory, unless an explanation is given as to how it isn’t.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    “Both. What is right is harmonious with nature. God created nature, and His Word is harmonious with it.”

    That’s a nice idea but it doesn’t work out when you consider the Fall and creation that groans in expectation for redemption.

    And “both” is, well, contradictory, unless an explanation is given as to how it isn’t.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws, allow me to respond to some (but only some) of your retorts.

    First, you’re deliberately re-interpreting my argument to fit your presuppositions regarding my prejudices, apparently. I am not saying that sex is the only essential attribute of marriage. I also don’t believe that sex is only about procreation. I don’t know how it could possibly appear otherwise to you because I’ve repeatedly asserted that this is not my argument. You can say that my argument is something else, but that doesn’t make it so. You’re attacking a nice straw man of me if you do. Claiming, as I do, that procreation is an essential attribute and/or consequence of sex no less than pleasure is completely different from claiming that sex isn’t sex if a baby doesn’t result. Fact: before the “wonderful” invention of the pill, sex always carried the “risk” of pregnancy; this is why sex is simultaneously terrifying and wonderful. It’s not a toy, it’s not merely a pleasurable activity.

    Second, I have no idea what female subjection to their husbands has to do with anything I’ve said. I’d be willing to have that discussion, but it’s unrelated to the question of whether sex and procreation are essential elements of marriage.

    Third, my appeal to Wendell Berry et al. wasn’t an appeal to authority or majority. So good job pointing out a fallacy I was intentionally avoiding.

    Fourth, I completely agree with you that homosexuals are fully human, and that they no doubt share the fully human desire to “pair off” and even begin families (which is biologically but not technologically impossible). What of it? I never denied this principle. The fact that homosexuals want marriage doesn’t mean they can have it if we define it, as I do, as the Church always has, and as the culture always did until recently, as an institution essentially involving procreative sex. I’m punting on the issue of natural law, Aquinas vs. Luther, and associated questions, because, as interesting as all that is, I already know your views on the matter, and they aren’t even relevant here.

    Finally, yes: I claim that a marriage in which procreative sex is impossible is inferior. Tough! Am I an “inferior human” if I tell you, with truth, that my vision is deficient because I’m myopic? Call me an “able-ist” (hot topic in political correctness studies these days!), but I’m willing to claim a paraplegic is suffering from a deficiency, missing out on a full and active human life. Does this mean he is “inferior” in dignity or “worth” or that he cannot live a meaningful life? Absolutely not. The fact that we can no longer make these distinctions without immediately screaming insults at one another–”Bigot! Racist! Homophone!”–speaks volumes of our declining cultural acuity. Back to sterility: how does noting that a childless marriage is missing something mean that the participants are, as you and Stephen repeatedly accuse me of saying, “inferior humans” or “second class citizens”? I don’t understand either accusation, honestly. As for inferiority, I certainly don’t believe, for instance, that single people–called to singleness, as Paul might have said–are inferior humans. As for citizenship, since when does marriage have anything whatsoever to do with the essential rights and duties appertaining to citizenship in the United States? I also never said that gays are “differently human” for wanting to get married for different reasons. First, I don’t even know what that means. Second, I never said that homosexuals want to get married for different reasons from everyone else; I said quite explicitly that, in the contemporary world, almost everyone–heteros and homos alike–have rather shallow reasons for seeking marriage–things like companionship, sex, legal recognition, fiscal benefits. Consequently, since marriage has been hollowed out as a meaningful, procreative unit, many heterosexuals are discarding the whole thing altogether. Prediction: gay marriage will be legalized in the United States, but soon thereafter, the legal benefits that have been ascribed to the unique marital relationship will be gradually absolved.

    I haven’t dealt with all your points, and the ones I have confronted, I haven’t confronted thoroughly, but it’s a start…

  • Cincinnatus

    fws, allow me to respond to some (but only some) of your retorts.

    First, you’re deliberately re-interpreting my argument to fit your presuppositions regarding my prejudices, apparently. I am not saying that sex is the only essential attribute of marriage. I also don’t believe that sex is only about procreation. I don’t know how it could possibly appear otherwise to you because I’ve repeatedly asserted that this is not my argument. You can say that my argument is something else, but that doesn’t make it so. You’re attacking a nice straw man of me if you do. Claiming, as I do, that procreation is an essential attribute and/or consequence of sex no less than pleasure is completely different from claiming that sex isn’t sex if a baby doesn’t result. Fact: before the “wonderful” invention of the pill, sex always carried the “risk” of pregnancy; this is why sex is simultaneously terrifying and wonderful. It’s not a toy, it’s not merely a pleasurable activity.

    Second, I have no idea what female subjection to their husbands has to do with anything I’ve said. I’d be willing to have that discussion, but it’s unrelated to the question of whether sex and procreation are essential elements of marriage.

    Third, my appeal to Wendell Berry et al. wasn’t an appeal to authority or majority. So good job pointing out a fallacy I was intentionally avoiding.

    Fourth, I completely agree with you that homosexuals are fully human, and that they no doubt share the fully human desire to “pair off” and even begin families (which is biologically but not technologically impossible). What of it? I never denied this principle. The fact that homosexuals want marriage doesn’t mean they can have it if we define it, as I do, as the Church always has, and as the culture always did until recently, as an institution essentially involving procreative sex. I’m punting on the issue of natural law, Aquinas vs. Luther, and associated questions, because, as interesting as all that is, I already know your views on the matter, and they aren’t even relevant here.

    Finally, yes: I claim that a marriage in which procreative sex is impossible is inferior. Tough! Am I an “inferior human” if I tell you, with truth, that my vision is deficient because I’m myopic? Call me an “able-ist” (hot topic in political correctness studies these days!), but I’m willing to claim a paraplegic is suffering from a deficiency, missing out on a full and active human life. Does this mean he is “inferior” in dignity or “worth” or that he cannot live a meaningful life? Absolutely not. The fact that we can no longer make these distinctions without immediately screaming insults at one another–”Bigot! Racist! Homophone!”–speaks volumes of our declining cultural acuity. Back to sterility: how does noting that a childless marriage is missing something mean that the participants are, as you and Stephen repeatedly accuse me of saying, “inferior humans” or “second class citizens”? I don’t understand either accusation, honestly. As for inferiority, I certainly don’t believe, for instance, that single people–called to singleness, as Paul might have said–are inferior humans. As for citizenship, since when does marriage have anything whatsoever to do with the essential rights and duties appertaining to citizenship in the United States? I also never said that gays are “differently human” for wanting to get married for different reasons. First, I don’t even know what that means. Second, I never said that homosexuals want to get married for different reasons from everyone else; I said quite explicitly that, in the contemporary world, almost everyone–heteros and homos alike–have rather shallow reasons for seeking marriage–things like companionship, sex, legal recognition, fiscal benefits. Consequently, since marriage has been hollowed out as a meaningful, procreative unit, many heterosexuals are discarding the whole thing altogether. Prediction: gay marriage will be legalized in the United States, but soon thereafter, the legal benefits that have been ascribed to the unique marital relationship will be gradually absolved.

    I haven’t dealt with all your points, and the ones I have confronted, I haven’t confronted thoroughly, but it’s a start…

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 151

    The more we conform ourselves to God’s commands, the better life is for everyone in the here and now.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 151

    The more we conform ourselves to God’s commands, the better life is for everyone in the here and now.

  • fws

    cincinatus @ 153

    “As for inferiority, I certainly don’t believe, for instance, that single people–called to singleness, as Paul might have said–are inferior humans.”

    St Paul did not say this and would not. In Cor 7 he says that all singles are called to get married. it is better than to burn with sexual desire he says.

    The only exception to this , and it is a rare exception , is if a miracle happens. a miracle, by definition is where God excepts his own ordering of things. This miracle St Paul calls celebacy. And it is not chosen.

    There is nothing at all in scriptures that would sanction the idea of mandating celebacy. In fact scripture would call anyone demanding this to be this sinful.

    so would the Lutheran confessions by the way, but then you are obviously not Lutheran , so this comment is for the other readers,.

    as for the rest of your post. some responses are really responses to stephen and not to me. It may surprise you to know that I do regard homosexuality as a limitation and even a defect of sorts. It seems obvious that biologically men and women are meant to breed.

    where we differ dear CINN is here: to call attempts to do the best you can with what you were dealt with as being sinful based on some natural law theory is hokey. if someone is born without a limb and wants to walk, there is n0thing wrong with making do with an artificial limb to walk. gays cant breed. reason they cant get married ? no. they can adopt.

    finally…

    by saying that sex that possesses at least the potential to breed is “essential ” to what marriage is, you are saying that without this, there is no marriage at all. “essential” technically means that right? And maybe you are over arguing to make your point, but it sure seems that you are saying that this is the ONLY essential element that makes a marriage.

    I was not trying to put words into your mouth CINN. that is why I asked you to step back and elaborate on this point further.

  • fws

    cincinatus @ 153

    “As for inferiority, I certainly don’t believe, for instance, that single people–called to singleness, as Paul might have said–are inferior humans.”

    St Paul did not say this and would not. In Cor 7 he says that all singles are called to get married. it is better than to burn with sexual desire he says.

    The only exception to this , and it is a rare exception , is if a miracle happens. a miracle, by definition is where God excepts his own ordering of things. This miracle St Paul calls celebacy. And it is not chosen.

    There is nothing at all in scriptures that would sanction the idea of mandating celebacy. In fact scripture would call anyone demanding this to be this sinful.

    so would the Lutheran confessions by the way, but then you are obviously not Lutheran , so this comment is for the other readers,.

    as for the rest of your post. some responses are really responses to stephen and not to me. It may surprise you to know that I do regard homosexuality as a limitation and even a defect of sorts. It seems obvious that biologically men and women are meant to breed.

    where we differ dear CINN is here: to call attempts to do the best you can with what you were dealt with as being sinful based on some natural law theory is hokey. if someone is born without a limb and wants to walk, there is n0thing wrong with making do with an artificial limb to walk. gays cant breed. reason they cant get married ? no. they can adopt.

    finally…

    by saying that sex that possesses at least the potential to breed is “essential ” to what marriage is, you are saying that without this, there is no marriage at all. “essential” technically means that right? And maybe you are over arguing to make your point, but it sure seems that you are saying that this is the ONLY essential element that makes a marriage.

    I was not trying to put words into your mouth CINN. that is why I asked you to step back and elaborate on this point further.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: Your extension of my analogy to the paraplegic attempting to walk makes it a bad analogy. If marriage by definition essentially involves sex which by definition essentially involves procreation, then homosexuals by definition can’t attempt it. Meanwhile, walking is a perfectly natural activity that only requires legs. There is nothing wrong with an amputee, for instance, seeking artificial legs (though you would agree that they are deficient, no?), and there is nothing wrong with the paraplegic attempting to be ambulatory. Apples and oranges. Note: You’re the one who mentioned the word sin. I haven’t said in this discussion that homosexuality is sinful, or that homosexual marriage is sinful. Maybe they are, maybe no. Entirely beside the point in this discussion. I only say that homosexual marriage is definitionally impossible based upon my (NOT idiosyncratic) conception of marriage.

    But this is why I say the problem isn’t that you need me to elaborate. The problem is that we just disagree on the fundamental assumptions of the argument. If you believe marriage is exclusively about companionship and love, then we just won’t agree and there’s little point in continuing the discussion, unless you’re open to altering your assumptions about sexuality. Period.

    Summary: all your people, heterosexual and homosexual alike, who insist that marriage is about love and companionship and duty sans procreation? You’re the ones ruining marriage. I agree that marriage involves essentially love and companionship, but procreative sex is also an essential element. And, philosophically speaking, a thing that is missing even one of its essential attributes is not, in fact, that thing. It is something else. We can call it “marriage” if we like, but we have to recognize that we’ve certainly re-defined marriage. Homosexual marriage will always be “something else,” will always be premised upon a new (and in my opinion vitiated) conception of what marriage actually is. Again, if you disagree with this presumption, then we’ve reached a bit of an impasse.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: Your extension of my analogy to the paraplegic attempting to walk makes it a bad analogy. If marriage by definition essentially involves sex which by definition essentially involves procreation, then homosexuals by definition can’t attempt it. Meanwhile, walking is a perfectly natural activity that only requires legs. There is nothing wrong with an amputee, for instance, seeking artificial legs (though you would agree that they are deficient, no?), and there is nothing wrong with the paraplegic attempting to be ambulatory. Apples and oranges. Note: You’re the one who mentioned the word sin. I haven’t said in this discussion that homosexuality is sinful, or that homosexual marriage is sinful. Maybe they are, maybe no. Entirely beside the point in this discussion. I only say that homosexual marriage is definitionally impossible based upon my (NOT idiosyncratic) conception of marriage.

    But this is why I say the problem isn’t that you need me to elaborate. The problem is that we just disagree on the fundamental assumptions of the argument. If you believe marriage is exclusively about companionship and love, then we just won’t agree and there’s little point in continuing the discussion, unless you’re open to altering your assumptions about sexuality. Period.

    Summary: all your people, heterosexual and homosexual alike, who insist that marriage is about love and companionship and duty sans procreation? You’re the ones ruining marriage. I agree that marriage involves essentially love and companionship, but procreative sex is also an essential element. And, philosophically speaking, a thing that is missing even one of its essential attributes is not, in fact, that thing. It is something else. We can call it “marriage” if we like, but we have to recognize that we’ve certainly re-defined marriage. Homosexual marriage will always be “something else,” will always be premised upon a new (and in my opinion vitiated) conception of what marriage actually is. Again, if you disagree with this presumption, then we’ve reached a bit of an impasse.

  • Jeremy

    “If marriage by definition essentially involves sex which by definition essentially involves procreation, then homosexuals by definition can’t attempt it.”

    As pointed out by others, if children are an integral part of making a relationship a marriage, then this definitely says something about couples who adopt, elderly couples who marry, or couples who don’t have children for other reasons. I have another question for you. What happens if technology advances to a point where it becomes possible for 2 people of the same sex to create a child?

  • Jeremy

    “If marriage by definition essentially involves sex which by definition essentially involves procreation, then homosexuals by definition can’t attempt it.”

    As pointed out by others, if children are an integral part of making a relationship a marriage, then this definitely says something about couples who adopt, elderly couples who marry, or couples who don’t have children for other reasons. I have another question for you. What happens if technology advances to a point where it becomes possible for 2 people of the same sex to create a child?

  • fws

    CINNN@ 156

    “Summary: all your people, heterosexual and homosexual alike, who insist that marriage is about love and companionship and duty sans procreation? You’re the ones ruining marriage. I agree that marriage involves essentially love and companionship, but procreative sex is also an essential element. And, philosophically speaking, a thing that is missing even one of its essential attributes is not, in fact, that thing. ”

    I think it is important to pinpoint a difference to be able to differ. You are not doing great at that CINN

    I suggest the difference is this one:

    you seem to say that sex with at least a potential for procreation is one of several essential elements that make marriage marriage. (which would then mean that people past menopause have no real marriage right. Not a traditional position that!).

    the other side seems to be saying that the essential element of marriage is intimate adult companionship (meaning a sexual relationship with a life commitment and monogamy , so sex is the reason for marriage st paul says, but he does not in 1 cor y say breeding is…) that may or may not result in children and many other blessings.

    so they place breeding as a part of marriage, maybe even the norm, but not as an essential part.

    I think todd makes a good case that this is the biblical position from genesis, and then also from St pauls explanation for why singles must marry normally and ordinarily (he does not say it is an option does he…).

    does this seem fair so far CINN?

    further I would suggest that your argument for what is essential to marriage is a natural law one. Natural Law in the st thomas meaning of that word, so that is not a scriptural argument or one from tradition , per se, or such.

    fair?

  • fws

    CINNN@ 156

    “Summary: all your people, heterosexual and homosexual alike, who insist that marriage is about love and companionship and duty sans procreation? You’re the ones ruining marriage. I agree that marriage involves essentially love and companionship, but procreative sex is also an essential element. And, philosophically speaking, a thing that is missing even one of its essential attributes is not, in fact, that thing. ”

    I think it is important to pinpoint a difference to be able to differ. You are not doing great at that CINN

    I suggest the difference is this one:

    you seem to say that sex with at least a potential for procreation is one of several essential elements that make marriage marriage. (which would then mean that people past menopause have no real marriage right. Not a traditional position that!).

    the other side seems to be saying that the essential element of marriage is intimate adult companionship (meaning a sexual relationship with a life commitment and monogamy , so sex is the reason for marriage st paul says, but he does not in 1 cor y say breeding is…) that may or may not result in children and many other blessings.

    so they place breeding as a part of marriage, maybe even the norm, but not as an essential part.

    I think todd makes a good case that this is the biblical position from genesis, and then also from St pauls explanation for why singles must marry normally and ordinarily (he does not say it is an option does he…).

    does this seem fair so far CINN?

    further I would suggest that your argument for what is essential to marriage is a natural law one. Natural Law in the st thomas meaning of that word, so that is not a scriptural argument or one from tradition , per se, or such.

    fair?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What happens if technology advances to a point where it becomes possible for 2 people of the same sex to create a child?”

    Folks who express concern for the child will be mocked and vilified.

    After all, what could possibly be more important than two adults getting the made to order kid that they want?

    Any opposed?

    Haters.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What happens if technology advances to a point where it becomes possible for 2 people of the same sex to create a child?”

    Folks who express concern for the child will be mocked and vilified.

    After all, what could possibly be more important than two adults getting the made to order kid that they want?

    Any opposed?

    Haters.

  • fws

    jeremy @ 157

    If I understand right, CINN is saying that there are several things that are “essential” to making a marriage. he is not doing well at identifying the list of what he considers essential, but…. I dont think he is saying that actually having kids is “essential”. he is saying that sex with the potential to make kids is.

    and he is misunderstanding that the other side is saying that sex is essential to marriage. But raising kids is not. and it is still ok if someone is shooting blanks.

    Cincinatus would argue that it is still marriage if the sex does not produce kids, as long as there is the “potential” for this to happen. and his definition of “potential” seems to be that it is a man and woman having the sex. Any man and woman. fertile or not.

    So to understand CINN’s viewpoint , you need to suspend your logical understanding of that word “potential”. his view hinges entirely upon a redefinition of that word from the ordinary and obvious meaning. It must include the possibility of the miraculous, like st elizabeth having st john at a late age, or someone declared sterile somehow getting his wife knocked up. This is the word “potential” with additional religious freight loaded onto it.

    It is a redefinition of “potential” from the obvious meaning, since he would include ALL sex between men and women, including men who shoot blanks and women who are past menopause within his defintion of “potential”. this is what a legalistic think like st thomas’ natural law theories bring one to in the definition of terms… it starts to look just a little wierd….

    Legalism always ends up that way .

  • fws

    jeremy @ 157

    If I understand right, CINN is saying that there are several things that are “essential” to making a marriage. he is not doing well at identifying the list of what he considers essential, but…. I dont think he is saying that actually having kids is “essential”. he is saying that sex with the potential to make kids is.

    and he is misunderstanding that the other side is saying that sex is essential to marriage. But raising kids is not. and it is still ok if someone is shooting blanks.

    Cincinatus would argue that it is still marriage if the sex does not produce kids, as long as there is the “potential” for this to happen. and his definition of “potential” seems to be that it is a man and woman having the sex. Any man and woman. fertile or not.

    So to understand CINN’s viewpoint , you need to suspend your logical understanding of that word “potential”. his view hinges entirely upon a redefinition of that word from the ordinary and obvious meaning. It must include the possibility of the miraculous, like st elizabeth having st john at a late age, or someone declared sterile somehow getting his wife knocked up. This is the word “potential” with additional religious freight loaded onto it.

    It is a redefinition of “potential” from the obvious meaning, since he would include ALL sex between men and women, including men who shoot blanks and women who are past menopause within his defintion of “potential”. this is what a legalistic think like st thomas’ natural law theories bring one to in the definition of terms… it starts to look just a little wierd….

    Legalism always ends up that way .

  • Stephen

    “I agree that marriage involves essentially love and companionship, but procreative sex is also an essential element.”

    And if that were broadened or shifted to making the last part “create and sustain families” you are not far off. But it also serves for the general peace and welfare of society, creating boundaries that help that peace and welfare flourish. You are missing a huge chunk here.

    “Procreative sex is essential” seems to mean that any sex without procreation as its intent is really some kind of abuse of the institution. Is that really true? So couples who have no chance at all of procreating are “essentially” not really married, is that it? Their marriage is, by definition, a fraud and a sham (leaving sin out of consideration as you insist). When has this ever been the understanding of marriage?

  • Stephen

    “I agree that marriage involves essentially love and companionship, but procreative sex is also an essential element.”

    And if that were broadened or shifted to making the last part “create and sustain families” you are not far off. But it also serves for the general peace and welfare of society, creating boundaries that help that peace and welfare flourish. You are missing a huge chunk here.

    “Procreative sex is essential” seems to mean that any sex without procreation as its intent is really some kind of abuse of the institution. Is that really true? So couples who have no chance at all of procreating are “essentially” not really married, is that it? Their marriage is, by definition, a fraud and a sham (leaving sin out of consideration as you insist). When has this ever been the understanding of marriage?

  • Cincinnatus

    To paraphrase an apt remark I stumbled upon the other day–similar discussion, different venue–any culture which doesn’t acknowledge that sex is fundamentally procreative, and that marriage is fundamentally (hetero)sexual is so blinkered and so stupid that it may very well be beyond salvage and probably doesn’t even deserve to survive. (And, factually speaking, a culture that no longer prioritizes procreation may not only deserve to die but may actually die: witness the specter of demographic winter in Europe, Japan, and other industrialized nations.)

    Call it a cop-out, but there isn’t much more to say about it.

    Interestingly, I’m the one who started off this conversation by observing that the linked article is actually making a fantastic case for homosexual marriage.

  • Cincinnatus

    To paraphrase an apt remark I stumbled upon the other day–similar discussion, different venue–any culture which doesn’t acknowledge that sex is fundamentally procreative, and that marriage is fundamentally (hetero)sexual is so blinkered and so stupid that it may very well be beyond salvage and probably doesn’t even deserve to survive. (And, factually speaking, a culture that no longer prioritizes procreation may not only deserve to die but may actually die: witness the specter of demographic winter in Europe, Japan, and other industrialized nations.)

    Call it a cop-out, but there isn’t much more to say about it.

    Interestingly, I’m the one who started off this conversation by observing that the linked article is actually making a fantastic case for homosexual marriage.

  • Cincinnatus

    p.s. I’m currently ignoring the casuistry in which fws and Stephen are indulging at the moment. It’s just not my game. Maybe my analytic powers simply aren’t up to the task, but I’ll take a cue from sg: theoretical reasoning is about the general rule, not the sophistic attempt to find complex cases that may disprove the theory (b-b-but menopause!). Maybe another time.

    The vitiation of marriage in which fws and others are proudly engaging is quite similar to the way in which we’ve eviscerated the concept of the household. The household used to be a specifically-defined unit, a productive network of interlocking relationships with the aim of material self-sufficiency (Aristotle articulates the classical theory quite nicely). Each household must possess certain essential attributes: a husband, a wife, a child, and in the ancient Greek case, a slave. These four essential figures participated in various political relationships: parent/child; master/slave (or, if you’d like, servant/worker); husband/wife. These relationships and these individuals are all essential constitutive elements of the household. The household is ruled by love–as it is today–but it is not about love. A household must provide for the good–including the material good–of all its members. Not all households, as Aristotle himself noted, are self-sufficient. Not all marriages are blessed with children. It’s an imperfect world. Compare this with the classical (and Christian!) notion of marriage: it includes love, but, fully understood, it must also include children.

    Today, a household is just an assorted collection of people–usually, but not always, two parents and maybe 2.5 children. Maybe a dog. Or maybe two men and a kid. Or one parent and three kids. Or aunts and uncles and their nephews. Or whatever, really! And the point, apparently, is love and companionship–or something that makes us feel good about ourselves. The household no longer has anything to do with household economics except in a subsidiary sense (i.e., we no longer talk about getting married and forming a family in order to survive, because it is essential for our well-being, but because we’re “in love” or it gives us “self-actualization”; cf. sg’s snide but accurate retort regarding designer babies, and the way Western society is oddly characterized by a pursuit of children for the happiness they bring us, not vice versa.)

    Now, return to the classical model: is a household that is missing, say, a servant no longer a household? Both yes and no. It can still function, perhaps, and it may still be considered a household. But it is missing an essential attribute. I’m not asking you to buy the classical model of the household. I am asking you to buy it as an analogue to marriage: marriage isn’t just any two people who want to be together and maybe have a kid or two. It is a specifically defined relationship that, yes, includes children when fully understood. “b-b-but menopause” doesn’t really disprove anything definitively.

    You already know my argument on this point, which includes TWO premises, FWS: sex definitionally involves procreation, and marriage definitionally involves sex. A childless marriage isn’t necessarily deficient in a moral sense, but a sexless marriage certainly is. Yes, the argument reverts back upon itself: if sex involves procreation, then so must marriage. But not all sex produces children (God help us if it did!), and so not all marriages will produce children. This is a self-evident fact. So blindingly obvious that I feel weird that I must even render it explicit. Where’s the problem? Nota benae: this argument does hinge upon the assumption that homosexual activity is not, in fact, sex properly understood. This is why, when English was more precise, we had different words to distinguish various activities from actual sexual intercourse: sodomy, for instance, or cunnilingus. These are not sex. They are something different. Homosexual individuals do not have sex, and thus they cannot be married by the traditional standard. I don’t mean that pejoratively but factically.

    Again, a culture which can no longer recognize this fact is dangerously impaired in its self-understanding. So good luck with that, America/Western civilization!

  • Cincinnatus

    p.s. I’m currently ignoring the casuistry in which fws and Stephen are indulging at the moment. It’s just not my game. Maybe my analytic powers simply aren’t up to the task, but I’ll take a cue from sg: theoretical reasoning is about the general rule, not the sophistic attempt to find complex cases that may disprove the theory (b-b-but menopause!). Maybe another time.

    The vitiation of marriage in which fws and others are proudly engaging is quite similar to the way in which we’ve eviscerated the concept of the household. The household used to be a specifically-defined unit, a productive network of interlocking relationships with the aim of material self-sufficiency (Aristotle articulates the classical theory quite nicely). Each household must possess certain essential attributes: a husband, a wife, a child, and in the ancient Greek case, a slave. These four essential figures participated in various political relationships: parent/child; master/slave (or, if you’d like, servant/worker); husband/wife. These relationships and these individuals are all essential constitutive elements of the household. The household is ruled by love–as it is today–but it is not about love. A household must provide for the good–including the material good–of all its members. Not all households, as Aristotle himself noted, are self-sufficient. Not all marriages are blessed with children. It’s an imperfect world. Compare this with the classical (and Christian!) notion of marriage: it includes love, but, fully understood, it must also include children.

    Today, a household is just an assorted collection of people–usually, but not always, two parents and maybe 2.5 children. Maybe a dog. Or maybe two men and a kid. Or one parent and three kids. Or aunts and uncles and their nephews. Or whatever, really! And the point, apparently, is love and companionship–or something that makes us feel good about ourselves. The household no longer has anything to do with household economics except in a subsidiary sense (i.e., we no longer talk about getting married and forming a family in order to survive, because it is essential for our well-being, but because we’re “in love” or it gives us “self-actualization”; cf. sg’s snide but accurate retort regarding designer babies, and the way Western society is oddly characterized by a pursuit of children for the happiness they bring us, not vice versa.)

    Now, return to the classical model: is a household that is missing, say, a servant no longer a household? Both yes and no. It can still function, perhaps, and it may still be considered a household. But it is missing an essential attribute. I’m not asking you to buy the classical model of the household. I am asking you to buy it as an analogue to marriage: marriage isn’t just any two people who want to be together and maybe have a kid or two. It is a specifically defined relationship that, yes, includes children when fully understood. “b-b-but menopause” doesn’t really disprove anything definitively.

    You already know my argument on this point, which includes TWO premises, FWS: sex definitionally involves procreation, and marriage definitionally involves sex. A childless marriage isn’t necessarily deficient in a moral sense, but a sexless marriage certainly is. Yes, the argument reverts back upon itself: if sex involves procreation, then so must marriage. But not all sex produces children (God help us if it did!), and so not all marriages will produce children. This is a self-evident fact. So blindingly obvious that I feel weird that I must even render it explicit. Where’s the problem? Nota benae: this argument does hinge upon the assumption that homosexual activity is not, in fact, sex properly understood. This is why, when English was more precise, we had different words to distinguish various activities from actual sexual intercourse: sodomy, for instance, or cunnilingus. These are not sex. They are something different. Homosexual individuals do not have sex, and thus they cannot be married by the traditional standard. I don’t mean that pejoratively but factically.

    Again, a culture which can no longer recognize this fact is dangerously impaired in its self-understanding. So good luck with that, America/Western civilization!

  • Stephen

    Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. So it’s about preserving our enlightened culture.

    Maybe the fact is that prosperity itself is the enemy to increased procreation, not allowing gays marriage. Within a few latitudes north or south of the Equator all the way around the earth is where the world’s poor live and where most of the babies are being born by a long shot. Maybe instead of freaking out about gay marriage we could work on seeing to the prosperity and well-being of these people so they wouldn’t have so many kids. Guess why they do that – concerns over mortality, the same reason 19th c. Americans had so many kids. Perhaps if their lives were better there would not be as much migration to where the more wealthy countries are. We wouldn’t have to go to these places to fight wars and settle disagreements like those in Africa for instance. I’m pretty sure this is the accepted wisdom of why we need to attempt to aid these people and increase their standard of living. Maybe it’s about resources and who has them rather than a consideration of who is or isn’t procreating.

  • Stephen

    Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. So it’s about preserving our enlightened culture.

    Maybe the fact is that prosperity itself is the enemy to increased procreation, not allowing gays marriage. Within a few latitudes north or south of the Equator all the way around the earth is where the world’s poor live and where most of the babies are being born by a long shot. Maybe instead of freaking out about gay marriage we could work on seeing to the prosperity and well-being of these people so they wouldn’t have so many kids. Guess why they do that – concerns over mortality, the same reason 19th c. Americans had so many kids. Perhaps if their lives were better there would not be as much migration to where the more wealthy countries are. We wouldn’t have to go to these places to fight wars and settle disagreements like those in Africa for instance. I’m pretty sure this is the accepted wisdom of why we need to attempt to aid these people and increase their standard of living. Maybe it’s about resources and who has them rather than a consideration of who is or isn’t procreating.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
    Psalm 127:3-5

    Just to step back a little here. The general notion that children are a blessing from God to be welcomed, period, is in fact a winning idea.

    So noting that “a culture that no longer prioritizes procreation may not only deserve to die but may actually die” is simply a truism. Or as I heard it alternately put, your children are your only wealth.

    My point is that we are looking at this backwards.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
    Psalm 127:3-5

    Just to step back a little here. The general notion that children are a blessing from God to be welcomed, period, is in fact a winning idea.

    So noting that “a culture that no longer prioritizes procreation may not only deserve to die but may actually die” is simply a truism. Or as I heard it alternately put, your children are your only wealth.

    My point is that we are looking at this backwards.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: Completely agreed. We need to abandon the notion that children are only a blessing if they happen when we want them to. “Who knew that sex is procreative?” It’s curious that so many unabashedly Lutheran/Christian commenters here are so eager to divorce sex from its obvious implications.

    Maybe we need to return to our original premise: the only reason that civil marriage exists is to protect children. That’s it. Anything else is just frosting. In the absence of that truism, civil marriage is just anachronistic legal flotsam from a discarded epoch that only serves various private, hedonistic needs, not any discernible public good.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: Completely agreed. We need to abandon the notion that children are only a blessing if they happen when we want them to. “Who knew that sex is procreative?” It’s curious that so many unabashedly Lutheran/Christian commenters here are so eager to divorce sex from its obvious implications.

    Maybe we need to return to our original premise: the only reason that civil marriage exists is to protect children. That’s it. Anything else is just frosting. In the absence of that truism, civil marriage is just anachronistic legal flotsam from a discarded epoch that only serves various private, hedonistic needs, not any discernible public good.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Within a few latitudes north or south of the Equator all the way around the earth is where the world’s poor live and where most of the babies are being born by a long shot.”

    Where do they get the food to feed all those folks?

    “Maybe instead of freaking out about gay marriage we could work on seeing to the prosperity and well-being of these people so they wouldn’t have so many kids.”

    Why don’t they just do it themselves? We did.

    “Perhaps if their lives were better there would not be as much migration to where the more wealthy countries are.”

    If they were able to make their own lives better, they wouldn’t need to move.

    “We wouldn’t have to go to these places to fight wars and settle disagreements like those in Africa for instance.”

    We don’t have to go. They are adults and can and did manage before.

    “I’m pretty sure this is the accepted wisdom of why we need to attempt to aid these people and increase their standard of living.”

    Given that it isn’t working, it obviously isn’t so wise.

    “Maybe it’s about resources and who has them rather than a consideration of who is or isn’t procreating.”

    What resources? Human resources? Social capital? Natural resources? Lots of poor countries have a lot of natural resources.

    this is a red herring.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Within a few latitudes north or south of the Equator all the way around the earth is where the world’s poor live and where most of the babies are being born by a long shot.”

    Where do they get the food to feed all those folks?

    “Maybe instead of freaking out about gay marriage we could work on seeing to the prosperity and well-being of these people so they wouldn’t have so many kids.”

    Why don’t they just do it themselves? We did.

    “Perhaps if their lives were better there would not be as much migration to where the more wealthy countries are.”

    If they were able to make their own lives better, they wouldn’t need to move.

    “We wouldn’t have to go to these places to fight wars and settle disagreements like those in Africa for instance.”

    We don’t have to go. They are adults and can and did manage before.

    “I’m pretty sure this is the accepted wisdom of why we need to attempt to aid these people and increase their standard of living.”

    Given that it isn’t working, it obviously isn’t so wise.

    “Maybe it’s about resources and who has them rather than a consideration of who is or isn’t procreating.”

    What resources? Human resources? Social capital? Natural resources? Lots of poor countries have a lot of natural resources.

    this is a red herring.

  • fws

    cinn @ 166

    questions not for argumentation or to make a point but for clarification:

    “So blindingly obvious that I feel weird that I must even render it explicit. Where’s the problem? Nota benae: this argument does hinge upon the assumption that homosexual activity is not, in fact, sex properly understood”

    Ok. That is helpful. You are giving how you define things that is not all that obvious to a casual reader.

    So are you saying this?

    1) any sex that does not have the potential for procreation is , strictly speaking, not sex?
    2) what about sex using birthcontrol methods?
    3) what about sex with a post menopausal woman. Yes you dont like that but it is not exceptional. It is very common. If you like, explain why you feel it is irrelevant. you havent done that.
    4) sex for someone who is sterile or has had tubes tied.
    5) and what is your basis for determining the definition of that word “sex”. Logic? Scriptures? science?
    6) would you agree that your definition of “sex”, like your definition of the word “potential” is far from obvious to anyone who is not plugged into your book club?

    This isn’t going to resolve the debate, but it will maybe help avoid arguments that are not to point.

    Thanks

  • fws

    cinn @ 166

    questions not for argumentation or to make a point but for clarification:

    “So blindingly obvious that I feel weird that I must even render it explicit. Where’s the problem? Nota benae: this argument does hinge upon the assumption that homosexual activity is not, in fact, sex properly understood”

    Ok. That is helpful. You are giving how you define things that is not all that obvious to a casual reader.

    So are you saying this?

    1) any sex that does not have the potential for procreation is , strictly speaking, not sex?
    2) what about sex using birthcontrol methods?
    3) what about sex with a post menopausal woman. Yes you dont like that but it is not exceptional. It is very common. If you like, explain why you feel it is irrelevant. you havent done that.
    4) sex for someone who is sterile or has had tubes tied.
    5) and what is your basis for determining the definition of that word “sex”. Logic? Scriptures? science?
    6) would you agree that your definition of “sex”, like your definition of the word “potential” is far from obvious to anyone who is not plugged into your book club?

    This isn’t going to resolve the debate, but it will maybe help avoid arguments that are not to point.

    Thanks

  • Stephen

    “not any discernible public good”

    You have not been paying attention. Apart from all the other hyperbole you are throwing out (and from the one who whines about being mischaracterized!), that marriage is for the public good is “essential” to my argument. I’ll now quote two of the favorite responses of Cinncinatus and sg. They are “sheesh” and *sigh*

  • Stephen

    “not any discernible public good”

    You have not been paying attention. Apart from all the other hyperbole you are throwing out (and from the one who whines about being mischaracterized!), that marriage is for the public good is “essential” to my argument. I’ll now quote two of the favorite responses of Cinncinatus and sg. They are “sheesh” and *sigh*

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@167:

    1) Depends on what you mean. We need to define sex first. In order to spare both you and myself from a detailed description of “the talk” (which you must have missed when you were about 12?), I’ll refer to this, which I’m fairly certain is the universally accepted definition of sexual intercourse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_intercourse

    You’re throwing in the language of potential, which is confusing you. I said that sex inherently and essentially involves procreation; i.e., it is a procreative act. I’m tempted to add “duh,” but apparently these things are no so obvious as I thought. Other activities carelessly named “sex” are not actually sex–sodomy for instance; it’s an entirely separate activity (albeit involving the genitalia) that has nothing to do with procreation.

    2) My feelings on birth control are decidedly mixed. Some days, I’m with the pope. But most days, I acknowledge that contraception has its uses. Our problem isn’t that we use it but that we abuse it. We’ve used it not to ensure that we are responsible in our sexual activities but to redefine sexual activity altogether as something chiefly involving personal pleasure, in which a child is a secondary and usually unwanted consequence to be avoided.

    3) What about it? Again, not all sex–as defined above–leads to children. So?

    4) See #3

    5) Is this a serious question? I mean, really. Are you seriously asking me where I got the definition of sexual intercourse I’m using, i.e., the insertion of male genitalia into the genitalia of a female? Really? If you want to say sex is or can be something different, I’m afraid the burden of proof rests upon you, not me.

    6. No. Did no one ever explain the birds and the bees to you? And was that explanation not preceded, as it is in most cases, with the question: “Where do babies come from?”

    Sorry I’m waxing snarky at times, but I tend to regard the following statement as generally a priori and self-evident–i.e., one argues from it, not to it: sex is an essentially procreative act. It just beggars belief when I’m told that my definition of sexual intercourse must come from an idiosyncratic process of personal (il)logic, gleaned from dusty books (alchemic texts, no doubt) inaccessible to the general public.

    Stephen @ 168: Huh? I know you argued that your shiny new version of marriage serves a public good. I am asserting that it doesn’t, in fact, serve a public good if it doesn’t involve fundamentally the production and protection of children. Maybe you agree with me on that point, in which case I may be confusing you with tODD or fws. But otherwise, I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

    Meanwhile, what hyperbole are you speaking of?

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@167:

    1) Depends on what you mean. We need to define sex first. In order to spare both you and myself from a detailed description of “the talk” (which you must have missed when you were about 12?), I’ll refer to this, which I’m fairly certain is the universally accepted definition of sexual intercourse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_intercourse

    You’re throwing in the language of potential, which is confusing you. I said that sex inherently and essentially involves procreation; i.e., it is a procreative act. I’m tempted to add “duh,” but apparently these things are no so obvious as I thought. Other activities carelessly named “sex” are not actually sex–sodomy for instance; it’s an entirely separate activity (albeit involving the genitalia) that has nothing to do with procreation.

    2) My feelings on birth control are decidedly mixed. Some days, I’m with the pope. But most days, I acknowledge that contraception has its uses. Our problem isn’t that we use it but that we abuse it. We’ve used it not to ensure that we are responsible in our sexual activities but to redefine sexual activity altogether as something chiefly involving personal pleasure, in which a child is a secondary and usually unwanted consequence to be avoided.

    3) What about it? Again, not all sex–as defined above–leads to children. So?

    4) See #3

    5) Is this a serious question? I mean, really. Are you seriously asking me where I got the definition of sexual intercourse I’m using, i.e., the insertion of male genitalia into the genitalia of a female? Really? If you want to say sex is or can be something different, I’m afraid the burden of proof rests upon you, not me.

    6. No. Did no one ever explain the birds and the bees to you? And was that explanation not preceded, as it is in most cases, with the question: “Where do babies come from?”

    Sorry I’m waxing snarky at times, but I tend to regard the following statement as generally a priori and self-evident–i.e., one argues from it, not to it: sex is an essentially procreative act. It just beggars belief when I’m told that my definition of sexual intercourse must come from an idiosyncratic process of personal (il)logic, gleaned from dusty books (alchemic texts, no doubt) inaccessible to the general public.

    Stephen @ 168: Huh? I know you argued that your shiny new version of marriage serves a public good. I am asserting that it doesn’t, in fact, serve a public good if it doesn’t involve fundamentally the production and protection of children. Maybe you agree with me on that point, in which case I may be confusing you with tODD or fws. But otherwise, I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

    Meanwhile, what hyperbole are you speaking of?

  • Stephen

    sg – pretty sure those parts of the world such as South and Central America, Africa and India were fine until Europeans invaded them and wrecked their indigenous cultures, exploiting resources (still) and annihilating their populations.

    And actually, aid does work.

    Just getting to the bottom of things. It’s really about cultural self-preservation it seems. So then, the fact is if we were less prosperous, we’d have more children. And progeny is what it’s all about. Sounds like it to me. So if we really want to help marriage return to its “essence” then let’s give up an enormous share of our wealth. That oughta do it.

  • Stephen

    sg – pretty sure those parts of the world such as South and Central America, Africa and India were fine until Europeans invaded them and wrecked their indigenous cultures, exploiting resources (still) and annihilating their populations.

    And actually, aid does work.

    Just getting to the bottom of things. It’s really about cultural self-preservation it seems. So then, the fact is if we were less prosperous, we’d have more children. And progeny is what it’s all about. Sounds like it to me. So if we really want to help marriage return to its “essence” then let’s give up an enormous share of our wealth. That oughta do it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I can feel my attention span about to peter out here, and perhaps it’s just as well. As Cincinnatus has noted, there is definitely a fundamental difference here regarding just what marriage is or ought to be. I think it’s helpful to pinpoint that, but, once done, am not sure that there’s much else to be said. Even as this thread continues to grow. And here I am helping it.

    Of course, I kind of feel like I could sum up the difference between Cincinnatus and me as, more or less: I’m Lutheran and he’s … Catholic-ish? (I’ve never been able to pin down your denominational particulars, Cincinnatus, even though I’ve asked you directly in the past. Not that it matters as to the validity of your comments, but it does provide a helpful shorthand to understanding where you’re coming from. A shorthand you seem unwilling to provide.)

    The thing is, Cincinnatus, I get the impression that you’re unwilling to concede that our differences are really that simple. Because to so concede would fundamentally alter the game here. Gone would be easy claims that anyone disagreeing with you has ideas of very recent vintage, merely the product of cultural liberalism and nothing more. No, this would then turn from a Natural-Law-ish philosophical debate into a theological one. And, to be honest, you seem much more comfortable with the former than the latter. I don’t exactly recall your argument having any major scriptural references, to date.

    Anyhow, your arguments would certainly make more sense to me if they did come from a Catholic (or, again, Catholic-ish) place. Because, quite frankly, I disagree with the Catholics when it comes to their understandings of both marriage and sex. Not completely, of course. But I don’t see marriage as a sacrament. Nor do I see contraception as being inherently wrong. (A simplistic description.) Of course, this stems from a much larger issue I have with the Catholic church — namely, their adding a boatload of traditional canon law to Scripture and calling them equal.

    So if the difference between us arises from your being Catholic(-ish?), then that’s that. We’ve identified the issue. My appeals to Scripture are not likely to compel you, because I will necessarily ignore all the other (non-scriptural) Catholic teachings that underpin your thoughts. In short, we simply lack a common understanding, and the differences are much larger than merely defining marriage.

    So is that it? Or should I press on?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I can feel my attention span about to peter out here, and perhaps it’s just as well. As Cincinnatus has noted, there is definitely a fundamental difference here regarding just what marriage is or ought to be. I think it’s helpful to pinpoint that, but, once done, am not sure that there’s much else to be said. Even as this thread continues to grow. And here I am helping it.

    Of course, I kind of feel like I could sum up the difference between Cincinnatus and me as, more or less: I’m Lutheran and he’s … Catholic-ish? (I’ve never been able to pin down your denominational particulars, Cincinnatus, even though I’ve asked you directly in the past. Not that it matters as to the validity of your comments, but it does provide a helpful shorthand to understanding where you’re coming from. A shorthand you seem unwilling to provide.)

    The thing is, Cincinnatus, I get the impression that you’re unwilling to concede that our differences are really that simple. Because to so concede would fundamentally alter the game here. Gone would be easy claims that anyone disagreeing with you has ideas of very recent vintage, merely the product of cultural liberalism and nothing more. No, this would then turn from a Natural-Law-ish philosophical debate into a theological one. And, to be honest, you seem much more comfortable with the former than the latter. I don’t exactly recall your argument having any major scriptural references, to date.

    Anyhow, your arguments would certainly make more sense to me if they did come from a Catholic (or, again, Catholic-ish) place. Because, quite frankly, I disagree with the Catholics when it comes to their understandings of both marriage and sex. Not completely, of course. But I don’t see marriage as a sacrament. Nor do I see contraception as being inherently wrong. (A simplistic description.) Of course, this stems from a much larger issue I have with the Catholic church — namely, their adding a boatload of traditional canon law to Scripture and calling them equal.

    So if the difference between us arises from your being Catholic(-ish?), then that’s that. We’ve identified the issue. My appeals to Scripture are not likely to compel you, because I will necessarily ignore all the other (non-scriptural) Catholic teachings that underpin your thoughts. In short, we simply lack a common understanding, and the differences are much larger than merely defining marriage.

    So is that it? Or should I press on?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 167

    Yes, sex is fun and yeah we do it for the fun of it. But the sex that matters is the sex that makes babies. That is the sex we seek to protect and encourage to place in the best possible context because it makes people. All the superfluous vestigial sex doesn’t need the same kind of community affirmation and support.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 167

    Yes, sex is fun and yeah we do it for the fun of it. But the sex that matters is the sex that makes babies. That is the sex we seek to protect and encourage to place in the best possible context because it makes people. All the superfluous vestigial sex doesn’t need the same kind of community affirmation and support.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “pretty sure those parts of the world such as South and Central America, Africa and India were fine until Europeans invaded them and wrecked their indigenous cultures, exploiting resources (still) and annihilating their populations.”

    Not exactly, their populations were able to grow because of contact with the outside and access to more food, technology etc.

    “And actually, aid does work.”

    Define aid. Define work.

    If by aid you mean westerners run the place and provide the food, technology, organization, then yeah, that is aid.

    If by work, you mean their population grows exponentially, then yeah, it works.

    Their indigenous cultures. Scary. If you think we should have left them alone, eh, maybe you are right, and we would have been better off. They would not.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “pretty sure those parts of the world such as South and Central America, Africa and India were fine until Europeans invaded them and wrecked their indigenous cultures, exploiting resources (still) and annihilating their populations.”

    Not exactly, their populations were able to grow because of contact with the outside and access to more food, technology etc.

    “And actually, aid does work.”

    Define aid. Define work.

    If by aid you mean westerners run the place and provide the food, technology, organization, then yeah, that is aid.

    If by work, you mean their population grows exponentially, then yeah, it works.

    Their indigenous cultures. Scary. If you think we should have left them alone, eh, maybe you are right, and we would have been better off. They would not.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “It’s really about cultural self-preservation it seems.”

    You betcha. US vs. them, where we win. Would having more kids get us there? Well, it got us here. And here appears to be where folks want to be. US and Europe, Canada, Australia etc are the destinations of choice. Any place run by westerners. They just keep coming. Man, they love us, or at least our prosperity. Can they do it, too? They don’t seem to think so.

    Still, Christians should welcome children and trust God that they are a blessing. They have been so far. Is it so wise to doubt Him? Will having fewer of our own kids really help the rest of the world? I am skeptical.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “It’s really about cultural self-preservation it seems.”

    You betcha. US vs. them, where we win. Would having more kids get us there? Well, it got us here. And here appears to be where folks want to be. US and Europe, Canada, Australia etc are the destinations of choice. Any place run by westerners. They just keep coming. Man, they love us, or at least our prosperity. Can they do it, too? They don’t seem to think so.

    Still, Christians should welcome children and trust God that they are a blessing. They have been so far. Is it so wise to doubt Him? Will having fewer of our own kids really help the rest of the world? I am skeptical.

  • Jeremy

    @sg

    “And here appears to be where folks want to be. US and Europe, Canada, Australia etc are the destinations of choice. Any place run by westerners. They just keep coming.”

    And yet your proposals about getting rid of gay rights, reproductive choice, and any type of national health insurance are characteristics of poorer countries and not found anywhere near as much in these nations and areas you claim to love like the US, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia. Just taking abortion, you should check out this map of the world based upon the legal status of abortion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_law). Concerning homosexuals, in many poorer countries where education is sparse, homosexuals are not only forbidden to marry but even homosexual activity is criminal.

  • Jeremy

    @sg

    “And here appears to be where folks want to be. US and Europe, Canada, Australia etc are the destinations of choice. Any place run by westerners. They just keep coming.”

    And yet your proposals about getting rid of gay rights, reproductive choice, and any type of national health insurance are characteristics of poorer countries and not found anywhere near as much in these nations and areas you claim to love like the US, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia. Just taking abortion, you should check out this map of the world based upon the legal status of abortion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_law). Concerning homosexuals, in many poorer countries where education is sparse, homosexuals are not only forbidden to marry but even homosexual activity is criminal.

  • Jeremy

    I just added a comment but nothing happened…maybe 175 is the max?

  • Jeremy

    I just added a comment but nothing happened…maybe 175 is the max?

  • Jeremy

    If it appears I’ve submitted the same comment more than once, sorry. There is something wrong with the comments section..

  • Jeremy

    If it appears I’ve submitted the same comment more than once, sorry. There is something wrong with the comments section..

  • Jeremy

    SG,

    “And here appears to be where folks want to be. US and Europe, Canada, Australia etc are the destinations of choice. Any place run by westerners. They just keep coming. Man, they love us,”

    And yet, your proposed legal system that involves getting rid of homosexual rights, reproductive rights, and national health care are all characteristics found in much poorer and oppressive nations, and not in the nations and areas you claim people love to live such as the USA, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia. Just taking abortion, you should view a map of the world based upon the legality of abortion.

  • Jeremy

    SG,

    “And here appears to be where folks want to be. US and Europe, Canada, Australia etc are the destinations of choice. Any place run by westerners. They just keep coming. Man, they love us,”

    And yet, your proposed legal system that involves getting rid of homosexual rights, reproductive rights, and national health care are all characteristics found in much poorer and oppressive nations, and not in the nations and areas you claim people love to live such as the USA, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia. Just taking abortion, you should view a map of the world based upon the legality of abortion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Abortion is killing people. It is not enlightened. It is evidence of decline. Were we in decline before the Pill and abortion? No. Illegitimacy rose with the prevalence of abortion. Abortion is a symptom of social pathology. Abortion is depraved. Folks are coming for prosperity and security not depravity. They have plenty of depravity where they come from. Ever watch the Vice Guide to travel? vbs.tv

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Abortion is killing people. It is not enlightened. It is evidence of decline. Were we in decline before the Pill and abortion? No. Illegitimacy rose with the prevalence of abortion. Abortion is a symptom of social pathology. Abortion is depraved. Folks are coming for prosperity and security not depravity. They have plenty of depravity where they come from. Ever watch the Vice Guide to travel? vbs.tv

  • Jeremy

    @SG

    So basically the US and all these other countries are better, except for that pesky matter of abortion?

  • Jeremy

    @SG

    So basically the US and all these other countries are better, except for that pesky matter of abortion?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “getting rid of homosexual rights, reproductive rights, and national health care”

    straw man alert

    How about we all just have the same rights?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “getting rid of homosexual rights, reproductive rights, and national health care”

    straw man alert

    How about we all just have the same rights?

  • Stephen

    “Still, Christians should welcome children and trust God that they are a blessing. They have been so far. Is it so wise to doubt Him? Will having fewer of our own kids really help the rest of the world? I am skeptical.”

    No one is arguing this.

    As for aid that works or has worked to rebuild cultures that have been eviscerated an/or severely hindered, the Marshall plan comes to mind.

    Populations in the countries I mentioned grew in large part due to the influence of colonialism, not aid – the kind, ya know, that Lutherans and other Christians do, as well as what western governments, philanthropists, are doing to engender prosperity in things such as health and sustainable agriculture, water use, all things that are in large measure to correct the mistakes of the past. But that is another conversation, and at this point, a rabbit hole that seems preferable to go down than offering any positive or coherent arguments as to why gays should not be granted the right marry.

    All that to say I was right after all – it’s not about marriage really, its about us vs. them. I still do not think it has been shown how gays as married parents inflicts any damage to children or families or marriage as an institution that strengthens the same, and/or why they are not due the same rights, privileges and opportunities to screw up parenting like heterosexuals.

    The proof texting and mentions of God come without any grounding in sound theology. One minute its the virtues of natural selection, how nature isn’t fallen at all (I guess), whatever is is right, and the next its bible verses without context, apparently to refute things that no one is advocating or suggesting. I think they call that a straw man.

  • Stephen

    “Still, Christians should welcome children and trust God that they are a blessing. They have been so far. Is it so wise to doubt Him? Will having fewer of our own kids really help the rest of the world? I am skeptical.”

    No one is arguing this.

    As for aid that works or has worked to rebuild cultures that have been eviscerated an/or severely hindered, the Marshall plan comes to mind.

    Populations in the countries I mentioned grew in large part due to the influence of colonialism, not aid – the kind, ya know, that Lutherans and other Christians do, as well as what western governments, philanthropists, are doing to engender prosperity in things such as health and sustainable agriculture, water use, all things that are in large measure to correct the mistakes of the past. But that is another conversation, and at this point, a rabbit hole that seems preferable to go down than offering any positive or coherent arguments as to why gays should not be granted the right marry.

    All that to say I was right after all – it’s not about marriage really, its about us vs. them. I still do not think it has been shown how gays as married parents inflicts any damage to children or families or marriage as an institution that strengthens the same, and/or why they are not due the same rights, privileges and opportunities to screw up parenting like heterosexuals.

    The proof texting and mentions of God come without any grounding in sound theology. One minute its the virtues of natural selection, how nature isn’t fallen at all (I guess), whatever is is right, and the next its bible verses without context, apparently to refute things that no one is advocating or suggesting. I think they call that a straw man.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So basically the US and all these other countries are better, except for that pesky matter of abortion?”

    This is just goofy. They were better 100 years ago, too.

    Killing people is wrong. Since you brought it up, however, I will throw in that women who have ever had an abortion have fewer children on average than women who have never had an abortion. So, selection is working against those willing to kill their own kids. Not surprising, but documented. Abortion is also the single most highly correlated variable to breast cancer in any given population according to actuaries who make the insurance rate tables for mortality and morbidity. Likely that is because on average it increases the two biggest risks for breast cancer, age of mother at first birth and fewer total births. This data based on the national health service records that include the entire populations of Iceland, UK, Ireland and Finland.

    Abortion is a lose-lose-lose-lose activity for women, children and society. Guys need to marry these women and stop using them as sex toys.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So basically the US and all these other countries are better, except for that pesky matter of abortion?”

    This is just goofy. They were better 100 years ago, too.

    Killing people is wrong. Since you brought it up, however, I will throw in that women who have ever had an abortion have fewer children on average than women who have never had an abortion. So, selection is working against those willing to kill their own kids. Not surprising, but documented. Abortion is also the single most highly correlated variable to breast cancer in any given population according to actuaries who make the insurance rate tables for mortality and morbidity. Likely that is because on average it increases the two biggest risks for breast cancer, age of mother at first birth and fewer total births. This data based on the national health service records that include the entire populations of Iceland, UK, Ireland and Finland.

    Abortion is a lose-lose-lose-lose activity for women, children and society. Guys need to marry these women and stop using them as sex toys.

  • Stephen

    “How about we all just have the same rights?”

    Wait a second, that’s what I’m saying. I hear strange music in my head . . .

  • Stephen

    “How about we all just have the same rights?”

    Wait a second, that’s what I’m saying. I hear strange music in my head . . .

  • Stephen

    Sg-

    Was anyone really advocating for abortion outright, or were they making a larger point about the cultures everyone wants to be a part of, which appears to be the lynch pin of your argument? Another rabbit hole.

  • Stephen

    Sg-

    Was anyone really advocating for abortion outright, or were they making a larger point about the cultures everyone wants to be a part of, which appears to be the lynch pin of your argument? Another rabbit hole.

  • Jeremy

    @SG

    So are the US and all these other Western nations the best countries or not? They allow the most abortion and reproductive rights. It would seem you ought to hate them if they are “killing children”. Also, these countries are going to promote homosexual marriage, as if homosexuality is something to be celebrated instead of condemned.

  • Jeremy

    @SG

    So are the US and all these other Western nations the best countries or not? They allow the most abortion and reproductive rights. It would seem you ought to hate them if they are “killing children”. Also, these countries are going to promote homosexual marriage, as if homosexuality is something to be celebrated instead of condemned.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As for aid that works or has worked to rebuild cultures that have been eviscerated an/or severely hindered, the Marshall plan comes to mind.”

    LOL those countries were helped sure, but the people in those countries had invented all manner of tech all on their own. They weren’t going to be milling around in rubble for long. Their men knew how to organize and run things all on their own.

    “All that to say I was right after all – it’s not about marriage really, its about us vs. them.”

    Hey, you forgot the part about winning. Look, we have plenty of examples from the past that moral decline is not a winning strategy. When I say we win, I mean that in a good way. That is the idea of a win-win arrangement, like vaccinating the kids of the poor so they don’t infect our kids. The poor kids get most of the benefits but we get some too. Gays benefit from living in civilized countries because they have it much worse in less civilized places. But hey, we don’t go so far as to cater so much to folks that we let them bring down the whole thing so that there is no longer a civilized society where they can be safe. Society is really complex and it takes real work and discipline to get to where we are now, so let’s not bust it. Stupid programs that promote dysfunction and penalize good behavior will eventually bring the whole thing down, not gay marriage alone, but the whole notion that no matter what we do, we will still rule. Uh, no we won’t. We can fail like any other if we stop doing what works.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As for aid that works or has worked to rebuild cultures that have been eviscerated an/or severely hindered, the Marshall plan comes to mind.”

    LOL those countries were helped sure, but the people in those countries had invented all manner of tech all on their own. They weren’t going to be milling around in rubble for long. Their men knew how to organize and run things all on their own.

    “All that to say I was right after all – it’s not about marriage really, its about us vs. them.”

    Hey, you forgot the part about winning. Look, we have plenty of examples from the past that moral decline is not a winning strategy. When I say we win, I mean that in a good way. That is the idea of a win-win arrangement, like vaccinating the kids of the poor so they don’t infect our kids. The poor kids get most of the benefits but we get some too. Gays benefit from living in civilized countries because they have it much worse in less civilized places. But hey, we don’t go so far as to cater so much to folks that we let them bring down the whole thing so that there is no longer a civilized society where they can be safe. Society is really complex and it takes real work and discipline to get to where we are now, so let’s not bust it. Stupid programs that promote dysfunction and penalize good behavior will eventually bring the whole thing down, not gay marriage alone, but the whole notion that no matter what we do, we will still rule. Uh, no we won’t. We can fail like any other if we stop doing what works.

  • Jeremy

    @SG

    On another note, I’ve noticed when you feel you’ve lost on a particular issue you bring up a lot of off-topic issues.

  • Jeremy

    @SG

    On another note, I’ve noticed when you feel you’ve lost on a particular issue you bring up a lot of off-topic issues.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So are the US and all these other Western nations the best countries or not? They allow the most abortion and reproductive rights. It would seem you ought to hate them if they are “killing children”. Also, these countries are going to promote homosexual marriage, as if homosexuality is something to be celebrated instead of condemned.”

    I didn’t say these successful countries could do no wrong or that the definition of a good idea is one that is popular in these countries. That is just fallacious. Celebrating homosexuality didn’t help these places rise to greatness and it sure isn’t helping them now. They are in decline. Still, they are better than a lot of places.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So are the US and all these other Western nations the best countries or not? They allow the most abortion and reproductive rights. It would seem you ought to hate them if they are “killing children”. Also, these countries are going to promote homosexual marriage, as if homosexuality is something to be celebrated instead of condemned.”

    I didn’t say these successful countries could do no wrong or that the definition of a good idea is one that is popular in these countries. That is just fallacious. Celebrating homosexuality didn’t help these places rise to greatness and it sure isn’t helping them now. They are in decline. Still, they are better than a lot of places.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “On another note, I’ve noticed when you feel you’ve lost on a particular issue you bring up a lot of off-topic issues.”

    except I didn’t bring them up

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “On another note, I’ve noticed when you feel you’ve lost on a particular issue you bring up a lot of off-topic issues.”

    except I didn’t bring them up

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    And I don’t feel I’ve lost.

    Your saying it doesn’t make it so.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    And I don’t feel I’ve lost.

    Your saying it doesn’t make it so.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Was anyone really advocating for abortion outright, or were they making a larger point”

    Nah, just asserting fallacies and falsehoods like people want to leave Africa for Europe for reproductive rights and gay marriage. LOL

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Was anyone really advocating for abortion outright, or were they making a larger point”

    Nah, just asserting fallacies and falsehoods like people want to leave Africa for Europe for reproductive rights and gay marriage. LOL

  • Jeremy

    “Nah, just asserting fallacies and falsehoods like people want to leave Africa for Europe for reproductive rights and gay marriage”

    You’ve completely missed the point. Look, while not always correlated, education and wealth often go hand in hand. And educated people tend not to be anti-gay or anti-choice. (Here’s just one article: http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/March04/GayMarriage.bpf.html) The fact is that it is not common to see an educated person go on a tirade against gay rights.

  • Jeremy

    “Nah, just asserting fallacies and falsehoods like people want to leave Africa for Europe for reproductive rights and gay marriage”

    You’ve completely missed the point. Look, while not always correlated, education and wealth often go hand in hand. And educated people tend not to be anti-gay or anti-choice. (Here’s just one article: http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/March04/GayMarriage.bpf.html) The fact is that it is not common to see an educated person go on a tirade against gay rights.

  • Cincinnatus

    As for the now-previous argument regarding sex and marriage, I’m with tODD: we both know each other’s arguments, and hammering each other over the heads with them isn’t going to help. We have fundamentally divergent first principles. Thanks for the good discussion!

    As for the ongoing debate about America vs. the World: Stephen, you’re the one who ridiculously characterized the arguments of sg and me as being fundamentally about “us vs. them.” I don’t know where you got this, but neither you nor Jeremy should be accusing sg of commencing rabbit holes, tangents, and red herrings.

  • Cincinnatus

    As for the now-previous argument regarding sex and marriage, I’m with tODD: we both know each other’s arguments, and hammering each other over the heads with them isn’t going to help. We have fundamentally divergent first principles. Thanks for the good discussion!

    As for the ongoing debate about America vs. the World: Stephen, you’re the one who ridiculously characterized the arguments of sg and me as being fundamentally about “us vs. them.” I don’t know where you got this, but neither you nor Jeremy should be accusing sg of commencing rabbit holes, tangents, and red herrings.

  • Cincinnatus

    And Jeremy, I am a Ph.D. candidate in political theory at a top-tier department. I am anti-abortion and do not recognize such a thing as specifically “gay” rights, and my position on gay marriage is nuanced but clear enough I think. My views on these subjects are carefully considered.

    Am I fluke, a fraud, or a bigot? Or maybe your red herring (yet another!) is silly. For one thing, the field of academia and higher education tends to self-select. For another, you’re engaging in some nice intellectual snobbery. For yet another, what exactly is your point? That only stupid and ignorant people make arguments against gay marriage?

  • Cincinnatus

    And Jeremy, I am a Ph.D. candidate in political theory at a top-tier department. I am anti-abortion and do not recognize such a thing as specifically “gay” rights, and my position on gay marriage is nuanced but clear enough I think. My views on these subjects are carefully considered.

    Am I fluke, a fraud, or a bigot? Or maybe your red herring (yet another!) is silly. For one thing, the field of academia and higher education tends to self-select. For another, you’re engaging in some nice intellectual snobbery. For yet another, what exactly is your point? That only stupid and ignorant people make arguments against gay marriage?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “And educated people tend not to be anti-gay or anti-choice.”

    Popular and correct are not the same thing. Part of education is indoctrination. So what? Plenty of wrong ideas have been very popular with smart people all through history. Anyway, I laugh at labels like anti-gay or anti-choice. They are deliberate misnomers. No one thinks gays should be abused or discriminated against. They just don’t get to have special privileges. No one is against folks making their own choices. Choosing to kill people is wrong.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “And educated people tend not to be anti-gay or anti-choice.”

    Popular and correct are not the same thing. Part of education is indoctrination. So what? Plenty of wrong ideas have been very popular with smart people all through history. Anyway, I laugh at labels like anti-gay or anti-choice. They are deliberate misnomers. No one thinks gays should be abused or discriminated against. They just don’t get to have special privileges. No one is against folks making their own choices. Choosing to kill people is wrong.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus,

    “Huh? I know you argued that your shiny new version of marriage serves a public good. I am asserting that it doesn’t, in fact, serve a public good if it doesn’t involve fundamentally the production and protection of children.”

    I think you are saying more than this. I’m hearing that any sexual relationship or activity that isn’t essentially about heterosexual procreation as an end is not actually sex rightly understood. There’s something going on there (Catholic sacrament thing perhaps – just guessing), but for now, let’s be sure we don’t tell teenagers this handy construction. They’ll find a way around it.

    I also hear that human relationships boil down to some kind of quasi-biological construct, thus the reminders about intercourse being, ya know, what it is and all. Mammals replicating. I also hear that marriage that isn’t an outright attempt to procreate through heterosexual congress is “essentially” not marriage at all. I also hear you say that when something essential is missing, it still maintains its integrity as being what it is (that whole lecture on Aristotle), and so I hear you playing with the definition of essential, a term you keep coming back to.

    Now with this latest statement I also hear that adoption is not really parenting. I guess that also means that marriages that cannot produce children ought to end because knowing that the sex is pointless seems to violate this “sacred thing” called marriage. At that point, like Frank, I have to ask on what terms? Sin? No that can’t be it you tell us. It’s seems like it also can’t possibly be a legal matter, but then all those people who are married that aren’t having kids ought to split up for the sake of . . . honoring the institution I guess. I’m confused. Oh yeah, not really married.

    Marriage can’t possibly be about companionship, a proper avenue and channel for expressing intimacy within a commitment, bonding people to each other for the good of themselves and the culture in which they live. No, if that happens, well it’s ancillary, some bothersome aspect of our species. It’s certainly neverserved as a vehicle to form alliances. No, not that either, not essentially.

    The only way it seems to work out is by continually narrowing the scope of what marriage is in your view. I find it extremely reductionist and as such, I don’t see how it can serve as a social good except perhaps for a very, select few. In fact, if marriages do not advance the species in your specified manner, it seems that we ought not allow them in any other case. I’ve been asserting that there are numerous advantages for individuals and communities beyond the production and care of children. I never said, at the same time, that children and family integrity was not also an assumed role for marriage commitments in a society. But in your view, since these other unions do not perform their “essential” duty for all of procreation and thus saving our culture from oblivion, why should they be allowed such benefits at all?

    But then you see? For me your argument does not really have much to do with broader civic concerns. It is fundamentally biological, as is sg’s it seems. Isn’t that why you had to explain the birds and the bees all over again? If that’s the case, and that is about all I hear, then whose to say the state or some other authoritative entity can’t do it even better given the mess parents make of it? I’ll tell you from being a school teacher, a whole swath of kids I’ve dealt with might do better if they got far away from their parents. Perhaps military school would be best or some kind of workhouse. If it turns out that most kids in this country are screwed up by their parents, let the technologists and professionals take over. They’d be much more likely to learn some self-discipline and a work ethic. Or let the priests raise them even (no, that hasn’t worked out so well. Institutional failure).

    For that matter, why do we need parents at all. We could “select” the kids we want all within the confines of some laboratory. I don’t see anything prohibiting that outcome if it could be proven beneficial (“effective an efficient as the bureaucrats say”). Whatever rational argument that holds sway at the time would provide the rubric for nurture. I’d like to know how something like that can be said to be any less “natural” than the “mom and dad only” idea you present. We’re doing it for our benefit, and hey, we’re all naturally inclined to seek technological solutions (ya know, toolmaking and such). What is so “unnatural” about using technology to control biology, if biology is all it is? My wife is seven months pregnant right now and it was 105 today. We could do away with a lot of discomfort once we invent the artificial womb, as we “naturally” will I’m sure.

    As for the hyperbole remark, you have a way of adding rhetorical flourish that not only is a put down, but tends to cast your opponents arguments as ridiculous by any measure and also gives the impression you are deliberately misrepresenting them when restated. As one small example, my “shiny new version” of marriage is nothing of the sort. It’s pretty much what marriage has always been – a social institution that sets boundaries around a relationship between two people for the purposes of committed companionship (often, but not always sexual) and for safeguarding families, an institution that is decidedly inviolable and to be regarded as such by all, and that this has identifiable benefits to society which is why all societies practice it. I quite simply think it is correct, healthy, and yes, the just and loving thing to do, to broaden the scope of who may be included in those benefits – namely, gay couples. You disagree with the last part I know for sure, but it seems only because of how intercourse works. It’s a naturalist argument, a weak one in my view. We have done away with the need for intercourse through other processes that we are “naturally” prone to invent. So now what have you got?

    Anyway, if my comments also sound mocking or dismissive, then right back at you. But perhaps we need to call a truce and start over. Long and the short of it is I don’t think you respect my arguments whenever or wherever I offer them, perhaps because you see strains of things you simply do not like. I’m not sure what it is. But as for marriage and my understanding of it presented here, I think it deserves more than “hedonism” and “legal flotsam” among other obviously incorrect descriptions. Those are certainly not fair or accurate representations of what I have been saying. I say that primarily because of the way you howl whenever you feel the slightest bit misunderstood. I wouldn’t doubt it if this is all burning you up right now and you will blow it off from here. I’d like it if you would prove me wrong. I’ll work on curbing the mocking tone. You?

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus,

    “Huh? I know you argued that your shiny new version of marriage serves a public good. I am asserting that it doesn’t, in fact, serve a public good if it doesn’t involve fundamentally the production and protection of children.”

    I think you are saying more than this. I’m hearing that any sexual relationship or activity that isn’t essentially about heterosexual procreation as an end is not actually sex rightly understood. There’s something going on there (Catholic sacrament thing perhaps – just guessing), but for now, let’s be sure we don’t tell teenagers this handy construction. They’ll find a way around it.

    I also hear that human relationships boil down to some kind of quasi-biological construct, thus the reminders about intercourse being, ya know, what it is and all. Mammals replicating. I also hear that marriage that isn’t an outright attempt to procreate through heterosexual congress is “essentially” not marriage at all. I also hear you say that when something essential is missing, it still maintains its integrity as being what it is (that whole lecture on Aristotle), and so I hear you playing with the definition of essential, a term you keep coming back to.

    Now with this latest statement I also hear that adoption is not really parenting. I guess that also means that marriages that cannot produce children ought to end because knowing that the sex is pointless seems to violate this “sacred thing” called marriage. At that point, like Frank, I have to ask on what terms? Sin? No that can’t be it you tell us. It’s seems like it also can’t possibly be a legal matter, but then all those people who are married that aren’t having kids ought to split up for the sake of . . . honoring the institution I guess. I’m confused. Oh yeah, not really married.

    Marriage can’t possibly be about companionship, a proper avenue and channel for expressing intimacy within a commitment, bonding people to each other for the good of themselves and the culture in which they live. No, if that happens, well it’s ancillary, some bothersome aspect of our species. It’s certainly neverserved as a vehicle to form alliances. No, not that either, not essentially.

    The only way it seems to work out is by continually narrowing the scope of what marriage is in your view. I find it extremely reductionist and as such, I don’t see how it can serve as a social good except perhaps for a very, select few. In fact, if marriages do not advance the species in your specified manner, it seems that we ought not allow them in any other case. I’ve been asserting that there are numerous advantages for individuals and communities beyond the production and care of children. I never said, at the same time, that children and family integrity was not also an assumed role for marriage commitments in a society. But in your view, since these other unions do not perform their “essential” duty for all of procreation and thus saving our culture from oblivion, why should they be allowed such benefits at all?

    But then you see? For me your argument does not really have much to do with broader civic concerns. It is fundamentally biological, as is sg’s it seems. Isn’t that why you had to explain the birds and the bees all over again? If that’s the case, and that is about all I hear, then whose to say the state or some other authoritative entity can’t do it even better given the mess parents make of it? I’ll tell you from being a school teacher, a whole swath of kids I’ve dealt with might do better if they got far away from their parents. Perhaps military school would be best or some kind of workhouse. If it turns out that most kids in this country are screwed up by their parents, let the technologists and professionals take over. They’d be much more likely to learn some self-discipline and a work ethic. Or let the priests raise them even (no, that hasn’t worked out so well. Institutional failure).

    For that matter, why do we need parents at all. We could “select” the kids we want all within the confines of some laboratory. I don’t see anything prohibiting that outcome if it could be proven beneficial (“effective an efficient as the bureaucrats say”). Whatever rational argument that holds sway at the time would provide the rubric for nurture. I’d like to know how something like that can be said to be any less “natural” than the “mom and dad only” idea you present. We’re doing it for our benefit, and hey, we’re all naturally inclined to seek technological solutions (ya know, toolmaking and such). What is so “unnatural” about using technology to control biology, if biology is all it is? My wife is seven months pregnant right now and it was 105 today. We could do away with a lot of discomfort once we invent the artificial womb, as we “naturally” will I’m sure.

    As for the hyperbole remark, you have a way of adding rhetorical flourish that not only is a put down, but tends to cast your opponents arguments as ridiculous by any measure and also gives the impression you are deliberately misrepresenting them when restated. As one small example, my “shiny new version” of marriage is nothing of the sort. It’s pretty much what marriage has always been – a social institution that sets boundaries around a relationship between two people for the purposes of committed companionship (often, but not always sexual) and for safeguarding families, an institution that is decidedly inviolable and to be regarded as such by all, and that this has identifiable benefits to society which is why all societies practice it. I quite simply think it is correct, healthy, and yes, the just and loving thing to do, to broaden the scope of who may be included in those benefits – namely, gay couples. You disagree with the last part I know for sure, but it seems only because of how intercourse works. It’s a naturalist argument, a weak one in my view. We have done away with the need for intercourse through other processes that we are “naturally” prone to invent. So now what have you got?

    Anyway, if my comments also sound mocking or dismissive, then right back at you. But perhaps we need to call a truce and start over. Long and the short of it is I don’t think you respect my arguments whenever or wherever I offer them, perhaps because you see strains of things you simply do not like. I’m not sure what it is. But as for marriage and my understanding of it presented here, I think it deserves more than “hedonism” and “legal flotsam” among other obviously incorrect descriptions. Those are certainly not fair or accurate representations of what I have been saying. I say that primarily because of the way you howl whenever you feel the slightest bit misunderstood. I wouldn’t doubt it if this is all burning you up right now and you will blow it off from here. I’d like it if you would prove me wrong. I’ll work on curbing the mocking tone. You?

  • Stephen

    Goofy italics above in my 5th paragraph. Apologies.

  • Stephen

    Goofy italics above in my 5th paragraph. Apologies.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    Gays benefit from living in civilized countries because they have it much worse in less civilized places. But hey, we don’t go so far as to cater so much to folks that we let them bring down the whole thing so that there is no longer a civilized society where they can be safe. Society is really complex and it takes real work and discipline to get to where we are now, so let’s not bust it.

    I notice a dearth in the customary red, underlined text to go along with this rather extreme assertion. I seem to remember Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blaming Katrina on gays. How is this claim any different? Where is the evidence that gays are destroying civilized society?

    Celebrating homosexuality didn’t help these places rise to greatness and it sure isn’t helping them now. They are in decline.

    Again, I don’t see a web link. That’s an enormous leap. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Nah, just asserting fallacies and falsehoods like people want to leave Africa for Europe for reproductive rights and gay marriage. LOL

    No one asserted this. We have lots of read herring. Maybe we should run a sale!

    No one thinks gays should be abused or discriminated against. They just don’t get to have special privileges. No one is against folks making their own choices.

    Except when it comes to who should or should not be married and enjoy the benefits, both social and individual, of a marriage commitment. That is discrimination, plain and simple.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    Gays benefit from living in civilized countries because they have it much worse in less civilized places. But hey, we don’t go so far as to cater so much to folks that we let them bring down the whole thing so that there is no longer a civilized society where they can be safe. Society is really complex and it takes real work and discipline to get to where we are now, so let’s not bust it.

    I notice a dearth in the customary red, underlined text to go along with this rather extreme assertion. I seem to remember Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blaming Katrina on gays. How is this claim any different? Where is the evidence that gays are destroying civilized society?

    Celebrating homosexuality didn’t help these places rise to greatness and it sure isn’t helping them now. They are in decline.

    Again, I don’t see a web link. That’s an enormous leap. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Nah, just asserting fallacies and falsehoods like people want to leave Africa for Europe for reproductive rights and gay marriage. LOL

    No one asserted this. We have lots of read herring. Maybe we should run a sale!

    No one thinks gays should be abused or discriminated against. They just don’t get to have special privileges. No one is against folks making their own choices.

    Except when it comes to who should or should not be married and enjoy the benefits, both social and individual, of a marriage commitment. That is discrimination, plain and simple.

  • Stephen

    And as for rabbit holes, when it is asserted that gay marriage is a sure sign that our culture is headed for oblivion, I think following that logic through is not going down a rabbit hole. But when we then spend our energies arguing about the finer points of examples given to such a degree that we are no longer discussing the topic at hand, that is. This is the special province of one sg in my experience. The “you started it” defense doesn’t wash. I could make the same claim. But that’s my opinion. Who was it, after all, that asserted that we are headed down the tubes as a society because gay marriage is on the horizon? Seems appropriate to test that argument and try to falsify it, which is not hard to do because it is pure speculation.

    Remember, as we seem fond of reminding each other here, sayin’ stuff don’t make it so.

  • Stephen

    And as for rabbit holes, when it is asserted that gay marriage is a sure sign that our culture is headed for oblivion, I think following that logic through is not going down a rabbit hole. But when we then spend our energies arguing about the finer points of examples given to such a degree that we are no longer discussing the topic at hand, that is. This is the special province of one sg in my experience. The “you started it” defense doesn’t wash. I could make the same claim. But that’s my opinion. Who was it, after all, that asserted that we are headed down the tubes as a society because gay marriage is on the horizon? Seems appropriate to test that argument and try to falsify it, which is not hard to do because it is pure speculation.

    Remember, as we seem fond of reminding each other here, sayin’ stuff don’t make it so.

  • fws

    sg

    I could make a great case for saying that rome declined and fell because of christianity. Gibbons was wrong.

    You use statistics that way.

  • fws

    sg

    I could make a great case for saying that rome declined and fell because of christianity. Gibbons was wrong.

    You use statistics that way.

  • Stephen

    So, while the straw men are selling off the red herring, let’s recap: for our viewers, shall we?

    One side asserts that the marriage of two people is a civic good that encompasses a number of things which government rightly must arbitrate. There is disagreement on the specifics of these goods, but, specifics aside, we seem to agree that it serves some good and that government has a stake in it.

    However, as a civic good in a free society, one side also asserts that it ought to be extended to include all citizens in a free society. The other side asserts that in doing so, we are on sure path to cultural oblivion and destruction. These rights and benefits must be restricted because: It isn’t natural. Unless marriage (and all sex for that matter) is grounded in heterosexual intercourse for the production of offspring then society is on the way out. To emphasize this idea, the further argument is that “it isn’t natural” and thus, God doesn’t like it.

    When this latter assertion is tested, we find that rather than human fecundity being tied to this naturalistic view of marriage, it is more likely tied to prosperity. In other words, prosperity generates this lack of procreation in a population as evidenced by the fact that the more prosperous a culture becomes, the less they procreate by a large margin. Excess procreation is tied to a lack of resources. Not only does the current global situation bear this out, but history does as well. Humans tend to favor greater numbers of children when faced with destitute living situations.

    When this is observed as the ”natural” phenomenon – prosperity, and with it education = less procreation – the conversation devolves into a discussion of why these poorer regions do not become more prosperous as they should, avoiding the fact that prosperity is the enemy of procreation.

    Furthermore, natural “selection” is now at odds with the contention that whatever is natural is what God wants, because humans are selecting to have fewer children the more healthy, prosperous and educated they become – all signs that they “selected” to survive. When it is also pointed out that an aspect of this prosperity is aborted children, this is described as “pathology.” It won’t do to call it sin any longer because, naturally, we are selecting to do this for our survival (prosperity).

    So what to do about these gaps in the logic of naturalism? Throw in some bible verses and invoke God. That’s one diversion. And yet the scriptures have already been set aside when they teach that “it is not good to be alone.” “No” say the naturalists, human biology is the reason for marriage as evidenced by the way sexual intercourse works. We ignore this at our peril. And yet what is imperiling procreation is not allowing marriage to extend to gays, but the environment of prosperity which supports the killing of children.

    The diversion continues by arguing about abortion and the claim of intellectual arrogance on the part of anyone who observes the inconsistencies between advocating for prosperity and saving a far superior culture when that same culture “naturally selects” baby killing and culture destroying things like gay marriage. Suddenly, that culture “isn’t as bad as the others” – that is, the ones that are far more fecund, the value that the naturalist position is supposed to be defending.

    A naturalistic ontology as the basis for ethics insists that whatever takes place, whatever exists or happens, is the way it ought to be. “God made it that way” becomes the theological premise. This being the case, that which is defined as “sin” must then be established by fiat in order not to abrogate entirely these naturalistic premises. Otherwise, whatever humans actually do can be construed as “natural” and thus, not sinful (nature = the good).

    The Bible and the Christian faith out of which it springs, however, describes sin in terms of love for God and neighbor. These are called the two tables of the law, the Divine Law which is known to Reason apart from faith. Transgressing them is called sin, yet sin can only be recognized in light of the Gospel. Why? Because sin is defined as faith in anything else but God. This is expressed most fully in our inability to keep the 1st commandment. This necessary faith is restored through the Holy Gospel. The fundamental damage this lack of faith (sin) entails results in a break with an original righteousness (imageo dei) and thus, all Creation (Nature and natures) falls under its curse. Unlike naturalism, whatever is is not right.

    The good news of the Gospel is that Christ has come to impart God’s own righteousness to humans, thus fulfilling the law and redeeming humans to that original righteousness which is faith alone in Christ alone. This faith is invisible, received as gift of grace in baptism for the forgiveness of sin – the lack of faith in the one, true God. In Christ, not only are humans restored to relationship with God, but Creation is as well, things which will culminate when Christ returns to establish his heavenly kingdom on earth in the fullness of time.

    In the meantime, love for neighbor happens by the urging of the Holy Spirit in, with and under this law, working to deliver love in the form of goodness and mercy to all. It is the same law which governs all things on earth. “Nature” which has also been corrupted is still a vehicle for delivering these gifts via the Holy Spirit working invisibly (in, with and under) a damaged creation. The ordering of life by means of the law’s urging is for the purpose of delivering good gifts, one of which is eternal faith which comes in, with and under the preaching of the Gospel in Word and Sacrament.

    Based on these biblical premises, God desires that we order life so that goodness and mercy happen for all. This is achieved through the Law as works and the Gospel as fruits of the Spirit which produce identical outcome son earth – goodness in the form of mercy, peace, love, justice, etc. Marriage is then a way of ordering life so that this goodness is bestowed. It is grounded in the Law, and as such, will pass away. It is not eternal, but it does provide for the goodness desires to happen on earth. As such, it is a civic good, and subject to the laws of the land, laws established within the framework and by the urging of the Divine Law written in the consciences of all.

    Now, without invoking “naturalism” which has been shown to be problematic in light of sin, can it be demonstrated that allowing gays to marry opposes these intentions of the Law or violates faith in the Gospel? If marriage is a good that God desires for humans so that goodness happens, why must it be that gays are prohibited from participating in it? Likewise, in what way does this promote peace in a society? In what way is it just?

  • Stephen

    So, while the straw men are selling off the red herring, let’s recap: for our viewers, shall we?

    One side asserts that the marriage of two people is a civic good that encompasses a number of things which government rightly must arbitrate. There is disagreement on the specifics of these goods, but, specifics aside, we seem to agree that it serves some good and that government has a stake in it.

    However, as a civic good in a free society, one side also asserts that it ought to be extended to include all citizens in a free society. The other side asserts that in doing so, we are on sure path to cultural oblivion and destruction. These rights and benefits must be restricted because: It isn’t natural. Unless marriage (and all sex for that matter) is grounded in heterosexual intercourse for the production of offspring then society is on the way out. To emphasize this idea, the further argument is that “it isn’t natural” and thus, God doesn’t like it.

    When this latter assertion is tested, we find that rather than human fecundity being tied to this naturalistic view of marriage, it is more likely tied to prosperity. In other words, prosperity generates this lack of procreation in a population as evidenced by the fact that the more prosperous a culture becomes, the less they procreate by a large margin. Excess procreation is tied to a lack of resources. Not only does the current global situation bear this out, but history does as well. Humans tend to favor greater numbers of children when faced with destitute living situations.

    When this is observed as the ”natural” phenomenon – prosperity, and with it education = less procreation – the conversation devolves into a discussion of why these poorer regions do not become more prosperous as they should, avoiding the fact that prosperity is the enemy of procreation.

    Furthermore, natural “selection” is now at odds with the contention that whatever is natural is what God wants, because humans are selecting to have fewer children the more healthy, prosperous and educated they become – all signs that they “selected” to survive. When it is also pointed out that an aspect of this prosperity is aborted children, this is described as “pathology.” It won’t do to call it sin any longer because, naturally, we are selecting to do this for our survival (prosperity).

    So what to do about these gaps in the logic of naturalism? Throw in some bible verses and invoke God. That’s one diversion. And yet the scriptures have already been set aside when they teach that “it is not good to be alone.” “No” say the naturalists, human biology is the reason for marriage as evidenced by the way sexual intercourse works. We ignore this at our peril. And yet what is imperiling procreation is not allowing marriage to extend to gays, but the environment of prosperity which supports the killing of children.

    The diversion continues by arguing about abortion and the claim of intellectual arrogance on the part of anyone who observes the inconsistencies between advocating for prosperity and saving a far superior culture when that same culture “naturally selects” baby killing and culture destroying things like gay marriage. Suddenly, that culture “isn’t as bad as the others” – that is, the ones that are far more fecund, the value that the naturalist position is supposed to be defending.

    A naturalistic ontology as the basis for ethics insists that whatever takes place, whatever exists or happens, is the way it ought to be. “God made it that way” becomes the theological premise. This being the case, that which is defined as “sin” must then be established by fiat in order not to abrogate entirely these naturalistic premises. Otherwise, whatever humans actually do can be construed as “natural” and thus, not sinful (nature = the good).

    The Bible and the Christian faith out of which it springs, however, describes sin in terms of love for God and neighbor. These are called the two tables of the law, the Divine Law which is known to Reason apart from faith. Transgressing them is called sin, yet sin can only be recognized in light of the Gospel. Why? Because sin is defined as faith in anything else but God. This is expressed most fully in our inability to keep the 1st commandment. This necessary faith is restored through the Holy Gospel. The fundamental damage this lack of faith (sin) entails results in a break with an original righteousness (imageo dei) and thus, all Creation (Nature and natures) falls under its curse. Unlike naturalism, whatever is is not right.

    The good news of the Gospel is that Christ has come to impart God’s own righteousness to humans, thus fulfilling the law and redeeming humans to that original righteousness which is faith alone in Christ alone. This faith is invisible, received as gift of grace in baptism for the forgiveness of sin – the lack of faith in the one, true God. In Christ, not only are humans restored to relationship with God, but Creation is as well, things which will culminate when Christ returns to establish his heavenly kingdom on earth in the fullness of time.

    In the meantime, love for neighbor happens by the urging of the Holy Spirit in, with and under this law, working to deliver love in the form of goodness and mercy to all. It is the same law which governs all things on earth. “Nature” which has also been corrupted is still a vehicle for delivering these gifts via the Holy Spirit working invisibly (in, with and under) a damaged creation. The ordering of life by means of the law’s urging is for the purpose of delivering good gifts, one of which is eternal faith which comes in, with and under the preaching of the Gospel in Word and Sacrament.

    Based on these biblical premises, God desires that we order life so that goodness and mercy happen for all. This is achieved through the Law as works and the Gospel as fruits of the Spirit which produce identical outcome son earth – goodness in the form of mercy, peace, love, justice, etc. Marriage is then a way of ordering life so that this goodness is bestowed. It is grounded in the Law, and as such, will pass away. It is not eternal, but it does provide for the goodness desires to happen on earth. As such, it is a civic good, and subject to the laws of the land, laws established within the framework and by the urging of the Divine Law written in the consciences of all.

    Now, without invoking “naturalism” which has been shown to be problematic in light of sin, can it be demonstrated that allowing gays to marry opposes these intentions of the Law or violates faith in the Gospel? If marriage is a good that God desires for humans so that goodness happens, why must it be that gays are prohibited from participating in it? Likewise, in what way does this promote peace in a society? In what way is it just?

  • Stephen

    2nd to last paragraph should read “It is not eternal, but it does provide for the goodness GOD desires to happen on earth.”

  • Stephen

    2nd to last paragraph should read “It is not eternal, but it does provide for the goodness GOD desires to happen on earth.”

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 202: With all due respect, I’m not sure your “recap” of the arguments of those who oppose gay marriage is fair.

    I’ll at least summarize what I believe. First, if society has determined that marriage should include more than just the traditional male/female monogamous couples, I believe it is free to enact that change through democratic process, whether that be through legislation or initiative. However, if it wishes to continue to limit marriage to the traditional definition, as California did in 2008, it should also have that right. There is a rational purpose in having a special and automatic level of protection for the unique relationship between a man and a woman which, absent the introduction of extraordinary technology, is the only way that society can procreate and thus continue its existence in future generations. Children which are the products of marriage need to be protected, as the marriage laws provide, and the primary caregivers for those children, who often give up their careers and personal aspirations to raise their children, also need to be protected, again as the marriage laws provide.

    Though I believe Scripture teaches that same sex behavior is sin, I do not believe that gay couples should be denied the right to be together, or to create, through lawful means, a relationship which confers the same benefits as the marriage laws provide to heterosexual couples. My religious beliefs should not be imposed on our free society. However, I also don’t believe society should be forced, by the courts, to recognize, endorse, and protect those relationships using the same laws, and to call those relationships marriage. It is important for society to be able to automatically confer the benefits of marriage on couples at least theoretically able to reproduce, but for same sex couples procreation is impossible, so automatic protection is unnecessary. They can achieve that same level of protection by engaging in a civil union, if that is available in their state, or by other contractual means. If they choose to adopt or have children using artificial technology, protection for those children, and for the designated caregiver, equivalent to marriage, is available under different laws and through the adoption/artificial technology contracts. There is no need, absent a desire on the part of the gay and lesbian lobby to force society to endorse their relationship choices, to impose gay marriage on society if it is not otherwise supported by the people.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 202: With all due respect, I’m not sure your “recap” of the arguments of those who oppose gay marriage is fair.

    I’ll at least summarize what I believe. First, if society has determined that marriage should include more than just the traditional male/female monogamous couples, I believe it is free to enact that change through democratic process, whether that be through legislation or initiative. However, if it wishes to continue to limit marriage to the traditional definition, as California did in 2008, it should also have that right. There is a rational purpose in having a special and automatic level of protection for the unique relationship between a man and a woman which, absent the introduction of extraordinary technology, is the only way that society can procreate and thus continue its existence in future generations. Children which are the products of marriage need to be protected, as the marriage laws provide, and the primary caregivers for those children, who often give up their careers and personal aspirations to raise their children, also need to be protected, again as the marriage laws provide.

    Though I believe Scripture teaches that same sex behavior is sin, I do not believe that gay couples should be denied the right to be together, or to create, through lawful means, a relationship which confers the same benefits as the marriage laws provide to heterosexual couples. My religious beliefs should not be imposed on our free society. However, I also don’t believe society should be forced, by the courts, to recognize, endorse, and protect those relationships using the same laws, and to call those relationships marriage. It is important for society to be able to automatically confer the benefits of marriage on couples at least theoretically able to reproduce, but for same sex couples procreation is impossible, so automatic protection is unnecessary. They can achieve that same level of protection by engaging in a civil union, if that is available in their state, or by other contractual means. If they choose to adopt or have children using artificial technology, protection for those children, and for the designated caregiver, equivalent to marriage, is available under different laws and through the adoption/artificial technology contracts. There is no need, absent a desire on the part of the gay and lesbian lobby to force society to endorse their relationship choices, to impose gay marriage on society if it is not otherwise supported by the people.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Well that was thoughtful (really), though it doesn’t tell me how I am being unfair. What you’ve said seems to hinge on this:

    “It is important for society to be able to automatically confer the benefits of marriage on couples at least theoretically able to reproduce, but for same sex couples procreation is impossible, so automatic protection is unnecessary.”

    Why and why? Unpack that a little more if you would. Why can’t the unions of gay people be afforded all (that is ALL) the protections automatically just as a couple that can “theoretically” bear children naturally? Will gays need to go through some other process when they start their families, adopting, for instance, the child of their partner? At that point will they “automatically” be given all the same rights, that is, since it all seems to hinge on who does and does not have kids. But no, that’s not what you said.

    Any couple can potentially have children. You even seem to be saying that. Families can and are created either through heterosexual intercourse or a number of other ways. Sexual orientation is not the issue, is it? Why is this “theoretical” qualifier necessary? If marriage and civil unions function the same way in a society, what is the difference? The difference as far as I can tell from what you are saying is that civil unions do not actually have the same rights and benefits purely because of a theoretical assumption that is supposed to somehow protect children and childbearing. If that’s true, why can’t we theoretically assume gays desire marriage for all the same reasons as anyone else? Even though they cannot bear children, they can still create families. Why shouldn’t those families have all the same legal protections as any other family would? Should they not be able to move freely in this society without the threat of losing their status as parents should they cross a border into another state? That seem threatening to citizens and their families and not so good for kids.

    There is a lot more at stake than procreation, something which will continue to happen, and I can’t see any threat to that being encouraged in our society by allowing gays to also be married. But I can see a limit to freedom and an enormous potential for harm to them if they and their children are not protected in exactly the same way, under the assumption given straight couples – that gays wish to be married for all the same reasons.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Well that was thoughtful (really), though it doesn’t tell me how I am being unfair. What you’ve said seems to hinge on this:

    “It is important for society to be able to automatically confer the benefits of marriage on couples at least theoretically able to reproduce, but for same sex couples procreation is impossible, so automatic protection is unnecessary.”

    Why and why? Unpack that a little more if you would. Why can’t the unions of gay people be afforded all (that is ALL) the protections automatically just as a couple that can “theoretically” bear children naturally? Will gays need to go through some other process when they start their families, adopting, for instance, the child of their partner? At that point will they “automatically” be given all the same rights, that is, since it all seems to hinge on who does and does not have kids. But no, that’s not what you said.

    Any couple can potentially have children. You even seem to be saying that. Families can and are created either through heterosexual intercourse or a number of other ways. Sexual orientation is not the issue, is it? Why is this “theoretical” qualifier necessary? If marriage and civil unions function the same way in a society, what is the difference? The difference as far as I can tell from what you are saying is that civil unions do not actually have the same rights and benefits purely because of a theoretical assumption that is supposed to somehow protect children and childbearing. If that’s true, why can’t we theoretically assume gays desire marriage for all the same reasons as anyone else? Even though they cannot bear children, they can still create families. Why shouldn’t those families have all the same legal protections as any other family would? Should they not be able to move freely in this society without the threat of losing their status as parents should they cross a border into another state? That seem threatening to citizens and their families and not so good for kids.

    There is a lot more at stake than procreation, something which will continue to happen, and I can’t see any threat to that being encouraged in our society by allowing gays to also be married. But I can see a limit to freedom and an enormous potential for harm to them if they and their children are not protected in exactly the same way, under the assumption given straight couples – that gays wish to be married for all the same reasons.

  • Stephen

    I think a free society ought to encourage marriage across the board for the numerous benefits it confers both on individuals and communities. But, as long as the two people enter it willingly as adults, who they marry makes little difference because each party is, or should be, a free citizen. In other words, I don’t see how government has a stake in who someone marries. And there is no evidence to suggest that gay marriage is fundamentally damaging. Again, marriage is a social good. The desire gays have to be married suggests they seek it for the same reasons anyone else would. Are the intentions of every gay couple pure and noble? No one can claim that. So just like our society was “forced, by the courts, to recognize, endorse, and protect” the rights, protections and the benefits they entail of blacks since the Civil War ended, gays, being free citizens, should also be allowed those same rights, protections and benefits.

  • Stephen

    I think a free society ought to encourage marriage across the board for the numerous benefits it confers both on individuals and communities. But, as long as the two people enter it willingly as adults, who they marry makes little difference because each party is, or should be, a free citizen. In other words, I don’t see how government has a stake in who someone marries. And there is no evidence to suggest that gay marriage is fundamentally damaging. Again, marriage is a social good. The desire gays have to be married suggests they seek it for the same reasons anyone else would. Are the intentions of every gay couple pure and noble? No one can claim that. So just like our society was “forced, by the courts, to recognize, endorse, and protect” the rights, protections and the benefits they entail of blacks since the Civil War ended, gays, being free citizens, should also be allowed those same rights, protections and benefits.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 205: Well, let’s start with why I thought your recap was unfair:

    One side asserts that the marriage of two people is a civic good that encompasses a number of things which government rightly must arbitrate. There is disagreement on the specifics of these goods, but, specifics aside, we seem to agree that it serves some good and that government has a stake in it.

    The civic good afforded by the institution of marriage is very specific. It is that the marriage relationship is fundamental to the continuance of society, and that children and caregivers of those children within that marriage relationship must be protected. The marriage laws offer a convenient and automatic way of providing that protection. If you made each couple enter into a contract to obtain these benefits, then you would have many children and caregivers (usually mothers) left unprotected through negligence. So it needs to be automatic, upon the saying of “I do” and the execution of a marriage license.

    Now to your other questions:

    1. “Why can’t the unions of gay people be afforded all (that is ALL) the protections automatically just as a couple that can ‘theoretically’ bear children naturally?” — they can. If the majority of people or their elected legislators want that. All I’m saying is that society should not be forced to endorse gay marriage.

    2. “Will gays need to go through some other process when they start their families, adopting, for instance, the child of their partner? At that point will they ‘automatically’ be given all the same rights, that is, since it all seems to hinge on who does and does not have kids.?” — The adoption agreements include the same protections for children that are provided automatically by marriage laws, whether the adoptive parents are gay or straight. To adopt kids, you HAVE to execute a morass of agreements, go through home studies, etc., so the automatic benefits afforded by marriage are unnecessary.

    3. “Any couple can potentially have children. You even seem to be saying that. Families can and are created either through heterosexual intercourse or a number of other ways. Sexual orientation is not the issue, is it? Why is this “theoretical” qualifier necessary?” — Yes, any family can theoretically have children. But, non-traditional families cannot simply have children “happen” to them, as traditional families can. Marriage laws are necessary, in particular, to protect the children who are naturally born to families, and are not otherwise protected by contract, as well as their caregivers. Sexual orientation is not the issue, but because only heterosexual couples can have children “happen” to them without further legal agreements, they are the ones that need special protections and provisions.

    4. “If marriage and civil unions function the same way in a society, what is the difference?” — good question. In my view, it is that gay couples want society to endorse them as being no different than straight couples. On the other hand, many religious folk, myself included, believe homosexuality is wrong, and don’t want to endorse it.

    5. “The difference as far as I can tell from what you are saying is that civil unions do not actually have the same rights and benefits purely because of a theoretical assumption that is supposed to somehow protect children and childbearing” — No, actually, they confer the same rights and benefits in those states where they exist. The difference is that they are not automatically in effect upon marriage. You have to enter into them by contract. Not a big deal when the possibility of kids happening is not at stake.

    The rest of your questions are more philosophical, and none rise, in my opinion, to the level of constitutionality. If society wants to confer marriage and adoption rights to gay couples, it can. If it doesn’t want to, it shouldn’t have to, constitutionally. If society wants to abolish civil marriage, it can. But then it is going to have even more of an issue than it does now in having people coupling up, without benefit of marriage, having children, and then having the father split or die, without clear and immediate rights under the present marriage laws being conferred on the children and the mother. My point is that there is clearly a rational basis for the institution of heterosexual marriage, and it should be a matter which is up to society, not to the courts.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 205: Well, let’s start with why I thought your recap was unfair:

    One side asserts that the marriage of two people is a civic good that encompasses a number of things which government rightly must arbitrate. There is disagreement on the specifics of these goods, but, specifics aside, we seem to agree that it serves some good and that government has a stake in it.

    The civic good afforded by the institution of marriage is very specific. It is that the marriage relationship is fundamental to the continuance of society, and that children and caregivers of those children within that marriage relationship must be protected. The marriage laws offer a convenient and automatic way of providing that protection. If you made each couple enter into a contract to obtain these benefits, then you would have many children and caregivers (usually mothers) left unprotected through negligence. So it needs to be automatic, upon the saying of “I do” and the execution of a marriage license.

    Now to your other questions:

    1. “Why can’t the unions of gay people be afforded all (that is ALL) the protections automatically just as a couple that can ‘theoretically’ bear children naturally?” — they can. If the majority of people or their elected legislators want that. All I’m saying is that society should not be forced to endorse gay marriage.

    2. “Will gays need to go through some other process when they start their families, adopting, for instance, the child of their partner? At that point will they ‘automatically’ be given all the same rights, that is, since it all seems to hinge on who does and does not have kids.?” — The adoption agreements include the same protections for children that are provided automatically by marriage laws, whether the adoptive parents are gay or straight. To adopt kids, you HAVE to execute a morass of agreements, go through home studies, etc., so the automatic benefits afforded by marriage are unnecessary.

    3. “Any couple can potentially have children. You even seem to be saying that. Families can and are created either through heterosexual intercourse or a number of other ways. Sexual orientation is not the issue, is it? Why is this “theoretical” qualifier necessary?” — Yes, any family can theoretically have children. But, non-traditional families cannot simply have children “happen” to them, as traditional families can. Marriage laws are necessary, in particular, to protect the children who are naturally born to families, and are not otherwise protected by contract, as well as their caregivers. Sexual orientation is not the issue, but because only heterosexual couples can have children “happen” to them without further legal agreements, they are the ones that need special protections and provisions.

    4. “If marriage and civil unions function the same way in a society, what is the difference?” — good question. In my view, it is that gay couples want society to endorse them as being no different than straight couples. On the other hand, many religious folk, myself included, believe homosexuality is wrong, and don’t want to endorse it.

    5. “The difference as far as I can tell from what you are saying is that civil unions do not actually have the same rights and benefits purely because of a theoretical assumption that is supposed to somehow protect children and childbearing” — No, actually, they confer the same rights and benefits in those states where they exist. The difference is that they are not automatically in effect upon marriage. You have to enter into them by contract. Not a big deal when the possibility of kids happening is not at stake.

    The rest of your questions are more philosophical, and none rise, in my opinion, to the level of constitutionality. If society wants to confer marriage and adoption rights to gay couples, it can. If it doesn’t want to, it shouldn’t have to, constitutionally. If society wants to abolish civil marriage, it can. But then it is going to have even more of an issue than it does now in having people coupling up, without benefit of marriage, having children, and then having the father split or die, without clear and immediate rights under the present marriage laws being conferred on the children and the mother. My point is that there is clearly a rational basis for the institution of heterosexual marriage, and it should be a matter which is up to society, not to the courts.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 206: We cross-posted, but that is where we disagree. The courts have no business forcing society as a whole to endorse particular behavior, such as through the institution of civil marriage for same sex couples. If society wants to endorse these relationships, it can.

    I have already explained why the government has a particular stake in protecting and endorsing opposite sex marriage. It should be free to do so, just as it is also free to cease doing so.

    Your comparison of gay marriage to civil rights for minorities is false. Blacks were denied basic, fundamental rights due to them under the Constitution. Gays are not being denied any Constitutional rights, and are not having their liberties constrained in any way. They are free to marry, and to be together in cohabitation, and to obtain almost all of the rights available under the civil institution of marriage through contract or civil unions. They are just not eligible, in most states, for the special status and automatic protections available under the institution of civil marriage, and to have their relationships endorsed by the state.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 206: We cross-posted, but that is where we disagree. The courts have no business forcing society as a whole to endorse particular behavior, such as through the institution of civil marriage for same sex couples. If society wants to endorse these relationships, it can.

    I have already explained why the government has a particular stake in protecting and endorsing opposite sex marriage. It should be free to do so, just as it is also free to cease doing so.

    Your comparison of gay marriage to civil rights for minorities is false. Blacks were denied basic, fundamental rights due to them under the Constitution. Gays are not being denied any Constitutional rights, and are not having their liberties constrained in any way. They are free to marry, and to be together in cohabitation, and to obtain almost all of the rights available under the civil institution of marriage through contract or civil unions. They are just not eligible, in most states, for the special status and automatic protections available under the institution of civil marriage, and to have their relationships endorsed by the state.

  • fws

    don s @ 207

    4. “If marriage and civil unions function the same way in a society, what is the difference?” — good question. In my view, it is that gay couples want society to endorse them as being no different than straight couples. On the other hand, many religious folk, myself included, believe homosexuality is wrong, and don’t want to endorse it.

    Don, this is also true for divorced persons who want to remarry isnt it? why arent people of your persuasion equally passionate about not allowing certain divorcees to get a marriage license and call it marriage?

  • fws

    don s @ 207

    4. “If marriage and civil unions function the same way in a society, what is the difference?” — good question. In my view, it is that gay couples want society to endorse them as being no different than straight couples. On the other hand, many religious folk, myself included, believe homosexuality is wrong, and don’t want to endorse it.

    Don, this is also true for divorced persons who want to remarry isnt it? why arent people of your persuasion equally passionate about not allowing certain divorcees to get a marriage license and call it marriage?

  • Stephen

    “They are free to marry, and to be together in cohabitation, and to obtain almost all of the rights available under the civil institution of marriage through contract or civil unions. They are just not eligible, in most states, for the special status and automatic protections available under the institution of civil marriage, and to have their relationships endorsed by the state.”

    And that seems to me to be a violation of their consitutionally guarunteed right to equal protection under the law. They are not free to move and have their unions legally and automatically recognized. This is threatenting to the integrity of all those rights they have in another state, especially for families.

    4. “If marriage and civil unions function the same way in a society, what is the difference?” — good question. In my view, it is that gay couples want society to endorse them as being no different than straight couples.”

    Or, it is that gay couples want and ought to be granted the same protections under that law that everyone else has “automatically.” Whether or not this particular issue is being used as politcal or cultural currency is beside the point. The Constitution requires they have equal protection. What you describe is not that. “Almost” as you say, but not equal.

    I don’t see it. I think the analogy from what blakc Americans have endured is apt. In some states, but not all, blacks could not go into certain public establishments or even drink from the same water fountains. How are those kinds of rights so different than the right to have a family that is recognized anywhere they go, even if the possibility is only “potential”? It is always a “potential” with any couple, gay or straight.

  • Stephen

    “They are free to marry, and to be together in cohabitation, and to obtain almost all of the rights available under the civil institution of marriage through contract or civil unions. They are just not eligible, in most states, for the special status and automatic protections available under the institution of civil marriage, and to have their relationships endorsed by the state.”

    And that seems to me to be a violation of their consitutionally guarunteed right to equal protection under the law. They are not free to move and have their unions legally and automatically recognized. This is threatenting to the integrity of all those rights they have in another state, especially for families.

    4. “If marriage and civil unions function the same way in a society, what is the difference?” — good question. In my view, it is that gay couples want society to endorse them as being no different than straight couples.”

    Or, it is that gay couples want and ought to be granted the same protections under that law that everyone else has “automatically.” Whether or not this particular issue is being used as politcal or cultural currency is beside the point. The Constitution requires they have equal protection. What you describe is not that. “Almost” as you say, but not equal.

    I don’t see it. I think the analogy from what blakc Americans have endured is apt. In some states, but not all, blacks could not go into certain public establishments or even drink from the same water fountains. How are those kinds of rights so different than the right to have a family that is recognized anywhere they go, even if the possibility is only “potential”? It is always a “potential” with any couple, gay or straight.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 209: We are talking about the Constitution here, and that society generally has the right to enact the laws it wants unless they infringe the rights of individuals under the Constitution. Keep that in mind — it’s an important context for the discussion.

    Divorced people can still couple up with other divorced people of opposite sex and have children without any further intervention on the part of the state. So, the state has the same interest in protecting the children and caregivers in those relationships as it does in first time marriages. That’s for starters. Additionally, the issue of remarriage after divorce is much less clear cut in Scripture than is the issue of homosexuality, and there is far less consensus in society that it is wrong in all cases. So, you are not going to find a majority of people to oppose civil marriage for the previously divorced.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 209: We are talking about the Constitution here, and that society generally has the right to enact the laws it wants unless they infringe the rights of individuals under the Constitution. Keep that in mind — it’s an important context for the discussion.

    Divorced people can still couple up with other divorced people of opposite sex and have children without any further intervention on the part of the state. So, the state has the same interest in protecting the children and caregivers in those relationships as it does in first time marriages. That’s for starters. Additionally, the issue of remarriage after divorce is much less clear cut in Scripture than is the issue of homosexuality, and there is far less consensus in society that it is wrong in all cases. So, you are not going to find a majority of people to oppose civil marriage for the previously divorced.

  • fws

    don s 211
    th0ughtful response don.

    so your position is that you feel society should decide all laws by majority vote?

    and what if a court (like iowa) decides that a popular law is unconstitutional? majority votes in a court majority that then decides also what the constitution says by popular majority vote essentially? is this how you want the all the laws in our society to be created and maintained?

  • fws

    don s 211
    th0ughtful response don.

    so your position is that you feel society should decide all laws by majority vote?

    and what if a court (like iowa) decides that a popular law is unconstitutional? majority votes in a court majority that then decides also what the constitution says by popular majority vote essentially? is this how you want the all the laws in our society to be created and maintained?

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 210: I didn’t expect you to “see it”. You fundamentally disagree with my position. I just thought it should be fairly recapped, and now I have done so. Let the reader decide.

    Keep in mind, however, regarding your argument as to equal protection under the Constitution, that this basis for protection is subject to the lowest level of judicial scrutiny, namely, rational basis review. The court has to find that the state has no rational basis for maintaining the institution of civil marriage as uniquely between a man and a woman to overturn the law on this basis. Judge Vaughn Walker in California did just that. But I highly doubt that his view of things will prevail at the Supreme Court, as I cannot recall any other instance of a law being declared unconstitutional under rational basis review and it’s really hard to credibly argue that the rationale I outlined above, the protection of kids and moms, is irrational, even if you disagree with it.

    My prediction is that gay marriage will ultimately become the law of the land in most states, as more and more people are willing to recognize gay marriages as our society becomes less religious. But if it is going to happen, that is how it should happen. By the normal democratic process. It should not be forced upon us by the courts.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 210: I didn’t expect you to “see it”. You fundamentally disagree with my position. I just thought it should be fairly recapped, and now I have done so. Let the reader decide.

    Keep in mind, however, regarding your argument as to equal protection under the Constitution, that this basis for protection is subject to the lowest level of judicial scrutiny, namely, rational basis review. The court has to find that the state has no rational basis for maintaining the institution of civil marriage as uniquely between a man and a woman to overturn the law on this basis. Judge Vaughn Walker in California did just that. But I highly doubt that his view of things will prevail at the Supreme Court, as I cannot recall any other instance of a law being declared unconstitutional under rational basis review and it’s really hard to credibly argue that the rationale I outlined above, the protection of kids and moms, is irrational, even if you disagree with it.

    My prediction is that gay marriage will ultimately become the law of the land in most states, as more and more people are willing to recognize gay marriages as our society becomes less religious. But if it is going to happen, that is how it should happen. By the normal democratic process. It should not be forced upon us by the courts.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 212: “so your position is that you feel society should decide all laws by majority vote?”

    That’s a little simplistic. Our society is set up as a democratic republic. The people should be free to govern, through the ordinary democratic means, whether that be legislation or initiative, unless the law infringes upon the constitutional rights of the individual. I do not believe traditional civil marriage does so. Other laws do, and should therefore be struck down as unconstitutional.

    “and what if a court (like iowa) decides that a popular law is unconstitutional? majority votes in a court majority that then decides also what the constitution says by popular majority vote essentially? is this how you want the all the laws in our society to be created and maintained?”

    Good point, Frank. Courts can get it wrong. Which is why we should be careful about running to the courts and trying to find a n0n-democratic, legal reason for having duly enacted laws struck down. That’s what happened with Roe v. Wade Abortion supporters couldn’t get abortion legalized quickly enough to suit them, so they resorted to the courts on a dubious, invented, “right to privacy”, and the courts got it wrong. They circumvented the democratic process, resulting in societal unheaval, division, and the tragic murder of many millions of babies.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 212: “so your position is that you feel society should decide all laws by majority vote?”

    That’s a little simplistic. Our society is set up as a democratic republic. The people should be free to govern, through the ordinary democratic means, whether that be legislation or initiative, unless the law infringes upon the constitutional rights of the individual. I do not believe traditional civil marriage does so. Other laws do, and should therefore be struck down as unconstitutional.

    “and what if a court (like iowa) decides that a popular law is unconstitutional? majority votes in a court majority that then decides also what the constitution says by popular majority vote essentially? is this how you want the all the laws in our society to be created and maintained?”

    Good point, Frank. Courts can get it wrong. Which is why we should be careful about running to the courts and trying to find a n0n-democratic, legal reason for having duly enacted laws struck down. That’s what happened with Roe v. Wade Abortion supporters couldn’t get abortion legalized quickly enough to suit them, so they resorted to the courts on a dubious, invented, “right to privacy”, and the courts got it wrong. They circumvented the democratic process, resulting in societal unheaval, division, and the tragic murder of many millions of babies.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS: Bravo. You’ve articulated much better than I did some of the points I was attempting to make above–and several that I didn’t.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS: Bravo. You’ve articulated much better than I did some of the points I was attempting to make above–and several that I didn’t.

  • DonS

    Thank you, Cincinnatus. That means a lot, especially coming from you.

  • DonS

    Thank you, Cincinnatus. That means a lot, especially coming from you.

  • Stephen

    DonS,

    Romer v. Evans? I found that one.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romer_v._Evans

    So, just so I understand where we differ, in terms of how it works out in a courtroom, it seems you are arguing that the state has a compelling interest in maintaining hetero marriage only over and against the harm being done to gays by not allowing them to marry. The rational basis for this is that “babies happen” and with gay couples they don’t, so hetero marriage needs special protections not granted to other individuals and families.

    And I am saying that rather than having this “protection” under the law for some, it should constitutionally be granted to all. It should be granted for the same reasons as any law that supports marriages. A gay couple with a child that are legally married cannot move to another state and expect the same legal protections as they had in the state where they formed their family. It seems to me this creates an “undue burden . . . in matters where uniformity is necessary.” That uniformity in this case is for protecting the invioble nature of any and all families, the place where we all seem to agree the government has the largest stake in supporting the marriage bond. I have heard a lot about the interests of children, but not so much when it comes to the children of gay people.

    But I think there is something else going on too. It isn’t just that “babies happen” it is also that some see homosexuality as sin and do not believe they ought to be compelled to tolerate it, at least not on the same terms that we all (ought to) receive as citizens. I don’t see this as any different than laws against blacks and whites marrying. Some believed it was wickedness. Some likely still do and can’t stomach it. And yet those laws were undone because they denied the rights that other citizens enjoy – to marry whomever they wish.

    There are other social benefits to supporting gay marriage as well, and these to are impaired by not allowing for marriage. These benefits have to do with the same expectations that we have of any other marriage, things like monogamy, shared benefits and property, and the security that comes when all the rights of marriage are assumed by the state rather than just some. All of these things not only benefit individuals and their families, but they benefit the culture as well. We recognize that marriage provides stability in a number of ways, and this stability has repercussions for a society. Removing or disallowing that stability to some who seek it is a hinderance to the well-being of a society. It is in the states interest to broaden marriage rather than narrow its scope, as long as broadening it does not create more problems than it solves. In this case, I think it solves a dilemma that leaves gays adrift without the moorings of the stability of home, family and companionship. Without that stabilizing institution called marriage with all its rights, protections and benefits, there will always be antagonism and strife rather than peace and the flourishing we all expect to be able to seek (pursuit of happiness!).

    Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

  • Stephen

    DonS,

    Romer v. Evans? I found that one.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romer_v._Evans

    So, just so I understand where we differ, in terms of how it works out in a courtroom, it seems you are arguing that the state has a compelling interest in maintaining hetero marriage only over and against the harm being done to gays by not allowing them to marry. The rational basis for this is that “babies happen” and with gay couples they don’t, so hetero marriage needs special protections not granted to other individuals and families.

    And I am saying that rather than having this “protection” under the law for some, it should constitutionally be granted to all. It should be granted for the same reasons as any law that supports marriages. A gay couple with a child that are legally married cannot move to another state and expect the same legal protections as they had in the state where they formed their family. It seems to me this creates an “undue burden . . . in matters where uniformity is necessary.” That uniformity in this case is for protecting the invioble nature of any and all families, the place where we all seem to agree the government has the largest stake in supporting the marriage bond. I have heard a lot about the interests of children, but not so much when it comes to the children of gay people.

    But I think there is something else going on too. It isn’t just that “babies happen” it is also that some see homosexuality as sin and do not believe they ought to be compelled to tolerate it, at least not on the same terms that we all (ought to) receive as citizens. I don’t see this as any different than laws against blacks and whites marrying. Some believed it was wickedness. Some likely still do and can’t stomach it. And yet those laws were undone because they denied the rights that other citizens enjoy – to marry whomever they wish.

    There are other social benefits to supporting gay marriage as well, and these to are impaired by not allowing for marriage. These benefits have to do with the same expectations that we have of any other marriage, things like monogamy, shared benefits and property, and the security that comes when all the rights of marriage are assumed by the state rather than just some. All of these things not only benefit individuals and their families, but they benefit the culture as well. We recognize that marriage provides stability in a number of ways, and this stability has repercussions for a society. Removing or disallowing that stability to some who seek it is a hinderance to the well-being of a society. It is in the states interest to broaden marriage rather than narrow its scope, as long as broadening it does not create more problems than it solves. In this case, I think it solves a dilemma that leaves gays adrift without the moorings of the stability of home, family and companionship. Without that stabilizing institution called marriage with all its rights, protections and benefits, there will always be antagonism and strife rather than peace and the flourishing we all expect to be able to seek (pursuit of happiness!).

    Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen,

    The fact that there may or may not be social benefits to supporting gay marriage is not a compelling argument for its mandatory legalization, and its certainly not a constitutional argument. Aside from the fact that I disagree with your claim that gay marriage would be socially beneficial, the fact that something could be beneficial to society does not mean the government must or even should institute it. Recycling is socially beneficial, but there is no need to mandate recycling. Adultery is socially disintegrative, but there is no necessary need to prohibit and prosecute it. We could enact laws regarding these actions, but the fact that they are socially beneficial isn’t a sufficient argument to erect a legal structure in a world of limited government. This is a factual claim I’m making.

    Also, how can I make this clear? MARRIAGE IS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. Rather, it is an institutional privilege, with a specific definition, and granted by the governing authority only after I meet certain conditions: I must be of a certain age, I must be able (in most states) to pass a blood test, I must obtain a license from a legal authority, I must have a ceremony performed by a legally empowered authority, I must have that ceremony witnessed and certified. It is rather like driving, in fact. While it’s improper to deny someone a driver’s license on the basis of their race, for instance, it is perfectly acceptable to do so on the basis of age, physical capacity, failure of a driving test, etc. The analogy isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s much better than the analogy to race-based discrimination. Blacks, as DonS pointed out, were denied rights that are deemed fundamental in the United States and that appertain to all citizens: the right to vote, for instance, or access to public education (a “right” provided in most, if not all, state constitutions), or freedom of movement.

    So when you say this: we leave “gays adrift without the moorings of the stability of home, family and companionship,” you’re not credible. Gays can already form homes, families, and deep companionships. American law provides for all of these things, including most, if not all, of the legal benefits and protections you reference. They merely lack the name “marriage” in most states. And of course, there’s the old canard–coarse but accurate–that gays are perfectly free to marry someone of the opposite sex, since that, by definition, is what marriage is. And why should the state “protect all forms of families”? That doesn’t wash. Marriage currently only applies to heterosexual marriages between two people. Should we extend all the protections of marriage to all atypical family arrangements? Conversely, doesn’t the fact that a single person or a gay couple can adopt children with all the legal protections appertaining thereto weaken this claim? Like DonS, I agree that the American legal process permits a redefinition of marriage to include gays–but we have to remember that this is, in fact, a redefinition of the very idea of marriage (which is what I was harping on in the earlier part of the thread). And, by the way, I don’t even think it would be a good idea.

    But the point is this: You are making two separate arguments. 1) Gay marriage is socially beneficial. 2) Gay marriage is a right that must be constitutionally mandated. Neither is necessarily compelling in my view, but granting 1) certainly does not necessitate a granting of 2).

    I’m kind of rambling at this point, but one last question for DonS: Stephen does make an interesting point regarding equal protection. If, for instance, Wisconsin were to legalize gay marriage via the democratic process, would it be a problem if Illinois didn’t recognize this marriage as valid? My constitutional “expertise” doesn’t extend far enough to answer this question definitively, and I’ve always found equal protection, substantive due process, and related topics more confusing than anything else.

    To be fair, though, your reference to “undue burdens,” Stephen, also isn’t compelling. If I homeschool my children in Virginia, but then move to, say, Michigan, I can’t expect the same legal protections for my educational decisions. But I’m not entitled to these protections, and there is not necessarily a violation of the constitution going on here. If I commit a murder in Texas, I could be sentenced to death, but not if I commit one in a state that prohibits the death penalty. Not a violation of equal protection. It’s harder to adopt in some states than others, harder to get a marriage certificate in some states than others, ad infinitum.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen,

    The fact that there may or may not be social benefits to supporting gay marriage is not a compelling argument for its mandatory legalization, and its certainly not a constitutional argument. Aside from the fact that I disagree with your claim that gay marriage would be socially beneficial, the fact that something could be beneficial to society does not mean the government must or even should institute it. Recycling is socially beneficial, but there is no need to mandate recycling. Adultery is socially disintegrative, but there is no necessary need to prohibit and prosecute it. We could enact laws regarding these actions, but the fact that they are socially beneficial isn’t a sufficient argument to erect a legal structure in a world of limited government. This is a factual claim I’m making.

    Also, how can I make this clear? MARRIAGE IS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. Rather, it is an institutional privilege, with a specific definition, and granted by the governing authority only after I meet certain conditions: I must be of a certain age, I must be able (in most states) to pass a blood test, I must obtain a license from a legal authority, I must have a ceremony performed by a legally empowered authority, I must have that ceremony witnessed and certified. It is rather like driving, in fact. While it’s improper to deny someone a driver’s license on the basis of their race, for instance, it is perfectly acceptable to do so on the basis of age, physical capacity, failure of a driving test, etc. The analogy isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s much better than the analogy to race-based discrimination. Blacks, as DonS pointed out, were denied rights that are deemed fundamental in the United States and that appertain to all citizens: the right to vote, for instance, or access to public education (a “right” provided in most, if not all, state constitutions), or freedom of movement.

    So when you say this: we leave “gays adrift without the moorings of the stability of home, family and companionship,” you’re not credible. Gays can already form homes, families, and deep companionships. American law provides for all of these things, including most, if not all, of the legal benefits and protections you reference. They merely lack the name “marriage” in most states. And of course, there’s the old canard–coarse but accurate–that gays are perfectly free to marry someone of the opposite sex, since that, by definition, is what marriage is. And why should the state “protect all forms of families”? That doesn’t wash. Marriage currently only applies to heterosexual marriages between two people. Should we extend all the protections of marriage to all atypical family arrangements? Conversely, doesn’t the fact that a single person or a gay couple can adopt children with all the legal protections appertaining thereto weaken this claim? Like DonS, I agree that the American legal process permits a redefinition of marriage to include gays–but we have to remember that this is, in fact, a redefinition of the very idea of marriage (which is what I was harping on in the earlier part of the thread). And, by the way, I don’t even think it would be a good idea.

    But the point is this: You are making two separate arguments. 1) Gay marriage is socially beneficial. 2) Gay marriage is a right that must be constitutionally mandated. Neither is necessarily compelling in my view, but granting 1) certainly does not necessitate a granting of 2).

    I’m kind of rambling at this point, but one last question for DonS: Stephen does make an interesting point regarding equal protection. If, for instance, Wisconsin were to legalize gay marriage via the democratic process, would it be a problem if Illinois didn’t recognize this marriage as valid? My constitutional “expertise” doesn’t extend far enough to answer this question definitively, and I’ve always found equal protection, substantive due process, and related topics more confusing than anything else.

    To be fair, though, your reference to “undue burdens,” Stephen, also isn’t compelling. If I homeschool my children in Virginia, but then move to, say, Michigan, I can’t expect the same legal protections for my educational decisions. But I’m not entitled to these protections, and there is not necessarily a violation of the constitution going on here. If I commit a murder in Texas, I could be sentenced to death, but not if I commit one in a state that prohibits the death penalty. Not a violation of equal protection. It’s harder to adopt in some states than others, harder to get a marriage certificate in some states than others, ad infinitum.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Gay marriage at this point has pretty definable marginal utility to those who wish to marry, and a negative marginal utility for society. Since gays can already live together and use simple legal documents to allow partners certain rights and privileges, and can already adopt, the only thing left really is just spousal government benefits and the big one, the intangible benefit of the status of official state recognition as being within the range of “normal” and “good”. No one likes being told he is bad or wrong or defective even if only by omission of praise. So, I suspect that is the main motivator. It will make it all but impossible for those opposed to homosexuality and its expression to remain any where near the political middle. It will create a virtual inability to criticize anything homosexual just as it is practically impossible to criticize women despite the incredibly destructive behaviors among them. You can’t even call a woman a slut any more, no matter how well deserved. Now she is “liberated”. Liberated from what? Dignity.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Gay marriage at this point has pretty definable marginal utility to those who wish to marry, and a negative marginal utility for society. Since gays can already live together and use simple legal documents to allow partners certain rights and privileges, and can already adopt, the only thing left really is just spousal government benefits and the big one, the intangible benefit of the status of official state recognition as being within the range of “normal” and “good”. No one likes being told he is bad or wrong or defective even if only by omission of praise. So, I suspect that is the main motivator. It will make it all but impossible for those opposed to homosexuality and its expression to remain any where near the political middle. It will create a virtual inability to criticize anything homosexual just as it is practically impossible to criticize women despite the incredibly destructive behaviors among them. You can’t even call a woman a slut any more, no matter how well deserved. Now she is “liberated”. Liberated from what? Dignity.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus -

    I don’t think I ever claimed that marriage in and of itself is a constitutional right (you don’t have to shout). I have been saying, however, that all citizens deserve equal protection under the law. Simply put, this means to me that gay unions ought to be given all the same protections that straights do as married people. They don’t have these protections and it is because their unions can never be considered marriages. This places an undue burden on these relationships, which , yes, involve children and families. Regardless of the fact that these families are not constructed the way that the majority of families are, they still ought to be guaranteed the same legitimacy and integrity under the 14th Amendment just as “mom and dad and the 2.5 kids” (what my family looks like actually).

    My argument that allowing for anyone to marry irrespective of gender (given the parameters of monogamy and adulthood as they are for marriage as it is commonly understood) as being a social benefit is secondary, but it does address the concern that gay marriage would ruin marriage as a institution. It is, however, a strong case for why it ought to be allowed. We know already how marriage functions in a society. We do generally agree that marriage as it is now is a social good, and as such, offer the institution a degree of protection, and, dare I say it, privilege. Granting those same protections in full to gays seems to me where the difference lies.

    Now, arguing that marriage is unique to heterosexuals is one thing. What I have heard along these lines has to do with natural procreation that will “somehow” be discouraged or weakened if gays are allowed to share in the benefits and protections of this institution. I don’t see how this is compelling. People will continue to marry and have kids. Not only do babies “happen” so do marriages. They happen for exactly the same reasons that gays desire to be included – love, a desire for companionship, the hope for a family, etc.

    How is it that this institution is destroyed or weakened by allowing gays to participate? All the arguments so far seem to be conjecture about what will happen to society. Claiming, as sg does, that gay marriage has ” negative marginal utility for society” is just that – conjecture – and has in no way been proven to be the case. What has been proven, however, is that marriage is a stabilizing influence on society and that it ought to be encouraged. I see no reason to believe that it will not continue to have the same stabilizing effect for gays, and hence, the rest of society.

    I had also thought today that since gays will always be a permanent minority, it may be that “special rights” (what conservatives who oppose them see happening – I disagree) are perhaps in order. Even if homosexuality were considered a defect of some sort, it is one which, like other disabilities, poses no inherent threat. That too is proven by the way the majority of gays lead their lives – not any more or less “deviant” in their appetites or habits than anyone else, and perhaps even a few degrees more cautious as a minority.

    If we say we care about commitments to each other and to children and that these things are to be supported and encouraged for a society to thrive, allowing for gay marriage as something protected under the law seems to me to be appropriate if not a really good idea for all of us.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus -

    I don’t think I ever claimed that marriage in and of itself is a constitutional right (you don’t have to shout). I have been saying, however, that all citizens deserve equal protection under the law. Simply put, this means to me that gay unions ought to be given all the same protections that straights do as married people. They don’t have these protections and it is because their unions can never be considered marriages. This places an undue burden on these relationships, which , yes, involve children and families. Regardless of the fact that these families are not constructed the way that the majority of families are, they still ought to be guaranteed the same legitimacy and integrity under the 14th Amendment just as “mom and dad and the 2.5 kids” (what my family looks like actually).

    My argument that allowing for anyone to marry irrespective of gender (given the parameters of monogamy and adulthood as they are for marriage as it is commonly understood) as being a social benefit is secondary, but it does address the concern that gay marriage would ruin marriage as a institution. It is, however, a strong case for why it ought to be allowed. We know already how marriage functions in a society. We do generally agree that marriage as it is now is a social good, and as such, offer the institution a degree of protection, and, dare I say it, privilege. Granting those same protections in full to gays seems to me where the difference lies.

    Now, arguing that marriage is unique to heterosexuals is one thing. What I have heard along these lines has to do with natural procreation that will “somehow” be discouraged or weakened if gays are allowed to share in the benefits and protections of this institution. I don’t see how this is compelling. People will continue to marry and have kids. Not only do babies “happen” so do marriages. They happen for exactly the same reasons that gays desire to be included – love, a desire for companionship, the hope for a family, etc.

    How is it that this institution is destroyed or weakened by allowing gays to participate? All the arguments so far seem to be conjecture about what will happen to society. Claiming, as sg does, that gay marriage has ” negative marginal utility for society” is just that – conjecture – and has in no way been proven to be the case. What has been proven, however, is that marriage is a stabilizing influence on society and that it ought to be encouraged. I see no reason to believe that it will not continue to have the same stabilizing effect for gays, and hence, the rest of society.

    I had also thought today that since gays will always be a permanent minority, it may be that “special rights” (what conservatives who oppose them see happening – I disagree) are perhaps in order. Even if homosexuality were considered a defect of some sort, it is one which, like other disabilities, poses no inherent threat. That too is proven by the way the majority of gays lead their lives – not any more or less “deviant” in their appetites or habits than anyone else, and perhaps even a few degrees more cautious as a minority.

    If we say we care about commitments to each other and to children and that these things are to be supported and encouraged for a society to thrive, allowing for gay marriage as something protected under the law seems to me to be appropriate if not a really good idea for all of us.

  • Stephen

    And on a philosophical, slightly theological note:

    Marriage, as I see it, is not an ontological reality, it is a social one, and so has to do with ethics. Saying that marriage “is” something solid and then tying it to biology is false. Biology does not need marriage. Human community needs it and ought to have it. We decide on its use for us.

    Furthermore, on a theological note – to say that marriage was “instituted by God” simply means that it is an outcome of the Law. It is commanded that we do it, but it is not “of our being.” If we look at the prelapsarian relationship of Adam and Eve, neither did they need such law commitments. They lived in perfect faith and trust with God. There, the primary reason for human relationships is to prevent loneliness. Thus, relationship is fundamentally and ontologically human, but not marriage.

    That is my take on the place of marriage – it is a post-lapsarian construction predicated on the Law of sin and death. That is why it too shall pass away. There is no marriage in heaven.

  • Stephen

    And on a philosophical, slightly theological note:

    Marriage, as I see it, is not an ontological reality, it is a social one, and so has to do with ethics. Saying that marriage “is” something solid and then tying it to biology is false. Biology does not need marriage. Human community needs it and ought to have it. We decide on its use for us.

    Furthermore, on a theological note – to say that marriage was “instituted by God” simply means that it is an outcome of the Law. It is commanded that we do it, but it is not “of our being.” If we look at the prelapsarian relationship of Adam and Eve, neither did they need such law commitments. They lived in perfect faith and trust with God. There, the primary reason for human relationships is to prevent loneliness. Thus, relationship is fundamentally and ontologically human, but not marriage.

    That is my take on the place of marriage – it is a post-lapsarian construction predicated on the Law of sin and death. That is why it too shall pass away. There is no marriage in heaven.

  • Jeremy

    @Cincinnatus

    “[Are you saying] That only stupid and ignorant people make arguments against gay marriage?”

    No, that’s not what I said at all. I just simply stated that there is a correlation between education and seeing gays as equals, unless you’re dealing with an older generation. How many educated people do you know that go on against queers getting married? A few, I’m sure, but not many. I admit that you are probably right in saying that I’m not being politically correct in pointing this out, but I just care about being correct. You said earlier that you were getting a doctorate at a top university. How many of your peers and professors have a problem with gay marriage? Not many, I bet. Guys like you are the exception. And you can bet it’s the same for most doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals as well.

  • Jeremy

    @Cincinnatus

    “[Are you saying] That only stupid and ignorant people make arguments against gay marriage?”

    No, that’s not what I said at all. I just simply stated that there is a correlation between education and seeing gays as equals, unless you’re dealing with an older generation. How many educated people do you know that go on against queers getting married? A few, I’m sure, but not many. I admit that you are probably right in saying that I’m not being politically correct in pointing this out, but I just care about being correct. You said earlier that you were getting a doctorate at a top university. How many of your peers and professors have a problem with gay marriage? Not many, I bet. Guys like you are the exception. And you can bet it’s the same for most doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals as well.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen, much of what you’ve said in your last comment is a repetition of your earlier arguments, but I’ll address the things that are new:

    1) “I have been saying, however, that all citizens deserve equal protection under the law. Simply put, this means to me that gay unions ought to be given all the same protections that straights do as married people.”

    First, if marriage is defined as it currently is, there is no equal protection whatsoever in saying that gays, by definition, cannot marry someone of the same sex; they’re perfectly free to participate in marriage as it currently exists, though they may not wish to do so. Second, every single person participating in this discussion has granted the validity of civil unions and domestic partnerships. Gay unions, such as they are, already have access to most–and in an increasing number of states, all–of the same protections and benefits that married straights have. So I’m really not sure what your beef is here. Ultimately, I think you just want gays to have the same social legitimacy in their unions that straights have–not an unimportant desire, but not one the state has a particular interest in satisfying. It’s not the job of the state to ensure that every minority group feels good about itself.

    2) “Now, arguing that marriage is unique to heterosexuals is one thing. What I have heard along these lines has to do with natural procreation that will “somehow” be discouraged or weakened if gays are allowed to share in the benefits and protections of this institution.”

    No one has argued this, at least not directly. What we have claimed is that civil marriage by definition is designed to protect the fruits of natural procreation within a stable marital union (as DonS points out, the laws surrounding adoption, etc., are different and are already available to gays). People will always have offspring whether they want to or not, and whether said offspring happens legitimately or illegitimately (i.e., within or without the marital union). The point we’re making, though, is that gays don’t need marriage to have and protect children, particularly given the legal protections they already have for adoptions, etc. They only need technology–which they are getting (now that babies are a commodity…). It would be absurd to claim that heterosexual couples will be discouraged from having children by the sight of gay married couples–which is why no one has made this argument.

    3) “How is it that this institution is destroyed or weakened by allowing gays to participate?”

    Over and again, sg and I in particular have insisted that heterosexual marriage has already been defaced and destroyed, most particularly by no-fault divorce. But homosexual marriage will, of course, weaken the institution further, because the very idea of homosexual marriage is only possible once we abandon the essential idea that civil marriage (as distinct from the philosophical or theological ideals of marriage) is designed, as DonS and others have argued, primarily to protect the results of natural procreation. Legalizing homosexual marriage is just putting a big fat legal imprimatur upon the fact that the state doesn’t really care about marriage as a child-bearing institution any longer. The “decreasing marginal value” idiom is obvious: the state has an interest in ensuring that people reproduce and raise their children properly. Otherwise, of course, society would disappear–or at best end up with a massive elderly class being supported by a dwindling working class of doubtful parentage (which is what is actually happening in Japan and Russia). Because gays already have all the essential benefits that come with marriage–or will soon have them in the states that lag behind–the state has no interest whatsoever in ensuring that gays can feel good about themselves or in sanctioning unions that, by nature, are childless except via the intervention of technology or adoption, for which protections and legal structure already exist. Meanwhile, none of us have claimed that homosexual marriage will single-handedly destroy marriage. That’s a straw man.

    Incidentally, since you agree that marriage has already been “debased” in this way, it’s rather amusing that you’re so exuberant about this “shiny new version of marriage”–which is, in fact, both shiny and new. In my opinion, the new model of marriage sucks. Since this is the case, why do gays want it? And more importantly, why should the state even bother anymore? The state may as well just discard the whole thing.

    4) “I had also thought today that since gays will always be a permanent minority, it may be that “special rights” (what conservatives who oppose them see happening – I disagree) are perhaps in order. ”

    Though they will probably always be a minority, this does not make them a protected class deserving of special rights. Emphatically no. The Supreme Court has rejected this idea generally and as it applies particularly to homosexuals over and again. Minority status does not justify extra protection. Certain minorities do deserve protections in the sense that a law targeting certain protected classes–specifically, race and gender–must meet the requirements of strict scrutiny, but the fact that there are fewer homosexuals than heterosexuals doesn’t mean that they are or ought to be a protected class. In fact, the Supreme Court has explicitly ruled otherwise. But it isn’t even an issue here because there are, in fact, no laws relating to marriage that specifically discriminate against gay people (if marriage is defined as it has been traditionally; see point 1 above).

    5) Finally, there seems to be another presupposition that informs your argumentation that is certainly not shared by everyone, particular in the Christian community. I.e., you seem to presume that there is nothing sinful or even socially undesirable about homosexuality or homosexual conduct. Is this right or wrong? I’m not sure if it defines your political views on the subject, but it seems to me that it does. It could be important. Incidentally, the only churches I know who would affirm such a position are the ELCA or certain wings of the Episcopal Church (and the PCA, I think). Not that it matters, but does this describe you? I do have to call fws’s bluff: Luther and Lutheranism have traditionally claimed that sex is a) between a man and a woman and b) is an essential aspect of marriage…so there is that…

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen, much of what you’ve said in your last comment is a repetition of your earlier arguments, but I’ll address the things that are new:

    1) “I have been saying, however, that all citizens deserve equal protection under the law. Simply put, this means to me that gay unions ought to be given all the same protections that straights do as married people.”

    First, if marriage is defined as it currently is, there is no equal protection whatsoever in saying that gays, by definition, cannot marry someone of the same sex; they’re perfectly free to participate in marriage as it currently exists, though they may not wish to do so. Second, every single person participating in this discussion has granted the validity of civil unions and domestic partnerships. Gay unions, such as they are, already have access to most–and in an increasing number of states, all–of the same protections and benefits that married straights have. So I’m really not sure what your beef is here. Ultimately, I think you just want gays to have the same social legitimacy in their unions that straights have–not an unimportant desire, but not one the state has a particular interest in satisfying. It’s not the job of the state to ensure that every minority group feels good about itself.

    2) “Now, arguing that marriage is unique to heterosexuals is one thing. What I have heard along these lines has to do with natural procreation that will “somehow” be discouraged or weakened if gays are allowed to share in the benefits and protections of this institution.”

    No one has argued this, at least not directly. What we have claimed is that civil marriage by definition is designed to protect the fruits of natural procreation within a stable marital union (as DonS points out, the laws surrounding adoption, etc., are different and are already available to gays). People will always have offspring whether they want to or not, and whether said offspring happens legitimately or illegitimately (i.e., within or without the marital union). The point we’re making, though, is that gays don’t need marriage to have and protect children, particularly given the legal protections they already have for adoptions, etc. They only need technology–which they are getting (now that babies are a commodity…). It would be absurd to claim that heterosexual couples will be discouraged from having children by the sight of gay married couples–which is why no one has made this argument.

    3) “How is it that this institution is destroyed or weakened by allowing gays to participate?”

    Over and again, sg and I in particular have insisted that heterosexual marriage has already been defaced and destroyed, most particularly by no-fault divorce. But homosexual marriage will, of course, weaken the institution further, because the very idea of homosexual marriage is only possible once we abandon the essential idea that civil marriage (as distinct from the philosophical or theological ideals of marriage) is designed, as DonS and others have argued, primarily to protect the results of natural procreation. Legalizing homosexual marriage is just putting a big fat legal imprimatur upon the fact that the state doesn’t really care about marriage as a child-bearing institution any longer. The “decreasing marginal value” idiom is obvious: the state has an interest in ensuring that people reproduce and raise their children properly. Otherwise, of course, society would disappear–or at best end up with a massive elderly class being supported by a dwindling working class of doubtful parentage (which is what is actually happening in Japan and Russia). Because gays already have all the essential benefits that come with marriage–or will soon have them in the states that lag behind–the state has no interest whatsoever in ensuring that gays can feel good about themselves or in sanctioning unions that, by nature, are childless except via the intervention of technology or adoption, for which protections and legal structure already exist. Meanwhile, none of us have claimed that homosexual marriage will single-handedly destroy marriage. That’s a straw man.

    Incidentally, since you agree that marriage has already been “debased” in this way, it’s rather amusing that you’re so exuberant about this “shiny new version of marriage”–which is, in fact, both shiny and new. In my opinion, the new model of marriage sucks. Since this is the case, why do gays want it? And more importantly, why should the state even bother anymore? The state may as well just discard the whole thing.

    4) “I had also thought today that since gays will always be a permanent minority, it may be that “special rights” (what conservatives who oppose them see happening – I disagree) are perhaps in order. ”

    Though they will probably always be a minority, this does not make them a protected class deserving of special rights. Emphatically no. The Supreme Court has rejected this idea generally and as it applies particularly to homosexuals over and again. Minority status does not justify extra protection. Certain minorities do deserve protections in the sense that a law targeting certain protected classes–specifically, race and gender–must meet the requirements of strict scrutiny, but the fact that there are fewer homosexuals than heterosexuals doesn’t mean that they are or ought to be a protected class. In fact, the Supreme Court has explicitly ruled otherwise. But it isn’t even an issue here because there are, in fact, no laws relating to marriage that specifically discriminate against gay people (if marriage is defined as it has been traditionally; see point 1 above).

    5) Finally, there seems to be another presupposition that informs your argumentation that is certainly not shared by everyone, particular in the Christian community. I.e., you seem to presume that there is nothing sinful or even socially undesirable about homosexuality or homosexual conduct. Is this right or wrong? I’m not sure if it defines your political views on the subject, but it seems to me that it does. It could be important. Incidentally, the only churches I know who would affirm such a position are the ELCA or certain wings of the Episcopal Church (and the PCA, I think). Not that it matters, but does this describe you? I do have to call fws’s bluff: Luther and Lutheranism have traditionally claimed that sex is a) between a man and a woman and b) is an essential aspect of marriage…so there is that…

  • Cincinnatus

    Jeremy@222: You’re right. I’m in a distinct minority. Academia is an echo-chamber, hermetically sealed and quite self-satisfied about that fact. So you’ve repeated something of a truism which is also perfectly politically correct. Academicians are wont to congratulate themselves for being so enlightened on the topic of gay rights and gay marriage. My question is this: who cares? Why did you bring it up? It could only have been meant as an insult to me and others defending traditional marriage because it contributes nothing to the discussion. It was a fallacious appeal to authority: “I support gay marriage, and by the way, most educated people agree with me.” And? Should I change my wind? Stop sharing my considerations on the subject? Wake up to the fact that I’m laboring under an oppressive and anachronistic false-consciousness?

    I have no idea what most doctors, lawyers, and engineers think, nor do I care. It’s a tremendous presumption on your part to predict the answer, though. Good job being correct, though. I suppose you were searching for that pat on the back.

    Stephen@221: As I’ve said repeatedly, we disagree fundamentally on what marriage Is. This may have something to do with the fact that I’m not Lutheran. In any case, I believe marriage is a social, legal, biological, religious, theological, philosophical, and ontological reality (some of those words may have been unnecessary…).

    But fortunately, our disagreement on that point isn’t relevant to the pure question of legality we’re now debating.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jeremy@222: You’re right. I’m in a distinct minority. Academia is an echo-chamber, hermetically sealed and quite self-satisfied about that fact. So you’ve repeated something of a truism which is also perfectly politically correct. Academicians are wont to congratulate themselves for being so enlightened on the topic of gay rights and gay marriage. My question is this: who cares? Why did you bring it up? It could only have been meant as an insult to me and others defending traditional marriage because it contributes nothing to the discussion. It was a fallacious appeal to authority: “I support gay marriage, and by the way, most educated people agree with me.” And? Should I change my wind? Stop sharing my considerations on the subject? Wake up to the fact that I’m laboring under an oppressive and anachronistic false-consciousness?

    I have no idea what most doctors, lawyers, and engineers think, nor do I care. It’s a tremendous presumption on your part to predict the answer, though. Good job being correct, though. I suppose you were searching for that pat on the back.

    Stephen@221: As I’ve said repeatedly, we disagree fundamentally on what marriage Is. This may have something to do with the fact that I’m not Lutheran. In any case, I believe marriage is a social, legal, biological, religious, theological, philosophical, and ontological reality (some of those words may have been unnecessary…).

    But fortunately, our disagreement on that point isn’t relevant to the pure question of legality we’re now debating.

  • DonS

    Wow! Some excellent discussion in my absence.

    Stephen, Cincinnatus has very eloquently addressed many of your points, but I’ll touch on your legal comments and some of his as well. Let me say, at the outset, that, though we have fundamental differences in our points of view, I am hopeful that this discussion will help us to better understand the arguments of those with whom we disagree, and that we will all benefit from more insight and less emotion.

    That said, good cite in your comment 217 to Romer v. Evans. That is the rational basis case I didn’t think of earlier — where the Court indeed overturned a state initiative based only on a rational basis review.

    As background, Romer v. Evans involved Colorado’s Amendment 2, which was an initiative passed by the state prohibiting the state from enacting civil rights laws for the benefit of homosexuals. The key question for the Court was whether the amendment violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, which promises that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. In equal protection cases, the Court will uphold a legislative classification if it neither burdens a fundamental right nor targets a suspect class, and if it bears a rational relation to some legitimate end. The Colorado Supreme Court had overturned the law by declaring that gays were a suspect class, and deciding the case based on the highest level of review — strict scrutiny. However, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed on different grounds, refusing to identify gays as a suspect class, but finding that, even under the lowest level of scrutiny, rational basis review, the statute imposed “a broad and undifferentiated disability on a single named group,” and the “sheer breadth is so discontinuous with the reasons offered for it that the amendment seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class it affects; it lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests.” The Court found that “the desire to harm a politically unpopular group can never be a legitimate government interest.”

    Of course, this case, where a law denying, for all time, any civil rights protections for a particular group of people was at issue, is quite clearly distinguished from marriage laws that have been on the books for centuries and always applied only to heterosexual relationships. Amendment 2 was quite clearly radical and malicious in nature, in its effort to foreclose, for all time, any ability to protect the civil rights of homesexuals. As we have pointed out above, in contrast, there is clearly a legitimate government interest in protecting children and caregivers through marriage laws, and those laws are not intended to harm the interests of gays. Moreover, there is nothing in those laws prohibiting them from being changed later, should the people determine that they want to accord marital status to gay relationships.

    So, just so I understand where we differ, in terms of how it works out in a courtroom, it seems you are arguing that the state has a compelling interest in maintaining hetero marriage only over and against the harm being done to gays by not allowing them to marry. The rational basis for this is that “babies happen” and with gay couples they don’t, so hetero marriage needs special protections not granted to other individuals and families.

    No, not exactly. Because homosexuals are not a protected class, the equal protection standard of review is not a compelling interest, but only that a law is reasonably related to a rational governmental purpose. So, the state need not have a compelling interest for maintaining civil marriage laws that apply only to heterosexual couples, but rather only a rational purpose for such laws. Protecting children and their caregivers is clearly a rational purpose.

    “And I am saying that rather than having this “protection” under the law for some, it should constitutionally be granted to all. ” — well, maybe. But that is a policy question. If you believe that marriage laws should apply to all couples, whether or not they are heterosexual, then you can make a political case for that. The constitution can be changed by amendment. Go for it. I don’t believe the constitution in its present form requires what you desire. Your “social benefits” arguments also fall within this category.

    But I think there is something else going on too. It isn’t just that “babies happen” it is also that some see homosexuality as sin and do not believe they ought to be compelled to tolerate it, at least not on the same terms that we all (ought to) receive as citizens. I don’t see this as any different than laws against blacks and whites marrying. Some believed it was wickedness. Some likely still do and can’t stomach it. And yet those laws were undone because they denied the rights that other citizens enjoy – to marry whomever they wish.

    Well, I don’t agree with you. The miscegenation laws treated people differently because of their race. Laws which discriminate based on race, which is a protected class under equal protection laws, must have a compelling government purpose. What possible compelling purpose could the government have for prohibiting interracial marriage, apart from ugly racism? Prohibiting those heterosexual couples of differing races from marrying denies protection to the children who may be products of those relationships, thus undercutting a primary reason for civil marriage in the first place.

    Many see homosexuality as a sin, primarily because the Bible says it is. Moreover, so do other religious texts. But you say that “some see homosexuality as sin and do not believe they ought to be compelled to tolerate it”. That’s pretty unfair. It’s not an issue of tolerance — the vast majority of people have come to a point of tolerating homosexuals and homosexuality, even if they believe it to be sinful behavior. But that doesn’t mean they want to endorse it, or to be compelled to validate these relationships. On the other hand, that is, I believe, the real motivation for gays’ efforts to legalize gay marriage. They are not content to be free to practice their favored lifestyle, but rather want to force society to validate it. OK, that is their right, but they should do so using the political process and art of persuasion, rather than by attempting to force it on society through activist courts.

  • DonS

    Wow! Some excellent discussion in my absence.

    Stephen, Cincinnatus has very eloquently addressed many of your points, but I’ll touch on your legal comments and some of his as well. Let me say, at the outset, that, though we have fundamental differences in our points of view, I am hopeful that this discussion will help us to better understand the arguments of those with whom we disagree, and that we will all benefit from more insight and less emotion.

    That said, good cite in your comment 217 to Romer v. Evans. That is the rational basis case I didn’t think of earlier — where the Court indeed overturned a state initiative based only on a rational basis review.

    As background, Romer v. Evans involved Colorado’s Amendment 2, which was an initiative passed by the state prohibiting the state from enacting civil rights laws for the benefit of homosexuals. The key question for the Court was whether the amendment violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, which promises that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. In equal protection cases, the Court will uphold a legislative classification if it neither burdens a fundamental right nor targets a suspect class, and if it bears a rational relation to some legitimate end. The Colorado Supreme Court had overturned the law by declaring that gays were a suspect class, and deciding the case based on the highest level of review — strict scrutiny. However, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed on different grounds, refusing to identify gays as a suspect class, but finding that, even under the lowest level of scrutiny, rational basis review, the statute imposed “a broad and undifferentiated disability on a single named group,” and the “sheer breadth is so discontinuous with the reasons offered for it that the amendment seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class it affects; it lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests.” The Court found that “the desire to harm a politically unpopular group can never be a legitimate government interest.”

    Of course, this case, where a law denying, for all time, any civil rights protections for a particular group of people was at issue, is quite clearly distinguished from marriage laws that have been on the books for centuries and always applied only to heterosexual relationships. Amendment 2 was quite clearly radical and malicious in nature, in its effort to foreclose, for all time, any ability to protect the civil rights of homesexuals. As we have pointed out above, in contrast, there is clearly a legitimate government interest in protecting children and caregivers through marriage laws, and those laws are not intended to harm the interests of gays. Moreover, there is nothing in those laws prohibiting them from being changed later, should the people determine that they want to accord marital status to gay relationships.

    So, just so I understand where we differ, in terms of how it works out in a courtroom, it seems you are arguing that the state has a compelling interest in maintaining hetero marriage only over and against the harm being done to gays by not allowing them to marry. The rational basis for this is that “babies happen” and with gay couples they don’t, so hetero marriage needs special protections not granted to other individuals and families.

    No, not exactly. Because homosexuals are not a protected class, the equal protection standard of review is not a compelling interest, but only that a law is reasonably related to a rational governmental purpose. So, the state need not have a compelling interest for maintaining civil marriage laws that apply only to heterosexual couples, but rather only a rational purpose for such laws. Protecting children and their caregivers is clearly a rational purpose.

    “And I am saying that rather than having this “protection” under the law for some, it should constitutionally be granted to all. ” — well, maybe. But that is a policy question. If you believe that marriage laws should apply to all couples, whether or not they are heterosexual, then you can make a political case for that. The constitution can be changed by amendment. Go for it. I don’t believe the constitution in its present form requires what you desire. Your “social benefits” arguments also fall within this category.

    But I think there is something else going on too. It isn’t just that “babies happen” it is also that some see homosexuality as sin and do not believe they ought to be compelled to tolerate it, at least not on the same terms that we all (ought to) receive as citizens. I don’t see this as any different than laws against blacks and whites marrying. Some believed it was wickedness. Some likely still do and can’t stomach it. And yet those laws were undone because they denied the rights that other citizens enjoy – to marry whomever they wish.

    Well, I don’t agree with you. The miscegenation laws treated people differently because of their race. Laws which discriminate based on race, which is a protected class under equal protection laws, must have a compelling government purpose. What possible compelling purpose could the government have for prohibiting interracial marriage, apart from ugly racism? Prohibiting those heterosexual couples of differing races from marrying denies protection to the children who may be products of those relationships, thus undercutting a primary reason for civil marriage in the first place.

    Many see homosexuality as a sin, primarily because the Bible says it is. Moreover, so do other religious texts. But you say that “some see homosexuality as sin and do not believe they ought to be compelled to tolerate it”. That’s pretty unfair. It’s not an issue of tolerance — the vast majority of people have come to a point of tolerating homosexuals and homosexuality, even if they believe it to be sinful behavior. But that doesn’t mean they want to endorse it, or to be compelled to validate these relationships. On the other hand, that is, I believe, the real motivation for gays’ efforts to legalize gay marriage. They are not content to be free to practice their favored lifestyle, but rather want to force society to validate it. OK, that is their right, but they should do so using the political process and art of persuasion, rather than by attempting to force it on society through activist courts.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 218:

    one last question for DonS: Stephen does make an interesting point regarding equal protection. If, for instance, Wisconsin were to legalize gay marriage via the democratic process, would it be a problem if Illinois didn’t recognize this marriage as valid?

    That is a good question, indeed. The reason why DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was passed by Congress in 1996 was that some wanted a Constitutional amendment protecting states from having to recognize gay marriages from another state under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. Clinton didn’t want a constitutional amendment, and argued that a federal statute would be an adequate substitute, so that is what ended up happening. Now, of course, Obama says that DOMA is unconstitutional (as many Republicans had predicted would happen way back when), and is neither enforcing or defending it, though the House of Representatives has currently undertaken the task.

    Equal protection doesn’t require that every state have exactly the same laws, so that citizens can move from state to state without inconvenience. For example, when you move from one state to another, your new state makes you take their driver’s test if you wish to continue to be a licensed driver. If you have a handicapped placard from your old state, it won’t necessarily apply in your new state. If you have a will, you will have to update it to meet the legal requirements for such documents in your new state of residence. But, states have traditionally recognized the validity of marriages entered into in another state, and are required under the Full Faith and Credit Clause to recognize some categories of public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states. So, the bottom line is that we will not know the answer to your question until the legal proceedings presently going through the courts, related to DOMA, have been decided.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 218:

    one last question for DonS: Stephen does make an interesting point regarding equal protection. If, for instance, Wisconsin were to legalize gay marriage via the democratic process, would it be a problem if Illinois didn’t recognize this marriage as valid?

    That is a good question, indeed. The reason why DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was passed by Congress in 1996 was that some wanted a Constitutional amendment protecting states from having to recognize gay marriages from another state under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. Clinton didn’t want a constitutional amendment, and argued that a federal statute would be an adequate substitute, so that is what ended up happening. Now, of course, Obama says that DOMA is unconstitutional (as many Republicans had predicted would happen way back when), and is neither enforcing or defending it, though the House of Representatives has currently undertaken the task.

    Equal protection doesn’t require that every state have exactly the same laws, so that citizens can move from state to state without inconvenience. For example, when you move from one state to another, your new state makes you take their driver’s test if you wish to continue to be a licensed driver. If you have a handicapped placard from your old state, it won’t necessarily apply in your new state. If you have a will, you will have to update it to meet the legal requirements for such documents in your new state of residence. But, states have traditionally recognized the validity of marriages entered into in another state, and are required under the Full Faith and Credit Clause to recognize some categories of public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states. So, the bottom line is that we will not know the answer to your question until the legal proceedings presently going through the courts, related to DOMA, have been decided.

  • fws

    cinncinatus

    my opinion cinn is that you are being dishonest with the language. you use the word essential in your own way.

    how? you say that having sex that has the potential to make babies is essential to marriage.

    essential always means that if that something essential is missing then that something cannot exist. But you are not hewing to the strict meaning of the word are you Cinn.?

    so then I raise the issue that the church and state have always allowed couples to marry who obviously cannot procreate. and then you fall back to the word “potentially” able to have sex, and twist around that word potentially , having it mean something it too does not ever mean. Your argument hinges on defining things by using two words and defining those words in no way that either aristotle or websters would recognize.

    and THEN you say that my bringing up menopausal women getting married is a red herring without bothering to feel the need to explain why that is so eh?

    come clean cinn.

  • fws

    cinncinatus

    my opinion cinn is that you are being dishonest with the language. you use the word essential in your own way.

    how? you say that having sex that has the potential to make babies is essential to marriage.

    essential always means that if that something essential is missing then that something cannot exist. But you are not hewing to the strict meaning of the word are you Cinn.?

    so then I raise the issue that the church and state have always allowed couples to marry who obviously cannot procreate. and then you fall back to the word “potentially” able to have sex, and twist around that word potentially , having it mean something it too does not ever mean. Your argument hinges on defining things by using two words and defining those words in no way that either aristotle or websters would recognize.

    and THEN you say that my bringing up menopausal women getting married is a red herring without bothering to feel the need to explain why that is so eh?

    come clean cinn.

  • fws

    cinncinatus @ 218

    questions:

    CINNRecycling is socially beneficial, but there is no need to mandate recycling.

    FWS would it be right, in a free society to forbid it? On what basis?

    CINN Adultery is socially disintegrative, but there is no necessary need to prohibit and prosecute it.

    FWS You are saying you can argue no need at all to prohibit or prosecute adultery? Why not? On what basis?

    CINN MARRIAGE IS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. Rather, it is an institutional privilege, It is rather like driving, in fact. Blacks, were denied rights that are deemed fundamental : the right to vote, for instan
    ce, or access to public education (a “right” provided in most, if not all, state constitutions), or freedom of movement.

    FWS So are you arguing that if there are tests for eligibility then that signals “priviledge ” as opposed to “constitutional right” ? Your argument is not clear. Please be on point here. To vote one must prove eligibility.

    But disallowing licenses to a class of people, like the blind, 1) discrimination CINN. And it is 2) discrimination against a clearly identified “class” of people. and 3) there is a **demonstratable ** need to do it based on avoiding public harm. How do your other examples meet the test for legally allowed discrimination? How does discrimination against gays as a class become legal against these mandatory legal tests CINN. Earlier you stated, as fact, that strict scrutiny does not apply. But you glossed . you did not make that case.

    CINNSo when you say this: we leave “gays adrift without the moorings of the stability of home, family and companionship,” you’re not credible. Gays can already form homes, families, and deep companionships.

    FWS But then so could any married person without marriage in that case. so this is a distinction without a diffference. Your point then would be?

    CINN American law provides for all of these things, including most, if not all, of the legal benefits and protections you reference.

    FWS Then your argument is that **noone** needs marriage? not even you or other heterosexuals or those who can breed or those who have children? How are they different in this respect from gays?

    CINNThey merely lack the name “marriage” in most states. And of course, there’s the old canard–coarse but accurate–that gays are perfectly free to marry someone of the opposite sex, since that, by definition, is what marriage is.

    FWS You argue based on a definition you have not proven yet. eh? and … yes gays could marry females. this would be legal, but would it be moral to do so? does that even matter to you CINN. You seem to be legalistic here like the pharisees were. That is not an insult. Jesus praised the morality of the Pharisees in many ways. But he alson condemned it in the specific way that I am saying you are defective morally on this point.

    CINNAnd why should the state “protect all forms of families”? That doesn’t wash. Marriage currently only applies to heterosexual marriages between two people. Should we extend all the protections of marriage to all atypical family arrangements?

    FWS why not? why? make a case for both. lets compare.

    CINNConversely, doesn’t the fact that a single person or a gay couple can adopt children with all the legal protections appertaining thereto weaken this claim?

    FWS oK. Then again, that argument would say that neither do heterosexuals need legal marriage. if legal marriage were erased from the law books, ALL the protections for family that are needed would be in place. That is your argument here eh?

    CINN Like DonS, I agre
    e that the American legal process permits a redefinition of marriage to include gays–but we have to remember that this is, in fact, a redefinition of the very idea of marriage (which is what I was harping on in the earlier part of the thread). And, by the way, I don’t even think it would be a good idea.

    FWS Again you argue from a point u have not established as to definition. so we are remembering that is true. so? circular reasoning at its finest!
    CINN But the point is this: You are making two separate arguments. 1) Gay marriage is socially beneficial. 2) Gay marriage is a right that must be constitutionally mandated. Neither is necessarily compelling in my view, but granting 1) certainly does not necessitate a granting of 2).

    FWS add one more 3) there is no demostratable public harm or danger. Only a religious and theoretical one.

  • fws

    cinncinatus @ 218

    questions:

    CINNRecycling is socially beneficial, but there is no need to mandate recycling.

    FWS would it be right, in a free society to forbid it? On what basis?

    CINN Adultery is socially disintegrative, but there is no necessary need to prohibit and prosecute it.

    FWS You are saying you can argue no need at all to prohibit or prosecute adultery? Why not? On what basis?

    CINN MARRIAGE IS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. Rather, it is an institutional privilege, It is rather like driving, in fact. Blacks, were denied rights that are deemed fundamental : the right to vote, for instan
    ce, or access to public education (a “right” provided in most, if not all, state constitutions), or freedom of movement.

    FWS So are you arguing that if there are tests for eligibility then that signals “priviledge ” as opposed to “constitutional right” ? Your argument is not clear. Please be on point here. To vote one must prove eligibility.

    But disallowing licenses to a class of people, like the blind, 1) discrimination CINN. And it is 2) discrimination against a clearly identified “class” of people. and 3) there is a **demonstratable ** need to do it based on avoiding public harm. How do your other examples meet the test for legally allowed discrimination? How does discrimination against gays as a class become legal against these mandatory legal tests CINN. Earlier you stated, as fact, that strict scrutiny does not apply. But you glossed . you did not make that case.

    CINNSo when you say this: we leave “gays adrift without the moorings of the stability of home, family and companionship,” you’re not credible. Gays can already form homes, families, and deep companionships.

    FWS But then so could any married person without marriage in that case. so this is a distinction without a diffference. Your point then would be?

    CINN American law provides for all of these things, including most, if not all, of the legal benefits and protections you reference.

    FWS Then your argument is that **noone** needs marriage? not even you or other heterosexuals or those who can breed or those who have children? How are they different in this respect from gays?

    CINNThey merely lack the name “marriage” in most states. And of course, there’s the old canard–coarse but accurate–that gays are perfectly free to marry someone of the opposite sex, since that, by definition, is what marriage is.

    FWS You argue based on a definition you have not proven yet. eh? and … yes gays could marry females. this would be legal, but would it be moral to do so? does that even matter to you CINN. You seem to be legalistic here like the pharisees were. That is not an insult. Jesus praised the morality of the Pharisees in many ways. But he alson condemned it in the specific way that I am saying you are defective morally on this point.

    CINNAnd why should the state “protect all forms of families”? That doesn’t wash. Marriage currently only applies to heterosexual marriages between two people. Should we extend all the protections of marriage to all atypical family arrangements?

    FWS why not? why? make a case for both. lets compare.

    CINNConversely, doesn’t the fact that a single person or a gay couple can adopt children with all the legal protections appertaining thereto weaken this claim?

    FWS oK. Then again, that argument would say that neither do heterosexuals need legal marriage. if legal marriage were erased from the law books, ALL the protections for family that are needed would be in place. That is your argument here eh?

    CINN Like DonS, I agre
    e that the American legal process permits a redefinition of marriage to include gays–but we have to remember that this is, in fact, a redefinition of the very idea of marriage (which is what I was harping on in the earlier part of the thread). And, by the way, I don’t even think it would be a good idea.

    FWS Again you argue from a point u have not established as to definition. so we are remembering that is true. so? circular reasoning at its finest!
    CINN But the point is this: You are making two separate arguments. 1) Gay marriage is socially beneficial. 2) Gay marriage is a right that must be constitutionally mandated. Neither is necessarily compelling in my view, but granting 1) certainly does not necessitate a granting of 2).

    FWS add one more 3) there is no demostratable public harm or danger. Only a religious and theoretical one.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@228:

    Keep up! I explicitly noted earlier that I have departed from the theoretical understanding of marriage. The problem isn’t that I’ve failed to prove or establish the traditional definition of marriage, or that I’m using “circular reasoning” or idiosyncratic definitions or any of the other accusations your lob my direction. The problem is quite simply that you disagree with this definition of marriage prima facie. Fine, and I think you’ve failed to “establish” your claims about marriage. This is an impasse that I think we will fail to breach with future repetitions of ourselves. You disagree that sex is a procreative act–fine. You disagree that marriage is a sexual union, in part–fine. We can’t go much further than that. Besides, since mine is the traditional, “self-evident” definition of marriage, isn’t the burden of proof on the innovator, as Michael Oakeshott would claim, to demonstrate the superiority of his innovation?

    (Incidentally, haven’t you argued in the past that homosexual conduct is sinful? And yet you are a rather passionate advocate of homosexual marriage here. What are your thoughts on “sexless” marriage? And if a marriage is sexless–i.e., cannot result in children–then what is the state’s interest in institutionalizing it? sg asked this earlier. Civil marriage isn’t about companionship.)

    As for the rest, I’ve already stated–seemingly dozens of times–that if marriage is defined as you wish it to be defined, yes, the state may as well discard the entire institution. So we agree here, though I obviously have a broadly negative assessment of this fact, while you seem to embrace it.

    I dealt with the “demonstrable public harm” of gay marriage above using the language of “decreasing marginal utility.” Depending upon what you mean by “demonstrable,” I don’t think I need to repeat myself on this point.

    Again, while there are undoubtedly flaws in my logic and, more likely, its wording in this thread, the real problem here, fws, is that you simply disagree with me. I doubt there is anything I could say that would convince you to accept my definition of marriage.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@228:

    Keep up! I explicitly noted earlier that I have departed from the theoretical understanding of marriage. The problem isn’t that I’ve failed to prove or establish the traditional definition of marriage, or that I’m using “circular reasoning” or idiosyncratic definitions or any of the other accusations your lob my direction. The problem is quite simply that you disagree with this definition of marriage prima facie. Fine, and I think you’ve failed to “establish” your claims about marriage. This is an impasse that I think we will fail to breach with future repetitions of ourselves. You disagree that sex is a procreative act–fine. You disagree that marriage is a sexual union, in part–fine. We can’t go much further than that. Besides, since mine is the traditional, “self-evident” definition of marriage, isn’t the burden of proof on the innovator, as Michael Oakeshott would claim, to demonstrate the superiority of his innovation?

    (Incidentally, haven’t you argued in the past that homosexual conduct is sinful? And yet you are a rather passionate advocate of homosexual marriage here. What are your thoughts on “sexless” marriage? And if a marriage is sexless–i.e., cannot result in children–then what is the state’s interest in institutionalizing it? sg asked this earlier. Civil marriage isn’t about companionship.)

    As for the rest, I’ve already stated–seemingly dozens of times–that if marriage is defined as you wish it to be defined, yes, the state may as well discard the entire institution. So we agree here, though I obviously have a broadly negative assessment of this fact, while you seem to embrace it.

    I dealt with the “demonstrable public harm” of gay marriage above using the language of “decreasing marginal utility.” Depending upon what you mean by “demonstrable,” I don’t think I need to repeat myself on this point.

    Again, while there are undoubtedly flaws in my logic and, more likely, its wording in this thread, the real problem here, fws, is that you simply disagree with me. I doubt there is anything I could say that would convince you to accept my definition of marriage.

  • Cincinnatus

    FWS, Stephen, and others: It just so happens that my RSS feed this morning was chock full of illuminating articles and editorials on the various questions we’ve been discussing. It also just so happens that these articles mostly agree with the points I have been articulating. Even if you disagree, they’re very good. Take a look; it may help you understand what I was getting at, because they’re much better written than anything I’ve said:

    http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2011/06/arguments-about-the-meaning-of-family/

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/06/3195

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/06/3197

    http://merecomments.typepad.com/merecomments/2011/06/family-contours.html

  • Cincinnatus

    FWS, Stephen, and others: It just so happens that my RSS feed this morning was chock full of illuminating articles and editorials on the various questions we’ve been discussing. It also just so happens that these articles mostly agree with the points I have been articulating. Even if you disagree, they’re very good. Take a look; it may help you understand what I was getting at, because they’re much better written than anything I’ve said:

    http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2011/06/arguments-about-the-meaning-of-family/

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/06/3195

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/06/3197

    http://merecomments.typepad.com/merecomments/2011/06/family-contours.html

  • fws

    cinncinatus @ 231

    No . I am not at the point where I disagree with your definition of marriage. I think I dont yet know your definition. Here is what I understand you to be saying. could you please correct that part that I got wrong:

    1) there are many “essential” elements to marriage. You have not specified in this thread what those other elements of marriage you consider to be “essential”. I put “essential ” in quotes because it is a technical term with a definate meaning.

    2) the one element of marriage you have focussed on for the sake of this conversation is sex. You seem to state that sex that has the potential for procreation is essential to marriage. Without sex that has the potential to procreate, there is nothing one should call “marriage” as to label or substance.

    3) One objection that seems (to me) obvious to this is to ask about the marriage of persons who are not able to procreate. no sperm count, tubes tied, menopausal, etc etc.

    4) I think you would agree that society has never forbidden persons to marry who cannot breed, nor has society ever demanded proof of this capability as a condition for marriage.

    5) so it seems that you overcome this objection how? you tweak that word “potential”. you say something like ” heterosexual sex, by “natural design”, is designed to result in breeding. Whether it does or not is irrelevant to the conversation. In that case, if this is your argument, then how you define “potential” is in no way a definion that an average Joe would intuitively understand by that word eh? Or is there another way you answer this objection?

    4) the second objection is , if 2 is true, then sex, or “consumation” has been often used as a legal basis for determining whether a marriage is invalid and so can be annulled. In that case , sexual congress IS an essential element of marriage, but it is “of the essence” regardless of whether there is a real potential for breeding or not. But then I am not sure that even this legal criterion still holds true legally. In that case who is the authority to define marriage? tradition? reason? Biological science? the roman Catholic church? society by means of legislation and majority vote or reason ? or???

    I hope you can see from my 4 points that perhaps there is some argument you are making that I am not quite hearing being made. If this is all you got, then it has a hole big enough to drive a truck through it.

    So, since I see here in your past ;posts that you are a very logical person, I assume I must be missing a major element of the construction of your argument. this is how I am understanding your argument. It seems to be missing lots of stuff. So I assume that I must be missing a major part of your logic. Am I right to assume that?

  • fws

    cinncinatus @ 231

    No . I am not at the point where I disagree with your definition of marriage. I think I dont yet know your definition. Here is what I understand you to be saying. could you please correct that part that I got wrong:

    1) there are many “essential” elements to marriage. You have not specified in this thread what those other elements of marriage you consider to be “essential”. I put “essential ” in quotes because it is a technical term with a definate meaning.

    2) the one element of marriage you have focussed on for the sake of this conversation is sex. You seem to state that sex that has the potential for procreation is essential to marriage. Without sex that has the potential to procreate, there is nothing one should call “marriage” as to label or substance.

    3) One objection that seems (to me) obvious to this is to ask about the marriage of persons who are not able to procreate. no sperm count, tubes tied, menopausal, etc etc.

    4) I think you would agree that society has never forbidden persons to marry who cannot breed, nor has society ever demanded proof of this capability as a condition for marriage.

    5) so it seems that you overcome this objection how? you tweak that word “potential”. you say something like ” heterosexual sex, by “natural design”, is designed to result in breeding. Whether it does or not is irrelevant to the conversation. In that case, if this is your argument, then how you define “potential” is in no way a definion that an average Joe would intuitively understand by that word eh? Or is there another way you answer this objection?

    4) the second objection is , if 2 is true, then sex, or “consumation” has been often used as a legal basis for determining whether a marriage is invalid and so can be annulled. In that case , sexual congress IS an essential element of marriage, but it is “of the essence” regardless of whether there is a real potential for breeding or not. But then I am not sure that even this legal criterion still holds true legally. In that case who is the authority to define marriage? tradition? reason? Biological science? the roman Catholic church? society by means of legislation and majority vote or reason ? or???

    I hope you can see from my 4 points that perhaps there is some argument you are making that I am not quite hearing being made. If this is all you got, then it has a hole big enough to drive a truck through it.

    So, since I see here in your past ;posts that you are a very logical person, I assume I must be missing a major element of the construction of your argument. this is how I am understanding your argument. It seems to be missing lots of stuff. So I assume that I must be missing a major part of your logic. Am I right to assume that?

  • fws

    cincinatus at 231

    “I doubt there is anything I could say that would convince you to accept my definition of marriage.”

    stop doubting. do you feel that I truly do understand 1) your position and 2) what your response is to reasonable challenges and
    objections to your position/definition?

    The fact that I would like to be able to present your position in a way you would accept as fair and accurate indicates you should maybe suspend your doubt.

    I am really not sure I have a position at this point. I am just not finding what I at this point understand as being your position very persuasive.

    it feels like you are trying to argue your position from a purely logical rational argument, but then what happens is that without the religious element of your thinking that seems lurking in the background, your position seems hollow or disengenuous.

    So my problem is that thinking you are not fully disclosing or being disingenuous is that it does not square with my impression of your character as I have known it so far on this site.

  • fws

    cincinatus at 231

    “I doubt there is anything I could say that would convince you to accept my definition of marriage.”

    stop doubting. do you feel that I truly do understand 1) your position and 2) what your response is to reasonable challenges and
    objections to your position/definition?

    The fact that I would like to be able to present your position in a way you would accept as fair and accurate indicates you should maybe suspend your doubt.

    I am really not sure I have a position at this point. I am just not finding what I at this point understand as being your position very persuasive.

    it feels like you are trying to argue your position from a purely logical rational argument, but then what happens is that without the religious element of your thinking that seems lurking in the background, your position seems hollow or disengenuous.

    So my problem is that thinking you are not fully disclosing or being disingenuous is that it does not square with my impression of your character as I have known it so far on this site.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: These are fair questions. I’m not being (intentionally) disingenuous, of course. Let me see if I have time and patience later for a thorough reply.

    I think part of our problem is that, perhaps due to the excessive length of this thread and the rather large number of participants, we’re talking about many different things at once. Some of us are talking about civil marriage, legally defined, and what the constitution or the legal code has to say about it. Some of us are talking about marriage as defined by his or her particular church. Some of us are talking about the biological purposes of sex. Etc. It’s confusing. We should try to clarify in my next comment…

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: These are fair questions. I’m not being (intentionally) disingenuous, of course. Let me see if I have time and patience later for a thorough reply.

    I think part of our problem is that, perhaps due to the excessive length of this thread and the rather large number of participants, we’re talking about many different things at once. Some of us are talking about civil marriage, legally defined, and what the constitution or the legal code has to say about it. Some of us are talking about marriage as defined by his or her particular church. Some of us are talking about the biological purposes of sex. Etc. It’s confusing. We should try to clarify in my next comment…

  • Stephen

    I agree that we seem to be an impasse. For one, it seems that your definition of marriage rest upon and ontological assumption. That is, that marriage as institution is inherent in procreative unions. I disagree with that. I think that as an institution itself, it is fundamentally a social construct and therefore derives its purpose and meaning from what people do and not what they are. By this I mean it stems from our need for this institution for our good as humans who form societies. It is not, however, necessary for procreation itself. The social function of marriage is essentially whatever we agree it is, and as such, the definition is bound to those uses to which we put the institution.

    As an example, the neighbors across the street have just popped out a second child and they are not legally married. Yet to my mind they are married, not because babies in themselves imply marriage, but because of a larger set of circumstances like cohabitation, shared responsibilities, etc. If the father were to leave the mother and child on their own, he would not cease to be a biological father, but he is certainly not a parent (his social function) and they do not have a “marriage” regardless of whether papers were signed or not. This is about matters of conscience that work themselves out in the law. I know people who have adopted the children of their spouse, at which point, the lout who left the woman hanging is not longer a father or a parent.

    Maybe you think all that somehow proves your point, but I think it does exactly the opposite. For one thing, the behavior of my neighbors it shows how the assumption in our world now is one of autonomy, not union or fundamental relationships. Regardless, whether one believes they are the sole arbiter of meaning or that social responsibilities must happen because we live life together, conscience will goad us to work things out between us. All laws (institutions) spring from that, from our need for them, for order. Marriage is and has always been something we decide that is based on our need for it and how we can use it for good order. There are no intrinsic definitions of it as an institution beyond its social use. It is an institution not a biological necessity. How many times have I heard “traditional” used as if that somehow hammers in place what we mean. Polygamy was once “traditional” and it seems to me if the concern is really with protecting biological procreation for the sake of cultural survival, polygamy has as much right to exist as monogamy. That is in fact why it has existed before and still does – to insure the existence of a population.

    Some other thoughts are these: I am having an issue choking down the notion of “almost all” and “sometimes all” when we talk about civil unions. Those boil down to “not always” in my understanding, and there is where I think the argument of equal protection gains some traction. The antagonism I spoke of earlier has to do with the fact that unless gays always have the same protections and privileges ALWAYS they are at odds with the government which is supposed to protect them. The crossing of state lines issue is the strongest example I can think of. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination of how moving to another state might infringe on the inviolable character of a family with, say, two parents that have adopted the same child. Right there I see an issue of placing an undue burden on citizens, one which they will have go to great lengths to defend against the state, living their lives looking over their shoulder. That isn’t America.

    Given what I just wrote, I think some of the comparisons with black Americans remain apt analogies. There are still plenty of issues regarding race. Some will never be comfortable with the presence of African Americans anywhere near them, and they will believe a white person should never marry a black person. So that kind of cultural antagonism persists, but in this case it was not a matter of waiting until a vote could be cast and a majority agreed that they should receive equal protection and civil rights. It was legal and legislative actions that brought about change via our shared understanding of constitutional protections. And so I have no doubt that some will never accept gay marriage as “normal” or “good” but gays still should have the same protections the law affords for what they deem normal and good for them as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others. In fact, I don’t see a clash of rights here the same that we have with abortion. As I said, I don’t see how allowing gays to marry infringes on straight marriage at all.

    I am not for something shiny new. I am for something that is already accepted as the norm with an added component. That may look like a redefinition, but I don’t think so because as I began, marriage has a social function and we put it to use for the benefit of society. All citizens ought to be able to put it to that same use, which in regards to government has to do with gaining access to protections that are at the moment off limits. I don’t know if gays can be seen as a special class or not, but that does seem to be the argument in the Romer case which was agreed upon by the Supreme Court. So perhaps as a permanent minority there is some traction there as well.

    As well, the fact that we have ways to “manufacture” children is or was not initially driven by gays. Let’s keep that in mind. I am personally not okay with children as a commodity. That seems more a function of our market driven mentality about everything. I don’t doubt that issue of children and how they are acquired is dicey moral territory, but that reality should not impinge upon this issue. I won’t call it a complete red herring, but I do think it is a distraction from the issue at hand. We’ll have to cross that ethical bridge when we come to it (well, we’re at it more or less) and it doesn’t surprise me that it overlaps in the mind. That’s normal. There is a lot of anxiety floating around both issues , and they have to do with families, our most basic social institution. Yes, the family is also a social construction, albeit a pretty sacrosanct one because it hits so close to home (is that a pun). And yet many opt out. If it were based in biology, then we would be like wolf packs or something. But we’re humans with consciences and self-awareness. We need institutions to keep things going. My example of people who adopt their spouses child. Are they any less of a family. No, even though biology had nothing to do with it.

    And as for my personal /corporate faith, as a Lutheran I am not under the strict authority of a pope’s pronouncements. I am under the Lordship of Jesus Christ alone as given by the Holy Spirit in scripture, sacrament and the preaching of His church, the Body of Christ. I was baptized and confirmed Lutheran. My understanding of what homosexuality is and the behaviors described is scripture do not match. I have explained this many times here. There is essentially no homosexuality in the bible and as such, that word does not properly belong in the new translations. The “tradition” never used that term. It is only recently that this term has crept into our understanding of what is described in scripture. A proper exegesis of all the scripture that speaks of any kind of same sex activity is referring to something done in the worship of idols. Idolatry is the issue, not the behaviors themselves on any necessary level. Like every other ethical consideration, it exists in a context. Using “homosexuality” to describe what is in scripture is to remove the context of those passages, robbing the text of meaning and doing damage to our proper understanding/hearing of them. It is a cultural bias that is being slipped in there.

    I can said much more about this in the past many times, from a Confessional standpoint of the witness of the church. That said, I am not okay with the ELCA decision but for confessional reasons. I left the ELCA after 20 years of participation without membership not because of the decision on gays, but because they continue to fade away as Lutherans, losing their connection to sound doctrine and witness to the Gospel. They could have made a biblical and confessional argument, but they didn’t bother. I think they are more concerned about cultural relevance than right proclamation. But I saw that writing on the wall from the moment I walked in the door 20 years ago. Let’s just say it took me a while. I was given many gifts there, and it is difficult to say goodbye to an old friend, but sometimes you’ve gotta go.

    So there’s my short answer to your appeal to authority Cinn. To which authority are you appealing. Come clean. Is it the papacy? Oh well, that may be about all I have to say. I appreciate the attempt and the willingness to restate things. My intention in repeating things is because when they come back at me, they do so with some baggage that is incorrect or stretching the implications and meanings of what I am saying, and I want what I say to be clear.

  • Stephen

    I agree that we seem to be an impasse. For one, it seems that your definition of marriage rest upon and ontological assumption. That is, that marriage as institution is inherent in procreative unions. I disagree with that. I think that as an institution itself, it is fundamentally a social construct and therefore derives its purpose and meaning from what people do and not what they are. By this I mean it stems from our need for this institution for our good as humans who form societies. It is not, however, necessary for procreation itself. The social function of marriage is essentially whatever we agree it is, and as such, the definition is bound to those uses to which we put the institution.

    As an example, the neighbors across the street have just popped out a second child and they are not legally married. Yet to my mind they are married, not because babies in themselves imply marriage, but because of a larger set of circumstances like cohabitation, shared responsibilities, etc. If the father were to leave the mother and child on their own, he would not cease to be a biological father, but he is certainly not a parent (his social function) and they do not have a “marriage” regardless of whether papers were signed or not. This is about matters of conscience that work themselves out in the law. I know people who have adopted the children of their spouse, at which point, the lout who left the woman hanging is not longer a father or a parent.

    Maybe you think all that somehow proves your point, but I think it does exactly the opposite. For one thing, the behavior of my neighbors it shows how the assumption in our world now is one of autonomy, not union or fundamental relationships. Regardless, whether one believes they are the sole arbiter of meaning or that social responsibilities must happen because we live life together, conscience will goad us to work things out between us. All laws (institutions) spring from that, from our need for them, for order. Marriage is and has always been something we decide that is based on our need for it and how we can use it for good order. There are no intrinsic definitions of it as an institution beyond its social use. It is an institution not a biological necessity. How many times have I heard “traditional” used as if that somehow hammers in place what we mean. Polygamy was once “traditional” and it seems to me if the concern is really with protecting biological procreation for the sake of cultural survival, polygamy has as much right to exist as monogamy. That is in fact why it has existed before and still does – to insure the existence of a population.

    Some other thoughts are these: I am having an issue choking down the notion of “almost all” and “sometimes all” when we talk about civil unions. Those boil down to “not always” in my understanding, and there is where I think the argument of equal protection gains some traction. The antagonism I spoke of earlier has to do with the fact that unless gays always have the same protections and privileges ALWAYS they are at odds with the government which is supposed to protect them. The crossing of state lines issue is the strongest example I can think of. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination of how moving to another state might infringe on the inviolable character of a family with, say, two parents that have adopted the same child. Right there I see an issue of placing an undue burden on citizens, one which they will have go to great lengths to defend against the state, living their lives looking over their shoulder. That isn’t America.

    Given what I just wrote, I think some of the comparisons with black Americans remain apt analogies. There are still plenty of issues regarding race. Some will never be comfortable with the presence of African Americans anywhere near them, and they will believe a white person should never marry a black person. So that kind of cultural antagonism persists, but in this case it was not a matter of waiting until a vote could be cast and a majority agreed that they should receive equal protection and civil rights. It was legal and legislative actions that brought about change via our shared understanding of constitutional protections. And so I have no doubt that some will never accept gay marriage as “normal” or “good” but gays still should have the same protections the law affords for what they deem normal and good for them as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others. In fact, I don’t see a clash of rights here the same that we have with abortion. As I said, I don’t see how allowing gays to marry infringes on straight marriage at all.

    I am not for something shiny new. I am for something that is already accepted as the norm with an added component. That may look like a redefinition, but I don’t think so because as I began, marriage has a social function and we put it to use for the benefit of society. All citizens ought to be able to put it to that same use, which in regards to government has to do with gaining access to protections that are at the moment off limits. I don’t know if gays can be seen as a special class or not, but that does seem to be the argument in the Romer case which was agreed upon by the Supreme Court. So perhaps as a permanent minority there is some traction there as well.

    As well, the fact that we have ways to “manufacture” children is or was not initially driven by gays. Let’s keep that in mind. I am personally not okay with children as a commodity. That seems more a function of our market driven mentality about everything. I don’t doubt that issue of children and how they are acquired is dicey moral territory, but that reality should not impinge upon this issue. I won’t call it a complete red herring, but I do think it is a distraction from the issue at hand. We’ll have to cross that ethical bridge when we come to it (well, we’re at it more or less) and it doesn’t surprise me that it overlaps in the mind. That’s normal. There is a lot of anxiety floating around both issues , and they have to do with families, our most basic social institution. Yes, the family is also a social construction, albeit a pretty sacrosanct one because it hits so close to home (is that a pun). And yet many opt out. If it were based in biology, then we would be like wolf packs or something. But we’re humans with consciences and self-awareness. We need institutions to keep things going. My example of people who adopt their spouses child. Are they any less of a family. No, even though biology had nothing to do with it.

    And as for my personal /corporate faith, as a Lutheran I am not under the strict authority of a pope’s pronouncements. I am under the Lordship of Jesus Christ alone as given by the Holy Spirit in scripture, sacrament and the preaching of His church, the Body of Christ. I was baptized and confirmed Lutheran. My understanding of what homosexuality is and the behaviors described is scripture do not match. I have explained this many times here. There is essentially no homosexuality in the bible and as such, that word does not properly belong in the new translations. The “tradition” never used that term. It is only recently that this term has crept into our understanding of what is described in scripture. A proper exegesis of all the scripture that speaks of any kind of same sex activity is referring to something done in the worship of idols. Idolatry is the issue, not the behaviors themselves on any necessary level. Like every other ethical consideration, it exists in a context. Using “homosexuality” to describe what is in scripture is to remove the context of those passages, robbing the text of meaning and doing damage to our proper understanding/hearing of them. It is a cultural bias that is being slipped in there.

    I can said much more about this in the past many times, from a Confessional standpoint of the witness of the church. That said, I am not okay with the ELCA decision but for confessional reasons. I left the ELCA after 20 years of participation without membership not because of the decision on gays, but because they continue to fade away as Lutherans, losing their connection to sound doctrine and witness to the Gospel. They could have made a biblical and confessional argument, but they didn’t bother. I think they are more concerned about cultural relevance than right proclamation. But I saw that writing on the wall from the moment I walked in the door 20 years ago. Let’s just say it took me a while. I was given many gifts there, and it is difficult to say goodbye to an old friend, but sometimes you’ve gotta go.

    So there’s my short answer to your appeal to authority Cinn. To which authority are you appealing. Come clean. Is it the papacy? Oh well, that may be about all I have to say. I appreciate the attempt and the willingness to restate things. My intention in repeating things is because when they come back at me, they do so with some baggage that is incorrect or stretching the implications and meanings of what I am saying, and I want what I say to be clear.

  • Stephen

    Sorry about the missing conjunction/typos. Strange mental habit perhaps. Dunno . . . hope it makes sense.

  • Stephen

    Sorry about the missing conjunction/typos. Strange mental habit perhaps. Dunno . . . hope it makes sense.

  • fws

    cinncinatus @ 235

    I agree with your assessment. I look forward to your reply.

    It would be helpful for you to identify your biases. We all have them, such as your religious affiliation. If you want to claim that this has no influence at all on your views here fine. it would be great to let us take a measure as to whether we perceive that to be true or not.

  • fws

    cinncinatus @ 235

    I agree with your assessment. I look forward to your reply.

    It would be helpful for you to identify your biases. We all have them, such as your religious affiliation. If you want to claim that this has no influence at all on your views here fine. it would be great to let us take a measure as to whether we perceive that to be true or not.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Claiming, as sg does, that gay marriage has ” negative marginal utility for society” is just that – conjecture – and has in no way been proven to be the case.”

    It would cost society and society would gain nothing. Therefore negative marginal utility.

    Gays who marry would get spousal benefits that they don’t now. Therefore increased marginal utility.

    It is not theoretical.

    The benefit to society of gays adopting thereby saving state funds by keeping kids from being wards of the state has already been achieved. So there is nothing to gain there. Gays who want to form families already do, and they do it on their own dime. So changes would cost the rest of us and cost them less, potentially. There is no potential benefit to society.

    On the intangible side is the very real possibility of unchecked growth of dysfunction due to social acceptance etc. We already see it among females due to the social acceptance of female promiscuity.

    “Even if homosexuality were considered a defect of some sort, it is one which, like other disabilities, poses no inherent threat. That too is proven by the way the majority of gays lead their lives – not any more or less “deviant” in their appetites or habits than anyone else, and perhaps even a few degrees more cautious as a minority.”

    This is just not true.

    Gays have shorter lifespans due to sexually transmitted disease. They are less likely to have one and only one life time partner than heteros. They are far more likely to have very many more partners. There is no evidence that they are more cautious. Rather evidence shows they are less cautious. Now, that is not an argument against gay marriage because the more family oriented ones would likely be the ones who would marry, but of course we don’t know that for sure.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Claiming, as sg does, that gay marriage has ” negative marginal utility for society” is just that – conjecture – and has in no way been proven to be the case.”

    It would cost society and society would gain nothing. Therefore negative marginal utility.

    Gays who marry would get spousal benefits that they don’t now. Therefore increased marginal utility.

    It is not theoretical.

    The benefit to society of gays adopting thereby saving state funds by keeping kids from being wards of the state has already been achieved. So there is nothing to gain there. Gays who want to form families already do, and they do it on their own dime. So changes would cost the rest of us and cost them less, potentially. There is no potential benefit to society.

    On the intangible side is the very real possibility of unchecked growth of dysfunction due to social acceptance etc. We already see it among females due to the social acceptance of female promiscuity.

    “Even if homosexuality were considered a defect of some sort, it is one which, like other disabilities, poses no inherent threat. That too is proven by the way the majority of gays lead their lives – not any more or less “deviant” in their appetites or habits than anyone else, and perhaps even a few degrees more cautious as a minority.”

    This is just not true.

    Gays have shorter lifespans due to sexually transmitted disease. They are less likely to have one and only one life time partner than heteros. They are far more likely to have very many more partners. There is no evidence that they are more cautious. Rather evidence shows they are less cautious. Now, that is not an argument against gay marriage because the more family oriented ones would likely be the ones who would marry, but of course we don’t know that for sure.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    I think the first statement and the last sentence are almost contradictory. Society would gain, as well as gays, from the stability that marriage provides. The promiscuity you note would likely decrease as there would be a means and and an avenue to live a chaste life with the assurance that the institution is a valid one that is supported legally. That does not mean everyone has to like it. As it is, however, what validity they have is set up against them to circumspect and antagonistic with the government of the country in which they live, work and pay taxes. That relationship lacks the certainty that the legal protections of marriage provide. Legal legitimacy matters to concretize to a large degree those the bond and commitments necessary for marriage, which is why we look for it in marriage licenses that secure the sovereignty of that bond, and why the government and larger society have a stake in supporting it.

    While you are likely correct about promiscuity among gays, that is much more likely the province of men and not so much with lesbians. It’s largely a guy thing. I wonder what would happen if we did not have marriage to set those boundaries for men. Any guesses? As a rather extreme example that I have used before, what is the first thing men do when they win a battle in a war? A certain percentage of them, probably from among the unmarried ones but who knows, look for young women to rape. Men are more predatory, and yes, young women have picked up on this of late. But that has nothing to do with orientation. Are those largely homosexuals or heterosexuals in prison? Difficult to tell because men are so promisuous they will “trade natural affections” if they have to to get sexual gratification (Romans 1:27). Are more women raped or young men? On another thread I was expected to accept that homosexuality and pediphilia were the same thing. If heterosexual males are prone to rape, what does that say about heterosexual males? Shouldn’t we be cautious about which ones get married in order to protect women?

    Gays already do contribute a great deal to society as we all know. As a minority, their hard work, citizenship, civic involvement, and even devotion their faith is comparable to straights as far as I know. While gay males may have a larger number of partners compared to straight males, that could be because women do not make themselves as available. Males look for sex more.

    Regardless, allowing gays full protections to lead chaste lives can only serve to contribute to the solution, not the problem. I see that as a benefit – better for them, for us, for their kids and the integrity and viability of their family.

    So it depends on what kinds of benefits we are after. Do we want citizens who contribute to the economy and well-being of our country in one sphere of their life to be disenfranchised and detached from legal protections in another? Would it be better to have the institution of marriage to channel the sex drive in a more positive, healthy direction, or continue to let some citizens be adrift and uncertain about the invioble character of their committment. How is that beneficial?

    If we think about our own marriages, what role does the fact that our marriages are recognized and valid in every way play in our being able to maintain them faithfully?

  • Stephen

    sg -

    I think the first statement and the last sentence are almost contradictory. Society would gain, as well as gays, from the stability that marriage provides. The promiscuity you note would likely decrease as there would be a means and and an avenue to live a chaste life with the assurance that the institution is a valid one that is supported legally. That does not mean everyone has to like it. As it is, however, what validity they have is set up against them to circumspect and antagonistic with the government of the country in which they live, work and pay taxes. That relationship lacks the certainty that the legal protections of marriage provide. Legal legitimacy matters to concretize to a large degree those the bond and commitments necessary for marriage, which is why we look for it in marriage licenses that secure the sovereignty of that bond, and why the government and larger society have a stake in supporting it.

    While you are likely correct about promiscuity among gays, that is much more likely the province of men and not so much with lesbians. It’s largely a guy thing. I wonder what would happen if we did not have marriage to set those boundaries for men. Any guesses? As a rather extreme example that I have used before, what is the first thing men do when they win a battle in a war? A certain percentage of them, probably from among the unmarried ones but who knows, look for young women to rape. Men are more predatory, and yes, young women have picked up on this of late. But that has nothing to do with orientation. Are those largely homosexuals or heterosexuals in prison? Difficult to tell because men are so promisuous they will “trade natural affections” if they have to to get sexual gratification (Romans 1:27). Are more women raped or young men? On another thread I was expected to accept that homosexuality and pediphilia were the same thing. If heterosexual males are prone to rape, what does that say about heterosexual males? Shouldn’t we be cautious about which ones get married in order to protect women?

    Gays already do contribute a great deal to society as we all know. As a minority, their hard work, citizenship, civic involvement, and even devotion their faith is comparable to straights as far as I know. While gay males may have a larger number of partners compared to straight males, that could be because women do not make themselves as available. Males look for sex more.

    Regardless, allowing gays full protections to lead chaste lives can only serve to contribute to the solution, not the problem. I see that as a benefit – better for them, for us, for their kids and the integrity and viability of their family.

    So it depends on what kinds of benefits we are after. Do we want citizens who contribute to the economy and well-being of our country in one sphere of their life to be disenfranchised and detached from legal protections in another? Would it be better to have the institution of marriage to channel the sex drive in a more positive, healthy direction, or continue to let some citizens be adrift and uncertain about the invioble character of their committment. How is that beneficial?

    If we think about our own marriages, what role does the fact that our marriages are recognized and valid in every way play in our being able to maintain them faithfully?

  • Jeremy

    @ Cincinnatus @ 226

    You had criticized me for bringing up the proposition that educated people tend not to decry gay marriage. It’s not just true in academia, it’s true of young, educated people in general. I noticed you attacked this statement as off-topic and not polite, as opposed to attacking this for being false. Since we both understand this statement as true, let me defend myself on the other 2 points.

    I had brought this up because another poster, sg, had said how great a country the US and other western nations are. It was if she was saying, “Aren’t these countries great! If only they could get rid of gay marriage.” The problem is that is impossible, even if we wanted to. Education is a foundation to the pursuit of happiness in these countries. And the problem is that education is inherently poisonous to certain ideas, particularly religious ones with no foundation. Conservative Christian colleges see this problem all the time. They try to handle the dangerous material of education while wanting to hang on to antiquated ideas, and it can be disastrous for them if they aren’t really careful. Al Mohler, a hard-line conservative, once said in his radio program concerning his conservative seminaries “liberal theology is always threatening to take us away from the shore and out to sea”.

  • Jeremy

    @ Cincinnatus @ 226

    You had criticized me for bringing up the proposition that educated people tend not to decry gay marriage. It’s not just true in academia, it’s true of young, educated people in general. I noticed you attacked this statement as off-topic and not polite, as opposed to attacking this for being false. Since we both understand this statement as true, let me defend myself on the other 2 points.

    I had brought this up because another poster, sg, had said how great a country the US and other western nations are. It was if she was saying, “Aren’t these countries great! If only they could get rid of gay marriage.” The problem is that is impossible, even if we wanted to. Education is a foundation to the pursuit of happiness in these countries. And the problem is that education is inherently poisonous to certain ideas, particularly religious ones with no foundation. Conservative Christian colleges see this problem all the time. They try to handle the dangerous material of education while wanting to hang on to antiquated ideas, and it can be disastrous for them if they aren’t really careful. Al Mohler, a hard-line conservative, once said in his radio program concerning his conservative seminaries “liberal theology is always threatening to take us away from the shore and out to sea”.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jeremy: Education is only dangerous to religion in that it calls (or at least can call) religion into question, not because it inevitably proves that religion, along with cultural prejudices, is false or bigoted. Furthermore, eliminating gay marriage, if indeed that is a worthy goal, is only impossible if you’re an historical determinist. How absurd! Would you have said that eliminating Soviet communism was also impossible in the 1950s because most youth supported it and because education, especially at the post-secondary level, both in the West and the East often preached its virtues? I am not a determinist. I do not believe that history is ineluctably progressing toward an egalitarian, democratic utopia–assuming gay marriage has the slightest thing to do with such a vision. Besides, there was a time when most educated folks would have opposed gay marriage, if they even considered the question, and that time may or may not return. Again, history, especially intellectual history, is not deterministic.

    Complicating the problem is the fact that mass public education in the United States has, for at least a century, been very consciously an exercise in inculcating within (i.e., indoctrinating) students a set of equally prejudicial beliefs that will make them “good citizens.” Today and for the last several decades, these beliefs have essentially included an extreme form of tolerance, pluralism, and social progressivism. Of course, if one tells children what to think for years on end–that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable/normal, that thinking otherwise is probably homophobic, etc.–then educators are likely to see statistical results at some point–namely, now. It’s like you’re bragging about the fact that American students can’t think for themselves. If American schools decided that good citizenship involves religious fidelity and traditional virtues, you can bet that more American youth would support those ideas than is the case presently.

    In other words, I don’t know what vision you have of what goes on in American schools, but it’s not a Socratic paradise in which children are being taught to think independently and question boldly–a process which in your opinion must automatically result in an embrace of gay marriage (which is not primarily a religious idea with no foundation, sir). The sheer homogeneity, the dogmatic orthodoxy of the freshman students who walk into my classrooms is just staggering: they can’t string together a coherent sentence, but they are virtually and almost robotically unanimous on a collection of social questions (gay marriage = good!; religion in the public sphere = bad! etc.) As public education everywhere, in particular the United States, has been since its founding, it is education into a particular set of presuppositions and cultural priorities, not an attempt to produce free thinkers and philosophers.

    Meanwhile, I have no idea how the quote from Mohler relates. Education aside, dangerous ideas are always “threatening to take us away from the shore and out to sea” (and isn’t that a vague reference to Scripture?). One may as well substitute for “liberal theology” terms like “fascism” or “communism” or “misogyny.”

    No, I’m sorry, jeremy, even if you weren’t intentionally being offensive, your comments on this topic are at least as bigoted as those whom you are targeting.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jeremy: Education is only dangerous to religion in that it calls (or at least can call) religion into question, not because it inevitably proves that religion, along with cultural prejudices, is false or bigoted. Furthermore, eliminating gay marriage, if indeed that is a worthy goal, is only impossible if you’re an historical determinist. How absurd! Would you have said that eliminating Soviet communism was also impossible in the 1950s because most youth supported it and because education, especially at the post-secondary level, both in the West and the East often preached its virtues? I am not a determinist. I do not believe that history is ineluctably progressing toward an egalitarian, democratic utopia–assuming gay marriage has the slightest thing to do with such a vision. Besides, there was a time when most educated folks would have opposed gay marriage, if they even considered the question, and that time may or may not return. Again, history, especially intellectual history, is not deterministic.

    Complicating the problem is the fact that mass public education in the United States has, for at least a century, been very consciously an exercise in inculcating within (i.e., indoctrinating) students a set of equally prejudicial beliefs that will make them “good citizens.” Today and for the last several decades, these beliefs have essentially included an extreme form of tolerance, pluralism, and social progressivism. Of course, if one tells children what to think for years on end–that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable/normal, that thinking otherwise is probably homophobic, etc.–then educators are likely to see statistical results at some point–namely, now. It’s like you’re bragging about the fact that American students can’t think for themselves. If American schools decided that good citizenship involves religious fidelity and traditional virtues, you can bet that more American youth would support those ideas than is the case presently.

    In other words, I don’t know what vision you have of what goes on in American schools, but it’s not a Socratic paradise in which children are being taught to think independently and question boldly–a process which in your opinion must automatically result in an embrace of gay marriage (which is not primarily a religious idea with no foundation, sir). The sheer homogeneity, the dogmatic orthodoxy of the freshman students who walk into my classrooms is just staggering: they can’t string together a coherent sentence, but they are virtually and almost robotically unanimous on a collection of social questions (gay marriage = good!; religion in the public sphere = bad! etc.) As public education everywhere, in particular the United States, has been since its founding, it is education into a particular set of presuppositions and cultural priorities, not an attempt to produce free thinkers and philosophers.

    Meanwhile, I have no idea how the quote from Mohler relates. Education aside, dangerous ideas are always “threatening to take us away from the shore and out to sea” (and isn’t that a vague reference to Scripture?). One may as well substitute for “liberal theology” terms like “fascism” or “communism” or “misogyny.”

    No, I’m sorry, jeremy, even if you weren’t intentionally being offensive, your comments on this topic are at least as bigoted as those whom you are targeting.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: Do you have an email address? My promised reply to you is horrifically long, and I fear it would be rather boring to other participants in the thread.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: Do you have an email address? My promised reply to you is horrifically long, and I fear it would be rather boring to other participants in the thread.

  • fws

    cinn @ 243

    fwsonnek@gmail.com

    i would suggest that you post it here even if it is long. you said my questions are fair questions. there are alot here who would welcome the answer to them.

  • fws

    cinn @ 243

    fwsonnek@gmail.com

    i would suggest that you post it here even if it is long. you said my questions are fair questions. there are alot here who would welcome the answer to them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Regardless, allowing gays full protections to lead chaste lives can only serve to contribute to the solution, not the problem.”

    Anthropologically speaking, this is baseless wishful thinking.

    The point is that they don’t need protection. Kids need the protection of marriage, independent adults do not. Probably why so many straights just cohabit. Marriage is about obligation. It is a legal entanglement that creates more responsibilities. Society has no interest in nor any obligation to underwrite the relationship of two independent adults. Plenty of heterosexuals realize this and don’t expect recognition of marriage for their relationship, sometimes even when they have children together. Right now calling people homophobic is just funny. But it will be far more toxic if the law further recognizes homosexual relationships by pretending a marriage exists.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Regardless, allowing gays full protections to lead chaste lives can only serve to contribute to the solution, not the problem.”

    Anthropologically speaking, this is baseless wishful thinking.

    The point is that they don’t need protection. Kids need the protection of marriage, independent adults do not. Probably why so many straights just cohabit. Marriage is about obligation. It is a legal entanglement that creates more responsibilities. Society has no interest in nor any obligation to underwrite the relationship of two independent adults. Plenty of heterosexuals realize this and don’t expect recognition of marriage for their relationship, sometimes even when they have children together. Right now calling people homophobic is just funny. But it will be far more toxic if the law further recognizes homosexual relationships by pretending a marriage exists.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As public education everywhere, in particular the United States, has been since its founding, it is education into a particular set of presuppositions and cultural priorities, not an attempt to produce free thinkers and philosophers.”

    That is why the number and percentage of home schooled and private school kids rises annually. Many parents want their children to receive their heritage of our great western tradition including the religion their forebears sacrificed so much to pass down to them. Public education is cutting them off from it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As public education everywhere, in particular the United States, has been since its founding, it is education into a particular set of presuppositions and cultural priorities, not an attempt to produce free thinkers and philosophers.”

    That is why the number and percentage of home schooled and private school kids rises annually. Many parents want their children to receive their heritage of our great western tradition including the religion their forebears sacrificed so much to pass down to them. Public education is cutting them off from it.

  • Stephen

    @ 245

    Toxic? Since we are calling things baseless, that certainly is. And I certainly don’t here a ringing endorsement for marriage. Take it or leave it. No one cares. Now it sounds like an argument that marriage is fairly pointless altogether. Whatever you say. If kids are all it’s about, well then, gays can and do have children. So . . .

    By the way, did I call anyone homophobic?

  • Stephen

    @ 245

    Toxic? Since we are calling things baseless, that certainly is. And I certainly don’t here a ringing endorsement for marriage. Take it or leave it. No one cares. Now it sounds like an argument that marriage is fairly pointless altogether. Whatever you say. If kids are all it’s about, well then, gays can and do have children. So . . .

    By the way, did I call anyone homophobic?


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