Gay marriage & totalitarianism

We have discussed gay marriage in terms of theology and morality.  Now let us consider it in political terms.   What kind of government is it that takes to itself the power and the authority to make such a radical change in the institution of marriage?   George Weigel makes the connection between gay marriage and totalitarianism:

As analysts running the gamut from Hannah Arendt to Leszek Kolakowski understood, modern totalitarian systems were, at bottom, attempts to remake reality by redefining reality and remaking human beings in the process. Coercive state power was essential to this process, because reality doesn’t yield easily to remaking, and neither do people. In the lands Communism tried to remake, the human instinct for justice — justice that is rooted in reality rather than ephemeral opinion — was too strong to change the way tastemakers change fashions in the arts. Men and women had to be coerced into accepting, however sullenly, the Communist New Order, which was a new metaphysical, epistemological, and moral order — a New Order of reality, a new set of “truths,” and a new way of living “in harmony with society,” as late-bureaucratic Communist claptrap had it.

The 21st-century state’s attempt to redefine marriage is just such an attempt to redefine reality — in this case, a reality that existed before the state, for marriage as the union of a man and a woman ordered to mutual love and procreation is a human reality that existed before the state. And a just state is obliged to recognize, not redefine, it.

Moreover, marriage and the families that are built around marriage constitute one of the basic elements of civil society, that free space of free associations whose boundaries the just state must respect. If the 21st-century democratic state attempts to redefine something it has neither the capacity nor the authority to refine, it can only do so coercively. That redefinition, and its legal enforcement, is a grave encroachment into civil society.

If the state can redefine marriage and enforce that redefinition, it can do so with the doctor-patient relationship, the lawyer-client relationship, the parent-child relationship, the confessor-penitent relationship, and virtually every other relationship that is woven into the texture of civil society. In doing so, the state does serious damage to the democratic project. Concurrently, it reduces what it tries to substitute for reality to farce.

via No Homophobia – George Weigel – National Review Online.

“Totalitarianism” does not just mean that the government is authoritarian and anti-democratic.   Plenty of dictators preside over that kind of government, but they are not totalitarian.  That term  means a government that is “total,” that asserts its sovereignty and its control over EVERYTHING.   A government that presumes to alter the institution of the family is surely over-reaching in that direction.

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.

  • Jeremy

    I would think a government that stops people who want to get married would be the more totalitarian government. Maybe in new-speak, a more powerful government restricting freedoms is actually liberty.

  • Jeremy

    I would think a government that stops people who want to get married would be the more totalitarian government. Maybe in new-speak, a more powerful government restricting freedoms is actually liberty.

  • Sally

    Jeremy, I think you are missing the fact that marriage existed before the state – that marriage is NOT what the state is designed to define, whether heterosexual or not. Vieth’s point: doctor-patient, lawyer-client, confessor-penitent. The state is nothing but encroaching power, and gay “marriage” is one facet of many that gov’t should GET OUT OF.

  • Sally

    Jeremy, I think you are missing the fact that marriage existed before the state – that marriage is NOT what the state is designed to define, whether heterosexual or not. Vieth’s point: doctor-patient, lawyer-client, confessor-penitent. The state is nothing but encroaching power, and gay “marriage” is one facet of many that gov’t should GET OUT OF.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    No, Jeremy. A government that doesn’t let people “do what they want” might be authoritarian, but it isn’t totalitarian. The latter claims TOTAL power over all of culture. Asserting sovereignty over other cultural entities–like the family, but also the church, schools, the arts, literature, and you name it–would be totalitarian. A totalitarian state might let people do what they want to do, as long as it is in the state’s interest.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    No, Jeremy. A government that doesn’t let people “do what they want” might be authoritarian, but it isn’t totalitarian. The latter claims TOTAL power over all of culture. Asserting sovereignty over other cultural entities–like the family, but also the church, schools, the arts, literature, and you name it–would be totalitarian. A totalitarian state might let people do what they want to do, as long as it is in the state’s interest.

  • Booklover

    When the government messes with its own basic unit, the family, reverberations are felt for generations to come. When a young man made a young woman pregnant before 1973, there was often cultural pressure to do the honorable thing and form his own little family unit with the young woman. Now he is free to destroy that unit and force the woman he laid with to destroy his own child. Totalitarian redefinitions have consequences for the family, the culture, and the soul.

  • Booklover

    When the government messes with its own basic unit, the family, reverberations are felt for generations to come. When a young man made a young woman pregnant before 1973, there was often cultural pressure to do the honorable thing and form his own little family unit with the young woman. Now he is free to destroy that unit and force the woman he laid with to destroy his own child. Totalitarian redefinitions have consequences for the family, the culture, and the soul.

  • Jeremy

    Social conservatives are claiming that the government should stay out of the marriage question? Seriously? I don’t see how anyone could argue this. Wasn’t it them who are trying to change the constitution of the California with Proposition 8? Didn’t George Bush suggest an amendment to the US constitution on marriage? I’m reminded of the tea-partiers with the protest sign “keep government out of my Medicare”.

  • Jeremy

    Social conservatives are claiming that the government should stay out of the marriage question? Seriously? I don’t see how anyone could argue this. Wasn’t it them who are trying to change the constitution of the California with Proposition 8? Didn’t George Bush suggest an amendment to the US constitution on marriage? I’m reminded of the tea-partiers with the protest sign “keep government out of my Medicare”.

  • Helen F

    Well, we are not there yet, but if the Obama administration continues in the aggressive manner in which it has pursued other changes in society, I seriously doubt that it WONT happen in our lifetime!

  • Helen F

    Well, we are not there yet, but if the Obama administration continues in the aggressive manner in which it has pursued other changes in society, I seriously doubt that it WONT happen in our lifetime!

  • norman teigen

    I think that this argument is intellectually dishonest. The speaker assumes that the reader would be opposed to totalitarianism (who isn’t?) and then assumes that since he links his view of homosexual marriage to totalitarianism the reader will buy the linked ideas.

    Sorry. I’m not buying it. The speaker cannot assume that all members of his audience are so gullible.

  • norman teigen

    I think that this argument is intellectually dishonest. The speaker assumes that the reader would be opposed to totalitarianism (who isn’t?) and then assumes that since he links his view of homosexual marriage to totalitarianism the reader will buy the linked ideas.

    Sorry. I’m not buying it. The speaker cannot assume that all members of his audience are so gullible.

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

    The Walmart decision seems highly relevant here. The Supreme Court essentially told Walmart that if they had adopted a consistent promotion policy and used a test, they would have been in big trouble.

    From the majority opinion: “Wal-Mart has no testing procedure or other companywide evaluation method that can be charged with bias.”

    The real reason Wal-Mart won reaffirmed that businesses that chose a more standarized promotion system would be punished by the government.

    So, government doesn’t like it when businesses are consistent.

    How is “consistent” different from “totalitarian”?

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

    The Walmart decision seems highly relevant here. The Supreme Court essentially told Walmart that if they had adopted a consistent promotion policy and used a test, they would have been in big trouble.

    From the majority opinion: “Wal-Mart has no testing procedure or other companywide evaluation method that can be charged with bias.”

    The real reason Wal-Mart won reaffirmed that businesses that chose a more standarized promotion system would be punished by the government.

    So, government doesn’t like it when businesses are consistent.

    How is “consistent” different from “totalitarian”?

  • no.4kitty

    Our government should step in and stop this sort of totalitarianism.
    Maybe when the GOP takes the White House again they can create another form of the Patriot Act to stamp out homosexuality.

  • no.4kitty

    Our government should step in and stop this sort of totalitarianism.
    Maybe when the GOP takes the White House again they can create another form of the Patriot Act to stamp out homosexuality.

  • DonS

    Well, I guess I partially agree and partially disagree with the point the author is making. I get that totalitarianism includes the notion that the term “…means a government that is ‘total,’ that asserts its sovereignty and its control over EVERYTHING.” But, historically, the term applies to a more dictatorial form of government, not a democratic one. I think it’s a stretch to call a properly functioning democracy “totalitarian” simply because its citizens have chosen a heavy-handed form of government. This is the part I disagree with.

    On the other hand, our government, in many respects, isn’t a properly functioning democracy. We have allowed unelected regulators and judges to make a lot of policy for us, and this policy tends to have a totalitarian flavor. Obviously, Roe v. Wade is the best example of this totalitarian action on the part of our government. Recent judicial decisions regarding gay marriage seem to be moving along this same path. So, this is the part of the article I agree with.

    Jeremy @ 1, to address your concern, no one in the government of this country is prohibiting gays from forming a relationship together, co-habiting, and calling it marriage. Moreover, in most parts of the country, these couples can gain many of the benefits that married people have by entering into agreements with one another, often called civil unions. The only issue is whether the people, through their government, can be forced to sanction those unions as marriage. It IS a freedom issue, but the freedom at stake is the right of the people to self-governance, and to make their own determination, through the democratic process, whether they want to validate those relationships under the civil term “marriage”. Or, alternatively, whether this is yet one more area that is to be taken away from our democratic process and placed instead within the purview of the unelected and undemocratic courts.

  • DonS

    Well, I guess I partially agree and partially disagree with the point the author is making. I get that totalitarianism includes the notion that the term “…means a government that is ‘total,’ that asserts its sovereignty and its control over EVERYTHING.” But, historically, the term applies to a more dictatorial form of government, not a democratic one. I think it’s a stretch to call a properly functioning democracy “totalitarian” simply because its citizens have chosen a heavy-handed form of government. This is the part I disagree with.

    On the other hand, our government, in many respects, isn’t a properly functioning democracy. We have allowed unelected regulators and judges to make a lot of policy for us, and this policy tends to have a totalitarian flavor. Obviously, Roe v. Wade is the best example of this totalitarian action on the part of our government. Recent judicial decisions regarding gay marriage seem to be moving along this same path. So, this is the part of the article I agree with.

    Jeremy @ 1, to address your concern, no one in the government of this country is prohibiting gays from forming a relationship together, co-habiting, and calling it marriage. Moreover, in most parts of the country, these couples can gain many of the benefits that married people have by entering into agreements with one another, often called civil unions. The only issue is whether the people, through their government, can be forced to sanction those unions as marriage. It IS a freedom issue, but the freedom at stake is the right of the people to self-governance, and to make their own determination, through the democratic process, whether they want to validate those relationships under the civil term “marriage”. Or, alternatively, whether this is yet one more area that is to be taken away from our democratic process and placed instead within the purview of the unelected and undemocratic courts.

  • Joe

    DonS – a properly functioning democracy is by very definition Totalitarian. Democracy means that 50% plus 1 can do whatever they want, without limitation. They can even execute Socrates for corrupting the minds of the youth and not believing in the gods of the state.

    What keeps our system from being totalitarian are the anti-democratic features of it.

  • Joe

    DonS – a properly functioning democracy is by very definition Totalitarian. Democracy means that 50% plus 1 can do whatever they want, without limitation. They can even execute Socrates for corrupting the minds of the youth and not believing in the gods of the state.

    What keeps our system from being totalitarian are the anti-democratic features of it.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 11: I get your point, but I think you know that wasn’t what I meant. In my view, any government isn’t properly functioning if it is not operating under a constitution which reserves rights to the people.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 11: I get your point, but I think you know that wasn’t what I meant. In my view, any government isn’t properly functioning if it is not operating under a constitution which reserves rights to the people.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Is this really about the government regulating marriage? Or is it about the gays?

    Because in most states, you can’t get married until you’re 18 (16 with parental consent), more or less. But this was not always historically so. So is anyone here bothered by the state’s totalitarian intrusion into laws defining the marriageable age? Do we really expect states to be able, by mere legislative fiat, to deny the existence of puberty before the age of majority? Aren’t these minimum-marriage-age laws, at their heart, Communist? Shouldn’t we repeal them first — remember, every state has one! — before we go on to address the few states that allow for gay marriage?

    Conversely, dare we deny the reality of homosexuality by forbidding them to marry? Because reality is there, whether our laws allow for it or not: there are gay people, and they desire companionship. Many of them desire exclusive, committed companionship. Can we legislate this reality away merely by denying them access to the same benefits we extend to straight couples? To play at Mr. Weigel’s game, isn’t denying the reality of homosexuals and their desires equally totalitarian?

    And, um, sorry, but is he actually complaining about the state’s ability to define the “lawyer-client relationship”? The state without which, um, the laws — and therefore the lawyer — would not exist? Gosh, how presumptuous of the state would that be!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Is this really about the government regulating marriage? Or is it about the gays?

    Because in most states, you can’t get married until you’re 18 (16 with parental consent), more or less. But this was not always historically so. So is anyone here bothered by the state’s totalitarian intrusion into laws defining the marriageable age? Do we really expect states to be able, by mere legislative fiat, to deny the existence of puberty before the age of majority? Aren’t these minimum-marriage-age laws, at their heart, Communist? Shouldn’t we repeal them first — remember, every state has one! — before we go on to address the few states that allow for gay marriage?

    Conversely, dare we deny the reality of homosexuality by forbidding them to marry? Because reality is there, whether our laws allow for it or not: there are gay people, and they desire companionship. Many of them desire exclusive, committed companionship. Can we legislate this reality away merely by denying them access to the same benefits we extend to straight couples? To play at Mr. Weigel’s game, isn’t denying the reality of homosexuals and their desires equally totalitarian?

    And, um, sorry, but is he actually complaining about the state’s ability to define the “lawyer-client relationship”? The state without which, um, the laws — and therefore the lawyer — would not exist? Gosh, how presumptuous of the state would that be!

  • Jon

    I get the moral dimensions of the opposition to gay marriage, and I understand that that is not the topic here. But I don’t get the discussion in terms of government power. If the government prohibits a private business from, say, refusing to serve only Lutherans at its public lunch counters, is that totalitarianism? Isn’t the government thereby forcing the business owners to sanction religious integration? Isn’t that a freedom issue for the owners?

  • Jon

    I get the moral dimensions of the opposition to gay marriage, and I understand that that is not the topic here. But I don’t get the discussion in terms of government power. If the government prohibits a private business from, say, refusing to serve only Lutherans at its public lunch counters, is that totalitarianism? Isn’t the government thereby forcing the business owners to sanction religious integration? Isn’t that a freedom issue for the owners?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    In line with Norman (@7), I think this whole Weigel article is little more than an attempt to tie gay marriage to some big, bad bête noire. “Gosh,” I’m supposed to think, “I wasn’t opposed to gay marriage at the legal level, but I don’t like totalitarianism. Guess I’m voting against gay marriage — to stick it to the Communists!”

    But then, I think there’s plenty of word-play to go around here. Veith says, “‘Totalitarianism’ does not just mean that the government is authoritarian and anti-democratic,” but the good folks at Merriam-Webster don’t seem to see such a clear distinction:

    1a: of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy : authoritarian, dictatorial; especially: despotic
    1b: of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life and productive capacity of the nation especially by coercive measures (as censorship and terrorism)

    I tend to think of totalitarianism, a la Jeremy (@1), as denying or forcing, not merely allowing. That is, after all, the evil associated with that kind of government that Weigel is hoping to tap into here, right?

    If the government tells me whom I can or can’t marry, they are exercising control over me. Allowing gay marriage doesn’t do that, though.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    In line with Norman (@7), I think this whole Weigel article is little more than an attempt to tie gay marriage to some big, bad bête noire. “Gosh,” I’m supposed to think, “I wasn’t opposed to gay marriage at the legal level, but I don’t like totalitarianism. Guess I’m voting against gay marriage — to stick it to the Communists!”

    But then, I think there’s plenty of word-play to go around here. Veith says, “‘Totalitarianism’ does not just mean that the government is authoritarian and anti-democratic,” but the good folks at Merriam-Webster don’t seem to see such a clear distinction:

    1a: of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy : authoritarian, dictatorial; especially: despotic
    1b: of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life and productive capacity of the nation especially by coercive measures (as censorship and terrorism)

    I tend to think of totalitarianism, a la Jeremy (@1), as denying or forcing, not merely allowing. That is, after all, the evil associated with that kind of government that Weigel is hoping to tap into here, right?

    If the government tells me whom I can or can’t marry, they are exercising control over me. Allowing gay marriage doesn’t do that, though.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@10),

    The only issue is whether the people, through their government, can be forced to sanction those unions as marriage. It IS a freedom issue, but the freedom at stake is the right of the people to self-governance, and to make their own determination, through the democratic process, whether they want to validate those relationships under the civil term “marriage”.

    Well, to date, I’m forced to sanction the marriages of Christians to unbelievers, even though I think that will have seriously harmful effects on the faith of the Christians. I’m forced to sanction the marriages of abusive jerks to nice women, and I’m forced to sanction the marriages of gold-digging women to naive older men. And I’m forced to sanction the marriages of celebrities that are unlikely to last a year or two.

    So if I were to pass laws prohibiting all of these marriages from happening, I’d actually be pursuing an agenda of freedom? Isn’t it more totalitarian for the state to validate (on my behalf) all those horrible marriages?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@10),

    The only issue is whether the people, through their government, can be forced to sanction those unions as marriage. It IS a freedom issue, but the freedom at stake is the right of the people to self-governance, and to make their own determination, through the democratic process, whether they want to validate those relationships under the civil term “marriage”.

    Well, to date, I’m forced to sanction the marriages of Christians to unbelievers, even though I think that will have seriously harmful effects on the faith of the Christians. I’m forced to sanction the marriages of abusive jerks to nice women, and I’m forced to sanction the marriages of gold-digging women to naive older men. And I’m forced to sanction the marriages of celebrities that are unlikely to last a year or two.

    So if I were to pass laws prohibiting all of these marriages from happening, I’d actually be pursuing an agenda of freedom? Isn’t it more totalitarian for the state to validate (on my behalf) all those horrible marriages?

  • Chips

    George Weigel and Dr. Veith understand that once the state and the courts are allowed to dictate the terms of sacred marriage, those who oppose homosexual marriage on a biblical and natural law basis will be forced to recant their views on pain of prosecution. That’s why, a Swedish pastor, Ake Green, was jailed for having offended homosexuals in a sermon. What’s happening in the U.S. is that slowly but surely those who question the morality of homosexual behavior and marriage are branded as homophobic bigots, subject to legal action.

  • Chips

    George Weigel and Dr. Veith understand that once the state and the courts are allowed to dictate the terms of sacred marriage, those who oppose homosexual marriage on a biblical and natural law basis will be forced to recant their views on pain of prosecution. That’s why, a Swedish pastor, Ake Green, was jailed for having offended homosexuals in a sermon. What’s happening in the U.S. is that slowly but surely those who question the morality of homosexual behavior and marriage are branded as homophobic bigots, subject to legal action.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    What some folks seem to be missing in their frantic bluster is that there is a difference between recognizing something and defining it. If marriage is something to be recognized, then any government is going to have laws that detail how this recognition occurs (ages, licenses, common law, etc)–this is a practical part of its administrative tasks. Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that legal guidelines for recognition are not the same thing as legal creation ex nihilo.

    One could argue that marriage has no existence other than governmental mandate–that there is no “marriage” to recognize and only a category for us to define. One could argue that gay marriages really are authentic marriages, but nobody ever noticed this until the last few decades. However, being completely oblivious to the fact that many people see gay relationships as something completely other than marriage and then accusing them of rhetorical trickery for describing the shift from recognition to definition as “totalitarian” is incredibly myopic. The fact that this myopia is being expressed with such arrogant spite is just sad.

    Oh, and about a century ago (back when totalitarianism was a new word) many believed that it was a good thing. It only gained the unfavorable connotation after people found that it pretty much always resulted in the authoritarian violence which makes many think it is just another synonym for dictatorship.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    What some folks seem to be missing in their frantic bluster is that there is a difference between recognizing something and defining it. If marriage is something to be recognized, then any government is going to have laws that detail how this recognition occurs (ages, licenses, common law, etc)–this is a practical part of its administrative tasks. Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that legal guidelines for recognition are not the same thing as legal creation ex nihilo.

    One could argue that marriage has no existence other than governmental mandate–that there is no “marriage” to recognize and only a category for us to define. One could argue that gay marriages really are authentic marriages, but nobody ever noticed this until the last few decades. However, being completely oblivious to the fact that many people see gay relationships as something completely other than marriage and then accusing them of rhetorical trickery for describing the shift from recognition to definition as “totalitarian” is incredibly myopic. The fact that this myopia is being expressed with such arrogant spite is just sad.

    Oh, and about a century ago (back when totalitarianism was a new word) many believed that it was a good thing. It only gained the unfavorable connotation after people found that it pretty much always resulted in the authoritarian violence which makes many think it is just another synonym for dictatorship.

  • Steve P.

    Totalitarianism is the reduction of independent autonomous institutions to one. If the government does this to us, and yes, only the most naive of us think gay “marriage” is anything other than an effort to use the naive to gain control of the two last independent institutions, the church and family, we really have to opt out, otherwise this will be used to persecute and control pastors, and to institutionalize and centralize child rearing.

    If they attempt to change the legal definition of “marriage” in that way, we have to refuse to participate and clearly make a distinction between the discriminatory farce that the government has created and real marriage. There are ways to do this. If we are not married, we can “gaymarry” friends whose employers don’t provide health insurance in order to get them on our plans. Pairs of couples can form pacts, if it’s financially beneficial to do so, whereby the two husbands will “gaymarry” each other and the two wives will “gaymarry” each other. The government will not dare to force us to prove that we regularly sodomize our “gayspouses.” Above all, we must refuse to “gaymarry” our real spouses. Yes, we will lose some legal protections for our marriage and some of our legal spousal rights–so we will have to go to the trouble of using wills, living wills, and other legal documents to protect our rights but we are naive if we think a government that has declared war on marriage and the family in that way really cares about our rights.

    And we can continue to try to peaceful normal lives to the extent we are allowed to. We can use prenuptial and other sorts of contracts to protect our families. Nobody will confuse “gaymarriage” with the real thing, and eventually normalcy will be restored. Institutionalized sodomy will not endure in a society where women have equal rights. It only persisted in classical greece as long as it did because married women were cloistered in their homes and could not participate in public life with their husbands.

  • Steve P.

    Totalitarianism is the reduction of independent autonomous institutions to one. If the government does this to us, and yes, only the most naive of us think gay “marriage” is anything other than an effort to use the naive to gain control of the two last independent institutions, the church and family, we really have to opt out, otherwise this will be used to persecute and control pastors, and to institutionalize and centralize child rearing.

    If they attempt to change the legal definition of “marriage” in that way, we have to refuse to participate and clearly make a distinction between the discriminatory farce that the government has created and real marriage. There are ways to do this. If we are not married, we can “gaymarry” friends whose employers don’t provide health insurance in order to get them on our plans. Pairs of couples can form pacts, if it’s financially beneficial to do so, whereby the two husbands will “gaymarry” each other and the two wives will “gaymarry” each other. The government will not dare to force us to prove that we regularly sodomize our “gayspouses.” Above all, we must refuse to “gaymarry” our real spouses. Yes, we will lose some legal protections for our marriage and some of our legal spousal rights–so we will have to go to the trouble of using wills, living wills, and other legal documents to protect our rights but we are naive if we think a government that has declared war on marriage and the family in that way really cares about our rights.

    And we can continue to try to peaceful normal lives to the extent we are allowed to. We can use prenuptial and other sorts of contracts to protect our families. Nobody will confuse “gaymarriage” with the real thing, and eventually normalcy will be restored. Institutionalized sodomy will not endure in a society where women have equal rights. It only persisted in classical greece as long as it did because married women were cloistered in their homes and could not participate in public life with their husbands.

  • DonS

    Matt @ 18: Yes. You are pretty much saying what I was saying, was that the lack of a legal status of gay marriage by no means prevents gay couples from “marrying”. What the activists want is not the freedom to marry but society’s imprimatur on it as being equivalent to straight marriage. They want to deny us yet another sphere of life to which democracy applies.

  • DonS

    Matt @ 18: Yes. You are pretty much saying what I was saying, was that the lack of a legal status of gay marriage by no means prevents gay couples from “marrying”. What the activists want is not the freedom to marry but society’s imprimatur on it as being equivalent to straight marriage. They want to deny us yet another sphere of life to which democracy applies.

  • Steve P.

    “One could argue that gay marriages really are authentic marriages, but nobody ever noticed this until the last few decades.”

    Right. After half a million years or however long mankind existed, it was only discovered a few years ago that two people of the same sex could marry. Because, you know, the world only came into existence when I was born.

  • Steve P.

    “One could argue that gay marriages really are authentic marriages, but nobody ever noticed this until the last few decades.”

    Right. After half a million years or however long mankind existed, it was only discovered a few years ago that two people of the same sex could marry. Because, you know, the world only came into existence when I was born.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 16: Please feel free to utilize the democratic process to limit straight marriage to “approved” straight couples. I’m not stopping you from exercising your democratic rights.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 16: Please feel free to utilize the democratic process to limit straight marriage to “approved” straight couples. I’m not stopping you from exercising your democratic rights.

  • John C

    It is difficult for the state to approve of behaviour that until recently was regarded as criminal. If homosexuality was still illegal in Britain, imagine the headlines in the News of the World.
    I would also add, the modern state has always had an interest in marriage and law that pertains to paternity, property and inheritance rights.
    Attitudes shift, societies change, the church does what it aways does, it adapts — dare I say, evolves. Now, what is the Lutheran response to surrogacy?

  • John C

    It is difficult for the state to approve of behaviour that until recently was regarded as criminal. If homosexuality was still illegal in Britain, imagine the headlines in the News of the World.
    I would also add, the modern state has always had an interest in marriage and law that pertains to paternity, property and inheritance rights.
    Attitudes shift, societies change, the church does what it aways does, it adapts — dare I say, evolves. Now, what is the Lutheran response to surrogacy?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Matt said (@18):

    One could argue that gay marriages really are authentic marriages, but nobody ever noticed this until the last few decades.

    And when, exactly, did people notice that interracial marriages were authentic, in our country? Just curious.

    Steve P. said (@19):

    Only the most naive of us think gay “marriage” is anything other than an effort to use the naive to gain control of the two last independent institutions, the church and family

    Ah, fear-mongering and the slippery slope! Two great tastes that taste great together! Yes, “only the most naive” believe that … or those who actually believe in our Constitution, in particular the First Amendment. But hey, give your approach a shot. Try telling actual gay people that they’re not so much interested in each other, as they want to control your family and religion. If no one else is around, I’m sure they’ll admit you’re right. And hey, good luck with your insurance fraud plans!

    DonS said (@20):

    The lack of a legal status of gay marriage by no means prevents gay couples from “marrying”

    Indeed, Don. My question is this: did you ever consider merely “marrying” your wife instead of actually marrying her like you did? Why or why not? Why did you demand “society’s imprimatur” for your marriage? You could’ve just as easily gotten “married”, without dragging us all into it.

    Oh and DonS (@22), you’d support my bills, then? You’d give endorsements for them explaining how they would actually lessen totalitarianism by preventing various undesirable marriages? Because you kinda seem to be making the opposite argument here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Matt said (@18):

    One could argue that gay marriages really are authentic marriages, but nobody ever noticed this until the last few decades.

    And when, exactly, did people notice that interracial marriages were authentic, in our country? Just curious.

    Steve P. said (@19):

    Only the most naive of us think gay “marriage” is anything other than an effort to use the naive to gain control of the two last independent institutions, the church and family

    Ah, fear-mongering and the slippery slope! Two great tastes that taste great together! Yes, “only the most naive” believe that … or those who actually believe in our Constitution, in particular the First Amendment. But hey, give your approach a shot. Try telling actual gay people that they’re not so much interested in each other, as they want to control your family and religion. If no one else is around, I’m sure they’ll admit you’re right. And hey, good luck with your insurance fraud plans!

    DonS said (@20):

    The lack of a legal status of gay marriage by no means prevents gay couples from “marrying”

    Indeed, Don. My question is this: did you ever consider merely “marrying” your wife instead of actually marrying her like you did? Why or why not? Why did you demand “society’s imprimatur” for your marriage? You could’ve just as easily gotten “married”, without dragging us all into it.

    Oh and DonS (@22), you’d support my bills, then? You’d give endorsements for them explaining how they would actually lessen totalitarianism by preventing various undesirable marriages? Because you kinda seem to be making the opposite argument here.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 24: No, I would also exercise my democratic right not to support your bills.

    And, no, I never considered not becoming married under civil law, either. I wanted the marriage license and the tax benefits of doing so, as it allowed me to retain a small additional portion of my income for the raising of my kids. This, of course, is a primary reason for civil marriage — as we’ve discussed on past threads. I also wanted validation that I was truly married — I live in a traditional world. Probably the same reason you also are married in the eyes of the state.

    My argument is that forcing society to endorse gay marriage, via court edict, is anti-democratic. If society wants to expand the traditional definition of civil marriage, for the purpose validating non-heterosexual or non-human unions, it should be free under democratic principles to do so. Or not.

    But under democratic principles, you’ve still got to persuade the voters. So, start persuading.

    Oftentimes, liberal activist groups tend to forget that part. If they can’t persuade through the ballot box, then they run to the courts, and attempt to have activist courts take yet another sliver of society out of the democratic realm.

    But, you know all of this. I’ve made these arguments before.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 24: No, I would also exercise my democratic right not to support your bills.

    And, no, I never considered not becoming married under civil law, either. I wanted the marriage license and the tax benefits of doing so, as it allowed me to retain a small additional portion of my income for the raising of my kids. This, of course, is a primary reason for civil marriage — as we’ve discussed on past threads. I also wanted validation that I was truly married — I live in a traditional world. Probably the same reason you also are married in the eyes of the state.

    My argument is that forcing society to endorse gay marriage, via court edict, is anti-democratic. If society wants to expand the traditional definition of civil marriage, for the purpose validating non-heterosexual or non-human unions, it should be free under democratic principles to do so. Or not.

    But under democratic principles, you’ve still got to persuade the voters. So, start persuading.

    Oftentimes, liberal activist groups tend to forget that part. If they can’t persuade through the ballot box, then they run to the courts, and attempt to have activist courts take yet another sliver of society out of the democratic realm.

    But, you know all of this. I’ve made these arguments before.

  • Steve P.

    tODD,

    Oh yeah, the 1st amendmment to the U.S. Constitution changed the definition of “marriage” in 1791. I had completely forgotten that.

    “your insurance fraud plans!”

    Fraud is a good word for it. But I don’t think you mean the same thing by that that I mean. Are you telling me that if I lived in NY, was not already legally married and I gaymarried a friend and extended my health insurance to cover him it would be fraud? Why, exactly? What precisely would make it fraudulent? Does the gay marriage law require you to commit the sin of sodomy in order to receive the privileges it extends?

  • Steve P.

    tODD,

    Oh yeah, the 1st amendmment to the U.S. Constitution changed the definition of “marriage” in 1791. I had completely forgotten that.

    “your insurance fraud plans!”

    Fraud is a good word for it. But I don’t think you mean the same thing by that that I mean. Are you telling me that if I lived in NY, was not already legally married and I gaymarried a friend and extended my health insurance to cover him it would be fraud? Why, exactly? What precisely would make it fraudulent? Does the gay marriage law require you to commit the sin of sodomy in order to receive the privileges it extends?

  • Joe

    I guess I don’t see the gov’t recognizing or allowing something as that same as society validating it. Is the state really the basis of our society? If it is, we have many bigger problems than same-sex marriage.

  • Joe

    I guess I don’t see the gov’t recognizing or allowing something as that same as society validating it. Is the state really the basis of our society? If it is, we have many bigger problems than same-sex marriage.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 27: You, of anyone here, as an attorney, ought to at least understand my point — that the courts mandating that society recognize and license gay marriage, according all of the benefits otherwise and historically available to heterosexual couples, is one more step away from democratic principles.

    Since the marriage laws accord certain benefits on married couples, such as the ability to use a more favorable tax schedule, and a statutory scheme for protecting the spouse/caregiver and children in the event the marriage fails, how is that not validation? How is that not society saying that marriage is an important status, and one which we have an interest in preserving, protecting, and incentivizing to help ensure the safety and well being of our next generation?

    The state is not “the basis” of our society. That notion comes from the left, which is why it feels compelled to force society to validate its untraditional and unbiblical relationships. We on the right know better, which is why I have also been saying that gays presently have the freedom to “marry”, in the non-civil law sense. However, the civil institution of marriage is important to our society, and we as a society have the right to determine which relationships are and are not included using democratic principles, rather than having the issue forced on us by overactive courts.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 27: You, of anyone here, as an attorney, ought to at least understand my point — that the courts mandating that society recognize and license gay marriage, according all of the benefits otherwise and historically available to heterosexual couples, is one more step away from democratic principles.

    Since the marriage laws accord certain benefits on married couples, such as the ability to use a more favorable tax schedule, and a statutory scheme for protecting the spouse/caregiver and children in the event the marriage fails, how is that not validation? How is that not society saying that marriage is an important status, and one which we have an interest in preserving, protecting, and incentivizing to help ensure the safety and well being of our next generation?

    The state is not “the basis” of our society. That notion comes from the left, which is why it feels compelled to force society to validate its untraditional and unbiblical relationships. We on the right know better, which is why I have also been saying that gays presently have the freedom to “marry”, in the non-civil law sense. However, the civil institution of marriage is important to our society, and we as a society have the right to determine which relationships are and are not included using democratic principles, rather than having the issue forced on us by overactive courts.

  • fws

    Ok. Let’s review this writers theses:

    Something totally has happened that has totally changed your reality. It has already totally happened , IF you live in vermont, new hampshire, Iowa, or the District of Columbia. The rest of you? Look out!!! Here is how your life has, already , radically changed :

    1)The government HAS redefined the relationships between the married women and the men reading this blog and the relationship they have with their kids and parents.

    2) You have had the free space to associate freely with your spouse and family robbed from you !!!!!!!

    3) Further the very REALITY of your relationship to your wife husband or children or parents or grandparents has be redefined away, poof! by the government.

    4)And this is the government being totalitarian. By the way. !!!!!!!

    5) Now that the government has radically changed YOUR relationship with your wife and kids and parents, it will proceed to change your relationship with your doctor, your lawyer, your pastor, and virtually every other relationship that you have!!!!

    How? You mean you didn’t even notice? well….

    6)The government has totally become totalitarian and has already DONE 1-5 above how? By insisting on issuing a marriage license to a couple of queers that you do not even know and who you will never ever meet! Thats How! Beleeeeve me ! This fact HAS changed your reality!

    Ahem.

  • fws

    Ok. Let’s review this writers theses:

    Something totally has happened that has totally changed your reality. It has already totally happened , IF you live in vermont, new hampshire, Iowa, or the District of Columbia. The rest of you? Look out!!! Here is how your life has, already , radically changed :

    1)The government HAS redefined the relationships between the married women and the men reading this blog and the relationship they have with their kids and parents.

    2) You have had the free space to associate freely with your spouse and family robbed from you !!!!!!!

    3) Further the very REALITY of your relationship to your wife husband or children or parents or grandparents has be redefined away, poof! by the government.

    4)And this is the government being totalitarian. By the way. !!!!!!!

    5) Now that the government has radically changed YOUR relationship with your wife and kids and parents, it will proceed to change your relationship with your doctor, your lawyer, your pastor, and virtually every other relationship that you have!!!!

    How? You mean you didn’t even notice? well….

    6)The government has totally become totalitarian and has already DONE 1-5 above how? By insisting on issuing a marriage license to a couple of queers that you do not even know and who you will never ever meet! Thats How! Beleeeeve me ! This fact HAS changed your reality!

    Ahem.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@25), you haven’t explained on what basis you would reject my hypothetical bills (@16). That, of course, is the crux of the matter. Please enlighten me. The main question, best I can tell, being: do you think these laws would be oppressive, or completely legitimate?

    I wanted the marriage license and the tax benefits of doing so, as it allowed me to retain a small additional portion of my income for the raising of my kids. This, of course, is a primary reason for civil marriage.

    So you believe “a primary reason for civil marriage” is to provide a method for the state to dole out tax benefits? Would you have married your wife if you didn’t get tax benefits from doing so? Does your wife know about this? Why does it sound like the only thing you think marriage is about is money, not love?

    I also wanted validation that I was truly married — I live in a traditional world.

    What does this mean? Has anyone ever questioned the validity of your marriage? How many times have you shown somebody your marriage license as proof in the past decade? Why do you need the state to offer this proof — couldn’t your church just as easily and legitimately served to validate your marriage? That certainly worked for any number of people over the millenia.

    If society wants to expand the traditional definition of civil marriage, for the purpose validating non-heterosexual or non-human unions, it should be free under democratic principles to do so.

    So when a legislative body, elected according to the principles of our democratic republic and representing the people, “expands the traditional definition of civil marriage”, do you approve of that (as the statement above would imply), or do you view the action of that body as “totalitarian” and “coercive” (which the rest of your argument would imply)?

    But under democratic principles, you’ve still got to persuade the voters.

    I’ll give you a decade, tops, to be able to keep saying that. But after that time, you’ll have to come up with a new argument, because I’m pretty convinced the voters are being persuaded. And I’m pretty convinced you won’t like it when the voters make that shift. No, I’m kinda thinking that, in 10 years, we’ll start hearing more about the oppression of the majority (and seeing more “conservatives” run to the formerly maligned courts for redress). But for now, “conservatives” love majority opinion, but hate the courts. For now.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@25), you haven’t explained on what basis you would reject my hypothetical bills (@16). That, of course, is the crux of the matter. Please enlighten me. The main question, best I can tell, being: do you think these laws would be oppressive, or completely legitimate?

    I wanted the marriage license and the tax benefits of doing so, as it allowed me to retain a small additional portion of my income for the raising of my kids. This, of course, is a primary reason for civil marriage.

    So you believe “a primary reason for civil marriage” is to provide a method for the state to dole out tax benefits? Would you have married your wife if you didn’t get tax benefits from doing so? Does your wife know about this? Why does it sound like the only thing you think marriage is about is money, not love?

    I also wanted validation that I was truly married — I live in a traditional world.

    What does this mean? Has anyone ever questioned the validity of your marriage? How many times have you shown somebody your marriage license as proof in the past decade? Why do you need the state to offer this proof — couldn’t your church just as easily and legitimately served to validate your marriage? That certainly worked for any number of people over the millenia.

    If society wants to expand the traditional definition of civil marriage, for the purpose validating non-heterosexual or non-human unions, it should be free under democratic principles to do so.

    So when a legislative body, elected according to the principles of our democratic republic and representing the people, “expands the traditional definition of civil marriage”, do you approve of that (as the statement above would imply), or do you view the action of that body as “totalitarian” and “coercive” (which the rest of your argument would imply)?

    But under democratic principles, you’ve still got to persuade the voters.

    I’ll give you a decade, tops, to be able to keep saying that. But after that time, you’ll have to come up with a new argument, because I’m pretty convinced the voters are being persuaded. And I’m pretty convinced you won’t like it when the voters make that shift. No, I’m kinda thinking that, in 10 years, we’ll start hearing more about the oppression of the majority (and seeing more “conservatives” run to the formerly maligned courts for redress). But for now, “conservatives” love majority opinion, but hate the courts. For now.

  • DrJoan

    There is an awful lot of gobbledygook written here. What I know for a fact (yes!) is that the concept “marriage” has always revolved around a relationship between a man and a woman. To be sure, sometimes that relationship has presented itself as one man and several women but at any one time, the marriage union is ONE man and ONE woman (though I agree it is easy for one man to have his union with one woman and then to go on to have his union with another woman–I guess that could happen with one woman and several men, too!). At any rate, I find it insulting that one faction–I see it most with the homosexual faction–deigns to REDEFINE a concept that has been in existance for thousands of years–as the article says, preceding the state/government.
    I guess some might find this just as confusing as what others have written. But I am really furious with what is happening.

  • DrJoan

    There is an awful lot of gobbledygook written here. What I know for a fact (yes!) is that the concept “marriage” has always revolved around a relationship between a man and a woman. To be sure, sometimes that relationship has presented itself as one man and several women but at any one time, the marriage union is ONE man and ONE woman (though I agree it is easy for one man to have his union with one woman and then to go on to have his union with another woman–I guess that could happen with one woman and several men, too!). At any rate, I find it insulting that one faction–I see it most with the homosexual faction–deigns to REDEFINE a concept that has been in existance for thousands of years–as the article says, preceding the state/government.
    I guess some might find this just as confusing as what others have written. But I am really furious with what is happening.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 30: I would reject your legislation because I think marriage is rightly as God designed it — a union between a man and a woman, which is also a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. I will not sanction inherently sinful relationships, which is what a homosexual relationship is. However, were your legislation to pass, I would accept it as being the will of the people, as I accept many other laws which I disagree with. Of course, this does not mean I would not fight continually to reverse them, using the democratic process.

    So you believe “a primary reason for civil marriage” is to provide a method for the state to dole out tax benefits? Would you have married your wife if you didn’t get tax benefits from doing so? Does your wife know about this? Why does it sound like the only thing you think marriage is about is money, not love?

    No to your first question. A primary reason for civil marriage is to assist the raising up of our next generation, by protecting children and their primary caregiver. Yes to your second question. Yes to your third question. I don’t know, to your fourth question. Probably because you misunderstood my answer to your first question, thinking I was talking primarily about tax benefits, when I was actually talking about the statutory scheme for protecting kids and wives. And maybe also because you confused civil marriage with God-ordained spiritual marriage.

    What does this mean? Has anyone ever questioned the validity of your marriage? How many times have you shown somebody your marriage license as proof in the past decade? Why do you need the state to offer this proof — couldn’t your church just as easily and legitimately served to validate your marriage?

    Well, quite simply, it would have been a scandal if my wife and I had chosen not to get married under the laws of the state. Now, if civil marriage did not exist, we would have been fine with just the spiritual marriage part. But it does exist, and it is traditional to marry under those laws.

    So when a legislative body, elected according to the principles of our democratic republic and representing the people, “expands the traditional definition of civil marriage”, do you approve of that (as the statement above would imply), or do you view the action of that body as “totalitarian” and “coercive” (which the rest of your argument would imply)?

    No, I won’t approve. But, I’ll accept it as the will of the people, and like I said, work to change it. Such an action would be neither “totalitarian” nor “coercive”, because civil marriage already exists, and it would have been imposed democratically, not coercively by the courts.

    I’ll give you a decade, tops, to be able to keep saying that. But after that time, you’ll have to come up with a new argument, because I’m pretty convinced the voters are being persuaded. And I’m pretty convinced you won’t like it when the voters make that shift. No, I’m kinda thinking that, in 10 years, we’ll start hearing more about the oppression of the majority (and seeing more “conservatives” run to the formerly maligned courts for redress). But for now, “conservatives” love majority opinion, but hate the courts. For now.

    No, it’ll be the same argument I’m making now. Hey, I agree with you. The drumbeat and relentless establishment pressure, the ridicule of those who cling to those old fashioned biblical values, is pretty overwhelming, and it is clearly swaying voters.

    But you’re wrong about the courts. Liberals who don’t get their way run to the courts to impose their will on others undemocratically. It has happened time and time again. Conservatives don’t do that. Now, we may be going to the courts, but it will be for the purpose of securing individual freedoms, not imposing our views on others. Such as the right for a minister not to have to marry a gay couple. Those are the kind of court fights we engage in.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 30: I would reject your legislation because I think marriage is rightly as God designed it — a union between a man and a woman, which is also a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. I will not sanction inherently sinful relationships, which is what a homosexual relationship is. However, were your legislation to pass, I would accept it as being the will of the people, as I accept many other laws which I disagree with. Of course, this does not mean I would not fight continually to reverse them, using the democratic process.

    So you believe “a primary reason for civil marriage” is to provide a method for the state to dole out tax benefits? Would you have married your wife if you didn’t get tax benefits from doing so? Does your wife know about this? Why does it sound like the only thing you think marriage is about is money, not love?

    No to your first question. A primary reason for civil marriage is to assist the raising up of our next generation, by protecting children and their primary caregiver. Yes to your second question. Yes to your third question. I don’t know, to your fourth question. Probably because you misunderstood my answer to your first question, thinking I was talking primarily about tax benefits, when I was actually talking about the statutory scheme for protecting kids and wives. And maybe also because you confused civil marriage with God-ordained spiritual marriage.

    What does this mean? Has anyone ever questioned the validity of your marriage? How many times have you shown somebody your marriage license as proof in the past decade? Why do you need the state to offer this proof — couldn’t your church just as easily and legitimately served to validate your marriage?

    Well, quite simply, it would have been a scandal if my wife and I had chosen not to get married under the laws of the state. Now, if civil marriage did not exist, we would have been fine with just the spiritual marriage part. But it does exist, and it is traditional to marry under those laws.

    So when a legislative body, elected according to the principles of our democratic republic and representing the people, “expands the traditional definition of civil marriage”, do you approve of that (as the statement above would imply), or do you view the action of that body as “totalitarian” and “coercive” (which the rest of your argument would imply)?

    No, I won’t approve. But, I’ll accept it as the will of the people, and like I said, work to change it. Such an action would be neither “totalitarian” nor “coercive”, because civil marriage already exists, and it would have been imposed democratically, not coercively by the courts.

    I’ll give you a decade, tops, to be able to keep saying that. But after that time, you’ll have to come up with a new argument, because I’m pretty convinced the voters are being persuaded. And I’m pretty convinced you won’t like it when the voters make that shift. No, I’m kinda thinking that, in 10 years, we’ll start hearing more about the oppression of the majority (and seeing more “conservatives” run to the formerly maligned courts for redress). But for now, “conservatives” love majority opinion, but hate the courts. For now.

    No, it’ll be the same argument I’m making now. Hey, I agree with you. The drumbeat and relentless establishment pressure, the ridicule of those who cling to those old fashioned biblical values, is pretty overwhelming, and it is clearly swaying voters.

    But you’re wrong about the courts. Liberals who don’t get their way run to the courts to impose their will on others undemocratically. It has happened time and time again. Conservatives don’t do that. Now, we may be going to the courts, but it will be for the purpose of securing individual freedoms, not imposing our views on others. Such as the right for a minister not to have to marry a gay couple. Those are the kind of court fights we engage in.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    The entire matter proceeds from a false premise, i.e., that government has the authority to define that which it did not establish.

    Marriage is not an institution of the state. Marriage is an institution of God. Government did not invent it; it has existed long before bureaucracy reared its less-than-pleasant head, as its establishment is owed to Almighty God. Therefore, by logical conclusion, government cannot decree what is entailed by marriage.

    It’s not as if God is going to look at the legalization of gay “marriage” and say “Oh, gee! Guess I’d better go and rewrite those passages in Scripture to cow-tow to change!” God will not change His decrees because it doesn’t fit the sociological outlook of the human race. The state can scream “Gay marriage!” all it wants; God will still call it an abomination and sin, along with every other thing called sin by the Scriptures.

    I believe it is found in the proverbs that “though hand join in hand, (the wicked) will not go unpunished.”

    And, finally, to quote from Burgess Merideth, speaking as Romney Wordsworth from the Twilight Zone episode “The Obsolete Man”: “You cannot erase God with an edict.”

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    The entire matter proceeds from a false premise, i.e., that government has the authority to define that which it did not establish.

    Marriage is not an institution of the state. Marriage is an institution of God. Government did not invent it; it has existed long before bureaucracy reared its less-than-pleasant head, as its establishment is owed to Almighty God. Therefore, by logical conclusion, government cannot decree what is entailed by marriage.

    It’s not as if God is going to look at the legalization of gay “marriage” and say “Oh, gee! Guess I’d better go and rewrite those passages in Scripture to cow-tow to change!” God will not change His decrees because it doesn’t fit the sociological outlook of the human race. The state can scream “Gay marriage!” all it wants; God will still call it an abomination and sin, along with every other thing called sin by the Scriptures.

    I believe it is found in the proverbs that “though hand join in hand, (the wicked) will not go unpunished.”

    And, finally, to quote from Burgess Merideth, speaking as Romney Wordsworth from the Twilight Zone episode “The Obsolete Man”: “You cannot erase God with an edict.”

  • Steve P.

    “it would have been a scandal if my wife and I had chosen not to get married under the laws of the state. ”

    That’s right and isn’t it interesting that soon, if the “gay marriage” movement does have the momentum it appears to have, it will be a scandal for normal Christians to choose to get married under the laws of the state.

  • Steve P.

    “it would have been a scandal if my wife and I had chosen not to get married under the laws of the state. ”

    That’s right and isn’t it interesting that soon, if the “gay marriage” movement does have the momentum it appears to have, it will be a scandal for normal Christians to choose to get married under the laws of the state.

  • Gary

    I’m trying to understand Steve P.’s notion (@19) of distinguishing between “gaymarriage” and what he’s calling the “real” marriage. I’m especially confused by his statement that we must not “garymarry” our real spouses. Steve, or anyone, help me out here. Also, how do you figure this is persecuting pastors?

  • Gary

    I’m trying to understand Steve P.’s notion (@19) of distinguishing between “gaymarriage” and what he’s calling the “real” marriage. I’m especially confused by his statement that we must not “garymarry” our real spouses. Steve, or anyone, help me out here. Also, how do you figure this is persecuting pastors?

  • Steve P.

    Gaymarriage is something that the state of NY created recently by legislative fiat. Real marriage, and the family that is based on it, is an ancient institution–the oldest human institution. It is in no way related to gay “marriage” other than the similarity in names. The modern state is by nature threatened by institutions older than and separate from it and so it should not surprise us that marriage is under attack.

  • Steve P.

    Gaymarriage is something that the state of NY created recently by legislative fiat. Real marriage, and the family that is based on it, is an ancient institution–the oldest human institution. It is in no way related to gay “marriage” other than the similarity in names. The modern state is by nature threatened by institutions older than and separate from it and so it should not surprise us that marriage is under attack.

  • fws

    the writer is asserting, as a matter of self evident fact, that your present relationships with your spouse and family have been destoyed, tampered with or “redefined”.

    He further states that this is your new reality.

    then he adds that you now no longer have the same freedom to associate with your spouse and family that you did before marriage licenses were issues to gays.

    Question: are any of these true truth claims? these are what he is asserting as true.

    are you all waking up today thinking ‘my relationships with my family, doctor attorney etc will never be the same now that gays can be issued a marriage license.

    I would call this article by the term “psychotic”. tell me what I am missing.

  • fws

    the writer is asserting, as a matter of self evident fact, that your present relationships with your spouse and family have been destoyed, tampered with or “redefined”.

    He further states that this is your new reality.

    then he adds that you now no longer have the same freedom to associate with your spouse and family that you did before marriage licenses were issues to gays.

    Question: are any of these true truth claims? these are what he is asserting as true.

    are you all waking up today thinking ‘my relationships with my family, doctor attorney etc will never be the same now that gays can be issued a marriage license.

    I would call this article by the term “psychotic”. tell me what I am missing.

  • helen

    Well, fws, we are just a little slow to wake up.
    Life really hasn’t been the same since SIECUS invaded the schools with its “sex education” which was/is a pitch for hetero promiscuity and for acceptance of homosexuals. (It has been recruitment into a gay lifestyle in some places where kids were encouraged to “experiment” and having done so, told by shrinks that they “could never go back”. There has been more than one reason for “gay” suicide… including that kind of entrapment.) [Don't ask me to dig up my sources; that considerable literature went to the trash barrel during a move.]

    Life is different for traditional Christian families. Before they are ready to discuss the “birds and the bees” they have to explain “Why Heather has two mommies”… Or daddies… and how that’s possible. [Not really.] And they have to tell their children not to discuss it at school because the PC police will be down on them if they say what they learned in Sunday School, or at home, i.e. that it’s a sin.

    Just as living together without being married is a sin, which I can’t mention to people I know who are expecting a child. (I can pray that the rumor of impending engagement/marriage is true and permanent, for the child’s sake.)

    There are many sins in the world, but in the case of homosexuality, never have so few been so intent on shoving their sin into the faces of the vast majority and demanding acceptance/approval (!), by court order when they can’t get it by votes. [The propagandized "10%" is now recognized as 2-4% in fact.]

    Remember that you asked… though with a derogatory, designed to discourage an answer.

  • helen

    Well, fws, we are just a little slow to wake up.
    Life really hasn’t been the same since SIECUS invaded the schools with its “sex education” which was/is a pitch for hetero promiscuity and for acceptance of homosexuals. (It has been recruitment into a gay lifestyle in some places where kids were encouraged to “experiment” and having done so, told by shrinks that they “could never go back”. There has been more than one reason for “gay” suicide… including that kind of entrapment.) [Don't ask me to dig up my sources; that considerable literature went to the trash barrel during a move.]

    Life is different for traditional Christian families. Before they are ready to discuss the “birds and the bees” they have to explain “Why Heather has two mommies”… Or daddies… and how that’s possible. [Not really.] And they have to tell their children not to discuss it at school because the PC police will be down on them if they say what they learned in Sunday School, or at home, i.e. that it’s a sin.

    Just as living together without being married is a sin, which I can’t mention to people I know who are expecting a child. (I can pray that the rumor of impending engagement/marriage is true and permanent, for the child’s sake.)

    There are many sins in the world, but in the case of homosexuality, never have so few been so intent on shoving their sin into the faces of the vast majority and demanding acceptance/approval (!), by court order when they can’t get it by votes. [The propagandized "10%" is now recognized as 2-4% in fact.]

    Remember that you asked… though with a derogatory, designed to discourage an answer.

  • Steve P.

    If you say that gaymarriage is really “marriage”: your “marriage” is something very different than what your parents, grandparents, and ancestors had, and you are saying that what you want to have with your current or future spouse is what homosexuals have with their “lovers.”

    Since young people these days tend (generally speaking and in comparison to previous generations, generally speaking) to have been reared in a way and in an environment seemingly designed to make them hedonistic narcissists maybe it’s not surprising that many young people have no problem with gaymarriage and honestly don’t understand why it is radically different than marriage. They are heterosexual gays and gaymarriage (but with a member of the opposite sex) is what they want.

    Of course they are far less likely than normal healthy people to have children and many of the children they do have will rebel against their worldview and lifestyle, so gaymarriage will eventually destroy itself and some kind of normalcy will be restored. Whatever it looks like, that normalcy won’t include today’s cultural acceptance of homosexuality unless Islam triumphs in this country along with its subjugation of women (google “Afghanistan homosexual pederasty” if you have a strong stomach and you must know what I’m talking about).

  • Steve P.

    If you say that gaymarriage is really “marriage”: your “marriage” is something very different than what your parents, grandparents, and ancestors had, and you are saying that what you want to have with your current or future spouse is what homosexuals have with their “lovers.”

    Since young people these days tend (generally speaking and in comparison to previous generations, generally speaking) to have been reared in a way and in an environment seemingly designed to make them hedonistic narcissists maybe it’s not surprising that many young people have no problem with gaymarriage and honestly don’t understand why it is radically different than marriage. They are heterosexual gays and gaymarriage (but with a member of the opposite sex) is what they want.

    Of course they are far less likely than normal healthy people to have children and many of the children they do have will rebel against their worldview and lifestyle, so gaymarriage will eventually destroy itself and some kind of normalcy will be restored. Whatever it looks like, that normalcy won’t include today’s cultural acceptance of homosexuality unless Islam triumphs in this country along with its subjugation of women (google “Afghanistan homosexual pederasty” if you have a strong stomach and you must know what I’m talking about).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@32), you keep failing to address the issue of my hypothetical “legislation”: whether it would be totalitarian/oppressive or not. Whether it would be the “will of the people” or not is immaterial. The people are perfectly capable of voting themselves a totalitarian state. In fact, this is what “conservatives” not occasionally find themselves complaining about. I can’t imagine that you’d find a state in which marriages must meet someone else’s criteria for being “loving” enough, among other things, to be no more oppressive or totalitarian than our current one.

    As for the courts, I think you’ve misunderstood how they’re used and who favors them:

    Liberals who don’t get their way run to the courts to impose their will on others undemocratically. It has happened time and time again. Conservatives don’t do that.

    No, what happens is that those in the minority run to the courts to address their rights that have been impinged by the majority through legislation. The majority doesn’t generally need to use the courts, because they’re already getting their way through the whole democratic-republic process. They’ve got their representation through election. The courts have always been a place where the rights of the minority are preserved against popular rule.

    The fact that you think it’s only the “liberals” who “run to the courts” merely speaks to the majority/popularity that “conservatives” have, so far, enjoyed. As Christians diminish in relative numbers and influence in this country, you will certainly see them “run to the courts” more and more to petition for the rights guaranteed them by the Constitution (but more and more denied them through attempted legislation). And that’s fine for them to do. But you will also hear less and less about how horrible the courts are. You’ll hear less whining about “legislating from the bench”. And you’ll hear less about the “undemocratic” nature of the judicial branch. Betcha.

    Now, we may be going to the courts, but it will be for the purpose of securing individual freedoms, not imposing our views on others.

    That is a massive amount of spin you’ve got on that ball, sir! See how it works? When liberals go to the courts, it’s to “impose their will on others undemocratically”. But when your side does it, you’re “securing individual freedoms”. Ha!

    So when you go to a court to deny gay people the ability to marry and have that marriage recognized by the state, you’re “securing individual freedoms”? By which you mean your individual “freedom” to not have the state recognize someone else’s marriage on your behalf. Because, if they do that, I guess you’re not really free anymore? Somehow? Your marriage means less? I guess? And in no way are you trying to “impose your will on others” when you tell them they can’t get legally married. Oh no. It’s only about your own personal freedoms. I can’t believe you believe that. It’s preposterous.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@32), you keep failing to address the issue of my hypothetical “legislation”: whether it would be totalitarian/oppressive or not. Whether it would be the “will of the people” or not is immaterial. The people are perfectly capable of voting themselves a totalitarian state. In fact, this is what “conservatives” not occasionally find themselves complaining about. I can’t imagine that you’d find a state in which marriages must meet someone else’s criteria for being “loving” enough, among other things, to be no more oppressive or totalitarian than our current one.

    As for the courts, I think you’ve misunderstood how they’re used and who favors them:

    Liberals who don’t get their way run to the courts to impose their will on others undemocratically. It has happened time and time again. Conservatives don’t do that.

    No, what happens is that those in the minority run to the courts to address their rights that have been impinged by the majority through legislation. The majority doesn’t generally need to use the courts, because they’re already getting their way through the whole democratic-republic process. They’ve got their representation through election. The courts have always been a place where the rights of the minority are preserved against popular rule.

    The fact that you think it’s only the “liberals” who “run to the courts” merely speaks to the majority/popularity that “conservatives” have, so far, enjoyed. As Christians diminish in relative numbers and influence in this country, you will certainly see them “run to the courts” more and more to petition for the rights guaranteed them by the Constitution (but more and more denied them through attempted legislation). And that’s fine for them to do. But you will also hear less and less about how horrible the courts are. You’ll hear less whining about “legislating from the bench”. And you’ll hear less about the “undemocratic” nature of the judicial branch. Betcha.

    Now, we may be going to the courts, but it will be for the purpose of securing individual freedoms, not imposing our views on others.

    That is a massive amount of spin you’ve got on that ball, sir! See how it works? When liberals go to the courts, it’s to “impose their will on others undemocratically”. But when your side does it, you’re “securing individual freedoms”. Ha!

    So when you go to a court to deny gay people the ability to marry and have that marriage recognized by the state, you’re “securing individual freedoms”? By which you mean your individual “freedom” to not have the state recognize someone else’s marriage on your behalf. Because, if they do that, I guess you’re not really free anymore? Somehow? Your marriage means less? I guess? And in no way are you trying to “impose your will on others” when you tell them they can’t get legally married. Oh no. It’s only about your own personal freedoms. I can’t believe you believe that. It’s preposterous.

  • fws

    Helen @ 38 & steve @39

    Again. the author is stating that your relationship to your spouse has changed in some dramatic way because gays are being issues ,marriage licenses.

    this is his truth claim.

    how is it true for you helen and steve p? how has the recognition of gay marriage both dramatically, and tangibly changed your relationship with your spouse?

    this is what the author is claiming is the truth. Is it? your other points helen may be well taken, but that is not the truth claim the author is making.

  • fws

    Helen @ 38 & steve @39

    Again. the author is stating that your relationship to your spouse has changed in some dramatic way because gays are being issues ,marriage licenses.

    this is his truth claim.

    how is it true for you helen and steve p? how has the recognition of gay marriage both dramatically, and tangibly changed your relationship with your spouse?

    this is what the author is claiming is the truth. Is it? your other points helen may be well taken, but that is not the truth claim the author is making.

  • fws

    helen & steve p

    also the author is claiming, as a truth claim, that you are not being allowed to freely associate with your spouse as you were prior to gay marriage being legalized.

    so is this true? if so, in what way are you dramatically and demonstrably being restricted in your “free association ” with your spouse?

    is the author NOT making this truth claim? what am I missing.

  • fws

    helen & steve p

    also the author is claiming, as a truth claim, that you are not being allowed to freely associate with your spouse as you were prior to gay marriage being legalized.

    so is this true? if so, in what way are you dramatically and demonstrably being restricted in your “free association ” with your spouse?

    is the author NOT making this truth claim? what am I missing.

  • Gary

    @40–tODD, sir, you make a great point about who uses the courts, for what reasons, and how “legislating from the bench” is right or wrong depending on WHOSE individual freedoms are being allegedly curtailed. Kudos!

    I suspect in 10 years or so we’ll see the country evenly split between states that license and recognize gay marriage or “gaymarriage” (thanks Steve P.) and those that don’t, unless the Supreme Court weighs in by that time and declares laws restricting marriage to heterosexual couples are unconstitutional. The relevant question is how do we respond?, and by that I don’t mean how do we get the laws back to the way they were in, say, 1990–that ain’t gonna happen.

  • Gary

    @40–tODD, sir, you make a great point about who uses the courts, for what reasons, and how “legislating from the bench” is right or wrong depending on WHOSE individual freedoms are being allegedly curtailed. Kudos!

    I suspect in 10 years or so we’ll see the country evenly split between states that license and recognize gay marriage or “gaymarriage” (thanks Steve P.) and those that don’t, unless the Supreme Court weighs in by that time and declares laws restricting marriage to heterosexual couples are unconstitutional. The relevant question is how do we respond?, and by that I don’t mean how do we get the laws back to the way they were in, say, 1990–that ain’t gonna happen.

  • helen

    Fws @ 42
    What you are “missing” is that marriage for a traditional Lutheran couple is a family affair.

    It’s not just “you and your spouse”.
    That is why I tried to tell you some of the problems, which you [won't have/don't consider important.]

  • helen

    Fws @ 42
    What you are “missing” is that marriage for a traditional Lutheran couple is a family affair.

    It’s not just “you and your spouse”.
    That is why I tried to tell you some of the problems, which you [won't have/don't consider important.]

  • DonS

    tODD @ 40: You say that I “keep failing to address the issue of my hypothetical “legislation”: whether it would be totalitarian/oppressive or not.” Well, @ 32 I explicitly said “Such an action would be neither “totalitarian” nor “coercive”, because civil marriage already exists, and it would have been imposed democratically, not coercively by the courts.”

    So, clearly, I have not failed to answer your question. You just don’t like my answer, for whatever reason.

    To that end, you say “Whether it would be the “will of the people” or not is immaterial. The people are perfectly capable of voting themselves a totalitarian state.” But, again, you missed what I said, which was that your legislation would not be, in my opinion, totalitarian, “because civil marriage already exists”. In other words, your legislation changes the definition of civil marriage, but does not otherwise expand the role of government into new sectors of society.

    Now, do you see that I’ve answered your question? I must say, though, that I don’t care to use “totalitarian” in the context of an ongoing democracy (i.e. one that hasn’t voted a dictator for itself), regardless of its historical meaning, because it has clearly morphed in modern usage into a term that applies to dictatorships. To the extent that it applies to democracies such as our’s, then clearly our massive ubiquitous government has become eminently totalitarian, injecting itself into nearly every human transaction. Regardless of the passage of your proposed legislation.

    As to the courts issue, you say “No, what happens is that those in the minority run to the courts to address their rights that have been impinged by the majority through legislation.” Agreed, with respect to the right. We see that with those students fighting to have some manner of religious freedom in secular universities and schools, for example. Disagreed, with respect to the left. Not in all cases, but in many. Overturning the sodomy laws fits within the idea of addressing the rights of people to engage in certain activity within the confines of their own home by having overreaching laws stricken. Similarly for the case of many war protesters during the Vietnam War. Not, however, the case for abortion, where the minority (the unborn) are by no means protected by the actions of the left in running to court, and where the litigants were seeking the recognition of a new right that they did not believe the majority was granting to them quickly enough or widely enough using democratic means. Also not the case for gay marriage, where activist groups in this case are also not seeking to have guaranteed rights protected, but to have new ones established. If you want to do that democratically, go for it. If you want to do it through the courts, that is illegitimate.

    The key to understanding this issue is to understand whether you are going to court to assert a specific right, already guaranteed, which is being abused, or whether you are seeking to expand the panoply of rights guaranteed to individuals under our constitution. If the latter, that should be done through legislation or constitutional amendment, not by convincing activist courts to “recognize” new rights in the constitution.

    So when you go to a court to deny gay people the ability to marry and have that marriage recognized by the state, you’re “securing individual freedoms”? By which you mean your individual “freedom” to not have the state recognize someone else’s marriage on your behalf. Because, if they do that, I guess you’re not really free anymore? Somehow? Your marriage means less? I guess? And in no way are you trying to “impose your will on others” when you tell them they can’t get legally married. Oh no. It’s only about your own personal freedoms. I can’t believe you believe that. It’s preposterous.

    Oh, please. What a straw man this passage is. As I have said time and time again, I would never go to court to deny gay people the right to marry and have their marriage recognized by the state, if the law, as duly enacted, calls for that. Where would you get such an idea? Now, I would certainly go to court to defend the right of the people to pass Proposition 8, but that’s a totally different matter. That is a defense of the democratic process, and the right of people to decide whether to change a longstanding law or not. But, we’ve had this discussion before, and you understand what you choose to understand.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 40: You say that I “keep failing to address the issue of my hypothetical “legislation”: whether it would be totalitarian/oppressive or not.” Well, @ 32 I explicitly said “Such an action would be neither “totalitarian” nor “coercive”, because civil marriage already exists, and it would have been imposed democratically, not coercively by the courts.”

    So, clearly, I have not failed to answer your question. You just don’t like my answer, for whatever reason.

    To that end, you say “Whether it would be the “will of the people” or not is immaterial. The people are perfectly capable of voting themselves a totalitarian state.” But, again, you missed what I said, which was that your legislation would not be, in my opinion, totalitarian, “because civil marriage already exists”. In other words, your legislation changes the definition of civil marriage, but does not otherwise expand the role of government into new sectors of society.

    Now, do you see that I’ve answered your question? I must say, though, that I don’t care to use “totalitarian” in the context of an ongoing democracy (i.e. one that hasn’t voted a dictator for itself), regardless of its historical meaning, because it has clearly morphed in modern usage into a term that applies to dictatorships. To the extent that it applies to democracies such as our’s, then clearly our massive ubiquitous government has become eminently totalitarian, injecting itself into nearly every human transaction. Regardless of the passage of your proposed legislation.

    As to the courts issue, you say “No, what happens is that those in the minority run to the courts to address their rights that have been impinged by the majority through legislation.” Agreed, with respect to the right. We see that with those students fighting to have some manner of religious freedom in secular universities and schools, for example. Disagreed, with respect to the left. Not in all cases, but in many. Overturning the sodomy laws fits within the idea of addressing the rights of people to engage in certain activity within the confines of their own home by having overreaching laws stricken. Similarly for the case of many war protesters during the Vietnam War. Not, however, the case for abortion, where the minority (the unborn) are by no means protected by the actions of the left in running to court, and where the litigants were seeking the recognition of a new right that they did not believe the majority was granting to them quickly enough or widely enough using democratic means. Also not the case for gay marriage, where activist groups in this case are also not seeking to have guaranteed rights protected, but to have new ones established. If you want to do that democratically, go for it. If you want to do it through the courts, that is illegitimate.

    The key to understanding this issue is to understand whether you are going to court to assert a specific right, already guaranteed, which is being abused, or whether you are seeking to expand the panoply of rights guaranteed to individuals under our constitution. If the latter, that should be done through legislation or constitutional amendment, not by convincing activist courts to “recognize” new rights in the constitution.

    So when you go to a court to deny gay people the ability to marry and have that marriage recognized by the state, you’re “securing individual freedoms”? By which you mean your individual “freedom” to not have the state recognize someone else’s marriage on your behalf. Because, if they do that, I guess you’re not really free anymore? Somehow? Your marriage means less? I guess? And in no way are you trying to “impose your will on others” when you tell them they can’t get legally married. Oh no. It’s only about your own personal freedoms. I can’t believe you believe that. It’s preposterous.

    Oh, please. What a straw man this passage is. As I have said time and time again, I would never go to court to deny gay people the right to marry and have their marriage recognized by the state, if the law, as duly enacted, calls for that. Where would you get such an idea? Now, I would certainly go to court to defend the right of the people to pass Proposition 8, but that’s a totally different matter. That is a defense of the democratic process, and the right of people to decide whether to change a longstanding law or not. But, we’ve had this discussion before, and you understand what you choose to understand.

  • John C

    The support for gay marriage is increasing and may now be in the majority. Clearly there are a lot of people who think that gay marriage is not a sin or an abomination.
    Not surprisingly, it is the Christian/Republican Right that offers the most hysterical response; it rallys the deeply conservative base but once again, Christianity’s moral authority is undermined by the extremism.
    Pat Robertson, for instance, believes NY’s decision to legalize same sex marriage will cause God to destroy America in much the same way that God destroyed Sodom. Similiar statements will be made at Rick Perry’s Prayer Rally.
    Seriously Steve P, homosexuality is not an abomination nor is it a sin. God is not going to damn homosexuals for being homosexuals or homosexuals wanting to get married.This belief is preposterous. As preposterous as Pat Robertson.

  • John C

    The support for gay marriage is increasing and may now be in the majority. Clearly there are a lot of people who think that gay marriage is not a sin or an abomination.
    Not surprisingly, it is the Christian/Republican Right that offers the most hysterical response; it rallys the deeply conservative base but once again, Christianity’s moral authority is undermined by the extremism.
    Pat Robertson, for instance, believes NY’s decision to legalize same sex marriage will cause God to destroy America in much the same way that God destroyed Sodom. Similiar statements will be made at Rick Perry’s Prayer Rally.
    Seriously Steve P, homosexuality is not an abomination nor is it a sin. God is not going to damn homosexuals for being homosexuals or homosexuals wanting to get married.This belief is preposterous. As preposterous as Pat Robertson.

  • Steve P.

    John C.

    “God is not going to damn homosexuals for being homosexuals or homosexuals wanting to get married.”

    Any sin, even a “trivial” one, will damn you. No sin, not even the worst sin you can conceive of, can keep you out of heaven. All sins are black ugly damnable open sores. That why we trust in Christ for our salvation, not in whether we can justify our own actions or whether we can find any worthy of being called “not sinful.”

    Thats all I’ll say about that. I’ll leave it to the theologians here to explain it better. I was talking about politics, sociology, and anthropology, not theology.

  • Steve P.

    John C.

    “God is not going to damn homosexuals for being homosexuals or homosexuals wanting to get married.”

    Any sin, even a “trivial” one, will damn you. No sin, not even the worst sin you can conceive of, can keep you out of heaven. All sins are black ugly damnable open sores. That why we trust in Christ for our salvation, not in whether we can justify our own actions or whether we can find any worthy of being called “not sinful.”

    Thats all I’ll say about that. I’ll leave it to the theologians here to explain it better. I was talking about politics, sociology, and anthropology, not theology.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    tODD @ 24

    “And when, exactly, did people notice that interracial marriages were authentic, in our country? Just curious.”

    Probably depended on the area of the country, so I can’t really satisfy your curiosity with a specific date. However, looking at that issue solely in our country would be a rather narrow perspective with which to examine an institution as old and universal as marriage. Off the top of my head, I can think of one very early marriage between an African and an Israelite named Joseph that has generally been deemed authentic. And there might just be a few more examples before and since. So interracial marriage actually has an exceptionally ancient pedigree and therefore makes an extremely poor comparison.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    tODD @ 24

    “And when, exactly, did people notice that interracial marriages were authentic, in our country? Just curious.”

    Probably depended on the area of the country, so I can’t really satisfy your curiosity with a specific date. However, looking at that issue solely in our country would be a rather narrow perspective with which to examine an institution as old and universal as marriage. Off the top of my head, I can think of one very early marriage between an African and an Israelite named Joseph that has generally been deemed authentic. And there might just be a few more examples before and since. So interracial marriage actually has an exceptionally ancient pedigree and therefore makes an extremely poor comparison.

  • fws

    matt @ 48

    cool matt. so you made Todd’s point. Whatever it is the government decides is or is not marriage does not at all change what marriage is.

    so this post is a non issue then you are agreeing with Todd.

    or… your point is that we look to the bible to form our definition of marriage. in that case incest, polygamy and divorce per mosaic law and marriage between rapist and victim, along with women having no sexual volition whatsoever ( eg the picture of Christ as groom and church as bride is illustration of this!) are the standards we are to all follow.

  • fws

    matt @ 48

    cool matt. so you made Todd’s point. Whatever it is the government decides is or is not marriage does not at all change what marriage is.

    so this post is a non issue then you are agreeing with Todd.

    or… your point is that we look to the bible to form our definition of marriage. in that case incest, polygamy and divorce per mosaic law and marriage between rapist and victim, along with women having no sexual volition whatsoever ( eg the picture of Christ as groom and church as bride is illustration of this!) are the standards we are to all follow.

  • fws

    helen @ 44

    It is not that I do not consider the points you raised as unimportant. I would ditto that for divorce, serial polygamy, people shacking up. the elderly avoiding marriage to maintain their ss benefits, etc etc. You get to explain all these things to your kids. I feel ya. I think gay marriage is maybe down the list in order of what is the greatest threat to your marriage or any heterosexual marriage. Disagree with my assessment Helen? How?

    I am merely pointing out that none of those issues similar to what you raised or the one you specifically raised are/is addressed in this article.

    The author is claiming that your relationship with your spouse has dramatically and fundamentally changed. this is his truth claim.

    Is that true?

  • fws

    helen @ 44

    It is not that I do not consider the points you raised as unimportant. I would ditto that for divorce, serial polygamy, people shacking up. the elderly avoiding marriage to maintain their ss benefits, etc etc. You get to explain all these things to your kids. I feel ya. I think gay marriage is maybe down the list in order of what is the greatest threat to your marriage or any heterosexual marriage. Disagree with my assessment Helen? How?

    I am merely pointing out that none of those issues similar to what you raised or the one you specifically raised are/is addressed in this article.

    The author is claiming that your relationship with your spouse has dramatically and fundamentally changed. this is his truth claim.

    Is that true?

  • fws

    steve P @ 47

    and it is a great sin to assert that something is a sin when the holy scriptures do not. where is homosexuality addressed in the bible in a way that any homosexual would recognize it as one would looking in the mirror and say : “that is me!”

    you wont find it.

    by the way steve P. just to help you overcome your obsession with sodomy=gay sex…. the men and women who practice sodomy that are gay is probably about the same as the percentage of heterosexuals who practice it. my point: homosexuality does not equal anal sex.

    questions?

  • fws

    steve P @ 47

    and it is a great sin to assert that something is a sin when the holy scriptures do not. where is homosexuality addressed in the bible in a way that any homosexual would recognize it as one would looking in the mirror and say : “that is me!”

    you wont find it.

    by the way steve P. just to help you overcome your obsession with sodomy=gay sex…. the men and women who practice sodomy that are gay is probably about the same as the percentage of heterosexuals who practice it. my point: homosexuality does not equal anal sex.

    questions?

  • fws

    matt @ 48

    todd’s question was rhetorical I think. he was making a point.

    He is not actually curious about it.

  • fws

    matt @ 48

    todd’s question was rhetorical I think. he was making a point.

    He is not actually curious about it.

  • helen

    and it is a great sin to assert that something is a sin when the holy scriptures do not. where is homosexuality addressed in the bible in a way that any homosexual would recognize it as one would looking in the mirror and say : “that is me!”

    you wont find it.

    Hmm. I guess you mean “you” won’t find it.

    Paul is very clear on the subject. Also, all those deviant practices recorded in the Old Testament are not approved of by God, and punishment is quite often part of the story.
    They show us that nothing is “new” in man’s rebellion against God’s order, and sometimes what followed.
    An “awful warning”, you might say.

    [We all find ways of rationalizing to excuse ourselves of sin, whatever our sin might be. Me, too. I have a good Pastor who draws a plain line and I don't like it much sometimes, but I don't say that he's wrong, or that the Scripture he's quoting doesn't say what it says.]

    That’s for my elca cousin with the lesbian daughter…. and BTW, homosexual acts didn’t stop being a sin just because the elca said they did. We were kids together; she knew better then. So did the church and taught us so in catechism class. Something happened since and everything is grey…for it and her.

    But I am off topic, inasmuch as that was the “political” aspects of this.

  • helen

    and it is a great sin to assert that something is a sin when the holy scriptures do not. where is homosexuality addressed in the bible in a way that any homosexual would recognize it as one would looking in the mirror and say : “that is me!”

    you wont find it.

    Hmm. I guess you mean “you” won’t find it.

    Paul is very clear on the subject. Also, all those deviant practices recorded in the Old Testament are not approved of by God, and punishment is quite often part of the story.
    They show us that nothing is “new” in man’s rebellion against God’s order, and sometimes what followed.
    An “awful warning”, you might say.

    [We all find ways of rationalizing to excuse ourselves of sin, whatever our sin might be. Me, too. I have a good Pastor who draws a plain line and I don't like it much sometimes, but I don't say that he's wrong, or that the Scripture he's quoting doesn't say what it says.]

    That’s for my elca cousin with the lesbian daughter…. and BTW, homosexual acts didn’t stop being a sin just because the elca said they did. We were kids together; she knew better then. So did the church and taught us so in catechism class. Something happened since and everything is grey…for it and her.

    But I am off topic, inasmuch as that was the “political” aspects of this.

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

    “believes NY’s decision to legalize same sex marriage will cause God to destroy America”

    We don’t really need God to destroy America. We are doing a pretty good job of that on our own. We just needed Him when we were building it.

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

    “believes NY’s decision to legalize same sex marriage will cause God to destroy America”

    We don’t really need God to destroy America. We are doing a pretty good job of that on our own. We just needed Him when we were building it.

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

    Distance from God is its own punishment.

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

    Distance from God is its own punishment.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    fws:

    @ 48

    “cool matt. so you made Todd’s point. Whatever it is the government decides is or is not marriage does not at all change what marriage is.

    so this post is a non issue then you are agreeing with Todd. ”

    I don’t think that the government becoming more totalitarian by adopting powers it does not possess is a non-issue. Even if it can’t make homosexuals married no matter how hard it tries, it has to take on some rather extensive powers of manipulation to make a plausible pretense. Nor do I think it is a non-issue to use the force of law to demand that the population lie about who is married. Nor do I think these were tODD’s points. The government couldn’t actually make square circles either, but legally demanding their recognition through adopting the power to define shapes wouldn’t be pretty for geometry classes.

    @47

    “where is homosexuality addressed in the bible in a way that any homosexual would recognize it as one would looking in the mirror and say : “that is me!”

    you wont find it.”

    Nor will you find premarital sex addressed in the Bible in a way that any fornicating teenager with a steady girlfriend would recognize enough to say: “that is me!” You won’t even find adultery addressed in a way that any adulterer would recognize or divorce addressed in a way that any divorcee would recognize. And yet, it addresses them all the same. What is important on the subject at hand is what it says, not whether it convinces those who don’t want to believe what it says. Sometimes, those with a seared conscience need to rely on the judgment of others whose moral faculties are in better working order.

    @52,

    “todd’s question was rhetorical I think. he was making a point. He is not actually curious about it.”

    Umm… I know. I don’t actually think there only “might” be a few more examples of interracial marriage either. If he hadn’t phrased it as a rhetorical question, it would have been obvious how shallow tODD’s point was.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    fws:

    @ 48

    “cool matt. so you made Todd’s point. Whatever it is the government decides is or is not marriage does not at all change what marriage is.

    so this post is a non issue then you are agreeing with Todd. ”

    I don’t think that the government becoming more totalitarian by adopting powers it does not possess is a non-issue. Even if it can’t make homosexuals married no matter how hard it tries, it has to take on some rather extensive powers of manipulation to make a plausible pretense. Nor do I think it is a non-issue to use the force of law to demand that the population lie about who is married. Nor do I think these were tODD’s points. The government couldn’t actually make square circles either, but legally demanding their recognition through adopting the power to define shapes wouldn’t be pretty for geometry classes.

    @47

    “where is homosexuality addressed in the bible in a way that any homosexual would recognize it as one would looking in the mirror and say : “that is me!”

    you wont find it.”

    Nor will you find premarital sex addressed in the Bible in a way that any fornicating teenager with a steady girlfriend would recognize enough to say: “that is me!” You won’t even find adultery addressed in a way that any adulterer would recognize or divorce addressed in a way that any divorcee would recognize. And yet, it addresses them all the same. What is important on the subject at hand is what it says, not whether it convinces those who don’t want to believe what it says. Sometimes, those with a seared conscience need to rely on the judgment of others whose moral faculties are in better working order.

    @52,

    “todd’s question was rhetorical I think. he was making a point. He is not actually curious about it.”

    Umm… I know. I don’t actually think there only “might” be a few more examples of interracial marriage either. If he hadn’t phrased it as a rhetorical question, it would have been obvious how shallow tODD’s point was.

  • fws

    matt c @ 56
    @47

    FWS“where is homosexuality addressed in the bible in a way that any homosexual would recognize it as one would looking in the mirror and say : “that is me!” “you wont find it.”

    FWS I should have said that you wont find it in passages that people claim speak directly and only to homosexuality. So how does this situation parallel other examples you list as follows Matt? I cant identify with lev 18, sodom and gommorah or romans 1 (since I did not leave my woman and dont lust after other guys and I dont see what vs 29-32 has to do with being a homo…)

    MATT Nor will you find premarital sex addressed in the Bible in a way that any fornicating teenager with a steady girlfriend would recognize enough to say: “that is me!”

    FWS I agree. The problem is that word “fornicating”. As you know it is “porneia”. It is the same word porno comes from. What does it mean? Precisely? By what authority?

    MATT You won’t even find adultery addressed in a way that any adulterer would recognize…..

    FWS Really? So “if you lust in your heart..” You are right that even jews would not have recognized it except for women. Men could just take on another wife…. which is probably why Jesus said what he said….

    MATT …. or divorce addressed in a way that any divorcee would recognize.

    FWS Women had NO, ie ZERO volition as to marriage or divorce. So you are sure right there!

    MATT And yet, it addresses them all the same. [citation needed]

    FWS [citation needed]

    MATT What is important on the subject at hand is what it says, not whether it convinces those who don’t want to believe what it says.

    FWS Agreed. So what does “it” say? And what is the “it” you want to address?

    MATT Sometimes, those with a seared conscience need to rely on the judgment of others whose moral faculties are in better working order.

    FWS Neat. So we 1) separate out the “seared of conscience” from the “functionaly moral” and then 2) we have them guide us as to what they think scripture says. Like for example what that word “porneia ” means .

  • fws

    matt c @ 56
    @47

    FWS“where is homosexuality addressed in the bible in a way that any homosexual would recognize it as one would looking in the mirror and say : “that is me!” “you wont find it.”

    FWS I should have said that you wont find it in passages that people claim speak directly and only to homosexuality. So how does this situation parallel other examples you list as follows Matt? I cant identify with lev 18, sodom and gommorah or romans 1 (since I did not leave my woman and dont lust after other guys and I dont see what vs 29-32 has to do with being a homo…)

    MATT Nor will you find premarital sex addressed in the Bible in a way that any fornicating teenager with a steady girlfriend would recognize enough to say: “that is me!”

    FWS I agree. The problem is that word “fornicating”. As you know it is “porneia”. It is the same word porno comes from. What does it mean? Precisely? By what authority?

    MATT You won’t even find adultery addressed in a way that any adulterer would recognize…..

    FWS Really? So “if you lust in your heart..” You are right that even jews would not have recognized it except for women. Men could just take on another wife…. which is probably why Jesus said what he said….

    MATT …. or divorce addressed in a way that any divorcee would recognize.

    FWS Women had NO, ie ZERO volition as to marriage or divorce. So you are sure right there!

    MATT And yet, it addresses them all the same. [citation needed]

    FWS [citation needed]

    MATT What is important on the subject at hand is what it says, not whether it convinces those who don’t want to believe what it says.

    FWS Agreed. So what does “it” say? And what is the “it” you want to address?

    MATT Sometimes, those with a seared conscience need to rely on the judgment of others whose moral faculties are in better working order.

    FWS Neat. So we 1) separate out the “seared of conscience” from the “functionaly moral” and then 2) we have them guide us as to what they think scripture says. Like for example what that word “porneia ” means .

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