The problem with gay “marriage” is simple.

It’s not marriage any more than my relationship with my best friend, my grocer, or my brother is marriage.  You can’t make any relationship you please ”marriage” by an act of Congress.  All you do is try to force people who know that it’s not marriage to shut up, knuckle under and be silent about your pretence under threat of punishment.

Demeaning real struggles for Civil Rights in the name of selfishness and lust is wrong.

  • Barbara

    When my 9 yo said two girls can get married I used exactly this line of reason. You are free to call the sky grass, but it doesn’t make it so.

    Sometimes I hate this culture.

    • Mike R

      which doesn’t surprise many of us who have long felt that the resistance to equal treatment under the law has been mostly driven by hate.

      • Barbara

        Because you never feel any hate at all ever. Right.
        The point I was trying to make, which granted at 3AM I didn’t make well, is that I don’t want to have to have this conversation with my 9 year old at all. Marriage has been defined a specific way for thousands of years in cultures that accepted homosexual behavior as normal, and cultures that did not. Marriage is a thing that already has a definition. Desiring to change that definition to suit your particular lifestyle is as silly as trying to call the sky grass. You can do it, heck you change the definition of “Grass” to mean the same thing as “Sky”, but it does not make them any less different.

        • Dustin

          *Exasperated sigh* “Lifestyle.” Tell me, Barbara, what anyone’s lifestyle has anything to with this. This weird notion that there’s one monolithic gay “lifestyle” is as silly as the idea of a single hetero lifestyle. People live in countless different ways. People who are, on the surface, very different often have more in common with each other than with people they’re supposedly similar to. As a straight guy, I have much more in common with the gay men I’ve known (none of whom fit the flaming, lisping stereotype) than practically every straight man I’ve ever met (not even counting the beer-drinkin’ football watchin’ deer-huntin’ kind). I certainly have little in common with the men in my own family. These are ways that we choose to be. None of us choose, though, how we love. My preference for poetry readings over rock concerts is a “lifestyle” choice. My attraction to women isn’t. Even if I were some absurdly butch mountain man, gay people wouldn’t be any different from me in at least this one respect.

          • Barbara

            Yep, lifestyle. Two people in love and living together does not necessarily make a marriage, but it does describe a lifestyle.
            My apologies that you find me so exhausting. Here I thought I was engaging in actual debate.

            • kmk

              Barbara, let me know if I am mistaken, but your point is that parents don’t want to have to have to have conversations with their young children about adults making non-normal or immoral sexual decisions –or ANY personal adult sexual decisions. It is very exhausting and sad to have to explain any of it: why Aunt Wilhemina left Uncle Fred and the kids (their cousins!) and moved in with this other dude (a recent conversation we had to have), or why the teacher’s definition of marriage and family is very different (and, frankly, how to counter it– #356576969996 reason to homeschool). AND, because we are indeed Catholics who are called to humble love of all, and believe me, we DO love Aunt Wilhemina and this is causing much pain to all of us, it is tough to figure out how to phrase it all clearly and charitably.

              Adults have made personal sexual decisions against the norm since time began, of course, but in the not too distant past often we parents didn’t have to have these conversations with our young children because there was a sense of cultural propriety and so great Aunt Germaine and her friend Isabella were dear friends and roommates (and it was none of our business! I DIDN”T WANT TO KNOW) and no other scenario needed to be discussed, or even speculated.

              Now, Germaine and Isabella can’t even BE just dear friends and roommmates without public or open extended-family speculation. Putting it out in our faces, espcially in school and the public square, demanding our approval instead of allowing for a sense of propriety (and Charity, I might add!) forces us to have conversations that jettison our children out of the latent stage that children ought to enjoy until they are about 11.

              IF someone really needs approval for adult sexual decisions so much that one is willing to shove it in children’s faces, one has deep seated problems.

              • Barbara

                Yes, there is the element that my kids ought to have the freedom to develop naturally and have sexuality addressed at appropriate developmental times. Usually oldest children are a little behind the curve while younger siblings have the older ones as an example. Either way the conversation happens in response to what the children in the house are experiencing rather than what the adults are forcing. The fact that our two oldest girls know what they know is frustrating at best, harmful to their development at worst.
                We have done all we can to address the necessity to love all people for the very fact that they are people and thus deserving of love. But love for a person is not the same as acceptance of all actions.

      • Dale Price

        The presumption of hatred on the part of opponents and intimidation tactics like EightMaps are one Hell of a foundation upon which to build your cause. They also ensure that it will eventually crumble, like all such political constructs which rely upon coercion.

        • MattyD

          “Intimidation”? Sure, I suppose it’s out there on the fringe. But the driving force for gay marriage in the U.S. right now is popular support.

          • Dale Price

            Sigh.

            The intimidation is right there in Mike’s comment–”you people are mostly H8rs.”

            When the driving force is the assumption that opponents are haters, and when “marriage equality” proponents are willing to blacklist said opponents, or take them to court…let’s just say the popular support has some level of opportunism or self-preservation.

            EightMaps was classic intimidation. Acknowledging that, instead of handwaving to maybe some fringe-y types who might hypothetically exist, would be nice.

            • MattyD

              Dale, respectfully, I can’t make any sense of your comment. 1) Having never heard of EightMaps, I did a google news search for it. I found 4 obscure tech articles, only two in english. Sounds fringy to me. 2) If someone *believes* that their foe is a “hater” how is that, per se, intimidation? If I tell people I *believe* that, random example, secular liberals are haters, am I engaging in intimidation? No, I’m attempting to oppose what I believe to be hatred. 3) I don’t see any evidence that the popular support for gay marriage has much of an element of “opportunism” or “self-preservation”. I do, however, see much evidence (on polls) that increasing #s of Americans just aren’t morally troubled by homosexuality or gay marriage.

              • Scott W.

                http://www.eightmaps.com/

                A blueprint for harassment.

                • MattyD

                  I agree it’s a terrible site. But with only four obscure news articles on it, pretty safe to say it’s pretty fringy, no? It’s gotta be much smaller and even more fringy than, say, Sarah Palin’s “bullseye” map of target dem districts.

                  • Scott W.

                    When one of my friends was getting signatures for a petition to stop a town council from making homosexuals as a protected class, she had people tell her point-blank that they agreed with her but wouldn’t sign because they didn’t want to appear “to be against the gays.”
                    Granted, only an anecdote, but you factor in that people have already been fired from jobs for refusing to affirm same-sex “marriage”, parents were denied the ability to opt their children out of sex-ed programs that taught homosexual acts as normal, a student was berated for hours on end and threatened with suspension for writing a perfectly rational anti-gay “marriage article for the school newspapers that he was asked to write, an ex-lesbian-turned-Christian had to flee the country with her biological daughter because a court insanely awarded custody to her creepy ex-”spouse” and arrested the guy who helped her escape, and that there is not a shred of conscience protection in any of these legislative exercises in mendacity, and it is clear that these are features, not bugs.

                    • MattyD

                      I won’t defend those things as good. But it seems to me that your objection is no different from your opponents’. You want your position to be socially safe and respected. Defenders of gay marriage want *their* position to be socially safe and respected. The fact that one side is beginning to lose the social popularity contest tells us nothing about who is right or wrong. I’d feel differently if defenders of gay marriage were, on the whole, violent, widely dishonest, always acting in bad faith, etc. But I don’t see any evidence of that. I just see evidence that their argument has started to become more popular and the opposing side is beginning to see what’s it’s like to be an outcast.

                    • Scott W.

                      Ran out of reply room, so I’ll put it here. Where you say, “You want your position to be socially safe and respected.” actually that is not the case. It would be nice, but a true Catholic cannot expect that “because the light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved.” We fully expect to be outcasts because of this.

      • InsaneSanity

        Mike,

        Your comment is pure weakness, plain and simple. Either that, or you’re intellectually lazy. If you want to debate the issue, then debate. But labeling someone’s beliefs as “hate” is crap.

        • Mike R

          tough crap.. I’ve done my fair share of debating this issue over the years. I’m relishing listening to the wailing and gnashing of teeth of those who would deny equal rights to others they deem ”disorded’ based on religious beliefs worthy of ridicule. Eventually the ‘debate’ about gay marriage will become as relevant as the debate about miscegenation. I’m going to enjoy the schadenfreude while I can.

          • Phinnman

            “I’m going to enjoy the schadenfreude while I can.”
            What a pile of resentment.

          • SteveP

            That’s actually rather funny as you just torpedoed your position: two men cannot mix; a man and a woman can mix – anti-miscegenation laws actually led to the definition of the right for a man and a woman to marry – to mix.

  • Margaret

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

  • http://bibleversereflections.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Jonah Free Thinker

    I like using the reasoning that we have the marriage of food and wine (tens of thousands of websites around the world all thinking the same context on this one). We see the same context being applied.

    Different but complimentary union that has the potential to create something greater.

    You can look at it on a macro scale –
    a meat dish with a full flavoured red wine
    or
    a micro scale –
    meat and vegetables.

    Both examples work, because when they are brought together they create something greater than themselves.
    Wine and wine is just more wine.
    steak plus steak is just 2 steaks
    There is no need for a new word here.

    But joining together food and wine, people all over the world refer to this as an art in the ‘marriage’ of food and wine.

    The term ‘marriage value’ has also been applied in the property industry.

  • Bob

    So, who decided what marriage is?
    If your answer is God, then you know why this point of view is not winning the day in the debate over legal recognition of civil marriage between two people of the same sex.

    • Scott W.

      So, who decided what marriage is?

      We know what marriage is from Reason, Revelation, History, and plain old horse sense. Two men in a mutual masturbation arrangement given a legal rubberstamp by a government that has informally declared war on reality is not a marriage.

      • Dustin

        I’ve tried several times to reply to this, but I keep getting flagged as spam and am unsure why. So, briefly (the original attempted reply was much longer):

        Yours is the single most infuriating argument against homosexuality. The assumption that gay people are incapable of love and just want approbation of their kink, when love, in fact, and its attendant longing for eternity, is the reason why anyone chooses to get married at all. Consideration of love is entirely absent from nearly every argument against same-sex marriage I’ve ever heard or read. It’s hardly even in the vocabulary of those opposed to marriage equality. Why do they think gay people can’t love, or that their longing for companionship and dignity is inferior?

        • SteveP

          “. . . when love, in fact, and its attendant longing for eternity, is the reason why anyone chooses to get married at all.”

          Surely, then, you can provide a reference to a statute or a judgment, contemporary or historical, which prescribes a “love test” when applying to the State for recognition of a marriage.

        • Susan

          I, for one, do not think gay people are incapable of love. I have gay friends and relatives, and I know from experience that they are.

          But the idea that “marriage” is the one and ONLY response to love is absurd, as is the idea that if two people CAN’T marry, (a mother and her son, a grandmother and her grandchild, etc. etc. etc. etc.) then we are automatically disparaging their “love.” These simply do not follow. Marriage is based on a reality that precedes both Church and State, and to borrow from CS Lewis, if you cannot see that it differs from homosexual cohabitation (even with “love” included, which HAS NEVER ONCE BEEN, IN ANY SOCIETY ON EARTH, A DEMANDED PREREQUISITE FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE) then you could look all over the sky at high noon on a clear day and not see the sun.

          Wailing that those who oppose gay “marriage” are ignoring the reality that two people love each other is the “strawest” of straw men. Once more: yes, any two people can love each other. yes, they can live together. It doesn’t follow that they can enter into the Form of Marriage, and it doesn’t follow that they are being “denied” something rightfully theirs if they cannot.

          • Brandon

            I don’t know how you arrived at the idea that “if you can’t see it, you’re just blind” is a persuasive argument.

          • Dustin

            I asked someone else, but is there a word limit? I can’t seem to post replies as long as ones like yours. Did you hit the spam filter before you successfully got this one in?

        • Scott W.

          That’s because “love” isn’t some word that magically transforms objectively evil acts into good ones.

          Most fathers love their daughters–that doesn’t justify sexual contact between them.
          A man may love his country–that doesn’t justify gassing Jews.
          A man may love another man–that doesn’t justify utterly sterile mutual masturbation between them.

          • Dustin

            Again with “mutual masturbation.” This depressing view of sex. You seem, truly, to believe that gay people are just selfishly using each other and are only interested in base pleasure. But vulnerability, intimacy, comfort and all the reasons that straight couples have sex aside from procreation? The idea that gay people would be similar to us seems inconceivable to you. You seem to think that gay people are these strange creatures who are nothing like you. That they don’t long for the same things you and I do. (Let it suffice that I don’t believe non-procreative sex to be “objectively evil.”)

            • Scott W.

              You seem to think that gay people are these strange creatures who are nothing like you. That they don’t long for the same things you and I do

              No, I think they are sinners just like me. The only difference is I don’t listen to the culture of lies telling me that evil isn’t really evil.

              • Scott W.

                Actually, I spoke too soon. There are people with same-sex attraction who don’t listen to the culture of lies and affirm that homosexual “sex” is wrong. My apologies. One example is Joe K. who commented at Ed Feser’s blog and tells us the worst enablers are heterosexuals who “bandwagon on someone else’s slave morality to the degradation of everything around them.”

            • LUKE1732

              Sorry, Dustin, but abusing either your reproductive organs or your digestive organs is not “having sex”. Strictly speaking, there is only one arrangement of body parts that can rightly be called “sexual intercourse”. This is science, not religion. And don’t bother to quote from some politically corrected dictionary or “science” source from the past 20 years in your response.

          • Dustin

            (This paragraph wasn’t accepted in the post above, so I’m trying again. Is there a word limit?)
            Obviously I wasn’t clear enough in pointing out that, by love, I meant specifically romantic love, since we are talking about, you know, the question of marriage. I’m deeply disturbed that you’d compare same-sex attraction and intercourse to, of all things, incestuous molestation and genocide. Things that are horrible, unspeakable crimes. I honestly can’t begin to imagine where that kind of hostility to gay people even comes from.

            • Scott W.

              I’m deeply disturbed that you’d compare same-sex attraction and intercourse to, of all things, incestuous molestation and genocide.

              Apt analogies tend to disturb people clinging to the defense of evil acts.

              • Dustin

                “Apt.” Okay. Seriously. You cannot possibly believe this. You can’t seriously believe that consensual sex is something as evil as murder. You’re either being deliberately absurd in order to fluster me (in which case, congrats, you accomplished it) or you haven’t spent any time reflecting on your moral priorities. Sex is the same as murder to you? Seriously? Do you want it met with the same punishment as genocide?. We hung Nazis. Would you prefer that we began executing gay people too? What terrifyingly cruel moral universe gave birth to your ideas?

                • Scott W.

                  You shouldn’t be flustered. You just need to understand how an analogy works. I’m not saying two things are same thing. I’m saying the logic justifying both are the same. If the logic fails for one, it fails for the other.

        • The True Will

          What if somebody decides he “loves” two or more people? Why is it not “hate” and “bigotry” for the state to deny validation to them? I am still waiting to hear an argument more persuasive than “That’s DIFFERENT!”

          I know living, breathing polyandrists, and they did not disappear at the mantra “There’s no slippery slope…. there’s no slippery slope…”

      • ivan_the_mad

        Please, just stop helping.

    • kmk

      I would say biology-and survival of the species, too.

      • Mike

        Biology? NO!
        Human fetuses are not human and male and femal sexual organs are not complementary! Signed, your freindly critical freethinker.

        INSANITY!

    • Dale Price

      The fact you think the matter can be decided by referenda illustrates the problem with your position.

    • Barbara

      I believe it was Hammurabi in an effort to make sure that children were protected by their fathers and fathers were held to account for their children. This is drawing on my memory from a highschool sociology class, so I could be mistaken. Anyone else recall when marriage became a legal matter?

    • Kate

      Umm, marriage is a human institution.

      To put it in its most basic terms, marriage has existed since humanity figured out that sex makes children. Sexual fidelity, as a human norm, and marriage (which is the social institution which gives recognition to that fidelity), is and has ALWAYS been about providing stable families for children, clear obligations of support for children, clear obligations and responsibility for pregnant women and mothers.

      We’re mostly Catholics here. The Catholic church recognizes marriage as a natural institution. We make a distinction between those natural marriages – any man and woman who make promises of fidelity to each other and engage in the (potentially fertile, even if not in all possible cases) conjugal act are married. Christians and Catholics can join in sacramental marriages, and there is a religious dimension to that, but the defense of marriage as a potentially fruitful, committed heterosexual union is rooted not in any particular religious creed, but in human history and the way human beings procreate by nature.

      In any case, this definition of marriage predates any of us, predates Christianity, predates Judaism, and is found in every major (and most minor) human culture. ‘Cuz it’s about the kids, not about love or genital stimulation or companionship. Not that those things are not important to marriage – but they are important BECAUSE they strengthen the unity that shelters the kids.

  • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

    Amusing. Very amusing.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Who decided what grass is? Who decided what a table is?

    Really, one thing Westerners had going for them,philosophy,is the one thing they try so hard to jettison.

    “This baby dirties the bathwater! Bring me a new one!”

    • Dustin

      Well, a table is a human invention. It’s a thing you can put other things on. It goes by other names in other languages. All of these names for it are, of course, completely arbitrary. We might have called it a squarge, but we didn’t. We invented for a broad purpose. We decided when we invented it. Whoever “we” are.

      Grass, though, is just grass. We figured out what it does by experience (it took a Dust Bowl to knock the point into some people’s heads.) It preexisted us and doesn’t need us to “decide” anything whatsoever about it. It would still be itself if the first amphibian had yet to squirm onto shore. The name, like all names, is arbitrary.

      Not great examples, these.

      • ivan_the_mad

        I think Hez is indicating the reality the word denominates, rather than the denomination itself.

  • Ed the Roman

    Saying there is such a thing as marriage means saying that there are no important differences between heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships, despite the argument’s being conducted entirely between instances of the distinction between the two.

  • Ed the Roman

    Sorry, gay marriage, that is.

  • Mike

    It’s all so silly. No act of any court or assembly, will ever change what is not into an is. 2 men or 2 women may call themselves anything in the world including married but it still will not make it so. This is all WEDGE ISSUE politics; to divide people of good will and score political points. It’s silly.

    Plus if 2 men can “marry” why can’t I marry my elderly mother whom I care for? Well we all know why but it’s taboo almost to speak of it.

    • Bob

      So, Mike, here’s my question.
      If “2 men or 2 women may call themselves anything in the world including married but it still will not make it so,” then what is it, exactly, that “makes it so” when 1 man and 1 woman call themselves married?
      I’m just taking Mark’s argument on its own terms. I’m not trying to make a case about “fairness,” or “equality” or tax law, or even love. Nor am I making an argument about who is supposed to benefit from marriage or who would be hurt or helped by allowing same-sex marriage. Those are good questions but those are not the issues that mark has raised.
      If I understand Mark’s point correctly, he’s saying that marriage is what it is. It’s not possible for lawmakers to change it any more than it’s possible for them to decide that the moon is made of yogurt by passing a law saying so.
      I get it. And it’s perfectly sensible with respect to the SACRAMENT of marriage.
      But in civil law, marriage is a legal structure created by humans. (Technically, we don’t need civil recognition of marriage at all. And that’s how I would prefer to solve this problem. Gays could marry at their Unitarian churches, straights at their churches, and both kinds of marriage would hold the same legal weight: None. But that’s another issue.)
      So that’s what I’m trying to get at. What is it about the traditional definition of marriage that simply makes it THE definition, case closed, notwithstanding anything my legislature might come up with?
      Again, if your answer is “God,” then it’s easy to see the problem with that when it comes to civil law.

      • kmk

        Well, it’s the sexual act. Let’s go back the biological roots of this and ponder the realities: a man and a woman together, a man and man together, a woman and woman together. It is in everyone’s heads? Good, it is the main point that gets lost, rather deliberately, I think.The physical act–which puzzle pieces fit together?!

        WHich act, when fruitful, makes one of the persons immediately vulnerable (no matter their personal strength on any level–carrying another human being internally inherently makes you vulnerable to all sorts of things) and ought to make the other person responsible for protecting those two vulnerable people? Aside from any religious argument, wouldn’t this continuing of humanity logically demand that there be a natural protective relationship which helps to preserve this bond?

        Of course the real roots (Original sin being the primary root) are artificial contraception and no-fault divorce. With these being the cultral norm, how can we be surprised by anything that is allowed now?

      • Mike

        Dreary, dreary dreary. The answer to your question lies in all the countries of the world, which up until last week included all western nations, that defined marriage as one man and one women. If you can’t see why that arrangement is special you are either a dim wit or a troll. Sorry to have to be so cutting but your line of reasoning is incredible. Why don’t we just pass a law that the sky forthwith shall be green. Please, your boring me to death.

  • MattyD

    I love so many teachings of the RCC. But, for the life of me, I cannot find a compelling argument for why the rules of our sacrament should apply directly to the rules of a civil contract.

    • Susan

      They don’t. Gay people can enter into any kind of civil contract they want – to inherit each other’s wealth, whatever – and many have. Marriage long, long, LONG precedes the state, not only our historically recent nation-states, and the fact that it began messing around in it to the extent that it has is a recent phenomenon of modernity (in its historical sense). For the life of me, I cannot find any compelling argument for why the rules of civil contracts have to steal and eviscerate of meaning ancient terms like “marriage.”
      I don’t necessarily disagree with those that say states HAVE a compelling reason for, say, protecting marriage. But no one has put forth any reason why the state should arbitrarily re-invent its meaning. Civilly protected unions should be enough, and if they include tax breaks etc., those should apply to other civil unities, such as a single woman taking care of a foster child, a community of friends living together, whatever. And these aren’t marriages either.

    • Dale Price

      It’s not the “rules of our sacrament,” for starters. It also presumes that marriage is the most appropriate way to address the legitimate needs of gay couples.

      There’s also the cascade effects on conscience questions which go well beyond the relationship at issue. Catholic adoption services, anyone? Serious pro-gay marriage thinkers have considered this (e.g., Chai Feldblum). Far, far too many proponents have not, and are resorting to mere sloganeering and/or demonizing the opposition.

      • Bob

        But questions around conscientious objection, while fair, can not legitimately used as a reason for denying people the civil protections that come with marriage. We can provide people those marriage rights and separately hash out questions around wedding photographers, bakers, and adoption agencies.
        Personally, I think service providers should be permitted to service or not service whomever they wish. A wedding photographer enters contractual relationships with individual clients, so it’s not the same thing as a restaurant that won’t seat non-whites, for example. And there are plenty of photographers happy to take the gay-marriage business.
        On adoption, I’m fine with Catholic adoption agencies handling their services however they wish, but I’m also fine with states choosing not to contract with service providers that discriminate against certain citizens who are otherwise eligible for service. No one has a right to a government contract and conscience protection laws don’t create such a right.

        • Dale Price

          Again, that assumes that marriage is the only legitimate way to provide the necessary civil protections.

          With your adoption position, the problem is that you’re perfectly willing to let the state practice viewpoint discrimination against Catholic agencies without any showing that there are no other alternatives.

          Catholic agenies are not permitted to operate as they wish as a result–e.g., Massachusetts.

          Civil society shrinks, the state grows and unapproved viewpoints are marginalized. Almost none of the gay marriage supporters I have spoken with have begun to think about such things. Instead, it’s “equality,” “haters,” and incredulity that any opponents operate in good faith.

          • Bob

            It’s not discriminatory for an employer to say to a prospective contractor “these are the services we need, and here are the people to whom we need those services provided.” If the prospective contractor can’t do it, then that’s the contractor’s decision.
            Either they can do the job that needs doing, or they can’t.
            If I need someone to fix my roof, and the contractor says “sorry, we don’t do that,” am I discriminating against him because I don’t hire to paint my house?

            • Dale Price

              You’re missing the Constitutional angle. The state is no mere employer or general contractor. It is the state. It wields commerce-governing power at the federal level, and the general police power at the state level.

              The State of Massachusetts did not come to Catholic Charities in Massachusetts asking them to perform a service. It told them that it had to perform a service–place children with same sex couples–religious principles be damned. Catholic Charities folded its adoption placements instead.

              It wasn’t playing the role of a contractor, it was playing the role of a beat cop, slapping the truncheon in its hands. Message received.

              • MattyD

                Dale, I’m very sympathetic to both the religious liberty issue and the issue of RCC social service contracts. But it seems to me that *if* GM is a right (I’m not saying it is, but only positing for discussion), then civil society must navigate between that right and the religious liberty rights of the RCC. Roughly akin to how civil society must navigate between the right of free speech and the right not to be libeled. Or the right of private property and the right of the state to tax. I agree you’re raising a crucial question, but I don’t see how it’s dispositive on the question of whether GM is a right.

    • SteveP

      MattyD: I can understand why a wife ought to have a right to survivor benefits from her husband’s pension. Can you explain to me how a man having the right to survivor benefits from another man’s pension contributes to the common good of the nation?

      • MattyD

        I’ll try. My understanding of the defenders of GM is they believe they are being denied a civil right (true or not, I can’t say for sure). We live in a country that has grown to treasure the concept of protecting civil rights. In fact, the protection of rights was said, from the earliest stages of the American experiment, to be the essential purpose of government. That idea became the basis for most of what the United States treasures as its identity – from declaring independence from England, ending slavery, giving women the votes, etc. So when citizens of this country say they have a “right” to something, they are making a claim that is central to the identity of our nation. I’m not saying they are correct. I’m saying that any American worth his salt needs to take that claim very seriously. And can’t oppose it solely on the grounds that “it’s always been this way” or “my God told me so”. We’ve developed more rigorous rules for the game, thank God.

        • SteveP

          Thank you for the response. The odd thing about “that’s the way it’s always been” not being a valid argument for the status quo is that is precisely what holds the worth of “gay marriage:” if there were no legal meaning to marriage and everyone and everyone could troop down to the local office and obtain a shiny certificate of marriage – suitable for framing – to whomever they desire, no one would marry. However, as money is involved, because “that’s the way it’s always been” there is the cry of inequality and of rights.

          • MattyD

            Steve, P, that’s an interesting point. If I understand you, you’re saying the fact that marriage is a long-standing and *unchanging* tradition is partly what has made it a successful and appealing human institution. So when GM advocates want to change the tradition, they aren’t expanding participation in it, but are instituting a new, flexible tradition. Which then, presumably, could be less likely to last as a human institution. Hmm… if that’s what you’re saying, I’ll admit the opposition makes a little more sense to me. You’ve given me something to think about.

  • brian_in_brooklyn

    “It’s not marriage any more than my relationship with my best friend, my grocer, or my brother is marriage. ”

    Mark, are you saying that the only difference between your relationship with your wife and with your best friend is the fact that you have sex with her, sex that may result in children?

    It’s gonna be mighty cold tonight–be sure to take some blankets with you when your wife sends you to sleep on the couch.

    • kmk

      So isn’t it gay marriage if the two men or two women are engaging in sexual behavior together? That IS the defining gesture, isn’t it, and what needs to be witnessed, approved and celebrated? So what kind of sexual behavior rises to the definition of being “marriage?” Maybe that it may or may not be able to result in anything meaningful relating to the public who is asked to witness, approve and celebrate–like maybe another human being or something like that?

      I bet Mark’s dear wife is very happy that he is not having sex with his best friend, grocer or brother! ; )

      • Mike

        In England they are striking out consumation and adultery for gay “married” couples. Gee, I wonder why consumation would be struck, hmmm, I wonder why? Again we all know why but it is becoming taboo to say so out loud.

  • cermak_rd

    No one has to shut up if gay marriage is allowed. What the state (or feds) can do is provide the same benefits of marriage to gay couples. Here in my state, IL, we instituted civil unions, not gay marriage. Guess who was against the civil unions? The Cardinal. And in this case, it had nothing to do with gay marriage. In fact, IL is one of only a few states that allow all couples to get civil unions, not just gay couples. SO it’s hard for me to swallow, well we just don’t want to redefine marriage when the Church also is against robust civil union laws.

    And yes this meant that Catholic charities had to stop providing services to the state for foster care and adoption work. Though it was actually the non-discrimination law that they were unwilling to obey, only indirectly related to the civil union act.

    • Mike

      You don’t have to shut up you can get yourself fired from your job.

    • SteveP

      And yet both Britain and France “gay rights” advocates are clamoring that civil unions for homosexuals are still discriminatory and “gay marriage” is necessary for real equality under the law. What makes you think the same course of events will not occur in IL?

    • Scott W.

      We’ve already seen people fired for refusing to affirm gay marriage.

      • Scott W.

        P.S. And if you won’t shut up, people will shut you up: http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/197236891.html?refer=y

        • MattyD
          • Scott W.

            No. That is a perfectly just firing. Let’s pretend instead of a teacher at a Catholic school, it’s an officer in National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Let’s say he starts blogging about how great the racial theories of David Duke are. No one would seriously expect the NAACP to let him keep his job.

            This teacher is still free to speak his mind about same-sex “marriage”. He just can’t expect to keep drawing a paycheck from Catholics to do it.

            • MattyD

              I totally follow your logic. And I largely agree. But I’m saying that a somewhat similar logic applies to the public shaming or marginalizing opponents of gay marriage. Because, in the eyes of GM defenders, those who oppose GM are violating the agreed legal and civic values of the community: ie equality. Opponents of GM are still free to oppose same-sex marriage. They just can’t expect the wider society to agree with them.

              • Scott W.

                I think we are on the same page and I had a more detailed response, but even though I tried to keep it short, I still got hit with the spam notice. I’m bowing out of this thread because fighting with the spam blocker has become too frustrating.

    • kmk

      Why are there benefits to marriage in the first place? To provide help to those who were raising the next generation–that includes adoptive parents–and willing to promise their lives to it. The roots of this problem are the twin lies of artificial contraception and no-fault divorce.Just read the NYT in the 1930s afterthe Lanbethconference which allowed artificial means of contraception to married couples–NYT, among many newspapers,was totally against it!!!!

      A power of attorney would confer most rights to anyone a person chooses. A society with that legal opportunity should not have to approve, celebrate or pay for fruitless adult sexual behavior.

      • cermak_rd

        Since about 40% of children are being born in IL without a marriage, the argument that marriage benefits are about children is a little strained. Also, couples who fail to procreate are not denied marital benefits.
        A power of attorney will not convey all rights. Especially tax implications of inheritance, work benefits, etc.

        Artificial contraception has meant that women can both be married and enter the workforce as equals with men. Before reliable contraception they had to choose one or the other. Yes, there is FAM (fertility awareness method) and it can be reliable, but for convenience it’s nowhere close to an IUD or DP shots. No fault divorce doesn’t seem any worse than non-no-fault divorce. New York state for a very long time did not have no-fault divorce and yet they still had an incredible number of divorces. In essence, it just meant the couple colluded to figure out the grounds needed to get them out of their unhappy marital state. Anyway, these aren’t changing. No one is going to make contraception illegal, and most folks no longer go to church so don’t much are what churches teach. And no one is going to take away divorce.

        • SteveP

          Bingo! Estate tax is the lynch pin: tell us why a man who “loves” his “partner” ought to pay less estate tax than a son who inherits his father’s business?

        • Kate

          Well, that’s all a good argument for abolishing state recognition of marriage altogether, or for actively promoting a child-centered understanding of marriage on all levels (which i’m all for), but it’s a pretty crappy argument in favor of gay marriage to say, essentially, “marriage is so defamed, destroyed, and void of meaning that we should stop pretending it means anything at all.”

  • http://soulsagabooks.blogspot.com/ Brian Niemeier

    The problem is mainly one of perspective. The institution of marriage as invoked by its defenders differs substantially from revisionist definitions (if given) of matrimony.

    From the dawn of civilization until quite recently, marriage was universally understood as a male-female conjugal union imposing certain social obligations including the begetting and rearing of children. These commitments were viewed as ideally lifelong.

    Confusion arose over the last few decades. Artificial contraception obscured the inherent connection between the unitive and life-giving aspects of conjugal love. Easy divorce eroded the ideal of marriage as a stable, lifelong state.

    The majority of westerners living today grew up in a culture that has reduced marriage to a legalistic joining of households and assets based on mutual affection to be dissolved upon the dissolution of those transient emotions. If one presupposes this revisionist and highly reductive view of marriage, then granting its benefits to same-sex couples seems just. However, accepting the revisionist view also undermines the bedrock on which society is founded.

    Marriage revisionists often argue against the straw man that legalizing same-sex marriage won’t negatively impact traditional marriage. Here they miss the point. Western civilization is only able to countenance revisioist views of marriage because our understanding of traditional marriage is already fatally compromised.

    • Mike

      Exactly. It’s not going to make life better for gays or real married people. But I do predict that it will eventually fall out of fashion and hopefully we’ll be able to forget all about it. FACT is gay people don’t marry even when they “can”. They are mostly, especially the men, non-monogamous. It’s more like a business contract than a symbol of fidelity.

      I just hope the supreme court leaves it to the people to decide. I pray actually, so that real, real, division isn’t allowed to infect America.

    • cermak_rd

      But this cultural change has already happened. It happened for a lot of reasons. It coincided with women getting far more power over their own lives than they had ever had. It meant that couples had to figure out their marriage and what it meant to them as an individual couple. It meant that because Mom worked outside the home, maybe Dad got a vasectomy after the 2 kids or maybe Mom used birth control. This meant that the couple was able to easier weather bad economies since if one side of the couple lost a job, the other side still had money coming in. Limiting child birth also meant the Mom was less likely to suffer from a great many childbirth complications. And Mom was likelier to be employable by limiting the number of pregnancies.

      It meant that if the union completely fell apart, there was an exit available. This meant that both parts of the couple had to try to keep their union from getting that bad, rather than just relying on disdain of divorce from the other partner.

      So, both of these events (divorce and birth control) had good sides. They both resulted from and resulted in the culture we have today and intersected with our economy and its changes. A culture that I would wager most US citizens would not want to change and a globalized economy with which we’re stuck.

      So given that’s where we’re at, and we’re not going back, why not let the 3-4% of gay folks in on the party?

      • Dustin

        I give thanks that our ideas about love and family have shifted so much. It’s quite a shock to think about how things used to be for women, just in this country (the US, I mean. You might be from elsewhere, I don’t know.) Marriage used to be unquestionably coded as hierarchical, based on power, domination and the treatment of the wife as volitionless piece of property traded between a father and a husband. We have slowly shifted from that, and rightly observe with horror those parts of the world where it’s still the case. Likewise, our integration of gay people into mainstream society as equal participants in public life proceeds apace.

        • SteveP

          I have been very curious about this narrative: in what year did fathers start loving their daughters and stop selling them? Likewise, in what year did mothers stop being doormats, complicit in the sale of their daughters?

          • Kate

            THANK YOU! The ahistoricity of this mythos of “our ancestors the heartless patriarchs” has been driving me batty. Frankly, it (like a lot of revisionism) is so ridiculously simplified it almost makes conservative faux-nostalgia seem subtle and nuanced.

    • Dustin

      Are we made for the Sabbath, or is the Sabbath made for us? Do we exist just to circumscribe our lives and our society based on traditions whose relevance isn’t always clear and whose assumptions of inclusion and exclusion seem, to more and more people, unjustifiable? Or do the traditions exist to benefit and sanctify us, and, where they starkly contradict shifting cultural standards, be reshaped by us whenever they’re no longer a cause of happiness and sanctification but injustice and stigma? To me, it’s clear. To me, marriage equality is plain-facedly a matter of basic justice. Equality trumps exclusion.

      • Scott W.

        Getting the government to officially recognize dogs as cats is not an equality issue. It’s war against reality plain and simple.

      • SteveP

        “Equality trumps exclusion.”

        Why, then, cannot I not designate that my nephew cannot be compelled to testify against me? Sounds to me like you don’t really want equality between citizens but a place of what you view as privilege.

  • NoahLuck

    > You can’t make any relationship you please ”marriage” by an act of Congress.

    Poppycock. Civil authorities most certainly can make any relationship they please “civil marriage”.

  • Alex

    When two men or two women can bring about a child through their sexual act with each other, then I’m willing to discuss their being able to marry. Until that happens, it isn’t a marriage.

  • astorian

    I’ve asked these questions before, but I think they’re still relevant.

    Have there been many non-Christian/pre-Christian societies? Of course. Were there many such societies in which there were no taboos against homosexuality, and where sodomy was winked at or even encouraged? Yep. Were there important men, even kings and emperors who engaged in homosexual activity without the slightest guilt or remorse? Absolutely- ALexander, Caesar and Trajan, to name just a few.

    Now, the big question: did any of those societies sanction homosexual marriage?

    Of course not! Even in non-Christian societies that had no moral qualms about sodomy, even a king who ENJOYED homosexual activity would have laughed at the idea of men marrying men. Alexander would have told you forthrightly, “Marriage is between a man and a woman! One has an obligation to marry and father children to carry on the family name. Now, after that, if you want to chase boys on the side, why, that’s your affair.”

    • cajaquarius

      That is because marriage wasn’t about love, it was a contract for creating (as you stated) a family line. You had a duty to your family. God help you if you were a woman and infertile for whatever reason – you were essentially worthless in most of those societies. Unmarketable. Dad couldn’t get rid of you. Trying to compare contemporary marriage to marriages of the past and these appeals to tradition are, frankly ludicrous. Marriages haven’t been set up by fathers for daughters (e.g. the REAL traditional marriage the way God circumscribed) for a long, long time. Heterosexuals opened this can of worms the moment you all began marrying for love instead of solely to make babies and create a lineage for your property to pass down after death.

  • cajaquarius

    What audacity! You have the empathy of a doorknob. Your inability to put yourself in the shoes of other people is blindingly obvious here and your arrogance about being so completely blind to the way others might feel is pretty astonishing, to be honest.

    Did you grow up dreaming of being swept off your feat by that best friend of yours? Perhaps not, but I often found myself cuddling up to mine – at least until it embarrassed him and got me punched when he got made fun of for my affections. Innocent affections as I was just a gentle kid who didn’t really know much better back then.

    Your grocer; do you find yourself fantasizing about meeting someone like him (if he is nice) and taking care of each other as you go through all the little bits of life together? I have been a romantic author and avid lover of such soft things and I have always longed for that. Many heterosexual women will claim to long for much the same from a man.

    I want someone special; not just a friend. Someone to share my life with, in illness, in hardship, in happy times, and in scary times. I always have. I am not obsessed with it, but don’t we all want someone special like that – to find our “special someone” out there?

    I am guessing all those online guides to picking up ladies were written for someone out there in this world. Maybe you are such a stud that you never needed them but there are so many of them that I have to believe that I am not an odd guy in wanting to meet someone special like that. The only odd thing about me – I happen to romantically be attracted to other men instead of women.

    Look, I didn’t want this fight at all. If I did find myself seeing someone, I wouldn’t kiss him in public because I know it bothers some people. I am willing to compromise on things. Even marriage – can we at least get federally recognized civil unions? You can keep the word “marriage” but I want to know that, if my partner dies, I don’t have to worry about his family sweeping in, taking his body, and banning me from attending his funeral. There are so many little things that are made so much harder for people like me that something identical to your marriage license (if not a marriage license itself) would totally fix.

    Is that so unreasonable a request?

    • chezami

      Nobody’s stopping you. It’s just that a homosexual relationship is not a “marriage”. Attempt to force people who know this to pretend that it is are simply exercises in draconian narcissism.

      • cajaquarius

        Actually, nobody is allowing me. There is no federally recognized civil union – it differs from state to state and doesn’t carry all the same benefits and protections of a marriage. I am willing to let you keep the name “marriage” if I can get the same rights that you get to a marriage. If you are convinced that homosexual relationships are so different then so be it – I know some southern baptists down the street who feel the same on interracial marriage. I don’t really care. I am not interested in winning a popularity contest with people who hate me for things I can’t control, I am just interested in protection.


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