"Gender no longer…essential (to) marriage"

In an utterly unsurprising ruling, and one that is inarguable if one is peering through the narrowed prism of stringently secular law, and reducing marriage to a sort of contractual partnering, Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled restrictions against same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

You can read the whole Prop 8 decision here.

I was intrigued with this part:

Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage. Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.

As I say, an expected ruling, given the narrowing of perspective. It is counter-intuitive to 5,000 years of human cultural understanding, but we’ve seen a lot of that, these past 40-or-so years.

My first thought: the churches–any of them who wish to remain able to practice their faith in relative freedom–will have to seriously consider getting out of the business of acting as “duly recognized” agents of the state in legalizing marriages. The alternative will be inevitable lawsuits charging “discrimination” for disallowing church weddings, a diminution of our constitutional right to free worship, and a further emptying of church coffers as settlements and fines are levied.

As I’ve written previously:

” . . . the churches should reconsider their roles in authenticating marriage. Governments issue birth certificates; churches issue baptismal certificates. Governments issue death certificates; churches pray the funerals. Governments issue divorces; Churches annul. Both work within their separate and necessary spheres, serving the corporeal and the spiritual. It is only in the issue of marriage that church and state have commingled authority. That should perhaps change, and soon. Let the government certify and the churches sanctify according to their rites and sacraments.”

Meanwhile, lots of glad or angry or funny remarks on twitter. My favorite so far is from Jim Geraghty who tweets:

These appeals are going to take forever. Can’t we just ask Anthony Kennedy what he thinks about gay marriage now?


Some are wondering where democracy is
, when “the will of the people” can be overridden by judges. Well, it’s not like that’s something new. People are writing to me that “marriage is under attack.” I disagree. Marriage will go on. What is under attack is federalism.

Here is how states break down on the issue, via Melissa Clouthier.

Andrew Malcolm has an early roundup of reax.

Cardinal Francis George: Not Happy. Not surprised, either.

Hey, Christians live in exile, and we’re in for a long one. It’s part of the gig we signed on for.

UPDATE:
Walker has issued a stay in his order.

Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church is preparing:

Armed with a new $400,000 grant and the support of the Episcopal Church, a Berkeley seminary is convening priests from across the country to craft the liturgical rite for same-sex couples to receive religious blessings.

The new rite, which will take years to complete, will most likely consist of a series of original prayers, Bible readings and two essays: one on the theological meaning of same-sex blessings, and one advising priests who administer the new rite.

More first reactions: Check back as I’ll be linking to them as I find them!
Gay Patriot
Hot Air
Chris is Right
BlogHer: Reaction Roundup
Kathryn Jean Lopez: “Recreating fundamental institutions. She has more here
Instapundit: Beginnings of a roundup.
Allahpundit
Michelle Malkin
Ace and Gabriel
Joe Carter: Disappointed, not surprised
Reason
Politico Arena
Sister Toldjah

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Rhinestone Suderman

    yeah, Pat, it’s an obvious theme. You’re trying to make us all feel guilty because we’re supposedly Un-American. It’s as overused as playing the race card.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Also, using the state to dictate peoples’ religious values to them is highly unamerican. So is ignoring the will of the voters.

  • Pat

    @Rhiney,
    I don’t know who “us all” means (the people in your head?) but the truth hurts, doesn’t it? And the voters weren’t ignored. They were overruled. There’s a difference: we do not have mob rule in this country.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Marriage is absolutely under attack. A redefinition of marriage to include the absurdity of same sex marriage is a degredation to what marriage is. There is no way but to conclude marriage is under attack.

    From Charles, post #20:
    “Sorry, but the idea of separating “secular” from “religious” marriages is nonsensical. Marriage is a PUBLIC institution.”

    Absolutely. And great comments by Bender throughout, and others as well.

    Two people of the same sex by natural law (and common sense) cannot constitute a married couple.

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  • Jeff

    Equal protection, hah. That means anything goes. Rome is back. good and bad.

  • Brian English

    “@Brian English: Why do you suppose most straight couples opt for a marriage ceremony rather than avail themselves of domestic partnership laws? The answer is that everyone knows that a domestic partnership is second class.”

    (1) Actually, many heterosexual couples opt for neither — they simply live together. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, and Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan are high profile examples. Are they all third class?

    (2) Sir Elton John says you are wrong.

    (3) Whatever happened to the, “We don’t need a piece of paper to prove our love” sentiment that used to be all the rage among the more enlightened segments of our society?

    (4) When did constitutional analysis start concerning itself with subjective emotions? California’s Domestic Partnership Law provided all the rights afforded to a married couple. That is all the Constitution requires.

  • expat

    Manny and Bender are right about the public institution. While it is certainly valid for Catholics to be concerned about the effects of this ruling on their own religious beliefs and practices, it is also wise to keep the bigger picture in view. There are lots of non-Catholics who share the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. They should be allies and not left out of the conversation.

    Pat raised the question about people who marry in civil ceremonies and why they don’t opt for civil unions. It would be interesting to question them about their expectations regarding monogamy and parenthood. I’ve read that lots of gays believe in open relationships, but I find it hard to believe that a woman in the 8th month of pregnancy would not be devastated at her husband spending an evening at the bathhouse.

  • Brian English

    “@matt: Wrong.”

    Actually, your description of what happened at Ocean Grove is not completely accurate.

    Ocean Grove, which bills itself as “God’s Square Mile at the Jersey Shore”, was founded by Methodist ministers in 1869.

    Over the years, the Boardwalk Pavilion has been used for weddings. In 2007, following the passage of NJ’s civil union law, a lesbian couple sought to use the Pavilion for a civil union ceremony. The Methodists refused, citing the Methodist Church’s opposition to homosexual unions. There was no attempt to bar gay people from the boardwalk or Pavilion. You just could not hold a civil union ceremony there.

    The couple filed a complaint with the NJ Division of Civil Rights, which found the ban to be a violation of NJ’s Law Against Discrimination. The Methodists responded by banning all marriage or civil union ceremonies in the Pavilion.

    All of the 188 official events at the Pavilion the previous year were worship services or hymn sings, so you should really distinguish between official events and people wandering across the boardwalk and Pavilion.

    The repair funds you refer to were for storm damage to the Great Auditorium. Those funds were available to everyone harmed by the storm, so they are irrelevant to this issue.

    The Green Acres Tax Exemption was based upon the boardwalk being open to the public, but Green Acres status does mean anything goes on the property. And, in any event, the state withdrew the tax exemption when this issue arose.

    So now, no weddings take place at the Pavilion. Happy?

  • pat

    @Brian, with all due respect your comments are not credible. Your supporting examples are Tim Robbins,Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan and . . . wait for it . . . Elton John. Seriously? Disappointed. Please feel free to quote any peer reviewed articles, studies, books, etc. But not TMZ and the Entertainment Network.

    Your Ocean Grove comments are a “difference that don’t make a difference” as they used to say in law school. In short, the Methodists held the Pavillion out as open and available to the public, they took public monies to operate it and then they tried to bar some members of the public from using it.

    Not to leave a stone unturned, the facts in the New Mexico case (as I understand them, since you failed to say anything meaningful about them) are that a small private photographer was successfully sued for refusing to offer her services to a lesbian wedding. If that’s the basic gist of it, then that is a travesty of justice and the law lost out on that one. She should not be forced to photograph lesbians or Jews or black people or anyone else that she finds detestable.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    So, Pat, you’re okay with having voters overruled by unelected judges? Does this mean you don’t support a Democratic system, where individual votes actually mean something, and the people, not bureaucrats, decide?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Erin Manning, #45, yes, I agree; with that language, the judge is declaring war on Christianity, and inserting the state into moral/religious questions. This is not good.

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  • pat

    @Rhiney, what you are opposed to IS CALLED the Democratic system. This is basic high school civics. Why do you think we have federal judges? Example: if the majority of Utah voted next year to tax all Roman Catholics, wouldn’t you want a federal judge determining that the vote – although it is the express will of the people of Utah – cannot stand as it violates the federal constitution?

  • Brian English

    “Your supporting examples are Tim Robbins,Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan”

    You believe those are the only heterosexual couples who chose to just live together instead of getting married? You need to get out more.

    And by the way, where are your peer-reviewed studies regarding the “second class” status you hang your whole argument on?

    “Elton John.”

    Why are Sir Elton’s views on the satisfactory nature of civil unions/domestic partnerships worthy of less consideration than the complaints lodged by your unidentified, self-esteem challenged, disparagers of civil unions/domestic partnerships?

    “Your Ocean Grove comments are a “difference that don’t make a difference” as they used to say in law school.”

    And as they also used to say in law school, “don’t make up facts.” People were allowed to wander around the boardwalk and pavilion, have a seat if they were tired, and basically take in the ocean view. No one was standing at the entrance to the boardwalk trying to identify gay people and preventing their entry.

    Official events at the Pavilion were related to Methodist worship. None of the marriage ceremonies performed there violated Methodist morality (as far as I know, none of them were for non-Methodists).

    The Methodists did not take public money for their official events, and the tax exemption they received was for allowing general public access, not the holding of the official events.

    I am gald to see you regard the New Mexico case as a travesty of justice, but what about the E-Harmony case?

    I would also like to hear your response to my fourth point above:

    “(4) When did constitutional analysis start concerning itself with subjective emotions? California’s Domestic Partnership Law provided all the rights afforded to a married couple. That is all the Constitution requires.”

  • pat

    @Brian I think you are silly. (1) Are you seriously standing behind your ridiculous statements about a bunch of celebrities as that is evidence of anything? If you were a serious debater with a supportable point of view you’d own that mistake and move on. Your reluctance to do so, tells me that you are just being silly. (2) You also would have explained the E-harmony facts, rather than make me look them up like you did with the New Mexico case. (3) Your fourth question above is impossible to understand and I can’t imagine how I would go about answering it. Again, you’re not serious here, you
    re just typing.

    I think you and I are done talking, unless and until you type something else that is ridiculous and unsupported by fact in which case I will once again be compelled to call you out on it. Enjoy your day.

  • Brian English

    “(1) Are you seriously standing behind your ridiculous statements about a bunch of celebrities as that is evidence of anything?”

    What I said was, many heterosexual couples do not opt for marriage or domestic partnerships, instead choosing to live together, and I gave you high profile examples. Do you acknowledge that many heterosexual couples do not get married, and yet do not feel themselves second or third class citizens?

    ” (2) You also would have explained the E-harmony facts, rather than make me look them up like you did with the New Mexico case.”

    I never mentioned the New Mexico case — that was Matt. I just noted our agreement on it.

    The eHarmony case involved a complaint by a gay man to the NJ Civil Rights Division (them again) about eHarmony not offering a gay dating service. After three years of litigation, eHarmony settled, agreed to create a gay dating service, agreed to put pictures of same-sex couples in the “Diversity” section on its website, had to pay the match-seeking complainant $5,000, and the NJ AG’s office $50,000 for investigation fees. Sound like justice to you?

    “(3) Your fourth question above is impossible to understand and I can’t imagine how I would go about answering it. Again, you’re not serious here, you
    re just typing.”

    I thought you said you went to law school?

  • c matt

    @matt: Wrong. The Ocean Grove…

    Umm, @pat – wrong – I didn’t mention Ocean Grove, someone else did.

  • c matt

    @pat There’s a difference: we do not have mob rule in this country.

    No. Apparently we have rule by overlords, which you don’t seem to mind (at least as long as they rule how you like). As for the taxation of RCs example, yes, I would want a federal judge to rule consistent with the Constitution that it was inappropriate (first amendment ought to cover it).

    Where in the Constitution is there a right to SSM?

  • pat

    @Cmatt: The right to SSM is written in the US Constitution in the sentence immediately following the written sentence that expressly gives each citizen a constitutional right to a straight marriage. Don’t you see them both? Wait a minute! Are you telling me that NEITHER of those sentences expressly appear in the USC? Oh, NO! Then I guess we are going to have to have federal judges interpret what our rights are BASED on what is expressly written in the USC and how those words have been interpreted by 200 years of federal jurisprudence. (Hey, that actually HAPPENED this week in California! Looks like the American experiment is working!)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Pat, isn’t a Democratic system supposed to be one where the people, not Federal Judges, decide issues?

    (And, actually, Pat, I’m not in favor of Federal Judges deciding votes at all; there’s just too much room for abuse there, and too great a risk we’ll end up being ruled by priest/king judges, which is definitely not what the Founding Fathers wanted.)

    (And how does giving each citizen a right to straight marriage somehow translate into a right to same-sex marriage? Can you extrapolate a bit? Or are we just supposed to assume the Founders really, REALLY wanted to put that in, but just got distracted, so now it’s up our Priest/King/rulers to tell us what to do about it?)

  • pat

    @Rhinestone: Read the Walker opinion.

  • Krumhorn

    Anchoress: “People are writing to me that “marriage is under attack.” I disagree. Marriage will go on. What is under attack is federalism.”

    I accept your point as a clear truth. But I cannot escape the clear observation that we are actually the true target. There is something particularly nasty about how the activist homosexual community has gone about this.

    There seems to be an in-your-face aspect about this that seems less concerned with the actual institution of marriage so much as the ultimate legal consequence that places same sex relationships on exactly the same level of value to mankind and society as traditional marriage.

    The requires us to accept with no further question by fiat the resolution of any debate about what is or is not “normal” or “degenerate” conduct. We are compelled to accept that schools cannot possibly tolerate any presentation that excludes in any way that Heather having two mommies is a perfectly normal and acceptable state of affairs.

    In fact, what this is truly all about is compelling our abject confession of acceptance of the moral equivalency of all committed pairings rather than mere tolerance of other people’s choices.

    Naturally, over the course of the great span of human social experimentation, evolution has buried the carcasses of the failures and what remains is the inescapable fact that the most essential building block of a society over the long run is a committed union of an unrelated adult man and woman.

    Haven’t we clearly learned that the security and prosperity of woman are decidedly improved when they marry?

    Isn’t is clear that a marriage to a woman is a generally civilizing influence on men? If you doubt it, just imagine the brutish terror of uncommitted men with no obligation of sperm when they just take what they want and run off with their gang of boyz for more.

    And certainly, there is no better and fertile environment for the growth and stable development of children (that are really only produced when men and women are proximate to each other) than when mom and dad are there.

    That’s how societies blossom and grow. That’s how humans organize to become great. That is what got us here.

    ……………..

  • Joe
  • Pat

    @Krum:

    Your posting above is clearly well-considered but I feel compelled to challenge a few of your points.

    First, a small point – you are 100% entitled to an opinion that the gays have been nasty here, but I think the evidence is on the contrary. The nastiest thing I’ve seen is a long time is the NOM TV spot called a Gathering Storm. But again, we all have opinions as to who is misbehaving.

    2. I wholly disagree that this decision prevents us from discussing what is normal. All gay people and straight people agree that homosexuality is contrary to the norm. At best it is 1-3% of the population. We can and should look into what causes this, but from an objective scientific standpoint, and not one that begins with – “this is wrong, why does it happen?” Variations in nature are not necessarily bad or wrong.

    3. I accept wholeheartedly that an important, if not the MOST essential building block of a society over the long run is a committed union of an unrelated adult man and woman. However, allowing gay people (1-3% of the population?) to marry cannot possibly have a negative affect this dynamic. I suspect it will strengthen the idea of straight marriage for straight people and make us realize what a valuable thing we have if those excluded from it are trying so hard to obtain it.

    4. Yes, it is clear that a marriage of a straight man to a straight woman is a generally civilizing influence on men. I suspect the same will hold true for gay people now that they can marry. There is no evidence to the contrary.

    5. True that there is no better and fertile environment for the growth and stable development of children than when mom and dad are there. And we should encourage those families. But we already have a whole host of laws that (A) allow single women to have and raise children naturally, (B) allow single men to have and raise children naturally, (C) single people to adopt and raise children, (D) married people to choose not to have children, (E) parents to give their natural children over to the State to be raised by the State (F) gay couples to adopt and raise children. In fact, by some counts 18% of gay couples are raising children right now. I suspect the ability of those couples to marry will improve the stability of the environment for those children. I don’t know how to improve the lives of the children in A through E above (especially E), but preventing gay people from marrying certainly wont do it.

    In short, your points are well considered, but they fail to consider the viewpoint of the minority and fail to show how giving the minority what the minority wants will adversely affect the majority. And that’s basically why the Perry case failed. I don’t think this is about federalism or gay marriage. This whole issue really is is about the majority making decisions for the majority that significantly affect the minority (with respect to something extremely important) in cases where pretty much there is NO disagreement on the part of the minority as to what is best for them.

  • Diane

    Sorry, but two women or two men marrying does nothing to diminish or threaten my marriage. Adultery, divorce does that. And those are mentioned in the bible too. So why the double standard?
    I grew up without a father(due to death) and I managed just fine.
    I would think that the prejudice toward gay marriage and child rearing would be more of a threat to the child’s mental health then being raised by 2 committed loving people.

  • Last Sphere

    The simple reality here is this:

    Gay people simply want to feel “normal”.

    They will eventually get all the fiduciary equality of heterosexual couples and they can refer to themselves as husband and husband and as wife and wife and they can redefine the definition of “family” all they want to the ends of the earth.

    And none of that will matter.

    And why?

    Because in truth- gay people are blaming all of their insecurities and all of their relationship difficulties and all of their collective neurosis on “normal” peoples opinions of them.

    In fact, A study on short-term same-sex marriages in Norway and Sweden found that divorce rates were higher in same-sex marriages than in opposite-sex marriages, and that unions of lesbians are considerably less stable, or more dynamic, than unions of gay men.

    But of course there are a couple of fundamental things to consider when it comes to “statistical” evidence for the definition of “stability” in gay marriage and marriage as a whole:

    1) Gay marriage has not been around long enough or on a wide enough scale to get a true measure of it’s “effectiveness”.

    2) Heterosexual marriage has been degenerating and becoming increasingly meaningless- because the basic moral character of our society as a whole is deteriorating. Increasingly, anything and everything goes. Don’t judge me, and I won’t judge you.

    But are we as a society feeling “happier” and more content in our ever-increasing debaucheries?

    I don’t think so. It seems there are more people than ever taking antidepressants and seeking secular counseling and yet- our society as a whole is increasingly unhappy.

    Gay “marriage” will probably become a legal reality. But will widespread gay “happiness”?

    No.

    Because true personal happiness, true personal peace, has NEVER been found in someone else or something else outside of ourselves.

    And THAT my friends is a timeless truth that will never change.

    God Bless.

  • RecklessProcess

    This will come as a real shock to the children who’s creation was protected by the Marriage. But these same sex marriages can never create children. Obviously these are not equivalent relationships.
    Don’g get me wrong: I am for civil unions and allowing gays to adopt under the same strictures everyone adopts under. But allowing churches to speak about their thousands of years of tradition of accepting gays as abnormal. If they want to say sodomy is an affront to god then that is fine. Free speech. Gays don’t have to hang out there.

    It is both alright to allow civil unions and to allow churches to speak what they beleive. Freedom. Gays need to learn a little tolerance.

  • pat

    “the basic moral character of our society as a whole is deteriorating.”

    I disagree.

  • Last Sphere

    (pat wrote – “I disagree.”)

    Of course you do.

    Because you’ve invented a new definition of “immoral”.

    “A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice.” – G.K.Chesterton

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Oh well, Last Sphere, we can always just ask some Justice what’s moral and what isn’t; our judicial priest kings will decide for us! (Sarc.)

    (Actually, as in the joke the Anchoress repeated, it’s probably all going to come down to what Kennedy says! Rule by one man.)

  • JJM

    “Taking the longview, yes you’ll see the creation of ‘Official American’ churches–and curiously some will come via the left while others come from the far right–which will drive older churches underground.”

    And, irony of ironies, “Official American” churches would actually be quite clearly unconstitutional:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

  • pat

    @Last: No, I just have more hope and faith in humanity than you do.

  • DaveW

    Wow 21 comments by Pat in this thread by my count. Impressive work.

    Anchoress I disagree that this is an attack on federalism. I think this is a straight up attack on Christianity.

    Watch what happens next. IF SSM is a right then obviously any church that refuses to conduct SSM ceremonies is abridging the rights of homosexuals. Look at the opinion – religious belief that homosexuality is a sin “harms” homosexuals.

    And by the way, it’s a good bet there are five votes on the SCOTUS to uphold this ruling.

  • Brian English

    “I suspect it will strengthen the idea of straight marriage for straight people and make us realize what a valuable thing we have if those excluded from it are trying so hard to obtain it.”

    Andrew Sullivan, in his book supporting gay marriage, actually thinks that heterosexual marriage will be improved by gay marriage helping the straights to get over the whole monogamy thing.

    “I suspect the same will hold true for gay people now that they can marry. There is no evidence to the contrary.”

    Really? I guess you missed the NYT article on gay couples in San Francisco where a majority of them are involved in open relationships.

    I guess you also missed the writing by Andrew Sullivan, Larry Kramer, Michael Focault, and many other gay writers who maintain that promiscuity is an integral part of being a gay man.

    I guess you also are unaware that in the states that have legalized gay marriage or passed civil union laws gay men have not exactly been storming the municipal buildings to get marriage licenses.

    I would also suggest you read the complaint filed by Gens Hellquist in Canada last year (where there has been gay marriage for about ten years) in which the Canadian Healthcare system is accused of not properly responding to the fact that homosexuals (particularly gay men) suffer disproportionally from depression, suicide, addiction, and sexually transmitted diseases.

    “I suspect the ability of those couples to marry will improve the stability of the environment for those children.”

    On what do you base this suspicion? Does a marriage license really have such a transformative effect? See the Hellquist complaint again.

    “I don’t think this is about federalism or gay marriage.”

    A case where a federal judge overturned a state constitutional amendment and found a right to gay marriage under the US Constitution (thereby setting the stage for the invalidation of the laws or constitutions in 29 other states that define marriage as being between a man and a woman) is not about federalism or gay marriage?

  • Last Sphere

    (pat wrote – “No, I just have more hope and faith in humanity than you do.”)

    And that’s clearly where we differ:

    My Faith and Hope rests ultimately in God- not humanity.

    And I have no faith nor hope in humanity as long as humanity continues to turn it’s collective back on faith and hope in God.

    Man disappoints.

    God redeems.

  • Feeney

    Pope Benedict has spoken of “the folly of the redefinition of the spouse”. Folly, indeed.

  • Pat

    @Dave, by your reasoning, we should be afraid that the Church will be forced to marry 2 Jews. Nonsense.

  • Pat

    @Brian, you’re making my point for me.: Civil marriage will have a generally stabilizing effect on gay relationships. Also, I think you’re making an incorrect conclusion from what you’ve read of the writers cited above: I think the point is not that promiscuity is an integral part of being a gay man, I think the theory is that a tendency towards promiscuity is an integral part of being a man.

  • Pat

    @Brian: You know, I just re-read ALL of your postings and am asking myself why I am bothering to engage with you. You clearly have an agenda and that agenda is to make gay people live as second class citizens. What in the world happened in your life to bring you to this place?

  • expat

    Pat @132,

    Perhaps the social institution of marriage affirmed by major religions is what tames this promiscuity and directs men to think of their responsibilties to their children and society as a whole.

  • Last Sphere

    (pat wrote – “I think the point is not that promiscuity is an integral part of being a gay man, I think the theory is that a tendency towards promiscuity is an integral part of being a man.”)

    I’m afraid the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of same-sex marriage does not bear this out:

    Finally, we provided a divorce-risk study. We found that divorce risks are higher in same-sex partnerships than in opposite-sex marriages, and that unions of lesbians are considerably less stable, or more dynamic, than unions of gay men. In Norway as well as in Sweden, the divorce risk in female partnerships is practically double that of the risk in partnerships of men. Our data is based on legal unions of short durations only, so we can say nothing about the fraction of unions that eventually will end in disruption. Nevertheless, a higher propensity for divorce in same-sex couples may not be too surprising given this group’s relative non-involvement in joint parenthood and its lower exposure to normative pressure about the necessity of life-long unions. The difference in divorce behavior between women and men appears somewhat more puzzling. It cannot be explained by differences in the composition of couples over our explanatory factors at hand. Nevertheless, some of these differences give us some hints about possible unobservable characteristics that might be at play as well. We find that partnerships of women to a much larger extent are demographically homogamous than are partnerships of men: Lesbian partners often have relatively similar characteristics while gay spouses more often differ in terms of characteristics such as age, nationality, education, and income. Such similarity in characteristics might also reflect a deeper feeling of sameness in lesbian couples. Such a sameness and a corresponding lack of clear power structures may be inducive to a high level of dynamism in the relationship, but perhaps not to the kind of inertia that is related to marital stability. Differences in divorce risks might also appear from differences in the motives of lesbians and gays for entering a registered partnership in the first hand. With our type of data, we are in no position to explore qualitative aspects of that kind, but have to leave such topics of research to colleagues in other scientific disciplines.

    And then there is this:

    Moxness (1993), a Norwegian sociologist, has argued that same-sex marriages have become legalized not so much because homosexuality has become more accepted, but because marriage has become an increasingly empty institution and no longer is seen as a mandatory entrance to adult life, sexual life, and parenthood.

    (The Demographics of Same-Sex „Marriages“
    in Norway and Sweden
    Gunnar Andersson, Turid Noac, Ane Seierstad
    & Harald Weedon-Fekjær)

    It should also be noted that this study warns about the overall methods that have typically been used to analyze same-sex marriages:

    2a. General problems in studying gays and lesbians

    Lack of representative samples is the most fundamental problem in quantitative studies on gays and lesbians. Self-recruited samples from an unknown population have been and still are very common in studies of homosexuals. Respondents are, for example, recruited by snowball methods, from the readers of particular magazines, from members of organizations for gays and lesbians, or more recently using those who are willing to fill in questionnaires presented at the Internet. Critical voices have also pointed out that much of the research on family life of gays and lesbians is done by studying white, well-educated, American middle-class people (Patterson 2000).

    In addition to such sampling problems, the question of how to identify homosexual people is increasingly debated. Should respondents be asked to self-identify themselves, or is it better to measure sexual practice, i.e., to ask about number of life-time same-sex partners, any such partner within a certain time period, the sex of the majority of partners, and so on?

    I think it is fair to say pat, that your assumptions are not supported by any measure of truly accurate analysis.

  • Brian English

    “Civil marriage will have a generally stabilizing effect on gay relationships.”

    How does anything I cited to you lead you to that conclusion? Last Sphere’s post at 138 further refutes your contention.

    “I think the point is not that promiscuity is an integral part of being a gay man, I think the theory is that a tendency towards promiscuity is an integral part of being a man.”

    No. Their point is they view promiscuity as being in integral part of being a GAY man. Sullivan’s book expressly makes the point that gay marriages should not be monogamous and that heterosexual couples could learn something from that.

  • Brian English

    “You clearly have an agenda and that agenda is to make gay people live as second class citizens. What in the world happened in your life to bring you to this place?”

    Typical. Anyone who doesn’t buy into the progressive agenda is a bigot.

    You keep missing the point that gay couples in California had the same rights as heterosexual couples under California law. But that wasn’t good enough for Judge Walker and you.

    By requiring the label of marriage so that gay unions will be accorded the same “social significance” as heterosexual marriage, Judge Walker is trying to institutionalize acceptance of the gay lifestyle.

    Walker’s decision and its concern with social significance expresses the essence of the gay agenda: “Somewhere out there, somebody is saying what I am doing is wrong, AND I HAVE TO PUT A STOP TO THAT!”

  • Last Sphere

    (pat wrote – “You clearly have an agenda and that agenda is to make gay people live as second class citizens.”)

    If I may address this statement pat:

    With all due respect, “gay people” are making themselves feel like second class citizens.

    I go back to my original basic and simple point on this thread-

    in truth, gay people are blaming all of their insecurities and all of their relationship difficulties and all of their collective neurosis on “normal” peoples opinions of them.

    And another point to be made is the self-imposed label of “gay”.

    The fact that people are willingly assigning labels to themselves based on the very narrow scope of their sexual desires and passions is in reality a form of self-imposed denigration that enslaves their personhood to a very limited facet of their overall makeup.

  • pat

    @Brian, there is no such thing as the “the gay lifestyle.” By your own words you betray your own bigotry. Is there a black lifestyle?

  • Brian English

    “@Brian, there is no such thing as the “the gay lifestyle.” By your own words you betray your own bigotry. Is there a black lifestyle?”

    Being gay and being black are not the same thing, despite the fact that you would like to equate them. Your question gives away your agenda.

    Gay people define themselves by what they do. Being black is a racial classication that tells you nothing about who the person is or what they do.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    Okay this back-and-forth is getting ready to close after 4 days of no one convincing anyone of anything. If you who are still posting want to take this to private emails, please set it up, otherwise comments will close in about 45 minutes.

    There comes a point when an argument just goes round-and-round, and becomes exhausted.

  • Last Sphere

    (pat wrote – “@Brian, there is no such thing as the “the gay lifestyle.”)

    Really pat?

    Then what are we even discussing here?

    Cooking techniques between different couples who just happen to be same-sex versus opposite-sex?

    This is a stark example of the timeless truth:

    All social engineering begins with verbal engineering.

    Abnormal lifestyles become “Alternative Lifestyles”. Pro-Death becomes “Pro-Choice”. The sadness of profound sexual dysfunction becomes “Gay”. The Government Mandate becomes “The Public Option”.

    And on and on it goes……..


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