Put Your Money Where Your Marriage Is

After New York legalized gay marriage Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler posted the following message to twitter (h/t Daylight Atheism):

Now, fully 1 in 9 Americans will live in a state with legalized same-sex marriage. Our mission field is getting more complicated.

Adam of Daylight Atheism offered his own gloss on this pronouncement, I’ve got a different hypothesis that requires some feedback by any opposed-to-gay marriage readers. First off, here’s what Adam wrote:

My wife and I discussed this, and I can only come up with one explanation that seems reasonable: Mohler is against same-sex marriage because he wants society to discriminate against non-Christians, thereby making conversion to Christianity a more attractive offer. If all people have equal rights, then Christianity will be forced to rely on its own persuasive power to make converts, rather than holding out unique privileges that are only available to Christians – and that’s a competition he fears!

And it’s not hard to see why. If proselytizers like Mohler seek to convince gay people that their sexual orientation is sinful, wrong and must be changed, they’ll have a much harder time making the case to people in a happy, stable, committed relationship with all the benefits offered by the state to opposite-sex couples. They’d prefer that GLBT people be a downtrodden and oppressed minority, punished and scorned by the state, unprotected against discrimination in jobs or housing, shut out from all the legal benefits society has to offer. They don’t want to compete on a level playing field, but one that’s tilted in their favor; they want people who won’t convert to suffer for their defiance.

I think there’s a simpler explanation. When gay marriage is legal, the Christian contention that it will destroy marriage, harm children, and generally blight human existence becomes testable. It’s easier to muster opposition against a hypothetical threat, and the more common gay marriage is, the easier it will be for individual Christians to draw their own conclusions. After all, that’s what happened when gay people came out of the closet.

Christians certainly don’t want any more David Frums (the conservative pundit who announced this week that after seeing gay marriage in practice, he had no data to support his previous opposition to gay marriage). This kind of reversal undermines Chesterton’s definition of the church as a “truth-telling thing” and could undermine confidence in other counter-cultural church teachings.

So I want to hear from all of you about what data you expect. Tell me how you’ll make your beliefs pay rent. One caveat: I don’t want citations for research that’s been conducted. That’s going to derail everyone into methodological nitpicking. I want open ended brainstorming, not problems with anchoring effects and privileging the hypothesis.

I’m also not going to be a methodology stickler right this second, so let’s not get bogged down in the problems of how we would run data collection or deal with confounding factors in this first pass. There’s time for that after we know what variables we’re interested in. If you want to start looking at possible research protocols, my hunch is that a difference-in-difference model. would be a good place to start.

And, last caveat: It’s fair for Christians to offer criteria that progressives don’t recognize as bad outcomes (later marriage age, more cohabitation, etc). We can spend time later arguing about their ramifications. For right now, I just want people to put their cards on the table about what they’re afraid of. It’s a given there will be a lot of disagreement about what an adverse outcome is, since Christians would probably put “leaving the church” on the list Atheists are also encouraged to comment about what they think would represent a poor prognosis for marriage.

I’ll start by throwing out two trends off the top of my head that I would find disturbing:

  1. An increase in the number of/percentage of marriages that produce children and end in divorce after <5 years
  2. A decrease in the amount of time people date before marriage

Now let’s hear what you’ve got. Comments are open for spitballing, and if anyone wants to offer a longer or more detailed proposal, talk to me about a guest post.

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as a statistician for a school in Washington D.C. by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • Anonymous

    I'm a progressive liberal at the same time that I'm also a Southern Baptist, and no one makes me more furious than Al Mohler. I was overjoyed about New York's legalization, and think that Christians are doing their level best to harm marriage themselves. Se: Christian vs. secular divorce rates. I think you're assuming a lot about the viewpoints of your Christian readers.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16496144988509668275 Leah

    Anonymous, I am aware that not all Christians are opposed to gay marriage, but it was too cumbersome to write "Christians who are opposed to state recognition of same sex marriage" throughout the piece, so I shortened it.

  • dbp

    Since this isn't one of the issues I spend a lot of time thinking about, I will try to limit myself to a few specific points, each directed at various angles of Leah's request for data. The summary is, the data question is more problematic than it seems.1) Being of the school that an intrinsic evil is nothing other than a state of spiritual harm in and of itself, whether one the one 'harmed' (i.e. engaged in the evil in one way or another) is conscious of the harm or not, I think many would maintain their objections to gay marriage even without secondary evil consequences (of the sort Leah mentions) following.2) In addition to the intimately personal concern of the Church for individuals as per #1 above, it is also concerned with the health of societies and the world. Individual, personal actions can in fact have a great impact on this even when the connections require a great deal of care to tease out. I am reminded of Humanae Vitae, which some claim to have been largely vindicated. It doesn't require individual gay marriages to produce obvious ill effects to maintain that society-wide ill effects will arise. (I have not studied HV and the accuracy of its predictions almost at all, so I will not object to those who want to claim the contrary; you could just as well refer to pollution and Anthropogenic Global Warming, which similarly predicts dire consequences despite most of us not seeing ourselves any particular ill effects of our own particular use of energy.)3) Marriage in the social space is as much political philosophy as it is religion. The first and foremost question is, what compelling interest does the state have in offering benefits and promoting marriage in the first place? Owning and raising pets is a wonderful thing that makes many people very happy (happier than their marriages, in some cases!), and is certainly not wrong. But should the state actively promote and support it? On what basis? In other words, if the state abolished officially-recognized marriage tomorrow for everyone, I would go on living my (religious and personally defined) marriage the same as I do today, just as many homosexuals carry on their own committed relationships on their own terms. The official status of marriage is therefore less a question of individual liberties than it is a question of social direction and incentive to support something that definitively promotes the public good. This makes the relationship of data to the opposition to gay marriage a little different than simply a question of measurement of good or bad effects.4) I wholeheartedly agree that marriage as practiced by Christians doesn't present a very flattering picture on the whole. But then, on the whole, marriage as practiced by Christians these days is, by their own admission (e.g. on the use of contraceptives), not particularly close to authentic Christian marriage. Is (allegedly disordered) homosexual marriage so much worse than (also allegedly disordered) heterosexual marriage? Perhaps not, except in this: that a society that does not reject homosexual marriage is a society that is that much further from rejecting evils in heterosexual marriage, meaning it is one step further away from getting back to a healthy societal and spiritual attitude toward sexuality, reproduction, and human relations. Where in one case it looks the other way in the face of disordered relationships, in the other it commits itself on going all-in to support it. In this case, the place to look is not at the effects of gay marriage specifically as to the overall culture of sexuality (with contraception, artificial insemination, no-fault divorce, casual sex, etc.) in which we now live.

  • KL

    I had a whole nice long post going, then accidentally hit the backspace key once too many and lost the whole thing. Luckily dbp stepped in during the interim to make a number of points I wanted to touch on, in much more eloquent fashion. In particular I would like to reiterate the fact that comparing Humanae Vitae's predictions in 1968 with current societal trends is eerie.I will add, though, that from my (Catholic) perspective I don't expect that same-sex marriages will lead to any particular sort of decline in marriage across society as a whole, because I view the legalization of same-sex marriage as the result of our culture's view of marriage — and that view is the actual root problem, rather than the legal recognition of same-sex unions. Instead of understanding marriage as a sacred, unbreakable commitment before God and community, ordered toward both the spiritual edification of the spouses and the raising of children, our society tends to see it as an agreement (permanent or temporary) between two individuals for personal convenience and gratification (I use the word here not in a general sense, not strictly sexual). On this view, it doesn't make any sense to deny marriage to same-sex couples and so it's entirely logical for the state to recognize it. (At the risk of invoking a slippery slope argument, I will add, though, that I don't see a justification on this view for denying state benefits to polygamous or consensually incestuous unions, either.)As has been discussed many times before in many different fora, a huge part of the conflict surrounding this issue has to do with the fact that our society is not sure how to separate marriage as a religious ceremony from marriage as a civil contract. Until that gets sorted out, legally and conceptually, we'll keep running into these issues.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00681934865643964687 JSA

    I think you and Adam both completely missed the reason for Mohler's consternation, but that seems par for the course with apologists.To the question asked in your post, I predict that this will lead to a slight uptick in people expressing public disapproval of homosexuality, especially among people who openly supported gay marriage. A small fraction of people may have felt guilty about expressing negative personal opinions, because their personal opinions would be overshadowed by the larger civil rights issue. Now that the civil rights issue is eliminated, and especially if the person can take credit for eliminating the civil rights issue, the person can now more freely express negative personal opinions. They will reason, "How dare you deny my right to have a personal opinion! Where were YOU when I was voting to support gay marriage?"

  • Patrick

    Heh. Remember Howard Camping and his revised belief that the rapture occurred on a spiritual plane instead of in the real world where we could see it? That's where moral consequences live once they become falsifiable.

  • Joe Fischer

    I would have to agree with the commenters above. The decline in successful marriage in america began with the legalization of contraception and no-fault divorce. Same sex marriage is just the blemish of marriage modern style coming to a head. Same sex marriage probably won't make things much worse I can't imagine that being possible. Gay marriage however will be the tool used by the ACLU and others to bring down the Catholic school system and an excuse to bully and intimidate Christians Jews and Muslims in the public schools

  • joe Fischer

    This youtube goes into some of the trouble brought about by same-sex marriagehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DR-BA7173E

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Being of the school that an intrinsic evil is nothing other than a state of spiritual harm in and of itself… I think many would maintain their objections to gay marriage even without secondary evil consequences (of the sort Leah mentions) following.If you think same-sex marriage is spiritually harmful, dbp, then I suggest that you not get one. However, once you give up making secular arguments, as you've done here, you likewise give up your right to argue that all of society should obey laws based on your beliefs. In like manner as you've done, the Mormons could argue that drinking coffee causes "spiritual harm", the Hindus could argue that eating hamburgers causes "spiritual harm", and the Amish could argue that wearing clothing with zippers causes "spiritual harm". Do you think that members of any of those sects would be justified in arguing that those beliefs should be codified into laws binding on all members of society?

    • dan cummins

      The problem with your responses is that the conception of marriage laid out by the people above, that it is a permanent arrangement and commitment between a man and a woman for the raising of children, companionship between the spouses, and the building up of society is not something that the Catholics see as a theological truth. The Catholics see this truth as a natural, or philosophical truth, buttressed and strengthened by the theological truths that the Catholics accept. To a Catholic, and I suspect to an evangelical like Mohler as well, to “impose” this vision of marriage is not to impose a truth that only a Catholic or a Christian could accept; it is, rather, to “impose” a vision shared by many non Christian and even pagan societies but also one which the Church accepts and supports. The vision, according to the Catholics, is something that the facts or data in front of us merely call us to recognize – not an artificial construct unrelated to human realities.

      The empirical evidence that this approach to marriage is best for spouses, children, and society on multiple levels is very strong. The question is one of ordering or tending. We can never have perfect marriages and families, but we can order our efforts and behaviors to this framework in a way that maximizes the common good and the individual good of spouses and children.

      The homosexuals are equally adamant about imposing their vision. The homosexuals talk as if they were advocates of freedom, absolutely speaking, but their agenda is clearly the stifling of free speech with respect to the morality of homosexual acts and the criminalization of any opposition to their agenda. This contradiction is violent and threatening. Gays and lesbians, in my experience, are often fanatical and violently aggressive when trying to silence opposition to their agenda and theories.

      Finally, I agree that the homosexuals are a development rooted in the rejection of a truthful vision of marriage by the “heterosexual community”. Very few heterosexuals regard marriage as a permanent commitment, entered into for the rearing of children, the companionship and loyalty of the spouses, and the good of society. Most heterosexuals, many of them very nominally or loosely “Christian”, regard marriage as an entirely subjective and almost frivolous activity that will last only as long as the “spouses” are entertained or “tickled” by it, even when children are involved. This development preceded and made possible the idea of “gay marriage”. Without a massive “loss of vision” among ordinary heterosexuals, gay marriage would never have been seriously considered. Gay marriage will only worsen and accelerate this “loss of vision”. Then we will have polygamy and polyamory, which will again only make the situation worse.

      Finally, the real “result” of gay marriage and all the other rejections of the traditional vision appears to be, according to the empirical evidence, a decline in interest in marriage of any kind on the part of anyone, along with a massive demographic disaster through lack of sufficient procreation to support and sustain societies all over the world! Kind of funny, but true!

  • Anonymous

    I concur with Ebonmuse. Why should the state defend your conception of marriage? Unless we're about to move into the "we should build a theocracy" state of argument, I think it's done.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16496144988509668275 Leah

    My thought on the 'spiritual harm' argument is that gay marriage bans don't resolve the problem at hand. To me, it sounds like complaining that atheists don't meet the expectation that they attend weekly Mass and that their spiritual lives are stunted by now having access to the Eucharist. In your framework, that may be true, but the solution comes from converting people, not by enforcing the rule without convincing them of the reason. Very few anti-gay marriage campaigns spend much time offering apologetics for the Christian ideal of marriage. The 'intended for child-making' argument is just offered without explanation or justification. It might be that your reasons aren't accessible or convincing to people outside your faith, but then maybe your time would be better spent on general evangelism.

    • dan cummins

      The “intended for child” argument, I would say, is merely an observation of the reproductive consequences of sexual behavior between men and women. This sexual behavior is rooted in desire for pleasure, intimacy, and lasting companionship which awakens spontaneously in all of us without any of us knowing why or how.

      So the cycle begins. Once children are conceived and born, the logic of the permanent commitment presents itself. Absolutely dependent and helpless at every level – material, psychological, emotional, moral, and spiritual – the child’s neediness, in addition to the parent’s desire for stable companionship with one another, calls the parents to bind themselves together for the good of the child. Once this binding is done, the spouses see that their good (happiness) is tied up with the good of the children. As the children benefit, the parents find joy and completion in the child and in each other. As this behavior develops and grows, a virtuous circle begins to take shape – spouses give to each other and to the children, who spontaneously respond with affection, which in turn gives joy to the spouses in the child and in each other, which in turn leads the spouses to give more of themselves to each other and to the child, which in turn leads the child to be more devoted to them, and so on. Obviously, all of this awareness is really present from the beginning of the cycle – thus we encourage young men and women to marry before giving birth.

      Such things can never happen in same sex relationships, as they are inherently sterile and the non material needs of the child – psychological, emotional, and spiritual – cannot be adequately met without the presence of both genders. The research proves that children do best “with a father and a mother”, and we all recognize, when we see it, the complete way that a child grows into a whole person when both mother and father are present as loving and faithful guides to them.

      2 arguments against my account of the “data of nature”

      1) I’ve described an ideal which rarely prevails in practice. This is partially true, and I would respond with a word about “ordering”. We are structured to pursue these kinds of relationships to the degree that we can. To the degree that we ignore this ordering, we hurt ourselves and the kids. I don’t think anyone would argue that divorce, marital discord, illegitimacy, abuse and neglect are all in themselves essentially good for us – they happen because people are imperfect and the world is therefore imperfect. We would not know them to be “wrong” were it not for the “ordering” that is embedded in our natures. More “disorder” begets more and more “disorder” and suffering, with all of the consequences multiplied. This is the practical consequence of “gay marriage”.

      2) Gays & lesbians spontaneously feel desire for people of the same gender, and so this ordering doesn’t apply to them. Ergo, the ordering is not universal and therefore not normative. The gays and lesbians already hate people like me, so I will answer this question bluntly. For now, I will assume that gays and lesbians are “born that way”, even though I don’t fully accept this claim.

      Some children are born with birth defects – a missing arm, speech impediments, mental deficiencies , etc. We do not respond to these situations by arguing that having 1 arm is the proper state of things, or that speech problems and rhetorical fluency are just as “good” as each other, or that intelligence is no better than an inability to reason. We respond instead by saying that despite these “deficiencies’, the person who has them still has infinite, sacred, and innate worth, and therefore has just as much right to love and respect as someone who does not have these problems. The idea of “gay marriage” seems to me to imply that sexual problems that occur in people for no apparent reason should no longer be treated as problems, because to do so would be to deny their worth. I don’t see that this logically follows.

      Secondly, the gays and lesbians are ultimately not in a different situation in terms of their suffering. I was married for many years, but marriage did not eliminate sexual temptations from my life. Sometimes, when things were really bad, it exacerbated them! I suspect that temptations in this area will remain with me, in some form or another, for as long as I am on this earth. And I suspect this is at least partially true of everyone. I don’t see why the gays and lesbians should not be asked to resist, just as we all must.

      All this being said, if I were king for a day, and if the Pope gave me permission to do so, I would probably make a practical deal with the gays and lesbians. I’d say, “You give me a repeal of all of the no-fault divorce laws in this country, and I’ll give you gay marriage”. The problem is that I expect very few of them would take me up on this offer, which says quite a lot about the movement for “gay marriage”.

  • Patrick

    Ebonmuse- In fairness to the religious, there are actually two gay marriage arguments. The first is whether gay marriage should be legal as a matter of secular law. The second is whether it should be socially accepted.In principle an intelligent person could support gay marriage for the first reason while opposing it privately for the second. This is actually a bedrock principle of modern democracy- supporting people's right to make decisions on their own, even if they make decisions you think they should not make. But in practice these two issues are often treated as interchangeable by both sides of the debate.Leah- Catholicism, at least in certain schools of catholic thought, has a strong investment in the idea that its moral teachings are discoverable by reason alone. This isn't true, but given the choice between believing that this is incorrect and believing that there's something wrong with nonbelievers that prevents us from thinking logically and seeing that they're right, guess which option generally gets picked.Its related to the reason that evangelicals spend so much time, money, and energy trying to do outreach to atheists, and yet are still utterly terrible at it. The myths they like to tell about themselves involve beliefs about atheists. These beliefs are false, and are false in a way that, when they are relied upon, destroys the credibility of their outreach to atheists. But recognizing that these beliefs are false would require modifying the myths they tell about themselves, so they can't do it.

  • dbp

    Ebonmuse and Anonymous,The examples Ebonmuse offered are not parallel. Recall that I have not proposed banning religious or personal ceremonies in which homosexuals join themselves in a lifelong, committed relationship, and even calling those marriages themselves. This isn't a personal liberties question; as far as I am concerned, gay people are free do what they choose, on a personal basis, even though I may not think it in their best interests.So the first point is, I'm not preventing them from doing anything; they are compelling me to do things: to agree with their definitions of marriage, and through my participation in the social contract embodied in the government to support it.However, as I said above, the personal emotion and even commitment alone is not sufficient to compel state recognition; if it were, we would have to create official recognition for pet owners and polyamorous groups, because all those are also capable of exhibiting the exact same kinds of dedication and, to the individuals, importance as relationships between a simple pair of adult humans.So if there is to be state recognition of anything, it must have a different basis than mere love and commitment (as important as those are personally).Now, if nothing else, heterosexual couples can offer their society children to keep the society going. Homosexual couples can raise children, and perhaps (we shall evidently see) on average as well as heterosexual couples (though I have serious reservations about the biological and psychological optimality of children raised without exposure to parenting by both sexes, or at least of their own sex; that boys and girls are in general wired differently in ways beyond their private parts is indisputable).But homosexual couples cannot, themselves, produce children. It either takes sex with a third party or IVF. Period. Even the former option, though monetarily free, explicitly would involve breaking the monogamy that is putatively parallel between gay and straight marriage.If via IVF, you essentially get both a very high cost (a quick googling says between $10-15k for one cycle), meaning 'gay reproduction' would still be only an option for the rich, and you also end up creating and destroying (or freezing indefinitely) lots of embryos; in other words, it ties in with the whole abortion debate, and does so necessarily.If you'd like to argue that heterosexual marriage doesn't offer compelling enough benefits to the state to merit official recognition, that's an argument I'd be willing to entertain (though on balance I guess I don't agree, for all the problems it currently has). It is reasonable to ask, especially in a society with such divergent beliefs and inclinations. It is, I feel, certainly more reasonable than to compel the public to pretend two things are equivalent when, in reality, they are not and cannot be.

  • dbp

    Leah,My 'spiritual harm' statement wasn't intended to convince; it was merely intended to explain. The four points I mentioned (to which I have really only had a partial response to one, which my comment above should show to be inadequate) were merely to explain the relationship of the Catholic position on gay marriage to (supposedly) expected results of more divorce or twisted children. In short: any bad social effects we Catholics would tend to expect from gay marriage are similar to those we expect from contraception, IVF, no-fault divorce, etc.– which are already pervasive in the culture at large and therefore difficult to ascertain. But those bad social effects are only one small portion of the objection to gay marriage. That's what I was trying to explain, because that's what your post was about.Now, I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the rhetoric from our side is not useful, or in some cases even counterproductive. Unfortunately, no one asked me how to structure those campaigns. Like I said, I haven't even spent a whole lot of time thinking about this issue, so I wouldn't be a very good apologist for it. But I know enough that I believe the core issues are both reasonable and potentially intelligible to our opponents (you :)); that we can help you understand our position even if we can't convince you that our position is actually right. I hope I have gone a little of the way toward doing that… but, well, maybe that's hoping too much.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16496144988509668275 Leah

    First of all, the criticism of gay couples' ability to procure children applies equally well to sterile straights, but somehow, even a woman with a hysterectomy gets counted as 'open to life.'To the main point: it still doesn't seem productive to me that Christian groups primarily agitate against gay marriage. I didn't see nearly this level of activism when my home state, New York, became the last to adopt no-fault divorce. It's true that conservative Christian groups are unlikely to ban no-fault or deny marriage to divorced people, if they don't actually agitate on these supposedly central issues, they breed complacency among the straights whose sins they also find offensive and cement the idea that they are uniquely repulsed by gay people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00681934865643964687 JSA

    "To the main point: it still doesn't seem productive to me that Christian groups primarily agitate against gay marriage. I didn't see nearly this level of activism when my home state, New York, became the last to adopt no-fault divorce. It's true that conservative Christian groups are unlikely to ban no-fault or deny marriage to divorced people, if they don't actually agitate on these supposedly central issues, they breed complacency among the straights whose sins they also find offensive and cement the idea that they are uniquely repulsed by gay people."Yes, you nailed it. If Christians wanted to protect the symbolism of marriage, there are far more urgent matters to attend to, like seminary presidents who sleep around.

  • dbp

    Leah,It's true that the social institution of marriage paints with a broad brush. The hysterectomy case is an extreme one which finds lesser cousins in menopause and natural infertility (though hard lines, like the exact point at which pregnancy becomes impossible to an aging woman, are impossible to draw with confidence; infertility due to, e.g., low sperm counts is also a spectrum, in which even unmedicated approaches like NFP can sometimes result in successful pregnancy for couples who have long failed to achieve it).If we ignore hysterectomy (or other sterilization techniques) and fairly advanced age (another quick google suggests the oldest documented natural pregnancy was 57 years old, well beyond what most would assume), the inability to determine objectively whether a woman (or man) can procreate is a big problem toward limiting the institution to only those who actually can produce children. That doesn't change the fact that the production (and raising) of children is the mainstay of the social interest in marriage.Furthermore, while sterilization techniques (or contraception!) can, of course, sabotage the ability of the married couple to perform that service for society, surgical procedures like hysterectomies are part of a private medical history protected by privacy laws. I highly doubt even those ONLY interested in the social benefits of marriage, and ONLY interested in supporting it for the sake of those benefits, would feel comfortable advocating invasive medical exams determining fertility and genetic compatability. Because if you compel an exam to ascertain the spouses have not been surgically sterilized, where do you stop?The point is that the natural state of the union of man and woman is fertility, not infertility. The only state of a homosexual couple, without outside help, is infertility.JS Allen & Leah,I would hope it has already been clear that I take a very dim view indeed of the state of marriage as practiced by many (most?) Christians in modern society. It should be all the more clear that I vehemently disagree with the even-more egregious sexual transgressions that are sometimes, unfortunately, on display even among Christian (and Catholic) groups.Let's just say that, if I compare IVF and contraception (to name two) to smoking, governmental recognition of gay marriage is like mandating smoking sections in every restaurant and subsidizing the tobacco industry. The effects aren't very different from what we have already, but it doubles down on it and blesses at the societal level what is already permitted (despite its alleged-by-us harmfulness) as a matter of social liberty.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16496144988509668275 Leah

    Just throwing it out there: in the past, invasive medical tests were seen as a reasonable part of application for a marriage license (see blood tests).Fun bonus fact: I learned about these when they were referenced in Guys and Dolls

  • B. R. Lind

    @Leah: Ain't that unhealthy?

  • dbp

    Leah,True, but I don't know that that changes the force of my argument, unless you'd like to suggest we return to that.Anyway, the point is moot when surgical sterilization or a whole host of other contraceptive methods are freely available to one and all both pre- and post-marriage. Do these things undermine the benefit of procreation that the state expects as part of its public recognition of heterosexual marriage? Yes, absolutely. But it doesn't change the fact that the default, normal state of most male-female parings is fertile rather than infertile, which is at least in theory aligned with that expectation, whereas homosexual couplings are intrinsically infertile.To all this could be added, I think, arguments that speaking generally dual-sex parenting is intrinsically better than single-sex parenting from a psychological standpoint, just because there are in general some fundamental, biologically-rooted differences between male and female that each provide benefits to growing children. It seems to me that if we understood those differences well enough and their impact on human development, we could perhaps make some statistical predictions that may be verifiable. Alas, I'm so totally unqualified to speak in this area that I won't attempt to defend it further than to say: I believe based on my impressions of the science reporting I have read in passing that someone could argue this. I would also be interested if someone wanted to claim the contrary. Maybe someone here can fill in the blanks?But you don't need to go that far to demonstrate an important lack of equivalence, which I have tried to do.PS: I should make it explicit that my last comment (from a couple hours ago) uses two distinct lines of argumentation. The first is to challenge any claims of social equivalence between gay and straight marriage, and is therefore less rooted in matters of Christian morality. The second part, it should be clear, shows why many think gay marriage is an urgent issue to oppose. Naturally, this is more firmly entrenched in a Christian mindset and doesn't pretend to be otherwise. Public approbation is more severe than legalization of contraception etc., but only as another step along the same path already being followed, and one which makes it harder to get back on the right path.

  • http://www.allourlives.org TooManyJens

    @Joe Fischer: "The decline in successful marriage in america began with the legalization of contraception and no-fault divorce."That rather depends on how you define successful marriage. Surely no-fault divorce reduced the number of marriages that managed not to end in divorce. But I suspect that today we have more marriages than ever that are based on mutual respect and where the spouses consider themselves equal partners. Any definition of "successful marriage" that doesn't include those elements is useless, IMO.

  • http://www.fleshbot.com Kogo

    *So if there is to be state recognition of anything, it must have a different basis than mere love and commitment*Why?Or, to put it differently, "No it doesn't, you stupid christian shithead."

  • http://www.fleshbot.com Kogo

    *Do these things undermine the benefit of procreation that the state expects as part of its public recognition of heterosexual marriage?*What state do you live in, because I am SURE mine doesn't expect that. YOU expect the state to expect that. But absent any actual piece of documentation anywhere in the documents of ANY existing human state, I guess you're just up shit creek aren't you, you constipated fuckhead?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16496144988509668275 Leah

    Comment policy reminder:I won't delete posts for profanity and slurs addressed at another commenter, but, unless you believe that add something essential to the content of your argument, I would prefer you omit them.

  • dbp

    Kogo:Why must it have a different basis than mere love and commitment? Because if love and commitment, which are totally self-defined, are all that is required, then my relationship with my dog or, heck, my car must be recognized as well. Or, as I said, polyamorous arrangements or basically whatever anyone can make up.The state doesn't exist to validate my every choice; nor does it yours or anyone else's.

  • Anonymous

    Echoing the comment of TooManyJens, I would dispute that the "troubles" inherent in modern marriage arise from the availability of divorce and contraception – rather, they arise from the abandonment of coverture. I'm not really surprised by the defenders of "traditional marriage" who somehow seem to forget that women were not legally permitted to own property, to work outside the home or obtain an education without the permission of her husband, not allowed to refuse to change her name upon marriage, and so on. (I'm not surprised because they don't want to talk about this!) In a system like that it makes every sense in the world to forbid same-sex marriage, because a man has rights and a woman doesn't. But when you change society's views on this so that women have the same legal rights as men, then there is no compelling reason to exclude a same-sex pairing from what is now perceived as a union of equals. You don't hear a lot of calls for women to be returned to chattel status, but that's the core of what "traditional marriage" was. What we call marriage these days is profoundly different than that, and good riddance.I also don't see why you'd have to include polyamory or "pet owners". Pets can't consent to anything so the idea of them getting involved in a state-sanctioned contract is risible. The problems with polyamory are simply that every situation is going to be different. Suppose Alice and Bob are married, and Bob wants to marry Cindy. Can he do this if Alice objects? If Alice doesn't object, what is the relationship between Alice and Cindy? If Cindy is already married to Dave, does Alice have a community property claim against Dave's income if she later gets divorced from Bob? Can Alice claim joint custody of Bob and Cindy's children? It's pretty easy to set up two-person rules and they've been around for a while, but crafting anything for poly couples would be insanely hard. It's not unreasonable to require folks who want something that's not a "standard" relationship to consult an attorney and make their own arrangements.

  • Anonymous

    "…compel the public to pretend two things are equivalent when, in reality, they are not and cannot be." This I think nails the ultimate problem with "gay marriage". Imagine if you will, a closeted gay man pretending to be straight. His friends and family already realize he's gay but to save his feelings nobody says anything. This situation is hell for any gay person Im sure, and can be physiologically damaging. Gay people that finally do come out of the closet certainly find some peace in finally ending the charade. And their relationship with friends and family greatly improve, Im sure, when everyone is honest with one another. This is the problem with "gay" marriage. Its just another charade. Another closet, a desperate attempt to add legitimacy to their disordered inclinations before the larger heterosexual community. Everyone can see that its just a legal fiction, but no one can say it out loud or they'll be outed as a bigot. Just like with the closeted gay man everyone must smile and nod and admire the Emperors new clothes

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16496144988509668275 Leah

    @Anonymous 4:50: You're using the language of 'closeting' which if fairly unique to LGBT people, but your claim about using the legal system to legitimate an invalid marriage applies to way more people than that. Presumably you think that, as an atheist, I would be using a State apparatus to fill the void and provide the foundation that is properly suited to sacramental marriage. My side gets worried about bigotry and discrimination when you narrow a broadly applicable criticism to only target gay people.

  • dbp

    Kogo: States (as in: bodies politic; nations) recognize and promote marriage on the political-philosophical basis that marriage, as an institution, confers some benefit on the society in which it exists.Look at the confusion here. This is a perfect illustration of what's gone wrong with marriage overall, and why gay marriage is a piece of that puzzle. Almost everyone, even today, seems to agree that marriage is vitally important, but no one can articulate why with any coherency whatsoever. The linked article disregards every argument that has traditionally been raised for the compelling interest of the state in marriage: a married, child-bearing family as the natural pre-political unit of society; the interest in childrearing; etc. Yet the whole discussion is about the social benefit of the recognition of marriage, because that's the whole reason serious political philosophers do now and have in the past supported such legal definitions.That's why I say, it's perfectly reasonable to dispute whether marriage as a legal category ought to exist. But most of the putative benefits of marriage as it has traditionally been defined are peculiar to heterosexual couples. Keeping the same category and applying it to homosexuals is equivocation, pure and simple. It would be far more logically consistent to scrap 'marriage' and create a new category, 'domestic partnership' or whatever. But if that's the goal, it should be engaged honestly, with a fundamental social re-examination of what it is we're trying to accomplish, because it isn't the same as what marriage law was set up to cultivate.Finally, this should make it very clear what we (some of us, anyway) mean when we talk about danger to the 'institution of marriage'. Contraception, no-fault divorce, etc. are all such dangers precisely because they undermine the meaning and role of marriage in society, and in precisely the same way as gay marriage does. These things are nowhere clearer than in the article I linked above.

  • Anonymous

    Marriage contracted by non-believeing heterosexuals is considered a valid natural marriage by the church. A marriage doesn't have to be Sacramental to be real. The desire for marriage by heterosexual couples believers or not is natural and well ordered.

  • dbp

    Anonymous (4:27):Concerns over abuse of women are historically understandable but legally, I think, not terribly problematic. Contract law has always facilitated the interactions of two parties with joint interests and mutual rights and responsibilities, and done so without subsuming the liberty of one to the other. That there have been social problems in marriages previously is clearly true, but they don't require no-fault divorce to fix."Pets can't consent to anything so the idea of them getting involved in a state-sanctioned contract is risible." Not so risible. If you have never seen a devoted dog, you don't know what devotion is; it's indisputable. Why are you suddenly imposing a presupposition of human rationality to the devotion and commitment? Remember, I'm not even raising the issue of bestiality (which is NOT a feature of my relationship with my dog, just so y'all know), so there is no question of animal abuse. But love and commitment? Yep, check.Also, gay marriage is itself non-standard, so objecting to polyamorous "marriage" as "not a 'standard' relationship" is puzzling.Also, if Alice can marry Bob on the basis of mutual love and commitment (with no other conditions), then Bob should be able to marry Cindy on the same basis, whether or not Alice objects, as long as he remains "committed" to Alice. Because in an age of no-fault divorce, commitment basically means what the individual wants it to mean anyway.

  • Patrick

    dbp wrote, "The linked article disregards every argument that has traditionally been raised for the compelling interest of the state in marriage: a married, child-bearing family as the natural pre-political unit of society; the interest in childrearing; etc."Section 3.2.1. And I'm not convinced you know enough about marriage law to critique that article. The specific section you direct linked is discussing a very real dispute in the long-standing, ongoing debate about the nature of marriage: marriage is referred to as a "contract," and in many cases legally treated as a contract, but it is categorically different from actual contracts in many ways, both in the nature of how it is entered into, and in the nature of the rights and remedies available at law. This is an important issue because it has implications for how we ought to handle actual legal cases, for example, cases of spousal abandonment or cases of repudiated pre nuptial agreements. For you to brush this aside because it does not reference an issue that it actually references a few paragraphs earlier demonstrates a lack of connection with the subject matter that ought lead you to some degree of intellectual humility.Also, you probably shouldn't pontificate on what marriage law was "set up" to cultivate. That's a phantom. Marriage has been around a very long time, and the further back you go, the less it looks like anything you or I would respect. Nor was marriage law "set up" in any one moment of decision making by any one group of people possessed of uniform opinion. It is instead the result of century upon century of addition, subtraction, alteration, and negotiation, by a wide range of persons and institutions, many of whom disagreed quite violently with one another There is a reason that legal theorists almost uniformly disfavor arguments based on the unstated intentions of those who write laws. It is like the necromantic divination of the opinions of fictional persons: the reasons it can't be done are myriad.Additionally, you make this argument: "But most of the putative benefits of marriage as it has traditionally been defined are peculiar to heterosexual couples."But of course that is false, and you know it to be false. At best you could argue that man of the benefits of marriage as it has been defined in recent history within western nations are, statistically speaking, more easily or frequently utilized by heterosexual couples than by homosexual couples. But that is not the same as saying that they are "peculiar" to them, and its not clear why that should matter.In fact, the only "benefit of marriage" I can think up that is genuinely "peculiar" to heterosexual couples is that of involuntary coverture.And this gets to the real issue. Every argument you've offered in this thread has either been illogical on its own terms, except one: your argument that you feel that gay marriage involves an "endorsement" that you don't think should be granted, for philosophical reasons unrelated to real world consequence. And if that is the nature of the dispute, then I suppose I will have to settle for knowing that my side has a strong appeal to compassion and shared humanity that resonates with younger generations, and that your side is dying out.

  • Anonymous

    Patrick "a strong appeal to compassion and shared humanity"I think thats the problem a false compassion that locks someone in a legal charade and a false understanding of human nature the justifies it. The most objective philosophers of all time would have seen straight though this emotional logic and laughed the idea of Same-sex marriage out of the field of debate. No wonder the ancients never even entertained such a canard

  • Patrick

    Um, you really, really, REALLY don't want to bring "the ancients" into it. I mean, srsly I don't even

  • Anonymous

    dbp, regarding your theory that the presence of two parents of opposite genders provides better parenting than two parents of the same gender – why do you think that is? I think a more reasonable argument is that it is best that a child is raised by at least one parent of the same gender as himself or herself, so that the parent has personal knowledge of the unique problems that children of that gender face.Therefore, a heterosexual couple could have a boy or girl, a male homosexual couple could have a boy, and a female homosexual couple could have a girl, but a girl raised without a female parent or a boy raised without a male parent would be at a disadvantage (including those raised by single parents of homo/hetero/bisexuality).-A different Anonymous

  • Anonymous

    Many people are wondering why infertile heterosexual marriages are considered moral and praise worthy while homosexual "marriages" are not. The reason is that in an infertile heterosexual marriage the sexual organs are, at least, being used for the purpose for witch they were created, or if you prefer the porpuse for witch they evolved. In homosexual sex the sexual organs are abused. Penises were not ment to be ramed in to an anus. Yes, this means oral and anal sodomy are considered immoral even in heterosexual relations. Societies lacking Divine revelation had to formulate moral laws based on what was availible to them namely Nature. This is why there are still laws against these kinds of behaviors in some places. Patrick: Just wondering why not bring up the ancients?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00681934865643964687 JSA

    LOL, this blog sure brings out the crazies! The best part is that some of these people aren't even trying to be funny!If I just ramed [sic] together some random syllables connected by "therefore" and "namely", could I play the game too? I hear porpuses [sic] sometimes engage in playful gaysex.

  • Anonymous

    @Anonymous ^^ – by your logic, nasal spray is immoral – the primary evolved function of the nose is to provide a pathway for air to enter the lungs, but humans also use it to absorb medicine through its lining.

  • dbp

    Writing in haste before bed, so forgive the lack of a thorough response.Patrick: Thank you for what is, at least, a direct treatment of the heart of one of my issues. I think you misunderstood me, and the fault is probably mine. (Partly the problem is, I see, the link was a section above the ones I was specifically looking at, 4.2, but more seriously, I think, is the below.)When I said disregard, I didn't mean it didn't deal with them. What I meant was that it discussed them and rejected them as being in dispute or already rendered obsolete by the realities of society as it is. But those disputes, the the realities of society as it is, is already in a state post-contraception, post-no-fault divorce, post-pornography, and various other things that all stem from exactly the sorts of political and philosophical theories that are challenging the heretofore stable traditions that have sustained marriage in the West.But that is precisely the problem; every alternative it proposes is problematic, because there is no consensus on any part of which aspect of marriage, exactly, the state is expecting to benefit from. Yet everyone seems to agree that, at any rate, there IS some benefit which drives states to recognize such unions over and above (and, as you note, differentiate from) any simple status as merely legal contracts.I understand the contentions, the evidence it cites, and the rationale for how it got this way; I understand that the (alleged) evils I am denouncing are firmly supported by legal precedent as it has developed. I am challenging the sanity of the principles that have guided that development, and as such, I am not making a legal argument (which, you are right, I am not qualified to make, nor have I claimed that I am), but a philosophical one.Still, if it is philosophical, it isn't necessarily purely religious or accessible only to someone of my relgion. We shall see if it is accessible to you. My point is that in the absense of agreement on any of the rationales put forth in that argument, there is still one that almost no one will dispute; namely, that at least some children are an objective benefit to the state, and that at least some pairings of men and women are required to produce them. If we can't agree on anything else, we should be able to agree with that. And I would argue that in any pre-modern discussion of justifications for state recognition of (heterosexual) marriage, procreation was at the very least one facet of it.And, considering it as a least common denominator, what stands out is that it is one area in which homosexual pairings cannot, by definition, be parallel.That's all I have time to write now. I trust it will not have convinced, but perhaps it has clarified. If I have time, I will try to write more tomorrow to address the other points.

  • Patrick

    Anonymous- Because its embarrassing to listen to a grown adult pretend that ancient civilizations had beliefs about marriage that weren't invented until the most recent full century. In reality, ancient cultures were vastly different than ours, and had vastly different rules and norms of behavior… and then on top of that, they displayed at least as much variation from ancient culture to ancient culture as exist sin modern times. Trying to refer to "the ancients" as if they are one monolithic group of people with one set of views that just so happens to be remarkably similar to views that didn't exist until thousands of years later is just sad.

  • Anonymous

    The use of nasal spray can hardly be considered abuse. After all you are simply trying to restore normal body function. Animals are not rational creatures so are not expected to follow Natural moral law. Humans should be expected to act according to reason.Wow thanks for the stinging rebuke I do need to work on my spelling

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13239014526067001801 TooManyJens

    "Yes, this means oral and anal sodomy are considered immoral even in heterosexual relations."Considered by whom? And why should we accept their view of morality as the correct one? Believing something really hard and having a book and even a social institution backing you up doesn't make you right. There has to be some correlation with what actually happens in the world.

  • Michael Haycock

    I'm of the opinion that the entire issue of including sane-sex couples within the definition of marriage is merely a symptom of a much more subtle, serious and pervasive spiritual problem; that is, viewing sexual attraction (and thus orientation) as the primary determining factor of whom you enter a relationship with. This is emphasized to the point that one's sexual attractions have become an impossible-to-omit part of one's identity, and are treated as almost an imperative: not acting on them means you're "denying who you are" or something akin. This is not limited to homosexual couples; I think it is just as prevalent amidst heterosexuals. I just question whether sexual attraction should be judged as such an integral part of one's identity and emphatically deny that they should be considered at all an imperative for action, and I think that others factors should definitely outweigh it, such as one's personal commitment to live according to God's plan for humankind, which, according to LDS doctrine, relies on divinely sanctioned marriages between men and women (probably for reasons we couldn't understand without knowing a lot more than we do about humankind's pre-earth history and post-earth destiny). In this case, such an emphasis on sexual attraction (whether homosexual, heterosexual, or other) places bodily functions and instincts above obedience to God's commandments, and effectively establishes what could be seen as a brand of idolatry.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13239014526067001801 TooManyJens

    I'm of the opinion that people who are allowed to marry people they are sexually attracted to have some nerve telling other people that it's no big deal that *they're* not allowed to, and that they shouldn't want that anyway.As to religious doctrine; we're not talking about whether people are considered married by the churches, but by the state. Religious doctrine (thankfully) doesn't determine civil law, no matter how hard some people are trying.

  • What’s so hard to understand about consent?

    "If you have never seen a devoted dog, you don't know what devotion is; it's indisputable."Have your dog give me a call and declare its willingness to marry you, and as long as its over 18 in dog years, I'll gladly be your witness at the wedding ceremony.

  • Katharine

    David Frum, the non-practicing Canadian Jew fired by the W. Bush White House? Love me some David Frum, but not my go-to-man for making a point about Christian conservative opposition shifting/crumbling/whathaveyou.

  • Anonymous

    The argument for re-defining marriage is based in the assertion that all such distinctions are arbitrary constructs, have no relationship to objective reality, and thus such terms are re-definable on a whim.If this assertion is accepted, that would eliminate any restriction on marriage based on anything other than competence. Polygamy, polyandry, line, group or constellation, all types of marriage must be given equal protection under the law.Which exposes the fundamental flaw in this argument. If marriage is an entirely arbitrary construct, then what business does government have in getting involved with it at all?Logically, the government's sole interest in marriage would be in guaranteeing the competence of parties to enter into what would then be solely a contractual arrangement, and then enforcing said contract.The next step is the creation of other types of contracts, such as concubinage, term limited contracts, etc., and of course, of eliminating the general applicability of marriage related laws, such as laws proscribing marital rape. After all, if a couple of consenting adults decided to enter into a contract that specifies sexual duties, and in so doing pre-emptively nullifies the concept of marital rape, then logically the courts would have to enforce said contract.Which is where the concept of natural law steps in. Morality is not and cannot be objective, but morality must be rational, and thus must have a firm foundation in and not be in opposition to objective truth.The simple truth is that marriage, defined as the union between one man and one woman, is an institution pre-dates government, has a basis in natural law, and is thus neither defined by nor re-definable by government.Or, in short, redefining marriage on a whim is the equivalent of passing a law that redefines Pi to be exactly 3. You could do it, but it would be deeply irrational, and government hasn't the competence to take such an action.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13116034158087704885 March Hare

    "After all, if a couple of consenting adults decided to enter into a contract that specifies sexual duties, and in so doing pre-emptively nullifies the concept of marital rape, then logically the courts would have to enforce said contract."That's not true. People are owners of their person at all times and have the ability to say no (to any pre-agreed contractual arrangement) and all that can be done about it is to sue for breach of contract.Until you went nuts in that paragraph I was in total agreement with you. But, alas, you misrepresented contract law and then invoked natural law and didn't even bother to look up wiki to see that the vast majority of cultures that have existed on this planet have actually practised polygamy.

  • Anonymous

    That turns out not to be the case. People are not the owners of their person at all times.Consider prisoners, and draftees just for starters. More over, the requirement to perform some action or activity does not equate to the loss of ownership of self. A little nuance is necessary in these conversations, don't you agree?Also, the whole point of this discussion is about the desire to change the law. This assertion of personal ownership is a legal construct that can be changed just as you wish to change the definition of marriage (in other words, I wasn't misrepresenting contract law, I was pointing out that the logical requirement for broadening the definition of marriage is a great many other changes in how government involves itself with marriage).As for your assertion re: polygamy. True, but irrelevant. EVERY culture in history has practiced one or more kinds of socially acceptable killing, but that doesn't make every socially acceptable form of killing moral.The question here comes in three parts:1) Does government have the power and right (competence) to define marriage?2) If government does have the competence to do so, what forms should it define as valid, and based on what criteria?3) If the government does define some forms as invalid, how does that differ from the imposition of a state religion, and does government have the competence invalidate one moral system in favor of another?Finally, If you agreed with me until I went "nuts", then you missed the whole point of my posting.Marriage is not an arbitrary construct, its definition does not lie within the purview of government, and any discrimination about what is and is not a valid marriage will be a moral position. If you find one or more of the possible outcomes repugnant (such as the creation of a special form of contract that can be use to enforce, say, the Islamic ideal of marriage), then perhaps you should take a step back and think about what you are proposing.

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Claudia

    I'm an atheist chiming in here. I don't particularly want to interrupt your theological debate, but I do have a question.It is simply undeniable that the crushing majority of the organized opposition to same sex marriage was religious in nature. It is also undeniable that one of the most frequent assertions is that same-sex marriage is a "threat to the institution of marriage". A "threat" means that it poses some danger, it has a high chance of causing some concrete harm.Yet on this thread I've seen a lot of parsing about what the word "marriage" means, the idea that same sex marriage is the result, not the cause, of a previous harm to the institution, and the untestable claim that it causes "spiritual harm". Thus far no one has actually answered the question of the post; What concrete harm do you anticipate to society by the legalization of same-sex marriagE?I see that at least a few have explicitly stated they do not anticipate concrete harm. Fair enough. What about everyone else? One of the strongest arguments in the opposition to extending equal civil rights to gays and lesbians was that their marriages constituted a "threat". Does everyone here disagree? If not, is there ANY objectively verifiable indicator that you could offer someone who is not already in your religious camp that would lend legitimacy to the notion that same-sex marriage is a "threat"? Thanks!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13116034158087704885 March Hare

    Anonymous, there is a massive difference between contract law and criminal law. People have every right to defend themselves against harm and disincentivise others from causing harm. I fail to see exactly where the state enforcement of marital rape comes anywhere under this umbrella… (Although we could have an off topic debate about conscription!)People willingly enter legal contracts and they are only binding in so far as there is a compensation to be paid for breaking it.Of course government can redefine personhood (c.f. Citizens United or slaves being 3/5ths of a person!) but that is one of the main reasons I am for limited government and a written, binding constitution."As for your assertion re: polygamy. True, but irrelevant. EVERY culture in history has practiced one or more kinds of socially acceptable killing, but that doesn't make every socially acceptable form of killing moral."I may be being obtuse, but this seems like a massive diversion from YOUR point which was some kind of natural law for male-female marriage when I was pointing out that it is anything but natural. Bringing cultural killing in is a naughty diversion from the fact that I showed you to be completely wrong on the idea that marriage is one man one woman, predating government – in some cultures it did, but in most it didn't so invoking some kind of natural law is bogus.1) No. Not in any meaningful sense. Informed, consenting adults should be able to enter into any legal arrangement they so wish and society should support their right to do so and enforce penalties should the contract be broken. Which renders parts 2 and 3 moot."Marriage is not an arbitrary construct"Yes, it absolutely is. Show some reasoning or evidence that it is not before making such a sweeping statement." its definition does not lie within the purview of government"Agreed."any discrimination about what is and is not a valid marriage will be a moral position"So close… There is no discrimination if the government ignores marriage and sticks to what is and is not a legal contract. And if we ignore marriage then the morality becomes about what is a legal contract rather than whose genitals bump into whose." If you find one or more of the possible outcomes repugnant"I do. I find the idea of anyone using their freedom in ways that I do not approve of to be repugnant. Unfortunately I find the idea of me deciding I know what is best for an informed autonomous adult and intervening against their will to restrict their freedom to be a much more repugnant idea.

  • http://www.catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=169 Nancy
  • MMS

    1. “Marriage” has always been the special relationship “specific to a man and woman who intend to solemnly to commit to each other for the duration of their lives and through which the next generation of citizens is conceived and raised in a stable, loving and responsible atmosphere“.
    2. A traditional “Marriage” is conducted within the context of a solemn public commitment of the couple made to each other – “in the presence of God and community”.
    3. This was always the dignified real purpose of traditional “Marriage”. This has not changed over the course of history.
    4. In every other case “where the presence of God is not called upon” it is simply becomes a “legal union” …and therefore, it does NOT require the label of “marriage”.
    5. “Legal Unions” are ALREADY legally available for any two people (male or female) who can then envision any number of possible conditions on their “union” eg., inheritance, equitable division of property, etc.
    6. Therefore legal rights ARE granted to homosexual couples to the same degree that they are granted to heterosexual married couples.
    7. AND Since NO intrinsic legal rights are being denied, it simply CANNOT be argued that denying the TITLE of ‘marriage’ denies a human ‘right’.
    8. Therefore Community refusal to grant to such a union the TITLE of “Marriage” – has NOTHING to do with any denial of human rights. Even couples co-habiting are not (like the gay-lobby) aggressively demanding that their own unions be recognised as traditional “Marriage”.
    9. Even TRADITIONAL “Marriage” has NEVER been an automatic right for anyone, anyway – even for Heterosexual couples.
    So, here again, the issue has NOTHING to do with “denial of human rights”
    10. If marriage really was a universal legal ‘right’ available to anyone and everyone who desired it, the institution of marriage would have to be RE-designed as a contract available to ANY group of parties no matter what kind of alliance they might choose:
    11. Think about it.  – If consenting adults have the universal legal ‘right’ to be married, is this ‘right’ then extended to any and all combinations of consenting adults? Why are we, for example, limiting the number of adults that can be united in marriage? Why are we restricting adult siblings from marrying one another?
    12. So what is the “gay-lobby’s” REAL agenda?
    Here it is important to take note that “Gays” have actually admitted openly that their REAL intention is to appropriate the TITLE of “marriage” and by doing so, ACTUALLY to DESTROY traditional (real) marriage – by TRIVIALISING it.”
    13. They openly admit that Homosexual activists are in fact NOT concerned with any concept of “equal rights“; they are concerned with complete societal ENDORSEMENT of their behaviour. Homosexuals want the society to stop telling them that what they are doing is ‘wrong’ so they can feel better about what they are doing.
    14. At least some homosexual advocates (and many homosexuals themselves) are honest about this goal:
     
    Example: “The first order of business is desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights… To desensitize the public is to help it view homosexuality with indifference instead of with keen emotion.
    Ideally, we would have straights register differences in sexual preferences the way they register different tastes for ice cream or sports games….At least in the BEGINNING, we are seeking public desensitization and nothing more. We do not need and cannot expect a full ‘appreciation’ or ‘understanding’ of homosexuality from the average American. You can forget about trying to persuade the masses that homosexuality is a good thing. But if only you can get them to THINK that it is just another thing…then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won” (The Overhauling of Straight America, Guide Magazine, November 1987)

    Example: “We are [want] … to see government and society AFFIRM our lives” (United States Congressional Record, June 29, 1989.)

    Example “The teaching that only male-female sexual activity within the bounds and constraints of marriage is the only acceptable form should be reason enough for any homosexual to denounce the Christian religion” (Advocate, 1985.)

    SO we can see, that by their own open admission, the “Gays” REAL intention is to APPROPRIATE the TITLE of “marriage” and by doing so, ACTUALLY to DESTROY traditional (real) marriage – by trivialising it.”

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