What Gay “Marriage” Does…

What Gay “Marriage” Does… June 29, 2015

…is clarify yet again that, in the West, it is enshrined in law that the rights of children (that is to say, the weak) are completely unconnected to the rights of adults (that is, the strong).  Roe vs. Wade, of course, made that crystal clear, as did Casey.  And the *real* bullet to the brain of marriage–no fault divorce–likewise made it clear that marriage no longer has any connection to the rights of children to a mother and a father.

Children, instead of being treated as the special responsibility of our care, are increasingly at the mercy of a culture of narcissism.  Prophetically, Laudato Si addresses our focus on short term selfishness and the neglect of the rights of children–including their right to a mother and a father.  Read it.

Our current system is increasingly to make the weak carry the burden of the strong’s selfishness.  Men abandon women and pressure them to abort the weakest of  all.  Parents in search of their Eat Pray Love fulfillment ditch their families and tell themselves that “children are resilient”.  Marriage becomes the vehicle for the personal fulfillment and approval of one’s own appetites and children are conceived by disposable surrogates who exist to accessorize a marriage that is primarily about the needs of the adults, not the right of the children to a mother and father. The defective product is rejected and sent back to the manufacturer and the rich, powerful, and selfish buyer goes off in search of something more suitable. Again and again, it is the weak who are made to shoulder the burden of the selfish strong.

The mindset that puts no brake on the power of the strong over the weak is the root of slavery.  It is the inevitable corollary of the destruction of the Christian tradition.  Slavery is the normal room temperature state of fallen man.  It took centuries for the Christian tradition to beat it back and the victory has always been tenuous and provisional.  Get rid of Christian influence and it will flood back.

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation.” (Mt 12:43–45).

We delude ourselves if we think we are expanding our freedom by driving the Faith into retreat.


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  • ManyMoreSpices

    And the *real* bullet to the brain of marriage–no fault divorce–likewise made it clear that marriage no longer has any connection to the rights of children to a mother and a father.

    I’ve been thinking about where those who value marriage go from here. There’s no way to put the toothpaste back in the tube on the Supreme Court’s ruling. If we still care about families and children, we need to continue to defend and strengthen marriage.

    We can’t do much about the culture. We can’t prevent Eat, Pray, Love from being published. But we can do something about the law – things that probably should have been done long ago. Perhaps we can focus on making marriage harder to get into and out of. No-fault divorce has to go. Restrict remarriage after any divorce. Throw some speed bumps into getting a marriage license.

    If the law starts treating marriage as something more than a party that celebrates eros and a basket of government goodies, perhaps the culture will follow. Maybe it won’t; I’m not a seer. But using the law to strengthen the protections for children is reason enough to do it.

    Oh, and in vaguely related news, behold Stephen Colbert, The Strongest Evangelist for the One True Faith and Greatest Catechist in All of Media, Which We Know Because He Has a Jesuit Buddy, Recited the Nicene Creed On-Air Once, and Teaches Sunday School.

    • Joseph

      It would be sweet if divorce was illegal (bar extreme circumstances)… boy would that ruin the fun for the *get married to whatever you like to have sex with* crowd! it would really make their heads explode if you made it illegal to have sex outside of marriage. LOL.

      • D.T. McCameron

        The policing/prosecution thereof would likely cause more nightmares,

        • We’re so far away from having the data necessary to make that judgment that it’s not funny.

    • “Perhaps we can focus on making marriage harder to get into and out of.
      No-fault divorce has to go. Restrict remarriage after any divorce. Throw
      some speed bumps into getting a marriage license.”

      There’s no social backup for that. Any realistic proposals?

      • ManyMoreSpices

        I’m not sure what you mean by “no social backup.” If you mean “no popular support,” well… that may be the case, but I don’t think we’ll know the boundaries of the Overton Window until we try. At the very worst it would allow us to test a proposition: do those who favor same-sex marriage actually want strong marriages, or are they in favor of reducing the institution to the celebration of sentiment and a wheel of government cheese?

        • Alma Peregrina

          You would have a point there *IF* people’s political opinions were informed by logic and reason. If that were so, you could do as proposed to unveil the true motives of the LGBT agenda when they use no-fault divorce as admunition against marriage defenders.

          *However*… people’s political opinions are not informed by logic and reason. Otherwise you wouldn’t have people believing in the self-evident absurdity that is the proposition that 2 men or 2 women can marry.

          • TerryC

            I don’t necessarily think that’s true. It’s all a matter of initial postulates. If you believe that sex is primarily about recreation, and that marriage is primarily about legal advantages (taxes, benefits, etc.) for adults then SSM makes perfect sense.
            Of course that in 10,000 plus years of human history no body believed either premise before the 1960s does indicate to me that the premises are false. Independent of moral theology, which supports that same conclusion.

            • Alma Peregrina

              I don’t agree with your statement about a premise being better for being 10.000 years old versus 40 years. Just because ad novitatem is a fallacy, doesn’t mean that ad antiquitatis is not.
              ****************************
              As for the rationality of people today, I’m sorry for the language I’m about to employ, but believing that: “Penis + Vagina = 2 penises = 2 vaginas” is objectively ridiculous, no matter what initial postulates you have.

              When I said that people are not informed by logic and reason, I was not being prejudiced… rather, it’s my experience after 5 years of actively engaging in Catholic apologetics. You can make a reasonable, rational, carefully and syllogistically constructed argument, it will always be dismissed with prejudice as long as it doesn’t toe the line of “goodthink”. People don’t care if something is true or not, they just care if it is “mean” or not (“mean” meaning, for example, that a woman can’t kill her unborn children). Which puts people’s logic on the same level as an elementary student girl.

              But forget apologetics or religion. Post something about Science, Philosophy or Art on your facebook and get a few likes. But post a picture of fluffy kittens with an inspirational superficial quote or a dirty joke and see your like count skyrocket.

              This generation doesn’t know how to think. Period. I’m saddened by that and I would love to be proven wrong… but that’s just the way things are.

    • LFM

      One important issue that is *not* dead is “assisted reproductive technology”, or ART, especially surrogacy, or the provision of eggs and/or wombs to women who cannot provide their own. Surrogacy is much bigger and more dreadful than people think, and it unites religious conservatives with post-colonialists who are appalled by the renting of 3rd-world wombs for 1st-world convenience and with certain branches of feminism. One woman who has been working overtime to try to inform people of the horrors of surrogacy is Jennifer Lahl of the Centre for Bioethics and Culture (CBC, perhaps an unfortunate acronym). Here’s a link to her campaign launch poster:
      http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=854a02957234313d134e9865d&id=fb06122884&e=2a18cc3740

    • What we can do is start from the foundation, which is asking and demanding an answer to what is the valid state purpose of state marriage. Why a license? Why is the state involved at all? What benefits and obligations does state marriage consist of? All of this should have been done years ago but wasn’t so it falls on us to remedy the deficit. After we get baseline data, we will have a much better idea where to proceed from there so I won’t speculate further.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        Although the libertarian approach to marriage has some appeal, I don’t see it as a solution to the same-sex marriage problem. Removing the state from marriage does nothing to give us what we actually want: culturally honoring committed opposite-sex relationships over committed same-sex relationships. It might not make matters any worse, but it can’t make them better.

        And there’s a price to be paid. Giving up state-sanctioned marriage means giving up the spousal testimony privilege and the marital communications privilege. I don’t want anyone’s conversations with a spouse to be discoverable in litigation, nor do I want a wife to be compelled to testify against her husband. If the price of keeping that is that marriage licenses get issued to Adam & Steve, I’ll pay it.

        • I’m not advocating a libertarian approach here so much as a Socratic approach. If the government is to intervene in marriage at all, it should be understood what it is doing and why and be justified because of legitimate difficulties that cannot be easily overcome without state involvement. But we know not why the state has marriage, what it is actually doing, or whether alternate structures could accomplish our consensus goals in a better way. Until we do, we will continually be faced with a recurring nightmare of falling into cultural quicksand. We need known bedrock and we don’t have it.

          • SteveP

            The registration of marriages (licensure) was key to controlling disbursements from the treasury; see “Civil War Pensions” at:
            http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v70n3/v70n3p1.html
            .
            In essence, homosexuals have been maneuvering to pirate public gold.

            • Thanks for the link. I hope to get to it after I finish my personal analysis of the recent encyclical.

              • SteveP

                The encyclical is far more important as it is a clarion call for men to actually practice husbandry.

                • So far, I’ve found it a mixed message on efficiency/husbandry. It’s very strange.

    • “Perhaps we can focus on making marriage harder to get into and out of. No-fault divorce has to go.”

      The one thing that keeps me from affirmatively advocating against no-fault divorce is the time I spent ages ago counseling abuse victims and helping them get restraining orders. Many of the married women who had the fortitude to divorce their abusers did so via no-fault because it was so much quicker, cheaper, and just plain easier. I’m worried about making it harder for women (or men) to leave their abusers; it’s already so hard psychologically and logistically.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        I’m worried about making it harder for women (or men) to leave their abusers; it’s already so hard psychologically and logistically.

        The hardest – and most difficult – part being just physically getting them out of the home, correct? It seems to be that the termination of the marital legal status is of secondary concern to getting women to a safe place. And that’s hard because of, well, all the reasons that abused women don’t move out.

        Going through a fault-based divorce is more work than a no-fault, but I can’t imagine that any significant number of abused wives stay in the physical location where they’re being abused because they think that going through a fault-based divorce would be challenging.

  • I agree with your diagnosis, Mark. I have yet to see any realistic proposals for a remedy.

    I think we start with Jesus, always. Without Him, nothing. After that – Christ will show us what to do.

    BTW, I much appreciated a statement by Mike Huckabee I saw the other day.

  • Miguel

    In regards to Friday’s Connecting the Dots (I don’t find post to reply directly), I beleive it will be more likely the persecution of the church will come from corporate fascism and certain not for profit organizations than from the government.

    • MarylandBill

      That makes sense. After all, the government has pesky laws that it has to follow and the Supreme Court is too unpredictable. But corporations can and will find all sorts of ways to punish those who refuse to bow down to their power.

    • Corporations who persecute can be made to pay a price, their stock price driven down and taken over with the persecuting management being shown the door. Virtually every piece of this regulating mechanism is already in place. You just need to organize a hostile takeover fund to put in the last piece. This is why I fundamentally worry about government repression more than corporate. Fixing government repression is harder and more likely to require that last resort, violence, in order to sort things out durably.

      Would you invest in a corporate takeover fund that specialized in increasing target company profitability by halting anti-christian persecution? I certainly would.

      • sez

        What about the power of social media pressure? That can certainly curtail any corporation’s misdeeds… so why couldn’t it work to push government leaders? Look at how quickly everyone got the vapors over the confederate flag. If people of good will could harness their vast numbers behind a campaign to pressure the government, the repression might be pushed backed and held back, and all without violence.

        • the two strategies are not mutually exclusive in my opinion so go for it. The government game gives options of violent repression that corporations do not have access to without bringing in governments. The recent abusive subpoena issued to Reason magazine are a good example how even when the system formally bars government push back via a strong free speech law, you can still abuse the process as punishment when it’s a government’s ox being gored.

      • MarylandBill

        No offense, but I think you are naive. That might work for a smaller corporation, but do you really think you are going to be able to pull it off with a company like Apple?

        • I’ve seen AAPL trade at $3 and I’ve seen it trade at $700. AAPL wants to play politics this way? They’re vulnerable for insider baseball reasons already. Their previous leadership was always scrupulous about not kicking any of their users in the shins. Current leadership is not.

  • Doyle

    ” Slavery is the normal room temperature state of fallen man. ”
    Wow, scary & good line. Insights like this keep me coming back.
    Keep up the good work.

  • MarylandBill

    Maybe we need to give up on the term marriage. It is ultimately a word and while it pointed to a greater reality (a natural and possibly sacramental union between a man or a woman that was not merely open to but actively sought to cooperate with God’s creative nature), it was a good and useful term. But now of course it means whatever the heck people want it to mean. It won’t be too long before polygamy is back on the table.

    Maybe we should start pushing a new term, one that explicitly includes the notion of having children by natural means and that explicitly orients the relationship towards the children that result from that union (or are adopted by the union).

    • ManyMoreSpices

      I’m keen on the idea of Covenant Marriage. Have the government create a class of marriage that’s hard to get into and hard to get out of. You can leave the existing legal marriage in place if necessary. But if two people want to bind themselves more strongly than the government currently allows, with both greater legal benefits and legal burden, let’s set that up and let them do it.

      The Church (and other religious institutions) can then say “the only civil marriage ceremony that we’re going to allow is Covenant Marriage.” Perhaps we can can force that to be the new standard for what people mean by “marriage.” And maybe a lot of couples, even those married outside the Church – would go for it. I could see a lot of brides giving their grooms a very stern look if he says he wants to opt for the not-very-strong, easily escaped form of marriage, even at the Chapel o’ Love. Inversely, I suspect that the number of same-sex couples (particularly male couples) who would opt for this would be vanishingly small. My hope would be that Super Marriage would become the gold standard, and one that same-sex couples would self-exclude from.

      • MarylandBill

        I like the idea of Covenant Marriage as well, but I fear that using the term Marriage in any way will essentially undermine the purpose. Our society has explicitly rejected the notion that marriage is about building a family.

        • Some of us are not willing to give up the fight on this form of linguistic tyranny. I won’t complain about you giving up if you won’t complain about my continuing to fight the good fight.

      • Alma Peregrina

        “But if two people want to bind themselves more strongly than the government currently allows, with both greater legal benefits and legal burden, let’s set that up and let them do it.”

        If it will be tied to legal benefits, then it will fail, because the non-covenanters will want a piece of the pie too.

        If such idea is to be successful, then people engaging in Covenant Marriage will have to take all the burden of such commitment onto themselves. They’ll want a stronger commitment, without getting nothing in return. Maybe then, will society understand the true meaning of marriage.

        Another possibility (which seems more credible) is to separate civil marriage from religious matrimony altogether… and then watch civil marriage slowly self-destructing, leaving only matrimony left.

        • The bishops are debating this, a little birdie told me. It’s early days on that discussion so don’t expect a resolution anytime soon.

          Edit:
          If you view priests as materially cooperating with evil by continuing to act as civil administrators of the travesty that civil marriage is becoming, documenting the legal situation in all 50 states and how the Church could act differently and comply with the law would very much advance that cause.

          • Alma Peregrina

            “If you view priests as materially cooperating with evil by…”

            I don’t, as long as they’re celebrating valid marriages. But I agree that the Church needs to reassess its role on this matter and promote what’s truly sacramental about it.

            • I think we aren’t communicating. Currently Catholic priests conduct two marriages per couple, one for the Church and the other for the State. Is conducting the second marriage for the state a proper role for a Catholic priest in the US civil marriage system of 2015?

              • Alma Peregrina

                “Is conducting the second marriage for the state a proper role for a Catholic priest in the US civil marriage system of 2015?”

                Again, a valid question. What I didn’t agree was that doing so would be materially cooperating with evil, as long as the priest did a civil marriage between a man and a woman.

                But again: a valid question. And I don’t know the answer. Currently, in the present context, it seems a priest has more to lose by performing civil marriages besides religious ones than by performing just the latter. But is it automatically wrong for a priest to perform a civil marriage? Maybe not, but I’m not too informed to have an opinion on that one.

                • I am unsure as well. What would be the alternate grounds for stopping civil cooperation?

  • SteveP

    Slavery: taking income from a wife and a husband by threat of imprisonment and giving that money to a cis-gendered, white, self-identifying as gay, male.
    .
    If a gay person feels bad, you’ll pay.

    • Vision_From_Afar

      I can tell I’m going to get some milage out of this graphic with you around.

      • SteveP

        I’m sure you can tout your phallic obsession as long as you keep it at this obscure level.

  • Andre B

    And the *real* bullet to the brain of marriage–no fault divorce–likewise made it clear that marriage no longer has any connection to the rights of children to a mother and a father.

    Never really understood this line of thinking. Seems it ignores many instances of spouses seeking divorce for reasons that very much have to do with the rights of the children edit: but were nonetheless difficult to prove (eg. abuse), and seems to discount the positive effects this has had on the rates of female suicide and domestic violence edit: citation.

    If one wants to argue that there are much more frivolous reasons that people get divorced, that’s fine – but then it begs the question of how good the marriage was to begin with, how much the needs of the children were being served by this arrangement, and how much worse they could be said to be because of the divorce.

    Basically, if you’re concerned about the rights of the children, it seems like your focus should be on the front-end of the marriage question, not on making it harder for people who don’t want to be together to separate. As far as I can tell, it does nothing but further harm those involved, including (especially?) the children.

    EDITS: for precision and citations.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Seems it ignores many instances of spouses seeking divorce for reasons that very much have to do with the rights of the children (eg. abuse)

      A divorce on the grounds of abuse is not a no-fault divorce.

      • Andre B

        You’re correct, I should have been more precise – will amend to reflect how difficult it could be to prove abuse.

        • The advent of $30 smart phones from walmart would seem to fix the difficulty of proving abuse at the level that justifies a separation.

          • Andre B

            I mean, today…in 2015…if the other spouse isn’t careful and you manage to capture several undeniable instances of abuse…maybe that would be sufficient. Certainly this wasn’t an option when no-fault laws were being passed decades ago.

            • The law should reflect the state of technology today. I’m not so interested in the forensics of whether no fault divorce is a bad idea only now or was also a bad idea from the beginning. I want to staunch the pain of the children of divorce today and in the future as my first priority. We can argue about the esoteric stuff later.

              • Andre B

                The law should reflect the state of technology today.

                I don’t know, and again, the most I can bring myself to say is “maybe”, with regards to how technology should affect NFD laws.

                I’m really not a fan of placing much of a burden or proof on a spouse that feels they are being abused. What sorts of marriages do you feel you’re protecting by preventing divorce for what you feel are trivial reasons?

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  What sorts of marriages do you feel you’re protecting by preventing divorce for what you feel are trivial reasons?

                  This question is in the same category as the “how does same-sex marriage affect your marriage?” question that we heard during that debate. It’s a fair one, but one that focuses the inquiry at the wrong conceptual level.

                  I’m primarily concerned with the message that having Eat, Pray, Love marriage law sends to our culture. Having a no-fault divorce regime announces that the public understanding of marriage is that it’s an arrangement that’s terminable at will, that there will be no consequences to bailing on your promises. It says that the purpose of marriage is for the enjoyment of the spouses, and as soon as one of the spouses is insufficiently enjoying the marriage, he (or if the statistics are to be believed, more likely she) can leave to pursue happiness.

                  As an aside, I’ll note that the overlap between people who think we should have no-fault divorce and people who think that we should have same-sex marriage is substantial. Those in favor of SSM really do want to make changes to the basic structure of marriage. They do not simply want to admit same-sex couples to the same institution.

                  • Andre B

                    I’m primarily concerned with the message that having Eat, Pray, Love marriage law sends to our culture.

                    I haven’t seen that movie, but I did see Gone Girl – imagine if Ben Affleck had to prove that his wife was lying?!

                    Having a no-fault divorce regime announces that the public understanding of marriage is that it’s an arrangement that’s terminable at will, that there will be no consequences to bailing on your promises.

                    Leaving aside that this presupposes a level of acceptance (if not outright celebration) of divorce in society that I rarely encounter, there are very real legal and financial consequences that arise when people get divorced.

                    • Rebecca Fuentes

                      Eat, Pray, Love romanticizes life after divorce. Based on the description of a friend of mine who read it (and loved it, then divorced her husband), the woman in the story divorces, goes on a world-wide trip (eats, prays, falls in love), and all is happily ever after.
                      From where I’m standing, divorce is getting a pretty wide acceptance already. People tend to give lip service to staying together, but very few want to be the one to say to someone, “You are unhappy now, but try to work it out,” or “stay together, you can do this.” (And I don’t mean in cases of abuse of any kind, or addiction, or abandonment, but I can cite plenty of divorces I know where none of these were a factor.)

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      the woman in the story divorces, goes on a world-wide trip (eats, prays, falls in love), and all is happily ever after.

                      The problem with EPL is not that it sends the message that you can find happiness after divorce, or even that you can do so by spending a lot of money, being a spiritual tourist, and having lots of sex. Some people do. It’s that the protagonist bailed on a marriage that had no more flaws than any given marriage. She wasn’t completely happy, and in a culture that says “you have a right to be happy” and “you do you,” the desire for more happiness justified her wanderlust.

                      I wouldn’t say that the message of EPL is necessarily all that bad for someone who finds herself divorced. But it’s poison for someone in a marriage that has some problems, or someone contemplating marriage, because its message is “you can bail if you’re merely unsatisfied with your marriage. You go girl!”

                    • Rebecca Fuentes

                      Thanks, I couldn’t remember the reasons for the divorce in the book, except that it wasn’t something like abuse. The number of women I know who read the book and either sought divorce or started focusing on how dissatisfying their lives were–leading to more dissatisfaction–was astounding. That negative mindset about their lives is terribly catching. It’s like watching a mental and spiritual flu spread.

                    • LFM

                      I don’t care about no-fault divorce for childless couples myself. If they are childless through contraception, their marriages were not valid to begin with, in that they were not open to children.

                    • lizzysimplymagic

                      I read it – it was ok. Not great. It was actually an entire book of her trying to put her life back together after a failed marriage destroyed her sense of identity. The woman was literally curling up in her bathroom crying on a regular basis, as I recall – doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship to me. I wonder, why is happiness is considered unworthy of pursuit, whether that means marriage or not?

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      I wonder, why is happiness is considered unworthy of pursuit, whether that means marriage or not?

                      Seek all the happiness you want, as long as you’re not hurting other people or breaking solemn promises in the process.

                      Marry or don’t marry. But if you promise “in good times and bad, till death do us part,” and you leave someone who loves you because the times have turned bad (not because you’re being abused, etc.), you are a bad person and you should feel bad.

                      Keep your promises. Why is that so controversial?

                    • lizzysimplymagic

                      I agree, promises should be kept. But sometimes staying together is the most hurtful option for everyone involved, and that’s tragic. Divorce is terrible, but sometimes it’s still the least harmful path when there are no good options.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      You really would benefit from reading up on Motte & Bailey, as TMLutas suggested. For you:

                      Bailey – divorce is fine if it means you’ll be more happy

                      Motte – what I mean by “happy” is that you’re going with the least-bad option when staying together is really, really bad.

                    • Rebecca Fuentes

                      I don’t think the idea is that happiness is unworthy of pursuit, just that sometimes, based on the commitments we’ve made, it has to come after other things. Most people I know still have “till death do us part” or some such promise in their wedding vows. The question becomes, how to pursue happiness while keeping one’s vow? People know when they’re happy and when they’re not, but they aren’t often very good at recognizing how they can make themselves unhappy by focusing on what they can’t have, can’t do, what’s wrong, and their RIGHTS! I don’t mean a marriage that is abusive, or one that’s dealing with addictions (All my husband’s brothers were, at one point, active alcoholics–and it could get very ugly when they drank–their wives choosing to leave was often the only way to keep themselves (And the kids) safe and keep the paycheck from going straight to the bar). If marriage is misery, help should be sought.
                      But I have watched people (mainly women, because that’s who I talk to), build themselves up into great balls of unhappiness because they can’t see any little bit of joy or good. Nothing their husband does is good enough. He never picks just the right gift, or makes enough money, or plans the right date. Their kids are a hassle or a disappointment (summer is the worst time). According to my husband, he sees the same thing with men he works with: she never has time for him, there’s not enough sex, those darn kids are so expensive, the family vacation was a drag. And it’s sad, but we’ve watched a divorce grow from both sides as each spouse focuses on how the other person just won’t do what it takes to make THEM happy. It’s easy to focus on what I don’t have time for, the me stuff I could do if this or that situation didn’t exist, or I can focus on the good things that are here, now, and do what I can to make that better.
                      And then there’s Mr. and Mrs. D, who live across the street. He spent the last 15 years as a quadriplegic (due to a car accident), in a wheelchair, needing someone there almost constantly. There had to have been a point, after his accident, when the future looked unhappy and dark for both of them. But they stayed together, and he learned to do what he could using technology, and she loved him and stayed faithful to him and made sure he got the care he needed. (He died on Friday, so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, y’all).
                      Quite often, the pursuit of happiness doesn’t mean looking for something “out there” that will make us happy, but deciding to serve and find happiness within our obligations and duties.

                    • Very well said. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, we just too often suck at understanding what will truly lead to happiness.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      I’d say the fact that 50% of marriages end it in indicates a fairly strong level of acceptance for divorce.

                    • Andre B

                      Maybe. It could also be an indicator that people are just living together long enough to be truly sick of each other ;P

                      Also, it appears the trends for divorce have been dropping for some time now: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12944.pdf

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Not necessarily disputing your point, but that paper’s from 2007. I’d like to see what has happened since then. It wouldn’t suprise me to see that divorce went down when the economy got bad because living alone is more expensive, but on the other hand financial struggles cause marital friction.

                      Also, I don’t necessarily think that it’s a step forward for a lower percentage of married couples to be getting divorced if the reason is that they never got married in the first place, especially if they’re still having children together. If Ann and Bob have a kid together without getting married, then split up, that’s not a “divorce” that shows up in the statistics but it’s still bad for the child. The divorce rate and the illegitimacy rate are related concerns.

                    • LFM

                      What has happened since 2007 – what was already happening – is that fewer and fewer people are getting married. The no-marriage trend is largely responsible for the fall in divorce rates in the Western world. Men’s refusal to marry the mothers of their children – which really is more the fault of men than women, it appears – has at least something to do with men’s resentment over no-fault divorce and the way it has penalized them. And no, I won’t provide statistics and analyses only to have them shot down as right-wing or poisonous or whatever. Those who disagree can do the work themselves.

                    • That stat is undermined slightly by the fact that it incorporates people who get divorced multiple times. The number of first-time marriages that end in divorce is smaller (I’ve seen numbers from 30% to 40%; not great, but better).

                  • William J. Walsh

                    Actually I do think there should be different vows for people who don’t really mean it. But that would never work because they want to enjoy the same celebration and community approval that those of us who do mean it get. The problem is not so much that they don’t want their own relationships to conform to our Catholic/Christian ideals, but that they really don’t want ours to do so either, as you say. I personally don’t care a lot about government benefits or even some statistically insignificant rate of adoption when no one else steps up (but not preferring a mother AND a father is deeply screwed up)–let them pretend its marriage, so be it. None of us think it stops there though, and this thread is testimony by some as to their hostility to the institution of marriage itself even as they ostensibly celebrate “marriage equality.”

                  • kenofken

                    As is usual, cultural conservatives love to offer up deep expertise on matters which they clearly have no experience of based on paradigms which have no connection what happens in the real world.

                    Anyone who can characterize no-fault divorce as a no-consequence Hollywood plot has either lived a very sheltered life, or more likely, simply has an arrogant contempt and willful blindness for those who have actually lived through it. Even the most uncomplicated divorces – those with no children or significant property to fight over – are emotionally and financially devastating for several years. The vast majority will take both parties more like a decade to recover from. Anyone who thinks no-fault divorce is an easy impulsive traipse to happiness should get out and talk to the men and women who in middle age and with professional level salaries are couch surfing with friends, moving back in with mom and dad or living out of their car while their world implodes and gets parceled out by lawyers.

                    The idea of erecting additional artificial barriers is insane. It will never happen because no lawmaker, including conservatives, are going to impose such a wretched regime on themselves or their children. If it did somehow pass, you can expect to see domestic abuse and homicides soar. There will also be the rise of private detective agencies dedicated to amassing/fabricating dossiers and narratives that prove mom/dad is a cheater, drug addict, abuser and all-around scumbag to create grounds for divorce. Boy, won’t that be dandy for the kids? Gotta keep those adults together at all costs for their sake…

                    You would also, in fairly short order, see marriage rates plummet down into the single digits.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      I have more experience with people running off to do than the Eat, Pray, Love thing than you know, so I’m definitely not going to admit that you know more than I do, or that your knowledge is superior to mine.

                      Anyone who can characterize no-fault divorce as a no-consequence Hollywood plot

                      Who said anything about no consequences? That’s the point. Divorce does have terrible long-term consequences. And the fact that you think that you need to explain that it does means that you agree that not enough people realize what those consequences will be. They think it’s going to be easy, better once they bail. And then it’s not. You’re making my point for me.

                • All marriage systems have their discontents, their winners and losers. The weakest participants in the arrangement are the children. It’s no fun having a gold digging mom who wants access to dad’s wallet (reverse the sexes if you wish, there’s no difference to me) but it’s a lesser problem than being the child of divorce. Women initiate the majority of US divorces yet pay a financial penalty on average so something weird is going on. I have a good childhood friend and failed to break the curse of divorce in his family (literally he asked me to) so his kids will be fourth generation divorced kids. His pain, suffering, and just lostness are what informs me in my personal dislike of divorce. The details of his situation I will not share but he would have benefited from a divorce regime that was more difficult to go through and offered more options for reconciliation.

                  • Andre B

                    It’s no fun having a gold digging mom who wants access to dad’s wallet (reverse the sexes if you wish, there’s no difference to me) but it’s a lesser problem than being the child of divorce.

                    Even if this were representative of all divorces, it would just be your opinion.

                    I’m entirely unmoved by anecdotes re: divorce, as I can think of several success stories, as well as failures (though, crucially, for every anecdote we lack the counter factual).

                    • Sorry, I’m not playing the game of pretending the last several decades of broken families and the fallout thereof didn’t happen. Do your homework. There are plenty of academic studies in the literature that make it more than just “my opinion”

                    • Andre B

                      Other games TML doesn’t play: supporting claims with evidence.

                    • LFM

                      Not at all. He said “do your homework”. You have already shown that you are unwilling to provide backup to support *your* position. In fact, you’re trolling.

                    • Andre B

                      You’re adorable.

                      You have already shown that you are unwilling to provide backup to support *your* position.

                      https://disqus.com/home/discussion/markshea/what_gay_8220marriage8221_does8230/#comment-2106635714

                      Now, please show me where you or TML cited anything to support your his claims.

                      EDIT: correcting mistake

                      [Apologies if this multi-posts]

                    • LFM

                      Do a search of this comments section.

                      Troll.

                    • Andre B

                      I mean, should I also do a search of the archives? All of Disqus?

                      But no, you’re right, I should rephrase: where in our exchanges have either you or TML cited sources?

                      EDIT: correcting mistaken claim.

                    • LFM

                      TROLL.

                      DON’T FEED.

                    • LFM

                      Thank you.

                    • Andre B

                      Don’t know how I forgot this post, or how I missed it in my search.

                      You did in fact support your claim. I’ve amended my previous comments accordingly.

                    • Since you can’t be bothered to do a google search, here you go:

                      https://www.google.com/search?q=negative%20effects%20of%20no-fault%20divorce&

                      That yields critiques of no fault divorce from the right, from the center, from the left, from political sources, from academic sources, it’s a veritable deluge of sourcing and just required about 10 seconds of typing. Pick whichever subset you find credible and go read those ones.

                    • Andre B

                      Since you can’t be bothered to do a google search

                      Why on earth would I waste my time researching evidence to support *your* claims? BTW, I like how you think I’m too lazy to google, but not so lazy that I wouldn’t follow your link and go do your homework for you.

                      Moving on, I think you’re giving away the game by linking to a plain google search of “negative effects of no fault divorce”. If you wanted to demonstrate some genuine curiosity / intellectual honesty, I would have thought you would have suggested a more thoughtful approach, like searching google scholar for “effects of no fault divorce”.

                      Previously, you seemed to take exception to me rejecting the idea that the scenario of ‘gold-digging parents > children of divorce’ was representative of all divorce and/or that I characterized this notion as ‘just your opinion’. I’ve yet to see how I was wrong on either point.

                    • First you complain I don’t provide any evidence, now you’re moving goalposts to the idea that I’m not scholarly enough for your tastes.

                      Your characterization of my earlier post was delusional in taking an example of a subset of divorces and generalizing it to all divorces. You haven’t improved on your record of bad faith yet.

                      As for your link, even given the dropping of the negative keyword, your own search provides plenty of evidence to support my assertion that no fault divorce has problems and that we can do better than present law. I did actually give your link a shot. That’s what giving a good faith effort to communicate looks like.

                    • Andre B

                      First you complain I don’t provide any evidence, now you’re moving goalposts to the idea that I’m not scholarly enough for your tastes.

                      You apparently exist in a world where telling somebody to ‘google it’ is the same thing as supporting a specific claim you make with specific evidence.

                      Your characterization of my earlier post was delusional in taking an example of a subset of divorces and generalizing it to all divorces.

                      Let’s be clear, here’s the initial exchange:

                      It’s no fun having a gold digging mom who wants access to dad’s wallet (reverse the sexes if you wish, there’s no difference to me) but it’s a lesser problem than being the child of divorce.

                      Even if this were representative of all divorces, it would just be your opinion.

                      I didn’t take your example as representative of all divorces, hence the “even if this were representative” bit. What I was hoping to communicate was that, even for this subset, you gave us no reason to give your opinion any weight. How do we know that kids are better off living in a household with a gold-digging parent than they are living in, for example, a divorced and re-married household where the spouses mutually love each other? You gave no evidence at all for your claim, hence I dismissed it as mere opinion. What’s the problem?

                      You haven’t improved on your record of bad faith yet.

                      Yeah, I get it, the skeptical guy calling for evidenced claims is the bad guy.

                      As for your link, even given the dropping of the negative keyword, your own search provides plenty of evidence to support my assertion that no fault divorce has problems and that we can do better than present law

                      Two things here. 1) you are free to cite any specific evidence that relates to specific claims you’ve made in our discussion, I promise I won’t hold it against you! 2) Not only did I not catch where you made this assertion – “that no fault divorce has problems and that we can do better than present law” – but it’s not a claim I would take issue with (on it’s own).

                      I did actually give your link a shot. That’s what giving a good faith effort to communicate looks like.

                      I mean, again, we seem to have different ideas on what we consider evidence, in addition to who has the burden of proof when making claims. You’re, of course, free to pat yourself on the back for clicking the link I gave you to help you find evidence for your claims.

                    • In 2015, you think that it’s even remotely plausible to claim skepticism on the negative effects of no-fault divorce. You’re an ass. A cruel, nasty piece of work, and arguing in bad faith.

                    • Andre B

                      Name calling? I see that, having previously patted yourself on the back for showing me how good-faith dialogue works, you apparently wanted to make sure to show me how bad-faith works. Covering all the bases, I appreciate that about you.

                      In 2015, you think that it’s even remotely plausible to claim skepticism on the negative effects of no-fault divorce.

                      To me, this appears to be a bit of a straw-man given what I’ve already said on the topic:

                      2) Not only did I not catch where you made this assertion – “that no fault divorce has problems and that we can do better than present law” – but it’s not a claim I would take issue with (on it’s own).

                      If that was your only point, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But, as I’ve already recapped, it wasn’t. You made claims about how effective cellphone cameras might be in reporting abuse, among other things. These much more specific claims are the ones I was skeptical about.

                      To be clear, I’m also skeptical whether or not, on balance, no-fault divorce has more negative consequences. However, I think that’s a much tougher question to answer. Could I imagine some specific situations where making it more difficult for couples to quickly dissolve their marriage leads to net positives for the kids? Sure. But I honestly don’t see how making divorce harder, in general, helps anyone.

                      To go back to my initial comment re: the OP – I don’t think it’s accurate to say that no-fault divorce means “that marriage no longer has any connection to the rights of children to a mother and a father”, and I can’t imagine how Mr. Shea, or anyone else, would demonstrate or evidence such a sweeping universal claim. As I already said, if you wanted to make sure more children were raised in better homes, it seems like you’d want to front-load your efforts into creating an environment for better marriages, not harder divorces.

                    • You don’t want to even look at the links you promote, which gave plenty of evidence both of the negative effects of no fault divorce and how those were hidden for a time due to bad use of statistics. You want to argue out a multi-decade social policy hot potato de novo. No thanks.

                      The recent court cases over gay marriage explicitly laid out how marriage no longer has any connection to children. It’s in decision after decision. But you didn’t read those either. Whether that came in via no-fault divorce or via some other route, it is true that the legal disconnect is the current state of the law.

                    • Andre B

                      You don’t want to even look at the links you promote, which gave plenty of evidence both of the negative effects of no fault divorce and how those were hidden for a time due to bad use of statistics.

                      I’m not sure I would consider a link I sent you, of what I thought was a better search – to help you make your (previously un-evidenced) claim, mind you – as me *promoting* anything. I can’t speak to the weight of the individual studies or statistics, other than to say one would be far more likely to find unbiased studies by searching a scholarly database without and leading queries. BTW, this is one of the flaws of trying to pretend – as you do – that simply saying “Google it” is the same thing as supporting the specific claims you make with specific evidence. For example, when I made the claim that no-fault divorce has resulted in positive effects such as lowering the rates of female suicide as well as domestic violence, I made sure to cite the specific evidence for that specific claim. What evidence have you provided to support your claim that a child is better off with gold-digging parents than they would be if their parents divorced?

                      You want to argue out a multi-decade social policy hot potato de novo.

                      Pas du tout. I mean, also, since this is such a vague statement, I can’t quite be sure what your point is. In later responses to you, I’ve gone on to voice general skepticism over whether you could show that no-fault divorce results in net harm…but I’m pretty sure my initial observations were with regards to specific claims by both Shea and yourself that even opponents of no-fault divorce would take issue with.

                      But you didn’t read those either.

                      Evidence?

                    • I’m sorry I can’t keep a straight face anymore.

                      I’m just laughing at you now.

                    • Andre B

                      I’m sorry I can’t keep a straight face anymore.

                      I knew it! That SCOTUS ruling is turning everything gay!

                    • jenmikeolson

                      Been my experience also, both personal and through my friends.

                    • Your response is too vague for me to tell if you are supporting me or opposing me.

                    • jenmikeolson

                      As the product of divorce, along with all my friends, I support/agree with your statement.

                  • “Women initiate the majority of US divorces yet pay a financial penalty on average so something weird is going on.”

                    I wish more people would pay attention to *why* women file for divorce, not just that they do so in greater numbers. (N.b., this comment is not directed specifically at you.)

                    My friend divorced her husband, after learning he had cheated on her for years, because he 1) refused counseling and 2) told her that if she wanted to stay married she’d have to tolerate his affairs. The wife of a friend of my husband’s divorced him because, by his own admission, he ignored their problems and blew off counseling.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Do you have an explanation for the “why,” other than your anecdotes? Because men and women cheat at approximately the same rate. And the divorces of the two people closest to me were initiated and caused by women who “just weren’t happy.”

                    • Right, that’s my point. I think there are multiple causes of divorce and lots of factors, which is why focusing solely on who files more, men or women, is not useful.

                      That said, I have a couple of theories that might partially explain the disparity. 1) While men can certainly be victims of abuse, and abuse is not limited to M/F couples, the majority of abusers are men and the majority of victims are women. 2) Based on observations, anecdotes, and general attitudes towards marriage, I get the impression that men are more inertial when it comes to relationships.

                    • William J. Walsh

                      In my experience, which is pretty extensive when it comes to divorce, just not being happy is the most common reason. People take that very seriously, and overrate their chances of being happier.

                    • I don’t know your friends so won’t comment on your anecdotes. I have my own circle of friends supplying anecdotes and they’d be just as difficult for you to comment on with compassion and sensitivity.

                      Instead, what would we learn if we paid attention to the reasons why women are filing for divorce that we don’t already know?

                    • Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a number of Catholics who look at the bald statistic that more women than men file for divorce, and use that as “proof” that American women are awful feminazi hussies who hate men and families (and that’s not an exaggeration). I’ve seen others argue that almost all women who file for divorce do so for frivolous reasons (how they could possibly know that is beyond me); rarely if ever do they acknowledge that the husbands might have had a role in the problems of those marriages. You may have a nuanced understanding of all the reasons that marriages fail, and the fact that no matter if the divorce was justified under Catholic teaching it is rarely the fault of just one spouse, but some people don’t.

                      That’s why I wish people would pay more attention to the reasons why someone files for divorce, rather than simply saying it’s women’s fault (which, I realize, is not what you were saying). To relate it more directly to your comment, why would a woman file for divorce if it ends up hurting her financially? As you noted, something must be going on there, and I think it could be any number of factors, such as abuse, misery, ignorance of the consequences of divorce, short-sightedness, selfishness, vindictiveness on the part of the soon-to-be-ex-husband, depression, societal treatment of divorcees, etc.

                    • Any population of human beings will have traits that map out on a bell curve. Women are no exception. Some will be hellishly nasty human beings and others give a daily preview of heaven by how they live their lives but most will fall somewhere between the two tails of the curve.

                      As far as divorce, I reserve my greatest sympathy for the kids who rarely play a large role in causing the mess but almost always bear the largest burden in the aftermath.

                      I believe that blame and judgment is not something one should generally do by categories. Divorce is not always the man’s fault and not always the woman’s fault. If you’re going to engage in that sort of inquiry at all, you should know enough facts to be accurate in that particular case.

                  • lizzysimplymagic

                    No one is saying divorce is awesome, only that it’s better than a toxic, hurtful marriage. How is that even debatable?

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Depends on your definition of “toxic, hurtful.” If a marriage is truly toxic and hurtful, you’ll be able to get a fault-based divorce. If by “toxic, hurtful” you mean you have vague sense that your life would be more fulfilling if you weren’t divorced, a la Eat, Pray, Love, then dissolving your marriage isn’t better for your spouse and children.

                    • It’s debatable because there are individual cases where it’s true that not getting divorced would have been better. Case in point, women who divorce because their husband is too boring:

                      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/8739533/Women-and-divorce-Goodbye-darling-youre-just-too-dull….html

                      While there are justifiable reasons to separate, that isn’t one of them. Trivial stuff like this is, however, a growing trend in divorce cases.

                    • lizzysimplymagic

                      Trivial or not, it’s their marriage, their choices, their business.

                    • That was weak. Can’t you do better than motte and bailey cheats?

                      For those not familiar:
                      http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2014/09/motte-and-bailey-doctrines/

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      +1,000,000 for Motte & Bailey

          • (My apologies if this is a double-post — there was some sort of glitch.)

            The issue is not proof of abuse but rather the expense of a for-cause divorce trial, with motions and discovery and attorneys and so on. No matter how much proof spouse A might have, spouse B still has a right to contest it all the way through trial, even if he is destined to lose.

            • As a more general matter, I’m interested in the high cost of obtaining justice and fixing that.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Well, you take pictures of bruises and burns and scars, fill out police reports, go to court, wait and see what happens. The rest of us will take comfort in the fact that if we are abused, we don’t need a judge to agree and give permission to stop being abused, because we’re adults and can decide for ourselves when a marriage is over.

            • Packing up and running and not attending to the paperwork is a recipe for having your kids taken away from you and you ending up in jail, not a winning strategy.

              • lizzysimplymagic

                Packing and running is how my mother and I made it out. The paperwork came AFTER we were safely away. I shudder to think of how things would’ve gone otherwise.

                • In other words, your mom attended to the paperwork. That’s not what I was talking about.

                  I was watching a documentary with a sob story and the husband went into deportation proceedings and was in jail because they didn’t attend to the paperwork for years. Now wife has to raise the kids without husband and the kids have to learn the ins and outs of detention center procedures to see dad. It was all so unnecessary and I’ve seen people do stupid things like that in subject after subject.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          Well, I guess that depends on your parameters of “abuse” that would justify a divorce, but I would think that it’s easier than ever to prove abuse. As TMLutas alluded to, everyone has a cameraphone now and the ability to transmit photographs instantly, so if he punches you, text a picture to your sister. More and more of our communications occur in a preservable form. In days of yore, a wife might have berated her husband orally, behind closed doors. Now it’s via text message and on Facebook.

          • Andre B

            Well, I guess that depends on your parameters of “abuse” that would justify a divorce, but I would think that it’s easier than ever to prove abuse.

            This strikes me as the type of argument one tends to hear from those who are not typically at risk for abuse. I’m not comfortable having courts decide whether or not what one spouse considers abuse rises to some divorce-worthy threshold.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              Do you trust the courts to decide who is guilty of criminal offenses? Who has breached a contract? Whether a product was unreasonably dangerous? Who was at fault in a traffic accident?

              Hard cases are hard. Not all cases are hard cases.

              • cmfe

                An intimate relationship is a very different situation from the examples you give. Andre B brings up a very important point. An average of three women are murdered each day by their partners and intimate partner homicide is still a leading cause of death for pregnant women. Using force and/or coercion to maintain a relationship as has been suggested by commenters can go horribly wrong for children and women.

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  An average of three women are murdered each day by their partners and intimate partner homicide is still a leading cause of death for pregnant women.

                  How do you figure that these are consequences of not having no-fault divorce?

                  • cmfe

                    It is very hard to get away from a dangerous relationship. Making it harder will have consequences for women and children.

                    • LFM

                      “Dangerous relationships” are not candidates for no-fault divorce. By definition they require fault-finding, not to make divorce harder but to ensure the protection of the vulnerable. If one parent is abusive, and the parent seeking a divorce does not claim “fault”, she or he (it is occasionally a he), might well be forced to accept joint custody or unsupervised visitation arrangements for the children of the union, which would be extremely irresponsible on their part.

                      The real danger of no-fault divorce is not that it puts people in abusive marriages at risk. It is that no-fault divorce penalizes innocent parties, like the wives of adulterous or abusive husbands (yes!), for example; or men who have done nothing wrong but lose custody of their children because maternal custody has become customary in divorce cases. This last works very much to the detriment of children, and is one of the chief arguments against no-fault divorce as it is now practiced. The link below contains a range of opinions about the matter: http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/is-new-york-ready-for-no-fault-divorce/?scp=2&sq=divorce&st=cse

                    • cmfe

                      http://www.iza.org/conference_files/SUMS2012/brassiolo_p7630.pdf

                      The conclusions are on p.39. In short, the passage of no-fault divorce reduced violence by aprox. 30% for those seeking divorce, and also produced reductions in violence in intact families. When wives and mothers had a more a affordable alternative, men had more incentive to check their aggression towards them. You are correct, however that the current family court system scandalously fails to protect children adequately as documented in the Saunder’s Report.

                  • cmfe
                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Your first link deals with an unmarried couple. The second is a 176-page report that I cannot imagine you expect me to read. The third is the front page of a website.

                    • cmfe

                      Common law marriages are handled legally the same in custody/ divorce situations in most states

                      You wanted an answer to the question “Is the court trustworthy?”, the Saunders Report commissioned by the Department of Justice answers that definitively and specifically. Short version: the DOJ finds much corruption and bias in the family court system.

                      “Stop Abuse” is a great website for DV and court accountability issues, which you brought up, so I assumed there would be some interest.

                    • William J. Walsh

                      You are really working hard at this and deserve to be commended. I’m also a lawyer, and I have to get back to work tonight. This confusion seems unlikely to dissipate much, but perhaps I’m unduly pessimistic about winning people over with reason. In the long run, they are unlikely to perpetuate themselves successfully, and we won’t have to do that, but its wrong of me to abandon people, I know.

                    • LFM

                      None of these, at a (cursory) glance, suggests that “fault” in divorce has any impact on the problems of escaping abusive marriages. In fact, if anything, they indicate the reverse: in a “no-fault” system, where abuse allegations have not been made or cannot be proved, children are more likely to end up in joint-custody arrangements, and fathers more likely to end up with visitation rights even if they have been guilty of abuse. Earlier in this century, adulterous fathers (to take one example of “fault”) were not given joint custody of their children. Of course, adulterous mothers lacked such protections, too.

                • jenmikeolson

                  I think your missing a clarifying distinction in your arguments throughout this thread. Marriage proper and abusive husbands do not go hand in hand. In fact the permanence of marriage is antithetical to the cause of spousal abuse because permanence requires a mature understanding of the sexes and marriage. Psychological problems, immaturity and selfishness are the underlying components to spousal abuse.

                  • cmfe

                    I have been responding to calls to making divorce more difficult. You have to get a civil divorce before you pursue the annulment that would declare your marriage invalid.

                • William J. Walsh

                  You mean the force and coercion of not allowing no fault divorce, which you equate to murder? I think you need to clarify what you are trying to say. It is unclear.

              • Andre B

                Do you trust the courts to [correctly] decide who is guilty of criminal offenses? Who has breached a contract? Whether a product was unreasonably dangerous? Who was at fault in a traffic accident?

                [FTFY]

                My answers would be: sometimes; sometimes; sometimes; and sometimes. What’s your point?

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  You said that you don’t trust the courts to determine whether a spouse is being abused. I’m just trying to suss out the parameters of which factual questions you’re comfortable having courts decide. Because I know the answer is not “none.”

              • Andre B

                BTW, I love that you’re appealing to trusting courts to correctly decide things in the comments of this article 😀

                • Nate

                  Beat me to it by 1/2 second!

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  Yeah. I’m not an anarchist. Nor am I someone who says “well I lost this case at the Supreme Court, so I’m taking my ball and going home.” I’m a litigator. I lose cases. That doesn’t cause me to lose faith in the system.

                  Compared to the alternatives, having courts be the trier of fact in disputes is superior.

                  • Andre B

                    I think we’re on some common ground re: (non) anarchy.

                    In terms of the courts and divorce, I think things are messy enough as it is with courts deciding *how* marriages will end re: custody, alimony, etc (which, BTW I think present enough de facto incentives to remain married so as to weed out many “frivolous” divorces). I agree with @cmfe:disqus on thinking that marriage something fairly unique that I don’t feel comfortable with the courts deciding *if* it should end.

                  • William J. Walsh

                    Our courts often do injustice, but like you I see no sane alternative. They reflect the society from which the judges come, so they have a hard time with meaning and lean towards the supremacy of individual will when they can.

              • Nate

                “Do you trust the courts…?”

    • beriggs

      When I was a child, my parents had a horrible marriage. No two people could have been so badly matched. I often describe it as “volcanic.” My parents stuck it out until all of the children were out of the home, then divorced. I am grateful beyond words that I had that intact family, bad as it was. I had a home and the stability that goes with that. I did not have two “homes,” and two separate parents to visit or shuttle back and forth between. When they divorced, I grieved that there was no more “home” to go to, but at least I was an adult who could deal with it. While my parents suffered unhappiness, they gave us something priceless as defenseless children. I feel that unless there is physical, sexual or severe psychological danger, parents need to strive for holiness, and keep their families together.

      • Andre B

        You seem to think that one bad (“volcanic”) marriage is better for children than two – presumably more loving and stable – marriages would be. You are free to have that opinion, though you seem to have based this off of your anecdote, and obviously don’t have the data for the counter factual. In other words, while I’m glad you feel your bad family situation was a blessing, you don’t know how you would have felt under different circumstances.

        • LFM

          Actually, there is data online – “studies” – that indicate that children overwhelmingly tend to do better when raised in intact biological families than when raised by single parents or in what used to be called “blended” families (the latter group is less well-represented below because there are fewer of them):
          http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1993/04/dan-quayle-was-right/307015/ (This was the granddaddy of them all)
          https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/145325NCJRS.pdf (1994)
          http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ipv9310.pdf (1994-2010)
          http://thefederalist.com/2015/01/06/yesallwomenandchildren-are-safer-within-intact-marriages/
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/20-years-later-it-turns-out-dan-quayle-was-right-about-murphy-brown-and-unmarried-moms/2012/05/25/gJQAsNCJqU_story.html
          http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786886161/?tag=brazecaree-20 (read comments)

          • Andre B

            LFM,

            We’re talking specifically in this case about an anecdote involving a bad (“volcanic”) marriage. If you can find a study that shows that children in awful-but-biologically-intact families perform better than even the most well-off single, adopted, or blended households, I’m happy to amend my thinking.

            Ta.

            • LFM

              Ta ta to you too, twit.

            • I’d love to see studies that pay attention to the quality of intact families. Staying together for the kids is great if the two spouses are mature enough to work together and do their best for each other and the children; staying together is not so great if the spouses snipe at each other and undermine each other and make it clear to everyone (including the children) how miserable they are.

          • cmfe

            Dear God, please don’t peddle that poisonous piece by Whitehead. She fails to parse out what factors were a result of divorce itself. She’s intellectually dishonest.

            • LFM

              What on earth do you mean, “fails to parse out what factors were a result of divorce itself”? That was the main point of her piece – to determine what harm had been done to children by divorce. The phenomenon of unmarried motherhood among the middle to upper-middle classes had not yet taken off to the same degree then; one other purpose of her article was to encourage people to think twice about it, because divorce, which we had been assured for years was a harmless and even beneficial event for children, was actually rather more harmful than anyone had been willing to admit.

              Anyway, if you want statistics regarding the damage done by unmarried motherhood as such, there are plenty of those available now, alas. I didn’t include them because I was referring specifically to children of divorce.

              • cmfe

                Nope, in her Atlantic article, Whitehead conflated correlative and causal. More and more evidence is emerging of how growing up around violence alters a child neurologically. We are learning that ti is much more damaging than previously supposed.

                • LFM

                  Whitehead never suggested that spouses should keep their marriages intact despite any abuse or violence that went on in them. She was arguing that the children of divorce – even those who were well-treated by their parents, and not poor – appeared to have worse life outcomes than the children of intact marriages, even when the households in those marriages were poor and not especially well-educated.

                  As for problems in distinguishing the correlative and the causal, that is inevitable in an observational study, as I understand it. Whitehead’s article, which was based on a summary of years of other people’s research, said that there appeared to be a strong correlation that interested parties ought to consider, iirc. But some of those same parties did not want to hear *anything* about the possible detrimental effects of divorce and/or conscious single parenthood.

                  • cmfe

                    She ignores problems in the marriages before the divorce and assigns all blame for outcomes on the divorce itself. This article has been very dangerous and misleading in that it has kept well meaning women in corrosive relationships instead of getting out and getting help sooner. But she made quite a tidy bit of money off it, so I guess everything’s ok.

                    • LFM

                      How much money do you think people get paid for articles like that? Do you suppose that the writers of magazine articles get royalties when their articles are cited? Or do you think that writers for journals shouldn’t be paid at all, to prove how independent they are?

                      Also, how do you know that women have stayed in “corrosive” relationships as a result of reading it? The article did not recommend that they should do anything of the kind, and anyway, how many average women read the Atlantic?

                      That was a silly comment, cmfe.

                    • cmfe

                      Ms. Whitehead expanded her original article into a book that sold quite briskly and got her enough notice to garner her a nice gig at the Heritage Foundation. I have been involved in women’s shelters for about 8 years now and I know of which I speak. I recognized that article immediately. It’s a favorite of certain types of fundamentalist ministers who, when they can no longer convince a women to continue to take it on the chin for Jesus, will use it to appeal to her concern for the well being of her children. Much pain and misery has resulted from it. This is a serious topic that has been tragic for the lives of many people. You have been flippant and condescending.

            • William J. Walsh

              I gather that “intellectually dishonest” means “disagrees with what I want to believe.”

    • William J. Walsh

      Denying the effects of divorce on the kids is just willful blindness. You cannot have grown up in this country and not have been exposed to the obvious truth that by and large divorce is something indulged in by adults to increase their own happiness usually at the expense of any children who have the misfortune to be involved to one extent or another. That there may be cases where divorce spares the children the presence of a truly evil person–“the abuser”–is an argument I cannot credit. Divorce does not spare the children contact with this person usually, though the woman may be better off without him. That there may be cases where it spares them the spectacle of their parents fighting is once again indulging the failures of the adults to live up their obligations to the children. Try not to fight in front of the kids rather than splitting up. I can say that the only person I know who told me that their parents’ divorce was for the best was somewhat oblivious to how profoundly damaged they were in their capacity to trust, commit and bond as an adult, and that such testimony is atypical. I can’t prevent people from trying to justify their conduct, after all, so many of us do it many of us probably do assume its OK and feel insulted when the obvious is pointed out. Divorce is almost never, ever what the kids want, and we put a lot of counseling into making them feel better about it because we’ve made the fundamental assumption that trying to hold people to their vows is pointless. People have drawn the obvious conclusion that those vows are pointless, and “gay” “marriage” is a pretense for further destruction of the institution of marriage, and not the biggest blow struck in the cause, as the author correctly points out.

      • Andre B

        Denying the effects of divorce on the kids is just willful blindness.

        Do I anywhere do this?

      • lizzysimplymagic

        So is denying the effects of child abuse. I might not be alive today if my parents hadn’t divorced. Kids have a right to GOOD parents, not just whoever boinked them into existence no matter how terrible they are! And gay OR straight adoptive parents, grandparents, siblings, or whatever type of family one has – what matters is the safety and love found in a family, not the exact configuration.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          You almost certainly wouldn’t be alive if your parents hadn’t married.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Indeed! At the very least, I was born because they had sex with each other. And I remained alive at least in part because they divorced.

            All things considered, I’m pleased with both outcomes.

            • antigon

              As conceivably would be the millions slaughtered in our archipelago of extermination camps.

  • donttouchme

    “Our current system is increasingly to make the weak carry the burden of the strong’s selfishness. Men abandon women…” No, men and women are equal, remember?

  • Carl Sommer

    Excellent, Mark!

  • etme

    nothing new under the sun

    • thisismattwade

      Thank you for this.

    • Mike

      brilliant.

      • antigon

        Cardinal Kasper & the serene theologians agree!

  • Equality

    True “traditional” marriage” is the Duggars. I’m sure all those kids are extremely well-adjusted to the modern world and not at all psychologically scarred by patriarchal abuse…oh wait nevermind, one of them as it turns out likes to molest his sisters.

    “Traditional” marriage is patriarchal slavery with no escape.

    And it’s not just the west that’s moving forward on marriage equality–Latin America is, too, and there are movements in Japan and Korea as well. Eventually China will no doubt be on board once they see in which direction this is going.

    You’ll end up with Putin and a handful of failed states in Africa (the latter of which often endorse polygamy!)

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Perhaps. But if I posit that you’re correct, will you agree that your efforts have not simply been to admit same-sex couples to the same institution of marriage that opposite-sex couples have had, but that you want to change the institution of marriage itself?

      • Equality

        Legally speaking, we wanted the same rights, protections, and benefits that straight married couples have nothing more nothing less.

        Now, within a marriage, each couple can by all means define what their own marriage means to them, from totally open marriages, to semi-monogamy (mutually agreed on affairs a few times a year, Dan Savage’s model which I happen to favor) to the Duggars.

        If you want to have a “traditional” marriage (one man and his propert–I mean ‘wife’), in which the man rules over the family with a iron fist, in which the woman spends most of her life as a breeding vessel and maid with zero career prospects…hey if that’s your idea of a healthy relationship, go right ahead.

        But don’t insist it’s the only kind of marriage there is.

        • SteveP

          “Equality” you seem to be a bit tipsy still.

        • JM1001

          The problem with this argument is that it doesn’t recognize that traditional marriage advocates do not conceive of marriage as a strictly private affair; rather, how marriage is defined has bearing on the common good. One cannot separate the private and public so cleanly with respect to how the state defines marriage, on this view.

          The norms of permanence, exclusivity, monogamy, and sexual complementarity are, on the traditional view, ordered towards the well-being of any children that may result from the union of a man and a woman, which is good for society. But if the state no longer recognizes those norms, then those norms will begin to change in the culture, which will effect the common good — again, according to the traditional view.

          If marriage is just an emotional bond between adults who wish to express their own subjective desires and “identities,” then there doesn’t seem to be any reason why the state is involved in marriage at all, other than to dispense various state benefits and to bureaucratically manage the chaos of people’s ever-changing subjective desires.

          • Equality

            Those norms may be your norms, but they are not necessarily my norms, or my neighbor’s norms.

            Every couple has the liberty to define what marriage and monogamy means to them.

            Example:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/magazine/infidelity-will-keep-us-together.html

            • ManyMoreSpices

              Every couple has the liberty to define what marriage and monogamy means to them.

              “I don’t know what you mean by ‘monogamy,’ ” Alice said.
              Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘screwing everything that moves!’ ”
              “But ‘monogamy’ doesn’t mean ‘banging every willing participant you can locate’,” Alice objected.
              “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
              “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
              “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

              My apologies to Lewis Carroll.

            • JM1001

              But Justice Kennedy just assured us all that marriage “embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family” [emphasis mine].

              So not even Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell would agree with you. But thank you for illustrating that once sexual complementarity as a marital norm is abandoned, then other norms (like fidelity) can be thrown out the window as well.

              • Vision_From_Afar

                Justice Kennedy spoke of fidelity, so let’s look at fidelity:

                fi·del·i·ty
                fəˈdelədē/
                noun
                faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.

                Notice the lack of any mention of sex? If fidelity for some couple means supporting each other in raising kids, finances, medical care, but not monogamy, I fail to see the problem. I’ve asked this before, and no one ever has a decent answer: Why, oh why, does it always come down to sex with you people?

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  Fidelity also means “the degree to which an electronic device (as a record player, radio, or television) accurately reproduces its effect (as sound or picture),” so maybe Kennedy was saying that marriage meant that couples can afford a really bitchin’ stereo. I mean, as long as we’re going with improbable definitions of marital fidelity, why stop there?

                  Anyway, even if you’re correct, can we at least get credit for being right all along? The ideal state of marriage has been sexual exclusivity since at least that list of “Thou shall nots” got etched in stone. Now, according to Kennedy… not so much. When you make the argument for same-sex marriage, you end up making an argument that sexual exclusivity is non-essential. You won, but we were right: you really are trying to change the definition of marriage.

                  • Vision_From_Afar

                    The stubborn refusal to acknowledge that words mean different things to different people never ceases to amuse.
                    Feel free to define marriage in the Christian/Catholic manner you choose. Just don’t assume I, or the law, have to agree. Also, “ideal” is a subjective statement, not really applicable.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Feel free to define marriage in the Christian/Catholic manner you choose. Just don’t assume I, or the law, have to agree.

                      …but I thought you guys haven’t been attempting to change the definition of marriage.

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      Your definition?
                      No
                      Legal definition?
                      Absolutely.

                    • orual’s kindred

                      Legal definition?

                      Absolutely.

                      I suppose I’m meant to take the use of the term ‘absolutely’ as absolute. It seems quite absolutist, at any rate.

                      I’m not clear, though, on what you would define as a “legal definition.” And what do you think makes it worth the effort? Also, what makes a definition not a legal definition? And what would you define definitions that are not legal definitions?

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      Quite simply, the definition used in law. It’s worth the effort because friends and family will have better, happier, and more fulfilling lives when it does change.
                      If it is not used in a court of law to determine eligibility for matters of protection and applicability under law, it is not the legal definition. Definitions not under legal purview would be considered nuance of modern dialect, culture, and language. Our legal system (clunky as it is) works because of accepted, concise/obscure (because some are one or the other) definitions.

                    • orual’s kindred

                      Thank you for your reply. Of course I can’t say I support what you say, but I do think I have a better grasp of what you’re saying.

                      And I can’t support your responses because, well, I’m afraid I find them rather are vague. For instance:

                      It’s worth the effort because friends and family will have better, happier, and more fulfilling lives when it does change.

                      As a claim, this is very broad, to say the least, and with scarcely any support. Changing the legal definition of marriage will make friends and family better–in what way? Economically? Socially? Morally? How will that work? What is “better”? How will that be determined?

                      Then there’s also the question of just how dependent their happiness and life-fulfillment are on changing legal definitions this definition renders them. I may be missing something (or a lot), but I’m not sure how reliable a guarantee that would be.

                      Your responses regarding legalities likewise seem to be similarly problematic. Can’t anyone claim that their definition is for matters of protection and applicability, under the law? How are nuances of dialect, culture and language supposed to work with accepted, concise/obscure (because some are one or the other) definitions? Wouldn’t they have to follow a similar/overarching framework (which, apparently, would be “modern”? “Accepted” seems to be a significant factor here, after all.) And what is “modern”? What happens when “modern” and “accepted” change? Are the parameters suppossed to remain permanent? If so, how?

                      Then, of course, there’s the use of “friends and family.” Perhaps this is just a more specific reference to ‘people’, and if so I apologize. For now, my question is: whose friends and family? What about non-friends and family?

                      Overall, my problems in this particular aspect reflect other problems I have with the larger issue: the terms and definitions in question seem to be a little too malleable. And for such malleable terms, the kind of legal (and moral) weight ascribed to them (whole groups of people dedicated to an absolute change) is inappropriate, to say the least.

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      In a variety of ways. Just as an example for your suggestions:
                      Economically – Being able to file taxes jointly
                      Socially – Marriage legally recognised, being a social construct, gives greater social currency. It’s easier to navigate social situations stating a committed relationship to say, “We’re married” without the caveat “…just not legally in this or other states.”
                      Morally – Many homosexuals, despite liberal political leanings, can and do have an old-fashioned outlook on relationships.
                      It will work by society slowly accepting that there is no separate but equal when it comes to the legal recognition of two adults who wish to commit to each other. A long and painful process, no doubt, but I have hope to see it in my lifetime.
                      “Better” comes from the absence of stories in my news feed about people unable to comfort loved ones on their deathbed, or have their children taken, or having their benefits and medical care ignored.

                      Could one not also argue that many aggressive anti-choice proponents have tied their happiness and life-fulfillment on changing legal definitions? It’s an imperfect system in an imperfect world, and we all try to make it better for ourselves and those we care about.

                      The entire point of establishing a legal definition “on the books” is exactly so that no one can come along and attempt to redefine it. “I don’t call it murder, Your Honor, so you should just let me go!” The nuance of differing definitions is why our courts and laws are enforced and run by people, who often live within or interact with those communities. The bedrock of communication is the establishment of terms. It’s a fact that language and terminology change over time, so law parameters that fail to account for that are doomed to fail. There’s a reason we can amend the Constitution.

                      Whose friends and family? My own. That is why I feel how I do about this issue. Not being homosexual, I know and hang out with several people who are, and they tell me this issue is important to them, and as their friend, it has become important to me. It’s hard to take in a movement of millions and see how it can affect people for the better. It’s much easier to see the smiles of joy on my friend’s face.

                      I doubt we’ll agree on the heart of the issue, but I hope I clarified some of your questions. Cheers.

                    • LFM

                      If you are not homosexual, then I suspect you are a rather young or at any rate inexperienced heterosexual.

                      Why are the views of your gay friends important to you? What would happen if you made some heterosexual friends who disapproved of, or had been injured by, gay marriage? (And I am not talking about religious, but secular, problems with gay marriage.) Would you change your mind for them?

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      Please explain why my sexual experience is germane to the conversation.
                      I’d definitely take it into consideration. None of my friends in the workplace over the years nor my college friends have expressed to me a secular injury from same sex marriage.

                    • orual’s kindred

                      Yes, I think I can say that your stance is clearer to me. I had wondered if it was as informed by bias as it seemed, and I’m afraid it may even be more than I thought. At least you admit that this about the happiness and fulfillment of your preferred group of people. And this happiness and fulfillment is, according to you, determined by ease; specifically in filing taxes and navigating social situations. (I’m not sure how saying “Many homosexuals […] can and do have an old-fashioned outlook on relationships” supports the claim that changing the legal definition of marriage improves them in a moral sense.)

                      And thus, after your claims about the improving effect of a national ruling on quality of life and morality, you apparently see no problem in saying, “It’s hard to take in a movement of millions and see how it can affect people for the better.” Your focus is on those you associate with, and how it affects people, for good or ill, is secondary (if it is a consideration at all).

                      It may be that you actually fail to see the problems with such a framework. Either way, if you are going to base your ethics (which include your views on how the laws of an entire country should change) on your preferred group of people, then I should hope that you have a preference for people whose beliefs extend beyond attaining their own happiness and fulfillment. Unfortunately, I can’t say for certain. After all, you have no problem in making far-reaching changes, even though you can’t see how it impacts people.

                      (As such I am not surprised, either, that you would bring up “anti-choice proponents”. Would these be people who oppose legalized abortion? I don’t know why they should be part of this discussion. And do you think that just because they would be happy if legalized abortion is overturned, that they are calling for changes in legal definitions for their own happiness and fulfillment? If so, I don’t know if that’s due to actual malice on your part, or because your capacity to engage impartially has been so compromised, or if a little of both was involved when you made yet another broad and unsupported claim. It remains, however, that it was you who said that “friends and family will have better, happier, and more fulfilling lives” by changing the legal defintion of marriage.)

                      So yes, it’s now clear that you think that “The entire point of establishing a legal definition […] is exactly so that no one can come along and attempt to redefine it.” And this, even though the legal definition of marriage has in fact been redefined, supported by the claim that “language and terminology change over time, so law parameters that fail to account for that are doomed to fail.” I’m not sure if you’ve ever said that your principles are based on justice, fairness, or the good of others. But I think I can safely say that you advocate for the advantages of a select few, with little to no concern for how others are affected, all the while using sweeping, inconsistent statements. And while I do hope the best for you, no, I cannot support any of this. Have a good day.

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      I am quite busy, so forgive me for dispensing with a logical flow or expounding verbosely, but I’ll be bullet-pointing my responses.

                      – “preferred group”? This argument continues to be framed by some (such as yourself, if I’m interpreting your points correctly) as an either/or scenario, and I am not preferring to raise one group at the expense of another. I’m willing to raise one group to equality with another.
                      – “old-fashioned” – An oblique (mea culpa) attempt at referencing chastity before marriage. As legal marriage was impossible until now, it made things tricky to maintain what that really meant. Now a common yardstick can be used.

                      – Your argument about frameworks seems an attempt at a moral high ground with no concrete consequences. Prognostication of possible, unnamed threats cannot hold weight against actual issues which I have named.

                      – Re: Anti-choice – Though we disagree, I merely attempted to illustrate an equivalent measure of resolve on both parties part. Are they not attempting to re-define what is legally considered human (i.e.- from conception)? If I’m in error, please enlighten me. Though they can claim a “higher calling”, their happiness and fulfillment is quite tied to the issue.

                      -Redefining it. I should have added “arbitrarily.” There is a process to change it, and it requires effort. Again, mea culpa.

                      -Closing with more “sky is falling” statements will not my opinion sway. Best of luck to you.

                    • orual’s kindred

                      I am busy as well. I don’t know how that should affect my responsibility in replying to you in as detailed and coherent matter as required to treat your comments seriously and fairly. I can of course only spend as much time as I can, given the other things I have to do; but in that time I hope to respect and value the time, effort, and comments made by people I converse with. I suppose at some point my statements will come across as “verbose”, and I apologize for the inconveniences that may impose on you.

                      Calling for legal benefits for a particular group, while saying “It’s hard to take in a movement of millions and see how it can affect people for the better,” makes the matter an either/or situation. (Hopefully that wasn’t very verbose.)

                      I’m not sure what you mean by an “an attempt at a moral high ground,” and I certainly don’t know what you mean by “threats.” What I was pointing out was that undue emphasis on happiness and fulfillment is wrong, and that I hoped that the people you follow do not in fact do so, because it is wrong. Why should I even attempt moral high grounds and make threats? And why should you care if I did? You don’t consider me friend or family; I would think such tactics wouldn’t work. (What I think is right is to appeal to your intellect by rational arguments, because that is what’s right. That is what I am doing. Your responses do make me wonder how much further I can continue, however.)

                      Mea culpa accepted. As for what “chastity before marriage” means in other traditions, I claim no expertise. Nonetheless, I would think that that requires abstaining from sexual intercourse with unlawful partners. In which case, I don’t see how redefining legal marriage makes things “better” or allows for a “common yardstick”. I would think the rule would be ‘no married, no sexual intercourse’, without accounting for sexual preference. Also, as far as I can tell, “old-fashioned” traditions tend to disallow homosexual relationships.

                      As for what you’re saying regarding “anti-choice” people (which apparently you do mean those who oppose abortion), one problem I had is, as I said, you brought them up in the first place. Another is that you brought them up in such a way that does not apply to the question of changing definitions for the specific purpose of securing happiness and fulfillment. Which is why I find your question now about them attempting to change legal definitions yet another sleight of hand. As someone who opposes legalized abortion, I do so on the basis that it is an ill option for a woman to rely on a procedure that actively takes a defenseless human life. What legal definitions do you say is being changed there?

                      As for ‘arbitrarily’, I think depending on languages and terminologies that change over time aren’t that much more concrete. (Mea culpa likewise accepted.)

                      And I don’t know what you mean by “closing with sky is falling statements”. My focus, throughout my post, has been you and what you’ve been saying. I closed with an reiteration that I disagreed with your principles, as well as the bias in your application. I don’t know how that qualifies as a “sky is falling” statement, unless you think that it’s catastrophic that I differ from you in this matter. In which case, I disagree with that too.

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      I had a spare moment to jot down thoughts on my phone while my spouse was receiving spinal surgery, and I thought you deserved an answer in a timely manner, however brusque. I was wrong, sorry.

                      “Calling for legal benefits […]”
                      Ah, I see now where I wasn’t clear earlier. The “movement of millions” I was referring to was millions of homosexuals demanding equality. I was not attempting laying out the millions of Christians as a counter-point, the millions and the few are the same category, but I personally only know the subset and they are what drives my opinion. Mea culpa.

                      Re: “Threats”
                      “After all, you have no problem in making far-reaching changes, even though you can’t see how it impacts people.
                      It is not a direct threat, but I certainly read this as a dire threat to “people.” A natural disaster can be considered a “threat.”
                      Re: “Moral High Ground”
                      Your responses do make me wonder how much further I can continue, however.
                      You are not the teacher, and I am not a student, despite your tone. If you wish to end this, I have many other discussions I could tend to in my now much more restricted free time.

                      “What legal definitions do you say is being changed there?”
                      The legal definition of what, precisely, constitutes “human life,” after all. Is that not the basis of anti-abortion arguments, that in order to legally overturn its existence, the legal definition must change?

                      “I think depending on languages and terminologies that change over time.”
                      That which doesn’t change is doomed to wither and die. What legally constituted a person once was limited by language and terminology to skin color and gender. Had we locked it in stone, the world might be very different today.

                      Re: “Sky is falling”
                      But I think I can safely say that you advocate for the advantages of a select few, with little to no concern for how others are affected, all the while using sweeping, inconsistent statements.
                      More vague affects. What, specifically, will happen to these “others”? What fate will befall them as this change occurs? You hint and twist and imply that I ignore their plight at the cost of my own decency to further the benefits of the few, but never give me anything to base the decision on, other than a kind of “trust me, it’s awful.”

                    • orual’s kindred

                      My apologies, I wasn’t able to get back to this discussion yesterday. And please know that I wish the swiftest and easiest recovery of your spouse. (Is this a one-time thing? I do hope it is. I hope it went well. And I hope you both are getting by.)

                      I accept your apologies, and for what it’s worth, I’ve had worse; as, I suppose, have you 🙂 Teh Internets!

                      And you know, I and I daresay many others here do wish you and your sppouse well. Which gives me no pleasure to note not only our opposing beliefs, but what seems to be difficulties in what we refer to and what we understand. For instance

                      I certainly read this as a dire threat to “people.” A natural disaster can be considered a “threat.”

                      …? That was the line you read as a threat? And to people in general? Well, this is a bit of a difficulty. I hardly know how you could have read it as such. I was talking about you, your beliefs, and the people you choose to surround yourself with and whose pursuits you take upon as your own. The problems that I spoke of affect you, and I am worried; for it does not seem unlikely that you might end up supporting wrongful causes, if it so happened that someone who care about deemed it worthy. And I am worried because it bodes ill for you, and for them, and for other people in general. That was my concern. Does this makes sense to you? And please know I am not in any way belittling your comprehension. Given your latest responses, I really do not know.

                      And if it’s alright, I would like to focus this for now. Or if you wish to end this conversation, then I will not continue further. I do, however, want to first secure some certainty that we are standing on some common ground. Otherwise further engagement would be counterproductive.

                      And again, all the best to you, your spouse and the rest of your family!

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      Recovery is going slow, but steady. Thanks for the well wishes! 😀
                      Kudos to you for the most polite disagreement I’ve had on the Internet in at least a year. Best of luck to you, I’m sure we’ll disagree again at some point. 😉

                    • orual’s kindred

                      Recovery is going slow, but steady.

                      I am very glad. I’ve been thinking about you both and wondering how things are going. And you both are quite welcome to the well wishes.

                      the most polite disagreement I’ve had on the Internet in at least a year

                      Thank you kindly. And, well, I am very sorry about that. I’m not trying to be cute; people with certain attitudes would consider me simpering and ingratiating, while others would consider me aggressive. So if the best disagreement you’ve had has come from such an oddball, I truly am sorry.

                      As for disagreeing, I do hope we can buck that trend soon! It doesn’t have to be on something as momentous; for instance, I think your Disqus avatar looks quite cool. I hope we can agree on that at least 😀

                    • antigon

                      Plutocracy rules!

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Ah. So when we were assured that establishing same-sex marriage wouldn’t change the definition of marriage, what you guys really mean was… something else.

                      Good to get that open now that you got what you want and the bell can’t be un-rung. Better late than never.

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      If the legal definition in however-many-states-it-was was “one man and one woman”, how in blazes would making same sex marriage legal not change the definition marriage? In what world did that make sense?

                  • JM1001

                    …so maybe Kennedy was saying that marriage meant that couples can afford a really bitchin’ stereo.

                    This actually made me laugh out loud. Thank you.

                • SteveP

                  Want to avoid tragedies as the recent one in South Carolina? Teach women not to cuckold.

                  • Vision_From_Afar

                    D’awww. Did I find a real, live, MGTOW?!

                    • SteveP

                      I’m no expert yet I’d call that a pimped Pegasus.

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                  • chezami

                    What?

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      Methinks Steve is referring to reports that the shooter was motivated by the object of his affection (it’s not clear in what I’ve read whether they ever actually dated or not) ended up dating a gentleman of a darker color, thus driving him to feel quite slighted, and presumably prompting the “You’re taking our women” comment before opening fire.
                      Disturbing notion, to say the least.

                • JM1001

                  If fidelity for some couple means supporting each other in raising kids, finances, medical care, but not monogamy, I fail to see the problem.

                  On another note, I wonder if “Vision_From_Afar” is just a pseudonym for Justice Roberts and the guy is just trolling us all. Dude says the same thing:

                  Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective “two” in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.

                  It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage. If “[t]here is dignity in the bond between two men or two women who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices,” why would there be any less dignity in the bond between three people who, in exercising their autonomy, seek to make the profound choice to marry? If a same-sex couple has the constitutional right to marry because their children would otherwise “suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser,” why wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to a family of three or more persons raising children? If not having the opportunity to marry “serves to disrespect and subordinate” gay and lesbian couples, why wouldn’t the same “imposition of this disability,” serve to disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships?

                • antigon

                  Because lust is one of the deadly sins?

                  • Vision_From_Afar

                    Maybe that would fly, except it seems (IMO) like the primary reason against any change to marriage is lust of the same-sex variety. Is it a case of one variety being worse than another (because let’s face it, hero-marriage isn’t lacking in lust), or a case of “we can’t handle it straight, why should we even allow the possibility of non-straight”?

                    • antigon

                      Deadly either way of course. And per accidens, it is conceivable that faithfulness, via your definition of fidelity above, excludes bonking thy secretary.

                    • Vision_From_Afar

                      The opposite is just as possible. I’m not arguing for an exclusive definition of fidelity, but inclusive.

                    • antigon

                      For some reason, doubtless Disquisian enthusiasm, the above post got re-posted, but immodest Antigon has modestly chosen to edit that out – with this.

                    • antigon

                      Interesting to learn thy bride swoons, if she does, about secretary penetrations as an inclusive expression of thy fidelity Vis. But then as I recall, you said you came from the north, where things can get cold.
                      *
                      Me own beauty’s from warmer regions, born in Calabria actually, & in our early nuptials some thirty-plus years past observed that should I ever incline towards – much less practice – what some call inclusive fidelity, she’d express a little cultural inclusiveness of her own via some sharp steel beneath me chin. Never being quite sure how seriously she meant that has possibly provided a more intense quality to, well, all kinds of things, as such exclusivity is wont to do.
                      *
                      As to me interest in the corporeal you’ve mentioned, has also helped fatten many a passing ankle.

                • Joseph

                  Let’s see… cheating on one’s spouse is demonstrating loyalty? Got it. I think you’re actually more hung up on the definition of loyalty or even what loyalty is in practice more than you are with the definition of fidelity. But then, it’s normal for New Atheists and self-proclaimed pagans (extremely laughable, I might add) to get confused when they start tying themselves in logical knots. LOL. I’m not sure whether to blame your parents or your school system!

                  • GCBill

                    “Cheating” implies a rule violation. Nonmonogamy may or may not qualify based on the terms of the relationship. In the context of VFA’s comment, I’m guessing he’s referring to an explicitly open relationship, in which case it would not.

                    So, should I blame your parents or your school system for this failure of reason and charity?

                  • Vision_From_Afar

                    If you really were studied enough to understand the general mindset of an Atheist or Pagan, you’d know how to properly refer to them. I’m not sure whether to blame your mindset or your education. Either way, you’re not worth my time.

              • lizzysimplymagic

                Sexual complementarity is a prettier word for patriarchy. But you totally have the right to keep it up for yourself if it makes you happy. Some of us are indeed happy to toss it out the window – preferably from the 10th floor.

                • antigon

                  ISIS has an instructional manual for that propensity!

                • James H, London

                  Oh, yeah. Just look at all those happy, well-adjusted kids from ‘open’, ‘non-traditional’ marriages.

                  • Vision_From_Afar

                    [citation needed]

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  Sexual complementarity is a prettier word for patriarchy.

                  What does that even mean?

                  • lizzysimplymagic

                    Sexual complementarity = patriarchy. Was that unclear?

                    • Joseph

                      Roasted marshmallows = garlic bread. I think I can be good at this game too!

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Yes.

        • lizzysimplymagic

          Marriage existed before and beyond Christianity. One can define Christian marriage within certain bounds, but only within the Christian culture, not secular law. We don’t stone adulteresses in secular society, for example.

          • antigon

            But pizza shops yes!

          • ManyMoreSpices

            Yet you do punish murderers and theives….

            • lizzysimplymagic

              With stoning? You’ve lost me…

        • antigon

          Mr. Equality:
          *
          You neglected to extol the value of marrying straw men!

        • Joseph

          Curiously, you don’t like the idea of women being breeding vessels… so long as they aren’t married to a man. Yet how do you suppose two gay married men will have children? That’s right, surrogate mothers (a.k.a. breeding vessels). The inconsistencies are amazing.

        • LFM

          Talk about false dichotomies. That’s rather like saying, “Well, if you don’t believe in capital punishment, I suppose you’ll just have to let murderers run loose.”

          It’s also sort of hilarious, although typical of gay people, that you assume that possessive jealousy is more a male than female phenomenon. And I say that as a woman myself.

        • MarylandBill

          Monogamy means exclusive to your partner… there is no room for degrees. The term that best describes a husband who practices semi-monogamy is adulterer.

          I would also argue that by definition an open-marriage is a contradiction in terms.

    • AquinasMan

      oh wait nevermind, one of them as it turns out likes to molest his sisters.

      Born that way.

    • antigon

      It’s possible certain semitic & farsi speaking peoples might also hesitate to get on board, yet another reason to send our ask & tell boys & girls (including those with ding-dongs) to war with these reprobates!

  • cmfe

    I’ve encountered women at the shelter that endured long years of torment before finally getting free. In fact it’s usually when they see the damage to their children that they get the courage to leave. Christian churches have caused much suffering by their ignorance of the dynamics of abuse and commitment to preserving the status quo (power) over protection (love). These women are not seeking some “Eat, Pray, Love” thing, and condemnation of those who leave a dangerous marriage make it more difficult for the women and children who are the victims.

    Since it seems that there is an enormous amount of disinformation about what constitutes abuse on this site, here is a check list for those interested in understanding. http://www.the-ripple-effect.info/pdf/isitreallyabuse.pdf Lundy Bancroft’s book “Why Does He Do That” is worth it’s weight in gold. I realize that it is hard to imagine if you haven’t experienced it, but believe me, it’s out there, and much more common that you’s believe.

    Regarding abortion, I can’t say it enough, if you want to help babies, support their mommies.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      These women are not seeking some “Eat, Pray, Love” thing

      Quick question, so I know if it’s worthwhile to engage with you further:

      Do you pass any moral judgment on those who do the “Eat, Pray, Love” thing?

      • Equality

        Why SHOULD anyone pass moral judgement on it?

        • ManyMoreSpices

          +100 Internets for refreshing honesty.

        • James H, London

          And there, ladeez an’ gennulmin, is the problem, right there!

    • ManyMoreSpices

      From your link:

      Is it really ABUSE?

      • He retaliates against you for complaining about his behavior.
      Suppose you complain about being silenced by his constant interruptions. He then gets a huffy, hostile tone in his voice as if your objection were unfair to him…”

      Ladies and Gentlemen, if your spouses get huffy with you, you have been abused. Go get that divorce!

      I think we’re done here…

      • freddy

        I think it can be. I know a good, holy Catholic woman who finally sought a divorce after years of this type of treatment and after years of prayer and numerous attempts at counseling. She became concerned about the children when it started spilling over onto them. Constant complaining, ridicule and verbal violence can nearly equal physical abuse.
        .
        Just wanted to say, though, that I find your comments thoughtful and insightful, MMS, and a pleasure to read.

    • SteveP

      What? Women abused? How can that be – the teevee shows me that 108 lb. women can throw around 200 lb. men because women are just kick-butt awesome.
      .
      You torment women by using actresses and special effects giving false impressions of capability as well as utopian outcomes. Get real.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        And the popularity of books (Which became movies) that romanticized abusive behaviors is not helping! Teens and adults need help recognizing which behaviors are warning signs, before it’s too late.

        • Ugh, yes! There are so many red flags that young women have been conditioned/taught to consider romantic, and so much bad behavior that boys are taught is perfectly acceptable.

          • LFM

            Yes of course – although I would like to remind people that men are as likely as women to abandon common sense when choosing a mate. In their case, it’s often for a pretty face rather than for Romance. Repeat-murderer Karla Homolka is now re-married and has children, horrifyingly enough. Falling in love with serial killers is apparently not just a feminine characteristic.

      • Vision_From_Afar

        • SteveP

          Athenian owls definitely retain value better than euros.

  • Andy James

    Very good insights, especially the Culture of Narcissism. I was just talking with some family members recently about naming trends for babies. Gone are the stalwart, recognizable names. They have been replaced with “Hunter, Jazmyn, Prairie and Ryvver”, names which elicit the fantasies and fascinations of the parents over the rights and well being of the children.

  • Paul

    Thank you for this excellent posting. You have encapsulated well the current state of affairs in our culture.

  • EMS

    Right on, Mark! There was a opinion piece in the LA Times (Sunday edition) that went on and on saying that the next fight for LBGTs is birth certificates for children. The terms mother and father are obsolete. Anyone, including nonbiological parents, should be listed as the parents. It is the “right” of the adults to determine who should show up on the child’s birth certificate, even if it’s 2 men or 2 women, even if there is no biology linking them with the child. Father and mother are so obsolete; according to the author of the piece, there is no reason why those terms should be on a birth certificate. The child’s rights to KNOW who the biological parents are don’t come into the equation at all. I’m surprised that adoptive children aren’t screaming bloody murder about the way their rights are being thrown away. The author of the piece completely ignores how important it is for children to know who their mothers and fathers are, even if they were adopted. That’s why open adoptions now exist. That’s why genealogical records are kept and searched by millions of people. Heck, why else does ancestry.com exist if not to search out people’s biological ancestors? That’s why there are now registries to link up children with birth parents. But the author doesn’t care. And according to him, we shouldn’t care either.

    • Siobhan

      Up until this point birth certificates have not included biological parents but legal parents: the woman giving birth, and her spouse. If no spouse, she could elect whether or not to list a father. In our high-tech world, a woman giving birth is now not necessarily a biological mother. A birth certificate is not a medical document, it’s a legal document.

  • patricia

    Bingo! Catholic thought summed up succinctly. An interesting aside to your referencing slavery from Robert P. George’s Face Book page. . .”My friend and teaching partner Dr. Matthew Franck points out that the decision of the Supreme Court imposing same-sex marriage was handed down on June 26, the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Springfield criticizing the Supreme Court’s lawless decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the lead dissent, could have chosen to release the marriage decision earlier in the week or at the beginning of next week. Instead, he chose June 26. Coincidence?”

  • Spiritual Ronin

    And yet Christianity is also somewhat responsible for this mess, first, by championing the concept of human equality (which is now reaching its extreme and absurd form), second, by putting the heart above the mind. Yes, the syrupy and very superficial phrase “love is love” has its remote genesis in 1 Corinthians 13:3…

    • Re_Actor

      Is there any reason to believe a pagan culture would have been more effective at suppressing sodomy?

      • Spiritual Ronin

        No but this is not an issue here. I am not opposing one religion to another, I’m just making an observation. Speaking of paganism, it at least had enough sense not to introduce official same-sex ‘marriage’, which is now supported by more than a half of the Christians in the West, mostly in the name of ‘love’.

        By the way, Islam – especially in its fundamentalist version – IS more effective at suppressing sodomy. I wouldn’t applaud its methods, though.

        • Vision_From_Afar

          You need to read up some more on Paganism, then. We’ve been cool with SSM for decades, and historical evidence supports views ranging from acceptance to a prudishness that would make a Catholic laugh. Don’t lump a few Greek and Roman texts as the sum of non-Christian thought, please.

          • Spiritual Ronin

            I’m talking about the real, pre-Christian paganism, not your Mr. Dressup-style fun and games. You guys are re-enactors at best and fantasists at worst.

            • Vision_From_Afar

              Oh noes, you disapprove! I guess I’ll just take my Gods and go home then.

            • Joseph

              For once, I actually agree with you. I picture VFA in a park on Saturdays swinging his wooden stick wrapped in foam and blocking blows from the mighty foam warriors foes with his reinforced cardboard shield. Then it’s off to play D&D and drink root beer (which he calls mead) just before pretending to have a worship service for the gods, rubrics taken carefully from the latest comic books. I can’t tell who is worse (or funniest), the New Pagans or the New Atheists.

        • Re_Actor

          “By the way, Islam – especially in its fundamentalist version – IS more effective at suppressing sodomy.

          If that’s the case, doesn’t it refute your argument that Christianity’s alleged egalitarianism is to blame for “this mess”? After all, Islam is far more anti-hierarchical than Christianity.

          • Spiritual Ronin

            No, it doesn’t because I never said that. Since it looks like you haven’t read my original posting, here’s the relevant part: “…Christianity is also SOMEWHAT RESPONSIBLE for this mess…” Besides, Islam certainly does not state – as Christianity does – that all men are equal before God (only the believers in Islam are).

            • chezami

              Are you one of the Dark Enlightenment idiots?

              • Spiritual Ronin

                So you ARE an as*hole after all. Goodbye.

                • chezami

                  I’ll take that as a yes.

            • Re_Actor

              You chide me for missing the nuance of your original comment, then come out with:

              “Islam certainly does not state – as Christianity does – that all men are equal before God (only the believers in Islam are).”

              That seems somewhat lacking in nuance. I’m sure you’d agree that the term ‘equal’ is hardly univocal. It would be absurd to say the damned souls in Hell are “equal before God” to the saints, even if one grants that He still loves the former.

              • Spiritual Ronin

                I don’t understand your reply. Besides, I was talking about “men” (hic and nunc), not about disembodied “souls”

            • Re_Actor

              Spiritual Ronin, if you’re still reading, may I ask if you’re a religious man?

              • Spiritual Ronin

                OK, I’ll bite but, first, please define ‘religious’. To make your answer shorter, I can tell you now that I am not a member of any religious body nor do I subscribe to any particular creed (hence ‘spiritual ronin’). However, I’m not an atheist or a New Ager (this last qualification is actually implicit in what I have said in the previous sentence).

                • Re_Actor

                  I am not a member of any religious body nor do I subscribe to any particular creed (hence ‘spiritual ronin’).

                  From Wik’s entry for ‘Ronin’: “A samurai became masterless from the death or fall of his master, or after the loss of his master’s favor or privilege.”

                  Lapsed Catholic?

                  However, I’m not an atheist or a New Ager

                  I confess I’m intrigued. Spiritual (not an atheist), adheres to no one institution or creed, yet isn’t a gormless New Ager. Some kind of idiosyncratic traditionalist/perennialist, perhaps?

                  please define ‘religious’.

                  Mono/poly/pan-theistic.

                  • Spiritual Ronin

                    “Lapsed Catholic?”

                    Back to the Church under Benedict XVI, out again under Francis but the main reason was the realization that Christianity has no right to call itself a “religion of love” because of its exploitative attitude toward the non-human part of Creation (if you have read my other posts you know that already). However, I still support the Church in her stance against abortion and homosexual practices (that is, until this stance is modified which is a distinct possibility).

                    “Some kind of idiosyncratic traditionalist/perennialist, perhaps?”

                    A little bit of that, yes, but primarily an advaitin (and that has nothing to do with religion).

                    “Mono/poly/pan-theistic”

                    I understand. The range is really wide here but my answer has probably to be “no”. After all, these are only concepts. There is nothing wrong in playing around with them as long as you know that they are ultimately non-existing (just like science, social justice, human rights, orthodoxy and everything else in our common human experience).

                    • Guest

                      “Back to the Church under Benedict XVI, out again under Francis but the main reason was the realization that Christianity has no right to call itself a “religion of love” because of its exploitative attitude toward the non-human part of Creation.”

                      Have you read the latest encyclical? One of the main aims is at what it calls a “misguided anthropocentrism.” It sounds to me like Francis is speaking your language.

                    • Spiritual Ronin

                      Do you always barge into other people’s conversations?

                    • chezami

                      Wait. The guy who was narcissistically demanding that the world owes him a platform is now instructing other people to shut up? Wow. You really are self-involved.

                    • Spiritual Ronin

                      So you’re stalking me now – a very ethical move for a conscientious Catholic moderator and a supposedly non-self-involved person.

                    • chezami

                      Okay. Now you’re gone.

                    • Re_Actor

                      The quality of mercy is not strained;
                      It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
                      Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
                      It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
                      ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
                      The throned monarch better than his crown:
                      His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
                      The attribute to awe and majesty,
                      Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
                      But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
                      It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
                      It is an attribute to God himself;
                      And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
                      When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
                      Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
                      That, in the course of justice, none of us
                      Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
                      And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
                      The deeds of mercy.

  • Elmwood

    meh, if the gays want to get married or fight in wars, let them, what seriously can we do about it? do you really think attending a “fortnight for freedom” rally will fix the unfixable problems of living in a protestant-enlightenment-secular state?

    does anyone really think Obama, Hillary, Jeb, or any other political elite really will or can do something meaningful about climate change?

    when you don’t live under a catholic state, don’t be surprised when the state doesn’t act catholic. christianity in the world is the story of a long defeat, i don’t expect either europe or the usa to confess Christ as King.

    • William J. Walsh

      I long ago gave up any sentimental belief that my nation was one I should be proud of, and realized that I identified first of all as a Catholic. In times to come perhaps this will allow me to make sense of the conflict.
      But I’m not completely sure there will be one. I do not care if our deluded states confers the tax and other benefits of marriage upon gays. I do not care if they serve in the military. It bothers me only a bit if they pretend to have marriages, not enough to make me be rude. I know its not the same as my marriage and that will be enough if they can forebear from coming after our schools and parishes, insisting that we teach what they believe.
      No political figure has ever done anything nearly as significant as the Pope when it comes to climate change. His action has amazed many who do not believe, and may lead to evangelization of some. If he is right about climate change, its impact may soon make the culture wars a matter of little concern as the weak begin to perish. We’ll see. I hope he’s not but maybe it is so.

      • Elmwood

        there is plenty to be proud of in our nation i suppose, but also plenty to not be proud of. i just don’t understand why the american church acts so shocked and dismayed when gay marriage is legalized given that the whole fabric of christian culture has been so effectively eroded over the last 60+ years. but the seeds were sown all the way back during the reformation and enlightenment. our nation is a direct product of these two defining events.

        given that we live in a secular enlightenment-protestant state, who’s to say gay people shouldn’t have equal rights as straights? i really don’t care at this point, our whole lifestyle is messed up.

        • Eric

          As much as I want to be annoyed by your comments, I don’t have the energy. Pretty depressingly accurate assessment in my not quite humble enough opinion.

    • Re_Actor

      I’d be happy if the Vatican would confess Christ the King.

  • RodH

    Mark Shea: Seriously. Why do you allow comments? I actually have been banned from a past combloc so I am not pristine here, but seriously, you write a piece for the sake of getting your thoughts across on the issue. Then an endless stream of idiotic comments flow after it, sometimes maybe tempered a bit by one or two sensible statements {of course all of mine were, right????…}.

    I am not kidding. Dump the combloc and let the world mull over your writing. Sometimes I might agree and sometimes disagree, but always the force of it is blunted by the gibberish {toss mine in there if you like} posted in the comments. Especially this one. Wow.

    • RodH

      Oh…pretty good piece here. Would like to discuss but not on a combloc. LOL.

    • Spiritual Ronin

      For some time now I have noticed this growing trend to not allow comments at both religious and secular websites. Sure, if the Internet has ever proved anything, it is how many mentally deficient people are out there. On the other hand, though, disallowing comments – however ignorant – means taking away the very essence of the Internet, i.e., the free and immediate exchange of opinions. In fact, this form of censorship is a step backward because one can’t even respond through the traditional ‘letter to the editor’. Thus we will have a bunch of self-proclaimed ‘wise people’ (blogging is not regulated in any way) and a huge crowd of voiceless peasants who have no ability to reply. That’s exactly what the Big Brother wants. Who lives by censorship dies by censorship. Is this what you want, RodH?

      • chezami

        It is not “censorship” if I choose not to give a platform to a jerk. You are here because of my magnificent generosity and if choose not to give you a platform the first amendment remains intact. Go start your own blog. I won’t stop you.

        • Spiritual Ronin

          Well. what can I say to such a show of as*holiness? You are obviously part of the problem. Go bask in your self-importance, I won’t disturb your mud bath again.

          • chezami

            You’ll note that I have let your remarks stand. That’s the kind of generous guy I am. Meanwhile, your narcissistic self-pity is the only thing that has caused you to leave. I was simply pointing out to you that, no, the universe does not owe you a platform and it is not censorship if you you don’t get to dominate somebody else’s combox. Note that you also don’t even have the class to say thank you for generously providing you a platform to speak. Entitled much?

            • Spiritual Ronin

              You are to be commended for not deleting my postings and/or banning me from your blog (I mean it, no irony intended; many other supposedly “tolerant” and “freedom-loving” sites such as LifeSiteNews have done exactly that, to their permanent shame). On the other hand, what makes you think that you own this particular piece of the blogosphere? At best, you are only renting it – and you get paid for every visitor, including myself. But all this is beside the point. Do you really don’t understand that attitudes like yours seriously undermine the last relatively free public medium on this planet? It has nothing to do with my narcissism, it has nothing to do with my supposed attempts to dominate a combox (I don’t say “yours” because it doesn’t really belong to you, see above), it has everything to do with freedom of speech on the Internet. But, well, if you care only about your imaginary proprietary rights, just keep going and be self-righteous about that.

              • antigon

                Mr. Ronin:
                *
                If arguably little more, your penetrating analysis at least speaks well for wise judgments over there at LifesiteNews.

  • Misguided Conservative

    Amen, brother Shae!

  • cmfe

    I’m not nearly as concerned about the Supreme Court as I am about what we as a Church do. I have long felt that civil authorities should only issue domestic partnerships and marriage should be a religious function.

    We as a Church have done marriage very badly. I have mentioned abuse, and it seems to be regarded as a anomaly. One priest in the Midwest started to address it in his parish and went from zero to six full time counselors dealing with just their parish. This is an epidemic, and won’t be solved by making divorce harder or sending wives home with instructions to offer it up. That is not protecting the weak. Christ came to set the captives free, not send them back to Egypt. http://www.uscatholic.org/church/2011/08/lets-stop-ignoring-domestic-violence

    If you want to change the culture, care enough about marriage to hold it to a higher standard where partners love and respect each other. Living examples of love, joy and beauty will make people want to share what we have. Scolding and rule-making will only further alienate hurting people. We need to start the change with ourselves.

  • Mike

    Sobering.

  • Brian Price

    Homosexuality should be treated like a very dangerous, and contagious
    disease, and those that have it, should be quarantined, and or sent to a
    deserted island, far from any mainland,it should be treated like a
    Zombie outbreak.Note to Homosexuals, Bi-sexual s, and heterosexuals.Any
    one, Male or Female who eats or swallows Male Sperm, or Semen is
    committing a cannibalistic act or cannibalism, your eating the seeds of
    an infant human child.According to the Bible if gays are allowed to go
    unchecked, they will start forming rape gangs, or mobs, were they will
    go around, and rape straight men, and woman, and children, we can see
    this happened now in our prison systems, with over 300,000 rapes
    reported each year, no telling what the real numbers are there.Gays say
    that they were born this way, if that is true, then God would have to be
    gay since he made us all, or that there is no God. There is a God, and
    he is not gay! In the Bible God destroyed two entire city’s of gays,
    Sodom and Gomorrah, no telling how many thousands lived
    there,[Genesis19:1-29]. Adolf Hitler had 100000 thousand gays arrested
    in WW2, 50000 were sentenced,and most went to a regular prison, but as
    much as 15000 were sent to const-ration camps, and most did not make it
    out alive, back then Germany was the gay capital of the world.If these
    events did not happen,think how much worst the gay problem would be
    today.

    The Bible says in Leviticus 20:13, “If a man lies with a man as ones
    lies with a woman, both of them have done what detestable. They must be
    put to death;their blood will be on their on heads.The Bible tells us a
    man will leave his father and mother and will be united to his wife,and
    they will become one flesh.[Genesis 2:21-24] God made the man and woman
    sort-of half complete, it not till they came together that they are
    complete with each others strengths and wickedness’s.Two men joined
    together or two woman does not complete oneness,or one flesh.The Bible
    says marriage was instituted by God to bring forth Godly
    offspring,[Malachi 2:15]it says here not just one in flesh, but one in
    spirit as well, two men or two woman can’t bring forth any children,
    much less Godly ones.Also according to the Bible if they come together
    sexually, a man and woman, and they are both virgins, that they are
    married in Gods eyes at that moment.How will Homosexual marriage destroy
    our society? The problem isn’t mainly with homosexual marriage, it is
    with the homosexual UN-healthy life-style,diseases like HIV, whats worse
    is Bi-sexual s, they spread these diseases to heterosexuals, going back
    and forth.Also with homosexuals, if they cant find a gay mate, they
    will try to make one, or recruit one through rape or incest,also gays
    will not be happy till everyone is like them, then the future of the
    human race will depend on artificial insemination.

    • chezami

      God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. – Romans 2:24

      • Brian Price

        I am not a Homosexual offender, 1CORINTHIANS 6:9, and I am not a mute dog, I am a Watchman EZEKIEL 33: 1-6.

        • chezami

          Goodbye.

          • antigon

            Yes, but surely Mr. Price is but a doppelganger of that fellow whose Biblical exegesis held that God can’t be omnipotent given the power of chariots & such.

    • I’m calling troll.

      • Brian Price

        You wish I was trolling, see if that line will work, when you stand before God, on the day of judgement.

        • I’m pretty sure that my opposition to Hitler apologists isn’t what is going to trip me up on that day.