A Case Against Gay Marriage

Before I begin with my case against gay marriage, I want to make a note that my argument is based on the act of homosexuality, not the person. In addition, I make no judgement, good or bad, about homosexuality in general. The gay marriage debate is perceived by many as a debate about gays. It is not. It is a debate about marriage.

Why I Am Against Gay Marriage

Lets start off with some history of the non-religious reasons marriage is in government in the first place.

Because the union of man and woman tends to produce offspring, and human offspring require a high level of nurture for a long period of time, and a stable household with a father and mother provides for that need better than other arrangements. Children raised in this way tend, on average, to be better cared for, and thus tend to be physically and emotionally healthier. They tend to be more productive and better educated than children raised in other ways. Furthemore, they are less likely to become dependents of the state, or delinquents and criminals, etc.

Society thus has, and has always had, a vested interest in supporting the stable union of man and woman in a way that it does not have, and has never had, a vested interest in other domestic arrangements. And that is what marriage as a basic human social phonemonon IS, and has always been. That is what the word refers to.

With that in mind…

The legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage are predicated on the historical socio-anthropological basis for marriage as a civil institution relating to the procreation and adequate nurturing and rearing of children.

Susan Shell, professor of political science at Boston College, explains it this way(the whole article is great btw),

Whatever else it may accomplish, marriage acknowledges and secures the relation between a child and a particular set of parents. Whether monogamous or polygamous, permanent or temporary, marriage never fails to address this relation — at least potentially. It establishes a legal or quasi-legal relation of parenthood that draws on, even as it enhances and modifies, the primary human experience of generation and the claims and responsibilities to which it naturally gives rise. A husband is, until otherwise proven, the acknowledged father of his wife’s offspring, with recognized rights and duties that may vary from society to society but always exist in some form. And a wife is a woman who can expect a certain specified sort of help from her husband in the raising of her offspring. All other functions of marriage borrow from or build upon this one. Even marriage among those past child-rearing age or otherwise infertile draws on notions of partnership and mutual aid that has its primary roots in the experience of shared biological parenthood.

Same-sex unions are inherently unable to produce children. I would say that society has no stake in supporting the stability of such arrangements and would be opposed to offering any privileges to same-sex living arrangements that happen to be conjugal over other living arrangements that happen not to be conjugal, such as two siblings of same or mixed gender living together, a parent and child, platonic roommates, etc

So to summarize, without bringing religion into this, marriage is primarily involved in government only in so far as the governments interest lies in its future citizens. Since it’s a scientific fact that only the union of man and women can inherently produce children, only that union is unique in the eyes of the government. The union of homosexual partners does not have this inherent quality, therefore does not serve the same purpose in the government’s perspective.

Let me address some common objections to this…

Gay Couples Raise Children As Well.

To that I would answer there might be a child being raised within the context of any other domestic arrangements as well, i.e., two siblings of same or mixed gender living together, a parent and child, platonic roommates, or brother and sister. We certainly aren’t going to stipulate the actual presence or absence of a child as the basis for whether or not to grant marital privileges and rights. So I see no conceivable reason to privilege gay couples above other domestic arrangements.

In addition, it is still an open debate whether or not gay couples make good parents.

People Marry For All Sorts Of Reasons, Not Necessarily To Procreate.

To that I would answer that the larger point is that if the union of man and woman were not where babies come from, and if babies didn’t require such intensive nurture for such a long period of time, marriage would not exist, either as a socio-anthropological category or as a religious institution.

In specific cases there may be, for one reason or another, no actual possibility of offspring, or very little possibility of offspring, or no intention of producing offspring, etc., but it is not society’s job to make such distinctions or to inquire into the likelihood, ability, and interest of this man and this woman in reproduction.

This is completely different from the case of two individuals of the same sex, which is inherently not where babies come from.

How Does Gay Marriage Undermine Traditional Marriage By Being Included In The Marriage Act?

To that I would respond that traditional marriage would be undermined because society supports marriage as an investment, with a cost. By privileging married couples in certain legal and financial ways in order to support their stable union and potentially benefit any offspring that may result, society makes an investment in us as a couple, with the understanding that we are participating in an institution that exists for the good of society through the engendering and long-term nurture of children.

By definition, two gay men down the street cannot participate in the reality of that institution. However, it is true that society can privilege them in the same way as it does us.

However, this benefit to them will come at an additional cost to society, and by substantially expanding the pool of living arrangements considered as “marriage,” society will have fewer resources to benefit each family individually.

Secondly, “marriages” in the gay community, because they are inherently unable to produce children, will never offer society the same benefits and return on the social investment as true marriages of men and women.

Sociologically, too, civil acceptance of gay unions probably has deleterious consequences for marriage and family. Legal recognition of gay “marriage” further erodes the connection between marriage and child-rearing, thus creating less impetus for heterosexual couples to marry simply because they want to live together and possibly to procreate. This will lead to children being raised by couples who never bothered to marry, which will lead to more separations and more harm to the children.

I feel that that the case I have presented is in itself sufficient to deny gay marriage. However, I’d like to offer up other arguments that I think add to the case against gay marriage. They are not necessary, but I consider them worth mentioning.

  • Religious freedom
  • Given the strong emotional element of this issue, and the ignorance of the public at large, there is a strong likelihood that those opposed to gay marriage will be seen as bigots or something on the order of ‘racist’. Therefore, granting marriage to gays only increases that belief and may eventually start to threaten religious freedom.

    Mary Ann Glendon, Professor of Law At Harvard University, writes,

    Religious freedom, too, is at stake. As much as one may wish to live and let live, the experience in other countries reveals that once these arrangements become law, there will be no live-and-let-live policy for those who differ. Gay-marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination the likes of which we have rarely seen before. Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The ax will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don’t go along. Religious institutions will be hit with lawsuits if they refuse to compromise their principles.

  • Cost
  • Mary Ann Glendon, Professor of Law At Harvard University, writes,

    The Canadian government, which is considering same-sex marriage legislation, has just realized that retroactive social-security survivor benefits alone would cost its taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • Negative effects on society, and more importantly, children
  • There is significant amount of evidence that suggests granting gay marriage will further blur the line between marriage and non-marriage, thereby increasing out-of-wedlock births. Which is a less than ideal living environment for children.

    Stanley Kurtz, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, writes,

    Today, marriage is in trouble in the Netherlands. In the mid-1990s, out-of-wedlock births, already rising, began a steeper increase, nearly doubling to 31 percent of births in 2003. These were the very years when the debate over the legal recognition of gay relationships came to the fore in the Netherlands, culminating in the legalization of full same-sex marriage in 2000. The conjunction is no coincidence.

    A careful look at the decade-long campaign for same-sex marriage in the Netherlands shows that one of its principal themes was the effort to dislodge the conviction that parenthood and marriage are intrinsically linked. Even as proponents of gay marriage argued vigorously–and ultimately successfully–that marriage should be just one of many relationship options, fewer Dutch parents were choosing marriage over cohabitation. No longer a marked exception on the European scene, the Dutch are now traveling down the Scandinavian path.

    Before we get into a long discussion of the merits of the above case I want to point out that it is not necessary to prove conclusively the negative effects on society, my point here is to show that there is atleast a risk involved.

Often at this stage in the discussion someone will bring up the economic consequences of two homosexuals who are not allowed to marry. What about hospital visitations, what about insurance rights, what about inheritence rights?

To that I would respond that I am not against civil unions per se, but against civil unions that are specific to homosexuals. There are many forms of unions that would also need these same benefits, and any civil union plan should include them as well. Widowed sisters living together and looking after each other, or an unmarried adult son taking care of his elderly father, may have the need for domestic partner benefits such as hospital visitation privileges and insurance rights as well.

Robert P. George, Professor Of Law at Princeton University, explains it this way,

It is important to protect the substance of marriage, but a sound amendment need not, however, forbid states from enacting certain forms of domestic partnership. It need only ensure that laws do not treat nonmarital sexual relationships as if they were marital by making such relationships the basis for allocating benefits. An amendment protecting the substance of marriage would ensure that neither the federal government nor the states may predicate benefits, privileges, rights or immunities on the existence, recognition or presumption of nonmarital sexual relationships.

In other words, domestic partnerships, if states elect to have them, should be nondiscriminatory and inclusive. They should be available to people based on needs, not on sex. The law certainly should not discriminate in favor of those unmarried people who are in sexual relationships over those with the same needs who, though committed to caring for each other, are not sexual partners. Widowed sisters living together and looking after each other, or an unmarried adult son taking care of his elderly father, may have the need for domestic partner benefits such as hospital visitation privileges and insurance rights.

A constitutionally sound domestic partnership law would not discriminate against such people by excluding them from eligibility simply because their relationships are not sexual–just as a nondiscriminatory and inclusive law would not undermine marriage by treating unmarried sexual partners as if they were married.

Susan Shell, professor of political science at Boston College, writes,

Most, if not all, of the goals of the gay marriage movement could be satisfied in the absence of gay marriage. Many sorts of individuals, and not just gay couples, might be allowed to form “civil partnerships” dedicated to securing mutual support and other social advantages. If two unmarried, elderly sisters wished to form such a partnership, or two or more friends (regardless of sexual intimacy) wanted to provide mutually for one another “in sickness and in health,” society might furnish them a variety of ways of doing so — from enhanced civil contracts to expanded “defined benefit” insurance plans, to new ways of dealing with inheritance. In short, gay couples and those who are not sexually intimate should be permitted to take legally supported vows of mutual loyalty and support. Such partnerships would differ from marriage in that only marriage automatically entails joint parental responsibility for any children generated by the woman, until and unless the paternity of another man is positively established. (emphasis added)

So to summarize, I see several negative reasons to legalize gay marriage and see no positive reason given for allowing gay marriage, short of the religious. Reasons I have heard often emphasize the love homosexuals have for each other, or the life long commitments they all would like to make to each other, each of which I don’t doubt to be true. But from the governments perspective, these are no reasons at all. The government shouldn’t be in the business of handing out certificates of love orr certificates of life-long commitment. A Mormon for example, could argue for his ability to marry several different wives for the very same reason the gay marriage proponents do, yet I am against legalized polygamy as well. Which brings up the obvious question, if gay marriage is allowed, why not polygamy? It seems to me that polygamists have a stronger case to marry than homosexuals, since polygamists can produce children. I see no reason to allow gay marriage while denying the same to polygamists.

So in other words, the costs of legalizing gay marriage overwhelming outweight the benefits.

*For a more detailed critique of gay marriage based on liberal principles, read this well written article.

**For the record, I took bits and pieces of my argument from several sources and where I found the argument presented better than I could have, I used their wording sometimes verbatum. So I am in no way claiming that this is my argument against gay marriage. It is only the argument presented by others that I found most convincing.

63 Comments

  1. You did a lot of work, HP. Good job. I’m definitely not for gay marriages. This is a tough issue for me. I’m leaning towards being settled with the idea of “civil unions”, but not 100% sure.

    What are the consequences of having “civil unions”? Very tough. I will read back through the second half of your meticulous work…..laters.

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  2. as a gay man living in a very conservative area of the country, this most certainly has been a polarizing issue for me and many i know. what the heterosexual community has to understand is that it’s less about marriage than about the joint rights that go along with it. for instance, i know an older lesbian couple who have been together for nearly 20 years and one of the two’s family disowned her when she came out year’s ago. yet, if she were to die, her partner would have less right in the courts to her estate than her estranged family. Does that make since? They also can not cover each other on medical insurance policies. Take in mind, they have been together monogomously longer than many surviving married couples yet they have no rights togther under the law as a couple. The marriage debate got fired up over rights. Pure and simple. Personally, I don’t care if they use the term “partnered” or some other derivitive but the rights need to be given. Christians use a church. Jews a temple and Muslims a mosque. But they have equal rights to celebrate their religious views. Gays need the same rights as married couples. I don’t give a damn what they call it.

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  3. Hi Myke!

    Nice to meet you. I read your comments and you bring up good points. However, when you brought up this point:

    “Christians use a church. Jews a temple and Muslims a mosque. But they have equal rights to celebrate their religious views. Gays need the same rights as married couples”.

    I don’t know that Muslims have a right in the United States to practice polygamy. Neither do Mormons.

    Do you think that polygamy marriages should be allowed?

    I’m just curious what your thoughts are. I would appreciate it. Thanks.

    By the way, I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving. :)

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  4. What the hell does polygamy have to do with this arguement? We are talking about marriage or civil unions between two people that love each other. Polygamy has nothing to do with it. That’s like saying why not allow child molestation if you allow homosexuality. It’s a way to try to cloud an issue. Reading the post above I really have nothing to say. We do not owe it to society to get married. People do not get married to have children, there are plenty of partners out there who have children out of wedlock. So the arguement that allowing homosexuals to marry encourages people to have children out of wedlock is flawed beyond belief.
    As a married person I chose to get married and I chose to have children. I did not “owe” it to society to breed and increase it’s population. How very…Orwellian. People do not want homosexuals to get married because it hurts their pride. To think that an entire civilization will fall into anarchy and chaos and the “institution of marriage” will be decimated by homosexuals getting married is just ludicrous. There are more important things in this world to be concerned with. We have troops overseas dying and people want to argue about homosexuals getting married. MARRY, please. Be miserable like the rest of us. Pay the same taxes we do. Go for it! Adopt orphans, raise families. I’m all for it. Hell I’ll throw bird seed at your weddings.

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  5. I was just about to respond to Beckie…but than the non-politics spirit that Oso left me with overwhelmed me.

    So I’ll pass, and let your point stand. :)

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my liberal buds.

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  6. The polygamy question that I asked Myke is parallel to the homosexual marriage agenda.

    Some Mormons feel that it is their right to have multiple marriages, as long as the parties are consenting adults.

    Some gays feel that it is their right to have a gay marriage as well.

    My question still stands for Myke. In my view both dilemmas are parallel to each other. They deal with “marriage”.

    Myke brought up the point that certain religions have equal rights to celebrate their religious views….

    Not an accurate statement. If this were true….polyamy would be allowed.

    His comment led to a question that I asked of him, since he is open about being gay. I’m curious.

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  7. Happy Turkey day everyone :)

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  8. *sigh…just checking things. myke?

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  9. If marriage is primarily for the purpose of procreation, should we then declare any marriage where one partner is infertile to be invalid? If not, why not?

    Is marriage a union between a man and woman? You bet it is … now. Marriage has had all sorts of definitions at different times in American history. There was a time not too long ago when people of different races were not permitted to marry. The defenders of this practice had all kinds of scientific-sounding reasons for supporting their views as well.

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  10. Hey Mitch,

    You ask, “If marriage is primarily for the purpose of procreation, should we then declare any marriage where one partner is infertile to be invalid? If not, why not?”

    I knew that was going to be asked, that’s why I stated,

    In specific cases there may be, for one reason or another, no actual possibility of offspring, or very little possibility of offspring, or no intention of producing offspring, etc., but it is not society’s job to make such distinctions or to inquire into the likelihood, ability, and interest of this man and this woman in reproduction.

    This is completely different from the case of two individuals of the same sex, which is inherently not where babies come from.

    You also write,

    Marriage has had all sorts of definitions at different times in American history. There was a time not too long ago when people of different races were not permitted to marry. The defenders of this practice had all kinds of scientific-sounding reasons for supporting their views as well.

    To be frank, this is a huge pet peeve of mine, to compare homosexuality to that of race. The two are fundamentally different, and IMO, to compare the two is to not understand the true nature of racism.

    There is a fundamental difference between someone’s sexual orientation, and say someone’s skin color, or nationality, or gender, or stage of development, things that do involve civil rights. And that difference is that homosexuality is defined by your actions where as true civil right issues are not.

    For example, I am Mexican. And no matter what actions I take, even voting Republican ;-), I am still going to be, and always will be Mexican. In other words, there is no action whatsoever that I can do that will change the fact that I am Mexican. The same is true for race, gender, and stage of development.

    That can not be said with homosexuality. Homosexuality is defined by its action. And like all other actions, it can be analyzed, and scrutinized. No action is without analysis.

    The reason marriage is involved in government in the first place is because that union, man and women, has the inherent ability to produce children. The state has the objective of looking out for the well being of its future citizens. And especially it’s most vulnerable citizens(children). And only that union has that ability, so given that objective only heterosexual unions qualify.

    Let me give you an example to try and make my point clearer. Let’s assume I am going to buy a motorcycle in a couple of months. And in the process of buying a bike, I am looking for someone to teach me how to properly ride one. Not just figuratively, but actually teach me form and proper riding skills. Now, in searching for this particular person, I would automatically exclude any paraplegics. Paraplegics can’t walk, and if they can’t walk they obviously can’t teach me how to properly ride a bike, with proper form and so on. So given my objective, learning to properly ride a motorcycle, a priori excluding paraplegics as suitable instructors does not make me prejudice against paraplegics. Because paraplegic’s can’t satisfy the objective I am looking for. In the same manner, the government’s main objective for having marriage in the first place is to encourage the proper upbringing of children, so given that objective homosexual marriages don’t count.

    Like I said above, these are the reasons I see for not allowing gay marriages, but I am open to reasons in support of gay marriage. However, all the reasons I have seen thus far are of the ‘they love each other’ type. But I don’t think people, especially liberals, would be in support of granting gay marriages based primarily on reasons of love (that would be, in the broad sense, a religious reason ).

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  11. HP: I can’t speak for all liberals. I only speak for one liberal” me. And half the time I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

    It seems to me that in this argument, as with the abortion discussion, you’ve first decided that homosexuality is easy, and then carefully chosen your arguments to justify the conclusion you’ve already made.

    Me, I admit it—I look at homosexual marriage, and I can’t see anything wrong with it. I analyze my thoughts and feelings, and I come down to this: marriage is not a union primarily designed for raising children. I have never seen that definition except in discussions of homosexual marriage, and that’s why I say that it’s a definition that was invented to justify existing prejudice.

    And, indeed, there is no legal requirement htat heterosexual married couples have children.

    My wife and I are as infertile, together, as any two men—I see no reason to assume that we are authentically married and the homosexual couple is not married simply because my wife and I were, theoretically, able to conceive children together until six years ago or so.

    How do you feel about civil unions? All the legal rights of marriage, but it’s not a marriage.

    After the disastrous most recent election in which 11 states voted to ban homosexual marriage, I came away feeling like a complete butt-head for insisting on marriage and not settling for civil unions. I’m seeing what the alternative is now—eight states voted to strip domestic partners, both heterosexual and homosexual, of civil rights they already had, in an action reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

    And you can so too change from being a Mexican. No reason you should, of course—Mexican heritage is a fine thing to have, and Latinos are on their way to becoming a majority in California. But if you decided, for whatever reason, that you didn’t want to be Mexican anymore, you could do as many light-skinned blacks have done for a couple of centuries now: move to someplace no one knows you. Change your name if it sounds Latino. Carefully eradicate any trace of Mexican speech patterns and accent, if you have any; work to make your voice sound like a TV newscaster’s. Never, ever demonstrate any more fluency with Spanish or Latino cuisine than the average middle-American (“Tacos? Those can’t be tacos, tacos have hard shells!”) If anybody asks your nationality, shrug and say, “I’ve always just considered myself an American.”

    And as to race, there is no more biological basis to race than there is to ethnicity. Give a scientist a cell sample from Oprah Winfrey and one from Paris Hilton, and he won’t be able to tell the difference between the two. Race is a cultural construct, rather than a biological one.

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  12. Hmmm. There are probably about five different methods of how the justices make their decisions.

    1. Justices may adhere to “original intent” or the belief that the “writers” calculated on intent that originated with them.

    *Note: I wonder, if the “writers” ever conceived the notion of same sex marriage?

    2. Judicial activists will say why stop with judicial review?

    *Note: Doesn’t the Constitution set “principles” that last over time?

    3. The literalist person will look at the Constitution and say “there it is”. Members of the court will look for the literal sense of the “words” within the Constitution.

    *For example: In the Roe case….members of the court looked for the word “person” which is “post natal”. I believe the word “person” was mentioned in the Constitution 3 times. Within the Constitution, the word person was viewed in a post natal sense to the literalist.

    4. Stare Decisis method might be used based on previous decisions.

    5. Balanced position approach by the justice is more likely to look at the process on a case by case basis. This method is not looking at stability and they (the justices) may borrow one or 2 of the other approaches or blend the other methods to base their decision.

    It appears that the liberal minded individual fears the “conservative” judge that interjects their own values into court decisions.

    But….isn’t the “liberal justice” interjecting their values as well?

    **I’m writing this late at night…..I hope I made sense. The Gay Marriage issue is thought provoking. Night! :)

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  13. I probably should have posted my comments to “that colored fella’s” blog…..in regards to his “activist” article. oops.

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  14. HP, we seem to actually be in agreement. I am in favor of setting up civil unions just as you describe—between “two unmarried elderly sisters or widowed sisters living together and looking after each other, or two or more friends (regardless of sexual intimacy) who wanted to provide mutually for one another, or an unmarried adult son taking care of his elderly father who may also have the need for domestic partner benefits, such as hospital visitation privileges and insurance rights.”

    I think the religious right is half-right, actually. They’re right that the nuclear family is broken. They want to force everyone to continue to use the institution anyway, rather than try to come up with alternatives that are more suited to life in the 21st Century, while still alllowing people for whom the traditional family model works to continue using it.

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  15. Why is the legal institution of marriage based upon children? Not having done any special research, I’d say it was because children inherit property, and government is all about regulating property. I’d even go so far as to say that marriage (as far as the state is concerned) is historically primarily about property – such things as wives and children have for the most part merely served as incidental vehicles…toys for the menfolk to play their little consolidation of wealth and power game with.

    Ok, I’m kind of kidding. But really, offspring are only a subset of what defines the purpose of marriage – legally, historically, religiously.

    What’s the benefit to society (apart from a collectively clearer conscience – interesting how that’s relevant for the abortion debate but not for the marriage debate…hmmm) of legal rights for gay couples?

    First, there’s social stability. I would argue that this is the *primary* function of marriage in society. Yes offspring are nice, but children can certainly be born out of wedlock so why do we need marriage for that? HP says it’s because being raised out of wedlock is bad for for kids…I would like to point out that not everybody agrees with you. It’s not being raised out of wedlock that’s bad, it’s being raised without economic/emotional stability and security. Which is why I come back to marriage being primarily about social stability. The committment signified by the marital bond allows for a stable family unit – and, significantly our purposes here, it does so whether or not the family includes children. Stable family units scale up to stable societies, which are better for everyone than unstable societies. “Married” homosexual couples will be more stable, just as married heterosexual couples are more stable. This will be good for everyone.

    Secondly, we have the all important economic consideration (we wouldn’t want pesky little issues like human rights to get in the way of the money, now would we? this is tongue in cheek, i promise). People with stable bonds take care of each other, which is a not-insignificant factor in terms of economics. Think of it this way – in sociological terms, the economics of the human pair bond has historically been based on division of labor: Men hunt and defend people and property, women gather and maintain hearth and home. This was an effective system because the roots and such that women gathered were not as nutritionally potent as the meat the men brought in, they were more reliable. So the sexes balanced and compensated for each other economically speaking. Nowadays, we have technology, and much more independence is possible…but still, the pair bond provides an economic advantage. When my husband’s laid off, my wages tide us over. And he supported me throughout grad school (I’m not actually married, these are hypotheticals). If we’re not married, there’s more risk of his taking advantage (or vice versa) so we’re each less willing to risk it, and society gets two substantially less productive individuals (bad for the economy!). Marriage is in this way a kind of insurance like that provided by the federal reserve – if one partner wants to leave after the other’s put them through medical school, they will have to pay alimony. Thus people will be more willing to put their spouse through medical school (good for the economy! not to mention sick people!). Again, this is a benefit no matter the sexual orientation.

    Thirdly we have the all-important economic consideration, which is so all-important it gets two sections! Married couples buy houses together (good for the economy!). They pool their resources and invest in the stock market together (more available capital!). They do this not only because they trust each other (which they do, because of afore-mentioned insurance), but because with the financial benefits that come with marriage, they have more capital to invest. This is how an economy grows. And of course, they make money from their investments, which they duti tfully redistribute to the good of all in the form of taxes and philanthropic donations and Christmas present purchases etc.

    I could go on and on…there are health benefits which lead to decreased costs to society, there are happiness benefits which lead to increased productivity, there are moral benefits which lead to a morally better society…but basically my point is that marriage isn’t just based on children. (If you define marriage by children, then the debate is really over before it starts, isn’t it? And anyway, I honestly don’t think it’s true.) Marriage is beneficial to society for many reasons, and almost all of them apply even for homosexuals.

    And for the record, polygamous marriages (which have been sanctioned in many societies) do have many of the same benefits for society as monogamous marriage. But mostly, they are less beneficial in this day and age due to the changed structure of society. At least in America, we don’t have kings who need to worry about an infertile wife leading to the absence of an heir, for example (and even if we did, we have adoption and fertility treatments…simply not available in 350 BC, you know?). But I’ve never understood why people talk about polygamy as relating to gay marriage…they’re completely separate issues. It’s that pesky slippery-slope fallacy again I suppose….rambling here, sorry.

    Also for the record, due to the religious repercussions, I have no problem whatsoever with “civil unions” as opposed to “marriage” – as long as those civil unions entail the same legal rights as legal marriages. The distinction between the holy bond of matrimony and the legal bond of matrimony is clear, and it is self-evident that religious organizations should get to define the former.

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  16. I agree that marriage isn’t just about children, but children do play a significant role in marriage. So children has to remain in the equation, and as long as they are part of the equation, gay couples are not.

    But generally, I agree with your solution, being,

    Also for the record, due to the religious repercussions, I have no problem whatsoever with “civil unions” as opposed to “marriage” – as long as those civil unions entail the same legal rights as legal marriages.

    Since all the other ‘benefits’ of marriage you mentioned above would all be solved by a civil union. But again, I have to stress that this civil union should be much broader than just gay couples. Any other couple, or group of people for that matter, that wants to join in this same type of union should also be allowed. Gay couples shouldn’t be discriminated from entering this civil union, but than other unions with the same needs shouldn’t be discriminated against either…

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  17. Is it legal to marry your sibling (of the opposite sex)? I didn’t look incredibly hard, but I couldn’t find blood relations mentioned in California’s Code where marriage is discussed – just that you need to be 18 (or have parental consent), sober, not currently married and of different genders. I’d assumed it wasn’t legal, but wanted to double-check before adding anything.

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  18. Answered my own question. If a civil union is intended to be exactly the same as a marriage but with a different name, then remove the gender requirement on marriage and call it a day. I strongly disagree that marriage is about children – or strongly about children. It’s about property (like Alison said) – that’s why dowries existed. Prenups tend to focus on the disposition of wealth – past, current and future – not on what becomes of the children. The government has separately mandated that parents must take care of their children regardless of marital status. In fact, there are lots of laws regarding children that do not mention marriage and at least in California, the definition of marriage has nothing to do with children.

    Henry VIII couldn’t get his first wife to produce a son, but couldn’t get a divorce granted by the Pope, because marriage? Is about way more than children. Marriage is about a lifetime partnership between two people. It’s essence is in the lifetime nature of the relationship, not in anything having to do with children. And the lifetime nature helps ensure property stays in the family and generates wealth by having multiple sets of property combined. Property is linked to security – security to stability. I’m echoing a lot of what Alison said but feel it bears repeating.

    Finally (and the reason I asked about incest) – if the gender requirement is removed from marriage, then only blood-related adults would be denied marriage. And from where I stand, if my father is in the hospital, the law already says I can visit him. The law already says I can have a say in his treatment decisions (assuming my mother is not around). In the absence of a will (and again, in the absence of my mother), if he dies, I’m a beneficiary. So I don’t understand why family members need to be included in marriage. The law already defers to blood. Only marriage gets to trump that.

    There is no point to marriage without the lifelong committment. That is the only thing that you can’t put on paper (which is why for a marriage to be legal, you have to exchange vows – and again, standard vows say nothing about children). This to me is the same thing as denying interracial couples the right to marry. It doesn’t matter what the costs associated with it are. Cost-effective discrimination is still discrimination and we should be better than that.

    Reply
  19. Hello Xeres,

    You write, “If a civil union is intended to be exactly the same as a marriage but with a different name, then remove the gender requirement on marriage and call it a day”.

    No, civil unions would not be identical to marriages. Marriages would get an added benefit of having tax breaks, and other benefits that are for the purpose of encouraging that type of union. Other unions shouldn’t get tax breaks.

    You also write, “Henry VIII couldn’t get his first wife to produce a son, but couldn’t get a divorce granted by the Pope, because marriage?”

    Yes, but that same Catholic Church taught that *if* you entered a marriage with the will made up that you are not going to have children, your marriage would be void. As in the case of Henry VIII, I don’t know enough about it but I would guess the reasons are because nobody knows who can and can’t get pregnant, especially back in those days. Just because your wife doesn’t give you kids now, there is no way to guarantee she will not give you kids in the future.

    I could accept that marriage isn’t all about children, but I strongly disagree with the statement that marriage has nothing to do with children. If marriage has nothing to do with children, than why is marriage in the government in the first place? You say marriage is “about a lifetime partnership between two people. It’s essence is in the lifetime nature of the relationship, not in anything having to do with children”.

    But from the government’s perspective, why should it care about lifelong commitments, if not because of children? Once you remove children from the equation, those lifelong commitments are meaningless, from the government’s perspective. Or do you think that the government should be giving out love (fundamentally a religious reason) certificates?

    What’s ironic about the gay marriage debate is that it is the proponents of gay marriage that bring in religion, while accusing the opponents of gay marriage as being the religious fanatics.

    In addition, if children didn’t have anything to do with marriage, and it’s just about property, than why isn’t marriage much more broad, and allowed to any member of a family that may have some stake in the property? In other words, if the mother dies, why couldn’t father and son get married, or two sisters, or two best friends, for that matter? If marriage reduces down to inheritance laws, than surely those who wish to inherent the most should be the ones allowed to Marry. Yet we don’t see that.

    You also state, “So I don’t understand why family members need to be included in marriage. The law already defers to blood. Only marriage gets to trump that”.

    But what about two unmarried elderly sisters or widowed sisters living together and looking after each other, or two or more friends (regardless of sexual intimacy) who wanted to provide mutually for one another who may also have the need for domestic partner benefits, such as hospital visitation privileges and insurance rights? Whatever you give gay couples based on need, these same unions deserve the same ability to be part of that civil union, if their needs are also the same.

    But here, let me pose a question to you, since it’s starting to seem like I am the one with the burden of proof here, when in actuality, it is the proponents of gay marriage. What is your belief on polygamy? If you believe gay unions should also be included in marriage, do you also agree that polygamy should be allowed? I have not seen an adequate reason to allow one without allowing the other. Remember, polygamy involves consenting adults that are not related to each other, so I am not using the erroneous analogies that are sometimes used by people on my side (like, are we going to marry our dogs, or our sisters, etc). So please, explain to me why you would allow gay marriage, but not polygamy.

    Oh, and I promise that if you come out against polygamy, I won’t compare you to a racists or a bigot, I won’t even call you a hetrophobe (ie, homophobe for someone against gay marriage). ;)

    I look forward to your response.

    Reply
  20. Here’s a question I was thinking about earlier this evening…..

    ….aren’t there anti-sodomy laws? I think Kansas is an anti-sodomy state, and that being said, how do anti-sodomy states support gay civil unions and gay marriages.

    :?

    Reply
  21. On anti-sodomy laws: Last I heard, the Supreme Court had ruled that anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional. So I’m not concered about that issue. Furthermore, many of those laws don’t limit sodomy to homosexuals but include heterosexual sodomy as well.

    I am terrible with HTML so I won’t be good with quoting.

    First of all, I knew I shouldn’t have included Henry VIII. That’s just one of the few things I remember from European History and it wasn’t that relevant. I was just proud of myself for the memory.

    HP – You asked why the government should care about a lifelong commitment.

    Answer: I have no idea why this government insists on being involved in many of the things in which it has inserted itself. But that is my personal opinion and I’m trying to keep this just to rationale that others might agree with. Am I correct in stating that your argument against gay marriage rests on the inability of a gay couple to produce children that share half their biologic identity with each parent? And that the “rewards” of marriage (as offered by the government) exist to support shared-biologic-child-rearing? Therefore gay couples should be denied the “rewards” of marriage?

    Because if that’s the case, then it seems you do support gay marriage as far as the idea of marriage is concerned. (Again, because the law does not explicitly reference children, but does explicitly reference the commitment and vows and whatnot.) So unless there is an argument that gay couples are incapable of exchanging vows, than isn’t this really a conversation about how to appropriate the “rewards” of marriage?

    So, my argument for why gay couples should be afforded the spoils of marriage: Because they are capable of doing what the law explicitly states that a couple must do in order to marry (exchange vows, be adults, sober, not related, etc.). Again, the law says nothing about children. And all I’ve heard about the Federal Marriage Amendement or whatever it is called is “man, woman”, not “man, woman and child”. California’s law was revised to say man and woman.

    So, if you meet the requirements set forth, and someone finds a reason not in the requirements to deny you the benefits of meeting the requirements, then I call that discrimination. If children are so key to marriage, then argue that the law should be changed to make it part of the requirements.

    Now I can easily see the connection between the man/woman definition and children. I can also argue that since there is a long-held perception that women should be subservient to some man at all points in their lifetime, marriage is a form of slavery. Because we’re reading between the lines…

    Okay, so next point: Why can’t relatives get married? (Since my reasons above would answer why any 2 people who aren’t related can marry, including your example of 2 friends – I’ll get to the “or more”). First – we’re really only talking about 1 bloodline (siblings, parent/child). First cousins can get hitched in most states already.

    Well, at the highest level, I’d find it redundant. Parent/child and siblings already have established lifelong relationships. You can’t not be someone’s brother anymore than you can not be a particular race. The law already defers to this relationship so to me, this makes marriage redundant. Also, this relationship is not by choice, therefore, why reward it? Actually, the parent/child relationship already legally rewards both parties (since the parent does have some choice about entering that relationship). So, long story short, allowing parent/child, sibling marriage will give them either EXTRA, REDUNDANT or CONFLICTING benefits. Based on current law, I don’t see how those couples are being discriminated against. Same sex couples get no rewards (because they legally have no relationship) so this is about truing up that discrepancy by legally recognizing their relationship.

    And of course, polygamy. Did I say I was against polygamy? My issue with polygamy is how the marriage rewards are determined. In other words, who is married to whom? Who makes the call on whether to pull the plug in the hospital? Who gets the tax break when a house is sold for profit? It is very clear on how the legal benefits of marriage are applied when one meets the requirements if it is limited to 2 people. If you can’t execute on the law, then don’t pass it. If there’s a doable plan somewhere on how the rewards work, I’ll read it and then comment.

    Reply
  22. On anti-sodomy laws: Last I heard, the Supreme Court had ruled that anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional. So I’m not concered about that issue.

    –xerex

    I am not aware of that case. Can you site me same, please?

    Reply
  23. Hello Xeres,

    You write, “Am I correct in stating that your argument against gay marriage rests on the inability of a gay couple to produce children that share half their biologic identity with each parent? And that the “rewards” of marriage (as offered by the government) exist to support shared-biologic-child-rearing? Therefore gay couples should be denied the “rewards” of marriage?”

    No, (personally) my main argument against gay marriage is that I see absolutely no logical reason to support it. I see many (mini) reasons against it, but I have yet to see one decent reason for it. I keep hearing all this talk about their personal commitment to each other, and all that, of which I don’t doubt, but is that really a reason the government should sanction their marriage?

    We can go round and round on the reason marriage is involved in the government, and that’s fine. But that is a separate discussion than why gay marriage should be allowed. Lets assume for the sake of argument, I don’t agree but let’s assume, that marriage wasn’t based on children and the reason marriage is involved in the government is primarily to recognize peoples love for each other. If that is the case, I would say marriage is a waste of government policy, the government should not be in the business of giving out love certificates. So if that were the case, would that really be a reason to allow more of the same government waste? Does pointing to government waste in one area support more government waste in other areas?

    Proponents of gay marriage want to change the way things currently are, at a potential risk to how this would affect our society, for what, because they want the government to recognize their love for each other? I stated in the opening discussion several risks involved in allowing gay marriage. Those risks may be small, or they may be big, but they are risks. And those risks, measured against the reasons gay marriage proponents have in justifying gay marriage (there are none), completely wins out. At least with heterosexual unions they have a legitimate reason to keep marriage through the government, they can point to the ‘we produce children’ argument, but gays have no such justification.

    And lets not forget the scientific fact that heterosexual unions are fundamentally different than all other unions. Unlike gay unions, unlike polygamists, unlike two best friends who have a non-sexual union, this one union has the inherent ability to produce children. In other words, a heterosexual union is the building block of a family. It is the most fundamental unit, and can do everything all these other unions can do, plus one more, they can produce children. So they have at least some basis for being recognized and upheld above all other unions. But gay unions (and all other unions mentioned above) have no such basis.

    So again, I see all these reasons against allowing gay marriage, but see no reasons for it. Like I said with my beginning comments on this, gays have a stronger argument to remove marriage from the government altogether, than to include them in it.

    You also said, “And of course, polygamy. Did I say I was against polygamy?”

    Which proves the point that opponents of gay marriage have been saying all along, *if* you allow gay marriage, than you have taken the objective meaning of ‘marriage’ away, and once that door is open, any union can lay a claim to marriage.

    Mitch Wagner earlier in this discussion said this,

    “It seems to me that in this argument, as with the abortion discussion, you’ve first decided that homosexuality is easy, and then carefully chosen your arguments to justify the conclusion you’ve already made”.

    Now I ask those reading this discussion to truthfully ask themselves, what side has first decided what they want and than tried to justify it by whatever logic possible?

    It sure seems like, at least from my viewpoint, that it’s the proponents of gay marriage.

    Reply
  24. Thanks Xerex! Let me see now. Be back laters. :)

    Reply
  25. HP: As I said before, I have no idea why government is involved in marriage and I don’t care. I also don’t care who gets married or why. I don’t care how much marriage costs the government or what about the children? All I care about is that this country does not allow discrimination.

    To deny a person the right to marry based on gender is discrimination. That is my argument for allowing gay marriage. To me, being against discrimination is very logical and a valid reason to support this.

    You keep saying something that confuses me about where babies come from. You say that only a heterosexual union can produce children, but then claim that polygamists and non-sexual best friends cannot do this. Am I missing something? I thought children were a sperm-egg thing that only requires the presence at some point in the process of one man and one woman. Their sexuality is irrelevant. The presence of other parties is irrelevant. Non-sexual best friends producing children was a whole storyline on Will & Grace.

    But you used the word “inherent” so I assume you mean in the absence of modern technology. So you want to reward any 2 people who can produce children. With things like tax breaks, hospital visits, etc. That’s a great idea. In fact, someone already thought of it. So we’ve taken care of rewarding the child-bearing. We have already established that it is a wonderful, special thing and that people without children will just have to pay more money.

    So the law rewards those who ACTUALLY have children. You are in favor of supporting those couples with the POTENTIAL to have children. The potential to have children is not special any more than the potential to have an Adam’s apple is. It isn’t a choice. It isn’t a sacrifice. It’s biology. It’s genentics. To say that one group’s genetics are more special than another’s… that is discrimination.

    So why not just remove marriage from government entirely? That depends entirely on the role you think government should have. And that is, as you said, a separate conversation.

    But for now, I will say I find that unnecessary. It means we should do away with something entirely rather than make it inclusive. We didn’t do away with marriage when we did away with laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Pointing out discrimination in a law (in and of itself) doesn’t mean the law is bad (I think voting is great, same with state-funded education, and bathroom stalls – love those). It just means that in its current form, it leaves much to be desired. So we fix it. We don’t just throw it away.

    Finally, do you feel that only allowing a man and woman to marry instead of two men or two women is discrimination based on gender? US Code says “the word ”marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife”. And to make the union legal there needs to be a signed certifcate and the solemnization of vows. Please note, that in deference to your comment about polygamy, I am being specific in saying “gender discrimination”. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    Reply
  26. Hello Xeres,

    Ill respond tomorrow afternoon…after my final.

    Thanks for your response.

    Reply
  27. Thanks again, Xerxes….this was enlightening to me and it made for a great read.

    Justices that reversed and remanded the case:

    Stevens
    Souter
    Ginsberg
    Breyer
    Kennedy and O’Conner

    Those who dissented the opinion were:

    Scalia
    Renquist and Thomas

    What are the consequences going to be of this ruling?

    Look at what Scalia has to say in the matter in which he raises up a good point.

    Go here please if you wish:

    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1075219833754

    Justice Antonin Scalia expressed concern that state laws prohibiting other types of behavior, including bigamy, would fall in its wake.

    Did you know there is a case already on file in Utah? It seems to me that the justices who made their decision did not have the foresight in regards to bigamy and polygamy. This is just my humble opinion.

    When major decisions are made, justices should ask themselves what the consequences of their decisions will be. Foresight is important.

    Thanks again, I will be reading more on that Utah case. I grew up in Idaho, so I am very familiar with Mormonism. ;)

    By the way, Xerex, do you think bigamy/polygamy should be allowed? I’m just curious.

    Oh…and please forgive my many questions, I like the Socratic method. Thanks and take care. :)

    Reply
  28. Hello Xeres,

    Ok, I am done with finals…Let me respond to what you say (although I warn you, I may not be as coherent today, I am a bit worn out )

    You write, I don’t care how much marriage costs the government or what about the children? All I care about is that this country does not allow discrimination.

    You can’t discriminate against actions, especially when you are comparing those actions to a specific objective you have in mind. This is the example I gave earlier,

    Let’s assume I am going to buy a motorcycle in a couple of months. And in the process of buying a bike, I am looking for someone to teach me how to properly ride one. Not just figuratively, but actually teach me form and proper riding skills. Now, in searching for this particular person, I would automatically exclude any paraplegics. Paraplegics can’t walk, and if they can’t walk they obviously can’t teach me how to properly ride a bike, with proper form and so on. So given my objective, learning to properly ride a motorcycle, a priori excluding paraplegics as suitable instructors does not make me prejudice or in anyway discriminatory against paraplegics, because paraplegic’s can’t satisfy the objective I am looking for. In the same manner, the government’s main objective for having marriage in the first place is to encourage the proper upbringing of children, so given that objective homosexual marriages don’t count.

    And even if you don’t buy my objective for marriage above, the objective of having government give out love certificates definitely doesn’t do it either.

    If not allowing gay marriage is discrimination against gays, than not allowing polygamy must be discrimination against heterosexuals.

    You ask, You say that only a heterosexual union can produce children, but then claim that polygamists and non-sexual best friends cannot do this. Am I missing something?

    This is what I said,

    a heterosexual union is the building block of a family. It is the most fundamental unit, and can do everything all these other unions can do, plus one more, they can produce children. So they have at least some basis for being recognized and upheld above all other unions. But gay unions (and all other unions mentioned above) have no such basis.

    In other words, there is an objective meaning to the word ‘marriage’ as it is defined today. It signifies the fundamental unit of a family, and the fundamental unit of society. I am not saying that gay couples can’t be a family, but that the union between man and women is the most basic. Anything else either adds unnecessarily (polygamy), or inherently changes the union (gay couples). Two best friends of the opposite sex, although theoretically can produce children, their union doesn’t signify that. It is only the loving relationship of two people of the opposite sex that can inherently produce children. So that is why it is only that union that the state takes an interest in when that love is declared publicly.

    If tomorrow I declare my platonic love for my female friend at work, that public declaration is meaningless from the government’s perspective. On the other hand, if tomorrow I declare my sexual love for my female friend at work, that is something that the state may take an interest in, since that union has the potential to produce the states future citizens. The proper upbringing and nurture of those children is a society good. Gay marriage is analogous to the first declaration in the sense that the state could careless whether or not gay unions want to stay together or not, in the same way that the state can careless about whether I love my platonic female friend or not.

    So again, from the government’s perspective, there is an objective reason to keep marriage between a man and women. You may not find it convincing, and that’s fine, but you haven’t really (IMO) offered any better reason to change that.

    Reply
  29. DD: I would rather avoid a separate conversation about polygamy itself. However, as far as Scalia’s slippery slope theory – that is the basis of law. Rather clever lawyers come up with interpretations of existing laws and prior decisions to convince judges to make a significant change in how things are done. I mean, the Civil Rights Act was upheld based on a few words in the Constitution that alluded to the ability of Congress to regulate commerce between states. Roe v. Wade was determined based in large part on the following phrase: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” I mean, there were lots of people who were against giving women the right to vote because they were convinced that would lead to blacks taking over the government and factories all being converted to make rolling pins. Hasn’t happened yet…

    Reply
  30. HP: Congratulations on being done with finals!

    First – I do not believe that banning gay marriage is discrimination against gays (i.e. sexual orientation). I believe that it is discrimination based on gender. I don’t follow how overturning gender discrimination is an invalid argument.

    Second – If marriage is defined as a union that can inherently produce children, then same sex marriages should not be allowed. But I’ve checked both federal codes and California’s state code and marriage is not defined as such by the government. Why do you keep insisting that it is? Children aren’t in the job description.

    In your motorcycle example, you can’t blame a paraplegic for showing up if you don’t mention that it’s about… teaching you to ride a motorcycle, but just say that you are just looking for an adult to spend some time with you…

    Reply
  31. DD: I would rather avoid a separate conversation about polygamy itself. However, as far as Scalia’s slippery slope theory – that is the basis of law. Rather clever lawyers come up with interpretations ….

    –Xerex

    Ok. Except Scalia is a clever lawyer that is a Judge of the Supreme Court. He has much experience and it appears as if he received excellent education.

    Judges hear many, many cases. I consider a lot of them to have a significant amount of wisdom, so we shouldn’t all together write-off what he has to say and what his concerns are, que no?

    Well…..we are probably going to go ’round and ’round on this issue. Take care Xerex. :)

    Reply
  32. Hello Xeres,

    Thanks, I am going to celebrate tonight. :)

    I think we have arrived at a point where both sides have been represented fairly, and it seems that we will only start to repeat ourselves.

    Thanks for the discussion. I will let you have the last word.

    Reply
  33. HP writes that “traditional” marriage would be weakened because “society supports marriage as an investment.” The pay off to society for its investment, he argues, are the children born to married couples. HP correctly notes that same sex couples are unable to spawn offspring, and thus they are unable to fulfill, what he believes to be their unwritten contractual obligations to society. In other words, there is no economic return for the incentives offered and paid out to married couples by society. So in short, HP concludes that since gay couples cannot produce children they should not be allowed to legally wed. This secular argument would have more chance as being viewed as free from irrational prejudice if he would deny legal marriage to all couples incapable of producing offspring.

    What of infertile wives and fathers who “shot blanks?” Would he deny them the right to be legally married? And what of those non-gay couples that do not spawn children out of choice? Would he demand that they repay, with interest, society’s “investment?” I highly doubt that he would, just as I doubt that his objection to gay marriage spawns from secular reasoning. Consequently, I find HP’s “societal investment” argument to deny gay marriage to be inconsistent, poorly reasoned, and ineffective.

    Further more, HP concludes that those who are religious have much to fear from legal gay marriage. He argues that if gay marriage is allowed in society that “everyone and every religion that disagrees will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against.” Indeed, he warns us that the “ax will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don’t go along” (presumably) with gay marriage.

    What evidence does he offer to support the allowance of gay marriage will result in “open discrimination” of those who disagree with it. He offers none. But let us suppose that he is correct, and that religious people will be discriminated against unfairly and unlawfully. Are there not laws that prevent unlawful discrimination? Of course there are, and these anti-discrimination laws are often championed by right wing conservatives who argue that racial discrimination by and large is no longer an issue in the U.S.

    It is more than a bit comical to see a self-professed conservative pulling out the “religious-card” to quell discrimination that has not even occurred. The right winged conservative religious victicrat mentality working overtime, I suppose.

    If there were to be any discrimination those who are religious have legal recourses, just like anyone else. It would appear that while HP is against special treatment of “minorities,” vis-a-vis affirmative action, he is for special treatment of the conservative religious right.

    Will he admit to his hypocrisy?

    Reply
  34. Tsk Tsk Tsk…What’s up O, my Mexican brother, you grew up in LA too. Didn’t LA teach you that you don’t have ‘family’ feuds in public? Tacky. ;-)

    Reply
  35. aha! Does LA teach anybody anything, HP? :)

    Reply
  36. 1st of all no body can help but be different because usa allows girls to talk like boys and they put both sexes in school together where little ones not only hear the opposite sex speak, but also grow up watching how they act.

    Reply
  37. “Didn’t LA teach you that you don’t have ‘family’ feuds in public?”

    -HP

    Where is there a better venue to highlight your inconsistencies and faulty logic? Also, this argument hardly constitutes a “family feud.” I understand that there are those who are able to articulate an effective reply to a seemingly well thought out argument; it is my intention to give voice to those individuals. I feel this is my small contribution to right the wrongs; to help make just that which is unjust; to help make moral that which is immoral. While your fear is understandable it will not distract me from my calling.

    Reply
  38. Come on O man………you can handle both can’t ya?

    Besides………this is HP’s tactic in trying to revert attention away. LOL! –DD

    ……and I can sure use the teamwork. –HP

    Hey, HP….I thought you said you can handle two girls? Hmmmm.

    Reply
  39. Hey, I thought I sent you home w/ homework. Don’t come out until you have that finished, young lady!!!

    Reply
  40. lol!

    *sigh!

    All right…….I will read Milton.

    I know you want me to think that you are the all powerful…..all knowing “machismo” man!

    Reply
  41. What? No way, I don’t want you to think I am that by my writing skills. You have to see me in person to know I am the all powerful “machismo”.

    Compton’s in the house!!

    Reply
  42. lol!

    So are you saying that my writing skills are poor? Hmmm. Interesting!

    Dang it, HP…..you need to get back to studying and I need to get back to running a small company.

    Give me a few days to read Milton. I truly do want to understand the ins and outs.

    Reply
  43. I don’t know how you thought that I had implied your writing skills are poor, I never implied that, and to be honest, my impression is the opposite. I think you write very well.

    But your right, we need to get back to work. So please, quit disagreeing with me on a pet peeve of mine, especially when you dont have. That’s what IM’s and the phone is for, remember. I hate beating up friends in public, especially in front of the enemy ;).

    Reply
  44. ay yi yi!

    *sigh

    i am afraid if i talk on the phone with you……..you will talk OVER me. lol!

    Ok…..now let me have the last word tonight since you had the last word last night. Machismo men need to know how to take turns. lol!

    Reply
  45. Oh! and get to studying HP!

    ;)

    Reply
  46. Homosexuality, unlike race, unlike ethnicity, unlike sex, is defined by its actions. It is a behavioral attribute, and as such, can be analyzed, criticized, and debated on like all other actions. This distinction may be subtle, but it is fundamental.

    Would you also define heterosexuality as a “behavioral attribute?”

    I hate to disappoint you, but our gay marriage discussion isn’t quite over yet because I haven’t posted a counter-argument. I have some notes written down though and when the inspiration arrives, I’ll piece them all together.

    Talking about vouchers next sounds good to me, but I have an idea. We’re off to Torreón this weekend (me van a entrevistar sobre mis “intenciones” con su hija preciosa) so give me a week or two and we’ll start up on vouchers.

    Reply
  47. Would you also define heterosexuality as a “behavioral attribute?”

    Sure would.

    Oh yeah, I forgot about your counter-argument. Ok, I’ll keep an eye open for it.

    As far as vouchers go, a week or two sounds good to me, just be aware that March 14 — 18 is finals week at UCSD…so things will certainly get slow around that time.

    For the record, the voucher discussion, and much more so, our future planned economic discussions, I am not going to be as knowledgeable as others would be…since I have never really debated them at great lengths before.

    But they will definitely be good learning experiences.

    Reply
  48. “Sure would.”

    -HP

    I’m curious as to your thoughts on this: if one abstains from sexual activities are they a heterosexual, homosexual, or some other classification?

    Reply
  49. I like sex. I like talking about sex. I don’t use the word sex three times in the same sentence.

    Reply
  50. I’m curious as to your thoughts on this: if one abstains from sexual activities are they a heterosexual, homosexual, or some other classification?

    Hey Observer, turning the question back on you, lets say you met person Y. Yet you never saw Person Y’s partners. What would you classify him as, hetrosexual, homosexual, bisexual or what?

    In other words, you wouldn’t know which of those to classify her/him under until you saw his/her behavior (or s/he told you their behavior).

    Hence the terms being behavioral attributes.

    Reply
  51. HP, would you know my ethnic background if you saw me on the street?

    Hence the term “behavioral attribute”?

    Reply
  52. Not with certainty, but your ethnic background is not dependent on actions, like sexual orientation is.

    Or, to turn the analogy around, there is no action you can do that will give me your ethnicity either. That is not the case with sexual orientation.

    Reply
  53. Sexual orientation is not dependant on action. If I fucked you HP, it wouldn’t make me straight (nor would it make me queer—only nauseous). My action of fucking you might be a heterosexual action but it does not make make me heterosexual, nor does it make me HPsexual.

    HP, if you were to fuck Oso, would you both be queer? Of course not. It is an action you particpated in, but it does not make you queer. If Elton John were to make out with a woman would he be straight?

    Does holding hands with the opposite sex make you straight? Does kissing someone of the opposite sex make you straight? Or does just fucking someone of the opposite sex make you straight? What action makes someone straight or gay? Sexuality is more complicated than your simplistic view of it as an action.

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  54. I understand that there are differing ways one uses the term homosexual; some mean a certain identity, some simply mean an inclination (your example above), others mean the act itself. But the way it is used here, and the way it is used in Philosophical/moral discussions, is with regard to its actions only.

    In discussions like this, if you say you are a homosexual, the other person takes it to mean that you perform homosexual acts (sex with the same sex). If you say you are heterosexual, the other person takes it to mean that you perform heterosexual acts. If you are bi-sexual, bi-sexual acts. etc.

    All the other ways of using the term are moot definitions when discussing marriage, and any other philosophical/moral discussion for that matter. For if you were referring to primarily the inclination, than there would be no such thing as “marriage” anyway, since it is required you act on that inclination to be married.

    So it is the act, and only the act, that is relevant to this discussion.

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  55. In addition, while this is not necessarily relavent to this discussion, homosexuality, anyway you define it, is a behavioral attribute. It is meant to imply the type of sex (act, action) you prefer.

    Even if you definite homosexuality as merely an inclination, if you say you are a homosexual who is a virgin for example, that still implies an act. That implies that if you were to perform a sexual act, your preference would be an act with those of the same gender.

    So homosexuality, unlike gender, unlike nationality, unlike skin color, has its definition tied to an action. So comparing it to other things that are not tied to an act, is not comparing apples to apples.

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  56. To explain further, and to use your analogies above, lets say Oso and myself wanted to marry. I know I am not, and I assume Oso is also not (although this is purely conjecture here, you never know), inclined towards other men. In other words, by all standards, we are both inclined towards memebers of the opposite sex yet we wanted to marry each other.

    So if Oso and I wanted to marry, all the arguments I used above would apply equally to us, as they would to John and Frank who have sexual inclinations and would also like to marry.

    In other words, our inclinations, or innate sexual desires, are completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. What matters, and what only matters, is the final act.

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  57. HP, it’s hard to resist you (just look at that photo), but somehow I’m able to.

    So what you’re saying is that the only difference between a homosexual and a heterosexual is who they choose to sleep with/marry?

    In other words, there is no such thing as a homosexual man married to a woman?

    Reply
  58. So what you’re saying is that the only difference between a homosexual and a heterosexual is who they choose to sleep with/marry?

    In other words, there is no such thing as a homosexual man married to a woman?

    It’s times like these when I really envy those kids that are growing up with English only classes, cuz them damn ESL classes really fucked me up. I have such a hard time discussing semantics.

    Here, let me try and explain it this way. The way liberals tend to define homosexuality is to group the two elements involved, the inclination to perform homosexual acts, and the acting out of those homosexual acts. In addition, they to emphasize and concentrate primarily on the inclination as opposed to the act.

    For example, there are those who are married to the opposite sex but who still have homosexual inclinations. To a liberal, that person is just as homosexual as the person who has the inclinations and acts upon them, by being with members of the same sex.

    However, to us conservatives, and I would say to most philosophical/moral discussions regarding homosexuality, the two things are completely seperate, and I would say, independent of each other. If, for example, a person with no inclinations to be with a member of the same sex wanted to marry another member of the same sex, my arguments above would be unchanged. In other words, the arguments focus primarily, more than that ONLY , on the act itself. Regardless of whether or not you are wired towards such acts. So in discussions like this, I am only speaking about the act, and what that specific act entails, I can careless whether you are wired to such acts or you just want to do it for experimentation, or whatever.

    Does that explain my point better?

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  59. this is to hispanicpundit. Earlier you said that race and sexual orientation are two different things and you used the example for yourself as to how you were born and always will be mexican (its something that you cannot change). Whereas a gayness is based on ones action. I thought the main difference between the two is that one cannot be changed and one can be. Are you suggesting that people who are gay can change but choose not to?

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  60. I thought the main difference between the two is that one cannot be changed and one can be. Are you suggesting that people who are gay can change but choose not to?

    That example was in reference to the difference between a behavioral attribute as opposed to a non-behavioral attribute. I was not referring to, either in the affirmative or in the negative, whether or not homosexual acts are genetic/from birth or not.

    To explain myself further, let’s say we are talking about ‘left handed’ people. This is a behavioral attribute, meaning that you define those type of people (left handed) by actions they perform. Now, does this imply that people who are left handed are born that way? No, it doesn’t speak to that. Whether they are left handed by birth, or left handed by choice (as my old boss at work is, he says switching is good for brain communication or something like that) the statement remains the same.

    When I say ‘homosexual’ people, I am referring to people who engage in homosexual acts, period.

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  61. Sorry, but you need a lesson in *real* history – your “socio-anthropological basis” is a recent manufacture and a myth, despite the so-called experts you quote from Boston College (a Catholic institution, with a history of prejudice against homosexuals, I might point out. Not to mention that she’s a political scientist, not an historian or an anthropologist.) History has always been the purview of the literate classes, who wrote history from their persepective. Marriage, as an institution, served one primary purpose for millennia – alliances among the aristocratic and military elites. The church came along and conspired with this process, soley as a way to make the church politically relevant.

    The ancestors of most of us were poor peons who were, man and woman alike, viewed as chattel – animals bound to the land. And animals needed no rites of marriage. This only began to change as mercantilism began to transform into capitalism during the middle ages, when the politcal and commercial elites realized that they needed a way to control all those peasants who were being freed from bondage to the land and flocking to the growing industrial centers to labor in the production of goods other than foodstuffs. Yet again, the church conspired; spreading marriage to the masses became, purely and simply, a record-keeping process; a way keep track of the pairings of two peasants and record the future laborers their “union” produced. And, as if that’s not damning enough for the institution of marriage, it wasn’t until this time that child rearing became the duty of a male-female unit. And there’s by no means conclusive proof that such a unit produces better, more stable off-spring. One need only examine the anthropological literature to discover the falsehoods in that premise. Most all primitive peoples – in the past and those still existing – do not view child rearing as the duty and sole purview of the biological parents; *everyone* in the tribal band is responsible for caring for and protecting and nurturing the childern of the tribal band. Jesus, you can watch the tv specials on the Yanamamo of Amazonia, or any of the other primitive tribes – in Java, say – still being studied to learn that basic fact.

    Get a grip. Your opposition is conditioned solely on your religious biases, not on historical or anthropological fact.

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  62. “Either way you see this, it is so abundantly clear to me that those who view gay marriage as a civil rights issue, which will certainly be more people if gay marriage is allowed, will logically follow through on their views, and with time, religions that teach against homosexuality, or against gay marriage, will be no different than KKK members today. Some proponents of gay marriage look forward to this day consciously, others are but sheep in the bigger chess game. Either way, allow gay marriage, and the road is clearly paved in that direction.”

    uh-oh. Did someone let some underlying motivations escape? This is VERY different from the protection of children and sanctity of marriage points that you have been sticking to. I’m sure you’ll explain that this is not your “reason” or your “motivation” but, “it is abundantly clear” that this is a concern, and this is pretty much exactly what I was referring to when I said that people who defend their stance on “tradition” and the like are masking other motivations. You fear that gay marriage is an attack on your religion, and an attack on your belief that homosexuality is an abomination. It may well be, but this certainly changes the debate to a place that you probably wanted to avoid. If you make this a debate about religion then you will lose because a particular religion’s (bigoted) dogma is not supposed to be reflected in our laws as a nation. It undercuts the base of your argument, which is that government is merely protecting it’s own interests.

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