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Author Topic: Sexual Identity and the Purpose of Marriage: This isn't about Gays.
JoshCrow
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I can't help but picture Pete on the cusp of Women's Suffrage in 1920, arguing that women shouldn't get a vote because the definition for voting is "unto each man there shall be permitted one ballot...".

Pete's argument would sound ridiculous to our ears, something like: 'it is counter to the accepted institution of "voting" for us to allow women to do it. Women should be allowed to write who they prefer on a slip of paper, and we'll count them too just as we count any other, but we won't refer to those papers as "votes" - because we have to protect what a "vote" is, since it is significant to us men. Furthermore, studies have shown that nations in which men vote tend to perform better.'

I challenge Pete to paint this analogy as false somehow. I think I've presented his arguments and position pretty much just as he stated them, applied to another "institution" whose definition was expanded successfully to make a demographic happy.

[ November 26, 2008, 02:28 PM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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munga
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... after all, allowing women the vote would change the definition of "man" and create an impossible spiral of litigation on the subject.

[ November 26, 2008, 03:19 PM: Message edited by: munga ]

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Pete at Home
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You're really straining at that false analogy, Josh. Is that what passes for thought in your neck of the woods?

The definition of voting has nothing to do with masculinity, and rich landed women did vote in the US as early as the 1700s in New Jersey. Women generally voted in the Utah and Wyoming territories in the 1870s. So your analogy is simply idiotic.

Fact is, no one made that argument regarding voting. In contrast, the Iowa Supreme Court and many other groups that reject neutered marriage arguments have addressed the obvious definition argument. So please don't be obtuse.

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jimskater
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quote:
The definition of voting has nothing to do with masculinity, and rich landed women did vote in the US as early as the 1700s in New Jersey. Women generally voted in the Utah and Wyoming territories in the 1870s. So your analogy is simply idiotic.

The franchise, in all other states, was limited by gender until the 1920's. At other times there were limitations by race, economic status and literacy. The definition of voting has evolved over time.
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DaveS
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There is no good analogy, because you can't analogize a unique understanding. But, as an imagined wine enthusiast might look at this thread...

...I can't resist but to peer through the dining room window of my neighbor's house this afternoon. Inside I see a throng of family members moving about, eating, talking, parsing the ebb and flow of family ties (happily for the most part), grateful and thankful all. The crackling glow of the fire in the background, the tinkling of wine glasses toasting in the foreground, their faces knitted together in warm hues. What a Thanksgiving feast!

But, wait...is that a Chianti they're drinking? It's the wrong wine! My mistake, it's a fun party, but it's just a turkey dinner. I climb down from the window ledge and go back home where my family waits for me to carve and pour a real Thanksgiving meal...

Alas, our wine enthusiast didn't say what the right wine would be, but I'm pleased with the choice I've made. This holiday has one name but many ways to celebrate. Happy Thanksgiving everybody, to each and their own, however you choose.

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
You're really straining at that false analogy, Josh. Is that what passes for thought in your neck of the woods?

The definition of voting has nothing to do with masculinity, and rich landed women did vote in the US as early as the 1700s in New Jersey. Women generally voted in the Utah and Wyoming territories in the 1870s. So your analogy is simply idiotic.

Fact is, no one made that argument regarding voting. In contrast, the Iowa Supreme Court and many other groups that reject neutered marriage arguments have addressed the obvious definition argument. So please don't be obtuse.

Pete - if you want to belittle my argument, that's fine, but please don't simply call me obtuse. Let's keep it above that level.

The definiton of voting has nothing to do with masculinity: you're stating my point for me, because I don't believe that marriage has anything to do with a person's sex. Just as a stickler in 1919 could emphasize a written clause of "to each man one vote", so too do I believe that the spirit of marriage has nothing to do with the sex of the participants, except perhaps according to someone placing the emphasis on the text "one man and one woman".

Rich women getting to vote early: How does this invalidate my analogy? Is that like suggesting that a few gays are already marrying in Massachusetts?

No one made that argument regarding voting: I have no idea what arguments were proposed back then - I have simply transposed yours onto an analogous case of the pursuit of rights leading to the expanded definition of the institution of voting.

If you do not draw a meaningful contrast between the content of the two scenarios (i.e. demonstrating that gays being permitted to declare themselves "married" as affecting the institution of "marriage" more so than women being able to "vote" affects the institution of "voting"), my analogy still stands, and your argument runs the risk of being indefensible.

Your argument hinges on protecting the definition of a word. I intend to show you historical examples of such definitions being expanded successfully and without detriment to the institutions concerned. So far as I can tell, providing this kind of evidence is *precisely* how to prove you wrong.

[ November 27, 2008, 09:40 AM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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Gina
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Pete, I agree with your OP, but I see the SSM movement as an evolution in something which was already ongoing in society and which took a great leap forward with the contraceptive mindset. The divorce of marriage and procreation was already well under way when SSM came on the scene.
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Paladine
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quote:

Pete - if you want to belittle my argument, that's fine, but please don't simply call me obtuse. Let's keep it above that level.

When you equate someone to a sexist, a racist, or a homophobe, you can expect that they'll get a little testy. If you throw that kind of ugliness at someone, the response isn't always going to be polite and rational, even from someone who's had as much crap thrown at him as Pete. For the record though, I did think Pete calling you obtuse was gratuitous and unproductive, and I'm sure he'd agree with me on that point.

quote:
The definiton of voting has nothing to do with masculinity: you're stating my point for me, because I don't believe that marriage has anything to do with a person's sex.
quote:

Your argument hinges on protecting the definition of a word. I intend to show you historical examples of such definitions being expanded successfully and without detriment to the institutions concerned. So far as I can tell, providing this kind of evidence is *precisely* how to prove you wrong.

Marriage provides children with a father and a mother. If you accept that the optimal environment for children to be raised is in the home of a father and a mother, then there's an obvious rationale for keeping marriage as a gendered institution. If you don't accept this, then you should be debating that point with him on the merits. But to compare him to opponents of suffrage as you've done here or opponents of integration and miscegenation as others have elsewhere isn't interesting, substantive, or productive to advancing the discussion. To continue doing that, one might even need to be a little......obtuse. [Wink]

[ November 27, 2008, 05:28 PM: Message edited by: Paladine ]

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munga
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Paladine:

quote:
Marriage provides children with a father and a mother. If you accept that the optimal environment for children to be raised is in the home of a father and a mother, then there's an obvious rationale for keeping marriage as a gendered institution. If you don't accept this, then you should be debating that point with him on the merits. But to compare him to opponents of suffrage as you've done here or opponents of integration and miscegenation as others have elsewhere isn't interesting, substantive, or productive to advancing the discussion. To continue doing that, one might even need to be a little......obtuse.
Actually, no, marriage does not provide children with a mother and a father. Biology and God do that. Civil marriage provides (any resultant) children with a legal framework that protects their interests by giving the two partners equal protection for them before the law. This prevents abuse and encourages responsible behavior.

If the neaderthals might be willing to see the above fact, they might concede that protection is good for all children, in whatever-shape system they (by God's allowance) are brought to live.

[ November 27, 2008, 06:10 PM: Message edited by: munga ]

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JoshCrow
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Paladine, I have never equated Pete's person with racism, sexism or homophobia. I may think his argument is shoddy, but to his credit Pete has consistently made it clear that he respects the civil rights of gays and he believes that a gay couple they should have a legal avenue to the same rights as any married couple.

Rather, I am addressing his argument, and only his argument.

quote:
Marriage provides children with a father and a mother. If you accept that the optimal environment for children to be raised is in the home of a father and a mother, then there's an obvious rationale for keeping marriage as a gendered institution. If you don't accept this, then you should be debating that point with him on the merits. But to compare him to opponents of suffrage as you've done here or opponents of integration and miscegenation as others have elsewhere isn't interesting, substantive, or productive to advancing the discussion. To continue doing that, one might even need to be a little......obtuse.

First of all, though this may have been mentioned before, the mere fact that couples can be married and not have children should underline for you that marriage is a separate concept entirely from parenting.

Secondly, it is certainly not my intent to make Pete out to be an opponent of Suffrage. I'm sure Pete supports the right of women to vote - which makes my argument more, not less, pertinent.

I am putting his argument about protecting the reference to sex in the definition of "marriage" in what I think is an historical context with many significant parallels. Both SSM and women's suffrage are issues in which the definition of a sacred American institution has been (or could be) changed to be inclusive of a disenfranchised group. I think the parallels are obvious and the analogy a strong one. Nevertheless, I'm sure there is a rebuttal Pete can muster, maybe even one good enough to dismiss my analogy completely, but to wave off the analogy just because it is an analogy isn't good enough for argument's sake!

Pete is welcome to submit a significant difference between the two scenarios. If he or you won't, I might be inclined to do so myself, to further discussion! Talking to myself is boring though, and I hope to hear some substantive rebuttal.

[ November 27, 2008, 06:50 PM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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scifibum
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quote:
Marriage provides children with a father and a mother. If you accept that the optimal environment for children to be raised is in the home of a father and a mother, then there's an obvious rationale for keeping marriage as a gendered institution.
Even if you accept that OS married couples are more optimal than SS married couples as parents, it still doesn't mean that there's an automatic benefit from "keeping marriage as a gendered institution." This would be true only insofar as gender-neutral marriage would discourage or prevent opposite sex marriages, and in my opinion, that would NOT happen, and it's the weakest point, I think, in Pete's argument against SSM.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Marriage provides children with a father and a mother. If you accept that the optimal environment for children to be raised is in the home of a father and a mother, then there's an obvious rationale for keeping marriage as a gendered institution.
This is not actually a logical argument. There are in fact two major flaws here: one with the premise, and one with the logic.

1) Marriage does not provide children with a father and mother. Birth provides children with parents, who presently tend to be of opposite genders. Sometimes, married people can also be parents; in this scenario, they might be fathers and mothers.

2) Even if the optimal environment for a child is one in which a father and mother are present, and even if you grant that the only way to obtain this situation is through the present institution of marriage, the argument for continuing to restrict the gender definition of marriage relies on two unstated premises: a) that insisting on the optimal situation is always the best option in the long run; and b) that children will no longer continue to have mothers and fathers if the definition of marriage ceases to include gender.

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Gina
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Even if you accept that OS married couples are more optimal than SS married couples as parents, it still doesn't mean that there's an automatic benefit from "keeping marriage as a gendered institution." This would be true only insofar as gender-neutral marriage would discourage or prevent opposite sex marriages, and in my opinion, that would NOT happen, and it's the weakest point, I think, in Pete's argument against SSM.

I believe the point is that the only intervening interest the state has in sanctioning the institute of marriage is that it is the best means to secure the survival of the species. Outside of that motive, there is no reason for the state to be in the business of putting a stamp of approval on this or that sexual bond. And if the foundation on which the state is involved in the marriage business is changed, there's no rational basis on which to reason that homosexual relationships should have official sanction and support and not, for instance, polygamous, incestuous or any other sort of relationship.

It is true that in the past two generations, the essential link between procreation and marriage has been diminished. It is now not only possible but accepted for people to remain childless regardless of their physical capacity. Children are more likely than ever to be born out of wedlock or to suffer a parental divorce, maybe multiple divorces. But this doesn't change the underlying raison d'etre for marriage. A duck is still a duck. A goose, while having some resemblances, is just not a duck. Even ancient societies that tolerated a great deal of homosexual activity never confused it with marriage.

The one thing by definition that a homosexual relationship can't provide is a child being raised by its own mother and its own father. That is the foundation of a healthy society, and it's the scenario that we should be bending over backwards to ensure happens more often than not.

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Gina
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
[QB] I can't help but picture Pete on the cusp of Women's Suffrage in 1920, arguing that women shouldn't get a vote because the definition for voting is "unto each man there shall be permitted one ballot...".

This is a strawman. Political systems can be arranged one way or another and there is nothing which says liberal democracy is the pinnacle. That marriage is between a man and a woman for the purposes of procreation, however, is so innately described in our biology that no society on earth has ever questioned it until western hubris met the Sexual Revolution.

Whatever we decide about the question, human society will return to its senses eventually and probably not even remember our little foray into playing god.

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Gina:
This is a strawman. Political systems can be arranged one way or another and there is nothing which says liberal democracy is the pinnacle. That marriage is between a man and a woman for the purposes of procreation, however, is so innately described in our biology that no society on earth has ever questioned it until western hubris met the Sexual Revolution.

Whatever we decide about the question, human society will return to its senses eventually and probably not even remember our little foray into playing god.

Your god is a capricious one - he also invented homosexuals, ensured that they would exist in significant numbers, and has allowed them to fall in love and wish to pair off and possibly raise families. I suppose god will "come to his senses" at some point, too, since his biological plan was built with a systematic homosexual flaw. Or I guess it's only a flaw if you already think you know the correct way to exist.

For your argument to make any sense in the context of the legal issue of SSM, you would also have to suggest that we consider legally voiding those "marriages" in which the couple does not intend to have children. I'm not sure you're prepared to do that. While you're at it, you could question whether or not divorce should even be permissible, since it violates our biological imperative. If you think I'm being ridiculous - think again. You've made the argument that we should presume that marriage should be a framework in response to a biological imperative, and suddenly a can of worms is opened.

Your other argument is more interesting - pointing out that my analogy is poor because you don't think democracy is the best form of government! That's going to be a whole other thread, one in which I will be happy to stand on the side of having leadership votes over not having them.

[ November 28, 2008, 02:24 AM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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munga
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quote:
Originally posted by Gina:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Even if you accept that OS married couples are more optimal than SS married couples as parents, it still doesn't mean that there's an automatic benefit from "keeping marriage as a gendered institution." This would be true only insofar as gender-neutral marriage would discourage or prevent opposite sex marriages, and in my opinion, that would NOT happen, and it's the weakest point, I think, in Pete's argument against SSM.

I believe the point is that the only intervening interest the state has in sanctioning the institute of marriage is that it is the best means to secure the survival of the species. Outside of that motive, there is no reason for the state to be in the business of putting a stamp of approval on this or that sexual bond. And if the foundation on which the state is involved in the marriage business is changed, there's no rational basis on which to reason that homosexual relationships should have official sanction and support and not, for instance, polygamous, incestuous or any other sort of relationship.

It is true that in the past two generations, the essential link between procreation and marriage has been diminished. It is now not only possible but accepted for people to remain childless regardless of their physical capacity. Children are more likely than ever to be born out of wedlock or to suffer a parental divorce, maybe multiple divorces. But this doesn't change the underlying raison d'etre for marriage. A duck is still a duck. A goose, while having some resemblances, is just not a duck. Even ancient societies that tolerated a great deal of homosexual activity never confused it with marriage.

The one thing by definition that a homosexual relationship can't provide is a child being raised by its own mother and its own father. That is the foundation of a healthy society, and it's the scenario that we should be bending over backwards to ensure happens more often than not.

Gina, do you support equal access to civil contracts?
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Paladine
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quote:

1) Marriage does not provide children with a father and mother. Birth provides children with parents, who presently tend to be of opposite genders. Sometimes, married people can also be parents; in this scenario, they might be fathers and mothers.

Birth doesn't provide children with parents, Tom, once you understand that family is about relationships more than biology. Marriage provides children with a household with one parent of each gender who have promised to stay together for life. Birth doesn't do that.

quote:
2) Even if the optimal environment for a child is one in which a father and mother are present, and even if you grant that the only way to obtain this situation is through the present institution of marriage, the argument for continuing to restrict the gender definition of marriage relies on two unstated premises: a) that insisting on the optimal situation is always the best option in the long run; and b) that children will no longer continue to have mothers and fathers if the definition of marriage ceases to include gender.
Premise A seems pretty straightforward to me, although I'm also not certain how my argument hinges upon it. Maybe you could explain what's amiss in my thinking there?

Premise B also seems pretty straightforward, if SSM accomplishes its objective. Given that the objective of SSM is to secure complete legal, social, and reputational equality for same-sex relationships, and given that most people are bisexual to some extent or another, SSM will result in more same-sex households and fewer opposite-sex households. This will result in fewer children being raised by mothers and fathers. Where's your beef here?

quote:
quote:Marriage provides children with a father and a mother. If you accept that the optimal environment for children to be raised is in the home of a father and a mother, then there's an obvious rationale for keeping marriage as a gendered institution.

Even if you accept that OS married couples are more optimal than SS married couples as parents, it still doesn't mean that there's an automatic benefit from "keeping marriage as a gendered institution." This would be true only insofar as gender-neutral marriage would discourage or prevent opposite sex marriages, and in my opinion, that would NOT happen, and it's the weakest point, I think, in Pete's argument against SSM.

See my explanation to Tom above. Where's the beef?

quote:
First of all, though this may have been mentioned before, the mere fact that couples can be married and not have children should underline for you that marriage is a separate concept entirely from parenting.
I don't really see the logic here. The fact that it's possible to be married without kids means that marriage has nothing to do with kids? Really?

quote:


I am putting his argument about protecting the reference to sex in the definition of "marriage" in what I think is an historical context with many significant parallels. Both SSM and women's suffrage are issues in which the definition of a sacred American institution has been (or could be) changed to be inclusive of a disenfranchised group. I think the parallels are obvious and the analogy a strong one. Nevertheless, I'm sure there is a rebuttal Pete can muster, maybe even one good enough to dismiss my analogy completely, but to wave off the analogy just because it is an analogy isn't good enough for argument's sake!

It just seems to me like it would be much more productive to directly address the issue of whether or not children benefit from being raised by a mother and a father and whether maintaining marriage as a gendered institution contributes towards that end. If you can defeat either of these points, I'm sure Pete would concede, his position on SSM would collapse. At the very least, you'd probably win me over. [Wink]

It just doesn't seem that the analogy adds anything to the discussion. His response to it is that there wasn't a compelling governmental interest served by denying the vote to women while there is a compelling governmental interest served by protecting the definition of marriage. He might have other responses besides that, but until you deal meaningfully with that point the analogy is an invalid one and his position holds.

quote:

For your argument to make any sense in the context of the legal issue of SSM, you would also have to suggest that we consider legally voiding those "marriages" in which the couple does not intend to have children.

We've explained numerous times why this particular line of argument is a load of hooey. I could rehash it for you if you like, but I'd really appreciate if you searched the archives a bit. Pete's discussed it a good bit more than I have, so you'd probably do better to search for his name and some related words.

quote:
While you're at it, you could question whether or not divorce should even be permissible, since it violates our biological imperative. If you think I'm being ridiculous - think again.
I don't think you're being ridiculous. I come from a religious tradition which doesn't believe in divorce, and I think no fault divorce has been one of the most destructive forces with respect to the family in recent memory.
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Haggis
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Where are the threads calling for the banning of divorce? I'm just wondering...
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
quote:
First of all, though this may have been mentioned before, the mere fact that couples can be married and not have children should underline for you that marriage is a separate concept entirely from parenting.
I don't really see the logic here. The fact that it's possible to be married without kids means that marriage has nothing to do with kids? Really?



You don't see the logic, so I will illustrate it for you.
Person 1: "The purpose of A is to protect the existence of B"
Person 2: "A can and does exist without B"

The result of this is that those instances of "A" which are not immediately serving the purpose of "A" are now meaningless (defined here as "serving no purpose").

Agreeing with this scenario is tantamount to telling people who are married but do not intend to have children that their marriage is "meaningless", or perhaps "useless". Of course, any married couple will tell you they have their own reasons for getting married, which might include C, D and E. Person 1 in this instance is faced with either acknowledging that their initial statement is not broad enough, or must persist in believing they are confronted with a "useless marriage".

I'm sure Pete has addressed this somewhere, as you pointed out. If so, I'm sure you're competent enough to summarize his key argument for me, particularly if it was compelling.

quote:

It just seems to me like it would be much more productive to directly address the issue of whether or not children benefit from being raised by a mother and a father and whether maintaining marriage as a gendered institution contributes towards that end. If you can defeat either of these points, I'm sure Pete would concede, his position on SSM would collapse. At the very least, you'd probably win me over. [Wink]

But of course, nobody can challenge the bland and uninteresting assertion that "children benefit from being raised by a mother and a father". That statement is ironclad, but hiding behind it is fruitless - see my ironic delivery of "history has shown that nations in which men can vote do better than those where they do not" as a means to explain why women should not be allowed to vote! Obviously, the statement has no bearing on the subject under investigation, since allowing women to vote does not discourage men from voting. If you're going to try to convince me that allowing gay people to marry will result in fewer heterosexual marriages, you are confining yourself to show that this effect is statistically significant, more so than (for example) the effect on children's well-being of closeted gay people in "sham" marriages. We will both be sent on fact-finding missions of subjective research and I doubt either of us would convince each other of our data.

The second assertion, that marriage as a "gendered institution" contributes towards that end (of benefitting children), takes us to similar ground. Here, the end result will be me asking you to prove that permitting SSM interferes with this process, and you asking me to prove that it does not. The evidence is, of course, difficult to come by. I look forward to showing, in a few years, that Canadian children born in my country are flourishing, despite the legal existence of SSM. I think in your heart of hearts you know that no actual precipitous decline in child-rearing would actually take place if we let the gay people who already live together call themselves "married".
quote:


It just doesn't seem that the analogy adds anything to the discussion. His response to it is that there wasn't a compelling governmental interest served by denying the vote to women while there is a compelling governmental interest served by protecting the definition of marriage.

That wasn't his response to me, but I'll take it for yours. I'm assuming you are being serious, too, when you assert that the government did not have "a compelling interest" in disallowing a large segment of the popularion a vote... I almost don't know how to respond to that, because in a democracy, the government's entire existence is literally in the hands of voters. I find your assertion off-the-wall! Any government with no interest in who is voting will find itself on the curb selling pencils.

quote:
I come from a religious tradition which doesn't believe in divorce, and I think no fault divorce has been one of the most destructive forces with respect to the family in recent memory.
Fair enough. Once we enter religious territory, I will follow no further, except to tap my trusty mantra of "your religion ends where I begin" and leave it at that. I would ask a question out of curiosity - would you get behind a movement to ban divorce?

[ November 28, 2008, 10:01 AM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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jimskater
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In re: Marriages obviously held great interest for me, as does the ongoing legal battle over Prop 8.

In that light, I've been reading the recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision Kerrigan v Commissioner of Public Health. It's making for very interesting reading. I'm about 50 pages into the Court's 86 page decision, and it seems to address just about every objection raised by those who don't believe that SSM should be recognized.

Given that SSM's have begun in CT, and the constitutional convention which would have been the basis for overturning the court's decision was rejected by a majority of CT residents, this might be a resource that all of us should review.

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Gina
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
Your god is a capricious one - he also invented homosexuals, ensured that they would exist in significant numbers, and has allowed them to fall in love and wish to pair off and possibly raise families. I suppose god will "come to his senses" at some point, too, since his biological plan was built with a systematic homosexual flaw. Or I guess it's only a flaw if you already think you know the correct way to exist.

I don't believe I said anything about "my God," but since you bring it up, you must believe that homosexuality is an evolutionary anomaly? Or what possible evolutionary purpose can homosexuality have?

As for childless couples etc., just because one or the other couple is childless does not mean that the end (telos, purpose) of marriage is not procreation. The moral and legal foundation doesn't change. But once again, by its very definition homosexual pairing can't produce this end. It is something different in its substance.

As for civil unions, etc., I don't see how you grant them to homosexuals and not to other kinds of domestic arrangements.

Re. divorce: I do agree that no-fault divorce is a bad idea for the same reasons I've been citing. I repeat that the degradation of marriage was well under way by the time anyone was calling for SSM.

[ November 28, 2008, 11:12 AM: Message edited by: Gina ]

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Gina:

I don't believe I said anything about "my God," but since you bring it up, you must believe that homosexuality is an evolutionary anomaly? Or what possible evolutionary purpose can homosexuality have?



Homosexuality is unique precisely because it does not pass itself down genetically (by virtue of biology), and yet persistently occurs anyhow, much like (and I don't mean this comparison pejoratively) mules are common animals in some parts of the world and yet are completely sterile. A trait that does not "pass itself down" is not subjected to the usual processing-by-selection of evolution.

Although if you ask me for an evolutionary purpose to homosexuality, I would say it provides an advantage to straight males by showing them how to dress better. [Wink]

quote:

As for childless couples etc., just because one or the other couple is childless does not mean that the end (telos, purpose) of marriage is not procreation. The moral and legal foundation doesn't change. But once again, by its very definition homosexual pairing can't produce this end. It is something different in its substance.



If the purpose of marriage was to have children, why do women past the age of procreation choose to get married? An older woman can't "produce the end" you have arbitrarily assigned to marriage. Are they simply acting out of some kind of instinct (and if so, why is this instinct also present in homosexuals, and yet not considered valid)? Or could it be they have OTHER REASONS for getting married?

That marriage exists to create children is nothing more than a convenient misreading of motive - and the myriad of other reasons people want to get married makes that overwhelmingly obvious. Love. Security. Companionship. Even finance. Do you think these things are not valid reasons to get married?

There's no way to defend your assertion, it's a lost cause. It would be convenient for an argument against SSM if it were true, but it isn't.

[ November 28, 2008, 11:58 AM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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Gina
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
Homosexuality is unique precisely because it does not pass itself down genetically (by virtue of biology), and yet persistently occurs anyhow, much like (and I don't mean this comparison pejoratively) mules are common animals in some parts of the world and yet are completely sterile. A trait that does not "pass itself down" is not subjected to the usual processing-by-selection of evolution.

Mules don't just spontaneously appear in horse populations. Are you trying to assert a theological opinion here? That God intentionally injects some homosexual individuals into humanity much the way a farmer would intentionally breed a horse and donkey to produce a mule? I'm just not following you here.

Would you agree that it's safe to say we both can agree that we don't understand why some human beings demonstrate a proclivity to homosexuality, whether looked at from a theological or evolutionary POV? It's an anomaly.

As for marriage and procreation: I am not arguing that individuals do not have various subjective reasons for arranging their lives the way they do, but that the society as a whole- imperfectly represented by the state- only has an intervening interest in what advances the whole. And what business the state has in putting a stamp on this or that individual's personal affections I can't tell. The only coherent reason I can see for the state being in the marriage business at all is to secure our survival as a society.

This was represented visually to me when my FIL showed me his family tree. I realized that those who never married or never reproduced were a blip on the page. Those who married but divorced were sometimes not even mentioned. Those who formed the trunk of the tree were those who married and reproduced. On a broad scale as a society, that is also the case. Just look at the shifting demographics in Europe and America. We are being colonized by those who as a society are predominantly young and growing. In short, by those who are having babies. Those are also the people who helped pass Prop 8 in California, the equivalent in Florida, and who are fast becoming a socially conservative anchor in Europe.

There is something else to bring up here, which I think was mentioned early on: That the union of the two sexes is something unique and not to be undervalued. The idea that we are all only individuals whose sex characteristics are accidental, that we are interchangeable humanoids, is an idea that doesn't originate with SSM advocates but certainly is advanced by them.

[ November 28, 2008, 05:09 PM: Message edited by: Gina ]

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DonaldD
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quote:
I believe the point is that the only intervening interest the state has in sanctioning the institute of marriage is that it is the best means to secure the survival of the species.
OK, I've read this a few times, and have to ask: how have sharks, squirrels and fruitbats managed to survive for so long without the benefits of state-sanctioned marriage? One would think they would have long ago perished...

Or is there something innately fragile about humanity that it could not survive without "the state ... sanctioning the institute of marriage"? Is our reticence to initiate global nuclear war somehow dependent on the existence on legal, gender-exclusive marriage? Will global climate change speed up if gays are suddenly allowed to marry? [Smile]

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Gina:
Mules don't just spontaneously appear in horse populations. Are you trying to assert a theological opinion here? That God intentionally injects some homosexual individuals into humanity much the way a farmer would intentionally breed a horse and donkey to produce a mule? I'm just not following you here.

Would you agree that it's safe to say we both can agree that we don't understand why some human beings demonstrate a proclivity to homosexuality, whether looked at from a theological or evolutionary POV? It's an anomaly.

I'm willing to concede the point that homosexuality is "anomalous", albeit a systemic and frequently occurring one. I have no theories, scientific or otherwise, as to why it exists. I would be reluctant, however, to classify homosexuality as a "defect", even if in the strict sense it runs counter to reproduction. The reasons are simple - there is an implicit subjective judgement associated with calling something "defective". I am satisfied that "anomalous" doesn't have that same connotation or subtext.

quote:

As for marriage and procreation: I am not arguing that individuals do not have various subjective reasons for arranging their lives the way they do, but that the society as a whole- imperfectly represented by the state- only has an intervening interest in what advances the whole. And what business the state has in putting a stamp on this or that individual's personal affections I can't tell. The only coherent reason I can see for the state being in the marriage business at all is to secure our survival as a society.

Your assessment is reasonable - and I think a fair case can be made to remove state involvement from marriage (and thus the issue of SSM entirely). It's just that this approach would probably stand next to zero chance of success once an opposing party gets to run ads against the measure. [Wink]

quote:

This was represented visually to me when my FIL showed me his family tree. I realized that those who never married or never reproduced were a blip on the page. Those who married but divorced were sometimes not even mentioned. Those who formed the trunk of the tree were those who married and reproduced. On a broad scale as a society, that is also the case. Just look at the shifting demographics in Europe and America. We are being colonized by those who as a society are predominantly young and growing. In short, by those who are having babies. Those are also the people who helped pass Prop 8 in California, the equivalent in Florida, and who are fast becoming a socially conservative anchor in Europe.

This point is not lost on me - one of my deepest concerns for the future is that education is inversely proportional to reproduction. I am conflicted on this - my instinct is to affirm that there is no reason to feel that a "bigger" family is a "better" family. I judge the quality of a person's life not based on the number of their offspring, but on their goodwill and dispositions. If overpopulation were to become a local problem, I would be among the first to propose a modified version of China's policy (though not without some careful adjustments).

On the other hand, being "out-bred" by radicals with dangerous and dogmatic ideology who wish to spread forth and take what they can... is unacceptable. I do not want to advocate being a "mammal on a hot rock", lazily considering ideas while a population surge in fundamentalist yahoos overturns my country.

I really don't see how gay marriage plays into the above discussion though... it's such a nebulous connection to get from putting a ring on Ellen Degeneres' finger to anything that puts the civilized world at risk from underpopulation.

quote:

There is something else to bring up here, which I think was mentioned early on: That the union of the two sexes is something unique and not to be undervalued. The idea that we are all only individuals whose sex characteristics are accidental, that we are interchangeable humanoids, is an idea that doesn't originate with SSM advocates but certainly is advanced by them.

"Unique" is a pretty word signifying nothing. Every human is already unique. Every gay couple is unique too. An appeal to the wonderous nature of the birds and the bees is heartwarming, but not really much of an argument. I also chafe at implications that we are more than just collections of individuals who have to learn how to get along, but that's me... an individualist. My vision of a utopia has no borders but my own skin.
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jimskater
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From p. 71 of the Kerrigan decision
quote:
Although it may be argued that the state’s interest in regulating procreative conduct constitutes a rational basis for limiting
marriage to opposite sex couples—an argument that, notably, the state itself expressly has disavowed—that rationale does not answer the entirely different question of whether same sex and opposite sex couples are similarly situated for present purposes. Because same sex and opposite sex couples have the same interest in having a family and the same right to do so, the mere fact that children of the former may be conceived in a different manner than children of the latter is insufficient, standing alone, to negate the fundamental and overriding similarities that they share, both with regard to matters relating to family and in all other respects. Thus, even though procreative conduct plays an important role in many marriages, we do not believe that such conduct so defines the institution of marriage that the inability to engage in that conduct is determinative of whether same sex and opposite sex couples are similarly situated for equal protection purposes, especially in view of the fact that some opposite sex couples also are unable to procreate, and others choose not to do so.

Italics added for emphasis

In another section of the Kerrigan decision (p62), the justices note that:

quote:
...we note that the defendants expressly have disavowed any claim that the legislative decision to create a separate legal framework for committed same sex couples was motivated by the belief that the preservation of marriage as a heterosexual institution is in the best interests of children, or that prohibiting same sex couples from marrying promotes responsible heterosexual procreation, two reasons often relied on by states in defending statutory provisions barring same sex marriage against claims that those provisions do not pass even rational basis review
and the decision further references:

quote:
when tradition is offered to justify preserving a statutory scheme that has been challenged on equal protection grounds, we must determine whether the reasons underlying that tradition are sufficient to satisfy constitutional requirements. Tradition alone never can provide sufficient cause to discriminate against a protected class, for ‘‘[neither] the length of time a majority [of the populace] has held its convictions [nor] the passions with which it defends them can withdraw legislation from [the] [c]ourt’s scrutiny.’’ Bowers v. Hardwick, supra, 478 U.S. 210 (Blackmun, J., dissenting).
Italics again added for emphasis.

Basically, the CT court held that barring SSM violates due process and equal protection under the CT Constitution. Further, the court held that banning SSM must be reviewed under a level of intermediate scrutiny (between rational & strict), as they are a quasi-suspect class. The quasi-suspect class designation and the intermediate level of scrutiny called for are at a lesser level than the suspect class designation/strict scrutiny analysis called for in In re: Marriages decision. In other words, it was easier for the court to determine that banning SSM was discriminatory. One of the main reasons for this finding was the fact that the CT legislature had made it clear that CU's were established in order to provide the rights, benefits and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples.

As noted above, and discussed further in the decision, the court held that procreation in itself was irrelevant to allowing SSM. Rather, the court held that it was in the best interests of children of gay parents that the gay parents be allowed to marry--in order to provide those children the social, security, legal and cultural benefits otherwise provided to children of heterosexual parents. The court also held that the barring of SSM itself constitutes a harm to gay couples, because granting gay couples CU's and denying them marriage excludes gay couples from the societal and cultural recognitions accorded to the institution of marriage unfairly places gay couples in a secondary role in society.

[ November 28, 2008, 08:13 PM: Message edited by: jimskater ]

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OpsanusTau
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quote:

Homosexuality is unique precisely because it does not pass itself down genetically (by virtue of biology), and yet persistently occurs anyhow, much like (and I don't mean this comparison pejoratively) mules are common animals in some parts of the world and yet are completely sterile. A trait that does not "pass itself down" is not subjected to the usual processing-by-selection of evolution.

I duck in to say, just briefly, that there is nothing unique about this.
Genetics is full, full, full of recessive traits and incomplete dominance - which, in lay terms, means traits that are not apparently present in the parents but do appear in the offspring.

Sometimes there's a really good reason for this. Sometimes there's not.

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scifibum
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quote:
Premise B also seems pretty straightforward, if SSM accomplishes its objective. Given that the objective of SSM is to secure complete legal, social, and reputational equality for same-sex relationships, and given that most people are bisexual to some extent or another, SSM will result in more same-sex households and fewer opposite-sex households. This will result in fewer children being raised by mothers and fathers. Where's your beef here?

quote: quote:Marriage provides children with a father and a mother. If you accept that the optimal environment for children to be raised is in the home of a father and a mother, then there's an obvious rationale for keeping marriage as a gendered institution.

Even if you accept that OS married couples are more optimal than SS married couples as parents, it still doesn't mean that there's an automatic benefit from "keeping marriage as a gendered institution." This would be true only insofar as gender-neutral marriage would discourage or prevent opposite sex marriages, and in my opinion, that would NOT happen, and it's the weakest point, I think, in Pete's argument against SSM.

See my explanation to Tom above. Where's the beef?

Paladine: I simply don't believe there are significant numbers of bisexuals who choose OSM for its current legal advantage instead of a same sex pairing, who would be encouraged to form a SSM instead if they had the option.

If there are people pining away for a SSM they might be happier and therefore better parents if they formed one anyway. But I don't think there are very many.

(In fact the existence of SSM will probably reduce the tension some people feel over same sex attraction - but this doesn't mean they'll commit to same sex relationships. It might mean they think more clearly and realistically about sex and avoid stupid repressed acting out that stems from fear and shame about sexual feelings.)

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Gina
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
Or is there something innately fragile about humanity that it could not survive without "the state ... sanctioning the institute of marriage"?

No. I don't believe the state needs to sanction it at all. But the only compelling reason I can think of for it doing so is what I've said: To support the goal of children being born and being raised by their own mothers and fathers. As long as that is not the goal, it should get out of the business of marriage altogether, rather than trying to stretch the definition to fit all the views of marriage put forward by every minority.

[ November 28, 2008, 11:49 PM: Message edited by: Gina ]

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Gina
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The CT court's language referencing "discrimination against a protected class" says it all. Since when are homosexuals a protected class deserving of special consideration which, say, single heterosexual people aren't? If this is the basis on which SSM rulings are made, how can society justify not extending special status to other classes of people like, say, polygamists, the incestuous, pedophiles, the person who feels married to his rhododendron, and every other grouping in humanity as colorfully advertised across the internet? If there are SSM advocates who believe the state can withhold special protection from any such class, I would be interested to hear how they justify it.
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Gina
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
This point is not lost on me - one of my deepest concerns for the future is that education is inversely proportional to reproduction. I am conflicted on this - my instinct is to affirm that there is no reason to feel that a "bigger" family is a "better" family. I judge the quality of a person's life not based on the number of their offspring, but on their goodwill and dispositions. If overpopulation were to become a local problem, I would be among the first to propose a modified version of China's policy (though not without some careful adjustments).

On the other hand, being "out-bred" by radicals with dangerous and dogmatic ideology who wish to spread forth and take what they can... is unacceptable. I do not want to advocate being a "mammal on a hot rock", lazily considering ideas while a population surge in fundamentalist yahoos overturns my country.

Points for honesty. This is why eugenics was such a popular thing among the progressives before they learned to veil their language.

quote:

I really don't see how gay marriage plays into the above discussion though... it's such a nebulous connection to get from putting a ring on Ellen Degeneres' finger to anything that puts the civilized world at risk from underpopulation.

It relates because of societal vitality. The ones who are having the babies are going to have the last word.

quote:
My vision of a utopia has no borders but my own skin.
You are in ample company. But see above.
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Gina:
The ones who are having the babies are going to have the last word.

All of this may very well be pointing to a conclusion that I have a hard time accepting - make immigration all but impossible to the more educated world. Closing the gates seems a "mean" thing to do, but how do we foster change in, say, the Middle East when their moderates and those with the most sense decide to move over here?

If we force people through a short term of misery and internal strife to clean up their own areas, to deal with their extremists and religious zealotry - perhaps the world will be better for it in the long run.

Dammit, I'm becoming a protectionist.

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jimskater
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quote:
Originally posted by Gina:
The CT court's language referencing "discrimination against a protected class" says it all. Since when are homosexuals a protected class deserving of special consideration which, say, single heterosexual people aren't? If this is the basis on which SSM rulings are made, how can society justify not extending special status to other classes of people like, say, polygamists, the incestuous, pedophiles, the person who feels married to his rhododendron, and every other grouping in humanity as colorfully advertised across the internet? If there are SSM advocates who believe the state can withhold special protection from any such class, I would be interested to hear how they justify it.

Gina, I suggest you read the decision. The basis for the designation of gay people as a protected class is the longstanding and ongoing discrimination against them in light of the immutability of their status and their ability to contribute fully to our society.

Do you know the number states in which it's legal to fire an employee, or to deny them employment, or housing, simply for being gay? Have you ever been verbally or physically attacked based on your sexual orientation? I ask these questions, because they are just some of the evidence considered by the court in establishing that the discrimination exists and is ongoing--two of the key factors in determining that a class is eligible for protected status.

In the eyes of the court, single straight people had the option of engaging in marriage, once they met their potential spouse. That option wasn't available to single gay people, who were otherwise similarly situated. If I'm reading the decision correctly, the court goes further to say that the CT constitution's equal protection clauses are identical to the 14th amendment--and that, while the CT case is narrowly focused on CT state law, the same results would have come about based on the CT court's understanding of the 14th amendment and the court decisions that have arisen out of it. Lawrence v. Texas and Geisler are just two federal decisions that are cited.

By setting up CU's/DPR's with the express intent to create a state-recognized equivalent to marriage, the court held that equal protection provisions of the CT constitution had been violated by the state. Your polygamy/pedophile/incestuous/rhododendron relationship comparison doesn't hold water. States' regulation of marriage goes to ensuring that the bond is between two consenting adults. Further, the state has a compelling interest in preventing the exploitation of any party to a marriage. That's not the case in any of your examples. So, as an SSM advocate, I agree with those regulations that prevent incestuous/polygamous/pedophilic marriages.

(Which doesn't even begin to address the fallacies implicit in your straw man/slippery slope arguments.)

=====

Edited to clarify & to add the 2nd paragraph

[ November 29, 2008, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: jimskater ]

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JoshCrow
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Gina, I think it's fairly self-evident that if homosexuals aren't deserving of special protective consideration, pretty much nobody is.
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Gina
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What exploitation is there in, say, an adult brother and sister wanting to marry or in polygamous relationships? Just because you're asserting it's so doesn't make it so.

LAMBDA will additionally make the argument that children can decide for themselves and that their sexual relationships with them are consensual and loving. Who are you to say otherwise?

Josh: Again, just because you say so...

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Everard
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"LAMBDA will additionally make the argument that children can decide for themselves and that their sexual relationships with them are consensual and loving. Who are you to say otherwise?"

Quite a bit of scientific evidence suggests that decision making capabilities aren't very strong until late adolesence at the earliest.

"Josh: Again, just because you say so... "

So are you asserting there is NOT a lot of active bigotry against homosexuals?

[ November 29, 2008, 01:14 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Gina:
What exploitation is there in, say, an adult brother and sister wanting to marry or in polygamous relationships? Just because you're asserting it's so doesn't make it so.

Regarding marriage, there is no particularly compelling reason to obstruct these adult, consenting examples. I would, however, advocate that the abnormally high chance of genetic deformities from an incestual coupling should be accounted for in legislation against actual procreative incest.

quote:

LAMBDA will additionally make the argument that children can decide for themselves and that their sexual relationships with them are consensual and loving. Who are you to say otherwise?

As Everard pointed out, it is not difficult to provide hard evidence to support that juveniles cannot make informed decisions about these matters. Ironically, I would use the same defense to object to the idea of a "Christian child", or a "Jewish child", rather than the child of Christian or Jewish parents. A child can no more make a decision to belong to a religion than they could to become a Marxist, yet we foist our beliefs on them all the time, to my chagrin.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Originally posted by Gina:
quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
Or is there something innately fragile about humanity that it could not survive without "the state ... sanctioning the institute of marriage"?

No. I don't believe the state needs to sanction it at all. But the only compelling reason I can think of for it doing so is what I've said: To support the goal of children being born and being raised by their own mothers and fathers.
Then you lack imagination. Why should your lack of imagination trouble our arguments about marriage, unless such lack is also embedded in the laws?

quote:
As long as that is not the goal, it should get out of the business of marriage altogether,

Agreed. Or to put it in other way: every state and country that refuses to say that marriage is solely and strictly to encourage procreation in fertile couples, should either expand marriage to same-sex couples or get out of the business of marriage altogether.

Mind you, I believe in marriage as a social institution to encourage and help family units in *general*, not merely the fertility aspect of them (Fertilization is one moment, marriage hopefully lasts a lifetime). So I support SSM.

But certainly, if biological fertility is to be put plainly and explicitly in the center of our legal reasoning for "marriage", same-sex couples would have less of a legal justification to marry.

Not till such redefinition of marriage (to explicitly include the necessity for fertility) occurs, though.

Also demand couples to take fertility tests in advance. Some states already demand blood tests, I believe, after all.

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hobsen
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The reference to LAMBDA by Gina above, and repeated in the following posts, is obscure. I suspect she has Lambda Legal confused with NAMBLA, and Lambda Legal may react much like LDS being confused with FLDS. The two organizations are not the same, and NAMBLA was always relatively tiny and has been reported on this forum to have dwindled to a website.

Lambda Legal (Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund) is a United States civil rights organization which has focused since 1973 on gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. It addresses discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and the military; HIV/AIDS-related discrimination and public policy issues; parenting and relationship issues; equal marriage rights; equal employment and domestic partnership benefits; "sodomy" law challenges; immigration issues; anti-gay initiatives; and free speech and equal protection rights in all 50 states.

[ November 29, 2008, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:

But certainly, if biological fertility is to be put plainly and explicitly in the center of our legal reasoning for "marriage", same-sex couples would have less of a legal justification to marry.

Not to mention all the lovely post-menopausal women who would be on shaky legal ground in trying to get a marriage license... can you imagine the outrage if somebody decided they should be married because their capacity to have children was gone? [Exploding]
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