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March 05, 2009

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Yet is there not a need for the government to regulate longstanding, already existing relationships? is this not why common-law marriages exist to regulate the fact that some couples live together but don't go through the signing of an official marriage certificate? It seems to me that it is in the governments interest to acknowledge existing gay partnerships just from the fact that they exist.There seems to be a benefit in drawing from the longstanding marriage laws to help existing gay couples resolve the issues of separation, inheritance for children and other issues that are part of marriage law.

>> First, that this represents a "revision" of the Constitution rather than an "amendment" so the wrong procedure was followed and it should have gone before the state legislature for a vote (no mystery what the outcome would be there) rather than the people.

Have you noticed that whenever the law doesn't go their way, liberals, in general, and, in this case, gay rights activists, in particular, play the "these are different times" card, saying that the law ought to rule based on a current understanding of societal norms, regardless of what has been ruled in the past?

Yet, when the law goes their way, they abhor contradictory societal "uprisings", claiming "It's the law."

To drive this point home, Rosa Parks deserved to be treated like everyone else on that bus because she was no different than everyone else, regardless of what the law said.

So the real question isn't whether the legalese supports one side or the other, in regard to gay rights, but ought the law make sense, or merely reflect its own decisions.

The Law is only as good as the principles on which it is based, apart from legalese.

As a member of the Yes-on-8 family, needless to say, I agree with all your thoughts. However, I think the weakest part of this argument could be this statement: "Marriage also provides the kind of stability that not only protects children." You are correct that marriage provides stability, but this argument doesn't distinguish between hetrosexual and homosexual "marriages". The same-sex group could argue that their structure provides equal stability to protect the children. I wonder if we should remove that from our argument?

>> The same-sex group could argue that their structure provides equal stability to protect the children. I wonder if we should remove that from our argument?

Or, perhaps we could define "stability" a little better.

If you keep a roof over a kid's head, this is certainly better than other alternatives; but if you're confusing the kid about his sense of identity, then this is mentally and emotionally damaging.

Now, if you think there is no such thing as a sense of identity that is unique to gender, then I think you've got an argument, in theory - let's talk about that -; but otherwise, there is something to be said for the sense of identity, as to which I'm sure gays would agree (them being people, after all).

Agilius,

Regarding the worry about confusing kids about their sense of identity, can we take sides on this issue in a non-question begging way? Some will say that it's the fundies who are confusing the gay kids about their identities, leading some of them into great psychological turmoil. Or, maybe it's true that more kids will grow up gay if raised by gays. There's nothing obviously bad about that--so long as society isn't persecuting them, telling them that their expressions of love are an abomination. It's late, I ramble.

oc,

Between 55 and 60 percent of all new AIDS cases are the result of male homosexual contact, and its 2009.

Yet you submit there is nothing "obviously bad" if more kids will grow up gay if raised by gays.

Maybe the word "bad" doesn't mean what it used to...or what its supposed to.

(As an aside, I've always thought it interesting that homosexuals seem content to have themselves identified as a "social interest group" based soley on the type of sex they choose to have. Seems shallow to me. Maybe I'm wrong.)

Homosexuality is a behavior, not a morally benign character trait like skin color or gender. It's not really about marriage at all -or even love - is it? (Why does homosexual "love" need government sanction to be deemed authentic?) It is about everybody else saying this specific type of sex act is OK. Marriage, as for as the homosexual agenda is concerned -is a social rubber stamp.

The arguments of "equality" and "civil rights" are smoke screens and distractions...albiet powerful ones...they are smoke screens nonetheless.

As far a homosexual couples raising children...I think it's incredibly selfish to argue homosexuality is OK because it "is natural"...and in the same vein, demand a "right" to raise children...which is wholly unnatural for the union.

Hi David Hawkins,

We miss you on the "Making Abortions Illegal" thread below. I think I may have found for you some of those Christians who believe, or perhaps just suspect, that unborn babies deserve far worse than bodily dismemberment.

Regarding your observations here:

Suppose next year we find an effective way to prevent the spread of AIDS in male homosexual contact. Would this weaken your case? Does it weaken your case that 100 percent of all abortions are the result of heterosexual contact?

Regarding whether "bad" means what it used to mean: it used to be "bad" for a white woman to marry a black man. It is alright to question past standards. Conservatism shouldn't be a religion.

>> Regarding the worry about confusing kids about their sense of identity, can we take sides on this issue in a non-question begging way? Some will say that it's the fundies who are confusing the gay kids about their identities, leading some of them into great psychological turmoil.

If most people discover that they were created with gender-specific roles - not even talking about religion, per se, here -, then is it our fault that gays have mental and emotional confusion?

Who are the ones that are confused?

I alluded to the fact that gays understand that there are gender-specific roles, and here's how I know: They rule out an entire gender in search of mates(???).

An entire gender? Why?! Because they are looking for something that is unique to that gender. Except, they choose not to apply this principal to themselves.

We're not the confused ones.

P.S. Not to worry about being tired. I try to not be a showboat.

Pardon my ill-diplomacy. I'm no more than a dirt roads scholar, but:

This entire argument is ludicrous and non-sensical. Homosexuality is wrong. Common sense says it's wrong. Morality says it's wrong. Biology says it's wrong. Anatomy says it's wrong. The Bible says it's wrong. Darwiniac Fundamentalism says it's wrong. Survival of the fittest says it's wrong. Natural selection says it's wrong. The mutant sodomite extinction 'gene' says it's wrong. History says it's wrong. Your mother says it's wrong. It's wrong, and everyone knows it. Even those few 'misguided' souls who wax eloquent in it's defense, for prurient reasons, know it.

I don't care what homosexuals do, privately, and quietly. 'Don't frighten the horses, or the children.' I don't want to know about it. This 'debate' is all about legitimizing perverse sexual deviancy, and all parties involved are well aware of the fact, unmerited discretion and wheedling compassion aside. The degree of degradation of our culture can be measured by the seriousness with which we indulge narcissistic arguments promoting the basest desires of a minuscule minority who throw ever louder hissy fits.

Agilius,

I'm not sure I follow your argument. From what I gather, in contemporary usage "gender" is typically used to emphasize the social and cultural aspects associated with a sex. Thus, a "gender role" would be the social and cultural roles that tend to be associated with a given sex. These roles may be discovered, but they are also the sort of thing that may, for one reason or another, stand in need of revision. Thus, for example, a society may use gender roles to unfairly subjugate women. Moreover, for a given individual, it may be quite untrue that he or she is in any sense obligated to identify with his/her gender role. When, for example, gender roles are used to unfairly subjugate women, an individual woman may be doing nothing amiss in refusing to identify with that particular gender role by which society subjugates its women.

Are we in agreement about "gender roles"?

You speak of being "created with gender-specific roles" Since you clarify that you are not introducing religious ideas, perhaps you have in mind something biological. If so, how do you understand biological facts as defining/constraining the roles that a society/culture should associate with a sex?

>> I'm not sure I follow your argument. From what I gather, in contemporary usage "gender" is typically used to emphasize the social and cultural aspects associated with a sex. Thus, a "gender role" would be the social and cultural roles that tend to be associated with a given sex.

I'm of the persuasion that culture does not factor into the definition of gender-specific roles, since they seem to be applicable across cultures - that is to say, every culture ought to arrive at the conclusion that there are gender-specific roles, given the differences; But I do think social aspects are a relevant consideration.

>> Thus, for example, a society may use gender roles to unfairly subjugate women.

A society cannot misuse gender roles to unfairly subjugate women, because that's not part of the role (to be unfairly subjugated).

To be sure, women shouldn't be running countries, or - and I'll catch some flak from some of my peers, here - most companies. *bracing*

Now, I enjoy listening to Dr. Laura from time to time (I also like to yell at her through my radio). I think she talks about relevant issues, and I need to think about these things for my own life. I suppose this means there is something amiss.

But then, I'm not the most manly of men I know (including gay men, oddly enough), so I suppose this means I need to work out some of my own gender-specific issues. Hmmm.

>> Moreover, for a given individual, it may be quite untrue that he or she is in any sense obligated to identify with his/her gender role.

I suppose that would depend on your definition of "role".

>> You speak of being "created with gender-specific roles" Since you clarify that you are not introducing religious ideas, perhaps you have in mind something biological.

My use of "created" implies a god, and, by extension, religion; but what I meant by "not talking about religion" was that gender-specific roles ought to seem apparent to everyone, regardless of their religion - we're obviously different.

As far as how I believe biology factors in, it seems to me that biology facilitates gender roles. More on this, below.

>> If so, how do you understand biological facts as defining/constraining the roles that a society/culture should associate with a sex?

I will admit that biology is difficult to discuss at the level of first principles, in regard to gender-specific roles; I can give you this much, however: I think that male and female bodies are assigned to male and female souls, respectively.

And I will say for myself that I don't think I'd be losing much in our broader discussion by being wrong about these particulars; because, again, we're obviously different.

But to answer your question more concretely:

As I believe that gender-specific bodies are assigned to gender-specific souls, it seems to me that biology is relevant only insofar as are the gender-specific souls.

That's confusing, huh?

Did I mention that we're obviously different? :)

Hi Agilius,

You might check out this article on gender roles.

You write,

I'm of the persuasion that culture does not factor into the definition of gender-specific roles, since they seem to be applicable across cultures - that is to say, every culture ought to arrive at the conclusion that there are gender-specific roles, given the differences

Note that it is perfectly possible for every culture to conclude that there are gender roles and yet still differ regarding what these gender roles are supposed to be.

Moreover, wouldn't the more relevant question be what gender roles should be, rather than what these different cultures take them to be?

Y'all can't really be serious, can you? 'What gender roles should be'?

Is this post-post-modernism? I talk to the budding intellectualoids at the local university coffee bistro and hear similar moronic stuff, fed to them by old hippie professors. Occasionally I remind them that if they were grubbing for taters in the dark to keep from starving, while dodging bullets, the last thing on their minds would be relativistic amoral claptrap.

This stuff is not what better men than the moonbat 'ism-ists' had in mind when they shed blood, sweat, and tears to provide a safe, prosperous civilized platform from which we now suffer inanities of epic proportions gushing from the perpetual 'lost boys and girls' of neo-Neverland.

Sorry. Epigrammatical polemics overcame me. I'm all right now. Never mind.

"I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find
satisfying reasons for this assumption... For myself, as no doubt most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was...liberation from
a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom." Aldous Huxley, "Confessions of a Professed Atheist," Report, June 1996

Apparently assigning to vain godlessness the thin religious patina of the worship of one's self is granting the benefit of the doubt to a strictly
hedonistic exercise. Mr. Huxley has clarified and narrowed the true definition down to nothing more than the worship of one's genitals, regardless of whatever faux intellectual white-noise is intruding on the meta-physical debate.

**************************************************
Esse Quam Verde - to be, rather than to appear

Ag and OC, I firmly believe that God intends for children to be raised by a man and a woman. Anything else distorts the development of a child – especially being raised by a gay couple.

The reason I think that we should be careful about arguing that marriage provides the kind of stability that protects children simply is because homosexuals would argue the same point. They might assert that their “marriages” provide the same protection (regardless of the fact we disagree.)

David Brewer,

I think you're right. For dialectical reasons, the opponent of same sex marriage would want to stay away from the argument you mention. It is rather indefensible. If we really are concerned about families, stable relationships, the health of society, and the responsible upbringing of children, allowing gay marriage is arguably a step in the right direction. In order to oppose gay marriage here, one might be forced to retreat to distinctively religious beliefs, or to idiosyncratic and ad hoc inferences from biology or tradition.

>> Note that it is perfectly possible for every culture to conclude that there are gender roles and yet still differ regarding what these gender roles are supposed to be.

[Aside: I read the 'Culture and gender roles' section.]

OK, sure, to a small degree. But I don't think this bears much on the Prop 8 matter.

Besides, it seems to me that those cultures which believe in gender-specific roles tend to be consistent with each other - at least a lot more often than not.

>> Moreover, wouldn't the more relevant question be what gender roles should be, rather than what these different cultures take them to be?

Both sides claim to have an answer to this question, as both sides claim to have a stake. So, we're all in the same boat, as far as this question is concerned.

But, yes, I do think the more relevant question would be what gender roles should be. And I defy you to find me a gay person that can define gender roles that are consistent with the gay lifestyle.

When this biological reality is not taken seriously, the case for gay marriage always focuses on utilitarian arguments about social good. The problem with the utilitarian argument - to expand marriage to include gays because it is a social good - has no end point and marriage ends up encompassing more than just gay relationships. Lots of groupings of people can adopt and raise children, or make meaningful life-long commitments to each other (including elderly sisters and lesbians and polygamists). Marriage stops having any objetive basis and becomes whatever the social scientists determine is best. In the end, I think that will undermine marriage (and not because marriage will include gays, but because marriage will have no objective basis).

occ reader,

Thanks's...it's good to be missed.

RE: "Suppose next year we find an effective way to prevent the spread of AIDS in male homosexual contact. Would this weaken your case?"

I would have to say that by asking that huge "what if", you are conceding the argument on your initial point and my initial response. Am I wrong?

(No, I do not beleive it weakens.)

RE: "Does it weaken your case that 100 percent of all abortions are the result of heterosexual contact?

Maybe I'm getting slow....did you just say abortions are the result of hete....yes, it appears you did. That's some segue. The AIDS equation here is a empirical flow in cause/effect. You do this, you catch this.

Your other comparison with abortion directly following heterosexuality is so far off its not even on the playing field. (I suspect you knew it was, but thought you might "float it out there" anyway.) No dice.

Abortions are not the result of heterosexual contact, children are the result, generally.

Abortions (about 98% anyway) are the result of liberty gone awry. Remember, they're elective.

BTW, are you comparing/equating the contraction of AIDS with the conception of a child? Please say it isn't so. That would be well into the rank and file of Margaret Sanger territory.

Also, based on your question, you are leaping from square 1 to square 6, by suggesting that abortions "result" from hetero contact. There is an elective in there...several of them. (Unless you're in China and pregnant with a little girl growing inside.)

With the AIDS issue, its A+B=C. No opting out...unless of course you are homosexual who practices abstinance. Hey, there's an idea.

Agilius,

>> Moreover, wouldn't the more relevant question be what gender roles should be, rather than what these different cultures take them to be?

Both sides claim to have an answer to this question, as both sides claim to have a stake. So, we're all in the same boat, as far as this question is concerned.

I'm not sure I understand your reply here. What are the "both sides" you have in mind? Are you agreeing with me that the relevant question isn't so much "what are the gender roles ?" but "what should the gender roles be?" Do we answer the latter question simply by taking a poll, and base our conclusion on how people happen to feel and the interests of the majority? If so, what does this presuppose about the nature of gender roles?

Why do you suppose that it is difficult to define gender roles such that they are consistent with the gay lifestyle? Why can't we simply read off such gender roles from a community which accommodates and accepts gay lifestyles? Do you suppose that there are no such communities?

Fitz,

When this biological reality is not taken seriously, the case for gay marriage always focuses on utilitarian arguments about social good.

You might rather say this about "the case against gay marriage". Note D.Brewer's March 5th observation above, which initiated many of the subsequent comments. It would seem that pro-gay marriage arguments focus on utilitarian arguments only when opponents of gay marriage try to advance utilitarian arguments.

David Hawkins,

One might read "A is the result of B" as "A would not have happened if B had not happened". The abortions would not have happened if heterosexual contact had not happened (if the people had restricted themselves to homosexual contact, there wouldn't have been abortions). In that sense, 100 percent of abortions are the result of heterosexual contact. You agree that abortions are bad, I assume?

Now in noting that, "Between 55 and 60 percent of all new AIDS cases are the result of male homosexual contact," it sounds like you may be offering a "utilitarian argument" of the sort that Fitz advises against. Is that right?

Perhaps you could spell it out more?

"There comes an hour in the afternoon when the child is tired of `pretending'; when he is weary of being a robber or a Red Indian. It is then that he torments the cat. There comes a time in the routine of an
ordered civilization when the man is tired of playing at mythology and pretending that a tree is a maiden or that the moon made love to a man. The effect of this staleness is the same everywhere; it is seen in all drug-taking and dram-drinking and every form of the tendency to increase the dose. Men seek stranger sins or more startling obscenities as
stimulants to their jaded sense. They seek after mad oriental religions for the same reason. They try to stab their nerves to life, as if it were with the knives of the priests of Baal. They are walking in their sleep
and try to wake themselves up with nightmares." G.K. Chesterton


OC

You might rather say this about "the case against gay marriage". Note D.Brewer's March 5th observation above, which initiated many of the subsequent comments. It would seem that pro-gay marriage arguments focus on utilitarian arguments only when opponents of gay marriage try to advance utilitarian arguments.

Perhaps - And utilitarian arguments are certainly not ipso-facto verboten. Many such arguments on either side carry serious weight.

My point was one of law & policy. That same-sex relationships have no objective criteria beyond the strong feelings of the partners. This implicates no public policy of sufficient weight to override the case for maintaining marriage.

As a matter of law the procreation nature of marriage is the reason it has been deemed a fundamental right to begin with at common law.

This federal right cannot be defeated, and indeed is seriously undermined by the judicial redefinition of marriage.

occasional reader,

Science cannot inform us what are the proper gender roles. You agree that is an assigning of meaning - a set of conventions. Science can tell us unequivocally that the sexes are different. Women bear children; men tend toward greater muscle mass. Women breastfeed, men and women have different genitalia, different chromosomes, etc. Culture interprets these biological differences as holding real metaphysical significance. (Which is also why, tangentially, bestiality is repugnant - due to the prima facie ethical implications of biological incompatibility.)

But none of this really bears on the definition of marriage. Even supposing that the reproductive and sexual incompatibility of same-sex relations did not render homosexuality morally wrong, this still would not lend any credence to the suggestion of redefining marriage. Biology is what it is, regardless of what meaning we offer it; men and women are still biologically different no matter what else we might say about them. Their physical differences are evident in their having differing brain structures, hormonal chemistry, life-spans, reproductive roles - all of which impact the inherent personal identities of the sexes (regardless of what meaning any social group assigns to the sexes).

So fiddling with definitions and attacking gender-roles does not touch the physical grounding of the discussion, which is the same no matter how you look at it.

occasional reader,

Regarding the question of skin-color (ethnic origin), Greg here on STR has addressed this quite masterfully (as is his wont). Skin color is a morally irrelevant trait. There is no moral significance to the color of one's skin because there is no biological significance to it. The amount of pigmentation in one's skin has no bearing on the nature of the individual - on their ontological or ethical status.

If you argue the devil's case and say, "Oh, but why not?" then the burden of proof is on your shoulders to plead the arbitrary prejudice of racism. You can plead the racist's case if you'd like. Personally, I find it totally indefensible, fallacious, and repugnant. I "hold these truths to be self-evident..."

Fitz, you write:

As a matter of law the procreation nature of marriage is the reason it has been deemed a fundamental right to begin with at common law.

This federal right cannot be defeated, and indeed is seriously undermined by the judicial redefinition of marriage.

How would the "fundamental right" of marriage be "seriously undermined" by allowing gay marriage? This strikes me as bit paranoid. Whose right to marry would be threatened?

Sage S,

I'm not sure if you're agreeing with me or not. You write,

But none of this really bears on the definition of marriage...this still would not lend any credence to the suggestion of redefining marriage.

Should we assume also that none of this (i.e., biological differences and their cultural interpretations) lends any justification for restricting marriage to heterosexual unions?

occ,

Oh where to start.

re: "if the people had restricted themselves to homosexual contact, there wouldn't have been abortions"

If people had restricted themselves to homosexual contact....there wouldn't be any people.

Hi David Hawkins,

So how do you make an argument out of this? Homosexual and heterosexual contact both have their share of possible bad consequences, as well as possible good consequences. What do you want to say about this?

Hey, I know I'm not all pointy-headed, and all... but could one of you intellectual endarkenment morons enlighten this superstitious peasant with a pitchfork on why if two 'males' can be 'married', then why not any number, or any combination, or any'thing', or Farmer Brown and Bessie, or a busload of 'consenting' Boy Scouts and Mr. Ped Ophile..... etc, should be able to enter matrimony? If morals are relative, then they are all relative, all the time, and in all circumstances. The only one who gets to choose which are ascendant, or 'true' de jour, is the Nietzschian with the biggest gun.

I'm not even vaguely interested in what sodomites et al, like to do, or whatever the empty-heading pop-philosophy musings of their apologists are... I would only like them to exercise their prurient interests somewhere else. Far, far, away. Jesus loves them. I'm working on it.

May those who love us love us,
And may God turn the hearts of those who don't.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles,
So we may recognize them by their limping.

occasional reader,

If biology makes no difference whatsoever, then neither of us is advocating anything meaningful about human sexuality at all. Sexuality (homo- or hetero-) depends on a distinction of the sexes. So for both of our cases, we are assuming that biological distinctions are both real and relevant.

Gender roles are cultural constructs. Marriage is not rooted in gender roles or other cultural constructs; marriage is rooted in biology. It is a social institution built upon the biological differences in the sexes, and the biological necessity of both sexes toward that institution.

A heterogeneity of sexes is intrinsic to marriage, since both a man and a woman are required for procreation. Also, both a man and a woman would be required in order to represent the maximum sex-diversity within the human species. This is why, although a family can exist without two parents, a marriage cannot exist without two partners, and those being of the opposite sex.

Civil unions are a relationship with many of the same societal benefits as marriage. No matter what conventions society employs, however, marriage can never be anything other than between one man and one woman. That is its essential nature.

Civil unions derive from the authority of society, while marriage derives from the authority of nature.

Sage S,

It seems that we both agree on several points: that biology "makes a difference", that "homosexuality" differs from "heterosexuality," and that "gender roles are cultural constructs."

You, however, assert a few other claims without providing any justification:

(a) "A heterogeneity of sexes is intrinsic to marriage."

(b) "marriage can never be anything other than between one man and one woman. That is its essential nature."

(c) "marriage derives from the authority of nature"

What sort of argument can you provide for these further claims?

>> I'm not sure I understand your reply here. What are the "both sides" you have in mind?

The both sides are: a) the side which favors gender roles, as pertains to marriage (in keeping with the topic at hand), and b) the side which does not.

Both sides believe the law ought to reflect their way, so both sides need to justify their position.

I only say this because there seems to be an abnormal focus on one party's view, to the exclusion of the other. But perhaps we will come to that.

>> Are you agreeing with me that the relevant question isn't so much "what are the gender roles ?" but "what should the gender roles be?"

It appears you have inadvertently switched one question out for another.

The original questions were:

1. wouldn't the more relevant question be what gender roles should be, rather than

and

2. what these different cultures take them to be?

The choices now appear to be between (reordered):

1. "what should the gender roles be?"

and

2. "what are the gender roles ?"

If set 1, question 1 (s1.1) corresponds to s2.1, then question 2 of both sets appear to be different.

Could you help me figure this one out?

>> Do we answer the latter question simply by taking a poll, and base our conclusion on how people happen to feel and the interests of the majority? If so, what does this presuppose about the nature of gender roles?

Along with the above mentioned confusion, the second set of questions appear to be the same option, only written in different words.

But if you mean to make a distinction - in the context of the second set of questions, by themselves - between what the gender roles actually are, and what roles societies ought to adopt, if at all, as a matter of public policy, then perhaps I can best answer your question by saying that societies ought to adopt a policy which reflects reality. I'm not sure this will help our discussion much, however.

>> Why do you suppose that it is difficult to define gender roles such that they are consistent with the gay lifestyle? Why can't we simply read off such gender roles from a community which accommodates and accepts gay lifestyles? Do you suppose that there are no such communities?

Almost by definition, a community which accommodates and accepts gay lifestyles accepts no gender roles - not if they actually accept the gay lifestyle, as opposed to merely faking like they do (for money, etc).

This is because there is no basis on which to define male and female roles, in the gay lifestyle. For one, it would seem to be a non-issue, as far as civil unions are concerned. And second, gays see their unions as no different than heterosexual unions, so why would they apply a gender role to heterosexual unions?

Which brings me to my next point.

The vast majority of heterosexual unions *do* recognize gender roles, such that they chose a heterosexual union.

You show me a heterosexual union that accepts the gay lifestyle for others, and 99 times out of 100, I will show you two people who find the gay lifestyle abnormal and disgusting for themselves - by virtue of the fact that they didn't accept the gay lifestyle for themselves.

Further, even gays are obligated to believe that heterosexual unions are as normal as breathing.

Finally, to answer that last question:

*Could* you make it a public policy that straight unions ought not be allowed (to put it hyperbolously)? Sure. But we want people to vote based on reality, in spite of their capacity to do otherwise.

So it will not be enough, for our particular discussion, to say that people have chosen to be accepting of the gay lifestyle, therefore public policy ought to reflect the acceptance of the majority, without regard for reality.

New word: Hyperbolous. ^^

Hi Agilius,

It sounds like you are seeing an important distinction between gender roles and what a given culture takes the gender roles to be. If, however, the "gender role" emphasizes the social and cultural roles associated with a sex, these questions strike me as quite similar. What do you take to be the important distinction here? Perhaps you break with contemporary usage? (That's fine, so long as you define your usage so as not to confuse me and others.) If the term "gender role" is going to play a part in your argument, perhaps we should begin again: what do you mean by "gender role"?

occasional reader,

Marriage exists precisely due to the biological differences between the sexes. (Women bear children; men tend toward greater muscle mass. Women breastfeed, men and women have different genitalia, different chromosomes, etc.) While different cultures interpret these biological distinctions in a variety of ways, they all recognize the distinctions are real, fundamental, and significant.

Marriage then is built upon the different reproductive roles of the sexes. This is the foundation of marriage - a social institution joining the two partners in a lifelong commitment based on their essential roles in procreating. A family of two married people of the opposite sex is the ideal environment for procreation, as well as the ideal environment to raise children. It is a microcosm of society and the primary building block of society. Thus it is in the interest of society to honor and preserve this institution.

Do you accept as part of the essential definition of marriage that it can only be between two people? If so, then what is your defense for this claim?

Sage S,

How the institution of marriage arose may be a bit beside the point when we're trying to understand what's valuable about it and who should be allowed to marry.

Analogously, a particular building may exist because it was built 100 years ago to process tobacco. This doesn't obviously mean that we must continue to use the building for the same purpose today.

>> Analogously, a particular building may exist because it was built 100 years ago to process tobacco. This doesn't obviously mean that we must continue to use the building for the same purpose today.

Does your analogous building include the machines and the people to work the facility, or do you suppose that the structure which protects the facility from the elements will suffice?

>> It sounds like you are seeing an important distinction between gender roles and what a given culture takes the gender roles to be.

I hope that my prior posts didn't suggest otherwise.

>> If, however, the "gender role" emphasizes the social and cultural roles associated with a sex, these questions strike me as quite similar.

Inasmuch as the gender role informs the social and cultural roles associated with a sex, I am inclined to agree.

>> What do you take to be the important distinction here? Perhaps you break with contemporary usage? (That's fine, so long as you define your usage so as not to confuse me and others.) If the term "gender role" is going to play a part in your argument, perhaps we should begin again: what do you mean by "gender role"?

Tell me if this helps: The roles are discovered.

It's kind of like how you know you're not supposed to cut one of your body parts off to use as a paper weight. Sure, it could serve that purpose; and since there's no law against it, a legal case could probably be made to allow for people to do this.

But if you believe that your body parts have roles, then, in spite of the many possible things you *could* do with them, you opt to use them for that which they were designed.

It's a similar way with gender.

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