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July 31, 2012

Comments

[This just illustrates the fact that the institution of marriage is inextricably connected with children and reflects an unchangeable reality: One man + one woman = children.]

This is just plain false: marriage can exist without children, and children without marriage. Since this clearly proves the above statement to be neither physically nor logically necessary, in what sense is it true?

Further, I don't see how Masha Gessen's opinion of marriage proves this to be the agenda of all gay men and women, or how her opinion can prove anything beyond the existence of said view.

Great post, and true.

I blogged about an article in the Advocate that made a similar point about how gay marriage would change the concept of marriage:

Gay activist explains how same-sex marriage will change marriage

This would be an interim step to the final stage that you described above.

“….I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist

[cheers from the audience].

It’s a ”no-brainer”. Masha Gensen then says that causes her brain some trouble. Yes, I guess it would.

The most disturbing thing – the cheers from the audience. Ms. Gensen is not alone in her beliefs.

Melinda wrote: "This just illustrates the fact that the institution of marriage is inextricably connected with children and reflects an unchangeable reality: One man + one woman = children."

Clifton wrote: "This is just plain false: marriage can exist without children, and children without marriage. Since this clearly proves the above statement to be neither physically nor logically necessary, in what sense is it true?"

Do you really expect anyone to believe that the terms "inextricable connected" and "exist" really mean the exact same thing to you?

Do you really think Melinda (or anyone for that matter that supports a biblical view of marriage), has never heard of married couples who don't have children?

In light of this, is it possible you are burning straw instead of engaging the real thrust of this blog post?

Just asking.


Clifton wrote: "Further, I don't see how Masha Gessen's opinion of marriage proves this to be the agenda of all gay men and women, or how her opinion can prove anything beyond the existence of said view."

It doesn't, nor do I see anything in the blog post that was meant to convey that idea.

Gay marriage is not about marriage per se. Anyone who has ever engaged a gay marriage proponent can attest to that. Gay marriage is about validating a behavior, plan and simple.

I think one of the main points of the blog post was to highlight the fact that at least one backer of "gay marriage" is being honest.

Tolerance = acceptance.

Christianity isn't accepted, therefore it cannot be tolerated.

Democracy be darned. You can't let democracy be ruled by raw votes. Democracy is about who has the whiniest and most litigious special interest group.

Should the anus be used as a sex organ? Google First Scandal. When you get there, go to the top of the page and click on "Can you explain..." Please note: this website you reach will be deleted on November 1, 2012.

[Do you really expect anyone to believe that the terms "inextricable connected" and "exist" really mean the exact same thing to you?]

No, I don't. The thrust of my point was that there is no inextricable connection between marriage and children, as one is not actually connected necessarily to the other.
Said inextricable connection should be evident. It is not enough to cite tendencies of proponents of gay marriage to be in favor of abandoning marriage altogether. Where is the necessary, not merely likely or conventional, tie between marriage and children?

If there is a real, effective thrust of this blog, I don't get it.

[Gay marriage is about validating a behavior, *plain* and simple. I think one of the main points of the blog post was to highlight the fact that at least one backer of "gay marriage" is being honest. ]

From what I gathered from Gessen's comments, her main point (not the writer's) was that in this vain of being honest about marriage, we must also be honest that more diverse families exist, and that monogamy is not very feasible. An interesting and controversial view, but not one that demonstrates the failure of gay marriage. The nature of human monogamy is a seperate issue, one that can and should be assessed apart from this debate. The writer's attempt to show that this is the end of a logical slippery slope for gay marriage proponents seems misguided.

It would have to be demonstrated that there are not nor could there be gay couples interested in and committed to lifetime monogamy, and that there is no way to redefine marriage to include gays which does not result in the destruction of the institution altogether. This is a tremendous burden of proof, one that probabilistic arguments cannot sustain, and one I've yet to see carried.

Odd how we should support same sex marriage, or 3 daddies, or 3 daddies and 2 mommies, but polygamy is too outlandish to be considered a possible outcome of marriage reform.

Clifton-

So your big insight is that divorce happens and children are born out of wedlock?

Thanks for contributing.

Amy's point is that no natural process leads to a child without the coupling of 1 man with 1 woman. That's what's inextricably linked: childbirth and heterosexual sex. The state, in order to protect and promote this outcome, protects and promotes this coupling. The state does this through the institution of marriage.

Permitting homosexual marriage transforms the institution into an institution designed to preserve and promote the sexual preferences of the citizens of the state, not one designed to preserve and promote childbearing among the citizens of the state.

Not everyone who supports gay marriage wants to put an end to the institution altogether, but those that do want to end marriage ALL appear to support gay marriage... for now. This is especially true among the activists behind the crusade. You only need to look up what they were saying before SSM became a fashionable cause.

WisdomLover-

The original author linked *marriage*, not heterosexual sex, inextricably to children. Is the sole purpose of marriage to produce children? If the state doesn't protect marriage for some other reason, some existing reason that applies to homosexual couples as well, why isn't reproduction more strictly required of married couples? Why are infertile couples allowed to be married?

[Odd how we should support same sex marriage, or 3 daddies, or 3 daddies and 2 mommies, but polygamy is too outlandish to be considered a possible outcome of marriage reform. ] This has been my thought all along. I don't know why we haven't heard more from them. An interesting article (1yr old) from WaPo is available here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/20/same-sex-marriages-give-polygamy-a-legal-boost/

Clifton-

Do you believe that no one has ever though of the case of infertile couples?

Officers of the state can tell, just by looking at the couple, that they are man and woman.

I wonder if they can tell, just by looking at the couple, that they are infertile.

Moreover, much of what the state does in upholding any institution has to do with what ordinary citizens observe them doing in upholding that institution.

So the issue isn't just what officers of the state can tell, just by looking at a couple, it's also what anyone can tell.

I wonder whether anyone can tell, just by looking at a couple, that they are infertile.

Still, perhaps the state should require fertility tests?

Then everyone will know, when some otherwise healthy couple who were planning to marry are unable to do so, that they are infertile.

I'm sure that will be OK.

Or maybe not.

The state's sole interest in marriage is the production and care of its future citizens. That's why the institution, asonly makes any sense if it is limited to opposite sex unions.

But this one interest is not absolute.

There are few ends that the state has that are absolute. There are almost always lines that, if the state should cross them, would be contrary to other interests that the state has.

Enforcing costly and intrusive testing for fertility on marriage is one of those lines. And that's why the state doesn't do it.

Arguing for governance from edge cases is usually not very effective. It certainly is not effective in the edge case of infertile couples.

", asonly" == ", as a state-sponsored entity, only"

why isn't reproduction more strictly required of married couples?

Because it's not the government's job to force people to have children or to determine who is barren and not barren, it's their job to regulate the type of union that leads to children because that is the type of union that creates the kind of situation they're interested in (that is, the next generation). That type of union is male–female.

They have no interest in forcing children. They do have an interest in protecting the ones who are created. This is why the institution of marriage is inextricably connected with children, regardless of whether or not one particular couple happens to have them. If the union of a man and a woman didn't create children and a family, marriage would never have existed because the government would have had no interest in the union.

Gessen understands that this is the government's interest, which is why she says they need to come up with something new to address her situation that created children with five parents.

This is not a slippery slope argument. I was explaining why Gessen believes marriage should not exist, and it's based on a reasoned principle. She knows that merely endorsing the union of two women won't be enough because it's not enough to address the issue of children who are created in a homosexual relationship through the involvement of a third party (or fourth, or fifth).

She's not alone in this. Listen to the rest of the panel discussion or read some of the excerpts I linked to at the end. Listen to the cheering of the crowd. I certainly agree that not all homosexuals want to end marriage, but at least some activists, like Gessen, who are driving this push to change the definition of marriage do, and their reasoning makes sense.

When the government endorses the creation of families out of homosexual unions, they will by necessity need to address the problem of extra parents being brought into the mix. The end result will be something else by necessity, because of biology. Perhaps not all the activists have yet thought this through, but Gessen has.

-WisdomLover

[I wonder if they can tell, just by looking at the couple, that they are infertile.]

If the couple is elderly that is a likely indication, for both officers and anyone else, that they are infertile. Not many elderly couples produce newborn children.

[Still, perhaps the state should require fertility tests?

Then everyone will know, when some otherwise healthy couple who were planning to marry are unable to do so, that they are infertile.

I'm sure that will be OK.

Or maybe not.]

Yes, it would be a terrible thing to deny a healthy couple the right to marry and stigmatize them for being unable to reproduce.


[The state's sole interest in marriage is the production and care of its future citizens.]

Prior to the legalization of interracial marriage, weren't couples able to produce and care for the next generation? Wasn't the state at that point protecting all that was required to ensure the production and care of its future citizens? Since interracial marriage adds no inherent potential for procreation, for care of children, why permit it?

-Amy (the same Amy who wrote the article correct? Then I'm especially honored to have you respond to my comment)


I wholeheartedly agree that the government has no business regulating who may and may not get married based upon fertility. I also agree that the government has some vested interest in its future citizens, and marriage tends toward that end. But if there were an inextricalbe connection between marriage and children, this should be reflected more clearly than we observe.

For example, consider financial aid. Financial Aid is established by the government and exists to help students pay for school. If you don't attend school, you don't get financial aid; it is awarded on the condition that it fulfills its purpose.

I realize that couples cannot guarantee that they will or will not have children in advance, but it seems as though if the sole purpose of marriage were the production of children, that marriage rights would be issued on the condition that the couple produces and cares for the next generation.

Further, it seems as though the sole purpose of marriage cannot be producing the next generation, given the extension of legal rights to allow interracial marriage. Permitting interracial marriage neither inherently benefits nor detriments society's ability to produce the next generation, so why protect it? The reason seems to fall outside of the purpose of marriage you've described.

[When the government endorses the creation of families out of homosexual unions, they will by necessity need to address the problem of extra parents being brought into the mix. The end result will be something else by necessity, because of biology. Perhaps not all the activists have yet thought this through, but Gessen has.]

This is certainly an interesting problem, but is it unique to homosexual unions? What about heterosexual couples who adopt or have children through donors because of their infertility? You might respond by stating that not all heterosexual couples will fall into this scenario. Neither will all homosexual couples, since not all will have children. This still seems to me to be an independent issue.

I also appreciate the honesty. I am tired of this issue being put forth as an issue of civil rights, marriage rights, equality and all the rest.

The issue of same sex marriage is about nothing less than the entire restructuring of society. If the pro-SSM side would simply admit it, I'd have a lot more respect for them.

Clifton

"No, I don't. The thrust of my point was that there is no inextricable connection between marriage and children, as one is not actually connected necessarily to the other."

It is in the blueprint. If we take a close look at the design, it is. If we look at the way some of us have failed to follow that design(for whatever reason), it isn't. The question here is why do you choose to look at what you choose to look at for your determination of the connectedness?

-Louis Kuhelj

To the best of my understanding, the author is not trying to invoke design, but rather refers to what marriage is by necessity. I've argued throughout my comments in this article why there is no inextricable connection between marriage and children, and why the ability to produce children is not the state's sole interest in marriage, so I'll refer you to those.

As for the design argument, since the state takes no stance on the existence of a designer whose blueprint creates in us a sense of obligation to it, it is unlikely that this was the intent of the author's argument. The design argument against gay marriage is unsound anyway, but since it is not the subject of this discussion, I won't go into why.

Ooooh! I never thought of elderly couples!

First, elderly couples are more likely to be infertile. Same sex couples are guaranteed to be infertile.

Second, the age at which people become infertile varies. How do you code that into law? Unless, again, you want to mandate intrusive medical tests.

Now to the mixed-race marriage canard.

The reason the prior laws were wrong is that the right to enter into a potentially procreative union with a white woman was denied to a black man...a right that white men possessed.

Likewise, the right to enter into a potentially procreative union with a white man was denied to a black woman...a right that white women possessed.

Also, the right to enter into a potentially procreative union with a black woman was denied to a white man...a right that black men possessed.

And finally, the right to enter into a potentially procreative union with a black man was denied to a white woman...a right that black women possessed.

The laws were unjust, not because they undercut the procreative character of marriage, but because they denied individuals rights on the basis of color.

As already noted, the state has other interests apart from the production of the next generation.

For example, the state has an interest in similar cases being treated similarly. That is, it has an interest in fairness. And it is that interest that mandated the repeal of anti-miscegenation laws.

And of course, a homosexual man has exactly the same right to enter into a potentially procreative union with a woman that any other man has.

Similarly, a homosexual woman has exactly the same right to enter into a potentially procreative union with a man that any other woman has.

No man can have the right to enter into a potentially procreative union with another man any more than he can have the right to a car that runs on prayer.

No woman can have the right to enter into a potentially procreative union with another woman any more than she can have the right to a beach front house in the middle of Death Valley.

So there is no unfairness in the current law.

Clifton

"To the best of my understanding, the author is not trying to invoke design, but rather refers to what marriage is by necessity."

Isn't that kind of like saying that we can talk about what a leg is by necessity without invoking design? A parallel would be that we don't need to invoke design to refer to what a car is by necessity. Really? What exactly is the difference?

"I've argued throughout my comments in this article why there is no inextricable connection between marriage and children, and why the ability to produce children is not the state's sole interest in marriage, so I'll refer you to those."

Not sole, but central. There is a survival imperative in that. No children, no generations to come, and in time, no government.


"As for the design argument, since the state takes no stance on the existence of a designer whose blueprint creates in us a sense of obligation to it, it is unlikely that this was the intent of the author's argument."

Explicit acknowledgment is not necessary, but explicit denial through enacted policy is suicidal. To enact policy that sends a clear message that "we do not want any more children" and to reward that kind of thing...is...well...you know what it is.

"The design argument against gay marriage is unsound anyway, but since it is not the subject of this discussion, I won't go into why."

I can see the results of social experiments from the 60s. Unfortunately I see them, and have to deal with them every day. In the form of ever increasing idiotic behavior around me. At times it is downright comical at other times deeply disturbing and many times it saddens me beyond belief. It causes more mayhem and the costs are absurdly high both in the financial sense as well as the destruction of good sense. Yet, you seem to want to have more and more of this same thing through yet another misguided social experiment that is a child of the 60s? Why on earth would you want less common sense and be drowning in more idiocy? Personally, I get my fill within the first 10 minutes of stepping out of my house.

-WisdomLover

I thought the state couldn't afford to issue marriage on a case by case evaluation. Wouldn't it be easier then to prohibit a type of marriage that usually (though not necessarily) doesn't lead to procreation, since they already endorse couples because they usually (though not necessarily) do procreate? Again, if marriage is inextricably tied to children, there are ways to limit couples less likely to reproduce to ensure that marriage fulfills its purpose. This is especially noteworthy since younger couples are more likely fit to adequately for their children.

As I stated before, interracial marriage does not add any inherent potential for procreation. The couples could be just as potent with members of their own race, maybe more, than with members of another.

Your oversight of the unfairness in gay marriage, as well as how your same logic could have been applied to interracial marriage, is staggering.

First, gay couples are denied the right to marry an adult whom they love *romantically*, a right that straight couples enjoy. They are denied the right to be treated as legitimate couples, equal to straight ones.

Second, prior to interracial marriage, a black man could enter in to a potentially procreative union with any woman of the same race.

A white man could enter into a potentially procreative union with any woman of the same race.

A black woman could enter into a potentially procreative union with any man of the same race.

A white woman could enter into a potentially procreative union with any man of the same race.

Thus, there was no unfairness in that law.

What interracial marriage accomplished was redefining marriage from its previous limitation. Instead of marriage existing as the right to marry a potentially procreative someone of one's own race, one could enter a potentially procreative relationship with some one any race.

"I realize that couples cannot guarantee that they will or will not have children in advance, but it seems as though if the sole purpose of marriage were the production of children, that marriage rights would be issued on the condition that the couple produces and cares for the next generation."

This doesn't follow, Clifton. For the financial aid analogy, the person who wants to go to school would also have to be unable to do the work necessary to be in school, for whatever reason. Then your parallel would be more suitable.

The only way that children arise is between one man and one woman. This naturally excludes same sex couples within dedicatedly monogamous relationships.

It is also self evidently true that children do better in stable environments. Now, as some same sex couples are more stable than some heterosexual couples, it would seem that this would not be naturally exclusionary, but one would need to ignore how the children arise in the first place.

Now, though you have attempted to address these individually, you have not addressed them together. Teleology need not be dependent on design, if one is entirely given to a naturalistic worldview, one must still admit the two above propositions are self evidently linked, that is, Children only arise in one way and children do best in stable environments, thereby stabilizing the only way in which children arise is a clear individual and societal good.

Now, you have attempted to circumnavigate ontology by admitting those circumstances which you believe to be exceptions which disprove the rule, that is, infertile couples.

But, again, you haven't successfully dealt with the obvious conclusion from the two propositions above. Whether one is a six day creationist or a dedicated naturalist, the fact that this is the only way children arise and that children do best in stable environments cannot be avoided, so even if you don't like the notion of "design", this is the relationship which has been selected by which the species and society will propagate. Without it, extinction at the worst, and children growing up in utterly unstable environments at best. This selected arrangement gives preference to heterosexual monogamy, regardless of fertility.

Additionally, the above moment of truth remains, as far as I can tell, unaddressed by you. The slippery slope not only exists, but it is sought by people who are actively working towards this. As you argue for a change of categories, you find yourself on the side which seeks to dissolve all categories.

I would be interested to hear why you would exclude, for instance an adult brother and sister from marriage.

it seems as though if the sole purpose of marriage were the production of children, that marriage rights would be issued on the condition that the couple produces and cares for the next generation.

I think you’ve misunderstood. It’s not that the purpose of the government regulating marriage is to mandate the creation of the next generation, it’s that the purpose of marriage is for the government to protect the next generation that is created through man–woman unions.

Those unions are happening, and they will happen whether the government gets involved or not. That is, the government’s involvement isn’t what causes the children to be created. The government isn’t regulating marriage to make sure those unions happen, it’s regulating marriage to protect the situation that results from those unions by nature.

The unions of interracial couples produce exactly the same result as same-race couples—children. The race of a person makes no difference to his reproductive system. Men and women work the same, regardless of their color. Therefore, the government is involved in their marriages as well. (And I agree with WisdomLover’s thoughts on this.)

The question of donors is not an independent issue because it is necessary if a same-sex couple wants to create a child. It can’t be separated from this issue. (I just came across this article this morning that discusses this.)

Clifton,

First, gay couples are denied the right to marry an adult whom they love *romantically*, a right that straight couples enjoy.

The state has no interest in romance. We all should be happy about that. The state has no romantic requirement for marriage.

Perhaps the ministry of equality could ask the following:

On a scale from one to ten, how romantically involved do you feel toward the one you wish to marry?

-Louis Kuhelj

One can define a thing, thus explaining what it is by necessity, without invoking design.

Also, your caution about engaging in a horric social experiment is noted, but you assume gay marriage is similar enough to what you've seen, and that is debatable.

-To everyone I'm currently debating

The purpose of marriage, as Jack Rogers nicely points out in his book "Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality", "Into the 1930s" was "bearing children, creating a family, and supporting stability in society...By 1960, however,...the primary purpose of marriage was for the mutual comfort, encouragement, and support of the persons involved" (91).

Now he only meant this with respect to the Presbyterian Church, but it is fair to say that a similar change in opinion on the purpose of marriage occurred within society at large, and the state, and had to have occurred, in order to arrive at the debate we are currently in. Heterosexual couples have created more than enough children; now the world needs healthy couples to raise them, and it doesn't make sense to forbide some of those healthy couples because of their gender or sexual orientation.(I'm assuming that at least some of this couples are sufficiently healthy, which would be difficult to disprove). It would be tragic to cease production the next generation, but homosexuals aren't stopping heterosexual couples from marrying and having children. But heterosexual couples are stopping them from raising adopted ones.

Clifton,

"Wouldn't it be easier then to prohibit a type of marriage that usually (though not necessarily) doesn't lead to procreation, since they already endorse couples because they usually (though not necessarily) do procreate?"

This is not well considered. This would necessitate legions of bureaucracy monitoring persons fertility and procreative activity. This is gravely less-easy.

"First, gay couples are denied the right to marry an adult whom they love *romantically*, a right that straight couples enjoy."

Here is where you argument cannot but decompose. You have put a restriction on marriage, that is, "romantically", which means you have defined what marriage must be, which also means that you have defined what it cannot be. (you have done so based on entirely subjective feelings and not on objective form and function, which is another hole in your argument, which, I suspect, we will get to soon enough). On what basis do you prevent people who are not romantically involved from partaking in this right? If there are business partners who have no relationship at all, and don't even like each other, but mutually benefit from being qualified as married, on what basis do you exclude them? Clifton, here your own arguments are used against you. How would you respond?


"They are denied the right to be treated as legitimate couples, equal to straight ones."

You assume this right. You have not established that it exists. Indeed, if the gay marriage activist quoted in the piece has her way, then the notion of "rights" is non-existent, because she believes that all people in all situations must have governmental recognition of their feelings. This means that all people have the right to do whatever they want whenever they want and there not only should be no restrictions, but everyone must be forced to abide by the individuals feelings. This empties the notion of "rights" of any meaning at all. When you are arguing for "rights" you miss that you have failed to coherently explain that such a thing exists.

"As I stated before, interracial marriage does not add any inherent potential for procreation. The couples could be just as potent with members of their own race, maybe more, than with members of another."

That's true in comparison to any other heterosexual couples, but self-evidently not true in comparison to homosexual couples.

"What interracial marriage accomplished was redefining marriage from its previous limitation."

The fact of a limitation does not therefore exclude all limitations. The limitation was one which prevented two people from engaging in the very activities inherent in the two propositions above. Gay marriage has entirely different components and is legally, to say nothing of logically and naturally, restricted on the basis of those entirely different components.

"The purpose of marriage, as Jack Rogers nicely points out in his book "Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality", "Into the 1930s" was "bearing children, creating a family, and supporting stability in society...By 1960, however,...the primary purpose of marriage was for the mutual comfort, encouragement, and support of the persons involved" "

This is ridiculous. How can the point of a natural function change based on zeitgeist? To do differently than the natural and logical function is not to make the natural and logical function go away, it only evinces the self centered nature of people.

It could also be said of Rogers logic that the selfishness in his assessment has quite a bit to do with precipitously declining birthrates, that is, self-selected extinction of entire subcultures. Why would we want to emulate, much less legislate, this sort of worldview. You find yourself making points against yourself, Clifton.

Clifton-

What is staggering, my friend, is your inability to work through the cases consistently.

Apart from being about rights and things, there is no parallel between the argument against mixed-race marriage and the argument against gay marriage.

As for the case of the old folks, you glossed over how the legislation was going to work. What age, exactly, were you planning on forbidding marriage among the elderly? Does an auto-divorce happen when both members of the elderly couple pass that age? Do men, who are more likely to remain fertile in advanced age, get to marry at an older age than women? Or are we back to testing for fertility? And if so, do we need ongoing tests for fertility among married couples? How is it all supposed to work?

Or do we leave the law as it is, based on longstanding tradition, so that it is easily administered without undue intrusion of the state on the individual?

I vote for option B.

WisdomLover-

[Apart from being about rights and things, there is no parallel between the argument against mixed-race marriage and the argument against gay marriage.]

I don't see what could be more important than the "rights and things". The state has an interest in its citizens being protected from discrimination based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. This is more binding than the alleged purpose of marriage you proclaim (which is not consistently legislated since gay marriage is legal in some states).

You act as though the questions you've posed against forbidding marriage for elderly couples don't apply elsewhere. Age, for example, is already a consideration for marriage. Furthermore, if marriage is about producing and protecting the next generation, to ensure optimal conditions for our future citizens, perhaps marriage licenses should be given more selectively through processes like fertility tests.

I find this as absurd as you do, but I'm not the one claiming the inextricable connection between marriage and childbirth. As stated earlier, I find the purpose of marriage to be mutual comfort, encouragement and support.

You didn't address the inconsistency of advocating interracial marriage rights given what you take to be the purpose of marriage. Prior to allowing interracial couples to marry, the inherent potential for procreation was the same, and no one was treated unfairly.

-Amy

[I think you’ve misunderstood. It’s not that the purpose of the government regulating marriage is to mandate the creation of the next generation, it’s that the purpose of marriage is for the government to protect the next generation that is created through man–woman unions.]

I have misunderstood, though I don't find this significantly more convincing. Marriage rights are still given to individuals with no vested interest in creating the next generation in need of protection; they are also given to couples who will protect the next generation created through man-woman unions, but not their own. Both of these conditions are true of gay couples. So even if this is the purpose of marriage (a premise with which I still disagree), what harm is there in allowing gay couples to marry? Just as children are a natural consequence of heterosexual union, tragically, so is the abandonment of some of these children by their parents. Why deny marriage rights to a willing and able gay couple who could raise the children that their biological parents didn't want?

I won't deny that the question of donors is inseperable from the issue of gay parents wanting to create a child, but I see this as no more cause for denying marriage rights to them than denying rights to any other infertile couple (which might happen to be man-woman)looking to do the same. Whatever solution a heterosexual infertile couple should take in this situation (I don't profess to know what that might be), the homosexual couple ought to be able to invoke.

-Jason

I'm debating several other opponents of gay marriage, as you can see. I will not be able to handle the posting of several points before I make a single response very well. I ask that you limit the number of responses you make for the sake of my ability to address them properly.

For now, I'll limit my response to you to your first comment to me:

[The only way that children arise is between one man and one woman. This naturally excludes same sex couples within dedicatedly monogamous relationships.

It is also self evidently true that children do better in stable environments. Now, as some same sex couples are more stable than some heterosexual couples, it would seem that this would not be naturally exclusionary, but one would need to ignore how the children arise in the first place.]


I agree with these statements, but fail to see how they render gay marriage immoral, assuming that is the purpose of bringing this up. How does the fact that children arise from heterosexual unions itself (or that children need stable environments) invalidate homosexual ones? Apparently, you take the premise which is either hidden, nonexistent, or escaping my eye at the moment, to be so obvious that even a naturalist (which I'm not, if that's your assumption; I'm a Christian like I presume most of you are) could see it.

Why do I exclude incest if I'm in favor of gay marriage? I don't intend to give an exhaustive list of reasons, but, for starters, incenst is not a sexual orientation. One who finds their sibling attractive probably finds millions of other similar looking people attractive. Also, since family relationships exist unconditionally, not only by name but often by function, overlapping them with conditional bonds created through romantic relationships creates a tension on the family.

If you find that reasoning unsound you're welcome to offer an alternative reason, but as stated earlier, I don't find the design argument compelling, since the 'is' of design doesn't create an 'ought' of strict adherence to it.

-KWM

[The state has no interest in romance. We all should be happy about that. The state has no romantic requirement for marriage.]

No, but the state has an interest in whether its citizens are discriminated against, including discrimination based upon the sexual orientation. One shouldn't be limited to marrying who they love, but they should be allowed to marry such a person.

It boils down to one thing: is there a God?

That sets everything in perspective. Here is another question that both physicists and philosophers always have in the back of their minds: did everything in the universe create itself, or did something create it? Thus leading back to the first question.

It is sad to admit, that America will never stand as a true Christian nation. It was built merely on the principles of Scripture, not on the name of Jesus. It was never required that it's leaders be sound in doctrine and left it's offices open to popular election rather than Biblical standards. It is only a matter of time before this present day Babylon finishes the walls around itself.

But we are not without the spirit of Daniel, the Spirit of God. Do not pray for wisdom to argue the ways of God with the ungodly, but that the Lord would show His mercy and call them into salvation, as He did for us as well! And that His glory would be shown and His name would be hallowed for it. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but God is fully able to give sight to the blind and only He can give life where there is death.

As proclaimning Christians, we should not miss the amazing structure of the family (husband, wife, children as the Lord wills)as it parallels the structure of the Godhead. There is, within its boundaries, a living example of the order God determined to be of the most benefit for His people, His salvation, and His church. The beauty of the physical differences between men and women and their natural tendency to become one, the reciprocal pouring out upon each other of the uniqueness of our feminine and masculine tendencies within the guidelines of mutual love, care, protection and honor--these are but a few of the glorious ways that men and women are able to be the foundation of the society GOD created--in HIS way, for HIS purposes. It is not surprising that man, in his sinfulness, has decided to undo what God has done and seek his own way of deciding how things should be. But it IS heartbreaking to hear someone claim to be a Christian who argues tenaciously for this man-centered concept. We do not take the holiness and authority of God very seriously and it will be to our peril.

Clifton-

The problem with your argument is that other than saying that gay marriage and mixed-race marriage arguments are about rights and things, you've given no explanation (nor can you) of how the two cases are analogous. It's pretty clear that anti-miscegenation laws were unjust because they deny rights on the basis of color. Nothing analogous can be said in the case of our existing marriage laws.

You also seem to be hung up on the idea that if the sole purpose for the state to sanction marriage is to provide for the next generation of citizens, then it must somehow be the case that that's the only thing that the state is interested in.

This misconception is the reason you seem unable to grasp the idea that anti-miscegenation laws might be ruled out for some reason other than the state's interest in marriage. It's also why you seem to be unable to grasp the idea that the state might not want to be overly intrusive in advancing its interest in marriage (because, on balance, other interests might sometimes be more important).

I suppose it's just worth noting that anti-miscegentation laws reduce the opportunities for the creation of stable families. They therefore reduce the chances of well-reared citizens being brought into the world. So a case can be made against anti-miscegenation laws from the state's interest in marriage. Though it is a less compelling case that the argument based on treating similar cases similarly.

-WisdomLover

[The problem with your argument is that other than saying that gay marriage and mixed-race marriage arguments are about rights and things, you've given no explanation (nor can you) of how the two cases are analogous.]

It seems to me that the only explanation of how the two cases are analogous that will satisfy you is one that fulfills what you perceive to be the primary purpose of marriage: procreation. But my entire argument has been devoted to showing that this is not the primary purpose.

[It's pretty clear that anti-miscegenation laws were unjust because they deny rights on the basis of color. Nothing analogous can be said in the case of our existing marriage laws.]

Our existing marriage laws are unjust because they deny rights on the basis of gender and sexual orientation. I'm not sure how much more analogous I can get.

[I suppose it's just worth noting that anti-miscegentation laws reduce the opportunities for the creation of stable families.]

I've contended several times that this is not inherently true. Those would-be interracial couples could find partners of the same race and there would be no inherent decrease in the number of potentially stable families.

By the way, why do you take issue with the fact that heterosexual couples seeking marriage might be intruded upon through fertility tests and thus inconvenienced, yet have no problem inconveniencing homosexuals far worse, denying them benefits that come with marriage? Even if the aforementioned reasons cause you to disagree with gay marriage, you don't seem very concerned with how this will affect them.

From the OP

Therefore, the state protects the union between a man and a woman. By doing this, the children are legally protected.

But not Gessen's children, right? Just 'legitimate children'.

RonH

RonH,

Are you saying all children ought to be legally entitled to married parents? If so, that seems to be an odd thing to advocate.

Exactly what right is denied to a particular group according to our current laws? Every unmarried person in their majority has the right to marry any other non-blood-related, unmarried person of the opposite sex in their majority.

As far as I can tell, this denies the right of marriage to:

1. Already married people.
2. Minors.
3. People desiring to marry a blood relative.
4. People desiring to marry themselves.

And I think those individuals should be denied the right to marry. (Blood relatives being denied the right precisely because the purpose of marriage, as far as the state is concerned, is children.)

Now, one might argue that women are denied the right to marry women and men are denied the right to marry men.

And so they are.

However, they are not denied that right based on sexual preference. Heterosexual and homosexual men are equally denied the right to marry men. Likewise for heterosexual and homosexual women. And further, it is not intrinsically a better thing to marry a man than it is to marry a woman (because men and women are of equal worth).

Now, since the right to marry a woman is not better or worse than the right to marry a man, neither women nor men are treated unjustly under the current arrangement.

But aren't these 'separate but equal' rights. And aren't 'separate but equal' rights always unequal?

No.

Women and men have the separate but equal right to use bathrooms designated for their sex. And that is totally legitimate.

So separate but equal rights are not always unequal.

Why are separate but equal bathroom rights legitimate? It's because men and women are biologically different. That's also why separate but equal marriage rights are legitimate. And in the case of marriage right, that difference is central to the state's interest in the institution: only mixed-sex marriages can result in children.

As for the fertility tests. Those intrude on peoples' privacy. It is an intrusion into no one's privacy to deny them a benefit.

WisdomLover-

[Exactly what right is denied to a particular group according to our current laws?]

Homosexuals are denied the right to marry someone they love romantically, and thus this is a form of discrimination based upon gender and sexual orientation. Straight couples enjoy this right. (The fact that heterosexuals cannot marry other heterosexuals is irrelevant, since by definition they lack the capacity to fall in love with other members of the same gender). So far as I can tell, you go on to describe other, acceptable forms of discrimination as a means of justifying why rights may be denied to gay couples.

[(Blood relatives being denied the right precisely because the purpose of marriage, as far as the state is concerned, is children.)]

Blood relatives are able to have children, despite the tendency for birth defects. I'm not just going to take your word for it that the inappropriateness of incestual relationships can only be explained by your view. I offered Jason an explanation as to why I find incest wrong which is compatible with the purpose of marriage being mutual comfort, support, and encouragement.

You've also defended seperate but equal rights on the charge that they are not always unequal. The fact that homosexuals cannot marry whom they love romantically is evidence enough that this is seperate and unequal. It's only fitting that you'd appeal to the same argument responsible for discrimination during the interracial marriage debate, since you've yet to justify your belief that interracial couples should be allowed to marry on your view.

[It is an intrusion into no one's privacy to deny them a benefit.]

The government requiring tests to ensure that 'the parts work' is no more intrusive than denying rights because 'the parts don't fit'. The view of the state could easily be the following: If you don't want your privacy invaded, don't get married.

Clifton, we've entertained YOUR opinions regarding what marriage is about, especially so with regard to homosexuality; what does GOD say about it?

[It is not surprising that man, in his sinfulness, has decided to undo what God has done and seek his own way of deciding how things should be. But it IS heartbreaking to hear someone claim to be a Christian who argues tenaciously for this man-centered concept.]

My mistake, Carolyn. Your ignorant, condescending remarks toward me and my view, as well as the simplistic assumption that I have not reconciled mine with Scripture, must be far more biblical and Christ-like. Sorry you've had to entertain me so long, but you'll have to endure it as long as those I'm actually having debates with those willing to participate.

Good to see you challenging me to use Bible verses, since I'm the only one not quoting Scripture here.

I have heard many different arguments trying to defend homosexuality from a biblical perspective and they are all flawed. The prejudicial conjecture in them is obvious. I am always curious to hear what someone would try to use to support homosexuality or same sex marriage in relation to the Bible. If there are any new ones floating around it would be interesting to examine them.

KWM

Are you saying all children ought to be legally entitled to married parents?

Certainly not. That seems like an odd thing to glean from what I said.

Oh well.

I asked whether Gessen's children were 'legally protected' because (as the OP says) the state protects the union between a man and a woman.

It's a rhetorical question, of course: clearly Gessen's children (not to mention Gessen herself) are hurt - not protected, legally or otherwise - by such a state policy.

RonH

-squallybimbadine

I recommend reading "Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality" by Jack Rogers, which I mentioned earlier.

Neither he nor I think the Bible "supports" homosexual behavior. It is rather obvious that, both Old and New Testament, that the Bible condemns homosexuality.

Rather, Rogers argues that, much like the resolution of issues like slavery, Scripture presents overarching themes (love thy neighbor as thyself), demonstrateed through the ministry of Jesus which serve as our true timeless ethical guide. When these themes take precedence over individual verses, we get deeper, more consistent interpretations.

Looking at the context of the passages against same sex behavior, Rogers concludes that the prohibition is based upon contextual perceptions which no longer apply.

I held the conservative stance on homosexuality for years because I could never reconcile pro-gay theology with Scripture. Rogers' explanation was the only one I found sufficiently biblical to change my mind. It's worth a look, at least in a review section on Amazon or a library that might carry it.

Clifton said:

Homosexuals are denied the right to marry someone they love romantically, and thus this is a form of discrimination based upon gender and sexual orientation.

Should card-carrying NAMBLA members be denied the "right" to marry the boys they love? If so, then your claim that denying one the right to marry the one they love romantically is not universal, nor even the core issue. There are other more fundamental issues in play.

Should a man be denied the "right" to marry as many women as he pleases, even tho he loves each one and they love him in return? If so, then your claim that denying one the right to marry the one they love romantically is not universal, nor even the core issue. There are other more fundamental issues in play.

Should a woman be denied the "right" to marry her dog? If so, then your claim that denying one the right to marry the one they love romantically is not universal, nor even the core issue. There are other more fundamental issues in play.

Should a mother be denied the "right" to marry her adult son, even tho he loves her in return? If so, then your claim that denying one the right to marry the one they love romantically is not universal, nor even the core issue. There are other more fundamental issues in play.

Son of Adam-

You're comparing homosexuality to pedophilia, polygamy, beastiality, and incest? Romantic love was not my only condition for marriage. I stated that the purpose of marriage is mutual comfort, encouragment, and support.

I wasn't aware that animals or children were able to sign a marriage license under any circumstances. Children and animals can reciprocate affection, but they cannot express mutual love, for that requires higher cognitve faculties that only adult humans possess. Children and animals are not able to make such important life decisions and such a relationship therefore becomes dominated by the adult; there is no mutuality.

Incest is an overlap of relationships that are both unconditional by name and function, with relationships that have conditions, creating tension and confusion to those bonds.

Polygamy creates inequality as several members (usually women) are subordinate to the head of the relationship (usually a man).

Your accusations commit the slippery slope fallacy; as demonstrated, they are insufficiently similar for the legalization of one to necessarily entail the legalization of the next. Even if my critiques of these deviations are insufficient, it does not mean ipso facto the conservative argument is sound.


I apologize for commenting so much more than everyone else. I wanted to ensure that both sides were heard in this debate. I'd like to see STR hold a formal debate on this subject, and continue answering objections that I and others have raised. Thank you everyone who responded to me.

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