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February 07, 2013

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I don't think law shapes culture, culture shapes belief and belief shapes practice. I think belief is at the foundation of everything. Belief shapes culture and practice which in turn shapes law.

I think the ultimate answer is to separate the terms "marriage" and "civil union." A gay or straight couple can get a "civil union" license that allows them certain benefits under the law. My brother and his fiance can then take their license to our pastor and he can help them make preparations for a church wedding. The gay couple who comes to my church and asks to be "married" inside will be turned away, but I'm sure they'll find a church that will accept them.

The problem I see with the idea that marriage is for children and establishing a family is that while this obviously the primary reason for the institution of marriage, there are still a lot of other reasons to get married or have the formal recognition of relationship. And, obviously gay people can and do have children of their own, either artificial insemination, adoption, or previous marriages. The issue still remains why should not these people have a right to such recognition?

The idea above that theMorton suggests has been in effect here in Finland several years. Gay couples can legally formalize their union and get some of the rights that "regular" married couple have. There has been lot of talk should they have all the same rights, and what is the role of church in these unions, which is obviously made a lot complicated because Finnish Lutheran church is a tax-funded institution.

I feel a lot of the conservative arguments against same-sex unions miss the whole elephant in the room, and that is that homosexual relationships are now acceptable form of relationship, and civil laws simply follow this new reality. If the issue is not "gayness" in it self, rather then just the formal recognition of it, then the arguments for "protecting" marriage become a sort of catch-22: if marriage of absolutely crucial to civilization, then why are not gay people part of this civilization?

Marriage as being between a man and a woman has been the norm for most all of recorded history, regardless of culture, language, religious belief, geography, history, etc. There is a reason for that - humanity has nearly universally agreed that man/woman unions are the best for soceity. Why should a very small minority have the right to impose its will on the majority?

Further, as STR has posted on in the past, why stop at recognizing homosexual unions only? People mock the "slippery slope" argument but the fact remains that the reason people give for supporting homosexual unions can be given for other types of "Marriage"; conversely, the reasons people give for rejecting these other types of "Marriage" can be given for same sex marriage.

Erkki, you mention above that "civil law simply follow(s)" culture and should reflect the new reality. Say in the future culture accepts that the age of adulthood is now 12 years old (as other cultures and societies have). Would it then be okay for someone in their 30's to marry someone who is 12? Would you have a problem with that? Or, would you be okay with polygamy or polyamourous (forgive my spelling) marriage if society accepted that as a new norm?

Darth Dutch

    Erkki, you mention above that "civil law simply follow(s)" culture and should reflect the new reality. Say in the future culture accepts that the age of adulthood is now 12 years old (as other cultures and societies have). Would it then be okay for someone in their 30's to marry someone who is 12? Would you have a problem with that?

Well this depends on why does this future society think that the age of adulthood is now 12 years? Suppose someone would invent a drug that accelerates human development in such a way that 12 year old is now mentally and physically equal to 18 year old. I doubt this would be possible, at least without side-effects, but if in our thought experiment this would be reality, then yes, I would see no problem with 12-year old getting married in this alternate reality. But normally developed 12-year olds are unlikely even in the future to be ready to make the decision for marriage.

    Or, would you be okay with polygamy or polyamourous (forgive my spelling) marriage if society accepted that as a new norm?

I do not generally have a strong moral issue with poly-amory, but my argument against it would probably be that it is a lot more artificial and unstable form of family. Gay unions are a relatively straight-forward issue in my opinion: we already acknowledge two-person relationship as the base of family, now we simply acknowledge that the specific gender of these persons is not an issue and apply most or all same marriage laws as usual. Making polygamy legal however would require that we create out of cloth whole new rules and ideas about how marriage, divorce and parenthood works, on a level completely different from homosexual marriage.

And yes, I do believe in some point of future some forms of polyamorous unions could be legalized. But that is the issue we will deal with then.

"Well this depends on why does this future society think that the age of adulthood is now 12 years? Suppose someone would invent a drug that accelerates human development in such a way that 12 year old is now mentally and physically equal to 18 year old."

No drug is needed. Plenty of cultures have looked at the age at which mankind enter puberty. This is typically the pre-teen or early teen years.

"But normally developed 12-year olds are unlikely even in the future to be ready to make the decision for marriage."

To that I say "says who?" Again the culture could decide that if one's physical body is showing signs of adulthood, then their mind is ready too.

"I do not generally have a strong moral issue with poly-amory, but my argument against it would probably be that it is a lot more artificial and unstable form of family."

And that is one of the reasons against same-sex marriages. It is artificial & allows for unstability since the complementary aspects of male/female unions are inherently & necessarily lacking.

Darth Dutch

*instability* instead of "unstability". :)

Darth Dutch

    To that I say "says who?" Again the culture could decide that if one's physical body is showing signs of adulthood, then their mind is ready too.

Yes, a culture could decide to do that. And I would say that it would probably be foolish. But that is not the issue here. The issue at hand is same-sex unions. The issue of puberty and age of consent are a different matter, so I don't see why I should much care about some "what if?" spook story.

    And that is one of the reasons against same-sex marriages. It is artificial & allows for unstability since the complementary aspects of male/female unions are inherently & necessarily lacking.

I understand the argument, but I don't think the comparison is reasonable one. The idea for same-sex unions seems to me quite naturally follow from the basic structure of families and that same-sex relationships are now culturally acceptable form of partnership and I don't see why homosexual unions would definitely be lacking of this complementary aspect of relationships. People are quite a bit more complicated then just gender.

"I don't see why homosexual unions would definitely be lacking of this complementary aspect of relationships."

If you really and honestly do not see how a man/man union or woman/woman union is going to be inherently missing a component of a man/woman union (and not just talking physically here - I'm talking about roles, emotions, characteristics that are inherent to the genders), then I really don't know how to respond.

Men and women are different and not just physically. Children learn and receive things from fathers and mothers in different ways; fathers and mothers have a unique way of shaping a child's life. If you really can't see how one of those things would be lacking in a same-sex union, then there isn't much more for me to say.

Darth Dutch

"The issue of puberty and age of consent are a different matter, so I don't see why I should much care about some "what if?" spook story."

In our modern, western world, yes that is the case. We have decided that age 18 constitutes adulthood here in the States. However other cultures may not see that. They may select the age 12 or 13 so that when one hits puberty they are an adult and can therefore give consent. As a societal relativist I'm not sure why you would find it to be a spook story. It goes perfectly within your worldview. I was simply asking the question and pointing that out.

Darth Dutch

    If you really and honestly do not see how a man/man union or woman/woman union is going to be inherently missing a component of a man/woman union (and not just talking physically here - I'm talking about roles, emotions, characteristics that are inherent to the genders), then I really don't know how to respond.

I think people generally are the best judges of their own feelings and relationships. If someone is willing to say "this person complements me, this is the person whom I would call my soulmate", then I do not see why I should make gender some sort of issue. This is not what I want from relationship, but I'm not everyone.

    In our modern, western world, yes that is the case. We have decided that age 18 constitutes adulthood here in the States. However other cultures may not see that. They may select the age 12 or 13 so that when one hits puberty they are an adult and can therefore give consent. As a societal relativist I'm not sure why you would find it to be a spook story. It goes perfectly within your worldview. I was simply asking the question and pointing that out.

You are assuming that my worldview is based on "anything goes" which really is not the case (for generally everyone, including the so called cultural relativists). These sort of "what if" scenarios really don't make much of an argument to me, because they are a classic case of "proving too much", as one could resist any change anywhere anytime with this sort of logic. Yes, some cultures have diffent norms then ours, but that's their problem, and really has no relation to our issues.

"I think people generally are the best judges of their own feelings and relationships. If someone is willing to say "this person complements me, this is the person whom I would call my soulmate", then I do not see why I should make gender some sort of issue. This is not what I want from relationship, but I'm not everyone."

Is there any type of consensual relationship that you would be opposed to who used as their rationale the exact same line of thinking you did in the quote above? If not, why not?

Darth Dutch

    Is there any type of consensual relationship that you would be opposed to who used as their rationale the exact same line of thinking you did in the quote above? If not, why not?

There really are not a lot of consensual relationships that I would oppose on principle, but of course the issue of consent can be muddy sometimes. Incestous and relationships with huge power disrepancy, such as master-slave, teacher-student, really can't be truly consensual in my mind, or are at least automatically very suspicious in this matter. The morally greyest scenario that I can think of would be some type of brother-sister incest which I could theoretically see as consensual, but would still oppose as messing up with healthy family dynamics, and I don't see them comparable to homosexuality.

There are obviously lot of messed up relationships, but finding any sort of general rules which relationships work and which don't is kind of impossible. And of course, people have the "right" to make their own mistakes in the issue of human relationships.

just watched you on PiersM. thank you for your articulation and courtesy.You were brilliant!

Ryan, thank you for standing up to Piers Morgan and Susie Orman as they tried to attack you on the show, I have just been watching. I just laughed when she said you were uneducated to her lifestyle and almost as saying you were just plain ignorant and I would tend to say your IQ is probably higher than both of them put together.You are one sharp guy and you are not in the minority on your beliefs, it's just that the liberal networks are trying to make everyone believe that. They all want this Country to fail and they will be the first to start crying and praying when something happens and it's getting closer to reality. We are in a decline of self distruction to a once great America that the devil has overcome these poor souls who will forever burn. You have to save yourself first and be a leader but we are seeing the followers who are easily led into the pits of Hell!

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